lifestyle

A Favourite Quote

I’m currently sitting back out on our deck enjoying the sunshine and 13 degree weather that is melting the snowfall we had two days ago. If that isn’t crazy Canuck weather I don’t know what is. Anyway, our topic of the day is positivity during the ongoing pandemic. 

If you’ve seen the news, you know that where I live in Ontario, Canada, we’ve been put through the ringer lately. Honestly, that’s kind of putting it lightly. Since I’m working outside the home it’s hard not to hear the constant updates and new restrictions to the ‘Stay At Home’ order which is just a fancy new way of saying you’re still in lock down. 

Some restrictions make sense, while others do not at all. Regardless of what my opinion is on the goings-on, it all has a severely negative impact on people’s mental health. I’m always looking for ways to stay more positive. I recently came across a quote that I wanted to share, because it really makes you stop and think in this situation. 

“The more we concentrate on what we had before, the more we suffer. The quicker that we accept the new circumstances the quicker our joy returns to us along with the opportunity to make good use of the new circumstances.”

I don’t know about you, but when I heard that it led to some deep thought and self analyzing. There were a couple of things I came to terms with through this. One is that I keep thinking back to the way life was before, which for the majority of people was pretty great and most likely taken for granted (I know in my case it was at times). While it’s nice to reminisce, thinking back longingly to the point that it’s making me feel worse and worse about the current circumstances doesn’t help the situation. 

Yes things are very different now, and the sad reality is that it could be years still before things start to resemble what they were like before. That doesn’t mean that things have to be all bad for the foreseeable future. There’s still lots of great things to enjoy now. The more we think about the way things were before the more we suffer. 

Another thing I thought about was where the quote came from. This wasn’t from someone talking about the pandemic, it was from someone who years ago was imprisoned unjustly. Someone thought of this while they were sitting in a prison cell. I started comparing circumstances. My house is a cozy comfortable home, with a soft warm bed to sleep in, food in the fridge and I share it with my husband and Baby T. It’s far from any prison. 

I know that self-care and putting yourself first attitude is fairly popular nowadays, but sometimes self-care is realizing that other people have worse situations than you do and trying to help people who you know are also having problems. If I can put my energy into helping someone else with their problems, I quickly forget mine. Sometimes it means going out of my way to do things that maybe aren’t so important to me, but they’re important to someone else. 

Anyway, those are my deep thoughts for the day. If you have a quote or something that’s helped you during the pandemic leave a comment below! 

Momblog

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – One Year Later

As you probably know already, I started this blog shortly after I was diagnosed with Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in March 2020. It has definitely been a year of learning and growing since then and I thought it might be helpful to reflect and see how things have changed. 

Obviously when I first wrote about Postpartum OCD back in Spring of 2020, the hardest thing to overcome was the intrusive thoughts. After finishing some counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as recommended by my family doctor, I found the way to tackle these disturbing thoughts. 

If this is something you’re struggling with, definitely reach out to your doctor and get some help for yourself. I’m living proof that it does work! My intrusive thoughts started getting fewer and farther between since doing these treatments. Now I can even say I rarely have them, if ever. 

Of course as a mom you can always imagine the worst thing happening to your child in the moment, like them tripping and hitting their head off the corner of something (which DID happen to Baby T the other day and she joined the goose egg club), but not having the really scary disturbing thoughts I’ve mentioned before is such a weight off my shoulders. 

As far as the obsessive compulsive tendencies like cleaning rituals and routines that I mentally cannot deviate from, I would say these kinds of things are definitely worse than they were before having Baby T. Most moms who end up having Postpartum OCD have had obsessive compulsive tendencies before having their babies, but they can get a lot worse even for the long term afterwards. 

Returning to work in the middle of the pandemic was and still is a big struggle sometimes, especially working in a financial institution where we see different people all day and have to handle cash and cheques. I find me sanitizing my hands and work station three times more than everyone else around me. Thankfully though, I’ve been open about this struggle with the ladies I work with and they’re very understanding and respectful even though sometimes I know I go overboard. 

Routines that I don’t deviate from are part of my entire day. There’s a specific list and order of things I do every morning (take thyroid medication, check my phone, get Baby T ready for breakfast, make the bed, get ready for work or for a day at home) and every night (nighttime face moisturizer, dimmed lamp in our bedroom, vitamins, essential oil diffuser, read a book, go to sleep). If the bed is not made up just so and the laundry isn’t folded neatly and perfectly it just doesn’t sit right with me. Just ask my husband Dan. 

Even though sometimes the OCD cleaning can get a bit daunting and overwhelming, I still feel like I’m in better shape than where I started a year ago. 

I tried to google “how long does postpartum OCD last” and I didn’t really get an exact answer. Some say that the OCD tendencies can last long after postpartum so I suppose I’m in that category.  On the plus side I do feel that over the past year I’ve learned a lot about postpartum mental health and myself and have definitely grown from my experience. Now I take everything one day at a time knowing that I have the support and tools I need to help me along the way. 

lifestyle

A Little Update

I’ve actually been at a loss for words lately. The third lockdown has hit harder than the first two and last weekend was one of the lowest times I think I’ve ever had. I don’t want to get in to details because I’ve barely told people in my real life about it, I certainly wouldn’t blab about it on the internet, but thank goodness for my husband, my own parents and my in-laws (and Baby T of course), who all helped me get through it. 

Since then, I’ve taken a step back from the pressure I normally put on myself. Some of that pressure came from writing two blog posts a week. This whole thing started as more of an electronic journal than anything, and while I still enjoy it, I found that a lot of my posts didn’t have a lot of heart in them. I was writing them to write something not because I wanted to write them. As a way of coming back from where I was last weekend, I’ve obviously cut back a lot on that pressure and while I might be able to get back to that kind of schedule again eventually, right now I need to get back to what I was doing in the first place and writing meaningful things that I know makes me feel better, when I’m ready to write them.  

The motivation to write more will come back I’m sure, but lately instead I’ve been spending a lot of time reading, catching up on Netflix shows, going outside and giving myself time to not over think. There’s a lot of negativity in the world and it can definitely start getting to you, sometimes it feels hard to see a way out of the situation we’re all in right now. 

Hitting the reset button on everything can be refreshing and remembering that if a day starts in a bad place it doesn’t have to stay there. Just keep taking more steps forward and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. 

Momblog

Building Confidence as A Mom

Something I’ve always struggled with is being a confident mom; confident in my choices as a parent and my abilities to give her a good upbringing. There’s days where it feels like everything I’m doing is wrong and doubt all the decisions I’m making, doubt whether I’m good enough to even be her mom. I definitely thought motherhood would come naturally and that I would fit right into the role but that’s not always the case. 

Is It Even Possible to Be a Confident Mom? 

I’d like to hope it is. There are some days where the confidence is definitely flowing, I can kind of feel invincible like if anything tries to mess with me and Baby T, I would definitely win. The day goes by quickly with lots of laughs and smiles and no friction or pushback. These are the perfect mom days and they do come around, sometimes they stick around for a little while. 

But of course with all kids things change and there are phases (I wrote a whole post about phases that you can find here). Whether it’s Baby T having a rough time sleeping or having new teeth coming in, or me feeling the pressure at work and not meeting my own expectations as a mom, wife or for running a household, there’s time when the confidence slips away and that can hit pretty hard sometimes. 

What To Do When Relapsing? 

I think of these times as a relapse. It’s something I’ve felt before and obviously come out of okay in the end. It feels like a bit of a slump and if I kind of let myself spiral enough it’ll be a few days of just feeling a bit lost and alone. 

I give myself time to checkout. My husband, Dan, is really good with spending his own one on one time with Baby T and giving me a break when I need it. He can usually tell when I’m a little off and tries to help out a little extra during those times even if I can’t explain to him exactly what I’m feeling. 

Whether he takes Baby T for a bit, or if it’s a busy day for both of us and I wait until she’s gone to bed for the night, I force myself to shut off from my phone, chores and even writing this blog and do something that helps me clear my head. Lately, that’s been bringing out my inner nerdy self and playing some video games on the Nintendo Switch, reading a book, or watching a show. 

Taking the time to do this helps me to reset, let go of the low self-esteem I’m holding onto, forget about the things I’ve been obsessing over that I feel like I’m doing wrong. Of course treating myself to a nice glass of wine and a sweet treat to relax always helps as well. 

Another thing I do is spend more quality one-on-one time with Baby T and reconnect with her. I let her take the lead with this and choose what we do, because we all know that me planning fun activities and her refusing to do them is not the kind of progress we’re looking for. It’s perfect now the weather is getting nicer in Ontario, she loves to go outside and wandering around our neighbourhood and backyard. 

I try to leave my phone somewhere out of reach so I don’t get distracted (this sounds familiar, I might have stolen it from my blog post about Making the Most of My Time With My One Year Old, practice makes perfect I guess). I’ll put some of our favourite music on instead and just enjoy our time together. 

Instagram Is Not the Be-All and End-All of Motherhood Standards

I’ve talked recently about making sure that the content I take in on Instagram and other social medias is positive and upbuilding. The moms that I follow (outside of people who are actually my friends) are all moms who are open and honest, even more open and honest than I am if that’s even possible. 

An example is Sarah Landry, or The Birds Papaya. I recently came across her profile (after doing my post on My Favourite Influencers) and right away appreciated her candid content. I think the first week I followed her she talked about having a clogged duct and mastitis and I completely felt her pain because I’ve been there, done that about a dozen times. 

There are people out there on social media that can make me feel like I’m not alone in my struggles, like I’m not the only mom with low self-esteem  and those are the people I actually enjoy following on social media. Sometimes though, I’ll be scrolling through the popular page and come across those posts that tell you what you should and shouldn’t do as a mom, these are the ones that really get to me. 

Here’s an example, I saw one of those new trendy Reels saying that when you’re watching your child try to figure something out, give them time to figure it out on their own. I thought, fair enough that’s a valid point. But then it said that when they do figure out not to make a big deal about it or clap for them. Excuse me, if I want to be my daughters in-house hype woman I am going to do that, thank you. I’ll clap when she sneezes if that’s what makes her smile. 

In my opinion, things like that just aren’t worth posting or paying any attention to. It doesn’t matter what the person’s credentials are in child psychology, I’m still going to ignore you and raise my child the way I see fit. Sorry, rant over. 

I try not to let things like that get to me and sometimes just taking a break from Instagram as a whole and the mindless scrolling through the popular page is the best thing I can do to get out of the slump of low-confidence. 

We Get Through It

At the end of the day, no matter how I’m feeling in my abilities as a mom, I am still a mom. I care for a beautiful baby girl day in and day out and it’s bound to be a rollercoaster. In the moments when I’m least confident, I just try to do the next right thing, get out of the slump and get through it. And I always do. 

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Saving Money as a New Mom

I found that when I was pregnant and trying to make sure I had all the newborn supplies just perfect and ready for Baby T, that I got extremely overwhelmed with not only all of the options but also how much they cost. Having a baby is expensive! But there are a few things I learned for saving money and stress along the way.

First was that the most important thing you can give a newborn is love and attention. All they really, truIy need in those first weeks is to be held and fed whether that’s breastfeeding or formula. The only absolutely essential purchases were diapers, wipes and pjs (for Baby T and for myself). 

Second, I saw all over Pinterest and Instagram the fanciest most expensive strollers and baby cushions you can buy and of course it would’ve been nice to have an unlimited budget and get those things. But the stroller we chose (and were gifted, thank you to my in-laws if you’re reading this) that was half the price works just as well and the $20 cushion we bought off of Amazon, which I can’t seem to find again to link, was only used a handful of times and worked great. 

Third, we were fortunate enough that we were gifted a lot of clothing. As tempting as it was to just go crazy and buy more, I found that having just the right amount was perfect. Baby T spent most of her time in pjs anyway. I didn’t have to buy any clothing for her until about three months and even then it was a couple of pairs of pants. It meant doing laundry a little bit more often, but hey, at that beginning I wasn’t doing the laundry anyway so it worked out great!

Finally, we also got some things handed down to us or lent to us including a swing, a bouncer chair and a mini travel bassinet. Not everything we had for Baby T was brand new or in perfect condition but it all worked great and did the job. She grew out of things so quickly too it really wasn’t worth it to buy certain things brand new. 

We had all the basic essentials that we needed for bring her home, but we also figured out along the way some things that we were going to need and some things we needed more of (diaper change pad liners; I will link them here and you can thank me later). In the first three weeks after bringing Baby T home, I think we had Amazon delivering things to our door once or twice a day. Amazon had the best price for everything we realized we needed afterwards.

The fact is, Baby T was, well, a baby, which meant she spat up all over things, pooped through things onto other things. She also really didn’t care what she was being pushed around in or chilling in, or wearing as long as it was safe and comfortable. As worried as I was about having everything ready and perfect for her when she came home, we got by just fine with our essentials and figured everything else out along the way. 

lifestyle

#Adulting

I remember being a teenager (or younger) and seeing people who were my age now (around thirty) and thinking they were so cool and must have their lives all together. I couldn’t wait to be that age. Now that I am that age, it makes me laugh because I definitely am not ‘so cool’ and don’t have my life all together. I think the people who have it all together are the happy older couples you see casually walking down the street enjoying their retirement. That kind of work free, empty-nester, get to spoil the grandkids then give them back and go on nice long trips with no responsibilities life is the kind of life I think we’re all working towards. . 

With that being said, there are a few things I have start doing recently that have made me feel extra adult-y, if that’s even a word. A lot of them have to do with sleep which is something I feel like a lot of adults struggle with. I went through a stretch of time where I was waking up four or five times a night and not even from Baby T! I thought maybe this was my life now, just never sleeping but somehow still getting up in the morning and functioning like a normal person, which is actually what most moms do every single day. But I started doing a few things different, I’m not sure if one of them fixed the problem or a combination of all three but my sleep has improved so much! 

The first thing I did was invest in a new pillow. I consider myself a fairly frugal person, I like to look for good deals when I’m shopping but there are certain things I feel like are a good thing to spend money on and I have officially added a pillow to that list. I would always buy a cheap $20 pillow and not think too much about it, a pillow is just a pillow after all. But I started waking up every morning with a really bad neck ache, you know, like an adult. I finally decided to invest in a good pillow from Amazon that had good support for side and back sleepers. I am not even lying when I tell you this, the very next morning my morning neck ache was gone. Even still, this pillow is amazing. I will link it for you here incase you’re interested, I am not sponsored by the pillow company although if they want to send me more free pillows for recommending them I wouldn’t complain. 

Another thing I purchased that I did actually look for a good deal on was a pair of silk sleeping masks. I just bought them from Amazon, I think they were about $10 for a pair, but I just wanted to try them out to see if they would work. Since I’ve had them I’ve used them every single night. I didn’t realize how bright our bedroom still was during the night and early morning. There’s a little blue light on the tv when it’s turned off, the green light from the baby monitor (that turns red when she’s crying, so red means bad) and we only had blinds on our windows so even the earliest morning light was coming in. Having the sleeping mask obviously blocks this all out and I think it forces me to keep my eyes closed so I’m not just looking around the room when I’m trying to go back to sleep. We have also, since then, put up some curtains in our room which has helped my husband to sleep better as well. 

The last sleep related thing I’ve done is start using an oil diffuser every night. I’m not a huge believer in everything everyone says about essential oils but I do think certain ones can help in certain situations. I put two drops of lavender oil and three drops of eucalyptus and it does help me to wind down for the night. If the room is filled with those smells it’s like I know it’s time for bed now. I got my diffuser and oils both for free from my mom because she bought some new ones and was kind enough to share her old one and I’ve been using them pretty much every night since then. 

My last adult-y thing I started doing is probably something I should have started a long time ago. I have started to make sure that I moisturize my face, legs and arms a lot more than I used to. A few years ago I started breaking out with a really bad angry red rash on my eyelids and neck. I went to the dermatologist and doctor and we could never find out exactly what it was so I kind of experimented with a few things to figure it out. I though maybe it was the moisturizer I was using on my face so I switched that out and I had also read that it could be cause from extreme dry skin. So not only did I buy a new face moisturizer, I also bought a nighttime one with different ingredients and I religiously use them both everyday. I’m happy to tell you that my face has not broken out since I started doing that and usually the dry winter was when it would happen the worst, and I’ve still been in the clear. I also found my legs would be so dry but I was usually too lazy or rushed to worry about putting moisturizer on them. The only time I would think of it was before bed but if you’ve ever put the wrong kind of moisturizer on your legs and then climbed into bed you know sometimes it just feels weird. I bought an inexpensive bottle of good moisturizer that was quick drying that I just throw on my arms and legs after I shower so I don’t even have to think about it for the rest of the day, and my skin has thanked me for it. 

In conclusion, I may not have it all together like thirteen year old me thought, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of the adulting thing especially since I’m quite proud of these new discoveries in my life. Like I said with the changes I made to my sleep routines, I can’t say whether it was one specific thing that really made the difference or a combination of all three. Either way, I still obsess over my new pillow. I think when I start raving about my new vacuum to all my friends I’ll really hit full adult status. 

Momblog

Picky Eating Runs in the Family

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

If you were to ask my parents if I was a picky eater growing up they would laugh and say I was the pickiest eater in the world. While that’s no longer true (I have learned to explore lots of new delicious foods), I have learned that picky eating most definitely runs in the family. Baby T started eating solids at about 6 months. She was pretty open at first to trying different things but she quickly discovered what she liked and didn’t like. Once that started, she was even more hesitant to even start trying new things. She ate a lot of sweet potato and avocado and not much else. 

After a couple of months of this I start to get stressed and frustrated about her not eating anything new, I would try so many different recipes and purée pretty much anything in sight until my husband finally convinced me that buying store-bought baby food was not the end of the world. I gave in and found that there are a lot of good varieties so at least then she started eating some different foods disguised with the foods she liked. 

Fast forward a few more months to where she’s starting to eat proper meals and I am telling you this girl is stubborn. She could be so hungry and still would not even look at a piece of meat (don’t worry we don’t make her go hungry I’m just saying, this is how much she detests what we try to give her). Her favourite meals, of which there are three at the moment, are a cheese quesadilla, a peanut butter sandwich and yogurt mixed with defrosted frozen blueberries. I’ve found little secret ways of making these at least a bit more nutritious like sneaking little pieces of meat into the quesadilla or using high fat and high protein greek yogurt for the yogurt and berries. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, there’s a fourth meal she likes that’s extra nutritious and easy to make; chickpea pasta. It’s full of protein and she eats it right up… half of the time. 

She does at least love snacks, so like I said she’s not going hungry. She’s a fan of pretty much any fruit she can get her hands on and cucumbers, crackers and humus. Funnily enough she also doesn’t mind tuna which to me seems like such a weird thing for her to like considering chicken breast disgusts her. But when the time is right, for her, she will eat tuna with a little bit of lemon and pepper sprinkled on or when it’s in my sandwich and she just wants to eat what I’m eating. Also pizza, but again, mostly when it’s mine.

In the span of a few paragraphs I have honestly listed all the foods Baby T is willing to eat. I know that my picky eating lasted about 20 years of my life so I can’t say I don’t understand where she’s coming from. Still, we have started to put some of what we’re eating on her plate first with some sort of snack that she likes to give her the chance to try something new, then if she doesn’t at least we gave it our best shot. If you have a picky eater and have found ways to sneak things like meat and veggies into their diet please tell me all your secrets! 

Momblog

Spilling the Tea on Mom Feelings…

Photo by Olga Mironova on Pexels.com

When we planned on having a baby, I had this vision in my head of what it would look like. I knew there would be a major lack of sleep and days where the baby would just cry and cry, I thought I had an idea of how hard it could be while also knowing it would make my life so much better and brighter. 

The latter half has always been true. Baby T brightens my world every day when she smiles her big toothy grin at me, the endless snuggles at the beginning when she was a newborn were all I ever wanted and she has turned into such an affectionate cuddly girl even as she’s gotten older. 

There are times though where I feel like being a good mom doesn’t necessarily come naturally. I find myself thinking that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mom, or maybe feeling like I shouldn’t have ever had kids because I feel like I am not as happy as I imagine other moms are. It’s not that I want to feel that way, it nearly brings me to tears every time and makes me feel guilty. 

I don’t know if I can even blame it on social media, I would say I follow moms who are pretty open about the ups and the downs. I think I just assumed I would always be happy as a mom even through the hard times but that’s just not the case. It doesn’t mean I don’t love Baby T or that I regret having her, I can’t even imagine a life without her now. 

I guess it’s just a realization that being a mom is actually even harder than I thought it would be. It’s not impossible to feel lonely even though you’re barely ever alone. The spontaneous and easy going life you led before is over, now you have to actually plan ahead and make sure you pack enough supplies for whatever you’re doing. Time ‘alone’, like going to the gym or to the spa, needs to be carefully planned and timed with babysitters and nap schedules. 

Even when you do have that time, you spent all of it worrying and thinking about them. It’s commonly said that having kids is like having your heart walk around outside your body open to the world that you just want to keep safe from everything. 

These are all things I have been feeling for a while and just couldn’t put into words. Usually it’s after I feel like it wasn’t a good enough or fun enough day for either of us. But every morning we wake up, she gives me the same big toothy grin and says ‘hi’ in the sweetest little voice as I walk in the room. Regardless of how I feel like I’m failing, she doesn’t seem to notice. She hugs me just as tight on the good days as the bad, and gives just as many kisses. 

Even though it’s hard to shake these feelings, she proves to me everyday that she loves me no matter what and makes me feel like there’s no one else in the world who could do a better job of being her mom. I guess I just need to keep letting her remind me of that and learn to accept it as the truth for myself.

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Making the Most of My Time With My One Year Old

People always say to cherish each moment with your kids because they grow up so fast but some days that’s a little harder to do than others. I have mentioned before it can get a little boring day in and day out with Baby T, that goes for both of us. If she’s playing quietly I’ll sometimes look at my phone and start on a scrolling spree on Instagram or Pinterest, not that I’m saying that’s a terrible thing, but I have found the more often that I try to be engaged with her the faster and happier the day is. 

Some days, I just leave my phone on a shelf somewhere out of reach for both Baby T and leave the ringer on so that if someone does try to contact me I hear it, but that way I don’t just have my phone in my hand for me to scroll through aimlessly. 

Another thing I have found is that we both get frustrated if I try to plan a fun activity for us to try and she doesn’t like it and it doesn’t go as planned. So even though sometimes we do try some different activities like baking, colouring or playing with play-doh, we don’t make as big a thing about it. It’s usually not planned the night before and built up to be this big fun thing, it just happens. It puts less pressure on me to plan a day of activities, and less pressure on her to love what we do. Our days flow more organically that way which is kind of how we roll. 

I will say that Baby T’s Nanny who babysits a couple of days a week does play a day full of activities and she loves it. She’s a baby with many sides to her so it’s really cool to see how she interacts differently with different people and have a special relationship with each one. 

Finally, when Baby T was born we tried really hard not to let her watch any screens. We didn’t want her to be attached to them and also believed that it was too much stimulation for her little brain. We planned on not letting her watch shows until she was one a half years old; that lasted about ten months. Now, Baby T and I will sometimes just sit on the couch cuddling watching Frozen 2 or Lady and The Tramp and I don’t feel bad about it. When she’s done watching she’ll happily get up and go play again but sometimes we just need that quiet time together to just relax. 

It is hard to cherish each moment when every day at home feels the same, especially during a pandemic, but these are some ways I have found to make the most of the time I get to spend with Baby T. 

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Blog Challenge: A Book I Loved

I skipped a few on the Blog Challenge and jumped right to this one. I’ve been a bit of a serial reader lately and have been through a lot of books, but most recently I read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. 

It’s a story of a family in the 70s who pack up and move to Alaska with no money and no outdoors skills. The father it a Vietnam War Veteran and Prisoner of War who has PTSD and because it’s in the 60s there’s not any awareness of the mental affects those things can have on a person. He takes his anger out on his wife and when they move to Alaska they realize that there is more danger in their cabin during the winter months than there is outside. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, my husband bought it for me for our anniversary because he thought the fact that they were moving to the last frontier sounded pretty cool and he had seen it was on a lot of the top book lists. It’s probably one of the longest books I’ve read in a long time so between working and taking care of Baby T it took me some time to finish it. 

Even though it was long, it kept me intrigued the whole time. It made my jaw drop, it made me laugh and it made me cry my eyes out multiple times which is something a book hasn’t made me do in a long time (despite reading a lot of good books lately).  

My husband kept looking at me saying, “I’m sorry I bought you such a sad book”, but I told him that means it’s a good book when it makes you feel something. I also added that as long as it has a happy ending everything will be okay. 

I won’t spoil it for you whether it does have a happy ending or not, but I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a roller coaster read that gives you all the feels. 

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The Perfect Getaway

We just recently got back from a week away, the perfect week away I would say. We booked our favourite cottage in Calabogie, Ontario back in November before there were any talks of a second lockdown. We planned to go with two of our closest couple friends, one of whom has a baby boy who is only a week and five days older than Baby T. 

As the date got closer for us to leave, it was very touch and go whether we would be able to still go on the trip. With the lockdown, there were no short term rentals allowed and also you weren’t allowed to see anyone outside of your household. Thankfully, the week before we were leaving, the region that the cottage is in was put into green zone (meaning short term rentals were allowed again, and gatherings of up to ten people) and our region was put into orange zone (which also allows gatherings of up to ten people) so we were good to go! 

The cottage is on Black Donald Lake which is just over a five hour drive away for us. I was very nervous about how Baby T would do on the drive but she was amazing! She didn’t sleep as long as I was hoping but she was perfectly content to sit in her carseat and watch Frozen 2 and Cocomelon the whole way there.

The cottage itself is amazing. We’ve been there a number of times now and walking in the front door felt like walking into our second home. There are so many memories from there before having kids and we were so excited to make new memories with the kids this time around. 

After being away from people for so long it did take Baby T some time to adjust to a full house and having another baby around, but eventually she was fine venturing off on her own and giving her little friend some bigs hugs and kisses (we gotta watch out for this girl in the future). 

Most days included a walk outside and some tobogganing, day drinking for the adults only of course, and snow man building. I’ll share a picture of the fire the other two girls built in the snow that made for the perfect afternoon outside with some warmth and whiskey sipping looking out over the frozen lake.

The babies were on the exact same schedule so nap time allowed for some Mario 3D World playing, board games or even time for us adults to catch up on our sleep and rest. After bedtime, if we had energy left after a full day with the kids, we would play ping pong in the basement just like old times. 

All in all it was a beautiful relaxing week with friends that was much needed after the long couple of months we’ve all had. It was nice to spend all day everyday with no masks on, no one else around us and barely even thinking about Covid; a little piece of normalcy that will get us through the next few months again. 

lifestyle

Closing Out Lockdown Number 2

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We have just come to the end of our second lockdown; our region has been moved into “Orange” phase which means we can see up to ten people indoors and stores and restaurants are allowed to reopen. 

It’s very exciting because as much as I had high hopes of staying positive for this lockdown, it was harder to do that this time around. The first lockdown we played card games or something in the evening, this time we spent most of our evenings binge watching tv shows (like the ones in my last post) and I have to admit I played more Nintendo Switch video games than I would like to admit. We just tried to do whatever we could to pass the time. 

Now, moving forward we will get to see some of our close friends and family again. I worry a lot about how all this will have an affect on Baby T psychologically, the fact the she can’t socialize with other kids the same way or go to group activities, so I’m happy she’ll at least get to see some people again.There’s no way to really tell right now, we just do the best we can with what we have and hope it’ll get better soon. Comment below if you’re a mom also stressing about this everyday. 

I also wanted to mention that there will be no posts next week, I am taking a week off of work and including a week off of posting in that. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some fun new content written to share with you when I get back! I’ve got some good ones in the works, or at least I think they’re good ones. You’ll have to tell me! 

Enjoy your day wherever you are and I’ll see you all back here on March 2nd! 

lifestyle

Lockdown Binge-Worthy TV Shows

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One habit I think a lot of us picked during lockdown is watching more TV and there are some specific shows that I found were binge-worthy in the evenings after Baby T goes to bed. 

First is The Mandalorian on Disney+, I know there’s a lot of controversy right now over Gina Carano being fired by the network (it’s trending right now) and I have to say her character was one of my favourites, but I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan my whole life. It’s one of the things my brother and I still bond over. None of my friends are into it at all, but that doesn’t bother me too much. The first season of The Mandalorian was slow, but the second season was so much better. It was fast-paced and exciting, and without giving away any spoilers (I somehow managed to avoid all spoilers even though I waited until all the episodes were out before watching), the ending would make any true Star Wars fan wipe a little tear from their eye. 

Second is along the same sci-fi lines; Star Trek Discovery. In Canada, I watched this on CTV sci-fi and I am fully caught up to the end of season three. Again, Star Trek is a huge part of my childhood, even though I didn’t like it at the time my brother would make us watch it every day after school. Now I think back on those days with fond memories and a love for Star Trek that is probably more nostalgia than anything else. Discovery is one of the newest series of the Star Trek genre and it of course has amazing graphics and intricate storylines that keep you on the edge of your seat. It definitely makes the basis of my love for Star Trek more deep seated than fond childhood memories. 

Third would have to be Superstore on Netflix. My husband discovered this one and we’ve been watching it every night to wind down before bed. We’re huge fans of The Office and Parks and Recreation which are very similar. It’s created by Justin Spitzer who was also a producer and writer on The Office so it has very similar humour in it and even some of the characters remind you of The Office characters. Definitely worth the watch if you need a good laugh!

My final pick would be WandaVision on Disney+. Not every episode is out yet so you can’t binge it all, but if you haven’t watched it yet I would definitely binge the first six episodes that are out. I’m a fan of the Marvel series and I wouldn’t say Wanda was one of my favourite characters but boy this series surprised me! It really doesn’t make sense for the first couple of episode but then slowly and surely it all comes together and now I can’t wait for each new episode! 

We all have a lot more free time on our hands even as parents, you might as well fill that time watching some really great new shows! 

lifestyle

My Favourite Influencers

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Social media has the ability to either make or break our days but we always have the choice of what we look at on Instagram, YouTube or Blogs that we’re following. I have always tried to make sure that the people I follow on these platforms have a positive impact on my mindset and I regularly go through and remove people who’s content isn’t doing that anymore. Sometimes that means taking a break from it as a whole which can be really refreshing, but whenever I come back there are some that I always enjoy following even years down the road. I’ll list a few of them and include their names in the platforms they have as well as why they’re my favourites. 

Lydia Elise Millen

Lydia is a blogger, YouTuber and Instagrammer in the UK. I’ve been following her for a few years now and even though we have nothing in common I find her content very enjoyable to watch. She’s very posh and buys brands that I could never afford but she still seems very down to earth. 

Her and her husband live in the countryside with their Bengal Cat and new Dachshund pup and their house (at least on YouTube) looks gorgeous and her decor style is right up my alley. Again, a lot of what she buys is not in my budget, but I’ve been able to get some more affordable options that are inspired by her choices. A little shout out to her husband Ali Gordon as well who does amazing creative content with Reels, definitely worth a follow as well! She also has a blog which I haven’t gotten to read a lot, but the posts that I have read are very well written. She’s a very positive and lighthearted person and that’s why I continue to enjoy her social media.

Instagram – @lydiamillen 

YouTube – @Lydia Elise Millen 

Blog – lydiaelisemillen.com

Victoria Magrath (In The Frow)

Victoria is very similar to Lydia Millen but more fashion focused. She is also in the UK and has the cutest little dachshund named Boe. Her style is very vibrant and colourful which is not really my style and again very out of my price range, but she pulls it off beautifully. She’s a very positive upbeat person and very creative with her content. Her Reels on Instagram is what caught my interest the most, I know Reels are fairly new but she has already mastered the art of them.

She has a big educational background in fashion marketing and it really shines through in her content and her name is actually very clever (I didn’t know what it meant until one of her recent Q&As on her Insta Stories). Frow is apparently a fashion world term for front row (at a fashion show), so In The Frow is definitely suitable for her social media platforms. Her blogs are also very enjoyable to read, she’s got a very conversational way of writing that I hope to master one day. 

Instagram – @inthefrow

YouTube – @Inthefrow

Blog – inthefrow.com

Shawn Johnson 

Most of the world knows Shawn Johnson as the USA Olympic Athlete, and now she’s a mom to a beautiful baby girl with baby number two on the way. I started following her when I was pregnant with Baby T and she was pregnant with her baby Drew. She gave birth a few months before me and the YouTube videos that her and her husband put out were so helpful with so many things. 

I think the nice thing about following her is that we’re about the same age and we’re in the same stage as life so the information and tips that she shares are very relatable and helpful. She’s not afraid to show you the good, the bad and the ugly and I think we all need someone like that on our feeds. She also just beat Covid-19 while being pregnant which is pretty bad ass. 

Instagram – @shawnjohnson

YouTube – @The East Family

Heidi Somers (Buffbunny)

I’ve been following Heidi since back in my gym crazy days. My husband and I used to go 4 nights a week together to the gym and I would spend a lot of my free time looking up new workouts to try and learning from people like Heidi who have been doing it a lot longer than I had (this was before Baby T). Not only does she write great workout programs (some of which are free), she also started a clothing brand in her house which has now grown to a thriving business called Buffbunny Collection. They make, hands down, the best leggings I’ve ever purchased. 

Not only is she a killer Boss Lady, she also seems very sweet and positive in all of her content. She’s always smiling and joking around which makes her YouTube channel very easy to watch. She’s also from Alaska originally so when she goes to visit her family the footage on her videos is breathtaking! I wouldn’t say I have a lot in common with her anymore since I don’t go to the gym as much but she’s still one of my favourites to follow and her latest free workout program is a goodie!

Instagram – @buffbunny/@buffbunnycollection

YouTube – @Heidi Somers 

Website – buffbunny.com

lifestyle, Momblog

6 Things Every Mom Needs to Hear

Since becoming a mom, I have realized that it is a lot more of a roller coaster than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that it wasn’t going to be perfect sunshine and butterflies all the time, but the lows can be lower than I thought they could go. At times I feel like this is just a me thing, or because of the Postpartum OCD but I really don’t think it is, it’s just more of an unspoken thing because it’s hard as a mom to admit that you’re struggling. There’s so much pressure to be a fun, happy mom and to make everything look easy and the pressure is was makes you feel even worse when you feel like you’re failing to hit the targets. 

On the low days, there’s a list of things that goes through my head of what I would tell a friend who was feeling the same way, things that I feel like I need to reaffirm in myself or be reassured of by someone else. They’re thoughts and feelings that I have that I feel guilty of having, but really shouldn’t because they don’t mean I’m a bad mom or that I don’t love my baby. So for anyone who needs it, here’s a few things every mom needs to hear: 

  1. It’s okay that you need a break. It’s okay that you feel like you want to pack a weekend bag and go sit in a hotel room by yourself for two days and turn your phone off, binge watch movies or play video games all weekend so you can reset. Even if you don’t get to actually do this, it’s okay that it’s what you dream of doing. That doesn’t make you a bad mom. 
  2. It’s okay to have a cry on a bad day even if it’s in front of your baby. It’s not going to mess them up, it doesn’t mean you’re a helpless mother. As long as you’re both in a safe space and you can take a minute to have a cry while still smiling and loving your baby, it’s totally okay. That doesn’t make you a bad mom. 
  3. It’s okay that you still have passions and hobbies that you want to do, and that you get annoyed if your baby doesn’t nap or doesn’t nap long enough for you to have time to do these things. We all need time to unwind, as mothers sometimes we don’t get that time when we need it most, and it’s okay to be a little annoyed about it. Just set it aside, take a deep breath and save it for later. 
  4. It’s okay that you double guess everything you’re doing with your baby and think maybe they’re not having as much fun with you, or that they’ll never eat anything you make them because they’re a pickier eater than you are. They’ll eat if they’re hungry, just keep offering them things. It’s okay if all they want for dinner is snacks and a fruit pack. And you’re their mother which automatically defaults you as their favourite person in the whole world.
  5. It’s okay that the thought of having another baby makes you want to hide and cry because you feel like as much as you love your first baby you’re just not cut out to be a mom and that some days you really wish you didn’t have the responsibility of even one, let alone two, babies because it can drain you so much sometimes. And that the thought of being pregnant again feels more like a chore than a beautiful miracle. This doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby (or that you won’t love additional babies should you choose to have them) and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. 
  6. It’s okay that you worry all the time about your baby, not just with their health but also about how they’ll be when they’re older. It’s okay that you see the little spark of defiance and stubbornness in a one year old and all you can see is a rebellious, angsty teenager who fights with you on everything. Or that you see the things other babies their age are doing and worry because they’re not doing that yet. Every baby is different. 

These are six of the things I try to convince myself are true on a bad day. If you’re also having a bad day and reading this, take it to heart, you’re not alone in your struggle through motherhood. 

lifestyle

Blog Challenge: A Book I Loved

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We’re back! I had a lovely little break which I will talk about more in Thursday’s post, but for now here’s another Blog Challenge Post!

I skipped a few on the Blog Challenge and jumped right to this one. I’ve been a bit of a serial reader lately and have been through a lot of books, but most recently I read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. 

It’s a story of a family in the 70s who pack up and move to Alaska with no money and no outdoors skills. The father it a Vietnam War Veteran and Prisoner of War who has PTSD and because it’s in the 60s there’s not any awareness of the mental affects those things can have on a person. He takes his anger out on his wife and when they move to Alaska they realize that there is more danger in their cabin during the winter months than there is outside. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, my husband bought it for me for our anniversary because he thought the fact that they were moving to the last frontier sounded pretty cool and he had seen it was on a lot of the top book lists. It’s probably one of the longest books I’ve read in a long time so between working and taking care of Baby T it took me some time to finish it. 

Even though it was long, it kept me intrigued the whole time. It made my jaw drop, it made me laugh and it made me cry my eyes out multiple times which is something a book hasn’t made me do in a long time (despite reading a lot of good books lately).  

My husband kept looking at me saying, “I’m sorry I bought you such a sad book”, but I told him that means it’s a good book when it makes you feel something. I also added that as long as it has a happy ending everything will be okay. 

I won’t spoil it for you whether it does have a happy ending or not, but I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a roller coaster read that gives you all the feels. 

travel

Travel Series: Myrtle Beach

My parents started going to Myrtle Beach when I was in high school. I went with them for two or three years and then after I got married I didn’t go with them for about five years. Once we could afford to take a couple of trips a year we decided to go with them every other year and in the time that I missed it felt like it hadn’t changed at all. It is still one of my favourite places to go back to over and over again. 

With that said, I’m a creature of habit, so for me going to the same places, eating at the same restaurants and sitting at the same spot on the beach year after year is a dream come true (I get it from my Dad). 

We always stay at the Anderson Ocean Club with my parents when we go, it’s right on the ocean and close to the best shopping and restaurants. There’s not a lot of nightlife but the beach is where we spend most of our days and the mixture of sun and fresh air usually makes me ready for bed at 9:00 pm anyway. 

It’s probably the most relaxing and unwinding vacation you can take. The people we go with, including my parents, are very laid back and easy going. Everyone makes their way to the beach on their own time schedule (the husbands golf most mornings and make their way down in the afternoons) and if everyone feels like eating at the same place they go together, if they don’t, they go separately and no one is worried. When I think of Myrtle Beach I think of sitting on a beach chair, music playing, staring out at the ocean and thinking of absolutely nothing at all. 

A big part of our trip is the restaurants, and to me, it’s some of the best food I’ve ever had. My husband and I have found a couple of low-key places that we love, like the burgers at River City Cafe and the giant margaritas and burritos at Banditos Cantina, both within walking distance of our hotel. We always visit Carrabbas, Gordon Biersch and Greg Norman’s (I know a couple of those are chain restaurants but they’re not ones that we have in Canada so to us they’re a Myrtle Beach specialty). One year, one of the couples that go every year took us to Margaritas Mexican Restaurant which looks like an 80’s diner from the outside but we were assured it was home to some really good authentic Mexican food. It was amazing Mexican food and amazing gold tequila and true to its name amazing margaritas. 

It might not seem like the most special or exciting place in the world, but everything seems to slow down when we’re there and isn’t a break like that something we all need sometimes? To me it’s good beaches, good food and drinks, amazing people and one of my favourite places. 

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lifestyle, Momblog

How to Get Through a Sleep Regression

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I want to say wine, but sometimes that’s not always the answer. 

Sleep regressions sound like a really bad thing… and they can be. A baby that sleeps pretty much perfectly for months can suddenly decide they want to keep you up all hours of the night. Here’s a few ways to get through them and keep your sanity and also a couple of things to keep in mind while they’re happening. 

When Do They Happen? 

I had read that sleep regressions can happen at 6 months, 8 months, 12 months, the list kind of goes on. If you’re wondering if your baby might be in a sleep regression they’re probably not because when it’s actually happening you know 100% you’re in the middle one. Baby T had a sleep regression when she was 8 months old, she was going through a lot of developmental leaps at that time as well as teething and a growth spurt. She also had a cold and managed to fall and twist her ankle while playing; it was basically the perfect storm. She went from going to bed on her own and sleeping 12 hours a night, to refusing to go to sleep and waking up three or four times a night. We would have to put blankets next to her crib and sleep on the floor next to her just to get her to sleep.

Sleep Training 

Obviously she was going through a lot at the time so we did give in and coddle her to get her through it, but after three weeks of barely any sleep we needed to change some things. We went back to sticking to our bedtime routines, made sure she was nice and comfortable and made sure she was sleepy. We decided to try a gentle form of sleep training where we did pop ins to let her know she wasn’t alone and to coach her through it. The first night was awful, she cried and cried and it broke my heart but in the end she went to sleep on her own and slept through the night for the first time in weeks. It only took one more night of pop ins and she was back to being an amazing sleeper. 

You know your baby best and if sleep training isn’t for you or your baby that’s 100% your choice. With Baby T it worked great and we’re very happy we did it. It takes a lot of patience and even though the crying is so hard to hear we had to make sure we were the calm soothing ones in the situation. I always took a deep calming breath before going in for a pop in because if she could tell that I was freaking out it would make her worse. 

When it Happens Again

Now she’s reached 15 months and has more teething and has been having a rougher time sleeping again. We did coddle her again because we understand if she’s in pain from teething it would be hard to her to sleep through the night on her own, but we reached a certain point again where she cried out of habit instead of actually needing us so we started the process again and even though it really really sucks its better for our family in the end. Everyone is way happier when everyone is sleeping soundly. 

If you’re in the middle of a sleep regression or sleeping trouble hang in there, do what’s best for you and your baby and it will eventually get better (hopefully before they’re teenagers). 

lifestyle, Momblog

The Mom Bod

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The Mom Bod is something I think all moms know and stress about. It doesn’t matter how fit you are before your pregnancy it’s still a struggle to get used to the changes in your body after giving birth, no matter what there are differences. 

I know some moms bounce back pretty quickly from breastfeeding, and I fully anticipated this happening to me as well but it didn’t. I know some people will probably hate me for saying this but I’m not someone who struggled with losing weight before, I inherited my dads Dutch metabolism. Since having Baby T it’s something I struggle with physically and mentally, accepting that I do need to watch what I eat and try and exercise even though being a mom is already demanding on its own. 

It feels like everyone pays attention to how you look after your a mom and how you’ve bounced back from your baby body and sometimes it doesn’t matter how much people tell you that you look great, unless you believe it yourself you never feel that way. Women do have so much pressure from social media and entertainment to look a certain way even after having babies and it can be difficult to love yourself even though you know what amazing things your body has done to grow and nurture a tiny human. 

I think there should always be a balance between wanting to take care of yourself and be healthy, not doing extreme diets or exercising to the point of burning yourself out and accepting your new body as it is and appreciating the things it’s accomplished. Your baby will never look at your body and think anything negative about it, they see their comfort and their home. 

A mom bod isn’t something you should be ashamed about, but do what feels best to you. If you feel like trying to better yourself and push yourself a little to make yourself feel better then do that! If you have accepted your mom bod for what it is that’s amazing! We don’t have to be pressured to feel either of those ways, just do you, boo. 

lifestyle, Momblog, travel

How’s It Going?

We are just over three weeks into our lockdown here in Ontario, it was supposed to be ending January 23rd but they gave lockdown a new name (Stay At Home Order) and from that point extended it until at least February 11th. How’s that going, you ask?

At the beginning of lockdown I had plans of how to get through it and stay positive but that’s not always easy to do. You don’t realize you’ve taken for granted so much in your life until it’s all considered illegal activity and after a while it does start to get to you no matter how hard you try. Through lockdown I’ve learned to take every day one at a time, even though almost every day seems exactly the same. If one day is worse than the others I try to wake up the next morning and start fresh, finding something to smile about first thing in the morning like breakfast with Baby T and sharing tea and coffee with my husband before we start our day. 

At work, I can tell that the lockdown is getting to everyone, employees and customers. I work in a very small branch and with new policies and procedures that include screening customers at the front door it’s obvious that there is a new tension in the environment. As someone who stays as far away from conflict as possible, I find some of my days are very uneasy trying to avoid bothering people.

I consider myself lucky to be able to go to work part time at this point because at least it gets me out of the house and interacting with a handful of people, stay at home moms have it the hardest right now I think with no play groups to go to and no stores to go walk your baby around in. Even the two days I’m by myself with Baby T, I struggle to find things in the house to entertain her and with no where to go except for maybe a walk if you feel like bundling up in 5, and under, degree weather.

It feels like it puts more pressure on me to be more creative with activities for her but that’s hard when you’re not really a crafty or creative person. Sometimes I can sense that she’s as bored sitting at home as I am. 

All in all, I know this is a pretty down and depressing blog but also probably one I’ve needed to write for a while. It’s hard to put into verbal words sometimes how I’m feeling but putting them out there in writing is always very therapeutic. If you’re feeling the same way and need to put it down in writing feel free to put it in the comments, no judgements here. Also, have a look at my previous blog of getting through a second lockdown for a refresher of ideas and motivation to be positive, I might do the same myself. I will leave it linked below.

Speaking of writing being therapeutic, since I switched to only posting once a week I haven’t been writing as often as I’d like to. I have lots of content prepared for the next few weeks and I am already writing into posts for the end of February, so I have decided I would like to try posting twice a week… Monday’s and Thursday’s at 5 pm. That’s a bit exciting isn’t it? You get to hear more from me, hopefully less depressing!

Thanks for reading and keep your chin up (telling myself the very same thing in the mirror). 

https://evangelyntavares.ca/2020/12/27/lockdown-number-two/