About amberhill

My name is Amber Hill and I am currently mother to a crazy spitfire of a little 2 year old girl named Maya. She definitely keeps me busy and on my toes every day and I love every second of it! My husband and I are also awaiting the arrival of Baby Hill #2 at the end of April 2017. I always knew that I wanted to have a family of my own. I grew up an only child and was lonely at times - I remember asking my parents on many occasions for a younger brother, but alas that did not happen! Ever since I was younger, I wanted a large family - back then I wanted 8 kids, I have rethought that considerably! My love of young children grew more when my husband and I started dating (and then married). It was at this time that his older siblings were starting to expand their families and I got to spend more time around nieces and nephews. I knew even more so that a family is what I wanted in the future for me! Prior to being a stay at home mom to Maya (and future kids), I worked in the oil and gas industry for a few years. I have been lucky enough to obtain an Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education/Kinesiology from the University of Alberta. Prior to my education and during, I also coached many basketball teams and loved being involved with not only children/teenagers, sports but also community! I grew up in Wetaskiwin which is also a smaller community, and have always loved the feeling of a small well-knit community. Due to growing up in a smaller city, it has given me this view of community and how I would like it to be. Despite Leduc being bigger than my hometown, I love the sense of community in this city - it still has the small town feel. I have met many loving and caring people through various programs as well as small businesses that make living in this city so enjoyable. I look forward to exploring this community more and being able to extend more opportunities to those that choose to be involved with Mommy Connections!

They’re Not All Grown Up – Momma Blog Feature

I’m the farmer behind FrugalBushBunny CSA Farm just an hour from Alberta’s capital. My life as wife & mother of two is pretty crazy!

Gardening, hunting, foraging, fishing & raising farm animals keep me outdoors a lot. I love to shop…anywhere. I’m as happy thrifting as I am visiting William Sonoma & my obsession with stationary & Hello Kitty are probably detrimental to my bank account. 

I’m the mom at the park talking loudly on the phone dropping F bombs & not really paying attention to my kids. Because honestly I brought them to the park so I could have a few moments to catch up with my long distance BFF. 

I’m also the mom who teaches my kids to be strong independent individuals by showing them that you don’t have to be a push over to be nice & that compassion for others is not a weakness. That learning something for yourself is always better than relying on someone else & the only way to fail is to give up (but none of that everyone is a winner crap!)

I’m the mom with crayon/paint/s**t (probably literally😂) on the walls, housekeeping never makes it on my To Do list. I let my kids cook & bake & use sharp pointy knives under my supervision (I swear I’m not THAT bad!) And we try to go on as many family dates & adventures as possible.

I’m a little bit of everything rolled into one & I’m going to keep following my heart no matter what! 

THEY’RE NOT ALL GROWN UP.

I have a 5 & 7 year old. Wait! What? I know it sounds so cliché but it seemed like just yesterday and I was changing diapers. It hit me hard earlier this week at bedtime.

I was tucking the girls in after supervising their teethbrushing and my oldest was giving me some lip. It’s been on the regular for a couple of months now.

“Don’t talk to me.” “I don’t want to.” “Stop bossing me around.” “I hate you.”

But this time it was different. “Mom you don’t even snuggle me anyways why should I?”

So I crawled into her bed and rubbed her back. I do every night. But it has become part of the routine and maybe a little meaningless. Unintentionally I’ve given my kids their own space, too much space.

It’s so easy to just assume they don’t want to cuddle anymore or have tickle fights because they act so independent. They dress themselves, wash themselves and they can feed themselves packing picnics for their solo afternoon adventures in the woods.

But they are still little even if they act so grown up. They need booboos kissed, bedtime stories and lots of hugs. So lately every time I get backtalk or attitude I squish the grumpies out of them and they love it.

So even though they wander through the dollar store aisles by themselves and run of with their new friends at the spray park I’m being mindful of giving them lots of love and cuddles.

They are only little once and I’m glad they aren’t all grown up.

 

Melanie Gallie

Owner/farmer at FrugalBushBunny CSA Farm

780-819-9329

Www.facebook.com/FrugalBushBunnyFarm

5 Twin Toddler Half-Truths – Momma Blog Feature

I’m a stay at home mama to boy/girl twin toddlers that likes to read, write, craft and practice yoga. I am discovering a new passion somewhere deep down for baking and am a huge animal lover. I drink way too much coffee during the day and stay up too late at night. I enjoy crime reality shows, Vietnamese food, potty humor, any movie with Vin Diesel except for The Pacifier and colorful fluffy socks.

 

 

5 Twin Toddler half-truths (as I see it)

by Andrea Spaude-Kerr

It gets easier.  

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard this, clinging to it as if it’s the light at the end of the tunnel. “Please, give me an exact date!!” I heard 6 months, 1 year, 2 years…. Still waiting.. So here’s the truth, it doesn’t get easier necessarily, it just gets…different. Yes at 2 I’m not dealing with overnight feeds but I am most definitely dealing with dual tantrums in the middle of a Costco shopping trip. I’m not having to worry about them falling and hurting themselves while learning to stand/walk. I am having to wrangle them off of the kitchen table which is apparently where the dance party was today so they don’t fall (or jump or push each other) off. They can speak now, so they can tell me if they have an “owie” or need a “nack” but they can also tell me those things at 10pm when they’re supposed to be sleeping or 5am.. when they’re supposed to be sleeping…

At least they have each other to play with. 

Yes. They do. Sometimes it’s amazing to watch them interact, play chase, giving each other hugs and kisses. Often though, its horrifying to watch them fight over every little thing, pulling each others hair, trying to dunk each other in the bath tub because while they’ve been together long before Day 1, they’re still two very different individuals and well, they’re 2 😉 There’s no rationalizing with a 2 year old so when you have two of them vying for the same thing all day long you definitely get a lesson in patience.

You should have two of everything to avoid the fighting

 

 

Bahaha! This makes me laugh out loud every time I hear it. It doesn’t matter if you have one or twenty of the same thing, the chances are very good that they will still fight over it. Case in point, the two identical balance bikes hidden away in our shed possibly forever. There is literally no difference, they are the exact same bike in every way but if Toddler A is on one, Toddler B must have it- it’s just how it goes. Books are no different- I have 2 copies of a favorite “Goodnight Moon”, either will sit with both books rather than allowing the other to hold one. So save yourself the money and disappointment where you can and just buy one. We have 2 of the bigger things because those rare blissful moments where they will actually play together peacefully each with their own toy for 15-20 min but the things that aren’t necessary we just have one.

Double Trouble

In theory, yes, but usually not at the same time. I can typically count on one being more easily swayed than the other at any given time. It’s the awful days that we shouldn’t have left the house that they’re both a complete wreck but thankfully those are not as common. In fact, I have one that likes to try to issue “breaks” (aka time out) to her brother when she feels he’s in need of one.

They Have their own Language

I really wanted to see this, I thought this was a definite going to happen moment. Sadly, I don’t think this is always the case. Mine speak a mixture of English and the usual 2-year-old gibberish along with hand signals and gesturing. Often they are just as confused by what the other is trying to say as I am and on the flip side seem to communicate this way just effectively with their same-age friends. Having seen this first hand with other sets of twins, I know this does happen and maybe it’s a case of different environment (separate bedrooms, different genders, different stages in development) or maybe it’s yet to come?

Tips for Surviving the First Year – Momma Blog Feature

I am 28 years old and a first time mom to a baby girl who will be a year at the end of April. Where has the time gone? I will have been married for 3 years in the summer. My husbands put up with my crazy ideas for over 10 years though. I am also a crazy dog lover and have 2 fur babies as well – one is a rescued black lab heeler and the other is a dachshund. They are the goofiest pair of friends. I am passionate about my family, friends, being outdoors, fun adventures and teaching and inspiring children. I will be returning to work at the beginning of April and will be teaching grade 2 to add another thing to my crazy life.

Since this is our first baby, we have found that we have made some mistakes but we have learned even more. My newest challenge will be balancing work, being a mother, and a wife. I hope to inspire and help other moms by sharing my relatable stories.

 

Surviving the First Year

by Amy Holland

Our daughter just turned 1 at the end of April. My husband and I reminisced about the amazing memories that we made this past year and how quickly the time went. I am sure that many of you moms can relate to this. We also talked about how we basically survived the first year even though sometimes it didn’t feel like we would.

Tips for Survival:

  1. Take in everything you can learn. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Try to think of everything as a learning experience and it will help you in the long run.
  2. Know that it will get easier. Everything will seem like a challenge when you are in the moment. If it’s not one thing it’s another. I personally worried about EVERYTHING. This stressed me out more than it needed to. You will slowly get into a routine and you’ll eventually wonder why you worried so much to begin with.
  3. Ask for help. Use your spouse/partner as much as you can. That’s why they’re there. My husband was only able to help out for a week and that was the most amazing week. We were able to bond so much in such a short time.  Ask for help from your family when needed. Sometimes caring for a baby can be very lonely. I know that I experienced this personally. I would spend what felt like days and days at home by myself and I was so happy when my mom could come over to visit and bring lunch to keep me company. I still enjoy iy to this day. We are able to share memories in a different way now that baby is older.
  4. Take in every piece of advice. Whether it is from your parents, in-laws, or books. You can filter out advice and choose what will work for your family. Take them all with a grain of salt too.
  5. Expect Change: changes to your body, changes to your family, changes to your relationship, changes to the way you think about everything. This is completely normal. Just remember that there will always be changes for the rest of your child’s life. Embrace the amazing changes that are going on in your life.
  6. Join mommy groups: I met a lot of mommy friends through Mommy Connections, swimming, library programs and indoor playground dates. It is amazing to have other moms to talk to who can relate to exactly what you’re going through.  It will also help your baby meet some friends similar in age to play with, as well, as keeping you from isolating yourself.
  7. Take care of yourself first. If mommy isn’t in good health and happy then she will struggle to take care of baby. I often over did it and I would get burnt out. I had to start going to bed earlier and taking time for myself to relax. Whether it is a shower in peace, pedicure, or simply a walk alone. These things can often make a world of a difference when you’re struggling to stay afloat.
  8. Something that I have really struggled with has been comparing babies. I don’t mean to but I can’t help it. I always want to make sure that my daughter is doing the best she can. I am constantly going on the internet and reading up on things to make sure that she is hitting milestones and growing as she should for her age. One piece of advice I have on this is to only worry about your own baby and yourself. I stressed myself out so many times that I wish I could go back in time and change that.  As a teacher, I should take a piece of advice out of my own book when I always tell my students to worry about themselves and not others.
  9. Have a sense of humour and keep things in perspective. Laugh at the little things because they really are little things. There will be days where you haven’t had time to shower, your baby is super fussy or your house is a mess. Just laugh and move on because it is out of your control. These are just little things in the long run. It is important to set priorities as not overwhelm yourself and let the things go that are not in your control or priority.

Summer Fun! – Momma Blog Feature

Dangerously close to turning 30, I am a stay at home mom to 3 angelic children (HA!)…Colin (7), Molly (4) & Quinn (8 months).  My incredibly hardworking husband Nick and I have been together nearly a decade & have called Alberta home since 2008.  I am passionate about my family, volunteering, fundraising/charity work, and truly enjoy putting my heart into the community.  A huge part of MY community is a circle of 3000+ women in the Facebook group, Leduc Mamas, which I founded 7 years ago as an insecure, lonely, brand new mom.   I’m a pop culture nut, and love to cook.  I would like to call myself a Pinterest guru, but I have more failures than successes…trying is worth something though, right? Old man winter and I don’t get along, but I love to be outdoors when it doesn’t make my face hurt.  I’m always looking to explore more of what Alberta has to offer and can’t wait to continue building our crazy little life here in Leduc! 

Summer Fun!

by Katie Presse

Ah, summer time & the livin’ is easy.  That’s what they say right? I am assuming ‘they’ don’t have children on summer break, or have ever had to deal with infants in the scorching heat.  I don’t know about you, but as much as I LOVE the warm weather & sunshine…sometimes as a parent, it can be tough.  This will be our first real summer as a family of 5 (last summer the baby was brand new and I was recovering from a c-section, so we didn’t do much).  I am also watching two extra little ladies full time, so things should be extra chaotic…err, I mean fun! To keep myself sane, and make sure the kids have a great summer I have come up with some summer goals & activities to keep us busy!

Picnic & Scavenger Hunt at Elk Island

Can you believe I have lived in Alberta for 10 years and haven’t been to Elk Island before? Perfect opportunity to take advantage of Canada’s 150th Celebration & the free park pass! Just in case you haven’t heard of it (I hadn’t until a few years ago), Elk Island is a National Park less than an hour East of Edmonton.  Full of walking/biking trails and tons of wildlife it is the perfect place to spend the day!

If you are like me, you rely on Pinterest for a lot of your creativity.  There are so many fun ideas for nature based scavenger hunts on there.  Even better, I might have the kids come up with their own lists.  We do scavenger hunts fairly often, and I am always amazed at how engaged the kids become and how they are able to focus on the task at hand.

For more information of getting your Canada 150 Discovery Pass for FREE – http://www.commandesparcs-parksorders.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/parksb2c

For more information on Elk Island – https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/elkisland/info

Epic Canada Day

Not sure if you’ve heard, but 2017 is Canada’s 150th Celebration! Anyone who knows me can tell you that Canada Day is my absolute FAVORITE day of the year.  I don’t consider myself to be an overly patriotic person, but there is something about our community coming together, warm weather, and time with my friends & family that just warms my heart and soul.  I have been known to smile my biggest smiles on July 1st in the past.

I also plan on taking this day as an opportunity to continue instilling Canadian pride & love in my children.  We are so unbelievably lucky to live in a country that we can celebrate loudly & proudly.  I feel so blessed each and every day that I wake up calling Canada home.

We are so lucky here in Leduc, because the city puts on one heck of a Canada Day celebration.  Parade, family activities, outdoor concert, fireworks and this year they are even doing a 5K Foam Fest! I really hope to see you out and about taking it all in with your families! To see a full schedule of events in Leduc, check out the city website https://www.leduc.ca/canada-150-leduc

Splash Parks Galore

There really is no greater combination than kids & splash parks. Even if it is hardly warm enough, they always seem to have the time of their lives. Do you know that we have at least 5 splash parks within 20 minutes of Leduc? We are lucky enough to have one right in Leduc too! Beaumont, Devon, Millet, & Calmar also have one! I haven’t even begun to explore all of the options in Edmonton.  The best thing about splash parks…they are FREE.  So really, there is no excuse not to be there as often as humanly possible.

My splash park tip – always be ready to go.  Keep a bag/tote in the vehicle with towels & swimsuits.  Those super sunny afternoons are always so much nicer when you can head out for a stress free outing and not have to worry about packing up!


Festivals, Festivals, Festivals!

We just happen to live right outside of Edmonton, the festival capital of the world (I just made that fact up, but I am sure we are pretty close). Although a lot of the festivals are geared more towards adults, and can be quite pricey, there are lots of sights & sounds to be found and it is usually a nice way to spend the day walking around at the very least.

Pride, Fringe, K-Days & Heritage Festival are the ones that I plan on hitting up this year, but there are so many more! To see a complete list of all the festivals Edmonton has to offer, check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_festivals_in_Edmonton

If you feel like getting more involved, most festivals are always looking for volunteers to help out! Security, clean up, set up etc.  Volunteering is good for the soul 🙂

Less Screen Time

My kids have tablets.  Tablets that they are on WAY more often than I would like to admit.  We have gotten into a pretty lazy routine of letting them have “pad time” for at least an hour before bed each night.  I hate it. A lot.  But, I also need to set an example and I am not exactly frugal with my phone/Netflix time.

I am not saying we are going to ditch the electronics for 2 months. It just isn’t realistic for us and quite frankly I think I would lose my mind.  However, I am going make some drastic cut backs.  Go for a walk, read a book, jump on the trampoline, sidewalk chalk, set up the sprinkler, use your imaginations and PLAY.  This is what I am striving for on the days that we aren’t out and about keeping busy.  This goes for me too, less time browsing Facebook and more time interacting, creating & exploring with the little people I love so dearly.


Let Them GET DIRTY!

My name is Katie and I am a control freak.  I get super anxious & stressed out over mess & chaos.  I have noticed as my kids get older, that this issue of mine is affecting their childhood.  One day my son came home from school covered in paint…I was really annoyed.  He could sense my irritation and said “I’m just being a kid”. He was so right.  More than anything this falls under the ‘Goals’ category from me.  I want to let go of the control a little bit (Ok, ok…a lot).

Let them play in the mud, eat the bugs, spray each other with water, cover themselves in chalk, scrape their knees, have dirty fingernails, get the ice cream in a cone instead of a cup.  These are the things that make being a kid fun! The last thing I want is for my kids to think back on their childhood summers and remember me being a fun sucker.  When it’s all said and done, I am going to spend the next 18 years cleaning up after them anyways…what’s a few extra minutes?


Overall, I hope on making this summer one for the books.  I know there will be days I feel overwhelmed by the whining, the heat, the bugs…but, I am going to do my best to focus on the fun and the kids! If you feel like joining our crew on any of our summer adventures please reach out! We love new friends 🙂 Happy Summer!

C-Sections: Recovery & Reflection – Momma Blog Feature

Hi, I’m Chantal- wife of Steve, Momma to Natalie, Layla & Olivia, Photographer, Blogger, and Dreamer. I started blogging in 2017 to find fun, local family gems in Alberta. I love inspiring families to create memories with the activities I find and appreciate the insight I gain through the parenting stories I share. I am a stay at home mom in the prairies and I help with my family’s toy store business. I believe in supporting local businesses to keep our communities vibrant.

C-Sections: Recovery & Reflection

By Chantal Aird

If you have ever been to a party or work function, you may have played an icebreaker game called, ” Have you Ever.” A game where each person takes a turn asking a question beginning with the words Have you Ever…the question goes around the group and people answer I have or I have not. It can be a fun way to get to know one another and see who shares our experiences.  This game can also provide moms with a sense of solidarity and reassurance when they discuss their childbirth stories. While each birth story is unique, we also experience many similar symptoms, feelings and outcomes.  In my case, my question would be, “Have you ever had a Caesarian Section?” For those that have, my experiences will resonate with you. For those that have not, here is an open view of my 3 C-sections in 4 years.

My first C-section was an emergency. It was not planned, nor expected. After being in labor for quite some time, my Dr finally recommended a C-section as baby was facing upwards.  It was scary, but I wanted baby to be safe and knew this was the right thing to do.  When my daughter was born, she was not breathing. She was whisked away to ICU and I could not see her until the next day; I was a mess of emotion. Through the night, I felt like a failure and I doubted my choices leading up to her delivery. Once my daughter stabilized and I could see her, I finally started to feel better. Although my healing took longer than I thought and my feet were swollen to the size of beach balls, I knew I had done my best in the situation and she was here now, safe and sound.

For my second C-section, I planned it. I scheduled a time, date and discussed the procedure with my Dr. beforehand. I knew more about my options and how my body would react and heal. My second experience was entirely different than my first. My second daughter arrived with no complications! I got to see her right away.  I felt like I could do cartwheels after she was born, that was how good I felt! My feet did not swell up due to wearing compression stockings and I wasn’t exhausted from being in labor beforehand. I thought to myself, “I can do this again if I need too, I got this!”

My third C-section is still a mystery to me. I thought I had this thing all figured out…third time to the rodeo, I was a pro! Like my second C-section, I planned this one. I didn’t want to risk what had happened to my first daughter and I was prepared for the healing process and procedure. I also knew how to pack my hospital bag like a pro! (My top comfort items would be slippers, a loofah with a handle and moist towelettes). My third daughter was also born with no complications and she had chubby little cheeks. I got to see her right away too. After seeing her, I was taken to recovery so the anesthetic could wear off and I could be monitored. I started throwing up and I was extremely itchy as the wearing off process took effect. This was a first. Other times I had no issue with the anesthetic; my nurse told me it is pretty common and not to worry.  Once I got home I also found my back very sore and tender. Again, this was a common side effect of the epidural given to me.  I managed to figure out how to control the pain and just enjoy my new baby girl. If I learned anything from my other C-sections, it was to figure out self-care in order to care for my kids.

After settling in at home, I got to reflect on all of my experiences. Here is what I learned:

  • You only get to eat “liquid” food after your C-section until you pass gas (my brother snuck me in a cheeseburger because I was so hungry…but you will pay for it in the form of a stomach ache)
  • Try and move around as much as you can – it helps with recovery
  • Bring loose fitting clothing and a few heavy flow pads
  • You wouldn’t be able to go in a fancy “theme room” for recovery
  • Keep your incision area clean and dry – watch for signs of infection
  • Take the time to heal. Don’t rush it
  • The love for your new baby makes all the effort worth it!

In the end, I’ve realized that motherhood is a journey. Our paths will be different, but our hearts will be open. We will discover our strengths and overcome struggles. Each of us has a story, don’t be afraid to share it.

To follow her blogging journey, check her out on Facebook here!

Hello! My name is mom and I’m a yeller. – Momma Blog Feature

I’m the farmer behind FrugalBushBunny CSA Farm just an hour from Alberta’s capital. My life as wife & mother of two is pretty crazy!

Gardening, hunting, foraging, fishing & raising farm animals keep me outdoors a lot. I love to shop…anywhere. I’m as happy thrifting as I am visiting William Sonoma & my obsession with stationary & Hello Kitty are probably detrimental to my bank account. 

I’m the mom at the park talking loudly on the phone dropping F bombs & not really paying attention to my kids. Because honestly I brought them to the park so I could have a few moments to catch up with my long distance BFF. 

I’m also the mom who teaches my kids to be strong independent individuals by showing them that you don’t have to be a push over to be nice & that compassion for others is not a weakness. That learning something for yourself is always better than relying on someone else & the only way to fail is to give up (but none of that everyone is a winner crap!)

I’m the mom with crayon/paint/s**t (probably literally😂) on the walls, housekeeping never makes it on my To Do list. I let my kids cook & bake & use sharp pointy knives under my supervision (I swear I’m not THAT bad!) And we try to go on as many family dates & adventures as possible.

I’m a little bit of everything rolled into one & I’m going to keep following my heart no matter what! 

Hello! My name is mom and I’m a yeller.

By Melanie Gallie

I’m a yeller….not always but more than I’d like to admit. But here I am….admitting it. Why? Because I think, no, I know that yelling isn’t always as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

You see, read and hear it everywhere. The non-yeller moms at the park, the mommy blogs & the parenting books on the shelf at the library. Yelling is bad.

They all insist yelling will screw your kids up, scar them for life, turn them into screaming lunatics AND how they won’t listen to you anyway…well I disagree. But before you freak out, no I don’t think it’s okay to scream 2 inches away from your kids face, call them degrading names or keep yelling until they cry.

There are times yelling is an effective tool if you use it right, like when your little one is about to bolt across the road in front of a car. When I yell, my kids know I mean business.

Stop the mom guilt. You’re not messing your kids up, your not turning them into serial killers. You yelling won’t be the memories of you they’ll keep.

They’ll remember going to the strawberry u-pick and eating berries until their little bellies are full and bloated. They’ll remember you tucking them in at night and rubbing their backs. They’ll think back about you teaching them to ride a bike or cast a fishing rod.

It’s all about balance.

So when you finally lay your head down tonight worry about something else because yelling won’t ruin your precious babies.

*This post is solely my opinion of occasional yelling, if you feel your yelling is affecting your children or you feel angry, overwhelmed or depressed please contact your local Parent Link Centre for non-judgmental guidance.

To see more of Melanie’s Farm, check them out on Facebook here!

Twins: (The First Year)… ~ Momma Blog Feature

I’m a stay at home mama to boy/girl twin toddlers that likes to read, write, craft and practice yoga. I am discovering a new passion somewhere deep down for baking and am a huge animal lover. I drink way too much coffee during the day and stay up too late at night. I enjoy crime reality shows, Vietnamese food, potty humor, any movie with Vin Diesel except for The Pacifier and colorful fluffy socks.

Twins: (The First Year)

What I remember of it….

By Andrea Spaude-Kerr

I read probably a good chunk of the books out there, went to the What to Expect when having Multiples class, researched, planned. There’s so much information out there in the world of multiples, but I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for the experience.

This is not a list about what you need/don’t need, I’m sure by now you’ve read more than your fair share of those. You won’t find this list in your “What to Expect” book because it’s a combination of my experience, advice I got in those beginning days from veteran multiples moms and things I wish I would have done differently.

Take Lots of Pictures

Seriously! Empty your phone, ipad, cameras, all of it well before your expected date. You’ll need all of the space you can get!!

The first 6 months for me were a blur and the next 6 months were not much better. I literally don’t remember much of anything, if it wasn’t for the hundreds of pictures and videos I took I would have to question my presence for probably 90% of the time. Also, if you’re anything like me and buy ridiculously detailed baby books that you can’t seem to keep up with- it helps to look back and fill in the missing pieces. Being born will likely be the only thing they do at the same time, I found myself recording the firsts of everything but then missing out on writing the firsts for the second one (I swear second child syndrome still happens with twins) and don’t get me started on teeth!! Which brings me to number 2..

Choose your Baby Books Wisely

Of course I chose the most detailed book I could find and Toddler A has an amazing record of nearly all of his pearly whites; the exact date they came in, the moment we noticed it. Toddler B? She has a few exact dates and a couple of rough estimates but despite nearly having all of her teeth, it shows a total of 7… but having hit many other milestones first she has great records there while her brother…not so much..

My advice? Simple books are great if you’re wanting to do a book at all. Or enlist the help of someone else to fill it in for you, just for that first year. Maybe a grandparent that you would text with every detail anyway or even your spouse! You’ll be busy enough that you won’t want to even have to worry about this.

Get Out

I can’t stress this one enough! I know of several twin moms that were terrified to go anywhere with their babies, fast forward a couple of years and it’s still anxiety inducing for them.

Maybe I’m selfish but I couldn’t stay cooped up in the house all day every day, that just wasn’t me. I started taking my kids somewhere, anywhere when they were only a couple of weeks old. For my sanity really… It’s completely doable, you may just have to get creative! Especially when they’re still in bucket seats and you can just move them from car to stroller and back again while they sleep completely oblivious to anything around them. Aaaah those were the days. We’d go for a walk, to the grocery store, to the chiropractor, coffee shop, joined baby groups through Mommy Connections, play dates, you name it.

Sometimes with 2 under 1 you definitely have to be creative. You can still go shopping at the big box stores like Costco with 2 bucket seats. I remember pushing my giant tandem stroller in front and pulling a cart behind me loaded with wipes and diapers feeling like a bit of a side show but it was great, I could get my shopping done and get out in civilization for a bit all while they napped. Others prefer baby wearing one (or both)- totally doable, I wore both of mine until they were around 6 months to weekly chiropractor appointments simply because my stroller wouldn’t fit in the small waiting room.

The sooner you take the jump and get out alone with your littles, the more comfortable you’ll feel, I swear!

Oh the Awkward Conversations..

Did you know the cashier at the grocery store has an Aunt who went to school with a set of twins? No? Well you will. 😉 One thing I definitely was not prepared for was the attention I’d be getting nearly every day I went out with my twins. Not to mention the questions. People are generally fascinated by multiples. Of course, what’s not to be fascinated about! They’re pretty amazing. I used to joke with my husband about how when I went to the grocery store I avoided eye contact with everyone. Truly, I did. Probably for the first 9 months.

It wasn’t the questions around what it’s like having twins but rather the uncomfortable ones that revolved around how my twins were conceived or my personal favorite “are they natural?” that led me to speed shop more often than not.

2 years later, I still get caught off guard. Example, the elderly gentleman behind me in the checkout that insists ‘there’s no way’ my kids are twins because they look nothing alike. “Are you sure?” “Hmm.. yes, I’m pretty sure”… so I don’t have any great advice for this because everyone is different and every situation is unique but fair warning! I try to remind myself that the people that are prying a bit umm.. too much probably don’t even realize it, they’re just genuinely interested.

Don’t Compare

I know, easier said than done. Try to remember, although they were born at the same time, you still have two different babies with two different personalities. I can look back now and see how different they were even as infants but at the time I just worried.

My daughter was always more vocal, she would just randomly yell when she was only a couple of month old. Now at almost 2, she speaks in nearly full sentences often and has for a couple of months now. She hit most of her milestones long before her brother. She also was the reason I was put on bed rest very early in my pregnancy (we joke that she was trying to be first even then). She likes to stay up late and sleep in in the mornings. It’s always been who she is.

I found myself constantly worried about my son. Why isn’t he crawling? Why isn’t he talking? He just took his time and still does but once he’s ready to master something he picks it up fast, much faster than my daughter. There’s no messing around once he’s finally decided. He’s also amazing when it comes to putting puzzles together and general mechanical things that his sister doesn’t have the patience for. He likes to go to sleep at a decent time (usually) and get up before the sun. And that’s who he is.

Be Selfish

That’s right, be selfish. Babies are hard let alone two babies at once. No, I’m not going to tell you to sleep when they sleep- of course you should sleep any chance you get though! You have two things to really focus on. You and your babies, ok, I guess 3..that’s it. As much as you can, delegate the rest even if it’s just temporary. Maybe your spouse can take care of some of the other things (walk the dog, feed the cats, clean bathrooms, etc) or family/friends can help out with some hot meals or if your budget allows, hire a cleaner once every couple of weeks or month just so you have one less thing to worry about. That first year can be exhausting and you have many more years to wear all the hats you want, don’t empty your tank so early on, be kind to yourself.

Try to Enjoy the Ride

It will fly! Before you know it you’ll be planning the first birthday party and baby proofing everything in your house. It will feel like its moving at a snail’s pace some days/weeks but they will change so much in just twelve months, they’ll have so many milestones, so many moments together that you’ll treasure forever. The first time they really see or notice each other, the first time they make each other laugh or try to “talk” to each other. It’s amazing, Enjoy!!

 

 

Confession of the Working Mama – Momma Blog Feature

I am 28 years old and a first time mom to a baby girl who will be a year at the end of April. Where has the time gone? I will have been married for 3 years in the summer. My husbands put up with my crazy ideas for over 10 years though. I am also a crazy dog lover and have 2 fur babies. One is a rescued black lab heeler and the other is a dachshund. They are the goofiest pair of friends. I am  passionate about my family, friends, being outdoors, fun adventures and teaching and inspiring children. I will be returning to work at the beginning of April and will be teaching grade 2 just to add another thing to my crazy life. 

Since this is our first baby, we have found that we have made some mistakes but we have learned even more. My newest challenge will be balancing work, being a mother, and a wife. I hope to inspire and help other moms by sharing my relatable stories. 

Confession of the Working Mama

by Amy Holland

My husband and I made the decision that I would return to work when our daughter was 11 months. It was such a hard decision and every time I thought about it, I would burst into tears. I was so scared that she would forget me. As the date got closer, I felt sick to my stomach about the thought of leaving her. I was so worried I would miss out on important milestones and important moments that I would never get back. I tried to stay positive and to realize that this would be better for us in the long run. I constantly cried to my husband and my mom hoping to feel better. I knew all of my mom friends would be making plans with our group and I would have to decline all of them because I was going back to work. I felt like I was missing out on so much and I was letting our daughter down. It broke my heart.

We are lucky enough that my parents are watching her until the summer time. I am a teacher so I only have to go back to work for 3 months and then I get 2 months off with her over the summer. I have so much respect for people who #1. have to get somebody other than family to watch their baby #2 have to go back earlier than a year and #3 have a job where they don’t get much time to spend with their family. Being a working mama is so challenging! You work so hard during the day and then you have to keep it all together and be strong for your baby after work. You have to keep your energy level up so you have time to clean, make supper, as well as, play your heart out with your little one. Being a mama is tough work! Being a mama is a full-time job never mind throwing another full time job into the mix.

As a teacher, I chose to go into my class early to meet the kids and learn all the routines. I was actually worried that being on leave for almost a year would make me forget how to do my job. As soon as I went into the class, my love for teaching and excitement about my job came rushing back to me. I was excited to pull out all of my nerdy teacher things for my desk and work on designing my classroom. When I officially started, the kids were so excited to see the changes that I had been working so hard to create. This made me so excited and it lit a spark inside me. There is nothing more exciting than seeing the look on a child’s face when they are completely thrilled about something or when they finally understand something that they’ve been struggling to learn.

After a short time in the classroom, I am completely exhausted. My house is not nearly as clean. Our meals are not nearly as fancy and organized but our daughter is happy and she is loved. That’s the most important. We will adjust to the rest. I promise it will get easier. You will find your groove and things will slowly start to fall into place.

My short tips for you:

  1. Make freezer/crock pot meals. This will save you a lot of time having to prepare something last minute. I know that this is something that we’re working on.
  2. Find a mom friend that can support you every step of the way. It will help more if the mom friend is also working and knows what you’re going through.
  3. Enjoy those little moments that you can hold and cuddle your little ones for as long as you can.

I hope that all you working mamas know how special you are!

Second Pregnancy Thoughts/Concerns From Me

Well, well, well… I figure I have gone long enough without writing up my own personal blog post for all of you to read – I did take over Mommy Connections Leduc/Beaumont back in November after all! I am your friendly neighbourhood Mommy Connections director and am going to take this time to get something off my chest that has been pressing for some time.

I have briefly mentioned in a few posts that I am expecting my second child at the end of April. And yes, it is now close to the end of April which means it is fast approaching. I am having my little guy next Wednesday to be precise. I had an emergency C-section with my daughter and opted to have a scheduled one for this pregnancy. This in itself has brought mixed emotions for me.

A little fact about myself: I am a planner. Meaning that I have multiple calendars that I physically write everything down on, as well as utilizing my phone’s calendar to jot down the smallest reminder/appointment. Right now, with being pregnant, this also allows me not to forget EVERYTHING, but I do continue the same practice when not pregnant. I am the planner/organizer for our family and my husband has learned not to plan anything without consulting me first 😉 SO, with knowing exactly which day I would be having my child put me a little more at ease with becoming a mother of two (because it honestly scared me to make that big change!). I now could organize with my parents what days they would need to take off of work to be with our daughter since I will be in the hospital for a few days post-birth. I was also able to plan my Mommy Connections classes that I facilitate accordingly to conveniently end just a few days before my scheduled C-section! My husband was also able to ensure that his vacation days were booked and he wouldn’t be leaving on an out of country job for a few weeks.

On the flip side, there is now no element of surprise for me… and I LOVE surprises! We now know: the gender of the baby, the date that he will arrive (unless he chooses to come early) AND his full name – again going back to me being a planner and wanting to have his name ready. As of Monday, after a pre-admission clinic I have to attend, I will also know an estimated time that the baby will be born! Now that the date is getting closer, it is bringing up some feelings that I really didn’t think I would have.

I have always wanted a large family. I am an only child to parents who are a little older than most of my friends, so I knew growing up that I wanted to have a large-ish family. Now, back in the day, I used to say I wanted EIGHT kids… crazy I know! I would never want 8 kids now, but props to those mamas who do have large families – you are killing it! I knew that I wouldn’t want to stop at just one child. With that being said, these last couple weeks as a family of 3 have made me very anxious to welcome another child. I have NO doubts that I will love my children the same, but I continually worry that my daughter will feel slightly neglected. I don’t want her to think that mama doesn’t love her as much, or want to spend as much time with her as I previously did. I know that it will be an adjustment in the beginning, but I just hope that my sweet little girl will adjust easily.

She has never been a cuddly child – except for the very early days when she couldn’t yet hold her head up 😉 Once she was able to, she wanted nothing to do with my shoulder (which broke my mama heart!). She has done a complete 180 in these last two months (likely due to the impending change) and I cannot leave her sight for more than 5 minutes anymore. Some days it gets to the point that I need a little breathing room, but then I sit back and think that soon enough she will need to share my attention with her little brother. So instead of pushing her aside, I sit down and take her into my arms and snuggle for as long as she wants. I am so worried that my heart will not be able to love her and her brother with the same intensity and attention she has gotten for the last 2.5 years. I know that I am not alone in this thinking and that others have felt the same way.

In writing this blog post and if you are reading this and feel the same, just know that you are not alone and others have felt the same. It is an adjustment in more ways than one going from a family of 3 to a family of 4, but everything will be okay! It will all work itself out with a few bumps along the way. Thanks for reading this and letting me get some things off my chest! 😊

Amber xoxo

Guiding Our Children Through Bullying – Momma Blog Feature

Dangerously close to turning 30, I am a stay at home mom to 3 angelic children (HA!)…Colin (7), Molly (4) & Quinn (8 months).  My incredibly hardworking husband Nick and I have been together nearly a decade & have called Alberta home since 2008.  I am passionate about my family, volunteering, fundraising/charity work, and truly enjoy putting my heart into the community.  A huge part of MY community is a circle of 3000+ women in the Facebook group, Leduc Mamas, which I founded 7 years ago as an insecure, lonely, brand new mom.  

I’m a pop culture nut, and love to cook.  I would like to call myself a Pinterest guru, but I have more failures than successes…trying is worth something though, right? Old man winter and I don’t get along, but I love to be outdoors when it doesn’t make my face hurt.  I’m always looking to explore more of what Alberta has to offer and can’t wait to continue building our crazy little life here in Leduc!  

Guiding Our Children Through Bullying

By Katie Presse

Hi, my name is Katie and I am a Netflix binger.  My husband and I recently watched the series ‘13 Reasons Why’ and it triggered a lot of different emotions for me. Mostly, it really got me thinking about the experiences my children will have as they get older. Will they be bullied? Will they be strong enough? Will they BE bullies? The peer relationships, the trust they have in us (their parents), and the struggles they will inevitably have to overcome.  I am so scared.

My son was 6 the first & only time he was called fat.  It was one of the first warm days of the year and he wore shorts to school.  When I picked him up at the end of the day I could sense that something was wrong. Almost immediately he said “Mom, I am never wearing shorts again”.  Shocked, I asked him why. “Kids were making fun of my legs jiggling because I have fat legs”.  Holding in emotions has never been my strong point, I silently cried as we drove home. Like I said – this was the first and ONLY time he has ever been called fat to my knowledge, but he remembers it every single time he puts on a pair of shorts.  How do 6 year olds even know what fat means? And why are they using it as a verbal grenade? I was not prepared for issues like this to begin in grade 1.  How much worse is it going it get? At this age, you can’t blame the children.  They aren’t figuring this stuff out on their own.  Video games, older siblings, YouTube, parents, TV, Movies…we can’t shelter them.  But, we can help to teach kindness & empathy.  Right vs. wrong.

I have dealt with my fair share of bullies, but thankfully have always had a ton of confidence and a strong backbone.  My biggest fear as a parent is that my kids don’t grow up with that same strength. The bullying in today’s world is different – it doesn’t just stay at school. With the advances in technology our children can’t escape it.  There is no safe haven or break.  As parents, we need to do a better job.  Bullying is a global problem, but we can help stop it where it begins – at home. Be conscious of the things you say – to your spouse, to your children, and to yourself.  Kids are ALWAYS listening.

I hear parents talk all the time about raising a generation of “victims”.  As if being a victim is something to be ashamed of.  I don’t want my children to “toughen up”, I want them to feel, learn and grow from their emotions.  Shouldn’t we be trying to find the problem and create solutions instead of blaming kids for having emotions? With this kind of attitude among adults, it’s no wonder so many kids are afraid to talk about it.  I am all about standing up for yourself and speaking out for the things you believe in, but being too afraid to do so is a result of the environment, not a problem with the person you are.  Let your children know YOU are listening and you want to help them deal with whatever it is they are going through.  Even if you don’t have all the answers (I am stumped more than half the time), communication goes a long way.

The hardest part of all of this is knowing that as my kids get older, I am going to be less and less informed about what is happening in their social lives.  I don’t know how I am supposed to guide them when I don’t have all of the information I need.  I hope they know that no matter what the circumstances, I am always going to be here to protect & love them.  I will always be an anti-bullying mom, doing my best to educate my children.  Maybe that means I am raising victims.  But, I would rather stand WITH my children than stand above them telling them to stop being vulnerable or weak.

Parenting is so hard.  We all want the same thing – to raise happy, positive members of society.  It feels overwhelming a lot of the time. I don’t know if I am doing/saying the right things but I do know that my children thrive to be kind.  They talk about their feelings and feel bad when they hurt someone else.  I am sure the day will come when the pain they feel or have caused is much deeper than I can comprehend right now.  All I can hope for is that they are able to process and understand the feelings they have, and take steps to make everyone involved feel better.  I think we are on the right path, and I am proud to walk it with my children.

 

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