Thursday, 30 July 2015

Gratefulness. Simple, yet not always easy.

In my last blog (which yes, I know was a loooong time ago!) I talked about the beauty of normal and an appreciation for moments. How the routine of each day can feel like a welcome rhythm rather than a monotonous cycle. What I didn't talk about was how I got to this place of contentment and satisfaction.

Gratefulness. Simple, yet not always easy. 

Sometimes my days can seem crazy. Between the "Elliott pushed me!" and the "She said it's red but it's PINK!!" I can feel exhausted before we even get to the park at 9 am! It's easy to make a decision about my day before it has barely begun. 

Oh boy, it's going to be a long day

I see they're going to be in that kind of mood.

How long until naptime??

And then when my day is done and Chris is home it's all too easy to give him the "highlights" of the day rather than the bigger picture. It got to a point where all he heard about were the fights and the time outs.

The poor guy probably thought I hated running a dayhome, which couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, there are a lot of "teaching moments" (that sounds better, doesn't it?) but I love what I do. I get paid to play, snuggle, kiss boo boos and tickle. I make sand castles and drink coffee at the park everyday, and I get a glorious hour of quiet time each day (which is often interrupted by at least one "Melissa, I'm doooooone!!" from the washroom, but hey, I can't have it all can I?)

One day a few weeks back I was having a particularly challenging morning. The kids had just left the breakfast table and I was already having to step in to prevent a conflict. Warnings were given and kids were sent to opposite sides of the room and I returned to the dishes I was doing. I closed my eyes pleaded for Jesus to help me. It was 7:40 and I wasn't ready to write off my day just yet. I stopped and I took a sip of coffee and as I finished Elliott's toast (a secret indulgence of mine is to pile on a bit more jam. Butter and strawberry jam is just so tasty) and time slowed down just for a moment. I've trained my spirit to recognize these slowed down kairos moments. I stopped and realized that in that moment all was quiet. Everyone was playing nicely. I had hot coffee and a bite left of toast to savour. I closed my eyes again and this time gave thanks for the moment. I accepted it for what it was- not wishing it would stay quiet all day or that anything would change, but just breathing in and appreciating it.

Thank you Lord for a quiet moment.

The morning went on as we ventured to the park and back and had a snack. Soon it was lunch and I remembered I had picked up a salad from the grocery store as a treat for myself. I mixed it up to find it tasted ah-mazing. 

Thank you Lord for delicious salad. This time I scribbled it down on a piece of paper.

That particular day I experienced an entire hour with all the kids sleeping. I snuck upstairs with the baby monitors in hand and sat on my couch with the sun on my face and a piece of dark chocolate in my hand.

Thank you Lord for sunshine and chocolate.

My day was far from perfect that day. There were tears and time outs and sassy pants. What was different at the end of the day however was my heart. Chris came home and asked me how my day was and for the first time in a long time I told him it was a little crazy (as usual) but good. I recalled to mind some of the cute moments and shared those things instead of the tears.

It's been a month or so now, and I still have days where I forget to be grateful and I want to pull out my hair by 9 am, but the days I remember to stop in the slowed down moments are my favourite. It feels like Jesus is dropping me hints throughout my day; like he's reminding me of something. I'll let you know when I figure out exactly what it is.

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Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Beauty of "Normal"

Sometimes the days can pass so quickly we don't even realize another week has gone by. I've been in different seasons where this has been a welcome feeling, and also where I have felt an urgency and a loss of time. They say that time speeds up once you have a child, and I would certainly agree - it seems like I blinked and Elliott started walking (ahem *running*) and I'm not exaggerating when I say he learns a new word almost every single day. (Today was "stinky" ha ha!)

Friday, 26 June 2015

I Don't Want A Sex Chart, Thank You Very Much

There's a video floating around of an Australian woman talking about the proper time for a husband to ask his wife to have sex with him. She is quite assuming, making charts of the optimal times based on when the last time she had a haircut, how clean the house is and how long the kids have been in bed. In the end she puts all the charts together on one chart revealing the golden window which arises about once a month.

I get it. It's meant to be all in good fun. I just don't find it funny.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Slowly Getting My Head Above Water

I miss doing things for other people. Or maybe I should say that I miss feeling like I want to, or can.

I love being the person who anonymously drops off a small gift for a friend, or makes cookies for someone going through a hard time. I like to be able to make a meal for someone who has suffered a loss, or a batch of granola bars for a new mom. It's not just about stuff either- I enjoy calling up a friend who seems to be in a tough time and asking them if they need anything, if just an ear to listen. I like to make people feel as though they have been seen and heard, and it really fills my cup when I'm able to do so.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Ch-ch-ch-changes Part 2 (Sleep!)

Last time I talked about how Elliott's eating has changed, and this post will be all about sleep!

Elliott was a great sleeper for the first six months. I always felt so spoiled that he would sleep 3-4 hour stretches right from the first week. That meant I got up once or twice to nurse him and he rose for the day around 7 am. I really couldn't complain!

Then... Teething. And he forgot how to sleep. I thought it was a stage, but even as his teething got better his sleep did not. We went through different phases of bad sleep. Sometimes he woke up at 2, then again at 4 and would be up for a full hour (wide awake!) Other times he would wake up only 2 hours after we put him down, and then every 1-2 hours until 7 am. I would almost always nurse him each time because I was so exhausted, and sitting down to nurse him was way easier than walking around, bouncing and patting and trying to soothe him without breastfeeding. It was pure survival folks.

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.
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