Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sprout is Eleven Months Old!

Today Sprout is eleven months old!

Oh my.  A year ago I was hugely pregnant and anxiously anticipating my mid-December due date.
  Now we're anticipating our baby's first birthday.  It's amazing the changes that happen in just one year.

-To be completely honest, this month has been tough.  Shortly after my last  update I reached a breaking point with sleep.  It had been a long time coming, but a few nights of hourly wake-ups did me in.  I took to the couch and Jen patiently laid Sprout down each time she peeked her little head up over the side of the Pack'n'Play.  After about a week I returned to the bedroom.  Sprout is still waking fairly often, but usually goes back down after a few minutes of stand up/put down. She nurses around 2am most nights, and again between 4am and 5am off and on until we get up.  So, still not a fantastic, but manageable. 

-Her schedule is more or less the same as it has been, though I've bumped her morning nap back slightly and her afternoon forward.  When she wasn't sick and her teething wasn't so bad she seemed to be going down more quickly with these small changes. 

-Teething and sickness have certainly not helped on the sleep front.  Sprout's top right lateral incisor came through on November 3rd, followed by her top left lateral incisor on the 5th.  Vampire baby, just like her brother.  I was sure a few more would be popping through, but we're still waiting.  There are a couple more that are thisclose.  This girl does not teethe easily.  She also has some awful congestion right now, which does not make things any easier. 

-On a more positive note, eating continues to go well.  She loves her protein!  Dhal is her absolute favourite, followed by chicken.  I feel guilty for not making her baby food from scratch, like we did for The Bean, but there just doesn't seem to be the time.  She often gets little bites of whatever I'm eating, but she gags quite a lot, so we have to be careful.  I'm excited to take her for Thanksgiving dinner at Jen's Nan and Pap's. 

-Her mobility continues to improve.  She's a super-speedy crawler and cruises around like a pro.  She'll free stand for a few seconds before plunking down on her bum, but has yet to even attempt any steps on her own.  She does like pushing things around and will happily walk holding on to someone's fingers.  For a while I thought she'd take her first steps before turning one, but anymore I think it won't happen until after her birthday. 

-This month her favourite games have been peek-a-boo, rolling a ball back and forth, and putting things into containers.  She also loves crawling through the tunnel. 

-Her favourite book by far this month has been "Who's Hiding on the Farm" which is a lift the flap book.  There's a mirror on the last page that she just LOVES looking into.  Funny girl.

-She's really into "sharing" food, toys, etc. and will give a huge smile if you say "Thank you!" and make a big deal out of it.  She also leans in for smooches and has starting giving air kisses. 

-She just figured out how to clap and does it to get a reaction, when she is happy, or when she is listening to music.  She's really been enjoying our city-run music program.  We sing a song called "Sleeping Bunnies" and she'll put her head down on the mat and "sleep" when we sing it.  It's pretty frickin' adorable.  (She's the only baby in the program who does this, and I think the instructor gets a kick out of it.)

-We stopped swim classes.  She wasn't enjoying them and I wasn't keen on taking her during the cold weather.  We plan on starting her back up in the spring and seeing where it goes from there. 

-Her growth has definitely slowed down and Jen and I have commented to each other that we think she's stretching out, though she still has a nice round belly and roly poly thighs.  Her twelve month check up won't be until the new year so we'll get all her stats then. 

Even though things have been a bit difficult, our little girl still has the nicest disposition, the sweetest smile, and brightens up every one of our days.   We love her to pieces. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

{this moment} reading

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

 If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Slowing Down

Yesterday and today Sprout has actually taken a reasonable afternoon nap, so I'm getting to post.  I thought about it yesterday, but didn't want to start when I was sure that she would be up in another minute.  Today I'm going to try to seize the opportunity while it's here.  The only problem is that I've got so many half-formed ideas floating around in my head that I'm not sure what to post about.  I feel like I've developed ADD since having children.  I think about something, but then it's interrupted by another though.  Conversations are the same.  (Usually interrupted by a certain almost three-year-old boy who seems to think that shouting "Excuse me, Mama Mommy!" grants him permission to speak, whether or not we were done.  Proper etiquette is a work in progress around here.)  Unless I write things down I'm bound to forget them.  The only problem is that I often forget where I've left my notebook and/or pen.

There's really not a whole lot to update on.  We're gearing up for the holidays.  I think Jen and I have actually finished Christmas (and birthday) shopping for the kids.  Now we just need to take inventory and decide what's being given when.  

There's not much on my wish list this year.  It seems to get shorter every year.  I always have a thousand books I want to read, but considering I'm still making it through the book I started in June it feels silly to ask for another.  Tea and wool are always nice, but I don't really need more.  Some time with the family and with Jen are the things I want most.  I'm hoping that we can convince Jen's parents to watch the kiddos when we're there over Thanksgiving and/or Christmas.  I don't think it will be hard.  

We've been purging baby items.  There have been a number of donations made and I've been listing things on Craigslist and various Facebook groups.  It's a bit of a hassle, but I'm glad to have the space freed up as each swing, bouncer and Boppy makes it's way out of our door.  The extra money certainly doesn't hurt either.  

Winter is coming.  Other than the anxiety of not knowing what next in terms of work, I've actually been enjoying the season passing.  Fall is my favourite, and it's winding down slowly.  The skies are grey and there are big piles of leaves on the ground.  Everyone seems to be staying inside, so my walks with Sprout are quiet.  We chat away to each other about the squirrels and the birds.  She loves to be pushed on the swing until her cheeks are bright red from the cold air.  

I've been enjoying extra cups of tea in the afternoon and am starting to try to make soups in the crockpot on Fridays to last us through our weekend lunches.  (Feel free to share your favourite recipes!)

I need to try to model my thinking after the season and take some time to slow down.  

*I've been bad about taking and posting photos lately too, even though this really is such a beautiful time of the year.  I'm going to try to work on that.  These kids are getting big way too fast.  I want to try to capture them now so that I don't forget.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's Official

My maternity leave is over.

It's true what they say about maternity leave in Canada being awesome.  To explain it simply, as long as you have paid into EI, you are eligible for maternity and/or parental benefits (52 weeks combined!).

Unless your employer tops up, you probably won't be making as much as when you were working, but still, it's not bad!

The timing of Sprout birth actually ended up being really good for us, because even though I had been let go from my job, I still had enough hours of work from the year leading up to her due date to qualify for benefits.

You can start benefits before your due date, so not knowing whether I might be returning to work before the 52 weeks were up, I opted to start early.  Unfortunately, that also means my benefits have ended before she is a year old.

I got notice of my last mat. leave payment this week.

And not that it wasn't real before, but now the whole "unemployed" thing is really real.  And pretty darn terrifying.

I love being able to be home with Sprout.  I also miss working.  If I hadn't been let go, I would be going back to teaching around now, since your position has to be held for you.  But I was and there's nothing to go back to.  That means I need to find work A.S.A.P.

I've been keeping an eye on job sites for a while now, but not a whole lot has come up.  What has come up I've applied for.  I've even had a few interviews, but nothing has worked out.  I can't keep holding out hope for a full time teaching position.

Today I took the first step towards finding something different.  I called and got put on a substitute list at my old school.  Tomorrow I'll call a few more schools and see about getting put on their lists.  After that I'm not sure.  Maybe it's time to start looking for tutoring gigs.  Or even nannying.  Or maybe working retail --the holiday season is coming up, someone is bound to hire me, right?  I don't know.  It's quite scary.  We can't afford to live on one income, so I need to find something.  Please keep your fingers crossed for us that that something comes up soon.

(Also, a HUGE thank you to the readers who have contacted us about opportunities they've though I might be interested in.  I can't even begin to tell you how appreciated it is.  I'm so glad to be a part of this community.  You guys are the best.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Book Review: Books for Winter

Winter is on it's way.  Though I didn't see them, Jen told me there were some flurries on her way home yesterday.  We haven't put these books out for the kiddos just yet, because goodness knows winter will last long enough for us to read them many times, but they're ready for when we finally are willing to admit that winter has arrived.  

*You can see another review of winter books here.  I included some again in this list, without really thinking about it.

When Snowflakes Fall by Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick
The close up photos of animals in this book and the Winter Friends (below) are pretty cool.  This book is about various animals preparing for the coming of winter.  The Bean likes talking about the animals and what they're doing, and Sprout loves books with real photos, so this appeals to her too.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keates

I love "classics" like this book.  I'm sure everyone here is familiar with this book already, but if you're not it's truly lovely.  The artwork bold and appealing, illustrating the main character, Peter's, activities on a snowy day.  

Winter Friends  by Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick
As I mentioned above, the photos in this book are great.  It's a simple story with lots of animals to point out and make the noises for.  Both kids like this one.  

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Jane Chapman
A super-cute rhyming book about a bear who sleeps through the winter while his other woodland animal friends seek reprieve from the snow.  Fun to read and to listen to.  Perfect for preschool-age.

Snow by Uri Shulevitz
This is a new one to us and the kids haven't heard it yet (it's intended to be a holiday gift).  That said, I think they're going to like it.  A little boy excitedly notices the snow beginning to fall and happily announces his discovery only to have everyone tell him that it's not really snowing.  But, of course, it is really snowing and so the little boy goes out to play in it.

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
This book has become favorite for everyone at our house.  So much so that The Bean has brought home drawings of "The City of Geopolis" from daycare.  For those not familiar with it, Katy is a crawler tractor who puts on her snowplow and helps plow out the city after the "big snow." Love. Love. Love.

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
This is also one we have tucked aside as a holiday gift.  I fell in love with the illustrations and being a bit of an animal geek I couldn't resist picking it up to share with The Bean hoping to inspire some discussion about what various creatures do during the winter months.  I think it's a little "old" for him, probably better suited to school-aged children, but I'm hoping we still get to enjoy it together.  

Zoe's Snowy Day by Barbara Reid
This is in the "Zoe" series.  The text is quite limited, but the plasticine pictures are unique.  There's a lot going on in the pictures to point out and name to your baby.  The Bean still enjoys this simple story and after having been read it a few times can recite it by memory.  Like her brother at this age, Sprout seems to enjoy looking at the pictures.

The Snow Day by Komoko Sakai
Another book I picked up after falling in love with the illustrations.  A little bunny wakes up to find the snow falling, falling, falling.  He stays home with his mother on the snow day and waits and waits for the snow to stop so he can go outside to play.  It's a little solemn  and it's apparent the little bunny is a bit worried about his dad who's plane home has been delayed because of the weather, but the ending is optimistic.  I think it's particularly nice for kids who live in urban settings (the bunny and his family live in an apartment) and for kids whose parents have to travel for business.

What books make your winter favourites list?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fall Foto Friday: Sweater Weather

Sweaters are one of my most favourite things about the fall.  Babies in sweaters?  Even better!

{this moment} the kitchen sink

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

 If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.