Tuesday, December 31, 2013

new year's goals

Hey, I'm a new mom so I'm focussing on some goals for 2014 vs. resolutions (a.k.a. promises). 2013 was the best year of my life so far because I got to meet our baby girl, Charlotte, and I started the most important role I will ever take on - being a good mother.

Since I am on maternity leave, the plan is to go back to work in October 2014. It will all depend on finances basically but if money wasn't an issue, I would definitely be a stay at home mom. That's actually my new dream.

Unfortunately that dream is not in the cards right now so I am going to use 2014 as a refocusing year - to work on becoming the woman (and mother) I really want to be.

Start Moving
I was super excited when I started breastfeeding and lost a ton of weight after Charlotte was born. It felt like it just melted away and even though I wasn't back to pre-pregnancy shape, I was feeling pretty good. Then I went to put my jeans on (that fit me pretty good about a month after giving birth) at about 8 weeks post delivery, they didn't fit. Not even a little bit. Normally this would depress me big time but with all my focus on Charlotte these days, I didn't let it bother me too much. I guess since Charlotte is eating less - and more efficiently - I'm not burning as many calories. I'm proud of my body for what it went through to bring Charlotte into the world, but I must admit, I'm not a fan of looking at myself naked. Because of that, I will move more in 2014. I'm not big on working out so even if it just means going for more walks around the neighborhood or playing spring league soccer, my body is going to start going in a healthy direction instead of backwards. 

Get Creative
When I was pregnant I was really worried that I wasn't going to have time to get anything done. Turns out I was really wrong. There's plenty of time in the day, it just comes down to me to use it effectively. Since Charlotte was born (October 11th) I have worked on my scrapbook, put together her baby book, created and assembled our Christmas cards, written more blog posts than ever before - a lot of little, creative projects that I have loved working on. In 2014 I will continue writing on my blog and will keep working on creative projects (hoping to get back into the jewelry making game - more on that later) that aren't too overwhelming, and feed my soul.

If I don't love it or need it, it is out of here. Period. Feels so good to purge and donate so I will do much more of it in 2014. We have so much, too much, and way more than we need. I guess if my husband loves something, it has to stay, but if it's not useful to one of us - bye bye.

Stay Connected
For the first few months of Charlotte's life, I had major anxiety when I had plans on the calendar. I would worry about something I had to do that was more than a week away. Part of it was due to the fact that my husband and I switched vehicles so I was suddenly driving a big truck (compared to a Honda civic hatchback) - that I couldn't park for the life of me. The other part was because I had a fear of Charlotte getting too fussy in public. What if she cries and I can't console her? What if I need to breastfeed her in public? Of course I always built it up bigger in my head. And of course it always worked out just fine. I would even get anxious if people came to visit me at my house. But I always enjoyed it. I loved the company, the connecting, the chats. So in 2014 I am going to make more plans. Connect with more friends and family. Less fear and more human contact. Bring it on.

I am really looking forward to seeing what the New Year has to offer. Now, if only I could find a way to slow down time, everything would be perfect! :)

What are your goals for the New Year?

Monday, December 30, 2013

my word for 2014 // calm

I love Ali Edwards and find her incredibly inspiring so this year, I decided to jump on her One Word bandwagon.

In 2014, my chosen word to focus on is CALM.

I will choose to remain calm when anxiety overtakes my mind and body.

I will think calm thoughts when Charlotte gets fussy.

I will take deep, calming breaths when my husband and I aren't fully connecting.

I will remain calm and focussed when life becomes overwhelming or my plate gets too full.

I will make 2014 a calm year, and will make sure that my soul is calm and that it takes over my anxiety.

What is your 'one word' that you will focus on in the New Year?

P.S. I love the Calm line from Escents Aromatherapy. It really does have a calming effect when I smell the essential oil combination. Maybe that will be my 2014 scent! :)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

after holiday laziness

I've been sitting at home for the last two days not feeling 100% and being incredibly lazy. Just watching a ton of Netflix in between Charlotte's many naps. My husband likes the Christmas tree and decorations to stay up until the end of December because he thinks Christmas should be celebrated from December 1st to 31st. If can't really argue with that logic but I think he thinks if I wait, he will be back at work and won't have to help me clean up. I'm on to you!

So in honour of his theory, here are some inappropriate someecards. Enjoy your last lazy days too before the New Year guilt kicks in and you exercise ... for a day or two. Cheers!



1st time mom review series // breastfeeding

My latest mom goal is to make breastfeeding my bitch. From the day that Charlotte was born, I have had a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding.

I knew when I got pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed. For the health reasons, for the financial reasons, for the connection between mother and child reasons ... for all the positive reasons, I wanted to try.

I know a lot of women, for various reasons, who weren't able to breastfeed so I told myself that I would do everything in my power to try to make breastfeeding a reality for us but if I truly couldn't for whatever reason, I wouldn't beat myself up about it. 

Turns out (as with almost everything else leading to me becoming a mom) that I overthought it and Charlotte latched on (not correctly at first - ouch) and has been a boob sucking champ ever since. 

There were a few frustrating moments on the beginning - I could only feed in the football position, my nipples point out so I have to hold my breast in order for her to latch, etc.) but we figured it out pretty quickly. 

And ladies - it hurts. Like a mofo. Not going to sugarcoat it at all but give it 3 or 4 weeks (and a huge supply of nipple cream) and it becomes much more tolerable. I'm really lucky that I haven't faced any breastfeeding related complications or ailments but if you do, just tell your doctor. I can't stress this enough - do not hesitate to ask for help. It really does take a village to raise a child!

Now - 2+ months later - Charlotte is a very efficient eater, usually only taking one breast for 5 minutes or so. We mastered her lying sideways about 3 weeks in and it doesn't hurt anymore (for the most part).

Here are a few things that I have explored to make breastfeeding easier. But the beauty is, you don't need anything except you and your baby!

Nipple Cream
I cannot emphasize this enough - nipple cream is a MUST for at least the first month of breastfeeding, if not longer. One tube will probably be enough (after you finish using all the samples you stole from the hospital). It's only about $10.00 so don't hesitate. Buy it ahead of time and be ready to lube up after every single feed.
Breast Pump
 I was given two hand-me-down pumps in the beginning (and before you ask, yes I was okay with this because I could sterilize them and I knew where they came from). One was a hand pump and one was a single electric pump. I had no clue what I was doing with either but finally used them both to release my engorgement I the beginning so Charlotte could latch easier. Then I would throw out the milk (super wasteful - I know). Then I invested in this pump (knew I didn't want to spend too much because I wasn't planning on pumping all the time, and it was on sale). I started pumping and freezing with the idea that we would start giving Charlotte a bottle at 6 weeks from time to time so I could have a break. I am still pumping (usually once a day) and freezing but she still won't take a bottle. That's another post entirely and I am still trying. Just FYI - she won't take a pacifier either (not too bummed about that one though).

Free Nursing Pillow
When I got pregnant, I got a ton of coupons, etc. for free things. One of them was for a nursing pillow - all I had to do was choose the colour and pay the shipping. Sold. I didn't know any better so I basically ordered everything I could that was (relatively) free. When I received it, I was frustrated because I couldn't even wrap it around my belly. Um - yes, I was 7 or so months pregnant - ha ha. Fast forward to baby Charlotte being born. When I was in the hospital I couldn't feed her any other way than the football hold. It worked for about the first 6 weeks actually. We had a posturepedic pillow that we bought years ago from Costco (with an indent in it similar to a change table pad) and that worked to lay her in and feed her (and yes, I let her sleep in it and no, it is not recommended and completely goes against every baby safety message out there - I'm a firm believer in you gotta do what you gotta do). After that I transitioned to holding her sideways and used a Jolly Jumper pillow that was given to me at my baby shower. That didn't last long because it flattened out quite quickly from her weight (I now use it to lay her in it to sleep. And yes I know that is a HUGE no no too). I started using the firmer free pillow and it has worked but the way that my breasts are shaped, I need to hold my nipple in her mouth so I wanted to purchase something that would allow her to lie comfortably without me having to position her and hold her so much. More on that below.  
Free Nursing Cover
Another free item was a nursing cover from Udder Covers. It's cute. It works if I have to use it. Charlotte hates having it over her head. I hate breastfeeding in public. It sucks. Basically the product is totally fine but it doesn't work that great for Charlotte and I so I ordered another option. More below.
 I am so glad I splurged and ordered one of the new Bobby nursing pillows. I wasn't sure if I was wasting my money on something that I already had at home but I love that this pillow has two sides - a soft and a hard, molded side. They say that the hard side is for when the baby is quite small but I put my almost 3 month old on that side and she is able to nurse and I can be hands free. Because of the shape of my breasts, with the other pillows, I have had to bold my breast in her mouth. Now I don't have to and it is awesome!
Covered Goods
I like this cover because it covers both your front and your back but Charlotte still hates having her head covered (she's a little heater so I think it overheats her). If I have to use any cover though, this one is it. Amy Tangerine sure likes hers (and I love her little guy's legs sticking out). Be sure to follow her blog - she is awesomely talented!
Breastfeeding is a learned behaviour. Your baby comes into this world knowing what to do but for you, it is brand new and foreign. Give it the time and patience it deserves, and ask for help if needed. And if you can't do it, don't beat yourself up. You are still an amazing mom!

Are you a 1st Time Mom and trying to figure it out as you go along too? Feel free to leave me a comment with any questions and I will be more than happy to get back to you. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

a star is born

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and cheers to a happy and healthy 2014! xo

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'twas the night before christmas

1st Santa Visit
Charlotte Monroe Van Den Berg
Sunday, December 22, 2013
10 Weeks Old
Mom and Dad were such rookies!
Enjoy all of your Christmas Eve fun and traditions! xo

Monday, December 23, 2013

you are invited to my pity party

I have been feeling a little blue lately. Not quite right and my anxiety has skyrocketed a bit. Basically, I've been having a daily pity party for about a week now and misery sure does love company so I thought I would share here too. :)

There's no real reason for my feelings - I'm a new mom of a 10 week old. I spend the majority of my days alone with Charlotte. My husband works full time and by the time he gets home from work, we only have a few hours before Charlotte goes to sleep. The baby sleeps in our bed with me (daddy is currently couch bound) so on most nights, I go to bed at the same time as Charlotte which is super lame sometimes (and sometimes I love having a good excuse to go to sleep early).

I have gained weight back after losing it from breastfeeding. Nothing but a few pairs of yoga pants fit me at the moment. 

I can't really get my husband to commit to too many holiday get togethers - he just doesn't really like dealing with a whole bunch of people at once. 

Charlotte won't take a bottle so I am within 20 feet of her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thank goodness she is adorable!

My hormones seem to be up and down, and I get really anxious so, as most women let alone new moms do, I cry from time to time. All I really need is a hug but my husband just gets frustrated with me (which most men do) and then I cry even more (really men, why are you surprised by this?).

When I get this way, everything piles up and I become super overwhelmed. I need to take a bunch of deep breaths, brew a cup of tea and put things into perspective in my mind:
  • I am a new mom and therefore there will be hard moments and days. And that's okay. It's normal. 
  • Charlotte isn't going to sleep in our room forever. The situation will change. It already changes daily so this too will be different soon. I need to cherish the moments with my little roommate.
  • I can lose weight and I can buy new clothes. Not easily on either account (schedule right now and a lot less money on maternity leave) but I can. And besides, yoga pants are comfortable.
  • I actually don't want to do much this Christmas either so why so I guilt trip my husband for it? Duh!
  • I need to talk to my husband about being more proactive on the bottle thing but she won't breastfeed forever and I will miss it when she is done. This is a hard one on bad days but I'm working through it. But people need to understand, I can't go out without Charltte and I can't leave her erg you because she won't eat if my boobs aren't  with her. What don't people get about that?!
  • I'm never going to change my husband and I can't control my hormones. And I've recently discovered that my anxiety is directly related to my need for control (and lack of sleep). Doesn't take a genius to figure this one out. God grant me the serenity ...
There you have it - I've rationalized each point and feel much better. Not an easy task but if I take the time (for me, writing it down helps), it is worth the exercise.

So, know that you too can flip your crappy, screaming child, annoying husband day upside down with some deep breaths, a good cry (it IS okay) and a cup of tea (or wine or vodka - I won't tell). You will feel so much better after your own pity party. Thank you for joining mine! xo

Sunday, December 22, 2013

my favourite gift to give and receive

It's super lame but my favourite gift to get for Christmas is a good old gift card. I used to think it was ridiculous to give cash or gift cards as gifts because really, how much thought could go into it? Seemed like a cop-out to me.
My husband's family always gives gift cards for special occasions and it made me think they weren't super thoughtful but that wasn't true - they took time to figure out which store would be best. They put just as much thought into the gift card purchase as they would a regular gift. They are all pretty particular about their likes and dislikes so this is a win-win for everyone involved.

When my husband and I got married, one of my favourite gifts we received was a $100.00 gift card to Michaels. The intended purpose was that it should go towards framing wedding photos (a really sweet and genius gesture) but I just threw the card in my wallet and went about my business.

Fast forward a few months and I remembered it was there - and I had a handful of gifts to buy. Score! I LOVE giving gifts so it is always hard on my budget but here I was - $100.00 richer to spoil people with. 

I enjoyed spending every last penny of that $100.00 on people I love.

So over the past three years my view on gift cards has changed completely - I'm definitely giving a few of them as gifts this holiday season. Feels so great to give someone a "free pass" to go shop at their favourite store. Let them spoil themselves and get something they truly love. And I hope I might get one or two myself!

What's your favourite gift to give or get? Hope Santa spoils you rotten this year! :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

color of the year

I am so glad that we are so creatively and fashionably on track for 2014 by painting Charlotte's room early in the 2014 colour of the year: Radiant Orchid. Ha ha - it's not quite spot on but it's in the same family. Go us! I'm already a bit sick of purple so I am sure by the end of the New Year, I might be ready for a change if everything starts popping up purple online.


What is the colour of your nursery? Did you have an overall theme for your little one's room?

Friday, December 20, 2013

1st time mom review series // nursery planning

* This post doesn't really belong in the 1st Time Mom series but I wanted to share our nursery story with you and this seemed like as good a place as any. Enjoy!
When we first found out I was pregnant, I went in to immediate nursery planning mode. A project that I had to do so even though I had to think about a budget, I still had to get it done? Yes please! And I wanted to make the room a special place for little him or her.
My husband and I are not very frilly people. I have always been a bit of a tomboy and even started a "Tomboy Only Club" when I was younger (there were sashes with puffy paint letters on them and everything) so I knew immediately that we would do something that was pretty gender neutral. I immediately started a design board and quickly decided on aqua as the main colour with light grey and white as the accents. My husband was on board and off we went to price out paint and then we were going to go from there.
We were at Home Depot and all hell broke loose. My husband "claims" he didn't agree to my gender neutral theme (by then we knew we were having a girl) and he insisted on a more "girly" colour like pink or purple. Um - say what now? Where the heck was this coming from? We then focussed in on purples and greens (I was not letting go of my neutral colour option) and then there were tears. Lots of them (from me, not him - and come on, I was 6 or 7 months pregnant at the time - give me a break)!
We left sans paint (needless to say I am sure).
Then - about a week later - my husband came home and declared that our baby girl was going to have a Tinkerbell themed room and that the main colour would be purple. You know how I mentioned before about the tomboy thing? Well, my one exception was for Disney and more specifically for Tinkerbell so I was in. Hook, line and sinker.
My husband took the reins and I just went along for the ride. He painted. He wallpapered. He decaled. He stenciled. You name it, he did it - all in the name of his future daughter. I accessorized and organized. Together we made a magical room for a soon to be born beautiful little girl. We haven't spent much room in there yet but one day, I hope she loves it!
Disclaimer: I am not a photographer and nor do I claim to be. I really hope as this blog series progresses, I get better but for now, you just have to put up with my lame ass photos. Sorry friends!


P.S. Thank you to my soccer team for the changing table (go Ninjas!), to my husband for the amazing job he did and for all of our friends and family who have since filled the room with beautiful and fun trinkets, toys and treasures!

Are you a 1st Time Mom and trying to figure it out as you go along too? Feel free to leave me a comment with any questions and I will be more than happy to get back to you. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

trying to get my baby to take a bottle

As a first time parent, I tend to read a lot, Google everything and ask every pater on the planet their advice on any given subject.

My process was no different when it came to trying to give Charlotte a bottle for the first time.

Since Charlotte was born I have exclusively breastfed. She took to it right away, and after a few latching issues that we quickly resolved ourselves, we haven't had any issues. 

I was given a single hand pump and a single electric pump as hand me downs from friends. I used them when I was overly engorged, and then I would dump the milk (looking back, I can't believe I did that - ha ha). 

Fast forward a few weeks and I was getting quite overwhelmed. Charlotte was fussy at night, and going through a growth spurt, I still wasn't sure if she was hungry half the time or what she needed and I just wanted a break. Also, my husband was feeling left out because he couldn't sooth her at times - all that helped was for her to eat and that was all on me.

I ended up purchasing a relatively cheap pump from Walmart and started pumping  and freezing with hopes that I would get a break sooner or later. A ton of people said they would watch her for us if we wanted to go out but how could I do that if I couldn't leave my boob behind?!

I had read to not introduce a bottle before 6 weeks because it can cause nipple confusion if breastfeeding isn't well established. Again - being a first time mom, what the hell did I know? 

I waited the 6 weeks and tried to introduce a bottle to her. She wouldn't take it. Of course. I tried severl different types of bottle and nipple combos. She wouldn't take any of them. Of course.

This isn't a photo of Charlotte but if I did take one of her trying to drink from a bottle, it would look really similar:
Then one magical day, I followed my husband home from an appointment, and he had Charlotte with him. They got home about 20 minutes before me and when I walked in the front door, my husband out a gag order on me - told me to not say a word and to stay downstairs because he was going to feed her. I happily hid (a few minutes alone? Thank you very much!)

And she took the bottle (Playtex ...) - like a champ. And then two nights later she took it again. Seriously - I heard angels singing (okay - could have been Christmas carols but still, it was pretty exciting).

Then we tried again (we were told to try every few nights to keep her used to it). And she lost her s*%#. She was having nothing to do with it. So we are back to square one. 

So - to all you new moms or mommies-to-be out there - know that you are not alone. Know that everything with a newborn changes on a daily basis - no two days are alike. And know that as new moms, we really don't know anything - the babies are in the driver's and we are just along for the ride!

P.S. If you are breastfeeding but want to introduce a bottle (or a pacifier - Charlotte won't have anything to do with one), as long as your baby is gaining weight and eating regularly I would suggest trying it sooner than later. I wish we had started at around 4 weeks - if not sooner.

pinterest - love it or hate it?

Are you an avid Pinterest pinner and follower? I used to be but haven't been lately and really want to get back into it. I find I get really inspired when I am on there (I am surprised I have avoided it this entire holiday season), and I LOVE collecting amazing ideas on there.

Here are some great articles for using Pinterest to its full potential (if using to help promote your business):

Do you use Pinterest for personal or business use? Send me a comment, I would love to follow your pins!

Follow me on Pinterest HERE.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

recently ...

Reading ...

Spelling It Like It Is by Tori Spelling
Watching ...

Gilmore Girls: The Complete Series Collection
Gossip Girl on Netflix
Downton Abbey

The Happiest Baby on the Block
What are you currently reading or watching that isn't related to the holidays?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

charlotte's 1st gift from santa

Since Charlotte will only be 10 and a half weeks old at Christmas, I contemplated not getting her a gift. She won't know the difference and I know that a lot of other people will spoil her rotten - which I love and am so grateful for.

I hummed and hawed and then I saw this and knew I had to order here one:
When I was little, I had 11 Cabbage Patch Kids. Yep - you read that right. Come on - I did come from a broken family after all so my mom and dad both always got me what I wanted - ha ha. It comes with the territory. When I saw that this doll was holiday (I LOVE all things Christmas), dated 2013 (Charlotte's birth year) and is a 30th anniversary special edition, I knew she had to have one. Yes - HAD - ha ha. I wanted to order her the purple dress one but when I went back online, it was sold out so I got the one above. And I'm so glad because I wasn't sure why the purple one was bugging me - she had teeth and teeth on Cabbage Patch Kids kind of freak me out. :)
We picked this beauty up yesterday and I love her, she is beautiful. And she doesn't have a crazy Cabbage Patch name either - her name is Mia Quinn.
I can't wait to take photos with Charlotte and Mia on Christmas morning (and yes, Santa gifts in our house are not wrapped), and then put her away until Charlotte is 3 or 4 and can actually play with her. Oh the things that new moms and dads do for their little ones!
I am so looking forward to Christmas morning! Happy Holidays friends!

Monday, December 16, 2013

our first family christmas card

I was lucky enough to have a shower in September before Charlotte was born and then another one in November after she was born. Because of that, I didn't send out many thank you cards until the majority of her lovely gifts were given. I decided to combine this year's Christmas cards, thank you notes and birth announcement photos into one. I know, I know - that isn't the "right" thing to do but it worked for me being a new mom and saving on postage (maternity leave is not easy on the wallet).

When Charlotte was 2 weeks old (on Friday, October 25th - her actual due date) we went to my friend Leanne of Leanne Kinsman Photography to get newborn photos taken. We were thrilled with the results and here are a few of my favourites!

This photo collage was included in this year's Christmas cards ...
And here are two collages of my favourites from the shoot ...

Thank you Leanne - we love having these memories of when our baby girl was so small and new. xo

Saturday, December 14, 2013

how i keep christmas manageable ... and from driving me crazy

This Christmas is different from all the rest. Charlotte is now here and celebrating her first Christmas - and all that comes with that momentus occasion, and my parents just moved out of my childhood home and into a condo so they aren't even putting up a tree this year. A first for anyone in my family!

My goal each year is to keep Christmas simple. I accept any invitation so that I don't have to host any holiday meals or events, and I keep all our commitments to the minimum. This year our list includes:
- Decorating the house / this is my gig and since I'm on mat leave I was able to putter and clean as I went which was nice.
- Putting up lights on the house / my husband takes care of this.
- Decoraring the tree / my parents came over and did this with us this year. A new tradition perhaps?
- Christmas shopping / I am usually done our shopping way before December but this year was different - what with giving birth and all - ha ha. My list isn't long and I put money away each pay cheque throughout the year so shopping is relatively stress free for us.
- Christmas cards / I don't always do them but I am sending out a whack of them this year as Charlotte thank you cards. I'm sure this will be something I do from now on.
- Visit my grandma / she is in a care home and we make sure we visit her as close to Christmas as we can each year.
- Chrisfmas activity/adventure day with my friend Tara.
- My soccer party and my husband's work party.
- Church on Christmas Eve.
- Make sure we see my parents and my husband's family on Christmas Day at some point.
- Go to Potter's for half off everything on Boxing Day.

That is it. Short and sweet and to the holiday point. I don't commit to baking, making, hosting or cooking anything specific. I just go with the flow with whatever comes up. My husband thinks December should be reserved for family and I'm starting to think he's onto something. :)

I'm sure our traditions with grow as Charlotte gets older, and our Christmas to do list will grow as well. But for now, this is more than enough and even better - it's manageable.

How do you keep Christmas organized so it doesn't drive you crazy?

Friday, December 13, 2013

1st time mom review series // stroller + car seat = travel system

When we found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I started researching were my car seat and stroller options. There are so many options out there including various colour combinations (not the most important point but come on, you know you take it into consideration), travel systems, three wheels vs. four wheels, accessories included or not (a lot of times things like cup holders, trays, etc. are all extra add-ons which can add up pretty quickly so keep this in mind), infant vs. other car seats, etc. etc. etc. The list of options goes on and on so it's no wonder it is an extremely daunting task for new parents.
I knew we wanted a travel system (I was already overwhelmed with the prospect of having to properly install a car seat into our truck, so I wanted to make sure I made the system as easy as possible for me from the get go) and we wanted a jogging stroller (husband request).
After a LOT of online research a trip to Babies R Us, the travel system I really wanted was the Graco - FastAction Fold Jogger Travel System with SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat - Tidal Wave.
Only issue is that it was on back order and no one could tell me when it would be available again. I started to see if I could buy the stroller (in the States) and car seat separately (you must buy a car seat in Canada - you can't use U.S. car seats here) but I couldn't find the matching pieces for a reasonable price and the car seat alone was on back order. So - back to my research because this was not something I was going to leave to the last minute - especially the car seat.
My friend had told me about this travel system that she had and loved for her little guy: Baby Trend Expedition ELX Travel System Everglade.
When another friend told me it was on sale for a limited time at Babies R Us, I quickly ordered one and our travel system was chosen.
What I love:
- The colour matches the diaper bag I had already purchased. Yes, this is not an important point at all but I'm just being honest.
- It's very easy to open and close the stroller. One button? Yes please!
- It comes with all the accessories so you don't have to buy any extras.
- It's a jogging stroller.
- It was very reasonably priced.
What I don't love:
- It's heavy. Both the stroller and car seat alone are heavy so once you add a baby on top of it all, momma is getting a workout!
- The car seat is for up to 22 pounds whereas the original one I wanted goes up to 35 pounds. Not a huge deal but it would be nice to not have to buy another car seat so soon.
- The buttons that are used to raise and lower the car seat handle seem to get stuck. Not sure if this is a design flaw or just our particular seat but it is frustrating. It always goes up and down eventually, just takes some jiggling to get the job done.
- The front wheel (when not in locked mode) is quite wiggly. Feels loose. A friend said I could tighten it so I will give that a try (aka - tell my husband to do it).
So would I recommend the Baby Trend Expedition Travel System to a fellow new parent? Absolutely. I have read a lot of comments on line basically saying that it is just okay but honestly, if budget is a factor (which it is for most people I hang out with) then this is a good option. I must admit I don't have anything physically to compare it to myself but I am definitely happy with this purchase so far. 

Are you a 1st Time Mom and trying to figure it out as you go along too? Feel free to leave me a comment with any questions and I will be more than happy to get back to you. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

motherhood is tough ... but also the very best

A friend of mine sent me this article near the end of my pregnancy: 7 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN MOTHERHOOD GETS TOUGH. It is an awesome reminder now that I'm about 2 months into this crazy new adventure that no matter what, I am doing the best that I can and I am doing a damn good job at being a mother. I have a few articles bookmarked that I return to often on the stressful days.

Being Charlotte's mom has been the biggest blessing of my life. I am so grateful for my new little BFF. She is beyond awesome and I can't even begin to put into words how much I enjoy spending time with her. She is in the process of developing her own personality and I can't wait to see what kind of girl/teenager/woman she will become. 

When I talk to my mommy-to-be friends (I think there's something in the water because I know a ton of people who are expecting right now) they always ask about how Charlotte is doing, how our nights are, etc. I wish I could offer them some pre-advice but to be honest, until you are in it, you won't know how crazy it is. It's not near as hard as everyone told me it would bile but there are moments when I have literally pulled my hair out. I am not as tired as everyone threatened but when she is crying for an hour straight late at night, I feel so overwhelmed and desperate. I cry when she cries but I also smile when she grins and coos at me (so far, her coos are my most favourite thing in my lifetime ... ever). My anxiety overflows when I need to leave the house and she gets fussy but when I start driving and she smiles and watches out the window, I am more calm than I have ever been before.

So there you have it future moms. It's difficult but it is also easy. It's tiring but it's also energizing. It's heart wrenching but my heart is also so full, it feels like it would burst. I have my moments - daily - but always remember, this too shall pass - because it always does. 

Motherhood is tough but it is the best. The very, VERY best. I wish there was a manual, a roadmap to share to make the journey of becoming a mom easier but unfortunately you just have to jump in. You will be awesome. Trust me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Charlotte got some special books as an early Christmas present from her great-aunt Janice, great-grandma Janet and cousin Mike. We couldn't wait to start reading them!

This was actually the first full book I've read to Charlotte. I'm sure I enjoyed it more than she did but I look forward to lots of reading together in the future, and I can't wait to collect 24 books for our future storytime advent calendar. It's going to be awesome!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

visiting great grandma for the 1st time

Last Tuesday Charlotte and I picked up my parents and we went and visited my grandmother. She has been having some issues with mini strokes/seizures so my aunt, Janice, is here for a visit from California so Charlotte got to meet her great-grandmother and great-aunt for the first time in the same day.

My 90 year old grandma lives in a care home and to be completely honest, I have avoided bringing Charlotte there. Call me a paranoid mom but I wanted to wait a bit before bringing her to a place filled with sick elderly folks - 'tis the cold and flu season after all.

The guilt was racking up and I was missing her dearly so I was so glad to make the trip. And when my grandma saw Charlotte for the first time, I was so glad we went. She sobbed tears of joy. Her reaction was priceless.

We had such a great visit and it was so good to catch up with everyone. It got me thinking about my relationship with my grandparents and how I can't wait to see how Charlotte's relationship with her two sets of grandparents is going to develop. If she has half as good an experience with them as I did with mine, she is one lucky girl!

Meeting for the first time. Janet Bower's fourth great-grandchild.

Great-niece meets great-aunt.
Charlotte was a big fan of all the beautiful Christmas ornaments.

Me, Charlotte and my aunt Janice.
So glad we visited and made this special introduction.
Family is truly the most important thing.