Me and my girls

Me and my girls

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School Shopping - Part 2

I am really getting excited about my trip to Buffalo with Ainsley. She is excited but she has yet to experience a real shopping spree. I have gone through her closet this weekend and pulled out clothes that are two small or in rough shape and I have determined which clothes can make the transition into fall and which will be put away for next summer.

As mentioned in my last Back To School post, I have a list for both of us so we have a good idea what we need. Of course, I am sure we will find some cute things that neither of us need but will treat ourselves to it anyways. I haven't been shopping in awhile and I need to get some business type attire. I will be attending more sales, conferences and work related functions this fall so I must have options and sweat pants just don't cut it.

The main goal of this trip is for clothing but I couldn't help but look at bedding on the Target website and I really hope some of these styles are available:

How can I resist? They don't have cute bedding at these prices in Canada!

Monday, August 23, 2010

How to handle the influx of artwork coming home from school

Getting organized for the new school year is in full swing at our house. For a three and a half year old and a 20 month old (both are going to nursery school) this really only involves buying new clothes for the eldest and some for the youngest and labelling everything! While this is not the full back-to-school prep people of older children go through, there is something we all have in common once school starts and that is answering the question: What do we do with all the artwork?

I don’t know about your kids, but mine are mass producers of artwork. When we do art projects at home, the girls go through pages and pages of drawings and paintings before they are finished. Add to that what they bring home from school and we have a major clutter situation. Some of the artwork is easy to throw in the recycling bin but a lot of it is hard to throw out. Over the past few years of receiving art, I have come up with a few solutions:

1.Use art as art is intended: Frame it!

As we have small children and lots of expenses, when we started decorating our house we found that we had a lot of wall space and no money or inclination to purchase expensive ‘art’. When I was in Grade 4, my parents framed a pastel drawing I had done and to this day it still hangs on my wall. It’s a great keepsake and I am proud that my parents thought it was special enough to frame. When decorating Ainsley’s big girl room, I went through the pile of art we had accumulated and picked out three of her drawings and framed those using inexpensive Ikea frames. I love the look of them and Ainsley is very excited every time I remind her that she drew those pictures. I will do the same for Juliet once we have a collection to choose from. What a great way to boost self-esteem by showing them that what they have created is special.

2.Art as a Gift
To take the framing of art one step further, I have given framed pieces to my parents and in-laws. I find it very hard to shop for them as really, what do you get your parents let alone your in-laws? Whether they hang the art on their wall in the office or at home, it’s a really nice thoughtful gift that is an Original piece of artwork that is priceless. This is a great way to save the art that you don’t want to throw out but at the same time, make room in your house for new art.

3.Art as Fundraiser
This past year at Ainsley’s nursery school we did a fabulous fundraiser for the school using the children’s paintings. Both girls created a painting and it was sent to Acorn Custom Cards, a company which took the art and made cards and placemats. This was a great idea as it provided a fun art activity for the kids, earned money for the co-op school and parents were able to have cards made that showcased their child’s skills and again, the children would get a self-esteem boost by seeing their art used in a new way.

4.Art as wrapping paper and cards
Another great option is to reuse your children’s artwork as wrapping paper and as cards. I love getting home made mother’s day cards and my girls love making cards for others. This is a great use of artwork that would otherwise be thrown out and save you from buying overpriced cards and wrapping paper!

5.The Art Book
This is something I haven’t created yet but have hopes that when the girls get older and start drawing people and animals we can create our own books. I would love to take a bunch of their drawings and work with them to create a story to go along with them. It would be something simple but I love the stories that Ainsley has started telling me about her drawings and think that soon we will be able to start putting them down on paper. What I would do is mount the artwork on scrapbook paper and add the caption below telling the story. To finish off the “art book” we would either insert the scrapbook pages into clear page protectors and put in a scrap book or we could punch holes into the pages and bind with ribbon. I look forward to the opportunity to make our first book by Ainsley.

The other option for this is to not have a story at all and just put together a collection of art and store it in a scrapbook. This is a really nice idea as you could pick a variety of work done over the course of a school year and have a volume for each year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back-to-School Shopping Part 1 - My list

I have started to think about my Back-to-School shopping. Not only do I have to get the girls ready for school, but I have to think about what I will need for some of the business events I will be going to in the fall as well as our trip to Cuba in December. Late August is the perfect time to prepare for Cuba as there will be a lot of summer clothes on sale. I haven't done any real shopping for myself in a long time and am really looking forward to it. I will be heading to Buffalo and this year Ainsley will be coming along to shop.

I won't be able to make this trip until early September. I wish I could go sooner but with Ainsley's trip to England, followed by my husband's business trip the only day we could go with my mom and have Brett babysit Juliet was in September before Labour Day weekend.

Ainsley is super excited to be coming with as she loves to shop. We have started our list for this trip to keep us focused so we make sure that we get everything we need.

So far our list includes:

-Laptop Bag
-dress clothes


This is what we have so far and I'm sure as we get closer there will be other things we think of. Especially since we are heading to Target which I love! I have already been on their website to check out what they have and I can't wait. I wish Target would head North to Canada.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My latest project

I finally found some time this week to finish two beading projects I had started a few weeks ago and thought I would share the finished results. I created a necklace and earring set and a charm bracelet. I will probably add make some earrings to match the bracelet but I will have to find some time for that!

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Fabulous 33rd Birthday!

It's almost been a month since my fabulous birthday outing with my husband. I have been meaning to post about it for weeks and I have finally found the time to download the pics and talk about our day. I had mentioned in passing that my dream birthday would include lunch and a couples massage and I was pleasantly surprised to be heading out of town.

My parents took the girls for the day and Brett and I set out for our day at the spa. We travelled up North to the Millcroft Inn and Spa in Caledon, Ontario. It was gorgeously nestled in nature and welcoming quiet.

We arrived and checked into the spa a little bit early and had time to read and relax before our couples massage. We both had a wonderful 50 minute massage and it was over way too soon. Totally could have gone for twice that time. We then spent some time by the outdoor pool. I was in heaven!

We headed over for a late lunch in the restaurant overlooking the water. I was lovely. The weather was perfect and the surroundings were very relaxing.

We kicked off our lunch with some champagne. Why not? We were celebrating finally getting a day just the two of us. We ended our lunch with the most delicious cheese plate EVER!! We had to order another one.

After lunch we took a walk around the grounds and then headed back to the pool. It was fabulous just to sit by the pool for 2 hours and read. What a wonderful day. There was nothing else I would have wanted to do for my birthday. I think I would like to make this an annual birthday present!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I miss you! Come home!

My week sans husband and eldest child is coming to an end. They will be back Thursday after dinner and while I have gotten tons done (it's actually quite amazing how much I can do with only one child) I am starting to really miss them.

I miss hearing Ainsley's stories about her day and hanging out with her and playing barbies or making jewellery. I miss my husband as he is my sounding board about business and life. It is a bit odd to not have his input on things.

I am glad that this separation is almost over. It's tough not having two of your best friends around.

Come home already!!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Giselle Bundchen sticks her foot in her mouth

When I first heard that Giselle Bundchen had stated that there should be a law forcing moms to breastfeed their kids for 6 months, I thought it was a joke. I thought, that can't be right. What a ridiculous statement. Well, the joke was on me as she did in fact say this. And the kicker is apparently she only breastfed for 3 weeks. So I guess she should be arrested?

Where do I start with this unfair and ridiculous statement! To pass a law telling women what they can or cannot do with their body is something I don't agree with. When it comes to breastfeeding, there is enough guilt projected onto moms from nurses, friends, family and other moms that adding the government into the mix is just ridiculous. Obviously someone didn't think before she spoke.

I breastfed both my girls for just under a year. I was fully prepared to breastfeed my first baby. The idea of formula never even entered my mind. I was blissfully unaware of the difficulties some women have with breastfeeding and I found out the hard way that I would be one of these women. I persevered through a lot of stress and emotions but was lucky enough to end up with a positive breastfeeding experience. However, I still remember how difficult it was at the beginning while I was waiting for my milk to come in and Ainsley kept dropping weight.

I know a number of moms who had even more difficult experiences and were not able to breastfeed. I have a friend who's failure at breastfeeding affected her ability to bond with her baby and added to her post-partum depression. Statements like the one Gisele made just adds to the idea that you are not a good mom unless you breastfeed your baby. Your goal as a mom is to keep your baby healthy and do what's best for him or her. If that means formula because you are struggling with breastfeeding, your baby is not latching or for any other reason, that should be ok.

Every woman should have the individual right to do what's best for them and their baby. You will never know what another mom's situation is as you are not living their life. It is so important for moms to be supportive of one another as being a mom is tough. We have to stop beating each other up about the choices we make and realize the only choices we need to be worried about are our own.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Giselle's statement.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Productive Day

I really dreaded Brett leaving me with Juliet for his trip. Not because I don't like hanging out with her, but I really wondered how I would juggle looking after her, the business and all the household chores without him. Not to mention my parents are also out of town so I have limited babysitting options.

Well, I am super impressed with myself today. I wish Brett was here only to show him how much I got done today. Juliet and I woke up just after 7am, had breakfast and cleaned up. Then I cleaned our bathroom. Then we went out and bought diaper genie refills (there has got to be an alternative as these are so expensive) and bought Juliet new shoes. We then went to the park and had lunch.

Got home and Juliet went straight to bed as she was exhausted. I worked for two hours straight. Filled orders, answered emails and even made some sales calls. When Juliet woke up we headed to the bead store to get supplies for my new hobby (see previous post) and then we went grocery shopping.

We got home. Put away the groceries and I tidied up the kitchen. Then we had dinner, I gave Juliet a bath, put away two baskets of clean laundry, put in another load of laundry, fed Winnie our rabbit, emptied all the garbage bins in our house and took it outside. I tidied Ainsley's book shelf (it was a mess) and went through her clothes and put away clothes that were too small. I then repaired a number of books that had been ripped.

I thought that was enough for the day and now I'm blogging, tweeting and watching TV.

My goal is to have the whole house completely clean by the time they get home. I don't know how I found the time today but I hope I can keep this up all week. I am looking forward to a tidy home.

Day 1 as a Single Parent to one Child

It's wierd. It was definitely quiet last night when Juliet went to bed. I have forgotten how easy it is with just one child. There's no dividing attention. I have less dishes to do, less laundry, less stuff to pack in the diaper bag. There's no fighting over TV or toys. But it's wierd.

When Juliet woke up this morning she went straight to Ainsley's room and said "Ainsley?". She knew that Ainsley was not here and then she said "Daddy?". So I guess I'm not the only one adjusting to this change. Last night I felt a bit lonely without Ainsley and Brett but this morning I'm feeling better. I got an email saying that they had arrived safely and had a good flight (Relief). I think I was anxious about this and am now glad that they are okay. Only 6 more nights to go.

I have a plan for Juliet and I this week. We are going to do all the things that is hard to do with two children like go swimming at the pool. We are going to do a bit of back to school shopping which is great because it can be hard to tell a 3 year old that she won't be getting new shoes right now. We will go to the park, the library and I will get to spoil her a bit which I don't usually do. I am taking this time to focus completely on her and having Mommy and Juliet time.

I will also try and make some headway on tidying the house. It is time to go through the toys and take some to goodwill. This will definitely be easier with Ainsley away as she will often go into the Goodwill book and take toys out to play with. Toys she hasn't played with in ages.

But I miss her. I sometimes still feel like she is a part of me and when she is not around something is missing. I wonder if this will ever change.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Baby's First Trip

Ainsley is going on her very first trip on an airplane this week with her dad. Brett's side of the family is having a family reunion in England and he is taking Ainsley to meet them. I thought long and hard about whether or not to join them with Juliet but I knew that it would be a stressful trip with a very active 19 month old and the thought of a 7 hour over night flight with her on my lap gave me serious anxiety. It was a tough decision, but paying thousands of dollars to be stressed out was not worth it. Juliet has never adjusted to change very well and so I felt we would have a better week staying at home in Toronto and spending quality time together. And then we could take the money we would have spent and go on a family vacation later in the year when the flight is much shorter and there is not time change.

Having made this decision not to go was very tough. The longest I have been apart from Ainsley is two nights. It will be tough to be away from her for 7 nights and days, especially since this will be her first airplane ride and she will get to experience some wonderful things for the first time and I won't be there to see her reaction. I love history and would have loved to be there with her to visit her first castle and describe to her what the castle would have been like in the old days. She loves princesses and castles and I think this will be a magical adventure for her. It makes me sad that I will not be there with her for it. At the same time I know I have made the right decision however for my own sanity.

I think she will have a wonderful time with my husband and his family and she is super excited. I look forward to our daily phone calls when she will tell me of her day and how much fun she is having. I also looking forward to spending some alone time with Juliet and giving her my undivided attention. I am thinking of fun and special things to do with her while her sister is away.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mommy Connections - Sanity Saver for the new mom!!

Saying that having my first baby was a huge shock is an understatement. I thought I was totally prepared for becoming a mom but I don't think that you can ever be prepared for the life changing event of having a child. I felt lost as times and lonely and isolated. I dreaded the day my husband went back to work and had a lot of conflicting thoughts about my loss of a natural birth (I had an emergency c-section) and my role as a mom.

I had the presence of mind at the time that I needed to get out of the house even thought I knew it would be hard. So I signed up for a new mom and baby class at a centre that unfortunately no longer exists. This was the best decision I have made. By attending this class, my maternity leave was completely changed from one that could have been potentially lonely to one where I made lasting friendships for myself and hopefully for Ainsley.

In this class we talked about everything. And I mean everything. We talked about our disappointment with our births (I was releived to know I was not the only one mourning the loss of the birth we wanted) to whether our husbands were supportive or not. We talked about our fears and anxieties that came with being a new mom and nothing was off limits. When the class ended after 6 weeks we all keep meeting every few weeks to check in with each other. I am still friends with a couple of these moms and it's really neat to see how our children have grown.

As I mentioned, the company that ran this program closed as the owner had her own baby. It was really disappointing to me that this centre was no longer running classes as I would have liked to join such a class again when Juliet was born to meet peers for her. Recently I have come across an organization called Mommy Connections. They have post-natal classes similar to the one I went through. They are new to Toronto but I think that it is fantastic that they are here. I recommend every expecting parent to check them out. Their classes are a great way to meet other new moms to spend your mat leave with and at the same time gain information about your baby and resources available to you.

Mommy Connections is a modernized Post-Natal Program & Social Network featuring 6 weekly sessions of expert presenters. Sessions are designed to enlighten, support and educate, plus give new mom’s a place to go and socialize with other new moms. Topics include fitness, nutrition, safety, infant communication, and more. The first class starts on September 21st at Swansea Town Hall and costs only $60 for a 6 week program. If you know anyone expecting you should let them know about this program.

For more details go to:!/pages/Toronto-ON/Mommy-Connections-West-Toronto/116945278352604?ref=sgm&__a=8&ajaxpipe=1 or check out their website