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Confession #5: I am a planner…

30 May

So it doesn’t really come as shock to most of you to read that I suffer from anxiety. I always have but it didn’t really kick into high gear until I had A. Her birth and my mat leave brought with them several panic and anxiety attacks, not uncommon to first time moms. So it’s no surprise that I like to plan everything in advance; from birthday parties to appointments, my life needs to be organized in advance so that I feel like i have control over something especially since my diagnosis.

I carry around my trusty cute agenda (thank you Indigo) that keeps track of all appointments for me and A as well as it keeps my coupon collection organized (yup i’m a couponer).

A’s birthdays have always been a big family event which means planning begins well before the previous Christmas….wondering when her birthday is yet? June! Yup, 6 months of planning and still sometimes it’s just not enough. Like most parents the first birthday sneaks up on you. One minute you are celebrating milestones by months and the next you go to years!!! Yikes!

Her first birthday was my first crack at event planning. It was  backyard bbq with a butterfly garden theme. I will admit that I didn’t stress as much as I usually do over it, but that was mostly due to the fact that I was beyond stressing over the fact that I was going to go overseas with A within 2 weeks of her first birthday. Have you ever flown overnight with an infant…yup not so fun. Not only are you stressing over how they will feel, behave, sleep on the flight but what happens when you land in a new country. How will they adjust to the time change (in our case it was 5 hours ahead), how will they deal with the different climate, food etc…So really I wasn’t too creative in the decorations. I picked up most of it at Party Packagers (now Party City) and Dollarama (my fav. go to Store to stock up on crafty supplies and party decorations). It went off beautifully, although the weather wasn’t stellar and it gave me a realistic view of how much work goes into planning a party.

A's First Birthday Cake

I read once in a parenting magazine that your Child won’t remember the presents you gave them for their birthdays but they will remember the experience. After reading that, I knew that every party I would throw for A would be the best it could possibly be so that her memories of her birthdays would be amplified and hopefully FABULOUS! lol

Her second birthday was more thought out and more dare I say DIY. I picked the them before Christmas and placed the order for the cake and off I went. I spent my evening trolling Pinterest and Etsy looking for ideas that would fit around my theme. It’s amazing what you can find out there. Thank you parents for sharing you ideas with the world, is all i have to say!

The theme for last year was Under the Sea. A was totally into fishes and water at that point so what better theme than under the sea for a fun little two year old. Again we did a backyard bbq in the afternoon, but this time I set out play areas for the little ones and decorated the backyard….and oh the goodies there was to eat! Don’t take my word for it…drool a little over the pictures!06.23.2012 (27)270915_10100861413188350_2087573314_n

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06.23.2012 (26)

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So for this year we choose something she is sure to drool over. A discovered (well i discovered and introduced her to) Eloise. It’s a great story about a 6 year old girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York and has a pet pug named Weenie and a pet turtle named Skiperdee and a nanny named Nanny. Not only is it a great book but they also have cartoon episodes as well as feature movies. Ever since she was given one of the movies last Christmas she has been hooked. So it was only natural that this years party be Eloise themed. I found so many great ideas on Pinterest and Etsy that I have taken and transformed to fit our party needs (and budget – gotta love Dollarama!). I can’t wait to share it with you all once it happens but for now here is a sneak peak of what is coming…

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Confession #3: I am obsessed with baby gadgets!

13 Nov

I have always been an avid researcher. Looking for the best deal on the best product (hello Ebay and Kijiji!) and so when I got pregnant there were items I researched thoroughly and others that I didn’t pay much attention to. Boy was I wrong to do that! I found out very quickly that while some items were worth spending money on since you were going to be stuck with it for a very long time, others just weren’t worth it.

So after many, many, many trips to Babies ‘R Us and other baby stores around the GTA here are my must haves for babies.

Stroller – It is super important to think about whether or not you are planning on having a second little one shortly after your first. You do not want to buy a stroller that does not convert to a double if you are planning on having a second child while your first is still in the age range that they will want to also get into the stroller. The good news is there are plenty of stroller brands out there right now that offer conversion kits (Phil and Teds, Uppa Baby, Bugaboo, City Select) that you can purchase when your second one comes around. You will also want to look at customer service end of things.

We had an issue with our Uppa Baby stroller and when I reached out to the company and let them know of my issue, they sent me a replacement stroller without hesitation. It was the most unbelievable customer experience I have ever experienced. I now recommend Uppa Baby Strollers to all my mommy friends who are on the market for a new stroller.

Carrier – Because of my back pain issues I wanted to get the best possible baby carrier that would work well for A and for me as well. I was torn between the baby Trekker and the Ergo Baby. What finally sold me on the Ergo was that it was more readily available than the Baby Trekker. A wasn’t a very colicky baby, however when she was restless or gassy I would pop her into the Ergo and go about my day around the house. One of the many great features of the Ergo is that you could purchase a newborn insert which makes it more comfortable and ergonomic for newborns as opposed to the other popular brands out there. They also have removable organic teething pads that you can attach to the carrier and wash as required so that it is more hygienic for baby to be teething on. I used A’s carrier until she was just past 1 year old, although i could still use it if needed because it goes up to 45 lbs.

Car Seat – This was a no brainer in regards to research. I knew I wanted a convertible car seat because the stroller I bought had a bassinet which A would spend most of her time in while we were out but what I didn’t think about was ease of cleanliness. We originally purchased an Eddie Bauer 3 in 1 car seat which worked fabulously for 2 years. We had no problems with A being comfortable and secure as a newborn in a rear facing seat and she was just as comfortable in forward facing when we switched her at 9 months. What I didn’t account for was her newly developed motion sickness. A can’t go longer than 20 – 30 minutes span in the car without getting sick and while we don’t generally go on long drives, Toronto traffic makes it near impossible to go anywhere without encountering some kind of jam, which meant that I was removing the car seat to remove the cover and wash it out at least once a week if not more. This is also what prompted her early admission to preschool instead of remaining with her at home care giver that she had been with since 7 months old. Where am I going with this rant??? Well, we ended up buying a second car seat, the Britax Marathon because I wasn’t happy with having to remove the car seat multiple times a week to clean it out, especially since I had had it professionally installed in the first place.
We actually debated between the Britax and the Eddie Bauer when we were shopping and decided on the Eddie Bauer because it was slightly less expensive. Thinking back on it, I would have spent the money right from the get go on the Britax. Now it just means that we have the Eddie Bauer in my moms car in case she ever needs to pick up A from preschool. The Britax Marathon actually sits a bit higher up which has also reduced the amount of times she has gotten sick in the car.

Now for things you really don’t need to spend good money one, and if you can get them gently used … go for it!

Swing: Please do not go spending a lot of money on this. Not all babies enjoy swings…A was one of these babies. If that’s the case you are going to be posting the swing up for sale very quickly to free up some much needed space in your home. If you are going to buy a swing, look for one that does not have a plastic bar across the babies lap in case you have a chunky baby who’s little legs might get smushed with the bar (also A’s problem…maybe that’s why she hated it so much?)

Bouncy Chair: This is a must have for all mommies. Do not get the rocking ones…you want the vibrating ones! I always go back to the Sex in the City episode where Samantha watches baby Brady one night and the bouncy chair breaks and she ends up using a vibrator on top of the chair to keep the baby quiet. This chair will save your sanity on some days and just keep baby occupied and happy while you get some errands around the house done on others. But don’t go spending a lot of your hard earned money on this. You will  only use this for about 6 months if that and then it will just be another item taking up space in your home. Buy this used if possible…most run for about $10-$20 dollars on Kijiji and since the covers are all removable and washable you can ensure that it is clean and ready for your babies use. I received one as a hand me down and purchased one from a display at Toys ‘R Us so that way we had one at our home and the other at my moms.

High Chair: Again, another thing you can purchase used. I bought ours on Kijiji for less than half of the retail price and wiped it down with Vim and a pressure washer and Ta-Da you would never tell it was used.

Crib: Who are you kidding…you can not guarantee what condition this will be in once your little one gets through with it. We bought a crib that converts to a double bed and we thought we were set…no more furniture shopping for us. Well it turns out A loved to teeth on the crib when she woke up from her naps and by the time we noticed she was awake the damage was done. We now have to send the headboard and foot board out to be sanded and refinished so that you can’t see the bite marks on it…and really do you know how much people charge to do that? It is crazy…I might as well buy another bed! So now I have 2 options…buy another bed or refinish it myself…and really who has time for that?? Not me! grrr…So  save yourself some money if you purchase a good crib and buy the crib protectors they sell which prevent little teeth from ruining your furniture!

I am sure there is more..but that’s it for now! 🙂 If you have any questions please feel free to reach out 😀

 

Confession #2 – I worry…

9 Nov

A lot! I don’t mean that I worry about my illness, don’t get me wrong I do. I worry about how many more years I will have left with full mobility before I am forced to use a cane or wheelchair, and although I joke about being able to use the handicap parking spaces at Costco and by passing the lines at Disney World, I wish I didn’t even have to ponder a day when that would happen. I just hope to be able to give A many more years where she isn’t affected by the burden that I now carry with me daily, by my need to not overheat my body in fear of another relapse.

But I have also been consumed with worry since the moment that the pee stick showed a plus sign the morning after Halloween. The worry kept building and building until my family starting calling me paranoid and crazy….oh you gotta love European families, and i decided enough was enough and sought professional help. I am now on anti anxiety meds which make it so much easier to cope with everyday obstacles that many don’t view as obstacles. Now when A catches a cold or a stomach virus I don’t feel like my world is about to collapse and that A will somehow end up in the hospital with some weird virus that no one can detect until it’s too late. I’m now able to sleep through those nights…apart from when i am rocking her or soothing her back to sleep. I can not tell you all how important it is to reach out for help when you feel like you are coming undone and you are beginning to lose yourself. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help…I have had to do that more than i would have liked in the past 6 months since my diagnosis and I am eternally grateful for the support system I have in place that can step in to help us with A when we need an extra set up hands because mine just can’t handle to load.