Category Archives: Family

Favourites: Mommy Resources

As a first time-mommy, I once was in a vast land of options and opinions with very little direction. Eventually, I found my way to a few resources that really helped me to focus. The first of these resources is Baby Center. Not only does Baby Center have answers to many, if not all of the questions I had. Once you sign up, you get to follow your pregnancy with a timeline that sends you emails every week with progress. This progress continues once your baby is born! It’s funny, because Brady always checks baby center every time that Atlas has a new month birthday; reading the expected milestones out loud and discussing Atlas’ development with me. It’s really exciting that he is taking such a keen interest in our baby, and I love that Baby Center makes this information available to us in an easy to understand and access platform.

There’s also ‘birth clubs’- I happen to be in two, because Atlas was due in September so I was a member of the Sept 2013 club my whole pregnancy, then joined the August club when he was born early. I really enjoy being in contact and discussion with other moms across Canada who’s babies are the same age as Atlas. It’s a great way to share your progress, questions and concerns with like-minded Canadian mommies.

Prior to having Atlas I was overwhelmed with options for registries. While I was far from family and not expecting a baby shower, I do like to keep things organized and I did have friends asking if there was anything they could gift us with. I found Baby List after the babies’r’us registry on the website didn’t work. I was glad that I did. It is a really neat website that allows you to build a comprehensive registry with products from any website. I put a lot of ‘generic’ products in, too. Since we weren’t picky about brands and cost (thrift shops for the win!) I wanted a list built around ideas, rather than specific brand-names. (This was also born of my inherent discomfort in the idea of ‘registries’- I hate feeling like I am ‘expecting’ or asking for a gift, or being entitled to something.) At any rate, I built our ‘registry’ really easily with this site, and found sharing it equally easy.

What’s even better, is that now that I’ve been a mom for a while, I’m enjoying writing reviews of products we’ve enjoyed or regretted buying on weeSpring. It’s an awesome site made even better if you have friends using it. The idea is that people you know are writing reviews on products; instead of some random stranger on the toys’r’us website, it’s me or you writing the review for our friends to read. There’s also the option of selecting ‘I want’ on products that I don’t have, which is kind of like continuing a registry, or at least an organized compilation of wants. Also, because I had reviewed enough products and showed interest, I was made a featured parent on the weeSpring site! This means I got a blurb and new members might get directed to follow my reviews on products. It’s pretty exciting and while I am still a new mommy, I did feel that our view of functionality following form and appreciation of affordability and quality was a valuable one.

So go check them out and see if they’re helpful to you!

Image

Advertisements

Throwback: Two months old

Dear Atlas,

 

You were such a sweet little guy when you were this little. You couldn’t roll or squirm away from my snuggles and kisses. You just loved staring at me, and I loved staring at you. Your eyes were so big and curious and blue; I could look at them for hours. You just started discovering facial expressions. From a blank stare, your face would transform into the most brilliant smile when I would coo at you. You also discovered the ‘sour’ expression, from which we all got much glee.Your biggest joy was eating, and of course, snuggling. You would sleep in my arms for hours and hours; so content nuzzled up to your mama’s skin. I loved the feeling of you in my arms, pressed against my heart; where you belong.

Image

Now I look back at these photos and what life was like then, and I remember thinking I couldn’t love him anymore. That he couldn’t get more interesting and exciting and beautiful and wonderful than he was in that moment. And while, yes, my experience at the time was fantastic, and he was definitely perfect- he’s changed so much since then and we’ve grown so much in our relationship.

Back then, even at two months, I was still so unsure of myself as a mother. I felt, partly, like someone had put this doll in my arms and said, “feed him when he cries, change his diaper when it’s dirty, and don’t wake him up if he’s sleeping” – and that was it. I had nothing else to go off of. Oh, sure, I have four little brothers that I grew up helping care for, and yes, I did my fair share of babysitting in my youth, but none of that really prepares you for being the SOLE caregiver for a human life.

Image

As a big sister, mom and dad were always just a holler away, or maybe at work or the shopping mall- but they were always coming back and I didn’t have any real responsibilities other than to keep my brothers from killing one another while they were in my care. As a babysitter, the parents always came back in a matter of hours; if I was lucky, the kids were in bed the whole time. Worst case scenario I had to feed a baby some food, change one diaper, and plunk it in a crib. Done.

Image

There were no parents coming to get this little boy. No one to give me a well-detailed schedule telling me when and how to feed him, what time he should go to bed and nap at, how long he should nap for, and if this or that were normal. No one to tell me how to do this.

And even two months in, I was still struggling.

I was drained mentally, emotionally and physically. While, yes, he was a fairly ‘easy’ baby as far as babies go, he was still a baby and I was still recovering from his surprise, two-week-early- arrival.

 

I am not really sure where I’m going with this other than to say that it took me a long time to feel comfortable. To feel confident in what I was doing. Even now, I struggle and I imagine I will struggle forever. Even when my kids are old and have kids of their own; how can you ever really know if what you’re doing is the best for them? It’s so hard! There are so many choices and things that could go wrong. It’s hard not to worry that you’re screwing your kid up royally by putting him to bed at the ‘wrong’ time or feeding him the ‘wrong’ baby-cereal (or cereal at all for that matter)

Now, now, I feel much more like a mama. I feel like I know my baby so much better than I did before- which I suppose only makes sense seeing as how we’ve spent every day for over seven months together… instead of just one or two. But it just seems crazy how much things can change in such a short span of time.

Maybe I’m feeling reminiscent because he looks so big lately; like a toddler more than a baby sometimes. Plus, when he holds his head just right, he looks so much like his daddy that it breaks my heart a little- in the best way possible. And I imagine what he will be like as a man; a good man, just like his daddy. Realizing that that’s actually going to happen one day makes me so freaked out.

IMG_6471

Okay. Well. That was really rambly; I’m sorry. Hope you enjoyed the adorable photos, anyway. 🙂

Happy 7 Months!

Image

Well, a special little someone turned 7 months old today. Every month that goes by I wonder at all the changes that have happened since he was born. Not only in him physically and mentally, but in me; in us, our family. It’s strange to think that a year ago today I was dealing with morning sickness and the idea of being a parent was still incredibly foreign. Yes, I was very (visibly, by this point) pregnant, but we still could do whatever we wanted at the drop of the hat. I thought marriage was restricting; try having a baby with a schedule and needs. Not that I mind, of course, it’s just such a drastic life change. It’s a change for the good; a step toward our future, our family. Atlas has been such a blessing; helping my heart grow bigger and my patience grow stronger.

Image

I know, in my head, that there was one point in our lives when Atlas wasn’t here. But when I think about that, it almost just makes me sad. No amount of middle-of-the-night McDonald’s runs, spur-of-the-moment theatre dates, or sleeping in until noon makes me want to go back there. Life is not the same now; it’s better.

Image

When he smiles up at me with his big, open-mouthed grin, or when he raises a quizzical eyebrow, my heart bursts with love. And when he cries his pitiful, whiney cry, punctuated by squeals and screams, and I can hold him close and comfort him to calmness, my heart bursts. Yes, we have our days where my head feels like it’s going to burst and I just want him to sleep, sleep, sleep. Of course, there are evenings when I am counting down the minutes until he goes to bed so I can relax. But those are small drops in an ocean of moments I have with him; and the overwhelming majority of that ocean is wonderful.

Image

It’s hard to imagine that one day (hopefully) he will have a little brother or sister, and that our love will extend to encompass him or her, too. And that we’ll love that new little person just as much as we love Atlas. It’s hard to fathom, and sometimes I whisper when putting our baby to sleep, “How could I ever love anyone as much as I love you?” And I honestly do wonder. I’m sure when that day comes (in the distant future, sorry guys) I will understand. But for now, his bright blue eyes and gummy smile are my whole world.

IMG_8629

THOSE Booties

BREAKING NEWS! 

Remember those booties that I couldn’t figure out the origin of? Well, I asked the lovely ladies in my ‘August 2013 birth club’ over at BabyCenter.ca if they’d ever seen those booties before; and if so, where the heck were they from.

TURNS OUT the illusive, fantastic, brilliant booties are from Dollarama. Dollar. Ama. As in, they cost $3 and stay on his feet better than the $30 Robeez. So run out and buy these for those baby showers you’re attending in the near or distant future. Seriously, they cost less than the greeting card you probably bought to go with your gift. I’m waiting… go get them.

Image

Outfit of the week: Blue baby, blue!

So this week, Atlas grew into a plaid shirt that was given to us my a friend. I was so happy. I love plaid. I know I haven’t posted enough outfits for you to get that idea, but believe me; it will soon become very evident.

Image

I’m not a giant fan of blue; I mean I like the colour and everything, but when it comes to dressing boys in blue and girls in pink, I think the concept is tired. So it’s not like I avoid blue, but I typically don’t build Atlas’ outfits around that scheme. This one just happened by accident.

Someone's channeling his inner model!
Someone’s channeling his inner model!

No one is mistaking this dude for a princess!

The shirt is, once again JoeFresh (you’ll soon learn that their style and affordability have me wrapped around their little finger.) The jeans, which are far too wide-legged for my liking are George (Walmart.) My quest for a boy ‘skinny’ jean for babies with enough room for a diaper is as yet unsuccessful- if there are skinny jeans in the appropriate shape, they are bedazzled to crap or have kitten appliques on them. Needless to say that’s not really my thing, or Atlas’ for that matter (from what I can tell so far.) When these terribly wide-legged jeans are paired with a chunky bootie, though, the effect is not as obvious and I don’t actually mind how it looks.

The booties; ah, these magical booties. He’s been wearing them since Christmas – pretty much every day. They stay on his feet, they are warm, they don’t twist around or bunch up. They are the picture of what a baby bootie should be. I have had so many other moms ask me where I got them. And I can’t remember.

Isn’t that the worst? I have to say, the fact I can’t remember says something about the overwhelming generosity of our friends and family. We’ve been given so many gifts that I find it incredibly hard to keep track of who gave what and when. I’m fairly certain they were a Christmas gift, but from whom I sincerely cannot say. What I do know is that there is no branding on them whatsoever. I cannot figure out where they came from.

If you’re brave (and talented) enough, try making them.Image

Image

Family Friday: Milestone Mania

So, a certain little boy has been blazing through the milestones. He’s a week short of being seven months old and already this;Image

He’s learned to sit on his own, army-crawl and pull himself up to standing all in the span of a month and a half. How crazy is this kid? He’s also gotten big enough that he had to move out of his infant carseat and into a ‘big boy’ car seat- still rear facing, but no longer one we can carry around. Which is just as well, because at over 20lb, that thing was a supreme pain in the butt to hoist up to our third floor walkup!

Image

I do worry, though, that this whole speeding through these milestones thing is starting to take a toll on him. The poor guy is starting to have even rougher nights than usual; he used to wake up after 6 hours then every 4 after that. Now he is waking up every 3, at least. Usually after 4am he wakes up once on the hour; can’t seem to get back to sleep all the way. I’ve read that a change in sleep patterns can be attributed to physical growth spurts and also milestones like sitting and crawling which are effecting his brain development and cause all sorts of craziness with a baby’s routine. This was a helpful article that has to do with sleeping and milestones.

Image
Isn’t this hilarious? I know that it’s blurry and not at all studio quality, but I couldn’t help but laugh at his expression.

He is still as wonderful as ever; his joyful moments of triumph are just punctuated with half-hour spurts of nonsensical crying. Crying that even my snuggles and rocking won’t help. Which makes me even more firmly certain that it is his teeth; despite the fact that I can neither see nor feel them through the gums. Stay tuned, though, I’m sure we’ll have a pearly-whites photo in the near future!!

Image

 In other news, Brady’s internship is finalized and we are staying put! We’ll be here until (at the earliest) April 2016. It’s kind of a relief that we won’t have to move cross-country twice in an 18 month span, but at the same time a little sad that we’ll still be so far away from family. I am glad that this internship is providing us with a break from the University; having Brady at a 9-5 position for a little will really give us a chance to spend some time doing normal family stuff. Also, two bedroom apartment; here we come! As soon as I can work out the logistics and figure out our new budget. We are so there! I am really hoping that Atlas having his own room will help with some of our sleep problems; but that might just be a pipe-dream!!

Pattern Day: Simple slouchy baby beanie

Image

I love this hat, and I love the way it looks and feels and fits. It is a little large for Atlas right now (the ribbing, as you can see, isn’t very stretched) , but I’m okay with that because he is a growing boy and that means it will fit him for a few months.

I feel that the seed-stitch panel might be a little feminine, but not so much that Atlas can’t rock it 🙂 I might go with a stockinette stitch next time for a boy’s hat. You could also do a cluster of cables on one side.

Anyway, as promised here is the pattern;

Size 3 DPN needles

Size 6 DPN needles

 

(You could knit this on one large round needle, at it’s largest, but the hat is small enough- for a baby- that I found it manageable on DPNs)

Cast on 70 stitches in smaller needles

(Knit one, purl one) ** repeat around; continue ribbing in this way  for 1.5” from cast on edge.

Knit 7, knit 2 together (x 7) (63 sts)

Switch to bigger needles and knit every round until piece measures 5” from cast-on edge (for more slouch, add length)

If you want a panel with a different stitch (The hat pictured has a seed-stitch panel), knit the first 15 stitches of the round in seed stitch, or purl stitch.

Decrease at the end of the hat;

Knit 6, k2tog** repeat around (56)
Knit 1 round
Knit 5, k2tog** repeat around (49)
Knit 1 round
Knit 4, k2tog** repeat around (42)
Knit 1 round
Knit 3, k2tog** repeat around (35)
Knit 1 round
Knit 2, k2tog** repeat around (28)
Knit 1 round
Knit 1, k2tog** repeat around (21)
Knit 1 round
Knit2tog** repeat around (14)
Pull the rest of the yarn through the remaining 14 loops. Secure and weave end in.

Image