38.

This post is coming a little later than usual, but it’s been busy! And can you believe it is already December? Where has this year gone? 

Last Sunday, we went to one of our favourite local restaurants for some lunch with friends, and we ordered from the kids’ menu for the first time for Andy! He had a cheese omelette and he loved it. 1/4 of it ended up in his mouth, another 1/4 ended up on the floor, and the remaining half was boxed up for consumption at home. The photo below of Andy was taken by one of or friends visiting from out of town!

  

We have been trying some new things with Andy sleepwise. We had a few brutal nights this week and eventually I cracked and asked one of my mom friends for some advice. She lent me The Sleepeasy Solution, which I’ve been reading through and we’ve been trying to be a little bit more consistent with Andy’s bedtime routine. It has helped! And today for the first time, Kelvin was the one to put him to bed, with a bottle. It is a little crazy to think that for the last (close to) 9 months, I have been nursing Andy and to sleep every single night. I don’t know that I’ve ever done anything as consistently as that…He didn’t drink as much as expected so I’m not surprised that he needed a top up just now, but we will see whether this lasts him through the rest of the night!

Thursday was a particularly social day for him, with a walk and two play dates. It’s been so nice to have other families in the neighbourhood that we can visit just by walking. This bodes well for sending Andy to play with the neighbourhood children in the future! 

  
As for us, we spent a fairly sizeable portion of our evening tonight trying new configurations in our living room, just to realize that the one we had originally was the only one that made sense. Maybe that’s why we did it…

We also put up some more art and have plans to put our Canadianist posts (printed by our friend Vince over at Everlovin’ Press) along our stairwell. Here they are hanging out on the landing waiting to be hung. 

  
Reading update – I have around 6 books on the go right now. Terrible idea. I wish there was a way to keep my name in the reservation queue at the library but to let a few people go ahead of me. 

Podcast update – been trying some more shows, including radiolab, invisibilia, cbc radio (both spark and the current), slate’s working, and bbc world service documentaries

Other life update – I am officially caught up with our Project Life binder. It is glorious to have that up to date. Scrapbooking for the lazy person. Highly recommended :)

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Learning a new skill

I must admit that as a new mom, the days often blend together. The distinction between weekends and weekdays is minimal, and it seems I am on a continual train of feeding, napping, and doing laundry. Surely this is not what motherhood is reduced to! Thankfully, I am not confined to my home, plus I have access to a whole range of opportunities through this handy little thing called the internet.

Throughout the days I do have moments of respite in which i am free to pursue my own interests. One such interest is design. For the last few years, I have had opportunities to do a whole bunch of hand-drawn and graphic design projects, the latter of which I have accomplished primarily on Photoshop and Sketchbook Express. Those two tools are great, though perhaps not the best avenues for creating the flat illustrations that I tend towards.

Enter Adobe Illustrator.

I have never used Illustrator before, but from what I can tell, this is the program I should be using for my flat graphic projects. A little while ago, I stumbled upon this crash course to Illustrator and my intention is to use Adobe’s 30-day trial to see whether Illustrator is something I should invest in. To learning new things!

2.

Has it really been two weeks?

My parents and sister returned home this past Sunday (March Break is only one week), leaving Kelvin and I to get to know Andy a little better on our own. Daily, I have been getting texts from them with requests for photos, and mentions of how much they miss Andy. Something Kelvin and I didn’t entirely realize was the effect that Andy would have not just on the two of us, but on our immediate family. We see qualities and emotions in our family members that we’ve never seen before, and it’s so nice to see the way that they pour out their love on him.

Though we are far from having any semblance of a hard and fast routine, we are starting to find a rhythm. For the most part, Andy likes to be fed every 3 hours or so, and he is usually content to sleep between feeds. He’s been alert a little more the past few days, giving us time to enjoy his cuteness in a waking state. We’ve been out and about almost every day, and I’m learning that he absolutely loves being in the car. Just like me! Both of us can pass out in the car almost instantaneously.

We have been making a concerted effort not to introduce Andy to any screens or tech, but it seems we have a harder time pulling away from it. I actually discovered this app last week and found it to be immensely helpful at the beginning of the week for tracking what Andy is doing and whether he needs to be changed/fed soon. When you download the app, you get a 14 day free trial of the features, and though I originally thought I would pay the $5.49 to make the trial version permanent, I became all too aware of just how much time I was spending glued to my phone because of it. I would document every diaper (including colour and texture of any BM), every waking moment, every feed…I have now reverted to just keeping one of our boogie boards with me to jot down times of when he feeds, and a tally of diaper contents. “Low tech” for the win.

Now, on to this week’s top 5:

  • reusable nursing pads – I hear this happens to most women, but it seems that my body is tuned to produce milk whenever Andy cries, resulting in less than uncomfortable dampness and stainage on my clothing. I just picked up a few sets of these to use, and they’ve been serving me well. I couldn’t imagine how many disposables I’d be going through!
  • our car seat cover – it’s supposed to be spring, but alas the snow can’t seem to stay away. With how often we take Andy out, we couldn’t imagine toting him around without something to keep him warm and toasty. We like this one in particular because it goes over the car seat bucket (as opposed to into the car seat itself), allowing us to still keep his 5-point harness buckled nice and snug around him.
  • a goal and something to look forward to each day – it’s very easy for days to blur together without setting some sort of priority for the day. I reverted from my phone calendar back to a moleskine agenda this year and it is proving very helpful in keeping me productive each day
  • leftovers/freezer meals – I was super ambitious on Sunday and planned out our meals for the week. Alas, we had maybe 2 of the meals…neither of them on the day they were assigned. There were definitely days during the week that we did not feel like whipping something together, and were immensely thankful to have food that we could just reheat and enjoy
  • whatsapp – for my family to receive real-time Andy updates…among other things. Nothing like technology to keep your family close haha

Andy’s features are definitely more pronounced this week (he is less of a crying blob) and he is on the verge of learning to smile while awake (he smiles all the time when he’s sleeping…weird kid…). I must get better at taking (not grainy) pictures of him.

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App Love: Toshl

I am someone who needs to keep track of all my expenses. When I was in university, I kept all my receipts and inputted everything into Excel spreadsheets with colour-coded cells. Then for the longest time I was using wiserwallet.com, waiting patiently for them to come out with an app. That never happened. But thankfully, I learned about Toshl, and have been using it faithfully ever since.

What I love about Toshl is that it is so easy to use. I can input an expense straight away after my money is spent, and I can also set recurring payments, which I do for same-amount monthly payments. I can make my own tags and write notes for later so I know exactly where I spent the money.

You get extra functionality with Toshl because you can also manage it on your computer. You can take a look at how you’re doing this month compared to last month, and what you tend to spend your money on. Plus, it’s all cute and colourful, which makes me like it that much more.

The downside is that I can only input one income and one budget item every month (unless I pay money to upgrade to Toshl Pro). I don’t worry too much about the budget component – as long as I am in the black every month and have money put aside for savings, I consider it a successful month. As for the income, I get away with it by changing the income total with every influx of cash I receive, then documenting it in the notes where the money is coming from.

If you are looking for an app to keep track of your expenses, I highly suggest this one. I predict Toshl will be in my life for quite some time, and hopefully it can become a part of yours!

The Problem with Smartphones

If you read my blog, you will discover that I love my iPhone. It is a wonderful piece of technology that makes my life extremely easy. However, it does pose a few problems, and the most prominent problem for me is photography.

“Why do you say that, Cat?” you might ask. “iPhones make taking pictures so easy!” And that, my friend, is the biggest problem.

This technology makes it so simple to take a picture that it happens all too often. I will snap a shot of something cool here or something nice there. When there’s something on my screen that I want to capture, pressing the lock and home buttons together gives me another picture! I have too many pictures. Then, when I go to organize them, it takes forever, and I find myself not returning to them very often. What pushed me over the line was seeing this post in my reader, which suggests I should take a picture every time I lend someone something. Where would that picture even go?

I know there are apps and what not to organize my photos, but I find the sheer quantity and sometimes less than great quality makes the task daunting. I am finding myself deleting pictures now more than ever. But I am curious – what do you do with your iPhone photos?

App Love: Typic

I never thought I would have a need for the category “technology”, but alas I feel like I will be posting my favourite apps quite frequently, so here we are. I have had a post in the works for months now that highlight my favourite apps, but it will get done a lot quicker if I just do short posts here and now.

So, with that said, here is my inaugural app love post, featuring a new app I just downloaded yesterday, called Typic. It takes pictures that you have and transforms them into these beautiful icons within a matter of seconds.

All it takes is five easy steps:

  1. Take or choose a picture
  2. Choose a filter
  3. Write your caption and choose your font
  4. Make some final adjustments
  5. Share or save

I have been in love with filters for a little over a year now, and this app just takes things to the next level. I may print some of these out/blow them up and put them in my living room. Here’s one I did yesterday in about 45 seconds: