Fall Canadiana at Joe Fresh

This is a light post (and probably a light week) as I’m getting back into the swing of working and mothering and otherwise existing.

Joe Fresh has been making me drool with their new arrivals for the last few weeks! While they are now shipping to the USA via their e-commerce site, they started out as a Canadian company and their fall and winter collection seems to feature some nods to Canadiana. Basically — lots of moose stuff (swoon) and buffalo plaid (which, in jacket form, is known as a Kenora Dinner Jacket around here).

JoeFresh

A lot of M’s wardrobe is made up of Joe Fresh items because I can always find cute things on sale — the clearance section is practically even with consignment prices. I keep eyeing the boys’ version of the plaid shirt every time I’m grocery shopping at our nearest Extra Foods. If it ever goes on sale I’m probably going to pick it up for M. And a moose hat!

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As Maternity Leave Ends

Today I rejoin the working world and my stay at home mom status transforms to working out of the home mom status (that’s a mouthful). I’m lucky to have flexible employment — I’m at home right now, having picked M up around noon, and most Mondays will probably be similar. But my year long maternity leave is officially over, which is hard to believe! I think about this time last year and it feels very far away, but at the same time I look at M and can’t figure out where the time went.

She had a ton of fun at daycare today, and I think we will all benefit from a bit more structure and routine in our lives. While I fully respect all of the different configurations of parenting out there, I think that working in some capacity is what I need to do in order to feel fulfilled. I’m eager to flex the creative part of my brain that has become a bit rusty over the last year and I’m excited to jump back into my role at work. If you asked me how I felt last night or even this morning I’d probably answer with “sad” or “nervous” but as many people told me, the anticipation is the worst part.

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I’m amazed that my teeny squishy baby is a walking almost-toddler! I’m so glad I was able to be there to see her grow and change, and I’m equally glad that she is in good hands when we’re away at work. Maternity leave, if if has not taught me anything else, has shown me that it truly does take a village to raise a child.

So as my leave ends, I’m left feeling like I have grown and changed a lot over the last year. Many things happened that were entirely unexpected, and many things played out differently than I ever could have imagined. In the end I feel like this time away from the ‘real world’ has made me more aware of the good things in my life and the way I should allocate my time and energy. There are a few things I would change, if I could go back, but all in all I will remember the first eleven months of M’s life as a wonderful, special experience.

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Friday Night Meatballs

It’s Friday. This morning, like I have for the last two Friday mornings, I chopped up an onion, opened two cans of crushed tomatoes, and mixed them into my slow cooker (circa 1970-something) with garlic and capers and other deliciousness. Friday Night Meatballs are on their way.

I came across this article a few months ago — Friday Night Meatballs: How to Change Your Life with Pasta. It spoke to me immediately. In many ways, maternity leave has been lonely. I get out and socialize but a lot of the time ‘socializing’ = ‘walking the baby to the grocery store so I can talk to a grown up.’ She is too young for the baby dance classes, there is no public pool, we don’t have a shopping mall where we could go and walk around, most of our friends’ invitations to things are past bedtime or age of majority required, meaning only one of us can go… it gets isolating. This is the season of life I am in right now and it will change. But I needed to see people. I needed to have friends and companionship and socialization in a place that could accommodate our daughter and her roughly scheduled day, too. Enter meatballs.

Every Friday I get the sauce going in the slow cooker and leave it on low all day. This week I have frozen meatballs leftover from a huge batch last week, but the other times we’ve done Friday Night Meatballs I’ve oven-baked them during nap time. When M wakes up today we will probably walk to the store for bread and salad. When Matt gets home from work we’ll quickly tidy the living room, dining room, and bathroom. Around 6 pm I’ll put the pasta water on to boil and slowly, people will stream in.

We are still working out the kinks. Last week I felt like I was sequestered in the kitchen while everyone else was having fun. We don’t have enough chairs. It’s really freakin’ hot in our house once I get the stove going, and if we ever get guests with food allergies I’m gonna need to do some advance planning. But it’s totally worth it. Friday Night Meatballs give us something to look forward to, and a chance to open our home to friends, old and new. I think it will be especially wonderful in the depths of winter.

If you’re ever in our neck of the woods on a Friday, come eat meatballs!

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M at 11 Months

11Months

Why the bucket? Because yesterday (when she turned 11 months old) she wouldn’t sit still otherwise. :) We have gone from lying down with the moose to sitting on her chair with the moose to me draping a blanket over the side of the crib and hoping she’ll stay still long enough to snap a somewhat decent photo. Good thing there’s only one picture left in this series!

Stats:

I actually have measurements this time around! Well — maybe not totally up to date measurements, but it’s something. About two weeks ago she weighed 20.5 lbs, and last week she was just about 30″ tall. She has grown another tooth, a new one on the top which will finally make her upper teeth symmetrical when it comes in all the way. Matt says it looks like she may be cutting a molar soon, too — I generally try to avoid putting my fingers in her mouth so I’ll take his word for it. ;)

Nicknames:

Nothing new!

Temperament:

The temper tantrum stage continues. She can tell when we are about to stop her from doing something and she does not like it one bit. She’s still happy, though — I think she just needs some more space to play. We are still working on getting things safe for her to have access to the hallway and her room, which will hopefully prevent some of the baby gate induced tears. She’s always happy to wake up and say hi in the morning and after her naps, and she gets really excited when people come over. I can see her sense of humour coming out and so far it’s pretty goofy!

Skills:

Walking! She started a few weeks ago, just a few steps, but these past few days she’s been toddling for longer stretches, especially if she has a toy in her hands to distract her from thinking about what she is doing. When she really wants something she crawls because she’s faster, but you can tell she’s proud of herself for moving upright and it’s something she’s working on every day. She can also climb off of our bed by herself (though we still spot her) and has picked up a few new regularly used words like “pretty” and “hot.” Speaking of hot — if anyone is near something warm she flaps both of her hands and gets distressed. I may have overdone it on the warnings. She’s good at following simple directions like “bring this to Daddy” and she loves to clean up by picking up her unwanted food and putting it on a plate, or putting things in bins (I keep finding her socks in her garbage can).

Marigold2014-22

Sleep:

She was reliably getting herself to sleep after naps, as I’d put her down in her crib after nursing her and she’d roll over and go to sleep. Now she resists and cries. We give her about five minutes to stop and/or fall asleep before we try again. At night, it’s iffy — she’s either so tired that she goes down easily, or she fights it like she does at nap time. This seems to be dependent on if she had a two nap day or a one nap day, which has no rhyme or reason. Some nights she sleeps straight through and others, she’s up once or twice. I’m battling my own case of insomnia so it’s a bit trying but I’m trying to not stress about it because I know daycare is going to throw everything for a loop, soon.

Eating:

M is in a bit of a picky phase. She’s partial to carbs and dairy and doesn’t want to eat very many vegetables or fruits these days. We get her to eat it anyway by being creative — cherries on her toast, cheese on top of peppers, or a sandwich stuffed full of everything. Some days she eats a lot, some days I wonder how she’s not starving. Giving her a preloaded fork seems to help.

She is still nursing, albeit less often. We consistently nurse when she wakes up, before nap time, and before bed, but in the in between times she sometimes doesn’t bother. Yesterday I think she only nursed for 30 seconds all afternoon! She loves to drink water from her straw cup so I think she may end up weaning for daytime, which is fine by me as I’m going back to work. I think for the next month she’s in daycare I’ll send her with one bottle of breastmilk, and after she turns a year old I will try to adjust things so that we’re only nursing at home.

Clothing:

She’s mostly in 12-18 month clothes, because she needs the length, especially in pants! Because she’s walking she’s wearing shoes when we go outside, and we’re in the season where she generally needs a coat, too. Once winter rolls around for good it will be interesting to navigate boots and snowsuits.

Loves:

Books! This month has been alllll about reading. She brings us every book she can round up and we read them to her over and over. She also loves her musical toys and if you tell her to play you a song she’ll mash the buttons happily. She still loves animals like crazy. She’s very in to the flowers leftover in our front perennial garden, too — she’s happy to stand and touch them while saying “Pretty!”

Hates:

Getting dressed and getting changed, still. She doesn’t like when gates are shut or doors closed, and she occasionally gets upset if she has to say bye-bye (though she still waves while pouting).

Mom and Dad:

Today, Matt realized he won’t see M at lunch as of next week because she’ll be at daycare. After almost a year of coming home to hang out with us, he was pretty sad when it dawned on him. We’ve both had our verklempt moments but overall we have had a happy month and I know we will get used to things. We’ve really been enjoying seeing all of her new skills and her emerging personality!

Things to Remember:

Thanksgiving, and M’s fun with Baxter the dog. The way she insistently chased her Uncle Jesse around trying to grab his beer a few days ago. That time she walked all the way from the hallway into the kitchen. Her spiky post-bath hair. Holding her head up while she practically fell asleep in the Canadian Tire shopping cart. So many little moments that make up our lives.

Dear M,

When you fell asleep tonight, in my arms, I felt like I was holding the whole world. Some scary things happened today in Canada, and we worried about family and friends while it all unfolded. You weren’t worried, of course — you’re free from grown up concerns like that — but it made me hug you extra tight at the end of the day. We are so lucky to have you.

And today, especially, I do feel lucky. I feel lucky that I have been there for your first words, your first steps. Your first food, your first smiles, every single one of your teeth — so far I have been there for everything. That is going to change, soon. I won’t be present for all of your new experiences or regular routines. You’ll come to rely on other people in new ways, in the ways that used to be in my realm. It’s tough to swallow but it’s a part of growing up, for all of us. Because one day you will set out entirely on your own, and all I will be able to do is smile and hope that I have prepared you as best as I can.

M, you are our world. And no matter what happens, no matter how old you get, no matter where you go or what you do — we will be there, if not physically, then as the little voice in your head that says “You are special and you are loved.”

Always,

Mama

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Live Clean Fresh Face Collection

Live Clean recently sent me a few items from their Fresh Face collection to review — good timing, because the impending change of seasons always wreaks havoc with my skin!

As always, the products are made with earth and body friendly ingredients. This includes 98% plant-based ingredients, keeping the products gentle and soothing for skin (especially skin transitioning into winter, I think). These products are free of things like petroleum, SLS/sulfates, parabens, phthalates and phosphate. The Fresh Face collection, in particular, features orchid, “the eternal youth flower” and Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, as well as other organic botanical ingredients.

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