Monthly Archives: April 2014

Life With A Baby

Life With A Baby

Life has certainly been turned upside down. For the longest time I pictured being the organized mom, the mom that got all the sleep, the mom who flipped pancakes with one hand while I held a slumbering babe in the other. I pictured him breastfeeding, looking lovingly up into my eyes as I flipped the pages of the morning newspaper, and I imagined cloth diapers from the start to save the world!

No one can prepare you for reality. When Junior was born, he had to be on an IV for a few days at the hospital, and they needed him eating right away so he has taken to drinking formula from a bottle, and with each passing day he rejects my breast even more. I am now a slave to a breast pump, where I am hardly getting more than a few drops to add to his formula. When I put Junior to breast he cries, pushes away and scratches, the whole time looking around for the bottle that he knows will come. Many a tear has been shed, not only for my shattered dreams of breastfeeding perfection but also for the fact that I feel my baby rejecting the most natural thing I can give him. I’ve been pumping as much as possible to get my supply up, but on a 2 hour pump schedule, and Junior being on a 3 hour feeding schedule, I feel I hardly have time to pee, let alone sterilize bottles, mix formula, change my stale-milk smelly clothes or shower. Notice I didn’t even mention trying to get any semblance of sleep. Hubby has reassured me that if breastfeeding isn’t going to happen, that he will support me, but I am indeed devastated.

Sleep as never been my strong suit. I’m a light sleeper by nature, and so I thought, what could possibly be so hard? Well, with a Junior’s schedule of being fussy and awake at night, and every coo, fart or whimper I am awake. “Nap when they nap” is for sure the key, but I have yet to learn how to do that, as when I do catch a whiff of freedom while Junior sleeps, there is laundry to do, food to prep and dogs to care for, and by the time I sit down, Junior is cooing softly for attention.

Cloth diapers haven’t yet made it out of the box and we’re going through disposables like crazy. I find the cloth diapers are huge and bulky on him, and I think I will give it a few weeks before saddling Junior with a giant bum blanket.

All the Grandmas have been out to help in one way or another. Food prep, watching Junior while I catch a nap, or putting together my clothes line has all been grand feats that would not have been accomplished without them. Hubby and I are slowly getting into a schedule, but it’s been hard, and we have begrudgingly accepted all the help we can get.

But it all comes down to the sweet baby boy who is now sleeping in Hubby’s arms (hubby is also asleep), who we would not trade for the world. His quivering chin when he cries, the soft cooing of happiness, the funny faces he makes, and the loud rolling belches he gives us during burping, are all things we will treasure forever. Sleep can come another day. Laundry can wait. But our baby boy will be cherished and loved no matter what.

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Baby Time

Baby Time

So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I swear there is a good reason. I’ve been quite busy trying hard, and eventually having, a baby. Last thursday we had a follow up appointment with our doctor who confirmed that Junior was still a big baby, but that he hadn’t grown to abnormal proportions and I should still have no issue delivering. After Hubby and I left, we went straight into town to try out a gelato place that is gaining popularity for their baby inducing gelato flavour. I’m of course skeptical, but would a pregnant lady turn down her hubby buying some gelato? I think not. I polished off a small tub of the spicy chocolate flavor and my mom came to pick me up to return me home while hubby went off to work. That afternoon my mom and I worked furiously on organizing the garage, hanging tools and work benches, trying hard to start my labour without overdoing it (before someone has a fit).
At 11:30 pm that night (which by the way was April 11th which was my guess as to the actual birth date) I felt the first contraction. By the next morning, after careful counting and documentation of the little cramps, Hubby and I were on our way to the hospital. Having never given birth before I had no clue what a contraction felt like, so we cooly spoke with the triage and were hooked up to the monitors. They confirmed I was in the beginning stages of labour but since I hadn’t started to dilate they sent us home. With a different description of pain level and contraction speed in order to return. Sigh…. so anti climatic. We drove home for a sleepless night of counting contractions. By the next morning I was hugging my kitchen island crying with every contraction. There was no way that I hadn’t gotten to the point where they could admit me. We got back in the car and headed back in. I was 3 cm….I needed 4 cm. Instead of driving back out to the country we stayed with my dad, and a few hours later, as I found myself kneeling over the pull out couch, Hubby insisted it was once again time. I was finally at 4 cm!!! Once admitted I was hooked up to all the bells and whistles and after the 3rd epidural I was flying high, not feeling a thing, but that also meant that I wasn’t dilating fast. It was until about 11:30am on Monday April 14 did I start pushing. At 12:58, “Junior” was born, a full head of hair and weighing 9lbs and 1oz. Hopefully by now you’ll know I haven’t named him “Junior” and in fact he has a great name, but Junior will be his blog name.
Our baby boy was pretty darn healthy except for some low blood sugar that had him staying an extra day at the hospital on IV, but that cleared itself up and we’ve been home, trying to sleep, and trying to get into a routine since thursday night. I’m beyond exhausted and my body is broken for sure (doesn’t help I’ve put out my back hunching over bassinets, nursery beds, and carrying a 9 pounder).

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Too Close for Comfort

Too Close for Comfort

Two nights ago Hubby and I had the scare of a lifetime. As usual, we sent the dogs outside for their last pee before bedtime. My big girl gets tied up as she would certainly run off and the little one is loose as he never strays far. We usually watch them closely while they are outside to make sure they just do their business and come back in after. Our little man came back in asap, and I even made a comment that he was in a hurry to go to bed. I opened the door, let him in and closed it again. With the backyard illuminated by the deck light, we can see about 30 feet from the house. I looked back up and saw a coyote/wolf/coywolf running at my girl who was still tied up (she has about a 15 foot radius from the deck). I screamed and flung open the door, and Hubby came running from behind and made the scariest sound ever as loud as he could while I reeled in my girl by her tie-out. The attacker had been running, ears up, tail straight out and was coming in for a kill! With Hubby’s gutteral challenge it hightailed away and I was able to pull our dog inside and slam the door. Both Hubby and I were shaken. If we hadn’t been there watching, we’re sure that thing would have attacked our “kids”. Since the first few weeks of living here we hadn’t seen the coyotes other than playing way back in the field, but this was too close. And after a few minutes of absorbing what happened I recall this thing was taller than my dog… which almost makes me think it could have been a wolf. Hubby and I ran and put our boots on, grabbed pointy scary garden tools and ran outside, leaving the kids inside to watch as we tromped through the backyard in the dark, tiny flashlights in hand, making loud noises, but the attacker was gone. We’re so thankful that we caught it all before that thing had a chance to have a meal.

The next day I called up our neighbours, farmers, and they agreed it was time to address the wildlife. They even pointed out that a lot of their barn cats had gone missing, and that the coyote population was known around here to cross breed with wolves. I don’t care what it was… coyote, wolf, or coywolf, nobody threatens our kids, and no healthy wild animal should come that close to humans/houses! With our neighbours on alert, and with notice that they will send their hunter friends out to investigate for dens, I feel reassured. We’ll continue to be careful at dark and check before letting the kids out for their pee, but I’ll be on edge until we can get that fence up… but will a 5′ chain link stop a coywolf? It better, otherwise I’ll be looking at getting my gun carrying license again.

PS. After all that excitement I still didn’t go into labour!

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Snow Geese and Babies

Snow Geese and Babies

So, a day after I wrote the exam for my dream job, Hubby and I went to the doctor’s to check up on Juniors progress, and once again we weren’t surprised that she was astounded by his size. She was concerned about letting him continue until full term (I suspect he is due much sooner than his April 22nd date), and she began a procedure to “get things started”. I certainly won’t go into too many details but it involved her manually separating some membranes which in turn should have started the labour process, or at least jump start the hormones. It was a painful procedure, quite surprising at how fast it was and very scary to know that labour could happen that day. BUT, that was not our day, nor the day after, nor now, 5 days later, as there have been no contractions and my water certainly hasn’t broken. Hubby and I have been very active this past week, just trying to jar Junior into thinking he’d be more comfortable on the outside than being jostled around in my big belly. We’ve raked out the gardens (with only a bit more snow to go… we’re almost there!), we’ve rearranged the garage boxes, moved heavy desks and gone on many a country drive where Hubby swerves to hit every pothole possible. It was on one of these drives that Hubby discovered that a few of his friends had actually moved nearby, and we stopped in to say hello to one. After pulling out of his driveway, Hubby noticed a gigantic flock of “seagulls”, but they suddenly started forming the tell-tale V of geese. I was so excited to see my first skein* of Snow Geese. I remember growing up and going to the bird sanctuary with my dad and seeing all the Canada Geese, and among the gaggle* you might be able to pick out 1 or 2 white geese, but I had never seen a full skein*. I’m not talking about 100, we’re talking thousands. The picture on the right with the tree is the one we took, it was so hard to get them all in one shot as they flew high overhead. But thousands, without exaggeration. What a beautiful sight. Also note the amount of water in the fields. As Winter leaves us, Spring is in full flood, and many a farmers field’s are now cold lakes.
*A group of geese is called a gaggle, a group in flight is called a skein and a group in flight in formation is called a wedge….. apparently


Morning Meltdown Muffins

Morning Meltdown Muffins

Well I’ve been on maternity leave just over 4 weeks now and the other day I received an email from my dream job stating that I had made it through to the next level (a written exam). Now, I don’t even recall when I applied for the job, must have been at least a year ago, but the process takes a while, so of course I was so excited, but… but… I’m on mat leave. Don’t they know this (insert unhappy face)?. My saving grace, in my immediate predicament, is that I was supposed to write the exam pretty much the same day that Junior is expected, but they allowed me to write it today. So I studied my brains out for the test, and I think I aced it. Thinking that it would take another year for the next step, I waddled to the front of the room and handed in my exam. With one hand protectively covering my giant baby belly I thanked the human resources lady for accommodating me. She then said I would hear back in the next few weeks if I had made it to the interview stage (sigh). On one hand, I’m super excited… this IS my dream job. BUT, on the other hand I want to stay home with Junior for as long as possible, relishing in the cuteness of baby adventures. I want to garden barefoot this summer, watching my dogs chase butterflies. I certainly don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch and its very hard to get into this organization, so I came home and tried to take my mind off of it and promptly did what I said I wasn’t going to do…I baked.

I call these my Morning Meltdown Muffins. Chalk-full of seeds, antioxidant filled blueberries, and nuts, these muffins will be a god send during those chaotic mornings where Junior is crying, hubby has one foot out the door to work and the dogs are barking at every little noise. A quick nuke in the microwave, a little bit of butter, or even served with some yogurt, I picture myself gobbling one down on the run. Now today’s recipe is going off kilter… I found a pretty generic muffin recipe and then started throwing in all kinds of ingredients. It might have had something to do with the stress of worrying about my exam and the possible pending decisions we would need to make as a family, but I think the muffins turned out pretty good. A bit on the drier side, but they’d be great with jam as well. Yum!

Morning Meltdown Muffins
2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 brown sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of rolled oats

I then added handfuls (yes a “handful” is an accurate form of measurement in my household) of walnuts, sunflower seeds, almond slivers, chocolate chips and bran nuggets, as well as about 1 cup of frozen blueberries and a tablespoon of honey.

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Sweet Quick Breads for the Freezer

Sweet Quick Breads for the Freezer

Making quick breads are a quick way to empty out your pantry, create a great snack or breakfast treat, or distract one from studying for an exam. I’ve been collecting recipes for a while now that will use up left over fruit as Hubby and I were born as carnivores, we really need to sneak in some good stuff (even though it’s usually associated with breads and sugars). My first quick bread of the day is a simple banana bread, nothing fancy, nothing added, not even a single nut. The next was an apple caramel crumble loaf. The recipes are from some great blogging sites with many an awesome recipe.

Here is the recipe for the Banana Bread

And the Apple Loaf (I added chips of caramel from some treats we had in the cupboard)

I won’t be able to tell you how delicious they taste since they will be cooled and tossed in the freezer for emergency use, but I can tell you that my house smells of gently cooked apples and cinnamon. sweet bananas and oats toasted with brown sugar and melted buttery goodness.

I swear I’ll stop baking… I’ve got to concentrate on actual meal prepping…maybe some freezer casserole ideas or quick meal ideas with actual vegetables and meat. But to be honest I’m kind of excited that I can say “I bake” when I used to avoid anything to do with sugar, measuring cups and greasing muffin trays.

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Healthy Carrot Muffins

Healthy Carrot Muffins

With a bag of carrots sitting in the bottom of the fridge, with no hope in hell of being eaten anytime soon, I had to find a recipe where I could turn these rabbit-food nutrients into something both Hubby and I could enjoy. I scoured my Pinterest for a carrot-friendly recipe and found a pin for “healthy” carrot muffins. One would think that most carrot muffins are healthy but in reality alot of muffins and quick breads are laden with sugar. I took one look at this recipe and deemed it worthy of a try.

1 cup raisins
2 cups warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups shredded carrots

Combine raisins and water in a small bowl. Let soak for 15 minutes. Drain raisins, discard water and set raisins aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, oil and brown sugar; beat well.
Combine egg mixture and flour mixture; mix just until moistened. Fold in carrots and drained raisins. Spoon into prepared muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

I made one batch, tried one, which was still warm out of the oven with some not-so-healthy peanut butter, and was so impressed I made another batch (without raisins since I ran out). Now I have a bunch of healthy muffins for quick breakfasts which I can grab between caring for Junior and chasing the dogs around.

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