We got married young. Really young. Like so young that now when I see people that are 21 I can’t believe that I was already married and expecting our first child young. Neither of us brought a lot of stuff coming into the marriage. We both lived on our own for a bit but when you’re a poor student you don’t exactly have the nicest things.
So when we got engaged I was REALLY excited about the registry part. I know I know I should have been thinking about marrying the love of my life blah bah blah. But what I really was excited for was two things:
Why I Love Elf On The Shelf:
We love when December 1st hits and Elf On The Shelf comes back from the North Pole and here’s why:
- The magic of it all! They think it is real and I love the Christmas magic that happens when they believe.
- Let’s be real – it is a parenting too for the whole month of December. The kids definitely act better when “Jingles The Elf” is watching.
We’re done having kids. The boys are now 8 & 11 so we’re out of the baby/toddler/preschooler stage. I have loved every stage but the older they get the more I see a little baby and want to squish their little cheeks and start again. KIDDING. I don’t want to start again. But I need something to keep me company during the day while the boys are in school. Pets are not an option (WAY too much work plus the whole allergy thing) so I’m becoming a Plant Mom.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each month, we play 10 questions with one of the Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from Dr. Stephanie Liu who completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary and subsequently completed a Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition at Columbia University in New York City. Her medical school and residency in Family Medicine were completed at the University of Alberta. Currently, she practices community family medicine and acute care at the University of Alberta Hospital.
Five months ago, she started Lifeofdrmom.com, a website providing families with medically credible parenting and health advice. Dr. Liu is wife to Graeme, an ENT surgeon and mommy to Madi, her sweet and spunky toddler.
1. What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job at the University of Alberta Hospital?
I practice inpatient family medicine at the University of Alberta Hospital and have a community family medicine practice in south west Edmonton. I love both inpatient and community medicine and find them both very rewarding for different reasons. In my community family practice, I am fortunate to develop a long term relationship with my patients over months and years. The physician-patient relationship is so important to ensure that patients can meet their long term health related goals. In inpatient family medicine, it is extremely rewarding to help a patient return home to their friends and family after a critical illness. In both settings, I work with an amazing interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals