Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Closing the book on 2014

Big boys with the best gift of 2014
Reflecting on 2014, it was a pretty big year for us. It was definitely a year of transition in terms of my career and completing our family. It was wonderful. It was hard. I didn't get to blog nearly as much as I would've liked and when I did I couldn't seem to find the right words to describe what was going on in our world.

This year my goals were to:

- Find secure and meaningful employment
- Pay off debt (at least $10K)
- Take a family vacation 
- Making our house a home 
- Make an effort to be healthy - specifically, deliver a healthy full-term baby, allow myself to recover from birth, successfully breastfeed, get back to pre pregnancy weight through healthy eating and light-moderate exercise. 
- Visit more often with family

Here is how I did:

I landed a job I absolutely love, close to home (same distance as my previous job), and I have job security! I had so many mixed emotions about leaving my old job so I'm so happy that I finally feel at home in my new job. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have a job which is challenging and fulfilling and where there is opportunity for growth.I have amazing co-workers that I can actually call friends and my boss wants to set up meetings to do things like talk about my professional interests so that he can assign tasks in line with my interests and strengths. No job is perfect but I feel like I've come pretty close and the pay is decent, especially considering it doesn't feel like "work" at all. 

Paying off debt really took a spot on the back burner this year with the change in job (lower starting pay) and transition to being a family of 5 and all of the additional budget implications that had. I had hoped to pay off at least 10K. Good news is that we didn't take on any more significant debt in 2014 even with a new baby, time off work, and a career change, but we're really no further ahead that we were at the end of last year. This fall I was able to take out an unsecured line of credit on my own to pay off my student line of credit which was co-signed by my mom. That felt like a big step in terms of financial independence. We are now making bi-monthly principal + interest payments on that loan rather than interest only. Baby steps. 

Family vacation time was pretty low key this year. At the beginning of the year, R took the big boys skiing for the weekend with friends while I relaxed at home since I was in my third trimester. We didn't get up to the trailer nearly as much as we wanted to this summer and when we did, it felt a little crazy and was not very relaxing with a newborn and adjusting to being back at work 5 days/week. We did manage to get up to Temagami to R's family cottage in August with friends of ours and their two boys. The boys had a ton of fun together. 

Making our house a home. This year we redecorated the nursery for Noah's arrival and finally made some progress in the kitchen with a new countertop and dishwasher. Over the holidays I also had the opportunity to give our living room a mini facelift with couch covers and new throw pillows. For a Christmas present, I had my graduate degree and certificate framed since they had just been sitting in the top of my closet. I'm excited to finally get some stuff up on the walls.  

2014 was a rocky year health-wise for me, yet strangely I still managed to accomplish all of my written goals. I had set out to make more of an effort to be healthy. I delivered a healthy 39 week baby and allowed myself to recover from a very difficult birth and complications. I was able to successfully breastfeed even after some hurdles like being re-admitted to the hospital, undergoing a couple of surgeries, and going back to work when Noah was 12 weeks old. I am happily still nursing although not exclusively but I'm totally okay with that. I got back to my pre pregnancy weight through somewhat healthy eating and exercise (I surprised myself by joining an adult synchronized skating team after being off the ice for nearly 15 years and it was one of my best decisions of 2014!).

One goal that went, by and large, unaccomplished this year was visiting more often with family. Being rather pregnant in the early part of the year made travelling inconvenient. R worked a lot of weekends this year too so there weren't many opportunities on the weekends when we weren't at the trailer. One thing that really surprised me was how little family and friends made a fuss over Noah's arrival. We have family members that we usually see a few times a year that only just met Noah at Christmas. There were many times this year where I felt very isolated and lonely, especially in Noah's first 12 weeks before I went to work. A few friends did reach out during that difficult time and I will never forget that. Apart from them I really felt that I only had R and my sister. Moving forward I will be more aware and try to be there in whatever capacity, big or small, for my friends and family when they are going through things - good and bad. I won't wait for an invitation. 

Here's to 2015! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

8 Months

Sometimes I wish you'd stay this way forever

Every day I feel so blessed to have this little guy in our lives. I particularly cherish our quiet time cuddling and nursing in the rocking chair in his bedroom each night. Many nights he dozes off in my arms before I get a chance to lay him in his crib. It is hard to believe he is 2/3 of the way to 1 year old. His personality is really starting to shine and I am beginning to think he may be a mix of his two older brothers.

Some highlights from this month:
- Teeth! 2 on the bottom which he loves to tink against a glass cup of water at meal times.
- Weighed in at 18.5 lbs at his doctor's appointment and is now wearing 18-24 month clothes.
- Eating 3x per day. This month he got a number of grains, fruits, and veggies under his belt and began having some mixed foods. Peas and avocados were the only things that didn't go over really well. This month we're hoping to introduce more meats and dairy along with giving him the food he already enjoys mashed as opposed to pureed.
- Mobility! Noah scoots around on his bum and has begun flopping onto his tummy and pushing up on his knees. Rocking isn't too far off I don't think. He'll sit and play with toys for long periods of time but doesn't spend much time in the exersaucer or Jumperoo much anymore.
- Vocalizing - he just recently started babbling. His favourite sounds are "bah", "gah", and "da da". He regularly has big shrieks and laughs for his brothers.
- Going from 3 naps most days down to 2 naps.

I have, for the most part, stopped pumping. I'm still nursing a couple times in the morning, at lunch (when he is interested), after work/before dinner, bed time, again before I go to bed and occasionally once in the middle of the night if he wakes. So 6-7 times each day on average. He usually has 2-3 bottles of formula while I'm at work or if I'm out in an evening or weekend. I'm so happy we've been able to keep up this relationship for so long.
This month I gave away a box of baby clothes to my brother (who is having a baby boy in February!). I'm in the process of offloading my maternity stuff as well. Slowly but surely. It does feel a bit strange and I do feel some twinges of sadness during moments when the realization that this stage of my life is over comes to light. I'm trying to stay focused on the present and all of the exciting stuff to come as much as possible.

Oh what fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Happy Fall (& 7 Month Update)

Halloween was a giant low maintenance success this year. The 3 year old wanted to be a Ninja Turtle (same as last year) and the 6 year old didn't have any requests or complaints about going as Batman again so we reused last year's costumes and the baby, of course, went as Tigger just as his brothers did for their first Halloweens. 

In baby news. Noah just might be the sweetest baby boy ever (I'm sure I said that a million times over with his big brothers too). Some highlights from 7 months:

- Sitting on a blanket or mat playing with toys. His favourite thing to do.

- Eating! Oatmeal cereal, acorn squash, butternut squash, carrots, sweet potato, green beans, apple sauce (mixed with oatmeal). He isn't a huge fan of the green beans so we mix them with the sweet potato or squash with a 2 to 1 ratio and he gobbles it right up. I've been making 2 batches per week of pureed veggies and freezing them in ice cube trays. He usually eats about 3 cubes per serving.

- Teething! His two bottom teeth are coming any day now. I keep checking each day but they haven't yet broken through.

- Enjoying outings. On occasion my sister will take the two little guys to the park in the morning so Noah has gotten used to riding in the swing and sitting in the sand. On Remembrance Day, they took the bus to our local ceremony and parade.

- Starting to vocalize. Slowly but surely, we've got a developing chatterbox on our hands. Lots of  giggles, "ahhhh", "Gah" and putting his lips together and going "pffft".

- Still nursing but mostly at night, in the morning and in the evening. He doesn't actually nurse much when I come home at lunch from work any more. He seems either not overly hungry then or too interested in everything else going on. I still end up feeding him a little and pumping a couple of ounces so it still feels worth coming home for to me but I definitely see an end to the lunchtime nursing sessions coming soon. We supplement about half of his daytime feedings with formula. On the weekends he nurses much more frequently and only one or two formula feedings per day.

Toe sucker

Winter seems to have come early this year. We got our first snow fall and the big boys couldn't have been happier! Hard to believe Christmas is right around the corner.

First snow fall of 2014


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Noah and motherhood at 6 months

This update is a little late but I can hardly believe Noah has been with us for half a year already! It seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. Last Thanksgiving we were sharing the news with friends and family that we were expecting and here we are this year as a family of 5. It's hard to remember life before him.

At 6 months, Noah is:
- Nearly 18 pounds and eating solids! We started him on brown rice cereal at 5 months but it just wasn't sitting well and then he flat out refused to eat it. Our doctor suggested we try oatmeal instead (we started big brother N on oatmeal). Noah loved his oatmeal and has since tried sweet potato and squash. We're going to keep the train moving with introducing new veggies every 2-3 days from this point forward.
- Still nursing but can get pretty distracted. I still come home from work at lunch and even though he isn't eating a ton when I do, he is still happy to see me and to nurse. I think it is definitely helping to keep up my supply and I don't feel ready to stop yet. It feels pretty special getting to see my two littlest guys even for 25 minutes mid-day. It has also been nice not having to pack a lunch.
- Sitting! Around 6 months, he started being able to sit on his own for a few seconds here and there when he was occupied with something in front of him. He can now sit and play with toys for a bit longer periods without toppling over or getting fussy. He still loves to jump in the jolly jumper and to go in his exersaucer. He loves touching, grabbing, and holding just about everything.
- A mega drooler. I keep expecting to see a tooth any day but both of his brothers were late to get teeth so they could not show up for a while. He constantly has his right hand in his mouth sucking his fist. I've been trying to get him to use a teething toy since his little hand is getting a rash from all the sucking.
- Back to sleeping for about 10-12 hours at night. We put him down around the same time as his brothers at 7pm. Then I wake him to nurse before I go to bed around 10pm and he'll sleep until about 6am.

This boy!
Couldn't contain his excitement his first time having veggies - banged his tray excitedly between bites

I'm finally feeling 100% like my old self physically and mentally. Physically, I actually feel stronger than I have since before having kids. Skating for just an hour and a half once a week has made a big difference in how I feel.  I still cringe when things touch my abdomen but not because it hurts, just because it still seems tender or extra sensitive to touch. Sleeping through the night I think has been a huge factor in why this time around I'm feeling much happier and am able to cope with stressful situations. I also think having a job I love, feeling secure financially, and rather than giving up the things I enjoy doing, actually making the time to do them (like skating and volunteering) has made the work/life/family balance and settling into life as a family of five much easier than each of the last times we expanded our family.

Recently, I bit the bullet and spent just under $300 at the used clothing store and mall. I bought mostly active wear and business attire, and a pair of black pumps for work. Up until this point, I was wearing many of the pieces I'd bought pre-kids along with a few I had bought in between pregnancies. Most of my wardrobe in general is well-worn and I haven't been feeling particularly attractive in my clothes lately since my body went through so many changes with all 3 pregnancies and I wore the same clothes while nursing and through about half of my pregnancies so they are stretched in some places and don't fit the nicest. Eventually I hope to replace most of my wardrobe but at this point I'm still nursing so I'm going to try to make due for now with my few new pieces. I hate looking or feeling frumpy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

So long sweet summer

The view from our hammock at the trailer. Taken a few weekends ago. No filter. 

 While it looks like we might get in one last weekend of decent weather at the trailer, Fall is definitely here in Ontario and we've had our heat on a couple of nights already. I can't help but think of how different next summer will be with Noah toddling about. I'm sad to say I didn't make it out in the canoe at all this year. This summer was all about muddling through with a newborn and a new job. I'm optimistic about what the Fall will bring for us. Fall always feels like a new beginning for me even though I'm not returning to school so it seems like a fitting time to check back in with my 2014 goals:

- I will find secure an meaningful employment. I am loving my job! Every day I feel challenged in a positive way. I've met so many wonderful people and can actually say I'd consider some of them as friends. I enjoy morning and afternoon coffee breaks with my coworkers. Many of them have kids around the same age or a little bit older so it is nice to hear their experiences and how they manage work/life balance. 

- I will continue to pay off debt (at least $10,000) this year while at the same time taking a family vacation. Womp. Womp. Womp. If you've been reading my posts, you'll have noticed that I haven't been blogging monthly finance updates. Truth is, we've just been maintaining our debt payments and haven't been allocating anything extra really to debt repayment. Amid all the chaos of transition to our family of 5 and new job, something had to give. Unfortunately it was this. We did enjoy lots of family time together this summer at the trailer and are still hoping to plan a weekend getaway to Niagara Falls and Great Wolf Lodge this Fall. We're still plugging away at the debt albeit slowly. But I'm mostly happy that we didn't have to take on any additional debt this year. 

- I will make our house a home. Over the summer I was able to tackle a couple of little painting projects around the house and this past weekend R fixed up our fence in a few places where the boards had broken or come loose. The baby gear is starting to make its way out of our house and I've been trying to do some much overdue purging which in itself will make our house feel more like a home since we're working toward only having things that we use and/or make us happy. Fall and Winter seem like a good time to make some serious progress in this area.

- I will make an effort to be healthy. I'm really excited about this goal because for the first time in 10+ years, I'll be doing an organized sport! When I was younger, I figure skated and also skated on a synchronized skating team for many years. I've signed up to skate on an adult synchronized skating team this winter. I'm looking forward to getting back on the ice. Otherwise, I'm still nursing and back in nearly all of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. I'm going to try to get back to going to bed again around the same time as Noah. I've been staying up late many nights and have been feeling it through sickness and exhaustion. I need to make self care more of a priority. 

- I will make an effort to focus more on extended family. 
This one is tough. Throughout the year I wondered more about why I decided upon this particular goal. I think it was mostly out of an idealization of family. I think I'd like it to be instead "make an effort to focus more on important relationships and the people that matter". We have some friends that are like gold and some family members that could care less about how we're doing and vice versa. It can be so draining to focus time and energy on relationships that just aren't there. I want to surround our family with people who we care about and who care about us. These are the relationships I want to invest in. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

5 Months

My baby is 5 months old!

Noah smiles, giggles, and coos constantly. He has the biggest smiles for me when I come home from work for lunch and at the end of the day. Pretty much the best feeling in the world.

He is very active. Tummy time is not his favourite and the amount of time he'll sit idle in a baby seat without fussing is getting less and less. He loves jumping like crazy in the Jolly Jumper and will spend about 5-10 minutes at a time in the exersaucer.

Nursing is still going well. I nurse exclusively when I'm home still and pump for when I'm at work. I've had a few setbacks where I've missed pumping/nursing sessions due to appointments or for whatever reason had longer periods of time away. This meant I fell short and we've had to supplement with a couple ounces of pre-mixed formula in my absence. A few times I've been so tired I've dragged my feet to pump and almost thrown in the towel but I'm so so happy I've been able to keep up the nursing relationship this long and am still planning on keeping it up for as long as we are both happy.  I'll often nurse while eating at the kitchen table (hey, this mama likes to multi-task!), but lately Noah has been more interested in watching me eat than in nursing so I've had to switch to nursing him in quieter places with less distractions.

Sleep has gone a bit down hill. He'll still sleep long stretches at night but has been waking once or twice to eat. Not sure if he is just more hungry or wants the snuggles.

As for me, I've been recovering from strep throat this week. Last weekend Noah and I spent cuddling at home while I was sick and the rest of the boys were at the trailer. Overall, I feel so much happier and relaxed with Noah than I did after the other boys were born. I'm loving work. I'm loving time at home with the boys. I can go out and grab a few groceries in the evening or shower just after I put Noah down and not worry. Life is pretty darn great.

Every now and then my abdomen will feel uncomfortable but otherwise, I don't notice any weirdness or discomfort most of the time from my c-section. I had my follow up appointment with a urologist related to my complication and everything looks good with my kidney function. Oddly I felt a twinge of sadness at my most recent urologist appointment as it seems to be the last of the medical appointments I still have related to my pregnancy/birth.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Keeping our cable package and screen time.

For years I've been pushing to get rid of cable TV. Mainly to save money but also to cut screen time.

There is a whole body of literature on the effects of television and screen time on health, wellbeing, etc. Especially when it comes to children. I won't get into that here but when B was a baby, I tried hard to limit screen time - even passive screen time. I'll admit now that I was a bit on the extreme side. I would get agitated when R would watch TV with B in the same room. With N we took a far more relaxed approach since B was starting to watch some educational programming and it was difficult to let one watch and not the other. As a child I spent hours in front of the television each day and so did R. We also grew up with multiple video game systems, and the beginning of personal computers and the internet. Our parents never seemed concerned about screen time but then again we also spent a ton of time playing outside.

We don't have strict rules around screen time in our house. We have two TVs. One in our bedroom is rarely used. We have an older PS3 which we mostly use to play movies from an external hard drive. We own a few kid-friendly video games for the PS3 but they aren't often played.
The boys each have older model Nintendo DS systems. One was dropped in a bucket of mop water and didn't turn on so we bought a replacement the next year as a Christmas gift. However, the broken system dried out and magically worked again. These mostly get used for the cameras and sometimes the odd game on a long car ride.  We also have a Leap Pad (also a Christmas gift) with some educational games which N will sit and play with on occasion.

Given the opportunity, my kids would rather go outside and play than sit in front of a screen but the option has been there either way. It's funny though because I notice a big difference between my two oldest boys. B isn't much of a TV watcher and craves constant social interaction. N will happily sit down to watch TV. He'll call out answers when watching one of his favourite shows, Team Umizoomi, and I'll often hear him reenacting scenes with scenarios and/or characters from a TV show in independent play.

So..we've decided to keep cable. I'm a big fan of living life with intention and I'm glad we're making an intentional decision to choose to invest in cable. R enjoys coming home from work and watching TV to unwind after working hard outside all day long. Just like I enjoy reading blogs or connecting with friends on social media. Cutting cable wouldn't really affect me at all since I rarely watch but it is a pastime the rest of my family enjoys.  I find now that I actually like coming home and seeing the boys completely into programs like Shark Week on Discovery Channel or How It's Made. I love hearing them ask all sorts of questions about the shows they've watched. Retrospectively, I think the TV was a fantastic educational tool for me growing up. I remember watching Sesame Street at my baby sitters house and the Magic School Bus. When I got a bit older, I learned many life lessons watching shows like Full House or the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I hope that our family can benefit from having cable TV while avoiding the trap of sedentary life style, etc. If we see the scale start to tip then we'll have to reassess.

I'm curious how others feel about television and screen time and whether you always felt the same way. Do you have cable? Any rules around TV in your house?

Monday, August 18, 2014

A favourite fashion accessory

Remember when I blogged about my wardrobe returning to work? Well, September is coming up and I'll have to get a little more formal at work. I used to wear these a ton but forgot about them until recently:

I love a good broach. I think they totally class up an outfit and make it feel more formal. The green oval was my grandmothers. I prefer broaches to wearing other cheap accessories like necklaces and bracelets. I am extremely sensitive (especially ears) so don't tend to wear much jewellery since the inexpensive stuff sometimes causes an allergic reaction and I don't own very many more precious pieces. I've seen a lot of articles floating around lately about toxins in cheap jewellery. I like that even a cheap broach doesn't rest directly on your skin all day.

Do you have any tricks for upping the formality of an outfit/appearance?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

4 Months

I don't know where the time has gone. Somehow it feels like just yesterday we were meeting Noah for the first time and now he is a third of the way to one year old! Being third time parents, I think we are so much more relaxed this time around. It has been such a different experience with Noah.

At 4 months, Noah:

- Is a good sleeper. Most nights will sleep a solid 8+ hours. Writing this feels so wrong because I know there are so many other new moms out there who are operating on some serious sleep deprivation. I've been there too. I wish I had the magic formula for getting a baby to sleep through the night to share but really, I feel like it is just a fluke! Also, this kid loves his crib. We were away for the long weekend so shared a bed. He was up several times through the night eating. Since he has been back in his crib at home, he has slept nearly 10 hours straight each night. We try to put him down as much as we can for naps in his crib.

- Laughs!... and laughs and laughs. It is just the sweetest sound in the world. He is very ticklish and will grin and coo in anticipation of you touching his armpit or neck while you're changing his clothes. Otherwise, he is becoming very vocal and loves to "chat" and shriek.

- Enjoys time in the Jolly Jumper and is actually moving around now in there. His head and neck control is amazing.

- Still goes easily from breast to bottle. Pumping is going well. He generally goes through 2-3 bottles in the morning and 1-2 in the afternoon. Each about 3oz. Along with our lunchtime feeding. So anywhere from about 15-18 oz throughout the work day. He does still do some cluster feeding in the evenings. This week we got the highchair out and washed it up so he can start sitting with us at the table while we eat dinner. Last night was his first night with us at the table and it was so fun!

- Is a thumb/hand sucker. He'll often roll his head to the side and put his hand to his mouth when I lay him down in his crib to go to sleep.

As for my own postpartum body, I'm back wearing about 3/4 of my regular clothes. My abdomen is feeling noticeably better from the c-section but still the tiniest bit tender to the touch or if I stretch too much. I'm anxious to feel more comfortable in my body again but I'm still not feeling there yet for getting into an exercise routine. This time around I want to be kind to myself and allow a generous amount of time to fully heal physically and emotionally. I'm also still sustaining a not so little human being so my body isn't completely mine. I've heard it takes nearly a year to have a baby so it should take about that long to "get your body back" and I think there is a lot of truth there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lately: balancing life and becoming debt free

In case you noticed, I haven't been on top of posting monthly updates on our debt repayment lately. Partly because we haven't been making too much progress in that department and partly because we've been trying to find a new money system that works for us, figure out exactly how much income we'll have with me back working, reevaluate our expenses and make adjustments in our budget accordingly.

A few things have put a halt in the short term on our debt repayment:

1) Fluctuating income. While I'm earning a bit more money working than I was collecting maternity employment insurance, my salary is just about 10K less than what I was making at my previous job to start and most of the additional is offset by increased child care expenses with 3 kids and it being summer break as well as pension plan contributions which I didn't have previously. The pension contributions are a HUGE bonus for the long term, especially since my employer will match them. In the short term it means less money in the budget than previously. Before making any concrete changes to our budget or financial plan, we're waiting on my probation period at work to end at which time I'll also receive a small raise. This will give us some real leverage if we plan on refinancing or consolidating debt. 

2) Fluctuating expenses. I don't know whether it is being outside all day or just my new reality with 3 growing gentleman but our grocery bill has gone up exponentially in the past couple of months. Our utility bills have also been higher.

3) Unexpected expenses. I've mentioned before that we decided against having an emergency fund since we'd rather put all of our additional money to pay down our high interest debt. At the beginning of the summer our A/C motor burned out. Luckily a friend of a family member was able to come and fix it for just the cost of the part since we let him borrow our extension ladder from time to time but we'll likely have to replace the unit in the next few years. More recently, we got an even bigger blow. One side of our roof is looking particularly bad. We're hoping we can put replacement off until next spring so we can use our tax return to help with the expense but it's entirely possible we won't be able to wait until then so we're slowly trying to put aside what we can from R's overtime money. I know we could get financing if we needed to but the mere thought of taking on more debt weighs heavily. Lastly, my car is in need of a tune up and brake job which I put off earlier this year when I took my car in for servicing and ended up walking out with a $600 bill. I'm anticipating about the same expense this time around so have put about $400 aside so far (on my visa) to cover this expense.  

I've been thinking a lot lately about how our budget allocations are a reflection of our family values. There are some areas where I feel happy with the proportion spent and other categories I feel could use some re-alignment. While some of this alignment can be done in the short term, some will have longer timelines or will only become possible with an increase in income.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Week Days

Summer is in full swing here. I'm sad I don't get to spend it all with my guys but happy to report things are going really well at home during the week and I have been enjoying seeing them at lunchtime.

I was worried about them getting bored quickly and having to plan a lot of activities and outings but so far they haven't grown tired of sticking close to home.

B goes to summer camp with the neighbourhood kids for half the day close by. The rest of the day is spent mostly playing outside with many of the same kids. The kids range from toddlers to 12 year olds and they all play wonderfully together. Older ones helping the younger ones or just playing nicely alongside. Nicky tries his best to keep up with the big kids and doesn't get too discouraged when he can't always tag along. They'll ride bikes, collect bugs and frogs, play at the playground, or play in the driveways or someone's backyard. So much like my own childhood but slightly more supervised. I love that there are so many kids in our neighbourhood. My sister spends most of the day keeping watch from the porch with Noah. He'll sleep often in a rocker outside or in his playpen just inside the window where she can keep an eye and ear out for him while still letting the big boys play outside.

Otherwise, they do watch some TV, jump on the trampoline, swim in the kiddie pool in our backyard and do arts and crafts to their hearts content. And when they get bored of an activity inside, 9 times out of 10, that same activity can be brought outside and there is instantly renewed interest!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

3 Months

Our little Nowie is 3 months old!

So much changed between 2 and 3 months.

The biggest change was with his sleep. He began sleeping through the night in his crib in his own room! The first night he woke up twice. I went in his room to feed him the first time and then brought him into bed with us the second time. The next night he only woke up once and the following night he slept 8 hours! No crying involved. I'm in such disbelief since the big boys didn't sleep 8 hours until closer to a year! The first few nights I had a harder time than he did. It felt so weird to be without him at night. I missed feeling him cuddled up next to me. But we're all sleeping better with this new sleeping arrangement now. He has also been getting into a more routine nap schedule with 3 naps/day.

Over the past month he has become super efficient at nursing and will empty one breast in about 10 minutes though lately it seems to take a bit longer because he has also turned into quite the little monkey. The amount we bottle feed him while I'm at work recently increased from 2.5 oz to 3 oz per feed. We also discovered he likes to self sooth by sucking on his hand. Usually just before he falls asleep. We've never used pacifiers. Mostly just paranoia over having to drop the habit later on. I toyed with introducing one to him since he seems to be such a sucker unlike the other boys but he's happy with his hand so I'm not going to mess with his own thing he has got going on.

Boredom has also developed in a huge way. He is no longer content just being held or sitting in a chair for longer periods of time. He tends to need a change of scenery every 20-30 minutes when he is awake. Just this week we got out the Jolly Jumper and we've been putting him in there for 10 minutes here and there. He doesn't jump yet but does enjoy "standing" and being vertical. He also went for his first dip in the pool at the trailer this month. He didn't seem at all bothered by the water and the boys got a kick out of seeing him in the pool.

B and N are very engaged with him and love to sit in front while he is in the Jolly Jumper, rock him in his rocker, or lay on the couch with him.  He is getting to be so much fun with his non-stop smiles and coos.

As for my c-section recovery. I'd say I'm feeling 90%! I still feel my abdominal strain when I get up too quickly from bed and small things like that but I'm really feeling so much better and have been since I got my stent out a month ago today! Every day I count my lucky stars that Noah is doing so well and I'm finally feeling much more like myself.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mid-Year Goals Update

Here we are in July already. With everything else going on health wise and getting used to life as a family of 5, I feel like we've just been muddling through for the past few months but in the past couple of weeks I've been able to get back to thinking about goals. Time to get serious again about tackling them. I had some pretty big goals this year. I'm almost regretting making such lofty goals since this year has turned out to be pretty nuts but here is how I've done to date:

- I will find secure and meaningful employment. YES!

- I will continue to pay off debt (at least $10,000) this year while at the same time taking a family vacation. 

Have not made much progress in this area at all. The credit card balances didn't get paid off before I finished work. On the bright side, we haven't taken on any additional debt in the first half of the year but are still hovering around where we started in January. I'll post an update soon on my plans for the second half of the year.

As for the vacation, we have been enjoying our trailer but no real family vacations either. I'm thinking we'll plan a weekend trip to Great Wolf Lodge and Niagara Falls for sometime this fall.

- I will make our house a home. 

I'm happy to say I've made a bit of progress on this one with the completion of the nursery (LINK), and my new countertop in the kitchen. I recently got a photo app for Blacks and was amazed how easy it was to send photos from my phone for printing. I printed a few of the boys for my desk at work but I haven't picked them up yet. Now that I have an easy and quick way, I'm thinking I might be able to print some more photos to start filling our bare walls.

- I will make an effort to be healthy. 

I delivered a healthy full-term baby like planned. I've been able to successfully breastfeed for the first 3 months of his life and hope to continue at least another 3 and ideally until he is a year old. I'm very close to pre-pregnancy weight but with my recent health issues related to my birth, I need to make more of an effort to prioritize rest, healthy eating, and a bit of exercise.

- I will make an effort to focus more on extended family.

We've been visiting R's family approximately once/month which has been nice. We've also seen a fair bit of my mom so I'd like to keep this up. October is coming up so quickly when they'll be heading back to Florida so our time is limited!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The first week and getting into a routine

Last week I started my new job. So far, I'm liking enjoying it. My first week was a bit overwhelming also being B's last week of school for the year so this week with the holiday mid-week has been nice.

A big change in the past 3 weeks has been Noah sleeping through the night (!). He has slept consistantly 8-9 hours at night in his crib in his own room. I thought for sure he'd wake up at night again once I went to work but he hasn't. I've been worried about my supply taking a hit with the 8 hours overnight and the long 5 hour stretch in the mornings at work. During the work day, I've only been pumping on my lunch break which isn't until 1pm when I come home most days. When I'm not working, I feed Noah frequently. He has been nursing for longer or cluster feeding in the evenings which I've loved since it gives us a chance to reconnect after being apart all day and builds my supply back up. 

Here is a peek at my new daily routine:

4-4:30am Noah wakes up. I'm usually pretty uncomfortable so I feed him while pumping on the other side. R also gets up around this time to go to work.
5-6:30am Breakfast/Prep bottles and lunch (big boys usually wake any time between 5:30 and 6:30)
6:30am Feeding
6:45-7am Load everyone in car to pick up my sister
7-7:40am Get ready for work
7:40am Feeding/pump
8-8:10am Leave for work as rest of crew is heading out to bus stop (during school year)
1-2pm Come home for lunch/feeding/pump - with travel time I usually have about 25 mins at home
5pm Arrive home. Feeding/pump. Dinner.
6:30pm Showers for boys if they need it - this has been nightly lately since they are so dirty from playing outside
7-7:30pm Bedtime for big boys. R usually handles this. We've been reading to the boys together lately which saves some time.
7-8pm Feed Noah and put him down for night in his crib. Most nights I'll shower after Noah is in bed.
8:30pm Bedtime for me and R.

As far as nursing and pumping goes, I nurse Noah at least 6 times/day. 4 sessions of which I also pump at the same time. He'll have 2-3 bottles in the mornings (2.5 oz each) and 1-2 in the afternoon while I'm at work. One day there was a staff potluck at lunch so I stayed at work and pumped on my two 15 minute breaks instead. Legally, I don't have to use my breaks to pump but I have chosen to. On the days when I come home for lunch, I have been taking breaks with other staff or picking up one or two items we needed at home from the grocery store around the corner. On the days I haven't been working, I've only been pumping once or twice/day.

I've really been enjoying having a schedule in sync with R.  I feel like we get to spend more time together laying in bed chatting after all the kids are tucked into their own beds and seeing each other before he heads to work in the morning while the big kids are still sleeping. Despite working full-time now, I don't feel nearly as stressed over work/life balance or sleep deprived (still amazed I have a new baby that sleeps 8 hours) as I felt with the older boys. I'm hoping I'll continue to feel this way.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Post-partum wardrobe

Definitely not my work wardrobe

10 weeks...postpartum
Apart from being nervous about leaving Noah to go to work next week, I've been worrying about what I'll wear since my wardrobe for the last 10 weeks has consisted of nothing but pajama and sweat pants and maternity casual clothing. Anything remotely tight around my midsection was uncomfortable either due to sore abdominal muscles or my incision area.

Recently, in the past 2-3 weeks, I've been able to wear leggings again and last weekend I tried on a pair of size 4 Lulu Lemons that have been hanging in the closet for a year and they weren't terrible! I'm still about 5-10 pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight which I'm not at all complaining about but my body shape is just different. Up until this week, none of my non-maternity dress pants were close to fitting. While I was pregnant, I let most of my work shirts get stretched out to get the most wear out of them. I planned on buying a new work wardrobe post-baby rather than buying new maternity pieces that I wouldn't wear again.

Right now, a new work wardrobe isn't in the budget but I did need some new pieces to wear since many of the ones I own still don't fit. Also, my new work environment is more business attire than my old workplace which was more business casual. Thankfully the summer at my new workplace is more relaxed so I can get away with business casual for a few months.  I'm planning on using most of the clothes I have in my closet and slowly replacing them over time as my body continues to change and things get worn.

As a thank you/going away gift, I received an $100 gift card for Mark's Work Wearhouse from my old boss. I was able to get a few pieces of clothing on sale or clearance so that I have enough items to mix and match with my existing wardrobe and make it through the summer months at work. Shopping at this point didn't make me feel great about myself. A lot of the pants and dresses didn't fit nicely or were very unflattering around my stomach. I also had to think about ease of pumping/breastfeeding. I had the most success with tighter shirts and cardigans but did buy a pair of black capris with a stretchy waist. I'm fairly happy with the few items I bought. I'll be able to definitely wear the cardigans long after my baby weight is gone and I plan to make accessories my best friend to feel more attractive and put together.

New work clothes (approx. $90)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

2 Months

This post is about two weeks late. I've been busy gearing up for going to work in just one short week. The last month brought with it a noticeable shift toward some semblance of normalcy around these parts. After being more or less housebound for Noah's first month, this month we ventured out a lot more.

Our first long weekend as a family of 5 was fun. It is hard to remember our family before Noah though I find we're split up a lot more 3 and 2. It doesn't seem exponentially more difficult, the transition from two to three kids.

I've also been able to get out more on my own and back to my volunteer commitments which usually have me out one night/week for about 3hrs.

At 2 months, here are some of Noah's highlights:

- Actually smiling! He is all smiles in the mornings. Melts my heart.
- Up the back poop explosions
- Rolled from stomach to back (once). Doesn't care much for tummy time but has great head and neck control.
- Fits his 6 month clothing comfortably and shows a preference for footless clothing. Needless to say he isn't loving being swaddled much anymore
- Still sleeping in our bed for now. Still up about 3x in a night (Yawn!)

I was finally able to pack away the last of my maternity clothes this week. I'm slowly starting to fit back into some of my regular clothes. This is one aspect of being done having babies that couldn't come quick enough. I am so ready to put away the frumpy mom wear. Seeing the newborn sleepers that all 3 of my boys wore packed away for a new home was a little bit more emotional.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Nursing and Working

The part I am most nervous for about going back to work in a few short weeks is maintaining the breastfeeding relationship I've worked hard to establish with Noah even with a major bump along the way in the beginning. With Nicholas I went back to grad school full time when he was 4 months old which had me away 2 days/week and with Brendan I took a couple of evening courses, also at 4 months.

Here in Canada, parents can collect up to a year of maternity and parental employment insurance benefits. Most do take the entire year off. This means that most women stop breastfeeding by the time they return or only continue to nurse in the hours they are not at work. Consequently, breastfeeding and the workplace isn't an issue that comes up a lot so I'm anxious to broach the subject with my employer, especially since it is a new employer. I guess I don't want to look like I'm high maintenance or demanding special treatment. Kelsey's posts on breastfeeding and working have been such a go to resource for me.

My goal is to maintain breastfeeding for at least 6 months and ideally to 12 months. Right now I've started pumping once in the morning and once at night using my Medela Freestyle Advanced (double electric) pump to try to build up a bit of a freezer supply. Noah takes a bottle no problem but I've only ever been away from him for 3-4 hours at a time.

My plan for the first month is to come home at lunch time when I can to nurse and pump. Taking travel into account, I'd still have 30 minutes at home. Another alternative would be to meet the boys and my sister (who watches the boys) at my mom's house on occasion which is 5 minutes from work. This would give me more time. Since I'll need to pump at least one additional time, that'll have to be done at work. For that I'm planning on bringing my hand pump and cooler bag like I did when I was at grad school. I found when I could control the suction and frequency by hand I was able to pump a lot more. The manual pump is also light weight and can be used anywhere. I don't have to worry about plugging in. We introduced cereal at 4 months with both of the other boys once they showed signs of readiness. If Noah is the same, that should help since we can replace one bottle feeding while I am away with food.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Working Mom Again

I almost can't believe I'm even writing this post. One of my goals for 2013 AND 2014 was to find meaningful and secure employment. Now I can finally check that off my list. My new position is 15 minutes from home, exactly the same distance away as my old job, and is a permanent position with pension, benefits, paid vacation, etc. 

My new job will be about 50% of the same work I was doing before, only in a different setting, and 50% work I don't have much, or in some cases any, experience with but am eager to learn. I am especially excited for the learning opportunity. The pay will be less than what I was making at my old job initially but there is lots of opportunity for growth in salary and within the organization. I'm also looking forward to staying a while somewhere and putting down roots. In the past I've never made my office or desk "my own" so it is something I'm looking forward to. 

Me landing a permanent job is a huge deal for our family and brings much much more financial security. I would normally say I'm very lucky or blessed but one of my best friends who also happened to be waiting to hear back on a job opportunity said to me - "you deserve a full-time permanent position"- and I do. Ever since I was a student in my undergraduate program, I'd say for the better part of 8 years (when I really got serious), I haven't stopped working hard toward securing a full-time position in my field. 

I know I will be sad leaving Noah at the end of the month so the timing doesn't feel ideal but at the same time, the timing in many ways couldn't be more perfect since we're done having our family and I'm ready to hit the ground running with my career. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Kitchen Update Pt.2

This post is long overdue! Our kitchen got a bit of a facelift a couple of days before Noah was born. 

The ugly, never clean no matter how much I scrubbed it, green countertop had been something I'd been dying to change since we moved in 3 years ago. So much so that when our dishwasher kicked the can just after Christmas, the thought of having to spend money on a new dishwasher and not a countertop almost sent my pregnant and hormonal self over the edge. In the end, we were able to score some really great deals and got both. 

I did some shopping around online for the dishwasher and found the best deal at Sears. The dishwasher was on sale for $299 from its regular price of $399. There was one model that would've been cheaper by $50 but we opted for the slightly above basic model based on customer reviews and the features we wanted like start time delay. R went with a friend in his truck to pick up the dishwasher since we got rid of our larger vehicles. Bonus: his friend stayed and helped with the installation of both the dishwasher and counter.  

For the counter, Lowes was having a storewide No Tax event so we also saved big. Delivery of the counter was included in the cost and R did the installation which saved us nearly 40% (crazy, eh?!). Installation just involved removal of the old counter, screwing down the new one, sealing the joints with silicone, and making the cut for the sink. We also realized once the counters arrived that we needed risers to raise it up higher so the doors and cupboards didn't catch on the overhang. Luckily our old countertop had these so we were able to reuse them. 

After taxes for both updates, we came in $75 under budget at $1025.

So happy we were able to cross these big items off our kitchen makeover to-do list:

- Replace countertop with a new laminate countertop (Budget $800/Actual $675)
- Replace dishwasher (Budget $300/Actual $350)
- Replace kick plates at the base of the cupboards ($50) - Also caulk and re-paint trim
- Do spot repairs/replace broken and damaged tiles ($50)
- Update two light fixtures ($275)
- Use Grout Renew to freshen up backsplash tile ($25) 

After new countertop and dishwasher installation

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kick off

Well it is back to reality after a fun weekend up north. It was so fun to take Noah.

The evenings were pretty chilly so we needed the furnace on and the days weren't quite warm enough to eat meals comfortably outside but we still spent the better part of the days outdoors.

I felt a shift this year as B spent a larger proportion of the time playing with other kids. It was so strange to watch him join in on a game of ball hockey with some older boys and strike up a game of grounders with a couple of girls at the playground. To notice, after years of us trying to get him to pump his legs on the swing, all of a sudden he no longer needs us to push him or help him with the monkey bars. When he wasn't playing with other kids, his activity of choice was playing catch with R - diligently working up to catching a few balls in a row. 6 years old seems worlds different from 5.

N busied himself playing independently alongside B for the most part. He was content pushing around a toy dump truck, playing with the wagon, or swinging in the hammock. The boys have been obsessed with a remote control ATV B got for his birthday so N spent his birthday money from his Papa on a remote control boat which was put to good use. He was really happiest making s'mores over a campfire with our neighbours, devouring watermelon and veggies and hummus on the deck, staying up late to eat "copcorn" (popcorn) and watch a movie before bed, and having foam sword fights with his big brother.

I packed it in early most nights with Noah and managed to finish reading The Goldfinch while we were there - a book I highly recommend! We also took a drive to the local tourism centre and R sat in the car with 3 sleeping boys while I gathered up some materials on local events and attractions. These will be nice to have if we feel like venturing out for a day trip or are looking for something to do on a rainy day. There are so many free and low cost things we can do in the area on a whim as well as larger more expensive attractions we can plan for once in a while.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Here in Ontario, Victoria Day long weekend is kind of the pre-kick off to summer. It is the first weekend that many people go camping or open their cottage.

We've been spoiled with some temps in the high teens and low 20s. The trampoline is up in our backyard and the big boys have been playing outside a ton with their new outdoor toys they received for their birthdays. There has been lots of bike riding, scootering, skateboarding and skipping. Allergies are in full swing and washing up for dinner actually requires some scrubbing. Last weekend R took the big boys up to the trailer for the evening for a certain 3 year old's birthday. They ate hot dogs and got out in the canoe. B even got to try his hand at paddling.

I had my 6 week appointment with the doctor who did my cesarean yesterday and everything checked out. Aside from some mild soreness when anything touches my abdomen which I'm told could take 2-3 months to subside, I am feeling much better. Next week I meet with the specialist about having my stent removed. Things are looking up!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

1 Month

After a month, we're finally settling in to a rhythm and routine as a family of five. I don't feel an overwhelming sense of panic or anxiety anymore when I'm with them at home on my own. I remember feeling really nervous the first time I was alone with two of them too or the first time I took both to the store. I had my first solo parenting experience this past weekend when R went to open our trailer for the season.

At one month, Noah:

- Is starting to have much more time alert when he is awake.

- Weighs 10lbs and has been packing on a pound per week. No wonder I've been starving and achy from carrying him around.

- Is a decent sleeper. Wakes up a few times through the night but generally just eats and goes right back to sleep.

- Holds his head up really well.

- Tracks objects.

- Is a total daddy's boy. Next to eating, his favourite place to be is cuddling with or sleeping on dad

- Has started smiling just this week

I'm a bit sad at some point this month we'll start transitioning him to sleeping in his crib in his own room. I know we'll all get a much better sleep that way but I've grown to love the time settling in bed with him and R at night. For now, I'm enjoying the cuddles at night and sometimes while he naps. I'm also enjoying devouring books from the library like The Goldfinch during our nursing sessions.

Snuggling with daddy.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


I was hoping this post wouldn't be so heavy. I was relieved to turn the calendar to May after spending a lot of time in April working through my emotions about my birth experience and recovering physically. Truth be told, I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. It didn't seem fair. Other people I know who have had cesareans seemed to have recovered much more quickly. It was really discouraging and I felt pretty down. At the same time, I also felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my three healthy kids. Things haven't been easy but they could definitely be much worse.

This week I read one of the most touching blog posts I've come across on A Cup of Jo about Mara's story of infertility and deciding to move on to a life without children. It was weird because having just given birth to my third child and never struggling with infertility, at first glance it seemed like a story that couldn't be farther from my own reality. Surprisingly, so much of it resonated with me on a deep level. I'm on the other end of the spectrum now.

My twenties have been a blur of pregnancy and babies with a dash of education and career. I've had so many defining experiences as far as pregnancy, birth, and motherhood go:

Two miscarriages.
A premature baby.
Two full-term babies.
A medicated birth (epidural).
An un-medicated birth.
The most medical form of birth (a cesarean).
Successfully breastfeeding each of my two oldest boys the better part of their first years and now Noah.

Though we are still fresh from birth, I look at Noah and I know he is my last baby. We've been through a lot in his nearly 1 month on the outside. Before he was born or even conceived, R and I talked about 3 being our limit. I haven't been advised medically not to have more children but the cesarean and complications have been enough to extinguish even the tiniest bit of desire to have more. Enough to make me count my blessings. I know it sounds terrible but as I was on the stretcher amidst all the chaos, trying not to push, and hoping we'd make it to the operating room, for a brief second, it crossed my mind that I might not make it through the experience - that I wouldn't be there for my family and to see the boys grow up. I felt guilty and selfish for putting my life in danger when I had two little boys at home and a husband that needed me. I need them too.

I am big on control. Before Noah, life was in some degree of limbo. You know when people say their lives were incomplete before they met the love of their life or had children? I really did feel like something was missing. Life was full of "what ifs" up until now, like.. what if we only have one child..then two..would we have a daughter or all boys..and what about spacing. I feel a sense of relief now, like Mara, having a sense of certainty that we're done. I feel like we can finally move on with life as a family of five and making bigger plans. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Month 18: Debt Repayment Update

Well we didn't make it under the 50K threshold in April for the second month as anticipated/hoped but we're slowly creeping there. Since last month, we are down $400 which puts our debt at:


This was my first month off work but I did receive a full pay early in the month along with my vacation pay.

Additional expenses this month were for convenience meals since my freezer meals ran out after a week and with the cesarean I still wasn't feeling able to do a lot of prep. Also, medications - a ton of them for myself and asthma/allergy medication for the boys. Most of this that isn't over the counter we'll receive compensation for through R's benefits. Other unanticipated expenses were for hospital parking, formula for few days we had to supplement, extra child care since R was working 6 days/week and I still wasn't able to manage on my own, a few items for opening our trailer, and additional groceries due to my increased hunger from breastfeeding!

Where we have had some savings this month has been for gas. My $40 tank has lasted 3 weeks so far and I expect will last another week. Also, though the overall grocery bill has gone up, I've been able to dedicate time to scouring the flyers to price match and use coupons which has made for big savings. I hadn't been making this a priority the past few months.

I've been contemplating doing something with our cable for at least the summer to save a bit there but we'll see. Now that I've received my first maternity e.i. payment we'll be able to put our maternity leave budget plan in to action and see what tweaks are necessary.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

3 Weeks and a Snug Fit

We're just on the down swing from a growth spurt in the past couple of days. Noah was nursing non-stop all day and night. I was exhausted and feeling crummy.

We had our 2 week midwives appointment this week and Noah impressed by weighing in at almost 1lb over his birth weight. At 2 weeks they are generally happy if baby is back up to birth weight. His belly button also healed up this week much to the relief of his brothers who thought it was "yuck" every time they saw it.

This week is supposed to mark the halfway point for my recovery. Not sure I feel 50% normal yet. Side lying has just become tolerable rather than uncomfortable. Thank goodness since I've been nursing non-stop in bed. I'm also driving again! I was able to drive myself and Noah to our appointment alone with only mild discomfort. My digestive system slowly seems to be returning to normal too which is a huge relief (the things we take for granted - seriously). I've been off pain medication and stool softners for about a week and am feeling OK.

In other news... They all fit in the Prius and without having to buy new expensive "narrow" car seats. Success! The buckle is moderately tricky to do up in the middle where the booster is but we've worked around that by having B get in the car first before the bucket seat goes in so he can more easily navigate the buckle. It would be much easier with the forward facing seat in the middle but my Prius doesn't have an anchor for carseats in the middle so to have them safely installed, the seats that require anchors are on the outsides. Probably best not to have the sometimes fit-throwing toddler next to the baby anyway :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Three Brothers

The big boys have been mysteriously absent from my recent posts on baby Noah.

Admittedly, I've been very inward focused over these past few weeks. For the most part the transition at home has gone smoothly - no one has taken a toy hammer to the baby yet (yes - this happened last time around) but it hasn't been easy and has taken a fair amount of navigation.

B has been over the moon for his new baby brother while N has been indifferent for the most part. My sister still comes over each day to watch N so nothing much in his world has changed. A couple of nights we came upstairs to find him curled up sleeping in our bed and a couple more nights he woke up a few times throughout the night and came into our bedroom. Both boys have been a little more emotional lately. Not sure whether the culprit is more the new baby or the Easter treats. Either way, we're getting there and still trying to decide which brother Noah most resembles.

At almost 3, N:

  • Has given up naps but is no trouble in the sleep department - goes to bed each night in his bunk without issue
  • Loves to read/play on his LeapPad
  • Counts forward and backward to 10
  • Enjoys playing independently but also plays really well with other kids
  • Loves music - singing, dancing, etc. 
  • Is very stubborn - knows what he wants and will let you know. He runs hot and cold - either loves something or hates it. This comes out in his pickiness with food. 
  • Squeals in delight when I bring groceries home and loves to help put them away
  • Likes to play lego, do crafts, and rides a 2-wheeled scooter like a pro
  • Is a daddy's boy to the core. Dad has a soft spot for him too

At almost 6, B:

  • Is my happy go lucky, nearly always positive kid
  • Loves school
  • Is very social. He needs to be in the company of others. Doesn't play well independently unless he is really engaged in an activity. 
  • Is the instigator. If the boys are rowdy, arguing, or getting into trouble - we know who started it 
  • Has recently hit a huge developmental stride in language. His teacher indicated he was behind in reading and writing compared to his peers. We felt he just wasn't ready yet and were hesitant to push too much since he was demonstrating considerable frustration and anger when we had tried on a number of occasions. Then, a couple months ago, it just clicked
  • Is starting to show a greater level of responsibility and self regulation. Bonus: he has play dates, goes to birthday parties, and attends lessons without us having to stay or participate now! 
  • Likes playing video games sometimes but enjoys playing outside most

Monday, April 21, 2014

2 Weeks

At 2 weeks old Noah has more alert periods throughout the day and snacks frequently. We've been back exclusively breastfeeding for about a week now without any problems.

He has been sleeping approximately two 3-4 hour stretches at night most nights, only waking for about 30 minutes to eat and then falling right back asleep. Unlike with the other two boys, we've been co-sleeping with him. With the cesarean, it was difficult up until about now to get up or move around in bed so co-sleeping has made things much easier. I don't have to wake R up to help me throughout the night. At this point, we plan to continue this sleeping arrangement for the first 6-8 weeks since it coincides with my recovery period.

I had forgotten how much of yourself you have to give up in these early days to devote every hour of the day to sustaining another little life. I've really missed going out - even to run errands or grocery shop. Today is the first day I am going to attempt to venture out on my own with Noah to our midwives appointment. I wasn't able to drive for the first 2 weeks and I'm wary of the discomfort still.

Things that have been helping me cope during these long days at home:

  • Freezer meals are long gone now but were extremely helpful in those first days home when even walking across the kitchen was painful. Now I focus on simple but healthy meals
  • Taking time to shower every morning and put on clean clothes
  • Forcing myself to take a midday nap with Noah - usually only an hour - but something I didn't do with the other two. I have found this makes a huge difference in my energy levels
  • Eating nutritious foods and ensuring adequate fluid intake. My digestive system is still not working at 100% so I've been really making an effort with this. I use the "Notes" function on my iPhone to food journal while also tracking Noah's schedule
  • Jotting down a few things on a to-do list to accomplish each day - I use Notes for this too
  • Reading archival blog posts from some of my favourite bloggers on navigating the early weeks
  • Reminding myself that this period is short

This sweetness also makes things a bit easier.