Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers-The Long Overdue Edition

  • We had our family photos taken this week.  The weather was gorgeous and I have high expectations of them turning out wonderfully!  I can't wait to see them!
  • Carter threw his first temper tantrum this week in the grocery store over a soggy piece of paper that I took away from him.  I think that this boy is going to be a handful with his daddy's temper.*cough*cough*
  • These flies in the house are driving me crazy!  There is constant buzzing in my ear.
  • Our Ontario vacation is coming up quickly.  I can't wait to see our family and friends.
  • What do you think of Charlie Sheen's new show Anger Management?
  • I have purchased my first few Christmas gifts.  I am hoping to get my Christmas shopping done earlier than usual this year to avoid the mid-December panic.
  • This year will be our first year hosting Thanksgiving at our house.

For more Friday Night Leftovers, click here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Day in the Life of Karyn

A while back, me and my younger sister had a conversation about maternity leave.  Although she does not yet have children, she likened maternity leave to a job.  Luckily, here in Canada, we get a portion of our income paid to stay home with our children for the first year.  And since we are being paid to stay home with our child(ren), she argued that parenting really should be viewed as one's job for that year.
So, I thought that i would give you a bit of glimpse into my life and what a day of "work" looks like for me.

7:00-7:30am Carter wakes up.  He wiggles and kicks and makes it impossible to steal an extra five minutes of sleep.  He stares intently at me, and the moment he sees me open my eyes, he flashes a huge grin, and our day starts.

7:30am If I am lucky, I can lie with Carter in bed until this time.  We are definitely out of bed by 7:30 though.

7:30-8:00am I changed Carter's diaper and nurse him.

8:00-8:30am Carter plays on his activity mat while I eat breakfast and check my emails, etc.

8:30-9:30am Carter goes in swing and goes back to sleep (why he couldn't just sleep a bit later in the morning, I don't know).  I shower and get myself ready for the day.

9:30-10:30am Laundry and tidy-ing around the house.  I do laundry every. single. day.  I rotate between mine and Ryan's clothes, Carter's clothes and blankets, towels and sheets.  We will definitely wear many washers and dryers out in our lifetime.

10:00-10:30am Carter wakes up sometime within this time frame.  I nurse him and change his diaper.

10:30-11:15am Play with Carter.  Our play time consists of tummy time and reading every day.

11:15-11:45am Carter usually starts to fuss after about 30-45 minutes of play.  I nurse him again.

11:45am-12:15pm Lunch Time!  I usually can't make it until noon.  Nursing makes me HUNGRY!  This is usually a bit of a fussy time for Carter, and I usually eat one handedly as my other hand holds him and tries to shoe him away from grabbing my food.

12:15-3:00pm Our afternoons are never the same.  I have been trying to take him for a walk outside every day, but it isn't entirely consistent.  Usually the afternoons include a nap for Carter and either grocery shopping or cleaning for me (don't worry, I take him with me when I go grocery shopping :)) There is always cleaning to do including vacuuming, dusting, mopping the floors, cleaning the bathroom, folding laundry from earlier, etc.  Ryan is home for half of our afternoons but he is usually outside or working on something around the house.

3:00pm TV comes on.  Time for Dr. Phil and Anderson :).  Nurse Carter so I don't feel like a total couch potato!

3:30-5:00pm Prepare supper.  Do dishes. (All while watching Dr. Phil and Anderson).  Carter is usually in my arms or playing in his Jumperoo or Exer-Saucer.

5:00-5:15pm Try to get another 15 minutes of play in with Carer.

5:15-5:45pm Pawn Carter off on Ryan.  No, really, by this time Ryan wants to spend time with him because they have been apart all day.  I spend this time on the computer and feeling guilty for not being "present".

5:45-6:30pm Supper.

6:30-7:30pm Try to entertain Carer until bath time.

7:30-8:00pm Every other night Carer has a bath.

8:00-10:00pm Cuddle a screaming baby.  Try to pawn him off on Ryan so I can do dishes (I hate waking up to dirty dishes).  Carter screams.  Finally nurse Carter to sleep.  Watch a bit of TV.

10:00pm Contacts out.  Attempt to put Carter in crib unsuccessfully. Go to bed with said baby.


You may have noticed that I haven't been posting much lately.  Although I have tons of things that I would like to write about, I just haven't had the time.
Although I try to be the best mom that I can be, I continue to self-assess my parenting, and every day I ask myself if I am being the best mom that I can be.  The truth is that we can't get these early days back, and once they are gone, they are gone forever.  So every day I try to make it count with Carter.  I play with him.  I read to him.  I take him for walks.  I try to be present as a parent, and not just go through the motions that get me to the end of the day.  
Being present is probably the hardest part of parenting.  It is very easy to just give my kid a toy and plop my butt in front of the TV or the computer.  It's easy to nurse him to sleep so I can get some time to myself.  But this is not how I want to remember these days with him.  So I am making a conscious effort to spend my limited time on what matters.
So if I am a little scarce around here in the future, you know where I am.  I plan on continuing with this blog, and definitely hope that I can give it the attention that it deserves in the future, but for now, I have more important things to do.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

4 months

Four months.  Where is the time going?  It seems like yesterday that I was bringing home a tiny little boy on a cool spring day, and now an entire season has passed!
What a month it has been, little man.  You have developed so much over the past 31 days.  You have really discovered your hands, and are grabbing at everything!  You can now grasp your toys and have discovered a few favourites.  You are constantly feeling mommy and daddy's faces, shoving your hands in our mouths, and pulling at goatees and glasses.  What fun!  You have rolled from your stomach to your back a few times, and although you still haven't quite figured it out, I know you will be moving before we know it!  You are also growing to love story time, and cry whenever it must come to an end.  Then there is the noise.  How can I describe the noise?  You have discovered a "new" voice that is like a throaty shriek.  You fill all empty spaces with this noise, and although there are some days that it sounds like nails on a chalkboard, it makes mommy smile to see how happy you are.
You continue to grow at a crazy pace.  You are now a whopping 15lbs and 4 oz (over double the size that you were at birth)!  You have also popped your first two teeth, which I am sure will add much to your contagious smile!
Alas, it all can't be rainbows and butterflies.  You continue to challenge us daily with your sleep routine.  You have decided that the only place to sleep is with mommy and daddy, and have abandoned your crib completely.  Oh well, I'll hang on to every little moment that I can spend with my little man, as these days won't last forever!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Coupons & Deals

Just wanted to point everyone over to my Coupons & Deals page (tab at top of page).  I have just spent some time updating this page, and you just might find something that you like!  I try to limit this page to items that I personally think are valuable, or those offers that I think that my family or friends might be interested in.  This is by no means an inclusive list.  Please feel free to leave a comment on this post if you are aware of any deals that I should add.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cloth Diaper Deals

I was recently quoted in this article by Padded Tush Stats on buying cloth diapers on deal sites.  It's a great article, so check it out!

Not so Wordless Wednesday

So I think that it is safe to say that our indoor renovations are finally complete!  I have been waiting to post pictures until everything was perfect, but have since realized that this is our home (one that we live in extensively!), and that things are never, ever, ever going to be perfectly clean or organized.  So here are some pictures of our real home, in it's new and improved state. 
First off, the living room.  This room was actually completed last year, but as I said, I have been waiting over a year to get that "perfect" shot.

This is what the room looked like when we moved in.
A little bit of paint, and this was the quick fix until the "real" renovations.
New and improved.  One window gone.  Other window replaced.  New TV.
Don't you love the addition of the baby and toys?  One day I would like to re-do the original hardwood floors, but for now they stay.
On the wall below and to the right of the TV, I would like to put a buffet to house my grandma's china and  cups and saucers, and to serve as a liquor cabinet. I would also like to get some baskets to fit underneath our coffee table to hide the receiving blankets.
A less favourable view into my messy kitchen.  Had to have this one though for the sake of completeness.
The only piece of art that we have in our living room.  I didn't want to put holes in the walls.
Next up, our laundry/catch all room converted into an office.

The original room.

New and improved (view from living room).  Wall moved in to accommodate for larger bathroom.  New window and door.  Carpet removed to reveal original hardwood floors which will one day be redone, but for now are just covered with a throw rug.
I love the door to the outside.
My workstation.
Ryan's workstation.
I bought this piece at an art gallery in Whitehorse, Yukon when we live there.  The picture was taken by John Stein, the mayor of Dawson City, Yukon at the time.  Who would think that one would find such a beautiful flower in Canada's north?
And finally, here are some pictures of our spare room which we have converted into a play room for Carter.

Original room.  There were two doors to walk through the room.
We removed one door (which was just to the right of where Carter is playing).  We (and I mean Ryan),  put in a new window and a new coat of paint.

I have tried to create some defined spaces for the room.  This is the reading nook.  The quilt was made by BFF S.
This corner is dedicated to the toys that we often bring out of the room to entertain Carter when we are working on something.
This corner is for the rest of his toys.  We have been lucky to have not had to purchase any toys at all as they have all been gifted to us or passed down from my sister's children.
I set up the play pen hoping that this is where Carter would nap, but it hasn't happened yet.  The shelf on the right contains all of my recipe books, etc.  I would like to get a large Expedit shelf from IKEA to organize all of this. 
Finally, some stickers for the walls that were bought by Baba.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Against the Grain

It is pretty common knowledge that cloth diapering is not the most popular choice in diapering.  The vast majority of people these days choose to use disposable diapers.
Lately, I have been wondering whether those who choose to go against the grain and use cloth diapers have anything in common.  I know only a handful parents who cloth diaper in real life, and besides being of a socioeconomic status that allows them to make a large purchase upfront, I cannot seem to draw a lot of similarities between these parents.
I do have my own theories.  I hypothesize that cloth diaper users are probably frugal or green in other aspects of their lives.  I would guess that cloth diapering is more popular amongst rural people than city dwellers.  I would also guess that the majority of people that use cloth diapers are in relationships, and are not single parents.
There really isn't any way that I can prove or disprove any of my theories from a statistical standpoint, however, I was excited when I was pointed towards the results of the 1st Annual Cloth Diapering Pulse Survey by cloth diaperretailer,  In 2011, this company conducted a 34 question survey on various characteristics of cloth diaper users.  Although this was a voluntary survey, they recieved 500 respondents, which I think is a good number to be able to make some generalizations.  Below are a few of the conclusions that were drawn.

Conclusions for which in agreement with:

  •   Cloth Diapering Moms are Avid Users: The majority of respondents (79%) said they only use cloth diapers and never/rarely use disposables.
  •   Round the Clock: The majority of cloth diaper users (78%) use cloth diaper “all the time or round the clock."
      A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned. Not surprisingly, the number one reason families chose to cloth diaper is to “save money” (52%) followed by “being more eco-friendly” and “health of baby.”
      Decision Come Easy. Sixty percent (60%) of respondents indicated that they decided to cloth diaper either before they were pregnant or during their pregnancy. 
      We Are Family. Cloth diapering families share similar traits. They breastfeed (93%), babywear (85%), recycle (76%), make their own baby food (71%) and co-sleep (64%).
      bumGenius Takes the Cake: The most popular cloth diaper brand is bumGenius (26%). FuzziBunz is the second most popular brand (15%). Beyond that, few diapers rallied a large enough percentage of fans to mention by name.  
      Variety. Fifty percent (50%) said they own four or more brands of cloth diapers, while 29% indicated they own 2-3 different brands and 21% own primarily one brand. 
      Diaper Hoarders. Forty-four percent (44%) own 31 or more cloth diapers even though most manufacturers recommend a user only needs about 20. 

Conclusions for which I am a minority:

  Bragging Husbands. A near majority (49%) said their significant other “loves cloth diapering” and 42% of significant others actually “brag about cloth diapering to family and friends!” 
  Pockets Rule. The majority of users (50%) indicated a preference for pocket-style diapers over any other style. 
 Two Snaps Up! An overwhelming majority (74%) said that snap was their closure of choice, only 24% preferred hook and loop (Velcro-like) diapers.
Do any of these statements surprise you?

Sunday, September 9, 2012


It seems that no matter how old I get, I continue to value the advice that I receive from my parents.  What has shocked me, however, is the quality of parenting advice that I receive from my dad.  I always knew that he knew a bit about raising children-he's survived this long with four of us.  I just didn't expect that his advice would be that that resonates with me the most.
For example, after recently complaining about discussing Carter's new found hatred for his crib, this is the advice that I got from my dad (not verbatim, but you catch the drift).
"Did you know that humans are the only species that try to separate themselves from their children prematurely?  If you look at animals, especially the primates, their offspring are attached to their mothers 24/7 until they are ready to venture off on their own.  So if he wants to sleep with you, let him sleep with you.  He'll eventually be ready to sleep on his own."
This got me to thinking-who makes up the rules?  Who has said that babies that are 4 (or any other number of months) should be sleeping in their cribs alone?  This has challenged me to think of all of the other expectations that I put on myself and my baby of how things "should" be.
And, just as icing on the cake, Ryan has also recently come to recognize that we all get a better sleep when Carter is in bed with us, and that it isn't just me selfishly inviting him into our bed.
So where does this put us?  We still continue to try to put Carter to bed in his crib every night (because seriously it would be nice to have our bed to ourselves), but if he doesn't go, we don't fret bringing him into bed with us.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

2 Year Anniversary

September 4th was mine and Ryan's second anniversary.
Our wedding was the wedding that I had dreamed of since I was 12 years old-a big white tent, a ceremony by the river and all of our closest family and friends.  Up until that point in time, it was the happiest day of my life.  Best of all, I was marrying my very best friend.
Over the past two years, we have had many more happy times.  We purchased our first house.  We  welcomed our first child.  Our love for each other has continued to grow, and today I can't imagine celebrating all of life's happy moments with anybody else!
This man means so much to me.  He is my confidant.  He makes me laugh.  He gives all of himself to me every single day.  He is an amazing father.  There is so much that I could say about him, but I find it hard to even put my love for him into words.
I look forward to the years ahead of us and all of the happiness that they will bring.  Most importantly, I look forward to spending the years to come with the man of my dreams!  Happy Anniversary Ryan!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Calling on my Pre-Baby Self

Prior to having a child, I knew it all.  I knew exactly how to deal with any situation, and how to be the perfect parent.  I frowned upon parents that were not doing things the "right" way.
Then I had a child.
This past week has been particularly difficult.  Carter has decided that we must be figuring him out, so figured he might as well change things up.  The bed-time routine that used to work doesn't anymore.  The only way that he will go to sleep is if I rock him, and the moment that I set him down in his crib, he wakes up screaming.  I have surrendered and brought him into bed with me prior to midnight pretty much every night this week.  It's easier than trying to get him into his crib over and over and over again.
I know he is still to young to be manipulative.  I also know, however, that he is putting up a fuss when he really doesn't have any "real" needs.  I think that he is smart enough at this point to realize that crying=getting to sleep with mom, and I don't want to start something that we will have difficulty to undo later on down the road.
And for once, I don't know what to do.
I find myself trying to put myself back into my pre-baby brain.  I had all the answers back then.  What advice would the old me have had for the parent that is now me?  The old me would probably say that if all of his "needs" have been met, to let him cry it out.  The old me doesn't know this child though.  She doesn't know that "crying it out" is not an option.  That history has shown that he can cry for hours straight.  The old me is void of the emotion that goes along with being a parent.
So the experimentation begins.  Tonight I am trying just a sleeper and leaving out the swaddle.  It seems to be working relatively well so far.  We'll just see though.  It may be a long night.  Wish us luck!