10 September 2011

Saturday score

shopping actually brought me joy today!

we woke up to a lovely day outside and the need to get a few errands done. we drove over to dartmouth in order to get several things done in one stop. first we hit up kent (a "home depot" equivalent) for a few odds and ends that would make apartment life easier and more comfortable (better faucet sprayers, hooks for the kitchen, a wrench, light bulbs, etc). while we were there i was reminded how totally awesome home improvement stores are for kids (the showroom displays, tools, fun carts, buckets of little things to pick up and contemplate, brooms to push, etc)! of course she got a little dusty, but X had a blast. i think we are going to find some little projects to do this winter just so we have somewhere moderately fun to go on the weekends and let X burn off steam. we also happened upon some cute animal wall decals and dry erase wall art. fun additions to the apartment for all!

after all the home improvements fun, we crossed the parking lot to the store called "tag". their kids clothes are different and fun and brightly colored. i found two cute striped shirts for $7 each and some funky, bright socks. and then it was lunch time, so said the grumpy toddler. we drove back in to halifax and picked up some lunch. on our way home we spotted a yard sale going on at the YMCA. we saw an easel/chalkboard! dave took X home in the stroller while i bought and carted the easel ($5!) to the car. it had been on our list of things we were wanting to get for her, so i was glad to find it cheap. i cleaned it up at home while she ate lunch and for the rest of the afternoon she was asking for chalk and to "draw, draw, draw."

nap time finally hit and dave went out to get fixings for grill pan pizza. our yummy pre-football game dinner. as game time neared i took over X duties while papa watched the game on his computer. he was lucky to be able to catch the first night game at the Big House and see a cloooooooose game won by his beloved wolverines (indeed, they are my beloved wolverines too, but i havent been able to watch them on tv in years, so ive been a little detached lately. unfortunately.).

04 September 2011

No laboring this weekend

perfect timing to spend a weekend relaxing in nature with friends.

baby friends emily and craig (son: rowan) invited us to their cottage for the weekend. yes please! i was excited but didnt have much time to devote to thinking about it beforehand. the week preceding the weekend was filled with sleepless nights and babysitting/work adjustment (i bumped up to 50% at work on sept 1). in fact, the friday before we left was a colossally crappy day for me (thus packing and detailed planning didnt get done). i really needed a vacation. enter, saturday...

woke up on saturday and lit a fire under our butts, hoping that the day would fall in line with our wants. we turbo packed the car, grabbed burritos on the way out of town, and drove up to the shubenacadie wildlife park. the park was 40 minutes away, and our hope was to break up Xs  drive with something fun (and tiring) so that she wouldnt be too grumpy about a long-ish car ride. it worked!

we had been to the wildlife park once before, in the winter. it was nice to go then, but it was lovely to go this time. X LOVED the birds (geese, ducks, swans, peacocks). we even let her feed the ducks, she didnt even cry when one nipped her finger. we also got to see foxes, porcupines, otters, and a bear (he was awake and sitting right next to the fence!). a train went past the park while we were there and blew its horn (which X loved) and the wolves started howling to the tune of the train whistle. i was thoroughly amused. the park was a great place to spend an hour-ish. the weather the great and it wore X out...somewhat. she still had energy left to chase the poor peacock around the parking lot.

(X and the swans; cute and active porcupines)

but, after a diaper change we loaded her in the car for a nap. she cried about it for 10 minutes and finally fell asleep. 45 minutes later we pulled in to the drive of our friends cabin (near durham). i felt all my stress melt away at the mailbox. their property was gorgeous: expansive, riverfront, wooded yet open. simple, quiet, peaceful. this was relaxation. they had a main cottage, a bunkhouse, and a shed. the screened-in porch, fire pit, and hammock all screamed my name. they had a nice little rocky beach on a brackish river that only had a few other houses in sight. X was in heaven. catching toads, throwing stuff in the water, climbing on the tree stump, playing in the hammock, and hanging out with a dog friend and new people (and new toys). for the most part, she avoided/ignored little rowan which seemed just fine with him. it will be interesting to see the age when kids actually start playing together.

after dabbling in all the activities the property had to offer, X settled on becoming obsessed with the hammock. she very quickly got comfortable in it and learned the word "hammock." then she wanted to swing in it all night long. she also got her first experience with a bonfire, and dave roasted her a couple marshmellows (that she shared with me). she wasnt greedy about them, but of course she did seem to enjoy them. she went to sleep at 9p (early night!) while being rocked in the hammock to the sounds of nature.

(emily [yup shes preggo with #2!] and rowan in the river; X and her beloved hammock!)

the hammock did wonders for me as well. i felt like me again. the peaceful, no expectations, no plans, no stress atmosphere was completely entoxicating and contagious. my brain really needed this type of getaway after the week of terrible sleep and stress i had had. things were very, very pleasant. X even slept fine by herself in the bunkhouse for a while so we were able to chat, adults only, around the fire for a while. it was really nice.

we slowly woke up in the morning (X promptly asked for more hammock) and chomped into some bacon and eggs and toast. then we suited up for a short family canoe ride. X liked the water but hated the life jacket. hopefully she'll be happier about it as she gets older. we hung out by the shore after the boat ride, throwing rocks, and then we headed up for lunch. easy sandwiches and babies playing. is was lovely. after rowan went down for a nap, we had our last chat and relaxation session with craig and emily. a bonus of being with them was that we got to have "totally honest about parenting" discussions. another great way to keep the weekend stress-free.

(X and rowan on the "beach"; X in her life jacket, ready for the boat; throwing rocks; bringing styx to the river...)

needless to say, we were a little sad to have to leave the cottage environment and head back to the city. but we are totally inspired to rent a cottage next summer, should we find ourselves still here. cottage life is the first MAJOR incentive i see to life in nova scotia. very different from the "up north" experience in michigan. most people take cottages within an hour of their house here (preferably 30 or so minutes away...can you imagine?). the land is cheap and spacious and you unplug and unwind without hardly a soul around you. its part of "the canadian dream" i suppose. and i can get on board with that.

anyway, the time came to leave so we loaded X up for her nap and drove back. she napped pretty much the whole ride and was very good. we stopped at an italian market in halifax to get some pizza dough and toppings for dinner and ended our night quite well with an easy, tasty meal. a great weekend. a very great way to wave goodbye to summer.

01 September 2011

Down the osteo-path

visited an osteopath today.

the appointment was for X, with the goal of easing her tummy troubles (and in the process, her sleep issues). i had heard (way back during the newborn stage) that osteopaths can REALLY help with colicy babies. but, we figured out her dairy thing early enough that i figured we wouldnt benefit further from osteopathy. plus, X never had the typical colic behaviors.

anyway, during my birthday massage the therapist suggested an osteopath (again) for X (yeah, i chat through my massages, i cant help myself). i decided to find a local practice and make an appointment. the sleep deprivation was becoming too much for me (she had recently even ramped up to 4-6 wakings per night!) and i was tired of being a food detective. you may be wondering at this point about that naturopath (and resulting probiotic treatment) we saw. it seemed to take the night wakings and tummy troubles down a notch but things were still not at a desirable level. plus, i didnt feel i really connected with the naturopath and so i wasnt really interested in going back to her.

so, today was the osteopath appointment. we saw a nice guy who had studied in england and has a daughter close in age to X. after X warmed up to him, he was able to work on her. he said her diapragm was quite tense/tight, the left side of her digestive tract was tight/twisted, and the tissue on/near the skull plates near the vagas nerve were very tight. she didnt seem bothered by him when he worked on her tummy/back, although she was irritated that a stranger was touching her. but when he found the trouble spot on her head...she writhed and squealed. this might sound like a horrible thing that i should have stepped in to stop, but the kind of touch these docs provide is very, very mild, much less pressure than a massage even. he said this reaction was a very classic response you see in colicy babies. anyway, he sang her a song (just a regular kids song, not some mystical hippie chant or anything) and she started staring at him, by the end of the song she had a look on her face of release, and awe. i was impressed. at the end of the session, he said that she had classic colic issues (even though she was now well out of the age of the "traditional" colic period) and osteopathy should be able to take her issues way down. even in just a few treatments.

we shall see how things pan out in the next few days/weeks/sessions but for now i am much more "sold" and confident in this treatment pathway than the naturopath. the practioners confidence and skill was more palpable too. if anyone wants more info about my experience with the osteopath, they can always ask.