This blog is about life with a baby. It's not always you 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.

We encourage you to share your experiences - by sharing your experiences and commenting on other posts, you may be helping other moms.
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2016 11:29 AM | claire (Administrator)

    When we first decided to visit BC, I was looking at a brochure about the town of Golden, and I saw an image of a hiker standing over in front of a glacier with the heading "Not all those who wander are lost." I knew then I had to make a stop that was a bit off the beaten path.

    When I think of our visit to Golden, BC the phrase Nothing Ordinary comes to mind. Located in a sweet spot where it's close to 6 National Parks you have a lot of options if you are making Golden, BC your base for a few days.


    There are lots of accommodation options from the large Kicking Horse resort to cozy family cottages. We stayed at the Hillside Lodge & Chalets located 13 kilometres west of Golden in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Hillside is known for friendly hospitality and spectacular views with 20 acres of quiet, pristine wilderness to enjoy. Be sure to take the trail directly off the property and explore along the river.

    Whether you are strolling around downtown, mountain biking at Kicking Horse Resort, or paddling the Columbia Wetlands the options in this area really do feel limitless. Some of our favourite things to do with the kids are listed below.


    Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge

    Get your favourite treat and stroll around downtown Golden. The town square is very picturesque. We walked along the trail that led to the Kicking Horse River Pedestrian Bridge, the longest freestanding timber frame bridge in Canada. In the summer there is often a free concert in the square on alternate Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Go to the movie theatre and get the most delicious ice cream! Yum.



    The World's Largest Paddle & Columbia Wetlands

    With many paddle options to choose from, you can explore the beauty of the Columbia River with the Columbia Wetlands Adventures. From self-guided canoe or kayak trips to a guided float tours, you can explore the heart of the wetlands. The fave here was the dock with interpretative boardwalk, suspension bridge, and pirate ship. We all spent over an hour just exploring this little area.




    Kicking Horse Resort

    You really have to allocate at least 6 hours to exploring at Kicking Horse Resort. If you we had more time in the area we would have spent the whole day.

    We started the day off with an early morning guided visit to see Boo, the resident Grizzly bear who lives in the Grizzly Habitat the resort. The habitat is the largest in the world with over 20 acres and was created to prevent the orphaned bear named Boo from getting euthanized, as that was the custom for orphaned bears at the time. The interpretive tour was a one of a kind opportunity to see Boo up close in his habitat and learn more about grizzlies.



    After our tour, we took the Golden Eagle Express Gondola to the top of the mountain. At 7,700 feet above sea level, we stepped off the Gondola to another world. One that is definitely off the beaten path. Here you will see gorgeous panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies looking over five National Parks. We explored at our own pace soaking in the majesty of the place and explored along the CPR Ridge Trail. There are many hiking options, and if we had more time, we would have done the Via Ferrata. Lots of very safe and easy walks for families with little ones.




    After giving our camera a workout and exploring as much as we could with the kids, we stopped in at the Eagle's Eye Restaurant for lunch. The food was delicious to the point of our five-year-old licking his bowl. On the menu, you'll find Salmon, Buffalo, Elk and other native specialties. We had the Chef's special for the day which was a Buffalo sandwich and Bison vegetable soup. The views from the restaurant are spectacular, and you'll find yourself lingering.  



    Eventually, and very reluctantly we took the Gondola back down as we were looking forward to hiking the afternoon away.  There are many options for hiking close to Golden; we decided to Yoho National Park as it's often described as a hiker's paradise. With over 400km of trails, it was hard to choose, but we decided to Explore Wapta Falls. With a 5 and 9-year-old traveling with us, we felt it was the best fit. The highlight is the at 98 feet high and 490 feet wide it's quite impressive and well worth the 2-hour hike.


    Golden, British Columbia exceeded all our expectations.  While summer is a gorgeous time to visit, the kicking horse mountain is known as a gem for snow lovers as well. 

  • Friday, September 30, 2016 10:11 PM | Sandy (Administrator)

    My best friend came back to Canada a month ago to have her baby. As I’m writing this post, she’s in active labour, but we’re not sure when she’ll officially deliver. She's much earlier than her actual due date, which she was originally told would be mid October. She’s trying to hold out until her husband arrives tonight, but who knows if she can or can’t, I highly doubt it, but you never know right? As my physician whom delivered my first child gently said to my husband back on October 30, 2011 at 11:05pm “The baby will come out when the baby is ready.”, which was in response to his radical demand that our first born be dragged out, if needed be, prior to midnight, because he didn’t want a Halloween baby. Heaven forbid if he did, right? Thankfully, his “worst nightmare” didn’t come true, our first born was delivered at 11:35pm, with lots of time to spare!

    This past month spent with my bestie, I think, and I hope, that I’ve been the support she needed in her last leg of her pregnancy journey. We talked every day, and I spent as much time as I could with her. She asked a lot of questions regarding anything and everything. Some things I remember very vividly, as if it had just happened yesterday, then there were other things I’d forgotten. To be quite blunt, I’d forgotten a lot of being a new and expectant mom, and it wasn’t even that long ago!

    As soon as I reconnected with my bestie, I developed “phantom pregnancy”, for real! Ok, so maybe I’m super exaggerating and just using it as an excuse to join in on the cravings, which, I did of course. No phantom pregnancy, just pure personal gluttony at play, but it was fun for the short time, thankfully she’s delivering today, I think.


    The bombardment of questions she had for me, might have seemed like an annoyance to the outsider, because they were a lot of times the same questions being asked, but just in a rephrased version. I reminded myself that I was once in her super-tight-fitting-because-of-crazy-pregnancy-bloating-shoes too.

    If you’re the type to be naturally anxious and carry a lot of worry, no amount of reassurance from anyone that’s gone through what you’re about to go through can help, and that’s because your journey is not the same as anyone else, not even your mom. Even if you’re not naturally anxious, being a first time mom makes you that way, why? Because you’re creating a human in your belly, that’s a freaking big deal, and I’m sure every mother wants it cooked “just perfect”! You also get anxious because you have no control over certain factors of your pregnancy, things like Group B Strep, Diabetes, etc…they all seem very scary, because they come with certain risks.

    As much as I tried to answer my bestie her questions of what I went through, I would always gently remind her that she must not use my examples as benchmarks for what she will go through herself. I told her all I was doing was simply offering my totally non-medically endorsed opinions, and that she should consult a health professional if she’s ever in doubt.

    Throughout the whole process, I also stress to her, that it’s ok to listen to others opinions, but they are just that, opinions. She asks me for my guidance and advice, and I tell her that my only advice is to not take everyone’s advice as her own if she doesn’t feel they are in line with her choices and thoughts. Other people’s experiences and life choices are not the ultimate answer or solutions to her questions. When her baby arrives, she will be in many situations where she’ll have to take a stand, even from her own mother.  There are no judgments needed in any situation. Yes, we each have our own opinions, but we are not to shame each other for the choices we make. Unless it is a safety issue, I’m in no position to tell her what she is doing is wrong. I’m merely there to offer my viewpoints, and that’s it.


    I’m going to be an auntie tonight or tomorrow, either way, the only thing my bestie and her husband needs to know is that their child is perfect the way he is!

  • Thursday, September 29, 2016 9:35 AM | claire (Administrator)

    We spent three days and two nights at the Panorama Mountain Resort in the mountain town of Panorama, BC.  Situated in Purcell Mountains range with views of the Rocky Mountains it's approximately 3.5 hours from Calgary airport. Be sure to take the scenic route through Banff and Kootenay National Parks, there are many lookouts and places to stop for a picnic along the way.

    The resort does an excellent job of making your stay enjoyable and having activities for kids of all ages. We were in a two bedroom suite with a master en-suite in the upper village. There were many kids activities in the kid's zone including bouncy castles, EuroBungy, and a rock climbing wall.



    The gems of this place in summer is the pools!

    The kids had a great time in the pools. The large main pool is kept at around 32% which made it comfortable for kids to spend a longer time in it. My kids spent most of their times going on the two huge water-slides that ended in the cooler pool.



    You'll want to take the gondola up for an extraordinary Yoga experience - The Mountain Yoga program is a great way to start the day. Surrounded by the beauty and majesty of the mountains, it's hard not to meditate and be present in the moment. You'll also find many many hiking trails of varying intensity. Go up to the top and explore or just sit with a coffee and enjoy the view.



    No matter where you are on the property, you can see that there is a lot of thought that put into the comfort of the guests. The village is designed in a way that makes it easy to get around. Life jackets are readily available by the pools. There are a lot of activities available throughout the day both free and paid, and it's clearly outlined which are free and which are extra costs.

    Then there are little things in the rooms like the hooks around the fireplace for hanging cold ski wear, the family centre with various games and DVDs, and a TV in every room so we could all choose what we wanted to watch. There were lots of little things that made a huge difference.



    Our favourite family activity was a walk along the river followed by the family smores and sing-along party. Many places of tried to do this activity and Panorama Mountain Resort has perfected it. The cost was only $2 which gave your a plate, napkins, and all the supplies you need to make your smores. There were staff and volunteers available to help the little ones and also controlled and maintained the area around the fire. I like that the activity had a specific start and end time and was structured. The staff and volunteers were very friendly and did a great job of getting the kids involved in the sing-along.

    This was one of the most relaxing places we visited on the trip. Once we arrived and parked we didn't use our car again until it was time to leave. The village has a great variety of restaurants, retail shop, pubs and cafés - everything you need.

    As much fun as we had in summer, their peak time is actually winter. I can't wait to go back and explore this beautiful and relaxing resort with the family for a winter wonderland getaway. Take a look at their website for winter packages, and you'll see what I mean.


  • Friday, September 16, 2016 8:57 AM | claire (Administrator)

    We absolutely loved that we didn’t have to leave the room if we didn’t have to. This would be a great place for a honeymoon, or special event celebration. It really is like Valentine’s Day every day at Couples Resort.

    The website does not do justice to how stunning the property really is. We were in the Masters and even though I checked out the pictures on the website I was stunned and thrilled with the actual reality of it. The rooms in the Masters are equipped with a steam room, indoor Jacuzzi, and your own private outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the lake. I LOVED the privacy that this allowed.

    The only reason we did end of leaving our cozy room was the service. We really enjoyed the dinner service. It was great to see the hubby all dressed up; a rare sight really.   Last time he had to follow a dress code was at a friend’s wedding a few years ago.   It was a great opportunity for me to get all dressed up too. Even though we go out frequently on dates, we both put in the extra effort here and the feeling was almost glamorous. It certainly added to the magic of the night.



    Dinner, as to be expected, was scrumptious! Currently there is no corkage fee so you can bring your own wine. We brought our bottle an hour before our reservation and asked the Maître d’ to open it so it could breathe a bit before dinner. If you plan to bring red wine with you, I’d recommend you do this. The staff is incredibly accommodating.

     The location was absolutely perfect! The resort is a 5 minute drive from Algonquin Park. If you love to ski, this is just icing on the cake. The resort has a great relationship with the park and provided us with permits for entering and parking. 


     couples resort food


    They also have everything you can think of to make your winter getaway amazing. They had skates, skis, snowshoes – they even had clothing. So if you didn’t bring your snow pants, or winter boots all you have to do is go to the activity centre between 8 and 5, and they’ll get you whatever you need.

    The staff here all take great pride in helping you with whatever you need to make your stay wonderful.

    Our first impression was that this place is stunning! Our last impression upon leaving is that this place is magical and we both still feel this way. We cannot wait to go back!




    For more info on the Couples Resort, check out their website: http://www.couplesresort.ca


  • Thursday, September 15, 2016 9:12 PM | Sandy (Administrator)

    A few weeks ago, my almost 5 year old made a statement one afternoon:

    “Mom, my tooth hurts.”

    The statement didn’t mean anything to me at that very moment, because she’d made similar statements such as “my bellybutton hurts”, “my fingernail hurts” or “my hair hurts” on a daily basis, all without any indication that she’s in actual pain.

    So I simply said to her:

    “I’m sorry to hear that, is there anything I can do to make you feel better?”

    She said:

    “Nothing”

    And that was that.

    That very evening, my husband and my daughter came to me and showed me that one of her bottom tooth was loose.

    She was going to loose her tooth, my girl is growing up.

    This actually had me in a little bit of a panic. Not yet 5, and she’s about to lose her first tooth, was that even normal?

    I took the query to our sister Facebook Group “Managing The Motherload” and asked whether it was “normal”, and the consensus was that it is a tad early, but it happens. I emailed our pediatric dentist just to be sure, and they also confirmed that it was ok, but if I was indeed worried, I should make an appointment and have them take a look.

    Following day, my daughter didn’t eat much breakfast, because she said each bite was a little bit painful for her, so I let her be.

    We proceed to head to her summer day camp, and I dropped her off, kissed her good day, and went about my day.

    I came back at 4:00pm in the afternoon to pick her up, and as soon as she saw me, she came running at me, with the widest of smiles.

    There, I saw, right in front of my eyes, a gap.

    She’d lost her tooth that day.


    That was quick!

    Well, any concern of whether I needed to take her to our pediatric dentist was no longer a concern, because there was no tooth to be had for examination anyways!

    I don’t recall losing my baby teeth that quick, I’d remembered each darn thing would linger in my mouth in what seemed to be an eternity before my father had to intervene with his mighty muscles (or what seemed like mighty muscles at the time), and pulled it out for me. Mind you, I don't think I was as brave as my daughter, I was always very squeamish with them.

    So naturally, I wanted to know how she lost her tooth.

    The response I got was not what I had expected:

    “Oh mommy, I just put my fingers right in there and pull it right out, like this!” She proceeds to do a very dramatic re-enactment of how she did it.

    I said the only thing that I could think of when she told me what she did:

    “Oh wow, you go girl!”

    You go girl indeed!

    That night, we put her tooth under her pillow, and the tooth fairy paid her a visit with a brand new toothbrush, and $5.00.


    Since her first tooth loss weeks ago, she’s been knocking at the other tooth. I guess her determination paid off, because for the past 2 days, she’s come to me, mouth wide open while wiggling at it madly. That tooth, if it wasn’t meant to be lost for a while, was certainly expedited by my daughter’s obsession. Last night she spent a good half an hour trying to pull it out herself. Tonight, she’d spent over an hour trying to pull that thing out. Finally, I told her to go see her grandpa downstairs for assistance.

    So she did.

    He gave it a bigger wiggle, and she put her hand back in there, and pulled it right out.

    Once again, she’s ecstatic with how she’s pulled that thing out.


    She gave it a good rinse, and put it under her pillow.

    Rumour has it that the tooth fairy shall come by  tonight with a toonie, and a new tube of toothpaste.

    She's certainly been very determined with pulling her own teeth out.

    I just hope she has the same type of determination for life in general, as she does her teeth!

  • Wednesday, September 14, 2016 3:31 PM | claire (Administrator)

    Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, in the Kootenay Rockies, British Columbia this relaxed resort lies on natural hot springs. The resort is named after the town and is located 1.3 km from downtown Fairmont Hot Springs.

    While it's not a luxury resort it is very comfortable and offers a variety of room options including Honeymoon Suites and the Family Suites. The suites come with free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, and Keurig coffeemakers. Some have kitchenettes, balconies, TVs, fireplaces and/or whirlpool tubs. There are also cottages and cabins with pull-out sofas.

    Our room was on the main floor in the 400 section which was wonderful because we could walk out from our back door and access the pools, the ice cream shop, or the cafe. It was very close to the guest pool and had easy access to the other restaurants. The kids enjoyed playing on the grass or running over to purchase their ice cream.



    As its name implies, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is home to natural mineral hot spring pool. The pools here are considered to be the largest in Canada and filled with naturally heated mineral water. While in the pools, you are treated to stunning views of the Purcell Mountains range.

    The feature that I liked most about the pools is that there are three different pools with different temperatures. The kids loved swimming in the pool that was 32°C, while I enjoyed soaking in the hotter pool at 39°C.  The pools are also huge, and there is even a diving area.

    The three public pools are open to everyone, but if you want a bit more privacy, or you are visiting for a couples retreat, you can spend your time at the guest only pool.




    Since it's such a busy family resort and hundreds of people flock to the pools everyday, I wanted to find out more about how the pools are maintained and where the water comes from. I had a guided tour of the resort, and one of the managers explained the water starts at the top of the Fairmont Mountain Range, the water originates as rain or snow and seeps into the Rockies. As it heats up, the mineral water is eventually forced back up to the surface at a much higher temperature and Fairmont Hot Springs Resort collects the extremely hot (up to 48°C) water in collection boxes above the pools. This water in then mixed with cooler natural spring water to get it to the lower temperatures in the pools.

    Traveling as a family, I loved that this resort had something for everyone. We saw lots of families with older kids, a few wedding parties, and couples getting away without the kids.

    I loved that Fairmont Hot Springs Resort totally get family travel. They understand that when traveling with young children, the adults also want to feel like they are on vacation. I love the fact that they offer a kids camp at a reasonable rate, so that the parents can enjoy the facilities such as a day of golf, spa, or some of the excursions offered.  There is also a base camp with bouncy castles, regularly scheduled organized crafts, treasure hunts and bingo nights as well as ongoing amenities such as mini golf, volleyball, tennis and equipment rental.  Happy kids makes for ecstatic parents. 




    If you love to golf, this is your paradise. Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has three golf courses, The Riverside, The Mountainside, and a family course called the Creekside. They also have a golf learning centre and a huge driving range. According to the resort, they have an average season of over 200 days.

    We had the pleasure of playing the Mountainside which was a real treat. The juxtaposition of the mountains on one side and the river on the other made playing on this course a dream. In fact, I would pay just to walk around on the course, who even need to golf, just grab a drink and go for a walk - it's that stunning. If you have never golfed in The Rockies before, and you get a chance, go for it.



    The spa at Fairmont Hot Springs is a hidden gem on the property and worth a visit. I had a Pedicure & I purchased the Thai Massage while there (luckily, they were able to fit me in) and received fantastic service. The massage was so relaxing; I fell asleep. My esthetician was very professional, and my pedicure was a full spa pedicure including paraffin wax.

    I also checked out the Sauna, Hot & Cold plunge pool, and I looked in at the gym. Had I not been gone most of the day after golfing, lunch, and the spa services I would have stayed longer in the private guest pool, but I thought the kids would have missed me. I got back to hear about their day which they were still excited about and then ran off to the pools with daddy. They wanted to go back to the camp the second day, but we had a full itinerary. It's not often that my kids want to spend an entire day at a kids camp while we are on vacation.


    Photo courtesy by Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

    The ability to book our excursions right from the hotel was very convenient. We were booked into the Columbia River Kayak tour with the kids. Hubby & I were in our own kayaks, the 5-year-old went with one of the guides, and our 9-year-old was in her own kayak, this was not her first time in a kayak on her own, but the longest she was in a kayak on her own. The 5KM river tour was a little different from kayaking on a lake because of the currents, so we were glad to be with a guide. We all got some tips and lesson about kayaking on a river, and our 9-year-old was a champ. It was fun to do this activity with her, and she her feeling confident about trying something new, and while allowing her to be independent.  The BC Rockies Adventures team were all wonderful, they were very experienced, taught us about the area, and pointed out wildlife to us along the way. I feel so much more comfortable going out on a kayak after this experience.


    Photo courtesy by Fairmont Hot Springs Resort


    While we were there for a summer vacation, I could see that this place would be a wonderful place to visit in Winter. The Rockies is a popular winter getaway and I wanted to find out about visiting with the kids for some snow therapy. The slopes are geared towards families with little ones, and they also have the only tube park in the valley. Considered to be the "most exciting ten seconds in the valley." According to Fairmont staff, over 3800 people have slid down the track last year, and they take pride maintaining the slopes, putting in over 80 man hours per week maintaining the slopes to provide safe, exhilarating and fast tubing experiences.

    In all, there are eight restaurants, three golf course, a ski area, a tube park, a spa, a business centre and free parking. I highly recommend heading over to the restaurant by Mountainside golf course to indulge in their huge $5 breakfast.


  • Tuesday, September 13, 2016 10:31 AM | claire (Administrator)

    This was our first visit to Alberta, and we decided to explore, Canmore, Banff, and Lake Louise before heading to British Columbia for the remainder of our 20 day trip.

    We started our trip in Canmore which is approximately 81 kilometres west of Calgary and is at the southeast boundary of Banff National Park. It is located in the Bow Valley within The Canadian Rockies and approximately drive to Banff National Park.   While in the past, Canmore may have been seen as the place to stay if you can't get a place in Banff, it is it's own destination and a better spot to stay than Banff, if you are planning to explore some of the popular sites in the region.

    There many reasons to choose to stay in Canmore including better prices, awesome restaurants with stunning views, 360 degrees of mountains, and relaxing hikes at the base of the Three Sisters peak, really the list could go on. 

    The primary reason for us was most of the excursions are based in Canmore and so the flow from activity to activity was much simpler especially with young kids. If you didn't pick up a discovery pass, then you don't have to worry about having to pay the park fee for Banff National Park every time you drive through.

    We rented a condo from Solara Resorts; it was a one bedroom with full kitchen and pull-out bed in the living area. We went based on the location and we got exactly what we wanted.


    Where to Eat:

    Murrieta's in Canmore is a great spot for dinner. Awesome atmosphere and great service. We tried a few different items from the menu and everything was delicious. I'm glad I opted for the scallops. Hubby had the beef, which when you are in Alberta, how can you not. Great place for families, or a special occasion.



    The Range is a great spot for lunch; they make an prepare their all their food, except for the bread. My favourite was the quinoa salad, the kids loved the Alberta Beef sandwich.


    Things to Do

    There is a wide variety of things to do in Canmore and Banff National Park. Below is my list of family friendly activities that gets you out in nature exploring the beauty of the mountain which are still very safe to do.  A good idea is to pick up the Discovery Pass not only is a great price, it also reduces the amount of time you have to spend in the line waiting to purchase a park permit.  Everyone entering any of the National Parks needs to have a permit, even if you are just driving through.  

    Rafting



    We knew we wanted to do a boat tour and researched all the different

    options out there. We went with Canmore River Adventures because it's a very easy and safe float trip on the gorgeous Bow River. The tour itself was about 45 minutes on the water, just the right amount of time to hear a bit about the area and take in the beauty without the kids getting bored. The guide was great with the kids and even allowed them to row for a bit.


    The morning of our tour it rained a little, but nothing can take away from the beauty of the mountains. I loved that Canmore River Adventures had rain jackets for everyone on board along with the other essentials. A great feature is the pickup and drop off from your hotel that is included in the price. They are very flexible with customers, if we wanted to, we could have changed our tour to a sunnier day, but we opted to keep our original plans. As the say "if you don't like the weather in the mountains, just wait a few minutes." Besides, it's the Rockies, it's gorgeous no matter the weather. 


    Helicopter trip



    The excursion of a lifetime!

    We knew we wanted to do a Helicopter tour while visiting the Rockies, and researched online all the various tour operators,  we went with Alpine Helicopter. The have a lot of different options, we did the 30 minutes tour.

    The Mount Assiniboine Glacier Tour which rises to 11,870 feet along the great divide is a must-do if you are visiting Banff, Canmore or the surrounding areas. We were treated to an up-close view of the Three Sisters Peaks, Beautiful glacial lakes, and stunning views of the mountain. The colours of the Spray Lakes in the Goat Range are unbelievable . On the way back we got to see views of the Bow River and the Town of Canmore. The highlight of the tour is the surrounding glaciers and icefalls and of course the Gloria Glacier.

    We were all in awe of the beauty of the Gloria glacier, and you will be too. Our guide took is close enough to the glacier it felt like we were standing directly on it, you can see the crevices in the rocks, and you get the feeling that you can reach out and touch them.

    This tour is great for couples and families alike. Our kids were so excited they kept talking over the microphone. The look of pure joy on our son's face is priceless to us. I'll never forget this experience.


    Banff  Gondola


    This is a fun excursion and great way to get to the top of Sulphur Mountain where you can experience six stunning mountain ranges.  The Gondola is a modern, fully enclosed four-passenger cabin. Once at the top, you can take the easy ridgetop boardwalk to explore more.  

    It's an easy and seamless way to get to the top to enjoy the views without the hassle. Highly recommend this excursion if you are traveling with young children, or for anyone who does not want to tackle the 3-hour hike up to the top.  Then all you have to do is enjoy the Incredible views and try to spot wildlife. Be sure to say hi to the resident mountain goat when you go. 


    Banff Hot Springs




    Banff Upper Hot Springs
    is a public hot spring located in Banff National Park with reasonable rates. It's an outdoor pool offering beautiful views of Mount Rundle. Combine this activity with the Banff Gondola since they are in the same location.

    This is a nice spot to spend few hours with the kids; the water is warm, and they have a nice shallow area for kids. If you are out and about and don't want to bring a lot of things with you, they offer full rental services including towel, swimsuits, and lockers. Because it's a public pool, and a very popular spot, the lines can get long. Consider going during non-peak times.


    Moraine Lake 


    This place is a gem! You must visit if you are in the area, in fact, even if you are far away you must drive there. It is just stunning. When you get there, be sure to go to the top of the hill and look down on the river, that is the only way to see and capture the stunning colour of the water.

    You can either climb the rocks at the front or if you are feeling less adventurous and traveling with little kids, you can take the scenic trail path towards the Consolation Lakes Trail. From the lower parking lot, cross the bridge over the outlet stream and continue to Consolation Lakes. Follow the Rockpile that passes through a quartzite boulder field it's a very beautiful and easy way to get to the top.

    If you have to choose between Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, I highly recommend the first one. It is a hidden gem.



    Lake Louise

    Known for its turquoise, glacier-fed Lake, and the impressive Victoria glacier, there is something for everyone. From canoeing across the stunning emerald coloured lake to various hiking trails to the beautiful Fairmont Chateau, it's easy to see why so many people flock to Lake Louise throughout the year. A word of caution, if like me, you expected to be out in nature taking in the beautiful view and enjoying a bit of solitude in this area. You will be sorely disappointed. This is a very, very busy destination. It will be difficult to get a parking spot; it might be difficult even to get to the destination. It might be full from the morning, or it may be closed because too many people already there.

    One of the easiest ways to actually get in on the day and time that you want is to hop on one of the shuttle busses that they offer. Yes, it's costly. Yes, you have a car and could drive, but to avoid the frustration of driving around and around trying to find a way in, the simplest thing to do is pay for the shuttle bus.

    The train


    This was the best free fun on our drive from the town of Banff to Lake Louise. There were lots of people lined up along the side of the road waiting for it to pass and snapping pics. It's definitely the longest train we've ever seen. We decided to use this as a perfect spot to stop for a bit and have a snack. The highlight for the 5-year-old was watching this train go by.


  • Monday, September 12, 2016 2:22 PM | Denise (Administrator)

    We recently had the opportunity to visit The Fern Resort in Orillia for a two night getaway.  

    Upon our arrival, we were able to go on a tour of the grounds and check out what facilities were at our disposal since it was an all-inclusive resort.  There were plenty of things to do for both young and old.  One building housed a theatre and a disco with a DJ.  For those that required child care, it was pretty much offered the whole day and even into the late evening if it was pre-arranged.  Although we didn’t require it as our child is ten, we’re sure this service was very much welcomed giving parents a chance to enjoy some child-free time which included spa and massage services. 

    Among the children’s activities our daughter could try were rock climbing, pedal carts, bicycles, trampolines, nine-hole mini-putt course, and swimming in any one of the three pools available….two outdoor and one indoor.  Hot tubs were also available just around the outdoor pools.  For the more adventurous and older kids, zip-lining was available.  For water adventures, there were paddle boats, canoes, and even something called “zorbing” - the child goes into a large, transparent plastic sphere which then has air pumped in…when ready, the child could “walk on water” as she is pushed out a short distance into the lagoon…all the while, the ball is being held by a rope by one of the staff just in case the child decides to walk/run a little too fast and take off into the lake!  There were also opportunities to fish where staff would provide you with a make-shift fishing rod with a line/hook and a small piece of a cut-up worm.  You could see the tiny perch and minnows from the dock and shoreline and would just drop your line into the water to try and snag one.




    Our room had two double beds and was adequately sized including a television and fridge.  I guess there was an assumption that our child was a baby as upon entering our room for the first time, there was a crib in the middle of the floor.  We quickly told the front desk to remove it just in case it was meant for another family who did require it.  Bathroom was fully stocked with everything you would expect:  towels, shampoo, soap, hairdryer, etc..

    In the dining room, we had a pre-assigned table where we would sit for all meals during our stay.  We had the same server for all of our meals.  For the Saturday lunch we did have the option to join a BBQ outdoors but on the condition we advised the server ahead of time of our intention.  Each meal also had a simple buffet which was more for the hungry young ones.   We pretty much always ordered off of the menu which was at our tables each time we arrived to dine.  Dinner options always included salads, soups, burgers, pastas, steak, and fish.  A small variety of desserts were available as well.

    For Friday evening entertainment at the theatre, there was a magician performing.  We missed his performance due to a very large thunderstorm that rolled in just around the time his show was about to start.  The show went on as planned and from some people that did go, the show was enjoyable.  Saturday evening had a puppeteer which we did catch and the majority of the kids seemed to enjoy it.

    Thoughts on our stay:

    Pros:

    ·         Plenty of things to do for the kids

    ·         Child care offered throughout the day and night

    ·         Evening entertainment/shows which catered to both young and old including a disco

    ·         Dining options were not just buffet style – could order off a menu and get table service

    ·         Coffee also available outside of the restaurant just off of the reception area

    ·         Swimming towels available both at front desk and poolside*

    Cons:

    ·         Rooms needing some upgrades as visibly you could see wear and tear especially in the bathrooms and on the patios

    ·         *Although towels were said to be available poolside, they really never were – always had to get the towels from front desk

    ·         Dining room servers appear to be students working at the resort over the summer – the inexperience in serving showed and at times there was lack of attention

    ·         Food quality was ok but not great – for the kids, they should have no issues – but adults would say quality is as good as any sit-down,  pizza/pasta restaurant

    At this was our first time at an all-inclusive resort north of the GTA, it would be good to try another similar resort which offers similar amenities for a comparison.  Overall, it was a nice getaway and would recommend it to families.


  • Thursday, September 08, 2016 3:43 PM | claire (Administrator)

    Have you ever been in a love bubble? Have you ever made dreams, and wishes, and plans in this bubble only to wake up to a different reality?

    For five years my husband and I lived in a magical place where unicorns existed, and it was sunny every day. It was in this love bubble that we discussed what life would be like once our baby was born.

    When I met my daughter, I immediately fell in love with her. Here was the baby my heart had wished for, and all I wanted to do was to love her and protect her from ever being hurt.

    And then - a thought crept in. It was a small thought, but it was explosive. " what if something happened to her?" And immediately a fear that I did not know existed was born within me.

    That fear would be the beginning of something that pulled me deep into a very dark and lonely place that I had to fight with all my might to climb out of.

    I was in labour for 3.5 days in the hospital before Katelyn was born. It was a rare complication. It was traumatic, and scary, and exhausting. This exhaustion coupled with a fierce fear that developed out of an intense need to protect this baby resulted in intrusive thoughts.

    The fear was real and hot and immediate. A lactation consult mentioned to me that I made be experiencing Post-Partum Depression (PPD). Me? No way! PPD was for moms who were sad and didn’t want their babies I thought. This couldn’t be me. I love my baby.

    But as much I didn’t want to believe it. It was true

    I loved my baby so much I was scared someone would take her away from me. I loved my baby so much I spent a whole day on the first floor of my house because I had an irrational fear that I would fall down the stairs with her. I loved my baby so much; I was worried I would die and wouldn’t be around to protect her. I loved my baby so much I feared almost everything. I ceased to see myself outside of being a protector for my precious baby, and I started to lose myself.

    And then I got help. And my perspective on love and fear changed.

    Instead of worrying about all the things that could happen to my baby, I started enjoying her. Instead of worrying that something would happen to me, and I wouldn't be around to protect her, I started focusing on my own self-care. Eventually, I was able to let go of the fear because it was only real in my mind.

    The most important thing I did, and you can do to beat PPD is to ask for help, know you are not alone and know that you too will thrive.  A list of resources can be found at Postpartum Depression Resources


  • Wednesday, September 07, 2016 10:27 AM | claire (Administrator)

    I spend my days advocating for maternal mental health now, but I did not always feel the way I do now.


    A year ago I came to the realization that had I not gotten Postpartum Anxiety & Depression after the birth of my daughter eight years ago; I probably would have been a perpetrator of stigma around this disorder.


    There was a conversation online where someone posted "Who has time for postpartum depression?". The online community went nuts attacking this mom, and at that moment I realized that could have been me. I completely understood where she was coming from.


    I find mothering joyful; I love being out and about with my kids. I find they are compatible with my personality and for the most part easy to manage. I've have a lot of patience, and my kids are well behaved; we can take them anywhere. I find it easy to travel with them whether it's a 21-day trip road trip or on flights. They eat well and they sleep well. Because of all the reasons listed above, parenting is relatively easy for me.


    If not for the experience that I had, It would have been hard for me to understand how someone could become depressed after the birth of a baby that they wanted.




    Before my experience, I thought postpartum depression was something people had just because they read it somewhere. If they didn't know they could have it, they wouldn't have gotten it.


    Being Jamaican, where mental health is something that is hidden and not talked about much in our culture, I believed that Postpartum Depression only happened to wealthy white women who were bored with their lives and didn’t appreciate what they had.


    There were many myths I heard about Post-Partum Depression (PPD) before having my daughter. The two that stuck in my mind the most was that PPD meant you did not love your baby, and Black women did not get PPD.


    While I was pregnant, I read about Postpartum Depression, but I just glanced it over. I'm Black; I'm strong. It won't happen to me. Moreover, I have everything I’ve ever wanted, and I have a lot of things planned for my year of vacation. Who has time for Post-Partum Depression?


    When my daughter was born, I loved her with a passion. I fell in love with her right away, and I wanted to protect her from everything. I worried that something might happen to her, and I started becoming anxious about something bad happening to her.


    So you can imagine how shocked and confused I was to hear the words “I think you have postpartum depression.” How could I have PPD if I love my baby?


    The thing was, though, I loved my baby so much I was scared I to going to lose her somehow. I loved my baby so much I spent a whole day on the first floor of my house because I had an irrational fear that I would fall the stairs with her. I loved my baby so much; I was worried I would die and wouldn’t be around to protect her. I loved my baby so much I feared almost everything; a fear that I did not know existed was born within me.


    Here was the baby my heart had wished for, and all I wanted to do was to love her and protect her from ever being hurt. And then, that thought: what if something happened to her?


    Fear coupled with that fierce love I had for my daughter would be the beginning of something that pulled me deep into a very dark and lonely place that I had to fight with all my might to climb out of.


    There are days like today when I remember those days and I am just filled with gratitude and joy that I took that very first step in asking for help. And I didn't allow stigma to stop me from reaching out for help.


    I remind myself, and everyone who will listen that the most important thing to understand is that PPD does not discriminate, your race or socio-economic status does not matter. And it does not mean that you do not love your baby. Like other disorders, there is a spectrum.


    Now I spend my days trying to prevent other mothers from experiencing what I went through, breaking down stigma towards postpartum depression, and helping others reach out for help.


    When I see someone perpetuating stigma towards mothers who reach out for help, I remind myself that that person could have been me. They are not trying to mean; they simply don't understand. And I take the time to educate them on the disorder instead of telling them how wrong they are.  


    Unless  you or someone you know experienced Post-Partum Depression, it is hard to understand how a mom can be sad and depressed after the birth of a baby. Education and awareness around the symptoms and risk factors for postpartum depression makes a big difference in a new mom knowing she is not alone, and it's OK to reach out for help.


    To learn more about Postpartum Depression and coping strategies we have a list of resources at Postpartum Depression Resources





 

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