A Different Clock

Wil arrived a week ago.

The Coles notes version is an ‘easy’ labour: we arrived at the hospital at 8am, I was in the labor pool at 9am and I pulled Wil out of the water and onto my chest at 9:54am.

I’ll save you from the longer version that starts at noon the previous day and involves a lot of lunges and watching Vampire Diaries on Netflix for three hours in the middle of the night through strong but very far apart contractions.

We are officially on baby time here. Early to bed and it takes up to an hour to get ready to leave the house with feedings and diaper changes.

Our home also has the new baby look to it. The living room is ‘decorated’ with my breastfeeding pillow, a basket of cloth diapers and a stack of very small onesies and sleepers.

I love it.

All of it.

I’m tired but the floppy newborn snuggles and 4am rounds of wakeful eye contact from a five day old boy more than make up for it.

Random thoughts on keeping it simple from this first week:

  • Little socks work well as scratch mittens and to keep a winter baby’s hands warm.
  • If your mother is there to help, let her. Even when I say, oh don’t bother with that, she does it and I have to say, it’s nice. Our dishwasher is emptied before I can get to it and the laundry has been magically hung to dry before I remember to check if a load is done.
  • Every meal cooked from scratch is a victory.

Thanks for the well wishes and the understanding with the long stretch of quiet on this blog. I’ll be posting more regularly in the coming weeks with interviews I’ve been saving and guest posts.

For now, check out this article from a mom who is vowing to spend nothing on her two year old for the next year.

This “minimalist mom” says she will buy second hand clothes, no new toys and stop buying prepackaged toddler snacks.

Is that extreme?

We already buy less and buy second hand most of the time. I rarely buy prepackaged snacks and we shop second hand for a lot of things. Santa sourced Brio train pieces off of Ebay last year and I bought new to us Clark shoes (retailed for $60, bought for $5) when Henry went through a growth spurt. Our snacks on the go are sliced cheese, raisins and pieces of fruit that I cut up or dole out into containers for portability.

Is that minimalism or just common sense ways to save a few dollars and be kinder to the earth?

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  • Congratulations! Wil is a lovely little guy. Although you are going through a huge transition, you are maintaining a simple, minimalist mindset. It would be so easy to go out and buy, buy, buy. I am so inspired.

  • Congratulations! I think those goals for not buying new stuff (from the other minimalist) are pretty darn reasonable. We hardly ever purchase anything even with our three. Of course, the grandparents shower us with stuff…

    I miss baby time. We’re getting into school time, and my eldest will be in kindergarten this coming fall, so our days of complete and utter unscheduled chaos are coming to an end.

  • Congratulations! He’s adorable and you all look so happy :)

    And no, it doesn’t sound extreme (Well, yes extreme in that it’s in opposition to most of our culture and I would have said it was a few years ago. Now I think it sounds so doable I even wonder why there’s a news story about it, ha)

  • Congratulations! Baby Time is the very loveliest and most fluid of times. It sounds like you are soaking it up and revelling in it. Wonderful!

    I read that other blog last week and I commend her for her endeavour, but like you I came away feeling like, “Oh, that’s extreme? I already do pretty much all of that.” Maybe it’s being on a pretty modest single income with two kids in a rental in Ottawa, but we just don’t spend much on our kids – or anyone in the family – already. But then I read some of my more, ah, lucratively employed, shall we say, friends’ Facebook posts and I remember that this way of living is not particularly common. Kudos to you!

  • He’s beautiful! And you look spectacular!

    So impressed that with all the hormones and changes – you still have a calm, easy going minimalist outlook. Good for you!

    Prepackaged toddler snacks are pricey, and not really as healthy as the ones you can make / chop up yourself. Really, how hard is it to slice some fruit, a handful of raisins in a container for on-the-go?

  • Congrats!! Looking forward to hearing about minimalist life with 2 babies – it seems “round 2” is starting amongst my friends now, but not us yet.
    Jane will be 2 this month, and I don’t consider myself an extreme minimalist at all, but I never buy new things for her, or pre-packaged snacks. Why would I? Toddler clothes/toys are in abundance at the thrift store and she doesn’t know the difference. And like the other commenter said, how hard is it to throw some fruit/nuts/raisins in a tupperware for snacks?

  • Congratulations! I wondered if you had had your little one. :)
    Great ideas on here. We don’t have kids yet but can’t imagine having all new stuff when we do. The idea of htat stresses me out a little! I bought your ebook in anticipation of having a baby, and I’m grateful for all the advice on your site. Thank you.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I had to say congratulations! I love your blog and appreciate all the great info you give us. We just had our second so it seems like we just went through that transition, even though it was 7 months ago already! Wil is beautiful, congrats again!

  • YEA!!! Many blessings Rachel and family! Will is precious! Glad to hear it was quick at least from 1st push on 😉 Can’t wait to read the guest article. I agree and know that making/packaging our own snacks are the way to go but this working mom sometimes reaches for convenience – UG. Maybe this can be our next goal. We are on board with purchasing 80% 2nd-hand for our 2 y/o toddler. His Santa gift (a Rody) was a craiglist special!!! ANYWHO – glad you are ‘back’. Enjoy these early weeks!!!

  • I’ve been waiting for this post! Congratulations! What a beautiful boy! So glad everyone is well and happy. I was a bit more “minimalist” with the second baby, but I really got caught up in that nesting impulse, especially when we found out it was a girl! ha ha I consider the snacks you prepare at home to be the very bast “pre-packaged” snacks! Enjoy these precious moments with your new little one!

  • Congratulations!!! I wouldn’t call it extreme. That is what we do and basically always have. I know it’s not what most do, but for us it’s pretty common.

  • CONGRATS!!! You look awesome. To your question… I think it’s a combination of both… Our area has huge consignment sales for kids stuff (jbfsale.com) twice a year and it’s grown every year (I think it’s been around 4-5 years now). I’ve bought and sold stuff at this sale. It’s definitely a win-win. People are rejecting the marketing machine and the consignment sales show that it’s here to stay. Also, I have almost a four-month now… and yes, the time has been going wayyy to fast, but the only new thing I bought was a moby wrap (and I love it and use it daily). Other than that, I’ve been accepting hand-me-downs and using what we already have (I have a 3 year old boy and 7 year old girl). It really is an effort not to buy the cutsie stuff or clearance stuff… I just don’t go shopping anymore.

    Congrats again. Looking forward to seeing more pictures of the fam!

  • I think it doesn’t matter what you call it, really. Is it good for you? Good for others? If yes, then it’s all good. Almost as good as a sweet newborn. I have a Will of my own. These photos have me missing his baby days. Thank you for sharing.

  • Congrats to you, your husband & first born son on the birth of your second son! Glad everyone is doing well! Both your sons are just too cute!

  • Congratulations to you and your family! Thank you for sharing the lovely pictures and I am so amazed that you are actually able to write a post during this often exhausting time. Don’t stress about fewer posts on your blog. I’m sure all your readers understand and will stick around. I rarely comment and want to take this opportunity to say thank you for all the good advice and thoughtful information on your blog. I love your moderate minimalism!

  • Congratulations!
    Hope the second birth was close to your home-birth experience with Henry. I love your smiles on that picture!

    We are into the second hand stuff, still need to limit the amount and oodles of presents at birthday and Christmas from others.

  • Congratulations! Wishing you happy days with your new family addition and good sleep for all of you!

    I’d like to incorporate some non-packaged snacks into my day too. I’d say it’s a little bit of minimalism and environmentalism – it’s nice how they can go hand in hand most of the time.

  • Congratulations on the arrival of the new member of your family!
    What a lovely picture of you and your older son snuggling on the bed.
    Enjoy those fleeting and special days….

  • Congratulations, Rachel! I’ve been checking your blog and FB page every day for the big announcement :). What a gorgeous photo of you, Henry and Wil – you all look so happy! It almost makes me want to have another one soon… almost… 😉

  • Congratulations! He is just precious. Enjoy every minute & rest, rest, rest whenever you can. Hugs to all~

  • Congratulations! Those precious, tired, awesome times are to be treasured. So glad you have a mom there to help; yes, let her do whatever.

    We raised our children when they were young on cloth diapers & wipes, hand-me-downs, and nothing pre-packaged. We bought very few new clothes (socks, underwear, shoes, and pjs) until they were about 12 years old. Especially when they are small, the second-hand clothing is pretty easy to find in great condition.

    Snacks for our kids were cheese sliced by me, a piece of whole-wheat bread, cut-up fruits.
    The public library provided loads of books for us, and even toys to check out.
    When traveling to a new town, the big attraction was finding the best park playground in each new place. We took our children to all 48 continental US states and 9 Canadian provinces by camping all along the way.

  • Congratulations–I was looking forward to hearing this good news! You look remarkably fresh and alert for a new mom! It’s so true that we should take the help when it’s offered. My mother-in-law stayed with us for a week after each child’s birth, making the meals, doing the laundry, and offering much-needed support. I’m with you on the second-hand clothes and no new toys as well. We are so lucky to have as much as we have; there’s really no need for more.

  • Delighted congratulations from Switzerland, welcome to the world!

    My 2nd “baby” turned 22 on the 22nd January… she was also my “organic” baby, when I went back to super-simple… :) I think it was worth it, she has always been a bit “different” and is highly intelligent!
    Today she is my miminalist daughter… LOL

  • Congratulations! And what a beautiful photo of the three of you. I’m in complete agreement … say yes to any help. My mother is here for three weeks and then my husband off work for two. I intend to force myself to sit back and just focus on the children. It’s time that you don’t get back.

  • What a wonderful post … and what terrific news! I never comment on your blog since I read your entries on my phone, but I thoroughly enjoy your posts and appreciate your sharing glimpses of your life with us all! I also love your sister’s blog … is Katy still blogging? I enjoy her adventures, too! I assumed she was settling into her new job, but when I went to search her blog for tips on coffeemakers, I couldn’t find it (!) Hope you are sleeping at least a big and enjoying lots of snuggle time with all your boys :-)

    • Thank you :) Katy has had to take a hiatus from blogging for a bit but she is well. Living in South America and traveling to Europe for work quite a bit. We are lucky and still get frequent visits in despite her being in the southern hemisphere.

  • Hi Rachel! Congrats on your new little one. You seem well and happy! So happy we got to catch up in Vancouver 2 years ago. :)

  • Congratulations on your new baby! I welcomed my third child on Christmas Eve 2012. I have a kindergartener and a 2.5 year old also.

    I have a clutter problem with food stockpile, children’s clothes and craft supplies. When I found out my second would be a boy, I donated all my daughter’s baby clothes. So wouldn’t you know, I unexpectedly got pregnant with our third, who of course turned out to be a girl. So had to go and buy girl stuff and donate the boy stuff. I shop secondhand but I still have more than we need.

    I shopped the 90% off Christmas items sales and some grocery “mega sales” and shopped too much. I have 5 boxes of food to donate to the food pantry and my shelves are still overflowing.

    I try to crochet every day, but I have a year’s worth of yarn and fabric right now.

    The thing is, I’d like to move to a better neighborhood, and get this- SMALLER house- but this “stuff” is holding us back.

    My husband has his own clutter also, and with three kids and two cats, our house is always messy. I’m in the first baby steps of this process, which is basically working on changing my mindset. I grew up without enough food or clothes and it’s hard to get past deprivation and understand that I have “enough”.

  • Congrats! A word of advice on snacks: avoid raisins; they stick to teeth and have a lot of (natural) sugar. My parents fed me raisins as a toddler and I had cavities and fillings by the age of three. My dentist after asking what I normally ate raised a red flag at raisins since they contain more sugar than people realize and are very sticky.

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