June 21, 2017

Emmeline: 5 Months

*This post is about 3 weeks late, but better late than never, amiright?! ;) 

5 Months Old
Oh Miss Emmy!

How are you 5 months old already?! Sometimes I look at you in your beloved Mamaroo Swing and I can't get over how big you look in it compared to when you were first born. We didn't get you weighed this month, but you're starting to grow out of your 0-3 month clothes and some 3 month clothes as well, so I know you're growing!

You're still exclusively breastfed, and will take the odd bottle of expressed milk when needed. I'm looking forward to starting you on solids next month though! Your brother's first food was avocado on toast cut into strips and I think we will try the same on you to see your reaction to it. To this day, it's still his favourite food to eat!
Five Months
You still aren't rolling over, but you are SO close. That darn, pesky arm just keeps getting in the way! The day before you turned 5 months old, you finally found your toes! This is one of my favourite milestones, watching babies grab their toes and rock back and forth. You are strong enough to sit up in the jumperoo without any padding, but you only tolerate for 15 minutes at the most. Guess it's time to dig out the jolly jumper! You're usually pretty happy to just lay on your activity mat and grab at the toys hanging above you, and when that no longer entertains you, then you like to be held facing out so you can see everything that is going on. You really resist being put in a sitting position, preferring to be held while standing. It's like you're reading to take to the ground running before even learning to sit or crawl! I imagine life will become much more exciting for you once you are able to sit on your own.

Emmy, you're still such a happy baby and such a good little sleeper. I still nap you in your swing, but at night, you sleep peacefully in your Dockatot in our bed. I realized that this is around the time I transitioned your brother to his crib so we will probably get on that soon. While I love having you right next to me, I can't help but wonder if you would sleep longer stretches without me being by your side. We shall see! Even though you nurse at night and go straight back to sleep, it would be nice to get more than 3-4 hours of sleep in a row!
5 Months Old
5 Months Old
It's such a joy watching you grow, Emmy. The love I have for both you and your brother is a love I never knew was possible! I'm so grateful I get to be a mom to both of you.


*affiliate links have been used

May 30, 2017

What Beautycounter Means to Me

We live in a world where pretty much everything we could want is available at our fingertips. There's a grocery store on every corner, box stores full of disposable fashion, makeup and beauty products, in every quadrant of the city. In fact, you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home, as everything is available online with a few clicks and a credit card. What I've started to notice about this conveniency is that it can result in a lot of mindless purchases, choosing the product off the shelf that has the best advertising, best price, best smell, or it's the only one available. This in turn creates overflowing toiletry drawers, crammed junk drawers and the feeling of needing to declutter way too often.

Then Emmy was born. And I was reminded again of the fact that I'm not just responsible for myself, but I'm also responsible for two tiny humans. A new baby, with brand new skin, really made me reevaluate the products I was purchasing: were the "natural" products actually natural? Were the ingredients listed ones I was comfortable slathering all over their precious skin? Was that cartoon character, "hypoallergenic and gentle" bubble bath safe? Could I do better? And then I started thinking...why am I only concerned about what I'm putting on my children's skin? Why am I not questioning the products in my bathroom?

Recently, as my 34th birthday approached, I started to reevaluate the kind of life I wanted to live and the kind of life I wanted to model for my impressionable children. I used to pride myself in cooking healthful, clean meals, avoiding processed snacks, questioning the beauty products I was putting onto my body, cleaning with nontoxic cleaners, and purchasing quality items over quantity. But somewhere in the past year or so, I have lost my way. I am far from perfect, and with a toddler and a baby at home, my home is also far from perfect. I am not a minimalist, nor will I ever be one, but I do desire simplicity where I can find it, and luxury where I can afford it.
What Beautycounter means to me
Around this time, I started to notice Beautycounter products popping up on my social media, and then also around this time, I happened to connect with a woman on Instagram who was already involved with Beautycounter. Dawn ever so gently provided me with some information on the company while also giving me some samples of their products. After doing a lot of research and trying some of the products, I was not only hooked, I was inspired.

You see, Beautycounter is more than just a line of luxurious and toxin-free beauty products. It's a lifestyle. It's a movement. It's an opportunity to change the beauty product market. The more research I did, and the more I educated myself about the products I was currently using (some that I assumed were safe because of good marketing), the more horrified I became. There are currently more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today, and only 500 of them have been prohibited for use in the cosmetic industry in Canada. The US has only banned 30 to date, but the EU is far ahead of the game, with more than 1300 chemicals banned in personal care products. Beautycounter is a company devoted to progress. They have created a Never List - a list that includes over 1500 questionable or harmful ingredients that they will never use in their products.
ingredients that should never be in beauty products via Beautycounter
Beautycounter wants to make the world a healthier and safer place, and so do I. To me, it's more than just purchasing their products. It's about educating yourself and the loved ones around you. Start reading the labels on your beauty products, familiarize yourself with some of the big no-no ingredients (BHA, BHT, EDTA, Parabens - methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- etc., Phthalates, Retinol - vitamin A, SLS & SLES, Fragrance - a term that can include any combination of up to 3000+ chemical ingredients) just to name a few.

Our skin is our largest organ. How can we care about what we eat, about how often we workout, ensure we take our vitamins, if we're just going to slather chemicals all over our bodies? It takes less than 30 seconds for our bodies to absorb the chemicals in our beauty products into our blood streams. I cannot help but think about the impact this has to be having on our bodies. Don't we deserve better? Don't you deserve better? Don't our children deserve better? If I can care about what I'm putting on my children's skin, I should care about what I'm putting on my skin.

So, if you're still reading this, to make a long story short, I joined Beautycounter as a consultant because I want to be part of the change and I want to share it with everyone I know and love. Do I think you need to own every single product of theirs? Of course not. There is plenty of room to continue to support the small, local shops that are also contributing to this movement by making safe, and clean beauty products. My wish is to educate, to get my friends and family reading the labels on their beauty products just as much as the labels on their food. To vote with their dollars by making better choices as we move forward. To be more mindful in what we not only put in our bodies, but by what we put on it. To choose safe, quality beauty products over quantity.

Beautycounter has become a part of my daily life now, so you will see it pop up here and there. If you want to learn more, I would love to talk with you. Send me an email, or find me on Instagram. But most of all, I want you to remember that your body is worth it.

May 19, 2017

Mind & Body 4 Months Postpartum

This is a vulnerable post. This is where I'm going to talk about what my postpartum journey has been like. It's raw, honest and real. Sometimes I don't think this part of pregnancy and motherhood is talked about enough. And with social media nowadays, it's mostly the pretty and curated that is shared. Not that I don't too share that, or enjoy seeing those photos in my feed, I just think it's important to recognize and appreciate all aspects of the postpartum process, not just the beautiful baby that is the result of one's pregnancy.
Mind and Body at 4 months postpartum
I don't often talk about my physical appearance. I've never publicly shown "before and after" photos. While I don't completely refrain from posting photos of myself, I don't like to draw attention to my body either. But I try to remember where I've come from and where my journey is taking me.

Pregnancy is hard on your body. You grow and change shape, all while nourishing a little human being inside of you for ten months. Just when you think your belly cannot possibly get any bigger, it does. Everything you do, including breathing, becomes uncomfortable and it's hard to imagine that you will ever feel "normal" again.

But then one day, that little baby finally decides to vacate it's premises and all of a sudden you're not pregnant anymore. It's a really surreal feeling to go from pregnant one minute, to not pregnant the next. Your breasts are larger than ever, and mostly likely becoming engorged. Your belly, while flatter than you're used to, still resembles something like a 6 month belly bump, except it's soft and lumpy, not nice and round. Your muscles are soft and you will experience uterine contractions that rival any menstrual cramp you've ever had. Going poop will be a terrifying experience for the first several days. And you will bleed enough over the next few weeks to make you think you are making up for ten months of no periods.

And if you've had a c-section, like I did, then you can add healing of your incision, numbness and pain to the list. And don't forget that you can't pick up anything over 15 pounds, or drive, for the next 6 weeks.
Mind and Body Post Partum
My recovery this time around was a completely different experience than my first c-section. My pain was better managed, my milk came in right away, and my bowels woke up much quicker. I was up walking with assistance less than 12 hours after my surgery. I felt 100x better than I did after my first delivery and I was home 3 days later. I haven't experienced any baby blues this time around and I have more energy and motivation as well. Mentally, I feel fantastic.

Around 7 weeks postpartum, I remember thinking that the incisional pain/tingling/numbness was never going to go away. I was still periodically getting weird twinges and was very aware of my incision. But then, just like that, I woke up one morning and all those weird physical feelings were gone. It was also around this time that I finally felt ready to embark on my postpartum fitness journey, and at 8 weeks postpartum, I was cleared to resume all regular activities and exercise. But being cleared and actually resuming an active lifestyle are two different things. I've dabbled in the odd workout, but I've been unable to stick to any sort of routine.
an honest reflection on the postpartum process
I'm not happy with what I see when I look in the mirror. I am beyond happy with what my body has provided me with - another child - and I marvel at the true miracle of childbirth and I will always be thankful and grateful for what my body has given me, but no, I'm not happy with the extra 25 pounds I'm carrying, I'm not happy that nothing in my closet fits, that maternity clothes are more comfortable than regular clothes, that my breasts are larger than they ever have been, and that I'm self-concisous of the extra rolls around my mid-section.

I truly believe you can love your body but also not like what you see. And I'm also realistic. I know I just had a baby. I know it took ten months to grow and nurture my daughter in utero. I know I'm beyond lucky that breastfeeding is easy for me. And I know that it takes kindness, patience and time to get my body back to a place I want it to be at. But it's also hard not to want it "right now!". And I'm also finding it hard to motivate myself to work on that better version of myself. Taking care of a toddler and a small baby is exhausting. I'm not in a place where I want to get up early to workout and I definitely don't want to in the evenings. And during the day, well, I'm just trying to keep everyone alive and fed.

I also know that this is just the season of life for me right now. My baby won't always be as needy, my son will soon start pre-school, I will get more sleep at night, my breasts will change as the demand for my milk changes, and I will figure out a way, hopefully, to somewhat balance motherhood and the need for self-care. Because my babies are worth it. Because I'm worth it.
postpartum an honest discussion

*I took these pictures 2 months ago when I was 10 weeks post partum, but I'm pretty sure I look the same today.

May 16, 2017

Florida Family Vacation 2017

Ever since Jim's parents bought a retirement place down in Florida several years ago, we've maintained a pretty good track record of getting down there almost every year. With young kids, it's so nice to have a tropical place to go visit where your accommodations are taken care of and you're family is at. We had so much fun when we took Sully to Florida for the first time back in December of 2015, so I was really excited to get back there with him. As luck would have it, both Sully and I ended up getting really sick while we were there, which put a bit of a damper on doing all the things we had hoped to do. But with a baby in tow, our expectations were low to begin with, and we were just happy to be somewhere warm and with family.

It's hard to believe it's already been a month since we got back home! There was a lot of downtime while we were there, but I'm sharing my favourite photos from the trip which capture the fun we did have. Some of the highlights include: sunny days at the pool, playing shuffleboard, hitting up my favourite stores: Target and Trader Joe's, riding in the golf cart, watching the dolphins swim in the ocean and eating the most delicious ice cream at the Orange Grove. My camera roll has a lot of photos of Emmy sleeping and I joked earlier on Instagram that she slept through the entire trip! Such a good sleeper, that little girl of mine.

Florida Family Vacation 2017
Florida 2017
Florida Family Vacation 2017
Florida Vacation 2017
Florida Vacation 2017
Florida Family Vacation 2017
Florida Vacation 2017
Florida Vacation 2017
Florida Family Vacation
Florida 2017
Florida Family Vacation 2017
Florida Family Vacation 2017
Florida Vacation 2017
Florida Family Fun
Florida Family Fun 2017
Florida Vacation 2017
Florida Vacation 2017
Florida Vacation 2017
Best Ice Cream in Florida
Florida 2017
Florida Family Vacation 2017

And that's a wrap! I'm already dreaming about the day we can go back and do it all over again! :)

May 15, 2017

Emmeline: 4 Months

Emmy Four Months

My dearest, sweet Emmy...

Suddenly, you are no longer my squishy little newborn. Instead, you are bright-eyed baby, alert and anxious to see everything going on around you. You have lots to say and make the cutest sounds. You've found your laugh this past month and it's the best sound ever! Of course, your big brother is the best at getting you to laugh. You love to watch him and are happiest when he plays with you when you are on the ground. You rolled over once from tummy to back and once from back to tummy, but have yet to do it again, but you are soooo close!

You might not be a newborn anymore, but you're still my little peanut, tipping the scales at 10lbs 10oz and 23 inches long. You've grown out of all your newborn clothing, and are wearing 0-3m and 3m clothes, and still rocking size 1 diapers. You're still exclusively breast fed, but you've started taking a bottle of expressed milk when needed, yay!
Emmy 4 Months
Emmy Four Months
You still love to sleep, napping several times throughout the day, and are often out like a light as soon as we get in the car. The only time you really cry is when you are tired. You are usually ready for bed around 630/7, and then up to eat around 10/11 and then back to bed until sometime in the middle of the night, usually 3:30am. Luckily, you nurse and fall right back to sleep, so I don't mind one bit! I figure you need all the extra calories you can get. You're still sleeping in our bed in your Dockatot and I'm not sure I'll ever be ready not to have you so close by!

This month we also took you on your first plane ride! We travelled all the way to Florida to visit your Nanny and Papa and you slept the entire plane ride there and back! No joke. Each way is about 4.5 hours. Your brother has always been a good traveller too, so hopefully that continues. We didn't end up getting you into the pool like I thought we might, but you sure enjoyed being dressed in less clothes and feeling the warm air on your bare skin. Plus, those palm trees swaying in the wind sure kept you entertained!
Emmy 4 Months
Emmy 4 months
Emmy, sometimes I look at you and I can't believe it was a year ago already that I was finding out I was pregnant with you. And now, here you are, 4 months old and I can't imagine our lives without you! We love you so, so much, my sweet little girl.


April 25, 2017

Books We're Loving

*affiliate links have been used

Confession time: I haven't been reading much at all these days. Like, I've read half a book so far for the month of April. January started out really strong, with 4 books read, and then my reading progress just piddled away from there. I can't even really explain it, but I'm just not reaching for a book when I have time to read. Blame it on being too tired, focusing on other hobbies right now, or just lack of interest in reading. Perhaps a combination of all three even, but however you look at it, my reading is severely lacking so far. That being said, the books I have managed to read at least have been really good reads! There's nothing worse than reading bad book after bad book, especially when you aren't reading very much to begin with. 
Great Books You Must Read
Loved: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was such a charming and lovely book. The writing was beautiful and it hit me with all the feels when I was least expecting it. It's about loss and love and family and how when you least expect it, the right people (both young and old), will find their way into your life. And it's a book about books, so what's not to love? 

It Ends With Us was also a really good read. A little more chick-lit and a lot more sexy times than I was expecting, but I had a hard time putting this book down. I was worried that the ending was going to be too cliche, but I think the author approached a difficult topic really well. I don't want to give anything away, but the message this book sends is really important and be sure to read the author's note at the end!

The last good book I read was The Lost Husband. If you've read any of my last book posts, then you know I adored Happiness for Beginners by the same author so I was excited to dig in to one of her other books. I wasn't disappointed in the least! This is a book about loss, moving on, forgiveness, hope, love and self-growth.While I couldn't relate to having lost my husband, I could relate to being a mother, and I just really liked the main character, Libby. She was honest, real, and just trying to live a good life in order to give her children a better life. 

Currently Reading: I had high hopes that I would read all of the books while on holidays in Florida, but alas, that never happened. I started reading Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid while on the airplane and devoured 150 pages. I was pulled in on page one and crying by page two. But, despite loving it, I haven't been able to bring myself to read anymore (see first paragraph again, haha!). Anyway, my goal is to finish it by the end of the month! 

Looking Forward To: I feel like this is a trick question, haha! I can't say I'm looking forward to reading anything right now, BUT, I do have two books I recently purchased that I am really interested in reading as soon as I find my reading mojo. Ange highly recommended Unf*ck Your Habitat: You're Better Than Your Mess to me and I think it will be really helpful in learning how to attack clutter and disorganization in my home. The second book I picked up was The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy, a memoir about the adventures and heartbreak of being "a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses". Let's hope the reading bug hits me again soon!

Don't forget to head over to Becky's blog to see what she's loved, is currently reading and what she's going to read next! 

What are you reading right now? 

Any new releases you're looking forward to?

April 21, 2017

Peace of Mind with Owlet

Owlet Baby Monitor Smart Sock 2
Owlet Honest Review
This post was sponsored by Owlet, but as always, all thoughts and reviews 
expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that continue to 
make this hobby of mine possible!

I think one of the scariest things about being a parent is nighttime. You so desperately want your babies to go to sleep so that you can get some sleep, but then once they are asleep you can't help but worry. Are they safe? Are they still breathing? What if I don't hear her if she wakes up? I'm a pretty easing going parent, too easy, some might say, except when it comes to sleep. Peace of mind at nighttime can be hard to come by when you're a parent.

I like to keep my babies close during those first few months. I sleep better with them in my room, and I'd by lying if I said I didn't check on them a few times in the middle of the night to feel for their chest moving up and down. Emmy likes to sleep wrapped up like a burrito so sometimes it's hard to tell if she's moved at all once I've put her down for the evening.

And no matter how many times I check on Emmy, nighttime still makes me nervous. Plus, she goes to bed hours before me, so I'm not always upstairs when she's sleeping. This is where Owlet comes in and gives me peace of mind. The Owlet Smart Sock 2, which debuted last month, tracks your babe's heart rate and oxygen saturation and is designed to notify you if either falls out of the preset zones. As a registered nurse turned stay-at-home-mom, this technology is amazing to me.
Why I love the owlet baby monitor
The Owlet Smart Sock 2 comes with a small, minimalist base station and 3 different sized socks which are meant to grow with your baby. For reference, Emmy is wearing the second sock, which is designed for ages 1-4 months. The sock can be worn on either foot, and even with a squirming baby, is easy to put on. Then you download the Owlet app on to your phone and it will take you through the set-up, which was also incredibly easy. I did have issues getting my wi-fi to connect with the base, but I followed the trouble-shooting guide and all I had to do was restart my phone. There's also a short video on the app when you're setting it up which I found useful, so I would definitely recommend not skipping it. You can customize the app to your baby by adding his/her birth date and photo and you can turn the base station off and on right from the app. If an alarm goes off, both your phone and your base station are designed to notify you.
Owlet Baby Monitor App is easy to use
Peace of Mind with Owlet
I can't compare the Smart Sock 2 to the original one since I never tried that one, but from what I've learned, the improvements Owlet made to their original design have only further enhanced the brilliance of this product. The sock has been redesigned so that it fits more securely and the sensors are positioned so that there are fewer false notifications. The bluetooth range has been increased to 100 feet, which means the sock can be further away from the base station now, and the socks have been made open toed, making them more breathable and also allowing placement on either foot.
Owlet - baby gear every parent should have
Must have baby item - the Owlet monitor
A Review of why I love the Owlet Baby Monitor
We've been using the Owlet for a few weeks now, and I cannot emphasize enough, the peace of mind it has given me when I go to bed at night. Or anytime Emmy is sleeping. I know there are so many "must have" baby products out there nowadays, but I honestly think, sponsored post or not, this is that one item that every parent should have, whether you're a first, second, or third time parent. And if you're not a parent, but you know of one, or one to be, do them a favour and let them know about this product. If I could go back in time and have this technology for when Sully was a baby (had I known it about then), I 100% would!

April 13, 2017

Currently // April

Hello, from Florida!

If you don't follow me on Instagram (but why not? you really should!), then you probably don't know that we're currently vacationing in Florida right now! Even though I was really organized leading up to us leaving last week, I was also super busy getting ready for the trip, plus mommying and the posts I had hoped to have posted before we left never happened. I don't generally blog much when we go on holidays, but since it's been awhile since my last post, I thought I'd share a little currently post - Florida edition!
Enjoying: just being. My in-laws place in Florida is so relaxing, it's hot out, and I'm just enjoying waking up every morning with my family and not having an agenda. We've been down to Florida many times, and we plan to return many more, so we never feel this urge to have to do and see everything while we are here. This family vacation is exactly what I have been needing!
Reading: Forever, Interrupted, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I started this on the plane and read almost 150 pages. I haven't picked it back up since we got here, even though it hooked me from page one and had me crying by page two. I'm just having a serious problem with picking up a book these days. Even Jim commented the other day on how he hasn't seen me read in weeks. That's because I haven't been, I told him. I can't even call it a reading slump, I'm just not in the mood.

Listening To: nothing. So, I downloaded a whole whack of podcasts for the plane rides, only to get my phone out during the flight and realizing that you need that dumb headphones connector for the iPhone 7! Ugh, never have I been so annoyed at Apple in my life! I looked at TJ Maxx here for a connector, but they didn't have any. If I make it back to Target before we leave, I will look there, but it seriously annoys me to buy something that I already have at home! These are the Podcasts I was hoping to listen to: The Minimalists, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and That's So Maven.

Eating: all of the food from Trader Joe's! There's a Trader Joe's in Sarasota that's not too far from my in-laws place, but it's also not convenient to go to either. But we always make sure to go on our first or second day here so that we can buy some groceries from there to enjoy during our stay. I also stock up on some of my favourite nonperishables from there. I'm also indulging in all of the Chobani I can stomach, champagne from Trader Joe's because I have a serious love affair with champagne and it's so cheap from there, and fun cereal you can't get in Canada. Healthier eating can resume next week! ;)
shopping at trader joe's
Doing: cross-stitch. So, I haven't been reading or blogging because I've recently become obsessed with cross-stitching. I've been intrigued by some really neat cross-stitch designs I've been seeing on Instagram lately, and even though I haven't cross-stitched since I was a young girl, I just had this strong desire to start it up. I find it SO relaxing, and it's an activity that's much easier to do while watching TV or chatting with my family than reading or writing is. I'm pretty pleased with how my first piece is turning out and I'll be sure to share the finished product with you!

Looking Forward To: Our last few days in Florida. Sully started fighting a cold after the first few days here, and it's just getting worse. He is not himself and he just looks and sounds horrible. Then I felt like I was coming down with something, but thankfully, have been able to fight it off, although at one point I was convinced I had an ear infection, which has since gotten better with some polysporin ear drops my mother-in-law just happened to have on hand. Thank goodness for that! You can't purchase them in the States apparently, but she always brings them down from Canada with her. Here's hoping Sully starts feeling like his old self so we can get back to enjoying the pool, get to the beach, and just have some fun during our last few days here!

I won't be posting again until we are back from vacation next week, but I'll be posting over on my Instagram account if you want to follow along! And once we're home, I'll share all the highlights from the trip, as well as how traveling with both a toddler and an infant went!

Tell me something you're looking forward to!

How do you like to pass the time on plane rides?