This blog is about life with a baby. It's not always you you expect and there is definitely no job description. Every baby is different and unique which is why motherhood can be so scary, fun, terrifying, exciting and rewarding all at the same time.

We encourage you to share your experiences - by sharing your experiences and commenting on other posts, you may be helping other moms.
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  • Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:03 PM | claire (Administrator)

    When it comes down to hosting play-dates and meet ups most mom’s can be a little apprehensive about taking it on. I think the thoughts of food planning, spending money and having to clean your house are what keep us from jumping at the opportunity to be the hostess.

    I know when I am planning a play-date I am one of those who over-think it all and end up going a little above and beyond the usual duties. At the end of it all, sure it’s nice to have my place smell like fresh baked cookies and for my shelves to be well dusted, but I know the other mum’s could care less about the ‘staging’ and more about socializing, getting to know other mom’s, and having the opportunity to get out of the house and have their kid’s interact with others.

    Joining Life With a Baby has helped me and other moms do just that. LWAB encourages their members to meet up for various activities such as stroller walks, park dates, activity centers, coffee chats, home dates, ect ect without the added pressures of worrying about providing food or spotlessly clean homes. Since more and more moms are creating play groups and meet up’s through LWAB we wanted to make sure everyone knew how easy it was to be what we are now calling a Mommy Greeter!

    A Mommy Greeter is someone who loves to get out there and meet other moms, and kids; someone who is welcoming and enjoys striking up conversations about everything from teething to date night.

    All a mommy greeter needs to do is show up at the meeting spot of the play-date/meet up, at the scheduled time, and welcome all the moms and kids who show up to join in on the fun! It’s that easy!

    Being a new mom can be a lonely and isolating experience at times, but by being a mommy greeter you can get out, meet other moms, exchange tips, and advice and start some wonderful friendships that can last a lifetime.

    If you are interested in being one of our mommy greeters, please email

    If you would like to arrange your own meet up with moms and connect with other members in your area, visit

    Written by : Madeline Soleil Alaouze 

  • Wednesday, March 15, 2017 9:01 PM | claire (Administrator)

    Stigma is a real and debilitating problem affecting new mothers. I had Postpartum Anxiety & Depression more than 8 years ago and then had a second child without experiencing any depressive symptoms.  Since then, I’ve created a charitable organization that supports other new parents through education and support.  BUT the stigma is always there in the back of my mind.  Every time that I share my story, or discuss the challenges I know that PPD is linked with my name and if I wonder will this affect my career prospects?  What will people think of me?

    It’s true that, thanks to the media and others who are ignorant about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), people believe mothers with PPD think of harming their babies or will harm their babies or children.  I’m baffled that we continue to talk about PPD ONLY after a tragedy occurs, and I know this only helps to reinforce the idea that moms with PPD hurt their kids.

    Because of a recent tragedy, I’ve had many moms contact me with severe anxiety, worried that they could “harm their child” because they have PPD. They’ve seen media articles saying that this behavior is normal, or common with PPD.  I’m seeing firsthand how when we speak about this only after a tragedy we increase the stigma and create fear.

    I think it’s important to provide credible, evidence based, supportive information about PMADs and clearly establish the difference between depression and psychosis.   I understand the need to ”normalize” parenting challenges and postpartum depression – I get it, I’ve been there.  Even so, I think this a very important topic and we NEED professionals who research or work directly with parents or who suffer from PPD to join the conversation.  The fact is: postpartum psychosis is rare and serious condition and should be treated as such.

    “It’s easy to feel, when you hear of a tragedy, that you are capable of terrible things. The truth is that the vast, VAST majority of mothers with perinatal mood or anxiety disorders never do anything to harm their children. Not ever.  “The fact that you have PPD or postpartum anxiety does not make you a dangerous person, just a person with an illness. It is also true, though, that mothers with postpartum psychosis or postpartum depression that has become so severe that it has psychotic features have the potential of harming their child. Notice I didn’t say they will harm because most do not and would not. They simply have the potential to harm, usually due to delusions and hallucinations that make a mom believe she needs to do something dangerous to protect her children or others, NOT because she is a bad or evil person. This is why if you’re having delusions or hallucinations or other symptoms of psychosis you need to call a doctor right away, for your own health and safety. If you’d like to see our list of symptoms, check here:

    All moms who suspect they have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder should reach out for professional help, not because they’re dangerous but because they deserve to feel like a healthy mom who is able to function as she would like. Additionally, your children need you to be as healthy as possible. Getting help is a gift to your family. You deserve to be well.

    Meantime, know that perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are very common and all the women who have them are regular, everyday, good people, just like you and me. It’s just an illness and is temporary and treatable with professional help.”

    I also reached out to Hiltrud Dawson, a health promotion consultant with the Best Start Maternal Newborn Resource Centre in Canada who provided the following:

    “Some parents experience irrational thoughts and may see repetitive pictures of harm in their minds eye, even without any other symptoms of a postpartum mood disorder. Apparently this happens to about 40% of new parents (dads included) mostly during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first few weeks or months postpartum.

    The theoretical thinking behind this is that parents need to adapt their protective system to protecting themselves only to now being responsible for a little life as well. A lot of things can happen and these thought flash into their minds. Sometimes it is linked to common tasks or circumstances (what if I dropped my baby in the bath, what if I dropped my baby when I am carrying her/him downstairs?) Sometimes the thoughts get more irrational, for example while cutting vegetables for supper, they may see a knife hurting the baby.

    Often the more they struggle against these thoughts, the more often they appear seemingly unprovoked and out of nowhere. How do we know it is a “normal” parenting response? I don’t think we can ever be completely complacent. A good assessment by a skilled professional would be very helpful here.

    In the meantime, getting someone to talk about these thoughts and images is very powerful. It does a couple of things.

    1) It makes the parent realize that the thought, picture is irrational and they often confirm that they would never act on this.

    2) It makes the parent realize that this happens to others as well. It has been shown that after parents talk about these thoughts and images there experience of them will lessen.

    If you have scary and unwanted thoughts and images or other symptoms of PPMD, talk to your healthcare provider. Get  a good assessment by a skilled professional and reach out for support from knowledgeable professionals and mothers who have been there. ”

    If you are living in Canada visit for me information on the signs, symptoms and where to get help.

    Raising a baby is a wonderful experience, but it is can also be a challenge… If you are a new parent (mom or dad) and want to connect with peers to learn more about parenting, connect with others, and have fun with your little one(s) join us at  Our unique approach will help you overcome some of the challenges you face as a new mom so that you can enjoy your new baby and maintain a happy, healthy family dynamic.



    About the Authors:

    Claire Kerr-Zlobin is the Executive Director of Healthy Start, Healthy Future and Founder of the Life With A Baby program.   Life With A Baby is a three-tiered peer support system for parents.  It offers local, community-based social events to build relationships, online support, and multi-lingual parenting programs.  Claire founded Life With A Baby after her own struggles with social isolation and depression.  Life With A Baby serves over 5000 members across the province of Ontario. Claire is involved in innovative initiatives and partnerships focused on peer support, parenting, newcomer supports, parent engagement, and financial literacy.  She is passionate about supporting parents, developing collaborations, reducing social isolation, and building healthy and strong parent-child relationships.

    Hiltrud Dawson has extensive experience in the maternal newborn field as a nurse, midwife, and lactation consultant. She had been a health promotion consultant with the Best Start Resource Centre/Health Nexus for over seven years. Hiltrud provides training and consultations to health and social service providers on perinatal mood disorders and has been the project lead in the development of a number of resources for both parents and service providers such as the “Life with a New Baby” video, brochure and website. Hiltrud is also an active member of several associations and networks.

  • Wednesday, March 08, 2017 8:07 AM | claire (Administrator)

    So, the snow is back with a ferocity and you and wondering what to do with for Spring vacation. Should you go south to the sunshine? Should you explore some unique places not too far from the GTA?

    Well, with the rising exchange rate you may want to explore some places in your own backyard.

    These are my top 5 places to consider spending Spring vacation this year. Why these places? These are places where you can go on a vacation without feeling like you are stuck with your kids.

    Blue Mountain Resort

    From the picturesque village to the slopes, to Plunge! This is a great place about 2 hours drive from the GTA where the whole family can explore. Don't ski? There is Iwa Spa for relaxation including yoga classes. Have little ones? There is tons of activities and places to explore like Crock A Doodle, Glama Gal Tween Spa, lots of family friendly restaurant and my favourite. Snow School! You may not want to be on the slopes, but I guarantee you that your kids will want to be out playing in the snow.

    Kingston, ON

    I used to live in Ottawa and do the drive from Toronto to Ottawa about four times a year to see family and friend and I never knew what I was missing in Kingston. We had a chance to explore this city, and it is glorious! If you love food, who doesn't? You will be happy to hear that Kingston has the most restaurants per capita in Canada. Honestly, there is a new and wonderful place ever few feet. From the eclectic to the historic, you will love exploring this city with your family.

    There really is so much to do including a visit to the theatre, a visit to Lumina Borealis - which is a MUST! Go, you will not be disappointed.

    Fern Resort

    They had me at all inclusive. Pack the kids up and go for a relaxing trip to Fern Resort for Spring Break. The list of activities that are available with their daily programing is impressive. What I love most about Fern is their children programming. My kids always want to go which leaves me with some guilt-free time to enjoy the adult programming. Whether that is Yoga, painting, snowmobiling, or enjoying a visit to the spa.

    This is a truly a place where you can have a relaxing family vacation. With tons of activities, you can do together including dogsledding, bingo, ice fishing, indoor pool, curling, really the list does go on. Find our more about their programming here.

    Mont-Tremblant Resort

    This is ski lovers paradise! Similar to Blue Mountain resort, the village is very picturesque, they are lots of things to do with the family. The kids will love Aqua Club. The snow school is honestly one of the best I've seen so far. Both my kids stayed outside all day in -20 weather and even saw me on the slopes and didn't ask to go in or stay with me. My kids are 9 & 5.

    What I love the most about Tremblant is the Nansen run on the south side. It is the longest run on the mountain (around 6k) but also the easiest green run. This means that if you are not a strong skier and you want to practice getting those turns and improving your skiing, you have lots of turns before you get to the bottom.

    Ottawa, ON

    Canada's capital city is a must to visit in winter. Whether it's walking the Byward market, exploring the many museums, cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park. 2017 is a particularly great year to visit Ottawa because it is the home of the Canada 150 celebrations. Whatever month you go, there will be something unique and exciting happening for you to explore. Many of these events during the Canada 150 celebrations are free.

  • Sunday, February 26, 2017 1:14 PM | LWAB (Administrator)

    Continued from our post about RIU Montego Baby

    Again, as is the standard with RIU Hotels and Resorts, we were greeted with a cold and refreshing glass of fruit punch and lemonade upon or arrival at the front desk for check in which again went as smoothly as before.  Once our suitcases were brought to our Deluxe room with a magnificent pool facing/ocean facing view, we prepared for dinner at one the 5 a-la-carte restaurants at this location.  Tonight, we decided to experience Japanese cuisine complete with sushi, sashimi, tempura, and a teriyaki steak entrée.  The evenings’ entertainment consisted of live music, followed by a performance that chronicled the history of Jamaican music from merengue to dancehall and everything in between.  After that, the dancefloor opened up and the more adventurous and energetic of us (namely our 22 year old adult daughter) spent the night at club, our 16 year old stayed in the room with the younger children giving us a chance to try our luck at the on site Casino.

    The next day began early with a full breakfast on the patio to replenish our energy, followed by an excursion through the Jamaican countryside to visit the Bob Marley Mausoleum in 9 Miles which is the birthplace and final resting place of the late great Reggae Music icon.  It was quite a fascinating place to learn about the early family life of the Robert Nesta Marley whose family maintains and curates the mausoleum.

    On our final day, we took the time to say goodbye to our home away from home for the duration of our trip, the fabulous RIU Ocho Rios.  We had just about enough time for one final excursion and ventured to the famous Duns River Falls where we got the chance to climb the falls and traverse the rocks, the rushing waters as it makes it way from higher elevations to the mouth of the river as it returns to the sea.  It was the experience of a lifetime which we all thoroughly enjoyed. 

    We bid Jamaica a fond adieu as our vacation had come to an end; however what I think we’ll miss most is our luxury 5 star accommodations provided by the RIU Montego Bay and the RIU Ocho Rios.  I can truly say that the staff of the RIU Hotels and Resorts took excellent care of our family and I thank them for going above and beyond in making sure our family trip to Jamaica was a joyous and memorable experience all round.  One day hopefully (and without the kids) we would love to experience the RIU Negril which we hear is fabulous.

    Written by Roger Grubb. Husband, and father of four kids. 

  • Sunday, February 26, 2017 1:07 PM | LWAB (Administrator)

    Our family (all 6 of us) embarked on a whirlwind trip to Jamaica for a 6 day getaway over the winter break.  Granted 6 days is hardly enough time to take in the many varied sights, sounds, tastes and thrills of this tropical paradise, but given the fact that we had to plan our activities to coincide with the winter school break as many parents with school aged children have to, we did our utmost to make sure we incorporated as many experiences as possible in the short amount of time we had. 

    Our family consists of my wife and myself, our adult daughter who is 22 years old, our teenage son who is 16 years old, our 9 year old daughter and our 7 year old son.  In planning what may be our last trip where we all travel together, we wanted to make sure that we found a resort that not only offered A-1 accommodations, but amenities and activates on the property that is engaging, enjoyable and entertaining for ALL of us.

    We had the opportunity to stay at the RIU Hotels and Resorts and boy, what an experience it was!  We split our time between the RIU in Montego Bay and the RIU in Ocho Rios and we received first class service at BOTH properties.

    Upon our arrival at the RIU Montego Bay on January 02, 2017, we were welcomed with a cold refreshing glass of fruit punch and lemonade while engaging with the attendant at the front desk who helped make the process a breeze.  The staff was knowledgeable, courteous and was willing to accommodate our request.  We arrived several hours earlier than the regular check-in time and no problem.  Our luggage was marked and brought up to our room once it was ready.  In the interim, we made our way to the Mobae Café where we enjoyed a lunch and started to unwind enjoy the scenery and the beautiful weather from the 2nd floor patio.  I was especially fond of the Red Strip on tap.

    After lunch and when our suitcase arrived, we changed and hit the beach, which was a mere 50 feet across a white sandy beach from the building housing our double room (again, family of 6) for a dip in the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.

    Although (or maybe because) we were in the section of the property designated for families, there was plenty to do.  From the kids club which entertained the younger ones in the clubhouse with crafts, activities, games and water fun in the shallow pool and poolside games.  Adjacent to the shallow pool, was the deeper pool with the customary swim up bar; which helped lift everyone’s spirits.  If lounging poolside soaking up the rays of the Jamaican golden sun is not to your taste, then how about poolside entertainment presented by the RIU staff or a relaxing massage at the Renova Spa?  Work up a sweat with an aerobic workout in a RIU Fit class or a game of beach volleyball? If you’re into watersports then there are activities galore from paddle boats, to wind surfing, to SCUBA diving (there is a certification course that’s offered to help to get you familiar with breathing with the equipment before you can be taken out into the ocean).  There are also Catamarans tours that takes you further out into to waters of the Caribbean Sea where it stops and the adventurous have opportunity to go snorkeling and see up close, the many and varied species of fish and coral that inhabit the waters of the Caribbean up close.

    The activities don’t end there, in addition to the Café’s, Grills, and Bars abound, the space is transformed at night for a-la-carte dining where depending on your taste (Steak, Chinese and Italian), you can enjoy fine dining before adjourning to the main stage and for nightly entertainment consisting of dancing, bands, choreography and more artfully presented by the entrainment staff of the RIU on a rotating basis to keep things fresh.  The entertainment team goes all out to make sure that the energy level is high and the guest truly enjoy themselves.  If that wasn’t enough, the dancefloor opens up and the resident DJ spins the latest hits until the wee hours of the night/morning to help you dance the night away.

    On this trip, we were able to take advantage of much of the properties on site amenities; however, we also wanted to venture out and experience more of the local culture.  Thanks to the on-site travel consultant, we were able to arrange several outside excursions effortlessly.  From the RIU Montego Bay we arranged an excursion to Montpelier in the hills of St. James parish where we engaged in a thrilling Zip Lining adventure through the trees and about 3,000 feet about sea level.  Wow….what a rush!

    From the resort, we arranged for a taxi (Neville was our driver) who took us to local open air seaside restaurant in nearby Hopewell where we enjoyed the most delicious and mouthwatering Escovitch fish dinner.  We selected the fish (a Red Snapper) which was freshly caught and it was cooked to perfection on the spot with locally grown herbs and spices to bring out the flavor and tasted in a word, delectable.

    Our stay at the RIU Montego Bay came to an end on January 4th, 2017 but resumed at the RIU Ocho Rios later that day.  As we drove onto the property in Ocho Rios with it majestic palm trees lining the long drive to the main building from the gate on both sides, we know we were entering into a world of tranquility.  The grounds, full of lush greenery, and meticulously manicured lawns and gardens was quite stunning by day but by night it is illuminated for romantic walks and picturesque backgrounds straight from a postcard.  

    Written By Roger Grubb, Husband and Father of 4.

  • Wednesday, February 22, 2017 9:13 AM | claire (Administrator)

    So your little one is still not nighttime potty trained and it's causing you some stress. Well, the important thing to think about here is that Kids Have Stress Too. And unless there is a medical concern, you should not be stressing out about this AT ALL!

    Consider this: Did you know that 15% of kids aged five years old experience nighttime wetting?

    While you may be feeling some stress because you think your child "should" be nighttime trained, know that the best thing you can do is to be supportive and let go of any pressure. Your little ones can feel your anxiety about it which may prolong the issue.

    Here are some things you can do manage the situation.

    1. Talk to your child's doctor. If your doctor is not concerned, you shouldn't be either, until the child is at least eight years old.

    2. Manage the situation. Your child needs to be dry and comfy at night to sleep well. You need them to sleep well so that you sleep well too. No reason for you both to be waking up throughout the night when your child's body is not yet ready

    3. Understand some of the stressors that may be affecting your child's bedwetting. If your child who was trained at night is suddenly wetting the bed again, it can be due to some change to routine. Did they recently start school, did you move, was there a significant change at home?

    Here are some tips from GoodNites to help you and your little one manage. 

  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017 3:52 PM | LWAB (Administrator)

    I’ve only been a mother for five months. But I already feel like I’ve changed so much as a person. The lessons I’ve learned in this short time could fill a book.

    I know what you’re thinking. Talk to me when you potty train, send your kid to school, or he talks back to you. I haven’t experienced any of those things yet (the last one, I hope I never have to). And I’m sure when I do, the lessons I learn could fill subsequent books!

    Still, each day I experience something new – the first time my baby smiled, grabbed my finger or rolled over. I’ve battled sleep deprivation, missed meals, missed showers and zero privacy or “me time.”

    Being a mother has taught me how to be unselfish and put someone else’s needs before my own; laugh when I feel like crying; and not to sweat the small stuff. The laundry didn’t get done today? A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to sleep, staying up until it was done. Now I know that tomorrow is another day, and another chance to tackle that task.

    But above all else, being a mother has taught me patience. And this virtue is one that I can honestly say I’ve lacked all of my life. I recall as a kid, teenager, and even young adult, my mom would always warn me to have patience. I’d be in line at the grocery store, begging my mom to open the chocolate bar we had yet to pay for so I could eat it now. “Patience,” she’d say. “The chocolate bar isn’t going to disappear.”

    As a teen, I would scarf down dinner because I was in a hurry to meet friends. “Patience,” my mom would say. “Eat slowly. Your friends can wait.”

    And as a young adult, I’d be driving over the speed limit, in a rush to get to wherever I was going. My mom, in the passenger seat, would put her hand on my arm and say, “Patience. If you’re late, it’s not the end of the world.”

    I didn’t understand back then why she would always remind me that my lack of patience would be a huge obstacle for me later. I know now.

    Those days when my baby kept me up all night, I needed patience the next day so that I could properly care for him.

    The times when he spit up all over both of us, I needed patience as I cleaned us up.

    And I also need to be patient as he learns new things. He can finally roll over with support, but it took him weeks to get there. He’s now learning how to eat solids. I obviously can’t rush him through a meal. It takes him time to eat each bite, and I relish each of those tiny spoonfuls he takes.

    As a mother, I appreciate my own mom more than ever. The challenges she faced and experiences she had are ones that I couldn’t understand until I went through them on my own. And it heartens me to say that I’ve finally learned the one thing she was always trying to teach me.

    By Suzanne Yar Khan

    Suzanne Yar Khan blogs about her adventures as a mom in her spare time. Visit for more. 

  • Monday, February 06, 2017 9:52 AM | LWAB (Administrator)

    When I found out I was expecting my first child, I had no idea how important breastfeeding would become to me. I knew very little about it, no one in my family had breastfed. My grandma told me once she didn’t "believe in it," as though it were Santa Claus. But as all new mothers do, I read all the baby books to educate myself the best I could for our impending bundle of joy. I learned, to my surprise, that apparently "breast was best" and that was an actual saying! My midwife backed this up telling me all the benefits of breast milk and all the wonderful things it can do. So I decided to be blindly optimistic and take a leap of faith, I also secretly stocked up on formula samples.

    I swear my son was born hungry. At a whopping 8.10 pounds, he came into this world via c-section and immediately tried to latch onto my face while the doctors were stitching me up. I remember thinking how natural breastfeeding seemed, and I remember wondering how anyone had a hard time doing this- it was so easy! Ha!

    Fast forward to about a week later when we had our first check-up at the midwife office. My midwife told me that my son had dropped a dangerous amount of weight, in fact, if he lost any more weight he might have to be hospitalized. I was devastated. I felt like I had unintentionally failed my newborn. I couldn’t believe my body was letting me down. After a brief sobbing meltdown in the car I called everyone and anyone who might be able to help. Doctors, Lactation consultants, etc. I joined every breastfeeding group on Facebook; I read every article; I went to meet-ups. The more knowledgeable I became, the more determined I was to make this work. And so it started. I threw out my secret formula stash and became a passionate advocate for something I had known nothing about only a few months earlier.

    After parading my son from appointment to appointment we learned, we were dealing with a variety of issues: lazy latch, cracked nipples, low milk supply, overactive letdown, the list goes on. For months I tried everything recommended: pumping, prescriptions, supplements, lactogenic foods and even donated milk. By six months I was exhausted, mentally and physically. I obsessed over my son’s weight constantly; I found myself googling wet nurses at 3 am! My bewildered family watched all of this unfold and “not so gently” suggested I try formula. I scoffed their ideas many times before, but this time, I was defeated. My well-meaning grandmother dropped off some formula at the house, and I made up a bottle. Before I knew it our breastfeeding journey was over. Again I felt like a complete failure. And yet…so relieved. Being exclusively responsible for a tiny human’s substance is a major responsibility, and to be honest, I wasn't handling it very well.

    When I found out I was expecting again, I immediately began to have anxiety about breastfeeding. Why? I was much more knowledgeable, I had all the tools to be successful this time, but I couldn’t shake the feeling.

    Ready or not, 19 months after giving birth to our son we welcomed our daughter. It wasn't long before I found myself falling back into my old pattern of daily weigh-ins and the flurry of lactation appointments. The doctors weren't concerned about her weight - but I was. I was becoming consumed with it. When she didn't settle immediately, my first thought was "she's starving, I don't have enough milk." This was the only way I knew how to breastfeed – with worry. My mental health was taking a toll.

    I wish I could say I had a very clear "A-HA" moment, but I didn't. Somewhere along the line, I came to the realization I had to stop my anxious behaviour. I was missing out on so many sweet moments with my daughter, who may realistically be my last baby. I still have to remind myself of this daily; it’s still something I am working on. Despite what the books said, I realized that ultimately "fed is best." Formula is amazing. It saves babies lives when a mom can’t (or chooses not to) breastfeed. It wasn’t the enemy I was making it out to be. I wish I had realized with my son that I could both breastfeed and give formula. It didn’t have to be all or nothing. I don’t believe this option is presented enough to new moms.

    My baby girl is four months old now, and we are still exclusively breastfeeding. My goal is to make it to one year. We are facing many of the same challenges we did with our son so we may not make it. Not exclusively anyways, and that's okay.

    Breastfeeding is hard. It might be the hardest thing I have ever done. I am hoping by sharing my story I might offer some peace to another mom who is up searching for answers at 3 am.

    Whether a baby is formula-fed or breastfed all that matters is that their tummy is full. 

  • Monday, January 30, 2017 2:28 PM | claire (Administrator)

    If I had to choose just one place to recommend all Canadians visit it would be Newfoundland. Newfoundland's beauty cannot be summed up in a few words. You will feel the strength of the Long Range Mountains, and the depth of the fjords. You will breathe in the rugged beauty of the water crashing against the rocky shores. You will soak in the bustle of St. John's and sigh as you walk along Jelly Bean Row. But most importantly you will feel at once at home wherever you are in Newfoundland and with whomever you speak. Because at the core of what makes Newfoundland such an amazing place is it's people. If what you are looking for is relaxation go somewhere else but if you want adventure, to explore something new and exciting, to see mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, to stand in the spot where Canada begins & ends all at once. Go to Newfoundland.

    This was our crazy Itinerary, we only 7 days and wanted to see as much as possible. I'd recommend 10 days if you were doing this trip, or if you are adventurous and your kids are good travelers you can do what we did. 

    With this itinerary, you're hitting several of the top tourist destinations without having to spend too much time driving each day. It also helps to be staying in the one area for more than one night so you don't always have to pack up and leave again!


    Day 1 - Exploring St. John's

    We stayed at the beautiful Sheraton St. Johns, which had some great restaurants, walking distance to one of the largest kids playground and splash pad I've ever seen, and a great pool.  This was the view from our room.   Stunning, yes?

    Begin the day with brunch at one of the many local restaurants with kid friendly menus like Bagel Café, Blue on Water, or Smitty's. 

    Visit some of the main tourist attractions the oldest City in North America has to offer like; Signal Hill, The Rooms Museum, The Basilica Cathedral, Commissariat Provincial Historic Site, Johnson Geo Centre and the Railway Coastal Museum, or the MUN Botanical Gardens.  We chose Signal Hill. My recommendation is to go in the later part of the day so you can view stunning sunsets.  

    In the evenings the Ghost of the Hill Series run, where you can join the dashing Lieutenant Ranslaer Schuyler by lamplight inside the historic Queen’s Battery Barracks on Signal Hill. Step inside, take your seat, and prepare for the thrills and chills as local lore and legends unfold.  At the end of the stories the cannons go off. We walked around the area, the other lieutenant that was outside told us some history of the area. I recommend the full activity for families without little ones, but the modified version worked really well for us. 

    About 10 minutes away from Signal Hill is Petty Harbour, where you can visit the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium which has several touch tanks so the kids can actually hold many different sea creatures.  This is a small aquarium but it is worth the visit. The best part is that all the fish are caught in the spring and then released back to the ocean in the fall.   Have you ever seen a blue or gold lobster?  We did! 

    After Petty Harbour, continue driving until you reach Cape Spear which is the most Easterly Point in North America.  Standing in the spot was such an amazing feeling. I think the best part was that we did it as a family.  The weather changes quickly here so you'll want to have your winter stuff in the car just in case :).  When we left St. John's we were in shorts. 


    Day 2 - The Irish Loop


    The boat tours in Bay Bulls or Witless Bay is said to be one of the best whale watching and puffin viewing areas in the Province.  We did a tour with O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours. Matthew was our guide and he did a fantastic job of keeping us entertained throughout the tour.  We didn't see any whales but learning about the puffins and seeing them up close was awesome! They were much smaller than I anticipated. 

    In the afternoon we visited the Cape Race Lighthouse which has one of the most powerful lights in the world.


    Day 3 - Trinity Bay

    We drove approximately 3 hours (270kms) Northwest to Trinity
    where we visited some of the local historic attractions like the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Cooperage, the Green Family Forge, The Hiscock House Provincial Historic Site, The Mercantile Building Provincial Historic Site. It's a very small village but was worth the visit, as we wanted to explore as much of Newfoundland as possible.

    On our way we saw a sign for Dungeon Provincial Park, how could we not do a detour.  We spent much of the time exploring the area which is fascinating. If you are lucky the horses will stop by and visit you.  

    After exploring around the park we went drove around the air and visited the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse - Provincial Historic Site. 

    We rented through Airbnb for our accommodations as there are only a few Bed & Breakfasts in this area and they were all sold out. 

    Day 4 - Twillingate


    We really wanted to see icebergs so we drove  about 4 hours (310kms) to Twillingate (The Iceberg Capital of the World) just in case there were any sightings, but alas they were all melted.  

    Even though we didn't see any icebergs it was absolutely worth the drive though because this area is stunning! Very rugged and beautiful.  The food was amazing! Some of the freshest fish and chips and other fish dishes I ever had was from here. 

    In the evening we took a blanket and dinner down by the beach (mostly rocks) and listened to the water crashing against the shore.   We rented through Airbnb again and I cannot tell you how accommodating and lovely our hosts where.  They set up a bonfire for us on the beach. My daughter collects seaglass and when the host found out she gave my daughter her collection.  

    There is lots to do in this small town such as the Beothuk Interpretation Centre Provincial Historic Site, the Long Point Lighthouse, the Moreton's Harbour Museum, the Twillingate Museum, or any of the local walking trails

    If you are able to, consider taking a day trip to Fogo Island and Change Islands (this is where you will see the Newfoundland Pony Refuge), it's only an hour drive east to Farewell where you can catch the ferry.  


    Day 6 - Gros Morne National Park

    Our last leg of the trip! We drove about 4.5 hours (426kms) to Rocky Harbour which is at the beginning of  Gros Morne National Park.

    We spent the afternoon taking the spectacular Western Brook Pond Boat Tour through the glacial fjords in the Park. This is a must!  

    Some other options in the area are: the Bonne Bay Marine Station, the Cow Head Lighthouse, the Jacob A. Crocker House, the Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, the Mattie Mitchell National Historic Site, etc. OR visit some of the local sandy beaches along the coast (some options include Shallow Bay near Cow Head or the beach located in Trout River - which happens to be located next to an excellent seafood restaurant)


    Day 7 - Gros Morne National Park / Corner Brook


    We spent the morning exploring the  Tablelands Trail (this trail is very easy for beginner hikers and children as it's only 2 hours to complete and isn't extremely elevated), it's one of the most unique trails in the Park

    We spent the rest of the day relaxing and preparing to head to Port Aux Basque where we would board the ferry and make out back to to Nova Scotia.

    Newfoundland, we cannot wait to see you again. 

  • Wednesday, January 25, 2017 9:07 PM | Sandy (Administrator)

    Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day, an initiative from Bell Canada to raise awareness on mental health.

    It would make sense I write something.

    I’ve been living with chronic depression since childhood, probably as early as 7 or 8 years old, but not formally diagnosed until 15 years old.

    You could say I’ve lived with depression most of my life, and that it’s a part of who I am, what makes me the person that you know as Sandy.

    I don’t discuss it openly on social media, not because I don’t want to, or that I’m ashamed of it. If someone asked me about it, I’m more than open to discuss what I go through. I think a part of me doesn’t regularly post about my condition is because I don’t want sympathy. The type where people look at you differently, as if you are substandard of a human being. I also don’t post openly when I’m suffering a relapse because most people would have a very tough time understanding how is it that I’m in the deepest of depression at the moment, and yet I’m telling jokes and making others laugh? Naturally, people assume that if you’re in depression, then you can’t function. Most importantly, I don’t post because, sometimes, I just don’t need ignorant bullshit from people.  

    The problem, for someone like myself that’s lived with depression for such a long time, is that you learn to adapt, and you become a high functioning chronically depressed human being. Most people don’t know when I’m suffering a relapse, even my own mother, whom was the first to understand that it was not normal for a child to cry for no reason at all, and when I was formally diagnosed, she did not shy away nor ignore my illness. Today she has become somewhat out of tune when I’m relapsing, because most of the times I just work through it on my own.

    For those of you that might have wondered why I’d been MIA for a couple of months with writing, well, that’s because I’ve been in relapse.

    What does it feel like?

    First of all, please don’t take my experience as the standard for everyone else. I’m not a medical professional, but I know myself well enough to recognize when I’m relapsing, and have enough understanding to seek medical treatment on my own. Mental health is complex, because it affects everyone differently. The basis are the same, but once you get through the first level, then it becomes “customized”. What I go through is not what you might go through.

    For me, I’m 95% of the time able to function daily. You probably won’t notice much of a difference in my performance. But what goes on inside me, is a very challenging battle being fought, and the mental battle can sometimes be extreme and epic. The mere task of actually waking up in the mornings is a battle. There have been a few times where it took 45 mins just to brush my teeth. My stress levels are high because I’m trying to figure out in my brain if I should take the advice that are being presented in my depressive state or not. Is what I’m thinking logical because it really is logical, or if it’s depression pitching in and playing the part.

    The biggest cue for me to recognize I’m relapsing, is when I have “suicidal” thoughts. I’ve never hurt myself directly, but ideas come in a lot more aggressively. Thoughts like being injured or being diagnosed with something start floating in, and that’s my main check point of a relapse taking place. During my second pregnancy, I knew I’d relapsed hard because the thought of aborting my fetus came, and I recognized that it was not a normal thought I was having, so I had my doctor help and we monitored me while taking an anti-depressant during pregnancy and 6 months postpartum.

    My brain is in chaos and it hurts when I’m relapsing. The best way I can explain is that my brain is full of junk, and I’m trying to sort it and put it into order, but I can’t because my concentration is severely compromised. This is one of the biggest reasons why I hadn’t written for a while, not because I have nothing to say, I have plenty of thoughts, but because those thoughts are so damn hard to put out, it’s like trying to translate into a different language when you absolutely suck at the language you’re trying to translate into.

    Even writing this piece at the moment, is pretty tough, I’ve thought about throwing in the towel on it many times today, since 10:00am this morning, but I’m fighting hard to make sure I say something, because I know I have to. I need to.

    Bell Let’s Talk Day, thank you for raising awareness. Let’s continue to work on wiping out the stigma of mental health.

    I’m gonna reward myself with a box of cookies now for actually having finished writing this.

    And yes, weight fluctuations is also a factor when I’m relapsing…

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