Dear Owen,

As you lay sleeping on my bed beside me I am full of so many different emotions that it is hard to know where to begin.  If it is possible, I feel as if time is flying by even faster than it did with your big brother.  Life as mother of two seems to move at breakneck speed!  I fail to comprehend how a month of your life has already passed.

Becoming a parent the second time around has been altogether much easier and yet so very challenging all at the same time.  Your Daddy and I knew better how to look after a newborn and we are second guessing ourselves less.  We have simply decided to go with the flow and because of that I think we are responding to your needs pretty well and because of that, you have been a pretty “easy” baby.  As long as you are fed and warm (and preferably in someone’s arms!) you are quite a content little boy!  Life with a second baby seems very much to be more about coping than creating the “perfect” routine or following random “rules”.  So you are often nursed to sleep, and you have slept in our bed for at least part of every night since you were born.  The rest of the time you are happiest in our arms and we are almost always glad to indulge your preferences!

You are quite a good nurser and we seem to have hit our stride in that department fairly quickly.  It took us a bit of time to figure out your latch, but we’re good now and you’re quite an efficient eater.  Right now you are nursing about every 2 hours, which takes up a lot of my time, but I never mind snuggling with you…so it’s not really a hardship :-)

In the sleep department it has been hit and miss – but I guess that is normal for a newborn too.  It took a little while for you to get your days and nights figured out and we have also struggled with some gas issues.  But for the most part you sleep quite well at night – usually a 3-4 hour stretch at the start of the night and then you wake every two hours after that.  When you’re gassy we often have to sleep with you on our chests for a while before you’ll let us lie you down, but for much of the night you are already sleeping quite happily in your own crib or bassinette.  During the day you nap on and off – usually in your swing or bouncy chair or – most happily – wrapped against Mommy’s chest!

You are quite calm in the car for such a little babe, although you sometimes fuss when we first strap you into your car seat.  Not that I blame you – a 5 point harness can’t be all that comfortable.  I should also point out that at the ripe old age of 2 1/2 weeks you went on your first airplane ride.  And you were a fabulous traveler!!  You slept most of the way and even did super well on the 4 hour drive from Edmonton back to Cold Lake once we arrived in Alberta.

Speaking of Alberta, we are finally back “home” after our stay in Comox.  Although we were ready to get back to our own house and our own routines, we were sad leave Auntie Gill and Uncle Brandon and all our friends in BC.  And I know that Auntie Gill was especially sad to see us leave, too!  Thankfully we don’t have long to wait to see her again, since she’s joining us for our trip to Ontario in August.

Some other notable things about your life at one month:

- Daddy is good at settling you when you’re all worked up;

- You are starting to follow my face with your eyes when I move; and,

- You are very tolerant of the many squeezes and cuddles you get from your big brother every day (both gentle and sometimes not-so-gentle!).

Some days I feel like you have been here for ever, and other days I am shocked that four weeks have already come and gone.  I am trying my best to savour the moments, to relax and let the less important things go so that I can concentrate on nurturing you and our little family, but I know I don’t always succeed at that.  What I am always successful at is loving you with all my heart.  Your Daddy and brother and I waited a very long 9 months for you to finally be here and now that you are, we are so so happy to have you!  You make me smile everyday, my sweet Owen, and I am certain that these first lovely weeks have only been a prelude to all the joy you will bring to our lives over the coming months and years.

Love Mommy

On Friday May 21st, 2010 at 7:38 am we finally got to meet Baby C – Owen Allan Campbell – after 39 long weeks of waiting :-)  I truly could not imagine a more perfect birth story for Owen.  It was nothing short of amazing – everything we had hoped and planned and wished and prepared for…and then some!

It started the weekend of May 15-16th.  I had two nights of 3-4 hours of stronger-than-Braxton-Hicks contractions that were anywhere from 3-5 minutes apart.  I started to get really nervous, since Dale hadn’t yet arrived in Comox.   For any who missed it, our plan was to deliver at Gill and Brandon’s house in Comox with the same midwife who delivered Nate.  The last weekend of April, Dale, Nate Turner and I packed up the truck and drove from Cold Lake to Comox and then Dale flew back to Cold Lake to work for a few more weeks.   Anyway – so on Monday morning I called our midwife and asked her to check me to see where I was at and whether we should think about having Dale fly out earlier than his planned arrival date  of Friday.  Turns out I was 4cm and getting thin, so after some frantic phone calls and switching a West Jet flight, Dale hopped on a plane on Tuesday and the real waiting began.

After he got here I didn’t have any more strings of contractions and we were almost starting to second guess our decision to bump the flight up (which cost $200! LOL).  Thursday, the 20th, I started having regular Braxton Hicks in the late afternoon and they kept up all evening.  I was kind of thinking that things might happen soon but didn’t say too much.  Gill was just anxious that Baby not be born on Saturday since she was going to be away all day shooting a wedding.

When we went to bed Thursday I couldn’t sleep and just tried to relax.  Around 3 am Friday morning the contractions changed and were definitely stronger.  I timed them in bed for an hour and they were 3-5 minutes apart lasting 1-2 minutes.  At 4 I figured things were starting for real so I got up to have a snack and move around a bit.  At 5 Gill woke up and I gave her a heads up, so she went back to try to sleep for  while longer.  By 5:30 I was needing to consciously relax during the contractions so I woke Dale up and just before 6 we called the midwife and woke Gill and the two of them started to get the bedroom and birth pool set up.  This was about the time that I turned on my hypnobirthing “music”  but rather than listening to the Rainbow Relaxation track (which I don’t particularly like and didn’t find helpful during Nate’s birth) I chose to listen to my Birthing Affirmations, as I had been doing almost every night since late in the first trimester.

The midwife, Joanne (incidentally not the same midwife who delivered Nate – but wonderful nonetheless!), arrived at 6:15 and I don’t think she really believed that I was in active labour since I was still laughing and talking and moving fairly easily, but when she checked me I was 6cm.  I thought about trying to move around some more, but was really comfortable on the bed, listening to my Birthing Affirmations and playing solitaire between contractions on my iPhone.  Thank goodness for iPhones :-)

Right around 7 am, Nate woke up and my contractions quickly started to get closer together.  I was ready to get into the birth pool but needed to use the bathroom first.  I had a little show and started to feel more downward pressure – getting into the tub was a wonderful change.  I had about two contractions and then felt a lot more pressure, so Joanne called the second midwife and told her to head over.  On the next contraction my water broke, which made us all laugh because it looked like a little bomb exploding in the water! LOL  Suddenly I was getting tons of pressure and with the next contraction our Baby was crowning.  Joanne had to rush around a bit to get a few last things set up and Gill almost missed the whole thing because she had taken Nate downstairs to eat breakfast.  This was the only point in labour when I got a bit freaked out, because I remembered the awkwardness and pain from pushing out Nate, but I concentrated on my Birthing Affirmations and the encouragement from the Dale and Gill and Joanne and gently pushed out his head on the next contraction.  Waiting to push out the body was the toughest part, but I breathed through it and in two pushes he had arrived :-)  He arrived at 7:38 am and was a calm relaxed hypnobaby.

Nate came up to meet his baby brother minutes after he was born and was in love from the get go.  For the most part he is very gentle with Owen and helpful too.  He has been acting out with Mommy and Daddy though – so the changes are obviously getting to him.

Today Owen is a week old and still a very calm, easy-going baby.  He is sleeping 3 hour stretches at night and goes back to sleep easily after nursing.  We have figured out most of his cues and already it seems like he has been part of “us” forever.

Because of Owen’s easy birth, my recovery has also been remarkably easy.  I am feeling great; tired, but great!  Nursing hasn’t been nearly as difficult as it was for Nate and I either.  I’ve still had rather sore nipples, but I think that is to be expected.  I’m definitely less stressed about it all, which I’m sure is helping to make it easier too!

I can’t wait to share more about Owen as he grows :-)


Recently, watching Nate has felt a little bit like looking in a mirror.

I am struck by how thoroughly he is influenced by our actions as parents.  Everywhere we go people have an opinion about who he looks like – me or Dale.  But what really boggles my mind, is how much he acts like us.  In the past few months as he has started talking more and communicating more easily, I am astounded by what he picks up and how quick he is to follow our lead in all kinds of things.

When we are active and engaged in daily activities – he is much more likely to be so as well.  When he sees us working independently at tasks he is much more likely to play quietly on his own.  When he sees us eating he wants to eat.  When he sees us going places, he wants to go too.  He mimics our mannerisms, the tones of our voices and even the words we use.  I realize he learns from other sources as well, but at the moment we are still very much the centre of his small but growing world.

I see myself in him every.single.day.  But what I wonder sometimes is how I got into him?  Was he born that way?  Has my parenting made him a mini-me?  Is it the fact that he exists in the same little environmental bubble that I do?  All-in-all, it is quite fascinating.  Scary too at times.  When I know, for example, that he totally has my temper.  My tendency to be moody.  My penchant for talking non-stop?  My sweet tooth? There are many moments when I wonder why (wish perhaps even??) that he isn’t more like his Dad.  You know, calm, cool and collected and above all quiet?

Of course he isn’t entirely his mother’s clone.  The love of bike riding?  Well, that he gets from Dale.

I imagine that I will never know why he is the way he is.  But I am hoping that I don’t forget how amazing it is to see his personality traits and his character developing as he grows from baby to toddler to little boy.

Perhaps I am just feeling  wee bit nostalgic, knowing that baby number 2 is about to arrive all fresh and new and undiscovered.  It’s making me think back to those days when the things that defined Nate were so different – so minute and so unquantifiable.  Today is a whole different story and one I don’t want to forget any time soon!

I’m not alone, am I?

Please tell me all pregnant women get unreasonably cranky at some point in the final few months?  Because I am there folks.  And cranky might just be an understatement!

Sleep is hard to come by.  My back aches.  When I’m at work I want to be at home.  When I’m at home I think I should be at work.  I’m bored and overwhelmed all at the same time.  I feel like the end of May is still far too far away and yet too close all at the same time.

I am quite certain I am not a very fun person to live with at the moment and feel some serious sympathy for my husband at the moment.  Although every thing he does…regardless of how thoughtful…only seems to contribute to the crankiness at the moment.  I’m trying to chalk that up to the post-deployment balancing act, but I bet it has more to do with hormonal crankiness than anything.

I’m totally open to brilliant suggestions for getting over this.  I’m thinking I’ll see whether a giant bowl of chocolate ice cream helps, but I’m slightly concerned that the idea of it making my butt any bigger will just increase the cranky-factor three fold…so I’m still on the fence with that one.

Or should I say, where to start again?

I haven’t actually posted in over a year (eek! has it really been that long??).  And I must admit that I miss it!  I am constantly thinking of things that would make great posts, but real life has simply kept me rather occupied as of late.

However, with the impending arrival of Baby Campbell #2, I am eager to step back up to the plate and continue the chronicles of life in our little household.  I am guessing that there will be lots of share…and perhaps not nearly enough time to do so.  But I would like to try!  If only because I am bound and determined to also publish monthly letters to this new babe, just like I did for Nate.

Speaking of Nate.  In case anyone missed it….he has apparently become a full fledged toddler!  This past week he officially turned two and a half.  That’s 30 whole months since he turned our lives upside down in the most wonderful way!  How did that happen?  Where did the time go?

Although the changes no longer seem to be coming at beak-neck speed, as they did when he was still a baby, he is most definitely developing his own unique sense of being.  Highlights as of late include:

1) He is 95% potty-trained.  Diapers to bed still, but FINALLY telling us when he needs to go potty instead of us constantly asking him if he needs to go (and sometimes dragging him when he says he doesn’t but we know he does);

2) He talks NON-STOP…and loudly at that!  (I could pretend he gets those traits from his handsome father…but we all know I’d be lying shamelessly).  He is essentially a little “me”, or as my mother would like to say (but kindly doesn’t) he is my “payback”.

3) He is all about independence and doing EVERYTHING himself.  Frustrating to deal with at times but also so gratifying to see!

4)  Along with independence, we are finally seeing creative play and the requirement to entertain him has lessened significantly.  So much fun to watch!

Yep, he is definitely growing up, little by little, right before our eyes.  The last few months have been a little bit trying in that Dale has been away on a domestic deployment (helping with the security for the Olympics and Paralympics) since early January.  Nate had a really tough time dealing with Daddy being gone this time, and his tired pregnant Mama had trouble keeping my head above water balancing work and home solo for 2 1/2 months.  I know it won’t be the last time I go it alone and that the next time there will be 2 little ones to worry about, but for the moment I am just exceedingly thankful that Dale will be home in less than 4 days!

So, that should about recap the goings on around here over the past few months.  I promise I will work on getting some pics posted in the near future :-)

Because Jackie asked, I thought I would share with all of you my new secret weapon when it comes to weeknight sanity savers:

A recipe book called Fix, Freeze, Feast.  It is da bomb!  Literally.  I. Love. It.

Technically it was my present to Dale for Christmas.  Which now makes me feel more than a little guilty, since he got me two of the best presents ever (a Digi Photo Frame which I have been lusting over for ages AND a West Jet Gift Certificate with specific instructions to use it when I need a Gill and/or Mom fix or want to escape from Cold Lake for any number of weather/toddler/work related reasons).  Where was I? Right. Guilty.  So I feel a little guilty because I obviously love the book way more than Dale does.  But then again, I am stuck here in Cold Lake working full time and attempting to feed myself and a toddler for 3 weeks while he is gallavanting working hard on the west coast for 3 weeks with his buddies unit.

Anyway, the whole book is full of recipes designed to make multiple entrees of an item specifically to freeze.  For example, in my freezer right now I have the following:

2 family size garlic mashed potatoes

4 small pan lasagnas

4 chicken curry meals

4 cashew chicken stir fry meals (just add fresh veg to repare)

3 meals for 2 of French Onion Soup (just add hot water and broil for 5 mins)

2 loaves of banana bread

2 meals balsamic marinated pork chops

and Lots of Individual sized tomato basil soups for lunches.

This method takes some preparation, and toddler-free time to make the meals, but I think it’s well worth the effort to be able to come home at the end of the day and be able to prepare a healthy meal in less than 30 mins for the most part. A warehouse club membership is also handy so that you can buy some ingediants in bulk (especially meat).  I would have to say it’s a little heavy on the meat and light on the veggies, but it’s not tough to make a salad or steam some veg while your entree is cooking, expecially since there is little to no other prep required.

I have also tried freezing a few of my other fav recipes, like Mozza Sticks from the recipe book Deceptively Delicious (another fabulous addition to any kitchen with kids!), which I won way-back-when from Megan and these fabulous Yam and Black Bean Burritos, which also freeze really well and Nate can’t get enough of!

But now for what you really want to know – what firsts did Nate have today?

1) He climbed into his highchair by himself (and then onto the table to get his milk…but I’m attempting to forget that part)!

2) He walked around the house wearing one of my crocs and one of Dale’s crocs (and then tried to walk up the stairs in them – which I am also trying to forget!)

How cute and slightly terrifying is all of that?

I know, I know.  More than 2 months I have kept you waiting for a new post from me!  I’m sure you are all anxious to see new Nate pics and find out what we’ve been up to around here over the last little while.  And because I like you all so much I am going to indulge you to the fullest.

So here are the top ten things you didn’t know were going on at the Campbell household:

10.  We’ve been busy busy busy stocking the freezer with healthy meals that are ready to pop in the oven when we get home from work.  This has made my evenings oh-so-much-more enjoyable!

9.  I signed up with Gill and Laurel for a great class at Big Picture Scrapbooking called Library of Memories by Stacey Julian, and I’ve been organizing my iPhoto gallery in preparation.  I can’t wait for class to start on Feb 12th!

8.  I have finished work at 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron and am moving on to a new job at Wing Administration.  I’m kinda sad to be leaving all my fighter pilot friends!

7.  Dale is now a qualified Air Weapons Controller!

6.  We spent an absolutely wonderful week in Comox over Christmas with family and friends…and had a horribly long drawn out trip back home due to mechanical difficulties and weather delays.  Oh well…it was a service flight so the waiting was at least free!

5.  Nate has learned to drink from a cup, eat cereal with a spoon, climb onto chairs, walk down stairs and say the words mama, bye-bye, ok and thank you!

4.  He also decided that diaper changes are no longer fun and putting clothes on is highly over-rated.  I guess it was an inevitable development in the life of a toddler!

3.  Dale and I booked a vacation for 2 to sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and will be leaving the munchkin with his adoring Auntie Gill and somewhat-skeptical Uncle Brandon for a week in March.

2.  We have survived half of a Cold Lake winter complete with mountains of snow, endless weeks of -40 degree temps and all the sunshine you could ever wish for!

1.  I completed my 365 + 1 Photo challenge for 2008 and you can check out all the pics on my Flickr page! (Ther’s a link in my sidebar)

So tha’s what I’ve been up to.  Of course since I haven’t stopped reading bogs – just writing them – I know what most of you have been up to, but feel free to fill me in if you’re not of the blogging persuassion!  I am hoping to get back into the blogging habit over the next few weeks while Dale is away for work and I am working semi-part time (it’s a long story) and then taking a month off to head back to Comox for a visit and some serious girl-time.

Once again, my sincere apologies for deserting you, and I hope you’ll accept these pics of Nate as a peace offering!

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I initially thought that one post in honour of International Babywearing Week was enough, but events over the weekend, that I just found out about today have urged me to post again.

Thankfully Megan is a more informed babywearing mama than I am and her post from yesterday informed me of the ongoing uproar over this Motrin add that ran on the US Motrin website until earlier this week when it was removed after babywearing Moms worldwide had their say on the issue!

There are lots of great posts all over the place about it: some of the ones I have enjoyed are at Adventures in Babywearing and Crunchy Domestic Goddess and the official letter to Motrin from Babywearing International. Definitely an interesting story about how fast information travels online and how quickly a  large group of moms can affect a change.  Motrin very quickly removed the ad and issued apologies.  I even sent them an e-mail at their site motrin.ca and received a response within hours.  I think they got the message loud. and. clear.

As for my personal opinion on the matter, I think it was a poorly researched, ill-timed ad that rightly offended a lot of people.  Will I boycott Motrin or Tylenol (also owned by Motrin)?  Probably not.  But what really bothers me is that there are likely still lots of people out there who honestly hold those uninformed opinions about babywearing – and not because they saw the ad, but because in so many communities alternative parenting methods are still so foreign.

Case in point…an acquaintance on mine who is expecting her first baby shortly was over at my house for dinner.  Knowing that she is fairly forward thinking on a number of issues, but not wanting to alienate a potential “new” friend I cautiously broached the subject of cloth diapers.  Her equally cautious response what that her and her partner were planning to try EC (if you don’t know what it is, I posted about it here and Jackie recently posted about it here).  She told me in the same hesitant tone that Dale and I told people about it when we were planning on trying it and she was relieved but a little shocked that I a) had heard about it before; and b) was totally suportive of it!

In Comox – not shockingly – I found many people to be extremely receptive of alternative, more natural parenting methods.  Not so in Cold Lake, Alberta!  And although I am not shocked by that fact, and I am not sure how to proceed  in the face of it.

Again, Megan got me to thinking in her wrap up post at the end when she talks about advocacy.  I am in total agreement with her that the best way to advocate is by setting a great example.  But I am at a bit of a loss sometimes as to how to do that.  And not just when it comes to parenting issues, but also in the general realm of living more naturally.

When is it appropriate to tell people that I work with that I chose to wipe my bum with cloth as an environment saving measure?  Ok – so probably never.  But what about my use of cloth handkerchiefs or the lack of paper towels in my house?  How about the fact that I try to buy Nate’s clothes used (difficult in Cold Lake thanks to the lack of consignment stores!) or that I have started making my own cleaning products?

How do I increase my sphere of influence without seeming like a self-righteous, pompous Officer/person?   I know I have this blog, and I feel that over the past year and a bit I have managed to contribute at least a little bit to the environmental momvement that has been spreading like wildfire in certain online communities, but I truly feel like I should be able to contribute more positively in my own community.  And I don’t feel very capable in that endeavour at the moment.  Of the 8-10 prenant women who I know personally right now in Cold Lake, only one of them is considering using cloth diapers.  None of them have seen a baby carrier that isnt a baby bjorn or a snuggly (not that those don’t count – because they totally do – but by their very nature they won’t be of much use for very long).

So aside from feeling like Dale and I are the odd couple in this town, I am totally unsure how I should attempt to change that fact!  I would love to know if any of you have struggled with this issue and whether you have had much success.  I don’t believe there is an overnight solution and perhaps the best way to affect change is for me to be a little more bold and open about the chioces I make and why they work for my family.  Does that make sense?

I hope so!

P.S.  Thanks for all the welcome advice on the bum-rash situation!  It is looking much better today and we’ll both me back at work tomorrow.  Allison – I think we will try a different brand of wipes! And Jackie -  I will e-mail Jenn to see what they tried!  You guys all rock!

Of the diaper rash variety.

So…after espousing the virtues of cloth diapers for the better part of a year – including the fact that my baby’s beautiful bottom has never been marred by diaper rash – I am now encasing that precious tooshie in a disposable (oh horror of horrors!!!) in a last ditch effort to rid it of a lingering diaper rash.  This think just. won’t. quit.

We’re talking a month of ooozing open sores here people.  Sores that today for the second time caused me to take a day off work so that I could let my otherwise perfectly happy and healthy child parade around naked which the babysitter cannot do (totally understandably!)

We have been to the doctor.  We have anti-fungal cream.  It is doing nothing.  And, to be quite honest, the disposables don’t seem to be making a difference other making me feel incredibly guilty for filling the landfill with hoards of contaminated plastic when my perfectly good cloth diapers languish on a shelf.

Nate doesn’t seem very bothered by the sores at this point.  And they respond well to naked-fresh-air time by scabbing over.  But the problem is, every time we get them semi-healed over a weekend at home, once we take him back to our sitter’s the sores inevitably open up again to the point that on Thursday and Friday they were bleeding at almost every diaper change.  I know that our sitter changes him frequently (because I can count the dirty cloth diapers she sends home!) and she uses the same (disposable) wipes that we do when we’re out of the house (Kirkland brand – which Nate has never had a problem with, unlike Huggies and Pampers which seem to make his bottom raw).  I can only imagine that she is gentle with him because he adores her and she is obviously very concerned about his sores since she updates us regularly and even called Dale at work last Thursday to tell him about the bleeding.

But here were are at the end of another “unintentional” long weekend and we are debating whether to keep Nate home again tomorrow in hopes that we can totally clear up the sores before we send him back to daycare.  But we can’t stay home from work forever…and I am at my wits end.

We lather on the bum cream (Bare Organics – which we have always used and which helps make wiping very easy).  The sitter does the same.  We give him tons of naked time, change him immediately after poops and check for pees frequently.  But these 3 spots will not go away!

So Mamas – dig out your best kept secret solutions to diaper rashes and please tell me whether I should go to work tomorrow or not??  Will one more day make that critical difference or am I just wasting leave for nothing? I’ll owe you big time!

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