Get active in the New Year with mom and baby yoga

New Year can be a motivating time and I’m here to guide you to some of the best opportunities Durham has on offer! If you’re still looking to hit your stride in your mat leave, Mom and Baby Yoga can help you get there. It’s got the trifecta of benefits: feel-good exercise, a chance to make mommy friends and a reason to get out of the house.

The Mom and Baby Yoga Flyer for Moksha Yoga Brooklin

Sessions run weekly on Tuesdays at 9.45am for an hour in a series of eight sessions. If you’re feeling a little shy, signing up for a sessions like this can help you interact with the other moms as you will see each other so regularly. These sessions are best for babies up to the crawling stage, so chances are you’ll meet other moms in a similar stage as you.

There are still spaces left so it’s not too late to sign up! Registration can be completed online or in person at the Moksha Yoga Brooklin studio (31 Baldwin Street, Brooklin). Mom and Baby Yoga begins January 6th, 2015 and continues up until February 24th.

Cost: $105 + hst (Approx $13 per class).

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What to do with baby’s old clothes: Resale Store

What it is: A resale store is different to that of a consignment store in that they are able to offer cash (or store credit) outright for any clothes that they offer to take.

Racks of childrens clothes

How it works: You do not need to make an appointment to visit a store and have your clothes looked at. Staff will review your items on the spot and you can wander round the store while they review your items, or you can wait up front while they go through whatever you bring in. Buyers will then pick out the items and make an offer on these based on the style, condition and the current stock levels in-store. If you accept the offer you will receive either cash or store credit. As a general rule for all resale stores, clothes over five years old will not be accepted. Typically, clothing with any holes, fading or pilling will not be considered. Below are some of the child-specific resale stores in the Durham region:

Pros: This option is perfect for moms that don’t want the hassle of selling their old baby clothes themselves. You’ll be saving time as it only takes one interaction with a store (not multiple interactions with sellers like you would get with Kijiji or Facebook buy/sell groups) and you are compensated immediately. You do not need to make an appointment to have your clothes reviewed by a buyer, so you’ll be selling on your own schedule.

Cons: Stores will pick and choose what items they want to take based on the kind of brands you have, what’s in style, and what stock they currently need. You will most likely be out of luck if you want to offload summer items at the beginning of winter. Not all stores will take certain items like socks or cloth diapers, so you may need to visit a few resale stores to get rid of everything or offload your remaining stuff another way. To save the most amount of time when you visit a resale store, you will have to prepare your clothes for easy sorting in advance. This includes sorting clothes by brand or by age group.

Value Rating: 2 out of 3. Your potential for cash is very low than if you were to sell the items yourself or take them to a consignment store, but if you value the time saved managing the sales on your own, then this is the option for you.

Cost: There is no cost involved to bring your clothes to a clothing resale store.

 

pic via brendawritesablog.com

What to do with baby’s old clothes: VarageSale.com

What it is: VarageSale.com is an online an online marketplace similar to Kijiji.ca and Craigslist with more of a community feel. It has the trustworthy elements that you’d expect to find in an eBay listing (i.e. seller reviews and profiles) and social elements of what you’d expect to find in a Facebook buy and sell group (strict rules on group/posting behaviour, moderation and the ability to start discussions with members).

How it works: All users (both buyers and sellers) must use their Facebook account to use the service. Once you have logged in and set your location, a list of Buy/Sell groups are displayed, and you can choose which areas nearby you would like to sell to. An organizer within this group will then review your request to join the group. Once you’re approved, you’ll see that listings are posted in a timeline much like you would see on Facebook. Users can rate each other based on how each person follows through on a sale, and these ratings are made public for other group members to view. Buyers are able to like and watch listings depending on their interest in an item, and these Like and Watch numbers will be shown publicly within the group. As a seller, your profile will have a summary displaying all items that you are currently selling. Buyers also have the ability to follow your profile to keep updated for future items that you list for sale.

Listing your items on VarageSale takes only three easy steps

Listing your items for sale with VarageSale couldn’t be easier with only three steps in this form

Pros: More personalized and secure than options like Kijiji.ca and Craigslist. This site comes with a set of rules for each community, similar to that of a Facebook buy and sell group. It’s a step up in terms of navigation compared to that of a Facebook buy/sell group, so in theory you’ll get more eyes on your items this way. This app or website (depending on how you use Varagesale) will walk you through every step of listing your items, making it easy to get over any feelings of procrastination when it comes to selling your stuff.

Cons: It’s yet another social media site to join / or app to download. It does a lot of the same things that a Facebook buy/sell group does with the exception of having a better browse and search function.

Value Potential: 2 out of 3. The mechanics of this community encourages buyers to interact with you more if they like the type of items that you sell. Listing your items is fast so you won’t lose too much time and you get control over pricing your items.

Cost: There are no costs involved with using VarageSale.com.

How to manage a baby meltdown when you’re not at home

Ah, we’ve all been there at some point with baby meltdowns. There comes a time when the cries begin to sound like requests rather than just noise. This is when you begin to hit your stride as a mom and realize you know your little one best. When a baby meltdown hits, I like being home to have everything I need handy. Nursing pillow is always near, there are lots of places to lay down for quiet time, and even a roomful of toys in case baby boredom has struck. But being out of the house with a meltdown on my hands? That takes a special kind of resourcefulness that only a mom can understand.

A baby crying

It takes time to build up the confidence to leave the house for any period of time with baby, especially as you’re learning that perfect mix of items to keep in your diaper bag to help you while you’re out. Here are a few strategies that I’ve learned from my many meltdowns so far:

  • Scan the area for a sympathetic face. If you’re somewhere public like a supermarket or shopping centre, someone will be empathizing with what you’re going through. See if your baby is interested in interacting with this person. The change in energy can lighten the mood for both baby and you.
  • Show baby an item they haven’t seen before. I bring toys with me for baby wherever I go but sometimes even this doesn’t work in my favour. There are usually plenty of items available out of the house for baby to see which always ends up being far more interesting than what I bring along. These don’t need to be other toys either – A kitchen spatula at a department store or a bright red fire extinguisher may catch the attention of those curious little eyes.
  • Consider removing or adding a piece of clothing. If baby is hot, then loosening a onesie or popping open a few buttons on a sleeper can help cool them down. If baby is cold and you don’t have extra layers on hand, consider using a sweater or shirt of your own to drape over them.
  • Find a quiet area to recharge. Overstimulation is tough on a little baby, and what calms them down will depend a lot on their little personality. Public washrooms may seem like a good idea but I’ve found that the loud sounds in a washroom (hand dryers, multiple toilets flushing) can be disruptive. Instead, ask an employee to direct you to a quiet area in a store or venue so that you can be alone with your little one and give them time to calm down.

What are some of your strategies for baby meltdowns? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you in the comments below.

 

pic via earlyinterventionsupport.com

What to expect at a mommy meetup

When I first went to a meetup, I felt a little awkward putting myself out there. I desperately wanted to have some other mom friends who were also going through the same thing as me, and I had no idea where to start. For as long as I could remember, friends either just happened or developed through interests that I had outside of work and school. Finding a partner online has become the norm, but finding a friend online? This was a whole new world for me.

A group of moms stand together with their babies in strollers

In my experience attending meetups, I’ve learned that every mom has the same reasons for being there as you do. Many of them are dying to talk with someone who gets what it’s like to be a new mom, but they may not know how to begin a conversation about all that they’re going through.

Meetup groups vary in format because they are organized and hosted by moms who are all as individual as the next. Generally speaking, meetups are very informal. There aren’t name tags or introductions where you have to face the group and find the right words to avoid sounding stir-crazy. Meetups are usually held in public places and from the outside looking in, it can look like a big group of friends getting together. At first it may look like there are some cliques within the group and this is normal. The moms that know each other well are most likely the regulars which is a good sign the meetup is worthwhile. There’s a reason they keep coming along!

If the meetup you choose to go to is held at one location (like a playground, or cafe) then punctuality is not an issue. Being anywhere on time as a mom is tricky enough, so if you are running late, know that no one is judging you for it. There are lots of ways to start conversation but one of the best is to introduce both yourself, your baby and to mention your baby’s age. This often means there are a lot of names to remember at a meetup but, most moms there will do their best to get to know everyone there and learn their name. With conversation, you’re able to talk about anything so long as you reserve any judgement. What may surprise you is how easily you can talk about all the stuff you can’t say in front of your friends without kids. You can talk about diaper blow outs over coffee and most moms wont bat an eyelid. They’ll laugh along with you or nod in understanding.

If you find yourself enjoying spending time with another mom there, take the opportunity to ask her to catch up again. If you know of another mommy meetup, baby program or stroller trail, invite that mom to join you. She will probably appreciate the chance to do something different and get out of the house. Swapping phone numbers and keeping in touch over text is recommended before taking the plunge with a Facebook friend request. Do I almost sound as if I could be talking about dating? Well, it can feel like that. Most new moms will feel that way when they’re making new mommy friends!

If you’re still feeling a little hesitant, in my next post I’ll be giving my tried-and-tested tips for attending your first mommy meetup. Stay tuned for more!

 

pic via readysteadymums.blogspot.ca

Break out the camera at a local pumpkin patch

One thing that is fast becoming a must-do this month is visiting the pumpkin patch for a photo shoot. The possibilities for some of the best staged photos are endless… big pumpkin, tiny baby… tiny baby, holding tiny pumpkin… This was never much of a thing for me growing up but since visiting a pumpkin patch with my family this year, I’m happy to add this to my growing set of family traditions.

The sign for the Linton's Farm Market surrounded by large pumpkins

One of the higher rated pumpkin patches in the east end of Durham is Linton’s Farm Market.

Access to the pumpkin patch is free. What I liked about this farm is that you can also wander  through the small petting zoo with goats, sheep and chickens before you make your way over to the pumpkin patch to take some photos. There is also a kid’s play area available with a sandpit, play equipment and access to the pumpkin cannon. This section is worthwhile if you’re bringing along kids that can run around, otherwise I wouldn’t recommend paying the $2 admission for entry to this area. For you – and anyone you bring along – there is a large farm market to shop, which includes honey, meats, preserves, apples, beets, garlic, brussels sprouts, carrots and farm decorations (think decorative wheat).

Linton’s Farm Market is located at 571 Raglan Road East, Oshawa. Opening hours vary, and their website recommends calling ahead. As a side note – I visited around lunchtime on a weekend and that seemed to be a good time.

Cost: Visiting the pumpkin patch is free. If you’re interested in bringing home a pumpkin from your visit, the pumpkins in the picture above were priced at $8 each or 3 for $20.

Learn to play in the pool with swimming classes

Most moms will have different reasons for joining an infant swim class. Some do it so they get out of the house, to meet other mommies, to burn off some of that boundless baby energy or as I did in my case, to get my little one used to being in the water.

Swimming classes held at the local Whitby Recreation Complex are led by a trained swim instructor who will guide you and a group of other parents through water play activities. This includes, holding your baby on the side of the pool and having them “jump” into the water, helping your baby to float on their back with the help of pool toys, practice using life jackets (for baby and parent) and if you’re brave – dipping your little one under the water!

A view of the baby pool and the toys used in the Starfish swimming class

The view of the baby pool at the Whitby Recreation Complex and some of the toys used in the “Starfish” infant swimming class.

What I love about this activity is that there are a ton of scheduling options offered through the Whitby Recreation Complex. Starfish Infant swim classes are held on both weekdays and weekends, so if you decide to try an activity like this you can be flexible in who you bring along, whether it be a family member, mommy friend or your partner.

Registration is open now for these group swimming lessons for January-March, 2015. Starfish swimming classes are open to babies 4-18 months old.  You can register in person at the Whitby Recreation Complex, or online.

Cost: The Starfish Group Swimming Class program runs for 10 weeks and costs $89.51 (approximately $9 per class).


 

To register online, these are the steps that you’ll need to follow:

1. Check out the Fall/Winter Activity Guide and pick your preferred class times and days. Note the corresponding class codes as you’ll need these for later in the process.

2. Call the Recreation Program staff (905-666-1991) and ask for a PIN and barcode, which becomes your username and password for the online registration system. Keep these details saved somewhere that you can find them again. This is important because you will continue to use these login details when signing up for swimming classes in the future! This is a one-off type of step in the process but it’s worth it.

3. Once you have this information, sign into the online registration portal and search for the class code you noted earlier. Once you have searched for the class, a screen like this will appear showing you how many spots are still available. If there is space available, a green button will appear at the top of this box that says “Add” which allows you to add this class to your account.

Example of online registration for swimming classes on the Whitby Rec Centre online registration system

This is an example of what you will see when registering online for one of the Winter Starfish swimming programs

4. Make sure to select your child’s name for this program so you can continue with the registration

5. Find the Checkout button and finalize your payment for the program.