Friday, 13 October 2017

• What's In My Diaper Bag •

Being a first time mum I want everything to be pristine, organized to perfection & easily accessible. That would be considered a miracle right?! Unrealistic expectations of motherhood. I can try my best though! I have partnered with TWELVElittle to show you what is inside the First Time Mum's diaper bag and to show you this beautiful unisex bag that is honestly, perfect for that dads out there! So they don't feel a little off carrying a diaper bag that looks like a purse.

When I received the bag my baby brain must have taken over when I was browsing on their site because finding the transportable changing pad inside felt like a little extra gift! This Unisex Courage Backpack in Grey was our first pick from TWELVElittle. Spencer was just as excited as me to receive & review! The adjustable straps make it a breeze for built men to wear. I personally like backpacks fitting nice & snug, however, spence is the opposite. The loose the better! 

Clicking on the photos below will make them larger. :) 

I was pleasantly surprised to see how much this diaper bag could fit! ... A LOT!
  • Diapers - One of each hour you are out & a couple more just in case!
  • Wipes - These are a must! Not only are they good to clean up little one but also multipurpose for anything! Even before we knew little one Young was on the way we bought the Kirkland brand just to have in the truck & various spots for cleanups, dirty hands etc. I personally like to have a portable pack instead of sticking a couple in a plastic bag. That way I can ensure they stay sealed & moist! 
  • Hand Sanitizer - For cleaning your hands in after diaper changes if there is no place to wash them. 
  • Changing Pad - Thankfully TWELVElittle provides one with the diaper bag! Godsend.
  • Plastic or biodegradable bag for soiled diapers & eco-friendly wipes.. Do those exist?!
  • Extra Clothing for your baby or toddler - Just in case a poopsplosion happens and it gets all over their clothing! Also good to change if they spit up.
  • Pacifier if your child uses one.
  • Blanket - blankets or receiving blankets can double as a lot of things. Changing pad, nursing cover, bib, burping cloth, you name it!
  • Sun Screen - to protect little one from the sun.
  • Bottles of formula or breast milk if you're not EBF
  • Teether - If teething or just to play with! 

Extra's for mum & dad

You'll notice how I put the most important at the top ;) 

  • Bottled water
  • Nature Bond Manual Breast Pump Milk Saver Suction
  • Breast absorbent pads
  • Snacks
  • New shirt & pants incase of spit up on or pooped on! You never know
  • Wallet
  • Keys 

Although you see below I have used the cushioned laptop slot for swaddle & some clothes, my husband is pleased that he can take his laptop on the go if need be in the same bag as our sons belongings if he's in a pinch & doesn't have time to pack his other laptop bag! Really great for those fathers who work on the go! 

Having our stroller & diaper bag ready for an outing although little one isn't here just yet has us so excited! We can't wait to go for walks & well, Spencer feeling best about wearing a backpack diaper bag & not a purse when & if he decides to go out on his own with out son.


Monday, 9 October 2017

→ My Maternity Style ←

Being pregnant has been one of the craziest experiences of my life. Not exaggerating at all. I've been through the highs & lows of trying to style my bump! At the beginning of this journey I was told I shouldn't buy too many maternity clothing items because it's expensive & you only wear it for a short amount of time. HOWEVER, when I tried that route I found myself feeling insecure in normal clothing because it didn't fit properly & regardless I would have to buy bigger size to accommodate my growing bump.

I was given a couple of gift cards for my Birthday (May4th) & went on a little shopping spree at Thyme Maternity. It was perfect timing because their summer collections just launched.
You can see my little write up here.

On my first little shop I will say my staple pieces are the Two-Way Maternity Tank Tops. I ended up picking up 2 more black ones and 2 white ones! They come from the Starter Kit which you can check out here. I almost don't go a day without wearing one! I like them under shirts just to feel extra comfy sometimes or just on their own with a blouse over top, like the photos below! 

This is one of my go-to looks, has been throughout the Summer and now Fall. In the Summer I would pair my basics from the starter kit with a different color open blouse or cardigan. Super easy, casual & work appropriate! I also purchased my Thyme Leggings that grew with my growing bump.

Scroll across the photos & tap to enlarge to get a better look! 


Wearing these basics from the starter kit not only give me free range to style with whatever cardi or blouse but also since they are neutrals, they always look go with anything & no one would know even if you just got one tank ;) Minimalism? The illusion! 

With the Fall season here our lovely island (Vancouver Island) is getting some chillier days and I couldn't help but pretty much drool over a couple of pieces from the Fall Collection. This long sleeve henley nursing top being one of them! I thought, heck.. I'll get the larger size to accommodate my bub but also perfect for nursing once he is born. It's super comfy & not to thick but not too thin for this season.
I also purchased a the jeans in the photos below in "Grape Leaf" because I can't get enough of the color! I like how it looks with my hair color. I feel like the shade of green can look good on literally anyone. It's super suiting for the Fall season too! I'd also like to mention that Thyme carries jean sizes up to 4x for plus size mama's. Having the extended sizes really helps branch out to those who once wished for the sizes. Now their reality! The nice thing about these jeans is that they can also be worn after pregnancy as well. So if that doesn't sway you I don't know what does! I love the fact that you're not spending your money just for 9 months of your life and then become unusable afterwards.

The Jeans are great for everyday or you can dress them up! You will see in the next outfit below! I liked to pair my jeans with my casual sneakers when I'm running errands or for when I'm at work! They are super comfy and easy to sit in at the office for a couple of hours. The belly panel is great because I feel like it gives me somewhat of additional support.

One of my favourite pieces from the Fall Collection has to be this sweater tunic it feels a little more dressier for more "formal" occasions. I feel super cute in the tunic because of the cute little sash to show off my growing bump! 
In all honesty I don't think I would have confidently made it through my pregnancy without Thyme Maternity wear. I was complaining at the beginning that I felt frumpy & I plan it all on wearing "normal" clothing that didn't flatter my new body or bump what so ever. I can say that wearing Thyme's pieces has been the highlight to my pregnancy because I felt cute, pretty, confident & overall it made me have even more fun with my pregnancy getting to dress the bump every morning. :) 


If you would like to see previous little looks I've put together while pregnant see below.  


Monday, 2 October 2017

Becoming a mother without a mother.

Sorry in advance if you cry.
Grab a tea, & grab some tissues just in case?

My mum was the kind of mother that everyone wanted. She was immense fun and our house was filled with laughter, kids, animals (gerbils, cats, fish). She never asked people to take their shoes off and always treated each of our friends as her own. As the youngest of out of my brother & I, there was always plenty of our friends around. 
She wasn’t big on routine or rules and she didn’t sit down and spend hours playing with us. She was too busy working full time to keep a roof over our heads. She was our mum and we were #1 priority. Although, work came first because it put food on the table, kept the roof over our heads and when she would have time off, she would watch her game shows and soap operas. (Price Is Right, Young & The Restless) As a result of mum working full time, we learned from our own mistakes and to trust our own judgments, took care of ourselves as much as we could while being young. It was not easy growing up because my father was in & out of the picture constantly. Cheating on my mother & then up and left office when I was 10 or so. Leaving my mom completely heartbroken. My brother & father never got along because of their attitudes clashing and.. well, now that I'm becoming a parent and seeing other father figures treat their sons.. I don't think he really knew how to raise a son who has learning disabilities and not the common knowledge we would normally have. My brother suffers from something called Fetal Alcohol Effects. Impairment in behavioral and cognitive function.
As I am now 24, my brother is 27. He has a beautiful son and his life is on track. However, that wasn't the case growing up without a father and with our mum constantly working. Long story short, I was adopted by my grandparents when I was 12 or 13 and lived with them until I was 18. I then moved off to college. My mum and I always stayed connected and would phone each other every day after school, after work. I still remember her voice "Hi boo boo" or calling my "boob" or our "huggy huggy kiss kiss" at the end of each phone call. Prior to being adopted by my grandparents, I would sleep at friends houses on school nights so I could get to school on time, or get a good nights rest. My brother dropped out in grade 10 and would constantly have friends over and be irresponsible... I wanted to make sure I kept my life on track. Even at such a young age I had to grow up very quickly and look after myself. I didnt have time to be a child. I had to mature rather quickly but that doesn't mean I didn't make bad choices in my adolecent years!

Fast forward,
She died, it happened very quickly. When I was 21 and she was just 61. The months that followed was rather bleak and, when I look back, something of a blur. 2015 was rough. My mother passed away from multiple cancers due to her breast cancer from 2011 metastasizing to her lungs, which then spread to her vulnerable organs. Liver & Kidney. My mums lifestyle was full of chain smoking & drinking heavily ever since she was 16. Don't let her habits hinder her loving, protective side. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and I remember my world just crumbling as I fell to the ground at school when my brother called me to tell me.. My mum didn't have the strength to tell me.. I don't blame her.
Back to 2015... My mum and I talked every day after I got off work. I was working three jobs at the time and would bounce from one to the other. I was on my way to the gym one day after work and my mum calls me crying because she is in so much pain, it was her back, near her kidney. I knew something was wrong. I asked about any other symptoms and my mum being the stubborn woman she was told me she had been urinating blood, could barely eat or even pick up a peanut butter jar because she was so weak. I would have never thought. As soon as she told me she was urinating blood, Spencer and I picked her up and brought her to the hospital. We spent 6 hours in the ER.. After Xrays, scans. It was determined she has spots on her lungs. We knew she suffered from COPD already. We went to the lung specialist the next week. He told us the bad news.. We weren't very shocked we took in the news.. I would be with her every day except on the weekends after work as much as I could.
She called me one afternoon while I was grocery shopping of urinating blood still, but it had gotten worse. I brought her to the ER once again, she needed a transfusion. We also found out she has liquid around her heart in the same visit. It wasn't looking good. This all began in March, ended June 23rd or 22nd..., 2015. I could go on and on about the day to day struggles we faced in the hospital Especially after her liver biopsy but it would be very long. I remember every detail.

From her death came a lot of responsibility. I had to take care of all the legal documentation, make sure things were in order, go to the funeral home, gut out her apartment, you name it.. At 21 years old, I felt like it was a new job. My body was in complete shock. I didn't absorb it all until weeks or months later. I had to get her Will in order, thankfully super simple, I had to make sure loose ends were tied. I didn't have time to grieve it felt. Although, I felt like I grieved properly after the fact. I didn't realize the stress my body was under until 6 months after the fact. I gained 25 pounds, was having digestive issues and had severe health anxiety for a good year and a half. I am assuming this all happened because of the stress my body was under but I was to busy to notice. It was the worst part to it all. I felt responsible for staying in my brothers life and being involved even though thats, not the type of family we were. We had our own lives and if we saw each other every now and then great! I felt a lot of pressure. 

Fast forward to 2017. 
I was totally awestruck and overcome with the responsibility that comes with having a baby, the love, sweat and tears that come with bringing a human being into the world. Now I have a baby on the way, and find myself navigating the extreme and crazy world of motherhood without her. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about her. I can still hear her voice and her beautiful laugh so clearly. But the searing sense of loss has subsided to a dull and (mostly) manageable ache. I cry often because I miss her so much, being pregnant with these hormones too. They don't help.
There are still so many little questions, however, that crop up on a daily basis that I would like to ask her: When did I start walking and talking? Did I use to scream and shout? Is it normal to feel such extreme frustration, boredom and overwhelming love that makes me want to burst in the space of five minutes? Is it really meant to be this hard or, on a good day, this easy? How long is it okay to keep chicken curry in the fridge for before it goes off?
I also miss having someone that puts me first in the way that only a mother can. As much as I love and adore my spouse it does sometimes feel as it's all given. I miss being her child and all the privileges that came with that although she was mostly busy and had other things going on... Having someone to come in and take over when I’m feeling lost. I will never forget when she was in the hospital and I was getting an ultrasound done on my ovaries because of excruciating pain. I was so scared. I went up to her room after my exam was done and cried... She held me in her frail arms and said: "It's my turn to take care of you again, and comfort you."
Being a mum without a mum will not be easy.  I mostly just have to trust my instincts and go with what feels right and, fortunately, I am able to do that because that’s how I was brought up. As a child of the 90’s there was none of this helicopter, totally child-centered parenting and we were more or less left to our own devices. I have adopted a slightly more hands-on, structured approach in keeping with today’s attitudes and expectations. My upbringing was good training for me now though in that I know the buck stops with me, as it were, and I am so grateful to my mum for that. I just wish I didn’t miss her quite so much and that my son had got to meet their other amazing grandmother. 

I'm not totally mum-less but of course, no one can ever replace my own blood mother. Spencer's mum, my mother in law, is one of the most amazing women I have in my life. From day one of Spencer and I being friends than dating she has fed me delicious meals. I'll never forget the first time I had dinner with his family. Homemade chicken pot pie. Mmm! She helped me with the legal side including getting the papers for a Will for my mum. I was very fortunate that Julie got to meet my mum before she passed away. I will always cherish these two women in my life. I also know that Julie will be a big helping hand where ever I need. I am so grateful for my friends that are mums too for the support. <3 It means the world to me.

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