May 2013

Remember the Fisher-Price Million Moments of Joy site? I mentioned it a few times earlier this year.

I love coming up with posts for this project because it sends me poking through my archives, both online and in my stacks of photo albums and shoeboxes, looking for favourite old snapshots of the boys when they were wee. This has got to be one of my all-time favourites – Beloved playing with baby Simon, who is maybe three or four months old.


I can’t look at this picture without smiling. It reminds me of those sweet moments that are about the laughs, the joy, the sheer enjoyment of each other’s company. I love the look on Simon’s face (“Daddy’s crazy!”) and I love that it captures how terrific Beloved has always been with the kids and his special ability to make them laugh.

Raising babies is hard work. The sleep deprivation, the neediness, the sleep deprivation, the stuff you have to haul around, the sleep deprivation — did I mention the sleep deprivation? But it’s these moments I love, the moment when they are so clearly enjoying each other’s company and a quick cuddle. There are many, many things I adore about my family, but our collective ability to embrace silliness is one of my favourites.

Fisher-Price invites you to share your moments of joy on their Million Moments of Joy microsite.

And don’t forget that even though life can be chaotic, overwhelming and exhausting, there’s always time for a little bit of silly. 🙂

Disclosure: I am part of the Fisher-Price Play Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.


What’s at the heart of a neighbourhood or community where families live with young children? It’s not the mall, or the grocery store or even the coffee shop. Often, it’s the local park or community centre.

Community spaces benefit kids of all ages. Parks are exciting places for toddlers, maybe one of the first places away from home where they can learn to clamber up on to the brightly coloured play structures, and zooming down the big slide for the first time is a milestone in itself. Older kids play grounders and tag with classmates and kids from other schools. Young teens, free at last from parents watching from a nearby park bench, occupy their after-dinner and after-homework hours at the skate park. The park on our street in Barrhaven is where I met most of our neighbours – it was the only place any of us were standing still in the same place long enough to share more than a cheery wave on the way past.

172:365 A long way up

Some of my best childhood memories revolve around the parks and playgrounds in the neighbourhoods where I grew up. Back in those prehistoric days, our parents didn’t take us to the park – we’d ride our bikes there after dinner and play until the streetlights came on. On a lazy Saturday, we’d venture further afield, checking out the playground in the next neighbourhood over. It seemed like miles away, but looking back it was just a few blocks. I’ve still got that love of exploration, come to think of it!

The folks at Kraft and TSN seem to understand the importance of community spaces at the heart of a neighbourhood, because for the fifth year in a row they’ve teamed up for the Kraft Celebration Tour. They’re inviting Canadians to nominate their favourite community space to win $25,000 toward a community project that improves an existing space or helps create a brand new one. Playgrounds, skate parks, community centres, sports fields – they’re all eligible for this terrific project that supports both community gathering spaces and active living.

Easter family fun

To nominate a community, Canadians are asked to submit a short essay and up to five photos explaining why their community deserves to be a part of the Kraft Celebration Tour and how the $25,000 community award will go towards the creation or improvement of a local community space. The essay should also touch upon how the award would help promote community spirit, a passion for sports, and an active lifestyle. You can read more about it on the “How it works” page on the tour website. You’ll have to move quickly if you want to nominate a community though – nominations are only being accepted through June 7. That’s next week!

I was curious to see if any local projects have been nominated so far. It looks like only one Ottawa project has been submitted, but it sounds like a wonderful cause to support. Three local elementary schools (Pleasant Park, Hawthorne and Marie Curie) have teamed up for a joint submission, seeking funds for playground equipment for their schools and neighbourhood. You can read more about it on their nomination page.

On June 30, TSN and RDS will announce the 20 finalists selected by a panel of judges. Then it’s up to Canada to decide the 10 winning Kraft Celebration Tour stops via 10 weekdays of head-to-head online voting beginning July 8. You can follow the tour and support your favourite nominees on the tour’s Facebook page, and you can read more about the tour on the Kraft Celebration Tour web page.

533:1000 A tire swing is more fun when shared with a brother

I love it when the opportunity for a sponsored post and a cause dear to my heart align! Will you make a nomination? If you do, please let me know so I can support your community!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Kraft Celebration Tour Blogger Campaign. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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This is fun! A couple of months ago I was asked to contribute an article about why I blog for Ottawa Parenting Times magazine. The article was published this weekend, so I can finally share with you. How fun is this?

OttParentTimes feature

The issue is jam-packed with other great info about family activities around Ottawa – if you didn’t get one in your Ottawa Citizen on the weekend, you can pick one up around town, and I hear it will be an insert in the Globe and Mail this week, too. Or you can check it out online – look for profiles of three other great local blogs, too! (*waves to Becky*)

Thanks to Peter and the Ottawa Parenting Times! 🙂


What a week! For the long weekend, we zoomed down to London and Windsor for a wedding – more about that in a minute – and a crazy-quick visit with family, stopped off in London for more family, and then zoomed back home again. 1750 km and 18 hours in the car over four days – my kids are awesome road-trippers! There was so much photo fun to share that it took an entire week to share.

The kids were amazing in the car. We left Ottawa at 8 am on Friday, drove through an earthquake (didn’t feel a thing) and barely stopped until we arrived on the other side of the province in Windsor in time for dinner. There were a lot of electronic devices, a whole whackload of “are we there yet?” and a lot of this going on:

Artist at work

The bride and groom live in a little town just outside of Windsor called Amherstburg. They have a gorgeous place right where the Detroit River opens on to Lake Erie, and we passed a fun morning playing there before the wedding.

beach fun

(Not our dog – he came with the beach!)

beach fun-3

beach fun-2

And then there was a wedding! How sweet is this? Beloved’s dad and his girlfriend have been together since before Beloved and I met. They happen to share the same birthday. On their mutual birthday last year, she asked him to marry her! And they say it’s the younger generation who are throwing tradition to the wind. So this lovely couple, my sweet in-laws, tied the knot during a beautiful afternoon ceremony on a deck overlooking the river. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect day for a wedding.

Scenes from a wedding

Scenes from a wedding

Scenes from a wedding

Scenes from a wedding

Mimi and Pipi's wedding

Bride and groom at sunset

Scenes from a wedding

Adorable, yes?

And then, we zoomed on over to London for a quick visit with my brother and his family. I heard it was cool and rainy here in Ottawa, but it was summery perfect in London. The freshly opened pool was fresh enough that the kids were welcome to go in but there was no way I was dipping anything more than a toe into it. Brrr!


Weekend with the cousins

Weekend with the cousins

Weekend with the cousins

And then up early the next morning to be back in Ottawa in time to pick up Bella at 6 pm. Phew, what a trip! A sunny, warm, colourful, wonderful trip filled with family, love, laughter and fun – it doesn’t get any better than that. 🙂 If you’d like to see more from the weekend, there’s a set on Flickr with more.

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I love the serendipity of how this worked out. Just about the time we found a cache of old video clips of the boys as babies and toddlers, my friends at Fisher-Price announced the launch of a new contest where you can share your favourite photos and videos of your babies’ best laughs.

One of these days, I am going to make a mint on those funniest videos show with this old clip of Tristan and one-year-old Lucas and the world’s funniest blue balloon. Go ahead, press play – I dare you not to laugh!

Baby belly laughs are THE BEST!

So here’s where Fisher-Price comes in. They’re launching a fun new Laugh & Learn site that offers webisodes, fun games and activities, where you and your wee ones can meet the Laugh & Learn characters. To celebrate the new site, Fisher-Price is also launching a Best Little Laugh contest, where you can upload your favourite baby laugh photos and videos and win fun prizes.

Head on over to the Best Little Laugh site to enter the contest, or just to admire the photos and videos! If you’re inclined to enter, you’ll be eligible to win one of eight weekly Fisher-Price prize packs that will include a Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car, a Laugh & Learn Love to Play Puppy and a $100 gas card for mom & dad. 🙂 It may take up to 24 hours for your content to appear, so please do be patient as they moderate the queue.

Disclosure: I am part of the Fisher-Price Play Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are always my own.


You know I love Ottawa family fun. You know I love free. What’s better than free family fun in Ottawa? This weekend, celebrate International Museum Day on Saturday May 18 with free admission to a few of Ottawa’s best museums.

Courtesy of our friends at the spectacular Museum of Nature:

Celebrate International Museums Day with free admission to the Canadian Museum of Nature this Saturday, May 18. Kick off the May long weekend by immersing yourself in the wonders of Canada’s natural history heritage. See how you measure up against a blue whale, the largest animal on the planet; marvel at the sparkling diversity of Canada’s minerals; get up close and personal with creatures as diverse as dinosaurs, polar bears and hissing cockroaches.

Be among the first to see the newly opened Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition. There’s plenty to inform, inspire and amaze adults and children alike in each of our galleries. (Regular admission is still required for the museum’s 3D cinema, now featuring Flying Monsters).

The International Council of Museums created International Museums Day in 1977. Now, over 30,000 museums worldwide from 100 countries officially recognize this important day in May.

195:365 Jurassic Sean

It took a bit of digging, but I also figured out that the Bytown Museum offers free admission for International Museum day as well, and the National Gallery also offers free admission but as of today their website says they’re celebrating International Museum Day on Sunday May 19.

Other great local museums like downtown’s Currency Museum and Manotick’s Watson’s Mill are always free.

What’s your favourite museum in Ottawa?


Fare thee well, Commander Hadfield

14 May 2013 Canadianisms

Since I blogged about my delight in following Canadian astronaut and ISS commander Chris Hadfield back in January when he was kibitzing with Captain Kirk, it seems only natural that I’d share this with you, too. Best music video EVER!! How could I not adore Commander Hadfield and what he has done during this mission? […]

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This week in pictures: Love letters to spring

12 May 2013 Photo of the Day

Tulips, kids, fuzzy puppies – talk about an easy week for taking pictures! Do you even need a narrative for this? First there was one silly kid on a stump. Then there were three silly kids on some steps with a puppy. Then the puppy rolled around in some flowers. Oh, did someone say flowers? […]

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In which she clearly illustrates that she is NOT a graphic designer

8 May 2013 It IS all about me

Hey! Did I mention I’m doing a presentation at Social Capital Ottawa this year? I am so excited about it! And it’s a topic that is becoming more and more dear to my heart – how to find and use images for your website, blog and social sharing without violating copyright and getting sued in […]

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This week in pictures: Suddenly springtime summer!

4 May 2013 Photo of the Day

So, how ’bout that weather, eh? We had seven months of winter, two transitional weeks of spring and BOOM! Summer in May. And I am totally fine with that. I don’t know whether it is the warmer temperatures or long hours of sunshine or just the fact that I’ve finally shaken the ennui that’s been […]

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