Three Months of Motherhood


Happy September! Before I had Leo I kept saying that I felt like June was the perfect time to have a baby because I got to enjoy the summer. In retrospect I think maybe March or April would be the perfect time. I finally feel like I’m just sort of starting to get a bit more sleep and finding some comfortability in my role as a new mom and…summer is over? Ah well. Life is becoming so much more fun with our little guy and every day is something new.


Although we weren’t able to do a bunch of the traditional summer things like camping or beaching we did several road trips to visit family, grilled a ton and ate our fair share of ice cream. I learned to bake pie and became obsessed with trying new ones (next up, French Silk). We went for a ton of walks around our neighbourhood and just worked on adjusting to life as a family of four.


Leo is doing great. His tummy issues seem to be resolved mostly due to my cutting a few things out of my diet, onion being the one he absolutely can’t seem to tolerate. Breastfeeding is still going well and we’ve even gotten him down to one nighttime feed a few times recently which makes me feel like a million bucks with a bit more sleep under my belt. He is growing like crazy and every time we see the doctor she is always shocked at how quickly he’s jumped up. He’s now over fourteen pounds after coming home from the hospital at six. His first vaccinations came and went and were heartbreaking of course. He’s smiling a ton, chatting more and more and loves being sung to.


Some things I’ve found really helpful as a new mom:

– forcing myself to get out of the house once a day even if for a minor errand (unless baby is having an off day of course)

– handing over bathtime and a bedtime bottle to Tommy so I can have some time to myself if desired. This has become an awesome bonding time for them.

– meal prep at the beginning of each week. I prep overnight oat bowls for the week’s breakfasts as well as some sort of a healthy lunch. Some of my favourites: Quinoa Glow Bowls, Italian Pasta Salad and Curry Chicken Salad. This is especially helpful on those crazy fussy days.

– also, making a batch of something healthy to snack on each week, like granola bars or energy bites. This keeps me from eating junk when sleep deprived. Bonus points that these recipes in particular are good for lactation.

– just being honest when I’m having a hard time and could use some help. After a long string of sleepless nights I confessed to my family how much I was struggling and they have made regular trips to visit since then. It’s been a huge weight lifted for me.

– the new Tim Horton’s iced lattes. Have you tried them yet?


Things I’d like to prioritize for fall: look into some sort of mommy and me activity with Leo, get in as many walks as we can before it gets cold and start reading again! I’ve totally slacked off on that front. I’d also like to fit in a date with my husband, and wear something other than sweatpants in front of him, although he’d never complain. He’s a good sport, that guy.


I had grand plans to blog a ton on maternity leave but I keep reminding myself that these days are fleeting and I just want to soak up all I can. I also fear that this is coming across as a bit of a mommy blog these days, but it’s always been a reflection of my current life and nowadays it’s all about the baby over here! I do have several posts in the works, like our current fave baby products, a cloth diaper update and a healthed-up chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve had in the works forever but still need to share. How was your summer?




Cherry Streusel Pie


Have I ever told you that I’m not a pie fan? It’s always been my last choice when it comes to dessert. Coincidentally, I also happen to be married to a man who requests pie on the regular and in truth, I usually try to steer him in a different direction. Until lately, that is.

Having a new baby means I’m often sitting up in the middle of the night and internet-ing and I kept coming across incredible looking pies with summer fruits. I was missing being in the kitchen and felt like challenging myself so I decided to make Tom’s day and bake him one. The first pie I made entirely from scratch was this blueberry crumble one and it came out so well that I was inspired.

I quickly learned that making pie isn’t nearly the production I’d imagined it to be, and it even happens to be a fabulous dessert to make with a new baby. I can make all of the components at different times and set it aside if I need to; a cake would never tolerate such treatment.

For Tom’s birthday this year, he requested pie instead of cake. His ultimate favourite is cherry and I got right to work. I mixed a few different recipes to come up with this one. The crust is flaky, the filling is bright and juicy and the streusel adds the perfect salty-sweet crunch on top. Something about making a pie is just so darn satisfying to me now and this one will be made over and over around these parts.

Cherry Streusel Pie
Serves 8



  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening, softened
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Cherry Filling:

  • 600 gram bag frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted


Make the crust:

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it is pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat.

Measure 1/2 cup of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 tbsp. at a time, and stir after every tbsp. added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps.

Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).

Make the cherry filling:

Reserve 1/2 cup cherry juice in a bowl and mix in the lemon juice and corn starch. Set aside. Pour the bag of cherries and remaining juice in a pot with the sugar, salt and vanilla. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes while mashing the cherries until you have some larger and smaller pieces. Once the cherries are bubbling, stir in the cornstarch and juice mix and cook for another minute until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool before placing in pie crust.

Make the streusel:

Mix together all dry ingredients and then stir in the melted butter until thick and crumbly.

Assemble and bake:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat and set aside.

Roll out your pie dough on a floured surface to a 12 inch circle. Place the rolled out crust in a 9 inch pie plate, smooth it out to fit and trim and shape the edges as desired.

Fill the crust with the cooled cherry filling and top that with the streusel. Place the pie on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the pie for 20 minutes and then remove it from the oven, cover it with foil and turn the oven down to 375 degrees. Continue to bake the pie for another 30-35 minutes, and remove from oven once crust and streusel are lightly golden.

Let the pie cool completely before cutting into slices and serving.


The crust recipe makes two crusts, but it freezes great for up to three months so you can keep the other on hand for the next time you need it, or just make a double-crust cherry pie.


Crust from here.

Filling adapted from here.



Baby Favourites: Six Weeks In


There are so many items one can be required/tempted to purchase before having a baby but you never really know how well these things work until you put them into action. I thought I’d share what we couldn’t do without so far:

Graco Click Connect Travel System – Aside from our cloth diapers this is probably the product I researched the most and it paid off. We are SO happy with this travel system. The click connect is crazy easy to use. The stroller is large but fast to break down and fits in my trunk well. We’ve taken it walking on all kinds of trails and roads and it rides super smooth. You can get it at Babies R Us but we got ours on sale at Target for $330 CAD when we went on our Minot trip. That’s a $300 savings! Something worth looking into.

Kidiway Leather Glider – So many moms told me to invest in a great rocker and they were right. Both Tommy and I have spent countless hours in this thing since Leo was born. It’s crazy comfortable and I love that it reclines, too. Ours is in our living room so I love that it doesn’t scream “nursery”.

Kushies Waterproof Change Pads – Nothing groundbreaking but these are super handy for a quick change anywhere and the patterns are so cute. We have two and I’d like more.

Onesies with Built-In Mitts – Those newborn mitts were constantly falling off of Leo’s little hands, especially because he always wanted to suck his fingers. Onesies with the mitt flaps were so helpful for those early newborn days to prevent scratches. Old Navy has awesome ones.

Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets – All moms seem to recommend these and I agree. These blankets are thin but cozy and have so many uses.

Fisher Price Soothing Seat – Still where Leo sleeps the most soundly. This seat uses rocking and swaying motions that mimic a parent’s movements. It also has music and vibration options and I love that it plugs into the wall.

Summer Infant Baby Bather – A friend kindly lent this to us and it has made kitchen sink baths a breeze. Leo is really relaxed in it!

Jamieson Baby Probiotic Drops – Our paediatrician recommended these for Leo’s often gassy stomach and he rarely has tummy pains anymore. We’ve noticed a huge difference since starting them when he was two weeks old.

Halo Sleep Sack – Once we got one of these, Leo started sleeping in 4-5 hour stretches overnight from being up every 2 hours. Highly recommend!

What are your favourite baby products?




A Month of Motherhood


Hello from newborn-land! I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last posted here. I’ll start with echoing some often-used phrases about being a mom that I now understand completely. This is by far the most challenging, and at the same time, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Just when I think I can’t get any more exhausted (see photo above), this boy wraps his tiny hand around my finger or starts snoring on my shoulder and my heart feels like it’s going to explode.

Some things we’ve learned about Leo:

He loves to eat. He eats every hour some days and I genuinely fear that I won’t be able to keep up with his demand.

He is a super light sleeper. He needs a lot of encouragement to nap and the right environment or else it doesn’t happen and he becomes desperately overtired. I’ve learned this the hard way.

He loves car rides and being carted around in his stroller. We took our first mini road trip and he did awesome, sleeping almost the entire way, which we were excited about.

He’s got a fiery personality. If he’s hungry, or hot, or needs a nap, he lets you KNOW. He also has the craziest range of facial expressions I’ve ever seen.


To be completely honest, the first couple of weeks were rough on us. By the time we came home from the hospital we were running on about day five of no sleep. My parents left after our first day home and we were in complete survival mode. I’ll say it now, I have no idea how people do this without a supportive partner. We were as prepared as we could be, and our world was totally rocked by this little guy’s arrival. You always hear about babies not sleeping but living it yourself is a whole other thing. We slept in super short shifts for the first two weeks. I texted a friend about feeling overwhelmed by it all and she had said that becoming a new mother is so much obligation so fast, which resonated with me and made me feel a bit less incompetent. The good news is that I’ve learned to exist on very little sleep and now that it’s my new normal I’m in a much better place.

I had some super emotional moments here and there although I think sleep deprivation was as much to blame as hormones. I was tearing up at everything. One moment I’d be crying with gratitude over how healthy and perfect our baby was and the next it would be guilt over neglecting the dog or nostalgia because I missed quality time with Tommy and just our old life in general. I’m someone who’s never done well without sleep and of course everything felt harder without it.


Physically I felt great right after giving birth except for my stitches. They took what felt like forever to heal and I feel like I’m finally reaching the home stretch with that. I often felt frustrated at how long this process was taking and Tommy was quick to remind me that he had watched the whole event and that, “it’s not going to heal overnight, trust me”.

Tommy just went back to work last week and I was petrified for him to go. Luckily it hasn’t been half as bad as I’d feared, although we miss him terribly. I’ve found to have a successful day that I need either a nap or a coffee, and fitting in an errand, a walk outside or something else productive is key to my feeling good. If I spend the day cooped up at home I never feel quite as happy so just packing the baby up and going out even when I have no idea what I’m doing has kept me sane.


I’ve had some worries regarding my capability as a mom. Leo has had a few really awful fussy days with terrible gas pain and I have never felt so helpless in my life, watching my little baby scream in pain, and feeling like nothing I did was helping. “I should be better at this”, I’d think as I tried desperately to console him. I’d wanted to be a mom my whole life. I’m the oldest child, the oldest of all of my cousins, a babysitter as soon as I was old enough, and the “maternal one” in many friend groups throughout my life. But my own baby, the one I grew in my body, was a mystery to me, like a code I had to crack. I’ve really had to learn to read him and not always just knowing instinctively what he needs caught me off guard a bit. I’m trying to manage my expectations, and to give myself some grace in this area.

We’ve been meeting friends and family often and Leo got a new cousin when he was two weeks old, my niece Harper. Now that the babies are here safe and sound there is so much joy in our family. I can’t wait to watch the cousins grow up like best friends.


I’ve been trying to savour these days as much as I can and I keep reminding myself in the harder moments that the days are long but the years are short. I don’t want to miss a moment with Leo. I totally understand what parents mean when they say that the love hurts. It is intense!

I do have lots to share blog wise and am hoping to get into the groove with that soon. Until then, thanks for reading! I appreciate your support so much.




Leo’s Birth Story


It’s taken me awhile but I’m finally ready to share the details of Leo’s birthday. I still can’t believe this is the same little baby who lived in my belly these last several months! I love reading birth stories so I decided to share mine here.

Some back story. Originally I was given a due date of June 8th but both my family doctor and obstetrician flipped it a couple of times, going back and forth between the 6th and 10th as well. I stuck to June 8th as the date because it was in the middle of the two and I knew it was really just a guess anyway.

I spent a lot of time preparing myself to give birth. I said a lot of affirmations (my favourite was “the pain has a purpose”) and tried to stay as active and busy as possible to keep myself from overthinking everything. I tried to trust that my body could do the work and I just wanted to go into my labour and delivery with an open mind. I know there are so many depends in these situations and many things would be out of my control. I have yet to talk to anyone whose experience went according to “plan”. In terms of pain medication, I wanted to try to go without anything but certainly wouldn’t deny myself if I felt I had reached my limits. I often said that this was a “game day” decision and my husband encouraged me to do what I felt was right for us.

I gave June 8th as my last day of work because I wanted to avoid sitting at home for weeks on end in case I went overdue. I was also feeling pretty well and so I saw no reason not to continue. The last couple of weeks before I was done were stressful though. The dog got terribly sick and required a couple of vet visits and being up with him often for several nights made the cold I’d been dealing with rebound into something AWFUL. I literally couldn’t breathe for a week, which made sleeping impossible, which made everything worse. I couldn’t take anything for it and was petrified I’d go into labour in this condition. It took several days for me to start feeling better and baby prep was at a bit of a standstill because of it.

I got my membranes swept on the Monday before my due date. My mucous plug had started to come out a few days prior. The doctor was very excited to tell me that I was already 3 cm. dilated and 75% thinned out at that appointment and I was super encouraged by that because discomfort had been minimal. After the sweep I had some cramping and then contractions on the Tuesday and Wednesday nights that were strong enough to wake me up but they’d always go away and I’d wake up the next morning with no action.

Thursday, June 8th, my last day of work came. It was bittersweet and I was sent off with lots of well wishes. I left feeling emotional and mostly in disbelief that my maternity leave had come. Tom got me a beautiful bouquet of peonies to celebrate the occasion and we went out to dinner and ran some errands. We went to bed around 10 pm and I was awoken around midnight by contractions.


Now, this had been my normal the last couple of nights so I wasn’t overly concerned but I did eventually notice that the contractions were coming in intervals. I downloaded an app to track them at around 1 am and warned Tom around 3 am that I thought this was the real deal. I used our bathtub and a heating pad for relief. Once the contractions were about 3 minutes apart we grabbed our bag and headed out. It was around 8 am and I’d already been labouring since midnight.

A couple of comical moments: we were waiting for the elevator and a neighbour joined us. I was in the middle of a contraction and Tom explained that I was in labour. The guy proceeded to jump in with us anyway and took his sweet time riding the elevator down to the main floor while I was hunched over in pain, delaying our trip down to the parkade. I considered punching him. Then we ran into construction near the hospital and had to detour. By the time we got in, they hurried me through and I was so grateful.


Once at labour and delivery I had to wait behind two other women to get checked. I was contracting very often now and waiting was torture. When I was finally checked I was told I was around 7 cm. dilated. The staff were excited and so were we. It seemed the baby was closer than we thought. The resident did ask if I wanted an epidural at this point and said that I would have to decide quickly as I was already so far along. I felt I was managing ok at this point and declined. After I got into my room I overheard some staff outside discussing my progress and I felt so excited. I was on my way to meeting my baby soon and so far didn’t feel the need for intervention of any kind.

By this point, the only way I felt comfortable during contractions was either on the birthing ball or standing, leaned over while Tom pressed on my lower back. The poor guy, I’m sure his hands are still numb. We walked and were upright pretty much the whole time. I was admitted at 9 am and laboured until about 2:30 pm when I was checked again. The contractions were super strong, right on top of each other and I was sweaty, shaky and nauseous. It felt like I was in transition. I started to question having the energy to push because that last hour especially had really drained my energy.

When I was checked they told me I hadn’t progressed. At all. I was still around 7 cm. after labouring from 9 am to 2:30 pm. I was devastated. Beyond this, they told me that all of my contractions with no progress were starting to affect the baby and his heart rate wasn’t recovering as quickly after each one. They said that I would need medication to speed things up and progress my labour faster. She left to give us a minute to discuss the epidural.

I was so frustrated at this development that I started to cry as soon as she left because I knew in my heart that I needed the help. I’d been labouring over fourteen hours already on two hours sleep and with little else to fuel me. My contractions were already so intense that I couldn’t imagine dealing with several more hours of stronger ones, plus pushing the baby out. I had reached my limit. The nurse came back in, and I told her I would get the epidural.

I had a spinal tap when I was four years old. Because of this I still hate needles and the thought of one in my back terrifies me. I was dreading this part of things and it was even worse than I imagined. It took him three tries to get the epidural in and it was so uncomfortable. I was contracting the entire time and was petrified about moving too much. It was stressful to say the least, but once it was placed, almost instant relief. I was finally able to lie down, rest and recharge for the work ahead. I could still feel my now amped up contractions through the epidural so I can’t imagine how they would have felt without it. This quickly affirmed my decision. My nurse also pointedly told me, “I’ve had two epidurals. You don’t get a hero cookie for going without.” I loved her for that.

I laboured for a couple additional hours after the epidural. Then I was checked and told I was fully dilated around 5:30 pm. Hallelujah! The baby started moving down quickly and more staff started coming in to assist. There was still concern about his heart rate and even mention of a c-section should things get really dire so I knew I needed to get in the game and push him out quickly.

Pushing was a wonderful experience. I was shaky but I had feeling in spite of the epidural and I felt very alert and in control. The team was also incredible and very positive and encouraging while I pushed. The pressure was intense, particularly when his head was coming out. Tommy had been unsure of whether he would watch the baby come out but when the time came he held my leg and watched the whole time. It was motivating to see his reactions also. He was so excited and that gave me the energy I needed.

I only pushed for a few minutes and the baby flew out quickly. I had been so scared to get the head and shoulders out but it happened so fast and before I knew it he was on my chest, wailing and wide eyed.

Leo Thomas Erwin
June 9, 2017
5:56 pm
6 lb. 9 oz.
18.5 in.

I couldn’t believe he was ours. He had so much hair and the biggest hands. After he was out, my placenta was delivered with a quick push. I had some tearing and that was stitched up while I held Leo on my chest skin to skin. I barely felt a thing.


Our parents arrived soon after, just before we were moved to the mother baby unit. I was starving and we begged my in-laws to bring some food. I was pushed to our new room in a wheelchair, shoving pizza into my mouth, and feeling like I was on top of the world. We spent two nights in the hospital which felt so long. We weren’t sleeping there and couldn’t wait to be home. Breastfeeding is going well, which I’m so grateful for. This boy eats constantly and still has his days and nights mixed up but he is the sweetest thing in the world.


Thank you so much for all of your support and well wishes, it truly means the world to us. Also, a special thank you to my husband. I knew he would be the perfect “coach” and he truly was. I could not have made it through this experience without him.

What a blessing to have a healthy baby! We don’t take it for granted for a second how fortunate we are to have this little guy join our family.