Why I Consider Myself an Overland

Why do I consider myself an Overlander?


Ever since I got my drivers license, I’ve been on the road travelling as much as I physically could. I love talking long drives, finding roads less travelled and seeing where they take me. I love the outdoors; camping, fishing, hiking & outdoor photography. The most basic definition of Overlanding is self reliant travel to remote destinations where the journey is the goal & my hobbies fit right in with this.
I may not be tackling tough trails that haven’t seen travel in decades, bushwhacking my way from point A to B, nor crossing many country borders but I am out there, enjoying the drive and places/people I meet along the way. Also, it is a pretty cool way of teaching your kids all of the things that they don’t learn while stuck within 4 walls at school everyday. It’s cool to watch those ‘lucky’ ones on YouTube that can Overland full-time (as they’ve found a niche way to fund their journey while on the road) and dream of exotic locations with super-cool rigs loaded with the latest gear and gadgets, you have to remember that you don’t need any of that to hit the road and explore.
Use what you have, improvise with what you’ve got and slowly build out as you go. It doesn’t take much other than some very basic camping gear and a reliable vehicle to drive.




First Child vs Third Child

Having three kids is amazing and all sorts of special. It also all kinds of crazy. It takes parenting to a whole new level when the kids out number the parents.

One thing that amazes me is the difference between when my husband and I had our first child vs our third child. Granted they were born 7 years apart. So there is a bit of an age gap there. But I chalk up the differences to upping my parenting level and having been around the block already.

Our 1st: Nursery was fully decorated and set up by 24 weeks along. I’m talking full bedding, bumper pads, lamp, all it matching.
Our 3rd: After she was born I bought a crib and we painted her room pink. In my defence she had a pink blanket. Different shade, but still pink.

Our 1st: Sterilized EVERYTHING. Over and over again. Every day. Every bottle. Special bottle sterilizer. Boiled things, twice.
Our 3rd. Throw it in the dishwashers, its all good.

Our 1st: We had two baby registries. We had new everything. Spent WAY too long comparing things, useless things.
Our 3rd: Do you have any idea how awesome hand-me-downs are?! Do you have idea how fast a baby grows?!

Our 1st: Special baby laundry soap.
Our 3rd: Throw all the laundry in together, who has time to sort things?!

Our 1st: If the pacifier or bottle touched the ground or went within inches of the ground, that thing was getting sterilized.
Our 3rd: Sweet found a pacifier in the car, score.

Our 1st: Leaving your child with grandparents, you packed enough bags to last a week, even when it was only for a few hours, you had a list of phone numbers to give them, you called every 5 minutes to check.
Our 3rd: The grandparents know what they are doing, they are pros! Have fun! (But I still call to check, just not as often!)

Our 1st: Nice changing table. Wipes warmer. Some diaper thing that was supposed to stop the smell, it never did.
Our 3rd: Change where you are, floor, bed, it all works.

Our 1st: Falls down. Rush over, check him over 10 times, call husband at work tell him that he fell down – translation he fell over on a pillow while sitting up.
Our 3rd: Falls down. No blood, we are good to go.

Our 1st: Our child won’t eat fast food.
Our 3rd: Gives you directions to fast food.

Our 1st: Professional photos.
Our 3rd: I can take a pretty awesome picture on my cell phone.

Our 1st: My child won’t see a screen for years. Educational toys only.
Our 3rd: Knows how to use my phone better than I do.

Our 1st: New everything.
Our 3rd: Hello second-hand store, you beautiful thing you.

Our 1st: Take birthing classes, breastfeeding classes.
Our 3rd: We’re cool, we got this.

Our 1st: Send child to lessons. Its important.
Our 3rd: Impressive when did you learn that?!

Our 1st: Document everything, write it all down.
Our 3rd: Its all good, I will remember.

How many kids do you have? What differences have you noticed in raising your kids? I would love to hear!

~ Michelle

Would Would You Do If Your Daughter Ends Up Like You?

Someone recently asked me, what I can only guess is what they thought was an important question. They asked me “What would you do if your daughter ended up like you? How are you going to stop her?”

Now I will be completely honest with you my first reaction was to punch the person, next it was the ever classy “wtf” moment. Which was all followed by “What?!”

Pardon me, but what the hell is so wrong with me that I would have to be worried about my daughter ‘turning out like me’? Then I realized that they were probably referring the fact that I got pregnant at 16.

So this got me thinking.

First off why is this question only directed at my daughter? I’m sorry, but it takes two! My boys could just as easily ‘turn out like me’. Why are males always over looked when it comes to teen pregnancy? Trust me, the girl didn’t get there on her own. Just because females carry the baby it does not mean they made that baby on their own and carry all the ‘blame’.

Second off, if any of my children, my sons or my daughter turn out like me, so what? Do I want one of my children to come home at 16 years old and tell me that they are pregnant or got someone pregnant? No of course not, but if they did it would not change my love for them or my view of them.

There is nothing wrong if my children ‘turn out like me’. I kind of hope they do. I hope they get my creative side. I hope they get my love of reading. I hope that their imagination is as big as mine if not bigger. I hope they are dreamers with the courage to go after their dreams. I hope they get my sense of humour. I hope their hearts are as big if not bigger than mine. I hope my children get my level of devotion and love. I hope they get my sense of adventure. I hope they get my love for nature and animals.

Most of all I hope my children are happy. I hope they find themselves. I hope they enjoy life. I hope that whatever path they take in life that it is one filled with love, laughter and joy.

Now onto the second part of the question. How will I stop them from turning out like me? I can’t. I won’t. That is not my place. How can you really stop anyone from doing something? If you could there would never be any teen pregnancy, now would there? I will educate my children. I will talk to my children. My children will grow up knowing how hard it is to grow up away from their brother. My children will grow up dealing with the after effects of my own teen pregnancy and me placing my son for adoption. And after all that I will talk to them some more. My children aren’t like most children, they are growing up in a situation that most don’t, and that will shape them. How will that shape them, well only time will tell.

Whatever path my children take I will love them and be proud of them. Even if “I can’t stop them and they turn out like me”, would that really be so horrible, because there is a whole hell of a lot to me than just a person who got pregnant at 16. But if they do, if any of my children find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy I hope they have the strength to do what is right for them, which will be easy to do with all the love and support I will have for them.

~ Michelle

My Breastfeeding Journey. What I have learned so far.

Here is what I have learned during my journey with breastfeeding, especially this past year.

The most natural unnatural thing.

My history with breastfeeding has not been all rainbows and glitter.
I love the bond and connection it gave me with my babies. But for the actually act of breastfeeding… well I have a love-hate relationship with it.

It all started when I got pregnant at 16. Knowing I was going to place my baby for adoption I didn’t want to do any research about child-birth or breastfeeding, besides talking to doctors, because… well I just couldn’t bear it, it hurt too much. I asked about breastfeeding, I was reassured by several medical “professionals” that if I did not try to breastfeed that my milk would not come in. So being that my son was placed with his parents I never tired. Those “professionals” could not be more wrong, I had 5, FIVE, days of agony, giant, leaky boobs to prove them wrong.

Fast forward to when my husband and I had our son. I gave birth in one of the busiest hospitals around. I never saw the same nurse twice. They wouldn’t even let my husband stay with me at night to help while I recovered from my c-section. So what does all that mean? It means no one helped me learn how to breastfeed. And at night, because I couldn’t get up, the nurses took my baby for the entire night and gave him a bottle! I left the hospital with a 3 day old and bleeding nipples. I cried out in pain every time I tried to feed. My son and I had a very rough start to breastfeeding, and at the age of 4 months he stopped completely when I got pregnant again.
To me, the whole 4 months was a failed attempt at breastfeeding. It never went well or easy.

Now onto my youngest son. It wasn’t that easy. Even though I *knew* what I was doing, it still was not easy. It wasn’t painful, but it still wasn’t easy. He only nursed till 4 months as well. He preferred the bottle. I felt like a failure again. I would comfort myself by saying at least I tried. But that didn’t ease the mom guilt I felt. Mom guilt which was now multiplied by 2 failed attempts. It took me years to come to terms with this and get over it.

My daughter. Third times a charm. Right? Wrong.
I have been breastfeeding my daughter for 1 year and counting.
Like I said, I love the bond. I love the way she reaches up and rests her hand on my face while she feeds.
But I hate the pain. I have had issue after issue with blocked milk ducts. Pain all the time. And whenever it happens, my daughter doesn’t feed well. She bites, she tries to rip off my nipples, she pinches me. I have spent more time crying and getting sick from pain, than enjoying the bonding.
The bad days I get so much anxiety over it that I actually get sick. And bonus. Walking around with painful, almost raw, nipples that my daughter tried to rip off.


Photo from E-cards found on Pinterest.

Now can we talk about the fact that my daughter is one and still sleeps like a new-born? I can’t express enough how awesome it is to be the only one getting up with her every couple of hours. Every. Single. Night! Bless my husband, he tries to help, but when she only wants to feed and refuses a bottle, there is not much he can do.
If she would only take a bottle once in a blue moon, that would be such a help!

But then there are the nights it goes well, it doesn’t hurt. Its easy. Its natural. Its peaceful. It’s all worth it.

Here is what I have learned. There is no right amount of time to breastfeed, despite what people say. I’ve also learned that it isn’t always right for you. I’ve learned that natural doesn’t always mean it will be easy. I have also learned I have a strength in me that I never knew I had. I’ve learned that the pain, as much as it hurts, is worth it. I’ve learned that sometimes as mothers we do crazy things that we otherwise wouldn’t do, like continue to do something that causes pain.
Probably most importantly I learned how to function on very little sleep.

~ Michelle