27 October 2014

Lena: 15 months


Two years ago today, I found out I was pregnant with this sweet little girl. She was not entirely planned, but very much welcomed nevertheless. This is the day that I found out I was going to be a mother, or rather, that I already was one. My life changed in that moment, and I really wouldn't want it any other way. I am so, so happy and content with life right now, and I owe it all to my mini-family. We are planning to start trying for #2 in a few months, which means that a year from now we could have a newborn! I am both excited and terrified about the idea of having another baby. We're finally in a sweet spot with Lena: she usually goes to sleep easy in her crib, waking only once for a drink or not at all through the night; I am not breastfeeding, which means I have had actual freedom (I just spent 24 hrs away from Wade and Lena, at the most wonderful girls' weekend where we laughed and frolicked like the teenagers we were when we all met); she is still happily in diapers, so we aren't dealing with potty training yet; and she has enough words to communicate the basics (yes, no, mama, dada, hi, uh oh, do(g), meow) and is so silly and fun. It's seems kind of crazy to jump into the deep end of newborn life again, especially since this time we'll have a toddler to wrangle alongside a new baby. I also don't want to throw Lena out of her "baby" spot too soon. She will likely be between 2 1/4 and 2 1/2 when baby #2 is born, so she will be more independent... it's hard to imagine what she will be like a year from now though. I don't want the gap to get too big though, because the longer she's an only child, I think the harder it will be for her to deal with sharing mom and dad. But what do I know. I think it's always going to be a hard transition. So at least she'll be well into toddlerhood. Anyways, baby #2 has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm trying to live it up in this "easy", pre-pregnant time right now... wine, not being exhausted, and hopefully losing my last 10-12 pregnancy pounds from last time! Hah.


Now, onto Lena at 15 months!!!

I love 15 month old Lena. She has such a silly sense of humour, can play independently for short periods, still likes a bedtime cuddle, sticks her cheek out for kisses, babbles adorably with a few coherent words thrown in, and pets Omar so gently. She loves smaller dogs and cats, flipping through books, using a spoon and bowl to eat, her best friend the soother, sorting objects, playing with other kids, and going to the park. She does not like being told 'no', and will frequently tell us "nooooooooo" in her high-pitched voice. She just dropped her soother, said "uh oh", then talked herself to sleep for this nap (after I replaced the soother.) She is 21 lbs, I believe, and wears a mix of 12 month and 18 month clothes. She has 4 teeth, brown hair (with a hint of auburn in the sunlight), and mysterious grey-green eyes. She's getting steadier on her feet (can take a few steps holding onto just one of my hands now), but I think it will still be a little while until she walks. Maybe around Christmas. She's a beauty alright, and has so much curiosity about her world. She can hardly sit still, and I love her!



25 September 2014

Work vs SAHM & Money

I've been back to work for about 8 weeks now. Since it's a relief position, some weeks I have worked only one day (or even none!) and others I have worked 4-5 days. A few days have been long - 12 hr days where I've spent 4 hrs driving to drop Wade and Lena off, and then to KW for training - so long that I basically only see Lena for a half hour in the morning and twenty minutes of putting her to bed. These days have been so hard on me. On the way home, I had this urgency of I need to see my baby.

I know that I'm lucky in that I don't have to go back to work full-time, and that my work isn't the typical 9-5. (Those days kill me, in that I see so little of my girl. I'm on day 2 of a 3 day stretch right now - 12 hr, 9 hr, 9 hr. All daytime hours.) And yet, it is still so hard on my heart. I know some women love their jobs and go nuts staying at home. Everyone is different, and every situation is different, yadda yadda. All I'm saying is that I miss my baby and I wish I could stay home. Yep, I said it.

But.... I am working, and I will continue to work until my next mat leave ;)

Our savings is seriously depleted, and there are things we would like to save for in our future:
~ we are planning to sell this house in 4-5 years and move to a different area, likely in our "forever home" region.
~ to do so, we will need to replace the windows in this house. And likely make improvements to at least one bathroom. Our bathrooms are in pretty rough shape. Like broken vanity, painted-orange grout, retro tiles shape.
~ baby #2. Obviously we already have most baby things, but there are a few large purchases that we'll need/would like to buy... a new infant car seat (Lena's was borrowed and has now expired) and a good double stroller. Lena will very likely be in the 2 1/4 yr to 2 1/2 yr range when new baby arrives, and I use our stroller SO much! I bought a really good used stroller (Bugaboo) when Lena was born, and I have not regretted it one bit. I use it almost every day, even through the winter and I am now a firm believer that a good stroller will change your life (if you are home everyday without a car.)

Anyways, that's about it.

20 September 2014

Swings






Do I have the cutest baby? Yes. 
Do I need to post all of these pictures? Yes. 

Documenting: Lena's first pair of jeans! (It's the little milestones.) Having a blast on the swings! Turning a pre-dinner frown upside down with a post-dinner trip to the park! (All of the preteen thugs were out....at 6pm....and.... I am really not looking forward to that stage.)

Glad my babe is still little and loves to cuddle! Which she was so happy to do this morning at the beach :)



17 September 2014

Lena is 14 months




What a cutie! And what a busy little lady she is! (This was apparently her second offence with the kleenex box today haha.)

She is 21 lbs, about 29" and starting to transition from size 12 month to 18 month clothing. Her hair is coming in nicely, and in certain lights has auburn highlights. Her eyes are usually hazel, which I think is just magical. I always thought hazel eyes sounded absolutely dreamy, so I'm pretty delighted about having a daughter with hazel eyes. Seriously.


She learned to pull herself up about 3-4 weeks ago, and has now mastered sitting down as well. For awhile, she would get "stuck" standing up against a coffee table, legs quivering, yelling "Ahheuhhhhe." She had a blast for the first 30 mins we were at the aquarium yesterday, and then I think just got jealous of all of the Buckley kids walking around, free to explore on their own two feet. She wants to walk so badly! A couple of days ago, Lena started taking a few steps while holding onto Wade's hands. She also cruises along furniture. I remember a time about 4 months ago... we were at baby playgroup, and a little girl born within days of Lena was walking around everywhere, holding her mom's hands. Her mom said, "She just can't get enough of this! I never sit down!" The little girl also splashed around in just her diaper, just so squishy and baby-like. Lena was past the half-way point of her cast at this point, so it had been likely two months since I'd seen 60% of her little squishy body. I was so jealous of this sweet little gal (and her momma), and the normalcy of her development. And now we are in that place: I cuddle my sweet girl with ease again, and she is crawling all over the place, climbing over developmental milestones.

On that note, she still only has two teeth. Ha!

Lena likes: blocks, small dogs and cats, other babies, KIDS! Oliver, sippy cups, swings, raspberries on her belly, and music with a good beat.
Lena doesn't like: sweet potato (!?!), not being picked up, losing her soother in the night. 

My saucy little girl, happily splashing around

Lena had her first hip check up post-spica last week (12 weeks post-spica.) Her hips looked excellent, and the dr said it was very unlikely that Lena would need future surgery. Hurrah! She doesn't have to wear the rhino cruiser at night anymore, and her next check up is in 8 months. This is great news :)

The dr did mention that there is a good chance of Lena's future siblings having hip dysplasia, so they will all have early screenings. This is something I really hope doesn't surface, but I am comforted to know that it may be caught in the newborn stage and the cast could be avoided. Also, living so close to this great children's hospital is something we were so fortunate to have this time around.

Anyways, as always, I love my girl <3
It just keeps getting better, and that's no lie.

Last hip appt :)


ps. This is the FIRST monthly update to actually be written on the 17th!

05 September 2014

Thoughts on Moving

London is not our forever home, Wade and I both know that. I think I could be happy in this area, maybe settling in a Port Stanley cottage year-round. But Wade has other plans, bigger plans, and I am okay with that too.

His dream is to live in the country, own property and chickens and goats, have a great big garden, heat our home with wood from our own woods, and hunt wild creatures. He did not have this dream when we got married, but that is okay too. We were 22 & 23 (well, truly 21 and 22, as we married in spring) when we got married, and really didn't have a clear vision for our lives. That's one of the risks of marrying young... you know you don't know what life holds for you. That's also one of the more beautiful parts of it. Growing up together, and building our adult lives one piece at a time.

Now, here is the part where we are having some conflict: Wade grew up in northern Ontario, and loves the great seclusion of wilderness there. He wants to see bears on a regular basis. This is a problem for me. Frankly, I'd rather not even hear wolves or coyotes howling, let alone see a bear even once near my home. My home where I am RAISING MY BABIES. He sees the cheap, cheap acreage available pretty much anywhere north of Sudbury, and I think he can smell the meat cooking already.

I will not live farther north than North Bay, for the following reasons:
1. We are in the "young children" phase of our lives. Young children are a lot of work, and family/friends/support is super nice to have nearby. Currently, my parents are 2.5 hrs away and Wade's are about an hour, and we have lovely friends here who we are able to fully trust with our sweet babe when we cannot be with her. Personally, I found it hard enough in the newborn/baby stage to have grandmas NOT readily available to babysit. We have had very few date nights, and I have had ONE full night in the last 13.5 months away from Lena. I love her so, so much, but I know I need a break away from being Mama.
2. TOO FAR, and too lonely! On our honeymoon, we drove across the country to Vancouver. Hands down, the worst part of the trip was between Sault Ste. Marie and ....Fort Francis? Kenora? Truly it was at a gorgeous provincial park near Kenora when things started to pick up, but it was interesting to see where Wade grew up as well. It was SO isolating, and I really could not imagine living there.
3. I really am not interested in living in the woods away from everyone I know and with bears and wolves and moose. We would 100% have to live on a lake for me to be even slightly okay with that.

Anyways, it's not happening and I'm not budging. South of North Bay, okay maybe. Hunstville is pretty, Orillia is also lovely and not too far from my family (3 hrs?) but apparently it's "too expensive." I would also love to live back in Bruce-Grey, maybe on the Peninsula, or along the lake. But again, "too expensive." We are not wealthy, folks. We are barely hanging on for the ride. The bonus to moving to Huntsville, North Bay, or Orillia is that we could transfer to the CH homes they have there. Which means not starting at the bottom of a new organization, but instead having a contract position when we move, maybe/hopefully even a full-time contract (getting full-time hours is pretty much never an issue, I have learned. It's just the knowing that you will work 40 hrs every week that gives that sweet feeling of security.)

Anyways, all this rambling and I haven't even gotten to the out-of-province thoughts yet. I have vetoed basically all out-of-province suggestions. Wade likes northern BC and New Brunswick based on their cheap forest prices. No thank you, says I. However....... the idea of Prince Edward Island has also been brought up many a time, and I must say that over the past few days, I have been seriously considering it. My family is really the only thing holding me to southern Ontario. Specifically, my parents. I know my mom would be very very sad if we moved farther away, especially now that we are giving her grandbabies. On the other hand, we only get one life to live, and I am already feeling regret at not being more adventurous with my youth. (My youth. I am only 26!!!) But seriously.

Here is why I am actually considering moving to PEI:
1. Land is cheap and exactly what we are looking for: part forest, part cleared farmland, and SO MANY BEACHES!!!!!!!! It is incredibly peaceful, and breathtakingly beautiful. I visited there in 2010, and realized it is exactly like Bruce-Grey, only surrounded by water, rather than just on one side.
2. Actually that sums it up. We can afford it (and let's face it, we are not going to be rich people, probably ever) and the land is good stuff. And I love love love beaches and I think it's impossible to live more than 30 mins from a beach in PEI.
3. I think it would be a great place for our kids to grow up. I do not want them to grow up in the city. It is more convenient to have little kids in the city, but I do not like it here. I feel like I am suffocating in sidewalks and cement, and just people in general. I don't mind being somewhat alone.

The real question is.... when?
- after we save up some money, which is hard in this phase of life...
- before Lena is too far in school. It's hard to start at a new school when you're a kid.
- I do like having babies here in the city... we have an amazing hospital here, and all of Lena's hip issues would have been so much more difficult to attend to if we had to go to another city for appointments, etc. And it is possible that we will have another baby with hip dysplasia, which is something I don't like thinking about.
- our mortgage gets renewed in 4 years.
- I'd rather not move across the country with an infant... so when our next babies will be born is also a factor

And the last piece to the puzzle is... finding jobs. There are jobs out there, and we work in the social services, which are always needed everywhere. There are people with disabilities everywhere, even on a beautiful island of 145,000 people (half of our current city's population btw.) I'm not super concerned, but it is something to think about.

Anyways, that is the end of this giant thought about where we are going to live 'forever'.

The best part is, if we don't like it, we can always move again....... nothing is truly forever!