Thank you 2018!

What an incredible year it has been! So many to be thankful for. I am deeply touched by the blessings I have experienced this year:

  • First, my daughter is now 7 months old…she is growing very well and that is all I could ask from the universe. I am also grateful that I was able to exclusively breastfeed her for all these times. There were of course many vulnerable moments where I felt low - the recovery pain for weeks, thought my guts were going to spill out (sorry tmi!) post C section, cracked nipples, sleep deprivation, being unable to get out of bed. But all of those are becoming distant memories and the love continues to grow as she grows.

  • We’ve purchased and renovated our home. Wow as if having a kid is not a big enough life event, but these things fell right and more so now that we are settling into our home. Grateful for family - both side of mine and my husband’s who made this all happened for us. Corey, with a big help from his dad and mom, they tackled on the renovation for a month and a half. This makes it so much more special for us. I had a moment where I teared up when I saw my mason jars have their own home. LOL. But in seriousness, I was touched by my husband’s thoughtfulness.

  • Memorable travels. Prague for my sister’s wedding in August, Washington D.C. and North Carolina visiting relatives in October.

  • My husband and life partner. He made our house, but he also makes it our home. I don’t say it, but when he and I put Emily to bed together…when he cleans up every night (even after my mess :D) he does so wholeheartedly and with eagerness (and efficiency). Meegwetch.

This evening, after Emily’s last nap, we went to Lonsdale Quay and explored the area. My husband wanted a family outing and North Van is always a treat with the seabus portion especially. We were actually at the tail end of the Quay hours, Corey had wanted to explore the upstairs of the Quay - I was, as usual, overly cautious and already shutting down the idea, thinking that all the stores would be closed. But we did explore the upstairs and first thing was a play corner. What a treat! I mean in our pre-parenting life, this would have been out of our radar, but what a joy that place was and the children and parents there. We quickly got Emily out of her bear suit and she knew it was game time! She is such a social baby and she doesn’t go for toys, but she loves to greet other babies with her squeals. The one boy close to her age was in tears however when the said squeal perhaps was too much for him. Anyways, the parents have a laugh. There was another baby that didn’t seem to mind. Babies are funny. My highlight were the other girls (about 4-5 years old) and one of them had pretty braids and immediately shown Emily so much love…asking her to play, carrying Emily..it just warmed my heart the same way I see Emily with her cousin.

We went home, put Emily to sleep, ordered pizza and called it a night. I really could not have asked for anything better!

On reducing waste

I saw a post about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and what an incredibly shocking thing. If you haven't heard of it or read about it - read about the clean up here.

As clean as most streets of Vancouver are, there's so much excess and waste around us. Anyone else feeling this way? I was already feeling guilty about this - that cup of coffee, those excess plastic covering, the packaging from take out. Now I feel even more mom guilt about this between those diapers that we go through like hotcakes. 

I am making changes in how we live. 

  1. Bring your travel mug - I don’t know why I haven’t done this in the past, but bringing your travel mug everywhere is simple. My first thought is to actually only drink coffee if I can sit down and enjoy it. However now I do value having that to go mug not just for portability but also to minimize spills. I make sure to clean it and prop it in my baby stroller every evening so that I don’t forget it.

  2. Dining in - by default, it is hard to eat out with a newborn - so I upped my meal prep game weekly. I already see the benefits both on waste and  Gone were the days that me and my husband would eat out or order take out 3-4x a week, on certain occasions we still do, but not in the frequency we used to. This has an immense impact already in the single use packaging and throw aways.

  3. Buying bulk-ish - stocking up on certain cleaning items and purchasing larger quantity where storage could fit them rather than purchasing these items every so often. My recent bulkish purchase was a dish soap (4L) and laundry detergent from a local small business owner. 

  4. Refill - about 6 months ago, I've started to purchase refill for soap, shampoo and etc. at refill stores in Vancouver. I have only been to the Soap Dispensary. There is another store that opened recently called Nada. My trips to these stores are limited in that I allocate time to go there as it involves 10 minute drive, therefore I need to be as precise in what I buy and only go there first thing when they open.

 

 

 

Vancouver Public Library - a gem!

A library review here! I know right, who reviews libraries? me! I was simply blown away by the services offered at the Vancouver Public Library - what a gem! Today, when baby woke up after her mid-morning nap, I quickly looked up the schedule for baby play/sing time. There was one at 11:30am at the Central Branch and so I was able to get ourselves ready and get there in time. I’ve been to a sing/play time, but the 11:30am one has more attendees. It was great! I remembered some of the songs from last time. Most especially, I got to sit beside another mom and our babies were looking at each other as if mesmerized that another one just like her is here on earth. Babies are miracles! It was such a fun thing to watch - babies excited to see other babies. What do babies think? What if we as adults get just as excited to see each other, wouldn’t that be a great thing?

I also just found out today that there are baby books in different languages and one of them is Tagalog. I quickly looked for the Tagalog section and borrowed a handful to read to Emily. I got some of the French books as well, will have to learn how to pronounce the words.

Finally, we checked out the newly opened rooftop. What a gem! It was a beautiful fall day, warm sun, bright blue sky, trees with golden leaves that are just about to let go in the wind.

We are definitely coming back again. The great thing about baby time is there are different times at different days that may fit outside of baby’s nap time.

Happy Thanksgiving

Today we celebrated thanksgiving weekend. First, a trip to my sister where my niece showered Emily with affection. It really is the best thing in the world. I would always remember my niece’s reaction when she saw baby “enemy” (she pronounced Emily as “enemy”) on a video chat and my niece said “wow” under her breath. Ever since then, she constantly asks for baby Emily - to hold her, spend time with her. She adores her! My brother in law also always cooked amazing meal - roast beef, and the perfect chicken. I am quite inspired to make whole chicken after our lunch.

In the evening, we went to my husband’s brother’s place - where everyone brought a dish. Where to even start, we had some Chinese food, turkey, perogies and appies. We had a great time catching up with families we haven’t seen in awhile. And thankful for the love they shower to Emily.

I want to thank family, friends near and far as I feel so blessed to have wonderful people around me. I can’t help but feel overjoyed as well that this thanksgiving is my daughter’s first thanksgiving - it truly is life changing that though thanksgiving happen every year, this year is all the more special because she is in our lives. I pray for more moments such as this. Thank you. Meegwetch.

Traveling with a newborn

I have to say that I was on the fence about taking a newborn on an international flight. I have to be honest that if it wasn't my sister's wedding, I may have opted out of long haul travel as we were still getting used to our new lives. We truly wanted to be there as I know that family get togethers are rare and this is a very special moment in our lives. We traveled to Prague from Vancouver with a 3 month old baby. It was approximately 15 hours flight with two transfers.

And guess what?

We had an incredible time! It was heart warming to be around my family, meeting my brother-in-law's family and surprising my younger sister especially. Baby did fabulous! I have to credit some of the prep work and checklist below. 

I strive to carry key items only though there were things we didn't end up using. I've updated my list below and marked with (x) the ones we did not use, but I felt was nice to have and maybe useful on another trip.

Key is: Imagine logistics from leaving our place on the Monday morning - cab to airport, terminal to gate, when to feed and change, what we should wear to be comfortable, etc.
One Must Have: Humour (take it anywhere you go and it's free)! I am blessed to have a husband who just finds humour in everything because some things do not go as planned (miscommunication with the cab, very tight 1 hour layover between landing and departure at Frankfurt, sketchy apartment which I booked etc.)

IMG-20180905-WA0007v3.jpg

Pre-Departure

  • Plan Itinerary
  • Passports
  • Currency Exchange
  • Airport map look up - map out route for terminal transfers
  • Amenities - look up hospitals
  • Advance booking - car service, hotel, restaurants, shows
  • Unlock phone - pre-order SIM card
  • Device Back up - phone pictures, clear space, bring extra microSD cards
  • Adaptor

Airport

  • Gate check stroller and car seat
  • Bag for the car seat - If you don't have a car seat cover, at the check in counter, ask for an oversized plastic bag you can use to cover the car seat. Minimize those germs exposure for the baby. Save this bag as other airports did not have it. 
  • Asked for 'assist' - gate check lady made a note to have someone help us with transfer upon arrival in Frankfurt. This made our 1 hour connection possible.

Airplane

  • Carry on: 1 Backpack each person
    • diapers X 30
    • wipes
    • onesies X 4 
    • wet bag/garbage bags
    • burp cloths/muslin
    • toy
    • save offline songs Emily love
    • carrier (I-angel, Sollywrap) (x)
    • sunhat (x)
    • phone charger
    • baby bottle (x) 
    • pump (x)
    • water bottle
    • snacks and food
    • extra clothes for parents
       
  • Checked Bag
    • Clothes
    • Diapers
    • Shoes
    • Outfit planned for trip plus extras
    • Gifts
    • Baby Tylenol
    • Thermometer
    • Home reminder: wall flower decals that Emily love, baby book (x)

Should you book a bassinet? In my experience, no - it is not necessary. On our flight back, we booked a bassinet which was free for 1 parent, but an additional ~$150 one way for the other parent. We flew Air Canada Rouge coming back, and frankly, the plane was much smaller than our initial flight. There really wasn't much of a leg room and the bassinet for the baby (once attached) didn't allow room for me to move from my seat. I would say, check the type of plane you have (if it's the larger planes, those may be worthwhile paying extra). Another thing I didn't appreciate was you lose the ability to have your backpacks under the seat, so every time we need an item - we have to keep opening the cabin storage above us.