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!