Sunday, December 8, 2013

This Holiday Season

This holiday season is going to be quite different from the others. It will bring with it a lesson in simplifying and being ok with it, simply because the past 8 weeks have been such a dramatic shift in my daily life.

I have to congratulate every woman who has made it through their pregnancy being sick Every. Single. Day. Multiple times. This pregnancy has been far more difficult than anything I could ever have imagined - being sick every day and with such low energy - just wasn't part of my plan. Mornings are usually good, so I do not feel like work has suffered - however, some days there is more gagging than others! But come afternoon and evening it is a whole other story and I feel like it is my kids that are suffering.

However, I know that they are not. They are in fact probably loving that I am not running off my feet trying to accomplish things like dishes, laundry, cleaning, cooking, meal prep - the stuff that normally gets in the way of the day. Don't even start on the Christmas to-do list. Instead I am curled up on the couch - but we are together reading stories, playing games, or just snuggling. Yes, everything around me is a disaster, but the kids don't see that at all. Hell, Alan probably doesn't even see it (except when there is no clean underwear left)!

So, it really comes down to me trying to wrap my head around letting things go. And being ok with this. Instead of a to do list, I try and choose one thing to get done each day. Sometimes, this is making dinner - however, more often than not we have been living off of frozen meals that I made in September and early October, meals that have been gifted or ready made meals (Ross's has really great meals that just need baked and Play Time cafe in Manotick will actually deliver healthy, organic ready made meals). I am also accepting that Christmas baking just is not going to happen this year - but the kids and I have been thrilled eating the Christmas treats that have been given to us once again from friends and family - thank you!!! Sometimes it is getting through a load of laundry and actually putting it away. Or sometimes it is an activity from our Advent calendar. But there is really only one thing that I can accomplish each day between noon and bed time. This is a dramatic change that has been very hard to try and come to accept.

Some other things that I have had to accept are having Ewan bring me the envelope from our Advent calendar as well as a piece of paper and a pen each morning so that I can write which activity we will do - the idea of planning each day until Christmas is just beyond me right now. Many days our holiday activity is simply listening to Christmas music and dancing or getting in pj's and having a hot chocolate. I know my kids are loving this, but it is hard to let go of all the wonderful Pinterest ideas that I have, but simply cannot make happen this year.

I also have to accept that Isla now pretends to vomit every time she passes a toilet. We were doing quite well with potty training, however, her interests have now moved towards pretending to throw up in the toilet instead. Not quite what I thought this pregnancy would teach my daughter.

Last year I also made almost all of the kids gifts as well as things gifted to others. Once again - not happening this year - the idea of the sewing machine itself makes me nauseous! However, I am determined to make Isla two tutu's. This was a hard year for trying to choose Christmas gifts for Isla, but I know she will love wearing her tutu's, so these I will somehow find the energy to make!

Although this has been a much more quiet holiday season than usual, it has also been quite nice letting go of so many responsibilities and long to do lists. I really enjoyed reading this post as it highlights that everyone, especially those with young children, really need to start trying to be realistic with what can be done in our days while at the same time trying to spend time with our children and stay sane.

Elizabeth Fulton Photography
What has made your priority list this year? And more importantly, what have you decided to leave off of your list this year?

Monday, November 11, 2013

We Are Expanding!!!

Our Family by 2 Feet!

We are very excited to announce that we are expecting our third child in early June 2014! We are all thrilled and as Ewan says 'he will be a big, big brother and Isla will now be a big sister!' 

How have I been feeling so far? Horrible!! Much worse than my two previous pregnancies, so I must apologize for being distracted in circle time as I am usually debating in my head whether or not I have time to make it to the bathroom or to just use the garbage can behind me to vomit! Any advice from moms going through a pregnancy with heavy nausea as well as families who have made the jump from 2 to 3 children is welcome!

Baby is coming at a good time of year as I will be able to almost finish each of the programs that I am teaching (Nursery School, Before school and Gym & Music classes) and have a supply teacher fill in for June. Baby and I will be back in September to teach the programs together. And yes, I do plan the birth of my children around A Gym Tale's schedule!!

We are so very excited to share this news with all of you!

Lindsay, Alan, Ewan and Isla.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Halloween!

October has come and is almost over - there simply does not seem to be enough hours in the day lately! This month has been full of Fall, Thanksgiving and Halloween themed activities both at home and at A Gym Tale's Nursery School and After School programs. From picking apples, collecting leaves and making collages, to choosing and carving pumpkins and making costumes.

Since Ewan was two years old he has been choosing his own Halloween costume. When he was two he was an elephant riding a horse and when he was three years old he wanted to be Finding Nemo. This year he chose to be Wall-E. He has been crazy about robots lately, and this is one of the few movies that he has seen and loves. Ewan also decided that Isla would be Eve. Alan and I then decided that we would do a family themed Wall-E costume with myself being one of the very large people onboard the space ship and Alan being the captain. These costumes have been fun to make together and Ewan has really enjoyed being part of the process. Alan was hoping for a much easier route of simply buying the costumes - but it became our mission to show him that we could make a better costume and I think we did! I do not have a pick of us all together in costume - that will have to wait until Halloween - but here are a few pics of the kids' costumes coming together.
Eve costume finished and Ewan's just needing treads

Finished costume at a Halloween Party
Spider web project
Outside of choosing and / or making costumes, there are so many great activities for kids focused around Fall and Halloween. Last year I wrote a post detailing some of Ewans' favourite activities and our favourite pumpkin pancake recipe. This year the spider web with a hoola hoop art project have kept both Ewan and Isla as well as the Nursery School kids and After School program very busy drawing bugs (older kids) and simply practicing snipping bugs for the younger kids. Painting pumpkins and cutting out bats and ghosts have also kept us very busy. A new recipe that we just tried and loved are these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins - so delicious. We have also been doing a countdown to Halloween (similar to an advent calendar but with pumpkins) which has really boosted the anticipation for the big day.

What kinds of Fall or Halloween traditions do you carry out at home?
Apple and pear picking with my babies!

Monday, September 30, 2013


Oh, September - where did you go?! This has been one of the busiest months this year! Or maybe it is just the shock of jumping back into work after such a restful summer?

The first week of September brought with it 'Meet the Teacher' days for A Gym Tale's Nursery School program as well as the start of the Before & After School program. Both programs have taken off wonderfully and we are so lucky to have such a great group of children in both programs - very active and energetic but still focused enough to for us to begin planning some exciting activities. If you are still looking for a Nursery School program or Before & After School care there are two spaces remaining in each.

Photo by Elizabeth Fulton Photography
Personally, the first week of September brought Ewan's first day of Kindergarten. I was very anxious about this week - actually, kind of dreading letting my baby boy go! However, after we met his teacher and he had his first two days of school that week, I was very much put at ease. His teacher is wonderful  and Ewan is loving going to school - especially riding the bus each morning. Although we do not really know what he is doing while he is there - which is really difficult as a parent to not know everything that is happening in your childs' day. I get bits of stories here and there that I try and piece together, however, for the most part Ewan says that he plays backgammon and touches the snakes when Rays Reptiles goes for their daily visits - neither of these events are true!!! He is happy, so he must be enjoying whatever they are doing in class.

Mid-September at A Gym Tale marked the beginning of the Fall Gym & Music Play classes. I always forget how much I enjoy hosting these classes. The classes are a great way for young children to learn basic gymnastics skills by exploring the gym equipment at their own pace within a confined area in which everything is available to them in that area. The classes also incorporate songs, music, parachute play and of course the bubble cool down as well as play on the playground before and after class. It is a really nice opportunity to meet so many families and get to know both the children and the parents.

At home my kids and I have been trying different routines and schedules and I think that we have fallen into a really nice routine that will work well for us this year. Each of us are out to work, school or a family members home for the morning and lunch. We then come back together for quiet afternoons. Isla can have a consistent nap each day, while Ewan and I have some time for reading and projects in the afternoons. As a family, we have decided to only have Ewan attend school in the mornings, and I am really happy with how this is working for us. Ewan is still getting a chance to play with children his age as well as having free afternoons to play and learn while following his own interests. Bedtime has also moved much earlier to between 6:30-7pm. Having an evening to work, relax, exercise and even have adult conversations is simply amazing!

As for exercise, I have now been 'training' and running consistently for 7 months. I am very proud that I have continued to carve out this time for myself - even in the busiest of weeks I have been running at least once. I love the friendships that I have made while running as well as the progress that I have made over the past 7 months. My 5km time has improved by 4.5 minutes and I am really enjoying my time running. I have my 'big' 10 km run at the end of October and I am even considering registering for a half marathon for next spring to keep me motivated over the winter.

With the anxiety and all of the new beginnings that came along with
September I am very much looking forward to settling into a more relaxed October!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A New Focus on Children's Literature and Read Aloud's

Reading aloud has always been part of our daily routine. However, this summer I have spent a lot of time researching children's literature as well as the benefits of selecting quality pieces to read to young children. With my own children, many books that I had not considered reading to them before have really captured their attention and have sparked so much imaginative play with Ewan. Collections such as the classic Aesop's Fables, stories by Hans Christian Anderson, original Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm, Beatrix Potter's collection of The Story of Peter Rabbit, A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh as well as many classic story books have filled our afternoons.

The importance of reading aloud to children of all ages cannot be overstated. Encouraging a love of reading really is the best way to open a world of endless learning opportunities. When listening to stories the words stimulate the child to create the images in their own mind and these images can continue into play afterwards with only the child's creativity to limit them. Both Kim John Payne and Rahima Baldwin Dancy, the author of the book 'You are your child's first teacher', emphasize that when watching television or a movie, children will typically only play out what they have seen as the images become fixed in their mind.  Another benefit is the vocabulary that children will learn from being exposed to new words and phrases. They are, in fact, learning from some of the best english teachers in the world when you read classics. When exposed to well written sentences and grammar children will inevitably become better writers. Reading quality literature also provides children with a way of role playing what will happen in various scenarios without having to do it in real life. They are essentially learning morals and lessons from another's experience. And most importantly, reading together at any age, helps to strengthen family bonds. Cuddling up together on the couch or in bed is the perfect cool down when things are going rough, a great way to extend meals (my children will at least eat more when I am reading to them) and the perfect way to end the day.

With thousands of children's books published every year, it can be difficult to sort through and find quality stories that offer lessons, morals and beautifully written language. Many of these books are longer but they offer a richer story that will draw in the reader and listener - making reading aloud more enjoyable for the whole family. Ewan, Isla and I have dabbled with each of the collections listed above and we have enjoyed the types of stories and language that each offer. Although I have been wary of Fairy Tales because of some of the violence, much research has shown that is not the part of the story that children focus on. Children tend to take out the message that good wins and evil is punished and the children can identify with the hero which can be reassuring to the child. This has been true of the stories that Ewan and I have shared this summer and is also why Fairy Tales can span such a large age range since as the children grow they will begin to take in more details of the story and the complexity of some of the characters.

We have also updated our collection of story books with classics such as The Little Engine That Could,  Blueberries for Sal, Madeline, The Giving Tree, Harold and the Purple Crayon (Ewan's favourite so far), The Little House, and Make Way for Ducklings to name a few. Each have been wonderful additions to our library. There are many lists of 'best books' available online that can help you find some great additions to your library.

Reading poetry over lunch has also become a habit that both kids love. For instance, today when I was setting lunch on the table I turned to get our poetry book and Ewan said 'Don't worry mommy, I already got the book for you! We are ready!'. The kid's have really enjoyed the books by Dennis Lee and really laugh at all of the silly rhymes and have even memorized many of the poems. We are just about to begin the poetry book 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' bShel Silverstein.

I, personally, love studying children's literature and how children learn to read. It has been amazing to watch Ewan fall in love with so many beautifully written books and the creativity that has come from these books. He uses his farm animals to further play out stories from Beatrix Potter and his woodland animals for Winnie the Pooh. Ewan has also started making books and having me write out his story for him to copy onto the pages. As a teacher, instilling a love of reading and an appreciation of books is one of my goals for both my kids and my students.

What are your favourite books to read to your children?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School is around the corner!

I am slowly getting my mind back in to work mode and preparing for the start of the Before and After School program as well as the Nursery School program. As I am reviewing last year's program and adding in some new themes and activities, I thought I would repost a few of my blog posts from last summer that highlighted the ideas and philosophies that we use to guide our Nursery School program.

This post highlights our basic goals for the Nursery School program and discusses how we strive to foster independence as well as instilling a sense of capability and confidence, increasing attention and involvement with activities and promoting social interactions and friendships.

Another post discussing separation anxiety and ways to help ease our children into new programs has also had some wonderful reminders that I need to use myself with Ewan beginning school in two weeks.

Reading, writing, and art are some of my favourite topics with regards to early childhood education and these posts will highlight how we encourage children in these areas and some ideas for you to try at home as well. Ewan, Isla and I have spent a lot of time exploring new literature this summer and I am very excited about a post that I am currently writing with some really wonderful stories to share with your children.

If you are looking for a program for your preschooler this Fall, A Gym Tale does have 2 spaces remaining in the afternoon Nursery School program. Please do not hesitate to email or call with any questions.

I hope everyone enjoys the last weeks of summer!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The summer half point - our favourite activities

I missed a post last week as summer fun and a teething Isla kept me very busy - and without free arms or sleep for 4 days straight!

Looking at the calendar last night, I realized that, sadly, we are at the half way point of summer this week. But I am choosing to embrace that there are still four more weeks left of summer! I was also going through all of the activities, quiet days, friends and family time that we have filled our summer with to this point - and I think that for my family we have finally found a really nice balance this year.

Ewan and I have chosen a theme unit to focus on each week and that has guided our plans. We have moved through several themes including - under the sea, rocks, the night sky, bugs and now birds. These units have given me the opportunity to try new activities that I am very excited to use with the Nursery School program this year. It has also given our week a framework and a way to be selective about which activities that we choose to fill our days with - maybe just being more mindful of how we spend our days has in fact slowed the summer down for us.

Some of our activities have included:
Using letter rocks to match capital & lower case letters.

Washing the rocks we found on our hike.

Visiting the cave at the Museum of Nature.

Staying up late to look at the moon & stars through the telescope.

Our science table with our moon chart for the week.

Visiting the rocket at the Science & Tech museum.

Searching for bugs in the forest.

Eating dirt & worms for desert!

Pretending to be spiders & catching bugs in our web - Ewan's most favorite activity of all time!

Ewan eating his snack in his nest that he built (he is wearing 'head protection' from the bees (too many Scaredy Squirrel books!)

We have been visiting a museum each week and we have really enjoyed all of the activities being offered. Ewan's favourite museum is the Museum of Nature and really has so much to  offer - from the dinosaurs of course, but they also have an aquarium, an amazing space and rock exhibit, a whole floor displaying every kind of bird, live insects and bugs as well as a really great class on building bug traps (which we now have all over our yard!). We have also made a trip to the Museum of Science and Tech to see the rocket ship, but we loved the trains as well as the light maze and all the other hands on activities. The Museum of Agriculture is also well loved by both kids. 

We are also trying to enjoy many of the trails right in the area - Stony Swamp, the Chapman Mills Conservation area and the Manotick dog park are all favourites. Many days we have spent enjoying our own backyard catching bugs, making mud pies and watching birds. Swimming has also been a favourite activity - we are lucky that our neighbours and in laws have beautiful pools that we have open access to use. It is incredible how spending several uninterrupted hours at a pool can improve the kids swimming skills - Ewan is becoming quite the confident swimmer - no longer the over confident boy who would jump in and very quickly sink!

Are you happy with how you and your family have been spending the summer so far? What have been your favourite summer activities? Any must see things on your list? 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

When does the lying stop?!

Ewan has now entered a new stage...lying. All. The. Time.  It is mostly about the bathroom - whether or not he used the bathroom, flushed the toilet or washed his hands. He will come out and state what he has done with the guiltiest looking smirk on his face. Here are the stages of his expressions:

Trying not to smile...



turning away..

full on guilty smile!

I will then repeat for him to go and use the bathroom, wash hands and off he will run to the bathroom yelling "how do you know these things?!"

Recently he has started testing Alan and I to see if we really do know everything. He will come out of the bathroom and state that he used it, flushed and washed his hands - then make the face - Alan and I repeat for him to go back to the bathroom. He then shouts "Ha, I did already, smell my hands!" and of course they are usually still wet and full of soap!

He has also started blaming his sister - poor Isla! Ewan took it upon himself one day to draw stick people on our tv screen. I will give a bit of a back story as he has never drawn on anything but paper before. The week before we were talking about how Dora is a cartoon, not a real person. A cartoon is a drawing on tv. WHY did I not go further than this?!!! So, Ewan thought he would draw some people on the tv and then turn on the tv and watch them dance around. He was very disappointed that this is not what happened. And I ended up with stick people on my television. Anyway, when I finally noticed the drawings I had asked Ewan why he would do such a thing - he stated that Isla did it. When I said that Isla cannot reach, nor can she draw stick people, his response was "well, she did!" Afterwards I got the full story when I asked why he thought Isla would draw on the tv.

So, will this stage end? Or do the lies just get bigger?!

An example of the stick people on my tv.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

One of my favourite family vacations to date!

For the last week of June, actually the day after my last shift of work before the summer, the kids and I jetted off to Halifax to meet Alan who had been working there the previous week. I decided to try and kick off my 'relaxing summer' with the most relaxed holiday that I could think of - going to a secluded beach house in PEI!

We spent Sunday - Wednesday morning in Halifax as Alan still had a few more days to work and then we drove to PEI and stayed in the cutest little beach house until the Sunday. Halifax was actually a great few days. I had been dreading those few days as I would be on my own in a new city with both kids and potentially 'housebound' not knowing how to get around without a car. We were very fortunate that Premiere Suites had set us up in a condo directly on the board walk downtown! The condo was gorgeous (even had me considering down sizing to a little condo in Ottawa - so much easier to maintain) and the board walk was directly outside of our door. I was able to start my days with a run on the board walk while Alan got ready with the kids and then the kids and I spent the morning exploring the board walk. We watched the ships, played on the playground, ate ice cream and enjoyed the sandy beach. We then spent the afternoons by the pool and enjoyed eating out at restaurants for dinner.

PEI was an even slower pace. Once we arrived at the beach house with our groceries, we didn't leave again until Sunday morning. The days were spent running in the field, exploring the beach, canoeing across to the outer beach, wading in the water and making smores by the fire.

The house had beautiful windows looking out onto the ocean - the most amazing view from the loft bedroom.

One of my most favourite pictures!

Ewan and I venturing out in the canoe

I am embarrassed to admit how many marshmallows Ewan and Isla stuffed in their faces!

Isla and Ewan spent hours just wading through the water chasing each other.

We have the largest collection of shells - half of a suitcase was dedicated to the collection on the way home!

The beach was beautiful and so full of shells for the kids to explore. It was also perfect that the water was only up to the kids' waist at the deepest point, so they could have walked all the way to the outer beach - this made canoeing much less stressful! The beach house was very secluded and it was so nice to be in such a quiet place.

As perfect as this week away sounds, someone forgot to mention to me the attitude that comes along with turning 4 years old. Wow, Ewan has been something else lately! Absolutely everything was a challenge - even when all I wanted to do was take him for ice cream or go to the pool! At many points I yelled to the sky why in the world I left the comfort of my home to be challenged on every single thing that we wanted to do. However, looking back I am still very happy that he drove me out of my mind in peaceful PEI rather than at home!

All in all it was a wonderful week away and a great start to a summer filled with relaxation. Such a difference in pace from Disney World last year!

*Also, Ewan's behaviour has been drastically improving - maybe he is settling into our slower days and enjoying more of a regular routine - or maybe it was just a phase - a short lived one thank goodness!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Planning a memorable summer

I am so very fortunate that I am able to take the majority of the summer off and spend more or less one day a week at A Gym Tale and complete the rest of my work from home. It has taken me 4 years to figure out that after the fast paced school year, what I really need during summer is to slow things right down with the kids. At first I tried to use the time off work to do everything with the kids that we were not able to do during the year - play dates, classes, day trips, etc. We simply ended up more tired than when we started summer. Now I am a firm believer that maintaining a routine, but slowing the pace right down and spending much more time at home doing simple things is what creates the most restful and memorable moments.

I also have to admit, I love the idea of homeschooling my kids. I really do enjoy my job, especially creating the nursery school program plans, and doing that programming as a hobby over the summer is really exciting to me. It is like I am pretending to homeschool my kids since during the year just does not allow for it - And after four years of nursery school, it really is time for Ewan to move on! I absolutely love the ages that my kids are at right now (4 years & 18 months) and the idea of catering the plans and field trips directly to my kids interests is so much fun. It also provides an opportunity to test out new activities, books and plans for the school year. 

Since I am a self-admitted workaholic, I needed to put a plan in place to ensure that days were kept slow - yes, I do realize how silly it is to have to plan to relax and slow down, but I have come to accept who I am and without a plan the calendar will be out of control! So here is what my ideal summer will look like:

  • Less concern about looks and creating more time in the mornings by showering at night and relying more on hair bands and hats.
  • A goal of 7 hours of sleep per night so that I can be ready for Ewan and Islas 6am wake ups
  • Keeping my phone ringer turned on instead of my phone in my pocket - too tempting to check emails throughout the day, I am limiting to checking twice a day. Otherwise I become very distracted by emails and texts. 
  • Days where the words 'hurry up' are never uttered and the kids are free to go at their ideal pace - this will be very challenging for me.
  • Accepting a less tidy house, but at the same time including the kids in chores as opposed to having to do everything when they are in bed. Simple things like helping with dishes, sweeping the floors and dusting. 
  • Playing outside every day - tending to the gardens, picking our veggies, and simply allowing for open ended time in the yard for the kids to enjoy their own garden, sand, rocks, water barrels available to them. 
  • Nature walks several times a week with our dog. If you haven't read 'Last child in the woods'  it is a really great book and will give the motivation needed for many to make getting out in nature a priority for our kids.
  • Having a never-ending art table just off the kitchen. Ewan and I have been having the most difficulty in trying to keep the 'mess' or hundreds of pages of art a week under control and trying to clean up multiple times per day. So by offering a larger table that he can carry out his projects should hopefully fix this. 
  • Doing daily projects with Ewan in the afternoons while Isla is napping. She is now napping for about 2 hours since we have ended her morning nap. I am hoping to have invitations for science experiments, art, sensory play, baking etc. ready for Ewan during this time. Some will be things we do together and other things will be for him to explore.
  • More lunch time picnics and simple dinners to lessen the amount of time spent in kitchen prepping food.

At the same time, I still want to keep all of my commitments, such as regular date nights, dinners out with friends, running 3 times a week and taking some time just to relax in the backyard in the evenings.

How do you plan to spend your summer with your family? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Past year successes & summer camp!

I am almost overwhelmed with excitement for the summer months! I am very fortunate to be able to take some time off with my kids and slow right down. But before I slip into that mode, this time of year is the ideal time to reflect upon the past year and the success's and changes that are needed as programs are coming to an end and summer camps are beginning.

This past year we introduced several changes to the Nursery School program. During my time off after Isla's birth, I really felt like I wanted Nursery School to be a much calmer and relaxing environment leaving more opportunity for the children to engage in activities, explore new ideas, and to learn social skills through experience - all of the things I was trying to create in my home environment for my own children. In order to accomplish this, I needed to let go of following such a strict time schedule and start finding ways to create more flow in the program. With really only some minor changes to the environment and schedule, such as incorporating more natural elements and offering more opportunities for children to make choices as opposed to set groups, the entire flow of the program just fell into place. The result was a calmer environment and children who were comfortable making choices and stating their own preferences, which in turn allowed us to follow their interests more closely. Even in art, by not having the stress of planning so many themed projects, but offering materials and just letting the children create allowed everyone to explore their own creativity and once again helped us delve deeper in areas that fully engaged the children. Varying the sensory bin from water, sand, ice, beans, goop, play dough and so many other experiences gave some children the time to be in their element and pushed others to go beyond their comfort areas and get a little messy! I am so very happy with the changes and the resulting Nursery School program and I am so excited to share all of these things with so many new children in the Fall. On that note, I would like to extend a congratulations to all of our 2013 Nursery School graduates who were a pleasure to get to know and learn from over the past 10 months - we cannot imagine the extraordinary places each of you will go! Registration for September is now underway with only two morning spaces remaining and a handful if afternoon spots available, for more details visit here.

This year I have also introduced several new programs including a new Social Baby drop in play time as well as a Running Group in partnership with Fit Mom in Barrhaven. The Social Baby Drop In play time is an opportunity for babies under one year to interact and explore the Enchanted Forest area. It is also an opportunity for babies to learn social skills through experience by looking, touching, playing and yes, sometimes grabbing toys from other little ones! It also gave parents an opportunity to chat and hear that they are not alone in their experiences. This was a fun group that allowed me to meet many new families, the size of the group really only started to grow in the last few weeks, so I am looking forward to beginning again in the Fall.

The Running Group with Katie from Fit Mom in Barrhaven was so much fun and the perfect opportunity for me to fit in another work out during the week! The Drop Off care for children over 3 years of age gave many moms the opportunity to run when they otherwise would not have been able to. It was also amazing to meet so many other mom runners, both experienced and new to running. We had a lot of regulars and some who came when it worked with children's schedules.  But each week (except one very rainy day - when I was ready and willing if anyone came;), we showed up and gave it our all. A very inspiring experience and one we will continue again in the Fall.

Gym & Music classes as always are a blast to run and such a nice chance to really get to know so many families in the community. I am very excited to have so many Gym Stars graduates in the Nursery School program in September, it is wonderful getting to see little ones grow over the course of not one, but two years! I expect the Gym & Music class schedule will remain the same and registration will begin in August.

Once again the Before & After school program had a very successful year. With changes in transportation due to the opening of new schools we are sad to see many students leaving the program  who we have come to know over the past several years. We are excited to welcome in students from not just Jean Robert Gauthier, Michaelle Jean, and St Elizabeth Ann Seton, but also students from Mary Honeywell. Next year will once again promise all sorts of adventures from gymnastics, obstacle courses, art, science and so many more fun days - and as always pyjama days on PA days! A Gym Take does still have three spaces available in the Before & After School program.

As all of these programs come to an end, Summer camps at A Gym Tale are just beginning. This summer will be full of themed weeks, gymnastics skill building, games on the pirate ship and castle playground, art projects, outdoor fun on Tuesdays and special visits each week ranging from Spider-Man, Sleeping Beauty, Rays Reptiles, Mad science, karate lesson, acting lessons and so much more. Child care discounts are available or if you are looking to spread out the fun over the summer choose only certain days each week. Full days with extended care from 7:30-5:30, morning or afternoons, full weeks and single days are available so you can customize exactly what your family needs. As of today, there are spaces available each week over the summer. Also, next week is our DISCOUNT week if you are looking for a chance to try out the camp program before committing to more days!

All in all such an amazing year behind us and a great summer ahead of us!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Little Man is 4!

It is so hard to believe everything that has happened over the past four years. How my life changed in every way with the arrival of Ewan Xavier Braveheart Wyllie (yes, that is his full name for real - you can thank Alan for that!) and the speed at which this tiny little person grew and changed to become the little man he is today. Ewan is an outgoing, loud, energetic little boy who loves to make everyone laugh and has the most wonderful imagination and desire to learn about everything. Ewan's smile is contagious and his sweetness makes me melt, all the while his stubbornness and persistence can push my patience further than 24 children all together at nursery school! I am so proud of the person he is becoming and I am so excited to see his personality continue to unfold.

Birthday's are a big deal at our home. We began the day by waking up to Ewan opening a small gift and then a birthday breakfast where he found the whole downstairs fully decorated with balloons, streamers, and banners. We then went to Nursery School and had a little celebration with cupcakes. Afterwards we headed back home for nap time and then opening the big gift - this year was a pedal bike. Ewan LOVED his bike and thanks to the balance bike he has been riding for two years, he picked up riding the pedal bike within two days! We then ended the day with a birthday dinner - his choice was roasted ham, pancakes and raspberries - yum! (It actually was a delicious combination!)

The next day Ewan had his party (friends in the morning and family in the afternoon). We usually take party planning and entertaining to a whole new level - we can't help it,  it is one of our passions - we did use that passion to create a business that hosts and celebrates over 1000 birthday's a year! Unlike what you may think, Ewan has never had a party at A Gym Tale - we figure since he already spends 4 days a week there that he deserves a break. Ewan wanted a dinosaur theme - so the decorating included a dinosaur foot print path up to the house with dinosaur crossing signs along the way, dino balloons, banners and streamers, and themed snacks (dino claws (bugles) and dino bones (pretzels). We had his friends over to see some crocodiles and tortoises (closest we could get to real dino's) followed by pizza lunch, a brachiosaurus cake once again made by the wonderful Piece of Cake Ottawa

Afterwards Ewan gave out his 'loot bags' - thank you so much for all of your wonderful ideas on Facebook. I finally decided on making dinosaur tails for each of the kids - I fell in love with the idea on Pinterest - and just had to do them - all 20 of them!!! I more or less didn't sleep for 10 days before the party trying to get them done - this was not my best decision - Alan was thankful that he was in Houston for those 10 days! But I absolutely love how they turned out and I loved seeing all the little dino's running around!
Yes Isla insists on wearing her tail forward facing;)

It really was two wonderful days of celebration conveniently followed by Mother's Day, which left me spoiled and pampered!

What special birthday traditions do you do with your family?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chasing the ever-elusive goal of balance

Once again I have not written in some time. And this time it is not because of a teething baby (thankfully!) Although, maybe this is worse because I am the cause of my own lack of free time. Sometimes, all of a sudden, I have a thousand great ideas come to me - and then I decide to do them all. Which obviously does not leave much time for anything.

Take my house for example, dishes have not been done in so long that we no longer have any utensils. At first it was just no spoons, which we just used forks instead - it makes eating cereal in the morning more of a game with the kids. But then we had no spoons either. No problem, we just drank our soup out of mugs. And then had to use the same mugs for milk, because, well there were no other cups left either. I may have to do the mountains of dishes tonight if we are to consume anything at all tomorrow.

After the mountains of dishes, I must face the piles of laundry. We are at the point where no one has any clean underwear tomorrow - that is the last straw and means laundry must be done. It is actually amazing how long we have lasted. Alan wouldn't dare ask about any dress shirts for work, he just quietly moved into his summer wardrobe - and look at today's weather, it is perfect timing! Ewan wondered why he no longer had any pyjama's but then quite enjoyed wearing summer t-shirts and shorts instead - he said he would dream about the beach. On Saturday, I even had to resort to wearing my ugly lulu lemon pants to work - the ones that should have been tossed because they have been worn almost weekly for 7 years, but I just cannot bring myself to toss lulu lemon pants - and thank goodness, because yesterday I had no other options. So, laundry is next on my to-do list.

Now, you might ask where Alan is during all of this - don't worry he has been kept busy with the never-ending spring yard maintenance checklist. With the added pressure that he is travelling for a week and only gets back the day before Ewan's birthday party - which, hopefully will be held outside (there is no way I can let anyone in with the condition of my house right now!) so everything outside is a priority.

What I have I been doing?

Well, one of my grand ideas was to start all of my garden veggies from seed. I thought it would be a great learning experience for Ewan and we would get a longer growing season. I definitely forgot how much time and space this project takes. I have now turned my bathroom into a greenhouse.

My second plan was to make a lot of Isla's summer clothes as well as a beautiful picnic blanket that I found on pinterest - I must never go back on pinterest! I then made the mistake of going to Fabricland and going on a shopping spree. So all of these wonderful projects are sprawled out over my basement.

I also asked on Facebook for some ideas for Ewan's loot bags for his dinosaur themed party. I was given some really great ideas. But then I found the most amazing idea of all! If I can pull it off, which may require me not to sleep for the next 10 days, it will be the perfect addition to the party! It is top secret right now, I will post pictures later if it all works out.

Lastly, I decided to start running and train for some races. I ran my first 5km today and although it was tougher than I thought it would be, what an incredible feeling to cross the finish line! Even better was having my family there to cheer me on as I came around the last bend. Ewan was so proud of me! I plan to continue my training with 3 runs a week, including the one at A Gym Tale on Tuesday's at 1:15 - which was also wonderful to run with so many amazing women this week.

To add to all of these projects, I have to update my First Aid and CPR training. Although very important, the thought of spending the next 3 nights from 6-10pm doing this course is really not appealing at all.

So, after all of this wraps up, I will blog again - in about 2 weeks or so! I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather, that is hopefully here to stay.

Ewan and Isla loving the backyard play time!