Top 100 Canadian Baby Names

Canadian Baby Names

Maybe it’s because we’re so close to Canada that I feel a kinship with our neighbors to the north. Whatever the case may be, I recently ran across this list of the Top 100 Canadian Baby Names for each gender in 2013 and I’m kind of in love. Maelie is a name I’d never seen before, but would pick in a second. And while Liam will always make me think of Oasis (eye roll), I kind of like it. Why do Canadians always have such good taste?


Problems with your kid’s teacher

Our friends recently pulled their 7-year-old out of his private school and put him in public school. They didn’t make the decision not because of expense or commute or anything like that. They did it because they didn’t like their son’s second grade teacher.

Does that sound rash? It did to us at first too, if I’m being honest. But then we heard the entire story and realized that we would have made the same decision if we’d been through what they’d been through.

Without revealing too many details, I’ll just say that their son was being treated unfairly for a significant period of time before the parents set up a conference. The teacher “justified” her actions, saying that their son needed to be singled out if he was going to catch up with the advanced students in the class. Her choice of vocabulary was “tough love.” After meeting again with the teacher and the principal and seeing their son continue to withdraw, they made the big decision to move him.

They say it was the best decision they ever made. Their son is once again the happy-go-lucky kid they knew him to be in the first grade.

According to this post on the blog Today’s Parent, our friends went through almost all of the steps professionals recommend. The exception is that they never asked to monitor the class themselves. They felt that the teacher would put on an act at that point anyway. Their son’s daily tears provided the evidence they needed that something was very wrong.

Have you ever disliked any of your child’s teachers? Has it worked to conference with them?




How we deal when we get sick

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Well, it’s the beginning of February and I’ve come down with a really bad cold. That’s what I’m calling it — “really bad cold” — because I got the flu shot and I’ll be damned if I somehow got the flu anyway.

What do you do when you get sick, fellow mamas? I suppose the biggest problem that we run into is that when I get sick, my husband gets sick. Sick parents aren’t a good thing for anyone.

We’ve reached back into our backlog of tricks and called upon our guardian angel, also known as the caregiver who helped us out in the early days after giving birth to both my kids. She’s been coming in for the past few days to get our house in order, fill our prescriptions, make us (and the kids) food, and generally take some of the pressure off of us so we can rest and get back to normal faster.

I resisted calling her at first because it felt like such an indulgence, but when we thought about how much faster we’d get better if we just had time to rest and stop stressing about running around, it just made sense. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Meeting Other Mamas in Seattle

When my husband and I were in our first year of marriage, we adopted a puppy. Even though we’d done a lot of research on the breed and reading on how to raise a dog, we had no idea what we were in for. There were sleepless nights and countless trips outside. We were worried every time we left her alone in her crate — to go to the supermarket or a quick trip to the bank. A neighbor told us about a puppy play group that met on the weekends, and in retrospect, I think it was our saving grace. Every Sunday, we had an hour to let our puppies loose while we stood around and commiserated over the difficulties of being a puppy parent.

Just knowing that there are other people out there going through the exact same things you are is a relief in itself. So when we had our first baby, we didn’t hesitate to sign up for a few playgroups and classes because we knew the added benefit would be new friendships with other new parents. Many of the people we met in those early days are still our friends. We’ve seen each other through more pregnancies, big decisions, and huge life changes.

I always encourage my friends who are about to become parents to consider a meetup group. In case you’re interested, here are a few good ones in the Seattle area:

At My Smart Hands™ Bothell – Sign language for babies and parents

Seattle Stay at Home Dads

Later in Life Moms of Edmonds – For moms 35 and over

Valley Mothers of Multiples

Greater Seattle Working Moms

Cool Christmas Greetings

As the mom who barely got it together to mail off our family Christmas photo this year, I’m so ridiculously impressed by this family! What did your family send out as a holiday greeting for 2013? It’s my favorite time of year for mail – we got so many cute cards.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Fashionable pregnancy?

During my first pregnancy, we didn’t have a lot of money so I cycled through five t-shirts, three pairs of maternity pants, and one dress. We had a little more breathing room in our budget during my second pregnancy, but I still couldn’t get myself to invest in very many maternity clothes. It just seemed like such a waste, since I knew I wouldn’t have to wear them for very long.

But I have friends who really needed to buy maternity clothes because of their jobs, or because they simply felt frumpy and depressed when they tried to self-impose a limit. Which I totally get — I’m fine in yoga pants and a tunic, but I’m the kind of girl who wears makeup to the grocery store. My makeup is their wardrobe, and vice versa.

A fashionable girlfriend recently told me that she did all of her maternity shopping at consignment shops. Isn’t that brilliant? If we decide to have another baby, I think I’ll definitely go that route.

Here are a few consignment shops in Seattle that carry maternity clothes:

Sugarlump: Carries both consignment and new items.
2709 E Madison St
Seattle, WA 98112

Pregnant Pause: Maternity and children’s consignment
2709 E Madison St
Seattle, WA 98112Childish Things: Maternity and children’s consignment
10002 Holman Rd NW
Seattle, WA 98177

What if you can’t breastfeed?

Seattle Mommy Blog: Breast Milk Banks

Hi friends, just a quick post to tell you about an article I thought you might find interesting. Like many of you, I’m a big believer in breastfeeding — but what happens if you can’t? Seattle Magazine covered the issue, highlighting some mothers who turned to milk banks. I think it’s a fascinating idea and I’d love to know more about experiences you might have had with it.

Check out the Seattle Magazine post, Bootlegging for Baby

Time out for mom and dad

Seattle Mommy Blog: Finding Alone Time

And suddenly it’s Christmastime! You guys, even though I started my shopping over the summer I’m nowhere near to being done. This used to be okay before I had two kids, because I could just spend the last couple of weeks shopping during my every waking moment. But now it’s time divided between pick ups and drop offs and naps and mealtimes — yikes!

I’ve been coming across a lot of stuff recently about how important it is to take time for yourself, especially as a parent. My husband and I took a step toward this by planning dates and bedroom rendezvous but that’s really couple time, not alone time.

My kids aren’t the only ones who get cranky if they’re tired. We parents do too. And since I’m something of an introvert, being among people all the time can drain my energy. So my husband and I have resolved to make half an hour for ourselves each day. For an hour after dinner, we’ll spend time with our girls (ages three and one) playing games. One of us will take half an hour to do whatever we want — meditate, write, read, stare into space — and at the 30 minute mark we’ll switch out.

I’ll keep you updated on how this works out for us. But let me tell you, I’m already looking forward to those 30 minutes and it’s only 8am.

How do you recharge and find alone time?

Morning sickness during the holidays

Seattle Mommy Blog: Morning Sickness at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I’m SO happy that I can indulge this year. Last year I was suffering from major morning sickness on the best food day of the year. It was the worst! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but with the thought of all that food and the possibility of ruining it for everyone else by having to run to the loo all the time, I considered skipping the festivities all together.

While I didn’t get to pig out like I usually do, I didn’t end up missing out on the whole day either. Here are my tips for getting through it:

Keep your secret weapon close by. For me, it was those lollipops that they make specifically for morning sickness. Thank heavens for those – I’m not sure I would’ve survived otherwise! I kept a whole bunch of them in my purse that day, along with plenty of mint tea and some saltines.

Sit away from the smells. If you have issues with aromas during this period, figure out a way to sit near the bread basket while steering clear of the turkey itself. This was hard for me, since the women in my family like to congregate in the kitchen and I ended up having to hang out in the living room with the football-loving men. Why does this still happen in the 21st Century?! In any case, bring a book or a knitting project or a crossword if you don’t love football or whatever bad movie is on TV.

Limit yourself. I know, I know. It’s hard. But you’ll be far less likely to get sick if you just eat a little at a time. Also, don’t feel like you need to eat everything! If people are offended that you’ve passed on their green bean casserole, tough luck to them.

Duck out if you need to. Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, even if you’re not pregnant. Step outside if you need to. And if things get weird, you can always use your morning sickness as an excuse to leave early, no questions asked! (Not that I did that, no siree.)

If you’re going through morning sickness this Thanksgiving, I’m sending the best of luck! And remember, you’ll always have next year to indulge. You could even make your own Thanksgiving dinner all over again once you’re further into your pregnancy — believe me, you’ll be hungry for EVERYTHING then!

Friends without kids

Seattle Mommy Blog: Friends without kids

Sometimes it’s easy to stay in touch with your friends who don’t have kids; other times, not so much. It reminds me of when my friends all went away for college and I stayed behind for a year to earn my core credits at the local community college. They came back with this big thing in common — living in another part of the world — and I couldn’t share in that. Once I did go away for school, it was easier to relate with them again.

But I don’t expect that all my friends are going to have kids. Now that we’re in our thirties, I can see that it’s just not in the cards for many of them. They have great jobs, many of them have awesome relationships, but kids? It’s just not their thing. I totally get it, and I respect them for making the decision even though there’s still so much societal pressure to do it. Which is weird, if you think about our overpopulation problem, but I digress.

Here are some ways you can keep in touch with your friends without kids:

Be the first to call. You might think that you’re being snubbed by your friends without kids, but it’s more than likely that they’re just trying to give you space. My good friend Michael told me that he knew my schedule was stricter than his, so he figured he’d wait until I called on him. Which is a good point! Call when you can. Even email is better than nothing.

Do a throwback outing. I’m not saying you should hit the bar scene, but think back to the things you used to enjoy doing before your schedule was all about nap times. Did you and your girlfriends get manicures together? Would you go bowling? Out for brunch? I’ve found that going back to old routines with friends not only helps everyone to remember that you’re the same person, but it can also encourage you to remember the things you used to talk about (ie: not just your kid).

Listen, listen, listen. It’s surprising, but after awhile people get tired of our stories about diaper changes! I found that I got so used to people asking about how I felt, or about the baby, that I forgot to ask questions about how their lives were going. People love to talk about themselves. So ask questions!

How do you keep friends without kids involved in your life?