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Guest Blog: Preparing for Baby #2 By Stacia Sharma

One night Chris and I were out for dinner with my family and I got a text from my friend Stacia, “Guess what” at that moment I knew, Stacia was pregnant. We had always talked about having our second maternity leave together and at this time Chris and I were thinking of trying again. This announcement came with so many mixed feelings for me, happiness that I would have another beautiful baby in my life to cuddle, sadness that I wasn’t also pregnant. The sadness soon disappeared completely and now we know Stacia is having a little girl. Her daughter Berlynn and Pearce are best friends so I am super excited for them to have another little one to play with! Throughout my pregnancy and raising Pearce, Stacia has been a constant go to for advice, pick me ups and help with all my parenting, marriage and life tips. So when I decided that it could be fun to have some other perspectives on my blog, Stacia was the first person I asked. Here is a blog post about how Stacia has prepared to welcome Baby Number 2. 

Hi, my name is Stacia and I’m a mom to a wonderful two-year-old daughter and expecting daughter number two any day now. I’ve known Chelsea for years, we went to high school together, worked together at Mc Donald’s and now she’s one of closest friends. When I first found out I was pregnant again I was petrified, it happened a lot quicker than the first time and we were expecting it to take around the same amount of time this time. Having a new born and a barely two year old scared the crap out of me (who am I kidding I’m still terrified), for some reason I have always been more comfortable with a two and half year gap.

Once the shock wore off and reality set in, I started to do a bit of research both online and speaking to other moms about what I could do to make it as easy as possible on our family. What I found was a breath of fresh air, every single person said it was easier than they ever expected, of course I know its going to be hard but knowing that others had the same fears and it was easier than they thought was just nice to hear.

With my first I thought I was so prepared, I had my bags packed, laundry done, her room was completely done and I even remembered flip flops for the hospital room. Man was I wrong, I completely overlooked that giving birth would require any kind of recovery time and that I would be too tired and busy to want to cook anything. Sure I had all the baby gadgets but when it came to everything else I wasn’t prepared at all. So this time, I did a little more preparation for the family in hopes we can keep things running as smooth as possible and make the transition to two kids as easy as possible.

The first thing I did was pre-made some freezer meals, I know lots of people do this before having a baby and I regretted it big time for not doing it last time. I find a lot of freezer meals are casseroles, lasagna’s and soups or stews, since it’s the peak of summer I did a lot of meat in marinades so we could just toss on the bbq and serve with a salad without heating up the house and not eating anything super heavy. I also did a couple crock-pot meats for taco’s or burritos. The last thing I prepared ahead of time was smoothie bags, I took a big bag of frozen berries, spinach and banana’s and made individual 1 serving bags, all I need to do is add a liquid and protein. I really think these will be great for all of us, my daughter loves smoothies and it’s a great way to get her some extra greens.

Next on my list was making sure I had toddler activities because I know in the first couple weeks I’ll be extra occupied with the baby and a bored toddler will make things a lot harder. Thankfully it was just her birthday so I tucked away a lot of her gifts into my closet and I plan to give them to her one at a time when I need some quiet time. New toys are always great for some quiet time. I did some research on other activities that are great for toddlers and stocked up on play-dough, art supplies, puzzles, and sticker books.

The last thing I did was make sure my pantry was stocked with favorite snacks and I set up an amazon subscription for diapers, toilet paper and laundry supplies, paid all our bills ahead of time, packed our hospital bags and pre-made frozen recovery pads (seriously last time I was so unprepared for recovery, its kind of embarrassing).

I’m very fortunate to have a very hands on husband and to live close to both my parents and my in-laws who are great with our oldest daughter, fabulous cooks and always willing to help with housework and yard work so even if I’m not 100% prepared (is that even possible?) they will help make up the difference.

So my question to parents with more than one, how did you prepare for your growing family? We’re you surprised at how much easier or harder it was than you expected?

 

 

Our Wedding


One year ago I married, my guy. I met Chris 10 years ago and immediately when we met, I think we both knew that this one was different. It took 2 years for us to become a couple and after 7 years together, a baby, a house we tied the knot last year in front of 25 family members and close friends. It was absolutely perfect in every way. We had a small ceremony in our favorite park with family and friends where we shared vows we wrote for one another and had our son give us our rings. After which we had a small reception in the back of Mission with 125 of our closest friends and family. I decided for our 1 year anniversary to share the details of how I made our dream day come together. As most people know I did this on a budget as well I love crafts so I did a lot of it on my own, for anyone planning a wedding – I was not working at the time which made this a lot easier! I also had a solid group of people helping me out – My mother Lisa, helped me by giving up many weekends to go thrifting, scout flowers, make table runners, My girlfriend Ashley who gave up a weekend to fill her house with the smells of pulled pork for our food, my sister-in-law Colette who made us a delicious 3 tier wedding cake, and to my own sister who took pictures of the ladies getting ready, our rings and the reception hall before guests arrived and who bar tended the night for us! To everyone who helped us decorate the hall and to my friends who helped with the many crafts that took place before – Chris and I are incredibly blessed for everyone’s contribution to our big day, we will remember it for always as it was an incredible day!


To start, when Chris proposed it wasn’t a big deal, he didn’t plan it for weeks, it was spontaneous and just us laying in bed. He looked at me and said “let’s get married” at first I just ignored it because I didn’t think he was serious. But he was serious, he wanted to elope like I had wanted for a long time. We thought for a while about what kind of wedding we wanted. I had always dreamt of getting married on Canada Day on a beach or in a field just the three of us. However we have many people in our lives who love us dearly and it meant a lot to them to share in this special day with us. With that consider we decided to have a small ceremony in our favorite park in our home town of Mission, British Columbia; Fraser River heritage Park . Unfortunately Canada Day did not work out as Chris’s grandmother would not be able to attend so we switched the date to July 16th 2016. I had 4 months to plan our wedding, things needed to move quickly!

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My friends quickly added me to the many Facebook pages for people planning a wedding: Wedding buy and sell lower mainland and Wedding Woes Lower Mainland. Both of these groups I found extremely helpful. After more discussion of the wedding we decided that we would do a reception with friends and family, but keep our ceremony strictly family only, to which we later added our closest friends. My mom and I then decided to check out some local halls, because it was such short notice it was very hard to find a hall available, earlier in the year Chris had his 10 year reunion at Mc Connell Creek Hall. which he thought was a super cool place because there was no cell reception and people actually engaged with one another, After my mother and I went to view the hall, I knew it was the perfect place. It was deep in the back of Mission, Tucked into the most beautiful little place, away from everything – and it was available! We quickly booked the hall and began with the rest of planning.

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Through the Facebook groups I was able to get a Thank you sign made to hang on our guest book and gift table, a wedding dress (to which I ended up reselling), The perfect table numbers, some craft supplies, and wooden center pieces.  I was also able to discuss with lots of women planning a wedding, good photographers in the area, where to purchase flowers from, and after the wedding I was able to sell the majority of my wedding supplies. One of the things about the hall was that there was no dishwasher, so any dishes we used would have to wash. We decided rather than dealing with this we would bring in our own dishes and take them home to wash. We decided on retrieving eclectic china plates from thrift stores – 130 of them to be exact! I ended up re-selling 120 of the plates, keeping 10 as keepsakes! The wedding favors were mason jar cups, which I customized for each person with their name on it, and used this as our seating plan as well.

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After my mom and I looked at a ton of rustic country weddings we came together with the center piece. It would be 3 mason jars – varying in size – the largest to contain hydrangea’s and baby’s breath (Flowers were purchased at Costco for $250), the two smaller jars had rocks and submerged candle in them. I got the candles off amazon, rocks from the dollar store, most of the jars my mom had from her mothers canning collect, the rest were purchased at Wal-Mart. The table runners I made out of Burlap I purchased in bulk from Walmart – this was a steal of a deal I purchased it for $24.00. I hung the remainder of the burlap behind our wedding cake, and ended up reselling all of it! Also on the tables we had mason jars filled with Boom chicka pop popcorn and munchies mix.  For the remainder of the decor my best friends father works at Sadie Ann Murray Antiques, where I was able to rent a ton of stuff, some wine barrels to flip over for people to use as table outside, some random Bowls and tins that we used for buns for pulled pork sandwiches, a washboard for decor, a small gun powder barrel for decor, a bird-cage for decor, Antique dessert tray for the cake table’s extra desserts. I collected a ton of chalkboard from varying business in the lower mainland, a few we found at  Creekside Home Decor in Chilliwack – if you haven’t been to this store you are seriously missing out it is a gem. We also found the large wash barrel at The Market by Spruce Collective in downtown Abbotsford – another gem!! This wash barrel was actually a surprise I had gone there with my mom and fallen in love with it, but couldn’t justify the price for decor… So my Mom went back when she was alone and picked it up and hid it in her garage till we decorated the night before and surprised me! I used my Mom’s rustic mail box for the cards and our guest book was 2 Jenga games for people to sign as it is also our favorite game to play, We also had a life-sized Jenga set up outside, and 2 tents with chairs underneath for people to spend time in outside as the hall is very cozy.

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As for Food, since our wedding was an after dinner reception we wanted to stick to appetizers so we got 55 lbs of pork shoulder and roasts from Rempel’s Meats in Abbotsford and my girlfriend Ashley made a delicious pulled pork that is still talked about! We also picked up, fruit trays, vegetable trays and meat trays from Costco which were a total steal! My Step mother Sophie made a couple delicious salads, and I got 150 samosas from the always delicious Sangnam Sweets in Mission. My mom also ordered a ton of delicious treats from my Aunt’s bakery – Birdie’s Bakery in Chilliwack – you definitely need to stop here while visiting Creekside Home Decor. Chris’s sister Colette has a love for baking, so she  made us a delicious cake for our wedding, the top tier was bacon flavored! When it came to the bar we ordered 2 kegs from Mission Springs Pub and the rest of the liquor we purchased at the Government liquor store. My sister was the bartender (so thoughtful of her) and we charged our guests $20 for a wrist band which provided them with bottomless drinks. We also had house white and red wine on the table for the guests.

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As for my dress I had purchased one-off the Facebook group and tried it on, at the time I was breastfeeding and found the chest to be very uncomfortable. I could definitely have worked my ass off to lose weight, but I’ve never been one to want to feel pressure to lose weight, So I decided to go to David’s Bridal in Langley, and look for a dress. For me the dress was a minor detail, so I was not willing to spend a fortune, I told them I wanted to spend no more than $300. I know, you probably think I am crazy but I just don’t like to spend a ton of money on things that won’t be used a dozen times. So I went to Davids Bridal and fell in love with 1 dress but it didn’t seem to fit my wedding, I had one left in the room and was feeling a little discouraged as nothing seemed to be working. When I got back in the room, there was a elegantly simple lace dress left. I put it on and I felt good about, I came out and Mom started crying. I looked in the mirror and knew this was the one, with my $50 dollar coupon the dress was $350 and perfect!

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When it came to my bouquet and Chris’s boutonniere Chris’s mom flew into town and my mom and I had scoped out some flower places in Aldergrove that sell flowers from their driveway so my goal was to buy a bouquet from there and make my two bouquets and the boutonniere. I picked Chris’s mom up from the airport and we headed to the flower places and there were none that would match my wedding. I was upset and stressed, I had to find flowers, had a ton of money coming out of our wallets from every angle and didn’t want to spend a fortune. Chris’s mom suggested we go to a flower shop and get a quote. We went to Simply Flowers in Abbotsford and I got to hand-pick out each flowers and Chris’s mom ended up paying for my flowers! It honestly relieved so much stress. My girlfriend Emily is amazing at making flower arrangements so she came over and arranged my two bouquets and made Chris’s boutonniere, she even included some of Chris’s hockey tape in my bouquet. ** A funny fact is after our ceremony I had actually left these at our hotel in the restaurant and ended up phoning them and getting them held for me, but I was super worried I wouldn’t have my bouquet as a keepsake.**

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Picking a photographer for me was actually really hard. I wanted someone who would know how to work with Chris. Chris is someone who 1. hates pictures and 2. is super inpatient and gets grumpy. So I needed someone who would understand him and make it work and get good pictures. I contacted someone I knew would be good Michelle Cervo however she no longer does weddings – Bummer! On the hunt again, I made a post in the Facebook page looking for a photographer, contacted a bunch of them, and found Michele Mateus Photography, as soon as I spoke on the phone with Michele I knew she would be able to handle Chris and get me the pictures I wanted. I absolutely love our photos and our experience with Michele.

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The day had finally arrived, the family had come, the hall was decorated and the big day was here. It started off pretty mellow with me joining my mom and family for breakfast in Abbotsford and then heading home to meet Raichelle Ferris Make up . Soon after Alicia arrived to do our hair and the women slowly started trickling in. Chris’s mother in law and grandma had hair appointments at a salon nearby and Laura (MIL) got her make up done as well. Cierra from Raichelle Ferris make up did an amazing job, Chris has never complimented my make up and he was full of compliments on how good of a job she had done – he has always preferred the more natural no-make up look. Once everyone hair and make up was done I could feel the nerves coming, I was about to marry Chris, and I was so nervous!! I quickly fed our little guy and everyone but Mom, Pearce, and I left. Mom helped me get dressed and gifted me a pair of earings, I wore Chris’s mothers pearls (the ones his mom and sister had also wore in their weddings) and slipped into my lace dress and headed for the park.

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We arrived at the park about 30 mins late, Poor Chris. As soon as I got out I found my Dad who was wearing a suit, this may have been my first time seeing him in a suit. Seeing my Dad made the day feel real. Even though I have spent nearly half my life with this man, I was still school girl excited to marry him and start a new chapter. My mother took Pearce and placed him in a small John Deere wagon we borrowed from her friend and started to pull him to the end of the park to meet our adorable flower girl Alessandra.

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As I walked down the aisle I was extremely happy to not be walking alone, It was a long walk, and the nerves were strong. When I saw Chris I felt a huge emotion come over me, I felt safe and secure but also so overwhelmed that my dreams were finally coming true. I got my guy – forever! The ceremony went by quickly to me and we were soon taking family photos in the park. Once the family photos were done, Chris and I got pictures with Pearce and then it was time for just him and I love all the photos, Michele captured the wedding perfectly and I will cherish our photos forever, truly. I highly recommend Michele.

View More: http://michelemateusphotography.pass.us/chelseachriswedding

After the ceremony we had about 40 minutes before we went to the reception so we dropped our car at the hotel, and waited for my mom to come and get us from the hotel. Then it was off to the reception, where my childhood best friend Tasha Hilborn was our MC. We opted to not have a photographer at the Reception as we wanted it to be fun, and informal and for people to be able to keep it as a memory for them and whatever pictures were taken, were taken by guests, so its super neat to see what people decided to take pictures of, most people were enjoying themselves and forgot! We had my Uncle Djing and I got a dance with my Dad and Chris. We cut our gorgeous cake baked by Chris’s sister (it was DELICIOUS) and even had speeches — mic drop —

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When I look back it truly was the perfect day. I am so thankful to all my family and friends who helped us make it happen! My Mom for her countless hours spent helping me plan, My sister for photographing and bartending, My Dad, My father in law Craig, My mother in law Laura, my sister-in-law Colette, to my close friends who gave up their time to help me craft, and cook, and set up. I’d also like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who came. Some people traveled from as far as Ontario and Australia, and they made our day super special!! If your want more info on how to plan a wedding for under $10000 feel free to reach out and I can discuss prices more with you!

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A big thank you to my husband Chris, for marrying me, putting up with me and making each day of marriage entertaining! Here’s to a few decades more of this ❤

ps. scroll down for some pictures our friends shared from our special day 

 

xOx Chelsea 

 

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Grieving the last Feed.

When I was pregnant I imagined breastfeeding my child and I thought about how hard it would be and how important it was for me to try. As some of know, breast-feeding did not come easy for me.

Pearce was born not breathing and was revived and taken to the nicu pretty quickly after being born, we did not hold Pearce for 9 hours. We missed the initial skin to skin which helps so many babies root and find the latch quickly. When I did finally get a chance to nurse, it felt horrific, we struggled to get a latch and when he did the feeling of my uterus contracting actually made me want to faint. I broke down, I tried and tried but struggled the exhaustion and the pain my body felt was unbearable. But I was determined – I would not give up. Something I often say to myself, during pregnancy and each day since, “People have been doing this for millions of years and they got through it”. It has literally helped me so much. We ended up getting a latch and a few feeds after a nurse offered me a breast shield. At one point while in the hospital I was so overwhelmed by the nurse trying to help me that she actually urged us to just give my son formula so we could try to feed when he wasn’t starving – yes she told me I was starving my child. I was so happy when that nurse was gone and we got a different nurse, for the life of me I don’t remember her name but she was an older tiny women who helped me all night to grasp breastfeeding, after 4 nights in the hospital we headed home.

I was still using the breast shield as Pearce really couldn’t latch on my breast, I made appointments to see a breast consultant which was the best experience, if it wasn’t for her I don’t think I would have been able to keep going. After 3 weeks she urged me to have a doctor check for tongue tie, which we discovered he had, and he also had a lip tie. Once we had the doctors snip them I met the consultant again and she said give yourself 2 days without offering the shield, She felt Pearce was so close to getting it that all I needed to do was not offer it. After 2 days, Pearce was latching, the feeling was painful, excruciating but rewarding? Since than I have love breast-feeding, Pearce was never a cuddly child so being able to breastfeed allowed me to receive cuddles and bond with Pearce like no other time during the day.


When I returned to work when Pearce was 1, I continued to breast feed actually pumped during my lunch break in my car for 4 months. I used the pump milk for Pearce to have a bottle while at Daycare, but soon he was able to go right down without having the extra milk during the day. For those 4 months I also woke up extra early and fed Pearce in the morning before work, then pumped on my lunch and fed at night. In January I decided to stop feeding in the morning, it was exhausting for me, and I felt that he would be fine without that extra milk and he has done great.

I knew that I wanted to stop breastfeeding Pearce by the time he was 2, I have never really hated it or wanted to give it up. I am not big drinker so I never resented it because I couldn’t drink. As August has drawn near I decided to give it a try. 3 weeks ago my mom was taking Pearce over night so that Chris and I could have a date night. Then the next night I decided.. why not stop. I put Pearce to bed without giving him boob instead giving him a bottle and then putting him to bed, it was horrible he was up crying all night. My husband will NOT let Pearce cry it out he is SUPER against it so we ended up taking him out and giving him some more milk and kinda just letting him stay up with us. We tried again to put him to bed and he woke up a few hours later and ended up in our bed. I was not excited to go down this road!


The next night I decided to rock in the chair with Pearce like we did when I would feed him, I rocked him in the chair for a good 45 mins, and he fell asleep. I transitioned him to the bed and he went down great. He ended up sleeping the whole night. It was that night I realized that it wasn’t that Pearce was not a cuddly boy it was that I had never realized that time was also special for him. That it was also his cuddle time. So since then each night we go into his room and I sit in the chair and he climbs on my lap and I rock him, now only for about 20-25 mins and then I put him in his bed awake, we give each other a kiss, an Eskimo kiss and then I say, “good night my love, may you have sweet dreams” and I leave the room. Its been a great transition since.

One thing I never thought about was him waking at night I always use to just give him boob and now we just cuddle and it seems to do the same thing, so often now I feel like he just doesn’t want to be alone. But now I have found myself with a huge emotional hole inside me. I crave to have the bond of him needing me and me being able to give him something no one else can. I miss him climbing on my lap and scratching my collar-bone which was always his way of saying boob. I miss the time we would share each day together when I would feed him. Breastfeeding for me wasn’t just feeding my son, it was nurturing him and making owies better, it was cuddles and fingers poking in my mouth. It was a beautiful time and I treasured it so much, I am so incredibly happy and blessed to have spent 22 months breastfeeding my son.


This change in my life has given me more freedom as I can now drink, or I can have my husband do bed time but for me it feels like more of a loss. I feel like I am missing a part of myself now. I feel the grief of our last feed, because I did not know it was our last.. Part of me wishes I had planned better so I could have enjoyed it more knowing it would be our last, part of me thinks if I had done that I may have never stopped…

xOx Chelsea

 

 

 

Quick and Easy Breakfast and Lunch Meal Prep

This week, I hurt my tailbone, so Sunday I did some meal prep knowing my husband would be taking care of my son and I for most meals, lunches have never been his specialty so I wanted to do some meal prepping to help ease this responsibility for him. Since standing was easy just bending and sitting were hard, this was an easier task.

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First I made a breakfast burritos, it’s a quick easy breakfast that can be made in advance and heater at work in the microwave or toaster oven. This recipe makes approx 10.

 

Breakfast burritos 

You will need: 

2 frying pans, 1 spatula, 1 whisk, a knife and a cutting board, tinfoil

Ingredients:

1 package of natural selections bacon
10 – 12 brown eggs – we also enjoy a free range in my household
1 cup of grated cheese – I really enjoy tex mex cheese.
1 pepper of your choice – I chose an orange bell pepper
2 cups of fresh spinach chopped
Hot sauce
Mustard – I am a big lover of mustard so I always have mustard with eggs – totally preference
salt and pepper to taste
10 whole wheat tortilla shells

Steps:

  1. Step one, fry up the whole package of bacon. Keep it as a strip.
  2. Scramble your eggs, once to the preference you like, add spinach, cheese and peppers.
  3. Once all ingredients are cooked, lay out your tortilla, add ingredients as follows: Bacon, Eggs, Salt and pepper, Sauce. Then fold, bottom up and over your ingredients then sides in and roll!
  4. This should make enough for 10 burritos. I wrap mine in Tinfoil and then place in a Ziploc, if you plan to use a microwave you can always put these in a microwave friendly container.

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My Go To Filling Salad. 

I am not a salad person, nor have I ever been. Salads are not my idea of fun, but this salad fills me up and it tastes delicious!!

This recipe will make 1 salad to pack. You can multiply this recipe depending on how many you make in advance.

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You will need: 

A knife, cutting board, container for dressing, container for salad.

Ingredients:

1 hard-boiled egg – peeled and chopped
2 hand fulls of spring mix salad greens
1 cooked chicken breast chopped – depending on the size sometimes I only use half.
6 grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons of pecans
2 tablespoons of feta
2 tablespoons of chopped red onions
1/4 cup of chopped cucumber
1/2 a bell pepper – color to your choosing
1 tablespoon of President Choice’s Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

Steps: 

  1. Mix all ingredients into your container. Put the dressing in a separate container, I like to pack this in a big enough container that I can add the dressing and shake it at work. This salad stores really easy so making a few a couple days early is okay!

Enjoy!! 

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