Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baby On The Move

I'm a little late for posting this but Adriana is on her way to being a full fledge walker! Okay okay its clearly going to be awhile before she starts running around but its progress. There are two types of walkers: one who watches to learn and then just takes off or the one who attempts a little every time until they have enough courage to do the whole thing by themselves. Adriana is the latter. It started a little over a month ago when she took a step in her playpen by herself. It went cold for a few days and then she did it again. We didn't want to push her but she does enjoy walking while holding on to someone's hands. Both of them. A few weeks later she took more steps by herself. Then nothing again for a few more days. We want her to feel comfortable with walking; encourage her to do it on her own. If we push too much - she will end up giving up entirely for awhile. Gently nudging and a walker really help.

 Recently, she has made the big leap to a full TEN STEPS on her own!! Unfortunately, I was not around to see it. Darn work!! But my boyfriend did so it was okay :) He finally gets to witness things first hand before me since hes off work for the winter. It was quite a moment when he told me. Slightly brought tears to my eyes! She loves being mobile and more so by herself. She's very independent and I like it this way.

She will do it more and more by herself - without the walking toy. We are patient about this but definitely jumping for joy inside. There are babies who don't end up walking until a year and a half old. Nothing wrong with that! Those are probably the ones who patiently watch and learn instead of testing the waters until they perfect it. It doesn't matter when your little one starts walking - every baby is different remember! As long as there is progress, I guess. The late bloomers doesn't mean your child is developmentally slow....they just need time to understand the concept of walking. This is how they learn. Some babies are watchers and some are doers.

We started encouraging Adriana to stand quite early - only 2mths old. She wanted to stand all the time! Which made tummy time a bit more difficult. She warmed up to that eventually but did not like being on her back when she realized she could sit up by herself. I think we will have to harness her when she starts fully walking - she's just going to get up and RUN. Thank goodness for our massive backyard, which is fenced in! Between her and the dog....they will tire themselves out! lol When If we get snow, it will be an interesting winter with her walking. I actually picture Robert Munsch's Thomas' Snowsuit book.......lord help me.

Has your baby started to move on their own?
When did they take their first step?
If they haven't moved, are there any signs they're going to start soon?
Do they observe others intently and then act?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Returning to Work after Maternity Leave

I must say it was nice to have 11-1/2months off....

This past week I have unfortunately returned to work. Since my last job was a contract, which ended when I left on maternity leave, I had to find a new job. I was smart enough to enroll in some online college courses while off to help boost my resume *good idea!*. It took me a few weeks (very discouraging weeks I might add) but I found a full time job! *phew*

It's not the most ideal situation...I'm still getting used to the 6am rises. However, I get off at 4pm so I still have plenty of time to see Adriana. Most important thing to me! It's a decent job - nothing I haven't done before. I work for a government regulated manufacturing company who makes all the bomb sniffers for the airports and army. Actual title is Inventory Control Specialist (again). Downside is this is another contract position but high potential to become permanent after 6mths. doesn't bother me too much since in the New Year I plan to look for another job; a better one. first week back after having a baby has been different. Interesting. Tiring. At times difficult. I have a tedious job which requires a lot of attention - working with very small parts takes patience. Several times a day I find myself thinking about her and my boyfriend.
What are they doing?
What did she eat for lunch?
How long was her nap?
How much longer until I see her!
I prepared myself near the end of August for going back to work. I didn't like it but I knew I had to do it. It was definitely an adjustment for me. I was so used to being at home with her for 12hrs a day by myself, talking to friends whenever I wanted, online shopping, mall shopping, long walks, tea dates, etc. Now I have scheduled breaks, lunches, work to do, people to impress, expectation as an employee in a new place. I need some time to adjust to this work world, that's for sure.

The best advice I can give a fellow Mommy is to mentally prepare yourself. Take some time to adjust to a new routine. Since my boyfriend's working season was slowing down, I was able to take a step back and let him get used to being with her more than just a few hours at night. This helped Adriana adjust to being with Daddy for the day instead of Mommy. I would still feed her during the day but maybe get Daddy to bathe her and feed her dinner - I would give her a bottle and put her to bed. Little things at a time allowed her to ease into a new schedule, as well as myself. I woke up earlier and tried REALLY hard not to nap during the day. As difficult as that was...some days I just needed it.
I had zero fears that my boyfriend would be the main caregiver now. He's been a wonder dad from the beginning - and Adriana is a pure Daddy's girl, which makes it easy. My boyfriend really took the reins from the beginning. He helped a lot in the beginning to let me heal properly and he has really tried to do his share when he can! Kudos babe. Kudos.

I think Adriana has been having a ball at home with her Dad! She's a happy girl and really doesn't have much to complain about. Both parents who love her and would do anything for her. She has a warm home, a bed, toys, clothes, food, etc. I am very thankful to have a family like I do....Even though this is the American Thanksgiving weekend and I am Canadian - I am thankful for many things. My boyfriend and Adriana being right there at the top of list :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Meatless Mondays - Rice Cups/Casserole

I have fallen in love with plain white rice lol I found this recipe and it looked delicious. Has all my favourite things - and there's NO meat! Its filling enough to make as a casserole or as little cups to wrap and freeze for a quick side dish during the week.

What You'll Need:

1cup of white rice
1cup chicken broth
1tsp butter or margerine
1cup shredded cheese
1cup Ranch dressing
1cup Broccoli (cubed)
1/2cup Carrots (sliced, julien, or finely chopped)

Prepare white rice using chicken broth instead of water. Add butter and set aside in a mixing bowl. Steam or boil broccoli and carrots for about 5mins. Add to bowl to cool a bit. Add shredded cheese and ranch dressing - mixing everything together. In a greased muffin tin (or 9x9 baking dish) add mixture. You may top with cheese, bread crumbs, or honey for taste! Bake at 350F for about 25-30mins, or until golden brown tops. May serve immediately or let cool, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for another meal. These are great as individual portions which can be used for lunches or quick meals.

Go even one step further and make TWO batches to keep in the freezer! Great for Monday nights - the one night of the week you DON'T really want to cook. Or save them for when guest come over as a quick appetizer! If you're not a fan of Ranch dressing, try Caesar dressing or Thousand Island...whatever creamy dressing you prefer! Also you can switch up the veggies to whatever you like more. Eggplant and Goat cheese, Zucchini and havarti, or through in some cubed ham and swiss instead!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Adriana's Christmas List (and Birthday List)

It's never too early to start Christmas shopping....I've said this a million and a half times already this year! I am always on a hunt for a good deal and never forget about preparing for (in my opinion) THE BEST HOLIDAY ever. This will be Adriana's very first Christmas. In my family, it has always been a big deal! Big beautiful tree, lights, Dickens Village (My mom has a metropolis - not a village) and I want Adriana to enjoy it as much as my sisters and I have over the years.
She doesn't get to be excited JUST about Christmas. Her very First Birthday falls 11days after Christmas. It will be interesting to plan that without incorporating the Christmas holiday as well! Wish me Luck :)

I thought I would make things a little easier for our family this year. Instead of TELLING them what she wants - I have compiled a list for her myself. It is mostly toys because we're not particular on what kind of clothes she will get. These are just a few I picked while browsing through the Sears Wishbook online (not the same as flipping through the pages!). I will list her sizes as well for those of you who need to know for clothes.

Adriana's FIRST Christmas List
1. Fisher Price Ballcano Stand-up Playset
2. Fisher Price Disney Baby Sing-Along Choo Choo
3. Alex Jumpin Jr First Trampoline (YES!)
4. Little Tikes Discoversounds Activity Garden
5. Fisher Price Record Player
6. Fisher Price Little People Zoo Talkers
7. Fisher Price Little People Wheelies Stand N' Play
8. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey
9. Alex Busy Tot
10. Alex Sort & Count
11. Fisher Price 2-in-1 Wagon Rider
12. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Learning Kitchen
13. Safety 1st Sand N' Surf Outdoor Play table

Sleepers: 18mths-24mths
Dresses: 18mths
Bottoms: 18mths (2T at Walmart)
Tops: 12mths-18mths
Shoes: size 4 or 5

Room Colours: Pink and Purple
Crib: Cherry wood
Storage Cubes: Pink

Clearly this list is just a guideline based on what I saw and feel would benefit Adriana. She's a smart little girl and would love any gifts she gets this Christmas holiday (or her Birthday!). I wasn't specific but BOOKS! She loves books...any kind by any authour would be good. Obviously, they need to be age appropriate. She has Flash Cards that we will start using in the next few weeks. I even bought her very first stocking. It's a good size and says "Dear Santa, I have been a good Girl this year" down the front. I will sew her name into the top part for added touch.

Have you started Christmas shopping?
Did you kids make a list?
What sort of things are they asking for?        

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How to Chose a Stroller

The stroller evolution has evolved beyond the traditional carriage. It can be overwhelming choosing a stroller for your first time - unless you have a sister in law who recommends some for u....(Thank you, Laura!). I was given some pretty good options and it took me a little to consider what would be the best for me. So don't rush this process!! Go to the store and test the strollers, or read about the functions online. I have compiled some considerations to take into account when making the big decision. It goes beyond just the safety of your baby!

First consider the main use for the stroller. Do you plan on running with your baby? or taking several walks? How about traveling? Do you travel by bus or car? Once you figure out what you plan to do most with your stroller, then you can narrow down the types of strollers that work for you.
 Running strollers are convenience and designed to keep baby safe and give great support for those bumpy trails! If you travel by bus, you may want to consider a light-weight stroller instead of the bulky ones.
Call me crazy but if you have a spouse who is significantly taller (or shorter) that you, consider them too! My boyfriend is a FULL foot taller than me so we ONLY looked at strollers with adjustable handles to accommodate him pushing the stroller as well. Which has also helped when his mom pushes the stroller too (She's tall as well!) The adjustable handles slide up so the taller person doesn't have to hunch forward to push the stroller. Amazing idea! My boyfriend has no problem pushing our stroller since there's no strain on his back :) It gives me a break from it too....

If this is your second child - or if you've been blessed with twins! - think about the different options you have before jumping on the first double stroller you see! The tandem strollers have become more compact than the traditional ones. They're not as LONG anymore! Don't think that because you have twins or a second baby that you can't run....they have a stroller for that too! This particular stroller has great storage plus the chairs adjust to have both lean back for nap time. Also the seats remove to accommodate car seats for your little infant bundle of joy.

If you're like me and have to constantly fold up the stroller to bring it inside or put it in the trunk of the car, then you may consider one in which you can easily do so. I love that mine actually stands up by itself. Easily stored in my bedroom or on the stairs. Its a little complicated to fold but once you do it a few times - its so easy! I also love that I can have Adriana in one hand and still unfold the stroller without having to put her down. When you have your hands full - you either have to plan ahead or learn to multitask!
Personally, I chose red because I wanted something that wasn't gender specific. We plan on having another baby in a few years and would like to use the same stroller if possible. If that second baby happens to be a boy then we can reuse a good chunk of the stuff we have already. I am not a runner but I do walk every day! I needed a light weight stroller to take on the bus too. Adjustable handles work amazing for us! I'm 5'4" and my boyfriend is 6'4". The Peg Perego's handles adjust about 4inches which is better than nothing. One downside to the stroller is the cup holder. It attaches to the outside of the stroller and barely holds a water bottle. Anything larger (my tea!) and it wobbles. A way around this is to purchase a stroller strap which has a cup holder and storage pocket for keys, phone, etc.

Here are some links for more guidelines on choosing a stroller:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy 10 months Adriana

I do this every month since starting my blog. Today my baby girl Adriana turns 10months old!!! Shes beautiful than the last month (and smarter too!). With each passing day she learns more and lets that personality shine through

Some other things she's done so far is take a few steps! Although shes nervous to do it by herself she has made a few steps by herself without holding on to anything. Her eyes go really wide from excitement but looks to grab on to something...a leg, ledge, handle, anything or anyone! She will get there...slowly but she'll do it. I can't wait :) We have a giant backyard that she will be able to run around in when she gets a bit better - or when its covered in snow!
Adriana also - officially - has her first tooth! The darn thing took its time coming in with several wakeful nights, cries, clinging, grabbing, gnawing on everything. She made it through the first one and it really wasn't that bad!! They say the worse is the first tooth and the first molar, so far so good! She looks pretty darn cute with just the one tooth on the bottom. Chomper I call her lol
She also talks more with her tongue. Most words sound like gibberish - I actually understood more before!! But I'm sure she'll start forming more words soon. She tries to say Tyson and is pretty good at it I think! But MaMa :(

She will go back to the doctors December 2nd and we will know exactly how much she weighs and how tall she is. I can tell you that right now Little Missy is at 18mths clothes now and she's not supposed to grow much more in the next couple of months. With a little bit of guestimating....I ended up being right about what size to get her for Christmas! Awesome. I'm one step ahead of the game lol Canadian Thanksgiving has already passed and unfortunately we don't do much for Remembrance Day here so the next big holiday is Christmas! My favourite time of the year - and will be Adriana's first one :) This year is going to be extra special (but still sad). Even though its her first Christmas - its also the first one without Aunt Kim around to see it all. We plan to Skype for a bit so she gets to see everyone. Definitely better than nothing! We will still have other family around to celebrate and I want to make this one the best ever....for Adriana!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Baby Book Idea - Digital ScrapBooking

I'm always looking for ideas on storage, organizing, food, etc. and I love when I find a beautiful way to showcase memories that are a bit unique. This is not a typical scrapbook or shadow box idea. This is a baby book idea - digitally enhanced!
By using modern technology, its like recreating the scrap booking hobby....digitally. Using layouts created by yourself or downloading free ones, you can print these pages and keep in a binder or book. Add pockets, or clear sleeves to hold specific items like hospital bracelet, first hat, or pin the first onesie your little one wore.
I have been collecting things since the beginning (including the parking pass of the day she was born!) which I keep in a decorative bag - really hadn't figured out what to do with it all!! Until I came across this great idea. Its not JUST a scrap book fellow Mommies and Daddies....its much more.
There are so many great sites to start your digital scrapbook! These sites provide you with some layout ideas, colour and patterns and they're saved right on the website so you can send the links to other people to view. My favourite thing is that you can print them out on good quality paper and put in a nice binder or have them bound into a real book.

Here are some great links:
1. Free Digital Scrapbooking
2. Computer Scrapbook
3. Daisy Trail
4. Scrappy Nat
5. My Memories

Perhaps you would rather create your own? Not a problem! You background pictures and photoboxes in a word document or use Paint. Never underestimate the uses for Paint! Here are some great ideas to get your started. NOTE: These are NOT my ideas. Some pictures come from this website LINK

I plan on starting one for Adriana! Clearly I don't have time to do an every day thing but perhaps a Month by Month of her first year. Add in things like the picture above plus the birth story I've written on my blog already. I will add some pockets to display her hospital bracelets, parking passes, hat, first outfit, etc. I can add some pictures from her first month home - all the visitors, outfits, time with Tyson, etc. Then I will spread it out each month as a collection of pictures. Add some notes of things she did - I like the article idea pictured above which explains how much she weighs, length, eating, sleeping, etc.

I think this adds a much more personal touch instead of just a photo album and its a great place to display everything. No more decorative boxes to hide it in! It keeps it organized and...when you want to go back to those days it makes for a good read :)

Have you started a baby book? or journal?
What sort of things will you add to yours?
How did you display the memories (digitally or something else)?
Share your stories by commenting below or email me! I'd love to hear all your ideas :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to Prepare meals for MONTHS

This is no joke Mommies and Daddies!

I came across this fantastic website for creating about 46 meals in 4hrs for about $100. Seriously.
A Turtle's Life for Me is a great blog written by a lady, named Natalie, who is taking it one step at a time. This particular post is absolutely amazing for mommies/daddies to be.
They say the first few weeks as a mom are the hardest, especially if you don't have the extra money to spend on take out food every meal. Consider reading this blog post: Freezer Meals on the Cheap. I really wish I had found this before Adriana was born - although we were busy visiting people for breakfast, lunch and dinners! Natalie didn't write the post as a new Mommy but just as a general idea for those busy parents. She has a family of 4 in which are enrolled in several extra curricular activities. Busy schedule doesn't allow her to have the time for grand meals. So she turned to a book "Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer" for help.
She explains what to buy, how to cook and package the meals and only taking about 4hrs to do it. Personally, I love the baked potatoes idea! Twice Baked and only take 20mins when you're ready to use them - I Love Potatoes. The great authors even went a step further to produce a second book "Don't Panic - More Dinner's in the Freezer". Which shares even more recipes for making meals a head of time.

Don't think you have the time Make the time and this will save so much more money (and time) later on! This is an extension to my recent post "Maternity Leave Income - Living on $2200 a month" where I share another blogger's journey of how her family of 6 lives off $2200/mth. It can be done with just a little preparation ahead of time. The last thing you want to do when you get home with your new bundle of joy is cook. That goes for both Mommy and Daddy. Instead make that time more special by not having to worry about cooking or "what are we going to eat for...." This is a special time for you and your baby(ies) to bond; get to know each other.

These books would make a PERFECT baby shower gift! The next baby shower I go to...their getting these books wrapped in a big bow. They can thank me later!

How did you survive eating after baby was born?
What ways did you prepare meals?
If you want to share any ideas, comment below or send me an email. I'd love to hear from you!