For Next Winter

Alright Old Man Winter, we are done and done. I’ve been patient. I was patient all through January, when post-Christmas blahs were at their worst. I was patient in February, apparently the most depressing month of the year. And I was patient at the beginning of March, as I eagerly anticipated warmer temperatures.

But now? My patience has been swept away by the icy winds and blowing snow. My kids no longer fight their snowsuits – they just play dead when it’s time to get dressed. It’s like they’ve lost the will to live.

But alas, I know you can not haunt us forever, and slowly but surely, the sun is gaining strength. Yesterday I was actually sweating on my walk to work!

So this is the time of year that I begin assessing how to make winter better for the whole family. We’re finally past the newborn stage, and both my kids will be ready for fun activities next year. And what’s more fun than skiing? So I put the word out to some friends, asking for advice on the best age to begin skiing.

Apparently there IS no best age! My friends reported cross-country skiing with their 18-month olds (they must be athletically endowed – our family does not carry those genes). As for downhill, it seems that 3-5 years old is the best time to begin lessons. Parents suggest trying one lesson first before signing up for a package – let your kids decide whether they want to continue!

This gives me hope for next winter – that my family may embrace the snow pants and get out on our skis. I just hope my kids are slightly more athletic than I am, as pictured here several winters ago ;)

Me skiing

Me crashed

Do you ski with your children?

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If I had a million dollars…

If you had a million dollars, what charity would you donate to?

Thinking about this question had me floored for a while. How do you choose just one?? How do you decide which cause trumps another?

The answer is simple – every cause out there merits attention. Children with special needs, cancer research, hospitals, homeless shelters, environmental groups…the list goes on! What’s important is that a charity means something personal to us – somehow, we have been touched by something and believe passionately that we must make a difference in the world.

So, in light of a recent conversation, I believe that my money (if there was ONE MILLION DOLLARS in my bank account…hehe, I can’t help but do that in an Austin Powers voice) would go to Hopewell, Ottawa’s Eating Disorder Support Centre.

Now, I think that I might be slightly biased towards this wonderful local charity. I worked there for two years as their Program Coordinator – organizing support groups, applying for funding and developing new programs. But there is no better way to get to know more about a charity than to work with one :)

According to experts, we currently have an “epidemic” of overweight and obese children in our society. When we think about weight, we normally don’t think about eating disorders – that’s because we picture the stereotypical case of anorexia, when an individual restricts food intake. But eating disorders run on a wide spectrum, and there are such a variety of issues. Many eating disorders begin in childhood, and children are not taught about what it means to have a healthy relationship with our bodies and our food.

That’s where Hopewell comes in – although they also provide front-line services for those individuals who are very ill, they are also focused on prevention. Getting to the root cause of our challenges with food and weight are essential in solving the current epidemic. And we won’t be able to do it without a fundamental shift in our thinking – shaming, extreme diets, and weight loss surgery are NOT the way to go.

If you’ve never heard of Hopewell, please check them out! Consider donating to this amazing organization, whether you have $5 or $1,000,000

 

Autism on the Hill – April 2

Did you know that 1 in 88 children have autism? And if you’re looking at stats for boys (it is more common for boys to be diagnosed with autism than girls), the number jumps to 1 in 54. This statistics are from the U.S., but are often quoted her in Canada because the prevalence of autism isn’t being monitored here. These stats are from 2012, so speculation is that these numbers have likely increased.

Province to province there are vast differences in the amount and type of support that parents receive. If you start to look at what’s going on, it can make your head spin. This is why it’s important for government leaders to be aware of what families are facing – both on the federal and provincial levels.

Autism on the Hill is a peaceful event designed to raise awareness about autism. On April 2, families and friends of children and adults who are affected by autism will gather at Parliament Hill for the second year in a row. This event is being coordinated by Suzanne Jacobson of QuickStart – Early Intervention for Autism (a fantastic organization you’ll want to connect with if you have a young child on the spectrum).

autism-on-the-hill

 

brandon-aviationBefore I ever had kids, I knew there was a chance I’d have a child with ASD because I have three families members who are all on the spectrum. Autism has brought a lot of unexpected challenges into our life, but I wouldn’t wish it away for even a minute. My son wouldn’t be the person he is if he didn’t have autism and I adore my sweet little boy.

More and more children are having special needs identified – from developmental disorders (like autism) to food allergies and intolerances. The more we raise awareness of the diversity of needs to be met amongst our young children, the easier it will be for them to find support and understanding within the community as they grow into adulthood.

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Karen Wilson is a mom to Brandon, wife to Matt and business owner trying to juggle all three while laughing through each day at the antics of her husband and son. So, it’s understandable when she drops a ball here and there. Right?