New Mum on the Blog

Sharing is Caring! Experiences, insights, advice and tips from one mum to another

October-National Anti Bullying Month

Today I found out October is national anti-bullying month. Maybe I’m behind, but as soon as I heard I knew what I wanted to write about next. This post might be a little out of the ordinary, but if you follow me and my blog you probably know I like to throw in a little variety now and again.

When you think of a bully you might think back to when you were in grade or high school. You might think of that kid in your class who constantly picked on you because you wore braces, or those girls who snickered behind your back because you didn’t have the cool knapsack that they had. Fact is, if you were a victim of bullying (which I’m sure we all were at some point) you probably remember exactly what it was you were picked on for.

For me, I remember all the way back to when I was about 7 years old. My parents had moved us out to Florida for a couple years and we were so excited to be in the sunshine and oranges State. I have lot’s of great memories but a couple of sour ones stand out too.

At the ripe young age of 7 my legs were visibly hairy. Yup, I said it. Coming from Canada were parka’s and long johns are worn 6 months out of the year, it didn’t occur to my adolescent self that my hair growth would be a problem. I remember being teased on the bus because I had hairy legs. Really? Who teases a 7 year old about that? I would come home so upset and in tears almost every day.

Then one day my mom took matters into her own hands. She waited by the bus stop, I walked off and she walked on. She scolded the kids making fun of me; when we got home she shaved my legs. From that day on she would shave my legs for me every week until I could do it on my own.

This is just one memory I have of being bullied as a kid. I could tell you tons of stories. Stories that have stuck with me all my life, names that have haunted me ever since I was a little girl. I was never skinny, tall or super popular, the perfect recipe for disaster in school. Today I thank God that I wasn’t one of them because if I was I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The person I can say I am proud to be.

It’s funny how most of the time the ones who bullied and were mean are the ones who are alone and miserable. Karma, karma, karma.

I am terrified for the day when my daughter goes to school and comes home crying.  I will do anything in my power to prevent it from happening. The truth is as parents we can try to shield our kids from the schoolyard bully, but what happens if your kid becomes one of them. It is never too early to teach your child to love everyone. It is our duty to teach our kids to be kind, gentle, and friendly.

The sad thing is that it doesn’t end in the playground. It happens to everyone and anyone these days.  From kids name calling and hitting a school bus driver, to a news anchor receiving a nasty email about being overweight. It sickens me how today’s society treat each other.

As parents we have to teach our kids that it is not ok to name call, fight, or pick on someone because they are different. We have to teach them that in the end the bully loses and only ends up alone and miserable. Set an example, our kids hang onto every word and action we do so make the right choices and spread the word. STOP BULLYING!!!

 

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Life Changing

It’s funny isn’t it? How as soon as you are introduced into mummy world, it’s like entering a whole new realm you never even knew existed.  Talk about boobs and poops become acceptable topics of conversation, messy buns and yoga pants become your uniform of choice, and daily trips to the store and park are your social scenes. It’s funny isn’t it? How when we have a baby we just sort of forget about all the things we did before. The late night drinks with friends and late morning greasy spoon breakfast, going away for weekends with just one bag packed, last minute dinner plans because there was nothing else to do.

The truth is, once you have a baby all of those things you used to be able to do just sort of dissipate, without a second thought really. Instead of having only a couple hours of sleep because you were out all night dancing, you are on a couple hours of sleep because you were up all night rocking and hushing. Instead of trying to figure out what shoes go with that dress, you are wondering if anyone will notice you have been in pajamas for two days.

I’m not saying this is what it will be like forever, but let’s face it, were mums now. Nights filled with tequila shots, and singing along to Eminem’s latest album is over. Yes, there may be a night or two in your near future where you can feel like your college years again but it’s going to hurt a lot more since your getting up at 7 a.m. with a hungry and charged up baby.

All of a sudden you understand what sacrifice means, what love is, and how patience really is a virtue. All of a sudden your favourite song is Butterfly Kisses instead of Disco Stick, and feeling tired at the end of the day is more of a reward then a punishment.

When I was pregnant, I was told that I’ll never be free to do as I please, that I will forever be tied down and my whole life is going to change. People are always so quick to say that, “your whole life is going to change.” Obviously, your life will change. What they leave out is that your life is changed for the better. Every morning you wake up and get to see this little person smiling at you because they are genuinely happy to see your face, you get to watch someone you created, the greatest miracle of life, grow right in front of you.

So do I miss the person I was a few years ago? No, I don’t. Do I miss being able to sleep in, go out with my friends whenever I want, spend my money on a new purse instead of a new car seat? No, I don’t. I wouldn’t give up what I have now for all the coach purses and greasy spoon breakfasts in the world, even if that meant unlimited eggs benedict and Nutella crepes.

 

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Mummy Brain-GOOD NEWS!

I have been M.I.A. this past week with my blogging because I have been swamped with first birthday party planning! On the weekend we had baby girl’s birthday parties. I say parties because yes, we had two. Since we live in an apartment it was completely unrealistic to think we would be able to have all our friends and family in one spot on one day. So we broke it up. We did her little friends on Saturday and the ‘grown ups’ on Sunday.  We also decided to have it the week before her actual big day because it falls on thanksgiving so we figured friends and family would be busy with their holiday plans. The turnouts were so amazing. We are so lucky to have such great people in our lives, and baby girl is so loved.

So you probably think I have tons of stuff to write about. This week I think I am going to focus on reminiscing about this past year. I mean this time last year I was hugely preggo, ready to pop, and so uncomfortable. I couldn’t even tell I had ankles, and Jon giggled at me every morning I literally rolled out of bed. It’s so funny how what they call ‘mom brain’ can prevent you from remembering where you put your sunglasses 5 minutes ago but you can remember exactly what you were doing this day a year ago.

 Seriously, anyone else having that problem? I have the worst memory these days. From calling someone back, to remembering how Jon likes his coffee after he’s told me 5 times, this mummy brain stuff can really get in the way. This is also why I have started to document everything. I literally carry around a notebook to write down things I think about so I don’t forget. Of course I forget I have the notebook or have written it down…so really it’s a lose-lose situation.

Mummy brain can mean doing things like putting the peanut butter with cleaning products or putting milk away in the tuberware cupboard-both of which I am guilty of. Just really spacing out on things that you normally wouldn’t. I often can be in the middle of a conversation and mid-sentence forgetting what we were talking about. It’s funny that I don’t even really have to explain myself when it happens, I just state, it’s the ‘mommy brain.”

So we can chalk up the mum brain to sleep deprivation, having a little person’s life is in your hands and remembering all the little details that go along with that. I can only imagine it gets worse as you have more kids and more things to remember like soccer practices, dance classes, lunches, school schedules, homework, parties, playdates, dinner…my brain is feeling like mush just thinking about it.

But there is some light to shed on this infamous ‘mommy brain’ syndrome we all suffer from. Being a mom actually makes you SMARTER! Really, seriously, it does. Think about it, although you may forget where you put your keys or that you left your coffee cup on the roof of your car-someone had to be thinking that when we have babies our brains need a little extra room for all that stuff, why wouldn’t be blessed with more smarts.

According to a Time article, the experiences we have picking up toys and singing nursery rhymes is actually stimulating our brains. Before baby I couldn’t finish the words to Mary had a little lamb and Twinkle twinkle. Now I probably know about 50 different songs, and rhymes and can recite most of her books without looking at the pages.

Katherine Ellison, a mother of two, wrote a book called ‘The Mommy Brain: How motherhood makes s smarter.” There is actual scientific evidence that being a mum smartens us up.

Here is bit of the article that stood out: “Craig Kinsley and Kelly Lambert, two Virginia neuroscientists who have done truly pioneering work, have dissected rats’ brains and found that during pregnancy there was a tremendous blossoming of what are called dendritic spines–the parts of the neurons that reach out and form synapses, necessary for new learning. Dr. Kinsley compares it to a computer acquiring extra bandwidth to help it run more than one program at a time. There has also been some intriguing recent research on the impacts of two hormones important to motherhood, oxytocin and prolactin, on mental functioning–specifically, learning and memory and the reduction of fear and anxiety.”

(Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1053659,00.html#ixzz283bYCK8M)

Just try to remember this one little thing- although you may be constantly forgetting you have a load of laundry in the washer, or that you left your keys in the front door- no one else can say that because I am a mum my brain has a little extra room, basically we are all superwomen, so run with it.

 

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Times are a Changin’

Since the first week of bringing baby girl home we have had a nighttime routine. It really hasn’t changed at all except for maybe the time we start it, I can tell that baby girl is ready for a change in the next couple weeks to a month, but like any routine once you have one you don’t want to switch it up. You get comfortable, baby is happy with it, so why change it? People always say when you have babies and kids your whole life is about routines and schedules. I’m the kind of person who is in the middle, I love knowing what to expect but at the same time this last year has been a lot of baby leading the way.

I love knowing that by about 6:30 p.m. every night Aud’s mood starts to slowly shift, she rubs her eyes, and then a big yawn comes. A warm bath gets run, we undress her and admire her cute little tushy, and in the bath she goes. Some nights she loves it, other nights, she can’t wait to get the hell out of there. Of course we inundate her with “this little piggy” and “Old McDonald had a farm….” It works for about 10 seconds before she is halfway out of the bath, pleading for someone to pick her up.

The problem for us is that our apartment doesn’t have a bathtub…I know, cue sympathy. We are still using a baby/toddler bath, to which last night I decided I was either a) going to find a better bigger bath for her or b)start using a large Rubbermaid container (it could work!). We tried showering with her, but she hated it, like screamed the whole time, whole body beat red, anxiety cries, hated it-naturally we are scared to try that again.

So after her bath we giggle in the mirror for a bit, trying to butter her up for the next step. Getting her lotioned up and dressed, the one part of the evening I don’t look forward too. She is a wiggly, squiggly, worm and I have had to retreat to serious distraction toys and objects to keep her still for more then 1 minute. I know I’m not alone here. By the time the last button is done up, most of the time she is screaming bloody murder.

So after the battle of getting pj’s on and the tears are wiped clean, we say goodnight and I nurse her. As I mentioned in my last article (Weaning, hard? Not so much) I am weaning her now, but we aren’t quite giving up this feed yet. She doesn’t often fall asleep while nursing but she get’s groggy and after about 5-10 minutes she is in bed.

In the beginning I used to always make sure we were home by 6:30 p.m. from wherever we were so we could get her routine into play. Obviously there were definitely some evenings where that just didn’t happen. The first couple times I found myself having a bit of anxiety about it. Thinking if she didn’t have a bath she wasn’t going to fall asleep, or if she doesn’t start her feed at exactly 6:50 p.m. she was going to start freaking out.

Luckily it didn’t take a lot of time to realize that it’s ok if she skips a bath one night, or if we are out past 6 p.m.  She will still go to bed. It’s ok if we are out a little longer in the afternoon and she doesn’t nap at exactly 1 p.m. or if she falls asleep en-route  The fact is, if we spend all our time catering to our children’s routines they will never learn to adapt in situations that may cause it to stray.

I’m seeing now that she is able to stay up a little bit later, she likes to have a bit of play time right before bed, reading books, crawling around, playing with her ball. The nighttime ritual we have been following this last year is changing, and she’s leading the way. I’m ok with change. I’ve always been easily adaptable to it, and I think it’s rubbing off on her.

Her first nap is even getting shorted in the morning, no long an hour to hour an a half, sometimes it’s only 45 minutes. It’s going to be a big change for us all when that nap get’s dropped…

The point of this post is that although you may have a great routine going, and you have everything scheduled down to the minute, just know that in a couple weeks, months, even hours it all will change, and it’s ok. Be the one that shows your little one change is good, it’s good for us all. If you can find the happy medium between routines and going with the flow, transitions will be easy for everyone involved.

Update: From the time I wrote this to when I posted it I opted to try a rubbermaid tub for a bath….I think it’s genius…I’ll keep you posted!

 

 

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Weaning…hard? Not so much…

I can’t believe my little ham is almost a year. It seems like yesterday that I was in the hospital, anxiously waiting to meet her. The past year I dedicated all of myself to her, including my body. As I mentioned in past posts, I exclusively breastfed her since day one. Well now has come the time I have decided to wean her to whole milk, and off the breast. Well maybe not completely, but it will no longer be the majority of her daily intake. I’ve known this time was coming but am feeling serious mixed emotions about it. I want to write about what the weaning has been like and how it’s working for us.

The first day I gave Aud whole milk I had intended on just giving it to her to taste and see what her reaction was. So I put some in her bottle (the sippy cup didn’t work for us…yet) and intently watched her take the first gulp. At first her face made a squishy, WTF sort of face. I’m not going to lie, a part of me was ok with it. Maybe we weren’t ready to give up breastfeeding? Maybe it’s too soon?

Then there was a second gulp, and it didn’t stop until I had to give her more. The WTF face turned into, what the hell have you been holding out on me face. The first time I gave it to her she drank 4 ounces!! I couldn’t believe it! Her expression was priceless, (as it is most of the time, she is very expressive).

They say weaning is a big process. That slow and steady wins the race. It could take a month to wean and for baby to be on whole milk. This is why I started it around 11 months. Not my girl. It took one day for her to love it. I mean really, if your a milk lover, who wouldn’t love a nice glass of 3.25% milk with cookies?

The second day I replaced a second feed with the whole milk. That went well too. WTF? I really couldn’t believe this was happening so easily for us. Although I will say my body was starting to respond to missing two nursing sessions in a day. Let’s just say I wasn’t fitting into my usual bras that day.

It’s really amazing how responsive your body is when you have been nursing for so long. That second day I was a tad bit uncomfortable but it was nothing major. I didn’t need to pump or express any milk because I was still planning on nursing a couple times during the day. This also lead me to believe that my milk supply was nowhere near was it used to be like. If we ever had to skip a feed I would have to express, but not this time. Wow, things are really changing around here.

By the fourth day Aud was drinking 3 bottles of whole milk a day and anywhere from 2-4 ounces at each time. We’re about 2 weeks in, I wont say every feed is easy. Sometimes she hesitates and protests, not because she wants the boob but because having a bottle means it takes away from her play time, smart cookie she is. So she isn’t always drinking a full bottle. In the beginning she would sit on my lap and drink it while watching treehouse, but since she realizes she can do it herself she will not let me have any part in it.

I’ve learned that she will drink most of her bottle in her highchair with a snack, in her stroller on a walk, and in her carseat on a drive…so that is where we are at now, I’m sure as time goes on she will be receptacle  to when and where she has her bottle but for now we do what works. 

It’s amazing how quickly they become some independent from us. 6 months ago I couldn’t leave her for more then an hour or two, now I could leave her the whole day and she would be just fine. (I can only handle one emotional detachment at a time people). I will gradually increase her bottles as time goes on, in the meantime I make sure she makes up for it in other dairy products. She is still nursing once in the morning, once in the evening, and once throughout the night.

I know some are probably thinking why the bottle? For one, I tried to give it to her in a sippy cup but she refuses to drink anything but water. and 2) we haven’t quite mastered drinking out of a cup yet and i’m sorry but I don’t feel like cleaning up spilled milk for most of my day…I’m not worried about eventually having to take away the bottle. Aud obviously doesn’t seem like the type to be overly attached to things, just look at how easy it’s been to wean.

So am I ready to hang up the nursing bra’s and call it a day? No, and I plan to keep nursing until she no longer shows interest. No bottle or delicious whole milk can replace the bond between a nursing mom and baby. I am going to cherish these last few times we have left because once I introduce her to sugar, and peanut butter, and all her teeth come in, she starts walking and talking, I have a feeling this may all be a distant memory for her someday soon.

I do plan on going out to Victoria Secret and purchasing some new fancy overpriced undergarments because let’s face it, I havn’t worn a lacy black bra in about two years, I hear they have animal print now…sold.

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Growth spurts and regressions, just when you think you’ve got it!

After months of getting baby on a good nap and bedtime routine, sleep training, feeding schedules you finally feel like you are in a smooth place. Then BAM, it’s 6 a.m. and you realize baby has woken up about 3 times last night, she wanted to feed every hour, she is not enjoying that infant massage you spent a pretty penny learning, the broccoli casserole you make for her all the time she all of sudden decided she doesn’t like it.  What is happening? I can’t tell you how many times I have asked myself this question, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Babies, especially in the first year, go through what seems like a series of set backs and regressions. It always seems to happen just when thinks get good.

I don’t want to confuse this with growth spurts, which will come around a lot too. I remember the first two weeks Aud went through her first growth spurt. I was nursing from 8p.m.-2a.m. with maybe 10 minute breaks in between. Baby girl would nurse, pull off, fuss/cry, nurse, pull off, fuss/cry ect, ect. This went on for hours. I thought for sure this was not normal. Maybe I wasn’t producing enough, maybe she isn’t latching correctly, do I need to supplement with formula? So I did what any other new mum would do and I Googled, “2 week old non stop nursing.”  What’ya know?  Tons, and I mean tons of discussion boards came up with others who have gone through it too!, what they call “Cluster feedings,” I wasn’t alone.

Cluster feedings are described as when babies feed/nurse closer together at certain parts of the day, most of the time at night. Sometimes, yes it does mean baby will probably sleep a little longer after she is done, maybe even sleep through the night. Just remember it is normal and you are not alone.

Back to regressions. Our first regression happened around 4 months, and after some research learned it is extremely common, the technical name for it is “The 4 month regression.” Aud’s sleeping completely changed, which I have talked about in recent posts so I wont dwell on it too much. Just know that it does happen.

Many mothers go through the 4 month sleep regression, but it can happen at 3 months, others at 5 months, 4 months is just somewhere in the middle. Where all of a sudden your baby went to sleeping at least 4-6 hours stretches to up every hour.

You will hear a lot about regressions in babies over the course of being a mum, 4 month, 8 month, 12 month… Isn’t it funny how when you think you’re the only one whose baby is a crazy snoozer, you find out that’s not the case. That there is actually a technical term for what they are going through? The good news is that most of the time after about 2-4 weeks your baby should go back to their “normal” habits (really what is their normal habits at 4 months…) the bad news is that you will experience more regressions in the next year, maybe more.  Just comes with the territory. I’ve learned and am still learning patience is a virtue in these scenerios.

Aud’s cut a couple teeth (poor girl) and so she has been waking up more then usual. I mean, it’s nowhere near what it was like a couple months ago… (you can read about that here) but I find myself getting so frustrated and anxious. I think its because I’ve had a taste of what its been like sleeping longer then 4 hour stretches, so when it’s interrupted the anxiety starts flowing. Also I am trying to wean her from the breast so I can’t do what I used to and just nurse her to help her back to sleep. So now I am offering some water and it seemed to help her last night. Tip: Keep a sippy cup of water in her room at night so that if she wakes up and is thirsty you have the water ready and waiting. We learned the hard way last night…don’t get me started.

My friend and I were talking about it today, that when they are newborns we are so used to being sleep deprived and know we signed up for the interrupted sleep at least for the first few months so when we finally get some sleep back it can be more bothersome for us to be interrupted. So two word of advice if this happens to you (which it will) 1) let your spouse know that in no way is it ok for him to come near you during this night wake and if he wants to help standing outside the bedroom door asking if everything is ok doesn’t help 2) go to bed a little earlier if you know your babe is going through a regression, trust me. That extra hour of sleep you’ll get will almost make up for the lost sleep at night.

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Food for a Day

I thought I would share a couple of sample menu’s of what I am eating on a regular basis to keep the baby weight off. Everyday people are asking me what my diet includes. What really helps is if I plan out my meals ahead of time so I’m not opening my cupboards and fridge repeatedly looking for something quick to make. I will write a couple of options for each mealtime and include some recipes that I love as well.

Breakfast: Always eat breakfast, always.

–       Plain Greek Yogurt with berries, (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries

–       Special K Cereal with Milk and cut up banana

–        Egg wrap with light chedder cheese and spinach on a whole wheat tortilla and half grapefruit

Lunch: I mostly eat wraps for lunch so here’s a couple ideas for wraps using small whole wheat tortilla’s

–       Low Fat sliced turkey, light mayo, Dijon mustard, feta cheese, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, avocado. The good thing about wraps is that you can stuff as many veggies as you like in them.

–       Light Mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil (just a drizzle)

–       Tuna, chicken or egg salad mixed with light mayo and loaded with all the veggies you love

This is where an indoor grill comes in handy! If you want a gourmet feel then grill it up, or stick it in the oven on broil for a couple minutes!

One thing I like to have as a side with my lunch is my Quinoa salad. I’m sure you have heard of Quinoa as it seems to be popping up all over as a loved superfood! Known as a great source of protein it packs lots of nutrition, including being high in iron (also makes a great food for babies).  Here is how I make my Chickpea Quinoa Salad. I make a whole cup so that I can use it all week.

1 cup cooked Quinoa

1 can chickpeas

½ Cup of chopped Red Onions

1 cup of cherry tomatoes

Juice from 1 lemon

¼ cup of olive oil

Feel free to throw in any chopped veggies you may have in the fridge. I have used red pepper, carrots, cucumber, and black beans and it has always been delicious. If you don’t have Quinoa I have also substituted whole wheat Couscous.

Dinner:

I find myself making a love of stir fry’s because I find I can maximize the use of vegetables in my dishes, which in our house is important because Jon doubles on at every meal and is a huge fan of anything cheesy and fried. Below is a couple of Weight Watchers recipes I make religiously that are delish!

Vegetable Stir Fry 

2 tsp’s of peanut oil

2 cup of chopped onion

2 cups of chopped bok choy

2 cups of chopped carrots

1 med green pepper

1 med sweet red pepper

1 cup of chopped mushrooms

2 cups of brocolli florets

2 cups of asparagus

1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce

2 tsp of corn starch

1/4 cup chicken broth, low sodium

4 cups of brown rice

 Heat oil in pan or wok, add vegetables still about 2 minutes, add soy sauce and cook until veggies are crisp-tender. Whisk cornstarch into broth and add to pan. Simmer until sauce thinkens. Spoon stir fry onto rice and you can even sprinkle some peanuts on top for some more flavor. If you want to add chicken, shrimp or tofu for more protein, go for it! Don’t worry if you don’t have all the veggies it calls for, a lot of times I just throw in whatever I have in the fridge! That’s the great thing about stir fry’s, anything goes!


Cheese and Spinach Frittata

4 large eggs

2 large egg whites

1 cup of fresh chopped spinach

2 tsp of scallion, finely chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup of low fat chedder cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F, beat together eggs and egg whites in a bowl, stir in spinach, scallions, salt and pepper. Coat a pan with non stick skillet with cooking spray, heat over med heat, pour egg mixture into skillet and let partially cook for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake untill cheese softens and eggs firm up. What’s great about this is that you can again throw in anything you have, and kids and babies love it!

 I tend to skip dessert and I try not to eat fruit at night because of the sugar content, but if I really can’t fight my sweet tooth I will break out my stash of dark chocolate, melt it, and drip fruit in it (only if I must…). It really doesn’t take a whole lot to feel gourmet!

So that’s about a typical day for me. Somedays I might forget or have to skip lunch, although I do try hard to include all meals. When I snack I try my best to make it count. Like veggies dipped in hummus, or a granola bar. If I do have to eat on the run I keep my choices healthy, which is easy these days because almost every restaurant has the options for you to do so! Happy Eating!

 

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Just to fill you in…

Does your spouse come home at night and say to you “Ok so give me a play by play of what you did today? I want details-new sounds, new foods, new gestures?Fill me in!” If so, then congratulations you found a diamond in the ruff. But for those of us whose husbands and boyfriends come home, probably exhausted from a days work (because remember your at home doing nothing all day), and ask the general “how was your day?”  question while sitting on the couch watching Storage Wars, Shipping Wars, Whale Wars (what is with these shows?) then this latest post is for you.

I got an email a while back about how oblivious men are when it comes to women being at home with the babes and kids. I can’t remember the exact wording of the email so I will jot down the just of it.

Dad comes home every night to a clean house, laundry done, kids in bed and dinner on the table, and like most men have no idea what it takes to get all of this done whilst taking care of 3 children, all toddlers no less. Not to mention things like grocery shopping, bath time, pick ups and drop off’s…you get the picture. Well one night he came home and asked his wife, “So what exactly is it you do all day?” with the sort of sarcastic tone as if he is running the country all day while mom is at home painting her nails.

So the next evening hubs comes home. The house is a mess, laundry stewn all over the house, the floors are covered in mud, the kids are still up and running around the house, dinner is not made…hubs asks, ” Honey! What happened today?” to which the wife replies, “Well you asked me what I did all day? Today I didn’t do it.”

You know exactly how this story feels don’t you? Why is it men think when we have babies we just get a free year off, or if we decide to be stay at home mom’s we don’t do anything but playdates and bake cookies. I know, I know not all men think this way, and don’t get me wrong I’m not targeting my spouse in this post either, I’m just simply stating the facts. Men really have no idea what it is like to run a household, take care of the kids. It’s like that status update you see on Facebook every once in a while,

“I am a Mum! That makes me an alarm clock, cook, maid, waitress, teacher, nurse, referee, handyman, security officer, photographer, counselor, chauffeur, event planner, Hairdresser, personal assistant, ATM & I scare away the boogie man. I don’t get paid holidays, sick pay or days off. I work through the DAY & NIGHT. I am on call 24/7 for the rest of my life. And that’s just with being a Mum.. !! I may not be anything to you but I am everything to someone! Repost if you agree.”

It get’s a bunch of likes and a couple moms repost as if secretly hoping hubs will see it and have an epiphany. Ladies, instead of posting this on Facebook post it on every wall in your home! Remember, men are not mind readers! (Read I hate to break it to ya…)

Don’t worry guys, I’m not going to leave the posting like that. I do want to give credit where credit is due. We appreciate and understand that you have to go to work everyday to bring home the bacon. That you might miss important milestones like the first word or first step, and that you probably only get to spend the most time with your kids on weekends, I totally get that you might feel out of the loop or a bit behind when it comes to baby. Maybe just ask more questions, ask for the details, don’t let her stop at, “it was a good day, how was yours.” Trust me, we would love nothing more then to talk to you about it all, but like you we are tired after a days work.

On the weekend Jon had to watch Aud for most of the time because I was busy running around. He called a couple times to ask me questions about when to give her a bottle, when to feed her dinner, what outfit would I like her in for the day…at first my reaction was “Are you kidding me? How can you not know this stuff?” The truth is, he wouldn’t know. I realized that maybe I need to fill him in more on our day even though he might not ask for the details, that maybe I need to leave him with her more often and not scold him when he asks me how much milk should be in her bottle.

When I got home he actually said to me, “babe, I totally get how hard it can be taking care of everything at home all day with baby girl, I don’t know how you do it everyday.” *melt*

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Planning, planning and more planning

Planning, planning and more planning. If I thought I was a planner before, man am I ever one now. From planning Aud’s birth to her first birthday and everything in between I think I can call myself an expert. I wonder how I have gotten through it all this last year. I’ve definitely learned a couple things in the mix of it all, so I thought I would share what you might find handy when it comes to planning your babies upcoming events, cause you might not think it but there’s a ton of it ahead.

Yesterday we had her baptism, and it was such a great day! I have been planning it the last 3 months, again with my lists upon lists of things to do, people to contact, food to order, decorations to hang. It got a little stressful (Jon is probably rolling his eyes at “little”) at times. I will start with the first thing I had to get organized in order to go ahead with everything else; guestlist. I have a big family, Jon has a big family, so combined we have a HUGE family. We also have tons of friends we like to include as much as we can. But I knew that I wouldn’t be able to have everyone there. So I made the executive decision to invite close family, aunts/uncles and close friends. I was so worried what people were going to think if I didn’t invite them. But the truth is we had a strict budget, and I couldn’t sway from it. And the bigger the guest list the bigger the budget. So that would be my number one tip, think really hard about who you want to be there.

What event are you planning? A baptism I felt was a more intimate gathering, something a little more personal then a birthday party or a  shower. Make sure you have an RSVP date on your invites and I would suggest having it almost a month before your party. This gives you lot’s of time to really plan ahead and be able to chase down those who havn’t RSVP’d, because trust me you’re going to get the ones that maybe skipped the small print to do so. I’m not going to say it really bothered me people didn’t RSVP, but at one point I was wondering if people just thought it was an option to let me know if they were coming or not. Is it? Does RSVP mean don’t worry about letting me know if you are coming or not, I will just have double of everything in case you do…ok I sense myself going on a rant so I will just say this. If you receive an invitation and it says RSVP it means, please respond. See we are asking nicely, so respond. Ok so guest list, very important and do not feel bad about having to call or ask people if they can make it, some people may have just simply forgot…

Since we live in a small apartment having a big party at our place isn’t ideal. Seating is limited, Aud’s toys take up probably half of the living room, and we just don’t have a ton of space in general, so cramming 40 people in our place just won’t work. Location was key for us, as with all things really. I’m apprehensive about outdoor parties especially in September because the weather can be dodgy. I ended up renting out the church hall (in basement) and it was perfect for the occasion. Nice big room, they supplied tables and chairs, we had full use of the kitchen and I was able to get the keys a couple days before hand so I could go in and set up and decorate. It was really a perfect space. In fact I would use it again for any future event where I have more then 25 people coming. It was not expensive and they don’t only rent out the space for church events like baptisms and weddings. So if you are looking for a space check the unexpected. Ask your local church, library or even museum if they have a space they rent out. They likely will cause they can make some money and the space is being used, and it won’t cost you an entire months pay. You will just have to promise to clean up and throw out the garbage.

I would have to say aside from checking things off a to do list my favorite part of planning is the decorating. A) because I get to shop and buy pretty things and b) because I get to have a vision, coordinate it all and see a finished product all in a matter of hours. I had to pick a theme for her party. I love themes. You’re probably thinking, there already was a theme, her baptism! Yup that was the theme but I got to pick a colour theme, (cue the ‘Ohhh’). So obviously I went with pink and white with a splash of sparkle, who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle. The had picked up a couple decorations here and there when I would see something I liked but majority of the deco’s I bought closer to the date. Listen guys, don’t go buying streamers and balloons and table covers at these big, expensive party stores, go to the dollar store!! I am a huge, and I mean huge advocate of Dollarama especially for party supplies. Trust me, you will save lot’s of dollars going to your dollar store then the local Party City. Not to say I didn’t go to Party City because included in my theme was some baptism insignia of course, which they had tons of. I ended up buying a ‘Little Angel” banner and a couple of other things but didn’t spend a ton.

I would say I am someone who doesn’t abide by the whole, “less is more” thing but in this case I did. There was a moment where my cart was FILLED with pink decorations but I had to scale it back. I wanted it to look tasteful, not like I was throwing a pepto bismal launch party. So when it comes to decorating especially for more intimate events, go with the less is more saying. Now first birthday parties…that’s a whole other story. Which I am sure I will write about when the time comes…

One thing I found myself really struggling with during my planning was food. Have I mentioned I am a people pleaser? I wanted to make sure everyone would leave with full and well bellies but not breaking my budget. Since Jon is italian I guess I felt a little more pressure then usual about the food. Plus, isn’t food the one thing you end up talking about when it comes to a party? I had this whole vision of lasagnas, and pastas, caesar salads, and anti pasta, bread…mouth watering italian food. Then someone asked me if I was planning my wedding. I was planning a lunch, who am I kidding. Not to mention it probably would of cost around $30 a person if I served a hot meal like that and again budget was a big factor.

So finally I came to the conclusion a big spread like that wasn’t happening nor necessary. We decided to go with sandwich trays, salads, dips, and great desserts. I am so happy I did. Since I have some great friends, a couple of them offered to bring something which was a huge help. When they first offered I thought no, no I got it covered but I am so happy I agreed to let them help. So when someone offers help with ANYTHING take it, because I know this party would of been a lot more hectic had I not had some of the help of my friends and family. Keep the food simple, don’t take on more then you can handle. If someone offers to make something, let them! You don’t want to be short on food, so have a variety and make sure you have enough to feed everyone at least once. We set it up buffet style which I think always makes the most sense at these things, just remember everyone is probably going to put a bit of everything on their plate so don’t skimp out on portions.

Well I would say those are the four most important things I had done when it came to planning her baptism. I still have a couple  more parties to plan including her first birthday which I am thoroughly looking forward to! A couple more tips to leave you with, gifts for the guests. How nice is it when you go to a party or event you get to leave with something too!? A keepsake or memorabilia? We had pictures done of baby girl in her dress from our local Superstore (wal-mart does them, blacks photography…) at a great price, and I got some great little dual frames from, you guessed it, dollarama, and then I personalized a little thank you note to go with it as well. People loved it! I will be doing my thank you cards for gifts as well but this was more of a thank you for coming gesture. I can’t stress enough about when people offer to help you, take it!! Don’t get all high and mighty and prideful, but say yes. They are offering it for a reason. Oh and one of my biggest tips, bring flat shoes to change into if your a heel’s and stiletto lady. Trust me, golden advice right there, bring the matching flip flops.

 

 

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Who’s Your Baby and What Does He Do?

When you find out your expecting a child your mind automatically starts running through a million questions. I think the most common amongst us all would be, what will she/he be like? Will she have my attitude and her father’s laziness?  Is she going to be creative or a little more reserved? Will she want to play sports or look pretty in a tutu? I think we predetermine a lot of the answers before we even meet them.

After meeting a lot, and I mean a lot of babies this past year and watching them grow along with Aud, I have come up with a few different explanations of personalities and I’m pretty sure I’ve nailed what our little baby girl will be like as she gets older.

 The Shy Guy Baby- I met a couple little shy ones over the last year. The ones who stay close to mummy, don’t welcome unfamiliar scenes and people, tend to be on the quieter side. Now most babies when brought into a new environment or scene do show these tendencies but after a few minutes adapt and start to seem more comfortable. Just like we do walking into a room where we don’t know anyone. At first we stick to who or what we know, after a little while (or a drink or two) we start to ease into our surroundings. It is possible it’s just a phase they are going through, and maybe just take a little longer to warm up. You can help them learn to adjust easier by joining play groups, meeting new people, and socializing them when you can.

Textbook Baby, Maybe?- You know, the baby that meets all the milestones exactly when they are suppose to. Sleeping through at 3 months, rolling over at 5 months, sitting up at 6 months, crawling by 8 months, ect, ect. Weight, height, head circumference are all in the 50%. Their schedule and patterns are pretty predictable and meet all the growth spurts when the book says. They smile when you smile, frown when you frown. They are easily adaptable, no surprises here. These are the ones that you hear about an think to yourself with envy, if only my child slept through the night at 3 months.

The Challenger Babe- These are the wee babes who cry at the drop of a hat. No matter what you do seem unhappy or dissatisfied, wont sleep, rejects anything new, and is just very sensitive overall. I read that these babies are known as having a low sensory threshold. Meaning anything from a just wet diaper to a bright light will set baby off. Don’t fret! Most likely this will start to tapper off as baby grows, (phew!) but listen, if you know your baby starts up at the sound of the phone ringing then turn the ringer down. Maybe get them a toy phone so they can play with it and get use to the sounds.

 Easy Peasy Baby- la-la-la is what you think when you meet this baby. You just want to dress this baby up in a leather jacket with a popped collar and some cool shades. Nothing phases them, and I mean nothing. You can walk into a play-date, put this babe on the floor, walk away and they wouldn’t even notice. Not much crying except when it’s warranted, they mostly are good sleepers and have the common set back when teething or sick but manage to get right back into routine. You can leave the house with just some diapers and wipes and leave the toys at home. This baby is so easily adaptable you wonder what they could be feeding her. I met a couple of these babies and I have to say after meeting mum or dad it comes to light as to how this baby can be so easy! Being that kind of parent really does transfer to babe. I know it’s not always easy but just relax a bit and you’ll see your baby will too.

So I’m sure you are wondering where does Aud fall in all this. Well she’s the baby who is a bit of everything. She can be shy going into a room full of people, but opens up after a few peek-a-boo’s and tickles are exchanged. She was pretty textbook when it came to rolling over and crawling but she was never a great sleeper and does NOT like the noise the vacuum makes. Not much seems to bug her, but she does know how to get what she wants, oh, does she ever…

Baby girl is also showing signs of ‘diva-ism’, which when I say it Jon gives me the, “that’s all you” look. She demands the attention when in a room, and has realized that she has mum and dad wrapped around her teeny weeny finger. When she drinks her bottle she insists I hold it even though I know she can (I know, my fault). I think if she could walk and talk she would be demanding that golden egg (remember Violet in Willy Wonka?) She does not like the word no. Ok mom stop rolling your eyes.

So does you baby fall under any of these? I know all babies are perfect, and obviously demand our undivided attention at all times, and it’s ok to give them what they want, and yes I know babies cry, but I am just simply categorizing the things I have taken in. It’s funny how before being a mum I would of never noticed babies have such specific personality traits at such a young age, how I just assumed all babies are the same when in fact all babies are completely and utterly different in every way.

You may not see it or notice it right away but the tendencies your baby is showing now, I’m guessing will be carried through. Embrace them, love them, praise them and remember all babies are different in EVERYTHING they do. 

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