Friday, October 30, 2015

Be Comfortable.

Pregnancy is uncomfortable. Anyone who's been through it knows it. Even the most glowing, happy, radiant pregnant woman is beset by undignified, irritating things like sore breasts, excessive gas, and having to worry about peeing when they sneeze. Your body is changing and growing, and while yes it's a beautiful thing, it can also be  complete pain in the butt.

My whole goal in life, you know aside from the writing things thing and the making things thing, is to be comfortable.

Which is why trying out Bravado Designs, whose slogan is "Comfort Never Looked So Good", sounded right up my alley. They test each new design with hundreds of pregnant and nursing mothers, and I recently had the opportunity to try out their new design: the Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra.

Image Provided by Bravado Designs

So. What is so special about this bra, you may be wondering? First of all, this company was started by two nursing mothers. If anyone knows what a pregnant or nursing mother is going to be going through as far as changes to her body and comfort, it's another nursing mother. The focus on comfort that they began with is still one of the company's guiding principles today.

The Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra is a seamless design (because seams suck), has convertible criss cross straps (which are wonderful for someone with narrow shoulders like me), 4 way stretch fabric, and new Anti-microbial SilverbreezeTM* technology (which prevents growth of odor causing bacteria).

Image Provided by Bravado Designs

That's all great, but is it comfortable?

Yes! It absolutely is. As you know, I'm the kind of person who gets home at the the end of the day, ditches the bra, and changes right into my pajamas. Even if the end of the day is just after lunch. In fact, I'm in my pajamas right now. But I'm also wearing my new Bravado bra.

I've tried this baby out at an early morning yoga session, as well as over an entire weekend of running around at the Blissdom conference, and I'm pleased to say that I found it comfy and wearable the whole time. I love the adjustability of the band and straps; combined with the 4 way stretch, they've managed to make a bra that can take you through your pregnancy as well as nursing, adjusting to your changing body.

Bravado Designs are available at several retailers**, as well as online. I wasn't able to get in to a store for a fitting, and was worried about getting the fit right, as I've honestly only worn sports bras for the past few years and had no idea what size I might be. Luckily, they've got a video on their website to help you with the fit, and if you're still unsure, you can call up someone in their fitting department before ordering. Isabel helped me figure out the right size over the phone, and she was wonderful.

So... now that I've got the bra thing covered, can anyone recommend some super comfy pants?




This post sponsored by Bravado Designs. I also received product for the purpose of review. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.




*Silverbreeze™: The Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra also features patented Silverbreeze™ technology, an antimicrobial finish that is applied to the fabric which prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew that can cause unpleasant odors, premature decay of the fabric and discoloration. The active ingredient silver ions, control the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the fabric surface, keeping it fresh through the most rigorous Vinyasa class, power walks and Pilates routine.

**Availability: Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra is currently available in Charcoal Heather and Pink Heather for $55.00 in the US and Canada at National and Specialty retailers including Diapers.com, Breakout Bras.com, Figure 8 Maternity.com, Bosom Buddies, The Pump Station, Yummy Mummy, and in Canada at West Coast Kids, Snuggle Bugz, and Well.ca, and online at www.Bravadodesigns.com 


Monday, October 26, 2015

Aaaaaaand, We're Back.

I've not done that well in the "write every day" arena this month. I have reasons though, reasons, I tell you!

First there was Blissdom. If you've never heard of it, Blissdom Canada is a conference for bloggers and "social media influencers". Basically, a bunch of us hole up in a hotel/conference center for a weekend and meet new people who know what we're talking about, share our experiences, and learn about the business of social.

Canadian Lentils threw an epic party. I fell in love with Lentil Beignets.
There are always amazing sponsors who take part. Vaughan Mills kicked off the weekend with a shopping experience, Chevrolet Canada provided shuttles to attendees, and Blue Mountain  sent us off on some really amazing excursions (like a visit to the Scandinave Spa) to give us a taste of what the area has to offer. I got to work personally with one of the sponsors (more on that later), and I even somehow won a teeter totter from sponsor Active for Life, so my kids forgave me for leaving them for the whole weekend.

Sadly, it was announced that this will be the last year for Bliss in its current form. They will be putting on smaller local conferences though, so if it's something that interests you, keep on eye out for them!

Maybe my favourite part of the weekend.
The best part of the conference for me though, has always been the people. I've met some really amazing people over the years, who I am proud to call my friends, and this year was no exception. I met new bloggers, finally put faces to the words I've been chuckling about on Twitter, and got to catch up with friends from across the country.

It was great, but it was also a really exhausting weekend and I'm just starting to recover now.

The other big thing that's been going on around here: My sister had her baby! She makes the most adorable baby boys around.

Honestly, I'm jealous. My baby has started doing karate in there or something, and all of a sudden things are intensely uncomfortable.  If you don't hear from me for a few days, just assume I'm propped up somewhere in a nest of pillows having finally found a comfortable position that I'm refusing to leave.








Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Maybe In a Box?

I fell off the wagon a little bit this weekend. I started out with really good intentions about writing every day, but then I just forgot. I'll blame my family. For some reason, when you go and hang out with them, they prefer you to actually like... talk to them and stuff. Also turkey, I blame turkey (Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!).

Anyhoo! I did manage to get a start on covering that ugly ottoman.

A little tip for any of you who may be thinking about adding some additional "beans" to a bean bag anything: have your vacuum handy. Those little beans try to escape the second they feel a breeze. I am pleased to say that I managed to develop a system with a barely opened zipper, a cardboard tube, and a rubber band that minimized loss. The vacuum was still very necessary. Those things hide everywhere.

Since I'm me, I didn't bother with a pattern, or helpful things like measurements. I had to rip the whole thing down a few times before I checked in my handy Complete Guide to Needlework to figure out how to make a flat circle. It was published in 1979, so the patterns are... very 70's, but the basics don't really change, and this is my go to book any time I need to figure out a basic shape or stitch pattern.


Once I figured out the circle thing, it went a lot more smoothly. Now I just need to crochet what is essentially a giant hackey sack with no bottom. So far so good!


I've got to put it aside for now though, because it's time to frantically look for all the things I could have sworn that I knew exact locations of, and hope to find them in time to pack for Blissdom. Which is on Thursday. Things like those business cards I have two hundred and fifty of. Contact details on bar napkins are acceptable, right? Ugh.





Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Was Hungry When I Said That.

Now that the nausea is, for the most part, a thing of the past, I'm ravenous. I'm the kind of hungry that, left untended, could cause some serious problems.

Take last night for example.

Husband got home a little later than usual, but I'd been waiting for him to get home to have dinner with him. We decided we would order Chinese food. Of course, then the kids staged a mini revolt, and bedtime was extended by at least half an hour, which meant that by the time we finally got around to thinking about actually ordering the food, it was after 9:00. Which for me is past the ordering dinner threshold. If you order past 9:00, you may not be eating until 10:00, then you don't get to bed 'til 11:00, and you get up at 4:00 with raging heart burn anyway, so really no point.

So what to do? Husband is nice, so he offered to make me a sandwich. I'd had a sandwich for lunch, I'd be having a sandwich for lunch the next day, and I really didn't want one now. He offered again to order something, I declined. He offered to make anything else that was in the house. I almost cried, and told him that I hate every single thing there is to eat in the house, and I didn't want any of it, dammit.

He was also hungry by this point, and so he started making himself a sandwich while I contemplated the open cupboards, getting more and more despondent. Then I told him that if he finished off the sliced turkey, I would stab him. And I totally wasn't joking.

He finished making his sandwich, and backed out of the kitchen, where I had begun putting together a plate of veggies, yogurt and toast; none of which I actually wanted to eat.

About half an hour later, after consuming my thrown together dinner, I realised that I had threatened to stab my husband. Over lunch meat.

All this is to basically say that I'm sorry for whatever horrible thing I said to you when I was hungry. Really, really sorry. I'm usually very nice, I swear.













Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Because I Don't Have Enough To Do.

We're still at the stage in our lives where none of our furniture matches. Since most things are actually hand-me-downs, we didn't pick them, and they don't go together. We've got a big green recliner couch, next to a sleek looking leather chair, next to an antique couch with scrolled feet.. our "style" could be called, at best, eclectic. At worst, you might say it looks like we live in a storage locker. I'm trying (halfheartedly right now) to change that.

As luck would have it, a friend of mine was cleaning out her craft room recently and came across some yarn she didn't want. She asked me if I wanted it, and I said, "sure! You can never have too much yarn!" I didn't realise until she showed up at my door how much "some" was. I stand corrected: you can have too much yarn. There's got to be at least twenty pounds of yarn there. Sitting in bags in my already overcrowded living room.

We can't afford to redecorate right now, so I need to work with what we've got. I've decided to start small. We have a really ugly ottoman. It's a sort of dirty green (the colour... it's not actually that dirty) blob, and the kids love to sit on it. It's actually great to have as extra seating... but it's just so ugly.

I'm going to try and use some of this yarn to crochet a cover for this hideous ottoman and begin to solve two problems at once.

This is merely the tip of the yarn iceberg.

It's either going to turn out really great and I'll post pictures, or it'll be awful and you'll never hear about it again. Wish me luck!





Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's Just a Phase. Right?

"Kee says that you're her favourite treasure, Mummy! That's how you know she loves you, despite how she treats you," Beege said, offering me a feel better hug.

Kee and I haven't been getting along so well lately.

She's always been stubborn, but mostly reasonable. If you had a good reason for her to do (or not do) something, there was a good chance she'd do (or not do) it.

Not the case anymore. She makes up her mind, and it doesn't matter what you say, or what else needs to be happening at the time, she will scream and cry and fight until she feels like she's got what she wants. And since I'm doing my very best not to give in and allow her to grow into an entitled tyrant, that means there's a lot of screaming and crying around here.

She glares at me and clenches her fists, she scowls and rolls her eyes, she screams and stops just short of hitting me. Over everyday things like asking her to wear pants, put her dishes in the dishwasher, or brush her teeth.

I am trying my best not to yell. Not to react. To let her know that even when we're fighting, even when it seems like we don't like each other, I love her. I tell her that I respect myself too much to allow her treat me the way she has been, and that I love her too much to let her continue behaving in a way that will make her life so much harder in the long run. I tell her that she can choose her own way, but that all of her choices will have consequences, good or bad. The hope is that eventually, the things I'm saying quietly while she screams at me will sink in and stay with her.

For now though, it's breaking my heart.
 


Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Morning Miracle Muffins

Last night, I was siting around with Husband watching some Netflix and feeling like I'd forgotten something. This isn't unusual for me, as I'm generally the sort of person who will purposefully make a detailed to do list, and then promptly lose it.

Anyway. Around 11:00, I remembered what it was that I had to do; my daily blog post. So I sat down at the computer and whipped up a last minute post, then went to bed feeling very satisfied to have remembered in time to keep up with the one a day thing.

Fast forward to 6:30 this morning when I exclaimed "shit!" and sat bolt upright in bed (which is getting harder to do these days), startling Husband awake. It wasn't the blog post (although I'm still glad I got that done), it was the muffins. The night before, we'd noticed we were running short on lunch stuff for the girls, so he offered to go and get groceries. I wanted him to stay home and watch a movie with me, so I said "don't worry, as long as we've got enough fruit, veggies, and cheese we're okay. I'll make muffins tonight. Then we watched a movie and all thoughts of muffins were forgotten.

Luckily, I have this recipe up my sleeve. I don't even know if it counts as a recipe exactly, because I only bother to measure a few of the ingredients, but it has saved me many many times in a pinch. If you've got everything on hand, and you probably will, because most of the ingredients are variable, you can have muffins in about half an hour total. Which is awesome when you remember that you've got no lunch for the kid who needs to be at the bus stop in 40 minutes.




Monday Morning Miracle Muffins
Makes 12 medium sized muffins.
(Can also make one loaf. Bake in greased loaf pan for 50-60 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.)

1/2 cup softened butter (I'm sure margarine or similar would work just as well)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (any kind, really. White, whole wheat, multigrain... I've even used 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup crushed up bran flakes when I was stuck.)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
about 1/2 cup yogurt (usually use plain, but any flavour will do), or sour cream, or silken tofu
about 1/2 cup mashed banana, or apple sauce, or pureed pear

Unnecessary add ons - choose 1 or 2: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup chocolate chips (best with banana), 1/2 cup thinly grated carrot (best with apple), 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup ground flax seed (yay, fiber!), 1/2 cup wheat germ
When making them with apple or pear, I also like to add 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon. 

Preheat oven to 350C.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a medium to large bowl, then add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (also flax seeds, wheat germ, or crushed up bran flakes if using them). Mix dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, blend. When fully blended, add fruit and yogurt (or tofu, or sour cream)

Fill 12 greased or lined muffin cups (they're quite dense, and don't rise overly much.)

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.






Sunday, October 4, 2015

*Burp*

Pregnancy kind of sucks.

At least this one does. It's draining all my energy, leaving me listless and exhausted. No, actually, I stand by my first statement: Pregnancy kind of sucks.

When else in your life is it considered completely normal for your limbs to swell, your nose to bleed, your body to ache, your stomach to constantly be heaving its contents, your bladder control to completely abandon you, belching, flatulence, constipation, dizziness, headaches... need I go on? If someone without a fetus was displaying those symptoms, they'd be sent to a specialist*. Yet, this is the everyday for most pregnant women.

Yes, this is the miracle of life. There will be a baby at the end of all this, and that's truly amazing and wonderful, and I know that I'm very lucky.... but right now, I'm looking at four more months of feeling like I have no control over my body or any of its processes and it's starting to get to me.

There are a couple of pluses though.

Take today for example. There are a lot of things that we really need to do before this baby arrives. We need to unpack some boxes, sort things, get rid of things, move furniture around, and clean. A lot.

Husband started today. He moved all the shelves around in the living room to make way for the couch to get through to go to the basement. I offered to help, I really did, but he didn't want me to, because baby.

I sat on the couch drinking tea and watching him move things, offering helpful suggestions about vacuuming behind everything. I was actually feeling a little guilty, because I know that I am fully capable of moving things right now. I'm pretty strong, despite being constantly tired.

You know what he said? He told me that he really wasn't worried about me hurting myself. He was more worried that if I did help him move heavy furniture, then from now until February, every time I felt like something might be wrong, I would blame myself. And the furniture. And maybe him for not stopping me from helping.

Although, now that I'm writing it down, it seems more like that might be more a benefit of being a known neurotic than being pregnant.

Hunh. Okay. Nevermind.

Pregnancy kind of sucks. 




*I just tried looking up this combination of symptoms on WebMD, and was advised to seek emergency medical attention. True story.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

For The Love of Books.


Over the years, our book loving and hoarder tendencies have combined to fill our home with books. Overfill, actually. We've cut down on buying books for ourselves quite a lot, but we can't seem to help ourselves buying for them. Beege has books spilling off of her shelf and stacked on every surface. Kee's actually got piles of books in and under her bed. It's getting nuts.


Instilling a love of reading is one thing -- if you can read, you can learn anything -- but this crazy collecting needs to stop. At the rate we all read, we were buying new books very week or two.

As someone who loves books, but really should not be spending the money or the space on the, right now, I love the library. Really, I've always loved the library. A place that will let you bring home stacks of books to read... for free? What an incredibly brilliant concept.

The first thing we did when we moved last year, before even unpacking was head to our new library to get our library cards. We didn't make as much use of them as we should have, and the books kept piling up.

Since September though, we've been making a real effort. The girls are starting to come around to the benefits of being able to read everything without having to find a spot on the shelf for it when you're done, and a trip to the library has become on of our favourite Saturday activities.

Although, I'm guessing it might also have something to do with the fact that our new favourite coffee shop is across the street and we always stop in for a treat and a game of chess or two before heading home.

Mostly though, it's the books.



Friday, October 2, 2015

He's My Favourite.

Most of the stories that I post on here have to do with me and the kids. Primarily because most of my day, most of my time, most of my headspace has been devoted to them for years. Someone else does live with us though, and he gets mentioned occasionally, as though he's a visitor who pops in every once in a while to get us to laugh, or hang out with the kids so that I can get a much needed break; but I don't very often just talk about him.

So today, he gets his very own blog post.

Husband and I met in University. During my Frosh week, actually (he was a Frosh Boss). We were both commuters, and as such, spent frosh week camped out with a bunch of other commuters in common rooms so that we didn't have to go home at night and miss any of the late night parties. He offered me a couch to sleep on when he noticed me camped out on the floor, and gave me his coat to use as a blanket.

We were friends for a long time before we were anything more, and I think that will always be the most important part of our relationship. All these years later, I find that I like him. Like, really LIKE him. He is the one I always want to talk to, always want to see, even when I'm not in a mood to see or talk to anyone.

He's not perfect, by any means. In fact, I think I might like him a little less if he was. But his imperfections mesh  well with mine. I'm the one that keeps us running on time and remembers to feed the kids. He's the one who keeps us thinking rationally, even when I've already assumed the worst. I'm the one who reminds everyone to eat vegetables, and he's the one who reminds me that playing with Lego is time well spent.

I am also aware, even if he isn't, of just how many times I would have fallen apart completely so far if it hadn't been for him.

Anyway, long story short: I'm really lucky that he was able to see past my flaws (or somehow find them endearing) and embrace the big bundle of crazy that is me, because I have gotten to feel super smart every day for the past sixteen years for choosing to spend my life with someone like him.

Love you, Sparky.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pants.

I have had problems with pants in the past. I have some... digestive... issues, and there has been a lot of pain, bloating, and general discomfort since I was a kid. The constant pressure of a waistband has, on occasion, actually made me throw up. So yeah... pants aren't my favourite. But I've learned to deal with it. I wear yoga pants, I buy stretchy waisted pants, and yeah, my "formal" pants are from a maternity store.

Actually, my hatred of pants has helped me in some ways. For example, I think that I have been far more patient and sympathetic with my children on the issue than I might have been otherwise. You see, they too hate pants.

Both girls have some sensory issues. Things need to be soft. There needs to be a complete absence of tags, itchy bits, seams, and buttons. They can't be too tight in the legs. They don't like them too loose either. They can't be snug in the waist, but they also can't feel like they're shifting. We've solved these problems, up to this point, with a wardrobe of leggings and jogging pants.

Beege is way better than Kee on the issue, because at least she is (mostly) consistent. She wears three pairs of pants. I made them for her, and I should probably make her some more because they're getting worn through at the knees and are a couple of inches too short at this point.

But Kee? She is not consistent. A pair of leggings that were just fine yesterday make her scream when they touch her today. Only one of the two pairs that are pretty much exactly the same are acceptable. Pants that I've avoided because she threw a half hour tantrum last time I suggested she wear them are the only thing that will do right now.

Today, the first actually cold(ish) day of fall, she decided that NO pants were okay.

She needed to wear a skirt with shorts. Why? Because, pants, obviously.

I told her she would be cold. So she got out her snowpants. I reminded her that there was no snow and that it wasn't actually that cold, so come recess time, her legs would get sweaty and stick to the insides, which she hates. She fell in a heap on the floor an lay there for ten minutes. I suggested she wear proper pants again. She balled her fists and glared at me. I'm very proud of myself -- I didn't yell. I told her that my reasons for wanting her to wear pants were all very logical, and had to do with her comfort throughout the day. She told me that she needed to wear the skirt "because it's pretty." I told her that in the end the decision was hers, and I laid out my arguments again.

In the end, she went with the skirt. I let her. If I'm lucky, she'll remember being chilly at recess the next time this comes up, and decide to be practical all on her own. I'm probably going to get a note home about how the weather is changing, and I should ensure that she wear appropriate clothes to school. I probably won't write back that they're lucky she's wearing any clothes at all.

But really, they are.