Home from Vacation, Time to Relax!


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.


Saying Goodbye is Never Easy


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?


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…


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.  😉

Saying Goodbye – Explaining the Death of a Pet to a 5-Year Old


“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ” – Anatole France

Today, I had to give the most difficult talk that a parent has to have with their child – explaining death.  My Mom has a dog who is 15-years old and to cut straight to the chase, he does not have much time left.  I have done a lot of research on this subject and spoken with friends and family to get their opinions and so this morning, I felt prepared to have this talk with my kids.

After breakfast, the three of us went into the living room and sat down together.  I proceeded to tell a story (that I made up) about a young boy named Billy, his sister Sarah and their dog named Rover.  I described how they grew up with Rover, their favorite activities, and so on.  I explained how Rover got old and that the parents explained that Rover would someday die and go to Heaven.  The next few days were spent giving Rover extra hugs, extra treats, and saying loving words to him.  One day, they run downstairs to greet Rover…and Rover does not wake up.  They have a memorial service and the siblings experience different emotions at home and at school, but soon are able to remember Rover fondly and with happy hearts.  I honestly got choked up several times during my story!

After it was over, my Daughter says “I sad that Wover is gone.  I play princess now!” then she runs off.  That’s what I expected and I was fine with that.  She is only two after all and I knew she was too young to understand.  Some of you may ask why I bothered to include her in the conversation.  Well in my research, I found several good websites that encouraged being honest with children as young as two.  You don’t have to go into any detail.  Simple, to the point explanations are fine.

Once my Son and I were alone, I noticed he seemed deep in thought.  I encouraged him to ask any questions he may have and he quickly asked “Is Grandma’s dog gonna die?”  I took a deep breath and responded “Yes”.  With that, he burst into tears and ran to me for a hug.  At that moment, I cried too and wondered if I had done the right thing.  Then I remembered what many websites and people had recommended – when possible, preparing for an eventual death helps to make things easier.  The opportunity to say goodbye and to give final hugs can give a sense of peace when the death finally occurs.

After a couple of minutes, my Son calmed down and asked when Grandma’s dog would die.  I explained that nobody knows when a pet will die, only God knows that.  Next he asked how long the dog would be dead.  Once again, I swallowed down the large lump in my throat and told him that once a pet dies, they stay dead forever.  They do not come back, and we cannot see them anymore because he will be in Heaven.  He actually asked this question several times over the following half hour and I gave the exact same answer each time.  Shortly afterwards, my Daughter (who had been modeling her princess outfits to us during our talk) says “It’s ok, Grandma’s puppy will have Angel wings and will fly!”  That happy thought ended our conversation.

There are many books out there which deal with the death of a family pet, however there were several which went into too much detail or would make the situation more complicated (ie – a parent trying to replace a deceased pet with another to fool the child).  I didn’t want to touch on things such as burial, funerals or what happens to the body after death, so that’s what prompted me to tell my own story.  It allowed me to include the elements that I felt were important and keep the story relatable to them (ie – brother/sister, old dog, reference to God, etcetc).

How you explain the end of a pet’s life to your child is completely up to you of course.  No matter how you explain things, the conversation will no doubt be difficult.  As long as you are there to support your child and help them tend to their grief, they will be just fine.

Letting Go…Letting Go…Can’t Hold You Back Anymore…


Most of us have a hard time letting go when it comes to our children starting their personal journeys through school.  It’s difficult to accept that they are entering a world all their own which, for the most part, does not include us.  Their time will be taken up with learning to print, identifying sight words and deciphering the beginning concepts of math.  Their teachers and classmates will become very important people in their lives.  This transition can be difficult for both parents and children.

As you know, I live in Newfoundland.  Today the province’s budget for 2014 was released and it was revealed that in 2016, Kindergarteners will go from a half day, five days per week to full days.  Nobody is sure yet if it will be five days a week or the choice of Mon/Wed/Fri and Tues/Thurs with every other Friday.  This change will come into affect when my Daughter is ready to begin Kindergarten.  I’m really not sure how I feel about this!

If it turns out that the full days only happen on certain days (ie – Tues/Thurs) then I wouldn’t be so opposed to it.  Yes there will be full days but they will be balanced with the following day at home.  I know some of you out there are saying “What about the kids in daycare?”  As always, I’m speaking for myself and how this will affect my children.  During the course of the year, it will be easy to explain that in their next year of school, they will be going to school everyday.

I understand the reason why many parents are excited over this change.  For working parents, this announcement is a blessing.  It means that children can come out of full time daycare a year sooner.  For parents with high energy children, the focus of school studies can help to channel that energy in a positive way.  Finally, some parents simply prefer their children entering the education system head on with full days.

On the other side of the fence, you have people like me.  I’ve grown up with Kindergarten being half day classes.  I believe it’s a wonderful transition into this new world.  Kindergarten is often the first experience for some children in being away from their parents.  To take these kids and place them into full days…it doesn’t seem right.  What is the rush?  Why are we pushing kids to grow up so fast?  Many friends of mine with children in Grade 1 have often described how hard the transition from half days to full days was on their children.  If it’s difficult for kids at the age of six, why do we want to place these hardships on five-year olds?

For now, all I can do is wait and see what comes our way.  No matter what is decided, as always, my family and I will adapt to the changes.  I have two and a half years before I walk my daughter to school in her cute little “first day of school” outfit and adorable backpack.  With all of these changes coming up, I plan on spending each and everyday making the most of my time with her.


Who Knew A Turnip Could Cause So Much Grief?!


Yeah I hear you all shouting “YES!!  This chick gets me!”  I do…I really do.

This evening I had one task – Go to the grocery store and pick up a turnip (aka rutabaga for all the mainlanders out there) for tomorrow’s stew.  Seems easy, right?  Not hard to remember at all.  I arrive at the store a mere seven minutes afterwards and think to myself “Fruit, the kids need fresh fruit for the week”.  After scouring through the produce and picking out lots of yummy fruits and vegetables, I wander through the meat section and pick up some chicken, a roast and some ground beef.  After that I grab some milk, spices, cheese and pretzels.  I was excited that there were no lineups and coast through the check out.  A few minutes (and $97) later I walk out to my car, load up the groceries and sit down in the driver’s seat.  Do you think I bought the turnip?  Mother bleepin’ NO!!!  I realize my mistake, shout “DAMNIT!!!”, and stomp back into the stupid store.  CLEARLY it’s the store’s fault and not my own.

Don’t you deny it all you Mommies and Daddies out there.  I know you’ve been in my shoes before.  How many of you have gone to Walmart for diapers, spent $50 or more on stuff you didn’t even need and you forget the diapers?  Exactly!  Don’t be afraid to put your hands up.

Why does this happen?  What the frig happens on a short trip to the store that you forget you’re supposed to get a single item.  Not just a single item, an important one at that.  Let’s face it, who heads to the store just to get one item unless it’s very important?  An ingredient to finish off a meal, diapers, wipes, pads…these are all items worth a trip to the store.  Forgetting that item is a kick in the pants and spending money on things you didn’t necessarily need just adds salt to the wound.

I will go now and enjoy my fresh fruits and veggies.  I’ll tell you one thing though – that stew better me darned good tomorrow!

Stay-at-Home Moms…Priceless


Ok all of you stay-at-home Moms (and Dads!) out there.  Here’s your opportunity!  How would you like to write your own paycheck?  Right on!  How much do you believe you should be earning?  (and no, this isn’t about some money making scheme!)

This topic – what a stay-at-home parent should be making – is surprisingly widespread over the internet.  There are many websites out there which try and analyze what we should be earning if this were a paid position.  According to “research” stay-at-home parents work an average of 94 hours per week and when you take all of the little jobs we do into account, it’s estimated that we should be earning between $92,000 to $116,000 per year.  Can you imagine that?  Can you imagine earning that much just for doing what we do?

When you think about it, we stay-at-home parents do many jobs throughout the day.  Let’s see…janitor, taxi driver, chef, maid, police officer, banker, nurse, and teacher just to name a few.  Am I the only one who thinks that we are pretty incredible?!  All of these things we do out of love for our children.  Wouldn’t it be great to be paid for all of this work?  Yeah I hear some of you out there – “It’s a labor of love”.  I know that, but we’re just talking hypothetically here!  Have some fun!  Live a little!

So where’s our money?!  I vote we go on strike until we see some of that cash…or at least some vacation time!

What A Mess!!


If you haven’t been here yet, I promise that you will be here soon – cleaning while your kids are awake and ready for action.  Holy moly b’ys!!

Today’s lunch left us with a larger than normal amount of dishes, so while I was taking care of the mess I set my kids up in the living room with their leap pads.  They were fairly quiet while I was working in the kitchen and seemed to be content when I checked in on them.  During the final five minutes of my chore, something happened.  The only explanation I can offer is perhaps an indoor tornado.  After finally finishing up in the kitchen, I went into the living room…or rather disaster area!  There were costumes and other dress up items scattered everywhere along with my daughter’s prized collection of nick knacks.  I stood in the doorway completely dumbfounded.  How did this happen?  They were so quiet!  Usually a session of dress up is accompanied with the typical “I’m a princess!” or “Rawr!  I’m a dragon!”  After my brain had finally processed what had happened, I sent the kids to their room to get ready for an afternoon nap while I cleaned the living room.

It took me about ten minutes to clean up the latest mess.  I will confess that I was REALLY looking forward to their nap time!  Once I had finished, I went upstairs only to discover that the indoor tornado had hit my children’s bedroom.  I mean…come on!!!  My kids look at me like deer caught in the headlights.  A couple of deep breaths later and I was able to calmly request that they quickly tidy up their room.

Most times, I don’t mind a little mess here and there around the house.  Hey, I have two small kids right?  There’s bound to be the odd Buzz Lightyear, Toothless or Princess Sofia laying around.  I really don’t mind that.  What I mind are the “everything everywhere” messes…especially when I have a schedule to keep. 

By this point, you’re thinking that I have some grand solution to all of this.  You’re thinking “here it comes…the big hidden secret to keeping a clean house!!”  Sorry to disappoint you, however I’m a firm believer that messes come with the territory of raising a family.  My advice?  Simply accept it.  If I were to devote the majority of my time cleaning my house, sure I could have a perfectly clean house all of the time but where’s the fun in that?  Kids will be kids and kids, generally, are a bit messy.  Most will learn to keep things neat and tidy as they grow, but while they’re young I would rather spend my time doing fun things with them rather than clean 24/7.

So embrace those small messes my friends!  Be not afraid of naysayers who look down upon you.  Anyone who would judge you for some misplaced toys clearly does not have kids.  😉