Thursday, December 30, 2010

big boys still need their momma

At 21 months old, the boy is bursting with independence.  He crawls on chairs and couches, he asserts his choices in food, toys and television shows, he helps with laundry, dishes and sweeping.  Today he even fed the cats and I couldn't be prouder.

But today, tonight, I was also reminded of both his innocence and dependence.

The boy goes to sleep on his own, we change his diaper, apply a plethora of creams, give him some milk, read him some stories and put him to bed.  He usually reads his books in his bed for about 10 minutes then drifts off to sleep.  Tonight, he decided he was not ready for bed.  He didn't want any books, he just wanted to play, so we let him.  We told him it was sleepytime, we turned on his stars and left him to his own devices.

An hour later, he seemed to have finished playing, but was now banging on his bedroom door.  The noise subsided and we assumed the boy went to sleep.

About an hour and a half later, we heard a long whine, not quite a cry but clearly something out of the ordinary.  As I attempted to open his bedroom door, I realized that the boy has left his toys in front of his door, again.  However, as I slid through the door I realized it wasn't his toys in front of the door, the boy had actually fallen asleep right in front of his door.

I immediately scoop up my barely awake little man and he nuzzles right into my chest.  He certainly doesn't smell like 'baby' anymore, yet he smells delicious to me nonetheless.  I sing him a song and ask if he wants another; he simply mutters 'don't' and snuggles closer.  In moments he's fallen back into a deep slumber.  He doesn't even stir when I put him into his bed.

The boy was 5 months old when we sleep trained him and he's rarely fallen asleep on me since.  I'd forgotten how amazingly special it feels to hold him and kiss his forhead as he drifts off to sleep in the perfectness of momma's embrace.  I held him longer than needed, just relishing in the moment, in his innocence, in his need.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We're on Team Green

 After 21 weeks of waiting, we finally saw our newest little baby today, and he (or she) was perfect.  The baby was healthy, perfectly sized for the age and had the cutest little feet (I'd show you a picture, but my scanner wasn't cooperating this evening).  As you can see, it appears this time around we have a thumb-sucker; we could even see the little jaw moving during the ultrasound.
When people find out I'm pregnant, the first questions are almost always 'when are you due?' and 'do you know what you're having?'.  The answer to the first question is easy, May 9, 2011.  But when it comes to the second question, the answer isn't so clearcut.

Before I was ever pregnant I was certain I wouldn't want to know the gender, that I'd want to do things the 'old fashioned way', but when the time came with the boy, the mere fact that the technology was available and I COULD find out, made me want to.  In the end we decided to have the gender included in the report so that we could ask the midwife if we decided that we just had to know.  We were able to convince ourselves since we were over half way through the pregnancy there was less time left to wait than we already had, and we never found out.  When the boy arrived, the surprise was amazing.

Although the hubs likened finding out the baby's gender to peeking at Christmas presents, not finding out our babies' gender is about more than the suprise for us.  I have heard so many stories of ultrasound gender diagnosis being wrong and although its generally shy little boys being identified as girls, I recently had a friend deliver a little girl after being told her baby was a boy.

And its not just about the colour of the nursery or having to dress a little boy in ruffly sleepers, its the emotional aspect that freaks me out.  As new mom's we're a little crazy; our bodies have been through a fairly traumatic experience, we've barely had any sleep for days and the baby radar is on high alert.  The last thing that I want to add to the mix is emotional drama; the need to mourn (in some sense) for the child that was expected, regardless how much love there is for the child that arrived.

It's the extra emotions that scare me the most, so when they asked us if we wanted to find out the gender at our ultrasound today, I was quick to respond, no.  We're on team green in this house.

Did you or would you find out the gender of your baby?  Why or why not?  It's such an interesting topic and the tech today told me in her experience its about 50/50, so I'd love to hear everyone's opinion and/or experience.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

Wow, it's hard to believe its Christmas eve already.  Tomorrow morning we will wake up and one of the most magical days of the year will be upon us.  As a child, I never remember any speeches or demands for good beahviour; we just knew that Christmas was a day to put yesterday's arguments behind us.  A day to enjoy smiles and hugs, laughter and warmth.  It's a day for family.

And tomorrow, that's where we'll be, with family.

I hope that you too will be with your family for the holiday's, whatever holidays your family celebrates.  I wish you and yours love and warmth and much happiness.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fly Belly Maternity Clothing | Interview & Giveaway

When I was 8 weeks pregnant, I begrudgingly took out my Rubbermaid of maternity clothes; I only made it to 10 weeks the first time, so I'm not sure why I was so surprised, but I was.

As a working mom, I can't get away with wearing sweatpants and oversized t-shirts; I work in an office and I need to look presentable and professional.  That being said, I also can't justify spending a lot of money on new clothes, when I have a rubbermaid full of slightly stretched, slightly faded, slightly stained but still perfectly good maternity clothes.  I scoured the internet looking for good deals that I could justify, I mean every pregnant momma deserves at least a couple new clothing items right?

After much searching, I came across Fly Belly, a fantastic online maternity store with a unique selection and affordable prices.  I bought myself 3 shirts and with shipping (to Canada) they came out to about $26 each and arrived at my home quite quickly.  Fly Belly is a Momma-run business and Liz the Momma behind Fly Belly is super sweet and has offered to giveaway one shirt of the winners choice to a Momma Stuff Blog Reader.  But don't take my word for it, read on for my interview with Liz, the woman behind Fly Belly!

Can you tell us a little bit about your vision or mandate for Fly Belly?
My goal for Fly Belly is to provide cute, trendy and AFFORDABLE maternity clothing.  Truth be told, I want to be a household name among women - that's my vision.  I've browsed the internet for cute, trendy maternity clothes and am ASTONISHED to find that most websites that carry adorable things charge over $50.00 for a SHIRT!  I don't understand how regular women can afford things like that, so it is my goal to make shopping fun.  

Women should be allowed to feel beautiful during this special time in their life WITHOUT having to take out a second mortgage to pay for clothing.  My number one goal is customer satisfaction.  I LOVE what I do and love to work with my customers to do anything I can to make them happy.  I have had some BAD customer service experiences and I never want someone to feel like I don't care.  I want people to know that I am a real person and I do care about their shopping experience.  As I grow and hire employees (some day) they will be trained in customer SERVICE. 

How did you decide to embark on the entrepreneurial journey that is Fly Belly?
My journey began in July of 2005 when I was pregnant with my second little bundle of joy.  I was looking for a way to make a little 'me' money.  I was a full time stay at home mom and my husband was supporting our family.  I felt so silly taking money that he had earned to buy him a birthday present.  I wanted to find a way that I could earn money to pay for things like birthday and Christmas presents as well as a way to eat out or buy something to pamper myself every once in a while.  My sister had given me some name brand jeans and they didn't fit me.  I had purchased a few things on ebay before and decided to try my hand at selling.  I was SO surprised to find that the jeans sold for 26.00!!  I couldn't believe someone would pay 26.00 for a pair of USED jeans!  After that, I would shop at my local thrift store every Monday where certain colored tags were 99 cents.  I would buy ALL the name brand jeans I could find and list them on ebay.  I probably didn't make a profit of more than 20.00 a month, but that 20.00 was something that I could contribute to our family.  After I had my baby, I got all of the clothes I had that I didn't wear and sold them--they did AWESOME!  I didn't realize there was such a high demand for maternity clothes, so I added used maternity clothes to my ebay selling.  After doing some research, I realized that people were paying a lot of money for NEW maternity I looked around and did a little research and realized that I could buy new clothing and re-sell it on ebay.  I started VERY small--only purchasing enough inventory for ONE lot.  Then I would take the money I earned from that and go buy more.  I am happy to say that I have not gone into debt at all to open my business.  I started small and grew as I could afford to.  

I had been kicking around the idea of launching my own website for about a year or so because I was sick of ebay raising their fees.  I had a good friend who was a graphic designer but was out of work, so I decided...what the heck, let's give it a shot!  I worked with him to design my website!  What you see on is completely designed by me and Dennis West Designs.  I wanted paisley background--he designed it.  I wanted a certain font...he made it happen.  I even got my own models (my sister...who was pregnant with her SIXTH baby) and my friend (expecting number 4).  I wanted REAL women--not itty bitty stick girls with a tiny little bump.  

Fly Belly officially launched August of 2010 and all the products for sale are BRAND NEW usually with tags.  Sales were pretty slow to start with, but have gradually picked up as I have done advertising and people have spread the word.  I LOVE my customers and am always so excited when I have repeat buyers (which quite a few people are!)

How do you find and choose all the lovely maternity products that you carry?
I can't share my secrets about where exactly I find my clothing, but please know that I HAND PICK each and every item that is on my website.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE to shop and whenever I find something cute, I can't WAIT to share it with others!

I read on your website that Fly Belly is a one-woman show, what's your biggest challenge since starting Fly Belly?
The biggest challenge since starting Fly Belly is finding time to do everything!  Since I hand pick everything, I have to take time to do that, I have to find time to take pictures (which right now is in my bedroom!), edit the pictures, list them on the website.  Then, when they sell, I have to gather up the order, package, weigh and print labels at home.  Add to that being a full time mom of 4 children aged 7, 5, 3 and almost 2.    So, my biggest challenge is just TIME.  I would love to hire an assistant...some day....

On the flip side, what is it about Fly Belly that truly makes your heart sing?
When customers email me and tell me how happy they are with their purchases and how the clothes make them feel and how GRATEFUL they are to have found affordable clothing!  The internet is such an amazing thing and I have made some great friends through my business.

Can you share a little, or a lot, about yourself as a mother?

I'm a 28 year old mother of 4!  That basically says it all, haha :)  I'm a basket case!  I married my sweetheart Adam when I was 19 and we have been happily married for nearly 9 years.  We had 2 little girls 23 months apart.  When I was pregnant with baby number 3, my husband fell in love with a little foster baby that one of his friends was caring for.  He felt very strongly that this baby was supposed to be a part of our family, so when I was about 14 or 15 weeks pregnant, he called me one day and said "How would you feel about adopting a little baby?"  WHAT??!!  I thought he had gone insane, but we agreed to make it a matter of prayer, and the answer we got was that this little girl, named Faith, was to be a part of our family.  We became foster parents and got custody of the 11 month old just 4 months before I gave birth to my baby.

I always wanted to be a 'mom'.  In fact, in college, my major was 'Family Science' so basically I took a lot of child development and parenting classes.  Being a mother has been the HARDEST thing I have ever done, but also the most rewarding.  Children are amazing and teach me so much.  I am grateful to be able to stay at home with them and am also grateful for their patience with me.  I am so imperfect and have so much to learn about being a mom.  I think it's a lifelong process!

Does the constant exposure to great maternity items, set your baby fever in overdrive?
Not really.  I try to focus on the women who are ALREADY pregnant and who will get to wear these great maternity clothes.  I do, however, have quite the collection of maternity clothes for when baby number 5 decides to join our family!  

Is there anything else you'd like to share with Momma Stuff Blog readers?
Being a mother is one of the most amazing, scariest, frustrating and humbling things you will ever do in your life!  We have been entrusted with these little beings that rely on us for everything.  It is overwhelming at times, but when we remember we are raising the next generation-the leaders of the future--it makes it all worth it.

A little about my 'office'.  When you asked about including a photo of my office, I had to laugh.  Mainly because my home IS my office.  My baby's room doubles as my inventory room.  It has his crib, a dresser and lots and lots of maternity clothes!  Items that are for sale on ebay are in his closet and items that I need to take pictures of and list are in totes on the other side of the room.  Mine and my husband's room houses my maternity mannequin as well as items that are ready to be photographed.  Out in the living room is the desk with my computer on it where I do all my work!  Next to the desk is items that have been photographed and need to be listed.  My basement has lots of totes of off season items as well as all of the listed inventory for  Fly Belly has taken over my house!!  One day I will be able to rent a small office, but for now I am content to stay at home with my kiddos around me wreaking havoc on the house while I work!

Enter to Win
One Shirt of the Winners Choice
First Entry:
Visit the Fly Belly Website and leave a comment sharing which shirt you'd like to win
Please make sure you include your email address if its not in your profile otherwise I won't be able to contact you if you win!
Additional Entries:
Please leave a comment for EACH additional entry

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I entered to #win a super cute maternity shirt from @Flybelly | | @mommastuffblog
Giveaway closes Sunday January 2nd, 2011 at 8pm (PST).  Winner will be determined by a random number generator. Winner will be notified via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn and contacted.

Contest is now closed.
Congratulations to our winner, comment #22 Sweetone624!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wean Green Baby Food Containers | Review

The boy loves to eat.  The day he was born, he was scooching across my chest to get to the milk.  At 4 months, he started eating cereal and was up to 3-4 tbsp three times a day, within a week.  He's a little piggie, and I'm ok with it.  The hubs and I are eaters too, I just hope this next baby eats well or I'll probably worry that he/she is starving.

With the exception of our trip to Asia, I made all of the boys baby food from scratch and there wasn't much he turned his nose up at.  One of the things I struggled with however, was transporting babyfood; I'd perpetually find myself toting around three to four tupperware containers of various shapes and sizes.

I recently had the chance to try out Wean Green Glass Baby Food Containers and I could immediately see that they were a great solution.  The small uniformly shaped containers are made of glass, which is both recyclable and sustainable, they are BPA, PVC, Phthalates, and Plasticizer free and these little gems are able to withstand both freezing and heating.  They come with bright coloured lids that seal without leaking and each cube holds 4 ounces of food and even includes measuring lines so that you can easily see how much your little one has eaten.

Since the boy has now bypassed the 'baby food' stage, we tested out the Wean Green cubes from a toddler perspective.  The boy loved them.  He quickly figured out how to unsnap the lids and would happily carry the little cubes around and eat his grapes, cereal or other snacking delight.  My sister was concerned that he might break the cube, but so far so good.  I however, did manage to knock one off the counter while doing the dishes with disastrous results.  Moral of the story; Wean Green Baby Food Containers are durable, but not unbreakable.

Wean Green is a Canadian company developed by a real Momma who is committed to healthy living and happy babies.  The company even participates in 1% for the Planet - a program that truly allows business owners to give within their means.  At a price of $28 for four cubes Wean Green Baby Food Containers feel expensive, but they are high quality, food-safe containers, definitley a situation where I would consider paying more.  Wean Green provides a great product that we have thoroughly enjoyed testing out in our home.

If you want to try some out for you or your family, Wean Green is offering 20% off any purchases through their website until the end of the month.  Enter promo code 'mommastuff' at checkout to get your discount!

If you want to know more about Wean Green, check them out Online, on the Wean Blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why I love my Midwife

I can't believe another post-less week has gone by.  I did manage to write and mail my Christmas cards last week and finish my Christmas baking with my mom this weekend, so it hasn't been a total write-off.

I'm 19 weeks pregnant today and we finally have our ultrasound booked for the end of the month.  Although I love hearing the bean's heartbeat, I can't wait to see him or her up there on the screen and have the technician tell me that the babe is healthy, and of course confirm that there is in fact only one babe.  I have no reason to believe otherwise, but confirmation is always a good thing.

My brother's girlfriend is also pregnant, and due just a month after us, its going to be baby central in our family this spring.  I was shocked and a little jealous when she told me that not only has she already had an ultrasound, she's already had two.  She is going to a maternity clinic and they have a small ultrasound machine in the office so they can peek in on the babe at every visit.

One of the pluses of a maternity clinic I guess.  Where we live, residents have access to basic medical care including access to doctors, hospitals and prenatal care which allows for a choice in a pregnancy care provider, at no additional fee.

The hubs and I have chosen a midwife as our pregnancy care provider of choice.  Lori was recommended to us when we were pregnant with the boy and once we met her, there was no question about it, we knew she was right for us.  I loved that even from our first meeting, I felt no pressure to continue with Lori, nor did I ever feel any pressure to undertake any specific tests or procedures.  We discussed options and our preferences were always respected. 

When I talk, Lori listens.  I feel like she truly 'hears' what I have to say and she is always conscious and aware of both hubs and I's wants, fears and needs.  When we went into the hospital to deliver the boy we never bothered with a written birth plan, we had verbally discussed everything with Lori and knew that she would be by our side to ensure nothing went askew.  It was comforting to know that we wouldn't be at the mercy of unknown nurses and that Lori would be there throughout labour rather than just coming in at the last moment to 'catch' the baby.  Midwives are also responsible for both mom and baby for 6 weeks postpartum; we had no awkward home visits from an unknown community nurse, instead we simply had the comfort of Lori.

As far as I'm concerned, midwifes are the way to go (although I recognize for some people, such as those in a high risk pregnancy, they simply aren't an option).  Midwives spend their schooling and career (not just a few days a month) eating, sleeping and breathing babies.  They study pregnancy and delivery in depth during their schooling and the entire premise of midwifery is informed choice.

Having an ultrasound every prenatal visit might be pretty damn cool, but its nothing compared to the comfort, repoire and peace of mind I have with my midwife.  Thank you Lori.

If your in Richmond, Lori along with two other midwifes have now joined forces as the Richmond Midwifery Care Centre, if your in the lower mainland, check out Midwifes in Vancouver or for more information on Midwifery, including where to find a local Midwife in BC, check out the Midwifes Association of BC.

Monday, December 6, 2010

a craptastic week

So last week kind of sucked.

After my post about double strollers, I decided that I wanted a double stroller.  I decided I wanted the Easywalker Duo and that I wanted to pay the mamabargains price of $399 with the free carrycot.  That's not a lot to ask is it?

I discussed it with the hubs and though he's hesitant to spend so much cash, he told me to go ahead and get whatever I thought we needed.  I took a deep breath and made the call.  Apparently, the Easywalker duo is one of the few products that ships direct from the manufacturer, which means there's none left in the warehouse for me to buy at the mamabargains price.  I was bummed to say the least.

The hubs has already been sick since the weekend and when I talked to my Mom at lunchtime she informed me the boy won't eat, asked to go home from a playdate after 20 minutes and had already had two bottles (he usually only has one cup of rice milk during the day).  He's fussy, whiney and clingy.  None of these are signs of a happy and healthy boy.

On top of it all, I won't be home after work, I have my work Christmas party and the hubs is on baby duty all on his own.  This stresses me out a bit, the two of them haven't done after work on their own as much as they maybe should have.  Fortunately, they do great.  The boy eats for his dad and goes to bed without a fuss.

The boy made it through the night, but by 6:30am has already asked for milk and refused his breakfast.  He's clingy, but doesn't seem to be in too bad of spirits.  We decide to take him to my sister-in-laws and see how he does.

I'm not at work more than 30 minutes before I realize that the congestion I've been calling pregnancy and allergies is now accompanied by brain fog, achiness and overall grossness.  I'm sick too.  I finish off what I'm working on, drive home and pick up the boy.  We pathetically watch movies, sleep and eat rice noodles all day.

Thank goodness its my earned time off (ETO) day at work, which means I get to stay home and I get paid.  Unfortunately, none of the resting or Christmas baking I was hoping to accomplish even gets started.

I had a visit from a dear friend who happens to be both blind and arthritic; I thought we were postponing, but when I realized I was wrong I just couldn't cancel after she'd made the effort.  (This same friend introduced me to the term craptastic, which just seemed fitting for today's post.)  We also decided to try out having a cleaning lady (yay!) and it was her first day so there was no naptime for me.  The boy was of course home for the duration, which means this sick momma had pretty much no downtime all day.

In truth, I don't remember much.  Saturday was a bit of a hazy, afternoon nap filled kind of day.  We did manage to mooch some dinner off my parents so I didn't have to cook, but I swear if my head wasn't attached to my body, I would have lost it this weekend.

I had absolutley zero gusto in me to get up and head to my fit 4 two exercise class at 9am and the boy allowed a much needed sleep-in until 7:30, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I did feel a bit better and got some errands done over the course of the day, including a Christmas present for my mom and a few stocking stuffers.

We headed over to my mother-in-laws for dinner and had a nice simple dinner; baked chicken breast, potatoes, cauliflower with gluten-free cheese sauce and salad.  Imagine my surprise when I found myself bolting to the bathroom before I was even done cleaning the boy up from his dinner.  I swear I've read every salad dressing at the house, but apparently I forgot that I don't eat the cesaer dressing.

Half way down the ingredients, there it was, 'seasonings (soybean and wheat)'.  Dammit.

Today started off much better, the boy and I both have a cough, but overall seem to be in better spirits.  I logged onto Mamabargains this morning and the Easywalker Duo was there waiting for me to purchase; thank goodness, the compulsive need to check the site was starting to make me a bit crazy.

As the day wore on however, I just started to get overwhelmed.  I still feel mildly sick, when I picked up the boy, my parents seemed cranky and annoyed (with me or with each other I'm not sure), they didn't feed him the lunch I packed (again), the extra mirror I use to see the boy in the car was broken and I have to spend the next two days at all day meetings downtown, which changes our commute, timing and routine drastically.  I walked through the front door and almost immediately burst into tears.

Fortunately the hubs was all over it.  He put on some Toopy and Binoo for the boy and ran out to get cat food (since the lack thereof made me start sobbing again) while I made dinner, he put the boy to bed and put on his brave face and told me he would happily pick up and take care of the boy and his dinners both tomorrow and Wednesday.  Thanks honey, you're the best.

Now that I've had a hot bath and good vent, it feels like things are about to turn around.  Hopefully my craptastic week is behind me, and the next fantastic one can begin.