3 months

Little Ollie is growing up right before our eyes. We are really enjoying celebrating his milestones. 

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This last month he’s really started looking at our faces and is really recognizing family. He knows that faces are how we communicate. He scans up your body until you reaches your face then gives the biggest gummy grin. TOO CUTE. 

He’s also getting extremely strong in his legs. He was always really strong and always liked standing up and weight barring. 

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He had his first laugh this month! Daddy and I were playing with him and laughing when all of a sudden he gave a little chuckle. It wasn’t like his usual cooing and talking it was a “HUH HUH HUH!!”. We started laughing and he did it again! Priceless. Then I bawled my eyes out. SLOW YOUR GROWING DOWN, SON.

He’s been sleeping longer and longer at night. He went from 2 feedings at night to 1 to sleeping ten hours straight! It’s been a remarkable month, sleep wise. 

He is SO alert and always chatting away. I love hearing him babble and blow bubbles. He’s  super happy and very calm. He’s happy to just chill out and take in the sights and sounds.

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fail to plan and plan to fail

Husband and I decided to take babyzoid into town. Remember town = a boat ride away. and I’m not talking about a ferry boat here. We take a little pleasure craft across Lake Ontario into Kingston. Don’t ask me about what kind of boat. All that matters is that is floats. 

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So in order to go into town with the 3 month old, we need:

  • stroller
  • car seat
  • diaper bag
    • 3 cloth diapers
    • wet bag
    • 2 changes of clothes
    • blanket
    • sophie
    • sou-sou (sp)
    • pre-pumped milk
  • life jacket
  • ear muffs (boats are LOUD)

Now pre-baby we could decide at the drop of a hat to zip into town for ice cream or grocery shopping. Now I have to do as much planning, packing, and preparing as one would do for a 2 week vacation. Not really, but sometimes it feels like it. 

Now I have to worry about things like: WHAT IF IT RAINS? WHAT IF IT GETS TOO HOT? WHAT IF WE RUN OUT OF GAS FOR THE BOAT? WHAT IF WE CAN’T EVER GET BACK TO THE ISLAND AND HELL FREEZES OVER? You know, regular mom stuff.

But the planning and preparing is essential in order to have a successful outing. If I wake up early and rush around getting everything in order, everyone has fun, no one cries, and we all live to tell the world. Now if I’d wung this trip and didn’t prepare it wouldn’t have been such a success. Invest your time wisely and it will give you a good return! 

 

 

Lately I’ve been feeling like my blog is making a slow transition from Mental Health Advocacy to a Mommy blog. I was starring at the front page of my blog this morning, reading my sub-title: A Mental Health Journey. I started thinking about where this journey has taken me and how proud I am to have gone through what I have and had the good sense to document it. From my highest highs to my down right lows it’s all here. This is me and this is my life. 

Right now I’m in a place where I truly feel I was destined to be. Every morning I am so genuinely thrilled to jump out of bed and get my little buddy out of his crib and cover him with kisses. Sure, there’s moments when you’re in the motherhood trenches when it feels like you’ve given all you’ve got yet it’s still not enough. But then you hold them close and they heave a sigh of relief when they finally settle and they shut their eyes and slowly drift off to sleep with that sweet little baby grin that makes it all worth it. 

So in a way it’s more of a life-with-baby-plus-an-anxiety-disorder blog. It’s a category all of its own. Mommy-hood isn’t all Pinterest perfect moments. It’s crazy. It’s hectic. and if you’re not careful your health can easily take a back seat. 

Changes are on the horizon when it comes to Mr Blog. A new name and a fresh new face is just what the doctor ordered! 

 

Living “Off the Grid”…sorta

At four weeks postpartum I packed up my family into our four-door VW Jetta and hit the road for what’s turning out to be an unforgettable summer. 

It started as wishful thinking. Never did I think we’d actually be able to spend Oliver’s first few months living on our families private island in the middle of Lake Ontario. I was excited to have my due date at the start of summer so a) I wasn’t a massive sweaty blob and b) so we’d get to spend time at the cottage visiting the family. We knew we wanted to come at least for a few weeks… but a few weeks turned into 4 months and here we are! We’ll be on the island until Thanksgiving with a little trip to British Columbia to see my family sandwiched in between now and then. 

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This is my husband's family "cottage"

I’m constantly reminded that what I’ve taken on as a brand new mom is what some people would describe as their own kind of hell. And to be perfectly honest living on an island that is only accessed by boat (& that’s weather dependent) with a 4 week old crying infant would have been my brand of hell only a few short months ago, I must admit. It’s as if motherhood has turned me into a…well…MOM! I’m spending four months with my in-laws with no clean drinking water, spiders, and an outhouse. At two in the morning on any given day of the week you’ll find be rocking a baby to sleep in one hand and with another I’m killing spiders like it’s going out of style. 

What has kept me sane? Here’s what keeps me going on the daily:

1) Coffee.

2) Sharing baby duties with my husband. If I did the night feedings, I get to sleep in and vice versa. 

3) Hobbies/Alone time sans baby. Sometimes my hobbie of the day is sleeping. I’ve also taken up quilting to pass the time.

4) EXERCISE! Everyday I either go for a run, swim, do yoga, or stand up paddle board. 

5) That adorable little baby with his little cheeks and that giant smile he flashes me! 

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Surviving (trying to, at least) Parenthood

The moment that little boy came into our lives, life as we knew it was changed forever. I instantly knew I was exactly where I was suppose to be in life. It was an amazing feeling that I have been striving to find for a long time.

Of course there are moments when my sanity is being tested. I knew being a mom wasn’t going to be a cake walk. I’ve had to really pay attention to myself and my needs because those days I spend alone with baby while daddies at work I can easily forget to eat or even go to the bathroom(!).

For my healths sake, I need to take time for me. Becoming a mommy means I make sacrifices but my health can’t ever be one of them. On the days I know I will be alone I wake up an hour before my husband and shower, throw on a load of laundry, have my coffee, shower and do my hair. When I feel prepared and ready to take on the day, everything just goes smoother.

I know baby Oliver feeds off my moods or at the very least when he’s fussy and my patients is running thin, it just make things that much more difficult. Babies moods depends on my moods.

HAPPY MOMMY = HAPPY BABY

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Our little blue bundle of joy

Before I got pregnant and even in the first few weeks of pregnancy, I thought I understood what it felt like to already love my baby. I knew no matter what it looked like, no matter the gender, I knew I would love him or her more than anything. And I thought I already did!

Over the weekend we had our 3D ultrasound at 3D Miracles in Halifax. Nothing can really prepare you for the explosion of emotion one feels when that ultrasound thingy slides across your tummy for the first time, revealing your little baby that you’ve been carefully nurturing and protecting for 5 months. We haven’t had any ultrasounds during the pregnancy so this was the first time seeing the little baby. I had googled 3D ultrasounds to see what kind of detail we’d see and look at pictures of other babies but I was completely blown away when I saw baby MOVING! It was the most surreal experience the two of us have ever had.

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And oh my god, it’s a boy! My tiny little baby boy was moving his head and arms and little legs. We even got to see him PEE! Though I haven’t really been able to feel major kicks yet, I know he’s moving around but to SEE him move around…WOW! Talk about instantly falling in love. There was nothing better than watching my husband watch his tiny little son — it was so moving!

I was fully prepared for a girl or a boy! We knew we just wanted a baby and gender wasn’t a big deal at all. Of course as a woman, I’d always dreamed of dressing a tiny little girl in dresses and doing her hair but to be completely honest, I couldn’t be happier to have a little miniature version of my husband! We’ve already got plans to get him mini Sperry Topsiders just like his daddy!

One of the most exciting things about having a little boy is raising him to be the kind of man I would want my daughter to marry — respectful, kind, and loving. Just like his father!

For most of the pregnancy, I’ve just been going about my business while my body carries out the extraordinary task of creating life. I definatly forget just how amazing it all really is and to have that glimpse inside my body and see that everything is just fine and dandy and there’s a little baby boy just in there kickin’ it was the greatest reminder of how incredible my body (and every other female body) really is. It’s nice to know all the nausea, back aches, and sleepless nights are all just a tiny sacrifice for my little boo. It also does wonders to help me accept my growing and changing body.

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I’m now very noticeably pregnant and none of my pre-pregnancy pants fit anymore but you know what? It’s OK! I know I always knew it was all for a good reason and perfectly natural but to see that little baby boy and to know he’s doing just fine really does make it that much easier to admire my new body in the mirror.

OK enough rambling!

xoxoxox

announcing…..Mrs. McDougall

Where have I been? You know… just off getting married.

I feel terrible about my lack of blogging but please please please forgive me.

On May 25th I married my best friend and partner in crime. He’s my guardian angel and it breaks my heart to think of where my mental health would be if he hadn’t come along and showed me how my life can change in such a dramatic and positive way. Life together is just so effortlessly easy.

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Today my co-worker asked me if Reid and I fight and I was honest and said no. We don’t fight. It’s a difficult concept for so many people. Growing up, I thought love was disagreeing. Love was challenging each other. But I got a little older and I realized that wasn’t the case.

Here’s a list compiled by Reid and I about how we make it work

1. Discuss VS Fight

We share our points of view, we explain our reasoning, and then we come to a compromise that’s either  a blend of  the two points of view or sometimes we just agree that one of us has a better idea. It’s not an insult if one of us doesn’t like the others idea. It’s nothing personal, at all.

2. Genuine Interest

He takes such an interest in the stories I report on at work, the mental health causes I’m interested in and the workout regime or race I’m training for. And the same goes for him. I love it when he teaches me about what he does at work or when he shares childhood memories with me.

3. Align our Goals

We are constantly talking about what we want out of life financially, for our retirement, for our children, for our investments, and our careers. We’ve already talked about what we want for our kids and when we plan to retire. Talking about our goals also reassures me that we’re on the right path.

4. Take Turns

Reid is an amazing cook and I wouldn’t gladly let him cook every night but I also love to cook so we take turns. But if Reid cooks I will gladly clean up and vice versa. It’s not something we’ve ever talked about and we don’t have a schedule. We just kind of go with the flow. If I’m not feeling up to cooking, NO SWEAT! He’s got my back. Also I’m really bad at remembering to do laundry and I know he’s always willing to pick up the slack.

5. Have Fun!

We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We are always joking and having fun. Laughter is the best medicine, remember! We are constantly making new memories and reminiscing about old ones.  It just comes naturally when you’re best friends. In my opinion, it’s not something you can force.

These are not hard and fast rules to follow but this is how we have made it work. It’s not always sunshine and roses, but we always look on the bright side and enjoy each moment together that we get. With Reid’s career with the military, we know it’s possible that he could be deployed for any number of months so we try to take advantage of what time we have together. He’s my rock and he’s so important to my mental health! He’s taught me so much about life, love, and my self.

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Where have I been?

When I started as a Community Correspondent, I was un-employed. I spent my days at home in bed looking for work and blogging about mental health. Just over a month ago I started my first ever big girl job. I’m full time and I work 10 – 6, Monday to Friday. A dream come true! But by the time I get home from work, I am too exhausted to blog. My after-work time is very precious. It’s usually filled with eating, exercising, and chatting with my boyfriend. and SLEEPING! My job can be pretty emotionally exhausting. But having that stability in my life has been such a fantastic form of therapy. 

I want to apologize for not blogging more. It’s been a crazy time for me but I promise I will set aside time in the week to blog. I’m realizing how precious time really is! 

I have a massive idea.

Something so big and such a huge undertaking but something that will equal so much good for my community and beyond. 

My brother is helping me out so much with it. He is a brand strategist and is helping me develop my ideas. He’s an amazing person and has helped me out so much in life. Once again, he’s right here beside me every step of the way. 

I am filled with so much hope and joy right now that I just had to share it. 

Watch out for some big things coming your way this year. STAY TUNED

 

A room full of puppies!

A room full of puppies!

Much to the excitement of the entire campus, Dalhousie University opened their puppy room yesterday. Dogs of all shapes and sizes were there to cuddle and kiss the students to help reduce their stress. Although only a temporary fix to exam stress, the puppy room seems to be going over well. I like what the Student Union rep said about the point being to show students that they care, listen to them, and want to reduce the stigma. YAY FOR STIGMA REDUCTION! Go Dal, you guys rock!

I have yet to go see them. I am hoping to pop by on Thursday afternoon. If I go, I will get so many pictures to share. I’ll keep you posted.

Puppy correspondent,

Stephanie R