This has been a long time coming. In the final months before my mat leave ended I took a break from the blog. I said to myself it was so I could enjoy the time with my little guy, and that was partly true, but to be honest I feel like I kinda lost 'me'.
I worked very hard to have a baby, and to be a mom, and during my time off I fully immersed myself in mommyhood and it was wonderful. But I also felt like a piece of me went missing in the end.
Getting ready to go back to work I hoped for a lot of things: status quo, a promotion, a demotion, open my own business, quit, win the lottery or work part time close to home. As my return date neared I worried if I was making the right choice. A classic example of mom guilt.
But then something happened.
I just went back.
The first day was nerve wracking, but by lunch I was feeling better. I felt like the old me, who was also a mom. By the end of the week I felt a balance between "mom" and "Erin" that I haven't achieved in a long time.
As the days passed we found our grove. I learned to sacrifice time. Time in bed to get to work early so I can get things done and leave on time. Time with my son to check off my to do list at work, or maybe even time at work to watch a video of my son doing something cute. What I learned was that it's all ok.
Being a good Mom has made me more focused at work. I get more done than before (because #mommultitasking) and I'd say I'm likely a better mom because I feel a bit more grown up and independent back at work. My time with Finn is special and I value it in a different way (though I miss my random naps, apparently those still aren't ok at work).
In the end we all do what's best for our families, and no matter how tired or overwhelmed I am I'm glad to be back at work and having multiple purposes every day. For our family an engaged mom is a good mom.
My role as a mom and career woman will change over the years, and I hope my kids learn maybe you can't have it all, but hopefully you have all you need at any given time.
Today, October 15, is 'Infant Loss Awareness' day and I wanted to tell you the story of my own loss.
The first time I lost a baby I was about eleven weeks along. My baby was wanted, loved and dreamed of, and the "heavy period" I was told to expect after the loss was much, much worse. Physically it took months to recover. Psychologically, even longer.
After the first loss I also had a cyst rupture and needed surgery to have another removed, and while having surgery they discovered endometriosis. Safe to say our journey to a baby was not an easy one.
Later when I was pregnant for a second time I was so excited. So optimistic. We were going to have a baby boy and we were both over the moon. But he wasn't meant for this world and I had to deliver him sleeping. A kind way of saying we lost him, too.
We were between a late miscarriage and a stillborn. I was induced and still had to labour for my baby, but we didn't get to make memories with him as he was already gone.
So I struggled through induction and labour, through picking out a name, a tombstone, a vessel, a birth and death in the same day.
Today is a difficult day, but it's also beautiful because it gives the families of angel babies a chance to grieve their losses again. Something that is incredibly important.
So to the mom who is pregnant: treasure it. My OB once told me every successful pregnancy is a miracle. And I know she was right.
To the mom who has lost: it's ok to feel and to hurt and to cry. It's the only way you'll heal. It's ok to mourn a loss at five or eight or twelve or twenty or forty weeks. They were your baby. And though they didn't get to know it, you loved them more than anything else.
To the mom expecting again: there is light after the darkness, your rainbow after the storm. It's okay to be afraid. To fear the unknown.
To the friend or loved one: I hope you never know this pain, but love your friend through it, know they're not the same even after having a healthy rainbow baby. Know that their light is always at odds with the darkness of infant loss. Respect both the space they need and the support they crave.
To those of you who are remembering babies lost: look towards the future and to the positivity. You are stronger than you know. . . than anyone knows.
To those of you who have lost: don't be afraid, talk about your sadness and your fears. It will only help your rainbow shine that much brighter.
Love to you all on this difficult day.
Well, I know I'm definitely late with this one, but I have a good excuse, you see, everything is changing. Now that may seem obvious, with a baby everything is supposed to change, but between nine and ten months is when I've felt that change the most.
My parents moved closer to us. The seasons have changed. The Pumpkin Spice Lattes are out in abundance. And my baby is fast moving towards being a toddler.
Now Finn doesn't just sit, but scoots (admittedly he best at moving backwards vs. forwards but it's a start). He doesn't just coo, but demands attention and lets you know his true likes and dislikes. His personality is coming through stronger everyday and it's beautiful to watch. It's a very exciting time, but seems to clearly be an end to the newborn or "baby baby" phase.
This, combined with going back to work soon, got me thinking about how exciting, overwhelming, emotional (both good and bad) and love-filled this year has been. I'm looking forward to our last two months together and seeing how much he continues to change.
I'm trying to enjoy each phase in the moment while prepping for the next. People always say to live life in the moment and don't wish it away, and that's true, but there's more to it. You have to be present and truly enjoy it, even if it means getting nothing done, because sometimes you don't know how quickly things will change and you'll be on to the next adventure with your little one.
Looking forward to sharing the next month worth of adventures in my 11 month update.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year, filled with family and friends, good food and very limited oven space. In my family we love sides - more starches! More veggies! More carbs! We want it all. Even with a double oven that can make finding space for cooking the sides and the turkey a bit of a logistical nightmare.
As a housewarming gift we were given a Napoleon BBQ that has a rotisserie feature, and I thought it would be a great way to cook the bird and keep the oven free for everything else. I have to say that I was incredibly happy with how it turned out, it was easy to do, moist and soooo delicious.
5 - 7 pound turkey breast - bone in (serves 6-8 people)
Cooking turkey seems to be a time honoured family tradition so... how do you cook your turkey?
I find lunches really hard as I'm not a huge fan of salads or sandwiches, so I'm always looking for new ways to make lunch healthy... but still entertaining and enjoyable to eat. This week, I made a non-leafy salad base and vowed to add three different things to it each day to make it different and yummy.
I have to say it was actually a huge success! I was excited to try new flavours and it challenged me to use our leftovers in new ways. Each salad included one to two cups of the salad base and then different ingredients to jazz it up.
Day One (Top Right)
For this salad I added strawberries, pork tenderloin and red onion, the dressing I used was a store bought roasted garlic balsamic. This one had great flavours, but I wish I had added another veggie.
Day Two (Bottom Left)
This one is our "Bang Bang" chicken salad. I often make homemade chicken nuggets and toss them in sweet chili thai sauce as an appetizer. This week we had some leftover so I warmed them up and added mandarine oranges and sesame seeds. I used my own white wine vinaigrette as the dressing for this (see below). This was my favourite variation - soooo good.
Day Three (Bottom Right)
I tend to always have homemade turkey or beef meatballs in the freezer from batch cooking, and for this salad I heated up some turkey meatballs in Guinness BBQ sauce and added carrots and craisins to the salad, again using my own dressing (below). For my husband he says it's a tie between this one and the day two salad but they were both great!
What do you do to meal prep and keep your food interesting day to day? Let me know in the comments below.
I started this blanket on mat leave but my rib pain and sciatica made sitting and crocheting for long periods of time difficult. Just recently I felt rested enough to take up hobbies again and decided to finish the blanket. I really like how it looks modern and has a lot of fun texture... and Finn loves playing with it!
Using a worsted weight yarn with a 5mm or 5.5mm hook.
Using a different colour do a single crochet (sc) in each stitch around the perimeter of the blanket.
In the next row slip stitch once, in the next stitch sc, dc, sc, then slip stitch in the next stitch and sc, dc, sc, in the next. Repeat for the perimeter of the blanket. Tie off and weave in ends.
**please note, I'm not a expert crocheter, if something doesn't make sense please feel free to ask me about it!**
Wow it's been so long since I've posted and since I've had the inspiration to do so...
Then Finn turned nine months and it got me refocused.
It's hard to believe I go back to work soon and it's even harder to believe how much Finn has grown and changed over his first 9 months. His most recent developments include sitting unassisted, stopping himself from falling over (while sitting), and rolling onto his tummy to sleep (always with his head turned to the side... he's a smart little man).
While we're on the topic of sleeping, Finn continues to (mostly) sleep well and, as a result, continues to have a charming and happy personality.
There's also now a clear desire to crawl, but he hasn't quite gotten the hang of that yet. Perhaps that'll be something I can include when I write his 10 month update. Right now when he tries to crawl he instead promptly face plants.
As I'm now nearing the final chapter of my mat leave I'd love to know what you think I should include on my Mat Leave Bucket List? Leave your ideas in the comments below and I'll see how many I can accomplish in the next 3 months.
I, like millions of others around the world, have once again hopped on the Olympic bandwagon and am excited about all these summer sports I've never heard of (if you know me, a passion for sports does not come naturally).
I think it's pretty clear based on my love of food, wine and Netflix that I will never compete at the Olympics, but then I started thinking, maybe I'm already participating an Olympics games all my own: the "Mommy Olympics". Read on to see what I mean.
Traditionally a sport featuring sabres and a face mask... if you're a mom, you'll recognize this as "Floor Time". When your baby was a newborn, floor times was a fun, low key activity. But around six or seven months every item becomes a potential weapon and it's up to you to dodge your way to safety.
On an Olympic track theses athletes look graceful and manage the hurdles with ease. As a parent, you are also familiar with the hurdles, but it's jumping over your kid's crap all over the floor when the phone rings during bedtime or nap time. That shit is real and speed is of the essence to avoid wake ups.
Long Distance Running
Though I haven't experienced this myself yet, I can tell you from observation this kicks in when your little one starts cruising and/or walking.
In the Olympics this sport is beautiful and involves perfect coordination. For the Mommy Olympics, this is bath time. Where in the Olympics you get to practice coordinating movements with your partners in the water, as a Mom, synchronized swimming is trying to get your crazy mobile little one clean all over. Unfortunately, there's no way to anticipate what move you're babe will make next, so in real life this lacks a lot of the elegance of its Olympic counterpart.
In the world of parents I think we can all agree that diaper changes with a little one who has learned to roll is the Mommy Olympics equivalent to the gold medal wrestling match.
Before I had my son I picked out a bucket seat that was good for a baby up to 35 pounds. So frugal, so smart I thought. As a new mom though you don't factor the weight of the actual car seat, and how heavy that sucker is when you're carrying it, the baby, the diaper bag and your purse from once end of the parking lot to the other. It's an impressive feat and one definitely worthy of the Mommy Olympics.
I hope you are all enjoying the Olympics! What's your Mommy/Daddy sport of choice? Let me know in the comments below.
Typically for me, Fridays are all about food, but today, I would call my Friday post "F*ck It Friday", 'cause that is the kind of week I've had.
To paint a picture, the "highlight" of my week was my AC breaking during a heatwave (I know, that's pretty exciting right?). I've never faired well in the heat, and this was no exception. I was tired, sweaty and cranky, which didn't go well for anyone.
In addition we had some other hiccups this week; nothing major, just a lot of little things that pile up into what feels like one big disaster. Then I realized it's Friday morning and I didn't have anything to post, because any food I've have made this week has been shovelled in with reckless abandon.
However, all that said, it's okay. 'Cause I'm (we're) not perfect. The above photo is from a day where I washed my hair and was proud it was clean AND dried. That's right, this week I was so excited about bathing that I had to take a photo of it.
This is just one of those weeks that at the end, you have a glass of wine with your hubby, dig into a pizza (yay to wine and pizza date night) and laugh about ALL the things that happened. When I'm back at work I will look back remember how overwhelming this all seemed, and smile at the fact that a bad movie and a good glass of wine could make things better.
How was your week? Anyone else have a crazy week?
Please Note: Click here to see a before of our kitchen
For us (and for so many) the kitchen is the heart of the home and where we wanted to focus a lot of our energy (and money) to making our new house feel like ours.
Over the past year we replaced the counters, backsplash and most of the appliances. To me this really made our kitchen feel like a personalized part of OUR home. As an avid baker I love having stone counters, I really do notice a difference when I roll out dough on them.
We worked with a family friend/designer to pick our Cambria Summer Hill counters. When you look at the sample it seems a bit bold, but seeing it in the space it really felt alive with the different veins of light and dark grey and the glittery accents.
For our appliances, we opted to go all-in with Samsung. We have loved our washer and dryer and really liked the features of the kitchen appliances. The fridge is huge, the oven is a dual oven with one handle which makes me feel safer with my little guy.
My only complaint with the appliances was my original Samsung stove/range came very damaged and had to be sent back. I'm not sure where the error occurred but somehow between Samsung and Home Depot both said it was the other's fault and it would take two to four weeks before they could get me a working stove.
I spent a lot of time on the phone with both Home Depot and Samsung and was often left with the feeling that regardless of the issue they simple weren't going to help. The stove would get there when it gets there. I was lucky to be on leave as dealing with the issue took up a ton of time.
My experience dealing with this issue was so negative that I will definitely go to another retailer like Lowes or Rona in the future versus Home Depot, but I was glad to finally get my new stove.
This is our stove, our fridge and our microwave. I'm thinking of doing a full review of the appliances after we've used them for a month or so. Let me know if you would be interested in that.
How did you update your own kitchen? What lessons have you learned doing home renos? Leave your comments below.
I love to cook, entertain, craft and create - all while being a wife, friend, daughter and a mom to a little boy.