September 29, 2014

Random Musings {Concert Edition}

edmonton river valley

Last night, Jim and I finally got to cross off one of the last bands on our list of "bands to see perform live before we die". Ok, this list doesn't really exist, at least not on paper, but we both agree that after last night, our concert needs feels complete. We've come full circle, people. Well, at least until we discover some new, amazing band. We've seen a lot of shows and have spent more money on concert tickets than I care to think about, but we have some amazing memories of going to concerts together (Mumford & Sons in Seattle, Rise Against in Montreal, Collective Soul in Vancouver, to name a few),  along with a shoebox full of ticket stubs for scrapbooks that will never get made, and a bin full of concert t-shirts that will never be worn. Have we outgrown our concert-going days? Not entirely. Small venues with assigned seating still appeal to us, and we talk about sharing our love for live music with Sully once he's old enough to tag along. But, for now, my thirst for concerts has been quenched.

So, I leave you with my random thoughts and observations from last nights Godsmack concert:

sweet legs skulls

1. I am way too old to stand for 4 hours at a concert. By the end of the night, by lower back, knees and feet were killing me. Assigned seating is so underrated.

2.  Concerts at large venues never start on time. Never.

3. No matter how thorough the security checks are at concerts (and they were thorough last night!), people will always find a way to sneak in drugs.

4. It makes absolutely no sense to me that the only area for "fresh air" is for the smokers.

5. General admission concerts for short people kind of sucks. My view for the most part was fist pumps and devil horns.

godsmack concert edmonton

6. Speaking of fist pumps and devil horns, it doesn't matter how many concerts I go to, I will never feel comfortable pumping my fist in the air. I feel like a complete tool when I do it.

7. Let's talk about the concert shirt for a minute. In my mind, I picture myself rocking my shirt with a pair of cool jeans months after the concert, but this never happens. The shirt never fits right once I get it home. Which is why I have a bin of them stored in the spare bedroom closet. Yet, I can't stop buying them. Maybe I'll have them all made into a quilt one day.

8. I used to make fun of Jim for wearing his high-fidelity ear plugs to concerts. He makes me wear them too now and I can't believe how many concerts I've been to in the past where I didn't protect my ears. The high-fidelity ones lower the decibel but maintain the sound quality. In fact, I would argue that the sound is better when we wear our ear plugs. The music was so loud last night (and I'm not just saying that because I'm old - it was really loud!), that my whole body was vibrating and I still had a slight ringing in my ears when I got home despite the use of these ear plugs. You guys, save your hearing and invest in a pair if you go to a lot of concerts. They're super cheap too!

9. How many people do you think call in sick the day after a concert? Judging by the liquor lines at the concert last night, I'm thinking way too many.

Do you enjoy live music? What's your most memorable concert experience? Mumford & Sons at a small venue in Seattle tops my list! 

September 23, 2014

Flying With a Baby

The other week, Sully went on his very first airplane ride! We made the annual trek to Nova Scotia to visit Jim's parents and extended family. This was the first time that Jim and I didn't take the red eye flight. Usually we opt to fly through the night so as not to lose a whole day travelling (travel time plus time difference equals almost a whole day), but there was no way I was going to be that person on the plane with a crying baby in the middle of the night! So we picked a morning flight for the day we left and an evening flight for the day we flew home. Unfortunately, you can't fly direct unless you leave from Calgary, but our stopover was a quick one in Ottawa and we didn't even have to get off the plane.

I really didn't have a lot of anxiety leading up to the flight. I knew that I couldn't control whether the air pressure changes would bother Sully or not, and deep down, I just had this feeling that he would enjoy the flights. I couldn't have been more right! He was a dream and the whole experience couldn't have gone better than it did.

Now, I'm no expert and not really qualified to give out advice on flying with your infant, but here are some tips on what we did and didn't do to make our first flight with Sully as smooth as possible. Maybe some of them will be helpful for you if you ever find yourself travelling with an infant.

tips for flying with a baby

1) First of all, Sully's age really helped. At a little over 6 months at the time of the trip, we had just started introducing solids and his main nutrition was still coming from breastmilk. Therefore, we didn't have to worry about packing any food for him with us or bottles and formula. I know our next flight with him will be a bit more complicated in this area.

2) In addition to the point above, breastfeeding really made the entire flight experience a breeze. A lot of people suggest nursing on the take off and the landing, but I was actually told beforehand by a friend, not to nurse on the take off as then your baby can also ingest a lot of air making them more uncomfortable in the long run. I've also read that your ears naturally adjust to the ascent as opposed to the descent. I nursed while we were taxiing, and then Sully fell asleep for take off. I tried to time nursing with all 4 landings we did, but sometimes I couldn't get him to keep nursing during the entire descent. Those times I popped a soother in his mouth to encourage swallowing to decrease sensitivity to the air pressure changes. Also, use a soother clip to avoid the soother falling on the floor of the airplane.   (Gross, and you can't rinse off the soother in the airplane washrooms.) Bonus: Sully loves playing with his soother clip and chewing on the beads. Functional AND fun!

flying with a baby

3) We had upgraded seats for both flights which was a godsend. Sure, the free snacks and drinks are a huge bonus, but it was the extra leg room that was really nice when you have to hold a baby on your lap the entire 6+ hours. You're also first off the plane which is really nice. And out of sheer luck, on our flight home, the third seat in our row remained empty and we actually laid Sully on it while he slept for a few hours. This actually gave me some time to read, which is my favourite thing to do on a plane. For flights over 3 hours, I think it's worth the splurge to upgrade your seats. Plus, you get two free checked bags as opposed to one. If you're going to end up paying to check more luggage,  you might as well upgrade your seat instead.

flying with a baby

4) Take a pillow or small nursing pillow onto the plane with you. You will not regret it. Your arms and elbows will thank you when you are holding a baby for the entire flight. Also, if you luck out like us and get an empty seat next to you, you can use the pillow to prop the baby on to sleep.

5) Take a couple of receiving blankets. These serve a few purposes: nursing covers, blankets for everyone if the plane is cool and to clean up any spit up. My favourite are the aden and anais ones. They are large enough and breathable enough to use as a nursing cover - I just knotted two ends together and placed around my neck - this allowed me to leave my regular nursing cover behind (Sully hates being under that one anyway).

6) I packed a small bag of toys to entertain Sully with, but I didn't end up needing any of them. He was pretty happy to look out the window when he wasn't sleeping. And his favourite thing to do was pull papers out of the seat pocket in front of us. But I would recommend packing a few things to distract/entertain your baby just in case.

7) Pack double the diapers you think you will need on your carry-on and pack extra wipes. We amazingly had not one poopy diaper to change, but my philosophy is, if you don't pack extra, the shit will literally hit the fan. Wipes are awesome for more than just cleaning your babes bottom. I used them to wipe down the seat trays and arm rests, and anything I thought and knew Sully would touch. But I'm sure all you mom's already know the brilliance that is the baby wipe.

8) Have your babe travel in a sleeper. They're comfy, you don't have to worry about socks or shoes, and they're way easier to change a diaper in, especially in the god-awful teeny-tiny bathrooms on the plane. Plus, if you do have a blow-out, it's much easier to contain the mess and change babe quickly. Skip the cute pants/onsie/shirt outfit for until you get to your destination.

flying with a baby

9) Bring a hands-free baby carrier. I took 3. Overkill? Possibly, but I wasn't sure which one I would prefer. I had a cloth wrap, an ergo and a friend lent me a sling wrap to try out. I loved the sling wrap and would definitely recommend one for the airport. It's so quick to put on and put baby into and Sully really liked snuggling into me in it. More so than the ergo. I didn't bother with my wrap (which I love) because it's a little more time consuming to put on and I have to re-wrap it each time Sully goes in and out of it. I also used the sling wrap a lot during our trip - for grocery store runs, etc.

10) Lastly (if you've read this far, high-five!), try not to stress. Anxiety feeds anxiety. I knew if I stayed calm and cool, Sully would most likely stay calm and cool. Perhaps my outlook would be different had he been a nightmare on the flight, but I like to think part of his good behaviour was because of mine. Or we just got really lucky this time!

flying with a baby

In case you're wondering, we left our good stroller at home because we had one to borrow from family when we arrived at our destination. Instead, we used a small umbrella stroller (lent to us by a friend) in the airport and gate checked it. We easily could have survived without it though, especially since we had our hands-free baby carriers with us, but it did make going through security a bit easier. We bag checked our car seat, but left the base at home. You can just as safely install the car seat using the seat belt in a vehicle so we didn't bother lugging it along.

I'm so grateful we had a wonderful first experience flying with Sully. It will make the next trip we go on that much easier for us mentally. I'm sure our next experience will be completely different as he will be a babe on the move and won't be content to just sit on our laps, but we will cross that path when we come to it.

Have you travelled with your kids when they were just babes? I'd love to hear what worked and didn't work for you! 

September 18, 2014

A Day in the Life of a 6 Month Old

I know - a day in the life of a 6 month old - riveting! But you know how when you have a baby to take care of and from the moment they wake up, it's go go go and you barely get a moment to pee in peace, yet when your husband comes home from work and he asks, "what did you guys do today?", it's hard to answer him because what DID we do all day?

I'm un-showered, the dishes are still in the sink, groceries un-bought, dinner not made, but I kept your baby alive! And fed! And in clean diapers, and relatively happy. And sometimes those four things take up your whole day. So in response, I want to scream EVERYTHING AND NOTHING! Because that's how it feels to raise a baby.

And so, I have for you, the day in the life of one little 6 month old. In case there was any curiosity to what it is we do all day.


7:00 - I hear Sully awake on the baby monitor. He's cooing and babbling loudly to himself. Jim rolls out of bed to start getting ready for work, but first he goes to Sully, changes his diaper and brings him to me. We nurse and then lounge in bed together.

8:00 - 9:15 - Nap time. I am not a morning person (but, I'm working on it!) so most mornings, I have a nap with Sully. He snuggles into me and we doze off for an hour or so.

9:20 - Sully has a quick "snack" and then another diaper change. Then into the jumperoo he goes so that I can jump in the shower. If I don't shower and get ready now, it probably won't happen until tomorrow. Thank god for the jumperoo! We have one upstairs in the front of a mirror and Sully loves looking at himself while he jumps.


10:00 - 10:30 - Sully has reached his limit in the jumperoo and I am now ready for the day ahead of us. We head into his room to get dressed and another diaper change. I realize he's pooped through his sleeper which means I have to go check the jumperoo for poop. Yup! Quick wipe down of the jumperoo seat. Sully nurses again.

We have a play date scheduled at Cafe O'Play for 11:00 with my best friend Karen and her 3 kiddos. Everyday is a little different: some days we don't go anywhere, save for a walk outside. Once a week we have dance class, and weekly music class is starting soon too. Some days we have plans in the afternoon to meet up with a friend. We're still working on figuring out dedicated nap times, so for now, we work around our plans.

sitting pretty

10:40 - Head downstairs and I hear Sully fill his pants. I lay him down on the rug in the family room while I quickly scarf down a bowl of cereal.  Sully loses it during the diaper change and I consider not meeting up with Karen so that Sully can have a nap. My needs selfishly outweigh Sully's needs today as I don't get to see Karen very often and making plans with someone who has 3 kiddos in tow can be tough! I risk taking a cranky baby out of the house (wish me luck!).

11:00 - Finally leave the house. Sully is clearly tired and I'm hoping he'll fall sleep in the car. Of course, he doesn't.

11:15 - Arrive at the Cafe just as Karen is pulling up. Good timing! Sully is surprisingly calm for the next 45 minutes as there's so much to distract him at the over packed Cafe. He loves people watching and the little girls swoon over him.

cafe o'play 

12:00 - Nurse Sully. He still doesn't want to fall asleep. I've ordered myself a large coffee and a breakfast sandwich because all I've eaten so far is a bowl of cereal with almond milk. Sully is grabbing at my food so I give him a piece of pita with some hummus on it that Karen's daughter, Mikayla has so graciously shared with him, and he happily chews on it.

13:00 - We pack up to leave so we can get home from a nap, but Sully falls asleep in his car seat before we even get up from the table so I decide to stay a bit longer to continue my visit with Karen as her kids are still playing. I know well enough that Sully would only sleep the length of the car ride home anyway.

sleeping in the carseat 

14:15 - Sully is awake, but calm. We finally head home. He's babbling happily in the backseat so I tempt fate further and stop at Safeway pharmacy to pick up his last dose of the rotovirus vaccine.

14:45 - We're finally home! We head upstairs to nurse, but first a quick diaper change. Sully has a little melt down because how dare I change his dirty bum before nursing him!

15:00 - I lay Sully down in his crib for a nap. Something he fights until the bitter end. He's exhausted and he'll never make it to bed time if he doesn't have an afternoon nap. I sit in the rocking chair listening to him protest the nap. I vow he will not win this battle!

15:15 - I've let Sully try to "figure it out" on his own for 15 minutes. I intervene once he starts full out crying and is borderline hysterical. I do pick-up/put-down 3 times before he finally falls asleep.

nap time 

15:30 - Finally sleep, I head back downstairs, surveying the bomb that has apparently gone off in all corners of my house, choosing to ignore it's damage in lieu of making myself something to eat. I'm starving! I also warm up my coffee that I never finished from our play date. Instead of tidying up the house today, I read a few blogs on my lap top, start a list of things to pack for our trip in a few days and make a new list of errands to run tomorrow seeing as we didn't get to any of them today.

16:15: Sully's been asleep for 45 minutes. This is that pivotal moment, where one sleep cycle is about to end, and if I don't get in there before it does and help ease him into a second sleep cycle, nap time is over. I race upstairs and my damn cardigan brushes against the console table outside his room and one of the buttons makes a stupidly loud "PING" noise. Of course, Sully is wide awake, in perfect Yoga cobra pose when I open his door. I attempt to shush and pat him back to sleep, but he's not having any of it. We read a book in his room before heading back downstairs.

reading oliver jeffers reading oliver jeffers

16:30 - 17:00 - We practice sitting in the family room. He's practically a pro now! It's still an hour until Jim is due home from work (longest hour ever, amiright?!), so I decide to take Sully for a short walk in the stroller to get the mail.

sitting practice

17:20: We start to take the long way around the pond to get the mail, but decide to make it short when we see the dark, looming clouds above us. The last thing I want is to be caught in a huge thunderstorm with Sully in his stroller. As we round the bend, I can see that the mailman is just now dropping off today's mail, so we sit on the park bench for a few minutes until he is done.

a walk in the park

17:35 - We're back home and Sully wants to nurse again. We watch the clock until Daddy gets home.

17:50 - Daddy's still not home and bedtime is looming nearer and nearer. Since we leave for vacation in  three days, groceries are scarce so cucumber, pear and hummus on toast is what's for dinner for Sully. He couldn't get the toast with hummus in his little mouth fast enough!

baby led weaning

18:00 - DADDY'S HOME!! Sully is losing steam. I am losing steam. We all head upstairs for a quick bath. Hummus on toast is messy.

bath time bath time 

18:15 - 19:00 - Fastest bath ever. Sully's quickly fading and crying. We get him dressed for bed and then I remember the rotovirus in the fridge and run down to get it. No time for a story tonight, Sully is MAD! We nurse for a few minutes, but he's rubbing his eyes and just not interested. Into his crib he goes. Minimal protestation until I flip him onto his stomach and pat his back. He's out right away.

19:40 - Sully's awake and I go up to pat his back. He's back asleep a few minutes later.

19:50 - I run out to make a quick return at a store, leaving Jim to man the baby monitor.

20:20 - Jim sends me a text of him and Sully watching Peter Mansbridge on his laptop. Sigh.

watching peter mans bridge

*No beer was consumed by the baby (that I'm aware of).

21:00 - I arrive home and Sully is miraculously asleep in his crib! All it took was a bottle and come cuddles with daddy.

21:00 - 23:30 - Jim and I spend the evening watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix and talking about our days. We are habitual night owls and rarely go up to bed before midnight.

06:50 - The sound of Sully babbling to himself comes through the monitor, waking me up. He's slept through the night. Jim gets up to shower and afterwards will bring Sully to me in our bed. And here another day will start. Except maybe today we will stay home and work on our naps. Or do some laundry. No promises though.

September 03, 2014

Sullivan: 6 Months

6 months

Dear Sullivan,

Happy half birthday, or halfy birthday, as I've heard other people put it! I spent the better part of one of my evenings looking at all the photos and videos from when you were first born and I am amazed by how much you have changed in just six short months. It scares me how fast this first six months went by because it means we'll be celebrating your first birthday before we know it. And that, my dear son, I am not ready for.

A lot of big changes happened this past month. You are a pro at rolling over now, both front to back and back to front, and this often makes diaper changes super challenging! It's amazing how quickly you can roll yourself across the rug you play on in the family room. When you roll onto your stomach, you look up, searching for either myself or your daddy, with the most proud look on your face. We clap every time and you grin ear to ear before putting your head back down and rolling back onto your back. You have also found your feet and love shoving a toe or five, into your mouth. This is one of my favourite milestones to date - it's so entertaining and adorable to watch you play with your own feet.

sully 6 months
tummy time jumperoo

The biggest change this month though, is that you have been sleeping in your crib every night for the past month. It just sort of happened, and while I miss you dearly in bed with me, it's pretty obvious that you really like being in your crib. We are both sleeping for much longer periods now so I know it was the right decision to let you keep sleeping in your crib. You still come into bed with us in the mornings to hang out, nurse and snooze until we get up for the day. I know that when you are older, these will be some of my most favourite moments with you - those quiet mornings in bed, listening to you babble, watching you play with your feet and kicking your little legs. We also started a bit of sleep training with you because getting you to fall asleep at night was becoming a huge challenge and you are still protesting daytime naps like it's your job. We joke that you suffer from FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. Which is something I used to suffer from, so it doesn't surprise me all that much!

sleeping-in with daddy sleeping baby sleeping baby in crib tummy time

Teething has kicked into high gear, but no teeth have made an appearance yet. It's hard to watch you suffer, especially when the only thing you want to chomp on is your little fingers. We've bought you countless teething toys, but your fingers are your favourite.

You had your 6 month check-up this month and your doctor is more than pleased with your growth. You now weigh 16 pounds and 6.5 ounces and are 26.5 inches long. That's an almost 9 pound weight gain since birth and a 7 inch gain in length! You're still our little, lean baby, but you've got some seriously strong legs. And the kicks to prove it! We won't be starting solids until you are in your six month, so your meals consist exclusively of breast milk. You are a speedy nurser now and easily distracted. I often have to ask your daddy to leave the room because you would prefer to watch what he's doing instead of eat. I still nurse you on demand, usually every few hours, but sometimes you want a snack sooner. You are wearing mostly 3-6 months clothing now, depending on the brand. Some pants still fit you better in the 0-3 month size because of your lean torso.

oxotot highchair
sully collage

We had a lot of new outings this month. You attended your third bookish event - book club in Red Deer - and had your first "sleep over" at your cousin's house. You slept between your Daddy and I in bed there with no issue. We were so proud of you for just going with the flow that weekend. You really are the easiest baby. Your daddy also took a week off of work to spend time with us at home. We went to the zoo, took you swimming for the first time, and went to your first music class. Getting to do new things with you as you get older is so much fun and really makes us excited for all the things we will do as a family in the months and years to come.

sully at the pool
batman weather watcher

Sully, watching you grow from this tiny little newborn into such an adorable, delightful and fun baby has made this the best six months of mine and your daddy's life.

I love you to the moon and back,
Your Mommy xoxo