Thursday, March 31, 2011

Multiple Choice

Choose the best answer.

I am to Ember, as:

a) border collies are to sheep,
b) a traffic cop is to traffic,
c) a ringmaster is to a circus.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Breastfeeding Doll

There seems to be a lot of discussion in the media about a breastfeeding doll that teaches young girls to breastfeed. The doll comes with a floral halter top which has sensors that mimic a sucking noise when the doll is brought close to the chest. Currently the doll is only available in Spain, but the manufacturer intends on bringing it to America next year.

Many are calling the doll "gross" and very inappropriate citing that it will promote teenage pregnancy and force girls to grow up too fast. Some have even described the doll as "sick".

Considering it's completely socially acceptable for children to carry around dolls that require diaper changing because they wet themselves and dolls that actually bottle feed, is this doll really offensive?

I question the necessity of the doll: I just don't feel that the halter and suckling noises are necessary. However I feel that way about all dolls that feature real life bodily functions. My thoughts are that children can imagine all those acts themselves. I know a few mothers that have given their first born children a doll when a new sibling has come into the family. When it comes time for the new baby to nurse, the older child has to feed their baby, too. Is that odd? Or is it teaching tool?

Thinking forward to if we were to have a sibling for Ember, I would absolutely give her a "baby" to help her ease into her new role as big sister. I expect that she would mimic nursing her doll as I would be nursing a baby, just as she would burp it, change its diaper and take it for a walk.

I'm dying to know - what are your thoughts?? Let's discuss.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I'm overwhelmed with the preciousness of life and the cycle that is.

The perspective gained from the view parenthood is heavy at times. With my very best, I try to relish it all and never, ever take it for granted.

With all that's happening on the planet right now, driven by a bigger power or those who have power issues, and I look at my quiet life and I'm grateful.

My thoughts are with those I do not know.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mommy Milk

I've been thinking about nursing a lot lately. I am still breastfeeding my little meatloaf.

I didn't set out to breastfeed for this long. My original goal was to nurse until Ember was 12 months old and after that I'd address it. That milestone has come and gone and here I am, still milking it. Basically, Andrew and I felt that with a daily feeding, Ember was getting a great multi-vitamin that she wouldn't get anywhere else. I wasn't returning to work so it wasn't a hindrance in my life.

Ember began to wean herself in January so I thought I'd let her do the work; we were down to nursing for nap time only. And then she got sick and she reverted. She was nursing several times a day again. Considering she was dehydrated and wasn't interested in food, I was more than happy to oblige. I'm so grateful that I hadn't weaned because I believe it played a HUGE role in Ember recuperating so quickly from the RS virus. Since being sick, we've taken some time to get back to where we were but we're back to nap and bed time nursing only.
No more night time feedings at all!!

Now that Ember is 15 months old, my new goal is her second birthday. If Ember weans herself before then, great, I won't discourage it. However, I would continue to pump for her to have a sippy cup once a day.

Sometimes I'm surprised by myself and this decision. But for our situation, I feel it's the right one. I'm home, it's easy to pump. And, with Ember's allergies, I believe that breast milk can only serve as a benefit to her immune system and fat intake.

I'm curious to know your experiencing with breastfeeding. How long did you nurse? Did you have a goal? Mums to be - what are you thoughts, do you intend to nurse?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ember Went to Jasper - Pt. 2

Picking up from where we left off ...

Maligne Canyon is a spectacular spot. So much so, that my DSLR lens cap decided to jump ship and take up permanent residence there. I miss it dearly but I suppose, it really is in a good place. Andrew suggested that I may find it during the spring melt swirling among some rocks. While I appreciate the dream, I don't think it's likely to pan out.

Lens cap, can you hear me?
A view from the fifth bridge.

It was an incredible -6 degrees and Ember was happy to soak in some vitamin D and stretch her legs.

From the Canyon we decided to head over to Jasper Park Lodge.

A view of Pyramid Mountain en route. Note the doe enjoying some lunch.

The same shot while embracing negative space.

Originally, we were going to snowshoe around the JPL golf course but the simplicity of a stroll along Lac Beauvert won out. It really was for the best otherwise we wouldn't have experienced memory making moments like these:

Ember did her first snow angels on the lake; that's her little angel next to mine.

Ember's footprints in the snow. They slay me!

Ember hosts her first snow tasting party. Grana RSVP-ed 'yes!'.

Blazing her own trail.
At the main entrance to the lodge, stood a beautiful snow castle.

Over which, Ember quickly asserted her reign.

Only Daddy and a slide can still make a ruling monarch smile and giggle with such delight.

After our winter fun, we enjoyed a late lunch in the lodge and then began our drive back to reality. Before leaving the gates, the park offered us a couple more gifts though.

Bull (male) elk on one side of the road...

... cows and calves (women and children) on the other.

Ember slept all the way home and then all night - just another reason to love that Jasper air.

I hope you're all having a fabulous weekend.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ember Went to Jasper - Pt. 1

Our weekend in Jasper, AB was just incredible. Here are some of the highlights of Ember's first trip to Jasper!*

Driving into the park, I spotted some bighorn sheep on the side of the road. Being that I totally have my father's genes, I pulled the car over and snapped some pictures.

Ember intently studying the sheep.

This trip also marked Ember's first stay in a hotel. Another surprise to Andrew and I considering how much travelling we've done.
But I digress.
Ember loved the room and she did what every kid does; jump on the beds and run around screaming while we settled in. Most of all though, she liked snuggling in with Daddy and Kitty Cat while enjoying some juzz (aka juice).

I wormed in on the moment, and Ember wanted me to heave ho.

That night we enjoyed a fantabulous dinner at Evil Dave's (I highly recommend the Fun Guy) and Andrew and I even got away for a date after Ember had gone to bed.
In the morning, we did a walkabout town. Ember went kanga style.

We stopped for the requisite photo with Jasper the Bear.

It was hard to get Ember and Jasper in the shot. This was the best we did.

We had a lofty agenda for the day so after a hearty breakfast (and some pastries and java from the Bear's Paw, mmm), we quickly got underway.

First stop: Maligne Canyon for a self guided walk along the canyon floor.

Hiking in.

The view at our backs.

Ember was nice and toasty riding in the pack on Daddy's back.

The canyon is full of spectacular sights all year round however in the winter, it is sheer magic.

Hoar frost in one cave.

In the cathedral - this dome is roughly 70 feet high - very hard for photos to do it justice.

Climbers on the Queen icefall.

Behind "the curtain".

Stay tuned for part two!!

*How ridiculous that this was Ember's first trip to Jasper when we live just a few hours away, but alas it's true. We've attempted this trip many times but something has always come up that has prevented us from travel. What may be even more ridiculous that this trip is the first time Ember ate snow! Considering we live in a winter climate, Andrew and I have both been scratching our heads wondering if this is in fact true. And, we seem to concur that yes, it is so. Then we remember that it's been a frigid (seriously effing cold) kind of winter and the snow is as deep as she is tall and it all kind of makes sense.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

As of Late

Before I post more pictures of our trip to Jasper, I thought I would bring you up to speed as to other happenings in Ember's life as of late.

Ember went curling.
My dad would be so proud. When Andrew had a work event centred around curling, I couldn't resist getting Ember in on the action. Without delving too far into a tangent, I spent a lot of my childhood in a curling club so Ember + curling was a bit of a thrill for me. Turns out it was for her too. Not exercising any caution, Ember would walk on the ice and start playing "skip". The photos below are from before game... when she had little interest. It was once the game started, with all the yelling, sweeping and sliding rocks, that she tuned in. There are no photos because it was all hands on deck trying to control her.

Ember has allergies. Boo.
An incident with yogurt when Ember was 9 months old lead me to believe were dealing with a dairy allergy, and I expressed this to my doctor at Ember's 12 month check up. (Before then/post incident, we had decided to avoid dairy until this landmark birthday.) Anyway, Dr. decides that Ember go in for a RAST test. I was expecting the dairy to be positive, but was quite surprised to learn that she is allergic to wheat and egg whites as well. What fun! This was a blow to me as I love to bake and cook and was hoping to turn Ember on to white flour and buttery decadence early. Alas, Ember (and us too) have taken quite a shining to Earth Balance - a delicious buttery flavour spread. I wish I had more information about the severity of the allergies but the earliest we may see a pediatric allergist is September ... so... we go with what we know is safe.
Anyone out there dealing with allergies? I've been told wheat is a misnomer. Help!

Ember may be an only child.
Why?, you ask. Simply because she is 15 months going on 16 years. We have entered tantrum territory already. Oh my girl, she's a strong self advocate. Her style is a little different than the traditional tantrum though. Instead, Ember more or less stages a sit in. Her protests are usually staged on the elevator of our building, after I've picked her up and she can no longer run up and down the hallway. As soon as she's in my arms, Ember lets out a disgruntled shriek,and goes boneless. I set her down once we're on the elevator, hoping she will stand but she opts to lay flat on the ground, and she just stares at me, with a look that says, "Now whatcha going to do? Huh? Huh?" Quiet it is, but oh so adamant. I fear the "terrible two's".

Ember loves Kitty.
Andrew and I clearly lack imagination because Ember's new BFF is named Kitty Cat. Kitty Cat was a gift from Ember's great grandparents when she was three months old. While it (Kitty's gender will be determined by Ember) has been a bedtime buddy since then, only recently have they become true snuggle buddies. And, Ember doesn't like to share Kitty - she hangs on to it no matter the activity.

Ember had the RS Virus.
Oh lordy! This was a knock em' down battle for a good five days. It started off as the normal stuff - slight fever, sniffles and congestion. And when they didn't clear up within 24 hours like all her other colds previous, Andrew and I simply thought she had a her first real cold and was going to take a few days to kick it. Well, by day three she was looking worse, and wasn't eating all that much. It was that night that her breathing changed; it sounded like her lungs were crushing plastic. Clearly, we went to emergency. After a barrage of tests that were all the more traumatic because of the sleep deprivation we were experiencing, a few doses of oxygen and some antibiotics, we were sent home knowing that Ember was a statistic in the number of kids who will suffer with RSV this winter. Despite needing a second round of oxygen treatments the following day, she rebounded quickly. She walked out of the hospital that second day and didn't look back.

Day two in emergency. You can see my poor little lady lost some weight while sick.

Ember is one.
Her new party trick.

Ember has a budding imagination.
She now plays peek-a-boo with her stuffed animals. Dress up is up there as her favourite activities: she wears the pumpkin hat and I wear the cat/bear/whatever it is. Daily she goes into my closet and pulls out a pair of my flats, and then comes clomping out of our bedroom.

Ember has new words.
Shoes. Cheese. These are her favourites. They're more "shzz" and "cheezz" though.

Ember has her own chair.
When Ember saw this gift from Grandpa at Christmas, she beamed. The affection has not desist since and every morning she drinks her milk (rice) and eats her puffs (kamut and corn) in the comfort of that chair.

Ember sleeps through the night. Regularly.
Pop the champagne! This has been a long time coming. We had gotten there, only to have the RSV ruin all our hard work. Now, several weeks later, Ember is back sleeping 12 hours straight. I credit Andrew on taking night shift (I'm no longer nursing at night, woo!) Ever since, I have been working hard at catching up on 14+ months of sleep deprivation.

Ember loves swimming lessons.
Ember is back in the pool every Saturday and just loves it. It's the same program as last time, because let's face it, she couldn't take direction then. The difference 10 months makes! On command, she can now blow bubbles, splash and kick. Most notably, she is brave enough to jump from the side of the pool into Andrew's arms. She's part fish and I'm all delighted.

Waving at folks in the bleachers.