child spacing for 2nd child

The other day at work, I bought hard-boiled eggs from the cafeteria as per usual. This time, the eggs didn’t taste right so after a couple bites, I couldn’t eat anymore. A co-worker asked me about the eggs and then proclaimed, “maybe your pregnant!” I laughed and assured her that I’m not.

And so it begins. I have a 1 year old and I’m back to work after a year long maternity leave. Both of these = people wondering and asking if I’m pregnant with child #2.

While we think that we’d like a 2nd child (maybe?), I don’t feel ready for another pregnancy at this time. Is it even possible to feel ready for another pregnancy while you have a young child to take care of? And to feel ready for another round of newborn sleep deprivation?

I’ve done a little google searching on the topic of child spacing. Seems that many try to space their children close together in the hope that their children will be lifelong friends (while close spacing is no guarantee of this). There are others who intentionally wait until their child is older (3 or more years) so that they can have more 1:1 time with each child. In the different cases, I’ve noticed the following:

  1. almost everyone is happy with their child spacing (very few say they’d do things differently).
  2. there’s pros and cons to every age gap between siblings

I must acknowledge that we don’t always have a choice in child spacing. With that said, what are your thoughts re: ideal child spacing? For those with two or more children, what are the pros and cons of the age gap between your kids? Would you do things differently if there was a next time?

And if there’s any, “one and done” families reading this, please comment. What do you like about it? I’m loving our family of 3. I think it has many positives.

The real reason why having a child is both the hardest & the best thing

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Prior to having a child, I enjoyed hearing from others what having a child is like. I wanted  insight into the biggest decision a person can make (that will rock their world as they know it). The most common answer that I received was, “It’s the hardest thing that you will ever do but it’s also the best thing that you will ever do.” Hmm. This response was so vague. It left me confused. Why exactly is it the hardest thing? And why is it also the best thing? I didn’t receive specific answers from anyone.  It was like there was a code amongst parents to remain vague and not go into detail re:  why it’s so hard.  I did have one person say, “If people knew just how hard it is they would never have kids!” Again, wasn’t helpful.

Now that I’m 10 months into mothering, I’m trying to give an answer as to why being a parent is both the hardest and the best thing. At first, I’d tell you that it’s the hardest thing because you just can’t fully understand how painful the extreme lack of sleep is or how annoying your child’s cry can be (and how they cry for a million reasons you’ll never fully understand). Also, no breaks. Did I mention no breaks? I just sat down to write this post and now I hear her crying…she’s awake from her nap. Parenting never ends. With everything else, you can turn it off/walk away/take a break. Being a mom is 24/7.

But the more I ponder the question “Why is it the hardest and also the best?” I’m forced to dig deeper than just the day-to-day of childcare. For me, I think raising a child is the hardest thing that a person can do because it requires you to model by example what you want your child to do, who you want them to be.

“It was clear from the data that we cannot give our children what we don’t have. Where we are in our journey of living and loving with our whole hearts is a much stronger indicator of parenting success than anything we can learn from how-to books.” – Brene Brown

Truth is, pregnancy and childbirth are hard. Sleep deprivation is hard. Being on 24/7 is hard. But that’s just the hard stuff. The hard AND the best is this: your child gives you the opportunity to be the best version of yourself. An authentic and vulnerable person. A person who sets appropriate & healthy boundaries. A person who loves others with actions and not just words. A person who loves self.  A person who lives with their whole heart.

“How much we know and understand ourselves is critically important, but there is something that is even more essential to living a Wholehearted life: loving ourselves.” – Brene Brown

Here’s the truth behind “having a child is both the hardest and the best”…a child gives you a choice: continue living on autopilot, doing the same old, or stop and consider if who you are is exactly who you’d want your child to be. Raising a child is not, “Do as I say, not as I do.”  Raising a child is, “monkey see – monkey do.” That, my friends, is hard. But this can also be the best thing that you ever do.

Baby names that I love that I won’t get to use

I love thinking about baby names. Discussing baby names. Googling baby names. And I’m so grateful that I got to name a child! Our daughter is named after both of our mothers in a creative way (click here for that story). Her name wasn’t anywhere on our radar until about a year before she was born. Picking a name is tricky. First, you create your short list. Then your significant other comes along and vetoes nearly all of those names! Ha. It would be much easier to name a child if your opinion was the only one that mattered 🙂

Anyways, the following are names that I love but likely won’t get to use due to hubby not liking the name or for other reasons. In case we have another child, I won’t include names in this post that we may still use if we have a second child. Here are some of my favourite baby names:

Girl Names
Hannah
Lucy
Lauren
Norah
Madeline

Boy Names
Felix

Yes. My favourite boy name is Felix! I love so much about this name but I can’t get hubby on board. I love that it won’t get shortened to a nickname. I love that its rare and yet people have heard it before and know how to pronounce and spell it. To me, it has a cool factor even though its a very traditional/classic boy name. I just love it but there’s no way hubby will ever let me use it.

There you go. Above are a few baby names that I adore but will likely never use. What are some of your favourite baby names? Does your list and your partners seem to differ?

The Best Time of Year to have a Baby

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While pregnant, I received a lot of comments re: the season of our baby’s birth. Quite a lot of people told me that Spring was their preferred time to have a baby. One mother who had four children (who were all born in different seasons) told me that Spring was by far her favourite time to welcome a little one. The following are my quick reflections of each season, I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

SUMMER: This season has the advantage of outdoor birthday parties. How fun! But you essentially miss out experiencing summer’s glory that first year. A couple of friends had summer babies and they described that time of year as “a waste” re: mat leave. We only get 2 solid months of summer in Canada, so to miss out on soaking up that time can be a real bummer.

FALL: Autumn seems like a pretty great time to have a baby. Especially in Canada if you are taking a 1 year mat leave. If you have a fall baby that means that you’ll get to enjoy having your child be 10-12 months old the following July and August (while you are still off on leave). But it also means that you have to experience being HUGE and HOT during the last trimester. Being someone who is fairly heat intolerant, I was glad that I was at my largest over winter and early spring.

SPRING: I wasn’t convinced that I’d love having a Spring baby but now that the night times/mornings are cooler, I’m glad that I did the bulk of the getting up in the night when the house was fairly warm. We all know that it’s hard to get out from under the covers when the room air temperature is so cool (before you start heating your home). And while I spent quite a few beautiful weather days inside looking out, it was nice that when the newborn fog lifted I had good weather motivating me to get outside.

WINTER: I’ve always thought that a winter baby would be nice. Based on the observations of family and friends (that life is just a blur with a newborn for the first 3 months), I liked the idea of being trapped inside during winter time when you’d rather be indoors anyways. And what’s cozier than sitting by a fire with a swaddled newborn? You could live off crockpot soups and chilis. But then there’s bundling up a newborn to go places. And cold and flu season.

My conclusion? There’s never a perfect time to have a baby. Each season has its pros and cons. We are lucky to welcome a baby any season of the year. But there’s nothing wrong with recognizing pros and cons of each season. What are your thoughts? Any experiences to share?

Preparing for baby: make Freezer Meals!

http://www.southernliving.com/food/whats-for-supper/easy-freezer-meals
http://www.southernliving.com/food/whats-for-supper/easy-freezer-meals

There are lots of ways to prepare for welcoming a baby into your home. Attend childbirth or adoption classes. Decorate the nursery. Create a baby registry. But there’s one thing that’s often missed that pays huge dividends: making freezer meals. Far too few do this but those that do will tell you that they are so glad that they did! I’m 3 months into being a new mom and haven’t had to make a dinner meal yet unless I wanted to/had time to. This equals less stress + healthier eating + saving money (if we didn’t have freezer meals to pull from we’d be eating lots of take-out to survive those early weeks). If you are expecting a little one, here’s some tips in getting your freezer stash started:

1. Buy a separate freezer. The freezer part of your fridge will likely not cut it. If you can’t afford to have a chest freezer you can still make meals that will fit in your fridge freezer (just not as many).

2. Start early. I’d recommend start as soon as possible on freezing meals. I was shocked to learn that food that’s properly frozen/sealed can last for years in your freezer and still be safe to eat. For freshness sake, I’d recommend eating your frozen meals within 6 months of making them.

3. The easiest way to start building up your freezer stash is to make double of whatever you are cooking for dinner and freeze half of it. Even if dinner turned out to be only so-so, you’ll be glad you have a meal option later when baby is here!

4. Plan a freezer food party with some friends. It helps if one person is willing to organize it and others show up and help split the cost. For the freezer party that I went to, one girl organized all of the recipes and did the shopping (amazing!). We each did some of the food prep at home and then got together (i.e. I chopped 30 green peppers ahead of time). The husbands came along and chopped raw chicken while watching the football game. We ended up spending 5 hours together and made 5 different meals for the crock pot (we froze everything raw). In that one afternoon, I walked away with 30 crock pot dinners to freeze and use later. 30! Tip: stick with one type of meat for a bunch of different meals. And we couldn’t have made that many meals without the guys help!

5. Don’t make the mistake that I did and only make dinner meals. I really could have used frozen snacks in those early days with a newborn (such as muffins). Make a variety of foods in addition to having your dinners taken care of.

Final tip is to label everything: what the food is AND the date that it was made. I kept a paper list of everything so I could send my husband down to the basement with what needed to be eaten next (we ate items in order that they were made). Oh and freezer bags worked well for both seal/freshness and space saving as you could flatten the meals out and stack them on top of each other.

I’m sorry that I don’t have recipes to share right now. My friend was in charge of the recipes for our freezer party. If I can get my hands on those, I’ll share them!

I can promise you that if you decide to make meals to freeze before your little one arrives that you won’t regret it. Well, maybe you’d regret if it there was a power outage and you lost all your food. ha! But that’s not going to happen 🙂 Put away a freezer meal a week and you’ll be so glad that you did. Bon appetite!

Life lately: 8 days til due date

Today’s my last day @ work. I’m finishing a day before I hit 39 weeks. I’ve been working extra hard these days to have my position in good shape for my replacement.

D and I had an appointment with a midwife who will be covering for our midwife if she decides to take a weekend off in April. The appointment was wonderful. She said that baby was “a perfect size”. She was very excited for us. After meeting her we feel at ease if she were to deliver our baby instead of our midwife.

On Tuesday, we went to Chapters and spent 2 hours reading through children’s books. I thought that I wanted a bunch from my childhood but after reading them, I wasn’t as interested in owning most of them! We’ve got a good collection of books for our little one. We hope that they will enjoy reading like we both do.

I’ve been feeling really great in these final weeks of pregnancy. I’m not at all at a place where I just want this baby out. I’ve actually been struggling with not feeling ready for pregnancy to be over while knowing that I have no choice in the matter…it’s about to end! Yesterday, it hit me that what I tell myself while not wanting a vacation to end can apply to pregnancy. I’ve told myself before while on a trip, “Don’t be greedy. Be glad that you got to experience this at all!” I think that the same thinking can apply to this pregnancy. It’s interesting that I went from “I don’t think I can ever do this again” in the first trimester (due to nausea and anxiety) to now, “I don’t want this to end!” 🙂

There’s fears about what lies ahead but it’s more so fears about how I’ll cope with sleep deprivation, hormones and the major life change rather than labour. I’ve been consistently happy for weeks now with increased energy (could be that my TSH has never been lower….at 38 weeks it’s 1.18, pre-pregnancy it was 1.99. Both are considered normal but I’m feeling better with the slight increase to my synthroid in pregnancy). Also, my experience in pregnancy is that I don’t experience the hormonal ups and downs that you get with your female cycle. And no migraines for 9 months! Hallelujah.

We’ve been busy checking things off the list. A baby is sure a good motivator to get things done ahead of time like taxes, renewing our mortgage, etc. I know that a lot of people would like their baby to come before their due date. I’d like some days off work to focus on nesting! We are almost a week to due date. We’ll see 🙂

Both D and I had dreams about our baby last night. D dreamed that you could see facial features through my belly and I dreamed that I saw the outline of two feet (that were huge! ha). The baby was genderless in my dream. Last night baby was a boy in Derek’s dream, the night before he dreamed that we had a girl and named her the exact same name as our niece. Things are getting crazy around here!

Baby: we are days away from meeting you!  You’ve already changed our lives for the better. It’s surreal to think of the life change you are going to bring to us. We won’t be perfect (your dad’s pretty great!) but we will try our best to be the parents that you need with God’s help. We love you. XOXO.

38 weeks

What is baby up to at 38 weeks? (baby center):

Your baby has really plumped up. She weighs about 6.8 pounds and she is over 19 1/2 inches long (about the size of a leek). She has a firm grasp, which you’ll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb.

Wondering what color your baby’s eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she’s born with brown eyes, they’ll likely stay brown. If she’s born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she’s 9 months old. That’s because a child’s irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she’s born, but they usually won’t get “lighter” or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

New: Since my last post at 36 weeks, Derek and I had our last overnight as a couple. We ate a 3 course dinner which included filet mignon, yum! I was also spoiled with not one but two work showers. Monday night I celebrated with my team from Kingston and on Tuesday @ lunch the ladies that I share the hallway with in Belleville (but they work for another program) threw me small a baby shower. Feeling so blessed. It’s hard to believe that the showers are over and now the countdown is on!

Speaking of countdown, it was surreal to hear from my midwife that I’m considered term and they wouldn’t do anything differently now if baby were to arrive early. Baby’s head has dropped down since my last appointment 2 weeks ago. That may explain why walking feels different in the last week.

Weight gain: 24 pounds!

Sleep: I wake up often in the night to pee…more than usual in the last week. I’d guess 3-6 times a night.

Movement: Yes, more so seeing a mass of baby move from side to side rather than kicks these days. But I feel hiccups on a daily basis!

Symptoms: Was told yesterday that I definitely have the waddle walk. Carpal tunnel is still there but it’s more so numb and tingly hands in the last week than pain (thankfully!). I had bad reflux for two days last week but that seems to have gone away. Lately, I need to sit to put on my pants rather than doing that from standing position. Overall, considering that I’m 38 weeks, I’m feeling good!

Looking forward to: A week from today is my last day @ work! I’m really looking forward to wrapping things up at work so I can focus on things around the home. It’s not easy to prepare to leave your job knowing that you won’t be back for 1 year (so much to do). We still need to install our car seat and finish up our nursery…eek! Hopefully this weekend. I sound so disorganized when I write that but we’ve got a bunch of other stuff done lately (renewed our mortgage so we don’t have to do that when baby is here, bought a home computer so we can Skype with grandparents, etc). Fingers crossed that I don’t go into labour too early so we can get some more items checked off the list. People ask me if I feel ready…not yet…but slowly getting there. Derek feels ready which helps.