the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

Hello and Happy Easter from Barrie!

We took a road trip yesterday morning to spend the long weekend with Adam’s family.  Our plan is always to wake up, load the car and hit the road so when the kids woke up at 5am, we decided to make lemonade and hustle out the door.  Being on the road by 7am got us here in time for a late lunch and a full afternoon and evening of bike riding, trips to the park and playing outside.  So much fun!

We’ve learned that a morning drive is the best time to tackle a long trip with Clyde.  He’s rested, fed and has spent an hour or two running – or biking – around while we packed and loaded the car.  By the time we’re ready to leave, he’s usually content to climb in to his car seat and start a marathon of shows on the iPad.

We continue our weekend tradition of going out for breakfast and choose a spot an hour or more along the way.  On this trip we made it to Bancroft and ate a terrible breakfast at Dixie Lee’s.  It was desperate times.  Fortunately it was warm and sunny so we seized the opportunity to go for a walk while we were out of the car.

In other news, I still find myself marvelling at the sight of grass and the feel of sunshine.  This week we made the most of every minute that passed with no rain and spent it outside playing.  We broke out the gator, the swings and the sand toys and it felt a bit like Christmas!

Probably the highlight of our week was checking out Canada’s largest playground at Mooney’s Bay Park.  My sister in law joined me and the five cousins enjoyed a full morning checking out all of the different structures.  We packed balance bikes and a picnic lunch – it was the perfect kick off to spring!

We are enjoying time with our family today and I hope you are doing the same!

See you on Wednesday for a training update and thoughts on why racing together makes for a good marriage in our house!

Mama’s Half Marathon – Training eats + Why we don’t feed our kids dessert

Mama’s Half Marathon – Training eats + Why we don’t feed our kids dessert

Training update: This week I logged 15km of running with one longer run of 9km.  I had one attempted run with both kids in the stroller and it went terribly because Clyde kept trying to climb out – you win some you lose some!  We’ll see what this week brings.

Alongside modelling an active lifestyle for the boys, we also want to eat well as a family and do our best to set them up with healthy eating habits.

Adam and I love to eat.  We love kale smoothies and ice cream sundaes and everything in between.  We eat meat and fish and drink beer and wine.  We eat at restaurants and cook frozen pizzas at home.

By many accounts, we nourish ourselves no different than anyone else – and while that may be true, we have made a few changes over the years that have allowed us to eat well and to eat clean.

Clean eating is one of the greatest lifestyle choices that we would like to impart on the boys.  It’s the choice to eat whole foods that are minimally (or not at all) processed, refined and handled.

The irony about clean eating is that it’s possibly the most simple lifestyle – but given today’s food industry, it’s a hard transition and a conscious decision to say no to pre-made meals, most restaurant menus and packaged foods.

If you read last week’s post about our active lifestyle, you may remember reading that you can’t out exercise food.  While we strive to eat clean all year round, it’s particularly top of mind while we’re training for a race or working towards a fitness goal.

If I’m going to arrange a babysitter and/or plan a day around a long run, I don’t want to jeopardize my progress by making a poor choice with how I refuel my body.  Choosing to eat clean foods will also contribute to increased and consistent energy and a smooth recovery making my next workout that much more productive.

Here’s a typical day of eating for me:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs from a friend and local hobby farmer, toast from Wilkie’s* with almond butter and an apple or gingerbread pancakes topped with plain greek yogurt and a drizzle of Ontario maple syrup.

Lunch: 
Raw veggies sticks with hummus, frozen pizza from Our Pizza Farm*, and a handful of grapes.

Snack: Clyde and I love to bake so there’s usually something like these healthy banana muffins around for an afternoon snack.  If not, I like a bowl of plain greek yogurt drizzled with maple syrup and topped with granola and berries.

Dinner: Oven baked or barbecued chicken from a local friend and farmer, sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli.

After kids are in bed**: These cookies or ice cream from Carp Custom Creamery*.  Closer to the race, I will do my best to trade this for a light snack of crackers and veggies with hummus but cookies and ice cream are my kryptonite … and I’m still nursing full time so Mama’s gotta live a little while she can.

Drinks: Water.  All day, everyday.  We occasionally offer Clyde a glass of milk because we have it in the house for baking and bowls of cereal but otherwise, we are a water from the tap kind of family.  I don’t go anywhere without my Klean Kanteen or my Swell Bottle so that I always have water available.  In training season, staying hydrated all the time is particularly important.

*I specifically mentioned the source of these foods for three reasons.  Firstly, we buy from them during market season and enjoy seeing the vendors each week.  Secondly, they’re local sources that pride themselves on producing a high quality product with fresh and local (when possible) ingredients.  Thirdly, all three companies established a share or pick-up program this winter so we were able to stock up or plan our meals accordingly knowing when we would have these foods in the house.  Not only did this benefit our meal planning but it also had a huge positive impact on our grocery money because the money was spent up front and then we made a commitment to use what we had and then wait for the next pick up.

Next…**

You may have noticed that I chose the words “After kids are in bed” instead of “Dessert.”  This brings me to my next topic…. why we don’t feed our kids dessert – gasp!  Do you feel badly for them?  Hear me out!

Along with the concept of clean eating, we want the boys to understand that truly all whole foods in moderation contribute to healthy eating habits.  I didn’t say that we don’t allow our kids any junk food, I specifically used the term ‘dessert.’

If we’re going to offer our boys something sweet – right now only Clyde, we will put it on his plate with the rest of the his food and it becomes part of his meal.  It’s really interesting to watch him eat it.  Sometimes he goes right for the treat and finishes it right away but most times, he eats a bit of everything throughout his meal.

What we’re avoiding is the build up of sweet food – the desire to want what we can’t have so to speak.  What we’re instilling is that all whole and clean foods contribute to healthy eating habits and good nutrition.

So often, kids today are asked to finish their meal or have ‘x’ number of bites before they can have dessert.  This is not only teaching our kids that their meal is just a means to eat something sweet but also that the ‘best part’ comes at the end.

The concept is less about not eating sugar or junk food and more about educating them about how food drives their bodies and to make good choices, always in moderation.

So… your thoughts?  Not so bad, eh?

 

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

Good morning!  Is that sunshine I see?  My calendar says that the first day of spring was weeks ago but I think Mother Nature finally got caught up today.  This winter sure felt relentless.  I’m looking so forward to stepping outside without having to layer myself and two others.

I’ve been pulling out spring and summer clothes for the boys only to realize how much they grew over the winter.  Clyde especially!  His pants are suddenly two inches off the ground and his not-so-little feet are squeezing into his running shoes.

Even more so than growth spurts, the last few weeks have had us marking down a few big milestones.

Our sweet Jude turned 7 months old on the 5th.  In the past month he gained a pound and grew an inch.  He is stable sitting up on his own and sprouted his first tooth!  He also joined us for mealtimes and is enjoying getting a taste of real food.  This week I offered him a bit of water with a straw and he drank from it without any hesitation.  That had me back to the drawing board doing sippy cup research.  I settled on the Zoli Bot and so far am very pleased.  Clyde has been having so much fun helping me make purees for his little brother and holding his new cup for him.  We do a combination of solid food and purees.  I use the Infantino Sqeeze Station and often follow recipes from here to make my own pouches.  I keep a stock of them in the freezer and pull one out for both of the boys if we’re going to be out for a meal.  I must admit that it’s entertaining to watch a toddler throw back steamed cauliflower and kale in 10 seconds flat.  Everything is more fun from a pouch (muahaha).

Quick tips if you decide to pick up one of these awesome squeeze stations:
– Once you plunge the food into the pouch, twist the container and plunger off at once before pulling the plunger back up.  Otherwise, you end up pulling some of the food back up into the container and it makes a giant mess.  You’ll see what I mean.
– I use these disposable pouches.  I realize that it’s not a win for the environment but everything I read is that the reusable pouch is impossible to clean properly.  It’s also extremely handy to have them stock piled in the freezer and to toss finished snacks when we’re on the go.
– I didn’t have a good experience with the spoon accessory.  The hole is so tiny that even the smallest lump would cause a clog.  When it did come through, it piled up on the back of the spoon and I had to tap it to the front before feeding it to him.  Instead, I just squeeze it onto my own spoon to feed him or (better yet), Jude has mastered sucking from the end like a straw and he will be self feeding in no time – winning!


Getting back to milestones – and possibly most exciting of all for Jude is that my previously bottle refusing cutie finally decided that being fed by someone other than me might not be the worst thing in the world!  In the past few weeks he has taken three bottles from Super Dad and Grandma like he’s been doing it his whole life!  I can’t even describe the joy that this brings me.  Bring on the pump – and thank you to the Minbie bottle for a great design!  $30 well spent.

Our big boy also has a few milestones worth writing about this week.  All at once, we have said goodbye to diapers and afternoon naps!  We’ve been casually potty training since Jude was born in September.  I figured I was house bound with a sleeping infant so I might as well stick a potty in the living room and get that over with.  Clyde showed genuine interest right away and used the potty a few times but was never willing to commit.  It was a source of frustration for me as the weeks and months went by knowing that he was physically capable of doing it but was still choosing to use a diaper.  Everyone told me that he would do it on his own and sure enough, last Saturday he woke up, asked to wear his big boy underwear and never looked back!  So proud of my big boy.  I hope that this will serve as a reminder for me going forward to have patience for my sweet boys as they accomplish big things in their own time.  We celebrated by letting him choose a toy and without any prompting or guidance he chose a wheelbarrow.  Fitting for our hard working boy after his Daddy’s heart!
Sorry Jude! #picturefirst

We also said goodbye to afternoon naps this week, as previously mentioned.  Since the time change, bedtime was getting increasingly difficult and our not yet 3-year-old was still awake at 9pm pretty regularly.  We switched to a quiet time in the afternoon and he’s now willingly in bed between 6:30-7pm and sleeping a full 12 hours.  It’s been a refreshing change for all of us!  I thought that losing his nap would be devastating but I actually really enjoy knowing that we have a full day available for activities and not having to make plans with time constraints.  That said, it finally caught up with him after a few days and he crashed pretty hard on the living room floor – hat and coat still on!  Is there anything sweeter?

I’m so glad to be home this summer and am excited for all of the adventures ahead with these cool dudes.  Last week we made our first spring trip down to the farm to visit the horses and the tractors.  We are incredibly fortunate to back onto family farm land and it’s a walk that we do daily when the weather is nice.  This was the first time that Jude was able to sit in the tractor and alert enough to acknowledge the horses.  Clyde was so excited to show his little brother all of his favourite things.


Last but not least, I’m proud to share my first successful review with a great Ottawa parent resource network called Kallababy!  Jude and I were given the opportunity to try a class called Salsa Babies and submitted our review for the Kallababy website.  Check out the review here and stay tuned for more!

See you on Wednesday for an update on my half marathon training and why we don’t feed our kids dessert – gasp!

Mama’s half marathon – Training plan and tips for running

Mama’s half marathon – Training plan and tips for running

Last week, I started a 9-week series titled “Mama’s half marathon” to journal my training wins and woes after registering for the Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon.  If you are familiar with my first training attempt, rest assured that I did finally find the safety key for my treadmill and have since accomplished two indoor runs!  Is there anything more motivating than this little smirk staring at you while you sweat it out?  Adam and I are highly motivated by the concept of setting a good example for our boys of what it looks like to lead a healthy,  active lifestyle.  Our wish for them is that they will know no different than to be active for life.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my training plan this week on the blog as well as some tips for starting to run.  There’s something about coming out of a long winter hibernation that has so many people wanting to get outside and get moving!  Adam and I are both certified personal trainers so please don’t hesitate to comment below or e-mail me directly with additional questions if need be!

First things first – what you need:

Truthfully, all you need is a pair of running shoes, socks and comfortable clothes.  That’s part of what makes running such a desirable form of activity is that it can be done at no cost.  Of course, there are a few small things that can make for a more positive experience so please take the word need with a grain of salt.

Properly fitted running shoes.  Please notice that I said “properly fitted” and not “fancy or expensive” running shoes.  Visit a store with staff that are educated about running (i.e. the Running Room) and ask for help in finding a shoe at a reasonable price point.  Having a new and properly fitting shoe can make a big difference in terms of comfort during and after your run.  If you are running regularly, your shoes are likely due to be replaced annually.

Activewear – something comfortable!  While it’s important to feel good in what you’re wearing, investing in new activewear is a great tool for motivation.  For example, “when I accomplish (blank) goal, I will buy myself a new top or bottom.”  If you read my “What is that and where did you get it” post, you’ll know that I love to shop second hand.  Kijiji and Facebook are full of NWT (new with tags) and lightly used activewear at a fraction of the price.  If you’re in Ottawa, be sure to join ‘Lulu in the Capital‘ on Facebook!

Nike+ Running App.  If you are running with a phone, be sure to download the Nike+ Running App.  It tracks all of the important details about your workout (distance, pace, time etc.) and acknowledges when you’ve achieved various milestones (fastest run, longest run etc.).  If you know other people using this app, you can add them as a friend and track your runs together and send each other challenges!  This app is also integrated with Facebook and if you choose to share that you’re out for a run, the app will cheer for you when someone clicks ‘Like’ during your run.  It may sound silly but I always thoroughly enjoyed being surprised with a “hooray!!!” during a run by myself.

Music. Whether you like the American Top 40 or Country’s Biggest Hits, plan ahead with some of your favourite songs and watch the time fly by while you run!  If you’re a fellow Apple geek, subscribe to Apple Music and it will change your life.

Next up – training plan:

To put it simply, if you want to get better at running, you need to do more running.  Before having small kids at home with me, I would run 4-5 times per week when training for a race.  My preferred distances range from 4-7km and always at a comfortable pace.

Nowadays, with my sights set on a half marathon, I intend to run 3-4 times per week progressing from 3km (high intensity) to 15km (comfortable pace) over the next 8 weeks.  On my off days, I will do my best to incorporate an alternative form of physical activity (cross training) like weight training, cycling or lane swimming.

This week, I accomplished two treadmill runs at 1.0 incline and 6.0mph speed for 3km plus two outdoor runs – one by myself while Grandma and Grandpa watched the boys and the second as a family.  Both outdoor runs were 4km at a comfortable pace.  My cross training included a baby wearing salsa class and a 75 minute cycling class.

If you have a specific distance in mind that you’d like to accomplish, it’s a good idea to Google a race plan.  For example, I Googled “5km race plan” and the first link was for an 8-week first time 5km training plan.

Lastly, tips for success:

Register yourself!  Above all other tips, if there’s a distance that you would like to accomplish, choose a race and register yourself.  This gives you an end date to work towards and with money attached, you’re more likely to see it through.

Remember, the habit of the habit is more important than the habit itself.  What’s most important is that you are consistent.  Forming a habit takes 21 days so if you are new to running, set a goal for the first three weeks to put your running shoes on and walk or run everyday.  It can be as little as a 5-minute walk down the street and back or as long as a 10km jog.  All that matters is that you are developing the habit of running or walking into your regular routine.

Don’t plan a day off.  Life will always get in the way of a workout at one time or another – especially if you have wee kids in your life.  Plan to be active in some capacity everyday and then don’t beat yourself up over any days missed.

Plan your route…or don’t. In time, you will come to learn what motivates you to be active.  When it comes to running, I have the most success running a planned and familiar route.  I will run the same 5km route everyday and am highly motivated to reach the markers along the way and know how much of the run I have left.  Alternatively, Adam finds that extremely boring and would prefer to run a new route every time.  For him, the time passes more quickly when he doesn’t know where he’s going – for me, it feels like the run will never end.  Pay attention to what motivates you!

The first km is the worst.  Whether it’s the first km of every run or the first few runs of the season, rest assured that even seasoned runners experience discomfort when getting back into shape.  So often, I hear people say that they hate running.  Well I’ll be honest, sometimes I hate running too.  It’s an activity that requires commitment and perseverance to get to a place where you are physically and mentally in good condition to enjoy running.  Stick with it!  You’ll always be glad that you went for your run.

You can’t ‘out exercise’ bad nutrition.  If you’re putting forth the effort to be active, do yourself a favour and make good food choices.

Join me next week to hear about my training plan with respect to food and some of the key changes that I make during race season. Have you set a date for your summer or fall race yet? Comment below if you’re working towards something!

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

Good evening and happy Saturday!  It was an exciting morning in our house because Super Dad was home from having been away at a conference this week.  The days passed much more smoothly than I had anticipated but we’re glad to be back to full strength.

This time last week, Adam and I were enjoying some 1-on-1 time with each of the boys.  Jude got dressed in Dad’s staple outfit – plaid and jeans – to go help Dad at Nana’s and Clyde stayed in his jammies to go out for breakfast with me!  I am always especially proud of my big boy in a restaurant setting (for breakfast).  He sits nicely at the table, is fun to talk with, socializes with people at nearby tables and is comfortable speaking with our waiter or waitress.  Read more about our love for weekend breakfast dates here!

Before leaving the house for our dates with the kiddos, we marked a date on the calendar for ourselves.  On Sunday May 28, Adam and I will be running the Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon!  It’s not exactly dinner and a movie but registering for a race together always leads to impromptu dates running, cycling, swimming or working out together leading up to race day.  My first solo attempt to complete a training run was a bit of an adventure.  You can read the full story and follow along for Mama’s Half Marathon here!

In honour of race day, I chose a healthier dessert recipe this week. Goodbye candied green beans and hello oatmeal almond butter cookies!

I’ve talked before about how willing we are to ask for help and how grateful we are for it.  This week, with Adam being away, Grandma and Grandpa picked up Clyde in the afternoon and kept him for a sleepover.  It’s a bittersweet feeling for me when he goes anywhere for an overnight – I’m excited for him and I know that he’ll have fun (and that I will enjoy the time to rest) but I miss him!  Getting pictures like this in the morning certainly helps.  “Cheeeeeese!”

With our alone time, Jude and I went on tour to visit my Dad at work and then to my work to see some colleagues!  I’m always a proud
Mama bear introducing and talking about my boys.  It was especially heartwarming to see my Dad in the same light as he toured Jude around his office.

We also caught up with a close friend and participated in a baby wearing salsa class!  Keep an eye out for my review of the class on the Kallababy website in the coming weeks.

We finished off our week with another round of “cousinpalooza!”  This time at my sister’s house in Montreal.  My sister-in-law and I loaded up our five kids (ages four and under) on Thursday afternoon and made it in time to celebrate Auntie Jamie’s birthday!  It was a wild 24 hours with all eight kids under one roof again but always so much fun.  Key to success: this time it was an outing to Fundazzle so our crew could run loose!

Finally, an apology for the delay in posting today.  We were all pretty drained arriving home from Montreal last night and then first thing this morning Adam and I were off to the Activate Ottawa Fitness Expo with Jude!

Spring is (somewhat) in the air and we are feeling motivated to shake off the cobwebs from Winter.  Anyone else kicking up their fitness regime?  Be sure to check in again on Wednesday for an update on my journey to Ottawa Race Weekend’s half marathon!

Mama’s half marathon – 9 weeks until race day

Mama’s half marathon – 9 weeks until race day

Well folks, we did it.  Adam and I have just registered for the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon.  Yikes! …I mean, yahoo!  

We have been talking about doing it for a few weeks and even pulled up the website to look at the registration form but hadn’t yet filled in the information and clicked submit.  For Adam, it was a matter of paying the registration fee x 2 that was holding him back. For me, to be honest, I think deep down I was hoping the race would sell out and then I could say “well, I tried!”  After a night out with friends on Saturday and talking about all of the people we know that have already signed up, it was enough to seal the deal and we were officially registered racers by 9am the next morning.

We are less than 9 weeks from race day.

Later that same day, Adam took Clyde out to run some errands so I decided to kick off my training and jump on the treadmill. I nursed Jude, had a light snack, got into my running gear, set up my music and water bottle, put Jude in the Jolly Jumper, laced up my shoes and stepped onto the treadmill – feeling like a boss, I might add.  Some would argue that I had already completed a workout just getting to that point (with which I wouldn’t disagree) but I was ready to run.  I pressed ‘start’ but the treadmill didn’t move.  I turned the power switch off then on again and still no movement.

That’s when it happened.

I looked down and noticed that the ‘safety key’ was missing.  If you are not a treadmill runner, this‘safety key’ is meant to be clipped to the runner so that if you are falling behind, the clip will detach and the treadmill will shut off.  It will not start again until the key is clipped back into place.  You can see my issue.  Memories of Clyde racing around the basement with a clip and a string flooded my mind.  I scanned the obvious places with no luck.  I called Adam and he confirmed that just days prior, he remembers seeing Clyde playing with this piece from the treadmill.  He put the phone on speakerphone so that Clyde could hear me and I asked “Clyde, do you know where the clip for the treadmill is?” ……… “No.”

By this time, Jude had had enough of the Jolly Jumper and my window of free time had come to a close.

Adam and I spent the next 24 hours looking for this safety key only to find it at the bottom of a small bag of ‘treasures’ that Clyde stashed in Jude’s room.  Needless to say, it has now been given a home out of reach from small hands and only to be used when an adult is on the treadmill.

In the midst all of this, I realized that this 9-week journey to race day is going to be an adventure that should be documented.  Tune in over the next few weeks to read my progress reports on running, food, race day prep and my sanity.

Next Wednesday I will share my goals for the race and my training plan to achieve them!

Anyone else have a race day coming up?

Saturday Sprint

Saturday Sprint

Happy Saturday, gang!

This weekly re-cap post has me feeling lots of feels… I’m enjoying the time to consciously look back on what we were up to but it’s a little startling how quickly the time is passing. Fortunately, this week went by at a much slower pace than last week. (If you missed the re-cap of our wild March break week it’s here.)

On Monday, I kicked things off with a trip to Kindergym at one of our amazing Community Centres.  I very rarely go out to something like this without calling on an army of Mom’s with fellow toddlers but after all of the socializing we did over March break, it felt like going on our own was the right thing to do.  From the smiles below, I think you’ll see that the kids agreed.  It felt so great to sit with Jude while Clyde zipped around on the plasma car – and then to put Jude up in a wrap and chase Clyde from one end to the other.  I so look forward to the social time with my Mom friends at these outings but investing in the kids this time was exactly what we needed.

On the same trend, we also spent some time with Dad!  Hooray!  Working in Recreation means times like March break are busy at work so we were overdue for some after work hangs with Super Dad.

Photo credit on the right to friends that joined us for a walk to the one and only Wes’ Chips!

To counteract the fries, I will offer you the details behind a delicious vegetable dish.  Disclaimer: you can join me on my journey to ignore that these are cooked in butter and cheese thus making them no longer healthy or you can embrace that you’re eating vegetable candy – either way, get yourself some green beans, an onion, butter and parmesan cheese.

Step 1: Make la piece de resistance: the onions.  Recipe here.
Step 2: Melt a generous amount of butter in a pan and sauté the beans.
Step 3: Once sautéed, add parmesan cheese to your liking.
Step 4: Add prepared onions and toss it all together.
Serve immediately (doesn’t reheat well).

Yesterday it was Spring (for a day) and I’m so glad we made the best of it by getting outside on Clyde’s balance bike.  This little bike is a hand-me-down from my cousin and we are so grateful to have it.  Clyde is finally tall enough for his feet to touch.  In the hour that we spent outside with it yesterday, he was getting to be like an old pro hopping on and off by himself and pulling over to the side of the road for cars and buses.  He hasn’t quite figured out the push and glide feature yet but I know it won’t be long until he does and then I’ll be chasing him up and down the street until the first snowfall of 2018.  Godspeed little buddy!

Indoor play is also full of adventure these days as Jude gets to be more interactive.  He is now able to participate in the “hiding” portion of our forever favourite game “hide and seek.”  Clyde picks a spot, I’m to hide Jude with him and then go count and look for them.  Here is a picture of their sneaky spot under the coffee table.

Lastly, some pictures from our family outing (minus Super Dad but plus grandparents!) to Temples last weekend for pancakes and fresh maple syrup.  If you missed the recipe for gingerbread pancakes you should 100% check it out.  We have eaten them every day this week!

 

iCloud: Our Modern Day Baby Book

iCloud: Our Modern Day Baby Book

I know, I know…what even is the Cloud?  If you have even one Apple device, stick with me.  It’s really not that complicated and the end result is an amazing modern day baby book.

On the day Clyde was born, Adam set up an iCloud photo album titled “Clyde Martin O’Rourke” and loaded the first few pictures after his arrival.  This was the first picture that went up less than two hours after he was born.  Since that day, we have posted 1,970 pictures and 232 videos of our little man.  Following suit for baby brother, an album titled “Jude Joseph Robert O’Rourke” was set up on the day that he was born and to date has 628 pictures and 55 videos.

What started out as a simple place to store photos for the kids’ baby book has now become one of our most treasured keepsakes.  Adam and I both admit to scrolling back to the beginning of their photo albums if we’re waiting somewhere with time to burn and scanning the pictures from then to now.  It’s almost like watching one of those flip animations of them growing into the amazing person that they are today.  Below are the first and most current pictures of their sweet faces in their respective albums:

The plan was always to use the pictures from these albums to create a hard copy photo book of their first year.  Nearing Clyde’s first birthday, I did start to assemble some pictures but quickly realized that a virtual baby book won the prize:

– It’s free!
– I can include videos.
– I have it with me wherever I go.
– I don’t have to stop at 1 – somehow they just keep getting cuter…amiright?
– There’s no risk of pages getting ripped (by toddler’s that love to see pictures of themselves).
– I don’t have to store it…and dust it.
– Pictures are date and time stamped to help with marking milestones.

Have I converted you yet?

The best part is that the benefits of having a virtual baby book don’t stop with Mom and Dad.  Anyone in your family or circle of friends that has an Apple device (and if not, see step 7 below) can get in on the action of your growing child(ren)!  The admin for the album (in our case, Adam) sends an invitation by phone number or e-mail address to give access to the shared album.  Anyone that’s a member of the album can get a notification when a new picture or video is posted and can like and/or comment – much like having your own personal Facebook!  Except in this case, the quality of your pictures and videos are maintained unlike loading and storing your pictures on social media which holds the lowest possible quality of your file.

We also use this method of sharing pictures between friends and family for camping weekends, weddings, trips etc.

Are you ready to start your own shared iCloud account?

Step 1: Open your ‘Photos’ app on your phone

Step 2: Along the bottom, click on the icon “Shared”

Step 3: In the top left corner, click on the “+” icon to add an album

Step 4: Name your album

Step 5: Invite people to share your album by phone number or e-mail address

Step 6: You’re set up!  Add photos and enjoy.

Step 7: To share with non-Apple users: open your shared album, click on “People” on the bottom, scroll down to find “share link.”  This gives you a link to the album that can be sent via e-mail or text message and opens into a web browser.

Years ago, Adam and I were perusing iPad accessories at a tech store in Barrie and the salesperson asked us if we were part of the ‘Apple eco-system.’  We had never heard the term before and laughed about it on the drive home.  Little did we know, it wouldn’t be long before we were in fact fully submersed in the Apple eco-system and loving every minute of it.  Any fellow Apple fans following along?

Saturday errrrr Sunday Sprint

Saturday errrrr Sunday Sprint

This week was a wild one!  Filled with all good things but it is Saturday night at 7:30pm and I am sitting down by myself for what feels like the first time to catch my breath.  Hence why this week’s edition of the Saturday Sprint is brought to you by Sunday.  I feel like weekends are the place for grace though, don’t you?  On Friday you can write yourself the most ambitious to do list for the next day knowing deep down that there is still a bonus day to follow if it doesn’t all get done.  This seems to be where I live these days – on the bonus days, and the bonus time.  Who’s with me?!

On Wednesday, I taught a Physical Literacy course with Canadian Sport for Life.  It was all-consuming for the first half of my week as I practiced and stressed about presenting (in french) but in the end, it always feels good to do it.  As per usual, my bottle striker joined me for the afternoon and thanks to the GoPod and baby wearing, he was the perfect baby.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be influencing the sport community – even if these workshops are just a drop in the bucket.  Canadian Sport for Life is spearheading very exciting changes for sport with Physical Literacy and Long Term Athlete Development.  Some great information and resources for parents here and here!

The second half of our week was full of play dates with friends from near and far!

Also this week, my Mom joined us for story time!  The librarians announced last week that the story for March break would be my childhood favourite, Red is Best so my Mom arranged to have the time off work to come with us.  (Aren’t grandparents the best!?)  As it happened (and as it happens every week), we were racing in a few minutes late and missed the first story.  We waited anxiously with each story to see the familiar cover of Red is Best cover only to find out that it had been read first.  Woops!  Fortunately, my Mom and I are no stranger to these kinds of misses so we had a good laugh and enjoyed our time together at story time.

Is anyone else experiencing bittersweet feelings towards day light savings?  I was singing its praises at 5:30pm when we were outside playing before dinner bath and bed.  Then we get to the bedtime part of this routine and I find myself singing a different tune.  Clyde went from in bed and quiet at 7pm to finally giving in to the sand man at 10pm.  Wasn’t day light savings just one hour difference?  How is it having a three-hour impact!!?  I’ve shortened his nap the last few days to make sure he’s good and tired by the end of the day but it’s still not back to what it was.  Feel free to spam me with your time change words of wisdom.

Adam brought home dinner from Ottawa’s best Indian restaurant (in our opinion) and I powered through bedtime on an empty stomach so that I could sit and truly enjoy every bite.  If you haven’t had butter chicken from Little India Cafe you should change your existing dinner plans and make it happen.  You won’t regret it!

This morning, Adam is taking the boys out for breakfast so that I can sleep in.  Thank the Maker!  If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in bed watching Gilmore Girls until the minute they walk in the door.  Oh yeah…and eating gingerbread pancakes.  YUM!  Recipe here.

Happy Sunday!

Skating on nature’s backyard rink

Skating on nature’s backyard rink

 

My father-in-law has been telling us for years that the creek in the field behind us used to fill with water and then freeze to make the perfect backyard rink.  Year after year, for one reason or another, Mother Nature had plans of her own for our winter landscape and those plans did not include our own personal skating rink – until now!

The onset of March has looked a little different than previous years.  We had a taste of spring at the end of February – just enough to see some snow melting and hear the water flowing through the ditch – and then bam!  It’s winter again!  We are back to temperatures of -20C and low and behold, the creek in the field behind us filled with water and has frozen to make the perfect backyard rink.

If you caught my first blog post, you may remember that the game of hockey and I are long time friends and that this is the year that Clyde would try skating for the first time.  I have had so much fun taking him to the rink this winter and getting lots of different family members involved (no surprise).  Though he still doesn’t last more than 5-10 minutes on the ice, he has learned to stand up and take a few steps on his own and even more exciting than that, he has had lots of positive experiences with a new sport!  [Video of a proud Mama bear watching Clyde “skate” at the end of this post :)]

As you can imagine, when I spotted this backyard rink, I called Poppa right away to arrange a Sunday morning skate for Clyde.  He put his snowsuit on and made the trek out to the ice only to come in five minutes later begging me to take his snowsuit off and play inside.  I was devastated.  Insert good reminder from Story of This Life here: “have zero expectations.  Then if they actually perform you can be pleasantly surprised.” …something I’m still working on.

Then it dawned on me – I can arrange to go by myself!  Yes, folks.  I’m talking about doing a fun activity without my kids.  Say whaaaaat?!  It took a little bit of help and coordinating to get outside while there was still some day light but it happened!

One evening, after dinner, I ventured out to the rink with my skates, a stick and two pucks.  It was freezing cold and snowing with a strong blowing wind but I was determined to lace up for a skate.  I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was alone or that I was skating on a frozen creek in my backyard but it was magical.  Had I not missed the net and lost both pucks, I think I might still be out there skating laps, stick handling through the snow and occasionally going top shelf on the empty net.

I came inside feeling so energized.  A great reminder for all of us to make time for ourselves to be active and to pursue activities that we enjoy – even if just for a few minutes after dinner in a snowstorm!

What’s activity is on your list of things to do?

— As promised, a proud Mama bear video of Clyde “skating.”  These are the days!

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