Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An update of sorts

I think I owe a much needed update to this spot. I've indicated all kinds of new adventures but haven't really followed up on them. Onwards...

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

Encouraging his creativity

With all the rain lately, we have been doing a lot of indoor activities and I've been forced to be creative.  E has been getting a lot of use out of his art easel; playing with the chalk (which may or may not end up in his mouth sometimes, yuck!), painting pictures and sculpting with play dough.

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)
For more tips on painting and creativity, check out a little bit of momsense.

It doesn't look like the rain is going to stop anytime soon!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Printable Reminders

I came across a few pieces of printable art here and they pretty much sum up what I have been ranting on about lately so I thought I would share!

This one reminds me to "just be".



And I think I'm going to print and frame this one for E's bedroom or playroom. Cute!


Happy Printing!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Early Parenting Choices: Sleeping and Nursing

If there's one thing that I've learned through my two years in this parenting gig; it’s that doing what works for you and best for your family is the right answer. There is no other answer out there for you.  However, sometimes it’s nice to hear others experiences and views to help guide you and help you make your choice.

I've found so much inspiration and had so many aha! moments since I started writing this blog.  I found other mothers that were using similar techniques, had similar views and read the same books as me. And all of these things were what the general public or society make us believe aren't right.

I had my struggles finding my place in the first months. I unfortunately believed or had a lot of society’s views in the back of my mind. It was overwhelming.  What technique should I use? Who should I believe?

So called experts were telling me to that my baby should sleep in their own room; An infant needs to learn to fall sleep on their own; Don't spoil your baby by picking it up every time it cries; You should let your baby cry it out; Nursing your baby to sleep is a bad habit; Rocking your baby to sleep is a bad habit. But all of this advice is so unnatural. How did society get so messed up?

Your baby does not need to be moved into their own room by a certain age. I moved E from the bassinet beside our bed to his room when he was 3 1/2 months old. Why? Partly because we didn't want to tiptoe around, but mostly because 3 months seemed to be the standard age. Would I do that again? No. What a pain in the butt it was dealing with getting out of bed and having to go get him rather than easily nursing him beside me. I'm not sure how long I would wait to make the transition next time because it will depend on the child. But I know I won't be giving myself a deadline. And you don't even need to make that transition – co-sleeping families are just fine too.

Nursing your baby to sleep is frowned upon in almost every book you read. Why? Because everyone says your child will become dependent on it. Dependability - is that really such a bad thing? I nursed E to sleep every opportunity I had for our almost entire nursing relationship (16 months).  It was by far, the best trick I had up my shirt sleeve. The closeness and comfort you give to your child through breastfeeding is a magical thing. It’s a power that only you can provide. Besides, what else could you be doing? (besides household chores that is). I’ll admit there were times I would be frustrated in the beginning, but these days were far outnumbered by the advantages. Nursing for comfort is allowed.  Your child will benefit. Take advantage of it!

I often hear people say that your baby needs to "learn" to go to sleep on their own and should be sleeping through the night.  Why? All other mammals nurse and comfort their young to sleep.  And if their young wake in the night, their mother is nearby to comfort them back to sleep.  A time will come when they no longer need your comfort and they will have the confidence to fall asleep on their own.  Don't rob yourself and them of that short and sweet time. I treasured my time nursing E to sleep and I now miss that special time we had together.

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.

I also believe that letting your child have a little cry is okay sometimes when they are upset.  As E grows older and understands that we have a routine and that he is to go to sleep in his crib, I give him time to let out some cries as I leave the room. But he trusts that I will come back if he is distressed. His brief cry usually turns to talking and then to sleep.  He wakes up happy and calls for me and I happily retrieve him and let him cuddle in our bed with us for a few minutes before we start our day.  If he wakes in the night distressed I happily bring him into bed with us.  I have never let him scream for me.  It’s not fair. He is relying on me for comfort.  Why would I deny him that?

These are all things that worked and continue working for me.  They may not be what my parents or grandparents would recommend, but for my family they are the right choice.  I have an extremely happy boy that trusts me.  I am proud of the parenting choices I have made so far. 

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

A new nephew and a great long weekend

There is a baby boom happening in my family. Before E was born, there was only two grandchildren, girls.  It was about time we started making up some ground with some new grandchildren for my parents.  After E was born 2 years ago in April, his three baby boy cousins appeared with 9 months (one in May, then September, then in January).  Four new baby boys within 9 months has been exciting. I am so happy E has cousins that he will grow up with. My three sister-in-laws and myself have been able to share pregnancies and our new motherhood journeys together. It makes going back home that much more fulfilling.

Well, round two just started! My brother and partner welcomed their second little boy this Wednesday. And my other brother and SIL have recently announced they are due with their second (sex unknown) in November! Will the boy streak continue?

I am so happy for the safe and healthy arrival of baby boy #5 this week. From the pictures he looked absolutely adorable.  I decided to make a last minute trip to meet my new nephew this weekend.  He came four days early and I couldn't wait until my original scheduled visit next weekend to see him!  He was just three days old and oh, how I missed and forgot about that sweet baby smell.  Can you tell I have a touch of baby fever?

I was too caught up with my own infant at home and the trials and tribulations of being a first time mom that I didn't put as much effort into welcoming my first three nephews  as much as I would of liked. I kind of regret that.  I didn’t get to see them right away because we only had one car back then.  I missed out on their early days.  With nephew #4 here now, I was excited to welcome him and his Mommy and Daddy with gifts.  I used my own advice and put together some bags of goodies for them, including some baked goods, home made soup, tea and small gifts and treats.  I hope they enjoy it.  Is there anything better than receiving food after you had a baby?

E got some quality time in with his cousins especially playing with the trains and in the sand box, although his cousins got a little dirtier than him. Uh oh, I think we have a city boy!  The highlight - checking out my brothers chicken coop full of organic baby chicks and turkeys. "Hi chickens!" My highlight was getting the scoop from the my SIL on her second natural birthing experience (inspiring!) and of course holding my new nephew.  Side note - my SIL was running around after her toddler and taking pictures.  You would have never guessed she gave birth three days prior!


We had a short but sweet visit visiting my parents which included dancing in the kitchen with Grandma, a very good boy in church (which requires another full post), jumping on the trampoline and touring the barn with Grandpa. The highlight - watching Grandpa cut the grass with the tractor. "You cut the grass Grandpa? You drive the tractor? Tractor have big wheels?" He just loves watching Grandpa at work on the farm.


Before I made the quick trip back home we spent the morning downtown at the Tulip Festival and the rest of the weekend we spent at the park building castles, at Grandma's apartment, swimming in her indoor pool and I even got the chance to have breakfast with some friends. We ended up skipping the Victoria Day Festival because Hubby got called into work, but a day at the park was just as fun.  A lovely weekend, indeed!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What I have learned from blogging so far

I started blogging almost 7 months ago and I have learned so much in this short time from both writing and reading others work.

"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!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Moments: Choice

I'm joining Capital Mom today by blogging about a moment from my life based on a theme she has provided. This week’s Monday Moment theme is Choice.

***


I choose to be happy.
I have the power to make that choice.
Negativity is strong.
I try to brush it to the side.
I try to ignore the negative influences in my life.
Negative people frustrate me.
They try to tear me down with their unhappiness.
Day in and day out.
They are unhappy.
They try to bring me to their level.
They try to make me see things through their eyes.
But I won’t.
My optimism makes me stronger than them.
I steer my direction to the bright side.
I ignore their sad outlook.
My happiness is my choice, everyday.



Sunday, May 15, 2011

Being a couple again

Sitting back and relaxing and JUST BEING a family is awesome even though it can be hard to make time for this with our busy schedules.  Just being a couple is even harder. 

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

These Feet


These feet often crawl into bed with us in the middle of the night. They wrap around my legs and snuggle in close.

My alarm goes off and I feel these feet twitching and I pull the blankets back.  I stare at their cuteness and I wonder if they will develop the same swishing motion habit that Hubby has when trying to fall asleep. I grab my camera and capture a few shots of cute little feet while they are still.

These feet aren't so little any more. The size 7 shoes purchased last week ,assuming they had grown up one size since the last pair, are in fact almost too small. New size 8's  were picked up this week to last the summer. These feet are growing so fast, right before my eyes.

Any minute now, these feet will be up and running around the house.  They will run to and from the playroom, the bathroom, his bedroom and downstairs while we all get ready to leave the house for the day. They will kick their heels up to imitate "skating real fast". They will jump up and down on our bed just like the "nastics tampoline". They will move side to side and pivot and spin, dancing to the radio.  They will try to kick off their new shoes while sitting in the car.  They will run down the sidewalk all "by de self" to Mrs. X's front door. They will spend a full day running, kicking and jumping around with friends.

But for now, these little feet rest, preparing for a new day in the life of a two year old.

I just love these feet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just BEING

My Mom told me a story about when she had her first three children.  Before having her own she was an elementary school teacher and was used to scheduling activities and creating opportunities of play for the kids.  Naturally, as a young mother, she did the same.  She would set up the playroom like her classroom with an activity for my sister on one side, some toys in the corner for my brother and a game on the other side of the room for my oldest brother.  The kids all played happily. Success.  But then one day she saw something different and she viewed their playing in a different light. She saw one child move over to play with another and another start her own imaginary game.  Her children were creating play for themselves and they didn’t need her to create it for them.  They were just BEING children and this was just fine too.  My Mother found comfort and relief in this and while I commend her for being such a hands on mom, I am happy she discovered this for her own sake (and sanity!) and for giving us the ability and creativity to play on our own.  We were never bored on the farm.

I’m struggling to find a balance of just BEING in my family. With a Hubby that works long hours and irregular times on evenings and weekends, times allotted for our individual activities, and trying to fit in fun and exciting family experiences, just BEING gets lost in it all. I want to be able to give E new experiences and I feel like I need to create these, but they always seem to be rushed or in a limited time frame. Some may think they only reasonable option would be to drop our individual activities. But that is a balance we are not willing to give up.  It’s what keeps us balanced as individuals and happier as a family.

The biggest struggle for me is the weekend mornings with E.  I try to schedule in an activity, preferably outdoors, to wear him out so he’ll have an afternoon nap. It’s sounds bad, but it makes for a happier household for the day. E gets a nap and isn’t cranky or overtired in the evening and while he is sleeping, I get a nap in or get some things done around the house.  When Hubby gives me the heads up that he has a Saturday morning open I try to pencil in an activity to make the most of our time together as a family of three.  We go to the park or to a family outing like to the Experimental Farm, but it just always seems rushed. Rushing to get out of the house. Rushing to see and do everything on site. Rushing to get home for lunch or a nap.  I am trying to avoid rushing around; wasting time just trying to get to the next thing on the agenda and letting life pass us by.  I am also trying to avoid E developing the “only child syndrome” that Hubby has (although I don’t plan on him actually being an only child for long).

I often think about my Mother and what it would be like living in her shoes when we were young. She didn’t constantly have places to be or activities to get to, but yet she didn’t have much choice.  My Dad was working in the barn or the fields and she was home, holding the fort.  While I envy the calmness and freedom of playing on the farm and just enjoying each other rather than scheduling things all the time, I do not envy her lack of freedom and balance. 

And so I am searching for a balance with my family.  Just playing. Just lounging. Just laughing. Just cuddling. Just creating memories without have to sign up for them or schedule time for a car ride to get to them. Memories and experiences in our home and close to home without timelines.

This past Mother’s Day weekend, while Hubby was working, E and I set out to Britannia Beach for some outdoor fun.  We walked along the shore line trails and E tried to convince me that the land he saw across the water was Wolfe Island,


and that the geese that were flying were going to Wolfe Island



and that the ducks were swimming to Wolfe Island.  I let him talk away in his little dream land and soaked up his innocence. We played soccer in the fields of grass,



stopped and had lunch (we’re still working on that chewing) on the bench


and then played on the play structure in the park.  When I sensed he was getting sluggish from all the activity, sun and fresh air we packed up and headed home for a nap.  While he napped I completed the guest room turned play room transformation that I’ve been wanting to do for the last two weeks (yeah for more room!) and I got some painting and crafting projects done. 

It was such a relaxing and enjoyable day. I felt like I accomplished so much and it was a great start to my new goal.  I can’t wait to do it again and next time I hope Hubby can schedule in time to just BE with us too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Moments: Repetition

I'm joining Capital Mom today by blogging about a moment from my life based on a theme she has provided. This week’s Monday Moment is Repetition.

***

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.

Now that he is talking a mile a minute, he repeats, repeats and repeats his requests, wants, needs, cries, wallows and breakdowns. These repetitions can become relentless and tiresome.

But there is one aspect of the repetition that will never get old and that is reading to him and hearing him “read” his favourite books. How rewarding it is to hear him recite the pages of a book from memory and from repetition night after night before bed. 

One of his favourites these days is Mortimer by Robert Munsch.  I asked E to pick out the books he wanted to read before bed time on Thursday night.  As a prepared his bed and tidied his clothes before settling down with the books, E picked out Mortimer (we have the toddler board book version) and climbed up onto the gliding chair and started “reading”. I sat back and listened and my heart melted.

Mormor, BE QUIET!
Whap, whap, whap
TOO LOUD!
CLANG, CLANG, BANG!
All the sisters…
BE QUIET!
The police…
CLANG, CLANG, BANG!
And Mormor go to sleep

I could listen to that all day, every day.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

For you, Mom

I am so fortunate to have my Mother here with me today and for her guidance and support in my own motherhood. For this, I celebrate her today.


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.

Yourself.

I hope will do something for you. Not for Dad, your children, your grandchildren or anyone else.

You.

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

At My Mother’s Knee & Now

In spirit of Mother’s Day tomorrow I thought it would be fun to recount all of the wonderful things I learned from my mother that I am so thankful for now that I am a mother myself.


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

So(y), What?

Following E’s last doctor’s appointment we decided to do another trial with soy. The allergy prick test came back negative (again) and the Doctor said he wasn’t allergic or perhaps had grown out of his allergy. So, I picked up some supplies. Because soy products would make life THAT much easier.

Past soy allergy reactions for E have been irritability and poor sleeping, stomach cramps, diarrhea the following morning and a rash developing around the mouth appearing up to a week later.

I started the weekend off with some crackers with soy lecithin in them and I watched over him for the two-day trial. He had normal sleep habits and didn’t seem to have any tummy cramps. Next up was some chocolate chips with soy lecithin in them and soy buttery spread (rather than soy free) baked in some cookies. Later in the week I tried soy milk; starting with a couple added ounces to his cup of rice milk and gradually adding more. More recently we have been using soy sauce and other marinades, soy cream cheese and soy yogurt!

I’m jumping for joy (but knocking on wood at the same time). I’ve given Mrs. X the okay to start giving him soy products at day care too.

Adding soy has definitely made things a little easier now. I don't like the idea of too much soy in E's diet because of all the negative effects I've read about, but I am happy for some more options. I will, however, not be eating these products because I find them disgusting and I just can't stomach them. Soy milk is tolerable, but I would rather keep brown rice milk in the house. The cheeses and yogurts? Gag. E loves them though (because it's all he knows) and I'm happy to provide him with a little more variety.

An update on the milk allergy - our appointment with gastroentology at CHEO is booked for the end of September!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

THE Life

I remember emailing my Mom years ago when times were tough for Hubby and I. It was one of those, why me?, take pity on me, my life sucks, we are so poor, nothing ever works out for us kind of emails. What I was looking for was sympathy. In reply, my mother set me straight. She told me how fortunate I was for having such a loving Husband. To told me how lucky I was to be healthy, to have a roof over my head and an education and a job. She told me to stop complaining. She reminded me to look at the positives in life. WHAT. A. BLOW. I'll never forget that email.

***

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.

Now you can "Like" me

Lastnight I finally took the plunge into opening up my blog to the Facebook world. I have personal reasons why I chose not to post the link to my personal page, so I created a Fan page. (as you can see from the widget on the right ----->). I plan on posting my almost daily posts to this page for easy access for my friends and followers. I received requests for this in the past and finally decided this was the best way. I will also feel more comfortable sharing more links and thoughts on this fan page for my readers to view in their news feeds. So go ahead and "Like" me and join in the discussion on Facebook!

Next on the agenda - more action on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Family Challenge: Counting Our Chews

As a family we eat a healthy diet, but there are still things that we struggle with. Eating too fast could possibly be at the top of the list.

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.
Chew 1
Chew 2
Gulp.
Swallow.

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

Dinner Diaries

What a beautiful weekend. We had so much fun outside I didn't want it to end. I even managed to get ahead of laundry, clean the yard/patio and do a lot more cleaning and organizing inside the house.
 
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!