Monday, September 26, 2011

Protecting your pictures online

As most of you know, we have recently learned a hard lesson about protecting the pictures we post online. Especially when it comes to our child. But, I do not need to rant more than I have already about that. :)

So current personal bias aside about facebook, the honest truth is that when it comes to sharing your life with loved ones that are far away (like the growth of a baby, or your holiday adventures etc), facebook is probably indeed the best place to reach everyone. 

So if you are going to post pictures online, I have recently learned that one very easy way to protect yourself and your pictures, is to watermark them.  You see photographers do this all the time... but the great thing is, you really don't have to be a pro to do it.  There are some fantastic (free) online resources that you can watermark your photography in minutes. Minutes that are worth the effort, believe me.

Check it out.

A click of a few upload buttons, and you get a safe and subtle watermark that ensures images are protected if some crazy wacko chooses to try and pass your child off as their own.

On a happier note, here are some photos we took on Sunday as a family at Springridge Farm. An outing to celebrate the beginning of our favourite season - FALL! Watermarked of course!

Corn Maze
 So many pumpkins to choose from... and sit on.
 Of course these warty ones were Rory's favourite
 Walking the corn maze
 Lessons from daddy about corn
 pumpkin in a tub!
 First pony ride!
 puppet show!
 Yay for fall, and funny puppets!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fifteen Months

Fifteen months old already!  And such a handsome little monkey isn't he?

For his 15 month birthday Rory is learning how to FaceTime all of you on his daddy's iphone. (Which is a common theme in his endeavors lately). So expect a crank call shortly.

Happy Friday!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Apples

It was a beautiful weekend here in Toronto. We decided to soak up this Indian Summer weather by checking out a local apple farm.  If you live in the Toronto area and have never been to Chudleigh’s... Like us, you have been seriously missing out. 

Complete with a petting zoo, hay wagon rides,  a country bbq, a giant straw maze and play slides, nature walks and over 100 acres of different kinds of apples that you can pick your own, sample, or just wander through. It is an amazing fall weekend just waiting to happen.  

And you seriously have to taste their pies. And I don’t even really like pie.
I have already made homemade apple sauce and apple muffins! Yum.

Rory went nuts for a real life sheep!!!
 Way too exciting! 
You could actually get right inside with the animals, 
which we did, but I didn't take pictures,
because I was afraid the animals would eat my son. Or vise versa.
It was a hay of a good time! 
Awesome nature walks

Look at all these apples!
I like the low hanging fruit. 

I am going to eat this? Can I eat it?

Yum! Best apple ever!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Additions to our house and family

So we have two very exciting things to share!  We've begun preparations to add an addition onto our home and to our family!    I don't know if Peter and I will ever live in a brand new home... But I'll be honest sometimes I dream about it... Until then, we are loving the character/charm/challenge of making a space that was created almost 100 years ago feel like our own.

Before the snow flies, we are going to be proud new owners of a masterful new master bedroom.  Now if only I can convince my husband before the room is ready that King size beds do not in fact cause divorces, but instead create the most peaceful slumber ever! :)

If you look at the plan below, that back room doesn't currently exist. 

And eventually will look something like this from the outside.
And in even MORE exciting news and thus the reason we are going to soon run out of space in our home.   Rory is going to be a big brother!!! We are also adding an addition to our family!

We are extremely excited to officially be announcing that our little plum is due March 29th and had his/her first official photo yesterday...

Personally, I am also extremely excited not to be pregnant during the summer months,  and a March baby sounds just about perfect to me.

TGIF & Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's going to be 8 degrees tommorrow night - A Summer Wrap Up!

As I shopped for fall and winter clothes for Rory this afternoon, it really hit me that summer has come to an end. Where did the summer months go?  I feel like they are a blur of - mommy back to work, daddy back to work and daycare drama.  Aside from that, it's been a great summer for our family and we're looking forward to the fall and winter in our cozy home.  Lots of new adventures ahead!

Here are a few pictures from Rory's babycation in Almonte at the beginning of September as a summer wrap up! Six days away was hard for us all... but we all made the most if it and Rory had a fantastic time.

Exploring Gramma's backyard and awesome gardens

Fun with cousin Nate
Hanging around with cousin Jenna
Story-time with Grumpa
River walk with Gramma
Birthday celebrations for Stephanie with Nate & Jenna
 And a Shaughnessy family brunch on the way through Peterborough
Four generations of Shaughnessy's present...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Daycare – take two

It’s like deja vu.  It’s the hard part all over again. This morning we dropped Rory off at a brand new daycare in the Distillery District here in Toronto. I drove to work with the same gut wrench that I felt only a month ago when we did this the first time around.  I just feel so bad for our little guy. How many kids have to be transitioned to two daycares within two months? And possibly a third time if he goes back to the original daycare.  This daycare strike really is awful.

Ironically, before we found out that we got into the daycare in my husband’s building, the Distillery Daycare out of all the ones we looked at, was always our first choice.  It’s bright, safe, has awesome space and curriculum, and is extremely well run.   The only issue is... Right now the space Rory is in, is in the infant room until they can find space for him in the toddler room.  On paper, he is still an infant.  Children are considered infants until they are 18 months at most daycares, but just recently they transitioned all of their 15-16 month olds into their toddler room. So Rory’s room is filled with 9-12 month olds and baby toys. This is a significant difference to the toddler only program he was in at the other daycare.  He was the youngest there, and learning from all the older toddlers.  In the infant program at the Distillery, none of the babies are walking, none of them are talking...

Rory was running circles around these kids this morning.  Literally.

It broke my heart. And I also couldn’t help but feeling he was going to be totally bored and under-stimulated... Which means not learning. :(

I had a very healthy conversation with the program director about an hour ago, and she seemed to totally understand my concerns, she assured me that the staff will make sure Rory gets tons of one on one time, and that they will be bringing toddler toys from the half day room for him to play with.  She also walked me through some of the daily activities like water play/finger painting etc... And that made me feel better... And she is doing everything she can to move him to a toddler space.


Every time something like this happens, I really wonder why I went back to work at all?  I never thought I would say this, but after almost five months back at work, I truly would rather be at home.  Sure I would need to supplement my day/routine with things that stimulated me, maybe start my own business... But I actually do believe as a mom, I should and want to be with my child.

Time to move? I think I should have a diary instead of a blog.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

You have got to be kidding me

At 5 months pregnant I was armed with daycare lists, ratings, questions and BOOKED appointments to review and wait list ourselves for the best of the best in our neighborhood and work vicinity.  At 6 months pregnant, Peter and I had toured over TEN daycares and were wait listed on a total of 14.  Once we had Rory I continued to search for childcare options and used my amazing mommy network to get ourselves set up in what we believed was a wonderful home daycare option.  Meanwhile, we stayed on all the wait lists for daycares. When Rory was 9 months, we added even more options to our list in preparation for my return to work and lack of response from our wait listed daycares.

In short,  I heeded ALL warnings that daycares, and the daycare waitlist process in Toronto is a total (pardon my mood), and utter shit show.

I was prepared.  More than prepared.  I am always prepared when it comes to my kid... And this is how I am rewarded?

In total we got into 5 daycares. Five of I don’t even know how many. We chose the one we’re in because of the proximity to my husband. He works in the building. Rory has been going to Waterpark Place Child Care Centre operated by George Brown since August.  It has been going extremely well. He loves it there, and the staff love him.  Which makes us as parents very happy and relaxed.

And then the Ontario College Support Workers went on strike and totally eff’d it all up.  

Honestly, I am so mad. More than mad actually.  I couldn’t actually care less what the hell OPSEU is talking about or what they want.  All I care about is my FOURTEEN MONTH OLD CHILD,  has no where to go.  Children thrive off consistency, structure and routine.  A daycare based on the founding principles of internationally acclaimed early childhood education research should know this.  They should have given us options.  We should have been considered when “accommodations were being made”.    Just like many other parents in this city, we don't have family options to lean on for childcare support. It's me or my husband.

So we don't feel considered. We don't feel heard. We don't even feel like anyone cares. They threw the baby out with the bathwater.

 We aren’t talking about college students, we’re talking about BABIES and KIDS.

So here is what I want.  I want you to get back to work and take your pay raise crap up at review time like the rest of the world. I have better things to do than look for another daycare.  Who is going to reimburse me for my time?  For my mom’s time?  Who is supposed to care that you have totally screwed with my kids schedule?

Honestly, I hope when these daycares reopen that all the parents have found other permanent solutions. 

And hopefully we’re one of them. I would like a real strong message given to you.  It’s not the staff’s fault. They are all very lovely and have loved my son.  But I need someone to be mad at. So OPSEU it’s you.  Get your head out of your ass and do something to help. Because right now... this is a total joke.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The babycation

We are childless in Toronto for the first time in 14 months and 13 days. AND IT FEELS SO WEIRD.

Yesterday in the late afternoon, Peter and I traveled back to Toronto from Almonte sans enfant. Our son Rory is staying in Almonte with his grandparents for his very first babycation.  A week in the Ottawa valley to run around in the fresh air, visit with family and friends, and continue to be spoiled rotten by his grandparents.  

My mom called me this morning to tell me that the little monkey didn’t get up until 7:45am and she opened the door to his room to be greeted by laughter and jumping in his crib. He’s clearly having a terrible time.

Leaving him for a full week wasn’t an easy decision.  Peter and I hummed and hawed about it for a couple of weeks before we actually committed to the idea.  Could we do it? Would Rory be able to do it? The decision was largely driven by it being a short week post labour day, and that we have a wedding next weekend that also requires a road trip east that will have us leaving the city on Friday morning.  Why trek him back and forth twice?  And the wedding starts at 6pm, so we wouldn’t be bringing him anyway. Oh and my mom has been asking forever to keep him for a week. So why not?

And of course sealing the deal was a very unlucky coincidence that Rory’s daycare (run by the ECE at George Brown) is on strike. God help us if this goes on longer than this week.

The pin drop silence in our home last night gave Peter and I very restless sleep. Getting up and only having to get ourselves showered and dressed was also super odd. The house feels different. Less of a home, given we have only really lived there for 10 days in total without Rory.  Life just doesn't feel normal.  Funny eh?  In  many ways I think being at HOME without your child is very different than going on VACATION and leaving your child with someone.  This is his space. And he's not here. That's weird and lonely to be honest.

But... enough of that!!  Time to buck up baby! We decided on our morning commute that as much as we miss the little guy, we're going to make the most out of our "couple" days again and we're heading out for a long over due date night tonight! Heck, maybe we will even use the movie gift certificates that have been in my wallet for over a year! If you have restaurant suggestions, let us know!

Until then... our child is enjoying all kinds of things that don't happen here at home. Like...

Eating potato chips at uncle Adam's
Sitting on dirt bikes
Hanging out on Gramma and Grumpa's tire swing with his cousins