Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve is Finally Upon Us.

Well it is now Christmas Eve for our family.  We're running a few days behind but my hubby was picked up by my brave father from the airport last night during a crazy storm we were experiencing.  Now that everyone is safe and sound we can commence our official Christmas.

Looking at the huge boxes of the kid's play kitchen and train set that needs putting together reminds me that it's going to be a very late night for us indeed.  That's if we have the ambition to do it today.  It might be a good project for the hubby and my dad to take part in tomorrow while us girls are busy working on turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Even hopefully the littlest girl will be inspired enough by her big Christmas gift and spend it pretending to cook us a spectacular dinner in her new play kitchen.

I was feeling a little like the holiday season had already passed us by because we had already said our Merry Christmases and Happy New Years to everyone else on the actual calendar day event.  It was also spent drinking Bailey's and coffee and hanging out with the family.  It's crazy how you can feel like you've already finished the season and not opened one gift or gone through one stocking.  It's proof that the Christmas spirit is still a tangible possiblity without literally "buying" into it. However now that the hubby has returned, I am starting to get fired up in Christmas spirit mode again and am excited to watch the magic unfold for the kids. 

We are just getting ready now to go and participate in the very real and very modern day tradition of the Christmas Eve rush.  In other words we have to go out and purchase some last minute supplies and gifts that have been forgotten.  I'm really grateful this starts off my husband's 3 week stint at home and we will have the remaining few weeks to just kick back and enjoy some time together in our new home before he goes back to work.

Merry Christmas everyone from our family to yours!!

Monday, December 24, 2012


Even though I'm not quite sure why they refer to this time of the year as "Holidays," I'm going to be spending actual Christmas Eve and Day at mom and dad's house with the kidlets.  Does anyone anywhere ever feel rested T'is the Season is finished? This also means I won't be posting for a couple days.  I may also be skipping a day or two after because we're celebrating our Christmas on the 29th when my husband is back from work and a day of rest under his belt.

I'm wishing everyone (all 4 of you) that read my blog regularly A Very Merry Christmas!  I will return to you soon with a mind addled with Bailey's and Coffee (I hate Egg Nog) and refined sugar products.

Love and good wishes!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Brain Malfunction

I’m lacking anything interesting to blog about today.  In general I’m having a strange day.  It’s one of those days that I feel completely unmotivated but a bunch of stuff keeps getting accomplished.  

For instance, I was walking around my house this morning and looked down and noticed that the floor was in desperate need of vacuuming, sweeping and mopping.  I had just decided that I was not interested in any of it and then called my mom to see what she was up to for the day.  During our phone conversation I swept and mopped all the floors and as soon as I hung up I vacuumed.   I also folded the remainder of my laundry and cleaned up the breakfast dishes. 

My kids were spending most of the day making a mess of the play room upstairs and I went up there to soothe one because they apparently they need to hurt themselves 80 times an hour.  The room looked like World War 5 had hit.  I asked them to start cleaning it up because I am honestly so sick of tidying that room I was contemplating just shutting the door and not allowing them to ever set foot in it again.   Instead the next thing I knew I was finishing up putting the last toy in its place.

Then early this evening I was NOT in the mood to make dinner.  A good friend of mine sent me a text which started quite the conversation. By the time that chat came to its conclusion I had managed to whip up garlic/rosemary crusted pork chops, rice and steamed veggies. 

In finality I figured I’d come and sit at the computer to update myself on my Facebook friend’s activities for the day and procrastinate giving the kids a bath.  Here I am instead writing in my blog, which I decided earlier today I was going to take a day off from.   I guess that confirms that OCD is not just a brain disorder because whether you are motivated or not your body just takes over and does it for you.

I hope it does the same thing for the bath I’m avoiding having to give my children now before bed. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wrap it Up!

I can’t believe I’m actually finished prepping for Christmas this year and with days to spare.  I mean granted we’re not celebrating Christmas until the 29th here because of my husband’s work schedule but I feel most accomplished today.

The kids and I went for a long walk early this afternoon, well not a long walk in terms of distance but when you are walking with a 2 year old and 3 year old it tends to slow things down a bit and what would normally take about 15 minutes to walk almost took 2 hours.   It was very fun to watch my daughter go to each door and deliver the neighbors Christmas cards.  Watching a child take such joy in sharing and giving is about one of the most satisfying experiences of this entire holiday season craziness.

The last chore I had to finish up with was wrapping gifts.  This is probably my least favorite job out of the festivities.  Wrapping gifts is such a strange idea.  I understand it adds to the excitement of the present but truthfully it seems ridiculous.  You spend a bunch of money on paper, bows, tape and string that just gets ripped up and tossed in the garbage.  Not to mention the billion hours it takes to try to figure out how to wrap each gift.  I’m not making it up when I say that a friend of mine on Facebook was literally sending out a plea to all the parents out there on exactly HOW you wrap up Hot Wheels cars packages.  I was ever so grateful with this post because there was in fact a really helpful answer.  One of the people who replied said that you wrap two of them together face to face.  There wasn’t an answer though for the Littlest Pet Shop toy packages that are my daughter’s request from Santa.  Trust me if you can hold off on getting your kid one of these buggers I’d avoid it at all costs.  I must have had to re-wrap it at least 10 times.  I’m not even tempting fate by putting the gifts under the tree until at least Christmas Eve, I don’t think the kids could handle themselves.

Wrapping is a very time consuming activity in normal situations but when it comes to trying to wrap them with kids in the house it becomes a sporting event.  I know that most people would suggest that I wrap these gifts at night to save myself some hassle.  I’ve actually been attempting to do so and that’s why I haven’t finished it until today.  Most of my shopping was done over a week ago and I have had good intentions to sit down every night and do all the wrapping.  My trouble is by 9:00pm (just after I put my kids to bed) I’m done.  I don’t have any fuel left in the tank.  If I’m not asleep by 9:30pm these days then I know that the morning won’t be pleasant.   I did get a few gifts wrapped one evening and half a bottle of wine consumed which resulted in a hangover (I’m very lightweight when it comes to my alcohol intake) and two presents needing to be re-wrapped.  It just doesn’t seem worth the pain. 

Today I figured I would attempt on getting the rest of the gifts done.  By taking the kids for a walk this afternoon I assumed that I could get a little bit of a reprieve from them as they would be a bit worn down.  I was wrong.  They were still as curious as to what I was up to.  They were still trying every way possible to drive me crazy.  I’ve decided that the only thing worse than wrapping gifts is trying to wrap them while keeping two curious toddlers at bay.   I didn’t even have any wine to smooth over the process.  I believe that drinking wine is never a good idea in the day when the kids are running full tilt, I feel like I have to treat my life like a potential on-call ambulance driver just in case they break their bones or worse.  People reading this might think I’m paranoid, that is unless they know my children.

None-the-less after several bribes with Christmas treats, screaming fits (on my part), drinks of milk, trips to the potty and a new Dora movie the deed was done.  I can actually say that I’m finished all the hard work of the season and plan on sitting back and having a Bailey’s and coffee or two…well as soon as my hubby returns from work so I know we have a designated emergency services driver!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Good-Bye Sentimentality

I’m worried for our generation of children.  There is a certain sentimentality that I think is going to be wiped out shortly.  As doomsday is upon us it appears that there is no fire raining from the sky but in a small way I think that people were on to something.  Not a drastic, lets pick one day to decide the end-of-all-as-we-know-it scenario but more along the lines I’m agreeing with some of the predictions that we are dawning on a new era.

I quite frankly hadn’t given it much thought up until last night.  I have been passing the tabloids off as another reason for gullible people to lose their dollars and conniving, slimy people to take them.  I mean this is coming from the girl who at the tender age of 20 years old decided to boycott Y2K and spent the night learning how to play crib instead of going to a wild party or hiding in a bunker.  What triggered my thoughts was actually an event I’d been anticipating all year.  The watching of “The Hobbit”, or I guess the first part of an inexplicable trilogy of someone else’s interpretation of “The Hobbit”.

I’m very much a truest.  Not even sure if I can use that as a word in this context but I like things to keep to their word.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m flexible to an extent, if there is just reason or cause to change things and as long as they still hit the right notes then I’m quite reasonable.  The Hobbit however last night was a mix of both.  There were some really amazing parts that made me feel like the book was coming to life before my eyes and then there were some parts that had that distinct sour taste of Hollywood oozing from them.  I’m not going to hash out the details.  There will be so many opinions either way but I do want to talk about what this means for our children.

The reason The Hobbit is so near and dear to me would be my mother’s fault.  She not only instilled the desire to have my nose stuck in a book more often than not but also the love of all things Hobbit.  When I was a little girl my mom used to read books to me.  I’m sure she read a lot of preschool books to me while I was still pooping in my pants but these aren’t the books I’m talking about.  Once I was old enough to sit still longer than 30 seconds and without filling my diaper she began to read novels to me.  We started out with stories such as “Charlotte’s Web” and "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" as I grew we moved into books such as “Tarzan” and “The Hobbit”.  Even though by this age I could already read these books to myself, she still took the time to bring these stories to life for me.  She would snuggle me into her bed all warm and cozy then magically began to paint the picture, she would painstakingly read each character with a different voice and patiently explain the ideas or words to me that needed explaining.  These were easily some of the best times and memories of my life.  You would be right to assume I was not only thrilled to be going to see “The Hobbit” on the big screen last night but I was able to go with my mom.

Walking away from the movie was a bit of a let-down, it was not even because the movie wasn’t exactly what I expected and I was disappointed.  It was more because I’m wondering if I’ll be able to instill any of the same sentimentality into my own kids.   

About one month ago my new babysitter had come over to hang out with the kids as a “we’d both like to know what we’re getting ourselves into visit”.  When she was leaving she was talking about having to write a paper for school and how she was going to have to do some online research before she could start.  I then realized what a different world it is out there.  I asked her if she did any research for her papers in the Library at school.  She sort of laughed and said that they had certified websites they could pull their research from but rarely looked in books.  She had never even heard of the Dewey Decimal System.  That was a huge shock to my system.  I know that I’m not young anymore but it wasn’t THAT long ago.  I know for a fact that my parents used the Dewey Decimal System and my grandparents knew what it was.  Finding out there are kids today who have never even heard of it was an eye opener.

Every single book that I hold dearly in childhood memories is now a major motion picture.  They are cartoons, video games and bed sheets.  While all of this can seem fun the world is just over accessible today.  Some of the reasons these books seemed so special was their lack of convenience.  It was possibly a book you had to take out of the library which eventually needed to be returned, it was a book read to you one chapter a night that left you longing to hear what happened next, it was the product of imagination and childhood fantasy.  Today its force fed to you through pre-views, movies, games, toys, posters on the wall, actors in the tabloids and bad re-runs.   There is no reason a person needs to use their imagination any longer because Hollywood does it for you.  My mom always said it’s important that you make a kid read a book before watching the movie.  I’d love to instill that principle but it’s going to be bloody hard to do when my kid won’t even know what the Dewey Decimal System is.  I’ll have to get them a kindle and order the books on wi-fi and sit and force them to read it before visiting their friends who bought the movie the week prior.

It makes me sad to think that there might possibly be no movie out there in 30 years that my kids will want nothing more than to go see with their mother.  Today might not be the end of the world or even day one of this new era but I believe we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg and cannot fathom what the next several decades are going to look like.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Baby Its Snowing Outside

My little WeatherEye started flashing a lightning bolt in the bottom screen of my computer monitor last night so I had warning.   The rain and wind last night and through this morning were pretty intense but since the big rain droplets the temperature has dropped slightly and now has started to snow.  The kids are extremely excited and really want to go out and play in it but at the moment it’s not that nice fluffy play in snow.  It’s that wet gross snow that only comes when the temperature hovers at the 0 degree Celsius (or for my American friends 32 degrees Fahrenheit).  In other words my children are bored and as designated mommy it’s up to me to come up with some activities for the kids to participate in. 

This morning’s activities involved “Art Craft” as my daughter likes to call it.  We decided to paint.  I drug the supplies from the cupboard and basically just let the kids go to town all over some extra-large blank paper.  My daughter could possibly sit there all day and paint, my son however was bored after about 10 minutes.   

 I think that’s one of the toughest things about entertaining the kids right now.  Their interests are completely different, partly I assume because each kid is different but one is a boy and one a girl and then they’re different ages.  The only thing they both seem to enjoy doing at the same time is watching TV. 

The TV is such a topic of discussion these days.  Do you let your kids watch TV?  How much TV do you allow them to watch? What kind of programs do you let them watch?  Before I had children I had it in my head that I was going to be the parent that didn’t allow them to watch any more than an hour a day.  Since I’ve had kids and reality has set in that number has varied quite a bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I am attempting to ensure that they don’t spend every waking hour in front of the idiot box.  It’s tough on days like this.  I always have good intentions to utilize my time with them appropriately and try to involve them in several activities.  Then of course when we do things like painting, playing with play-dough, reading books, doing house chores one of them has to be uncooperative.  The only way I get 10 minutes of peace and quiet is to put on the TV and let them zone out while I finish cleaning up after whatever activity it is we just participated in.

We have a giant playroom in the bonus room above the garage.  When I was a kid if I had an area like this that I could run to, that had all my toys and allowed me to use my imagination as much as possible I probably would have lived in it.  My son is very much like me.  He loves going up there and will spend hours driving his cars around the room or his train in circles around the figure 8 wooden track set.  My daughter however spends every waking moment in the room trying to workout plots of getting out of the room and under my feet.   I thought I would solve this problem by allowing my daughter to paint at the table and my son to play in the room.  That of course backfired immediately.  It also turns out when you have a 2 year old and 3 year old you must be accessible to each of them 24/7 and immediately.  No sooner did I get my daughter set up with the paints then my son started to cry in the play room.  I then left my daughter to her own devices as I went to go investigate the tears which turned out to be a minor scratch on his hand and wounded ego which was easily remedied with a kiss and cuddle.  When I went back to see what my dangerously quiet daughter was up to I discovered a mess that would rival The Chernobyl Disaster and then my son began to cry again. 

So there you have it; two kids not capable of doing the same thing or doing anything separately unless you count watching TV.  Playing outside would be another great option but since it’s still really crappy weather out there that might not be for a couple days. 
I'd like to take this moment to add to the above.  My dad just stopped in for a visit.  I was talking with him about our dilemma about me not being able to entertain the kids without going completely insane.  He came up with a brilliant solution.  Why not bring the toy train set downstairs and let my son play where I can see him while my daughter paints?  My dad's a genius.  Next time I get enough energy to pull out the paints and other activities that he gets bored of immediately I'm going to do just that.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Tradition In Need!!

I have a beef.  I am NOT impressed.  This is serious.

Christmas is being taken advantage of.   Along with all the extra activities; shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, gift wrapping, photo taking, party going, concert watching, house decorating we are also subjected to a new form of torture.  Really really bad Christmas movies!

As an adult without children you might not notice this influx of horrendous viewing entertainment, you have the option of switching the channel to something less barfy.  However, with children, you usually end up giving in to watching Treehouse or Disney Jr. instead of watching something cool like Dexter or Downton Abbey.  I spent an agonizing 93 minutes getting stuck watching a movie about a talking reindeer called “Blizzard” the night before last.  We originally turned it on because it was directed by LeVar Burton.  For those of my readers who are NOT geeks, he played the character Geordi  La Forge off of the Star Trek Next Generation Series.  He was also responsible for Reading Rainbow (a show I loved as a kid).  Anyhow when I was looking at the info available through my satellite provider while browsing movies I thought we’d give it a shot.  Within about 20 seconds I knew I had made a mistake; but NO I couldn’t pick a new movie.  Apparently 20 seconds is all it takes before your 2 and 3 year old children are hooked and you are now trapped.

I had decided it would be fun to watch one Christmas movie with my kids per night as a sort of lead up to the actual day.  I unfortunately am thinking that I should have stuck to something more fun, something like jumping in my frozen lake or cleaning the grout in my kitchen tiles with a toothbrush.  I am totally interested in starting our own brand of Christmas traditions but I’m pretty sure that this isn’t going to be it.

It’s funny what we perceive as a bad Christmas movie.  When we were kids there were quite a few movies that came out each year and because we didn’t have DVD’s or I guess it would be the VHS recordings of these films, you had to make sure you were watching them when they were airing.  Last year, when looking for stocking stuffers, I came across a trio pack of DVD’s that had some of the Christmas classics that I remembered from my childhood and we bought them.  They were the “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “Frosty the Snowman,” animated films all from the 60’s.  This year when we were decorating the tree I came across these movies in one of my many Rubbermaid Christmas totes.  After we were finished our decorating I stuck them into the player to watch them.  My husband was disgusted.  He was looking at the screen with an unpleasantly confused look on his face and asked “Why the hell are we watching this?”  I was stunned.  I could not believe that he had never seen these films.  From an objective point of view they are pretty terrible.  It’s however with glossed over sentimentality that these movies are amazing.  I sat and watched them thinking they were brilliant.  I think I’m going to have to make it my mission to ensure that “Blizzard” doesn’t get put on that reminiscence list for my own kids. 

With that being said “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “A Christmas Story,” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” need to be played again and again, year after year.  My husband wants to have a few picks too.  I know he’s already listed one that I’m not so sure I’m ready for; “Home Alone.”  There are two reasons that I’m not quite sure this is a good idea.  For one, I don’t think it’s really a good idea to implant any unnecessary ideas into their heads at this age.  The second is because there are 4 sequels to the movie.   There is even a new one coming out this year.  All of these second, third, fourth and yes fifth versions of the movie look beyond terrible.  It might be a landslide I cannot dam once it’s started. 

For now I’ll stick to the safe movies and work on coming up with a new family custom.  Maybe if I give the kids their own toothbrushes they can help me with the grout?? 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Short and Motivated

Well I just spent the past two days at my parent's house. I love that every once and awhile I can just pack up the kids and go visit for a couple days. It feels like I'm going on holidays when I'm over there, maybe because for nearly 15 years I wasn't at my parents’ house unless I was on vacation.

It was also nice to avoid the inevitable task of cleaning up my house.  I know it has to be done and I know that I can’t stand it NOT being done.  Although rare, once and awhile my lack of motivation wins over my OCD and I just can’t bring myself to the task (usually during my monthly Mother Nature hostile take-over).  This morning I found myself feeling a bit better, a bit more refreshed and after having some help with the progeny I was ready to get home and swab the decks.

Therefore this is a short blub but not due to laziness, quite the opposite.  It’s because I have the inclination to get my house to acceptable standards and I should harness the feeling while it stays with me.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Discretion of a Parent

Brace yourselves this is going to be a long one!

Two unrelated events have happened in the past 24 hours that have led me to writing about this today.  I have to admit the topic has been floating around the back of my mind for quite some time.  It comes up every once and awhile so it feels right to bring it to fruition.  First I’ll briefly describe the events and then I’ll say my piece.

I might as well talk about the event that I don’t really want to bring up because it will make me look a little foolish.  I really don’t like looking foolish (yeah, who does, right?) so I’ll get it over and done with first.  It happened at my daughter’s preschool this morning.  Every Tuesday and Thursday I bring my daughter in for her classes.  There are 3 week periods that I have to bring my son along for the ride with me because my hubby is out of town.  It should be no big deal, I know that all over the world mom’s tote around younger siblings to these events all the time and everything is peachy, right?  Wrong.  My son is awful when going to my daughter’s school.  I can’t even blame him for being a weirdo because I feel so bad for the little tyke.  Since we packed up and moved across the country to a brand new area and a new life we don’t have any connections.  Therefore the only interaction that my kids get with other kids is through my daughter’s preschool and just recently both kids have started a once per week gymnastics program.  So as you can see very limited friends for the kids to play with.

When I take my daughter into her school there is a quick drop off and pick-up period.  I’m usually in and out of the building in less than 3 minutes.  That is unless I bring my son in with me.  The first three weeks I brought him in and out with me.  It was torture for the both of us (and I’m sure anyone within earshot, I think I may have mentioned in the past that my son’s scream rivals any girl’s).  You see there are about 3 other daycares that run in the same building as my daughter’s preschool.  They ask us to keep our kids all contained in the boot area, which is located in a huge gymnasium.  Usually the gym has dozens of screaming laughing kids that are playing with a tantalizing assortment of toys.  My son always wants to desperately to play in the big ride- inside-cars.  When I stop him and he discovers that he’s not allowed to go and play with the other kids he lays down on the ground and does the funky chicken.  You parents know the kind of temper tantrum I mean.  Laying on the ground, flailing all appendages and screaming like a banshee.  Even when you pick him up in this stage he just flops over and acts like a rag doll, but a really really HEAVY rag doll.  With him in tow it takes me roughly 15 minutes to try to get my daughter in or out of her gear all while trying to contain him.  Not very fun for anyone, except for the moms who have “angel children” they can gloat as I am trying to hold down Lucifer.

So after a brief discussion with both my husband and parents in trying to problem solve this issue someone suggested that I just leave him in the van, with our German Shepherd and the doors locked for the brief time it takes.  I was a little hesitant but remember vividly several times waiting in the car by myself as my parents did some short outings and nothing remotely bad ever happened.  We currently live in a pretty quiet town and the school is in an even quieter neighborhood.  I figured then it should be ok.  I’ve been lucky enough not to have to do it too often.  When my husband is home then it’s a non-issue, if my mom stays the night or another adult comes for the ride then again a non-issue.  I’ve found it extremely helpful when my son falls asleep when we go to pick my daughter up from school as he hates being woken up too early from his nap.  That was the exact same scenario this morning.  My son was passed out in the car seat and I went in to grab my daughter.  I was in line for  a little over one minute waiting for the class door open to retrieve my kid when one of the preschool teachers popped out of the room and came up to me and whispered that I had to go out and get my son immediately.  I ran out there expecting him to be crying or something to have happened.  The only infraction I could see in progress was that my dog was sitting on the front seat of my van barking for me to come back.  My son was still out like a light and nothing else indicating any disaster. 

When I returned into the school with my really miserable and tired son in tow I was a little confused but pretty sure that I was about to get a talking to.  I knew it was frowned upon but II however did not realize that it was law that you are not allowed to leave your children under 12 in the vehicle for any amount of time if it is not fully in your sight.  I would never leave my children in the car alone to go shopping or to do my banking or really any task where I didn’t feel 100% sure they would be ok.  The teachers were really apologetic.  They claimed that one of the daycare workers had reported it to them and they didn’t want me to get in trouble.  The main teacher said that it is now law and they had to put a protocol forth stating what they do in these situations.  I assured them it wouldn’t happen again but walked away a little ego bruised (I hate being in trouble) but more so upset thinking that I made a mistake and started to question my parenting.

Ok so scenario number two.  While scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook I came across a picture of a cover of a magazine I just recently saw while grocery shopping this week.  It’s one of those tabloid crap magazines, National Enquirer.  I’ve seen very similar covers to these magazines prior to this date, they’re the ones with pictures of movie stars not looking their best.  The headline is “More than 40 Best and Worst Beach Bodies,” WORST being the largest and most obvious word.  Attached to this picture on Facebook was a letter written by a school teacher admonishing Loblaws, a company that claims to be so community involved, for selling this magazine as it’s one of the most obvious forms of bullying.  The letter was quite well written; I agreed with its subject and thought some of the same exact things when I saw the magazine in person myself not 4 days earlier so I shared it to my page.  I’d like to point out that I’m not normally a “sharing” type of person.  I really use Facebook as a tool of communicating with friends and keeping in touch with family.  I’m not one to play games, like the 10 Billion sayings, try to save the world, or try to make a statement.  I find some of the stuff mildly entertaining and like to sit and relax during a quiet moment to catch up on any recent news with my acquaintances. 

The next day I got a surprising comment under my shared post from a person I have quite a lot of respect for.  This person usually provides some good argument, even though we don’t always see eye to eye, but none the less he can normally come up with valid reasons for supporting his argument.   I was really only surprised because it didn’t seem like a thing he’d normally comment on.  In his comment he stated
“...Teach your kids to respect themselves and fluffy magazines & bullying will be less of an issue… I just get sick of everyone's attitude when it comes to parenting..."the world will raise my kids while I'm shopping for cocoa puffs and checking my twitter." 
I left some of his comment out but he made valid points about Loblaws selling themselves by claiming to be community orientated but how they also turn a profit off of said magazines, so they’re not going to stop and that’s just business. I want to point out it came across as a little harsh at first but it’s not totally what he meant  which he said in his next round of comments. He summarized by saying
 “...I'd love to i see this garbage done away with as well… As long as people are buying this rubbish, they'll sell it. I just think a lot of people reading that post will say "yeah, it's your fault my kids are bullying /getting bullied" and pass it off as something they can't control. The Blame Others mentality is rampant within our selfish society. 
I’d like to point out that he did not once imply that my husband and I were negligent; in fact he said we were great parents. 

This is what got me to thinking.  Two seemingly unrelated subjects now brought together a point for me. 

This tabloid magazine made me sad when I spied it myself last week.  I thought wow I’ll never be able to protect my daughter from society or from herself through those years.  She’s going to have to go through it all on her own to get to this point.   Being the most amazing parent isn't going to make your children immune to peer pressure and self image issues.  You see my parents were also great parents.  My mom is about the least bothered by peer pressure person I know.  Sure she is not totally immune, she’s still polite when it’s needed and doesn’t go out in public dressed in rags but she really doesn’t put a lot of precedence of what other people are thinking or doing and doesn’t need the latest and greatest fad to make her feel fantastic.  Even having my mom as my mentor and guide throughout high school all her values and teachings were barely heeded as I was going through my own teenage hell.   It took me quite some time to be comfortable in my own skin.  I am fairly practical about it now but society still plays a role in how I parent and how I think. 

 I spent over a year trying to toilet train my daughter.  I tried every trick of the trade, worked my ass off trying to accomplish this one task, NOTHING worked. After just one day in her preschool, after just one short 3 hour stint of peer pressure she buckled.  She began without another incident using the toilet consistently every day after.  Yes I realized that this time it worked to my advantage (and hers) this but I know that it won’t always work in our favor. We can pretend that society ISN'T going to play some role in raising our children but that would be foolish. Why do you wear certain types of clothing? Why do you buy a certain brand of shoes or even decorate your belongings with logo stickers of specific companies? It's a status thing. You might not be continuously worried about self-image but you have still been somewhat "parented" by society.

I have been thinking about other ways that society is parenting not only our children but ourselves.  I am not condoning my actions today or trying to defend leaving my son in the car.  I’ve re-evaluated the situation and I know in my heart of hearts that if something bad ever happened to my son when there was something I could have done to prevent it I would have been devastated.  My hubby assures me I wasn’t putting him in harm’s way at all and that I shouldn’t beat myself up about it; but it never hurts to self-reflect.   What really confuses me and I’ve done a bit of research since being home today, I also found out they condone a child being alone in the house unsupervised at 10 years old in the province of Nova Scotia as long as the parents feels the child is mature enough and is safe but can also be charged by law under the governments discretion if they feel the child doesn’t meet this criteria. That’s a double edged sword.  It’s ok to leave them at home if you think the kid is mature enough unless the government doesn’t; sounds shady to me.  Then you have to wait until the child is 12 to leave them in the car, is the car so much more dangerous than the home?  Who comes up with these ages and who’s discretion are we talking about?

I am concerned that the laws are starting to make it so parent’s hands are tied behind their backs when it comes to raising your children.  There are laws being put in place so it will be illegal to spank your children.  I 100% am against abuse but a swat to the butt to remind a child where their boundaries are is a tried and true method of discipline.  I don’t care what the books say, I always thought twice about doing anything too bad because I knew it would end up with a hand whacked on my backside.  Kids today don’t seem to know their place anymore and parents are afraid to be parents.  How many screaming kids do we see in Supermarket aisles today compared to when we were children or when our parents were children and everyone had a ton of kids (Baby Boomers)?  I don’t even want to get started about giving children awards for just participating in events and not winning, what does that teach them about real life?  Absolutely NOTHING.

There are laws about whether or not you can marry the same sex, maybe not in Canada anymore but there are still several people that hold true to this belief that it’s evil.  This was one of the main topics of discussion in the current USA Presidential Election (and don’t tell me that just because it’s a different country doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold influence on us in Canada at all).  How can something be evil if it’s not harming other people?  People are still fighting this issue so adamantly.  If consenting adults choose to smoke marijuana which doesn’t result in hurting anyone else or put others at risk then why is it illegal when cigarettes and alcohol are not?  I just found out that it’s illegal to hunt on a Sunday in Nova Scotia…I mean really?  I get that some people are religious but a law???  Talk about government putting morals onto people that are not shared by everyone. 

The letter attached to the magazine cover picture was just asking for some accountability from Loblaws. Of course they are profiting and using it as a marketing advantage but if you're going to talk the talk people are going to expect you walk the walk. I may not be standing on the local grocery store steps with pitch forks and knives but I have seen how one small action can create a landslide. If I can add a little here and there to something that holds my beliefs then I'm going to state it. Like I said I don't share things often on my page and this one caught my eye.

What is parenting?  I think it’s the teaching of your morals and how to stand up for yourself and beliefs, giving tools to use as a guide through life, providing for physically and mentally.  I’m not sure how to do that in today’s society.  Do I teach them my morals or teach them the morals society has put in for me and made law, even if I don’t believe in them?  What tools do I use to do this if all the tools I’ve been taught have been taken from me?   It’s not enough to just put a roof over their head or nourish their bodies or spend every pay cheque earned for their comfort.  It’s not enough to sacrifice every waking moment to their happiness or their well-being.   Maybe they can write us a book, tell us exactly what we should do to parent our kids in every situation so we don’t have any say anymore.  Who needs discretion of the parents when the government can do it for you? 

I bet they would allow the sales of the crap magazines because they probably line the right pockets with valuable cash.   Even if a parent doesn’t agree with my point of view and everything I’ve written in my blog screams to them I’m an awful parent and I should just follow the laws as they are written because they are sound and just.  I understand that there are several good laws that are there to protect our children but where do you draw the line?  What if the pages were turned and it was me writing these laws.  Would you not like a say on how to parent your own children in your own way?  Maybe it’s time to start a landslide?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Teaches You That Your Mother May Know a Thing or Two (even when you’re 32).

Well it’s that time of year to send out my Christmas Cards.  I actually never used to do this task until I had kids.  Well I’d get a box of cards and hand a few out to my closest friends but since my daughter’s arrival into the world it’s been a full out event.

I’ve also now crossed over into a stage that I can tell is going to be a monotonous tradition, the cutting of school photos.  I vividly remember sitting and watching my mom do the exact same thing when I was a kid, her spending hours and hours cutting professional school photos along their lines and putting them into her yearly Christmas cards (which she does NOT participate in anymore).  In fact she claims that she is down to sending out one sole card per year now.  It’s not even a person I know.  She mildly laughs at me when I tell her that I’m going to do my cards up and gives me that “I wouldn’t bother if I was you” look.  The cutting up the pictures was a very long process and it was only my daughter’s picture this year.  My son will also be getting pictures next year so I think I’m going to have to recruit help.  I’m hoping the hubby will be around for the next Holiday Season as this is the second in a row I’m on my own doing all the prep. There were so many steps to the Christmas Cards this year it literally took me 8 hours to do!!  Do people even keep the pictures you send?  Do they toss all your hard work and efforts into the garbage after the holidays are over? I know mom, I know.  Why do I even bother? 

I also learned a valuable lesson this year while doing some Christmas baking with my mom.  Never question your mother when she gives you hints and tips on how to perform a task that she has performed numerous times before and you have only done maybe once before in your life.  This particular teaching was in regards to decorating cookies.

I was all excited to start, a hopeful new yearly tradition now that we live close to one another, of getting together with my mom to do all the Christmas baking.  We decided to do one of my childhood favorites, sugar cookies.  I have so many memories stealing beautifully iced sugar cookies out of their Ziploc freezer bags from the deepfreeze in our basement downstairs.  I must’ve eaten my body weight in sugar/butter products in the weeks before Christmas. 

 In anticipation of decorating sugar cookies I thought it would be a good idea to purchase a device that would help me make fancy icing decorations.  I took a special trip to the store and found a tool that the store clerk talked up so much I figured I was going home with the crème de la crème of all icing decorators, I will hence refer to as “The Magic Icing Device” or MID.  I had only once prior actually made my own icing.  My mom had given me her recipe years before when I had done this same project but it was a very long time ago and the memory was pretty blurry (I think there might have been several drinks involved).  At once I realized that this might not be my thing.  I persevered however and figured once I used the MID that it would all go much smoother.  Oh boy was I wrong.  The very first thing my mom said to me after I had mixed the icing to a proper consistency was “I used to just put the icing into a plastic Ziploc bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner and squeeze it out that way, it’s pretty easy.”  Well I was NOT about to use such rudimentary tools when I had the MID.

Well if you can imagine I spent the next 5 hours trying to ice the cookies.  I discovered there are muscles in the thumb I didn’t know I had, it was sore for a couple days after as the MID was really hard to push down on.  Out of the 5 hours I’m pretty sure 2 of them were dedicated to washing out the MID so I could put a different color of icing into it.  I never once used any of the fancy icing ends that came with my MID because after the first icing color like hell I was going to be washing more stuff.  The cookies looked ok but after 5 hours they should have looked as magical as the iced cookies on the box of the MID advertised. 

Flash the time forward now to day two of our baking marathon.  My mom pulls the last of the sugar cookie dough from the fridge and starts to roll them out and cut them into cute little Christmas shapes one by one.  I am dreading each perfectly baked cookie because I am at this point sick to death of icing cookies (I also have a tummy ache from all the sugar and butter consumed the day before, stomach can’t handle that like it once could).  I thankfully had some pre-made icing left over stored in nice little Ziploc bags from the night before.  I thought “what the heck”, I really wasn’t all that enthusiastic about dragging MID back out from its deviously false advertised box to participate in round 2.”  I figured I’d just give my mom’s tip a shot and if I didn’t like the results I could always go back to the way I had been doing it up till this point. From the time I cut the first corner of my Ziploc bag I was done the cookies in 15 minutes!  I think they even looked better than the MID cookies, maybe even better than they appeared on the box.  The clean-up resulted in a quick wrist shot toss into the garbage can, virtually zero mess.

I’d like to take this time to dedicate this last part of today’s post to my mother. She not only gave me just the very briefest of “I told you so’s,” but let me take the credit for some of the work.  I really just more or less monkeyed around for 5 hours while she slaved and sweated away in the kitchen rolling out various cookies and pastries.  As a result, we have a wonderful assortment of Christmas baking products this year.

I’m really hoping we can keep the tradition going, that’s if I even have time after all my Christmas cards are sent out and two kids worth of school photos are cut out properly.  Although next year when my mom gives me a “how-to-hint” I’ll be sure to open my ears wide and remember that the MID is NOT smarter than my mommy (and neither am I)!  Even at 32 there is still lots to be learned from the woman who raised me.


Friday, December 7, 2012

I Predict a Chance of a Perfect Christmas

I’m freshly returned from a trip to the Caribbean with the husband and WITHOUT the kids.  I had an absolute wonderful time.  I can hardly believe it’s over.  It went by so stinking quickly.  It was fantastic but of course we landed back in the land of commercialism and consumerism during its peak forte. It was sort of nice to be in a country where people aren’t so geared towards spending all their hard earned dough on trinkets for each other at this time of year.  Although it may sound like I’m pooping on Christmas I’m really quite into it for the first time in a very long time.

I however am hoping that this year we can capture some of that real Christmas spirit.  The feeling of days gone by in peace and harmony, I’m really hoping to avoid the big crowds and not spend my days worrying and stressing about what I need to buy.  We’ve pretty much narrowed our gift buying extravaganza down to small proportions.  We no longer do a major gift exchange with my parents (although this year we’ll help pick up a few items here and there to supplement our stockings).  My hubby’s parents just this year also jumped aboard the no-gift train and will instead just dedicate their thoughtful purchases to the kids alone.  I would love to A) Have the money to go out and purchase everyone a wonderful gift or B) Have the patience to tackle the big crowds with both kids in tow but it’s just not a reality.  

This year we’ve found ourselves a little tight around the wallet seams.  The tropical trip we went on was probably not perfect timing in terms of financial intelligence but it definitely was optimal for psychological benefits.  We’re going to have to spend the first part of this upcoming New Year to provide a soft cushion of cash inflow again, therefore Christmas this year will be fairly low key.

I think the good thing about that is you start to delve deeper into what makes Christmas so special.  First and foremost it’s for the kids.  I know that I don’t need any more stuff to put in my already full cupboards and shelves.  I know that my parents don’t want anything else cluttering up their storage space.  The kids don’t need anything either but it’s still so much fun watching your kids open their gifts.  There are also very few days in the year you can threaten them with the prospect that Santa may not visit them if they misbehave.  My daughter is already in deep awe and fear of being on the Naughty List so I’ve been using it to my advantage as much as possible.

We’ve already put up our X-mas tree and decorated the house.  My husband is like a giant kid.  He loves doing this kind of thing.  Normally I’m reluctant to get in the mood, I try not to be the household Scrooge but usually the work involved and the inevitable clean-up afterwards makes me skeptical of having doing it at all.  For some reason this year I’m way more excited about it.  Maybe it’s the fact that I’m finally in a house where I’m not participating in major renovations in the middle of the “Holiday” season.  It could be the fact that I just came back from a super relaxing vacation.  It’s also I think a lot to do with how much the kids understand are excited about it this year and that I know I get to spend it with my parents without also planning a bunch of airplane rides and travel dates in between. 

I’m really excited that my mom and I are going to do all the Christmas baking together.  I’m looking forward so much to this part of my life.  I think I’m finally starting to realize that this is all real.  I actually live close to my mom and dad again.  I can hang out with them as often as I’d like without having to take days off work, to fly across the country or drive a million hours.  We can drink Bailey’s and Coffee (although my mom is currently NOT drinking coffee so it may have to be Rum and Pepsi), play cards, participate in our family tradition of watching a Lord of the Rings marathon (oooh and go see the Hobbit that’s coming out in theatres next week) and just really spend some quality time together.

We’re actually not even going to be having Christmas on the 25th this year.  My husband will be returning from his work stint 2 days after the actual date.  I think that’s another reason that makes it even more special.  It’s because it’s our day.  We’re not letting any of the traditions of others ruin our time, we’re still celebrating but on our terms.

Where it may be a Christmas low on the wrapping and not on the right date I have a feeling it’s going to be a perfect one (that’s if the world doesn’t end on the 21st…but that’s a different topic entirely).