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Monthly Archives: November 2012

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Tis the Season.  We have officially launched operation “Get ready for Christmas” at the “M” household. This morning we introduced our children to a new holiday tradition – Elf on the Shelf. When my five year old spotted the Elf her first words were “I thought it was going to be real”.  She wasn’t buying it at all. I really thought we were in trouble when I heard my son say this:

Jack “Katie, Mommy bought the Elf at the book store”.
Me (under my breath) “Oh crap!”
Katie “No she didn’t, he’s real, Santa sent him!”

Hmmm, apparently my two year old is much more observant than I realized.  I’m just happy that she is still believing in a little magic.

Tonight we are watching our first Christmas movie – Arthur’s Christmas. There’s a character in the movie with a Christmas tree shaped goatee – more men should try and pull that off!  I love Christmas movies. My favourite as a child was Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. I loved the Island of Misfit Toys. And I love sharing that movie with my own kids and seeing them enjoy it as much as I did.  When I was older we always watched Home Alone on Christmas Eve. I also really enjoyed Christmas Vacation as an adult. Nothing like Christmas movies during December.

One Thing. Earlier this week my daughter informed me that she REALLY wanted to take a dance class.  Most dance classes run from September to June so I thought we were out of luck.  But I just happened to find a studio with an opening and she started this afternoon. As it turned out, parents were permitted to watch the last 15 minutes of today’s class.  Not much cuter than watching 5 and 6 year old girls do a little routine to One Thing by One Direction.

Parenting Lessons.  One of the things I’ve learned as a parent is that most of the time you just have to go with it.  Before you have kids, you have all the ideas of the type of parent you will be. You might be very judgmental of that parent whose 2 year old is screaming at the top of their lungs while grocery shopping (that was me last week by the way). But the reality is now matter how prepared you are, kids will surprise, shock and embarrass you and you just have to go with it. I never would have guessed that I’d say things like “Jack please don’t lick the couch” or “Jack stop putting your hands over your ears and shouting to see how loud you can be”.  I definitely never would have imagined letting my kids watch movies in the car – I survived 9 hour car trips without a dvd player so why couldn’t my kids? We now have a built-in dvd player and wireless headsets. I should also point out that this dvd player is in my minivan which I swore I would NEVER own. Now it’s basically my dream vehicle, and while I do find it hard to park, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  And it doesn’t get easier when you have a second child.  You think it will because you’ve done it before right? So you are clearly an expert now. Only problem is your second child will be nothing like your first so you will be completely thrown off your game. Nevermind the fact that as soon as you think you’ve got a handle on things, your kids will throw you a curve ball.

Conversations with a 2 year old:

Jack “Mommy I want to watch a movie in the car”.
Me: “We only watch movies on long trips”.
Jack “Mommy I want to go on a long trip”

Jack “Mommy, I’m all done my supper”
Me “Ok, please go wash your hands”
Jack “NO! I already washed my hands”
Me “That was before supper, your hands are dirty so you need to wash them again”
Jack “NOOOOO I DON’T WANT TO WASH MY HANDS”

This goes on until he washes his hands. It also happens after every meal. Every day. I’m not sure why it bothers him so much or why he thinks I will suddenly have a change of heart but it’s literally become a part of our mealtime routine.

Until I write again…

Shay

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Family Traditions

Family Traditions.  My favourite memories when I think back to my childhood often involve our family’s traditions. My mom was the best when it came to making holidays extra special.  She always made a special heart-shaped cake for Valentine’s.  We dyed eggs at Easter and went searching for our hidden Easter baskets.  For Halloween she made ghost cookies which we got to decorate and baked pumpkin seeds.  Each holiday was full of delightful fun for the family. Traditions are fun. As children, we look forward to repeating them each year. My mom once made an omlet type dish for Christmas morning , instead of her traditional eggs benedict. We were devastated!  We still give her a hard time about that one!

Now that I’m grown up, I love to passing on these traditions to my own children as well as starting new ones.  My friend Tracey once shared how her and her sister always received new pajamas on Christmas Eve and now she does this with her kids. I love this idea and have added this as one of our Christmas traditions. Last year my husband and I joined in on the new pajamas and I got us all one-piece pajamas with the feet and all.

My brother’s family plays a game called “hide the pickle” where everyone frantically searches the tree on Christmas morning in search of the prized “pickle” ornament. The winner gets a prize and of course bragging rights. We’ve also adopted this tradition and a few more that I’ve picked up over the years.  This year I am going to start a new tradition – Elf on a Shelf. A friend of mine told me about it a few years back and see that it’s now growing in popularity on Pinterest. It’s funny how excited I get at sharing these traditions with my kids. I hope that they enjoy them as much as I do and will pass them on to their own families some day.  Do you have any holiday traditions that you love? If so, I’d love to hear them.

Until I write again…

Shay

Little Monkeys

Little Monkeys. When my daughter was in preschool some of her friends were able to get across the monkey bars. As hard as she tried, she just couldn’t do it. We spent all summer at her future elementary school playground practising on the monkey bars and rings. Some days she would get to one or two but no more. Despite her lack of success he never gave up. On her first day of Kindergarten I picked her up and she asked if we could play at the playground. And wouldn’t you know it, she showed me how she had mastered the rings. Now she spends most of her recess time and after school on them. She’s likes going backwards and is now trying two at a time. While she’s busy on the monkey bars, her brother is busy climbing. If it goes up, so does he. I often act as a safety rope by standing right beneath him in fear that he is going to fall but most times he’s just fine. He’s only two. I figure by the time he hits Kindergarten he’s going to be doing acrobatics from the top of the equipment.

A Bit of Gratitude.  Here we are and it’s nearly December. I may have written this before, but it’s a quote that’s close to my heart. “The Days are Long but the Years are Short”. Nothing can be truer when it comes to your children. My son loves to cuddle. He constantly says “I cuddle with Mommy!” He loves me to carry him around and to cuddle on the couch. There are times when I’m too busy for cuddles. When I’m rushing to make dinner or to get us out the door for school. I do not enjoy having to say “I’m sorry, Mommy can’t cuddle with you right now”. But I do cherish the times when we can cuddle.  I know not too long from now he’s not going to ask to be picked up. He won’t want to cuddle. Maybe not even to kiss or hug me goodbye. Because in a blink of an eye he’s going to be taller than me and running out the door to go play soccer with his friends. So for now I am grateful for the all the cuddles I can fit into our busy day.

Until I write again…

Shay

Book Worms

Book Worms.  I’m a reader. I love reading novels. I’ve been known to stay up late and read a book in a few days.  When I used to work downtown, I had a long 45 minute commute each way but I didn’t mind so much. I would sit back, relax and read. When my husband and I moved to a new city and I got to drive to work, I found that I truly missed that time I used to spend on the bus. Nowadays, with two kids and working from home I don’t have nearly as much free time for things like reading but I still find time for it each night before I go to bed. Some days I may only get in a few pages before the words start to blur on the pages and I’m finding myself re-reading the same sentence over and over again. But most nights, I still pull out a book and curl up in bed before I go to sleep.

I started reading Goodnight Moon to both my kids when they were newborns. We read bedtime stories to the kids every night and often during the day as well. We go to the library each week and select a dozen new books. My son likes to pretend to read. His favourite stories right now are “Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes” and “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”. We’ve read them so many times that he will say the words even before we turn the page.

My enjoyment of reading has now reached a new level. My daughter has started to read. It began last spring when she wrote the words “cat” and “bat” on a napkin. I was not only shocked to learn that she could spell but also that she could read. I bought her a selection of Barbie phonics books as a preschool graduation gift and we’ve had a lot of fun working our way through them. It is so much fun to go through this stage with her. I love watching her excitement as she tries to read new words. Recently her teachers started sending her home additional reading homework. Sight words written on strips of paper attached to a key ring. Some days she finds the words easy and other days she struggles a bit. It’s amazing to hear her sound out new words and read ones I think she couldn’t possibly know. “Because”, “always”, “were” are her most recent triumphs. At bedtime she will now sometimes ask if she can read the books to us. It takes much longer but it’s worth every minute.

A Bit of Gratitude.  Today I am grateful for hand-me-down clothes.  When I was a kid we used to go to visit my Grandma every summer. A part of our tradition was handing down clothes to the younger cousins. I was always so excited to open my box and see all the new clothes from my cousin Tanya!

When I had my daughter I didn’t really know anyone with older girls. I quickly learned how fast kids grow out or stain clothes and how many times you sometimes have to change a newborn’s outfit in a day. With my son things are a bit different. I am extremely fortunate to have friends and family who have older boys and whom are handing me down their clothes, shoes, coats and toys. Just the other day I had a friend give me a giant bag of clothes she didn’t need. It brought back that great childhood memory as I dug through the bag and got so excited at all the clothes for my son. So thank you to everyone who has given me a hand-me-downs. It’s new to me and I love and appreciate it more than you know!

An Unmotivated Me

I have a morning routine. I get up, get dressed and ready for the day. I do this every day, pretty much 7 days a week. I used to stay in my pjs until about 15 minutes before I had to leave the house and then I would run around like a crazy person trying to get ready which would stress me out, stress my kids out and cause me to inevitably be late. But now I find that if I get up and dressed for the day, not only am I ready to leave any time, but I also have more energy and am generally more productive throughout the day. Today is not such a day. It’s Sunday which means we usually get up and after breakfast go to church. But this morning my husband is sick. So I thought it would be best to not disturb him and get dressed later. I normally would take the kids to church without him but unfortunately my son is also unwell and I don’t think my husband is up to taking care of him. So here I am still in my pjs at 11am. And I just looked around my house to see breakfast dishes still on the kitchen table and not a lot of productivity going on. Instead of games with the kids or playing outside we’ve been vegging on the couch watching some movie about chipmunks on a ship. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem spending a delightful pajama day inside with the kids. They can be a lot of fun. But I actually do need to get up and moving as I am going to visit my Granny later this afternoon. But right now I am not feeling an inkling of motivation. It even crossed my mind to cancel on her. Just goes to show me that I am truly the type of person who does better with a routine. It motivates me…and wouldn’t you know it. Just as I was writing the my husband sauntered down the stairs asking if I needed to get ready to go out. That’s just the kind of guy he is. Awesome. Alright, off I go. Hope you are enjoying your day (especially if you are still in your pjs!)

 

A Little Less Worry

A Little Less Worry. Today I thought I would share something that I struggle with – worry. I worry a lot. I worry often. I worry too much.  Here is a bit of what Wikipedia has to say about worry.  “Worry is thoughts, images and emotions of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats…Worry refers to negative self-talk that often distracts the mind from focusing on solutions to the problem at hand.”

My husband doesn’t do this. He is very optimistic. We were recently at the doctor’s office getting some blood test results back for my son.  The doctor indicated because my son’s test results had not improved in the last month, as he thought they should have, he was going to send us to a pediatrician.  My husband left our visit thinking that there is probably nothing to wrong with our son and that we shouldn’t worry until we hear what the pediatrician has to say.  I left that same visit thinking there must be something seriously wrong with my son and then panicking as I knew it could be months before I’d have answer –  meaning months of worry on my part.  I spent the whole evening stressing about a the possibility that my son may have some serious illness. Whereas my husband simply said “if it was anything serious he would have sent to the hospital. He probably just has another virus”.  Glass half full/glass half empty. That’s us. The truth of the matter is we’re not going to know anything until we go see the pediatrician. No amount of worrying is going to change that.

I fully recognize that spending all this energy worrying is self destructive. Nothing positive can come out worrying about what might happen. So why do I do it? Why do I waste much energy worrying about what hasn’t happened instead of living in the present and dealing with what is happening right now? My husband asks me this all the time. My response is always the same “because I’m so good at it”.

So my challenge this week is to not worry so much. To try and focus my energy on more positive thoughts and live more in the moment. I read this quote on Pinterest that really stuck with me – “if you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, if you are at peace you are living in the moment” Lao Tzu

A Bit of Gratitude. In keeping with the theme of worry, I am grateful that I have someone like my husband in my life who isn’t like me, who does see the glass half full. I’m glad that he can show me another way to look at a situation and remind me to keep calm.

The Polka Dot Peanut.  On a lighter note, I thought I would close this post by sharing a quick story about my son.  I always get a good laugh by the stuff that comes out of my son’s mouth. He didn’t really start talking till a few months ago and now he talks non-stop. He comments on everything he sees and often loudly. My husband always says that Jack has two volumes “loud” and “louder”.  Yesterday, as Jack and I were walking we spotted a dog. My son is obsessed with dogs, especially since we’ve told him he is allergic therefore can’t pet them. He spots them from miles away and will shout “Mommy, look a puppy! No touch puppy Mommy, I get sick”. The dog we saw yesterday was a very large, very active white and black dalmatian.  As it was jumping around with excitement my son shouted “Look Mommy, the puppy has a polka dot peanut!”  The owner just chuckled and said “yup, it’s a boy”.

I’ll Just Have to See Your I.D.

I’ll Just Have to See Your I.D. It’s funny how when you are in your early twenties and someone asks you for I.D. you are seriously insulted. “How Dare They!” you think. But when you are in your thirties you are so flattered. “Why yes, you can see my I.D., you’ve made my day!”.  I was out for lunch with my husband on our anniversary. This was a rare meal where we were not only eating lunch after 11:30am but we were also eating lunch without our two kids. I originally ordered a soft drink. My husband was surprised and asked me why I hadn’t ordered a beer? He said “you’ve put up with me for seven years, you at least deserve an alcoholic drink at lunch!” So away I ordered and it was then that I heard those sweet magical words “I’ll just have to see your I.D.” Best anniversary gift so far!

What Was I Thinking? First I grabbed the handle on my frying pan to discover it was burning hot. Then while I was running my hand under cool water I thought “I’m thirsty, maybe I’ll just shove my head under the tap and take a drink while I’m waiting for my hand to cool down”. Next thing you know I’ve got water up my nose followed by me choking and then spitting water all over my kitchen. Just one of those days…

A Thought to Ponder. I love reading something that really makes you think and sticks with you throughout the day or even throughout the years. So I thought I would post a few of my favourite quotes now and then. Here is one I read the other day “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything”.

A Load a Day Keeps Your Laundry At Bay.   For years I have struggled with laundry. For some reason getting dirty laundry from the hamper to the washer, then to the dryer, then to the closet seems like an impossible task. Here is what my laundry life used to look like: I start a load of laundry but then forget about it. So the next day I have to re-wash the clothes as they have sat in the washing machine all day.  When clothes finally make to the dryer they also tend to stay there. I may pull out an item or two but leave the rest of the clothes.  Eventually I will pull out the clothes but then leave them in a heap in a laundry basket. Over time I’ve got dirty clothes falling out of my laundry hamper and piles of clean clothes falling out of my laundry baskets. The end result being that I can no longer distinguish clean clothes from dirty clothes so I just end up re-washing everything. My bedroom floor is covered in clothes. I know some people like to spend their Saturdays doing laundry but that’s not for me. A bed full of clothes to be put away just depresses me and I’m way more likely to move them onto the floor or into a laundry basket to do “later”, than to spend the time to put them all away before bed. So what then? While on my pursuit of happiness I came across a method of keeping on top of your laundry. Do one load a day. Sounds too simple right? Well if you’ve just read what my laundry life used to look like, let me tell you what’s it’s like now. Before I make breakfast I look at what laundry bin is the fullest and I throw that load into the wash. At some point in the day I throw that load into the dryer. And some point before bed I put it away. There is rarely a day I don’t do laundry. And rarely a time that clothes are left in the washing machine or dryer.  Since I’ve started this method I can honestly say that I no longer mind doing laundry.  I mean how long does it really take to put away just ONE load of laundry – 5 minutes? No more tripping over clothes on the way to the bathroom. No more digging around the pile of clothes on the floor in search of the shirt you wanted to wear tonight and then trying to decide if it’s clean enough to put on. Give this method a try. It’s certainly made my life happier. Might just work for you too.

A Bit of Gratitude.  Today I am grateful for good friends.  The ones who check up on you to make sure you are ok. The ones who send those emails or leave messages saying “just thinking of you”. The ones who say time and time and again “if you need anything, please let me know” – because they really mean it. I’m truly blessed to have such amazing friends!

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