Ballet Feet

Ballet Feet

About Me

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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
As a mom to two girls, I often heard "it takes a village to raise a child" but it also takes a village to make a mom. If it wasn't for the love, support and random sharing of other moms I don't think I would be enjoying this journey of motherhood quite as much. PR Friendly contact me at

Monday, December 31, 2012

Best Toys for Children - thanks Santa!

My girls are 5 & 2 1/2 years old and every year they get lots of gifts from friends, family and us - most receive a few minutes of play and then sadly go on the shelf abandoned for the usual favourites. This year we received some of the best toys for kids (at least from my perspective).  Not only have they endured past the first week of Christmas but they are on track to be long time favourites.  I would highly recommend any of these if you are looking for something to engage your kids.

1. Barbie Hug 'n Heal Pet Doctor by Kid Designs
Barbie Hug 'n Heal Pet Doctor
My sister in law is always great at finding a gift my girls will love.  This year it was the Barbie Hug 'n Heal Pet Doctor.  Both girls received one and to ensure no fighting the only difference was the bag colour (pink/purple) and the colour of the dog inside. The dogs come with their own bag, vet supplies (needle, bottle, etc.), prescription pad and a registration.  This is a great toy for role-playing and the girls immediately donned the stethoscope to give their dogs a check-up.  My five year old is more sophisticated with her play but she actually includes her sister and they (gasp!) play together!  The dog is also good for cuddling and has found a forever home with my girls.  I should mention the dogs also "talk" which quite honestly we could have done without - it doesn't add to the play and the girls are not that interested in that part - they prefer to create their own story and dialogue for their pets.

Hasbro Elefun Game
This was a great choice for the girls as the rules are simple (catch the golden butterfly) and it's a lot of fun. The game runs on batteries and you load the paper butterflies into the elephant and then turn it on.  The trunk extends (via air) and the butterflies come out and float through the air as the kids try to catch them in the nets (included).  Although the recommended age is 3+, my youngest (2 1/2) has no problem understanding the concept however, she doesn't understand the "winning" yet which is probably a good thing with a competitive 5 year old in the house.  While I wouldn't consider this game educational per say it does get the girls moving and it's fun which really is the whole point.  It's a two-player game but my girls both are happy to play at catching the butterflies by themselves if no one is around.  

V-Tech intertactive E-Reader
My mom purchased one of these for my oldest daughter when she was 3 years old and it was the best investment ever made.  You insert a story cartridge into the system, turn it on and voila you can watch a story.  The system is easy to use for children and they can follow along as a story is read to them (perfect break for parents too!), there is a dictionary feature which allows them to find out what a word means - my inquisitive child loves this and there are reading games.  The story cartridges are age-based (3-5, 5-7) and as your children gets older they are able to use different activities and play games independently.  I knew that my 5 year old would not share this toy with her sister so I asked my parents to get one for my youngest this Christmas.  The style is a bit different but the cartridges are interchangeable and you can download from the Internet as well.  My 2 1/2 year old quickly figured out how to work her e-reader with some help from us and her sister and now she is able to play with it by herself.  The best part of this is that it helps develop their reading skills in a fun and interactive way.

4. Fancy Nancy Books (published by Harper Collins)
Fancy Nancy Gift Set
We bought a gift set of Fancy Nancy books for my five year old and she loves them!  My oldest loves to read and she's actually quite an adept reader although she prefers to be read to.  I know that many of the books she has don't challenge her and she's not ready for books that are "all words" so these books are the perfect balance.  She loves the stories and the fact that the books are very girly/fancy.  The stories are a bit more advanced which keeps her engaged when I read to her and gives her something to strive toward when reading independently.  The "fancy" words with descriptions are great for expanding vocabulary and imagination.  After reading  Ooh la la it's Beauty Day, I was treated to a manicure and makeover (how lucky am I?) which just confirms that more than reading comes from a good book.

Melissa and Doug Alphabet Art Puzzle
This was a gift for my younger daughter, she likes her wood puzzles but they seemed a bit to easy for her and she got bored quickly so I went with something a for a bit older child (3+) that she could still manage.  The Alphabet Art puzzle is not only pretty but the pieces are not quite so chunky making it a bit more challenging for those that have mastered the toddler style of wooden puzzle.  She really enjoys playing with this and spends lots of time taking the pieces out and putting them back which is what I had hoped for.  The great thing is that we can also play together and work on learning the alphabet and naming the pictures.  This puzzle will grow with her so it's a keeper in my book and the quality of Melissa and Doug products ensures that it will last.  

That's it for my top toys of Christmas 2012...what are your favourite toys?

Monday, November 5, 2012

The best hair straightener EVER

Anyone who knows me or has seen my huge untamed mop of hair from a distance can tell you that my hair needs help when it comes to straightening.  Not only is it coarse, thick and wavy it's also prone to extreme frizziness and I tend to be a bit lazy when it comes to styling, especially straightening my hair.  I'm probably what you would call a marketers dream, I have purchased almost every product that advertises a quick and easy way to straighten and de-frizz your hair - some have been moderately successful, most have not.

About a week ago, the hair angels shone down on me when one of the staff at the salon across the street from my work (Art in Hair) came looking for someone to be a "hair model" as the person they had booked ended up sick.  They just needed someone, anyone to let them straighten their hair!  Everyone on staff looked straight to me and I tried to conceal my glee as I agreed to help.

Monica Hair
At one-thirty I dutifully headed over to see the guys and gals at Art of Hair and meet Teri, the Loreal Professionel representative that would be demonstrating a new hair straightening product to the staff.  My hair was washed and a "quick" dry (no straightening or styling) brought out the true hugeness that is my hair (think Monica in the "hair syndrome" Friends episode), a smoothing cream and serum were applied and then the transformation took place.  The Loreal Professionel Steampod was put to work and seriously within a half hour my hair was gorgeous - keep in mind I was a "model" so everyone had a turn practicing on my hair and talking about how I had the perfect hair for this.  Probably not such a compliment but I was just so excited by what was happening with my hair I didn't care.  The rep explained that the Steampod was like a clothes steamer that smoothed as it went (I asked if they had a device for wrinkles - sadly no) as opposed to the more traditional flat iron that uses heat and pressure to straighten.  They can do much larger sections thereby cutting down the amount of time it takes to complete the style and the smoothing cream contains Pro-Keratin technology which will remain in the hair and help keep the frizz at bay for up to 2-3 washes. Repeated use of the product would lead to more improvement in the shape of my hair (always the skeptic I smiled politely and waited to see).

As I said, I have spent plenty to try and get straight hair, even when they do it at the salon it still has that halo of fuzzy bits that they try to keep down with additional product but the Steampod was amazing - after the first sweep through my hair was straight, and when it was all done there were no fly-aways, my hair was SO soft and straight and as an added bonus it smelled really good too!  

Now usually after I have my hair straightened I avoid any contact with touching, no heat, no humidity and definitely no water.  The first test was the fingers through the hair and it passed with flying colours, my hair remained straight and lovely.  For the next 4 days my hair endured humidity, sleep, brushing and still looked almost as good as it did the moment it was done.  I gotta tell you I'm sold on this product.

Select salons like Art in Hair will have this technology as of November 1st and you can add it on to your normal cut or blowout for a nominal cost.  If you have hair like mine this service is truly priceless.  I seriously can not tell you how much I am in love with the results.  Check out the before (and this is before wash/dry) and after photos.  I had one friend who didn't recognize me and my mother actually paid me a compliment and told me that I should invest in the home model, it could change my life (thanks mom!)  I am not sure when the home model will be available but it's coming and I will be first in line to buy one.  



Before (wash & dry)

Thank you hair angels for looking out for me!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bullying...Memories that never fade away

Recently I watched the video posted by Amanda Todd on YouTube and I wept.  I wept for her, for the other children that are victims of bullying and for myself.  The scars of bullying never fully heal and there is always a little part of you that remembers the torment you endured.  To all those who are being bullied please as cliche as it sounds, it truly does get better. For those that are doing the bullying I want you to know that what you say and do to someone now that seems so insignificant will have a lifelong impact on the person you have so little regard for.

Once again we as a society have been shocked by the suicide of a child that felt that at the beginning of her teenage years there was no reason to go on with her life.  As I read the signs Amanda Todd wrote of her years of torment I thought back to what was just as clear in my mind today as it was many years ago, the actions of a select few that rallied the larger group and made my high school experience one I would rather forget.

I started high school as a "minor niner" with hopes and dreams of meeting new friends, joining clubs, playing sports and one day "ruling the school" like the current senior class.  My high school days started out quite well with a budding group of new friends until the day one of them decided to take something that had been a funny joke and twist it into a much more hurtful rumour.  In the course of a week I went from a moderately popular girl to the butt of jokes, the girl to be taunted and the person that people didn't want to befriend.  I was fortunate that I had a couple of friends from middle school that stuck by me but in the face of so many others that would never like me or give me a chance it wasn't much of a consolation.

For the next two years I would put on a brave face and outwardly try to laugh at the people bullying me or stand up to them when I could but on the inside I was sad and scared and wished that I could just make it all go away.  Then in grade eleven I had an epiphany, if I wanted to ever get out of this school, this city and this life, I would need to go to college and that was never going to happen if I didn't focus on school and so I did and with this new commitment to school came some hope that there was a way out and for some reason this translated and I made some new acquaintances (I wouldn't call them friends as they probably wouldn't have stuck up for me if called upon).  I graduated and moved on to college where I made a whole new group of friends that never knew me or of me in high school and these are the life-long friendships that I have cultivated.  From college I went on to career and that has given me the opportunity to live in many different cities and make lots of friends, some of whom were short-term and others that I continue to have today.

So where am I going with all this?  While the bullying I faced was not nearly as bad as some, it still had a lasting impact on me and probably in hindsight affected the way I approached friendships and relationships.  In friendships I was wary and in relationships I was needy, neither of which were endearing traits.  I have grown and don't think of those days until something like the death of Amanda Todd happens and I wonder if there had been internet, digital and social media in my day, would I have made it?  I'm not sure.  It's hard enough dealing with your peers but to have the anonymous voices of thousands attacking you - I can't imagine.  

Most of the people I talk to have a similar story of some kind of bullying and none of us would have ever talked about it had it not been for this sad death of another young person. I can guarantee you that when it was happening to us we didn't tell our parents, our teachers or anyone else.  It's a silent killer.

As a parent of two young ( 2 & 5 year old) girls I worry about their future and what they might be faced with and how I will help them through the tween/teen years.  Girls are mean, it's a fact and no matter what I say or do at some point my girls might be on the receiving end of this behaviour.  I am lucky that I am somewhat social media savvy and won't have my head in the sand with regard to that but I hope and pray that the village that I build for myself and my girls with be filled with at least one person they can talk to.

I wish I had an answer to stop this abuse but women I have spoken to that are in their 20's, 30's and beyond all have a story about how they were bullied on some level.  The question is: how to we find an ending - together.

If you are being bullied or need resources on bullying there are lots of great organizations...these links are just a few
-Kids Help Phone
-Ministry of Education (Safe Schools Now)
-Safe at School

Sending good karma to all <3

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Expressing feeling through art at any age

From a very young age my oldest daughter Lil' L was interested in creating.  She would happily sit at her table and chairs to draw, paint, and sticker works of art.  My husband is an artist (both at heart although only currently doing it commercially by profession) so I figured she came by this naturally.  Personally all my creativity is in my head sadly, it never makes it on to paper looking the way I envisioned it.  We have always believed that we should nurture our childrens interests by providing them with whatever opportunities we could to explore their current passions.

The Bird Kite
When Lil' L was 2 1/2 years old we took a trip to Ottawa and visited the National Art Gallery, we wandered around looking at the incredible collection of artwork.  Lil' L being a toddler didn't have a long attention span so we moved through the gallery quickly, I am sure to my husbands dismay. What really intrigued me was that I really didn't know if Lil' L was "getting" much out of our visit until part way through she told us that seeing all this art made her want to do creative.  Luckily for us this must happen a lot because they have an area for children to work on art projects.  We created a bird kite that hangs in our playroom to this day.

Clay Sculptures
I was thinking of this the other day when I took both the girls to the Royal Botanical Gardens to see ZimSculpt which is a collection of hand-craved sculptures created by artists from Zimbabwe.  If you haven't had an opportunity to see this amazing collection of artwork, I would urge you to go (it's on to Oct. 8).  Not only are the artists works on display, the artists are also present and creating on-site which means you have an opportunity to view them at work and speak to them about what they do.  At first Lil' L was not keen to leave the fish in the RBG to look at art but once outside, she became interested and starting asking lots of questions about what made them decide to make something, if the people and things that were sculpted were from "real life" or imagined and so on.  In the end what she really wanted to do was get home so she could make some art like that.  We now have a fine collection of clay sculptures created by Lil' L and her dad.

Over the years I have saved almost ever piece of art that both my girls have created and if I keep it up I'll probably be featured in an episode of Hoarders some time in the future.  My collection includes "love" cards, drawings, scribbles and so much more - lots of happy memories boxed and stored.  

Then something new happened.  As Lil' L neared her 5th birthday she began asserting her independence and decision making abilities usually at bedtime when we were all tired and short on patience.  One night after a particularly rough bedtime my husband came downstairs and showed me what had been left outside Lil' L bedroom door for him.  A drawing of his face x'd out with the words "Daddy doesn't love me" - it was both funny and heartbreaking.  But I give my hubbie credit, he got a marker and drew her a return note telling her that he loved her very much with a picture of the two of them.

Since that day there have been many a note left for the unfortunate parent that doesn't bend to the will of our daughter and even her little sister felt the brunt of it after losing one (of hundreds) of her plastics rings.  Lil' L asserted that she did it on purpose and that the ring was very special to her, even though she had given it to her by her own free will just hours before.  The next morning, several signs were taped around the house staking claim to her bedroom, the playroom and even the bathroom!  The good news is Lil' E can't read yet.

Mars Rover
Lil' L has also used art to prove her point.  After the rover landed on Mars, Lil' L was telling her classmates at daycare about it and they didn't believe her.  She tried to explain to them that she had seen pictures of the "robot" on the computer and it really was on Mars but they weren't convinced.  So Lil' L drew them a picture of the rover so that they would understand what she was talking about.  Today that photo hangs on our fridge.

The other night Lil' L and I were chatting at bedtime and she told me that sometimes she does things that she has been told not to because she wants to do them and not doing them makes her unhappy.  Then she thinks "what have I done" and she doesn't know how to talk about it so she draws a picture and leaves it for us.  She continued to tell me that she talked to our special friend (one of her dolls I believe) and she told her that family is the most important thing and we need to work together.  As she shared this story with me, I thought how glad I am that she has an outlet to express how she's feeling and that she understands why she is doing it.  I hope this serves her well in the future although I fear the pictures I might receive during the tween/teen years.  Don't get me wrong, Lil' L still creates lots of art work about love and happiness and just random stuff.  I found a drawing in one of her many notebooks just titled "happy".

If you are looking for some ways to share art with your child (6 and under) and you live in the Hamilton area I would encourage you to visit Mohawk College Ontario Early Years Centre when they have the artist in the centre. I think it is still Monday and Wednesday but check with the centre to be sure.  Mr. Jason is the artist/educator in the centre and he had a profound effect on Lil' L.  We visited almost weekly during my maternity leave and she still asks to visit to see him.  Jason takes a very child centred approach to art, he doesn't tell them what to make or how to make it instead he asks them questions about what they want to do and allows and helps them explore how to get to the finished piece.  Many children worked on pieces over a long period of time, adding and creating with each visit.  Every Monday Lil' L would think about what she wanted to make and then head in to work with Jason to create it.  I cannot say enough good things about this program.  I am not sure if other OEYC offer these programs but it's worth checking (bonus: they are free of charge).

From dollar store glitter glue to the many awesome products by Crayola, my children seem to be happy to create.  I hope both my daughters continue to enjoy the arts and we will continue to provide opportunities for this to happens. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Camping - a lifetime of memories

As summer draws to a close many are thinking of how to squeeze the last bits of fun out of this season.  One great way to enjoy late summer and early fall is camping.  You don’t have to go far to sleep under the stars with excellent locations for both tent and trailer camping across Ontario.  If you are tent camping you will probably not need water and hydro hook-ups and depending on if you go to a conservation area, provincial park or private campground, you can expect to pay from approximately $35 and up per night for your lot. 

For me, camping is just a way of life.  From the time I was three years old, my
parents packed up me and my brother (and later just me) and set off to enjoy
Provincial Parks across Ontario.  As a young adult, my friends and I would camp in bigger groups and tended to more commercial parks that offered amenities like a snack shop as we were more often than not inadequately prepared.  My husband started later but was more adventerous doing some outback camping in addition to the standard campground type.  Now with a family of my own I looked forward to bringing my girls camping so they could have the same great memories as I have of campfires, the smell of the morning air and running around meeting new “campground friends”.  At two and five years this may not all be possible the first time out, but no time like the present to start. 

Camping Goddess - Annika
After much searching, I found the camping gear that we had accumulated over the years and wondered how much was salvageable for a family trip, luckily Burlington is home to Mountain Equipment Co-op and I headed there to meet up with Camping Product Specialist – Annika or the Camping Goddess as I like to call her who set me up with some camping gear for our first family trip.  Whether you are a first time camper or a seasoned pro, you will be able to find most items that you need to make your experience great.  I think what I like best about the approach at MEC is that Annika truly was interested in helping me and my family have a great experience, she took the time to ask questions about our previous experience, where we were going, the kids and what they would be doing, etc. and then she made recommendations on what we needed, what is good to have and what is a “luxury” item.  She also made suggestions about others items we might need, even if they were not sold at her store. 

First and foremost on the list was a tent and in the end we went with a Funhouse 4, because it offered enough room to stand up and as anyone will attest to that has hunched over in a tent trying to change, that is a big plus.  This tent is so quick and easy to set up, I was amazed, so much better than the tents of old.  I have to add that one of the best things about this tent was that they include a tent peg mallet – it’s the little things for me. The take-down only took about 10 minutes and I was able to do it myself while I send my husband off with the girls.  It also has a ‘vestibule’ that gives some extra rooms for bags, removing your shoes and for us, a potty as I had no intention of trekking to the washrooms repeatedly with my toilet training two year old.  If you have a family of four or more, I would suggest moving up to the Funhouse 6 as it gives the adults more space especially if you are using air mattresses under your sleeping bags. 

We had heard people suggest we bring a second tent or a dining tent as a play area for the girls.  It seemed like a great idea.  When we arrived at the camp we left them in their car seats and worked on setting up one of our old two man tents for them to play in, we struggled to remember how it set up and were egged on by the chanting of “let us out” from the van but we did manage to get it set up and piled with toys only to find out that our two-year old had zero interest in being confined.  She screeched for the 10-15 minutes it took to set up the main tent and in hindsight, we should have just left them in the car and set up that tent as they were more than content to play in the bigger space with some dolls and books.

One item that was a real hit was the hammock we brought from home that we strung among the trees.  The girls loved swinging and by the second day had mastered sharing which allowed us to do other things while they amused themselves swaying through the air.  Most of the time we were so busy exploring that they didn’t have the time or interest in toys but if you need downtime or worse yet if it rains, you will want to have something to keep everyone busy and amused.

We initially planned to give the girls the underpads and use the air mattress for the adults but after several sleeping arrangement re-designs to best use our space we ended up using the Therm-a-rest sleeping pads under our bags and gave the girls the mattress.  I think once you are past your twenties, an air mattress is a must unless you are outback camping where space and weight needs to be optimized.   We opted to use our old sleeping bags for us and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the kids – who knew they made child sized sleeping bags.  Back in the day, my parents just put me in an adult one and hoped for the best.  Mind you in those days we didn’t have car seats and I am pretty sure seat beats were optional.  Annika suggested the Lil’ dipper sleeping bag, it comes in two sizes which was perfect for both girls and as an added bonus they have them in purple which ensured they were a hit.  As it is getting later in the camping season, the nights are cooler and while I woke up shivering and searching for my fleece in the middle of the night, the girls were warm and cozy in their bags – I think I will be investing in a new sleeping bag for our next trip.

If you are camping with kids or are looking to make meals quick and easy then you will want to bring a cook stove.  While cooking over a campfire is fun it’s not always quick and practical.  We chose the Primus FireHole 200 Stove with a double burner (perfect for those that need coffee and food at the same time) and at $145 is a really worthwhile investment.  In the words of my husband “this stove is awesome!” when coupled with a Glacier stainless steel percolator ($29) that brews six cups of really good coffee, waking up at 6:30am with the kids wasn’t so bad.  Annika helped me choose a cookware set ($28) and plastic mugs (in fun colours) as our old stuff was probably not fit to cook with but she recommends if you are just starting out to bring stuff from your kitchen, you don’t need special gear for cooking but keep in mind if you are cooking over an open fire that it might not look as good when it returns.  The downside of cooking is cleaning but we brought a collapsible wash basin and the pocket bucket ($15) which folds up and was great for hauling water and serving as a rinse basin.  We brought along two coolers one vintage and a new and much improved MEC Chilli Cooler ($49).  One cooler held the frequently and quickly used items like milk, juice boxes and produce and the other was for longer term storage and kept our items cold and food-safe as it was opened as frequently.

The girls had a great time exploring the nature trails, hitting the beach and fishing for the first time.  My two-year old didn’t last long at fishing and we hit the trails for a relaxing (read: sleeping) walk but my five-year old had a great time learning how to bait a hook, cast a reel and on the second day out, catching (and releasing) two fish!

The highlight of the trip of course was the campfire; we had hotdogs and all the supplies for s ‘mores at the request of Lil' L and from the time we arrived she was anxious to start the fun.  We roasted hotdogs over the fire, and the majority of the marshmallows were consumed “raw”, we did cook them over the fire for mom and dad.

As night descends it is always important to have some good lighting equipment.  Gone are the days of propane lanterns, you can now get the same effect from battery operated lamps which are much safer with kids (and clumsy adults).  We went with the Black Diamond Titan Lantern ($66), it is a perfect table top lamp and provides enough light to play games around the table and illuminate the immediate area.  I was on the hunt for flashlights but Annika turned me on to headlamps which are a great alternative that provide lots of light for nighttime trips and leaves your hands free for carrying or child-wrangling.  They have adult and child-sizes and my girls wore them around happily (at some points even during the day!)

The one item I did forget was a broom, a kids sized broom and dust pan is perfect for sweeping out the bottom of your tent before packing it away and for dusting away the outdoors (twigs, leaves, dirt) from your other gear – no need to bring nature home with you.

The overall cost of our equipment came to approximately $800 not including what we already had at home which may seem like a lot but when you think of the cost of a weekend at a hotel with your kids it’s not much to invest.  Most of the items have a minimum life of five years but with proper care can last up to ten or fifteen years.  It is recommended you pack items such as tents and sleeping bags clean and dry and loosely if possible to extend their life.  Start small investing in a few key items and if you decide that camping is part of your family’s lifestyle then add to your gear yearly.

We had a great time camping and hope to go again this year if time permits.  If not, next year we will venture out again and add to what we hope will be a lifetime of memories for our family.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A lesson in advertising...not everyone loves Marineland

My daughter will be 5 years old in a couple of weeks and she has a knack for asking questions until she get the answer she was looking for. At the beginning of summer she starting nagging me to take her to Marineland, apparently many of her friends had gone and told her about the fun they had and of course there are the never ending commercials complete with the "everyone loves Marineland" tag.  Lil' L being five takes things at face value, so when I told her that I really didn't like Marineland, she was quite surprised.  She wanted to know why, and I told her that  the owner did not treat the animals very nicely.  Of course that wasn't a good enough answer for her she wanted to know more, so I explained that some of the animals were separated from their friends and family and that made them sad ( I stayed away from the more graphic content as I didn't want to go there) and that I thought the owners were a bit like bullies.  I told her that we could go there once and then she could decide if she liked it or not.

The next week we were driving in the car and the familiar Marineland jingle came on and Lil' L said "why don't they say 'some people like Marineland', because you don't like Marineland mommy."  I told her that it was advertising and that when people advertise something they tell you the best things about it,  This was met with silence followed by a question about what advertising is.  I tried to explain it to her in terms I thought she might understand by asking her if someone told her about a toy and said it was kind of fun and some people like it but some people didn't would she want to get it.  Then I asked her if someone said a toy was so fun and everyone wanted it would she want that toy more - the answer, yes.  That's what advertising is.  I connected to Marineland using the same example and I think she understood.

With the recent accusations regarding Marineland, I had made the decision that I would not be spending my money to support an attraction that quite clearly has no regard for the welfare of their animals.  The good news is,she hasn't asked to go to Marineland lately and even after seeing a television ad today she was quiet so I hope that some where in her  mind she has made the decision that she doesn't want to go.  Because quite honestly, I don't want to have to tell her about what happens behind closed doors at the place that "everyone loves".  She is incredibly compassionate and I think it would make her sad in a much deeper way and my job is to stop that, so for now we've dodged a bullet but I think it's time to read up on discussing issues like these with young children before the next questions come (and they will)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Welcome to my blog

Hello and welcome to my blog!
I have been a holding out on creating a personal blog, I do one for work and really wasn't sure I had anything interesting to say or share outside of that.  However, what I have realized is that I have a lot to say and share as well as a lot to hear and learn.

I'll give you a bit of background on me to put it all in context.  In my teens, 20's and early 30's I was convinced that I would never get married and have children - life was to be lived and I needed my freedom.  Then my mid-thirties came and I started to look at my friends that had settled into coupledom quite happily and many had kids (and liked it!).  My biological clock suddenly realized it was supposed to tick and with no potential partner at hand I started to wonder if I had made the right decisions in my life.  Needless to say I did get married (just under the wire of forty) and we decided to start a family which after years of trying not to seemed like it would be an easy thing to do.

I got pregnant quickly and was blissful until 6 weeks later when I miscarried.  Thus began a long road to having a baby.  I am one of the lucky ones that managed to only have to use fertility drugs (no IVF) but raging hormones and constant tracking of your cycle in addition to the let downs when it doesn't work took a toll on my self-esteem and my relationship.  Our second daughter was conceived on a last and final round of drugs and I think of her as my little miracle baby.  The toughest part of all of this was that my loving husband had no idea what I was going through and how to help me.  I felt isolated and it's not exactly dinner party conversation so I internalized everything and wished I had an outlet to guide me.  If you are ever in this situation, I urge you to find a support group or social group that has been been through infertility.

My first daughter was born 3 weeks and a day premature and while perfectly healthy she was petite at only 6lbs 12oz and she was lazy!  I struggled through eight weeks of trying to get her to breastfeed, pumping, tube-feeding and constant weigh-ins and lactation consultant appointments.  At 8 weeks my dear daughter turned the corner and latched on, and we were a much happier team.  If it was not for the amazing support I received from the Hamilton public health nurses and my husband who urged me to keep trying I would have given up.  This was the beginning of the realization that we as moms need a support network to share with, console, laugh and compare notes.  We have to raise each other to be great moms.  

Now with a five year old (in 2 weeks) and a two year old, I know that without other moms to confirm that I am not the only one generally driving myself crazy, I would be lost.  I troll the internet, read books and magazine articles and try to understand everything there is to being a mom but the best resource I have is my mommy village.

Welcome to my blog, I hope I can share stories, ideas and make your village a little bigger and a little better.