30 April 2009

One Year Later










Time sure does fly, doesn't it?

Last year at this time I was huge, uncomfortable, and off work early due to minor complications with the pregnancy. I was hoping for an early birth, since I was terrified of going over and being induced. I always said I felt I would go early but expected to be late. I was right, and "Fred" was born on May 9, 2008 at 11:11 AM. "Fred" became Delilah as soon as Daddy announced "It's a girl!" and chased her off into the back room to watch them weigh her and check her lungs.

To be honest, during my whole pregnancy I was terrified of the thought of labour and birth. I made the biggest mistake in my life when I went to those childbirth classes. I didn't learn anything, but I sure did get some bad visuals. Seriously-I know how babies come out. I don't need to see it. Those images did more to freak me out and put me in a bad headspace than everything combined.

Anyhow, moving on...

This last year has been amazing, with some really hard parts as well as the most amazing, love-filled, joyous moments. It doesn't matter what's going on, how frustrated or tired or whatever I'm feeling, when Delilah looks at me and smiles, or comes up and gives me a hug, it all goes away. My heart fills up with the most agonizing love I've ever felt in my life.

It's hard to believe that my baby is almost a year old. She's walking, using American Sign Language, and has a few spoken words (mum, da, dog, hot). She has 8 teeth with a couple more trying to make it through, and weighs just over 20 pounds. Her feet are just over 4 inches long, which make them a little small for her age (size 4), and is wearing 12-18 shirts for the arm length while she can still wear 6-12 month pants. She rouses in the middle of the night lately and turns sideways, kicking or karate chopping one or both of us. Ben gets more sleep than I. She has slept every night of her life with me and her dad, except during nights when he chose to sleep on the couch (translation: fell asleep while watching tv and refused to come to bed) or when he was out of town visiting friends.

D has a friend, A, who is only 3 days older than D. Happy Early Birthday A! It's been interesting to see how the two of them develop compared to each other. It was hilarious when they grew the same teeth in the same order: the bottom two central incisors, followed by the upper 4 (central incisors plus lateral incisors), followed by the bottom left lateral incisor, followed by the bottom right lateral incisor...how strange is that?

Delilah loves our new dog Harley. She loves to pet (hit, pull hair, poke, bash with various toys) and lay down with him on his bed. She also loves to kiss him and be kissed by him, much to my chagrin-I think it's disgusting, but what can you do? Remove the dog's tongue? Anyway, we're so fortunate to have found a dog who not only LIKES kids, but is so tolerant that he just lays there when Delilah is abusing him. We tell him every day how good he is!

Now that Delilah is really starting to play and enjoy toys, I'm starting to get excited about the upcoming years when we can play dress up, do art activities, and much more. I know you're not supposed to rush things, but I am really looking forward to all the activities we'll do together. At the same time, I wish things would slow down, that time could stop, just for a while, so we could better enjoy this moment in time. I already miss holding an infant, and sometimes regret that we aren't having any more, but I think about all the reasons we only want one: extra attention D will get because she's an only, we'll have more money to do more fun stuff, and we'll never have divided attention or "favourites". D will always be OUR girl, our one and only baby. I guess I'll just live vicariously through other people when they have babies.

With my recent resignation from my full-time, secure position, I am scared sometimes about my decision, especially in this economy. I read an article today on how, sometimes, your job actually costs you just about as much as you make, so living without it isn't actually as hard as you'd think. Consider this:
Usually, parents find out that the cost of working is quite close to what they make. To see if this might fit you, consider the following. If both parents are working, there are always extra expenses. Take your lowest income. Then, subtract the amount you spend in gas to travel to that job. Also subtract how much you spend on drinks, meals at and to or from your job. If you pay for daycare or an after school program, subtract that amount from your income. Now consider the amount of money that you spend on clothing or shoes for that job. Next, start paying attention to the amount of money that you spend on items that you really don’t need and items out of guilt for the time you miss with your children. Now, consider how much less you might spend on food if you were making less prepackaged, on the go, and convenience foods. Most generally, when all is said and done, parents find that extra income is nearly spent just in maintaining that job. (quote from here)


When I think about it THAT way, I consider the cost of transportation (either bus or car), lunch costs, coffee costs, soda pop, all the unnecessary expenditure at Shoppers Drug Mart (nearby), unnecessary takeout lunch purchases, etc. Add in the cost of daycare (anywhere from $30 a day to $800 a month) and the benefits of working seem to pale in comparison. Plus, I consider the BIGGEST cost, my time. I wouldn't be able to see Delilah grow up, she'd be practically raised by someone else, and my heart would break every time I left her in someone else's care. It's TOTALLY not worth it.

18 April 2009

VistaPrint


I recently ordered 500 business cards, customized t-shirts, and car door magnets for advertising my company. The cost for all that, before taxes and shipping, was under $55. Can you believe it? A certain company I sell candles for charges $49.95 for 500 business cards ALONE.

The company I ordered from, VistaPrint, is offering to my friends a discounted first purchase. If you click on the banner, it will take you to the page where a special discount code will be entered for your purchase. They sell everything from stationary like letterheads, notepads, websites, and much more.

Check out Vista Print today!

17 April 2009

Check Out My Website!

Hi everyone!

I have been toiling over the creation of an all-new website for Earth-Friendly Maid Service. There you will find recipes for natural cleaning products, discussion boards, and info about my company. The site is still under construction, so please be patient.

Thanks!

Click HERE to go to the website.

If the link doesn't work, try cutting and pasting into your browser:
www.earthfriendlymaidservice.wordpress.com

16 April 2009

Too Late To Change My Mind

I have resigned from my position at work. Given all the circumstances and the issue of childcare and everything that goes with it, we decided it was best if I stayed home with Delilah. It seems foolish (at best) in this economy to give up a good paying, good job, but I don't feel I have any other option. I never wanted to go back, but towards the end it appeared Ben was going to be out of work still, so I had resigned myself to going back at least part time for the first month or so. Then the very DAY that I was at work, a lady from Hully Gully called and said they needed Ben there. (Hully Gully is owned by same family as Ultimate Suzuki.)

I was actually, literally, IN my boss's office when I got the message to call Ben. Thinking something was wrong, I called him back and that's when he told me he was going back to work. Gah. I had just told my boss I was coming back. Too bad you can't rewind your day, just a bit.

In any case, I need income and I've decided to start an all-natural, environmentally responsible cleaning company. It will be called Earth-Friendly Maid Service. I'm looking for some business - tell your friends-if they mention my blog I'll give them a discount off their first clean.

Reduce the toxins in your home-hire Earth-Friendly Maid Service today!

15 April 2009

Nestle Pure Life Water Commercial

Has anyone else seen this commercial? It's laughable. Everything they say is true: they talk about how kids don't swim in pools of high fructose corn syrup, how they don't play in sugar, etc. They talk about artificial colours and flavours, too. It gets your attention, until you realize what the ad is for: bottled water!!!


Um.

Does anyone wonder why companies sell stuff? It's not because they want to improve the world, it's not because they think that their product is better for the public. It's because they make MONEY!!!! Especially big companies like Nestle. Bottled water is a multi-million dollar industry.

The worst part of this is that tap water is better for your pocketbook and the environment. There are safeguards and regulations in place regarding tap water-it's there to protect us. There are fewer regulations regarding bottled water, and it is much more likely to contain feces. Google that, if you don't believe me. Worse, companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi take tap water and run it through filters and then bottle it. That works out to 40% of all bottled water - it's just glorified tap water anyway!

On the side of the environment: it is estimated that 88% of Americans don't recycle their water bottles, they throw them out. That works out to 40 million water bottles A DAY. I don't have numbers for Canadian water bottles but numbers (the 88% part) are likely similar. Nevermind the fact that the bottles are made of plastic that usually isn't made from recycled materials.

Health-wise, we should all know that plastic leaches chemicals. "They" say that BPA (Bisphenol-A) is the dangerous plastic, and that plastics now are safe and don't leach....BUT...didn't they say that about BPA? For years they've used plastics in food storage for adults and babies and assumed it was safe, only to find out that it isn't. What a surprise.

To close, I'd like to implore people: don't fall prey to advertising. Don't buy plastic water bottles at up to 10,000 times the cost of tap water. Instead, invest in a stainless steel water bottle, or a mason jar with tight fitting lid. Carry it with you, and refill it from the tap. People may look at you funny when you hand a mason jar to them to fill, but hey, maybe it will make them think!

12 April 2009

Fitness Challenge

Two friends & I (names held back until they give me permission to post them) have embarked on a fitness challenge -with each other. This has sprung from a desire to get in shape, and I think that a little friendly competition will up the ante a little and help keep me motivated.

The prize: a Chapters gift card, with each participant contributing $10.

We weighed in this morning, and measured calves, thighs, hips, bust, waist, and upper arms. Then, each Monday we will check in with each other. Each pound lost is worth 1 point and each inch lost is worth one point. June 28th we will tally and the person with the most points wins.

They've got a tough challenge ahead of them!

The best part? My summer clothes will fit.

Anyone else want in?

10 April 2009

Natural Peanut Butter

One of the yahoo groups I currently participate in was having a discussion recently about natural peanut butter. As in, REAL peanut butter, with no preservatives, sugar, salt, or oil added. Have you tried it?

I bought some President's Choice "Just Peanuts" pb a few weeks ago to make dog treats and it was the first time I had tried "real" peanut butter. It's taste is, well, surprising. It tastes just like peanuts. Go figure.

Once you've had natural peanut butter, you'd have to be crazy to go back to the normal commercial crap we've been calling pb. It tastes like..candy, but really BAD for you candy. Coming from someone who used to eat pb daily while pregnant, I'm surprised that people recommend you eat it daily. I mean, let's compare, shall we?

Being compared are Equality Brand Smooth Peanut Butter and President's Choice Just Peanuts Smooth Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter (per 1 tablespoon):

Equality Brand PC Just Peanuts

Calories 90 Calories 100 (wonder why? although the PC
brand says a tbsp is 15 g while the other is 14

Fat 7 g Fat 8 g
saturates 1.5 g saturates 1 g

Cholesterol 0 mg Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 50 mg Sodium 0 mg

Carbs 4 g Carbs 3 g

Fibre 1 g Fibre 1 g

Sugars 1 g Sugars 1 g

Protein 3 g Protein 3 g

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ok, so why are they so similar in nutritional value? I don't get it. I mean, look at the ingredients lis:

Equality Brand:
Peanuts, hygdrogenated vegetable oil (contains soybean oil), icing sugar, corn syrup solids, salt.

PC brand: 100% freshly roasted peanuts.

hmmm...wonder what they use to roast the peanuts?


In any case, check it out. The taste is extraordinarily different. You won't go back.

03 April 2009

Goals

I've been thinking a lot lately about my life, how much it has changed in less than 5 years. Five years ago, I was a police officer in Guelph, with no intention of having children, let alone getting married. Actually, I was in a relationship that was soon to end (but I didn't know it). I was also 5 months away from resigning from my job.

Fast forward 5 years, and I'm married, have a baby, a different dog, and I live in London. I've moved 6 times, and have had 4 different jobs, including Guelph. Three of those jobs are different careers entirely (police, court agent, data analyst).

Present circumstances are a bit of a challenge right now, both financially, and physically. Or at least, mentally. I'm in the middle of a decision that will change my life - and Delilah's. My return-to-work date is April 20th. I really don't want to go back, but giving up a job in this economy seems kinds of...incredible. And not in a good way, you know? But I just can't see myself going to work and leaving D with someone.

Why not leave her with Ben, you say? Well, he got a call yesterday to go to work at Hully Gully. The same guy who owns Suzuki owns the Gully, and Ben will start Monday, with the same wage as he left Suzuki. He starts over again on probation, which I think is silly, but I'm not the boss. I guess they're giving themselves an out.

But in any case, he will be gone at work full time starting Monday, which means if I go back to work, D needs to go into some kind of child care, whether it is a home day care or whatever. Just saying that makes me feel ill. But I'm scared that Ben's wages alone can't support us, and the families I've met so far (for potential day care options-where I'd be the one watching the kids) haven't panned out. Two families have yet to let me know if I'll be the one caring for their child.

I met one nice lady today, Sonia, and her son. He's just 6 days older than Delilah, so that would be neat having him around for her to play with. Sonia will let me know by the end of the weekend, I think, if she'll be bringing him here. I really really really want to watch him, since he seems like a nice laid-back baby like Delilah. He appeared pretty happy the entire time he was here visiting today. He's kind of rough and tumble with Delilah, but she'd get used to it, I think.

If she chooses me to care for Silas, that would bring in just enough money for me to feel safe resigning from Autodata. If I got another child (I'm hoping on a second, a four year old girl) to care for we'd be totally set. That would be gravy (aka spending money to keep me in yarn, fabric, and other stuff). I've yet to meet her mom, we'll be setting up a date next week sometime, I hope.

Anyway, I need to set some goals for myself. I need to work on:
-financial goals: what will I be doing to make money?
-housing goals: will we stay here? for how long?
-housekeeping goals: I need to get into a schedule to keep on top of the household.
-mental health goals: I'm depressed and anxious lately. This translates into short-temperedness and frustration. I need to work on that.
-relationship goals: my mental health state has affected my relationship with Ben
-me-time goals: I don't get enough of this.
-fitness goals: I need to get back into shape. My physical state affects my mental state.
-eating goals: I need to eat less crap. I eat pretty well, on the whole, but I eat way to much chocolate and drink too much coffee.

That's just a list off the top of my head. I'll go into more detail in future posts.

Ta Ta for now.

No Words Necessary

video

Knitting, Revisited

Many years ago, in Guelph, a good friend (Wendy) taught me how to knit. For a couple years after that I was an avid knitter and made many scarves, hats, and started two afghans (I promise, Shaun, I'll finish that one yet!). Then two years ago, another friend (Melanie) taught me how to crochet, and I was hooked. (hehe, get it? Hooked.)

I gave up on knitting, since it can be frustrating, and it's easy to drop stitches if you aren't careful. When you drop a stitch while knitting, you MUST be able to pick it up, or...you have to rip out your entire work and start over. Gah. Crochet is nothing like that. It's easier, you have to REALLY mess up in order to have to rip it out, and it uses one hook instead of two (or four!) needles.

However.

Many of the coolest patterns are for knitting only. And crochet, although nice and easy, is not knitting. And I wanted some knit socks. Therefore, I have re-taught myself to knit, and with Ben's help (thanks babe!), have taught myself, using an online tutorial, how to knit in the round using 4 double pointed needles and have begun my first-ever knitted SOCK!!! I'm using an awesome colorway called "Big Deal Teal" in Bernat's Jr Jacquards (it's a double knit weight). I got the yarn from Lens Mill for $4.29 a ball, each ball is approx 346 yds so it'll take just over one ball to do one pair. Which is pretty good. I got three balls, so I can do two pairs in this yarn.

I LOVE what Bernat has started doing with their labels; one of the most difficult things for me to do when picking out my yarn is to imagine what the colorway will look like when it's worked up. This is a self-striping yarn, so it's a mix of all different colors - instead on one solid color, it has different pattterns and variations of color all thru the ball. It's practically impossible for me to project the future pattern and YAY Bernat now puts a picture of the worked up yarn pattern on the label. If you go here you'll see what I mean!

Another thing I love about this yarn is that it's green: "product group from well-managed forests, controlled sources and recycled wood or fibre."

I will post again on this topic once the sock is a little further along.

My Weightloss Progress