Jun 27, 2012

slap that girl

I took an updated pregnancy belly pic today and, in my effort to compare one to the other, I was going back through my Jane belly bump pics and saw this thumbnail (photo left) from my 16 weeks photo, pregnancy number 1... and, from the thumbnail, I was thinking "Man, I look skinny in that pic".

Sadly, I remember taking that photo. I remember thinking "I'm starting to pop!" I definitely was feeling "fat" and I definitely was insecure about how I was looking (despite the fact that I took a picture of myself in a sportsbra - which I NEVER would have done had I not been pregnant). SLAP THAT GIRL. First of all, I would pay a million bucks to look like this again. AND, if I ever looked like this again, I might just live in my sports bra. :p

OMG! I just went through the pics from THIS PREGNANCY, and found my earliest "bump" pic - taken at 19 weeks. Check this out...

I'm officially saying it right now - I'M NUTS! I KNOW 100% when I took this pic that I thought I was really looking pregnant now!! WTF! It's amazing how relativity changes things. I remember I kept wondering how people didn't realize (because it was SO obvious) that I was pregnant. What the heck was I thinking?

Dear Lord, please, please don't let me look back on the photo I just took of myself, at 36 weeks, in four weeks and have me think I looked tiny... it's got to be impossible! :p

I'm having a ah-ha moment here people.

I am literally nuts. My perception of my body is ridiculously distorted. This may not be news to some of you but, to me, this is, like, life changing... right now. Ask me again in like 3 months when I am "tiny" again and hating myself because I feel fat. Stupid me.

Have my docs appointment tomorrow morning and can't wait! I look forward to every docs appointment now as it means another week has passed and that things are moving forward!

In a dream world, I only have 5 more docs appointments left until this baby is here!

I'm hoping, in my appointment tomorrow, that my doc will agree that, because of all this nonsense with my rashes, platelets, etc. that another ultrasound makes sense. A few people (including some docs from work) have mentioned to me that they would want to make sure the baby's OK in there and, now that they mention it, I can't stop thinking about it... of course. I'm having TONS of movement and the baby's heart rate has been great so far but still... I think it would definitely give me peace of mind to make sure the little tike is OK in there.

Plus, I have to admit, the idea of getting another shot at finding out the sex is way too tempting... although Dan says he wants to still have it be a surprise since we've made it this far. So, I just won't tell him! :p ha ha ha. Not likely.

Will keep you posted on the progress tomorrow and what the doc has to say about the chances of inducing me early, still, due to my platelets and also the ultrasound.

Two days of work left - and tomorrow is basically a half-day as between my docs appointment and blood work afterwards, it takes like 4 hours (understandably, these docs are never on time - they're dealing with emotional, stressed out, grumpy, demanding pregnant woman all day...).

Jun 25, 2012

one week and counting

It's the home stretch folks and I am READY... this is my last week of work. I saved my vacation time to use all in July so that I could start mat leave a little early, in hopes of having a few weeks of relax time before baby comes. NOW... I'm hoping the baby decides to come sooner than later.

I. am. so. uncomfortable.

I know it may seem like I'm just being whiny because I'm getting big and it's getting hot and blah blah blah. But I was definitely not THIS uncomfortable, tired, etc. when I was preggers with Jane.

Sorry for being M.I.A last week - I hope to get more consistent once I'm off work. It's a little difficult sometimes to be 35 weeks pregnant, raising an energetic three year old, working full time, running a side-business and writing a daily blog... sometimes. :p

Had my docs appt last Thursday AM and it wasn't ideal. My platelets dropped again, from 112 to 106. So I was sent right away to get blood work done again to check my levels and also to check a bazillion other things to make sure my low platelets weren't due to something more concerning that just your standard gestational thromocytopenia. My doc seemed a little concerned so I joked "induce me now!"... to which her response surprised me... she said that might just be an option if my platelets continued to drop. WHAT?

OK. I will admit, the thought was very exciting to me and did make me happy... at first. Then, I realized, it would probably be less than ideal to be induced early and that it's probably not what's best for me or baby - unless, of course, the benefits outweigh the risks. I chatted with a few doc friends of mine and, apparently, they would induce me early (if my platelets kept dropping) to avoid potential complications. If my numbers drop below 80, they can't give me any anesthetics... which lets just face it. WOULD SUCK. Aside from the pain, I'm a fan of epis FOR ME because it made my first delivery less dramatic, stressful, exhausting, etc. on mommy (and baby for that matter)... If my numbers drop below 50, that's when there's a high risk to me and baby of more serious (bleeding) complications. So, they'd induce to avoid all that.

However, my doc called this AM (which was a relief as I was nervous I'd have to wait until my appt on Thursday to get the update) to let me know that my most recent tests showed my platelets were stabilized for now, at 109. SO, she's sending me to see anesthesia so that we can have a plan in place in case things go awry but I don't have to see hematology yet - who would be putting a plan together (drug wise) to try to get my numbers back up. SO, no drug intervention yet and hopefully I can butter the pain-killing docs into not being ridiculous and giving me the epi... otherwise, I've requested with my doc that I be allowed to bring two bottles of shiraz into the delivery room with me as I figure this will be more effective that (1) nothing (2) the useless gas crap.

On a brighter note (not), I think the baby is dropping. It's brighter in that, I can breathe a little better and crappier in that it feels like my lower belly is going to crack open. I literally couldn't walk from my car to a restaurant today at lunch because I was so crampy. Now my back is killing me and I have so much pressure stretching from my lower back to the underside of my belly. It's a dream. I ran into a friend today who is two weeks further along than me. She looked rested, awake, happy, comfortable, just perfectly pregnant. I was grumpy, uncomfortable, hunched over, zonkered and ready to die. Fantastic.

With all that said, I have a friend who was due last Thursday and is still pregnant... so, all my complaining aside, I'm glad I'm not there. Yet.

Come 37-38 weeks, it's operation get bun out of oven all over again and I'm willing to do anything to ensure I'm not late again. My POA includes sex every other night, as many aggressive membrane sweeps as I can convince my doc to give me, spicy food out the wazoo, taking up jogging, and if I have to play with my nipples 24/7, I'll do it. Just don't judge me when you run into me at the grocery store... :p

Alright, I'm roastin'... Will keep you updated on all my complaints, annoying symptoms and whinings as they occur. :p Your welcome.

Jun 20, 2012

mid-week meal plan

I intended to do this on Monday but, fact is, I'm tired, grumpy, itchy and, in short, lazy. So, I opted to pull the "guest post" card which required me to do nothing except do a little blabbering beforehand. Blabbering is easy. Coming up with something logical and useful to share is my most difficult challenge these days.

So, after many requests, I think I'm going to TRY to share my weekly meal plans with y'all each week, with a few disclaimers:

(1) I am NOT a chef. My objectives in cooking supper are as follows (and ranked): QUICK, healthy, tasty (yes, this is third) and cheap-ish (I try to do one-two meat-free dishes each week to save on $$ cause meat is darn expensive!!).

(2) I do repeats. If a meal is a winner - which basically means Dan and I think it tastes half-decent and Jane will actually eat it, it's stays.

(3) I half-ass veggies. We always have them, especially Jane, with every meal. But I'm more of a throw some carrot sticks or fresh snap peas on the plate vs. cook special veggies, kind of girl. I am not a cooked veggie fan and Jane LOVES fresh, uncooked carrots and peas, so this is my go-to veg side dish.

(4) Sometimes I am TOO LAZY to even cook the quick meal I've planned and I end up serving, what I like to call, "platters". Thankfully, I know that I also was raised on "platters" back in the good ol' 80's that often included vienna sausages... :p YUCK! My platters have been upped a little since the 80's and usually include a nice aged cheddar (yes, Jane loves expensive cheese), some pre-cooked chicken, baguette, grapes, veggies, etc.

So, here goes... this is what we have had/are having this week for dinner... recipes will be below. :) Eventually, I won't have to include EVERY recipe as you will surely be able to resource previous posts for repeat recipes.

Monday - BBQ Chicken Souvlaki with Oven-roasted Oregano Potatoes

Tuesday - Swanson Creamy Cheddar Chicken Skillet Meal - I make this for Dan and Jane because they both love it and chow it down. It's good because the chicken is actually white-meat and good quality (I'm anal about textures and meat) and Jane actually eats the carrots and the corn. I am not a fan. I made a "platter" for me because the platter is actually my favourite ever meal. :)

Wednesday - BBQ Chicken Pizza and Asparagus Goat Cheese Pizza - I could literally live off of goat cheese, 100%.

Thursday - Marinated BBQ Flank Steak with Oven-roasted fries and fresh-boiled corn

Friday - Going to "Monkeytown"... we last minute planned a little "vacay" (you'll understand why I put it in quotes if you know where/what Moncton, NB is - maybe not the sexiest vacay spot). So, we'll be eating out Friday night, woot woot!

Saturday - No idea. Usually there's at least one night per week where I have no idea what I planned to have or I just don't plan for. This is the night where Dan says "what's for dinner?" and I whine and say I have no idea, I'm so tired, and we end up doing something insanely easy like platters. :) tee hee hee.

So here are your recipes - remember, easy is my cooking priority and servings tend to be for 2.5 people! :) I'll try to include rough estimates of cost as well - for key ingredients - assuming you have a fairly well stocked pantry.

BBQ Chicken Souvlaki Skewers
This is one of my favourite meals! SO yummy. Say $15-$20 depending on whether you can get chicken on sale or not.

Step 1: A few hours before cooking (or in the AM before work), throw some wooden cooking skewers into water to soak so they don't burn. Mine burn always, regardless of doing this, so I'm not really sure what the point is... :p

2-3 Chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
Wooden cooking skewers
1 medium red onion
4 medium-large white or red potatoes

Marinade for chicken:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parts red wine vinegar
2-3 cloves minced fresh garlic - I always use fresh garlic, I find it tastes SO much better
1.5 tsp of dried oregano (I actually have no idea how much I really use because I don't measure anything) but in my head this seems about right, it's definitely not significantly more or less! Season as desired! :p
Salt and Pepper

Also, FYI, the above marinade also makes a perfect dressing for greek salad, if you choose.

(1) Mix together marinade. Pour and mix with chicken breast. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours (or throughout the day if you're doing in the AM).
(2) Cut red onion into 1"-ish pieces
(3) Cut potatoes, I leave the skin on, into 1/2" thick fries.
(4) Preheat oven to 425. Toss potato with olive oil, s&p and tons of dried oregano (I probably use 1 tbsp or more). Cook for 45 mins or so on bottom rack until crispy (turning as many times as you want).
(5) Make your skewers. I do one piece of red onion, followed by one piece of chicken, and so on - putting 5 pieces of chicken on per skewer.
(6) Preheat BBQ to med-high.
(7) Toss chicken skewers on BBQ when the potatoes have 15-20 mins left. After they sear a little, turn the heat down to medium and turn regularly until cooked through.

Serve with store-bought tzatziki for dipping (for chicken and potatoes). YUMMO!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
$11 for one pizza

Store bought whole-wheat pizza crust
BBQ Sauce
Store bought pre-cooked rotisserie chicken breast
Red onion
Mozza cheese

(1) Spread pizza sauce (which is included with my two-pack of pizza crusts from Sobeys) on pizza crust
(2) Toss chopped chicken in a ton of BBQ sauce so it's really saucy
(3) Finely chopped red onion
(4) Spread toppings on pizza and cook as directed. Rocket science. :p
* It's also great with canned, pineapple tidbits added for sweetness but I forgot to think about this until now! :p

Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pizza
$11 for one pizza

5-6 spears of thin asparagus - you don't want the giant, costco ones for this recipe or they'll never cook
One small package of light (I use PC Blue Menu) goat cheese or goat cheese crumbles
2 roma tomatoes, slices thinly
Olive oil
1 store bought pizza crust
Mozza cheese

(1) Using hands, pour 1 tbsp olive oil onto crust and spread
(2) Place sliced tomatoes all over crust as if this were your sauce
(3) Place asparagus on pizza randomly - I leave them as spears, you can cut them up if you like
(4) Break up goat cheese with your hands and sprinkle all over pizza
(5) I generally use a TINY bit of mozza on top as well, like literally maybe a 1/2 cup for the entire pizza, just to hold everything together
(6) Bake as directed for pizza crust - usually 425 for 10-15 mins or until goat cheese is browned and asparagus is wilted.

I love this goat cheese pizza - I often make little individual ones for myself for lunch on a piece of naan bread.
I make the two pizza because I find that one is not enough for Dan, Jane and I. I usually eat 1/3 of the pizza myself and Dan could probably eat a whole one, so we make two. :)

Marinated BBQ Flank Steak & fries
$15-$20 Depending on size of steak/sale, etc.

1.5lb Flank Steak
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1.5 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

4-5 red or white potatoes, cut into 0.5" fries
Olive Oil

(1) Mix together marinade and pour over steak in large tuperware container. Marinate overnight or as long as possible.
(2) Preheat oven to 425. Toss potatoes with olive oil, 1 tbsp of paprika and s&p. Bake on bottom rack for 45-1 hour until browned and yummy.
(3) Preheat BBQ to med-high.
(4) Place steak on HOT BBQ and close lid, let sear for 1-2 mins on each side to seal in juices. Grill meat for 5 mins per side after searing for medium steak (obviously depends on thickness). I like mine well-done, so I usually cut off a separate piece for myself and char the f outta it. :)
I made this flank steak for the first time a few weeks ago (used to use another marinade/recipe) and Dan said it was my best steak yet. Jane is not a big fan, however, so she'll likely be having KD with cut up tofu added (she thinks it's chicken and when combined with the veggie KD makes me feel a lot less guilty)! :p My daddy-o's in town so I'm making a "special" father's day meal for him. :)

That's it folks! That's what we're having for dins this week! Feel free to share some recipes yourself!

Jun 18, 2012

guest post: top 8 things every pregnant woman should know about breastfeeding

I'm going to start this post out with an admission and then a clear statement so there's no confusion...

Admission: When I was pregnant with Jane and met Moms who weren't breastfeeding, I TOTALLY judged them. If they didn't have a good reason, I completely disagreed with their decision not to breastfeed. In my defense, I also told myself my child would never drink juice over water, I'd never feed her KD, and that I was never going to bribe my child with candy. If THAT me were to visit THIS me, she'd be very disappointed. If THIS me could say something to THAT me, I'd say YOU'RE A CLUELESS IDIOT. :)

Statement: After successfully breastfeeding Jane for eleven months, I now tell my pregnant friends something different. My new advice re: breastfeeding is: If it's a priority for you, you CAN make it happen and it CAN be easy and it CAN be wonderful. If it's not a priority for you, don't stress yourself out about it.

Here's the other thing - this post is completely one-sided. Because I've only had ONE child, and I breastfed, I can only speak to experience with bf-ing. So, anyone who wants to chime in on formula-feeding, do so in the comments section please!

I have no idea why breastfeeding was such a priority to me but it was. I wanted it to work. I wanted to do it right. I wanted to follow all the "rules". I read about it. I learned about it beforehand. I asked questions to friends beforehand. It was just a priority. I think part of my reasons were for "health" reasons for baby. I think part was that I did NOT want to have to pay for formula cause it's $$$ insanity. And I think the last part of me held out hope that bf-ing was going to be the liposuction people claim it is. The last was not the case for me, unfortunately.

It was also one of the hardest things I had to adjust to, learn, struggle with, when Jane arrived. I cannot speak to how my experience would have been different if I was formula feeding - I know there are also struggles that accompany this (gas, which formula to use, having to do all that prep - between sanitizing, mixing, etc.). What I can say is that it definitely made the first 8 weeks of life with a newborn challenging... which, I think they basically are in general regardless of feeding choice. For clarity, what I often say is the first 8 weeks of bf-ing were HELL. Then, it was fantastic. Once I got it all down pat. Once Jane got it all down pat. Once my milk adjusted. Once I relaxed. It was the easiest thing in the world and I loved it. So, as I approach the arrival of my second little monkey... I have no choice but to hope that I can have the same experience as last time.

Of course, this has been on my mind for the past few weeks and coincidentally, in making an invite for a customer on MBD, I came by Gloria - a lactation consultant - who offered me help if I needed once baby arrived. I immediately asked her to write a post on the blog as, I know that I benefited from all the advice and research I did before Jane arrived.

As always, you know my RULE... this post is not intended to (1) sway you one way or the other or (2) judge you for your choice. My only RULE is: Do what works for you! But, if you're hoping to bf, I know you'll find the tips below useful as they were great reminders for me! Enjoy!!

Top 8 Things Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About Breastfeeding

1. LEARN THE BASICS BEFOREHAND. It has been documented that women are traditionally in a poor position to learn new information and new skills during the taking in phase. READ: Its really hard to do anything but panic and love the first days after the baby is born and NOT a good time to START learning about breastfeeding.

2. WATCH BREASTFEEDING WOMEN. If you know women who have breastfed or are breastfeeding talk to them, observe them (if they don't mind). Don't worry no one will think you are weird if you show up to a La Leche League meeting pregnant and ask questions about breastfeeding. They will be THRILLED that you care and HAPPY to share with you. If you have seen it before and have some idea how it normally looks you will likely fall into the appropriate actions and stance when you meet your baby.

3. SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT. THIS would be my number one piece of advice if those other two bits of advice didn't chronologically need to happen before the baby was born. Skin to skin contact means having your NAKED baby in ONLY a diaper resting belly down on top of your NAKED chest with a blanket, hospital gown or sheet over the baby's bare back. While I always explain this the same way I sometimes find my patients "doing skin to skin" while the baby is wearing a onesie, or the mother is wearing a bra - neither of which actually count as skin to skin. SKIN TO SKIN is ABSOLUTELY the very best way to spend THE MAJORITY of time with your newborn. It helps to elicit their natural instincts to open their mouths, root around and properly latch to the breast. The most important time of all to do skin to skin is in the first two hours after the birth. In hospitals sometimes skin to skin is delayed for the repair of a tear or episiotomy or because the nurse assumes you wouldn't want a bloody baby placed on your chest. This delay in the first skin to skin contact is INCREDIBLY detrimental to your chances for EASE and successful breastfeeding. It doesn't mean you won't or can't breastfeed however, it will likely mean that you will have more difficulty achieving the elusive "perfect latch". As a patient in a hospital let your nurse and Dr. know ahead of time that you absolutely WANT your baby put skin to skin immediately after delivery and for as long as possible. After this time try to spend AS MUCH TIME AS YOU AND YOUR BABY LIKE in skin to skin until you feel that everything is going PERFECTLY with your breastfeeding. If I could go back and do one thing differently with my first son I would throw away all his adorable "newborn" outfits and have him skin to skin with me for the first 4 weeks of his life. YES, it's that important. Yes, you should do it for at least 8 hours out of every day! Since mothering is the most important job you will have in the first weeks after birth imagine that topless is your uniform and baby's too!

4. FOLLOW BABY'S CUES. When your baby is opening her mouth, looking around the room, frowning, trying to eat or lick her hand or fingers SHE IS HUNGRY. It does not matter if she just breastfed for 10 minutes, 45 minutes or 300 minutes. It does not matter if she has eaten 12 times already today. IF SHE SHOWS SIGNS OF HUNGER.... SHE IS HUNGRY. That seems so obvious but I can't tell you how many people just don't believe the incredible frequency that breastfed babies need to eat with. PLEASE FOLLOW YOUR BABY... she will never lead you wrong. Baby's who are crying have passed the earlier hunger cues mentioned above and are already in distress. If you wait until the baby cries her attempts to nurse will likely be uncoordinated and less successful.

5. EXPECT EXHAUSTION.  There is NOTHING you can do to prepare yourself for the absolute exhaustion that will overtake you as a new parent but try to envision it and embrace the idea of being up to feed your baby. SLEEP as much as you can before baby comes, especially starting the 38-40th weeks of pregnancy. These are your last chances to sleep well so try to enjoy them even if you aren't exactly comfortable with the largeness of the baby who will inevitably wake up and kick your bladder while you are resting. Once the baby is born I want you to take a deep breath, look at his little face and say "goodbye sleep it was so nice to know you". Accept that it is NORMAL for a breastfeeding mother to sleep in SHORT segments of time (sometimes 15 minutes) several times in a day. This is NOT what we were used to and it will not feel like real sleep. It will not kill you but you may feel like it will. In the first few weeks after my son was born I used to repeat the mantra "it is my privilege and an honor to be able to wake up and feed you". I needed to remind myself that not everyone is LUCKY enough to 1. Get pregnant and have a baby and 2. breastfeed.

6. ASK FOR HELP. With everything and anything. Shamelessly. When your mother-in-law comes to "help" with the baby remind her that what you really need help with is dishes and laundry and fresh meals. If breastfeeding isn't going well seek the help of a professional lactation consultant or a La Leche League leader. Don't be afraid to say I need help, something is not right. Ask your husband or partner to help you with ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. With breastfeeding they can help you by handing you the baby, removing baby's clothes for skin to skin, stimulating a sleepy baby, bringing you water.... heck, I've even seen dad's holding breasts for baby as mommy slept.

7. Buy AMAZING support tools. I HIGHLY recommend the pillow "My Brest Friend". This pillow snaps around your waist so it won't slide away from you like the Boppy tends to. It has lumps to help correctly position baby's butt and head. Quite frankly I can't say enough nice things about it... I loved mine and wouldn't have survived nursing without it.

8. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. The number one concern I hear from mothers is "I don't think I have milk" or how do I know the baby is really eating. Remember that our bodies are divinely created to provide for our children. It is incredibly rare that a mother MEDICALLY can not breastfeed or that a baby is actually incapable. BELIEVE that you are completely capable of sustaining your baby. Just the way you grew her when she was inside of you and your body provided what she needed - now you will continue to grow her as your body provides. 

 Namaste and good luck earth mamas =) 
 Gloria, RN and soon to be IBCLC

Jun 15, 2012

birthday party pics!

Finally getting around to posting about my "baby's" birthday party last weekend...

A little bit of history - because Jane and my niece, Lucy, are the same age and were born two weeks apart, we've done joint parties for the past two years. Going forward, though, I think this is the last joint party. As much as it makes sense to do so for family, it doesn't make much sense for any other reason! :p Jane and Lucy don't have the same "group" plus, I think, next year (being that they'll be four), they might be more interested in having their own special days.

So, this year, I suggested we rent a place for the party vs. doing it at my sis's house or mine... mostly due to the fact that I knew I'd be huge and grumpy and not wanting to clean up and decorate much, etc. I was right. I might have had four hours sleep the night before the party and, between company and party prep, I was zonkered! We rented an "indoor playground" for a private party and it was awesome. The kids loved it, the space was ideal and it took us ten minutes to throw everything into a garbage bag afterwards and LEAVE! WOOT WOOT! Plus, being that it was split between two families, it wasn't too expensive. I don't know that I'd do it if it were just us as it would be a little pricier than I might be willing to pay to get out of cleaning... in fact, I'd probably just do it at home and pay to have molly maids come in the next day, if I were doing it myself. :p

As far as themes go, I started planning early and, because the party was for both Jane and Lucy, didn't want to go with a typical character theme as it might be difficult to find someone/something that appealed to both of them. Last year was easy - Minnie Mouse - what two year old doesn't LOVE Minnie? But this year, Jane gave me the inspiration as I asked her what she wanted at her birthday party and she said CUPCAKES! THe child LOVES cupcakes. So, cupcake theme it was! Simple and all-pleasing, fantastico!

This was the invite and thank you card combo I came up with for the girls party...

It was inspired by the cupcake wrappers and favor boxes I found from the lovely Martha Stewart at Michaels (seen in the other photos below). I like to coordinate. It's a blessing and a curse.

I also went with the cupcake theme because, two years ago for Jane's first birthday, I bought a $40 giant cupcake pan that I promised myself I'd use more than once... so this gave me a good excuse to pull it out again. I was disappointed, however, as I found a flower-shaped cupcake pan on sale this winter and was so excited about flower-shaped cupcakes that I bought "turf" tiles to line my cupcake trays with so that it would look like flowers in the grass (I know, I'm so cool) and no matter how much batter I used - a little, a little more, too much, a little less - I could not get effin' FLOWERS! So, we just had varying sizes of different color cupcakes - that, of course, I matched to the colours of the invites and martha stewart stuff - that, of course, no one else noticed but ME! :p tee hee hee.

Here's a photo summary of my efforts...

I got the cupcakes toppers on Etsy (of course)... pretty cheap, I think it was $10 for a dozen, totally custom and I got two orders - one for Jane, one for Lucy. I did the big cupcake as a cake for just the girls - for diggin' into with fingers - and individual cupcakes for the other kids and parents instead of a cake to cut. I think it went pretty well. The kids seemed to like that they could choose a cupcake colour of their choice. The party was from 4-6pm and, conveniently, right next to a pizza spot, so it's no surprise what we ordered for dinner! :p Can you ever go wrong with pizza?!?!

I filled the loots bags with a mix of candy, mini chocolate bars, bubbles, and either pretty hair ties for girls or dinkies for boys. I mean, lets be honest... all the kids want is some candy but some parents aren't in to that so the loot bags can be tricky. We all remember loot bags growing up. Candy = success.

I'm thankful we're still in the politics-free party planning stage... I mean, we invite who we want to come. Simple as that. I suspect, once we get into the school-age-parties, things will get a little more complicated. Do you invite everyone in the class? Do you invite only the kids your kid likes? You have invite those who have invited you... and the gift thing is tricky. I always say "your presence is present enough" but people always bring gifts! Do I appreciate it, of course! But, it's not necessary. How do you truly avoid this? I mean, Jane gets enough gifts from us, the family, etc. She didn't even open her own gifts this year because she was so wired and distracted by everything that I ended up opening everything after she went to bed. :p

Because it's Friday and I feel like I'm bored writing this post, let alone for you poor folks out there reading it... I'm stopping now. :p

Here are some pics of my sweet girl. Look how grown up she is!

Jun 14, 2012

same ol', same ol'

This is going to be the world's shortest post as I am currently cremating at Starbucks... I have no idea what I was thinking but I thought, AC, it will be cold there (forgetting I'm 34 weeks pregnant and basically going through severe menopausal symptoms) so I wore full-length yoga pants (that don't fit at all) and a sweater... and I'm roasting. The decaf skinny vanilla latte that I continue to sip, despite ongoing cremation, is likely not helping...

Anyways, I'm here because we switched internet/cable providers yesterday after being loyal customers for like 12 years... and we immediately hated the new provider. SO, we switched back today. Sometimes a little bit of savings ISN'T worth the inconvenience. SO, we're currently without internet/tv at home and I have a ton of work to do for my Etsy shop! ARGH!

Moral of the story - some times things ARE too good to be true. Sometimes it's best to stick with the same ol', same ol', if you have no complaints... even when something sexier comes along. I apply this to my marriage as well... unless that sexier being is Taylor Kitsch, in which case, Jane and I are goners! :p tee hee hee.

I am 34 weeks pregnant!! WOOT WOOT! Two weeks and one day left of work! WOOT WOOT!

Haven't heard squat from my doc about my platelets - which, you'd think would be good news, but I'm not convinced I believed her when she said she'd "call if she was concerned"... I have little faith in the organization of the PNC (prenatal clinic). Not because they aren't great, just because they are dealing with every grumpy, complaining and screwed up pregnant woman in the city and I'm thinking my low platelets may get lost in the shuffle. I'd be worried, except, I'm only 34 weeks preggers and I see my doc in 7 days so I figure we'll still have lots of time to freak out and figure out what to do if they start dropping again.

If you don't follow me on facebook... shame on you! :p But, the update on my face issues is that I saw a DERM finally this week. Apparently, it's what I have is fantastically (sarcasm) facial, effin' eczema... so I'm being treated with Hydrocortisone cream and I'm supposed to pray it goes away after pregnancy. In the words of the derm (whom I'm a bit in love with I think) "pregnancy is screwy". Understatement my dear friend, understatement. Interestingly, since I've started expressing my anger about my itchy skin disorder, turns out it must be quite common as every 4-5 woman I speak with who've had kids or are pregnant, have experienced something similar. It's an outbreak I tell you - save yourselves! :p

Alrightly, my sweets, enough roasting for me... home time! xoxo until tomorrow.

Jun 12, 2012

I'm bringing frumpy back...

So I get dressed in pretty much the last dress that is still work-appropriate this
am... Because I refused to spend $70 on stupid maternity dresses and, thus, now that the belly is getting gigantic, my former respectable dresses only make me an attractive target for creepy men who have pregnancy fetishes because they are pulled up so much in front that you could probably see my voo if you tried real hard... I, unfortunately have tried real hard and cannot see it myself at this point no matter how hard I try to suck-in or maneuver the belly.

Anyways, dressed in dress. Warm, so I'm bare legged. Shoes. Crap. Shoes. What will I wear on my feet?

So with Jane on my hip (yes, I'm still carrying her - no need to lecture, I know I'm stupid), I slip into my black flats. Flats. Urgh. I am not a flats girl. I walk differently in flats. I waddle, in fact. I ask Dan if they look ok. To which he smartly replies "yes, they look fine". To which I whine, "I look frumpy!". To which he stupidly replies, "you're supposed to look frumpy, you're pregnant..." My response is to go back in and change into my heels... Just a "kitten" heel, not anything life threatening.




By 2:30pm, the ball of my left foot was basically aching and cramping so badly, I was limping... Like, no option but to limp because I couldn't walk on it without collapsing. An hour later, my calves spasmed and, despite stretching anywhere and everywhere I could without looking like a complete idiot (try stretching your calves in public without looking like an idiot...), my calves are now in knots and aching like I ran a half-marathon...

So, I'm bringing frumpy back...

Sexy is so 2009 anyways.

Jun 11, 2012

GUEST POST: Couponing for Dummies

I have long admired the dedication and loyalty of those who "coupon"... mostly, because after losing my job during pregnancy number one, finding ways to save money became a bit of an addiction (although I found other ways to spend saved money, of course, I'm only a woman) and I've kept this "saving" mentality since then. However, I've never mastered the art of couponing. If I happen to find a coupon of a product I am buying, and remember to bring it, and remember to pull it out of my purse, then I will... but I am one of those people who gets to the line-up, every time, and realizes her 4500 reuseable shopping bags are either (1) by the front door (at home) or (2) in the trunk... However, after reading this great guest post, by my friend and fantastic couponer, Laura, I realized I have part of the steps already completed - meal planning. Meal planning is life in my house. It saves HUGE money and HUGE time, as Laura says, as there's never a point where we're saying "what's for dinner" and realizing that, although we just spent $150 on groceries, we didn't actually buy anything that, together, makes a meal.... What I've never done though, is use the flyers (and what's on sale) to plan my meals. THIS is a HUGELY big deal, fantastic idea that, I realize fully, is not rocket science but just blew MY mind. :p

Here's my intention... I'm going to take Laura's tips and try to apply them to my grocery shopping next weekend and then I'll post about my experience and savings (hopefully) next Monday. I intended to do it this weekend but with Jane's birthday party (pictures to come tomorrow) and a visit from my mom-in-law from NYC, I didn't actually get to the grocery store...

Here it is! Hope you find Laura's tips helpful and can, at least, incorporate some strategies into your weekly shopping as a penny saved is a penny to spend on something for YOU (and to hide from your husband)! :p

When I had a baby and went on maternity leave the budget was tight so I decided to look at ways on how I could save money. It first started with using coupons on diapers and formula but after some internet research I found out about price matching and decided to give it a try. If you’re looking for an easy way to save money, meal planning, using coupons and price matching is the answer!

The first thing you’ll need is flyers.

Flyers are great for two reasons. 1. You can plan your meals based on what is on sale. 2. You can use these flyers to price match. Each week I sit down to make my grocery list with my flyers and when I see something that interests me I write down the item, what flyer it is from and the price listed.  By doing this I can compare the price in the flyer with the price in the grocery store (to make sure I am getting a good deal) without having to shuffle through my flyers. This also helps to be more organized at the cash register so you can remember what item you will be price matching and what flyer it is from.

Meal Planning – This is an easy way to save money! Once a week I sit down and decide what our family is going to eat for the week.  By doing this, I am only buying what our family needs and not buying unnecessary food that can get wasted, especially when it comes to produce. Not only does it saving me money but it’s saving us time knowing what we will be eating each night when we get home from work.
Now onto the fun part!

Price Matching – In my opinion, Wal Mart and  Real Canadian Superstore are the best places to price match. (Not all stores will do this so you will have to ask around). What this means is you take the flyer of a competitor company (Loblaws, Sobeys, Shoppers Drug Mart, No Frills, etc) to your grocery store and pay the lower price in their flyer. I do all of my shopping at Superstore and bring all of my flyers with me on my shopping trips and price match so that I don’t have to go to multiple locations to get the deals. Who has time for that? Wondering what you can price match?? Pretty much anything and everything! Food (including fruits, veggies and meat), toiletries, household products, and baby products to name a few.

Coupons - Not only can you price match to save money but you can use coupons too. There are a few websites that will mail you coupons for free, all you need to do is sign up and occasionally check to see if they have added new ones that they can mail to you. These websites include; www.websaver.com, www.save.ca, www.brandsaver.com, www.gocoupons.com. There are also printable coupons which can be found at www.smartsource.ca. Other places you can find coupons are tear pads found in the stores, magazines, inserts in newspapers and Facebook. When you “like” a company you often have  access to promotional coupons. For example, I recently liked Nordica Cottage Cheese and was able to get a coupon for a free container. Typically they are connected to websites such as websaver and save.ca so you must have an account with these websites. The best is when you can use a coupon for an item that you are price matching on a really good sale, quite often I’m able to get something for free!

At first it may seem overwhelming but once you get a system down it is quite easy and takes little time.  I have a notebook for my meal planning and grocery list/price match list, as well as a file folder for all of my coupons. My friend on the other hand has a binder for her coupons with a pad of paper in the binder. Figuring out a system that works for you will reduce the time it takes to get everything together.

I’m sure you’re wondering how much you can save?? On an average grocery bill I will spend $100 but save $30 to $40. Some weeks are better then others and it depends on the sales and what you need to buy but setting aside some time to meal plan, make a grocery list and make a price matching list is well worth the money you will be saving! Knowing that I saved even a little bit of money is a great feeling!

I know only of Laura's couponing because I follow her on facebook and regularly "like" her "Saved $60 on groceries this week" comments... and those are the types of numbers we're talking some weeks! THAT was enough to peak my interest and get her on board to write this post for you! 

Happy Couponing Mommas!

Jun 7, 2012

gestational thrombocytopenia

Don't you just love when I decide to give you a lesson in fantastic potential disorders and complications of pregnancy?

I know that you're missing hearing about my decaying face... :p Which, by the way, I have a derm appointment for on Monday, THANK GOD, because I went to a derm conference for work last weekend and am now convinced I have some sort of crazy disease that's going to kill me. Sometimes knowledge isn't power. Sometimes knowledge is scary. :p I'm going to see if I can convince this derm to stick with me and check out some of my moles because I've now become a paranoid and am convinced I have melanoma. :p My sister will love this as I usually make fun of her for being convinced of her own melanoma.

Anyways. Thrombocytopenia. That's me. Low platelets. I mentioned that during my last visit, it turned out that NO I didn't have gestational diabetes like I assumed after getting "the call" post diabetes workup. I have low platelets... clotting factors in my blood. Apparently the "norm" is 150-400, and mine started at 155, was at 140 last time and I just had blood work done on Monday and turns out now I'm 112... n.g.

Apparently, my doc tells me, that low platelets can be a sort of autoimmune response of the body during pregnancy... this is also what some docs/friends have mentioned when talking about my eye skin condition. So it kind of makes sense that if my immune system is weak because I'm pregnant, tired, etc. that all these stupid things are happening to me. Lets hope that it's because my body is focusing so much energy on building a sweet, healthy babe! :)

Anyways. Next step? More blood work. I forgot to mention, during my blood work this week, the nurse told me I had "three beautiful veins"... to which I responded "That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me in a long time and, at this point, probably the ONLY thing beautiful going on here". Tee hee hee. So, back for blood work Monday so they can track the platelet count to see if (1) it stays low or (2) drops. My understanding, if I remember the conversation at all, is that if it stays above 100, we'll just continue to monitor it every week. If it drops lower then I have to see the hematologist who will put me on one of two things to get my clotting factors back up - oral steroids or IV something. I have no idea what either of those things mean. I have no idea if they are 100% ok for baby but I assume the "risk will outweigh the benefit" in this case. And I was freaking out about taking stupid benadryl for a crappy cold a few months back. Along with the blood doc, I get to see the drug doc... and by the drug doc, I mean the guy with the good stuff. Because, apparently, if my platelets are too low - no epidural for me. Who here thinks I can make it through natural delivery?

No one?

Not one person?

Yup. Me neither. I don't want to try to make it through natural labour! That's not something I want to check off my list!

Apparently, I'm not at serious risk until my platelets drop below 50... so, lets pray that doesn't become an issue.

They checked back on my last labour and my platelets were 121. SO, they were low then too. But, apparently, they didn't track platelets or something throughout pregnancy then so they have no way of knowing if I fluctuated or what my levels were throughout pregnancy number one. And, during labour number one, no one even mentioned to me that my platelets were "low". So, I'm hoping that the 112 is just a low "fluctuation" and next week I'll be closer to 120-140ish.

Ok. Now that I've shared a bunch of boring, nonsense, numbers with you... here's the good news. Apparently, only 1 out of the 10 of you who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant will have to care at all about this post. So, you can thank me later for this vital information. :p

Anyways, everything else is great with the baby so far. LOTS of movement, good heart rate (which also freaks me out) and measuring good. I say heart rate freaks me out because when I was preggers with Jane, during one of my later appts the doc checked her heart rate and it was like 105, so I got admitted for monitoring for two hours. Turns out, Jane just didn't like it when I lay on my back. Well, you can imagine how that's affected me this time. I NEVER lie on my back and freak out when I wake up at night and realize I've been sleeping on my back, imagining that I've been cutting off the oxygen supply to my baby for the last, God knows how many, hours. Every time I lay down for them to check the heart rate (on my back), I'm waiting to hear that "slow" gallop in fear that I've done it again. ARGH.

I'm telling you. Pregnancy number two is so much more stressful than number one... for me at least. With Jane, I was naive enough to think, if I did everything "right", everything would be fine. Well, this time, I feel like I was so blessed with pregnancy number one that I'm not deserving of an ideal pregnancy number two. I know, I know. Tell me to calm down. Whatever. It's not going to work. I'm not like seriously stressing or anything... that's just not my style. But it's a constant, weak, thought in the back of my mind. Like I'm just waiting for something to go a little bit wrong.

Ok, I have to go to bed. Jane had a crappy night's sleep last night and, sure enough, I woke up this morning and my eye skin was itching all over again! ARGH! So, even though I'm not ready for bed, I'm going to bed.

Seven weeks and counting baby. Seven weeks.

Jun 5, 2012

three years ago and what i know now

Three years ago, right now, I was in between two emotions.... complete and total, unbelievable, rock your world LOVE and fear. Often times, I think the two come hand in hand but not so strongly, not all at once!

Today is my sweet "baby" Jane's third birthday. Oh. My. Goodness. Where did three years go?

This was my first minute with the love of my life... I don't even remember it. Those first few days are a complete blur. I just remember loving her instantly and fearing for two things: (1) not having a clue what to do and (2) not being able to give her what she needed. Not everyone falls in love with their baby instantaneously... this is normal. Sometimes it takes days, weeks, months. But I was so in love with her from the first second she was placed on my chest.

The two things I realized right away were (1) all the books I read were useless because nothing can prepare you for motherhood except 100's of years of instincts and (2) thankfully, I had common sense and instincts. I will say, however, that my most vivid memory of that blur was watching Jane sleep, all swaddled up (which, don't even bother, you will never master like the nurses do... save yourself the headache and buy some SwaddleMe's)... and her head had fallen to the side. Dan and I didn't know if this was ok. Should we prop her head up so it was straight? We asked the nurse. Seriously. She probably had severe concerns about our ability to parent a newborn baby after that point.

It is based on THIS memory alone that I feel like baby number two - although bringing along different challenges (like having double the responsibility) - alone, will be easier. At least I know the basics this time. At least I know five hundred different ways to treat cradle cap - or I can re-read the blog to see what I did before. :p I know to blame any sort of fussiness and horrible sleeping patterns on "growth spurts" because it'll make me feel like less of a failure. I know breastfeeding is going to be hard as eff for the first 8 weeks minimum. I know recovering from vaginal delivery (if all goes well) is going to suck arse... cause when you get the drugs, it ain't the actual delivering of the baby that sucks, it's the vaginal PTSD. I know I will age another 5 years in those first 6 months. I know I will be tired. I know I will hate the way I look. I know my boobs are going to be GYNORMOUS and, most of the time, feel and look like veiny over-full balloons ready to pop. I know I have to find a way to remember which boob baby ate from last time... because I know that, when screwed up, an over-full boob hurts like hell and, dear Lord help me if I get mastitis. I know that I don't care (this time) about giving the baby a soother right away. With Jane I wanted to do everything "perfectly" and suffered through 24 hours of cluster feeding in the first 2 days (which mean zero recovery for mommy) before I gave in and let her have it... giving me peace, her satisfaction, my nipples recovery, and SLEEP for all. I know my house will turn into a babies-r-us store. I know gas will be my worst enemy and burping my best, and only, ally. I know I am going to be changing A LOT of diapers. I know, if it's a girl, I already know how to do this pretty well. If it's a boy, I know I will be peed on regularly among the ceiling, walls, and anything else within a 30 ft radius. I know I will laugh about this.

What I don't know is a lot too. I imagine going from one child to two, is just as hard to explain as it is when you try to explain to someone who's not a parent, how much you love your child. I have no idea, nor can I even comprehend, at this point, how I will love another human being as much as I love Jane. I have no idea how my labour will go. I have no idea if we will have to face serious, scary and unexpected challenges. I have no idea if this is a boy or a girl... it's a girl. :p I have no idea if this baby will latch well. I have no idea if this baby will sleep well. I have no idea how Jane will actually respond when this baby is out of my belly. I have no idea how to coordinate everything between Jane, labour, daycare, hospital, visits, everything (but, you know me, I will darn well try anyways). The only thing I do know is that, just like with the first, people can tell you all they want to about their own experience becoming a parent of two and it means JACK because nobody knows what it will be like for you, until it's you.

All I can think of today is how quickly the last three years have gone by... and, where, in three years we'll be (praying, hoping, dreaming we are lucky enough to have another three years of this beautiful life). I'll still have a three year old in three years. But I'll also have a six year old. And, I imagine, just as I am today... reflecting back on how quickly the time flew by. Didn't time seem to go so much slower when we were kids? Didn't the two months of summer vacation feel like an eternity?

Dan and I took some time last night, spontaneously, and went through tons of old photos of Jane from the past few years. I cannot wait to go through it all again, and share it WITH her...