From Bean to Sprout

a first time mom's forray into parenthood

Time Keeps on Slipping… January 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 8:06 pm

The other day while driving home, I pulled up behind a school bus that was dropping off kids at a daycare by our house. One kid came out in the same one piece snowsuit that Henry own. He couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 and he was carrying, in both hands, various arts and crafts projects he had made at school. As I watched him proudly scurry over to his daycare provider, I got a little teary eyed. I know I’m a tad more emotional these days, but hear me out. Seeing this kid in his suit made me realize “that’s going to be my kid very soon!” How can they grow up so fast? Why must they? In less than two weeks, my little guy will be 2 years old. Where did this past year go? How did he go from this:

Hello World

Hello World

 

To this:

CHEESE!!!

CHEESE!!!

I was so worried about him those first few days, looking at him while he slept, making sure he was breathing, holding a little mirror up to his face to see if it fogged up. He needed me for everything back then. Now he’s walking, talking, dancing, singing, doing so much on his own.  On top of that, he’s going to be a big brother. I often find myself thinking lately “he’s too young to be a big brother! Will he understand? How do I make sure he knows that I love him just as much, if not more than when he first arrived?” and then I start thinking “how do I give my second one all the same chances and opportunities and attention that I gave to Henry?”

I’m convinced I’ll wake up one day to a house full of teenage boys thinking “where did my babies go?”

Sorry if I sound sappy, maybe it’s just the mood I’m in. Or maybe I’m forcing myself to think like this so that I can handle more properly those moments of toddler meltdown. Yes, Henry’s been a tad whiny and dramatic this week, desperate for his mommy and daddy, crying for no reason, dropping to the ground and screaming bloody murder for a reason we can’t quite understand since he can’t tell us what’s frustrating him yet. Thinking how quickly my kid is growing makes me put those bad moments into perspective. Yeah a toddler freakout sucks, but they won’t last long and soon I’ll be longing for the days when Henry would cry because he wants to be held by us tightly.

hey ladies

hey ladies

 

Road tripping with a toddler January 22, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 7:03 pm

Last weekend Chris, Henry and I went on a last minute road trip down to Watertown NY to do some cross border shopping. We had been talking about it for a few weeks and decided to just go. We knew going there and back in one day would not be a great idea for Henry and it wouldn’t give us our duty allowance of $200 each for over 24 hours so we decided to overnight there.

Now if you don’t know me well, let me fill you in on something about my personality. When it comes to travel, I’m an overplanner. I try and anticipate everything. I’ll write up lists and then more lists of things to pack, places to go, how to break up the day/handle the travel. I get a kick out of it. You can imagine how crazy I go for planning travels with Henry. I even have a board on pinterest for family travel tips. I’m obssessed with making things go smoothly. Heck, I’m already planning Henry and the baby’s packing list for a family trip we’re taking  on my mom’s side in December 2013. I’ll email Chris with new tips or packing items and I’ll get a “woah there!!!” response.

Anyways, I was a bit under my comfort level when we decided at the last minute to go to Watertown. Everything turned out great but we learned some tips on the trip that I thought I’d share with you.

1. Drive around nap time. Sure Watertown is just 2 hours away but that last 20-30 minutes was tough on the little guy. He cried from the border until Watertown, just tired of being in the car. We had planned the trip around his nap time. We took Henry to his gymnastics class at 8:30 and usually all the energy he spends there just wipes him out that he’s asleep by 10am. Well my little guy likes to be contrarian so of course he stayed up and chit chatted with us for as long as possible. Eventually sleep won, but it was definitely not long enough. I can just imagine how rough a drive it would have been had we gone during his “awake” time. I’d also suggest here that if you’re travelling during awake time, try and stop every hour-ish so your kid can just run around. It’s good for you to stretch your legs as well, especially if pregnant.

2 . Splurge more on a suite and bring duct tape (ok, so this is my friend Courtenay’s suggestion, the one of Price Matching fame, but it was such a good tip, I have to share it). Henry goes to bed early. Usually by 7pm he’s out. We didn’t want to have to hide out in a hotel bathroom from 7pm onwards, whispering because our little guy was sleeping in the room. So we did a bit of research and Courtenay actually suggested that we check out the Hilton Garden Inn, since their suite description said “separate bedroom” .  When we got there, they told us that there is a separate bedroom area but no door. It’s basically a living room, then mini hallway with a kitchenette and bathroom then the bedroom. We decided to take it anyways since it was the last suite and we didn’t want to drive around looking for something else. We also got lucky and got a rebate simply because we work for the government. We didn’t even have to be on official business, she just said if we have a card saying we worked for the government, she’d knock $20 off the room. Score! So the duct tape part comes into play if you still want to cordone off an area. Given there was no door, we duct taped a blanket to the living room entrance and voila! Instant seperator. When Henry went down for good, we still had access to the bathroom, fridge and bedroom without having to tip toe around. It also helps that we brought our sound machine to help him sleep as well.

3. Shop in stages. Basically, make sure that one person can devote their energy to your kid while the other one shops. Chris wanted to find shoes so I made sure Henry was distracted enough so that Chris could focus on his quest for the elusive size 14. And then when it came time for stuff I wanted, Chris took care of Henry. I wouldn’t have been able to take care of Henry the entire time on my own, as the day progressed, that short nap was becoming more and more apparent as Henry got crazy manic in a few department stores. Chris ended up letting him run around in aisles just to burn off some energy.

4. Sometimes it’s best to order room service at the end of a long day. This is a lesson Chris knew ahead of time but I needed to learn the hard way. He suggested that we stay in after our long day of travel and shopping and just order room service. I had wanted to go out for dinner. We compromised and went down to the hotel restaurant. BIG MISTAKE! Henry was too far gone by then. He wouldn’t sit still, wanted to run around, he just was at the end of his energy rope. I had to go ask our waitress if we could actually take our order in our bedroom. Luckily the staff there was very understanding and brought up our meals right away. We ended up eating in our room watching Aladdin and Henry settled down quickly. Then Chris and I spent the rest of the evening glued to cable tv watching Storage Wars. Ahh the perks of cable! (something we don’t have).

5. Plan an activity for your child. This is something we didn’t really do, unless you count running around like a maniac in Target an activity. I think it would have been good to bring Henry’s bathing suit for the hotel pool, just to get him to do something exclusively for him. Well, next time we’ll know. I’d add plan quiet times as well. We were in go-go-go shopping mode at one point and it got to be too much, so having just some one on one quiet time to unwind for Henry would also have been good for him.

6. Pack snacks, drinks and perhaps a toy or two. We never bring a bag full of toys for Henry. He’ll always find something to play with. This time he played mostly with the hotel stationary, his new hat and a pen. But occasionally he got bored with these so I brought a train and a ball for him to have fun with. I imagine as he gets older, I’ll have to put a bit more thought in the toys we bring but for now, anything he can get his hands on is interesting to him. As for the snacks, well, Henry can be pretty difficult food wise, so having a variety of foods was good for us since he seems to be off Shreddies and back on cheerios.

Both Chris and I forgot to bring our cameras. I took one picture with my blackberry of Henry and the hat he chose (and refused to take off for the entire weekend) but then had to turn it off since the battery was dying. Highlights of the trip, Chris got two pairs of shoes and a kindle for pretty cheap. I got some shoes as well and some maternity clothes. We got a bunch of spring/summer clothes for Henry for uber cheap at Kohls. Got some fabric even though Chris said I couldn’t buy anymore until I got rid of my current stash. Chris got some beer and when we crossed the border and he declared he had 7 beers, they let us go through without paying duty which was pretty sweet since Henry was fast asleep and having to be referred to secondary would have definitely woken him up.  We ate at Cracker Barrel and Bob Evans while there and got to sample the deliciousness of buttermilk biscuits. I wish more restaurants in Canada offered those. They’re like crack! I also kind of fell in love with Target and can’t wait for it to get to Canada. At first I was unimpressed but as we progressed through the store, I warmed up to it more and more. They have such nice things!

Anywho, a bit of a long post. But thought we’d share those tips for others planning a road trip.

Check out my awesome new hat!

Check out my awesome new hat! (ignore Chris in the background trying to figure out his new kindle)

 

I’m With Stupid January 15, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 7:21 pm

Thought I’d do one more post today since I haven’t done any in the past two days.

Lately I’ve been having severe boughts of baby brain. It’s been pretty bad. I know people joke about it but I took it to a new dangerous level the other day when I completely forgot to put my seatbelt on while sitting in the passenger seat. I only realized when we got to our destination and I went to unbuckle myself only to realize it was never buckled. I had a mini freak out imagining all the damage that could have incurred. I seriously need to focus more!

A few weeks ago, we were watching Modern Family and the running joke was how bad Gloria’s baby brain was. I remember telling Chris “that’s just freaking insulting! Pregnant women aren’t that affected!” and then since then, it’s been a steady slow decline for me mentally where I will stand in one spot, frozen, trying to remember what the hell I was doing there in the first place, knowing there’s something in particular I was hoping to do but for the life of me cannot remember.

I like to think it wasn’t this bad with Henry. Well at least I don’t remember it being this bad, but like I said, I don’t remember much these days.

Some examples:

–          I’ve put away milk in the cupboard

–          I’ve filled the ice cube tray then gently placed it in the pantry

–          I’ll be starring at my kindle and wondering aloud “Where’s my kindle?” with Chris saying “you’re kidding right?”

–          I almost walked out of our local coffee shop without paying and had to be reminded by Chris that “we can’t leave without paying!” as he struggled to put Henry’s boots on.

–          After dropping off Henry at daycare last week, I then proceeded to drive myself halfway home before remembering “oh no wait, you have work today!”

–          I’ve driven myself halfway to the park n ride before remembering Henry’s in the backseat. Luckily, if we miss the turn for daycare, he usually speaks up. I’m saddened to say this has happened more than once.

–          I’ve tried jamming our Toyota keys into the Accura and freaked out that the “KEYS DON’T FIT ANYMORE!!! HOW AM I GOING TO GET HOME!!!”

Like I’ve said, this doesn’t count the number of times where I’m just frozen in place wondering what I was about to do. I’m trying to make sure I don’t leave things on that could burn the house down. I don’t iron any clothing anymore (ok, I rarely ironed before, but now I’m making a point not to in case I leave it on). I have to check and recheck what I write or do at work to make sure an email I’m sending out doesn’t include my grocery list or something. Chris says that I should have a piece of paper pinned to my clothes with my name and Chris’ cell phone number just in case I end up wandering lost somewhere.

Oh and I let this happen on my watch:

 

 

I thought the dishwasher would look better in pink

I thought the dishwasher would look better in pink

I was making food and knew Henry had a highlighter, knew he was being too quiet and also knew he was leaning up against the dishwasher. Despite all this knowledge, I didn’t clue in that this was what he was doing…

 

Sometimes You Wanna Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 7:16 pm

I find those lyrics so true. I’d love to find a business where I can walk into and they say “MELINA!!!” I used to dream of becoming a regular in a local pub, where the bartender knew my order and it would be waiting for me. Well nowadays, I’m refocusing those efforts on a local coffee shop near our house. About a 3 minute drive from our place is the “Sippy Cup Café”. It’s a coffee shop/children’s play area. The front is all swanky and modern and great for adults. The backroom is filled with toys and stuff for kids to climb on. Henry loves it and so do we. Henry’s a bit of an early riser on weekend. By the time regular stores are open, say around 10ish (11 on Sundays), Henry’s been up for hours and itching to get out of the house. Luckily the café opens at 8am on weekends. The owner, Preston I believe, is usually there and always cheerful. He’s great with kids too. While we were there on Sunday, there was a little girl who was very very shy, he asked her if she’d like a special stamp on her hand to make her feel better and she said yes. Once she got the stamp, she just loosened up and was playing with Henry and this other little boy.  It’s great that we get to order swanky coffeehouse type drinks and snacks and still supervise and play with our kids since you can order anything from the kid’s side as well. It’s like the best of both worlds.

We were also told that they’re going to be installing a new “date night” program where you can drop your kids off in the playroom with a babysitter and then sit down on the “adult” side and have a 5 course meal and just relax knowing your kid is 20 feet away.  If anyone’s tried having a meal with a toddler in a restaurant, you know that this is a pretty sweet deal.

I’m not at the name recognition phase yet but I saw some regulars get their name called out as they popped in to pick up a coffee for the road so I’ll work on that. Anyways, just wanted to write a post to promote a great local business that “gets” children and their needs but also know that parents like to chill out with a nice latte or hot chocolate before tackling a very long day.

look how delicious this looks! That cinnamon bun did not last long!

look how delicious this looks! That cinnamon bun did not last long!

the play room.

the play room.

 

Tunnel time! Henry used to be terrified of this toy, now he loves it.

Tunnel time! Henry used to be terrified of this toy, now he loves it.

 

Train time!

Train time!

 

swinging from the play structure.

swinging from the play structure.

Hope you can make it out there one day!

 

 

 

Adventures in Price Matching and Food Making January 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 8:38 pm

Today I took a giant leap and did price matching at the grocery store. I’m now one of those people. I used to get so annoyed being stuck in line behind people who did this but they’re onto something. The discounts are very real.

It all started a few weeks ago when my friend Courtenay was telling a few of us over lunch how she’s started doing this. She gets her flyers on Thursday or Friday, she then goes through the flyers to see the good deals and meal plans for the week around these savings. Usually by Sunday morning she’s off to the Real Canadian Superstore on Eagleson and price matching away. Last weekend she saved $50! I was sold! (and so were a few other people around the table).  We asked Courtenay for a sort of crash course on price matching. On Friday, she printed out flyers for us and at lunch she gave us a bunch of tips.

1- Join the facebook group “Ottawa Coupon Swap & Price Matching”. These people do most of the work for you. Every week, they upload a spreadsheet which lists pretty much all the deals in the Ottawa region, including Gatineau. On this spreadsheet will also be applicable coupons and whether or not the deal is “hot”. Courtenay gets this list every week and trims it down to what she wants.

2. It’s good to go through the flyers yourself to see if there are deals missing from the spreadsheet. If you just get local flyers delivered at home (or in our case, we get none), you can download the iPhone/iPad app “Reebee” that will upload all the flyers for Ottawa (minus the Gatineau ones which you’d have to go to their own website to check out their flyers)

Getting ready to get my Price Matching on...

Getting ready to get my Price Matching on…

My trimmed down spreadsheet. Henry helped decorate it for me. I added the remainder of my grocery list at the bottom.

My trimmed down spreadsheet. Henry helped decorate it for me. I added the remainder of my grocery list at the bottom.

 

3. Most foods you can price match at the cash but if you want to price match meat, you have to bring the flyer to the meat counter and they’ll print out a new sticker for the item you selected. I did that today with a pork shoulder roast. I found a deal selling it for $1 a pound. The roast was originally $10.93 but with my new found price matching skills, I got it for $4.05! How awesome is that!

4. When you go to pay, pick your cashier carefully. I chose to go with a bored looking teenager who didn’t seem to care one way or another whether I was price matching or not. She was so bored, I didn’t even have to show her the flyers individually, I just read off the spreadsheet the sale price and the store it was matching with and she just punched in the new price. It was so easy. Sometimes you’ll get a hard ass who insists on seeing every single flyer but I got lucky. I told Chris afterward “jeez, it was so easy, I should have told her everything was like $0.25”.

5.  Courtenay mentioned something called “Scanning Code of Practice” which the Superstore honours. Basically if you purchase something on sale at the store and the scanner doesn’t read it properly and charges you the original price, if you point it out, they have to give you the item for free. How cool is that? I was watching the sales items we were buying like a hawk but alas, no scanner error.

Anyways, with all these tips, I ended up getting about 9 items to price match since I had done a fairly large shop a few days earlier at Costco. Anyways on those 9 items, I save almost $22! It was great! Such a high feeling.

When we got home, we went into freezer meal making mode and made a ton of food. I can wait to try these:

005

Chicken Tortilla Rollups

The filling inside the rollups. Chicken, cheese, yogurt, salsa, corn, green onions, garlic. All equals YUM!

The filling inside the rollups. Chicken, cheese, yogurt, salsa, corn, green onions, garlic. All equals YUM!

 

We also made some crock pot ready meals to freeze including Chicken Alfredo, BBQ spare ribs and Teriyaki Pork Chops. Add this to the pizza dough, lasagnas and meat balls we made last weekend and we’re on quite the roll!

Look at all those ready to cook meals!

Look at all those ready to cook meals!

 

Here I am showing off my "Price Matching" receipt and all the meals we made. The pink highlight is for everything we price matched or that was on sale at the store already.

Here I am showing off my “Price Matching” receipt and all the meals we made. The pink highlight is for everything we price matched or that was on sale at the store already (and apparently some free promo for Shreddies, Henry’s new favorite snack)

We have more meals we plan on making tomorrow including Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells, Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Casserole, Cinnamon Buns and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

I’m looking forward to more price matching endeavors in the future!

And now, since this blog is supposed to be about kids, here’s a pic of Henry reorganizing the pantry.

Oh eh, how's it going. The way you have these cans set up are really not Feng Shui

Oh eh, how’s it going. The way you have these cans set up are really not Feng Shui

002

You and Daddy look a little parched. Have a club soda!

 

 

 

Adventures in poop (by chris) January 9, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 8:05 pm

So Melina wants me to recount my evening with Henry:

Before going to bed I asked Henry if he wanted to go potty and he said yes.  So I sit him on the potty only to discover he already has a dirty diaper.  I sit him on there anyway.  He is happy and has a bowl of shreddies to munch on.  He then grabs some toilet paper and decides to shove it in the toilet.  He changes his mind and pulls it out.  By this point it has been smeared in poop so he decides it would be perfect to use to wipe his nose.  I yell no and he then changes his mind and shoves it in his bowl of shreddies.  It was then I decided it was shower time.

The really funny part is after I had put Henry to bed I am recounting the story to Melina, when I finish Henry all of a sudden says Noooo from his bedroom as if to say thats not what happened at all.

In other news I decided to treat Henry to a true Canadian experience tonight:

It started off with fun in the swing in a snowsuit

It started off with fun in the swing in a snowsuit

And then moved on to some BBQ in January

And then moved on to some BBQ in January

The yummy results

The yummy results

 

Big Time Nesting January 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 7:47 pm

The nesting phase of my pregnancy has hit me pretty hard and fairly early this time around. With Henry it started after the holidays as well, but I had about a month left of my pregnancy at the time. I’m not sure if I just mentally prepared myself for “after the holidays” again.

I’ve become obsessed with rehauling the entire way we live. I want to organize everything in the house, make Martha Stewart proud. I think my post the other day about all the stuff I wanted to do kind of spurred me on. Only problem is that I don’t know if I can wait until I’m off work. This weekend, I’m hoping to go through our pantry and fridge and make an inventory like I did for our freezer. I want to make sure we’re not always getting more of the same stuff we never eat (I’m looking at you Breton crackers!).

Another thing I’m hoping to do is start price matching when grocery shopping. I think I’ve managed to convince my friend Courtenay to show me the secret world of Price Matching and Coupon Using. She has an entire process that she goes through in which I’m hoping I can tag along and take notes. Heck, maybe I could convince her to do a guest post? (you reading Courtenay?).  I’ve always been interested in trying this out, but I think the nesting feeling I’m having, plus the fear of knowing that someday in the near future, I will be feeding two teenage boys has made me want to save as much money while grocery shopping.

 

I’ve mentioned wanting to prepare Henry’s new room. Which I will wait until I’m off work since I’d like to only work on it once new flooring is in. Only problem is that right now, it’s a guest bedroom/dumping ground. We’ve been using the closet in there for years as where we store our luggage, fans, boxes of office crap, my wedding dress. It’s also where we put a bunch of tools and supplies while doing the bathroom renovations. So basically, the whole room as to be emptied before we prepare Henry’s room. Meaning we have to make room for all that stuff elsewhere.  We have a storage room in the basement, we just have to organize it. Like Tim Gunn from Project Runway would say, we have to “Make it Work!” I know we can do it, we’ll just have to be smarter about our storage solutions.

We also have a closet under our stairs on the main floor that’s kind of awkward to get in and out of. It’s where we keep our cleaning supplies, dog food, random stuff. I’d love to be able to turn it into a workable space. Put things there that we rarely use. Heck, maybe we could put our luggage there?

I was at Staples a few days ago and wandered into the Martha Stewart section and she had so many things to create your own “organizing binder”. I was in love, until Chris pointed out “that’s kind of useless, that’s time you could spend on actually organizing your life”… I think he saw the lust in my eyes and wanted to stop it in it’s tracks.

This photo has nothing to do with nesting but doesn't he look cute

This photo has nothing to do with nesting but its too cute not to put in