Friday, August 5, 2011

Playing catch-up

I've discovered very quickly that as your baby goes from laying on the floor not moving to crawling and then walking, it gets harder and harder to write in your blog. But here I am, and though lots of time has passed, I still want to write about the challenges and adventures I've had as a mom.

My baby is now a toddler, getting into everything and ensuring that our house is constantly turned upside down. It's so much fun though. Every time Sofia learns a new "trick" (ie pursing her lips, blowing kisses, dancing), I get a little giddy inside. She eats like a horse and still doesn't sleep through the night, but she never stops making me smile.

We've had the challenge of learning that Sofia has asthma, and is one a twice-daily inhaler. As soon as she sees that thing coming she screams, and then she screams the whole time you are holding it up to her face. But as soon as you are done she wants to play with it, and she puts it up to her mouth by herself and breathes in and out. She's smarter than she looks, that one.

My daughter's personality is showing more and more each day. She is silly and independent. She knows how to test us and she loves to cuddle.

We took a long weekend trip to the mountains and Sofia was amazing. She loved seeing the animals and the Calgary Zoo, and she even slept well in hotel rooms.

Oh my god, she's growing up.

Now, we look forward to all kinds of new hurdles like getting rid of the bottle and the soother (funny, you work so hard to get your baby to use those things and then comes the struggle of taking them away), learning how to discipline, and eventually the dreaded potty training. I am ready though to take it as it comes.

And no I am not ready for the next one. Yet.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Work, play, love

Ok, I admit it, being a stay-at-home-mom with a home-based business is a lot of work. Especially when your mother is visiting for three weeks smack in the middle of your business launch, plus during Easter and your baby's first birthday, your husband's 30th birthday, AND Mother's Day. Whew! So, needless to say I have been busy these past few weeks.

I am proud to say that my business venture, Jennifer Blake Photography is going well. I'm not making boat loads of money (yet!) but I have been improving my photography skills while establishing myself in the community. I am proud of the product I am creating and happy when it makes my customers happy.

I have to say that owning my own business while being a mom is a whole new ball game for me. It's so challenging to find time to get work done in between my usual life. It's something I'm going to have to work on, probably for a while, probably always. But I like a challenge, especially one that means I get to do something I love while staying home with my baby girl.

My baby girl, who by the way turned 1 last week. It's a cliche but it's true that time flies. It's been an amazing year of adventures, learning, fun and also difficulties. But we made it through and have so much to be thankful for and to look forward to.

This is going to have to be a short post, as I have work to do and am also fighting off a head cold (another of many illnesses to hit our family over the last few months ugh) so I plan to get some rest this afternoon, which means NOT sitting at a computer. I'll post again soon, because I have lots to talk about!

Me and my big girl on her first birthday!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The scary side of being a mom

This past weekend I experienced fear, self-sacrifice and endurance like I never have before. Being a first-time parent means being thrown curve balls. No matter how much advice you get from the long time parents you know, there will always be things that you don't expect, or even know how to deal with.

And even though my husband is a trained firefighter, he was taught a lesson - that all the training in the world can't prepare you for dealing with your own child being in what could be a life-threatening situation.

Our baby girl had a fever on the weekend, that suddenly spiked for whatever reason (possibly, but not positively the bath her daddy was giving her) and caused a febrile seizure. Unfortunately, we had never heard of a febrile seizure before, so when her eyes glazed over and she suddenly went limp in the tub, we immediately thought the worst. My husband pulled her out of the tub and tried to get her attention while I instinctively grabbed the phone to call 911 (which, by the way I have never done in my life). I stayed calm enough to give the operator the accurate information and relayed info to my husband as he continued to talk to Sofia to keep her awake. She wasn't shaking, but her eyes were sleepy and she couldn't move much or lift her head. After a few minutes, which of course felt like eternity, she started to come around and by the time the rescue unit arrived she was lifting her head again and trying to babble.

We were escorted to the ER, where we discovered that she had a fever of 103.2 F, so we had to try to bring it down slowly. Then, the doctor recommended we take her to see a pediatrician in the city, just to make sure she was ok. The next six hours were the longest, most exhausting hours of my life. Most of that time was spent waiting for the doctor, Sofia's fever to come down and for test results to come back. At 4 a.m. we were given the OK to leave, with a prescription for an ear infection (which caused the fever in the first place) and strict orders to return if we noticed anything our of the ordinary.

Sofia's case wasn't the worst one in the ER that night. For the most part even though she was probably as tired as her parents, she was generally happy and curious about everything going on around her. She took all the tests and poking and prodding like a champ. While next to us there was a couple with a 6 year old boy who had much more serious seizures and later, a 6 month old with a terrible cough and trouble breathing. The hardest thing for me to hear was the mom of the 6 year old calling a friend or family member with the news that they were in the hospital, as she fought back tears.

Through it all, I was utterly drained. I had a headache and couldn't keep my eyes open, yet as soon as I heard my baby girl cry out, I was awake and alert again. All that mattered to me was that she was OK.

There is nothing scarier than seeing your child in distress. You act on maternal/paternal instinct, doing whatever you have to do to fix it. The feeling of having no control over the situation is painful, to say the least.

We are very lucky that Sofia is fine, and now we know that a febrile seizure is not life-threatening. I wish someone had told me that, but I probably would have reacted the same way in any case. And if it's not that, it's something else, because there are many other things that could, can and will happen that we as parents will have to deal with. Looking back, I know we did everything right and that makes me feel good, like maybe I can handle this parenting thing after all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

They keep growing, even when they are sick

Wow, I write in my blog one day and the next thing I know it's almost a month later. But I have a good reason.

My husband and I recently had our first experience with sickness. I have decided that there is little that is worse than a sick baby. What began as a cold turned in to tonsillitis and a double ear infection, which meant Sofia's first round of antibiotics and trip to the ER. She wasn't herself. She didn't play, she slept all day and she completely lost her appetite. And the worst were the nights she kept us up screaming, trying to tell us she was hurting but we had no idea where or how to fix it.

Luckily she's a trooper and she pulled through after two long weeks and finally she's back to her playful, silly self. I missed it so much. Suddenly she's doing things she didn't do before she was sick, and every little accomplishment is that much more exciting. She crawls everywhere, stands at the table and bangs. She drops things. On purpose. Then laughs. Oh how she laughs. There is no sound better than a baby's laughter. If you can think of something better, I'll buy you a coffee. There just isn't, and that's final. She gives hugs, blows raspberries, claps her hands and plays with her hair. She's becoming a little princess and I love it.

This week the snow began to melt and we ventured outside for the first time in what feels like years, but is really just weeks. Well, maybe months. It has been a long winter, and it felt so good to breathe in the fresh air. Sofia enjoyed it too, as she rode in her stroller for the first time this year, bigger and more attuned to her surroundings than the last time. I'm looking forward to warmer weather and many more outings this spring and summer. And hoping for no more sickness cause I think we've had enough around here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The ever illusive "Me Time"

It was another busy weekend at our house. We had friends visiting and  we enjoyed Family Day Monday in the city. We went swimming, and though it was WAY too crowded for me, Sofia loved the water as always. Then we went out for supper at Red Lobster, where we were seated in the "kiddie corner" (where they put all the families with small children, so the possible crying, screaming, squealing and baby talk doesn't drive the single couples crazy). It was fun though, and the food was awesome.

Today it's back to just me and the baby. She's napping now, so I get to enjoy a little "me time", which of course means sitting at the computer playing Facebook games, checking emails and obviously updating my blog.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this "me time". Or, I'm not sure what other moms do. Maybe I should do something productive like empty the dishwasher (and re-fill it again) or put away the mountain of laundry sitting in the bedroom to make room for the load that's about to come out of the dryer. Perhaps I should read a book (ha!) or get a shower or make the bed. Nah, I'd prefer to use this time to do something mindless and not housework related.

Quick, she's sleeping, go do something productive!
As time goes on, "me time" becomes shorter and shorter. I'm lucky to have a husband who lets me have some time to myself once in a while so I can go get a bubble bath or watch one of the many shows taking up space on our PVR. He gets his own "me time" when he plays hockey and when Sofia and I take off to playgroup on his day off.

It's really important for us to have time to ourselves, and I'm not just saying that because all the baby books and websites tell me so. I need to unwind, whether that means actually relaxing in the tub or sitting at the computer for half an hour doing absolutely nothing important. If I didn't get those times, I think I'd go bonkers. All the playing and singing and watching cartoons can get to you after a while. And I want to enjoy those things, because they are part of watching my baby grow up.

K, my time is going to be up soon so I better go check Facebook.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Me and my girl <3

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love Day Lament

I'm such a girl. Every year on Valentine's Day I maintain that we do not need to "celebrate" it. I really do believe that we shouldn't assign just one day to express our love for one another. But then, being the hypocritical girl that I am, I'm always disappointed if I don't get a surprise. In the past, Michael has surprised me with various gifts; flowers and sweet cards, and we have gone out on several occasions for supper. This year, I once again sad I didn't care and we didn't have to do anything for each other. I even went as far as to say that I especially didn't want a card because they just pile up and then I feel bad throwing them out. Of course, this came AFTER he had already bought me a card, both from himself and from Sofia. Oops.

So I felt a little bad. I didn't get him anything and we didn't plan anything because we had to drive to the city anyway with his parents on V-Day.

The more I think about it, the more I think I should stop being so silly. First of all, what's wrong with expressing our love for each other, even if it has to be on the designated day? It doesn't mean we shouldn't express our love on other days too. And besides, shouldn't I LIKE getting gifts? Now that I have a child, I think I should start enjoying the holiday anyway, because she will have to give out valentines to her friends, and maybe I'll make heart shaped cookies or something for her. Ha! But really, it doesn't have to be about mushy, sappy, romantic love. It can be about family love. I actually like the idea of celebrating Valentine's Day as a family instead of leaving the baby with a babysitter and going out for supper or something. Why not bake those heart shaped cookies together, and then get to enjoy them together too? That's a plan for next year.

The one thing we did celebrate this Valentine's Day was Sofia starting to crawl forwards finally!! It was a momentous occasion! For weeks she has been going backwards, sideways, rolling and sliding, every way but forwards. She's becoming a real little girl now. Aww, my baby is growing up! That's something to love <3

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cabin fever sets in

Oh. My. God. Will winter EVER END?! It's about that time when I begin to experience cabin fever. Thank goodness the sun is shining today, so I can look outside and at least imagine that it's not -22 degrees. I'm pretty sure Sofia agrees with these sentiments because on the days when we don't go anywhere, it's increasing difficult to occupy her. By about 3 p.m. she begins to get fussy and of course is determined not to nap even though she's tired, so I have to deal with it and try to keep her entertained somehow.

And the nights are no better. I was getting used to getting up twice at night to feed her (still!), but this week it's been unbearable. On top of her usual two wake-ups, she will cry out periodically, just enough to wake me up, and some nights like last night she just cries (or screams, as the case may be) and we can't figure out what's wrong. She won't eat, she won't settle down, and we ended up giving her Tylenol. Last night she just screamed and screamed and we knew she was in pain, possibly teething. I just feel so helpless. I hate not knowing what's wrong and just guessing how to make her feel better. We go through this checklist and hope that something will calm her down.

All this lack of sleep and dealing with the cold and traveling has made me weary. I have just a couple months to get my photography studio up and running, and it's not really happening. I am waiting for our basement to be completed before I can set everything up, so that is my best and only real excuse. I just haven't felt motivated. I haven't even felt like taking pictures of Sofia, much to the dismay of my family on the other side of the country.

Oh well, the lesson to be learned here is that there are ups and downs. We might be down right now, but I know things will get better. My baby girl is growing and amazing me more every day, and with growth comes change and hopefully, eventually, more sleep!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Our crazy life

It's been a busy few weeks at our house, which is my excuse for not writing in a while. Although I am quite aware that it being busy is not news. I just haven't felt inspired, I guess. Well now I have lots of things running through my head. I haven't been sleeping well, partly because Sofia is still waking up twice at night (ugh) and partly because I just can't seem to shut my mind off.

The stomach flu has gone around our house. I got it twice and Michael got it once. Thankfully, Sofia didn't get it so that's the main thing. We went on a little trip to visit friends for five days, then came home for two days and then went away again for one night. I don't really want to go anywhere else for a little while. I love visiting and going new places, but I can't stand long drives, especially when it's -30 outside so you can't even look out the windows because they are all frosted up lol. Again, I am super thankful because Sofia is an absolutely amazing traveler. Even though I hate long drives, that doesn't usually stop us from going places, so her being a good traveler is awesome.

Our little girl is getting to be a bigger girl every day. At her 9 month weigh-in she was 18.4 lbs and 27 in. She eats like her dad (ie all the time and anything at all) and she sleeps great (aside from the waking up at night still). She's still not crawling, at least not forwards. She has managed to figure out how to go backwards and sideways and how to get off her belly into a sitting position, so even though she isn't crawling on her hands and knees, she gets where she wants to go.

We've also been dealing with separation anxiety, especially when it comes to her grandfather and her daddy. She is a major daddy's girl. When he walks into the room her face lights up and she starts to bounce. I'm thinking the reason she is so enthralled with them is because they are the ones who spoil her the most ha ha.

My baby girl amazes me every day. She is becoming a real little person with her own personality. I can't believe that her birthday is right around the corner. Life is about to get even more crazy, with me starting my photography business (aiming for April 1st!), my mom coming to visit and who knows what else. Now, if winter would just be over and done with so that we can enjoy some of our craziness outside ... that would make my life perfect and complete.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Boy oh boy

This morning Sofia and I helped celebrate my friend's son Lucas' first birthday. As I watched her play on the floor with her new friends I realized that it figures, she'd make fast friends with two boys. It's just the way things worked out. She has met lots of other babies, both boys and girls, at playgroup but because us moms get along, she's been spending most of her time with the boys. Sofia is the youngest of the group, and the only one of them not yet crawling and/or walking. She kinda of just sits there with a pile of toys surrounding her watching the boys chase each other (and I'm sure, planning her future advances).

Sofia and her two boy friends out for a walk
This does not really worry me. For one, she's 8.5 months old. She doesn't care who she's hanging out with. Second, she will have plenty of time to make more friends of both genders. For now, it's cute to watch them play together and to think that in a few years they will all be going to school together. I actually think it's great that she could have friends to grow up with like that. Maybe she'll date one or each of them at some point, or maybe they will just be platonic friends, but the kind of friends who do everything together and tell each other everything. Or maybe when they get older they won't be close friends at all. Whatever. All I do know is that those boys better treat her good!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The mommy-baby connection

The last few days have been exhausting. On Friday night I got sick. I won't get into details because I really don't want to relive that night, but I was sick right through until last night when finally my headache began to recede and my appetite came back. I slept pretty good last night (between feeding and comforting my teething baby) and this morning woke up fresh and ready to go shopping! (Retail therapy always helps me feel better, especially when it involves nearly $200 in gift cards at clothing stores.)

Breastfeeding has meant that I've been sick more often in the last year than I have in my entire life. It's no fun, but me being sick is better than Sofia being sick. Even so, it sucks, and I'm a huge baby myself when I'm sick. I'm just thankful that it happened on the weekend when Michael was around to look after Sofia and force me to drink lots of fluids.

Lately I've been mentally preparing myself for the day when I stop breastfeeding. Whenever I get sick, I keep nursing, knowing that it could prevent Sofia from getting sick too. Of course that's not the only perk to breastfeeding. Ever since I got pregnant, when someone asked if I planned to nurse, I said "Of course, why not? As long as I am able to, I will". I was lucky enough to have very little trouble in that department and it's become more natural to me the longer I've been doing it. Sometimes I complain about having to be the one to get up in the middle of the night to feed the baby, or awkwardly try to feed her with people all around (I have no shame about nursing in public, but I also don't wanna be flashing my boobs to the world. There is a discreet way to do it, it's just complicated sometimes), or having to pump to get a full night's sleep while Sofia stays at nana and poppy's. Then there are those moments, in her room at bedtime, with nature lullabies playing softly in the background, when she's cuddled up next to me reaching up and playing with my hair while she nurses. Those are the moments I will miss.

I planned to breastfeed as long as I could, and so far I haven't found a good enough reason to have to stop. I will probably do it until she's a year old, but that date is closing in and I'm wondering if the "sign" to stop that I'm expecting will not come and I'll have to actually make the decision myself. At this point, I'm really proud of myself for sticking with it, because I know not everyone can do that.

On that note, it's getting late and I'm probably going to have to get up soon to feed the baby. Goodnight world.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New year, new ... everything

It may be a cliche, but when people say their babies grow way too fast, they aren't kidding.

Over the last few weeks, Sofia has grown so much, both physically and developmentally. Between December 23rd and January 1st she started rolling from her back to her belly (finally!), and therefore started rolling around the room, then learned how to push herself backwards on her belly, got her two bottom front teeth, started copying everyone, and started clapping her hands for real. I've been blown away! Where did my little baby go?

Even though I'm sad that she's growing so fast, I am having more and more fun every day. Yes, I am exhausted because she no longer just sits in her rocking chair or lays in her pillow on the floor. And she is hilarious! She fake coughs and blows raspberries and sticks her toes in her mouth.

I have so much to look forward to this year! I am excited about a new mom and baby class we are taking, starting next week, and about her friends' upcoming birthday parties, her own birthday in April which means a visit from my mom. I'm looking forward to this summer, when we will be able to go to the park and for lots of walks again, and swimming and camping. I think 2011 is going to be a great year :)

One thing I am doing is appreciating every day and every special moment. Yes, there are days I am tired and days that are just plain tough, but there are way more days that are just plain awesome. And for that, I am just plain happy.