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Keeping Busy and Having Fun!

29 Oct

Fall is here in full force and even though we are sad that Summer is over we are taking Fall head on! September has always felt somewhat of a New Year and fresh start for me. Back to a routine with scheduled activities and classes, my business really picks back up, we start looking at the year ahead for travel plans and commitments, etc.

With a new fabulous nanny three days a week who likes to take the children to activities and with our regular scheduled activities on the other days we definitely needed a calendar this September to keep track of where we are going and when!

Here are some of the fun activities that Dominic is participating in throughout the Ottawa area……

1. Ontario Early Years Family Literacy Centre
This is a wonderful place that Dominic has been enjoying as part of his every Monday morning routine. They go to the one at Cambridge school. Set up like a preschool or kindergarten classroom children are welcome to go around to various stations or free play. For ages 0-5 and available 9-2 Monday to Friday it is enjoyed by many.

Swim lessons- With numerous swim lesson options with the City of Ottawa and Gatineau we decided to take part in both for twice the fun! Monday’s evenings Dom participates in a low ratio swim class. With only 3 children and one fab teacher it has been well worth the extra money!  Thursday mornings he also participates in a parent and tot swim class with our wonderful caregiver. The class is en francais and he has tons of fun.  Because Gatineau programs are soooo cheap (well in comparison to what we are used to paying in the past for other programs) we have also noticed that classes fill up very very fast. We were lucky to get in to a class!

Making Music Together – Tuesday mornings at the Old Town Hall is a popular spot for children ages 0-4. With the first class filling up they quickly added a second due to the demand.  Dominic enjoys play with instruments, exploring music and singing in songs.  According to our caregiver he also enjoys playing with the other children and sometimes flirting a little bit with another little girl!

Monkey Rock– Wednesday mornings the kids and I head over to Monkey Rock in the Glebe for 45 minutes of singing, dancing, moving, drumming, shaking and more!  Their are smiles on the kids faces the entire time and even little Bella really enjoys the class. This is a fantastic class for children of all ages.

Gatineau Library- The Gatineau Library offers a fantastic program for toddlers that Dominic has been enjoying for almost a year now. They enjoy 30 minutes of story time, a craft that connects to the story and then some songs and an activity. He always comes home with a wonderful craft, an extra colouring sheet to do with the story and excited about the stickers he has received.

Gymnastics– Jumping today mommy? Time for gymnastics? This is quite often a question heard in our home as we love the program at the Ottawa Gymnastics Club.  I have taken children to various gymnastics programs and centres and the one at the Ottawa Gymnastics Club in Westboro has been the best. Structured so the children are learning new skills while still having fun.

Soccer- who wouldn’t want to run around in a room with 2 year olds and a hundred soccer balls being kicked around?! ha!  This 45 minute program is held at an outdoor park on nice fall days and inside a community centre if the weather is not cooperating.  For under $40 this has been a program enjoyed by the whole family as its time for Dominic to socialize with other children, be active and have fun as we participate together.

We are already looking at Winter registrations (gah! Already….I know!!) and are excited for some new programs.  So what programs do you enjoy with your little ones?

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Ikea Ottawa- Offering a Whole New Level of FUN!!

10 Dec

I had the wonderful opportunity of getting a sneak peek of the brand new Ikea in Ottawa. Wow, it is HUGE! There are so many staged rooms that offer a world of creativity that I could explore all day. When walking into our home it is evident that we are very big Ikea fans. We love the clean and sleek lines. Modern design and look. You absolutely cannot beat it’s affordability either. We have Ikea beds, cribs, all of our dressers, futon, desk, chairs, tables, tv stands, book shelves and the list could go on!

The new ikea has over double the parking, over double the product and over double the checkouts!,;

Looking to renovate your kitchen? There were ALOT of kitchen showrooms with lots of creativity and examples of making your kitchen work best for your families needs. Need new cupboards? Selection is definitely not limited 😉

One of my favourite things to buy at Ikea that I can’t seem to pass without grabbing another to bring home? These picture frames look great and all sizes are very well priced!

The kids section is sooo much bigger than the old Ottawa store and there was a great toy selection. I must say that the toys were extremely reasonably priced as well!  I am excited to head back in the next week or two and make some purchases!!\

 

Mothers Day

8 May

What a wonderful year I have had with our baby boy.  Last year on Mothers Day I was counting down the days to finally meet the sweetheart. Well, to be honest I was counting down the days to end a pregnancy full of nausea as well 😉  Last year at this time I was definitely at the uncomfortable stage.  It was uncomfortable to get out of bed. Uncomfortable to sleep. Uncomfortable to eat. Just uncomfortable. But boy was it worth it in the end!

There has been a lot of talk this week on various social media sites about what your idea mothers day is. What types of gifts do you hope to receive, what do you like to eat, where to do you like to go, etc.  For me its simple. I wanted to spend some relaxing time with my son, get to sleep a little extra and enjoy a nice home cooked meal made with love by my husband.

So far we have had just that.  I slept in until 9:30 (hey! that’s sleeping in when you have yet to have a full night sleep since having a baby!), enjoyed a coffee and baileys, played with babe, went out for breakfast and enjoyed a nice afternoon at the agricultural museum where babe got to touch a baby goat!

As we gear down for a nice supper of homemade french onion soup and attempt to get some food into baby boy who has had yet another stomach bug since starting daycare, it has been a nice relaxing day.

So to all the moms out there Happy Mothers Day!

xo

Communicating with Baby

30 Mar

Families sometimes come up with their own lingo and words. Pacifiers can become “suces”, “paci”, “sucky”. Breastfeeding can become “nummies”, “numnums”, “boobies”, etc. But why not use, or use in conjunction with any “family words”, a universal language that many others in the world can also understand? Why not use a a way of communication that enables you to ask a questions or make a statement without making any noise at all? My family has done just that thanks to the PTPA Award Winning My Smart Hands baby sign language tools. I have had the opportunity to meet the wonderful Laura Berg, creater and mom extraordinaire behind the My Smart Hands business. We have been using sign language with our son since he was approximately 4 months old. At 10 months he now can sign for milk and gets extremely excited when we sign it to him. He gets excited and understands the sign for “eat”, “more”, and a few other signs all ready! This makes our job as parents a little easier as we have a way to communicate with him instead of letting our frustrations just rise. As my husband was rocking babe to sleep last night when he woke up a few hours after we put him to bed I was able to walk quietly to the door and sign for “milk” to see if he wanted me to bring him a bottle. By being able to use sign language I ensured I did not disturb them by making any noise, was able to see if my husband needed me to get anything for him and everyone knew what everyone was talking about. Not convinced that sign language can be taught that effectively to a baby? Check out this video with Laura Berg and her super cute daughter Fireese as she shows the world how easy and possible it is to incorporate sign language into your family life.

Daycare Dilemma

19 Feb

We decided to start calling around this week and put baby boy on a waiting list for subsidized Quebec Daycare.  At $7 per day the price is a steal in my opinion for what is still quality regulated daycare.  However, the word on the block is to not ever expect to get a spot at this price.

We have a lovely nanny who currently watches baby boy when I need to teach during the week. Other times the husband is home to watch him while I work in the evening.  The plan has always been that I would stay at home as much as possible to spend quality time with our children while they are young (because it goes by SOOOO fast!) and would continue to run my business.

Our hope is that by the time baby boy gets a spot (we are assuming in 2-3 years) we will have another child who will also require a spot.  Priority goes to siblings to ensure families are located within the same daycare.

So our search begins with phone call after phone call. There is a central waitlist for Gatineau but not all daycares are affiliated with this list.  Therefore we need to call other subsidized daycare centres separately.  I have decided for sanity purposes that I will begin a spreadsheet to keep track of who we have called and when. Most centres also say to call back in a few months time, either because they are so full they are not taking anymore for the waitlist or because they are unable to specify when they may be taking more children.

I have also heard rumours of people “sucking” up to childcare and daycare centres to get their child bumped up on the priority list. We know one individual who got her child in to subsidized daycare because somebody in their family was dating somebody at the centre.  As a former nanny I know it’s all about the schmoozing, the money and how much your family is loved, along with the political boundaries and line up of people waiting.  I have seen nannies be “poached” right at the playground for higher pay, more benefits, and less kids!  The reality is that this happens more than people may wish to believe.

The difference in daycare costs from Ontario to Quebec is CRAZY! especially for us who live in Gatineau and know many who have daycare in Ottawa closer to their places of work.  I know what I was paid as a nanny in Ottawa and it was a salary that was extremely precious.

We would really like to have D in a childcare centre.  We are not opposed completely to a home daycare but in my past experiences as a childcare provider I saw way too many home daycare providers lose their temper, become fatigued or not put full effort into taking care of the children.  Understandably so when you have nobody to relieve you for a break.  On the flip side of that I have also seen wonderful home daycare providers who I would love to have taking care of our baby boy but I do know they can come hard to find…..because they are always so full!

So what are your daycare dilemmas? Did you want one daycare and ended up going with another because of convenience or availability? Did you end up hiring a nanny because of cost and benefits with either one or more children at home? Anybody currently in Quebec using subsidized daycare? Thoughts? Experience?

**Here is the link for Monthly Advanced Daycare Subsidy Payments through Government of Quebec

 

http://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/sepf/formulaires/tpz/tpz-1029_8_f_a.aspx

Precious Memories Captured

17 Feb

Wow, how fast these little snuggly babes grow. It was only 9 short months ago that we welcomed the most wonderful baby boy into the world. With his dark hair, big blue eyes and strong big hands we were so excited to bring him home. The days went by fast and somehow here we are with his first birthday just 3 short months away.

We take endless photos and video, uploading some on our youtube channel and keeping others to view on our own. However, I always thought about having pictures taken while D & I shared in the special moments while breastfeeding. For those who have been reading since the start of our journey you may remember the challenges we had when we started breastfeeding. We had week after week of hard work, trying to up my milk supply, not leaving the house without a breast pump and feeding every 2-3 hours the first 6 weeks. You can read that uphill mountain climb here, here and oh ya….here too! After all the hard work and dedication I put into getting this wonderful breastfeeding journey to work I wanted to ensure we had the memories captured to look back at in the coming years.

A friend and photographer extraordinaire, Sara McConnell, was looking for breastfeeding mothers who would be willing to have photographs taken for her portfolio and to share with local baby friendly businesses. I immediately volunteered as I knew I could not pass up an opportunity like this and I love helping out a friend when I can! I didn’t even think twice about my breasts being on display. They are here to feed my child, that is their purpose at this point of my life. My breasts nurture and nourish my child and is a bonding experience I would not have changed for the world. If you have not had any pictures taken of you while breastfeeding your child I highly recommend it. Time goes by way too fast and you don’t want to look back in a few years and wish you had.

You can check out some of the photographs here on Sara’s blog. We are the first and sixth photographs. Huge thanks to Sara for inviting us into her studio and perfectly capturing these wonderful memories for us.

You can find more information on Sara McConnell Photography at www.saramcconnell.ca

Sara, from my family to yours THANK YOU!

PTPA Harlem Globetrotters

28 Jan

I married into a basketball family.  When you are raised as a hockey girl this is a big change!  My father in law coached university basketball for years, mother in law spent many of weekends in gymnasiums and my husband and brother in law played for years.  I can sort of dribble a ball,  but have been known to “double dribble” a time or two.  I played basketball in elementary school but it was mostly because we needed enough players to make a team. I will never forget the game where I aggressively charged right into some poor girl and then felt bad so I apologized!

I have yet to see the spectacle of the Harlem Globetrotters, but have been told from many, including my husband that it is definitely great family entertainment.  I am excited as part of the PTPA team to have the opportunity to see them live in action in April with my family and some friends.

I am excited to be able to extend an offer of $7 off each ticket for any of their upcoming events for their North America tour.