Thursday, February 19, 2015

Please Let Elijah's Parents Grieve in Peace

A precious little boy has died, in the most unimaginable way. 

A horrible tragedy has ended his short life at only 3 years old. 

Elijah's mother won't be able to rock her sweet boy to sleep or see him grow up. 

She'll have to say goodbye and find a way to move on through life without a piece of her. She'll look for signs he's with her, she'll celebrate holidays and birthdays and feel lost without him for the rest of her life.  

And every day she'll wish it had been her who had died and not her beautiful son. 

The mood was frantic and hopeful but as we began to learn more about how Elijah opened the door and left the building, I saw the shift on social media for answers and finding someone or something to blame. "How could the grandmother have let this happen?" "Was the door locked?" "How come he wasn't safe?" even "how can I keep my child safe" leads to blame. It insinuates that he wasn't safe or that someone didn't do all that they could to keep him from an unimaginable accident.


Almost four years ago, I lost my three year old in a completely different way. I also searched for answers and someone to blame. There isn't a day that goes by that Zack doesn't also cross my mind. NOT ONE. What could I have done differently? Would Zack still be here if I had just gone to the hospital sooner, pushed more or earlier for answers, insisted on one more test or if he had gone into cardiac arrest during the daytime when the hospital would have been full?

I know that while we might feel connected to Elijah, he is not "our son".  This heartbreaking story had us following closely on social media and compelled to want to know the what and the how, it is none of our business. We need to let this broken family grieve without the media pointing fingers or questioning their judgement or parenting. This is their goodbye, not ours. This family, these parents, this grandmother will be forever haunted by guilt, the "what ifs" and "if onlys".

As a grieving mother myself, I feel like I want to protect Elijah's own mother from the scrutiny and ask you not to look for someone to blame or a way that this tragedy could have been prevented. While the generousity of people wanting to help is demonstrated in the funds that have been set up for Elijah's funeral, is overwhelming, do we know they want this? Do they want to be in the public eye more than they already have been? Do they now feel obligated to do a bigger or public service so "WE" can grieve too? Do they want strangers contact them now? Many parents who lose there children simply choose a very private way to say goodbye. I'm very worried that the new fundraising efforts puts far too much pressure on parents who lost their son less than 24 hours ago. This family has just had to go back to their child's room to see where he slept, smell his clothes and see his toys. Their heart is broken is a thousand different ways.

What you can do, in honour of this precious boy, is say a prayer for his family and hope that they slowly heal in time and with privacy and respect. 

Most of all, you can spend a few extra minutes, hugging your own children very tight.

**Elijah's mother, Georgette Marsh, has sent a statement and thanked the supporters for the outpouring of generousity for the donations and prayers.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Full House and other Binge-Worthy Shows for Kids on Netflix

It all started when Jayden was home sick for two days and we searched through Netflix to find the perfect "comfort" show to entertain him while he rested in bed. We came across the first three seasons of Full House and started our adventure back in time.
Working from home while watching with one eye on the screen, I was totally transformed back to the 80s with my big hair, my shoulder pads (totally rocked the DJ Tanner look) and my mad crush on John Stamos. I can't even tell you how excited I was when we flipped through the episodes and saw Scott Baio was an old band mate of "Uncle Jesse"!
It didn't take long for both boys to get hooked and even start using some of the lines from the show! Jayden's new line is "have mercy" thanks to Uncle Jesse and Ty has been practicing "cut it out" like Joey does in several shows. Beyond the funny one-liners and Jesse's love of all things Elvis, there's an amazing story about a man and his kids trying to rebuild their lives after the death of his wife. By enlisting the help of her brother and his best friend, what happens is a celebration of family, in all forms. Not a traditional family but a loving one. They support each other and co-parent through the ups and downs of childhood. They laugh and cry together through the teen years and they learn about relationships as they each find a partner, who joins the family too. 

There are life lessons to learn from and discuss with your own kids like when DJ was accused of drinking at a party and her Dad worries if he can trust her. Stephanie suffers post-traumatic stress after an earthquake and who could forget the fights over sharing a room, the annoying Kimmy Gibler and discussions about DJs first pimple! Just after the episode when Michelle lost her memory, after a horrible fall, I even had to show the kids how Michelle grew up to be the multi-millionaires-of-their-fashion-empire twins, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.
Michelle Tanner? My how you grew up!

The boys are totally hooked like never before and I've caught both boys watching as soon as they wake up in the morning before school!  Jayden even screamed when he heard that Netflix Canada added more episodes just this weekend! Our nephew is now watching Full House too and texted Jayden telling him that it's "just like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" LOL...I think he meant that it was retro!
 
Think this is the only family-friendly show that they kids will love to watch? No way...here are more Netflix binge-worthy shows for the kiddos;

Retro TV Shows
Full House
AFV (America's Funniest Videos) 
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Bewitched (our next binge)
The Magic School Bus (educational and fun for the kids)
 
Netflix Exclusives
All Hail King Julien
The Adventures of Puss in Boots
Dragons: Dawn of the Dragon Racers
Mako Mermaids: An H2O Adventure  


Disclosure: Yay! I am part of the Netflix stream team for year 2 (#StreamTeam) and have received product and a subscription to Netflix in exchange for writing monthly posts.  Already a huge Netflix fan, this is a pretty sweet deal!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Celebrating Families in Ontario

This weekend is Family Day in Ontario and like many other families, we will be spending the day having fun and making memories together. Since only six provinces celebrate this day set aside for families, we feel very blessed to live in one of them. 
You know what else makes Ontario amazing? 
  
Celebrating diverse cultures, raising kids in multicultural communities, embracing differences, empowering people so that they can find employment, supporting our sports teams (even through all the losses) and exposing its citizens to the arts and culture that make up this province, are only a few reasons why we love living here. 

Best of all, Ontario believes in families, not only through Family day, but in a new, very important way that is close to my heart. The Wynne government continues to put families first with their latest budget and promises to provide additional support for people in this province who want to become parents. The Liberal Government is expanding coverage of infertility services for one cycle of in vitro fertilization per patient per lifetime for all causes of eligible infertility. Yay, right? Enhancing coverage makes infertility services more affordable, accessible and equal and increases access to more than 4,000 additional patients annually. Couples who have been trying to get pregnant, now have one more option to become parents. This is exciting news for all Ontarians!


Here's what you need to know about Ontario's new policy;
  •  In Ontario, we now have a commitment to funding IVF with single embryo transfer (SET). 
  • The government has pledged $50 million to build the IVF funding program, scheduled to start this year.
  • IVF funding with SET (Single Embryo Transfer) is a policy supported by many experts including the SOGC (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada). 
  • Single embryo transfer gives the best possible health outcome for mother and baby. Multiple birth babies carry greater lifetime health care costs. Public funding coupled with SET saves money.
  • Conceivable Dreams has been instrumental in making this policy a reality and continues to support couples and advise the Ontario government so that families continue to come first!
With the help of incredible groups like Conceivable Dreams, I hope that there are a lot more families celebrating Family Day in the next few years!

For more information, follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter.  Have any questions on Ontario's new IVF program? Check this post

*Disclosure: I am honoured to share our story of IVF as a valued and compensated member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team.

When paint on the walls is more than it seems

Since Zack died, almost four years ago, his room has always held a special place in our family. At times the door was closed, but slowly we felt comforted being surrounded by his things and our memories. We could picture ourselves back in those days when we paced the floor with him, put all three kids in his crib to read or giggle, gave his GTube feeds and where we spent most nights together. Zack woke up through the night every night and stayed up for hours. At first the twins were together in the room, in separate cribs, but when Jayden was too big for the crib, we moved him in with Ty and Zack got his own room.  

It was the room where I'd walk the floor bouncing him to get him back to sleep. If that didn't work, we'd rock for another hour in the glider, while I hummed the Elmo song (one night he even slapped me when I stopped singing!). If that didn't work, I'd turn on Elmo's World on the tv and VCR in his room (I had ordered a billion videos on EBay), so he could watch for an hour while I dozed in the chair. This was HIS room and OUR room each night. 

We realized around this time two years ago, that it was time to move Jayden out of Ty's room and into Zack's old room. That by taking photos and by repurposing the crib into shelves and a headboard (my amazing Dad's handywork), it would be okay to make this change. The bed was set up and Jayden's things had taken the place of all the Elmo accessories, but we just weren't ready to paint.  We had been procrastinating about painting over the crayon drawings for the last two years, even as Jayden put some rock posters over one wall, we weren't ready. 
Jayden's First Night in his new room
Those were crayon drawings that had been inspired one late night when Zack wasn't sleeping. I drew "Zackie's World" and roughed in the window, shade, drawer and Dorothy the goldfish that all made up the set on Elmo's World (his favourite show). I had even bought the bedding for Zack's last Christmas and it was going to be an amazing room for him. But the room was never completed.

Grief is such a crazy ride. There are days where you feel like moving on and changing things is exactly the right thing to do but then there are times where you want time to stand still and never change at all. The fear that change might lead to forgetting the person you love, is paralyzing at times.

Just before the paint went on
One day I decided to spontaneously call to a painter (the boyfriend of a girl I used to babysit for) and it just felt like this was the right person and the right time for this big step.  We began the final transition to a really special room for Jayden, one that he truly has been waiting for and fully deserves. 

Thankfully, I was at work while the painting was completed and when I walked up the stairs and saw it for the first time, I was emotional. I was sad but also so happy that we had taken one more step in our journey through grief, happy that we had done this for Jayden and happy that I could still picture EXACTLY where each sketch was, under that new paint.  

As I snuggled in with my rock star and looked around the room, I looked around and remembered where all those words, especially "Mommy misses you", and other drawings had been. I knew then that my memory would keep those alive for ever.

"I wish I could scratch off that paint over there, Mommy and see those words you wrote for Zackie and I wish I could see the drawing over here too. I miss my old walls". 

With a huge hug and a tear in my eye, I told Jayden that I loved that artwork too, but that it was time to paint the walls to make it special for him. I told him that I had taken photos of each and every section on those old walls and promised to print and frame them just for him.
Last night- new walls
I realized that I had been wrapped up in my own emotions about painting those walls and never recognized that perhaps I might not be the only one who needs to adjust to this new room.

Last night this room truly became Jayden's big boy room, but I know there is a sweet angel who will visit his twin from time to time just to hum the Elmo song where he used to sleep.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Top 5 Reasons to Bring your Family to Medieval Times PLUS ~ Giveaway~

UWhen I first heard about eating a meal with your hands, I never really had the desire to go to Medieval Times. I was only too happy to let Paul take Ty when he was little, never knowing exactly what I was missing.

Last year, I went to Medieval Times for the first time and I was BLOWN away! It was such much more than I ever thought. My boys loved it and kept asking us to go back to cheer on the Knights!  Luckily, we had the opportunity to take my parents to Medieval Times on the weekend and we are all STILL talking about the experience we had! 

We all raved about the experience all the way home, as I also replied to friends on social media. Many of them had never been but always wanted to take their kids. Since they all had similar questions, I wanted to share what I learned, with my readers. If you have never gone to Medieval Times, be sure to read these Top 5 reasons to take your families. If you've been before, check below for the latest promotions and a giveaway so you can go back to the Castle and make more memories together!


Here's our family's Top 5 Reasons to go to Medieval Times;


5. The show is non-stop entertainment. Similar to other dining theatres in that you eat while you watch but what sets this show about is that it is non-stop. From the King and Princess storyline to the falconer, there are several shows that make up the entire experience. Expect almost two hours of jousting, swordsmanship, thrilling hand-to-hand combat, displays of extraordinary horsemanship and falconry as part of an exciting yet touching story set in Medieval Spain.




4.  You will leave with a very full stomach. The first time I went, I wasn't expecting much of a meal, as I thought it was all about the show. I was very wrong. The food is incredible as all Medieval Times' noble guests feast on roast chicken, spare ribs, herb-crusted potatoes, garlic bread and dragon blood soup (tomato bisque), and apple pastry, bottomless pop and coffee or tea. A cash bar with Castle-themed drinks, beer or wine is also in the arena. Don't worry if you are a vegetarian, they have a meal for you too! I assure you, this experience has as much to do with a great meal as it does with an entertaining show!



3. The staff are incredible. Lovers of all things Medieval, the staff are truly in character throughout your visit. From the costumes to the British accents, you will truly feel transformed to a time long ago. Be sure to remember to tip your server (Wench) with what you think is fair for their hard work (approximately $5-$10 per person). My boys (and hubby) thought that calling "Hey Wench" to the server was pretty cool too!


2. There is so much more to do than just watch the show! The Castle doors open 75 minutes before the show time on your tickets and you will want every minute of that to explore the Castle and be sure to get the best seats (unless you upgrade, which I highly recommend!). Kids celebrating a birthday or milestone can have their own Knighting ceremony in the main court, you can explore the Torture Chamber (an additional $2 each but worth it), visit the majestic horses, explore the sword and shield collections, buy some souvenirs at the gift counters or have a special Castle cocktail as you wait for the doors to open! Be sure to join their email "King's Court" club so that you can receive a free birthday admission for a child, during their birthday week.


 
1. Making family memories you will never forget. You just can't put a price tag on these types of experiences with kids or even grandparents. Seeing our sons mesmerized by the entertainment is something I will always remember. Watching Ty explain what was coming next to his Poppa or even Jayden sitting next to his Nana while she got the 'Queen of the Tournament' sash from the Green Knight was a moment neither one will forget. 



Special Offers this February
Let's fill the pantry! Receive 50% off an Adult admission when you bring a non-perishable food item.What a great way to give back AND have a wonderful family experience! Code: FOODWEB


Receive $20off Adult Admission and $10off Child (12 and under) Admission when you use the code FEBWEB15


GIVEAWAY!!!!
I'm so excited to offer my readers a chance to experience Medieval Times with their families! One lucky winner will WIN 4 general admission tickets to the 
Toronto Castle!*





*Enter to win until February 28th, 2015. Four general admission tickets will be emailed to the winners and are valid until December 30, 2015. Winners can upgrade tickets at additional fees. Non-transferable and no cash value. Winners must be able to travel to Medieval Times in Toronto.

 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

5 Valentine's Day Gifts that Give Back

This month is all about the heart and love. Since I will always be a "Heart Mom", it's important to our family to give back during February in honour of Heart Month and Valentine's Day. The heart means something very special in our family, as our son Zack was born with a Congenital Heart Defect and received life-saving heart surgery when he was just 2 weeks old. Too sick to wait until he got bigger, on October 2nd, 2007 our littlest twin fought for his life during surgery and recovery.  In fact, after his surgery, his heart was too swollen to fit into his tiny body and his chest stayed open until it was safer to close the incision.   

Paul and I walked into the Cardiac Critical Care Unit at SickKids one morning, post-surgery, to see his exposed beating heart through clear tape.  If I had seen this on a tv show, I would have surely lost my appetite for the day...however, knowing that he had endured the surgery that would save his life and that we were witnessing this miracle with our own eyes was incredibly surreal and beautiful.
Our Brave Zackie AFTER Open Heart Surgery
Zack wore his "zipper" scar with pride for his 3 short years. I know that while some people might have stared when we were out at a waterpark or at swimming lesson, I was so proud of what that scar meant to us. That surgery gave us our son to love for 3 years. We had three years of memories because of that miracle at SickKids.
I know that our connection to Heart Month makes it extremely important for our family to give back in appreciation for Zack's life. While SickKids is our favourite way to celebrate Valentine's Day, I found some other incredible ways to donate, share love and help those in need this February.

Five Valentine's Gifts that Give Back


1. Sick Kids Foundation has set up some Heartfelt gifts to give to your children instead of candy, chocolate and stuffed animals.  For $20 you can provide Valentine's Day art supplies for children in the hospital or help monitor a child's heart saturation levels for $40. This could be a great classroom gift too!

2.  World Vision has such an amazing selection of items that you can purchase for a little as $30. We already loved their online catalogue from our Christmas donation, but why not use it for EVERY holiday or birthday? Warm winter clothing, mosquito nets or even a goat are gifts that help children in need around the world should be on everyone's Valentine's Day wish list.

3. Jewelery is a popular item to give at Valentine's Day, but did you know that Me to We has a Valentine's collection? Beautiful red beaded earrings, rafikis bracelets (friendship bracelets) and heart keychains are my favourites! Every bead and stitch of their products are handmade by mamas in Kenya, connecting you with her personal story. They also make an impact in a community overseas, improving livelihoods. There's even a lovely bonus! With any $75 purchase, you will also get a free heart keychain made by incredible women around the world.

4. How amazing are these cool shirts and accessories from Sevenly for your valentine? Shirts that say "Be Kind" or "Love" plus jewelery with beautiful messages. Wouldn't these make a lovely gift (hope Paul's reading this).

5. Support AIDS research, prevention and treatment on the ground. Every day over 650 babies are born with HIV. Yet with access to antiretroviral treatment, and with your help, we can prevent the transmission of the virus from moms to babies. Without it, 50% of babies will die before their second birthday. Through your purchases on the (RED) Shop site, you can make a difference to those infected with HIV and AIDS. Adorable tshirts, Jonathan Alder candles, and tons of Apple products are just some of the choices on this all RED site.


I hope this has inspired you to give those you love a special gift from the heart.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Day I Told Our Kids They Were IVF Babies

For eleven years, I've dreamed of the day that I could tell our boys just how much they were wanted. 

That we wanted to be parents so much that we took our savings and went to the doctors to do anything and everything we could to create our children.  

That they were the result of a year of testing, months of heart ache and weeks of injections, ultrasounds and visits to the clinic.  

That they were IVF miracles.
Around dinner time one night, a silly conversation was inspired by listening to the old skool classic "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" by Jemaine Stewart. It didn't take long for the chat to become what was required for a mom and dad to have a baby (S-E-X), 

I'm not sure why I thought that after 11 years, THIS was the right moment to share the important news I'd been saving for a special discussion, but I went for it.

"Having sex isn't the only way that moms and dads can have a baby, you know.  You know how I've told you that Daddy and I had to go to see special doctors to have you? Well, Some babies are born by something called in vitro. They take the sperm from the dad and the egg from the mom and mix it together in a dish, then they put it back into the mom so it can become a baby. Did you  know that that's how you guys were created."

"So you and Dad never had sex?" asked Jayden.

"Well, we have, but not to have you boys".

"So, the doctors made us?" asked Jayden.

"No, Daddy I made you, but the doctors helped us. We couldn't have had you without their help. We prayed and wished for you guys for a long time and we were really lucky we got pregnant!"

I don't remember exactly when the conversation went south or what triggered it but they both started laughing, giggling and calling each other "petri dish robots".

I literally stood in the kitchen while this was going on around me.  As I tried to get dinner in the oven, I felt mixed emotions of overwhelming relief that I had told them and disappointment that they didn't seem to realize the true miracles that they are. 

I asked the boys about how they felt about being IVF miracles. Jayden said he felt really special and Ty said it made him feel like a cyborg.

Well, as totally honest and hilarious as their reactions were, it reminded me of trying to get pregnant...sometimes things don't go exactly as planned.

Ty's First Home

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Top Picks for Binge-Worthy Netflix TV Shows

After my gall bladder surgery, I was exhausted and really stuck in bed for an entire week! While that might sound great to many of you who would love a break, I was finding it difficult to entertain myself. I was in pain and had very little energy to get up during the day as I recovered from the surgery and the anesthetic. With pain meds that made me sleepy and headaches that came and went, I had to just rest and watch TV.  It's been a while since I watched daytime TV, so I was actually excited to catch up on some of my old favourites. What I realized was that daytime TV stinks! What happened?  Thankfully, I had Twitter, Facebook and Netflix of course.

Knowing I had a long week ahead and time to myself to heal, I asked my Facebook peeps what shows I should binge watch for that week. Since I had already watched Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad, House of Cards and House of Lies, I wanted to know what other series would be binge-worthy. The replies were awesome and I actually started a double binge on Weeds and an incredible prison show from Australia called Wentworth. This dark women's prison show has become my new obsession...it's a MUST watch (as I type, I'm watching my last two episodes on the laptop!).
My new FAVE!!!!
So, if you find yourself house bound, sick or bedridden recovering and need some ideas to keep you entertained, here are some great suggestions on Netflix Canada.
Suits
Gilmore Girls
Friends (can't wait to start from the beginning and watch the series again!)
Weeds
White Collar
Homeland
Dexter
Call the Midwife
The 100
The Killing
Mad Men
Nashville
Mr. Selfridge
Sherlock
The Musketeers
Rectify
Friday Night Lights
Downton Abbey

Disclosure: Yay! I am part of the Netflix stream team (#StreamTeam) and have received product and a subscription to Netflix in exchange for writing monthly posts.  Already a huge Netflix fan, this is a pretty sweet deal!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Five Reasons Why I Won't Cheat on my Diet this Weekend

Two weeks into healthy eating and I'm down over 12lbs thanks to great advice and support that I'm receiving in our Facebook group. I'm thrilled that I've been able to go virtually carb-free (one serving of fruit a day with none of my fave english muffins or crackers) and wine-free for three weeks, without missing it at all. The key is also to drink at least 3L of water a day and I find myself craving it! I do have to admit that in the past, staying on a diet during the weekends has been a struggle.

When Friday hits and I have my weigh-in (I'm tracking it all through Weight Watchers as well), the voice in my head has made a switch.  I've gone from "yay, you lost weight by working hard all week, you deserve a treat" to "Saturdays and Sundays are still days of the week so keep up the great work!". Weekends are not a free-for-all when it comes to healthy eating! While they might be harder to navigate and avoid the social eating or eating on the run issues, the same rules have to apply if you want to see results. I'm soooo ready for results!  Since it's working for me and many of my friends are asking what I'm doing...here are the 5 reasons why I won't cheat on my diet this weekend!

photo credit: voiceinrecovery.wordpress.com

1. You can still have a great Girl's Night on a diet! Last night, our girl's night was a blast. I had requested a new protein appetizers rather than chips and dip (that I LOVE), so we filled our table with prosciutto wrapped melon, cheese and crackers (I skipped the crackers), veggies and dip, mini bacon wrapped chicken bites (from M & M Meats), pistachios, and shrimps. Delish! While the other ladies had red wine, I was really happy to have my lime Perrier. Last night was a great reminder that social events AREN'T about the food or booze, it's about the friends you're with.
2. The same actions produce the same results. I've been down this road to better health a few times, sometimes successful and sometimes not.  The problem was that I still had the same bad habits of reward days, "treats" and "free" weekends that weren't free at all! This time it's different. I keep hearing Dr. Phil's voice in my head..."how's that working for ya?".  Well, it hasn't been. So now, weekends count towards my goal and I'm pushing through to get there!


3. No such thing as a little cheating. You are either a cheater or you're not. I love my health guru leader, Carrie Burrow's article.  Would you think it's okay to just kiss another man, if you didn't go any further? The only one I'm cheating on, when it comes to my health, is me. Not happening anymore. I know that once I reach my goal, I'll be able to add a few things back into my diet, but not until then.

4. I've learned that "Food is just food" so you should eat when you're hungry. It's one of the most important thing that I've learned from Carrie's program and advice is that food is not comfort, it won't make your job or life better. Food gives your body the energy it needs to go about your day, nothing more or less. Reminding myself of this is one thing that has unburdened me over the last 3 weeks. I'm not thinking of food all the time. I'm also learning to know to eat when I'm hungry, not for any other reason. I love Carrie's advice...if you won't eat broccoli, then you aren't hungry and you're eating for another reason. Smart, huh? I've been really aware of this when 9pm hits and the kids are in bed. Normally, I would have grabbed a snack but not anymore.

5. Planning ahead is key. I've packed healthy snacks for the hockey rink (almonds or a cheese string), I keep my water bottle full all day and I try to eat as many meals at home as I can. Since we do go out at least once on the weekends for dinner, I have been reviewing the menus before we go out for dinner so that I know what I can eat. A healthy salad with goat cheese and protein on top, lean beef or chicken burger with no bun or even a chicken breast with veggies is a great restaurant choice! 

My skin is glowing from all the water, my pants feel better and I'm moving in my body better than I have in months.  I'm proud of the hard work I've been doing and very ready to keep up the work, throw out the "cheat day" mentality and put my own health first this year.  Hope these tips help you do the same!

ps. This post isn't sponsored...I just LOVE Carrie Burrows and the way she's made me totally rethink the way I eat!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Keeping Families Active at Sky Zone

There are two dilemmas when your kids get older- keeping them active and finding local fun family activities to do together.  

Last weekend's visit to Sky Zone solved both of those struggles! I've seen trampoline places on T.V. and in my Facebook feed, but I have to admit that the thought of jumping in public after having three babies had me a bit nervous about whether I needed a trip to the drug store for some "support" before I tried this type of adventure.  When we were asked to try out the newest Sky Zone location in Vaughan, I threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it! I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but to say that I was blown away, would be an understatement!

Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park. Not only will a visit provide you with a fun family afternoon, but also a fabulous workout (in keeping with my new goal to put my own health FIRST this year)!  They have opportunities beyond just families, like events to help you fundraise, plan a kid's birthday party, attend weekly toddler time classes or even host a team building event. Sky Zone Vaughan (and all locations) have incredible facilities for all types of events!  

One of my favourite features was the accessible ramps up to the activities so that kids of ALL abilities and ages can enjoy the same fun including; the weightlessness of bouncing in the free jump area, flipping and landing in a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes, dunking a basketball or even playing Ty and Jayden's favourite, dodgeball. If you have a child with special needs (including Autism), I'd highly recommend attending their first Sensory-Friendly Night for kids, later this month.


Check out their calendar for the upcoming events, follow Sky Zone on Facebook or just bring the kids, but here are some tips if you are heading out to one of Sky Zone's new Canadian locations including Ottawa, Mississauga, Toronto and Vaughan.

1.  Book your time online first. I recommend at least one hour ($13 each) but we would have loved two! You really can't believe how busy it can get and how beautifully organized they are at keeping participants to their 1-2 hour time slot, by getting everyone to wear their times on a sticker.

2. Fill out the paperless online waiver before you go. While the kiosks at the location are easy to use, it did cut into our jumping time! You will also be required to buy the reuseable SkySocks for $2 each.

3.  Let the kids have some freedom! Our boys always knew where to find us but they were able to have some independence because of the full team of staff that are at each activity. The rules are very clear and on display everywhere (you can even watch videos on the monitor), and each activity is fully staffed to keep your kiddos safe.

4. Grown ups can jump too! I just missed my turn to jump in the foam pit, but I did really love the free jump area! Show the kids you still have the enjoy to keep up.

If you'd like to try Sky Zone in Vaughan, 
Enter this contest below for a FREE Family Pass*

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Contest ends February 15th. Prize has no cash value and is non-transferable. Pass is for a family of four and does not include SkySocks ($2 each). Winner must be able to travel to Sky Zone Vaughan.