Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to Reality

How quickly things can change. One day, you’re spending quality time with your daughter, making daily trips to the park, the next you’re cooped up in an office, not seeing the light of day, nervously wondering what she is up to just about every other minute.

Yes, that is now my reality.

Yesterday was my first day back at the office. After 18 months, I forgot what working full time felt like. Or rather my back (and neck and shoulders, and masseuse) did. And now that it’s a completely different world with a child in tow every morning, the days are absolutely exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong. I love what I am doing (creating a new children’s educational brand with an amazing team) and I love the flexibility I have been granted in my work schedule, but I won’t lie. I’d much rather be home with Hannah.

And I think she’d rather be at home with me. While her days at daycare are getting better, our mornings are getter tougher. Day one she was happy until we entered her classroom. Day two until the landing on the stairs. Today, she cried when we pulled up to park.

The crying subsides 5 minutes after I pull away but I think all 13 kids in her class have periods of tears throughout the day. It’s a huge adjustment and she is doing fantastically at it. Yesterday, she had her first nap at school. It lasted a mere 30 minutes but that was the case for most of her peers.

So while I picked up an extremely happy to-see-me little girl, she also was an extremely tired little girl. And with her unusually early morning wake-ups, she is getting into the routine but the bags under her eyes are growing.

I know it will take a few weeks to fully get into the swing of things but reality isn’t my best friend at the moment.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Joe Fresh Studio Store

On Wednesday night I attended the media opening of the first Montreal freestanding Joe Fresh Style Studio.

I won't give away too many details...you'll have to wait for my article on Sweetspot.

But here are a few photos from the adorable kids' collection.

Check it out for yourself this weekend.

On Sunday August 28th from 12pm-4pm the store is hosting a block party with a bbq, games, animation and a performance from 17 year old Quebec star Pamela.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grab Bag

Time for another giveaway!

Over the past few months I have been to a number of events, with gift bags brimming full of goodies. But there are only so many body products a girl can use...

So I have put together a collection of some of my loot for you to win. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and you will be entered to win. You have until Monday morning (August 30) at 9am to leave your two cents.

So what's inside the Joe Fresh reusable tote?

Here is a peak at the goodies:
  • Cirque du Soleil Tapis Rouge portfolio, pen and passport case
  • Treehouse 99.5% natural bath products for kids including bubble bath, body wash, leave-in-detangler and a 2-in-1 shampoo
  • Dans un Jardin Pois de Senteur Maman leg gel and firming cream
  • Ecoseeds Queen Cleome and Ballerina Poppies flower seeds
  • Joe Fresh Style body wash, lip glass, glycerin soap, eye shadow and cosmetic bag
Good luck!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day One

Today was the big day. Orientation day at daycare.

Hannah was decked out in a pair of jeggings and an alphabet tee to make the best first impression on her first day.

She spotted the building from a block away, spotting the balloons floating outside and as we made our way into her classroom, she immediately bolted for the play kitchen.

45 minutes of playing, a snack and lots of new friends later...it was time to say goodbye...but Hannah couldn't leave without giving her new teacher a kiss. (Can you feel my heart melting?)

We got a great feeling about the school. Hannah immediately adapted. Her teachers are warm and friendly. The other kids seem nice. And she made it through the morning without a nap.

Early to bed for her first half day, we'll see what tomorrow brings!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Top Ten

The last page of September's Parenting magazine featured this cute top ten list that I thought was worth sharing:

Reasons You Fell in Love with Your Baby (and Out of Love with Your Old Boyfriend)

1. His endless babbling

2. He loved snuggling in your bed - but always wanted to go back to his own crib

3. His way of spending hours roaming around the house naked, his pouchy belly hanging out

4. The wet, sloppy kisses

5. He was content to lie quietly and gaze at his navel as you did all the housework

6. His birthday gift to you was simply a wilted flower

7. His idea of dancing was to bend his legs and bob up and down with a goofy, self-congratulatory grin

8. His smell

9. You could always count on him burping right after he finished a meal

10. The fact that he'll never love anyone as much as he loves his mommy

Adorably Adaptable

Sleep. It occupied all of my waking thoughts for the first 8 months of Hannah's life. And there were definitely many waking hours...

Numerous Ferber attempts, lots of crying, a sleep sheep, a sleep sack...we tried it all and it eventually worked. I admit, I was partly to blame for the problem with nursing to sleep and co-sleeping but we made it through and now get a good 12 hours of a sleep night.

So why am I always so scared that we will have sleep problems when not in our usual setting? I think those 8 months tainted me to think that Hannah is a bad sleeper, when she really is not. Maybe its maturity, maybe its routine, but I think most of all, it is adaptability.

Yes, I can finally say it. My daughter is highly adaptable to different situations. In the past 2 months she has encountered a number of irregular events but her sleeping has continued to be constant and she, a happy little girl.

1. Our vacation- yes, it wasn't the most relaxing of getaways but Hannah slept well in the hotel, even for naps.

2. Moving into my parents' house. Hannah has never spent a night there but she slept so well. Even better than at home. Why did we wait so long for a sleepover at grandma and grandpas? Time to start!

3. Driving to Stowe at 7:30 on Friday night. Yes, every animal was named in a drawn-out version of Old McDonald but she eventually fell asleep and stayed asleep through the border until we arrived. A quick change into PJs and she was back asleep until 8am.

Impressive, don't you think? I do.

Time to start making those travel plans...especially before we hit the 2 year mark and flying is no longer free...

Friday, August 20, 2010

One for One

For the past few months you may have noticed an ad on the side of my blog for Toms shoes. For those of you who don't know, these shoes are all the rage and, best of all, they support a great cause.

When you buy a pair of shoes, Toms will give a child in need a new pair of shoes. How cool is that? One for one.

And check out these super pink sparkly ones for Tiny Toms...
Just read a great blog post about these shoes that is definitely worth reading here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Floor Plan

As soon as Hannah wakes up from her long nap (I hope I didn't just jinx that), we are packing up and moving into my parents' house for the next two days.

Back in the fall, we had a flood and we are only just getting to the repairs now. The walls and ceiling were done last week and now its time for the floors. They came this afternoon to "prep" for tomorrow's work. I thought prep meant moving the washer and dryer and taking off the moldings. I was wrong. Yes, I write this with my washer and dryer just a foot away from me but I also feel like I am in a sterile environment.

The work is being done on the hallway so the kitchen, dining room, bathroom and Hannah's room have been sealed up with zippered plastic wraps. When we came in from the balcony (our hideout during the installation) Winston, the dog, was terrified to pass through the plastic and it totally distracted Hannah from taking her nap.

So, while the new floor is laid, we'll head a bit further West. Slightly concerned about Hannah's sleeping. Their house is much larger than ours so we don't have to worry about making noise - I can do laundry and cook as I please, but her sleeping schedule may be affected.

Worse comes to worse, we'll take naps in the stroller or car. I doubt two days will make a dent in our routine.

So the extended nap just ended (yes, I jinxed it) so its time to make the 3 minute trip to our new home for the next few days.

Wish us luck!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Shmall

For those of us originating from the West End of Montreal, we grew up at the Cavendish Mall. My high school was just two blocks away, so we would make the quick lunch time walk for a slice of Pizza at the dearly remembered Pic Nic or Cattlemans restaurants.

So many memories...my first button up vest from Le Chateau (circa 1989), getting my ears pierced, the anticipated opening of McDonalds.

And while the mall has seen better days, it still is the place to be for the Cote St Luc 80+ crowd. Yes, there are barely any stores left and half of the mall is being turned into condos, but there is a great Pharmaprix, IGA, movie theatre and Dollarama.

While the octogenarians hang out in the food court or MMMuffins, the kiddies can have fun too.

This weekend we discovered all that there is to do in the mall on a rainy Sunday. With tons of rides including a merry go round, taxi cab and forklift, Hannah had her first spin on a quarter (or loonie or toonie) operated ride. And she had her share of thrills on the train. Not cheap at $2/person but an entertaining 5 minutes nonetheless. As my husband pointed out, the train conductor took real pride in his job. Dressed in overalls and a bandana, he distributed tickets, then came to punch them and yelled "all aboard". I think I am the only person to ever get nauseous on that train, but he was twisting and twirling through the mall.

All in all, a fun way to spend a few hours to beat the rain. And a nice walk down memory lane.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Running Room

Hannah did a lot of tossing and turning last night. I thought it was because we barely got to spend anytime together yesterday between a job interview, a long nap, 3.5 hours at work and a media event at the newly opened Only Jeans.

Turns out I was missing her more than she was missing me because the nocturnal turning about was actually due to a runny nose. She woke up this morning with a crudy little nose. Luckily, it hasn't really affected her spirits.

She is a bit more tired than usual and I have to follow her around with a Kleenex in hand but so far we are going about our day as usual.

A huge relief considering the last time she was sick her schedule was compromised. But that was so long ago that I'm realizing how lucky I am to have such a healthy girl on my hands. Let's hear it for germs and not washing her hands every time they touch a foreign object.

So in the hopes of nipping this nose in the bud and carrying out our weekend plans to go the the St Jean sur Richelieu hot air balloon festival, I've been filling her up with liquids. Diluted OJ and apple juice, soup (which she quite enjoyed drinking through a straw at lunch), and plenty of water breaks.

Now the hardest part of all will be trying to keep myself from getting sick...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Big Girl Bed

Throughout my pregnancy and Hannah's first year I referred to a list of books for everything. But now that we've hit the 17 month mark I don't really have much reference material.

So as I looked at Hannah's crib that she has so artistically gnawed on, I wondered...when is it time to switch to a bed? Luckily we don't have to look at big girl bedroom furniture sets since her crib is convertible.

No, we are not in a rush to get her in a big girl bed because we need to hand down her crib.

I just have no idea when to make the switch. I think my niece did it around 2 but that's because she was getting ready to give her baby brother her crib.

So, when's the right time to make the change?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Time Goes By

Last night we began the much delayed task of creating a photo book for Hannah's first birthday.

I cashed in our highly coveted Pampers Gifts to Grow points for a 20 page Shutterfly book.

While we have thousands of photos from her first year, there are only 1000 flagged images. The best of the best.

We were able to filter those down to 50 odd photos. But in the process we both got reminiscent and teary eyed. Time has gone by so quickly. She is such a big girl now, even compared to her birthday in March.

Makes you want to just squish those baby days and smell in the scent of a newborn. I actually said last night "I want 72 babies".

Better get cracking, right? Or just keep making books so we never forget every day that she grew, laughed and smiled.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yay for Yea!

So you'd think that a blogger/writer for Sweetspot would be totally ahead of the game when it comes to trying out new Montreal establishments, right?

Well, with a full time daughter, part time job and lots in between, we don't get out all that much. Except this weekend we went out Friday night for a birthday party and Saturday to see Jerry Seinfeld. (An early 5th year anniversary present for my husband)

Well, on the way to Seinfeld we made a detour to Montreal's latest frozen craze. Yeh yogourt. I know this ice cream shop has been featured in many publications including Sweetspot, but I thought I'd give you my two cents.


If you're not familiar with the concept, Yeh Yogourt is a self-serve frozen yogourt shop. You walk in, and pick from your choice of flavours (original, mango, pistachio, cherry...) You then head over to the toppings bar where you can choose anything from fresh fruit to chocolate covered pretzels to graham cracker crumbs to gummy bears. You then place your container on the scale and pay $0.48/ounce.

I filled my bowl a quarter of the way and piled on fresh strawberries and blueberries, some yogourt covered raisins and pieces of cookie dough. The grand total: $5. Sounds expensive but not really compared to the $3.75 that I spent on Hannah's kiddie cup at Ben & Jerry's yesterday. Especially when this yogourt is all-natural and non-fat.

A cool, laid back atmosphere made for an enjoyable dessert locale, with bold shades of brown and fuschia setting the decor.

My only complaint? The yogourt comes in plastic takeout bowls (like National's cut up fruit). But there is no where to recycle them after you've enjoyed your treat.

Hopefully with two new locations on Ste Catherine St. and Monkland Ave. the company will go a bit more green.

But in the meantime, enjoy a tasty dessert and go green at home by carrying out your trash. Might as well eat well and do good.

Two thumbs up for Yeh Yogourt!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Balouni Enfants

It's rare that I walk into a toy store and not recognize one product on the shelves.

Actually, its never happened before...until I went to Balouni Enfants.

On assignment for Sweetmama, I checked out this new Nun's Island toy store and wow, was I amazed. Hannah and my husband tagged along and they had a ball while I got the official tour.

Karina, the store's owner, stocked the shelves with safe toys - whether they be BPA-free, fair trade or organic. And though the kid-friendly pool of products is vast I had never seen most of these brand names.

Find out more by reading the complete article. Or better yet go visit. You're sure to find the perfect gift for any little one.

Art kits from The Piggy Story
Toys from Katkaland

A selection of books in English and French
More from the Piggy Story (can you tell I am slightly obsessed with these whimsical pig prints?)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A New Favourite

Sippy cups.

We seem to go through them rather quickly in this house.

Most of them are chewed up by Hannah and end up in the recycling bin. And at $7 a pop it adds up. But we've found a new favourite cup, thanks to my sister.

Hannah developed a love for straws on vacation, so the Learning Curve's Take & Toss recyclable cup is our new favourite must-have! They are made of a BPA-free cup with a lid and a straw. With 4 cups per pack, they are also a great buy.
But they are extremely hard to find. My sister purchased hers at Loblaws so I went to the Maxi on Cote des Neiges, none there. Then, to the Loblaws on St Croix. None there either. I got lucky this morning at the Loblaws on St Jacques. And though I just had two colour packs to choose from looks like there are a bunch of character options online.

I will admit that its only been a few hours since I brought them home and Hannah has already started chewing away on one of the straws. But these grown-up spill-proof cups are my recommendation of the week.