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It's Not Just a TV Show

Friday, September 30, 2005
I love honest, genuine, from-the-heart people. That would be people like Marla and Steve. So it makes me sad that they ended up being badly hurt by a TV makeover gone wrong.

I think we've been Springerized to such a degree that we sometimes forget that there are real people on the other side of the TV set -- real people who have to live with the consequences of the way that their lives have been "sliced and diced" long after a particular TV segment ends. The producers of these shows should do their best to capture the realities of their guests' lives rather than trying to make their guests' lives fit a storyline that someone has decided will play well with viewers.

| posted by Ann D @ 2:53 PM

Mr. Postman...

Thursday, September 29, 2005
The postman brought me a supremely cool gift yesterday. Well, actually it wasn't from him, it was from Marla. Not only did Marla send me four pieces of candy (since I have four kids, I kind of feel morally obliged to share those four pieces of candy with them): she also sent me my favourite flavour of brain candy: old parenting books.

There's a cute little gift book called Baby Dear by Pat Ross (published in 1993), which features quotes from vintage books. (One tidbit: "Sleep. During his first year this should be the baby's chief occupation." - Mary L Read, author of The Mothercraft Manual (1916).)

There's How to Care for Children, which features a June Cleaver-like mom checking on a blissfully sleeping child. What I particularly like about this book is the fact that some rebellious child has decided to "edit" the most obnoxiously perfect pictures out of the book by scribbling them out. Bye bye valium-empowered mom. Bye bye impossibly happy children. My crayon has gotten rid of you all.

Finally, my Fairy Book Mother chose to send me Feeding Babies and Toddlers by Jacki Passmore (1990), one of those upscale children's cookbook which features deliciously awful recipes like chicken carrot custard and chicken cream corn soup. Those would have really been big hits at our house when my kids were toddlersl.

Marla, thank you for these amazing books. They are certainly providing me with plenty of inspiration as I finish up work on the sleep book and plan ahead for the food book. (I'll dedicate the cream of chicken custard veggie supreme recipe to you!) :-)

| posted by Ann D @ 7:27 PM

Momosphere Morning

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
A few news bytes and bulletin board items to mull over while you enjoy your mid-morning coffee:
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  • A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester and researchers in the UK reiterates the importance of minimizing stress during pregnancy.

  • Maclean's has an article on the latest research on the importance of preconception nutrition in determining a child's long-term health.

  • The Tallahasee Democrat has an interesting follow-up to the recent New York Times piece on Ivy League mothers.

  • The Houston Chronicle features an interview with Jodie Foster, in which she talks about her new movie and tells the truth about motherhood.

  • The Life Network is looking for guests for a number of different shows, including Birth Days and The Mom Show.

  • Black Tulip Press is seeking submissions for a forthcoming anthology on homeschooling.

| posted by Ann D @ 9:26 AM

Sleepy Teens

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
An Australian researcher is recommending that schools cancel morning classes for teenagers and that parents get the electronic gizmoes out of the bedroom so that their teenagers won't be so sleep deprived. She makes some interesting points.

| posted by Ann D @ 7:44 AM

Score One for Nurture

Here's more proof that parents can and do make a difference.

| posted by Ann D @ 7:39 AM

Mom University: Karen Nordahl, Fit to Deliver

Monday, September 26, 2005
Now that we're back to our fall routines, here at The Mother of All Blogs, we'll be bringing back one of our popular features -- Mom University: an ongoing series of interviews with noteworthy writers who cover the motherhood beat. This time around, we speak to Karen Nordahl.fit to deliver book cover

Karen Nordahl -- Vancouver physician and fitness guru -- is busy promoting the second edition of Fit to Deliver. I had the pleasure of meeting Karen in person last year while I was doing a book tour out in Vancouver, and I can tell you that she "the poster gal" for healthy living: a happy, healthy, high-energy woman who is passionate about her life. She also had the wisdom to schedule our meeting at a local Starbucks, so she's human enough to enjoy the occasional cup of java. (You've got to hate fitness folks who never indulge in anything more sinful than non-organic carrot juice.) Well, I can tell you that Karen has a fabulous, down-to-earth approach to life, something that comes through in every page of her prenatal fitness guide.

I recently had the chance to interview Karen about her new book and to ask her some questions about prenatal fitness. Here's how our interview went.
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Ann: Some women may start making exercise part of their lifestyle during pregnancy, even if they weren't particularly active prior to pregnancy, because they know that it's a healthy choice to make for themselves and their baby (unless, of course, their caregiver has indicated that there are specific reasons why exercise is not recommended). What advice can you offer to formerly sedentary expectant mothers?

Karen Nordahl: For women who have not previously been active, we suggest a simple walking program of 15-20 minutes per day -- something that they can do on their lunch hour or after dinner. Other options are a swimming program, prenatal yoga, or pilates. Our goal here is to congratulate them for making the effort rather than focusing on a regimented program. With time, they can increase their walking to 45 to 60 minutes per day, participating as much as they feel they are able.

Ann: It seems to me that we as a society have come a long way in celebrating the beauty of the pregnant body. Do you find that women are experiencing more positive body image today than they were a few years ago? How does body image impact on a woman's decision to exercise during pregnancy?

Karen Nordahl: The change in attitude towards the pregnant body has been astounding. It was considered unusual for a woman to appear in a maternity bathing suit in the past. Now the cute bellies are everywhere. We do not like to focus on body image during pregnancy: we are interested in "wellness" instead. However, I believe that the development of athletic wear that is attractive for pregnant women has encouraged and enhanced their desire to exercise. Body image does come into play if the woman feels like she is "losing control" over how she looks and feels. Exercise seems to allow her to feel a bit better about herself, and renews her faith in her body's overall strengths and abilities.

Ann: Can you comment on the importance of pumping up the fun factor in fitness? We don't want fitness to feel like one more item on our "to do" lists -- especially when we're pregnant and may be tired or dealing with various pregnancy discomforts.

Karen Nordahl: Fitness needs to be fun or a mom-to-be will not do it on a regular basis. If the exercises are a chore, a mom-to-be needs to find new ones or to try exercising in a group.

Ann: Are pregnant women more likely to exercise if they work out with their partners? Or is fitness an activity most moms-to-be enjoy doing on their own or with other moms-to-be, their girlfriends, etc.? Or does it vary according to the mom?

Karen Nordahl: We find that the environment our group classes provide is the best way to exercise for the majority of moms. The ability to interact in a group, observe each others' discomforts and anxiety, makes the whole experience more 'normal' for some women. However, there are some moms-to-be who use exercise as a 'destressor' and who prefer the isolation of a solo workout.

Ann: What words of wisdom can you offer to a mom-to-be who is juggling a busy career with an otherwise busy life and who says she simply doesn't have time to exercise?

Karen Nordahl: Our view is that exercising is important to the health of you and your baby as everything else you are doing: e.g., quitting smoking, discontinuing alcohol, and taking a prenatal vitamin. When we are not pregnant, we sometimes do not exercise for ourselves, but when you are pregnant, you need to exercise. Just 20 minutes of walking will do it for both you and your baby.

| posted by Ann D @ 2:32 PM

So That's Why The Bowling Pins Are a Funny Shape

We're at the bowling alley the other night with a bunch of eight year olds, celebrating my youngest child's birthday.

One of the kids turns to me and says, "I know how the bowling pin machine picks the bowling pins up. It uses liposuction."

| posted by Ann D @ 2:13 PM

Widget Mania

Sunday, September 25, 2005
I am totally loving the widgets that you can add to the dashboard for OS X (Tiger) on the Mac. Anyone else addicted? My favourite is the PubMed search tool which allows me to access medical journal articles quickly and easily. I also love all the search tools (like Canada 411, the All Recipes search tool, etc.) I'm posting this via a Blogger posting widget. We'll see if this works....

| posted by Ann D @ 8:07 PM

What Not to Watch

Thursday, September 22, 2005
As an act of solidarity with all the mamas of the world who are struggling with postpartum depression, I dove for the remote and quickly switched channels when this came on the TV the other night.

Sorry, Tom. You may have had me at "Hello", but you lost me right about here.

| posted by Ann D @ 3:34 PM

Reading Rack

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My book Choosing Childcare for Dummies gets extensive coverage in the October issue of Essence Magazine.

Canadianliving.com has just posted an article I recently wrote about planning a birthday party for your child. (No comments from the peanut gallery about the fact that my child is going to the bowling alley for his birthday bash this weekend. That's what he wanted to do. I wasn't wimping out.)
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Canadianliving.com is also reprinting a lot of my pregnancy articles, so you'll find a lot of articles I've written for other publications posted on the site -- like this one, on mastering the art of Mother Guilt.

| posted by Ann D @ 2:30 PM

I am really missing The Real CBC

What keeps coming through my radio is either recycled CBC stuff I've heard before or flavourless filler that's being aired in place of the CBC that I love so much.

I have been (obsessively) checking out CBC Unplugged for updates on the negotiations. Apparently, the CBC has requested a news blackout on the negotiations, so I guess we won't be hearing much for a while.

I totally support the position that the Periodical Writers Association of Canada (Canada's national association for freelance writers) took in backing the locked out workers: "PWAC supports the aims of the Canadian Media Guild to gain better pay rates and working conditions for journalists at the CBC, both full-time and freelancers." Divide and conquer strategies that try to pit full-time writer/broadcasters against freelancers are very short-sighted. We're all creators, and if one group of creators are been stomped upon, we're all the more vulnerable. So all Canadian creators who care about quality writing/broadcasting need to link arms with our brothers and sisters of the CMG and let them know that we support them.

I just wish I could buy a t-shirt that says "Where is the Real CBC?" I would wear it proudly to show my support for the many broadcasters, producers, writers, technicians, and other CBC workers I've had the privilege of getting to know over the years, and who are currently locked out, due to the labour dispute.

The CBC isn't the CBC without them.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:30 PM

Dumpster Chic

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
The seven-year-old has been busy decorating the front porch for Halloween. (He doesn't believe in waiting until the last minute when it comes to getting ready for important holidays.) He has tied a bunch of empty laundry detergent bottles, water bottles, and other assorted recyclables together, and has stretched his creation across half of the porch. He wants our house to look like a "run down old pile of junk" so that it will look "really scary." And I have to give him credit: he's certainly managed to achieve just that effect.

For some reason, I feel the need to explain to every courier who comes to the door that we're making our house look this way on purpose.

| posted by Ann D @ 4:39 PM

A Shocking Good Time

Monday, September 19, 2005
My seven-year-old had a fabulous time at a birthday party on the weekend.

One of the party guests got mildly zapped by an electric fence while everyone was playing in the host's backyard. (They live in the country.)

It will sure be hard to top that when we play birthday party hosts at the bowling alley this weekend -- unless, of course, one of the party guests decide to turn himself into a human bowling balls.

After all, when it comes to eight-year-olds and birthday parties, it's not fun until someone gets hurt.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:04 AM

The Winners Are...

Friday, September 16, 2005
I conducted the draw in a highly scientific manner -- by writing everyone's names on slips of paper, throwing them in an empty purse, shaking well, and then doing the draw.

The winners (and their prizes) are as follows:

To claim your prize, send me an email with your mailing address so that I can get your prize off to you pronto.

| posted by Ann D @ 1:29 PM

Last Day to Play!

Thursday, September 15, 2005
This is the last day to enter the creativity challenge. Don't miss out on your chance to win those prizes I mentioned in my earlier post, plus a few other goodies I've rounded up since. (I'm thinking of sending Dani and Marla a copy of Siblings Without Rivalry to share.)

| posted by Ann D @ 10:06 AM

(Computer) Mission Accomplished

Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Neil just arrived home with Laptop #3 (a.k.a. Replacement #2). He says the people at the Apple Store at Yorkdale were fabulous to deal with. I'm just really relieved that Apple decided to stand behind its products once again. I don't think any of us expect perfection of the products we purchase. We just want companies who are willing to listen -- and respond -- if there's a problem.

| posted by Ann D @ 8:06 PM

The Third One Will Be The Charm

...says my Prince Charming, who is off to swap Laptop #2 for Laptop #3.

It turns out that the replacement laptop does, in fact, have a Ethernet modem with an identity crisis, so we're moving on to Laptop #3.

My seven year old just asked: "What are you doing to do if the third one is defective?"

Ack! I've been jinxed and it's not even here yet!

| posted by Ann D @ 8:19 AM

My Fabulous Weekend in Ottawa

Monday, September 12, 2005
I spent the weekend at the Baby Boom Show in Ottawa. The show was extremely well attended, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Jody Taylor, the Ottawa mom who "conceived" the show while on bedrest during her pregnancy.

Jody went out of her way to make me feel welcome from the moment I arrived at the show. (Actually, the warm welcome started far in advance of that. Jody has been sending me lovely emails for the past few years, inviting me to be a part of Baby Boom. (I couldn't participate in 2004 because I was out West at Baby Fair. But, Jody's persistence paid off because our schedules "clicked" this year and off to Ottawa I went.)

At the last minute, I invited Neil to tag along for what I spun as a "romantic weekend" -- okay, a "romantic weekend" with the opportunity to be my personal assistant at the Baby Boom Show. I was thrilled to discover that Neil and I make an excellent team when it comes to working well together on the road. He took care of getting my handouts photocopied, and then set up my display tables at the show. He even sat through all four of my presentations (the first time he's ever heard me speak) and didn't roll his eyes or laugh hysterically at the non-funny parts, or anything.

We also managed to hit Byward Market two nights in a row (one of my new "favourite places on the planet" and to test-drive various Starbucks outlets around town. (I love the one that's out in Nepean. If they had a shower, I would accidentally consider staying there during my next visit to Ottawa.)

I was thrilled to have the chance to "do lunch" with Dani, the day before she hopped on the plane.

And I got to meet Anna and a few other regular visitors to this blog.

The only black moment in an otherwise wonderful weekend came when Neil and I discovered -- in the hotel room -- that the replacement laptop that Apple sent me after my 13 months in repair hell (gasp!) appears to have a defective Ethernet modem or port. Neil has promised me that he is going to look into the problem tomorrow night.

I will keep you posted so that you can delete me from your blog links, should another round of Apple-induced misery be in the forecast for the near future.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:18 PM

Grief and Loss Teleconferences

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The Missing Grace Organization is sponsoring a series of teleconferences on topics related to grief and loss. I am the featured author for November. Here is the full schedule for the upcoming months:

September 15th
Living with Loss: Coping in the Months and Years After Losing a Baby with Deborah L. Davis, author of Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby.

October 20th
Infertility and the Journey to Finding Wholeness with Julia Indichova, who has been teaching the Fertile Heart Workshops since 1994 and has conducted seminars across the country for a number of advocacy groups. She is the author of Inconceivable, A Woman's Triumph Over Despair and Statistics, the founder of www.fertileheart.com and is currently the director of The Fertile Heart Learning Center in Woodstock, NY.

November 17th
Trying to Conceive Again After Enduring the Loss of a Baby with Ann Douglas, a bereaved parent, award winning journalist and author of Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss and many other books.

December 15th
Surviving the Holidays After the Loss of a Baby: A discussion group co-facilitated with Founder and Executive Director Missing GRACE Organization, Candy McVicar.

| posted by Ann D @ 9:56 PM

Ottawa Bound

Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I am going to be at the Baby Boom Show at the Nepean Sportsplex in Ottawa this Saturday and Sunday. You can download a copy of the show schedule here. Here's the scoop on my speaking topics and times:

Saturday, September 10:
11 am: Planning Your Babymoon: Preparing for Life After Baby
3 pm: Overstressed Parents, Overstressed Kids: Managing Stress While You're Busy Raising a Family

Sunday, Sepember 11:
11 am: Your Top Mealtimes Parenting Problems Solved
3 pm: Practical Parenting in the Real World: The Secrets of Effective Parenting

If you happen to live in the Ottawa area and you have time to come down to the show, I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

| posted by Ann D @ 7:22 PM

Proof That Truth is Stranger Than Fiction....

Believe it or not, this article is for real. It's not a spoof. Someone actually intended grown women to read this article and to take it seriously. I'm dumbfounded. I'm also curious: What other gems of women's journalism have you stumbled across online?

BTW -- I am totally loving your responses to the previous thread. Keep 'em coming! Some of you are going to be a shoe-in for the job of editor when Cosmo brings out Cosmo Pregnancy and Birth -- or when Vogue brings out Vogue Hot Mama. Get those resumes updated now so you'll be ready.

| posted by Ann D @ 11:59 AM