A good heart at 16 months

16 month update! It has been even more exhausting than ever. His attention span is shorter, he plays more furiously and his curiosity is insatiable. But he is definitely even funnier than ever! I always wondered why no one tells you that when you have a baby, you’re basically giving birth to your very own live-in comedian.


Ever since 12 months, I keep hearing these same phrases over and over again:

“That’s so good… for a boy.
“Is he good at (insert skill)?”
“How many words can he say now?”
“Is he a good eater?”
“Is he a good sleeper?”
“Is he social?”

Honestly, I am just over these questions because my answers are always “I don’t know, he’s just a baby. He’s doing what he can and I think it’s fine.” Of course I put a happy tone in my responses but I really am over these stressful milestones. I can understand certain ones being big red flags like not grabbing or reacting correctly. But when these milestones get taken to an extreme level, I find it very stressful and that it takes the joy out of regular toddlerhood.

I spent time with a mother who was graciously boasting of her little one’s amazing milestones. When she asked me if Baby Pencil was good at puzzles in my exasperation I just said “no, he sucks at it.” (Because he does!) It was a very shocking response because I don’t know if anyone has ever not said something amazing about their child in front of her. I laughed it off but I really do think it’s OK that Baby Pencil is not some walking genius at age 15 months. Of course he’s going to suck at many things!

So here are my boastings about stuff he’s NOT great at! (I am laughing 90% of the time when he does any of these things.)

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Easy Zucchini Noodles

Earlier this year all I was hearing about were “spiralizers” and the ability to turn ordinary vegetables into wild and crazy spirals – oh the fun! I specifically heard a lot about zucchini noodles or “zoodles” as they’re called. When my sister gifted us a spiralizer for Christmas I couldn’t wait to try it out!

Miss H is a tad bit picky when it comes to vegetables. One of her favorites used to be zucchini – she would eat it pan fried almost every day and loved zucchini pancakes. Over the course of the past year she stopped eating the vegetable altogether.

Now that we have made zoodles she is obsessed with them! She regularly eats a very healthy portion of them and requests more. We’ve been making zoodles a lot this summer because we’re growing so many zucchinis in our garden. And because we have a few basil plants, we’ll toss the zoodles with some homemade pesto. In a few quick and easy steps here’s how we zoodle!

Step 1: Get some delicious, fresh zucchini – plan for roughly two average sized zucchini per person. In my example, the zucchini pictured made enough for 3 adults and a 3-year-old.


Step 2: Slice the ends off of your zucchinis and slice them in half if you are concerned with the length of your zoodles. They will still be very long after this, so you may want to cut your zoodles down even more after you’ve made them.

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Choosing an Umbrella Stroller: Summer Infant 3D Lite Review

We’ve always been a one-stroller family. We don’t use our stroller all that often because we don’t live in a very walkable area, and usually when we go to stores we either let Jackson walk or use shopping carts. So it has always seemed silly to even consider having more than just our Britax B-Agile. However, once we started planning for our cruise and a few other small trips over the summer, we knew we needed something smaller and easier to lug around when we’re out and about.

I had never done any research on umbrella strollers before we started looking for this one, so we were really starting fresh. Here’s what was important to us when we were looking for an umbrella stroller:

Weight/Portability: We were planning on using this mainly for travel, so we wanted it to be lightweight and easy to carry around.

– Size: Our first big trip with this was going to be on a cruise, so a small size was mandatory. Those cruise ship hallways are narrow and if we wanted to use it on the ship at all, it would have to be a small stroller!

– SafetyI’d seen lots of reviews on the super cheap umbrella strollers falling over with kids in them, not being sturdy enough, and other things that just generally didn’t sound safe. So, obviously, safety was key!

– Price: We already have a stroller that we like just fine, so we really didn’t want to spend much on this one or it would just feel like a waste. Our max price point was $100 and preferably we wanted to stay as far under that as we could.

– Storage: When we’re traveling we often have a ton of crap we have to lug around, so unfortunately a tiny stroller with no storage was out of the question – we needed something that had a relatively good sized basket underneath it, and preferably a bit of extra storage elsewhere

– Recline: Finally, we needed something that would recline so Jackson can take naps on the go if necessary while we’re traveling. He can sleep in an upright stroller, but it’s not nearly as comfortable so being able to let him lay down as far as possible was very important.

I ended up doing quite a bit of research to find the perfect stroller, and in the end we landed on the Summer Infant 3D Lite.


We are loving it so far and I’m so glad we went with this one. It meets all of the must-haves on our list and then some! Let’s look at the details:

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My Breastfeeding Journey: Challenges and Triumphs

Breastfeeding has been, by far, one of the hardest things I have ever done.

No one ever made it sound easy. Moms told me it would hurt, sometimes their nipples would bleed, and that it might take a while to get the hang of it. But no one ever told me about the searing pain during those first few weeks during every single feeding, which was anywhere from eight to 12 times a day. Or how I might feel like a failure if I wasn’t able to breastfeed my child. Or about how rejected I might feel if my baby screamed at the breast, or about how my inability to nurse might make me feel like less of a mom. Beyond the physical pain, the stress and emotional pain of breastfeeding was something I never expected as a first-time mom. I only nursed my daughter for 4 weeks, and by 8 weeks she was exclusively on formula.

hellobee - bottle
Aliya drinking formula at eight months

When my daughter was born, I faced a few challenges while trying to establish our nursing relationship.  I had an overactive letdown, which often led to Aliya choking and screaming during nursing sessions, and eventually she went on a nursing strike. In addition to these challenges (or maybe in part, because of), I suffered from postpartum depression, and could not muster the strength to keep going.

While I felt guilty that I stopped breastfeeding so early, I was able to enjoy the many benefits of formula-feeding:

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Mosquito Bite Repellents and Treatments

We’re leaving for our annual trip to the Philippines next week to visit Mr. Bee’s parents, so I’ll be writing a lot of travel related posts over the next week!

I always stock up on mosquito repellents and bite treatments before we go since it’s a tropical island, and Charlie and I are unfortunately delicious to them. Everyone knows how much mosquito bites suck, and since I’m a particularly itchy person, they drive me crazy! Apparently it’s mostly genetics whether you attract mosquitoes, and studies have shown that people with O type blood like me and Charlie tend to get more bites than people with A or B blood types. Mr. Bee and Olive (B blood type) get far fewer bites than us, even when we sleep in the same tent! This year I discovered a couple new products to add to our mosquito combating arsenal though, and hopefully they help me and Charlie escape the dreaded bites we get every year.


1) Buglet Reusable Repellent Bracelet – This bracelet for kids has an absorbent pad where you pour in bug repellent that never touches their skin. The bracelet comes with a DEET-free, nontoxic, essential oil based, bug repellent, but I’m assuming you can use any repellent you want. It’s not really feasible for us to apply bug repellent on the kids from head to toe throughout the entire day, so I love that this keeps bug repellent on them at all times. Plus it’s a slap bracelet! I got the bunny for Olive and the monkey for Charlie.

2) iCooker Mosquito Repellent Bracelet – This is the adult version of the bracelet repellent that I got for myself. Instead of pouring repellent into it however, it comes with 2 repellent pads that last 15 days each. Perfect for our trip!

3) Therapik Mosquito Bite Reliever – This might sound a little wacky, but I had to give it a try. It uses directed heat to eliminate mosquito bites immediately because “most insect venom is thermolabile (sensitive to heat).” I was a little skeptical at first, but it got a positive review on Gizmodo, and this blogger achieved similar results by blasting his mosquito bites with his hair dryer. I hope this works! I also wanted to try this Click Mosquito Bite Relief Device which uses an electrical pulse to eliminate itchiness, but it wouldn’t arrive in time for our trip.

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What I Want My Daughter to Know About Me

In my pre-kid life, I used to write regularly – first in journals, then on a private blog. These days, when I do get to write, it’s mostly to-do lists, grocery lists, and lists of things to remember to make lists for.

In July, I acquired a new planner called the Get To Work Book. It was created by Elise Blaha Cripe, author of her own very awesome blog called enJOY it, and it is a perfect planner for a project oriented person like me. Every month is designed to be planned in whichever way you can envision – monthly, weekly, daily, in notes, in lists, and beyond – but it’s especially handy for planning out projects, and it has provided me a great tool to have a monthly focus. For August, I decided that I’m going to do some writing.


When Baby C was first born, I came across this writing prompt for moms, and I vowed that I was going to do it all, but I never quite got around to it. So for the month of August, I’m focusing on doing one question a day, for a total of 30 questions, about the things that I think Baby C might be interested to know about her mom as she gets older. I already diligently keep notes on things I want Baby C to know as she gets older (or at least preserve in writing, in case she wants to know them), and these are some of the key themes that I’m stashing away for her.

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A 2 Year Old’s Favourite Things

We’re headed to a bunch of birthday parties this summer, and with Little Oats’ own second birthday just around the corner, I thought I’d share some of her favourite things. Maybe this will help you pull together some gift ideas (or inspire you to dig some items out of storage).


1) MegaBloks: We’re finally getting to the stage where Little Oats wants to build ‘things’ (usually the UmiCar from Team UmiZoomi), and MegaBloks has so many different kits. We have the standard ‘First Builders’ kit, but also the tea party add-on.

2) Play kitchen: This was a Christmas gift when Little Oats was 16 months old, but she is really getting into it now. Pancakes, pie and tea are her favourite things to make us. The fact that the buttons all make noise is an added bonus.

3) Water table: We bought this water table for Little Oats’ early birthday present, and it’s a hit. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of the water tables on the market; they can be reasonably priced, and are long lasting. The age range for this table in particular is 2-6; I’m sure it will last for ages.

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