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Alberta Mamas

In Explore, Lifestyle, Parenting, Random Thoughts on
August 8, 2019

Tips for Surviving Long Haul Flights with Kids

Dreaming of taking trips to incredible destinations? Dreaming of taking your children around the world to experience new cultures and take on new adventures? Having nightmares about the long flights? We have all been there!

From when my children were old enough to have a passport (so basically the first few weeks), my husband and I have been taking our children on trips around the world. Our first long haul trip was with our 6 month old daughter to Turkey. Of Course we were terrified. As new parents and never having travelled with children before we couldn’t even anticipate what it might look like. To make it worse, him and I had this image of exhausted parents not having slept for 24 hours pacing back and forth in airplane consoling a screaming baby in our minds. Our first experience wasn’t too far off from that image to be honest. On the way to Turkey, we had crying, no sleep, we had many many outfit changes and throw up. Lots of throwup! Not a great way to kick off a 2 week vacation. BUT we sat down, and we worked out a great plan for the return, taking into account everything we had experienced. It was almost perfect! We got it all worked out and we were now prepared. Fast forward 6 years and 2 kids later, we have taken many long haul flights including Egypt, Singapore, Indonesia, and The Philippines. 

I want to share with you my tips for taking long haul flights so that you can get past the anxiety of flying with children and start enjoying all the amazing places this world has to offer! 

BABY: 

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In Calgary on
July 25, 2019

10 Questions with Hailey Hamilton

Each month, we play 10 questions with one of Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we get to know newborn photographer Hailey Hamilton. Hailey hails from Calgary, and is the owner and artistic talent behind Hailey Hamilton Photography. As a mom herself, Hailey gets that life with a new baby can be crazy, and strives to be flexible and understanding with her clients in order to make their experience relaxed and enjoyable. Connect with Hailey, and check out her beautiful portraits, by visiting her website or Facebook page.

1. How did your career as a photographer evolve towards a specialization in newborn photography?

At one time, I photographed almost everything. After a bunch of my friends had babies (and I was asked to take photos), I quickly learned how much fun it was to pose them and squish them into adorable curly positions. I found it was much easier to be creative with newborns and to be able to achieve the looks I was envisioning. As a mom myself, I’m also very comfortable working with babies!

2. What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Having the opportunity to snuggle new babies is obviously amazing, but as an artist, the most rewarding thing for me is achieving the final finished portrait and seeing my vision come to life!

3. Which three words best describe your artistic style?

Clean, simple, minimal

4. It’s Sunday morning. How is your family spending the day?

Brunch at our favorite breakfast spot, and then wherever the day takes us!

5. What’s your favourite kid-friendly destination in Calgary?

My son is a teenager so we don’t usually do too many kid activities. But escape rooms and go karts are always a hit.

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5 Reasons We Love The St. Albert Botanic Park

This past weekend we decided to take advantage of the sunshine – it’s few and far between lately! My daughter has become interested in taking photos – especially of flowers – and we had never been to the St. Albert Botanic Garden so that’s where we went!

1. It’s FREE

You park in the lot and it’s right there. There is a gift shop you can peruse if you like but entrance is free.

2. It’s bigger than you expect!

I hadn’t looked up anything more than where it was so when we got there, the entrance gardens were already impressive. But then we kept walking. It’s LONG. There is an entrance park, an East park, a West park and more additional gardens. We stopped along the way so much to take photos we spent almost 2 hrs there.

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In Lifestyle, Parenting on
July 12, 2019

Hobbies? Ha! What hobbies?

From age 9-16 I was a competitive swimmer for a small summer swim team in Jasper National Park ; the Jasper Red Fins. We were small but mighty and we called ourselves “RED HOT!” WE were very proud. I didn’t actually learn to swim until age 9 but my parents focused on it so much that within months, I had completed all the levels and joined the swim team. Swimming became my life. I wasn’t the fastest swimmer but my technique was good and I loved it! I enjoyed early morning practices and I would even go to the pool to “swim laps” on my own regularly. Our pool had a Kilometer Club and where the goal was to swim 100km in the specified time frame and we got prizes at different milestones.  When I say swimming was my life, I’m not exaggerating! 

After age 16, I started coaching the swim team. First I was an assistant coach then a year or so later, I was the head coach. The team was mine! I was a “take no crap” kind of coach. I was a 6am practice kind of coach. I was a “no junk food or unhealthy food the week before a competition” kind of coach. Like I said, swimming was my life.  I did this until about age 21 when I stopped spending the summers in Jasper.

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In Lifestyle, Parenting, Working Mama on
July 8, 2019

#MomCrushMonday – Mona Ismaeil

WAHM/D, SAHM/D, Work out of the home or other?  WAHM

# of Kids? Ages? 2 Kids:  I have two kids; Manessa (6 years) and Malik (3 years)

What movie makes you cry? My Sister’s Keeper. It just hit close to home. When it came out, I was struggling with some health issues.  Most often, I tear up in movies that have to do with Parents and their children.

Tell us about a mom/dad who inspires you? 

My own parents for sure! My parents made a very tough decision to leave home; Egypt; to seek a better future for themselves and their children. They learned the language, worked 7 days a week, built their life together one brick at a time.  They were typical immigrants working for the dream.  They raised my sister and I here in this amazing country trying to balance an Eastern culture and Faith in the Western world. They taught us to be proud of who we are, and to remain rooted.  They taught us to work hard, be honest and to do what you can in life then leave the rest up to God.

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In Camping, Central Alberta, Edmonton, Explore on
June 28, 2019

Rainbow Valley Campground

How did I not know this little piece of camping paradise existed right in our own backyard?

The Mamas were very lucky recently. Arrkann RV set us up with some sweet trailers for Glamping right in Edmonton. You can  read all about our take on the trailers here – but I digress.

Rainbow Valley Campground boasts 39 15 amp powered sites + 29 natural sites;

And a massive green space WITH a playground.

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10 Questions with Sarah Wallace

Each month, we play 10 questions with one of  Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from maternal support practitioner Sarah Wallace. Sarah is a mama to four kids between the ages of three and eight, and since battling postpartum depression, has become passionate about helping other moms navigate the fourth trimester. Currently, she serves the areas of Edmonton, Leduc, and surrounding communities. Connect with Sarah on instagram @sarahwallacedoula, or by visiting her website sarahwallacedoula.com

1. You’ve been very open about your own struggles with postpartum depression. What made you decide to share this experience with others?

When I was first going through postpartum depression, I felt so much shame about it. I didn’t actually realize that I had postpartum depression and just thought I was failing at being a mom. Hearing other’s stories led me to make an appointment where I got diagnosed and that was a game changer for me. I wasn’t failing as a mom – I just needed some help! I share my story in hopes that another parent who is suffering will see that they are not alone and will reach out for help. I also share it because I want to take some of that stigma away so that those struggling don’t feel so much shame for needing some help.

2. Why were you inspired to offer both birth doula support and postpartum doula support?

I have been supporting families for a long time now. Through my work with Momstown as well as my own personal experience, I saw how a positive postpartum experience can really set a family up to succeed. After I had my 2nd and 3rd sons, I found myself floundering and struggling through because I didn’t know how to ask for help and my support network wasn’t always able to help when I did. I knew that I wanted to help families get through the hard bits in the postpartum so that they could feel more confident. I love birth work and seeing folks birth their babies into this world, but there is something special about the relief a new parent feels when you come in and ease some of their burdens for a few hours.

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In Lifestyle, Parenting on
June 9, 2019

The Phrase No Parent Wants to Hear – “Mom I’m in the Talent Show!”

It’s the words no parent wants to hear.

“Mom I am in the talent show!”

I mean I guess if you have a child prodigy that can sing and dance like Michael Jackson or play the piano like Beethoven or crush through wood planks like Chuck Norris – awesome. The talent show is for your child. But these words scared me. My kid isn’t talented.

And before you get all Sesame Street on me telling me every child has their own talents blah blah blah -hear me out. I know my kid is talented just not in a “I will be the next America’s Got Talent star” kind of way. And I remember how mean kids can be.

And then he drops this bomb on us…

It’s an original song. About Bulbasaur the least appreciated Pokemon.

See the source image

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When Pets Aren’t Just Pets, They’re Family

In the summer of 2000, my boyfriend at the time, now my husband and I were living together and I convinced him (begrudgingly) to get a puppy. I had been on the Humane Societies website and saw that they had four American Eskimo puppies. I fell absolutely in love with a photo of one, then named Indy. I went to meet him all by myself. He was the runt of the litter. All ears and we named him Buddy.

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5 Strategies to Reduce the Stress of Motherhood

By Victoria Smith

Stress is on the rise, particularly with women. But, I don’t need to tell you that, do I? Intuitively, we feel overwhelmed. From acting as a perpetual chauffeur to coordinating play dates, or from healthy meal planning to juggling sick days and attempting to work from home, motherhood is stressful. Here’s the deal, though, it can be less stressful when you have the right tools, strategies and mindset in place.

Before we get into five strategies that you can implement immediately, we need to start with mindset. If you think your day is going to be stressful, it will, because that’s how you’ve primed your brain. You’ve given it the signal to find evidence of stress wherever you look. To counter this, what I want you to do is start every day by setting an intention. Believe me, I know that if you wake with the kids, it can be hard to find a moment for that, so a fall back can be to write out your intention and set it next to your alarm clock. What should that intention be? I put it back to you – how would you like your day to go? For example, my daily intention is to show up as an engaged parent, wife and friend, and a Rockstar entrepreneur. Yours could be to a search for gratitude. Or to be mindful. The intention is personal to your needs and desires, but set one and start each day reminding yourself of it. Only then will the following strategies take real effect.

1. Stop comparing yourself to other moms

It is so easy to get into a shame-spiral of how you are performing as a mother when your friends or Insta-community are throwing Pinterest-perfect parties for a two year-old. Or maybe you pick
up your child from daycare only to find out that they’ve bitten another child – of course it would be the most well-behaved child of the seemingly put together momma. We are all on our own  motherhood journeys. We all have our own past, our own challenges, and our own beliefs to grapple with. Just because you do things differently doesn’t mean you’re doing them worse. First step if you find yourself in this comparison black hole? Take a social media break. If the comparison is coming from in-person interactions, before each encounter remind yourself that you are doing the best with what you have, and your kids are well-loved. Because at the end of the day, your child won’t care about the perfect party or baked goods or that they were potty trained a year before all the other kids. They’ll remember time spent one-on-one with you, the cuddles and bedtime stories. Presence and love matter most.

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