Okay, okay, I swore I wouldn’t do this again, but I have. I haven’t been updating as I should have. Having a mobile baby (almost toddler – whaaaaat?!) is keeping me always busy. And I’ve been keeping pretty busy, so that’s a good thing, right?

Flipping through the old posts I find myself just flabbergasted at how fast the time has flown by. Charlotte is already ELEVEN MONTHS OLD. I will have a one year old TODDLER in less than one month. Less than ONE month, people!!!

The last two months have been crazy for her physical development, more so the last few weeks. The progression went something like this:

Army crawling > pulling up on couch > cruising furniture > crawling on all fours > climbing the stairs > cruising along the kitchen cabinets > FULL ON WALKING > standing from sitting without any assistance/anything to pull up with.

We have a walker. She clears whole rooms now and today I went to put her down on her bum and she stuck her legs down and wanted to go. Whaaaat?!

I can’t handle it. Add to that the amazing changes in her personality. She’s so happy, so bubbly and always wants to see everything that’s going on. The dog is the funniest thing in the world and heaven forbid, daddy is out of sight and suddenly it’s all “Da?” “Da??”

She claps when she’s happy, she claps when she falls back onto her bum, she dances when any music comes on (be it the theme song to a tv show, her bffl Violet singing a song, or a dance-y tune on the radio), and will sing “Lalalalala” with you no matter what the situation.

She’s a little social butterfly, loves her gymnastics class (she’ll crawl over to kiss one of her classmates as soon as she sees her, but she pushes my kisses away..) and reaches out to new people instead of shying away.

In true Charlotte-style, though, she’s still a peanut. She’s somewhere around 17lbs.. maybe 18 and fitting comfortably into her 9 month clothing (some 6 month shirts still). She’s long and lean and all go all the time. She’s crazy and fearless and she makes me laugh so much.

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Cloth diapering

June 23, 2014

When we were first pregnant with Asher we looked into cloth diapering a great deal but eventually decided that without our own in-suite laundry in the apartment, it wasn’t the best idea. Once again, when pregnant with Charlotte we thought about it, but until we were in our own house with our own washing machine, didn’t make sense. But after our move in January, and with a little encouragement and advice from some good friends we jumped in.

The upfront investment could be a bit daunting. And the different kinds – AIO, AI2, Hybrids, Pockets, Covers… Hemp, bamboo, cotton, wool, microfiber… where to start?!

So we headed into our local crunchy baby store with some questions intending to buy a few different kinds but thinking that we wanted to venture into the hybrids and pockets. We looked at a few different brands and inserts and ended up with a couple of Blueberry pockets in super cute prints.

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Then I went a little crazy and started shopping online and at local swaps. I ended up with a few Bum Genuis 4.0s, a couple Fuzzibuns, some Sunbabys, Grovia hybrids, a couple of Rumparooz covers and a combo of WAHM-made pockets and covers (thank you, Etsy!) and all sorts of different inserts – bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, microfiber (most of the diapers come with this, which isn’t my favourite, but it works).

We tried them out for a while to see if there were styles that worked better, but luckily we didn’t have any major issues.

So in the end, my stash is mainly BG 4.0s, Sunbaby and Grovia Hybrids, but it’s ever growing (damn you, Etsy!!). We have all but 2 snap-closure, which is slightly more expensive but has great longevity compared to the velcro.

I have diapers in pretty much every colour, some with dinosaurs, owls, foxes, paper airplanes, wheat, swirls, paisley, zoo animals, chevron, forest animals… and just as many different inserts.

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A few of my more colourful pieces.

My favourite inserts for the pockets are bamboo. But the hemp is a close second. I’ve just recently started needing to double up on some of the inserts as C is peeing more at a time, so I’ve started stuffing with organic cotton prefolds and bamboo, and that is working great.

At night, we still use disposables (shame on us!) because we still have diapers from our shower, but once they’re gone, we’ll start super stuffing diapers and try to make it though the night – which I anticipate will take some getting used to because she sleeps longer stretches now.. but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Washing happens every 2-3 days, more often 3 now that we have more diapers. Shake/pull the insert out and rinse dirty diapers out with a sprayer – but because she’s still mostly breastfed, it isn’t hugely necessary or gross because it all disintegrates. Then they go into a wet bag in the diaper pail and then everything (even the bag) goes straight into the wash. We have a top-load washer which is apparently easier for wash routine, but we simply do cold soak, spin, hot wash w/ soap, cold rinse. All on the large load setting, super-heavy soil level. So far, no issue.

Monthly, I give them an extra good double wash (second with no soap) and the BGs I bleach as per their instructions to get rid of any buildup of soap, etc..

All the diapers get line-dried, and I should have taken a picture of them filling my line yesterday, but alas..

Bryan’s favourite are the BG 4.0s while I love the Grovia Hybrids, but they are all just fine by me.. I don’t really discriminate. The Blueberry are great for short trips like shopping, because they have a great double insert but I’m quickly becoming a fan of the covers with whatever inserts I please. They really hold it in in the case that she has a super pee in the car seat or something.

Another great thing is we have yet to have a blowout in the cloth, which was a fairly regular occurrence with the disposables. Not frequent, but it wasn’t uncommon.

Last thing for this novel (I think.. no promises), is the fact that you can’t use vaseline or zinc-based diaper creams, which most of the creams out there are. We use Earth Mama Angel Baby diaper balm and the Grovia Magic Stick as well as cornstarch to keep her extra dry. Both balms are made of natural oils, butters and are mostly organic/are all natural. They work amazingly and have cleared up rashes quicker than any petrol/zinc product I’ve used. Plus, they smell great. And aren’t a by-product of oil… but I digress. I will add here that some people love to use coconut oil for diaper cream, but it didn’t help C.. so we switched it up. Plus, the Grovia stick is awesome because you just apply it kind of like a deodorant stick. Super easy for on the go, so I keep it in the diaper bag.

Oh! And I keep a small wet bag in the diaper bag, for on the go changes. Once again, super easy because I just toss it in the wash with the diapers to clean it.

And now here’s a bit of a picture dump that I have of the diapers..




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March and April were busy.  Both Bryan’s and my birthday, our first and second date nights away from the baby, Easter and Charlotte’s birthday… Lots of stuff going on!  

Bryan was off work for most of this time, so we got to share baby duty and house duty, which was nice.  I can’t say our birthdays were super eventful.. Bryan’s mom and grandparents came up one weekend to see the house and have lunch and exchange gifts, but other than that it kind of came and went.  Which is totally okay with me, being halfway to fifty is nothing that needs to have attention brought to 😉 

 

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Yes, that’s a large plate of buttertarts in front of me. Yes, I ate most of them myself.

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C and one of her Great Grandpas (she has 3!)

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C with GiGi and Great Grandpa

For Christmas, Bryan’s dad got us tickets to a hockey game in Ottawa, which was going to be our very first evening when both of us would away from Charlotte for any amount of time (Eep!!). Luckily, Bryan’s brother, his girlfriend, his other brother and nephew were all in for babysitting duty!

To say I wasn’t nervous would be an understatement, but we went out and had fun and at the end of the night everyone survived. Even though a certain someone decided to refuse her bottle until about 9pm!

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All done up in her hockey swag

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Bryan’s brother and his horrible, awful winter beard. Clearly C is impressed

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Snuggled up with auntie

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Being a ham even though she didn’t want to take her bottle

The next weekend, my MIL came up and looked after C while we went out for dinner and to our friend’s 30th birthday party. It was great to get out and enjoy a dinner without rushing through it, to hang out without chasing littles around and to just try to relax a bit. And at the end of the day, MIL would still love her even if she screamed the whole time 😉

It didn’t go horribly, but she wasn’t too happy come bedtime and gave MIL a good fight. She settled as soon as we got home of course, but once again, everyone survived.

The next day was C’s first Easter. You’ll have to excuse the lack of photos, because MIL has most of them and I haven’t gotten them yet (whoops). She tends to take 120398 pictures at these get togethers, so I rely on her sometimes. It was great to see all of our family and we got to get a bunch of 4 generation pictures on both of Bryan’s parent’s sides.

Plus there was turkey and stuffing. What more do you need?

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My little drooly girl (sorry, I can’t get that one to flip)

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Vicious bunny take-down

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She decided to ruin this otherwise perfect picture…

She also decided to start rolling all around and scooting in April, as well as getting her first tooth going. She no longer would stay put when you put her down and often ended up under the coffee tables…

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Baby on the go

And the snow FINALLY melted and we got to really enjoy the outside.

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The third and fourth months were filled with a ton of stuff. In January, we took possession of our home. We did a lot of sanding, painting, cleaning and eventually, come the end of the month, we moved from our 2 bedroom, 950 sqft apartment to our significantly larger 3 bedroom, 2600 sqft (including the basement). There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re making it ours (but that’s another post).

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Charlotte was slowly showing off her personality. She started hamming it up for everyone and would roll from her belly to her back. She also gave us a little stretch and would sleep for 4 hours at a time (yes, that was a stretch!). She was still relatively immobile at that point in time and would pretty much stay in place when you put her down. She’d wiggle a little here or there but nothing huge.

We bought her a jumper and she was so excited to be able to stand and play with her toys. She didn’t grasp the concept of bouncing, but she was content to just sit there and play. She couldn’t reach the floor, even on the lowest setting so she stood on a pillow for a long time.

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Note the stack of things she’s standing on

At her four month appointment she tipped the scales at almost 13lbs and was over 24″ long. Happy, healthy and took her shots like a champ. That evening was the first time she spiked a fever which was scary. It got up to 39.2, but I knew it was because her body was building immunity. Even though I knew that, it was still a scary moment walking into uncharted territory. Poor thing was so out of sorts. Luckily, it passed pretty quickly and she was back to herself within 48 hours.

And now a picture dump:

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My little ham

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That’s not where I left you!

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And she still took a bink!

I can’t get over how tiny she looks in these photos – ugh, time flies!!

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Return to the blog

June 12, 2014

I made a promise to myself that I would put more effort into this blog.  I have really let it fall through the cracks as I struggle to find myself as a mother, woman, homemaker and friend.  Yes, I’m on maternity leave.  Yes, I am home a lot of the time but that doesn’t mean I have endless time on my hands unfortunately.  So I’m going to break down the last few months into many-a-post and hope that that helps to organize and make this manageable.  

Charlotte:

  • Month Three ✓
  • Month Four ✓
  • Month Five ✓
  • Month Six ✓
  • Month Seven
  • First foods/BLW
  • Cloth diapering
  • Sleep

The big move:

  • Tour
  • Before/After inside
  • Before/After outside
  • Our backyard

Me/Family:

  • Struggles with depression
  • Fitness and weight loss
  • Our first (small) big trip
  • Long distance relationship
  • Asher’s second birthday
  • Hiking with a baby

I’m sure there are way more, but this should hopefully get me started!  I think I need to focus on the outlet that this blog has always been and that I’ve been missing.  

 

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Where I have been…

March 19, 2014

I wish I could say I’ve been somewhere exciting or tropical or even somewhere fun so that this would be a fun, exciting or even tropical update. But alas, I have not.

I’ve been intentionally absent. I have tried to come here and write something, anything, but I haven’t felt the desire much.

Which is kind of how I’ve been feeling towards life in general. To put it bluntly, I’ve been suffering.

But this isn’t a woe is me pity party for one. This is an update on where we’re at in life right now.

I noticed some pretty serious mood changes around the end of November/start of December. I chalked it up to Bryan starting to work some night shifts and me being over stressed about the impending move/packing/cleaning/dealing with our fussy non-sleeper but I was starting to get really up and down. I’d feel fine and then the drop of a pin I would flip. I was a loose cannon that was teetering between struggling with the “I can’t do this” sadness and the “why do you not support us enough” angers. Neither of which were valid feelings. Both of these things were just ways of me lashing out. Non-constructive, not effective, just plain emotions lashing out. My targets varied: Bryan, the dog, the stranger in the car that just turned without signalling. No one was safe from the ticking time bomb I had become.

Shortly after we moved into our house near the end of January I was starting to feel completely swamped. Not a day went by when I felt successful in any avenue of life. I never looked after the house enough. I was shit at looking after the baby. My relationship was taking a serious beating and I really just wanted to give it all up. “It would be easier if I wasn’t here. I’m just fucking everything up” were feelings and statements I regularly had and made.

But most of the time everything was normal. The baby and I have a great day. I manage to keep the house sparkling and my relationship seems stronger than ever. But then something happens like the dog barks and scares the baby or Bryan changes something I had done a certain way and BOOM! Major freak out.

“You’ve gone crazy and I just don’t know how to deal with you. I’m not the partner I want to be, but I don’t know how to deal with you.” Sentiments that came from Bryan after one of my many “I NEED you to support me more. I NEED you to see that I need help” rants.

Then I realized it was time. I had to get a hold of my doctor and my counsellor. This isn’t normal any more. This isn’t just a normal reaction to the stress of moving with a new baby.

That’s when the concept of Postpartum Rage was brought to the forefront. An aspect of Post Partum Depression/Anxiety, and it was me to a T.

I’d love to say I’m all better now, but I’d be lying to you. I’m not much better. I’ve been trying, but Friday I’m going in to talk about medical interventions that will get me back to me. I tried to hold myself up, I tried, but I need help. I wanted to beat this by myself, by understanding and working through why I feel the way I feel, but I need help. I need support that Bryan can’t give me (not that he isn’t trying) and assistance coping in ways that my counsellor cannot teach. I’m not asking for a magical cure, but something to pick me up a little and help carry me through this.

I’m not the person I want to be. I’m nowhere close. I just want to at least be half that person, someone that I can at least be proud of instead of embarrassed.

Here’s hoping.
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Charlee at two months

January 6, 2014

So on the 28th (sorry, I’m a bit late..) Charlotte turned 2 months! We were all down with the cold that has been going around and generally miserable. She did, however, maintain her peanut status and weighed in at 8lbs11oz.

We go in for her first set of shots this Friday and also get the keys to our house that day!

All is well here, just super busy trying to pack and get stuff ready for the big move. I will update more often once things slow down a little, I promise!

So here’s some shots of Charlee being a cutie for your viewing pleasure.

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Baby smiles

December 21, 2013

They honestly make everything else fade to black.  

Last night was an epic fail of a night.  Charlee screamed inconsolably from 10-11 and then on and off until 12.  I tried putting her to the breast and she screamed, tried swaddling/unswaddling and she screamed, walking, bouncing, burping, bicycle legs.. We tried everything until she finally took the breast and promptly latched and fell asleep.  I was frustrated.  Frustrated at Bryan for having a cold and being relatively unhelpful (poor guy is really feeling like crap), frustrated at C for not calming down, but mostly frustrated at myself for getting frustrated.  

When C woke up later because she was hungry I did the usual routine – snuggle her up and take her to her room and change her, head back to our room and set up in bed and put her to the breast and all she wanted to do was smile.  She would latch -> look at me -> smile therefore losing her latch -> shake her head and relatch -> repeat.  Suddenly all of the frustration from the night had melted away in these little baby smiles and nothing else going on around me could shake that feeling.  It was this precious, private moment between the two of us that no one else will ever have.  I’ve mentioned before how much I’m in love now with our breastfeeding relationship, but this was definitely the best moment so far.  

 

And now I bring you, baby smiles: 

 

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This is where I’m at today. Happy, comfort nursing my daughter effortlessly and proud of myself and my breastfeeding journey!

But what a rocky relationship it has been! You would think something that is so *natural* would come more naturally, wouldn’t you? But that just isn’t the case – or it wasn’t here, anyway.

I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed, I wanted to have that amazing relationship where your baby is at the breast, staring into your eyes and you create a bond like no other. Hah. Hahahahaha. Hahah.

In preparation for this epic relationship I was going to create I researched online and read books. I turned to my experienced BFing friends and was at a place where I thought I was prepared. But it is so much easier to grasp the theory than to actually put it to practice.

So when the first words I heard come out of my first post partum nurse’s mouth was “oh, you’re going to need a shield” I was almost instantly deflated. (This was also the nurse who sent me home the first night I was in latent labour and who pushed popsicles on me when I was in labour with Asher.. I just didn’t really like her, she was annoying..) That first night (no, week) was hard to begin with, Charlotte was so stuffy and her belly was full from swallowing amniotic fluid and she was so so sleepy because she was a newborn that it just didn’t really work. She would sit at the breast and suck and sleep and suck and sleep.

Luckily, the nurse who came in at 7am the next day (who we personally knew) took one look at my boob (only slightly awkward) and said “oh, you’re going to be just fine.” She helped a ton with getting me comfortable with different holds and showed me how to get her to open her mouth and latch wide. I feel like we really got the hang of it that day but it was still hard when you have a super dozey newborn.

Then on day 2, the day we were supposed to be sent home the nurse came in and said “The baby has lost just about the 10% where we want to begin supplementing. You need to feed her more.” Cue freak out. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to supplement.. okay, I didn’t want to supplement. I wanted to be able to sustain her from my body, I didn’t want to get bullied into this. I had read that weight loss is normal, and that this line they draw is just a way to make breastfeeding a science (Thank you, Dr Newman!). So I put her to the breast, struggled to keep her awake and then would put her on the other breast and try to get her to eat there, too.

The nurse brought in our paperwork to show us the chart of where C’s weight fell and how it increased her chances of jaundice and blah blah blah when Bryan said “that chart isn’t right.” Turns out the nurse who I did not like had written down her weight wrong at “2860” instead of “2680.” So when she was weighed on day 2 at 2575 she had really lost 3.9% and not 9.9%. Thanks for the freak out.

My milk came in the next day or so and we then battled engorgement. It was really hard for C to latch which resulted in her getting worked up, me getting stressed out and both of us being crying messes. I ended up being hasty with it and just getting her on the boob which resulted in a crack. Something no one should ever have to deal with. I’m pretty sure it hurt more than labour. Well, it traumatized me more, anyway.

I dreaded each upcoming feeding. I watched the clock in horror as I knew it was coming. I held back tears and was so close to my wit’s end it wasn’t even funny. I wanted to give up so badly. But Bryan supported me, rubbed my back as I cried and told me how great I was doing. At 4 days PP, C was back over her birth weight and at 10 days she was half a pound bigger than when she was born – something was working right and that was the biggest confidence boost I could have.

I met with an LC in the first week and have been in touch with her via email ever since. I bounce questions off of her and she reassures and supports me.

Come week 3 we had the crack all but healed and by one month my breastfeeding relationship with C was much better. It was something I was almost fully confident in and something I enjoyed doing. I would look down at my baby and, even though most time she closes her eyes and we don’t have that textbook connection, I know that I am sustaining her life with my body.

Now, at 7 weeks I look back on those days and think about how hard it was and understand why so many people turn to formula or pumping and bottle feeding. It is so hard in those early days and weeks and if you don’t have a solid support system around you it is so overwhelming. Now that I’m in a good place I can say that I am completely confident in breastfeeding and all it comes with. I can nurse in public without much care or shame, I can get C latched in any position and any lighting and I seriously appreciate the ease that comes with it. We’re planning our big Christmas trip back to our hometown and one thing I don’t have to worry about is how many bottles/how much formula I will have to buy or bring. I don’t have to worry about washing stuff out while we’re gone and I don’t have to worry about if C gets hungry having to get stuff together. It’s just so simple now.

I am so so happy I stuck through it and that it seems to be working for us at this point. I am so thankful for the supports around me and will never be able to replace this bonding time I get to have. I am thankful for the patience of my partner in the early hours of the morning when I was breaking down and ready to jump ship. I am thankful for the endless resources at my fingertips and I’m thankful for Dr. Newman and his APNO for being such a healing and all around amazing ointment. I am grateful that in almost any distressing situation, I can comfort her and provide for her without really doing anything but putting her to my breast.

So as I sit here, with C passed out, face resting on my chest with a full belly and a flickering smile on her face I am truly amazed at what I have been able to do.

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