Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A hat for Daddy!

I have been very busy lately, with appointements, job search, daycare search, daycare visits...that blogging had to be left aside for a little while. I did however find some time to do some knitting to help me relax a silence (what sewing doesn't allow). I have never knitted anything without a pattern and I had fancied the idea of making my hubby a hat for a little while. So, taking a deep breath and doing a lot of planing (that didn't really bring me anywhere), I jumped head first in my own Me Made pattern....the end result is beautiful (photo to come) but the original pattern I so carefully put down on paper was rewritten as I was knitting...entirely, to the point of not being the same pattern at all!

I had seen people put up their projects on Ravelry and I wasn't sure what it was until I checked it out. At first, I didn't really see the point of signing up myself, but when my own made up project started to seed in my mind, I thought Ravelry could have handy tools to help. And it did! When I want to make another one of Daddy's hat, I'll have it all on Ravelry!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wishing for a good night sleep

With Deirdre's teething, it's been a bumpy ride lately here...but finaly They have made an appearance; two sweet little teeth! At last a little bit of a pain break for our littlest one! I trully hope she sleeps well tonight.

As for Connor, he always sleeps well...thank goodness!

I will be breif today as I plan to post more once we are done the daycare hunt. I am working on a small project too that brought me to Ravelry... pictures to come!

For now, all I need is my bed!

Friday, February 24, 2012

This moment

This moment,a Friday ritual,  inspired by Soule Mama

A simple picture, no words, just the essence of the moment! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bettering babying starts by bettering Mommy

I realized by going through my blog that I was loosing track of the most important part of bettering my motherhood experience and my children's everyday life; bettering myself!

When we step back and look at what needs improvement from a different perspective, we often find the culprit is not the kids, the house, time, or lack of sleep, but actually, our own mental conditioning of the situation. I was contemplating my return to work with an awful taste in my mouth thinking housekeeping is already a disaster now and I am at home all the time, what is it going to be when I go back to work?

Well, it will be neglected a bit then sure, but NOW, there is no reason...only all the excuses I tell myself every day not to do it : I'm too tired, I need a break, Deirdre is too clingy, I don't feel like it, I'll have a coffee first....all that to procrastinate, and procrastinate over and over until the house can walk on its own and kids can't move through the clutter...OK, it never gets that bad, but you see what I mean.

So the first step to making things better, doing things better, is to talk to myself and rid my mind of those excuses. Better myself first. Make myself feel better, less depressed, more positive, and make it enjoyable somehow.

So, lets start with convincing myself that folding laundry is fun, and Deirdre is independent enough to let me do it.
Lets convince myself that cleaning the kitchen is fun,
That doing laundry doesn't need my attention too much
That cleaning the floor will bring a fresh smell to the house
That tidying the living room will bring me a sense of accomplishment...And Connor can help, he's big enough!

Changing one's perspective on things can bring lots of good...but can also be a real challenge, if like me, you are very rooted in your bad habits and thoughts...but the will to change is the beginning of change, right?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Daycare? Already?

Ah! Busy bees we are lately, with those two little ones of ours. It's Tuesday and I haven't posted anything since last Friday...shame on me!!!

What have I been busy doing instead of posting on my blog...or knitting...or cleaning the house...I have been busy searching for a daycare. Yep, It's that time already, and coming faster than we thought.

We found out that Connor's daycare provider is loosing her assistant and needs to reduce her ratio by 3 children by mid March. Since Connor was one of the last signed up at that daycare, he is one of those loosing his spot...and obviously, that means Deirdre won't get a spot there either. Therefore, on the Daycare Hunt we are!

What makes a good daycare to most parents?
To us, it needs lots of attention to the kids, lots of love, lots of fun, lots of safety and lots of healthy food.
It needs to be comfy, warm and clean.
It needs lots of toys and activities.
It needs good communication....and that is where we hit the road block; we live in Québec, but Daddy's French is not so great, and finding a bilingual daycare, accepting babies under 14 months, with 2 spots available...yikes, here a challenge and a half.

Hope we find something soon...oh do I ever wish we didn't even need a daycare....:(

Friday, February 17, 2012

This Moment, a Friday ritual

This Moment; inspired by SouleMama

A simple picture of a moment of the week. No words, just the image. Enjoy

She is now Everywhere!

I am amazed at how fast Deirdre grew! I thought this amount of time passed really fast with Connor, but I realize that time went even faster with Deirdre.

She is crawling now!

And she is in everything!

And she keeps loosing her socks

And her knees are all dry and red

As I find something annoying on an every day basis, I search creatively for a stylish way to make it better...often to find out that someone already did and it's on the market somewhere. So I did find a product called SocksOn and I will be trying it shortly.

My mind has been as busy as my body this week (yes, I DID some cleaning, and the main floor now looks presentable to visitors!) and I have been planning out many projects. One thing I am most happy about is the purchase of TWO new Mini Kiwi diapers so I am on the way to disposable-free diapering.

With Deirdre being more independant (and Connor socialising with other toddlers at daycare), I was able to finish something close to my heart!

It is a Vintage Style Baby Bonnet and you can find the free pattern here. I worked on it for over a month, a few evenings at a time. I made some modification to the pattern, as you see, I put cord instead of a button. I used a baby yarn from Bernat but I can't remember which one. I think the gauge was not perfect, so it turned out a little to big for Deirdre, but I am working at adjusting it. 

Since I am still a beginner at knitting, I am pretty proud of the end result. And she will be so sweet with it this spring!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My big fear...back to work...coming too soon!

Who wants to go back to work after 50 weeks of Mat Leave? Not me! Unlike many people, I despise our society when it comes to family values! Maybe it's because of some bad experiences at work, or because my own values changed drastically when my son was born, but looking at some statistics found online (See the Work and Family Foundation of Canada), I don't think I am the only one.

My view on certain issues regarding working and raising a family took a drastic change when my first Maternity Leave came to an end. Connor was 10 months old, and that very Monday in October, he had kept us up all night with Croup Cough, been to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario the day before, and had to go back that same evening. All my colleagues were either sick or on vacation and I had to do literally everything at the office, by myself, on my first day after being gone for 50 weeks. And not to mention I was 6 weeks pregnant with Deirdre. It didn't start very well! And that entire week was hell, with Connor sick, and little chances of taking time off. I burned myself out right then and there.

 My department advertises itself as offering flexible work schedules...but in my case, I had to fight to move my shift from 9 to 5, down to 8 to 4...and even that was not working for me. Never would my manager have allowed me to do some Telework, but some of his favourite little puppets were allowed.

My situation is far from being that isolated. Many people face similar issues when working whilst having to care for pre-school age children. I hear sometimes of countries where parental leave is 5 years! If that is paid decently, that should be the case EVERYWHERE!  How I wish Canada was one of those countries. Or at least, that a mother coming back to work be given a gradual return, telework opportunities, reduced hours, real flexible schedules, more family related leave to care for kids too ill to go to daycare...and even better, you should have a real good subvention to be a stay at home parent.

I believe in this day an age, there should be more options in terms of work schedules. Why would 40 hours a week be suitable for every one? Its not suitable for me! Ideally, I would not start work before 9:00 am and would be back home by 4:00 pm. And that, Monday to Thursday. Two day weekends when you miss your kids is not long enough.

Also, I would make it so working while pregnant would be only by personal choice, not by financial necessity. I worked up till I was 33 weeks pregnant and had to start Mat Leave due to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion...and guess what, I got myself a nice little "postpartum depression" afterwards. Thanks Society, I really needed that!

I calculated for one day, how a normal work day is divided in North America:
8 hours of sleep
8 hours at work with strangers not related to you.
2 hours to commute from home to work and vice versa (including dropping kids off at daycare)
1 hour for errands and other chores
2 hours for eating meals
1 hour for preparing meals
2 hours for personal time (that means to play with your kids and to relax yourself...)

And than you wonder why people sacrifice hours of sleep to have more time for themselves...and sacrifice meal time, meal preparation, chores, to spend more time with kids.
And then you wonder why people are sleep deprived, suffer from burn outs, chronic fatigue...

Really, where is our society going you think?

How I wish I had more time!

Ever wondered why there is only 24 hours in a day? I sure wonder that every day...and yet, I am not one of those better placed to complain...But time flies by so fast sometimes and I wonder where it went. My little girl is teething and my big boy is a talking machine (and a professional French / English translator at the age of 2)! I battle myself every day to do household chores and constantly start craft projects that I never finish...(like that baby blanket I started a year ago, and Deirdre's pink knitted hat!) Not to mention job searching that I feel being urgent but keep postponing! All that time I waste looking at my Facebook, sitting on the floor with Deirdre while she really doesn't need me, lying around doing nothing while she sleeps...

Aside from more time, I wish I had a better camera. I find my blog naked without pictures to accompany what I enjoy sharing. I guess that will have to be my next "gift" to myself, in a few months....

The inconvenience of thumb vs. soother

Well, it's been a rough last week! I didn't get to post and do much online this week since Deirdre was "sick" with teething and all that comes with it! A low fever, refusal to eat, or drink from her bottle, over clignyness...leaving me pretty tired. I guess what I find now as being the hardest thing to deal with from my mommy point of view, is the pain she now has in sucking her thumb. Deirdre completely stop seeing soothers as soothing object around the age of 3 months...she thinks its a nice teether, but no good to suck on, her thumb is much better! But with the increased salivation of teething, and the increased switch from sucking to chewing on that poor thumb of hers, she made herself a few blisters. And they hurt!

 I took her to the pharmacy last night to see if their is any safe cream I could put on it to help it heal and take away the pain...low and behold, there seems to be nothing...and the pharmacist even told me to stop her from sucking her thumb for a few days! Putting on Polysporin and a little mitten for 3 days!

 I thought bed time would be a battle of accrobatics as she would fight to put her thumb in her mouth...but it wasn't that bad, and she slept great!

Friday, February 3, 2012

How about a cloth diaper review?

Mini Kiwi One Size Pocket Diaper
Deirdre warring a Mini Kiwi
inside the Mini Kiwi diaper
This morning, I thought I could give my two cents about my super favourite Cloth Diaper! If you ane not from Québec, you may not have heard of it, but it really is a great diaper. I uploaded a review of it on my YouTube Channel . The company is called Mini Kiwi , and their website is unfortunately only in French. It doesn't change that I love this diaper. It is essentially a bamboo diaper. It comes in Snaps and Velcro. It's one size, 6 to 35 lbs adjustable with 3 rows of snaps. The inside is made of Bamboo fleece and no matter how wet the insert is, it will remain fairly dry to the touch. Deirdre went for a 3 hours nap with one and it was very wet when she got up, but it still felt dry. The inserts that come with it are a combo of Bamboo knit and Micro Terry Cotton. The big insert is meant to grow with your child with 2 rows of snaps to adjust. That one is a good overnight insert, it has a 3 layer system combining bamboo and Terry and let me tell you, that one absorbs!!A LOT! The other insert is thin and made of Bambo knit and it does the job too, without the bulkiness. What I really like about that diaper is the double gussets. I never had leaks of any kind with that diaper, and it makes a better fit around the legs.

Mini Kiwi also works together with the Pissenlit et Coccinelle company to sell a cloth diaper safe diaper change cream. I use it and LOVE it. It is called Patatras. You really don't need much. And it smells great too. 

For the diaper, I paid roughly 26$ CAD in a local store, and for Patatras, 14$ CAD for a 60 ml container. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Creative inspiration!

Ever woke up in the middle of the night with a great idea to make something and was unable to fall back asleep since elaborating on that idea was haunting your mind all of a sudden? Or have you went to bed at night with a great idea and couldn't get a good rest as you couldn't stop thinking about it. Or even worst, spent a night putting your idea into action instead of going to bed! Well, all of the above have happened to me. Recently, I have been obsessed with my flat diaper conversion and ideas to make pocket diapers...but also a few creative ideas to organize my house stylishly.

 For all of you still using disposable diapers, or like me, alternating between both, you might love this idea. Since we have a toddler not yet potty trained, and an infant, we accumulate quite the amount of diaper boxes. And since our house is a two story house, with bedrooms on the second's not always convenient to have all the kids clothing and mostly used items in their rooms.

So we set up a change table in the dining room and a change area in the living room. But having everything just "put" on the shelves of a change table is not really "organized" and a bit annoying. You'd say: " what about baskets?"  We don't have any, and since all those diaper boxes we just sitting there, waiting for Recycling day, I thought they were the perfect size to become drawers for my daughters mostly used items under the change table.

Yeah, the Pampers and Huggies logos and desings are not really "stylish"! But with a few materials and a bit of imagination, they can become everything BUT diaper boxes!

I have been using those boxes for a few months without alteration, but now, I am ready to give them a face lift. I have plans of covering them with fabric, adding ribbons all around and making handles with rope...Tutorial and instructions to come.

The end of my Flat Diapers

Well, I didn't have that much to write about today, so I decided to share my current project. I have been using cloth diapers on and off for the past 2 years and really found out the hard way what doesn't work and what not to do. The first thing I learned was that the All-in-ones I was using were not so great, the second was that flat diapers are complicated.

That last thing is the reason I decided to convert all my flat diapers into contour diapers. My first diaper was a bit of a mess, but it still works great, looks much more comfortable than a folded flat diaper and doesn't leak, so far.

Here is what I did; I took a flannel flat diaper from my stash and a piece of jersey knit cotton I found in a bag of old fabric in the basement. I thought I'd add the jersey knit as the shell so I could attach the diaper with a Snappi. I didn't want to add more velcro since my covers already work with it. And Snappies don't work with flannel.

Left leg elastic
 I recycled an old paper grocery bag to make my pattern. Based on a Pampers diaper and my Kushies diaper cover, I created my very own pattern. Then I cut the pattern in the flat diaper and the jersey knit (see tutorial coming up on my YouTube Channel). With the left over flannel, I cut out three rectangles to be used to make my soaker. I sewed the rectangles together in a three layer soaker, then I sewed the soaker to the middle of the flannel part of the diaper. I then sewed the jersey knit and the flannel together, but here is where I made a bit of a mistake...putting on the leg elastics.

Right leg elastic
I started sewing the flannel and jersey around the edges but forgot about the elastics. Oops! so when I go to the left leg area, I sewed the end of the elastic where my mark was, stretched it, sewed it at the second mark and tried to pull the flannel over and back on the other side of the diaper, and sew that like a pocket . That allowed the elastic to be loose inside and free to move.

After I was done the left side, I was not happy with the tightness of the leg so I thought I could try something different with the other side. I cut my elastic shorter and sewed the front and back together at the edges, then sewed them again about a cm away from the edge, making sure the elastic stayed in between. Sure it was tighter, but I that it was more stiff than the other side.

The end product is pretty thin and absorbent, but I find it takes a while to dry...making me think maybe it needs another stripping.

Well, I still have 9 flat diapers waiting for a transformation...more experimentation to come!