For Purple Mountains Majesty

I've almost been in Canada for six months. It'll be six months on the 15th of March and the time has flown by. I've had some thoughts about it that have really been brought to the forefront by the Olympics of all things.

Many of my Canadian friends ask if I'm torn between who I'm rooting for, or joke that I better be rooting for Canada. Initially I thought that I wasn't rooting for anyone and today I realized (or realised for my Canadian readers)that no, I can't deny it, I'm rooting for Team USA. Despite being a resident (though not permanent resident yet) of Canada I am rooting for who I am and I don't think I'll ever change.

This morning Alex, Sebastian, and I were watching the ice dancing that he had PVR'd for me. As the Canadians were presented with their gold medals and "Oh Canada" played I had a twinge of sadness, sadness that I would be raising Sebastian away from my home, his first home, out of the United States. He would never be saying the Pledge of Allegiance each morning at school or singing the Star Spangled Banner. I wanted to cry and then felt really stupid.

Because, if he wasn't being raised in Canada he would be raised in the States and wouldn't his Dad feel the same way? Probably not (Alex roots for Holland in the Olympics) but I still feel like maybe I'm being a little unfair.

Unfair and homesick. There are things I like about living here and then there are many things I love and miss about living in the States. However, this is our choice and someday this will be my new home where America the Beautiful lives on in my heart and through my son as I teach him that he is lucky boy who can wave two flags.


What a Difference a Year Makes

In August I wrote a blog post about my friend Tim and how my friend Catherine found him after we had been searching for years. The story still amazes me as does Tim and all that he has accomplished over the past year since he was helped off the street.

I'm happy to report that he is working, has his own place, and is 11 months sober. Things can be tough for him emotionally now and again but that can be expected. Other exciting Tim news settles around a new documentary about Pimp this Bum and Tim's journey. I only hope I can see it in my area. If not, I've heard it might be available to watch online.

Go Tim!


The New Foods Keep Coming

Since Sunday we've tried a few new meal items for Sebastian so I thought I'd update them here rather than add them to my previous blog post.

This week he's tried:

tunafish sandwich ♥
spaghetti ♥


Baby Led Weaning Update

I've been meaning to make a post about our progress with Baby Led Weaning and now have a chance to sit down and do so. Naps are so few and far between these days.

Baby Led Weaning, or BLW, is poorly named because when people hear you are following it they assume you are weaning your child from breastfeeding which isn't BLW at all. Sometimes you'll hear it being referred to as Baby Led Solids which I feel is a much better term. Instead of spoon feeding your child purees you are giving your child table foods and allowing them to eat along with you. Studies have shown that this affords children the opportunity to explore different tastes and textures of foods. BLW children are said to be less picky with their foods. This makes sense to me because often pablum and purees seem tasteless or a far cry from their fresh counterparts.

With BLW you offer your child foods and allow them to choose what they want to eat. You do not feed them, but allow them the power to feed themselves. For example, instead of feeding Sebastian yogurt from a spoon, I load the spoon and either set it down or hold it out for him to grab. He puts the spoon in his own mouth.

In the beginning you don't expect babies to eat much of what is placed in front of them (Most of their nutrition up to a year comes from breastmilk or formula anyway). They usually just explore it. Sebastian doesn't play with his food much, nor does he drop much on the floor if he's in the mood to get down to business. He does taste everything and mash it into his mouth. He will take bites of things and roll it around in his mouth and suck on it. Sometimes I'll find a piece a few hours later that he's stored like a chipmunk.

So while he isn't swallowing much I do find evidence of it in his diapers more and more each week. I think that will just come with time. He has mastered use of his sippy cup, however, and loves totting it around to get sips of water now and again. He tips his head back and everything. Of course he also tries to drink out of any cup or bottle we are drinking out of which makes morning coffee consumption a bit difficult.

As for the foods he's tried, I'm very impressed with his list and impressed by what he seems to like and will "eat". He'll try anything you place in front of him and there are only a few thinks he's ever made a face at (but then will try it again anyway). The following is our list of foods, his very favorites have a heart next to them. Most veggies we steam though some we roast, like the squash. Most fruit will be given to him with the skin and rind on so he can get a better grip of it.


Green beans ♥
Broccoli ♥
Sweet potato (has to be mashed and he's not into that texture)
Cucumber ♥
Green Pepper
Red Pepper
Acorn squash
Eggplant ♥


Peach ♥
Cantaloupe ♥
Asian pear
Bartlett pear
Honeydew melon


Wheat bread
Whole wheat pasta
Flat bread
Mum mums
Cinnamon raisin bagel


Ham ♥
Roast turkey
Roast beef
Ground beef
Breaded fish
Chicken (roast and pan cooked)
Pork roast
Hot dog (small piece due to all the crap in them)


Yogurt (various flavours)

Pizza (homemade including crust)
Grilled cheese ♥
Meat pasta sauce
Cheesy potatoes

The few foods he didn't seem to like after a few tries were avocado, sweet potato, and banana. I suspect it's because of the texture. We'll keep trying those out periodically to see if he changes his mind.

Here he was double spooning. He does pretty well with holding the spoon correctly but sometimes will ignore the handle to feel the fun stuff on the spoon. After this he offered his spoon of yogurt to the cat.

This was his first try of broccoli. He got the hang of it right away and will eat both ends. It's a good food to start with because they have good handles that allow babies to get a good grip.

Mmm banana, or not. I give it to Sebastian cut in half with a fourth of the peel peeled away so he has a peel covered handle. Banana on its own was too hard to handle. As you can see by his face he wasn't liking it. This was around the fourth time we tried it. By the way, banana stains. It leaves weird black flecks on clothes. Who knew?

Another broccoli shot. He does love his broccoli. He can always have mine.

This is what gagging looks like. At first it's scary and luckily for us it doesn't happen often, however, once you settle down and realize it's the child's way of preventing choking, it's pretty cool to watch. You can see the bit of broccoli he has on his tongue. It was too big and he slowly moved it forward until he could spit it out.

"Millions of peaches...", yeah Sebastian would be happy. He loves fresh peaches.

We are still thrilled with our choice to BLW and can see that it works for us and for Sebastian. Alex says that he only wishes he knew about it when his older kids were little because he loves it so much.

For those that are interested in learning more, check out the following websites:

Gill Rapley's Original Paper on BLW (Dutch site with lots of info)
babyledweaning.com with forum


I Can See Clearly Now, the Rain is (almost) Gone

I have been a bad blogger. By stopping my weekly updates I've allowed myself to slack off even more. Not that I'm slacking in everything. I just find that having an active and clingy 7 month old doesn't allow me much time to concentrate on any writing. I'm lucky if I can even pee without a child in my arms.

The past month and a half has been full of ups and downs. Our biggest high was Alex finally finding a job. Unfortunately we experienced our lowest low at the same time and are slowly digging ourselves out. I hadn't really discussed that with many people out of shame but I figured I might as well let it out.

We are so thankful for the generosity of our family and friends over the holidays. I cried hard when I received a package from my snarky girls on the Bump. Those gift cards were a Godsend and fed us for a couple weeks and allowed us to have a Christmas tree for Sebastian's first Christmas. I don't think I could ever express how grateful I am for their friendship and how grateful we were or those gifts.

We still had to budget like crazy and cut our grocery bills down to around $50 a week. It was hard and I'd sometimes cry in the car because we couldn't get the fresh foods I wanted to get for Sebastian. Luckily, I still breastfeed and most of his nutrition comes from that.

However, cards run out and we had already borrowed too much from family so we had to turn to community assistance. I never thought we'd have to resort to the food bank but now I realize that most anyone could be put in the position of needing to use it. Alex went each time and the stories he brought back were so sad and mirrored our own, families with small babies, families that looked like it was their first time, mother's crying because of the humiliation. I'm glad I didn't go (we would have had to wait outside with Sebastian)because I would have been a mess as well.

So now we wait for Alex's paychecks to kick in. Our phones were turned off, as was our tv, but we still have internet (for the moment) and a roof over our heads. My mom left me money so I could get Sebastian's pictures taken and has sent him clothes since he's growing so fast.

So what have we learned from this ordeal:

-We are stronger than we think.
-It's ok to get help sometimes.
-You can survive on $50 a week or less on groceries. You don't need to spend $200.
-Going through food bank boxes can be like Christmas.
-You don't need presents to have a good Christmas. Christmas is spending time with family.
-Meal plan from the fliers up.
-Be grateful every day for what you have.
-Give back.

Once we are back on our feet we plan on giving back to the food bank. We want to donate as well as volunteer. You never know who will need your help.