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Sesame Halloween

30 Oct


We went to the Museum of Civilization on Saturday morning for some Sesame Street fun.  We had a great time and lucked out by ensuring we were there early and beating a lot of the crowds.  Of course Elmo, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby were the highlights for many there was still some great other fun to be had….and we got to meet all three of them! Cookie  and pumpkin decorating stations were set up as well.  With kids in costumes and Halloween celebrations underway it was definitely fun for the whole family.





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?

To my brother…..

27 Sep

Dear brother,

Some thoughts to share with you…..

I drive down the road to dads and right before I turn on to his road I look down the other way. I think “that’s where it happened.” I can’t drive there without thinking of the horrible day.

I look at the sweet baby girl I have been blessed with and wish that you would have been able to hold in her your big strong arms like you did to her older brother.

I think how you are supposed to still be here to protect this sweet girl as she grows up and scare away all the boys. I had many hopes of how you would be involved in my child’s life should I ever have a baby girl. But you are not here on this earth. Because you can’t do it we asked Chris to by her godfather. The next best thing to you. You grew up together, played together, got into mischief together, became men together. It just seemed right. I want my daughter to know about you. How wonderful and amazing you were.

I still get emails from a hotel as a preferred guest addressed to you from
when I booked a hotel for you when you went with friends to Montreal. It’s like if I hit “unsubscribe” it’s another way to make it permanent that you are not here. Not that it’s not already horrifically permanent enough. But every few months an email comes in….Dear Dan…..

I have a lot of your old report cards and some things from school. Don’t worry I won’t show them to anybody. They are safe and sound in your own personal file. I know you wouldn’t want anybody to look at them but man did you ever do good in gym and tech. Math & science…..mmmm….not your thing?! 😉

I just bought Dominic some more zip up pj’s. You know…the ones with the feet in them? Every time I zip them up I think of the time when you were his age and you zipped up a little too fast and kind of snagged your man parts. Eeek! Sorry bud….must have reeaaaaalllly hurt! I think you learned to zip slowly after that.

You know I like my chicken fried….cold beer on a Friday night…..a pair of jeans that fight just right and the radio up….. This song reminds me of you. It pops into my head randomly, I love playing it on my iPod and sometimes the kids and I have dance parties to it.

Some days go by fast and some seem a little bit longer. One thing that doesn’t change is that you are thought of often, still loved to the moon and back and missed largely.


Bedtime Shenanigans

2 Sep

We used to have a bedtime routine. Dinner, bath, tv, books, mama snuggles & milk, then some daddy snuggles and sleep.  Daddy would stay with Dom until he drifted off into lala land sometime around 7p.m.  Bedtimes around here have been calm and full of snuggles.  They are still calm but definitely not our regular 7p.m. As Dom is getting older and much smarter our evenings are going something like this…..





“SNACK!” “MAMA SNACK!” “TOAST! DADDY TOAST!” “RAISIN TOAST” (our child has been eating those cranberry orange pita’s like crazy!! He easily eats 3 a day!)

Bedtime (or so we attempt!) Wide awake still 30 minutes later……..


Adam- “no Dom you don’t need juice, its bed time.”


Adam- “no Dom go to sleep.”

“K Daddy”

**insert quiet here**

Approx 5 minutes later…….

“Watch! Cars Daddy! Watch Now! I watch now…k?”

*out of the bedroom comes Dominic with Adam in two”

“SOSO (how Dom says Oso from Disney Jr) mama, watch!”

*this is where Adam informs me that once again our son is wide awake at 8p.m. and is nowhere near ready to go to sleep. However was more than ready an hour ago when we initially put him down.*

So we all snuggle and watch tv while our son demands snack after snack.  We think he is obviously going through a growth spurt. We have modified nap times to see if earlier naps, later naps, no naps, etc. will help with the bedtime routine.

For now we have decided that we will take the extra one on one time we have with our little man in the evenings and enjoy it before he decides he is too cool for his parents and snuggles!

Sometime around 9 (or 10, or……) we get this….

Finding Your Tribe

24 Jul

Having a new baby can bring a whole lot of ups and downs.  Whether it’s having your first child, second, third, or fourth (fifth?! sixth?)  the changes it brings to the family unit can be big….life changing big.  A new human being, a new child, a new sibling, a new love.  One thing I have found since becoming a mother with my first child is you need to find your tribe. Your support group(s), friends, meet-ups, playgroups and outings where you can be surrounded by others going through a similar experience.  Finding those special groups who totally get you and totally get, or at least show support towards, what you are striving for as a family.

I have found many tribes and even after 2 years of being a mom I am still finding new ones while continuing to grow familiar ones.  I have built tribes from online relationships discovered through twitter and Facebook. I have nourished tribes I had previously from the yoga community, nannying gigs and existing friendships. I have been a part of powerful tribes that have come together over breastfeeding, attachment parenting, fun playgroups and baby signing and much more.

With social media being mainstream in society I continue to enjoy my tribes who I have made initial contact with through Facebook groups and twitter conversations.  Creating conversations within a closed Facebook group with women who just “get you” and then taking those online relationships offline to coffee dates, park playdates and dinners is a wonderful experience.  I think of how blessed I have been in being a social media enthusiast, blogging and tweeting and the relationships with people who I probably would have never of met if it wasn’t for social media.  I have created relationships through these channels and with some of those people they are some of the people we enjoy spending a lot of time with.  Some of the people who know the most about me and my business I have met online and took those relationships offline and watched them grow.

When it all comes down to it and you haven’t even managed a shower in a day or two you know that your tribe will still be there for you, with open arms.  So I want to thank my tribes for always being there for me.  And to all the mama’s out there who are feeling alone. Reach out. Find a tribe, maybe you need to try out a few first, but once you find the one that is right for you you will be knowing it is the right fit!

And if you are on twitter then come on over and let’s connect! Tweet me at @amandadegrace

Who is your tribe and how did you connect with them? Through a local playgroup? Childhood friends? online?

Breastfeeding Moments & Tandem Nursing

21 May

It is amazing how different breastfeeding experiences can be for each child you have and the journey that happens along the way.  I have been breastfeeding for exactly 2 years and 4 days now and I don’t see the end in sight for a few more years.  It is magic to see your child nourished by breastfeeding, soothed, comforted and content.   Dominic still breastfeeds a few times a day and of course it is Bella’s only food at this time.  But it is not just her food. It is her comfort when she is sad, it is her quiet snuggly time with mom, it’s her protection against all the germs her cute brother may bring her way and it is security while she begins to explore this great big world around her.  We have never breastfed on a schedule and have always allowed our children access to the breast to feed and comfort at any time needed while they are young.

Breastfeeding an infant and toddler can be quite different and I had forgotten the little experiences that come along when breastfeeding an infant.  Our little Bella is a breastfeeding champ and had a great latch within the first few moments of being born.  It is so warm and enjoyable when you lock eyes with your little one while they are feeding.  Knowing that at that moment in time you are their everything. Their food, warmth, comfort, security, and they feel the love radiating around them.

There are several moments that are unforgettable and I treasure each and every time they happen with my children while feeding. With Bella they are all new, moments we are discovering together and creating memories.  Watching her eyes start to droop and blink as she gets sleepy.  Fighting sleep because she wants to continue to suckle and enjoy the warm milk flowing into her mouth.  The eyes become heavier and heavier, open less and less, until they are fully shut and the suckling soon stops but her mouth is still on the breast taking in the warmth and smell of being close to mom.

Then there are the times when she is full and is breastfeeding strictly for comfort. When she wants to be able to soothe herself through a sucking motion or by being close to her mom but doesn’t want anymore milk at that time.  When she makes noises, hands in a fist, pulling at the breast because the flow is too much and not what she wants.  Other times she has the same actions but it is because she wants milk but flow is not as strong so she grabs at the breasts, pulls her head back and makes noises.  Sometimes it is hard to figure out whether it is because there is too much milk or not enough and she is waiting for another let down. Usually with a rhythmic pat to her back or bum you can see whether she is just really tired and not hungry because she starts to fall asleep.

It continues to amaze me how she can be crying and the moment I pick her up she knows it is her mama that has her.  She smells the breast milk as I move her even slightly towards my chest and her mouth opens ready to feed.

I love at night time when she is exhausted and we lay down to breastfeed.  She falls asleep, lets go of her latch and rests her check on my breast, warm little body snuggled up against mine and we drift off together. It’s her security blanket that will always be there for her as long as she needs it.

More than anything right now I love the moments where I can tandem breastfeed in a quiet space with both children. Looking at both of their big blue eyes looking into mine and knowing that the love we all have for each other continues to grow every moment of everyday.  Knowing that the breastfeeding journey we are on is what is best for my children and they will decide when it is time for the journey to change course or pace.

On The Day I Turned TWO….

19 May

I woke up and got to watch Choo Choo’s AND Cars!

I rode my kick a$$ new balance bike that my mommy and daddy bought me.

I went to see Daddy at lunch and we went out to a restaurant.

This is me telling my Mom to put the camera away!

After lunch my mom, Bella and I all had a nap together. This is after my nap.  I think I got the bed a little wet.

After dinner and bath I put my pi’s on and had some time alone with Mom at the store.  Since I’m TWO now I ride on the back of the cart. I have to be reminded to hold on because sometimes I jump off and my mom runs over me a little.