Hitting a Sleep Rut

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Little D has been an o-k sleeper. He had 20 minute cat naps as a newborn and I was always envious of people who had babies that slept for hours. His mutant hearing made us start using a noise machine in his room. All in all, however, he hasn’t caused us too much grief – until he hit 10 months of age.

At 10 months old he decided he was going to put up a big stink when going down at bedtime. He also decided I was the only one that would be able to give him his bedtime bottle, and put him down. Bedtime was always a task that was equally shared between my husband and I.

During a recent doctor’s visit, we mentioned our baby’s recent changes in sleep routine. She asked if he was sleeping through the night. We explained that he slept most nights but would experience night wakes once or twice a week. We also said that when he would wake in the middle of the night we would give him a bottle and put him back to bed. He would always fall asleep without any issues. His doctor recommended cutting out the bottle he gets during his night wakes. She explained that he was old enough and healthy enough not to need one. I will be honest, not giving him a bottle during night wakes hadn’t even occurred to me. I had been operating on mommy auto pilot.

When we got home from the doctor’s appointment I didn’t even know where to begin. My sister-in-law used an infant sleep consultant with her little one and had tons of success. I decided to email the consultant to see if I could get advice about Little D’s sleep issues and tips on how to eliminate the ‘night wake bottle’. His issues were really minor and I figured we could get them resolved pretty quickly. We had planned to start using the techniques the consultant outlined over the May long weekend. This didn’t go as planned. Little D came down with a cold, and I decided it was best to abandon the sleep training until the following weekend. BIG MISTAKE.

The long weekend was horrible. Little D was sick, and decided to skip one nap a day entirely. He was cranky when he was awake (because he was tired from skipping his nap).

Since the weekend he has taught himself a new trick. Yesterday he figured out how to pull himself up to standing in his crib. We have since lowered his crib to the lowest position. Now we have the added bonus of him crying in protest from an upright position.

Sleep training IS starting this weekend. The downward progression over a matter of days has been unbelievable. My quick emails about minor sleep issues have transformed into requiring a full blown sleep plan by a consultant. Hopefully we can get Little D back on track and restore sanity to our house once again.

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Profitable Spring Cleaning! Wait…What?

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The first official day of spring happened a while ago, but spring JUST arrived to the area I live in. We were hit with yet another snow storm the other week, and the last patches of snow on our grass just melted….in May. Needless to say the weather forced me to stay in winter hibernation mode and be lazy a little longer.

The sun FINALLY made its long awaited appearance with warmer temperatures to match. I’m finally feeling more energized and ready to start my spring (albeit late) spring cleaning. This year I’ve decided to take a bit of a different approach. It’s not just the usual purging of clothes, cleaning of closets, and dusting the neglected tops of kitchen cabinets. My husband and I have started a complete overhaul of our house. We are cleaning out closets and cupboards, brought boxes of items to our local donation facility, but have also started selling larger ticket items we no longer need. Everyone has that piece of exercise equipment, musical instrument, or some extraneous piece of furniture that doesn’t get used and collects dust.

If the piece of exercise equipment hasn’t been used for exercise in the last year or two, it goes! I hardly have a use for exercise equipment at the moment. My baby has become increasingly mobile, and I have a dog that needs walking. In my mind I already have two personal trainers that work for free. All I need are my own two feet.

So far things are going well with the spring overhaul. The house is a little less cluttered and it allows a stay at home mom like me to earn a little extra money. I highly recommend the spring overhaul! You’ll feel good about your home and your wallet will do ok too. Plus, those unloved items will find love once again. You can’t get more win-win than that.

Wednesday Wish List: The Gro Anywhere Blind from The Gro Company

The Gro Anywhere Blind by The Gro Company (gro.co.uk/gro-anywhere-blind)

The Gro Anywhere Blind by The Gro Company (gro.co.uk/gro-anywhere-blind)

I gave birth to a summer baby in 2012. Brightness didn’t bother my little newborn as he slumbered, but THIS summer will be a whole different ball game with my almost 1 year old. He still naps twice a day and needs the sleep. When he is awake is a quite a busy little man so a nice little re-charge for him is essential. Now that he is older, he is fighting the case of the ‘sleepies’ a little bit more. He wants to keep on playing with a toy with one hand, and rub his eyes with the other.

Keeping Little D’s room nice and dark for nap time makes things so much easier. If he attempts to nap in his room with light coming in, he wants to continue to play. This usually resorts in him rolling around in his crib for infinite amounts of time. We recently changed the curtains in his bedroom to the room darkening variety. This got me thinking – what would happen during travel?

The Gro Company has a product that answered my question. The Gro Anywhere Blind is a blackout blind with suction cups that can be secured to a window. Simply fold up the blind when you’re done and tuck it away in its travel case for easy storage. This is a simple yet effective solution! I love the idea of being able to create the perfect nap environment whether I’m at a hotel or out at the cottage.

My Love for Make-up and Pixiwoo!

My aunt looked on as a little girl sat in a chair at a department store make-up counter, putting copious amounts of blush on herself with glee. The little girl was me, and from what my aunt told me I was probably 3 years old at the time. My love for make-up started early, and still lives on to this day. I was always really into art of any kind. I loved to paint, do crafts, and colour. My dad said I would get mad whenever he would try to colour with me. I guess in my young mind he was disrupting the ‘vision’ for my masterpiece. Make-up was just another form of artistic expression.

As a mom, I’m no stranger to going without make-up. These days you’ll be more likely to find me at a grocery store au naturel than with make-up on. That doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my love for it, it just means I’ve been a little busy lately. Wearing make-up makes me feel good, and I desperately miss having it in my routine. I stumbled upon a little gem by the name of Pixiwoo when I was looking up youtube videos for make-up tutorials.

Two enormously charming sisters (and professional make-up artists), Samantha Chapman and Nic Haste, post youtube videos under the name ‘Pixiwoo‘. They offer make-up tutorials of all sorts (including tutorials on how to achieve celebrity looks), make-up reviews, upcoming trends, and more. I developed quite the girl crush on these ladies as I continued to watch the videos. They are easy to listen to and I enjoy the sisterly banter that sometimes takes place. They have re-ignited my love for make-up. I love that they do reviews on drug store finds as well. I’ve always loved a combination of high and low end products.

If you love make-up, you will love Pixiwoo!

My Journey into Exclusive Pumping

Medela Symphony Breast Pump

Medela Symphony Breast Pump

I had mentioned in a previous post about breastfeeding that I would consider doing a post about my experience with the world of exclusive pumping. Without further adieu, here it is:

It took a few days to birth my son. When I say that I mean that I endured gels for cervix softening, a foley catheter, 3 induction attempts (2 unsuccessful, 1 successful), 2 hours of pushing once labour progressed to the final stages, vacuum suction to Little D’s head, episiotomy, and lastly an emergency c-section once it was determined he was ‘stuck’. The trauma of the whole birth (and mainly the vacuum suction) led to my new little baby having to stay in the hospital’s NICU. There he received excellent care, recovered, was nourished with formula, and was where he stayed for a few days for observation.

After his birth I had a brief moment of visitation before I was wheeled away and sent to a hospital room to rest for the night. Like my little man, I too had a bit of a road to recovery (I had, after all, experienced two variations of delivery all in one night).

When I was pregnant I had went over my ‘birth plan’ in my head, envisioning how it would all play out. My baby would be born, I would hold him skin-to-skin, bond with him, gaze at him, cry, smile, and we would begin our breastfeeding journey. Instead I was in a darkened hospital room, sobbing about the separation, about what we had just experienced, how nothing went according to plan, and that I would have to sleep the night before attempting to start my milk supply.

My milk supply came in a few days later – thanks to those wonderful hospital grade pumps. I had everything I needed after a slow start – except a baby that would nurse. I tried everything imaginable and sought help from a lactation consultant. While she was an excellent resource, but her attempts with him at the office appointment were also unsuccessful. She explained that the bruising on his head from the vaccuum suction might be a factor in his lack of interest. There are many facial muscles involved to breastfeed, he didn’t like his head to be held in certain ways, etc. She still encouraged us to keep trying. After a couple weeks of attempting different techniques, holds, and equipment…we decided to abandon the idea of breastfeeding. I began researching information on mother’s who had to exclusively pump their breast milk only to feel discouragement. I read that exclusive pumping took tremendous dedication, was very difficult to maintain, was not really practical, and so on. The articles and forums I read were right. Exclusive pumping was all of the above.

I pumped 8 times a day at first. It was the most I could manage. My husband had to watch our son while I pumped, or I had to entertain Little D while he was in his bouncer and pump simultaneously. Then I had to feed what I pumped to Little D. Between pumping and feeding, it was like having twins. I was always doing one task or the other, with a break to wash bottles and equipment in between. It was a combined effort in our household. My husband helped with our son whenever he could so that I could pump. When he was at work I was on my own. I set an alarm in the night so that I could pump. It was an around the clock affair. My son had a knack for waking up shortly after I got into bed after my night pump. Sleep was scarce for a long while. I slept through my first night when he was 7 months old.

As discouraging as the information was that I read online, and as discouraging as this post may seem….I am happy to report I have JUST phased out my last pump. He is now 10 months old! Why did I keep it up? Didn’t all the previously mentioned facts seem unappealing? I’m sure I didn’t paint you a very good picture of exclusive pumping. I did it because as difficult and as frustrating as it was, it also brought me joy. As the weeks, and months went on I saw my baby grow and thrive. I was able to see the fruits of my labour in the little rolls that were forming on my once tiny tiny baby. He became increasingly stronger, I would almost forget that he started out so small and frail in an incubator. Pumping was the one thing that went according to plan after my labour and delivery experience threw me for a loop.

It’s been bittersweet to finally pack the pump away. Sometimes when I think back I wonder how we made it all happen, but we did. It was definitely a unique journey, but one that I was happy I did.

New Beginnings: My Career Change

I have recently decided to change the pace and switch careers. My new job comes with longer hours, pays much much less, and has a boss that can be very demanding. It also brings me MUCH more happiness. Of course I’m talking about my decision to send in my resignation at my current job in order to fulfil my desire to be a stay-at-home mom. It was not a decision that was taken lightly. In today’s economy when people are struggling to find or maintain employment, why would I give up a good salary position? Not to mention the benefits and pension were fantastic where I worked. I had to be insane right? That’s exactly what I said to my husband when he first brought the idea up: ‘That’s crazy, it won’t work.’ I couldn’t fathom the idea of giving up my benefits, pension, and position…not to mention the financial burden it would place on my husband.

Each week of my maternity leave that went by, I could feel my heart breaking a little more. I started to have trouble sleeping and felt consumed with anxiety about going back to work and leaving my son. My husband picked up on my increasing level of stress, and continued to suggest the possibility of me staying home. I would dismiss his idea time and time again, and actually got mad at one point that he kept bringing it up.

I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I wanted to be able to stay at home with my son, but also have the financial freedom to be able to buy him what I wanted and take him places. If I stayed home we wouldn’t have the financial freedom to go on trips, and I would have to curb my desire to buy him whatever cute outfit I passed by.

After going through our personal finances, I realized that while the budget would be tight – my desire to stay home could be possible. It doesn’t go without sacrifice. We went through our expenses with a fine tooth comb, and cut out expenses anywhere we could. (We had started doing this before I went on maternity leave to prepare for my lower income). It was actually a really good eye opener.

In the end, not being able to take care of Little D everyday would have been the greater sacrifice to me. It’s not a decision that’s best suited for everyone. It’s a very personal decision that I have made. I have much admiration and respect for working mom’s. I have respect for all working parents actually. It’s definitely an art to learn how to establish work-life balance.

Uh oh, I have to go! (The boss is nagging again, ha ha).

Momma Down!

I had every good intention of posting new content until a flu bug took over, and boy did it ever! I feel behind on my tasks this week…but nothing much was getting done while I was running on popsicles, gingerale, water, and soup. Worse than being sick was not being able to take care of Little D for a few days.

I’m finally back in the swing of things and feel like the little guy is snubbing me for my lack of involvement. Everything is ‘Dada’ now. Seriously, it’s all he says all day long. My husband is glowing around the house as the new favourite caregiver. I on the other hand, am feeling a little deflated.

I’m only teasing! I DO think it was a great opportunity for my husband to bond with Little D. I’ve always been around to help so they really had their boy time together. (Daddy admitted how tiring it was by the end of the day. hehehe BUT it’s very rewarding at the same time).

Wednesday Wish List: Chewbeads

Chewbeads

Chewbeads

There is never a dull moment with an 8 1/2 month old. Gone are the days when Little D would just fall asleep in my arms, or just calmly stay put while being held. Now he’s pulling on my shirt, snapping my bra strap, grabbing my glasses, grabbing my hair – or trying to chew on my chin, cheeks, or fingers. I can’t even wear hoodies with strings because he tries to pull them out to chew on them.

Chewbeads are a non-toxic line of jewellery for mom’s that are made from 100% silicone (same as pacifiers). They are safe for babies to chew on, can be washed with soap and water – you can even throw them in the dishwasher! They make necklaces as well as bracelets (which breastfeeding mom’s might find handy as a reminder of which side to nurse next).

I love their Perry design necklace (it doesn’t remind me so much of Wilma Flinstone).

Little D would love to play and chew on this necklace…and it might mean I would get to keep a few more strands of hair in my head.

Baby Gourmet: Satisfying Your Baby’s Inner Foodie

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I happened to stumble upon Baby Gourmet when I was shopping at my local Real Canadian Superstore. My doctor recommended that I introduce Little D to oatmeal, so I perused the store aisles. I must admit it was the Baby Gourmet packaging that first caught my eye on the shelf. Upon closer inspection I realized that it was certified organic baby food. It also didn’t have any added salt, sugar, artificial flavour, or colours. I grabbed a package of their Tasty Smooth Oatmeal and headed home.

I wasn’t expecting much out of Little D. He had been teething pretty bad, and his appetite for solids was mediocre at best. To my surprise, he gobbled the whole bowl of the Tasty Smooth Oatmeal up! Success! I was feeling optimistic about Baby Gourmet. My next trip to the grocery store I bought their Banana Raisin Oatmeal, and he loved it just the same.

Subsequent trips out grocery shopping had me exploring Baby Gourmet’s product line further. I found that their product was also sold at Walmart. This was good because I knew I had options if one store was out of stock. I discovered their line of fruit & veggie puree’s. I normally make my own baby food, but there will always be room in my pantry for a healthy convenience product. Admit it, there are moments when the pre-made variety is better. You don’t have to worry about refrigeration or ice packs, they are perfect when running errands, for travel, or just to keep in the diaper bag in case of emergency.

Baby’s Gourmet’s puree’s have such appealing flavour combinations, adults would even think they sound tasty. They offer puree’s such as: Juicy Pear and Garden Greens, Vanilla Banana Berry Risotto, Fruity Carrot and Greek Yogurt Smoothie, Vegetable Lentil Dahl, Fruity Chicken Tagine, Sweet Potato Pie, Banana Apple Kale, and so much more. These are packaged foods I can feel good about my baby eating. Kale? Who thought baby food would venture into more sophisticated territory beyond the typical green beans and peas.

Do Baby Gourmet’s products come at a heftier price tag than some of the other competitors? Yes – BUT the extra price is made up for by the comfort of knowing my baby is consuming a quality certified organic product. I can pronounce and understand the ingredients I read on the label. I don’t mind spending a bit extra for the peace of mind. By making a lot of my own baby food, I save money. I can then afford the more expensive convenience products when I need them. I’m also ok with foregoing a couple fancy latte’s for myself.

Maybe I have a little foodie on my hands, but so far Little D loves what Baby Gourmet has to offer. We can’t wait to try more of their purée’s! I highly recommend their products!

Liebster Award!!!

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The Liebster award goes to up-and-coming bloggers who were found inspiring by their peers. I have graciously been nominated by fellow blogger, Diana, of Moms Living Leaner! Thank you so much Diana!

To accept the nomination I have been instructed to answer the questions below from Moms Living Leaner to help give fellow readers more insight about me. I then have to nominate blogs that I find intriguing/inspiring.

Other particulars:
-Thank the person who gave you the nomination
-Post the award on your blog!
-Notify your nominees with a link back to your post
-Create a new set of questions for those you nominate

Diana’s questions pour moi:
1.) What is the single greatest moment of your life thus far?

The single greatest moment in my life has been having my son. I am still in awe of him. I’m in awe of the whole process actually. I just stare at his little hands and feet and think “wow! I grew him in my belly!”
2.) Would you like to live to 100?
If I still had my mind and the stamina of a person half my age then sure, I wouldn’t mind living to 100.
3.) How do you take your coffee? Cream and sugar or straight up?
I take my coffee with 2% milk. I tried to cut back to skim milk in my coffee, but I can’t handle the odd hue of blue it turns.
4.) What fictional character would you like to meet and why?
Ha – the only thing I could think of at the moment is Robb Stark or Jon Snow from Game of Thrones…Mainly because it’s fresh in my mind from just having watched the second season. My reasoning? YUM, that is all.
5.) What prompted you to start your blog?
I started it as a hobby. I’ve learned a lot in my short time being a parent (and will continue to learn). I’m not claiming to be a ‘know it all’ because I don’t. I just hoped someone might be able to benefit from one of the product reviews, ramblings, or other tales I have from my journey. Or maybe people will just think it’s fun to read? I have fun writing it!
6.) Who would you really love to read your blog?
I would love to have anyone read my blog. Really, I am just amazed I have been able to conjure up the followers I already have. Thank you all for reading!
7.) Tell us one of your guilty pleasures?
Oh my, where do I begin?
TV – Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s, TMZ, The Bachelor (Oh Sean, you dreamboat!), Buckwild (extremely embarrassed about this one)
Food – Sometimes when I’m really desperate for chocolate, I grab the chocolate chips out of the pantry. Now THAT’S desperate.
Life – I left the house right before Little D’s bedtime. When I came home my husband told me he cried ‘Mama’ for an hour before finally going down to bed. I felt bad, but the other part of me got all mushy and felt loved.
8.) What’s your favorite holiday?
Christmas!!! Mainly I love everything that leads up to Christmas. I start getting festive at the beginning of November. *gasp* This isn’t as shocking because I’m Canadian and we already have Thanksgiving in October. I love getting the Christmas music out, doing some baking, put up the tree and decor, and start watching the Christmas classics. A MUST watch in my house is Christmas Vacation.
9.) What is your favorite book?
I’m still a sucker for the Harry Potter series in its entirety. I can’t pick one.
10.) What is one thing you should throw away but just can’t bring yourself to do it?
Little D’s umbilical cord. LOL I kid! That thing shrivelled up so small I would have mistook it for a raisin had I kept it!
11.) Name one thing that makes you, YOU.
One of my co-workers jokingly calls me ‘Yoda’. I guess I can come off more mature for my age? A bit of an old soul. At least that’s what I tell myself in hopes that it’s not because of any sort of resemblance.

I nominate the following blogs:
1) Moms Living Leaner (not that you have to do the process again, just know that I find your blog inspiring)
2) Being Mummy (not that you have to do the process again, just know that I find your blog inspiring)
3) I Run With It
4) From Wine to Whine
5) Confessions of a Blonde Mom
6) Blonde with a Baby

My questions for them:
1) What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
2) What’s the one song that gets you pumped up?
3) What would I find in your fridge right now?
4) What’s your favourite dessert?
5) Are you a morning person or a night owl?
6) What was your favourite childhood memory?
7) What would be your dream occupation?
8) What is the one beauty product you can’t live without?
9) How would you describe your personal style?
10) What is your favourite movie?
11) Who inspires you?