Saturday, January 13

2018 Goals, 2017 Reflection

A new year is like the first clean page of a sketchbook. So wonderful and so exciting :) Ps. this post is a long one!

A lot of people would have to say that the beginning of the year is like any of time, but I think it's a great time to reflect and set goals - even if none of them happen, just the process of setting goals is a great habit, or I think so.

I am notorious for setting goals and not following through - you can just take a gander in my art room at all the half finished projects. I am someone who gets excited at 'starting' something... and then if that something takes a bit too long, then I get bored and start something else that's exciting again. I know this is me, and I'm okay with it. Sometimes things actually get finished, sometimes not for awhile, sometimes never.

Lets reflect on last year first:

Last year was especially tough for goals - I had a lot of creative milestones I was hoping to work on - some really big projects. And then we were blessed with our pregnancy. I don't want to make this sound like I wasn't thrilled - we were so thrilled. We were actually just about to start the steps needed to get accepted at a fertility clinic (yes, we had been trying a long time). But that also meant, that I did not figure a pregnancy into the equation until at least mid year. But then we 'caught'. It seemed like such a beautiful fluke - like we won some sort of lottery. I honestly did not believe it. I had only gotten my cycle twice that year (part of our problem), and hadn't gotten it since the previous early fall. I had gotten in the habit of peeing on a dollar store stick every Friday morning 'just to be sure' I wasn't pregnant, since I had no period to 'skip' - this allowed me to enjoy my wine and sushi more comfortably knowing for sure when I wasn't pregnant. 

But then one Friday, after peeing on the stick, I noticed the faintest line - I actually didn't believe it. I must have peed on all the sticks in the house, and then purchased a couple of those really expensive ones just to be sure before telling James. I didn't want to get his hopes up. We were pregnant. So super early pregnant. The digital stick said 1-2 weeks; and the pee sticks were so faint, you had to hold them up to the light just right. PS. those cheapo dollar store tests worked just as well as the fancy ones...and a little disclaimer: they are the same ones they use in the hospital. Don't waste your money on fancy ones until you get a slight reading on those.

We were pregnant. And honestly all my 'big plans' were still going to happen, or so I thought. The pregnancy was a fabulous one, only the slightest bit of nausea in the evening for a few weeks - but no morning sickness / vomiting. And then I felt perfectly fine the whole way through. But I felt no creative drive. No sense of wanting to create. It was weird. I was busy enough with everything: work and the nursery. But doing the nursery DIY's was hard. I just didn't feel the urge. And I had a hard time thinking up ideas. I also didn't have the urge to play in my gardens. I wasn't lazy, not at all - Chewie (our dog) and I went for endless walks. I did tons of outdoor maintenance things. Washed our vehicles. Just no creating.

So the year of 2017 was not a creative one. I can count on one hand how many times I pulled out my paints. How many times I doodled in a sketchbook. It wasn't good. After Jack was born, I still felt that way a bit. I'm only slowly, so very slowly, getting my creative juices back. I'm hoping that Jack sucked up a bunch of my creativity when he was inside me ;)

So now that you understand the lack of content here, and lack of artwork created this past year, lets get to this years goals - and we will keep in mind there is a little boy now that I spend most of my hours with :)

  • Clean out the art studio: When we turned our office / storage room into the nursery, everything got dumped into the art studio with plans to sort through it and organize it later. I wasn't really working in there at the time anyways, so it seemed logical. Now it's just a disaster waiting for me. I'm hoping to clean it out by the end of the month, but it's a slow going process. To feel somewhat productive - as I had other organizing projects I wished to complete - I sorted, cleaned and purged our bedroom, and our walk-in closet has a floor again! 
  • Learn to sew: I acquired a sewing machine from my Grandmother this summer when she moved out of her house into an apartment. I got it in mid-summer, and only opened it up this past week. I've made a bib so far (we will need so many of these, Jack's already a drool-monster), but it wasn't perfect by any means, so I need to practice. I hope to be able to make Jack some pants in a couple months - ones that fit over his cloth diapers a bit better (lots of patterns online for these) :) I also hope to make some baby gifts for my friends and SIL who are all having little ones this year. 
  • Paint again: this one is obvious. I need to pull out my paints again. I want to play with them, maybe develop a new style. I will not have the pressure of the online store and custom orders to take up creative time. 
  • Children's Book: I've always wanted to illustrate a children's book. This may go in hand with developing a new style. My problem with this lies with my current problem of not having much creative drive to think of my own idea. I'm trying to convince my husband to write a storey, and then I can illustrate it. I don't really care to have it 'published'. If it turns out well, I'd likely just put it through Blurb, or snapfish and make some books for Jack and a few of our friends children. 
  • Sketchbook: I just need to take this out more. Jack and I are starting to settle more into somewhat of a routine. This has resulted in housework finally getting done, and our house looking clean on a daily basis. Now I just need to fit in some time for this. Once Jack starts more independent play, I feel I may be able to grab my sketchbook and 'play' while he 'plays' on the floor.
  • Blog more, specifically DIYs: I did a lot of DIY's with Jack's nursery, and will be doing lots when I learn to sew. I'm hoping I can find the time to photograph and share these with everyone. 
  • Relaunch store: While being on maternity leave for the year (thank you Canada for a year off!), I was not able to keep my online store open. That being, I cannot make an income while on maternity leave, as I am getting income in a form of 'unemployment' - that's how it's set up. So I shut it down to not mess with anything. I go back to work end up September, so I'm hoping to 'refresh' the store, and work up to a 're-launch'. I'm not sure if this will be a different style of work all together... I feel like my trees have been copied and spread around so much, they are not that unique anymore, and are 'tired'. We will see. 
So there we have it. Not many goals, but really big, but broad goals. Let's see what 2018 brings! :)

Thursday, January 11

Jack: Month Three

A little late, but Jack turned 3 months on January 3rd.  Over the past month, Jack has consistently been giving this Mommy a full nights sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night is a rare occurrence now - less than once a week. He gets up between 6-730, and will go right back down for another 2-3 hours sleep after eating. I use this time to get him 'back on schedule', or to work the feedings around what we have going on that day - if there are appointments. I'm also going to guess he is around 15-17lbs now (based on our combined weight on our crummy at home scale). He's starting to get some baby rolls, but he is just so long that the weight doesn't make him very pudgy at all.

Our little Lumber'Jack'  :)
Jack is really starting to grab and grip items a lot better this month. He has started to consistently bring them to his mouth to 'eat' them...I know he's not hungry because he does this all the time, regardless. I joke that his cousin Adley, who he met at Christmas, showed him this neat skill.

Jack is really good at supporting his head now, he doesn't need very much help at all anymore. It still wobbles here and there, but for the most part he prefers to be sitting upright and looking around at his little world. He also loves to 'stand' - he will be in the bouncer before we know it! He also really loves to kick.

His favourite thing to do this month: flying in the air - complete with flying sounds.  No matter how grumpy he is, if you 'fly him' and make the noises, by the time you land, he is all giggles and has forgotten to be grumpy. :)

Tuesday, January 2


First I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of family, laugher and twinkling lights! Being Jack's first Christmas, it was extra exciting this year. Jack didn't really know what was going on, being under 3 months old - but it doesn't mean that he wasn't spoiled by everyone! We still have gifts arriving for him. We got gifts for different age ranges, so some will go away for now and come out when he's ready for them. I definitely appreciated that everyone knew that he didn't need tons of toys for now when he just starting to grip things and doesn't really care about them. 

What I loved most about it all was just how cute he was this Christmas - even though he was clueless, hehe.  Now, we did spoil him as well. Totally guilty here. It was just too easy. 

Christmas Morning

Santa brought Jack his first sleigh - and although he can't go in it right this minute, we are pretty sure we can bundle him up into it in a month or so. His neck control is amazing, so we will be able to use it soon, just not right now :) He also got some clothes, books (I love reading to him), and some stuffies. And of course some things he needed - some more bottles, a pacifier holder / clip. 

How can you not just love the cute-factor of the holiday season?! 

I am sad to have to pack up Christmas. There were so many cute baby things that we did, so many photo ops. I guess Valentine's is next on the baby-photography list, and then May the 4th follows ;)

I did a bunch of cute baby crafts with Jack, and I am hoping to share them in another post. I think that was one of the most fun part of the holidays...and will continue to be in the years to come, especially when he can do them himself mostly.

Wednesday, December 13

Jack: Month Two!

Jack was two months on the 3rd of December. He's growing up so fast! The biggest, and best new thing the past month: Jack is smiling and laughing all the time...and it's not just when he's doing number two. He is making lots of noises lately - lots of vowel sounds: ooo's and aaa's. 

Sporting one of our favourites - Doctor Who! Yes, we will be raising our child a little geeky ;)
He just such a happy baby (most of the time).  He's becoming more aware of himself - especially in the bath when he likes to kick water all over me :) He is definitely more alert and responsive to things like lights, noises and funny faces.  He's just so much fun, and is a little more everyday - and a little less of the 'larval phase'. 

Mommy may like the SnapChat filters a bit more these days...
The most exciting news, is that Jack is now sleeping in the nursery in his crib - the transition wasn't even hard - he did so well, and slept just as well there right from the start as he did in our bedroom. I might even go so far to say he's sleeping better... he used to get up once in the night between 3:00-4:00 AM, now he's not stirring until 5:30-6:00 AM. This momma sure appreciates it, and hopes it lasts. Although I know I've been pretty spoiled to have him only wake up once a night from the start. 

Chewie, our huge Bernese Mountain Dog, is starting to come around to Jack a bit more too. I have never seen someone so jealous for attention before. He gives Jack kisses every morning, and always makes sure he is still in the car seat when we come home from our errands - and of course, proceeds to give him kisses. I think he's still not 100% comfortable around Jack because he's so little, but once Jack is moving a bit on his own, and dropping food all the time for the dog, they will become the best of friends. 

Our tooth-less reindeer.... yes, those are Chewie's antlers, but he was more than happy to
pass them up for Jack, hehe. 
We of course have been getting ready for the holidays! We make our first big trip with Jack this weekend, to visit my parents. It's about a 5 hour car ride, but we've been in good in the car since the start. We have been making a few holiday crafts as well as doing numerous holiday photoshoots.... I just can't decide on one picture that I want to take, so I'm taking them all... as he'll only be a baby once. I've already 'pinned' many ideas for next year too when he's able to sit up, and maybe even stand on his own hehe.

Practicing wth our noise-cancelling ear muffs, for when we go to a hockey game in the new year.
Luckily, he doesn't mind them at all :) 
In terms of everything else, we are still successfully breastfeeding. I pump so he can still have the one bottle at night, to stay used to it. He still takes a soothie as well, but does not 'depend' on it - sometimes he wants it, sometimes not. He is now 13.6 lbs (mid-high percentile), and 24.5" (top of the charts). So he is growing very well - despite his weight, his height makes him tall and lean. We have had him in 3-6 month clothing for the past two weeks - because he's just so long.

We have been cloth diapering, successfully, for the past month. It isn't even "hard", and I can't imagine not using cloth - it's so easy, and just makes sense to us.  He sort of 'smells funny' when he's in disposables -  guess it's the scent in them. I sort of wish more people knew how easy it was: I think they're just scared of the extra laundry, and 'touching poop' - but it's really only an extra 20 minutes, maybe of folding and I have yet to touch poop while changing a diaper...but I don't want to be pushy ;) I have one friend who wants to learn about it once she starts having children, and I guess I'll leave it at that - I'll have newborn diapers for her to borrow, and then she can decide. But when people - who doubted it - ask about it, I do sing it's praises - but I do still get weird looks about it.

 I purchased more of my favourites during the black friday sales, and now we have a good 'stash' that I don't have to scramble to do laundry every other night - we have lots more wiggle room :) And many, many more cute prints! The hardest part is trying to stick to 'somewhat' gender neutral prints - since he is our first, and we've had plans for more than one, I'm hoping to use these diapers with future kids as well Hello?! Can you say 'free diapering' for future children?!  Of course, there are always new and super cute prints, I'm sure I will pick up more as time goes on....

Well, that is Jack's two month update! I have been hoping to share some other posts, some DIY's... they are honestly all half photographed and half written. I just have to find time to do the rest of them hehe.

Friday, November 10

Nursery Series: Woodland Forest Mural

We unfortunately, did not get any super awesome photos of the wall before we filled the nursery with baby stuff.
I knew from before we were even pregnant, that when we did the nursery that we would paint a mural. I searched and search on Pinterest, and other websites for inspiration and ideas. I ended up starting with one image that I saw, and then searching based on that one to find inspiration that was more in line with our nursery design plan, the general Woodland theme. I knew I wanted greens and aquas, even some blues - despite that we were 'Team Green' and did not know the gender then (we had a little boy), I absolutely love those colours, so even if we knew, I don't think it would have changed this plan at all.
  • Our layers are, in Beauti-Tone paint:
    • I See Blue (Base wall colour)
    • I See Blue + Ainslie's Aqua; ~ 2:1
    •  Ainslie's Aqua (Small can)
    • Calmness (going into greens) (Small can)
    • Calmness + Cute Pixie - not sure of the ratio, I started 2:1, but it wasn't dark enough, so added a bit more Cute Pixie. 
    • Cute Pixie (large can, it took so much to get it solid).
 The most important part, was ensuring that with the paint that we mixed, that we mixed enough as we would never be able to mix that exact shade again. I used old measuring cups to get a general 2:1 ratio, but having painted so much in my life - I know the slightest change in ratios can really change a colour, and I feel on a big wall, it would be easily noticeable. Always add the dark colour to the light colour, in small amounts. A little dark colour can really change a light colour, but you need a lot of a light colour to change a dark colour.

An easy way around that is to just purchase all the shades, but we needed so little for each layer, that it just seemed like a waste of money. I could have mixed just the main light blue to the main dark green to save even more money, but I really wanted a more true green for the lower part. I put left overs of the mixes into very tightly sealed mason jars, in case we need for touch ups in the years to come - as I mentioned before, we would never be able to mix those colours perfect again.

An important note: paint dries darker than it is wet. When the layers were wet, they sometimes look very close to each other, sometimes even the same as the prior layer - and then dried darker. This sort of can mess with you when you are just trying to get subtle shade differences - what I did was just put a small 'swatch' of the paint on the lower part of the wall that would be covered with the dark green, and blow dried it to see how dark it would dry.

The final layer, the dark green, took a lot of coats of paint to get solid and get rid of patchiness. That's just the nature of a dark colour I guess. It was also sort of frustrating, but we eventually got it all even looking. It was especially hard with the trees where we had to use a paint brush.
Super pregnant with Jack :)
 I was fortunate that my husband was 100% on board with this idea. I was working night shifts the week we started the mural. I would come home in the morning and draw a mountain "line" on the wall with a light pencil...and then he would paint it that morning / evening... then it would be dry the next morning when I got home, and I would pencil out the next layer. We used a brush for the 'line', and then a roller for the rest, trying to get as close to the line as possible with it, for the most even coat - obviously harder with the trees.

When we got to the trees, I painted the first coat to get the tree shapes down - I thought it would be too much trouble to draw then out with pencil. That also meant there was no return... I was so incredibly nervous starting this layer - so worried I would mess up the awesome work we had done so far. I started with the tiniest tree. But, once that was done, James painted over it - 4 or 5 times? - until it was even.

I'm so very happy with how it turned out! Once I'm done sharing the other DIY's, I'll share the finished nursery :)

Monday, November 6

Jack: Month One!

Our little moose, Jack, is a month old! The time just flew! We cannot believe how much he has already changed - in his looks, personality and developing mannerisms.

He's found his thumb this month - something we are trying to keep on top of, he does get a pacifier for our sanity :) He is working on his smiles, and he's starting making some new noises. He loves being held in the upright position where he can look around - from day one, he has been lifting up his head. He's also got his hand grip down pat - lacking coordination still, and of course does not have the 'release' figured out... my hair has been caught in those tricky hands a couple times.

We also celebrated his first halloween, we dressed Jack as a Lion with a crochet lion hat that I made for him. He wasn't as cooperative for that photoshoot as he was for his one-month photos:

Our friends and family really enjoyed this... expressive.. photo of dear Jack. I'm still pretty grateful we got a smile for his one month photo hehe. :)

I must say, Jack has given me plenty of opportunity to play with my DSLR camera, and with Photoshop - I've been learning so much! :) 

Tuesday, October 17

We Have A Baby!!

Jack at almost 2 weeks of age.
Our baby bear finally decided to grace us with his presence :) Baby Jack was born on October 3rd at 4:00pm. Measuring in at 8.95lbs and 23 inches! He was 5 days overdue.

We went into labour late in the evening on the 2nd - it started off with just what felt like Braxton Hicks, but they became regular at 5 minutes for over an hour, so I called L&D as I wasn't sure and they recommended I come in and get checked out. They confirmed that they were indeed contractions, so I got to stay. By morning when my doctor came in,  I was dilated a good 4-5cm, so they broke my water - which made the contractions worse, but I was able to hop in the shower and clean up and the hot water was soothing. I was happy that we did the 20 minute drive while I was not having any pain - I couldn't imagine the drive with full contractions. 

Things just progressed more and more through the afternoon - it was uncomfortable, but manageable with the resources they had available : birthing ball, tub, nitrous gas ect. We gave birth at birthing center, and the nursing care and support was just amazing.  I think that really made a difference - I had always thought that I would be demanding an epidural right away, but we did it without one... and I will 100% attribute that to the support from the nurses and my husband, as well as my very calm and confident doctor. Although, I'll admit the last half hour I was really wondering if it was a good idea. But we did it! I had back labour, so I was most comfortable standing and leaning forward - two things I would not have been able to do if I had an epidural: lying on my back and sitting were the worse when I was labouring. My husband was a tremendous help, applying counter pressure when needed to help through the harder contractions and just amazing overall support.

It got real around 1 in the afternoon, and by 2 we were in hard labour - pushing hard for about 2 hours. Finally Jack, stubborn as he was, came into the world at a very precise 4:00pm with the help of some vacuum assistance after 18 hours of labour. He did not make it easy, that is for sure - but he was completely worth it :)

Because it was a birthing center, we had a huge room to ourselves, with our own bathroom facilities, microwave and everything. I got to stay in the same room where I labored and gave birth to Jack - so it was nice that we could settle into a room and not worry about being moved around all over.

Day One
By the way - those wondering about 'old wives tales' while I was pregnant (we didn't know the sex of our baby during the pregnancy):  majority of the 'tests' said we would be having a girl - James actually almost didn't believe it when he announced that it was a boy - he 100% thought it was a girl. Also, I had zero heart-burn / stomach issues, ect - despite how much hair Jack has. And for those super concerned about pregnancy weight - I was all baby. I gained 20lbs during this pregnancy, and when I left the hospital, we carried almost 9 lbs of that home (baby Jack), and the rest we left there, I came home to pre-pregnancy weight. So moms - do not fret about your weight :)

Jack at one week - I know he's crying, but I love how this photo caught so much expression.
Jack has been doing well, Oreo (cat) and Chewie (dog) are still adjusting, but coming around. He's feeding like a champ, so we have been able to breastfeed exclusively so far. We've introduced one bottle at night, so dad can do a feeding, I can sleep a bit more, and to prep Jack for if there's a reason I can't breastfeed him. We introduced the soothie the second night for our sanity, and it has been a blessing, and there has been zero nipple confusion - our nurse pretty much told us to 'do us', and not to worry about the whole nipple confusion 'ridiculousness' as she refereed to it hehe. We have also started introducing some cloth diapering this week, started yesterday, now that I can move a bit better and have a better handle on the feeding and such. So far I've just done some prefolds and covers - and no leaks or problems (yet). I have some other diapers to try in the smaller sizes - he's not far away from the one-size diapers though with his big birth weight.