Mason – 7 Months Old

7months2

I don’t know why 30 days make such a difference, but the sudden realization that we have less than half a year left before this little one turns 1 is crazy to me.

It has been a very busy month for us. June is always kind of a crazy time with events (including big brother finishing up his first karate session and graduating from dufferdoo), birthdays (I turned 33, for instance!) and anniversaries (Ours! 6 years married now). Being out and about didn’t slow Mason down at all. He has been getting more and more vocal, more mobile and more himself. He is growing so freaking fast!

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Where we are now:

  • Diaper Size: Pampers Size 4, cloth diapers in size 2
  • Clothing Size: Depending on the brand, between 9-18months.
  • Favourite Clothes: Clothes are a struggle with this guy. He is smaller than Liam was, and shaped very differently. He HATES getting dressed and especially hates things going over his head and overalls.
  • Nicknames: Mace and Macey, bubba, small fry, turd, petit frite
  • Loves: Rolling, cobra pose, avocados, yelling, banging, splashing, chewing, bouncing, standing, his family, water, Tinga Tinga Tales on Netflix, Cole (the cat), his bunny.
  • Hates: His carseat and the car, medicine,  getting dressed, sleeping.
  • Updates: His two middle bottom teeth finally broke through and now we are working on the uppers. He is  CRANKY teething bear these days. We have been fighting yeast rashes and have had to use disposables while the battle wages. He has started moving around on his own. He rolls around a room, does circles and scoots backwards. He also takes a few steps if we support him standing. He loves to sit up on his own, but has a bad tendency to throw himself over when he’s ready to do something else, resulting in many head bumps. He has been hating naps and sleep lately, which makes for a very tired mama.
  • He is still refusing the bottle, but has started eating food. His favourites at the moment are avocado and apple slices and peanut butter. He HATES baby cereals and purees with a passion (a puking passion). Peaches seem to cause him to break out in little bumps. He’s finally starting to get a bit better in the carseat, but still doesn’t love it. I still wear him all the time, especially for naps because nothing else works for me. Bath time is his favourite thing EVER.

New Baby Checklist, Part 2: The Checklist

Welcome to part two of my New Baby Checklist posts!  As I mentioned in part one, I had a friend ask me for help and suggestions as she started her shopping for her upcoming December baby. I put together a list of things that I found helpful with L and that I find people seek out at the store where I work.

Please note: This post is not sponsored, however some links will be amazon affiliate links, as well as links to stores that I love. 

If you would like me or my family to review a product, or would like to send us something, please shoot me an email at inamongtheheather@gmail.com

header image for the new baby checklist

Here is the pdf copy of the list, to print and bring along with you shopping. Personal recommendations are only found on this post, not the pdf.

Nursery/Bedroom

sleeping

  • Somewhere safe for baby to sleep. Refer back to Part One here. For the sake of argument and simplicity, let’s go with what is most common here in Canada: A crib. I recommend something sturdy that has the option to convert into a toddler bed down the line. If that’s too far our of your budget, IKEA Cribs has some beautiful modern options.
  • Mattress for crib. You want something firm and, ideally, water resistant for quick clean ups.
  • Sheets for Crib (3, so that if one is in the wash or if baby is sick, you’re not screwed). I prefer flannel, as it isn’t as shockingly cold when you put baby down
  • Mattress cover if mattress isn’t liquid resistant or proof.
  • Baby Monitor. We kept it pretty simple. I wanted to be able to hear baby clearly. We really like our Avent monitor, though they don’t seem to be as easy to find these days. You can splurge on a video monitor or try a cheaper alternative of a webcam that has night vision (we picked up a cheapie from walmart that works great).
  • Glider/Chair/somewhere to sit while nursing or settling baby for bed.  We splurged here and got a La-Z-Boy recliner/rocker, similar to this one. It is the best thing ever.
  • Storage for Clothing and baby stuff. Old dressers work great, or closets.
  • Swaddle blankets if you plan on swaddling (said to help baby sleep better. Aden and Anais muslin blankets are great and have many uses beyond just swaddling. We have several of them. You can also go with an actual swaddler like a Miracle Blanket or a Woombie)
  • Humidifier. We have a Crane one.
  • A wet bag for cloth diapers or a garbage/diaper genie for disposables. My favourite wetbags are the Rumperooz Kanga Care or the Planet Wise bags.
  • Black out curtains
  • White noise machine or something like a twilight turtle/sleep sheep/whatever

Clothing

clothing

Make sure not to just get newborn size stuff. Some babies don’t stay in NB for longer than a couple weeks!

Diapering

diapering

  • Diaper Bag. Your diaper bag really depends on you. I know plenty of people who just use a MEC messenger bag or backpack. Some people want something unisex that both you and your partner can carry. Other people want something that looks more like a purse, or maybe something budget friendly, or maybe something that is really durable and has a life time warrenty. I have a collection of diaper bags, and each option has it’s own pros and cons. This is what I use: Timi & Leslie Abby for every day use (click here for my video review), Timi & Leslie Marie Antoinette for every day use, Ju Ju Be Be Prepared for longer outings/day trips, Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxt Back Pack when babywearing.
  • Changing station or change pad (many diaper bags will come with a pad. We use our Ju Ju Be change pad for most of our bum changes)

Either:

  • 24 Cloth Diapers in either one size or size 1
  • 3 big wet bags, one small
  • Wipes (disposable or cloth)
  • Cloth friendly bum cream (Substance, or Earth Mama Angel Baby)

OR

  • Newborn Diapers (1-2 boxes…babies bust out of these pretty quick)
  • Size one Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Genie (we have two, one for each floor) and refills
  • Bum Cream (some people swear by Zinc based creams like Sudocream or Grandma El’s. I prefer cloth friendly creams. L always had bad reactions to Zinc based creams)

I will be posting all about cloth diapers in the near future, so let me know if there are any specific brands you want to know about or questions about cloth you’d like answered.

Here is my first post on Cloth: Why Cloth.

Winter Gear (depending on your climate. I’m having a December baby in Ontario)

winter

  • One thicker snowsuit for being outside in colder weather, where you might have baby in a stroller. Columbia is my favourite bunting suit.
  • Thin fleece suit that is safe for the carseat (here’s a great one from Columbia). Please read this amazing post by The Car Seat Lady for everything you need to know about keeping baby safe and warm in the car.
  • Thumbless mittens, Hat. You can find some adorable and toasty options out there. For hats, I would recommend something with ear flaps or that is long enough to cover baby’s sensitive ears. Babies sometimes hate mittens, but I have had good luck with keeping mimitens or stonz mittens on L when he was bitty.
  • Warm Legs through leggings, legwarmers or wool. L wore a lot of baby legs as a wee babe. Merino Wool is a great option too, as it helps keep baby warm without overheating. Bumby is a great option.
  • Footwear. For tiny babies, I would recommend something warm and soft, rather than a soled boot. You don’t really need solid boots until kiddo is coming in contact with the snow/ice. A popular option here in Ottawa is Padraig slippers with Stonz boots, We used winter robeez with L with warm socks and found it was enough.

Feeding

feedingbottle

If Breastfeeding:

If Formula Feeding:

  • Bottles and Nipples
  • Sanitizing Tray
  • Formula
  • Bottle Brush
  • You can get fancy with bottle warmer, neat formula mixing bottles (Like the Mixie) or the formula Keurig like machines out now (Baby Brezza is the name I see most).

Travel

travel

  • Car Seat. The great debate, of course, is bucket versus convertible. I went with bucket, so that I could bring in a sleeping baby and use the bucket seat in our stroller. We love our Graco Snugride, as we tend to make big babies and wanted it to last. Diono Radian is also highly regarded, as is the Clek Foonf or Fllo.
  • Stroller. Another one that is really dictated by your lifestyle and needs. We wanted something that would do well in the winter, on the trails at the dog park and would retain it’s value. We chose the BOB Revolution SE.
  • Mirror for the car so you can see baby in the back.
  • a couple car seat/stroller toys
  • A carrier (Stretchy wrap like a Moby or Boba for the early days, and then a structured buckle carrier for when baby is a bit bigger. We loved the Beco Gemini). A full babywearing post to come!

First Aid and Safety

safety

  • Nasal Aspirator (Nosefrida is gross but awesome)
  • Hydrasense Spray
  • Infant Tylenol/Tempra/Advil/Motrin/whatever (I recommend dye free)
  • Infant Ovol/Gripe Water
  • Baby Nail Clippers
  • Baby thermometer. We love this one by Braun.
  • Baby Gates and Baby Proofing Stuff (mainly outlet covers, cupboard locks)
  • Small first aid kit

Toys

playmat

Bathing

bathtime

  • An infant tub or the kitchen sink
  • Gentle baby wash (I love Original Sprout or LiveClean)
  • Soft Face cloths
  • Hooded Towels
  • A few bath toys

Other Gear

highchair

  • Pack and Play
  • High Chair
  • Bouncy/Vibrating Chair or a Swing
  • Soothers (Avent were the only ones that worked for L and we tried SO MANY. Wubbanubs and Gumdrop are super popular too)
  • Receiving blankets (act as burp cloths, swaddles, blankets, nursing cover, you name it!)

Great Books and Apps:

  • Wonder Weeks app and Book
  • Baby Led Weaning book
  • Baby Connect App
  • Happiest Baby on the Block book

Please note that these are just my personal recommendations. In no way do I guarantee or represent these products.  Please do your own research and use your own judgement when purchasing and using any products for your family.

The rest of the Baby Basics Series:

New Baby Checklist, Part 1: The Basics

Babies are expensive. For such tiny little creatures, many retailers would have us believe that you need a whole lot of stuff to survive those first few years. I work at a baby and maternity store, and with Baby M on the way, I have really been thinking about what we need versus what we want. Of course, having done this all once before has been a huge help, and we definitely have a better idea of what worked for us and what was a waste of time and money.

A girl from my due date group is having her first and is overwhelmed by options. I sent her a list I put together and thought that maybe it would be helpful to others. When I think about where we are now, compared to where we were when I was pregnant with L, I realized that a lot has changed. With L, we were both working and had decent savings. I had paid maternity leave coming up. This time, I work part time, with no paid mat leave and practically no savings. I know how important it is to know what your options are for different budgets, as well as an idea of what you actually NEED versus what you might just want. So, before getting to the checklist, here is a break down of what a you need for a new baby.

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Note: This post is NOT sponsored. I have used these products and love them, that’s it. I am not being compensated in anyway for talking about them. 

So, what do I actually NEED to keep this baby alive?

Let’s break this down to the very very basic stuff. What are the things that a human infant need to live?

  • A safe place to sleep
  • Clothing to protect them from the elements
  • A food source
  • A plan for their waste products
  • Something to safely get them from A to B.

That’s it, really. One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned about having a baby is that you can make anything as simple or as complicated as you please. This applies to everything, for the most part, and is especially true when it comes to baby gear. Baby Stuff is a huge industry and if we believe what advertisers and retailers tell us, we need ALL THE THINGS to be successful loving parents. I couldn’t disagree more. I think every family is different, has a different home,a different set of priorities, a different style and a different budget. I also think that there is nothing wrong with anyone one that scale, so long as the child is having their needs met.

To start, I’m going to talk about these basic needs and then I’ll get into options. Eventually, I’ll get into the actual checklist, I promise. Stay turned for Part 2.

A Safe Place to Sleep

sleepbassinet

So, this really depends on you and your comfort level. Bedsharing, Co-Sleeping, a laundry basket, a large box, a bassinet, a floor bed, a pack and play, or a crib. You have options. And yes, those are all real options. You can use a combo of these, change things up as your family’s needs change.

I don’t claim to be a sleep expert or a baby safety expert, so please take all of this with a grain of salt and follow your own gut and comfort level. From my own experience and reading, a safe sleep space basically means a place where baby can sleep comfortably, without anything that become an obstruction to breathing or that may pin baby in a position where they cannot breathe. A firm mattress or surface is recommended, with no blankets, pillows, or stuffies. The concept behind the laundry basket, the box, bassinet, pack and play and crib are a seperate baby-only space. With bedsharing, I stress that is not recommended for those who are very heavy sleepers, who take medication to help them sleep, those who drink or do drugs before bed or those who move around a lot in bed at night. Floor beds are essentially a mattress on the floor for baby to sleep on, which requires a safe room (furniture anchored to the wall, cords out of reach, etc…) in case baby ends up out of bed.

As you can imagine, these options range from free (sharing your own bed), to cheap (repurposed laundry basket with a soft surface) to more expensive (cribs really can range from hand-me-down to custom and extremely expensive).

sleeppackandplaysleepcribsleepfloorbed

What we do: We did a combination of things. For a while, L slept in bed with me. Eventually, we added a pack and play and a hand me down cradle for naps. He then moved to a crib in our room (considered co-sleeping, and is recommended by Health Canada) for all sleeping when we found he slept better on his own. For his first birthday, he was gifted a custom montessori style bedframe (basically a floor bed with a low frame to encourage him not to roll out) by his Nanny and Grammy, and so we moved him to his own room. We plan on doing basically the same thing with Baby M. The crib is all set to go beside our bed, the pack and play is ready for main floor naps and I expect to have him in our bed for the first couple of months.

Clothing to protect them from the elements

clotheswarm

This one is pretty obvious. Naked babies are adorable, but tend to get chilly and cranky. Depending on your climate, you need different things for baby. I don’t want to get too far into the specifics here, but I think the key is that every baby is different. I run cold, pretty much all the time. My kid, on the other hand, is a freaking furnace. As a baby, he was miserable when he was too hot. The best way to prepare? Layers. Diaper Shirts/Onesies, long sleeved and short. Leggings, sleepers, socks. That will pretty much get you through. Don’t spend a tonne on newborn sized stuff, as you have no idea how long your kiddo will actually be in them. For L, it was about a month. He stayed in 3-6 month stuff a bit longer, and lived in 6-12month stuff a bit longer.

For the great outdoors, your climate will dictate your needs. Car seat safe snowsuits, hat, mitts, boots for us winter folks, Sun hats, breathable layers for those of you who live in the heat.

Budgets get a lot of room here. You can buy new, at top end stores for those who want to and can. For those with tighter budgets, become familiar with your local consignment stores, join freecycle or buy nothing groups, ask friends and families for hand-me-downs. Those of you in the middle can shop sales (there is always a sale around the corner! Talk to your parent friends or  online groups. Often parents already have an ear to the ground),

babyclothes

What We Do: I work in a consignment store, so I stalk the super cute clothes and shop the sales (last night I snagged some clothing for L off our dollar rack). When money was a bit better, I shopped the sales at Children’s Place, Old Navy and Carters. Buy Nothing groups have been a life saver for finding baby clothes (we sold off a bunch of L’s stuff, and most of it was the wrong season for our upcoming winter baby).

A food source

foodbreastfeeding

Humans need to eat. This is as basic as basic needs get. Thankfully, we live in a time where we have safe options to choose from to suit our lifestyles, budgets, health restrictions and unique families. For those who choose to, there are many formula options out there. Catered to specific dietary needs and sensitivities, there are many ways for you to feed baby. Many formula companies will send you free samples and coupons, and I know that bulk stores like Costco or price matching at Walmart can help you get the best price.

Breastfeeding is a great option for those that can. It’s free, made by your body and is the perfect food for your baby. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes requires lots of support and guidance, but it is an option that is worth considering.

Like with all parenting choices, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can breastfeed and supplement with formula. You can breastfeed for a few months and then switch. Do what is right for you and your baby.

What else do you need? Well, for the first 6 months you will need your food (formula or breastmilk). Breastfeeders may also choose to supplement or pump. In that case, you will need a pump (manual pumps are cheapest, electric pumps are easiest), bottles, and milk storage (bags or trays). Anyone who feeds with a bottle with need, of course, bottles, a bottle cleaner brush, something to sterilize the bottles (a large pot of boiling water, or a sterilizing bag or tray), nipples for the bottles. Bottles range from relatively cheap to pretty expensive, with different features and options.

Formula feeding parents can also get some gadgets to make life a bit easier. Bottle warmers, automatic formula mixing machines (similar to a keurig), special bottles for formula mixing and storage, etc…

Breastfeeding parents may seek items to make things easier and more comfortable. Nipple creams, breast feeding pillows, breastfeeding covers, breast pads, nursing bras, nursing clothing, breast pillows or gel pads, lactation foods or teas. At the end of the day, the only thing you really “need” is your breasts, patience, support and knowledge. Breastmilk works as a soothing nipple treatment, any pillow will work in a pinch, clothing can be made to work.

feedingbottle

What we do: I approached breastfeeding somewhat selfishly. I had read, several years ago, that breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer for both the parents and the child. Seeing as how my mother died of breast cancer, this was a major concern for me. Also, I’ve heard that it can help prevent digestive issues. Both Pat and I have suffered with a variety of digestive problems over the years (he is undiagnosed, I have IBS). So, my plan was to give it a shot and hope for the best. My goal was 6 months. Well, here I am and I still nurse my 3.5 year old. It has been a life saver for us. Thankfully, it came easily to me. I have always had an oversupply and my little dude was dedicated to the cause, despite a bad lip tie. We worked through it and had some great support to pull us through. I plan to continue with Baby M. I love how easy it is (I can’t imagine mixing bottles in the middle of the night), how it got me a bit more sleep and rest in the middle of the night, and how soothing it was for L when he was hurt or sick.

I do have a nursing pillow that I love (hand me down), I used breast milk as a nipple cream, I used a pump (electric) and breastfeeding friendly bottles. I had a cover, but I hate it. I got it for free on a cheapie web deal. I shop sales for nursing bras and nursing tops, as well as used clothing sites and consignment stores.

A plan for their waste products

diaperssposie

What goes in, must come out. If your my kid, this is true from the very moment he was born. He peed on the nurse and had pooped in the womb. Yep. So, where do you want that waste to go? You have a couple of options, There are disposable diapers, reusable/cloth diapers, and no diapers (elimination communication). Obviously EC would be a free option, and is considered the norm in many different cultures. For those that this doesn’t suit, there are diapers. I don’t really want to get into the specifics of diapering just now, as that would take a whole other post to get through. So, to sum up: Cloth is the cheapest option in most cases, though there are some expensive fluffy butts out there. Disposables are more expensive, though there are budget brands. In each case, there are accessories that you can add for ease and comfort. Special bins, air fresheners, wipes, creams, organization, you name it. You can honestly get by with just a diaper, and something to clean the baby’s bum (disposable wipe or reusable cloth with water) and somewhere to put the mess (either garbage or the wash).

diapercloth

What we do: L was in Pampers until he was around 1. We used Pampers sensitive wipes, occasional bum cream, and diaper genies. At that time, I got a job at the store and started using Cloth part time. I used a mix of different brands and types, for about 6 months. We then switched back to pampers full time. We are in the middle of potty learning now. The plan for Baby M is to use cloth during the day (part time, when Daddy is away), and disposables at night or when we are out for extended periods of time. Pat is not pro-cloth, but is down with me saving us some money by using my stash when he isn’t around. Hopefully this will save us some cash as we shouldn’t need very many sposies. I will get into the specifics of my stash another time, but for the most part it is a mix of brands, hand-me-downs and types (prefolds, hybrids, all in ones, pockets, fitteds)

Something to safely get them from A to B

stroller

This one is pretty straight forward. Do you have a car? You need a car seat. Do you take the public transportation or walk? You might want a carrier or a stroller. Your car seat needs to be up to current safety standards and should be installed properly and used safely. There are a millions resources out there, from free to paid, to help  you keep your baby safe in the car.(Check out The Car Seat Lady and S.E.A.T.S) I will say, very strongly, that is is IMPERATIVE that you use your car seat correctly. It is the difference between life and death. Really.

Strollers are like freaking cars these days. You can buy a cheap beater or an expensive Ferrari. You can buy used, you can find them free online, or you can buy one pretty much anywhere. Your budget and needs really dictate what stroller will work best for you.

Carriers. Man, I could go on forever for carriers. They are a life saver in this house, so I will keep it brief: They help you get stuff done, they are great for being out and about, and they help with bonding and breastfeeding. There are a tonne of different kinds and brands. I will post about this later. You can get them cheap or insanely expensive.

babywearing

What we do: All of the above. When L was bitty, we had a bucket seat that we will be reusing for baby M. We paid full price at Toys R Us for it (We got the Graco Snugride 35). We also bought our Stroller at Toys R Us but then later won the exact same stroller in a contest, which I then sold, so it kind of paid for itself. We wanted something that could do well in the snow, and at the dog park, that worked with our bucket seat, had a good long life and a decent resale value. We ended up with a BOB Revolution SE and we love it. It was definitely a splurge. As for Carriers…well..I have many. I will say that for baby M I plan on using a stretchy wrap (Boba and Moby, one gifted and one bought new). Ring Slings (new custom conversions) and a woven wrap (a beater Girasol bought used online and a Didymos that was gifted to me) for the early days.

So, there you have it. The basics as well as some insight into what we’ve done for L and plan to do with Baby M. The next post will be about specific products and will include an actual checklist of things I recommend. If you have any questions, please ask away! As you can tell, I am a baby geek. I love this stuff. I especially love helping people figure out their own personal needs.

The rest of the Baby Basics Series:

September

Where did the summer go? I mean, it’s still 40C out there with the humidex, but I can’t believe it’s already September. I don’t feel like we’ve been busy this summer, and yet it has flown by.

The past few weeks have been a bit tough here. I had some bleeding a couple weeks ago, and so my health team is keeping an eye on things and telling me to “take it easy” (which, you know, with a 3 year old is kind of interesting). There have been some miscommunication and a case of too many cooks I think, so I’m switching from shared care (GP and OB) to just my OB. I won’t lie. I’m a bit stressed about everything right now. I had an appointment this past Thursday, another this Friday and then another two weeks after that. Somewhere in there they want me to get an ultrasound done too.  As far as we can tell, baby is fine, but they want to keep a close eye on things.

This, of course, has ramped up project “OMG, time to get ready for baby!”, so I’ve been making lists, researching and started packing our hospital bag. I am mostly freaking out about how Liam will fair during Go Baby! time, but I am telling myself that we have a wonderful group of friends and family who will jump to the rescue whenever we need them. Also, it has helped me think about our birth plan/guidelines this time. Want to see what I’ve come up with? Click to enbiggen.

birthplan

So, with all of that going on, Liam and I took a week to hang with out friends and do what makes us smile. I booked the week off work and we did what ever felt right. We had a great time visiting parks, friends’ houses, having people over to our place and basically having a staycation. I managed to sneak out with my girlfriends one night and had a great time.

At the park, Liam plays on his scooter with his friend riding his bike in the background

Today we are going to be rearranging our master bedroom to prepare for Baby (I know, I know, 3 months away. Mama needs to nest!). I have been slowly working away on our mountains of laundry and prepping all the baby clothes for his arrival. We maaaaaaaay have agreed on a name, but I’m hesitant to say it’s chosen for sure. It was on our list for Liam, and I had somehow disregarded it this time until Pat brought it up again. It’s not as… unique or historic as I would have liked (RIP Finnigan, River, Rowan, and Ronan; the names that I loved and were vetoed) but I think it works and fits well within the family. If I feel more certain about it, I will share it (with the disclaimer of it being possible that we change our minds when Kiddo arrives and we see if it actually works for him). In the mean time, I am working hard to convince Pat to at least go with some alternative spelling, but I doubt that will come to fruition ;)

Oh, I wanted to add that I’m sorry for the lack of ipsy review this month. With everything going on, I just wasn’t into it. Doesn’t help that my bad this month was incredibly uninspiring and disappointing. Here’s hoping this month is better.

And with that, I am off to make myself a tea. Mama needs all the “get up and go” that she can get.

Pregnancy Update: Month 4

Well, I had the very best of intentions. As it turns out, being pregnant, while working and parenting a preschooler takes a lot of time and weekly updates just aren’t fitting in to our schedule. So, here’s the plan. I will post every month about the pregnancy. Hopefully that’ll work.

18weeks

A peek at month 4: It was so nice to leave the 1st trimester behind. Thankfully, it meant my 24 hr nausea lessened and I was able to cut my diclectin intake way down. Also, I was able to start drinking a bit of coffee again. Mornings are so much better now. Unfortunately, I don’t have the massive self confidence and body love that I did the first time around. I feel like a bit old lump. Very emotional, tired and sore. Got to meet my OB, and I love him! He is wonderful with Liam and super patient and kind to me. Unfortunately, I had an infection requiring heavy duty antibiotics which are messing with my belly.

Baby attended his/her first concert in utero, as I went to go see Sarah Harmer with some friends for my birthday.

How far along am I right now? 18 weeks, or 5 months.

I am thinking…About whether Jellybean is a boy or a girl (I was convinced baby was a she until last night when I started referring to baby as Little Brother…so confused!). Also thinking about my hospital choice. Hoping I don’t regret it.

I am thankful for… Poutine, friends and naps

I am creating…Working on In Threes as well, in yarn left over from Liam’s Gramps. Got the yarn for the next sweater, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Surprise Baby Jacket

I am going…to find out baby’s sex in 2 weeks!

I am hoping…that my recent boost of energy isn’t temporary. It feels like mini nesting, and it’s awesome. I love getting stuff done around the house

Around the house…Lots done! Most of the boxes have been gone through, lots of items have been given away or sold.

One of my favorite things…My nalgene water bottle, netflix, my mommy friends.

Weight Gain: 19 lbs. Thanks poutine!

Baby in the Produce World:  Baby Centre says baby is as big as a bell pepper
Week18Bellpepper_424x302 Movement/Signs of the Baby: A little bit here and there. Feels more like butterflies and stretching than kicks.

Cravings and Aversions: Still craving poutine like crazy. Not much else. No major aversions, mostly just textures or smells that turn my stomach. Over cooked noodles, ground beef, etc…
Body Changes/Weirdness: Belly is very different this time around. With Liam, I had a torpedo belly, with everything right in front. This time, it’s more like a tire, all the way around my hips and my belly. Otherwise, I’ve noticed some itchiness on my belly, and my breasts have been incredibly sore off and on.
Other Random Babeh/Pregnancy thoughts: I’m trying very hard to stay positive, but I’m finding my previous experiences still have a hold on me. I worry about my hospital choice, about my care choice, about everything really. I hope I can pull off a VBAC.
Other Pictures from the 4th month:

First Trimester Round Up

Now that I have rounded the corner on the 1st trimester, I think I will start trying to do weekly updates, like I did with Liam. In the mean time, here is how things have been going the last few months:

Me at 13 weeks pregnant

A peek at the past 3 Months: This pregnancy has been so strange so far. So very different from my pregnancy with Liam. I have constant sickness, requiring medication. I am exhausted most of the time. Thankfully, I can nap when Liam naps, so I get about 2 hrs of sleep during the day. Pregnancy Insomnia has started this past week, so I doubly need my nap.

I have felt one “kick” or body slam, which helps me connect with the wee Jelly Bean. Because of the rollercoaster of confirming this pregnancy, I am having a hard time accepting that I am actually pregnant. I have no inclination as to whether Bean is a boy or a girl, though I’m leaning towards girl because of a dream I had when I was pregnant with Liam. We will find out at the end of July.

How far along am I right now? 13 weeks, 2 days.

I am thinking…How this is going to be our last pregnancy and that I should be enjoying it more, and remembering more of the details, but it’s all going by in a blur.

I am thankful for… Diclectin, popcicles, consignment stores and that my preschooler naps.

I am creating…I just finished my pride shawl (Daybreak/Gaybreak). It just needs a bath and some blocking. I will share the FO soon. Started on In Threes as well, in yarn left over from Liam’s Gramps.

I am going…to be very busy this week! Pat has surgery on Thursday, my birthday is Friday as well as my next prenatal appointment. Saturday I’m seeing Sarah Harmer live with some friends

I am hoping…That we can figure out a way for me to have a doula

Around the house…Lots of work to do. We have emptied out the storage unit and now have a million boxes and a ton of clutter to contend with.

One of my favorite things…Maternity Jeans. Seriously.

Weight Gain: Total, about 4lbs.

Baby in the Produce World:  Baby Centre says she’s as long as a peapod
Picture of a peapod Movement/Signs of the Baby: Very little at this point, aside from the ultrasound we had at 6 weeks. I think I felt her body slam me once, but that’s it and it could have been gas.babybean Cravings and Aversions: My biggest craving right now is chocolate and poutine. This baby has good taste. As for aversions, chicken. Especially chicken breasts. Bleh. And coffee. Yep. This kid has made me drop my beloved coffee cold turkey. I had no intention of quitting caffeine, but apparently Jelly Bean had other ideas. I’m only now starting to be able to enjoy tea in the morning. One cup, no more. Dairy has been problematic too. No cereal with milk, no cheese on its own, butter is being replaced with coconut oil.
Body Changes/Weirdness: I started showing very early. I’m probably about as big now as I was at 20 weeks with Liam. I have very sore and very dark nipples this time, and more severe round ligament pain. Yesterday, while knitting, pregnancy carpel tunnel hit hard in my left hand. Fuuuuun. Also, there is no glowing with this pregnancy. My hair is frizznormous, my skin is both dry and breaking out in terrible cystic acne.
Other Random Babeh/Pregnancy thoughts: It is a completely different experience working in a maternity store during pregnancy, as opposed to an office with someone who is very sensitive to anything baby related. People are so genuinely excited for me, and love talking babies. It’s so liberating and so much more positive. 
Other Pictures from the first trimester:

Hooray for the Internet, Part 1.

The sun is shining. The weather is warm and we have been living outside lately. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of stressful badness going on too, but we are surviving. I don’t want to get into all of that right now. I want to focus on the good, the amazing and the wonderful.

Last night, I was feeling sorry for myself. I started chatting with a couple of my friends. One of them, we will call her Friend B is having a hard time too. Friend A was being awesome, supportive and sweet to both of us. The three of us have known each other for years now, and are aware of the ups and downs we’ve been facing. We commiserated and Friend B suggested running away to get ice cream. I couldn’t, for a number of reasons and so she and Friend A got to plotting and next thing I knew, there was a care package attached to my front door.

It's almost as big as my head! SO MUCH ICECREAM

It’s almost as big as my head! SO MUCH ICECREAM

Now, what if I told you that I met Friend A years ago, online. She and I have only met in person once (and it was extremely awkward because of me being socially stupid). Friend B is basically her sister, and I came across her on livejournal, through Friend A’s posts. Eventually, I met Friend B because she is a car seat inspector and I wanted our Britax inspected before Liam’s birth. Since then, I had her inspect it again and she has popped by to buy some cloth diapers from me. We three have never hung out (well, they have, what with being sisters of the heart), but I still consider them friends. They know me better than most. Also, this entire conversation that we had? It was on twitter.

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My point in all of this is the following:

Hooray for the Internet!

I can honestly tell you that the internet, and the relationships that I’ve formed here, have probably saved my life (and definitely my sanity) on several occasions. I mean that seriously. Today I want to talk about how the Internet is responsible for the happiness in my life now. I will get into my past with the ‘net, but that will be another post for another day.

Hooray for the Internet, Part 1: Friends Today

Almost three years ago, on a hot summer day, after nearly a year of trying, I found out I was pregnant. I did what many moms-to-be do these day and I went straight to the internet. I have long been a fan of community groups and forums, so I did a search for groups that seem to fit. I joined some on Ravelry, BabyCenter and Mothering. I then remembered how helpful Wedding Bells had been to me when I was planning my wedding. I liked that it had so many local resources, so I searched and joined BabyBells there. Within BabyBells, I found a April 2012 Mommies subgroup and immediately joined.

If Heather of 2011, excited and pregnant, sitting in her office chair at Algonquin College, could look forward and see me today, she would be extremely surprised by the changes. With the exception of a specific few, my social group has completely changed since I announced my pregnancy. I am now surrounded and supported by the most incredible community of women. Most of whom, I met thanks to the internet. The rest I’ve grown close with because we decided to reconnect online.

 

The April Moms

We April 2012 Mommies are the first to admit that we are a unique group. It is extremely rare for a group online, especially a Mommy Due Date Group, to develop as ours did. We are an amazing tribe of women, of all backgrounds, all interests and parenting styles. Despite that, for the most part, we get along and love each other. We have supported each other through difficult pregnancies, losses, death, divorce, job loss, ups and downs in health (both physical and mental), drama, you name it. We’ve celebrated births, new jobs, love, laughter and friendship. I know that I can turn to these women, no matter what. And I have.

As you know, I had a really hard time after Liam’s birth. These are the ladies that helped drag me out of that. They were there at 3am when I was crying in the dark, nursing my child for the hundredth time. They were there on the sunny afternoon when I felt like I would never leave the house again. They were the ones that had my back when I decided it was time to get help. They were the ones that helped me decide that I needed it. One of these Moms, Crystal, was going through sometime similar. She talked to me whenever I needed it, no matter what. She convinced me to leave the house and attend our very first Ottawa April Mommies get together, hosted by Leslie. I was terrified. I’m so so glad I went. It was thanks to this outing that I started getting out of the house and living again. I nursed in “public” for the first time that day, in Leslie’s living room, surrounded by other nursing and bottle feeding mothers. Crystal sat beside me and nursed her little girl.

The group has changed a bit since then. Weddingbells closed down its forums (which have respawned over on Buzzle, kind of. Us April Moms are notorious on Buzzle. Bwahaha). Our posse has a group on facebook now and talk waaaaay more. Within this group, like in any gathering of individuals, smaller groups of friends have formed. For me, this includes My Girls. My Tribe.

We live all over the city, but we make a point to try and see each other at least once a week, at least those of us who are stay at home moms.  We keep in touch throughout each day on messenger. They are my people, my kid’s people. Hell, last year they took me out for a surprise birthday celebration, along with my fave lady, Sarah.

 

Beyond High School 

One of the great things about the internet for me has been the ability to keep up with people that I genuinely cared about when I was younger. One of these people was this rad girl, Steph, that was sort of on the periphery of my social group in high school. We met through her boyfriend, who was a friend of mine at the time. We’ve followed each other on facebook over the years, but didn’t do much interaction beyond that. When I was pregnant, I discovered she was as well! We started talking. It was her second, and I definitely felt like I could go to her for advice and knowledge. She invited me to participate in a Blessingway/Mother’s Blessing before Liam’s birth (I couldn’t make it because I got super sick), and visited me once I was well to gift me with some beautiful items the mamas made for everyone involved. She had also made a gorgeous bunny, which quickly became one of Liam’s favourite toys.

Liam and Mr. Bunneh

Liam and Mr. Bunneh

She wore her daughter that day, and opened my eyes to the world of non-buckle carriers. She nursed openly, without shame. I remember when she left, I turned to my sister and said “That. That’s what I want to be as a mother. Confident, calm, gentle and still awesome”. After Liam’s birth, she encouraged me to attend the babywearing get together‘s that she attended. There I met some incredible people and fell in love with the world of babywearing.

She lives on the other side of town, so we don’t see each other as much as I would like, but we keep in touch online. She and her family are moving to my neck of the woods soon and I am SO EXCITED. I look forward to seeing way more of this amazing family.

 

Lazy Stupid Godless

I’ve been a member of Ravelry for a long time. These days, I don’t have much time for the forums or for crafting, so I keep my Rav visits simple. I check my friend feed and check out LSG. LSG is an epic and infamous group on Rav. It stands for Lazy Stupid Godless, and it is full of all sorts. Some of these are totally incredible, brilliant and hilarious individuals. Of these, my favourite is easily Kaitlin. I added her to my friends list ages ago, and eventually started following her twitter account, where we started interacting. (I am a Super Creeper. If I think you are awesome, I will add you everywhere and hope that one day you will talk to me). Have you ever talked to someone, and realized instantly that there was a connection? Some little spark that spoke to you and said “This is one of your people.” Kaitlin is one of those for me. I followed her blog, and she followed mine. A couple years ago, she was looking into some information on Doulas in her area, so I reached out and we talked. We talked about being pen pals and slowly developed a friendship, despite having never met. She lives on the other side of the country, but that doesn’t matter. I feel like I can be completely open and honest with her. She gets me, and I get her.

 

Long Distance

Anyone who has ever read my blog knows that my sister and I are tight. She’s my best friend, without a doubt. Unfortunately, she also lives on the other side of the country. When she left we were sisters, but not nearly as close as we are today. Huh? How is that possible? Through the magic of the internet, that’s how. It took a while, I’ll admit. For some reason we just didn’t get that we could stay in touch online. One day it clicked, and we started emailing. All the time. The internet turned our relationship into something amazing. We talk constantly, about everything, whenever we need to.

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Similarly, my friend Sarah and I have been able to keep in touch. She lives about an hour away, in a beautiful small town. We don’t get to talk as often as we’d like, thanks to children and life. Thankfully, we have facebook, messenger and text messages to keep up on each other’s lives. She is my Sister from Another Mister.

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She, Tracy and my friend Leigh (who used to live in Montreal, and now in the US) were able to do all my crazy bridesmaid stuff despite being so far away from each other thanks to facebook and email. My girls. They were the very very best.

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So, there you have it. That’s part one of how I’m a massive geek who has had her life enriched my the internet. <3 More to come!

Diamonds are Rare

There’s a pretty funny page making the rounds on facebook lately about being a crunchy mom. At first glance, I found it pretty funny.I loved how the top level, Diamond, was (Soulemama?! Heh heh) for everyone and was a little lesson on labeling.

“Actually, a diamond does most or all or some assortment of the above levels but they don’t give a crap about what anyone thinks. They aren’t keeping track and they’ve outgrown the labels. They certainly don’t preach to others or judge people about their choices. They’re just doing their own thing. Doing what works for them. Diamonds? Diamonds are rare.”

Unfortunately, most of the people in the various communities where I saw this decided to ignore the top level and immediately started slotting themselves in the various levels. I was able to find my spot pretty quickly (I’m a 6/7, for what its worth), but I have to say I was pretty disappointed at how people immediately dove into “I am the crunchiest of the crunch” or “Ermagerd, crunchy moms are so ________”. Sadly, it proves that Diamonds are rare.

crappy-crunchy-scale-6

I get that crunchy moms can sometimes be obnoxious. Hell, I know I can be obnoxious about parenting decisions I’m passionate about. I can’t say I was too thrilled to see some people comment with something similar to “I would throat punch anyone over a ____”. Not helpful, people. Seriously.

Heat, Baby & a Review

Holy heatwave, batman!

We’re roasting up here today. It’s brutal. I’m spending the day in my A/C’d office, worrying about my furbabies and hoping I gave them enough water and ice to get them through the day safely.  How hot is it? Well, this past year I travelled to two southern locals to warm up. In both cases, the locals told me it’s a humid hell in the summer and that they don’t recommend people visiting during this time. Today, we are hotter here than both of those places.

I am not ok with this. (For those in the US, that’s 95F, feeling like 117F here). I am one of those people who do best in the spring and fall. I can’t handle the extremes of the weather. It’s days like this (and days in January) that make me question my choice of cities.  We’ve been surviving thanks to popsicles, fans, and mostly naked lounging.

In more exciting and much less uncomfortable news, I’m a proud auntie (again!). S&K welcomed their baby boy yesterday afternoon. Both Mum and Babe are happy and healthy. I can’t wait to meet the little man <3

Gorgeous, right? Sigh. A ladykiller already <3

Reading my blogs and posts this morning, I fell in love with this from PHIT. I think it’s really important to ask yourself these questions every so often. Do a bit of a tally of sort, a review of where your life is.

1. Who do I love, and what am I doing about it? I love my husband, my family, my close friends and our pets. My husband and I have been through some really tough times together and haven’t always been good to each other. These days, I make a serious effort to let him know how much he means to me and to make time for him and for us. While I don’t necessarily agree that all relationships are “work”, I do feel that they require effort to stay healthy. We talk now more than ever and I think we have a better relationship now than we ever have.

After everything that’s happened over the last couple of years, the last bit of family that I have left is really dear to me. We all make an effort to stay in contact as best we can and see each other as often as we can afford to. I am very open about my love and devotion to them, having lost so much.

As for my close friends, this is something that’s always been a struggle for me. I tend to come on too strong, or am too flighty for people (A gemini thing, I think. It’s all or nothing for me, and I’m very fickle). Having said that, there are people in my life now that have gotten me through the worst and best moments that I’ll ever know and I cherish them more than almost anything. I call them family, and I would do anything for them. Despite never being a phone person, I make an effort to call and text when I can. We email and FB all the time and I try to show them in actions how important they are to me.

2. Am I pursuing my dream, or is fear stopping me? I am a person of many dreams. I dream about being a mother. I dream about working somewhere that I am happy and fulfilled. I dream of having a beautiful home that I’m proud of. We’re working towards our dreams as much as we can, though certain things are holding me back. I don’t know what that “dream job” is, or what to do to obtain it. I try to be honest with myself and try out as much as I can. I hope that one of these days I fumble into it and hold on tight once I’ve found it.

3. Am I doing something that matters? I think so. I work at the local college, helping students find work both during their education and after. I didn’t have this support from my University, so I am proud to help out students and grads today as they face such a difficult economic time. It’s super rewarding when we heard back from them that they’ve found work and that they are happy. I always told myself that I don’t want to Live to Work, but rather will Work to Live, so so long as whatever job I was in made me pretty happy and had a positive effect on the community, I would be content. I definitely have that :)

4. What am I doing to help others? Aside from what I do at work, I have been a volunteer with Mothercraft Ottawa, which is a non-profit organization which provides advocacy and support to mothers and families. I was a volunteer doula for young mothers, new immigrant mum’s and families in need. It was a super rewarding experience and I hope to get back to it when life calms down a little. Also, I do what I can to support the Canadian Cancer Society (right now that’s donations, but I will probably volunteer in the future as well) and RAINN. I could definitely do more, however I have spent the last 5 years of my life being a caregiver to my ailing parents, so my husband and I both feel that we need to take time for us now or else I’d burn out.

5. Am I as good a person as I want to be? I try to be, however I know I have faults. The estate drama has certainly brought out my less than appealing features. I’m impatient, lazy, a procrastinator and can be quick to anger. I’m emotional, sensitive and have worked hard to better myself. I do know that I am hugely devoted to the people I love, that I have a big heart and that I am reliable and trust worthy. We all ave room for improvement, right? Otherwise, what would the point of living be?

6. What am I doing to live life with passion, health and energy? Right now, I have to be honest and say that I’m not. I’m trying to make changes to that though. I need to live healthier. I need to find motivation and energy to be excited about life again. I do live with passion, but you need more than that.

So, I lied

I’m sorry that I keep saying I’ll post and then not. I’m a big fat liar.

Yesterday was a busy day for me! We had an off-site meeting on Monday, so yesterday was spent catching up. After work, I had to rush home, take care of the critters and get myself ready. Once Pat got home we were out to Beer and Wings night with is work peeps (which was a blast. The conversations with those people are always amazing. Apparently, they have decided to get me completely shit-faced one of these days. Better do that soon folks, because I want to start baking a baby!). After that, I had to run to a near by mall for my ring cleaning (part of our insurance for my engagement ring, had to be done in May. I sure know how to cut it close) and then to the local shoppers drug mart for a stamps to get the baby shower invites out before Ze Big Postal Strike of 2011.

I feel like life has been super busy the last few months. I woke up this morning and it was JUNE. How did that happen? Where did May go? Well, now that I’ve got a moment to sit down and write this out, this is the post I promised.

It’s going to be a big couple of months for me. The weekend of the 11th is my birthday weekend and my close friends are in town to celebrate (namely, S, L and my guy, Isaac). The girls and I are planning on doing dinner and catching The Bridesmaids (which I hear is amazing) and at some point, I want to hit up a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try for years called Jean Albert’s.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s supposed to be some of the best southern style comfort food in Ottawa. I think it’s the perfect idea for my birthday dinner with the hubby.

The weekend of the 25th is our anniversary weekend and we have booked a room at the lovely B&B at 142 Rideau.

One of the rooms @ 142 Rideau

We’re planning on having dinner at Gad’s Hill (A Dicken’s themed restaurant in the heart of Merrickville, and literally across the street from where I was married) and maybe going to see a movie during the day (our very first date was to go see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Movie dates have long been an anniversary tradition for us).

A few days later, on June 30th, is the closing date on my Mum’s house. I am so completely torn about this. I mean, on one hand I’m obviously thrilled to be moving on with my life and to have this major obstacle out of the way as we complete the estate. I’m hoping, that if all goes well *knock on wood* We’ll be completely done by the fall.  On the other hand, I am completely heart broken to be losing the only place I’ve ever really known as home. I grew up in that house, and returned there whenever a roommate or apartment didn’t work out. It was my safe place, and the hub of the entire Sutherland family.  I always planned on having my children run through those halls and play in the basement, like I did. My brothers brought their first born children to that house, calling it home. Every single one of childhood and young adulthood firsts (past the baby stuff, I was 4 when we moved in) happened in that house. Every single holiday was spent in that house, with the exception of Christmas when I was 12 (the one and only time we went anywhere for Christmas, and it was never repeated).  Every single one of my birthdays too.  It’s hard to let go of all of that. I could close my eyes this very second and walk up to my room from the front door without stumbling or making a sound.

It will be the closing of a chapter, not only for the estate, but in my grieving process. My father died in that house. The last time my mother laughed was in that house. I will no longer have to go to the house, which is a huge physical reminder, ever again. In fact, I won’t have any reason to go to the area at all. We have no friends or family in that part of town any more.

A few days after that, I am helping to host and organize S’s baby shower at S’s mother’s house. I’m really nervous about it, as it’s my first baby shower, and S has extremely good taste and throws the best parties I’ve ever attended. Standards are high here people!

The following weekend is my oldest friend’s wedding, which is going to be an incredible affair. She is a stationary and wedding invitation designer (and graphic designer) with incredible taste. The wedding is set to be in the rooftop terrace of the NAC. Going to be amazing!

The very next day, Pat and I are hoping to attend Bluesfest for one of my favourite bands, A Perfect Circle, as well as the Dropkick Murphy’s. The weekend after that, Pat and I are attending his work wife’s birthday cottage weekend. S’s baby is also due in mid-July.

Yeah, that’s a lot. There’s maybe a weekend or two in there where we don’t currently have plans.  I plan to do some baby knitting in there, and I’ve also decided to participate in the 30 Day Journalling Challenge.

I’ve got a fuckton of art supplies, sitting at home not getting any use. It’s about time I start using them. I also think it’ll help maintain my sanity during this time of grief, babies, music, family/estate drama, parties and birthdays. So, sometime tonight I hope to post my first page. I’m going to try to post them on the same day that we receive the prompt and write/create, but I may end up a day off. We shall see.

So, that’s the post folks! I’ll be back later with journal entries.