Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friendly parks - the exception to the rule

I've been very lucky with the parks in our neighbourhood. At our last house, we took B to the park often (where the photo above was taken). At this park a bunch of moms/grandparents/daycare providers brought their children on the regular. We could count on seeing the same few groups of kids and guardians. Quickly we learned to bring snacks, chalk, toys, and sand toys to the park. The environment here was very welcoming. People shared toys and snacks and adults conversed while the children played. When we moved last summer, we were sad to leave that park but quite happy to find that our new park is much the same. Not unlike our old park, there are a variety of care providers and children of different ages at the park. But in our new neighbourhood, the school bus picks up and drops off children at the park. Often we see the same children spending time at the park after school before heading home for dinner. Unfortunately my park going experience seems to be the exception rather than the rule from what I hear from other moms.

Fellow mom blogger Mo from Not a Coupon Queen wrote a wonderfully authentic guest post over at Oshawa Mom Space on her negative experience and park etiquette. Check it out and weigh in!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Homemade Pizza and Allergies

It has been so long since we made pizza from scratch. Part of the reason has been the insanity of having a family with two little ones. The other part of the reason has been that up until about Christmas time, I was steering clear of gluten and many other foods due to extreme eczema.

I have since seemed to have sorted out my allergy issues and now have a much more manageable list of avoids (pineapple, nuts, dairy). Turns out I was under extreme stress and was allergic to our older house. I have very strong environmental allergies – dust, mold, pollen, trees, etc. Our older neighbourhood had mature trees in many varieties and colourful and nice smelling gardens abound. Our basement was quite damp as most are in 80+ year old homes. We had also been under construction in the house for about 3 years, which led to increased dust. I also suspect that the off gassing of all the new materials didn’t help the cause. Needless to say, our new house is close is about 10 years old and since it is in a newer neighbourhood, comes with far less mature trees/beautiful gardens. Sad for the eyes but I’m feeling much better and back to eating pizza (with the minor adjustments of no pineapple and goat mozzarella as a substitute for the dairy). 

My creative side is lacking a bit these days as far as food goes so I turned to the website of my favourite pizza place in Peterborough from my university days for inspiration. I find MYO pizza an awesome way to get the little ones to eat more veggies. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Committing to maintaining relationships.

Being in school and having various volunteer commitments makes me sometimes rather busy. R also works a lot of overtime, taking it when he can get it since it is never a sure thing. Often my activities take place in the evenings. This means that R and I do a trade off with the kids. Some days we see very little of eachother.  It can be hard with our busyish lifestyle to stop and consciously make time to do things all together as a family but it is something that I think is so so important. Same goes for the other important relationships. Couple time is also important since our marriage is the foundation of our family. Although I do think that the family should always be a first priority. Friends are also invaluable and it is incredibly important to make time and nurture these relationships as they can fade to a degree when put on the back burner.

I’ve been trying to put in place some measures to ensure that I am making a commitment to maintain ALL, not just some of the relationships in my life. I think a lot of onus is on the woman in the household to “keep the family together”. Not saying it is warranted… but the pressure is still there none-the-less. Here is what has been working for me.


This past weekend we went out for an hour around the block. B on his battery powered ATV (a kijiji find!), me on my rollerblades, R on the bike and N in tow in the bicycle trailer. It was good fun. At least once on a weekend we try to do something all together. We also make an effort to be home more nights/week than out. This means no more than 3 nights out in a week (cumulatively for everyone). I think I will keep this balance in mind when the boys get a little older and want to do activities in the evenings. This may mean that as our family gets busier I will have to cut back personally on my evening commitments. I am okay with this.  


At least one night/week R and I try to watch a movie after the kids go to bed (sometimes we have to cut it short since we tend to get tired). We also text throughout the day and hug and kiss hello and goodbye. Once a month, we try to get out for a date night.


I love my friends. God forbid something were to happen to my family, I know I would still have a family of friends. One of my very best friends lives in Edmonton now. I try to skype with her or call her once every week or two. One of my other best friends has kids and so we try to get together for play dates to catch up. I also enjoy getting out with my other kidless friends for a nice dinner or to go to an event. Recently I went to dinner in Toronto with 2 of my good girlfriends from university. It is sometimes nice to not always be talking about the kids (since they don’t have any to talk about) and to do adult things. I try to get out with friends sans kiddos at least once/month. I also love Facebook since I can keep updated and in communication with friends that I don’t get to see as often.

What do others do to maintain the important relationships in their life?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Simple Easter

This year, some of the things included in the boys baskets were:

- Books (Board books for baby, Berenstain Bears and Curious George for the big guy)
- Matching spring pajamas
- Cute pool noodle soaker guns (maybe N can use his next year if B hasn’t broken it by then)
- Bubbles for the big guy

This year I bought nice Easter baskets that we will be able to use year after year. We also use fillable plastic eggs – medium sized so that we can fill them with mini chocolate eggs, cars, stickers, etc.  This year I also bought large-sized eggs and filled them with bells, and egg shakers for the babe. Like Christmas and most other holidays, we try to have less emphasis on sweets and on stuff altogether. 

We visited DH's family on Saturday and did the big Easter dinner. I didn't bother doing anything fancy for dinner for just our little family on Easter Sunday and no one seemed to mind. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Update on the Boys

Brendan (3 years, 11 Months)
On our library/bus date. This kid loves public transit!

  • Finally outgrowing the afternoon nap
  • After 2 years of bed time struggles, he is finally going to bed without a fight
  • Less picture books, more chapter books – We've been reading Jimmy the Skunk. Frog and Toad and Robert Munch books are still favourites.
  • Loves bombing around on his two-wheeled scooter (Razor) when the weather allows. He still takes many spills but enjoys it nonetheless. Trampoline has also become a favorite outdoor activity as of late.
  • He has also been going on more play dates without us – usually over to our neighbors’ house (This is still weird to me! He is getting so big!)

Nicholas (11 Months)
  • Stair climbing and cruising around on the furniture like a champion
  • Playing with balls – he’ll throw them and retrieve them
  • Enjoying “real” food. He basically eats with us now. We just leave off any spices, sauces, or spreads from his food.
  • Likes to say DaDa – his favourite word. Occasionally says Mama..usually when he is upset.
  • The little rock star is starting to sleep through the night most nights (with the exception of some runny nose wake ups
I seriously need to get cracking on the birthday party planning!