Thursday, October 23, 2014

We Stand on Guard for Thee #ottawastrong

I'm sharing on BLUNTmoms the reason I will be wearing red tomorrow.
In respect of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and to show support of our Canadian Soldiers.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mom & Baby Must Haves

I'm no pro on parenting (especially as concluded by my clients)...But I have tried a lot of baby products over these past three and a half years. Confession time, when my first son was born I got to know my local postal workers too well. Related note, online shopping is so easy from your phone during midnight feedings! Which turns out, still counts as shopping to your credit card, just a heads up. 

tired mom, sleeping mom and baby, mom must have, baby must have

Third baby in and I've noticed a few things that I go out of my way to replace or make sure I have on hand for baby time.....

Wet bags 

We bought these to use with cloth wipes and cloth diapers. Even though the diapers don't see much action lately because I have a laundry problem, we still use them all the time. Wet bags are just great for general life, we pack them everywhere. The beach, outings, trips away. We even hang one in our pantry for dirty kitchen towels. When you have kids you WILL have gross things that need to be contained. They are also great for sorting your packing (a bag a day with the kids clothes and then you put them right back in for washing later). 

Nursing timer  

You can use and app or buy something like this. I've used both, they are especially useful if you need to block nurse and keep track of nursing time on each side, also for those days when you lose track of diaper changes. 

infant reflux, mom must haves

An inclined sleeper

I wish I had bought this sooner, especially with my daughter who had reflux. When we brought Dawson home, he wouldn't sleep longer than an hour when horizontal. No crib, no bassinet, no co-sleeper beside mom. Yet he would conk out all day in this Rock n Play. It is also great for travelling. 

Wool nursing pads

I may have compared my letdown to a ‘kegstand for infants’ so no question I need to keep myself outfitted with nursing pads. I have used wool nursing pads from baby numero uno. They wash easy, are super absorbant and double as coaster for your romantic glass of wine at the end of the night. 

wrap carrier, baby carrier, baby wrap, wear your baby, three kids under four, baby wearing

A stretchy comfy wrap

Wraps can be intimidating but once you get the hang of it you will love it. Get a wrap that has some stretch to it so it is forgiving of movement and easier on your shoulders. One thing I love about wraps is you control the tension and style. So wrap it quite high and tight to hold your newborn, or looser and on your back for your older baby. 

ONE great baby book

We all read them, but if you can, just pick one. This one is my top pick

A beautiful bra

Whether you are nursing or not, treat your ladies to something that makes you feel beautiful underneath the layers of over sized tees and spit up. 

phil & teds, explorer stroller, double stroller, three kids under four, car seat stroller

Double stroller with car adapter

If your pregnant wife is sobbing on the floor of Babies R Us because you two are so overwhelmed with stroller shopping, you would be smart to foot the bill on her first choice, even it seems excessive - because she will put miles on that bad boy. You should also get her some cupcakes too, just saying. If you are hoping to have kids close together, invest in a double stroller. A car seat adapter is a must too, no waking a peaceful baby, just lift the car seat from place to place and carry on with the day. 

Tummy Coverage

Sure these stretch marks are my battle scars and blah, blah, acceptance, blah. Yet, when I feel like a striped deflated balloon I prefer to keep these scars to myself while nursing. I keep covered with a belly band from pregnancy, an undercover mama or even a tank that I have cut below the bra for nursing access - the DIY version of this tank (warning, this last one will trigger many questions from your husband and jokes about wearing the altered tank at all times like a never nude). 

bottle warmer, mom must have, #aventmomsca

An AVENT bottle warmer

If you are a pseudo-hippie like me, you don't own a microwave.  Not that this helps your 'I'm not destroying the ozone' status when you pour gallons of hot water over a baby bottle to warm it up. After two babies and an embarrassing amount of treated tap water abused we finally are using a bottle warmer. It has a defrost setting, which is great when you leave for a girl's day and hubby is left with a freezer of your breast milk. It is also sleep-deprived friendly, you press turn the switch and it heats up in three minutes. It can also heat up baby food! There might also be some hot cocoa making and coffee reheating from time to time. Just saying. 

Another fabulous resource for a new mom is some online support. You can create an online account with My Phillips and receive email tips, product offers and advice on things like keeping fit during pregnancy, signs of labour, tips to soothe colic and teething. Moms that sign up earlier in their pregnancy can receive over $30 worth of coupons!

mom blogger campaign, phillips avent,


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Food Courts and Human Nature

I was alone with my two month old son last week. My wonderful sister offered to watch my two older kids while my husband was out of town. Along with her two, she would have four under four. I assumed she either acquired a recent head injury; needed some heavy handed womb-shushing; or had a box of shiraz on hand. Maybe two out of three?

So I hightailed it out of this small town to a city.

I ate delicious ethnic food, not from a pub. I slept in a bed that wasn't mine. I hit up Starbucks and Target like a pumpkin-spiced soccer mom on a Saturday.  And I lost myself in the sweet maze of lies called a mall.

We live a good two hours from any decent mall, so I came ready: stroller, deodorant and water bottle. I tried on all of the things. Took change room selfies and sent them out for opinion of the masses (aka my sister). I talked myself out of many pairs of shoes. I didn't follow my 'list' at all. I cornered twenty year olds in stores I shouldn't be shopping in and asked them where their coat was from.

Malls make me sweat, their bathroom lights make me look like the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. Being in a mall makes my hair frizz out and no matter what I'm wearing, I immediately want to buy a whole new outfit and put it on in the bathroom stall. Yet, there is this Bermuda Triangle in each mall where all your simple strolling and retail therapy comes to a screech: the food court. [Or a 'food mall' if you are my Dad, I'm not convinced he understands the overarching purpose of a mall]

On the surface it's a smelly, neon hall devoted to providing a range of culinary experiences at a fast food level. It sounds simple: 
1. Follow the arrows to the giant cafeteria, argue with your shopping buddies on the 'true' direction of the arrow
2. View the horseshoe of bright choices before you and pick what you're in the mood for
3. Put your steamy, overpriced meal and giant fountain pop on that warm plastic tray
4. Eye your friends, feel proud you could pick them out of the crowd like a real life Where's Waldo. Wave your arms and mouth words to your friends across the food court while you mime agreement on the best place to sit
5. Prop all your shopping around you and feel a little glutinous as you ram your wobbly plastic fork into your soggy entree
6. Feel a sudden ripple of fatigue and disappointment in your meal choice
7. Eat three quarters of your meal, vow to never eat at that stall again and leave with your arms lined in plastic bags, sticky hands gripping that giant pop, up-sold because you wanted to save 75 cents. 

During my recent mall trip I stopped at a sandwich stall I had been to before with good results. I sat on the outskirts of the food court and instantly got lost in my panini and a moment of 'God must have spent a little more time on you' as I sung into the stroller at my adorable baby. Yeah, I was totally that mom. 

As I was sitting and singing and crowd watching I noticed the behaviour of people approaching the food court. No matter the age, gender, lifestyle - everyone does the same thing. Their movement slows down, their eyes dart across the space and everyone gets that same overwhelmed look in their eyes.

Some will start the circle tour of the ring of choices. Some just sit and stare. Some have team meetings about all the options and who wants what. 

Really, if you are dating someone and want to know your possible compatibility- take them to a food court, while hungry.  Our primal instincts come out. We treat the choice of where we will eat like the contestant giving their final answer on who wants to be a millionaire. We have one shot. We are hungry and a wrong choice means an unpalatable plate of slop or a semi-edible version of vegetables. We also feel pressured to demonstrate to others our relationship with food, and our stomach and brain instantly are on opposite sides of the table. 

Do we eat healthy but possibly unsatisfying? Be daring and try something different? Go for the cheapest? Do we have to pick the same place as our companions? Do we have to share our different meals?! Why didn't I pack my own drink? Why are the forks so tiny? Why do I always forget napkins? Where is there a table big enough for all of us? What day is it?! I HAVEN'T EVEN ENTERED YET!? What is wrong with me!? I'm SO HUNGRY!!!!

At the entrance of the food court I witnessed couples arguing and hurling accusations; girls' volleyball teams scattering away in huffs; parents interrogating their kids on what they were hungry for; pairs of women talking themselves into salads they didn't really want and teenage boys auto-piloting to the taco bell stall. 

In a world we've built up to overflow with variety and choices and instant gratification, we can sure crumble like the bottom of the waffle cone over making the right choice. Simple is not so simple any more. 

But what do I know. I'm the messy haired mom, fidgeting with her nursing bra and wiping humus off her face while serenading her infant. I'm in my own world just a loving on this baby and panini like I stole them, and I don't even care. Because, seriously, God really must have spent a little more time on youuuuuu.....

Sunday, October 12, 2014

One Magic Thanksgiving {okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic}

I might start a new Facebook Group, one for white women over 30 who have never once made a turkey dinner. Entry requirements: never made an entire turkey dinner for company, and can sing Salt n Peppa's SHOOP (you know, just to confirm your age). 

In my instance this is not because spending the day in a steamy kitchen isn't worth the gravy coated rewards (I mean, I'm always in the kitchen anyways). Rather it is because of the generosity of others, mainly my mother in law, who pities this mama and comes to our BYOTD Thanksgiving. 

This year my neighbours have helped me maintain this status of lacking culinary achievements. After they picked up all our garbage that a bear scattered through the neighbourhood, they came and offered me some of their turkey dinner. 

I believe food is love. As in the growing of food, the preparing of food, the presenting of food, the giving of food is all such a simple and generous way to nurture and love on people. It is also one of the best ways to help a mom with a baby.

I also believe you can learn a lot about a person via their garbage contents. I could write a whole cringe-worthy post on what the diaper laden puzzle pieces of our life were portrayed for them in our garbage scatterings. Regardless, here is a couple who doesn't know us too well. Other than what they learn in cleaning up our shitty garbage and the stream of commands I'm shouting to the backyard at my kids. You know, things like 'don't play in that puddle of pee' and 'hit the tree not your sister' and lots of me counting to three. Yet they still knock on my door, tell me not to make dinner and then bring over this amazing spread that me and the kids ate. Them in their PJs and me with a glass of white I happened to have in the fridge. Yes, I saved some for Conor when he got home from work. I'm sure he was disappointed to miss out on Black Bean Burgers though. Either way, I had been having a hard couple days and my neighbours helped me and then gave me a warm delicious meal I didn't have to make! I felt like Ginny in One Magic Christmas. Then Dawson slept for six hours that night, so it WAS One Magic Thanksgiving!

I know this weekend can only get better as tonight we have our annual SOUPSGIVING. Where we go to my mom bestie's house and have soup she made and buns I made, along with other potluck items other friends are bringing. Other white girls over 30 who have never once made a turkey dinner might also call this a FRIENDSGIVING. Sophie started Soupsgiving on the basis of just being together and sharing some good food. Which is what we do together often, no matter how simple or eerily similar to 'this random array of crackers on fancy plates and the kid's leftover juice boxes ' it might be! 

I also pulled out the Thanksgiving journal and read back through over the past four years at the different people we've celebrated with and what they wrote in it. It hit me in the feels. The power of committing to your thoughts, then cementing them to words, to sentences, to paper. Especially when those words are sentiments of gratitude and positivity. Words, written in warm homes, with a glass of wine propped to the side. Thoughts that are set to the tune of toddler giggles and dishes clanking. Read aloud to share over a table full of love/food. 

Thanksgiving is the best. It is the proverbial pre-heating the oven for Christmas. And one day when I finally make a turkey dinner (while blasting the sweet bass of What a Man in my steamy chaotic kitchen) I hope to return the favour extended to me last night and love on someone with food. Because One Magic Thanksgiving truly starts with one person saying to another '...let's get drunk on gratitude, and here's a giant turkey leg'.

PS. This is my 300th post! Thank YOU for being such amazing readers. I am THANKFUL for YOU!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

The Mom With Lots of Kids

I'm on BLUNTmoms today talking about the comparisons we make in motherhood.
What measuring sticks do you use to assess motherhood? 
Sometimes we think more kid equals more mom. 
Here is an excerpt from the post, The Mom with Lots of Kids
Any common ground that unites us also becomes a measuring stick. For those in the season of motherhood, there are many measuring sticks to be tossed around followed by some metaphorical awards to the ‘best’. To the mom who is breastfeeding their toddler, who is birthing in a mountain spring, who is wearing all three children at once.  And then one silent shiny trophy is given to this mom: the mom with the most kids.  [READ ON....]

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