Saturday, 31 March 2012

Baby at the Beach

The first sign of sun meant an offroading adventure for the family. We went about an hour into the forest service trail, to a great 4x4 trail that brought us to a beautiful secluded beach with a pristine lake and gorgeous mountains in the background.

We set up baby on a large sleeping bag with her toys and she had a blast!!! She kept crawling to the edge of the blanket and playing with the rocks. She was quite messy by the end of the day, but she had so much fun she slept the entire way home!!!

Of course, we co-ordinated our outings with her nap times, so it made it easier to travel for a long distance. As for the 4x4ing, she was in her infant car seat with an extra head support.....we actually took her for the first time when she was 10 weeks old! She laughs and giggles at the bumps and at the scared faces mommy makes.

Oh summer, I can't wait for you to come. Except that it means my mat leave is over........crap.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Time for the Big Girl Carseat!!!

So my DD is very long and lean, and although she still has 12 pounds to go before she is supposed to be out of her infant carseat, her feet are sticking 3 inches out from the base.

For her comfort and safety, we have decided to start using a rear-facing upright car seat.

Shopping for these seats can be really overwhelming. I discovered that there are seats that can be used rear facing, front facing, and can be converted into a booster seat. These 3 in 1 seats are expensive, but they are a good investment as they will be suitable as baby grows.

I am an avid comparison shopper, so once I chose the Eddie Bauer 3-in-1 Deluxe seat, I had to find the best deal. I found the seat available at many retail locations, ranging from $200-$300. I was so happy to find the seat is currently on sale at CANADIAN TIRE for only $167!!!! Great deal!!! They only have a one-year exchange policy on the seats, but the cashier said that if the seat did not fit in my Jeep then we could return within one week no problem.

So then, I had to make sure it would fit. Front facing is no problem, but the seatbelt is about 6 inches too short for rearfacing. Thankfully, the lap belt of the middle seat is long enough for rear facing, so that will be just fine for us. It might make it a little more difficult to get DD in and out of the vehicle, but I think I feel safer with her in the middle seat anyways.

Check out your local Canadian Tire for this excellent deal!

Monday, 26 March 2012

First Time Hiking with the Baby

I was lucky to recieve a hiking carrier from my brother and sister in law for my baby shower, and the weather was so beautiful this weekend we decided to try it out!!

My DD loved being on daddy's back and was so excited to be able to see all around her as we trekked through the wilderness. She was jumping up and down, very vocal, and had a huge smile on her face. She lasted about 3 kms up the trail but then she started to get a bit fussy so we set up a mini camp on a large flat rock. DD didnt even know there was snow around!!!

Although the carrier takes a little while to adjust in preparation for the hike, it was very sturdy and we felt that baby would be very secure in the carrier. We knew that she would enjoy being upright and having her legs and arms free. The carrier is designed in a way that makes it easy to adjust for baby and for daddy, and with the various strap adjustments you can reduce the strain on your back and shoulders. My DH said that at first it feels like you are carrying an extra 20 pounds, but after a while your body adjusts and he barely even felt her there (except for when she kicked his back!!!) The carrier even has a detachable backpack that can hold your food, drink, and baby supplies.

I would recommend this carrier to anyone who wants to go for a trek. We were so happy to go to a trail that we previously couldn't attempt with a stroller. I am looking forward to a summer full of hiking and adventure with the little one!!!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

RESP's: Do Your Research

I was contacted by a rep from the CST foundation about a month after my daughter’s birth. Both my husband and I wanted to set up an RESP for my daughter, so we were interested to find out about the program. The rep offered to come to my home, as it was difficult for me to get out with a newborn. I thought that was convenient, and we set up an appointment.

When the rep arrived he explained to me the benefits of the program, including the interest rates and the fees. They would apply to the Government for the available grants on my behalf, use my contributions in a group plan in order to secure the funds, and I could contribute anywhere from $10 to $250 per month. It seemed like a good way to go, so we set up the RESP with the CST foundation.

A month later, I received the User Agreement Plan in the mail, and during a naptime one day I decided to read it. I was shocked to discover that the fees were extremely high - almost 10% of my entire contributions. There would not actually be any money going into the plan for almost 2 years, they would just be covering fees. Also, the payments were fixed so that if I could not contribute one month, there would be a penalty. These two points were not explained to me by the rep.

I had a meeting with my bank to find out about what they offer for RESP's. Although the interest rate was lower, so were the fees, and both my husband and I felt more comfortable putting our money with a bank.

We decided to cancel our CST plan and have the money transferred to our bank in an RESP.

A few weeks after I mailed my letter to the CST, I followed up with a phone call to the head office to make sure they received my letter in time (you have 60 days from the original sign up to cancel) and to arrange the transfer of funds to my bank. It would all be processed in about 5 days, so I was confident that my concerns were resolved.

A few days later, I received a call from another rep who wanted to know why I was canceling. I explained what I had researched and how I was feeling about the program. She of course was challenging my points. She wanted to know why I was okay with a lower interest rate with the bank. I said that although it was lower, so were the fees. She said that the fees were refundable in the CST program through interest. Well, wouldn't it be the same with the bank, as you are gaining interest there as well. She had no comment. "Didn't you see on the news last night that a high-up bank manager is making a million dollars a year?" was her response. "So you don’t make a salary or commission on your accounts?" I asked. No comment again. She finally said that she would have her husband call me, who was the original rep I had dealt with.

I checked my account on the day the funds were supposed to be transferred, and nothing had been done. I called the head office again and they said that the rep had called and cancelled!!! I was shocked, as she never said anything like that to me on the phone. I submitted my request again, but unfortunately, the 60 day cancel period was over. After a few hours on the phone talking to several reps and managers, I was able to still cancel the plan and have them honor my original request.

When setting up an RESP, RESEARCH, COMPARE PLANS, and FOLLOW UP to make sure your best interests are covered!!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Where did my little baby go? One week of major developments at 7 months old

Gone are the days of my baby lying on the floor, watching a toy or the cat for hours on end. I can not believe how much she has changed, even just this past week!! I knew I had a little mover when she started rolling over at 14 weeks. Grandma said "You've got a wiry one!"

She started the army crawl at 5 and a half months and started rocking on all fours at 6 months. Now she has figured out crawling and while she is still learning, she gets a little faster everyday. It is amazing to see her explore the house and areas she has not been before.

We had been practicing sitting but I had to put her into position and stay close to catch her if she fell. Within two days she nailed it and would even practice falling herself. Two days later, I find her sitting on the floor. I asked my DH "Did you put her like that". Nope, she did it herself. Now I find her sitting all over the place, and she is slowly learning that she can not sit under tables without bonking her head.

Yesterday I went to get her out of her crib after a nap, and she was standing holding onto the bars. Next she is trying to stand at the coffee table. She has figured out that if she reaches up she can grab things off of the table as well. Unfortunately, she loves to stare at beer cans (Budweiser to be exact) and my DH had left a half full can on the side table. A few minutes after she saw it I had a beer soaked DH was in hot water on that one.

I think that these developments will help her to become more independant and learn that she can do things herself. I have noticed she is much happier now and can entertain herself for longer periods of time. I just can not believe how rapidly she is changing and it seems like my little 7 pound 10 ounce colicky newborn is becoming a distant memory.......

Where should I start?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Raffi CD's arrived - tough to find

I finally received my Raffi CD's!!! I have been looking for them for weeks now, and after searching 6 different local audio/video stores, I brought my search to Amazon. Not only did I find great prices, but they arrived quickly!

I remember listening to Raffi when I was a kid, so I really wanted to find them for my DD. "Baby Beluga", "Oats and Beans And Barley,"  "May There Always Be Sunshine", and "Day-O" are some of my favorites. I look forward to hours of listening and dancing pleasure with my dear little girl.

Monday, 19 March 2012

What a beautiful day!!! My baby just flipped me off!

It is amazing how much a nice day can change your mood!!! A little brisk walk and I am a happy mama again!!!

No wonder I have been going crazy, cooped up in my house due to the random rain, hail and snow recently. Its hard being a new mother with no vehicle as your days are determined by the weather.

No wonder baby is cranky, she is bored of being at home! Thankfully, the local library hosts great storytime for babies once a week, and I even just signed us up for swimming lessons.

I have to share this picture I took when I got home, this was the first thing I saw when I went to get DD out of the stroller. LOL!!!