Emilia, 7.5 months

Gosh, I am so sorry Emilia. I have really been sucking on the monthly updates! I think the brightside to all of this is that the quieter it is on the blog, the more fun we are having in real life!!

Anyways, I think the most exciting thing to share of all is that you are now CRAWLING, as of December 20! Your version of first crawls are the same as your sister’s was – reaching ahead with your arms and pulling up your body to meet. You can scooter around pretty quick using this method but you are pretty close to mastering all out crawling, on all fours. Not only that, you have now tried to pull yourself up into a friggin STANDING position when you are in the laundry basket in the tub or onto the bathtub itself. You apparently did not get the memo that this behaviour is not allowed, as you are supposed to stay my baby forever (and ever and ever and ever).

You can also sit for extended periods by yourself. We of course still prop pillows around you but I would say you do okay for upwards of ten minutes on your own! Strong girl.

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You make a variety of noises, and love to babble, but mostly when we are at home. Occasionally you will make conversation when you are out of the house or around people other than McKenna, Dad and I but this is a rarity.

You love anything you can chew because YOU STILL HAVE NO TEETH. We have had some brutal days of teething as a result and as much as I adore your gummy smiles, I cannot wait till those bottom teeth finally arrive so you can catch a break!

YOU LOVE FOOD. I would say you have food envy in fact. I generally prepare supper in the kitchen while you sit in your bumbo and munch on fresh veggies or cheese strings, but should I be in the midst of preparing something for you that isn’t ready or HEAVEN FORBID forget to give you food while anyone else is eating, you tell me off with very, very angry baby babble. It’s pretty funny how upset you get.

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You are also still exclusively breast fed. I keep saying I will start weaning at a year, but we will see what happens.

You are sleeping like shit lately, likely as a result of your never ending teething. We have actually started sleep training you, today being day 1, and don’t even get me started on how much it sucks. I hate hearing you cry but that being said we never sleep trained your sister and still pay for it because she barely goes to sleep without someone snuggling next to her. So, we are giving this sleep training thing a shot but I PROMISE if it doesn’t seem to be working I will cut it and fast. That being said, I think you crave more independence than your sister ever did so I THINK (and hope, and pray) that we will have an easy go at this!

Your sister is still the funniest person alive and you loooove to encourage her ridiculous antics. Thanks for that :).

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We love you, Baby E.

Our Shiloh

Anybody who has been a part of my life over the last 9 years, knows my puppy Shiloh.

Shiloh has been more than a puppy to me – she has been my best friend; my first baby. My confidant and my number one fan. She’s been around for my darkest of days and been my shoulder to cry on; and been around for my happiest of days, to see me fall in love.

She became Matt’s baby the day he met her. One of my favorite memories of when we started dating was when, after date night, we returned to my apartment on the 11th floor and he offered to take her downstairs to go to the bathroom. They were gone for over half an hour. I always joked that in the beginning he was only with me because of his adoration for Shy.

She’s lived with me in three very different homes and come with me on trips across provinces. She’s shared her home with other dogs, cats and birds, and seen those pets subsequently leave for various reasons and taken it all stride. Lastly, and most importantly, she has welcomed Matt and I’s babies with paws open wide, and become a true family dog.

This past week, our family has been dealing with the nightmare of discovering that our dear, sweet Shiloh, has cancer. It has been a week of vet appointments and various tests to determine the best way to approach this diagnosis. Yesterday, a decision was made that will best prolong Shiloh’s life and prevent her from ever having to suffer a minute from cancer, because it was luckily caught soon enough that she has yet to feel pain.

Next Friday, my sweet girl will undergo surgery and lose her front right leg. The emotions that come with this reality are all over the place. I am so happy for this second chance with Shiloh and look at this surgery as a way to prolong an otherwise happy healthy life. I am also sad that she has to suffer a single second of pain to get there. But it is, of course better than the alternative.

I ask you all today for prayers for our best friend. She is a strong pup and we all have no doubt that she will make it through this just fine and be the cutest little “tripawd” (yes, that is a thing) we ever did see. But we pray for a quick and successful surgery, and an easy recovery. She is our baby and a part of our family and I know that if any of you have had the pleasure of meeting my Shybum, Shybear, Shybaby, or Fluffmuffin, you too, have a place in your heart for her also.

I love you my girl. We will face the next adventure ahead as we have all of our adventures – together.

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The Best Big Sister Ever

It’s Monday morning. Okay –  well I at least know it’s Monday, because your Dad just returned to work after a nice quiet weekend, but I’m not entirely sure it’s morning anymore.

Emilia has been fussing for going on 30 minutes because she is tired, but she is refusing to nap. She’s drooling up a storm and flat out miserable because that tooth on the bottom left just won’t break through. I sing her lullabies, and walk a slow pace around the house with her in the carrier pressed against my chest. The only place she is somewhat calm.

I see you, McKenna, sitting on the living room floor, on your fourth episode of Paw Patrol, and notice the bag of goldfish crackers at your feet. “McKenna!” I say, “where did you get those? You know you are supposed to ask Mama.” You look at me with your big blue eyes and shrug your shoulders. “Sorry Mama”, and hand them to me. I then look at the clock on the oven and realize it’s not morning time at all, it’s 12:45 PM. It’s been hours since breakfast, and I haven’t even started preparing your lunch. I immediately hand back the crackers and give you a hug, that familiar feeling of mama guilt washing over me. I start preparing you your favorite – tomato soup and grilled cheese. You go back to your puppies, unphased by the whole thing.

These days are in the minority, McKenna, but they definitely exist. And I need you to know, that on these days… I see you. I see you sitting quietly on the floor while I nurse your sister, preoccuping yourself with whatever knick knack you can find because mama left the playroom (basement) door shut. I see you, sneaking in the pantry for snacks because your sister is crying and mama hasn’t made you breakfast just yet. I see you, playing quietly with your blocks while your sister is sleeping, even though we both know how much you hate being quiet.

You, my girl, have made me so proud these past 5.5 months. When I think about how much your life has changed and just how well you are adjusting to all of these changes, my mama heart swells to three times its size. Not only have you risen to the occasion of being an excellent big sister, providing endless cuddles and kisses, retrieving diapers and soothers when needed, and sharing your toys with E when she is crying, you have also managed to potty train, self wean, almost dress yourself, and navigate your way through Netflix. And even though you of course have your difficult days (and a span of about 10 days where you were just plain rotten), they too are in the minority.

I promise you, my wild haired, beautiful little girl, that I see you. I see you and I love you and am thankful and in awe of you every single day, even though I may not have the time to say it. Thank you for being the best big sister ever and a pretty damn great daughter as well.

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xo,

Mama

10 Things We Love About E

Here are a few things I know about you already, Emilia:

1. You love life. You make that perfectly clear when you smile 100 times a day.

2. You love your family. This is clear because the sweetest of your smiles are saved for McKenna, your Dad, and I.

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3. You are a mama’s girl, and I absolutely love it. I know it won’t last – soon you’ll be in on the big family secret – Daddy is waaay more fun – so I am soaking every second of it in.

4. You have a voice all of your own. You have no problems letting us know what it is you want, and you are bound and determined to get it. I used to think you’d be my  quiet child (because your sister can be VERY LOUD); but these wishful thoughts seem to be vanishing with every passing screech and loud babble. Your poor, poor father. Not only will he be surrounded by women for his entire life, but they will also be LOUD women.

5. You are strong. You are already rolling both ways and can hold your head up for super long periods. You have even attempted at CRAWLING and moved ahead a few inches (seriously – stop. Growing that is)!! You watch your sister with such fascination at all she does so I am pretty confident you’ll be an early mover and shaker.

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6. You are an old soul. Nothing calms you like when I play the Frank Sinatra channel on Pandora.

7. You like books. Just like your sister. We read at the very least 5 during the day and you sit in on one at your sister’s bedtime – only one because McKenna has a hard time focusing on anything when you are around. She would much rather play with your toes or squeeze your cheeks or scream happily in your ears than listen to any storybook. You on the other hand, listen closely and stare curiously at the pictures.

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8. You like to be snuggled. We have created another cuddle monster. During the day you will focus on an activity such as playing with a rattle or grabbing at a toy for a short period, and then demand to be held for a longer period. You would be happy if I could just hold and interact with you all day, but unfortunately it isnt quite possible, my love. I promise I do what I can :).

9. You love to sleep. Can I get a hallelujah? You are already miles ahead of your sister in the sleep department, and we have had more use of our crib in the past 4.5 months since you’ve came along than we ever did with McKenna. Thank you for that!!! 🙂

10. You are adored. I worried when I was pregnant that I wouldn’t attach as easily to you because I am so in love with your sister. I doubted that my heart could possibly love anymore. But you my dear, make all things possible, and I am quite positive that I could not love you anymore without my heart friggin’ exploding. Just ask your Dad about the bazillion texts I send him talking about how much I love you and your sister and how often it moves me to tears. You are so, so, deeply loved.

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Ten Lovely Little Things On A Friday

These are 10 things currently making me happy on this cold Alberta Friday night:

1. A WALKING BABY! That’s right. McKenna has now entered the half crawling/half WALKING stage. She walks anytime she’s currently in a standing position (cruising) and can get from one room to the other. It’s very exciting. A video will come soon, but I have been having a hard time capturing it thus far as I am generally clapping and cheering like a fool on the sidelines.

2. JAMAICA – it’s nearly here! We are just a few sleeps away! And as nervous as I am about the flight with McKenna, I am SUPER EXCITED for our first family vacation and to see two wonderful people get married! Any last minute tips? Send them my way, PLEASE in the comments section!!

3. This new dress I bought today! I bought it for the wedding until I realized, DUH, it’s white. Oh well! I will be just as content wearing it around town. (Seriously, love!!)

4. Wedding planning is going so well! I am really starting to get a vision for what the big picture will look like. We had a meeting with the venue this past weekend, and if possible, I love it more than ever.

5. Moments like these.

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And as always, these two in general. ❤

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5. This song. I think it will be my official “WE’RE GOING TO JAMAICA!” theme song (aka, the song I will be blasting in the car at 5:30 in the morning on our way to the airport as Matt shoots me dirty looks while sipping a gigantour Tim Horton’s coffee).

6. This movie trailer based on a favorite book. YOU MUST READ. BUT HAVE KLEENEX NEARBY. Don’t say I never warned you :).

7. This blog post from a favorite blog which inspired THIS blog post! 🙂

8. My yoga practice. I have been going consistently 3-4 times a week and I am just so in love with yoga. It doesn’t feel like work for me, it is truly just my number one hobby. It’s so good for me to have this time for me and the benefits for my health are not going unnoticed.

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Photo credit: http://100daysofhappy.wordpress.com/

9. My determination. Speaking of my health, I’ve been low carb for about 3 weeks. I feel great! I do have the occasional cheat now and then but overall it has been a successful journey thus far, and this paired with yoga really has me back on track. I am super proud of my focus!

10. McKenna’s continued sleep success – We had a rough night a few nights back due to teething, but that is of course to be expected. Other than that, we are still reaping the benefits of a great night’s sleep!

 

What’s making you all happy on this Friday night?

We Did It!

A LOT of big changes are happening around here these days, and all occurred in less than a month:

  1. We are no longer co-sleeping;
  2. McKenna is sleeping through the night consistently; and
  3. She is down to 3-5 nursing sessions per day.

Whew. Even officially writing that down took a lot of emotion out of me.

Nursing and co-sleeping were definitely two of the main attributes I used to describe our style of parenting that first year. It was great – I loved everything about it.

Co-sleeping was one of those things that worked, until all of a sudden it just didn’t. And in true McKenna fashion, she never does things slowly. Instead of doing a slow transition from co-sleeping to independent sleeping, one day it just STOPPED. I slept in my room and she slept in hers.

I mentioned we had a slight regression along the way – and after reading many words of advice on Facebook and speaking with other mothers, I blame that regression on poor timing. I strongly feel as though McKenna was going through a growth spurt at that time, and it had nothing to do with our new sleeping arrangement.

But now, DARE I say the words I at times I never thought I would? Dare I take it a step further, and write it down for the WHOLE WORLD TO SEE? That McKenna, is finally, consistently, sleeping through the night? ALL ON HER OWN?

Of all of the parenting challenges Matt and I faced in those first 365 days, sleeping was definitely the most difficult. It was SO up and down. We would have good months and bad months. Nights that had one or two wakeups and then nights that had sometimes upwards of 5. We struggled with what the books told us – that by 3 months, most children are fully capable of sleeping through the night (those children also likely fart rainbows). We struggled with what (some) of the experts said was the solution for those children who did not – the dreaded (in our household) cry it out method. We struggled with our own feelings of inadequacy anytime we faced a parent who spoke with pride about their babies who were in their own cribs, sleeping through the night at 6 months. It seemed nearly an impossible feat to accomplish, and as though it was nowhere in our near future.

But anytime the discussion was had, it was never decided upon that we should “Ferberize” McKenna. We do not judge those who choose this very effective sleep training method, because we are not in their houses when the sleep training occurs. We can only know what happened anytime we tried this method on our own baby – 3 or so times over the course of those twelve months in moments of severe desperation – and the result was terrified screams, shaking, and one dreadful, dreadful night when McKenna was ten months when she literally threw herself out of the crib. I thank God every day that our floor bed was beside to break her fall.

No, the Ferber method wasn’t for us. And thankfully, we were definitely on the same page when it came to that.

But yes, sleep. It was all over the place. I rarely complained – after all, I had an entire year off to nurture and care for her, and I had made a promise to myself that the first year would be all about McKenna. About establishing a comforting mother-daughter relationship wherein she felt secure and loved, and would truly trust me to take care of her needs. I still have no regrets about this decision, and fully intend to use this strategy with the next baby. And I honestly have to say I am amazed about how well I am able to function on broken up sleep. And Starbucks.

But at some point, that co-sleeping, nursing through the night relationship began to fail us. McKenna was no longer getting the quality sleep she needed, and instead of waking up and falling asleep immediately when nursed, she screamed and cried and reached for comfort, not milk, multiple times throughout the night.

That was when we knew it was time for the relationship to change.

I wish I could tell you an exact method we used to end co-sleeping, but there wasn’t really one. We simply stopped, and McKenna was ready. And trust me, we HAD definitely tried before, and she was NOT ready before. There was minimal crying (besides the growth spurt) and then there was just success. Continued success.

McKenna now goes to sleep every night at 7:30 PM after a consistent bedtime routine. She sleeps until 4:30-5:30 AM, awakes for a snack, and goes back to sleep until 8 AM. We are working at cutting out that last feeding, but if I’m being honest, I am in no rush.

Reason being is that although this is everything I wished, hoped and longed for.. I still miss those days. Those days where she was absolutely dependent on her Mama for sleep. I am really starting to think as motherhood as sort of a double-edged sword:  you are always wishing for something, and when that something comes true, you can’t help but long for those moments from before. In this particular situation, the moments I long for and will always miss are the late night cuddles. The nursing sessions, when it was just her and I awake in our quiet little household. Those moments of extreme bonding that I would never, EVER take back for ANYTHING.

But as I said before, my post about all of these FEELINGS (the feelings about the end of co-sleeping and the beginning of weaning) are to follow. They are too intense, and too important to not deserve their very own blog post.

But above all these feelings, I am so incredibly proud of my little. Proud of her father and I too, for never feeling forced to doing anything that was outside of our comfort zone. For sticking to our guns, listening to advice when necessary but only taking the particular parts of said advice and applying what we felt would work for our family to our real life situation.

Well done family. We did it :). Here is to many more nights of amazing sleep!

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Your First Birthday PARTY

On Sunday, December 15, 2013 our family and friends alike gathered at a small hall in Fort Saskatchewan to celebrate your first birthday!

Even though there had been freezing rain the night before, and some people chose not to brave the highways (it was outside of the city), we still had a great turn out and a fabulous time celebrating you, little one. About 30 people showed up, and we had a wonderful time!

We stuck with a simple theme – pink and green polka dots – and laid out a simple spread of snackin’ foods. There was a guestbook – one of my (many) favourite pictures of you blown up and surrounded by a frame for all to sign. There was a time capsule, filled with blank cards, for all your family and friends to fill out with wishes, advice, and kind words for you to read on your 18th birthday. Your Dad and I will keep this box safe for you.. but I cannot wait for you to read them!

There was a poem on each card (part that I wrote myself, part I found on.. you guessed it – Pinterest!) that read like so:

Please leave a note before you leave this place,

A note for our sweet McKenna Beryl Grace,

Into a time capsule we’ll slip them to hide,

Till she’s 10 & 8 years they’ll be locked up inside;

On her 18th birthday to her we will show,

All these great wishes for the places she’ll go!

 

Other than that, it was your usual birthday party – with a kids play area, treat bags, food, drinks, conversation, then of course, gifts (you were completely spoiled) and your second ever cupcake! You loved it as much if not more than the first, but once again you were such a lady! I was certain I would need to throw out your birthday outfit afterwards (sad face) but that was not the case. It is still in tact and hanging up in your closet, special memories kept (happy face)!

It was a great day filled with so much love. You are a special little girl, McKenna, and you are growing up surrounded by an amazing group of people that truly love you. We are such a blessed little family of three, and we were really feeling the love that day!

So without further ado, here are the (many) pictures from your very first birthday party! I have to thank your Auntie Lareina for once again capturing these wonderful memories on film! We are so lucky to have such a talented photographer in the family!! xoxo thank you Lareina!

McKenna's cousin, Marrah enjoying her treat bag!

McKenna’s cousin, Marrah enjoying her treat bag!


McKenna's cousin, Declan, enjoying the food!

McKenna’s cousin, Declan, enjoying the food!


McKenna's cousin Colton, enjoying a balloon :).

McKenna’s cousin Colton, enjoying a balloon :).


McKenna & her Nanny telling stories.

McKenna & her Nanny telling stories.


Family shot (starting far right) my cousin Daegan, my Auntie & Uncle, and cousins  Collin & Jenny, & McKenna's Papa.

Family shot (starting far right) my cousin Daegan, my Auntie & Uncle, and cousins Collin & Jenny, & McKenna’s Papa.


Enjoying her birthday balloons!

Enjoying her birthday balloons!


McKenna & cousin ZZ!

McKenna & cousin ZZ!


Present time! (McKenna with her Mum & Dad, of course)

Present time! (McKenna with her Mum & Dad, of course)


All images are © Unforgettable Images.Photographer: Lareina Di
All images are © Unforgettable Images.Photographer: Lareina Di
Love this shot!

Love this shot!


Cousin Marrah showing off her custom made wrapping paper :)

Cousin Marrah showing off her custom made wrapping paper 🙂


Helping hands :).

Helping hands :).


<3


Cupacake time! You were a little unsure about the sparkler...

Cupacake time! You were a little unsure about the sparkler…


But definitely not unsure about the cupcake!

But definitely not unsure about the cupcake!

All images are © Unforgettable Images. Photographer: Lareina DiAll images are © Unforgettable Images. Photographer: Lareina Di
All gone!

All gone!


With your cousins Daegan, Collin and Jenny.. reading them a story :)

With your cousins Daegan, Collin and Jenny.. reading them a story 🙂


All images are © Unforgettable Images.Photographer: Lareina Di

Sending out an SOS (Save Our Sleep!)

Guuuys… I am sending out a bit of an SOS (SAVE OUR SLEEP!) here!

The last week or so has been NIGHTMARE-ISH with regards to McKenna’s sleep. I posted here about how we have been making the transition from bed-sharing to independent sleeping – and it HAD been going great. She had even seemingly been putting herself to sleep when she woke up in the middle of the night, and on some glorious nights, only needing to be nursed once.

But then for whatever reason, this past week we have taken a HUGE step back and I am feeling like a Mama failure. She is waking several times a night, SCREAMING and unable to get back to sleep without nursing. I am not really for Cry It Out in our particular situation (but hold no ill will towards those who do use this method) but we have been trying it out, because at this point it almost seems crueler to step backwards and revert to old ways instead of pushing forward through this hard time and continuing with the transition. But the SCREAMING? It’s awful. And if I leave her for a few minutes, not even to cry, but to SCREAM it out, it gets increasingly difficult to go in there and calm her down. It’s breaking my heart because I feel as though I do not understand my own child and what she needs from me…. I fear she is in pain, whether it be gas or teething (she is definitely teething, she has 6 teeth that have broke the surface but are not fully exposed yet), although she shows no pain or difference in attitude during the day. She is her normal little happy exploring self during the day. She is also going to bed at her bedtime with no problems whatsoever, and napping routinely for 3 hours a day.

So I am asking you Mama’s for any advice you may have pertaining to our situation. I would rather put this post here, than a Facebook status annoying the two thirds of my friends’ list who do not even have children. We want to make this transition as easy as we can for McKenna ; and right now, it sounds like it is the most difficult thing in the world. It is breaking our heart to hear her cry so, night after night.. and scares me to death that I may be missing something. But as previously mentioned, we do not want to take step backwards, after we have made so much progress!

I should also mention that she won’t even LET me sleep with her anymore. As soon as I lay down next to her on the floor bed (she is otherwise sleeping in her toddler bed), she immediately thinks it is playtime. I just don’t see a resolution and am looking forward to any Mama insight I can gather!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.. One of the main reasons I love having a blog so much is the wealth of information that is exchanged!

 

Your First Birthday (a recap)

Even though your birthday was nearly a month and a half ago, your Mum is waaay behind the times and has yet to post a recap from the fabulous day. This is just a recap of your birthDAY, not the wonderful party that followed on December 15th. I am hoping to get to that post this week too .. but to be honest, I just haven’t been in the writing mood! With our upcoming trip to Jamaica and the wedding 5 MONTHS TO THE DAY away, my mind has definitely been distracted. But these are important events that must be recorded for you to read in the future, so here I am, just for you :).

On December 1, 2013, I woke up at 7 AM so I could be sure to be awake before you (I never purposely do this .. it seems like cruel torture!). I started blowing balloons, and filled the hallway. You Dad and I had assembled your birthday present – an AWESOME play kitchen! – the night before. I wanted you to wake up, find the balloons in the hallway and make your way down to see your birthday surprise.

You woke up at 8:30, and that’s just what you did. Crawled out into the hallway and played with the many balloons. You were so enamoured with the balloons that you stayed in the hallway for close to half an hour before I grew impatient and moved them into the kitchen, so you would come that way. You finally did, and alas! There was your kitchen! You immediately crawled up to it and started playing with it, particularly fascinated with the buttons and all the different sounds they made.

I decided we would stay home that day. On most days, I bundle you up and we head out of the house to run errands or take part in an activity, but I thought you would like a home day to enjoy your presents. I was right, you played with them for the entire morning, had a special breakfast of smashed banana pancakes and then laid down for your late morning nap as usual.

After lunch, we had a visit from your Auntie Ethel & Uncle Emlyn, and your cousins Gillian, Collin and Jenny. Gifts were exchanged (a fancy new cash register to go along with your play kitchen!) and then we all sat and visited. We watched your One Year video together (and I cried) and shortly afterwards, they left.

The afternoon was spent once again playing with your toys while I baked cupcakes, and then I ordered pizza for our special dinner. Your Dad, your Papa, and your Auntie Vanessa all came over for your birthday dinner and you ate your first piece of pizza like it was nobodies business. We sang happy birthday (I cried again) and I presented you with your first ever cupcake, vanilla with chocolate frosting. You started eating the cupcake like such a lady, picking at the icing with your fingers. But that didn’t last long! Not a crumb was spared.

You went to bed (after a much needed bath) with a full belly and a smile on your face.

It was a relaxed, calm quiet kind of day.. just the kind of day I wanted to spend with you on your very first birthday. Even though December the first will always be a day celebrating your birth, and giving you presents, believe me when I say you are the best gift I have and will ever receive. December 1 will always be my favorite day, a day of reflection, celebration, happiness, and undoubtedly, more tears (the happy ones, of course).