a father's day quip - from the hubs

Changing diapers, bathing, feeding, stories, silly songs and games are all part of the Hubs' daily rituals with L'il E. He really is the modern day super Dad - no Don Draper here.

So, rather than gushing about how great the Hubs' fatherly skills are I asked him to guest post and tell all you potential parents out there how great it is to be a dad. So allow me to introduce the Hubs...

Hey folks! The Hubs here.

This weekend marks my second Father's Day. So, I'm giving a shout out to all of the recently married guys and guys in decent relationships that are starting to think about kids. You might not even know it yet, but perhaps it has come up a little more often in conversation with your partner, with your buddies, or you just happen to notice the kids in your 'hood a little more frequently. Don’t be scared.

There is never a right time.

It's not a myth, kids are difficult and take up a lot of time, not to mention money. Relationships are fickle, there is always something to disagree about, or something in transition like a job, a move, a house, an expense. If you are waiting for things to settle down before having kids, you are going to be waiting a long time.

I am not saying kids are for everyone, but if you know you want them, don’t be afraid to jump in. Once you are committed, you have nine months to figure the rest out and it might actually come as a relief knowing there is no turning back.

Now what to do once you become a father, that's anyone's guess (oh were you expecting answers?!). There are fathers everywhere still trying to figure that one out.

Happy Dad's Day!

June 16, 2012 — AlannaB

summer fun in the city

Wasn't the long weekend gorgeous!? I really hope this is an indication of the kind of weather we're in for this summer. I am so looking forward to it because it's the first summer in two years that I'm a) not pregnant or b) utterly exhausted. I plan on living it to the fullest and can't wait to show L'il E just how great summer in the city can be.

I've put together a list of the top ten things I want to do with L'il E and/or The Hubs this summer so I thought I would share with y'all. Hope I can provide some hot, hot inspiration.

1. Toronto Zoo. I haven't been to the Zoo since I was about six so we took a family trek out to Scarborough on Saturday and really made a day of it. We checked out every single pavilion (including the featured White Lions), had a picnic lunch and finished the day off in the splash park all for $50.

2. Evergreen Brick Works. This is a great Saturday or Sunday morning outing complete with fresh fruit and veg shopping, beauty walks/bike rides through the ravine and yummy food to graze on. If you're with your mini mes they can play while you sip on coffee in the Chimney Court.

3. Dufferin Grove Park. Every Friday night Friends of Dufferin Grove host a Friday Night Supper between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. There is always soup, a vegetarian or vegan entrée, a meat entrée, a side dish, a salad, and dessert (yum!). A $7 donation is suggested and the money goes towards maintaining the park. Picnics with friends in the park are equally as tasty.

4. Toronto Islands. I've lived in or near Toronto my entire life and aside from a few concerts I've spent very little time on the islands. So this summer I'm taking advantage and we're going to check out Centre Island and all it has to offer including Franklin Children's Garden, wading pool and splash pads for L'il E.

5. Sunnyside Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool. I've never been to this little gem along the Lakeshore Blvd., but I've always wanted to, so The Hubs, L'il E and I are going to jump into our suits and enjoy an afternoon public swim under the sun.

6. Camping. Every year since we got together The Hubs and I have talked about going camping/canoeing. This year we're doing it! You can rent all kinds of gear at MEC so no more excuses for not having the right stuff!

7. Radiohead at Downsview Park! June 16th. Date night is set and I hope the weather cooperates.

8. Ashbridges Bay. A stroll along the boardwalk and sand castles on the beach are an every summer must-do! In my old life you would find me here on week nights playing beach volleyball with all of the other Toronto singletons sipping on brewskies.

9. Art Gallery of Ontario. We just renewed our membership so we'll be checking out the Picasso masterpieces exhibit before it's gone (August 2012).

10. Drive-in at Polson Pier. Summer isn't complete without a double-header at the drive-in off Cherry Street. Pre-pop some popcorn and hide it under your seats. They do a full search for booze so watch out.

What are you favourite summer haunts in the city?

Happy days!


my new sweet linus ride

A couple of weeks ago I got myself all set up with a brand new bike (no fixey here) and a baby seat for our L'il E. I've been riding the same mountain bike since I was 15 so I was in desperate need of a "grown-up" bicycle.

I stopped by Bikes on Wheels (Queen St) one Saturday morning just to check the bikes out and two hours later I happily left with the Linus Mixte 3 in cream, a Bobike maxi City seat for E and a baby bike helmet. Now that's some smooth sales work! Honestly though, the staff at Bikes on Wheels were so informative, let me test ride almost every bike and didn't make me feel pressured to buy. I liked them.

Anyway, back to my new Linus. First, it's amazing - so light weight, an ultra sweet ride and has a steel frame that absorbs TO's bumby roads - and second, it's super stylin'! The Dutchi 3 was also pretty cool, but just a little too upright for me.

L'il E and I went for our first cruise together yesterday, as you can see (above) he wasn't that impressed, but he'll get over it. He liked the bike ride he just really hated wearing that enormous helmet.

Happy cruisin'!


the one-third life crisis

Is there such a thing as a one-third life crisis? Because I think I might be having one.

I've got a loving and devoted husband, a nice little house downtown Toronto, the most awesome baby boy, and an interesting job. I'm super healthy, have a lots of great friends, a supportive family, my own blog (smiley face), and way too many hobbies and interests. That all being said I still can't figure out who I am or what I want.

So, I've decided that this year is going to be the year of change. I've spent the last 10 years focused on reaching and surpassing all of the societal goals like finding a job, getting married, buying a house, and having a baby that I haven't had time to think about my own set of dreams and aspirations. Is this normal? Is this the time where I just sit back and enjoy what I've got? I'm not sure I know how to do that.

I think it's time for some personal goal-setting or maybe just a red-hot sports car?!

Have you experience the third life crisis? Please tell me about it. I am very interested.


i got a fevah


My L'il E is finally back to the living and it honestly brings me such joy to see. He was down and out with a fever, cough, runny nose and general malaise for five days and it took his awesome little personality with it. I missed his joyous shrieks in the morning, the thundering sound of his knees and hands scampering across the floor, and his giant belly laughs. I guess it's easy to take all of that for granted since he usually is a pretty easygoing kid. Now that he's 100% he's loving life again and I can tell that he's happy to be better too.

I stayed home to care for him last week and it got me thinking about sick days at home with MY mom when I was a kid. Here are the things I fondly remember:

  1. Mom coming into my room to check my temperature and then hearing her call the school to say I would be staying home that day....yeah!
  2. Snuggles on the couch watching daytime television like Mr. Dress Up and Regis and Kathie Lee.
  3. Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup and Allen's Apple Juice were always on the sick day menu.
  4. Wrapping up in the nasty old brown afghan I think someone must have made for us.
  5. Drinking hot lemonade....mmm.

What are your favourite sick day memories?


back to work blues

So I've been back at work for a week now and I think I'm going to be OK. I say this because to be honest returning to work after a year-long maternity leave is not easy. Not in an OMG I miss being at home kind of way, but in an oh ya I forgot about this person I was before my baby kinda way.

Like seriously I can't remember the last time I was able to sit uninterrupted ALL day, or go to the bathroom in peace or eat my lunch sitting down. It's such a weird feeling and a huge adjustment, but no one really talks about it. There are countless articles online about getting ready to go back to work - juggling work/life balance, what clothes you should buy, how you should act - but none of them really talk about how you're going to FEEL. I sort of feel like Brooks from Shawshank Redemption, although less morbid.

So without further ado here's what you need to prepare yourself for:

1. You're going to cry. I don't care how tough you are. Stash some tissues in your pockets because you'll be teary eyed for the first few days and you'll likely ball your eyes out in the bathroom at least once.

2. Someone is going to say something that will offend you. It's probably not intentionally offensive, but you'll be so emotional that you'll take most comments as a personal jab.

3. You're going to feel a bit dumb and out of the loop, hell I feel like I have amnesia some days. They call it baby brain for a reason girls. I didn't think I had it, but yep I do. So just smile and nod because before long you'll be the cracker jack you used to be.

4. You're going to ask yourself if you can do it. Just say these three words YES I CAN because you can and you will. Before long you'll be settled into a new routine and it will be awesome.

5. You're going to feel the love. I love seeing my L'il E at the end of the day and he does everything he can to make me laugh every night.

Onward and upward!! I'm feeling excited about this new chapter.

Best of luck! I'd love to hear your back to work blues stories.



rough week

I've been an emotional wreck this week! The last two days have been my first days back at work after maternity leave and I'm feeling separation anxiety something fierce (more on that later).

So tonight, I'm planning on drowning my sorrows in a bottle of HobNob Pinot Noir. I've never had a favourite wine before but now I have one. It's nice and light (I hate heavy reds) but it tastes warm and cozy. When I drink it I taste vanilla, tobacco, cedar wood - but I'm no wine connoisseur.

Anyway, try it and let me know if you love it too. It's totally affordable at just under $15 a bottle.

Happy weekend!


I feel like I'm sitting on the biggest secret on the internet and I just have to share it with all of you. As you might know I'm a huge yoga fan, but having a 1 year old makes it challenging to get to my evening classes. In fact, the only time I've been able to squeeze in a class is Saturday mornings at 8:30! Lucky for me I'm already up, but let me tell you it's not ideal.

This is where my little secret comes in! Yogaglo.com. It's an online source for over 1000 yoga classes from top-notch yoga instructors AND it only costs $15 a month. I've been using the site for a month now and I'm hooked. I'm doing yoga almost every day.

Here's how it works - you sign up for an account and you have unlimited access to streaming yoga classes. The coolest part is you can select based on duration, so if you only have 5 minutes they have classes for that, but if you're looking for something more intense like 90 minutes they have that as well. Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin, Anasura, Vinyasa, they've got your style or if you're looking for something specific they offer meditation classes, prenatal classes, inversion classes and the list goes on. There are 17 teachers to choose from and my fave is Jason Crandell (his form is insane) and you can track your practices and save your favourites. You have to try it!

Grab your mat, your computer and set up a little yoga sanctuary in your home. I've been doing it while L'il E is napping, but now that I'm back at work I'll be taking my practices to the evenings. If only I could get up super early to get it done in the morning, but let's be honest that's not happening.

Thanks for referring me to this site Liza! It's been a lifesaver and I've never felt so limber.



meal planning tips

Now that I'm heading back to work things around our house are going to change a little. Especially on the domestic front. This has been stressing me out the most because I like to make sure we're all eating healthy homemade meals. We have a slow-cooker, but I'm not sure I can stomach shloppy stews every night. So when Knot PR asked if I was interested in chatting with Writer, Fitness and Nutrition Coach Darren Stehle I was like hell yeah I am! This was a sign - thank you.

My chat with Darren was awesome and he gave me tons of advice from drinking enough water, to working out, to meal planning tips but for this post I'm going to stick with the meal planning tips. They're brilliant! His secret? Precooking meals on the weekend for the week ahead. Why didn't I think of that?

Here are a few of his reccos:

1. Prepare the night before. Make your lunch for the next day and get all the breakfast stuff (bowls, spoons, juice glasses) out on the counter before bed.

2. Bulk grocery shop on the weekends. This way you have everything you need for snacks, lunches, and dinners throughout the week. You just might have to nip out at some point for fresh produce.

3. Pre-cook meat on the weekend. Grill a bunch of chicken breasts and throw them in the freezer so they're available for stir-frys, salads, and sandwiches during the week. Make a big batch of chilli or beef stew. 'Nuff said!

There you have it. Check out Darren's website or go see him at the Adelaide Club for some personal training. He's full of great ideas.



mat leave know-how

I've been a little (okay a lot) out of sorts lately and I've been keeping my distance, but I think I've turned a corner so here I am.

My mat leave is ending and I'm - gasp - going back to work next Thursday. Now don't get me wrong, I am super excited about my return to the working world (I love my job) and I'm not worried about L'il E coping in my absence (we've got an awesome caregiver) but I'm afraid of letting go. We've had a year-long love affair and saying goodbye to our daily rituals is really bringing me down. So as I start my last full week of maternity leave I wanted to share my top 10 tips on enjoying your mat leave. I've done everything I wanted to do on my year "off" and will say goodbye with no regrets.

Now I'm the first one to admit that many of my days were spent totally exhausted, sometimes emotional and utterly drained, but trust me, the following can all be accomplished. So before you judge, just take a read and if the following seems unfathomable when your year is up then we can talk.

1. Try to live in the moment at least once a day. I know your day is one giant schedule - feeding times, diaper changes and naps - but take at least 5 minutes every day and relish in the precious time you're spending with your babe. I have several that stick out in my mind and I remember them fondly.

2. Do something for you. If there is something you dreamed about at your desk or thought you would do if you had a year off. The time is now. I had a checklist of things I wanted to do while on mat leave and I've ticked them all off my list. It feels so good and now I'm returning to work with a whole new perspective.

3. Meet other mamas and make play-dates. I can't stress this enough. Go to the library, your local rec centre, public health, or go online and hook up with other moms. I have had a year of awesome coffee talks, long walks and great new friendships.

4. Explore your culinary skills. I know I'm going to get flack for this, but since you're home all day you really should, at the very least, be able to get something ready for dinner. So take this time to try new recipes, do some baking or make homemade food for your little babe once he/she starts eating solids.

5. Schedule date nights and make your partner do the early shift at least one day on the weekends. Every day for you will feel like Groundhog Day so you need to recharge your batteries.

6. Invest in a cleaning lady. Trust me. This will save your marriage and reduce loads of stress.

7. Travel. I know money is tight (EI is helpful, but...) but if you can get away at least once go for it.

8. Stay connected. It's easy to zone out to the blather of daytime TV but honestly it's so much more productive to listen the radio, go online, meet up with coworkers and stay on top of what's going on in your industry.

9. Organize. All those annoying, messy drawers, closets and shelves are calling your name. Purge and de-clutter because all of those baby toys will slowly take over your life.

10. Have fun! There are so many things you can do with your babe in tow. Go out for lunch, go to museums, go to movies, check out all of your local coffee shops, go swimming....you get my drift.

I will miss you mat leave. Wish me luck on the other side.