Kitchen Busy Box

Sometimes simple toys are best, right? Some of Sweet Pea’s favourite things right now are at her great grandma’s house.

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Another favourite is this yet-unpacked bin of spices. Those little bottles are just irresistible!

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Sweet Pea is pretty good at independent play, but she likes me to be nearby. I thought this morning that she needs some kind of box of toys to keep her busy while I’m in the kitchen. This little bin came from the Free Table in our community, and rather than filling it with toys, I decided to fill it with baby-safe kitchen items.

Contents of our Kitchen Busy Box: A couple bamboo plates, wooden spoon, plastic baby spoon, spatula, old spice jar filled with rice, small tupperware container, egg carton, measuring cup, empty water bottle, empty formula canister, IKEA dish brush (another favourite!), and a colourful cloth napkin. I will add a couple empty cardboard food boxes as I get them. This was a totally free little kit to put together, and can adapt and change as she grows, or as disposables need to be disposed of.

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I think it’s a hit – this managed to keep her busy long enough for me to unpack 2 kitchen boxes. Long overdue, I now have cupboards to unpack into, and I found plates, bowls and drinking glasses. Success.

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New Year, Half Birthday, and a List of Updates

Well. It’s been three months and five days since a post went by here. My dad gave me a nudge tonight, and I’ll start by being very Canadian and apologize for my long unannounced break. I’m sorry, dear readers. I’m sure you are accustomed to reading with such attention that my lapse was noticeably annoying. I resolve not to disappoint you so in 2014. 😉 I’ve actually started several posts, but none were right to post at the right time. It’s as though I’ve had too much to say and not enough time to say it. So… here’s what’s happened, in a quick list, since October 10th. I may expand further on some of these later.

  • We hosted Thanksgiving, with a 3 month old baby in the house. It was maybe a little crazy, but I love Thanksgiving and I love to host, and it was wonderful (if not a little simpler than my usual).
  • My grandfather ended up hospitalized immediately after Thanksgiving, and passed away in hospital on December 23rd. He was playing and winning his cribbage games through most of his stay. I feel lucky that he was close by, and that we got many visits. I say, and it’s true, that I’ve always been accustomed to being the favourite… but I had no choice but to humbly step aside in favour of his first great granddaughter, our own Miss Sweet Pea. We have beautiful photos of the two of them together, and they will certainly be treasured. Please excuse what probably seems as a very mere mention in a list. Grandpa deserves a post of his very own, but I am still processing, so bear with me.
  • Sweet Pea was dressed as a sweet kitten for Halloween. She went to visit two houses with her grandfather, and they delivered beer rather than collecting candy.
  • We have all been sick, a lot. This is a job hazard of being a Kindergarten teacher, and it’s been a bad season of course.
  • Sweet Pea enjoyed her first Christmas. She loved Santa, and we got a great non-crying photo. Our celebrations were quiet, of course, but it was good to be with family.

Today, my sweet girl turned six months old. A half birthday! She is rolling around everywhere, can sit until she notices she’s doing so, loves playing on the floor with her dog, and is enjoying every meal as we enter into the exciting world of solid foods. She is growing like mad, and we are about to try her first night in the crib (fingers crossed!).

She loves toys and is desperately trying to crawl, so this photo taken today seemed appropriate to mark her 6 months, even though it’s blurry – she doesn’t stop moving!


It was finally sunny, and in an attempt to feel healthy again, we went for some fresh air and sunshine. This was our first walk with her on my back in our new Beco Soleil carrier, and it was fantastic. Shout out to my mother in law for Sweet Pea’s beautiful hat!


Shall I send you off with a little video? This makes me laugh. Sweet Pea is eager to eat, and eager to do it by herself.

The Right Tune

I like to think I’m generally a fairly confident person. I am fairly sure of myself in my job, my relationship, my interactions with friends and acquaintances. But I will be honest – I have no clue what I’m doing with this baby. The other day I mentioned this to my good friend Andrea. Even though Sweet Pea has now surpassed her birthweight, I find myself assuming that when she’s screaming it’s actually AT me, that surely I’m doing something horribly wrong, like she must just be absolutely starving (I am confident in this moment that she is not, but don’t try to convince me of that at 3am).

Andrea had a hilarious answer to my crazed concern:

How about her crying is vocalizing “Hey Awesome Mama, I would like a snack please.”

Or, “Hey Beautiful Lady, I need a diaper change – but let’s ask Dad to do that.”

Or, “Hey Woman I Adore, whose intestines were music to me. Can you please get me an extra blanket, I’m a bit chilly.”

Or, “Hey listen, I heard this awesome song on the radio, and it sounded like this… oh wait, I can’t sing yet. Damn it! I CAN’T GET THE TUNE RIGHT!”

That’s all folks. My beautiful music-loving baby girl can’t yet get the tune right. We’ll keep working on it.

Cup Feeding

I mentioned in our last post that breastfeeding has been a bit of a challenge for us. We are working on increasing my supply, but Isla has needed a little bit of supplement in the meantime. We’ve opted not to use bottles at this point for her. I hadn’t realized there were so many alternatives to feeding a newborn until our childbirth class. Our class instructor is also a lactation consultant – we had her visit the other day to help us out, and she suggested we try cup feeding. I’m so glad we did, as it was much easier than the other methods we’d already tried!

So, because I think it might be helpful to other people, and also because it’s downright adorable, I’m sharing a short video. Please excuse the absurdly large diaper… we were behind on laundry. 😉

YouTube link if you prefer: Cup Feeding for Isla


Introducing Miss Sweet Pea

It’s time to post to announce the arrival of our beautiful baby girl. Isla arrived via cesarean on July 15, at 3:45 pm. I know people really want photos in this type of post, so I won’t make you wait.

Brand new to this world and still protesting:


Snuggles with Daddy should be taken seriously:

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Relaxing after a long day of eating and sleeping:

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Labour and delivery were a far cry from the home birth we had originally planned for. I may write more of a birth story sometime later – but to be completely honest, by the time we hit 38 weeks gestation and were talking about inducing (my blood pressure was high, and continuing to climb), my thoughts were more along the lines of “Birth Plan: bring home a baby.”

So we did.

A c-section is quite bizarre, to me. Maybe birth is just strange all around. There was something a bit surreal about not feeling anything, not knowing what’s going on behind that (helpful! necessary!) blue sheet,  suddenly hearing that cry… and falling in love with it before you ever set eyes on the little person it’s coming from.  Our hospital stay was long, but the Mr. and I both agree that we can see value in our time there, where we had nothing to do but learn who this little girl is.

We’ve now been home a week. We are incredibly grateful for help and meals from family and friends. I have never been so glad that my mom is a teacher, and is home all summer. We delighted in introducing Sweet Pea to her extended family, and watching the ways in which she resembles them. The dog is protective and curious and affectionate (and surely a bit confused). Sweet Pea and I both love the Maya Wrap sling for walks. We are finding breast feeding challenging still, but are rocking the cloth diaper world already. The Mr. and I are smitten with this wee thing. How could we not be?:

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Infertility, pregnancy, and labour & delivery have taught us to be more flexible. Absolutely nothing has gone as planned, and yet… here I am writing this post with my daughter curled up against my chest. So, a Parenting Plan? Look after this baby, and love her with all our hearts.

The Nursery Revealed

Well hi… it’s been a while! We’ve been busy, and this is mostly a photographic post to show you what’s been done.

It may be silly that I was feeling so driven to get the nursery finished before the baby arrives. She’s likely going to sleep in our room for quite some time, but if nothing else, I needed space to put her STUFF, and I wasn’t happy to just cram it into an already crowded room. So, we cleaned it out, tore out carpet, removed an old wardrobe, painted, re-carpeted, bought furniture… and how about I just let you see it for yourself? As usual, you can click on any photo to see a larger version.

The view from the door toward the opposite corner, featuring the IKEA sun light. This is one of those things that fit with the vision but didn’t “click” until everything else got into the room – and now I love it. I also love the new IKEA wardrobe, made much prettier with decals. The curtains were mine when I was a little girl – excuse the slightly odd placement, but they’re held back over the rod for now. My mom is making new tiebacks, and she also made a matching valance for the small window:


Wardrobe, you say? Girl’s got one:


Straight ahead from the door, toward the crib. Bee mobile, muslin sheets (where do I get muslin for a queen-sized bed?), and three beautiful art panels:


They say “sweet dreams…” and “I wish the moon could talk.” The canvas on the adjacent wall says “I wish for a bedtime story.”


Crib, with a little IKEA holder for stuffies:


A closer look at the forward-facing bookshelves, which we made out of IKEA spice racks. Books for babies are important to us, here, and I love that we’ve got a good collection going. At this rate, she’ll be able to take 100 kids books to Kindergarten for 100 Day, just like I did when I was 5… true story! This might be my favourite part of the whole room. That’s a cute classic set of Winnie the Pooh prints in between the shelves:


Another great Pinterest idea – magazine rack to hold blankets that should be displayed:


Under that small window we’ve put up a picture that was cross stitched by my grandmother. Pinkie and Blue Boy are a bit of a family thing. I’m not sure why, but I like it. This teddy bear version just had to be put up in the nursery:


More bee decor above the change-table/dresser. Decal says “I wish I could touch the clouds with my toes…”


You want closeups of those pictures? I know you do! They’re Anne of Green Gables prints which I picked up in PEI. I hadn’t found a spot for them in the house yet, but I absolutely adore them here. I think this kid has no choice but to like books.


Cora thanks you for looking… I think she’s pleased, too!