Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hungry Caterpillar Craft

One of E’s favourite books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I’ve been reading it to him since he was a tiny little babe in my arms and it’s fascinating to me that he can now sit on my lap and count and name the colours along with me. Also amazing is how turning that last page to see the beautiful butterfly never ever seems to get old.

E and I made some crafts to celebrate his love for this book. A few weeks ago we made some caterpillar’s out of recycled egg cartons, but the excitement was short-lived and they didn't stay in one piece for long.

This week we made a new craft using construction paper, a marker, scissors and some glue.  We cut out all the fruit and numbered them, cut out a leaf, cocoon, the caterpillar himself and as E like's to recite, the "beautiful butterfly".

Now when we read the book together E can count the fruit and show me the colours. He can place the caterpillar inside the cocoon and he can show off and fly his decorated butterfly.  This has been one of our favourite crafts so far!

This family craft was made for the Kids Create! Kids in the Capital January Craft Carnival.

Monday, January 30, 2012

One of those weeks

After a weekend of no naps last weekend, I mentioned to E's day care provider (DCP) that I thought he might be growing out of his naps. Something that I have been denying for some time now. Monday and Tuesday proved this to be true when he refused to go to bed at his regular bed time and didn't seem tired at all after being well rested from a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. Wednesday his DCP and I decided we would try him on an 1 hour nap schedule and that has seemed to work much better, but he is still fighting bed times. I think we need to get rid of that nap all together but I am just trying to hold onto it as long as possible. What on earth am I going to do when baby #2 comes along?! Ah! The thought of it stresses me out a bit.

Hubby worked late nights all week and almost all day all weekend which meant he needed his rest in the mornings and I was on both morning and evening routines all by myself. I nearly lost my mind. Most mornings E was compliant, others he tested every little bit of my patience and sanity. Thank goodness for Hubby's ability to swoop in and be the nice guy and smooth things over. Yes, I just said thank goodness. Honestly, I'm fine with E listening to him right now even if it means that I'm the bad guy in the house. As long as there is some type of answer to the madness, I'll take it.

Since I spent most of my week and weekend lone-parenting I didn't have the energy or the enthusiasm to be out and about. So, to show how much of an amazing Mother I am I ended up losing my patience, raising my voice and realized how frustrated I could get at the silliest of things. Okay, it really wasn't that bad. We made muffins, went sledding, cuddled and all that awesome Mother stuff, but I still feel like a failure. I was only impatient and frustrated with Hubby's work schedule and I took it out on E. Not fair to him at all. I was just not myself. So when I put E to bed last night and told him I was sorry for being a cranky Mommy I went downstairs and had a little cry to myself.

When Hubby got home we declared this our first giant failing-as-parents week and vowed to make things better. Chocolate and copious amounts of junk food were eaten while we sulked. Then we watched Dodgeball, which could possibly be the stupidest movie ever, but it was good for some cheap laughs.

And today I am out and about playing hooky from work. Because not only do I have a million things to do after accomplishing nothing this weekend, but every once and a while Mama needs a day to herself and if that means taking a mental-health day every once and a while - call me crazy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Birth, parenting and an open mind


I had a rather disappointing encounter with a stranger the other day.  In noticing I was pregnant, she struck up a conversation with me asking if I was excited and if it was my first. The usual questions.  I told her it was my second and that, yes, I was really excited.  She then proceeded to tell me that she accompanied her best friend during her first birth last year and it was her first birth experience. Her friend received an epidural and she couldn’t “believe why anyone wouldn’t get one of those!” and that she “doesn’t know anyone you wouldn’t dare get one!” and that “they are amazing!”. I calmly replied, “Um, me.” And went about my business.  I received blank stares and “OMG’s!” and all kinds of weird looks. She asked, “we’ll wasn’t it so painful?” and “are you going to do THAT again?” in a way that made me believe that she thought I would be crazy for putting myself through that seemingly hellish torture again.  I calmly replied that yes, it was painful, but that it was a good pain. I wasn’t suffering and that at the end of my experience I knew I would be getting the best gift – a baby! and so it was all worth it. I only received a big blank stare and “WOW” in response, but I really hope it was enough to open her eyes and mind a little and plant that little seed that birth can be natural and normal and GASP! not traumatic.

I really struggle with these situations.  It is terribly sad to know and encounter young women who have no idea how birth is intended.  All they know is what they see on TV which is a terrible depiction of a normal birth or what they hear through friends who have had traumatic birth experiences for whatever reason or perhaps stories from their mothers when things could have been A LOT different (trust me or read my Mom’s birth stories).  Normal birth is sadly not normal these days.  It makes me want to take on a huge awareness campaign.  It’s just frustrating that I actually had this conversation; that young women my age know so very little about birth.

I am not expert by any means but I have done my fair share on reading up on birth and have educated myself on the topic so that I am comfortable and excited to give birth. Yes, excited! I am one of those crazy birth junkies who believes that birth is amazing and beautiful. I love birth.  In saying that, I try to stay away from the million facts I could rhyme off. I try not to be judgemental or defensive. I try to be calm and cool and answer questions ever so matter-of-factly.  Throwing out stats won’t help me in these situations.  Responding as if natural birth is completely normal, hopefully will.

I also try to remember that I was once a childless women who was uneducated on birth and other parenting topics. What would my pre-baby self ask or say in response? 

Maybe I came into parenting at an advantage? My mother had natural births and breastfed. I grew up on a farm and birth happened regularly. Running to the barn to see a cow give birth was thrilling, not scary.  Watching new kittens nurse was so very cool.  I grew up around nature so as an adult I didn’t have reason to think that these things were anything but natural. I never really doubted that natural birth was for me.

Becoming a mother has opened my eyes A LOT and looking back I realize that I used to be very closed-minded on certain topics too.  Some of these very stereotypical sayings came out of my mouth.

Co-sleeping and bed sharing? My childless self thought that it was too risky and would foster too much dependence in baby. As a new mother, I soon found out that co-sleeping was one of the best ideas out there, that breastfeeding while lying down in bed just to get even a few more minutes of shut-eye was nothing but heaven-sent and that baby of mine just wanted to be close to me – why would I deny him that?

Breastfeeding? I never understood the benefits of extended breastfeeding until after I weaned my son at 16 months. When I was childless I didn’t understand those who breastfed after GASP! the child could ask for it.  How many times do we hear women say that a child is too old to breastfeed if they can ask for it? The truth is, your child has been “asking for it” since they day they were born through cries, grunts, etc.  The only difference now is that they can communicate their wants in words, cute little sayings or baby sign language. Tandem nursing was always an unknown to me. Now? I think it is freaking awesome.

It’s amazing how far a little education can go.  It’s a beautiful thing when all those trials and errors work and you find what works best for you and your family despite what others may recommend or condemn. And an open mind? It is one of life’s most powerful tools.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Looking for our new home

Last year I ranted a bit about a potential move. As it turned out, we decided to stay in our current home for a another year and that year is now coming to an end. I've been religiously checking home listings and inundating Hubby's inbox with links to homes that may be worth a look-see.  The truth is none of them really cut it on paper, so I knew they wouldn't really in person either.

I think my problem is that I want to move SO badly. I love this area that we live in, but not exactly our street or unit. We have been living in our small three bedroom terrace home for four years now and it has never really felt like home. I want a home of my own, one that I can make my own without worrying about rental agreements. I want to live in a family friendly area. I want more space. Want, want, want.

This week I finally found a house that I feel fits the bill, almost. It's in a small town a short-commute from the city. It's within walking distance to shops and surrounded by beautiful scenery. It is in gorgeous shape. The only thing is the lack of bedrooms.  The best part? Hubby is completely on board. So on board that we have booked a viewing for this week! Who knows if it is "the one", but we are both excited to check it out and really get serious about the home buying and moving business. 

This whole experience starting last year and leading into the last few months had me completely change my point of view. Originally wanting something bigger and newer, I then went to small and fixer-upper.  Now I am completely happy with something just slightly bigger than what we have now.  Bedrooms? I am considering bunking the kids in the same room if it means I can have a finished basement.  Big back yard? I am considering a small yard if it means we are near a big park.  In the country? I am more interested in small town, walking distance to things now.  I've changed a lot of my priority list because I know I can't have it all (HGTV anyone?).  It is also important for me not to settle, as I have a tendency to do when it comes to big things like this. It doesn't have to be perfect and timing is not on our side. Fingers crossed that things work out!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mom's Birth Stories: Fifth of Eleven

The following is my Mom's fifth birth story. For a little background, check out my first post about this series, Mom's Birth Stories, her First Birth Story, Second Birth Story, Third Birth Story and Fourth Birth Story.

Her story is broken into 4 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery, Breastfeeding and Reflections. I have also provided some of my comments and reflections at the end.

I got pregnant while nursing #4 (then weaned #4 at 11 months) probably because I had introduced juice as well on Doctor’s recommendation.

This was the only baby that I really didn’t have the right sense for. I thought he was going to be a girl. Perhaps it was because I really want another daughter and sister for my first girl. He turned out to be the smallest/lightest boy but is now probably the heaviest and tallest!

Labour and Delivery
My contractions started a couple of days before on the 2nd of July but he wasn’t born until July 4th at 9:58 AM. We had gone to City Park to wait for the contractions to be steady and stronger before going to the hospital and I was definitely in labour when we checked in but after a few hours the contractions stopped. The nurses said they’d keep me overnight but all was quiet into the 3rd of July. After my husband left for the evening chores (on the farm) I decided to do some serious walking and kept walking for hours until contractions began again. It wasn’t until early morning that I knew it would probably be impossible for my husband to be by my side. The irony was that this time he was planning to be there for the birth. This was before cell phones and before my husband could leave his work so by the time he came in the morning after chores I had already had #5. I remember a doctor walking by who had been in the delivery room an hour before and looked at me propped up in my bed smiling (I was thinking how my husband didn’t have to go through that delivery experience and that we had another healthy son) and he commented, "You just look too happy to have just had a baby!"

My husband had no idea that the baby had arrived since no one had told him so when they directed him to the recovery room where I was he asked me if I had had any more contractions yet. Perhaps they thought he knew or it was another shift of nurses, I don’t know and maybe because I still had a bit of a belly right after and the sheets covered me and of course baby was taken to the nursery, he didn't have a clue. I laughed and said. "Oh, they didn’t tell you? Happy early birthday it’s another boy!

Baby #5 weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces.

While in the hospital I met a lady, J, who was expecting her fourth child as well. She had three girls and was looking for a boy. I had three boys and a girl and was looking for another girl. After when we met at the nursery, she told me that she had another girl and I told her I’d another boy. We both laughed because we were in the same boat. It turned out that her husband was an engineer on the ferry which I had to take to get to the hospital. We met again years later and she did end up having a boy as her fifth child and I eventually had another girl too...and then some.

Baby #5 was lying transverse like #3 and had to be turned so again I had a lot of brusing and again I don’t know if they used forceps or not. That whole business was painful and I guess I hollered out in pain because J asked what time I delivered which matched up with hers and she said she could hear me in the next room and asked if I was always that noisy. I said not usually, but it helped to scream a little while in extreme pain.

The labour length was 4 hrs of false and 8 hrs of real. An epsiotomy was cut as usual. Like #4, this was another drug-free birth.

I weaned #5 at 10 months because I was pregnant with #6.

Mom's Reflections
The best part of this pregnancy was staying in the hospital after false labour and finishing the job (unlike baby #3's false labour). The worst part was the painful delivery.

The sad story was big sister wanted a sister and big brothers wanted a brother so it was like a game and the boys cheered when they were told, but sister cried. She was very excited to help care for the new baby though and grew to love him regardless of his sex.

My Reflections
Mom said this birth was very similar to #3 because of the false labour and because of the baby's transverse position.  It's funny, however, she also explains that not one birth was the same as another. Each were very unique experiences.  She must have experienced a lot of pain with the transverse adjustment, but powered through without drugs!

I find it funny that when my Dad finally could attend and had prepared himself to be at the birth, the timeline didn't work out and he needed to tend to the farm (the cow's needed to be milked). Also, it's funny that he walked in the next day not knowing baby had already arrived! Mom is quite the trooper for going through these births on her own.

Keeping tabs:

Baby #1 - Boy - October 5, 1972
Baby #2 - Girl - February 24, 1974
Baby #3 - Boy - June 10, 1975
Baby #4 - Boy - November 23, 1977
Baby #5 - Boy - July 4, 1979

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A couple more toddler approved salad dressings

I've shared one of E's favourite salad dressings before - Toddler Approved Avocado Salad Dressing - and I thought I would share a couple more that we have tried that have received raving reviews from my little salad lover.

Salad dressing is something that I stopped purchasing over a year ago. I started paying attention to all the questionable ingredients and in E's case, all of the dairy ingredients.  It was only natural to start exploring with different tastes and homemade recipes. 

Regular ingredients in my house include a blend of fresh garlic, parsley, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Eventually I'll get around to exploring with more oils and spices, but these basic ingredients are my go-to's right now. Here are a couple other recipes that I have on a dinner rotation at our house:

Dairy-free ranch dressing

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Hubby and I used to LOVE ranch dressing and went through some withdrawals when we made our house dairy-free.  This is a relatively new recipe to me that I have now made numerous times.  I usually toss it with a standard garden style salad and has E asking for seconds. It is especially perfect for dipping raw veggies. I plop it down on the table when I get home at the end of the day and it holds E over until I have dinner ready.  This dressing is from one of my favourite food blogs, Adventures of a Gluten free Mom.

Tahini-lemon dressing

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I actually only tried this recipe for the first time last night, but it will be on a regular rotation from now on! We enjoyed it with a bok choy, apple and carrot slaw/salad and I couldn't keep E's fingers out of the bowl. Delicious. This recipe is from another favourite healthy food blog, Oh She Glows.

I hope your toddlers enjoy them just as much!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

E's Birth - My First Birth Experience

Originally it was my plan to finish off my Mom's Birth Story Series with my first birth story, but I decided to take advantage of a sudden urge to write it all out today.  It really is about time I get around to writing out my birth story with E. After going through almost half of my Mom's birth stories, I can really see how much of a great influence she was on me.  I am fortunate to have had her expertise in the field on my side. And many of the stories she shared with me when I was pregnant for the first time encouraged me to research more and ask my Doctor more questions. So thank you Mom! As I prepare for the birth of our second child in May, I think it is an important step to reflect on my experience not only for strength and encouragement but writing of the actual birth plan.

E's Birth Story

I had the two weeks off on vacation before my due date (April 23, 2009).  My plan was to prep the house, baby clothes, etc and prepare some freezer meals to have for when baby came.  I had an OB with E, but most of my appointments were with a nurse (rarely the same one) and my OB would whisk in for the last few minutes for questions.  At my 39 week appointment a nurse performed a cervical check to see if "how close I was". I didn't know any better then, but I know now how ridiculous these checks are.  She told me I wasn't even close, that the baby was still too high and that I would be over due.  Talk about depressing. Leaving the office that day I had a little cry in the car with Hubby.  I was SO ready for this baby and the nurse had just squashed every little hope I had for going early.

After a day of self-pity I picked myself up and continued with my daily exercise routine. I was in excellent physical shape while pregnant; running on the treadmill until 7.5 months and then continuing to walk briskly every day until the end.  I took the dog for long walks, up hills and through the woods. I was on a mission to walk this baby into motion.

Two days later, a Saturday morning at 9am, I woke up with extra pep and decided to make Hubby and I pancakes for breakfast. While I was preparing our meal in the kitchen I felt a trickle in my underwear and ran upstairs thinking I was peeing my pants.  It turned out to be the "bloody show". I had read about the bloody show but to be honest the sight of it freaked me out.  I called the hospital to speak with a nurse in the delivery unit and she told me it would be a good idea to come in and get checked to be safe.  After breakfast we headed in.

I was hooked up to monitor and had a cervical check again that showed that I was only 2 cm dilated. The nurse asked me if I had a high pain threshold in which I replied "I think so". She was monitoring my contractions which were consistently 3 minutes apart and had been noticing that I didn't even twitch. I could barely feel them, but they were coming up as stronger than she expected. 

We were sent off to walk around for an hour to see if  I would progress. We were told to stay at the hospital but Hubby and I went out and grabbed some lunch and did a little shopping instead. We even found a great new diaper pail that we hadn't got around to getting yet!  I called my parents and told them I was in the early stages of labour. When we returned it was determined that I was not progressed enough to stay at the hospital and we were sent home.  I was discouraged but happy at the same time. As a first time Mom, knowing "when" to go the hospital was my biggest battle. I really wanted to labour at home. On the way home we stopped at the grocery store to stock our fridge and I remember seeing family friends who asked how I was feeling. I was so exciting to tell them that the time was very near.

That evening, Hubby had a hockey game at 11pm and while the contractions subsided I decided, that why not, let's go to the game to keep my mind off of things.  I watched from the stands and let him know that if he saw me waving frantically that he was to get off the ice immediately.  Back home that night I woke at 2am with contractions again and although they weren't very strong, they were consistent and the anticipation was building.  I couldn't sleep so I decided to have a warm bath and then went downstairs to rock on my yoga ball while watching TV.  At 6am I woke Hubby up and told him that I was ready to go to the hospital. I wish I held out longer, but being my first labour I was anxious and wasn't sure when the "right time" was. I called my parents to let them know that this was the day and that I would call with an update later (they would have a 2 hour drive ahead of them).

Yet another cervical check at 7am, and I had only dilated a couple more centimetres. While my contractions were getting stronger I was still able to talk through them. Hubby and I walked the halls of the hospital and they got stronger and stronger and I would bend over the hallway rails while Hubby massaged my lower back. Having another cervical check an hour or so later, I was finally admitted at 9am at 5 cm dilated. A nurse was listening in and talking to the nurse checking me when I told her my plans for a natural birth.  She immediately told the nurse at the computer to switch her care so she could be with me and to put me in the largest birthing room at the end of the hall.  I felt pretty special that this particular nurse wanted to be with me and so lucky to have someone that cared about my wishes. I called my parents to let them know that I was being admitted, only to find out from my brother that they had already left.

One thing I knew and read a lot about was staying upright and moving throughout labour and that I did.  My room was huge and I had a lot of room to move around.  I had a great walking pattern and would call Hubby over to massage my lower back with each tough contraction. I tried the jacuzzi tub but soon realized that I didn't feel comfortable and much preferred walking around. Between contractions I sipped on watered down apple juice that the nurse fetched for me and watched a hockey game on the small TV in the corner with my Hubby as I continued to walk.  I think I may have walked a marathon in that room that day.

At 1pm I was checked again and had not dilated at all. At this time it was decided to break my water.  An hour later I still hadn't progress and so it was decided that I had to be given a small amount of pitocin to help induce my labour further along. Hospital time lines! I agreed to the minimal amount to start to see if it would help kick start things.  The nurse took four tries to put the IV in. I had some nasty bruising on my arms and hands because of this.  Sure enough, within minutes my contractions picked up again. The nurse laughed and said that I had barely received any pitocin and that it must have just been the threat that got my body moving.  I was happy to have the IV removed. 

From 2pm on my contractions jumped me into active labour.  I leaned over the end of my bed and squatted, visualizing the baby descending with each contraction. I rode each wave/surge and welcomed them, still walking like crazy between each one.  I did not have much pain in my abdomen, my pain was the worse in my lower back and Hubby explained to me later that he felt bad for how strongly he was digging in and rubbing. It helped so much and near the end my nurse also joined in.  At 6:30pm I told them I had the urge to push and when they told me to climb up onto the bed I remember saying that it did not sound like a great position. It certainly wasn't and I wished at the time I could be birthing while in a squatting position. 

I remember doing a couple sets of pushes through my contractions and how gloriously relieving it felt.  A resident doctor came in and stood very calmly beside me telling me in a monotone voice to "push, push, push". I wanted to slap her and tell her to leave me alone. The other nurses I think could notice my frustration and the resident was given other tasks.  After "purple" pushing for about 20 minutes the nurses came to the conclusion that E's head was slightly tilted and was not clearly fitting down the birth canal properly.  His head needed to be adjusted.  I was flipped from one hip to another  a few times in an attempt to straighten things out.  This plan worked well and it also relieved some of the back labour I was feeling.  Through the next few sets of pushes my breathing was becoming sporadic and the room became overwhelming. I believe this was my "transition phase". Nurses were yelling for me to push, nurses were coming in and out of the room to see my much talked about natural birth - it was chaotic.  I joked between one contraction with my nurse and Hubby, asking them if it was too late for drugs.  At this time, I was starting to doubt myself.  My nurse attached a mask to my face and told me to inhale the gas.  I did not like the restricting feel to the mask and removed it. Again and again they encouraged me to put it on to help me relax and Hubby even tried to help, but I declined.  What ended up helping me calm down was Hubby speaking above everyone and telling me to just listen to him.  This was our plan, this was on the notes that he carried in his pocket. I was to listen to him to help relax, and it helped immensely.  I drained everyone else's voice out, turned my head to touch his face and only listened to his commands and reminders to breathe (which he was getting from the Doctor that had finally arrived).  The next 25 minutes flew by as I pushed intensely again (I wanted to speed things up so I did 4 reps of pushes per contraction to my nurse's surprise - not a great idea now that I'm more educated) and before I knew it I went from feeling the burning ring of fire to pushing my baby out at 7:15pm.  Totalling my active labour at 5 hours and 15 minutes.

Our surprise baby boy, E, was born on April 19, 2009 (4 days early) weighing 6lbs 15oz. He was placed on my chest only briefly and Hubby cut the cord (something he was sure he wouldn't be able to do, but jumped right in when asked).  I must have been given pitocin to birth the placenta (but I don't remember being asked about that).  The placenta came shortly after and I remember the nurses pushing (with all their weight) on my stomach to help it along it's way. That was a pain I wasn't expecting!  While E was being weighed and checked on, I was given a local anaesthetic and the doctor gave me 4 stitches for what he later told me was a 2nd degree tear.  The doctor was extremely friendly and told me he had a family of six.  He congratulated me for being "a champ", but that's all I really remember about him. He was not the OB I had met with, but a Doctor within the same clinic that was on call that day. He was in and out of the room in no time.

Once I was cleaned up, Hubby went down to the waiting room and gathered my parents.  I was given E to hold, but he was all bundled up. We didn't have much skin-to-skin during the first hours at all. I'll never forget the overwhelming emotion I felt when I saw my Mom. The only thing I could say was, "Mom, I did it!" I knew she would be proud of me and having a drug-free birth was something I talked to her on the phone about often. My parents didn't stay long and I was encouraged to go pee before being transferred to the Mother-Baby unit.

I just gave birth!
Once in the Mother-Baby unit  I asked for the nurse to assist me in breastfeeding and she assured me that someone would later. E was taken through the normal hospital tests while Hubby accompanied him and I waited in my room. It took 2 1/2 hours to initiate breastfeeding which still really upsets me today and something I wouldn't stand for again.

I experienced a lot of swelling and since I had gestational thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets) throughout my pregnancy the hospital would not give me ibuprofen to reduce the swelling. Acetaminophen helped with the pain and hemorrhoid cream helped with some minor hemorrhoids. Ice packs and sitz baths helped relieve the pain. I'll never forgot the feeling of weakness in my bottom muscles. I woke the next morning and urgently had to go pee. The problem was I couldn't hold it. So while I tried to quickly get out of my hospital bed, I completely peed the bed.  It was pretty humiliating at the time to call the nurse and ask her to change my sheets, but she laughed and said not to worry - apparently it happens a lot.  I look back now with laughter - this is one of the funniest stories I have from after the birth and have shared with all my friends.  It's something I wasn't prepared for, to say the least.

E's latch was weak and he would fall asleep constantly while trying to nurse.  It would take me weeks and a lot of nipple pain in the beginning to work out our breastfeeding relationship. E and I were finally discharged at 36 hours after much pleading. There was nothing more that I wanted than to be in the comfort of my own bed in my own home and soon enough we were off as a family of three!

Stay tuned to more on lessons learned and birthing plans for baby #2...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Belly Kicks

I'm finding this pregnancy a lot more exciting at times because I have E to enjoy all the excitement and build-up with.

Sometimes he tells me he wants to kiss my belly or hold the baby or have a big belly of his own. When we ask him what he thinks of having a new baby he tells us he will sing rock-a-bye baby to them. And when we ask him if he wants a brother or sister he replies with , "a baby".

From these displays of affection you would think he understands what lies ahead. You would think that he is old enough to perhaps be unphased by these upcoming big changes. It does relieve a little stress knowing that he is open to sharing his little world with a sibling.

But when I called him from my bed for him to rush over to feel the baby kicking my belly, I was a little shocked by his response. As he jumped up and snuggled in close, he lifted his leg and with a mischievous grin asked, "Can I kick your belly too?"

Okay, so maybe he's still really too young to understand and has NO IDEA what's going on. Step away from Mommy's belly E, step away.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Baby Planning: Nursing Wear

When I read articles about the "necessities" for pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby I have to laugh. I was a first time Mom once and I believed them all (well except the ones that told me I need things like a wipe warmer, but I'll get back to that some time).  I wanted everything on those lists - to the exact number they listed (ie. 6-8 receiving blankets, etc). I am amazed with how much more relaxed and practical I have been with this pregnancy.  In keeping with my goal of minimizing stuff around here I am trying not to buy stuff that I can really do with out and will continue this while planning for our second baby.

Yes, we all know that breastfeeding is natural and all that I really need is a couple milk producing breasts, but in saying that, I believe that there are many products out there that sometimes just make life easier or more comfortable or less awkward. One of those for me is nursing wear.

I purchased a couple quality nursing bra's last time and will do the same again to make sure I have proper fitted ones.  I personally love comfortable cotton ones and one's especially for sleeping in. I've been eyeing a couple of really comfy looking ones from Nummies.

I got away with maybe two nursing tops throughout the whole time I nursed E (16 months). The rest of the time I wore t-shirts with tank tops underneath or v-neck shirts.  But you know what? Sometimes it was just awkward when trying to nurse in public and not wearing the best shirt to easily lift and load. Playgroups were never a problem, it was when I was out and about and not want to expose my belly or the rest of my body when trying to lift my shirt.  So, this time I am committing to buying some practical and fashionable nursing wear.  Afterall, I'll buy a dress for one wedding, why wouldn't I buy a nursing top that I can use often for 2+ years? I wish I would have thought of that last time around.

Here are some nursing wear pieces I've been eyeing these days:

I love the functionality of the Momzelle brand shirts.  Such a great brand and it's a bonus that the women who designed and started this buisness is a Canadian Mom.  Check out her video from when she was on Dragon's Den.
Momzelle Nursing V-Neck Tee

Momzelle Original Nursing Tank Top
There is a variety of styles that I am loving, but especially this one for fun.
Momzelle "I make milk. What's your superpower?" T-shirt
I'm a t-shirt, jeans and hoodie kind of girl, so I was also super excited to find this nursing hoodie from Boob.
Boob B-Warmer Nursing Hoodie
While these aren't neccessities I am looking to treat myself and add a few of these key pieces that I can mix and match and get plenty of use out of. See? Practical!

Do you have a favourite nursing top or other piece of clothing that you love/loved to wear while nursing?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mommy Scissor Hands

E had a bit of a Justin Bieber thing going on for the last couple months.  I love his hair long, running my hands through his golden brown locks, but I think it was starting to hamper his development.  No joke.  His hair was getting into his eyes a lot and so I finally stopped procrastinating and did something about it this weekend.

I picked up a pair of hair cutting scissors at Shoppers Drug Mart for $15.99 which I know I will get my money's worth. This kids hair grows like crazy and taking him to a salon usually costs me $15-20 a pop. I watched a Youtube video (ha!), strapped him in his booster seat, covered him in a bath towel and dressed him in his painting smock, put a movie on in front of him and voila - welcome to Mommy Salon!
Before picture - all set to go!
With my new scissors, some water to wet down his hair and a comb I was all set! He was awesome and just watched his movie, laughing as chunks of hair hit the floor.  I think it took me a good 30 minutes after I checked and re-checked his head to make sure I didn't miss anything.
After picture - Yeah! Mommy didn't ruin my hair!
I'm feeling pretty invincible these days. Seriously, I cut my child's hair without completely screwing it up. Another DIY project under my belt...now what? Nothing scares me now!

Better yet, Hubby was so impressed that he said I should start doing his too.  But I'm not that cocky :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mom's Birth Stories: Fourth of Eleven

The following is my Mom's fourth birth story. For a little background, check out my first post about this series, Mom's Birth Stories, her First Birth Story and Second Birth Story, and Third Birth Story.

Her story is broken into 4 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery, Breastfeeding and Reflections. I have also provided some of my comments and reflections at the end.

We were using a natural family planning method called Sympto-Thermal to determine fertility times of my cycle. (Unlike previous pregnancies, she was not breastfeeding prior to conception). The thermometer broke before I conceived and I just didn't get another one right away, not intentionally. I was happy to know that I'd become pregnant shortly after because I was longing for an infant again. It's such a special time in a women's life that it's hard to accept never experiencing that again until your sure that's what you want and what is best for your family.

Labour and Delivery
Baby #4 was due on November 16th, but wasn’t born until November 23, 1977.

My plan was no drugs and no epidural (read her Third Birth Story for her reasoning) and this was the first time men were allowed into the delivery room so I was really hoping my husband would be by my side. Well, he was afraid he couldn’t handle me in pain and not be able to help so I was very disappointed but understood to a point his decision not to.

This time I not only had abdominal pain but I also had severe back pain. I don’t know if this was caused from the previous epidural given at my last delivery or from an injury when I slipped on the stairs while carrying an armload of laundry while very pregnant.

I had a Doctor’s appointment earlier that day and my Doctor asked if there was anything he could do for me. I said yes I just wanted to have this baby so he did a "stretch and sweep". He said this may or may not start things rolling. The five of us (three children) were on our way to Smith Falls for some farm supplies when my labour began and became regular and strong so we got off the 401 and brought the children to relatives (3 different sets of relatives as to not overwhelm them with 3 children) and then went to the hospital.

Again the doctor broke the membranes once I was dilated enough. My labour length was 8 & 1/2 hrs. He was born at 12:27 AM. Baby #4, a boy, weighed 8 lbs 5.5 ounces. The hospital stay was still 5 days long.

Breastfeeding began the same day and on demand. Baby #4 was breastfed for 11 months at which time he was weaned because of nipple soreness from the next pregnancy.

She had a different family doctor who did not recommend weaning at 6 months like the previous one did with her 3 previous children.

Mom's Reflections
The best part was our health and great recovery. The worst part was the painful labour and delivery. I was pleased with myself for going o'natural and felt more confident as a person and especially as a Mother.

Mom also reflected on the fact that they dropped off each of the three children to different relatives before heading to the hospital. They didn't have anyone near by that could take on three children for the five days in hospital so it was their decision to split them up almongst their relatives.  They discovered after, while talking to the children, that they would much rather have been together so they never chose this method again. 

My Reflections
Go Mom! This was her first all-natural birth and I'm so happy for her that she achieved her desired birth plan this time. And, with her largest baby! (out of all eleven). I want to yell, "Ah, come on, suck it up, Dad!" about him not joining her in the delivery room, but things will get better here. It is also awesome that breastfeeding was continued until  11 months at which it was her own personal decision to wean. All in all, I love this story and the fact she is starting to take more control in her decisions and experiences.

Keeping tabs:

Baby #1 - Boy - October 5, 1972
Baby #2 - Girl - February 24, 1974
Baby #3 - Boy - June 10, 1975
Baby #4 - Boy - November 23, 1977

Friday, January 6, 2012

In with the new: Three Words for 2012

I've been reading a lot of posts about New Years resolutions. I had already thought of cutting mine down this year and focusing on a few keys areas, when I read Lara's post: Three Words. Brilliant!

Here are my Three Words for 2012


There are a million areas I want to minimize in my life: stress, spending, waste, stuff, clutter, toxins. I will continue exploring and tackling these items throughout the year.

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I am looking forward to growing and building on my business ideas. I also want to expand on some of my interests and learn new skills and gain more knowledge through professional training. And of course, growing as a person, wife, mother, sister and friend. There is always room to grow here.

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Patience has always been one of my strong suits, but acceptance? Not so much. I have really grown in acceptance and have started singing a different tune in the last six months. This will continue to be something that I will keep in the forefront of my mind to guide me through tough times, stressful times and other changes in life that I may otherwise have a tough time adjusting to and accepting.
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A friend suggested making is a vision board. I love the idea of having something to look at everyday as a reminder.  I am making it my plan to put this together this month.

What are your 2012 goals? Do you focus on theme words?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Out with old: 2011 in review

I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the things I've accomplished, experienced, tested out this year and have to look forward to expand upon in 2012. What better way than to look back at some of my goals for 2011 to see how I measured up.

Eco-friendliness & a healthy home

I have made huge progress in this over the last 12 months.  I have switched over almost all our family's personal care products including soaps, shampoo and conditioner and toothpaste to all-natural products and it feels great. I've tried a couple deodorants but haven't had any luck - I'm still on the look out for an all-natural one that works as well as my ol' faithful chemical ridden one. Also, on the list is Hubby's shaving cream and body spray he can't seem to live without and with my heightened sense of smell these days I can't handle much longer.

I started making my own laundry detergent, but when I get to the bottom of  the jar have been known to buy an eco-friendly jug from time to time.  I also use soap nuts as a back-up. My all-natural home made detergent works well, but it needs some tweaks and I need to work on a follow-up on this.

I make all my own household cleaners using lemon, baking soda, water and vinegar and have been using Dr. Bronner's castile soaps too. I am working on an effective dishwasher detergent.

I received a brand new stainless steel cookware set for Christmas and so I was very happy to ditch my unhealthy non-stick pots and pans that I've had for years.  I'm also almost done switching over all my plastic Tupperware to glass dishes.

Fitness & Health

I had a running/walking buddy during lunch breaks throughout the summer at work that kept me motivated. With the onset of the colder weather my fitness levels have rapidly declined.  I am looking forward to getting back into the gym during my lunch breaks until the beginning of my maternity leave in May. I have a few other pre-natal activities planned in the next few months too!

I published weekly meal plans for the majority of the year which really helped our family nutrition. I am diving more into healthy meals this year - still room to improve!

Business Goals

I am getting closer and closer to making some of my business ideas a reality. Joining a great network of women has helped so much. I am so fortunate to have their support and guidance.  More on this to come in 2012!

Cheers to 2011. I'm ready to take on many new goals in 2012!

Don't worry - it's apple juice.