Friday, December 14, 2012

First haircut!

Yup, we finally decided that H's hair has gone from shaggy chic to just shaggy. So we finally decides to take him for a haircut. We chose one of those shops where he gets to ride in an airplane while they cut his hair, and have tons of toys to distract him. I'm happy to report that he didn't cry at all, at least not until the haircut was over and mommy wouldn't let him play with the scissors.

We couldn't quite bring ourselves to cut off his baby curls, so his hair is still long. But I think it's looking much more like big kid hair now.



Sunday, December 09, 2012

Rainy day activities

Today was cold and drizzly. James had to work and H was bored and cranky. I was feeling at a loss for what to do when suddenly it occurred to me... The library!

Between a long walk, some Christmas shopping, a good chunk of time crawling around the library, and a coffee stop at little nest where there are lots of entertaining kids and toys, the afternoon flew by. I'm looking forward to more of these trips in the rainy weeks to come.


Monday, December 03, 2012

Step step

Yesterday we witnessed H's very first steps all on his own! He took two steps to get from the couch to the rocking horse while James and I were busy talking. Up 'til now he's taken a few steps if we direct him to walk from one of us to the other. But this was his first time choosing walking all on his own! Walking by Christmas? Lets hope so!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

He's that kid???



Oh this boy. In the words of one of his teachers, he is such a monkey.

I arrived at daycare to pick H up today in the middle of afternoon snack. All the other children were sitting nicely in their chairs around the table, while H was standing very close to the boy next to him who happened to be eating a snack brought from home (who are these parents who opt out of the meal plan? I'm sorry, but isn't not having to plan lunch and snacks everyday the best part of daycare?).

Anyway, while I'm watching him, my boy reaches over and grabs two crackers out of his friend's hand and before I can stop him they are in his mouth. Oh dear. Thinking it must just be that he's still hungry I help him sit down and get him some more hummus and pita. He proceeds to throw those on the ground and then gets back up, walking around the table and stealing other kids food out of their bowls, and even their hands! I guess this is what happens everytime there is food out. Yeah, he's that kid.


Friday, November 16, 2012

A day in the life - 14 months


So a few people in my blogroll were taking part in a 'day in your life' type thing and it got me to thinking that I'm really overdue for one myself. As my friend Rebecca pointed out to me it's really neat looking back and seeing how things have changed over the past year and a bit. But when I actually started thinking about what a typical day is like, honesty I had no idea. Some days I work, some nights I work, some days I don't. Some days H is up at the crack of dawn (actually hours before), others he sleeps in. Naps are a mystery these days as he transitions from two down to one. Well I guess I should pick the day that just ended. Actually it's pretty typical of a day I work nights, so here it goes…

7:30 am - Wake up to shouts coming from H's room. The past couple days he chose to get up around 6 am, which is a li-ttle early for my taste. Thank goodness he chose a more civilized hour today. In my pre-baby days, if I was working a night shift I would make sure to sleep in until 10 am or so. No more! H is up and so am I. I bring him into bed with me and we slowly wake up while nursing.

8:00 am - It's time for getting dressed and making breakfast. This morning I decid that I want eggs even if lately H has not been a big fan. To my surprise not all of his eggs end up on the floor, so I'm going to call that a win. He also has peaches and banana and milk. Since he gets a morning snack at daycare I'm not too worried if he doesn't eat a huge breakfast.

8:30 am - We bundle up (it's a clear and frosty morning) and head to daycare. I honestly feel so lucky with the childcare we've ended up with. To think I spent so much time worrying about what we were going to do. As we walk into the elevator I notice the artwork has all been changed and now there's a display of the Halloween pictures up. H is very excited to point out all his friends in their costumes. I get him settled, say good morning to the staff and the other kids, and leave H happily chowing down on some yogurt and berries. He doesn't even look up as I go.

9:30 am - It's a beautiful morning and I've got a ton of stuff to do, but I need to have a nap to get me through the next 20 hours. So I head home and go to bed.

1 pm - WHAT! This was the longest nap ever and proof that as a 14 month old mom I'm still rocking the sleep deprivation. Maybe it's not like in the early days, but given the chance I can nap almost anytime. I have a few hours before picking up H and this is the time to get stuff done. I rush around cleaning, doing laundry, and even manage to run a couple errands around town.

4 pm - Arrive at daycare to find the kids playing outside and H riding a tractor and laughing. It's good to know that while I've been doing my thing he's been having a fun day. I check the board on the wall to see what he did, what he ate, and when he napped. Today was a fantastic nap day, 11 to 1! No wonder he's in such a happy mood. We play for a little bit before getting in the car to head home.

5 pm - Back home and this is our hang out and play time. When H starts to seem hungry I make a dinner out of leftover beef and beans, pita, and grapes. I have a lunch packed for work but I join him for a snack as well. After dinner H nurses for dessert. Normally he would nurse right before bed, but on days when mom is away at bedtime we've got to get creative. Sometimes it works OK for me to be away at night, but sometimes it's really hard for James. This lack of routine is the worst part of my job, but you've got to do what you've got to do.

6 pm - James arrives and I run out the door. Bath time and bed time will be his job today. I'll get home just as they are waking up and cuddle and nurse H before falling asleep. Now it's time to grab a coffee, settle in to my desk, and spend 12 hours using a part of my brain that has nothing to do with mommyland. And in a strange way, it feels like a nice break.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

At 14 months


Dear H,

Life feels busy these days, and that's just how you are. Busy. Whether it be pulling books off shelves, covering your hands in stickers, or crusing around on furniture you are always on the go. Often muttering to yourself 'tukatukatuka' while you work you are the picture of determination, and as mom and dad have sadly discovered there is no distracting you when you have discovered something that you want.

Last night we were having dinner with our friends and it was so fun watching you play with the other kids. Their three year old, who must seem very grown up to you, had you busting a gut with his antics. And when he tried to engage you in a wrestling match I could see the delight in your eyes, even while the moms stepped in to prevent what, I'm sorry to tell you, was a very one sided match.

These days you really like to play with us. Your favourite game by far is chase the baby. This is exactly what it sounds like. You hold onto someone's fingers (still not quite balanced on those feet) and run run run while someone loudly chases you. Then you stop, turn, and run run run after whoever was tricked into thinking they were safe coming after you. Classic. You also love peekaboo. We throw a blanket over your head and you shriek with delight. And just the other day, when you pulled the blanket off you started to exclaim 'Ah DO!'. Your own version of 'peekaboo'.

You continue to be very chatty, although most of what you say is not in English. We don't know yet how much sound you are hearing, and sometimes I feel like might be a while before you have a lot of words that we can understand. But every now and then you really surprise me. The other day in the den you pointed to the corner of the room and said something that sounded an aweful lot like 'ball'. I thought you were just randomly babbling, but when I looked behind the desk there was a beach ball sitting there! OK, I guess you do know that word. And the other day you pointed at a dog and I swear you said 'woof woof'. I can't wait for the day when I feel sure that you understand the meaning of words and when you can tell me exactly what you are thinking.

You are still a great eater, although a little bit of pickyness might be creeping in. You have made your feelings about eggs very clear, and scrambled, fried or omlet they end up on the floor. But there is still plenty you will eat, and you will eat a lot. Favourites from this week included spinach pie, cauliflower chickpea stew on quinoa, spaghetti squash with meat sauce, and veggie chilli by Rebecca. You've graduated from eating with your hands to eating with your hands and sometimes a spoon or fork. And you no longer like eating off of your tray, you like a bowl or plate for your food.

Once upon a time you seemed pretty happy staying put. But no more! While you still don't love crawling, you're getting pretty good at finding ways to cruise around. Of course you love using your little alligator walker, but you've also figured out how to walk around using your highchair (when mom and dad forget to lock the wheels) or even your stroller if it happens to be left out. With all this practice, we're hoping that your first steps aren't too far behind.

With all your newfound excitement about the world around you, you still remain a little cuddle bug. You are full of kisses and hugs… and pinches, bites and scratches too. A lot of love, not a lot of gentleness. A wonderful way to describe a 14 month old.

Love,
Mama

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Getaway FAIL

Guess who misread her work schedule and will actually be spending today working? Yes that would be me.

It actually is likely for the best. H is still having some rough nights. I'm still a bit worn out from the stomach bug I caught from him. Oh and when I called to cancel the reservation at the hotel they had no record of it. So yeah, let's just say it wasn't meant to be.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A getaway

Yes, after spending nights away from H while working shiftwork I decided that I might be ready to leave him with a sitter so James and I could get away for a night. So the grandparents were asked, a tentative date was planned, and I promplty forgot about it.

Now we're supposed to going THIS WEEKEND! Of course both James and I are coming down with something, H has had some really aweful nights, and I just can't imagine how this is going to work. But that's so much of parenthood, isn't it? Thinking 'I just can't possibly imagine how this will happen' and then whatever it is comes and things just work out. Somehow.

So I think we're going to soldier on barring us getting too sick (or coming down with a serious case of the cold feet). Wish us luck. And just for fun, can anyone guess the exotic location we chose for our one night getaway?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Collage crazy

So can you tell I just learned how to make collages on my iPhone? Haha. I finally found a good app for that called Diptic and now I'm hooked.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A trip to the pumpkin patch

Last weekend we met my parents in Steveston for the afternoon on a mission to find some pumpkins. It was the coldest day of the fall so far and there were tons of really cold rain showers all morning long, but somehow my desire to get out of the house was greater than my desire to stay dry so off we went. By some miracle we managed to avoid all the rain! And we has a great time walking around the town and discovering an awesome playground. So sometimes being a little crazy pays off.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An update on H

After weeks of waiting we went back to the hospital for H's ABR test (Auditory Brainstem Response for those who are curious) this past Tuesday. And we found out ... that H has an ear infection. We couldn't do the test and have to wait until the fluid clears before they try it, and this can take up to a couple of months. Are. You. Kidding. Me.

So this means we still have no answers. I was really afraid that H wouldn't sleep long enough again (as that's why we didn't get complete results at the last test) and would have to come back for another test, so I woke H up early and kept him up through his morning nap so that by the time we got to the hospital he was exhausted. I tell you, that was a long morning. H was so tired he would fall asleep sitting up if I tried to read to him, and at one point was just crawling around crying. Oh, and did I mention he couldn't eat either? No fun. When the doctor looked in his ears and declared there was fluid and the beginning of an ear infection, I burst into tears. I mean, come on, this was our fifth failed attempt to measure his hearing. Is there no end to this?

We headed home with heavy hearts and an appointment to come back and have his ears checked in a month. If they are clear then we'll go for an ABR the next week. In the meantime we wait. Our very wonderful speech language pathologist suggested we start checking out the available early intervention centres in the area (there are three). And we go back to researching communication methods, which is a whole other blog post. And we get perhaps a little reprieve, because we don't really have to face anything concrete yet.

The discovery that there is fluid in his ears gives us an easy pass to denial-town, because of course he can't hear us if there is fluid in his ears, right? Oh this is dangerous. The fact is the audiologist is quite positive there is permanent hearing loss in both ears. And after the last few weeks working so hard to come to terms with this, hope, especially unsubstantiated hope, feels very risky. But my mama heart wants to cling to anything if it means my baby doesn't have to deal with this.

So I'll research, and learn signs, and read, sing and talk talk talk to my boy. And enjoy the delay of some of the more daunting aspects of this, like learning what exactly he hears and trying to get a very stubborn one year old to keep hearing aids in. And soak in the joy of spending my days with this face.


Friday, October 12, 2012

A day at the park


Yesterday I had the day off so H and I spent the day together. I wanted to do something fun, and first thought of going swimming. But with his hearing test just around the corner and the fact that he has just finally gotten rid of the runny nose he's had for two months, I decided not to risk it. Instead we headed over to the park to play, choosing our less frequented (and seemingly less fun) Victoria Park.

Maybe it was the clouds or the fact that it was a week day but we were the only ones there. And the thing about this park is that it has so many toys! I did not know this before I had a kid, but there seem to be toys that just live at the park. They are generally pretty beat up, and if the park is busy you have to fight for them, but otherwise it's pretty awesome. Victoria Park had not one, not two, but THREE ride on toys! And a huge selection of other it's too.

Victoria Park, you have been upgraded from a distant second place to a respectable second place behind my beloved Grandview Park. Hey, let's be serious. Until you get at least one coffee shop on your border for mama it's never going to be a fair fight.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Thanksgiving

We're having the most amazing weather this fall. Instead of our typical weeks of rain, we've had week upon week of sunshine. Though it's soon about to change, the beautiful weather hung around long enough to give us the warmest thanksgiving I can remember. Barefoot, sitting in the sunshine on the deck, and hanging out in the tent my dad put up in the backyard. It was a strange but wonderful way to spend a day when I did truly feel there is a lot to be thankful for.

Here's H playing with his Grandpa in their own little world.





Sunday, October 07, 2012

Saturday Morning

A change of plans...


So. Where to begin? I tend to compose posts in my mind when I don't have easy access to a computer or time to write. I write and re-write many posts that never make it to 'print'. And over the past few weeks I figured by the time I made it to a computer (my laptop bit the dust recently which is seriously is annoying) I would write about the struggle I was having returning to work. How frusterating I was finding my job with it's crazy schedule, how I couldn't seem to keep on top laundry or groceries or dinner. It's amazing the difference a couple of weeks can make.

Two weeks ago I was knocked off my feet, swept out to sea by the news that my sweet baby boy now has permanent hearing loss in both ears. Although if I'm honest with myself I had my suspicions, I so desperately wanted it not be true that I clung to every instances that supported my belief that he could hear just fine. He had been born with hearing loss in one ear, and though learning that a year ago had been difficult I had reached a place where days or weeks would go by without thinking about it. As we approached the summer, H had a follow up with his speech language pathologist and we got the 'all clear' that his language was on track, just as we expected it would be. Then it was time to take him to have his hearing tested again, in a booth this time using puppets and music. There were one, two, three failed attempts to measure his hearing as the summer wore on. I wasn't concerned at all, until the final failed test and something in the audiologist's voice made me think back to how long it had been since we'd put a 'plus' in the hearing column. Did he turn when we called him? Look at us when we walked in the room? Get excited if he heard his dad playing guitar but couldn't see him? And before we knew it we were taking him to the hospital to have his hearing tested under sedation, and hearing the shocking words 'permanent hearing loss'. In both ears.

We're in a holding pattern now. We don't know the severeity of the loss so we need to go for more testing. We don't know the cause, so there are more tests coming for that too. We don't know what the future holds for our dear boy. Hearing aids? Sign language? Will he be able to play with other kids? Will he struggle in school? Will we watch him fall behind from his friends? And the big one, will this keep getting worse?

I don't really know how to handle any of this. I feel I could handle whatever comes my way, but for my child? When I stop and really think about it, I feel like the walls of my heart are caving in. Grief is such a funny emotion, and it ebbs and flows with almost no warning. I'll have days of feeling very positive, euphoric almost in my release from the sadness, then the most insignificant thing can sweep me back under water.

And yet, I know this is not really a tragedy. My boy is happy, healthy and full of life. There is almost nothing that I can think of that is out of his reach. And we're so lucky to know now and not later, after he's fallen behind. I've taken so much comfort from sharing what's going on in our life and have so lucky to feel the full support of my friends and family.

Still, it's strange and unfamiliar territory where I now find myself. It almost makes me laugh, looking back to a few weeks ago where I was feeling like I needed to change careers or go back to school. Well, I was looking for a change. It's not the one I expected, but I got what I asked for.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ONE YEAR!!!!!!

Dear H,

So here we are. You are one year old. I've been trying to write this letter to you for a few days and I find it really hard for some reason. I guess I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how much things have changed over this year. You are really fun these days, but you are also starting to have some very strong opinions about what you want. And what you want is usually something that you can't have. Oh dear.

You are still quite the social butterfly and don't play strange with people unless you are tired or cranky. At daycare, all the ladies tell us what a happy boy you are. You run around (with my help) waving good morning to everyone there when we arrive. And when we come to pick up, you often grab my hands and want to walk me around and show me what you've been up to instead of going home.

Since starting daycare you've been communicating so much more with us. You've added 'all done' to your signs for 'milk' and your own version of 'more'. You've also started shaking your head 'no', and you think it's pretty funny when you use it. You still like to point at things and clap your hands. You use 'mama' and 'dada' a lot but we're still not really sure if you're talking about us when you say them.

No longer content to sit still, you're crawling around with the best of them now. You pull yourself up on your crib, on furniture, on your toys and even using a foam mat. And you've just started to cruise along on furniture a bit. The other day you finally discovered the stairs and managed to climb up a few of them all on your own! We're trying to teach you to go down the stairs on your hands and knees, but you'd rather walk down on your own two feet while holding our hands. Oh, and a funny thing you've started doing is pushing up on your hands so you're downward facing dog, looking through your legs, and laughing. It's pretty cute and nutty. Finally, you've found a way to look at the world upside down on your own.

We had a great time this past weekend celebrating your birthday. We hung banners and streamers, filled the house with people we love, and you were passed from person to person as everyone wanted their turn with the birthday boy. And if that wasn't enough, you topped it off with your first piece of cake. It was carrot. You gobbled it up. Happy birthday sweet boy.



Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Back at it

I officially returned to work on August 20th, and H started daycare the week before. I've been holding off on my 'how things are going' post because, well, I'm not really sure. Being back at work feels weird and totally normal. I'm back at a job I haven't done for over two years, but it all came rushing back to me. I work long days (and nights), but then I've had stretches of days and days off which make me feel like I'm right back on maternity leave.

Well, let's see if we can't make sense of things, shall we?

The Good

I LOVE the daycare we decided to go with. The ladies who work there are ah-mazing. H seems to really love them, he seems happy when we walk into the building, and I don't worry about him when he's there at all. In fact, I feel like he's clearly getting more stimulation there than he gets from me at home and have actually wondered if I'm depriving him by keeping him home with me on my days off. They are always going for walks, working on art projects, and playing outside on the lovely patio playground they have.

I like having a reason to put on clean clothes and go out into the world. It's been really nice having non-baby related conversations and catching up with work friends.

Getting a break from the not-so-glamourous aspects of childcare has been wonderful. Sharing the duties for meals, naps, diaper changes, clothing changes, and bedtime with other people (James and daycare) has been such a welcome relief for me. And because I get a break from all this stuff, the time I spend with H has been a lot more fun and a lot less tedious. Playing and being together feels more special, and all the annoying things are less annoying because I don't have to do them as often.

The Bad

H has already had TWO colds and passed them on to James. Because of this everything I own is covered in snot 5 minutes after I take it out of the laundry pile and put it on.

There is a lot more co-ordination that needs to happen between James and myself, and I live in fear of the day one of us forgets whose turn it is to pick up H from daycare.

I no longer have a 'typical' day due to my all-over-the-place work schedule. I'm missing the routine, especially for H. While it's great that I have days off to spend with him, I also want to keep his days pretty similar so he knows what to expect.

Losing control of H's naps has been hard. He doesn't sleep that well at daycare and consequently we've had some rough nights. After being the one in charge for so long it's hard for me to give up that control.

All tired out after daycare
Being away from H all night is really hard, especially when he still wake up a lot and wants to nurse. And I hate not being there when he goes to bed. That said, I also hate the idea of working all day and not getting to see him at all (which is what happens for day shifts).

So in summary, I need to find a new job (I kid. Sort of). I guess you can say we're in transition now and I expect a lot more ups and downs while we figure this out. But for now, we're getting by and I'm looking forward to all the good ahead more than I'm wishing for the way things were. So I guess that's something.
Relaxing after a hard days work

Sunday, September 02, 2012

A friend for bed

When H was little, we decided he should have a friend to sleep with. After all the SIDS friendly cribs are just so ... sterile and sad. We'd been given a blanket 'lovey', basically just a super soft square of blanket with a giraffe head attached, and every night we'd tuck it into the crook of his arm as we safely put him to sleep on his back. But try as we might, he just didn't really seem to care about lovey. We dutifully packed him in our bags every time we went away, but on the handful of times we were away from it H did not seem to notice.

Partly because the crib was still so barren, and partly because we just have so many stuffed animals for H, I had also placed a little Miyim stuffed frog in the corner of his crib, waaay far away from him so as not to make he crib less safe. Then H started moving, and I started to notice the froggy would often end up next to him by morning. It wasn't long before H would grab the frog as soon as he got into bed, wrap his arms around it and wave 'bye bye' to me. O-kay, momma can take a hint.

So when H started daycare a couple weeks ago I thought he should take his favourite stuffie with him for nap times. Well, what followed were some of the worst nights we have had in ages. I'm not really convinced it was because his froggy wasn't here, there were lots of other factors (lack of naps, possible teething, wanting to nurse all night after being away from mom) that might have contributed to this, but in the back of my mind I couldn't help but wonder 'is this because of the frog'? We tried offering many other cute and cuddly friends, including his lovey but nope, little man was just not interested.

In a perfect world maybe we could cart it back and forth from daycare, but really? That is not going to happen. So I started looking for a duplicate to keep at home and would you believe they don't make it anymore? Not in the same colour at least. Ours was yellow, but now they seem to understandably only make it in green. You know, frog. It didn't seem quite right, but figuring we could always give it away as a gift if it doesn't work out (obviously to someone who doesn't read this blog) we decided to go for it.

So tonight, I attempted to pull a fast one on H. I closed the blinds, turned off the lights, and laid him down next to the new froggy. Without missing a beat he rolled over, threw his arm around him, and started sucking his thumb. Whew. Now let's hope he doesn't wake up and think 'who the heck is in my bed'.



And H, if you are reading this in the future, mama is sorry for the deceit. No doubt this is a confusing time, but doesn't it make you feel better to realize that yes, they actually were different colours at home and daycare?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

You are what you eat

So to continue my theme of eating related posts, I've been thinking a lot about the foods I've been giving H lately. One day I decided to look up just how much sodium a baby is allowed to have per day. It's 200 mg, in case you were wondering. This kind of seemed like a lot to me, until I started reading labels and realized that one slice of bread would put him over the limit. Throw in some cheese? Forget it. I liked to think that I stay away from a lot of processed foods, but this was my wake up call to realize that actually things like store bought bread, tortillas, pita, yeah they're all processed food. And they are FULL of bad stuff like sodium. Now, I'm not about to start making all my foods from scratch, but it's definitely given me a bit of pause when I find myself reaching for pre-made foods for H.

Then, I came across this site itsnotaboutnutrition.squarespace.com . One thing that really stuck with me was the idea that it's not so important what you feed your kids, as it is what you teach your kids about food. I've come across a few pieces of advice on sites such as babycentre, where they suggest adding things like chocolate flavouring to milk if your kid won't drink milk because at least they'll get the nutrients. But all that you're really doing is teaching your kids to like chocolate (not that I have a problem with that) instead of teaching them to like milk. Right now H is really open minded about food, willing to try lots of different things. How do I help him keep that when he starts getting into the 'stubborn, exerting his own will by throwing everything but bread and cheese' on the floor state? I'm trying to expose him to a lot of different flavours and textures, but I'm full expecting that were come a time when he might push back and then what?

And finally, I watched this really interesting Nature of Things on the possible link between bacteria in the gut and autism. Clearly, what we eat and what we feed to the flora in our guts is kind of a big deal. It sure feels like a lot of pressure when you're making those decisions for a helpless baby.

Oh and in case you are wondering, H had crab cakes (made at our local fish monger) for dinner tonight. And I have no idea how much sodium was in them... but at least they were ocean wise.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adventures in eating...

Sometime in the last couple months H has gone from playing with his food to seriously chowing down. This was the kid who couldn't make it through a jar of baby food in the requiste 72 hours before it expired and now he'll suck back one of his Gourmet Baby food packs in under sixty seconds, I kid you not.

So for those interested (read: me in a few years) here's what he's been loving lately:
Blueberries
Slices of watermelon, mangos, peaches, nectarines and plums (watermelon is the hands down favourite)
Bananas and banana pancakes (slices of banana dipped in pancake batter and fried. SO good... I may steal some for myself)
Fried or grilled zucchini (after having H eat my entire share a few dinners in a row I've finally realized we need to start making him his own serving of these and not just feeding him off my plate... mama wants her zucchini!)
Yam fries
Red peppers
Oatmeal with applesauce and cinnamon
Humus and pita
Avocado and cheese quesadillas
Scrambled eggs with feta
Arrowroot cookies (he gets these at daycare, no wonder he likes it so much)
French toast dipped in plain yogurt

What he does not like:
Anything I need to feed him off a spoon. This kid is all about the finger foods!



Are there any foods your kids love that H should try? We're always looking for more ways to turn this kid into a foodie!

Monday, August 06, 2012

He crawls!

Photo thanks to Grams:)
Well, my wish that H would be crawling by the time he starts daycare (T-6 days, eep!) has come true. About a week ago he started taking his first real crawling 'steps', where both his arms and legs were involved and his belly stayed off the ground. And every day since he's gotten better and better. As I sat on the couch today and watched him crawl around the living room floor I figured it's time to call it, he's a cralwer. So during his morning nap I started a bit of baby proofing in the kitchen and pulled out our baby gate to make sure it works. He's still on the slow side, but there's no denying he's moving around. And at the rate he's going, I'd give it one more week before he's into ever-y thing. Yay!

I'm so glad I don't have to do a google search for 'my 11 month old isn't crawling':)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Adventures in breastfeeding

Ahh, breastfeeding. Natural, beautiful, painful, peaceful, political hot button issue... when I look back on this first year, I imagine breastfeeding will be the best expression for my transition to motherhood. The loss of freedom and personal autonomy that comes from having your small baby so utterly dependent on you. The pain, the sacrifice, and the peace and joy of nourishing something so helpless. Seeing them grow and thrive and knowing that everything has come from you. Everything that was internal made external. Then slowly watching your baby grow away from you. One spoonful of food soon followed by handfuls and you're needed less. The first step in many that H is going to take away from me (if we do this thing right). I feel like we might be in the home stretch, so I wanted to write down some of my early memories before they're too faded.

In the beginning, we did everything wrong. Medicated birth, mom and baby separated in the first hour, unable to feed when baby show interested I gave him my finger to suck on and eventually he squirmed himself over and started to suckle my heart rate monitor. A sad start indeed. But we were lucky that didn't cause too many problems. H was a champion nurser right from the start. I have to say, I was so glad that I'd taken a breastfeeding class where they showed videos of the mechanics of breastfeeding and provided tips like that you should line the babies nose up with your nipple, etc. I don't know what I would have done without that knowledge since at first it feels incredibly awkward.

H was gaining weight like crazy, so I was never too worried if he was eating enough. But he had a bit of colic and in those early months and would fuss and fuss while trying to feed in the evening. It was incredibly frustrating wondering if I was doing something wrong, wondering if your baby was hungry, did you not have enough milk, too much milk? In the end it was just a fussy baby, and sure enough by 10 weeks he was pulling out of colic-y times and he was much calmer. H was also a fast nurser! At first he'd take 40 minutes or so, but by a few months old he would only nurse 5-10 minutes! I remember trying to keep him nursing for longer, thinking he must need more right? But nope, he just got it done quick, and I feel like I was so lucky. I never felt like I was trapped nursing all the time.


I also came down with a mild bout of mastitis early on, and this lead to weeks of living in fear of mastitis and thrush. Night after night, if H didn't nurse enough or decided to sleep longer than usual, I was up pumping. Oh and did I mention that H never took a bottle? Yeah, all that milk wasted. I also had a bit of ... not pain, but irritation for the first couple months. 6 weeks came and went and it still didn't feel easy or comfortable nursing H, and I was considering going back for help with his latch when I finally swapped out my lanolin for Dr Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment. Seriously, amazing. A few days later pain/irritation was gone and everything fell into place.

We've been nursing happily ever since, but these days as H has ramped up his eating he's starting to ease off on milk. If we're out and about he will barely nurse, and even at home he's happy to go 6 + hours sometimes without it. As he's starting daycare in just a couple weeks, I really don't know how things will go. For now, I'm leaving it up to H to keep going or wean. If he decides he's done, I'm OK with that. But I am so grateful that we've had this year together to make breastfeeding work.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer!

Yes, it has finally arrived! A straight week of sun and hot hot hot, and I'm remembering why it is that we live in this part of the world. The nice weather has also opened the way to a whole bunch of new activities for H and I. Splashing in the inflatable pool in yard, splashing in water on the deck, and today we went to the big pool for the first time (OK, so basically warm weather = play with water).

I'd wanted to take H to the pool since he was little. But it was winter, and it just seemed too cold to dunk a tiny baby into water. And since he's been playing in the kiddie pool and in the big bathtub, I almost felt like there was no need to go to the pool. After all, how different could it be to a baby?

Turns out, very different. H loved the pool. And not in the 'doesn't hate it so mom infers baby loves it' kind of way. No, he loved it in the huge smile, kicking and splashing and laughing kind of way. So, I guess we'll be doing that again. And as a bonus he took a 2 + hour nap afterwards!
At White Rock Beach
Splashing around on the deck

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Still still

At almost 10 months old H is still a non-crawling baby. I've been trying to stay really laid back about developmental milestones. I don't get the monthly updates from babycentre, I only glance at my 'What to Expect' book if I have a question, and I've been trying not to compare H to other kids since it really seems like in the grand scheme of things every baby gets there eventually. And considering the crazy critical voice I have in my head, I think I've actually been doing a pretty good job.

But this morning I had a total breakdown. My kid ins't crawling, and obviously there is no other reason than that I am a bad mother.

Now, he likes to sit, and if a toy rolls away from him he just goes for a different toy. If all the toys roll away from him, he just sucks his thumb. He does not seem interested in reaching forward and going from sitting to being on his belly. Maybe it's just that one too many hard knocks to the head on our hardwood floors have taught him to be super cautious. Or maybe I've just been helping him out too much.

I know in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter when your kid reaches these milestones. Can you look at 18 year olds and tell which kid crawled a couple months later than the others? Nope. Heck, I was an early crawler/walker and I'm about the clumsiest person I know (and my legs are covered in the bruises to prove it). Still, it's amazing how as a mom this stuff gets under your skin and can drive you crazy.

So, I'm going to try to take a page out of my son's book and not care about this ('cause he's really not at all bothered). And if worse comes to worse and he's still not crawling at a year, well then I can always start lying about his age. 'No, he's not crawling yet but then he's only 8 months old... yes he is very big for his age...' It's always good to have a plan B.

Almost 10 months...

Dear H,

In just one week you will be double digits old! You have now lived on this earth as long as you swam in my belly, and it's amazing what you've accomplished in such a short time. We're visiting your grandparents right now and the house is covered in photographs of you (of course), and it's a sweet reminder of what you were like just a few months ago. You were such a little thing! Now everyone comments how much you're looking like a boy, not a baby.

These days you are around 20 lbs (according to the oh so accurate bathroom scale) and holding you is becoming a challenge. After a few minutes my biceps start to burn, and it doesn't help that you've become a very squirmy boy. Reaching, lunging, arching your back to try to escape my grasp. Yes, holding you is a challenge. But when we put you on the ground you're pretty content to just sit there. Maybe you only like to perform you acrobatic maneuvers from the safety of our arms? Whatever the reason, you are still our stationary boy, though if forced to go onto your belly you are now pushing yourself up to your hands and knees. I know I should just enjoy these pre-mobile days as life will surely be more challenging when you're on the go, but I can't help but be anxious for you to start moving and exploring the world on your own more.

You are getting to be just so chatty! You speak what's on your mind, and make your points emphatically. If only we knew what you were trying to tell us. You've started to copy sounds we are making, and when I say 'wheeee' while pushing you on the swing it's often echoed by your 'eeeeee'. Your conversation always makes us laugh, and you may have said your first word last weekend while staring at a picture of deer. It was 'deer'. Other words you may be saying include 'indeed' and 'kajiji'. But like I said, we're having a hard time translating.

You are eating more and more finger foods, and I've started letting you try almost anything on my plate. You have 6 teeth and love putting them to use! So far you've got a very open mind and seem to like almost everything you try. Little by little you're appetite is growing, and the other day you ate an entire banana's worth of baby banana pancakes. We still nurse quite a bit, but it's down to every 4 hours or so and usually just once during the night. You are solid three nap baby these days, but you might be ready for just two naps soon.

People often comment on what a happy and calm baby you are. You are generally pretty laid back and able to just go with the flow. So long as there is someone to give you some attention, you'll tolerate travel (even hours and hours in the car), missed naps, or sitting at a restaurant for a couple hours while mom visits with friends. It may take you a bit to warm up to new people, but once you've given someone the stamp of approval you melt their hearts with your sweet smiles and laughs. Seeing you with family and friends is such an unexpected joy, it's so fun watching you with the people I love.

We're in the home stretch now of our first year together. Thanks for making it so much fun to be a mom, little man. There's no one I'd rather be doing this thing with than you.

Love, 
Mama



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lately I've been wondering about how I should be spending this last stretch of my maternity leave. Soon, much sooner than I care to acknowledge, I'll be back at work and life as we know it will change. Again. It's hard to imagine. H and I have never been apart for more than a few hours. And even that has only been a couple of times. And yet, in two months I will be leaving him for 13 hour stretches. Eeek! How will that even be possible? And more importantly, how do I prepare us for that separation?

I feel like this is my job over the next while. As much as I want to spend every single minute together, maybe it's time to start to wean us off each other a bit. I know that in the long run independence is a good thing for both of us, but how do you help to cultivate it in a way that feels loving and secure? And that's not a rhetorical question. Any advice would be very much appreciated!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The best part about having my parents back from vacation?

Free babysitting! Honestly, living close to grandparents is amazing. Today my dad came in to town in the afternoon, spent the day at the park with me and H, then stayed behind while James and I went out to a movie. My mom came over after work to keep them both company. It felt so fun to go to a movie without a baby. What's this? I get to sit through the whole movie and don't have to worry about rushing out of the theater when my baby wakes up (hello movies for mommies). And while we're at it, I don't have to rush out of the theater to pee (hello pregnancy). Amazing-sauce.

But the best part of the evening was arriving home to find out that H had gone down no problem and had been sleeping soundly since 7 pm. As nice as it's been to be able to sneak out of the house after H's bedtime on a few occasions, being able to go out before his bedtime opens up a whole new world of possibilities. This also makes me feel better about my impending return to work, and the fact that soon I won't be able to be here for every bedtime.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More fun with sewing!

So I took a sewing class last night at Spool of Thread, which is this sewing 'lounge' with the most beautiful fabric in the city. It was a tote bag class, and in 3 hours it took you from never having touched a machine to finishing a cute little bag. A lot of the intro stuff was review for me, but it was nice to get some formal instruction rather than just. my usual winging it approach. Of course now I'm just dying to buy more fabric and sew sew sew. Too bad I have so much knitting to do.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Animals?

So, as I was reading some books to H this morning it occurred to me that a vast majority of his books seem to be dedicated to teaching kids about animals. Here's a horse, a horse says neigh. Here's a cow, a cow says moo. Like, really? Is this just a hangover from our pioneering days, or is it really vital that kids learn identify all the animals and what noise they make. Because, H could go a really long time without seeing a horse or a cow in the city. Seems like there could be some other skills we could be teaching him... like 'here's a telephone, it goes 'riiing', here's a taxi, it goes 'HONNNK'. Or is this just me?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A day in the life ... 8 months

8 am - I hear H crying and James goes and gets him and brings him to me. Usually our days begin around 8 to 9 am... so thankful that even though he doesn't sleep through the night, at least H lets me sleep in a bit. We nurse, have a cuddle, laugh and giggle with daddy, then it's time to start the day.

9 am - We're up, dressed and now it's time for breakfast! I get myself something to eat and prepare a mini version of what I'm having for H. Scrambled egg, pureed fruit with oatmeal or yogurt, or cheerios and bananas are just a few of the things H likes to eat. He's taken his time getting warmed up to food, but is starting to like it more and more. Lately when he gets into his high chair, he flaps his arms excitedly as if to say, 'give it to me!'.

9:30-10 am - After breakfast, H will play quietly sitting on the floor while I clean up, then it's time for a few stories.

10 am - Nap #1. H has been slowly stretching out his awake time, but it's still only about two hours long. H naps in his crib now, and after singing him a song and putting him down in his crib I leave the room and let him fall asleep. Usually he's out in a minute, but his naps are still usually only 40-50 minutes long.

11 am - Up, diaper change, and a quick nurse. Now we usually grab the stroller or hop in the car and get out on the town. If it's sunny, our new favourite destination is the park. Today we meet our friends (mom and baby) in Kits and go for a nice long walk on Kits Beach. When H was younger I had a lot more set appointments to help me get out of the house, but these days I'm much more 'go with the flow'.

1 pm - Nap #2. Usually happens sometime in the early afternoon and this can be his best nap. I LOVE that H naps better these days. I love my baby, but I LOVE his naps. I sip coffee, do a few housekeeping type things, watch TV, read books or the internet... naps are awesome.

2 pm - H is up. Diaper change and lunch. I try to sit down and eat something with him. A few weeks ago, I decided to start giving H three meals a day. He doesn't eat that much, maybe 1 oz of soft food, plus some finger foods. It's easy to feel like this meal is optional, but I try to make sure he gets it every day since I figure he expects it now. Lunch is usually some purees, sweet potato or squash and cinnamon, and some finger foods. Pieces of avocado, pear, banana, cheese or cheerios. He doesn't get too much of that in his mouth, but he concentrates pretty hard and is getting better with his pincer grasp.

2 - 4 pm - We putter around the house. Play in the yard or in the house. Run errands on the Drive... maybe mom buys herself a treat (probably mom buys herself a treat).

4 pm - Last nap of the day. This one is usually pretty short. Although lately, H has started falling back asleep sometimes if I just leave him. It's amazing how much his napping has changed... probably this deserves a blog all of its own.

5 pm - H is up, diaper change and a nurse. Then he sits in his highchair to keep me company while I get dinner together. The best way to keep him occupied? Why hand him a mixing spoon of course.
By this time we are both dying for dad to walk through the door. And when he does, H breaks into the biggest smile. It's so fun watching H and James' relationship. They adore each other.

6 pm - Dinner time! James and I used to eat all our meals in front of the TV (Bad! I know) but not these days. We've started to all sit down at the table and eat as a family. For this meal I try to let H sample as much as he can off our plates. Last night it was some cod and pasta to go along with his pureed dilly carrots.

6:30-7 pm - Somewhere in here it's bath time. H loves his bath still, which is great. His favourite trick is to try to drink the bathwater, which of course keeps mama and dad on our toes.

7 pm - Bedtime! Is there anything better than a freshly bathed baby in his PJs? We have a couple stories (usually the Hobbit and The Going to Bed Book), a nurse, and then it's off to bed in his room. H is so much better at going to sleep these days. He does wake up a few times in the evening, but it's 50-50 that he'll be able to put himself back to sleep without any help from us. It is so nice to have a few hours of grown up time in the evening.

H still gets up twice in the night for a bite to eat. Usually the first time is around 11 pm just as I'm going to sleep. He'll also get up around 3 am. And then sometimes still around 5 am, but I count that as an 'early morning' wake up, and he'll luckily go back down for a couple of hours before we wake up for good and start the whole day over.

Two new habits

H has started pointing. It's pretty cute even though it does feel a bit rude when he does it to strangers. He'll point at something that catches his attention and will go 'de de de DE'. So neat that he's trying to communicate, but I wish that I knew what he was trying to say.

A less cute habit that's emerging is that H has started to grind his teeth. Aarrghh! It makes my blood curdle just to hear that sound, but how do you explain to a baby 'please stop making that awful sound, it's creeping mommy out'? If someone knows how to say, sign that to a baby, please let me know.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Travels with Baby



Our flight home from LA marked H's 9th airplane flight (I'm counting one take off and one landing as an individual flight). In his 8 months outside my belly, he's made two trips to Saskatchewan to stay with family, two road trips to Kamloops, and one trip to LA. And while traveling to visit family is one thing, going on a bonafide vacation is something else. If you're interested I'd love to share a few of the things that worked well for us on this last trip.

A door is key
When I started researching this trip, I did my usual thing of looking through airbnb and vrbo at all these great studio apartments. Yeahhh, that was silly. Thankfully I clued in and switched to one bedrooms, because being able to put the kiddo to sleep and do something other than sit in the bathroom watching movies on a laptop seems like one of the keys to a fun vacation. The place we rented was a little bit iffy, as the only way to get to the bathroom was through the bedroom, but luckily once H was asleep we could sneak by and not once did we end up waking him (whew).

Our backyard
Fun things for mom and dad
It follows that if your baby is going to be going to sleep early, you are going to be spending quite a few hours sitting around in the evenings. With that in mind, we decided it would be worth it to spend a bit more and find a place where you'd actually want to spend time. The place we ended up had a nice yard, a sitting area, a hot tub AND a giant (really, really giant) TV with Netflix. It was awesome. After H went down we'd watch American Netflix (hell-o Louie and Portlandia), then hop in the hot tub. And although this isn't exactly 'fun', we also decided to get a place with a washer and dryer, which was so great for traveling with a baby. You can see where we stayed here.


Whole Foods
If at all possible have a Whole Foods within two blocks. This one in particular had the craziest salad/hot food bar I've ever seen. Almost every night we got take out from here and ate it after H was in bed. 


At the corner of Lincoln and Rose. It took me embarrassingly long to realize that was a picture of Lincoln.
Bring the good stroller
Previous trips, I'd taken the base of our stroller with our car seat attachment, which makes for a lighter load in airports. But since we planned to do a lot of walking, and I wanted H to be able to nap and sit up in his stroller, we decided to bring the whole shebang this time (we were quite a sight at the airport, I tell you). This ended up being key, since naps could happen on the go and H was happy to stroll around for hours. Some days we'd leave the house around 9 am and he'd be out in the stroller until 4 pm.

I could sit in this thing all day!
How did we ever carry all our crap pre-stroller?


Low expectations
Venice Beach has tons of great restaurants. I didn't expect to get to any of them. LA is HUGE and there is a tons of cool places to go. I didn't expect to get to any of them. All I expected was that I'd spend a week with my two favourite people in a place that would hopefully be sunny. We also picked a neighborhood that would be easy to explore on foot, where there were lots of low key activities. A slower paced vacation than we might have previously planned, but it worked out well.

And just to keep it real, here are a few things that didn't work out as well as planned:

Beaches
I thought H would love the beach. What's not to love right? How about glaring hot and bright sun, wind, and cold water. From the point of view of my 8 month old son the beach sucked. From the point of view of my husband, who body surfed in crazy waves while all the surfers were wearing their wet suits, the beach rocked. Too bad the crying baby meant we didn't spend that much time actually on the beach.

Trying to hide from the sun - soon after we bought an umbrella.
Our own toys
I carefully packed some of H's favourite books and toys so that we'd have lots to keep him entertained. Silly mom, who wants to play with their own toys when there are water bottles, air sickness bags and sunglasses to eat?

Checking our car seat
Three days after arriving back in Vancouver the airline finally found it. And it's arrived in less than trustworthy condition. There really is no good way to travel with your car seat, except to buy a seat for the baby and bring it on board. But that would have cost $300 and to replace the seat costs $200 so I guess we chose the cheaper option?

Oh and one last thing, and the most important key to our success - make sure to bring the cutest baby and husband on the planet with you. That's all.





Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gratitude for Moms

On a recent trip to Saskatchewan with my parents, I dragged myself up the stairs from putting H to bed in the basement and fell into the love seat. My parents were watching TV and could tell I was exhausted after four rough nights with a teething baby. In response to how I was doing, all I could muster was that I was thirsty, and just then H started to wail again. With a big sigh, I declared that I was going to the bathroom before I went back down there, secretly hoping he'd quiet himself. He didn't of course, even after I took way longer than necessary to pee (triple hand wash? why not). So I walked through the kitchen to head down to the basement, and there was my mom waiting for me by the steps with a big glass of water.  Here I was, 30 years old with a baby of my own, and it's my mom who's looking after me so I can look after him. And as I walked down the stairs I could hear my 90 year old grandmother asking my mom if she needed something to eat ...

Thank you Mom for all you do for me. And for every mother that came before.

I heart Venice


Well we're back! Finally opened our front door at 11 pm after a long day that started with a leisurely morning of walking around my new happy place aka Venice Beach, and ended with a long wait for our luggage culminating in the realization that the airline had indeed lost our carseat (Seriously? You couldn't have lost the pack 'n play?).


We did manage to make it home though, and it is good to be back, but a bit bittersweet in the way that coming home from a really good vacation always is. Thankfully it's warm and balmy here in Van, actually warmer feeling than LA was when we left, so that lessens the blow somewhat. Spending a whole week hanging out as our new family of three was a-mazing. This was our first real vacation post baby, and I think we were all a bit giddy with how much fun it was.

First of all, I kind of lost my heart to Venice. There are a very few places I've travelled where I instantly felt at home. Actually the only other place I felt that way was in Berlin. We rented a tiny apartment, ate at yummy cafes, walked the boardwalk, played in the surf, got way too much take out from Whole Foods, and generally let ourselves relax right into the Venice vibe. So much so that our host, Jodi, didn't even recognize us when we bumped into her on the street ("Wow, you guys really fit in here" - her words made my day, haha). Everyone was so friendly, and there are trees that grow lemons and flowers flowers flowers everywhere. And all the houses are so cute, and if we only had a few million dollars we'd be moving down there right away.

I've always loved southern California (you know, the one other time I was there), but didn't think I could handle the cars. Well, Venice is perfect for that because you don't really need to drive. We could have done just fine without a car for the week, although we did make good use out of it, taking a roadtrip to Malibu, to the Getty Villa, driving up to Mulholland Drive, checking out Beverly Hills (where James hopped out of the car while I was nursing H and stole a copy of the Beverly Hills Courier off someone's front lawn - it was pretty fun to read about what makes the local paper in richy rich land).

And speaking of H, that kid rocks! Seriously, he is an amazing traveller. He was so happy to sit in his stroller, nap in his stroller, ride around in the car, and generally be carted around town all while he flirted shamelessly with everyone he met. He even slept pretty well in his pack 'n play leaving long evenings for James and I to make use of the hot tub and Netflix at our 'house'. All of this while he got a tooth!

I'd like to share some more experiences travelling with a baby, but for now I'm heading to bed to dream about the magical week we had and how we can get back there someday.

At the Getty Villa in Malibu
Groundwork coffee, two blocks from our place

Happy baby, happy dad. Taking a stroller break off Abbott Kinney
HOLLYWOOD!
Swinging on the beach

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Fake it 'till you make it...

With less than a week before beach time, I was horrified when I looked down and saw my legs. Eeek, seriously? Not only are they pasty white, but they are covered in bruises. What from? Who knows. I swear bruises no longer heal on me, they just hang around for months gradually turning a sickly pale green colour. Have I grossed you out enough yet? So this combo lead to me to try something I'd never imagined I would dare... the self tanner. As in, from a bottle. I figured a tan would at least partially cover up the gross-ness, and I'd been hearing that the new generation of self tanners are much easier to use and less likely to end in orange splotchy disaster.

SO, I bought this stuff from Sephora yesterday, and once the babe was asleep I jumped in the shower to try it (I read somewhere to spray in the shower so you could just rinse it down after to clean up the over spray... smart idea). You know, some people suggested exfoliating in the morning, then moisturizing, then spraying in the evening. But I'm a mom, I don't have time for all that so I jumped right in. No exfoliating, no moisturizing, no thinking it through.

How did it turn out? Well... it's a bit mixed. The colour after one application is really subtle and nice. But somehow I ended up with some splotchy bits on my arms, especially my right arm where I somehow missed blending it into my hand. I really don't think anyone would notice though unless I pointed it out... but let me point it out for you.


I'm hoping another application will even things out... and if not, at least then my weird, splotchy arms will distract from my legs.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

6 more sleeps...


... and I'll be here! Venice Beach, CA. I'm SO SO ready for some sunshine. 

In the meantime there's the small matter of getting ready for a trip with a baby. I feel like we've had a lot of practice, as this will be our third trip in a month, but this time we're bringing everything, AND we only have the two of us grown ups. I'm prepared for the trip down to be very stressful, but somehow I don't care. I'm just really looking forward to a proper vacation. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Travels


Well we're back home after a trip to Saskatchewan for my grandmother's 90th birthday. I always joke that I wish I had family in some place more glamourous than Saskatchewan. You know, somewhere with palm trees and a beach? But alas, all my trips to visit family take me to the flat and dry prairies. The weather was cr-azy. 3 degrees when we arrived and 25 degrees when we left, and everything was pretty dry. Still, spending hours driving across the flat landscape I was reminded how beautiful it can be. The sky is just. so. big. And the meteorologist in me was psyched that we got at least one thunderstorm.

There's also something about going 'home'. Though I've never lived there, both my parents are from towns two hours apart in southern Saskatchewan (Assiniboia and Swift Current). My dad comes from a pretty big family, and it's strange to be some place where you're related to so many people. On the flight over a couple struck up a conversation with us, and upon hearing that we were Gloecklers wanted to know if we knew Dave Gloeckler. Yup, that's my uncle. Coming from the coast for summers when I was a kid, I loved that feeling of being swallowed up by this huge family. So many aunts and uncles, and you were just another one of the cousins. I think a lot about how different family will be for H, who only has one uncle.

It was great traveling with H with both my mom and dad. I had a lot of help, although not when I needed it at night. The boy was amazing every day. Seriously never cried even during the long travel days and hours in the car. But come night time he was not a happy camper, and of course that's when I was on my own. I came home pretty exhausted, but so glad that we made the effort to go. H got to see both great grandmas, one for the first time.




Unlce Dave's house - a lot of stuffed animals
The windmills at Cousin Wayne's farm
Meeting his Great Grandma
My grandma Ruth has dementia and no longer remembers who we are. But sitting there with her as she was chuckling to herself at jokes only she could only hear, threatening to knock my uncle around when he got out of line, it still felt like I got to see my grandma. I wasn't sure if the disease would have left anything of who she really was. And when H reached out to her and she whispered 'want to come to me' and we helped her hold him on her lap, I was so glad we'd made this meeting happen.


I also found this picture of my Grandma Susan and Grandpa Cec when they were young. Don't they look so glamourous? Grandma Susan turned 90 this past Friday and this was the second time H had a chance to visit her. She is amazing. Though she has had a lot of health problems she still lives in her own home and we had to fight with her to sit down and stop trying to take care of us. She would even pick up H (a very heavy 18 lbs) and carry him into the living room, plop him on her lap and keep him entertained for a long time. And ask anyone, he is one wriggly little boy. I think babies really are magic.