Cherry blossoms

Spring is here! A year ago, I was excitedly anticipating baby’s arrival. Spring is when things come to life and bloom. I have always loved this time of the year in Vancouver. If you are visiting or living in Vancouver, you may share this similar love for the city. One of my loves in downtown Vancouver is seeing cherry blossoms.

This year it holds a special time for me because it is Emily’s first time seeing cherry blossoms. I was keenly watching her expression when she saw them. She looked at the cherry blossoms for much longer as this was her first time seeing it. It was a look of wonder. I have so much appreciation for the way she takes a pause and take in her surrounding with curiosity. I can’t convey enough how special this time is for me, nor how that made me feel. She is growing and I am feeling renewed.

I have yet to sit down for a picnic under the cherry blossom. But here are some street names that are top of mind for me for seeing them while walking or strolling with a baby (Haro street between Thurlow down to Denman), and Bute (between Haro to Comox). Am sure there are lots more, I will continue to investigate :)

I also found this website that is dedicated to cherry blossoms in Vancouver and includes some up to date flags on cherry blossom sightings.

There are many resources around on where to find the best spots to view cherry blossoms in the city - but for me personally, I find so much joy by just strolling around the west end because a) this is my neighbourhood and the close proximity is a plus b) it is free I only needed to start walking to enjoy the beauty.

I also happened to travel to Langley that same day and found lovely trees in the neighbourhood (there was even one that was burned in my mind as I was out for a walk with my husband. I wish I took a photo. It was a sole cherry blossom tree in all its glory) - I don’t suggest at all that you should have to go to downtown from point A and point B only. You can start to enjoy wherever you are - right now :)

Indoor play areas for babies in downtown Vancouver

I only saw a handful of kids at my old building and came to conclusion that kids and downtown living do not mix. Since becoming pregnant, I started to have an eye for that mom or dad pushing their baby stroller or carrying a little one. I am about 9.5 months into my maternity leave and it just flew by! I would attribute part of the fun to indoor play areas in downtown Vancouver. Here are some places that provide great indoor play areas and activities for babies in downtown.

  1. Vancouver Public Library (Central Branch) - I love the Central Branch. I wrote about my love here. What is not to love? They have regular babytime which consists of rhymes, dance and storytelling. It is a great place to meet up with other new moms (as new moms, you are on your baby’s schedule! so going when you can is amazing!) I had very limited nursery song knowledge before, and since coming here I’ve come home with more songs and games to play with Emily. Great place for your little one to interact with other babies. And of course, the books!

  2. YMCA -the family development centre has regular drop in schedules for babies and toddlers; anywhere from play time, little chef (where kids get to help prepare food), music and dance.

  3. West End Community Center / Joe Fortes Library Branch - similar to the babytime at Central Branch. You can drop in for nursery rhymes, dance and a bit of baby play time afterwards.

  4. Coal Harbour Community Center - I took Emily here for the first time when she was 4 months and just about to crawl (funny enough, she crawled before sitting up properly). I learned here that she likes balls! She was so determined to follow them. I didn’t have a ball at home! You learn something new and get your baby to try new toys. Babies get to see and play with each other too!

  5. Yaletown Community Center - I have not been here personally as it is a bit further from me, but I have heard good things from other moms.

  6. Gordon Neighbourhood House - still on my to check out list!

For a consolidated list, I regularly check out this website: letsgobaby.ca

Happy eating with baby

At around 4 months, Emily started showing interest in food - but she was not quite sitting up well, plus I was following current recommendation to start at 6 months. Even then, every time she sees us eat, she would stare so hard as if wanting to eat and I would feel so bad (I remember seeing her mouth move in a chewing motion as I eat in front of her!) So as of her half birthday, we celebrated by giving her first meal. We were looking forward to this day. My husband was to feed her as we were not successful in getting her to take the bottle. We were beaming with excitement, and as my husband was about to give her her first spoon, she took hold of the spoon before it reached her mouth and took it in her mouth instead! So this baby is very interested in food right off the bat, we’re lucky in that department. Here are some things we do on the daily basis that I believe help foster happy eating with baby.

  1. Eat together as a family - it may not be possible at all times, but for the meals that you can, eat together at your dining table if it's breakfast and/or dinner. I am currently on maternity leave which I am fortunate to have time to dedicate to making warm meals 3x a day. It is not easy but I am enjoying the process. Most days, we all get up around 7am based on baby’s wake up time and we’re usually able to sit down and have our breakfast. Baby knows that once we put her in her highchair that it is eating time. She also knows that I or both my husband and I will be beside her eating as well.

  2. Eating time - dedicate these moments as eating time. I have once recorded Emily eating from start to finish for one of her meals, and it only took about 10 minutes. I wish it was longer! She is eating mostly puree, at times playing with her food, swinging the spoon, banging the spoon on her table. Mess on the floor, leave it for now. Just enjoy these moments - this is them learning.

  3. Give control to baby - I have only observed my child. I find the best outcomes when we give her control of how she eats. We scoop a spoonful of puree food for her and leave it on her table, she picks it up and feeds herself. It is such a joy to watch! I do feel a bit sad that she doesn’t need me to feed her, but on the other hand, I can respond to what food she seems to like more of, stopping when she is full, etc. I feel it is my job to allow her to experience the best meals (health wise as possible, now taste wise - that’s a different story, as I am still levelling up my cooking skills :D)

  4. No distractions - Turn off TV or devices. Cultivate an environment that is relaxing for eating. Babies are just like us, if we are plopped in front of a device or tv, we’re not really paying attention to what we eat or the process of eating. We also miss out on the joy of the company of others.

  5. Celebrate - it is such a joy to watch your baby eat that we can’t help but praise her. We probably look overbearing to others, but every time baby feeds herself, I can’t help but jump up and down (I usually clap and say “bravo!” or “such a good baby”, “super baby!”, “woohoo!”)

Would like to learn more tips on happy eating with baby, feel free to share.

About 1 week into eating solids…she doesn’t look that happy here, but she is a happy eater!

About 1 week into eating solids…she doesn’t look that happy here, but she is a happy eater!

Potty training at 7.5 months?

Nope not trying to be controversial here in the potty training world. But this afternoon, my sister dropped us off back at our apartment, and she noticed some tell tale signs of baby needing to go. She took her diapers off and took her to the toilet just like that. Baby just went and went and voila…joined my sister to do a happy dance and that was it. Baby looked so happy!

I tried to get baby another time in the toilet but I was too late.

So I’ve been looking up some potty toilet for the little one.

Am looking at the IKEA one and on this one from Amazon.

My criterias:
a) easy to clean (least amount of parts),

b) easy to store/travel with

Update: Writing this update Jan 24, 2019 (about 2 weeks since I’ve been putting her on potty). I try to catch her when she is grunting/quiet with a long stare and I take her diapers off and let her sit on the toilet. So far, everyday except 1 day she has been going to the potty.

Here we go 2019!

Hello 2019! I am looking forward to 2019. A few themes I want to live by in 2019 (FFF! my three Fs below)

Feeling Fab

  • Do things that make me feel fab both physically and mentally - top of mind on this is cleaning my closet. I have this thought of going to an even smaller wardrobe size. I don’t want to get carried away and not have anything, but I am leaning towards a capsule wardrobe . I already have a relatively small wardrobe, but I feel change is inevitable.

  • Back strengthening exercise 15 minutes daily

  • Swim 1x a week

  • Write 1x a week

  • Sew 1x a month

Family

  • Home made meals: I want to cultivate a home that is cozy and where myself and my husband are eating well. So far my go to meals are ginger beef, veggie kale soup, and coronation chicken. I have also tried a few new dishes - ramen, spaghettini with pesto sauce, broccoli tuna casserole. Also tried baking sugar cookies for the first time (now why I waited until 2018 is a shame :D). For the upcoming year, I would like to try: freeze make ahead pizzas, garlic prawns, overnight oats, granola bars and make more snacks.

  • Family trip - am planning a trip to Japan with my husband, baby and my sister and her family in early May. This is the only big trip planned for the year and also prior to me returning to work.

  • Memory keeper - take longer videos, talk less in them and let the voices around me be captured.

  • Connect - call and connect with my family better. I deleted my facebook app recently, and I already feel less of a slave to my phone, of course there are still other distractions in there, but I look forward to filling my time with phone calls/facetime with loved ones.

Finances

  • Budgeting - track our budget better. So far we have made improvements in simplifying finances. 2019 will be the year of Hawkeye watching since I am still on mat leave.

  • Saving - listing out our savings goal for the upcoming year..and guess what, crushing them!

That is all for now :D