Lynn Valley Optometry is Great for Kids

A couple of years ago, I decided to switch to a new optometrist. I have a really difficult time finding new glasses and had previously tried two optometrist / eyewear stores that I was kind of unhappy with. After checking out Lynn Valley Optometry with my family during one of the Lynn Valley Village community events, I decided to give them a shot.

I have had great experiences with Dr. Shajani and the entire staff, and have been extremely pleased with their selection of frames and lenses. In particular, I have been pleased with the instruments in place for eye health assessments and in their advice on issues from dry eyes to laser eye treatments. My kids have been seeing Dr. Alison Leung, who does a surprisingly thorough assessment for young children, including our initial assessment when Damien was 1 year old. Both kids actually enjoyed the process.

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In our last visit, both kids walked out with toys and with free sunglasses, and they’re pretty styling sunglasses! They honestly put mine to shame. Here they are enjoying their shades in the kids play room:

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Who can resist these sunglasses? I mean really, I want a pair!!

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Healthy Families BC Invites You to Win a $250 Lululemon Gift Card

Healthy Families BC approached me about helping to raise awareness on how to incorporate healthy eating and fitness into a busy family lifestyle. They offer resources and one-stop wellness information for how to be active, eat well and more. The new community, based on their website, Facebook and Twitter, wants to help you make positive changes in your life.

To help kick-start an improvement to your own lifestyle, they are offering a $250 Gift Card to Lululemon to one ActiveMama reader who shares what it means to be an Active Mama. Read on for more details…

My Fitness Story

For many years, I suffered from chronic pain and my fitness level went way down. I couldn’t walk or lift weight or do much of anything. Once I found a way to fix my physical pain, we decided to start our family. I wasn’t at my best fitness level going into motherhood, and my pregnancy wasn’t pain free either. After I had Aiden, I walked a lot (mostly to get him to sleep!), but after a few months, he refused both stroller and carrier and my fitness level went down.

I’ve learned that not every child is easygoing, that being a parent is tiring, and that sometimes you have to go out of your way to get fitness back into your schedule. Recent car accident aside (it set me back), I’ve done a lot to met my goal of becoming a Fit & Active Mama!

Ideas to be an Active Mama:

  • Go to baby bootcamp classes with your pre-mobile baby (Rec centres offer many options)
  • Take advantage of drop-in childcare at fitness centres so you can work out
  • Go to a gym in the evening or on days when you have pre-arranged childcare
  • Keep trying the stroller! Aiden eventually came to love it as a toddler
  • Do yoga or basic strength training (squats, lunges, etc) while your child plays. It’s pretty non-invasive and still allows you to pay attention to them
  • Set aside some money, if you can, for a personal trainer. They can help you learn how to correctly do many exercises and can put together a home fitness plan that requires little to no equipment
  • Set aside 20 minutes of precious nap time to run through your fitness plan. Then you can relax (because you deserve to relax too!)
  • Exercise as a family – take walks or hikes, or set up your toddler in a bike seat or chariot for bike rides


A $250 gift card to lululemon athletica to help you be fit and feel good about yourself.

How to Enter

Head on over to Facebook to ‘Like’ the Healthy Families BC page, then return here and share your recommendation on how to be a fit & active mama! How do YOU make healthy eating or fitness a priority as a mom?

Limit one comment per person. Contest open to residents of BC only. Contest will close on September 30, 2011 at 2pm PST. Winner will be chosen at random.

Injury Update

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since my car accident. The car is already in for repairs and so am I. I have a full team of health professionals working on me:

With the exception of the physiotherapist, I’ve been with these practitioners for some time. I’ve had nearly a year of fitness training and many years under the care of my massage therapist and chiropractor, who together helped me recover from 3 years of chronic pain from my first two car accidents (ART therapy was extremely effective for me). This was after seeing many other practitioners and doctors along the way.

I felt a little like a “pro” going into this recovery stage. I could identify my pains more accurately and knew kind of how to approach my recovery. I’ve seen my chiropractor twice, my massage therapist once, and my physiotherapist once. I’ve seen my family doctor twice as well, to give him updates and receive prescriptions to manage the pain and swelling (which should hopefully soon fade a bit).

For now, I am still in pain. My neck and shoulders are tense and tender, though I’ve had worse. My knee is screaming at me, and I also have pain in the tops of my feet / ankles and in my forearms. The knee pain is related to the knee, as well as my leg muscles and my hip. Complicated.

I can see that recovery will take time, and I’m a little frustrated about that. I’m not looking at years, though, just months, but it does set back my fitness plans, and that’s frustrating for me. Even more so than the pain itself, I think.

So, that’s where I’m at. I’m not online much, and that’s annoying me. I have to rest a lot, and that is both nice and frustrating. I find myself short on patience in afternoons with Aiden. But I’m coping.

Aiden’s First Fever

Although Aiden has had many many colds, and one bout of vomit-inducing flu, he’s never spiked a fever. Until today.

Aiden had a bit of a rough night and was grumpy on-and-off this morning (see photo, sporting his new scraped nose from a fall on the weekend). He went down for his nap a little early and woke after only 30 minutes. This is compared to 2 or 3 hours, usually. He did this yesterday too, after 45 minutes. In both cases, I was unable to get him back to sleep after a long session trying.

Today, after I got him up, I offered him his lunch. He’d been too tired to eat it prior to his nap. He was very grumpy and barely ate anything. I decided to take him out. However, when I was putting on his shoes, I noticed he felt rather warm and was still flushed from his nap – or so I thought. We took his temperature – 101. A fever.

However, Aiden thinks the thermometer under his armpit is some form of torture. In the process of taking his temperature, either from being upset or in combination with his flu, he threw up. Repeatedly. We also later noticed a little rash on his cheek, so we are keeping an eye on that.

After this, I cuddled Aiden until he fell asleep and let him take a nice long nap. Tylenol brought down his fever and he went to bed ok. He’s off to a rockier start this evening, but Ianiv has taken over sleep training to perhaps take away the temptation for Aiden to ask to nurse. When we started this bout of sleep training, if Ianiv entered the room, Aiden would freak out. However, now he seems ok with him being there. Cross your fingers the next few nights improve.

Some Things Shouldn’t Be Considered “Parenting Decisions”


Photo: Andrew Zuckerman

There are lots of important decisions that we make as parents, and for every decision there seems to be a pretty big debate going on in the court of public opinion. Should we allow our children to play with violent toys? How much screen time should kids be allowed, and at what age? Should we teach our children a second language or wait until they are already proficient in their first language? At what age is it appropriate for our kids to get a cell phone/start wearing make up/walk to school by themselves/dye their hair/go on their first date/get something pierced/etc., etc.? These are just some of the many valid questions that parents with children of every age are asking themselves on a daily basis, but there is one parenting decision out there that I really think needs to be taken off the table because I honestly don’t think that it’s up for debate: vaccinating our kids.

When I was pregnant, I bought in to the immunizations-as-a-parenting-decision myth until I started doing my research. The so-called debate seems to centre on whether or not immunizations are safe for young children, and in particular, whether certain vaccines cause autism. But I quickly discovered that if I only read reliable sources that based their findings on scientific research, there was no evidence supporting this belief. In fact, every single reputable source that I consulted argued quite strongly for the benefits of vaccinations.

What really turned the tide for me was an article in Wired magazine (link below) and a conversation with my family doctor. As my doctor explained, most of the vaccine debate is based on misunderstandings and misinformation about how vaccines work. The biggest piece of misinformation is the belief that children in Canada are protected from illnesses like polio, measles and mumps because vaccines have wiped out these diseases and/or because their children are protected because most other children in our society have been vaccinated. But these illnesses have not been eradicated. Instead there is an illusion that they no longer exist because the majority of the population has been vaccinated against them, and we are protected by something known as herd immunity. Herd immunity is the result of the majority of  the population being vaccinated or immune to certain diseases, which makes it extremely difficult for the diseases to spread. In the case of most diseases, 95% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order for herd immunity to be established. My doctor urged me to vaccinate my son for these reasons but also for another important reason: we live in a city that welcomes tourists and immigrants from all over the world, many from countries where childhood vaccines are not readily available. Germs, most likely brought to Canada from other countries, are responsible for recent outbreaks of both mumps and measles in our region.

For me, there is no longer a debate. The decision is clear. But if you are still feeling unsure, do your own research. Just be careful. A Google search can turn up a lot of unreliable, alarmist information on this topic. I recommend checking out a few of the books and articles listed below. I found them very helpful and all of them use credible, scientific sources to back up their claims.