Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday- Babywearing

This is my first Works for Me Wednesday. I often read my friend Aimee's Work for Me Wednesday and then head over to rocks in my dryer to see what others find works for them. Anyhow, what works for me is babywearing.

I am the proud momma to two cute and cuddly boys. My oldest is 2 and while we came to baby wearing a little later with him (3 months old) we did a lot of babywearing. I haven't done much wearin with now as an independent toddler but all of my carriers would allow me to if I wanted. My youngest is just 2 months old and has been in one of my carriers or another pretty much every day since we were released from the hospital.

Why does baby wearing work for me? It frees my hands so I can do other things. It allows me to have my baby close which often helps put him to sleep. I have been found, sitting in front of my laptop or on the couch watching TV in the evening with the baby in either one of my pouch slings or my cuddly wrap. Although, once a baby is asleep, it isn't terribly difficult to take them out of these and put them down in their crib/bassinet/bed. Baby wearing often helps soothe my baby when he is fussy. Have you read The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.? He says that in many cultures around the world, babies do not suffer from persistant crying. Dr, Karp goes on to explain that in these cultures, the babies are held almost 24 hours a day, fed on demand (I would assume via breastfeeding), and are rocked and jiggled quite a bit. This is similar to life in the womb, Dr Karp explains, and is why these cultures seem colic- free. While many moms have been able to figure out how to babywear and breastfeed with the carriers I have, I haven't. But that hasn't stopped me from trying, or from keeping on nursing my littlest man on demand.

Some examples of times I babywear- at the grocery store (I put my toddler in the up front seat of the cart and wear my infant, leaving the beasket of my cart free for groceries instead of being taken up by an infant car seat), at the health centre/lirbary/ bank/ any errand/store (I either let my toddler walk holding my hand or put him in the easy to transport and set up collapsable umbrella stroller and wear my infant), at the park (this allows me to push my toddler on the swings, follow him up the slide, help him on the climbing structures, play ball with him, blow bubbles with him, fly a kite with him all the while wearing my infant).

But you don't have to wear just the infant. You can wear a toddler as well. Last summer while I was visting my brother in law and his family in Seattle, I took my then 1 year old son out for a walk in his stroller hoping it would help put him to sleep. My then almost 2 year old neice wanted to come along but no other adult was available to come with us (my husband and his brother were out and my sister in law needed to nurse her then newborn). So I took out one of my handy dandy ERGO carrier, strapped her in on my back and away we went. My neice had so much fun up there, singing with me, playing with my hair and pointing out all the things she knew in her neighborhood.

I have 3 different baby wearing carriers. I use each one for different reasons but I usually use at least one of them each day. I have the Ergo baby carrier and the infant insert. This was my first baby carrier, a gift from a good friend when I had my first son. (thanks Lana!)My hasband says this is the least "girly/mothery" off all the carriers I have and since it is adjustable, he can use it as well. I have the pea pod cuddly wrap. I have heard many people say that this looks so complicated but nothing could be further than the truth. Yes, it is one big, HUGE piece of fabric and yes, I could see how just pulling it out and trying to wrap it aound yourself in the parking lot in the rain, mud, snow, slush could get very dirty and annoying, I have a solution for that! If I know I am going to want/need to use my pea pod wrap that day, I just put it on once I am dressed and before I leave the house. I can wear it without the baby in it, under a zip up sweater or jacket when it is cooler, or over top my tee's and tanks in warmer weather. Then I just plop baby in and go as I need. And if you need to readjust, you don't have to take the whole thing off. It does take a little practice, as does anything, but it is so worth it in my opinion. I also have 2 pouch slings. Similar to but not "official" hotslings. I have two because I have one that I wear with thin clothes in the spring/summer and then one a little bigger to wear over heavier clothing in the fall/winter.

Ryan in one of my pouch slings:

Adam in the Ergo on a hayride:

These aren't the best but here is a photo of me holding Adam when I had just taken him out of the cuddly wrap to nurse him at the park and then agian with him back in it (and I have a brown sweater on as well) going to do bubbles with Ryan at a party we went to at the park. The pea pod cuddly wrap is new to me. While I had seen them before, I didn't get one with my first so I have few pictures of my cuddly wrap in use yet! for me today and everyday!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Talk About Tuesday- Snacking

Want to know what others are talking about this week? Head over to The Lazy Organizer.

This week I am going to talk about snacking. My newest snack food addiction. Nachos! I am seriously in love with the new (ok newish)Tostito brand Multi Grain Tortilla Chips. I've seen the commercial with the three moms, their newborns in car seats, while they munch away on the multigrain chips and commenting how great playdates are and that they should have them more often. I've always liked tortilla chips and salsa but I just love these new multigrain ones. I place some on a plate, put some chopped up green onions, sweet peppers and tomatoes on top, cover with shreaded cheese and put in the microwave for half a minute or so. Then dip with mild salsa. Or if I am in a hurry/have no veggies in the crisper, just the chips, cheese and salsa or even just chips and salsa in containers to take to the park/beach/wherever. Brad and I have even been known to add cooked cubed chicken breast to the chips, veggies and cheese, call it supper and eat in front of the TV. Especially if there is a special episode of a show we have been looking forward to (like a season premiere or finale), a movie or hockey playoffs!

Ryan has even started to like nachos! He loves things to dip and as long as he gets a chip with no veggies, he will dip and eat happily. We used to just buy the big box of no name/generic brand chips and it's matching mild salsa on 10% Tuesday. But the generic brand does not have multigrain chips and really the salsa is not as tasty. But I am getting fed up with the price! $3.00 or more for the salsa and $2.50 or more for the chips (and a smaller bag than the other "flavours"). So I wonder, does anyone have a recipe on how to make these? Could you just take some multigrain tortilla's or pitas, cut into wedges, spray with veg oil, season and bake 'till crispy? What about salsa? We like mild, so nothing with too much hot stuff. But a recipe would be good. Please leave me a comment and recipes f you have any to try. Because seriously, I have gone through 4 bag of chips and 2 jars of salsa already this month.

Update to last week's TAT: Still waiting to see a doctor on the hip clicking. Sleeping is hit and miss. We are trying to re-establish a bed time routine but are not being super strict about the time. We start the process at the same time everynight but if he is not ready to sleep by a certain time, we continue with quiet play and books until he is. Two nights in a row now, Ryan has stayed up playing quietly with books and a teddy bear in my bed while I watch some TV quietly and nurse Adam. Between 10:30-11 both nights he has fallen asleep beside me on my bed while I was nursing. Then once he is fast asleep, we've been able to move him to his bed and he has slept until almost 9 in the morning. So YAY! And since he is still napping 1-3 hours a day he is still getting 12 or more hours of sleep a day at 2 years old.

Menu Plan Monday

For more information about Meal Plan Mondays or to see what others are eating this week, head over to I'm an Orgainzing Junkie.

Ok, so it's Tuesday again! Better late than never eh?! Especially when I have missed the last couple. The weather is so warm here that all I want to do is bbq. But since I don't do the bbqing that is not such a great plan (especially for those nights that Brad works late). Here is what I have planned for the week.

Monday- take out
Tuesday- BBQ night Hot Dogs, potato chips and fruit
Wednesday- chicken wings, rice and green beans
Thursday- Stuffed Pasta shells
Friday- Leftover love
Saturday- BBQ steaks with baked potatoes and steamed brocolli
Sunday- BBQ chicken with salad

BTW, I hae just stumbled upon the GREATEST blog! A Year of Crockpotting is devoted to a new crockpot recipe for every day of the year. I don't tend to use my crockpot so much in the summer but I've been there and I have a couple of recipes already bookmarked to save for some cooler summer weather or for the fall/winter.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Talk About Tuesday- Toddler Night Terrors and Infant Hip Clicking

For more information about Talk about Tuesday, or to see what others are talking about this week, visit Laura at The Lazy Organizer.

This week both my boys are presenting me with challenges. My toddler is no stranger to sleep issues (and I am sure that the same is true of most toddlers). I think he has developed some night terrors. I am lead to believe this after having clicked on a link to Paige's Talk about Tuesday from last week. I had heard of night terrors before and wondered if that was Ryan's problems or if he was just starting to have bad dreams. Either way, talk about something that makes you feel like just the most wonderful parent! <--- snark in case you missed it As for my infant son, at his two month needles the nurse remarked that his left hip is clicking and that we should have our family doctor look into it. Combine that comment with the fact that Adam ssems much more stiff than Ryan was and the fact that Brad is convinced that Adam's legs are bowed and twisted and I'm on the verge of freaking out!

So here is how it has been playing out at the Melanchuk residence of late. Ryan fights going to bed at night. He kicks and screams and throws quite a tantrum. He will go to bed easily but as soon as we have finished reading him a story (or 3) it begins. If we don't shut the door to his room he just keeps crying and comeing out to us. So some nights we shut his door and let him cry because he is obviously tired and we have tried all we know. Some nights we talk to him through his door, reading more stories. That means that some nights he falls asleep on the floor next to his door, some nights he crawls back up on his bed once he gets tired. Then usually around 1 or 2 am he wakes up screaming. It is that blood curdling scream that makes me jump out of bed and go running into his room. If he has fallen asleep on the floor next to his door, he will be banging on the door, if he crawled back up on his bed to go to sleep, I will walk in and find him sitting up on the bed. He is usally very warm, his face is wet with tears and his eyes are open. But he is unconsolable. Every offer (water, something to eat, a hug, ect) is met with a "noooooo" and he pushes us away. He usually willgrab his favorite blanket and puppy dog and let one of us guide him to our room or out to the couch. Within 5 minutes of doing that he will be sound asleep again and within 15 minutes he can be moved back to his own room. The waking up in the middle of the night is not every single night but it does happen in blocs. Usually 3 or 4 nights of waking up followed by 2 or 3 of sleeping through and then lather, rinse, repeat.

I am comforted to know that we are not the only family where this is happening, although it is frightening that it is happening at all. One of the triggers and solutions to night terrors are that since they are often triggered in children who are overtired, sticking to a good bedtime routine and making sure your child is getting enough rest can help to prevent them. I must admit that since our newest baby has been born, I worry that Ryan is not getting enough sleep as our daily and night time routines are all out of whack. He was staying up late while my parents were here helping out (often because we ate dinner very late and because the days are longer and lighter) and while we tried to get him back into his routine once they left, it has proven difficult. Then we had more family arrive and while they have small children as well, we all found it difficult to get most of the children to sleep with any sense of regularity or normalcy. So hopefully now that things have calmed down, maybe we can get back into our normal routines and the sleep issue will resolve itself.

Now, for Adam. Since day 1 Brad has been convinced that Adam's legs look weird. Our doctor has mostly brushed aside Brad's worries and has suggested we look at his legs a little further down the road. Which kind of makes sense to me, after being cooped up for 9 months, wouldn't you expect a baby to be a little curled and twisted. Especially a 22 inch baby inside a 4'9" lady?! I have to admit that sometimes Adam's legs seem a little strange to me as well, but mostly because of how stiff they are but it's not something I've been stressing over. However, when the nurse suggested at Adam's 2 month needles that I take him to see our family doctor to have a clicking in his hip looked at, I paniced a little. I've phoned a made an appointment but the soonest we can get in is into August and with each day I go back and forth with how I feel about this.

Sometimes I worry and panic that something is wrong with him and that waiting so long will make things worse. But then I remember that the nurses at Ryan's 2 month needles were concerned with his lack of growth and labeled him as "failing to thrive" (again- what a wonderful thing to say to a post-partum mother eh?!). We spent 4 months back and forth to the health centre seeing nurses weekly, weighing him weekly, doing everything and anything to make him gain weight before I was refered to a specialist 3 hours away. The specialist was a little concerned and was able to help us a little but then when we went back to see our family doctor he was not so concerned with Ryan's slow weight gain since he figures Ryan will be little like his mother. I was determined this time that if the nurses gave me greif about Adam's weight, I was not going to let it bother me. But Adam is a good gainer so it's not a problem this time around.

So I wonder, am I a terrible mother? Am I worrying needlessly? Or is this really a cause for concern? And if that is the case, should I wait until August to have Adam's hip looked at or should I try to find another doctor to see us? Do I dare take him into emergency? Or am I freaking myself out needlessly by spending too much time online googling what ifs and possibilities?

Thanks for letting me make my Talk about Tuesday a venting blog. Now, for some random cuteness and visuals since I didn't really have anything to "show" in my Talk about Tuesday topics. We spent Saturday outside enjoying the sun and the local beach. Especially the playground at the beach.

click and video will begin in a new window

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Memories of Melanchuk Family Vacation'08

Now that the company has left, the pictures and videos have mostly been uploaded, I can now share some of my favorite memories from our too short but sweet Melanchuk Family Vacation of 2008.

Kathryn, Anita and Adam do some puzzles:

Kathryn and Ryan play with bubbles:

Kathryn the bubble princess:

Amelia at A&W:

Darryl, Kathryn, Brad and Ryan at the pool:

Adam watches Ryan sleeping:

Cutie Amelia with grandpa Lyle:

Family fun with bubbles:

Princess ladybug helps Ryan open gifts:

On a hayride:

Kathryn with Adam:

Kathryn with the rocking horse:

Kathryn loves her new "My Little Pony":

Bubble girl Amelia:

Laughing Ryan:

Twirling girl Kathryn:

Daddy Darryl and his girls:

Amelia interupts family pictures to sit on great-grandpa George's lap:

Ryan with the dog at the farm:

Amilia relaxing with grandpa Lyle:

Outdoor fun Kathryn and Ryan:

Smiling Ryan:

Kathryn and Darryl:

Anita and Brad:

Brad and Ryan:



Kathryn and Amanda read princess stories:

Vance and Darryl crack up:

Our family on the hay ride:

Amelia on the rocking horse:

Princess Kathryn:

Ryan and Brad at the farm:

Kathryn tests out Ryan's bike:

And a couple of videos of some precious memories: (click the picture and the video will open in a new window)