About eringirouard

Erin is the Director of Mommy Connections Ottawa and mom to a beautiful daughter, Finley. After joining a Mommy Connections class in 2017, it became clear that offering that same support to other moms in the city she calls home, is what she's meant to be doing.

Swimming Like A Mermaid!

 

The Little Mermaid was my favourite movie growing up and still remains at the top of the list today. However, as Ariel desperately longed to have legs to walk on land, I have always been eager to soar deep beneath the surface of the sea — perhaps this is what led me to become a Scuba Diving Instructor. Recently, there has been somewhat of a mermaid takeover in the media and pop culture, but it came as a surprise to find out that Ottawa actually has a Mermaid Academy! That’s right, at Aqua Mermaid, you can learn to swim like Ariel.

Aqua Mermaid is the world’s largest mermaid swimming school where people book mermaid swimming lessons, private events, celebrate special occasions or simply join for fitness. Families love bringing their friends and kids to Aqua Mermaid because of how fun and great of an experience it is. I brought my two nieces (ages 9 & 11) and nephew (age 6) to try out their fun beginning class and explore exactly how it feels to sport a mermaid tail and propel yourself through the water!

The class was held at the YMCA downtown, right in front of the Canadian Museum Of Nature. Upon arriving we were greeted by a super friendly instructor, Marielle (sounds a bit like Ariel doesn’t it?) Marielle explained what types of activities the class would hold and the outline for the hour we were there. She then gave each child their very own mermaid tail and explained how to wear and take care of their tails, then it was time to hit the pool for a quick swimming test to assess their comfort level in the water! Over the course of an hour she had them swimming laps in their tails first supported by floaties, then without, followed by a series of fun games and activities, finishing off with a photo shoot in the warm pool.

The kids were smiling the entire time and it was wonderful to see them try something new, that was equal parts fun and challenging!

Aqua Mermaid hosts group events (or have discovery mermaid swimming lesson for smaller groups) that range from 1 – 2 hours of mermaid fun. Every event includes mermaid swimming, time for photos and a dedicated mermaid coach that will teach you how to swim with a mermaid tail while playing fun games. If you’re looking for an awesome time, a unique experience and a challenging workout, definitely check them out!  Book today.

Adventures At Queenswood Stables

I am always on the hunt for fun and unique things to do with my toddler in the city of Ottawa. Because we live in Orleans and my little one doesn’t have a strong affection for the car, it’s imperative that I look for activities that are close to home. This Spring, we were delighted to have the opportunity to visit Orléans premier riding stables and the experience we had could not have been more positive.

When creating our most recent Traveling Tot program, I was beyond excited at the possibility of bringing our group to Queenswood Stables. Without having a background in horseback riding, or really any experience with these majestic creatures, outside of the occasional horse drawn carriage ride, or being a spectator at the Musical Ride, I had absolutely no idea what we were in for.

When we arrived, we were greeted by an extremely friendly and warm woman named Linda, who gave our Moms and Tots a glimpse of what their Pony Ride program was all about. Ranging from infant siblings to 4 years, each child and parent got something different from our experience. We had a tour of the stable and got to see many of the resident horses. Our children learned to brush the horses, and the kids each got to head out doors to ride on the amazing schooling ponies. In all of the activities we’d done this season, this was the one that had the kids both the most excited, while also calm and focused at being presented with such a unique experience. Their smiles were magnificent as each one took off on their horse; and the memory of that day will truly be imprinted in my mind forever.  Some mom`s last experience around horses was years ago and it was almost equally as enjoyable seeing the moms light up alongside their littles. The combination of a competent staff, amazing horses and calm vibe at the stable allowed for a unique experience as we explored this activity together.

After the each child took their turn on one of the horses, they brought out a big John Deere tractor for the kids to play on. It’s an amazing thing, watching 14 children climb, touch and pretend to drive a massive motor vehicle. The excitement of the day had them lined up to get their shot in the drivers seat (no one actually drove), but watching them was almost as enjoyable as their interaction with the ponies.

Queenswood Stables offers a Pony Ride program for toddlers – six year olds, as well as riding lessons (beginning at age 7+), activity days and Summer Camps! Spaces are filling for this summer so reach out to them today to find out how you and your child can have a truly magical experience with these gentle giants, and the amazing team of Queenswood.

http://www.queenswoodstables.com/camps-queenswoodstables/

 

 

Solutions for more energy, better health and a positive mindset

After having a baby, like so many women, I put my own health and well being on the back-burner. As new moms we’re often so focused on the survival of our tiny little beings, that it’s insanely easy to forget to nourish our bodies the way we once would. Moreover, who has the time to meal plan, let alone shop and put together gourmet, nutrient packed meals? In those early postpartum days, I “fuelled” myself with whatever was quick and easy; left over casseroles, crackers and cheese, chips and pasta. All the delicious comfort food we crave, but nothing of substance to heal and properly nourish my body.

It’s so easy for these habits to become out of control. As my child started to eat solid food, I would spend more and more time preparing her delicious, nutrient packed, organic meals with fresh ingredients, and would often find myself eating her leftovers, or something quick and easy from the pantry. Life just became different and taking care of everyone else’s needs took precedent over my own.

But how long are those types of habits sustainable? I mean, I know “how” to eat well, but it’s just not easy amidst work, nursing, sleep deprivation, and maintaining a household. As the month ticked on and on, I’ve found the bad habits multiplied, becoming less and less easy to break. My energy felt depleted and I started not to recognize the woman staring back at me in the mirror, but the solutions I’d heard often felt out of reach and overwhelming.

Recently, our Mom and Baby class was visited by Anne Thibodeau, an Ottawa-based Nutritionist and Certified Health Coach, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition. Taking on a unique approach to health and human potential, Anne helps her clients transform their health habits through nutrition, stress management, movement, mindfulness, and core wellness practices, enabling them to live a more vibrant, aligned and balanced lifestyle.

Anne shared with us some basic tips to getting back on track and calls them her “Solutions for more energy, better health and more positive mindset”. I decided to put them to the test and incorporate her solutions into my daily routine and after only a few weeks, the outcome could not have been more positive!

Here are her four solutions:

1. Drink your water!

I know, I know. We’ve heard it all before — we need to hydrate! But do you know what the actual recommended intake is per day? Studies suggest we should be drinking 2/3rd of our body weight in ounces of water, per day. This means if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be consuming approximately 100 ounces of water in a day! Anne reminded us to, PLEASE not rush to your kitchen and chug 100 ounces, it should be a gradual increase up to the suggested amount (and likely more if you’re nursing!)

Drinking water also increases your energy as it allows the body to increase absorption of nutrients from your food. In addition to aiding digestion, it can also prevent snacking and curb your cravings. She suggested that sometimes if you’re feeing hungry, drink a glass of water and wait five minutes to see if the hunger is still there! (Try it, it works).

You can also add fruit and herbs to your water to give it a flavour boost and can increase the nutritional benefits! I recently started adding cucumber and mint and it tastes just like Spa Water! 

2. Move every day

There’s no need for intense boot camp exercises (unless that’s your thing!) Anne suggests15-30 min per day of movement in the form of walking, dancing or yoga, is a great start and so beneficial for your mood and state of mind. I have recently added this to my daily routine

Adding an extra 26 lbs helps amp up my 30 minute walk!

and can say in all honesty, I feel more energetic, less fatigued and more mentally aware. I have prioritized this 30 minutes as “me time” but as my daughter has watched me moving my body and actually enjoying it, she is eager to participate. We now have daily dance parties and a 15 minute yoga session. Watching her light up when it’s time for exercise warms my heart and I could not be more excited that we now share an activity that is so beneficial for us both.

She also loves to be worn so strapping her on my back and going for a 30 minute power walk is a much more intense workout than it might sound like! 

3. Chew your food!

This may sound silly, but this trick is the key for increasing energy! Do you know on average, how many times you chew each bite of food? Next time you sit down for a meal, try noticing! I found that I was chewing each bite between 5-8 times. That is substantially lower than the recommended 20 times. 

If you do not properly chew your food, your body is exerting a lot more energy trying to break the food down. This is the reason why we often feel so tired after eating! It’s our body working overtime (who knew?)

Anne suggested (if possible) to try timing your meals to be 20 minutes in duration. While this may seem difficult, we’ve started doing this at suppertime and in addition to being physically beneficial, we’ve found the slower pace adds to our quality family time where we can unwind and talk about our day without rushing. We come from a long line of fast eaters, so this task is taking some serious practice, but we’re getting there. It’s also setting a good example for our daughter that slower, is better!

4. Eat balanced meals

Anne states that unless medically warranted, there is no need to restrict any particular food group; all are needed in some form by our body. She suggested that each meal contain a lean protein and fat to keep you full, as well as veggies and grains to provide important nutrients. When asked about diets and indulging, she spoke about the 80/20 rule which I personally ADORE! It’s essentially, if you eat well and make wise choices 80% of the time, it leaves the other 20% to indulge in the piece of cake, or pizza on a Friday night. Which works WELL in our family as we LOVE our treats!! 

 

What I loved about Anne’s suggestions is that they are all realistic and simple to incorporate into your daily life. As a busy mom of two, she understands and promotes the fact that It’s not about dieting or cutting out the things that you love, but rather, changing your habits to make smarter choices. It takes on average two months to create a new habit and so far, in the past three weeks that I’ve been focusing on integrating these solutions into my life, I’ve begun to feel happier, healthier and my pants are fitting a bit more comfortably. Best of all, none of these things have put me or my family out, nor have they deprived us of the things we love. If anything, it’s encouraged us all to be healthier and stronger together. Because of Anne I have reminded myself that results don’t happen over night. Slow and steady wins the race, so if you’re deciding to make some changes, give it time so it’s not too overwhelming and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Baby steps!

We are so excited to welcome her back as a speaker in our upcoming Mom And Baby Active Camps in the end of June!

As a health coach, Anne Thibodeau works with three main clients:

  1. The woman who wants to release weight, and who has been trying to do so for some time now. She doesn’t know where to start and feels like she’s tried everything to reach her ideal weight.
  2. The person who suffers from a lifestyle disease such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or hypertension – or a combination of these, which we refer to as metabolic syndrome. Through their diagnostic, they realized that it’s time to start taking better care of themselves, but they’re not too sure where to get started.
  3. The new mother, who might be completely overwhelmed by her new life, and has put herself and her needs aside in order to meet her family’s needs. She wishes that she could find a solution to regain her energy, her joyfulness, and maybe even shed what’s left of her baby weight.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, you can email anne@horizoncoachingsolutions.com, connect on Facebook or visit to her website.

How do I get my child to listen??

How do I get my child to listen??

By Tara Cummings, BA, BST-BA

True Change Positive Parenting Solutions

Parents want happy and harmonious homes. So do children in fact. Children often scream and cry to get what they want, but they would prefer not to, just as you would prefer not to have to feel like you’re going crazy! If you find yourself frequently feeling frazzled and just can’t seem to get your children to follow instructions and routines, simple strategies exist to set you on your way to happier times. If you’re not quite at the stage where your child is resisting and protesting, don’t skip reading the rest of this! Setting up for success is the most important approach to parenting. So even if you’re in the midst of chaos or not currently feeling concerned, being prepared to provide effective instructions will make a world of a difference for you. So, let’s dive right in with the following recommendations for effective instruction giving (note: this method is for instructing your child to do something versus stop something):

Step 1 Formulate your approach wisely: Be within close proximity, say your child’s name, get down to his/her level and provide a brief and concise instruction. If it is necessary to provide an explanation, keep it very short. Keep in mind that the more you talk, the more you’re likely to escalate in frustration and the more your child is likely to escalate with avoidance or protesting.

Step 2 Provide warnings: You child deserves to know that a transition is about to happen. You plan your day and therefore have the luxury of knowing what is happening next. Your child doesn’t so when it’s time to move on, make sure that you set up for success by giving warnings. I recommend 2 to 3 warnings. They can either be time warnings or turns. For example: 5 mins, 2 mins and 1 min remaining or 3 turns, 2 turns, 1 turn remaining.

Step 3 Provide choices: Do you feel good when someone tells you what to do without any room for discussion or choice on your part? I’m going to assume you’re answer is a strong no. The same applies for your child. Build choices into your instructions to offer control to your child. When a child feels like they have some say in what is happening next, they are more likely to follow through with your instructions. Choices can be very simple such as “Do you want to wear your red shirt or the blue one?” or “Do you want to do it or do I help?”

Step 4 First-Then statements: Build motivation into your instructions by telling your child the fun thing that is happening next. This means that you should structure your day by having preferred activities follow less preferred or non-preferred activities. When you provide your warnings and the instruction to begin a transition, use a first-then statement. Example: “It’s time to leave the park. First walk to car, then your favorite song!”

Step 5 1-2-follow through: This is the “go” step. You are now ready to begin the transition. 1) State your instruction, wait 5 secs (count in your head). 2) Repeat the exact same instruction, move closer and point in the direction of the task/activity, wait 5 secs. 3) Repeat the exact same instruction while simultaneously prompting your child to go/start. You can prompt them by guiding them forward, hand-over-hand prompting them or showing them the first step of the activity. Example: 1) “It’s time to pick up your toys, then snack.” 2) “It’s time to pick up your toys, then snack” while pointing at the toys. 3) It’s time to pick up your toys, then snack” while taking their hand and moving it forward to pick up the closest toy.

What do you think about these steps? Take the time today to try them out. The more you use these effective instruction giving steps the more success you will have with your child. If you experience kick-back with step 5, stick with it. Always be prepared to follow through. If you’re not willing to stand your ground, don’t give the instruction in the first place!

For more great tips, parenting information or support go to www.TrueChange.ca, e-mail Tara@TrueChange.ca or call 613-858-8524.

Tara Cummings is a Behaviour Specialist trained in Applied Behaviour Analysis (the science of behaviour). She provides evidence-based parent coaching, training and behaviour consultation to help parents with challenging

behaviours as well as to help parents develop positive parenting skills. Parents who learn and work with Tara raise happier, healthy children in calm and harmonious homes. Contact Tara to sign up for an e-mail course that includes these steps as well as 29 more daily recommendations and tips to make you an effective parent. Additional support and training is also available.

The Unconventional Way I Weaned My Toddler

Those who know me, know that the nursing relationship I shared with my daughter, was something incredibly dear to my heart. After she was born, I became a ferocious advocate for normalizing breastfeeding, opting never to use a cover and to nurse wherever and whenever I pleased. If my baby was hungry, I didn’t care what your level of comfort was, I was feeding her!  Although  nursing wasn’t something that came super easily to us in the beginning, once we established healthy breastfeeding, I thought I would nurse her forever! My nieces once even bought me a picture of a bare-breasted mermaid holding her baby nursling mermaid and said “Look Auntie Erin it’s you!” As they knew, my two favourite things in the world were the water, and nursing my sweet baby girl. But as we crept closer to my daughters second birthday, those joyful feelings slowly began to morph into what’s known as nursing aversion and I knew, in order to preserve my sanity, something was going to have to shift.

The very first latch!

I had heard about nursing aversion before. In fact, my former partner in Mommy Connections had experienced it while pregnant with her third baby. But like so many aspects of motherhood, it’s not something that I think anyone can fully grasp until they’re in that position. With every latch, I began feeling sick to my stomach. Previously, my child twiddling my free nipple while nursing from the other one was something that I wouldn’t even notice, but it now felt similar to that feeling in the back of your neck when you hear nails on a chalk board. Worst of all, in all of this discomfort, my child began to nurse more frequently; it’s like she knew I was thinking of calling “LAST CALL!”, and she had to get her money’s worth.

Finley had always nursed on demand. To be clear, she’d nurse when she was thirsty, hungry, needed comfort, was injured, sick, or really whenever the mood struck her. As a parent, I had never been huge on setting a particular feeding schedule and because we bed-share, nursing has also always been my tactic to get her to sleep. So when I made the decision to start cutting her off, I knew it had to be slow and gentle. The first thing I tried was distraction. She’d come asking for it and I’d point to something amazing at the other end of the room, or ask her to play a game with me. This would usually work for about one minute until my headstrong lady would remember her mission for milk, and come marching back. Simply denying her would usually result a red-faced, on-the-ground, arched back meltdown, that my heart just couldn’t handle. Because we weren’t on any kind of schedule, dropping a feed  (as the experts suggest) was also out of the question. I started to lose faith and thought “maybe I should just suck it up and be uncomfortable for the sake of keeping the peace”. But then I remembered what I preach to the moms in our programs. We as moms are important too. We matter and so often we lose sight of ourselves as we mother these amazing little people, and it’s important to teach boundaries, respect and self worth. Most of all, I was desperate to not want to look back on my nursing journey with resentment.

One year anniversary!

Two weeks before W Day (weaning day), I started to tell Finley that Mommy’s Milk was getting OLD. She had tasted sour milk from a cup once and knew exactly what this meant. I explained daily that when we turn two, the milk gets old and no longer tastes good. This was usually met with a “ya ya, give me the goods” type response. We celebrated Finley’s second birthday with family and friends and because I knew what was coming, the day was filled with mixed emotions for me.

Tear stained face after her first nap without nursing. Have you experienced mom guilt? It’s awful.

One week later, after a particularly long and painful morning nursing session, I pulled the shoot. I walked downstairs by myself and rubbed Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon Juice on my nipples, and then I waited. A few minutes later, Finley came over and asked for boobies and after explaining the milk was old, I allowed her to latch on. After not even two seconds, she JUMPED back with the most disgusted look on her face and yelled “MAMA’S RIGHT IT’S OLD! YUCK!” and simply walked away and carried on with her business. “Ok” I thought, “That was too easy. How is this going to look when it’s nap time and there’s nothing for me to offer other than a sippy cup?” An hour later, we laid down in bed and wrapped our arms around each other. I whispered in her ear how strong, smart and brave she is and she simply rolled over and went to bed. For the first time in two years of being on this earth, my little one did not nurse to sleep! Though she was content, I was A MESS! Did I make a mistake? Am I a terrible mother for denying her something so simple? Am I selfish? Maybe my discomfort wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be! Am I truly ready for this to be over? All I can say is that mom guilt is a very real thing, and in that very moment it hit me…hard!

Over the course of the next few days, I continued to apply my vinegar and lemon juice concoction to my breasts, on the off chance that she wanted to give it another go, but she never did. We talked about the old milk, what this meant for her and how proud I was of her being such a big girl. She cried and during those gut wrenching moments, I had to navigate tears sans breastmilk. But just like every other parenting challenge, it came and went and we figured out our new normal. I continued to reassure her that she was loved and valued and that this was all simply a part of growing up.

I had some criticisms for taking this route but I know in my heart that it was the only thing that was going to work for us. She is such a strong-willed individual, that I needed it to ultimately be her decision to wean. There were no melt downs. No denying her. No leaving her side to let someone else put her to bed. In this circumstance, SHE simply decided that she no longer liked the taste, and was ready to move on. I am confident in my decision and know without a shadow of a doubt, that it was what was best for me, her and our family.

The weeks that followed were not easy on me, but I’ll save that for another post. For the mama out there that’s thinking she’s ready to have her body back, you do what you need to do, when you’re ready to do it. Don’t let society tell you what’s right, even if your methods look a bit different. I had never imagined that lemon juice and vinegar would be my chosen path, but at one point I also never imagined feeding my daughter sugar… as we all know, plans change 😉

If you had told me before I became a mom, that my child would be eating a lollypop the size of their head, I’d have said you were nuts!

 

Review – SPLAT Children’s Art Studio

A creative new way for little ones to have fun has just opened up in St Laurent shopping centre, and we could not be more excited! SPLAT is a locally owned Art Studio and Play Centre for all ages, that focuses on allowing children to develop and explore all forms of Art (Music, Theatre, Crafting and more! ) This week our Orléans Traveling Tots had the opportunity to visit SPLAT for the first of 6 field trips, and the place delighted both the children and mamas alike.

I turned my head for one second! Good thing they had a washing station!

We were greeted by their senior staff member Marie, who is warm, kind and has a genuine love of children. She walked me through the various sensory stations throughout the studio and explained the purpose behind each one. The stations included a sand table, an immediate favourite of all the little ones who entered. A sensory bin station complete with bins of buttons, feathers, beads and a unique colour sorting bin where children are given the task of colour coding fluffy balls. There’s a water station that was a personal favourite of my little one. Here she was given the chance to paint a baby doll, and wash off the paint using various tools — nail brushes, sponges, toothbrushes and different toys. They have painting tables, craft tables, a chalk board wall, and a percussion wall, where the children are invited to make as much noise as they please. They also have a beautiful play kitchen area complete with every dish, pot or pan a child could imagine. Finally, there’s a stage with a real microphone for karaoke, and a dress up area with costumes your little one can try on.

Sand tables were a huge hit!

If felt great to see our kids let loose, get messy, and explore in such a clean, safe and unique environment. Here they could be as loud as they wanted, as creative as they wanted and ultimately, spend hours in the same place and never get bored! The major BONUS was never having to worry about cleaning up their mess when they were all done!

To say this place is clean and tidy is an understatement. With so much going on you would assume there would be a mess everywhere, but their staff have an incredible way of keeping up with it, so much so that when the 14 children left, it didn’t even look like they’d been there. 

Although SPLAT is open to all ages, I would recommend that the ultimate fans would be children six and under. The team comes up with unique crafts of the week, which would mostly appeal to kindergarten ages and beyond. Our Tot group are all below 3 years of age and most opted out of sitting for a craft and just engaged in free play. 

SPLAT is now offering a loyalty card that gives parents five visits for $60 — that’s $40 in savings! They also offer Birthday parties, that will tailor a craft specifically for your little ones special day! Such a great thing for parents to consider as you can walk away, mess free!

We loved every minute of our experience at SPLAT and are so pleased that something so fun, creative and educational is available to our children. We know that by providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development. So we now have a place that our children LOVE and are learning valuable tools for navigating the world at the same time!

I can’t wait to put my loyalty card to good use!

Washing babies was such a hit!

Traveling With Our Kids – What do we ACTUALLY need?

I have always been an over packer. An over-night or weekend trip can very quickly turn into looking like I’m leaving for a several month long expedition. I’m the one at the airport who’s emptying the contents of one bag into the other, trying to even out the weight distribution, as an attempt to avoid having to pay for heavy baggage. Then I had a child and it got way worse….

Since the birth of my daughter our family has been lucky enough to do our fair share of traveling, and with each trip I’m left wracking my  brain trying to figure out the absolute essentials. Do I bring a high chair? Pack a car seat or rent one? How many outfit changes could she possibly need every day? Pack diapers or buy them when I get there? I usually just succumb to the fact that at any given time, a massive blizzard could hit in the dead of Spring, in the tropical destination we’ve traveled to, and bring her ALL the options.

What we had for 2 weeks in Florida (plus my diaper bag)

This March, my little one and I eagerly set off on a two week holiday to Florida. Impressed with the fact that I only had one, 50 pound bag for the two of us, I arrived to the airport with only an hour to spare, to find out the worst had happened!!!! The latch on our pickup trucks trunk had opened, and somewhere between Orléans and the Ottawa airport, my bag had rolled out. I was left having to decide whether to cancel the trip altogether, or move on to Florida, with nothing but the clothes on our backs and winter boots on our feet. One hour later we boarded the plane and although the experience of traipsing through two airports in heavy, winter, fur-lined boots was uncomfortable, the amount that I learned about what we and our little ones ACTUALLY need  and don’t need on a holiday, was invaluable.

DON’TS

  1. Don’t pack a highchair – if you are staying at a hotel or resort, check ahead with the staff because almost every establishment will have one that you can keep in your room for the duration of your stay. Furthermore, if you dine on the resort grounds or in any restaurant, there will be one you can use. I had the Summer Infant travel highchair that I LOVED, but it added a lot of extra weight to the luggage, and took up tons of room.
  2. Don’t worry about too many pairs of pyjamas –  At home, I like my daughter to wear a different pair of pj’s every night, but if you’re looking to travel light, you do not need a nightly wardrobe change. Many places will have laundry on site, but if you’re only gone for one week, they won’t get dirty enough to warrant bringing too many pairs. When we arrived in Florida, I bought Finley one really cute and special set of jammies (that she picked out) and I washed it intermittently throughout our stay.
  3. If you’re bringing your iPhones and/tablets, you may want to skip the baby monitors – I am certain you won’t leave home without your phone, so if space it what you’re hoping to save, you can download many different Baby Monitor Apps that serve as a monitor. We set my phone up in her room as the base and used the iPad as the camera. It worked perfectly and I now know that I don’t have to risk our expensive monitor getting broken in our luggage.
  4. Shoes – one for travel, one for leisure. Unless you’re going on an adventure-packed trip by day, glamorous gala-filled trip by night, you don’t need too many different pairs of shoes. I bought Finley a comfortable pair that she could wear on the beach, in the water, or when walking around shops and restaurants, and of course she had her boots with us to come home in. In the past I packed her flip flops, dressy sandals, water shoes, and runners. One pair of shoes that double as water/leisure shoes is all that’s necessary. For me, one pair of flip flops was fine for two weeks in the sun.

These Natives are a great choice for the “everything” shoe

5. You don’t need to pack all the toys – If your child has a lovey or special toy that they don’t like to be without, pack it in your carry-on so no matter what luggage situation you get into, they’ll have it with them. Another local mama I know says she allows each child to pack their own tiny backpack full of toys from home. “It makes them feel special and included in the process of getting ready for the trip”. You can also pick up a couple of cheap toys at a local dollar store once you arrive at your destination (sand toys etc), but most little ones will be so occupied by their new surroundings, that they won’t be overly interested in the toys that came from home. We were also recently gifted a Moonlight, that attaches to your phone to illuminate your child’s favourite books on the ceiling. It weighs nothing and is a super fun alternative to actual books.

Dollar store sand toys were a big hit! And we just left them behind for another little one to enjoy when we were leaving.

Moonlight attaches to your phone and plays books on the ceiling

6. Share one toiletry bag for everyone – I am usually a notorious toiletry-over-packer. I bring big bottles of shampoo, conditioner and soap and giant bottles of my favourite body wash. Not to mention all the lotions and washes that my little one uses. Losing my luggage made me realize that this was unnecessary and a massive waste of space. Upon arrival in Florida, I purchased a travel sized bottle of body wash that was safe for both me and my two year old and doubled as shampoo for her. I picked us up toothbrushes and a travel sized toothpaste and a small bottle of shampoo for myself and that was all I needed.  It was refreshing not to worry about styling my hair or wearing makeup for the two weeks. That being said, leave the blowdryer at home. If your natural air-dried hair is a bit out of control like mine, there will be one you can use in almost any rental unit or hotel room.

7. Blackout curtains are great, but tinfoil and garbage bags work just as well – I know I know. It sounds funny and may not be the Pinterest worthy look that you were aiming for, but the Gro Blinds are huge, take up tons of space and aren’t cheap. You can just as easily cover any window with tin foil and black garbage bags. Those two items can be purchased anywhere you go and can ensure your little will have successful sleeps!

8. Don’t bring your most expensive stroller – If you are going on a holiday where you’ll be cruising rugged terrain with your littles in tow, it might make sense to pack it. Otherwise, an easy folding umbrella stroller does the trick. I packed my UppaBaby Vista on one of our first overseas trips, and it was severely damaged while stowed with the baggage. I now have a cheap and light Maclaren Umbrella stroller that is more than sufficient. If you’re a baby-wearer, you might even think about renting a stroller once you arrive at your destination. This is a surefire way to not cause any damage to the ones you like to use at home.

9. Cribs are available to rent/borrow at so many hotels – It may be worthwhile leaving the pack & play at home, especially if you’re traveling by yourself. We have had great luck with hotels having clean and nice cribs available for rent. Pack & plays are great if you’re driving somewhere, but to fly with them can be difficult and unnecessary. Call ahead where you’re going and ask what their crib situation is.

DO’s

  1. Car seats ARE needed, and you should bring one that you’re used to installing –  One mistake that I didn’t make was strapping my little one into her travel carseat before leaving our house. Because I was traveling alone, I made sure that I was comfortable with installing it and knew how to use it. It is recommended that when your child turns two and has their own airplane seat, you strap them into a carseat. I cannot express how vital I feel this is. Not only is if safer in the event of turbulence or that the plane stops fast. Not only is it also a comfortable and familiar setting to that your toddler is used to. But, it also comes in extremely handy when your little one can’t get out of their seat and run around on the airplane! Yes, you can rent them upon your arrival, but you will never be sure that they have not been previously damaged, nor will they come with a manual on installation. It may be bulky to lug through the airport, but you can buy inexpensive, lightweight ones such as the Cosco Scenera Next, recommended by Ottawa’s very own carseat and safety experts). 

    This lightweight car seat works great for travel

  2. Pack any/all medicine in your carry on –< This includes any pain/fever relief medicine that you and your children might need, prescription drugs, Epi pens, Benadryl, Pepto Bismol; anything really, that you might need in the event that something happens and you or your little one isn't feeling well. If you lose your luggage, at least you'll have peace of mind knowing that stuff is near.
  3. Pack a change of clothes in your carry on – Even when your kids are over the diaper blow out phase, I can’t stress enough how happy I was that I had a pair of backup clothes when we were five minutes into the flight and my child spilled freezing water all down her front. You never know what the kids can get in to so it’s best to have clean, dry clothes they can easily change into.
  4. Stock up on snacks – This probably should have been point #1 as I feel it is the most crucial way to ensure you have a bit of sanity on your flight. This is the time where I stop being the health conscious mom, and worry about what will make her happy in the event that a full blown in-flight meltdown occurs. Snacks. They are the way to go. Even if it means an extra 10 pounds in your diaper bag, pack them all! Also, you never know what kind of delays you’ll encounter while traveling, or when the next full meal will be. So let me reiterate one last time, PACK ALL THE SNACKS!!!

The bottom line is, if you’re happy, your kids will be happy. I had the choice to panic, cancel our vacation and cry over it, or suck it up and remember that it’s only “stuff” and she and I are capable of having fun no matter what.

I am so happy to report that thanks to the wonderful powers of Facebook, my bag was located and returned to us safely. Although I was beyond grateful to have the contents back in my possession, I’m even more grateful for having had the experience of winging it with my little one. I now feel I have a much stronger grasp on what the ACTUAL essentials are, and know this will save me time, money and sanity moving forward.

So grateful to the man who found it and for the amazing powers of social media!

The Loneliness Of A Miscarriage

On November 13th late at night, I found out I was pregnant with my second baby. After a somewhat long period of trying to conceive, I was beyond elated. Our little Family was growing and my sweet girl was going to be a big sister! That bond that you feel in pregnancy sparked instantly and we were over the moon. On December 21st, it was taken away from us when we found out that our tiny little heart had stopped beating.

It’s so exciting to see a positive result!

 

I began showing signs of a miscarriage on the Wednesday morning before Christmas, which was also only one day after we shared the good news with our parents. It began as mild spotting and slowly increased to become the colour red that every woman fears terribly during pregnancy. We waited a long and painful two days for a very unsympathetic doctor to tell us that the little flicker of a heartbeat that we’d come to know and love, was no longer viable. The doctors instructions for what was to follow felt so clinical and cold; as if he was sharing directions to the nearest gas station, not something devastating. We all of a sudden felt like we were being ushered out of the bed we were occupying in the ER.

 

Although I knew inside that we had experienced a loss, my brain began to try and rationalize how the ultrasound could have been wrong; it started to play tricks on me and tell me that someone somewhere, had made a critical mistake. Denial. Next came the guilt. What did I do that caused this? Was that steak I ate too pink? I know I avoided lunch meat but am I sure that goat cheese was pasteurized? Maybe it’s because I drank coffee or took that Zantac when my heartburn was so bad…I never took Zantac in my first pregnancy. It has to be because I’m still breast feeding my toddler. Didn’t I read somewhere that breastfeeding can cause miscarriage? The walls felt like they were closing in on me and as I was rapidly transitioning through the different stages of grief, my heart quite literally, felt like it was breaking.

 

Some doctors say 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Some say 25% and some say one in five. I have personally known six women in the month of December who’ve gone through it, so why did it feel like the loneliest thing on the planet to experience? Perhaps it’s because it all happened before I had the chance to publicly announce it, so the masses didn’t know what we’d lost. Maybe it’s because it felt like in some way, my body had failed me. Maybe it’s because there’s a certain level of guilt associated with the experience, that no one else could possibly understand. Whatever the case, it felt like my life paused and I was totally unsure of which direction to turn. So many medical professional made feeble attempts at support by using the common dictums such as “Its Gods will” or “Everything happens for a reason” or “you already have one child so at least you know you can have another”, but none of these added any comfort or made any sense, in fact, it was probably the opposite. I just wanted to be left alone as I knew that the only person who could understand my grief, was myself.  While I now realize they all had good intentions, there was nothing that anyone could say, to make any sense of why this was happening to me.

 

If it had been any other time of year, I would have been granted the opportunity to grieve quietly and for as long as I wanted, but it was three days before Christmas, and I’m a mom to a toddler which for me meant that I had to try my best for “the show to go on”. But how do you celebrate what’s supposed to be the happiest time of year, when you have a broken heart? The traditions and events that can add so much joy and meaning to the season were punctuated with painful reminders that the tiny person we loved will never be here with us. In so many ways I wished that I could find a quiet place to hide until January 2nd.

 

Despite everything, I ended up having a wonderful Christmas Day surrounded by my loving family and for the first time since we received our news, I actually felt happy again (which unfortunately brought back the guilt). I want other mamas to know, that it’s always ok not to be OK. But just as it’s OK to grieve for as long as you want, it is also OK to smile and enjoy the good things happening in your life. It doesn’t mean that you’re not mindful of the baby you lost. If this should ever be you, please try not to let yourself feel guilty for taking your mind off things and living your life. Grief comes in waves and when you experience any kind of loss, although it may feel like you’ll never smile again, happiness WILL slowly make its way back into your life. There will be moments where the grief feels overwhelming, almost like an actual wave washes over you and you’re fighting to stay above the water, but that wave passes and you can and will once again see the beauty in all that’s around you.

Real smiles on Christmas night… something I didn’t think would be possible

 

Miscarriage can be an amazingly difficult thing to talk about, but the more I have shared my story, the more other women are beginning to admit (almost shyly) that they too, have experienced this type of loss. The common denominator between them all is that after the ice is broken, each woman almost seems relieved to talk about it. I want you, my friends and family to know that I am someone you can talk to if you lose a baby or know someone who does. I am an open book with the details of my story and I never want any woman to feel ashamed in asking me about it, or sharing their story with me. Imagine a world in which there was only understanding and support, where a woman didn’t have to feel ashamed and she could grieve for her baby with the love and support she needed instead of suffering in silence. A world where people don’t feel that they need to make an excuse for terrible things. Sometimes, things are just really shitty, and we should be able to hold someone’s hand and simply say “I’m here for you, in any way you need. And when you’re ready to talk about this, I’ll be here to listen”.
To my sisters (and brothers) out there, I am always here to listen to your story. Thank you for reading mine.

After 17 days of my body trying to go through the process “naturally” I ended up in the hospital where the doctors had to perform a Dilation and Curettage. It was the last thing in the world that I wanted, but I was so relieved for it all to be over.  Doctor McCoubrey and the team at the Montfort were extremely kind, compassionate and wonderful.

Edit to add: There were so many people who were so supportive, kind, thoughtful and helpful during this process. Those who sent flowers, brought gifts, helped with Finley, called, texted and sat and let me cry. You know who you are and I want to be sure that you know how very much I appreciate you and how grateful I am to have been blessed with your friendship. I will never forget those acts of kindness during such a dark period. It also so happens, that in the 17 days I was going through this, I became even closer with my spouse.  In my experience, there was a little bit of sunshine at the end of the storm.

If you have suffered a loss, or know someone who has, I can always be reached by email at ering@mommyconnections.ca for support and am also a proud distributer of the Butterfly Box. Please feel free to message me any time.

Play, Learn and Explore At My Gym Ottawa

This Fall our six week Mini Movers group was incredibly fortunate to be hosted by My Gym Ottawa. Nestled in the suburbs of Barrhaven sits this amazing space where babies, toddlers and children alike can run, play, learn and explore. Recently, a friend and I were invited to bring our daughters (18 & 20 months) to sample their Tiny Tykes/Waddlers class and I am so glad we did! Not only is this a great place for drop in free-play, but the classes offer educational components in a safe and exciting setting, perfect for curious little ones and parents alike.

The Space

My Gym features a soft, padded floor which makes learning basic gymnastics skills that much safer for your little one. The first thing I noticed upon entering the facility was the cleanliness. The play structures are made of wood and you can tell by looking at them that they’re impeccably maintained; all of the high quality equipment looks brand new. 

Their play structures are also taken apart and redesigned every two weeks which promises a unique experience for the child that visits often. This is a feature that can also be customizable to those renting the space for a birthday party.

The space features a rock climbing wall, play structure and slide, ball pit, various gymnastics obstacles, an area that features six detachable swings, specifically for babies and toddlers; a feature that my little one was thrilled about! It also boasts a very clean restroom facility complete with complimentary diapers, wipes and a diaper genie (if you’re anything like me and always forget to restock your diaper bag, this feature comes in VERY handy).

My Gym is bright, spacious and clean. It is the perfect size for children to run around and burn off some steam, while not being so big that the parent can lose sight of their little one.

The Classes

My Gym engages infants 6 weeks of age to children 11 years of age with fun and captivating physical/cognitive activities, music, songs and free play. Their classes are designed to help your child grow confidence and strength in a non-competitive and supportive atmosphere.

The teachers create a fun filled hour full of age appropriate activities where children will learn new skills, make new friends and have an amazing experience each week.

The (Tiny Tykes) class we participated in began with circle time and songs to get the little ones up and energized. Throughout the hour the little ones stretched, danced, and exercised their problem solving skills. After the opening circle time, we were sent for some free-play as the teacher set up various obstacles. When we regrouped, the first skill was to have our toddler do a supported back flip. My little one wasn’t overly keen on trying this and I loved the way the teacher both encouraged her, but also accepted that she wasn’t into it and supported her by offering a modified skill to try. Other skills included climbing through the different levels of a flat ladder, into a foam circle in the middle and jumping from a mat into a hula hoop — all the skills promoted strength building, coordination and spacial awareness.

My Gym classes are curriculum based, but do not have a set beginning and ending point so children are welcome to join at any time.

Membership

In order to take advantage of My Gym Ottawa, families must purchase a lifetime membership for a one-time fee of $75. This gives you access to the classes and drop in play as well as special discounts on Birthday Parties and special events. The membership can also travel with you as My Gym is a Global franchise.

Special Events

In addition to My Gym’s classes, they also offer Birthday Parties, Practice and Play (drop-in play), Summer, March Break and PD Day camps.They also offer the unique Parent’s Night Out, where Friday nights from 5:30-8:30 pm, parents can enjoy a night out while their children are having a great time running, climbing, playing and eating pizza! Finally, My Gym also offers their Mobile Program where they bring the gym to you! This is a great feature if you are a day care/child care provider looking for something new.

I feel very fortunate to have partnered with such a supportive establishment whose goal is To create an environment where all children of all abilities feel loved and supported so that their self-esteem and confidence can flourish.

If you’re in the Barrhaven area (or not), this place is a must on your list of activities with the little ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Guide To Ottawa’s Holiday Events!

If you’re anything like me, the second Halloween is over, you have Christmas on the brain. The lights, the treats, the shopping, the decorating…even the snow (although the second Christmas is over I’d be happy for it to melt).

The holidays have taken on a completely new meaning now that there’s a toddler running around our home and seeing the magic of the season through her eyes makes it even more special to our family. Just last night we took her to Lowes to see the Christmas display and watching her eyes light up as she saw the trees, the Santa’s and the lights, made me realize exactly what the “magic of the season” is that people always talk about.

We are so lucky to live in a city that has an endless list of holiday festivities for children and families, as well as countless opportunities for your little ones to cozy up to Santa for a once-a-year magical encounter.

Below is a list of family friendly holiday events happening around the city of Ottawa!

Santa at the Shopping Malls

Carlingwood Shopping Centre

November 17th – Santa’s Arrival Parade.

He leaves from Centre Court at 1pm to tour the Mall and arrive at his chair.

Santa Arrival PARADE

Rideau Centre

November 17th – December 24th

Hurry! This mall is offering a one of a kind Santa experience offering zero lines or waiting (making your child’s visit that much smoother).  Book your reservation now! Only a limited number of reservations are available.

Santa’s workshop will be located on Level 3, Freiman Bridge. Walk-ups will be accommodated as time allows

St Laurent Shopping Centre 

November 17th 11am-5pm

Located on the first floor of the shopping centre. Your little one will be able to meet Santa (or send him a letter!) and take a picture with him.

Place D’Orléans

November 24 – December 24th

Located on the first floor in the BMO court. Your little one will be able to meet Santa (or send him a letter!) and take a picture with him.

Digital Photos With Santa

Bayshore 

Saturday, November 17th: 10:00AM – 7:00PM (Santa’s arrival)

Click to be directed to a full list of times to visit!

Visit  Santa’s Village, located on 1st level. Your little one will be able to meet Santa (or send him a letter!) and take a picture with him.

Holiday Snow Globe (also available at Bayshore shopping centre) 

From November 17th, 2018 to January 6th, 2019.

Step inside the Snow Globe in Crystal hall, 3rd level, for an immersive Holiday experience! The life-size structured will allow you to immerse into a wonderland with cascading snow and a themed décor. All proceeds and donations will be donated to the Sentors Foundation. 

Parades

 Help Santa Toy Parade – Central Ottawa

http://toyparade.ca

November 17, 2018 @ 11:00am

Starts at Ottawa City Hall – Finishes at TD Place)

Every year since 1969, the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters’ Association has been organizing the Help Santa Toy Parade and collecting toys along the parade route for distribution to the less fortunate children in Ottawa-Carleton.

The parade has evolved into a significant event drawing tens-of-thousands of people who line the Parade route and share their generosity. Participants are entertained to the sights and sounds of floats, bands and clowns produced locally and from around the Province.

Fire fighters will collect new toys and cash donations along the route. Due to the fact of the numerous amount of unsuitable used toys that have been dropped off over the years we will no longer accept used toys of any kind. New toys can be dropped off at any of the Salvation Army Thrift Stores.

Kanata Santa Claus Parade
https://www.facebook.com/events/683364755381229/
November 17, 2018

The Kanata parade (a.k.a the Hazeldean Mall Santa Claus Parade) is presented by the Kanata-Hazeldean Lions Club in cooperation with the Kanata Sports Club. The parade starts at Terry Fox and Castlefrank, moves along Castlefrank to Abbeyhill and then on to the Hazeldean Mall. Nonperishable food donations to the Kanata Food Cupboard are appreciated.

Barrhaven Lions Santa Parade
santaclausbarrhaven.com
Sunday, November 18th at 5:30 p.m.

The annual Barrhaven Lions Club Santa Claus Parade runs down Strandherd Drive, west. Tim Hortons will be providing hot chocolate at various spots along the parade route.

Image result for barrhaven lions santa claus parade


Arnprior Santa Claus Parade
https://www.facebook.com/events/917184025147270/

November 24, 2018 at 6 pm

Carleton Place Santa Claus Parade
http://downtowncarletonplace.com/christmas-parade/
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 5 p.m.

Santa’s Parade of Lights – Orléans 
paradeoflights.org
Saturday, November 24th @ 6:00pm 

Image result for santa's parade of lights

Also hosted by the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association, this parade takes place on St-Joseph, Blvd. in Orleans. Toys and cash donations will be collected by firefighters along the route.

Stittsville Parade of Lights 
stittsvilleva.com
Saturday, December 1, 2018

This parade is a favourite community event. The parade proceeds south down Main Street to Village Square. Parade goers are welcome to stay for the lighting of Village Square Park and to warm up with some hot chocolate.

Carp Santa Claus Parade
December 8, 2018 12 pm

Image result for carp santa claus parade 2018

Parade route starts at The Diefenbunker, 3911 Carp Road and follows Carp Road. 

 

Other Holidays Activities in Ottawa and the Surrounding Areas.

Breakfast With Santa – Barrhaven

Sunday, November 18th @ 8:00am

Head over to The Breakfast with Santa in Barrhaven at 8 am or 9:30 am (tickets MUST be purchased in advance) and stay for some free family fun with Santa! Do some crafts with our student elves, listen to your favourite holiday songs and have some festive fun with your family and friends. They will be collecting food and cash donations for the Barrhaven Food Cupboard at the front of the school all morning. Drop yours off or bring them to the parade that evening.

Breakfast includes; pancakes, sausages, juice, coffee. Limited seating. Pre-purchased tickets only!

Tickets can be purchased here

Alight the Night

www.uppercanadavillage.com/events/alight-at-night/
November 30th to January 5th
Upper Canada Village

Step back in time while walking around the beautifully lit heritage buildings, trees and fences of Upper Canada Village. There are festive activities and a chance to meet Santa Claus all throughout the month of December leading up to Christmas.

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum Vintage Village of Lights

ottawa.ca/en/liveculture/museums/cumberlandmuseum

November 30th – December 23rd 

30,000 Christmas lights, decorations everywhere, a gigantic reindeer and sleigh and – of course – a visit with Santa Claus in his workshop! Kids will have fun sledding, playing broomball or street hockey, making a snow globe, decorating gingerbread, and sending your Christmas wish list to Santa via telegram. Regular admission applies. 

Manotick – Olde Fashioned Christmas
http://manotickvillage.com/event/olde-fashioned-christmas/
Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, December 2nd

Manotick’s annual Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration. From horse drawn wagon rides with Father and Mary Christmas to sunset carolling, this wonderful weekend is full of traditional events not to be missed. Refreshments and music everywhere! The Village is transformed into a Christmas of  yester-year. Wreaths are hung on lampposts, trees are lit and the Village shines brightly all season long.

This is one wonderful weekend full of small town tradition you and your family will not want to miss!

Almonte’s Light Up the Night!
lightupthenightalmonte.com
Friday, December 7th at 7 p.m.

Bundle up, this is an open-air concert and fireworks display on Main Street in Almonte. Now in its 28th year this night is full of music and memorable outdoor festivities.

Holidays at The Parks 2018

http://wesleycloverparks.com/events/holidays-at-the-parks-2018/
Sunday, December 9, 2018 from 12:00PM – 4:00PM

A great family friendly event, Holidays at The Parks will feature activities for everyone including a vendor’s row, kids craft station, horse-drawn wagon rides, opportunity to meet Zack the donkey, and more! All activities will take place in the Wesley Clover Parks’ heated indoor arena. Meet and take a picture with Santa! Admission by donation.

Magic of Lights: Nov. 17, 2017 – Jan. 6, 2018

http://magicoflights.com/

Wesley Clover Park

Now in its third year, Magic of Lights Ottawa is returning to the Wesley Clover Parks Campground for the 2018 holiday season! This magical event, that has quickly become a holiday tradition for many Ottawa residents, is comprised of festive lighted displays celebrating the joy of the holidays. A “drive through” experience from the comfort of your own car, at every turn and in every direction the magical route is overflowing with spectacular light displays and animations. New attractions in 2018 will include “Candy Cane Lane”, a 200-foot animated Candy Cane celebration, as well as a twinkling “Snowflake Forest” winter spectacle.

Head just west of Ottawa’s downtown core to Wesley Clover Parks for this one of a kind drive-through experience. Nearly one million LED lights are spread over two kilometres, including a 200-foot light tunnel and large LED displays of your favourite winter characters like snowmen, elves and more. Select proceeds from each carload admission benefit the Ottawa Senator’s Foundation.

Nepean Christmas – Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroofe Ave. 

November 1st – 4th
https://ottawa.ca/en/residents/arts-heritage-and-culture/museums-and-historic-sites/nepean-museum#upcoming-events-and-programs

Bring the whole family and get into the Christmas spirit by coming to the museum for a Nepean Christmas Celebration!  There will be Christmas crafts, treats, and of course Santa! 

Chanukah Gift Fair – SJCC

November 18th @ 10:00am-4:00pm

https://jewishottawa.com/community-calendar

PJL Chanukah Event

November 18th @ 10:00am – 12:00pm

http://canada.jewishfederation.org/site/Calendar?id=101461&view=Detail

PJ’s Annual Chanukah Party. Join your PJ Library friends for story time, crafts, sufganyot, dreidels and a special Junkyard Symphony performance.

All are welcome. You do not have to be a PJL subscriber to attend.

Goulbourn Museum Olde Fashioned Christmas
Sunday, November 18th from 10 am to 3 pm
http://goulbournmuseum.ca/event/old-fashioned-christmas-outdoor-artisan-market-4/

Get a head start on your shopping at this holiday celebration and Christmas market that features activities for the whole family. Write letters to Santa and pose for a photo with the jolly old soul, enjoy free hot chocolate and apple cider and buy one-of-a-kind handmade gifts from local artisans. Free admission.

20th Annual Trees of Hope for CHEO:

Nov. 27, 2017 – Jan. 8, 2018


Image result for trees of hope chateau laurier

Head to the historic Fairmont Château Laurier hotel to see several beautifully decorated Christmas trees throughout the holiday season during Trees of Hope! Opt to enjoy Afternoon Tea or a meal at the hotel followed by a stroll through the lovely trees located throughout their storied halls. This is a holiday season tradition for many.

The Museum of History’s Christmas Market

Nov. 30 – Dec. 3, 2017

This four-day Christmas market brings over 80 exhibitors to the Canadian Museum of History‘s Grand Hall. Choose from gourmet foods, artisanal spirits, handcrafted jewellery and many other unique handmade gifts. Free admission.

On Nov. 30 at 6:00 p.m., the Canadian Museum of History will also light its giant outdoor Christmas tree. Enjoy Christmas carols, hot chocolate and Beaver Bites.

The Ottawa Little Theatre Presents- It’s a Wonderful Life

November 28 – December 15th

Based on the most beloved holiday classic of all time, this is the story of George Bailey who on Christmas Eve, convinced that his life has been a failure, wants to end it all. Clarence Oddbody, Angel Second Class who has been trying for 200 years to earn his wings, is sent to the rescue.

Tickets can be purchased here

 

 

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Dec. 7, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018

Join the fun Dec. 7, 2017 on Parliament Hill for the Christmas Lights Across Canada illumination ceremony, complete with carollers and hot chocolate. From then until Jan. 7, 2018, Ottawa’s downtown streets and several monument sites are lit up with hundreds of thousands of dazzling coloured lights. Plus, don’t miss the magical Winter Lightscapes show projected on Parliament’s Centre Block!

Barrhaven: Winter Wonderland
Saturday, December 8th from 10 am to 12 pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/1219112084895128

Presented by the Minto Recreation Complex, this festive event will include pictures with Santa, crafts, games and cookie decorating. Admission is free!

Taffy Lane in Orleans

https://www.facebook.com/Taffy-Lane-586502018033800/

This street has a well-deserved reputation across Ottawa as having the best neighbourhood light display. There is a (Santa) clause in every agreement of purchase and sale that home owners must put up an elaborate light display

There are also several houses that are over the top only a few minutes away from Taffy Lane, just South of St. Joseph.