Dancing Queen

For Christmas this past year, instead of giving Eva a material possession, we paid for 6 months of “parent and tot” creative movement dance classes. I’m thinking maybe this might become a tradition. I know she will get tangible gifts to open during the holidays from her extended family (and I’m so thankful we have a generous one who thinks of creative and clever gifts for Eva), so I’m thinking that while she is young I might make giving her a gift related to an activity or passion of Eva’s a tradition (e.g., new art supplies and art class, skates and a season of house league hockey, etc.).

What exactly do you do at dance class with 18-30 month olds? Here is a play-by-play for those interested.

You meet your teacher! IMG_9968

You warm up. This involves getting your heart rate up by moving on the spot and in a circle. We started off singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. Then we acted out animal actions like a giraffe, a tiger, an elephant and a butterfly (Eva’s favourite)!IMG_9974

You gallop from the corner of the room to the middle of the room and back, one dancer at a time. Sometimes though this ended up being many dancers at a time; you know how toddlers are!IMG_9970

You sit in a circle and sing songs such as “Itsy, Bitsy, Spider” & “Good toes, Naughty toes”. My teacher changes the lyrics slightly though so that all of the songs become related to being a dancer. Then we collected stars in our hands and then blew them back up to the sky.IMG_9976

Last, you cool down. Part of this involved “going” for a bicycle ride and singing our good-bye song. Eva spent the rest of the week practicing her bicycle legs at home. ❤IMG_9979

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It Has Been A While

Well, the new year is here and I’d like to get back to blogging. No, this doesn’t mean blogging is my new years resolution. Instead, this is me telling myself to keep writing down all the important little things I’m learning from living with a toddler. You see, I have a terrible memory so I need to keep this blog up as a reference tool not only for myself, but for all my friends out there who may ask me questions down the road when they decide it is time to enter the world of parenthood.

My most recent discovery are the 9oz. Lifefactory Glass Sippy Bottles. I am in love! I always felt uneasy about putting my daughter’s water and cow’s milk in plastic bottles and cups. Despite these being PBA free, I don’t feel that plastic is the best material out there for long-term storage. Glass is a natural material and has been used to store milk for decades (think about those lovely glass bottled that were used to delivery milk to client’s homes in the early-mid 1900s). My only wish is that the Lifefactory bottles for toddlers came in a 4oz. or 6oz. options as I find the 9oz. size still too large for my 20 month old. I also have to give a shout out to one of my favourite eco-friendly American-based companies, Klean Kanteen. They also have developed baby bottles and toddler-friendly sippy cups. My daughter and I now have matching “dew drop” green bottles that travel with us virtually everywhere!


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Wordless Wednesday: Concentration

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Art Attack

Who loved this show growing up? I was obsessed with the daily undertakings of the British artist on this show, especially when he created a huge scale piece of art out of simple objects like articles of clothing!

Art is a hobby and interest of mine. As such, we have tons of different art supplies in our home that I try to expose Eva to on a daily basis.  At 16 months, she has taken to painting with her fingers, brushes, sponges and other random items like folks, a plastic toy car, a straw and even penne pasta. I started collecting a few of my favourite masterpieces and taping them onto her bedroom door for display. This got cluttered looking pretty fast, so I started thinking about how else I could showcase her art.

Then, I came across an old frame in our storage closet and loved how it has different sized windows. To create a modern piece of art for our home, I cut up several different pieces of Eva’s paintings from this summer and then organized them in such a way so that there was a balance of colour, line and space. Below is the finished result!

There isn’t any natural light in the bathroom where this frame hangs so this photo isn’t as great as I’d like it to be. In reality, the paint colours are much more vibrant. Looking at this new piece of art brightens my day knowing that it was created by my little lady!

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New Beginnings

Well, this is it. It is the last official day of summer vacation. For me, it is something more. It is the last official day of my extended parental leave from work. Tomorrow, after 16 months, Eva and I will begin spending our days apart. It is bitter-sweet. I dread the fact that I won’t be there to hug her when she falls down, hear her use a word for the first time and observe her trying to solve a problem independently. On the other hand, I know I am looking forward new challenges that I will only find at work, and know it will be good for Eva to socialize and interact with adults and toddlers outside our immediate family and friends. I am (*I think I am*) mentally ready, but can’t prepare her completely for the change in our daily routine. I just pray she makes a smooth adjustment. I realize this is the first step of many in the future where a mama has to let go of their baby’s hand.

We knew this weekend was precious. Who knows what this next work week will involve. I wanted to use this time to explore a garden area close to our home. I have driven past it many times but never been in. Our early morning visit was incredibly tranquil. It wasn’t too hot yet and the park wasn’t crowded. I would never know I was in Toronto. This is just what we needed.

Happy last day of summer vacation!

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“Be Prepared”: Ways to use Toddler Backpacks

Growing up I attended the Girl Guides of Canada program. The motto of this group, aimed at teaching young women life skills for the real world, is “be prepared”. Now a mother, I always think statement lends itself perfectly to living with a toddler!

My mommy friends and I recently discussed the need to be prepared when visiting friends or family members who don’t have children. We chatted about the idea of having a special bag ready to go at anytime (this idea reminds me of the hospital bag I packed when pregnant). This bag would act as a tool box; keeping your child stimulated and out of trouble while a guest in someone’s (non-childproofed) home. Favourite items I pack in my daughter’s bag include a notebook, stickers and markers (crayons aren’t recommended because they can melt in the heat), one small container of Play-Doh (available at Dollarama for $1 each), a few books, a comfort toy and a bib. As your toddler grows and acquires language, you can give them the responsibility of packing and carrying their bag. In addition, this bag is perfect for taking to preschool or as a carry on bag when flying.

If you’re shopping for a bag, I recommend the Skip Hop Zoo Packs as a great starting backpack for children aged 1.5-4 years. It is a great size for toddlers, has an insulated front pocket to store healthy snacks, padded straps and an easy access bottle pocket on the side of the bag. It also helps that the animal bag designs are super cute!

Do you have any other fun suggestions for what to carry in a toddlers backpack?

Photo copyright: Skip Hop, 2012

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How I Found Out We Were Expecting!

We were in Budapest for 6 weeks. I was late (and I don’t mean the kind of late when you show up tardy to a party). This had happened before when I had traveled or been under stress. At first I wasn’t that concerned but as the days went on I thought I’d ease my mind by searching for a pharmacy so I could obtain a pregnancy test.

Thankfully, I found one without too much trouble. It was the kind of pregnancy test where one line meant negative and two lines meant positive. To ensure this pregnancy test was the same as ones sold in Canada, I decided to use Google translator to ensure I understood the instructions. I carefully typed what looked to me like the roman alphabet letters completely scrambled (Note: Hungarian is one of the hardest languages in the world master)! The results weren’t perfect, but sufficient. I was anxious as I hadn’t had any experience taking this type of test before. I drank 1L of water and took the test. It was negative.

I had peace of mind for the next five days. At that point I started to wonder again what was going on with my body. Was it just jet lag? I told my husband that I needed to take another test so again I made the trip to the pharmacy a few blocks from our hotel. On Saturday August 7, I took the test at 4am when I woke up to use the washroom (the first time round I missed the part of the instructions that said to take it in the morning). I shook my husband to wake him as I waited for the test to set which felt like an eternity. I really thought the result would be negative but God had a different plan (and I’m so glad He did). I stared at those two double lines not blinking. I couldn’t believe it. Mixed emotions set it. Questions, joy, anxiety, excitement, shock. My husband was my rock through this 5 minute roller coaster, as he squeezed me and said in an enthusiastic voice, “You’re pregnant! We’ve been promoted to parents!”

On Sunday August 8, I took a third pregnancy test just to be sure. Yes, I was still in shock and needed some reassurance without being able to visit my family doctor, who I adore, back in Ontario. This third test was positive as well making the news official! We spent the day celebrating and exploring around the city. This story feels like an eternity ago and I’m so thankful this little surprise happened when it did because the timing was perfect for so many reasons I can’t begin to list in this post. This little gift is so precious, and I’m forever thankful she is in our lives and calls me mama!

Parents-t0-be on the Danube River, Budapest, Hungary.

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