McKenna is Three!

Our little family is about to embark on our first vacation as a foursome this Tuesday (along with some or our favorite people). Since we will be on a plane when McKenna celebrates her THIRD birthday (seriously?!?) I prepared her third year video early… and cried the whole time.

I love you my sweet, wild haired, stubborn, blue eyed girl. It is an absolute honor to be your Mama.

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Fourteen Months

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It feels like these months are really starting to fly by. I ask again – weren’t you just born, like, yesterday? Anyways…

Sleep-wise, nothing much to report that wasn’t already covered this week. But now that you are sleeping like a rockstar, your nap schedule has become a little wonky. I think you are slowly transitioning to one nap and it’s kinda got you all messed up. You are exhausted by the time you take your usual morning nap but have SUCH a hard time falling asleep, so you stay awake until you are about ready to fall over at 1pm. I am letting you take the lead on this one because I feel with our upcoming vacation any routine that I may TRY and put in place will end in epic failure. So for now, you run the show.142

Food-wise, you eat anything we do and love MOST things. Things you won’t touch (a much shorter list than the stuff you will) include red peppers, strawberries, peas, and green beans.

We are down to nursing TWICE A DAY. You did this all on your own. You wake once at 5:30 AM(ish) and I nurse you then too.

The biggest news of this month is definitely that you are now WALKING. You can take upwards of 15 steps between rooms before settling down on your bum and crawling the rest of the way. I keep telling everyone that will listen that I’m sure you will take off running when you see the ocean next week (aka – give me a heart attack).

You know where your hair, nose, and bellybutton are. Three very random things, I know. But you are obsessed with the hair on my head (as in you love to pull it) and always reach up to yours when I ask where it is. Nose is a new development; until yesterday you were certain it was located on your ear. Bellybuttons are somewhat of an obsession around here.

You are still a little dancing machine, and love any upbeat songs that you can wiggle your bum too. You prefer when I have the radio on the pop station, but I can only listen to it for so long. You can handle alternative for a little bit, but my personal favorite, dubstep, does not seem to be a hit. Yet.

You LOVE dressup. If we leave ANY article of clothing on the floor you are trying to put it on your head, then you parade around as if you are doing a fashion show. You love to wear your Dad’s hat and my sunglasses most of all. Yesterday I witnessed you *trying* to put my boot on your foot. I look forward to many days spent playing dressup with you.144141

Your glockenspiel is still your favorite toy by far, and you bang on the keys until they fall off.

Still attached to your green fuzzy blankie, but thankfully any fuzzy blankie seems to do, as you quite often throw it on the floor outside causing it to be washed weekly. You also love pillows, and love being on your father and I’s bed and throwing yourself into them, laughing hysterically, until you are absolutely exhausted.

You are currently working on SIX TEETH at the moment, and who knows maybe more. You don’t let me get my fingers in far enough to feel if you are working on your molars yet, but we have definitely had a few difficult nights this month. Poor little bug.

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I’ll eat you up, I love you so. xo

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).

13 Months

Well here we are.. another New Year, with a toddler!

I had anticipated I would feel like taking some time off from blogging for the Christmas season.. I did not however, plan to go an entire month without writing a thing! And so much happened that I need to recap, including your first birthday party with your family, your first birthday party with friends, our preparations for the Christmas season, followed by Christmas itself (which I have renamed “Pukemas 2013” – as we all were hit by a tummy bug sometime before, during and after Christmas). I hope I can recap all these events for you soon!

But first, your 13 month update must be done!

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I need to write a bit of a disclaimer here.. and that is, December was actually a pretty difficult month for you. You fell sick on the 21st.. it started with two days of a really high fever that I managed with Motrin. On day 3, your fever had disappeared but you woke up in the middle of the night and threw up multiple times. This BROKE your Mama’s heart.. you did not cry, you simply cuddled your Dad looking white as a sheet and so, so sad as I called the nurse on duty and made sure we could continue to care for you at home. The next day, you seemed much better, but alas, that only lasted Christmas Eve and by Christmas Day you had a dry cough, runny nose, and were just so rundown. Of course, during these days our routine fell completely by the wayside. You ate barely any solid foods and slept whenever you felt like – usually taking 6 or so 30 minute naps a day, sometimes more. The rest of the time you spent cuddled on your father or I’s chest, watching far more TV than usual. You are now JUST on the mend and getting back to your cheerful self, with 4 more teeth than you had before this awful cycle started.

Sleeping has changed considerably this month. We are almost finished co-sleeping entirely. This is amazing because I had a little seed of doubt planted in my mind that it would never happen. It is also very, very bittersweet because I absolutely loved our days of bedsharing. However, as you were approaching your first birthday I made a promise to myself to allow you to become more independent. And independent sleeping is  a HUGE step towards this goal. Granted, we are still working out some kinks from our new sleeping arrangements – some nights you wake up multiple times just needing to be comforted, and others I fall asleep beside you rather then head back to our room across the hall. But generally, our night generally starts with you going to bed at 7:30. You wake up around 12:30 to nurse, and then sleep till about 6:30 or so where I nurse you again. Our day starts shortly before 9 most days.

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You still either take one big nap from 11:30 till about 2:30, or two naps of about 1.5 hours each.

Now that you have gained back your appetite for solid foods, you are eating 3 solid meals a day, and 2 snacks. You like a great variety of foods but don’t eat anything you do not like – that usually goes on the floor for the puppy. I think you consider puffs to be a food group because you would happily snack on them all day if we would let you (we don’t).

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You only nurse before naps and bedtime, and the rest of the time you are offered whole milk in your sippy cup. I am very happy we were able to skip bottles all together! Just one less thing I need to think about taking away from you in the future (because it feels there is always *SOMETHING* I am supposed to be taking away from you).

You have a TON of new toys from your birthday and Christmas last month, which has enabled us to start *toy shuffling*. This means we have toys, brand new and boxed in the basement that you haven’t even played with which we intend to switch in when you start getting bored of the toys you have in your play area. Right now, your favorite toys include the glockenspiel you received for Christmas, your walker, and your play kitchen that Mum, Dad, Nanny and Papa gave to you for your first birthday. I love watching you play with all your toys, but your kitchen in particular – just yesterday I watched you intentionally put food in a pot, close the lid, place it on the stove (which makes bubbling noises) then take it off the stove once finished and empty the pot. I am patiently awaiting to be served three course suppers and watch you wash and put away the dishes afterwards (great practice for the future, too)!

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With us being in the middle of the cold of winter, we have been spending MUCH more time at home than we did in the summer. As such, it has now become a part of our routine to start off the day with a quiet cartoon (while Mama wakes up and feeds/lets out the dog). You love Cat in the Hat and Curious George most of all – when the theme song comes on you break into a huge smile and wiggle your little bum to the beat. It is aaaadorable!

Not walking yet, although you have taken one or two steps several times on your own to transfer between furniture or your Dad and I. I was told walking qualifies as 5 unassisted steps so we are patiently awaiting for you to take the leap, but at the same time allowing you the time you need to figure it out for yourself at a time that is most comfortable to you.

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You say many words – but NEVER on demand. Only when you feel like it – another sign of your streak of stubbornness. Words you have said include – mama, dada, hi, bye, book, and bubble. You still think puppy is said by popping your lips together … but no sound is yet to come out.

Speaking of the puppy, if it’s possible you are even more in love with her than before. Half of the time (maybe a little less) the love is reciprocated as she runs in circles around you and attacks you with kisses, the other half of the time she goes into another room to get away.

You have an obsession with soft blankets. You have a green fuzzy one that is still hands down your favorite, but if you are in a room with blankets or even soft articles of clothing you will gather them all to surround you and bring them with you everywhere.

You also still love your books and sit quietly flipping their pages and looking at the pictures as if you are memorizing them by heart.

You also now have a new little quirk where you like to take objects such as blankets or clothing and put them over your head so you can barely see in front of you. You then crawl furiously around the room laughing. You do this with your Dad’s hat too. You especially like chasing the dog when you do this and you think that you are absolutely hilarious. It is the funniest thing to watch but I have to run interference quite often to be sure you don’t run into any walls.

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 Here’s to another month and a brand new year!

xo