Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Beware: Mont Royal not such a safe place for families

If you haven't seen it yet this video has been getting a lot of local buzz on YouTube. An eagle literally snatches a baby up in the air at Mont Royal park.

Not sure when this was shot but after this week's events in Newton, CT makes you wonder where exactly our kids are safe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Public vs. Private, Sleep is Precious

Life has shifted in the past month. With both kids now in daycare and a full time (yet flexible) writing gig at the Kid Scoop, more freelance writing, marketing projects and a soon-to-be launched marketing communications agency, October and November were a bit of a blur.

The hours between 9am and 3pm seem to vanish within moments and post bedtime, the evenings are spent behind the laptop, but I am trying to get back on the blogging track.

So aside from working away and spending precious moments with my clan, what's been taking up a ton of time are elementary school open houses.

This seems to be the topic of conversation these days among the nursery set. While kindergarden is still a year and a half away, we have already visited four open houses and had numerous discussions (some arguments) about where to send Hannah in 2014. The issue isn't so much public vs. private but rather secular vs. Jewish. Our most recent open house was today and we just may be one step closer to making a decision. But chances are the discussion will continue for weeks to come.

On another note, night time work hasn't been starting till post 9pm. The reason? Late in the summer months Hannah started having sleep issues and ended up in our bed every night. We were able to quell the co-sleeping by the start of the new school year but in its place needed to stay by her side until she fell asleep. Not fun when the process takes over an hour.

So last night we began the process of sleep training our 3.5 year old. Crazy, right? The past two nights she has fallen asleep (one and one and a half hours respectively after we began) with my husband standing outside her door. Progress, but here's to hoping that night 3 is the magic number.

That's an update of where I've been. What's new with you?

I promise there will be more to come, more frequently.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Big Scoop: I'm at The Kid Scoop

I am so happy to announce that as of just a few weeks ago I am the new assistant editor at The Kid Scoop. As some of you may now, this is the go-to resource for Montreal parents to find out what activities are happening all week long for children of all ages.

The Kid Scoop may be best known as a directory of events but things they are a changing. While my Sweetmama days ended abruptly in May, I still know that so many of you moms out there are looking for the latest, greatest and coolest gear and hotspots for yourselves and your kids. So I'm happy to announce that you'll now be getting a weekly dose of cool thanks to The Kid Scoop. So, if you haven't already signed up for their newsletter and website now is the time to do it!

And don't fret if you don't live in the 514. The Kid Scoop has recently launched editions in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver so Canadians from East Coast to West Coast came pick up the scoop!

I'd love to hear your comments about what you love or think needs improvement at The Kid Scoop. Always feel free to drop me a line at

Looking forward to sharing the scoop!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Music for All

There are often days when my kids have been at daycare for a few good hours and I realize that I am still listening to their music in the car. I know all of the songs by heart by now but still find many of them quite annoying. Nursery rhymes, classic kids' artists and Jewish favourites can only go round and round so many times before I need some grown up inspiration.

But there is one exception to the rule. The songs of Jennifer Gasoi.

This homegrown artist is one part children's entertainer, one part jazz singer. We've been following her for two years now, through various special events and Mummies List Music in the Park summer afternoons. We love music from her Songs for You album including Monsieur Glouton, L-l-lemons and Butterfly. And we are so so happy to have just received an advance copy of her newest CD Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well. Filled with more fun songs for the whole family, new hits like I'm a Bubble and Little Blue Car are already filling our car daily.
This weekend Jennifer is hosting a huge launch party for the new CD that we will be attending. And you can too! Here are all of the details. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sunny Days at Sesame Place

Fall may be in full swing but at our house we're still re-living the memories from our recent summer holiday. We packed up our bags along with two other families and headed south to Lake George.

What was intended as a pitstop on a longer drive (with just one of the families) to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA turned out to be too long of a stop. Call me a bit of a snob but I'm one for ocean beaches and non-chain restaurants so the small lake beach and less-than-healthy food options will likely keep us from returning to this Adirondack town.

So after three days in Lake George, we re-packed the car and made the long drive to Sesame Place. We arrived at the Sheraton Bucks County, a lovely hotel just across the street from the park. As it turns out Langhorne does not have any sidewalks so while we were in close walking distance to Sesame Place we had to rely on the hotel's shuttle to get us to and from the park. Considering that the shuttle made trips every half hour this was actually quite convenient.

So, what is Sesame Place all about? It's a theme park for the younger set, essentially. Rides that smaller kids can go on, a huge water park, a variety of shows performed throughout the day and parades twice daily. Best of all, it is entirely walkable in one day. Unlike other Florida theme parks that completely exhaust you with the walking alone, Sesame Place is manageable. And with restrooms, restaurants (with themed free tableware) and snack shops everywhere you don't have to walk too far to get anywhere.

Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos we snapped during our two days at Sesame Place. They speak for themselves about how much fun a family can have at one of the friendliest neighborhoods around.

Entering the gates at Sesame Place 

 A photo opp with Elmo during our Breakfast with Elmo & Friends

 Hannah going for a spin on the Sunny Day Carousel

Alex playing around in the soft pit, perfect for the younger set 

Our favourite characters on stage for the Elmo Rocks! show 

 Trash talk with Oscar the Grouch in Sesame Neighborhood

The iconic street 

 Big bird walking in the Neighborhood Street Party Parade

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Can Hear a Pin Drop

I haven't blogged in over a month. But I'm not going to apologize. I'm not going to feel guilty. Because when I look back at the month of August 2012 I'll remember enjoying every moment of Alex's last month at home with me, without too many distractions.

I'll remember a month filled with a hectic but extremely fun vacation with my kids and family friends to Lake George and Sesame Place (more on that to come soon). I'll remember weekends in the country, time in the pool and watching my little man's hair turn blonder by the minute.

I sit at home today, alone. I can literally hear a pin drop. I'm trying to figure out why it is so quiet seeing as I usually sit down to the computer in the morning when Alex is taking his nap. But then I realize that his monitor is off so I don't have the sweet tunes of his baby mix playing in the background.

Yes, it is perfectly silent.

And I like it.

Finally, a chance to get my career back on track. Finally time to put myself first. But also finally time to miss him.

Yesterday was a big day meeting Hannah and Alex's teachers and they both did amazingly well. Today, they go in for half a day (the clock is ticking) and drop off went so much better than expected. Yes, I keep looking at my phone expecting the daycare director to call but I have a feeling everyone will be good. Fingers crossed.

So while I enjoy the peace and quiet I can't help but smile (and have a tiny tear in my eye) when I think about these guys and their first day of school.

 First day hugs

My big girl, backpack and all

Friday, July 27, 2012

This Little Peanut is Going to Daycare?

August may not yet be upon us but back to school is already lurking wherever you turn. Mat leave ended one month ago and the start of daycare is now one month away.

Today is Alex's ten month birthday. The little peanut is everywhere - crawling using his patented 3 leg technique, standing up on anything that is the right height and eating every morsel of food that is placed in front of him.

He can't walk. He can't use a spoon. He doesn't drink cow's milk. He can't eat anything hard due to his lack of teeth. He can't make it past 9:30am without a morning nap.

All perfectly normal for a ten month old. But unfortunately, not so perfectly normal when compared to the 18 month olds with who he will soon be sharing a class.

You see, this little peanut or bunny as we like to call him (for his amazing crawling/hopping skills) came out earlier than expected, making him just shy of the September 30th school cut off date. While I had been rooting for an early delivery so I wouldn't have to wait an extra year to get him into Hannah's daycare, my enthusiasm has now been quelled by fear.

We have been stopping by his future class everyday on the way to dropping his sister off. The first week I attempted to leave him for five minutes while I brought her upstairs. Tears, tears and more tears. So now I sit with him and let him play for a good ten minutes so he gets used to the room and the teachers.

But today I saw the sleeping room with ten pristine cribs lined up in a row and wondered how he is ever going to fall asleep with nine other noisy kids. It happens, eventually, but all seems like such a big adjustment for such a little guy.

How old were your kids when you started sending them to daycare?

Hannah was 18 months old so this is all new to me. Making me want to enjoy this last month we have together all the more. I want to keep this little peanut safe in his shell, for now.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Easy Comeback

We got home from vacation on Monday afternoon.

It was a wonderful trip filled with family, food and fun in the sun. It was most definitely a vacation for the kids with visits to the beach, hours in the pool and visits to the East Hampton Library and the Children's Museum of the East End. I will be putting together a recap of our holiday hot spots (some less kid friendly and more adult appropriate) for Urban Expressions where you can read more about my East Hampton, NY finds.

Like most vacations sleep was an issue. Our first night the four of us packed into a hotel room. And while it was just a one night stop over Hannah didn't get to bed until 10pm (since she was swimming in the hotel's indoor pool while I put Alex to bed) and we were all up at 5am when Alex awoke with the sun. Needless to say we were at a local breakfast spot at 6:45 (it only opened at 7) and were shopping at the nearest Target by 8am.

Hannah decided to stay up with her cousins most nights and Alex decided he wanted to be up before the three dogs we were staying with, waking up at 5am sharp each day. While we were all exhausted it actually worked out well for our activities since he was up from his early nap by 9:30 most mornings.

But the most exciting part is that he totally regulated himself back to his regular schedule on his own. I had fears of post holiday re-ferberization but within a day or two he was back on schedule and even sleeping in until 7am. Yahoo!

So we're back to reality and into the groove but I have officially ended my maternity leave. I've upped the job search and am working on building my freelance career but at the same time leaving Alex each morning in his future daycare class while I bring Hannah upstairs to hers. I figure better to ease him into it seeing as we are in the building daily. Oh yes, reality is totally setting in. And while it's there I still want to enjoy the summer and my last 2 months at home with Alex.

So if you know of anyone looking for some freelance help in marketing, public relations, social media or editorial please send them my way!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Summer!

Today is officially the last day of school! As we pack up for a family vacation and get ready to celebrate Hannah's great year in class 2B with a school wide BBQ, I thought I would share some wonderful articles that came my way this week.

Maybe you're heading off on a family vacation or celebrating St Jean Baptiste/Canada Day in town. Either way, take a little mommy time for yourself.

And just because I can :) here are some of my recent articles with my new local Montreal finds:
Can you tell I've been busy? That's why I am so looking forward to sitting in the sunshine, reading a book (Patron Saints of Liars is next up for book club) and enjoying some family time, unplugged.

Wishing you all the best for wonderful long weekends and summer sun. See you next in July with a full vacation roundup.

Happy Canada Day!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Fun

School is out in just a few weeks. I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by.

And while I've watched Hannah blossom into a girly girl who only wants to sport dresses, hairbands and ponytails what I really can't believe is that Alex is 8.5 months old. Crawling, eating solids and getting himself into plenty of mischief this little boy has grown up way too fast.

I'm not sure if it's the second child syndrome or the mom working on mat leave syndrome or a combo of the two but boy, is he a big boy! 

While we are active in a playgroup and attend a weekly music class I feel like he has been slightly neglected in the activity department. In Hannah's first year we did mom and baby yoga, infant massage, mom and baby pilates, playgroups, a music class and a gym class. I type that out maybe I overdid it :)

I did want to enroll Alex in a class at Le Petit Gym but from my experience with Hannah learned to wait until he was crawling. And now that he is on the move I reconsidered it but then shelved the idea. For a few reasons: 1. Its a good 20 minute drive 2. The class times are not ideal 3. Its expensive

I feel slightly guilty but while trying to rationalize it in my mind remembered that I had enrolled the entire family in the Mummies List Music in the Park. So while I have already spent $100 on a summer's worth of music I might as well take advantage and hit the parks as often as I can to entertain both kids.

I'll definitely be trying out Blossom Studio Yoga in NDG with Hannah and bringing both kids to hear Jennifer Gasoi at Westmount park. And we'll see who gets to spend alone time with Alex and I, perhaps Terry Joe Banjo.

Last year Hannah and my very pregnant self enjoyed a summer of music and I'm sure this one will be more of the same!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Everything is coming up Rosey

I'll use one word to summarize this week: Roseola.

High fevers, followed by a few days of whining and then pop, out came a bright red rash. Poor guy. And all along I thought the fever was due to teething. So I gave in and went to comfort and feed him during the night, just days after he had finally conquered a 7:30pm to 5:30am shift.

And now that the red rash is gone so are his wonderful sleeping habits. Last night, he was completely inconsolable so after 2 hours of crying we gave up on Ferber, turned off the lights and the monitor and just let him cry. I honestly don't know how long it lasted but when he was still asleep at 7:30am this morning I was panicked to make sure he was still breathing. Oh, the wonderful world of cry it out.

The email below was forwarded to me by Riley's mom. This one is great for a chuckle.

Sleep Training For Adults (From A Baby’s Point Of View)
OK, here’s my situation. My Mommy has had me for almost 7 months. The first few months were great – I cried, she picked me up and fed me, anytime, day or night. Then something happened.
Over the last few weeks, she has been trying to STTN (sleep through the night). At first, I thought it was just a phase, but it is only getting worse. I’ve talked to other babies, and it seems like it’s pretty common after Mommies have had us for around 6 months. Here’s the thing: these Mommies don’t really need to sleep. It’s just a habit. Many of them have had some 30 years to sleep–they just don’t need it anymore. So I am implementing a plan. I call it the Crybaby Shuffle. It goes like this:
Night 1–cry every 3 hours until you get fed. I know, it’s hard. It’s hard to see your Mommy upset over your crying. Just keep reminding yourself, it’s for her own good.
Night 2–cry every 2 hours until you get fed.
Night 3–every hour.
Most Mommies will start to respond more quickly after about 3 nights. Some Mommies are more alert, and may resist the change longer. These Mommies may stand in your doorway for hours, shhhh-ing. Don’t give in. I cannot stress this enough: CONSISTENCY IS KEY!! If you let her STTN (sleep through the night), just once, she will expect it every night. I KNOW IT’S HARD! But she really doesn’t need the sleep, she’s just resisting the change. If you have an especially alert Mommy, you can stop crying for about 10 minutes, just long enough for her to go back to bed and start to fall asleep. Then cry again. It WILL eventually work. My Mommy once stayed awake for 10 hours straight, so I know she can do it.
Last night, I cried every hour. You just have to decide to stick to it and just go for it. BE CONSISTENT! I cried for any reason I could come up with. My sleep sack tickled my foot. I felt a wrinkle under the sheet. My mobile made a shadow on the wall. I burped, and it tasted like pears. I hadn’t eaten pears since lunch, what’s up with that? The cat said “meow”. I should know. My Mommy reminds me of this about 20 times a day. LOL. Once I cried just because I liked how it sounded when it echoed on the monitor in the other room. Too hot, too cold, just right–doesn’t matter! Keep crying!!
It took awhile, but it worked. She fed me at 4am. Tomorrow night, my goal is 3:30am. You need to slowly shorten the interval between feedings in order to reset your Mommies’ internal clocks.
Sometimes my Mommy will call for reinforcements by sending in Daddy. Don’t worry Daddies are not set up for not needing sleep the way Mommies are. They can only handle a few pats and shhing before they declare defeat and send in the Mommy.
Also, be wary of the sleep sheep with rain noises. I like to give Mommy false hope that listening to the rain puts me to sleep sometimes I pretend to close my eyes and be asleep and then wait until I know Mommy is settling back to sleep to spring a surprise cry attack. If she doesn’t get to me fast enough I follow up with my fake cough and gag noise that always has her running to the crib. At some point I am positive she will start to realize that she really doesn’t really need sleep.
P.S. Don’t let those rubber things fool you, no matter how long you suck on them, no milk will come out. Trust me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Growing Pains of All Ages

Yesterday I had both kids home. Not a big deal but definitely a day that required some planning. Or as it turns out, no planning at all.

You see, Alex has a mild fever and runny nose all weekend. Possible symptoms of teething. At 8 months, he is more than due. While I can't feel anything poking through in his mouth I know the poor guy is in a lot of pain. My sweet, smiley boy has become a total grump. Crying, kvetching and sleepy, he just isn't himself.

So plans to go to a 12 o'clock Pilates class quickly got shelved as the tears came streaming down his face before I could even get out of the door.

Then, Hannah who seems to be having some sort of "tantrum threes" pulls a few fast ones on me. The worst of them all was running from the park to my mom's house (right next door) by herself, not listening to my commands. All this following our morning activity of making a behavior chart with Xs marking the bad and stickers marking the good. At the end of the week, if there are more stickers than X's she gets a present. Needless to say, the 10 X's I gave her for running away are currently not working in our favor.

But in all honesty, the moment that lightened up the day was on the walk back home from my parent's house. The storm clouds were rolling in, I was pushing the double stroller and coercing Winston to stop smelling the roses. All of a sudden the skies opened up. Without a rain cover on board, we all got drenched (except for Alex who is small enough to stay sheltered). And we laughed about it.

I still smile writing this post. But think I have an even bigger smile on my face with one kid in daycare and the other happily napping :)


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Sweet Ending

Food Revolution Day came and went and with 6 weeks of intense planning I couldn't be happier with the result and the events that I put on for Jamie Oliver's Food Foundation.

And now with life settling back to normal, news that I received earlier in the month is finally sinking in. Sweetspot, the website I have been writing for over the course of the past 7 years shut down. It was an abrupt ending with literally no notice that has left my freelance writing career on the fence.

A deep sense of panic had me networking within minutes of hearing the news and I now have many prospects on the horizon as well as a new gig writing a What's Happening column for Urban Expressions.

While there is a definite void in my weekly writing schedule I know everything happens for a reason and now its time for me to sow new seeds and see what the future holds.

So to new beginnings...but before I officially say goodbye I wanted to share one of my last articles for Sweetmama that never ran. This one is definitely worth sharing with all you Montreal moms.

G’ymagine Opens a Fitness and Activity Centre in the Heart of the City

We moved to Old Montreal to be a true urban family. But it seems like whenever our kids want to have pure unadulterated fun, we need to head to the suburbs.

No more packing up the car and leaving the ‘hood thanks to G’ymagine. This new fitness and activity centre lies just west of Old Montreal in an unassuming space that is a whole lot of fun. Classes ($200/session) include ballet, hip hop, jiu jitsu, zumba and yoga and cater to children from four months to 12 years old.

And when class is not in session, we can always stop by to use the tumble room ($15/2 hours), fuel up at the luncheonette snack bar or sign up for a special workshop.

Now, that sounds like an urban oasis to us!

1390 William (between Guy & de la Montagne)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day Comes to Montreal

I have been busy these days. Really busy.

Sure, I have a 7 month old, a 3 year old and a dog to walk but here's what's been taking up most of my time this past month.

Through my work at FoodFun, I have been selected as an ambassador for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day? Sounds pretty amazing, right? But what exactly does that mean?

I am spearheading a local initiative to promote Montreal's real food scene. What is real food? Food that is locally grown, homemade and cooked with love. Nothing out of a box, bag or drive thru.

I'm so proud to share two events that I have planned and an additional two that I have encouraged here in Montreal.

The first is the Real Food Market! Would love to see you there as it will be an evening full of tasty eats that is completely accessible and affordable for all Montrealers. Visit the official Facebook page to RSVP.

The second, is an activity just for the kids.
Spring is the perfect time to get their hands dirty and learn about where their food comes from. This pea potting activity will be held at La Tasse Gamine for a nominal fee on May 19th at 10:30 am.

And lastly, Appetite for Books will be holding two events. A Jamie Oliver inspired boxed lunch on May 18 for just $10 and a community wide bake sale on May 19.

All of the proceeds from all four events will be donated to Jamie Oliver's Food Foundation, promoting food education projects worldwide.

Hope to see you at one (or all three!) of the events!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Lot Can Happen in a Week + Giveaway!

Silence. It's the first time I hear it in my house in over 10 days.

Hannah was off for Passover and her daddy so graciously took a stay-cation to help out with the kids and get some projects completed in the house.

While I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of it all I must say that this first 10 minutes of peace and quiet is quite nice!

So while it was a week jam packed with activities, visits with friends and family, a new toilet being installed in the powder room (such a handy husband)...I think the biggest accomplishment of the week came with Alex.

After a visit with his pediatrician, we decided to crack down on the sleeping. Formula is no longer in the equation as breast milk seems to be satiating enough for him. We've taken a modified Ferber approach. Basically, let him cry for a few minutes and then go in to pat him, hold him or put on music. Whatever works best to soothe him. The first few nights were rough (in terms of sleeplessness) but I think we've figured out the magic formula - placing my head next to his for a few seconds until he gets sleepy. Funnily enough, this is the same technique we used with Hannah. The real problem (or should I say backache) might occur when we have to drop his crib, but for now we are enjoying 5-6 hours of sleep.

At the same time, I was getting a bit worried about his eating. Lips clamped shut, he just wasn't interested. I tried feeding sacks and then headed to Plattsburgh to stock up on Plum Organicspouches that he can suck on himself. And then all of a sudden something clicked two days ago and I couldn't get the butternut squash in his mouth fast enough.

So now we have a little boy who is sleeping and eating...and everyone is happy!

In celebration I'm pleased to announce a giveaway thanks to the kind folks at Skip Hop. Up for grabs is their new Alphabet Zoo Unfolding Activity Book . It could be yours by becoming a follower of Midnight Mom and leaving a comment with your best piece of sleep advice for other moms to enjoy.
Contest ends Monday April 23rd.
Good luck!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Little Mavens

Hope you all had a great long weekend with lots of family and food!

Two more things that came across my inbox that I'd love to share.

Fashion District is holding its semi-annual warehouse sale on kids' clothing including brands like Tumble Dry, Imps & Elfs, Lee Cooper and more.

Ralph Lauren has just launched their latest kid' collection using their whimsical RL Gang videos. This time featuring the class of 2012, and tons of preppy fashions, this is one of the best marketing campaigns for kids I've seen in a long time.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Summer Travels

Even though it is only April, we've been thinking about our summer vacation for quite some time now. Sesame Place and the beach are likely on the agenda, with plenty of weekends spent in Vermont.

I always say that a vacation with kids is a trip, not a vacation. So when I heard about a new contest for a real adults-only vacation I thought I'd share it with you all.

Vermont's North East Kingdom is currently running a Facebook contest until April 30. Here's what you could win:
  • A two night, midweek stay for two at Couture's B & B in Westfield (valid June - September 2012). Stay at a real working dairy farm, meet some cows & calves, and, of course, enjoy a hearty country breakfast featuring maple syrup made on site! Learn more about Couture's Bed & Breakfast at
  • A 3-course dinner for two at Tastings Food & Spirits, located in nearby Troy. A favorite among locals and visitors alike, Tastings features farm-to-table cuisine and a full bar. Learn more at
  • Two passes to the Pump House Indoor Water Park at Jay Peak, home of the only indoor aqualoop in the U.S. or Canada! Learn more at
  • Two 18-hole greens fees for Orleans Country Club, featuring beautiful fairways, amazing views, and a welcoming atmosphere. Learn more at
Good luck! If you win, maybe you'll take me along :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Happenings

Some of you know that I write a weekly column for Sweetspot and Sweetmama, with weekly happenings in Montreal. I write the articles two weeks in advance so sometimes I only find out about events when its too late to include them. This week I stumbled upon tons of cool things happening in the city (mostly sales) that I wanted to share with you.

1. Grumman78 opening - Yes, Montreal's one and only food truck is now accessible to all. Grumman78's tacos have garnered foodie praise even though food trucks are not legal in our hot dog cart-less city. So instead of seeking out events where the truck will be making an appearance we can now head over to the Faubourg food court to indulge in these delicious soft shell tacos. The restaurant opens on Sunday April 1 and you can bet there will be huge lineups.

2. Marcelle Sample Sale - Don't forget to clean out your makeup along with the rest of your spring cleaning. We always seem to forget that makeup has a short lifespan. This local company is having a sale March 30-April 1 at their warehouse at 9200 Cote de Liesse. Visit their facebook page for an additional 15% off coupon.

3. Anzie Sample Sale - Jewelry thats sold at high end department stores for a fraction of the price? Yes, please! Save up to 75% off at this sale that's on until tomorrow at 5490 Royalmount, #200.

4. Petit Lem Warehouse Sale - Save on French children's fashions at this sale happening April 12-14 at 275 Stinson.

5. Beyond the Rack Warehouse Sale - This Montreal-based flash sale site is selling off excess goods from designers like Marc Jacobs, Gucci, BCBG and more. Can't wait to see what find of goodies will be on the shelves! April 12-15 at 361 Isabey

Happy shopping and eating!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hello Sleep

We finally gave in.

Alex had his first taste of formula last week.

I had to do a real convincing job on the hubby but I think my rationale of "wouldn't you rather he try a little formula than having to listen to him cry out it?" worked wonders!

Night one's results weren't so amazing, but night two yielded two 5 hour sleep batches. Woohoo! The 11pm/12am bottle of 4oz of formula has been going strong all week and we've been getting 4 or 5 hour stretches which is a huge improvement over 2.5-3.

So I'm happy to be getting a bit more shut eye but know that there is plenty of room for improvement. And maybe with the introduction of peas today (cereals weren't getting a warm welcome) we can push it to 6 or 7 hours.

So from an ardent breast milk mom...if you're up all night giving formula a try isn't such a bad idea. It's one step in the right direction that may have just avoided a lot of crying for this family!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Binding Baby

We started Alex on rice cereal this weekend.

Although he is just a week and a half shy of the 6 month mark, he has been eyeing our food for a couple of weeks now and is more than able to sit in the high chair himself so we figured we'd give it a try.

Day one was 1 teaspoon of rice cereal which he lapped up and cried a bit when it was all done because he wanted more. Day two was 1 tablespoon which he couldn't quite finish.

I thought the feeding was going well until I realized that at 10pm last night he still hadn't pooped all day. At that point he had woken up after just 2 hours after a previous night that was full of crying and hourly wake ups.

And then I made the connection. The rice must have been constipating him, causing a tummy ache and numerous wake ups.

So we promptly gave him a bottle with some water in it.

Finally asleep at 11 he woke up again at 2 and 5 (pretty normal for us) and his diaper was full both times.

Mystery solved.

So we're taking the day off from cereal today. I'm contemplating trying oats tomorrow.

And here I slightly believed that old wives tale of solids helping sleep :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Trees Please

I just spent Alex's nap time on doody duty. Yep, picking up the remains of our dog Winston that we seemed to have neglected all winter long. Yes, spring is coming.

And while my hands were full of not-so-nice smells, I looked on the bright side of things (such an optimist) and spotted Hannah's tree that we transplanted when we moved to our new home.

I wrote about the Quebec government's free trees for 0-1 year olds a few years ago here. And Hannah's maple reminded me that our new backyard could be even fuller with a tree for Alex.

If you've got an under 1 year old at home I encourage you to do the same. The deadline is April 15, 2012.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dollhouse Delight

Hannah turned 3 last Thursday.

It was a week filled with a Strawberry Shortcake ice cream cake, the Jewish holiday of Purim, class photos and lots of presents.

Hannah was truly gifted to receive presents from family and friends, who certainly know about her love for all things artistic and fun.

One gift definitely stood out.

Now, I don't want to sound like an advertorial here but if you're looking for a gift for a creative girl of any age, this one should be a must on your list.

(This gift came wrapped up as a surprise by a friend. I knew nothing about it before and have no ties to the company. The words below are written from a totally non-biased opinion)

We were toying with the idea of getting Hannah a dollhouse for her birthday but I am so happy she got this one instead.

It took me about 30 minutes to build but when she saw it assembled she was so excited. The dollhouse is basically white cardboard with plenty of room for creation. It comes with stickers for the interior and exterior of the house that can all be coloured to the owner's whimsy.

Once the interior design is done, its time to build some 3D paper furniture like a baby's crib, sofa and bunk beds.

The last step involves a 3D family, complete with a dog and cat that can also be coloured in.

Why do I love this product so much? A few reasons.
1. It is made from recycled materials
2. It allows any little girl (or boy) to completely customize their dollhouse
3. It is a never-ending activity that can take weeks to complete and then months to enjoy as they imagine their own little make believe world.

Granted Hannah probably did not appreciate it to its fullest extent as she didn't colour in most of the stickers. But she's still loving the element of creation and play. And I must admit, I had a lot of fun helping her out in the process.

Definitely a must-buy for any girl on your gift list.

Placing furniture

The dollhouse facade

Having fun with markers

The box folds out to create a backyard with swimming pool
What to look for in the store...

Monday, March 5, 2012

On My Radar

I was a single mom last week. Yes, my lucky husband headed off to Las Vegas for work (and fancy meals, and shopping and gambling). Can you tell I'm jealous?

Well, now that I've finally recuperated (how do single moms do it?!) I have some time to tell you about a couple of great new products/services that have been piling up in my inbox.

Yes! Lululemon has finally done it! They have created a line for girls. Hannah doesn't quite make the grade yet as the clothing is available in sizes 4-14. The site is labelled as"dance wear & activewear" and while there are plenty of leotards and skate skirts, I have a feeling that even those less active girls will be sporting the comfy pants and leggings. Warning: kids' prices aren't too far off from the adult ones, kaching.

This one is unfortunately just for my US readers.
Ever heard of Glossybox? This subscription based service sends members a monthly package full of cosmetics. for just $15.
Well, PetiteBox will soon be sending all moms who sign up a monthly package of goodies from their fourth month of pregnancy to baby's first birthday. No word on how much the cost per month will be but high end products, essential for new moms, are promised.

Our kids' spring wardrobe is about to get the designer touch as Diane Von Furstenberg collaborates with the Gap for a collection for kids. While there has been much press around the March 15th launch I got an invitation today to shop the collection first from 8am to 10am. Cannot wait...but somewhat hesitant about the designer price tags.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What's the Right Equation?

I'm rethinking formula once again.

Pumping seems to be a constant catch up game. Last night, I pumped anticipating needing a bottle for a lengthy trip to Vermont (which isn't happening thanks to lots of snow) and within a minute of taking off my pump he woke up hungry. So with only 2.5 oz frozen, I had to give him what I had just pumped.

And with a few outings planned this week I'm already worried about leaving enough milk for grandma to bottle feed.

So I'm back to considering formula. But I have no idea of where to start.

Organic? Cows milk? Powdered?

So you're input is now appreciated more than ever. What do you use?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Doctor is In

This past week seems to have been a whirlwind.

One sick kid. One 4-month checkup. Lots of learning and even more gray hairs.

While I would like to start enjoying my Sunday night (now that I've wrapped up on 2 Sweetspot articles) I didn't want to leave some of you hanging on discoveries that I think are worth sharing.

1. Bye Bye Binky helped us stopped the pacifier addiction but only at the first step. Once I cut an actual hole in the tip, I had a hysterical guy on my hands. But by putting 7 needle size holes in the tip he uses a pacifier to soothe himself to sleep but immediately spits it out and therefore isn't completely dependent on it.

2. We need to wait until 6 months to attempt Ferber. According to our pediatrician, 4-5 months is a time of learning about trust and mistrust and by leaving a baby to cry you are having an impression on their personality (thank goodness we gave up after 1 night)

3. Solids are now only to be started at 6 months of age. We started Hannah on rice cereal at 5 months but our pediatrician said the rules have changed to a strict 6 month start date.

4. Almost 3 year old meltdowns are not fun. Won't get into the details of this one but hoping it can all be blamed on a cold that developed the next day.

That's my update for now. Be back in a little while with more of this whirlwind life of a working mom in a new home with two kids and a dog!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bye Bye Binky

This morning I attempted round 2 of the Bye Bye Binky method and trust me when I say that I have never seen a pacifier be spit across a room with so much force!

So looks like our mission was accomplished.

Except in the process, it failed to dawn on me that without a pacifier to suck on he wouldn't be able to fall asleep on his own.

After being asleep for almost 2 hours he woke up hysterical at 8:45pm with no comfort from the now-cut pacifier.

So while we didn't want to attempt Ferber after the weekend's tears, we now have to find a way to put him to sleep without creating a new crutch like nursing or rocking to sleep.

Fun. Hadn't really planned on this being in the cards for tonight's itinerary!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Old Friend Ferber

The last time I blogged about sleep it was an issue of Alex not drinking enough to get him through the night.

Well I've since realized my supply is keeping his tummy full, we have taken a few courses of action, none of which have provided the end result we were hoping for.

What is that end result you may ask? I'm not looking for 8pm-8am sleeps here. Just the 5 hour blocks we were getting prior to the 3-month mark.

Our first attempt involved taking the pacifier out of Alex's mouth every time he fell asleep. So we'd let him suck to soothe and then remove it so he wasn't sucking in his sleep.

That didn't work.

Or maybe we just didn't give it enough time.

Then we tried the Ferber method. Night one was rough. Hearing him cry was heartbreaking. He made himself so hysterical that there was no way to soothe him: no cuddling, no rocking, no singing. The only thing that would work was putting the pacifier in for a second to get him back to composure and then remove it so he could try to fall asleep on his own, a bit more relaxed.

He was up about 4 times with crying spells lasting 30 minutes.

Night two. He cried for 45 painful minutes and fell asleep until about 3 am. And then after 30 minutes of crying and me surfing the net paranoid, came across a conversation about the Ferber method causing brain damage, so I quickly got up and put the pacifier in his mouth and officially gave up on Ferber.

The newest tactic deals not so much with sleep training but with slowly removing the pacifier as a crutch. I came across Bye Bye Binky, a method that supposedly has seen a ton of success. The concept? Make the sensation of sucking an unpleasant one. How do you do that? Well, the first step is to put 7 pin size holes in the head of the pacifier so more air is inside.

In two days, I will cut a small tip off of the nipple, then a bit more, and finally a vertical slit down the centre of the nipple.

Hmmm...after writing that I'm thinking that all this technique might accomplish is some profit accumulation for the pacifier industry. But at this point there's no harm in trying. But then again, if he refuses the pacifier he'll have to find another way to self soothe and that eventually might lead to the same kind of tears that Ferber created.

Oh the joys of sleep!

Double Trouble

Hannah stayed home sick yesterday. Actually it was more like playing hookie.
She had a runny nose and watery eyes and just didn't want to go. And knowing that the rest of my week was very busy I figured it would be the day for her to stay home.

My biggest challenge of having the two of them at home? Walking the dog. I actually didn't end up walking him at all. Instead we piled into the car and picked up Daddy and stopped at the dog run near his office at lunch. Problem solved.

But, it would have been a lot simpler to just pile them into the double stroller and zoom around the block. Maybe I would have even gotten naps out of it.

But...what double stroller?

We've been toying with the idea ever since Alex was born and the answer always was that I wouldn't have both kids out much in the winter and come spring time we would reconsider seeing how much Hannah liked to walk and how big Alex got to fit into the Becko.

But with this mild winter I'm starting to reconsider.

And I continue to lust over the Baby Jogger City Select.

Front and back, not side by side, to fit down any aisle. And while I think we're past the point of needing a bassinet, the car seat adapter would certainly come in handy.

I'm trying to seek out a deal in the US where the strollers are a good few hundred dollars cheaper or even buy one slightly used like we did with our current Bugaboo Frog.

No luck though.

No, I'll continue to lust knowing that every day that goes by without it is one fewer that we would have been getting a return on our investment. Sigh.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Jump Kids World

These days Twitter has been an invaluable source of information.

My newest online discovery? The good folks at Joe Fresh have just recently a children's home decor line called Jump Kids World.

When I read the tweet I literally jumped for joy.

Two reasons:
1. I love Joe Fresh - for myself, Hannah and Alex
2. Montreal is totally lacking cute, modern kids' decor at reasonable prices.

And then I got in touch with the Joe PR rep. I was thrilled to see a slew of photos featuring amazing products like these.

Available at Maxi store throughout Quebec, I was told that the Jean Talon store had the largest assortment for the collection. So, I headed out, hoping to find a new play mat for our basement.

After previewing the super cute spring fashions in-store I sought out the decor items. After a bit of hunting, I found all 3 shelves of them. Yep, big time disappointment.

The items on hand were cute but (as I should have suspected) were not merchandised anything like I had imagined from the PR photos. And the assortment can only be called slim pickings. Here is what they had on hand.

Maybe more is coming in. I hope. Because knowing what Joe Fresh has done for fashion I can't wait to see how they start to revolutionize our homes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Welcome to Canada Zulily!

If you were planning on heading out this weekend to shop like me (we have officially graduated to a size 3) you may as well stay cozy at home and shop online.

Cause one of my favorite discount sites now ships to Canada!

Zulily is bringing its cute kidswear, fashionable maternity wear and chic home decor north of the border.

Not a member yet? Go ahead and sign up here!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I am Lucky.

With all of the action that surrounded Alex's birth (moving, packing, unpacking) the ease of it all somehow got lost.

A while back I posted about how grateful I was to have an easy labour with Hannah and the same is so incredibly true about Alex.

I really didn't think about it until now. And unfortunately, a few terrible labour stories brought it to my attention.

I'm not going to divulge them all except for one that is particularly heart wrenching.

About a year ago I heard the news about a prominent Jewish Montrealer whose granddaughter desperately needed a bone marrow transplant. A huge effort went into finding a match and finally in August the little girl underwent surgery.

I hadn't heard much until today when I read that she had passed away. Surprisingly, I found out the news on Twitter which led me to a blog that was dedicated to her struggle. An outlet for parents who were fighting and are now, so sadly, grieving.

I hate to put a downer on your Tuesday but take a minute and look at what surrounds you. Because both you and I are so lucky to have such healthy, wonderful children in our lives.

Friday, January 27, 2012

School Wars

The conversation in our house these days has been skewing heavily on the subject of Hannah's future education. We love her CPE (especially since its $7/day) and are fully planning on keeping her there as long as possible until she is 4. For two reasons:
1. It's a great education and unlike other daycares, really has that school environment where children are separated by age
2. Alex will be going there next year and 1 carpool is better than 2

So, as Hannah's 3rd birthday approaches we know that next fall we will have to make a decision about her future school.

Public? Private? Jewish? Secular?

Our new house is literally 10 steps away from a very well respected public school which actually offers a Jewish program. My husband is very pro, coming from a public school background. I'm not so sure, coming from a private Jewish background.

My main rationale? I want our kids to know Hebrew and I think this is a tough challenge when you only study it once or twice a week after school, while all of your friends are doing fun sports or other extra curriculars.

We started browsing various school websites and while the prices of the Jewish ones aren't listed (but somewhere in the $6000-$8000 range) we could not believe how much the private, secular schools are! $15,000 for kindergarden! That's insane.

At least that in Montreal. Not New York city. Check out this movie trailer about the competitive (and expensive) world of nursery school applications.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not the right Formula

So my big decision that I wrote about yesterday about whether or not to give formula a try is basically a no go.

The reason why? No, I have not declared myself a breastfeeding nazi but rather I got lucky with a whole lot of breast milk last night. I pumped a whopping 5.5 oz by 10pm just in time for Alex to wake up at 10:30pm.

After a feed that took quite a bit of time (just went to Toys r Us to get 3+ nipples) he dozed off only to wake up at 1:45am. And 4am. And 6am...

So even though he had another great feed upon his first waking I'm thinking hunger is not the issue here.

To be honest, I was hoping it was since a solution was rather quick and easy. But seems like I truly do have another major sucker on my hands (or boobs, for that matter). And in this case, a solution isn't so easy.

It takes work, sleepless nights and possibly tears. Not sure I'm ready to tackle this yet (maybe its 4 month regression....stop fooling yourself Lauren!) Guess I have to be in the zone to take this challenge on. Not there yet, maybe Monday.

Unless someone out there has some inspiration for me?!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To Supplement or Not to Supplement?

I take great pride in being able to say that I breastfed Hannah exclusively for 13 months. Actually, if you gave me a can of formula I wouldn't really know what to do with it.

And up until now, Alex has been also getting only breast milk. But I'm starting to think I want to give formula a try. But in my mind there is such a stigma attached to this idea.

Now please, moms who bottle-feed take no offence. I know there are plenty of moms who can't breastfeed or just don't want to...and that is totally cool. It's your choice...god knows raising a baby is hard enough so you have to pick what works best for you. But my track record with Hannah makes me think that Alex should get the same treatment. And that by not breastfeeding 24/7 I am being lazy.

I don't want to give him formula just for the heck of it. I actually want to do a little test to see if filling him up with 5-6 oz before bedtime will make him sleep longer. Because based on my recent pumping experiences I'm only getting 2-3 oz a pump. And I think my growing boy needs more to fill his tummy. But then again, he was doing 5 hour shifts before his 3 month (corrected) growth spurt.

Really don't know what to do. But then again, after re-reading this post it really isn't such a big deal to at least give it a try, right? I did just say, that moms should do whatever makes their lives easier, did I not? So I'm not exception to the rule...

What do you think? Will more milk make a difference or do you think at four months old I should still be accepting wake up calls every 2-3 hours?

Maybe if I have enough of your encouragement I'll give it a try...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Girl's Life

Hannah had her first ever ballet class today. We've been talking about it for weeks and preparing by purchasing a leotard, tights and ballet shoes and finding ballet books at the library.

She had a wonderful time at class. Parents weren't allowed inside so I couldn't see what she was doing but she ran out with a huge smile on her face. I'm slightly tempted to ask the teacher to take my phone and video her so I can see what it's all about. Especially since I am certain that she will clam up the minute it comes time for their end of season recital in front of an audience.

After snack and getting dressed we headed out to the car. Or at least tried to. As we were leaving the room, Hannah noticed all of the other girls' pink backpacks...Dora, Hello Kitty, princesses. I had packed her things in her brothers' Skip Hop dog backpack that he is currently not using.

Well, Hannah didn't like that one bit. Full on hissy fit all the way to the car on the icy sidewalk wanting to go back and take one. After trying to explain that they belonged to the other girls and that I would be more than happy to buy her a pink backpack I came to realize what was just beginning.

The competitive and want-to-be world of girls. The expression "just wait until she is in high school" kept going through my mind.

The timing was quite ironic after having just read this article the day before about a 7 year old girl who told her mom she was fat.

The past almost 3 years have been easy-peasy. I buy something for Hannah and she loves it, plays with it or wears it. But I think we're about to enter the stage of comparison. Good for motivation and learning, potentially bad for my wallet and her self image.

So how do you create an environment for your daughter where she is 100% happy with herself no matter what she has and what she looks like?

I don't think anyone has the answer and I think its completely unavoidable but by filling her with positiveness and taking words out of our vocabulary like fat, skinny and ugly I think we can steer her in the right direction, especially now during this most impressionable age.