Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Cohen update

He is growing so fast. Everyone told me, and it's true. He rolled over last night! We were so excited! We are such parents! We really are loving it. I am getting such a sense that I need to enjoy every single little moment, because right now is the best part of life.

Jon had to go away for a few days for work last week. I think Cohen really noticed, because he freaked out after Jon had been gone for a half hour. It's weird, since Jon goes to work for eight hours every day, but I really think Cohen could tell the difference. Anyway, I took Cohen into our closet and wrapped him in Jon's favourite sweater, and it instantly calmed him.

There is nothing better than hearing Cohen and Jon laughing real, genuine laughs together. I have truly never been happier.

Monday, 25 November 2013

My thoughts on cloth diapers

We have been using cloth diapers since Cohen was a few weeks old. Jon and I have always tried to be relatively green, so we knew we would be using cloth diapers as soon as we knew we were pregnant. I researched all the types of diapers extensively before we finally purchased ours. It is so confusing, really. There are so many different brands and types. I am no expert, but I have had a good experience with cloth diapers so far.

 (Cohen in a flip diaper around 2 months)

We decided to go with the Flip diapers. We ordered them from here because they had free shipping in Canada. I read about a million reviews, and people had good things to say about the simplicity of this system. And the diapers are one-size-fits-all, which seemed better than having to buy a bunch of new diapers every time Cohen grew out of a size.

When Cohen was a newborn, we used disposable diapers for the first few weeks, since we had been gifted a few packs of them, and because Cohen was so tiny when he was born. After Cohen was a few weeks old, I started using the cloth diapers when we were at home. They were still big on him, but we had so many fewer leaks and blowouts compared to disposables. These are some things we like about cloth diapers:

- Less diaper rash. We started to notice diaper rash on Cohen when he was just a few days old. At the same time we started to notice these weird little gel-like granules coming out of the disposable diapers, especially when the diaper was really wet and heavy. When we switched to cloth, the diaper rash went away within a day or two. He hasn't had a bit of diaper rash since.

- Less garbage. I really don't like creating a lot of garbage. I just don't. And when we were using the disposables, we were creating so much garbage!

- Less shopping. I can't tell you how much I dislike going in to Walmart. You can easily buy diapers online now, so this one isn't as huge an issue, but still, I don't have to be shopping for diapers all the time.

- Cheaper. Maybe. I am not really convinced it is that much cheaper, since we also buy disposables for traveling. And we do laundry every single day now. Maybe in the long run it will be cheaper. I think we paid around $400 for our stash of cloth diapers, wet bag, and reusable wipes. The last time I had to buy diapers we were in Twillingate, where a pack of 75 diapers cost me over $30. Steep, I think. And the eco-friendly wet wipes I buy for on-the-go are like $8 for a pack of 80. Also, steep.

(part of our stash)

Other things about cloth diapers:

- The whole laundry thing is really easy while bubba is exclusively breastfed. You just pre-rinse, then wash normally. When Cohen gets into solids we will have to buy one of these diaper sprayers and/or use disposable liners that you can throw in the toilet with solids.We sometimes use funk rock just to keep the diapers really clean.

- We have a really good wet bag that zips, and you can throw the whole thing in the laundry, so you never have to touch the dirty diapers.

- I went all in with the reusable wipes once I saw how easy it would be to just clean them with the diapers. Plus, I don't love the long list of ingredients in most wipes solutions. I mix my own solution every couple days with olive oil, tea tree oil, burt's bees baby wash, and water. There are a ton of wipes solution recipes online. I just chose one with the ingredients we had at home.

- Jon is as big a fan of cloth diapers as I am. I think it probably works better if you are both wanting to do it, like anything really. Our sitter uses them too with no issues.

- Some people switch to disposables at night. I really don't find that necessary yet. Cohen has been sleeping through the night (8 hours straight) since 3 months, and we have never had a problem with leaks with the cloth diapers. If I think of it, I'll switch to an overnight liner, but usually we just use the microfiber liners he wears all the time.

- We have 7 outer shells and about 20 liners. I think having a few more would make laundry a little easier, but this is a perfect number for us. I typically use one disposable a day when we are on the go, then switch to all disposables when we are traveling.

- Writing this out makes me feel like such a hippie! I just want other moms to know that cloth diapers are no big deal. Totally do-able. 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

our new kitchen island

We debated for a long time about what we wanted as an island in our new kitchen. We were really close to choosing a custom island that would exactly match the cabinets in the kitchen, but we opted out due to price ($3500 without electrical to plug in the mixer or blender or whatever), and due to the fact that they were not going to be able to install it for many months because our town is having a crazy housing boom, so the cabinet guys are flat out busy. 

(before we moved in)


(in action)

We found this island at a furniture store in St. John's, and I loved it. Clearly, it has its' cons, like zero storage, and not matching the cabinets. But, I kind of love the way it looks. I sit at that stool all the time while Jon makes supper, and I love the extra counter space. The height is actually better for me for chopping and prepping food. And I think this island was around $900, which is a lot cheaper than a custom island, and we get to take it with us when we move.

We will eventually put a floating shelf to the right of the window for an ipod dock since we are always listening to music. Or we will get a big piece of art to go there. I'd also love a colourful rug, and stools other than the nascar ones I bought at zellers when I was starting dental school. We are really slow about adding things to our house.

Note: This particular island took over 4 months from ordering to delivery, which seemed long to me. It came in three super duper heavy pieces, and assembly involved six extra long thick screws and a bunch of smaller screws. The instructions were in broken english, and were hilarious. It actually just said: 1. screws insert. 2. finished. There was this tiny graphic that was supposed to show the order that the screws had to be placed, but it was extremely difficult to decipher. After quite a bit of tightening over a few weeks, the island feels very solid. If the wood were actual butcher block grade, I would totally be loving that, but as is, I love this island.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Like mother, like son

People say Cohen looks like me. My dad pulled out some old pictures from my baby album and scanned them. In this picture, I am around 7 months old. Cohen is 3 months old here. It's funny, I see that he looks like me, but I really see Jon when I look at Cohen sometimes.
I had the chance to hold a ten day old baby the other day, and I was shocked by how light he was. I figured maybe he has been early and was underweight. When the mom told me he was eight pounds, I was so surprised. Cohen weighed six pounds when he was born. He was so tiny, and I can only barely remember what it felt like to hold a baby that small.

He is changing so much every day. I think about what he looked like on the day he was born, with his huge fluffy black hair and his skin that was way darker than any other baby in the nursery. He is starting to look like a little boy, and I am loving every moment.

Monday, 18 November 2013

things to do in clarenville: rotary trail hike

about a week ago we hiked the rotary trail that starts in the middle on our little town. i really love getting out for a hike with j and coco. sometimes j and i chat while we hike, and other times we are quiet, just enjoying being outside. it's the best. in terms of hiking trails, this one was easy, but not as nice as the bare mountain trail we did a while ago. i would totally recommend all the trails in our town.

Friday, 15 November 2013

my first week back to work

(my two favourite people)

What a week. The night before my first day was hard. I didn't sleep much, and I was so anxious about leaving him that I actually felt sick to my stomach.

When we got to work in the morning, I was so busy that I barely had time to think about Cohen. I pumped halfway through the morning in a corner of our office. I couldn't wait to see his little face at lunchtime. The hardest thing was leaving again after lunch. I just wanted to stay with him. The second hardest thing was the short drive home after work. The car had barely stopped moving before I jumped out. I didn't put Cohen down for the rest of the night.

Our sitter told us that Cohen cried hard for twenty minutes or so in the morning when he realized we were gone. He cried himself to sleep while she rocked him, and then he was fine for the rest of the day. Same for the second day. I could tell he had been crying because he started to cry in the evening and his voice was hoarse. Our sweet little baby with a hoarse cry. Heartbreaking. On the second day, our sitter brought Cohen in to work for a little visit. He was so calm and happy in her arms. It really made me feel so good. And I was so happy to see him. I can't even believe how much I love that little guy.

Note: We never actually found a sitter. We met with lots of potentials, but nothing clicked. Two ladies had cats that were moody. One lady actually told us that her cat "can't be touched or he will lash out". We weren't sure how we would be able to relay that to a baby who will be crawling soon. One lady said she hates changing diapers. One lady didn't look at Cohen once during the entire interview. Another potential seemed perfect, but she suddenly left the province due to "domestic issues." A few said they wanted something full time (I only want to work part time right now). Sooo, our receptionist, who we love, is watching Cohen. She has been visiting Cohen since he was five days old, and she is so warm and loving, and I can tell she loves Cohen. I don't think I could have gone back to work so early if I didn't feel so good about who we are leaving Cohen with.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The end my of maternity leave!

(our little dude and I on Halloween)

It's my first day back to work! I had a knot in my stomach all day yesterday thinking about being away from Cohen for eight hours. I left Cohen and Jon at home for a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday as practice, and to encourage Cohen to take a bottle. I was thrilled to hear that Cohen chugged back a bottle of breast milk each time. He was totally fine. I think maybe it will be harder for me than him.

PS: For the record, my last day of work before Cohen was born was July 13th. Almost exactly four months off, which is double what I had planned to take off. For me, this feels like the perfect time to go back to work. That doesn't mean it won't be easy, though!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Remembrance Day

The three of us are bundling up and heading to the Remembrance Day parade this morning. I grew up in a military family, so this day has always meant standing in the frost, listening to bagpipes, and thinking about the soldiers. This year I have been thinking about the men who are suffering with PTSD. I think sometimes those men and their families fall through the cracks. I think that the victims of war are not just those who suffer fatalities while overseas. Today I am thinking about the soldiers.

Friday, 8 November 2013

it's friday

It's Friday, and this is the last weekend of my "maternity leave." I head back next week, only working half the hours i used to work. Like many, many women, I don't qualify for actual maternity leave since I am technically self employed. I am really looking forward to working again, and I feel grateful that our finances allow for me to be home half the time.

This weekend we plan to go on a hike with the babe. And I need to pull out my scrubs and work stuff. Oh my. Only 8 more weeks until Christmas though!

*Update: Actually only 6 weeks until Christmas! Even better!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

16 weeks old!

our little dude is 16 weeks old today! some things about the last few weeks:

- he is still sleeping through the night. he usually falls asleep around 11 pm, and wakes up at around 6 am. then he nurses, and usually falls asleep in our bed for another half hour. i couldn't ask for a better sleeper.

- i think he has started teething. he spends so much time trying to get his hands in his mouth, and his face is always covered in drool.

- he loves it when we read to him. we've been grabbing huge stacks of baby books from the library every week.

- cohen also loves when j lets him try whatever we are eating. if j is eating a piece of fruit, he'll rub a little on cohen's lips so he can taste it. cohen always looks really confused at first, then thrilled. it's the cutest thing.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Cohen, the teacher

 (here the little girl is testing to see if cohen likes looking at the toy)

Yesterday was Cohen's first day as a "teacher" for this anti-bullying program at the elementary school near our house. The program is called Roots of empathy, and apparently it is popular in lots of other countries.

(the third graders "singing us out" at the end of the session)

It was so cute! Cohen wears a special t-shirt that says "teacher", and he sits on a soft mat in the middle of a class of third graders. They have to ask him permission to play with him, and they ask me questions about him. They asked me things like "can Cohen crawl?" and "what does Cohen eat?" At the end of the class they sing to cohen and each say good bye to him.

You never know how a baby will be with something like this, but he loved the attention, and didn't cry a bit. He was especially interested in a little boy who had pink hair. I am looking forward to going back!

The sweetest thing was when we arrived at the school there were two little boys holding a sign that said "Welcome Cohen and Jessica." Their job was to take us up to their classroom, and they took that job very seriously. One took my diaper bag and threw it over his shoulder, and the other led the way. Such a cool experience!!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Cohen at breakfast

we went out for breakfast on the weekend. we are at this awesome stage with cohen where we can sit him on our lap when we are out. he loves to look around and smile at strangers. i can't believe how fast he is growing!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

my canadian online shopping habit

we live in a small town, population 7000 or so. we are lacking a lot of stores that i would normally shop at. a list of stores we don't have that i would probably shop at from time to time:

- superstore (one of my favs!)
- roots
- american apparel
- the body shop
- shoppers drug mart (ok, we have one, but it's one of the old ones that mostly only sells actual drugs)
- costco
- chapters (or any bookstore of any kind)
- sears (we have a little sears counter where you can order from the catalogue)
- gap
- any clothing store at all (except ardene's and a miniature pseudio)
- a store that sells baby stuff (other than walmart, which doesn't have much)
- ikea (or any chain furniture store)
- lululemon
- and the list continues.

basically, the shopping is pretty meager here. you might think that would mean me shopping less and saving money. but. online shopping. i love it. i love searching for stuff while breastfeeding, and i love when our mailbox is full of parcels. the most important thing to me when shopping online is that the shipping is within canada. i am so not a fan of having to deal with customs and duty. also, free shipping is awesome.

sites i love ordering online from:

- well.ca. they have so much stuff. and free shipping with a minimum order. i order everything from sponges and laundry soap to gifts and baby clothes. plus they send you little samples of other stuff with your order. i am a slave to the free gift with purchase. i am truly addicted to this one. 

- indigo. my visa statement usually has at least three indigo orders on it. j and i love reading, and although we love our local library, we always need more books. and i always order gifts from here because the shipping is free, they gift wrap for a few bucks, and you can enclose a personal message.

- lussobaby. for baby stuff. they have sales all the time, and they have all the brands i like for bubba. their shipping is super fast, and usually free. we got coco's highchair from here, and i am always ordering the organic wipes from them.

- walmart. even though we have a walmart here, i order online instead. i dread entering our walmart because it is always so busy, and they never have what i want. the last thing i ordered was a nursing bra. it was here in just a few days. so much easier to order online. free shipping!

- lululemon. i love their tank tops, and i also love that you can send gifts really easily. free shipping and you can include a gift card. everything comes in cute little reusable bags.

- gap. i don't actually order from here very much, but cohen has received so many gifts from friends and family that shipped from gap. they always include a little personal note, which i love. free shipping.

- amazon. i am into amazon for buying really specific things i can't find anywhere else. i wanted this particular diaper wet bag, and couldn't find it anywhere, but amazon had it. the only thing is some stuff takes like three weeks to ship because it comes from outside canada. the shipping on some stuff is free.

the sites above are the ones i use really often. other sites we order from once in a while:

- roots. for their leather bags and boots. so good. free shipping. i have had some issues with their customer service in the past, but i think in general they are pretty good.
- MEC. we always have a running list of stuff we want from there, and then we place a big order a few times a year. free shipping.
- babies r us. we got all our big ticket items like the stroller and car seat from here. free shipping. 
- the body shop. i wait until they have a really good deal on the body butter and order ten of them. i am still working on my last shipment.

so, no, we probably haven't saved any money from having less stores to shop at around here. i might even shop more now since it is so easy. i'll be doing all my christmas shopping online this year, and having it shipped directly to my parent's house. less stuff to cram into our suitcase. do other people do most of their shopping online?

Friday, 1 November 2013

my little man's pain

being a mama is crazy in so many ways. yesterday we were talking to a woman who is maybe seven months pregnant. at one point cohen started to cry loudly. immediately, the pregnant woman started sweating and turned bright red. she apologized, saying that her hormones have been making her get all fight-or-flight every time she hears a baby cry. she had to back away, and i could see that she could barely get her sentences together.

later on, last night, cohen was having a hard time falling asleep. sometimes he would be really smiley and just want to hang out with us, but sometimes he seemed super agitated, like maybe he had gas or he was teething. and i felt it deep inside. it feels like he is an extension of me, and when he seems irritated, my stomach actually hurts. i guess it is the most intense empathy ever. the hours passed, and eventually he did fall asleep. 

jon and i were talking about it later. he said that when cohen is upset, jon feels a strong urge to make him feel better. but it's not physical for jon. for me, it actually feels chemical. you really, really never understand what it feels like to be a parent until you are a parent yourself. that is the lesson that i have learned over and over with our little cohen. i feel so lucky to be a parent, and i also feel so lucky that cohen was not colicky. i can't even imagine what those poor mamas go through.

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