Camping With a Toddler

As many of you know I was recently converted to being a camper.  That is, a trailer camper.  Meaning I still need A/C when it’s hot, a heated mattress when it’s cold and somewhere to pee that doesn’t involve squatting up against a tree. At the end of last year we purchased our very own camper trailer. 

This year, with us not being able to travel outside of Canada, it’s been the perfect getaway to hitch up the trailer and drive to different Provincial Parks in Ontario. Everything you need is right there and there’s so much fresh air to enjoy. It’s also ridiculously easy to pack when you can take a week to do it with the trailer sitting right in your driveway. 

Some of the places we’ve been this year include Port Burwell which has nice private sites and a private beach, MacGregor Point which is a beautiful spot in Northern Ontario (also where my husband was born so obviously the place of legends), and Sandbanks in Prince Edward County which had pristine facilities and one of the best beaches I’ve been to in all of Ontario. 

It’s hard to pick favourites but I’d say MacGregor Point was the best in show for beautiful surroundings and Sandbanks had a lot to offer in the neighbouring towns such as breweries, wineries (not that I can drink wine right now anyway) and restaurants. We personally visited Kinsip Liquor Distillery, Crimson Cider Brewery, Midtown Brewery (absolute favourite because they had amazing garlic parmesan fries and wood oven pizza) and of course Slickers Ice Cream. 

The best part of camping is honestly Baby T, although she’s actually more of Toddler T.  So let’s just call her Adds which is as close to her name as I’m willing to get so I can still sleep at night with privacy. As I was saying, the best part of camping is Adds. I’m not a big fan of saying things like “living my best life”, but when we’re camping, Adds is 100% living her best life. 

She has the majority of her favourite people within walking distance 24/7; she gets to stay up a little later than usual for campfires; and most of our camping days involve sitting at her favourite place in the world, the beach. 

She legitimately couldn’t ask for anything more in life. When we get home from camping she’s her own mini version of depressed as we all start to get back to our daily routines.  We all kind of are though, so I can’t really blame her. 

We will be getting the trailer ready for winter storage this week so it will be time to say goodbye for the year. Next year will be a different story with a toddler and a baby but we’re sure it will be just as much fun, if not more so.

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 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!