April 29, 2015

My Love/Hate Relationship with Breastfeeding

Last week, I hit my breaking point with breastfeeding. Or at least, in the moment, I had. (A week later, and we're still nursing). But last week, Sully was having a particularly cranky day and seemed extra needy and boob-demanding. And then he started biting me. I was so upset, so insulted, so hurt (physically and emotionally), that I swore I was done nursing right then and there. I called my mom in tears and she rushed over.

I needed to vent and I needed a shoulder to cry on. I wasn't really ready to be done nursing, but at the same time, the thought of being free from it was a little bit exciting. But then there was also the guilt. Oh the guilt. I didn't want our nursing journey to end just because I had "had enough". Ultimately, I want Sully to be the one to make the call.

I know breastfeeding is such an individual experience, but for me, I wanted to succeed, and I'm so proud that we've made it this far. When I started out on my breastfeeding journey, I had no goal in mind. All I knew was that I was going to breastfeed and I was going to do whatever it took to make it work. I made mini-goals as I went along, the first goal being to make it to six months. If we could make it to six months with just nursing, I would be more than satisfied.

When we hit six months, we were still nursing strong, so I aimed for nine months. Nine months came, and Sully showed no signs of weening, so I kept going, hoping at that point that we could hit the one year milestone. And from there, I told myself and my husband that I would just follow Sully's cues. If he wanted to keep nursing, we would, and if he was done with it, then I would forever be thankful that we got a full year in. 

Here we are at 14 months, and most days, I still nurse Sully three to four times a day. And most days, I love it, but some days I hate it. 

I have a love/hate relationship with nursing.

I love that I've been able to nourish my baby for the first year of his life with my own body.
I hate that there are people who judge moms for extended breastfeeding and that I have let their judgement get to me.

I love when my baby's eyes roll in the back of his head and he becomes sleepy from nursing.
I hate when he bites me.

I love the extra time in bed in the morning, where we cuddle and side nurse.
I hate having to lay on my one arm. 

I love that nursing is just easy, especially in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning.
I hate that my husband can't just get up and nurse my son in my place some days.

I love that I can comfort my son when he's hurt, or after immunizations, or when he's not feeling well, or when he's just having a meltdown.
I hate that my husband can't offer him this same immediate sense of comfort.

I love when my son's hand caresses the top of my chest while nursing.
I hate when I have forgotten to cut his nails and he leaves scratch marks all over my chest instead.

I love when my son is getting tired and he slips his hand down the front of my shirt ever so gently.
I hate when he takes it too far and pinches my nipple.

I love nursing tanks and nursing bras that make breastfeeding so much easier.
I hate that I still have to wear a nursing bra.

I love that breastfeeding is said to burn extra calories every day.
I hate that it just increases my appetite at the same time.

Obviously I'm using the word hate here very loosely. I wouldn't change our breastfeeding journey for anything. But that doesn't mean that some days aren't hard, or that there aren't moments where I wish we were done breastfeeding altogether. It's a complicated relationship, but one that I know has an inevitable end date. So for now, we trudge on, and I'm choosing to cherish each nursing session because I know it will be a sad day, bittersweet at the least, when my son refuses to nurse.

It would be fair to address my upcoming trip here, as it's very likely that such a long absence may ween Sully completely. This was a decision I didn't make lightly, but seeing as Sully is now 14 months old, I've come to terms with this. I do plan to keep up my supply while I'm gone by pumping, and when I return, should he want to continue to nurse, I will be ready. 

April 24, 2015

New York May 2015

So this is happening in, oh, ten days! That's right, in ten days I'm getting on a plane with my best friend and we are flying to New York! No babies, no husbands. I don't think the reality of this has truly set in yet.

New York 2015

A few months ago, when I caught wind of the Rocky Mountain Soap Women's Run in Canmore, I asked my best friend Karen if she thought there would be any way she could sneak away for the weekend with her youngest baby and join me and Sully for the stroller run. She responded with "I have a better idea". A better idea than a night or two away in beautiful Canmore?! I really had no idea what she was going to come up with. New York in May. That was her better idea. She wins.

My heart sped up when I heard her say the words. New York City?! She must be crazy, I thought. Here we were, sitting on her couch breastfeeding our two babies (Karen has three kids by the way), and she's proposing we go to New York in May?! I think these thoughts of doubt crossed my mind for all of five seconds before I said "OK!"

And now, in a little over a week, a life-long dream of mine is going to come true! Seeing NYC has always been on my bucket list, but, like many things on said list, it hasn't been crossed off yet. And getting to go with my best friend is a once in a life time opportunity. Especially when you're at this stage of our lives, where you have a husband, and kids, and dogs, and a whole slew of responsibilities. it's not easy to go away with a friend. Especially not for a whole week.

Luckily, we both have awesome husbands and amazing family who didn't hesitate at all to make this trip a reality for us. Don't get me wrong, it will be super hard for me to leave Sully, but I know, without a doubt that he will be fine without me and in the best of hands. My mom will be moving in to help look after him and I'm also flying my sister out to help babysit. She hasn't seen Sully since September and I'm so, so excited for her to get a whole week with him to bond. They are going to have so much fun together! (And I'm secretly hoping that after she spends a whole week with Sully, she'll want to move back to Alberta to be closer :))

So! New York! Someone pinch me.

 photo conan_zpsb5d179ca.gif

But, because Karen and I are both so busy, we haven't had any time to sit down and plan what we want to do or what we want to see when we are in New York yet. And so I bring this to all of you reading this: if you've been to New York, what are a few things/places/sights we have to see? And if you haven't been to New York, what's something you would definitely do if you went?

April 22, 2015

A Day in the Life of a 14 Month Old

The last time I did a day in the life of post, Sully was six months old. I always meant to do another one when he was twelve months old, to compare how much our daily life changed in six months, but clearly I never got around to it!

Not all our days are the same - we spend a lot of our days at home, but with the nice weather finally making an appearance, we definitely get out of the house a lot more now. It also helps when you have plans with good friends to get your butt out the door. I figured a day where we left the house is a lot more interesting than one where we don't! This was our Monday this week.


06:30: I hear Sully on the baby monitor and groan when I see the time. For the love of God, why can't he sleep until at least 7 anymore?

06:35: Five minutes later and he hasn't gone back to sleep like I was hoping (wishful thinking!) and now I can see he's standing up in his crib, facing the door and crying for me.

06:35 - 07:15: I bring Sully into bed with me where we nurse and cuddle. Neither of us falls back asleep but the extra quiet time in bed is nice.

morning snuggles

07:15: Diaper change (if I do this before we nurse, a meltdown is sure to ensue).

07:15 - 07:40: Cuddling time is over and Sully likes to get down from the bed and explore my room. I take this extra bit of time to finish waking up and scroll through social media on my phone.

into everything

07:45: Quick shower. If we didn't have plans with other human beings this morning, I'd rock my four day old hair.

08:00: Blow dry my hair and get dressed. Sully spends this time taking blocks from his room and throwing them through the baby gate onto the stairs below. Then he spends the last 5 minutes of my getting ready, crying at my feet.

throwing blocks down the stairs crying at my feet 

08:20: Downstairs for breakfast. Hummus on toast for him because we are out of avocado, and cereal with almond milk for me. I make a few PB & J sandwiches for our outing and pack up some snacks and water. Sully isn't interested in eating much breakfast, preferring to throw it on the floor.

toddler breakfast pb&j 

08:40: Back upstairs to finish getting ready and get Sully dressed. Another diaper change. Sully is losing his marbles.

09:10: Sully is buckled into his carseat, the stroller is loaded and we are off to meet some friends at the museum!

09:30: Arrive at the museum and of course Sully is fast asleep. We let him have a few extra minutes to sleep.

09:45 - 10:50: Explore the museum. I haven't been since I was a kid myself, but it's exactly how I remember it!

morning at the museum morning at the museum 

10:55 - 11:40: We head outside - it's a beautiful day out already - I grab a blanket from my car, and we have a little picnic with the babies. I nurse Sully at one point because he's whiny and shoving his hand down my shirt.


11:45: We all pack up and head home for naps.

12:05: The library is on the way home so I stop to pick up my hold, but after I've pulled into a parking spot, I realize Sully is fast asleep. I detour to Tim Horton's drive-thru instead for a much needed coffee and then head home.

12:25: Arrive home. This is where I would usually sit in my car on the driveway while the baby naps. Except today, I just don't want to sit in my car. I make the bold choice to attempt a carseat transfer. I figure if Sully wakes up, I might be able to nurse him and get him back to sleep. But it's a Christmas miracle!! Transfer complete and successful!!

nutella donut 

12:30 - 2:00: Sully naps for an entire hour and a half. Guys, this is a rare occurrence. Every day is a battle of the naps. I am on cloud nine! I enjoy my coffee and eat my Nutella donut from Timmies. I post some photos from our play date at the museum on instagram. I respond to some texts from this morning and I share my latest blog post on social media. And my new Birkenstocks arrive! (Look at the ridiculously huge box they sent them in!) The delivery man had the nerve to ring the doorbell and it doesn't even wake Sully up. Can this day get any better?


2:05: Sully is awake and talking to me through the baby monitor. This is a big deal, because usually he doesn't nap long enough and wakes up crying. I go up to get him and he's got big stories to tell me. Diaper change and then we nurse in the glider chair.


2:30: Afternoon snack. Green smoothies!

green smoothies 

3:20: Head out the door again to run back to the library. I pick up my hold that has come in (after I read and loved Where'd You Go Bernadette?, I found out the author has another book out and I'm anxious to read it!), and I let Sully run around the kids area for a few minutes. They don't have any toys at this location so once he starts pulling books off the shelves, it's time to go!

This One is Mine by Maria Semple Edmonton public library 

3:50: Stop at Safeway for the Monday Twitter deal, and to get a few groceries.

grocery shopping at Safeway 

4:30: Arrive back home and walk to the mailbox.

checking the mail 

4:45: Sully has more smoothie and we read the only book he'll actually let me read to him from start to finish without trying to close it on me the entire time.

story time

5:00 - 5:30: I put on Paw Patrol on Netflix to entertain Sully so I can put the groceries away and have a few minutes to myself. I read a couple blog posts and answer some comments.

5:30 - 5:45: Get dinner ready. Leftovers from yesterday. Sully lost interest in the show about five minutes in, preferring to play underfoot of me. . Realize I forgot to buy frozen green peas for Sully. Which is usually the one food I can count on him eating.

playing in the tuperware drawer 

5:45 - 6:15: We eat! Well, I do. Sully's appetite has been off since yesterday and I think he's teething as he keeps gnawing on his pointer finger. Refuses everything I offer him except for a few pieces of potato and a yogurt. Isn't dinner time with a toddler fun?!

supper time with a toddler 

6:20: Bath time!

bath time 

6:40: Quick FaceTime with Daddy while we cuddle in my bed. Then we nurse in Sully's room.

bedtime cuddles 

7:00: Sully wasn't interested in nursing for too long and doesn't want to be in my arms so I put him in his crib.

7:10: He won't settle and I worry he's hungry so I take him up a bottle. Which is hilarious since he will never take a bottle from me. He is not having the bottle, so I attempt to nurse him again, but he really isn't interested. That's when I know something's off and I give him some Tylenol in case he's having pain from teething. I put him back in his crib and leave the bottle with him.

7:20: Bottle is chucked out of the crib and Sully is standing up and crying. I go back in, rock him in the glider and he is out in minutes.

7:30:  I lay him in his crib and he's fast asleep. Bed time is rarely this hard or complicated. Usually we nurse, then I give him his soother, we rock for a few minutes and I put him in his crib and that's it. I am now exhausted and on the hunt for chocolate.

7:30 - 8:30: Unwind. Read a few blog posts. Tidy up the kitchen from dinner.

8:35: Realize that tomorrow is garbage day. Ugh. Go around and collect all the garbages and curse that the diaper genie in Sully's room didn't get emptied. Take garbage and recycling out to the curb.

9:00 - 10:00: Time to relax on the couch! Lately I've been turning to a book instead of Netflix when I have my evenings to myself (Jim is working in Calgary tonight). A good book, some wine, and some chocolate macaroons!

chocolate and wine

10:00 - 10:30: Pump while I watch an episode of Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt on Netflix. Check Instagram.

10:30 - 10:40: Turn on dishwasher. Wash face. Brush teeth. Put on pyjamas and collapse into bed.

10:40 - 11:00: Read my book for another twenty minutes.

11:00: Lights out! This is early for me. But I fear another early morning wake-up.

03:00 - I hear Sully crying through the monitor which isn't normal as he's a really good night sleeper. When he doesn't settle after a few minutes and is standing up in his crib, I go to him. We nurse.

03:15: I'm back in my own bed and Sully is fast asleep in his crib.

07:25: Hallelujah! Sully's just waking up now. And here we go again...

April 20, 2015

Sullivan's First Birthday Party

I knew well before Sully turned one that I didn't want to have a huge, extravagant party for him. But I did want to celebrate not only his day of birth, but also mine and Jim's first year of parenthood. Even though we had already technically moved to Calgary, we still hadn't sold our home in Edmonton, so we returned the weekend of his birthday to have a party surrounded by our closest family and friends.

first birthday invite

I created his invite with picmonkey and emailed it out. to our guests. While it would have been nice to have created custom made invites through websites like minted or Shutterfly, it also wasn't necessary for a first birthday party. Plus, we all know I like to leave things to the last minute, and if I had had to mail out invites, I don't think anyone would have shown up for the party!

I kept the decorations simple, forgoing an overall theme, and focused more on photo displays of Sullivan's first year of life. I didn't really want to use up a good idea for a theme on his one year birthday where he's not even going to remember the party except from photos of it. It was also really hard to party prep when you're not actually in the space where said party is going to be. I knew whatever I decided to do - decor and food wise - pretty much needed to be done the day of the party.

monthly photo project display
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
monthly photo project display 
gallery wall display with washi tape
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
gallery wall display with washi tape
{photos by Kala Rose Photography}

Food and snacks were also kept simple, things that could be eaten with minimal mess and without cutlery. And I tried to appeal to people of all ages. I made the cupcakes and the cake myself, although not from scratch. A baker I am not, and icing a cake is the hardest thing I've ever tried to make!

first birthday party food
{photos by Kala Rose Photography}
chocolate dipped marshmallow sticks
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
first birthday party food
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
blue sprinkle cupcakes first birthday cake
first birthday party
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}

It was also really important to me that people came to the party just to be there, no gifts necessary. A one year old doesn't need much and since we were in between moves, I didn't want to be bogged down with lots of gifts that we didn't have space for in our temporary apartment. I encouraged people, should they want to bring a gift, that a book that they could sign would be more than enough (keeping in theme with Sully's baby shower). Of course, Sully still received some very thoughtful gifts, all of which we were very appreciative of!

I also started a new tradition, one that I'm excited to repeat for many birthdays to come. I picked out a really great birthday story picture book and had everyone who came to the party sign it to Sully. Not much makes me happier than reading the personalized inscriptions on the inside of a book and I think it will be so wonderful to read them to Sully each time we read this book over the years.

birthday book tradition
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
birthday book tradition
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
birthday book tradition

Of course, the one thing I failed on was taking lots of pictures, especially of our guests! Isn't this always the way it is?! But I guess that's a sign of a good party when you're too busy mingling to take photos! Luckily, my very good friend Kala was kind enough to take some photos for us while at the party and I'm so grateful she did! You can see more photos from the party on her blog here.

The Frasers family photo
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
Sullivan's first birthday
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
Sullivan't first birthday
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
Sullivan's first birthday
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
Sullivan's first birthday
{photo by Kala Rose Photography}
first birthday smash cake
first birthday smash cake first birthday smash cake first birthday smash cake

Thank you to all our friends and family who came out to celebrate Sullivan's first birthday with us! It meant a lot to me that we were able to have the party in the home Sully spent his first year of life in. Next year we will be in a new house and in a new city, with not a lot of family or friends near by, so I'm very, very glad for the memories of this party.

April 10, 2015

The Books I've Been Reading {2}

My reading is on a roll this year, and at this rate, I will have no trouble hitting my goal to read 20 books this year. I'm already more than half way there! I'm not really sure why I'm reading more, god knows I don't have extra time in my day, especially with a baby who naps so inconsistently. If anything, I think it's because I'm consciously choosing to read over other things, like spending mindless hours scrolling through social media. It has also helped that I've been taking advantage of free e-books from the library and always have one downloaded to read on my phone. It's not ideal to read on my phone, but it allows me to sneak in a page or two several times throughout the day, and comes in super handy during those times I'm sitting in a parked car while the baby naps.

Here's what I read in March:

book list

Three Souls by Janie Chang: This was a book club pick. I was pulled in from the beginning and was emotionally invested the entire time. I don't think I've ever read a Chinese historical-fiction novel that I haven't loved, and Three Souls was no exception. Leiyin, the main character, has died, and in order to move on to the afterlife, her and three souls must re-live the events leading up to her death so Leiyin can figure out how to avenge for her sins. A must read if you are a fan of Amy Tan's books. Also, a fantastic first novel from this author.

Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed by EL James: I'll spare you much talk about these books. Everyone and their dog has an opinion on these books (and movie), but for the record, I enjoyed reading them. They were entertaining, and fun and I don't think there's any need to dissect them any deeper. If you're getting your relationship advice from these works of fantasy fiction, then we've got bigger problems.

Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves: Not the page-turner that On the Island was, but this story still pulled me in, despite it being slow at times. A good look at what can happen in a marriage when you lose your way, are incredibly lonely and and have lost the ability to communicate with your spouse. At what point does a spouse's job become more important then the things they could lose (family included)? Told from alternating view points, it was interesting to see the inner dialogue and turmoil that each character was going through.

What have you been reading lately? Any must-read book I should add to my list?