51.

This has probably been the best week ever. As in Andy’s best week since he was born. And I’m pretty sure this is all thanks to his sleep sack.

We’ve had this sleep sack for a while. It was given to us by a friend who was done having kids. Andy kept busting out the top of it (those snaps), so I decided to see one side permanently shut. It worked like magic (except for that one night I needed to go in and help him since he managed to squeeze out from just the one unsewn side…) and his overall demeanour during the day has seen a similar transformation. He is even more agreeable than he was before, and my in-laws have commented on how it’s so nice to see him every morning when I drop him off at their house.   

  
So what had Andy been up to at home? Well, he’s been crawling under the dining table a lot. And learning how to get off his rocking horse. A large portion of his day now is spent climbing up and down stairs. Oh, and he tends to walk on all fours like an ape. 

  
He also has an insatiable appetite. We went to Panera today for lunch after church and he had a whole kids meal. Plus some of my soup. And he wanted more. Thank goodness we have a Costco membership. 

  
A little story about Andy: since the beginning of 2016, we’ve had some trouble with Andy being clingy and not wanting to go to the nursery at church. We’ve been working on getting him used to it and just leaving him with the nice people even if he protests. Today when we went to pick him up, the ladies told us that Andy was being really sweet. There was another little boy in there who was having a hard time being away from his mom, and Andy was clearly feeling a little distressed over it. In an attempt to comfort the boy, Andy brought toys over to him and even patted him on the back. Knowing that Andy is starting to feel empathy for other kids just melts my heart!

50.

So I am happy to report that, for the most part, Andy is back to his old self. He still has a bit of mending to do when it comes to his tummy and his sleep, but he is happy again and crawling/climbing up a storm!

  

He has developed a few new skills this week, namely learning how to clap, and how to play single notes on the keyboard. There is still much full-hand banging on the keys, but every so often, he will stop and delicately tap a key with his index finger. It is often a black key. 

He is pulling himself down from virtually everything now, including our sofa and our bed, and we have to have our eye on him all the time. He has grown probably two inches (my mother in law says that this happens whenever kids pass the international date line?) and I think that makes this a lot easier. On the flip side, he can now reach even more of the things that he shouldn’t be getting into, and he can’t stand up under certain furniture pieces anymore. 

His first birthday is just a mere two weeks away, so planning has begun for that!

35.

It’s been a weird week. Andy has been really inconsistent with his eating and sleeping tendencies, which makes for lots of unpredictability and more nighttime wake ups than I would expect. That leads to grumpiness on my part and just a general lack of unattentiveness. I had a mini meltdown yesterday where I started to silent cry while feeding him his lunch, most of which ended up on the floor. He was crying too. It wasn’t pretty. 

Despite these moments of weakness, Andy  continues to bring joy and smiles. And he continues to pull himself up on anything. 

   
Yesterday, we decided to go on a family walk around our neighbourhood. Andy fell asleep in the carrier before we even left the house. (Tangent – I wore him on my back yesterday in the carrier and it made vacuuming SO much easier)

 One of the interesting things about living in a still-expanding subdivision is that there are model homes to visit. Both homes were new to us and one in particular really amazed us! There is something to be said about smart layouts. Having a big home with lots of wasted space definitely is not better than a smaller home where everything is well-used. Speaking of homes, Kelvin introduced me to House Tweaking earlier this week. Their home is probably my dream home. 

Another thing he showed me – all the beautiful swaddles at modern burlap, which we would more likely use as a wall hanging because we don’t swaddle Andy anymore. Such truth in these quotes! 

On the reading front, I’ve got a few books on the go. Just finished Shani Mootoo’s Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab and will be starting Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. A friend ordered Teach Us to Want by Jen Michel Pollock for me and I am enjoying the author’s candidness so far in this. Also reading Rick Richardson’s Reimagining Evangelism, which is giving me a fresh perspective on what it means to share my faith with those around me. Highly recommended! 

34.

The number of changes happening with Andy are unreal. He is pulling himself up to stand whenever possible, and when he’s leaning on something he can just hang out there unassisted for a short time. He is, however, starting to develop a bit of an attachment. If he sees me, he’ll crawl over and ask to be supported to stand.

Andy has also been getting into his bookshelf, so we’ve had to shift a few things around so the things he plays with often are at the bottom. This morning, however, he started pulling things from the top shelf, so it’s possible all this moving is in vain. If he wants something, he will likely do whatever it takes to get it.


Other favourites – Andy absolutely loves it when you play with him with blankets. Flapping them in front of his face, swiping them over his head…any proximity to moving fabric brings him great joy. This elicits the best giggles ever.

Lots happening over the next few days. We had a friend stay with us from Thursday until this morning and after having some university kiddos over for lunch today, we are looking forward to hosting more friends tonight! Whee!

Last but not least, we decided to get Andy a tray. He wants to touch his food all the time and the end of our harvest table that  he sits is at the brink of what it can take without lasting damage. We are trying not to give him mum-mums too often, but it is just so cute watching him feed himself!

Alright, off to put sheets in the dryer.

Taking it all in

I came across this post today about one mother’s tendency to wish her baby grew up faster. I am definitely guilty of this. Even while on our trip to Europe, I found myself dreaming about what travel would be like once Kelvin and I were on our own again.

In particular, this quote stood out:

When my daughter was under 6 months old, I found myself wishing for time to speed up, for things to get easier, to have a little more predictability. And once that mantra was in my head, it stayed put. Hurry up and crawl, hurry up and walk, hurry up and talk, hurry up and wean. Anything to make it a little less difficult, more interesting, less time-consuming.

Andy is still young enough that I’m not looking back and regretting the moments I missed. I am thankful for this reminder.

Here’s to making the most of his childhood and soaking it in. Every single day of it.

Thoughts on Getting Around with a Child

I’ve been meaning to do a post on our carriers and strollers and just never got around to it. Andy is now 5 months old, and he has definitely had his share of travelling. He has been on a total of eight planes, about a dozen cars and taxis, two boats, a train, and public transit in three separate cities. My parents keep talking about how they make carting a child around so easy now, and I would have to agree. It’s also a whole lot more comfortable.

Now, Kelvin is a big a researcher. He is the one who combs through reviews and comments before we make any of our big purchases. I am very thankful to him for that, because I am not that diligent. When he strongly recommends something, I know that it’s because he has weighed out endless other options and has decided this was the best one. Before I go on, let me add a disclaimer that this is what works best for us, our body types, and our lifestyle. Others may vehemently oppose.

CarrierTula Baby Carrier

Four words. We love the carrier. It’s so great for quick jaunts and Andy loves it. It’s a must when we travel, and we will continue to bring it with us even when we bring our travel stroller. When he was little, he would fall asleep in it in an instant. He still does sleep in it, but now he stays awake much longer in it due to his general curiosity with the world.

The sunshade helps to keep his head in place when he falls asleep, and it also does its intended task of protecting his little face from rays. The pocket in the front is home to his hat and my iPhone.

There was a short time about two months ago where the carrier was a little frustrating, though. He was too big for his little feet to be in the carrier comfortably in the froggy position, but he was too small to be able to comfortably pop his little legs out. I spent more time than I should have looking at proper carrier baby positions, convinced that I was screwing up his feet. Thankfully, we got through it, and now his little feet stick out the sides. It’s super cute.

Upon looking at the Tula website, I think the prices have dropped a little bit since we bought our carrier. Plus they have added some more cute prints. I think one of the biggest reasons Kelvin voted for this carrier over the other one we were trying was for aesthetic reasons.

Also, my parents both like the Tula. When they came to visit last week, they put him in it often and went for strolls around the neighbourhood.

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CarseatChicco Keyfit 30

I must admit, not as much research and testing went into this purchase, but we are happy with it nonetheless. It is middle of the pack in most areas – price, features, weight. It’s functional, the base is easy to install in the car (ridiculously easy), and Andy falls asleep in it all the time. In fact, he is asleep in it right now. He nodded off in the car, in the 3 minutes it takes to get from the library to our home. Taking him out of the car seat when sleeping often results in him waking up, so I opt to leave him in there and just watch him sleep in the bucket.

His little feet will soon pop over the edge of the bucket, and we removed the bottom infant insert ages ago, but the infant head rest we’ve kept in place. We should probably wash that…

Also, it took me a few months to discover that underneath the canopy is an additional pop-out canopy that provides extra sun protection. For those first few months I looked with envy on other baby seats that had huge, convertible canopies. That was silly of me.

It fits into our stroller well, and I would say a good percentage of our photos from Andy’s first month were taken in this carseat.

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Day-to-day StrollerBumbleride Indie

So our original intention was to get the Indie 4, but when we got to the store in Ottawa, we both gravitated towards the Indie. The biggest reason was so that I could take it out with me on the trails when I wanted to go for a walk. I continue to be thankful for this decision, because I have seen many a four-wheeled stroller struggle its way through trails and streets, while this bad boy trucks through snow and ice. It is by no means a Maserati-level stroller, but it’s also not a typical travel system that you can get at Walmart. At this point in the game, I have mastered the art of getting it out of our car and ready for Andy with one hand, all while holding him in the other. I cannot, however, fold it down with one hand.

There’s a lot of care put into the simplicity of the design, but also some really thoughtful features. I love that we can recline it all the way (more than once, I have used it as a change table when no such table could be found) and that it has a little peekaboo flap so I can see him when he’s sitting inside. It’s also lighter than some of the jogging strollers I’ve carried, so that was a huge plus for me. The storage underneath is fantastic and we use it mostly for our carrier and library books. The cupholder, though spartan, does its job. Don’t think about putting your phone in there, though. I assure you it will fall out.

When Andy is older and we, God-willing, have another child, our plan is to get the mini board attachment so he can ride along while his little brother/sister sits in the front.

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Our stroller and our carseat, even though now we mostly just put him in without the carseat.

Travel StrollerMaclaren Mark II

Ah yes, our impulse buy. Our “it is way too hot to have him in the carrier” buy. I gave my two cents about this stroller in this post, and I stand by my opinion that it was the best decision. When you’re buying a travel stroller, you are not necessarily looking for bells and whistles. What you’re looking for is weight and ease of use. The Mark II wins in both of these. Hands down. Sometimes I take Andy out in this stroller just because it’s so easy to. When we head to Europe and Asia later on this year and next year, we will be bringing this with us. Because it would be foolish of us not to.

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Nashville: Part 1

We’re in Tennessee! It was quite an arduous task getting here (multiple flight delays and missed connections), but it was sweetened by getting bumped to first class. Did you know they have real glassware in first class??? And you can just ask for snacks and drinks whenever you want??? WHAT. Priorities, clearly. Anyways, I digress. Andy was a little bit less cooperative this time on the plane. Still not crying during landing and takeoff, but he cried at other times more so than last time, and with a more robust cry at that.

We arrived a few hours behind schedule, but it didn’t really matter anyways, because our only plan was eating at the hotel. We stayed at the Inn at Opryland (we’re now in the big Gaylord Opryland resort!) and ordered room service. I’ve never really had room service before, so I was excited. This made up in part for the fact that I was a little sketched out that the rooms were exterior access. We ordered wings and a pulled pork sandwich. It was glorious.

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Early this morning, we headed over to the resort so that Kelvin could get going with his countless meetings and meals. Meanwhile, Andy and I went off in search of a bus. We had to ask around, but we finally figured out that the 34 picks up at the Magnolia Canopy. It takes about 30 minutes to get downtown if you’re going express. And it only costs $1.70/ride! I knew I was going to be riding the bus quite a few times today, so I got an all day pass ($5.25 for unlimited rides). The bus was relatively on time, but as luck would have it, we only made it a few more stops before the bus broke down. Thus, Andy and I spent about 45 minutes sitting at the Gray Line Tour bus depot waiting for the MTA to send another bus. Highlight of the trip? After Andy ate, i was burping him without a burp cloth (fail), and then I heard a high school student behind me say “Uhh, your baby spit up.” It was all over my arm, and his clothes, and part of the carrier. That was a bit of a scramble…We finally made it downtown around 10:30 (almost two hours after we left), and our first order of business was getting tickets for a tour that day at Hatch Show Print (more on this later).

After all that was done, we waited for what seemed like a very long time at 6th and Commerce to catch the 7 to Pancake Pantry! This place came really highly reviewed, and it did not disappoint! There was a line up, but it moved pretty quickly. Plus, I got to meet some really nice people! I ended up ordering the sweet potato pancakes, and I all but inhaled them, thus the lack of picture of the actual pancakes. They were insanely fluffy with a full cinnamon flavour. Good thing I ordered that glass of milk to balance it out. Oh, and make sure to use that cinnamon cream syrup (but don’t put too much, or your pancake will literally fall apart).

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By the time we finished, there wasn’t much time before our tour at Hatch Show Print, so we hopped on the bus and headed back towards downtown. This place was the COOLEST. I loved learning about the history of the print shop in all its iterations and seeing the presses at work. Andy was not impressed with being in the carrier (he had been in it for quite some time by that point) and so he caused a huge scene. Not cool.

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After the shop portion of the tour, we moved into a classroom to learn a little more. We also got to make our own print, though I’m not a fan of its blue and orange colour scheme. If I could do it again, I might ask just to have the print on plain paper so it’s just the one colour. I perused the store for quite a while after the fact, and picked up a few prints. We got a discount too for going on the tour!  IMG_1118

By this point, we were pretty pooped. Andy needed a break and so did I, so we headed down to the waterfront in search of a nice shaded place to lay out the blanket. I stopped into Southernaire Market to pick up a berry medley and an iced tea, and off we went. We walked and walked but alas no shady spot was to be found. We ended up taking the free Music City circuit bus to the Bicentennial Mall. After perusing the Farmers’ Market, we plopped ourselves down near this sunken terraced courtyard and hung out for an hour or so. What did I learn about Andy today? He gets HOT. So it was crucial for us to spend some time where he wasn’t in the carrier. IMG_1131

My phone was close to dying by now because of all the google mapping I did, but the Visitors’ Centre saved the day! I went to the one at Bridgestone Arena, and they have a charging station and two iPads for internet access! So key. I stayed til closing (at 5:30).

Plans were made at this point to meet Kelvin for dinner, and so we took advantage of the little pocket of time we had before he was slated to arrive, and we walked all the way out to Crema, on Hermitage Blvd. I ordered myself a Cuban, and man that coffee was ridiculously delicious. And the place was really hip. So hip that they didn’t have a change table (fail). Changing of the diaper happened outside on the grass, behind the building, by the dumpsters (#sketchy). I picked up a few pounds of coffee as souvenirs, and then walked the 13 minutes back downtown. IMG_1138When Kelvin finally arrived, with some coworkers, we headed to Jack’s BBQ for dinner (I know, it’s not the best BBQ, but we wanted somewhere downtown). After a quick stroll to burn off some of those calories, we returned to the hotel.

Apologies for the brevity of the last few events, but it’s 1 am here, and I am super tired. Forecast tomorrow is looking like thunderstorms. If this is the case, I’m staying at the hotel. It’s big enough for days and days of exploration.

Good night!

Nashville: Part 2 | Part 3

9.

Hello from hot and humid Houston! Kelvin is off at his work meeting, and Andy and I are just resting at the hotel. Yesterday was jam-packed, so the downtime is much appreciated. Plus it gives me time to make sure I’m all caught up on the courses that I’m taking.

A lot of firsts for Andy this week – his first long car ride (to Toronto), his first plane ride, his first time using his passport, and even his first baseball game! We have learned a ton this week about travelling with a little one and how it changes the way that we travel. Case in point, thinking that we could drive from Kingston to Toronto in 2.5 hours – big mistake. We didn’t even make it to Napanee before his wailing cued us to the fact that he might be hungry. Thus began a 45 minute pit stop.

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One definite plus of having a baby while travelling – people love talking to you! And of course they always like to ask/guess what his age is. Estimates have ranged from 2 weeks (come on, he is totally larger than a 2 week old baby) to 4 months. I’m still terrible at guessing age, so usually I just straight up ask.

I’m not going to say too much about Houston here as the plan is to do an actual post on Houston, but if you are travelling with young kids, I would definitely recommend checking out the Children’s Museum of Houston. We went there yesterday (they have free admission from 5-8 every Thursday!) and were honestly blown away. There is so much to do there (for children from about 4 months on) and if we lived in Houston, I think we would definitely be there quite often. Also, go see the Astros play at Minute Maid Park. We ended up at a game yesterday rather serendipitously and it was honestly thrilling. What is it about sporting events, loud noises and really bright lights that make me feel like part of something bigger?

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Well, only two more nights here for us, then a night in Toronto (during which we will host Andy’s 2 month-banquet…yes, it’s a thing…hard to explain) before heading back to Kingston. Perhaps we will catch some Victoria Day festivities upon our return.

8.

We are closing in on two months!

It seems we have completely skipped spring, and have moved straight from winter to summer. No matter! It means Andy gets to rock some pretty cute shorts (or no bottoms at all) :) Daily temperatures in the 20s are preparing us for Houston, but we are lucky to have some semblance of a breeze here. Thinking that will not be the case in Houston.

...or no bottoms at all

Lots of fun for us this week. We went to mom and baby yoga this morning, which was a new experience. Not so much actual yoga haha (I mean, I did do a few folds…) but it was definitely nice to meet some new moms (and to see some other mom friends again!). Thinking I will be back! I also returned to the regular gym this week. Felt like I was going to pass out during power step and discovered that I have almost zero core right now -__- Hoping this postnatal workout will also assist in some way to get me back in shape.

So, we have moved up again in diaper size. Hoping that will reduce the blowouts. According to our scale at home he is closing in on 14 lbs. What a kid. Glad that we have other friends who are expecting so we can pass along the diapers that he has already outgrown!

Last but not least, my sister loves making videos. They are awesome. Here’s one of Andy and his antics.

6.

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I have a distinct memory of being younger and wondering why baby clothes was so much cheaper than the clothes I was buying. Now that I’m a parent and needing to buy said baby clothes, I realize two things. First, baby clothes is not always cheaper (in fact, some prices seem ludicrous for how much material the item is actually comprised of). Second, some babies outgrow their clothes in a matter of weeks, making the cost-per-wear less than impressive

That being said, we did some shopping this week. We will be heading to warmer weather in a few weeks for a short vacation (with some business for Kelvin), so it gave us an excuse to peruse baby clothing. Our local Gap store is also providing an additional 50% off all sale items, so needless to say, we spent some time there today.

We bought Andy some swim trunks, and this little rain jacket for under $25.

I got something for me too :) Plus I’m loving their summer collection.

In other news, I was able to attend two twitter chats this week – #leadupchat this morning at 9:30 am EST and #whatisschool on Thursday at 7 pm EST. Both highly recommended for other teachers out there who want to be challenged, inspired, and encouraged in their practice. This week’s #whatisschool chat featured Justin Hardman (@jahardman), director of 21st Century Learning International (@21cli) as a co-moderator, and they randomly selected yours truly as the winner of a free ticket to their annual conference in Hong Kong! What a privilege to be able to learn with educators not just in NA, but in Asia and across the globe! Kelvin and I are going to try and make it work :)

Anyways, my step count has been low the last few days, so I’m going to take the little guy out for a stroll. Head to our local Costco for more diapers. Speaking of which – how do I know when he’s ready to move up in size?

5.

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Doing the laundry with a baby in a carrier is easier than doing the laundry with a baby in a sling. But man, loading the washing machine without a child strapped to me at all is the easiest of all.

My sister is back in town for the next few weeks, so we have a built-in babysitter when she’s home. It’s great! On Thursday, we left Andy in the carrier with her while we went downtown to pick up pad thai for dinner from one of our go-to asian places. Even though it was only a 45-minute jaunt there and back (including our in-restaurant time), it was glorious. This morning, I got a load of laundry in while she held him. It will be harder come the beginning of May when she is back in Toronto for good. Not looking forward to that.

Looking back at the last few posts, I realized I talk a lot about how Andy is such a good sleeper. And he is. Sometimes. Usually during the day…which is not when we need him to be a good sleeper. The past few nights have been pretty rough, with me not getting much more than 45-50 minutes of good solid sleep at a time. So, we have decided we are going to start introducing some semblance of a sleep routine. Right now, that consists of him being in the carrier with daddy from roughly 9:30-midnight while I nap, followed by an inconsistent few hours, then a big nap with daddy between 7 and 9 am and sometimes a continuation of said nap with mommy until 10. No more. We will attempt to start to wind him down around 9:30/10 (and by wind down, we mean wind down for the crib, not for the carrier), then have him up for a change (new diaper, and out of his PJs) at around 8/8:30. That will require that I am also up at 8/8:30. Hmm…that may prove difficult.

Now time for those random things around the internet that have piqued my attention this week.

I got domestic and made this pasta and these muffins.

I also follow an online magazine called GOOD and a few days ago, they made published this post about poetry. I wrote a poetry about parenthood. It’s an acrostic poem.

People told me that raising
A child would be both tough and
Rewarding. I’ve found this to be true.
Every day, my baby has
Needs that must be met;
There are times when he’s poopy,
Hungry, gassy, or fussy.
Other times, he just wants to be held.
One thing’s for sure, I’ve never known
Days as full of joy and love as these.

Last but not least, these illustrations about the life of a new mom made me laugh. I proceeded to share them with a number of other new moms around me.

3.

Lots of big changes this week.

Andy rolled over for the first time this week. He also had an explosive bowel movement that resulted in me having to clean the walls, the door, and the carpet. Oh, and we also moved him into his own crib and his own room to sleep at night. He continues to be a pretty good sleeper, waking up every 2 to 3 hours to feed and then sleeping the rest of the time.

Looking back at photos of Andy from the last three weeks, we are surprised to see how much he has changed in appearance. He’s outgrown his footed newborn onesies so he has now graduated into wearing clothes from his 0 to 3 months drawer.

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Last but not least, this is Andy’s first Easter. Though he has yet to understand the gravity of what it is Jesus has done on the cross for him, we continue to pray for him to one day have a deep, meaningful relationship with Christ – one that will bring many others to faith as well. This holiday also brings us many visitors from out of town. We’ll be heading over to the in-laws’ soon for some family time and Andy will get a chance to meet many of his relatives for the first time! Here’s hoping everyone is healthy :)

This week’s top 5:

  • Take a shower while your baby is sleeping – made the mistake of being too leisurely with my time on Thursday, spending time lounging and writing this blog post 
  • 9 pm to midnight “naps”
  • Our baby monitor – now that Andy is in his own room, it’s crucial for us to have a monitor to see how he’s doing. This thing is on the entire night and we love that it has some wicked night vision
  • A stroller – Kelvin did oodles of research and eventually we ended up with this one, which we bought at a fantastic store in Ottawa. It cuts through snow like a boss.
  • Our diaper bag – We don’t leave the house without this. Another one of Kelvin’s discoveries (after seeing it on one of our favourite blogs), this diaper bag has all the compartments we need plus is unisex and stylish enough that we could totally continuing using it after out diaper bag days