This blog is about life with a baby. It's not always what you expect and there is definitely no job description. Every baby is different and unique which is why motherhood can be so scary, fun, terrifying, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time.

Be sure to also check out our Travel Blog where you can share and read stories about travelling with the family.

We encourage you to share your experiences - by sharing your experiences and commenting on other posts, you may be helping other moms.

  • Friday, June 03, 2016 9:54 PM | Sandy

    When I gave birth to our first child almost 5 years ago, I had the most difficult time in breastfeeding. I went through all sorts of struggles in trying to get my daughter to breastfeed. The only struggle I did not have was my milk supply. For the first 12 weeks, I pumped most of the time. At first, I didn’t know how much my daughter needed, it wasn’t until a few weeks in, when I got matched with a specialist lactation consultant that dealt with infant feeding issues that worked hand in hand with me on regulating the amount my daughter actually needed, which also helped with her reflux issues.

    All this pumping as a result yielded me an enormous surplus of milk…and down the drain it went, because I didn’t know what to do with it back then. Somewhere between my first and second child, I came across some reading on breastfeeding moms donating or selling their excess milk, and that got filed into the back of my head as “cool and interesting”.

    Then my second child came, again, we went through the same breastfeeding challenges, right away I’m pumping, and just like the first time, I had no struggles in producing an abundant supply of milk…but I’d forgotten about the “cool and interesting” information I’d read on donating or selling breast milk. While pregnant and postpartum, I was on anti-depressants, therefore, it warranted a home visit by a public health nurse to make sure I was ok.

    Two weeks after my return from the hospital, the nurse visited me and mostly chatted with me on how I was coping. During the conversation, the topic of breastfeeding came up, and I told her the amount of milk I was producing. She was in awe, and the words that came out of her mouth were “Oh my goodness, you produce enough to feed another child, you could have had twins and still had leftovers!” she then continued “You should donate your milk!”

    I was then reminded of the information I’d read previously. I like the idea that any excess milk I had wouldn’t go to waste, so I looked into donating my surplus to the hospital.I found the Milk Bank Ontario website and contacted them to get screened to become a milk donor. I’m denied due to the fact that I was still on anti-depressants. I wasn’t sure how long I would continue with the medication, my mental health was very important to me, and I wasn’t going to stop it for fear of postpartum kicking in.

    Upon being rejected as a donor, I felt a little disappointed. I took my emotions on to LWAB’s sister Facebook group Managing The Motherload, and a few mothers suggested that I post my offer to another Facebook group Human Milk For Human Babies.

    So I did.

    I posted the amount of supply I had, and I was also very transparent in that I was on anti-depressants. The amount of responses I’d received within a few hours after the post went live was overwhelming. Essentially, I pretty much responded to the first mom that contacted me, and worked my way down that list. The first 2 moms didn’t work out, first one was because of transportation challenges, and the second one would have been the recipient, but forfeited because they were adopting and there was a holdup, so it went to the third mom.

    Third mom came from Oshawa, she could not breastfeed because she simply couldn’t produce milk after medical surgery. The first time I met her, I did not really know what to expect. I know it wasn’t, but it kind of felt like a blind date. I remember for some odd reason, I felt the need to brush my hair, as if that made a difference whether my breast milk would make a better impression than if I left my hair the usual postpartum mess.

    My recipient mom showed up at my door and we hit it off, if I may say so myself, and for the next 6 months, I continued to pump as much as I could, and each time when I had no more room in my deep freezer, which usually is once every 3-4 weeks, I’d contact her and she would make arrangements to come and pick it up, and each time she would leave a handful of storage bags for me, which I really appreciated her replenishing. We also became friends, I think I can say that, considering we’ve chatted over messages regarding parenting woes and other things. We’ve even had a play date.

    Then came time when it was time for her to go back to work. She could no longer make the trek to come out and do her usual pick up, and her baby was hitting the 1 year mark as well, so she decided it was time to transition him.

    My last batch of milk, she forfeited and I gave to another mom.

    I didn’t think I’d have this type of feeling, but when she told me that she transitioned her baby, and that she no longer needed milk, I felt a sense of sadness, like the type of sadness you feel when your kid goes off to college (not that I know what that feels like yet, but I’m thinking that would be similar). But this sadness was also lined with a sense of content, because I know that I was able to contribute to a mom and her baby in achieving what they wanted to achieve. The couple of times I’d had a cold, or my own baby had a cold, my recipient mom would be very excited because her baby was also benefiting from the antibodies my body was making.  

    My own baby is 10 months old, and I’m also in transition with my own child in preparations for daycare. This means the end of my journey as a milk donor mom. I still chat with my recipient mom every so often, and I would love to continue our developing friendship.

    Human Milk For Human Babies is a great exchange resource for moms that are either in need of milk or would like to donate extra milk. There are different area chapter groups on Facebook, so pick the appropriate one that corresponds with your area. As a recipient, please do your due diligence and ask questions of your donor mom. In Canada, there’s very little selling of breast milk, therefore, there is generally less concerns. South of the border, there’s more selling than donating, and when money is part of the equation, some people can take unethical actions such as diluting it with water, which may not be a big deal for an older child, but in an infant, can be dangerous. As a courtesy, please replenish the storage bags for the mom, as the costs do add up. As a donor, treat it like you would with your own infant, what you donate to your recipient mom, you should feel just as comfortable in feeding it to your baby.

    To find your area chapter, please visit Human Milk For Human Babies:

  • Wednesday, June 01, 2016 2:22 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    Maybe your kids are younger, or maybe you just want to have a nice relaxing vacation. Well, this blog post will share some tips on how to chill, relax and make new memories that will fill up the nostalgia bucket for years to come.  Looking for more of a thrill? You may like my post on Thrills with kids at Blue Mountain Resort

    Here is our top 5 activities for filling up your nostalgia bucket:

    Paddle on the lake: Take a paddle boat, a kayak or a canoe and head out on this scenic lake for 30 minutes. The time will pass much faster than you expected and you won’t believe that 30 minutes is already up. Make sure to go over to the corner edges and looks for fish, and sea creatures (there aren’t real sea creatures, don’t worry – but the kids will love searching for monsters under the sea anyway). Our little guy was on the hunt for fish. For this activity, we let the kids be in charge and went where they wanted to go. It’s a small lake with very pretty views of the village, the Westin hotel, and the downhill trails.

    Mini Golf:
    Have you ever seen a kitten chasing a ball? And you laughed and was filled with joy at just the sight of it? Well, that’s how I felt watching my four-year-old playing mini golf at the Cascade putting course . The good thing about this course is it’s not flat, so it makes it more fun and challenging for adults. As its name implies it’s like a cascade with each level on top of each other. The course is very beautiful and designed with the natural surroundings of the Escarpment as inspiration.  My tip is to go either early morning or late afternoon if you go in the summer time because it gets hot quickly and there is no shade.

    Ice-cream in the Square: 
    Every morning the team at Blue Mountain Resort sets up chairs, umbrellas, and music, along with other activities in the square. We walked around the picturesque village, enjoying ice-cream in the square while listening to music and taking in the view of the mountains. Not an ice-cream fan? Grab a frozen yogurt from Menchie’s instead and relax at your leisure. For this activity, we let the kids be in charge and direct us as to where they wanted to go. There are no cars in the village and they loved the freedom or going from place to place. Their second favourite place to relax was at the base of Blue Mountain by Activity Central. A note about Hatley Scoops, I was pleasantly surprised by the price of the cones. That large two scope cone was only $3.69! I expected it to be a lot more, and honestly one of the best tasting ice-cream. 

    Hike or take a Gondola ride with a picnic at the top of Blue Mountain: 
    This is truly a wonderful way to spend a few hours at Blue Mountain, and I cannot think of a better way to fill up the nostalgia bucket. I got this idea from my friend Kathy who goes to Blue Mountain every year. Don’t worry about having to bring food from home. There is a mini grocery store in Blue Mountain Village, simply stop by on your way to the Gondola, take the Open-Air Gondola up or take one of the hiking trails and relax at the top. Once you are up there you can play Frisbee, card game, walk around and explore the trails, or simply sit down and enjoy your delicious picnic. You are welcome, I know you’ll be thanking me for sharing this little gem with you.

    Plunge! Aquatic Centre: 
    A visit to Blue Mountain Resort is not complete without a visit to Plunge! The difference between Plunge! And the other pools is it offers both indoor and outdoor fun. Great place to let the kids run around on a rainy day, or if it’s too hot outside. This place is pure joy if you have a water baby. Three hours will go by in a flash as the kids go back and forth between the waterslides, the splash park, and the deep pool. There are comfy deck chairs for when you want to take a break, and it’s not as busy as the other pools since there is a fee to get in. It is definitely worth the extra cost. Fair warning, you are going to have a hard time getting them to leave.

    On Saturday morning, Katelyn & I went for a walk around the village. On our way back we stopped and enjoyed the view of the village. The conversation went like this:

    Katelyn : "Now this is what Saturday mornings are supposed to be like!"

    Me: "Don't get too used to it"

    Katelyn : "too late mommy, it's easy to get used to this"

    Is she ever right! For us, being only an hour and a half away this is an ideal staycation destination.

    You may also be interested in our review of Blue Mountain In Winter

  • Wednesday, June 01, 2016 11:41 AM | Claire (Administrator)

    We were lucky to be invited to Blue Mountain Resort for a preview of summer at Blue. As you can probably imagine we had an absolutely glorious time! Whether you go for the thrills or for the chance to relax, this place has got you covered.

    My kids are 8 and 4, at 4 years apart  there are activities that the older one will want to do, that the younger one can’t do. And there may be some activities that the younger one wants to do that the older one doesn’t want to do. In our case, there weren't any activities that our 8-year old didn’t want to do but there were certain activities that the 4-year-old couldn’t do because of the age limitations. The good news is, it is a great opportunity to have some quality time one on one for an hour or two with each child separately.

    There are so many activities to do at Blue Mountain Resort, all you have to do is a bit of research on their website and pick the ones you think best suits your family. There really is something for every type of traveler. We are thrill seekers, but this mama is a bit on the anxious side. I’ve been to Blue Mountain Resort 5 times, only two of them were sponsored, and I am beyond impressed with how much emphasis they put on safety.

    When we were getting ready for cycling there was a family with young kids who were going mountain biking at their bike park. What I learned is that if you are under 18 in order to go downhill biking at Blue, you must first be in full body protective gear (which they have for rent). Secondly, you must do and pass a cycling test before you can go on the downhill trails.  

    Another example of this was when Katelyn wanted to go on the woodlot ropes and we didn’t have the proper shoes, they did not let her on. No exceptions were made which made this Mama very, very happy. It also made me feel much more comfortable going on the Ridge Runner with my four years old. Because I know they take safety so seriously, I was able to relax and just enjoy all the thrills at Blue. Here are some the thrills we participated in:

    Cross Country Cycling at the top of Blue Mountain with daddy:

    This was the 8-year-old’s favourite activity, she especially liked this activity because it was just her and her dad and they got a chance to do something a bit wild together. She was really proud of the fact that she tried something new and that she was able to manage a dirt road with a bit of incline. This was her first time on a cross country trail and it filled up her excitement bucket.

    Hubby liked it because it was a good introduction to mountain biking and a nice transition before trying the downhill trails. The route was very scenic with different points along the way. From the top you can see spectacular views of Collingwood, Georgian Bay, and the resort.

    What to expect: Your little one must be a good at cycling. You can bring your own gear or rent a bike and helmet for $29 for one hour. Go to the activity centre to find out how you can join a tour. Since it was Katelyn’s first time on a cross country trail, we opted to do the one-hour scenic tour with a guide. The actual cycling time is about 30 minutes.

    Turn this activity into something for the whole family!

    Our 4 year old very badly wanted to go with daddy, but he is not yet skilled enough to go on this trail. We biked at the base of the mountain on the trails where he could use his training wheels, and then took Gondola up the top. We explored the trails, enjoyed the fresh breeze and met up with Katelyn and daddy after their tour was over. While at the top the four of us enjoyed a nice picnic. This is a great way to make it into something for the whole family without anyone feeling left out but also having a bit of one-on-one time with each child. I asked a friend of mine who goes to Blue Mountain everyone summer and she gave me this tip about the picnic. It truly is a wonderful way to spend a few hours. And it fills the nostalgia bucket for years to come.

    Adrenaline pumping Ridge Runner :

    This will prove to you that your kids are braver than you think, and also it is entertaining for them to hear you scream. For this activity we paired up again, I went with the 4-year old because I thought he would want to go slower, but alas he was screaming “faster, mommy, faster”! Don’t try to take pictures of yourself going down the ride, just enjoy the ride. You won’t forget your first time on the Ridge Runner.

    Katelyn wanted to go again right away, but my legs were still shaking so she tried to get Daddy to go with her instead. This was a great activity that we were all able to participate in.

    Woodlot Ropes: 
    This is a really fun low ropes course for your little thrill seekers. Your child must be 6 years old to participate in this and make sure you are wearing shoes that are closed at the front and back. It’s challenging but not too difficult for an active eight-year-old. If you find this one too easy, you can also check out the Timber Challenge High Ropes.

    Even thrill seekers need a bit of relaxation so after each activity, we would head to the pool area which is just perfect for families with young kids. We stayed at the Luxurious Westin Trillium House. It felt like we were at a 5-star resort in the Caribbean but it was even better because it was just an hour and a half from home

    The pools in Blue Mountain resort are only 4 feet deep. This is perfect for the little ones and if you are not a great swimmer yourself you don’t have to worry because most adults will be able to stand in the pool. If you want a bit of both, head over to Plunge where you can have your little one in a life jacket in the main pool and your big one can try diving or jump from the rope into the deep pool. In order to go into the deep pool at Plunge! everyone must do a swim test as this pool is 10 feet deep. Lifeguards are on duty at Plunge! But not at the other pools on the property.


    Need a bit of a break?   Located on the main floor of The Westin, the Kids Club is a great place to let the kids explore. There is a wall for building blocks, toys, books, and comfy seating for the adults to relax while the kids do their own things for a little. My kids spent 30 minutes in the Kids club building blocks and playing together while I read a book. Why not just go to the room? I don’t know about you, but I find my kids are so much better together when they are outside, and also this was another 30 minutes where they weren’t sitting in the room watching TV.


    This is just a preview of a few of the things we did over the three days at Blue Mountain Resort. There is so much more that we didn’t do on this trip but will be exploring next time. On our list of must try are Ziplining, High ropes, and rock climbing.

    We like the thrills but we are also big fans of relaxing so we did a bit of both, which I think is the best way to really experience Blue Mountain Resort. Some of the things that filled our buckets and made for some great photo opportunities are in our second post here.

    You may also be interested in our review of Blue Mountain In Winter

  • Tuesday, May 24, 2016 9:09 AM | Sandy

    I’ve always been excited about a bargain, and when I became a mom, finding a bargain garnered almost the same level of euphoric excitement as having Channing Tatum show up at my door and offering to be my dishwasher for the day.

    One of the least exciting things for me is bras. In order for me to find the appropriate bras to wear, I need to find a specialized boutique and get a proper fitting. In the end, the appropriate bars end up costing more than your regular mall brands. I simply just can’t waltz into Victoria’s Secret or La Senza, because these popular brands fit me horribly, and they are more uncomfortable than getting a root canal done, at least with a root canal operation, you get your mouth frozen.

    With my first child, I don’t remember which store it came from, but my nursing bras came from one of the mall maternity stores. They were tolerable, for what it was worth, and they lasted me for the year I was on maternity leave.

    When I became pregnant with my second, I didn’t get a chance to go shopping for nursing bras, and somehow ended up with only 2 sleeper bras by the time the baby came.

    The couple of days I stayed at the hospital postpartum, I had a lot of time to myself with my baby, so I browsed on my phone a lot. Somewhere amongst the hours of browsing, I stumbled across Bravado Designs’ website. I was looking for good nursing bras to purchase. While perusing their website, I saw a small link to their Test Wearer Program. I got curious and clicked on the link. First paragraph was a question: Did you know that we test all of our nursing bras and tanks on hundreds of pregnant and nursing moms?

    No I did not.

    At the bottom of the page it asks: Are you located in the Greater Toronto Area? Yes I am.

    Sign up here. Ok!

    I filled out their online form and sent it through. A few weeks after, I receive an email requesting my attendance for a certain date and time. I replied yes. To be blunt, while I signed up for the program, I actually didn’t really know exactly what I’d signed up for. Today the web page says “Try One On And Take One Home”, but I don’t think that was there when I originally signed up.

    I showed up to my first appointment at their head office in a semi-industrial area near Leslie and York Mills. I walked in, and it’s pleasant, behind the reception desk there’s about 4-5 bras on display, so I know I’m at the right place. It’s a large office, very pleasant atmosphere, and somewhat quiet. I sign in and wait. The receptionist comes over and offers me water, or an assortment of teas, I almost feel that she probably would have offered me a nice spa massage treatment if it wasn’t a formal business appointment that I was there for.

    After a couple of minutes of waiting, I’m greeted by one of the associates. She brings me in through a hallway and into a very tastefully decorated room. She introduces herself, and asks me to try on a garment and takes measurements. Then she brings out a stack of garments for me to try on. She asks me questions regarding the feel of the garment, and how it compared to the other pieces. The session took about an hour, including a 15 mins break to nurse my baby. While I’m trying on these garments, I finally get a clear idea to what exactly I was there for. That day, I was assisting in quality control of a new shipment of bras that just came in from their overseas manufacturer, and they needed to make sure it was on par with their original piece they sent off to make. What better way to make certain their quality was not compromised than to have a live tester trying it out for them, I like that.

    At the end of the session, I’m asked to choose a garment to take home. I choose a nursing tank. I ended up being called in 6 times, and each time I took home a bra of my choosing, a couple of times they even added a gift card on top of the usual incentive because of unique circumstances.

    In a nutshell, the Test Wearer Program brings in real live moms-to-be/nursing moms to test their products for their quality control or product development. In exchange, they offer you a brand new product of your choosing, which they also do a proper fitting on you before taking it home. Their products are super comfortable, and they make you look awesome too. I affectionately named their Bliss bra the “Madonna cone bra” because they really lift your ladies up. If you don’t believe they are that good, go check out their bras in retail stores and you’ll find that their flagship garment comes with a DIY “conversion kit” that converts your nursing bras into regular bras after you’re done nursing, that should tell you how pretty awesome these garments are.

    I loved the whole experience with Bravado Designs, because in exchange for a little bit of my time, I got an entire set of nursing bras for free, which I would have had to shell out $40-60 per piece if I went out and purchase them. Yes, this whole thing was almost as euphoric as Channing Tatum showing up at my door and offering to be my dishwasher for the day.

    If you are a mom-to-be, or a new mom, and you live in the Toronto area, chances are, you’ll qualify to be called in to be a tester. Be aware that you are testing these products in front of people that find your physical and verbal input very valuable. You should be ok with them taking pictures of you (neck down only, no face) in their garment. You should also be ok with them making adjustments to the garment while you are wearing it, so if you don’t like the idea of people touching you in that area, don’t sign up. On “unique circumstances” days, you might end up standing in front of a dozen people (men and women) while they evaluate and have a corporate discussion of the garment you are wearing right in front of you. In my opinion, I found each appointment fun, the associates were very friendly, and extremely respectful. For me, I would do this all over again if I’m having more babies, but I’m not, so I share this with the rest of you so that you can benefit if you are comfortable with being a “model” for a quality nursing garment company.  

    Sandy Lynch is an entrepreneur, and mother of 2 strong willed girls. To sign up for the Bravado Test Wearer Program, go to

  • Friday, May 13, 2016 9:32 PM | Sandy

    Call me negative Nancy if you will, but I’ve always found celebrating a Hallmark holiday to be unnecessary, and a little bit useless, and quite a waste of money. I think this comes from growing up being taught that appreciating your family and loved ones shouldn’t be dictated by one day, but rather, should be on a consistent basis. Buying material things is a nice gesture, but sometimes it’s more meaningful through other ways.

    So you’d think then that I wouldn’t have celebrated mother’s day last weekend, right? Quite contrary, being the hypocrite that I am, this year, I thought perhaps I should embrace this Hallmark holiday, and make an attempt to be celebrated as a mother. So I made a declaration a few days before that we should do something. My parents live with us, so naturally, this plan also involved my mother.


    I asked my mother what we should do, considering she’s so used to a simple acknowledgement on mother’s day, she merely shrugged and said “I don’t know, maybe we go eat?” Typical answer, I think it’s safe to say it’s a common thing among the Chinese culture, food always gets priority over a lot of things, this is no different.


    So my mother and I agree on going out for a nice lunch with everyone. But we decide that Sunday would not be a good day, so we decide to go on Saturday instead.


    So here I was, for whatever reason, I’ve decided that I want to celebrate, embrace, and be acknowledged as a mother, I started looking forward to a nice lunch on Saturday, and a relaxing day on Sunday.


    This is what I envisioned my weekend would be like:


    This is what felt like it went down:



    Saturday, my husband could not join us for lunch due to business, but I had my parents, my aunt, and my cousins with us for lunch, so I thought I would get to enjoy my meal. Typically, I would, because my parents and my aunt would have no problems keeping my 4.5 year old entertained, but for whatever reason, she decides, of all days, that she could only eat her lunch if I fed it to her. Then I’ve got my 9 months old, who does need a little assistance in eating food. She can feed herself pretty good, but there are some dishes that required a little help in feeding. Here I was, left hand feeding my 9 months old, and right hand feeding my 4.5 year old, during their chewing, I’m trying to feed myself.


    Rest of Saturday afternoon, my parents and I do our best to entertain the girls, my older one more whiny than other days, every 2 mins is either “I’m hungry” or “I’m thirsty”, which I know, she was neither hungry or thirsty…and my 9 months old is antsy as well, because my older one is and she mimics her older sister’s emotions…


    Saturday night, when the girls went to bed, I think to myself “There’s still tomorrow”…nope, not when you have a 9 month old…she decides 4am was the right time to wake up, instead of her usual 5am, maybe she knew I needed that extra love for mother’s day. My 4.5 year old wakes up at her usual 7am, she give me a hug, wishes me a happy mother’s day, then proceeds to have a meltdown, all because I would not agree to letting her eat her breakfast in front of the TV.


    Let’s just say the rest of the morning was just as dramatic.


    For lunch, we had a good bbq meal, nothing crazy. Afterwards, I left the house with my mother to take my husband’s car to its dealership to leave it for service the following day. I took my 9 months old along, I figured the drive there and back would induce a nice hour long sleep for her…well, wouldn’t you know, we had to stop at a Tim’s for a layover because she had her own meltdown, which was very unusual…nevertheless, my mom and I spent two hours at Tim’s just sipping our iced capp and entertaining my daughter…quite honestly, that was considered extremely relaxing!


    By the time I came home it was 6pm, did a quick bath, and feeding for the 9 months old, and off to bed for her at 7pm. My 4.5 year old, on the other hand…my husband’s attempt in putting her to bed failed miserably, she was really in one of her moods, I had no choice but to take over…finally at 9pm, she was out for the night…


    As for me, I spent the rest of the night doing laundry…


    So, Happy Mother’s day to me! Lol!

    Sandy Lynch is an entrepreneur, and a mother of 2 head strong girls.

  • Tuesday, May 03, 2016 1:14 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    November 27th, 2015 - A Journal entry.

    Today was a magnificent day in every way. It started off with talking and breathing my way out of an anxiety attack.

    It's been just an amazing week all around. A bit stressful at times, and emotionally exhausting because of worrying about hubby.

    We held our 4th annual conference with a focus on supporting families who have spent time in the NICU. The conference featured amazing speakers and doctors. We even had the Pediatrician in charge of Mount Sinai Hospital at the event. Kudos to amazing staff and committee members and volunteers who made the day spectacular. I'm still getting emails from people about just how much the event impacted their personal and professional life.

    Ended the week off with a mentor-ship lunch with Kirstine Stewart who is the VP of Media, Twitter Canada.  She is an incredible woman and it was an amazing opportunity.   7 other women & I won our chance to be there by submitting an application explaining why it is ‪#‎ourturn‬.

    I could have missed it today if I had allowed my anxiety to take over. I started feeling like I couldn't breathe, and panic started to slowly creep in. But, I talked myself out of it and literally counted down from for 10 to 1 over and over for 10 kilometres on the highway. It was the only way I could drive and make it there and not miss the meeting and this incredible opportunity. Logically my brain was able to realize that I can, in fact, breathe if I can count. I'm all for logic in these situations.

    At first, I felt silly, here I am talking to myself on the highway in what is supposed to be an incredible day. Why did this happen today? I have no idea. It's hard to know what I was thinking about in my subconscious.

    The important thing is that I kicked anxiety in the butt today. Yup. Awesome, awesome day.

    What I've learned since November 27th is that self-care is very, very important for me.  In taking care of my work, my kids, and my marriage I often leave taking care of myself as a last resort.

    I've since then re-prioritized and put taking care of myself first.  Because I really can't be good at take care of all the other people I love if I am not at my best.

  • Friday, April 29, 2016 12:27 AM | Sandy

    I have a love/hate relationship with my pediatrician. I love him because he's blunt. I hate him because he's blunt. I hate him because he keeps me in check for being the overly hormone charged paranoia of a mom when I don’t need to be. But, overall I love him most of the times, until he tells me I'm an idiot (not verbatim, but I like to use my colorful interpretation for dramatic purposes). One of the things I loved was his encouragement to incorporate "baby led weaning" when our first child reached solid food stage. That was 4 years ago.

    4 years later, I'm going through the same milestones with our second. It wasn’t until my first was in her toddler years that I realized I was doing a form of baby led weaning, and we loved the process. What I did with our first, I'm doing it again with our second.

    What is baby led weaning? Simply put, it's the process of letting your child feed themselves from the get go.

    I'm not a health professional, so I don't want to get into the technicalities. If you think that it might interest you, I would suggest that you discuss it with your pediatrician.

    When I first heard about it from my pediatrician, he didn’t specifically use the term “baby led weaning”, what he had suggested was that when my daughter was showing signs that she was developing her pincer grasp, to offer her items such as cheerios that she could grab onto, and she’ll put into her mouth. When I asked him about whether that was safe, his answer was pretty much “Use your common sense”. What he meant was, don’t give her anything that would block her up, but if she coughs, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. What I was told was when my child coughs, she’s trying to “figure it out”, and that’s actually good, because she’s utilizing those muscles to help her become a better eater. Again, I don’t want to get too technical, best to speak with your health professional if you want to give it a go.

    I remembered I liked the idea that my baby would be able to feed herself at such a young age. As soon as I noticed she’d started her pincer grasp, I’d given her cheerios. Once she got the hang of it, and it was very quick, I started giving her other items.

    I don’t recall what I’d given her after cheerios, but I know that by the time she was 8 months old, I’d stopped making purees. She’d enjoyed feeding herself so much, that she’d fight me on the mush I tried giving her. She was more interested in what she could grab and eat than have anyone feed her. Before having our baby, I’d read up on the dreadfulness of making meat purees, and how awful they can taste. By incorporating baby led weaning, I did not have to make any meat purees. I’d cut up very tender pieces of meat such as chicken leg meat and give it to her.

    One of the nicest things with baby led weaning is that you get to enjoy your meal while your baby is super amused with her own meal. However, with the nice comes with the not so nice. The not so nice part is your baby, left to her own device to feed herself, is not a very considerate little human being in keeping everything tiny and clean. Half goes in, half goes everywhere else, great if you have a dog that seizes the opportunity to help clean up, not so great if you don’t have one and have to clean it up yourself.

    Other benefits of this process included not having to pack separate containers of food for your baby if you are going out. She ate everything I ate, just in much tinier pieces.

    For anyone that wants to give this a go, I absolutely encourage it, it’ll be fun to watch your baby, and it’ll provide hours of entertainment for your baby…ok, I’m exaggerating about the hours, maybe half hour at best, but at least that gives you some “me” time to have a somewhat relaxing bite to eat.

    If you decide to give this a go, I also recommend carrying a thick skin with you at all times, because you’ll receive attention with your awesome eater, and these attention come in both good and bad. With our first, she was capable of eating whole blueberries by the time she was 10 months old, I did not have to split it in half. I’d lost count on the number of times I’d been chastised by random strangers, getting yelled at for being an irresponsible lazy mom. I’ve also lost count on the number of times random moms would comment on how “talented” my baby was. I always make an effort to encourage the moms that are in awe to give their own baby the tools to develop their self-feeding skills. Some are excited by it, some shake their head for fear they might hurt their child. At the end of the day, it’s your choice on how you want to help your child pursue their feeding independence. Use your instinct, and yes, do use common sense and always be aware of what your child is doing while they're feeding themselves. For us, we like it, and we’re currently doing it again with our second.

    Sandy Lynch is an entrepreneur, and a mother of two strong-willed daughters

  • Tuesday, April 19, 2016 9:13 PM | Sandy

    I’m overall a pretty happy person, which is why some find it ironic when they discover I live with chronic depression. I was formally diagnosed with chronic depression in high school, in grade 9. My mother told me that she recalls I’d displayed behaviour that matched signs of depression as early as grade 1. Pretty much, to my knowledge, I’ve been living with depression 85% of my life, and that percentage grows as I age.


    Perhaps I’ll go more into details a little later what I go through, and how I coped with postpartum when I had my 2 babies, but in this post, I really feel the need to discuss what it’s like to solo parent for me, because I’d just finished a 10 day solo parenting gig, and I’m about to enter another set of solo parenting, this time for 3 days.


    We have 2 girls, K, 4.5 year old, and R, 8 months. K is pretty self-sufficient nowadays, however, she’s still coping with having to share mom time with her younger sister. She also recently became a moody “teenager” and she’s giving me insight on what it’ll be like when real teen years hits, and it’s not something I’m looking forward to, but at least I can start mentally preparing. R pretty much can’t do anything at the moment, except eat, sleep, smile and poop.


    My husband works for a company that has its head office in California. Part of his work requires that he travels to head office every so often, as well as across Canada to visit his clients. We’re very blessed to have my parents stay with us half the year, but the other half, is the half that most of us don’t want to be in Canada for anyways, yup, winter. Therefore, when my husband is away in the winter, I’m on my own.


    I think everyone can agree with me that schlepping any amount of children during the winter months is a pain, I’m definitely no different in that line of thinking.


    I’m an expert in my own mental health. Now, I cannot speak for anyone else, and I won’t speak for anyone else, because I’m not a health professional, and I cannot tell you whether what I go through is the same for another person, but I am pretty good at self-diagnosis. Considering I’ve lived with it most of my life, I’ve gone through many challenges, as well as many forms of treatments to understand and be aware of certain factors that would trigger a relapse. I’ve also become pretty good at identifying certain signs that tells me I’m relapsing and that I need to do something about it. It works most of the times, but every so often I fall, and when I do, I fall pretty hard.


    I’m in a fairly acceptable spot at the moment. While during pregnancy, I was on Cipralex, and up until R was about 6 months. That makes me currently off of medication for about a little over 2 months. I don’t like being on meds, partly because I’m stubborn, but also because I find that I feel differently when I’m on meds vs when I’m not. There’s pros and cons to both, but my preference is to not be on it, but I will go back on it if I have a serious relapse.


    One of the biggest contributing factors that triggers me is lack of companionship. That’s not to say I’m dependent on people like my spouse, that I cannot make a decision unless my husband is present. Quite the opposite, I’m fairly headstrong, and I enjoy my independence. What I mean by companionship is, I enjoy human interactions. I’m not a homebody, I definitely didn’t take after my mom. She can hermit herself for days and be perfectly content, whereas I take after my dad, if he doesn’t at least go outside once a day and talk to someone, anyone, he gets pretty antsy. I’m like my father. I also think that because both my father and I have chronic depression, being full of companionship is our checkpoint to keep us above water.


    So while my husband was gone for 10 days, that’s exactly what I did, I surrounded myself with lots of companionship, some are very much artificial, and some are not. An example of an artificial companionship, is going to the mall, and just chatting it up with the barista at Starbucks, or simply sit in the food court, and exchange smiles with those who pass by.


    If you ask my good friends, they’ll tell you that I’m the type of person that enjoys spontaneity, I like adventures on a whim. However, not for the 10 days I’m alone with the girls. I plan well ahead to keep companionship at a maximum, I have no time for being lonely which can often lead my brain to go into peculiar places of thoughts.


    As soon as I know I’m scheduled to solo parent, I let my friends know the dates. A handful of my friends are aware of my conditions, and they know they play a vital part in my life in keeping me healthy. Most of the time it doesn’t take much, simply by being available for a little emotional support actually makes a big difference for me. Some of my friends that have known me longer know to automatically make plans with me such as “I’ll come by Tuesday afternoon, from 5-9pm for you to boss around as you please, put me in your schedule.” Other friends that aren’t as ‘experienced’ with me, I’ll called and tell them that I need company, and they’ll make arrangements with me to meet up, or come by. One of my friend spent the entire Saturday afternoon keeping K entertained at Chuck E Cheese, while I sat at the booth hanging out with R, and that was a big deal for me, it was “relaxing”!


    I don’t really know what other moms without chronic depression go through when they need to solo parent. I think it’s probably similar feelings as I go through, perhaps on a slightly less intense level, but it’s still tough and it’s still pretty lonely. For me, I don’t try to accomplish everything, in fact, I focus on just a couple of things a day, and if I get them done, then I’m good. As long as me and my girls are ok, everything else can wait. Like the mess in the living room.


    I don’t know how everyone manages their mental health challenges, but if you have a friend that deals with mental health challenges, especially if she’s a mom with young ones, I think the best thing you can do is be present to that friend. Instead of “Let me know if you need anything”, be proactive and take action to make plans with them. A lot of times, you don’t really need to find the right words to say, being there and keeping good company makes the world of a difference, I know it does for me. It's really the equivalent of just hanging out. When this happens, it doesn’t make solo parenting as anxious.



  • Sunday, April 17, 2016 1:11 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    The stunning RIU Palace St. Martin is located at the base of the mountain overlooking Anse Marcel Bay. Surrounded by mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, this is one of the most luxurious resorts on the island. The RIU Place St. Martin is the only all-inclusive hotel on the French side of the island, located on the beautiful Anse Marcel Beach. Anse Marcel is a perfect spot for families with of all ages, and specifically with young children because the bay is protected on both sides. Because it’s protected on both sides the water is very calm, makes for a fun day of swimming in the ocean.

    The Beach

    On a bright and sunshiny day, this place is a dream come true. Beautiful clear water, different shades of blue, you can either go for a dip, enjoy the variety of motorized sports options available, or go for a walk with drink in hand feel the soft sand below your feet and the warm water along your angles as you take in all the beauty that is Anse Marcel Beach. We visited 9 beaches in St. Martin and this was our second favourite, the first being on Pinel Island.

    The Pool

    We are beach people, and yet we found ourselves spending almost a whole day at the pool. The Pool at RIU Palace St. Martin is just amazing for families with young children. A long windy pool, starting with a shallow end and flowing along the deep end with hot tubs strategically placed throughout the length of the pool. It’s perfect for laying down under the canopy with a drink and book while the little ones play a few inches away from you in the warm shallow water. Nothing I say can rival the excitement of a four-year-old who has fallen in love with the water at RIU Palace, though. Here is what our picky little guy thought.

    The Kids Club

    The kids club and everyone at the resort does a great job of getting the kids engaged and having fun. The kids club manager puts together a program of activities and they are out and about the resort for most of the day unless it's raining. On this particular day, the kids were doing a treasure hunt so they got all dressed up in costumes and had their face painted, then they did a parade around the pool area. There is also pool time in the afternoon, but it's not your average pool play. The entire pool area comes alive with music, and enjoyment for kids of all ages. 

    What to expect

    There are no ocean view rooms on this property, according to the manager this was done to make the entire resorts as accessible as possible. If you need to get back to your room for any reason you can easily get to it in a few mins walk from anywhere on the resort. So most of the rooms have this beautiful courtyard view.

    Some of the rooms have a lagoon view, if you are a family with young children you will be placed on the second floor for safety reasons. I loved that the resort thinks about both the comfort and safety of guests in room placements.

    The rooms

    All the rooms are equipped with everything you need to have a relaxing vacation. Want to head back to your room in the evenings and have a drink? No need to go down to the lobby bar, all the rooms have a mini bar with premium brand drinks for your pleasure.

    If you want additional privacy you can upgrade to a family suite which has a sliding door. The adults can stay up without fear of waking up the little ones. No need to go to bed at 8pm if you don't want to.

    If you are not upgrading room, there is also the option of using the patio area to relax in the evenings.

    What she liked

    I cannot get over the kids club! The staff was amazing with the kids, so much so that the wanted to go back in the afternoon. This is a first for our kids, usually, I am dropping them off and hoping I’ll get an hour if I’m lucky. This was the first time our 4-year-old went to the kids club without needing to pulled off my legs. This means this mama could explore or relax at my leisure or spend some quality time with hubby without the kids. I also liked that there were activities to do outside the resort if you want to stroll around the marina and shops.

    What he liked

    He liked the seclusion of the beach, and the privacy. Even though it’s a public beach it’s hard to access and the RIU property set up their own area with chairs umbrellas and everything you need to relax. He also liked that nothing is extra here, all your premium brand drinks, and whatever is offered at the resort is fully included in the all inclusive package.

    What they liked

    If you watched the video above you’ll know that the 4-year-old loved the pool! He just couldn’t get enough of it. Without a doubt, this was his happy place.

    The 8-year-old loved the food, and so did I as a matter of fact. Lots of healthy options to choose from and everything was delicious! Finger licking good to be exact.

    We enjoyed this resort and think it's an excellent option for families with young children. 

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  • Thursday, April 14, 2016 6:16 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    My family and I spent 3 days and 2 nights at The Fern Resort in Orillia in the summer of 2015. We won the getaway through a draw LWAB had, which is why we decided to go despite the fact that it just 2 adults and a 7-month-old baby. We had an absolute blast and even my daughter enjoyed the new scenery and experiences, which led to 3 successful naps and a great night’s sleep for everyone.

    Picture an all-inclusive resort aimed especially for families with children that's exactly who Fern Resort is. Tucked way back down along a scenic road, the resort is full of activities to keep kids entertained all day long, as well as keep parents engaged and the whole family discovering new exciting activities.

    What to Do

    Although our baby was only 7 months old, we decided to make the most out of our mini vacation (like most people with a new baby, we haven’t been out in a while). There are paths leading all around the resort, making it very easy to navigate around and get to different activities. There is a schedule of events and times at the front desk that changes daily.

    From tennis and rock climbing to archery and zorbing, there is something for everyone. We climbed a big wooden playground (with the baby in our arms) and watched the older kids go down the long zip line. We also saw on the schedule that there was a time allotted for arts and crafts. My husband held our daughter and watched me jump on 1 of the 2 rectangular trampolines outside in a netted house. We also played some mini golf and had the baby help us hold the club.

    The most fun was when we did the ropes course. We took turns getting harnessed up (one of us stayed on the ground and watched with the baby) and climbed a long wooden pole up to the logs. The challenge was to make your way across on logs that spin while holding your body weight up by hanging ropes. It tested strength, endurance, and especially my fear of heights. It was amazing!

    There is a big area for outdoor swimming pools equipped with cute mini loungers, as well as a beach area. Unfortunately, the day we were ready to go to the pool it was chilly and raining, so we opted for the indoor pool instead. There was also a sauna and a hot tub nearby as well. There is plenty of space to use the stroller anywhere you go; some people even made sure to bring a stroller so their baby could take their naps in it while the older kids continued their activities so they didn’t have to go back to the room. If you don’t feel like walking through the resort, you can always rent one of the many vehicles on wheels they have available: bicycles, tricycle, 4 wheel jeeps, etc.

    Where to Stay

    There are many options on the resort when it comes to accommodations. We stayed in a regular room in a 2 story building. Although a little outdate, the room was a good size and we were provided a small metal crib that is low to the grounds. I made sure to bring her crib sheet with us to help with sleeping in an unfamiliar place so she would have a familiar scent (the mattress is smaller than a crib mattress, but a good size and would fit any baby under at least 2 comfortably). The accommodations, bedding, and amenities are far from spectacular, but they did the job and everyone got a good sleep.

    There are also cottages, villas, and private areas to stay in, which obviously differ in price depending on the level of luxury you are looking for.

    The People

    It surprised us that most of the people working at the resort were high school seniors, graduates, and young university/college students. They made up most of the wait staff in the dining area, as well as the babysitting services and play village. Refreshingly, the fact that they are younger actually made a huge difference in our experience; they were extremely respectful, helpful, friendly, and great with little ones. They were knowledgeable about the resort, their jobs, and went above and beyond to make sure our stay was fun and comfortable.

    Dining and Things to Make your Visit Easier

    There is one main house where the front desk and registration is, as well as the dining area. For the duration of our stay, we were assigned to the same table every time so it was never a question of where to sit or if there is space, we just came in, found our table which the clean and comfortable high chair (with a big tray and bib provided) and started getting ready for our meal.

    There were lots of choices of food, and we were pleased to find many healthy options: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as plain steamed veggies that our baby enjoyed IMMENSELY. Although we tried our best to clean up after her, as you can imagine, the floor was a mess. Not once were we made to feel like cleaning up after her was a hassle and our waitress smiled, talked, and laughed with her a lot.

    Not too far from the main building is a HUGE play village where you can drop your kids off (young or old) and RECEs will look after them as they play, climb, ride tricycles, etc., if you want some time along to explore with your partner or just focus on one child at a time. They also offer babysitting services after hours in a common area, as well as in your room for $8/hour. We didn’t take advantage of any of the babysittings since she was so young and still breastfeeding and very much attached to mommy, not to mention that we have never left her with anyone by that point yet.

    When to Go

    After talking to the staff and a few ‘regular’s at the resort, we were told that it’s a lot more fun and there are much more activities in the summer than winter. Although there are some fun winter activities, almost everyone recommended coming in the summer.

    The best part of it all is that ALL of the activities I mentioned and some I didn’t (aside from the private in-room babysitting and maybe some spa packages that we didn’t look into) are fully included in your stay! No worrying about how much money you should spend, carrying around money, or kids nagging you to buy them things. You can just relax and enjoy your time away with your family.

    Reviewed by Mary Hutcheon who lives in Georgina, Canada.

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