Dil, Tabitha, and baby Dab

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My sister introduced me to Dan (Twitter) and Phil (Twitter) just after Keladry was born, so she has “grown up” with their voices. It just made sense for her first cosplay to be Baby Dab, from DanandPhilGames play the Sims. I cannot recommend these two YouTubers enough, on both of their own channels (AmazingPhil and Danisnotonfire), and on their collaborative efforts.

Also in the picture with Baby Dab are Dil (cosplayed by Lindsay (Website, Twitter)), and Tabitha (cosplayed by Victoria (Instagram, Twitter)), and Dan (held by Dil) and Phil (held by Tabitha) plushies.

(The TARDIS is hidden…can you find it?)

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Dear Dragon – Six Months

Six months

Six months

Dear Baby Dragon,

You turned six months old on Sunday and as I write this you’re playing on your mat making adorable sounds and rotating to the toy you want to chew on.

The past week or so has been tough; you caught your first cold and have been leaking from your nose. It’s gotten to the point where you start screaming when you see a tissue. You’re getting better now and I look forward to not hearing you be all phlegmy.

Crawling is about to happen any day. You get up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth. Sometimes you’ll army crawl. You also love to pretend that you’re skydiving.

Added to your screeching (Curse you DanIsNotOnFire) is growling, babbling, and a lot of giggles. Honestly, there is nothing better than hearing you laugh. It’s filled with such pure joy and love. I could listen to it all day.

One thing I really wish you’d stop doing is grabbing and pinching. I know you don’t understand that it hurts us and you’re just trying to keep your balance but it’s a real pain.

It’s been a wonderful six months with you and I wish I could spend more time but you’ll be eight and a half months when I have to go back to work. I’m doing everything I can to remember and appreciate this time together.

Well, I have a diaper to change.

Love you lots and lots my Little Dragon,

Your Papa

 

 

Dear Dragon – Your First Trip

Dear Dragon,

As I write this, you’re a day away from going on your first vacation. Tomorrow, at an insane time, we’ll get you up and bundle you and all our luggage and head to the airport. Then we’re off to Disney and Universal with your Aunt and Grannie.

You’ll grow up travelling a little bit everywhere. It’s a perk of your Mum being a travel agent. I hope you appreciate travelling. I hope you realize how lucky you are to be able to go to all the awesome places you’ll be going.

I also hope this new phase of screeching doesn’t last too long. If it does it’ll be an interesting plane ride.

It’s mostly joyful but people can get really cranky when they fly so hopefully you’ll stick to the cuter noises.

I know you won’t remember this trip, but I hope you’ll have as much fun as we will. Someday we’ll go again and I’ll love seeing your excitement. Until then, we’ll just get hundreds of adorable pictures of you at the parks.

Your excited Papa

Results: JenEric Holiday Contest – Win $25

Hello Everyone,

Last month we ran a contest where you needed to match the picture with either Jen, Eric, or Keladry.

The winner was Roseanne B, who was chosen at random from the 6 people that guessed correctly.

They can use the $25 for anything from:

Answer

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3

  1. Éric
  2. Keladry (Baby Dragon)
  3. Jen

We expected everyone to get it right but we had a success rate of 40%.

Stay tuned, we will have more contests.

Éric

Éric’s 2017 Resolutions

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

On Tuesday I reviewed my 2016 Resolutions. I managed to finish 60% of my goals, which is pretty good. This year I have 10 resolutions and I’m hoping, as always, to complete them all.

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1. Write 3000 words a week.

In years past, I’ve said 500 words a day. The importance for me is to write as often as I can. This 3000 will include books, stories, and blog posts.

2. Complete The Copper Tarnish by March

I’d like to finish The Copper Tarnish as soon as I can. I’m not sure if I’ll be submitting this book or not, but I’d like to finish it and see what I think.

3. Start the next Elizabeth Investigates

I really want to start The Hound of Baker Ville. I’ve been thinking about it for three years and it’s time to return to Baker City, Ontario.

4. Read 30 books

I failed at this last year but I was close. Let’s see if I can do it this year.

5. Write a Monthly Serial Story

This is going to be the fourth year for serial stories and I think I’m getting better at it. The goal is to write 800-1200 words every month without preplanning the story. Just letting it go where my mind wants.

Help me out and vote for the 2017 Serial Story – You Vote, I Write.

6. Test, Produce, and Develop 2 new coffee flavours.

The tough part will be not doing more. But we’ll be doing a lot of conventions and I want to give each flavour a chance to shine.

7. Playtest the new content for FADDS and get it ready for submission in 2018

I still have a lot of editing to do on the system, and with the new content it’ll take some time. Hopefully I’ll get to it and be able to shop it out in 2018.

8. Continue to ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs.

We’ve been going for four years now with content every weekday on JenEric Designs and I’m very proud of that. Jen and I have worked hard not to miss a day. A big thank you to all the guest posters on Fandom Travel and Blush when Keladry was born!

I’ll do my best to ensure we keep that streak going.

I also want to look into making a separate page for EricDesmarais.ca

10. Prepare A Case of Synchronicity submission to my publisher and Everdome for pitches at Can-Con

I have a lot of cleaning up to do in both novels, but it’ll be nice to revisit them and clean them up. If I decide that I’ll be pitching The Copper Tarnish, I’ll want to do that one also.


This years resolutions are skewed towards writing and are extremely ambitious but I’m okay with that.

What resolutions have you set for yourselves for 2017?
Éric

Blush: Nursing

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Nursing vs breast feeding

You might think that these two terms are the same, and for myself, they are. However, there are people who do not identify as female, and using the term “breast feeding” might generate a feeling of dysphoria in them. So I am trying to use the term “nursing” universally.

Nursing vs formula

I chose to nurse Dragon, rather than to use formula. For multiple reasons, this was the best choice for us. On top of the doctors and nurses telling us that nursing was the only way to go (I felt bad for the woman in our baby classes who was choosing to formula feed. The nurse running the class was shaming her), it’s so much cheaper to nurse than to buy formula, and it’s much faster to feed the baby when nursing; shirt goes up, bra goes down, baby latches to the body.

While the woman in my class did choose to formula feed, there are many people who don’t get that choice and must use formula for a variety of reasons. No one should be shamed for their inability or choice when it comes to nursing.

The Beginning

Nursing was really confusing to start with, because I constantly felt like I was doing it wrong. Is she latching properly? Is she getting enough? How do I hold her? How can she breathe?

One of the major benefits of being at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital was that my nurse was someone that I’ve known since she was 3 years old. I felt very comfortable asking her for help. The QCH also has excellent lactation consultants. There are numerous places you can go to if you need additional resources as well, like ottawa.ca/prenatal, parentinginottawa.com, lllc.ca, breastfeedinginc.ca, ottawabreastfeeds.ca, and 311 during business hours to talk to a public health nurse. The QCH also offers nursing classes on certain days.

Fortunately, we figured things out fairly quickly, which I am grateful for, and my milk came in after about 48 hours, so Keladry didn’t lose much weight before she started gaining it again. There’s nothing like seeing the numbers on the scale drop to make you feel like you’re failing as a parent, and this happens right after birth.

Interesting things I discovered about nursing

There’s something called let-down that happens when the breasts fill with milk unexpectedly. (I say unexpectedly, because I am often surprised by it.) This happens after a certain amount of stimulation of the nipple. The amount of time required for this varies from person to person, and the amount of let-down varies as well. I’ve discovered that if I’m already full of milk, let-down causes some milk to escape, even if the baby is attached to the other side. I assume to see a problem here. I’ll come back to that.

Let-down can also happen if the baby hasn’t been fed in a while, if the baby cries, if another baby cries, if you think about the baby and are nowhere near the baby, etc.

So to get back to that problem. The problem of leaking. I find that I have this problem most often at night, because Keladry is a very good sleeper. If she has fed well enough before bedtime, she has slept 8 hours straight. Compare this to during the day, when I feed her every 4 hours or so. You can imagine that that extra 4 hours means that I am incredibly full. I’ve had several incidents of waking up with a soaking wet pyjama top.

Solution:

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Nursing pads! I commissioned these from Crafty What-Knots, and OMG they are the most comfortable things of life! The pad on the bottom left (the purple one) is showing the inside. It is a super soft material that I want to rub constantly, and it is incredibly absorbent. There is an inner layer that is extra absorbent. Then the backing…the awesome backing that is the reason you should get your nursing pads from Crafty What Knots; I told her that I loved all things geeky, and she found me Avengers, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Minion fabric!! The backing protects my clothing by locking the wet inside the pad.

I am so impressed by these pads – they’re big enough that my shifting around at night doesn’t move them (which was my problem before), and they’re exactly what I wanted. (She can do non-geeky fabrics, too, if that’s what you want.)


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press

I’m Sorry You Had a Bad Year

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

A lot of weird, sad, and scary things have happened this year. A lot of celebrity deaths, a lot of fear and hate based electoral decisions. That not to mention the natural and terrorist disasters. Pile on top of that the fact that everyone knows someone who’s sick, dying, or dead; and a lot of people are saying 2016 is the worst year ever.

I’m not going to get into the statistics that say that humanity is better off now then it’s ever been (It’s not great or perfect but better.) It’s been a bad year for many people and there are some serious scary things started this year that will carry forward to next year.

What I will say is this: I’m sorry you’re hurting. I’m sorry this year has been bad. I hope the next one is better for everyone.

I’ve been struggling with a large amount of guilt this year. Sometimes that guilt bubbles into anger, but mostly it’s sadness.

You see, this has been one of the best years of my life. I’ve had a lot of great things happen to me and to my family. My wife and I had a wonderful little Dragon, my first book was published, my wife’s game was successfully kickstarted, I signed a contract for another novel, I’ve had steady work, my brother married a wonderful woman, and that’s just the short list.  Things are not perfect (I wish my mom could have met Keladry) but they’re good.

So every time I see a post or news story about how horrible 2016 was, I feel guilty. I feel like I don’t deserve to feel this happy because others are sad. It’s silly, I know.

I’m not asking anyone to change what they say or post; this is completely my issue. What I would like is to remind everyone that there are still plenty of good things happening and it’s important to look for the good. It’s okay to be sad and angry but make sure you find the good in your life.

That’s enough sappyness from me.

Later Days,
Éric

Keladry’s Room

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Some people put a lot of effort into a baby’s room. They pick out the right colours, paint the walls, murals, get special decor thingies, etc. Jen and I decided that was all awesome, but felt less personal. What we did instead was ask some fantastic artists to make things for the baby’s walls.

They are all fantastically talented and you should go buy their stuff.


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Big Hero 6 Painting – Gilove2dance Designs

Lindsay Coderre is a talented and versatile artist. She primaraly works digitally, but painted this amazing image of Hiro and Baymax that Keladry will always love. Her online store primarily has photo manipulation and design.

Lindsay is Keladry’s Aunt and one of her Godparents.

Dragon’s Den Painted Plaque – The Art Shop

This was given to us as a baby shower present from one of my in-law’s sisters. It’s great when even your extended family’s family know you well enough to get something so perfect.

It was made by the Art Shop. They have some fascinating pieces.


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Firefly Cross Stitch – Rebecca

My wife has an amazing super-power; it seems to run through her whole family. It’s the ability to make friends easily and anywhere. Jen met Rebecca on the bus and loved her TARDIS hat. They struck up a conversation and became friends.

She’s an extremely versatile crafter which can be seen on her Tumblr.

Rainbow Wall Hanging

This is from Jen’s room when she was a child. We have no idea where it’s from, but it’s adorable.


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Baby Dragon and Tardigrade – S. M. Carrière

The beautiful baby dragon print was painted digitally over our first ultrasound. It was done as a beautiful surprise. The Tardigrade we tried to commission, but she gave it to us as our baby shower present. Don’t you love the detail in the spacescape? So beautiful!

I’ve commissioned her to design me my first tattoo. I’m both excited and a little scared.

S. M. is Keladry’s other Godparent. She’s a talented author, artist, and all around wonderful person. Her newest book was written by votes on her blog and the profit goes to charity. Go buy it and read for a good cause!

TARDIS Lovey – Nerdy Needles

This soft and adorable TARDIS was given to us by the wonderful Nerdy Needles. She has a wide variety of knit and crotchet items. All wonderfully geeky.

Check out their facebook for all the cool stuff.

Dragon Name Plaque – 9five7 Pyrography

We commissioned this piece, and boy did 9five7 do an amazing job. It has the Hogwarts motto on it, Keladry’s name, and her date of birth. The dragon in the middle is really awesome and designed especially for her by the artist.

They do a huge variety of fandoms and I’ve never seen woodburning done so well. Check out their Facebook page and their Deviant art page for more amazing work.


So many talented people. Keladry is extremely lucky.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Blush: More Weird Pregnancy Stuff

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You can read the first part here.

There are some things that I’ve only recently realized were weird during my pregnancy, like that hair grows abnormally fast. Armpit and leg hair included. Or maybe it just grows slower now that I’m nursing.

Contractions don’t necessarily hurt very much at the beginning. It took mine about 7 hours to start being anywhere near the realm of what I would call painful.

Then there’s all the weird delivery stuff that happens:

  1. You will get used to, or not care, that you are naked in front of people
  2. Labour might be way longer than you expect
  3. You will probably throw up during the pushing part of your delivery because of how hard you’re pushing (I did)
  4. You will probably poop at some point during delivery (I didn’t)
  5. The placenta is bigger than you think, and very squishy-hard when it comes out
  6. The first time you get up from the toilet (whatever you excrete) will be terrifying – there is SO MUCH blood in the toilet. Don’t worry – the next time will have a lot less
  7. You still look pregnant after delivery – it’ll take some time for the belly to go away. This makes for a great resting place for the baby if you choose to nurse
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Photo credit to Kat, who managed to sneak in just before noon to meet Keladry.

There’s also some pretty strange things that nobody tells you about having a newborn, like cluster feeding – this is what helps the milk to come in, and it happens over the second day and night. It’s exhausting, and would definitely have made us think we were doing something wrong, because she woke up every hour to feed a tiny bit and then go back to sleep. Every time the baby has a growth spurt, this happens again, except on a slightly smaller scale.


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press

Dear Dragon – 1 Month

1month

1month

Dear Dragon,

You’ve been home for a month now. You have a name, a decorated room, and more clothes than you’ll ever wear.

Your routine is pretty much to sleep in the mornings, giggle/gurgle in the afternoons, fuss in the evenings, and fall asleep by 11. A routine you’ll likely return to in post-secondary.

We still occasionally forget you exist or have waves of panic that someone was foolish enough to leave us with a child. The feeling is getting less and less common.

If I had to sum up the past month, I’d say it would be fatigue and love, punctuated by small bouts of panic and helplessness. I suppose that applies to you as much as to us.

At a month, you’ve already mastered smiling, puppy dog eyes, and a heart-wrenching whimper.

I both can’t wait and dread you growing up. I’m trying to enjoy the little moments.

By the way, you’re a fantastic cuddler and I really hope that doesn’t change.

You’ve had a constant parade of people who want to meet you. Everyone loves you and wants to be near you. You’re going to grow up loved by so many people. You have your family (Me, Mum, Grannie, Grand-dad, Great-Grand-dad, Oncle Dan, Aunt Amy, Aunt Lindsay, and Modryb Sonia), your massive list of extended family and family friends, the ever-growing geeky community in Ottawa, and Ottawa’s wonderful speculative fiction family.

As loved as I hope you feel, your mother and I feel it just as much. Our families and friends are great. We’re lucky to have found so many awesome people to surround ourselves with.

This is a little disjointed, but it reflects the past month. It’s been interesting, terrifying, and absolutely wonderful. You fill me with love and wonder every time I see you or hear your little noises.

Your tired and loving Papa