Wednesday, 27 January 2016

He's Very Sneaky

A few weeks ago Parker spent a couple hours at the babysitters for a trial run.  When I came back to pick him up, the babysitter's 3 and a half year old told me multiple times that "he's very sneaky"  I know.  He is very sneaky.

Today I strapped him in while he was eating his lunch because he has been enjoying standing up in his high chair.  I only strapped in his legs because I felt like the 5 point harness was overkill and typically strapping in his legs is enough.  Apparently not anymore.  I went to do something on the other side of the kitchen and I came back to him standing up in his highchair.  So I guess it's the 5 point harness from now on...

We have to blockade the stairs because they call to him.

If you leave the bathroom door open or the toilet seat open then the toilet paper might just end up completely unraveled or even worse, in the toilet.

He's constantly pulling all of the dvds out of our tv cabinet.  (Can you childproof a tv cabinet?)

He's all boy and he gets into things that I wouldn't even think about him getting into.  He keeps me on my toes that's for sure.


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Parker's 1st Birthday Party

The good thing about having a baby on a Saturday (there are a lot of good things about it, I highly recommend it), is that their first birthday is on a Sunday!  So I knew that I had to have his birthday party on his actual birthday because this won't happen for another 5 or 6 years.

I wanted to do something low key.  Pinterest and blogs tell us that birthday parties and showers have to be perfection, you have to spend a lot of money and have every single thing themed.  And although I love looking at pictures of those parties, I knew that I didn't want to do that.  It was too stressful, too expensive, and Parker is 1, so he could care less.  I had a slight elephant theme and a few decorations and a whole bunch of pictures from his first year.

I decided to have our immediate family (parents and siblings) over for a lunch.  I made chicken lasagna, we ate on our fine china which doesn't get used much and Parker absolutely loved his meal.  It was nice to have something with just the people who are truly the closest to him.  

Then at 2 the madness started as I invited my extended family.  They love an excuse to get together, but we are a really close family.  We also invited a few of our friends who have kids the closest in age to Parker and who have been involved in his life over the past year.  That's what his birthday party was about for me, it was about spending time with those who have made his first year great.

Parker and his pals.  Three of my favourite little boys!
Parker chose not to nap yesterday, but luckily everything went really well.  I put him down at 5 and he fell right asleep until I woke him up around 7:30!  Then he slept through the night and I had to wake him up at 8:30 this morning for his doctors appointment!

The cake.  All I wanted was to watch Parker eat cake.  And do you think he had any interest in it?  Nope!  He didn't know what to do with it, he ate maybe one bite and he didn't even destroy it.  But then my sister gave him some ice cream and that caught his attention.  The kid loves ice cream.  I don't blame him.
Much more interested in balloons than cake

Ice cream!

It was a great day, and I only cried once while I was putting my one year old to bed.  Because how does that happen?  One day you have a baby and then you have a one year old and I feel like it changes nothing and it changes everything.  


Monday, 25 January 2016

Parker at 1 Year!

Yesterday was Parker's first birthday.  How did we even get here?  It's is unbelievable how fast the past year has gone and how much Parker has changed in that year.  When they are newborns, they seem so exciting.  And then they grow up and develop personalities.  They become mobile and understand you (or choose to ignore you even if they do understand you.)  And that newborn stage seems so far away and so boring now!

At each age I have said that I love the stage that Parker is in now the most.  And that's a really good thing because I think that despite each stage having it's own difficulties, I have truly enjoyed the first year of his life.  I feel so lucky that we are able to take a full year off to be with our babies.  Parker and I kept busy this past year, and when we could we brought his dad along too!  We had a lot of fun.  And although the next year will be different as I'm going back to work I'm hoping that I can change that quantity time that we've been having to real quality time.
So serious because mommy wouldn't let him play with the blocks

Weight: 13lbs 12oz - I really wanted to get him to 15lbs by his first birthday.  Oh well.  He's still following his curve and the doctors aren't concerned.

Height: The doctor measured him at 28 inches.  My parents measured him at 26....I kind of feel like my parent's measurement is more accurate.

Feeding: Parker eats 3 meals a day and a snack.  He will eat pretty much whatever we are eating.  If it's easy to eat he feeds himself.  Sometimes we still feed him if necessary.  I try to make his meals as full of fat as possible!

Parker still basically exclusively nursed until we got home from Florida on January 9.  On January 10 the weaning started!  He had a cup here and there before that but had never really been made to drink from it.  For the first few days I tried to give him a cup as much as possible but fed him when I felt like I needed it.  It was usually about 3 times a day.  But at this point we are down to once a day before bed.  I'm not sure how long that will last.  Otherwise though he's doing great with the cup!  He uses a 360 cup rather than a sippy cup and it's working well.  And it's nice that he knows when he's thirsty and can go and help himself.

I feel incredibly lucky that I could nurse for basically a year.  It's such a weird feeling to be done though!  But honestly I'm happy to have my body back to myself and not be completely tied to Parker.  It was a great blessing while we were doing it, but it was definitely time to stop.

Milestones:  Parker learnt to climb stairs while we were in Florida.  Now whenever he's around stairs he wants to climb them.  Little rascal...

He stood for a few seconds on his own (according to his father).  But he's not walking yet unless he has something helping him.  He is getting sturdier so I can see the walking coming soon.

I worked a couple days this month and Parker stayed with Grams.  He did great while I was gone, didn't miss me and napped and ate well for Grams.  The first time I came home I left the room and he lost his mind.  The second time he just wouldn't let me out of his sight and wanted to snuggle.  So it's nice that he's fine all day, but I'm not going to lie, I like that he misses me.

Likes:  He still loves the bath.  He loves the pool, especially slipping in off the edge.  He really likes to eat macaroni and cheese, meatballs and banana.  

He likes to get into everything!  We finally child proofed our kitchen because he was getting into the garbage, pulling out pots and baby bullet items.  We have an open cupboard that he's always pulling stuff off of, we haven't come up with a solution for that yet.  In the bathroom he likes to play with the garbage, the toilet paper and sometimes even stick his hands in the toilet. 

He got a lot of toys for Christmas and he loves playing with all of them!

Dislikes: Being told no.  You just say no to him and he starts to cry.  He knows what he isn't supposed to do and will watch for a reaction, but he always does it anyways.

Nap time.  Until he realizes he's tired.  Most of the time he cries for 30 seconds and then is fast asleep.

What a year it has been!  We haven't enjoyed every second but we have enjoyed every day.  We love you Parker Pants!


Friday, 22 January 2016

Disney & Universal Tips (With a baby & without)

Before we went to Florida, I had been looking for tips on how to make your theme park visits with a baby as easy and enjoyable as possible.  So I thought that it might be helpful to share what I had learnt.

1.  Strollers - I bought a fancy umbrella stroller for the trip.  This was partially because it's significantly smaller than our regular stroller and we had limited room in the vehicles.  The stroller had a small area underneath it to carry things which I found very helpful.  I liked having the smaller stroller in the parks for maneuvering around, but it didn't recline all the way back, so I found that Parker wouldn't really fall asleep in it.  I had to put him in our Ergo carrier when he was getting tired and then he would fall right asleep. 

I would definitely recommend bringing your own stroller ahead of renting one from Disney or Universal as they are hard and don't recline at all.  

You can't bring strollers in the line ups so that's where the carrier comes in handy so that you don't have to hold your baby the entire time you are waiting.  The strollers are left in stroller parking.  Our stroller was always there when we returned to it, I just never left anything valuable in it.

2. Feed when you can and where you can - At Universal we had really long waits.  I fed Parker his breakfast in line and I nursed him in line.  I just put him sideways in the Ergo so that it provided a bit of support and put on the nursing cover and we were good to go.  

At Disney, I found nursing Parker during shows worked well.  Well it worked when he was hungry enough to not be distracted by the show!  I nursed him in the Country Bear Jamboree (he was very distracted by the bears!), in the Carousel of Progress and in the Enchanted Tiki Hut.  While waiting during a rider switch is also a great time to feed, whether it be nursing or real food.  See below for more rider switch details!

3. Take time for meals - When I wasn't feeding Parker in line, we did take time for real meals and sat down at a table.  This gave me time to feed Parker properly.  I did bring some baby food to feed him, but also shared whatever meals we got.  A perk of having a baby is that you can order kids meals and save some money!

4. Bring a bag or cover for stroller - Luckily it didn't rain, but if it did I had brought a stroller rain cover.  I figured Parker would be very unhappy if he got soaking wet.  (Most line ups are indoors or covered so that would help.)  At the very least, bring a garbage bag so that you can cover your stroller while it's in stroller parking if you think it's going to rain.

5. Fastpass - At Disney you get 3 fastpasses that you book ahead of time.  We booked ours all as early in the day as we could.  So we booked the first one for 8:55 and got to Disney at 8.  First thing we did was rush to the back of the park and go on the roller coasters that we didn't have fastpass for.  There was no wait for them at this point.  Then at 8:55 we could go on Space Mountain.  We used our next two fastpasses before noon.  

Once you have used all of your fastpasses you can book them one at a time.  So we continued to book fastpass for whatever was the earliest available ride.  Doing it this way we never waited in line for a ride.  It might seem silly to use a fastpass for It's a Small World, but do you really want to wait in line for an hour and a half for it? Definitely not!

6. Rider Switch - But how do you all go on the rides when you have a baby, you ask?  Easy peasy.  It's called Rider Switch/Swap.  At Universal, you all have to wait in line for the ride.  Once you are at the front, you just tell them that you want to do a rider switch and they send you to a little waiting room.  When the first group gets off the ride, you can get on it.  Since we had 7 adults, two of us would wait and then we didn't have to ride alone afterwards.

At Disney, there were only a few rides that Parker couldn't go on, and the only ride that we used Rider Switch for was Space Mountain, which we had Fastpass for.  When the first group went through I just got a rider switch pass which allows 3 people to use the Fastpass line at any point in the day.  I waited alone while they went on the ride.  (At Disney you don't wait in the line up, so if we hadn't of had Fastpass I could of found another ride for me and Parker to go on.)  Then when everyone was done, I went on Space Mountain and two other people got to ride a second time!

In hindsight, I didn't need a Fastpass for Space Mountain and could of used my first Fastpass on something else because of the Rider Switch.

7. Get to the park early - If you can get to the park early, it's a huge help.  As I said before, we rushed to the back of the park while everyone else was gawking over Main Street USA and we didn't wait in line for the rides.  We also beat the crowds and had no traffic coming in and we could see that the parking lot was getting really backed up once we got in.  So we saved the huge rush at the gates and on the monorail.  We weren't quite as lucky with Universal and we got there too late so everything was already very crowded.  We had bought all of our tickets ahead of time and had our fast passes set up.  This is key so that there is no extra waits when you get to the park.

8. Use the Baby Care Centres if available - Each park has one baby care centre.  We were never close to it at Universal so I didn't use it.  At Disney we were close the one time I had to feed Parker.  They have high chairs, a whole room of change tables and a nursing room.  They also sell baby items if there was anything that you forgot.

9. Enjoy - Don't forget to enjoy yourself and just take everything in!  We really didn't rush around the parks too much.  We stopped and watched parades, had leisurely lunches and enjoyed what the parks had to offer.  I would say that obviously Disney is much more geared towards children.  If you have a two year old, they would enjoy Disney much more.  Parker was just happy to have rides in his stroller so he was pretty content at Universal, but there were very few rides that small children could go on there.


Friday, 15 January 2016

Florida - The Second Week

 Our first week in Florida was fantastic.  My entire family stayed in a house together.  But unfortunately my brother, sister and my brother's girlfriend had to go home.  They have jobs or something.  So they all flew home and we stayed with my parents for an additional 4 days.  Which was good, because to have 4 days of driving for a week in Florida is crazy.

We spent the next 4 days in Treasure Island on the Gulf of Mexico.  We thought we would have a beach vacation.  Well we only spent a couple of hours at the beach because it wasn't exactly beach weather, but we still had a great time.  
John's Pass
We walked to John's Pass which was just down the road.  It's like a little boardwalk shopping area.  From the boardwalk we could see a bunch of Dolphins, which was so neat!  I just love Dolphins and I had never seen them in the wild like that.  So we decided to go on a Dolphin Watching trip, hoping that we would see tons of them.  Well the boat drove around for an hour and a half and we saw nothing.  (Although we did get some interesting history about the area.)  As we were pulling back into the dock, there were dolphins everywhere.  Of course.  So luckily we did see dolphins, but it turns out that the boardwalk is as good of a place to view them as any.

We also went into the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Centre for a few hours where we saw manatees.  Manatees are not the most exciting of creatures.  They are called sea cows for a reason.  But once again, seeing a creature like this in their natural habitat was pretty neat.  Plus, it was free.  

We had some great meals in Treasure Island and John's Pass.  Nothing like authentic seafood restaurants when you are on vacation!
Daddy dug him a hole
Yes he's short

First time in the ocean
Then it was time to head back home.  People think that we are crazy for driving to Florida with a baby.  But it really wasn't that bad.  I packed him toys to keep him entertained and would feed him what I could in the car.  He slept a lot and we made sure to stop frequently enough to let him stretch and to feed him.  I grew up driving to Florida and Myrtle Beach and I think that's why the idea of it didn't seem crazy to me because I knew how many times my parents had done it with me.

It was a great trip and I can't wait for many more to come with my little family!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Back to Work

Pictures from Parker's day, because it looks more interesting than my day at the office

Yesterday was my first day back to work.  And I survived, and Parker survived, and his Grams survived.

So although my maternity leave goes until January 25, I'm working one day this week and one day next week so that I only have to leave for one day at a time.  And I think that it was a successful plan because I really didn't freak out too much about it.

Of course Parker woke up at 5:40 yesterday morning, which is unheard of for him.  The day that I had to get up earlier than I was used to and I didn't even get to sleep until 6:30 like I had planned.  Plus I told work and my mom that I wasn't expecting to be at work until 9 so we had a ton of time to just hang out on the couch before I had to leave.

Once I was at work, I was much more comfortable than I thought I would be.  I really do enjoy my job, and it was nice to use my brain for more than trying to think of what mischief Parker would get into next.  (Although honestly trying to out think a one year old is probably more difficult than being an accountant.)

Grams sent me updates throughout the day and Parker seemed to be having a great time.  I'm curious to see once I go back for good if he figures out that I'm leaving him for a whole day and we might have more issues.  Plus he will be going to a babysitters so he won't know her as well as he knows my mom.  

When I got back to pick him up, he seemed like he didn't really care at first.  Then I left the room to go to the bathroom and he started bawling.  So I guess I can leave him once, but I can't come back and tease him and leave again!

So overall, day one was a success.  Parker is a bit of a mama's boy, so I know that us not being together all day every day will be good for him, but that doesn't mean that I won't miss the little guy!


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Florida - The First Week

On December 27, my entire family drove down to Florida.  It was a two day drive and it was not enjoyable.  We hit a fair amount of traffic and it took a lot longer than it should.  But finally, we arrived, and then it was awesome!

 We were staying in a house outside of Orlando.  It was great because we all had our own rooms, lots of space and our own pool and hot tub in the backyard.  We all had lots of fun in the pool, especially Parker!  We were lucky and got some pretty great weather while we were there.

We spent a day at Universal Studios and a day at the Magic Kingdom.  This is not the most economical way to do things as they are separate parks, so there's no money savings.  But I knew that I wanted to do the Magic Kingdom and I had to go to Harry Potter land if I was going to be in Florida!

First up was Universal.  It was amazing!  Walking into Hogsmeade was like stepping into the books.  First we walked up to Hogwarts and the ride that goes through the castle had a 180 min wait.  No way were we doing that.  So we rode the other rides in Harry Potter land and did the Olivanders wand shop experience.  By the time we left Harry Potter land the line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was longer than the staff had ever seen it.  (If it was 180 minutes before, it had to be 5 hours long by this point, that's insane!)  

The line ups at Universal were pretty bad.  In the whole day we only went  on 5 rides plus the Hogwarts express.  But they are quality rides and usually last at least 4 minutes.  Only my brother, his girlfriend and I payed for the park hopper pass so we got to go over to Diagon Alley, where we drank butter beer (so good!), bought wands (yes we are nerds), and went on the Gringott's ride (which was awesome!).  I have never felt like more of a geek than I did when I was in Harry Potter Land.  But I don't regret a single geeky line that was spoken.

Finally when we got back to the other Park the line up for the Hogwarts ride was "only" an hour and a half long.  The rest of the family had gotten VIP for it because someone saw them with Parker.  Lucky ducks.  Lucky for us they agreed to wait in line and go on it again. 

Later in the week, we went to the Magic Kingdom.  This is definitely a more kid friendly park!  But it's also enjoyable for adults because there is just a magic to Disney that you don't feel anywhere else.  Because we used our fastpasses smartly, we hardly waited in any lines at Disney.  (I am going to write a post with tips for anyone who is interested!)  Parker could also go on pretty much all of the rides, which made life a lot easier.

My biggest complaint about the trip was Orlando traffic.  Any time we had to drive through Orlando it was awful!  We decided to go to Downtown Disney (aka Disney Springs) for dinner one night and it made a 20 minute drive about an hour long.  Luckily dinner was delicious and we had the most expensive but most delicious sundaes afterwards and it made it worth it.

Ok that seems long enough for one post!  If you have made it this far, congratulations!  Next I will talk about the second week of our trip.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Some Christmas Stuff

For most of you Christmas probably seems like forever ago.  Honestly, it feels like that for me as well.  But since we left on vacation on December 27, I haven't had a chance to blog about the all important baby's first Christmas yet.

I had low expectations for Parker's first Christmas.  Not low expectations for Christmas as a whole, I just figured that Parker wouldn't care much for it.  And sure, he didn't really have a clue what was going on, but he was so good at all of the events!  He would open a present and play with it until the next toy came along.  He did not nap well because who can nap when all of that excitement is going on!  But even with the lack of naps he was pretty well behaved.

Is that a yawn Parker?  Probably because you didn't nap...

We have lots of Christmases in our family.  Christmas Eve we go to my inlaws.  We did Christmas morning with Parker at our house and then headed down the street to my parents.  Christmas dinner was at my Aunt's house (which luckily is just down the street the other way, that's a small town for ya...)  Boxing Day we went to my Grandmas.  So it's only 5 celebrations in 3 days...

But we all had a lot of fun, and of course Parker was the star of the show.  
A baby still has to eat, even if it is Christmas!
I have to give some credit to my husband as well though.  He went all out this year.  He got me a new purse that I love, built me something that I had been wanting and got me this gorgeous piece of art.  He did good.