Thursday, September 11, 2014

Four Months


Spencer was four months old yesterday. How a quarter of his first year has already passed I have no idea. I've said it before, time is going way too fast with this little guy and I can't believe he is officially no longer a newborn.

Spencer is my dream baby. He has started sleeping 12 hours a night and is a babbling, cooing, laughing delight. He has his first tooth poking through on the bottom (without any fuss), holds his head up and is in the process of learning to roll over. At his check-up on Monday Spencer weighed in at 17 lbs 3oz and is up in the 95th percentile. In our doctor's words: "Spencer is certainly thriving." By the time he has his first birthday I'm going to have biceps of steel from carting this nugget around. 



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Missing Out?

For all the years I looked after Molly she was always super sensitive to movies and television shows. She couldn't watch Disney movies because they were too scary, leaning towards Dora the Explorer or Toopy & Binoo because she knew they were safe choices. Though I never pushed it I always thought this was a little silly; when I had kids they were going to enjoy watching movies like I did as a child.

Except that Eloise is just as sensitive as Molly, maybe more so. She will not watch certain cartoons and has deemed most movies, even commercials, too scary. Since I've been through this before I know that there is no sense in pushing it, but I worry that Eloise is missing out. Like it or not, movies and tv shows are a big part of childhood pop culture and I've always felt that the kids who didn't watch missed out a bit. 

The 'thing' for every child I know is Frozen. They sing all the songs, know every scene and play Frozen in the park. Eloise just stands there. She didn't even make it though the first two minutes if Frozen before running to us, distressed. "Why was there a big snowman and why is he so scary?" she asked. Eloise's best friend Ruby is all about Frozen so we thought we'd try introducing Eloise to the movie scene by scene. It's been unsuccessful.

My final attempt of helping Eloise get in on the Frozen craze is through the music. I downloaded most of the songs from the movie and we've been singing along. Eloise now tells people how much she loves the movie and is always willing to sing a few lines from "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" I may just be a genius.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Lullabye

This summer has flown by faster than any I can remember. Every day since mid-July seems to have bled into the next and I am feeling particularly guilty about working so much and letting Eloise down in the process. She wakes up with such gusto and always asks, "What are we going to do today?" It breaks my heart to too often say, "Mama has to work."

I always hope that work will take less time than it does, and I make lofty plans in my head that we will be able to head out for the afternoon, but it hasn't worked out much that way lately. In between work there is baby feeding and multiple nap times, both of which most successfully happen at home. I try to take little breaks throughout the day to play, get Eloise involved in preparing meals and caring for Spencer, but it just doesn't feel like enough. Every day she grows a little more and gets a little bigger and I am becoming so afraid of missing out on this time in her life without even knowing it.

At my wedding last weekend the bride and her father danced to Lullabye by Billy Joel. It had been forever since I had heard this song and I found myself sitting at the back of the room, weeping silently. I broke down because every lyric rang so true to this stage in Eloise's life. All of the questions and the little stories and songs she has for me every day, one day they won't be there because she will be grown and I will no longer be the centre of her universe. One day she won't have the patience to call my name until I finally answer to tell me something special.

I am struggling as I write this because it makes me so emotional. I feel like I have really let Eloise down this summer by not giving her enough of my undivided attention, by expecting too much of her and not playing as much as I should. Our business has just been growing so quickly and with Spencer's birth my attention is divided in so many directions. September will bring the relief of routine as school starts up and weddings slow down, but I have some time I need to make up to Eloise.

Eloise often asks me to sing her a song at bedtime but usually I am so tired that I can't find the words for much more than Twinkle Twinkle. In trying harder I can at least commit to a bedtime song and Lullabye may be the perfect one.

Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel) - Billy Joel

Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark
And deep inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me
  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Three Months


Spencer officially reached three months on Monday. We are so in love with this little boy!

At three months Spencer is a big, happy baby who spends his waking hours smiling. He eats a ton, likes his routine and is officially sleeping through the night (!). Last week Spencer started laughing and now I can't even get him dressed without hearing baby chuckles. 


This is what it is to have an 'angel baby' and it is so good!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Seeking Ken

That joyful picture of Eloise I posted after the second night in a row that she slept in her own bed? That was basically just for show. Since then Eloise has slept through the night in her own bed precisely once, and I think it was only because she stayed up too late.

The Sleep Through The Night chart on our fridge has three stickers, just one away from a fourth-sticker treat (something little like a lollipop or a new hair bow). Eloise needs 16 stickers to earn that Ken doll and at this rate she'll be seven by the time that happens. We keep reminding Eloise that all she has to do is stay in her own bed, even if she wakes, in order to earn those stickers but she is smarter than that. She knows if she wakes up and comes into our bed we won't fight it so when I am putting her to bed now and ask her if she's going to stay there all night and she says, "Um not tonight. I'll do it tomorrow, okay mama? Is that a good idea?" Sure, but it would be a better idea if you just slept, Eloise. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Little Ballerina

There have been plenty of great things lately, but this is just might be my favourite:


Eloise started dance camp on Monday and I'm actually not sure who was more excited. I think it may have been me. Not to sound stage mom-y or anything but I really think Eloise has the potential to excel in dance. She is musical, strong and quick to learn, she does not forget anything and is petite in all the right ways. Eloise is also really, really into it and I am all for encouraging her desire to dance. This little ballerina has something special and I can hardly wait for her first performance on stage.


WAHM

When I was pregnant the question was often, "How are you going to do it when the baby comes?"

The "it" was work as much as I do and care for my children simultaneously and I said I didn't know, it would just work out. And it has, mostly. If I didn't love what I do so much I wouldn't be able to keep going the way that I do. I love knowing that I have a hand in one of the most important days in someone's life. I love being there when my clients create memories and I feel fortunate that I can put my creativity to good use. When I am not at home I never worry about Eloise and Spencer. I often feel guilty for leaving them so much and that my work takes up time that we should have together, but I never worry. My parents are dream caregivers and Chris is an exceptional Dad. In fact, Chris handles caring for both kids so well that at my last wedding he sent me a photo of Eloise in the bath, Spencer bathed and in bed. It was 6:56pm. I'm lucky if I get Eloise down by 8:30pm when I'm on my own.

The biggest struggle, I am finding, comes with the day to day. I am struggling to figure out the best way to handle endless emails, field phone calls and work on projects for clients while keeping both kids entertained, making sure everyone is fed and staying ahead of the housework. I never seem to accomplish it all in a day and if I don't write down what I need to do it doesn't happen. An entire conversation or idea gone - poof! - unless it's on paper.

What I am trying to do now, as a WAHM (that's Work at Home Mom), is not easy. My 'office' is in the middle of the living room which means shutting myself off to the needs of my children or only working when they are asleep or with my parents. My Mom & Dad often offer to help with the kids before I even have to ask, but I still run around like a crazy person trying to get it all done. These days I never sit down unless it is for the purpose of feeding Spencer or working on the computer, if I am up from my desk there is something to be done around the house. Phone calls are an opportunity to fold laundry.   

Last Saturday I took on my biggest wedding to date, doing all of the planning and handling all of the decor. I handmade each sign, every piece of stationery, picked up every decor item and assembled a team to set it all up. It was a lot to take on and in the week leading up to the wedding Chris was in Toronto where he was the best man in another wedding. I spent several late nights working on seating plans, making place cards and hand lettering chalkboard signs, scared that I could not complete everything during the day with both kids underfoot. My parents assisted a lot with Eloise and Spencer and it all worked out (of course), but a crazy few weeks and made me consider what I can do to make life easier on myself. For the sake of my family it might be time to hire in a little help.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

First Swim


We took a very quick trip up to the Okanagan to see our Curries last weekend and just like Eloise, Spencer had his first 'swim' in their pool. It is more of a photo opportunity than anything else and a cute to see photos from both trips.

The top photo is Eloise on July 9, 2011, she was four months old to the day. This is Spencer on July 26, 2014, he is two and a half months old. Bet you can't spot the size difference :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Supersize Baby


Spencer is a big boy. So big that at just eleven weeks he is well into 3-6 month clothing, busting out of everything far to quickly. I swear by the time a sleeper comes out of the wash and I go to put it on again - a cycle that lasts no more than a few days - it is already too small.

Spencer is roly. He has rolls on his rolls, three chins and dimpled hands. I can't help but feel proud that it's me who has made him this way since he has been 95% breastfed. We did start giving him formula on event days and now he gets a bottle in the middle of the night (that's another blog post...) but I am still impressed that for the most part it's the milk that I produce that has made our little boy so big and healthy. Spencer nurses with gusto and I am confident that this is just a window into how well he is going to eat. There will be no dancing around meal times with my little man.

Last night Spencer slept for nine hours. That's nine hours straight. Eloise was eleven months old by the time she slept that long AND she was eating solids! He woke up content and hungry (obviously) at 6:30am, Chris gave him a bottle so I could sleep longer and when I woke up at 8am he was ready to eat again. His days are an endless cycle of eating, smiling, laughing and sleeping. He is a chill, content baby and my only complaint is that he is getting too big too quickly. I feel blessed to have a good sleeper and eater after our challenges with Eloise but I am not ready for my little (big) baby to grow so fast.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dinner Disaster

Don't call us between 5:30 and 8:30pm, it is a disaster zone around here. 

Depending on Spencer's routine, come five o'clock he has either recently woken up or is waking up at precisely the time I am making dinner. Really, I should be making dinner at 4pm in order to preempt Eloise's hunger-induced meltdowns, but my heavy work schedule these days means I need every minute I can get and the late afternoon is when my Dad often takes to Eloise to the park while Spencer sleeps, meaning a few distraction-free work hours for me. My intention is always to stop what I'm doing to get dinner started after an hour or so of emails but I swear I sit down at 2pm and when I look up again it's five. 

While I try to prepare dinner and manage Spencer - either at my feet in his bouncer or in one arm and over my shoulder - Eloise is watching tv. Spencer always needs to eat shortly after waking from his nap, so whatever I have been cooking needs to be put on pause so I can feed a sometimes frantic baby. It is now past five and Eloise is getting cranky. Once Spencer has eaten it's time to get Eloise fed pronto-tonto. Chris can barely make it in the door from work before I hand him the baby or ask him to deal with Eloise so I can get back to the (joyful?) solitude of preparing our dinner.

Depending on her mood, dinnertime with Eloise is either simple or a ridiculous process of whining and bribery. If I serve chicken we're safe, if I branch out too much we are in trouble and if we don't time it right we're hooped. Baths immediately follow dinner with each of us focusing on one kid. I usually have Spencer who gets bathed in a tub in the kitchen sink. He really likes his bath and this has become one of my favourite part of our days, even if I get peed on. Chris and Eloise have fun too, but he who baths Eloise must also brush her hair. Once Spencer has been diapered and dressed I position myself at the end of Eloise's bed so I can nurse and wait for Eloise to climb in. Chris is responsible for bringing Eloise her milk and after a kiss she says sternly, "Daddy, you can go" (and then she is told sternly that is not a polite way to speak). When Eloise is finally ready she passes me her empty milk, hunkers down into her pillow and I nurse Spencer for as long as possible before he passes out. It's 8pm and both kids are asleep but we still haven't even eaten dinner.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh Hay

Blog posts have been rather light lately and you know why? Because I am so freaking busy. I am so busy with these little ones and this wedding season that I actually shouldn't be blogging right now, I should be cutting out escort cards and painting a chalkboard sign now that everyone is asleep. But you know what, I needed a breather tonight. Today felt like I was running and couldn't catch a break. I didn't get out of my pajamas until 2:30pm and the only reason I showered was because I had to go downtown to meet clients. I did manage to get a fair bit done today, without plunking Eloise in front of the tv even (yay me?), but my to-do list is still miles long. Oh, and we're going 'camping' this weekend which I am equal parts looking forward to and feeling guilty about when there is so much prep still required for my next wedding. Also, there is packing and I don't even know what one packs to go camping let alone camping with two young children. Roughing it has never really been my thing.

This summer has flown by and I am still struggling to find a balance between mom time and work time. It all just kinda bleeds into one and I have been up more nights than I care to think of until 2am working just to fit it all in. Thankfully Chris handles Spencer's nighttime feed (like the rockstar Dad that he is) in order to make sure I sleep, but it is still exhausting and I'm not sure if super late nights are even the answer to making it work. But then again, who knows if there is an answer.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I love being a mom to these babies and I really love doing what I do with Smitten, it's just overwhelming to do all the things that I need to and the things that I want to at the same time. It's my busy season so I know that the Fall will be different but it's hard to see the end of the tunnel when our next free weekend is not until October 11th. If I just keep moving forward it will all work out. Right?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Goodbye Gluten

I think I may have overdone it with the gluten when I was pregnant. My zest for all things carby during 39 weeks of pregnancy was insatiable, and easy, wheat based snacks were the only thing I craved (until heartburn set in!). With even less time these days to eat a proper meal in between feeding Spencer and Eloise, trying to stay on top of my busy season and complete all the other items on my to-do list, a piece of toast or granola with yogurt are my go to snacks. Unfortunately I am discovering that wheat and gluten laden items make Spencer instantly cranky and gassy. So does dairy. This could not come at a worse time. 

First of all, I really like wheat and all things carbohydrate. I could never be one of those fully committed gluten-free, carb-free people, even though certain gluten-free prepared food, like Glutino Pretzels, are way better than the real thing. I like a regular bread with butter, pasta and muffins and I really like carby desserts. Overdoing it with wheat and gluten definitely affects me, I have just been ignoring the uncomfortable side effects (ahem, gas & bloating) in favour of convenience for so long that I usually don't notice. Now I am afraid to eat the wrong thing, even a bite, for the effect that it will have on Spencer and consequently, me, as I deal with a cranky baby.

Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Good arrived in the mail at the perfect time last week (it passed my lifelong cookbook stamp of approval when we made the same two recipes three times during my library loan period) and I have to challenge myself not to turn to it for dinner recipes every night. Not that this is a bad thing, I just don't always have the time to prepare a full on meal and would love the option of popping in a pizza once and a while. We are also going through fruit and veggies at an unreal rate meaning more trips to the grocery store, another thing I don't exactly have extra time for. 

I wasn't prepared to add another thing to my list of 'things to worry about' by avoiding wheat and gluten, but if the trade off is a constantly fussy baby then I supposed I'll be saying goodbye to gluten.  For now.

No Just Gas


Spencer has smiled at me more than once in the past few days so I am convinced a smile no longer means gas. His smiles are all gummy and lopsided, lighting up his whole face and melting my heart.

Since reaching the six-week mark Spencer has been more alert and has come out of the 'newborn fog' that babies start their lives in. He is now looking at us when we speak, can lift his head and hold it up for a few seconds, clasps onto me when I carry him and is over 12 pounds of rolly poly baby goodness. He has a soft tuft of hair at the nape of his neck, cute little eyelashes and has thankfully grown out of newborn acne. His legs still curl up when we cuddle and we still need to support his head, but he is definitely showing signs of being more baby than newborn.

There are exceptions, but Spencer eats well, sleeps well and is generally happy. At just seven weeks I feel like I already know what to expect from him, such a contrast to Eloise who has always differed day to day. As I write this (what do YOU do while breastfeeding at 4:44am?) Eloise is asleep in our bed. You'd think that a fuss-free day with an easy bedtime would lead to her sleeping through the night in her own bed, but I just never know what to expect. Spencer on the other hand just woke up after sleeping six hours and is busy eating again so he can get back to sleep. This is my introduction to the difference between boys and girls. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Two Months


This chunky little squish is already two months old. I can't believe how quickly eight weeks have passed!

At his six week check up Spencer was 11 pounds, 11 ounces, and has gained steadily since. I would be surprised if he hasn't already tipped 13 pounds but I can't confirm for sure... getting both kids out to a mom & baby drop-in to weigh Spencer is not so realistic these days. But since he has already grown out of 0-3 month clothing my 13 pound guesstimate can't be far off.

Just don't grow too fast, buddy, I'm not finished enjoying this stage with you.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Boy Stuff

Being that I am such a girl, it's not a stretch that I understand, and wholly embrace, Eloise's preference for all things girly. I totally get her love of dresses that twirl and tutus that pouf, high heels and accessories, since these are all things that I enjoy as an adult. But dressing a boy, this is uncharted territory. I am not one of those parents who leaves their babies in a sleeper for the first year of their life for a few reasons. First, don't you think it's a little undignified to have to go everywhere in what you sleep in? And second, I always want to know, do parents who dress their kids exclusively in sleepers put them to bed in the same thing they have worn to the park or grocery store or Science World? Outside germs do not belong inside beds.

The biggest difference I'm learning with dressing a boy is that there just aren't the same number of options as there are for girls. And with this new experience of boy dressing I am awfully thankful that my girlfriend Sarah set aside most of the clothing she had for her little guy, Jude, who is a year and a half older than Spencer. Sarah works in fashion and Jude is basically the best dressed baby you have ever seen, so I feel very fortunate to have his hand-me-downs. I always teased Sarah that hers was the only baby who wore denim shirts with printed leggings but now that's us. And I must say, Spencer wears chambray well.

Through Sarah's styling of Jude I've learned that cardigans are essential, tailored sweats look great with a button down, boys need accessories and metallics are a do. Spencer's rapid growth means I'm not going to get by 100% on hand-me-downs, so here are some favourite items we will continue to replace as our Butterball gets bigger.

{baby gap}
{zara}

{baby gap}

{h&m}

{h&m}