Sunday, 28 April 2013

A Special Dress

         Today the weather was absolutely beautiful here in Ottawa. Mark and I had the baptism preparation course to attend in the early afternoon, but Abigail and her Grandma, and cousin Quinn got to hit the park. Because I had only been out with her early in the morning today (THANK YOU TEETHING), I didn't realize how warm it was going to be...poor thing was a bit over dressed. It worked out though, since she's really fair and was completely covered during the hours when the sun was at its peak! When we got home we changed into summer clothes and went for another walk with Daddy before he ran off to work. Not only did Abby comfortably sport bare legs and arms, but she wore an adorable white sun bonnet too. I didn't get photos with the hat because she kept falling asleep in the Ergo and it covered her face. I am nervous about having such a fair skinned babe, but she seems to love the weather and being outside just as much as us. We'll just have to be careful!
        The most fun part of the day was skimming Abby's growing summer dress collection for the perfect outfit. This one in particular deserved mention, and was gladly worn as the first of the warm season. A while ago Mark ordered some new shirts online. We're very similar, when we get in a funk we shop...let's hope we don't get in many funks (for the sake of our bank account balances). Anyway, he was REALLY close to qualifying for free shipping but didn't quite hit the mark. Instead of throwing another t-shirt in his cart for himself he zoomed on over to the baby section and promptly picked something out for his baby girl. As I watched, tears actually came to my eyes. Mark has always been thoughtful, selfless and generous, but watching him do that like it was second nature really overwhelmed my heart with gratitude. Gratitude for him, for Abigail, and for the life we will all share together. I am so thankful for them. 
        The dress is still a bit roomy for her, but I enjoyed that it was loose and that she could move around in it. I think she appreciated that too. 




Wazzz upppp

If you're happy and you know it

clap your hands

Mom, this can't be my belly really this big?

I mean seriously.

Ohhhhh man, gotta lay off those puffs

    The dress is from Old Navy, and comes in an assortment of colours and sizes. I just wish it came in my size.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Abigail: 7 months

         Abigail has one tooth, sits up without any help, eats a variety of solid foods, feeds herself pieces of fruit and puffs (mum mums too), loves to Skype with family, tells stories and sings, plays peek-a-boo, stands unsupported for small amounts of time, rolls to toys, moves toys easily from one hand to the other, is SO ticklish, has pooped on the potty a few times and is weighing around 23lbs. She also likes to walk a lot, clap her hands, reach up when she wants to be picked up, splash in the bathtub, chew on EVERYTHING, shake her head "no" and scream when she's excited. She will probably start cruising soon- hello baby proofing!
         In February I went back to work full-time. I started nannying for a wonderful family not far from us in the neighbourhood. They have the funniest little guy (who Abby may or may not be in love with; the feeling is TOTALLY mutual). Abby comes with me some mornings, but spends most of them with her Daddy. In the afternoons, when Mark has to go to work, he drops her off and she plays with us. She goes to playgroup with us on those mornings when it's time for Daddy to take a break. Juggling two nap and feeding schedules has been tough- but I imagine it's PRETTY good practice for having more than one child (sometime in the far distant future, mind you). Abby has adjusted really well to being in this new space. 
         It was rough at first, but I think it was more of an adjustment to which I was resisting than it was her. She's awake more during the day now so it's all about balancing what is stimulating for her and what is stimulating for the 21 month old I care for. Thank goodness they are both so laid back, it took some working out. We have a pretty good routine now, and despite the odd tummy ache or teething fit here and there, we're doing really well. Playgroup has been a fantastic experience for us all. Abby has learned so much watching old children, and I have made great friends and connections both for work and social life. I feel like such a part of the parent and caregiver community there, it's fantastic. It's also a great space for community resources and a free way to entertain and educate young children. It's free to attend and there's coffee, tea and snacks, they have circle time and a large assortment of toys and play centers. I hope to continue going with Abby when I stop working full-time in June. 

Looking forward to: her baptism next weekend, learning to crawl and the wonderful moment when she says the words "mama" or "dada"

Wedding Plans: The Venue

      Well, we booked it. The date is set, the venue arranged and now it's real. July 26, 2014 Mark and I will become man and wife (instead of man and baby momma). I had originally wanted to book August 9, 2014 because that was the anniversary of our first date, but it wasn't the right day of the week and unavailable at our venue anyway. 
       We'll be getting hitched at the Britannia Yacht Club. If I learn how to spell "yacht" by then, it'll be a huge accomplishment. Thank goodness for autocorrect is all I'm saying. The space is incredible, and was VERY affordable. It has great bones for decorating, and I can't say that I'm disappointed to be married RIGHT.ON.THE.WATER. 
     In other wedding related news, I also picked up an awesome dress for the church ceremony we'll be having separately. Yep, married twice- we're THAT special. I never thought I'd be the girl to buy two wedding dresses, but hey, what can I do? It's a super adorable vintage piece I snapped up at Victoire's vintage dress sale, To the Nines, with one of my bridesmaids, Jen. I need to find a seamstress to make it fit a modern body, and fix a few tears- but it's really sweet. Think Betty Draper. I can't wait, guys.   

   And just because we're talking about weddings, this is a portrait of my wonderful parents on their big day. July 13- which is an awesome coincidence for us! (13+13=26...better in my head I bet) My parents, grandparents, brother and best friend will be here next week for Abigail's baptism. I AM SO EXCITED. (Also, my parents are stylish)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Spring Craft Fair

     Plans for Sunday? Feel like shopping but want to avoid the lines and impersonal aura of the mall? Look no further! This Sunday, April 14 at the Bronson Center there is going to be a fantastic craft fair from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Booth after booth of fabulous local vendors, crafters and artisans will be selling their wares. I'll be there too! My great friend, Steph and I are sharing a table. She paints the most adorable and whimsical watercolours. I will be selling my handmade baby headbands. And just to convince those of you still on the fence about coming: Abigail will be with me all day selling those baby headbands. She might even wear a couple!

    Beyond the first three designs I created (one of which I didn't replicate because Abigail deserves a one-of-a-kind) I have been focusing at letting myself create on a whim. Each headband has been hand cut, sewn and adorned. I love each piece, and have not added it to the "sell bin" until I was absolutely in love with it. I try each design on Abby before it goes in the bin too- to see how it fits, sits and photographs.  Here's a sneak peek of what I've been working on since my last post about the fair: 

This headband is a part of a mommy and me set. The mommy headband has a simpler , but matching adornment. I think I might make a few more of these before tomorrow's show!

This lacey number is made up of a sewing remnant I thrifted online on Kijiji- I went to pick up free potholders a few years back and ended up having dinner with the sweetest elderly couple.  The woman gave me a large bag of sewing remnants, lace and buttons as well as two vintage suitcases! I loved using this crocheted trim; reminds me of their kindness.

I've loved experimenting with shapes, colours, styles and textures. Creating these headbands has been such a labour of love. I really enjoy doing it while watching a show before bed. Some nights I crank out five before I remember I have to go to work early the next morning and force myself to go to bed. I'm thinking of opening an etsy shop to keep myself motivate. Maybe even do commissions and special orders. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Frugal Mommy: clubs, freebies and coupons

     Before Abby was born I was already signing up for freebies and clubs and coupons...for myself. It wasn't until I learned a few things from a great mommy friend that I realized I could get a lot of help offsetting baby-specific expenses! There are just as many (if not more) companies looking to sell you on a product for baby as there are for you.
     Even if you intend to breastfeed, I recommend signing up for the formula samples and coupons. No one can tell the future- and though it's natural and the best for baby, it isn't always easy, and might not be the way you end up feeding. There is no shame in that! If you don't end up using the formula, give it away online or trade the coupons for useful grocery coupons at a local swap.
    Abby and I had a tough time with nursing for her first month. There were tears and there was lots of ointment. If I hadn't gotten box after box of samples we wouldn't have been able to cope those early days. Money was really tight, and formula is expensive! (And trying different kinds because someone has a sensitive tummy? Yikes!) Formula isn't the only thing these companies help with though; they send starter cereal, diaper bags, bottles, diaper samples, nursing pads and so much more! Often these clubs have affiliated companies too so you get coupons for a variety of baby's needs. If you're expecting, wait till your third trimester to apply to some of these clubs ( not Similac though- they send mommy drinks too!) because formula does expire and if you don't plan to use it for a while, it'll be a waste! Many of the clubs only let you register once... But Abby's grandma and great grandma registered for us too. So did her Daddy. (; Sneaky stuff.

Websites to check out:
Similac Club
- samples, "welcome baby" gifts, coupons and member perks
- samples, feeding guides, coupons and perks
Nestlé Goodstart
- samples, "welcome baby" gifts, coupons and feeding guides
Pampers Diaper Club
- coupons, sale alerts, member perks and diaper club points
Heinz Baby Club
- samples, coupons and perks
-for pregnancy guides, tips and monthly updates as well as member discounts 
- there is also an app which helps you throughout pregnancy! 
-member discounts? Interac and credit card payment options? Subscriptions to diapers? Everything you could need without showering or leaving the house? Yes please!
     The other big costs are going to be baby gear. If you can't borrow, inherit or get used items I suggest making a registry for those who would like to spoil baby. That way you can make sure you get gifts that fit your lifestyle (aka no behemoth toys in a small urban apartment) or prevent duplicates without gift receipts. If you have the time, do some research on big items like car seats, high chairs, strollers and cribs. Don't worry about aesthetics, look at user reviews and safety standard ratings! Particularly with car seats! 
       If you're going to spend some money, I'd recommend investing in a great stroller, carrier and car seat. We live in the city, and having the flexibility to use the stroller (store and sidewalk safe) or the carrier has given us a lot of freedom with Abby. If a restaurant or cafe is too small for our stroller, we use the carrier. If the distance is longer or she's looking ready for a nap we use the stroller. 

Make a registry:

Babies R Us- get a free bag of goodies when you register in store!

Sears- guess your delivery date correctly and win everything on your registry!

The messy part:

     Whether you decide to do disposable or go the cloth diapering route- host a diaper party to celebrate your bundle of joy with your friends! It's way more fun than a traditional shower can be, and daddy can join in too! Rules are: hosts provide the drinks, and guests bring the diapers! We had a blast at ours. It's less intimidating for a twenty-something guy to buy diapers than pick out a frilly onesie :)We didn't buy diapers for Abby until she was three months old after all was said and done. Wipes, and diaper cakes also filled our stores for quite some time. When diapers cost $20 every week or so, we really saved tons! Be sure to let friends know that different sizes are welcome. Our pals were smart, we got a range of newborn to size three from the party.

   If you do end up being tempted into spending lots of money, just remember how quickly these kiddos grow, and how much they're going to be pooping and spitting up on these things. Save that money for their future- when they'll remember the vacation or thank you for college. 


I'm glad we didn't buy Abigail a bassinet...those first three months she loved sleeping with us the most.

Abby at two weeks old

                           Before                                                                   After

Friday, 5 April 2013

Easter 2013: Brunch

     Easter Sunday was a busy day. We belong to a rather large family, so when we all get together we make a lot of noise. The wonderful folks at Emerald Links Golf & Country Club gave us a great space upstairs to ourselves and accommodated our large numbers. The buffet was impressive and always well-stocked (a tremendous feat considering how busy they were!). Definitely a place to keep in mind for group functions! We got to meet new babies, show of Abigail, and eat great food with great company. Boy oh boy did Abigail nap well afterwards. She may or may not have been the only one.  Here is what she looked like after her HUGE nap (I'm talking I had to wake her up because she was cutting it close to bedtime, people).

Rewind time and this is us before and during brunch. I'm just challenging the idea of linear time here okay? 
Here is what she wore to her first Easter brunch. 
Oh no, it's the camera again

    I swear I didn't give her any chocolate. We didn't even get her gifts...I mean the Easter Bunny got lost on his way here. She's just a really happy baby. 
    Also, I thought that learning how to sit was adorable, but learning how to bounce and scoot on your bum is even cuter. She has always loved bouncing, and now we don't need to build our calf muscles for her to do it.
These two, I love them so.

We tried adding fancy shoes...

But they didn't last long, and in fact ended up being slobbered on and chewed.

Dad, there's a whole buffet downstairs, leave my hands alone!

How she feels about Mark

My heart.