Friday, August 27, 2010

Help! I'm addicted!!

Recently I've realized that I am totally and completely addicted to saying 'yes' when people ask for help. I'm not sure what compels me to always say yes but I almost always do, it's like a knee-jerk reaction! Them: "We are looking for some people to help..."
Me (as I either cut them off or don't read any further): "YES"

The other day I told my DH that things will TOTALLY slow down after Run For The Cure wraps up in October. He just looked at me, rolled his eyes and said 'Yeah, until you sign up for something else'. I laughed but then realized he was completely right, eek! There is just something inside me that can't stand to sit on my hands when someone asks for help.

It got me thinking about what else I'm addicted to so I thought I'd start a list. This is what I came up with:

1. Volunteering of any nature and donating to people raising money for walks/runs, their kid's hockey team, a new playground, etc. Whatever it is I can't say no!  Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have advertised that, I feel like my inbox will now be full of stuff like someone raising funds to try and find the Bermuda Triangle.

2. Starbucks Chai. Now lets be very clear, it must be a STARBUCKS chai. I've had chai all over the place and no one makes it like them. And even then I can tell you which Starbucks in Edmonton make it consistently the way I like it.

3. Books, especially ordering books on-line. I get so bloody excited to open the mailbox and see a key for I know it's my eagerly anticipated new books. It's to the point where I simply can't read as fast as I buy. I joke that someone needs to help me with this but I'd probably secretly hate someone if they tried to take away my on-line Chapters account from me!

4. Bubble baths. I have one almost every night, it helps give me the quiet time needed to read the above mentioned growing stack of books.

5. My Blackberry. I'm not one of those people standing in line for hours for the new IPhone because I don't want to surf the Internet, or play games, or download a bunch of apps, what I want is constant access to my e-mail and a super easy keyboard on the phone to type. I find it vital to have access to my e-mail at all times, I think this is because of addictions number #1, I've signed myself up for so many things it's like I have another full time job on top of my mom full time job and need to keep everything in order. DH didn't understand why I needed one but if you looked at my calendar and the # of e-mails I get an hour you'd understand just like he did.

6. Sonic 102.9.  I have it on in the house The first thing I do when I enter the kitchen is turn on the radio to Sonic and then turn on my Blackberry (at least I'm not addicted enough to have it beside me in bed!!).  In the car the kids take turns listening to cd's of the music they like; Doodlebops, Wiggles, etc, then I say 'It's mommy's turn' and I turn on Sonic.  I truly hope that my children grow to love alternative music rather than pop music!!!

Anyway, there's my dirty little secret confession of my addictions, don't hold it against me but feel free to supply me ;)  Except maybe addition #1 as I'm seriously overloaded and just signed up for another committee, it's hampering my ability to enjoy my other addictions!

Feel free to share yours as well...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Notes For A New Mom

As I know a few pregnant, soon-to-be new moms out there I thought I'd post some of the tips I give other new moms. These are just a few of the things that other moms never told me and I sure wish they had!

Hope they help.


1. Go on dates now, lots of dates. Especially movies, lots of movies and lots of dinners in restaurants you wouldn't dream of bringing a child to.

2. Pre-make meals now and freeze them or buy a bunch of frozen meals. You have no idea what kind of baby you're going to get, or what kind of mom you're going to be so be prepared. You simply might not be able to put baby down to make a meal for yourself so pre-made meals are the way to go for the first little while.

3. Negotiate NOW. Make sure DH understands that weekends need to be rest time for both of you. Likely you'll be the one getting up every night to feed and change the baby so you need 1 day to sleep in on the weekend just like he does. I negotiated for every evening (that he was home) off from 8pm - 11pm and then 1 night each weekend he had to get up with the baby if it cried and that morning I got to sleep in. That way we both got some sleep and a break from the baby.

4. Avoid buying sleepers that do up in the back, it's so complicated to figure that out at first. Do you lay the baby on their face? Do you try to do it when they're in your lap? It's confusing. Ones that snap in the front are usually pretty good because then you can just undo the bottom portion to change the baby and their torso doesn't get exposed & cold with every change.

5. You don't need 1 million gadgets, your mommy senses will tingle ALL THE TIME. You will now get 'mommy sleep' which means very little, wake at every, little sound - sleep.

6. Do buy a 3 pack of bottles and a small tin of formula and sterilize the bottles. If you don't use it, GREAT! Then all you wasted was maybe $15-$20. But you never know how breastfeeding will go and you need to be prepared to feed your child at 2am if your milk production suddenly stops or if it never comes in. I'm speaking from experience...almost no stores are open at 2am and we thankfully had some in the house, otherwise DD would have missed the 2am and 5am feeding as my milk simply disappeared. I had to get medication from the doctor the next day to start it back up again and even then it took a day for it to come back.

Post Baby

1. In the hospital bathroom you'll likely find a weird mesh looking thing...that's underwear. I swear to God. It's the underwear they ask you to wear. Trust me and just put it on.

2. Have a birthing plan A, a plan B, and a plan C.  Every birth is different and you never know what you're going to get so be prepared to change your original plan, and maybe even change it again.

3. EAT before you go to the hospital, you don't know when they'll let you eat again

4. If in your plan A, plan B or plan C you might have an epidural, upon arrival ask the nurse what their practice is for epidurals. Is there a list? Do you just get one when you want one? When's the cut-off point to request one?  Where I gave birth you had to put your name on the LIST and all c-sections and emergencies came before you, so you could possibly wait hours to get one. If and when you finally decide when you want one you do not want to be told it's hours away!

5. Going home clothes: you won't fit into regular pants yet so plan to wear maternity pants home. Also bring flip flops or slip on shoes as your feet can swell and it can be hard to get your shoes back on.

6. You will have a LOT of people looking at your private parts, you might be worried about this ahead of time but honestly, when you're in the moment and in pain - you couldn't care less. I still suggest you get a pedicure before the baby is due because for some reason most moms do notice their own feet, mainly because they're up in the air beside your face while pushing.

Post Baby

1. Take ANY and ALL help that is being offered. Seriously, you'll thank me later if it allows you an extra hour of sleep, 1 less meal to make or 1 less round of laundry.

2. After you bring the baby home practice putting them in their car seat. I might get some eye rolling from that but until you have this little person  in your arms you don't realize how hard it can be to get them dressed, changed, into 'outside' wear, into a car seat, that car seat into the car, then work the stroller on top of that. It can be daunting for a new mom so I always suggest you do it in baby steps. 1st. get the kid into a car seat and back out. 2nd after you feel good about that get them in the car seat, into the car and then go to something like a Starbucks drive-thru and back home. 3rd after you feel good about handling all that, take someone with you (a mom or MIL is always good) and plan an outing like the mall. Tell them you'll do everything (car seat, stroller, etc) yourself but you at least have them there as a back up if you can't figure out how to put something together or how to manage doors and such. Soon you'll be an old pro at it and won't think twice but it usually takes you a few outings to get to that point.

3.  Don't sign up for every class in the world just yet. Give yourself a month or two of leeway time to get used to the baby. Signing up for classes the week after your baby  is due will just put extra pressure on you that you won't need. You'll be figuring out feedings, and lack of sleep, and all the other aspects to a newborn. Also, what you get from a baby in the first week or two does not dictate how they're going to be at the 1 or 2 month mark. The classes will still be there at the 2 or 3 month mark or whenever you feel up for some adventure with your babe.

4.  It's a hard, hard, hard job. You hear people say it all the time but you will not get a true appreciation or understanding of it until you're in that situation. Your whole world just got turned upside down so go easy on yourself!!!!!!! Have the phone numbers of your friends on hand because you will have tons of  questions and no one is better to ask than the people who know you and who have recently been through it. You get some awesome advice, tips, and help from other moms out there. It's an amazing network of bonding, use it!

The best part of all of this, you go home with this beautiful little person that you made. At times you’re going to want to pull out your hair because it’s so hard, but at other times you look at this amazing little person and they give you this look, or smile, or make a cute gesture and it makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Camping - The Aftermath

Sooo, where do I return my camping membership card? I got one in my late teens, used it quite frequently in my 20's but since I've reached my 30's & have 2 toddlers I'd now like to return my membership.

I should be clear here, I'm talking about camping with a TENT. DH doesn't think camping in a massive RV is REALLY camping so he likes to do it old school in a tent. Usually this declaration is followed with a 'When I was a kid' story that I soon tune out as I KNOW his family owns a cottage and was told they spent every summer there!

So, we did the family tenting experience and now I'd like the return my membership as a result. I'm not looking for a refund, honestly, just take it so I don't ever have to experience that again.

Some people think I exaggerate but then you simply don't know my kids or my hubby! Ask the people that stayed around us and they can give you a blow by blow description of it. Here's a bit of what happened to paint you a better picture:

1. 10 minutes in DS has scraped his hand and gotten gravel embedded in his hand.

2. 20 minutes in DH can't figure out how to set up the tent and has set it up wrong. Must take it down and start over. Kids are REALLY patient with that.

3. 40 minutes in tent is finally set up right but DS has already almost torn it down, has tripped over the tent pegs 4 times and skinned his knees, at least they match his hand - he's a Curious George band-aid king at this point.

4. 1 1/2 hours in...FIRE PIT...2 year old and 3 year old...need I say more??

5. 2 hours in, supper is over and I commence washing dishes, DS picks up a huge handful of dirt and rocks and puts it into the wash bin and all the dishes I'm washing are now filthy - oh well, I still use the water anyway as it will take too long to boil another pot.

6. 3 Hours in kids are tired and wanting to go to bed, it doesn't mean they actually GO to bed though. DS gets into DH's cell phone and plays with it until we find him and put him back in bed. 10 minutes later he's found DH's wallet and takes absolutely everything out of the wallet and spread it around the tent, it takes forever to find all the change, receipts and credit cards. He does this again with DH's toiletry bag, the kids' suitcase and mine.

7. 4 Hours in I'm sick of going in to the tent every 10 minutes to put them to bed so give up and go lay in the tent with them to try and keep them from getting up every 5 minutes. Yay camping.

8. 5 Hours in (around 9pm) DH comes in, puts in EAR PLUGS and goes to sleep while I stay up continuously putting the kids back down.

9. 6 Hours in DD finally goes to sleep

10. 6 1/2 Hours in DS finally goes to sleep. Promptly 10 minutes later someone pulls into the spot across from us to set up their trailer, starts blaring tacky music and a blender starts up. Swear to God, a BLENDER!?!

11. Throughout the night a car alarm goes off 4 times, blender goes off countless times, DS and DD are up over a dozen times (I actually lost count) and I get 2 hours of sleep while DH snores away with his EAR PLUGS.

12. Next day highlights.
- DS's hand look infected from the 1st day's accident. He falls into some shrubs and now both legs are full of scratches to match his scraped knees.

- He sticks his hand into a pop can and slices the heck out of 1 finger so he's really looking beat up now.

- DS throws probably the biggest rock he can lift and it hits DD right in the back of the head.

- DH takes the kids for a walk and is certain DS was stung by a wasp and DD is covered in mosquito bites.

- DD finds a knife and decides to play with it but I am able to stop her before she does any damage

- DH burns himself quite badly on the fire pit while showing DD (who is 3) how to put logs on the fire. Hate to say it but better him than her

- DH puts the kids to bed, they fall asleep with 30 minutes but so does he! After I wait for him I finally wake him up so we can actually sit by this stupid fire that is supposed to be so great. He BRAGS about how 'you just need to wear the kids out' before you put them to bed (OK Mr. EAR PLUGS) and then I'm quite satisfied that within 3 minutes of that statement both kids are up - HA!

- Kids are up all night again, yes that's over a dozen times again. Blender doesn't start up that night but the stupid car alarm goes off again multiple times. I mean really, is it necessary?!?!

13. Day Three. Oh forget it, I think you get the picture by kids are handful and so is DH. If I'd had any sense right at the start I would have taken those stupid EAR PLUGS and thrown them in the fire. That way he could have sat up with me all night long and understood why I was so tired and had a hard time managing the kids.

Long story short - if someone can tell me who to return my membership card to I'd appreciate it as I see it getting no further use. From now on I'd rather rent a cabin for a week and still get that 'great sitting around the fire' experience. And no matter what type of vacation we do in the future I think EAR PLUGS should be banned!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Family Outings at Their Best

This past weekend we decided to behave like a normal family unit and attend two of Edmonton's festivals: K-Days (yes, I will forever call it K-Days and hope that's what my kids will call it too), and Heritage Days.

Because of our DS who still naps all our outings take place in the afternoons. We decided to skip lunch and head straight down to the K-Day grounds after he woke up which turned out to be a good decision as we got decent parking near the entrance and the line-ups weren't too bad when we first arrived. Here's some of the things I learned from our family outings:

- ALWAYS take the 'Lost Child' sticker. It's uber sticky and they can't take it off themselves if you put it on their back. Put 2 cell numbers on there in case one of you doesn't hear your phone or loses it. And consider getting an extra sticker to put on your hubby if yours gets as wrapped up in the excitement as mine does ;)

- give you kids a set of rules. Since mine are so young we keep the rules simple: NO running away from mommy & daddy. That and 'No hitting' as that should just be a standard one that applies at all times

- measure the height of your child before you go. We were very disappointed to realize that our DS could only go on about 5 rides. We at least had enough common sense to measure him at the grounds prior to purchasing tickets or an all day ride pass at that would have been useless to him.

- the food on the grounds suck, everyone knows this. The only surprise every year is what new menu item have they added that will kill you faster than the last one. So, plan ahead to bring a few healthy snacks, eat inside at the food court, or simply resign yourself that after eating on the midway you will have little Tasmanian Devils on your hands until that junk food/sugar high settles down. (IF you time this correctly you can let them wear off that energy dancing to one of the free kids shows on the Telus stage, we did - SCORE!)

At Heritage Days

- since you're travelling with small kids remember to take the map that is provided in the Edmonton Journal a couple days before the event. It's best to plan out what food you know you'll love (and the kids will like) and map out your best plan of attack. I always plan so that I hit the ticket booth first, the Lost Kids tent second, and then various food booths and planned potty breaks. I saw one dad RUNNING with his kid over his shoulder to the closest bathrooms & another mom push her way past 30-odd people in line to make sure their kids made it in time, plan ahead and this won't be a worry

- LOST KIDS STICKERS - I know I mentioned it above but whatever event you attend it's best you scope this tent or service out. When I was volunteering for the Food Bank later in the evening one very distraught dad came running up to us to ask if we'd seen his 3 year old son - scary!

- Sunscreen, shade, sunscreen, shade. We always try to go with the grandparents or other people to help us keep an eye on the kids. This also helps when you need to take a shade break, some people stay to watch the kids in the shade while others go out and forage for food to bring back to the tribe.

- Bring a donation to the Food Bank! Even with carrying that stroller, and diaper bag, and sippy cups - we're parents so we're used to juggling multiple things, a few items for the food bank won't break the balancing act.

- Know when to call it quits. Yes, you might not have made it to that Hungarian tent for some langos but if the kids are whining and they're having a harder time listing to the few rules you gave them, it's time to pull the plug and get on a bus home.

Those are just a few of the things I find helpful when doing our family outings to some of the many Edmonton festivals. On a side note, I just wanted to say how amazing Heritage Days are. It was my favourite festival as a child, and it's my favourite festival as an adult. When I was on my volunteer break I was sitting on the hill people watching and it struck me what I love so much about this festival; it's about diversity, understanding, and acceptance. What better way to celebrate Edmonton and the people that live in it. I truly hope to instill this in my children and hope they see it & love it the same way I do.