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Take A Moment. And Listen to Your Children

It’s hard. We get busy. Life. Is. Busy. You work. You volunteer. You take care of you family. You try to find time for yourself and your husband. Life feels like it’s pulling you in a million directions. All the while you are just trying to do your best. Because that’s what we do as Moms right? Our best. Yet we are constantly berating ourselves for our failures. For not doing our best. For the small and large mistakes we make. We would never, ever want our kids to be beating themselves up days after they made a mistake. So why don’t we let ourselves off the hook?

I missed something. Something important. My daughter tried to tell me that she was going through something at school and I missed it. I brushed it off. I thought she was being unreasonable. And when I found out that I should have listened. That I should have pushed aside my busy morning and really taken the time to listen to what she was saying. To ask more questions. I beat myself up. Until I a friend reminded me. To stop. Because we in the end we did talk. And I did listen. And it’s going to be ok. And I’m allowed to not be perfect. To make mistakes.

So I’m going to let it go. To accept it as a good lesson. To listen when my kids want to tell me something. To really listen. And when they are upset, to take an extra minute to ask more questions so I really find out the whole story.

Sometimes when our kids talk to us, we are right in the middle of something. A text, paying bills, cooking dinner. But I think we need to stop. For just a moment. Look them in the eye. Smile. Listen. Acknowledge. Hear what they have to say. Really hear it. It might just be “check out the ten thousandth Lego car I’ve made (that looks exactly like all the other ones). Or. It might be something big. It might be about the kid at school who is bullying them. Whatever it is. It is important. To them. So it should be important. To Me. To You.

That’s it for now. My daughter just told me she has a story to tell me. So I’m going to go listen.

Until I write again…

x Shay

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30 to 40

30 to 40

Thirty days until I turn 40, how crazy is that? 40 always seemed so old. But I don’t feel old. I mean other than the abundance of grey hairs that have recently taken up residence on my head. But nothing a little trip to the hairdresser can’t fix.

I remember talking with my girlfriends about turning 40. It always seemed so far away. We would chat about taking a big trip celebrate us all turning 40. Yet as it approaches I’m looking forward to a quiet party at home with my nearest and dearest. And I’m wondering if I’ll be able to stay awake until midnight. Lol. Oh, how times have changed.

It seems not long ago I was turning 30. It was such a crazy and exciting time. 10 years ago, I was telling my loved ones that my boyfriend, of less than a year, had been offered a job and we were moving to a new city.  I left everything I knew: family, friends and a career I loved; all for the unknown. I had no idea what my 30s would bring but I knew it would be an adventure. Everything in my 30s was new a new beginning: marriage, friends, 2 kids, 3 houses, 4 cars, 2 new cities, countless road trips and several career changes.

Now as I leave my 30s and enter my 40s I feel more settled into my life. I’m still excited about what the future holds but also happy to be living a quieter and more predictable life.  I’m looking forward to not moving and instead exploring more of this beautiful west coast. To watching kids my grow up and into the people they are meant to be. To finding more “me” time to write and get out with friends. To figuring out (in a couple of years) how I’m going to spend my days once my kids are both in school.

The one thing I learned in my 30s is that life rarely turns out how you planned. I’ve always enjoyed the journey and am looking forward to seeing the adventures life bring in my 40s.

Until I write again..

x Shay

“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

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

About a boy

When I envisioned what my life would be like as a mother, I always knew I wanted a daughter and had many insights as to what I hoped our relationship would be like. And although I was never against having a boy, I also had no vision of what that would mean.

The day my son was born I remember asking the doctor “what did I have?” and when he said “a boy”, I was instantly overwhelmed with happiness. Wow a boy!

In the days that followed I knew I loved him more than I knew how to express and I all I wanted was to cuddle with him. As the weeks came and went I learned quickly what differences having a boy can mean. One little appendage was whole new world of surprise to me. Why did no one warn me that you had better keep his appendage pointed down or he’d end up peeing upwards and out if his diaper? And speaking of diaper changes, you’d better make sure that things covered up or your gonna get sprayed in the face. Good grief was I ever enlightened those first few weeks.

In my mind I always pictured boys as being loud. And that’s exactly how my son started out. Unlike his sister, he HATED the car seat. Screamed bloody murder whenever we strapped him in. To the point where we nick-named him ptero-Jack-tyl.

But more than anything what I never knew or expected was what an adorable, funny and charming little boy he would grow into. How he has yet to outgrow his loudness – in fact at preschool he was told he could only roar outside. And yet I find that when he is being, what I consider, a typical loud boy, he is also this amazingly goofy kid. A kid who has a natural born talent for making people laugh. We often hear my daughter say “mommy he’s just so funny I can’t help but laugh”.

But what I find most endearing about my son is how affectionate he can be. I never dreamed that I would have a son who loved to cuddle. Who would randomly come up to me throughout the day and give me kisses and hugs and tell me how much he loves me. Who would do and say so many things that simply melt my heart. I especially love to hear him singing himself to sleep at night.

He is such a gift to this world and he is only four. I am truly thankful that I was blessed with a son. And look forward to the days and discoveries that await us as we watch him grow.

Until I write again…

x Shay

Mealtime Memories

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At supper every night my family shares stories about their day. As many parents of school children can attest to, when asked “What did you do today?” My 6-year old most often answers “I don’t know”. So we’ve tried a new approach the last few months, where we each each talk about are the “highs” and “lows” of the day. Not only do we often hear get entertaining answers (Katie “my low was that I had to go outside for recess when I wanted to stay inside and do math”, or Jack “being happy makes me happy)” but I find it often reminds my daughter of other things that happened at school and starts up a lengthier conversation.

Tonight my daughter suggested that we add one more item to our dinner-timer conversation:

Katie “Mommy we should all say what we are grateful for each day”

Me “What are you grateful for Katie?”

Katie “I’m grateful for my Mom and Dad. What are you grateful for Mommy?”

Me “I’m grateful for my two amazing kids.  Jack, what are you grateful for?”

Jack “Nothing”.

Well, that’s my boy. Always good for a laugh at dinner.

I’m excited about this new addition to meal-time. I think it’s important to take a moment in our busy days to be thankful for what we have. So today I am thankful for a 6 year-old’s idea.

Until I write again…

x Shay

The Dinner Dilemma

The Dinner Dilemma. I am sitting here writing this post trying to remember what I was going to write when all I can really think about is how unbelievably stubborn my two-year old son is. I know I had a couple of entertaining stories but unfortunately my mind is in a battle of wills with my son. He is currently sitting in his high chair (he normally sits in a regular chair, but his refusal to sit at the table properly has landed him in the high chair) and refusing to eat his dinner. All I want is for him to try his food. Just one bite. One little, bitty, teeny, tiny bite. But no. He’s refusing. And so he sits. We’ve had issues with him eating new foods for the last year. Once upon a time he was a good eater. I could pretty much blend up whatever we were having for dinner and he would eat it. Then he got a mind of his own and it’s been a battle ever since. I’ve read countless books, tried many strategies (eliminating snacks, making food into fun designs, the airplane game, letting him help make supper, letting him chose the food to put on his plate, offering a treat if he eats his supper, etc etc etc.) but nothing seems to work. So here we sit. A battle of wills I guess. It’s a simple rule in our house, you have to try one bit of everything. If you don’t like it, no big deal, you don’t have to eat it. But I also won’t make you something else for dinner. Normally I just give the kids whatever we are having but a plainer version.  Tonight, for instance, I made stir fry. I gave the kids small portions of everything, but plain without the sauce. He’s usually given in by now and tried his food. Guess tonight he’s seeing how far my patience will go. His sister and dad our currently enjoying a movie in the other room while we sit.  Oh goodness, he’s actually nodding off. I just saw his head do the droop down and jerk back.  He’s literally bored himself to sleep.

Until I write again…

Shay

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