Day a Working Mother


How long until I can be back at the ocean, sitting on some rocks, watching the waves roll in?! This picture screams 'vacation' to me, which is probably a weird thing to envision after being off work for almost a year!

My first day back to work went well, probably better than I was expecting it to. Soren doesn't start daycare for another two weeks, so he spent the day hanging out with his dad! It sounds like they had a pretty good time getting new tires, going out for lunch, and visiting some plant nurseries. I am a little bit sad that I was stuck at a desk while they were doing all of this, but I guess that's how it goes.

The Littlest Linden took his first step on Saturday! I think he's still got a ways to go before he will be fully walking, but it was pretty exciting (for us at least) to see him walk from his dads arms to his moms. I'm trying to get him to say Mama, or something specific for me. He talks a lot of baby babble, but doesn't really associate any specific sounds to objects or people. If I ask him 'where is Mommy's nose?', he points to my nose, but now he points to my nose as soon as I say 'Mommy'. Great - he is going to think my nose is his mama!!

Day Two tomorrow... guess I need to start going to bed earlier! I'm sure I will be exhausted by the end of the week.

Back to the Office


I will officially be back to work full time, starting in about 9 hours! Crazy. I'm still a little upset about the whole thing, so to cheer myself up I went pretend shopping for a new bag! I was thinking I needed something classic yet fun, and big enough that I could lug around an extra pair of shoes, a water bottle, lots of snacks, and maybe a sweater or scarf. I did a quick browse through Nordstroms, and here are my faves:

Yellow Kate Spade, White Longchamp, Persimmon Michael Kors (also LOVE this one in white), brown weave Steve Madden, and straw weave M Z Wallace 
all images from Nordstroms

I don't think I've ever invested in a good quality bag, but it would probably be worth it. For some reason I don't mind spending money on jeans, jackets, and shoes - and spending the extra money on those items has been worth it (at least for me). Most of my expensive jeans I have had for 4 years or more, and I know I have a few coats that are still looking good well into their fifth and sixth seasons.

For whatever reason, all of my purses and bags are cheap, or knock-offs (also cheap). At the moment they are all piled on the floor of my closet, getting no use at all. I've spent the last year carrying a diaper bag around as my primary purse, and I think it's time to step it up a notch and get something a bit more sophisticated. I'm going to keep my eye out for a sale!!

Playroom Wall Art


I bought these 'Counting Birds Wall Art Cards' last August while on vacation in Gibsons, BC. I love the illustrations by Melissa Sweet, and I couldn't decide where I wanted to display them. Last night I figured out a really simple and cute way to hang them, and I'm pretty happy with how it has added some pop to our playroom.

All you need is some twine, clothes pins, a couple of nails, and some art to hang! I may do this in other areas of the house - I think it would look cute with larger pieces of art as well.
 Aren't the illustrations adorable?!

Favourites of the Week

1. I love that the Littlest Linden is starting to enjoy books. Sometimes I will walk into his playroom to see him flipping through one of his books, deep in thought. It's amazing to think of what his brain is absorbing, each and every day.

2. Chicken Enchiladas! The best recipe I've found (and the only one I've tried) is from my tried and true America's Test Kitchen. It is also Soren's absolute, number one favourite meal. His appetite was a little off lately, but it is back on track after last nights dinner. He honestly eats almost as much as me... I can't believe that he only weighs 19 pounds!!

3. This crazy guy... no words are needed! He is into EVERYTHING, all the time! (Notice the little hand prints on the oven door)

4. Rompers. I ordered this vintage one off Etsy and I can't wait to get it!! I love baby boys in rompers...
Etsy shop Hart and Sew
5. Week-ends! This is my last official day of maternity leave, as I will be going back to work on Monday with the rest of the world. I am going to enjoy my last days off:)
Linking up with Lauren again for High FIve for Friday!

Door Crashers


Wow! If you want to see some crazy people, head on over to a grand re-opening sale at Canadian Tire!! We had gotten a flier a few days back, and some of the sale items were really good, like a KitchenAid frying pan for $13.97, regular $54.99. The doors opened at 7am, but there was no way I was going to be in line at that hour. Soren and I dropped off Tyler at work, and then headed over to the store around 9:30. There was barely room in the massive, strip-mall super-sized parking lot, which alarmed me a little. Never the less, we found a spot at the back of the lot and headed in with the masses.

There was a line of people waiting to get carts, as the store was out of them. I must say, the employees were really on fire and were RUNNING across the lot to bring back carts. We snagged one (unfortunately without a baby seat strap) and headed in. All of a sudden my mind was spinning with thoughts of 'Do I really need a new Garden Hose? But it's only $3.99... should I save it for when we need it in a few years?' and 'These lifejackets are $20!! No, Soren is a long way from being 50lbs, but he'll need one someday!'

I started piling 'deals' in the cart before coming to my senses and just buying what we came for. Plus a new shoe-rack type thing, and a lawn chair. You can always use a folding lawn chair - right? It's so easy to see why stores have 'door crashers', because very few customers leave with ONLY that one item. Everyone is swayed by the huge signs and mob-type mentality of trying to get the best deal. And if there's only one item left in the big, huge bin? Well, I wouldn't be surprised to see a little scuffle ensue! (Think of the horror stories from Black Friday's gone bad...)

image from here

Menu Planning


I hate coming home and getting stressed out about what to make for dinner. I end up thinking about it for half the day, rushing home, staring at items in the cupboard, looking up recipes online, looking at items in the fridge, running out to the grocery store, and finally getting something on the table around 9pm. (After likely eating a bag of chips or loaf of bread in the process.) Now that the Littlest eats meals (for the most part) I have made a conscious effort to make balanced meals at least four or five days per week. And since he goes to bed at 7:30, I'm forced to get dinner on the table by 6 or 6:30.
 *He does eat on the other days... usually we eat at our parents houses once a week or so, and then pick up or eat out one day.

I've been able to make this happen because I've got the whole day to think about what to make for dinner, but sadly this will be ending when I go back to work next week. I think the only way I will be able to get home after five and manage to have something edible on the table within an hour or so will be to make a detailed plan. I've been looking for some cute menu plans to get me motivated. Something like this...

image from here

I'll start with the cute paper, then do the brainstorming, then the shopping and finally the cooking!! Too bad eating is so much work - there are definitely some days where I wish I had a personal chef!

Picnic Date


It's hard to feel sad and depressed when the sun is shining and you have a beautiful 10-month old to go to the park with in the afternoons!
After our last Baby Rhyme Time this morning, we came home for lunch and someone took a looong nap. When he woke up the temperature had risen about 10 degrees and it almost felt like summer! We walked down to the park and made a few new friends. We played in the sand for a while, built a couple castles and raked up some rocks. Next we hit the swings with a cool little guy named Harrison, who was pretty much the cutest baby ever after Soren. On our way home from the park we stopped in a nice grassy area and ate a snack. Well, a couple cheerios ended up in his mouth, but a lot more wound up on his head!
Tylers pulled out the patio furniture and I gave it a quick rinse off. We have some pork marinating before being BBQ'd, beets and carrots roasting in the oven, beer in the fridge and the baby is having a late afternoon nap. I think I'm going to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies for dessert. This week is off to a pretty good start!

A terrible no good kind of day


I've always known that I would be returning to work after my maternity leave was over. While I didn't necessarily love the idea of being a working mother, I also never envisioned myself as a stay-at-home mom. I knew that in our family, with our financial situation, I need to work - and I am ok with that. Or at least I thought I was, until about 10pm yesterday.

Over the last 24 hours I have cried more than I have in the past year, and I have this overwhelming sense of dread and sadness. I have one week of maternity leave left before I will be returning to my full-time job. I like my job, my hours are more than reasonable, and I enjoy the company of my co-workers. However, I cannot shake this feeling that what I am doing is terrible and against the natural order of what it means to be a mom. A mother shouldn't leave her baby with someone else for 9 hours... 5 days a week. A mother should be the first person a baby sees when they open their eyes after a nap. A mother should be the one preparing all of her babies meals... Soren NEEDS me, or at least I need him.

In the back of my mind I know that he will be fine at daycare. More than fine, he will probably really enjoy it and thrive in a new environment. The problem lies more with me, I think, and feeling like I am going to be missing out on his life. I cannot wrap my head around only seeing him for a few moments in the morning, and then again for a couple of hours in the late afternoon and evening. It seems so completely wrong to me, and unfair to both him and I.

I can't seem to get over the fact that I will not be able to take him to a 'Moms and One' program next fall, or continue taking him to 'Baby Rhyme Time' at the library. We've met some wonderful moms and babies at various playgroups, and we will no longer be able to attend any as they are all during the work day. (Although most of the other moms are returning back to work in the coming months as well) Tyler comes home for lunch most days, and Soren loves waiting at the window for him to pull up. Soon I will be eating lunch at my desk, while Soren eats at daycare with the other little babies. How will I know how much he's eaten? What exact time he woke up from his nap? If he made any new discoveries?

While I know it's not a good way of looking at it, I keep mentally thinking everything we are doing is the 'Last'. The last playgroup, the last morning walk, the last time at the park in the afternoon. I feel like this is the last week of being his primary caregiver, and in a sense the last week of him needing me all the time. This is his last week of being a baby, and I don't feel ready for that to be over.

I've always tried to enjoy each and every baby phase, knowing that it will be over in the blink of an eye. I've surprised myself with being more patient than I thought I would be, and happier to do less. My life is very different now compared to when I left the working world nearly one year ago, and I'm not sure how this next phase will play out. I keep telling myself that the transition is always the hardest part, and I will be okay in a few weeks time. Right now I can't quite hang on to that feeling. Every time I think about leaving Soren I am hit with a new wave of anxiety and sadness. Eight more days...

5 Little Things this week


ONE more week until I go back to work full time...

TWO trips to Micheals this week to pick up supplies for the Littlest's First Birthday Party, which is still 2 months away.

THREE times per week I should go the gym. I'm pretty sure it's April 20th already and I'm made it there once all month.

FOUR times in the last 5 minutes that I've had to pull the dog food dish away from Soren.

FIVE bananas were used to make World's Best Banana Bread!

Linking up with Lauren for High Five Friday!

Blog Award


I received my first Blog Award! I'm not too sure what this means exactly, but I guess it means that I am making Blog Friends?! How exciting!! So, here is how the game is played:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.
2. Write 7 random things about yourself.
3. Spread the love to 15 more bloggers. 

Thank you Tami at Ramblings of a Vintage Girl for tagging me!! Hmm... let me think of some random things about me...

1. Sometimes I read the endings of books... before reading the rest of the book. Occasionally I just can't stand the suspense, and have to peek to see what happens. Then I go back and read the rest of the story! 

2. I love airports. (Unless you're delayed in one for hours) I love the feeling of walking into an airport in one city, knowing that the next time you step outside you will be in another city, or even another country! People-watching in airports is the best, and I always envision where people are going or what they are leaving behind. I actually find travelling alone extremely relaxing, even if there are some minor  delays. Note - travelling with a baby is the complete opposite. 

New Winnipeg Airport - image from here

3. This may have been one of my favourite mornings, ever. We were on our honeymoon in the gorgeous Okanagan Valley, and we stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast. We woke up early to go horse back riding, and the views of the wineries, the lake, and the mountains were amazing. Honeymoons are amazing. I think we should plan a little mini-getaway soon. Sans bebe. A lot of wine drinking and late night dinners would be appreciated!

4. I speak French. Badly, but I can get by if I have to. I usually do better after a glass of wine, or two!

5. One of my favourite foods is Mussels! They are always delicious, but when served with skinny fries they are even better! In Winnipeg my faves are from Bistro 7 and a 1/4
image from here

6. I cannot remember lyrics to songs. Ever. Sometimes I'll think I know the words, but the real lyrics will be SO FAR off from what I was singing it's completely embarrassing. I also have the worlds worst singing voice, so perhaps these two go hand in hand. I would say I'm completely musically impaired, but I did play the piano for years and I can read music. Hopefully the Littlest Linden will skip me on the (lack of) music genes!

7. I played Ringette for about 12 years. 

Here are 10 blogs that I am tagging: 

World's Best Banana Bread

I have tried quite a few Banana Bread recipes, and generally they always turn out pretty well. I had a favourite recipe that I've been using for a few years, but yesterday I thought I would try out something new. Clearly, I have been missing out!! This new recipe was WAY better than the one I've been using for  awhile.

The recipe is from here, and I made a couple changes. I added some cinnamon and vanilla to the batter, and then topped the loaf with a brown sugar/cinnamon dusting. Between the three of us it will be gone by lunch, and I made it less than 24 hours ago. Yum!

I miss you summer!


After an unbelievably warm March, the weather has been cool and rainy for the last couple of weeks. I was looking back through some pictures from last summer, and I can't wait for it to be warm enough to go to the lake again. Soren is going to have so much fun playing in the water and digging in the sand. We are starting to think about summer vacation plans, and due to budget restraints I think we'll stay close to home. It will still be nice to get out of the city on the week-ends, hit up the local farmers markets, and explore all the parks and wading pools around us. I know a couple other members of this household who are going to LOVE being out at the lake in the summer!

Kya, the blond, is 5 and a half. Rupert (the beast) is 3. We got both of them as rescue dogs, and have had countless adventures with them. The Littlest Linden is having more and more fun with them each day. He has figured out how to play with them more, and laughs when they do certain things. Today we went for a walk with Rupert, and Soren held his leash from his stroller. He loved it! I think Rupert behaved better knowing that there was a new boss holding on to him. 

Dresser Re-Vamp!


I have had this on my To-Do list for waaay too long... and I'm happy to finally check it off! I've had this dresser my whole life, and I love the shape of it as well as the deep drawers for storage. However, after 29 years in my possession, plus a lot of years of use before that, it was time for some sprucing up.

Before, with some new knobs I bought a while back at Anthropologie...

(Sneak a picture of the sleeping babe in. He passed out after 'Baby Rhyme Time' this morning. I think he still has his little name tag on his sweater. )

Now I just need to go through all of his clothes and re-organize a bit. Even though he is in the smallest percentile, he's still going through clothes at a surprising rate. At his 10-month old check up last Friday he weighed in at 18lbs12oz. My doctor doesn't really discuss percentiles, but when I got home I immediately looked it up and found that he's in the 10th percentile for both height and weight. This cannot possibly equate to the amount of food he eats, as the kid is pretty much a bottomless pit!

Thrifty Weekend


I don't go to thrift stores very often, although I'm often jealous of the great deals and unique pieces people can find thrifting. On Friday night I ventured out to a local GoodWill store and picked up a perfect edition of Trivial Pursuit (for $1.99), something Tyler and I have been looking for for ages. Isn't it strange that they don't sell regular Trivial Pursuit? I wanted to buy it for a christmas present, and I searched everywhere but could only find weird editions - like the Classic Rock version. I'm sure that appeals to a few people... but you think they would still carry a general knowledge version!

Anyways, Friday night was a good experience for me at the GoodWill store, and then I even ventured into a Value Village. That store was a bit too overwhelming, but I did manage to find a FABULOUS pair of baby boots - totally vintage style in white leather with little laces. I can't wait to dress him up in a romper, white socks, and the white booties this summer!

I'd heard about a baby swap meet / sale today and wanted to check it out. I brought along the Littlest and Tyler so I'd have some extra hands to do some shopping with. For $15, check out these amazing little sweaters we got!! It feels like winter today, and even though I am totally a summer person, these sweaters are making me look forward to next winter and cozy fires.

High Five For Friday


Lots to love this Friday!

1. Planning the Littlest's First Birthday Party! He doesn't turn one until June, but that doesn't mean I can't get started on the preparations.
image from Grace Graffiti
2. Evenings out with just my husband. Last nights beer and wings were just perfect! Thanks to all of our family who love to baby-sit!
image from here
3. White dresses for summer. I saw this one on the blog vmacandcheese, and I loved the H&M version even more. Sadly, the city I call home still does not have an H&M. Boo.
4. Ladybugs. I think these two are mating. It's not ladybugs so much that I love, but rather the fact that it is warm enough for them to be outside!

5. Taking a train ride with the Littlest Linden. Well, perhaps we are just on the play structure at the park. But look at that wind! In our imaginations we were riding off into the sunset:)

I'm linking up again with Lauren from From My Grey Desk. Happy Friday!

A day in the life of...


A 10-Month-Old!! 

It's hard to believe 10 months have passed since I first became a mom... and you have changed SO MUCH!! It's so much fun to play with you these days, and you understand more and more each day. 

Our daily routine goes something like this right now:

7ish - You wake up and start fussing - I get you out of your crib, bring you to our bed, and you nurse for awhile until you get bored and want to PLAY! Sometimes you'll play around in our room, but lately you want me or your dad to get up and take you downstairs or to the playroom. You've learned how to safely get off of our bed which is an important step! You crawl to the edge, look down, and then turn yourself around to go down the right way (backwards).

8ish - I change you and put on some clothes, and we head down for breakfast. I ask you to turn on the lights in all the rooms we go to, which you can do easily with your little pointer finger which is constantly pointing to things! I ask you to turn on the espresso machine, and then I try to put you down in the kitchen so I can make your breakfast. This usually does not go well as you like to to be held at all times in the kitchen. I finally figured out that I think you are worried you might miss a bite of food - gasp - if you are on the floor. After some difficult one-handed manoeuvring, I manage to make myself a cup of coffee, make toast, and get you in your highchair. We both eat toast with jam and some type of fruit - your faves are grapes, blackberries, and kiwi. 

8:30 - After breakfast we usually tidy up the kitchen a bit, maybe throw in a load of laundry, and you start playing. I'll check the weather, the news, my blog, and intercept you whenever you find something dangerous to do. This is often. If we are downstairs you love to look out the window, either to the backyard or to the front street. You stand at the door peering out and yell at whoever might be passing by. If Rupert or Kya are outside you love to watch them, and shout crazy things through the door to them. You open all the drawers and cupboards that are in your reach and pull out everything inside. If I have left something on the table, such as a tablecloth, you would pull it down in a second. You LOVE cords, especially the cables behind the TV. Any books or magazines are pulled off their shelves and tossed aside as quickly as you can grab them. 

10:30 - You are exhausted and go down for your morning nap. I clean up, have a shower, do some cooking, etc. 

12 - Up from your nap you nurse, and then we get ready for lunch. Lots of times your dad comes home for lunch, which is VERY exciting for you! Sometimes you wait for him at the door, other times you will be busy playing, and when you hear the front door open you ask in your sweetest voice 'Da da?' (You say DaDa to almost everything... but it's always asked in the same way when you hear that door opening. I think you know who it is.) We eat lunch together, and you're usually a pretty good eater. Lunch favourites are yogurt, cheese, muffins, leftovers, fruit, and crackers. 

1-3 - We usually try to go out at this point in the day. On thursdays and fridays we head to playgroups, sometimes we go to the park, sometimes we have a playdate with another baby, or else we just go for a walk. 

3 - Time for Nap #2! I usually try to think up a dinner option during this nap and get something prepared. As mentioned earlier, the Littlest is not very happy to entertain himself while I'm in the kitchen, so it's best to do some prep work while he's not with me.

4:30 - Up from nap, a quick nurse, and then you wait for your dad to come home. 

5-6 - We play with Daddy when he comes home, make dinner, go for a walk, do errands, or sometimes visit with a friend. Some days I'll head to the gym, or grab one of the dogs and go for a run/walk. 

6ish - We eat dinner with you as our evening entertainment. I think you like to have both of our undivided attention as you play with your food and toss things to the dogs. We don't make special meals for you, and that's exactly how you like it! You love chili, chicken enchiladas, pasta, stir-fry, ham, sweet potatoes, and pretty much everything else that we put on your tray. Anything you don't like gets tossed to a waiting pup, and you find it HILARIOUS when they eat food out of your hands. 

7ish - After dinner we do some more playing and often some dancing. You love to turn on your little musical frog and start bopping away. You will likely make some quick escapes to the stairs, and then turn around and wait for one of us to chase after you. Eventually we'll let you crawl up all the stairs (with someone spotting you) and we'll turn on the water for your bath. Right now you are in a 'like the bath' stage, but I'm sure this will change again as it has several times already. You don't just sit there splashing quietly... you tend to flip and flop about, trying to drink the water, crawl out of the tub, pull the soap in on top of you, put the cloth over your face, etc. Bath time is often pretty crazy, as we try to keep your head out of the water and most of the water in the tub! Your favourite part of the bath is when you get out, and I wrap you up with a big bath towel. You love to cozy up inside it and peak at yourself in the mirror.

7:30 - A fresh diaper, pyjamas, nursing, and off to bed. With your beloved blanket, of course. So far you only have one thing that you are obsessed with, and that is the blanket your Aunt Brigit crocheted for you. You LOVE that blanket and get so excited every time you see it in your crib. You grab it, wrap your thumb through it, pull it across your face, and start sucking your thumb. Good-night!

It's such a different daily routine than I had a year ago, but it's a lot of fun! I can't wait to see what the next 10 months are like!!

Countdown is on


I have less than 3 weeks left until I have to leave this little guy at home, and head back to work.
I go back and forth on my feelings about this. Some days I'm convinced it will be okay, and I will enjoy being back at the office and Soren will love daycare. Other days I feel totally overwhelmed by it all, and feel like the ONLY thing I should be focused on is my baby, and spending every day with him.

As everyone told me, time flies, and he does grow up way too quickly. I'm sad that his baby days are nearing an end, but also excited to see him discover new things and develop his own personality. (These days the personality includes 'no'. He really likes to play this game while eating!)

Through all the fussiness and messy diapers and screaming car-rides, I knew I was lucky to be able to experience it all. I loved being a stay-at-home-mom for almost a year, and hopefully I will get to do it again one day. I am about to transition into a new role of 'working mom' and as much as it scares me, I have hope that it will turn out well in the end. In the meantime, I'm going to play on the floor, chase him up the stairs, walk for hours, and enjoy leisurely lunches with the Littlest. If only the weather would warm up a bit!

Easter - Part Two


Well, I am definitely stuffed full of chocolate, cupcakes, and other delicious treats. Easter dinner was wonderful, and my mother in laws house looked amazing, as always. There were easter baskets, fresh flowers, and bunnies everywhere you turned. The cats were even dressed up with their Easter bows on!

I loved the easter baskets as place settings. Soren got two baskets. His dinner one was just a miniature of the BIG basket he opened that was full of toys and easter books. He is one lucky baby!
 Checking out the dessert display, as it's being set up.
Two types of cupcakes, multi-colour meringues, and a lemon tort. Not to mention baskets full of chocolate eggs!
 There were so many Easter displays to discover.
 He loves furniture that's his own size. It's funny that babies know immediately that things like that are 'special' for them.
Soren and his favourite cat, Annie. 
 A million toys to pick from, yet somehow the egg carton is the chosen favourite!