March 31, 2011

Catching Zzzzzs...

Sleep is a hot comodity in our house these days. With an 8 week old baby and a rambunctious toddler, hubby and I are essentially ships passing in the night.

This wasn't always the case.

After Cate was born, we went through the typical first couple of weeks of sleeplessness with no rhyme or reason to our process, but we quickly learned that it made no sense for us both to be at the same time at night and we soon developed what we consider to be the best solution for us.

The 2 o'clock rule essentially means that I take everything up until 2AM, and hubby does everything after. Since he was an early riser BC (before children), it worked out well. Most importantly, it solved the middle of the night debate on who's turn it was to get up - you know, the one where you pretend you're sleeping and hope your spouse gets up before the crying is so loud there's no way the neighbours down the street are still sleeping...

Even with the 2 o'clock rule in place, we got really lucky and at 2 months old, Cate started sleeping through the night and barring illness, continued to do so for the next 2 years. That is, until we moved her into her new "Big Girl" room this past fall.

Oh how I miss the days of a quick kiss, tuck her in bed and say goodnight as we walk out of the room. Bedtime routine has now turned into a dog and pony show that often involves several books, a few songs and, at times, multiple escape attempts. Hubby has even resorted to buying a little book light and sits there and reads until she finally falls asleep. This whole process can sometimes take over an hour.

We have recently solved the getting up in the middle of the night problem by buying her an awesome clock that changes colour to let her know when she's allowed to get out of bed. It has been a saviour for the mornings since she used to get up at 4AM and be ready to take on the day.

So that still leaves us with the actual "going to bed" part.

We tried being tough.

We tried being really sweet.

We tried sitting there quietly.

We tried waiting outside the room.

Nothing has gotten us back to the time when she fell asleep on her own.

Any advice for a couple of sleep deprived parents?

March 29, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Sooo... today was Cate's first day of Preschool, which also meant that it was the first day of our new routine.

From now until the summer, Cate will stay home on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that I can bring her to Preschool. She will continue to go to daycare for the other days (thank goodness!). Once the summer comes, I decided to be brave and keep her home all summer so that we can save a few dollars in anticipation of the two kids being in daycare full time once I go back to work - it's basically the same cost as a second mortgage...

Well, it was rough getting up with Cate since Maddie kept me up late, but Cate was in a great mood so I was happy to do it. We made it to Preschool in good time and I took advantage of the time in between to do some shopping :)

We came home and had lunch, and then the challenge of nap time began! We're usually pretty relaxed about nap time and don't make a big deal out of it if she doesn't nap since it usually means she'll go to bed earlier, but I realized that if I want to keep my sanity, I will need a break in the middle of the day - even if it's just to clean up the tornado she left behind! I brought Cate upstairs and put her in her room and then went into the office to tidy up. I told her she could play quietly if she didn't feel like napping.

Well... I heard her playing around, she was being quiet so I let it be. 30 minutes later, I walk into the hallway to see this:


How cute is that? I was shocked that she colour coordinated each little "guy" and yet so proud because that's exactly what I would do. I was also impressed with her mothering instinct to tuck them all in.

This is why I LOVE having girls :)


March 28, 2011

Monday Fun Day

I went out shopping today with my good friend who is getting married in June. The first stop was the bridal shoppe where we all ordered our dresses. She had a fitting for her dress and this was the first time I saw it - it's stunning and SO PERFECT for her. For fear of her hubby to be reading this, I will hold back from posting the pictures I took...

Next was my turn. I was worried about the fit of the dress given the style and not knowing how accurate the size would be - but, lo and behold - it fit! With a little help, I was even able to zip it up! The best part is that it's actually a little tight, so I have room to lose a few more pounds before needing to get it taken in. The last time I was a bridesmaid was while I was on Dr Bernstein's and the bride's poor mother had to alter my dress 3 times in the span of 4 months!

Next we went shopping for shoes and a few dresses for other upcoming occasions. I had seen a dress at Winners that I loved on the rack and had hoped buy it as inspiration to lose the weight before Maddie's baptism at the end of May. Well... I got to the fitting room and realized I couldn't even get the dress over my shoulders! The bottom of the hem was so narrow and didn't have a slit. Sometimes, there's a reason certain pieces end up at Winners.

While waiting in the fitting room for my friend, I noticed this:

How brilliant is this? An ad for hairdye in a fitting room! Kudos to the marketing team at Clairol for thinking outside of the box to advertise their product inside a store fitting room. The target demographic is bang on and the ad is perfect. Right away I recognized the "hair dye fairy godmother" from their commercials. My only disappointment is that I only saw it in one of the rooms.

I ended my fun day out shopping with the last night of my 30 day cleanse! I'll check my weight tomorrow, but as of this morning, I was down 15 lbs in 30 days. Hubby and I will take tomorrow "off" and have a steak dinner with baked potato, but then will start another 30 day cleanse on Wednesday.

On the schedule for tomorrow is Cate's first day of French Preschool. I can't wait to see how she does. We've been working on the key phrases she needs to know:

Je m'appelle Cate. (My name is Cate)

J'ai besoin d'aide. (I need help)

J'ai besoin d'aller à la toilette. (I need to go to the washroom)

She has also learned how to count to 10 in English, French, and Spanish (thanks Dora!)

Here's a little video to prove it!

March 25, 2011

Weddings & Funerals

cateThese days, it seems like I am running around trying to scratch things off a never ending To Do list. Even though I had a cold this week, I can't remember having more than a few minutes to actually sit down and relax. That being said, I do thrive on keeping busy and really only have myself to blame.

Sadly, our weekend started early by attending my uncle's funeral this afternoon. He was the eldest brother on my dad's side and there was a fairly large age gap (20+ years). I actually went to high school with his grandchild (my second cousin) who is a month older than me. This side of the family is very religious and so the funeral was held in a beautiful church near where I grew up, which I hadn't been to since my middle school days.

This was Cate's first time in a church - even her baptism was held in a high school cafeteria. She was quite excited to attend - so much so that hubby had to inform her that there is no clapping at funerals. She managed to stay well behaved for the first 10 minutes as long as we continued to remind her to stay quiet, however, once she found out there would be music, she was so happy that she broke out into song and started singing "Old MacDonald had a farm". Once she realized that the hymns were in French and she couldn't follow along, she stood up on the bench and stated "I don't like French songs". I then turned to hubby and gave him the queue to take her outside. I think he was quite relieved himself!

On a more positive note, Cate will be the flower girl and I will be the maid of honour for a dear friend's wedding in June and so another thing on my To Do list is to pick up Cate's flower girl dress this weekend. I can't wait to see it on her. Then on Monday, it's my turn to pick up my bridesmaid dress. I had to make a decision on the size 3 days after Maddie was born and did not get a chance to try it on and so I'm anxious to see how it fits! I ordered a little on the big side so that I could have it taken in if need be. Hubby and I have both made the wedding our first weight loss goal. As of this morning, I have 22 lbs left to go to get me where I want to be and there is a little over 2 months left. I think this is a pretty reasonable target, but I'll have to make sure I get off couch and do a bit more exercise. This cold has pushed me away from getting in a good work out lately so I have to get back on track tomorrow.

Wish me luck...

March 23, 2011

A bit of "diet" history

At this point in life, I have tried most "diets" out there. I've done Weight Watchers, Atkins, Low-Carb, South Beach, and even Dr. Bernstein's. I've had some success, but never managed to find something that I could maintain on a long term basis. Add to that an "enabler" hubby and a picky eater toddler, I pretty much turned into a short order cook anytime I tried to "diet".

In my youth, I could lose weight fairly easily. I ate poorly and drank casually so once I got a desk job, the pounds started piling on. This is when the revolving door or "diets" began. Finally after reaching my highest weight six months after my wedding, I knew I needed to do something more serious and so my Mom helped me out by paying for 2 months worth of Dr. Bernstein's. I kept that up for about 4.5 months and managed to lose 50 lbs! I felt great while I was on it, but it was unrealistic to maintain that type of diet in the long term, not to mention the sheer cost of the program. I stopped going, but did manage to keep the pounds at bay for a few months.

That Fall, I found out I was pregnant with Cate. I swear to this day that I put on 10 lbs the minute the line turned blue. That pregnancy was riddled with complications including 14 weeks of bed rest - a recipe for disaster if you're trying to keep from gaining too much weight. From my last count, I think I had gained about 65lbs. Although, I'll admit that I stopped looking at the scale at around 35 weeks...

After Cate was born, I tried to jump into losing the weight. Between nursing, losing all muscle tone from the bedrest and a thyroid problem that went undiagnosed for months, it was a lost cause. I had only lost 20 lbs at seven months after her birth. Finally, we got the thyroid regulated with medication and I went back on Dr. Bernsteins. Unfortunately this time, the weight did not come off as easily as it did before. It took three attempts as well as getting back into competitive horseback riding to lose another 25 lbs. Still I was 20 lbs away from my prepregnancy weight.

Skip ahead to June 2010 when I found out I was pregnant with Maddie. This time I vowed to take control of the weight gain. Luckily, I did not have the same complications as before and avoided bedrest. I also managed to keep my weight gain to 40lbs. Still high, but what can you do?

After Maddie was born, I knew I needed to get started on something right away. I lost the token 20lbs after two weeks, but still had another 20lbs to go. On my request, my Mom had given me a Dr Bernstein's gift certificate for Christmas, but I decided to keep that in my back pocket for now since I don't really want to spend the money if I can do some of it on my own first.

Throughout the course of my pregnancy, I watched my RMT lose weight and get healthier on a cleanse she was following. When the time came to make a decision, I told her to sign me up. Better still, hubby agreed to give it a try as well.

A few days later, we received a giant box of products from Isagenix. I'll admit that after opening the box and learning a bit of the protocol, it appeared pretty "gimmicky". Regardless, we had spent the money and I had seen the results in my RMT. I figured I'd give it a go for 30 days and then make a decision.

Sunday was our 3 week mark and the results are in. I am down 12lbs and am very happy with it. More surprising is that hubby is down 28lbs! We both find that the cleanse is fairly easy to follow and allows room to make regular meals that our toddler will eat (sometimes). We are both encouraged and can see ourselves keeping this up for sometime, with some breaks in between.

Time will tell if this is the one that works, but I do feel that we are making better lifestyle choices.

We are exercising everyday.
We are buying more organic groceries.
We are setting a good example for our girls.
We are encouraging each other.
We are in it together.

March 21, 2011

If the shoe fits

March is a big month in our house. As I mentioned in my last post, Cate will be starting preschool next week. What's even more exciting is that on Saturday, she will also be starting indoor soccer!

That's right - I am on my way to becoming a Soccer Mom.

In anticipation, Cate and I went out to buy her a pair of sneakers. Now, most people who know me well know that I have a small obsession with baby shoes. Well maybe it’s not small. By the time Cate turned two, she had well over 40 pairs of shoes that she had outgrown.

Here's a peak at Maddie's closet of shoes to grow into...

It should also be noted that each cubby has two pairs of shoes in it.

Usually, I pick up baby shoes on a whim. Who can resist when they are often under $10 at Joe Fresh? Well this was not that type of shopping trip, so off we went to Kiddie Kobbler for a solid pair of runners. I chose two pairs for Cate to try on, and she picked the winner after giving them a test drive by running around the store practicing her soccer moves.

In the end, these were the chosen ones…

Not baby shoes at all. These are REAL Big Girl shoes.

On the drive home, Cate took them out of the box and told me that these were her “best favourite shoes ever”.

Three years ago, I reached viability in my pregnancy with Cate and had been on bedrest in the hospital for two weeks. Every day the NICU doctors came by to explain the survival rates at that stage to prepare me for the decision I would have to make if she were born that day. At the time, her estimated weight was under 2 lbs and the survival rate was approx. 50%. Of those babies that survive, the likelihood of long term disability was approx. 80%.

Today, she is a whopping 32lbs and I am stunned by how quickly she is growing. The first three years have flown by and it seems that the pace has picked up now that we have two kids.

Next year she will be headed to kindergarten…
In 11 years, she will be headed to high school…
In 15 years, she will be headed to university…

Although time is moving quickly, I can rest assured that I still have a lot of shoes left to buy.

March 18, 2011

Potty Pressure

My oldest daughter, Cate, will be 3 in June. She is so smart and bright and is constantly surprising me with the way she presents an argument, negotiates and accepts compromises. I am so proud of all that she has accomplished in her almost three years. With all of that, I am dumbfounded at the fact that she is still not potty trained.

I started training her last summer. I had heard from a cousin who was a nanny in Europe for many years that what they do is take a week off work after the child turns 2 and "gets it done".

So that's what we did.

Hubby and I took a week off at the beginning of August to renovate Cate's new big girl room and thought this would be a perfect time to train. We took off the diaper and off we went.

Well that didn't last.

Cate would come toddling back to the room with wet underwear... and now the hunt was on to find the pee! Not my idea of a vacation. After Day 3 of cleaning up so-called "accidents", we gave up and put it off for another day.

In the fall, I signed her up for preschool set to start in the spring. The caveat was that she had to be potty trained. No problem, I thought, that is still months away. She's a smart girl, we'll get there. So, we tried again one weekend every month... Still no luck. We tried another week at Christmas, it started coming together, and then quickly fell apart. Since then we have been trying every day. We used the sticker chart, the jelly beans, and most recently, a promise of a bouncy castle at her birthday party in June if she can get to the point of not needing diapers. As much as I hate to admit it, we have even resorted to the shame and sarcasm approach - somehow that we went right over her head.

As I write this, Cate is sitting on the couch next to me in a soggy diaper.

Well, today is the first day of Spring and preschool starts next week. We have officially been potty training for 8 months. Cate has reached the point of going if we ask/tell/force her to go, but will not ask to go herself. I have had people tell me that it will happen in its own time and let it be. That may be fine for some, but with the pressure of preschool approaching I refuse to let my kid be THAT kid.

Perhaps I am being just as stubborn as she is.

This whole ordeal has most certainly been one of the most frustrating experiences of my life so far - I am sure there are many more to come. It has been a true reminder that Cate is her own person and although there are few things in life that she can control - this is one of them!

I have a week left and am holding out hope for a miracle...

So please tell me, what worked for you?

How much is too much?

This is not my first blog.

I had a blog before they were called blogs.

In my teens, I spilled my thoughts and feelings into a "homemade" web site and posted every few days. At the time, I was young and naive to the power of the internet. I think a lot of people were. This was the height of ICQ and MSN.

I used the blog to document the events of my life for one summer. However, they were often spun towards the people who I knew would be reading. At the time, that included boys that I "liked" who didn't "like" me, boys who "liked" me but I didn't "like" them, and of course, some of my friends. Since this was before the age of blogspot, and let's face it, I didn't have a clue about google tag words, I doubt that there were any anonymous strangers following my ramblings.

By writing each post, I thought I was the one manipulating the words to make for an interesting read. It turns out, I was just making myself more vulnerable to my "followers", who were in essence those who had the power to take advantage. I thought I was being so smart in making them read between the lines and using inside jokes and innuendo to protect myself. Looking back, I'm only reminded of the fact that teenagers are naive. I was a smart teenager and I grew up quickly, but that did not stop me from being naive. As I write this, I am wondering if some of these same people will read this blog, now, over a decade later.

This blog I wrote did not end by disinterest or failure to post.

I still remember how it happened...

My girlfriends and I were up in my room getting ready to go out to a party - a party with MUCH older people. A party that my folks thought was actually a sleepover at a friend's house. We were busy putting on make-up, talking about boys, and figuring out what fake ID to use to buy booze when it happened.

My Dad found my blog.

Anyone who knows my Dad will understand that he has a defensive personality. He holds his cards close and the thought of his daughter "exposing" her thoughts to the internet was too much. I was immediately grounded and although I was allowed to go to the party, I had to be home by 10pm. Looking back, that really wasn't that bad of a punishment - probably better off that way anyway.

Today, I am more aware of the dangers of exposing too much online. At the same time, I love reading others' blogs and am eager to take part in this virtual reality of friendship, support and higher learning.

I have not yet decided where I will draw the line.

Do I post pictures of myself?

Do I use my kids real names?

Do I post pictures of my kids?

Do I talk about my relationship with my husband? parents? in-laws? friends?

Do I talk about my work?

I'm going to face each question as it arises. It seems to me that a good blog must reveal some personal information in order to be effective and interesting.

What would you do?

March 17, 2011

So here it goes...

For years I've had ideas for a blog. Maybe I'd start a weight loss blog to document one of my many attempts to shed a few pounds. Or maybe it would be a parenting blog to ramble on about my kids and share their accomplishments. Or better still, a marketing blog to share great articles and insight I find through my day job.

In the end, I never even wrote a post.

There was usually a reason.

Maybe it was because I was too shy to share my endeavour in weight loss and open myself up to other people's opinions; or that I did not want to share personal information about my kids online for fear of ... (insert creepiness here); or maybe I was intimidated by the online world of marketers, and again, was not ready to hear their comments.

It always came down to fear and intimidation.

Time to move on and get over it.

I've recently introduced some changes into my lifestyle and I'm learning to re-prioritize various aspects of my day-to-day life. In doing so, I'm changing my outlook and trying to build the life I want to live. This includes everything from parenting, health, beauty, work, entertainment, hobbies and relationships.


Why not cover all of the above in a blog?

So here it goes.

Welcome to lalaland!