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We just got back from an awesome vacation in the United States of America. It was great, BUSY and fun! It was also our first time travelling anywhere with Buddy Bear. Let me tell you, I was stressed! But, we survived and I even learned some helpful things for when we travel next. Or maybe even when you travel next?

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of vacationing with a baby

  • Don’t put a white baby in a white shirt
    • Our little Buddy Bear is a special brand of white. We liken his skin tone to clear. As we were visiting family on our vacation, a family picture was necessary. We decided to dress him in a cute little white button-up shirt. We thought he looked rather dapper and darling. Until we saw the pictures and realized that a white baby in a white shirt does not look dapper, but um, washed out and white. VERY, VERY white. Lesson learned
  • Do use an unstuffed cloth pocket diaper as a reusable swim diaper.
    • So thrifty, so very thrifty! And if you already have pocket diapers you’re like 10 steps ahead!
  • Don’t use a cloth swim diaper the day before you fly internationally
    • Nobody wants to travel with a nasty poopy diaper in their carry on. At least I don’t! Which meant a rushed load of laundry on the morning we flew out. Which we almost left in the dryer.
  • Do bring a traveling buddy with you.
    • I cannot imagine taking a baby through an international airport, trying to make a tight connection without Mr. Man’s assistance. Actually, I lied. I CAN imagine it, and it makes me want to cry.
  • Do breastfeed if at all possible
    • Plane taking off? Breastfeeding can help! Baby need help sleeping in a new environment? Breastfeeding can help! Trying to minimize the sheer amount of baggage you’ll be hauling around? Breastfeeding can help! Need I go into more detail?
  • Do bring lots of wet wipes they’re useful for more than diaper changes
    • I’m sure you can fill in the blanks for this one.
  • Do use a cloth unstructured baby carrier
    • Hello? One little (ok, HUGE) piece of fabric can be a renegade blanket, nursing cover, extra modesty provider, as well as allowing you to carry baby hands free. Done and done!
  • Don’t try to institute new sleep habits on vacation
    • All you seasoned parents are laughing at me, I know because I can hear you all the way over here! In my innocence/naiveté I planned to teach Buddy Bear to sleep in his own bed, WHILE on vacation, WHILE in a completely new environment, WHILE losing any semblance of routine/normalcy. Yeah, that was a stupid move. We ended up sleeping on the floor the whole week because Buddy Bear did not take to my harebrained scheme. AT ALL. The worst part was we were squished next to an EMPTY queen size bed the whole time, because Buddy Bear can’t sleep on an air mattress. It still stings.
  • Don’t haul all the toys in the world
    • I fretted for weeks whether Buddy Bear would have enough things to play with while on vacation. I didn’t have to worry because he had so many cousins, aunties and Gramma’s and Grampa’s vying for his attention that he was never bored. His favourite toy when he wasplaying by himself? Banging on the coffee table.
  • Do give your baby grace & time when meeting new people
    • It would be great if Buddy Bear had leapt out of my arms to embrace his grandparents when they met us at the airport. BUT. If he had been that eager to greet, essentially strangers, I think I would have died! I don’t want him walking away with the first person that calls him by name! BUT. Within a couple days, my Buddy Bear would gladly go to his Gramma and Grampa for cuddles (when mama was around, but still). Which means that I can still sleep at night.
  • Don’t expect baby’s eating habits to be the same as at home
    • It’s vacation! No one is eating like they do at home. (Hello, all-you-can-eat-shrimp-buffett)! So if Baby is eating even a smidgen of food, I’m gonna count it as a success!
  • Have fun!
    • Its vacation, its not forever! So Baby wears clothes with food stains and eats Cheerios for 3 meals in a row. No biggie. You can worry when you get home. Now, just relax and have fun. That’s why you took a vacation, right?

 

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Our little family decided to go overnight camping.

Just the three of us.

To relax.

I can hear you laughing all the way over here.

Yes, I thought that I would relax by frantically buying groceries 45 minutes before I wanted to leave, doing laundry, rushing all over the house to get our stuff together, then trying to fit it all in our car (no more kids for us, they won’t fit!), so we can drive for 2 and a half hours (Google told us 90 minutes! They didn’t account for my lack of navigational skills apparently), during those two and a half hours Buddy Bear screamed like he was dying for a good 60 minutes, WITH.NO.BREAKS. And then we finally got to the camp site and we couldn’t setup our tent because there was approximately 62 bazillion feet of pure gravel/concrete/un-penetrable mass under the tent spot. Tempers flared. And then we had smores. For supper. And slept on the cold, hard, unforgiving ground that costs $25 dollars a night.

That’s my idea of a relaxing family vacation, how about yours?

I have learned many things from our little adventure. I will share several with you.

In list form of course.

I love lists. I may have said this 17 times before.

Its still true.

Because Buddy Bear is at/nearing the age where I need to be an intentional parent and not just a diaper-changer/milk-dispenser, this list will include a moral. Kind of like a fable, but without any talking foxes.

1. I am terrible at packing. For example, I planned to make breakfast burritos, but forgot the spatula for the scrambled eggs, salt & pepper and all the condiments for said burrito.

Morale of the story: Make a list and check it twice. Or delegate someone else to do the packing. Someone not in my family, because Mr. Man forgot the pillows…

2. Which brings me to my second point. You can never have too many diapers. This was our first overnight trip with Buddy Bear (I know, I like to make things hard on myself) so I wasn’t sure how many diapers I would need. So I packed 16 diapers for the less than 24 hours that we were going to be gone. I only changed Buddy Bear about 6 times. But those extra pre-folds I packed? They are excellent jack of all trades, because they  also served as makeshift pillows (not the best idea), impromptu diaper changing pads and even stood in as oven mitts (forgot those too).

Morale of the story: You can always use extra diapers, so bring ’em along.

3. Babies (at least my baby) love camping! So many things to see, smell and TASTE. At one point I had to dig a 1 inch rock out of Buddy Bear’s mouth because he thought it would taste good. But he thought everything else was absolutely fantastic!

Morale of the story: Next time bring a playpen to contain the little guy. Or just expect his diet to include more minerals…

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Copyright held by Melvin E

 

“If Mama aint happy, then aint nobody happy.”

And

“The best thing you can do for your kids, is to love their father (or mother if applicable).”

10 points if you’ve heard one of these phrases.

50 points if you’ve heard both.

1000 points if you’ve managed to apply both of them.

Yeah, it’s easy to know that your mood affects those around you and a happy marriage fosters a safe environment for your kids. But its a heap of a lot harder to actually DO it.

One of the pieces of advice I got as a newlywed was to continue dating my husband. To take the time and intentionally do stuff together. Which is a great idea. In theory.

But I also know that quality anything doesn’t just happen, you have to be intentional.

Andg’s Guide to Dating your Baby’s Daddy

  1. Just do it. If you wait to feel romantic or until you have a good hair day or until you can leave the baby with a sitter, or until anything you’ll always be waiting for something. Which leads to…
  2. Dates don’t have to be just two people, babies love dates! If you have the option of going on a date and taking the baby, or not going on a date at all, bring Jr.! Yes, you can’t spend hours looking all doe-eyed at each other with baby in tow, but nothing kills the mood faster (at least for me!) then forking out $40+ so you can go out to and talk about how money is so tight!
  3. Date like you’re in high school (i.e. cheap = good). Denny’s and a walk in the park (with baby in the stroller) is way cheaper than dinner and a movie. Or even better an iced coffee (from home), a blanket and some sunshine.
  4. Capitalize. Do you have to go shopping? Grab hubby and call it a date. Yes, you won’t see “Romance in the Canned Goods Aisle” coming to Netflix anytime soon, but time with your man is important, wherever you can get it.
  5. Shared time = good time. Mr. Man doesn’t know it, but I consider our 30 minute drives to church every week a “mini-date” because time in the car, means “Quality talking time. LOTS of talking.” Take a look at your calendar for the holes/places where you and hubby are going in the same direction and carpool. Yes, it might be a little inconvenient to have to go tool around at the hardware store (his stop) so you can go to the library (your stop) but going together, means time together.

Now I’m not saying that we’re the authority on post-baby dates, but these are a few of the things that have worked for us.

What tips do you have to keep your marriage healthy and happy?  Am I still a naive little puppy and need to be set straight? Let’s talk!

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Earlier this week I stumbled upon a series of “10 Small Things” by Amanda at I am Mommy. Just a list of 10 things that make her life better, improve it in some way or that she is grateful for. What a great idea! While I like to play the lazy card, A LOT, I really do want to be a good mommy to Buddy Bear and be intentional about the things I teach him. Like being grateful. So I’m totally stealing Amanda’s idea.

With props.

And also shortening it down to 7.

Because I’m a sucker for aliteration.

If only I could think of a S word for “Things”.

That’s not “stuff”.

I already thought of that, and “7 Simple Stuffs” does not bode well with me.

Any other suggestions?

1. 

My fans. We had our first hot week and have already pulled out our fans. Its only 30 degrees (Celsius, I can’t do Fahrenheit.) but I am already cooking!

2. 

This little $8 gizmo allows me to take Buddy Bear driving without him losing it completely. I don’t know if he knows its him in the mirror or if he just thinks there’s another baby in the car with him, but either way it means peace in the car. Also I can do a quick rearview mirror check and see if he’s sleeping yet which also rocks.

3. 

My library card. Call me a nerd, but I love having this thing. Right now Buddy Bear and I are devouring (figuratively and literally unfortunately) 25 books that we didn’t have to buy. That’s at least $100 dollars worth of books, maybe even more! Love it, I think you should get one too!

4. 

Buddy Bear’s cloth diapers. I’m not a fanatic, but only because that takes too much work. But I love, love, love having my little boy happy and comfortable. And that is possible because his cloth diapers are so much easier on his super sensitive skin.

5. 

Alberta’s Health Care System. Say what you want about Canada’s health care system (*cough* Mr. Man *cough*) but I needed to get a doctor’s note for the job I’ve applied for, and I called them on Tuesday, and had the medical done on Wednesday. I like that!

6. 

See that? That’s naptime. I love it. Buddy Bear is not the most consistent sleeper ever, but he always has at least two naps and I have the option of napping with him, working on my to-do list (right…) or most often just putzing around on the computer.

7. 

The non-dairy world. Before Buddy Bear’s milk allergy, I thought all those dairy-free products were expensive and the domain of vegans and well, vegans. Boy was I wrong! Well true, they are still expensive (2L for $4, ouch!) but they also mean that I can still have some of ‘my normal’ food, like smoothies, cupcake frosting, pancakes. You know, normal stuff. I will be the first to admit that Cheerios and coconut milk are not the same as their dairy alternative, but a rice milk pancake? I can’t tell the difference! So thank you to the non-dairy producers for making expensive non-milks for me and Buddy Bear. I will put you in my next 7 Simple Things again if you could please lower your prices. Thanks.

 

What are you grateful for? Am I the only one who has to take a conscious effort to be grateful?

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If I were  to pick one thing that scares me, do you know what I would pick?

EVERYTHING!

No surprise. After all, in the past 8 months of being a mommy, I’ve had quite a few freakouts already. Like this one, or this one

But, those are already old news, as I’ve already discovered new things to freak out about. In fact, I have so many that I made a list. Am I the only one who does that?

 

  1. That I have screwed up as a mother and created a hybrid of all of mine and Mr. Man’s worst qualities. (Needy, opinionated, self-centered…)
  2. Never sleeping again. We’re in the process of stopping changing our co-sleeping arrangement and I am stalling because I remember how hard it was in the very beginning when I was up every 2 hours. I don’t know if I can do that again. Which brings me to…
  3. Having more children. I can hardly keep myself together with just 1 baby, how do people do it when they have more kids?
  4. The discipline and parenting part of being a parent. Until now my main job has been to feed and clothe Buddy Bear, but now I have to help him become a mature and responsible person who loves God and works hard and, and… *freakout* This is hard!
  5. My baby growing up. One day, very soon my baby will not be a baby but a grown up man. He’s already growing up too fast!
  6. His diet of Cheerios. I swear, some days all he eats in the solid food department is Cheerios! Yes, they’re easy to eat on the run but I have a feeling there should be more variation in his diet.
  7. That I won’t be able to love our other children as much as I love my Buddy Bear
  8. That I will never be caught up on the laundry. Seriously, I can work all day on doing laundry and the next day we have a full hamper of dirty laundry. For real?
  9. That my children will discover that my Top-Secret-Super-Delicious-Mom’s-Special-Recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies is on the back of the chocolate chip bag…
  10. Discovering that all the time Buddy Bear has spent in proximity to my laptop during our nursing marathons has given him superpowers… What? I never said it was rational!

Am I the only one that has fears like this? Is there anything that you worry about in your current stage of life?

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Mother’s Day is this weekend, my first one as a real Mommy! This time a year ago I was freshly pregnant and full of anticipation and great ideas about being a mommy. How little did I know? If only I had access to this letter a year ago…

Dear Pre-Mommy Andg,

You’re gonna be a mommy! Yes, you’re technically a mother right now to that little ball of fuzz hidden deep in your abdomen, but a mommy, that part is grown into not made. Having a 7 month old baby now, there are a lot of things that you/I have learned that you need to know.

1.       Having a baby means forfeiting your right and ability to eat an uninterrupted meal. In fact, you probably won’t be able to eat with both hands for quite a while.

2.       I know you’re all pro-breastfeeding right now, and that’s good, but. But, but, but, it is hard! So, so hard! But good. Push through the challenges, ask for help, and ask again if the first (or fifteenth) help didn’t work!

3.       Yeah, remember when you could sleep through the night? Well cherish that memory, because its not happening anymore. Only 17 and a half more years until he moves out and you can hopefully start sleeping again…

4.       The little guy is going to be just like you in so many ways, it;s so amazing. And also creepy.

5.       One of the ways he’s like you? N-E-E-D-Y. Like, “Mommy hold me all the daylong and give me your undivided attention!” Kind of needy. You are so lucky.

6.       Buddy Bear’s smiles can light up a room and make you into a puddle of mush.

7.       Having a baby is an instant conversation starter. In fact, you’ll start to wonder how you ever met new people when you didn’t have a baby!

8.       Buddy Bear will watch the door all day waiting for Mr. Man to come home and will smile and laugh at Mr. Man’s antics, but YOU are the one that can make Buddy Bear’s bad day OK again.

9.       Everyone will a piece of advice for you on what you need to add or change about parenting and everything, ever.

10.   But, you know for never doing this before, you’re doing alright. Remember that.

You can do this!

Love,

Mommy Andg

 

What do you wish you could tell your pre-mommy self?

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