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Our First Mini Break as a Trio: What We Brought & How it Went

For our family, October is a great month of celebrations, Its George’s birthday month & our wedding anniversary too. We hit the 3-month milestone with our baby in October so we decided to celebrate all of these great events by going on a mini holiday. We wanted our first trip to be easy and as stress-free as possible. That meant no aeroplanes or long car journeys.

One of our favourite places to visit is Vancouver Island, we love it! We would usually go camping & hiking on the island but with the time of year and with a 3-month-old we decided to stay in a nice hotel instead. Victoria is such a great city. We visited during Easter this year for an extended long weekend. We also have friends in Victoria which is another reason why we love to visit there.

The journey from our home in Kitsilano to our hotel in Victoria took about 5 hours total travel time. This includes waiting for ferry. The drive to the ferry in Tsawwassen was about 40 min, the ferry ride is under 2 hours and the drive from the ferry to the hotel was about 35 minutes. This was enough driving for us as our baby was never keen on car journeys from day one.

The week before we left for our trip, we tried giving her a soother for the car…it worked, she didn’t cry for the whole journey. Previous to that she would last all of 5 minutes until she got bored and screamed the house down until I took her out of the car seat. This was the first time we used the soother and it has been a great tool since.

The journey overall was stress-free and the baby was so well behaved. It helped we could get out of the car and walk around on the ferry. There were great family changing rooms and quiet areas on the ferry too. Baby slept on me for part of the ferry ride both ways. We had a muslin blanket and some of her favourite toys for the ferry ride. She laid down on a seat and she played with her toys. This also helped to tire her out;-)

We tried to bring as little as possible with us and it worked. We believe we brought the essential items and we used everything we packed. We had a carry-on suitcase for baby’s essentials, diaper bag & a stroller. In the suitcase we packed:

  1. Diapers (we usually use reusable diapers but for the trip, we brought decomposable diapers instead)
  2. Wipes (We usually use reusable but for the trip we brought disposables)
  3. 6 tops
  4. 4 pants
  5. 2 sweaters
  6. 2 pairs of socks
  7. 1 pair of soft shoes
  8. 10 spit clots
  9. 2 soothers
  10. 2 warm blankets for walks & naps
  11. Her favourite toys (to have for the ferry ride and playtime in hotel)

We asked the hotel to have a crib in the room for us, we were a bit nervous she might want her own crib but she slept fine. It may have helped that we brought her blankets. Usually, in the morning, our baby likes to sit in her chair, instead of bringing her chair we propped her up on pillows at the same angle or sat her in her stroller upright. These were great alternatives than having to bring her chair.

Regarding food, our baby is breastfed, so we didn’t need additional items for that, just Mum;-)

Overall the trip was great, we ordered room service for food as it was easier to entertain baby in the room than trying to do it in the restaurant, we went for strolls around her nap times and went to the pool for the first time as a trio. Easy, stress-free & fun.

The one thing we would do differently next time is that we would get a hotel room with two rooms as when the baby napped we had to be super quiet…..she also likes white noise which really gets to me after 10 minutes;-) I think air b&b would be cool the next time in a 2 bedroom apartment and we would bring food & a travel crib.

We enjoyed our first holiday so much and were delighted that babe adjusted no problem to the different space & the car journeys went well.

Now that we have the first trip down and it was a success, we are excited about our big trip in December when we go back to Ireland for 6 weeks. So, looking forward to it & we feel much more confident about the journey now. I’m travelling solo with babe on the way back so fingers crossed it all goes well.

That’s it for another week.

Have a lovely week & we will chat soon.

 

Theresa xx

 

Baby Time – Three Month Check In

Hi,

This is a three (ish) month check in on how everything is going with the baba, from a male perspective.

Do you ever get fed up of those parents who constantly talk about their children? Well, here I am, writing about parenthood. Whoops.

It’s amazing to watch a purple slimy gremlin develop into an actual baby and from there watch a personality develop. To date, I have probably been covered in 17 litres of slob, 21 litres of puke, and surprisingly I have only been shit on once, so I’m not doing too bad.

To go along with the puke and slobber there are the orders. The tiny baby shouts orders at me like a general drawing her troops to attention. She doesn’t cry very much, just shouts at me.

“AAAAHHH,” “AH,” and “AAAHHH,” translates into “Hey you,” “You there,” and probably something else not as polite. She only seems to shout at me, which is interesting, not her mother.

All of the above considered, what is the verdict?

Fun, probably the most fun I have ever had. I never expected that. I expected hard work, tiredness and irritability and a life of drudgery where we carted a portable human from one food station to the next. Instead, we got smiles, laughs, liquid of varying degrees of colour, consistency and smell and other forms of fun.

I realise we have it easier than a lot of parents so I do not want to sound aloof or as if we have gotten it so right. We haven’t, we have just gotten lucky and I am sure the shit will hit the fan sometime (hopefully not literally) and catch me completely unprepared to tell me, “You know not what you do and you are an arse for thinking you do.”

So, where am I going with this? Who knows, I suppose I would like to get the word out there to expectant parents, do not worry, what will happen will happen and it will be difficult or not so difficult, the child will puke or cry and you will be covered at different stages in many different liquids (or solids) but I believe you will be happy.

She is shouting at me as I write this, I am not sure which translation applies but I think it is the less polite one.

Anyway, you will succeed. You can only succeed, so try to enjoy it while you do.

If you enjoyed reading this, please share it or have a look at some of our other blogs.

Peace,

George

New Parents: The Unexpected Feeling

No words can describe the elated feeling we have experienced in the past 3 months. We knew having a child was going to change our lives forever but we didn’t realise how much emotionally it would affect us. We still cannot believe our little girl is here. During my pregnancy we would chat about what we would look forward to most; like seeing how small her baby toenails were going to be or feeling her wrap her tiny hands around our index finger. When we saw her for the first time, we both cried with relief but also at how perfect she was, even if she was covered in gooey stuff & crying her heart out! Lol. She had the cutest little ear which was folded over like a taco and little red birthmarks on her eyelids & back of her neck. These were all extra little bonuses of cuteness. She looked so healthy & perfect.

At night when she is sleeping, we both stand over her crib to look at her before going to bed, her crib is beside our bed. We love all her little sounds and gestures. It’s like our hearts are going to burst with love. This is the feeling that we didn’t think about prior to baby. No matter how hard a day we may have had, seeing her smile or hearing her gabble to herself washes all the other stuff away. Of course, we knew we were going to love our child however the massive feeling of love that swells inside is nothing like we felt before. I love George with all my heart, I thought the love for our baby would feel the same but for me, it is very different. I feel like I’m going to burst someday just looking at her.

During feeding, I love the little satisfied sounds she makes & how she snuggles in and gets really cosy. She plays with her hands during feeding in such a gentle way & likes to touch my neck. It’s so cool to see someone so happy & content. When George gets back from work, she gets super excited and gives a huge grin & snuggles her hands to her face with excitement. We are beaming when she does this, it’s one of our favourites.

My experience so far has been amazing. It helps our baby has the same priorities as her parents, she loves food & sleep. I don’t think I have smiled so much in my life; she is a little character & cracks me up every day. The love I feel for our baby feels like a warm feeling in my heart that radiates when I think of her or look at her. Seeing George in his role as a father fills me with joy. He is so patient & kind to our little girl. She adores her Daddy & loves spending time with him.

We are learning about each other every day. Sometimes we get everything so wrong. We think she is hungry when she is bored,we think she has wind when she is hungry…..slowly but surely, we are learning how our girl is communicating. I feel we are getting there and at month 3 everything has kind of settled.

Having a child was a huge decision for us, we knew, either way, we would be happy with or without. Now that she is here, we could not imagine life without her. We are enjoying every day with her & trying not to wish our lives away to when she can talk, walk, eat food etc. She is definitely teaching us to live in the moment & be present. Our little girl is our best friend & we hope to be the best parents for her as we can. For sure we will get so many things wrong along the way but we hope that for the most part, we will provide a safe & supportive space for our child to become who & whatever she wishes to become. So excited about parenting & the development of our child. Love truly does conquer all.

Thanks for reading,

Chat soon.

Theresa xxx

 

Using Things Up: Declutter Your Life

Over the past 3 years our purchasing of consumable goods has decreased dramatically. In the past I loved buying skincare, make-up & haircare products. I was attracted to the next shiny “must have” cream, spray, lotion….. The old items would be pushed to the back of the cupboard, out of sight & would sit there for months/years. Resulting in a bathroom cabinet full of stuff, 90% of which were not being used.

Since we started reducing our waste & simplifying our lifestyle we ensure we use up every last bit of product we buy. We don’t want items sitting in our cupboards for months or even years. As you know we live in a small 1-bedroom apartment so space is limited. In addition, we don’t want all the space filled with things, empty space is so calming.

We are finally getting to a stage that we have used up most items in our bathroom cupboard & are left with the items we use regularly. We have given some of the lotions to neighbours & have used up the other products ourselves. It feels so satisfying to completely use up a lotion. We cut the bottle in half to scrape out every last bit. No wasters in our home;-)

The idea of buying something to use for a special occasion no longer is an option. I would buy an expensive lipstick or candle and only use for a special night! Life is too short for that! No more red lipsticks though….1 is enough;-)

My make-up and skincare routine have been simplified. I know the products I love & I use every last bit before I repurchase. Simplifying these areas of my life has been great, I have less decisions to make every morning as nothing changes, I’m ok with that. Too many options for me is a bad thing. Keep it simple. Id rather save my brain cells for other more important areas in my life.

Decluttering our life has made a huge impact on how much space we have in our home & has saved us lots of money. We purchase what we need. Often we purchase items which are multipurpose like castile soap & bread soda, the only cleaning agents you need. I should also mention coconut oil as we use it for cooking & for skincare.

One area that I need to address next is the box of travel size lotions & potions I have collected over the years from hotels & travelling. These need a new home & we need to start using them up. That is one of my new habits is not to take the travel size toiletries from the hotel! I never use them and they are super wasteful.

Have a look in your cupboards & see if there are items which have the same function, try using the old one up first & promise not to impulse buy again. It takes time but the money & space you will save will be worth it. Put the money towards a holiday or dinner with friends instead. The best of luck with the decluttering.

Chat soon,

 

Theresa xxx

 

 

Immigration And What It Means To Become A Canadian Citizen

Irish people have been leaving our island for hundreds of years, with millions having fled, starving from the famine in the 1800s.

Some, myself included, credit Saint Brendan the Navigator with discovering the New World a few hundred years before the vikings landed in Canada in the 11th century.

In the mid 2000s Ireland was booming and the Celtic Tiger was alive and well, devouring the housing market and everything else it could get its hands on. The city-scape of Dublin boasted tower cranes everywhere reaching to the sky like the nation itself reaching for heights it had never seen before.

Then sadly, it all fell apart. Leaving the country was necessary for me, as there was no work to be found in construction at the time. Many stayed and found jobs but many like me left.

On October 31, 2010 Theresa and I said goodbye to my cousin Wilim at Dublin airport and boarded a flight to Vancouver, Canada, not realizing that it would be two years before we saw family again.

The change was though, Vancouver is an expensive City and with no jobs we were running out of money fast but we both managed to find work and eventually, after literally years, began to establish ourselves.

Little did we know when we set foot in that first short term rental apartment on Victoria Drive that nine years later we would still be here, Canadian citizens with a Canadian baby.

Naoise is every bit as Irish as myself or Theresa, there is no changing blood and the blood that runs in her veins is Irish but I am also very proud of the fact that as much as she is Irish, she is equally Canadian, being born in British Columbia. She is a symbol of a new life and of new beginnings for many Irish families who are now raising young children in Vancouver. I know of at least three other young Irish parents in Kitsilano alone who are settled here and starting to raise a family.

It goes without saying that the most difficult part of living in a different country is not seeing your family. Naoise was lucky enough to meet her Granny (Theresa’s mother) when she visited and she will meet her Grandads, Uncles, Aunts and cousins when we visit home at Christmas but she never met my mother, which makes me sad. That is not a factor of immigration, simply timing.

I remember the only Christmas I visited home, at the end of the holiday, Theresa and I left my house to travel back. My mother could not get out of bed to say good bye. We did not know she was dying but we both felt something, a deep sense of loss as we walked out the door. She died within three weeks and we were lucky enough to make it back for the last week.

We have, as Irish people been immigrating for centuries and I was humbled during the swearing in ceremony to be among 76 people from 28 different countries. It was an emotional day for us but we cannot understand the hardship some people have had to endure to come to a moment like this and we must be forever grateful for the rewards this great nation has given us.

Having visited Ireland Park in Toronto and seen the haunted faced of the statues representing the people who stepped off the coffin ships it truly hits home how lucky we are to be here and to have had such an easy journey to this point.

For a long time I wrestled with the notion of swearing an oath of allegiance to the English Monarch. Please do not be offended, I simply want to state that it was something I had to deeply consider. It went against my history and heritage but I decided that Citizenship was more important that past transgressions.

On further consideration I realized the importance of committing to the oath I would swear and taking it with meaning and intention. It would be an insult to the Monarch, the country, the ceremony and to the other people who were there that day not to give my full commitment.

I affirmed my allegiance and meant every word. From that day on I will respect and love the Monarch I am sworn to and if that makes me any less Irish than so be it but I do not believe so. We live in different times now and we must embrace one-another as friends or we cannot move forward as a nation, English, Irish or Canadian or as a race for that matter.

Becoming a Canadian Citizen is among the four most important milestones of my life. I am humbled by the friends both Canadian and fellow immigrants that we have made here and that have strengthened us over the years through difficult times.

I am proud that my family can stand with two great nations, Ireland and Canada.

Thank you for reading.

George