Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Story of Stuff

I heard about this video recently on one of the blogs that I subscribe to. As we approach the Christmas season, I'm once again reminded as to why I don't like the gift giving aspect of this holiday. The video is 20 minutes long, but well worth the watch.



Some interesting links:
The Story of Stuff Website

The Story of Cap and Trade

Article: What really happens with the plastics we send to the recycling depot

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lefty!

We have noticed that BabyL has been using more of his left hand than his right hand, and think that he may be left-handed. Being a lefty myself, I'm perfectly okay with that. After all, I think that if I have to live with two males in the house, then Hubby gets to live with two lefties, ha.

Some interesting Lefty facts and myths (aka Why I'm so misunderstood)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where we went on our cruise

This is a record more for myself than for anyone else.

Boston, Massachusetts:
  • Quincy Market
  • Old State House
  • Not much happened at this port. It was really cold, and it started snowing. Not a good combo with a baby
Portland, Maine:
  • Victoria Mansion
  • We left this port early, so we didn't see much. At least it didn't snow
Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
  • Citadel Hill
Quebec City, Quebec
  • Chateau Frontenac
  • The Citadel
  • Basilique-cathedrale Notre-Dame-de-Quebec
  • Also snowed here and was very cold
Charlottetown, PEI
  • Founders Hall
  • Cavendish Beach and
  • Anne of Green Gables House (near Cavendish)
  • New Glasgow
Sydney, Nova Scotia
  • Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park
Saint John, NB
  • Loyalist house

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What's been happening lately...


This past month has been interesting. Here's a lowdown of what's been happening.

Cruise

I was quite looking forward to the cruise. We visited New England and Eastern Canada. Specifically, Boston, Portland (Maine), Halifax, Charlottetown, Quebec City, Sidney (NS), St John (NB). We started and ended in New Jersey, with a quick stop into New York City for a few hours before heading back home.

Eating. Well, the day we left Vancouver to drive down to Seattle was the day BabyL decided to have teething issues. By that I mean his gums were so sore that he refused to suck. Period. He wouldn't suck on the boob, he wouldn't suck on the bottle and he wouldn't even suck his own finger. We ended up spoon feeding him breast milk, formula and solids. I think once or twice we even use a medical syringe. I was so stressed that this was going to go on for the rest of the vacation, that I wanted to cry. Fortunately, this only happened for two days. BabyL either got used to the pain or it had lessened, but he started sucking again.

Sleep. The plan was to keep BabyL on PST even though we were in EST/Atlantic time, because I'd realized that once BabyL went to bed, we had to go to bed. Sleep went into the toilet because BabyL was in a strange environment, and despite the fact that I tried to keep the same routine, it wasn't enough for him. For the entire trip, someone had to hold him to sleep, so Hubby and I didn't get as much sleep as we wanted to. My mom offered to switch rooms with us one night, and even though I ended up sleeping on a crappier bed, I had the best sleep during the whole trip that night.

Bingo. About the third or fourth day, I played bingo. And won the big prize. Normally when they play bingo, they allow all players to check their cards against the numbers, and not take the first person who yells bingo, so sometimes there are more than one bingo winner per game. Well, this time, we couldn't share the big prize, so we had to play a tie-breaker game between the five winners. You cannot believe the shock I felt when I was the only one standing. And the prize: a free upgrade to one of the Royal Suites on the ship (it's the second largest stateroom on the ship). So we went from a 200+ sq ft room to a 700+ sq ft room, with a separate large bedroom, walk-in closet, large bathroom with jacuzzi tub, living area, dining area, a balcony with yet another hot tub and a butler! Whoo hoo! However, as much as we enjoyed the suite, it really helped us out with the sleep situation. We could put BabyL down for naps or for bedtime, and still allowed us to move around the suite without waking him up.

Fame!
Although there were a few people on board under the age of 18, BabyL apparently was the only baby on board, so it's safe to say that EVERYONE noticed him, particularly since he's so cute! We had people come up to us to pinch his cheeks or play with him. Both crew and passengers alike recognized him. They only recognized us as "the family with the baby who one the Royal Suite at bingo" because I was asked a few times how the suite was. It was a constant "Hello Baby!" or "Hey BabyL!" from everyone. BabyL certainly loved the attention!

All in all, despite all that, and the semi-crappy weather we had in a few of the cities, we had a pretty good time. I swear that BabyL grew an inch during the trip, even one of the passengers who sat next at the table next to us at dinner commented on it. I can tell you though, I was never happier sleeping in my own bed, and BabyL didn't have any problems falling asleep on his own like I feared once we got back home. He also has a tooth to show for his teething pains too!

Illness

Unfortunately, after we got home, I got sick. I had some GI thing, and an ear infection. Both Hubby and I had a bit of a cold during our trip. Hubby was allowed to take drugs. I couldn't take drugs, except for regular Tylenol, because I was breastfeeding, so I was left to suffer. My ear infection was probably from the cold. It took close to a week for it to clear. In the meantime, I had to contend with puking, feeling rotten and having the room constantly spin.

While this was happening, life kept marching on outside of my little bubble I was apparently living in. We came back to news that they had already started H1N1 vaccinations. I was bombarded with news of ever shifting priority lists, and 3 hour waits at clinics. It took me a few days before I had gotten myself together enough to call BabyL's doctor; apparently he didn't have enough vaccines, so that meant I had to go to a clinic. I was prepared for the worst, but apparently, the big rush happened the first couple of days. We were in and out within 45 mins. I'm just glad that BabyL never got sick amidst all this craziness and people constantly touching him, I don't know how I would have handled a sick baby.

Life marches on...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

6 months old!


Today my baby turned 6 months! I can't believe he's already half a year old! I could talk to you about how he loves to watch EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE. Or how he loves to jump. Or how blowing very wet raspberries is one of his favourite pastimes. Or how great it is to watch him giggle and laugh. Or how he's already a solid-feeding champ.

All those things are great, yes they are. But I will tell you how he decided to mark the occasion. He pooed. Now that's not a big deal in the long run, but this is solid-log-type poo. He pooed three times. The first and third time were little poos, and they didn't bother him. In fact, I didn't even know that he pooed until I opened the diaper.

However, the second poo was HUGE! I think because he was experiencing a big solid poo for the first time, and because he was tired (I was getting him ready for his nap), it scared him, and he cried and cried. He also peed, but he's already peed over everything. I was more worried about the poo as this was something new for me, and throwing in cloth diapers into the mix made it much more interesting.

I saw some poo in his bum, then he had a meltdown. As I was trying to take care of that poo, I dropped it on the floor. BabyL kept crying and pooing. Then he started peeing. And continue pooing. I grabbed the flushable bioliners that I had and just caught the poo that way. It was a lot of poo. Finally, when he slowed down, I flushed what I had in my hands down the toilet. Going back to BabyL, he was still at it! And crying. And there were little puddle of pee everywhere. I caught the rest of the poo, and flushed it down the toilet, washed my hands, then cleaned up BabyL and mopped up as much pee as I could, washed my hands again, and put him in a clean diaper. Then I proceeded to put him down for his nap. After that, I brought out my antibacterial cleaners and gave the floor a good scrub.

Priorities people!

Solid poo really changes everything now. Yikes!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Yet another article about BPA exposure and kids

Do you think the media is making a big deal out of this whole BPA thing? After all, we keep seeing another report day after day after day....

Clicky!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Are household products making kids fat?

I read this article and found it very interesting. Now not only do I have to worry about chemicals that will effeminate my son, but I have to try to have him avoid as many chemicals as he can so he doesn't get fat. Will this never end?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Toxic Baby Bibs


I found this article about toxic baby bibs. BabyL loves to eat his bib. I looked up the bib that he's wearing right now, and according to their website, they've tested it and it's safe. The other two bibs I have for him are leather, and they're hard for him to put in his mouth, plus, they are CPSIA safety approved, so we should be okay (hopefully!).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Solids! Finally!!

We've just started BabyL on solids. Yesterday was his first day on rice cereal. Organic at that. So far so good. Hubby tried a bit today, and he says it tastes like nothing. But BabyL is swallowing it. We know because it's showing up in his spit up, ha. In a couple more days, I'll introduce another food. Very exciting, and something I've been looking forward to for a long time (except for the solid poop that's going to come with it!)

In other news, my Grandma has been in the hospital for a few days. She had congestive heart failure due to a mini-heart attack that she had earlier. But she's on the mend and doing well. The doctors are amazed at her speedy recovery, especially considering that she's 96 years old. Go Grandma! Hopefully she will be discharged sometime this week.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chemicals that may mimic estrogen

I was reading this article, and what I found interesting about it--something I didn't know--was that there is evidence that phthalates and BPA may mimic the estrogen hormone. I'm not so worried about the essential oils, but I am more concerned about the phthalates and BPA, and will be more diligent in avoiding these chemicals where ever possible, particularly since I have a little dude to raise.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

So I've been married...

7 year. It seems like a long time, but now that BabyL's a part of the picture, I haven't given our anniversary too much thought. We had celebrated on Saturday with a nice meal out at The Cannery restaurant. Not doing much tonight. I think I might crash for a bit before giving BabyL his late evening feed, I'm wiped!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thanks for almost ruining my Anniversary Dinner Critical Mass!!!

For those of you who don't know what Critical Mass is, click here.

Last Friday, Hubby and I went for our 7th Anniversary Dinner. We wanted to go to the Fish House, but instead ended up going to The Cannary. While I have nothing against The Cannary, and we indeed had a very nice meal, we had a coupon to go to the Fish House, and I hadn't been to the Fish House in forever. Plus, this was our first night out ever since BabyL was born. So, yeah, I was really looking forward to the dinner.

Now that we have BabyL, it's quite difficult for us to go out whenever we want to, we have to arrange for babysitting well ahead of time. And because of last minute family obligations, we had to move the dinner to Friday night from Saturday night. Let me tell you this was headache enough as I had to do a lot of discussions and negotiations late Thursday night. It didn't help that because we moved the dinner night, we had a much narrower window to have our dinner.

During Friday morning, Hubby realized that the Critical Mass ride was that evening. To get to the Fish House, we would have to drive through downtown, and we never know where the bikers' route is. So we had to change our plans, because we didn't want to get held up in traffic and because of our narrow time window. I was really looking forward to this dinner because 1) it's our anniversary, 2) we very rarely get out, so my evenings out are more precious to me now and 3) I hadn't been to the Fish House for a very long time whereas I've been to The Cannary several times and just wanted a change.

Hubby is a road biker, and he bikes to work at least once a week. When the weather's good, he aims to get 3-5 rides in. And he's road biked around town for recreation plenty of times. So I think he should know and understand the frustrations that road bikers experience. He thinks this is the wrong approach as well.

As much as everyone would like to live in a utopia, the reality is that this city wasn't originally designed for bikes, and the city needs to spend money in other areas of the infrastructure. I would say that over the last decade, the Lower Mainland's bike paths have improved tremendously. Yes, there could be better improvements still, and perhaps things aren't laid out as well as they could be, but it's already pretty darn good from what it was 10 years ago.

Pissing people off every month doesn't get your point across. Wasting my tax money because the police need to get involved for traffic control doesn't get your point across. Having a business lose my patronage because I didn't have a large enough window to sit in traffic while I waited for a bunch of bikers block my path doesn't get your point across. You can't have everything, and frankly, I would like to see my tax money go to improvements to public transit.

So yeah, thanks for almost ruining my Anniversary, and almost ruining the first night I've had out without the kid since he was born. Thanks a lot.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Telogen Effluvium


As this article states, it starts at three months postpartum. I started noticing a great abundance of hair loss around this time. I'm normally a hair shedder. Ask Hubby, my hair is normally everywhere, and most noticeably on the drain catcher in the bathtub. But this time around, I was literally getting a fistful of hair coming off my scalp every time I combed my hand through my hair. It's gotten to the point where I noticed (and at least one of my friends) that I was developing a bald spot.

My friend suggested I go for a haircut, so I did. I needed one anyways, as I'd probably had gone 5 months without one. As much as I love my hairstylist, this time, I think she may have missed on the style front. I have "mom hair". She cut my hair a little shorter than what I wanted. I suppose that it will grow back, but she at least helped me cover up the bald spot a bit. She also gave me "magic hair" powder (product review to follow) which I really like.

Hopefully this hair shedding business will stop soon, because along with the flabby belly and the spit-up stained clothing, this mom can only take so many blows to her self-image, ha.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The ABCs of Keeping Cool


After last week's heat wave, I thought this article might give you some tips to keeping cool without having use more electricity.

The ABCs of Keeping Cool

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Mr. Nosey


I was going through some pictures of BabyL when he was just a newborn. BabyL was such a wee little thing. And with all newborns, he only expressed emotions through crying. I remember saying that wouldn't it be neat if he could at least smile so that I had some idea if I was doing things okay with him.

Well, BabyL's been smiling since after his 1 month birthday, and within the last month, has learned how to laugh. He also babbles a lot, and will give a very huffy sigh when he's bored. I also have a pretty good sense when he's frustrated with something. He still cries though, and with the crying, there are tears. He didn't have tears when he was born.

BabyL is also a very curious little boy. He likes to look at EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING. He will get distracted when he's feeding, when I'm trying to put him to sleep, when we're out and about. He's been like that since day one, but now that he's able to hold his head up pretty well, he will spin left and right and left again to look at EVERYTHING. He will tilt his head at the most uncomfortable positions (well, uncomfortable-looking to us) to see his world.

Sometimes we try to figure out what he's looking at. It could be a brightly-coloured object. It could be some interesting pattern. It could be the way that light shines on something. The other day, Hubby and my mom went for a quick walk before BabyL's bath. They noticed at one point that he kept on looking up, up, up. It turns out that he was looking at the tall trees that lined the trail where they were walking. Like I said, he looks at EVERYTHING!

(I would have entitled this Mr. Curious, but apparently the Little Men Series only has a Miss Curious, go figure. Mr. Nosey was the next best thing!)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Nursing pillows - a rant

I would like for you to take a look at the images below and tell me what is wrong in the pictures:




Yes, all three women are cuddling their babies, bonding with them as they nurse, but that's not what the problem is.

The problem is that none of the nursing pillows on the market encourage proper posture! All three women are hunched over their babies! This encourages back problems. I mean, it is discouraged to sit like that when in front of a computer, so why is it okay to sit like that when nursing a baby? Their backs should be straight, shoulders back, chest out. They shouldn't be resembling hunchbacks.

Let me tell you that I have pretty bad neck, shoulder, upper back, middle back, lower back and hip pain before I got pregnant. Yes, I had back problems coming out of my ying-yang, so I know back problems. I went to countless chiropractic, massage therapy and gym training sessions to help fix the problem and strengthen my back. I also took regular baths and stretched as much as possible to help maintain good back health.

Since having BabyL, the nursing has not made it better. My neck upper shoulder and back and middle back problems have flared up again. Right now I'm seeing my chiropractor (for an unrelated matter, but he still fixes my back) to help alleviate the problem. I also need to stretch the muscles out regularly. There are days when I'm clenching my teeth because of the back pain. Let me tell you I'm very much looking forward to not having to nurse any longer.

My other rant is that I actually need my hands free when I'm nursing. Sometimes when I'm nursing, that's the only time I get to eat. My baby tends to fuss at the breast, so I also need free hands to deal with him, I can't always be holding him. As much as you can say otherwise, this is my reality.

So you product manufactures out there listen up: make a pillow that is
  • height adjustable (I have the last pillow, and while I like it, I still need to prop it up with a small pillow underneath so that BabyL can reach my boob),
  • allow my hands to be free,
  • not allow my baby to roll off, ever.I've had to catch BabyL more times than I can count
  • I can easily use with one hand, as the other hand is holding the baby or doing something else
  • is eco-friendly, meaning that you make it out of organic, bio-degradable and sustainable materials, or it can be easily recycled. This includes the process of manufacturing it. No waste people! Plus there shouldn't be any toxic substances that my baby can inhale or ingest and most importantly,
  • promotes proper posture.
Once you have all that in one nursing pillow, then you will have created the perfect nursing pillow for me. I have yet to find one pillow that meets all my criteria.

"I hate breastfeeding"

I read this article from the Globe and Mail a little while ago. While I'm finally out of the Newborn Hell, I certainly can relate to this woman's emotions. She has it tougher because she has no one, other than her husband, to help her, but only when he's not working. I had lots of helping hands around the clock, and I still had several meltdowns and dark moments, so I can only imagine what it was like for her.

The reason why I'd posted this was because there are so many rosy pictures out there about the first month with a newborn, especially if it's your first one. No one knows how hard the adjustment is like until you actually go through it yourself. I don't think she hates the act of breastfeeding itself; it may be the sleep deprivation talking. But I recall resenting the fact that I was 1) healing from the delivery 2) trying to figure everything out 3) feeling like I was chained to this kid and resenting the feeling, 4) resenting the fact that I was so sleep deprived that I couldn't even enjoy my baby, even if it was only for a little while, and not being able to sleep when I wanted so desperately to, and 5) not given the time to adjust properly to this change in my life, or the rest to heal like I wanted to.

BabyL now takes only 5-20-ish minutes to feed, and his naps can be as long as 3 hours (one day he napped 4.5 hours, and he would have slept longer, but I woke him up. It probably was the heat wave we were experiencing), so things have gotten better. My nipples aren't hamburger meat any longer once I knew it was my forceful letdown that was causing the problem and I knew what to do to remedy that. However, breastfeeding is still a struggle for me because of the constant backaches of being hunched over, I still have forceful letdown issues which means that the kid won't always want to eat, and the sheer boredom of sitting there for many, many minutes.

So yeah, I still hate breastfeeding.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


So I'd managed to have some non-BabyL time last weekend, and without Hubby. Hubby stayed at home to take care of BabyL (and did a spendid job), while I went with a a friend to watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

My friend whom I went with only read the first book and watched the first movie, so she really has no idea as to what was going to happen. I did encourage her to read the synopsis of all the books, but I think she'd only gotten through the synopsis for this movie and that was about it: she was watching this movie more or less blind. From that point of view, she did say that the movie was enjoyable and she was able to more or less follow the plot.

I have some major quibbles myself about the movie:
  • Other than reveling who the Half-Blood Prince was, there was no other explanation as to why this person was the Half-Blood Prince, and more importantly, the significance of it
  • The girl who played Lavender Brown over-acted
  • Although they included the big scene near the end of the book about finding the third Horcrux, I felt that the significance of Horcruxes themselves were kind of glossed over in the movie -- trust me when I say Horcruxes are much more significant than you realise (if you haven't read the books)
  • I still feel that they didn't emphasize that Snape was very reluctant to kill Dumbledore
  • There was a lot of other significant detail in Book 6 that is very important in Book 7 that they completely left out.
Having said that, I still enjoyed the movie for what it was. Book 6 gets darker still and the overall mood of the movie reflected that. To be fair to the movie producers, I felt that Book 6 was overly long and that J.K Rowling didn't have to put in a big epic scene of Harry and Dumbledore looking for the third Horcrux in the book. Of course, at the end of this movie, it was clearly set up for the next two and final movies in the series.

I feel what will happen for Movie 7a is that a lot of the significant detail that was missing from the previous movies will be added and fleshed out. And Movie 7b will pretty much be the fight to the finish. I think it was a good decision on Paramount's part to split the last book into two movies because of the tremendous amount of detail that shows up in the book. Not only will this finally satisfy the book lovers, but Paramount will milk this francise for what it's worth (no cynasim, really!)

I give this 3.5 out of 5.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Mompreneur

Since becoming pregnant, I have learned a new term: "Mompreneurs".

What is a Mompreneur? From what I can observe, a Mompreneur is a woman who is a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) and who tends to fall into one of four loose categories, or combinations thereof:
  • Those who make and sell their own products
  • Those who resell or redistribute products
  • Those who review products
  • Those who post other relevent information that many parents may find interesting.
Now, before I go on any further, I want to mention that I personally know several Mompreneurs, and this is in no way a slag on them, or what they are doing. After all, they are trying to make some extra income and raise a family, no mean feat. The fact that they're able to stay at home and take care of the kids while running a business is actually quite incredible, and I applaude any parent who is able to pull it off, it's not easy.

Having said that, I have a bit of a quibble with those in the third category, and this is a general quibble, not aimed at anyone in particular. From what I've observed, many of these Mompreneurs make their money reviewing product items, sponsoring giveaways and passing on discounts codes for said products. Basically, being a internet marketing affiliate.

Here are my quibbles:
  • I do not need more stuff. Those of you who pass yourself off as being "green" or "environmentally friendly" should not be convincing the rest of us to buy more stuff. Every product sold eventually lands up in the landfill, you can only re-use it so many times. Never mind the fact that energy, water and other toxic chemicals have been used to create said products. Plus, shipping the product to the winner only adds to your carbon footprint. The first of the 3 R's that we all learn is to "Reduce". Yes, reduce the number of products that you use. Our parents, grandparents and ancestors managed to raise babies with very little, we certainly don't need the same sort of stuff to do the same. I feel a lot of times the products are more of a "want" for parents than anything really beneficial for the child.
  • I always wonder about how objective the review of the product is. Sure once in a while I read a review that has a sentence or two "cons" against the product, but really, the reviews are there to drive traffic to the product's website and have people buying their products, after all, that is the real objective of the whole exercise. I really don't know if I'll be doing such a thing on this blog. I'd rather be honest and say that "Product X sucks, and here's why". I'd rather be honest than lie through my teeth about something I really don't like. After all, people are looking for that sort of information too. I know I wouldn't feel right if I was putting forth a positive review of a product when it really doesn't deserve it, that's just not me.
  • Many times, the person doing the review gets a free product sample to try out, before writing their review (which makes sense). They also get to keep the sample product. Not a bad gig, all things considered, even if they don't get monetary compensation. Just don't pass yourself off as being "environmentally friendly" because you're not, you're accumulating stuff (see point above).
  • I feel that this really is a big marketing ploy, because to get extra entries to these contests, the website (usually a blog), asks the entrants to sign up for their newsletter, Tweet about the giveaway, blog about the giveaway, email others about the giveaway, post about the giveaway on Facebook, join a Facebook Fan page, buy a product from the company's website that is being showcased, etc. You can see where this is going. I simply don't have the time to tell everyone about the giveaway, and quite honestly, I don't like endorsing products that I haven't tried out for myself, and I certainly don't like bombarding people with useless information It's also a really good tactic to drive more internet traffic to the blogger's website as well as to the company. And by the way, I hate Twitter. I don't like having information bombarding me, and I don't have time to read a lot of it as I have to take care of a baby.
  • I actually care where you, the reviewer, live. If you're not Canadian, I'm less apt to want to go to your blog on a regular basis. And frankly, if you're reviewing a product that is sold mainly in the US, I really don't want to buy it that badly, not unless the product is really WOW! or if you manage to ship to Canada using a reasonable shipping rate, or I can purchase the same item on a Canadian website or store. In tough economic times like these, I'm keeping my pennies a little closer to my chest. Plus, if I want multiples of the same product, I would think twice about buying it the first time if the only way to purchase it would be at a US online store, the exchange alone could kill me.
  • Don't believe me? This has been a topic that was brought up at the last BlogHer conference.
Plus, for the companies who give products to these SAHM for review, guess what: I very rarely read what was written, I simply don't have the time or the inclination. Most people simply aren't great writers, and even if they are, they don't post information that I really want to know about the product. The internet's partially about looking for information, and fast, and if I'm pretty certain that the reviewer only really gives it a good to glowing review, I don't read, it's pointless and a waste of my time. I certainly wouldn't promote the product just because someone said it's the best thing since sliced bread. I'd rather be honest, and if I am negative about a product, you companies, listen up, if I don't like it because of certain things, you will bet that other people won't like it. Reading a glowing review of your product just make me feel like I've been ripped off even more, and I certainly don't care for the blogger's review in the future, never mind your product. Fix what the problem is if you really want to give people a product they will like.

Having said all that, I am one of those people who enters these contests, after all, if they are willing to give it away for free, I am willing to take it, I don't say no to handouts. So far, I've managed to win a couple of prizes, one which I just received recently. It's a toy, but the toy will remain nameless for some time, I don't think Baby L is old enough for it yet. I may write a review about it when the time comes, but it will be an honest review.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Movie Review: The Hangover


A bunch of dudes go to Las Vegas for a stag. Dudes wake up the next morning, hotel room trashed, and discover that they've lost the groom. Dudes also can't remember what happens the night before. They have two days to figure it out what had happened and more importantly, where the groom went to, before the wedding. The Dudes spend the entire movie piecing together the events from the previous night and retracing their steps in the hopes of finding the groom before said wedding.

It's rude. It's vulgar. It's sexist. It's got stereotypes coming out of it's yin yang. It's a very non Politically Correct Movie. There is full frontal nudity, both male and female. It has a tiger. And a baby. And a rooster. And a big Vegas windfall.

Despite all the cliches, this is one hilarious movie! Non-stop laughter. Yes, there are minor plot holes, and yes, things don't always make sense (probably not the best editing job), but this movie definitely keeps guessing as to what happens next, and slowly, the events from the previous night unfolds.

I give this movie two thumbs up. And yes, they're already planning a sequel.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Movie Review: Star Trek XI

WARNING: THERE BE SPOILERS BELOW!

Hubby and I saw this movie a few weeks ago on our first non-Baby L outing. I was dying to see this moving last Christmas, but when I had found out that Paramount had pushed back the release of this movie to May 2009, I was a little upset. After all, I would have had a one-month old by then. Nonetheless, Hubby and I managed to swing a date-afternoon, and went. I had high hopes for this movie because JJ Abrams directed this movie, and it was a fresh new angle to a franchise that has been around for decades.

In short, I loved the movie! Great action, great acting, believable plot, despite the fact that they used the time travel shtick yet again. Karl Urban and Simon Pegg I feel were by far the best at imitating the original Bones and Scotty characters. I also like how they gave Kirk`s character more depth. It`s mostly true that you don`t need to be a Star Trek fan to follow along with the movie, you won`t be able to pick up on the subtle references to the Star Trek series, but you can still enjoy the movie for what it is.

While I questioned allowing Spock to show some emotions and having Spock`s mother die (she`s still alive and kicking in an alternate timeline as shown in TNG), I was willing to overlook these discrepancies from the Star Trek series. I know that some die hard Trekkers probably balked at these obvious discrepancies, but I chalk it down to the producers wanting to explore an alternate timeline and possibilities (and my cynical side says to create an excuse for a sequel. As I write, I see an untitled sequel entry in IMDB).

Nonetheless, I give this movie two thumbs up!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

New Emma coming out this Fall

I'm so excited! I heard about the BBC filming a new Emma this year. Here is a teaser that someone found on YouTube. I am a little wary of the casting though, I think there are too many big name UK actors this time around, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I'm also willing to give Romola Garai (who is playing Emma) the benefit of the doubt as well, I don't particularly like her as an actress, but we'll see...

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I finished reading this book a while ago, but I didn't get much chance to put up a review until now.

Meryton has been taken over by zombies and it's up to the Bennet family to keep them at bay.

This book is hilarious! Yes, the author uses about 75% of Jane Austen's original text from Pride and Prejudice, but the alterations that he makes with the storyline makes it for a good read. There are even illustrations which I really enjoyed and compliment the story.

There are brain-eating zombies. There are ninjas. There is sword fighting. And most importantly, there is romance.

The story in P&P&Z follows the same plotline as the original, but there are some modifications that I really like. In particular, what happens with Wickham. I really like what the author has done with Wickham, it's definitely an ending that is fitting for him. I'm not so certain as to how I feel about Charlotte Lucas' alterations, but it affects Mr. Collins in the end, in an also fitting and satisfying ending for him. Lady Catherine also get her just desserts, ninja style.

I know I sound cryptic about the modifications in the storyline, but I don't want to give too much away. If you're a purist Jane Austen fan, you may not like what the author has done with the plot and character modifications. However, if you like a light read and something tongue-in-cheek, this is definitely it. I definitely give this book two thumbs up!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day!!!



Happy Canada Day everyone!

Today, my kid is also 12 weeks old! He will be 3 months old as of next Wednesday, but since we're counting weeks, it's week 12. Since my post yesterday was such a downer, I've decided to post a couple things about my kid that I find fascinating:
  • Sometimes when he poos, you can actually hear it in the next room
  • He has changed and grown so much these first 3 months. He definitely doesn't look like a newborn any more!
  • Baby L now coos, which is pretty cool!
  • Cradle cap is a very interesting phenomenon, yet weird at the same time.
  • Cloth diapering is an interesting adventure (more on that later!)
I'm hoping going forward to be able to post at least once a week. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Crawling out of Newborn Hell

As you can see, I haven't been blogging here for almost 3 months. Baby L has been keeping me busy. While it has gotten easier being a sleep-deprived mom, I wanted to jot some things down that have been rattling in my head before I forgot. I've labelled the period between the time Baby L was born and about the time when he was about 2 months as "Newborn Hell". This was my Newborn Hell as I remember it.

I was told that before the baby starts crawling was a great time to go out and bring the baby with you, as he's "very portable". This is sort of true. However, no one told me about feedings or more precisely, when babies are to feed. I knew that babies fed all the time, but before having Baby L, it was a fuzzy notion at best.

A typical textbook baby would feed once every three hours. What that means that if the baby starts feeding at 12pm and feeds until 12.30pm, the next feed is at 3 pm, not at 3.30 pm. They time feeds by the beginning, and not the end. My kid for the first 6 weeks fed from 1.5-2.5 hours. He also took about 45-60 mins for one boob. Keep in mind, that this is within a 24 hour period. Newborns don't have an idea of what day and night are, so they will wake and sleep whenever they darn well feel like it.

Cluster Feeding. If you don't know what that is, look it up. The longest cluster feed the kid had to date was one Friday evening during Week 6 where he fed for seven hours straight. I kid you not. What they say about cluster feeding, when it starts in the evening, it's only an average, and keep in mind that every kid is different. My nipples were also raw meat afterwards.

Sleep. My kid also was not a great sleeper at the beginning, he still isn't. The only way he would be put to sleep is if he's held and patted to sleep. It took a while for us to even put the bugger to sleep, let alone have him sleep for more than 1-1.5 hours. I was told that all I had to do was "put him down" when I saw signs of tiredness, and the baby should fall asleep. Well, I saw signs of tiredness all right, but my kid is also vastly curious abut his environment, and will not sleep on his own if put in his crib. For a while, he wouldn't sleep anywhere except in someone's arms, or on a flat surface (like his crib or our bed) if I was nearby. Let me tell you my kid is somewhat high maintenance from the get-go. He still needs to be patted to sleep.

Anyways, if you put the comments so far about sleep and about feeding together and do the math, I maybe got 1.5 hours sleep at any one stretch. Sleep deprivation at its finest. They say that I should nap when he naps. What if he never napped? or if he was sleeping when I was holding him? Needless to say I wasn't sleeping very much. It was also quite hard to go out as I had to plan everything around his feeds, plus I had to bring out a whole whackload of baby stuff.

I was also told that they could sleep in the car seat, or a sling/wrap, in a swing or bouncy chair, or give them a pacifier to soothe themselves to sleep. My kid has good days and bad days with the car seat, and when we do go out, he's too busy looking around everywhere to sleep. I've also learned that if we bring him to a very stimulating environment, he may not sleep in the car seat, even if it's a long car ride. My kid also hated being squished, so slings and wraps were out, and he hates being too hot, so wraps were again out. To date, I've bought four different pacifiers, and he hates all of them. I think he just hates the taste of cold plastic in his mouth. He will take a bottle, thank goodness. He still isn't fond of the swing, and for almost the first two months, he hated the bouncy chair, mostly because I think he was such a wee little guy and the bouncy chair was just a vast thing for him to sit on. That and it didn't provide the same comforts as a human body.

Breastfeeding. Let me tell you, I hate, hate, hate breastfeeding. I will do it because I want my kid to have the best, but up until a few weeks ago, I was really struggling. Breastfeeding was something that I thought I wouldn't hate, but I do. I had popped about 10 blisters up to that point. Yes, ouch! you can get blisters on your nipples. Breastfeeding was very painful (I still have my moments). Then I finally found out about the free breastfeeding clinic my community had and I went right away. I found out (or had confirmed) that I have a forceful letdown, and probably an oversupply of milk, which probably was causing a lot of the problems. Baby L instinctively was trying to adjust to this, which led to the blistering and callouses on my nipples. The other reason why I hate breastfeeding is because I'm force to sit in one location for almost an hour. Not fun. By day three, I was so bored that I asked Hubby to buy me an iPod Touch. I wanted it mainly for the Wi-Fi capabilities, and so I can feel at least connected to the outside world.

I suppose it was a combination of all of the above that really drove me up the wall, that and the sleep deprivation didn't help me cope well. Also, I feel that much of my own identity has been stripped away. What I used to rely on to be self-confident, well, that's pretty much gone. I felt very trapped, still do some days. Trying to get an infant to sleep when he won't and when you're so sleep deprived is very hard. I've had several meltdowns, and I even once called Hubby sobbing on the phone, telling him to come home instead of going somewhere else he was planning on going to after work. I'm always trying to think and plan ahead, hard to do when you have a demanding infant whose schedule is still a little loosey goosey. I sometimes still need to plan when to brush my teeth or eat breakfast.

It was very hard to hear that some people's babies were sleeping through the night already, or they were able to go to the gym, or they could still do this and that, and I wasn't able to do any of that, not without feeling sleep deprived or that I couldn't pull myself away for too long. My time is definitely not my own right now, not until he start being a little more independent. The loss of my independence is really tough on me.

People tell you that it "gets easier". I have no idea what that means, and for me, it was a very empty platitude. I'm a big picture kinda person, and I at least needed to know what the end result may look like, even if it may not be true for my baby. So here's how it's "gotten easier" for me from 2 months onwards:
  • It's easier to put him down for naps, most times, and he will sleep for 30 mins and often longer. On his longer stretches, I actually nap with him. His longest nap to date has been for 3 hours, although he's averaging about an hour or so for naps.
  • He now eats off of both boobs in the same time it took for one boob at the beginning, in that he's a more efficient eater.
  • Even if he's hungry, I can make him wait to be fed for at least one-half hour or more, and he won't cry (at least not too much). I can get some stuff done, like eat or go pee.
  • He sleeps longer stretches at night (2-4 hours between feeds). And on a very rare occasion, more than 4 hours!
  • I'm actually able to get in a bit of exercise and am able to pump some days. For me, this a big thing.
  • I can actually take a shower most days (if I remember)

Some things I've learned since then:
  • It's okay for me to put my kid down and pee, especially if he's crying his head off. The kid won't remember it and certainly won't be scarred for life.
  • Always let other people take care of your kid if they offer. I know I did at every opportunity. I love my kid, but I value my personal space very much, so having even an hour reprieve was a godsend. Hubby and I already went on one non-Baby L afternoon date, so to speak. We're aiming to do this at least once per month, and more as he gets older.
  • I had to learn about my little dude's likes and dislikes, preferences and whatnot. He is, after all, another human being. Hence the reason why he likes being held, hates the bouncy chair, hates the swing, hates the wrap, hates the sling, and hates pacifiers is because he's got discerning tastes. I think he's picky like his father, ha.
  • Just like an adult, his preferences and tastes can and do change, so what may work now may not work a few months down the road. Especially since he still physically changing and developing all the time.
  • If I want to get anything done, I'd have to make a list. And it will get done, just at different times throughout the day. I'm lucky if I can even check one thing off of my to-do list each day.
  • This parenting thing is really, really, really hard. I knew it would be hard, but it's harder than I thought.
Do I like being a mom? Ask me again in 18 year's time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baby L is Here!

So on April 8th, I became a mummy to Baby L! I wanted to record the events and my thoughts surrounding all of it before I forget.

April 4-6
I first noticed that I started losing my mucous plug. This went on for the next couple of days. It turns out that it was my cervix that was being effaced, or starting to thin out.

Monday April 6th
Started to feel unwell in the early evening. I tried to go to bed later, but was feeling quite uncomfortable and getting painful localised abdominal pains, and got no sleep that night.

Tuesday April 7th ~ 3am
I felt a sharp pain in pevic area and contractions started. My contractions felt like really, really bad menstrual gas pains. The contractions were already lasting a minute, but were irregular. The contractions lasted through the night and into Tuesday all day and night and Wednesday morning. The midwife told us previously not to call until the contractions were fairly regular, and about 3 minutes apart from each other. My contractions never made a steady progress like many w omen's do, so there were times when it was 10 min apart and other times when it was as close to 4-5 mins apart. But my contractions fluctuated the whole time, they were never regular. Eventually, I could feel the labour pains in my lower back. I'd called my midwife close to Tuesday evening when I was worried it wasn't progressing the way it should have.

Wednesday April 8th
After another sleepless night and a couple more calls to the midwife, she told me to head to the hospital. I had been labouring at home about 30 hours at this point, and had no sleep for the last couple of nights. Because she was already with another patient at a different hospital than where I was going, she asked if I wanted her to find a bed at the hospital where she was at, or to go to my original hospital, but have another midwife (whom I had never met), do the delivery. I chose to go where my midwife was.

We got to the hospital at around 9am, and got admitted. My midwife assessed me, and told me I was only 1 cm dilated. I was about to cry at this point because I'd been labouring for so long already, and I thought for sure I was further along. My midwife decided to break my water and do a bit of a stretch and sweep to help speed things along. She commented that the membrane sac was thick as she had a bit of trouble breaking it. A nurse, who was showing Hubby and my mum the placenta afterwards, noticed the same thing, LOL! After the midwife did the stretch and sweep, I was 3-4 cm dilated. My midwife was very encouraging about the effaced cervix, she told me that it's in a good place as it's like wet tissue paper and it would be much easier for me to dilate. Because I was GBS positive, I was put on antibiotic IV right away. I sat in a bath for about a 1/2 hour. Although we got one of the nicely renovated rooms at the hospital, because some moron was doing some drilling in the floor below us, we had to move rooms.

My midwife still wanted to wait for my contractions to become more regular and become closer together. That never happened, although we waited several more hours. They then gave me some saline with sugar water (I think) to give me some more energy, especially I had been up the previous two night without sleep. After a couple more hours, my midwife could see that things weren't progressing as it should, I was only 6-7 cm dilated, so she suggested that we do an augmentation (similar to an induction, both procedures uses pitocin), to speed things along. Because my midwife couldn't prescribe the pitocin, she had to find an OB to do so, and I guess it was policy that the OB come in to do consult. I had asked my midwife how much longer it would take, and she said it can be anywhere from 1/2 hour onwards before I become fully dialated. This OB woman came in to talk to me about the pitocin prescription, I had no idea why she was even there. I asked her how long it would take for me to be fully dialated, and she said 3-4 hours or longer, it was pretty demoralizing to hear. My midwife was annoyed and cut her off, and pretty much pushed her out of the room. Hubby was ready to strangle her.

So I was on the pitocin for maybe 1-2 hours, and things were progressing a lot faster. I found it really hard to handle the contractions at this point as they were coming on strong and increasing frequency, and I was really getting tired and unable to handle the pain coming on so quickly and intensly. The nurse that was with us suggested laughing gas, which I gladly took. It was hard to deal with the laughing gas as it started making me feel ill as I was breathing more and more of it because of the increased frequency of the contractions and there was less time for it to disperse from my body. And although I was getting ill from the laughing gas, I stuck with it because the alternative was to have an epidural, and I didn't want to go down that road. I was actually cracking jokes at this point. I think I remember saying at the beginning "Boy this stuff's good. Is this what it feels like when you smoke pot?" and "After this is done, I want chocolate ice cream!". I also asked if they were going to check me to see how far dilated I was (Hubby still makes fun of me about that comment!)

Finally, I was 9 centimeters, and my midwife suggested that I go pee. I had been pumped with a lot of fluids by now, so it should have been easy for me to go pee, but I was so exhausted that I couldn't go pee. I think I told Hubby at that point that I couldn't do it any more, I was so tired and exhausted. At this point, my midwife told me to come out and I would start pushing. I was to lie back, with my legs up in the air and towards my chest (there were people there to help me push my legs back), pelvis down and start pushing with the contractions. Let me tell you that was the hardest thing in the world to do. Not only was this not one of the positions that they had taught us in our prenatal class as one of the better ways for delivery, but I found out later, from my aunt who is a community nurse, that this is how they did things in the "old days". I was too exhausted to care any longer, I just wanted this kid outta me! So I focused all my energies on pushing.

My midwife was encouraging me, and letting me know how far along the head was coming out. Hubby was sitting beside me and encouraging me, which helped tremendously. My mom (who came to the hospital with us) was actually pushing one of my legs, the nurse was pushing the other leg. I remember thinking at one point that I could feel myself tearing, and I thought, screw the "no tearing" thing, I want this kid outta me! I think everyone refers to it as the ring of fire. All I could think and focus on was getting the head out, so I put my pelvis down, and pushed hard with each contraction. I swear, it was like having the biggest poo of your life, only I could tell it was coming out of the wrong hole. But that's how I was treating it. It started annoying me how everyone was talking about the head was "almost" out, and I was thinking (and I
may have vocalised it) to stop telling me that it's almost out and to tell me when it's actually out! So this went on for about 45 mins, and Baby L's head popped out eventually.

The rest of his body slid out quite quickly after that. Once Baby L was out, I looked over to my right, I could see Hubby tearing up, and my mum already had her camera out and taking pictures! They had placed Baby L on my chest, and I asked if it was a boy or a girl. My midwife picked him up and show me his boy bits. Finally they delivered the placenta. The midwife told me that I had a couple of small tears that she had to sew up. I actually wowed my midwives. They were so impressed that I'd managed to push well and have the baby out quickly without an epidural, and despite the fact that I had no sleep for two nights straight. I told them that I had two thoughts in my mind: tenacity - I really, really wanted this baby out, so I focused on that and nothing else. And because I'd be doing all the exercising during my pregnancy, I actually focused on using those particular muscles to push. Even then I was thinking how glad I was that I did all that exercising and allowing myself to really be in tune with my body. I think that helped the pushing a lot, that and I didn't have an epidural to interfere with the pushing. The whole labour and delivery was about 40 hours in total.

Afterwards, I was talking with my midwife, and she told me that Baby L's umbilical cord was wrapped very tightly around his neck, and that the cord was shorter than usual. She surmised that was the reason why my body had such a hard time progressing forward through the labour, and if the labour had proceeded as it normally should have, Baby L could have been in serious trouble. I suppose that our bodies just sometimes know what to do, even if we don't always understand why it's doing what it's doing. In any case, this experience had validated our decision to go with midwifery care, I suspect that it may have gone very differently if I went with my GP or an OB. I probably would have had a C-section, which was the absolute last thing I wanted. Hubby and I were very glad that things turned out well, despite all the chaos, and confusion.

My midwife was awesome, and she made me feel that I could do this from the very beginning. Hubby was also a huge help, I don't think that I would have been able to last the 40+ hours without his help and encouragement.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Thoughts on Pregnancy - Part 2

If you know me in real life, you know that I never once enjoyed being pregnant. Well, here is a list of things that I went through in my pregnancy. This is more to remind myself than anything else. Everyone tells me that you will "forget" afterwords. I don't know if I will forget a lot of this.

  • 1st trimester nausea. It started at about week 8-9 and lasted until about week 15. I was turned off by anything that was animal flesh: chicken, beef, seafood. One night, Hubby had made salmon, and the moment I smelled it, which was at the kitchen door, I felt a wall go up. I couldn't even step into the kitchen. It was frustrating for both Hubby and myself because I literally didn't know what I could and couldn't eat until it was placed in front of me. My only saving grace was that the pregnancy sickness didn't kick in until later afternoon/early evening, so I was at least able to eat something during the day. The nausea took time to subside however, it didn't go away instantaneously overnight. I also developed a phobia for the foods I couldn't eat, and it was some time before I could re-introduce those foods back into my diet. Thank goodness I never threw up once.
  • There are certain things that I wasn't allowed to eat during pregnancy, mostly either uncooked foods, unpasteurized foods, or foods that had the potential for being contaminated by bacteria, like deli meats. Fortunately for me, I hate sushi, but I did miss eating some foods.
  • The constant tiredness. This is something that I've always had to deal with, pre-pregnancy. I operate best with 9 hours of deep, uninterrupted, tension-free sleep. If I don't get all three elements, I don't function well the next day. The fatigue during the first trimester was also very hard. Going to bed at 7pm was not fun, and despite the fact that I got tons of sleep, I was still tired the next day. Please don't tell me that this is to prepare me for the sleepless nights afterwords, I've heard it enough times from everyone.
  • Right SI joint pain from month 3 onward. My chiropractor tried his best to fix it, but nothing he could do would make the pain go away. It went away on it's on at about week 30 when I noticed the Relaxin hormone kick in (it's the hormone that loosens the joints, to prepare your body for labour).
  • Peeing 4 times during the night. Not only does this interrupt my sleep, but it was frustrating when you only pee just a little bit out, despite the feeling that your bladder's about to burst
  • Constant kicking from the kid. Baby kicks really only had so much novelty for me. The baby was most active at night, which also didn't help with the sleep. What was worse though was when the baby wasn't kicking. I was worried that something had happened, which meant even less sleep. The best part is when the baby was pushing a foot into my diaphragm. Apparently, I didn't need to breathe.
  • Constant neck, shoulder, upper, middle, lower back and hip pain. This is something that I've dealt with for 4 years prior to being pregnant. I was really hoping that I would have some time to fix my back problems after finishing school and before becoming pregnant, but God apparently has a sense of humour and had other ideas for me. Getting pregnant while trying to finish up a paper was not fun. Anyways, the back pain I experience normally, I need to keep under control by exercise, regular stretching and taking hot baths, otherwise, I sleep very tensely, even if it's a 9 hour sleep, and I looked totally bagged the next day.
  • The fact that I couldn't sleep on my back after a certain stage. I'm a back sleeper, and my back pain is diminished when I sleep on my back. I was told that sleeping on my back while pregnant wasn't good for me as it could cut circulation off to the lower half of my body. Also side sleeping is better as it encourages the baby to be bettered position for birth, which is what I am equally paranoid about. No breeching or back labour please!
  • Constipation and hemorrhoids. I've backed up the toilet many, many times. Nuff said.
  • Constant indigestion, acid reflux and heartburn. It mild to moderate most of the time, and Tums is my saviour for the most part, but still not fun. I've dealt with indigestion most of my life, so this is something I won't forget the feeling of quickly.
  • I couldn't take hot baths. I did take baths, but not hot, hot baths like I normally do. It's not good for the baby to raise my core temperature so high. I needed the hot baths for my back pains, so it was hard not being able to treat my back pains properly
  • Constantly aching feet. Every time the baby grows, I know because I can feel my feet aching and adjusting to the weight. It was worse in the third trimester as that's when the baby puts on the most weight.
  • The skin on my belly being stretched to death. I'm carrying completely in the front, and my belly looks like a basketball right now. Every time I got bigger, my tummy grew. Every time my tummy grew, my skin, tendons and muscles on my stomach had to stretch to accommodate. There were days when I thought my belly button was going to spit into two. It was a lot of discomfort bordering on me wanting to cry or rip my skin off from the pain. I really hope that my tummy will eventually flatten out. I'm still aiming to have that bikini body.
  • Not being able to bend down or bend over properly. I couldn't clip my toenails after a while, and one finds very creative ways to putting on shoes or picking something off of the floor. Sometimes I'd just leave the thing on the floor.
  • Night leg cramps. I had a few of them, and they hurt like the mofo. I've had them many times before, since I was a teenager, but adding a belly into the mix didn't make it any easier for me to deal with it.
I think that what kept my sanity was the fact that I went to the massage therapist and chiropractor regularly. They both helped me manage my pain with all my body changes. I also continued going to Pilate's until about week 33 and going to the gym until week 38. I feel that it really staved off a lot of other pregnancy symptoms, like water retention. My wedding rings are a bit tight, but that due more to the bit of body fat I've gained over the last month. I thankfully don't have swollen feet, or swollen anything. I suppose that I should be thankful that my pregnancy for the most part has been fairly uneventful.

I also have to thank my long-suffering Hubby for putting up with all my whining, cooking for me, and doing all the toilet unplugging. I don't think I would have survived this far without his help and understanding.

But pregnancy still isn't fun.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Thoughts on Pregnancy - Part 1

So sorry, I haven't been updating my blog. March was a very busy month for me.

My last day of work was actually yesterday. I had to interview, hire and train my replacement, which takes time. During that process, I was frantically trying to get as much done at work (I was working evenings and weekends), and doing a mind-meld with a newbie is time consuming. Yesterday, things were blowing up left, right and centre, but my replacement seemed to handle it well. At least he took it in stride, so I was pretty confident that he could handle the job. I could only sit back and watch in amusement at all the drama everyone else was causing my staff. Ah, I will miss all the work drama.

That coupled with trying to finish off the baby room, it was pretty hectic. Hubby had to put together the crib, the dresser and hang the curtains. But the baby's room is finally ready! At least the baby finally has a place to sleep. I couldn't say that even just two weeks ago. It was nice though, we received a lot of gifts from friends, so that help a bit, especially the clothing.

For a while there, I was worried that the kid wouldn't have enough clothing. While many people have been promising to give us hand-me-downs, I hadn't seen anything come our way. I'm certain that those people will hold true to their promise, but the kid actually needs some clothing as soon as he's born, and not 2 months down the road. Up until the point where I bit the bullet and bought a few more items, I think the kid had a grand total of three outfits. Any parent will tell you that I would have probably gone through that many outfits in one day! I also bought a whole whack load of cloth diapers. Someone gave me a little stuffed animal as a gift, and I'll be using it to practice swaddling, diapering, putting the kid in the infant carrier and into the car seat. So much to get a handle of!

A part of me was a little loathe to be spending so much money in the last three months, and we've probably spent a little more than we should have on some baby stuff, but we're new at this, and I had to keep reminding myself that start up costs always tend to put a dent into any bank accounts financially, no matter how much you try to plan. The trick for me was to figure out what was a need and what was a want. Plus, a lot of experienced moms told me not to buy too much before the baby was born, because things like clothing sizes, colour, and whether or not the baby will like certain toys like swings, will depend on the baby's preferences/fussiness. So it's been really tough trying to figure these things out, but I think we've done okay and haven't overspent too much.

Around my birthday, which was last week, I discovered the one, and only, thing that I found cool about pregnancy: baby hiccups.

Now I knew about the baby's ability to hiccup while in the womb, and it doesn't hurt the baby. However, it didn't even occur to me that my baby was hiccupping until someone asked me last week. Then, that very night, at about 1.30 am, I realised that the rhythmic kicking was actually the baby hiccuping, and not just the baby actively kicking and doing it's darnedest to keeping me awake. I had felt it before, but never had put two and two together until someone pointed it out to me.

I knew where the head and the rest of the body was, and I could actually feel the body jump up and down inside, like most people do when they hiccup. It was actually a neat experience, and I had to wake Hubby up so he can feel too. I think this was the one time that Hubby didn't mind me waking him up.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Prenatal Classes

Last weekend, we attended a 3-day weekend prenatal session. On the recommendation of our midwife, instead of going to one put on by the hospitals, we opted to go with a private company. We were told that it would cover the normal stuff -- "plus more", whatever that meant.

I was a little skeptical at first on the first session. The approach was quite different than just a pure clinical "this is what happens in labour and this is what you should expect" approach. It definitely was a little more granola than I expected, particularly as by the end of the evening, we had produced some artwork. But I kept an opened mind throughout the weekend.

The approach that was used was called "Birthing from Within". I will let you readers read the website for a better idea of what it's all about, but I've listed a few points of what I found valuable from the sessions:
  • We (mothers and fathers) went through some pain coping techniques. I really appreciated it because it gave me something right away to use, and is something that won't be too hard to forget.
  • They taught the fathers how to help the mothers to with the pain, different labour positions, etc. In other words, the fathers were just as much a part of the whole birthing process. I think Hubby liked that aspect as he has tools help me through the labour process instead just sitting at the sideline not knowing what to do.
  • The fathers in the class were very much involved with the discussions as much as the mothers were. I think they also felt like they were a part of the the birthing experience.
  • They took a different approach to explaining cesareans to us, while still covering all the basics. I think this different point of view was great because it makes it less of a clinical approach to giving birth, and strangely, made it less scary sounding for me, even if I still don't want to go through with a cesarean.
  • While they talked about epidurals and other drugs you could use, they gave different things to think about regard drugs and how it may affect the baby's bonding process with the mother. One thing I learned is that epidurals do affect the baby, even though the effects are temporary.
  • I like the fact that they emphasized on how important it was for the baby to bond with both mother and father. They also spoke briefly about co-sleeping, while I'm not a big fan of it, a lot of what they said did make sense to me.
  • Most importantly, I didn't realise how absolutely scare I was about the whole labour thing until we went to the prenatal class. I actually was petrified, and at some level refused to acknowledge it to myself. After the class, I felt more prepared, and a lot more at peace with the whole labouring processes. Sure, things will still happen which I may not want to happen, and there really is no way to predict what will happen, and a part of me is still apprehensive, but I'm in a better place for it.
Despite the granola aspects, I really recommend Birthing From Within classes, so if you can find one in your area, I encourage you to go.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Toxic Pregnancies

Maybe I just read too much, but this article and this article really worries me. Does my bebe even have a fighting chance before it's even born? Maybe I should just stop reading this stuff all together, after all, they say that ignorance is bliss.

I do like the second article's tips of what we can do for living a healthier lifestyle. I think a lot of those items are doable. However, going green can cost money, especially if you're buying organic, toxic-free everything. There are plenty of green products on the market, but it's still a bigger cost than the non-green items.

I'm still researching how else I can go green, but I'm finding it pretty draining even trying to focus on things that are non-baby right now. My biggest obsession is finding the perfect cloth diaper, but I do have a desire to slowly green other parts of my life and our household, not just for the bebe, but for ourselves as well, while being mindful of the environment. And on a budget too.

I've managed to bookmark a bunch of sites, but there is so much information out there that it's hard to filter it out the real information from the noise. And if even if I am able to do so, trying to find what works best for our family takes time, research and experimentation.

Baby steps, Weed, baby steps.

Flushable Diapers?


If you haven't heard about flushable diapers, there is one on the market. I won't identify the brand, but the name will be in this article. As much as the makers of this brand tout this as the best of both worlds between disposables and cloth, and an "eco-friendly" option, there are a lot of things that people don't think about that are pointed out in the article. The article also points out that it's still cheaper to use real cloth diapers.

Again, there is a price for convenience. If it's not on your pocketbook, it's on the environment, or your health, or something else. I have lately been questioning if things that are advertised as being "green" or "organic" or "eco-friendly" really are. It's easy to take things at face value, especially since the green movement has really picked up over the last few years. However, people are lazy, or they are misinformed, or they are uneducated, and don't always realise the impact of their choices. And people will buy just about anything as long as they feel that the work is done for them.

To be fair, we all don't have enough time during the day. I for one am finding it more and more difficult to balance my work-life situation, how more difficult will it be to balance everything out when the bebe comes. But I suppose everyone dictates how they will run their own life and what they choose to spend their time on.

However, you must be somewhat informed and consumer savvy. For instance, I've seen "organic" mandarin oranges in our grocery stores. Not only was there no "certified organic" label on the box, but even better, these oranges were imported from China! Had we not taken the 2 minutes to even look at the label, we may have been duped into believing that they really were organic.

My point: do you homework people. This green movement is confusing enough as it is, but at least be educated in what you're buying. If you choose to buy the product even after weighing the pros and cons, that's your prerogative. As they always say, cavet emptor, let the buyer beware!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Early Retirement.

I've been reading some blogs lately in the hopes to learn tips and tricks on how to be a little more frugal with our own money, especially in light of the fact that my income will be chopped in half for a good part of my mat leave. However, lot of financial/money type blogs out there tend to be a little t0o technical for my tastes. While I commend the fact that people are taking the time to educating themselves and others about how the markets, the economy and investments really work, the time they put into researching the topic tends to boarders on a part-time job. They are passionate (or obsessive, whichever way you want to look at it) about their hobby the same way I am looking for the perfect cloth diaper.

So what I like particularly about this blog is that this guy writes in a matter-of-fact kind of way, in language that most people can follow (plus, it's Canadian, an added bonus for me as it makes it even more relevant). His goal in life is by the age of 45 (he's 31 now) is to retire. He's even recently written a series on an update of his road map to retiring by age 45. It's interesting to see the assumptions and decisions that he's made for his plan.

But whether right or wrong (after all no one can predict what the future will hold, either for the financial markets or what sort of tomfoolery the government will come up with next), he at least has a plan, which is more than most of us have. Keeping a pulse on how much your net worth is and actually coming up with a plan for the short, medium and long term is always good personal financial acumen for anyone, no matter how much or how little you make.

I find it interesting that he's figured to retire at 45 and to live off of the money for the next 30 years, he needed close to $1 million between himself and his wife, and he's already taken into account inflation. I feel that his numbers are conservative at best, but I also feel that it's a reality that most of us have to live with when we retire. I also feel a little more justified as I have had other people scoff at me when I mentioned such a large dollar amount is needed for retirement.

This is why Hubby and I are adamant about not touching our retirement savings for anything (except for a last, last resort, which I hope we will never get to), and that includes for the Home Buyer's Plan and for the Life Long Learning Plan (to pay for a house down payment and for post-secondary education respectively). Once you dip into the retirement savings, any tax-sheltered compounding gains you've earned is lost, and to reach that lofty $1 million goal takes that much longer. But to each their own, everyone's comfort level is different. This is simply our attitudes towards money.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Goodbye Baby!

No, not the alien in my belly kicking at my bladder. My electric bass. After about 10 years, I've decided to sell my bass? Why? Well, I wanted to pick up the bass and the piano again, but now that plan's pretty much gone out the window with an addition of another warm body in less than 8 weeks!

Since I had bought a fairly expensive electronic weighted keyboard and hauled it all the way back from Calgary last summer, I really should be at least banging on that. Plus, I still remember how to play the piano, the bass, not so much, so the piano won out. Finally, my poor bass was sitting at a friend's place for over a year, untouched, and unloved. I thought it was high time I gave it a better home.

After a lot of reflection, I figured it would be better if I gave my bass a new home, with someone who would use it more than I have the last few years. It was a hard, hard decision to give it up. I love playing the bass, but I had to be realistic: I have no time to pick it up again within the next few years, and no space to really store it. This house will be littered with baby paraphernalia soon enough.

So last week, my friend finally returned my bass, my other friend, who is also an avid bassist, picked it up and brought it to its new home, and I made a few bucks out of the deal (not that I was needing the money). As sensible as my decision was, I can't feel that I've lost a good friend.

Finally, furniture in the baby room!


Believe it or not, we finally picked up furniture for the baby's room. Only it's not for the baby, not really. It's for me. When I'm nursing the baby at 3am. We picked it up today after looking around everywhere! You'll be surprised how expensive a new glider can be, this isn't priced too badly. The brand is also fairly reputable, and it's made in Canada, so I know it'll last a long time.

And to match the chair, a nursing pillow, but in blue with alphabet patterns. If anyone really knows me, I would never buy anything pink, even if I do end up with a girl. Pink is horrid, and I refuse to clad my child in such a vile colour.


And I don't think I've posted this yet, but we got this stroller a few weeks ago. The thing I love about it the most is that it's got the big bad-ass 16"wheels on the back. For about $100 more, you can get a 12" wheel version with aluminum spokes, but I like the 16" one better. It says, "I'm here, now get outta my way!". This thing is not any bigger than most other strollers on the market, and it's only a tiny bit longer, so I don't know why people think it's big. It maneuvers like a dream, and can do very tight turns one-handed, something that the cheaper and "smaller" strollers can't all do.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

8 more weeks!

I won't post too much today, as I had a pretty hellish week at work (more like month), which ended up me crying myself to sleep last night, and waking up in the middle of the night praying and reflecting on things. Nonetheless, I must keep moving forward. I was hoping to take a belly pic tonight, but I'm just not in the mood for it. Happy 32 weeks to me!

I just wanted to post this article about the importance of children's play more so that I don't lose the article than for anything else, although parents out there may find it interesting too.

Monday, February 09, 2009

SGS: Electricity Vampires

Yesterday, one of my friends and avid readers of this blog mentioned that he's going to learn how to be green from my posts. As this friend of mine is an avid computer geek, I think that this post will be interesting to him.

This article tells you some ways in which you may be using extra electricity and not even realize it. Did you know that such things as the clock on your microwave uses more electricity than you using to heat up food. These sort of Energy Vampires can represent a significant part of your electricity bill, up to 20% in the article posted.

For a while, we had a hot water thermos that was always plugged into the wall. It's a device that you plug in, you put water into it, and it boils and keeps the water hot indefinitely (as long as it's plugged in). Instant hot water when we needed it. We got it as a gift from one of Hubby's friends. Well, within a month or so of using it, I noticed that our Hydro bill shooting up significantly. We finally figured it was the thermos and have kept it unplugged ever since. In fact, we now use a stainless steel kettle on the stove to heat any water we need. It takes some time to get the water heated, but it's well worth it in my mind, and after a while, I don't notice the wait.

Some other things that we have done to lower the Energy Vampires around our house:
  • Our cell phone chargers are left unplugged unless we need to use them.
  • We have also identified a number of other adapters which we have unplugged or shut off. The adapters are essentially transformers, and actually suck a bit of electricity whenever it's plugged in and not charging anything.
  • We had three appliances in our kitchen, right next to each other, which told the time and heat food. We've since unplugged one of the them when not in use, after all, we don't need three clocks.
  • Except for our PVR, our entertainment centre (TV, DVD player, receiver, etc) gets switched off during the day when we're out of the house.
  • I actually unplug my work laptop adaptor when I'm not using it at home. No small feat for me as it requires a pregnant woman to crawl under her desk each time she wants to plug and unplug the adaptor.
I'm hoping in the future to arrange all the things that we keep plugged into walls and that are in a standby mode onto a power bar and to turn off the power bars when we are out of the house, or at least somehow get them off the grid when not in use. But baby steps is better than nothing at this point.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Some Green Stuff: Plastics


One of my original intentions before I got all knocked up was to green myself and my household as much as I could, lighten my "carbon footprint", and somehow be frugal while doing it. And to that end, create a separate green blog to document my thoughts, struggles, frustrations and triumphs. Well, that idea pretty much flew out the window because, frankly, I don't have the time and energy right now, or for the next few years to do so. So I've decided to stick these topics on this blog. I'm naming this series "Some Green Stuff".

Today's topic is plastics. I've been doing a fair bit of reading about plastics. Plastics are everywhere. Plastics are in places where you least expect them. And plastics can be toxic, to both you and the environment.

This article has a good summary of the most common types of plastics out there, what kind of harm it can do to the environment and to your body, and lists some alternatives that you can try out. I'm certain that there are nay-sayers out there who don't believe in this stuff, and that's fine, that's your opinion. However, the evidence is growing that plastics in general are not good.

I will admit that even within my own household, I haven't really taken a lot of steps to reducing my plastic consumption. What steps I have taken, I will blog about at a later date and time. I figured for myself, it will be baby steps, reduce plastic items slowly, one item at a time.

A couple of blogs that I read:

Fake Plastic Fish: I one thing I like about this blog is that the blogger shows all the plastic she encounters in her life. And it's surprising where some of the plastics she finds.

Life Less Plastic: Another person's quest to de-plasticise her life.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Girl's Life in IT

I actually work with someone named Doug. Only he's 60. And gay. And you don't want to piss him off. I'd managed to piss him off today. Sigh. He's also not very technically savvy, but more so than many end users that we support.



Thursday, January 29, 2009

10 more weeks to go!

Today I am exactly 30 weeks. I have 10 weeks left to go. I seriously can't wait for this bebe to come out. I never enjoyed being pregnant, and now that I'm getting to the point where I'm supposed to be gaining a bit more weight, I'm definitely feeling like a beached whale, and feeling more uncomfortable by the day. Lying on my stomach seems to be a distant memory. My back and hips are constantly hurting, despite the fact that I see my chiropractor and massage therapist on a regular basis, stretch and try to maintain good posture. I have mild to medium heartburn and acid reflux, which is not a pleasant thing to deal with already. My stomach seems to be sore all the time from all the stretching and growing my baby does.

Life has been quite busy for me. Every weekend (and many days during the week), I'm still trying to figure this whole baby thing out. I still don't complete have my head wrapped around the basics of changing a dirty diaper, and that I mean from the time you take a diaper off to the time you put a new one on. I may be just making things more confusing for myself by over thinking about it. I also don't know how to clothe a baby properly (although I bought a few cute clothing), and it never occurred to me that the you can layer clothing on a baby until a few days ago. I worry that the breastfeeding thing may not work out for me. I pretty much don't know anything!

The baby's been kicking quite a bit, definitely when I want to sleep or if I wake in the middle of the night, but it's doing more karate chops during the day as well. We went to the midwife's today and I asked how big my uterus is. Apparently everything that's sticking out, which is pretty amazing. And the kid's only taking up half the space still, so the rest is filled with amniotic fluid I imagine. I definitely notice sometimes when the kid does somersaults because I feel kicking going around in a circle.

I notice that my appetite has increase, and I want to eat more stuff. I'm trying to stay away from eating junk, but it's really hard sometimes! Never mind the foods that I'm not supposed to eat! I really miss those foods too. There is also a misconception that I should be eating for two. Technically, I only need an extra 300 calories per day, and that really amounts to one or two healthy snacks, not three extra meals. I definitely don't want pregnancy as a license to eat whatever I want and whenever I want. It's not healthy for me or the bebe. Yet my family insists that I'm not eating enough. Sigh.

I get stared at quite a bit at the gym. People wonder if I should still be exercising, and sometimes they ask. Today at my step class, the substitute instructor that I had was 5 months pregnant with her second one, and while she had to take frequent breaks, she was still able to jump around like crazy (I think was able to be as energetic as her when I was 5 months along, not anymore though). I'm also still doing weight training (at a much, much lower intensity and weights) to keep my body strong, and I have to say that I'm probably stronger now because I'm going to the gym more often, than I was even a year ago. Some women in some countries work hard labour in fields up until the time they give birth, I certainly think that my body can withstand a bit of exercise. By the way, I'm still doing Pilates, but that'll probably end by the end of February. I definitely have much less control over my ab muscles as I get bigger. If you watch me trying to do a roll up, it's, well, pretty much comical.

People also tell me the oddest things, and I feel there is so much misconception about the fragility of pregnant women and babies that I almost think people make it up. For instance:
  • I shouldn't be moving so fast, the jiggling may hurt the baby.
  • I shouldn't bounce up and down when doing step class or going up stairs, the bouncing motion may hurt the baby.
  • I normally wear a set of keys around my neck at work, and the key chain is long enough so that the keys constantly hit my tummy. I shouldn't be doing that as that may hurt the baby. You should see how hard the midwife presses her fingers into my tummy when she's checking me out, and that doesn't hurt the baby one bit, so I don't think a bit of tapping against the stomach will affect it in any way.
  • I've been told that I should stop exercising, I may hurt the baby. This was from someone who doesn't exercise.
  • My favourite from my 95 year old grandmother: I shouldn't be wearing constricting clothing (I was wearing maternity clothing at the time), I may harm the baby by squeezing it too much: I shouldn't be wearing looser clothing and let everything hang, you know so the baby has more room to move. Gee, I wonder how my baby likes it every time I cough or sneeze, because my stomach muscles squeezes the baby like crazy. I'm definitely not telling her that I still do crunches.
My other biggest headache right now is figuring out my maternity leave. I wanted to give myself the flexibility of returning to work early if I wanted to, but which ended up complicating things. That turned out to be a lot of emails back and forth between myself and the HR lady. I'd managed to corner my boss today so that he can check over my job description, and in his typical fashion, he rearranged, added and chopped the entire thing, which means another edit. I need to submit it soon as HR has go through it's own rigmarole before it's even posted. Hiring at work is at least a 6 week process, if I'm lucky, so I need to get on this pronto!

My other headache is trying to figure out daycare, but that's another post unto itself. Sigh.