Central Alberta Summer Bucket List

1. Sunnybrook Farm Museum

If you live in Central Alberta, are doing the trick from Calgary to Edmonton or just looking for a fun low key activity to do with your littles this summer the Sunnybrook Farm Museum in Red Deer, Alberta is a must for your summer bucket list.

Open from May 1 -August 30 Sunnybrook Farm Museum is a quiet space in the heart of downtown Red Deer with everything from open spaces for the children to run free to the educational activities about life on the farm in 1905.

Admission is by donation and open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm

Alberta Fall Adventure Guide: Kraay Family Farm

Kraay Family Farm

Celebrating 20 years of getting people lost this year, the Kraay Family Farm is home the of Lacombe Corn Maze.

From pumpkin patches to pumpkin cannons, there is something for all ages to enjoy. We went last year for the first time and regretted having waited so long to go. The kids loved it, we loved it and I am pretty sure it the perfect place to bring the kids for the afternoon and a date night in the evening.


34 Week Bumpdate: Big Week Big Changes 🍁

Since I last posted life has thrown us for a real change… like we no longer live in the same province kind of change. In mid February we were presented with a choice to head East for the next 6 months; because Michael and I believe in family first and God made it very clear that we were to take this chance we packed up our little growing family and headed for the ocean. Now that we are here and starting to settling into a new normal in my childhood home, and I am settled in with my doctors here, I am finally able to take a deep breath and take an adventure or two with my Moo.

I’ll start with a Bumpdate. So that worry I mentioned in my 25 Week Bumpdate about the gestational diabetes diagnosis came to fruition. I was diagnosed with “borderline” gestational diabetes as my sugars were slightly elevated at the 1 hour mark of the testing but managed to get themselves in order by the second hour. This added a huge stress to my life as I was still at work and having to test every 2 hours and eat every 2 hours while still getting my job done. Thankfully I have a very supportive office and for the 2 weeks I was there with the diagnosis they never complained or made me feel like I was slacking…. because I did a good enough job of that myself.

On February 13 I finished work and began my general illness before baby came. This was a huge blessing with the cards life has dealt my family as a whole as of late and made the transition to the East Coast that much less stressful. But before we left we did take a fun day trip to West Edmonton Mall where Moo had a chance to play on some rides and see some new animal friends.

On February 23 Moo and I flew across the country while Michael drove and made it from Alberta in record time. I can say flying at 31 weeks is probably the least fun airline experience I have ever had and would not recommend it to anyone. But Moo had a good time and loved all the special treats he found in his new backpack.

The 34 week mark arrived as did 34 weeks and 1 day, 34 weeks and 2 days and deep breath 34 weeks and 3 days. Mile marker met!!!! Now I am officially more pregnant that I have ever been, every single day and that means every day that passes should mean that Little Moo will be just that much healthier and that much stronger when they are born. Now I hope to make it to term on March 31 and so I will hopefully not have a NICU stay. But I have to be honest, Little Moo feels a little anxious to get out, but only time will tell.

After a few weeks int the Maritimes we are starting to settle in and are ready to take on some new adventures, we we decided to start with the Sugar Bush.

Growing up in the maritimes I was lucky enough to experience the annual tradition of hiking into the woods in late winter early spring for the sole purpose of eating maple sugar and pancakes. Michael on the other hand having grown up everywhere from the beautiful southern British Columbia rich in wine to the gold rush territories of the Yukon and many places in between had never experienced this childhood dream of a tradition. So at the end of week 34 I packed up my favourite guys and we headed to one of our local maple sugar camps, Trites Maples.

We hiked a short distance into the wood to the Pancake House, where we started off with Moo having his first taste of hot Maple Toffee on freshly fallen snow (thank goodness for all the Nor’Easters earlier in the week).

After having our fill of pure maple goodness, we headed inside for an all you can eat pancake breakfast where Moo was very excited to share everyone’s sausages and pancakes. It was by far his favourite part of the day!

I have to say that this short Saturday adventure was a lot of fun and totally worth the walk in the cold and would recommend it to anyone wanting to partake in a wonderful eastern Canadian tradition. Because lets face it winter is far too long to not have add little Maple Sugar Tradition to your life.

Have you every made a quick decision to make a big change in your life? Where did that decision take you? What is your favourite winter/spring tradition?

To see more of our Maritime adventures follow us on instagram (@the_mcgills2015)

Mile Markers

As someone who grew up in a world as competitive and challenging as ballet I developed some skills pretty early on in life that help you overcome that mental block that can be so intimidating. This skill has transferred well into other situations in life like learning to run, meeting fitness goals, meeting difficult savings goals and getting through the day during a pregnancy after a delivery than ended in the NICU.

The skill I have found most affective for me is the mile marker. When I was dancing I always pushed to hold a position for one more count than the class before, when I was running it was one more telephone pole than the run before, and more often than not having several mile markers places close together I saw more success than failure and that made it earlier to try a little harder next time. When it comes to pregnancy, as I learner so clearly last time you don’t have any control of when baby comes and when you have had experiences like we had you really want to grasp onto any bit of control or power you can over when baby arrives.

How I have used this skill to help move along the pregnancy is first by educating myself and learning at what point do things change baby enough to survive.

The first mile marker I set was at 25 weeks. I knew that at that point our chances of survival was 70%, its not great, but I could take a breath and know that we made it that far. My next marker was 27 weeks; only because for some reason I will never understand an unbelievable amount of women I know in the last few years have had babies that have survived and thrived when born during this week. Having just crossed that threshold I can now set my sights on my final mile marker week 34+2, when Monkey was born.

I am hoping that when I reach week 34+3 that I will be able to have a huge sigh of relief as at that point I know what will happen if baby comes. It will be a shorter stay in NICU than when Monkey was there, or maybe if we are lucky a discharge home. At this point all I can hope for is one more day than before and take each one as it comes.

26 Week Bumpdate🤰🏻

This week flew by like a vacation, I took a sick day to rest, Michael came home and Monkey had his 18 month immunizations. We were busy and I felt pretty good after a day at home with some books, tea and a lot of YouTube.

Baby is moving lots, and their favourite time to dance is around 2am, but waking to those kicks is actually a lot of fun so I don’t mind one bit!

And bonus I realized as of today I only have 13 work days left until I am finished work and maternity leave begins!

Which motivated me to get one annoying chore off my list… an oil change… with a toddler. Thank goodness for animal crackers and Thomas! How did out parent s ever manage without this technology?

This Week’s Stats:

Weight Gained: 2kg (ie down 3kg)

Cravings: none!

Favourite Products: Happy Hippo Bath Bombs (I used like 3 this week)

Energy Level: Much closer to regular old me than I have seen in a while

25 Week Bumpdate 🤰🏻

Back to the grind! Day one of week 25 I headed back to work after an amazing 2 weeks off, that was desperately needed. Monkey slept in every day allowing me to wake up and relax with a cup of tea and a book every morning which I am hoping will continue when I am home for leave until baby comes… because we all know there will be no reading once I am back on the diaper change and feed every 3 hours schedule again.

Looking back on the week I realized how exhausting sitting can be. At this moment my job is definitely not physical and by the end of the day I am wiped! I have never been so thankful for meal planning and choosing only slow cooker meals.

The round ligament discomfort is in full swing and baby is beyond active! I went for my blood glucose level testing this week and after drinking that “wonderful” orange drink baby danced up a storm. A worry I had was that in my last pregnancy I had undiagnosed gestational diabetes and that was what brought on my premature labour because we were doing quite a few tests around my sugars as they kept coming back “strange”. Right now I am hoping no news in good news seeing that we are a week post test as of tomorrow.

I am also inclined to believe that baby had a huge growth spurt this week because I finished my lunch kit by 10:30 every day, which lead me into local coffee shops and restaurants a few times. One day while waiting for my far too expensive tuna sand which and chocolate cake to be ready to-go I over heard another patron ask “what is underground soup?” To which the waitress replied “a soup made from only things that grow underground”. This statement made my way too expensive lunch a little more worth it. This lead to me spending a few evenings with my feet elevated, while I looked through Pinterest in order to inspire a recipe for something I have never tried before. On Saturday Monkey and I ventured to the grocery store picked up our favourite root vegetables and made my first attempt at “underground soup”. I am not going to lie it was pretty awesome! (Recipe soon to come 😉)

TThis week’s stats:

Weight Gain: holding on at 5kgs

Cravings: chocolate cake

Favourite products: Brazil nut butter and Vichy BB Cream (the secret to my glow)

Energy level: beyond exhausted

24 Week Bumpdate 🤰🏻

As week 24 draws to a close, I have to say that I am finally feeling like a normal person again. I have managed to catch every flu and cold going and ended up bed rested by the doctor or my husband because I felt so terrible. This is so different than my experience with Monkey.

For my second trimester the first time around I was traveling to the other side of the country, hanging out with friends and family and had that second trimester energy everyone always tells you about during the first trimester fog. This time around, I was tired, short and done with being done. Thankfully I was on an extended Christmas break because Monkey’s day home was closed, so we got to have lots of bonding time and fun along with mid day naps which really helped me get back into the groove of life.

24+6 weeks

I was also able to get a lot done this week, because I am all too aware that although one premature delivery does not guarantee another it does mean that I am at a much higher risk of having it happen again. Because of this I took the week to start getting the house organized and completed tasks like dismantling the guest room, ordering the crib and organizing my breast pump bag in order to see what needs replacing. Now I can go back to work knowing that the house is in a state of organization that if baby comes hickey after I start my leave (in 21 work days but who’s counting) I will not feel completely out of sorts!

This Weeks Stats:

Weight Gain: 5kgs (Finally!)
Cravings: crab dip
Favourite Products: Brazil nut body butter from the Body Shop
Energy Level: High

New Year New Goals

At 24 weeks pregnant and with only 22 working days left (woohoo) many would think that my goals for 2018 would include a lot of sleeping while Monkey is at day care and making it to 40 + 1 weeks. Which is 100% correct, but that that doesn’t meant that I don’t want to challenge myself. And like most of you I didn’t actually decide on a “resolution” or goal until December 31.

While frying up some onions and carrots to turn the rest of my left over Christmas turkey into a turkey pot pies for the freezer and discussing my cooking and food budgeting plans with Michael, the idea for this years resolution came to me; Seasonal Eating. Now this way of thinking goes against all the usual resolutions people make because it’s not about loosing weight and getting “beach body ready” for June, because you eat what it available to you that is locally grown, and I know a lot more cows and potatoes that are available for eating this time of year than heads of lettuce. This works great for me because I really do believe in supporting local growers and growing/storing my own food. Plus I am going to be 4 weeks postpartum when it beach season begins so whatever body I have at that time will be my beach body.

Staring on this journey I know very little about seasonal eating. I know there is a cycle of weight gain and loss because you eat higher fat and starchy food in the winters and fresh beautiful fruits and vegetables in the summer. My goal for this year is to start off the year by researching the topic (Pinterest and YouTube will be my new best friends) and starting out by doing the things I know to be true about this way of living; like making my own bread and eating more root vegetables.

This week I plan on looking through a cookbook I bought way back in university called “Vegetable Love” and planning out which recipes will suite my family and see how I can substitute them in for old favourites.

What I am hoping to gain from this year (or as long as I can hold out) is new recipes to feed my growing family, and finding a natural way to reduce food waste and decrease our food budget… because this family loves them some expensive food items like organic bananas (guilty) and fancy cheese boards. I am also hoping that it will help me plan my garden appropriately for the coming spring so I know what to grow to store and what to grow to eat throughout the growing season. 24 tomato plants, although they filled our pantry with amazing salsa will not sustain us through next winter unless we are living on chips and queso!

I have a second goal that I am trying out for this year, I am tackling the bullet journal (aka the BuJo)!

While on maternity leave with Monkey my Erin Condrine Life Planner was my ride or die. With weekly medical appointments, Michael’s work schedule and getting into a diaper washing routine I needed something to keep things straight in my mind and this planner did it for me. But when I went back to work with still far too many medical appointments to manage and my work schedule on top of that I found myself so disorganized because the life planner was too big to just toss in my purse so I never wrote anything in it and therefore never really even checked it either. Before I knew it I was always second guessing where I needed to be and when, so I needed something to keep me on track but was more compact than the life planner so I didn’t just leave it at the coffee bar in the kitchen every morning.

Thankfully one day last fall while Monkey was napping I stumbled upon the bullet journal. I started pinning and watching videos and getting inspiration about how to design my own journal that would fit my needs, every day, no matter what. The next thing I knew I was at indigo picking the perfect notebook and hanging out in the pen aisles at Michaels and Walmart looking for the right shades of blue, red, and green that would work for my sketches but also not bleed through the paper (this is still a work in progress). Once I had the things I needed to start my BuJo journey I set up my journal and decided I would start January 1, 2018. I am only a few days in and feel much less disorganized and overwhelmed with life, I hope it keeps up!

What do your New Years goals look like? How long do you think you can keep them going? Leave your answer in the comments below!

The First Trimester

How do I describe my first trimester? EXHAUSTING!

I am beyond fortunate that I am not one of those women who experiences morning sickness, but what I do have is unimaginable exhaustion… like instantly. That was my first clue that there may be a little on the way when I no longer had the energy to even marathon Netflix let alone think about blogging, along with maintaining any level of parenting. The exhaustion was so much stronger this time around, mostly because unlike during my pregnancy with Monkey I am not really able to sleep until noon on the weekends and nap after work, because my toddler is more into play time than nap time.

Adding to the exhaustion was the INSANE number of appointments. Due to Monkey’s prematurity and the complications that arose after his birth my medical team wanted to be sure of our dating to make sure if we are faced with a premature birth again that baby will receive all the medical care they need. As frustrating as it was going to so many appointments and having so many ultrasounds in the first trimester, I am thankful to know exactly how far along our little one is. According to the dates the majority of doctors use I am 3 weeks further along than what I actually am. As a Mama practicing NFP I was off by a single day… but we all know what it can be like talking to doctors about something that they don’t always understand or doesn’t fall into a textbook situation. But in the end I was right and I am glad that baby will get what they need in the end if necessary.

So for those of you who are wondering my first trimester was full of napping when Monkey was napping, heading to bed early and getting myself organized so that life will run a little smoother.

First Trimester Details:
Loves: Naps
Hates: Rotisserie Chicken and Bulk Olives in the deli section of the grocery stores
Favourite products: Vichy Normaderm 3 in 1 Scrub + Cleanser + Mask
Cravings: Tomato soup and Vanilla milkshakes
Weight Change: 0kgs
Baby Size: Size of a lime
Exciting Moment: At 12 weeks I felt baby move for the first time. It was slight and fast and only felt it a few times, but now that I know what a rolling baby feels like I know that’s what I felt.