These Are Crazy Times – Mommy Blogger

Elyse Lalonde has always called Saskatoon home. She started on the motherhood journey in the Summer of 2015 when she had her son. Elyse is a working mom, always seeking a fine balance in life with a busy toddler. As a MommyConnections “alumnus,” she enjoys socializing with moms and babies her son’s age. Elyse has always enjoyed writing and journaling, and hopes to share her experiences (good, bad, and sarcastic) with the online parenting community in Saskatoon.

The stress and anxiety in our communities, on social media, and at the dinner table are palpable.

This time last week, the COVID-19 virus was just talk and conversation amongst friends and family. And in such a short amount of time, our world has shut down. Just like that.

We are adaptable beings. We’re parents, after all. We know that some days are just done on the fly, while some days are carefully crafted, orchestrated and executed with precision (parenting wins! Few and far between…) But mostly we know that routines and days can be derailed at any given moment with a hangry preschooler, a major diaper blow-out, an unexpected tantrum (in essence, all tantrums), a sick kid, a cancelled play date, etc. We have to be flexible because we’re parents. We know how fast things can change.

I like the word resiliency. Anytime I hear it, I instantly picture Martin Prince from The Simpsons, who in one episode explains to his friends that “individually, we are weak like a single twig….” We are easily broken on our own when pressure is applied to us.

But when we are surrounded by other twigs? We form a mighty bundle! Not easily bent or broken.

Resiliency is our ability to bend without breaking. And we can’t be fully resilient alone.

I for one know it is tough to have a routine and lifestyle disturbed. It feels like the rug has been swept from underneath me, and I am now responsible for creating a daily routine out of the opposite situation I normally find myself in: staying in the house, not venturing far, not visiting with anyone face to face besides our own family. But we have been called to make lemonade from lemons. And those creative juices are flowing… Thank goodness for the Internet!

Just remember, mama, through this whole scary situation– You are enough. Our kids might be used to all sorts of activities and routines, and you might feel like the days inside will be long and difficult. Let’s remember to be gentle on ourselves, our kids, our spouses. We will get through this difficult time as a community, and come out stronger on the other end.

Take heart in the simplicity of our new situation. There is no place to be at any designated time. There is no need to rush your kids into their clothes for the day. Let’s make memories, instead of worrying about the current state of the world. We owe that to our kids, and to ourselves.

PS – I want to commend our local community businesses for thinking outside the box to maintain engagement during these difficult times. Organizations that are still running classes and programs, and reaching people at home, via technology– Thank you! Your continued engagement with those of us at home is a beacon of light through a dark tunnel.

 

Hello! My name is Keira, and I am a new mom to a beautiful baby girl.  Motherhood is as everyone says – the most amazing thing.  It is also the hardest, loneliest and most exhausting thing.  I’m here to share both sides of motherhood with you.  I hope you enjoy.

To my friends who became mothers before me,

I get it now.

I’m sorry if I didn’t give you enough of what you needed in those newborn days.  If I only came to visit once, and didn’t think to bring you food, or a coffee – or both.  I should have asked you if there was anything ELSE you needed picked up before I stopped by: your groceries?  Sure, no problem.  A second pacifier for baby?  You got it.  A bag of adult diapers?  I got you, girl.

If you have older kids, I should have taken them to play and burn off some energy.  Or kept them and baby entertained so that you could take a shower (I had no idea how sacred those 5 minutes alone in the shower could be – until I had a baby).

I should have asked you how you were really feeling, because I know now how hard it is.  Everything is so foreign to you, including your own body.  Everyone knows that having a baby is life changing, but you really don’t understand it completely until you’re in the trenches.  I’m sorry that I didn’t know how intensely exhausting trying to feed a baby is.  Whether you’re breastfeeding, exclusively pumping, bottle feeding, or a combination of it all – it’s all so damn  hard.  The feelings of guilt can be so thick that I should have been able to feel it; and if I didn’t, I’m sorry.

To my friends who are now back to work after maternity leave, I feel for you.  I still have eight months before my time is up, and the thought of leaving my baby sends my anxiety through the roof.  You are so strong, and if you ever feel as though you aren’t – I’m here for you.

Most importantly, I wish I would have told you a million times what a warrior you are.  You’ve given your all to a new human being – you now wear your heart on the outside.  Everything you do now is for that little one and for that, you are AMAZING.

 

Our rice sensory bin can be a bit messy but we set it up and just have a broom handy. To make this bin we got a bag of rice and wanted to dye it so it was more visible. IMG_0377To colour the rice you need food colouring and rubbing alcohol. You can do small batches to make rainbow coloured rice (ex: a bag of red, a bag of green, etc.) – to save time we just did 1 solid colour.

We used rubbing alcohol because the rice won’t absorb it like water. If we were to use water and dye the rice would absorb that water as well as the dye making the rice wet. By using rubbing alcohol the rice only picked up the dye, leaving the rice dry and perfect for a sensory bin.

We added the bag of rice to the dye

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And then we let it sit for 2 hours (the longer you let it sit, the more dye it will absorb – so for a lighter colour you won’t let it sit for as long (about an hour) and for a deeper colour you would let it sit for 4+ hours. IMG_0386

Once the rice was the colour we wanted it, we drained out the rubbing alcohol and laid the rice out to dryIMG_0387Once the rice was dry (a couple hours) we added it to the bin

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We had enough rice so there was about 2 inches of rice along the bottom of the bin

We then added some different toys that my daughters can play with in the rice, along with a little shovel and strainer

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Macaroni sensory bin

Schools and daycare are closed and I’m sure you’re looking for ways to keep your child entertained. We love our sensory bin and change out the contents every couple days to keep things fun and interesting. This is also great for moms with a new baby and an older child – keeping your busy older child preoccupied while you feed baby.

I like the macaroni because it’s big enough that it’s not a pain to clean up but also small enough that my daughters uses their fine motor skills to pick up the macaroni. We wanted to dye the macaroni to add some colour and make it more visible – but this isn’t necessary – you can use regular pasta. To colour the macaroni we placed it into a pan.

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We poured a mixture of food colouring and rubbing alcohol over the macaroni

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We used rubbing alcohol because the macaroni won’t absorb it like water. If we were to use water and dye the macaroni would absorb that water as well as the dye making the macaroni wet and soft. By using rubbing alcohol the macaroni only picked up the dye, leaving the macaroni dry and perfect for a sensory bin.

And then we let it sit for 2 hours (the longer you let it sit, the more dye it will absorb – so for a lighter colour you won’t let it sit for as long (about an hour) and for a deeper colour you would let it sit for 4+ hours.

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Once the macaroni was the colour we wanted it, we drained out the rubbing alcohol and laid the macaroni out to dry

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Once the macaroni was dry (a couple hours) we added it to the bin

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We had enough macaroni so there was about 4 inches of macaroni along the bottom of the bin

We then added some different toys (construction themed) that my daughters can play with in the macaroni, along with a little shovel

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My daughters love this sensory bin. They like to fill the dump truck up with the macaroni and drive it over to unload it.

This review was written by Tara B, a mother of  a 6 month old

Everyone knows the importance of a healthy gut flora. Mostly baby’s gut health comes from mommy and breastmilk in first year. I was only able to breastfeed successfully for 4 months and after that I had to supplement with formula. Unfortunately, various formulas caused a lot of discomfort to my little one.

If you’ve ever dealt with a fussy gassy baby you become desperate to try anything to help. I did my research and read a lot about the importance and benefits of using probiotics for babies. I read how it can help with a gassy colicky baby and how in early life, a healthy gut plays a key role in shaping a babies immune development and helps prevent future diseases from occurring.

I wanted to make sure I was using a good quality probiotic, so I did my research and read lots of reviews and came across Biogaia probiotics. In a a few days to a week I started to notice a change –  my little one had a significantly less amount of gas and had noticeably less discomfort.

I would definitely recommend this product to any mom looking for a high quality probiotic. A tip that I found after using it, remember to shake the bottle before use it, as it helps it come out of the bottler easier!  I’m very happy with quality and am so thankful for the opportunity given to me to tryout and review this product!


BioGaia® ProTectis® is an evidence-based probiotic that’s been proven to soothe these common tummy issues in newborns and older children:

For colic and digestive health:

 

 

 

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I am Amanda Grace. I am a full time working mama of 2 beautiful sassy girlies and 1 handsome husband. I started blogging a few years ago and have recently published a blog the Blue Bird Journals. My goal for blogging is to inspire and support other parents. I want others to know that they are not alone in tough times and that they have someone to celebrate the good times with too! I truly believe the corny saying ‘sharing is caring’. ❤️ I invite you to browse my site at www.bluebirdjournals.com or catch me on instagram (@bluebirdjournals) or facebook (@bluebirdjournalsblog).

When I was pregnant with both of my girls, my depression and anxiety were at its best. I was pleasantly surprised that even though I had to stop taking my medication, my body adjusted on its own and I felt good mentally. I had extreme morning sickness the whole time with both of them, so it definitely wasn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, haha. But I felt good about my mental state.

After my first, I had a few regular downs (times when my depression and/or anxiety was interfering with my everyday life) but nothing too bad.

After my second, all bets were off. I went through a heavy postpartum period and since then have dealt with some extreme lows. Even though I had my second two and half years ago, I know my body is still in recovery. Still trying to figure out my hormone balance every month and as a result, has left me trying to figure out what I can do to make sure I am at my best.

Our whole body, physical and mental, goes through so much during pregnancy and post. Hormones change with pregnancy, postpartum and with age. It can be difficult for some women. I happen to be one of those women.

Parenting is a tough gig and I find parenting when you are depressed is a whole different challenge. Don’t get my wrong, I know parenting already has its challenges and I’m not trying to take away from that. This is just my view on the last 5 and a half years of my parenting journey.

There are days that I want to lay in bed and hide in the dark. I want to ignore the world and not move at all. But I have two little girls who need me and no matter how I feel I need to show up for them. This has been one of the toughest parts of having depression and being a mom. It has also been one of the greatest things. The days that I struggle I know I have two very important reasons to get up. To move forward.

So if you are also one of those women, hold onto that. You are a mom, it’s a word that holds a lot of power. It is a reason to get up, a reason to hold onto hope for better days. A reason to get the help you need to be the best mom you can be. It also means you are not alone. Motherhood is an amazing community and there are other moms going through ups and downs just like you. Reach out!

So, mom, no matter what you are going through, hold on! It’s okay to not be okay but no matter what, you have to do what you have to do to get better for them!

Amanda

Mom

Elyse Lalonde has always called Saskatoon home. She started on the motherhood journey in the Summer of 2015 when she had her son. Elyse is a working mom, always seeking a fine balance in life with a busy toddler. As a MommyConnections “alumnus,” she enjoys socializing with moms and babies her son’s age. Elyse has always enjoyed writing and journaling, and hopes to share her experiences (good, bad, and sarcastic) with the online parenting community in Saskatoon.

We try to diversify our screen time shows, and when we’re not watching the mindless drivel of Paw Patrol or PJ Masks, we try to balance our time with some of the shows below. They’re not totally annoying, and they have an educational piece to boot! Note this is simply my opinion and there are more shows out there that could’ve very well made the list. But here it is, my fave 5 toddler and pre-school friendly TV or Netflix shows:

  1. Super Why – Whyatt and his storybook village friends take you into a book each and every episode to help solve a problem that one of the friends has encountered. The problem in the selected story mirrors the problem that the storybook friend is experiencing. At the end of each episode, they put two and two together and voila! Problem solved. I like this show because it breaks down letters and words in the story and asks the audience members for help solving the problem. The graphics aren’t the greatest, but the content of the show is still solid.

 

  1. Wild Kratts – Do you remember the Kratt brothers from “Zooboomafoo?” I was not a fan of the original show, but this show is sort of a re-vamp featuring the same energetic brother duo, only with more adventure! It’s part cartoon, part real life, where the brothers explore the natural world, and encounter villains and problems along the way, with a team of scientists and futuristic technology. Adventurous and informative! Also, you’ll be signing the theme song all day. You’re welcome.

 

  1. Octonauts – Similar to Wild Kratts, this British cartoon is set in the deep sea, with cute little characters (including a turnip!) who are both scientists and super-heroes monitoring the activity on the ocean floor. Each episode has the team solving a problem, rescuing an animal or two. “Creature Report!” is a summary at the end of each episode where they show the audience the real-life animal equivalent. Educational, fun, and cute!

 

  1. Magic School Bus (and the Magic School Bus Rides Again!) – This was a favorite of mine as a kid; curious elementary school students embark on new adventures with their school bus each episode! Their adventures take them on educational outings that are fun and exciting. I feel good letting my kid watch this one, new or old episodes. As for me, I’m always enamored by Miss Frizzle’s calm and quirky demeanor. That lady has a lot of energy….

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – Because the development of a child’s social skills are so important… there’s Daniel Tiger! My favorite feel-good show for my kid. This cute and relatable Tiger brings you along in his neighborhood, and encounters many types of social “problems” that your young child will be sure to experience, in one way or another. And he solves these problems in a fun and relatable way, which includes a little rhyme or song. For instance, “Try to solve the problem yourself, and you’ll feel Prou-ud!” or, “If you have to go potty, STOP! And go right away…. Flush and wash and be on your way!” We watched the episode where Daniel goes to get a vaccine, and his mom explained that yes, the shot will hurt a bit. But there are ways to distract yourself from the discomfort. My son applied this situation when he went for his flu shot this year. It worked like a charm! This show is inspired by the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and my favorite feel-good toddler show. Try it, and you will not be disappointed!

A big shout out also to Big Block Singsong, the 1-minute distraction between TV shows on CBC. You are awesome.

Elyse Lalonde has always called Saskatoon home. She started on the motherhood journey in the Summer of 2015 when she had her son. Elyse is a working mom, always seeking a fine balance in life with a busy toddler. As a MommyConnections “alumnus,” she enjoys socializing with moms and babies her son’s age. Elyse has always enjoyed writing and journaling, and hopes to share her experiences (good, bad, and sarcastic) with the online parenting community in Saskatoon.

It’s been said a million times before, but this gig is hard.

There are days I wish I was better at this whole parenting thing. There are days I feel I fail my kid. There are days I feel like the opposite of a Supermom.

Nope, I’m not always Supermom. Should I strive to be?

Who is this Supermom, anyway? All I envision is a woman running on a perpetual treadmill, with a continuously increasing incline, who’s speed only increases. It never decreases. It never ends. All the while, she has a smile on her face that looks like she is straining every last ounce of her being. Slowly but surely, the life is being sucked out of her.

Is she even real? Is that even possible to take on more and more and more while “perfectly” balancing your life, your house, your spouse, your child or children, your responsibilities, your commitments…. Your family, your work, all the while projecting perfection, and happiness, and positivity? Hells no.

I don’t know why Supermom is the standard. I don’t know who she is, or where she came from. I don’t know where she is going, either.

It’s not possible. It’s not the standard to reach for. Supermom, you can do better for yourself. You can do better!

Real balance in life and in parenting is possible. I know it exists because I’ve seen it. Because on good days, it’s palpable. And here are some situations that may come up, and ways to avoid the Supermom trap:

That, to me, is a Supermom. Someone who does what is needed. Someone who realizes that balance is not just about the kids—it’s about you, too. You are a part of the family, and you need to take care of yourself. Sometimes its in the little things. Sometimes it’s whatever you need to do to complete the day, or get to bedtime, or me-time.

Let’s re-define the Supermom.

 

Nicole Betker is a mother, wife, rabid Toronto Blue Jays fan and a pop culture junkie. Always having an opinion or something to say, it’s time this journalism grad found a place to share her musings on the acts of “adulting”.

I loathe winter and everything that comes with it.

The cold. The snow. The shovelling. The large jackets, boots, mitts, toques, scarfs and socks.

Needless to say, I hibernate. I’ve never been a winter outdoor person. Skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or sledding has never interested me. With this comes the ability to find indoor family fun activities to avoid the dreaded, hated winter.

Here are my five favourite family activities to help avoid the cold, enjoy time together and not feel like you are being held hostage by Mother Nature.

LEGO

New to our family. LEGO has quickly become a favourite. After Santa brought a bucket of Classic LEGO and mom and dad added a second in the excitement, we’ve been obsessed with building the biggest items we can think of. Three story houses, towers over six-feet tall, city skyscrapers, trains, robots, you name it. Time flies when you are living in the land of imagination.

 

 

Crazy Forts

Classic fun – take a blanket, throw it over pushed together furniture and a fort is born. But now – let’s add to the fun. Crazy Forts allows you to build castles with turrets, rocket ships, tunnels, igloos or really anything you can imagine. Sticks fit into specific holes in a ball to create your frame, and now throw a blanket over. We’ve had many trips to the moon, or to a castle to save a princess.

 

Baking/Cooking

We all see those recipes in our social media newsfeeds and now is the time to try them. The hits and misses keep meal and snack time fun. Just make sure the sprinkles jar is closed tightly – don’t learn the hard way like I did.

 

 

Video Games

Our system of choice is Nintendo. Mario Party and Mario Kart create family competition, while Just Dance and Wii Sports gets us up and moving. You’d be surprised at how good a toddler can be at race car driving.

 

 

Art, crafts, play-dough

Pull out those colouring books, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, paint and get creative. Or just pull out the play-dough and create over and over again.  A toddler can make a robot out of anything – or so I am learning.

 

My name is Erin. I’m a toddler mom and a pup mom. I had my son in May of 2016. Becoming a mom was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I have loved every moment of it. I am a stay at home writing mom. I write everyday after my son goes to bed. My partner occasionally works away from home. When he’s home, we spend as much family time together as possible, and when he’s gone, I practice my Solo Mom Life. Life isn’t always easy, but I try to be as grateful as I can. My son helps with that. You can find my blog at thewritingmomma.ca or follow me on Instagram and Facebook at thewritingmommalife

I love reading, and I love introducing my son to new books. I’m cheating a little bit because instead of just five favourite books, I’m doing five favourite authors. That way I can talk about more books! I highly recommend all of these books.

1. Nancy Tillman: I have two books that I love by her, but there are so many more. On the Night You Were Born is a wonderful book for kids, and it makes me happy every time I read it. It is all about how the world rejoices when baby is born. It can be read to include your own child’s name. We also have I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love. It is by far my favourite. It’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve read to my son. It’s also a fun one. Both these books have interactive parts to go with the wonderful sappiness.

 

 

2. Andrea Beck: She wrote Good Morning, Canada and Goodnight, Canada. Both these books are wonderful. I’m a fan of anything that introduces the provinces and territories to kids. It was especially great for us because when my partner was working away we could point to the province he was working in. They’re fun books. Goodnight, Canada names all the provinces and territories. Good Morning, Canada says good morning to items specific to Canada (like the loonie and toonie).

 

 

3. Alice Kuipers: Violet and Victor write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book. My copy is signed by Alice because she lives in Saskatchewan. It is illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Murguia. The story and the illustrations are wonderful. I loved this story. It’s perfect for the blooming bookworm. It’s perfect for kids that like to tell stories. It’s perfect. It’s one I’ll be able to read to him for many more years to come.

 

 

 

4. Erica Pellerin and Jennifer Plesa. I Love My Motter. My Motter Loves Me (The title is written with hearts on the cover.) This is also written by two Saskatchewan mommas. I love it. It is a wonderful book about how much love there is for mom and kid, but it’s written about Otters! It’s just a beautiful story written from the point of view of a baby otter and Momma otter.

 

5. Steve Wolfson: Monster Cheese: This book was mine from when I was a child. I have two books that I’ve kept, and this is one of my favourites to read to my son. The writer was from Saskatchewan, and the illustrator (Bill Johnson) was born in Alberta and living in Nova Scotia. I’m not sure where they live now. This book is literally about a monster cheese. That’s probably why I loved it so much because I love cheese. This book starts in Alberta, and the monster cheese travels from Alberta to Winnipeg (narrowly missing Saskatoon). I love how close to home it is. Cheese and the prairies. You can’t get better than that!

 

 

 

I am throwing one more in. 5 and one more! Margy Reid wrote a book called Alfred Dinglewiggle. She’s also from Saskatchewan, and this is another signed copy. This book is adorable, and all about a boy who figures out that if he stops trying to not listen, and do the opposite of what people want him to do, he may have a bit of fun. It’s great to learn from.

 

Those are my top five plus one more. I hope you give all these books a chance because they are fantastic!

 

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