Mama Things: September

 

Jennifer Bennett Malcolm

So¬†much of my life these days is focused on Malcolm, so I thought it might be a good exercise for me to share about myself on a regular basis. I’m going to start with sharing 5 little things going on with me (Mama) lately. (And don’t worry, I’ll still share about Malcolm too. How could I not talk about that adorable little guy?!)

Loving:
We were blessed with so many gifts and clothes for Malcolm, but most of them were in smaller sizes. I’m excited that I now get to pick out some adorable and local clothing for him. I just received orders from The Stitched Arrow and This Kid Clothing Co. and the items are just so adorable!

Eating:
We mostly stick to our usual meals aka nachos and pizza, but lately I’ve also been trying out some recipes for cheap meals. Tonight I’m going to give these veggie tacos a go. I came across this free downloadable cookbook as well. All the recipes are designed for a $4 a day food stamp budget – so this book is great for saving some money and eating on the cheap.

Wanting:
It’s about a month to my birthday so I started updating my Pinterest wish list at Jordan’s request (does anyone else do it this way?). Right now this letterboard is at the top of my list. All I need are some sassy quotes ūüôā I’m also hoping to get my hands on some beautiful linen fabric (and some freetime!) to sew myself this blouse. By the way, if you sew you should check out Seamwork Magazine. They have beautiful new patterns every month and helpful tips for building your own custom wardrobe. Use this link for $3 off your first month (it includes a pattern of your choice as well!).

Struggling with:
Sleeeep…. I know, I know, it’s definitely gotten better, but some nights are still tough. This week we were able to cut out one feeding for a couple days in a row so we’ll see if it lasts. We’ve also started testing out sleeping in our living room (on the pull out couch) in order to give Malcolm some space, but I am not finding it all that comfortable. I probably wouldn’t complain about it though if it means we could all sleep through the night! I also have a problem with going to bed on time. That doesn’t help…

On my mind:
I’m trying to deplete the massive pile of stuff in our hallway/living room. How do we collect all this clutter so quickly?! Now that we are sleeping in the living room it feels even smaller and more cluttered. I have an ongoing list of things to deal with so I can forget about them. Somehow I never seem to get very far down my list. Anyone else have this problem…? After I finish writing this post I think I’ll attempt sewing some crib sheets/duvet covers so I can make use of those silly flat sheets we never use. How do you make up your bed? We are all about simplicity over here and make do with just a fitted sheet and duvet.

Thanks for letting me share about myself. I’d love to hear about what’s going on in your life lately. Comment below or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook.

How being a mother changed me in ways I didn’t expect

How being a mother changed me in ways I didn't expect I was going to title this ‘Malcolm Update’, but I think ‘Mom Update’ is probably more appropriate. I have been growing so much, perhaps even rivalling Malcolm. Malcolm has changed and shaped Jordan and I, and we are quickly realizing how much he responds to the way we do things too. Becoming a mother has been a journey much like I expected, but it is still a challenge to learn to become a parent through immersion.

Mother to MalcolmSometimes I find myself feeling bitter about my lack of sleep until I remember that this is what I signed up for. I signed up for sleepless nights, headaches, crying babies, and an aching back from rocking little ones to sleep. I signed up for a sink full of dishes, a messy house, stepping on toys, and a rumble in my belly as I feed a hungry babe. I signed up for stinky diapers, getting spit up on, loads (and loads) of laundry, and bedsheets with all sorts of bodily fluids spilt (just small amounts – don’t need to throw them in the wash quite yet…).

Mom life is far from glamorous, but it’s great. Sometimes I think I’m crazy. I knew motherhood came with all these things, but I wanted it anyway. Maybe there is some sort of hormone that makes us forget all these difficult things and desire to become mothers, otherwise the human population would die out. There must be! Motherhood is such a crazy thing to do to yourself, but it’s also so worth it in a way I can’t even describe.

How being a mother changed me

Malcolm is an incredible boy, and it’s so crazy to watch him grow and discover the world. He recently showed us that he can roll over, and is beginning to use his movement to get to the things he wants. It’s so neat to watch him figure out that one day he will be able to do things for himself. In some ways it might be bittersweet for both of us. He is constantly throwing his toys off the high chair tray, seeing how quickly he can cause me to abandon preparing dinner and rescue his rattle and Zips the bee. We have recently started feeding him food, and it’s been fun to see his eagerness to try eating and to watch him discover new flavours. He makes some hilarious faces!Malcolm 4 month collageHe has grown so much physically, but I don’t always notice it until I look back at older photos. In the first 4 months of his life he changed so much. He continues to grow into a little person and I enjoy watching his personality come out.

How being a mother changed me

Sometimes I find myself longing to be self focused again. I’m struggling with bitterness about the transition I’m in. Sometimes in my own passive-aggressive way I bend over backwards so that others will notice how much I am neglecting myself. In these moments, instead of finding the comfort from others that I had desired, I’m finding peace and strength in myself. I’ve tried to break myself, but I found I was much stronger than I thought.

This brings me back to realize the selfishness of of my self neglect. I was missing out on the joy of serving my family because I wanted things to be about me again. They aren’t. They might never be. But that’s okay. It’s not meant to be that way anymore. I realize that my body is already adapting to my new role. My heart sometimes falters, but it follows close behind. Becoming a mother is an interesting and magical thing.

My favourite family

This family photo may be a bit out of focus, but I treasure it anyway. Life isn’t perfect. People aren’t perfect. But the imperfections are a beautiful and important part. I may not have the most photogenic life, but it’s completely perfect in my eyes. Mom life might not be as glamorous as it appears on Instagram, but it’s worth documenting. I hope to continue to share my life with you here.

You can read more about Malcolm and see his cute little face here.

My Top 6 Free DIY Tutorials for Your Newborn Baby

Before Malcolm was born I had some time off work to take care of myself and to prepare for a new baby. I enjoyed preparing the practical necessities, like buying diapers and a crib mattress, but I also wanted to focus some time on crafting some special things with my hands as I thought about and anticipated this baby. Here are a few DIYs I found both easy and practical. This is a great way to have some special keepsakes for your babe to keep as they grow up.

Click the photos to follow the link to the tutorials.

1.  Footed Newborn PantsDIY Footed Newborn Pants

I found this tutorial to be fairly simple and very practical. Footed pants are the best when your kiddo is tiny and you don’t want to have to worry about keeping little socks on. These pants even worked well with Malcolm’s cloth diapers, though I might recommend adding a couple inches to the top of the pattern for a bit of extra room if you are using cloth diapers.

2. Knit Moccasin Booties
DIY Knit Moccasin BootiesAren’t these just the most adorable little booties?¬†They are perfect for keeping little toes warm. They also make a great keepsake for your child to treasure.

3. ¬†T-shirt OnesieDIY T-shirt OnesieThis is¬†the perfect base for your little one’s wardrobe. Customize it with your choice of patterned knit fabric and contrast ribbing. For an upcycled option cut the pattern from an adult t-shirt.

 

4. ¬†Nursing Pillow CoverDIY nursing pillow coverMy nursing pillow didn’t come with a removable cover, and all the cute ones I found on the internet were so expensive. I am so glad I decided to make a cover because it has had all sorts of baby fluids spilt on it. I even brought it with me to the hospital which was a great idea, but it sure needed a good clean after.

5. ¬†Crib SheetsDIY crib sheetsCrib sheets are simple to make, help you fully customize your nursery, and may save you money. We have been using a bassinet or cradle up until now because of our small space. It’s not easy to find the right size of sheets for a reasonable price, so I ended up making some of our own. Since it’s pretty simple I didn’t use a tutorial, but if you need a bit of direction check out this one. We don’t really use flat sheets on our bed, so those extra sheets are perfect for this project, plus the crib sheets match our bedding!

6. ¬†Newborn GownDIY Newborn GownI found we didn’t really use this gown as much as I had hoped since we swaddled Malcolm for the first few months and our apartment is too warm to layer both. Nevertheless, it’s an adorable little pyjama outfit for keeping little ones warm and makes night time diaper changes easy.

I’m hoping to make some more things for Malcolm once I get some time. I love being able to make something special, to totally customize for what we need, and to repurpose old clothing. For my next projects I’m thinking of making some drool bibs like these, these shorties, and these harem leggings.

(Photos and tutorials are not mine. Please click on the photo for a link to the tutorial.)

Summer Recipe: Matcha Lemonade

Matcha Lemonade Steeped TeaThis March I tried doing a¬†30 Days of Matcha Challenge. I meant to post this recipe a few weeks ago, but I’m still adjusting to mom life and juggling my time. We are just beginning to figure out nap time, and I try to get the laundry and dishes done every once in a while. Tips anyone?

The 30 Days of Matcha Challenge has made me experiment with different ways to enjoy matcha. This is a classic recipe that I have enjoyed for a while already. It makes the most delicious, energizing, and refreshing summer beverage.

Matcha Lemonade Steeped TeaHere I used the Perfect Matcha Scoop which is equivalent to about 1/2 teaspoon. This little scoop is handy to have stashed in my tea cupboard, and it makes it easy to quickly scoop the right amount of tea for my cup of matcha.

Perfect Matcha ScoopFor a pitcher of Matcha Lemonade I use a can of frozen lemonade concentrate and Lemonatcha Matcha.

I start by mixing up the lemonade in my¬†pitcher (alternatively you can use fresh lemonade as well, but I find the concentrate tastes great mixed with tea and is a better bang for your buck!). Then I pour some lemonade into my shaker and add 6 scoops of matcha (about 3 teaspoons). I shake it well to mix and dissolve the matcha, and then I add it back to the pitcher. Finally, I give it all a quick stir, and it’s¬†ready to serve!

Matcha Lemonade Steeped Tea

This recipe is simple and would be great to try with different flavours. I’m thinking¬†Sweet Strawberry Matcha¬†lemonade would be delicious. You could also switch out the lemonade for limeade.

You can find several different flavours of matcha on my website. What is your favourite way to enjoy matcha?