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Making New Friends is Like Dating All Over Again

When you tell people you are moving to a new city, you will hear comments like “Oh I’d hate to move. I have best the doctor. I can’t imagine having to find a new one”. It’s true. Finding a new doctor, dentist, hair dresser and pizza place can feel like a near impossible task. But after moving twice in the past 10 years, I would say those are more like minor inconveniences.  Making a new town feel like home is what’s hard.  Being in a city where you have no friends is simply – lonely.

There are so many great things about moving. Exploring a new city. Having a fresh starting. But making friends is like dating all over again. Didn’t I give up dating and get married so I wouldn’t have to do this?  You meet some. You might eventually start-up some idle chit-chat. But at what point do you go from idle chit-chat to asking someone out for coffee?

And what if you aren’t an outgoing person? What if even starting up a conversation makes you feel like you might lose your lunch?  Can you find the courage to step out of your comfort zone? To be brave? To risk rejection? It’s like being the new kid at school all over again.

At some point you do it. You get up the nerve to start that first conversation and eventually you make a date for coffee. So you go out. You share life stories. You share a cup of coffee or two.  And what if, after all that effort you end up not really liking them. Good grief. It really is like dating!

And that’s just one friend. Don’t you want a few good friends. Maybe even a couple to hang out with? Oh my goodness, you mean I might have to do this, like more than once? Ug.

In my estimation it takes a good year to make a new friend. From that initial hello, to getting up the nerve to invite someone out and then to get to the point where you can call them up for no reason other than just to chat.

But in the end it’s worth the time and effort. Because a good friend in a new city is priceless. Having someone who will see the new chick flick with you, go for a walk at the beach, take a Zumba class or invite you to join their book club.

So be brave. Put yourself out there. And give it time.

Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget. – G. Randolf

Good friends are like new adventures, you never know what life lessons they might teach you” – Unknown

Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit. – Aristotle

Until I write again…

x Shay

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3 AM

Well hello 3am, how not nice it is to be awake with you. Haha. Just kidding. Well. Not really.

There used to be a time in my life when 3am was the end of a day. Don’t mistake me for one of the heroic people who work shift work. No I’m taking about being 20 something and rolling in from from a night out with the girls at 3am. Downing what tastes like the BEST fast food burger you have ever eaten (because for some reason after a night out with your BFFs and one or too many cocktails a greasy fast food burger tastes sooooo good). 3am is just the time where your head hits that pillow and your exhausted feet finally get a reprieve from those too tall boots and all that dancing.

Fast forward to my 30 something years and 3am meant waking up, for likely the 2nd or 3rd time in the night, to the not so soothing sounds of a demanding child. Groggily making my way down the dark hall in hopes that I would be able to remain half asleep while I quickly diapered and could get back to bed with, at best, a full hour before I had to do it all over again.

Now, as I approach my 40s GULP (can you believe I’m going to be 40 in less than 48 hours??? Me neither. Still in denial), being awake at 3am means some THING has woken me up. A bad dream. Having to pee. A sudden fear that I’ve left a window open. My husband’s phone repeatedly making annoying bird like sounds because he forgot to turn it to vibrate. Or all of the above in tonight’s case. So here I am. Awake. At 3 freaking am. Having first been awoken and then annoyed that my husband left his phone on. But the being relived since I was having a bad dream. But then realizing that I have to pee and wondering “should I try to go back to sleep? That may mean that I just wake up in an hour when I REALLY have to pee. If I lay here all I can do is think about how much I have to pee. But if I get up now then I will be awake and won’t be able to go back to sleep because once I’m up my mind starts going crazy.” And THEN it hits me. “Did I remember to close the window last night? If I didn’t close the window then I couldn’t have set the alarm. Someone could break in. ANd my heat is on meaning the furnace is working like overtime because I’ve got an open window letting out all the warm air and I’m wasting money.” Good grief. At this point I might as well get up. Go pee and shut the window.

So off I go. I pee. Check the window. And now I’m wide awake. AND In less than 3 hours my bed will be invaded by two short people bounding with energy and demands (“Get up Mommy! Make us breakfast. Let’s play Lego. Can you make me a Rainbow Loom bracelet? What are we doing today?”). All the while my brain is doing it’s very best to shut out the sounds of my new ‘alarm clocks’ because inside my body is screaming “it’s too early. Go to sleep. Don’t you know I was up at 3am? Leave me alone. Aren’t you old enough to fend for yourself?”

Hmmm. That gives me an idea. Maybe I’ll sneak into the spare bed. I could hide out there. I can write a blog. Read a book – that should hopefully settle my mind and get me sleepy. AND with any luck the kids will be satisfied only waking up my husband at the crack or dawn and I can squeeze in a few more hours or shut-eye before anyone realizes I’m M.I.A. Now that sounds like a plan!!

Of course, I do know it’s very likely that my internal alarm clock will go off regardless and I’ll be wide awake once I hear the stomping, laughter and sounds of my daughter singing “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs for the zillionth time.

Sigh. 3 AM. Let’s not do this again soon.

Until I write again…

x Shay

Letting them Go

At what point do our kids go from being an adorable little 4-year old who barely have a care in the world and say whatever is on their mind:

“Mommy, something in here smells stinky…and I’m pretty sure it’s you”

To a self conscious 7-year old, who worries what their peers think of them:

“Mommy, I can’t wear my Dora winter boots anymore because Johnny laughed at me and said only babies like Dora”

My goal as a mother has always been to raise my kids to be independent confident people who will grow up strong, fierce, kind and caring individuals; who leave home and go out into the big scary world ready to face it without me.

It’s so much easier when kids are little.  If we are at the playground and some kid starts throwing rocks at my 2 year old, I’m going to be right there to step in.  But as they get older it gets tricky. We need to prepare out children to deal with these matters themselves.

As my daughter started elementary school last year, I’ve had to watch her face bullies and other challenges. Part of me just wants to hold her tight and protect her from those mean kids and hurt feelings. I want to solve her problems and shelter her from pain and rejection. But I know that’s not my job. My job is to empower her to be strong. To teach her to be heard. To get her to find her voice and speak up when she is afraid, scared or upset.  It’s a struggle to find the balance. To protect your kids when they need you, all the while letting them go to figure out the world themselves and let them fall. My hope is that when they do fall, they know I will be here to catch them. And no matter where life takes, them, I will be in their corner whenever they need me.

Until I write again…

x Shay

Little Conversations

Working for a Living

How fun is it to simply listen to conversations your children have with each other and their peers? I’ve especially enjoyed this now that my son is older (4) and can carry on a conversation on his own.  Sometimes I find the kids and their friends will whisper, assuming I cannot hear them.  But I’m usually within ear shot (like sitting next to them at the table) and can hear every word (which seriously makes me chuckle – especially when it’s something like “after lunch, let’s hide behind the couch from your Mom”).

This morning’s breakfast conversation was a particular humours one. My 7 and 4-year-old were discussing where they were planning on working in the future.  The consensus seemed to be that they would both be employed at Chapters and Toys R Us. What really made me laugh was when they were discussing their shifts and if they would over-lap.  My son seemed to think he would be working around the clock, to which his older sister reminded him about the importance of making time for his future family.

Play-time

One of my favourite times of the day is when I get to put my daughter to bed (my husband usually does this, so it’s a treat for me when he is away for the night).  We will lay in bed and talk about whatever is on her mind.  Sometimes the conversations are serious, while other times they are just plain goofy.

Here is some of the commentary she’s shared with me lately:

Me: Who did you play with at school today?
Katie: Lots of people.
Me: Like who?
Katie: Small people. Medium people. Large People.

Katie: At centre time, we played house today. We pretended it was my birthday and I got an iPad. Then I just played on the iPad for the rest of centre time. (Oh how times have changed)

Katie: Today at recess we played family.  I was the baby. We pretended the bicycle rack was the jail.
Me: Someone in the family was in jail?
Katie: And then a tornado hit. Some people didn’t make it. But I was ok.

Until I write again…

x Shay

Taking the Crazy out of Christmas

As a kid I remember the Christmas holidays being nothing less than pure magic!  They were full of fun traditions, lots of presents mounds of baking.  As a Mom, I still find the holidays magical but have also come to realize that to make the “magic” happen, it can be crazy, stressful and overwhelming. 

The year my daughter was born, we drove back to our hometown and attempted Christmas with the family. We ended up going from house to house and found nearly no time to slow down and relax. The next year I declared that from then on we would spend Christmas at our house, but anyone and everyone was welcome to join us. This was an over-welcoming success and also gave us an opportunity to start some of our own family traditions – new pjs on Christmas eve and a new Christmas ornament. But at the same time I also stared some time consuming and somewhat stressful traditions – a lengthly, picture filled family newsletter, various cookie exchanges and a family calendar.

As the holidays approached each year, I found myself getting more and more anxious –  trying to find the time to get all these added activities completed. One year I sent out nearly 80 cards and newsletters, participated in 2 cookie exchanges, created 10 personalized calendars and spent countless hours hunting down footed pajamas for each member of my family. While I love that all of these activities bring much joy to others, this year I decided to take a step back, slow down and do less. First I said “no” to a couple of offers to participate in a cookie exchange. Instead, I decided to bake a couple dozen of my favourite cookies and call it a day.  Next I decided not to do a family newsletter. It’s a huge undertaking, very costly and realistically most people have already seen all the pictures and know what’s going on with my life because they follow me on Facebook. For those who don’t, I will be sending a simple Christmas card, enclosed with a school photo of each of my children.

Another change I made last year was Christmas dinner. Typically, my Mom and I spent most of Christmas day in the kitchen. Making a giant brunch followed by a giant dinner. Last year my Mom suggest having Christmas dinner on Christmas eve. What a fantastic idea! As it goes, Christmas eve is pretty relaxed at our house. This gave us plenty of time to get dinner made and served nice and early. Still lots of time for new pajamas and singing Christmas carols. It also meant that after brunch on Christmas morning we weren’t scrambling to clean up and get dinner started. Instead we could let the kids play with their toys, stay in our pjs all day and eat leftovers whenever we were hungry.

At the end of the day, to me the holidays are about being with family and making great memories. But I’m still a work in progress – I will admit to staying up to 4am on Black Friday so I could finish my calendars and take advantage of the great sale prices 😉

Wishing everyone a crazy-free Christmas season!

Until I write again…

Shay

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

The Long and the Short of It

So I’m having a very emotional evening. I just can’t, for the life of me, wrap my brain around the fact that my daughter is finishing her last day of Kindergarten tomorrow.  Good grief, how I am going to feel in 12 years from now? It just baffles me to think back at her first few months of school. How she was so shy that she wouldn’t talk to anyone. But how through that she excelled at school and eventually came into her own. How she conquered the monkey bars on her first day and hasn’t looked back since. How she continues, on a daily basis, to blow my mind by the things she does and says.  Her constant questions, trying to understand this world we live in.

She’s done me so proud, my girl.  Most recently she came to a big decision. A ‘hair’ decision. She decided that she wanted to chop off her hair and donate it to make a wig for child with cancer.  She explained to me how kids can get cancer and they have to take this medicine that makes their hair fall out. She said it made her sad and she thought she could make someone happy by giving them a wig.  To be honest, at first I was a little reluctant. She’s always told me she wanted to grow her hair “as long as Rapunzel” and I’ve been letting her. I loved her hair. I wondered if she would have buyers remorse. We talked about how it would take years for her hair to grow back if she didn’t like it. How maybe we could just cut “a bit” off and see what she thought. But she asked if we could give “a bit” to the wig company and I said no. And so she insisted. Wouldn’t let it drop. So how could I say no to a child wanting to do such an amazing thing. Off to the hair dressers we went and now 11 inches of her hair is being used to warm another child’s head and she couldn’t be prouder.

She’s just 6 years old. My first born. Growing up faster than I want. Tomorrow is her last day of Kindergarten. And I’m still trying to figure out how it all goes by so fast.

Until I write again…

Shay

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