5 things they do not tell you in Prenatal Classes #YMCCommunity

 

IMG_0152I am looking through my girls’ photo books. With every picture I recall snippets of the day each were taken. I see my babies in the various stages of development. I remember the longing for them to grow up so I could understand their needs. The long, long nights of walking with them to lull them to sleep seems ages ago. I read books while I was pregnant to learn what to do. My husband and I attended prenatal classes for our first. All the talks calmed our nerves and filled our brains on what to do. But it really did nothing to prepare us for parenthood. All it did was tell us what contractions were and what to pack for the hospital. It provided nothing about what to do when you bring your baby home. These are 5 things I feel they do not tell you in prenatal classes:

  1. Spoil yourself with downtime while pregnant. Go on a baby moon with your partner: go to the spa, go to the movies on a weekday and most importantly take time for you. It will change drastically when baby comes and you will barely have time to shower.
  2. One thing you may hear is ‘sleep when the baby sleeps.’ It is the truth! It is harder when you have more kids. When it is just you and babe-sleep! Forget the housework.
  3. They do not cover in prenatal what happens when breastfeeding does not happen. They go on and on about it, but never give you the materials and resources for when your milk does not come in. Get yourself informed with all options so you know what to do.
  4. When your family asks what can they do? Tell them! Help in meals, housecleaning and watching the baby so you can nap or shower in peace. It will keep you sane.
  5. Enjoy every moment. They grow so fast. Each stage is one to cherish.

I do love now that my girls are no longer babies. I never had the urge to have kids until I met my daughters. Now they are 5&7 years old and keep me wanting to see what they will do next. Enjoy!

Road Tripping with Kids with Special Needs: A Local Giveaway

IMG_0665Travelling for a day, or a weekend, can bring challenges for any family. Top it with the sensory challenges my youngest has and it makes to be an anxious time.  Recently we were guests of Dintotown FUNLAND for a media tour.  It was the perfect place for BOTH kids. Here are the 5 things that made our family adventure a success:

Bag of Tricks

Most parents of young children learn how important a bag of tricks is after you leave the house. I knew for this trip it would be very crucial for all of us to enjoy our day. I hid my daughter’s iPad and avoided letting her eat her favourite junk foods a week before the trip. For the trip, I loaded up a bag of new toys and art supplies, along with the hidden junk food.

Social Story

Recently, I have learned how to continue my daughter’s PECS success and create social stories for upcoming experiences. I included pictures with the story, and her with her favourite toys in the car (because that is how we were traveling). When we packed up the car to go, I made sure she had the same toy in the bag that was featured in the picture of the social story.

Travel Early

One thing that made our adventure smoother was that Dinotown had just opened, so there wasn’t any line-ups for the attractions, bouncy castles, or the washrooms.  Being there when it opens can make it for a smooth and fun day.

Tell Staff Ahead

If in doubt, don’t be afraid to mention your kids’ challenges upon arriving. They can answer any questions or concerns you may have. We found Dinotown a very inclusive place for family fun.

Exit Plan

Any parents of a child with special needs are always planning ahead with an exit strategy. Look ahead for challenges and have alternate plans in place. Make sure you each know who will take your child out of the situation if needed. There are many calming places for your kid, and family, to regroup.

Have fun! Bring sunscreen and everything else you may need for a fun-filled day.

Thanks to our friends at Dinotown, we are giving away a family pass for 4 to Dintotown FUNLAND!  Tell me a favourite summer memory for your chance to win. To find out more about our day, check out my article at VancouverMom.ca. Contest is open until July 20th, 2014 at 5:00pm PST. Winner will be chosen by random.org. — CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED— Winner has been notified.

A Movie Meant for Couples #BedroomSpice

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.46.23 AMMy husband and I are celebrating 22 years of marriage this November. Before kids, we had full on access to rule the house in any way we wanted to, including sleeping in the nude. This tweet was on The Social TV show, which the current topic was, “Do you sleep in the nude?”

Social TV tweet

After kids came there were many twilight and midnight interruptions. I gave up and began wearing pjs. By the time the kids were finally in bed, we as a couple were done. What was once a chance to have more ‘quality time’, it dissolved into movie night… if we didn’t fall asleep first.

We still are madly in love. We have our grumpy days.  Foreplay is now about doing the dishes (HIM), doing the laundry (ME) and alternating the weekend mornings of whose turn it is to sleep-in. Making a sex tape was far off the radar. You know, I had babies and things aren’t what they used to be. You get the picture.

Let’s just say a certain friend and her husband were trying to reconnect again as a couple. They planned an extravagant night, which included wine, candles and naughty things.  Their kids are amazing sleepers, so it was presumed that all will be good to go.

Mom tucks in her darlings as the husband sets the living room up for a night of delight. Mom slips into something naughty, floats into the living room and is already in the mood. Music is playing so she decides to start a strip show for her husband.

He is very ‘happy.’ As they dance in their seductive haze they hear a cough behind them. They whirl around to find their toddler standing there in barf.

Flannel and Lysol are the new aromas of the bedroom.

When I learned that Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal have teamed up in the movie Sex Tape, I instantly know it would be a hit. I DO NOT know how to save to the ‘cloud’ or erase either.  It is funny because it is true. Just like marriage with your best friend can be. Enjoy the trailer: http://bit.ly/STJuly18.

You can also find a link to the trailer on the Sex Tape (the movie) Facebook page.

Thanks to Sony Pictures, I am giving away a double pass to see the preview on July 16th 7:00PM at Silvercity Metropolis Cinemas in Burnaby, BC.

SONY Pictures is giving away a Sex Tape gift basket containing: Sex Dice, Girl’s Booty Shorts and Guy’s Boxers, as well as mini posters (approximate value is $30) to one of my readers.

That is two prizes up for grabs! To enter leave a comment about what spices up your life. Please enter by July 14th, 5:00pm PST so the winner can get their pass. The two winners will be decided by random.org.

Please note: although you may enter across many blogs, you may only win on a single blog.  Entrants must be a resident of Canada, however those in Quebec are unable to enter the giveaway.

Disclosure: I am part of the Sony Pictures Blogger Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.

How to Nurture a Love for Reading

boy reading book at the library

 

Need to figure out how to nurture a love of reading for your kids? There are many ways to do that, especially through summer:

  1. Doesn’t matter what they read, comics, novels, and magazines. All that matters is they are reading.
  2. Have your kids help write the shopping lists. By practicing writing it helps to promote reading.
  3. Take turns reading during family time, just one page per person. Ask the older kids to read to the younger kids.
  4. Play games that are reading related like: Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly and Minecraft.
  5. Leave lots of reading materials around the house. Joke books count too!
  6. Show by example by reading around the kids.
  7. Enroll in the library summer reading programs. Kids are motivated when there are prizes involved.  Ask at our local library for the adult summer reading programs too.
  8. Limit Screen time during the summer break, but utilize book apps. There are many wonderful apps that can encourage even the reluctant reader.
  9. Find local bookstores to support. Second hand stores might offer a trade-in opportunity for you to reduce and save money by being able to get more books to enjoy.

10. Have fun! School may be out, but a love of reading is for a lifetime.

Hope this list helps. Summer is a time to slow down and enjoy the moment. Reading isn’t something assigned in school. Reading is an addiction that can’t be taught. And it’s surely one that I don’t want to be cured from.

Summer Reads for All Ages

Canada Doodles Cover

Summer is a time to step back from the crazy schedules and unwind. It is also a great time to share a love of reading with your kids. I made a short list of books that should be on your wish list this season.

 Canada Doodles

By Megan Radford. Drawings by Peter Cook.

Perfect for Canada Day, this handy little book is filled with many Canadian art delights. This book is filled with many hours of activities: the personalized nameplate, the many Canadian facts, the loonie/toonie and hockey references. My personal favourite is the Anne of Green Gables reference when talking about PEI. It is also perfect for road trips to avoid the, ‘Mom, I’m bored.”

Thanks to Raincoast Books, you can download sheets for you and your kids to doodle.Pg 84 Pg 180. Enjoy!

Connect with the author on Twitter: @meganradford. Buy the book here.

Better Nate Than Ever

By Tim Federle

This is a book for every home and school library. It is aimed for kids ages 9-12. Having said that, every parent could benefit from this novel. It is about Nate Foster wanting to star in a Broadway show. He currently lives in Jankburg, Pennsylvania where no one (except his best friend, Libby) appreciates a show tune. With her help they hatch an overnight escape to New York so he can audition for ET: The Musical.

Follow along to find out if Nate sings his way to his dreams and into a place where he is accepted.

Push Girl

By Chelsie Hill & Jessica Love

This emotional tale is inspired by Sundance Channel’s Original Series, Push Girls, which is based on Chelsie Hill’s real life. It may open the eyes of any reader who has never met someone who lives with paralysis. It is honest and feisty.

Kara is a high school junior who is popular, has a steady boyfriend and a large group of friends. She goes to a party where she spies a girl draped all over her boyfriend. Kara leaves angry. The next minute she is waking up in a hospital and can’t feel her legs.

Kara begins to adjust to her new reality. Life truly can change in an instant.

The Girl Who Never Was

By Skylar Dorset

Selkie’s family doesn’t celebrate birthdays. They don’t even talk about them. She wants to have a celebration like no one has ever seen. However, her life has been nothing but a lie; an elaborate tale meant to cover up that Selkie is a half-faiere princess. After being left on her father’s doorstep by her mother, she was raised by aunts who never told her that her mother wants her dead.

What she uncovers as she searches for her mother.  Will it be okay or will she wish she hadn’t started to search for her?

It is witty and suspenseful. Put it and those mentioned above in your shopping basket the next time you are at your favourite bookstore.

A Sequel You Don’t Want to Miss: #PROTOTYPE

 

Prototype By going outside of my genre-comfort zone, I began following Emma’s journey in ARCHETYPE. PROTOTYPE concludes her story a year later. When Emma is searching for her parents in Mexico, Declan (her estranged husband) puts up a large reward for her safe return.

With the whole world looking for her, she realizes that she has to go back to Noah Tucker for help. She has no choice but to face her past with Noah and seeing their daughter, Adrienne. Emma means no trouble and does not want to confuse her daughter. All she wants is her own life, not HERS, her host.

What she finds along the underground is that she needs to play the game in order to not lose her memories again. Can she leave her past behind for an altered future?

What Emma didn’t expect to see was Noah and another woman with Adrienne together as a happy family. Emma never thought Noah would help her, let alone guide her to the surprising truth about her parents, and more. Just who is the PROTOTYPE?

M.D. Waters weaves a suspenseful end to the tale of Emma Wade with surprising secrets. The layers to Emma have makes you root for her, while not liking her at the same time.

I recommend to read ARCHETYPE first. Then, read PROTOTYPE right after. Trust me, it will help with the back-story.

ARCHETYPE is available now. PROTOTYPE will be available July 24th, 2014.

Follow MD Waters on Twitter: @_MDWaters.

Thank you Penguin Canada for supplying the books to get me out of my genre rut.

Happy Summer Reading! Let me know where you are doing your relaxing reading under the sun. Or, let me know how you make time to read.

Thank you #bctf #bcpoli #bced, not really.

Failing Grade on Homework

(There will be grammar mistakes, but I don’t care right now.)

Today would have been the first official day of summer vacation. Only, it wasn’t here in my neck of the woods. Over 2 weeks ago we were given less than 12 hours notice that school is done for the year. That last day was a re-scheduled sports day, thanks to the awesome teachers and school staff that tried to make a bad situation a bit more pleasant.

I have tried to stay neutral and only speak up for the personal amazing staff that my kids have had the pleasure of having over the past few years. But I can’t no longer stay quiet.

My oldest was scheduled long ago to transfer schools. After a long talk, we agreed that it is the best choice for her. When the extremely short notice my oldest kiddo made sure that she stayed close to her current school friends.

However, my youngest is another story. In our ‘hood, the teachers gave us less than 12 hours notice that school was done. No last day in class. No prep for a goodbye. No social story to prepare my kindergartner that she is done with school for the foreseeable future.

On that last emotional pick-up she had no idea why her teacher, her amazing EA and her parents were overcome with tears. She thought she was coming back the next day.

Since then last abrupt goodbye, she hasn’t slept. Nor have I. I can barely work. I had to hide her backpack because she would hand it to me asking for EA. That is an amazing feat for a kid who was given a non-verbal diagnosis over 2 years ago. Her entire school team and home therapists earned the celebration that she loved school so much. No one can find the way to let her say bye.

Thanks to #bctf #bcpoli #bced for making the last 2 weeks a living hell in my house for a kid who loves school. You have all have failed our kids. #autism

 

What They Don’t Teach You in Prenatal. #DependFitFlex

 

Jessie 2010As soon as the doctor confirmed my pregnancy I went out and bought all the books that I could. I made sure I took care of myself and my babies by eating right, avoiding cigarette smoke, and I didn’t even use mouthwash in fear of ingesting alcohol. In my second trimester my doctor asked if we had signed up for prenatal classes yet. We hadn’t. I signed us up that day for them, and they would take place during my third trimester. I looked forward to learning from the teacher and the other parents-to-be.

We took the classes, listened to the speeches and watched the videos. They covered everything from Braxton-Hicks contractions, when to register at the hospital and what to pack in your hospital bag. We got the crib, the clothes and the diapers. I felt confident that we were ready when the baby arrived.

The baby came after 11 days overdue. We went to the hospital 3 times while I was in labor before we were admitted. Dragging the damn hospital bags every time. The list prenatal gave us on what to pack was huge!

As we packed up to go home, I realized that, yes, we didn’t use everything I dragged there. We carried it home along with the newest member of our family. When we arrived home, we sat on the bench in our front entrance completely stunned. What do we do now? The first hours flew by. We left the bags and tried to figure out what this wee person needed.

I woke up to hear our baby cry. I ran upstairs where our baby and my husband were at. Then, I realized that I had peed my pants.  Horrified, I slunk off to change my soaking garment and then took care of my baby. I felt humiliated. I haven’t peed my pants since I was potty training as a toddler.  I rocked my baby to sleep as my mind raced through all the notes and classes of prenatal, and the books I poured over while pregnant. NOTHING covered that post-baby I would pee myself.

Two years later, her baby sister was born. I made sure that I didn’t let the same mistake happen. In my smaller hospital bag I packed Depend wear. They saved me from the embarrassing incidents post-birth that would happen. I wished someone told me in prenatal to pack them.

It is now 5 years later and my leaks have slowed right down. Last year when I had surgery, I packed Depend wear for the hospital and had some ready when I got home. It is just easier on my freedom and laundry fairy.

Now, all my friends who have babies can expect a care package from me.  I gave a package to my friend, who will remain nameless as requested. She told me it was the first time she could bounce on the trampoline with her son since being pregnant and not worry about leaks. You are welcome!

Depend Fit Flex is aiming to help the over 3.3 million Canadians who are affected by bladder control issues and bring back confidence and freedom to them.  The Fit Flex products are smoother and no longer bulky to feel like a diaper. They stretch to fit you, your lifestyle and your budget. Packs start at just $19.99!

There are other things you can do to help bladder control: stress reduction, regular exercise routine that includes strength training, and a healthy diet.

Check out their site for videos from real people about bladder control and about this new product line. Let’s face it, lack of bladder control is part of life. Embrace it, take care of yourself and have fun.

#DependFitFlex

Disclosure: I am part of the Depend Fit-Flex Blogger Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.

 

 

 

Getting Out From Behind the Keyboard #VM2014

Getting Out From Behind the Keyboard #VM2014

Pad of Paper & Pen

It has been a year now since my blog was nominated for Vancouver Mom Top Blogger. It is amazing how fast time flies. I remember getting the confirmation that I was in the Top 30 just as I found out that I would have to have surgery. My health had taken a bad turn.

In the days leading up to the night of celebration, I hit a blogging burn out. I didn’t know if I would see everyone that night or be in hospital fighting for my life. My keyboard froze by my own hand every time I tried to write a blog. So I gave up.

I almost didn’t want to go that night because of everything that was going on. I wasn’t even allowed to drive, doctor’s orders. Thanks to a great friend, Brandee from onecrazykid.com, I was able to be there. The night was lovely. It was great to see old and new friends. I got distracted for a while and let myself be in the moment.

One week later I was in hospital having a hysterectomy. As the days blurred into one while I recovered, the itch to write again surfaced. When my doctor confirmed weeks later that my tumor markers went back to zero it renewed my craving to write. I felt more daring in all aspects of my life.

I wrote and wrote until my hand cramped, daily. I dropped my tablet when ever my kids came into the room. I read books that were on my to-be-read pile for a long time. I said yes to speaking engagements. I pitched an agent at a writing conference about an idea for a book and got her card.

My could’ve, should’ve, and would’ves became a reality.

I know that getting nominated during a hard time in my life got me out from behind my keyboard. That was the best medicine.

Thank you Vancouver Mom for celebrating all the fabulous bloggers in BC.

Congrats to the new nominees and the winner! See you June 12th!photo-1

To find out more check out the site and nominees.