Monday, May 31, 2010

...just busy.  I had a photo session with my friend Sara's little guys, Eli and Judah, on Saturday night, and I just got back this evening from another shoot with my friend Aimee's little girl, Ellia.  So, needless to say, I have a lot of photo sorting/editing and posting to do!  It's great though, I'm loving the practice.  I have 4 more babies lined up after this too, yay!

I know I said I was going to start my A Week in the Life project this week, but my album is on order and won't be here until next week so I'm holding off until I get it (and honestly get more of an idea of what I want to do).  I have the basics down, I just need to prepare a bit more.

All of that, on top of taking care of Victor and trying to get things finished here like his nursery (we bought a crib yesterday and the tissue pom poms I ordered on Etsy came in today so I can now arrange his room and hang the mobiles/pom poms/photos, etc), plus all the random errands we still have to do (hello winter tires!), makes for busy days.

I'll be back though, I can't stay away for too long, I love it here too much :)

Hope all you Americans enjoyed your holiday today!

Until next time,

Friday, May 28, 2010

This sweet little garçon is 3 months old this week.  I feel as though we've finished the 'getting to know you' stage and we're now entering the 'fun' stage.  He's becoming so animated and expressive, and he's developing new skills all the time, it's so fun to watch and be with him (when he's in a good mood, that is...luckily that's most of the time).

A few things about Victor @ 3 months:

-He's eating about every 3 hours now as opposed to 2, which is really nice.  He can also sleep for longer periods of time too, up to 5 hours if we're really lucky.  We've got the breastfeeding thing down (even though we're still using the shield-we might for the whole  year, who knows), and we now have a little 'trick' for getting him to sleep (soother + blanket up against his face).

-He loves to stand and sit (with our help), and doesn't like being held on his back unless he's going to sleep.  He's using the Jolly Jumper and his play gym the most these days, and he really enjoys swatting at his toys (a monkey in particular).  He's still not very fond of tummy time, but he gets plenty of neck exercise when he's being held over our shoulder.  He can hold his head pretty steady these days, except for the occasional slump. He also rolled over a few days ago (from his tummy to his back), and I think it surprised him more than me.

-He's most content just sitting in our laps and looking at our faces (in fact, this is a morning
ritual; after we have our morning feeding, he sits on my stomach while I'm lying in bed and he just stares at us for about 20 mins).  He's smiling basically any and every time we look at him and he loves to hear us talk.  He's making a lot of 'talking' noises himself, his favourite being 'ahhh-oooou', with the occasional 'gagoo' thrown in.  He doesn't full out laugh yet but it's coming soon, he chuckles sometimes when he's really happy.

-He loves his dad just as much as he does me, but it still kind of wary of strangers (even my parents).  If he can't see me when in the arms of someone else, a lot of times he'll cry, but he's getting better and I'm trying to encourage him to be more social.

-We know his different cries now and he's doing a lot of 'fake' crying, which is more like yelling just to get what he wants.  When he's really upset he heaves and cries so hard that it can take a really long time for his to calm down, so we try to stop that from happening before it starts (it doesn't happen too often luckily).  We respond to him as soon as he cries so overall he doesn't cry much.  We call him 'bi-polar baby' though because he can go from smiling to crying in a second and then back again.

-We couldn't love him more.

(All these shots were taken at the park earlier this week.)

That's all for now, be back later this weekend with more thoughts on my A Week in the Life project, a scrap layout I'm almost finished and hopefully a few shots of some kiddos I'm shooting tomorrow (in the Canon way, not the gun way of course!)

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ok, this is truly pathetic, but I FINALLY got around to editing some pictures from my Italy/Croatia trip...that I took 9 months ago!!  It's really sad, but once I got home I was in full pregnancy/baby mode, so editing pictures was pretty far down on my list of things to do.  But now that I (somewhat) have more time, I'm working on editing a bunch of shots to put in some sort of album, and it's been really nice to look through them all again, it really was a great trip (despite being terribly sick/tired from being 10-11 weeks pregnant and it being about 35C every day).

(I posted a few pics way back in September, so I won't re-post those, but there are way more waiting to be edited, so I figured I'd share.)

As I mentioned before, I've been using the Pioneer Woman's Action Sets, which are absolutely awesome, I love them so much (and depend on them way too much too!)  Dan downloaded a book on Photoshop for me, I really must get started on it.  Does anyone know of any good [free] Photoshop tutorials online?

Ok, here we go.  First off, some shots from the 3 days we spent in Rome (photos taken at the Vatican, Coloseum, Forum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and a few other spots) :

(This last photo was actually chosen for an online travel app, when people look up "Spanish Steps", my photo comes up.  Kinda cool.)

Anyway, I'll share more in the coming weeks as I work on them (I'm mostly done the Italy shots, I still need to do the Croatia shots though.)

Today we're taking the winter tires off the car (ha!), doing groceries, and I'm hopefully going to go to the scrapbook store to get some supplies for my Week in the Life album.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I know I'm jumping on the bandwagon a little late here (I will once again use my "new mom who was living out in the woods with no Internet" card), but I've decided to try the "A Week in the Life" project from the lovely Ali Edwards.

Now, I know that I'm not so great with finishing projects, especially minis (see December Daily, see 52Qs, see Bits of Life, see 5 Amazing Years of Loving You, see Project 365, and so on), but I figured, what the heck, might as well add to the unfinished pile, lol.

(side: is anyone else like this with their crafts too?  Tons of half-finished projects lying about?  I hope so!)

Anyway, back to the project.  I read most of Ali's posts about the project earlier today and it sounds totally appealing to me, mostly because I really want to capture and document our life right now, with Victor leaving the newborn phase and becoming a young infant (3 months), and with us having just moved back home.  It's an important time in our lives, I feel like it's the "beginning" of a new stage, so getting it all down on paper with words and photos seems like something I want (and, in a way, should) do.

I think I'm going to start not this week but next (starting Sunday, May 30), which means I'll have this week to prepare and get my supplies together.  Since I want to make this as easy as possible for me, I'm going to do as much in advance as I can, like build the album, print off any necessary journaling cards/whatever, choose my paper/embellishments, and have all the things I know I want to document listed out.  Ali suggested using different themes and elements of the day to fill in your journaling, and I really like that idea, especially if it's mostly "fill in the blank" type stuff.

Here are a few of the things I'm going to document (either through words or pics):

-To-do list: I'll probably make one at the beginning of the week and then break it up to a few tasks per day.  I can then check off what I actually did and didn't do

-The weather: Because I'm obsessed with the weather, like all good Canadians

-My outfit for the day: Just to get a laugh, and probably to encourage me to actually get dressed!  I might also do Victor's outfit(s) for the day too, to see the little clothes that he's wearing now (and will soon grow out of)

-Victor's eating and sleeping schedule: This will be really hard to do, but I think that it would be really neat to look back on, plus I'm curious to see myself!

-What we watch: Right now we're on Season 4 of Dexter

-What Internet sites we visit: This is always fun to look back on, especially when the sites no longer exist (à la Kristina Contes)

-Our menu for the week: Pretty basic, but if we try a new recipe I might include it

-Daily tasks/routines: Either chores or errands-most likely part of the to-do list

-Who we see: Pics of my parents, the dogs, my sister, etc

-What Victor is currently doing and into: This week it's eating his hands, for example

-Items from our daily lives: The 'stuff' that we use everyday

-Random thoughts: As an add on to this I might ask Dan a question per day and get him to answer it

There are probably others but that's what I'm thinking of right now.  I might not do all of these either, I'm going to try and be flexible with the project too, because if it gets too restricting, I won't finish it.  I will use this blog as a sort of 'catch all' during the week, maybe putting up photos, bullet points of journaling, whatever I can daily in order to keep me accountable.  This is what I will use as the base of my album.

As for the the finished album itself, I'm still not 100% decided on what I should do.  I think that in order to keep it simple (again), I should stick to the basics when it comes to the creative/aesthetic look of the album, otherwise it'll never get done (again, see projects above).  Like Ali always says, the important part is the photos+words, so that'll be my main goal as well.  I'm also really into clean, simple lines these days, without a ton of clutter (see my Pregnancy Photobook), so I think that I'll carry that over into this project.  I'm also getting more and more into Photoshop and using it for things other than photo editing (like my blog banner above), so I may try to create photo collages/journaling + photo pages, ect.  Ali's templates will be my inspiration, but I don't know if I'll follow them exactly. 
I like the idea of an 8.5X11 album, but I'm also debating whether to go down to an 8X8 (a size I haven't used yet).  A smaller size means less to fill, but if I need to add extra pages I can.  Page protectors are definitely the way I'll be going, so something like this AC modern D-ring album might work.  The other thing I'm not sure about is whether I'll use baseball card page protectors or not.  I like the idea, but at the same time if I can't find any locally or that would fit into an 8X8 album, I might just do regular pages, but have the layout of one of the page match the look of being in those page protectors (a grid of photos, journaling cards, etc)  At this point I'm still not sure, it'll also depend on what I can get my hands on this week, since I want the album to be mostly built before I begin.

Now, I'm going to up front with the obstacles I see in this project, because I can already think of a few that might get in the way of me actually going through with it, but I figure if I write them out now, I can be aware of them during the week and try to overcome them.

My camera: Don't get my wrong, I love my 50D, it's a really nice camera...but maybe it's too nice.  It's quite big and heavy and bulky, which makes it hard to just pick up and use all the time, especially when we go out.  I'm shy enough as it is taking photos in public (something I REALLY need to get over), so having a monster camera to do it with doesn't make it any easier.  Having a smaller point and shoot would probably work better for this project, so I might look into getting one this week too (I talked about getting one earlier this year, I just never got around to it.)  Also, when I sold my Rebel XT I sold the 18-55mm lens that came with it, so now all I have is my 50mm prime, which is great for outdoors and close ups, but not so great if I want to take pictures of an entire room or anything like that.  I may have to borrow my mom or sister's camera, we'll have to see.

The monotony of our days: I know that we're supposed to embrace the small things, the seemingly unimportant things of our lives, but I think that I may struggle with capturing these things a bit, especially since our days are so similar and 'boring' (maybe to counteract this I should plan some activities for the week to make it seem less mundane).

Journaling: I suck at it, enough said.  This is where the "fill in the blank" type journaling prompts/cards will really help me.

Ok, well I've blathered on about this waaay more than I intended to.  Point is, I'm going to try it, I'm excited, and I really hope that it doesn't become another one of Geneviève's unfinished minis (which, by the way, I totally intend on finishing at some point....maybe...we'll see.)

Hopefully I'll report back this week with the preparations for the project.

Has anyone done this project? Please link me up if you can, I'd love to have some inspiration!

Until next time,

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Now that's we're back in a real place to live and not just a dark old camp (no offense camp, I love you!), I've once again got decor on my mind.  And for some odd reason, I'm really wanting an orange room, and more specifically, an orange bathroom.  Is that weird? I've never been a huge fan of orange (I do love it come Halloween-time though), but lately it's really appealing to me. These photos I found online make me want to take the plunge all the more (though maybe not until we buy a real house, I think most landlords would shy away from painting any room a bright colour like tangerine).

I think the key to making orange work is to have a lot of white to balance it out (or you have to go super bold, like the orange and teal-blue bathroom, I LOVE that combo).

What do you think, do you like orange rooms, or is it too bold?  Do you have an orange room?

Happy Weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

As I mentioned in my previous post about cloth diapers, one of the reasons we didn't use them for the first couple of months was because we didn't own a washer and dryer (and there wasn't a set out at the camp).  Once we moved back into town and into our new flat, however, we knew we wanted to buy a set as soon as possible (the flat had hook ups only).  We didn't really know whether we were going to get a front loading set or a top loading set (we were leaning towards the cheaper top loaders), but when we went to the local appliance store in town, they were having this amazing deal on a front loading set by Frigidaire.  Basically the set cost the same amount as the top loading set (about 900$ with tax), and there were only 4 sets left, so we jumped on it.  The dryer is nothing special but the washing machine is kind of cool (it's also really handy because there is an "extra rinse" button that you can turn on and off, which is perfect for washing diapers, I turn it on and then turn it off when doing regular laundry).  It's also an HE machine, so we only need to use 1 tablespoon (or less) of detergent per load, so we'll save money on soap for sure.  Dan and I stood and watched as the washer did its first load, we were mesmerized by the portal door, lol.

Anyway, it's our first major appliance purchase, and we felt quite grown up :)

Until next time,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Well, kinda.

This is the first page I've scrapped in months, since Victor was born, and it took me about 3 weeks to finish (mostly because all of my scrap stuff was moved into a tote at my mom's house, so I only got to work on it when visiting, and most of the time I was too busy to work on it.)  Anyway, it's based on a sketch from the Creative Scrappers blog, one that my mom visits frequently.  I think that I'll be using sketches/other people's layouts to help me get going, since it's been so so long, I'm quite rusty.

Anyway, this is just a simple layout about Victor at 5 Weeks (can't believe that was over 6 weeks ago!).  The journaling talks about how at this age his personality started to appear, he started to be awake more and we got to know him better. The journaling is in French, something I'm not sure I'm going to do on every page, since I rarely write in French and if I have to worry about grammar and punctuation, I'd rather just write in English, frankly.  Journaling is hard enough for me, I don't need the additional challenge of re-writing something 18 times and having to look words up in the dictionary and verb conjugations in the Becherelle (even though it would probably be good for me).  Knowing how I scrap and write (quick and dirty), I know this would frustrate me and cause me to write nothing at all, something I don't want to do with Victor's pages. 
Well, I have plenty more pictures of him to scrap, so expect to see more layouts soon, and hopefully the return of the 52Qs!

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So, way back in October I wrote this tome of a post about my plans for cloth diapering our baby, and now that I've finally started using them (we didn't use them while we were out at the camp because we had no washer and dryer, plus I found they were too big), I though that I would share a bit about what I like, don't like, and how I feel about the whole thing in general so far.

First of all, this is what I'm currently using (all in size small):

-Sandy's Mother-Ease Fitted diapers (X6)
-Fuzzibuns All-in-One Pocket diapers (X5)
-Fuzzibuns Perfect-Size Pocket diaper (X1)
-Kissaluvs Fitted diapers (X4)
-Bummis Organic Prefold diapers (X6)
-Sears brand "cheapo" Fitted diapers (X12) *These were given to me by a friend* 
-Bummis Super Whisper Wraps and Super Brite Wraps (X4)
-Kushies Wraps (X2)

So in total I have 22 good diapers and 12 "back-ups", with 4 good wraps and 2 "back-ups". For when he gets older I'll be using the Fuzzibuns AIOs (same as above), 2 Perfect Size Fuzzibuns (medium), 4 Sandy's Mother-Ease (mediums), 6 Bummis Prefolds (mediums), and about 10 Kushies AIOs that I got from my sister-in-law. I'll probably also keep using the Sears brand as my back-ups since they are a bit big right now. As for wraps I'll be using 4 medium Bummis Whisper and Super Brite wraps, some Kushies wraps that I got from a friend and 2 Aristocrat wool covers that I received as a present. So really there's no reason I should want more...even though I do! lol  

(And just to be clear, buying all of this wasn't cheap, I ended up spending about 650$ for everything, but it was all bought before the baby was born and over time, so we really didn't feel a big blow to our budget...we'll more than make up for it in the next couple of years I'm sure!)

Ok, here we go, in random point format:

*First, the Fuzzibuns. I must admit that at first I wasn't too thrilled with these, especially the All-in-Ones. I found that they didn't fit well around the legs and they bunched up too much in the bum/back. But after frigging around with the leg elastics and finding the right fit (I shortened the bum and kept the front long since that's where most of the wetness is), I'm starting to like them much more. I can now snap them so that they fit well and are less bunchy, which is good for wearing onesies and PJs. Dan also likes them because they are the least amount of work and are easy to use. Taking and putting in the insert isn't too bad (even though I HATE the feeling of the inserts, something about the cotton/fabric), and they are quite absorbent (though not as much as the Sandy's). They are the diapers I bring with me in my diaper bag, and they also win as far as cuteness goes. The perfect size Fuzzibuns are pretty much the same thing, except that you can't adjust the leg elastic and there are only 6 snap sets, not 8. They won't fit him in another couple of months, but like I said before in my original post, I got them on sale so it's worth it. Overall, now that I'm used to them, the Fuzzibuns are definitely our luxury cloth diapers and I would buy more if I could.

*When it comes to the fitted diapers, I definitely have a preference for the Sandy's Mother-Ease diapers. They are super, super absorbent, don't leak and are really easy to put on, just a leg snap and a waist snap, with a few different snaps to adjust the size. They were also a really good price (about 11.50$, less than half of a Fuzzibun), so that's always a bonus. As for the the Kissaluvs, I'm still not sure about them, when I put them on the first time the snaps were kind of weird and they leaked A LOT immediately, but then I washed them and the second time they did much better, so maybe they just needed to be washed first (I probably should have paid attention to that, ha!). They are the softest though for sure, I love the feeling of them and I imagine Victor does too. The Sears back-up fitted diapers are just that, back-ups, so I don't worry about them too much, even though I have been using them and so far, they are holding up well (what I do is add a fuzzibuns liner-each diaper came with 2-to them and they become just as absorbent as the other fitted diapers.)

*I honestly haven't used the Bummis prefolds much, except as liners to go in the Sears fitted diapers. Part of the reason why was because I had no idea how to fold and use them, but I looked it up online last week and apparently you don't have to fold them around the baby at all, you just insert them into the wraps like a liner and put them on, that's it. So I'll probably attempt to use them soon, but only when I'm at home and it would be ok if they leaked. They are pretty absorbent though as liners, so worst case scenario, I'll use them as liners in the cheaper Kushies and Sears diapers.  Or as burp cloths, because heaven knows we need a lot of those!

*As for the wraps, I LOVE the Bummis Whisper and Super Brite wraps. They work with any kind of diapers I use, not just Bummis brand, and they keep all leaks in. Not to say that they don't get wet, but he has to be REALLY wet to feel anything on the outside.  I haven't tried the Kushies, they are just cheapo spares I bought, and I also haven't tried the Aristocrats wool soakers because they are still a bit too big and also, it would be too hot for him to wear a thick wool cover at this time of year, but they will be perfect this Fall.

So that's a review of the diapers/covers I'm using.  Fuzzibuns are great, but I think that a Sandy's Mother Ease fitted diaper with a Bummis wrap comes in at a very, very close second, so if you can't afford the AIOs, I would recommend that combination.  If we ever come across some extra money I may consider getting some BumGenius' just to try them out, but so far I'm happy with my brand/type choices.

As for cloth diapering in general:

*The way I handle the cleaning of the diapers is what my friend did with hers and it seems to work well; I have a pail of water (no soap or anything) by the change table, so when I change him I simply put the diaper/wrap in the water to soak.  So far odour hasn't been a problem, but I'm assuming that's because he's still not peeing anything strong smelling, nor is he pooping much (haven't had a poop in a cloth diaper yet, that'll be fun!), so once he starts solids that'll change.  Anyway, once the pail gets full (about every 3 days), I take them, wring them out (wearing rubber gloves), throw them in the washer and wash them on HOT, with an extra rinse.  I'm currently using Allen's soap, which is made specifically for cloth diapers, and I really don't have to use much, maybe an ounce (I have a front loading washer, so it requires even less soap).  I've been drying them on the line mostly, but sometimes the fitted diapers need a few extra minutes in the dryer to get really dry (the Fuzzibuns dry in no time).  Overall it's been really easy and not a lot of hassle at all (I think having an abundance of diapers helps, if I had to do a wash every 2 days it might be harder.)

*Cloth diapering is just as easy as regular diapering, apart from the washing it's not any extra work (unless you consider putting on a wrap extra work).  Dan has had no issues with using them either (he tends to reach for the Sandy's too), and although we've had some leaks, all of them have been our fault, not the diaper's (we're really bad at leaving diapers on longer than we should, we're probably only changing him 5-6 times in 24 hours).

*One thing I did not count on was having to change the wraps at every changing, I thought that one wrap would do all day, but half of the time they are so wet in the elastics that we have to change them.  Having known that, I would have bought a few more wraps and maybe a few less diapers.  Sometimes if it's not too wet I'll just let it dry and then put it back on at the next changing (again, his pee is so odourless and colourless at this point that it's not an issue).

*At this point we're still using disposables for the overnight hours, but that may change eventually (mostly it has to do with our laziness at changing him between the hours of 2-7am).  Still, one small pack of diapers (less than 20$) will last us a month, as opposed to a week, which is awesome.

*The only downside to cloth diapering?  Not being able to wear cute clothes.  It's quite annoying because many of his onesies and PJs that still fit him when he's wearing disposables don't fit when he's wearing cloth (especially fitted diapers and wraps), so I'm quite limited in what he can wear.  Many of his pants are too tight around the waist too from the extra bulk, so I might have to go up a size, which means super long pants and too big necklines/sleeves.  But it's a small price to pay.

*Finally, Victor doesn't seem to mind wearing them (though I doubt he cares too much, lol)

So basically, I'm really enjoying cloth diapering so far and do not regret the decision.  Maybe once he has his first poop I'll change my mind, but so far it's been easy and I feel really good about the money we're saving the garbage we're not creating.  The final step will be to get rid of wipes and start using washcloths (I'm starting already), so once we'll do that we'll be completely natural, which I really love.

Whew, sorry that was so long!  To make up for it, here's a cute picture of the babe @ 11 Weeks:

He had a bad day today, so seeing pictures like this helps me remember how wonderful he really is, lol.

I'd love to hear about your cloth diapering adventure, whether you're using the same brands as me or not, so link me up if you can!

Until next time,

Monday, May 17, 2010

We're back!

We have Internet again!
Yes yes, we've missed it so!

Expect more posts in the next few days, I hope to get back into blogland soon!

Be back soon,