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A Review of the Early Purchases for Baby: What we Loved & What didn’t Work for us

Our baby is 4 months old now, officially out of the newborn phase. We have had 4 months to try out all the items we purchased for this stage of our child’s life. Some items we would highly recommend, others we would not. There were also unexpected purchases we made after the baby’s arrival which we couldn’t live without.

In our previous blog, we described & listed the items we bought for babe. We chose minimal items which were nicely designed for apartment living (we live in a 1-bedroom apartment), all the items we chose were based on a blog I had read while pregnant when we were travelling in South America. Our source was from www.600squarefoot.com. We sourced almost everything second-hand on Facebook market place for a fraction of the cost. Go check out our previous blog here.

Item Verdict
Bugaboo Stroller We love this stroller, its compact & perfect for city walks. Especially love the fleece sleeping sack for the colder weather. Babe loves it too & sleeps so well when we go for a walk. We have not gone off-roading with this stroller yet. The real test will be when we go home to Ireland for 6 weeks in December. Lots of different terrains to test it out there. We are hoping to continue using this stroller if we have a second baby.
Luna Leaf Chair Our morning routine is after babe is fed, she will sit in her chair for about 30min chewing on her mini flamingo, Florence;-) She loves that chair and it’s her favourite place to poo. We use it as a safe place to strap her in for a few minutes when we need to prepare lunch etc.…. We love the chair, its heavy, durable & sways.
Monte Bassinette This bassinette is a beautiful design. Its light and can be moved around easily. It rocks which is so great when babe needs a little rock to get back asleep. The edges are soft which works well for our babe as she likes to wiggle her way up to the top of the bassinette all the time! We would definitely purchase another one of these if we have another baby.
Ergo baby carrier with newborn insert The baby carrier I was never a fan of, I preferred placing the baby in the stroller instead when we go walking. My body gets more of a rest when the baby is in the stroller than when I have to carry her. George is the main person who uses the carrier and we really don’t use it that much. Our preference is placing the babe in the stroller when we are out and about. She seems to prefer the stroller too.
Wrap sling We both hated the wrap sling, pain to put on and the baby just didn’t like it. This is something we would not purchase again. Just not our thing…. I’ve been told though to try different types so never say never. Maybe if there is a next time, I would try a sling that avoids wrapping.
Maxi Cosi Car seat This car seat has not been used much as a car seat as our babe HATED going anywhere in the car up until a month ago. So, we primarily used this as her stroller at the beginning. We bought maxi Cosi adaptors for the bugaboo stroller as babe did not like the stroller at the beginning. She preferred sitting in the car seat as it was more supportive. She is now getting too big for the car seat so we have swapped out the car seat for the proper stroller chair. The Maxi Cosi car seat was great, however, we will only get a few more weeks out of it before we need to upgrade. Next time maybe we will try out a car seat that is for all ages……I think there is such a thing?

 The unexpected items which we bought that we couldn’t live without were:

Air-con unit: Our baby was born June 30th and the weather here in Vancouver gets hot during the summer months. Unfortunately, very few residential buildings here have air-con! We are both Irish and do not do well in the heat! Lol! The apartment is south facing so it gets pretty warm. We bought the air-con unit and placed in the bedroom to have a constant temperature for the baby. It was great because then I did not have to worry if the baby was too hot.

Dyson air purifier and fan: The last 3 years in Vancouver we have had bad smoke from forest fires. The air quality was terrible. We invested in a Dyson fan & air purifier if the smoke came this year. Thankfully we had no smoke this year but we used the fan constantly in the living area all summer. It was great.

Deep freeze freezer: This was the most unexpected item we needed to purchase. Our fridge freezer does not have a deep freeze. For the first 3 months, while breastfeeding babe, I had so much milk that both boobs leaked at the same time while feeding. As babe was attached to one boob, I have a suction pump on the other boob collecting the extra milk. We stored all the extra milk in special breastmilk bags and placed in the deep freeze. Now we have lots of extra milk for when I need to go out and about without babe.

Breast suction pump: As mentioned above from day one after babe was born both boobs produced milk while feeding. Our midwife recommended the “Haakaa pump” which collects all the extra milk and no further pumping is required. It was the best $20 we spent. So happy to have a reserve of breastmilk in the freezer. It means I don’t have to pump and gives me more freedom.

Overall, we were extremely happy with the items we bought before the babe arrived. We intentionally bought as little as possible to see if it would be enough. We didn’t feel like we needed anything else. We are now at the stage where babe is getting too big for bassinette & car seat so these will be new upgrades we will have to make; this is why we didn’t buy new as she has grown out of things already. She is sitting up too so a high chair will be needed soon. We will be swapping out the bassinet for a crib, her Luna Chair for a high chair & maxi cosi for a larger car seat. Hoping to source the next phase of stuff second hand also, however, I’m finding it hard to find time to get out and about to shop/collect. The pull of online shopping & delivery is very appealing as it is so convenient. Let’s see what happens.

We hope this was helpful.

Chat soon,

Theresa xxx

Yoga Teacher Training – One Year (ish) After

It is approximately 15 months since I completed my yoga teacher training at Semperviva.

Hopefully, this blog can be of some help or interest to someone who has recently completed their teacher training or is planning to.

I started out after graduating in June 2018 teaching free classes to my friends. I had no experience as a yoga teacher so I wasn’t comfortable teaching a public class without experience. The great thing about the summer in Vancouver is the weather, I had groups ranging from one to five on the beach for around three months and played around with different classes and teaching styles, discreetly (with the student’s knowledge) videotaping myself and recording the classes as I went.

One advantage I had was completing the training with my wife, Theresa. We could practise with each other and we took turns in teaching classes to each other once a week. Practise, practise, practise. Even if you don’t have a partner or close friend completing the training with you, professional life (in Vancouver especially) is all about networking so use the contacts you make during YTT to practise.

I applied to one studio just after completing the training but it was probably wishful thinking that they would hire a recent graduate with no teaching experience. I didn’t hear back from them.

It was shortly after the YTT with a few informal classes under my belt that I applied to volunteer at the YMCA. It seems that most studios are looking to hire teachers with at least two years experience so I think it is difficult to get that experience as a paid teacher. YMCA is located Downtown on Burrard and Nelson. They are always looking for substitute teachers or at least they were a year ago. I had to jump through a few hoops with references, police check, first aid certification but it’s worth it. It’s a great place to teach yoga.

It is voluntary, YMCA is a charity but you get free access to great facilities including a gym, pool and group classes. More importantly, you get to teach yoga. Some of the evening classes are quite intimidating with up to forty people. You can read about my first class here if you are interested.

I was asked by the coordinator to take a few classes and connect with one of the regular teachers as a mentor before I subbed classes. I was lucky and was offered a regular class almost immediately on Thursday mornings at 7 am. Perfect for me, giving me enough time to get to work in East Van after. I think one of the reasons I was given a regular spot so quickly was that I was willing to take an early morning. Try to be flexible with your time – it will work to your advantage.

Things started slow, my first substitute class was packed but my first regular class had only 2 people (one of them was my brother) so that was disheartening. One of the main things I learned throughout the past year is not to be disheartened. As a teacher, I read too much into class sizes and peoples reactions during class. It means nothing about you. I once had a man walk out during the middle of my class, immediately I assumed I was offering a crap class and he had left in disgust but I was wrong. He came back in a few minutes after using the washroom or whatever he needed to do.

Eventually, my regular class size began to grow from two to five up to a steady class of between eight and twelve. I got to know the regulars names and got to a stage after about 7 months where I was confident in the classed I was offering and was sure that the regulars who attended enjoyed them. If somebody didn’t enjoy it then it wasn’t for them, which is great. Different teachers and different styles of teaching will work for different people.

So, life went on at the YMCA and I continued to teach hatha yoga every Thursday morning to a growing group of regulars who I ended up getting to know and becoming friends with. YMCA is a great place to teach if you are willing to offer your time unpaid and I highly recommend that you do. You won’t get a paid teaching job without experience and you’ll probably (unless your the absolute bees knees).

I learned a lot during my regular classes. If I could share just one thing it would be to be yourself. let your personality shine through in class. some people will like it and some people will not. Some people like my classes, music, personality and style of teaching and some did not. It does not matter, those who do not like your classes will find a class they enjoy and move on. That’s exactly what we want for our students.

Learn from your classes also, after each class I make a brief recording of who was there and what went well and what didn’t go so well. I listen to those recordings every so often so I know where I am at. It is also a nice way to help you remember the names of the students who attend your class. The common courtesy of remembering somebody’s name goes a long way. Remember, even if you are volunteering your time it is still a job and you are building the foundations of your future career. We need strong foundations. Start as you mean to continue.

After about 9 months I thought the time was right to apply for some auditions. I kept my digital eyes and ears open on the social media and also visit some different studios on my lunch break.

My first audition was with The Hive climbing gym in North Vancouver. They weren’t keen on anybody with less than 2 years experience applying but included me because I have a membership there. It was fun. I was disappointed to find I was the only male teacher auditioning, I think there is a sad lack of male interest in yoga. The audition was tricky. We had to teach a combined class so we couldn’t prepare as we had no knowledge of what the predecessor might offer. It went great or at least I thought it did but I didn’t get it. Regardless it didn’t matter. I am a firm believer that auditions or interviews, no matter what the profession is essential.

I came out happy, I couldn’t have done any better nor would I have done anything different but it was great to get some feedback afterwards.

As I mentioned above I dropped into a few Yoga studios in person to see if they were hiring. Just Yoga is close to my workplace and I got chatting to the manager who is Irish. It’s such a zen space and one of the nicest yoga studios I have been to in Vancouver.

the Audition at Just Yoga was a 20 minute (If memory serves me) class. Again I was the only male to audition, I don’t know if that is typical but it probably leaves male teachers with somewhat of an advantage. I was lucky enough again that a regular class came up just after I subbed my first class and I was offered the Vinyasa power class every Saturday morning from 10:45 to 12:00. So far I really love teaching this class and have inherited a bunch of great regulars from the previous teacher.

I feel it is important to recognise your limits so reluctantly I decided to give up my regular spot at YMCA after a year. Two classes, a full-time job and a newborn baby were a little bit too much so I am just loving teaching my Saturday morning class at Just Yoga.

Apart from teaching it is so important whether you are a civil engineer (my day job) or yoga teacher to keep up professional development. I read as much as I possibly can on Yoga for example:

Your Body, Your Yoga

Bhagavad Gita

Beauty, The Invisible Embrace

Meditations From The Mat

The Lost Teachings of Yoga

Getting Unstuck

I also regularly read articles on Yoga Journal.

Over the last year, I have taken 2 courses with Semperviva (where I completed my 200 hr YTT). A 16-hour mentorship class with Julia Doty on accessible yoga and a 40-hour Vinyasa module with Clara Roberts Oss. Both were amazing, both teachers are a wealth of knowledge. I talk to and ask teachers for advice as much as possible (they are probably tired of me at this stage) and I take classes with as many different teachers as possible, though my time is limited.

I hope this was useful to any of you who have just completed teacher training or are thinking of completing it. I am far from an expert on this subject but if you do have any questions send me a message on Facebook. I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

If you enjoyed this blog or found it useful, please share it and have a read of some of our other blogs.

Peace,

George

If you are interested in reading more about Back2basicslivings teacher training journey see below:

vinyasa-40-hour-yoga-teacher-training-at-semperviva

ignite-mentorship-teacher-training-part-1-help-make-classes-more-accessible-to-everyone

ignite-mentorship-teacher-training-part-2-making-postures-more-accessible-to-students

vinyasa-40-hour-yoga-teacher-training-at-semperviva

how-to-plan-a-yoga-sequence-where-to-look-for-inspiration

top-5-tips-yoga-as-public-speaking

yoga-at-sunrise

its-not-about-touching-your-toes

my-first-group-yoga-class

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