My Quality Time With Baby

me and monkey

Hello Readers,

Today, it occurred to me that in just 1 1/2 months, I will be working full-time. I have been on Maternity/Parental leave since May 12th and as of January 5th, I will be joining the millions of other moms that were once in my shoes, making the decision to re-enter the workforce. It was a very tough decision for me to go to work full-time when my daughter will be just 8 months old. However, I was FINALLY offered a full-time teaching position assisting in a kindergarten room at a private school. Teaching is such a passion of mine and I feel that it is one of the things I was put on this earth to do. So, after much debate, tears, guilt, excitement and nervousness, I decided it was the right move to take the job. Since I made my decision, I have been frantically cleaning and organizing our home, going on more family outings, but more importantly, I have been spending more quality time with my munchkin.

I know what you are thinking, I currently stay at home and am with my daughter 24/7, how is that not quality time? Or, what do I mean by quality time? Well, my idea of quality time is being completely enthralled in one another; where nothing else around you matters and where you can have fun and enjoy each other’s company completely. Where cleaning and laundry can wait and when you feel like dinner can just make itself. These are some of my favourite moments of the day, where baby and you have so much fun and you laugh and you really get a sense of your baby and their little personality. Spending quality time together doesn’t need to take an hour or longer and you don’t need to set aside half a day to prepare but rather, can be done in just minutes 🙂

Finger Painting
This is my FAVOURITE!!! I love finger painting and after today, I discovered Memphis does too. I decided to paint on the kitchen floor because it is easy to clean and is near the bathroom so it is convenient for a quick bath afterwards. We made our own paints using 2 Tablespoons of sugar, 1/3 cup of flour and 2 cups of water. Put all ingredients into a saucepan and stir using a whisk on medium heat until the mixture becomes similar to a paint like thickness. Pour mixture into different dishes and use food colouring to mix your colours. Let mixture cool or use the freezer to help quicken up the cooling (I did this because I don’t have the greatest of patients lol), and start painting. I had an extra canvas so I let her paint of that but you could use any type of paper you have. We had a blast! She used her entire body as a paintbrush. We were both covered in paint and in the end, we ended up with a pretty cool art piece to hang in her room.

Taking a Bath Together
I just discovered this today (post-painting). She LOVES the bathtub. Generally, we give her baths in her little baby tub but today opened up a whole new fun way for her to have a bath. We splashed and kicked and she chewed on her cloths and we played with different toys. She was smiling and laughing and had so much fun. When she was a newborn, i would often lie/sit with her skin-to-skin, but since she was about 3 moths old, we have been doing it less often and so this was a really nice substitution.

Reading to Baby
Everyone knows the benefits of reading to a baby and why it is important which is why I do it so often. Another reason is because it offers a great opportunity for us to have quality time. Once a week, we go to the library and pick out a bunch of different books to read at home. This breaks up the repetitiveness of always reading the same books on her bookshelf and it acts like a little adventure outing for us. I know she’s only 5 1/2 months old, but I let her pick out most of the books by browsing what the library has on display and whichever one she touches- that’s the one we go with. We often read at night before bed, cuddled up on the couch all comfy in her pjs and under a blanket. I take my time reading the book adding in different voices or noises where necessary. I also point out different objects as we read so she begins to learn associations between words and pictures. We usually read 2 books per night and it really relaxes her, setting her up perfectly for bedtime.

Dancing/Singing
It has become a custom in our home to have music playing when we are busy in the kitchen making dinner. As I chop away, Memphis is in her chair in the corner of the kitchen playing with her toys and chewing and drooling on everything. As a huge Elvis Presley fan, my station of choice is the Elvis station, which plays lots of Elvis and other classic artists such as Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly etc. I have often been known to throw on the ‘Dirty Dancing’ or ‘Footloose’ LP as well 🙂 Before long, I have Memphis is my arms and we are dancing around the kitchen. She loves to dance and laughs and smiles as I twirl her around and rock her back and forth. When a good power ballad-comes on, we each have our microphones (silicone basting brushes) and we take turns singing and ‘cooing’. Dinner time at the ‘HJ’ household is definitely entertaining and it generally takes way longer to make anything but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cuddle Time
We have gotten into a pretty normal routine when we wake up in the morning. Bum change, turn the coffee pot on, bottle, momma gets a coffee and then we have cuddle time. For about half an hour every morning we snuggle on the couch side-by-side, playing with toys, giving her lots of kisses and tickling her until I hear that adorable little laugh.

These are just some of the things you can do with baby. I’m sure there are a million others that you can do but these are just some of the ones that I have done. After I do any of these with her, I feel immediately calmed and relaxed and I have a huge smile on my face because even for just a few minutes, I know we spent some good, quality time together 🙂

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My Happy Place

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Helllooooooooooooo!! I hope everyone is doing fantastic on this beautiful gift of a day 🙂 Today’s post is all about my ‘Happy Place’. EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE has that one special, magical place that can put a smile on your face instantly- that relaxes you and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Some people’s happy place is the gym, their couch or a bubble bath at home, a mall, or their Grandparent’s home where the smell of pies and baked goods resonate through all of your senses. Mmmmm pie! Well friends [insert drum role here], mine is Value Village. I’m obsessed! I absolutely LOVE it there. I could spend hours (and I have) combing through racks of clothes looking to find the greatest outfit or fabric for a DIY project, looking for clothes for my little one that still have their original tags or are gently used, searching for the perfect dining room table centerpiece, discovering knick-knack treasures etc.

Since being on Mat leave, I have re-discovered my long lost love- being crafty and DIYs. Yes, I admit it! Hi, my name is Richelle and I’m a Pinterest-aholic. I have oodles of super awesome ideas and tons of excellent ‘stuff’ collected to create beautiful and artistic works of recycled art, but have a slight problem executing ‘the crafting’. I like to call it ‘craft-block’, kind of like writers block but with the end result right in front of you (thank you pinterest). However, I will continue to hoard and I can only hope that one day my boards will come to life, and that the 100+ pictures on my DIY board will actually get made.

So, what do I tend to radiate toward while at my happy place? Here are my 4 favourite items to look for at Value Village:

1. Tea Cups- I love tea cups. They are gorgeous! They remind me so much of my Grandmother. When I was little, we would always have tea and a piece of pie or cake or squares together in the afternoons once we had finished lunch and before she started to make dinner. So naturally, I’m drawn to them. They are excellent to display as an art piece in your kitchen, to use as a holder for jewelry or toiletries, or to make candles out of.

2. Picture frames- I LOVE MY PICTURES. I think currently I have over 2,600 photos on my iPhone. Before I had Memphis, I was constantly taking pictures of my cats and trees. Now, I’m still taking pictures of my cats and trees but I feel it almost a duty to take multiple pictures of my babe in different situations and positions throughout the day so that when my partner comes home, I can show him my collection of her sleeping on the couch and in the bassinet and then on the couch again, her smiling on the couch, her smiling on the couch with a toy in her hand, her smiling on the couch with a toy in her other hand etc. etc. I’ve seen some beautiful frames at Value Village that just need a fresh spray of paint to become fabulous again.

3. Unusual Art Pieces- I adore different sculpted works of art. Whether it be a beautifully hand-crafted bowl, a gorgeous crystal vase, a funky candy dish or a kick-ass candle holder, there is just something gratifying in picking up a piece and knowing you have never seen anything like it before.

4. Dresses- I really enjoy picking out dresses from Value Village. I love the idea that the chances of me showing up to an event or going out for dinner and wearing the same thing as someone else are slim to none. I know, I know, so many people be like “Ewwwww…. it’s used” or “You don’t know where it has been before” etc. etc. My sisters are these people so I’m super used to this mentality. Just wash it and throw in a little vinegar or lemon juice and it will be good as new. When it comes to vintage and second-hand shopping for clothes there are some things to look out for. Inspect the garment. If the fabric looks faded, is stretched out or looks ‘worn’- pass on it. If there are rips along the seams, if a zipper is broken or a hem has come loose or the garment is too big- these things can be fixed for cheap and as long as the item is in good shape- it is worth the purchase. If I see dresses that are made of super pretty fabric but there is no hope in hell that it would ever fit me (a size 0 for example), I buy it anyway and make it into pillows, totes etc. Hint* if you find good quality clothes that you love and you have little ones, buy them and create your own tickle trunk (like Mr. Dressup had) filled with dress-up clothes.

I hope you will indulge in a little second-hand shopping! There are TONS of treasures out there waiting to be discovered 🙂

The Pregnancy, Labour and Post-Pregnancy Chronicles- My Take On It All

imageHello to everyone! I’m back!! I have been meaning to write a new post for weeks now, however I am still trying to figure out this whole ‘balance’ thing that you’re supposed to miraculously master once you become a momma. I am doing it though! Come hell or high water I am somehow fitting in ‘me time’, time with my partner, and lots of time with my newborn on a daily basis. Sure, my ‘me time’ consists mostly of having a shower everyday, BUT I do use some really nice, yummy smelling soap and I usually turn on my iPod so I can zone out for a while- smelling all nice and clean (generally only lasts for 5 minutes or so until I get spit up on again) and blaring out classics to my biggest fans, my cats, ‘I wanna know what love is’ by Foreigner and ‘Don’t stop believin’ by Journey. Even if it is for just a few songs, it’s momma’s heaven 🙂

My partner and I have been spending some ‘alone’ time together as well- as much as we can at least. Some days we get more time than other days, but we still manage to eat dinner together every night (sure there may be a baby looking up at us from her bassinet or swing but we are still able to converse about his day and my day). Also, we generally get a few minutes every night to snuggle while we watch some T.V. before we fall asleep.

Well friends, today’s post is all about my experience (in a jiff) during pregnancy, labour and post- pregnancy. I’m not here to write about the obvious or the debatable- Where do babies come from? Cloth or disposable diapers? Is labour painful? and other general questions such as these (PS labour and delivery are the most excruciating pains you’ll ever have in your life- just sayin’ :)) will not be answered here BUT if you want to know more about those questions I highly recommend GOOGLE or I am available for private consultations 🙂 No friends, I am informing you about the less talked about or things that I wasn’t necessarily prepared for. After reading books upon books, and several articles and blogs, there will probably be things that you weren’t ready for or didn’t know about.

Pregnancy. One little word but fully loaded. Everything changes when you become pregnant. Emotions run wild, physical changes to your body and symptoms you can’t even fathom until it happens to you and, ultimately be prepared to change every aspect of your life. It was sooooooooooo worth it to me and to every Mom- going through 9 months of hell, but the moment your baby is born is the most amazing moment of life. You have never felt love like you do when you look at your baby for the first time.

So with that being said, here are some more truths. During my entire pregnancy my sex drive was at an all time high. I’m not going to get into specifics obviously- Hi Mom 🙂 All i’m saying is men- be prepared!!

During my first trimester, I experienced a lot of nausea. It was awful! It doesn’t just hit you periodically, here and there either. You feel like death all freaking day!! Often, you could find me keeled over from the smell of the stupidest things. Because of this, working in a restaurant was AWESOME at this time (insert sarcasm here). Eating? Ugh, my all time favourite past-time was ruined for a few months. All I could manage to get down for months was plain bread and plain pasta (no sauce) and sour cream and onion chips. Meat? Forget about it. Thankfully, there is a super-awesome magic pill that you can get from your doctor which helps with the nausea during this time. It doesn’t take the awful feeling away for the entire day (usually fades at night) but was so much better than feeling terrible for the entire day. Don’t feel bad taking it or asking for it- just do it! It is also a sedative which was awesome but once I weaned myself off of it, I had a few weeks where sleeping was difficult- small sacrifice for not wanting to vomit everywhere all the time.

The second trimester was may FAVOURITE. Once everyone knew I was pregnant and once the crippling nausea was gone, I more than made up for it thanks to my cravings. I could eat everything again and oh, did I ever. I could out-eat anybody. At first, I was still a slave to the ‘eating healthy because you don’t want to gain too much weight’ mentality but mid-way through the second trimester, all bets were off- I wanted EVERYTHING. Baked goods, pizza, chocolate, ice- cream- mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm delicious!!! During this trimester, everyone kept saying ‘wow, I couldn’t even tell your pregnant’, ‘you’re glowing’ etc. etc. I was on top of the world-eating my weight in gummy bears and getting all of the compliments one can take. Life was great in this trimester!!!

The third trimester was the most emotional for me. I felt like I couldn’t do anything, that I was useless (couldn’t carry anything, couldn’t walk for very long, tired all the time) and I had some severe self-image issues. Not just a ‘fat’ day here and there, they were occurring EVERY FREAKING DAY. Obviously I was going to ‘pop’ sooner or later but once I did- I was miserable. I seriously confided in some close friends and admitted that I haven’t felt so uncomfortable in my own skin since I was 14 and going through puberty. I didn’t like anything I put on, I felt ugly and was sooooo critical of my weight gain (cookies and cake obviously didn’t help but the baby needed them :)) Girls, if you go through this, just remember- it will get better and break every mirror in the house! Hahaha kidding. It will get better though and try and remember- you are carrying a little human inside of you!! And guys, kiss her every day like you mean it and tell her she’s pretty. Especially when she is knee deep into a carton of ice cream and chasing it with a bag of peanuts.

Labour and Delivery. Well yes, the rumours are true. Birth hurts like hell but like I said, it’s totally worth it and I would do it again in a heart beat! So I was one of those ‘natural birth’ enthusiasts but when push came to shove, I was like, ‘GIVE ME DRUGS!! I WANT MY DRUGS!!’ I didn’t know the truth about epidural’s however. Epidural’s only help with contractions, they don’t numb the pressure you feel when delivering at all!! Not to scare you here but the pressure hurts more than the contractions. Just sayin’.

Love. The moment that baby is born, you forget about everything that is going on around you and fall totally and completely in love with that little miracle and everyone around you. In the labour and delivery room, you almost feel like you’re on location of a porn set- legs spread wide-open, spotlights all around you and aimed at the most flattering of locations and multiple people around with all eyes on you and your ‘area’. Once my Memphis was born, I completely forgot about all of the doctors, nurses, lights how exposed I was and even where I was- my focus was 100% on her, my partner and my mom (my mom was in the room with us when she was born). I had so much love in me that I thought I was going to bust and spread love all throughout the land. Ok, maybe not that far, but honestly it is such an incredible feeling.

Post- Pregnancy has been pretty awesome. You’re home which is sooooo much better than being at the hospital for those agonizing 48 hrs post delivery. You’re sore- obviously! You’re so in love- DUH! You’re exhausted- yup! You cry every time you look at your partner or newborn (when they are together, be ready for full on crying session) because you’re so in love- check! But it is all worth it and it is all amazing!!

Just a few things to note in this section- all babies loose weight after they’re born. Seems obvious but my partner and I panicked because we didn’t know. Slight, and I mean SLIGHT dehydration is normal in babies. We panicked again here because we didn’t know this either. The biggest thing for me was that it takes some time for breast milk to come in. Memphis was obviously a little dehydrated and lost a little weight all because my milk didn’t come in. This is ok and is totally normal. I had a few nights where I cried and felt totally helpless. Relax, it will come in and when it does- you will jump up (carefully) and do a little happy dance- well I did!

Overall, being a Mom is awesome. I am so in love with my little angel face and I am truly blissfully happy with my little family. I do have my moments, generally due to exhaustion, where I feel like I’m losing it, but I have kept it together so far. My family has been awesome helping us adjust into parenthood, helping in anyway they can. My partner has been a godsend, giving me some time when he comes home from work just to collect myself. The biggest thing I have learned is to take everything in stride and try and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Like the old saying goes ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and believe me, my ‘village’ is AWESOME 🙂

My Top 5 Perfect, Day-Date Towns to Discover

One of my new favourite discoveries in Niagara on the Lake

One of my new favourite discoveries in Niagara on the Lake

“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.”-Oscar Wilde

As I was conducting some research for my blog post today, I stumbled upon the above quote and it rang true to me on so many different levels. My partner and I have been together for over 4 years now, and I have never in my life experienced such a deep and understanding connection with someone. Without getting too mushy and lovey dovey, I feel that the key to our relationship has been the lost art of face-to-face conversation. We never go to bed angry with one another, I tell him I love him before I fall asleep every night, and whenever he gets home from work, I always ask him how his day was. These are 3 simple little conversation staples I have imprinted into my every day that I feel bring us closer and keeps the art of conversation alive in our relationship.

The above quote actually fits perfectly into my topic of discussion for today, My Top 5 Perfect Day-Date Towns to Discover. One of our favourite things to do during the summer months is to drive to a never before experienced (by us) town or village. We stroll hand in hand through the unique shops and boutiques, have lunch or dinner in a quaint little unknown bistro or cafe, and we generally finish off the day with a pint or a cocktail on the patio of a pub where we re-cap everything we had taken in that day. Days like this are complete bliss to me- I wish everyday could be adventure day.

So without further delay, I have for you my top 5 list of my most favourite towns to explore. I must warn you, some of them are a little far depending on where you live, but just think of all the memorable adventure and crazy conversation that you could experience 🙂

5. Port Perry- Located about half an hour north of Oshawa/ Whitby. You will fall in love with this water-front town. There are so many sweet little antique shops and clothing boutiques that line the main street. This is the perfect day-date destination if time is limited and you only have a few hours or if you are on your way through town on your way to the Kawarthas. Be sure to stop at The Nutty Chocolatier on your way back for some of the most amazing ice cream ever!!

4. Port Elgin- Located on Lake Huron in Bruce County, about half an hour south of Sauble Beach. This town is such a great tourist spot. The main drag is lined with clothing boutiques, book stores, pubs/ restaurants/ cafes, antique shops and more. For years, Port Elgin was rumoured to have the most beautiful sunsets in all of Ontario. After frequenting this town numerous times during my summer visits to my family’s cottage, I tend to drive to Port Elgin just for food. I have fallen in love with the Wismer House and The Queens Bar and Grill. I have never had a bad meal, a bad experience or a bad pint for that matter in either location. For clothes, I radiate towards Casual Corners. They have a super cute selection of dresses, shoes and accessories perfect to sport at the beach and no, it is not a vintage store (anyone who knows me knows that 9 times out of 10, I’m wearing something from a vintage shop), they actually carry brand name clothing! For a fun-filled day, go to the beach, grab a bite to eat and wander through some of the shops- they are filled with buried treasures.

3. Stratford- Located about an hour and a half from Hamilton, North of Woodstock. Home of the Stratford festival, Stratford is one of the most picturesque towns I have ever seen. It is such a beautiful, well-maintained little town. The Parks in the downtown core are filled with beauty- flowers, a little river, beautifully manicured gardens and some of the most breathtaking views of city-scape. There are beautiful little shops and restaurants that cater to everyone’s desires.

2. Niagara on the Lake- Located just before Niagara Falls, about 45 minutes from Hamilton. How could you not love this town? With the newly built outlet mall, the Shaw Festival, the abundance of amazing wineries and the treasures behind the doors in the perfect little shops- Niagara on the Lake has something for everyone. Just yesterday, my partner and I ventured here for a few hours and I am never disappointed. We walked around the main street going in and out of shops and then for a drive around the most beautiful of neighbourhoods. There are so many incredible shops to discover here. If I had to just pick a few I would recommend Just Christmas which is an open year round Christmas store, Greaves Jams and Marmalades (yummmmm!!!), The Native Canadian Art Gallery, and I just discovered The Owl and the Pussycat which has some of the cutest children’s clothing and toys. Seriously, this town could break me financially because I want to buy everything and eat all of the gelato the town has to offer.

1. Hamilton- Yes, I went there- HAMILTON! As I mentioned in my first blog, I absolutely love this city. There are so many ‘pockets’ and neighbourhoods to discover in Hamilton. Whether it be a few hours or an entire day, this city has so much just waiting to be discovered. Ok, I know you still may be sceptical at this point but let me explain.

Locke street alone has some of the coolest stores and restaurants including Textures Craftworks, Epic Books, Solee Shoes, Earth to Table: Bread Bar and Chuck’s Burger Bar. Every year during the Locke Street Festival, I spend hours filtering in and out of stores and admiring how beautiful this little nook in Hamilton is.

Not convinced? Ok, how about Ottawa Street- home to the first Tim Hortons 🙂 If you are an antique lover the mass amounts of antique shops will amaze you. If you dabble from time to time with a sewing machine like me, the fabric shops will inspire you.

Still not convinced? Ok, not the most convincing of locations and I agree downtown Hamilton houses some very unique people but it is also home to some of the most amazing shops and restaurants. The One Duke is a personal favourite of mine. This restaurant has unbelievable food and an amazing variety of wines and cocktails. I’m a huge record junkie and I have fallen in love with Cheapies. They carry a variety of records and make sure to check out their discount bins- I have found some pretty amazing albums by accident just leafing through. Lastly, my fav spot for pretty dresses is Out of the Past. I can not get enough of the super cute and quirky clothing. Every time I go in, I find a new treasure and have a blast digging through their inventory.

If I still haven’t sold you on ‘The Hammer’ yet, make sure you check out other spots which, due to amalgamation are in fact considered ‘Hamilton’. Places such as Ancaster, Dundas or Waterdown have a beautiful Victorian vibe to them and are filled with cute little shops and cafes.

Keep in mind also that Hamilton has some of the most beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls so if exploring shops and eating/drinking aren’t your idea of fun (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a great buy and a good pint but hey- no judgement), there are a million other things that just may make you love Hamilton, or at least appreciate it, as much as I do.

Welcome to The Modish Moms Blog!

Hello! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog 🙂 I’m relatively new to ‘cyber space’ and have just discovered the wonderful world of blogging, so I thought I would give it a try.

First things first, why did I choose to start a blog? Over the past few months, my partner and I have been preparing for our first child. It’s been an extremely exciting time setting up the nursery, discussing what gender we think the baby will be and, periodically bickering over potential baby names. We have been researching relentlessly through websites, magazine articles and books on the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy, labour and parenting in preparation of the big day.

One afternoon, as I was in my typical ‘research state of mind’, I noticed a commonality on many of the mommy blogs that I had scoured through over the last few months and in most of the magazines I had read- there was a total disconnect between being a woman, being a partner and, being a mom. As I continued to read I noticed one article would be about parenting, one about breast feeding, one about what to do with your kids this weekend but there was nothing about the other two major roles a woman in this situation has- a woman and a partner.

As a brand-new woman in her 30s, I refuse to accept the stereotypical ‘mom role’ where being a mother is the only role in my life. Now, I am not under any illusion that during the first few months of having a child I will be in full on ‘mommy mode’. Of course being a mom is a full-time job and is probably the most difficult role I will ever play. However, being a woman and being a partner are extremely important roles to me as well and as such, this is my purpose for the blog.

I want to remind women that although things like education, diaper rashes, and socialization of their children are extremely important topics, mom’s shouldn’t feel bad for taking some time for themselves to read about fashion, beauty, romance, relationships, city exploration etc. So ladies, here is my solemn vow to you- I plan to blog as often as I can about things affecting, influencing or inspiring my life-ALL aspects of my life, my roles as a woman, a partner and a mommy.