canucks fan in cowtown

All of stuff arriving at our new house

It’s been about 3 weeks since we made our big move. We’re getting more settled in now, and I finally have some time to write. Murray has taken the munchkin to have some baby and daddy time – I think they’re going to Rona or Home Depot. Our house is coming together really well. We worked like crazy to get unpacked and settled as quickly as possible. Within just a few days, we were mostly set up, with pictures hung and all the rooms we use on a regular basis were all set. Our basement is the only thing that still looks like we just moved in. Having Mom stay with us for a few days so soon after we moved was a major help, and we could not have possibly accomplished as much as we did without her.

Last Huskies game

Moving day ended up being “moving days” since it was actually a Friday to Monday process. On Friday, Feb 25, the packers came in and packed up our entire house. That night we played our last hockey game with the Huskies and then moved in to Murray’s Dad’s house for the weekend. On Saturday, the movers came in and packed up everything, including our cars, into a huge trailer. I felt bad for the animals since they didn’t know what was going on. It was a bit upsetting for them to see people taking all of furniture away. On Sunday, Murray’s mom and big Mur picked us up from Dad’s and took us to the airport. It was harder than I thought it would be to say goodbye to Maureen, but she’s been so good to us since Maddy was born and I feel closer than I ever had to her. Being at the airport was pretty crazy… It wasn’t us just going on a trip this time – it was us really leaving. I called my mom from the airport for a tearful goodbye, and of course more tears again saying goodbye to Mum and Mur. I think I was a bit numb, I couldn’t believe we were really leaving our family and friends. I took a picture from our seats on the plane as our last view of BC. (At least our last one for awhile…) We moved into our house on Monday – which happened to be the coldest day EVER. It was -23, but felt like -35 with the wind chill. And yes, there were definitely a few thoughts of: what have we done!?

Fortunately, the weather improved quickly, and I experienced my first “Chinook headache”. Chinook winds come in to Calgary every couple of weeks during the winter and bring up the temperature drastically and suddenly. It can go from -20 to 0 in a day, and the sudden change of high pressure can cause headaches. Once that subsided, the weather returned to typical March weather, just below 0 degrees and sunny. What’s funny about the weather here is that it can be -2 and feel warmer than it does in Vancouver at +8. It’s because it’s gorgeous blue sky and sun, and the cold is brisk and dry, while it can be grey and rainy in Van City. I won’t miss that.

We miss our Canucks a lot. Even though we subscribed to Sportsnet Pacific, they black out the Canucks games!! It’s brutal to see all these crappy Flames games that we don’t care about. And of course, the Canucks haven’t been on TSN or CBC since we moved. Luckily, we scored some tickets to the game when the Canucks were in town last weekend. We proudly donned our Canucks jerseys and kissed Maddy goodbye as we left her with our new friend Tara. She’s our real estate agent’s wife and one VERY brave woman to look after miss Mads. I gotta say – the Saddledome sucks. Yeah, we had crappy seats waaaaay up top, so high up, in fact, that we couldn’t see the fans across from us because of the dip in the middle of the saddle. We are spoiled with Rogers Arena being such a new building. Murray teased a Flames fan and very good sport sitting next to us, asking if the city was thinking of building a new arena once they got an NHL team. It was a tough start since the Nucks went down 2-0 within the first few minutes, but it was sweet to cheer loud and proud when our boys came back to beat the Flames. The ride home on the C-train was pretty amusing since there were many fellow Canucks fans on board, and some poor Flames fan actually got booed when he got on wearing the home team’s jersey.

Hello kitty

As for me, my big priority has been to meet people. It’s a bit different for Murray since he’s got his new job and has met a ton of new people. I think his depot has over 400 staff, so he has gotten tons of interactions with new people. After mom left, I have pretty much been on my own, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in malls just to get out of the house. I gotta say, though, the malls here rock. Cross Iron Mills is HUGE and amazing, and Market Mills is also really nice.  Unlike home, where programs seem to be ongoing drop-ins, here I’ve had to wait and try to register for stuff. I have Mar 28 and 29 highlighted in my calendar to be on the computer at 10AM sharp so I can get one of 15 highly coveted spots in some baby storytime programs. This week I finally found a drop in program that I could check out on Tuesday. I met a really nice mom who invited me to a playdate at Coffee and Scream on Thursday, where I met another mom that I got along with. I also found out about a website called Meetup.com from another mom at the Tuesday drop-in, and through that I’ve found a lot of other mom groups.

So, I guess things are starting to feel more like home now, and it’s a lot better knowing that I have places to go and not just stuck at home. Maddy has adjusted like a champ and is doing really well. She has been getting so strong and can now stand up for several seconds while holding herself up on a footstool. She is also eating plenty of solids now and has tried banana, avocado, pears, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, squash, oats and rice. Next up is some meats like chicken and beef! It’s definitely messy, but we have our Canucks bibs to keep her looking good 🙂

Maddy standing on her own

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countdown

Maddy in her cozy bag jacket

The day that Madison was born was obviously a day that completely changed our lives forever. There aren’t going to be very many life changing events like that one, but I’d have to say that Sunday is going to be pretty close. In just a few days, we’re moving to Calgary. (Cue all the comments about the cold weather here…) Yes, we know that Vancouver is rated the top city in the world to live in once again. It’s not like we don’t love it here, and we certainly didn’t expect that we’d be leaving our families and pretty much everyone we know to move to another province… Especially so soon after our baby was born!

But sometimes an opportunity comes up that you just can’t say no to.

It’s scary, for sure. We only know a couple of people in Calgary. We’re leaving our families and our friends, our support network. We’re leaving our hockey teams. It’s sad, too. I don’t think we’ve ever felt so close to our families as we have since Maddy was born. It’s like she has brought everyone together. She’s the first grandchild for any of our parents, so obviously the news that we are moving away was not met with a lot of joy. I know it will be hard for them to be away from her now that everyone has fallen in love with the little miss, despite her sometimes difficult disposition. She’s just so damn cute. One smile or gentle touch from her washes away all memories of the massive meltdown she may have just had.

I booked our flight to Calgary earlier this week and I just about had a heart attack when I clicked the “one-way” option instead of “round trip”.This week has been all about counting down. Our last weekend in the house, when we had a little going away party. The last Mom and Baby group on Monday. Our last Wednesday in this house. Murray’s last day in the office on Thursday. Our last Huskies hockey game on Friday night.

I talked to my mom about this yesterday, how this week is all about “lasts”. As you’d expect, poor Lola has been dreading the day that we move since her little granddaughter won’t be coming for her weekly visits anymore. So what she said really amazed me. She said “But next week will be all about firsts.”

I’d never thought of it that way since recently we’d really been focusing on all the things we’d be leaving. I guess it brought some perspective back to us – it reminded us again of why we decided to go. Yes, it will be really hard to leave our families and our friends, but we’ve got an exciting new start in Calgary. We have a great opportunity for our family with Murray’s new position and we believe it will be the best thing for us in the long run.

So – here’s to all the “firsts” that we’ll be experiencing. All of our “lasts” will stay with us, of course, but just like we created a new life with miss Maddy, we’re going to create new memories as a family in our new home.

resolve

For the most part, Madison sleeps pretty well at night. Yes, she’s had her bouts of trying to kill us by reverting back to multiple night wakings, but usually she goes to bed at around 8PM, wakes up once around 4 or 5AM for a feeding, then wakes up happy and cooing at 8AM sharp. It’s the naptimes that suck.

I’ve been reading a lot. Like, more than I did in university. I’ve read tons of articles online, and am now on book #3 on establishing good sleep habits. (I’ll try to write some more baby book reviews at a later date.) I’ve read the No-Cry Sleep Solution, and although I think it has some good points, I just don’t think it’s going to work for our Maddy. The Baby Whisperer seems like a better fit for us, and I’m now reading Baby and Toddler Sleep Solutions for Dummies. I have also enlisted the help and advice of other moms (and dads) via Facebook to see what their experiences have been like. Much to my disappointment, it seems that pretty much everyone has had to endure some amount of crying in order to get their babies to nap.

Yesterday was Day 1 of my experiment. It didn’t go very well. She woke up at about her usual time, and by 2PM she had napped for only 20 minutes. I had put her in her downstairs bassinet with a pacifier and told her to have a nice nap, then had been going back in increasing longer increments to try to soothe her, then leave her again. As expected, she wailed and wailed. At noon, after an hour of crying, I decided it was time to just put her in her carseat and take her for a drive. For me, an hour is the max I’m really prepared to let her cry for. I may change my mind later on, but for now that’s my limit. I just don’t think it’s right to let her go longer than that at this point. So, we took a drive and she quieted down, and I assumed she had fallen asleep. No such luck. She was awake when we got back home, so away we went again for another drive. This time she fell asleep, but only for 20 minutes, enough time for me to have most of my lunch. Even though she was crying, I decided to finish my meal. I changed and fed her, and predictably was falling asleep as I nursed her. Back in the carseat she went after eating, and this time she managed to sleep for almost 2 hours. In the evening, it was the same story, though, with her refusing to nap at around 6 and electing to scream instead. She was exhausted at 7, but we kept her up for another 45 minutes so she would have her usual bedtime. I was stressed to the max worrying that she would sleep terribly at night because she hadn’t had adequate sleep during the day.

It was a long and frustrating day for both of us. I managed to keep it together (barely) during the day, but fell apart as soon as Murray came home. I guess I just needed to vent my frustration and disappointment that I had been bottling up all day. I’m sure most new parents are reduced to tears periodically, but honestly it sucks. I do my absolute best for my Madison, but she is one tough customer. I have to keep my resolve that this will have to be done at some point, and the longer we wait, the worse it will be, so I have to just gut it out.

There is one passage in the book I’m currently reading that I need to highlight and remember. It has to do with “setting limits with love” and giving her the chance to adapt to new expectations.

Of course, you’re biologically wired to react to those piteous shrieks, so you need to recognize this situation as a chance for your angel to learn. You’re not just being tough, you’re being wise.

So – I write this post as Maddy is upstairs learning that she has to have an afternoon nap, and I’m learning that closing the door and doing something for myself is good for both of us in the long run.

Right?

surprise surprise

Madison eats her first solid food! Yum yum!

Madison knows what she wants. She’s stubborn. Based on our experiences with her so far, it’s no wonder we thought starting her on solids was going to be an adventure, to put it lightly. Imagine my surprise when she took to this new experience so well!

Much of what I’ve read suggests that parents should wait until 6 months to start their babies on solid food. However, some babies can be ready as early as  four months of age. Some of the signs to look for that indicate that baby is ready for solids are:

  • able to hold head upright
  • can sit with assistance
  • shows interest in parent’s food
  • loses tongue thrust reflex (so baby doesn’t automatically push food out of her mouth)

Madison seemed to have all of these, but I couldn’t tell about the last one until we actually gave solid food a shot. Next up was deciding what to give her. It was between Heinz or Gerber rice cereal and decided to go with Gerber since it had less salt and sugar. Yup, mama is checking food labels already 🙂 I chose the type that you can mix with either breast milk or infant formula. I figured this would be the best choice since it would at least be based on something that tasted familiar to her.

I had waited about half and hour after I had nursed Madison, so that she was not hungry, but not too full, either. Grandma came over to help and we got all of our stuff ready. The Bumbo seat was set up, bowl and soft-coated spoon ready, bib selected, camera nearby…. I mixed the rice cereal with some milk that I had pumped the day before so that it was thin and close to what she was used to. I wasn’t sure what to expect – I had prepared myself for some fussing, crying and protesting, but none of that came to fruition! Instead, Madison opened her mouth willingly and took the first spoonful with no problem at all. She moved the food around in her mouth a little, then swallowed and looked at us, ready for more. Spoon after spoon went down and Madison really seemed to love it. She closed her mouth around the spoon and would swallow well. Several times, she even tried to hold the spoon herself so she could be in charge.

Oh miss Madison, you never cease to amaze me.

me time

Since the moment we knew Madison was on her way, my life changed. Suddenly it wasn’t all about me anymore, it was about the tiny life growing inside me. Then, of course when she was born, that change intensified. Our daily routine was all about baby, every decision we made was with miss Madison in mind. So – yesterday was a bit of departure from that, and I gotta say, it was awesome and very much needed.

Anyone who knows me knows I love the spa. For years, I made a point of getting massages on a pretty regular basis. When I worked at a spa, I discovered facials, and those were also added into the rotation, though on a much less regular schedule than my massages. I’m a bit of a facial snob. Most facials are crap. I have all the stuff at home, and sometimes I’m left feeling like I could have just done a better job on my own. Yesterday, however, was an exception. Before Christmas, I had booked myself an afternoon at Spa Utopia. I was going for it – a massage AND a facial. It was time for some pampering!

I’ve had plenty of massages at Spa Utopia, and they are always fantastic. I like to get there early so I can enjoy some time in their eucalyptus steam room, then relax in the lounge and snack on dried mango until they come to get me for my treatment. I hadn’t had a facial there yet, so I was looking forward to trying one. I decided on the 75 minute Designed for You Exclusive facial. One word to describe it: BLISS. This place does it right, with the steam, and the face/neck/arm and even foot massage. I fell asleep three times yesterday afternoon, one during the massage and twice during the facial. I came out of there feeling like pudding. It was awesome to be able to completely relax and unwind for a couple of hours.Nothing else existed outside of my warm bed in the darkened room.

Meanwhile, dad took care of baby and did the grocery shopping.

Madison already has dad wrapped around her little finger.

mr. sandman

I love sleep. I miss sleep. I need sleep.

Back in the early weeks of Madison’s life, I was getting up every two hours at night. She would feed, then cry for some time before going back to sleep. By the time I would fall back asleep, I would only get in about 45 minutes to an hour of sleep before she was up, ready to be fed again. Needless to say, it’s hard on the system. I wouldn’t be able to get my ass out of bed until about 11AM. Most days, I’d never put my contacts in, or put makeup on, or even get out of my pjs. Slowly, but surely, it started to get better.

A few weeks ago, we started to fall into a very nice rhythm. Maddy would have her last feeding at around 8 or 8:30PM, fall asleep relatively quickly, then wake up somewhere between 3:30 and 5AM. I’d then feed her in the dark so she would fall right back asleep, and she’d be out until pretty much 8AM on the dot. This was very doable. I started to feel a lot better with the amount of sleep that I was getting again. I was content with our little routine that was developing. But of course, as I heard all things do, as soon as we had a bit of a schedule going, it all went to hell.

I don’t know if Madison caught a bit of Murray’s cold (which I now have, ugh) or if she started teething, or both, but suddenly her sleep pattern completely regressed. One night, she was up at 12:30, then 2AM, then 5:30 and 6:50, and up for her usual wakeup time of 8AM. It kicked the crap out of us. I thought we were past all of this!! And to make it worse, when she woke up, she would not just be making little noises, she was screaming. All of the teething symptoms were there: irritability, disruption of sleep patterns, excessive drooling, chin rash, rosy cheeks and chewing on her hands. Oh boy.

To top it all off, she had her 4 month immunization shots on Wednesday. Just like my previous post about her 2 month immunizations, it was heartbreaking to hear her cry when she got poked with the needle. What made it worse was that she had been sleeping quite peacefully until the doctor came in. What a crappy way to wake up. Afterwards, her poor little legs were definitely sore, and that didn’t help her with sleeping, either.

This sleep regression doesn’t seem to have affected her as much as it has affected Murray and I. I don’t know how she still wakes up at pretty much 8AM on the dot, as if she has an alarm clock set. I would love to sleep until at least 10AM with all of these night wakings. She has also started to fight naps, especially in the afternoon. I see her yawning, so I know she’s tuckered out, but it’s as if she doesn’t want to miss anything. She screams and cries and arches her back, until finally I can rock and shush her to sleep. She’s fast asleep in my arms, but often as soon as I put her down, she wakes right back up and we have to start the process over again. Once she’s down for her nap, I have exactly 30 minutes until she wakes up again. This is enough time to say, each lunch, or get dressed. If I’m lucky, maybe I get to sit down and do nothing for a few minutes, but usually it gets taken up by clearing the dishwasher, sweeping up the dog hair or putting on a load of laundry. It hasn’t left any time for blogging, which is why I haven’t made any new posts for such a long time.

It does seem like we’re starting to get things going back in the right direction, though. We’re back down to a single night waking, with a short feed and relatively quick to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, it’s still on the early side of the night – somewhere between midnight and 2AM. I’d really really like to get a longer stretch of sleep again. Normally I go to bed around 9 or 9:30, so that means I still only get about three to five hours of consecutive sleep. Now that I’m sick, I especially need the rest. This weekend, I’m really going to try to take it easy so that I can rest up and feel better for next week.

last christmas

Madison's first Christmas tree!

I’ve always loved Christmas, but this year is different. It feels even more exciting, more special than ever before because it will be Madison’s first Christmas. I hope that she grows up with as many wonderful memories of the holiday season that I did. Last night, as I fed her at bedtime, I thought about how magical tomorrow will be for all of us. She’s too little to understand what Christmas is right now, but I got giddy at the thought of her two or three years from now, her big eyes wide with wonder as her stocking, empty the night before, is now full of gifts from Santa. I held her tight to my chest, her little body already heavy with sleep, and thought back to last year. My eyes got wet with tears as I thought about how a year ago, she was already with me, a tiny speck inside my belly, unbeknownst to Murray and I.

It was Christmas morning when we found out I was pregnant.

One of the suggestions when you take a home pregnancy test is that you test using your first pee of the day. As my luck would have it, I woke up at 2AM that morning with a full bladder. Wait, I told myself, don’t ruin the test in the morning by peeing in the middle of the night. Hold it, hold it, hold it. So I went back to sleep but woke up again at 3:30. And again at 4AM. And once again at 5AM. I had to go, but I didn’t want to potentially ruin the test. However, I wasn’t particularly interested in fumbling with the test at five in the morning, either. After wrestling with my thoughts for several minutes, I decided that I just couldn’t hold it any longer – nature was calling.

Honey… I whispered.

Murray grumbled and rolled. What??

I gotta pee, but I don’t want to ruin the test for later if I pee now. I can’t hold it anymore, I’ve had to pee for like 3 hours. Should we just test now?

He laughed. Might as well.

So, still half asleep, I climbed out of bed, unwrapped the test in the bathroom and followed the directions carefully. I placed it back on the counter, finished up and came back to bed to wait out our 3 minutes. When the time arrived, we both got up and walked to the bathroom door, which was still shut. I took Murray’s hand as he opened the door to look at the results.

We both had to lean in closer to see, but there it was…. two pink lines. One was lighter than the other, but undoubtedly, there they were: two pink lines staring back at us. Merry Christmas, baby!

We could not have asked for a better Christmas present! It amazes me to think about how much our lives have changed since last Christmas. Having miss Madison has given me a new perspective in so many ways, and I can’t wait to see the magic of Christmas through her eyes.

All ready for Santa in her candy cane sleeper. H&M, $19.95

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