Urbanbaby & Toddler Magazine - Winter 2014

Page 1

Celebrity Dad:

CBC News Vancouver

Andrew Chang Top Tips for Your Tiny Traveller

Special Feature:

Christmas Made Easy by The Granville Island Toy Company

Mom’s the Boss:

Meet Six Inspiring Moms! UrbanGuide: Style-on-the-Go

Diaper Bags

Sign up for special offers at WWW.URBANBABY.CA




Edit or’s L e t t e r Ever notice how the Back-to-School rush is quickly followed by Halloween rush and before you know it, the extreme rush of the Holiday Season takes over? Lucky for you, this edition of Urbanbaby & Toddler is packed with great articles for whenever you need to press “pause” and take a well-deserved break. If you are planning to take baby on a tropical vacation, check page 4 & 5 for helpful suggestions. And don’t forget to enter our exciting contest to win a Family Vacation to Grand Velas, Riviera Maya. For those searching for that perfect toy, look no further. See our special toy feature sponsored by The Granville Island Toy Company on page 6 & 7. Our Celebrity Dad needs no introduction. After all, you see him around the dinner hour weekdays. Read all about our interview with the charming television personality and new dad, Andrew Chang, who shares his views on juggling work and family on page 8 & 9. Special thanks to all our supporters, advertisers and loyal readers. Wishing you and yours a safe, fun-filled and memorable New Year. As always we value your feedback. Send your emails to the editor at editor@urbanbaby.ca On the cover: Milan, 4 years old Location: Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm

Saanichton, BC

Photo credit: Jessica Bender Photography jessicabenderphotographyblog.com


volume 12 • issue 4

i n t h i s i ssue travel: Top Tips for Your Tiny Traveller................................................................. 4 feature: Christmas Made Easy............................................................................ 6 celebrity dad: Andrew Chang............................................................................. 8 family: Say Cheese: Capture Those Timeless Moments Professionally.............. 10 parenting: Why Encouragement Trumps Praising.............................................. 11 fitness: Keeping Fit: Do 30-Day Fitness Challenges Work?............................... 12 relationships: Raising a Family: It takes Teamwork!........................................... 13 family: Holiday Traditions: How Does She Do It?............................................... 14 holiday feature: Celebrate the Holidays............................................................ 15 UrbanMarket: Products & Promotions............................................................. 20 education: Touching, Crawling, Talking: Simple Ways to Help Your Baby Learn... 22 ceo mom: Meet Six Inspiring Moms.................................................................. 24 Great Goods: Winter Finds and Gift Ideas........................................................ 26 UrbanGuide: Diaper Bags................................................................................ 28 UrbanKid: A Parent’s Guide to Minecraft........................................................... 30 on the town: Winter Family Fun......................................................................... 31 spotlight: UrbanMom: Waheeda and Zoya....................................................... 31 EDITOR/AD SALES Lara Leontowich


CONTRIBUTORS Maribel Cubillas, Sue Wright, Lara Leontowich, Victoria O’Dea, Julie Romanowski, Daniella Ginta, Natacha V. Biem, Joanna Mileos SUBSCRIPTION urbanbaby & toddler magazine is available for $25.00 per year (includes GST). Published four times per year by Local Kids Media, reaching 68,000 readers per issue. Material appearing herein may not be reproduced in print or electronically without written permission of the publisher, and without proper credit. Editorial opinions and viewpoints may not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

t he web. w ww.urbanbaby.ca facebook. w ww.facebook.com/ urbanbabyandtoddler twitter. @urbanbabymag

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t ra ve l

| by Maribel Cubillas

Top Tips for Your Tiny Traveller As you land at your much-anticipated destination, you breathe a sigh of relief after a rather uneventful long flight with your baby. While getting off the plane, you wonder how your little one will adjust to all the changes during the upcoming week. You are looking forward to an enjoyable stay at the resort with every convenience imaginable for that memorable vacation with your baby. There’s no doubt travelling with a baby can be difficult but with some planning and a baby-friendly destination, you can have a comfortable, carefree vacation for the whole family.

Consider the Climate

strollers in addition to smaller items such as bottles at no charge. Upon request, they can also prepare fresh organic baby food with ingredients like zucchini, chicken and banana.

Look for a destination with a climate that is warm enough to enjoy the sun and sand, but won’t expose your baby to drastic changes in temperature. So for example, the average temperature in Riviera Maya is a comfortable 21°C to 25°C. Just remember to pack sunblock and sun hats for your tiny traveller!

Take the Night Off

Follow Due Diligence

Velas Resorts offers private babysitting services upon request as well as nannies certified by The Emergency Care and Safety Institute and American Red Cross. With such services available, you can relax and have fun knowing your baby is well cared for.

Your destination has a large impact on your packing list so be sure to take it into consideration when creating yours. Write down everything your baby will need — from weather-appropriate clothing to formula. It is also important to take note of what will be difficult to find in your destination, and pack extra.

Keep it Simple Babies will create some additional luggage, but you don’t need to pack the entire nursery. Remember, you will have to carry around those items so check with your resort to find out what you need. Some resorts provide cribs, baby bath tubs, high chairs and


Grand Velas, Riviera Maya for 4 nights, 3 day stay*

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Vacations are a great time for parents to reconnect after bringing baby home. Be sure to plan a night where you can go for a romantic dinner or spend an afternoon doing one of the resort activities you will both enjoy.

For more information on the Baby Concierge, including special offerings like Baby’s First Haircut, please contact Velas Resorts at 1.888.407.4869, email reservations@velasresorts.com or visit www.velasresorts.com • Maribel is a Baby Concierge at Grand Velas Riviera Maya www.velasresorts.com/babyconcierge

Applying for a Passport for Your Child

About Grand Velas Riviera Maya: Grand Velas Riviera Maya is an ultra-luxury all-inclusive resort. Guests can choose among three separate ambiances, including adults only ocean-front, family-friendly ocean view and a Zen-like tropical setting. Mexico’s Grand Velas Riviera Maya offers a new Baby Concierge service that combines worry-free, baby-friendly amenities for parents who want to travel and reconnect with each other without leaving their new baby.

Whenever we travel abroad, we carry a passport without giving it much thought. Obtaining a passport for your baby or child is not that hard to do. Photo identification and a passport are required for newborns, infants and children who are entering a new country. Who Can Apply for Child’s Passport:

• One of the child’s parents • The custodial parent as a result of divorce or separation • The legal guardian To Apply for a Passport, Parents or Legal Guardians Must Attain:

• Complete a Child Passport Application for Canadians Family-friendly rooms offer the following convenient amenities:

• Baby bottle sterilizer • High chair • Crib

• Stroller • Baby bath tub • Baby bouncer

As well as brand new items you can take home:

• Rattle • Teether

• Bottle • Bottle brush

If you’re travelling with older children, the Grand Velas Kid´s Club, operating seven days a week from 9:00 am until 11:00pm, offers innovative programs and play-and-learn activities in a safe, friendly environment supervised by highly qualified personnel. Fun activities include movies, storytelling, drawing and painting, origami, and board games for children from 5 to 12 years old. Children can also learn how to make piñatas, kites, visors, handbags, pinwheels, masks, necklaces and bracelets. For Mom, indulgence awaits in the luxurious 90,000 square foot Grand Velas Spa, a Leading Spa in the World and the region’s largest spa sanctuary. Services include massage therapies, body treatments, body wraps and facials. For Dad, the Grand Velas is close to the renowned 18-hole golf courses in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya. Just imagine a comfortable, carefree and truly memorable family vacation at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya. •

under the age of 16 years of age

• Proof of Canadian citizenship • Proof of parentage • Two identical passport photos • Application and photo certified by a guarantor • Fee of $57 for child passport, valid for five years Passport Photos Where to Go:

• Passport photos can be taken a numerous retails store locations such as Costco, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart and Blacks. Sears provides passport photos with special equipment for young infants. Passport Photo Guildlines:

• Taken by a commercial photographer • Clear, sharp and in focus. Photos may be in colour or in black and white

• Taken with a neutral facial expression, Passport Canada

recognizes the difficulty in obtaining a neutral expression of a newborn and infants and will allow for some tolerance in this regard For young babies, the photo may be taken while the child is sitting in a car seat, as long as a white blanket is placed over the seat behind the child’s head. There must be no shadows on the face or shoulders, around the ears or in the background.

For general information or to download the General Child Passport Application Form refer to our website at www. urbanbaby.ca/parent-info/applying-for-a-passport

winter 2014 | www.urbanbaby.ca | 5

fe a t u re

| by UB&T & The Granville Island Toy Company

Ch r i s t m a s Ma de Ea sy at The Granville Island Toy Company







This beautifully detailed costume is the perfect prop for tiny fans of the most famous Snow Queen.

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This award-winning learning toy interacts 3 FREE iPad apps. Help little one with shape recognition and creativity!




6 | www.urbanbaby.ca | winter 2014

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Tranquil Starfish follows in the footsteps of the award-winning Tranquil Turtle. It plays soothing sounds and creates a magical underwater light effect.

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ce l e b r i t y d a d

| by Urbanbaby & Toddler

A NDREW CHANG People living in BC saw a familiar face on the anchor desk at CBC News Vancouver. Andrew Chang stepped into his exciting new anchor role after returning from Sochi, as part of CBC’s broadcast team. He moved to Vancouver for his new post after a successful decade at CBC News Montreal, These days the wellaccomplished Andrew Chang is celebrating more than the new job; he and his wife recently welcomed their daughter, Arianna in June. Andrew made the decision to take seven weeks of paternity leave to spend time with his daughter. Urbanbaby & Toddler Magazine recently had the opportunity to interview Andrew about everything new; new baby, new city, and a new job.

UBT: Working in a high-pressured media role has its challenges and taking time off can be tough. It is often rare to see a man taking paternity leave. Was that a difficult decision for you? AC: Being male didn’t have a lot to do with it. The fact that I occupied that high-pressured post definitely factored into my decision. Up until my honeymoon, which was just a couple of years ago, I had never taken more than one week off at a time. For someone in a host role, it is important to have that consistency. You are always there, on the air and you are reliable. It is such an integral part of the job. On the other side of the coin, this is my daughter we are talking about here. And when it really came down to it there was no question in my mind that I wanted to take that chunk of time. If my wife had her way I would have been off for two years. I am actually quite shocked to hear how rare it is for fathers to take that much time off. Many fathers are lucky if they get two

8 | www.urbanbaby.ca | winter 2014

Read past celebrity parent interviews at


weeks off and many just don’t take parental leave at all. I find that surprising and unfortunate in a way because for me, it was so important to be there. Yes, it was a difficult decision but ultimately I think I made the right one, and I would do it again in a heartbeat! UBT: For your new post, you relocated your family from Montreal to Vancouver. Being uprooted after having a new baby is not easy. Why did you decide to make that change? AC: The opportunity was there. Vancouver [CBC News Vancouver] came knocking on my door offering a really interesting role. With completely overhauling the 5pm and 6pm newscasts, I had so much to look forward to. We are going much more in-depth and exploring the why’s and how’s rather than simply giving the who, what, when and where. Many more live interviews makes the job even more exciting. The show has really been tailored for me. Leaving Montreal wasn’t an easy decision by any stretch. It felt like the right time despite the fact that it came up close to another big milestone in my life. UBT: Suffice it to say, working in such an important media role can be quite demanding. Do you think balancing work and family will have its hurdles? AC: When I was in Sochi, it was a challenge to juggle everything. Here in Vancouver, I will be working nine or ten hours a day.


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I think it is just figuring out the right balance between work and home. It is about keeping that optimistic point of view. It helps that my wife is the most understanding, caring and loving person as far as I am concerned. She has been really good through it all and that helps me tremendously.


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UBT: What has been the most surprising thing about being a parent? AC: There have been a few things on the warm and fuzzy side; just the amount of time that I can spend just staring at her [Arianna]. That, to me, is such a joy. The funny thing is that I thought as long as you are careful when you are changing the diaper there shouldn’t be any issues. You know what you are doing. Right? You just undo the little straps and take out the old diaper, slide in the new diaper and you are all good. I didn’t know poop could fly. Now that was a surprising realization. •

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winter 2014 | www.urbanbaby.ca | 9


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| by Sue Wright

Say Cheese:

Capture Those Timeless Moments Professionally! Children grow up so fast. It’s only natural for a parent to want to take pictures of them all the time. We have a strong desire to capture those precious childhood moments, especially when we catch them doing something timeless. Cameras and smart phones have advanced in a huge way and as a parent, we now have ample opportunity to take some amazing photos, except for one major drawback. Looking back through pictures of my children I began to wonder why I didn’t have many pictures with me included. The reason: I was the one behind the camera. I questioned myself repeatedly. How did I create such a void in their timeless lives by not being included with them?

again. And most likely you will land up sharing a laugh or two about hairstyles or clothing from the past.

Professional family portraits are so important and here’s why:

A professional photographer understands how some memories cannot be repeated. They are knowledgeable and experienced in capturing those precious moments in a fraction of a second. Time moves quickly. Children grow up fast. Relatives move away for various reasons. Make a commitment to get professional family portraits on a regular basis.

Seize the Moment When children are younger, having a portrait of the family done each year is a great way to capture the changes throughout the ages and stages. As children grow up they find their own lives and move away. You don’t need a special event as the reason for getting professional photos done. Seize those rare opportunities when everyone is together.

When booking family portraits, consider that photographers offer special packages at affordable prices several times a year.

I am sure you and your spouse have taken some great photos on a random basis, but how many times has there been someone important missing from family photos, simply because that person was the one behind the camera? In many families, it’s the same person time and time again.

Create Memories You Will Cherish Family portraits are also a great way to reminisce. Grandchildren may someday ask to see pictures of the family. Wouldn’t it just be sad if there were few or none to share? Looking back at family photos can be something you treasure together over and over

By working with a professional photographer, you will have family portraits that you will proudly display. You will have professionallyorchestrated, (lighting and posing) timeless memories for the whole family to enjoy time and time again. •

Images by Bethany

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10 | www.urbanbaby.ca | winter 2014

p a re n t i n g

| by Julie Romanowski

Why Encouragement Trumps Praising Building a child’s self-esteem can easily fall to the bottom of the priority list with today’s busy families and stressful lifestyles. However, you can easily learn techniques to help boost your child’s confidence while at home, at the park or on-the-go! Despite a sincere desire to uplift their your child’s self-esteem as much as possible, you might find it challenging to do so because of time pressures. Praising often feels more natural, like a typical default setting. Your encouraging words can be powerful. Until you gain that awareness, you may not know about an effective methodology for boosting your child’s self-esteem. Refer to the quick guide for explanations and examples of how encouraging differs from praising.



Reactions or words that are directed to the physical or outer appearance of the child

Reactions or words that are directed to the emotional or inner part of the child

“You look so pretty in that dress...wow!”

“How do you feel when you wear that dress?”

“Great performance! You looked good out there.”

“I can see that you are really proud for scoring that goal.”

Based on a perception of approval and what to think

Based on feelings, awareness and abilities

“I like you in that dress... you look so pretty.”

“How come you feel that way when you wear that dress?”

“I like the way you did that.”

“How do you think it went?”

Reliant on the evaluation of others

Promotes self-evaluation

“Mom, what do think of me in this dress?”

“Mom, I feel ready for the party. Let’s go!”

“How do you think I played today?”

“I thought the game went well. I scored a goal and felt really focused.”

winter 2014 | www.urbanbaby.ca | 11

Three Major Benefits of Encouraging • Helps parents understand how the uniqueness of each child is • •

to be celebrated. Children are honoured for who they are; not what the child’s parents want them to become. Builds a child’s self-esteem by promoting their own individuality and confidence to follow his or her own interests. Creates a healthier bond of trust, understanding and acceptance between a parent and child.

Experience the power of encouragement. The next time you get a spare moment with your child, whether riding in the car to kindergarten; coming home from a birthday party or getting ready for bed, offer up a confidence boost with some encouraging words about how wonderful he or she is. • Julie is a mom, an Early Childhood Consultant and owner of Miss Behaviour: parenting coach and consulting services. Learn more through her tips and blogs. www.missbehaviour.ca

f i t n es s

| by Lara Leontowich

Keeping Fit: Do 30-Day

Fitness Challenges Work? As busy mom, exercising can be tough. If you’re working full or part-time and taking care of your children, finding time to exercise can become a foreign concept. You’ve probably seen motivating pictures featuring a fit model on social media, with a simple plan of just one exercise daily for only 30 days. Most likely it’s the “30 Day Squat Challenge” or “30 Day Abs Challenge” promising you amazing results in record time. Exercising only one muscle group sounds great. But does it work? And is it safe? Having been a busy mom for several years, I welcome the idea of a daily challenge that motivates and inspires someone to start exercising. Yet as fitness professional, I know repetitive daily

Weekday Mornings at


Shop ‘n Stroll is a workout that turns your stroller into a portable fitness machine and takes baby along for the ride.

challenges may be limited in giving new moms the results they are hoping to achieve.

Basic Muscle Theory When you exercise a particular muscle, that muscle needs at least 48 hours to recover before you can exercise the same muscle group again. Every time you exercise your muscles, you create small muscle tears and when given proper recovery; your muscles will bounce back stronger, tighter and toned. You may find it surprising to know that if you are constantly creating tears by exercising the same muscles every day, you are not allowing your muscle to repair the tears, which is necessary to positively re-shape your body. Constantly working the same muscle group also puts you at high risk for injury.

Spot Reducing The limitations of spot reducing are becoming well known. So for example, exercising only your abdominals will not give you that flat, pre-baby tummy. You also need overall body conditioning and cardio training. Exercising only your abdominals and forgetting about your opposing lower back muscles creates an “imbalance” which can lead to potential injury.

What to Do? Some quick and effective exercise programs and challenges are available. Before your start any exercise program, find out about the credentials of your instructor; ask your doctor for medical clearance; and use the proper form when completing each exercise.


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If you are motivated by “30 Day Challenges,” find two opposing muscle-group challenges and alternate between them, so you are doing each one every other day. Exercising regularly will give you results. Just be sure to learn about exercising smart! • Lara is a BCRPA Certified Group Fitness Instructor and owner of Runners and Booties Fitness. Join her weekday mornings at the ever popular Shop ‘n Stroll Class offered at your local shopping centre. www.runnersandbootiesfitness.com

Register online to Attend 12 | www.urbanbaby.ca | winter 2014

re l a t i o n s h i ps

| by Daniela Ginta

Raising A Family: It Takes Teamwork!

No one said the sailing over parenting waters would always be smooth. However, your relationship with your partner need not be shipwrecked in the process. So what does it take? Opening up communication? Sharing the workload? Committing to regular date nights? The answer is all three! Rosie Pope, well known for her Bravo reality show called Pregnant in Heels, and mother to four young children (translation: very busy life) happens to have a great marriage, despite all the hurdles of bringing up a big family. “As a mom, it is easy to get focused on what you’re doing and lose sight of an important aspect of life with children: teamwork. There are many things dads can learn to do and the more they do; the better they become at it,” She cites. “What’s essential”, Rosie emphasizes, “is to keep an open communication. All too often we expect our partners to guess our feelings and understand our state-of-mind without us making it clear to them. What we need is to have empathy for each other and put ourselves in their shoes”. “It makes no difference whether you have one child or many. Your life changes with the first and often parents discover that they are more relaxed with the second, third or fourth ones,” the mother of four explains. Rosie points out that though having children close together can add to the tension, working together makes all the difference. “Teamwork means supporting each other — from keeping the household running smooth to allowing your partner to take a break and go for a walk; take a bath or just has a chat with a friend. It is important to be there for each other”.




She reinforces the importance of communication. ‘”Get over being shy and don’t allow issues to get bottled up. If you want to be honest with your partner and say the things she or he can improve on, you have to be able to take the same level of honesty and listen to some of the things you need to change.” According to Rosie, couples should make date night a priority and suggests they consider planning an occasional date night at home because of the extra time and stress involved in planning a night out. “Date night does not have to be Friday night. It can be any day you want and you can do whatever you feel like doing. “Any good fire cannot be expected to go forever without being tended to,” Rosie gracefully reminds us. “Sure, family life may be challenging but you need to make time for each other. Remind each other about your love story and the time you first met. “Investing time and energy into your relationship is essential for a happier family life. Truth be told, everything is easier to handle when there is harmony on the home front.” • Daniela MSc lives in Kamloops with her family, where they learn what the word balance means. Her best understanding of the concept so far is that if you put a lot of love into it all, things are bound to work just fine.

winter 2014 | www.urbanbaby.ca | 13

Join us at Vancouver’s Pathways Gathering Group! Hosted by Dr. Sabrina Chen-See, Vancouver’s Pediatric & Family Wellness Chiropractor

Meetings on the 3rd Monday every month

9:30am - 11:30am

FREE FOR PARENTS Fairmont Medical Building, Vancouver


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RSVP 604.566.9088 • drchensee@gmail.com


| by Victoria O’Dea

Holiday Traditions: How Does She Do It? I am a Christmas failure. Ever since I have had children, I have wanted to recreate the same beautiful family traditions my mom created for us. The tree; the baking; the gifts; the nativity scene, and all the “homemade goodness” synonymous with the season. Usually I am Queen of Good Enough, but once a year I want magic. Not my usual mediocre magic, but Christmas magic. I want to create traditions that my three children will cherish and want to recreate for their own children. I want to have a hand in my grandchildren’s traditions some day. Now back to reality and creating that magical Christmas for my children, who are all under the age of ten. I am clearly unstable. I start thinking about Christmas in February. I don’t actually do anything, but I start thinking and planning. I want to do a cute family photo. Maybe we can all dress up as Frozen characters. I want to make a homemade advent calendar with pockets for a special treat each day. I start pinning Christmas cookies and plan on making melted snowmen cookies to take to

school. I dream of sewing all the children’s gifts even though they have all asked Santa for some form of electronics. By September, I am full of enthusiasm. The children will be back in school and I will have all this time to make these Christmas traditions happen. But I don’t do anything remotely festive – except what I do best and that is, dream about it. By December 1st, I have gone into denial, depression and survival mode. I look around and there is no “homemade goodness” anywhere. How can that be? I started planning 10 months ago! I look around and see chaos. In our Christmas photo, Holly is not having a good hair day at all. Lily is at the stage where photo bombs and eye rolls are hilarious. ...Continued on page 19





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#ChristmasMadeEasy ‘Twas the days before Christmas, the parents were stressed, Moms and Dads come inside if you need some rest! We’ve got personalized service, an online store too, Your list will be done, leaving more time for you! If you’re like me, you’ve got three wishes this season: healthy family and friends; relaxing with loved ones; and of course, someone to help get that Christmas list done!

• Gift Wrapping: We can help save you the precious time of wrapping in the wee hours of the morning!

• Online Wish Lists: Long gone are the days of the fat Christmas

I always find my holiday “to-do” list is longer than my timeline to get it all done. Yes, there are those who are organized and then there are those (like me) who are running around like mad trying to get everything holiday-related done at the last minute. To me, the word “holiday” is supposed to exude the feeling of relaxation, calm and enjoyment but during the countdown to Christmas, it’s hard to get to that state until it’s too late. Even if we wanted to get more done, there’s no choice but to stop when Santa is about to come down the chimney! So that got all of us thinking. As an independent family-owned business, how can we at The Granville Island Toy Company make holiday shopping a little easier? It’s called #ChristmasMadeEasy. • Toy Experts: Not sure what to buy? Whether you’re looking for a toy that encourages physical development, cognitive development or imagination and plain old fun, our in-store toy experts have amazing suggestions and ideas. • Operation “Covert” Shopping: Sometimes Mom and Dad have no alternative than to shop with the little ones in tow. We’re used to “covert operations” at the toy store including Mom and Dad passing gifts to our staff to hide behind the counter and distracting kids while parents pay. This year, when you come into one of our stores, we’ll have a handy form that you can use. Just fill out the list and hand it to one of our staff to avoid any secret hand-offs from inquisitive eyes.

• •

toy catalogue that most of us used to create our wish lists from. We have the next best thing: an online wish list! Once your wish list is created (at toycompany.ca), you can email it to friends and family, print it off as a shopping list or simply add it to the on-line cart. Finish your shopping online and let us get it ready for you. Online Delivery: Shipping is free with purchases over $99 or you can pick up in-store at no charge. Extended Hours: Our Main Street location will be open until 9pm Monday through Saturday from December 1st to 23rd. (Sundays – 10am to 6pm). Our Kids Market location will be open regular hours from 10am to 6pm, 7 days per week.

Win a $200 shopping spree! For every purchase made in-store or online between November 12th and December 24th, you’ll be entered to win a $200 shopping spree at The Granville Island Toy Company! Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season and a stress-free shopping experience! Cheers, Joanna • Joanna Mileos and husband Craig Hartman are the owners of The Granville Island Toy Company in Vancouver, BC. Their motto: “We Don’t Cease to Play Because We Grow Old, We Grow Old Because We Cease to Play”. ~ GB Shaw


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<< ENTER TO WIN AT www.urbanbaby.ca

THIRD ANNUAL • SPECIAL FEATURE Be a part of the 3rd Annual Urbanbaby & Toddler Magazine Babies of 2014 special feature published in the Spring 2015 magazine. One lucky baby will be chosen to be featured on the cover of a future magazine issue. All birth announcements include baby’s full name, date of birth, coloured photo (1 ¼ square) and parents’ names.

Kimberly May Sm Januar y 6, 20 Joe & Ja ne




w w w.ur ba nba by.c a / ba bie sof 2 014 EARLY BIRD BOOKING DEADLINE IS JANUARY 15, 2015


...Continued from page 14

Every time my husband Mark puts his arm around her, she makes a face as if his armpit transmitted a ferocious smell. Logan has mastered the five-year old fake smile and resembles Jim Carey in the movie, The Mask. Mark naturally looks like a rock star in every photo because all the Christmas prep falls onto my shoulder – again! I made it into two of the 784 family photos. And in both shots, I look like Olaf so naturally I get mad at Mark.

“I didn’t. I was so exhausted, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. And I drank a lot of eggnogs,” she explains. Then I ask about the tree. She informs me it was fake and it looked like a toilet brush. What about those songs around the piano? She quickly reminds me that no one knew how to play the organ except my sister who could only play Stairway to Heaven. The baking? She then fesses up, telling me she regrettably gained seven pounds every holiday.

I started the advent calendar but only made it to the 19th. I figured there was enough excitement to get us through the last 6 days. I convinced the children the 20th was a test day. Santa will leave them a gift if they behaved until the 19th. Mark says I am spoiling them and we have a fight.

After reminiscing, I was feeling better. Maybe my lame attempts would magically morph into meaningful Christmas traditions by the time I had grandchildren. “Thanks Mom, I better go apologize to Mark for my Christmas hysteria,” I proclaim.

There are no cookies. Mark made a Christmas fruit cake the size (taste and texture) of our coffee table. In our family, four out five loath Christmas cake. The children cry when I suggest they take some to school. I look around our house full of half-finished Christmas crap and pour myself a glass of wine. I call my mom, the Miracle Elf of all Christmas Traditions, and switch to whining.

“Congratulations Honey, you have carried on one of my family traditions. The annual Christmas fight,” she teases. I can’t wait for Boxing Day. There is always next year to have a Christmas that Martha Stewart would envy - maybe if I start planning in January. I think it is time for another eggnog! • Victoria is a stay-at-home mom of three and lives in North Vancouver.

“Mom, how did you do it all every Christmas?” I ask.

Her family stories have been featured in The Globe in Mail. She spends her time reading, writing and practising yoga.


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e d uca t i o n

| by Natacha V. Beim

Touching, Crawling, Talking:

Simple Ways to Help Your Baby Learn You’ve just welcomed a new baby. You know that it is essential for babies to get adequate stimulation during that first year, but where does a new mom begin? There are so many different opinions on what is best for your baby and so many recommended toys to choose from. Even when you choose one, your baby may look at it for a few minutes and then burst into tears. You may wonder “What am I doing wrong?”

your expressions; your smell; the feeling of clothes, and even the way your earrings reflect the light.

Sometimes we can become so worried about providing the ‘right’ stimulation that we forget the primary way our babies learn: by bonding with their parents. That’s right, no extra toys required!

Instead of reading or dangling a shiny toy over baby’s head as you breastfeed, focus on making eye contact and learning to read your baby’s emotions. Try talking or singing gently and observe the response. Try stroking baby’s head or body to see the reaction. Some babies like a very gentle touch while others prefer a firm caress.

Take Time to Get to Know Your Baby In the first months of life, your baby is experiencing and processing everything for the first time: the light and the darkness; your face (which she will study intently); your gaze; your voice, which sounds a little different outside of the womb; your eyes,

Take the time to discover exactly what your baby likes. When you think you’ve figured it out, watch as your baby’s preferences

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evolve. You don’t need to add any more stimulation than your amazing self, tired and all!

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time to talk on the phone with someone else. Using the distinct smells and sounds of the supermarket, you can make your weekly shopping trip a bonding and learning experience.

As well as visual stimulation, your baby is learning a great deal from hearing you speak. All of the phonetic components of language are learned in the first few months of life. Not only that, your baby is learning your different tones of voice: when you are happy, when you are tired and when you are angry (even if you are just angry at the dog). Research from the University of Oregon has shown that sleeping newborns can recognize their parents’ angry voices!

Build Emotional Intelligence

When you feel your baby is ready for more stimulation, go for a walk so your little one can discover more outside sounds – from a bird chirping to a car driving by – absolutely everything is a learning experience for your baby.

Without even realizing it, you are presenting your baby with new stimulations every day. You are contributing to much more than baby’s intellect. Even without saying a word, you are helping to develop emotional intelligence – and that is something no toy, tablet or television can do! •

Another great activity to share is listening to good music, dancing with your baby in your arms or reading a book together. Baby learns substantially by hearing you say words for the first time; experiencing the different intonations in your voice; and eventually enjoying the images in the book. It is never too early to begin reading, and it is something you should do every day.

Explore Smell, Taste and Touch Your baby is also learning from smells in the environment. Some are wonderful aromas coming from your kitchen; others are a little less pleasant, like a dirty diaper. All smells and tastes are learning experiences for your baby, who is busy classifying and organizing while creating neural connections in the brain. Babies also need physical touch in order to develop. They learn from being stroked, massaged, held, touched, rocked, kissed, and everything in between. You never have to worry about ‘spoiling’ your baby through too much touching and holding. Remember that these are essential to brain development and crucial for your baby’s emotional development.

Create a Routine Together Once you feel your baby is ready for more, the best stimulation will come from your daily walks outside. There is so much to see, hear, touch and feel out there: the first drop of rain on your baby’s hand, the feeling of sand on the toes, the smell of grass, or the heat of the sun. The supermarket can provide enough stimulation to last for months to come. Spend time together looking at the colorful fruits and vegetables, talk about what to make for dinner or what kind of toothpaste to buy. Even if it’s only you talking, engage your baby in conversation as you would a friend. Avoid using this

winter 2014 | www.urbanbaby.ca | 23

The most important thing you will learn as a parent is how to establish a strong connection between you and your baby. As you learn to “read” each other, your baby will give you cues when it’s time to play and laugh, go outside and explore the neighbourhood or read a storybook together. Whenever you are busy cooking, showering, or driving, it is an ideal time to surround your baby with beautiful toys.

Natacha is an early years and parenting expert, a writer, a speaker, a teacher, and the founder of the renowned CEFA Early Learning Schools. www.cefa.ca

CE O m o m

| by Urbanbaby & Toddler Magazine

Meet Six Inspiring Moms! Striving to achieve work-life balance can be challenging for moms. So how does one achieve career and personal goals while still keeping family life a high priority? Read about some inspiring moms who are living in the moment and making specific life choices so they can spend quality time with their growing families.

Dr. Nancy Vertel www.mapleridgedentistry4kids.com Dr. Vertel practiced general dentistry for seven years. After the birth of her child she discovered a passion to work with children and families. She completed education at the University of British Columbia to become a specialist in Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Vertel opened two clinics, Maple Ridge Dentistry for Kids and Half Moon Dentistry for Children in South Surrey. She enjoys hiking, cooking, travelling, practicing yoga and spending time with her family. She also volunteers with the Special Olympics and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry.

Vanessa Wideski www.mindful-abundance.com After two years travelling around the world, Vanessa returned home to British Columbia. She was so inspired by her husband’s work in the financial industry; she made the decision to join him while she was on maternity leave with their second child. She soon started Mindful Abundance, a company that has Vanessa and her team of financial security advisors helping families with a full spectrum of financial planning. Vanessa values the flexibility of being self-employed because it allows her to spend more time with her two-year old daughter, Nala and her four-year old son, Noah.

Natacha V. Beim www.cefa.ca Natacha knew the kind of teacher she wanted to be when she was just 21. She tapped into her unique perspective to create the all-day early learning program at Core Education and Fine Art, designed for infants and children up to five-years old. The enriched curriculum features a blend of subjects to give children the freedom to learn and grow through play. Natacha divides her time between researching; writing; professionally speaking and most importantly, being a mom to her two sons.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter at


Stephanie Mosher www.busybump.com Stephanie, is the owner of Busy Bump Maternity Services and mom to Madison and Chase. She started Busy Bump Maternity Services while on maternity leave and helps parents-to-be prepare for the arrival of their newborn. After clients began asking her to plan their baby showers and birthday parties, she expanded her business to a full-service event planning company doing everything from birthdays to weddings, corporate and non-profit events. Her favourite family activity is a day at Maplewood Farms in North Vancouver and their annual holiday in the Okanagan.

Leina Wade www.leinawadephotography.com Leina is a photographer and mom to Brooke and Ayla. While staying home with two young girls, she had the desire to be creative. Her love of photography inspired her to build a business around photographing babies and families. Juggling family and a business had its challenges. Now that her daughters are a few years older, family and work balance continues. When not spending time with her family and friends, she enjoys baking and running.

An Amazing Mom & Son Team Danielle & Conor Gibbons At 20 weeks pregnant, Danielle’s unborn son was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Though Danielle was excited about becoming a mom for the first time, she was also scared of what lay ahead and grieved for the dream she thought she lost. Through the fear, Danielle started Baskets of Love a special gift basket providing comfort, support and resources for new parents to welcome them to the Down syndrome community. Today, Danielle’s son Conor, is an amazing little boy who has opened her heart and eyes to unconditional love for him and others. To help Danielle provide Baskets of Love for other families check out


winter 2014 | www.urbanbaby.ca | 25




This unique, portable white-noise baby calmer transmits soothing “white noise” that only baby can hear, keeping your little one relaxed and happy. Fantastic for using at home and when travelling. Choose from three soothing sounds, all set at a safe volume: heart-beat, ocean waves or falling rain.


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Milestone Baby Cards

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ENTER TO WIN AT www.urbanbaby.ca

Come Join t he Party!

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Style-on-the-Go Diaper Bags Long gone are days of those tacky-looking nylon and plastic diaper bags. Today’s parents can be stylish on and off the playground. Being on the go with baby has its challenges and a good diaper bag will make things simpler by keeping everything handy and organized. Here are our top six tips when choosing a diaper bag or starting your collection:

1. Easy to Carry: Consider the weight when purchasing a diaper. The lightest ones we tested weighed about 4lbs. Add in all your supplies and your diaper bag could start to weigh more than baby.

2. Size: Bigger is better when it comes to purchasing your first diaper bag. The diaper bag you choose should have enough compartments for bottles, soothers, toys, diapers and a change of clothes. Make sure you have enough personal space for your wallet, car keys and cell phone so you don’t have to carry both a diaper bag and purse.

3. Style & Colour: Even though style and colour are important, if your diaper bag isn’t comfortable to carry, you won’t be excited to use it. Choose from three different styles: tote, messenger and backpack. Try out all three styles and see which one works best for your lifestyle. Stay away from floral prints if you’re counting on Dad to carry the diaper bag occasionally.

4. Quality & Cost: Think of your diaper bag as an investment and consider the quality you want. Prices range from $75 or more. You might think that the bag will only be used for the first year however; many parents use their diaper bags throughout the toddler years.

5. Fabric & Material: Diaper bags get dragged around so consider purchasing one that is easy to maintain. Look for stain-resistant exterior fabric and linings that can be wiped clean.

6. Features & Accessories: Most diaper bags on the market today provide extras such as: insulated bottle holders; comfy padding on shoulder straps; key clips; matching change pads; wet bags; a case for wipes and compartments for make-up or soiled clothes. Consider these extras when deciding how much you invest in a diaper bag. •

28 | www.urbanbaby.ca | winter 2014

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winter 2014 | www.urbanbaby.ca | 29


| by Lara Leontowich

A Parent’s Guide to Minecraft If you have a child between four and twelve, you have probably heard of Minecraft and are very aware of its growing popularity. In 2013, iTunes named it the No. 1 downloaded game. This year Microsoft purchased the game for $2.5 billion dollars. Having a 10-year-old son who loves computer games it wasn’t surprising that my son would instantly love the game. When I discovered that the game was equally popular with girls, it was a real eye-opener. One Sunday afternoon my seven-year old niece came over for a visit. Noticing her iPod in hand, my son’s eyes lit up. You could almost see the thought bubble over his head. Sensing it might be a long shot, he asked “Wanna play Minecraft?” Before I could tell him that dinner would be ready in a matter of minutes, the two disappeared to the computer room. When my son started playing the game, I was an occasional observer and couldn’t see what all the attraction was about. My first impression was that the graphics seemed rather elementary. Minecraft’s environment and characters resemble square blocks. When investors asked Microsoft why the company purchased Minecraft, Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, replied, “If you think about it, it’s the one game parents want their kids to play.” Her statement got me really thinking. Was I missing something? Why is it that I have had to ask my son numerous times to get off the computer and stop playing the game? Now, wait a second. Is it in fact, just another video game? My curiosity got the best of me. After all, how could I make assumptions about something I did not experience first-hand? Just before bed I said to my son, “Tomorrow, I need you to show me how to play Minecraft.” “Really?”, he asked with a puzzled look on his face. “Yes”, I answered. To his delight, he jumped up exclaiming enthusiastically, “Awesome!” Minecraft is considered a “sandbox” game –meaning that it is never ending. Children can create and build their world to their heart’s content. Players choose from two settings: Singleplayer (alone in their one world); Multiplayer; (with a group of invited friends) or; on an open server with other players from all over the world. Survival mode has basic settings making it the easiest for beginners. Hardcore mode is for advanced players. Creative mode allows players to easily create and design structures with unlimited supplies for creating and building. After playing with my son for an hour, I realized that the game is second nature to him. He’s not struggling to figure out the commands. With ease, he toggles back and forth seamlessly 30 | www.urbanbaby.ca | winter 2014

from screen to screen while explaining, “you don’t play just one mission; you can choose from numerous activities.” In Minecraft, there were no levels to beat, and no items needed to open up new worlds or frustrating tasks to complete. During my hour long lesson, my son wasn’t staring at the computer screen trying to collect points or shooting bad guys. He created and designed a house, in an interactive world he controlled. He solved problems and found creative solutions to store his supplies for future play. I quickly learned that playing Minecraft requires focus to absorb everything going on and the fast-paced activities. Could this be why my son gets so bothered when I interrupt him while he is playing the game? After my hands-on testing, I realized why the game is so popular. It is amazing how it can hold their attention for hours as they plan and build their digital worlds. As a novice, I quickly caught on to the basics and loved the fact that, at different levels of experience and ability, I could play along with my son in the same world. Families can join each other on adventures or work on collaborative projects regardless of their skills or knowledge of the game. Minecraft teaches children computer knowledge from basic skills like communicating with friends to understanding how the game was created. Players are teaching themselves programming; computer shorthand; researching on the Internet; making videos and using editing software. As parents, we have all heard concerns that children today are lacking the ability to stay focused and engaged. Understanding more about Minecraft sheds a whole new positive light on the matter. So what might we expect from our emerging Minecraft Generation? Aside from nurturing numerous computer geniuses, is it possible we could see some highly-focused, multi-tasking, creative thinkers in business and government planning and building collaboratively? Now there’s an interesting concept! •

o n t h e t ow n


Winter Family Fun!

November 2014 Nov 21 - 23, 10am - 5pm: Just Between Friends Sale Hellenic Community Center, Van. consignment sale featuring clothes, toys and baby items. Admission: $5 per adult vancouverbc.jbfsale.com Nov 23 - Nov 24, 10am - 3pm: Festival of Trees Family Days Van Island Conference Centre, Vic. Live entertainment, holiday treats and children’s activities viu.ca Nov 20 - Jan 4, open 7 days a week until 11pm: Vancouver Festival of Trees Four Season Hotel, Van. and the upper level of Pacific Centre Mall Live entertainment, holiday treats and children’s activities Support BC Children’s Hospital bcchf.ca Nov 22 - Dec 12, 1pm - 5:30pm: Heritage Christmas Burnaby Village Museum, 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Bby. An old-fashioned holiday with entertainment. burnabyvillagemuseum.ca Nov 28 - Dec 24: The Peak of Christmas Grouse Mountain N. Van. Sleigh rides, choirs, ice-skating, Santa’s reindeer and Christmas movies grousemountain.com

Family FUN



Dec 6 - 24 11am - 3:30pm: Holiday Traditions Kids Market, Granville Island, Van. Santa, holiday sing-a-long, magic shows on select days kidsmarket.ca

Nov 30 - Jan 4: Bright Nights Stanley Park, Van. Train ride through twinkling forest, animated displays, hot chocolate. Admission applies vancouver.ca Nov 29 - Jan 3, 11am-9pm: Canyon Lights Capilano Suspension Bridge 3735 Capilano Rd. N. Van. Sparkling lights through the park, gingerbread cookie decorating, music. capbridge.com/explore/ canyon-lights

Dec 10 - Jan 4, 4:30 - 9pm; between Dec 19 – Dec 23, 4:30pm – 10pm: Festival of Lights Van Dusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak St Van. Highlights include Santa’s livingroom, dancing, lights and choirs vancouver.ca

December 2014

Ongoing Events

Dec 5 - 23: Carol Ships Parade of Lights Vancouver Harbour More than 50 decorated boats and 100,000 lights carolships.org

Zumba for Mom & Baby Every Friday, 10:00am Dance Class for Mom & Baby/ Toddler. Sponsored by Lougheed Town Centre Free to Attend Registration required

Dec 13 - 31: Christmas at Canada Place Woodward’s windows, mini train, outdoor covered skating rink, Santa’s workshop and much more christmas.canadaplace.ca


Shop ‘n Stroll Fitness Various Weekdays Mom & Baby Fitness Class Sponsored by your local Shopping Centre Free to Attend Registration required

Dec 1, 4pm - 8pm: Christmas in the Park & Santa Claus Parade Memorial Peace Park Hot chocolate, Santa, arts & crafts, music and community carolers. mapleridge.ca


Movies For Mommies Weekly Shows of New Releases. Grab bags and special guests. Stroller friendly, diaper change area. moviesformommies.com

Find more community events at www.urbanbaby.ca



Skating at Robson Square Dec 1 – Jan 1 Skating is free with your own skates, Rentals available. Concession with snacks and drinks robsonsquare.com

Festival of Lights VanDusen Garden Dec 10 – Jan 4 Stroll through themed areas, enjoy the Dancing Lights Photos with Santa too! vandusengarden.org

Rogers Santa Claus Parade Dec 7, 1pm Dazzling floats, displays kids zone, crafts and treats

Please check websites to confirm event details


winter 2014 | www.urbanbaby.ca | 31

Waheeda • Richmond, BC Zoya, 8 months old

1. What is the best part about being a mom? Being able to give and receive unconditional love. I love how my daughter is a part of our family. 2. What is your favourite activity to do with your child(ren)? I enjoy reading and being outdoors with Zoya. She is a little explorer and I am happy to help her explore her world with curiosity. 3. What is your favourite television show? Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly as they always put a smile on my face. I’ve never laughed so hard! 4. What was the last book you’ve read? How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane by Johanna Stein. I don’t remember laughing out loud this much, while reading a book. It’s the funniest take on motherhood and parenting. A definite must read! 5. What is one product or service you can’t live without? I can’t live without my diaper bag. It has space for everything I need and mysteriously keeps getting bigger each day. 6. How do you find some “Mommy Time”? I have a great support system, my husband. His help with Zoya allows for “me time” which can be a relaxing bath or an exercise class.

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