Don’t you love stats? (2013 Edition)

December 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas 2013

December 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

This Christmas was a very special one – it was Henry’s first.

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Nick, Henry, and I flew to Toronto on Sunday with no drama. Henry fell asleep as soon as we checked his car seat and put him in the Baby Bjorn. He stayed asleep pretty much until we were just half an hour away from my parents’ cottage, and in true Canadian style, chose a Tim Horton’s parking lot to decide he was hungry and take a dump.

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We were welcomed to my parents’ with a dinner of chili and lots of hugs. My Mom and Henry are so sweet together – they had lots of cuddling to catch up on since she was last here.

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It was really nice to spend the first few days of our trip just relaxing in Fenelon Falls, where my parents live in a wooded area on a river. It snowed every day and is always the best place to spend Christmas. My Mom spoils us with her cooking and baking, and it was great to have an extra couple sets of hands to hold Henry. (Long showers and Nick & I actually going to bed at the same time!)

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On Christmas Eve, as is tradition, we all met at my sister’s house in Oshawa. It’s the only place big enough to comfortably hold us all.

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Henry met his Great-Grandparents and cousins for the first time.

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We watched lots of CP24. The Santa Tracker reports were very exciting!

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On Christmas Day, we were thrilled to have a visit from the Gordons. The last time Julia and I were at my sister’s place, it was for my baby shower and we were both pregnant.

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Blake is just 10 weeks older than Henry, but look at them together! It was so great for these two little hams to meet, even if they didn’t understand quite what was happening.

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We spend our last few days back up at my parents’ cottage, apparently dressing in coordinating colours for each family.

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(Totally unintentional.)

We flew home yesterday and besides long lines at Pearson Airport, it was a breeze. Henry is a great traveler!

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We had a great holiday and hope you did too!

My Favourite Things of 2013

December 19, 2013 § 4 Comments

Can you believe there’s only a few weeks left of 2013? You know what that means: time for a recap!

Before I do my personal Year In Review, I like to do a round up of my favourite things of the year including books, music, and more. I know, I know, usually they each have their own post, but I’m a mom now and don’t have time for such things. So let’s get down to business.

ALBUMS:

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Atoms For Peace – Amok

Lorde – Pure Herione

Grouplove – Spreading Rumours

Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana

Baths – Obsidian

Nick Cave – Push the Sky Away

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

On And On – Give In

Young Magic – Melt

BOOKS (not necessarily released in 2013, just read in 2013):

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Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan

Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Brunt

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple

FILMS:

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Blue Jasmine

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Sound City

This Is The End

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

(Note: In my opinion, this year’s offering of movies was pretty dismal. I’m guessing my actual favourite movie of the year is still to come. Possibly Anchorman 2 or Her.)

TV:

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Mad Men

30 Rock (for the series finale alone, which made me cry. Why did it have to end at all?!?)

Breaking Bad (ditto, minus the tears.)

Louie

Arrested Development

House Of Cards

Girls

Big Bang Theory

Orange Is The New Black

BLOGS/WEBSITES:

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A Cup Of Jo

Mind Body Green

Bunnyfood

Swiss Miss

New York Times

Refinery 29

Humor Train

How To Practice Yoga During Pregnancy

December 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

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I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but thought I should wait until I completed my pregnancy to do it.

Over the past five years, I have really embraced yoga as a part of my life. I’ve been practicing Ashtanga for about three years and was really happy with my progress. When she learned I was planning on getting pregnant, my teacher and friend, Alana, actually pushed me to learn how to do dropbacks  because she thought the physical and mental challenge would be a great way to prepare me for childbirth. I have to agree with her, except for the fact that they are a piece of cake compared to 35 hours of contractions!

In any case, I did not want to give up my practice once I found out I was growing tiny Henry. Ashtanga yoga has its own set of rules and traditionally, it’s recommended that you don’t do any yoga in your first trimester. I couldn’t bring myself to follow this rule though; I found it actually helped my energy level and kept me from getting nauseated in the mornings. Plus I’d miss it too much! So with the help of this website and Alana’s advice, I modified my practice to be fetus-friendly.

The first things to go were the twists, headstands, and back bends. I had to keep from working my abs too much to ensure everything inside me would “attach” properly in the first three months, so the upward flow of the bandhas in Ashtanga had to be relaxed. I stopped going to the Guided Led Ashtanga classes in February or March and opted to just attend the weekday Mysore classes which are tailored to each individual and done at one’s own pace. It was nice to not have to worry about sitting out poses in a class full of people, some who didn’t even know I was pregnant yet.

I did Ashtanga exclusively, practicing 3 or 4 times a week, until I hit the 6 month mark. Then I added Prenatal yoga to my routine.

My first few Prenatal yoga classes were a lot different than the ones closer to my due date. I would do triangle pose, extended side angle, and forward folds as if I were in an Ashtanga class and the instructor would have to tell me to take it easy and do the simpler version. As my belly grew, these modified versions were necessary not only in Prenatal, but also Ashtanga. Don’t get me wrong though; Prenatal yoga had its challenges. For example, the exercise Aimee liked to do each class were wall squats while squeezing a block in between your thighs for 30, 60, and 90 seconds to simulate a contraction and that was hard work! The class was also helpful in teaching you poses specifically made for pregnancy and labour – I used a few of the poses, like a rocking squat, to deal with contractions.

Meanwhile, my Ashtanga practice had been shortened to from about 1 hour 15 minutes to 45 minutes. I’d practice up until Marichyasana A then do some restorative poses like a supported back bend, Baddha Konasana, and legs up the wall.

In my sixth month of pregnancy, I was practicing Ashtanga Mysore about 3 times a week and going to Prenatal once a week. This went on for another month and a half or so until I started getting heartburn from all the up and downs during Sun Salutations in Ashtanga and had to reduce it to twice a week, then just once. Prenatal yoga had finally become much more suited to my needs.

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I’m proud to say I managed to practice both styles up until I was 38 weeks pregnant and can’t fathom why every woman in the same situation wouldn’t practice some form of yoga. It really helped me get through not only pregnancy, but a very long and painful labour. The breathing alone is so valuable and such a powerful tool for dealing with pain. I also can’t help but explain to people who tell me I look great for having just had a baby that it must have been yoga that helped me bounce back so quickly.

When people ask me why I didn’t have an epidural, I tell them it’s because it was healthier for me and Henry to do it naturally, with a much lower chance of getting a caesarian, and also because I wanted to experience childbirth the way it’s supposed to be. Ashtanga has taught me that taking shortcuts to get to the end result as quickly and easily as possible may be fine for some people, but it isn’t the way I want to live my life.

Now, after 7 weeks off, I’m back at it. I went to my first Ashtanga Led class yesterday and although my body is quite sore today, it was absolutely fantastic. I feel like I’ve come full circle and I couldn’t be happier.

One Month With Henry

December 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Henry is one month old today! It’s amazing how fast November flew by. I think I wore makeup a total of four times (pretty much only when I knew photos would be taken) and didn’t do any yoga for the first time in years. Henry had lots of visitors who were eager to meet him, including his Grandma and Grandpa Miller, Aunt Jenn,  Grandpa Storch, Aunt Suzanne and lots of friends, including Uncie Paul (below).

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Breastfeeding is now painless and although still unpleasant, I’m almost used to getting up 4 times a night to nurse. On average, I get about 6 hours of sleep a night and now drink coffee every morning. Nick & I have a great system where I go to bed around 9pm and he stays up til about midnight to feed Henry a bottle before going to bed so I can get at least 4 hours of sleep in a row. It was a little early to introduce the bottle, but he’s been so good with it and this way, I can actually stay sane!

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He’s also been sleeping in his crib instead of his bassinet (which he hates) for about two weeks now which gives us all better sleeps. Video baby monitors with night vision are a must for our peace of mind at this young age!

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We are just coming off a serious growth spurt where Henry wanted to eat constantly – sometimes 3 or 4 times in a row. It’s good to see my milk is going somewhere though; he’s already looking chubbier and more filled out. We have a pediatrician appointment today so we’ll see how much he weighs. His baby acne is also healing, which is such a relief because it was an exercise in willpower not popping those sore-looking pimples!

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We have given him a bath about 4 or 5 times now (including one time where he peed on Nick before getting in the tub) and his hair is starting to thin out. I wonder if it will come in again in a different colour?

It will be exciting and fascinating to see what month #2 has to bring!

Where Am I?

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