0

Six-Month Vaccine Day – How Sweet Pea avoided the needle and got a ride in an ambulance.

sweetpea_paramedicsSome of you might have remembered this post about Sweet Pea’s two-month vaccine day, the truck driver hitting our car, the projectile bagel and the police ending up at my doorstep…

Well…

Just when I thought nothing could top two-month vaccine day, enter six-month vaccine day! We were in the car driving to our local clinic when BAM, an SUV speeding down the alleyway sideswiped our car. (Who drives that fast down an alley? – people in our neighborhood apparently!) The front passenger wheel well of our car was completely smashed in.

Thankfully both Sweet Pea and I were safe in the back. (He was sleeping in his car seat and didn’t even awaken when we were hit.) Adamant about not missing the vaccine appointment, I un-clicked Sweet Pea’s bucket seat from the car and took him around the corner into the clinic leaving my husband to deal with the insurance, police and our “speedy” neighbour.

Sweet Pea was fast asleep in his car seat when the firemen arrived. Next came the police, and then the paramedics. The people in the clinic’s waiting room must have been wondering what the hell was going on.

The Paramedics checked Sweet Pea’s vital signs and made sure all was fine. But per protocol they had to suggest we take him to the local children’s hospital to be checked and cleared by a doctor.

I’m not one to take any chances so we agreed to have them drive him there in the Ambulance. Sweet Pea was definitely going to miss his vaccine appointment!

To get Sweet Pea to the hospital as soon as possible, the paramedics had to first clear my husband and myself. They checked my husband; he signed a personal release and then went off with the police to deal with the tow truck driver and insurance people.

When it came time for them to check my vital signs, my blood pressure read very low. I’ve always had low blood pressure (I’m borderline anemic and had to be put on iron pills while I was pregnant) so I informed the paramedics that the low reading was “normal” for me.

Still the paramedics, who were clearly fresh out of school and looked more like a pair of teenagers than first responders, insisted on doing everything by the book. They called their boss to discuss my “case”.

This is where the situation started to get absurd…

“My Boss wants to know if you’re on your period?” the young paramedic asked me.

I informed him that I haven’t had my period since Sweet Pea was born 6 months ago.

He looked very perplexed and then returned to the phone call with his boss.

Sweet Pea lay on the clinic bed chewing the blood pressure monitor that was still wrapped around his leg and waiting for his ride in the ambulance.

Moments later the paramedic came bursting into the room again. “My boss says you need to go to the hospital right away and have your abdomen x-rayed!” he told me.

“What!?” I thought – these men are clearly not aware of the fact that most women (especially those who are breastfeeding) don’t get their periods for several months after giving birth. It’s a hormonal thing.

I had to call in the public health nurse who worked at the clinic to explain to the paramedics that me not having my period was completely normal.

After another half hour of discussing my monthly cycle with the two green paramedics and an old man on the phone, I was finally cleared to accompany my son to the children’s hospital.

Off we went. It was Sweet Pea and my first ride in an Ambulance. (Hopefully our last!)

A couple hours later, Sweet Pea was cleared by the doctor. He avoided the needle that day and, thanks to the insurance company, got a new car seat to boot.

0

Dreaming of Summer Salad

photo 3 copy 2

Mango, Cilantro, Lime Juice & Corn – the tastes of summer!

Cooped-up inside with Sweet Pea as the – 29 degree celsius winds howl outside, I’d give anything for summer. Here is a simple salad recipe to give you a taste of warmer days. It’s also pretty healthy – so a great way to prep your summer-time bikini bod!

Dreaming of Summer Salad

Ingredients:
1 Bunch of cilantro washed and chopped
1 Mango diced
1 Small can of corn, drained
1 Red pepper diced
1 Small red onion finely chopped
¼ Cup olive oil
3+ Tbsp lime juice
1+ Tbsp rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

Toss all the ingredients in a bowl.

Adjust seasoning to taste.

Eat while wearing sunglasses and California Dreamin’

1

Savoury Korean Pancakes (Pa Jun)

photo 4-1
These scallion pancakes are a great twist to the traditional sweet breakfast food. They make a great brunch dish and can be served up with salad for lunch.

Ingredients:

2 Cups flour

2 Eggs, beaten

1.5 Cups water

1 Bunch of scallions, quartered and cut into 2-3 inch lengths

½ Cup corn

½ Cup frozen peas, thawed in boiling water

¼ Cup grated carrots (water squeezed out)

1 Cup cooked shrimp, finely chopped (optional)

1 tsp salt

Oil for cooking

Dipping Sauce:

1/3 Cup soy sauce

1/3 Cup rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp chili pepper flakes

1 Tbsp scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:

1) Combine all ingredients together in large bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes. Check consistency before cooking – batter should be a little bit runnier than regular pancake batter, so that the Pa Jun cooks quickly and evenly.

2) Heat frying pan over medium heat and coat with a thin layer of oil.

photo 1-33) Spoon batter into pan to create individual pancakes. (You can also pour batter to fill entire pan in a thin layer and then cut giant pancake into wedges)

4) Cook until set and golden brown on bottom.

5) Turn over to finish cooking other side 1-2 more minutes, adding more oil if needed.

6) Combine all dipping sauce ingredients and serve with pancakes.

0

12 days of Newborn Christmas (or how to avoid useless Christmas presents for Baby)

Sweet Pea is 4 months today so I thought I’d make a list of the newborn essentials that helped me make it through the first hairy three months. As it’s the holiday season season…why not make it a 12-days of newborn Christmas list!

I’d suggest any new parents use this as a baby Christmas wish list so you don’t get stuck with 20 “baby’s first Christmas” onesies this holiday season.

Top 12 New Born Must Haves:

1)stroller Baby Jogger Mini City GT Stroller

Ok – your little one would have to be one extra good kid to merit a stoller as a Christmas gift from Santa…but if you’ve got any Santa’s in your life with extra deep pockets this year, I’d definitely recommend this stroller. I live in the city and on the second floor of a triplex so this stroller is perfect for my needs:

  • It folds up super compact like a lawn chair (as I don’t have a garage to keep a giant stroller in, the stroller folds small enough for me to keep it at the bottom of my stairs)
  • Folding action is a one-shot-deal. All you do is pull on a handle and the entire stroller folds in two.
  • It only weighs 16 pounds – so if I do need to carry it up the stairs I won’t break my back doing so.
  • It lays almost completely flat and can hold up to 65 lbs. This means I can avoid having to buy three-four separate strollers (i.e. one for newborn with a bassinette, a snap and go style that the car seat clicks into, one for infant size, and an umbrella style stroller.) My stroller should last me until well beyond the time Sweet Pea should be out of a stroller for good.
  • The GT model had bigger tires than the regular City Mini stroller – so it can work as a winter weather stroller (not for a giant snowstorm…but the tires can handle everyday snow.) I’ve also taken it on vacation to the beach…so the tires also work well on sand.
  • You can buy adaptors so your car seat can snap right onto the stroller – great for running errands with the car (stroller fits easily into the trunk of my midsize car.)

sponge 2) Bathing sponge

This is the perfect stocking stuffer for any new parents or newborn in your life. The sponge takes so much of the anxiety out of bathing a newborn because they literally stick to the sponge…no slippery child falling into the water – bath time can be a relaxing and enjoyable time with this amazing sponge.

We initially used it lying flat on our counter for the first sponge baths. We then used it in the infant bathtub up against the reclined seat so Sweat Pea would stay put and comfortable during the bath. This sponge has been a real lifesaver!

bathtub3) Bathtub that fits in kitchen sink

Some people may be squeamish about having their baby bathed in the same place food is served…but not me. (After all soap was invented to clean things no?? Just wash your kitchen sink after the baby’s had its bath then everyone is clean.)

I personally love having the baby’s bathtub at counter height because I don’t have to awkwardly bend down to bathe my child. I can have good eye contact with Sweat Pea as he soaks in the tub so bath time becomes a nice bonding experience where we can take our time and I don’t have a back ache by the end. Plus with the counter right beside, it is easy to lift the baby out of the tub and transfer him to a towel laid out on the counter.

hydrasense4) Hydrasense nasal aspirator starter Kit

Inevitably your baby will get a cold (or two) in their first couple months. It is so hearbreaking to see your little one snuffed up and unable to breathe through his nose. Sweet Pea caught a little cold before we were to take him on a big trip and this nasal aspirator worked wonders for him. At first it seems rather gross (sucking snot out of your child’s now via a tube) but rest assured there is a filter and nothing yucky will every reach your lips. I also liked how the kit can with mini-vials of saline solution – perfect for loosening everything up…and also small enough for airplane travel!

aquarium5) FP aquarium mobile 

After nursing, this was by far the most effective thing at getting Sweet Pea to go down for naps in the beginning. I don’t know about other babies, but for the first couple of months our little one would always sleep with his head to the side, rendering our crib mobile virtually useless!

The fisher price aquarium was a lifesaver. It hooks onto the side of the crib – in the baby’s eye line, plays calming music or sounds, and also has a bubble light show that mesmerized our Sweet Pea and lulled him to sleep. My only criticism of this is that it needed so many batteries (and battery changes) – why can’t they have it plug in?…and the light/music show wouldn’t always last long enough for Sweet Pea to be fully lulled to sleep. Thankfully the newer model has a remote control to fix this issue.

yellowduck16) Wubbanub

Soother haters beware, the next item on my list is just that. But a Wubbanub isn’t your ordinary soother. It’s a soother with a stuffed animal attached to the end. The animal is specially weighted to help keep the soother in Sweet Pea’s mouth when he’s trying to settle for a nap…and now that he’s a bit bigger, he can even hold onto the stuffed animal for comfort. This too was a lifesaver for those times when your baby is just about to go to sleep… and then the pacifier falls out of his mouth and all hell breaks loose! The Wubbanub can be cleaned in the laundry and the tip can be sterilized by dipping it into boiling water. The stuffed animal also helps prevent the soother tip from coming into contact with the ground if it is dropped – an added bonus. It doesn’t work all the time but is a lot easier than standing over your baby with your finger holding the soother in for hours.

swing 7) Infant Swing

I’m not sure I could have gotten through the first months with Sweet Pea were it not for his baby swing. When he was really small, he hated it but by around 4 weeks, the swing was his new best friend. It would help calm the baby enough for us to make the transfer to the bassinette or crib with little to no fussing from him. On extra fussy days, we also let him take a nap in the swing – but I don’t recommend this if you can avoid it. The swing is also useful if you just need to put the baby down for a couple of minutes to regain use of both arms (i.e. to eat something, or get dressed!)

Swings can be pricey. Ours was a hand-me-down so I can’t complain. I’d recommend having your little one try out other people’s swings before buying (often the cheapest swing is the one baby likes best)…If you’re comfortable with it, the best suggestion would be to buy one second hand. (after all that is what washable liners are for).

bouncer8) Interactive Bouncer Chair

I love how these chairs are interactive (not just passive like the swing) – they teach the baby action-reaction as the baby’s hand or feet motions trigger lights, sounds and music. Sweet Pea had hours of entertainment in these bouncy chairs. Plus they are relatively compact enough to fit in you car if you’re visiting friends or relatives and need a place to keep the baby happy and entertained.

We loved the bouncy chair so much that we bought a second hand one when visiting relatives down in Florida for two weeks. The chair also doubled as a great poolside lounger for Sweet Pea. Secondhand it only set us back 25$ (they can sell for upwards of 70$ brand new) and by the end of our stay we sold it back to the used baby store for 12.50$. The chair was the best 12.50$ I ever spent!

By the way, my new favourite used baby store is Once Upon a Child They have locations all over North America and keep on top of the recalled item list – so you can feel secure what you are buying is safe. It’s a great place to pick up inexpensive essentials for the home…or items you can’t travel with for cheap. After all babies outgrow all their “baby contraptions” so quickly second hand items are often just like new. As long as you clean and disinfect the item there is no issue. As the 6th grandchild in our family, the majority of Sweet Pea’s possessions are hand-me-downs. Plus second hand is good for the environment! My philosophy is each new person doesn’t need to leave a trail of new waste behind them.

snuggle9) Baby Delight Snuggle Nest

As I mentioned in a previous post, the first two months of Sweet Pea’s life, my husband was away at work for weeks at a time. This is where the snuggle nest was a godsend for me. I’m not totally comfortable co-sleeping as I’m concerned that I’d accidentally roll over onto Sweet Pea – The snuggle nest is essentially a box that surrounds the infant making it very hard to accidentally roll over onto them when they are placed in the bed with you. I used this while my husband was out of town (i.e. out bed had lots of room to accommodate Sweet Pea). It made night feedings super easy, and also helped to ease my first-time-mom nerves (I could easily just reach over and feel Sweet Pea’s chest to make sure he was breathing at night. This was also very useful when I traveled to visit family with Sweet Pea and didn’t want to pack a huge pack and play.

swaddles10) Aden & Anais muslin blankets 

I love these for their versatility. They serve many roles: Swaddle blanket, sunshade, nursing cover, and play mat. Sweet Pea was born in August so these blankets were great in warm weather. They were a night covering for his naps and were terrific sun shades when draped over his stroller or car seat. The Aden and Anais ones tend to be quite pricey – but I’ve seen similar muslin blankets by Summer Infant that are less expensive.

thermometer11) Thermometer

This thermometer kit was a gift from my mother in law. It came in really handy when Sweet Pea had a reaction to his two-month vaccines and was running a fever. I was thankful to have a baby thermometer in the house so I could see how high his temperature was and communicate this information to the nurse on the phone. I’d say you don’t necessarily need a three tip thermometer – the anal reading is most accurate so I’d definitely go with that one. My only criticism is the instructions are a bit hard to follow (especially at 3AM with a screaming infant in your arms) so I’d suggest reading up on how to use the thermometer to get an accurate reading before you need to use it.

play mat12) Play Mat

At first Sweet Pea hated “Tummy Time” he’d screech every time I’d place him on his stomach. The physiotherapist suggested I prop him up on a breastfeeding pillow first to make things easier for him (because when it comes to tummy time endurance trumps holding up a heavy head for a short period). Gradually Sweet Pea’s neck got stronger and stronger and he now does tummy time right on the play mat. You don’t need anything too fancy…just something that has interesting colours/shapes/textures to look at and feel as well as some hanging toys and mirrors to amuse baby when they are on their back. Sweet Pea can easily spend 30-45 minutes happily playing on the play mat both on his stomach and back. He’s even had a couple naps there. Play Mat time allows me to get housework and cooking done!

0

How to Build a Nursing-Mom Wardrobe on a Budget

Nursing wardrobe on a budgetAfter giving birth and shedding 30 or so pounds I was really stoked to get back into my regular (non maternity) clothing again… except I forgot one thing – now that I’m nursing I can’t wear any of my tops and dresses that aren’t easy access to the all-you-can-drink milk buffet. (of course you can just lift your shirt up exposing your midriff… but I live in a cold climate so this wouldn’t work for me – especially with winter around the corner!)

I’m hoping to nurse for a year so this essentially means that I need a new wardrobe. I’m not willing to break the bank to do this for numerous reasons  1) I won’t be nursing forever – these clothes are short-term investments. 2) A lot of nursing clothing is really ugly! (You’re only one nursing-T away from graduating to “mom jeans”!) 3) I don’t have oodles of money to spend on new clothes.

Fashion wise, I’m a vintage girl with a second-hand budget. Many of my favourite frocks were procured from the local frippery, Salvation Army, or my grandma’s closet. I love clothing with classic 1940s lines and styling, or modern brand names with second-hand price tags!

When it came to maternity clothing, I scoured the local thrift shops for inexpensive but unique and stylish tops and empire-cut dresses that could get me through pregnancy without breaking the budget.

For nursing, there are a few items (like nursing bras) that you can’t get around purchasing – but when I saw boring and often ugly nursing tops going for 45$ + at my local maternity/ nursing store… I vowed to try the same thrift-store approach to finding breastfeeding clothing.

photo 1

This top is still on the racks at the maternity store – selling for 39$. I got mine at the thrift store for 5$.

If your local second hand store has a maternity section head there first. Here you’ll often find nursing tops for a fraction of the price of the maternity store…and as people don’t nurse for very long, these tops are often in great shape and still in style. I scored two of the maternity store brand tops at my local thrift shop for 5$ each. One of the tops I got was so current it was actually still on the rack at the maternity store. I spent 10$ for two tops instead of 90$ (you can buy a lot of diapers for 90$!)

After scouring the maternity section of the thrift shop, I head to the regular tops section and look for shirts that can be converted into nursing clothing.

 

This v-neck shirt works fine for nursing

This v-neck shirt works fine for nursing

Any type of deep v-neck, button down, or wrap top could work for breastfeeding. I also got a couple shawl-style cardigans that I could use to throw over my shoulders for privacy when feeding in public. These tops set me back 5-7$ each.

photo 4

Another maternity store shirt bought for 5$

 

Shirt inside-out: bib has holes cut into sides for nursing

Shirt inside-out: bib has holes cut into sides for nursing

The construction of most nursing tops from the maternity store consists of a v-neck top with a bib or cowl-neck panel that has either hidden holes or slits cut into it for easy breast access. Once I understood how nursing tops worked, I realized I could easily make my own.

Take an old tank-top, cut wider arm holes into it and then wear this under any button down, v-neck or wide neck shirt and PRESTO you have several new nursing shirts.

elegant cowl neck shirt

elegant cowl neck shirt – 5$ thrift store find

photo 2

cut two hidden slits to make it nursing-frinendly

I also found a cowl-neck top at the thrift ship that I could cut hidden access slits into.

 

 

 

 

A third option is to buy a long/loose blouse in a sheer or light material, cut an access slit in the middle of the chest and cover this with a loose crop-style t-shirt.

photo 2

Ebay find for 15$

photo 3

Sheer under shirt has access panel cut in centre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo 4

The tank inside of this deep v-neck shirt has wide enough arm holes to use for nursing.

I did buy a couple new and inexpensive items for my nursing wardrobe: A black and a white nursing camisole/tank top with clip-down sides that I could wear with my existing blazers or cardigans. I also found a really funky top from Hong Kong (on ebay) that cost me 15$ shipping included. I get compliments on it all the time and like it so much I’ll wear it when I’m not nursing too. My biggest splurges were a 30$ nursing shirt on the liquidation rack at the maternity store, and a Calvin Klein deep V shirt that needed no alteration to work as a nursing top that I got at an outlet centre for 20$.

In all I built a nursing wardrobe of over 13 different tops, sweaters and camisoles that can be combined to make 30+ looks for under 130$ (or the price of 4 shirts from the maternity store)

With a keen eye, some patience, and some scissors, you too can build a stylish and inexpensive nursing mother wardrobe.

2

Two-Month Vaccine Day: From Polio to Police – my morning from hell.

photoToday was a day I’ve been dreading… 2-month vaccine day for Sweet Pea. Obviously I know vaccines are good for my little one. Firstly, all those Jenny McCarthy “vaccines-cause-autism” theories were mostly proven wrong and secondly do I really want to expose my child to and/or contribute to the return of deadly diseases like measles and polio? No I do not.

So vaccine day it is. Thankfully, the same local nurse who visited us shortly after Sweet Pea’s birth was the one administering the vaccine’s at the clinic so right away I felt more at ease. She answered all our questions and concerns about reactions to the vaccines. Then it was injection time and I had to hold my little one while he was pricked with two needles and fed a live gastro virus to build up his immune system. When I saw the look of complete horror/pain/shock on his face, I got all teary-eyed. It is really hard to see your little one in such pain! But the pain went away quick and he was fine.

If “Vaccine Day” wasn’t enough, I had also planned to take Sweet Pea to a mother and baby playdate-brunch at a friend’s home across town (thermometer and Tempra in tow should there be any fever).

My husband and I loaded our lethargic and somewhat grumpy Sweet Pea into the car and drove to the local bagel shop so I could pick up my contribution to the potluck brunch. He parked outside while I dashed in for a dozen white seed and cream cheese.

Outside the bagel shop things were a bit crazy. Two trucks were blocking both laneways and lots of through-traffic was driving by. Just as we were pulling out of our parking space, a car double parks in front of us as the driver runs into the bagel shop causing a major traffic jam on the street. My husband was livid having to essentially pull into oncoming traffic to make his way around the car. Three seconds later we hear a big CRUNCH. We were following the flow of traffic to get around a truck that was backing up into the land and the truck hits us!

At this point my normally good-humoured husband looses it. He pulls the car over, gets out and unleashes a sesame-seeded tirade against the truck driver and his useless traffic directing fly-guy for hitting our vehicle while Sweet Pea was in the car. For good measure my husband then saunters over to the double-parked car to chew-out the passenger as I sink down in the back seat of our car behind Sweet Pea’s car seat in utter shame. (Sweet Pea was still doped-up on the particles of major childhood diseases we injected him with – so he slept through the whole altercation)

Several profanities and a projectile bagel later, my husband and I inspect our dented front fender and conclude that it isn’t worth getting into any further altercations with the truckers by calling the police and claiming the accident so we pack it in and head home. (I obviously didn’t make it to the mom’s group brunch)

You would think our morning ended there – but no. About 30 minutes later my doorbell rings and it is the police asking for my husband. (By this time he had left the house to get groceries so neither he nor the car was around to give a witness statement.)

It turns out the truck driver got really nervous we were going to report him so he called the police himself…and as we went home, the accident was going to be a considered a “hit and run” until the cop could talk to my husband (even though we were the ones who got hit!)

When my husband got home, everything eventually got cleared up as the cop too agreed the dent wasn’t worth claiming with our insurance company.

The morning started with Polio and ended with the Police. What a disaster. I hope 4-month vaccine day is not nearly as eventful!

0

Slow Cooker Nutella Bread Pudding

photoServes 8 to 10

This thanksgiving we were invited to my aunt’s place for turkey dinner. When invited or dinner I usually make desert but with Sweet Pea around these days, my time to be creative in the kitchen is rather limited.

A delicious and non-complicated desert recipe was in order so when I came across several online desert recipes that can be made in the slow cooker I couldn’t wait to try out my own version of crockpot bread pudding.

This year I am thankful for this chocolaty hazelnut delight that’s like a warm hug on a crisp fall afternoon.

IngredientsNutella Bread Pudding

– Cooking spray
– 1loaf of bread, crust removed and cut into 1‑inch cubes (enough to yield 12 cups) (any white bread will do – I used what was left in my fridge, some challah, country bread and regular white bread)
-1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
– 1/4 cup white chips
– 1/2 cup chopped & toasted hazelnuts (or any other type of nut you want) – optional
– 5 cups heavy cream
– 5 cups milk (1%)
– 9 large egg yolks
– 1 cup Nutella
– 3/4 cup plus 1 tbs granulated sugar
– 4 tsp vanilla extract
– 3/4 tsp salt
– 2 tbs light brown sugar

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees (to toast the bread)photo 2photo 1
  2. As oven heats, prep the slow cooker. Place a tin foil “collar” around the sides of the crockpot and then line it with a foil sling by pressing one horizontal and one vertical piece of foil into the slow cooker. (This will allow you to easily lift the bread pudding out of the crock once it is done. Spray tinfoil sling with vegetable spray. (I actually forgot to do this – and it turned out ok – just some of the gooey goodness was left on the foil)
  3. Spread cubed bread over two baking sheets and toast in oven until dry and crisp (about 40 minutes) – this step can be omitted – but your bread pudding will be more watery if you don’t dry out the bread first.
  4. In a large bowl, mix chocolate chips and nuts into dried bread then transfer to prepared slow cooker.photo 4
  5. Whisk together cream, milk, egg yolks, Nutella, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl, then pour wet mixture evenly over bread. Press on the bread with a spatula to submerge it.
  6. Combine the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar with brown sugar and sprinkle this over the top to form a sweet crust.
  7. Cover and cook 4 hours on low (until the center is set.)photo 5
  8. For extra decadence you can serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream