Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Practical Advice

When you are pregnant you can attend prenatal classes to prepare you for the birth of your baby that teach you about labour, and diapering, feeding, cleaning, and otherwise caring for your baby. But, there is a huge flaw in this counselling, because most couples ultimately will figure out how to put on a diaper, get their baby to sleep, or cope with their own sleep deprivation. What we really need to learn, is how to deal with each other once the baby comes! We need to be prepared for all the changes that happen in our marriage after having a child. Skills for staying connected would be much more practical, since it is widely believed that as many as 25% of couples split up in the first five years after having a child.

It certainly hasn't been easy for my husband and I to transition from a couple to a family, and I have talked with other women who find it difficult to balance their roles as both a wife and mother.

In my research on this issue I discovered that Drs. John & Julie Gottman put on workshops in the US called "Bringing Baby Home" that focus on the changing relationship between mom and dad, as well as how to care for a newborn. On the Gottman Institute website it says that after having a baby "40 to 70% of couples experience stress, profound conflict and drops in marital satisfaction during this time, all of which affect their baby’s care."

So, it isn't uncommon to feel stressed out, and since we don't have these workshops in Canada {at least not that I am aware of}, I guess we just figure it out as we go and do our best. To maintain our relationship my husband and I try our best to commit to going on dates together as much as possible. We also support each other in outside interests {hubby plays sports, I have school and book club for example}. One major source of conflict after our son was born was housework {it's no secret that I hate cleaning}. So, we compromised by working a monthly cleaning lady into our budget.

Share your tips on keeping your marriage strong after becoming parents by posting a comment.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mom & Tot Classes

As a new mom it is important to stay busy and interact with other moms and their babies/toddlers. Here is a list I have compiled of some places in Calgary where you can take Mom & Tot classes {in alphabetical order}. I live in the deep south end of the city, so most of these classes are located in my area. If you know of any others in the Calgary area please post a comment below or email me and I'll add it to the list! If I have tried the class/venue personally before I have marked it with a star rating from * {1} to ***** {5}. No rating means I haven't had the opportunity to try them out yet... if you have please share your thoughts!

Fitness with Kids


Gymtastics {I am excited to take a GymTots class in January...}

****Little Wonders

*****Petite Beats {Miss Connie is so nice and my son adores her}

South Fish Creek Recreation


*****YMCA {rating is for the Swim & Gym classes offered at the Shawnessy YMCA}

I am going to take as many classes as possible to stay busy this winter... being stuck in the house with an active toddler can drive a mommy crazy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Blog Header

I thought I would attempt to add a new header to my blog... and through the help of an online tutorial provided by Jill from "Sneaky Momma" and Scrapblog I was able to do so.

I didn't spend too much time on it because I wanted to see if it would work for me first, so it's likely that I will change the header again in the not so distant future. Let me know if you have any other tips or suggestions for a future header, I am loving learning everything I can about what the internet and blogging have to offer!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fab Female in the Limelight

I discovered Paula and her company Limelight Photography through a good old fashioned Google search for "baby photographers in Calgary." I fell in love with her work, and after looking at her portfolio even decided to do some prenatal pictures. Since then we have worked with Paula three more times: when Baby B was 3-months-old, again when he was 9-months-old, and most recently we did a family shoot in August.

I have the pictures Paula has taken for us everywhere in my house. It's so important to me to document the growth of my family, and capture whatever moments we can forever in photographs. Paula is not only super-talented, but she has this amazing ability to click that button at just the right moment finding the smile between the cries of a newborn, or playful innocence in a tired, moody toddler. She also offers packages that include your touched-up digital negatives ~ a total must for anyone who is indecisive like me {I could never go through a bunch of pictures, and just pick a few poses}!

Paula is an inspiration to me for a variety of reasons, one being that I always wanted to be a good photographer, but never really had the skill {a photography class in college helped me discover this}. Second, Paula has turned a skill and obvious passion into her own business. And, third, she is also a mom and wife and somehow makes it all work!

I highly recommend Paula if you are looking for a photographer to help you hold onto your memories {she also does amazing weddings}. Here are pictures from each of the photo sessions my family has had with Limelight Photography. Please note that I have chosen to only share pictures that do not show our faces because I want to maintain a certain amount of privacy for my husband and son {they didn't decide to start writing this blog afterall}. This is not meant to devalue Paula's work... trust me she does also take fabulous pictures from the front! Check out Paula's blog to see more!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cooking Up Compliments

It seems to be becoming a pretty common theme for Wife Wednesdays that I am in the process of learning to cook. It has been the most challenging aspect of being a stay-at-home mom for me, personally. When my husband and I were both working full-time (outside of the home) before becoming parents, we shared the meal preparation duties. To be honest my husband did the majority of the actual cooking, with me focussing on side dishes and such.

Now I do the grocery shopping, and plan and prepare the meals, occasionally asking the hubby to barbeque as required. It's still a huge battle for me every weekend to come up with a meal plan and then, each day at 5:30pm, attempt to turn my groceries into something that is edible and the whole family enjoys. It's no secret that toddlers are picky eaters, and after spending the time and energy making something it can be so disheartening when my son refuses to eat what I put in front of him.

That's why it was the highlight of my month {I am not exaggerating either}, when a few weeks ago after preparing my mom's spaghetti sauce recipe for the first time by myself, both my husband and son gobbled up the food on their plates whilst making the appropriate slurping and smacking noises, and then asked for more. I couldn't have been happier or prouder of myself. It definitely gave me the motivation to continue learning all that I can about cooking. I am even looking into some cooking classes to further my culinary skills. If anyone knows if any such classes in Calgary please share {or a favourite "beginner" recipe website will be equally appreciated}! And, if you are in the same boat as me, know that you are not alone, keep trying, and celebrate every little compliment!

Monday, September 21, 2009

As I have noted in the About Me section of my blog, I am an avid online shopper. I have only had a few problems so far, such as items that suddenly become discontinued five weeks after I placed my order {and after being told at least three times that my order had already shipped}, but nothing serious enough to deter me from ordering on the internet.

I get very frustrated when I am looking for something in particular, and I head out with my little man for a day of shopping, but come home empty handed because stores in Calgary are out of stock! So, I buy online to save myself the time and headache, or at the very least research the different options online before I leave the house.

My favourite online maternity/baby/toddler store that I have used for the majority of my baby-related purchases, is Toronto-based Dear Born Baby {}. They offer free shipping on orders over $100, and they have consistently provided me with good customer service and a great selection of products. The site is easy to navigate, professional and appealing to look at. I have mentioned this company to my mommy friends too many times to count. {Fabulous Friend: "Lauren, where did you get this great thing?" Me: "From Dear Born Baby of course."}

I highly recommend that you check here first before heading out to the stores! Especially if your little one doesn't particularly like to go shopping for more than an hour or two like my little guy! {Bonus: you get to receive your new stuff in the mail, and who doesn't love that!?}

Happy shopping!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Blissful Life

I am super excited because this week I ordered my ticket for the upcoming Business of Bliss conference here in Calgary on Monday, October 5th. I have always wanted to attend a women's conference, and this one is of particular interest because it is focussed on living your passion (in your personal and business life), and because I dream of starting my own business one day. Tickets are a little pricey at $249 a piece, but I am hoping it will be worth it.

One of the speakers at the event is Peter Walsh from TLC's Clean Sweep {who I adore for his ruthless organization skills}, and another is Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell. This conference also does double duty for me in that I get to spend the day with a whole bunch of adult women, something that every new mommy knows doesn't always fit into the schedule. Big thanks to my fabulous mom and awesome hubby for sharing childcare duties for the day so I can attend! Here's to living a life you love!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Love, Honor, and Vacuum

**As I mentioned in my previous post, we are leaving today for a mini vacation in San Diego. I will be back on Monday afternoon, but being the keener I am, I have already written posts for the days that I am away and they will automatically go up at 9:00 on Friday and Monday mornings.**

I discovered this gem of a blog about a year ago and immediately signed up to receive the weekly emails. Author of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum, Sheila Wray Gregoire from Belleville, Ontario, has lots to say, and whether you are Christian or not, have kids or don't, it is a good read for anyone and everyone who is married. I am certainly not an expert on marriage, probably no one is, but I think Sheila is pretty darn close. Her writing is encouraging and straightforward. I learn something about myself every time I visit her site, and I find tools to help me change the things that I don't like about myself or my life.

The email that I received on Friday was all about not fretting when you feel like you aren't good at anything early in your marriage, and not comparing yourself to women who have been doing things {like cooking} alot longer than you. It's always nice to know that there are others out there who are going through the same thing as you! Here's a quote from Sheila's post/email entitled "September Resolutions":

"Simply by living, life often gets easier. We get practice. Practice at making a decent meal. Practice at putting our toys away. Practice at sharing our lives and our hearts. Hopefully practice at keeping our wallets—and our mouths—closed when necessary. And most importantly, practice at showing others how much we love them. And practice does a lot more for you than an endless list of resolutions."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Have Kid, Still Travel

I have been very fortunate to do quite a lot of traveling in the last year and a half. For most of these trips my husband and I took our son along with us. His first plane ride was when he was five months old, and we leave this Wednesday for San Diego for our last "free" trip before he turns two. I feel like I am becoming a bit of an expert on traveling, by both car and airplane, with a child in tow. At the very least I am a pretty quick packer, and fairly confident I will have everything I need with me {as long as our luggage isn't delayed for two days again like we experienced in Hawaii, but that's another story}.

So, for today's Mother Monday post I thought I would share a few tips on traveling with a baby or toddler.

Keeping in mind your child's age and individual likes/dislikes you may want to consider bringing the following items:
  • New small toys and books {that they have never seen before, or you can reserve particular items for travel only and your child will look forward to being able to play with that item again the next trip}
  • Crayons, colouring books, and stickers
  • Flash cards
  • A small dollar store photo album filled with pictures of your child, their friends and family {our son loves flipping through albums and naming people or the things they are doing, so this is my newest trick for our upcoming trip}
  • Snacks and wipes {small bite sized foods take longer to eat}
  • Portable DVD player and a few favourite movies {if the airline doesn't have those built-in seat back TVs}
  • A travel "Aqua Doodle" or "Magna Doodle" {less mess then the crayons and colouring books}
  • Inexpensive electronic travel games {if they aren't old enough to actually play they will still enjoy pushing the buttons, and fellow travelers will prefer the beeping sounds over your fussing little one}

When packing for your trip don't forget to put any medications you or your family members are taking in your carry on luggage {I didn't have my birth control pills for the two days we were in Hawaii without our checked bags}. Please do not count on your child having a nap during the flight, whether it is their typical nap time or not. If you can, allow them to burn off as much energy as possible in the airport before boarding the flight. And, above all else try to put on your patient hat for the day ~something I sometimes forget~ because I think kids can sense our tension and it may cause them to be stressed out as well.

Please share your tips by posting a comment below!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blog Tips

I know, it's Sunday... what the heck am I doing on here? Well, I was hoping that other bloggers out there might be able to help me out. Since I am new to this, I don't know all the tricks and tips to making a blog look good, and work effectively, so please, please share your thoughts with me by commenting below or sending me an email at!


Friday, September 11, 2009

The Blog that Inspired Me

There is one blog in particular that inspired me to stop thinking about writing my own blog and actually do it, and that is Mon Petit Amour ( by my seven months preggo and unbelievably talented {I'm serious, there isn't anything she isn't good at I am pretty sure} friend Morgan. It seems fitting therefore, that I feature Morgan and Mon Petit Amour as my first Friday post since she is such a "Fabulous Female."

Morgan has found some really interesting baby and maternity products and companies over the last six months or so, since starting the blog, and I check it out at least a couple times a week. She even has contests to enter and promotions exclusively for her readers from some of the companies she has featured.

I am inspired that she has turned her cute little blog so quickly into something that so many women enjoy, and that might even make her some moolah down the road. Morgan is such a kind and generous person, and it definitely comes through in her writing ~ she makes you feel right at home on her blog. Please check it out!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inaugural Post

I have always wanted to have a blog, and well, everyone has to start somewhere, so why not today, right!?

I have also always wanted my blog to be unique. I am a mother, and completely obsessed with all things baby and toddler. But when I thought about writing a blog I decided that I wanted it to be a little more then just what silly thing my little man said or did that day, or the neat toy I just bought for him (although I will still be sharing these tidbits as well). I wanted it to be readable by any woman.

So, I am going to focus on three me's, writing three weekly posts {I may be a little naive and ambitious as a newby blogger, so it remains to be seen whether I can actually do this}. The three me's are:

{M is for Mother and Monday}
Being a mommy will be the focus of Monday's post. I will share my experiences raising my 21-month-old son ~ good and bad. I may also highlight a particular mom, baby, or toddler product or company that I enjoy.

{W is for Wife and Wednesday}
Wednesdays I will focus on being a wife and homemaker. I struggle with this aspect of me everyday. I am not a good cook, cannot sew or knit, and I hate cleaning. Admittedly I am not blessed with any of the skills that befall the typical doting housewife. But perhaps there are others out there and we can learn together?

{F is for Female and Friday}
Fridays will be all about being a woman in general. How I try to maintain balance in my life by nurturing the other relationships in my life with friends, my mom, and my sister. I will also write about other things I am passionate about including event planning, stationery, and reading.

Thanks for stopping by, and remember to take time to embrace "you" today!