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Category Archives: Holidays

“Getting There” is just as much fun as “Getting There”

I LOVE road trips. It’s one of my favourite ways to travel.

When I was a child, we drove out to the coast to see my Grandparents every summer. The best part of the trip was always getting there. I couldn’t wait to see my cousins and go swimming in the lake. The ride home was never as much fun. It seemed longer and I was always sad to leave.

I still feel that way, but now I enjoy the journey as well. I love unscheduled stops, beautiful scenery and reminiscing as we go by places we traveled as a kid: my Dad’s joke whenever we drove by a Deer crossing sign “hey did you guys see the deer on the side of the road?”; trying to remember how many tunnels we go through; the place our station wagon broke down one summer; and so on.

Even more fun is sharing these experiences with my husband. He’s one of the reasons I love road trips so much.  One of our first trips was very early on in our relationship.  We did a 10 day road trip around Eastern Canada.  Everyone thought we were nuts. 10 days in a mini-van with someone I had just begun dating. They thought we would fight the whole time and come home broken up. Instead we had a crazy adventure. Driving around with no plans. Stopping at every weird and wonderful thing we could find. Talking for hours about anything and everything – religions, kids, pets, you name it.  My favourite was a conversation that I still joke about today: “so let me get this straight, you’re name translates to ‘Steve Steve’, so you’re like …Steve squared? And you have brothers named Steve. So you’re like Steve the 4th and the 5th?” LOL, good times!!

10 years later and we are still having a blast. Although these days our conversations often revolve what’s going on in our current lives – our kids, upcoming work trips, how we think the Walking Dead season finale is going to end, etc.  In addition to our conversations, we enjoy listening to our satellite radio (a gift for my husband years ago, which he still refers to as “the gift that keeps on giving”).  While he is overjoyed with all the available song selections, I am continually vetoing his choices –  seriously, Steve “Rush Rush” by Paula Abdul??? But I did love that he did knew every word to a Backstreet Boys song and sang it loud and proud. We both showed off our car dancing moves to some Bel Biv Devoe. And don’t get me started on how many times we heard Pompeii or Timber. But by far, my favourite musical memory of our trip, was listening to my 7-year old belt out “Let it Go”  from Frozen, at the top of her lungs.

I love these trips and I love the memories we are creating for our kids. I love how special it is for my children to count-down the days to Grandma’s house. Or listen to my son ask “are we almost there yet?” 20 minutes into our 2 day drive.

As an adult, I’ve realized that getting there, is just as much fun as the place you end up.

Until I write again…

x Shay

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Elf-capades

Last year I got sucked into the commercialism of the holiday and bought the latest and greatest must-have-Christmas tradition – The Elf on a Shelf. I was one of those parents who spend hours scouring Pinterest for new and creative ways to pose our Elf each night in hopes that they would ooh and aah in the morning.  Our Elf was posing doing the YMCA with his Barbie friends. He was building houses of Lego. He even made himself a cozy bed out of Kleenex.  This year, our Elf is just plain lazy. He basically moves a few feet every night. Mingling with some of our other Christmas decorations, in hopes that he will blend in and the kids will be somewhat challenged when looking for him in the morning. So far there have been no complaints from said children. In fact my son was telling me that the Elf is magic and flies around the house at night to find the best spot to hide. Awesome! Let’s go with that. Especially since I have to set a reminder on my phone just so I don’t forget to move the Elf. Last year I had several nights were I woke up around 3am in a cold sweat because I realized I had forgotten to move the Elf. I remember how fun and exciting it all seemed last year.  A new and exciting holiday tradition. This year…I’m just not that into him. But I’ll keep up the magic for the kids and be grateful that I didn’t buy more than one Elf as many of my friends did (“so each kid can have one when they are adults. They can share the Elf with their kids!!!”). Honestly, I’m thinking that when our kids are older they are going to look back and find the Elf a little creepy looking and laugh at what fools we were for buying in to such an weird tradition. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it will be the new ‘milk and cookies’ for Santa tradition that gets carried on for years to come.

Elf Conversations

Katie “Mommy, I really hope we get a girl Elf this year.

Me “Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the same Elf that visited us last year…which was a boy”

(after the arrival of said Elf)

Katie “Mommy, did our Elf have eyelashes last year?”

Me (insert long pause) “Do YOU think our Elf had eyelashes last year?”

Katie “No. I knew it! We got a girl Elf this year!!!

(Naming of said “new” Elf)

Me “What are you going to name your Elf?

Jack “Shark!”

Katie “No it’s a girl. I am going to name her Emily”

Jack “Shark…Shark..Shark..Shark…Shark”

Katie “Jaaaack!”

Until I write again…

Shay

Vacation Getaway

I am currently on a vacation getaway with my husband. It’s our first vacation, just the two of us, since our honeymoon 8 years ago. I remember telling that to a friend recently and seeing the look of panic and horror on her face. She is young, newly married and has a newborn baby. As if reading her mind I reassured her with my favourite quote “the days are long but the years are short”. Time goes so fast before you know it it has been eight years. But it’s what you do with the days in between that matters.

I’m lucky. I married my best friend. I married a man who makes me laugh and smile and shake my head at his goofiness every single day. So while we may not have been able to get away on fancy vacations, we have enjoyed our days together. He always tells me something uplifting about myself. How beautiful I am. What a great cook I’ve become. What an amazing mom I am to our two kids. How lucky he is to be my husband. And it’s all those things and more that make our daily life an adventure.

We are currently on vacation in California. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was when he surprised me with this trip. “Just you and me? No kids? Hot weather. Pools and beaches!!!” My daily life is constantly busy. Always trying to manage schedules and make time for everything and everyone. Planning, planning and more planning. And this trip was my chance to do none of that. To lay by the pool with trashy magazine and read books at the beach. Yet here we are. In California. Where it is so cold I had to go out yesterday and buy a pair of long pants and a coat. By the end of the day I was getting a bit down. Expressing to my husband my sadness of not being at the pool or beach. “Aren’t you having fun? Didn’t you have a great day?” He asked. “Of course! It was a really fun day. Just not the day I had hoped for.” “Tomorrow will be sunnier I’m sure” he replied. Despite my protests when looking at the forecast. He is ever the optimist. Now as I see it I have a choice. Wallow because things haven’t turned out as I hoped. Or be endlessly grateful that I am on a vacation with my favourite guy and make the most of our last few days.

So while I may not get to spend my vacation as I had dreamed. I am getting to spend it with my dream man. What more can a girl ask for.

Until I wrote again…

Shay

Letters To Santa

LETTERS TO SANTA. Who knew writing letters to Santa would be so complicated. Here’s how it went down.

Jack’s Letter (unedited)

Me “Ok Jack, what do you want to say in your letter to Santa?”
Jack “Dear Santa. Love Jack ”
Me “Don’t you want to ask Santa what you want for Christmas?”

Jack’s Version (2nd edition)

Jack “Dear Santa, I want a BIG truck. Love Jack”
Me “No, you don’t want a big truck. You want a Green Lantern Plane, right?!”

Jack’s Version (3rd edition)

Jack “Dear Santa, I want a Green Lantern Plane and a blue stuffy Angry Bird. Love Jack”
Me “I don’t think there is a blue Angry Bird. How about a green one?”
Katie “Yes, there is a blue Angry Bird, it’s small. I’ve seen it in the game”
Me “I don’t think Santa’s elves make a blue Angry Bird. I’m pretty sure they only make green and red ones”

Jack’s Version (4th edition)

Jack “Dear Santa, I want a Green Lantern plane and a green Angry Bird. Love Jack”
Me “Phewf! Ok Katie it’s your turn. Why don’t you print your own letter”.
Me “Wait, what are you doing to Jack’s letter to Santa?”
Katie “I’m fixing it. You did not print your letters very good.  You didn’t do a good job crossing the ‘t’, you didn’t close the loop on this ‘g’ and you forgot the ‘r’ in Angry”.
Me ” I didn’t know my crayon printing skills were under such tough scrutiny.”
Katie “What does scrutiny mean?”
Me “Um, it means I didn’t know you were going to pretend to be my teacher and correct my printing”.
Katie – big smile

Katie’s Letter

Dear Santa. For Christmas I want angry bird and zoo zoo pet. Love Katie. 

Me “Perfect!”

She even gave herself a check-mark for writing it well.

LOOK MOM, ANOTHER PENCIL!  That’s what my daughter says at least once a week. I really need to invest in one of those industrial power operated sharpeners because Katie and I seem to spending our life sharpening pencils these days and my dollar store sharpener really blows.

“Mommy I finished my word packs – look what I got. A new pencil!”
“Mommy it was my birthday – look what I got! A new pencil!!”
“Mommy, we survived in the Mayan apocalypse – look what I got! A new pencil!!!”

A BIT OF GRATITUDE. Happy Jack has returned! It’s been so long since I’ve seen him I nearly forgot what he looked like. You see my normally sweet, goofy, giggly little (well maybe not so little) two-year old boy has been nothing but whining, miserable, crying, complaining, tired, cranky – ok you get the picture – for the last few days, weeks, months. I can’t even remember. It’s all just a big long miserable blur. One unknown illness after the next. Too many abnormal blood tests. Countless trips to see doctors and specialists and emergency room. On and on. But today he is happy. And not just happy. He’s truly returned to Happy Jack. He’s laughing, running all over the house. Being silly. Oh how I’ve missed this little man. I hope his return in permanent but even if it’s not I’m so very grateful to have it today.

Until I write again…

Shay

The Twelve Days of Whack-a-Mole

A Bit of Gratitude. So it’s been nearly a week since I’ve written and I can attribute that to the plague that has hit my home. Or so it feels. I was up four nights last week with sick kids. The last of which ended up in an ambulance ride to the hospital after my son had yet another seizure due to rapid fever onset. After four nights of no sleep and then being at the hospital till four, I shockingly developed the flu which has now turned into a wicked head-cold. But I must find something to be thankful during this time despite the fact that my nose is so red that if I were to sport some antlers I would likely be mistaken for Rudolf. So here it goes. I am so very thankful that my mom is visiting and taking my daughter to school and doing laundry and buying groceries and cooking dinner. Because if she wasn’t here I would be doing all of that on top of my trying to cope with an ever-growing head-cold and as much fun as I have known that to be I am much happier having her take care of me while I crash on the couch and catch up on episodes of the Vampire Diaries. I am also grateful that I shopped like a madwoman when my Mom first arrived last week and got all my Christmas shopping done. Because even though I can’t hear and my head is horribly fuzzy I at least don’t have the stress of having to shop! Ok enough pity party, let’s move on to something much more amusing.

Be Prepared. Ok well actually since I was just on the topic of being sick, let me tell you a ditty about our hospital visit. So back in October we spent way too much time having to quickly pack bags and run my son to the hospital. After which I decided the best thing to do was “be prepared”. So I did just that. I prepared several bags for us. One bag for each of my children with a complete set of change of clothes, extra mittens, you name it. I also packed a bag of snacks for the kids. I threw in a case of water and a small backpack of toys all in the back of my van. My thought was that if I ever had to run to the hospital on a moments notice, I would be prepared. It also turned out to be great when one of my kids lots a mitten or I forgot to grab a scarf on the way out the door. I had toys when we were out at a restaurant and had snacks when the kids didn’t like the menu items. I was a freaking Beaver Scout let me tell you. Prepared, prepared, prepared! But here I was last Friday night reading in bed, with my two-year old asleep next to me when he suddenly had a seizure and I was on the phone to 911. Shortly thereafter we were on our way to the hospital by ambulance and I had no emergency bags with me. Why? Because they were in the back of my van. The van which was at soccer practice with my husband. Hmmm, best made plans…Anyways, it turned out ok because my husband came to the hospital but now I feel like I may need back-up bags for the back-up bags. Oh and here is the best part of my trip. My wardrobe. That’s right, my awesome ‘pajamas’ that I was wearing when the paramedics arrived. Which I didn’t even think about until about three hours later when I looked down at my sorry self and just shook my head. You see I don’t really own any pajamas. I used to have  a lot of pjs but then I lost a bunch of weight and none of them fit anymore. Which is obviously a good thing. But buying new ones just hasn’t been on my priority list. So instead I just throw something together. On the night in question it was the t-shirt I wear when I dye my hair. An awesome old ratty white t-shirt covered in brown hair dye. And for pajama bottoms I was wearing an old pair of maternity bottoms. So as I was walking around the hospital in what looked like the dirtiest t-shirt ever, I also had the crotch of the pajama bottom’s hanging at my knees. Awesome! I think Santa might need to grab me a pair or two of pjs for Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Whack-a-Mole. So today we attended my daughter’s school Christmas concert. I’m not going to gush about how cute the 5 year olds all looked singing Little Toy Trains in their pjs or how adorable my son was because he just had to wear pjs to the concert too, just like his big sister (oops). No instead I’ll share a little story that I like to call the “Human Whack-a-Mole”. You know the ‘whack-a-mole’ game right? The one at the arcades or carnivals where moles pop up out of holes and you whack them with your hammer? Well that was me. Along with about 200 other parents and kids at today’s concert. Here’s the scene. The music teacher tells us that we are all going to sing the Twelve Days of Christmas, only every time a number is mentioned it is going to correspond with a birthday month. So when we sing “On the First day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” all the people with January birthdays have to stand up. And so on and so forth. Only we have to do it every time your number is mentioned. And if you remember the song, you add a number every stanza and then count down again. So it looked something like this:

[Shay stand up] “On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four colly birds, [Shay sit down Kelly stand up], three french hens, [Kelly sit down, Steve stand up] two turtle doves, [Steve sit down, Grandma stand up], and a partridge in a pair tree”.  [Grandma sit down, random person next to me stand up] “On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me , five golden rings, [random person sit down, Shay stand up] four colly birds, [Shay sit down Kelly stand up], three french hens, [Kelly sit down, Steve stand up] two turtle doves, [Steve sit down, Grandma stand up], and a partridge in a pair tree” and so on and so on. My friend emailed me tonight saying she will never, ever, for the rest of her life, forget my birthday month after going through that!

Seriously, try this at home with your family. It is truly  like a human whack a mole game. I couldn’t help but laugh. It was silly and we all looked ridiculous. But I think deep down everyone had a lot of fun.

I’m pretty sure I had another funny story to share but my head is becoming more and more cloudy and my thoughts are making less and less sense. So I am going to attempt to get a good night’s rest in hopes of a clear head tomorrow.

Until I write again…

Shay

Teeth Are Big Business

Teeth Are Big Business. My daughter is obsessed with losing a tooth. The problem is that none of hers are loose. She is constantly trying to wiggle them and look in the mirror to see if any are ready to fall out. I’m not five so I don’t really understand why this is such a big deal but she informs me that it is a VERY big deal. So it got me to thinking, how much does the tooth fairy leave these days? I was personally thinking a quarter would do just fine. Mostly because she’s got a lot of teeth to lose and because she has no idea what the difference is between a quarter or one or two dollars. Upon asking around I got a few different responses but the overall consensus was that I was being a cheapskate and at least a $1, perhaps $2-$5 was more along the average.  While I was in volunteering in her class yesterday I overheard one of the children tell the teacher that she had lost her tooth and that the tooth fairy had left her $20. TWENTY DOLLARS? I nearly spit out my water. I’m not sure how I am going to explain why she’s getting a freaking quarter and her friend’s getting twenty bucks but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. I mentioned the $20 to my brother and he laughed and said for $20 he’d start pulling out his own teeth.

That’s a Wrap. Now that our tree is up I figured it was time to start wrapping presents and shoving them under the tree. So this afternoon I thought I’d start. My two-year old son was very curious as to what I was up to. I know what you are thinking – why on earth would I attempt to wrap gifts with a two-year old around. I have no idea. I showed him a few gifts and he watched me wrap them and put them under the tree. He then asked where his gift was. So I searched around and found an empty Cars gift bag and handed it to him. He was over joyed and immediately filled it with cars. All in all a very successful activity – or so I thought.  Fast forward a few hours after we pick up my 5-year-old from school.  My son immediately runs to the tree to show his sister the presents. I’m barely even up the stairs before I hear him say “Katie, that present has a Barbie in it and it’s for you!” Sigh. She was not impressed. “Don’t tell me what’s in the presents Jack!” After some discussion we decided that perhaps she will forget what’s in the present and it will then again be a ‘surprise’ on Christmas morning. Of course the best part of the whole thing was that she literally told me that she wanted her brother to buy her a Popstar Barbie for Christmas so she really wouldn’t have been surprised either way. But I’ve learned my lesson. No more wrapping presents around my son.

Nap No More. My son’s been waking up at the wee hour of 5am for the past month or so. We decided it might be high time to try to take away his nap and see if that causes him to sleep in later. Over all it is working but we are dealing with a pretty miserable and tired little boy in the late afternoon. Today we were out and he fell asleep in the car. When we got home I woke him up. He said to me “Mommy, I’m tired and I want to go to sleep in the house….on the couch…with the tv on…”hmmm, I see where this is going.

A Bit of Gratitude. Today I got to talk on the phone to my BFF. I haven’t been able to talk to her on the phone for a few weeks and it’s sucked. We normally talk nearly every afternoon and I had no idea how much I took that for granted. It was so great to hear from her so for that I am truly grateful!

Until I write again…

Shay

Elf Business

Elf Business.  So my two year old son won’t stop touching the darn Elf on the Shelf. The problem (for those not familiar with EOTS) is that according to the EOTS book (a.k.a instruction manual) if you touch the Elf, he loses his magic and will no longer tell Santa when you are being good. Yesterday my son must have knocked the darn elf over 20 times. He would literally walk up to it knock it over and go “Oh No Mommy”. My five year old was having a fit! For now our Elf has found a new home out of a two year old’s reach.

The Lost Power of Persuasion.  So last post I mentioned how my son asked Santa for a “big truck” for Christmas. Well in fact, I finished my Christmas shopping for the kids a while back and did not buy him a ‘big truck’. I’ve been trying to suggest that he really doesn’t need a big truck but what he really needs is a Green Lantern airplane! But he just looks at me and says “No I want a Big Truck” and moves on.  I used to be able to subtly suggest to my kids what they ‘want’ from Santa and voila – the Halloween costumes that I bought on sale after Christmas become the most desired Christmas gift from Santa. This year I am failing miserably.  I fear that unless I can figure out a way to persuade him, my husband’s beloved Green Lantern airplane maybe be returned for a ‘big truck’.

Hey, What’s That Over There?  Am I the only parent who buys gifts for their kids in front of them and hopes they don’t notice? My daughter asked Santa for a zhu zhu pet. Last year Santa got the kids both one. They are these little toy pets that make noises and move around the house. My kids LOVE them. I got them for a bargain price of $3 at Wal-mart so I should be happy that she wants another one right? Not so much. I was beginning to think they didn’t sell them anymore.  I’ve looked everywhere! I was worried that Santa was going to have to send a letter informing her that the Elves are not making zhu zhu pets this year.  Luckily I came across said pets this afternoon. Unfortunately I had both kids with me at the time and there were only 2 pets left on the shelf. So I did what I do best in such situations, I said “hey kids, what’s that over there” and threw it into my bag hoping neither of them noticed. Then when it came time to pay I sent them to look at the candy vending machines as I quickly paid for my purchases and hoped they wouldn’t clue in to my deception. The cashier just shook her head and the kids weren’t too impressed when I finished paying but then wouldn’t buy them any candy. All and all a success I’d say.

Until I write again…

Shay

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