Lessons Learned Through a Temporary Stay at Home Dad

Shortly after M was born, Mac Daddy’s work situation started to go very downhill. To make a long, complicated story short, there was a problem with the company’s finances, and Mac Daddy and his coworkers were being paid infrequently and very late, if at all. This lasted all the way through my maternity leave, and a month after I went back to work full-time, Mac Daddy and the majority of his colleagues were finally laid off.

In some ways it was a relief, because it was getting very frustrating for him to be putting in hours upon hours of work without getting paid, and at least the government’s employment insurance program would pay him on time. But it was also terrifying, because we had already been through a year of my income being reduced by half while on maternity leave in Canada, and now his would be, too.

At the time M was in a home-based daycare, and we talked to the provider about putting her in on a casual basis as needed — unless he was job hunting or found work, Mac Daddy would be a stay at home parent, something we’d never really expected for our family. But, given that I had just gone back to work a month prior, we were used to the stay at home scenario in general; we were just trading places. Mac Daddy and M were going to get a lot of one-on-one time, and he was really excited about that! It also prolonged our time away from having to navigate home daycare while we waited to get off of the waiting list for licensed care.

Of course, this happened right before winter, so Mac Daddy got a bit of a harsh introduction to stay at home parenting. I still remember him ranting to me about how long it takes to get out the door when you need to get your kid dressed in full winter gear! At the time we only had one vehicle and I used it for work unless the two of them had plans, so they often traveled around town with Mac Daddy pulling M in her sled.

It was about six months until Mac Daddy got a new job, and in that time, we all learned a lot. M was thrilled to be at home with her dad. Us parents gained a new perspective, as suddenly I was the one coming home like why is the laundry not done?! and Mac Daddy was responding with you said you’d be here at 5:30 and it’s six and I haven’t talked to an adult all day! We both had the opportunity to be the working-out-of-home parent and the primary caregiving parent, which really helped a lot in terms of empathizing with one other, even now that we’re both back to work.

read more »

Pregnancy Reading

I had the best of intentions of reading many books during my pregnancy, but in the end only got through three books. In the era of there being an app for everything, I barely cracked any of the weekly books that were given to me. I did however want to read a few books on childbirth and pregnancy overall. The three books I read/listened definitely go on my recommend list!

51IBMJPp2tL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth: Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chopra, David Simon and Vicki Abrams

I found a copy of this book at a thrift store, and I’m so glad I purchased it! I started reading this book in early pregnancy, and found it really helped me connect to my baby in the first trimester and ease my anxiety over the unknown.

This book focuses on the spiritual side of pregnancy and the deep connection you share with your child. Each chapter has exercises to complete based on the topic. One of my favourite activities that I got from the book was a focused breathing exercise which was very useful when I found myself letting fear and anxiety creep in.

The breathing exercise is about bringing your awareness inward, and as you inhale, visualizing the love, nourishment and oxygen you’re bringing in and encircling your baby, womb, placenta and amniotic sac. As you exhale, you release the air and energy back into the universe. I found myself doing this focused breathing in the bathtub in the evenings. Before I felt kicks or was showing, I loved imagining the little soul growing inside of me and the powerful connection we already had.

read more »

When your baby has Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Nothing changes your birth experience like a baby rushed to the NICU at two hours old, but if we have learned one thing as mothers, isn’t it that our babies write their own stories, and we are just here to read and occasionally edit? I have to say, I’ve been learning this lesson since H was in utero.

H’s birth was pretty uneventful.  My water broke, I went to the hospital, pleaded for and received an epidural, ate a veggie burger and fries from P Terry’s, and I pushed that baby out like I was running a marathon where the finish line is visible for two hours. Jude was the best birth coach ever, it was love at first sight, and we had glorious skin to skin and she nursed like a champ right away.

Then Jude went with her to the nursery for her bath and vaccinations, and her heart rate soared to 330 BPM and panic ensued all around. The nurses put ice on my darling newborn’s face to get her normal rhythm back and whisked her away to the NICU to figure out what was going on. I will never forget the horrific feeling of visceral despair I felt when Jude, two doctors and a nurse came back to my room with no baby.

We got a diagnosis of SVT right away. H’s heart is anatomically perfect, but due to some faulty electrical wiring (caused possibly by one extra fiber), her heart rhythm can get stuck in the wrong communication loop and soar to over 300 and stay there. In these situations, it’s necessary to “convert” her out of this loop. That ice placed on her tiny face caused that deep, jarring breath similar to when we jump in a cold pool and snapped her back to a normal rhythm. During another SVT episode in the NICU, the doctor delicately gagged her and it was quick and painless. A little reset button. H was started on a beta blocker 4 times a day. We took her home, scared to death and never missed a dose of medicine (4. Times. A. Day.) and checked her heart rate with a stethoscope at every diaper change. We made it through the newborn stage tired and still on edge, but with no SVT episodes.

read more »

8 Things to Look for in the Perfect Pumpkin Patch

This year we went to two different pumpkin patches – Spooner Farms and Lattin’s Cider Mill and Farm outside of Seattle. I know, it’s a bit much, but I really enjoy this type of family outing, plus fall is my favorite season. I can’t get enough of the pumpkins, apples, and spice.

Both pumpkin patches had a different thing I enjoyed, but I felt each had something missing. I am always on a quest for the perfect pumpkin patch, which got me thinking what factors would go into the making of the perfect pumpkin patch. If you’re on the hunt for a great pumpkin patch for a family adventure, here’s some things you should be on the lookout for:

1) Pumpkins in the Field – I love when you can go walk out into the pumpkin patch fields where the pumpkins grew. Sure, it can be muddy, but it makes the hunt for your pumpkin fun. Plus, it gives the kiddos an idea of how the pumpkins grow – not just piled up in rows.

2) Pumpkins Lined Up – While going out into the field is fun, I think it’s convenient to have the option of the typical pumpkin pile up. This way if you didn’t find your dream pumpkin in the field, you have plenty more to shift through to find it. Or, if the weather isn’t great, you don’t have to track all that mud into your car.


read more »

Moral of CPR Training: Do Not Let Your Children Eat in the Car

Do you let your children eat in the car?

According to either French Kids Eat Everything or Bringing Up Bebe (or maybe both), the French do not let their kids eat in the car. These books suggest that everyone in France eats about four times a day: breakfast, lunch, snack (for children, but perhaps not for adults) and dinner; eating outside of a traditional table setting is apparently frowned upon. Eating in the car makes a mess, alters the meal schedule, and doesn’t teach a child to appreciate a meal.

My brother and I frequently snacked in the car, though I do remember my mother always threatening to ban us from eating in the car when we would leave food or crumbs in it. But, I don’t actually remember a ban being enforced. Kids eating on the way from school to soccer practice is a pretty common occurrence, right?

A few months ago, my work sponsored a CPR/First Aid certification course. One portion focused on helping a choking victim, both adult and infant. Before we actually learned what to do when someone is choking, our instructor started telling us horror stories about choking. He explained that when there is a full obstruction, observers will not hear the victim coughing, which typically occurs when there is a partial obstruction. With a full obstruction, the victim will instead be silent; he may look like he’s silently screaming with eyes starting to water or bugging out, but that the victim may not be able to do much to draw attention to the problem. He mentioned one story where a mom was driving her kids and she happened to look into the rearview mirror and saw that her daughter looked like she was silently screaming. The mom pulled over, grabbed her daughter out of the car seat and performed the Heimlich on her and successfully go the obstruction out.

As our instructor told us, with choking every second counts. The mom was lucky that she happened to look back and recognized what was happening. She was lucky that she was in a place where she could pull over and attend to her daughter. I don’t know why, but it never really occurred to me that letting our kids eat in the car could lead to a dangerous situation like choking. I like to eat in the car from time to time myself, but our instructor raised the very good question of how we would remove an obstruction if we were choking while driving. It’s a frightening thought, but thankfully has a very simple solution: don’t eat the car.

read more »

12 Tips for Visiting the Oregon Coast with a Toddler

My husband and I are rather consistent (read boring) people; we routinely go to the same restaurants and the same vacation spots, one of which is the Oregon coast. It’s nice though — the consistency, the regularity of going to the same vacation spot. We know what restaurants we like, which vantage points are the best, and where to stay. I’d like you to get to benefit from our repetition!

We like the northern coast of Oregon which has beautiful rocky beaches full of coastal towns each about 20 minutes away from each other. Tillamook, Astoria, Seaside and Cannon Beach are some of the bigger cities. And yes that’s Tillamook, as in the cheese and ice cream company — go take a tour and sample some goodies! We like to stay in Seaside as it’s a nice, slow paced hub of the area. There is plenty to do and see, quite a few places to eat and located right in the middle of the beach towns. It has northwest coastal temperatures, cool temperatures in the fall, winter and spring, warm in the summer.


1. Along with your regular packing, check the weather and then check it again. We like to travel in the off-season (fewer crowds, lower prices), and it also has the possibility of inclement weather. Take the weather predictions and then add in the chill that comes off of the Pacific Northwest ocean and throw some extra sweatshirts in that suitcase.

2. Take the possibility that while running from the waves over and over again your child (or you) will topple over into the wet sand/ocean, rendering those clothes sandy and wet. Throw some extra outfits in that suitcase.

3. Remember your child’s particular food preferences and plan accordingly. For our little cherub, seafood is not high on the list and children’s menus offer very little in the way of actual nutrition. Meaning we brought lots of snacks full of the things we want him to eat so that when he refused what was offered, no big deal.

4. Baby Powder!! This is the go-to for removing sand. I’ve found that dry sand needs very little assistance, but sand with any moisture sticks like nothing else.

read more »

Link Roundup – October 21, 2016

We’ve shared many of these links on our Facebook page in real time, but there are a bunch of new links we’ve included as well!

We’re spending the next week making decorations and games for a Halloween party. It’s not a big holiday here in the Philippines, but we didn’t want the kids to miss out on one of their favorite American holidays. We won’t have pumpkins since they’re not available here, but we’re fully embracing the Halloween spirit. Have a wonderful weekend!

P R E G N A N C Y  /  M A T E R N I T Y  L E A V E

What Causes a Miscarriage? via Time

Why at Least Waiting 18 Months Between Pregnancies is Important via Parents

Which Countries are Most Generous to New Parents? via The Economist

Why 100% of Moms Return to Work at Patagonia After Giving Birth via The Bump


Why this Breast Milk Photo is So Mind-Blowing via mom.me

Increased Division Over Breast-Feeding in Bed via The Wall Street Journal


Racial Profiling in Preschool via New York Times

My Asian Pussycat Parents via New York Times

Children’s Books that Tackle Race and Ethnicity via New York Times


You’re Doing Your Kid a Favor by Being an Imperfect Parent via NY MAG

I Miss Having Friends, but Right Now Being a Mom is Enough via Huffington Post

Why You Shouldn’t Choose a Unique Baby Name via POPSUGAR

Why Parents Insist on Giving Their Babies Unusual Names via Psychology Today

Why Older Mothers Know Best via The Wall Street Journal

What You Need to Know About 6-Foot Trick-or-Treaters via The Huffington Post

read more »

© copyright 2011-2014 Hellobee