Monday, December 27, 2010

The Holiday's!

So it has been some time since I last blogged - there has been so much going on that I just never seemed to get a moment - or sleep was more enticing!

To begin with, two weeks before Christmas Alan and I had more or less finished our shopping because he was leaving for a week to Finland for business - his other job, not A Gym Tale. His trip went very smoothly until he was ready to come home. That is when all of the terrible weather hit Europe and he ended up stranded in Switzerland. At first for only a few extra hours and then he was told it may be for more than a week and he would miss Christmas! Obviously this was terrible news and I really didn't know what we would do. Luckily, some how a spot became available to get to New York City and Alan was in the right place at the right time and he ended up on the flight and then found another to get him back to Ottawa - and only one day later than his original plan. We were very lucky and have appreciated spending time together over the holidays that much more.

During the time that Alan was away, A Gym Tale had the Nursery School holiday concert. I was a little afraid of having Ewan with me as Alan was originally supposed to be there as extra support. But Ewan did just fine and simply sat in my lap. The children, however, both morning and afternoon - blew me away. The sang their little hearts out through 15 minutes of our favourite songs that we have learned so far this year. They sang better than I had ever heard them and it was wonderful seeing how proud of themselves they were. What a success!

On a personal side, the holiday's are a great time to get back in touch with friends and family and we definitely took advantage of it this year. To try and make up for not seeing our friends and family as much as we would have liked to over the past year, Alan and I decided to host three Christmas parties - this sounded like a great idea in November. Although a little overwhelmed when I thought that I would be hosting these parties alone - since Alan made it back we were able to relax and really enjoy ourselves. It really was wonderful getting to spend an evening with friends, an evening with all of our staff and then a fantastic Christmas eve dinner with family. Ewan and the dog both did great with all of the commotion and people that threw our routines out the window over the past week. It really was so nice getting to see everyone and catch up and simply talk all night long over great food.

Christmas day was also brilliant. Alan surprised me with having a king sized bed delivered the day before as my big surprise (side note - we have more or less given up on night weaning Ewan and simply made more room so we can all sleep more comfortably - I'm sure he won't still be nursing when he goes to school, right? Someone, please tell me I am right!). I have been longing for a king size bed for some time now - so that was a great surprise. But the morning of Christmas, Alan also surprised me with a digital scrapbook that he had made and printed about how Ewan loves his Mama - it was a fantastic collection of pictures taken over the past 18 months and a story of the many reasons why Ewan loves me - it was a perfect gift!

I had decided for Christmas that I would get Alan tickets to a Sens game - with seats as close to the glass as possible. We went to the game on Boxing Day and we had a great evening out together - first out to dinner and then to see the game in the 6th row centre ice, behind the Pittsburgh bench.

Alan and I decided that for Ewan's big surprise from Santa we were going to start a Thomas train collection along with the train table. We had a great time on Christmas eve wrapping the individual trains and then setting up the table and tracks. We covered the table with a blanket and on Christmas morning Ewan unwrapped the trains with a huge grin on his face, saying 'choo choo', 'choo choo'!!! And then when we lifted up the blanket we nearly blew his mind! It was so exciting to see his reaction, he absolutely loved it -  you can watch the video to see for yourself.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday week and has been able to spend some time relaxing. The next big night is New Year's Eve - if you are still looking for child care so you can enjoy a night on the town or simply a child free night at home - don't forget Alan and I will be hosting the annual New Year's Eve Sleepover Party at A Gym Tale! We have had great success the past 3 years and we are sure this year will be no exception!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Last minute vacation..

So it has been awhile since I have written! I was very fortunate to be able to jet off with Alan and Ewan for a last minute vacation to Punta Cana. Our schedule come January will be kinda crazy for awhile, and we thought it might be our last opportunity to travel for awhile. And I just so happened to have a friend getting married there last week. So off we went to the beach!

It was a fantastic week spent relaxing by the beach, reading, swimming and eating - with no worries at all. Ewan had a great time on the beach and was quite content to play in the sand while we lounged in our chairs. When he was tired he would nap on a chair next to us. We would then spend each afternoon by the pool. In the evenings once Ewan was asleep - Alan and I put on the first season of 'Dexter' and finished the whole season over that week.
And if you can believe it, when we arrived back A Gym Tale was still standing with no issues over the week at all!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Barrhaven Santa Clause Parade

What a wonderful night at the parade! A very cold night, but at least the rain and snow held off. Each year the parade has been a great experience working with friends, family members and staff members to prepare a float for the event. This year, I think, was our best effort yet! Alan did a fantastic job taking part of the pirate ship apart at A Gym Tale and actually built a ship around his dad's truck - much to his dad's surprise! But he really pulled it off and it looked great! It was also so much fun getting all of our new characters out and meeting everyone. Spiderman, Batman, Wolverine, Princess Belle, Princess Aurora and, of course, Tales the dragon all made it out as well. While the superhero's ran around trying to meet as many new friends as possible, the princesses looked beautiful waving with Tales on the float. Unfortunately, with all the excitement, I forgot to take any pictures:( So if anyone was able to catch a few pic's of our float I would love it if you could email me them (

Afterwards, we had our annual 'thank goodness the parade is over' celebration party back at a Gym Tale with lots of pizza, hot chocolate and  'Glee' themed karaoke songs. Thank you everyone for your help, we really had a great night!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ewan's First Haircut!

So we finally did it - Alan and I took Ewan for his first haircut. We were a little worried about how he would handle someone touching his head - as it was next to impossible even for me to cut off his rat tail. We knew our best chance would be to take him to a children's hair salon that could offer the best distractions. We decided to try Chiquicuts and what a great place!

 The theming is wonderful, it is bright and welcoming, and the kids sit in cute little cars with a television in front of them. I am sure that for most children they would have a wonderful experience - and I have heard first hand from many people that their children had a great time. Ewan unfortunately did not - as you can see by the look on his face and how Alan has him in a head lock! But the hairdresser we had was so very patient and still managed to do a wonderful job. And afterwards, we recieved a certificate and a lock of his hair as a souvenir.

And now my baby looks like a little man!

Chiquicuts also has an awesome website - check it out for more details of what they have to offer!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Excitement!

I am not normally big into Halloween, but having Ewan around and some brand new 'real life' costumes for 'Character's Come True' really got me in the mood to celebrate. Alan and I decided on some traditions that we wanted to begin this year for our family. The first being taking a trip out to Saunders Farm for a wagon ride and choosing a pumpkin. I was really surprised by the amount of things to do there - from a little farm, to the pumpkin patch, wagon rides, beaver tails (yum!) and parks around every corner - we had a really great time.

Another tradition we wanted to begin was on the eve of Halloween to carve our pumpkin, bake the seeds for a snack, and watch a scary movie (one with Ewan and then a real scary movie). Ewan was a little unsure about reaching into the pumpkin, but did decide that he would try a bite of pumpkin - his face was priceless!
And at this point he really wasn't interested in a movie. But Alan did force me to watch Saw 4 - I absolutely despise scary movies, my body just cannot handle the suspense and I get terrible nightmares - but I survived it.

The day of Halloween, we also had a wonderful time. Ewan spent the day with my mom while Alan and I dressed up in the most authentic costumes I have ever seen and went to the centre for a day filled with entertaining the kids, signing autographs and taking pictures. It was great to see all of the kid's costumes and their faces as they saw their favourite superhero or princess come to life!

That evening, we stayed dressed up in our costumes and got Ewan into his Tigger costume - which he really didn't mind - until I tried to give him whiskers! Alan and Ewan went Trick or Treating around the neighbourhood, while my brother and I  - Spiderman and Sleeping Beauty answered the door. We ended the evening with coffee's and a whole lot of chocolate!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Mom's Night Out & Shopping Local

Last week I had the opportunity of going out to coffee with a group of mom's from a parenting group that I belong to. It was the first time I have been out in quite awhile and what a well needed break from my routine. It was really great getting to talk to other mom's about issues that I was dealing with and hearing their experiences as well as sharing my own. The evening flew by - I arrived shortly after 8pm and the next thing I new we were being kicked out at 11pm! I definitely have to make time more often to get out on my own - it was a great experience.

After feeling re-energized from my night out, I decided to venture out the next day with Ewan to some local shops. We began at Two Monkey's Coffee and Tea House on Strandherd and met up with a friend and her little guy for some play time and some time to simply talk and drink coffee. The minute you walk in, you are greeted by friendly staff and the scent of fresh baked desserts. The play space is great to keep little ones busy while you can enjoy your coffee.

Afterwards, Ewan and I went down the road to take a look at some clothes and toys at Upper Canada Kids. I very much like this shop as it is well organized and there are always a wide selection of toys and books for all ages. I especially love the many wooden toys that are often there - from children's furniture to pull toys. I am also always sure to find a book for Ewan as well as the school age children at A Gym Tale. Upper Canada Kids is also now offering and accepting items for teens, so it really is a great place for children of all ages.

Our next 'local' stop will be this Saturday at Chiquicuts for Ewan's first real haircut. I will be sure to post some pic's next week!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Family Business

Last Friday, I unfortunately had all three of my daytime staff members away sick. I know they must have been really sick because I am very fortunate to have very committed and reliable girls to keep A Gym Tale going. So after the panic of having all three of them call me between 7:30pm Thursday evening and 6:30am Friday morning, and being exhausted from having Ewan up most of the night who appears to be getting four new teeth in - I knew I had to call in my support team. That team consisted of Alan and my mother in law, Frances, who both came in to help with Nursery School without any hesitation at all. Alan and Frances are both wonderful with the kids - Alan's excitement and enthusiasm is contagious and the children love his sense of humour. And Frances is just the most soft spoken, gentle, and safe person as only the mother of four and grandmother of four could be. 

Although at the outset it looked like Friday was going to be an impossible day, it turned out to be a really relaxed and enjoyable experience. The children were excited to meet Mr. Alan and Miss Frances and it was wonderful to get to spend extra time with family. With the three of us there all day, it also meant that Ewan was also spending all day at the centre. Surprisingly, he did wonderful as well. He loved getting to have his Mom, Dad and Gran with him playing all day and then he had a wonderful 2 hour nap behind the pirate ship!

It brought back so many memories of just opening up the business and working every day with Alan and having both of our families around helping out any way they could. Working as a 'family' business is definitely one aspect of the original A Gym Tale that I miss. However, it is also wonderful working with so many great girls and having such a well organized and structured business that does not all fall solely on my shoulders! 

Oh the memories!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Being Thankful... and a New Adventure

This past Thanksgiving weekend was a wonderful opportunity to take some time and relax. Ok, not so much relax, but it was great to visit family that we haven't seen in some time as well as get some outdoor maintenance stuff done around the house. I really enjoyed setting up and planning all of the gardens in the spring, however, I now have very little motivation to clean them all out. All in all a very productive weekend and some great meals with great company!

This weekend, Alan and I also took Ewan to the pumpkin patch. He had such a great time wondering through all the pumpkins and sitting on them! I don't know why he thought he should sit on them, but he did. And we chose the comfiest pumpkin he could find! Now that he his up and running, it definitely is a lot more challenging getting great pictures - I seem to only get him running away from me! (I can't seem to post pics tonight, so I will update this tomorrow)

Other important 'Ewan' news - he had his very first hair cut! Well, an unofficial hair cut. Really, I just cut
his rat tail off - it really had to go. But I think he may be due for a real hair cut soon.

Over the past little while, Alan and I have been talking about how thankful we are that the business is going as well as it is and the many wonderful families that we have come to know through the business. These families have supported us in our new programming and ideas - some successful, other ideas not so much. But our new A Gym Tale adventure is going to be an extension of our Birthday Parties, by adding on a new option to have a character visit your home.

Not just any characters, but Spiderman, Batman and Sleeping Beauty just to begin with. These characters have only the most authentic costumes available. I don't really know anything about comic stuff - but these costumes are pretty fantastic. This party option will allow families to have an at home party but still bring in an entertainer who can take care of all of the activities while the parents can sit back and enjoy the party as well. Depending on the ages of the children and the character visiting, the kids will take party in super hero training or a princess story telling, singing and dancing activity. As well as incorporating a variety of other activities for the hour that the character is present.

We are very excited to introduce these characters and we will be doing so on Halloween day. Sunday, October 31st we will be hosting a Costume Party at A Gym Tale between 10-3pm with half price drop in play and lots of great picture opportunities.

I hope to see everyone there!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bringing my Son to Work

For the past month, I have been fortunate enough to have Ewan attending morning Nursery School as well as a Tuesday morning play group. The convenience of having my son with me and the opportunity to spend time with him and watch him grow and learn are some of the reasons why starting A Gym Tale made sense for myself and my husband.

However, along with those benefits comes finding the balance between meeting the needs of my family and those of our guests at A Gym Tale.

Within the Nursery School program, I have a wonderful group of children who welcome Ewan into the program and try to teach and play along with him, while at the same time understanding when he accidentally sits on their laps in circle time! Ewan is very content to wonder around and watch the children during free play - which is also helping him to become more confident in leaving my side. And throughout the songs and music portion, Ewan is learning to participate, sing and master the actions of a variety of rhymes and songs. As well, seeing all of the 'big' kids eating snack and chatting at the table also reinforces that he needs to be sitting, eating and taking in how the other children connect.

Unfortunately, with the Play Class, it has not been quite so smooth. And I must thank the parents for their patience and effort in helping me deal with my miserable child during that class! I was hoping for the opportunity to have Ewan socializing with children his own age, two of which are his cousins. However, the timing just isn't working. In an effort to have him nap only in the afternoon instead of 2 naps during the day- one of which tends to go over dinner time, he is just unable to participate for the entire class. And although I love seeing him perform all of the circle songs at the beginning, it is just too hard for him to make it to the end.

I am very thankful that my business allows for the opportunity to maximize the time I have to be with my family and I am also very thankful for the support of so many families!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Small Business's & Shopping Locally

Since becoming a small business owner, I have since become aware of the number of obstacles which exist in order to become a successful business - or for that matter even to simply be able to keep your business open. Especially in Barrhaven!

To begin with, rent is extortionate - some of the highest commercial rent fees in all of Ottawa can be found in Barrhaven. Another obstacle includes the many 'big box' stores in the area, which often times make being able to compete with prices difficult because of the large quantities they may be able to order. Furthermore, being a small business owner requires that quite often one person is responsible for all aspects of the business, including customer service, marketing, accounting and human resources -  which can easily lead to working 7 days a week, all day long!

Now if you are thinking about owning your own business, the many perks can often out weigh the difficulties.

One of my favourite aspects of owning my own business are the many people in the community that you meet and create relationships with - whether as clients or in a business sense. It is wonderful going out in the community and seeing so many familiar faces! It is also wonderful being able to have flexibility in my work day, especially with a young child; I am able to minimize the amount of time that my son is cared for outside the home. Another benefit is if you are really passionate about what you are doing than it can also become somewhat of a 'hobby' and not necessarily seem like you are 'working' all the time. But achieving balance is still my ultimate goal.

I did not think about the challenges of local business's until I opened one. Even then, I was amazed at the number of clients that gave A Gym Tale a chance in order to support a local business. I have become aware of so many families who do make a conscious decision to support small local business's instead of simply going into the 'big box' stores. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet people who live in your community and very often the best customer service comes from those business owner's who value each and every guest that comes through their doors.

I am also trying to make a commitment into supporting other small business's - whether by shopping at these locations or trying to advertise for these business's through A Gym Tale's local business community board. Next time you are at A Gym Tale, please take a moment to look at some of the business's that we have featured on our board. Many of them offer fantastic services that I use myself or for my family. I will also try to blog about my personal experience with these business's over the next few weeks. And if you are a small business owner, please contact me and maybe we can work together in the future.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Anniversary Alan!

Two weeks ago, Alan and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary and we had a wonderful low key evening out to dinner and a movie. We enjoyed just getting out of the house and simply relaxing. The past 3 years have kind of been crazy - from our business really taking off, to expanding the business, to buying a home and then having a baby. It is nice that we are able to begin to slow down a little and really enjoy the point that our lives are at now. One of our new goals are really trying to be in the moment and enjoy every moment of the life that we have created.

It was also this night out that we came up with a new business plan - I will share with you soon once we have worked out some details - but it is very exciting.

This month we will celebrate our 12 year anniversary since we began dating!!! 12 years - that sounds a little ridiculous even to me! It is crazy thinking about how we have 'grown up', graduated high school, gone to university, and then went into business together. There have been many ups and downs over the past 12 years, but every moment has brought us to where we are today and I couldn't imagine going on this adventure with anyone other than my wonderful husband...even though he does have a mild obsession with spiderman. Happy Anniversary Alan!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Survived the First Week of School!

Last week was the first week of the Before School program as well as the Nursery School program. Although, as I said in my previous post that I was very excited to meet all of the new children and families, I was not looking forward to having to be at A Gym Tale for 7:15am! But I made it there on time each day and I have to admit it was quite nice getting up before everyone else in my home and getting ready in peace and I was very productive having the extra morning time at the centre. Not to mention the children in the program are so happy and excited to be there each morning.

It was also great getting back into the Nursery School Teacher role. Although the first week can be a rough start for some children, it is clear that we have a wonderful group of children in both the morning and afternoon. I am very excited to be working with Miss Linds and Miss Chrissy, we have a great year planned!

In addition, Ewan had his first day of Nursery School today. He will be attending on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. I was worried he wouldn't want to leave my side, however today he was exploring and watching the other children as well as participating in circle time. I am looking forward to having Ewan at work with me as well as having him learn from the other children. Also, in the picture below - Ewan is propped up against the door as he kept falling straight back with the weight of his bag, lol!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A New Year around the corner!

With the last few days being so cool, it kind of feels like fall already. With one last week of camp - which is going to be a mash up of all the themes, it is guaranteed to be a great week. Then we are back into the Fall programming with Nursery School and the Before / After School program getting under way and a few weeks later the Play classes will also begin.

It is also a time of goodbye's and welcomes when it comes to staff. I am very sad to say that Kelly will be leaving us after 4 years. She is moving on to a new full time position and I wish her the best of luck. Kelly has been a wonderful addition to A Gym Tale and has touched many children's lives. She has helped A Gym Tale grow and transition to meet the needs of our community. A Gym Tale will also be losing some of the best party hostess's that we have ever had as they move on to University and I also wish them great success. At the same time, I would like to welcome the new party hostess's onto our team as well as welcome back Chrissy who is returning from her mat leave to teach in the Nursery School program.

It always feels like a fresh start each year with new intentions and resolutions. I am very excited about the new program ideas that are being put into place for both the Nursery School and the Before / After School program. We will be introducing many new themes and new activities into both programs.

The most exciting part of the new season is getting to know all of the new children and families to A Gym Tale and welcoming back our 'old' guests after a summer hiatus. We have big plans for this year at A Gym Tale and we are very excited to get it underway!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Give Away - Gift Certificate to The Mill Tavern

A fantastic new restaurant located on Main St. in Manotick has just opened up this summer. It is a British styled Pub with really great pub food ranging from the best fries I have ever tasted to steak pie, fish and chips, and best of all for dessert - a deep fried Mars Bar - incredible!

The decor is simply beautiful with a casual dining area and bar downstairs and then a cocktail lounge and wine bar upstairs. A patio on both the main floor and upstairs overlooking Manotick Main St. Live music on Thursday nights and Karaoke on Wednesday nights - both nights you are sure to have a great time!

The Mill has graciously offered a $50 Gift Certificate to be won in a draw for all individuals who visit their website to check out their menu and then post on my blog about what dish you would like to try. Visit - they have some really great authentic British dishes.

The Mill has become one of my favourite restaurants this summer - great food and an equally great atmosphere!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

When will my husband ever grow up?!

So the past week has been absolutely chaotic - I now feel like I have 3 babies! Between toilet training the puppy AND Ewan - Alan has gone and broken his thumb! Now this does not sound like a big deal, however, when you break your thumb, you need a cast right up to your elbow - can you believe it? So Alan can no longer pick Ewan up, write, type or do much of anything it seems.

Now ask me how Alan broke his thumb.

Our special guest - Spiderman - was unable to make a guest appearance at the camps last week, so Alan decided that he would fill in. He already had a spiderman costume and he loves entertaining children or anyone really. So Alan decided to make his grand entrance by climbing on top of the Pirate Ship and once he had the children's attention he jumped off - 14 feet down - and landed just like spiderman. ALMOST. Except that he landed with his thumb first before his feet. The result was that he shattered his thumb. He did, however, go on to do a one hour performance that the kids are still raving about.

So, where does this leave me? Well, with my plate more than a little full!!

On the upside, toilet training the dog is going really well - he now goes to the same spot (on gravel) each time he is in the back yard - in order to save our grass, and hasn't had an accident in days.

As for Ewan, yesterday he had only one accident - today was not quite as successful, but he is out of diapers and into training pants now!!!

And Alan, well he is still whining about his thumb - and that he cannot go near water for the rest of the summer. Will he ever grow up?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A New Puppy!

So a few weeks ago my family and I decided to adopt a puppy! What brought us to this decision you may ask, when we already have a busy 14 month old? Well, last June our family dog, a beautiful Shar Pei, passed away at only 2.5 years of age of an awful skin eating disease. Our Hiro was well trained and had a great loving, personality. We had hoped she would be with us for many years and be Ewan's first buddy and they would grow up together. Only recently have I had the itch to begin looking for another dog to join our family.

After lots of research on what breed of dog would best suit our family life style, we decided on an English Bulldog. They are supposed to be great with children and families and a 'lower' maintenance dog needing less exercise than some other breeds, but still a playful dog. We met with several breeders and decided on a breeder that had plenty of experience and knowledge about the breed. Last Wednesday evening we met the breeder in a park as well as six of her puppies. After an hour of playing with puppies, we chose the puppy that was the most playful and that kept approaching Ewan.

Since then, we have been pretty busy - that's actually an understatement - we haven't stopped! I kind of forgot how much work a puppy is! But we are starting to get into a routine and I think this puppy will make a great family addition and a great friend for Ewan to grow up with!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ewan is now walking! How to Baby proof?

Ewan is now officially walking - not just a couple of steps, but actually crossing the room! So I guess that means that I should start some sort of baby proofing. This is where I need your help. After looking online for baby proofing items, I have found that there are thousands of items available! I am assuming that the majority of these items are not necessities and simply a marketing ploy to make more money off of toddlers.  I have three baby gates, one for the top and the bottom of the stairs as well as to block a single step going to the dropped laundry room. The heavy furniture in Ewan's room and play room have also been secured to the walls to avoid any tipping. As well, I have plugs for each of the electrical outlets. What else do I really need?

Ewan has not shown any interest in cupboards as of yet - will he eventually? Are all of those latches really necessities?

Please let me know what you feel were your most important baby proofing items. Thank you!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Vacation!

To kick the summer off, Alan, Ewan, my dad and I flew off to Disney World to enjoy a week away. Although it was super hot - the heat wave we are having now is nothing compared to Florida heat - we all had a really wonderful week. We went to each of the parks, and enjoyed Magic Kingdom the most. We also took advantage of the 'baby swap' pass and made sure that we went on every ride at each of the park's. We chose one of the food plans and enjoyed some great food  - ranging from African meals, buffets to all American classics, as well as some great entertainment at the character dining events in which we met the Disney Playhouse gang and Winnie the Pooh and friends. Ewan loved Winnie the Pooh and Tigger best!

Although keeping busy at the parks, we did take some down time at the resort, the Animal Kingdom Lodge to relax by the beautiful pool or to look at the animals (zebras, giraffe's, flamingo's - all on the resort right outside your balcony!)

Unfortunately, Ewan was not walking by our trip - but we had a great time all the same. It was just a really great work out getting around all of the parks with him! However, he is so very close now, he has taken up to 12 steps and he is so proud of himself! But it is so difficult to see him falling so much, I know I have to let him take risks and practice, but the poor boy has so many bruises from all of his walking attempts!

Now that summer is underway for Ewan and I - we are looking for things to do to keep busy. The local park is a favourite spot - but after going to the park almost each day last week - we (and by we, I mean me) are getting a little bored! What kind's of activities have you found around the city to keep a 14 month old busy - besides A Gym Tale play classes which are on a summer hiatus! Any suggestions would be great!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day

This past Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day. Although a busy morning with the Carnival at A Gym Tale, the afternoon was full of relaxation and spending time with family.

I am very lucky to have a great dad who is very involved in my life and always has been. From being at every soccer game and tournament, every school event, and even visiting me throughout the year when I was away at University. And now, he is a wonderful Grandfather to Ewan. He absolutely loves spending time with Ewan and makes sure to see him several times a week - many of you have seen him at A Gym Tale bringing Ewan to his morning class! And Ewan absolutely adores him!

Ewan is also very lucky to have a wonderful Gramps (Alan's dad) as well. Gramps is always excited to have Ewan visiting and will bring him around the office to show him off - Ewan has sat in (and participated) on many a conference call or simply banged away on the keyboards! Gramps is also the one to sneak Ewan all of the treats that he isn't supposed to be eating!

And then Alan deserves special recognition for being such a wonderful father. From the very first hour Ewan was born, Alan has been involved in every aspect of caring and loving Ewan. From diaper changes to feeding to putting Ewan to bed (an impossible task when I am not around) Alan is always there. Even when Ewan really didn't like Alan (he couldn't breastfeed, lol!) he stuck it out and they now have an incredible bond. Ewan doesn't move much, but you should see him scramble to the door anyway he can to see dad when he comes home from work! Alan also began spending all of Saturday mornings with Ewan when I went back to work when Ewan was only 3 months old. He even ventured out to take Ewan to swimming lessons - I still don't know how he managed the change rooms!

Ewan is a very lucky boy to have two wonderful grandfathers and a very special dad in his life.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Father's Day Carnival and Summer Fun Kickoff!

So this Sunday, in celebration of Father's and families, A Gym Tale will be hosting it's first carnival. For $5, the indoor playground will be open as well as lots of fun outside - a bouncy castle, giant slide, limbo and more! All the exciting party hosts and camp leaders will be there to introduce themselves as well as an appearance by Tales the dragon mascot. The carnival will run from 10-1 and should be a ton of fun!

In other news, yesterday was the last day of play classes and today was the Nursery School graduation. Both a sad and proud day to see how well all the children did today. The concert went fantastic, the children were so loud and excited to perform for their families as well as to accept their diploma's. It really is amazing to see how far each and every child grows and develops as a person over 10 months. I wish everyone continued success next year and I hope to get lots of visits over the next few years! It is crazy to see some of our very first clients come and visit that are now turning 11 years old!!! Makes me feel old!

As much as it is sad to see everyone go after the past 10 months, it is now the start of my summer vacation! Yay! I'm just a little excited! To kick the summer off, I will be going on a trip to Florida with Alan and Ewan and visiting Disney World - and yes, I know this trip is more for Alan and I than it is for Ewan. I would love to hear any suggestions about what parks restaurants would be great for us as well as places for Ewan to see.

Also, Ewan is standing on his own now - almost ready to take steps - we are still hoping he will be walking by the time we go to Disney - 8 days for him to become a pro walker!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bumbo Toilet Seat

Just a quick follow up from my Toilet Training post in May, I have had many questions about where to find the toilet seat that Ewan is using.  The only place that I have found that still carries the Bumbo Toilet Trainer is a shop called Sweet Peach in Perth - I purchased mine at the Baby Boom Show, however cannot remember what the shop was called. Sweet Peach will deliver if you are not able to make the trip out, but it does look like a cute baby shop and could make for a nice day trip.

Ewan is now awake from his nap... I will post again soon, lot's of fun events coming up at A Gym Tale!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More Teeth!

So the past week has been a little rough as Ewan is currently having 3 teeth break through - so once again I am complaining and going on very little sleep! But as of today we are almost there - all three are just about through.

Another issue we are currently dealing with is sleep or lack of it and I could very much use some advice. Except for the teething issue this past week, in which case nights have been exceptionally bad, Ewan still will wake up every two hours or so. We decided early on to do a family bed because that worked best for us since I began working 6 days a week when he was 4 months old and I am nursing him. It was just so convenient simply having to roll over as opposed to fully wake up and go down the hallway. But I guess Ewan has obviously become accustomed to this and really has not gotten used to falling asleep any other way. Once the school year is over and I will have some time off, my next step is to try and night wean him.

Anyone else have any sleep issues like this? If so, what got you through?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not working enough?!

I like to use this blog as a way to connect with families and to share a little about my life, my family and the centre.

This post is just to clarify that I am still very much present at A Gym Tale, even though I may not run every program or work open to close every day. A client had made a suggestion that I do not want my business to suffer as a result of not being there. At the time, I did not know what to say, because they are right - I am not at the centre for all 66 hours that A Gym Tale is open to the public. This comment has stayed with me for a few weeks, and I have not been able to shake it. I know that I am not there every hour, but I do still run 30 hours of programming a week, plus work on admin tasks in the evenings, answer emails in the mornings and I am only ever a call away from being at the centre within minutes. In addition, I receive written summaries of the events that take place when I am not at the centre. In order to be able to continue running quality programs, I simply cannot manage to be working 7 days a week, open to close.

Now I am not looking for pity - I am in a very lucky position to be running my own small business right around the corner from my home and to have flexibility to spend more time with my son. However, I am still very much involved in the business.

I have also received emails from clients as well as comment cards giving feedback on the centre, birthday parties and programs. I very much appreciate all of the feedback - good and bad. It is essential for me to get this feedback if A Gym Tale to continue to survive as a small business in Barrhaven. I need to be able to know what families are looking for, expecting in a play centre and programming and the areas that we still need to improve on. At the centre you are the guests and you are the ones we are trying to impress, if you ever have any advice we are here to listen!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dirt...and lots of it!

So I have decided to go ahead and make gardening my new hobby. After reading plenty of books and background info, I planned out 6 garden beds around the house, deck and yard and ordered the dirt from the depot. This is what I came home to on Friday:

Since Friday I have been working at A Gym Tale or digging in dirt. So far I have one bed completed and 3 more ready for planting. I am very happy with how the first garden turned out, which has given me some more motivation to finish the others - not to mention all of the plants sitting in my garage! Alan and I are so sick of digging in dirt and the last garden left is going to be the most difficult to prepare.

Now once all of these gardens are complete I am afraid of all the maintenance needed! The books don't really go into the maintenance aspect of gardening, they all make it seem like you just pick the odd week out as you stroll through the gardens and admire your work. Except one book that went into great detail about bugs and pests - but the pictures were pretty scary (I have a phobia of bugs), so I have chosen not to read into this topic further and just hope that I never come face to face with one of the monsters! But so many people have now said that gardens are very high maintenance. Have I gotten myself in over my head?

Other news, Ewan stood on his own twice today! He has not taken to crawling any more and is still very upset any time he is forced to, but there is now hope that he may walk some day or at least want to be mobile some time in the near future.

Also, with the beautiful weather that we have been having it really feels like summer is here. Which got me thinking about how fast this past year has gone by. There are only 3 weeks remaining of Play classes and 4 more weeks of Nursery School. This is a very bitter sweet time of year; it is nice that I have more or less the summer off of work, but at the same time I have been seeing and getting to know so many families once a week or more for the past 10 months! It is always kind of a sad time of year. I typically see many of the families the following Fall season, but lots of the children are also moving on to Kindergarden and so we see them much less frequently. Also, getting to know all of the families is my social time as well - and now with a baby it is also my adult time. What I am getting at is that I will miss seeing all of you that I have to come to known over the past year!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Birthday to my baby boy!

Ewan's birthday has just passed, what a very special day it was! We had a giant family party on Saturday, and I mean huge - 60 people! Ewan did a fantastic job and was wide awake and in good spirits the entire party. After all the guests arrived, John from came by and did a 45 minute music class which entertained all the kids (ages 1-14) as well as all the adults. It was a great way to get everyone involved, singing, playing instruments and everyone was talking about it for the rest of the party!

After the Monkey Rocks show, we had a BBQ lunch and then the cake! At first Ewan did not know what to think - he has never had sugar before. After a taste from my finger, he slowly tried it himself and after a moment was shoving handfuls into his mouth - all over his face actually! By the time we finished cake and quickly opened up gifts, Ewan was exhausted and it was time to say goodbye to everyone.

Although we had a wonderful time and I think Ewan very much enjoyed all of the excitement - it really is a lot of work and preparation to host a birthday party at home. Not to mention the clean up afterwards - it took me a week to clean the house before the party and then two days after the party to get it clean again! Next year we will definitely be doing the party outside of our home - maybe we will have to host it at A Gym Tale after all!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I just wanted to write a quick note to wish all the mom's a very Happy Mother's Day. I hope you all are enjoying a relaxing day and getting the appreciation that you deserve for all you do. Enjoy your children and all the joys that mothering brings. I hope everyone has a beautiful day!

And a thank you to my wonderful husband for giving me a morning to sleep in until 10am (the first sleep in day that I can remember since I don't know how long ago) as well as a delicious pancake breakfast, flowers, and a few great books - one of which from Ewan "Why I Love my Mommy" - melted my heart! This is my second official Mother's Day, but last year I gave birth on Mother's Day, so although memorable, this day has been much more relaxing and enjoyable!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Toilet Training!

Toilet training - always a hot topic at the centre, especially since all children must be toilet trained as per our licence for the Nursery School program. For most children that is not a problem by 2.5 years, although it does take a considerable amount of 'training' on the parents part. I have taken part in trying to facilitate many children's transition to the toilet - some using a rewards system, some by cheering like a maniac when they pee, and others by simply telling them that they cannot come to school until they are wearing big boy/girl underwear.

I began an experiment with Ewan to try and avoid this training ordeal all together. Since Ewan has been about 3 months - more or less able to sit up with support, I have been sitting him on the toilet for a couple minutes, with a bumbo toilet seat cover, at many of his diaper changes. I say many, because sometimes I am at work, out in a public washroom, or simply do not have the time. At first he would just sit on the toilet and smile as I would sing songs or read stories. Then one day, when he was about 4 months he actually peed while he was on the toilet. From 4 months to about 8 months it was just a hit or miss. At 8 months, Ewan knew when he heard a noise that he was doing a good thing and he would clap his hands and cheer. But now, as of this week, Ewan is able to 'make' himself pee or have a bowel movement when I put him on the toilet. We both go quiet and I say 'listen' and he reliably goes within a few seconds and makes a really funny face when trying!

So, my goal was to have him toilet trained by one year. I know he is not actually toilet 'trained', but I can get by with only 3 cloth diapers a day, if I keep bringing him to the toilet every hour or so and I am pretty happy with that progress. My hope is that as his understanding and recognition of his needs improves it will be a smooth transition from this point.

By the way, I cannot take credit for this approach, it is called Elimination Communication, although I have followed a much less 'strict' approach to it and I think it worked very well!

Does anyone else have any experience with early toilet training? Will it be a smooth transition or will I hit a phase of refusing the toilet?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Approaching first birthday...

So it has been awhile since my last post... between planning Ewan's birthday party, taking a 4 evening first aid course, and going on very little sleep since Ewan has decided that he would like to eat every half hour at night now - I have not had a moment to write!

But, as of today Ewan's 1st Birthday party is planned and prepared for - from the cake, to the entertainment, to party supplies and food. I am ready!

And last night I had a wonderful night sleep! So I am not sure what was going on this week with Ewan - maybe his eye teeth still bothering him - which have yet to come through, or maybe another growth spurt? What ever the reason, we both slept very well last night and we both enjoyed a two hour nap today!

My next goal is to attempt to finish Ewan's First Year scrap book - I am only at the 6 month mark for completed pages, but I think if I put a big push in this week, I may be able to catch up. I am afraid if I do not have it finished by his birthday, he may be 5 and I will still be working on it!

I am surprised that Ewan's approaching first birthday is becoming so emotional for me. After looking forward to all of the milestone's and what he will be learning next over the past year, it feels as though the year has passed at light speed. I just keep thinking back to the first day bringing him home and how tiny he was. Or to my first breakdown when he was 1 week old - there simply was not enough time in the day to get everything done between feedings and diaper changes - I couldn't imagine how I was even going to remember to bath him! But in nine day's he will be 1 year old. I am glad that I have made a scrap book detailing all of the little events that can sometimes be forgotten in the craziness of life.

On another note, I am also really glad that I have updated my First Aid and CPR. It has been a long week completing the course in the evenings, but also an enjoyable one. The staff and I did the course together, so it was nice getting to spend time with some of the staff that I do not always see in such a relaxed atmosphere. Although theses courses can be long - I really feel that all parents should take the time to complete a course - parents with children of any age. The skills are so simple and straight forward and yet in an emergency they can make the difference between life and death. And knowing the basic skills can keep you calm enough during an emergency to think clearly. The scenarios just offer a reminder that an emergency can arise at any moment to any of us.

Well I am off to what will hopefully be a good night sleep!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Temper Tantrums!!!!

Someone please tell me that taking temper tantrums every time my 11 month old son wants something or any time I take something away from him is a short lived phase!!!  I have been very lucky that up until this point Ewan has been a very happy and easy going baby - so this is a big change to having to deal with all of this frustration and intense screaming from him.

For the past week, these tantrums seem to be happening all day long. I can handle a two year old tantrum - talking it out or having the child take a break to recollect is often all that is needed. But there is no reasoning with an 11 month old! My only tool seems to be distraction. I am trying not to give in when he screams for something so that we do not give him the impression that screaming will result in him getting his way, although my husband is having more difficulty with this. Does anyone have any other tips?

In other news, Ewan prefers to only stand up now - so we are thinking that he may skip the whole crawling stage all together. Maybe when he becomes mobile it will ease some of his frustrations...or maybe it will increase his frustration as I will end up only taking more things away from him!

As you may have noticed, I have also updated the blog site and page! Please leave me your feedback and if you have Facebook join A Gym Tale's page to receive more updates on our programs and specials.

Have a wonderful week - and wish me luck with these tantrums!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sooo sick....

Yesterday morning I woke up early at 6am determined to be organized for the week. Our childcare (my dad) called in sick so Alan was going to try and work from home with Ewan. I had both their breakfasts, snacks & lunch prepared as well as diapers and activities set out for Ewan and a makeshift office for Alan set up in Ewan's play room. I left for work by 8:15am feeling good that everything was organized and ready to go. After getting to the centre early and setting up for Nursery School - and prepping the transportation themed activities, I greeted the children and we began our school day. However, by 9:30am I started feeling a little queasy. I didn't think much of it, maybe I didn't eat enough breakfast. But by 11:15am  I knew I had to get out of the centre because I was going to be full on sick. I made it home just in time - to be sick from 11:30am right through to 7pm last night - non stop! I cannot remember the last time I have been this sick. I literally was not able to get out of bed, except to run to the bathroom, or do anything at all - not even hold my baby!

Thank goodness Alan was able to stay home and watch Ewan all day. And how lucky I am to have family around for extra support. My mother in-law was able to come this morning and watch Ewan for most of the day. It made me wonder what parents do when they get that sick and do not have any extra support available. I had to nurse Ewan in bed yesterday because my arms did not have the strength to even hold him - without help, I would not have been able to care for him.

I am so thankful that Ewan almost seemed to 'understand' that I was not well. Not once did he get upset when he couldn't stay with me. Usually if he knows that I am in the house he refuses to leave my side. A friend said she thinks children must have innate sense when the parent isn't well and to go easy on them.

Also, my apologies to those families that I had to cancel classes this morning with such short notice. My two supplies were sick and out of town, so I did not have another option. Hopefully you got to enjoy some free play on the indoor playground. See you all next week. Also, join A Gym Tale's Facebook page, I am going to start putting all updates on Facebook.

Well I am feeling a hundred times better now, so everything will be back to normal at A Gym Tale tomorrow!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

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So I set off this week to Bayshore with a pile of gift certificates that I have been collecting ready to shop for a whole new wardrobe - one that does not include pants with an elastic waist, maternity anything, or yoga wear (aka my work wardrobe). After roaming the mall for an hour and a half and trying on a huge amount of clothes, all I could come up with were two tops! Since when is shopping for yourself impossible? I don't know if I have lost my sense of style since being pregnant or if I am just shopping in the wrong places, but nothing fit well or looked quite right, it was very disappointing.

I then took a half hour to shop for Ewan and had an entire new wardrobe for him picked out and paid for! It is so much more enjoyable shopping for kids clothes - at least it is now when he doesn't have a say in what he is wearing. I will have to venture out again this week, maybe I was just not in the right frame of mind to shop for myself.

I also went on a book shopping spree. Books are one of my favourite things to shop for. As I previously wrote about - I really enjoyed the book 'The Happiness Project', so I decided to pick up a few more memoir's  - a new genre for me. Usually I like to read light, funny books such as 'chic lit', one of my favourite authors being Sophie Kinsella. I am now going to start 'Julie & Julia' followed by 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

For Ewan, I picked up two books by Jeremy Tankard - 'Grumpy Bird' and 'Feed Me' as well as the series of 'Little Pookie' books by Sandra Boynton. The Tankard books have hilarious dialogue and the pictures are made up of bright, vivid colours. The Boynton books have almost a musical rhythm to them and a very cute story line. Ewan loves books, they are his current favourite 'toy' and he could sit and turn the pages, look at the pictures, and listen to the stories for a whole afternoon.

Any other suggestions for a great read would be very much appreciated. I would also love to know what toddler books your children had you read over, and over and over again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

What a wonderful long weekend - great weather, spending time with friends and family, and building a garden rock wall! Ok, so building the wall was not so much fun, but it did turn out really well. What started as a small raised vegetable garden, quickly turned into three garden beds, for a total of 50 feet! A little bit of a larger project than we had initially bargained for. Myself and my husband can barely move this evening without moaning and groaning. But we now have our very first do-it-yourself home renovation project under our belt. Now what can we do next....maybe a fire pit?!

Ewan also had a very busy weekend showing off all of his new 'tricks' to family and friends that we haven't seen in awhile. Ewan can push himself backwards on a few different types of surfaces, he can rip door stoppers right out of the wall, he can now stand up without his legs instantly turning to jello, he can bounce while standing, consistently wave, clap and bump heads when asked and talks non-stop, all day long! It is so exciting seeing him turning into a real little boy!! And with his 1st birthday less than five weeks away, party plans are well under way. Does anyone have any birthday party venue suggestions?!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ewan is mobile! Sort of....

So while playing on the floor with Ewan this afternoon as well as simultaneously getting back to emails, I looked up after pressing send and Ewan was across the living room! Now the living room is not that big - so he probably only moved about 4 feet, I don't want to sound like a negligent parent - but he actually moved without me assisting him! Granted he is only moving backwards, but it is movement all the same. Also, Ewan is finally showing that he actually has interest in moving - so it may only be a matter of days before he is fully crawling - whether or not this is a good thing for me I'm not sure! So all you crawlers in the Enchantments class tomorrow - just watch out, Ewan is going to back up over you!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Hobbies....

So in January, I began a new hobby - photography. I bought a digital DSL camera and enrolled in a basic photography class at Algonquin college. My interest in photography has been long standing and I was interested in learning how to take more creative photo's of Ewan for his scrapbook (another hobby that I would also like to dedicate more time to). I have to give photographer's a lot of credit - it is a difficult hobby to take up. There are so many aspects to taking good pictures - the composition, lighting, focus, shutter speed and apertures - there is a lot to take into account!

Although I am very much enjoying my Thursday evenings out on my own and meeting new people with similar interests - and getting my Starbuck's to sip on during class (this may in fact be my favorite part!), I do not think I was cut out to be a professional photographer! It was going to be my next career, but I do not think I have the patience. I do feel that it was a useful skill to learn and I must say that my photos have improved. But I do still like to simply point and shoot!

The next hobby that I am planning on starting is gardening. Now that I have a backyard, I would like to do some landscaping. I just bought a new gardening how-to book - how hard can it be? I have already planted herbs and several veggie seeds in little green houses and as of today some have started to sprout! Now I just need to build a raised garden rock wall and get the plants in there. No problem, right? Any tips would be appreciated - I hope I am not getting in over my head!

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Break camps - good times!

Today, the March Break camps have come to an end. After going on Space, Superhero, Princess & Knight, Pirate, Dinosaur, and Pop Star adventures, completing obstacle courses & crafts, as well as having a St. Patty's day party, it's back to the old routine on Monday. The week was very successful - both with the number of children attending the camps as well as simply having a great group of children to play with all day. We were lucky to have many 'old' faces returning as well as meeting many new friends this week. While it will be nice to get back to the regular schedule, we are very much looking forward to summer camps - which are now only 3 months away!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring is here!

Is it too soon to say that Spring is here? I hope I do not jinx it! The past week has been such beautiful weather, I have tried to take every opportunity to take advantage of it. Ewan has been to the park three times and absolutely loves it! Even though he cannot yet move - you would think it would be any day now - he loves playing in the sand, throwing sand and eating sand (only once, I turned away for a moment). He also loves going down the slide, which is also a good arm workout for me. The swings are another favorite that brings about non-stop giggles. And after we have made the rounds of the park, Ewan can watch the other children running around for another half hour more. We have very much been enjoying the park!

On another note, Ewan now has 4 teeth, Yay! And he is much happier and much more playful. However, he is still not liking when I put him down. Is anyone else going through a clingy stage like this? It is not stranger anxiety and not really separation anxiety - if I actually leave the house, he does just fine. But if I am in the house, he needs to be in my arms constantly, even through nap times. As a bonus, I have never had such muscular arms before, nor have I read so many books!

After moving to a new neighborhood in late August, it is wonderful to see so many familiar faces in the area. I am so happy that I am now living in such a family and child centered neighborhood. I look forward to seeing more of A Gym Tale's guests outside of the center through the spring and summer at the local park!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


So it has been awhile since my last post, my apologies. Ewan has had both of his front teeth coming in for the past week and has not done well with them. The first two came in and we never noticed until he bit my finger one day! However, with the top two teeth, he has barely been sleeping, unless he is sleeping in my arms, and just overall miserable. Needless, to say I am also exhausted and my home is a disaster because I have not been able to put him down. One tooth is completely through and the other is so close - hopefully any day it will be through. 

With all of this going on, I have also have not been successful with getting my 8 hours sleep each night - or my resolution to exercise each day (that was this weeks resolution). Obviously, Gretchen Rubin did not have a baby when she took on her project!! I will keep trying...

One resolution that has been successful is to tackle a nagging task. Each day this week I have tackled a task that has been on my to-do list forever. The first one was to return a pile of things to Staples that have been sitting in the garage since January another was to bring in two posters to have framed. It definitely felt good  finally getting these things done!

Well Ewan is up, I promise to update again soon!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Happiness Project

I have just finished a wonderful and inspiring book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It highlights one woman's challenge to herself to try all sorts of resolutions to make her even happier. She was not unhappy before, but she felt as though there were some aspects of her life that could use improvement in order to allow her to make the most of her life. The 11 resolutions ranged from energy to marriage, parenthood, leisure and money. Each month she attempted several resolutions related to one area of her life.

After reading this book, I have decided to create my own 11 resolutions and put each one into effect over the next year. For the month of March, I am going to work on increasing my energy. This week I am attempting to get 8 hours sleep each night.

My hope in writing this is that I will feel more accountable to myself. If anyone else has read this book or put their own happiness project into effect, please let me know your thoughts!

For more information on this book visit

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A class full of future Olympians!

This past Wednesday I organized a Wild West theme for the Nursery School program, however, after the arrival of the children I quickly realized that almost all of the students were well aware that the Olympics were underway. I quickly changed the theme to the Olympics in order to take advantage of all the enthusiasm the children were expressing. Together we made a chart to track the number of medals that Canada has won and we will keep a count each day of Nursery School until the closing ceremonies. We also made a giant banner to cheer on the Canadian athletes. After an in depth discussion of the different types of sports that the children had seen on TV, we began a discussion about whether or not the athletes were still good even though they may not all win medals. I explained that even the athletes who do not win medals are all extraordinary athletes, some of the very best in the world. The children then went on to tell me that they are really good at skating, skiing, hockey, sledding and that they thought that they would be in the Olympics when they were older too. Seeing the certainty the excitement in their own skills and talents is very inspiring and I look forward to seeing the kids compete for gold one day!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Family Day Weekend

Over Family Day weekend, my family and I took the opportunity to go on a short getaway to Toronto. Part of our New Year's Resolutions were to take two vacations a year - even if it was just a weekend away from work. It turned out to be a wonderful weekend away - not a single call from A Gym Tale, thanks to all of the wonderful, hard working staff and the place was still standing after me being away for 4 days!

Although trip consisted of hanging out in Starbucks and reading, watching movies, swimming at the hotel pool and meeting up with some friends - and eating out for every meal - one of my favourite parts, it was just the perfect relaxing weekend. And the drive down went very well as we timed it perfectly to coincide with Ewan's nap time.

What a nice way to feel refreshed and and full of motivation to tackle all of the upcoming spring promotions!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Finding Balance & New Year's Resolutions

To date, this has been one of the more difficult issues that I have had to deal with as a new mom. Just as I was finding a balance between work and personal life, along came my beautiful little boy - who now takes up almost every moment of every day! How do you strike a balance between baby, couple time, personal time, work, fitness, household chores, etc - has anyone actually found a way to fit it all in within a 7 day period - without needing to skip sleeping a couple nights a week?!

Now that we are in February, I have been trying to take inventory of which of my New Year's Resolutions I have been able to maintain. Several of my New Year's resolutions included getting together with friends at least once a week, working out 3 times a week, cooking dinner at least 5 times per week as well as date night at least twice a month. My main goals have been to create more of a social life - I tend to be somewhat of a work-aholic. Now some weeks I am very productive and I just breeze through it all - morning workouts, play dates, chicken pot pie, and cleaning the bathrooms! But then the next week I am so exhausted from the week before that nothing seems to get accomplished!

Another issue is that I love schedules and routines. I am all about scheduling everything - just making a schedule helps me feel more productive and organized. But, as I am sure many of you know, schedules and babies just do not mix very well. It seems every time I plan out a full day, Ewan will be up all night or just simply have plans of his own and then the whole week will be thrown off.

So, do you have any tricks or suggestions about how to fit it all in, I would love to have some new inspiration!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Just one of those weeks....

So, it is Sunday night 8:30pm and I am just now starting my weekend:(

This past week has just been one of those weeks where anything and everything that could go wrong, went wrong. From starting the week with a very long P.D. day, to having both party room sinks break, to issues with the landlord, to having Ewan up for two nights with teething pain, to being short staff and needing to work all weekend!

After a week like this it is hard to find the positives in owning your own business. However, I do have to remind myself of the flexibility that my job offers (most of the time) as well as the fact that I can bring my baby to work with me - so that even when I am working, I am able to spend quality time with him as well.

But at last, I am now sitting down with my wonderful husband who has also worked seven days straight with me, eating chocolate cake and drinking champagne to celebrate the end of this week and discuss new hopes for the coming week.

The hard times are easier to leave behind you when you have a very strong support network that will listen. So thank you to my loving husband, to my smiley baby, and to all of you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Separation Anxiety

Now that school is back underway after the Holiday break, everyone must get back into their daily routines. For some children this is an exciting time to get to do fun activities, gym time, and socializing with friends. For other children, a two week break can send them back to the heart wrenching episodes of separation anxiety when leaving Mom & Dad - like it was the first day of school all over again.

What leads to separation anxiety? There are many possible contributors - from personality, changes at home, up-bringing etc. Even so, some children who you would think might have problems leaving their parents never even take a look back at mom & dad!

I have to admit, my son is not away from me very often. To be truthful, he is not really even out of my arms that often! Now in the abundance of parenting literature there tend to be two schools of thought - one that recommends keeping your children close to you as much as possible in order to develop a strong sense of attachment that leads to confident children who are open to new experiences. The second school of thought encourages boundaries in order to teach children self soothing skills and become accustomed to leaving mom & dad - also leading to children who are confident in new situations. Both sides are adamant that they are right.

Is either side right? Or does it simply depend on the child's temperament and personality?

One thing is true, all children do get past their anxieties with caring and supportive individuals around them. Some may take longer than others mother continually reminds me that I cried every single day for both Junior and Senior Kindergarten. And I guess I turned out alright ;)

Anyway, my hope is that my son grows up to be a confident and outgoing child who enjoys new experiences. However, I do hope that he does take a look back to wave to me!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A New Adventure has begun...

I have always led a very busy, active and full life - and according to my husband, always looking for ways to add more, sometimes too much more. My 'adult' life began five years ago when I graduated from the University of Guelph Child and Family studies program and then almost immediately began my own business with my yet to be husband. The birth of A Gym Tale! During our first year of business, we worked 18 hour days every day of that year - it was a wonderful year full of learning and stress, but we survived and we were thrilled with the business we had created and the wonderful clientele that we were gaining. The second year we hired 3 staff members and took holidays off - a very big step for us. And just as we were getting comfortable, we decided to buy a condo and get married and I decided to go back to school to do my Masters so I would not get bored. During years 3 and 4 of A Gym Tale, we moved locations and expanded our business to include an indoor playground and increased our staff to 14 employees. Once again, we are thrilled with where this adventure has taken us and the many families we have to come to know and love in our community. To add to the excitement in the first year at the new location, my husband and I also decided that it would be a good time to have a baby.

On Mother's Day - May 10, 2009 my beautiful son was born at 11:31pm. And so a new adventure has begun. The past 8 months have been a whirl wind of new experiences - full of excitement, laughter, tears and not a whole lot of sleep! I am now in the process of finding a balance between my 8 month old son, who seems to be changing and growing faster than I can keep up with, as well as with my first 'baby' - A Gym Tale and the children and families that I love to get to know, teach, and entertain.

I hope you will join me as I begin my new adventure as a mother, teacher, and business owner. Whether you are a new mom or an old pro, I'm sure you can relate to the many experiences that come with raising and working with young children. Motherhood is a long journey and I would appreciate any advice along the way as this adventure will surely lead to many 'Gym Tales'.