Me and my girls

Me and my girls

Monday, October 18, 2010

Activities, Playdates and More – Managing your Busy Family Life

Managing the many details of family life can often seem more difficult than being an air traffic controller! With my schedule, work, Brett’s schedule and the girls’ schedules to remember along with doctors appointment, dentist appointments and the list goes on; I have had to come up with a number of ways to deal with the inevitable chaos.

1.Menu Planning – By setting aside a small amount of time during the week to menu plan, you can save yourself the hassle of multiple trips to the grocery store by ensuring that all the food you need for the weeks meals and snacks are on hand. It can also save you money as you know what you need and don’t end up buying extra food that may go to waste. It can also help ensure that your family is eating healthy, well-balanced meals instead of choosing whatever is fastest at the last minute.

2.Family Calendar - The use of one master calendar for the whole family is very useful. By having all family members’ schedule in one place can avoid confusion and missed appointments. Your family calendar can not only be used for schedules but also for chores, To Do’s and for leaving notes for other family members. A Family Calendar is an easy way to keep everyone informed about what will be happening on a weekly and monthly basis.

3.Drop the unnecessary – Take a look at your schedule and see if there is anything on it that is not necessary. Is there anything that can be consolidated? A trip to the drugstore can be combined with a trip grocery shopping perhaps? Or perhaps, there is an activity that you have to convince your child to go to that can be eliminated. Are there any tasks that can be delegated to someone else? If you can cut corners with your chores and To Do’s than do it! Our family has invested in a cleaning service twice a month for those extra chores so that I can use this time more wisely on the girls or on work. It is definitely worth it!

4.Ask for HELP – There are a number of ways one can find help with the daily grind whether or not you have family around to help you. Some ways to do this is:
-Carpool/share drop offs pick ups – Find someone at your child’s school who can share pickup and drop off responsibilities. It may only save you 20 minutes at a time but this quickly adds up.
-Share caregiving – Another way to find help is to share caregiving with another parent as well. One day you can pick up their child and have them over for lunch and a playdate in the afternoon. Then you switch.
-Drop off centres – There a number of parent relief centres in Toronto run by the Ontario Early Years Centres. You can drop your child off with them for a few hours to get a break or have time to run errands. Do some research where you live to see if there are any options available to you. While the OEYC drops offs are free, there may also be paid options available as well.

5.Assign tasks to certain days – One of things I struggle with daily is the urge to procrastinate. To combat these urges I find that when faced with an overwhelming to do list (which I often have), it is helpful to assign one or two tasks to each day. For instance, I would assign Tuesday and Thursday to be laundry day. My main focus would be laundry for these days. By doing this, it helps me stay on track and focused and keeps me from being derailed by the enormity of all that must get done.

I welcome any tips you may have for juggling your busy weeks. Comments can be left on our blog post

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mickie & Minnie are coming to Town!!!

This year both Juliet and Ainsley are old enough for us to take them to a show around Christmas time. Last year we took Ainsley to Disney on Ice, Princess and she LOVED it. From start to finish she was mesmerized. We are super excited that we can take both girls this year and can't wait to see Juliet's reaction.

This year we have chosen Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey. The website has a sneak peek of what to expect at the show and the girls are already excited and watch it over and over! This show is filled with favorite Disney friends who the girls love. They will get to see Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and visit the enchanting worlds of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Ainsley's favourite), The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch and Peter Pan.

The girls will love the music and magic (and will probably dance through the whole show!). We are very excited to visit the Enchanted undersea kingdom with Ariel and Sebastian, a jungle adventure in the African Pride Lands with Simba and Nala, a Hawaiian luau with Lilo and Stitch and a trip to jolly old London with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell.

I am so excited to be able to share this with the kids. I love taking them on adventures and giving them new experiences and I know this show will be a hit.

Tickets go on sale Monday, October 18th! If you are looking for a family friendly event to take your children to or a great gift for grand children, this is a fabulous option!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Mom's evolution into Author

I never dreamed I’d be an author.

I never dreamed I’d be a ‘mommy blogger’.

I never dreamed I’d have 4,700 followers on Twitter, one of them being @MarthaStewart (?!)

Actually that’s not strictly true, because I did plan to write a book, but a children’s picture book, you know the kind with 2 sentences per page the length of a single blog post. I still will write this book. In fact I have written this book, but I’m building up to the hard part of illustrating it. If I procrastinate long enough perhaps my daughter will illustrate it for me.

So it’s quite amazing to me that I can now state ‘author’ as my occupation. I’m filling in all sorts of application forms just for the kick of it. Yet even though I can leaf through the pages of the book I (half-)wrote, it still seems like a dream. Someone pinch me, please. Ow, not that hard!

One thing is for certain: I would never have done it on my own. Fate meant that I found the perfect co-author in Erica Wells. We make the perfect partnership not only because we are the best of friends, but because we have such different personalities. Erica is an ideas person, a go-getter and a born saleswoman, oozing with enthusiasm and positivity. I’m the glass half empty type with my feet planted firmly on the ground. I’m a doer who likes to be given tasks. I like to beaver away behind the scenes and shy away from the spotlight. We frequently marvel at how fortunate we are to have forged the perfect partnership for our project.

Most conceptions are enjoyable. And so it was for The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms, albeit a little unorthodox as it took place in a crowded Vancouver Indian restaurant and involved 2 women. When Erica threw the idea of collaborating on a parenting book on the table I was skeptical (as I always am); unsure whether I had it in me to write half a proper, adult, full-length book. But the idea quickly blossomed and I hunkered down and found writing was both an enjoyable and therapeutic process. I had struggled with the first year of motherhood and writing about it helped me a lot.

Having a baby was easily the biggest lifestyle change I have experienced. It was as if I’d entered a whole new world, without a map, guidebook or phrasebook. Luckily, after only a few weeks adrift in ‘Baby World’, I was lucky to find some fellow castaways and soon built up a lifesaving band of ‘Mommy’ friends. Chatting with this group I discovered a whole lot more truthful and helpful info than I did reading the typical baby book. The group was soon discussing the nitty-gritty about how difficult breastfeeding really is and how explosive baby poo can be; sharing tales of vaporized sex drives; admitting that it’s fairly common to pee your pants at this stage postpartum. Quite often it’s not an answer to a problem that brings relief, but simply knowing that what’s happening is normal; other moms have been there. It makes you feel a whole heap better to have a comrade and being able to laugh about your woes with other moms might just save your sanity.

Our aim with The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms was to get these ‘no one told me’ topics out in the open. It’s a practical, helpful and humorous survival guide covering the things you need to know but no one ever tells you. We want to reassure and appeal to moms feeling low or lonely and raise a smile from the reader even through the pain of chafed nipples; regardless of the fact that she can’t sit down except on a doughnut cushion; even when she hasn’t slept more than four hours in the last forty-eight.

Erica and I embarked on this venture way back in September 2006, and it wasn’t until March 2009 that we finally signed contracts with John Wiley & Sons, Canada to start the publishing process, so it was a l-o-n-g pregnancy. The labour was a bit of a marathon too, but finally in April 2010 we were celebrating having a published book on bookstore shelves. We headed straight to the bookstores armed with cameras to take photos of our new arrival. I can’t describe the feeling of holding your own book in your hands for the first time.

Lorraine Regel is the co-author of The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms, now available in bookstores across Canada and the US and on, and
Lorraine and Erica blog at
Join them on facebook
Follow @RookieMommy and @MomSurvival on Twitter

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Mommy's Dilemma

I find myself, once again, all by myself this weekend. I had to stay in the city today as I was attending a mom2mom sale in Brampton. Brett decided to take the girls up to the cottage to have Thanksgiving dinner with his parents and they will return Monday to have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents.

Now, upon initially hearing his plan, I thought about the time I will have to work, clean the house and do other things I normally do not have time to do. The dilemma is that I miss them! I was actually anxious on Friday before they left. I hate saying goodbye even if for a few days. I've always been this way but have done it millions of times (had a three year long distance relationship with my husband) but it never gets easier.

Brett often tells me to go and take the day off, go out and get a break. What he doesn't understand, and I try and tell him, that when I say I need a break, I don't mean a long break. I just need an hour to get something done and then I want to hang out with the girls. I like having the freedom of popping in and out but like being able to also have the girls around. What can I say, I'm attached.

I really try hard to keep my feelings hidden around the girls so that they won't have anxiety about leaving and I think I do a good job as they love the cottage and although Ainsley did ask me if I could come, she was find with me saying I couldn't.

How many other moms out there have trouble letting their children go and miss them when they are gone, even if it's for a short time? Am I alone?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh! The Cute things they will do

Okay, so my title is a takeoff from the Dr. Seuss book Oh! The Places we will go, but this post is all about the adorable things children do when they are young so I thought it was fitting. My youngest, Juliet, is a character. She is a very social and happy child and makes me laugh. She has her quirks like most children and today I wanted to write about her latest which is where she sleeps.

Juliet decided in August while both Brett, my husband, and Ainsley were in England that she would no longer sleep in her crib. One night, she woke up in the middle of the night and I went in to comfort her and put her back to sleep she screamed bloody murder. She then tried to climb out. Hint #1 to mommy that the crib was getting old. So I laid her mattress on the floor and that’s where she spent the remainder of the night. I was hopeful that this was an anomaly as I was in no rush to lose the caged in qualities of the crib but at nap time, the same thing happened and I took the hint. The crib was passé.

Since moving into her toddler bed, Juliet has found other places to sleep. While she does sleep in her bed, she has been exploring other options. We started off not using a gate on her door as for the first few nights she stayed in her room. Then we found her sleeping on a box of diapers in the hallway (I kid you not). The gate went up.

Juliet’s favourite alternative to sleeping on her bed is her pottery barn chair (see picture). Not quite sure why but we often will find her asleep here and move her to her bed. The other night though, she found a new place. My husband was putting Juliet to bed while I put Ainsley down. I finished and realized about 20 minutes later that my husband was still in Juliet’s room. I peaked in and saw him asleep on the floor covered in a blanket, which after speaking with him realized Juliet had put on him. I looked around for Juliet, first searching the bed then the pottery barn chair and could not see her anywhere. I then noticed two little feet dangling off the end of the rocking chair. Juliet had climbed up into the chair and this is where she had fallen asleep after tucking her daddy in.

All in all, we think it’s hilarious that she can and will fall asleep in the oddest of places and we do wonder what will be next. Her closet? The carpet? On top of her toy box? Apparently she isn’t picky.
What adorable things do your kids do?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mompreneur Spotlight - Petra King Photography

I believe that photo’s play a very important role in our lives. They have a unique way of lasting much longer than our natural memories.

They also remind us of where we came from, and usually bring with them warm fuzzy feelings inside.
They keep us mindful of how really precious life is.
We just happen to have a keen eye and a good sense of timing to capture those precious moments that you’ll end up treasuring forever.
Whether it be during a pregnancy, the first days or weeks of a newborn’s life or a photographic record of your family together, you might want to try us out.
We’re good at what we do, you won’t be disappointed!

Ajax and Durham Region maternity, newborn, family photographer. Petra King is an on location photographer who specializes in lifestyle photography for maternity,newborns and families.
Petra King Photography is located in Ajax and serves the Durham Region including Pickering,Ajax,Whitby and Oshawa. Petra also serves the GTA, Greater Toronto Area.
Petra offers a variety of custom created items including, custom birth announcements, Christmas cards, leather albums, art gallery wrapped canvas prints, custom image boxes and gift certificates.
If you are in the final months of pregnancy or have just had a baby and for more information on having custom pictures, photographs, portraits of your maternity and pregnancy and or newborn and are located in the Ajax, Durham Region, Toronto or GTA, please feel free to visit Petra King Photography.
I highly recommend to book a newborn session before your baby arrives, to ensure we get a date scheduled for you.
I look forward to working with you!

Petra King Photography