Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Summary of Mason's birth (and why I'm terrified to give birth in the future)

Hi everyone. I've been talking to family lately and thinking of the possibility of having another child in the future. I know I want more children, but the thought of giving birth and going through recovery again absolutely terrifies me to the point of tears.

I thought I would post a short summary of my birth with Mason, because I've never posted it before, and explain why I'm afraid to give birth again.

WARNING: If talking about blood, giving birth and anything medically related and gross makes you queasy, stop reading now.

Ok..I've given my warning, so for those who like reading birth stories, here we go.

Ok, to begin with, I had a really easy pregnancy. No morning sickness, no gestational diabetes, low/normal blood pressure the entire time, ect.

I was obsessed with keeping the baby safe, even before he was born. I wouldn't let anyone smoke around me, I exercised whenever I could, counted kicks constantly, ect. My entire pregnancy was filled with googling birth stories, and googling things that could go wrong during pregnancy or birth. I took 3 months of prenatal classes, and thought I was prepared for any possible labor that could happen.

As all mothers know, no labor is the same and its impossible to know what yours will be like until you go through it.

I wrote up a birth plan in prenatal class. I was going to try to go as long as possible with no drugs, then ask for gas or IV meds, then an epidural as a last resort.

So, on the morning of April 1st 2014, I woke up as normal. My back was sore, but there was a major snow storm the night before, so I assumed it was from wading through the snow. I was laying in bed texting Mitch's sister, who told me that she played an April fools joke on their mom and said I was in labor. Literally less than 20 minutes later, I coughed and my water broke in bed. I thought I had peed myself at first, but when I stood up it started coming out in small gushes, so I went into the bathroom to check. Mitch was in the bathtub, and it took me a few minutes to tell him what had happened. I was calm, I wasn't in any pain, but I was kind of anxious about giving birth, since it was still the "unknown" and something I hadn't experienced before.

It wasn't like in the movies where the woman's water pours out onto the floor and everyone panics. I was relaxed. I called the hospital and they told me to come up so they could test the fluid to see if it was really amniotic fluid. I painted my toenails and did my make-up. I got my cousin Amber to drive me because our car was stuck in the snow, and Mitch met me at the hospital after.

They tested the fluid and it was positive for being amniotic fluid. They told me to go home and wait to see if labor started, and if it didn't start in 24 hours they would induce me.

We called my mom and told her, and she got ready to come to Fredericton. We left the hospital and went to Subway, then went home to watch Criminal Minds for a while. I cleaned the house a bit while waiting for mom.

Mom got there, and helped me clean the rest of the house. I was having minor back pain, but nothing to really mention. We decided to go to my prenatal class, which was fun because I was the first one to go into labor. They let me sit on the birthing ball and we watched videos on giving birth.

My back pain was becoming more frequent, and by the time we were having supper at Montana's with Mitch's family after class, we were able to time my contractions. We left Montana's after eating supper and went back to our apartment. My contractions were all in my back, and were about 5 minutes apart.

I labored at home until midnight (mostly on the floor and on the toilet because those were the only places I was comfortable), then mom and Mitch convinced me to go to the hospital. I called labor and delivery, and they told me to come in if I felt like I needed pain meds, so we went up.

The checked me for dilation and I was only 3-4 cms. When she checked me it was extremely painful. It felt like this nurse was elbow deep reaching for my heart or something. It still makes me cringe thinking about it. I asked for an epidural right away. I was still having all back labor and it felt like someone was crushing my spine with a vice grip every 5 minutes. The epidural hurt SO bad and it took him several tries to get it in. It felt like electric shocks in my spine, and when I heard a clicking sound, the doctor told me it was the needle hitting against my back bones (UHH ok..thanks for telling me that..)

To make this long story shorter, the epidural did not work properly. It froze me up too high, which made it so I could not feel my chest or lungs. Basically I couldn't feel myself breathing or coughing, which is kind of terrifying. They turned the epidural off, and tried again an hour or so later. This time it only froze one side of my body. So I was feeling all of the contractions in one side and nothing in the other.

I labored like this for hours. I tried the gas, but I hated it and it didn't work. My blood pressure ended up dropping pretty low, so they had to give me 3 bags of fluids to bring it back up. When I was 10cm dilated, they gave me a new medicine into the epidural, and he told me it would work for 1 hour so I could sleep, then I would have to wake up and push. While I was sleeping, they were also giving me pitocin to make the contractions stronger.

Exactly an hour later, I woke up with the worst contractions yet, and had to start pushing. I cant remember how long it took me to push him out, but I think it was close to an hour. I didn't feel the dreaded "ring of fire" that some moms describe, and the moment he came out, the contractions stopped and I felt so much better.

Aside from the horrible labor experience I had, it's also the recovery that makes me terrified to do it again.

Right after birth, I was able to walk due to my messed up epidural. I was bleeding too much, so they had to do a "vag pack"....that's literally what they called it, a vag pack haha. It's exactly what it sounds like- they packed my vagina with gauze.  Because of this, I had to have my catheter in for 24 hours until they could take the gauze out. For the next 24 hours, all I felt was extreme pressure down there.

I was able to take a shower right after giving birth, which was nice, but also one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, aside from having a room full of people (doctors, nurses, a nursing student, mom and Mitch) watching me give birth. In the shower I had an IV in still (which I also had to keep in for 24 hours) , my catheter, and I was packed full of gauze. I had to carry my pee bag, and the IV into the shower with me by myself, and try to take a shower. I had to get Mitch to help me, which was extremely embarrassing. I know he's my fiance, and he's obviously seen me naked, but there is something different about having someone see a catheter coming out of you, and the weird "after birth" belly in all of its glory.  NO ONE tells you about this when you're pregnant.

I had spent so many months googling giving birth, that I had forgot to google taking care of a newborn. Breastfeeding was impossible because he refused to latch (but that's a story for another post), the nurses acted like I was stupid for not knowing how to calm my screaming newborn, and I could barely move around with everything that was attached to me the first night. It was completely terrifying.

The next day, they came in and removed the gauze, IV and catheter. I felt SO much better until I stood up to go to the bathroom. Instantly once I stood up, blood started pooling around my feet, covering my slippers and leaving a trail behind me on the way to the bathroom. The nurses were nice about it and cleaned it up, but it seriously looked like someone had been stabbed or something. I have never seen that much blood in my life. It was like this every time I stood up, and even worse after the nurses press on your stomach (which they do a lot).

Recovery at home wasn't much easier. I only had stitches on the inside, so I didn't notice them healing, but I bled for a long time. I even passed a clot the size of a plum one day and thought I was dying. Breastfeeding (or trying to) was hell for me and I honestly think it made it harder to bond with Mason. I've already made the decision that next time I'm going to pump and formula feed only.

I ended up getting extreme postpartum anxiety and OCD after his birth, which was also terrifying, and having to go on an anti-depressant for a year after just to function normally. I have also had really bad back issues that I fully believe are from the messed up epidural. Around 2 months postpartum I had an entire 3 days where I couldn't walk and Mason had to stay with his grandmother. OH and the cherry on top of everything was not have ANY bladder control for about 3 months after his birth. Like any. I could be watching TV and all of a sudden be peeing myself with no warning at all, and no urge to pee. This made it extremely difficult to take him for walks, or really go anywhere because I never knew when I was going to pee. Thankfully that is completely back to normal now, but I still have issues with my back sometimes.

So that's it. My birth experience still makes me cry to think about it, and I am completely terrified of going through it again. Of course I will never get another epidural, so hopefully that will save me from a lot of those issues I mentioned above, but you never know what kind of birthing experience you're going to have, and knowing what it COULD be like is what scares me.

Feel free to leave your birth story in the comments below, or link your own blog post about it.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Decorating A Child's Room on a Budget (Mason's new bedroom!)

Hi everyone, so this is my second post about Mason's bedroom makeover :)

I wanted to share some tips on decorating a toddler's/child's room on a budget.

  1. Think of a theme a few months in advance. We knew we wanted to re-decorate Mason's room for Christmas, so I've been researching themes, ideas and decor literally for months. The theme started out as a nautical theme (of course), then switched to camping, then when I couldn't find any camping ideas, it turned into this travel/outdoors theme. 

      2- Once you have a theme, create a Pinterest board and pin everything that catches your eye, or products that you find interesting. This was a really useful tool for me because it helped keep my thoughts organized, and I referred to it often when looking for fun decor ideas. You don't have to buy expensive items that you pin, but it's a nice reference for finding cheaper alternatives.

      3- Don't buy everything at once. This is the biggest way that we budgeted our money. Every pay cheque I would pick up a couple of items for his room, and store it in our spare room until I was ready to decorate.

      4- Scan Kijiji or yard sale sites often for furniture that you can refinish. Mason's dresser was a project that I did last year, and we continue to use it in his new room. It started as an old solid wood dresser with brown paint, and I gave it a fresh coat of white and new hardware (from the dollar store) to give it a completely new look.

     5- Speaking of the dollar store- check it out! You honestly never know what you're going to find there. Also check out Walmart, Target (for my American friends) , ect for any decor that you can use. Also shop local! I have found some amazing deals from local small business owners.  I'm going to post some of the items that I bought for Mason's room, along with where I bought them and how much they were.

This blanket was a gift from one of my mother's co-workers! We used it in Mason's crib and it also happened to coordinate perfectly with his new room. Using item's that you already have is an awesome way to save money. Even if he outgrows using it as a blanket, it looks great folded over the back of the bed.

 This toy box was made by a local mom and her husband! We ordered it last Christmas as a gift for Mason, and we are still in love with it. She was just starting her business and only charged $30 at the time! Looking around for local companies that are just starting out, or looking to make some extra money for the holiday's is a great way to save money on decor, and support local businesses.

I LOVE these white buckets from the Dollarama. We keep 90% of Mason's clothes in his closet, and these buckets are perfect for putting clothes away quickly. One is for pants, and one is for PJs. I roll the clothes so they fit neatly, and that's it :). They only cost about $1-$3 each.

Another bucket that I love. This one is from Walmart and was around $6. We use it as Mason's clothes hamper. I love it because no matter how full it is, the handles close together so I can carry it with one hand.

This "M" painting was created by Mason himself. Kids love seeing their own art displayed. I plan on framing some of his other projects and swapping them out every so often for new work. You can buy canvases and paint at the Dollarama, and let them go crazy with it. I taped off the "M" in this case and he finger painted around it.

 This globe ball and laminated map were bought at the Dollarama! I was so excited to find the map in the office supply section. I think its meant to be for teachers to use in their classrooms, but it was the perfect size to go over his dresser. The map was $3 and the ball was $1! :)

This mat is a Giant Tiger purchase. It's fun and it was less than $10. You can find some pretty decent things there if you look. I actually love their home decor section because everything is affordable and they seem to keep up with current trends. This mat was a perfect addition to the entrance of his play

I love this fun stool/cushion. Mason loves climbing up on it, and it went nicely with the other items in his room. I actually bought this from a local yard sale site! A mom was using it in her kids play room and they did not use it, so she sold it for $10! It was clean and barely used, and such a good deal.

This little sign and lamp were last minute additions to his dresser. I love that the light wood matches the wood in his bed. The sign was $7 and the lamp was $12 :)

This little tree is another Dollarama purchase. It was $3 and I bought 2 with intentions to use them as Christmas decor around the house. Mason saw 1 and loved it, so I thought it would be a perfect little addition to his room. The "M" Mason letter was a DIY that I did when he was a baby. I just used stickers to create his name, painted it black, then peeled the stickers off :)

The play tent! My favorite feature of his room, and another local purchase! I had the wooden frame custom made by the local company "Phoenix Timber".  I sent her a photo of what I was looking for, and she emailed me back saying they would love to do it! The frame was only $40, and I made the fabric part from a new flannel sheet that I had at home. The tent is collapsible and can easily be folded up if we ever need more floor space to play.  

The bed! This was the only real splurge, and it was a gift from my dad and step-mom for Christmas. It's from Leon's, and they delivered it and set it up for us, which was awesome. The bedding is an $18 comforter from Walmart. It's hard to tell from the photo, but its a grey and white pattern. The sheets were just a $20 sheet set from Walmart. I searched for months for the perfect bedding set and couldn't find exactly what I wanted, so we bought this for now, and it worked out well with the rest of the room.

The art work! The "Wanderlust" picture and the one hanging over his bed are both from Winners and were only $12.99 each. I thought they went well with the travel theme. The other paintings were actually done by my cousin Amber for my baby shower when I was pregnant! I love them and they still go with the rest of the room, so I wanted them displayed as well. You can paint your own paintings to go with whatever room theme you choose to save money on buying art. 

Mason loves his blocks, so I wanted to find a nice bag to put them in, rather than have them loose in the toy box. I actually ended up using the bag that the sheets came in for his play tent. Its the same fabric as his tent, and looks cute sitting beside it.

Paint!! I knew I wanted a neutral color that he can grow with. Neutral paint makes it easy to change decor whenever he wants a new theme. My friend Emily actually had a spare can of paint from a project that she did, and sold it to me for $20! If you check Kijiji, you can usually find other people doing the same with left over paint. You can also check stores for "mis tints" or paint that someone requested but didn't buy. The color that I used is a CIL paint called "West Coast Grey".

I bought all of my painting supplies at the Dollarama. Tip: if you do this, make sure you buy an extra roller. I ended up having to duct tape mine half way through when it snapped in half haha. 

And just a bonus photo of the top of his dresser because I love it so much! lol

So, that's it! How I turned Mason's old room into an awesome "big boy" room on a budget. Feel free to leave a comment below with any tips of your own on decorating on a budget!:)


Friday, December 18, 2015

Why I Chose a Travel/Adventure theme for Mason's room

Hi everyone! I've been wanting to re-do Mason's room for a while, and I finally did it yesterday! It only took me 1 day to complete, and it's exactly what I imagined it to be.

First, let me explain why we wanted to re-do his room. In February, we moved into a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhouse. Our townhouses get a budget each year for renovations, paint, ect. We ended up getting new flooring this year for our hallway and stairs, which was awesome.

The previous tenants of our house had painted what is now Mason's room in a blue color with a dragon border, and since we do all the work ourselves, it was not painted over when they left. I was going to wait to get the paint budget, but I really wanted to get rid of that border and patchy blue walls. Every time I walked into his room, I felt like it wasn't his, and I'm sure the dragon border was fine for the previous tenant, but its not our style and it's not something that Mason is into, so it had to go.


Okay, so how to choose a theme? I unfortunately saw a not so nice status on Facebook earlier this week that I'm sure was directed at me. If it was not specifically directed at me, it still has to do with this exact situation, so I feel the need to write this. I still have a screen shot of it, but I won't be so rude as to post it. I have been SO excited to re-do Mason's room that I've been posing photos of some of the decor and bedding that I bought. Shortly after I posted a photo of some bedding and wall hangings, someone posted that they do not know why parent's are re-doing their toddler's rooms in boring colors and with boring bedding, in a theme that doesn't even have any of their favorite characters. They then said that if they were a kid, they would be SO disappointed, and what a LAME Christmas. They also added that it was not for the child, but as a way for the mother to show off. I'm not sure if the person who wrote that is reading this, but I just wanted to say this

1- He's only 20 months old. He barely watches TV at all- not even 1 show per day. Sometimes in the evening we will watch movies together, but he doesn't have a favorite show or favorite characters. Also, if he did have a favorite show, I'm not going to plaster characters all over the walls when he will just change his mind anyway. When he is older (you know, old enough to talk and tell me what he wants) I will absolutely decorate his room any way he wants, but at this age we wanted something more neutral that he can grow with.

2- We aren't fans of wearing characters on our clothes either (gasp) because I do not see the point in revolving his life around shows he does not watch or will get bored of soon. When I was growing up, we never had bedrooms based on TV shows and my mom always made sure we had the most awesome rooms. He has toys that are based on some TV shows (Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse, ect) because he enjoys it now. Toys are a lot easier to swap and change than a whole room is when he does get bored of it. I absolutely support other parent's decorating their toddler's rooms however they decide to, whether it be with characters or anything else, so I don't understand why anyone would care how we choose to decorate Mason's room.

3- It was important to me that he had a room that encouraged play and learning. He has lots of toys, books and interesting things to look at. It is not a boring room at all. I wanted him to walk into his room and feel a sense of calm and relaxation, which is why I was SO happy to get this paint color from a friend of mine. It's the most perfect calming grey color (I'll talk more about it in my next post).

4- Mason loves being outdoors, and going on adventures. He loves going camping, being at the ocean, going for walks, playing outside, and just being a little adventurer. I definitely wanted to bring a sense of travel and adventure into his room. When I was pregnant with him, I always used to say that I wanted to give him a life of love and adventure (hence the name of my blog). Travel and being outdoors is so important to me, and I wanted to bring a little piece of that into his bedroom. Since he loves camping so much, the original theme of the room was just camping and the outdoors, but after finding so many cute travel related items, I decided to incorporate those too. I still have a couple of camping related items left to order that go along with his play tent. Again, there is nothing boring about his room.

5- My last point is probably the most important to me. I am not re-decorating my son's room to "show off" or get attention in any way. I would not spend hours and hours painting by myself (with a shoulder injury that causes my shoulder to dislocate when my arm is stretched out), moving furniture around, standing on chairs to hang pictures and tape the ceiling. I would not spend all of this time, effort and money just to post a photo to "show off". That is absolutely ridiculous, and I don't know any parent that would do that. I re-did his room because it needed to be done, I wanted to do that for him, and the look of excitement on his face when he saw it, and him running around saying "whoa!" was exactly what I was hoping for.

He loves his new room, and that makes me SO happy to know that I could create a beautiful, functional room that he can enjoy.

Also, there are no "lame" Christmases at our house. His bedroom was not his only gift (although any child should be happy to have their room re-done). He still has a lot of fun toys, games and new clothes to open from us, as well as everything the grandparents are getting him.

For anyone actually interested in hearing about the process of re-doing it, and getting some tips on decorating on a budget, that will all be in my next post :)


Monday, November 16, 2015

The holidays are on the way!

Good morning and "happy" Monday!

I had the weekend off and spent most of it cleaning, sorting and decorating. We've lived in our townhouse since last February and it's never fully felt like home, but decorating for the holidays makes it much more cozy.

I was debating on if we should even put a tree up this year because we always go home for the holiday's anyway. We sold our old Christmas tree when we moved so we wouldn't have to take it with us, and I was considering getting a real tree, but we ended up getting another artificial. I love this one much more than our old tree. It literally took me 5 minutes to set it up, and it's pre-lit so I didn't have to string lights, which is my least favorite part.

This photo is from before I put the decorations on. I loved decorating the tree this year because of all the special ornaments we have. I found FOUR baby's first Christmas ornaments, all of our painted ornaments from clay café, and some that I kept from my mom's house.

Our dining room overlooks the living room through an iron gate, so you can see our Christmas tree from the dining room and kitchen. We've also got our stocking hanging from the gate. I love the layout of this area so much, and I'll post more pictures of our other decorations soon, with some tips on how to safely decorate with a toddler in the house.

Mason was SO excited to see the tree. He ran into the room and said "what's that?". I told him it was the Christmas Tree, and he ran around the room going "whoa whoa whoa!" That blurry picture is the only one I could catch of him.

I've seen a post circulating on social media about how having kids at Christmas is even better than being a kid at Christmas, and it's SO true. I have always loved Christmas, but having Mason takes it to a whole new level. It's like once you become an adult, you kind of forget about all of the wonder, joy and excitement that the holiday's bring. Being able to share Christmas with Mason and seeing his excitement over the smallest things reminds me of how magical this time of year really is.

I also just wanted to add, that I have a lot of friend's who are currently trying to conceive their first (or even second) child, and that the holiday's can be a reminder of what they do not have yet. If any of those friend's are reading this, I just wanted to say that first, I hope posts like the one mentioned above do not hurt you. I do think of you all before posting anything like that, and I know you'll get your wish someday, no matter how it happens. I love and support you all <3


Friday, November 6, 2015

Why are we fighting about car seat safety?

We've all been there. In the middle of a raging mommy war on social media, arguing our points to the death. I've been known to accidently cause some Facebook drama over my opinions and beliefs, and since becoming a mom, this seems to happen more often than ever before.

I won't argue about co-sleeping, or attachment parenting. I will never judge your choice to sleep train, or breastfeed. You choosing to baby wear, and me choosing my stroller will not make me put my mommy boxing gloves on.

However, one thing that I can't understand is why mommy wars happen over our kids safety. I've basically stopped giving my opinions to people, because everyone gets SO offended when you tell them they're doing something wrong or potentially unsafe.

Why? Why would that upset someone? If I was doing something unsafe and had absolutely no idea, I would be thankful for someone pointing me in the right direction. Babies and young children can not speak for themselves and their own safety, so its completely up to us to keep them safe.

 A lot of you already know that I am very adamant about car seat safety. After some previous mom wars, I've decided to choose my battles very carefully when it comes to this. Arguing about car seat safety seems silly to me, kind of like arguing about whether or not we should wear a seat belt in the car.

The first post that I've stepped down from is the "No Rear Facing Before 2" suggestion. I am COMPLETELY for this and absolutely will not be forward facing Mason before he turns 2. He is still within the limits of his seat and quite comfortable rear facing. I'll post some car seat stats below. The reason I'm standing down from this one is because it's a battle no one can win. There are 2 very clear sides to this battle- Those who rear face at 1, and those who wait until 2 and above. I've tried many times to offer friendly tips and suggestions when it comes to extended rear facing, but the forward facer's usually don't budge.

To be clear, I don't judge any of you who chose to forward face at 1. We are all doing our best to be the best parents possible, and do the best things for our kids. To be completely honest, before I got pregnant I had no idea what proper car seat safety was. I didn't even like kids that much if I'm being completely honest. I liked my friends kids because they were a part of them, but other than that I didn't really care for them. I did want my own, but other people's kids were sticky little noisy creatures. Fast forward to the mommy version of me, I LOVE kids. They are all so precious and vulnerable, and that's why alarm bells go off in my head when I see them in an unsafe situation.

Currently where I live, you are legally allowed to forward face at 1, as long as the child meets certain criteria. I don't agree with that, but it is what it is, and it's up to parents to educate themselves on best practice. I honestly wonder how many internal decapitations have to happen before people wake up and realize how beneficial it is to rear face, but trying to convince someone of something they don't fully understand or believe in is usually a lost cause.

Also, rear facing has not always been easy for me. I've spend the past 18 months singing Jingle Bells on repeat when we're in the car because he doesn't like being back there alone, and this is the only song that will calm him. I cant wait until he is old enough to SAFELY forward face. I will be very happy to make that transition when the time comes.

What REALLY gets me going is when people do something that is clearly illegal and completely unsafe, and don't care. For example: A few months ago I saw someone post a filthy car seat for sale on a local yard sale site. It was covered in dirt and stains, and she listed it as "In Excellent Condition". She refused to post the manufacturer date, so I politely asked her to do so, as you aren't supposed to sell a seat without listing the manufacturer date and expiry date. It turns out, her seat was manufactured before the current safety standards came into effect, and was not safe to sell. You aren't even supposed to give away a seat that doesn't meet the current safety standards that came into effect in January 2012. Some seats do meet the new requirements, however you need to contact the manufacturer to find out if they do.

After talking to this woman for a few minutes, I discovered that the seat had also expired. She got extremely angry that I was trying to "ruin her sale" and argued with me about how it doesn't matter what the safety standards are, it was safe to use because she didn't see anything physically wrong with it. It's this ignorance and refusal to educate herself that frustrated me. Why in the world would anyone put someone else's child in danger for a quick $50?

Another thing that parents seem to get defensive about it 5 point harness vs booster seat. I've seen pictures of children who are way too small for a booster, way too small to sit still and upright in their seat, and yet their parents think they're ready for a booster and get defensive if you suggest otherwise. Why get defensive? Your kid is literally flopping around in a seat that's not right, and has a twisted seat belt crossing their vital organs, but I'm wrong for politely bringing it to your attention.

I've maybe messaged moms a total of 5 times about these things, so it's not like I'm some kid of car seat crusader out to get anyone who isn't following best practice. I do it because I would feel horrible if I noticed an unsafe child but didn't say anything and then something horrible happened.

Why does it always have to be a fight? Why can't moms educate each other and come together for the safety of their children? If you don't agree with me, politely decline my advice, don't retaliate with a heated argument about how we didn't die when our parents forward faced us early (although many other babies and toddlers did- we were lucky).

For anyone would like to educate themselves further on car seat safety, here are some facts:

  • Parents can reduce the risk of DEATH and INJURY by using the proper car seat for their child's size and using it correctly. I don't know about you guys, but reducing those risks sounds pretty good to me.
  • Correct car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants by 71%  and to toddlers (aged 1–4 years) by 54% in passenger vehicles.
  • Research has shown rear facing to be 500% safer up to 2 years of age. That's a lot! If your seat limits do not allow you to rear face that long, there are affordable seats on the market that will, such as the Evenflo Sureride. PS: It usually goes on sale at Black Friday ;)
  • The use of puffy jackets and snow suits in the car seat reduces your child's safety significantly. Put them in with their snow suit on, then take them out and put them back in with regular clothes on. See how loose the straps are? All of that space is space your child can fly out of during an accident. Car seat ponchos are awesome and I will be posting a tutorial on the one I made later in the month :)
  • Get rid of the projectiles in the car! Full grown adults have died from their laptop hitting them in the head during an accident. Even items such as a portable DVD player, sun shade or hard book can become a deadly force during an accident.
  • Chest clip. CHEST clip. Not Belly clip. Not crotch clip. It belongs at armpit level. Why? Because in an accident it needs to be sitting against bone, not vital organs. You don't want your child's organs being stopped by the force of a chest clip. That equals internal bleeding and organ damage.

You can find SO much more info by checking out sites like Car Seats for the Littles, and The Car Seat Lady.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Best Shower

So, I just had the best shower ever. I'm talking Herbal Essences commercial good. Hot water, coconut body scrub and my shower radio playing that new country station that I'm secretly obsessed with. Why was it so awesome? Because I had 20 damn minutes to myself without someone needing something from me. To be fair, Mason is sleeping and Mitch is netflixing, so they're good.

I love my family, but we all need time to ourselves every now and then. This is something I'm recently embracing, as I wasn't taking care of myself for a long time. 

..ok, honestly I was in full hobo mode for a while. There have been times where I've gone days without washing my hair because...ain't nobody got time for that when you have a kid..right?


Being a parent is such a huge change from my former life that I didn't know how to adjust to the new me. It sometimes felt like being a mom was all or nothing. If I didn't have time to do my full hair and makeup routine, I would just not do any of it.

 Yes, I've gone to work, and possibly to the mall several times without makeup on and my unwashed hair in a side ponytail- praying that I wouldn't run in to any of my Facebook people, who I've never seen in real life but would totally recognize them from their selfies friends. 

I've thrown sweaters on over spit-up covered t-shirts, scrubbed yogurt off my pants because I didn't want to change them, and I've worn sneakers without socks because...well I hate socks and can never find any when I need them. 

This stops now- it needs to stop now before I find myself walking around Walmart in pj pants and a mom bun ( ok, I love the mom bun...we'll call it an inspired top knot.) 

And no judging if any of you rock the pj pants- it's just something I promised myself I would never do. 

Let me take you back in time. We're hopping in the DeLorean and going back
to 2013. I'm wearing 6 inch heels and practicing walking down the hall of our apartment to my favourite T-Swift songs. I had just entered to compete in a beauty pageant and was SO determined to be the best version of myself that I could be. I was watching Miss Congenialty at least once a day, and was excited for my chance to finally be somebody. Somebody that people noticed and looked up to. I was just slightly above my lowest weight ever, and feeling pretty optimistic about the future and about myself. I can honestly say that I loved myself.

Back then I could spend literally an entire day getting ready for the day. On a day off I would wake up, shower, paint my nails while my hair air dried all morning. Make myself breakfast while wearing a face mask. Work out, dance around like a fool, spend an hour casually doing my makeup, and straightening my hair. I wouldn't go ANYWHERE without fake eyelashes on- not even a convenience store. Any time I forgot to restock my eyelash stash was a bad day because I was extremely self conscious about going out without them. 

Shortly after I enrolled in the pageant, I found out I was pregnant. Side note- never take a pregnancy test at work for "peace of mind"- you'll end up crying in the bathroom stall by yourself, which is never fun.) 

I traded my heels for sneakers, and threw myself into this amazing mommy world. I was able to keep up with my usual routine for a while, but somewhere along the way I morphed into this iced cap addicted mombie who made any excuse not to take care of herself. 

When I enrolled in that pageant, I wanted to be somebody for people to look up to and admire. I'm realizing now that the most important person who admires me, calls me mom (or mamamama at the moment.) 

And so I'm starting to make time again for amazing showers, and for straightening my hair. I'm dancing around like a fool again, and showing my toddler what it means to be healthy. Because at the end of the day, we need to be the best version of ourselves to be the best moms for our kids. 

And if any of you see me at walmart in pajama pants, please, no close ups ;)


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Thanksgiving at Nan's

Here are some photos from our Thanksgiving weekend at home. We had dinner with Mitch's family on Sunday night, and then had another dinner at my Nan's house on Monday.

Mason also got his first haircut on Monday before dinner, and we took some pictures at the vegetable market.

                               My nan's fireplace! She always decorates it for every holiday.
                                                           Mason walking with daddy.
                               Nan's favorite green glasses that she uses for every holiday

Friday, October 9, 2015

Cold Fall Mornings

 Well, the cold Fall mornings are officially here, reminding us that Winter is coming. I've been sorting through Mason's clothes a lot lately, deciding what to keep and what to pack away. This hat is from last year, and I'm SO happy it still fits. I'll be posting more after Thanksgiving this weekend :)


Monday, October 5, 2015

Our relaxing weekend

Happy Monday!...well, technically Monday is almost over, but oh well.

We had such a laid back relaxing weekend, and it was so needed. On Saturday morning I worked my usual 3 hours of overtime, then came home and cooked a big breakfast for the boys and I. 

Mason had spent all morning playing with an empty milk jug (despite his many toys), so I wanted to take him somewhere fun and different. We all got ready and went to family fun day at our local family resource centre. Mason was so uninterested in almost everything there. The main attraction for the toddler area was a giant ball pit, which made him cry every time I took him over to it. We decided to leave early and take a drive in our new car. We drove without knowing where we were planning to go, and ended up on the old highway towards Woodstock. It was a perfect fall drive along the river, with the sun shining and the colourful fall foliage. We drove about 45 minutes before we turned around and went back home. Mason slept most of the way, which gave us a chance to relax and really enjoy each other's company. 

At home that evening, I made us all baked chicken for supper, and we watched movies before bedtime. 

Sunday morning was a repeat of the day before. I did my 3 hours of OT and came home to get breakfast ready for the boys. Mason had his favourite thing ever- a whole wheat bagel with light cream cheese, and stayed in bed with his daddy while I tidied up the house. 

Sunday evening brought a much needed Starbucks date with my 2 best friends from college. No matter how long it's been since we'd seen each other, nothing ever changes with us, and I love that. We sat with our drinks and gossiped about the latest drama in our lives, and reminisced about the good old days when we had no cares or worries. I can't even remember what it feels like to be carefree with no stress or responsibility. Although I love my life now, we truly took those days for granted, which I was reminded of this morning when I had to get up for work. 


Monday, September 21, 2015

Family Photos

In June we had family photos taken in my hometown by photographer Heather Wilkinson. I'll link her website below.


We were given a gift card for Mason's 1st birthday, and were really excited at the chance to get our photos taken by her. She did my high school grad photos in 2006 (almost 10 years ago-what!?), and everyone really loves her work. She was amazing to work with, and so good with Mason.

I was super excited to receive this package in the mail! It arrived 1 day after she said she would mail it, which was amazing.

I cant wait to frame them!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

5 reasons I wont be a stay at home mom

Hey everyone, happy Sunday:)

I just wanted to talk about something that I've been asked a lot lately by different people. Some of you may have seen on Facebook that I've been working some extra hours. There's no specific reason behind it, other than general debts and just trying to build up my paycheques for Christmas and other events. 

I've been asked by other parents, and some friends why I don't just become a stay at home mom. Mason's daycare costs more than our rent, and it's currently the biggest expense we deal with every month. Some people assume that having me stay home would help us save money by getting rid of that expense. 

Here are 5 reasons why I will not become a stay at home mom (anytime soon):

1- I love Mason's daycare. I think it's really important for him to have that social interaction with kids his own age. I find great comfort in knowing that he's having fun all day and learning lots of new things. 

2- I actually like where I work. The benefits are amazing compared to other jobs, the staff is friendly, and there are lots of opportunities to make more money through overtime or other positions in the company. I actually don't mind working overtime there because it's such a great environment to work in. I've kind of made it a game for myself to see how many extra hours I can do per week. 

3- We do need the extra income that I bring in from working. I honestly don't understand how people are surviving on minimum wage jobs in this city. We both work full time and make above minimum wage, and I still wouldn't say we are "comfortable" financially. I read an article recently about how people my age just expect success to fall into our laps without working for it. Something about that article stayed with me, and I've decided to work harder now to make a better future for us later. 

4- I'm in school. I'm taking a course through correspondence. The only real time I have to work on school work is when Mason is at daycare, or sleeping. Like I've mentioned in a previous post, I still have every day tasks to do when I get home every night, so it's hard sometimes to find the time to make school work. 

5- Savings and paying off debt! If I didn't work, there would be no way we could start building a savings account. There have been far too many times where we have needed emergency money and not had it (thank you to our parents who have helped out more than once!). I have an RRSP through work, which is awesome because I probably wouldn't have went and got one on my own, but we don't have a real savings account. I've been talking to friends about the best way to go about this, and I think we're going to just have a certain amount of our pay go directly into savings. That way I won't see it and be tempted to spend. If we saved $200/mo every month, we would have $10 000 by the time I'm 30. 

So, that's it. Staying home is great and works for so many familes, but it's not for me :) 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Good morning, Fall

Fall mornings are my favorite. Even if we're having a stressful morning when nothing is going right, just stepping outside makes everything better.

Every morning, Mason walks down the front steps on his own, and walks with me to the car. This morning, he decided to play a game of hide and seek and hid at the front of the SUV, peeking around the corner at me and smiling.

He carried his bottle hands free today (still trying to wean him off the bottle), and was in a happy little mood, which made me happy too.

Our front step got a little extra sunshine from these yellow flowers this week, and I'm planning on adding some small pumpkins to the steps soon. Sobey's has their pumpkins out now!

Here are a couple of pictures from our morning:

PS: I love his hoodie, its from Baby Gap.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

STOP the car! There's something I can paint over there...

My name is Dedreanna Dionne, and I'm addicted to painting furniture. I'm on a mission to make our house more beautiful every day. Sometimes I just browse Kijiji for fun looking for something I can make my own. Here is a project I actually did a couple of months ago.

Note to self (and everyone else)- Don't spray paint inside. I swear I thought the fumes were going to finish me. I painted this project by an open door, and it was still way too intense for indoor breathing lol. Side note- Mason was not around these fumes.

Anyway, here is the finished product. We are currently using it as a TV stand in our bedroom, We used to have a black armoire that we were using, but this is much better,and I love how light and fresh it looks with the white paint.

This was a super easy project. All I did was remove the drawers, lightly sand the frame, and spray paint it. I did not use a primer or sealant because it's just going to be used for our TV.

This entire project cost less than $20. I bought the dresser on Kijiji for $10, and then bought a couple cans of paint.

My next project will be painting my coffee stand in the kitchen. I'm also painting it white to bring some light into the room.




Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday's are for strolling

Here are some photos of our walk today. I'm posting more about our walk on my health blog: www.prettymotivatedlife.blogspot.ca.


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