Monday, March 31, 2014

Sprouts Playground Toronto Review

We finally made it to Sprouts playground at Queen and Carlaw. It being so close, I really wonder what took us so long to get there. Super close, the first visit is free, and might I add, it is an amazing playground.

First of all, it is a very spacious and clean facility, with ample stroller parking indoors, and lots of hangers for coats. There is also plenty of space to put your shoes before heading in to the play area. Did I mention the first visit is free? Just fill in a bit of paperwork, and your child is off to burn copious amounts of energy.

Before getting to the playground, I also feel compelled to mention the free (yes, free!) hot beverage machine for the adults. Not just free coffee, but good coffee. They have a swanky starbucks machine that serves up caff, decaf, cocoa and tea for the (exhausted) adults. Plus they provide spill proof mugs to take with you into the playground. For the kids they have sippy cups in all kinds of adorable colours. M had a bit of an issue getting water out fast enough, so she lugged hers around with her all over the playground, taking a swig here and there.

The playground itself is filled with wooden structures, trampolines, Nook play mats, and Wesco rocking toys. There are several slides, and lots of structures to crawl through and around. Also, there were no shortage of kids to play with. We arrived at 9am on a Sunday and we weren't the only ones. M had a blast trying to hug many of them, and she particularly enjoyed trying to climb up the slides. We also let her slide down by herself for the first time. Adorable!

If you are in Toronto, and are on the fence about trying this place, I highly recommend getting off that fence and checking it out... your kids will love you for it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

After Work - Coming Home to Chubby Arms

Lately, the best thing in life is leaving work, coming home, and cuddling with my chubby little toddler. Just seeing her little face light up in a huge shit-eating grin makes my day... and also makes my days at work seem a bit more bearable. 

This Banana-eating Monkey is wearing a Petit Bateau tank top over an American Apparel onesie
I really hope my days start to get better, because it sure sucks living for the evening/weekend. My family is lucky in that most of them love their jobs. I'm not sure how I got bypassed, but love is not a word I would use to describe how I feel about my occupation. I really need to get a place of contentment, because right now every morning a pit of dread lodges itself in my stomach. Which is why I carry around photos like the one above, to remind myself what, exactly, I'm working for. My little peach. Everything will be better soon, right?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nature Walks

M is finally at an age (and motor skill level) where we can take her outside and she can walk by herself.

And she loves it.

I have never seen her laugh so much... at the trees, the bushes, the snow, the wind. She is absolutely delighted.

She lays down face first on the sidewalk to feel how cold it is on her cheek. Then she rolls over to stare up at the blueness of the sky.

She likes to hunker down and tries to clean the sidewalk with her gloves.

She shrieks at any dog we see and waves to all passerby.

When we are on the main road, she looks up at me and asks hopefully for a "bus?" And if she's lucky, she sees one and the laughter starts all over again.

I wonder why we didn't do this sooner.

Then I remember: oh yeah, she couldn't walk... and it was 20 below and the streets were covered in snow and ice.

We have probably gone out in the stroller or in a carrier almost every day since she was born. But it really isn't the same as having the freedom to roam. It is one of the things that I am going to regret about raising my child in the city. For myself as a child, we had acres to run free and explore with nobody worrying about where we were or who we were talking to. Because we were in the backyard talking to each other, there was nobody else. In the big city, it is not that easy. We live on a busyish street and I don't see myself allowing M to roam free in our neighbourhood for a long while.

So I need to make sure that M gets plenty of opportunity to play in the great outdoors. And if that means I have to go camping and deal with icky bugs, well, I guess that is a sacrifice I'm going to have to make (but rest assured, I will pack that bug spray and probably end up sleeping in the car!!)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Charting while Breastfeeding

It's that time again, folks. Yes, I want to get pregnant. For the second, and last, time. My husband really doesn't want another child due to the excessive cost (see my daycare post).However, I want several. So we compromised, and will try for one more. And that trying starts next month. In preparation for this I have been diligently charting my temperatures to ensure that I am actually ovulating.

Warning: Taking your basal body temperature while still breastfeeding at night is very, very difficult.

To get an accurate temperature you have to have been asleep and laying down for at least 2 hours. If your child is anything like mine, there is no guarantee that this is going to happen. You also need to take your temperature at the same time every morning. Again, no guarantee when your little one is up at 4:30 one morning, 6:30 the next. and then 2:30 the one after that.

As you can see from my chart below, many of my temperatures are way out of whack, especially at the beginning of my cycle, when I knew that I wasn't ovulating. I find that checking my CM is a much better way to tell if ovulation is about to occur, and I have also stocked up on LH strips for next month, when we start trying in earnest.

Another caveat is that some months you may not ovulate, particularly if you are breastfeeding more than usual. Last month my body tried to ovulate several times, and I am still not convinced that I did. I had to do a lot of tweaking to my chart to get the crossed lines. Little M was sick one weekend and basically stayed latched for hours (ok, slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean), and I believe that this prevented my ovaries from actually releasing an egg. Not that it mattered that month, I guess I will never know. This month looks good, and I am trying to breastfeed slightly less often so that I can be sure of an ovulatory cycle.

I also realize that getting pregnant while breastfeeding might be a challenge. Last time I got pregnant instantly, but this time I might need to learn to be a bit more patient. Only time will tell!

Take a look at my chart below to see the wild ups and downs of my temperature taking while breastfeeding. Have you done it to any degree of success?? Any tips or tricks to share? Feel free to comment below.

My Ovulation Chart

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Messy Room, Clean Room

A house with a toddler: she doesn't know the meaning of the word "tidy" 
Length of time it will stay this clean: 3.2 seconds

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Moraki Cloth Diaper Review

M pleased to show off her belly button Moraki Cloth Diaper (and yes, that is my iPad she is stepping on...)
Moraki Cloth diapers rock!

First of all, the patterns are adorable. I got the hippie tie dye print, but they also have more traditional patterns (like elephants) as well as solids. You can also choose to get rainbow or heart snaps, if you are so inclined.

What I like the most about these diapers is the softness. The sewed in insert of the AIO is cotton/hemp (I haven't tried hemp, this is my first time and I like it!). It looks and feels so natural and absorbent. You want to have it against your skin and feel good about your baby having it against theirs.

There is also a pocket so that if you want to add extra absorbance, you can! Plus, the sewn in insert can be folded to provide more absorbance where you want it.

The diapers, like most that I have, are snap adjustable in the front. M is 23 pounds and we wear them unsnapped and they fit her great - no leaking.

The downside to these diapers is the price. At $27 a pop, plus shipping, I don't think I can afford to have more than one of them. They take a bit longer to dry, being quite thick and natural finer, so we don't get to wear them as often as I'd like. I do recommend getting them, however, if you have the budget and want natural fibres and made in the USA quality.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 - Obsessed!!

I absolutely have to blog about this... I can't stop thinking about this flight and what happened to it. It is my google obsession. I have been poring over Tomnod's satellite images hoping to find the debris. Me and thousands of others, apparently.

How can something so big just disappear?

My work friend thinks it was scooped up by Aliens. He's travelling to Turkey this weekend and has hinted that he wouldn't mind too much if his flight was taken by aliens... to a place with beautiful weather and lots of delicious food. To be honest, if an Alien wanted to take me somewhere like that I'd go in a heartbeat...

All fun aside, I have a huge emotional reaction every time I think about what might have happened. I really don't think that anyone is alive. I think about the infants on the plane, how their lives are over before they've barely begun. I think about the parents on the plane whose children will forever live in a world without their parents. I think about all of the people left behind who won't have any closure until the mystery is solved.

I think that becoming a parent really changes one's perspective on life. I don't think I would feel this way if I didn't have children. I find myself worrying more about little M and hoping against hope that we won't have to live through a tragedy like this.

I feel for those families, and hope they find that plane soon.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pura Kiki Stainless Steel Infant Bottle Giveaway!

Adorable colors! And they come with a cover as well!
Did you use a bottle to feed your child? If your child was anything like mine, you had to try several before they would actually feed from one. I went back to school (once a week) shortly after M was born, so my husband had to take care of her during those times. And she was so small that she needed to eat every few hours. So I pumped, he fed. And M resisted many a bottle. We tried several (including Pura Kiki) before she finally took the Medela bottle that had come with my pump. Of course. She screamingly refused all others. Prior to her birth, we had purchased several stainless steel bottles made by Pura. Called Pura Kiki, these bottles were BPA free and had no plastic components. I was sold. Also, they are amazingly adorable. I actually bought quite a few of them, and only ever ended up trying one. So I have an entire unused set left over that I thought I would give away to one lucky reader. They retail for $45 on Amazon, so they are a bit pricey. Good luck!!!

 Please enter below, and leave a comment:

Was your baby fussy like mine and would only take a certain bottle? Which one did they prefer?
Win Me!
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Air Travel with a Toddler

Little M is the consummate high flyer. She's been on so many flights and hasn't had to pay for a seat yet! Ok, it's not because of her platinum rewards card, it's because she is still under two. And we haven't gone overseas yet, so we haven't truly tested her/our patience. However, we have gone on more than a handful of domestic flights, and I would like to share my experiences with you.

1. Travel with a companion.
Just do it. If you have this option. Travelling alone is so much more stressful for you and your child. If you have another person with you, at least one of you will be able to play candy crush at some point. Or drink a beverage, hot or otherwise. Or go to the bathroom. You really don't want to be trusting your baby with a stranger while going to the bathroom. Or trying to get your pants down while holding them while in a tiny airline washroom. Sorry to leave you with that image... Let's just say the list of benefits is endless and move on.

2. Breastfeed (if you still are). Often.
A happy baby is a sucking baby. A happy baby is not hungry. A baby with a mouthful of boob is a baby that isn't crying. Remove the word baby and insert the word toddler, if applicable.

3. Travel during nap time. Or night time. 

While I know this isn't always feasible (especially with delays... hello? why are all flights delayed when you have a squalling infant?), this is something that has saved our lives many a time. The loud white noise of the plane basically puts M straight to sleep. Heaven! And I still have a hand free to play, you guessed it, candy crush. Or even read a book on the old iPad. I am not joking. A child asleep on a plane is heaven.

4. Be prepared to sing. Out loud.
Trust me. People would rather hear "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" one thousand times than hear your darling wail. Also, if you sing softly enough into your darling's ear, that white noise will ensure that almost nobody can hear you anyways.

5. Carry a boatload of Snacks/Toys
Yes, it means your diaper bag will be as heavy as a porcelain toilet, but by gods, you will be thankful for every rattle, board book and cuddly bear that makes your child smile. Even if each one only buys you a few minutes, stay placid knowing you have an endless array of distractions.

Ever travelled with your child? Any tips to share? 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: A Texas Vacation

Blogging on vacation is difficult. It, in fact, is almost impossible. Even though there are four (yes, four) adults looking after the little one, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to sit down and write. And maybe I'm being a little lazy (or a lot lazy!), because I'm on vacation. For this, I am sorry. Nope, actually, I'm not sorry at all. And look here! I just blogged!

M is wearing a Desigual onesie, a Roots sweatshirt and loves her Grandad!