About Me

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I am a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby led weaning, extended rear facing, eco conscious, married mommy to two beautiful children. They have changed my view on the world we live in. It is now my number 1 goal to make it the best I can for them to grow up in. I find myself always rethinking how I want to live my life and often feel like sharing my findings and thoughts with others. So I guess here's my chance :o) I will talk about topics that interest me. If you dont like them or dont agree, well... there's nothing much I can do!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mini homecoming

My husband's job is great. It allows us to live comfortably on one income while I stay home with both kids. But his job comes with a major downfall. Deployments. Although he has never been away as long as some, the weeks and months he is gone still seem like the take forever to end.

Here we are at the very end of a 2 week trip. He went away on course so we have been very fortunate to talk, text, and video chat several times a day. He flies home tomorrow morning (fingers crossed our temperamental Maritime weather cooperates) so today is spent preparing for his return. In no way does he expect the house to be spotless when he returns but I still at least try to not have the place look like a hurricane just went through it. 

So here is my to do list for today.
  • Clean kitchen
  • Tidy living room toys
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Meal plan
Nothing incredibly difficult but it all has baring on whether the kids cooperate!

What do you try to do before a loved one comes home?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Our Home Energy Report

We are very lucky to have a provincial program who's goal is to get Nova Scotian's to use less power. Plain and simple. There is a ever so slight charge on our bill and that funding goes directly to Efficiency Nova Scotia. Since my ultimate goal is diminish my carbon footprint, I may as well start with making our home as efficient as possible.

Their website is full of information. A program they offer is the Home Energy Report. You answer a bunch of questions about your home and input your power account. It will then analyze your power usage compared to other similar homes in the neighbourhood. It's great. I guess we are pretty good already!

But I want more. It set the automatic goal of "Your goal is to reduce your electricity use by 5% for 1 Dec - 31 Mar." which will be extremely difficult since we have electric heat and are entering our coldest months of the years. Because of this, I have set our real goal of using 5% less energy each month than we did the year prior.  The site gives us well over 50 tips on how to help us reach our goal. It give a description as well as how much $ you can possibly save. There were a bunch that we have already done/do but there are plenty that I have added to my plan.

Everyone can view the tips so I encourage all of you to check it out!
What will you try doing to reduce your home energy consumption?

Friday, November 29, 2013

When David Suzuki came to Halifax

David Suzuki came to Halifax last Friday. When I first heard the news that he was coming, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to see him. I'm glad I did since tickets for the event sold out very quickly. We even made a whole "date night" out of it by visiting a restaurant that serves local and organic foods. Yum!

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my green journey. I have done lots so far to help reduce my carbon footprint because it was the right thing to do. I never really knew all the specifics about what was going on in our world. The presentation last week was all about climate change (or global warming). There are still skeptics out there but the prevention showed us concrete examples of how climate change is negatively affecting the Maritimes. Alternative renewable energy sources were discussed. Our use of fossil fuels was explained as well.

If the earth warms up a couple degrees, it can have disastrous consequences. It is said that if we burn all the oil that we presently have available, the earth would warm several times the acceptable limit. That doesn't even begin to take in consideration all the oil and natural gas they want to find with exploration.

The clear message was that we need to drastically slow our use of fossil fuels and seek out renewable forms of energy. Today, I am setting up an account with Efficiency NS and will receive a Home Energy Report. I will fill out a survey, it will analyse my monthly power bills, and it will give me loads of suggestions on how to lower our energy use. It will also help me establish goals. Be sure to look out for that post soon!

Do you have any goals related to energy use?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

20 chore Tuesday - Storm preperation

So they are calling for a huge wind and rain storm tomorrow. I would really like to be able to just play with the kids and make tree ornaments. For us to spend the day having fun, that means I have lots of chores for today.

  1. Dishes
  2. Counter
  3. Table
  4. Main floor
  5. Toys
  6. Bench
  7. Footwear
  8. Laundry (and put away)
  9. Vacuum seal maternity clothes
  10. Program thermostats  

Abigail's room
  1. Put books away
  2. Put toys away
Zachary's room
  1. Empty closet
  2. Fold clothes
  3. Store future clothes in closet
  4. Move wall stickers
Meal planning
  1. Plan the week
  2. Grocery list
  3. Cut up and freeze various squashes
  4. Make list of holiday baking
  1. "2014 save energy challenge" blog post
Hopefully I can get all this done today all while listening to Christmas music. Hope the kids cooperate!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Hectic morning comes to an end

What a morning! 530 wake up followed by tantrums and Abigail puking all over the kitchen floor came to an end with this. What I thought was a quick feed turned into a 2+ hour nap for him. Forced me to sit back and relax.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Our quest to be green

My quest started several years ago. I started doing simple things like putting all our organic waste in our green bin for city pickup. Our apartment clothes dryer wasn't the best so I started hanging our clothes to dry. It was nothing really out of the ordinary but soon enough, that would change.

I started doing things that people thought were quite different from most. We became quite good at separating our garbage between compost, recyclables and waste. If we had a bunch of people over, I always tried to make it as easy as possible for our guests to dispose of their garbage correctly. Even with that, I would still go through our garbage after they left because there was always something there that shouldn't be. When I went to work, I would often bring my organic waste home since I was fairly certain our school didn't dispose of it properly.

There are some simple things I do now that make a huge difference. I can't remember the last time I purchased wrapping paper. Several years back, I bought gift bags for the holidays. Since then, after each event (Christmas, birthdays, our wedding), I take the time to neatly fold all the tissue paper and gift bags. Now, whatever the event, we have a huge stash to choose from. Our family have been receiving the same bags for years now.

Last week, Efficiency Nova Scotia came to our home and installed a bunch of products that will lower our energy consumption. There was ZERO cost to me! I encourage everyone to find out if there is a local program that offers anything similar.

My next goal is to keep track of the amount of power and water that is used in our home and to hopefully start seeing a drop. What about you?

Monday, November 4, 2013

The busy life - Trying a routine.

I have always wanted to blog more often.  Sometimes, it seems to be done pretty easily. Sometimes not.  Lately, I walk around with all these topics but finding the time to sit down and put it all in words is difficult. So I have a challenge for the month of November. Some sort of routine.

I have always been horrible with routines. Whether at home, at school or at work, I have never been able to stick to one on my own accord. Unfortunately, if I ever want to get around to successfully homeschooling my children, I need to have some sort of organization to my time or else nothing will get done in the chaos.

So I am starting out small. I asked many ladies on facebook and twitter what was the one thing that they absolutely need to do in their home on a daily basis. Everyone answered dishes! So that is what we are trying then. We will try to have our dishes done before we go to bed. Sounds simple. We'll see!

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tomatoes galore! - New weekly recipe

Between our farm share and our own private vegetable garden, we have an over abundance of tomatoes. Some are big, some are small, some are red and some are tiny and yellow. Unfortunately, we have had a little bit of our vegetables go to waste but I am determined to not lose all these tomatoes! We made a cherry tomatoes pasta soup last week. This week, I made a huge batch of tomato pasta sauce!

There are literally thousands of different tomato sauce recipes out there. I did a quick search and found a base recipe that I like. I made some changes to it. The original base recipe I used is this one found on Wellness Mama.

So I essentially wanted to use everything I had left in my fridge.
  • 8-10 cups of tomatoes and tomatilloes
  • 2 green peppers
  • 3 onions
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 4 carrots
I chopped everything up (shredded the carrots) and threw it all in a big pot. I also added;
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
I let it simmer for around 2 hours. I was worried that I would need to puree some of it but everything ended up breaking down. My sister told my mom that it was delicious. Awesome! I made enough that I have 2 jars full down in the freezer for later. Now what new yummy recipe shall I try this week?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September's home challenge - The great purge!

I desperately want to sell or give away many of our household items. We have so much stuff in our home, it is driving us crazy! We have a fourth bedroom downstairs that is unusable because it is full of stuff that we no longer use. So my goal for the month of September is to purge and organize our home and I would love to turn that extra room into an arts/crafts room.

Here is what the room looks like now. 

I wonder how many items I can give away or sell in the next month?!

So far....

10 articles of clothing to a neighbor 
1 small area rug
1 glass end table
37 articles of clothing at clothes swap
22 articles of maternity clothes 
1 small deep freeze
1 six basket storage table

And there is still so much more to go!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Homemade deodorant, face wash and no-poo.

I am almost there. I have almost completely converted all my beauty products to homemade/chemical free ones. Last year, I stopped using shampoo and soap to wash my face. Finally, last week, I took the plunge and made my own deodorant. Here are my recipes!

For the past year, I was using a natural shampoo but lately, I found that my scalp has been producing extra oils. I decided to go back to using water and baking soda last week. Already, there is less oil. 
I use about 1/2 table spoon of baking soda
500 ml of water.

I have it premixed in a peri bottle. I simply spray it on my roots, massage, the rinse. One full bottle should last me about 5 "washes". I'm still working on a leave-in conditioner. 

Face wash
I use the "oil cleansing method". This site explains it well. http://www.crunchybetty.com/nitty-gritty-on-the-oil-cleansing-method

I use equal parts Castor oil and olive oil. I have my solution premixed in an old 
shampoo bottle. I only have to clean every couple days and I no longer need 
to use a moisturizer. 

There are so many different recipes online that I took bits of several towns made my own. 

1tblsp beeswax (to help give it a more solid consistency) 
1tblsp coconut oil
1tblsp arrowroot starch
1tblsp baking soda (reduce if you have sensitive skin)
Several drops of tea tree oil 

Melt beeswax and coconut oil together. Then cream it together with the arrowroot 
starch, baking soda and TTO. Let it cool. Then I packed it into an empty deodorant stick. 
It took about a week to get used to the damp feeling since it goes on like a cream. Since there is no aluminum, I still perspire (which I don't mind since it is our body's way of releasing toxins). Next time, I may try lavender oil instead of the TTO. 

So there it is. I enjoy being able to make my own products. Now that most of our household products are homemade/chemical free, I need to find another project to work on. Perhaps a major purge?!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Meal planning - take 2

Life has been completely chaotic for the past 7 months. Zachary is now old enough to start eating solid foods with us at the table. Since we are doing baby-led weaning with him, the meals that we eat as a family have to be healthy enough for him as well. Abigail is also starting preschool, swimming lessons and possibly gymnastics next month so a little bit more planning is needed now. So here is what I do.

I gather my monthly calendar (which keeps track of all our appointments and activities), notebook (where each page is good for 2 weeks), grocery list pad, erasable pens, and cookbooks/iPad for recipe ideas. I only plan for 5/6 meals a week since we visit our parents often. I also have jotted down on our plan foods that Zachary will have. By doing a couple weeks at a time, I ensure that we get a good variety of proteins. We tend to stick with favorite meals but if we have the time some day, we try a new recipe. Or we let Abigail pick a picture from amongst the books. 

Since we purchased a large upright freezer recently, we are able to stock up on free range/local meats and wild seafood at a great price. There is still 2.5 months left of our farm share. Our weekly grocery list is very very simple and consists mostly of fruit and dairy. And since we also just got a brand new fridge, produce is lasting more than a day or so so we have less waste. 

For lunches, we either do leftovers or I visit other websites for ideas

How do you meal plan? Let me know!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It is so tough being 3 years old

You hear a lot about the "Terrible twos" but those were no problem for us. Abigail was great. Although I was pregnant for the majority of it, it was a great time for her since she was older and able to do more things and have more fun. I loved watching her learn new things. Little did we know that there would soon be some very challenging times ahead.

Over the holidays, almost as if she sensed something was coming, her behavior changed. She would no longer go to bed on her own, she would not listen to us and she started to develop quite the little saucy attitude. It was cute at first but when you are also taking care of a newborn son while your husband is away on deployment, it was no longer funny. Oh! What to do?!

I do not believe in the "time outs". I do not believe in letting her "cry it out" to fall asleep by herself. I want things to be positive and that is very very hard since she always seems to be purposely pushing boundaries lately. It is incredible frustrating when it takes us over an hour to get her to bed and when she hits and screams for no reason. We often ask ourselves why. Is it our fault?

I am part of a parenting group with ladies who share many of the same parenting philosophies has I do. It's great to talk about these things during our meetings when others think that we are just crazy for not using the "easy way". We discuss tips and techniques we could possibly try. We encourage each other on during tough times. This week, I came across a quote that has completely changed my perception on Abigail's behaviors as of late. 

Abigail is not misbehaving on purpose. She does not think about the outcome before she does something. She doesn't hit me because she doesn't love me. She is 3! Three is a tough age! She is learning so much right now, it is perfectly natural for there to be some hiccups along they way. We are just lucky enough to be along for the ride. We will keep trying to guide her in the right directions and teach her techniques to help overcome certain obstacles. But essentially, she needs to do the work herself. I will no longer question my parenting decisions. I will no longer blame myself when she does something mean.

I love Abigail and there isn't a single thing I would change about her. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - I think they like each other.

20 chore Tuesday - Giving myself the week.

Last Tuesday was not productive AT ALL. Instead, I decided to hang out with both kids all day (which is much more important anyway). So I'm giving myself the week to do this weeks tasks.

1. Fold laundry
2. Put away laundry
3. Wash linen 
4. Locate all my summer clothes
5. Locate diapers for donation 
6. Clean out the car
7. Tidy living room
8. Vacuum
9. Clear stairwell
10. Vacuum stairs
11. Clean bathroom counter
12. Paint garden stones
13. Blanch farm share vegetables
14. Bake banana bread
15. Bake cookies 
16. Bake muffins
17. Look for a new fridge
18. Start writing Zachary's baby led weaning first food's post!!
19. Purge some paper clutter
20. Clear kitchen table

Join us!!

20 chore tuesday

Visit Joyful Abode to cheer on others.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

20 chore Tuesday. Yet another rainy day.

So it has been raining for what seems like an eternity. I have been trying to get us out of the house as much as possible and because of that, my home has been severely neglected. Yet another rainy day tomorrow gives me the perfect opportunity for a productive day.

I really really hope both kids will cooperate with me because this stuff really needs to be done. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

First month of summer solo parenting done!

So here we are, the first of 3 summer months of solo parenting done. It has been quite the month. Between parent & tot programs, play dates, continuing our quest for clean whole foods, enjoying the outdoors, and 2 crazy adorable children, there is never a quiet moment.

We have discovered the programs offered by our local Military Family Resource Centre. For 2$, I can stop by and Abigail can run around like crazy for 2 hours. There are crafts to do, books to read, snacks to eat. It is great! There are two sessions a week (one of which is in French!) being offered all summer long. The centre is about a 30 minute drive away so we probably won't go every week but it is still nice to have the option. 

Since Zachary was born, I have had the pleasure of meeting some pretty fantastic women who are part of a local cloth diapering group. Many share the same parenting philosophies (breastfeeding, car seat safety, non CIO) as me so it has been very easy to speak with them. I no longer feel alone in my choices. Within this group, there are several of us that support one another in our quest to eat clean, whole, organic foods. And more that cheer each other on to lead healthy active lives. It's great. 

The only real big project I have taken on this summer is to have a successful vegetable garden. I'm keeping it relatively simple this summer. All I have planted are cucumbers (most have died already), tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, peppers, and squash. Everything (well mostly) is growing really well. Because I am producing so little this year, I signed up for a farm share and I got my first delivery today! We got spinach, rhubarb, kale, cucumbers, radishes and strawberries. I will finally try kale tomorrow since I will be making kale chips.

My big project for July will involve a lot of work. My asparagus and blueberry bushes are doing ok in the back yard. I found out today that I have the very aggressive spreading gout weed in my back garden bed. The darn weed is choking out one of my blueberry bushes. So I will be transplanting 7 hostas, 3 blueberry bushes, and asparagus to either pots or to either set of grandparents for the summer. I will either be "cooking" the soil to kill the weed or I will simply dig up all the dirt (and weed roots), build a proper box and replace with organic soil. Either way, I will have to remain active in suppressing those weeds.

I'm expecting a very busy summer but I actually wouldn't want to have it any other way!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My summer of solo parenting

So the military reserve summer deployments have officially begun. Keegan's schedule this summer is gone for 7 weeks, home for 2, then gone for another 3. Gone for 10 weeks total. I'm sure it will go by quickly. First week is done already!

We have many things on the go that will surely keep us very busy. Lots of new regular play dates are being organized. It will be good to get us all, Abigail especially, out of the house. We also have monthly events organized by our Military Family Resource Centre MCDV group.

Other than these activities, we have a couple goals to work on as well..
- Run 10km early August.
- Go back to speaking French full time with Abigail. 
- Major purge of toys.
- Cut out all GMOs from our diet and eat local foods. 
- Set up regular child care supplied by the MFRC to give me a break.  

Nothing too huge needs to be done this summer. We just need to relax, stay healthy and be happy! No problem there. I can do that!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Getting back to healthy living

Close to 2 years ago, we completely changed the way we eat. We cut out all processed foods and started to eat organic. It helped my husband lose almost 50 lbs and 10 lbs myself. Then I became pregnant. We continued to eat really well. Then I had Zachary and our healthy eating went off the deep end. Taking care of 2 children is incredibly time consuming (reason why I haven't really blogged much lately) and food preparation just hasn't been the same. Hoping to change that now.

We used to try buying organic when possible and purchasing our produce at our local farmer's market. But lately, it has just been easier to get all our groceries at either Costco or Superstore. If something was organic, great! But if it wasn't, then we would just buy the non organic variety instead of looking elsewhere. At least it was whole food but it always bothered me that we weren't eating as organic as we could be and we were exposing ourselves to dangerous chemicals that are found in our foods.

Today, there was a worldwide march against mega corporation Monsanto. For roughly 100 years, this company has been developing chemicals that are used daily all over the world. Now, they are genetically modifying organisms (GMOs) to create super foods. Since the company downplays the effects these chemicals have on us, the "March Against Monsanto" projects really wants GMOs labelled on foods so that consumers can make a valid choice in the foods we decide to consume. Zachary, Abigail and I were three out of 2 million people world wide who participated in a peaceful march to bring awareness of our cause to the general public. This event was really what renewed my desire to live as healthy as possible.

Keegan is home for just one more week before being deployed until the end of August. It will just be me and the kids. I will be in charge of all the food. I just need to figure out a weekly routine that allows me to efficiently get all the organic and GMO free foods from a couple locations and plan our daily meals. I need to contact a local farm to get a large freezer box full of beef, pork and chicken. I need to find easy to freeze simple fun foods that Abigail will love. I even wonder what Zachary's first food will be mid summer. Need to make these changes now because if we don't, who knows what will be out there for our future generations.

Information on GMOs

Sunday, April 28, 2013

When it is simply not a parent's choice

Growing up, you make lots of decisions but I have never made as many as I do now since I have had children. I have made the decision to cloth diaper, to breastfeed, to rear face in her car seat as long as possible, for them to eat whole food instead of purees, and to co-sleep among many others. Who knew the choices I made and sharing information about them would alienate myself from friends.

Some of my decisions were based on personal choice. I really disliked feeding my daughter puréed food so we made the switch to her feeding herself whole food. Our son will start directly with whole food in several months from now as well. Other choices were made purely from a safety stand point. When Abigail was approaching a year old, I started researching what her next car seat would be. We assumed she would be turning forward facing at 12months because that is the norm. After watching crash testing videos, I soon realized how important and safer it is to keep them rear facing. Instead of sticking with the bare minimum and turning her once it was legal to do so, she is still rear facing now at 3 years old and will remain that way for hopefully another year.

There are some instances though where it should not be up to the parent to make the decision. If it is terribly cold one day, you make sure to dress your babies appropriately for them to stay warm. When preparing their meals, you make sure that the food is not burning hot. These seem like no brainers. Why would "how to harness a child correctly in their car seat" cause such a stir? It is simple. You read the manual and you follow what it says in order to use the seat properly. No after-market accessories like those big sleeping bags, no big poofy jackets and straps must be snug against their thighs and body. When these points are not followed, your seat can no longer function properly when needed.

Often we don't know these important points. We used one of those bags in Abigail's car seat when she was an infant to help keep her warm before learning the dangerous effect they could have in the event of a crash. When Zachary was born in the midst of winter, I still wanted to use it so I cut a section out of it to make it safe. There was no longer thick fabric between him and his car seat that could compress in a crash and would create slack in his harness straps. And when straps are not tight enough, baby could slip right out of their seat. I have explained this directly to friends and family when I have been questioned about Abigail and Zachary's lack of winter jacket when it is -20*C outside.

I will continue to share information pertaining my parenting choices because they are aspects that I agree with and are passionate about. It doesn't mean that those choosing differently are bad parents. We have simply made different decisions based on the different aspects we find important. As for safety concerns, I will continue sharing that information in hopes that a parent will read it and learn something. It is never meant to be a direct attack on someone's choice, whether or not I agree with the choice.

If you saw something that could potentially be dangerous, would you bring it up to the parent?

Monday, April 22, 2013

End of the "4th trimester" and the beginning of a whole new chapter

You hear lots about this 4th trimester. It makes complete sense though. He was in my belly for 9 months. Always nice and warm. The sound of my voice and heart beat kept him calm. And then he comes out into this big, loud, cold world. It's no wonder all he wants to do is be held and loved. And I have no problem doing that! I wouldn't change a single thing about how things have progressed lately. He is growing like mad (6/14 at birth and 14lbs at 10.5 weeks) and he is developing beautifully. We are now entering the "he can slightly control his hands" phase. Once he grabs ahold of something (toys, socks, or hair!) he has quite the good grip on it.

We are now entering a whole new chapter in my life. I am now staying home with both kids full time. Abigail is no longer in daycare. As much as she loved it there, it just didn't make sense to keep paying for it when I could easily keep her at home. I remember when I was a child myself, saying that I wanted to stay home with kids instead of working. So here I am. Today was our first "real" day and it was great. We celebrated Earth Day by putting laundry out on the line, transplanting a rhubarb plant, kicking around a soccer ball, and going for a walk in the evening as a family. I'm really trying to establish a daily routine similar to the one she followed at daycare. It will allow us to plan activities and help keep us organize when Keegan goes back out to sea with the military for 10 weeks this summer. I am actually more excited to see how Abigail and Zachary will get along now that they will be ending all day together.

I think they will be ok. :)

Do you follow a daily/weekly routine with your kids to help things run smoothly?

Monday, March 11, 2013

My goals for this week

I have officially been a solo parent for 9 days while Keegan had been away with the military. Proud to say that I am still alive and coping well with 2 children at home. Abigail is still going to daycare during the week so that allows me to get certain things done that are much easier to do when I only have 1 child to look after. But she only has a few weeks left so some things really need to get done around the house while I still have the extra time.

1. Taxes. It's that time of year!

2. Sort through Zachary's clothes. So many hand-me-downs!

3. Family planner binder. Finances, daily routines and activities, and meal plans. All organized in one spot.

4. Meal plan March. Really need to get back to eating decently here at home.

5. Crochet. Started Zachary's blanket months and months ago. It's about time I finish.

Each goal should take about a day to complete. Must get the coffee and snacks ready. I'm in for a busy week!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Early spring cleaning

Lots and lots to do this week. I really need to get organized and out together Abigail's task/behaviour chart. In order to do that, I need the chaos that we have lived in recently to calm down.

- mail diapers
- shower
- give Zachary a bath

Entrance way
- clear winter jackets
- clear boots
- purge shoes
- clean floor

- clear stairs
- clear car seat area

Living room
- organize diapers
- organize bench
- sweep floor
- wash floor

Laundry room
- cat box
- sweep floor
- wash diapers
- wash misc

My bedroom
- fold laundry
- put clothes away
- organize Zachary's small basket of clothes

Family planner
- table of content
- start organizing binder
- figure out Abigail's task/behaviour chart

There. That's on the agenda for tomorrow. Not too much to do. Hopefully we are up early since the earlier she is at daycare, the more time I have I myself at home to work in this list.

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We have been a family of 4 for a month already!

I can't believe Mr Z is a month old already! Our lives have changed completely. Definitely for the better. We were so excited to be one big happy family again. Being away from A for those 5 nights seemed never ending. She has since tried going on a sleepover at the grandparents but got upset when we started to leave. Perfectly understandable. Don't know if it's either she doesn't want to be away from us or she doesn't want to be away from Z. Either way, we don't mind.

Z is doing absolutely great. He loves to be held (what baby doesn't?!) and sleep cuddled up with us. The first couple weeks, he was sleeping in his bassinet. We have since discovered that he sleeps for longer periods of time when he is all snug and warm against me in the big bed. He even pulled 4 hours straight the other night! It was great. He is nursing like a champion. He was 6 pounds 14 ounces when he was born. He is already so much bigger than he was! A whopping 10 pounds 6 ounces!!

Breastfeeding is going well. Only a couple very slight issues. Since he is still very small and I have an over abundant supply, it overwhelms him sometimes. We are also possibly working with reflux. He is happy all day long yet when we lay down at night, he will scream in agony for hours. It breaks my heart. So as of now, we are going to try keeping up as upright as possible. We will prop up his bassinet somehow and he goes to see the chiropractor on Monday. Those 2 things are very easy to start with. We can always try baby Zantac, cutting dairy out of my diet, and possibly other tricks if we feel like we need to try something else.

The biggest challenge is trying to be organized. Luckily, K is still home for another week s he has been a HUGE help. He mostly cooks every night and he takes care of A at night. There seems to be never ending laundry and even though we try to tidy up the main living areas, within seconds, it's a mess again. Since it will just be the kids and I next month, it will be the ultimate test on how organized I can possibly be. Over the next couple days, I'm gonna try to figure out our monthly meal plan and then some sort of weekly cleaning schedule. Hopefully I can stick with it!

Monday, February 18, 2013

20 chore Tuesday.

My little buddy here is now 4 weeks old. My life has completely changed. When A was born, I remembered there being lots to do but not nearly as much as now. Maybe it's because K was home for the first 3 months. Maybe it's because there is one extra little human thrown into the mix. Most definitely a mix of both. Every day that I'm home, I have these grand plans to get a bunch of stuff done. Z always has other plans though. Hopefully with a relatively easy list, I can be productive. If so, I'm treating myself with a fancy smoothie!

Enjoy coffee and watch Big Bang with K

Put on laundry
Fold laundry
Put away 5 loads of laundry
Put away clothes storage bins

Clear stairs of clutter
Put away extra winter jackets
Wash floor at front door

Get to my Chiro appointment on time
Make much needed appointment for massage

Finish marking gr 9 tests
Finish marking extra assessments
Enter grades
Contact ressource teacher about coming in Friday afternoon
Send message to my replacement

Clean Z's eyes
Put in breastmilk drops
Massage tear ducts

Put together diapers
Locate all of Z's "soon to be right size" clothes
Work on Z's "I'm 1 month old" post

There. That is for the whole day. I think it will be possible since K is now home from work for 2 days. 12 more days before he is gone for a month with the boat so there will be many more lists of things to do before he leaves!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Zachary is 2 weeks old!

And what a crazy 2 weeks it as been.

Recovery from a natural birth is a bazillion times better than recovering from a Caesarian section. With Abigail, we only got to leave the hospital 4 days after she was born. This time around, I knew I did not want to spend as much time there as last time. I was determined to go home the following day. Zachary was breastfeeding like a champ, was having plenty of dirty diapers and I felt great so there was no reason for us to stay. They came in to do his standard blood work and once that came back fine, we were off!

The first couple days home, I was exhausted. The adrenaline from being superwoman had worn off and the reality (aka lack of sleep) was setting in. Luckily, I was still able to send Abigail off to daycare so I could nap and rest during the day while everyone was gone. She loves it there so it is a no brainer on whether to send her or not. Since it is also just Zachary and I at home, it gives me the chance to finish up some last minute nesting projects we never got the opportunity to finish.

So now, at the 2 week mark:
- I am officially off blood pressure medication.
- Trying to revert my whole wardrobe back to normal clothes.
- Putting away all Abigail's old clothes since Zachary definitely won't be wearing them.
- Meal planning again! Oh how I missed it!
- Still using disposable diapers since our cloth ones are just a tad too big.
- I'm producing superhero milk. Clothes that were too big for him last week are now being stretched out by his long legs and body.

Hard to imagine that today was actually Zachary's due date.

Friday, February 1, 2013

20 chores - Getting back to normal

It has been an absolute crazy 11 days. Things are slowly getting back to normal at home and we are trying to find our new routine. Here is what I'd like to do before we hit the "Zachary is 2 weeks old" mark.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Zachary's birth story

How do I even begin to tell the birth story of our precious 6 pound 14 ounces Zachary born at 919am on January 21st 2013?

Our Vbac journey started almost 3 years ago, in May 2010, with the birth of his big sister Abigail. At her 38 week prenatal appointment, my blood pressure had gone up a little, so off we went to the hospital for blood work. They checked my bp a couple more times and each time, it went up and up and up. We were immediately induced, I was put on anti seizure medication, given an epidural and had my water broken. It was all pretty scary and sudden. I progressed very well and spent a couple hours pushing. She just didn't want to come out. It was decided that we would go for a Caesarian section. No real reason was given as to why she didn't want to come out, but I am fairly certain that if I had been able to move around (no epidural) and if my water had not been broken, she would have had a better chance. To my surprise, the following morning, one of the very first questions I had for the doctors was whether I would need a c-section for my next birth. They reassured me that it definitely wasn't the case.

Fast forward to spring 2012 and we find out we are pregnant again. I had already been doing lots of reading and research on vbacs. My pregnancy was great. My blood pressure was awesome, I passed my glucose test and I tested negative for group B strep. Over the months, my doctor and I had had many discussions about our birth plan. She made sure I understood all the risks associated with my decisions. It was a bumpy road, but once we came to the mutual understanding that I had no problem seeking intervention if a medical problem came up, we were great. Preparation for this birth continued as if it were a normal one.

Preparation was simple. I read birth stories, visited my chiropractor (since my pelvis and hips were all out of whack), had regular massages, had a couple meetings with our doula, and chatted regularly with some awesome ladies who had recently had vbacs themselves. Around 35 weeks, whenever I went to bed, baby would start moving around like crazy. I felt like he was just turning "back out" because my belly would become quite hard. Turns out, they were actually Braxton Hicks contractions. At the beginning of my 37th week, we had our final meeting with our doula, Jen. My doula friend Danielle was also there. That evening, we went over pain coping techniques. Who would have known that I would need them so soon afterwards!

Thursday (37+3) - I woke up that morning with an absolutely terrible headache. Like the worst one ever. Took some Tylenol, yet it didn't help in the slightest bit. That day, we had an ultrasound appointment just to confirm baby's placement. Our doctor was pretty sure the head was down, but just wanted to make sure. During the ultrasound, the nurse noticed a couple infarctions on my placenta, as well as low amniotic fluid. They checked my blood pressure, since i as curious what it was, and it unfortunately was in the 140s/100s. They admitted me to the birth unit for monitoring. Blood work came back great, my bp came down and baby was doing well on a monitor. We figured we were going home. Little did we know they wanted to induce me that day. After being told this, my bp jumped again. There was an "awesome" nurse who even decided to let me know that a mom had seizures a couple weeks back. As if that was gonna make me want to stay. We decided to leave against medical advice so that I could go home and relax. We did agree to come back the following day for more monitoring. This was the first of several long nights away from Abigail.

Friday - I woke up and my headache was gone. I made sure to drink several liters of water during the night and I felt great. My body was obviously fooling me. Bp readings were up and down all day but blood, urine, monitor, and ultrasound were still great so I wasn't too worried. The ob mentioned to us that if we stayed and were able to stabilize my bp, that she saw no reason why we shouldn't be able to go home. So with that, we did agree to spend the night. Cervix was getting more favorable so we agreed to a sweep. Contracted all evening long but they fizzled over night.

Saturday - Bp readings were where we wanted them all day (low 140s/low 90s). A doctor came in talking about inducing me by rupturing my membranes but I refused. As much as they were telling me my cervix was favorable, I was still uncomfortable with baby's placement. She then tried to tell me that fluid had no effect on baby's ability to turn and drop in my pelvis properly. I still said no. Bp went back up so we agreed to stay another night, still refusing to be induced. That night, through many different contacts, I was able to get ahold of my chiropractor. She agreed to meet me Sunday for a quick adjustment as well as some inducing acupuncture.

Sunday - We had decided over night that since bp was still being an issue, that I would discuss different inducing options. We were extremely lucky that the doctor on call that day was the natural minded pro vbac OB I had met in the fall! He agreed that AROM was risky not knowing exactly how baby was positioned (yay!). We agreed to a super low dose pitocin drip just to jump start my labour since he truly believed my body was very close on its own. And once my body got going, we would be able to come off the drip. He also agreed to let us leave the hospital for the morning, just to go home for a bit, get some last minute things, and I also got to see my chiropractor! Off we went! We were excited that we would be meeting our precious little baby soon.

We arrived back at the hospital Sunday afternoon and we waited for a spot to open up in birth unit. We were finally admitted at 8pm and hooked up to my IV. The doctor working that night was also 100% on board with a super low dose and hoping to actually take me off of it completely. We had regular contractions all night long. Although I had to stop and breathe through them, they were not painful. I was feeling them for about 45 seconds, every 4-5 minutes, but then when we would do the occasional monitor strip, they were lasting 60-90 seconds every 3-4 minutes. My body was obviously taking well to it. The nurse with me that night was awesome. Every half hour, she would come in and monitor baby for a bit with a Doppler. We even tried the wireless waterproof monitors and they worked great. Other than my IV, I was happy to not have anything else imposed on me. They encouraged me to walk around and to even use the tub if I wanted. Since it was still relatively early labour (still 4cm), I only had my doula friend Danielle with me over night since she unfortunately had to leave for work in the morning.

Around 5am, a resident are in and mentioned that if there was still no cervical change, that we should AROM. I mentioned to be checked first and then we would make a decision. She didn't really seem to like that idea. She actually said that there was no point of being checked if I wasn't going to AROM. Whatever lady. I was not comfortable with her so when there was still no change, I still decided to wait. Danielle had to leave soon so I sent a message to our other doula, Jen, saying that it was time for her to come in. I always had a feeling that once the action started, that it would be fast. Was I ever in for a surprise!

7am Monday morning (38 weeks) - The good doctor came back and expressed concern about me not wanting AROM. She checked me and she said the piece of information I wanted to hear "the head is there". Perfect. I was then ready. At this point, it was shift change time, so our new nurse just happen to be the same one from Thursday who told me about seizures. This morning, she actually started mentioning that maybe my pelvis was just too small to birth a baby. What's wrong with this lady! Obviously she was not very open, so our plan was to actually ask for a new nurse once my AROM was done.

8am - AROM and my fluid was clear. Painful contractions started immediately. Keegan wanted to leave and call family, but there was no way I was letting him go. I sat on the ball for a bit slowly leaning more and more forwards onto Keegan. I eventually dropped to my knees. Contractions were one on top of each other. At this point, I actually mentioned that there was no way I could last much longer and that I wanted to know my pain medication options. The nurse asked if I was wanting something for the pain to which Keegan and Jen quickly answered at the same time "no!". I then realized that I was obviously in transition. Suddenly, things felt different. The urge to push was there. I said something along the lines of "I need to poop... Uh, I think I'm pushing!". They asked me to get up on the bed. There was no way I could get up, so I was basically picked up.

~ 840 - I was checked and everything was ready to go! 4cm to 10cm in 40 minutes! Our doctor was en route so another doctor stood in until she arrived. He had a new resident with him who had actually been following me since Friday. You could see his excitement to be following through with a patient who firmly believed her body was capable of having a vaginal birth after cesarean. I started pushing. Pushing felt soooo much better. The doctor was very clear when telling me to push, to stop, to slow down or for a small push. He said you could see the head. I immediately reached down to feel. I was asked if I wanted a mirror but I said no. Pushed some more. Ring of fire... Well they call it that for a reason! Once the head and shoulders were out, I reached down and pulled him out myself (919!). Keegan never had the chance to deliver him himself. While we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, Keegan went down to see the sex of our new baby. He was pretty excited to tell me that we had just had a boy. He got to cut the cord. I was told that other than a little bit of road rash, I had no tearing whatsoever. They looked over the placenta and other than 1 little spot, it looked great!

Here I am, 9 days later, and I am still on a birth high. I feel like superwoman. It may not have been the intervention free experience I was hoping for initially, but I am proud of the choices we made. We didn't blindly go with doctor's recommendations like we did during Abigail's birth. If we had, the outcome could have been the same or it could have resulted in yet another major abdominal surgery. Instead, we made informed decisions after having talked and hearing options from several health care professionals. There is not a thing I'd do differently!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Officially full term!

So today, I have officially had a little baby growing inside me for 35 weeks. Baby could come any time now and it would be considered full term. Pretty sure we have everything all ready for its arrival. Seeing as this is our second baby, we are comforted knowing that we really don't need a lot of the baby gear that you go into your first pregnancy believing you require.

Our home renovations are relatively done. All three bedrooms upstairs have had the carpet pulled up and replaced with easy to clean, laminate flooring. As much as I love having carpet in my home, it is nice knowing that there isn't tons of unknown dust and dirt from previous owners stuck on the floor where we will be sitting to either play or sleep. The finishing touches are still left (baseboards) to do but those can wait until later.

Everything we need for baby is also ready. All our clothes from size newborn to 6 months has been washed and put away in the dresser. Top drawer is full of cloth diapers. We decided to use cloth diapers from day one this time. I really don't see the point of buying diapers that will just be thrown in the garbage after being used an hour. Since Abigail has mastered peeing in the potty over the holidays, I will only have 1 baby in diapers full time so there won't be an over abundance of diaper laundry to do. Bassinet bedding has been cleaned and is ready to be used. Car seat is all ready as well. I altered a bundle bag for the car seat (making it safe to use) since we are still in the midst of winter here.

We are all packed and ready to go to the hospital. Baby has a full carry on suitcase to itself (3/4 full with diaper stuff!), Keegan and I have another bag and Abigail even has a small bag packed as well. She has 3 days worth of clothes so that when she goes back and forth between my parents and Keegan's parents, we don't need to be scrambling for her stuff. Being away from her for more than a night is possibly the only thing I am not looking forwards to. Hopefully everything will go well in the hospital. I really want to spend as little time there as possible.

As for Vbac preparation, there is really nothing to prepare for now. My doctor and I have pretty much come to the understanding that there is nothing special that needs to be monitored with this birth. Everything is going great, my blood pressure is perfect, baby is head down and we are just ready to go. My Vbac is going how it should be going!

Now we play the waiting game. Trying to do laundry whenever a load is ready just to stay on top of it. Every once in a while, we make enough of supper to freeze some for later. Figuring out a grocery list I can use weekly for easy, healthy meals. Just taking it easy and enjoying the quiet peace before the awesome chaos begins!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Getting ready for the hospital!

  Here we are, 36 weeks and 1 day and I feel great. Went to the chiropractor this morning and everything is still nice and lined up properly. I actually haven't had any hip pain since last week so we think that baby is good and low in there just hanging out a bit longer before coming out. We had our first Vbac support group meeting this past weekend. Met another mom who is due at the same time as me. Hopefully we both have new guests with us for next month's meeting!

My task for today is to pack my hospital bags. I honestly can't even remember what we had prepared for Abigail's birth. Big difference is time around is that we plan on using cloth diapers from day 1. Here it goes!

   Baby's bag     Mom's bag  
  • Diapers
  • Covers
  • Wipes
  • Coconut oil
  • Liners
  • Sleepers
  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Receiving blankets
  • My favorite nursing blanket
  • Pjs
  • Nursing tops
  • Nursing bras
  • Comfy clothes
  • Breast pads
  • Socks
  • Hair elastics
  • Lip stuff
  • Slippers
  • Book
  • Toiletries
  • Prefold pads

We still need to pack some easy snacks, some clothes for Keegan and a large zippered wet bag for diapers. We also have to write up the list of last minute items to grab like phone charger and such. Car seat is ready, not in the car yet, but it is ready with the infant inserts. Now for Keegan to dig out the suitcase bags from under the steps and our bags will be all packed!

What could you not live without in the hospital after giving birth?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Officially 1 month away!

So we are officially 1 month away from our estimated due date! And I am celebrating by enjoying my first official day on maternity leave. Abigail was off spending the night with her grandparents so I got to sleep in, enjoy a coffee that was still nice and hot, and got to sit back and watch tv. I also finally got around to prepping our newborn prefold diapers. Here are some details of the past couple weeks.

Home renovations : I have been wanting to replace the flooring in our bedrooms for a couple years now. I have even put off getting anything ready in the baby's room knowing full well that we would hopefully be pulling everything out to redo the floors. Well, Boxing Day sales came around and we bought our new flooring. We sent Abigail off to my parents for 2 days and a night and we finally got both her room and the nursery done! The floors look great! Now I have no problem with baby sleeping on a floor bed because the yucky dusty carpet is gone! We even got around to doing the floors in the master bedroom. So happy with it.

Nursery : It is finally coming together. We don't plan on actually using it all that much for the first several months but it is still nice to get things put together. Newborn clothes to 6 months have been washed and are put away in the dresser. The first drawer is full of diapers. We decided to get rid of the changing table and just put a pad atop the dresser to save a bit of space in the room. Although baby will sleep in our room, we still like to do diaper changes in there because it allows us to wake up a bit more and make less of a mess. We still have Abigail's toddler bed set up. That will be taken apart and the crib mattress will simply be put on the ground. We are going to try out a floor bed earlier on this time. We went to a floor bed at 15 months with Abigail. We figure we would try it earlier this time since our crib actually broke when we took it apart.

Hospital bag : I am slowly getting things washed up and ready for the hospital. Didn't really have a bag ready last time since we were surprisingly induced at 38 weeks. I don't plan on spending very much time there this time around but it would still be nice to have a couple things to make my little time there as comfortable as possible.

Birth plan and pregnancy update : I had a great prenatal visit yesterday. My blood pressure is actually lower than it was 2 weeks ago and I put on a whole whopping 2 pounds over the holidays! Baby is still head down. One doctor (and coworkers) actually believes that baby has even dropped. This makes total sense to me because I am feeling more and more down below. I think it is dancing with its hands above its head. Lol. My doctor and I went over our birth plan and there was not a single thing she wanted to change! We are simply going to proceed as if this is a normal natural child birth. (I will share my birth plan later)

Still to do : There are still some things I have to do before baby arrives.
- I need to pack my hospital bag.
- Get the bassinet set up
- Do more laundry
- Put away Abigail's diapers since she NO LONGER NEEDS THEM!! (Woohoo!)
- Finish crocheting the new baby blanket
- Put together Abigail's New Baby gift.
- Set up new baby items in the living room
- ... I'm sure there are more!