Sunday, December 30, 2012

Very Quick Update and Some Photos

Hey All,
Allison here.  Thank you all SO much for the congratulations.  Perhaps needless to say, we are falling deeply in love with our daughter along with getting used to life as a family of four.  All is well. 
I hope to post a small fraction of what must be the thousand photos we've taken this week and also get to Sprout's birth story at some point.  All in due time.  Right now I need to get ready to feed the not-so-little one.  ;) 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Welcome Baby Girl

Sprout was born at 3:52 pm on December 24, 2012 by C-Section.  Baby and Mama are both doing well. Allison will have to be in the hospital for a few days recovering. 8 lbs 15.7 ounces at birth. 20.5 inches. More when we are back home. -Jen

Saturday, December 22, 2012

*Navalgazing* Reflections at 41 Weeks Pregnant

We're still here.

I'm still pregnant.

This week was tougher than I expected it to be.  Physically things are difficult, and only continue to get more difficult, but beyond that, emotionally I been a bit of a mess. 

People, understandably, keeps asking if Sprout has arrived yet.  We've said we will keep everyone updated, but there are still calls and emails daily.  While I appreciate that we're in peoples' thoughts, it's also a constant reminder that we are still waiting. 

I'm not able to get around easily, so I've mostly been at home, wondering when/if I am going to go into labour.  I try to distract myself.  The reminders don't make that any easier. 

Last night she didn't seem to be moving around as much as usual.  I said something to Jen about it and she asked if things were okay.  That got me worrying that they weren't.  I ended up sitting up in bed, in tears, hands on my belly waiting for some of the big kicks that she usually gives me in the evenings.  Eventually she did, but I was a mess waiting for them.  Thoughts of a long-time family friend who's son was stillborn at full term kept running through my head.  I wondered if I should be calling the midwife or going to the hospital or having an ultrasound just to make sure things were okay.  I worry that she would be better off outside than in, at this point.  I worry about the cord wrapping around her neck.  I worry that she'll grow to large for me to have a vaginal birth. 

I talked to my midwife and she agreed to an induction on the 27th.  I don't really want to be induced, but they would do it by the 30th anyway.  And I feel ready to meet this little one now.  I am confident that she is grown and developed and that those three extra days would not make a difference to that.  I also don't feel like those three days would make the difference of NOT needing the induction.  Plus, Jen's parents were going to stay until the 26th and then come back for the 30th.  That seemed silly.  With the induction scheduled for the 27th they'll just stay here until after the birth.  I feel better not worrying about them travelling 6+ hours to and fro on winter roads. 

Accupuncture this week was slightly more painful that in has been.  I probably won't make any more appointments.  The 24th and 26th would be the two days my accupuncturist is available and I already have a midwife appointment on the 24th.  I feel like if the accupuncture were going to make the baby come, it would have happened by now, though I do still hope it's helped my body prepare.  My midwife suggested inserting the Evening Primrose Oil and perhaps trying Castor Oil, but I think I'll just be to disappointed to have put myself through the discomfort if it turns out that those methods don't help.  So basically I've decided to just wait.  I'll keep taking my EPO and homeopathics,  I'll try to walk when/if I feel up to it, but I'm not going to start anything else. 

Please continue to send all your baby-come-soon thoughts out to the universe on our behalf. 

One way or another she will be here with us by next week. 

And we'll keep you updated.  Promise. 

41 week belly:

Friday, December 21, 2012

{this moment} playing around

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Monday, December 17, 2012

*Navalgazing* Reflections at 40(+2) Weeks Pregnant

This will be a very quick update as a wolf down a sandwich and get ready to go to my accupuncture and midwife appointments. 
I was hoping that I wouldn't be making this update, that we would have a birth announcement to post by this time, but here we are, still waiting. 
I continue to grow more and more impatient.  I worry about going to 42 weeks and being induced --something I'm sure my midwife will be discussing with me today.  I continue to become increasinly uncomfortable.  The Braxton Hicks seem to have increased in both frequency and intensity.  Not enough to believe that they are "real" contractions, but enough for me to now wince and have to sit down.  I feel bad that I can't be more productive.  I especially miss being able to play with The Bean the way I would like to in the evenings.  (Evenings are worse.)  But again, there's not much that can be done. 
On a lighter note, Jen and I went out for what will likely be our last pre-Sprout date on Saturday night.  Our favourite band, the band that brought us together, is on tour supporting another larger band.  The show that they had scheduled here was cancelled because the lead singer of the other band was sick, so they quickly booked their own headlining show.  It was my due date, so we didn't have tickets to the original show, but with no signs of imminent labour, we bought tickets to the last-minute show.  It was awesome.  We haven't seen them since Jen was pregnant with The Bean.  Sprout kicked up a storm so we figure she either loves them or hates them, but being in this family, I'm sure it's the former. :)  We got to go backstage afterwards and the girls wished us well, telling us it's likely they'll be back soon, perhaps with a family-friendly show scheduled.  We'll be looking forward to it almost as much as Sprout's arrival.
Here's the (huge) 40(+1) week belly:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Twenty-Three Months Old!

Today The Bean is twenty-three months old!

I can hardly believe our baby is nearly two.  It is hard to remember what life was like before him, yet the first time I held his tiny body doesn't seem like it was that long ago.

Even though he'll always be our "baby", it's hard to deny that he's becoming quite a little boy.

-His understanding of various concepts is really starting to be apparent.  He responds to what we say, like when he wasn't feeling well this past week and I was able to talk to him and calm him down.  He takes words he knows and uses them in new contexts, like asking us to "close the door" when he wants the shower curtain pulled shut at bath time.  

-He is using new words daily.  There is no way to keep up with them now.

-He is very opinionated and let's us know what he wants... whether it's turning on his favourite song (still "Firetruck", followed closely by "Jingle Bells" these days) in the car, having us dance and where ("Mama!  Dance!  Carpet!), what he wants to eat ("Applesauce.  Cinnamon."), or who he wants to see (Skype Grandma).  

-Despite the demands he is very sweet.  He often uses "please" and "thank you" without prompting, and not just when he wants/gets something.  If we tell him something along the lines of, "Your teeth look so nice and clean" or "You look great in that sweater", he will say thank you.  He has also started telling us "I love you MUCH".  Heartmelting.  

-With regards to the previous two bullets, he has also starting telling us "Great singing" or "No sing", depending on how he's feeling.  The first is so sweet.  The second a little upsetting, though we try not to take it personally.

-Two of the funnier things he says are, "I help you?" when asking for help and calling water "yoyo"  --we're not sure where this one came from as he used to call water water.  Kids!

-He is very social.  He loves it when people come over.  We had a neighbour we usually see at the park over earlier this month and they had a blast running around together.  He also does well with adults and seems to have great recall for names/faces.  That said, he still does not recognize the photo of himself with Grandma that we have on the fridge, and insists that it is "Jean Luc", his baby doll.

-He has been enjoying Christmas lights, tree, music and books.  We celebrated (early) with my family this past weekend and he had a blast.  It is so fun having a little one around during the holidays.  He played nicely with many of the toys he opened, and his favourites (so far) seemed to be a ramp set from my brother and his fiancee and a harmonica from us.

-He eats well, but is still somewhat picky.  We've found pouches with a blend of fruit and veggies are a good way of getting some different vegetables into him.  He's not big on meat, but will eat milk products and eggs.  We have mostly cut out cow milk from his diet and it seems to be improving the bowel issues he was having.  Grapes have been a newer favourite fruit and we've found canned peaches in water are also typically well-received.  He doesn't seem keen on crunchy fruit and vegetables.  It makes me wonder if more of a BLW approach and less purees would have been a better way of introducing solids.  He eats though and his healthy and growing, so I suppose I shouldn't worry.

-His motor skills continue to develop.  He requests colouring fairly often and has continued to enjoy working on puzzles.  Gross-motor wise, he is getting quite good at actions like marching, walking sideways and backward, and mimicking other movements.  He loves to run and climb and jump, though with the colder weather and darker evenings, we haven't been getting outside to give him opportunities to do so quite as much as I'm sure he would like.    

-He continues to be a good sleeper (*knock wood*), but has been fussing a little when we put him down.  He usually settles quickly, though sometimes one of us has to go in and rub his back or talk to him calmly for a minute or two.  I really hope the new baby doesn't mess up his sleep too much.  I think he takes after his mommy in regards to needing his sleep.  He typically sleeps from about 7:00pm to 6:30 or 7:00am.  On weekends he'll nap for 2-3 hours in the afternoon, though at daycare it seems to be more like 1-2 hours.

This next month is going to be a big one for our family.  (More) Christmas celebrations.  A new baby.  A second birthday.  It's been such a joy watching The Bean grow into this little boy he is becoming.  I can't wait for all everything this coming month and the many months ahead have in store for us all.

Monday, December 10, 2012

*Navalgazing* Reflections at 39(+2) Weeks Pregnant

(Potenially) less than a week to go! 

My goodness.  That is both exciting and slightly terrifying! 

I am very much looking forward to meeting this little one and holding her in my arms soon.  The "unknowns" of delivery are the part that I am finding slightly terrifying.  I am really trying to stay calm and hope for the best, but I am worried about pain both during and after.  I am sure it will all work out, and perhaps it's best not to know exactly what will happen beforehand, but I am so Type A that not knowing is difficult. 

Everything is pretty much ready to go.  Our bags are packed and waiting in the co-sleeper.  The carseat is in the car.  (Though it will have to be replaced as the missing stickers make it illegal even though it is perfectly safe.)  I picked up the antibiotics I will need during labour. 

I have a midwife appointment this afternoon and am following it up with a visit to the accupuncturist.  We'll see if that gets the ball rolling at all.  I have another appointment for accupuncture on Wednesday and will also book one for Saturday, if nothing has happened by then. 

The baby is really starting to feel big.  She still moves around a lot, especially in the evenings, but I can tell she's running out of space in there.  I'm pretty uncomfortable and am finding it increasingly difficult to get around, plus I tire a lot more easily than I ever have.  I guess that's to be expected.  I'm also pretty puffy, especially if I've been up and about a lot that day.  Sleeping is difficult, though I'm quite tired most nights.  I'm glad to have such a relaxed schedule right now, though I keep finding things to add to the "To Do" list.  I'm trying to take the attitude of what gets done, gets done, but I hope that most of things on the list do get done before I go into labour.  (Dusting our bedroom, washing The Bean's diapers, another big grocery shop, a few last minute gifts to pick up...) 

Of course, chances are I'll still be hanging out here on the 29th saying the same things.  Right? 

Here's the belly photo from yesterday (39+1):


My Family! Giveaway

Quite some time ago, Cheril from My Family! contacted me again about hosting another giveaway.  (You can read about the first giveaway here.) 

This time My Family! and author Monique Costa are offering one lucky reader the opportunity of receiving a copy of Monique's book When Leonard Lost His Spots: A Trans Parent Tail.

This book tells the story of when a beautiful lioness discovers she was born into the body of a male leopard.  Her family is shocked, the transition begins, and an amazing story unfolds.

Narrated by a young cub, "When Leonard Lost His Spots" is a sensitively crafted story that exemplifies how open communication can pave the way to acceptance in an ever-changing world.

Here's a brief Q&A with Monique Costa, author of When Leonard Lost His Spots: A Trans Parent Tail.

Being a heterosexual woman, how are you connected to the LGBT community?
Leonard is my connection! From the moment I wrote the manuscript, I was connected.  I have met such wonderful people because of this book. It continues to open doors for me both professionally and personally. 

Tell about Leonard and Leona, what inspired you to write this story?
Leonard is a loving father, who has known for a long time that he was born into the wrong body. With great courage, he announces to his family that he is going to move forward with his transition into Leona, a beautiful lioness. He stays true to himself, yet he never loses sight of his commitment as a father to his young cub.

My inspiration for this book was the lack of material out there for children of LGBT families…especially children with a transgender parent. I wanted to write a story that would make a difference to a specific audience. I am the mother of two young boys, so I’ve seen, first hand, how great books can leave a lasting impression.

What makes this tale unique among others?
The story line is just that…unique. There are books about transgender men, women and even children, but mine is the first fictional story to be written from the child’s point of view. Plus, it is for a very young audience. It rhymes and the illustrations are magnificent. 

What do you hope children and parents take away from this story?
Leonard is a universal inspiration for parents. The message in my book is that open communication is key. Children don’t get to choose their situations, yet they need to cope and to adapt. During his transition, Leonard talks to his son. He doesn’t ignore him or his feelings.

He is willing to talk openly about the changes, their feelings and their situation.  I truly believe that if children know that they are loved, they will survive change.

How receptive and supportive have your family and friends been about you writing a children's book for the LGBT community?
Extremely! I am so blessed. My friends and family could not have been more supportive…especially my husband. (He’s always ready for the next creative venture from me.) Everyone thinks it’s fantastic that I wrote the story. They recognized and applauded my need to reach out.

As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. My motto has always been to live your life being happy- whatever that means to you. My friends agree. I don’t really think of LGBT as a separate community. I think we’re all in this crazy world together!

What are your hopes for Leonard and Leona? Do you see this character coming to life in other mediums?
I have very high hopes for Leonard and Leona because they are so loveable and so unique! I am currently working on bringing them to life in a children’s theater. I’d love to see a stuffed animal. The possibilities are endless!

Will there be more books from you in the future?
Yes, definitely.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to cook and entertain friends and family. I grew up in an Italian/ American house where everything revolved around food. It’s that way in my house today. I love to try new things and my husband and two sons are eager judges!

How can readers and their parents keep up with you on the web?
I have joined forces with my publishers, so readers can check us out at for the latest books, toys, dvds, etc.

Where can your book be purchased?
You can purchase my book on the website:, or it can be ordered anywhere books are sold in the United States. 
How to enter? 
Leave a comment on this blog post with the title of your favourite children's book that depicts non-traditional families or gender roles.  One comment per person please. The winner will be chosen randomly. You'll also have to leave or send me your email address so that I can contact you if you win, and the winner will have to be willing to share their name, address and phone number with Cheril so she can get the book to you. That's it! (Value of print is $14.99 USD.) Ends December 17th, 2012.  Open to those with a U.S. shipping address only. You can see photos from the book signing here.
And a video of an author reading here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

*Navalgazing* Reflections at 38(+1) Weeks Pregnant

Getting there! 

I'm happy to say that it's starting to feel like the end is in sight.  I'm eager to meet our little girl and, as I've said before, ready to not be pregnant anymore, though I'm sure there are aspects of it I will miss.

This week was slightly better than the past few.  My rib wasn't giving me as much pain.  I think the baby may have dropped a bit, as I've been feeling slightly less heartburn.  I even got a few stretches where I was able to sleep 3 hours at a time vs. the 1.5-2 I was averaging before.

The midwife did her home visit on Tuesday and all went well.  She prescribed an alternative antibiotic for me to use during labour because of the GBS.  I tried taking it to the local pharmacy to have filled, but it looks like I may have to go to a hospital pharmacy.  She also did a urine test because of my UTI suspicion, but so far I haven't received any results from her.  In the mean time, I've been drinking lots of water and cranberry juice, hoping that it clears up quickly.  I'm not sure that it is. 

We got a bunch of our baby gear back from my sister yesterday, and are starting to set things up in preparation for Sprout's arrival.  We had loaned her our infant carseat and she returned it without the Canadian compliance sticker, which poses what we consider to be a pretty big issue, especially with all the border-crossing we do.  She doesn't know what happened to it so now we're left trying to contact the manufacturer to see if they can reissue a sticker to us.  I really hope they can.  I hate to have to buy a new carseat just because the sticker came off.  (Who knows how, those things are IMPOSSIBLE to remove.)  Otherwise everything seems pretty good. 

The Bean is napping right now, and if I want to get my nap in I should get going!  I have another appointment tomorrow, but I suspect everything will still be status quo. 

Here's the belly shot for this week (taken yesterday).  Jen and I were looking back through the photos and there is such a HUGE difference from Week 5 that it's almost impossible to believe that they're both me.  I wonder if I'll ever look like Week 5 me again...

Friday, November 30, 2012


Last year I posted some advent ideas, and also what we ended up doing.  You can see the post here
This year we wanted to do something special for advent again, but neither Jen nor I were keen to wrapping two dozen Christmas/winter books.  Fortunately I had the foresight to purchase this Eric Carle advent calendar last year.  Behind each number is a small paper ornament to decorate the tree with.  Perfect! 


We were also given an advent calendar with little drawers, and I found some printable jokes online.  The Bean is a little young to understand jokes this year, but I think they'd be great for slightly older kids.  You could print and cut out the jokes and put one in each drawer of the calendar, or, as one of the sights suggests, you could put them in your child's lunch box.  Cute idea, don't cha think?

{this moment} still our baby

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GBS Positive

Our midwife is coming over for a home visit today.  I called her yesterday because of my concern that I might have a UTI.  She was glad I called and said that she'd bring over a test kit to double check.  She also told me that I tested GBS positive.  At first I wasn't overly concerned as I know it's not terribly uncommon and is reasonably treatable.  (My sister had tested GBS positive too and there didn't seem to have any complications as a result of it.) 

Then I started Googling.  I'm allergic to penicillin and wanted to find out what alternative anitbiotics are typically given.  What I found out was that having a UTI increases the risk to the baby. 

I know of all the things that could potentially go wrong, this is minor, but I still can't help but worry that I'm going to make our baby sick. 

THis is NOT the kind of update I want to get three-weeks from our due date, but I suppose there's not much that can be done.


Monday, November 26, 2012

"Wish List"

As I mentioned in my last toy post, The Bean's play has become a lot more imaginative/creative over the course of the past year and I can only assume that trend will continue.  This year we are trying to focus a lot of our gift-buying and wish-listing on toys that encourage this.  I feel that these types of toys tend to grow with the child. They can be used in a wider variety of situations and offer a variety of possibilities for play.

The "big" gift from us this year will be a train/block table.  He already has a tupperware of duplo, so we probably won't add to that, but a few new engines or some tracks might make it under the tree. 

Since he's very into vehicles right now, he'll also be getting a ramp/garage thing for his Matchbox cars and Wheelies.

In addition to that, there will be quite a few musical (percussion) instruments.  The Bean LOVES music, and almost every kid I know loves banging on blocks with a mallet, so we picked out a variety.  A harmonica might have snuck it's way in there too.  We'll see how long that lasts before Mama and Mommy have to hide it away. 

In line with the muscial theme, there will be a pack of movement scarves.  The Bean's little cousin will be getting some of these too.  They're great for dancing with, but also peek-a-boo, dress up and creating landscapes for pretend play with figures. 
My sister was also saying how much her little guy enjoys textures, so some textured bean bags will make it under the tree for The Bean as well as his cousin. 

Some early games as well as two-piece puzzles are on the list, though it may be a while before The Bean shows an interest in these.  That's okay, with the majority of the gift-giving (Christmas and birthday) happening all around the same time, it's nice to have some things tucked away in the closet for a few months down the road. 

We're hoping that The Bean's art supplies will also get beefed up a little bit.  Some rolling pins for play dough.  Finger paints and water colours.  Maybe some stamps with a washable ink pad. 

There will also be a few puppets, some animal figures, and potentially some dress-up clothes for pretend play. 

Oh, and I almost forgot, a kid's digital camera.  It seems pretty fun and hopefully will keep his focus off of grabbing ours. ;)

If money and space were not considerations, I'd be inclined to put a nice wooden barn or dollhouse on his Christmas list, but I think we'll hold back on those ones until Sprout is bigger and we're able to unload some of the baby toys.  We did put a curvy board (from Etsy) on his wishlist, but it's a pretty big-ticket item, so I don't know whether he'll get it or not.   

...and, of course, some new books.

What will be under the tree for your little one(s) this year?

Also, for those that celebrate Christmas, does Santa bring ALL the gifts?  If not, how do you decide what comes from you and what comes from him?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

*Navalgazing* Reflections at 37 Weeks Pregnant

37 weeks! 

I have officially reached "full term".  (Though I think my FIL was quite confused this morning when I said that, and must have thought they had made a mistake with the due date if I was full term now.  Fortunately my MIL was able to explain.) 

Okay, so I am really feeling ready to have this baby.  Not that we're prepared at all.  Most of the baby gear is still at my sister's waiting to make it's way back to us.  But really, what do we need?  The carseat for sure, and the co-sleeper would be good to have, but someone could surely pick that stuff up if I were to go into labour, say, right now. 

Also, I think we're in agreement on a first choice of name and a few back-ups, so we really are ready! ;) 

Another visit to the chiro helped sort out some back issues earlier this week.  Unfortunately, last night the rib started hurting again, so I'm thinking there will be another visit before Sprout makes her appearance.  My hips haven't been bothering me much, but I wouldn't object to having them adjusted as well.  

Then there's my arm.  It's been at least a week, maybe slightly longer, that I've been experiencing numbness/tingling in my right middle and ring fingers.  I was crocheting when I first noticed it and thought I must be holding the hook in a funny way, but it's been off and on (mostly on, in varrying degrees) since then.  After checking things out on Google, I believe it's probably carpal tunnel syndrome, which I read can happen because the water you retain can increase pressure on the nerves.  Nice, right?  As if being swollen weren't annoying enough.  And yes, I've been feeling rather puffy these days.  My feet moreso than my hands, but at least I can feel my toes, even if they do look rather sausage-like. 

Sleep is becoming increasingly difficult.  I seem to be up about every two hours to go to the washroom and/or adjust my position.  I know it's probably not true, but I feel like I'll be better rested AFTER the baby is born. 

Oh, and I think I may have UTI.  But then again, maybe it's just that I have a bladder the size of a peanut. 

I am telling myself that I just need to hang in there for another few weeks, but if I go late I think I may cry.

This week I will start the teas and oils and other labour-inducers.  Not that I expect them to make a big difference, but at least I'll feel like I'm doing something. 

Come on baby girl... Mama is getting impatient! 

Photo from 37 (+1) weeks:

Oh yeah, just one more thing: I must be looking like I'm ready because I at least a half dozen strangers this week asked me when I was due. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

{this moment} growing up

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Monday, November 19, 2012

*Navalgazing* Reflections at 36 (+2) Weeks Pregnant

Again, a fairly uneventful week.  

I got out a few times, which was really nice, but I can tell I don't have the stamina I did even a month ago.  On Thursday I did a lot of running around and then was EXHAUSTED (and BHy and swollen) by the evening.  I think one outting per day is enough right now.   I don't seem to have gotten that final burst of energy that I've heard people talk about.  Maybe when I do I'll finally get around to dusting the apartment. 

I'm up to weekly visits with the midwives now.  Today's visit went fine.  Everything continues to be on track.  Good blood pressure and FHR and all that stuff.  My midwife said something along the lines of being made to be pregnant, but I don't know that I agree.  I love babies and there are aspects of pregnancy that I have enjoyed and am sure to miss, but I'm also ready to be done and wouldn't necessarily be jumping at the chance to do this all again (not at this moment, anyway). 

I've got another chiro appointment tomorrow.  Same rib.  Before I doubted that it was baby-related, but I've noticed that the spot that seems to be hurting is right in line with where Sprout sticks her little bum out, so I wonder if she's pushing it out of place.  The regular appointments seem to be keeping the pain at a manageable level, and there are only a few weeks left, so hopefully the issue goes away after the birth. 

I'm feeling increased pressure and the midwife said Sprout has dropped slightly, so maybe she'll actually come on/before her due date...  This weekend (37w) I'll start with evening primrose oil and red raspberry leaf tea etc. and see what happens.  (My inclination is actually to think she'll be late.)

Photo taken at 36 (+1):

Friday, November 16, 2012

Twenty-Two Months Old!

Today The Bean is twenty-two months old! 

Here's our happy boy this month! 

I've been a somewhat neglectful Mama and didn't keep track of things to note throughout this month, as I had been trying to make a habit of doing.  I'll see if I can remember a few things that have stood out. 

-Always social, we've really noticed The Bean starting to talk about specific people.  He's been requesting to talk to "'nita" on the phone, or to Skype grandma, or stop at "Nana's house" or go to the park and play with Maya.  He also talks about the kids at daycare a lot.  He really seems to like them, particularly the newest boy who's about a year older than him.  I believe there is a one-year old girl (a sibling) starting in December, so I'll be curious to see how he reacts to her.  He's going to lose his "baby" status there AND at home.  Poor guy. 

-Grandma came for a few weekends ago and The Bean was over the moon.  They play a lot of chase and did a lot of dancing.  I don't know where Grandma gets her energy.  I got tired just watching them!  He is going to be SO happy when they both come up for Sprout's birth and Christmas. 

-He continues to use his language skills to express what he wants.  Lately it's been listening to the fire truck song in the car.  Repeatedly.  As tedious as that can be, it is pretty adorable to hear him sing along in a deep voice like the guy on the CD. 

-It was really fun to celebrate Halloween with The Bean this year. He's becoming so much more aware of things and loved reading Halloween stories and pointing out pumpkins etc. on people's houses. It was also quite nice that he wasn't scared by any of it and that candy wasn't a main draw. (I don't know that he got any candy, though there were plenty of other kinds of treats.)

-After being gifted several trains for Halloween, they've become a new favourite toy.  "Boober", a Fraggle puppet from my brother and his fiancee, is also a favourite.  I think that has less to do with it being Boober and more to do with Mama chasing him with Boober and tickling him.  He's also taken an interest in doing puzzles with Mommy.  He really likes some the Melissa and Doug instrument one that make noise.

-On a related note, The Bean has been asked to be in his first wedding party --as the ring barer at my brother's wedding this March.  I think he'd be adorable, but we need to talk to my brother about their expectations, since he'll be just over two at that point and fairly unpredictable.  It's a kid-free wedding, and I'm a little wary. 

-No new favourite books this month, just a lot of repetition of old favourites.  He's also become selective about who reads to him at night.  Some nights it's Mama and some nights it's Mommy, but once his mind is made up, it's made up! 

-We have pretty much moved him up a pants size (to 18-24m pants).  Some are still pretty big on him, but as I mentioned last month the 12m ones were starting to look silly.  It's a good thing we cloth diaper or else I don't think the bigger size would stay up!   

-Though he is seeminly undestressed by it, we noticed The Bean having some sandy poos lately. For the past week we've taken him off almost all dairy/lactose to see if that helps. We'll give it another week or so and then maybe try taking wheat out if there's still been no change. I don't know what he'll eat then! (Lots of apple sauce is my guess.) I hope someday he forgives me for talking about his bowel movements on the internet.

That's about all I can come up with that's new this month.  I think after his second birthday(!) we're going to change to six month updates.  Keeping up with monthly updates for both kids will probably be a lot and I feel like the changes he's going through, though still significant, are more gradual now.   I can hardly believe in just two short months The Bean will be two years old.  Where does the time go?!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Favourite Toys for 1-2 Year Olds

Back in February, I wrote a post on our Favourite Toys for the First Year

Though it hasn't quite been a year, I feel like it's time for a toy update. 

I've been spending a good bit of time browsing the internet and thinking about holiday and birthday gifts.  Having a January baby it seems that we do the majority of our toy shopping at this time of year.  Last year our goal was to get The Bean toys that he would remain interested in over the course of the year and/or toys that he would grow into.  His interest in different toys has fluctuated throughout the year, but overall I think we did fairly well.  We've found that rotating what we have out for him to play with helps keep things interesting, though he's also figured out that he can just open his closet and point to whatever it is he wants us to get out for him.  Too smart, that one.  ;) 

His favourites from last December to now have been:


Play Kitchen and Food 
-We got The Bean the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Kitchen Accessory Set as well as a few sets of Melissa and Doug food for Christmas and birthday gifts last year.  Though he's not able to use them independently yet, I particularly like the food that velcros apart when you "cut" it and imagine that he and Sprout will get a lot of use out of them over the years. 
-We have this kitchen.  Actually, this wasn't a toy that we purchased.  It's not even a toy that we thought about buying last year, but then sometime in the spring, once The Bean was toddling around and getting a lot of enjoyment out of his play food etc. we thought it'd be a great addition.  I was browsing online (from Amazon to Craigslist) and hadn't really decided.  Then I saw this one on our neighbour's lawn.  I snatched it up, took it home and bleached it, and that was that.  (Not that we could have afforded it, but the Camden Rose kitchen would be my dream play kitchen.)

Doll and Stroller
We bought The Bean the Petit Calin doll from Carolle and a small blue stroller.  He likes to push Jean Luc (the doll) around, so I am very glad we thought to get the stroller.  I don't think he'd be nearly as interested in the doll without it. 


Ride-On Toys
The Bean actually ended up with quite a few of these, some gifted and some hand-me-downs.  The
Sesame Street Ride-On School Bus was a surprise from Grandma and Grandpa and has been a HUGE hit.  He also has a Cozy Coupe and Radio Flyer Steer and Stroll Tricycle that he also loves, though they are large for inside toys.  The one piece of advice I would give someone looking to purchase a pushable tricycle for their little one would be to get on that comes with a seatbelt.  It's quite unnerving to have The Bean jump on and off the tricycle while pushing him down our fairly well-trafficed side street. 

Not much to say on this one.  It's a gift Jen really wanted to get him last year and he has enjoyed it.  I like that it stores so compactly.  It's also ALWAYS on recommendation lists from Occupational Thearapists as it encourages crawling which is so important for cross-coordination. 

As far as The Bean is concerned, our couch cushions (and chairs, and ottoman and toybox etc.) also make a great gross-motor toy.


I read positive reviews of the Fisher Price Laugh Learn Love Puppy when browsing last year around this time and put it on The Beans "wish list".  He has gotten a lot of use out of it and now even sings some of the songs it plays. 

The LeapFrog My Discovery House was a toy I really wanted for The Bean.  I liked how it had so many elements that helped develop fine motor skills.  Initially some were too difficult for him to use on his own, but now he can use all of them.  Another big plus of this toy is that it is very portable.  It has come on most, if not all of the trips we've taken this year. 

The LeapFrog Fridge Farm is another hand-me-down that has received A LOT of use.  I really like that it "accepts" mixed up pairs (the commentary is quite funny).  With a correct pairing it will give a few animal facts and if you push the button with no animals in place it plays a variety of songs, which is, of course, a big hit with our music-loving boy. 

The Bean actually received two busy boxes last year.  He really seems to like the phone and the buttons that play music on this one, and he also plays with the tracking thing, pop up, and shape sorter on it.  His other busy box has a bead maze on top of it, which he also really likes now that he's able to manipulate them.  

Other favourite fine-motor toys/ activities include his piggy bank and more recently, a collection of various (non-breakable) jars and lids that we put together for him.  (He particularly likes it when we hide things inside the jars that he has to open and discover.)


Other, more "general" toys that The Bean has enjoyed playing with over the course of the year include balls, cars, basic percussion instruments and, if you would call them a toy, books

He's only recently become interested in the puzzles, latch board and lock box we have for him. 

Blocks and Duplo still aren't a huge draw. 

This year we're trying to focus even more on toys that encourage open-ended play. I think as The Bean gets older, this is and will continue to become easier.   At the beginning of the year he was still in a very concrete stage of development, but over the past few months has started to engage more and more in imaginative/creative/open-ended/pretend play.  I'll post about some of the things that he'll be getting for the holidays and his birthday soon.  :) 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

*Navalgazing* Reflections at 35 (+1) Weeks Pregnant

This was a quiet week.  My back still wan't feeling great and I mostly stayed home and didn't do much of anything aside from a little baking and cooking and a fair bit of napping.  By the end of the week I was feeling a bit stir crazy, but weekends are always busy and there are a few little things lined up for this week, so I expect that feeling will pass. 

Sprout continues to move around like crazy.  She seemed to shift from her usual left-lying position a few times this week, making me pretty uncomfortable, like she was trying to exit through the front of my stomach.  Things must be getting kind of cramped in there. 

I'm also starting to feel some pressure down low.  Not unbearable, but certainly not comfortable. 

We started setting stuff aside for our hospital bag this week.  We took SO MUCH to the hospital when The Bean was born.  I definitely think we'll be scaling back this time around.  Right now we have two sleepers and two outfits, plus a blanket, snowsuit and some diapers ready to pack up for Sprout.  This week I'll probably try to gather some toiletries and maybe some pajamas and warm socks for me and Jen, and make a list of other stuff we may want to pack closer to my due date.  I'm hoping we won't have to stay in the hospital long (we only stayed one night after The Bean was born, and he was born at almost 11pm) so we really shouldn't need much.  Things like books that are on the "what to bring to the hospital" lists were untouched, so this time we're trying to stick to essentials -clothing, toiletires, snacks and camera -is there anything we're missing?  

Just over a month until Sprout's arrival!  My FIL asked if I was anxious about the labour/delivery, and I'd have to say that I'm not really feeling too anxious about it at this point, just impatient! 

Here's the belly this week:

Friday, November 9, 2012

{this moment} oranges and Obama

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Two photos this week.  I couldn't resist.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Christmas is Coming

A lot of people may complain that it's too early, but with Sprout due to arrive mid-December and Christmas plans up in the air, I've been trying to figure out what to do to make this holiday season a memorable one for The Bean.  (Even though he probably won't remember.)
This has led to some obsessive Googling of events in our area, which I fully realize won't be of much interest to the many non-local readers of our blog, but I wanted to keep all the info in once place, and there are enough of you who are local that this might be a good resource for you too. 
We aren't planning on going to most of these events (especially all the parades), but will probably pick two or three different ones where the timing works out. 
If you do plan on going to any of these, please double check to make sure that the information I've collected is correct!  (I would feel really badly if you went out to an event only to find I had made a mistake.) 
In other Christmas-related news, our Christmas shopping for The Bean is nearly done!  (Only birthday shopping to do now.)  I plan on posting about some of our picks soon.  AND I have already finished an ornament for the Holiday Craft Exchange that An Offering of Love has hosted the past few years.  I hope S does it again this year, otherwise I suppose we'll just have an extra ornament on our tree! 
Also, a quick question, with Sprout due on December 16th we weren't planning on getting her anything for Christmas --who even knows if she'll be around for Christmas this year?  Does that seem awful?  Should we get her something small just in case The Bean questions why Santa didn't bring anything for her (though I really don't think he will)?  We won't even have stocking for her even since we won't settle 100% on a name until she's born, though my best friend did get her a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament for our tree.  What do you think?   
Saturday, November 10th, 2012 6:00 -7:00pm
Yonge-Dundas Square
Toronto Waldorf School Arts & Crafts Fair       
Friday, November 16th, 2012 & Saturday, November 17th, 2012
$5 adults
Bishop Strachan School's "Deck the Halls" Holiday Show
Saturday, November 17th, 2012 10:00am -4:00pm

One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 -Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place
$14 adults (save $2 online)
Swedish Christmas Fair
Saturday, November 24th, 2012 & Sunday, November 25th, 2012
Harbourfront Centre
Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District
Friday, November 30th -Sunday, December 16th, 2012
Mon. -Fri. 12:00pm -9:00pm
Sat. & Sun. 10:00am -9:00pm
Knox's Pumpkin Farm -Tree Farm and Santa Visits (weekends only)
Saturday, December 1st, 2012 -Saturday, December 24th, 2012 10:00am -5:00pm
Waldorf Academy Magic Winter Fair
Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 10:00am -4:00pm
Christmas by Lamplight
Saturday, December 8th, 15th, and 22nd, 2012
Black Creek Pioneer Village
~$30 adults

Barns Holiday Art Market
Sunday, December 9th, 2012 & Sunday, December 16th, 2012
Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street

Pickering Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, November 10th, 2012 10:00am
-runs east and south on Glenanna Road from Dixie Road to the Pickering Parkway.
Saturday, November 17th, 2012, 11:00am
-route not available
Brampton Board of Trade Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, November 17th, 2012 5:00pm
-runs west on Sproule, then south on Main Street to Elgin Drive.
Santa's Parade of Lights (Oshawa)
Saturday, November 17th, 2012 6:00pm
-heads east along King Street West beginning near the Oshawa Centre. The parade route then heads south down Centre Street South then back west along John Street West and Elmgrove Avenue.

Santa Claus Parade (Toronto) 
Sunday, November 18th, 2012 12:30pm
-begins at Christie Pits Park, travels east along Bloor to Avenue Road, south down Avenue Road to Front Street, then east along Front Street to end near the St. Lawrence Market.
Milton Santa Claus Parade
Sunday, November 18th, 2012 2:00pm
-runs north on Bronte Street South from Anne Street to Main Street. The parade then heads east on Main Street to the Milton Mall.
Cobourg Santa Claus Parade
Sunday November 18, 2012 2:00 p.m.
-runs along King St. from D'Arcy St. to Orlando St.
Markham Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, November 24th, 2012 11:00am
-parade goes north on Main Street Markham starting at Highway 7 and ending at the Markham Museum
Uxbridge Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, November 24th, 2012 11:00am
-runs east along Brock Street between Centre Street and Franklin Street.
Santa Under the Stars (Aurora)
Saturday, November 24th, 2012 6:00pm
-runs south on Yonge Street between Orchard Height Boulevard and Murray Drive.
Hamper's Santa Claus Parade
Sunday, November 25th, 2012 1:00pm
-runs west along Kingston Road from Victoria Park Avenue to Walter Street.
Mississauga Santa Claus Parade
Sunday, November 25th, 2012 1:00pm
-runs south down Queen Street South beginning near Britannia Road.
Richmond Hill Santa Claus Parade
Sunday, November 25th, 2012 1:30pm
-runs south on Yonge Street from Industrial Road to Hillcrest.
SantaFest Parade (Vaughan)
Sunday, November 25th, 2012 2:00pm
-begins at Canada's Wonderland and moves east along Major Mackenzie Drive, ending at the Vaughan Civic Centre.
*parade is paired with an afternoon of family activities at a Santa's Village at the Maple Community Centre.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, December 1st, 2012 10:00am
-running along Lake Shore Boulevard West from Dwight Avenue west to Thirty-Sixth Street
Bolton Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade (Caledon)
Saturday, December 1st, 2012 11:00am
-runs north along Queen Street South between Queensgate Boulevard and Centennial Drive.
Schomberg's A Main Street Christmas (King Township)
Saturday, December 1st, 2012 4:00pm
-a community festival which includes a Santa Claus Parade beginning at 4pm and a Farmer's Parade of Lights later on in the evening.
*there is a small admission fee to the festival for those over the age of twelve.
Burlington Christmas Parade
Sunday, December 2nd, 2:00pm
-runs south along Guelph Line from Prospect to New Street, west along New Street and James Street, then heads north up Brant ending at Caroline Street.
Weston Santa Claus Parade
Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 2:00pm
-runs south along Weston Road between Church Street and Sidney Belsey Crescent (crossing Lawrence Avenue).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

As I posted on my facebook page, my stomach is in knots today. 

I am not going to spend a lot of time getting into it right now, but despite being Canadian, this election, like the past several U.S. elections, is quite important to me on a personal level. 

Being married to an American, spending time travelling in the U.S.  (and worrying about what might happen if we were in an accident or to get sick while there), thinking about how to insure that our children have the same rights as each other in terms of acquiring American citizenship etc. are all things that I think about often. 

Nevermind what I truly feel is best for Americans. 

I do not plan on staying up and watching the results come in.  I anticipate a restless night though, waiting to know what the next four years have in store.  I hope those voting are able to see beyond what they may consider their own "best interests" (i.e. their bank accounts) and vote for what I truly believe is best for the citizens of their country. 

To quote one of my favourite singer-songwriters "I'm wishing you all of my best, on this Election Day." 

Monday, November 5, 2012

*Navalgazing* Reflections at 34(+2) Weeks Pregnant

Not much has changed between this week and last. 

I did manage to make it back to the original chiro and get adjusted again, but like last time, the relief was only temporary and I'll probably have to make another appointment for later this week.  I'm hoping that the rib and muscles are gradually getting back to where they ought to be.  The pain isn't nearly as bad as it was initially, so I'm taking that to be a good sign.

I've been trying to rest more, which seems to be helping with the Braxton Hicks.  They seem to have eased up in the evenings, but I have noticed that sometimes I seem to be having one when I wake up during the night. 

I've definitely noticed a change in my mobility the past few weeks.  Getting around/up/down is significantly more difficult than it used to be.  I'm trying to make sure that I'm still somewhat active (having The Bean helps!) since I don't want to end up feeling like an out of shape lump.  We have some prenatal yoga DVDs that I've been meaning to do, but I  never seem to get around to them.  I should try a little harder.  We've also had a lot of rain recently, but it seems to be have passed now, so I should make it more of a priority to get out for walks during the day.

The baby is still very active, but I can tell she has less space to move around now.  There have been fewer of the pokey quick movements and more of the big slow stretches.  She's still head-down and her bum seems to be staying to the left, with her feet and arms towards the right.  I'm VERY glad she doesn't seem to be up under my ribs. 

The hilight of this week, something I don't think I mentioned previously, was a party my sister and some friends threw to welcome the baby to our family.  We enjoyed having time to visit with family and friends and were very spoiled by everyone.  As we've felt so often, particularly since we announced we were expecting The Bean, we are so lucky to have such wonderful and supportive people in our lives. 

Though I feel as "ready" as I think I ever will for this baby to join us, it's still sort of overwhelming to think how things will change in just another six weeks!  I know things will be fine and (eventually) we will settle into a new routine, but it's going to be a big change! 

We took a photo today, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to upload it from the camera.  Right now my bed is calling...