Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

Being a mum and a nurse means that I view many childhood ailments a little differently than a non medical mama. I tend to have a higher tolerance for sickness before taking them to the doctors or heading to an emergency department because I can do basic assessments on my own. My kids also can’t be ‘fake sick’ because I can see through that in a nano second. All you nurse mamas out there reading this are nodding your head right about now.

Last week my two year old was as happy as a clam. A wheezing clam that is, her doctor called her a ‘happy wheezer’.  I debated for a long time before making the decision that she actually needed medication and to be seen by a doctor. Lizzy has never had any breathing issues before and her ridiculous zest for life made it a bit confusing about whether this was something or nothing. However, I always tell all of my family and friends that you don’t sit on breathing issues. So, at nine o’clock at night we packed up and headed to the Children’s hospital.

This isn’t my first rodeo so I knew exactly what to throw in my big purse before we headed to the ER. Even if this turned out to be nothing, we’d still be guaranteed some kind of wait and you never know when things will go south and you require an admission. It took me under five minutes to gather all these items together.

I grabbed my largest purse and tossed in the essentials. Here is what I purposefully brought for our hospital trip:

  • Her health insurance card. I don’t keep these cards in my wallet, which was timely as I literally just lost it or had it stolen, and so I grabbed it from the storage bag I keep in one of our drawers at home.
  • A credit card for all that parking you have to pay for. If your hospital has free parking, that is amazing. However, many hospitals require you to pay and scrambling for quarters at 1 AM when your mind is in mama overdrive can be hard.
  • My phone charger. Thank goodness for mindless iPhone entertainment for my littlest patient and for keeping in contact with my support team! However, after awhile that use zaps your battery. Especially if it was running on empty before high tailing it to the ER. Funny enough, over the night a mom was frantically looking for someone with a phone charger and I was all, ‘Here! Use mine!’. I had brought my extra long one too so that you can actually sit away from the outlet and use your phone.
  • Random pre packaged snacks. I grabbed some granola bars and other snacks that I knew my girl would enjoy. Turns out this was a good move as the ER department has very limited snacks. However, thank goodness for endless popsicles!
  • An extra pair of contacts or your glasses. Something about being awake way past your bedtime, or like 48 hours in this case, and the dry hospital air makes you so thankful when you can replace your contacts.
  • Your child’s special lovey or blanket. These items that bring your child comfort will be so helpful in the ER while you wait to figure out what is going on. Especially if you’re there over your child’ usual nap or bedtime.

Being a mama with type 1 diabetes means I can’t neglect myself either. So, I tossed in extra insulin and supplies for myself.  We ended up staying in the ER until 3 PM the next day when they decided to admit us to the ward for more treatment. This is when I sent my husband a detailed list of the things that I wanted him to bring for us.

Insider tip: Really reinforce exactly which pants you want them to bring for you or you may end up with the fitted corduroy pants that you haven’t worn for over a year and your fancy bra that you had left out from a party you went to the day before. 

After a couple of days we got Lizzy’s breathing issues under control and went home. However, before getting the all clear we did get two different chest X-rays to make sure she hadn’t accidentally inhaled a Lego or something that was the cause of the onset of breathing issues. Here is hoping we have a low key cold and flu season ahead of us!

 

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Calling all Vancouverites who love attending a good Christmas market! We’ve got our annual visit for the Circle Craft Christmas Market coming up and we want you to come too!

Going to the Circle Craft Christmas Market has become a tradition for me and I look forward to it every single year. I love being able to see all the different artisans and do a bit of Christmas shopping too. Over the years I’ve found so many special gifts at the market and all exhibitors are Canadian and many are local to British Columbia. Over the last few years the market has also included distilleries and wineries.

This was my haul from the market last year and all gifts were very well received. That cute owl music toy is my absolute favourite and comes from Mimi, a local artisan in North Vancouver. I’ve bought a few of these over the years for new babies in my life. When you pull the string you get a two and a half minute soft lullaby. Such a great gift for a new baby’s nursery.

Enter to win two tickets to the Circle Craft Christmas Market happening this November 8-12, 2017 at Vancouver Convention Centre West. You can also buy tickets on line and get $2 off if you buy them before November 8th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Cue the mixed bag of emotions as you process what this means for you. Soon you’ll become an on line expert on every single thing there is to know about pregnancy. You will know just big your growing baby is each week in relation to fruit and vegetables and you’ll buy all type of books about birth and labour and you won’t stop quoting Ina May Gaskin.

You go into labour, have your baby and then what? The post partum period can be greatly rewarding if you’re able to give it the mindfulness it truly deserves. You’re considered to be post partum for six weeks after having your baby, however, these five tips are for that period right after baby arrives.

In collaboration with some of my nurse friends we came up with these five ideas to help support you in having a positive post partum experience. This is your time to get to know your newborn and let yourself recover from pregnancy and your birth. If you can, hold off on having a mass of visitors for as long as possible. Even waiting a couple of hours after baby’s arrival allows you to have that special time with your newest family member.

  1. Go into your labour planning to make use of  ‘The Golden Hour‘, also called ‘The Sacred Hour’. In my experience no matter how utterly exhausted a mum was just prior to the birth, she often gets this magical boost of energy following baby’s arrival. This hour after birth is such a great chance for that initial uninterrupted skin to skin with baby. Having your baby close allows you to soak everything in and let’s you focus on their subtle signs of  wanting to feed.
  2. It’s normal to be really sore in parts of your body that you didn’t even know could be sore. Labour is hard mama. Labouring and pushing out your baby is a lot of work and you use so many muscles that aren’t engaged on a daily basis. Having a major surgery and a caesarean birth is a lot of work! Birth is not an everyday activity for your body and you will have muscles roaring at you that you hadn’t even considered. Be gentle with yourself. Soak in the bath if you are able or enjoy a long warm shower.
  3. It’s All About The Poop. Everyone seems somewhat nervous of their first post birth poop and some of you will be very nervous. Let me reassure you, it’s going to be alright. Insider secret: many of you will have pooped while pushing your baby out, but  your truly awesome nurse will make it so that you have absolutely no idea that it happened.  Be mindful of your fluid intake and sip away. If your nurse offers you some red jellybean shaped medication, take them. Those are stool softeners and they’ll help to make things easier for the big movement. When it comes time for the first poop the best thing you can do is mentally prepare and know you will not burst open your stitches or make things worse in the lady part department. If you still need one extra insider trick: hold a clean pad in your hand and give your perineum a bit of gentle support while attempting to poop. You’re welcome.
  4. Please do not wear adult diapers after you have a baby.  This tip got a big resounding ‘PLEASE NO!’ with the group of nurses I talked with. The only person that should be wearing diapers is your baby and regular post partum bleeding can be contained in your usual period pads. Air needs to be able to flow to help heal your perineum and having an extra absorbent diaper next to your lady parts is not beneficial in promoting healing, especially if you had a tear.
  5. Most women are able to get up to the toilet to pee without having bursting incontinence after birth. However, sometimes those first pees can be a bit ‘intense’ (still not a reason to wear a diaper, see tip #4!). That squeeze bottle your nurse gives you will be a godsend in the loo. Besides doing the obvious rinse and clean job while you recover,  it can help dilute your pee so things don’t sting. Take this bottle home with you!

Every women recovers from birth differently, so don’t have one standard on how you think you’re suppose to feel during your postpartum recovery. Just because your sister/best friend was up riding a bicycle the day after she had her 9 pound baby, does not mean that you need to as well.

Looking for some more post partum reads? Check out ‘ Purposefully Slow: A Love Story

 

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The other day we loaded up the car, headed out of the city and drove all the way out to theF farmland in the Fraser Valley. When we got to our destination, my city kids looked around the countryside and asked me where all of the sidewalks were. They were pretty shocked to learn there wasn’t any where we were!

We spent the day having a family adventure out at an apple orchard and pumpkin patch. Sure, we could have stayed home and ran through our to do list. We could have done that big grocery shop that we needed to do and we most definitely could have stayed home and prepped for the week ahead. Instead, we had a family outing and it was all kinds of awesome.

These are the moments that I hope my kids will remember when they’re grown. The feel good moments of childhood that they can lean on when they have to face life’s heaviness on their own.

Racing karts in the corn field with their daddy and picking apples with their mama. Meeting bunny rabbits and chatting to the goats. This is the unbridled happiness that only childhood can really hold.

When we meet the bad things in life, which feels particularly inevitable these days, my hope as a mother is that my children will be able to pull on these moments we’ve had together and let the sweetness be a reprieve from any  heaviness that may come their way.

I didn’t grow up going to pumpkin patches but I highly recommend that you find one if possible. There is something kind of magical about visiting one with your children and exploring the wide open spaces. These outdoor family outings just give you those feel good feelings that can last all week. We went to Taves Family Farm and all five of us recommend it for your next family adventure.

 

 

 

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Birthday Parties For Big Kids

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September 27, 2017 // Parenting

There is no denying it, I love planning birthday parties! I enjoy the whole process starting from picking out the theme, to working out all the details to make it come together. It doesn’t even need to be an elaborate Insta worthy party, it just has to be fun and enjoyed!

Recently my oldest turned nine and together we talked about some party ideas because we love throwing birthday parties over here. He had a few ideas and suggested a rock climbing party with some friends. So, we checked out what rock climbing places were nearby and which ones were kid friendly. This year we capped the number of friends that we invited. This helps keep the cost down and also makes it easier to watch a bunch of kids.

We had six kids including the birthday boy and it was the perfect amount of buddies for a party. Some kids were fearless when it came to trying out climbing and other kids were a bit timid, which was just fine. We left the littlest one home with my sister but the middle sister came along to try out rock climbing.

In the past we’ve often done big family birthday parties with out of town grandparents, aunties and cousins and every friend we knew but it can be a lot of work and cost to organize that many people for a party. Plus, as the kids get older their actual party often becomes about their immediate friend group.

Hosting a birthday party at an organized location, like a climbing gym, makes things a lot easier when it comes to party prep mode. However, one thing that we still opted for was the party favours. My kids love them and I enjoy putting them together and making it part of the theme! I don’t love a lot of fillers in a party bag and I love when party favours can be useful and even reusable.

I hunted down some basic water bottles and stuffed them full of bags filled with chocolate rocks and a packet of those fun old fashioned Pop Rocks. We found some sticky wall climbers which seemed to go perfectly with our rock climbing theme. To top it off we put colourful carabiners on each water bottle, these could be used as a key chain or on backpacks. These party favours were a huge hit and the parents coming to pick up their kids loved the water bottle.

I don’t think I will ever get tired of throwing parties for my kids or family! While I do love all the party planning my actual favourite part of the whole birthday celebration is putting those candles on the cake and bringing it out to the birthday kid while the whole family sings with gusto.

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Just a short drive out of downtown, over the bridge and you’re at Wesbrook Village. This village is a hidden gem with a great assortment of parks and a variety of shops for the whole family. Whenever we visit Wesbrook Village it almost feels like we’ve traveled further away from home than we actually did. The village ambience gives you that feeling like you have escaped the city and are exploring somewhere far away.

When planning fun family outings one constant that I always look for is walkability. What that means for us is once we arrive we can go grab a coffee, walk to a playground, check out a local event and finish at the splash pad. All without ever having to get back in the car to drive to another location or catch a bus.

Wesbrook Village has the walkability that we look for and the village is easy to navigate, plus parking throughout the village is free. Coming from downtown, free parking is huge for us! The village boasts so many great parks and water features that your kids will be excited to go and explore outside.

If you decide to come and check out Wesbrook village you’ll want to stop at a few of our favourite shops. Doughgirls Comfort Kitchen & Bake Shop is a must to stop at while you are exploring the village. Their sandwiches are so fresh and delicious you will be sad when you get to the last crumb, plus you just might want to take one of their fresh cookies home when you’re done exploring.  For a slow paced beer or dinner out, you’ll want to check out Biercraft. This is a favourite spot of my husband’s as he loves the selection of Belgian beers and the tasty eats.

Over the past year we’ve celebrated at a few different events at Wesbrook Village and every time we’ve left with happy kids. The last time we decided to go to Wesbrook Village we started at one of the water features at Nobel park and ended with a visit to the splash pad by the new community centre. As someone who is not local to this area, the community vibe here is so welcoming and inviting.

This Saturday September 9th Wesbrook Village is hosting a family friendly festival from 11 AM-4 PM and you are invited! You can expect an assortment of activities, a free BBQ and Will Stroet of Vancouver’s Will’s Jams will be taking the stage to entertain all the little movers and the shakers! Our family loves Will and his music will definitely make your kids get up and start dancing.

Put this fun family event on your calendar and you can expect lots of outdoor fun for your whole family. Bonus, while you are out and about enjoying all of the activities snap some photos and get friendly on social media. Add the tag @WesbrookVillage for a chance to WIN a $100 Wesbrook Village Shopping Spree!

Find more information about this free family event over on Discover Wesbrook and follow along on their Facebook page .

 

 

This post is sponsored by Wesbrook Village but all opinions are my own.

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