It’s A Girl!

Well, it’s official! We’re going to be a family with two little girls, three if you count the dog. Baby #2 is a little girl and we are so excited. Surprised, but excited. Let me explain. 

Through this whole pregnancy I have been so sure I was having a boy. I felt so different from the last pregnancy and I had multiple dreams I was having a boy. How do you not believe it if you’re dreaming it? I had such a strong gut feeling I was literally already thinking of it as a boy. We’ve had a boy name picked out since we first started talking about kids, and I thought I was finally going to get to use it (before anyone else did).  

We decided to do a low-key gender reveal just for the three of us. On the day of my 20 week ultrasound, I sat in the dark room watching our baby on the screen. First of all, I was a bit sad because with this particular place and the current COVID-19 restrictions I was there by myself for the first time. It was emotional I’m not going to lie. Still, I sat there looking at the screen thinking to myself, “Yep, that definitely looks like a boy.” 

When it came time for her to look, she turned the screen off so I couldn’t see. Rightly so, because if I had seen anything that resembled a ‘you know what’ I would’ve written the answer down in the envelope myself. She turned the screen back on and continued to show me our baby. Then she said, and I quote, “There is the umbilical cord, once it falls off that’s where HIS belly button will be”. So obviously I thought she’d slipped up and that was it, it was a boy. 

I took the secret unopened envelope to the nearest Party City Store. I picked out a gender reveal box (which I can link here) and asked the clerk to please fill it with whatever colour was in the envelope, which I was sure would be blue. I said I would be back in half an hour but would call first so I wouldn’t walk in while they were doing it. Didn’t want to risk seeing those blue balloons before my husband. 

Nearby was a Home Sense so like any woman I went to browse around while I waited. I saw in the book section a Star Wars book. A little back story to this, I grew up with my brother watching Star Wars. I love and have always loved Star Wars and I just happen to be the only one within 100km of my home who feels that way. So I’m of course thinking if I have a boy I will get him all these Star Wars things and he will be my Star Wars baby (without telling my husband who can’t stand Star Wars). Here was this Star Wars book, and I thought, I’m so sure it’s a boy I’m just going to go ahead and buy this. I did buy it and hid it in my work bag so my husband wouldn’t see it and think I peeked in the envelope. 

Fast forward to around dinner time the same day. The box is in our house with the answer inside that we and our families have waited for. We take it outside and set up our cameras to document our reactions. After convincing Adds that the box is not scary, we countdown to the big reveal. Again, I was 1000% expecting to see blue, and what popped out? Well you can probably guess by now it was not blue. 

I don’t think shocked even covers how surprised I was. We were so happy but obviously there’s the realization that you feel like your body was tricking you this whole time. Not a cruel trick of course because two girls is just as good, but like a ‘ha ha I got you!’ trick. 

We both said after, we were happy we decided just to do it the three of us because we took the whole evening to process the surprise and let it sink in. Here’s the thing too, I’m only planning on having two kids. So this obviously means there will never be a boy in our little family, unless there’s a big oopsie in our future (if we do have an oopsie, and you’re my third child reading this in the future I do love you very much but yes you were an oopsie). It was very bittersweet. 

Once things settled though, we thought about all the fun it will be to have two girls, how much easier and less expensive it will be since we already have everything for a girl, and how much she is going to show us that this is exactly how our little family was meant to be. One day we’ll look back and laugh thinking that there was no way a boy could ever replace our beautiful second baby girl. 

Oh and I will teach them both to love Star Wars as much as I do. 

Mom Friends

I recently sat down at a table full of young moms (and one first time mom-to-be). The dads were all in charge of the kids which meant they were on the couch watching Cocomelon and we were trying to share our “mommy” wisdom with the new mom-to-be. 

Through the conversation I came to the realization that there’s a lot of things moms don’t openly share with each other. I don’t know if it’s fear of not holding up to the social standards for moms, otherwise known as the ‘Instagram Mom’, or that we feel like these less than stellar moments of mom hood are ours and ours alone. 

The truth is, most moms struggle. It’s not always easy to have the full-time responsibility of little humans being dependant on you for everything. We all get frustrated, we all get worn thin and we all lose our patience sometimes. It’s just a part of life. But spending time with other moms helps me realize it isn’t just me who gets burnt out and needs a break more often than I’d like to admit, and it’s not just me who feels like I’m walking a thin line between sanity and insanity during sleep regressions. It happens to the best of us, and we all feel bad about it. 

It’s important to me to take the time to acknowledge this, to know that things won’t always go perfectly. Each day is a new day with Baby T and sometimes all we both need is a little reset. 

So one thing I will always recommend for new moms is get some mom friends who you can have these chats with and bring each other back to your middle grounds. Being a mom doesn’t necessarily get any easier as time goes by but if you have your mom friends by your side you feel a lot more understood and normal. 

Raising A Toddler

There are few things in life that give you equal parts joy and frustration; one of these things is raising a toddler. Baby T is 21 months and has settled into her spunky little personality. Independence is her new favourite activity and most of the time it’s pretty adorable but sometimes it’s a whole new test on patience you didn’t even know you had. 

Temper tantrums are not for the faint of heart and every child is different so dealing with them is different for everybody. I like to think we handle Baby T’s tantrums well but then sometimes they go on and on I start to doubt my abilities (and sanity). We just make sure she’s in a safe space where she can let it out and we stay close by without giving the tantrum the attention she’s looking for. 

We try to let her know that being upset it normal and okay, we all do it we just express it a little differently. Once she’s calmed down we’ll get her some water and give her a little cuddle. Kids are still humans with feelings they just don’t have the vocabulary to express them yet, so they express being upset and frustrated the only way they know how. 

Sleep regressions can also hit hard at this point. It feels like Baby T hasn’t had a normal sleep (by normal I mean going to sleep on her own and sleeping through the night) in over a month. Unfortunately camping once a month through the summer has definitely not helped as she doesn’t go to sleep on her own in the trailer. By the time we build up to sleep training it’s time to go on another trip. 

Sleep training a toddler who can say “no” when you tell her to lie down and go to sleep is one of the most frustrating defeating things I’ve ever done. I can’t even say it’s been successful or that it works because honestly it hasn’t yet. It’s been a lot of sleepless nights, sitting in her room or rocking her until she falls asleep and being so tired we just bring her to bed with us because she falls asleep faster which means we get to too. 

I feel like I had pretty good patience before, even better when she was a newborn, but the patience you have to develop and force yourself to use with a toddler is way more than I even though possible. 

Like I said though, equal parts joy and frustration. The joy we get from Baby T learning a new skill, learning new words and phrases or even just seeing her thriving and smiling far overshadows the frustrations. So even on the days where it feels like I’m on my last thread of sanity she does something that makes me laugh or smile and it’s like hitting the reset button. Every day is different and gets even better than the last, and that’s what raising a toddler is like. 

The Differences Between Pregnancy Number One and Number Two

We’re officially twelve weeks into my second pregnancy (pause for applause). Baby #2 is now the size of a kiwi and according to my baby app is starting to develop reflexes in it’s little fingers and toes. Hopefully with this new week comes some relief from some of the symptoms I’ve been having which is all part of this post listing the differences between my pregnancy with our first baby and this pregnancy. Let’s get started! 

Morning Sickness (Evening Sickness?) 

With Baby #1 I definitely had morning sickness throughout the day. I had some relief from soda crackers and arrowroot cookies, but after a few bouts of throwing up I went to my doctor for the prescription the that helps with this. It was a lifesaver with her, I managed to have somewhat of a normal life for the first three months. 

Baby #2 I started having really bad nausea all day, I started taking the medicine as well but it doesn’t seem to be doing the trick this time around. I’m fine most of the day but right after dinner, no matter what I eat or do I have terrible nausea that forces me to just go to bed early every night (not the worst thing in the world I know), but it’s definitely put a damper on these first few months. 

Energy Levels

It does feel like I have a lot less energy this time around but when you think about it; with Baby #1 I had no obligations other than work and keeping the house tidy. Now I have both of those things on top of taking care of a one and half year old, it’s no wonder I’m more tired. I think Dan is more tired this time too, probably for the same reason dealing with a one and a half year old and his pregnant tired wife. 

Excitement 

With the first baby it’s a totally different ball game as far as excitement. It’s the first time for everything so it’s all so new and exciting. I used to look at the baby apps everyday learning about everything going on inside, we had the nursery planned and registry done within the first few months, and posting the announcement on Instagram was the most exciting thing. 

Of course it’s still exciting knowing that there’s going to be a new baby in the house but I don’t feel like I really enjoyed being pregnant the last time so going into all that again while taking care of Baby #1 is a lot. There’s also more distractions like finishing our new deck, taking our trailer out for summer camping trips and again, making the most of the time we have left with Baby T as an only child. 

There is guilt that comes with not being quite as excited but it’s not that Baby #2 is any less wanted, it’s just so different. It’s also kind of nice because I did pop so early this time around but thanks to Covid Lockdowns (never thought I’d say those words) we haven’t been seeing anyone other than our family and close friends who we told right away anyway. It’s been the easiest secret to keep and it feels like posting about it on Instagram isn’t as big a deal this time. That being said, of course we are posting it because then if anyone does see me they don’t have to be scared to ask if I’m pregnant for fear it’s just the extra covid 20. 

Gender Reveal 

Like I said, we did a big Gender Reveal with Baby #1 and it was great. We popped a balloon over our heads in front of our closest friends and family and pink confetti fluttered down around us. 

For Baby #2 we do still want to find out the gender, I’m way too much of a planner to not know even though I think experiencing both ways would be pretty cool, I just don’t think I can bring myself to do it. I don’t want a big Gender Reveal for this one. Not only because who knows how many people will even be allowed in one room by that time, but also because I like the idea of something more quiet and intimate. 

Baby #1 agrees with me on this wholeheartedly since she screams and cries whenever she sees the video from her cousins gender reveal, she is not a fan of the exciting balloon pop. Or people to be honest. So since I have her vote, we will most likely be doing something small at a dinner with our parents and siblings. I’m thinking something that involves a cake or cupcake mostly because I would just want to eat it after. 

We still haven’t decided whether Dan and I will find out beforehand and surprise our families or if we will wait for the cupcake too. 

It’s Just Different 

Obviously these two pregnancies have been very different physically and emotionally, but we’re still so excited for everything Baby #2 will bring into our lives. We know that Baby #1 will be the best big sister and a huge help to us, or at least she will be after she adjusts to having a new baby. 

Now, next thing on the list is what do you buy for a second baby when you already have so much baby stuff. Once I figure it out for myself I will pass on this helpful information. 

Happy Blogging Anniversary!

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

I officially reached my one year anniversary of blogging! I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year of writing, especially when I think of where I started with this. When I started writing I was struggling a lot mentally and emotionally with having Postpartum OCD and having a hard time transitioning into my role as a new mom. I felt very lost. 

Now one year later I’m in a lot better place and have more of an understanding of what I was going through, I’ve learned some ways to clear my head on the bad days including writing in this very blog. I also feel more confident and secure in myself as a mom even to the point of becoming pregnant with Baby #2! 

Writing about all these experiences was so helpful to me and my hope in writing them was always to try and help other moms who feel the same. Hopefully I did that somewhere along the way. 

Obviously the blog has changed a lot. We went from lots of sporadic posts, to scheduled posts, to just posting whenever I have time and get to sit down and write. Some of my favourite stories and experiences are in this blog like the travel series, the story of finding out we were pregnant for the first time, buying a trailer, and let’s not forget stories from lockdown (and unlockdown, and lockdown, and stay at home order, and go outside again order) in a global pandemic. 

I really honestly appreciate anyone who has read this blog, even one post, and commented or liked. These never go unnoticed (there’s not a lot of them so trust me they’re really never not noticed). When I started this a year ago I really wasn’t sure where I was going with it or how long it would last, but I can honestly say I’m proud of what I’ve built on here and can’t wait to see what another year brings. 

The One Where I Get Pregnant Again

Well, it’s official! We are having Baby Number Two! If you’ve been reading for a while you know I had a lot of apprehension about having another baby (see my blog post When Your First Labour Leaves You Unsure of a Second), but I honestly knew that we definitely wanted a second baby and I had a feeling my apprehensions wouldn’t get any better the longer we waited. So with that said, even though I’m a little nervous, we’re very excited to be adding another little one to our family. 

By the time I post this I will be a few months along since I didn’t want to announce to the internet something we haven’t announce to all of our friends yet but that’s okay, I’ll catch you up. Today (May 25th) I am five weeks and one day so still a bit early. My due date is around January 24th. I definitely knew very early that I was pregnant again. We were obviously trying so I was looking for early signs and it’s hard to describe but even within the first week I knew; the same thing happened with Baby T. I took the pregnancy test as early as I could and got a positive right away. 

So far I have already popped quite a bit, I’m actually thankful we’re in a pandemic and aren’t really seeing people in person because it would be a tough secret to hide. Not going to lie I thought I might be pregnant with twins because I had to undo the top button of my jeans before I could even take a pregnancy test. We’ve already shared the news with our families and a couple of friends and the rest we will wait another month or two before we do the official announcement. 

My favourite pregnancy apps that I used the first time around have been re-added on my phone including Ovia Pregnancy (the best articles and tips) and Pregnancy + (the best size comparison, and visuals of progress in the baby’s growth). According to these apps, Baby T # 2 is about the size of a smartie and has a little tail.  

As far as symptoms, I’ve just been exhausted and have to pee a lot more (including once during the night that I try to ignore but we all know how that goes). I feel like I’m more tired with this pregnancy than I was with Baby T but that could also be because instead of resting at the end of a work day or taking it easy on a day off I’m still taking care of a one and half-year old. Not that I’m complaining, because she’s honestly a good distraction from the tiredness and occasional nausea I’m already developing. She also motivates me to keep moving which is obviously good for you when you’re pregnant. 

I feel like it’s a boy but I also felt the same way with Baby T, I ended up changing my mind about a week before we did find out she was a girl so we will see if I stick with it this time. We would honestly be happy with either a boy or a girl this time around. I would love to be able to use all of Baby T’s clothes again and I would also love to have one of each in the family. We won’t find out until September so we’ve got some time to sit on it for now. 

Some other exciting news is that my sister-in-law is also expecting her first baby and is due in October! Once again I get to have a pregnancy buddy and our little babies will get to be only three months apart. I’m very happy to share my ‘wisdom’ and already-too-small maternity clothes and bras with her and she’s very happy to share her own new wisdom that I didn’t have before.

We’re going to be making some changes around the house including moving Baby T into a bigger bedroom to open up the nursery for the new baby and creating a kids playroom in our basement. Right now the play area is behind our couch which works good for now, but there are some toys in the bigger upstairs bedroom that will need to be moved downstairs to make way for Baby T’s big girl room. I’ll try and share some of the before and after of these changes as they happen and be sure to share some tips and tricks for Baby #2 including things we’ll be  replacing or changing and old things we’re happy to use again. 

I’m so excited to be able to document this pregnancy and the changes that come with going from a family of three (plus dog) to a family of four (still plus dog).

Summertime in Ontario

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Summer is in full swing now in Ontario which brings a whole new list of fun activities to do. We just finished a huge renovation on our deck in our backyard. The original plan was to keep the structure and redo the deckboards and railings, but upon pulling those things down we discovered we were fortunate the whole deck didn’t crumble down on its own before now. So after having to blow the budget a bit on that project we’re left with a beautiful deck that we can’t wait to make good use of it for the season. 

We’re big fans of smoking meat like pulled pork and ribs, and doing up some good old barbecue food, so one of our plans for the summer is to host some dinner’s for our friends and family in our backyard. 

Another exciting thing we go to do last week was go strawberry picking at a local farm. Baby T of course did lots of sampling and taste testing during the process. She was a very happy girl and we got a ton of strawberries. Needless to say our desserts for that weekend consisted of strawberry themed treats. I did make a delicious apple and strawberry crumble that I found on Pinterest, I will link it here for you as it’s definitely one I’ll be saving for future use. 

There is a small zoo about twenty minutes away from where we live so we went to visit last week as well and ended up getting a seasons pass. We already went back a second time this morning. Baby T loves seeing all the animals but her absolute favourite part is the ‘birdies’ which is a big collection of colourful budgies. She will stand there and stare at them for hours. 

Of course we’re doing things at home too like filling up the paddling pool on a regular basis and eating most of our lunches and dinners outside on the over-budget deck. Last year I also mentioned that we bought a trailer so we have already gone camping for a weekend and have booked places to go once a month from now until September. On our last trip my husband kept saying, “I know you didn’t always like camping but thank you so much for liking it now”. I really do though. It’s easy to pack up the trailer and it’s a very simple relaxing vacation which is what I always prefer. 

That’s all the updates I have for now. I hope your summers are off to a great start too! Kids are just finishing up school so I’m sure there’s lots of planning and activities to be done. They deserve a break after this long year, and so do their teachers! 

Little Humans with Big Personalities

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.com

Something I think we all look for as our babies grow up is the physical similarities to people in our families. Baby T came out looking exactly like her daddy at the start, but as she’s gotten bigger I see a little bit of her Nanny, some of her Papa, she even makes one face that reminds of my Uncle. She doesn’t too often look like me and I still have my fingers crossed that her hair will go curly like mine, but one thing I find we’re pretty similar on is her fiery little personality. 

I recently said to my husband that most of the time she’s a happy, caring, loving and fun little girl but man oh man can she turn on the sass when she wants to. She will make it very clear when she doesn’t want to do or eat something and look down her nose at anything green and ‘healthy looking’. As soon as I said this, I realized she is me. I get that some of these qualities are a lot cuter on a one and a half year old than a  twenty eight year old but I swear I do it all politely. 

As the days have gone by I’ve seen more and more similarities; she takes a long time to wake up in the morning, she’s very shy and will be quiet for the first twenty minutes or so around new people, and she doesn’t like dirt and grass on her or her clothes. One day, one of our couch cushions was not in its usual spot so she went up to it, straightened it and continued on her merry little way. She loves books, music, dancing and quiet time to watch a show. 

Watching her settle so well into her big personality is something that I hold near and dear to my heart. The similarities help me to understand her and her needs a bit more, and give her the space and patience that she needs to work things out for herself. I don’t know why she does half the stuff she does but she’s always very determined to do whatever it is so we just let her go at it. 

One day when she’s older and knows more words, I’m sure my lovely stubborn personality will shine through even more and I’d like to hope that I’ll continue to give her the same space and patience that she needs. Whether that’s a cuddle on the couch watching her favourite show, dancing in the kitchen together or straightening all the cushions in the house, I’ll be there for her. 

The Last Few Weeks

I know it’s been a while since I’ve had any posts on here. It was a mix of not really knowing what to write and also enjoying doing some other things during my downtime like reading some good books and bingeing a good tv show (Anne With An “E” on Netflix – if you grew up in Canada you know exactly what this is). We are still in lockdown in case you’re wondering, apparently it will also be extended again but thankfully the weather is starting to get nicer so more time can be spent outside.

The weather is one thing that’s been keeping spirits high in our house, another is making our own little stay at home plans for weeknights. Each week my husband and I go through the calendar and on nights where there isn’t a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game (he’s a big fan) we plan something for us to do after Baby T goes to bed. Friday’s have been charcuterie and movie night and it’s my personal favourite. There’s also video game night to play Mario on the Nintendo Switch and card game night which has mostly consisted of me beating him at cribbage. 

Having little things to look forward to each week mixed in with work, laundry and vacuuming has definitely made things better and brighter around here. Baby T (she’s basically Toddler T now, she’s getting so grown up) has expanded her vocabulary and keeps us smiling and laughing. She’s definitely my daughter and has her moments of stubbornness and sassiness but thankfully I know that kind of personality quite well. 

It’s been a very quiet few weeks but being able to step back from busy schedules and enjoy time together as a family has been so nice. We’re hopeful that we will be able to have somewhat of a normal summer and make good use of our camping trailer that we got at the end of last year. We will find out soon enough but in the meantime I will continue to look forward to our charcuterie and movie nights every Friday. Nothing fights off pandemic fatigue like good wine and old cheese. 

What I Learned from the 16Personalities.com Quiz

I decided to do something a little interesting for today’s post, it required a bit more research than my other posts but it’s been very eye opening to learn more about myself and how my brain works. 

This post is not sponsored by 16Personalities.com, however they do offer a free Personality Quiz (which is what I took and where I got my information from) as well as paid packages to learn even more about yourself. 

16Personalities pairs you with one of 16 personality types and provides you with a detailed description of basically, yourself. There were one or two points that I don’t really see in myself but the vast majority was eerily accurate. 

My Results 

After taking the short quiz, I got my results. My personality type is known as a Defender Personality or ISFJ and includes the personality traits of Introverted, Observant, Feeling and Judging. Defender’s make up 7% of all 16 Personality types and about 13% of the world population. 

Defender Celebrities

Some celebrities who I share the Defender Personality with include Kate Middleton, The Queen of England, Beyonce, Rosa Parks and Anne Hathaway (according to this website). I mean, common, who wouldn’t want to be categorized in the same group as these amazing women. 

What Does my Personality Type Mean? 

This is where things started to get really in depth and interesting. Defender’s are known as sensitive people with strong analytical abilities, reserved but with well developed people skills. We are true Altruists and always believe in meeting kindness with kindness in excess. 

As you know, I am a perfectionist and have postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder so it was not really surprising to learn that Defender’s also are known to be meticulous to the point of perfectionism. We also have amazing memories and use these memories to remember people and details about people’s lives instead of trivia and information. 

What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses for my Personality? 

My strengths include being supportive, reliable, patient, having a practical imagination, enthusiastic when the goal is right and have great practical skills. I would definitely agree with these for myself, especially the practical imagination part. I have a hard time being creative with things like creating my own art but give me a pen and lined paper and I can have plenty of creativity. 

My weaknesses include being humble and shy, taking things too personally, repress my feelings, overload myself (if you’ve read my other posts you know this is a regular thing for me), reluctant to change and can be too altruistic to the point of helping others before myself while my own troubles mount. It was interesting when talking about reluctant to change, it mentioned that Defender’s value traditions and history highly when making decisions. This is something I never realized about myself but I am the kind of person to choose traditions over spontaneity. 

What Does my Personality Say About Me with Jobs, Friends and Parenting? 

No other personality type is so well-suited to service others. We’re not just good at working in support positions we thrive and enjoy it. In these types of jobs we can see things through to practical solutions and can be appreciated. A Defender’s ability to also remember things about others makes them perfect for customer support jobs. 

An interesting thing is that we struggle in grasping abstract concepts like corporate strategy because they’re too impersonal. I’ve worked in the banking industry for almost ten years now, and although I thrive in the customer service portion of my job there are a lot of abstract concepts that come with it and now it makes sense why I can’t wrap my head around these kinds of things. 

Most of the friends that Defender’s have are made through consistent and comfortable contact. It takes us a while to learn to trust people enough to let them be our close friends, however our real, close friends are the ones we truly cherish because of the quality of their character and quality of discussions. There’s nothing I love more than sitting around chatting with my close friends. 

As far as being a parent, Defender’s have warmth and care that makes parenting come naturally. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I feel like parenting has come naturally to me, however that could just be my own mom insecurities. We do have great patience and do everything we can to ensure our children have a safe and happy upbringing. 

Our value for history and traditions moves us to desire traditional roles for parents and children where the parent imparts the wisdom and values. Independent and rebellious children can throw us for a loop, but even if our children are more dependent we need to help them not to neglect their own independence entirely. 

Some Other Fun Facts 

After getting my initial results, 16Personalities.com sent me a few more emails with some extra fun facts about the Defender’s Personality Type. Defender’s are most likely to:

  • Enjoy turn-based games
  • Prefer wine to beer (um, how did they know this?) 
  • Refuse to sacrifice privacy for fame
  • Hide their anger
  • Make to-do lists for themselves (all day)
  • Get annoyed by pranks 
  • Prefer texting to calling 

As you can see I got a lot of really interesting information from taking just a short quiz. It’s helped me realize a lot of things about myself that I had never noticed before, some good and some bad. With the Premium Package from 16Personalities you can learn how to master you personality type which I can definitely see as something that would come in handy. 

I’ll leave the link for the quiz through this post that you can do your own! Let me know what you find out and what you think in the comments below! 

Travel Series: Niagara Fall and Niagara-On-The-Lake

Flat Rock Cellars

We are freshly back from out first little kid-free getaway in Niagara Falls and Niagara-On-The-Lake and I don’t think I have felt this well rested in a long time. Our recent trip to the cottage in Calabogie was relaxing, yes, but we definitely didn’t have a good catch up on sleep while we were there. This was our one and only night since being parents that we had no responsibility of waking up through the night and absolutely no alarm clock in the morning. It was fantastic. 

Niagara Falls is fairly close to where we live so we do get to go quite often. We normally go for our anniversary in November but between Baby T and Covid it’s been a while since we’ve been able to go. Of course it was very different this time around and seemed very empty compared to normal, which was sad considering the area is usually bursting with tourists, but we still made the best of our one night there. 

We stayed at the Embassy Suites right on the falls and got a great deal through Groupon that included some vouchers for nearby restaurants. The Keg is right inside the restaurant but since we took this trip so last minute we didn’t have reservations and they are allowed very limited seating so we decided to do a take-out order and enjoy it in our room. We weren’t too disappointed, as we had a feeling this would be the case. They did such a great job with the take-out, the food all tasted exactly the same and was so fresh. 

There of course wasn’t really anything we could do after dinner but we were well prepared with some wine to share, a Toronto Maple Leafs Game on the TV (a book for me) and some chocolate for dessert. We had a great sleep and an even better sleep in! 

After leaving the hotel we took a drive around the Falls, like I said we live fairly close and have seen them so many times growing up but they’re still amazing to see. If you’ve never been to see them I definitely recommend it, no amount of pictures can do it justice. From there we headed to Niagara-On-The-Lake to visit a couple of wineries. 

Our first stop was Wayne Gretzky Distillery and Winery. It was a very cool place, especially for hockey fans; it even had a spot for an outdoor skating rink in the winter. The drinks were good (especially the Salted Caramel Cream), however our experience in general there was kind of ruined by our bartender. The nice thing about tastings is learning about what you’re tasting and learning about their process, and I guess we looked a little too young to care because she didn’t bother talking to us about anything (she did explain everything to the other more mature couples in the room so I guess we did kind of get the information secondhand). 

Anyway, leaving her behind, and really needing to have a happier ending to our trip we made our way to Flat Rock Cellars. Our experience there was amazing. We each were allowed four choices, and when I asked Tate (our bartender/wine expert) for his recommendations, he said he could actually give us all eight of the wines on the menu and then we could each share them and taste all of them. He then continued to check in with us as we were making our way through the wines and took the time to answer questions we had and explain to us their process for the wines (including the fact that they are one of only thirteen sustainable wineries in all of Ontario). The wine’s were so delicious we tried to pick only two to buy afterwards but ended up picking three. This was the wine tasting experience we needed to really top off the end to a great time away. 

I will leave links to all of these places down below. This post is not sponsored by any of these businesses at all we paid for the whole trip ourselves. However, if any of them want to send me some free wine, as usual I would not complain. 

Link to Embassy Suites

Link to Wayne Gretzky Estates

Link to Flat Rock Cellars

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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How to Get Through a Sleep Regression

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

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). 

The Mom Bod

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

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. 

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/

Hello 2021!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

2020 has certainly had its moments and it’s a year that has brought challenges and changes. It’s had its dark times as well as hopeful times. We’re ending it off in a Lockdown in Ontario of course, but I have some hope that 2021 will be better. 

A Year In Review

Obviously we all know about the bad things that have happened this year. It was also a year that I had my first beach vacation with Baby T in Florida, I learned that I am capable of taking care of my baby on my own even through some difficult mental health issues but at the same time it’s okay to ask for help when it’s needed, and also how to juggle working part-time with spending time with my family. 

The New Year

With a New Year comes new goals. You already saw in my last post my goals for the blog, but I also have some goals for myself for the year. Of course, like everyone else, taking care of myself physically is a priority including working out and eating better. There’s also making the most of the time I get to spend with the people I love, planning fun activities each weekend to do as a family and hopefully getting to go on some mini adventures even if we have to stay close to home. 

All in all, I hope that 2021 brings better and brighter times for everyone and brings us a little closer to some normalcy again. 

What to Expect from My Blog

I wanted to give a little update of my plans for my blog, we’re coming up on almost seven months of blogging which is honestly more than I even thought I would do. I appreciate the likes, comments and subscribers so much! It’s been such a fun passion project for me and I have every intention of keeping it going for as long as I’m able to! 

Blog Schedule

In order to keep the blog going I though it would be good to make more of a schedule for posting, so starting with my next post (next week) I will be posting once a week on Thursdays at 8 pm. I’m a working mom now and I want to make sure that I keep my time organized to make the most of time with my family as well as my hobbies (and keep on top of the house work).

Pinterest

All of my posts will now also be posted on my Pinterest page which you can also follow here > www.pinterest.com/evangelyntavaresca if you would like or by clicking the Pinterest symbol on this page. 

Blog Topics

I will still be covering a variety of topics including Mom-blogs, Parenting Tips, Travel Series and continuing my blog challenge. I’d also like to introduce an Affordable Fixes Series for Home Decor and Fashion where I will share my finds for affordable items in these categories. 

Again, I want to say a big thank you to those of you who have been with me since the beginning and such a good support and welcome to newer ones! I hope my blog continues to give you new ideas to try and most importantly, makes you smile! 

Lockdown Number Two

We live in Ontario, Canada where they have decided to do a second province wide lockdown, in the northern regions it will last 14 days and the rest (where we live) for 28 days. If you’ve been with me since the beginning you know that the first lockdown took a toll on me mentally, and while I’m sure this one will have it’s fair share of rough days, I feel better prepared for it. My husband and I are both also essential workers which means we still have babysitters for Baby T, and still get out of the house on a regular basis. 

So, how do we get through a second lockdown when we know from experience how much it sucks? I already did a post about things you can do with your spouse, here’s some ideas I have to keep my own sanity as well as Baby T’s.

  1. Get outside (weather depending). We just had about 10 cm of snow where we live which doesn’t sound like a lot but it actually is a good amount. Thankfully, being the smart Canadian parents that we are, we invested in a good snow suit and pair of winter boots for Baby T. We got to go outside even if it was for a short amount of time and enjoy the fresh air and the fresh snow.
  2. Try to limit eating out and drinking during the week. I am all about supporting local restaurants during this time but I’m also about supporting my stomach. It always feels the best when we have healthy home cooked meals every night, and maybe one night of ordering in per week. For alcohol, I know it’s easy when you have to be home every night to crack open another beer or another bottle of wine and relax even if it’s only a couple of drinks, but for me it can make me feel more down about myself and what’s going on around me. A few on the weekends is a nice treat, but maybe try a nice herbal tea or good old water during the week.
  3. Exercise. Gyms are closed again of course, just as we were getting into a good routine of going back. Thankfully after the first lockdown we invested in some equipment for our garage like a squat rack, a bench and dumbbells. This time around we’ve had to invest in a propane heater so our hands don’t freeze to the bars. If you don’t have gym equipment there are so many other options; with a little motivation you can have a really good sweat session right at home. There are some really good workout apps and programs that involve no equipment like Kayla Itsines SWEAT and Alive by Whitney Simmons (by the way I am in no way affiliated with these companies or sponsored by them), both of these you have to pay for but if you can afford it sometimes the fact that it’s costing you money is the best motivation of all because you want to get your moneys-worth. There are also free options all over Youtube.
  4. Find a good book to read. Do you ever have those times where your eyes are straining from watching too much TV or scrolling on your phone too much and you just need a break from it? This is where all those books on your shelf come in handy. It’s easier on your eyes and if it’s a good enough book it’ll take you to a different place for a little while. If you’re into writing do that too! You can google ‘writing prompts’ for some ideas to get you started on Fiction and Non-Fiction writing.
  5. Find activities for your family to do together. I’m very guilty of just letting Baby T go with her toys and not doing anything that’s very engaging or fun for either of us but recently my husband and I have been trying to set up activities for us to do as a family. Thank goodness for Pinterest! There are so many ideas of activities for specific ages and a lot of them don’t even involve you having to buy materials, you just have to get a little creative with what’s already in your house.
  6. Keep the music going. Music often has a way of affecting your mood. First thing in the morning I turn on our Spotify to a happy, upbeat playlist to start the day. I’m not a morning person at all but it helps me to wake up and sets the tone for the rest of the day.
  7. Try not to watch the news. It’s good to keep up with basic information (like the fact that there is a lockdown), but watching the news all day everyday is never a good idea. It’s not a bad thing to forget about what’s going on in the world from time to time.

There you have it! Seven easy things to get through the next 28 days, if the lockdown goes longer than that then I guess we will have to think of some new things. I know readers on here are from all over the world, so wherever you are and whether you’re in a lockdown as well or not, I hope you all stay safe and make good choices! 

Comment below if you have your own ideas of lockdown activities for families! 

Nap Time Diaries: Bed Time Routines

In my last post about my daily routine, I mentioned that Baby T and I have a special bedtime routine that we do every night. Every baby is different, but I am a big believer in babies having a routine with most things, but most importantly bed time. I don’t know if it’s just my OCD but I feel like if it’s not done the same it won’t work. There is the odd night where I put her down to sleep at a friends house, do a short version of our routine, then when we bring her home she’s sleep enough I can just put her in her bed and not have to redo the routine. But the majority of the time our routine is exactly the same. 

So incase you’re curious, here it is: 

First I get her room ready for bedtime before she comes up. This includes closing the blackout curtains (even though in winter time in Ontario it’s pitch black by 5:30 pm already), turning on her humidifier, turning on her bedside lamp that is less intense then her ceiling light, and laying her sleep sack and pyjamas on her change table. We have been using a sleep sack ever since she could break out of her swaddle, I honestly love it and Baby T does too. I think it lets her know that it’s time for sleeping. When we first transitioned from swaddle to sleep sack we used the Nested Bean Sack (linked below) but now that it’s colder weather I bought one from Home Sense that is thicker and rated for cooler house temperatures. 

When Baby T is done playing we bring her up to her room and get her changed into her pjs and into her sleep sack, then she says goodnight to her Daddy and her and I sit in her chair to cuddle and read her bedtime story, which is the same story every night and yes I’m starting to read it from memory. At the end of it, it says to say goodnight to the animals you met in the book so Baby T points along with me as we say goodnight to all of them. I usually give her a bottle of warm milk to drink while we read the story. 

Next, we say a little prayer together followed by a goodnight kiss and I sing her the same lullaby I’ve been singing every night for the last year. It’s short and sweet and I lay her in her crib while I finish the last few words. I tell her ‘goodnight’ and ‘mommy loves you’ and turn on her white noise, turn off the light and sneak out of the room. Usually before the light is off she’s already rolled over to her belly and is snuggling into bed. 

She’s only been put to bed by someone other than me once, and she was only about two months old, so it’s our nice little time together every night. I like to think that she’s just like me and loves to have her own little routines, but it could also just be me who loves it. 

Photo by Dobromir Dobrev on Pexels.com

Blog Challenge: What Is Your Typical Daily Routine?

Baby T usually has us up around 7:30, I go in to get her and give her some snuggles for a minute in her room since she’s slow at waking up like her mommy. After changing her we go feed our dog Marley, it’s Baby T’s favourite new chore. We get coffee and tea going in the kitchen and start breakfast which is usually toast and some fruit. 

While my husband drinks his coffee and watches Baby T with his breakfast I usually shower and get myself ready for the day. From then on it varies depending on whether or not I’m working. If I’m not working, Baby T and I usually spend sometime playing, run an errand, go for a walk or go visit someone followed by lunch at noon and then down for a nap. During her nap I usually try to get things done around the house or if I need to, I’ll just relax and do nothing. Once she’s awake a couple of hours (hopefully) later we spend the rest of the time playing and doing activities until my husband is home from work. 

If I’m working (three days a week), after we’re all ready for the day I take Baby T to her Nana’s, or we wait for her other Nana to arrive to watch her so I can go to work. My typical day at work at a bank is not too demanding and is usually done when we close at 5. From there, I go get Baby T from her Nana’s again and get the biggest cuddle when I arrive which is probably my favourite part of the day. In her own little way she tells me about her day. 

I’m very fortunate because whether I’m working or staying at home, after about 5:30 when my husband is done work he makes dinner. Yes, he cooks every single meal. He’s been doing this for a few years now and it works so well because he’s a better and healthier cook than I am! If it were up to me it would be chicken, potatoes and garlic bread every night. 

After dinner, if I had the day off with Baby T, she gets to play with her Daddy for an hour before bed while I tidy up and try to get things done around the house that I neglected to do while I was relaxing during her nap. If I worked, I usually do the bare minimum and then go down to the play room and join them. 

Between 7 and 7:30, Baby T starts rubbing her eyes and getting a little cranky. She says goodnight to her Daddy and I take her upstairs for our bedtime routine and put her down for the night. That leaves a couple of hours to finish up whatever tasks need to be finished, usually folding laundry or doing more laundry. We will watch a movie or a show together or play some sort of card game until one of us loses and decides they don’t want to play anymore. 

Then it’s off to bed. 

That’s my typical daily routine. If you’re still reading, I’m impressed.