Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Enemy #1

Borrowed from
I am my own worst enemy...

I have the best of intentions when it comes to life . . . 

My head is a constant battlefield, full of competing ideas, dreams and to-do lists. I am a marketing and advertising companies dream!  If only I could figure out how to organize all of these wonderful thoughts and dreams.

As a child or teenager, we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up...well, here I am, all grown up, and I still ask myself this question every day!

There are so many things that I am passionate about, its just so hard to figure it out.  For now, I LOVE my job as Stay-at-Home Mom, but soon, both my children will be in school full-time, and then what?  I know I want, no make that NEED to return to the outside world.  I thrive off of other people's energy and ideas.

I love working with people! 

I was and still am a certified elementary school teacher, on a very extended maternity leave (5 yrs and counting).  I love working with kids, and perhaps I will go back to teaching, but there are so many other career possibilities that I am so interested in.

If only I could figure out which one? 

I am my own worst enemy...

I love change!  I thrive on it.  When things stay the same, I get bored! 

I change rooms around more than some people change their underwear!  We've moved houses 3 times since my son was born, and I still look at houses, even though we are in an amazing home.

We have 2 beautiful children, 1 boy and 1 girl, and still, I wonder if maybe there is room for a third child in our life?

It's not that I'm not happy or appreciative of the people and things I already have in my life, I just love change.  Change is good right?

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Friday, 24 February 2012

If Only there was more time...


How many times have I found myself wishing for just a few more hours in the day!  It seems no matter how organized, or how early I start to prepare for an outing, there is just never enough time to be on time!  Rushing to eat lunch, rushing to get to school, rushing to get to sports....rushing, rushing, rushing...Well, its TIME TO STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES!

I've come to the realization that I don't need more time in a day!  More time for what?  More dishes, more laundry,  more vacuuming, more kid's extra-curricular activities, more sibling rivalry?  No more time please!

Here is what I am going to do with my time:

  1. Enjoy it!
  2. Savour it!
  3. Follow my children's lead and enjoy every minute on the walk to school!
  4. Sing with them in the car.
  5. Dance while we do chores.
  6. Stop cramming so much "extra" into every day.
  7. Stop and smell the flowers, literally.
  8. Stop and make a snowman.
  9. Dance in the puddles.
  10. Snuggle on the couch.
  11. Jump in the leaves.
  12. Swim with the fish.
  13. Bask in the sunshine.
  14. Have picnics.
  15. Build Forts.
  16. Go for walks in the woods.
  17. Enjoy doing absolutely nothing some days.
  18. Stop wishing I had more time.
Because really, what would we do with more time?  Just try to cram more onto that damn "To-Do" list, and feel even crummier when we don't get it all done.  We all know that the chores have to eventually get done, and they will. 

How about starting a new tradition and making a "To-Do" list each night before bed with the kids on ONE thing each child wants to do the next day, and one thing each parent wants to do!

Now that is a "To-Do" list that EVERYONE will want to finish!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Urge to Purge

I'm a collector!  Not of stamps, or coins or spoons, but of my children's art work, school work, every sketch, scribble, colouring sheet, school sheet.  I keep it all!  No piece is too small or too large!

However, after 6 years, there's simply no room for it all!  I have such a hard time parting with it, or deciding which piece to keep and which to toss, that I came up with a solution our whole family can live with!  Photos!

I keep everything in a large folder made out of 2 pieces of bristle board, duct taped together on the ends and bottom.  I date everything that is made on the front right corner and place it into this folder.  Then, at the end of the year/beginning of the new year, I photograph the items from each child's portfolio, upload the photos to my computer and then pick a site that I can make photo-books with (I usually use Shutterfly because of the quality paper and design choices).

This way, instead of keeping all of my children's art and school work, I just have 1 photo-book with all of their work!

I look forward to when my children are older and I can pass on the photo-books as keepsakes instead of old, faded and beat-up pieces of paper and artwork.

I get a keepsake of everything they have done, and I don't have to feel the guilt of tossing it away!

Just Dance!

I LOVE my coffee!  I need my coffee, but lately, the coffee just doesn't cut it.  I find myself needing cup after cup of coffee or tea, and I can just see my doctor shaking his head in disapproval.  I needed to find something to get me through the unrelenting requests from my kids to "look at this," or "I'm hungry, can I have a snack?" or "Mom, he/she hit me!" not to mention the laundry, sweeping, dusting, get the picture.

But luckily, I have found a new caffeine to get me going in the morning!  I still enjoy my large coffee first thing, but then I open up all the curtains in the house and let the sunshine in, open a few windows just a crack for the fresh air, and then I play the music, LOUD!   I have my "happy" music that I have preselected and edited for little-ears.  My children love it too!  They dance with me as we put away the clothes, dance with the brooms and vacuum, dance with the feather duster, and just dance! 

The added benefit to this, is that I burn calories and tire out my little ones that are stuck inside while I attempt to regain control of the clutter, chores and dust.

Even on my walks to and from dropping off my son, or walking to someone's house for a playdate, I just pop in the ear buds and listen to my "happy music."  Again, added bonus...when the kids start to bicker and fight I just turn up the tunes...what bickering? 

Music soothes the soul...and in some cases the beasts, I mean kids :)

Saturday, 11 February 2012

McDonald's vs. Burger King

My husband and I have a long outstanding joke between ourselves . . . I'm McDonald's and he's Burger King.  Let me explain . . .

At any time, and in any situation,  my children ALWAYS  default to me, their mother!  It doesn't matter that their father is sitting right beside them and I am attempting to go to the washroom in peace, they will hunt me down and ask me to wipe their noses, get them a drink, grab them a snack.  It baffles me that their father is right there, and yet still, they just HAVE to ask me.

Finally, one day I asked my husband "Why me? Why when you are sitting right there do they not ask you?"  He replied, "Why have Burger King when you can have McDonald's?  Everyone prefers McDonald's, but if McDonald's is not available, then, when they have no other choice, they will settle for Burger King." 

Well, I say it's time "Burger King" worked on its marketing campaign and get to know its' customers a little better, because pretty soon, this McDonald's location is going to need to close for some much needed restoration and remodeling :)

Friday, 10 February 2012

A Lesson in Patience.

Today my 3 1/2 yr old daughter learned to ride a bike with training wheels.  I may have taught her something, but she also taught me something very important...I need to work on my patience!

Patience seems to be something I struggle with a great deal lately.  I have developed what my friend Nancy refers to as a "Nasty Voice." You can read her insightful and honest blog Life Takes Over .  I LOVE the time I spend at home with my kids, but when you are being pulled in different directions all at once, it can feel so completely overwhelming sometimes.

Today, as I was helping my daughter ride her bike, I was SO frustrated that she was having difficulty pushing the peddles.  In my head thoughts such as, "Why is this so difficult?" and "Push the damn peddles already" kept flying into my mind.  Luckily, I was able to keep them in my mind.  At the same time, I could here my annoyance in my voice.  The important thing is that I recognize it right?

I'm also going to take the advice of Nancy and count to 5 in my mind before I speak out loud.  Maybe then, I'll be able to enjoy myself more, and not risk hurting anyone's feelings.  I also need to do some serious soul searching and figure out why I'm so short fused these days.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Wow! Girls and Boys REALLY are SO DIFFERENT!

My 3yr old daughter has had many playdates, more than I can count.  These playdates have always been with more than one other child though and they have always been with boys, never just another girl.

Today, she had her first playdate with a girl the same age as her and it was magical!  

Up until today, playdates have consisted of a lot of running around, VERY loud voices, action, adventure and some sort of battle, oh, and usually, someone crying.

Not today!  Today, they painted, coloured, dressed up like princesses, had a snack and watched Dora!  I actually had the chance to sit and talk with another mom, oh, to sip tea without interruption! 

This really got me thinking about how different my son and daughter are.  No wonder boys and girls learn differently, they PLAY DIFFERENTLY!  My son is always on the move.  Ask him a question and he'll give you an answer, just try not to get dizzy watching him walk around in circles as he gives you the answer or tells you a story.  My daughter on the other hand can sit still and talk with me.  Give them both a page to colour and my daughter sits while my son stands and rocks back and forth switching his weight from one foot to the other.

Watch him play with his toys....on the stairs, in the hallway, in the front foyer, but never sitting on the floor.  He paces like a caged animal.

His kindergarten is play-based learning, so he's done fine to date.  My concern is that when he starts grade one this fall that he won't be able to focus in class.  What if he has a teacher that fails to teach to his learning style?  I really do believe that boys and girls learn differently, and I only hope that the education system today realizes this too! 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Well That Was Fun?

Family games night is a time of togetherness, bonding, and fun!  Right?

Then why is it that EVERY time we sit down to play age-appropriate board games or activities, one child leaves half-way through the game, and the second child has a melt-down when Mom or Dad happen to finally win a game?

It's not like Mom and Dad win every time, but it's nice when once and awhile the dice rolls in our favour!  I mean it's not even like we're cheating! We are supposed to be teaching our children that it's OK to lose, are we not?

How do we help our children realize that it's okay to lose?  Where as parents did we go wrong?  We have always encouraged our children to have fun when playing; that sports are not about winning, and that teamwork is the most important aspect of any game.

I want to look forward to games night with the family, and not wince at the mere mention of playing a board game, as if I'm about to give birth to my third child! (The labour itself, not the joy one feels after the birth).

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Holding Back the Flood Waters

Just when I think I've made some progress with the kids, and things seem to be going so amazingly smooth, BLAM!  Somewhere the switch in my son's brain snaps and unfortunately, I don't have the access code to shut it off!

I can see it coming, its like a small trickle of water seeping through the dam, and then the water starts to flow slightly more; due to the fact that I am not an engineer, I am unable to fix the crack and quickly, this crack ruptures and the dam is unable to hold back the force of the water, and it all comes rushing out in waves.

The cause of this collapse is usually traceable to fatigue, exhaustion and stress.  I can see it in their eyes, their expressions, their snappy responses, and their overall body language.  Unfortunately, the only way to prevent this melt-down is to either allow them to fall asleep (not going to happen as I DO NOT want a child wide awake at 10pm) or to give into each and every demand of my children, again NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

It's so frustrating watching the dam explode, as there is absolutely nothing I can do but stand back and let the flood waters subside.  I have tried to hold back the waters with hugs, kisses, jokes, but nothing can hold back the force.  I can simply sit and wait for the water to become a trickle, and then, the emergency response can sweep in and start to clean up the mess and start all over again.

All we can do is cope and continue to hope that by remaining calm in the face of adversity, our children too will learn to remain calm when things don't go exactly as we hoped.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

I Told You So...

Why is it that no sooner do the words "Stop, you're going to get hurt" come out of my mouth that one of my children ends up getting hurt?  Why is it that we can see the accident before it happens, and yet we still cannot prevent it from occurring?  Really when you think about it, its quite a twisted joke!

It feels as though I am somehow magically causing my children to fall backwards in their chair, fall of the couch and hit their head, fall of the bed, or slip on icy rocks, or so many other countless, and needless injuries.  I can see the entire scenario playing out before my eyes seconds before it happens and yet, I am unable to stop the incident from occurring!  Why can my "mommy-senses" detect the danger and yet I cannot prevent?

Take for instance a few evenings ago when my 6 yr old son was rocking backwards on a chair...(I know you can already sense what is coming.  It's those darn mommy-senses).  Directly behind his chair was a glass, circular end table with his head's name written all over it.  Twice I warned him to sit properly on the chair.  No sooner did I begin to mutter the third warning, when there was a sudden flurry of motion, a loud crashed, followed by a piercing scream and a child in tears running into my arms!

Part of me SO BADLY WANTED TO JUST SAY "I TOLD YOU SO!" but then the mother in me came out (thank goodness she's still in there) and I wrapped one arm around him and the other arm wrapped the ice pack I had readied around his head.

Now one would think that this previous injury would have been enough to ensure that he would pay closer attention and heed mom's warnings, but just tonight (hence the inspiration for this post) he was jumping wildly on the couch while playing video games (despite mom's warnings to settle down) and he jumped backwards, missed the couch and wacked his poor noggin yet again on the window sill!  Again, piercing screams, agony and tears!  He looked at me and all I had to do was shake my head and he knew!  "Please don't  tell me you told me so mom! It hurts, just get me an ice pack!"

I inspected the damage;  a goose egg the size of a golf ball, but thankfully no stitches.  I didn't say a word!  There was an unspoken understanding between the two of us.

Perhaps some day, my mommy-senses will allow me to sense the danger in a more timely manner.  Perhaps a few lessons from my son's favourite hero spider-man would help me out!

Either that or my children are going to be very familiar with the coined phrase, "I told you so!"

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Competitive Much?

My husband and I have both always been competitive, okay make that highly competitive individuals.  We both have Type A personalities.  It became VERY clear to both of us today, that so are our 6 yr old son and 3 1/2 yr old daughter.

We like to stay active as a family, and so sports are important to us.  My son has been playing basketball and up until the city decided that there wasn't enough enrollment, my daughter was in dance.  They cancelled her class, which originally was at the exact same time and location as my son's basketball.  I managed to convince the organizer to let me register my daughter into the basketball class for 4-6yr olds.

I had my reservations about letting her play, as she is quite small for her age, and she is the only girl in the class.  Let's just say that any reservations I had, have flown out the window!  I now fear that it is my daughter that will be causing the injury, not vice versa!  She was in there like a dirty shirt!  My husband and I could not believe how she "attacked" the ball and wrestled the boys to the ground to gain control of the ball. 

Now here is where I have difficulty as a parent...

What do you do when you know that a sport calls for assertiveness, and in some cases aggressiveness, but your child seems to be the most aggressive on the field.  I'm not talking aggressive to the point that they are taking out opposing players, but aggressive to the effect that they have absolutely no problem "ripping" the ball away from opposing players! How do you encourage a child to continue to put forth the same effort and energy, while at the same time, giving others on the team a chance?

I mean isn't it the responsibility of the referee/coach to intervene?  I don't want to be one of those parents from the stands coaching little Johnny from the sidelines.

Even on the playground... I cringe every time my child starts to play rough with the other children, even if they are all in it together.  I know that boys will be boys, but what about when not all parents see things the same?  How do I ensure that my "spirited child" does not get labelled as the "brute, bully or hooligan" of the sports field or playground?