Monday, December 29, 2008

Daring Bakers December Challenge

At the mild coaxing of a fellow High Park stroller mom, Tina, I joined the Daring Bakers. It's a worldwide group of people with a keen interest in baking, their skill levels range from amateur enthusiast to professional. I'm definitely on the amateur enthusiast end. I haven't even been the biggest baking fan because I feel like baking takes too long and has too many steps most of the time. I think this will be a great way to learn a lot more about the art and stretch my whisking muscles. 

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand. And it was a whopper. 

I had my hands on this thing 4 different days - between baby naps and holiday obligations and all the work involved. It was a ton of work, mainly because of the individual elements, of which there were 6 - but divided into teeny tiny portions that feel like a lot of work for not a lot of result. I was glad to be visiting my parents and have my mom and sister's help or I may have abandoned the thing all together. 

The individual layers: creme brulee, mousse, ganache, praline feuillettes, and dacquoise didn't turn out as well as I had hoped but they weren't a complete disaster either. It was my first experience with a creme brulee and a pate a bombe and I think I did a respectable job of it. 

Thinking about how to decorate the cake was the most fun. I shaved some milk and dark chocolate to spread around the cake and bought a few decorative pieces at Bernard Callebaut, and finally added a touch of icing sugar to finish them off.

I'm really happy with the final result and it feels really, really good to be finished. I am looking forward to January's challenge with less trepidation than I did December's.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First Date

My mom generously offered to babysit for us while my husband and I went out for our first-date-since-baby tonight. If any of you mommas haven't been out as a couple without your baby, I highly recommend it. 

We met some great friends at the Keg for a delicious steak. It was a reunion and a celebration of their engagement and it was great. And, amazingly, we didn't spend the whole night talking about the baby.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Name Wars

Someone once told me to wait until your baby is born before you reveal their name; if you tell people ahead of time, you're opening yourself up to needless scrutiny and potential in-law negotiating. Once the papers are filed, it's done. 

I always thought that people who didn't want to share their baby names had picked something wacky - like Apple. I realize that some people believe by keeping names secret, they're protecting their choice. I think by revealing your picks, you're actually calling 'dibs'. I don't believe that you can call 'dibs' years ahead though, you can't call a name before you're pregnant. 

Lately, I've been hearing about name stealers. Stealing even odd names complete with their odd spelling when their baby was born first. That's not cool. When can you legitimately feel like you own a name? You can't. But you can be upset if your sister or someone related by blood uses the same name within 3-5 years. Otherwise, it's unlikely that two kids will go to the same school or run in the same circles. And if they do, having the same name is not the end of the world.

Something I find really annoying is the people who think they own a name and are perfectly willing to fight you over it. For example, I named my first born Melissa so you can't use Larisa or Alyssa because it's too close. 

I understand that we get really worked up about names because names are so important but that's why you choose back-up names. A baby name, like a teenage boyfriend, is not worth losing your girlfriend over. 

Babynames.com just released their list of 'The Best and Worst Celebrity Baby Names'. Harlow is the top girl's name and Caleb tops the boys list.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Joyeux Noel

The baby and I are at my parent's house for Christmas. Our first night here, I was on the phone with my husband and the doorbell rang. My mom answered the door and I could hear "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" being sung. I went to the door with the phone and my sister followed. On the porch there were 20 or so Junior High-aged girls signing.

When they finished they told us they had one more and sang, "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing". Caroling is almost a lost art. How often is your doorbell rung by a stranger that isn't asking for money for a cause? 

The girls were from the Edmonton Strathcona choir and they were very talented. My husband asked if the singing was coming from the television. It's the first time I've had carolers at the door. The only other time I've seen carolers is along Bloor Street during the holidays. I'm not saying I'll be knocking on doors next year singing but it was very cool.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Birth Control

After you have a baby, the last thing you want to think about is sex but eventually you do. Then you realize you have to think about birth control again because the Sixth Month Itch will strike and you probably don't really want another right away. 

I used to take the pill but when you're breastfeeding, it's a different story. Your options are more limited. If you want to take the pill, your only choice is the low dosage version which you have to remember to take at the same time every day. So what other options does a momma have?

1. IUD - while it's not your mother's IUD, it's not the first choice for very many women. It can be uncomfortable at insertion, you may lose your period, it can 'migrate' and it could take a while for you to get pregnant after removal. This option was my doctor's recommendation but she is a resident and I think she wanted to do a 'procedure'.
2. Diaphram - okay this was your mother's birth control and it will completely negate any spontaneity. It also seems to involve some mucking about that I'm not into and it's not highly effective.
3. The Patch - this one seems weird. I don't know anything about it or know anyone who's tried it. If any of you have and want to comment, please do.
4. The Ring - new and interesting but I like to take my hormones by proven methods thank you. And again, it's hormone based so breastfeeding mommas can't use it.
5. The Shot - no thank you, even if I wasn't breastfeeding I wouldn't mess with my hormones that much.
6. Condoms - gross. Who would have ever expected to use a condom with their husband.
7. Natural family planning - the method where you learn about your body and how it works to make it work for you. While this sounds like a utopian solution, I think it could be tricky and not highly reliable.

I don't think there are really great options out there. How are you tackling the issue?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'll Never Tell

Last night we, my stroller moms and I, had our first Ladies Night. I feel old just saying 'Ladies Night', I'd rather call it Hot Mommas Night but that's not right either. I'm open to suggestions if any of you have one. Calling it ladies night makes me feel like a cliche, a bunch of moms all dressed up and acting wild since they are free from their children. That's not quite what it was like but it felt really good to be out without the baby.

It's great to get out with your regular friends too but you realize pretty quickly that all you have to talk about is the baby. I don't know about current music anymore, I haven't seen any movies and I haven't been to any great restaurants either. I can't even complain about work. 

At the beginning of the night, we were all baby talk but slowly we started to talk about other stuff too. It's nice that we're all getting to know each other better because it's a small community and our kids will grow up together. 

Oh, and what happens at ladies night, stays at ladies night. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

If my parents have a favourite among my siblings, they're very good at hiding it. I've always thought we were favourites for different reasons, none of which make us better than another. I'm the striver. My sister who is just a year younger than me is beautiful, caring and the most thoughtful of us. My baby sister is... well... the baby which is always a shoe-in for favs. She's also very creative, pretty, smart, determined and loving. Together we are our parent's pride. 

There are definitely families that play favourites though. This month's Today's Parent has an article about the topic. It says that playing favourites can be detrimental to your children's relationships with each other. It also touches on the effects on the children as they're growing up and as adults, some of it is pretty interesting. 

While I like the article, it becomes fairly patronizing when it gives tips for being more equitable. I think it's important for children to feel loved. It's our job to do that. I don't think any child will grow up scarred if they know there are qualities their parents adore in a sibling.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

God

One of the first things I learned in my high school beauty culture class was: never bring up religion or politics. Well I'm not here to cut your hair and I guess we've already covered politics so let's talk. 

This is probably the most important subject for parents to address. Especially today, and in Canada, with so many mixed marriages. What are your core values? How will you raise your children? These are big questions and everyone faces them.  

For Emil and I it was pretty simple, neither of us is a church person, neither of us is particularly spiritual but we have the same fundamental values. We both believe in family first, love, and helping others. We try to lead honourable, respectable lives and make important decisions that way. 

Do I want my children exposed to religion? Certainly. Religion is fundamental to how our world works and should be a part of a child's education. I also think it's important to learn about community-building. Some of the best examples are churches. Not only that, children grow into adults who have to make their own decisions about how they will live in the world.

I know a lot of couples struggle with this. How did you handle the Big Guy/Girl talk? Is it evolving as your children get older? If you hope to have children in the future, how do you think you'll handle it with your partner?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yummy!

I just made my first flourless chocolate cake, famously named for its missing ingredient. It's very simple and absolutely delicious. Components are semi-sweet chocolate, eggs, and butter. It's baked in a water bath, which is the most intimidating baking technique I've ever used. 

The completed cake is firming in my fridge. I hope it's delicious because I'm taking it to friends for dinner tonight. If you want to give it a try, the recipe is in Cook's Illustrated: Holiday Baking.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Surviving a Recession

I can't help but feel a bit anxious about the economy. My employer announced last month they would be laying off 5% of the workforce. Since I'm on maternity leave, I'm technically protected, they are forced to keep a spot for my return. Here's where it gets sticky. I think they can lay me off the day I get back though. 

So now I need to look for a new job before I'm due to go back. Hedging my bets I guess. How crappy would it be to return to work and be told you're laid off? And hey, if things improve at my employer and I feel safe to go back, I will. I do really like my job.

To get a jump start on networking, I've created a profile on LinkedIn and started adding everyone I know. The beauty of LinkedIn is that you can see your contacts' contacts. I've been taking note of who to hit up in a couple months. I also started Tweeting on Twitter because I work in Communications and I like to know how stuff works. Other than that, I've started brainstorming potential jobs and emailing old friends to research ideas. 

The good thing about a tricky economy is that I'll be more open to options. I'll be more willing to accept something that pays less but may be more satisfying. All my money will be going to childcare anyway so I should just do what I want.

What's going to be most important for surviving tough times will be my relationship with my husband. We have always been, annoyingly so, careful savers/spenders. We have regular chats about what we can and can't afford. Our regular financial evaluations help me, a complete worry wart stay calm. Anytime I'm feeling anxious he asks me why and I relax a little when I realize we don't have much to worry about. I also remember what my mom says "things will get better, they just will".

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Top Baby Toys and Gear 2008

My picks for top baby toys and gear for babies 6 months and younger.

1. Sophie La Girafe by Vulli. Rubber teething giraffe. Perfect gift for babies 4 months and older. Give this gift with a stroller tether because Sophie is easily lost. 

2. Winkel by Manhattan Toys. It's a teether that rattles and the loops are rally easy to grasp. Suitable for babies 3 months or older.

3. Oeuf Bouncy Chair. Great for babies up to 18 lbs. Baby's movements cause the chair to gently bounce.

4. Stacking Cups by Bruin. Stack the tower and watch your baby knock it down. Nest the cups and watch your baby pull them apart, knock them together, and suck on them.

5. Discovery Gym/Activity Centre. The brand doesn't matter. These are great for very young babies. It keeps them entertained for 5 or more minutes while you enjoy some peace and maybe a coffee.

What's your favourite baby toy of 2008?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The State of the Union

We are experiencing the most exciting time in Canadian politics ever. Last week the opposition parties reached an agreement to form a coalition government in a direct attempt to oust Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. 

The opposition parties are calling it democratic and saying the Prime Minister has lost the confidence of the house. While the government is saying the opposition is effectively giving the balance of power over to separatists. 

This opposition coalition is part of the beauty and horror of our constitution. In a way the 'majority' will be heard because more people did vote for these MPs as a whole than voted for the Conservatives. But it's also disturbing that a separatist party like the Bloc Quebecois will hold so much power (the power to have their demands met or topple the government) or that a leader can be hoisted to the position of Prime Minister without a general vote. 

It's a legal coup and I didn't think I would ever see one in my lifetime. My take is that it's an unjustified power grab and we need to trash the way our electoral system works. 

The subject is ridiculously complicated and I haven't done it justice but I look forward to your comments.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pregnancy and a Woman's Body

There's no doubt that pregnancy changes your body forever. Your belly grows exponentially (resulting in stretch marks for 90% of us) and while stretch marks fade, the rumble strips are around for good. Besides the scars, basically everything downstairs changes too. You will just never feel the same again but, to me, a baby is worth it. 

I started thinking about this today because I can finally see my abs again. Your abs are one of the first things you say goodbye to when pregnant and they were the last to return. I'm pretty sure it's because I spent at least 5 months of my pregnancy rolling over instead of sitting up, and once Petra was born, rolling over was a hard habit to break. Just like how it takes a while to realize you can bend over again. Once your abs are weakened, it's really hard to get them back. My tummy would hurt, and still does, when I exercise hard. All I've been doing to get them back is pelvis stabilizing exercises. I did unwrap a Pilates DVD and put it in the DVD player but I haven't watched it thru once yet.

Speaking of exercise, that's another post-pregnancy shocker. Try having a baby vaginally and then going for a jog or jumping up and down. It's pretty terrifying, if you have a fear of peeing your pants in public anyway.

Obviously your breasts change too but it's different for every mom. Some have told me theirs got bigger, while mine are smaller. I think the biggest complaint we all have is how they are no longer a matching set. The Baby Whisperer, in her chapter on deciding whether or not to breastfeed, lists t-shirt nipples as a breastfeeding con. Before J.Lo had her twins, she used to pay someone to perk her nipples for her. That should make it a breastfeeding pro, right?

So the abs are back and the kangaroo pouch remains... I still have some work to do. Have any other mommas noticed earth shattering changes?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Personality

I love that word: Personality. I like the way DJs on the radio take on that word to describe their work. 'I'm a radio personality' or 'I'm a TV personality'. I've noticed some of them call themselves Attitudes now. What a great way to describe yourself! It's as if when they turn on their mic, their alter-ego emerges. BeyoncĂ© has just released a new CD called "I am... Sasha Fierce" which is in honour of her alter-ego.

I think I have my own alter-ego. The one that comes out when I write a post about the Keeper Cup or just get silly. One of my good friends calls it "radio Gina". I think of it as the fun part of me. I only just realized a few days ago that I had lost touch with it since having the baby 7 months ago. 

I was joining my stroller fit group late one morning and kind of ran into them to catch up. I joked that I was going to play bumper strollers! and finally realized that playfulness in me had been missing. I think with the baby, I became very serious. All this time I've been feeling like it was fatigue that was causing me to be boring but now I believe that it also had to do with suppressing the 'fun' to take care of the baby. It feels really good to get it back in some way. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Holiday Travel

Are any of you planning to travel for the holidays? We're going to Edmonton to visit my family for three weeks! I love Christmas, it's the time of year when everyone gets together, even my dad takes a break. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Beautiful Moment

I want to write this down so I don't forget. I just shared the most beautiful moment with my daughter. I was trying to stretch her evening out because I'm getting a little sick of waking up at 6am and I want her to go to bed later but I'm failing miserably. I was trying to find engaging games to play to distract her at all costs. 

One of her favourite games is face tickling so I laid her in my lap facing me and bent over her to shake my hair in her face. She closed her eyes, like she always does, opened one hand to feel my hair and held her other hand in a loose fist. What she did next she's never done before, with a huge gummy grin she started gurgling. It was so sign-songy and adorable, it sounded like pure pleasure.

I just kept shaking my hair and she kept making her beautiful sounds. I'm sure describing it doesn't do it justice but now I'll remember. I hope all the moms out there enjoy, and remember moments like this with their kids. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Healthy Home To Do List

This is from the Environmental Working Group

A question they hear a lot from parents is: "If you could recommend one thing we should all do to improve the environmental health of our families, what would it be?". In response to that question, they compiled this high priority list
  1. Choose better body care products.
  2. Go organic and eat fresh foods.
  3. Avoid fire retardants.
  4. Pick plastics carefully.
  5. Filter your tap water.
  6. Wash your hands.
  7. Skip non-stick.
  8. Use a HEPA-filter vacuum.
  9. Get your iodine.
  10. Use greener cleaning products and avoid pesticides.
  11. Eat good fats.
Download the *.pdf to learn more about each item. The full *.pdf contains a lot of great information for pregnant and nursing moms.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Would it kill you to smile?

In my first year at the University of Alberta, I took an introductory Sociology class. As a first project, to weed out the lazy students, the prof asked us to break a social norm and then write about it. Once we had turned in our papers he invited some of us to talk about what we did. Some toilet papered dorms, others picked their nose in church, or held the hand of someone of the same gender and walked around a small town. 

It was a pretty challenging assignment for someone like me who is generally eager to please and doesn't like to rock the boat. I decided I would talk to every stranger I met on the elevator in a single day. If you haven't randomly talked to a stranger on an elevator for no reason, you should give it a try. Some people ignored me, some laughed awkwardly, some were nice, one invited me for coffee, it was funny and weird. 

I liked the assignment because it stuck with me. I still strike up conversations on the elevator just because. I also make a point of introducing myself to people in the coffee room or at stroller walk, as an example. It's fun because I'm interested in them. 

Toronto is not exactly known for being friendly, although I think it is. I've repeated this experiment here a few times. I keep it very simple, just smile and say 'hello'. Most people downtown are guarded, afraid of random attacks or begging. Here in BWV, most smile back and say hello. It makes me feel connected to my neighbourhood.

If you want to give smiling at strangers a try, I recommend starting on a sunny day (because no one is sunny on a miserable day) and use the morning (it's easier to say 'good morning' than 'hello' to random strangers). It helps to have an adorable baby in a stroller but it's not required. I think you'll like it. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Check it out!

I'm very excited about Blogger's new 'reactions' function. You can now vote whether you agree or disagree with a post with one easy click! The options are a bit limited but it'll do for now. 

Oven Cleaning

I grew up in a small town where all my friends lived in bungalows. As we got older, and bigger, our parents upgraded their homes. Some bought bigger, some bought new, and some renovated their bungalows. Those who bought new houses got self-cleaning ovens. I didn't have a clue what that meant but I knew they liked it.  

As a former apartment dweller, and messy cook, I've seen (and cleaned) some yucky ovens. My mom taught me the easiest way to clean an oven. You can bring any disgusting oven back to normal with Easy-Off. Spray it on, leave it overnight, do a first swipe with paper towels, and then rinse really well using a sponge and a bucket of water. 

Each time I cleaned one of these stinkers (including my own today), it made me remember those self-cleaning ovens. It's funny how we make assumptions when we're thinking of the future. I always thought I would have a self-cleaning oven when I owned my own house, that I would never have to clean an oven once I was thru with apartments. Then the house I bought had a regular oven. Maybe in our next house. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is it still safe for kids to walk to school?

Is it still safe for kids to walk to school alone? That was CityOnline's lunch hour survey today. I didn't catch the results of the phone poll but judging by what people were saying on the phone, the opinion is overwhelmingly NO. Many people called in saying kids could be snatched at any time, that streets are not as safe as they were 10 years ago, and that there are hundreds of pedophiles in the city. 

I have to say I haven't done any research on the subject but all I could think was "fear mongering". I think there is a risk, no doubt but not a prevalent one. 

I really don't believe that crime has increased, I think it's been the opposite. That said, it may rise again in the face of a recession. Certainly the number of crime dramas on television have increased which may be contributing to a perception of increased crime. 

There is also a periphery story at play here, childhood obesity. Seriously. Fewer kids are walking to school, they're getting a ride from their parents instead. 

When it's time for Petra to go to school, I'll rely on the buddy system and teach her about potential dangers that she'll face. It's the only way to prepare her for later stabs at independence like: public transportation, summer camp, and sports teams. Basically anything out of the house and out of my sight. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Entitlement

One of my favourite profs posted this article on facebook. It's about the consequences of a school system (our school system) that rewards students for effort rather than achievement. The article focuses on the kind of student that is being turned over to Universities.

Those raised on the self-esteem philosophy are broadly known as Generation-Y, here's a Wall Street Journal article that summarizes how it's affecting the professional world too.

Tag You're It

I've officially been welcomed to the world of blogging, I was tagged by my colleague Shannon. Although I haven't met Shannon in person, I know that if she lived on my street, I would want to be her friend. 

Here are the rules:

  • Link to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Share six (6) non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
  • Tag at least 3 people at the end of your post and link to their blogs.
  • Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Six Things About Me:
  • I can wiggle my ears. My dad could do it so my sister and I spent the good part of a day, when I was ten, figuring it out. In the same category, I have double-jointed thumbs and I can curl my tongue.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with cooking. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I think it's a chore. 
  • I part my hair on the right. It's basically always a chin-length bob and the colour hasn't changed in 5 years. 
  • I could win a couch potato contest any day of the week. My favourite thing to watch is 70/80's murder mystery like: Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Remington Steel, Magnum PI, MacMillan and Wife, The Equalizer.
  • I don't like dogs. When I was a kid, I had an irrational fear of them and now I find them more annoying than cute. 
  • I'm left-handed and I think the world ignores us sometimes. This morning I couldn't get a pair of scissors to work until I put them in my right hand. 
Since I started blogging because I'm on maternity leave, I'm going to tag other blogging moms I know. Lindsay D., Tina, and Erika, have fun.

Monday, November 17, 2008

freecycle.org

Most people have heard of freecycle. The website was created to help people unload their quality second-hand items to someone willing to take it. Their goal is to keep good stuff out of the landfill by connecting "sellers" and "buyers". A yahoo group is the foundation of the site, so essentially, you're sending an email to a distribution list and hopefully one of their subscribers wants your item. The system works reciprocally as well (you can post want ads). 

I was generously given two different strollers to use the last few months and they have served me well. Once I decided what I really wanted and bought a new one, I no longer need the first two but Goodwill wouldn't take the strollers. I decided to give freecycle a try. 

I literally posted the strollers at 11:13am and they were both picked up by 5:00pm. The best part about it, the strollers are going to two needy families. 

Right now I'm in love with freecycle so I'm hesitant to tell you about the people that struck me as odd but it's all part of the experience. There is a family that lists their items, then they collect the responses from people who want the stuff and decide who deserves to get each item. I can't even describe why I think that's weird. Then there was another poster who said she would chose the "winner" of her item by evaluating the spelling in the reply emails. 

I used the first-come, first-served approach.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brunch

When you hear the word brunch what do you think of? home fries, eggs, coffee, friends, Sunday mornings? Those are some of the things I think of. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, always has been. If I could, I would eat eggs, toast, hashbrowns and pancakes or waffles every morning- oh and sausage too. Someone says 'brunch' and I say 'when and where?'. For me it's more than the food though. A big breakfast usually means it's a casual day and it always means a group - family or friends. 

Today, for the first time, I ordered Heuvos Rancheros at Dr. Generosity in BWV. I've always been a little curious about heuvos rancheros but always felt weird about ordering it because it seems so weird to have tortillas and chili for breakfast. It was literally one of THE best brunch items I've ever had.

What do you like to eat for brunch? Have a favourite brunch place?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Six Month Itch

During the first few months of my maternity leave, I heard a few of my friends with older babies say they 'really wanted another' or 'didn't want a big age difference between their children'. I didn't think much of it at the time. Then I got my period back.

Now my mind/body is playing a sick trick on me. Suddenly I'm thinking about how great being pregnant would be or how great it would be for Petra to be a big sister. Poor kid, she starts to show a little personality and I'm already turning her into a big sister.

I asked a friend about this urge, or the six-month itch, and she said "don't do it" which I thought was hilarious because I'm not really serious. Then I asked some of the women from my walking group, a few of them - not all - also said they had been struck by the six-month itch. 

I thought it certainly had to be tied to hormones. Our body heals, our menstrual cycle resumes, and our brain receives a signal - time to make more babies. When I googled the subject I found just a few discussion forum chats, nothing specific, but I didn't really know what search words to use.

Has anyone else heard of the six-month itch, felt it, or know anything concrete about it? I only call it the six-month itch because these crazy feelings only struck me in the last couple weeks and Petra is six-months old. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Best Family Dog

No, I'm not in the market for a dog. And no, I'm not a huge fan of dogs. But today I saw a beautiful Great Dane in the park. The dog was so stunning that I stopped the owner to ask a few questions about him. 

She said a Great Dane is exactly like a man - they just like to lie around. Of course you have a to run/walk a dane once or twice a day since they were bred to chase but you don't need to worry about living on a large estate to keep these hounds happy. Great Danes are known for their gentle personalities but a lot end up at animal rescue, just like the one I saw today. 

I think they are gorgeous and, if I was a dog person, this one would be up there on my list. 

What's your favourite family dog?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bean Sprouts

When was the last time you sprouted beans? Mine was in junior high school for science class. 

Recently, I got a solids introduction calendar from the Vaughan Medical Centre, their list includes mung bean sprouts for 6 month olds. I happen to have mung beans in my house thanks to my mom's pre/postpartum visit so I called her to find out how to sprout these mung beans for Petra. 

It's pretty simple, you need a container covered with cheesecloth and dry mung beans. You soak the beans first overnight, then drain and rinse very well, and leave for a day, drain and rinse again each day until they sprout. The container needs to be stored in a cool, dry, dark place (like a kitchen cupboard). You should have sprouts within 3 or 4 days. To serve them to baby, just grind them.

The sprouts contain: (1) iron which is important at 6 months because most babies' iron stores begin to deplete, (2) fluid, (3) fibre, both are important for colon health and (4) enzymes which facilitate metabolic processes like digestion.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jamie Oliver

The work that what Jamie is doing in the UK to improve food and nutrition is admirable and makes me wish we had our own Jamie in Canada. His latest effort, Jamie's Ministry of Food, has caught the attention of government officials in the UK and he was recently invited to speak to the House about what he thinks the government should do to improve nutritional programs nationally. 

The 'Ministry of Food' is "about inspiring people to get back into their kitchens and make simple, delicious food from scratch again." (from his site). It's funny to hear him talk about food because it sounds a lot like the art of breastfeeding. He says we've lost our knack for passing cooking skills from generation to generation. 

Personally I think schools should place a much higher emphasis on nutrition, including cooking skills. Why is a skill so basic to our livelihood not treated as a core? And it's easy to get kids excited about food if you involve them in the fun hands-on part. In kindergarten, kids help prepare their own snacks but suddenly in the upper years, there's no longer 'time' to prepare snacks and lunches during the day. 

What do you think?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NEW STROLLER!!

I just got a new stroller! It's the Phil&Ted's Sport. I bought it at Macklem's in Roncesvalles. Phild&Ted's motto is: One buggy, 2 kids, 4 positions, loads of years. We'd be getting ahead of ourselves with the 2 kids part so we haven't bought the second seat yet. I'm glad I could rely on hand-me-downs until now so I didn't have to buy something until I was sure what I wanted. 

This one is ideal for the long walks I like to take and also for my morning walking group in High Park. Thanks Irina for the stroller suggestion

Sleep Doula Update

Things seems to be going well. We're now 5 nights in and she is sleeping until 5 or 6 am... still working on that last stretch to get her to sleep until 7. My body is much happier with more sleep. I've been able to get a lot more done each day. I can't say I've noticed a big change in Petra, she was really touchy yesterday evening after 5pm. She still likes to be held most of the time that we're home.

She is eating more. Instead of just breaking off pieces of banana, I give her the whole thing now. It's cute, she latches onto it. If she gums off a bigger than she can handle, she just spits it out. I think I'm going to make her a blackberry shake today with momma's milk.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sleep Doula

I think Doulas are really special people. They will drop everything to spend 12 or more hours coaching you through labour and delivery. They will come to your house to cook, clean, and provide breastfeeding advice once your baby is born. Some even stay in your home for a few sleepless nights to correct your child's sleep problems.

Petra has been a terrible sleeper for the last couple months. She used to wake only once or twice but then she started to wake every 1.5 or two hours. My philosophy was always to feed her in the night if she actually ate something. I can tell you it's hard when your baby eats every 2 hours during the day, it's even harder if they're doing it around the clock.

Lots of my friends and our family doctor told me to follow the Ferber Method to get her to sleep better but I couldn't stand the idea of letting her cry it out. At the same time, I was starting to feel really helpless, tired, and resentful. Then my Ontario Early Years Centre held a free sleep doula session. I signed up for it hoping to hear something new. 

The sleep doula had a lot of experience, she described Petra's sleep patterns exactly. While she wasn't really specific on tactics, she said every family has to follow an approach that they are comfortable with. In the session, I found out I was lucky because Petra does go to sleep on her own, her only issue was night feedings. 

We got Petra to fall asleep on her own months ago by following Ferber's advice of having a routine, being consistent, reading her cues, and stimulating her between naps. I also waited until I thought she was mature enough to fall asleep on her own. I rocked or jiggled her to sleep until she was almost 4 months old.

All I needed to hear from the doula was that Petra does not need to eat in the night and that by feeding her every time she woke, I was enabling her. I decided that I would tough it out for a few nights to see if I could correct her sleep problems on my own. I also decided at the outset that if I couldn't do it, I would call in a doula. 

The first night was tough. My approach: I decided I would not pick her up or feed her when she woke in the night. I soothed her back to sleep by talking to her, and giving her a soother and blanket. Touching her face really helped (a suggestion from the doula because she's breastfed). She also kept rejecting the soother so I gave up on it after a while. We spent from 10:30pm-2am mostly awake with me soothing her. Then she slept 2-7am solid! I felt good in the morning.

The next night was a little easier. I was mostly only up with her 5-6am, and she gave Emil a hard time around 8pm. All other times I gave her a soother and she went right back to sleep. Then last night she woke at 7:30pm so Emil waited 3 minutes and went in. He soothed her back to sleep. She called out again at 9pm but only complained for 2 minutes and went back to sleep. She slept until 6am!! I soothed her back to sleep until 7am. 

The only reason I'm okay with a bit of crying is because she is really only protesting and not wailing. At this point she can't say 'mama' either which I think would be really hard on me. The doula had plenty of anecdotes and advice which all swayed me towards letting her cry for short periods. Far too many pros to write about here but if anyone wants, I can make a list and email it to you. 

I'm hoping she starts to sleep through the night now. That would be amazing. No matter what, I've realized that she really doesn't need to eat at night so that means I can meet up with friends in the evening again or go to basketball. That, and I've had 3 straight nights of better sleep. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Poor Man's Rattle

If you're in line at the supermarket with a fussy baby, and without a toy, grab a Smarties box. It makes a great rattle.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Solids - sigh

Petra's first meal was supposed to be today but it really turned into just another taste. She wasn't really into it. She would take a little in her mouth, work it around and sometimes spit it out. Funny baby.

Happy Hallowe'en


We had a lot of fun yesterday. I took Petra to a local photographer's studio who was hosting a food drive. For a donation to the food bank, you got a free 5x7 photo of your child in the "pumpkin patch". It was really cute and I'm hoping we can make it an annual tradition. I can't get over how cool my neighbourhood is sometimes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Midnight Mommy Brain

It's amazing that in the middle of the night, you really can't think clearly. 

Usually when Petra wakes in the night I hobble into her room, grab her from her crib, and feed her. Last night she woke up early and when I tried to feed her she was screaming her head off and it was really hard to settle her. She woke again around 2 or 3 am, and again, it was hard to soothe her and she didn't eat. She displayed the same terrible behaviour roughly 3 nights in a row and really fussed when I put her down for a nap a few days ago but last night was by far the worst. I was starting to think she had developed a horrible sleep disorder.

Then, this morning, I mentioned to a friend that Petra hasn't pooped for 3 days and she said, "oh teething". Seriously? How dumb was I the last few nights? I know she's teething because it's been going on for about 2 months but I was distracted by her shots/bad sleeping since we travelled/constipation problems. It's amazing how clearly someone else can see things. Now I need to settle our pain relief problem. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Momma Tip: Band-aid Removal

I remember last time Petra had her shots we didn't know how to get the Band-aids off without hurting her. I remember that I was determined to ask them not to put the Band-aids on next time, but then I forgot. 

Tonight, I had to get her Band-aids off again. I soaked her in the tub and pulled them off in the water. She didn't seem to notice them coming off but her skin still flared up a little.

Solids!!

We had Petra's 6 month appointment yesterday. The doctor says my little 18 pounder is ready for "real" food. So I got the usual rice cereal talk and they (I see a resident and a physician) cited the importance of iron fortification in commercial cereal. I decided to politely nod as I listened to their advice and now I will do as I please, and tell them about it after. 

While I know that doctors understand the fundamentals of nutrition, I don't think many doctors really understand nutrition. First of all, iron-fortification in cereal is superficial and I don't think it's the ideal way to get iron into your baby.

The Canadian Paediatrics Society recommends 11mg iron per day for 7-12 month-olds. A simple search on the web reveals there are a lot of iron-rich veggies and legumes including: lentils, potato, peas, spinach, and chick peas. You can even search tables that show the iron content of each vegetable or legume. CPS also says that Vitamin C should be taken with iron to aid absorption. You can get Vitamin C in oranges and red pepper, among other sources. 

Since Petra is over 6 months I don't have to worry as much about the nitrate concentrates in foods like spinach but if she were younger I couldn't use spinach or carrots. Also, since she isn't 7 months yet, I can take my time and introduce yummy foods that, once allergy cleared, can be combined with iron-rich foods to cut down the yucky taste but still reach 11mg before her iron stores are depleted. 

We've been sampling little bits of food for awhile, a taste of banana, potato, watermelon or avocado with a finger. We started when she seemed really interested in eating, she would watch us eat and mock-chew. And now, when she nurses, she takes little breaks to chew. I think she's ready and I'm excited to see how she likes mini-meals. Last night I got little 1 tsp servings of sweet potato ready and put them in the freezer. They look really cute in the ice cube tray. Sweet potato is a good one to start with because it's supposed to taste like breast milk.

Any advice for me mommas? 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Changeling

As a new mom, I really don't have the stomach to watch a movie about a child that goes missing but if I did, I'd go see Changeling. Here's the cbcnews.ca review of the film. Angelina Jolie is getting great reviews for her performance in the film and it's worth seeing anything John Malkovich is in. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Do you know Vaughn Mills?

I hit the 400 today with a friend to visit Vaughn Mills Mall. At first I was disappointed because it seemed like there were fewer outlet stores than the last time I was there but then we hit paydirt. 

There are some really great outlets still in the mall. I found shoes for my husband which is no small feat and something for Christmas. I'll be back in 5-6 months when I'm getting ready to back to work. I'll be visiting BCBG, Holt's Last Call, Style Sense and the Town Shoes outlet. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oh Gross

After 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, I got my period back. And while it's a healthy sign that my body is getting back to normal, it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. I thought I would be able to dodge it until we introduce solids but, as my mom would say, "it is what it is".

Since I'm visiting my parents I had to raid my sister's stash of tampons and pads. I know most women generally prefer one or the other (or both) but I haven't ever found either option very satisfying. Pads tend to be messy and can chafe. Tampons have always dried me up and been uncomfortable. Although I use cloth diapers for the baby, I'm not really interested in trying out the cloth variety for myself.

Then I happened to read an article in Chatelaine this month by Gill Deacon, Your greenest time of the month. Period. She says she's a big fan of the "keeper cup" as another option for feminine hygiene. Menstruation cups have been available in some form since the 30s but only within the last ten years have they become more mainstream. I had heard of them before but until Gill's article I hadn't really thought of using one. 

I did a little online research and decided to try the Moon Cup, the silicon version of the Keeper Cup. I bought it at Earth's General Store in Edmonton. 

Has anyone else ventured down this path or thought about it?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Double your Vitamin D

A new report is being issued by the American Association of Pediatricians doubling the daily recommended dose of vitamin D. Click here to read the story published on nytimes.com. The new recommendation is 400 units per day. That's equivalent to the Canadian Paediatric Society's current recommendation. CPS also recommends doubling to 800 units between the months of October and April if you live as north as Edmonton or further.

I like this article from ivillage on the subject.

For reference - a 1ml dose of vitamin D is equivalent to 400 units.

The Cadillac of Pain Relief


I'm feeling compelled to talk about the Epidural. I didn't have one because, frankly, I was terrified of the negative things I'd heard about them. Things like; prolonged labour, escalating interventions, possible (although highly unlikely) paralysis, a (gasp) catheter, not to mention having a ridiculously long needle put in my back while I sit still through contractions.

I just finished reading this Today's Parent article about epidurals. They have a nice balanced approach on the subject. They talk about how every woman has her own idea or vision of her delivery and most make their decision based on those ideas. 

In my experience, my hospital was really pushing the drugs. They offered to put them 'on order' for me when I walked in the door and offered the epidural another handful of times. My mom was there with constant positive reinforcement and, at some point, I found the zone and didn't feel a need for drugs at all. It was only my initial fear that I had to overcome. 

Somewhere in the pushing stage, my attending doctor said that she was going to have to pass my good karma around the ward. It was only later that I realized I was in a hospital with a 90+% epidural rate. At that rate, I may have been the only non-anesthetized mom she'd seen this year. I should say that I was remarkably calm and sleeping between contractions too.

I feel happy and satisfied with my labour experience because I feel like I really did experience it. I'm sure that's true for women who have epidurals too. 

Anyone want to talk about their experience? 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Worldwide Breastfeeding Challenge

Happy Breastfeeding Week!

I just participated in the Worldwide Breastfeeding Challenge at West Edmonton Mall (we're in Edmonton for the long weekend). There were a lot of women/kids/dads there. I think we managed to get 30-35 in total. It was funny because Petra wasn't hungry and she was very distracted so I had to keep raising my hand (to be counted) and then drop it again. 

Here's the Edmonton Journal story

Did anyone else participate?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Flying with Baby

We're leaving for Edmonton in half an hour. This will be Petra's second plane ride... last time was not great. Since the return trip was much better than the ride out, I'm hoping she'll be calm for this one. 

Here are my tips for traveling with a baby:
1. Pack as lightly as possible. If you're visiting family you can probably borrow items on the other side (thank you Lindsay). If not, you can rent a lot of baby gear.
2. Travel during your child's regular awake period. Unless your baby is an awesome sleeper, don't count on a peaceful trip if your baby is just exhausted.
3. Don't fly alone. Seriously, if you have to go to the washroom and you're alone, it pays to travel with a sling so you can wear your baby. 
4. Soother, soother, soother. I know some people don't like a pacifier but it works like a dream for us for nighttime and flights. Petra doesn't nurse unless she's hungry so I can't rely on soothing her that way. Use whatever it is that soothes your baby. Yes, strangers will hear you singing and making silly noises. 
5. Rely on the kindness of strangers. I'm not saying be foolish and trust a stranger with your baby but let them hold your diaper bag for a second while you unzip the pouch with your ID/boarding pass in it if you need too.

Any other tips from experienced flyers?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Momma Stocking Stuffer

Christmas is less than 3 months away. For the mom on your list: The Maternal Is Political. Mostly American contributors but Ann Douglas (The Mother of All Pregnancy Books) is among them.

The Synopsis from Powell's Books: Each contributor tackles complex issues facing mothers and society today. Whether it's a mother teaching her children to live ecologically responsible lives, a mother struggling to get out of poverty while raising her kids, a mother's response to her child being sent to Iraq, or a mother voting for the first time, each writer forges the link, the crucial relationship, between the personal (life with family) and the political (life in the world) to give voice to, and thus empower, other women to realize and seize their collective political clout as mothers. Written by and for mothers, The Maternal Is Political is crafted to help motivate us to discover, appreciate, and use with greater effectiveness our tremendously powerful (and too often underutilized) political votes and voices to create positive social change.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Getting Toxins out of your House

One show I like to catch is Wylde on Health on CP24. The host Bryce Wylde is a Homeopathic doctor. The show format is a call-in talk show with an expert guest each episode. Today he suggested a website, Environmental Working Group

Here's their blurb: "at EWG, our team of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers pores over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and our own laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions. Our research brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know."

They are based in the US but there is lots of great information for Canadians as well. Have a look at their research. You'll be shocked when you realize how many toxins are in your home.

Hair Loss

Hair loss is one of the things many women face postpartum. Even though I knew it was common, I was still shocked when it happened to me. It's both upsetting and messy. 

I had to keep checking my daughter's hands for strands of my hair to make sure she didn't put them in her mouth, I had to clean my brush and drain 3 times more often than usual, and I was constantly pulling hair from the shoulders of my shirts.

Thankfully it's over and I'm not bald!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cloth Diapers... again


Best cloth diaper ever! Bum Genius - All in One - One Size - Organic. It became "available" in Canada in May but only stores that ordered a whack of them at that time actually stock them.

I have 2 and LOVE them. They are just as easy to use as a disposable (no stuffing). I actually prefer them to disposables because you don't have garbage to take out and you don't have to run out to the store to stock up.

I just ordered 6 more. diaper eez doesn't have stock yet, they're still back ordered but I've been ordering mine from a Brantford store. Click here to check it out. They still have a couple pink, and a lot of green and yellow ones in stock. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Newman Clinic

After the Newman Clinic coverage last week and again this week, I went to check out their website. It's got great reference materials covering a broad range of breastfeeding topics including: clogged ducts, finding support, skin to skin contact and starting solids. There are also video tutorials. Click here to check it out. 

What caught my eye today was 'Finding a Breastfeeding Support Person'. While I think this is the best resource I've seen, I think someone looking for help would still be frustrated. It's like finding a contractor to renovate your house. The key is not finding help, it's finding good help. 

When my milk came in I became so engorged that Petra couldn't latch. I was in emergency mode without any time to research and find a Lactation Consultant. I got lucky and was referred to a fantastic LC. Send me a note if you need a referral, she's in Etobicoke. 

Black Tie Welcome

Normally 'Black Tie Welcome' on a wedding invitation would get me totally jazzed. Pick out an outfit, jewelry, purse, shoes - fun! But a breastfeeding, postpartum mom?? Ha! I had two weddings to go to last year while I was pregnant, both in the first trimester. Dressing for those was only a bit of challenge because of widening hips and a thickening waist but not even close to the nearly impossible task of dressing a nursing mom.

Nothing fits properly. Your chest is not the size it once was. Your waistline, if you're anything like me, has not receded to previous levels yet. Your daughter needs to eat and needs to access your bosom to do so. And you may get drool, milk, spit-up, or all of the above on your dress.

It means dress material, cut, and accessibility matter in ways they never did before. You're more limited in undergarments too. 

So on Saturday, I've got a 'Black Tie Welcome' wedding to attend. One that has a 5 hour break between the ceremony and reception, which usually means costume change. So what's this breastfeeding momma to do? 

I'm going to wear my blue silk dress. It's button down in the front, is generous proportioned, fitted in the ribcage, and will hide my nursing bra - perfect. And the reception? A strapless, champagne coloured, crepe, cocktail dress with a beautiful borrowed wrap. The dress is a bit of a squeeze but with a bustier will be just fine.

So what about the spit-ups, drool, etc.? Emil will carry the baby... and the diaper bag too.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Basketball

I signed up for a rec basketball league. It's Monday nights at 9pm for an hour. Even though I'm in terrible shape, it feels great to get in a run at least once a week. Hopefully as the season goes on, I'll get my wind back and actually be able to play well. 

And my baby has mercifully returned to just 2 wake-ups at night. 

Monday, September 29, 2008

Are these dark circles permanent?

While it's amazing what your body can get used to, your body can never adjust to continuous sleep deprivation, and I'm starting to feel the effects. 

For the last 3 weeks, my 5 month-old has been waking up 3 or more times at night. Some nights she wakes up so much that I'm not sure whether she needs to eat or not because I'm so confused. She also spends an hour each night just babbling. It's crazy. I would have guessed that it's teething because I can see a little bud but she's not cranky when she wakes up.  

I find that I'm more confused during the day too, I lack energy, and I'm not fun to be around because I'm so tired. I know it'll get better and I just need to wait it out but does anyone have some coping advice? Did I mention she's not napping either? She's taking what can only be described as power naps. 

Friday, September 26, 2008

Family Washrooms


I know we're spoiled in BWV with diaper-eez for diaper changes and nursing stops while shopping. Chapters has a washroom too but it's not well-maintained. 

For mall shopping, Yorkdale has the best nursing facility (the one across from Holt's), Dufferin Mall family washroom is second, and Sherway (near door 3) is third - although it's often too busy. These are the places I shop when it's too hot to stay at home and probably when it'll be too cold to take long walks in the winter. 

I find that when I go shopping downtown I'm really frustrated by the facilities. The Eaton Centre doesn't provide a family washroom, instead they direct you to the fifth floor of Sears. 

Yesterday, we were shopping in Yorkville and had a really hard time finding a baby change table. Pottery Barn Kids and Gap Kids don't have the facilities on Bloor that they do in Sherway. There was a baby change station in Indigo at Bay/Bloor but not a place to nurse. The Bay at Yonge and Bloor has a change station in their washrooms on the 3rd and 5th floors. Their nursing area is in the "play room" on the 4th floor but it was repurposed for Ramadan. 

While I don't mind nursing in public anymore, I avoid it because Petra is easily distracted. She needs a relatively quiet place. I found a chair in the Bay and just moved it to a corner of the infant clothing area and nursed there. It was funny because a Sales Associate was trying to find me a different place to nurse because 'dads' do shop in that section. 

Does anyone know of a good nursing/changing area in Yorkville?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Have you heard of kijiji.ca? It's an online classified, available in most Canadian cities. Over the last year, we've bought all kinds of things on kijiji - our leather armchair, our side tables, the Baby Bjorn, and the Bumbo. 

We get a lot of baby loaner items, otherwise we'd be using kijiji even more. A friend of mine has her house listed there too. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Newman Breastfeeding Clinic

Check out this post on the Junction Parents blog. It points to a Toronto Star article about Dr. Jack Newman's Breastfeeding Clinic and their financial woes. 

As a society we still have a lot of work to do before breastfeeding is as natural as it should be. Clinics like Dr. Newman's help hundreds of women every month to solve breastfeeding issues, to learn more about breastfeeding and to pass that knowledge on to other women.  

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wall Tattoos

I just heard about this Ottawa store while watching CityLine. It's called Wall Juice, think wall decals and tattoos. Click here to check it out. I love it because you can design your own too. 

CityLine showed a faux mantel, a stenciled tattoo on a drywall box in the shape of a mantel. Hard to imagine if you haven't seen it but Wall Juice will be adding it to their website. It was inspired by a french trend of hand-painted faux fireplaces.

If you're like me and love the IDEA of designing your own but won't actually do it, check out IKEA's wall decals

 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

School Milk Programs


I didn't grow up with a school milk program so I haven't ever given it much thought. I heard from a girlfriend that her daughter's school lunch program offers regular and chocolate milk in their milk program. They also sent home a leaflet explaining that chocolate is really not such a terrible choice.

I think it's ridiculous that chocolate milk is offered at school. When I was growing up, chocolate milk was a treat and not a staple.

What do you think about chocolate milk in schools?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arrrgggg!

Like many people in Toronto, I park on the street. My driveway is too narrow for my car to pass and the addition at the back of our house means that only a very small car could actually get into the garage. 

In July, my car was keyed from head to toe while parked on the street. At the beginning I was really upset. I felt sick thinking of how much it would cost to fix, arrange for a rental, and get a parking permit for the rental. Then I was angry that some stupid teenager (assumption) would be so nasty. Then I started to justify it - most teenagers just don't have an appreciation for the value of personal property because they haven't had to pay for anything in their lives. So keying a car is the perfect crime for a teenager. The risk is low and the payoff is huge. It's so unlikely that they will get caught and the payoff is looking cool in front of your friends. Eventually I got over the whole thing and I was finally planning to get the body work done on Monday. 

This afternoon, I was leaving the mall and loading Petra into the car and I saw a great, big, black streak on my car. Someone had scrapped my car either entering or exiting the stall next to me. Later I remembered a black SUV had been parked in the next stall at the restaurant I went to for breakfast and it likely happened there. I probably hadn't noticed it at the time because I was parked in the shade. 

Someone, some jerk, hit my car hard enough to make it rock and pulled away without leaving a note. My car was hit by another car owner who is just irresponsible and obnoxious. I hate that. I hate that there is nothing I can do about it too. There's no recourse and no way of finding out who did it. 

Now I'm just hoping my insurance company will cover this new scrape without charging a second deductible. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Moms Groups

Are moms groups really for moms or for babies? 

Today I joined my friend's moms group for tea in the afternoon. They are a really nice group of women - laid back, conversationalists, open minded, just fun to be around and I really enjoy spending time with them. I don't get together with them too frequently either so they stay novel. 

When I got home I was thinking about how I always have such a good time but wondering if it's worth it for Petra. She was exhausted, I delayed her nap by over an hour, she was grumpy at the get together and had a really hard time falling asleep after. It was only later, during our pre-nighttime walk, that I realized how great moms group is for her too. 

I packed her up into the stroller, which was fully reclined, she tried to do a sit-up and failed and then got frustrated. The cool part? When she got mad she said "dadadaaaa". First time ever. Then we were waiting in line at the Rogers store to exchange my dud of a digital box for literally 45 minutes and she did it again! So I said, "mamama!". She replied with "nananaaa". Haha!

She tends to be a lot more social and 'chatty' after spending time with babies even if she only observes them. So tomorrow we'll have a mommy meetup in High Park for $2.99 breakfast. I'll enjoy the toast and Petra, the conversation.