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Speech Therapy

Well, here we are. Little Bug has officially started speech therapy. At his 15 month appointment, he was saying zero words, and was not even able to open his mouth to make sounds that were needed to form words. We’ve been working with him and trying to get him to talk more or to try to form words, and at his 18 month appointment, he still had exactly zero words. So, our pediatrician referred us to a private speech therapist, and we started therapy today.

Again, we were told that he’s doing ok so far. Not actually behind because he is communicating, just not using words. Physically, he is ahead of the game, which is nice to hear, but verbally, he is a little behind. It’s sort of confusing because from our perspective, he is having a hard time even moving his mouth in a way that would form words, but from the speech therapist’s perspective, he is trying and his communication beyond actual words is ahead of other kids his age. So, we have a list of exercises to try with him over the next couple of weeks to see if we can get him using his mouth in a way that works towards forming words. We were told to use the “m” sound to get him rolling, and part of this will be having LeLe help by trying to get Little Bug to mimic the sounds that LeLe is making. I think that this will be a great exercise because Little Bug wants to do pretty much anything LeLe is doing so it should have good results.

The other exercise we will be trying is to tap out syllables on Little Bug’s chest when we are trying to get him to recognize or use a word. Once we’ve demonstrated the tapping a few times, we are then supposed to ask him to tap it to us. If he does, he can have a reward, which in our case will be whatever object we are trying to get him to recognize. This should be kind of fun and easy, without any pressure for him or for us.

Overall, the session was ok. I am excited about using new ways to encourage him to talk, but there was a difference in parenting ideas between Mr. Cereal and me and the therapist. I think she could feel it too, and she actually referred us to a different therapist within the practice for our follow-up visit in a few weeks. I could feel Mr. Cereal getting kind of frustrated with her during the session, and while I was trying to keep an open mind, I also was a bit put off by the parenting suggestions. These were outside the speech therapy area, and bordered on philosophical parenting ideas, so that was kind of strange.

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The Transition Back to Work

You may recall that I have a rather unique situation when it comes to work and parental leave. As a small-business owner in Canada my options for a maternity leave did not exist (or, I opted not to pay into the less than desirable option for me). After soul searching and looking at our options, we decided the best plan of action for our little family would be that my husband take parental leave from work when our son was born (he can take up to 37 weeks off).

My plan was to take at least three weeks off of work, and ease back into work in December and then try and make a go at full-time in January*. As we navigated the waters of newborn life, we did just that. I disengaged myself for a solid three weeks, and slowly started reading emails, talking to my colleagues and even had a few work calls in December. It felt manageable, doable and oddly nice.

Now that January is here and I’m trying to re-engage at a fuller level, it’s a bit more overwhelming, but we’re slowly figuring it out and making it work (I see a day in the life post in the future!).

Planning for life with a baby is really difficult to do when you have no frame of reference. Every baby is different and imagining what your life is going to look like when you’re pregnant is kind of impossible. So with a two month old, I thought I would share the feelings that I didn’t necessarily anticipate with my return to work in a work from home situation.

Jumping back in isn’t that scary – I thought I would have a hard time wanting to work and wrapping my mind around it. Turns out, I still love my work! While my mind and heart are much fuller and busier than before, I still see my purpose in my role, and returning to the projects I was involved with is/was rewarding. It feels good to use that part of my brain and feel needed in a much different way.

Working is good for me – While working and juggling lots of different things at once is overwhelming at times, I think it’s good for me. I found myself thinking about my projects, my colleagues and what I was missing. This was really surprising to me. While I was completely immersed in life with my son and new little family, I still really wanted to stay connected with my work identity.

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Turn your Photos into Books

I take a lot of photos. I mean a LOT. I had to move my photos to iCloud because my phone just couldn’t handle the number of photos I had on my device. Then Petit Macaron came along and the number of photos skyrocketed. I just looked on my Photo application and counted 7,423 photos for 2016. Wow!

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What’s the point, though, if the photos just sit there on my devices? Sure, I love to browse through them every once in a while myself, but that can’t be their only purpose. That’s why I always try to create books or other products to display and share my favorite photos. This way others get to enjoy the photos!

My favorite way to take the photos off the computer or phone is with a photo book. These days there are so many services out there that creating a photobook can be as hands-on or hands-off as you’d like. As a mom, time is limited so the easier the better, right? And I have really appreciated having all the photobooks. They are great to set on the coffee table. Guests love to flip through them and check out your life. It’s so fun to look back and relive some of the awesome times you’ve had in your life. It always makes me smile.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how to take your photos and memories and bring them out for everyone to enjoy! Here are a few services I have tried out or plan to use soon.

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Spending Freeze Recap – Week 2

Okay, at the beginning week two of the spending freeze:
Food was still abundant.
Cars were at just over half tank of gas respectively.

January 8 – I went to the climbing gym after work for a half hour of power as I like to call it and Mr. Gumdrop got a ride from a friend and met up with the guys for a longer climbing session later in the evening. We have been spending a lot of time in the house together (from the cold and not going anywhere that involves money), so I think it was good to spend time doing different activities. We are running low on yogurt, so I used a small portion of it to make more. My mom used to do this for us growing up so I am looking forward to seeing how it turned out. And I made more muffins!

We had our first disagreement about the experiment when I figured using credit card cashback money to order our year in review book online was a clever loophole and he thought it was betraying our goals. Apart from that, the experiment has been very unifying and I think it will continue to be.

January 9 – We had a low key evening in. Discovered that the yogurt making experiment didn’t work out. It definitely solidified but tasted more like milk pudding than yogurt. I’ll have to dig up my Mom’s recipe and use the ingredients she does after the spending freeze.

January 10 – Mr. Gumdrop started his alternative early morning carpool this morning, so we got home at the exact same time for the first time ever. As for our evening, our friend who is a musician got us on the list for one of her local shows. My buddy agreed to shoot the show for them and we helped out, manning a camera here and there and grabbing free drinks backstage. Hooray for work-trades!

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Our Umbilical Granuloma Experience

Let me put this out there right away: belly buttons make me squeamish. My own, other people’s… they bother me. I don’t know why. But when I was pregnant with M, one of the things that made me most nervous was knowing I’d have to deal with an umbilical cord stump.

Hers stuck around for a long time — several weeks, if I recall correctly — and it was a bit torturous waiting for it to fall off. But when it did, that was the end of belly button drama. The most challenging part was waiting for it to come off, and wondering if it was taking too long, because the extent of the umbilical care suggested to us was, basically, “keep it clean and leave it alone.”

With A, things were different from the start. Being in a different hospital their procedures weren’t the same as they were with M, and they left the clamp attached to the cord stump. It seemed to pull a bit, getting caught on things, and by the day we were discharged his belly button was looking a bit red and angry. The paediatrician checked it out and advised to just keep it clean, but over the next few days it got more and more irritated.

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This is how we feel about belly button problems.

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Surprise, you’re pregnant

When I saw the positive pregnancy test, I was in complete shock.

I really should have seen it coming. A few days earlier, I was baking brownies with Finn, when I randomly started feeling nauseous. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but it was a very familiar feeling. I checked my calendar and I wasn’t even expecting my period to start for a few more days, so I brushed it off. But I had a weird feeling about it, so the day I was expecting my period, I picked up a pregnancy test at the store.

And it was positive! Immediately my mind was racing.

Is that positive?  t looks like two lines but that second one is pretty light – what if it doesn’t really count? Should I take another test? We’re going to have three kids – that is so many! We’re going to have to get a minivan! And what about a crib – will we need another crib? I guess the boys will be sharing a room. Is it really positive? False positives are really rare right? What in the world is my husband going to say? Man, I wish I had lost the baby weight from last time before now. How am I ever going to lose it after all this? How are we going to afford three kids? I cannot have another miscarriage. I just can’t do it. Maybe we will finally have a baby girl! Could I really be pregnant?  

It probably seems silly that I was so shocked, considering this is my third baby. I clearly know where babies come from and our prevention methods hadn’t been quite as stringent as they should have been. But if there is one thing I know about myself, it’s that I am terrible at making babies. It took more than three years and two miscarriages to have Finn.  And after a chemical pregnancy and a year of trying, we conceived Dash using intra-uterine insemination. So a surprise pregnancy when we weren’t even really trying was more than just a shock – I felt like I had suddenly turned into a fertility goddess!  Maybe I’m not so terrible at making babies after all.

Thankfully, I am now 16 weeks and everything is going along smoothly.  This little one is due July 3rd, which feels both incredibly soon and eons away. I’m still a bit terrified of having three kids under five, but I one hundred percent cannot wait to meet this precious baby.

Our DIY Coffee Table With Hidden Train Table

For Christmas this year, the boys’ main gift from us was a train table since they love Thomas and Friends. Shortly before Lion’s first birthday we bought a HUGE lot of trains, tracks and accessories (we’re talking the roundhouse, Cranky, a hospital and more) off Craigslist at an incredibly low price and have been slowly adding to their collection for each holiday. Their train collection is pretty sizable and we’ve therefore wanted to get a table for awhile now, but didn’t love the look of most train tables out there. I had looked around at different coffee tables and thought about converting one to a train table, but we have space issues and weren’t sure whether we wanted to have a dedicated table just for trains. Solution: build our own that can double as a coffee table!

Now, I haven’t done any woodworking since my 6th grade woodshop “explorations” elective so I was pretty sure that the project was going to be a disaster. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out and how quickly it came together. Did I mention that the afternoon I built it, I was called to pick up Lion from daycare because he got sick? And that we live in a condo without a garage or work space? Believe me when I say if I can do it, anyone can.

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We keep the tracks set up, but have to lay down some of the items, like Cranky and the power station when we put the top back on.

I used these plans from Ana White’s site with the modifications of 1) leaving the top insert as one piece and 2) removing the lower shelf. We wanted to be able to tuck in some small chairs for the kids and also wanted to reduce the total weight of the table. I calculated how many 1 x 2’s, 1 x 3’s and 1 x 6’s needed ahead of time (subtracting for the wood I didn’t need based on my modifications) and brought my cut list to Home Depot. I had the very nice people at Home Depot make all the cuts for me, which made my job even easier.

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