Monthly Archives: May 2013

Relish Those (Other) Mommy Moments

Every Momma has those moments. You know, the proud moments when he uses the potty for the first time or uses his manners and acts appropriately in public. Or the moments when you realize how much they’ve grown and how much time has passed since you held him in your arms to rock him to sleep at night. Yes, those moments are indeed wonderful, but those aren’t the moments I would like to refer to you now.

Yesterday my husband was off from work and I decided to take the opportunity to take a shower (yes, there are days that go by when showers are a mere thought – an unnecessary luxury). So as I’m standing in the hot, steamy shower for more than 10 minutes (yes, you read that right, I took my time and spent more than 10 sweet minutes in the shower) I’m thinking about how little time I now get for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children and I love when Little Man smothers me with snotty kisses or asks sweetly “play toys with me?” but I really needed this time alone. In fact, I heard Little Man running around squealing like a Banshee and Bambino crying in obvious need for attention or a diaper change, and I stayed there as my husband “handled it.” This was my moment. Funny enough, when I finally got out, he felt exhausted and it wasn’t even 12:00pm. And I do this all day every day. Plus laundry, dishes, meals, house work, etc. My husband does a wonderful job but I will admit, it can be a little overwhelming some days.

Mommas, we do so much, running on so little, often times neglecting our own self-being to care for our little ones. Yes, we wouldn’t change anything for the world but some days we just need to relish the moments when we can take time for ourselves. The daddies, nannies, poppies, friends, whomever you place your trust with your little ones can certainly handle taking charge for you to have a moment for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for it either. Bask in these moments! Relish them! Eat it up! We need them for our own sanity. Without that 10 minute plus shower or that half hour nap or a trip to the mall all by your sweet self, the mommas that experience life at home with their precious babies 24/7 can experience some serious mommy burnout.

Mommy burnout is a real thing. We love our children so much and they depend on us so much that we cannot afford to neglect our own well-being. Lets face it, there is only so much Dora the Explorer we can handle before we either blow up and bust or find ourselves actually talking back to her. “Watch out! Swiper is right behind you! That sneaky Swiper!” Our children need a functioning, happy caregiver not a zombie dragging themselves around the house running on caffeine and cookies. We should never feel guilty when we take time for ourselves. It doesn’t mean we don’t love spending time with our children or that parenting is too much for us. It means we understand that we need to be healthy in our minds along with everything else in order to properly provide for our children’s needs. Take time to rejuvenate, go ahead and spend an extra 30 minutes at the salon to get your hair washed, dried and styled too. Hold on to those mommy moments before that sneaky burnout creeps in and swipes your sanity.

Take some time for yourselves today mommas!

Kathryn

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For The Birds

Today the Little Man and I made a few things for the birds that we have been seeing flying about for the past few days in our back yard. We both love feeding the birds and we want to keep them coming back. Our activity was both fun and crafty and great quality time together.

First I cut holes in the side of the empty juice carton and a small hole for the wooden dowel which would act as a perch. You can buy dowels in many sizes at the dollar store.

Here’s Little Man making his bird feeder:

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He used stickers to decorate and then spooned the bird seed into the container.

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You can see in this picture that I only partially cut a square opening near the top and folded the flap inside to make a two tier feeder. I rounded the flap a bit to create a bowl-like space so the seed wouldn’t fall out and taped it to the sides.

We also made a Nest Helper.

This is an easy craft for toddlers and helpful to the birds making their nests. First I stole a large rattan ball from my coffee table centrepiece, you know, the decorative kind that usually come in boxes of assorted sizes. You can use a variety of things as a substitute: popcorn ball, reuse a plastic bottle, etc. Just make sure it’s bird friendly.

Then I cut small pieces of various colors and strengths of yarn and string.

Then Little Man and I stuffed the ball with these pieces of yarn and sting and used a larger piece of cotton yarn as a hanger. Now all that the birds have to do is poke their little beaks to select the piece of their choice (as Little Man so generously demonstrates below) and weave it into the nest they are building.

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Here’s our finished Nest Helper:

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And now we hang it in a tree!

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Literally, within minutes we had visitors! Little Man was so excited but sadly we couldn’t capture the first visitor, a blue jay, on camera. We look forward to many more!

Cheers!

Kathryn

Eyes, Nose, Penis, Toes

Some of you new mommas out there may have already put some thought into your own parenting style and on what values and morals you will raise your children. Some of you are still stuck on how to address embarrassing topics or situations like what code names to use to refer to your little one’s private areas. Peepee, birdie, cookie, tinker; sounds more like characters on Sesame Street. How about calling it by the real terminology, penis and vagina. I’m sure everyone knows that your child has either one or the other, so code names are pretty useless. Besides, it’s not like it’s some covert operation to keep you child from knowing how they differ from the opposite sex. Growing up, I was taught that these areas were so private, I don’t even remember what I called it. You just didn’t talk about it.

Has anyone ever said to you, “I got a secret but I can’t tell you” ? Didn’t that just make you want to hear it even more? Curiosity is human nature, and when something is treated in utmost secrecy, it creates unnecessary intrigue. Children should be taught to be comfortable with their bodies. Their penis or vagina isn’t a dirty word or something to be ashamed of. As parents, we should be teaching our children that these parts are just as commonplace as all the other parts of the body. God created us “fearfully and wonderfully“, meaning there is nothing gross or shameful about us. Instead, we should be teaching our children to use their bodies in an honorable way and to be accepting of their bodies, so that when they grow older, they will treat their bodies with respect. Treating it as “Operation Hush-Hush” will see your kids at the back of the bus playing the ‘Penis’ game with their friends, where you see who can say the word the loudest, or entangled in the curiosity game of  “Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”

Mommas, teach them to respect their bodies, love themselves.

Nursery Reno

My husband and I bought our first house last August, and after living in rental property after rental property, we’ve been so excited about renovating and painting to make it feel like our very own. We obviously can’t do all we want to do in the one shot but one of the first things that I wanted completed was the nursery for the new Bambino. We had done so much in preparation for our first child that I felt so unprepared (or maybe just lacking in something) for baby #2. He needed something special; I needed something or some process done to welcome his arrival.

His room is fairly small (about 8.5 feet by 10 feet) so there is only so much you can do to such a room. Here is what it looked like pre-move-in:

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I knew I wanted to do a chevron wall, which is hugely on trend right now, and I didn’t want to spend too much money either. I looked online for tips on painting a chevron wall and gathered tips from various sites and, at 8 months preggo, I started the process. My brother and sister-in-law offered to paint it for me too (thank you thank you thank you) so all I had to do was prep the wall design and tell them what I wanted.

Here’s what I did:

I didn’t need to paint or prep the wall as I liked the cream color that was there. If you want to have a base color or several colors for your chevron wall, I suggest paint first.

Step 1: Measured the wall for the chevron pattern, divided by 2 to get the centre of the wall. With a level and straight edge, drew a line down the centre of the wall. This was the starting point for drawing the pattern. It’s best to do it this way so the wall looks balanced instead of having one chevron shorter than the other on the opposite side of the wall.

Step 2: Using a 12″ ruler and a 12 x 12 piece of cardstock from my scrapbooking supplies, I marked out points in a 12 x 12 grid pattern using the centre line as my guide. Don’t use the ceiling or floor as your guide since houses sometimes shift and may cause uneven or irregular lines. Using the straight edge and level I connected the points to make the zig zags (well, I did a good deal of it…my brother finished the lines for me, thanks bro!).IMG_8351IMG_8350

The lines weren’t very clear so I drew in the lines in red to show what’s going on. 12 x 12 inch squares in a grid-like pattern and then, using a level and straight edge, lines from point to point.

Step 3: Tape the lines for a sharp edge. Frog Tape works best; less paint bleeding under, sharper lines.

Step 4: My Sis-in-Law did all the painting (bless her heart). She used a small roller, 2 coats of this beautiful blue color, and when mostly dry, removed the tape. I also had the opposite wall painted entirely blue and one solid stripe above the crib painted blue.

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Here’s how the nursery turned out:

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imageThe blue stripe above his crib. I bought wooden letters from Wal-Mart to spell his name, painted them, and attached them with velcro squares to the wall. Easy peasy lemon squeazy.

Little Man wanted to help too:

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I added some other touches as well:

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I made the E wall art with a re-purposed frame and old buttons. The bedding and valance set we bought at Babies R Us, the rug was from Rug Room in St. John’s, NL.

The paint and supplies came to approximately $40. We bought a gallon of paint and used maybe half of it.  Next for this room is some map art that I’m in the process of making (on the hunt for particular frames) and a shelf for his keepsakes and piggy bank. I’m sure Bambino loves it! Hope you do too.

Cheers!

-K

UPDATE:

IMG_0979I didn’t quite find the frames I really wanted for the wall art for Bambino’s room but I did find some okay ones at Wal-Mart for $4 each and I painted them satin white. The maps I found in an old textbook my mom used to own in High School. I just love how the colours of the old map coordinates with the walls and his bedding set. The blues and greens and splashes of orange and red are perfect for a little boy’s room. Why maps in a baby’s room? To prepare him for a world or wonder and discovery, to show him how small we can be in relation to the rest of the world that God has created, and also maybe because his momma is a geography teacher. Apparently I’m not the only one intrigued by this map trend. Google or search Pinterest and see for yourself. I’m on the lookout now for a globe lamp or maybe I’ll mod podge some map pieces to his lamp shade. Hopefully Bambino will get the travel bug early; “Oh, the place you’ll go” little one!

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”  -Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

He’s Eating from Mommy’s Boobie!

My little Bambino is just over 8 weeks now and I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding and loving it. I’ve been an advocate for breastfeeding starting with my first child and have really enjoyed the benefits. These benefits are endless: increases bond with baby, provides antibodies, decreases skin disorders, protects against illnesses such as ear infections and colds,  and breast milk is known for better brain health. Who doesn’t want a smart child?

Breastfeeding with the first child was an all-new adventure as I didn’t know what to expect. Plus I had the added bonus of a million and one opinions thrown at me (please note sarcasm and see also previous post 5 Things I Wish I Could Tell Every New Momma). So when Bambino came at the beginning of March, although I’m not a pro by any means, I at least knew what to expect. I was thrilled to start the journey all over again (and breastfeeding is indeed a journey with many ups and downs, through teeth and growth spurts). But now I have a 2.5 year old to add to the mix. How do I balance an infant who is completely dependant on me in every sense of the word and an inquistive and very active toddler? His watchful eyes are on me just as much as mine are on him. My husband and I always agreed to be as open and real with our children in parenting as much as we can, that means using proper terminology and honest answers (a little more on this later). We wanted our Little Man to understand that the baby only drank milk from mommy’s boobies and no other kinds of food for a while. Drinking from mommy is natural and that’s why God made mommies and boobies. Therefore, exposing a breast in my house is no more out of the ordinary than the Little Man asking for “macaronies” for breakfast, lunch and supper. Although we chuckle to ourselves at his boldness, nonchalantly telling others that his little brother needs a snack on mommy’s “boobie,” he seems to grasp the concept well. It’s sad that the majority of society cannot.

“Boobies” in our society are a thing of pleasure; over-sexualized, over-emphasized, and over-plasticized (can that be a word?). When did it become perfectly fine to show lingerie adds on billboards and storefronts but not ok to feed your child in a public place for fear of exposure. With my first child, there were times when I would feed him in public restrooms in moments of dire need. I was happy to learn that Sears had its own nursing room, although it was inconvenient for my husband as he was left to wander without me and we didn’t get nearly as much accomplished as we needed. You know, I am quite capable of feeding and walking at the same time. Thank you Sears for the option, you are better than a public restroom by far, but this time around I think I want to have more control of where and when I can feed my baby, where and when it is convenient for me. I want my children to think that breastfeeding is a wonderful, beautiful and natural thing between a mommy and a baby. I want them to think it is wrong that images of half dressed women can sell anything from magazines to instant rice. I hope that’s ok for everyone else. If not, I’ll try to keep my beautiful, beneficial boobies out of your way.

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Cheers!

Kathryn

A Weather Prayer

Tonight I’m helping at a local Senior’s Home by leading some music and organizing Talent Night. So instead of my usual singing, I decided to share my talent of poetry. I wanted something suitable for the occasion and wrote this little funny poem about the weather:

A Newfoundland Weather Prayer

Thank you God for the weather

The Spring flowers shyly showing

Beautiful hues of pink and red

And white flakes-wait-it’s snowing!

Well, this is unexpected God

And I wouldn’t want to catch a chill

So I’ll need to move to keep me warm

I’ll freeze if I stand still

I briskly walk and take in the beauty

Of a lovely winter scene

A melencholy snowy lane

Quiet, crisp and clean

Look, there in the distance

A man sat on a bench

The silver rain beating down

I do believe he’s drenched!

The rain? Oh yes, now I see

It has begun to pour

I know all things are at Your command

But God, with this weather, I’m unsure

The sun comes out from behind a cloud

It seems that Summer is at hand

Well God, it’s been all seasons today

This must be Newfoundland!

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5 Things I Wish I Could Tell Every New Momma

Being a new Momma and seeing a bunch of other new Mommas around me, I have experienced and seen plenty that I wish I could share with others. Some of it I wish I had known before becomming a mom so that I could be prepared. In any case, here are 5 things I wish I could tell every new momma (based on my personal opinion of course). Hope some of these are helpful.

1. Parenthood Changes Your Life:

Ok, it’s a no brainer. But honestly, a lot of the things you and your partner used to do, you won’t. Many of the friends you had before, are not. Even your conversations and thought processes change. You find yourself casually bringing up diaper changes and the colors of their contents, funny things you do when you are functioning on lack of sleep, and describing the smell of your little one’s puke the night before. You find yourself drawn to other couples with kids instead of those without and thinking how you could hook up for a play date. Whatever changes happen, just know this: It will be difficult to picture your previous life before kids. Yeah, it changes you that much. You just need to accept it now.

2. Everyone has an Opinion:

Now that you have a child, anyone who has a kid, has a grandkid, seen a kid or been a kid has an opinion on what you should do. “Don’t hold him too much, you’ll spoil him,” “I started my children on cereal at 3 months old and they were fine,” and “Let her cry it out, let her know she’s not controlling you.” What is also confusing is the nurses at the hospital giving you one story and Canada Health telling you something different. “Do I swaddle him or not swaddle?” “Do I wake him up to feed him or let him sleep?” How do you know which rules to follow? The best thing is to do what is best for you. You can take in all the information if you want, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide what is best for you and your baby. Try to follow the important guidelines, such as the ones based on research like feeding and sleeping positions, but for all the other voices an opinions, muster a sweet smile and say “thanks.”

3. Daddy Baby Blues:

Post-partum depression is a real thing and what some new mommas don’t know, is that dads can get the baby blues too. Think of it, you and the Baby Daddy just spent x number of years just the two of you. He had all your attention, affection and time. Suddenly, there’s this baby who is absorbing all that attention, affection and time and where does that leave him? On top of this, your hormones are out of whack, you’re running on limited sleep, and the last thing you even want to think about is sex. Chances are, if you are providing the sole care of baby and neglecting some of the needs of daddy, you’ll notice him spending longer hours at work or away from home, resenting both you and the new baby. If you love him, you don’t want that to happen. You need his support. What you can do:

  • Allow for a specific daddy-baby task. Bathtime is a great time for daddy and baby to bond and a great time for momma to get a well deserved break. Don’t hover around; allow daddy to have full control.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, pump a bottle once in a while to give daddy the enjoyment and bonding of feeding time.
  • Let dad watch baby for an hour or two while you catch up on some much needed sleep.
  • Discuss a specific time for dad to be on Diaper Duty.
  • Get a sitter and go out just the two of you for dinner or just for a quick coffee.This will help avoid burnout for the both of you and also keep the flame between you alive.

4. Sleep When You Can!:

Sleep is golden and you absolutely need it. Don’t sweat that the dishes are not done or the laundry is pilling up. You cannot function properly when you lack sleep. A grouchy momma makes for a grouchy baby. Sleeplessness quickly leads to impatience and frustration. So sleep when baby sleeps. Also, in the first few weeks, you may experience a lot of visitors wanting to see the new addition and to give you their genuine best wishes. Don’t be afraid to tell them to leave so you can have time to rest. If they are friends at all, they will understand. If they are an even better friend, they’ll tell you to go to bed while they wash the dishes and whip up a casserole to put in the oven for supper.

5. You May Not Be Able to Bring Sexy Back:

Sorry, it’s the truth. After giving birth, your body changes so much that you may not ever fir into your pre baby jeans. Some people have to really work at getting a fit body after baby, some don’t have to work at all and I hate them. Also, from about 3-5 months after birth you may notice that you are getting thinner in other areas. Showers become a source of anxiety when you see clumps of hair blocking the drain. I have thick red hair to which many have admitted jealousy, and 3 months after the birth of my little man, I began to panic. My hair started thinning much more than I ever would have expected. To make things almost worse, when it started growing back it was little patches of peach fuzz and then short layers under the longer layer that just made ponytails look like frizzy messes. Some people also find changes in their feet, going up a size, or their skin and complection. So I’m just saying, be prepared to experience changes in your body and the possibility that these changes may be around for a while.

So there they are. Anyone have anything else they may have experienced or would like to add?