Library Dates @ McLaughlin Branch

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With summer break well underway, the oldest and I have been paying a visit to the McLaughlin library downtown every couple of weeks to pick up some reading/playing materials. The Children’s Section is really wonderful at this library. A few visits back when we were waiting in line to check out items, a teacher from Whitby mentioned to the staff that she far preferred the McLaughlin Branch children’s section and resources to those of any of the other libraries in Durham Region.

I’m all about instilling a love of reading in my children so I try to keep an open mind with the selections and let him choose books that are interesting to him. These days he is into super heroes and comic books. I usually glance at his selections as we go to make sure they meet my own criteria:

a. age appropriate – many comics and super hero materials are targeted to an older crowd but we have been able to find a few that were for younger readers

b. won’t take me forever to read OR are simple books so he can practice reading

He likes to pick out a few books to bring back for his little brother. Sometimes we will also pick up a movie or a video game for the rainy days or when the little man is napping.

This time, just the two of us, is special. After we’re done checking out his materials (with his superhero library card!), we head upstairs so I can grab a few adult items for myself. Usually this is pretty painless since he’s right into his new books so I actually have a wee bit of time to browse.

We have yet to attend any of the programming for children at the library. From what I’ve seen, most of the programming is targeted at narrow age groups. Having two children 3 years apart proves a little challenging since they can’t go to the same programs. Have others attended? I’d love to hear your experience! 

 

Hitting up the skate park with the boy

My oldest is a bit of a dare devil. He loves his bike, scooter, rollerblades, skateboard… and pretty much anything else with wheels. We’re always looking for new activities to try out so when we happened to be over near McKinney Park in Whitby (Taunton and Baldwin) the other weekend we took the boy’s scooter with us and hit the skate park.

What is nice about this skate park is that it is good for all skill levels, there are plenty of not so steep slopes for the younger and less skilled kids. For the younger ones, week day mornings would likely be the best time to visit the skate park here since most of the kids who use it regularly are in school full-time. Bonus is that the playground is also super nice there, as is the splash pad.

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What does it mean to have mom friends in the digital age?

Being a SAHM and even just being a mom, period, can be isolating in the suburbs. It can be challenging if you’re new to the area or if you are among the first of your friends to have babies, to have a support network of mom friends.

Over the years since my first son was born, I tried several approaches to meeting other moms in and around Oshawa such as taking classes and joining online meet up groups. Making friends in grade school can be tough but so can making mom friends too when parenting philosophies come into play and making time to build relationships is difficult with the littles in tow. There also can be the issue of spouse compatibility when things get “serious”. Though it is about a childless young woman rather than a new mother, the book MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche comes to mind and I would highly recommend as a fun read.

With my first son I signed up for a mom and baby class when he was around 4 months old. I expected to meet other moms there that we could eventually do pay dates with but found it very hard to really get to know other moms in that type of a structured setting. It was even difficult at times to make small talk before and after the session. I did manage to meet one other mom who happened to live in our neighbourhood and though we never got together for any play dates, we did run into each other out and about and it was nice to see a familiar face.

My first foray on a Facebook group led me to meet a few really awesome ladies with mostly boys around the same age as my own. I do still keep in touch with these ladies (via social media) but sadly haven’t gotten together with them for playdates since some of us went back to work. During my second pregnancy I also took a prenatal yoga class and mom and baby yoga class afterwards in hopes of meeting other mothers there with babies around the same age. I did meet one fabulous mama there too who has a son just a few months younger than my littlest – but again, there just doesn’t seem to be time for play dates.

Blogging and Twitter has also been a wonderful resource for finding other local (and not so local) mamas. I’m always amazed to see how many moms are out there helping other moms they have never met by providing friendly advice and cautions. Last year when I was on a trip out West to visit a friend, I even got the chance to meet up for a park play date with a fellow mom blogger.

I have found so much friendship and support in online networks but question why it seems that these online relationships seem so difficult to translate into real-life friendships and play dates. For all the time us mamas spend tuned into social media seeking friendship with like-minded ladies, we could be actually getting out and doing things together in person. I used to think that emails were so efficient but have quickly realized what the older generations have been trying to say for years that so much more can be accomplished over the phone or in-person than over e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and in this day and age of the “busy” life, why do we make so much time for the inefficiencies of online relationships?

Getting connected to other moms can be hard. But does it have to be? 

Oshawa Public Library goes Green

As part of the 30-Day Carbon Reduction Challenge, until Earth Day, April 22nd, Oshawa Public Library branches are featuring their collection of green resources. They also have posters up for people to share their eco-tips for the chance to win an Eco-friendly gift basket. A great way to teach your children about the environment and gather tips on how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Libraries in themselves are very “green” and aren’t just for lending books anymore.

OPL offers a ton of children’s programming. We’ve checked out video games from the library, coloured pictures, played educational games on the internet there, and even used an iPad for an hour in the Children’s Area of the McLaughlin Branch (our favourite branch for the kiddos). Kids can also get fun library cards with superheros, etc. on them.

If you haven’t already checked it out, take a trip down to the McLaughlin branch on a rainy Spring day before April 22nd and explore all the library has to offer.

Oshawa’s Eco-Challenge

Spring is a great time to get into new habits.

The City of Oshawa and the Oshawa Environmental Advisory Committee are encouraging residents to take the Eco-Challenge until after Earth Day. Their website offers many tips and tricks to reduce your family’s environmental impact and in many cases save money.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting some of these challenges so stay-tuned!