Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

We were recently blessed with a new Bible Storybook, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young from the people at Family Christian. We have been sitting down and reading it with our toddler and we all are pretty pleased.


The thing that pleases me most is the length of the book, I was extremely pleasantly surprised when I unpacked it. Most storybook bibles contain 10 or so stories from each testament but leave a whole lot out. This book seem to touch on all the major story arcs from the Old Testament and provides a comprehensive overview of the New Testament. I love that when the older children are reading a specific passage from their children's bibles, I can usually find the comparable story in her book, at her level.


On a superficial level it is a lovely book with bright and engaging illustrations. Evie loves to go through a point out all the little details in the background, and I am sure the pictures are most of the reason that she will stay engaged. I also love the little "Jesus Calling" section at the end of each section. They really serve to condense the major teaching point of the story into a comprehensible nugget for a toddler. Evie favourite feature seems to be the ribbon bookmark, which she tries to use as a leash to drag it all over the house, but I guess there is no accounting for taste.

Overall I am very please with this book and it will definitely hold a premium spot on our Bible shelf and a frequent place in our story rotation.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our Birth Story part 2 (our postpartum stay)

When I last left you William had just made his arrival, but we still have 4 more days of our hospital stay to narrate, 4 whole days! So much for my desire to boot out of the place as soon as possible. He didn't quite reach the record of 5 days set by Evie, but with Jason splitting his time between the hospital and home, it felt much longer and much more lonely. But, lets begin at the beginning...

As you may have noticed if you counted out the time in the last post, William was born barely 3 hours after we arrived, which was an hour shy of the recommended dose of antibiotics administration.  Also as I did mention last time he had pooped in utero, so that was another strike against him. When he was born his initial apgar was only 1 (which I only found out about a couple days later, thank goodness or I would have been seriously freaked!) likely due to the fact that they do not encourage immediate crying in  babies with meconium present until after they are cleaned out. Thankfully after a brisk going over and suctioning he was up to 9 by 5 minutes and he was ready to meet us.  One of the moments I had missed dearly with Evie's birth was the initial skin-to-skin cuddles so I was over the moon when they suggested I hold him on my chest before I could even bring it up. I think DH knew how much it meant to me,  because after my desire had been satiated, I offered to share him and let Daddy have a snuggle, but he refused and left him right where he belonged. Perhaps as an indicator of the future, he had a fabulous latch right away and wanted to do nothing but nurse and he nursed for quite awhile.


When he was done they told me they wanted him down in the NICU for observation. I was obviously upset, but it was necessary. His initial tests also showed he had slightly low blood sugar and he was struggling to bring his body temperature up, both of which are apparently common in big babies, so he was admitted to their care. When I was dismissed from the delivery floor they offered to swing by the NICU, I quickly accepted and we rolled down for the visit. Upon arrival we got some great (for me) news. His sugar was stable now, but he was still cold, and would we like to try some kangaroo-care to bring him up? Of course I did, so they sent me to settle in my room and he was delivered soon after. I greedily held him tight to me and relished in the excuse to not share him with any of his grandparents and enjoyed his new baby smell.

Thankfully the NICU involvement really petered off from there, once everything stabilized they just monitored him and administered the occasional test. At 24 hours his blood draw showed a slightly elevated white cell count, so we were stuck for at least another day.  Then his 48 test came back normal but we missed dismissal in the process. Finally on the 4th morning we were released to go home to our little house!

Evie took the whole thing with remarkable ease. She stayed home with Daddy every morning and then visited with one of her Grandmothers each afternoon. Inevitably everybody piled into the room every evening and she got terribly over-stimulated and crashed in the car on the way home. But I guess that made it even easier for Daddy!




Anyway, thankfully we made it out with out anything too eventful, but it would have been nice to have done it a little quicker. I guess I should just resolve myself that the NICU loves my babies and we should always pack more clothing that we think we will need!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

William's Birth Story

Well when I left you all a little over a month ago I know you were all waiting with baited breath for the arrival of our little man. I was waiting with equal excitement but far less patience, but finally 1 month ago he finally made his move into this world. I have taken little break from the blog while we settled into our new normal,I guess you could call it my mat leave, but really ti just took me this long to get half an hour to myself. Anyway, I am glad to be back and I guess we should start at the beginning as I fill you in on our lost month.
...

On Wednesday the 15th of October I began to feel timeable contractions sometime after supper.  They were not super strong, but they were consistent and frequent.  We timed and timed and timed and they just kept keeping on and keeping on. Long story short we did not have a baby on the 15th, nor the 16th, instead I had over 36 hours of rather intense false about which gave out around bedtime on the 16th. That was the start to the longest week+ of my life, hardly wanted to leave the house for fear of taking my frustrations out on a well meaning but rude old lady. Seriously the question "no baby yet?" is never, never ok to ask. Do I look like there is a baby here? Did I leave him in the car? No, but maybe you should leave you useless comments in there next time. I now have great sympathy for the preverbal tea pot, I know what it is to be watched.

On the morning of Thursday the 23rd we began our now weekly round of checks. I went first to my OB for a check and a talk, first he determined that I was 2 cms dilated. That changed our "plan B" birth plan. Due to complications with Evie's birth a chemical induction was not a good choice for us, so I had always known that if he did not arrive fairly promptly we would be looking at a repeat c-section. However with the beginning of dilation already under way the Dr. gave us the option of breaking my water instead and seeing what happens. We then had about an hour to think about it as we headed over to the hospital for our fetal assessment. So with all our i's dotted and t's crossed we left the hospital with plans to return in 16 hours to have our baby.

We picked up Evie and headed out for a little celebratory dinner and ice cream and then did a little shopping. I sent hubster alone into the last couple stores as I was feeling particularly crappy and tired (though I was certainly no stranger to those feelings at that point). We headed for home and eventually I laid down with Evie to put her to bed because we decided that for her last night as an only child Evie could sleep in our bed all night. While laying with her I started to feel kind of crampy, but barely paid attention as everything felt crappy anyway. By the time we laid down ourselves to go to bed I thought I was feeling worse, but it was hard to tell. I got back up about midnight and began timing my contractions and just chilled out a bit waiting to see if we would finally get somewhere. Somewhere after 1 o'clock decided that it was finally the real thing and woke him up.

By the time was got to the hospital and got settled it was 2:30 in the morning and things were getting intense. It felt like it took them forever to get everything in order and get a Doctor in to check me but she proclaimed I was doing well at 4cms and I got a blissful shot of fentenol. Shortly afterward my water broke and it was determined that meconium was present, this of course adds a bit of complication to the delivery. However no one told me that the fentenol was so short lived! I was literally begging the nurse for another shot as we were preparing for the anesthesiologist's arrival. He finally arrived and as he was trying to place the epidural I could feel my body pushing involuntarily. I was worried because I knew it was a bad idea to push before you are complete, but I could not fight it. When it was in the anesthesiologist suggest the OB check me again, the OB arrived and was surprised to find me at 10 cms. They all began to scramble. I even heard an audible "What?!" from the nurses desk when they summoned them into the action.

By 5am 3 Doctors and about 7 nurses were assembled in my room and it was time to push for real. I did a couple practice pushes and the Doctor was pleased by how he was moving down. The Doctor encouraged me to push like strongly and frequently as he wanted this baby out quickly because the baby was not a big fan of the process. I went to work and less than 10 minutes later he was here!


At 5:28 am October 24th, William David Everett was born at 9lbs 16 oz and 55cms long.

....
Ok, that was a lot of typing for me and reading for you. Lets cut it off at that celebratory moment and I will see you soon with some more storytelling from out first month.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Visiting Labour and Delivery

I know that my last couple posts have been kind of PR rich, so hopefully I can make up for it with a really personnal post.

So today we got to take a fun journey to Labour and Delivery. I wasn't experiencing any labour signs but it was time to get a check-up on some symptoms. My feet have been swelling a lot the last couple weeks, but I am used to that as a late pregnancy symptom, but just the last couple days I have been experiencing "pitting edema" which basically means that when poked the swelling does not pop right back up. Now on its own this is not a terribly concerning symptom, but it is worth noting. Two Doctor's appointments ago my BP was a little high, but dropped down at my appointment 10 days ago. I did not have an appointment this week as the Dr was out of the office.  Combining these two symptoms and in consultation with some people who know what they are talking about, I headed over to the pharmacy to use their blood pressure cuff. When it returned a high result my Doctor suggested I should go get checked out. At the end of my pregnancy with Evie my BP was similarly high, so I am not unfamiliar with the whole issue.

So I completed some outstanding paperwork ,and threw the bags in trunk just in case, and headed in. We were hooked up to the monitors and had my BP checked again. It came back high-ish but not nearly as concerning as before. So we mostly just chill-axed on the monitors and had some bloods taken. The resident took a detailed history and gave my feet a through poking.



In the end it all turned out fine. My BP is borderline high so I have been scheduled for weekly fetal monitoring. I was monitored for the last month of my previous pregnancy so it isn't much of a surprise. Also while not begin on bed rest (though I am told that is no longer the "done" thing). I have been told to "take it easy and stay off my feet". Really that shouldn't be too difficult for me, as I have been winding down a lot in the last couple weeks, however I have a feeling my house keeping may go down the toilet ;)

What is interesting is that the event made me sort through all my emotions about the upcoming arrival. I realized that I am emotionally not ready for him to be here yet, which is utterly ridiculous because he will be here, at the absolute maximum, in three weeks. I have done everything necessary to prepare for him physically (I think??????????) I have all the clothes folded and all the diapers stuffed, but I guess that isn't all that you need to do. You would think that I would be ready considering that he is not our first child, but I guess I am not.

So hopefully know we can tuck in for the next little while and figure out how to emotionally prepare for our little boy.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

AppleCheeks Colour Chart

     
        So most of you know that I have a pet project in my AppleCheeks colour chart. It started with a couple hours of work one night when I had nothing better to do, and has evolved with the plethora of new releases this fall. It was just pointed out to me that it does not in fact have a google presence! gasp! So here is a new little piece of the internet where is can live and be useful to all the compulsive Mamas out there.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Our RESP with RBC

Classic TV scenario: a set of new fathers gaze into the hospital nursery, one of them is a new parent to a set of multiples and his head is spinning. He talks about all the crazy things he will have to pay for twice and then, dun dun dun.... He realizes he will have to send them both to university. I know this idea is massively daunting to all of us, no matter how many children we have it is a big financial burden looming in our future.
Now realistically we all know that the financial realities of our generation are shaky to say the least and the majority of us are still struggling with our own student loans and it seems backward to think about saving for their school when we have yet to pay off out own. However one thing we learned about RBC RESPs is that it doesn't have to be a regular contribution. This leaves us the ability to use our weekly income to work on our own loans, but place windfalls and gifts into their account. So it is a slow process, but hopefully sometime in the next 15 years we can upgrade our contribution to the recommended regular contribution of $25 a week. Also starting early allows the government contributions to start adding up. The government will contribute up to 20% of our annual investment up to a $500 yearly. So if we waited until she was 10 we could be missing out on a potential $4000!
When I look around at the school debt of my peers it makes me very frustrated. For a great many of us, school debt it very much an albatross around the neck. It is keeping many people from achieving their goals. My peers are crippled by huge monthly payments on student debt, using up their resources which could be used for better things. Home ownership, becoming debt free, sometimes even car ownership are prevented just by these massive debts. If there is a way to save my children from this situation I am going to try my best to do it. 
However, lately it seems that a University education is not necessarily the surest bet. RBC RESPs are flexible enough to allow for this. They can be used for pretty much any kind of secondary education : College, University or Apprenticeship program. Suppose your children choose to opt out of schooling? There is even a contingency for that, your money can be rolled forward into an RRSP for yourself.
So, why did we set up an RESP with RBC for our kids? Because we need to take care of them financially. Because I care about their finanical future and want to save them from as much burden as possible. At this point it may be just drops in the bucket, but hopefully slowly but surely it will trickle in to fill that bucket up.


“Disclosure: I am part of the RBC RESP blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”


Friday, September 26, 2014

Mom's Night Out Review

So this was supposed to be your standard, review and promote this new movie post, however it is more than that. This movie, while on the surface is absolutely hilarious and a serious good experience, it runs deeper than that it has a serious message of affirmation for all those moms in the trenches with me.



I spent the first part of the movie roaring with laughter as I watch catastrophe after catastrophe hit this poor Momma. If not for the fact that all of her children were older than any of mine, it could have been my life, in fact it could have been the life of any of SAHM. Wrangling kids, a house and a fledgling blog all at once? Hello mirror? Is that me? Then I saw myself again when she ended up hiding in the closet eating sweets looking wild-eyed. No not hiding from her kids, they were finally in bed, but hiding from life, hiding from her house. Haven't we all been there  at least metaphorically, if not literally? When you just can't take it anymore and you need to hide for a little awhile and we all know that chocolate sure is good company in that situation.

Now of course it takes her a movie full of comedic shenanigans to understand something very simple: "You are enough".  When you feel beaten down by all the work of life and all the chaos of raising young children, "you are enough". When you look at the tornado of toys and leftover food around you to feel the failure even keep order "you are enough".  Try to see the kids who are happily growing, see the fun behind the mess, see the days ahead when they will be too big and too distant to want you to play with them. I know this a grand and preachy message "easy to say, not easy to live" says you and you know what, I heartily agree. This is some seriously heavy stuff! We are all beaten down day by day, we are all struggling towards that bag of chocolate at the end of the day, and that my fiends is ok, this IS the trenches! But just try every once and awhile to stop and and take a step back, and breathe, take a moment and frame that sweet little drawing, take a moment and hug your sweet babies and just enjoy that soft, sweet hair. This is when you know that for real "you are enough" feel it in the intensity of that squeeze or the soft relaxation of that tiny body who is calmed completely just by begin with you.

I think I can honestly say that this is one of my new favourite movies. I love that it is both a clean comedy and a deep testament to real Motherhood. I challenge any Mom to watch it and not see themselves in at least one of the characters, heck I think I related to all three mamas at one time or the other. Do yourself a favour, rent it and watch it when you feel low. Heck buy it, so you have it right on hand for when you are heading into the closet with your chocolate, it goes great with chocolate.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nursery Letters


When I was doing Evie's nursery I stumbled on a great deal on hand painted letters, which I adore and which matched her room to a T! However while shopping this time I realized just how great a deal I got, and that I could not afford the regular price. That was when a couple friends suggested I try to make my own. Now, I may be craft, but I am not an artist and definitely could not make a passable Pooh, so it was time a new idea! One of my friends had modge-podged her letters, so I used her project as my inspiration.
Unfourtunately it appears that while Classic Pooh was readily available a few years ago, it is now relatively hard to find. This means that I was ordering my supplies off E-bay and paying the insane Canadian shipping prices. If it wasn't for that this project would have clocked in under $50 as opposed to the $100+ quoted for hand painted letters on places like etsy.

Step 1. Excise any images you want from your paper to decorate the letters. This a tedious project best down with a self-healing mat and an exacto knife.
  













2. Line up your image with your scrapbooking paper and mark the outside loosely. Cut out a rough shape.















3.Cover the right side of the letter in a generous layer of Modge-Podge and glue the wrong side of the paper down.

















4. Turn the letter over and very precisely cut around it with your exact knife to create a smooth edge.
















5. Coat the back of your decoration with glue and stick it down. Then place another generous coat all over the letter. Let it dry and you are done!

Sorry you guys only get to see one letter for now, but once our whole nursery is revealed I will update with his whole alphabet. We don't want to give away his name, after all!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Water Infuser Review and Giveaway from CCDD

So as I mentioned in a previous post, being late in my pregnancy, I drink like a thirsty camel! I have found it hard to find enough different and appealing drinks to get me through the day while avoiding any artificial sweeteners. Well just like a magic fairy Calgary Cloth Diaper Depot dropped this Peace Love AppleCheeks fruit infuser bottle on my doorstep. This definitely offers a new option for my daily hydration. I have been interested in the idea of fruit infused water, but this definitely kicked my butt into gear!

It came with a cute little recipe book, but most of them are a bit too adventurous for me! I really like the idea of using frozen fruit as sort of an ice cube as it is seriously hot here and cold water is definitely appreciated. I am also excited to try cucumber water, I have had it before and enjoyed it. However I will have to wrestle some cucumber away from my toddler as she requests nearly 6 inches of cucumber a day.



I tried out the frozen berries first, as you can see, in these pictures were taken about an hour apart, the berries are clearly "infusing" efficiently. However I learned not to use frozen raspberries if you do not like bits in your water. the way there bottle is designed they water passes directly though the infuser to the mouth piece, so I got a little surprise several times.

Just to spread the AppleCheeks love a little further, CCDD has provided one $10 gift certificate, ear marked for AppleCheeks, to their store. Please use the entry form below to expand your love, or wet your feet with my favourite brand.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pregnancy update

So I know it has been awhile since I updated you guys on my pregnancy.  I am now 31 weeks and am beginning to feel like I am hitting the final stretch, I know that I still have unto 9 weeks left, but things are starting to get real.

We have 99% decided on a name, well I guess we have since I made and put up his nursery letters (watch for a coming DIY post!). We ended up going with the name I love but felt was too popular, I still have moments of doubt, but it seems pretty set in stone now. DH has really started loving it I think, but whenever I mention it to the few chosen secret-holders, they mention they knew so-and-so with that name and I die a little inside.

I am pretty much organized for his nursery nook, most things have been ordered and arrived, but are
still in boxes. My nesting craziness would love to unpack things pronto, but I am still missing some key big pieces that are holding me back, plus DH keeps being practical and saying we still have time.

This pregnancy has definitely been harder for me than my first one. I guess it is due to carrying a lot higher this time. With Evie she was super low and breech almost the whole time and I still felt pretty great at this point. This little guy enjoys hanging out a lot higher which means he likes to mess with my lungs and digestion, fun fun! Last time I honestly could say I really enjoyed being pregnant, this time not so much. I have some really great days (thankfully today I feel vital and accomplished) and some not so great days and nights which are very unpleasant.

Thankfully Evie is taking naps again so I get to take a little down time during the day. I have learned to slow down when I need to and above all to just keep drinking water! I jokingly refer to myself as a camel but I easily drink 15 cups of water/assorted drinks during the day. Though I must admit that I had a real struggle finding things to drink that do not have artificial sweetener in them. Yes, I should be drinking straight water, and I do get about 4 cups plain a day, but I honestly drink more of something with flavour. I usually resort to 1/3 juice 2/3 water mixture, but I get tired of that pretty quickly. Please shout me out some ideas if you have them!

One thing I was dreading with this summer pregnancy was the swelling. With Evie I totally blew up! I had my wedding ring of by second trimester and pretty much gave up on shoes. Miraculously this time I have had very little swelling. My hands and feet do swell periodically, but it usually goes down over night and, dun dun dunnnnnnn..... I am still wearing my wedding ring!

I admit that while I have not hit the desperation of full term I am getting  near the end of my rope. For some reason I have always had the inkling that this little man may decide to make an early entrance. But with my assorted EDDs and the fact that I am measuring big, I may not be mistaken.  So time to put on my big girl panties and ride out theses last few weeks until I have my little man here to cuddle!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Evie goes to School

So I have decided that with the new school year approaching that Evie is ready to go to school as well. At 2.5 I feel she is ready to learn some of her early learning concepts in a more formal way. She has already done excellently learning in an informal play-based way, but there are some skills which need to be nurtured in a more standardized setting.

I am a big fan of the play to learn movement and am happy to let her learn in her own way most of the day, but I have decided that her nature requires that we being to learn in a formal manner as well. While learning her early learning material she is also learning to follow instructions and to practice focusing on one thing for an appropriate amount of time. She is a very physical, very busy girl and it is a great exercise for her to be still for a short amount of time. She is of course all over and under her chair the entire time, but as her  ability to focus her brain grows so will her ability to focus her body. I feel the biggest thing at this stage is not to push it or cause any negative associations. We work when she is in a good mood and stop when she is done.

For now we are not looking at a large curriculum, basically we are learning letters, numbers,  colours and shapes.  I have downloaded and purchased several workbooks which look fun and useful, but I would love some suggestions of curriculums that have worked for any of my readers as well.

Now maybe my post is premature as we have only been working on our program for 2 days, but I am

kind of excited about it! Everyday Evie chooses a book and we choose one page for the day. Yesterday she chose the Letters book and we started our work on "A". We traced the letter twice together and I asked her to make one herself. To my surprise she then made a very passable (though backwards) "a". Maybe I am overly excited, but draw great encouragement from that. After her success she was done. Our lesson lasted all of 5 minutes, but it was a good start to me.

Todays lesson was a little different, she chose her "Colours and Shapes" book. She was fairly focused for a surprising half hour, I think most of that was enjoying changing her art mediums in the designated colours. Therein lay her greatest challenge of the day, she very much enjoys free art and would have preferred to go crazy on her pages. This was an excellent moment of learning for her, she needs to work on following instructions from others. Fortunately it only took some gentle reminders to keep her on task. When we were down we got out her colouring books and she got to express her creativity unharnessed.

I am also hoping that once the new baby gets here this will be something just for us. Hopefully while this baby naps (fingers crossed he does!) or even if we have to wait until Daddy gets home, I will be able to stop and give her all my attention for even a short time everyday.

I am just getting my feet wet in this program, but I am really excited about it. Not only to get Evie a head start on her learning concepts, but also to help her work on self-control and focus, skills upon which all of us could use a little work! So fingers crossed it works out and please send me any suggestions with what has worked for you.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Evie goes to VBS

Ahhhh Summer we have a love/hate relationship! I love all the fun we can have together and I hate what you do to my blog! I am so sorry I have been ignoring you, we have been too busy having fun! I promise to finally sit down and write the post I have been meaning to write for 2 weeks.

Last week we managed to get out of the house every single day! Sure we didn't so far, but Evie had a blast playing with her "big kids".  Normally she gets to go to two youth groups a week, so I think she was really missing them on summer break. She really thinks of the church as her second home and loves it when we have a chance to go visit Daddy. Sometimes it cause problems as she often forgets whether we are playing or have a serious visit.
Evie's "mugshot"

Of course hubster couldn't plan an entire weeks worth of activities in a day, so we have been hearing bits and pieces of what was in store for us for literally months! It was quite a tease having to wait for our fun. However I hear-by officially claim that I in fact came up with the genius name, not him ;)

Anyway moving on, each day was set up with a talk then a rotate through three stations: snack, craft and games. Evie was absolutely fascinated with the talk, she liked to listen to Daddy teach, but was clearly far more fascinated by the puppet! I swear she would have sat there all day hoping Joy would come back. Snack is of course a big hit with Evie because food has always been her favourite thing. She was surprisingly still for her craft time each day, some days she preferred to colour or just peel her crayons, but other days she impressed even me with her dexterity and dedication. Game time for Evie usually consists of chasing the other kids around with no goal in mind, but I don't care as it wears her out! We like playing with the biggest kids best as they have the best combination of ignoring her while still being careful not to knock her over.

 We had such fun playing with our big kids every day for a week! It was great to get Evie out to play with kids everyday and she was very ready for nap when we got home. It was also super nice for Mommy to see people everyday and just get out of the house. However there was a downside, of course after letting Evie play with unknown kids, she got a summer cold, and then shared it with everyone else in the house. Thankfully we are all feeling better now!




Monday, July 7, 2014

BabyMoon!

OMG we did it! We left our baby :'(

Up until now my little muffin has been stuck to my side like a little spider monkey. The longest we have left her was for an evening date, we have never even missed a nap or bedtime. She seemed pretty happy with this arrangement, she would hang out pretty happily with her grandparents until about 8 o'clock, when she was literally looking for her coat.

When we heard about East to West Christian music festival a few months ago, DH was all gung-ho to attend. I really liked the idea, but was super nervous, hoping she might be old enough once June rolled around. When I found out that he would be away most of the week before, I was really hesitant, I was sure we would completely traumatize her! Even after we bought our tickets there were several times I literally though "screw it, scrap the trip, I'm not leaving her!".  But then my practical side took over and we just did it.

On Thursday afternoon I kissed her to sleep for her nap with tears in my eyes wondering if she would be so very upset to be left behind. We had already left it pretty much as late as we could when we hopped into the car and headed for Shediac. We stopped to check into Hotel Shediac first and my breath was literally taken away by our awesome room! Because we left it a little to late, we ended up on the executive floor and I am not accustomed to such luxury. The bed was insanely soft and puffy and everything was so chic and monochromatic! I would have gladly picked up our room and dropped it into our house, so gorgeous!
We then bundled ourselves up and headed out for the concert grounds, but hindsight is 20/20 and we sooooooo should have brought our boots! Thankfully DH thought to grab our umbrellas and we were able to create tiny little rain cocoons to protect ourselves from the mostly light but persistent rain. The crowd was smaller and more intimate, but no less vigorous in their worship than what we were to see in the coming days. We nestled in to listen to all of the earlier acts in our little cocoons and managed to stay relatively dry. A stroll around to visit the vendors and information booths were a nice distraction in between acts and a plate of warm fries heated us from the inside out while we waited for the headlining performance of Jeremy Camp. Miraculously the rain gave up just as he was beginning so everyone was really ready to participate in his great performance. We returned to the hotel chilled and more than a little muddy but very, very pleased. We were very grateful for the oversized shower as we were able to wash down ourselves and our clothes all at once. I did my best to clean up our mess, but I still feel a little bad for the housekeeper as it was far from spotless!


Friday morning came far too early for us, we had a youth ministry conference to attend at 9:30 am! Thank goodness the hotel provided breakfast exceeded expectations and quickly got us on the road. We were a small group at the conference but were treated to some excellent speakers and a great personal worship set with City Harmonic. However as the field was still massively mushy and generally flooded from the night before, they found us a nice firm spot, but it was unshaded. As I sat unprotected in the sun for almost 3 hours of prime sun, I could feel myself cooking. Needless to say later in the day a very distinct burn emerged  on every uncovered part of my body, but it has made for some very entertaining tan lines!
 

After a quick stop back at the hotel, we check out the daily schedule the awesomeness of the evening performances necessitated an early supper, so we decided on a fools lunch! I saw at least three frozen yogurt shops in town and DH had been craving a particular blizzard on recommendation of a friend, so our lunch of champions consisted of ice cream! We then headed back to the grounds for a few hours to listen to a couple of the afternoon shows and stake a good spot for the evening show. I was a little reluctant to just leave them but my daredevil husband was sure it was a non-offence.

We headed out for a yummy supper on the town and enjoyed a little (relatively) quiet down time at this chic little resto-bar. After another quick layover at the hotel and a change into some warmer clothes we settled in for the big three acts of the evening. At this point the field was an unrecognizable mud pit and I would estimate that half the people had given up on shoes all together, we ended up going half way with cheap flip flops that dried instantly. As it got colder I started to really feel the chills from my sunburn but I was determined to stick it out as DH was having such a great time. Finally the Newsboys took the stage and the crowd went wild, there is nothing as infectious as an appreciative crowd! Though I was one of the few who stayed in my seat it was still a very great and very spirited night for everyone in attendance.

Saturday morning we were finally able to sleep in a little bit, but couldn't sleep too late, lest we miss that yummy breakfast. We quickly headed home as I was very anxious to squeeze my little girl and cuddle her down for her nap. We arrived home to a very happy little girl and some very exhausted grandparents.

Overall she apparently had a very good weekend. She had a bit of a hard time going down to sleep, but not nearly as bad as I feared, and she apparently slept half the night with my Mom on the first night. I wasn't too worried about her awake time as she loves hanging out with her grandparents, but I was pleased that the nights and nap didn't seem to be too traumatizing.

While I second guessed myself multiple times I am so glad we decided to go after all. Mommy and Daddy needed some away time for sure, and I think it did everyone some good to spend a little time apart. However I am not going to make a habit of it as it hurt my heart to be away from my squishy-cakes!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Out with the old...

So once upon a time I was a bit of a baby clothes hoarder, I swear I kept every piece of Evie's clothing! DH insists that after this little guy we are done, as he has a vision of a "perfect" 4 person family, so when we found out this baby was a boy it was time to clear it all out!

Evie's closet was literally bursting at the seams with all the baby stuff I had squirrelled away in there. Getting something out was like playing a game of tetris, it had to go back in just right! So I dug the 10 paper boxes of clothes down from her shelf and set to work. Task number one was sorting out the stained from the clean. It is amazing how those breastmilk spit-up stains just appear somehow while they are in storage, things that seemed fine when I put them away were now very sad looking indeed.




Surprisingly digging through all these little things did not have the emotional effect on me that I imagined it would. Though I have fond memories of her wearing these clothes, most of them went in the go pile with no hesitation. As it was I only saved about half a box, and it is mostly the handmade items that wouldn't really sell. Some of them have gone to live with a friend (and I must say she has excellent taste!) so I will get to see them on her sweet girl again.

The biggest task was of course getting everything sorted by size and photographed. I admit that I have not even finished that yet, there are still a couple laundry loads sunning on the line that have to be dealt with. It really is an overwhelming task, but thankfully the piles are heading out my door and diminishing as quickly as I add to them. My poor bedroom is taken over by boxes and the mess is driving me nuts! But I need them easily accessible and sorted if I am doing to try to do this efficiently.

The first benefit was the space, her closet suddenly has room to breathe! But of course the spending money doesn't suck either. I am pretty impressed with myself, in three days I have pretty much enough to purchase his crib. My next goal is some nice Aden and Anais to furnish that crib. Baby Brother is building quite the little piggy bank. I have been pinning up a storm if any of you are curious ;)

Follow Erin's board Things I want for the new baby on Pinterest.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Gender Reveal photoshoot

I have been a very bad girl lately, barely updating you at all! I don't even think we have shared the answer to our big news! But of course why tell you, when I can show you?



Thats's right we are having a boy and we went all Pintrest on the reveal! DH totally thought I was nuts but I persisted, but unfortunately so did the weather. At the beginning of the shoot it was just sprinkling, but by the end it was completely pouring! We just walked home in the rain and let the paint roll off.
I adore this collage of Evie because it totally captured her impressions of the whole session.
"Why is it raining, why is there paint on me, get it off!"






Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Travelling with Cloth

I often hear questions from cloth diaper users regarding camping or traveling in general. They are reluctant to take their stashes on the road and out of their at-home comfort zone. But to them I say why not!? You are making things more complicated than they need to be.

We started travelling with our AppleCheeks when Evie was 4 months old, we never considered not taking them with us. Our first trip was just an extended weekend, so it felt obviously natural to proceed as normal.  I guess this is when we patented our no nonsense travelling diaper system. We simply take one large storage sac with clean and one with dirty. I also of course bring an assortment of sz 1 sacs and all-purpose for each daily trip. I just pack my daily diaper bag as I would at home from my mobile stash instead of the typical set-up.

A couple months later we took our longest trip to date with our AppleCheeks, we took our six month EBF baby on a 7 day trip and used them the whole time. We used to covers as AI2 to help stretch them out over the entire week (we had fewer covers at this point) and just barely made it. As she was still EBF I took no extra care of the diapers but dropping the in the dirty bag. Of course I would not recommend leaving dirty diapers for a week under normal circumstances, as I am sure it is not good for them, but every once and awhile is not the end of the world.

I am sure you are worried that the dirty sac would be toxic, its really not that bad. We do draw it closed unlike at home, and once it is closed it is undetectable, even with dirties in it. I don't know how many times I have unknowingly reached for the wrong bag, only to get a stinky surprise when I open the wrong one. Of course we also use disposable liners, and dispose of them in the toilet like normal, so that greatly reduces the amount of solid waste in the bag.


Another common concern is the long drive. We experienced this ourselves when we took a 16 hour drive this past summer, while using our AppleCheeks the entire time. We drove up overnight so I simply gave her a double stuffed diaper like she would have had at home, no big deal. We drove home during the day so I threw my large bags in the bag and just packed my diaper bag like I would for a long day out, a small clean bag and a small dirty bag. easy peasy.

We also enjoy camping every summer. We typically don't do true rough camping, but have access to power and a water sources, however I never use a washer or sink of any kind. Again I think people are way over thinking this, we just proceed with out typical KISS system: dirties in one bag and clean in another. As long as your stash holds out, don't stress about it! We typically camp with another family, so for the past two summers we have had two babies consistent camping in cloth (say that 5 times fast!). Though our traveling stash is reduced down to nap and sleeping diapers we still use the same method. This is a picture of my stash from camping just this past weekend.

I think that we are psyching ourselves out when we think about travelling to with cloth. There is no need for disposables or even washing if you are only going away for a shortish time. As long as your stash will hold out, just proceed as normal and Keep Calm and Cloth Diaper on!

-By Erin Smith

Monday, June 2, 2014

Instagram giveaway, boy or girl?

Later this week we are going to be finding out the sex of our new baby (hopefully if baby co-operates), so I thought it would be a prime time for a fun giveaway! This one is a little different as the prize is not set in stone, Snuggle Bugs and The Purple Bobbin are having fun playing along with me and sponsoring some gendered prize packs.

I know people love making guesses at a TBA baby's sex, this way you can get your guess in writing and have the opportunity to win some prizes at the same time! 

The rules are:

1. Follow @ekesmom @thepurplebobbin and @snugglebugzbaby 2. Share the image that matches your vote with either the tag #ekesmombabyboy or #ekesmombabygirl. You may only vote for one 3.I will draw one winner from the list of correct guesses.

Well I hope to see you all over on Instagram and good luck!




Thursday, May 29, 2014

My go-to summer lunch

Summer is all about ease right? How can I simplify my life and stay outside as much as possible (where the mess is always more underwhelming) and still feed my child a nutritious lunch. My new go to is one of my loaded pasta salads. Now please do no confuse this with the goop you buy at the grocery store,  I pack the nutrition into this thing. Now as usual I cook without a recipe book so this is  a pretty loose "recipe".

The easiest start is to plan ahead unfortunately. When I am "doing" breakfast I throw on a pot of noodles and maybe some eggs to boil. Drain them and throw them back into the fridge.

My best customer enjoying her third bowl!


Come lunch time it is time to get out your cutting board and put away the pots and pans. I generally just use cold foods and leftovers, to cut down on prep time. Even my less than patient little can wait in her chair the little time it takes me to chop. Basically you can go anywhere from here, but of course try to include each of the 4 food groups. My suggestions include

Protein

Ham
Egg
Turkey
crab
roast beef
whatever you had for dinner last night chopped up ;)

Veggies

Tomato
Cucumber
Peppers of any kind
Avocado
Carrot slivers
onions
Whatever you find in your veggie bin

For dairy you are pretty much stuck with cheese, but I rarely see kids who complain about that! You can also just skip it and serve it with a cup of milk. Some people might throw some fruit like apple slices in there, but I am weird and can't stand savoury and sweet mixed together.

So once you have everything chopped just throw it together with a little sauce. Mayonnaise is an obvious choice, but get creative! You can try salad dressings, balsamic vinegar and olive oil or even something tomato based.

I know this is a pretty loose recipe, but I just wanted to inspire you all to try some new combinations and show you how I pull of a quick nutritious lunch. Who wants to be stuck in the dark kitchen in this  weather!?
-By Erin Smith

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The cheap and easy way to keep your toddler in bed.

The best kind of parenting is the simple cheap solutions you get from other Moms in the trenches.

When we first moved Evie into her toddler bed, she regressed to several wakings a night. We eventually determined that she might be falling out, so we began to research bed rails. I was a little on the fence for two reasons:
1. She had been in the bed for a week-ish at that point and I was pretty certain she would be stubborn about us adding a piece onto the bed and reject it.
2. I didn't really want to lay down $30 on an ugly piece of furniture

Then my Mommy friends came to the rescue! They suggested that I try a plain old pool noodle under the sheet and since we were headed to the dollar store  anyway that night I picked one up. The first couple nights it rolled off the edge of the mattress so I had to rig up a system of ribbons, but since then it has been great!

When we put her down now she could care less about the bump in her bed, I often find her with her back pressed right up against it. She has returned to waking only rarely in the night and never falling out. For the $1 it cost me, I am extraordinarily pleased with my simple Mommy hack and thank goodness for cheap and easy advice!
-By Erin Smith

Monday, May 19, 2014

Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure review


Last night I jumped in and applied my impress nails from broadway nails. I really found the application process to be very simple. You just size them to your fingers and remove the film and press. I found the bigger the nail, the more difficult the film was to remove, and I actually had the tab rip off one thumb nail, but after playing with it for a minute, I got it on just fine.

The only problem I had with them was quickly solved. I like my nails very round, so I don't scratch Evie or myself, but these were very square. I scratched myself a couple times before I broke out the file. Luckily it turns out they are very easy to file down and in no time they were much softer.

Also it is fortunate I recently cut my nails, as these nails are not very long. But frankly, it is probably a good thing, as they might have looked a little vampy if they were any longer.

I am not sure if I would purchase this product for myself. I am more of a nail wrap person, and these are significantly thicker. I certainly don't dislike them, but I am also not sure they are for me.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

AppleCheeks beach party!

* I have no knowledge of what the heck in these packages, your guess is as good as mine, I base my opinions only on a serious obsession with AppleCheeks and deep conversation with lbeazol


So I think everyone in the civilized world knows that the newest AppleCheeks limited edition release is happening tomorrow and par for the course the internet is abuzz with ideas about what the heck the new colour could be! I of course, just like you all, love to play this game every time. I have a pretty decent record of predicting the colours, but for sure not perfect (LH caught me way off guard). AppleCheeks has brought us so much wonderful variety over the years, that there is starting to be that there are only a few colours we really "need" now.

So the way I figure it there are really only two possibilities for this release (ok maybe there is a slim third), if it is going to be "beachy".

1.When coriander left the line-up and Forget-me-not was gradually phased to a try light blue it did leave a hole in the line-up. This makes for my first and surest prediction  is for light blueish green.   Besides the obvious lack in the rainbow, I see a couple other hints: there has been a lot of blue used in the imagery for the party, and blue would look fab with that awesome sun shaped "C" that I dare to hope will be on a special tag. I think we have all realized that AppleCheeks is rarely too far off the mark when they stylize the imagery for the event. The release for LE was black, and PAI was pink, we need to pay attention!





2. The second option could be some kind of pale orange or saturated peach colour. There is for sure a lack of warm colours in the line-up so I think it would be fabulously received for the most part. However I think they might be cautious about releasing another colour which some people might say leans towards girly after the fantabulous that was the valentines release.




3. There is a small possibility it could be something distinctly beachy like a sand coloured diaper with blue snaps. But I don't really see that happening. Maybe they will throw sand snaps on the blue diaper, but a sandy PUL'ed diaper leans a little to close to dingy storm for my taste.

Anyway, now that you have heard my schpeal, what do you think it is going to be? Do you have any other predictions? Are you going to be doing anything special for the release tomorrow?