Monday, 11 May 2015


I can't believe how much has changed in the past month. New career, new routines, new season. The biggest changes have been in Elliott's eating and sleeping habits. In some ways he's a completely different kid these days!

Ok, let's rewind to the end of March. Elliott had just turned one and he still wasn't eating much of anything. I had found a couple of "favorites" but even then he would barely eat them. Here was a typical day for him:

7:00 - Wake up, nurse (breastmilk) 
8:00 - toast (half a piece if I was lucky), minigo yogurt, oatmeal baby cereal (a couple tablespoons worth)
9:30 - breastmilk
11:30-12 - turkey & cream cheese rolled in about 1/8 a large flour tortilla (He would eat about half and throw the rest on the floor), 3-4 slices of cucumber (half eaten, half thrown on the floor), 1-2 grapes, oatmeal baby cereal (fed on a spoon with puréed pears to coax him to eat it)
2:00 - breastmilk
5:00 - attempt to get him to try what we are eating for dinner. 90% of the time it was thrown on the floor. Grilled cheese, cut into 3 strips. Sometimes he would eat half of one. Cucumber slices and grapes, both thrown on the floor.
7:00 - breastmilk
8:30 - bedtime snack of oatmeal baby cereal with more puréed pears to coax him to eat it
9:00 - breastmilk (nurse to sleep about half of the time) 

Oh boy, were there ever a lot of frustrating days! Sometimes he would throw every single thing I gave him on the floor and then refuse to eat the oatmeal baby cereal. I would nurse him a lot more on those days because he was so hungry and whiney. It was emotionally exhausting. Once I opened the Dayhome I became even more frustrated because I saw how well the other one year olds ate, and I also didn't have the time to coax him to eat the cereal or to breastfeed him every 2 hours. 

Things got even worse when I attempted an elimination diet to see if he was sensitive to diary. His "favorites" both included cheese, and the dairy free versions were not going over well. Then, we got the flu and for 2 whole days he refused any and all food and only drank breastmilk. I was so discouraged by the elimination diet and how it seemed like his tummy issues (lots of painful gas) and excema were getting worse. I wondered if the oatmeal cereal was the culprit- the only thing that changed while we were off dairy was that he was getting even more of it because he was eating so little of everything else. The flu knocked me down and out and I gave up on the elimination diet. We both went back on dairy and I put the kibosh on the oatmeal.. A crazy thing happened... He started eating real food. And lots of it! I couldn't believe the appetite of this kid! He is now eating the same or more than the other one year olds in the Dayhome and is a happier, less whiney kid all around. He is still breastfeeding, but quite a bit less, and not at all through the night anymore. His sleep is a whole other long story, so I'll save that story for my next post. Just to show the contrast, here is a typical day of eating now:

6:00 - Wake up, nurse (breastmilk) 
7:30 - One piece of toast with butter and honey, half a banana, individual size yogurt (not minigo)
*sometimes he doesn't want as much, for breakfast and will only eat half of his toast and no banana. If that is the case he wants a snack around 9:00. I'll give him either more toast or some crackers and a couple slices of apple*
11:00 - wake up from nap, snack of some fruit (apple, orange slices or half a banana if he didn't have any at breakfast) one mini muffin
12:00-12:30 - a favourite lunch around here is pizza buns (pizza toppings on open face buns) He'll eat 1.5-2 of them, a couple slices of cucumber, and a couple pieces of orange pepper
2:00 - (sometimes) breastmilk
3:00 - applesauce and a mini muffin
5:00 - most days he'll eat whatever we eat, but if not he'll have about a 1-1.5 cups of pasta shells with alfredo, some  cut up ham, orange peppers and then finish off with a pouch of some sort of fruit (his favourite is juicy pears and garden greens which I think smells and tastes like nasty cabbage) He holds on to the pouch and sucks back the whole thing himself (nice change from spoon feeding!)
6:30 - breastmilk 
*bedtime is at 7:30 now*

It is worth it to note the changes in his poop (if you're not a parent I apologize for this part!) But seriously- we went from either brownie batter or peanut butter consistency to what I call "plop-able" For a cloth diapering mama this is HUGE! No more spraying diapers has made me one happy lady. 

That's all for now! I'll write a post on the changes in his sleep soon (Spoiler alert- this has also been an awesome change!!) 

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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

April, You Kind Of Sucked.

Ok, we had friends over for dinner tonight, and they left about half an hour ago and I still haven't cleaned up from dinner. No way- I just put Elliott to bed, Chris is at the pub, and I'm sitting down with a scoop of ice cream. If I don't sit here and write this blog now, it's possible I never will.

You know, I'm not much for swearing but when I look back on the month of April I have the overwhelming urge to just give it the finger.

Let's start with the opening of my Dayhome. No, let's start with the adjustment of going from maternity leave to working again. I'm sure lots of you can relate - it's hard. Twelve months of staying home and then going back to work sucks. Elliott used to sleep until 7-7:30, and now I have to wake up to an alarm? And wake him up? Gross. Oh, how I miss the lazy days of staying in our pjs while I make myself a latte, and a bowl of cereal and feed Elliott his breakfast around 8 am. I often didn't do anything productive until after his morning nap. Now my day starts between 6-6:30 (depending on if he wakes up before my 6:30 alarm, which he often does) and we hurry to get dressed and ready so we can be downstairs in the dayhome waiting for kids to arrive as early as 7.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Elliott: Twelve Months

One whole year. Boy oh boy did that go fast. Chris and I have enjoyed watching Elliott grow and change, and we can't wait to see what happens next! This past month has brought his first steps and lots of fun. He continues to try to say a few words. Da da, ma ma, buh (for buh bye) and den (for dance) he now responds to questions about his diaper with "ba ba" and tries to say ball with all his might. We practice saying our words when we change his diaper, which also helps with the fussy, screamy, squirmy little worm he becomes the second you lay him on the change table. He loves to play in a pile of laundry like no other, and perks up at the sight of yogurt. He can't possibly get into Daddy's arms without trying to take his hat off his head (and gets very confused if he's not wearing one) If he hears our bedroom door open he giggles and crawls at lightning speed towards it, and if you happen to forget to lock any cupboard in the house he will find it and he will get into exactly what you are trying to keep locked up. He is constantly babbling and when he becomes quiet that is the cue to find him asap!! We love learning more about his personality each day, and anxiously await more words. Elliott loves to give kisses- especially ifChris or I are laying on the couch. He will walk up to your face and lean in for a kiss, then walk away a couple steps and then come back and do it again... over and over! It's incredibly sweet and cute. He is still a very cuddly little boy. Loves to snuggle!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Comparison Is A Real Jerk

Yes, I know I am incredibly late with Elliott's 12 month update, but yes I am going to write this post first. It's just been burning a hole in my heart the past couple days!

Comparison is a real jerk. Leading up to, and since Elliott's first birthday I've been feeling really introspective about the past year. Unfortunately, not in the good, warm and fuzzy way. I found myself thinking about all the areas we got things wrong. Off base. Missed the mark where others obviously got it right.

I mean, surely he should be eating better by now. So and so's one year old eats all solid food. Why is Elliott still throwing everything off his tray and then when I try to fill his belly with oatmeal or purees he whips the spoon to the floor? I highly doubt other Mom's experience this much trouble at every single meal. That stupid stupid food list we were trying to follow must be to blame. Better believe we won't be making that mistake again!

And then there's his sleep. (Or lack there of?) Well, so and so's baby has been sleeping 12 hours since 6 months old. There was a good 4-5 month stretch where I was up every 1.5-2 hours. I heard it all. I need to stop nursing him to sleep. I need to stop bouncing/rocking/shushing/patting him to sleep. I need to give him a comfort item at bedtime. (Which is confusing because I thought you weren't supposed to put anything in the crib??) Put Lavendar in his bath and on his feet. Give him a bedtime massage. Bathe him every night. Oh wait, he has dry skin? Stop bathing him every night. I should wean him off night nursing. I should wean him off breastfeeding altogether. Why doesn't Chris get up with him? Why don't I let him cry it out?

Side note. Vulnerability is the key to relationship. If we can't be real with one another about our struggles, we'll never grow real friendships. However, if being vulnerable means inviting unwelcome advice, where does that leave us?

Well first of all, it leaves me so thankful for the few friendships I have where it doesn't feel like a "who's baby is better" contest, but instead just two Mom's swapping notes. You know who you are, and your friendship has been invaluable to me this past year! Next, it leaves me humbled by my lack of knowledge and compelled to keep my mouth shut, because I've been the one who broke down crying from a simple suggestion to "just fill his belly before bed" Oh, I hadn't thought of that, thankyouverymuch. Thanks for solving all my problems and then going home to sleep a full night's rest because you have a fifteen year old. But yes, by all means, give me ALL THE ADVICE.

Ok, but really.

Comparison is a jerk and steals so much from us. I'm embarrassed to say how much I have obsessed over this kid's sleep. It caused me so much anxiety I started seeing a psychologist. And you know what he said? I need to allow myself a little grace in this stage of life. I don't need to handle sleep deprivation with a smile. Sleep deprivation sucks. What makes it suck even more though, is trying to figure out why my baby isn't acting like her baby.

Here's the thing. None of us understand babies. If we're lucky, we might become experts on our own babies, and while that makes us uniquely qualified to give advice on how to care for our own child (to say, a babysitter) it does not mean that what worked for you will work for me. Or maybe it will, but your method doesn't work for me. 

Back to my point. Comparison steals joy. Instead of deciding what balance works for you, you spend all your time trying to juggle someone else's ideals. I'm not an attachment parent, a free range or a helicopter parent. We don't cry it out, and we don't co-sleep. I don't fit in any category which sounds tricky, because how do I know what to do if I don't have a specific book to follow? My meter stick for what is right is not, and can never be the woman in the fancy parenting blog or the Mom in my Mom's group who has all the answers everytime. It can't be my best friend or my Mom or sister. My meter stick has to be Jesus. That is where true joy is found. 

The Bible may not have verses that tell me what foods to feed and how to get a baby to sleep, but it is chock full of wisdom on heart posture and where I need to be placing my focus. And when I focus on Jesus, the food splattered on the floor gets a little bit easier.

This year has been amazing. Hard? Sure, at times. But so bonkers jam packed with joy that it dries up all the sleep deprived tears and points me straight towards Jesus. The joy of the Lord is my strength, and it renews me each day!

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Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Unveiled Wife

I started reading Jennifer's blog a few years ago, and was immediately struck by her vulnerability and commitment to transparency when it came to her struggles with her husband. When she asked me to review her new book, The Unveiled Wife I was delighted and honoured.

I was also terrified.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Elliott: Eleven Months Old

Eleven months! This year is going by so quickly, but we're having a blast the whole way through. I'm loving each new stage even more than the last. It constantly amazes me how much Elliott understands what we say, and how he interacts with us. It may be a little early to claim a love language for him, but he definitely seems to lean heavily towards words of affirmation. This kid will do anything for praise and applause, and it's not hard to teach him new "tricks" as long as we praise him each time he accomplishes it. Something I have realized just in the past few days is that he definitely understands what I mean when I say "let's check your diaper" If he's dirty and has been fussing he immediately perks up and says "puh puh" Not sure how that translates to diaper, but he seems to think it does! I'm also appreciating that when he wakes up from a nap or in the morning more often than not he no longer cries, but just whines and says "mama" Soo much nicer than screaming! He's SO talkative these days, and seems to really be trying to say something with all his babbling. It's so hilarious when he declares something emphatically and looks at you as though he expects you to respond or do something that he's told you to do!

Friday, 6 February 2015

The One Constant In Our Parenting.

This whole parenting thing is such a new experience. We make decisions, then learn something new and make new decisions almost on a daily basis. One thing that we know won't change is how we feel about bringing Elliott up to have an intimate relationship with the Lord. Obviously we can't control what happens once he's older, but for now it is our responsibility and our privilege to teach Elliott about Jesus. It's an exciting thought, but also a little daunting, given that we don't have a model or example from our own childhoods of how to do this. It's an ongoing conversation between Chris and I, and I imagine it will continue to be during our entire parenting journey. We've come up with a couple of things so far that I'd like to share.

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