Tuesday, May 31, 2011
We haven't had much luck with the weather lately so Hubby and I have only played one baseball game so far and have only had two official date nights. Taking the time to be a couple is a lot of work! We did however, have an awesome and relaxing weekend away at a small resort where Hubby was playing in golf tournament and we enjoyed a nice dinner and walks around the resort. E was with us too so it was a perfect family weekend of enjoying each others presence.
I was worried I may have spoken too soon about E's tolerance to soy, but I believe we are past that now. He has been eating foods with soy products in them without a problem and it has made life much easier although, I am finding myself more apt to buying more processed, brand name foods and I'm not sure if that is a entirely a good thing. We had a small episode Saturday night of tummy cramps and night wakings from some dairy contamination at our dinner out, but it's been a while since that's happened.
I'm really happy with my life right now for a combination of reasons. It's because of little reminders and from choosing happiness and it's from accepting things and working past them. In the past, most of my unhappiness came from Hubby working too much and my feelings of sadness that he was missing so much. It was hard not to dwell on it. Hubby is still working a lot and isn't home as much as we would both like, but this also means promotions and commissions. And while my little brother tried to remind me this weekend that, "Money isn't everything", it certainly helps keep our spirits up and our life on track when we are on top of our bills and saving. And it reminds us to take advantage of our time to together as a family and of our goal to one day buy our first home. Our life is busy, but it's working out just fine for us.
In an effort to control some constipation issues with E and all of our overall health we have been counting our chews for a month now. I'm proud to announce that it is working and although we still need to remind him, he now knows the drill. In the meantime, I also made a large batch of stewed prunes, froze it in cubes and can easily warm them up when needed. Have you ever tried stewed prunes? Delish! This is one fruit I never tried when E was eating pureed foods. So far I’ve served it mixed with applesauce and also on top of soy yogurt and oatmeal. E loves it and it works like magic. I no longer feel stressed when constipation is on the horizon. And a hidden gem to this challenge - when you chew your food you taste and enjoy it that much more!
I haven’t been writing out my dinner diaries here lately. I’m just not sure if I want to continue it. Perhaps I’ll start sharing more recipes that I have tried lately. Stay tuned this week for some recipes that involve a lot of beans and a lot of chocolate.
We still haven’t received E’s renewed health card (I need to look into this!) and therefore he is a month late for his 2 year check up. I’m excited to see where he is on the scales and have been delaying his appointment until his card comes in. Yikes.
Lastly, my computer is on the fritz and I need to drop it off at the shop tonight. I apologize in advance for not being online much in the next couple of days, but in the meantime, I’ve created a Facebook fan page and I would really like it if you liked me! And if you are on Twitter I would love to chat with you - @aliciafagan (I know the ropes now that I’ve taken Lara’s Workshop which I highly recommend to anyone looking to dive in Twitter).
That’s it for now folks!
Friday, May 27, 2011
There is nothing better than seeing E's eyes light up with pride when he shows us one of his masterpieces. "Look Daddy, I painting!". It melts my heart. When painting we usually strip him down to his diaper and put on an art smock (we use these bibs from IKEA). A painting session always begins with paint brushes and usually ends with finger and hand painting. This week we started a new trend and stumbled upon belly painting!
Last night I opened up some brand spankin' new play dough that E received for his birthday. I took each colour out and placed them in a row and let him dive in. At first he was content in rolling the tubes around, but he soon learned that breaking the pieces up and mixing the four colours was much more fun. As I was watching from the kitchen while cleaning up after dinner, E continuously asked me to play. I encouraged him to play on his own and asked him to make me something. When that didn't work, I asked him what I could make for him. He asked for an apple and so I used the red play dough and started sculpting. Sure enough, seeing me working away triggered his creative energy and I was able to sneak away again.
The first thing he made was a carrot and it was a fine looking carrot. And then he used his palms to make balls and pancakes. When I returned from the kitchen he was happily rolling and squishing away and he asked me to make him a soccer ball. And so I did with hexagons and all. When I handed it to him he said, "I wanna kick it!" and he tried really hard to place it in front of his foot. I tried to explain to him that it wasn't a real soccer ball, but he just didn't get it. Then he made himself a shoe, which amazingly enough looked like a shoe and he said, "I wanna wear it!" and he squished it unto his sock while attempting to put it on. I tried to explain to him that it wasn't a real shoe while trying not to laugh, but again he just didn't understand. "I wanna wear it, Mommy!". How hilarious is it that he knew that the apple, carrot and pancakes were not real and did not attempt to eat them, but objects like soccer balls and shoes must be real and must be played with!? The look on his face was priceless - oh the innocence!
All of this art has me thinking about encouraging creativity in children. I have fond memories of making crafts using items out of the recycling bin and making home made play dough as a child. I also had a whole farm to explore; making forts and playhouses in the trees and cooking up pretend meals in the sandbox. So how do I encourage E's creativity living in the city and not having the "luxury" to let him loose and explore as much as I did as a child? Here are some tips I found on the web, that relate to E's age (2):
- Ask open ended questions
- Encourage expansive thought
- Read silly and fanciful stories (We love Dr. Seuss!)
- Embrace the mess!
- Offer different items (beans, macaroni, toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, etc)
It doesn't look like the rain is going to stop anytime soon!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
This one reminds me to "just be".
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Some people let their children cry it out. They shut the door on them and teach them to fall asleep on their own. They brag because they say it works. Sure it works. Your child just gave up hope and trust in you. As parents you are the only ones they can trust and you are denying them this. They will have trust and many more issues as they grow older if this is a regular occurrence. I believe this. Maybe I shouldn't judge, because this is what works for them, but to me it seems like it only works for the parents, not the children.
So a message to those parents that are confused about what the right choice is - follow your gut. If listening to your child cry makes you cry - pick him up and hold him. Do what you feel is the best and natural. Don't let anyone else make these important choices for you. Your child is depending on you and only you.
And here are some extremely helpful resources that I found comfort in and to help you make your own INFORMED choices:
The Truth Behind Common Breastfeeding Myths from Nurtured Child
Cry it Out (CIO): 10 reasons why it is not for us by PhD in Parenting
The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw
I saw the above quote over the weekend and it really stuck with me. I made a vow to myself when I started this blog that it would be an outlet for me. Something that I can use to document and journal my thoughts and feelings. Something that will help me create more happiness in my life. And in creating this happiness, I have learned so much. Especially about myself.
Some of things I have learned so far are:
That there are women out there that are as passionate (and more so) about natural pregnancy, birth and parenting topics as I am and I no longer feel like an alien.
That other mother's struggle with the elusive "balance" and just hanging out or "being" with their family and partner.
That I love to write (even though my writing could use a lot of work).
That other mother's struggle with the best stategies of manners, milestones and sleeping habits too.
That "momprenuership" is something that appeals to me even more so now that I have read so many positive stories and experiences.
That writing things down keeps me accountable and motivated, even though I have failed on some things (I'm only human!).
That there are some pretty awesome things to do in this city with kids and I want to try them all.
That cooking and baking are so much more fun when you can share and gain recipes with/from others.
That motherhood is all about support and community and Ottawa has some of the best.
That social media is pretty awesome.
And that is not all. I have so much more to learn.
First up, a Twitter Workshop with Lara. Then, the Social Capital conference to learn from some pretty awesome people that I have been admiring. Yeah, I just said pretty awesome three times in this post.
Starting this blog was my first step and now I feel like I'm finally kicking into gear. Dreams of entrepreneurship consume me and I am finally taking some steps forward.
Thank you to my few readers that have followed along in my journey so far. And thank you to all of those bloggers that continue to inspire me everyday. I'm so glad I found you!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Finding time to be together without E is tough. Although it is much easier than when E was an infant, it's hard to schedule last minute baby sitting when Hubby never knows when work will call on him. We are fortunate to have my MIL in town that is willing to take E as often as needed. And although it would be easier to leave E with my Mother, I am grateful and count my blessings. I know parents that don't have any baby sitters to count on and I know and have read other stories of parents with their own struggles in finding couple time.
With Hubby out of the house so often, I try to make the time he is home for quality family time. I have a hard time trying to balance family time with much needed couple time instead. Family time is so important to me, but couple time is crucial aspect of our family.
In an effort to build on this, Hubby and I joined a co-ed softball team this summer. How romantic, right? Once a week, we have established this as our "date night". E will visit and stay over night with his Grandma (he actually sleeps great there - go figure) and we will have the night together to go to our game and do whatever else our little hearts desire. In the past we have really only had Grandma babysit when we needed to be somewhere together, like a party or wedding. This new schedule will allow us to focus on time alone.
This past Friday was our first game and date night and it was awesome. I think it's been 3 months since the last time we sat down and watched a movie together and just BE a couple. There were a few options for activities to do that night and I'm glad that we stayed in. The Lord knows we need the alone time together.
While I understand every Friday won't happen, it is nice to have this date marked on the calendar and to try to keep a priority. Some day when we add to our family, this time together will be tougher, but we will try our best to take advantage of it now that E is at such a great age to have sleepovers at Grandma's.
Time for being a family + time for being a couple = being happy.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
When E was an infant, I read about the benefits of repetition in his life, but had no idea how it would TAKE OVER our life.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
This year on Mother's Day, Mom, I hope you'll remember to find time for yourself. Not for the Historial Society. Not for the Catholic Women's League. Not for the Women's Institute. Not for the post office. Not for the church. Not for the many other charities and organizations you work tirelessly for.
I hope will do something for you. Not for Dad, your children, your grandchildren or anyone else.
Do something that brings you joy and happiness. You've spent years nurturing your children and doing what's best for us. You've been a loving and supportive wife for almost 40 years. You've done nothing but tried to make others happy since the day I *met* you.
So, please find time for yourself and do something for you, because Mom, you deserve it.
Happy Mother's Day!
Saturday, May 7, 2011
I learned to read and write from my first teacher, my Mom. She always took the time to sit down at the kitchen table to help with homework or school projects or fit in a bed time story. I thank her for instilling a love of reading and writing in me.
She taught me to fold laundry the improper way (we fold our shirts down the middle and we’re proud of it!).
She taught me to sew a button on a shirt.
I learned to clean windows and wash floors and do laundry.
I learned to multi-task.
She taught me to cook and bake and I use many of the same recipes for my family.
I learned to be independent and although this is a quality that makes me a little too stubborn sometimes, it is a skill that I am very grateful for.
I learned to stay organized.
I’ve learned to leave things to the last minute, but to always pull through. Something my Mom is notorious for.
I learned to stay positive and to be grateful.
She taught me to create my own happiness.
I learned to be sensitive and respectful of others feelings.
I've learned that staying home with the kid(s) is one of the hardest jobs out there.
I've learned that it is possible for it to seem like you accomplished nothing in day.
She taught me how to be selfless.
She taught me how to be a supportive wife.
I’ve learned that Mother’s give so much and deserve so much more.
What are some invaluable skills, lessons or qualities (good or bad) you’ve learned from your Mom?
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
My sister, R, started a blog when she moved to Scotland in December. R has always been the creative one in the family. She has a love for music and writing and is an aspiring children's book author. My fondest memories of R as a child was reading her poems. She had such a way with rhymes, even winning local poetry contests. She is going places, that girl. Both literally and figuratively.
R's blog, titled "those who wish to sing, always find a song", is based on song lyrics. She takes a life experience and relates it to a song she's heard. She put a call out over a month ago to write a post about her readers. Of course, I was game.
The title of R's post about me was titled, "Charmed Life". My initial thought was, Me? Really?
I remember discussing the basis around this post with her last summer. She had recently graduated from Queen's University and just returned from a summer of cherry picking (yes, cherry picking) in BC. She met some great friends who all shared a similar passion of hers - to travel the world.
We sat around the kitchen table with my Dad and R told us about a heated discussion she had with her new friends. They thought anyone who didn't travel was missing out on life. They thought non-travellers were stupid, to sum it up. R tried to convince them otherwise. Even though she shared their passion, she knew someone who didn't. Me. (This discussion, by the way, really fired up my Dad. God love him.)
I think it would be nice to travel the world some day but, it has never been high on my priority list. When I finished college I was set on starting a career (which ironically gave me many travelling opportunities), getting married and starting a family. As R explains, different things make different people happy.
I often joked with R when she was nearing graduation. "So when are you going to get a real job? When are you going to start your life?" We laughed, because I was clearly joking. I admired her plans to travel and explore and to find herself. R would often say, "I can't believe at my age you were already married!" It's crazy to look at it that way.
R's post brought me back to my Mom's email. I really appreciated R's kind words and most of all her point of view. Her post surprised me. To her my life seems perfect and is something she aspires too. Fancy that!? From the outside, I really do have it made, don't I? So why is it so hard to see through all the tough stuff?
Hubby gets up from the dinner table to leave for a work meeting. He gives E kiss, then a kiss for me. As he stands at the door saying his goodbyes E requests more kisses.
E - Kiss, Daddy?
Hubby walks over and kisses him and turns for the door again.
E - Kiss Mommy, Daddy?
We laugh and Hubby walks over and kisses me.
Repeat X 2
Finally Hubby declares the last kiss and leaves.
It's small little life events, reminder emails and blog posts like this that snap me back to reality. No matter how much school debt we still have left to pay or how much money we don't have saved and no matter how small our house is.
This is THE life.
My charmed life.
My happily ever after.
Next on the agenda - more action on Twitter.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I don’t know Hubby’s excuse, but mine is growing up in a large family. You had to eat fast to get first dibs on seconds or to prevent anyone from stealing the good stuff off your plate. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Hubby and I often tell each other to *stop* and *breathe* when eating. We tend to sit down and scarf down our plates and then sit there complaining about how bloated we are. It hasn’t been until now that I have decided this really is an issue that needs to be addressed.
E has been constipated a few times over the last few weeks. With constipation usually comes horrible sleep habits and a lot of stress. The first time I didn’t think much of it. The second time I attributed it to the re-introduction of soy products. But the third time I decided to get to the bottom of this arising issue.
I came to the conclusion that it is not the lack of fluids E is taking in or his diet. It’s the fact that he is practically swallowing chunks of food whole and his body is having a hard time breaking it down. Did you know that chewing is a crucial part of proper digestion? I guess our Mother's and Grandmother's were right in constantly reminding us to "chew your food". He is a good eater and I am happy about that, but a very fast one. Mrs. X tells me he is usually the first one to finish his meals. Just yesterday she told me he was half way through his 2nd pumpkin waffle at breakfast and with a completely full mouth he said, “More pumpkin waffle, please”, as clear as a bell. While she thinks it’s hilarious, she agrees that it is clearly an issue that he is eating too fast and not swallowing his food before he’s trying to shove more in! And clearly, he has mastered talking through all the food, which is another underlying bad habit all together.
I’ve been watching him very closely while he eats the last few days. And this is exactly how it goes:
Enter a piece of meat (or bread or something that requires chewing) into his mouth.
Only two chews! He is practically eating his food whole!
And so enters our family challenge. This week we are counting our chews, which I hope will 1) prevent any further constipation in E and 2) Improve all of our overall health because eating too fast is NOT healthy. During this challenge, Hubby and I will set a new example and E will learn from our behaviour. A monkey see, monkey chew deal, if you will. E will also (hopefully) find it exciting while practicing his counting.
Here it goes!
Are you a fast eater? Are your children? Do you count your chews? How many times do you chew?
Monday, May 2, 2011
This is what we are eating this week:
Monday - Sweet potato curry and brown rice
Tuesday – BBQ chicken satay with peanut sauce and salad
Wednesday – Salmon with broccoli
Thursday - Black bean quesadillas, fresh salsa and home made guacamole (Cinco de mayo!
Friday – Stuffed peppers with orzo and ground beef
Let's hope the rain stays away for next weekend too!