Home from Vacation, Time to Relax!

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Please forgive my week-long hiatus friends!  During Easter break, my Husband and I decided to take the kids to the East coast to visit family and have some fun.  Speaking of which, have you ever gone on a family vacation and came back feeling more worn out than before you left?

Typically, when someone says the word “vacation”, thoughts of lush palm trees, beautiful sandy beaches and tasty cocktails come to mind.   In reality, when you go on vacation with young children, more often than not the whole thing ends up being a whole lot of work!  Kids don’t relax, they want to be active and on the go go go!  Movies, the arcade, Signal Hill, the Geo Center and more.  Toss in visits to family and a bit of shopping and you have a very full trip!  Before going on our little vacation I was feeling pretty worn out.  It had been approximately two months since my Hubby had been home and I was ready for a well deserved break.  Skip forward one week of crazy fun and last night I found myself lying in bed and thinking to myself “Phew!  I’m back in my own bed.  Time to relax!”  This afternoon I actually enjoyed washing dishes while my children napped.

I know what some of you are thinking – heading to the East coast to visit family doesn’t count as a vacation.  Sure it does!  For argument’s sake let’s use Disney World as another example.  I’ve had several friends with young children go to Disney World in the last few months.  Did they have a blast?  No doubt about it!  Was it tons of work?  Ohhhhhh yeah.  When you’re in one of the kingdoms it’s all walking and standing around waiting for the rides.  As fun as it is, a day of such activity is very draining on young ones.  Each friend had their kids melt down after 2-3 days at the different kingdoms so they were forced to take a day off from adventuring and stay around their resorts.  Resorts!  Perfect time for relaxing right?  WRONG!!  Keeping kids entertained while trying to get them to rest and rejuvenate is very difficult, especially when you’re in Disney World.  In the end, good times were had by all but each one of my friends were more than ready to get back into their routines and catch up on their rest from their vacation.

While it is a lot of work to take the kids on fun trips, it’s always worth it of course.  A lifetime of memories is far more important than few melt downs and missed naps.

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Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

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Unfortunately, the day that I have been preparing the kids for finally arrived.  Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to my Mother’s dog.  He was a big part of my children’s lives and it was their first experience with death.  I was on the fence about writing this post as I have recently written a post about how to talk to kids about death.  However some of their reactions were unexpected and I want to share this in hopes of helping one of you be prepared.

Before talking to my kids, I made sure I was as composed as I could be.  I knew it would be pointless talking to them if I was bawling my eyes out.  After a long drive I came home and gathered the kids, and my husband, in the living room.  I took a few deep breaths and finally let them know that during their nap, the dog had died.  Their initial reaction was exactly what I thought would happen – my Daughter audibly gasped and my Son burst into tears.  Once a few minutes had passed, my Daughter said “Let’s go look for him!” and my Son agreed.  After a fruitless search, more tears were shed and we shared memories of our beloved companion.

My Mother had been out and about, taking some time for herself.  She didn’t want to be around while I spoke with the kids.  When she came into the house, both children ran to her and bluntly stated “Grandma, your dog died”.  I couldn’t help but slap my head!  I knew that they may say things about the death, but to be so blunt?!  I mean, come on!!  Thankfully my Mom simply nodded and said “Yes, he did”.

The rest of the day was filled with similar statements and they were all met with the same response “Yes, that’s right”.  We felt no need to elaborate.  Today when my Son stated that the dog had died, I gently explained that saying things like that might make people sad and that it was better to say “I miss him”.  All of a sudden, they became very concerned about the whereabouts of the dog’s collar.  My Son began to cry again so I told him that we had brought the collar to the store to be cleaned.  In realty, it’s with the dog and will be returned to us when his cremains are ready.  We did not talk about what really happened to his body.  The kids believe he simply went to Heaven and that’s enough for now.

Saying goodbye is never easy.  I will miss that beautiful little soul who taught my children how wonderful it is to have a dog as part of your life.  Until we meet at the Rainbow Bridge…

What? No Five Minute Break?

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Did you ever have one of those days where, no matter how hard you try, you can’t find time to sit down…even for a few minutes?  Today was one of those days for me.

I don’t know how they happen, perhaps the universe decides to work against me on those days.  For some reason, I was pretty tired when I woke up.  Ok I’ll be honest – I was up late watching TV last night.  I’m sorry!!  The plan was that when the kids went down for a nap, I would lay down for a snooze too.  We had nothing planned for the day, just a typical lazy Sunday.

I’m pretty sure that my kids had some sort of buzzer or alarm hooked up in my chair so that whenever I sat down for a rest, they would act up or say they needed something.  Not just once or twice.  Every.  Single.  Time!  “Mommy I need to go potty!”  “Mommy can you take my castle off the shelf?”  “Mommy she won’t stop looking at me.”  “Can you please get me a drink Mommy?”  After half an hour of constantly getting up right after sitting down, I decided to be productive and take care of some chores around the house until it was time to put the kids down for their naps.

After golden hour had arrived (aka nap time!), I poured myself a nice cold cup of lemonade and curled up in my blanket for a short snooze.  The moment I laid down to rest, our dog has an accident on the floor.  I got up, dealt with the mess, let the dog outdoors to make sure he was finished and washed my hands.  Twenty minutes after that, I laid down again…only to hear the cat urging under the table.  She coughed up a nasty hairball…on the carpet of all places!  I had to get up again, deal with the new mess, washed my hands again and twenty five minutes later, I laid down once more.  After that the phone rang, then people began texting me, then the dog had to go outdoors again!  Once everything had been taken care of, the kids woke up!  I wanted to pull my hair out!

Needless to say, I’m very excited for bed right now.  I’m thankful these sort of days don’t happen very often.

Two Ladies, Two Kids and a Grocery Store…and Pizza!

ImageI have no doubt in my mind that I have been blessed with two amazing kids.  When we are out and about, as long as I choose the right time to go shopping with them, we hardly have a problem.  However once in a blue moon, a seemingly smooth shopping trip can go downhill rather quickly.

Today my Mother and I decided to go grocery shopping during the afternoon.  It meant that the kids would miss their nap but hey, that happens once in a while.  With lists in hand (well…on cell phone) the group of us marched confidently into the grocery store determined to complete our task.  These trips are very to the point (no browsing or dilly dallying) with rules and routine to help get the most time out of the kids.  Rules, you ask?  Yes b’y!

The Newfoundland Mommy’s Grocery Store Rules

  1. Do not touch any groceries unless Mommy says it’s ok
  2. When walking, always stay next to the cart
  3. Do not bug Mommy to put certain groceries in the cart
  4. The free cookie club cookie is earned.  Do not ask repeatedly for it.

Things started off very well with my Daughter helpfully pointing out her favorite fruits and vegetables and my Son handing me produce bags as I need them.  The product section was perfect, the breads area was beautiful, the meat aisle was…meaty?  Everything was going fine until we reached the dairy section.  Perhaps it was the lighting or maybe the yogurt was sending them subliminal messages but whatever the reason…my kids went absolutely nuts.

My pretty princess decided she was tired which put her into cranky mode.  She got upset when her Brother looked at her, when I put lemonade into the cart and each time we went into a new aisle.  My little man switched to “I’m gonna ask for pizza five times a minute” mode and when he didn’t like the answer, he whined and whined and whined!!  As always, I calmly addressed the issues and did my best to reassure them that we would be leaving very soon.

Thankfully there were no lineups at the check out but the bickering and complaining continued.  The cashier chuckled while, at that point, I simply ignored their antics and by the time I got outside I was in the midst of singing “Let it Go” in an attempt to hold onto what sanity I had left.  Here’s how it sounded:

ME:  Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore…

KIDS:  Mommy!!  I want pizza.  I’m tired!

ME:  Let it go, let it go, turn away and slam the door…

KIDS:  Can we have pizza?  When is it bed time?

ME:  I don’t care…what they’re going to say….let the storm rage on…

KIDS:  MOMMY!!!  MOMMMMYYYYY!!!!!!!!

ME:  Your yelling never bothered me anyways…

Once we got into the car and seatbelts were buckled, “serious Mommy” kicked in.  The kids burst into insta-tears because they figured they were going to face consequences for their poor choices.  Was I mad?  Nahhhh.  Frustrated beyond belief but not upset.  Like I said, they did miss their nap time and I can’t blame them for the resulting behavior.  Pizza for supper and putting them to bed early helped to resolve everything.

What’s the lesson in all of this?  There is no lesson really!  I just wanted to tell you all about my day.  😉