Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The countdown is on!

Last week I announced our family’s intent to participate in 25 Days of Christmas. Today I am proud to announce that we have completed our list of activities!

I’ve tried to put our activities in order as best as I can foresee for now, keeping in mind we may need to swap them around a little. There will be times that little E and myself will be the only ones doing the activity or when Hubby and little E will be doing them on their own or Hubby and I will be on our own once little E is in bed - but this house is participating no matter what!

Our family's 25 Days of Christmas:

  1. Write and mail little E's letter to Santa and walk down the street to put it in the mailbox.
  2. Attend the Illumination Ceremony on Parliament Hill on Dec 2nd
  3. Have a Christmas music dance party in our living room
  4. Go to a Santa Claus parade. (There are still a couple left in the outskirts of Ottawa on the 4th)
  5. Decorate our tree and house interior
  6. Decorate a gingerbread house
  7. Make paper snowflakes and decorate our windows
  8. Make Christmas cookies and enjoy them fresh out of the oven with a cup of hot chocolate
  9. Make homemade Christmas ornaments for our tree and for gifts
  10. Watch a Christmas movie
  11. Paint some gifts for family and friends at Gotta Paint
  12. Mail out our Christmas cards - this can be fun, right?
  13. Purchase and donate a toy for Toy Mountain
  14. Watch classic Christmas TV shows together (Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown)
  15. Bake Christmas treats for family and friends
  16. Go for a horse drawn carriage ride in the Byward market and listen to the holiday choirs
  17. Walk around the neighbourhood and look at all the beautiful outdoor lights
  18. Get little E's picture taken with Santa
  19. Visit my family on the farm before Christmas
  20. Take little E on a sleigh ride to the park and make a snowman
  21. Go crazy-carpeting down the hill at our local park
  22. Go public skating
  23. Curl up with blankets and read Christmas stories before bed
  24. It's Christmas Eve! Visit my Hubby's Nanny and have appetizers and treats while listening to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley Christmas music
  25. It's Christmas Day! Enjoy the morning with our little family and the afternoon with Hubby’s side of the family

I'm really looking forward to starting this new tradition with our family! Can ya tell?!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dinner Diaries - Week of Nov 29

Home sweet home!

This weekend turned out great. Little E and Hubby had a great weekend and Grandma was able to come over and help out and spend some quality time with her boys too.

My working weekend in Guelph went smoothly and I I forgot what is was like to watch mindless sitcoms while lying in bed, take long uninterrupted showers or to order food at a restaurant without considering others needs. And all that free time to make Christmas lists and catch-up on Google Reader on the train was so therapeutic. It was nice enjoying these guilty simple pleasures but I am very happy to be home.

So considering I ate like a pig this weekend, let's get back on track with a healthy dinner meal plan this week:

Monday - Something on the bbq (steak or burger patties), baked potatoes, garden salad
Tuesday – Quinoa and black bean salad and salmon loaf
Wednesday - Homemade chicken fingers and roasted fall vegetables, whole wheat buns 
Thursday - Chicken Fajitas, homemade guacamole, chicken fried rice with vegetables
Friday – Steak and potato skillet with beans, whole wheat buns

Bon appetit!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Boys weekend

I'm leaving really early this morning for three days for a business trip.

This will be my first time really away and in a different city from little E. Hubby will be on his own for the weekend (with a little help from Grandma when he has work commitments).

I find myself wondering how little E will act without me around. Will he repeatedly go to the front door and pick up my running shoes and walk around the house saying "mommy?" like he does when Grandma babysits? Will he walk around the house pointing out pictures of me like he does of Daddy when he is away? Will he call for me if he wakes in the night or will he know to call for Daddy? Will he ask for me when Daddy both drops him off and picks him up from day care on Friday? I am going to miss him like crazy. It's such an overwhelming feeling to be a mother.

I could have easily turned down this business trip but I figured a weekend a few hours away is do-able. After all, it is important in my position to attend these events. It's the longer overseas trips that I am not too sure about anymore. I've been on a few in the past but just recently have declined a couple that are coming up in 2011. I know my single child-less colleagues are shaking their heads at me...but there is all the more opportunity for them to go now, right?

Even pre-baby I wasn't extremely passionate about these types of trips. They are stressful and a lot of work and are not necessarily part of my job description. They are considered an "opportunity" and I have the right to turn them down and offer the next person in line to go. Now that I have little E, the stress would only be heightened and I can't afford to come back worn out and sick like I have in the past.

This past summer I had a five day work event I had to attend a few hours away. Since I was still nursing, it was important for me to bring little E along. Hubby had planned to come but with bad timing of his work commitments it didn't work out. I ended up bringing my niece to babysit while I was busy which was only a couple hours at a time with breaks in between. It worked out great, but was double the work for me. Even though I am sad to leave little E this time part of me is happy to go on my own.

The fridge is full of meals and snacks that I prepared late last night. The counter holds freshly baked mini-muffins that I baked last night. On the kitchen counter sits a list of "reminders" like foods little E can't eat. In return, I only had one request before leaving - for Hubby to send me regular updates and send me pictures on Blackberry Messenger of all the fun they are having.

I'm sure my boys will be just fine without me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

25 Days of Christmas

Andrea over at a peek inside the fishbowl created and shared an awesome tradition called 25 Days of Christmas and I’m so excited to start this tradition with my family.

Instead of buying a chocolate Christmas advent calendar this year (which would be silly because little E wouldn’t be able to eat the chocolate anyway and thank god because who knows what is in that stuff) I will be making our own version. I picked up some Christmas scrapbook paper at Michaels and will also use some old Christmas cards that I've kept over the years for crafts just like this. Instead of making envelopes to open each day, I’ve decided to use clothes pins to attach the cards (numbered 1-25) across the line to flip over and view our activity for the day. I think we'll hang our banner on our dining room wall.

Some of our activities include making a gingerbread house, making Christmas ornaments, drinking hot chocolate and baking cookies, watching a Christmas movie, writing little E’s letter to Santa, and driving around to see Christmas lights throughout the city. I’m going to use Andrea’s advice and keep a master list of the tasks and plan them out every few days. This is the smartest plan of action for our busy family.

This is just the tradition we needed. Not only will we be creating some fun memories, it will keep us organized during this hectic month – which overall I have been trying to improve. And I just might trick Hubby into loving Christmas again. I’ve told him the plan and he’s all in, but I think I heard him say “bah humbug” under his breath. He’s not a huge Christmas fan but I will show him how fun it is now with our little family and our OWN traditions.

I can’t wait to get started on Dec 1st! Will you be participating in the 25 Days of Christmas?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Yacht

I grew up on an island and this is where we go to visit my family. You have to take a yacht ferry from the mainland to the "rock".

Growing up I saw the boat as a burden and it was so boring for me, but I have come to look at it differently now as little E gets to experience something so adventurous and so out of the ordinary on the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Last time we were home, we drove down at bedtime on a Friday night. He awoke from his sleep as soon as the car stopped and looked around. "Boat? Water?", he said. I couldn't believe he knew exactly where he was when we got to the dock.

This past weekend we were home visiting family and celebrating my Mom's birthday. On the boat ride we always get out of the car and walk around the ferry and it was no different this weekend. We looked out the back of the boat and waved goodbye to the buildings and cars as we pulled away from the city dock. We walked up to the top level and felt the strong cool breeze and viewed the wind turbines from afar. We sat inside the cabin with our noses pressed against the windows watching the seagulls skim across the water. And we stood at the front of the boat and felt the midst of the waves as they crashed against the boat.

I didn't realize it when I was younger, but it really is an amazing experience living and growing up on an island. Little E just loves the boat and talks about it for days when we return home. Experiencing this in a new light with little E has made waiting for scheduled boats and sitting in long line-ups a little more tolerable these days.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't say anything at all

We were at Hubby's hockey game on Saturday and waiting for him to come out of the dressing room. Little E had already visited Daddy in the room and came out proudly holding a hockey stick. It was so cute watching him struggle with the over-sized stick and he was keeping himself busy trying to shoot a puck around the lobby. My friend and I looked at eachother and thought - what a great photo opportunity! As we both had our heads down searching for the camera application on our Blackberries, little E calls my name.

In comes random man.

"Mommy is busy playing on her phone", he says. Too which I quickly and calmly replied, "Actually, I'm trying to take a picture of him". There are many ways I could have replied, but that's not my nature. Maybe I should have reminded him of something I'm sure his Mother had told him many times when he was younger. "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!"

For what it's worth, here is the only picture I was able to take in my fit of rage. I thought it was a cute moment, but apparently in trying to capture this moment I was a unfit Mother.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dinner Diaries - Week of Nov 22

Short and sweet today! I'm back home visiting family and friends and will have much more to say when I get back.

Monday - Chicken salad wraps
Tuesday - Pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts
Wednesday - Curried lentil and spinach soup
Thursday - Omlettes and potato cakes
Friday and the weekend - TBD (I'll be away so will need to plan out/make some meals in advance for Hubby and little E).

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's Official

I'm in love with this handsome little angel. He is 19 months old today - where has the time gone?

But not only that...tomorrow marks a full month since I started this blog and I am officially HOOKED!

I am getting more and more comfortable writing my posts and finding my true voice. I am a passionate person and for me, blogging has been a much needed outlet.

How fun is it that I get to choose what I want to write? That no one is telling me what to say? And, if I want to jump from one topic to another each day – so be it?!

I wish I had started this blog 19 months ago (when little E was born) or better yet at the beginning of my pregnancy. That is when I needed an outlet the most. So please forgive me if I go back in time every once and a while. I have some catching up to do!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


There are four of us and we are all so different.

Laid back

I’m the forgetful one. I forget how fortunate I am to have supportive, loving sisters. Born friends.

I receive phone calls from my oldest sister that just wants to chat. It takes me days or weeks to call her back because I get too wrapped up in my busy life. Come to think of it, I haven't heard from her in a while. She probably gave up on me.

I received a handmade friendship bracelet on my birthday from a younger sister. She also brings me small gifts from her travels. A necklace I wear every day is from her. I should tell her that.

I receive supportive messages and care packages in the mail from my youngest sister that is living across the country. I recently received a beautiful pashmina and a small tag on it reads:
“We are here to love each other, serve each other and uplift each other.”

I think this message was meant as a wake-up call!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lending Support

“Those who receive support feel valued, those who lend their support experience increased self-esteem and self-confidence” - The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
The CMHA also states that, “One of the greatest benefits of social support is that it helps people deal with stress. Having someone to talk things out with reduces stress and protects you from the physical damage stress causes.”
Now that I have experienced pregnancy, childbirth and raising a child (so far), I love lending my support and sharing my experiences with others. I have a few close friends who are pregnant or have children younger than mine that will send me emails asking different questions on various topics and I truly look forward to replying to them. Facebook is also a great place to connect and bounce ideas off each other. And now with blogging I have found a whole new level of lending and receiving support.

When I was pregnant and preparing for baby, I emailed friends asking for their advice on baby products and gear. I really appreciated their thoughtful advice and hearing their experiences. There is so much information out there and it’s hard for a new mother to know which product to go with or which expert to listen to. And in experts I don’t mean “expert moms". I’ve met a few moms that have that “know-it-all” and “do it this way" attitude, but all you can do is shrug it off, laugh and not take it to heart.

I’ve learned that the best approach is to “do what’s best for you and your family”. Go with your gut. When I offer my support, I like to start off by saying “this is what worked for me” because we all know that every baby is different and not one method or product will work for everyone. In mentioning what worked for me, hopefully it will help them find their way too.

I have a new found confidence since having my child and part of that is from lending support to others. I have found my feet in supporting and assisting others with similar experiences or in similar situations. It makes me feel great to know that something I mentioned in our friendly chats helped a friend get through a sleepless night with a newborn or ease a screaming baby from tummy cramps.

Lending support makes me feel valued and confident and has opened my eyes to all kinds of exciting opportunities.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crossing my fingers

We knew that dairy passed through breast milk didn't agree with little E, so we were very cautious when introducing him to solids. When it came time to start dairy products we were encouraged to try yogurt first and went with an all natural organic yogurt. He didn’t have as bad of a reaction, but it still didn’t agree with him. So, we pretty much skipped right over the dairy section of Canada’s Food Guide and started trying dairy alternatives.

We have experimented with all kinds of milk alternatives for little E. The Pediatrician originally told me that perhaps little E was sensitive to dairy but might be able to handle goat’s milk. Nope, that didn’t go over so well. Next we tried soy – even though I really didn’t want to after my research on soy – but (luckily) that didn’t work either. Next we tried rice milk – kinda yucky – but it worked. We also tried almond milk and little E liked the taste much more but we had to give it up because there is a soy ingredient. All the while, I continued breastfeeding to ensure he was getting the best milk.

At 12 months I asked for an allergy test. I wanted answers, but I still didn’t get any. The allergy test showed that he wasn’t allergic to milk. The allergist explained that children with a milk “protein allergy” will typically outgrow it by the time there are three years old. I’m crossing my fingers that this is true for little E. In my research I read that 3% of infants have this, but since finding out I’ve met atleast 5 other babies just in playgroups or Mommy-Baby classes we have attended. It seems more and more common.

Now we stick with Organic Vanilla Enriched Rice Dream rice milk. Little E isn’t a big fan of the plain rice milk and I don’t blame him - vanilla tastes much better. It is enriched with vitamins A, B12, D and Calcium but still lacks the amount of calcium, protein and healthy fats that dairy provides.

To make sure he is getting his recommended intake of calcium. I need to incorporate a lot of non-dairy options into his diet. These include salmon, broccoli, bok choy, beans, and peas -peas in everything because he loves peas. We also need to make sure he is getting enough protein and healthy fats. For protein we eat a lot of beef, chicken, fish, eggs and beans. I also incorporate lentils and quinoa in a lot of my recipes. For healthy fats we use olive, canola and sunflower oils for cooking and baking. We can’t use margarines, butter or vegetable oils (which really is a blessing in disguise) because they contain dairy and soy. We eat avocados for snacks or in homemade guacamole and all natural peanut butter.

Making sure he is getting enough of these essential vitamins and nutrients through non-dairy foods is a lot more work than scooping up a bowl of yogurt or cutting a piece of cheese, but I’m really getting a hang of it now. I’ve learned so much, tried so many new healthy recipes and it has really helped Hubby and I eat much more healthier too. Almost every packaged food out there contains dairy or soy, so we practically skip most aisles in the grocery store now. It has helped me learn to prepare meals in advance and find creative recipes for making meals from scratch.

We’ve been told by the allergist and doctors to try dairy products every couple of months to check his progress. We tried them again at 15 months and just recently at 18 months. Both times trying all natural organic yogurt. He seems fine at first but after a couple days the night waking starts again. At 16 months I weaned him, but I am confident that we are providing him the foods he needs to thrive.

We’ve had quite a few setbacks. We originally had no idea about the soy sensitivity when he started developing a rash around his mouth. I finally tracked it down to the almond milk that we were giving him at the time. Since then we have learned that vegetable oils contain soy bean oil and many of the other dairy alternatives that we were giving him had soy in them.

Just last week I ran out of fresh garlic to season a sweet potato dish. Instead, I used a garlic salt that I had in the spice cabinet that I've rarely used. That night little E was up with tummy cramps and it wasn't until I re-traced my tracks that I discovered that the garlic salt had a soy by-product in it. Who would have thought garlic salt had more in it that garlic and salt! I discovered this at 2:30am by the way...because once he's up I need to find answers before I can fall back asleep.

It’s been a long journey but I feel like we have it under control this week now and hopefully with time it will resolve itself. It’s just a waiting game now.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dinner Diary - Week of Nov 15

I'm late getting to this post today. It was a fun eventful weekend, but without much planning so I am a little behind.

Tonight we had some yummy salmon cakes for dinner . Little E usually loves them but pushed them aside. He's been doing that a lot lately. I keep telling myself that it's just a phase. This weekend he pushed away one of his favourite dishes - homemade crockpot chili. But after making him stay at the table while I ate and ignoring his stubbornness he finally joined in and had two full bowls. Someone is looking for independence and control!

We did some substitutions on last weeks meal plan, like skipping the roast and having leftovers on Tuesday night but so far we have been sticking to our plans and these meal plans have been working out great.

Here is our schedule for these week.

Monday - Salmon cakes and pasta salad
Tuesday - Orange glazed ham, carrots and potatoes
Wednesday - Ginger chicken stirfry with brown rice
Thursday - Steak on the bbq, roasted sweet potatoes, corn
Friday - Homemade crockpot chili (frozen from the weekend)

I'm hooked on mini muffins right now and made some banana oatmeal ones this weekend. They are a great hand-sized treat for little E. I'm currently looking up some chocolate cookies or muffins recipes that I can alter for little E.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dinner Club

Five of my closest friends in Ottawa and I started a Dinner Club last year. Every month someone hosts at their house and is responsible for the main dish. The others sign up for sides, appetizers, desserts, etc to complete the meal. Oh, and don't forget the wine :)

When we started last year it was hard to find dates that worked for everyone and sometimes months passed by without a Dinner Club date. This time around we've created a schedule so everyone knows in advance which months they are hosting and we keep in regular contact over email to keep each other on the ball. I have January and July.

I can't express more how much I love Dinner Club. It is such a relief to get out of the house and laugh and chat with friends. We are a fun group of girls - some dating, some married, some married with children. It's like our own Sex in the City group. It's a great balance and the conversations are never dull!

Tonight is our November date. Usually Dinner Club is my once a month Mommy night out and Hubby and little E have boys night. But since Hubby has to work and I have a couple of events this month I'll be taking little E with me. It works out, because my friend that is hosting will have her baby there too.
Oh, and I have today off work. I decided I needed to book a ME day. I need to get some stuff done around the house and get working on some DIY projects that are piling up and that I feel like I never have time for. And I'll have to make the roasted sweet potato dish I'm bringing tonight. Oh, and maybe I'll have time to do a little shopping too. I better get started!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A good mother

What makes a good mother?

I’ve been reading the Her Bad Mother blog for a few weeks now. My first reaction when skimming through the posts was, “I’m not a bad mother!”, but the more I read and understood Catherine's reasoning's I am proud to say, “ I AM a bad mother!”. (Read her full Manifesto for more info).

I am guilty for trying to be a perfect mother. For getting stressed out and crying over things that didn’t go as planned. For stressing my Hubby out for not doing things perfect. For thinking that everything that I read about caring for baby the proper way would be easy. For believing that I could be perfect.

Things have changed and I’ve learned the hard way that it really is impossible to be perfect. Instead, I have fostered the “do what’s best for you” approach and I am happy to share these foundations with other mothers.

When I wanted more sleep, I brought a nursing baby into bed with us. Now when my toddler wakes in the night we often let him sleep in bed with us. I’ve let my baby cry it out. I’ve rocked him to sleep. The list goes on and on. Professionals would label me a bad mother, but according to me, in doing these things I am a good mother because I do what’s best for my son and what works for us as a family.

Catherine from Her Bad Mother wrote an (amazing) post this week in response to an article in The Wall Street Journal by Erica Jong titled, "Mother Madness". The gist of Ms. Jong's article is that modern motherhood is like prison.

I don't feel like I am in prison. I have made all of these choices because I want to and want to do the best for my child. There is so much judgment out there about mothering and parenting. I feel judged when I talk to mothers that have a much more relaxed or go-with-the-flow parenting style than me. I’ve felt like I needed to defend myself on more than one occasion when they made it seem like I was going too above and beyond my duties, trying too hard or perhaps trying to out-do them. I could see them rolling their eyes and labeling me as one of those mothers. Yes, I try to be a great mom and yes, I was blessed to have been able to carry through with some of the so-called perfect mother qualities. I gave birth naturally. I breastfed. I made all of my son’s baby food. And I happen to be very proud of these things. So shoot me or better yet, lock me up!

I am much more reserved when speaking with other Mom’s unless I already know that they have the same values as me. It shouldn’t be like that. I should be able to talk about these things in confidence. But instead I feel ashamed for what comes off as bragging or trying to be perfect.

There really should be more out there about “doing what’s best for you and your child”. We need to remind mothers that being perfect is impossible. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being “the best that I can be”. That’s what I strive for. I want to be the best mother that I can be for little E. I want to give him the best life.

I am a bad mother, and therefore I am a good mother. Thank you, Catherine, for pointing this out and reminding me to remain confident in my decisions.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Being late sucks

I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!

I hate being late. I hate the feeling of letting someone down or showing up to a meeting or event and having everyone's eyes on you and judging you. Because of this, I'm not late very often these days.

Growing up I was always late, especially for school. I would sleep in and miss the bus all the time. My poor parents would scold me and tell me to either walk or bike to meet up with the school bus. I grew up in the country and on an island. It wasn't easy to meet up with the bus. It involved a fast 15 minute bike ride or a 30 minute run with your overweight book bag on your back down a dirt road. Tough cookies for a lazy teenager. However, I was usually able to sweet talk them into driving me the 5 minutes down the road. If I was really late - I missed the ferry to the mainland entirely. And that meant finding my way to school off the next scheduled boat an hour later usually involving a 30 minute walk to school - up hill. Needless to say - I've learned that being late sucks. BIG TIME.

Pre-baby I still didn't really care about being late to work. Hubby and I only had one car so I was stuck taking the city bus. I hated taking the city bus. I showed up to work sometime in the morning, put my hours in and went home whenever. My boss was really lax and trusted that I was getting my work done. I also worked late a lot of the time to get stuff done or get a head start on projects.

During little E's first months I found being on time extremely hard. Just when you thought you were ready to head out the door, life would throw you a curve ball. All of sudden, baby would wake up or start crying or be hungry or spit up or have a poop-splosion all over the outfit you just changed them in. It was nearly impossible to be on time for anything and absolutely overwhelming at times. When he was really young I would give him a top-up nursing session just to be on the safe side. At least then I knew I had a couple hours. But that trick only worked for so long. I think I finally mastered getting out of the house on time right before my maternity leave ended.

My parents would probably die of laughter if they saw how strict my schedule is now. Since being back to work, I have huge responsibilities and NEED to be on time. I have to drop little E off in time for breakfast at day care (she gives them a healthy hot breakfast every morning - a huge time saver for me!). I work on the opposite side of the city of my workplace so I have to give myself enough time to drive 35-45 minutes to work. Then, at the end of the day I am rushing out as soon as the clock ticks 4:00pm. Day care closes at 5:00 pm and I feel like an awful parent even if I show up with 5 minutes to spare.

Before getting our second vehicle Hubby and I were car pooling to work and with Queensway traffic we were getting to daycare just in the nick of time or sometimes a few minutes late. I wanted to cry - it was so stressful. I felt horrible and like I was letting everyone down. Thank goodness we were able to get a second vehicle - I was turning into a complete stress ball. I looked a lot like that silly rabbit from Alice in Wonderland most days and was starting to develop a serious case of road rage.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It’s no use crying over spilled milk

I grew up on a dairy farm and on milk.  Milk for breakfast, milk for lunch, milk for dinner and milk for snacks. Really thick, yummy milk straight from the cow. Actually, I shouldn’t say straight from the cow because we boiled the milk first – but you get my point.

Throughout my pregnancy my love for milk heightened. I craved chocolate milk and ice cream and these were my go-to treats. Then it all came to a screaming halt.

In the first few weeks of little E’s life, his Pediatrician wasn’t happy with his slow weight gain. We attributed it to his sleepy nursing behavior. I visited breastfeeding clinics and well-baby clinics weekly at my local Ontario Early Years centre. The lactation consultants were very helpful, but something still wasn’t right. I started doing my own research and finally decided that it must be something I was eating that was being passed on to him. He spit up an awful lot more than what I thought was normal. I decided to cut dairy out of my diet – one of the most common foods that don’t agree with infants tummies. Immediately, little E’s behavior changed. He wasn’t cranky after he nursed, he didn’t spit up nearly as much and he slept uninterrupted.

It really bothered me that no one mentioned this or even thought about this and if I hadn’t done all the research myself I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion. Sure, I had read about foods being passed through mommy’s milk and affecting the infant – but I still feel like there isn’t enough information out there coming from the professionals you trust the most.

Our pediatrician, even sent me home with a can of formula to supplement him. Even though I was against feeding my child formula, she was so adamant that he wasn’t gaining enough weight according to the charts – and even threatened to refer us to CHEO if his weight gain didn't pick up! It made me feel like an awful mother, but I knew I was doing everything right when it came to nursing. I had read nearly all the books the Ottawa Public Library carried on the topic and was confident that he was getting enough milk. I was instructed to nurse little E until he wouldn’t take anymore and then supplement him with the formula. I did this once and vowed to never do it again after he spit it all up. It made me cry. He was obviously full and that “fake” milk didn’t agree with him.

And so our journey began (a long journey that we are still struggling with today) and I gave up milk. It was hard in the beginning, but it was so worth it. Especially, the decline in night wakings from tummy cramps.

In the end, I realized his so called “failure to thrive” was because of his milk sensitivity. There are so many things I wish I could have noticed or done earlier to avoid all the discomfort little E had and all the frustration Hubby and I went through trying to figure this all out. But as the saying goes, it’s no use crying over spilled milk…

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dinner Diary - Week of Nov 8

My poor little guy wasn’t feeling like himself this weekend.  I think his molars are pushing through.  We haven’t been getting much sleep in our house the last few days. 

I made a little treat to cheer him up on Friday - Whole Wheat Banana Blueberry Mini-Muffins. He loved them. It’s hard finding recipes that accommodate his milk and soy protein allergy so I used an easy blueberry muffin recipe and swapped a bunch of the ingredients.  Canola/Sunflower oil instead of butter, whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour, vanilla rice milk instead of milk and I added in banana because I only had ¾ cup blueberries left.  They turned out really tasty. 

Saturday morning we still went ahead with our plans to go to the Animal Barns at the Canada Agriculture Museum even though he was a little cranky.  The barns are open for free during the winter – so we are definitely going to take advantage of that this winter.  I love that even though we live in the city, there are farms close by to visit and it smells feels a little like home for awhile.  Little E just loves farm animals and it was so cute watching him walk around making all the animal noises.  He was so excited as soon as we pulled in the parking lot and saw the “barn!”.  I should mention that he thinks all large buildings we drive by are barns – so he was extra excited that I agreed with him this time.  Usually I’m saying, “No, that’s a store” or “No, that’s a church”.  As soon as we got out of the car a seagull landed on the ground ahead of us.  He was so excited to see his first animal of the day he pointed and yelled “goose!” Ha ha – Hubby and I had a good laugh.  We did a couple laps of the barns and especially loved the big Hampshire pigs and work horses.

Weekends go by way too fast…

And so we have started another busy week and here is our dinner plan:

Monday – grilled rainbow trout, brown rice pilaf, steamed broccoli
Tuesday – roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn
Wednesday – spaghetti and turkey meatballs with pureed veggie sauce
Thursday – chicken fajitas and Spanish rice and beans
Friday – Going to a friend’s house for my monthly Dinner Club (yeah!)

Pre-baby, Hubby and I usually cut the carbs out of our dinners entirely.  Now we just go easy on the carbs because it's important for me to make them for little E. 


Friday, November 5, 2010

Mommy Time

I think it is so important for Mom's to get out of the house.  Whether it’s out for a run or to get your hair done or a night out with your friends - it makes you feel human again.  For the first few months of little E's life I craved this, but at the same time didn't want to leave my baby.  I wish I took advantage of it more often. I was too stubborn, independent and worrisome.  Next time around - I'll remember this. 

November is looking like a great month for Mommy Time!

This weekend I am heading to the Wine & Food Show with my girlfriends. I've wanted to go the last couple of years but never got around to it. I'm so excited for a night out with the ladies.  Hubby will also be out that night with his friends so we have enlisted Grandma (my mother-in-law) to babysit.  It will also be little E's first sleepover at Grandma's without us.  I'm a little nervous, but I know he is in capable hands. We are very fortunate to have a reliable babysitter when needed (or wanted).  I have a feeling that no matter how groggy I feel after an evening of stuffing my face I'll be over at Grandma's first thing in the morning!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lucky #7

...at least, that's what I like to call myself.

I am the 7th child in my family of 11, yes 11 children. This is unheard of these days isn't it? (Besides of what we see on The Learning Channel lately).

I am lucky, why?  Well, because I was born on my parents wedding anniversary for one and secondly, after having a boy and a girl and four boys follow, my mom desperately wanted a girl for my older sister. So I'm Lucky #7 and I'm sticking to it!

My parents are devout Catholics and dairy farmers.  I grew up in a large old farm house. I am fortunate for many reasons to have grown up in a large family and the values that my parents passed on to me. When we weren’t doing our chores, we spent most of our free time outside...just like most grandparents today refer to as the 'good 'ol days'. In the winter we built snow forts, went tobogganing and skated on the pond. In the summer we went fishing in the ponds and culverts and loaded up in the station wagon and headed to the sandy beaches (Are we there yet?). We didn't have the video games all of our friends had and we weren't enrolled in organized sports or activities in the city. We enjoyed each other's company on the farm.

I didn't really realize the uniqueness of my large family growing up and going to elementary school in the small village. Everyone knew me and knew my family. In high school, however, I met new friends in the city and was constantly bombarded with questions. "Do you know all their names? How do you keep track of their birthdays? Can you say all their names in order from oldest to youngest, really fast? (I’m proud to say that I can still do this under 5 seconds). It was so foreign and exciting to my friends and to be honest I had quite a lot of fun with it.

The funniest question I get these days is, "Are you going to have 11 kids?" Um, NO. I can't even imagine it. I am baffled thinking about how crazy busy I am with one child, let alone how I would be with ten more. I won't be passing the Lucky #7 title on.  However, some day it would be a blessing to have siblings (or ‘a sibling’ according to Hubby) for little E.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Opposites Attract?

I was attracted to Hubby because of everything he was, that I wasn’t or that I wanted to be. We met in high school through mutual friends. I was reluctant to give us a try – we were so different.

He was confident and didn’t care about what people thought of him. I was insecure and hated when the attention was on me. He was an only child living in the city. I was 1 of 11 children (yes, I’ll get to that at a later date) living on a farm. He surrounded himself with a lot of friends. I held only a few friends close. He had no problem expressing his emotions. I hid my feelings. I think he would probably say that he was attracted to many of my opposite traits as well (at least I hope so!).

We started dating in our last years of high school and married after college. We were young. I think marrying young worked for us. We’ve grown together. We’ve toughed it out through some hard times. We’ve had our ups and downs. And all of this has made us stronger.

We are five years married and going strong – but our opposites aren’t so cute anymore. I’m sure he would have a lot to say about my not-so-cute-anymore traits (i.e stubbornness). For me, dealing with Hubby’s “only child syndrome” has been the toughest to date. Although, the majority of the time he does have his family in mind – working a second job to bring home extra bacon. This makes for a busy household that is constantly rushing around (see yesterday’s post). I, on the other hand, am very independent and learned to play on my own and keep myself entertained. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting out of the house on occasion, but I love quiet time at home more. When we were dating it was so fun and exciting living in the fast lane. Married and with a child – not so much. There is no changing him – and I’m not trying to nor do I think it is healthy to try and change someone.

I need to remind myself that one day I used to love this about him and maybe if I embrace his “need for speed” a little more, he will embrace my “stop and smell the roses” attitude a little more.

What do you think? After a while, does the "opposites attract" novelty rub off?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What a rush!

I'm in a hurry to get things done
Oh, I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But, I'm in a hurry and don't know why
~ Alabama ~

This month I am going to try improving and minimizing our family's hectic schedule. We are always rushing around.  Rushing to get up and get ready for work and day care.  Rushing to get work done before the end of the work day. Rushing to get home.  Rushing to get dinner ready.  Rushing to get to different activities. Rushing to get little E to bed on time.

Hubby is sick with a bad cold this week.  I've been telling him to slow down - all that rushing around and built up stress is bound to bring you down sooner or later.  We need to learn to stop and smell the roses. Besides, there are a ton of studies that show that parent's stress rubs off on children.  We don't want that for little E.  We also don't want him to follow in our footsteps.  Yep, this rushing has got to stop!

First step - stop pushing the snooze button.  Oh, this is going to hurt - but it's for my own good!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bad Snow!

There is something about wearing heels that makes me feel confident.  This morning I put on some of my favourite heels.  I love these heels – my coworkers call them my “blue shiny shoes”.

Out the door at 7:15am with little E in my arms along with his diaper bag for day care and my purse and lunch bag.  I guess you could say I was a little weighed down.  I saw the snow on the steps and so did he.  “Know!” he proclaims (hasn’t figured out the ‘s’ yet).  “Yes, honey that’s snow”,  I said.  Next thing I know I am all twisted up on the wooden steps with a screaming toddler on top of me.  Ouch!  I completely slipped on the icy steps and in trying to protect him I twisted my leg back and fell on my elbow.  Serves me right.  I guess I was a little too confident.  I had my arms tightly around him so he was unhurt – just completely terrified.  Poor little thing.  My foot was throbbing, but I couldn’t think about my scraped and bruised foot and had to comfort him as he screamed bloody murder.  (Poor neighbours!)

Once he was settled down enough to get in the car we were off to daycare.  I knew it wouldn’t be a good “drop-off” day.  As I passed him off to his day care provider, he sobbed “Know, know, know”.  It was like he was trying to tell her the story and how evil the snow was for making Mommy fall.

Dinner Diary - Week of Nov 1

Brrr it's getting cold out there!

Week 1 was a success.  This week I'm really excited to try the butternut squash and apple soup. A couple friend's and I just started recipe sharing and this one is a must-try.

This weeks line-up:

Monday - Pork chops, asparagus and roasted sweet potato
Tuesday - Crock pot chicken cacciatore over brown rice
Wednesday - Butternut squash and apple soup with homemade bread
Thursday - Chicken curry casserole with green peas
Friday - Lentil and ground beef sloppy joes on homemade buns