Here’s what I would say to my teenage self…

I’m seventeen years old, riding the peaks and valleys of my hormonal roller coaster while juggling the weight of the world on my shoulders.  My self involved world includes my best friends, dud of a boyfriend and my crappy part-time job.  Thinking about my future means deciding which party to attend over the weekend.  I have enough on my mind so how could I possibly understand the importance of love, happiness and career goals?

Morning routines revolve around pinching the minefield of zits that have sprouted up all over my adolescent face followed by over powdering them to try and blend them.  Here I stand, in front of the mirror, trying to devise a believable story for staying home from school.  I’ve caught the flu.  I’m getting a cold.  I have a migraine.  How can I possibly go to school when I need to be at home slathering toothpaste, rubbing alcohol or any other home remedy on to my face.

Breakfast? Who has time for breakfast.  Coffee is the only thing I need.  My nine hours of sleep last night clearly wasn’t enough for me to feel refreshed.  And, don’t even get me started on my parents.  They don’t understand anything going on in my world or how difficult my life is.  Their divorce impacts me more than they’ll ever realize.  They clearly should have stayed together for my sake.  If I could roll my eyes harder, trust me, I would.

Sound familiar?  It’s hard to look back and consider myself as the same person.  It feels like I’m reminiscing on a strangers’ upbringing.

If I had to do it all over again, I would!  I would explore a variety of career options to develop an understanding of my passions.  I would research schools, programs and potential jobs to gain perspective and understand where my degree or diploma could lead me.  I would have conversations with as many people at school as I could.  I would learn from them.  I would listen to the advice that my parents give me, because let’s face it, they have been through it once before.  Even more importantly, I would respect them and show my appreciation instead of rebelling and arguing.  Angst isn’t a good look on anyone.  I would understand that their divorce really has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them.  I would understand that people change, relationships change, and most of the time change is for the better.

Moreover, I would follow my dreams.  We don’t have to work in jobs that we aren’t passionate about just to make ends meet.  I would put energy, time and focus into what really makes me happy and then I would pursue it.  I would remind myself to keep searching for my bliss and to never let the pursuit of money overshadow the pursuit of achieving my goals.

So, what would I say to myself?

Wear your zits proudly.  Form friendships and get to know those around you.   Expand your social circle. You’d be surprised what you can learn from meeting a variety of different people.  Later in life, you will refer to this practice as networking.  Enjoy family time and the lessons your parents want to teach you, because one day they won’t be there to share their wisdom.

 Yes, life is difficult, messy and at times frustrating, but it is also a gift and we should all cherish every minute of it.

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How we became the travellers we once despised!

Here we are, being ushered to the front of the check in line since we’ve nearly missed our take off time feeling all of the stares and glares peering our way.  We’re balancing our 10,000 bags while keeping our newborn daughter content.  This is our new reality.

Our once seemingly simple travel plans have drastically changed.  We’re no longer waltzing past the check in lines or breezing through security and we’re certainly not enjoying a beverage while patiently waiting to board our flight. Okay, perhaps we could enjoy 1 beverage still…

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No way – now we’re anxiety ridden, struggling to determine if we’ve packed enough food, diapers, toys and changes of clothes.  Yes, we’re only travelling a couple of hours to Florida or Bermuda, but once we’ve crossed through security, who knows what we’ll need to travel smoothly with our baby girl.

It is official, we have become those travellers we once despised! Gawking as they would juggle their child(ren) while wiping vomit from their sweatshirts.  Dabbing sweat from their foreheads as they make their way for the early boarding call.  Pushing through other passengers to be sure they make it to their seats first.

And, I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.  Stare all you want because no matter how many hurdles come our way with travelling with a newborn or toddler, we will not stop! We love to travel and that is something we will continue to do!

It might take a bit more preparation, but it is definitely worth it.  We’ve enjoyed a trip to Florida (Hadley was 6 months) and a trip to Bermuda (Hadley was 9 months).

…Now here we are patiently waiting for our next adventure.

Mama Must Haves!

Here Comes Baby!

Whether you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, you are pregnant or you just welcomed your little beauty to this world, it’s always a good idea to be thinking about the products that will make your life easier.

Let’s face it, being pregnant can be completely exhausting, but having a newborn is a complete game changer.  Take everything you think you know and flip it upside down…and be prepared to continue doing that forever!

There we were…strapping our petite 5lb 13 oz baby girl into her car seat.  Pulling them as tight as they could possibly go, we secured our little package.  Carrying her out of the NICU and hospital was the most bizarre feeling ever.  We couldn’t wipe the smiles off of our faces.  We carried the car seat facing our body so we could watch her every movement and be sure she was covered from the sunlight.  Taking careful and calculated steps, we finally made it to our car.  Luckily, we lived up the road from the hospital, so we didn’t have far to travel.  Our five-minute commute took approximately 15 minutes, carefully avoiding bumps or dips in the road and driving about 5km/hr.  Thankfully, we had another one of our favourite products on our back window, notifying fellow drivers of our baby on board.  We found this sticker on amazon.ca.

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Remember, all new parents are going through the same things so don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family or forums for help.  It’s a lot easier when we’re all in this together!

Enjoy every minute, because it goes by within the blink of an eye!  Here are some of my findings up until now…

The Realistic Hospital Bag

Pack simply and efficiently.  There’s nothing worse than extra clutter on delivery day.  And, let’s be realistic…who has time to sit back and read a book or magazine after the delivering a baby?

Clothes:

  • Comfortable pajamas and robe
  • cozy socks
  • Slippers
  • Sweat pants
  • Sweater
  • Nursing bras / bralettes
  • Tank tops

Extras:

  • Camera
  • IPhone (IPhone charger)
  • Journal
  • Pen
  • ID, Insurance Information & Credit Card
  • Your own pillow and an extra blanket (if you’re always cold like I am)

Toiletries:

  • Hair brush
  • Shampoo / conditioner…dry shampoo
  • Straightener (if you’re feeling up for it)
  • Hair ties
  • Headband
  • Deoderant
  • Pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Gum
  • Face wipes / face wash
  • Q-tips

Baby:

  • Approved car seat (base hooked up in your car)
  • “Going home outfit”
  • Diapers
  • Diaper cream
  • Wipes
  • Formula (just in case)…ready mixed makes it a lot easier for the first few days
  • Pump
  • Receiving blankets

Favourite Products…(so far):

Bugaboo Cameleon stroller

  • Tip: Helpful additions:
    • Cup holder
    • Handle organizer
    • Mosquito net
    • Rain cover
    • Travel case
  • This stroller has been amazing.  We used the bassinet version up until our daughter was about 8/9 months.  She would sleep every time we would take her for a walk.
  • It’s very easy to fold up and add the car seat attachments.
  • Very easy to maneuver and handle.

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Maxi Cosi infant car seat

  • We received the Mico AP as a baby shower gift and couldn’t be happier with the product.  Not only is it extremely durable, easy to clean and compact, it’s also easy to click in and out of the car.
  • This car seat is suitable for babies ranging from 5lb to 22 lbs and 19” to 29”.
  • Purchasing the adapters, we were also able to use the car seat with our stroller base.
  • We were fortunate enough to be able to use this car seat for 10+ months; our daughter is very petite.  We’re just starting to consider the next level convertible car seat now.
    • Tip: We purchased an extra base for approximately $50.00 for my parent’s vehicle.  We spent a lot of time with them so this was an easy way to avoid having to take the base in and out of our vehicle.

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Leach Co podster

  • I didn’t find this product until our daughter was about two months.  I wish I had found it earlier.  I ordered this from amazon.com and it is amazing.  This chair hugged her body perfectly and allowed her to feel secure, warm and comfortable.
  • Obviously, it goes without saying to always keep a very close watch on your sweetie.

Lorex baby video monitor

  • This is a necessity! I’m definitely a “worrier” so this monitor gives me peace of mind.
  • It’s small and compact and comes with an extra charging cord.
  • It has a very clear picture, zooming functions, tells the temperature of the room and plays a variety of songs.
  • You can also speak into the microphone, speaking into your baby’s room.  This is helpful when you’re baby starts fussing and you want to let them know you’re on you way.

AVENT electric pump

  • I have a few friends who decided to use a manual pump.  Ahhhhh!!! Is all that I can say.   This product is inexpensive and works just as well as the hospital grade pump.
  • After having a premature baby, the hospital provided me with a hospital pump to use every two hours while we were in the NICU for a week.  The pump was slightly painful and forceful.  Once we returned home, I started using this pump that I had purchased at target.  It had a variety of different settings and did not hurt one bit.  An added bonus, a nipple can they be screwed on top of the bottle you pumped into and can be used or stored.
  • This pump also came with a small travel case, making it easy to transport.

Mini Crib

  • Due to space limitations, we couldn’t fit a full size crib in our place.  This turned out to be the best thing for us.  Our mini crib fits our daughter perfectly and she hasn’t had any problems with it.
  • It fits in her bedroom neatly and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
  • Tip: Make sure you purchase mini crib sheets / bed skirts.

Change table with storage underneath

  • We got our change table, off of Wayfair.com for approximately $100.00.
  • We filled the shelves with a variety of different baskets where we store her diapers, creams, towels, wash cloths, burp cloths, receiving blankets, bibs and pajamas.  This makes it easy to change her bum and get her dressed.  Everything is in one place.

Diaper Genie

  • It doesn’t have to be the diaper genie brand, but something like this is needed to keep a clean smelling house!
  • It’s truly shocking how many diapers a baby will go through, so this product is a definite helper!

AVENT Bottles

  • We tried a variety of different bottles/ brands / nipple speeds and AVENT bottles seem to be the only ones that work for our daughter.

Receiving blankets

  • We pack receiving blankets with us everywhere that we go.  We keep them in the car, in the diaper bag and all over the house.  Our daughter is notorious for spitting up.

Mirror for the car

  • This is a nice way to keep an eye on your baby while driving…especially if you’re driving by yourself.
  • This way if you hear little cries, whimpers or even silence, you can have peace in mind by checking in your rear view mirror to see what your baby is up to.

 

Onesie’s that button up the front

  • The first few weeks / months, I felt like we were changing our daughter every few hours.  Pulling onesies over a tiny 6 lb baby’s head proves to be very difficult.
  • The Koala brand onesies from Babies R Us are very easy to use.  They made changing her a breeze.

Play mat

  • A good play mat can spark your baby’s interest and teach them quite a bit.  It can also be helpful when trying to entertain your baby during tummy time.

Bumbo Chair with Tray

  • We brought this with us in our Bugaboo travel bag every time we went on vacation.  It was easy to store, carry and gave our daughter a place to eat or play with toys while we were eating.

 

Hopefully, some of these products will work for you or someone you know!  All the best with your adventure!