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:

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
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.