Friday, January 31, 2014

1st time mom review series // video baby monitor

When we found out I was pregnant, one of the most important baby items for my husband was the monitor. I too was of the believe that we had to have one but he was adamant about having a video monitor system. We have friends who witnessed their little guy having a seizure on their video monitor. Ever since then, my husband needed a video monitor and his mom offered to buy us one so I was off doing more research.
After a ton of searching and reading, I finally decided on the Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor and ordered it from I decided to get the first generation because I had read that it got better reception than the most recent version. That being said, I also read a ton of reviews that raved about the product but also said that it had issues with connecting. I decided to order it based on the positive reviews and we would just see how it goes. P.S. I looked for the best price and found it was the cheapest on by far.
We didn't need to use the monitor for the first couple of months because Charlotte slept in our room and napped wherever I was. But once we moved her into her own room and she started napping in her crib, we started using the monitor. It is super easy to install and use, and the monitor is really clear. We used it for about a week and then ... we could not get a connection signal. It was "Out of Range" for a few days straight no matter what I did.
I went on to Summer Infant's Facebook Page and read a lot of angry posts about how Summer Infant wasn't helping customers with their product problems. The thing is, these people were over their 1 Year Warranty, so I am not sure what they expected from the company?! I posted that I needed help and called their customer support line. Within a few minutes, I had a waybill emailed to me and I was asked to send back the monitor, camera and all chords and in 7 to 10 days, I would have a new unit. I was a bit hesitant because I didn't want to go a week without the monitor (I had gotten used to being lazy - ha ha) so I waited a few days and tried troubleshooting some more. Nothing worked so I sent it back via UPS and within a week, a new unit was on my doorstep.
When I opened it, I was kind of surprised that I got Baby Touch 2 Digital Color Video Monitor but there isn't a ton of difference between the two versions - it was just as easy to install and use.
Fast forward about a month and I have no problems with this monitor - it works perfectly. Sometimes when I press the button to view the image, Charlotte is missing (it freaks me out a bit every single time) or there is a coloured bar but pressing the button again sets everything back properly. I don't have any issue with this because I am sure this would happen with any video monitor.
So now I know that an expensive baby monitor is not a need, more of a want. I could totally live without one but it does give some peace of mind, and I am sure it will come in handy when the weather is a bit better and I do more outside while she is napping.
I would definitely recommend any Summer Infant products - their customer service was awesome and if a product stops working after a year of working totally fine, I am okay with that. A warranty is limited on all products and nothing lasts forever. Also - these monitors have a 2-way talking feature which is awesome because you can talk to your baby and - if you have any sense of humour - scare the crap out of them from time to time to keep mommy and daddy entertained. Just saying! :)
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, January 30, 2014

feeling inspired

The above quote is rocking my world right and inspiring me like crazy. I have a new 5 Year Plan swirling around in my head and I cannot wait to get it down on paper, discuss it with the hubby and put it into action. Will share more when I get all my thoughts into a concrete plan. I am so excited and it feels so good! xo

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

changing trends

One of my favourite blogs is NieNie Dialogues. In one of her most recent posts, I Will Stay True, she speaks a lot about her Mormon faith (something that I don't relate to but respect - everyone has the choice to believe in whatever they want) one line stuck out to me: And just because the world changes with every single trend doesn't mean I will too. She is speaking from a religious aspect but those few words jumped off the page for me for an entirely different reason.

Lately I have been feeling a bit out of sorts. I am a new mom and so my life has been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs since I found out I was pregnant. After I delivered Charlotte, I felt very unattractive. My whole body was so swollen, I didn't look like myself, and I definitely didn't feel like myself. My inside doesn't seem to match my outside.

Since having a baby, I have learned a lot about myself - and have had to face some truths:
  • Yoga clothes are my best friend. I have a ton of outfits pinned on Pinterest and I would love to pull together the perfect 'look' on a daily basis but it has never happened. Why would it magically start now? Now I will focus on quality and not quantity - and comfortable clothes that fit my hanging body well.
  • I am never going to be the person who spends a lot of time or money on things like hair and makeup. I love a trip to the spa, salon or MAC counter but it's not a huge priority. Since having Charlotte I've streamlined my makeup tray and routine and I'm going to try a new hairdresser to get a new, easy yo manage hair style that suits me - not whatever celebrity is on the cover of the most recent magazine.
  • My priorities have changed. What I want to spend my time on now is different now than even three months ago. Indeed to be honest with myself and edit out the things that no longer fit, and that Rent contributing to my whole being. I've started but know his year will. Ring lots of change. I welcome it with open arms.
  • How I thought it would be after getting pregnant and the reality are two very different things. Without going into too much detail, I now realize I am mourning the life I thought I was going to have. My life is amazing and awesome but the relationships I have with friends and family, our financial situation, my career choice, my body ... are all so much different than I had pictured. Time to just be. Be in the now and love every minute of it.
So this year is about letting go of the old me - the stressed me, the anxious me, the me who put up with so much ugliness and stupidity, the me who didn't care enough and cared too much about the wrong things. I am going to keep my to do list to a minimum because instead of stressing about everything I have to do or want to do, I am just going to do it. I am going to figure out what works well for me instead of changing because 'society' says I should. I am going to become me.

Cheers to getting shit done my friends ... and to becoming whole!

Monday, January 27, 2014

great grandma's 91st birthday

Last Monday my mom, Charlotte and I went and visited Charlotte's great grandmother for her 91st birthday. Grandma was being wheeled down to lunch when she saw Charlotte and exclaimed, "Oh look! A baby!" Then she focussed on my mom and then me and figured out who we were and shouted, "Oh look! MY baby!" It was adorable. She kept telling everyone that her and Charlotte looked like twins (even though Charlotte looks nothing like my side of the family and everything like her daddy). It was a great way to spend the day, and I was so happy that all of us could be in one place together.

Friday, January 24, 2014

1st time mom review series // nursing bras and tank tops

When I was almost ready to pop, I went out and tried on a bunch of different nursing bras and tanktops only to be told to come back about a week after the baby was born. What?! How the hell was I going to go shopping a week after the baby was born? How was I going to get out of the house and feel comfortable enough to try things on and afford the astronomical price of a nursing bra (some of those things are expensive ya'all)?!
I actually didn't think I was going to leave the house in the first year of having my baby but I did, and I survived - ha ha. And I survived the dilemma of what to wear to nurse my newborn too.
Almost 4 months in and I still find myself in yoga pants and a sweatshirt 90% of the time but whatever works right?
When Charlotte was born, a good friend of mine gave me a few of her nursing bras and tanks to use. I was so grateful. They were a bit big (she has huge ta ta's) but I made them work just so I didn't have to go shopping. I am still wearing them but have progressed and added to my options.
My new favourite nursing bra is this one from Target. Some of the reviews say that it isn't comfortable but honestly, I find that anything I have to adjust a dozen times a day so my baby can eat might be a bit uncomfortable from time to time. And it's pretty - bonus! I bought and XL and have to use a bra extender to make it fit properly. Oh well - way more cost effective in the long run than purchasing a bra from a maternity store.
(I could only find these in the States and not in Canada)
*Please, PLEASE do not buy a nursing bra with underwire. If you find one that fits well, and you wait a little bit after your body settles in after giving birth, trust me, you will not feel the need for underwire support.
One of the things that my friend passed on to me that I didn't realize I would be so grateful to have were slimming tank tops. Hers were a few years old and well loved from Walmart, and if I could have bought more I would have but I couldn't find them anywhere. I purchased one of these in white and one in black and wear them under my clothes to feel more secure. Again - from good old Target!
(I bought my black one in the States and my white one in Canada)
I tried on several different nursing tanks but found that they either fit funny, or the boob area was too big or too small - I couldn't find anything that fit perfectly. Therefore, I have a Walmart/Target combo that I wear every night to bed now. These are the best (and least expensive) nursing tanks I have found. Buy black though and not white, because your milk will stain and they are see through (white is, not black).
(You can buy these in Canada and the States)
(You can buy these at Canadian Walmart stores but I just ordered my last 2 from because I couldn't find larges in any of my local stores)
Remember - buy black everything because your milk will leak and it will stain.
There you have it, what works for me as a 1st time mom. I know my wardrobe choices will change over the next year but this works for me right now and, I didn't spend a fortune, and, I am comfortable.
What is your go to 1st time mommy outfit?

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, January 23, 2014

finding a focus for this space

Since I am on maternity leave until October, I am going to work on making this blog a creative outlet for me. When the worries and inconsistency of new motherhood get my anxiety juices flowing on overdrive, writing here soothes my soul. It calms me down and coming up with post ideas and journal entries distracts me. It's a very healthy outlet for me.

In the next few months I hope to focus the content a bit more, and work out a more regular content calendar. Right now this space is just my online journal - a place to dump my thoughts, ideas and inspiration but I am a creature of habit, and I thrive on structure so I look forward to a bit more structure.

I'm not saying I have a unique blog, but I do find it hard to put it into one category. Life musings? Yes. Motherhood topics? Definitely. A humour outlet? Occasionally. Inspiration? Sometimes. It's an assortment of everything that matters most to me, a collection of happy, creative, honest things and thoughts. I want this space to not just be a place for my thoughts, but a place for you, the reader, to enjoy and be a part of too.

I hope to focus on:
  • Being a New Mom // All things new parent related, my thoughts, hopes, fears and challenges, and my "1st Time Mom Review Series" will continue every Friday.
  • Organization // To do lists, menu planning, goal setting, agendas, calendars - all things to help my OCD need for a schedule. :)
  • Inspiration // Wish list items, quotes, pretty things, stuff I love and think you would enjoy to take note of, products I'd love to try and stuff I find that intrigues me.
  • Life Musings // Honest, journal type entries about my family, our adventures, my dreams and my life in general.
  • Monthly Fun // Taking stock, the many faces of Charlotte and recently posts.
I hope to clean up my tags so it's easier to find past posts, and create a more organized, and more functional blog. And more photos are a must!

Instead of working on a post for every day of the week, I'm going to focus on Monday to Friday with Saturdays and Sundays being optional.

Thanks so much to all my readers - your comments are greatly appreciated. Let's have an awesome year together. xo

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

apparently i am doing it all wrong

As a new mom, I love when Charlotte is down for her first, morning nap and I get some time to eat my breakfast, watch something on Netflix and enjoy a cup of coffee with vanilla almond milk (I rarely enjoyed a cup of coffee before she was born but now I thoroughly enjoy the "experience"). But apparently my timing is all off. Do you drink your coffee at the right time of day?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

1st time mom review series // gliders

Now that I have been a new mommy for over 3 months (yikes - that's a quarter of my way through maternity leave!!) I have had enough time to realize what products/items I should have invested in before having baby Charlotte.

There aren't many changes I would make - there are some products I would like to try if we ever have snigger baby (dream list to come in future post) but we have figured out each stage so far with what we have (most of the items we use daily were hand-me-downs - I'm very grateful). 

But the one thing I would have. Hanged from the get go is our seating situation in the nursery. Charlotte slept in our room with me for the first 2.5 months - in a bassinet, in a little bed next to me, on my chest and propped up in a breastfeeding pillow. And I fed her almost exclusively on our bed. All setups worked well at the time but it also meant that the only use the nursery got was for diaper changes.

Fast forward to now and she's sleeping 100% of her naps and at night in her crib so I am spending more time in there nursing her at night. Enter the seating issue.

My mother-in-law was very gracious to loan me her rocking chair that she used to nurse all three if her boys. She even went through the painstaking process of creating cushions for me to match Charlotte's purple room. Hey, if it was good neigh for her, it must work fine for me right? Wrong. I'm a wimp. It's uncomfortable. Period.
So then my husband brought up his good old lazy boy for me that usually sits in front of his giant fish tank (we don't have cable so we will take any entertainment we can get around here - ha ha). I thought it would be great for the nights when all Charlotte wants to do is comfort nurse and if I had to settle in for the night, I would be comfy. Wrong. It was just plain awkward and I couldn't, for the life of me, get out of it without waking Charlotte up.

So back to my mother-in-laws my husband went to borrow her glider (no ottoman- bummer) and even though it doesn't match the d├ęcor, it works. It's old and the fabric is well worn, and dirty in some areas, but it works for C and me.
So, the moral of this story is to invest in a good glider, ottoman and side table (I don't have one of those either). You will spend a lot of time in this space with your little one so make it as comfortable for you as you can. You are worth it and you won't be sorry.

Here are my dream gliders if I find some money to purchase my own, or for our 'maybe baby #2': - $199.99 - $449.00 - $699.00
Hmm ... I am quickly seeing a theme here - next 'maybe baby' nursery must be grey!
What product do you wish you had purchased the first time around?

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, January 16, 2014

recently // january 2014

Watching ...
Reading ...

Listening ...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

daddy's birthday

This past weekend was spent celebrating my husband's 36th birthday - his first birthday being a father so it was extra special. We enjoyed lots of cuddles, cake and sparklers, ate yummy Indian and sushi, and celebrated with both friends and family. It was a great weekend and a great reminder that life is only going to get better (and fun) from here with little Ms. Charlotte in our lives!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

wish list

I wish I could figure out a room that needs this Starry Light that I saw recently on Design Crush. I'm obsessed!

Monday, January 13, 2014

is my 3 month old watching too much tv?!

We don't have cable but we do subscribe to Netflix, and my husband and I like to watch as series at a time. Right now we are making our way through Nip/Tuck (and I'm watching Friday Night Lights during the day when he's at work). If you've seen Nip/Tuck you know that there's at least one scene per episode that is hard to watch - when they are performing a plastic surgery procedure. The other night we were playing with our 3 month old and I realized that she was watching the TV. Intently.
Then the next day she was crying. It took me a while but I figured out that she was annoyed that she wasn't facing the TV. Seriously.

Daddy and Charlotte watching a children's movie, not Nip/Tuck :)
I get that she is just now seeing colours and recognizing sounds, etc. but it feels like she is actually 'watching' TV. Is this okay? Each day we play, have tummy time, read a book and listen to music - but I enjoy having the TV on in the background because it keeps me company. But am I already rotting my child's brain?

I did a quick Google search and it turns out I'm not alone in my musing:
I get it. Excessive TV isn't good for anyone but I don't plop my baby in front of the TV and leave her. It's on most of the day in the background and even though she's fussy at night, she naps fine all day long. The moving colours and objects, and the sounds coming from the TV are fascinating to her right now - and eventually she will watch education DVDs, etc. - but I don't plan on using TV as a babysitter, and will limit her viewing pleasure when she is a bit older and can actually hold a toy.

So, in my books, we are all good ... I might just keep the Nip/Tuck until after she goes to bed from now on.

In front of the TV (again - watching a children's movie) - bad parenting or pure genius?

Friday, January 10, 2014

1st time mom review series // favourite baby products so far

As a first time mom, I read a ton about what products I would need, want and absolutely love for my newborn. Yep - I was one of those moms that read way too much. In fact, of what I read, maybe 5% applied to my little family. Oh well - you live and you learn during this crazy new parent journey.
Below is a list of my favourite, must have products so far. Again - some will work for you and others will have you thinking, "What the hell is she talking about?" - and that's okay. Every mom is different. Every baby is different. Every everything is different. :)
This is a big no, no but my husband had one of these pillows that he was using while sleeping on the couch. I could only breastfeed Charlotte in the beginning in the football position so the typical donut breastfeeding pillows didn't really help me. I grabbed this one day and didn't look back. I have since switched to the side position and use a regular breastfeeding pillow but this did the trick for the first 4 or 5 weeks - it went everywhere with us. I still use it to keep Charlotte contained on the couch. Until she starts to roll of course. I know, I know - not the safe option but I am still trying to find a way to patent this as a baby bed because it worked wonders for us. :)
Note to self for next maybe baby - learn how to swaddle using a swaddle blanket! We had a gift certificate to Babies R Us and had been gifted a few muslin swaddle blankets so I wanted to purchase some more. I don't swaddle with a blanket (haven't quite gotten the technique down) but when Charlotte was first born, I didn't realize the difference between a swaddle blanket and a receiving blanket. Charlotte HATES it when I breastfeed with something over her head so for the first little bit, I would tuck a corner of one of these blankets into my bra and cover us - it wasn't a perfect solution as she still fussed but she could breath better. And I still keep one of these with me at all times as a receiving blanket/spit up blanket/everything I need in one blanket.

I took (stole) as many of these as I could from the hospital because a friend told me to (see - I really knew nothing the beginning and still know next to nothing). When I got home they were a dream because I used them on our changing pad and didn't have to change the changing pad cover every time Charlotte spit up, peed, pooped, etc. I was lucky to get some from a friend who sells medical supplies and from my sister-in-law who previously used them as puppy pads. Sadly we are almost out but fear not - to the rescues. I just ordered 100 more! For the price - it is worth it for the convenience. Trust me. I just gave my girlfriend a "everything-you-need-after-you-give-birth" gift box for her birthday and I wrapped the top in one of these blue pads to remind her to take (steal) them from the hospital too!
We were very lucky (and extremely grateful) to get a ton of hand-me-downs before Charlotte was born. That included clothes, equipment, toys, blankets, bottles, breast pumps - you name it, we got it. In those donations, we received quite a few noise making toys and machines. We have used a few, past on a couple but my all-time favourite wasn't a hand-me-down - we received this monkey as a gift at my baby shower and it is Charlotte's new best friend. I press the light up belly every time I lay her down for a nap and set it to play for the extended period, and off to la la land she goes. Also - it's cute. Win/win in my new mommy book. (P.S. Thank you Leah!)
I ordered a ton of different swaddle sacks, blankets, sleep sacks, etc. when I was pregnant. Someone would say what worked for their baby, I would see them on sale and I would pick them up - not knowing at all what our baby would like, want or need. As mentioned above, I never learned to swaddle using a blanket because swaddling is a big no, no these days (don't even get me started on this subject). When Charlotte was about 3 or 4 weeks old, she started to get fussy at night and so I started using the swaddle bag I bought at Winners. And it worked. Well. It is fleece and she wakes up a huge sweat ball but she is much happier sleeping in it than out of it. She is a little Harry Houdini though and can wiggle out of it from time to time so I have started to wrap a blanket around the outside and tuck it under her. It helps for the most part. Not sure what our next sleeping arrangement will be but for now, these swaddle bags act as her PJs.
This isn't our actual ceiling fan but we do have a lot of ceiling fans in our house. If I had to say what my #1 favourite baby product is so far? It would be a ceiling fan. Charlotte loves to stare up at them and get so excited when daddy spins it for her. You can spend a fortune on toys to entertain your baby but you might be surprised by what they are actually drawn to. Ceiling fans for the win in our house for sure!
What baby products are a must have in your home for your newborn?
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, January 9, 2014

goals for 2014

As you may have realized, I am a huge fan of setting goal - both long and short term. I always have a master to do list on the go, and to me, a to do list is a form of goal setting in itself.

I am also a fan of the good old pen and paper. I love my electronic tools - my computer, my iPhone and my ipad - but I find it very therapeutic to physically write out my goals on paper. I keep a list of goals and tasks in my May Designs agenda, and I review them often, daily actually.

Since it's the beginning of a new year, there are a ton of blog posts and printables flying around to help you keep on track this year. I found this post and printable from Living Locurto to be very practical, and their process is quite similar to mine so I thought I would share.

No matter whether your 2014 goals are health, financial, personal, business, creative or all of the above, I wish you all the best with staying focused. Now go write them down! Good luck!