Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mom Jeans

This is the first time since university where I've had almost no need for dressier work type clothing. I'm all lounge wear, all the time. I've also been forced to take into account much more practical considerations than in my pre-baby life (Waterproof? Machine washable? These things matter now). And finally, I have waaay fewer opportunities to actually shop, so my shopping ground has narrowed from all of the city to shops up and down Commercial Drive and the Gap/Banana/Old Navy which is pretty much the only easy online shipping us poor deprived Canadians have access to.

With all this I was a little concerned that I might end up living in outdated clothes circa my pre-baby days or my old maternity yoga pants and sweatshirts. Which is totally fine if that's your thing, but as someone who's a little on the vain side and also surrounded by cute, hip moms, I really didn't want to turn into one of those ladies walking around in mom jeans. Or more accurately our generation's version of mom jeans, which I believe are leggings and/or yoga pants, although I have to confess that I have been wearing leggings quite a bit. I thought I'd drawn the line when it came to leggings as pants, but I did have one horrifying experience when James' parents offered to watch H while we went out for a drink. I quickly threw on my rain boots over my Gap 'dance' pants (really just super tight yoga pants) and we were out the door. Only when I caught a glimpse of myself in the bar window I realized the slight flare was totally hidden by my boots and for all intents and purposes I was wearing leggings as pants! Ack!

But the occasional disaster aside, I've managed to find a few things that work really well for life as a new/nursing mom. And because this was the sort of information I was desperate for pre-baby, I thought I'd share.

The fact that I'm always casually dressed means I've been able splurge a bit on a few items (Hell-o Hunter boots... never could have justified them before but since I pretty much wear them every day now they have been worth every penny). I also spent a bit more on a sweater and a new jacket simply because they were within walking distance of my house and I had no time to comparison shop. So here's the first couple items on my list of new mom essentials:

1. Raincoat. Yes, I live in Vancouver and haven't worn a raincoat for years. I preferred cute non-waterproof coats and umbrellas until now. But when I decided I needed a new coat this past fall and found myself trying on my usual thing, a wool peacoat, my eyes drifted over to a rack of raincoats. Ick, so practical, I thought. Luckily at this point H woke up crying and I had to get out of the store before I bought anything. Because once I started to think about it, how exactly was I planning on carrying around an umbrella and a baby and all the junk that goes along with a baby? Luckily, on closer inspection there were some cute raincoats at Spank (which is my favourite place to find coats, by the way). And I've been sooo happy to have a rainproof coat this winter.

2. Hunter boots. I've loved the looks of these boots for ages but just couldn't justify the expense. But after my friends Rachel and Jenny staged an intervention (OK not quite, they just both came to visit one rainy weekend and showed me the error of my Hunter bootless ways). The great thing about these boots is that they are so comfortable I can actually wear them for walking, and every time I find myself standing in a gutter putting H's carseat into the car I'm so glad my feet are dry. (True confession time, I might go out of my way to tromp through puddles when I'm wearing these... what am I, 8?)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Owl Vest

When the long range forecast showed a dip in temperatures towards the end of February I jumped on the opportunity to knit H a wool vest. I'd been feeling a little sad about his lack of mama knit woolen clothing, so this late cold snap seemed like my chance to redeem myself.

I decided to make the Owl Pattern Vest which was both cute and free, and used some leftover angora/wool blend yarn I had on hand. It's kind of hard to see in the pictures but there are some 'owls' across the chest. The sizing says 9 months, and it's definitely a bit roomy on him right now. I'm hoping that it's stretchy enough that H might still be able to squeeze into it next fall.

After a few busy evenings knitting after the boy went to bed, I managed to finish the vest a couple days ago. Just in time for the flurries today. There's just something about a cute baby covered in hand knit wool that makes a mama feel so happy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The evolution of naps...

Dear me three months ago,

You may think you will never be able to put your baby down for a nap. That you will be forever trapped under a heavier and heavier child, with some type of repetitive strain injury from iPhone web browsing, but take heart. One day your baby will start sucking his thumb, and shortly after that he will start being able to be put down awake and in his bed and be left alone to put himself to sleep for naps. It. Will. Be. Amazing. Freedom like you never imagined possible. Leave it to motherhood to transform previously mundane tasks (laundry, dishes, paying my credit card bill!) into luxurious, and seemingly self indulgent activities just because you're doing them sans bebe (hey, who's been reading about French babies? All of a sudden that book is everywhere).

Now if only he would start sleeping for more than 45 minutes at a time I could really spoil myself and do something crazy, like weeding the garden!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Making me laugh these days...

My mom likes to sing this song to H. As someone who's life feels like it's entirely devoted to making my kid sleep, I find this song ludicrously hilarious. So of course, I regularly sing it to the little dude as well.

My life's search

I think I've been on a life long search for the perfect lip colour. I'm more of a chapstick girl, really, but I can't help searching for the perfect lipstick/lip stain/lip gloss what have you, that will change my life and not end up being forgotten in the bottom of my purse after a few weeks when I inevitably turn back to my old favourite, Burt's Bees.

These days, as I find myself skipping makeup (and really, let's be honest, showers and washing my face) for days at a time, I've taken to pinning the newest and greatest lip enhancements on Pinterest rather than actually buying anything. So when I found myself in Sephora today, I quickly bought the latest great lip thing I'd heard about, Fresh Sugar Passion lip treatment. I didn't even think twice about $26 for a tube of what is essentially coloured lip gloss. Maybe because I'd just been checking out the NARS lipsticks which were $30, so in comparison this felt like a steal? It is actually really nice stuff, but I have to admit the rush I usually get from a new makeup purchase is feeling a bit tainted (har har) by the the thought of all the lip stuffs that came before. What are the chances I will not end up forgetting this at the bottom of my current purse, the diaper bag? Especially after planting a kiss on H's head and seeing my lip stick mark left behind. Hmm, oh right, that's why right before his birth I'd bought that tube of long last stay put lipstick I read about here. Oh consumerism, you got me again.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Sewing project #3 - DIY Nursing Cover

When H was a couple weeks old we attempted our first restaurant meal. Of course H wanted to eat as well as soon as my hot breakfast was placed in front of me. As a very new mom, nursing my baby in public was not easy, and was made even more awkward by the teeny tiny nursing cover I had. I managed to make it through the meal, but on the way home I stopped at my local kids store (where I have spent A LOT of money) and handed over my credit card and said "Give me something decent to nurse under". And so I ended up with a Bebe au Lait nursing cover which was nice and roomy and worked great for nursing in public in those places where I, brand spanking new mother that I was, wouldn't have felt comfortable any other way.

Well the other day I returned home from a lovely walk to find I'd lost my nursing cover. It must have blown off the stroller in a strong gust of wind, and don't even ask me how it was possible for me to not notice a giant piece of fabric flying off my stroller. So here was my problem, we were already almost 5 months in, do I buy another one? Lately I've been using it less and less, and to tell you the truth H doesn't love having his head covered up while eating, which I mean, I can't blame him. We've both gotten a lot better at nursing, and with the right outfit and a scarf on I don't think anyone can even see anything and even if they do, most of the time I just don't care. So 90% of the time I don't need a cover, and for the other 10% I could just throw a blanket over us. And after checking craigslist to see that those covers still sell for $30 used (oh the resale value... I'm so mad I lost mine!), I decided that no, I will not be getting myself another cover. Sigh, another motherhood 'necessity' has become obsolete... this is all happening too fast!

But anyway, back to the point of this post. As fine as a blanket is, it's still nice to have that strap around your neck for the times when your baby decides to break out the ninja moves and you'd really rather not slip the nip, so in a stroke of genius I decided to google 'DIY nursing cover'. I found a ton of tutorials, and even better, they didn't require any sewing skill beyond my 'can sew a hem, badly, and that's it' level. AND even better, I already had some left over fabric, so all it required was a trip to the sewing store for such exotic items as 'boning' and 'd-rings'. $2.60 and one evening later... ta da! I made my own nursing cover!

Does this fabric look familiar? Yup, it's from H's curtains. How Von Trapp of me:)

And for the record, I'm choosing to focus on how I saved myself $40 this time, rather than on the fact that I should have done this back in August and saved myself the original $40+tax on the first cover. So, go me!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Napping in the car

It never fails that H will fall asleep minutes before we get home. If I carry him into the house he wakes immediately, so often this means we stay in the car while he naps. Thank goodness for iPhones and good radio stations. Of course this doesn't help me on days like today when I desperately need to pee. Oh the sacrifices we make for naps.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

A day in the life...

Someday I'm sure I'll look back and ask myself what many people have asked me, how did I ever pass the time while I was on mat leave? It's hard to explain how time feels to me these days. It's like the hours are short but the minutes are long. Anyway, here's an example of a fairly typical day, which just happened to be last Tuesday.

7 am - Wake up to the sound of H fussing. My first thought is 'why won't this kid let me sleep?'. Then I look at the clock, oh that's why. My new rule is if H wakes before 6 am, we stay in the room and go back to sleep, 6 - 7 I try to get him back to sleep but if he insists on being awake, oh well. After 7 I'll get up (almost) right away. This morning it's option C so up we get.

Since H has started getting up earlier I've given myself a pass on being entertaining first thing in the morning. I used to wake up singing but that was at 9 am. At 7 you get a diaper change, dressed for the day, and some time on the play mat while I make my decaf tea ( since I'll be going back to bed soon) and some toast. We hang out in the living room and lately I'll read the globe and mail out loud. Just because you're a baby it doesn't mean you can't take an interest in current events.

8:15 H is getting cranky and my tea is gone, time for our nap. H nurses to sleep while dad gets ready, then as he takes off and I lay down for my nap.

10:00 wake up. Longest nap ever! Since we've started taking this nap together H has started going down for much longer. This time I'll be fun. We sing, read books, go for airplane rides and play with toys. I also make sure to eat a real breakfast. Mom needs food!

11:30 Nap again, fusses a bit and puts himself to sleep! It feels like lately something is shifting in H's sleep routine and I no longer feel very confident that I know when to put him down for naps. Now that he's sleeping a bit longer, does he really need to go down every 90 minutes, or can I stretch it longer? It turns out that parenthood (at least these first few months) is just trying to get your kid to sleep. Maybe there's 10 minutes of enjoying their company while awake, but the rest of the day if they are awake you are trying to make them sleep.

12:15 He's up! This is a much more typical nap for H, 30-45 minutes. We play, mom has lunch (need more food!)

1:00 Out the door! It's amazing how important this part of the day is to me. Where we're going changes from day to day, but I really need to get out of the house at least once a day or I go crazy sauce.

2-3:30 Today we meet some friends for a mom and baby singing class. Pre-baby I used to think I was someone who knew the lyrics to a lot of songs, but try remembering those lyrics when you're sleep deprived. My renditions of 'itsy bitsy spider' and 'you are my sunshine' are getting a bit old, so I'm excited to learn some new songs to sing with the little man.

3:30-5 It's pouring rain, the busses are packed and we're on our way home! Since having H I drive everywhere, but there is still the occasional place in the city where taking the bus seems like the easiest transit option. At least today I don't have my stroller, much easier to handle transit with the baby in the ergo. H naps on and off on the bus ride and while I walk down the drive to pick up some dinner and browse in some shops. Today I am good and only buy dinner.

5-6 We're back home and waiting for dad to get home. I always feel a bit sad for James that he only gets an hour or so with H every day, and that hour is in the evening when things are a bit touch and go. It's tough being the working parent.

6:45 A fussy baby = time for bed. We start his bedtime routine which involves a diaper/outfit change, a baby massage, a book and a nurse. H always goes to sleep so easily after this, but he'll be up in 40 minutes or so. For the following two hours he'll wake up quite often. We let him fuss on his own, but when the cries start to build in intensity we go in to help him go back to sleep. By 9 pm or so he'll be out for the night, which means out for a few solid hours of sleep. But we'll take what we can get!

And another day is done.