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Parenthood

Living in a One Bedroom Apartment with a Baby

It has been just over the year since our little baby girl joined our small family. We are living in a one-bedroom apartment. We live in Kitsilano in Vancouver where rent is crazy, apartments are small but the outdoor spaces are amazing. We decided to save money by not moving to a 2-bedroom apartment but instead remain in our 1 bed which is two blocks away from the beach. With the extra money saved we put towards investing in our future plans of owning our own business.

Once we knew we were pregnant we decided we were not moving. We began to research how people live in small spaces with children. We wanted to prepare our apartment to ensure our decision to remain there worked with a baby. From research online and through social media accounts like 600squarefootandababy we learned that living with a child or children in a small space is completely doable. We embraced our decision and got down to the hard work of selling everything we didn’t need, passing on items that were taking up space, going through every drawer, cupboard, shelf, basket and press to ensure that we were only keeping what we really needed and loved. Basically, we did a Marie Kondo throughout the whole apartment before the baby arrived and before I got too pregnant;-)

For me, this kind of work is so enjoyable and I’m in a happy place sorting and organising. I love it. By the time our baby arrived we actually had way more space in our apartment than we did before. Our space is constantly changing, for the first year we all slept in the same room, as I’m still nursing and the baby was still waking in the night for a feed. It made sense for our family that our bed and her crib remained in the same room for the year. Baba had larger toys such as a playmat and activity centre in the first year but since have been given away to another family. We tried to limit the number of baby things in our place as they take up so much room. Instead, I focused playing with her on the floor, tummy time, books, interactive smaller toys and had the activity centre or play mat to place her when I needed to get things done.

It’s just over the year since our girl arrived. We have moved out to a sofa bed in the living area and the baby has the bedroom. We sold our bed and furniture and created a Montessori type room for the baby. She has a floor bed and the room is quite minimal with lots of space to explore and play. We keep her toys to a minimum and have signed up to Lovevery which delivers age-specific Montessori style toys every 3 months. This means we don’t have to worry about picking toys and it keeps her toys to a manageable amount which doesn’t take up space. We have given away toys she has outgrown. Our home is very fluid in that respect, toys will come and go, we do not hoard them for the next baby, we let friends borrow or we give them away.

It is important to us not to have clutter; our home feels bright and spacious even with the baby’s items blended in throughout. We have created a space which works for all of us. I struggle with mess, clutter and overcrowded spaces. I need order and things to go in their place. It has taken a few trials to get to where we are now but we feel we have reached a happy medium we are all happy with. Baby has her play areas which don’t take over our living space and we have a home that feels good for us to sit and relax in at the end of the day.

Keeping toys, books, clothes to a minimum and really using all of these things to their full capacity is how we create space in our home. We love the outdoors and prefer to have as much time outdoors with the baby as possible, therefore there is less need for big distraction toys.

Our move to the living room from our room has been so easy. We don’t miss our bedroom at all. We only ever went in there to sleep. Now it’s a playroom & bedroom for the baby. We are now in there so much! We love it. Our closet is in this room and all 3 of us have our clothes stored there.

Living small means, we are constantly double checking if we need it before we purchase anything pre-loved or new. It’s a great way to shop as only items we love or really need to enter our home. Keeping our home clean is also easy as we have minimal clutter and everything has a place so nothing really gets out of hand. Therefore, our weekends are spent on things we love doing and not house related. This for us is the best part of small living. So far 1 year in we stand by our decision of remaining in a 1-bedroom apartment and believe it was one of the best decisions we made for our family. We live in a space we love and our baby is so happy. What more could we want?

For anyone thinking about living in a small space with a child or children start looking at everything in your space and ask if it is necessary? Does it make you happy? Do we need it?

Start creating space in your apartment by doing the work above. Wait until after the baby arrives before you make a big decision to move…. chances are the baby will sleep in the same room as you for at least the first 3 months. Prepare your space in advance so you set yourself up for success. It’s a lot of work but so worth it. Your life will change for the better. You will spend less, waste less, use what you have and care for what you have. We highly recommend this way of life but we totally get it’s not for everyone. Be sure you are comfortable with small space living, do the research, go see a family living in a small space and how they make it work. If it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. No pressure;-) If you have any questions about living small please feel free to reach out.

Thanks, so much for reading,

Chat soon,

Theresa

Finding Space to Think & Hear My Thoughts

I sit writing this blog perched on my bed with a cushion under my laptop & me sitting upright in a crossed-legged position in front of the cushion. Its 8:43 am and we have finished breakfast and baba is ready to have her morning playtime. Usually, it would be mama who plays with baba while dada goes to work. However, its Saturday and dada is home. I have decided to take 30-40 minutes of alone time in the bedroom to write. Just as I write the first 3 words of this blog I hear the excited breathing of my 9-month-old crawling towards the open bedroom door. A little scratch on the door to push it open and she appears with the biggest brightest smile. She found mama. It’s so hard to resist such a cutie, the love I feel for her is so strong it’s hard not to pick her up & go play with her. However, I have learned over the past 10 months that I must carve out a little time or space for me to think, read or write every day. This time however it failed as baba wanted her mama.

Our little girl is almost 10 months old; she is still very much attached to me. I am still nursing her and will continue until she is 12 months. Until then she will still be very attached to me. As a new mom, I have found the lack of personal time the hardest thing. The interrupted sleep I can deal with, it’s not having the opportunity to turn off or reset when I want to is the hardest. I run by baby schedule, which changes all the time & keeps me on my toes. The only thing I can do is accept this and know that I will get my quiet time back someday and to comprise a little until then.

Quiet time for me can be just 5 minutes being left alone. That can be 5 minutes in the bath, drinking my tea really slow, reading, sitting and doing nothing, staring into space & having the capacity to let thoughts pop up. These are the moments that I miss, however, I have been trying to intentionally fit small snippets into my day so I can breathe, take note of where I am, what I am doing, how I am feeling and basically being aware of that moment of time.

One thing that is guaranteed in my day is my daily walk. My walk is a ritual that I prefer to save for myself & my sleeping baba. I prefer to savour this time for me. I prefer not to meet people for a chat on my walk as I use it as a time to think, clear my head and just be aware of my mood, my body & my surroundings. It may seem unsocial & it is but I need it. Others may crave the opposite they need human connection & to chat to feel better, I’m not like that, quite the opposite, I like to be alone and think things through myself. It makes me come across as a little bit unsocial at times. To be clear I am a very social person but there is a time and a place for me. Being social with people I need to be in the right headspace, to get there I need space to decompress before meeting others.

Once evening comes and baba is in bed, I am wrecked physically & mentally. My ritual is to make a pot of camomile tea and have a treat. I savour this simple moment before moving forward with the evening. I like to sit in silence for at least 10minutes before chatting George. I usually have 2 hours in the evening before bed to unwind. My favourite ways to unwind are to read, play a board game or watch a funny tv show. For now, my evenings are spent inside as baba takes a while to really settle down to sleep, I’m the only person who can settle her right now.

Our baby is still very much dependent on me and because of that the freedom of doing what I want when I need it is not available. Lately, I have been dreaming about going to a yoga/mediation retreat in some warm place to rest & relax. Perhaps the reason for this is because I watched “Eat Pray Love” recently or its because I really need rest. I know this period of my baby’s development is short and she will sleep through the night and will need her father more in the very near future. For now, small snippets of peace & silence will do & I will try fit them in as many places as possible. Dreaming of future silent retreats in sunny destinations will also help. My aim moving forward is to keep my daily habits of walking by myself & meditating 15 minutes a day, to this I will add as many minutes as possible of quiet alone time to do nothing. Wish me Luck;-)

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Chat soon,

 

Theresa xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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