Back To School – Two Sides of the Coin (or…Locker?)

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They say that this is the “most wonderful time of the year”.  No, I’m not talking about Christmas, I’m referring to Back to School.  Is this true for all parents?  Is the school year a blessing or a source of stress?

I have many friends who absolutely love September.  Their children go back to school and they are left with more free time – time to work, time to relax and time to clean.  I, on the other hand, am not one of those thankful people.  There, I’ve said it!  Wow that feels good!  Yes friends, I am not a fan of sending my Son to school.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love his school, I adore his teachers and opening his book bag after school is like a mini Christmas!  However the number of things I have to stress about has gone up exponentially.  Where do I begin?  Bullies, bad influences, head lice, colds, pink eye…and the list goes on.

When my children are with me I can control where we go, who they are in contact with and monitor their hand washing skills.  During the summer months, nobody got sick.  When my Son, Jack goes to school, all of that control goes out the window.  Despite a “keep your kids home when they’re sick” rule, some parents will try and send their children to school in hopes that their symptoms are overlooked.  That short amount of time in school is enough to spread plenty of germs which will infect other children.  Although I ensure my kids practice good hygiene at home, at school there are so many distractions and Jack may forget to wash his hands on a regular basis.  Tomorrow is the beginning of the third week of school and already, my whole family has gotten sick!

Last year, when Jack was in Kindergarten, there were several instances where a boy thought it would be funny to turn off the bathroom lights while Jack was using the potty.  My poor little man became very afraid in the dark (no windows) and understandably begins to cry and scream.  The vice principal finds him quickly, calms him down and promptly deals with the prankster.  I know, at that age, the boy’s actions were not considered bullying but it was enough to create doubt and insecurity in Jack’s mind.  “Why did the boy do that?”  “Why does he keep doing that?”  “I’m afraid to go potty in school.”  “I don’t want to be his friend anymore.”  I honestly didn’t think I would have to deal with such things in Kindergarten.

All I want is for my children to grow up safe.  When they are with me, they are as safe as they’re gonna get!  When they are in school, I am not in control of what happens and that stresses me to no end.  I’m hoping it will get easier as time goes on but according to my Mother, it doesn’t!

Summer Fun…Happened So Fast (Yes I Know the Real Lyrics!)

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They say that the days are long and the years are short.  I think Father Time must be on fast forward mode or something because this whole year is just flying by!

Please forgive the length of time between my posts this summer.  My Sister and her children are home for the entire summer and it has been super busy around the house.  Keeping up with five children is quite the challenge.

AUTHOR’S SIDE NOTE – At this time, my oldest Niece (age 7) is watching me type this post and would like me to mention how good she is.  Well…I would like to take the opportunity to say what a wonderful, talented, spiritual and good girl she really is.  She was the first born Grandchild in the family and she had our hearts from minute one.  Love you kiddo!  😉

Back to my blog!  We knew about this upcoming visit since way back in February and have been counting down the many long days and months since then.  When they finally arrived it was such a joyous moment.  All I could think to myself was “This is great!  Six whole weeks of fun with my Sister and the kidlets!”  Today, half of their trip is already over.  Wait…what?  Where on earth did three weeks go?!  We’ve done a ton of fun stuff in that time but, in the same breath, it feels like we’ve done nothing.  Does that even make sense? 

As much as I don’t want them to, I know these next three weeks will fly by.  All too soon, we will have to say goodbye once again and it’ll be back to phone calls and FaceTime.  Why does time work like that?  Why do special/fun times seem to just speed on by and regular days just seem to pass by at snail speed.  (No disrespect intended to the snails of the world).

AUTHOR’S SIDE NOTE #2 – My inquisitive Niece (who is still watching) noticed that I did not post her name.  If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll notice that I’ve never used names until now.  I have decided to change that.  Isabella, my beautiful Niece, you are truly an inspiration and a joy in my life.  XOXO  (PS – You’re now a famous movie star!)

I realize the side notes are a bit distracting, but she is just THAT important!  Now, back at ‘er!

It’s sort of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.  If we relax and take it easy all summer, perhaps the days/weeks will go by slowly.  However when it’s all over, we’ll have done nothing!  If we make the most of our time together and complete our “Summer Fun Bucket List”, we’ll make many wonderful memories but our time together will seem so short.  You see my dilemma here?!

As I’ve said, we’ve been planning this trip since February and all of the children have been making lists with things they want to do during the summer.  We’ve combined all these items into one big list and will do our best to get everything checked off.  Yes, the summer is likely to fly by however we will be left with a lifetime of memories.

 

Summer “Vacation”

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Whoever came up with the term summer “vacation/break” clearly did not have kids.

In the past, I could never understand why so many parents would gripe about their children being off for the summer. Since school was out, parents could now enjoy a full summer of extra time with their little ones! Now that I have a child who has just completed his very first year of school, I get it…I finally get it.

I was completely unprepared for how busy my life would get once I had a child in the school system. I really didn’t think much would change, but it did. Now that my Son was in Kindergarten, my perfect family schedule had to change to suit his new life. Not only was there school, the Fall brought activities such as swimming lessons, Beavers and more. Our family life was run by schedules that weren’t really our own!

As the school year was coming to an end, I was really looking forward to a break during the summer. Suddenly, “they” started to appear in my Son’s book bag – soccer schedules, baseball flyers, summer camp brochures, youth programs through church, etc. Are you kidding me?! My nice summer break was being bombarded by more schedules! How is the summer supposed to be a vacation when all you’re doing is bring your children to new activities?

Well I’ve decided to put the break back in summer! My little man dearly loves baseball and it’s only offered during the summer, so that’s fine. We will pass on all other programs. There’s more than enough things to enrol in during the Fall/Winter months.

I’m sure that this summer will be filled with lemonade stands, water balloon wars, camping and trips to the playground. However, we can also spend a day doing absolutely nothing and relax in the backyard. It’s our choice to make now that we’re not being ruled by schedules! Happy Summer everyone!!

They’re Five, Not 49ers! Wait…That’s Football…

 

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Oh how I wish this sign was at our baseball field this evening!

Before I became a Mother, I figured organized sports were a wonderful idea.  They’re a great way to help teach kids about teamwork and they keep kids active too.  However after having been exposed to several sports groups in town, I find myself wondering if they’re really such a good idea.

My Son has been involved with T-Ball over the past two summers.  He absolutely loves it!  The program which was offered by the town wasn’t exactly organized sports, but more so an exposure to sports through play.  Unfortunately, the program has changed and the sports for children under the age of eight were cut out, so I enrolled him into the Baseball Association.  This evening was the very first practice and by da jumpins…it was quite overwhelming!

The parents.  Wow.  You’d think that there were professional baseball scouts watching!  I can understand Moms and Dads encouraging their kids to do their best, but to get upset because little Johnny had four turns hitting the ball while little JoJo only had three is a bit much. It’s the first day for crying out loud!

This type of behavior is not just limited to baseball. I have seen parents bring stopwatches to hockey and keep track of how long their child is on the ice. God forbid if their child was on the ice 20 seconds less than the other child. Apparently, that is good reason to insult the coaches and start World War III. I don’t want to be around such pettiness and I don’t want my child exposed to that either.

I half dread when the children play their first organized game. I can just imagine half the parents freaking out when their kids runs to third instead of first! They need to understand that this is an exposure to baseball, not the major leagues.

There should be a special viewing area for these parents – in a dugout WAY on the other side of the field!

The Tragedy in Moncton New Brunswick

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First off, I would like to apologize for the lack of posts over the past week or so.  My Husband was home for a visit and family life got very busy.

On June 4th, the small town of Moncton NB was turned upside down as a gunman shot and killed three RCMP officers and wounded two others.  Police have identified the suspect, but I will not be posting his name nor his picture.  In my opinion, people like this do not deserve to be recognized.  They do not deserve titles.  They do not deserve TV time.  They deserve nothing.  Currently, the search is still ongoing for this guy and I pray that police find him and ensure he serves justice for what he has done. (UPDATE : He has been arrested!!!)

My heart goes out to the victims, their families and friends.  I cannot imagine saying goodbye to my Spouse as he leaves for work…never to come home.  I pray that the families find comfort in the memories they have of their loved ones and peace in the countless prayers that surround them from all over the world at this time.

Call me naïve, call me whatever you want…but I just can’t believe something like this has happened in one of the Atlantic provinces.  This is the sort of thing that happens “somewhere else”.  I know that violent acts can happen anywhere, but you never really think they can happen near you.  I just can’t understand what pushes someone to commit such a horrific act.  We all have things which make us angry.  We all have things which make us passionate.  We all go through rough times.  Never in my life, even at the worst of times, have I ever considered murdering a bunch of people to get past anger or pain.  It takes a very sick mind to do such a thing.  I will never understand it and I never want to understand it.  You don’t make innocent people suffer all because you are going through something.

I’ve been considering homeschooling my kids ever since my Son was born.  I’m sure that some of my family and friends think I’m crazy, but I don’t mind what others think.  If you have to ask yourself why I am considering such a thing, just read the news.  I have JUST read  that today, there was another mass shooting that took place in Seattle which has left one dead and three injured.  Thankfully, the suspect has been caught.  Never in my life did I ever think that mass shootings would be a common occurrence, but apparently they are.  If something like that can happen in Moncton, I know it could easily happen here.  I would not survive if I sent my children to school and something like that happened.

Please take the time to remember the three RCMP officers who went to work and did not return home.  Hug your children close.

I know there is nothing I can do to help, but I did do this tonight…

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That Wasn’t Supposed to Happen!

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Like my little Wonka Meme?  I made it myself!!

Ok, I know you’ve all been there.  For one reason or another, you’ve decided to plan something really special for your little ones.  Perhaps it’s a vacation.  Perhaps it’s a trip to their favorite ice cream store.  The big day arrives and you have every little detail planned.  You’ve even envisioned the perfect pictures which will come of this special day.  The time arrives…and your little one(s) decide it’s the perfect day to melt down.

How about this, it’s the big day – Baptism, birthday, first day of school.  Your camera is ready, preparations have been made and you know exactly how this day will turn out.  Just as things get started, friends/family show up with plans of their own.

On any normal day I roll with the punches and adapt to what the day brings. There are some things in life you just can’t control, right? However when it’s supposed to be a special or a fun day, it’s really just a big kick in the pants when things don’t go as planned!

Allow me to share one of my woeful tales. Back in April, my Son had a day off of Kindergarten in the middle of the week. It was a scheduled break and I had the full day planned out. The weather was terrible so it was a great day to spend indoors. I was going to make a special pancake breakfast for the kids, followed by baking cookies. I had some fun snacks picked up and was going to treat them to an afternoon movie. That morning my kids woke up in very foul moods. Neither one of them wanted pancakes! When I said we were going to bake cookies they could not agree on the type we were going to make. I said we were going to make both of their favorites and even then they fought with me! After lunch was over they were so riled up that they eventually crashed hard. An afternoon movie was replaced by an afternoon nap. While the kids were napping I sat down on the couch and the only thought that entered my mind was “Really???”. If this had been yesterday the kids would’ve behaved perfectly fine. But no!!!! They had to pick a fun filled day to act up. Oh well, whaddaya do?

Good days gone wrong really used to bother me quite a bit. A part of me would actually feel insulted that my good intentions were met with bad behavior or other people who wanted the day to go differently. Now that I’m a tiny bit wiser, I know that things are bound to happen and if you go into your day with no expectations at all, you can’t be let down! Don’t paint the perfect day before it happens. Let the picture paint itself and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised by the results.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Well I had an absolutely wonderful day today!  I’ll bet you’re wondering what I did.  Lunch at a fancy restaurant?  Our for a shopping spree? Afternoon at the spa?  Not even close.  I did absolutely nothing!  What’s that?  You’re shocked?  Don’t be!  This Mother’s Day couldn’t have been more perfect.  You see, my little family is quite busy throughout the week.  There’s school for my Son, swimming lessons, Beavers, band, play dates, chores around the house, errands to run and grocery shopping.  It’s only after my children go to bed for the night that I get a chance to sit down and relax.  Today I got to do exactly what I wanted – Nothing.

My kids and I spent most of the day in our pajamas.  They delighted as we watched a few Mother’s Day cartoon specials on TV and even a couple of movies!  Watching TV all day is a definite no-no in our house so this was a real treat for them!  Beds remained unmade until about 2:30pm and after they were made, my Mom joined us on the couch for a movie.  Rather than battle half the town for a meal at a restaurant, Mom and I decided to have a nice barbecue with my favorite – BBQ hamburgers!

This was also the first Mother’s Day where I got something from one of my kids that was exclusively from him.  Each year, I always get cards from my children but they are bought by my Husband and he helps them prepare and sign the cards.  This year, my Son made a card for me all on his own in Kindergarten and today he was so proud to present the card and a beautiful homemade flower to me.  My Daughter got a little upset at first, but my Son quickly noticed and added “This is from the two of us”.  That made me so proud!

I don’t need a fancy dinner, gifts or anything like that to have a good Mother’s day.  All I need is my children.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you Mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day!  Whether you’re a Mom, a Step Mom, the Mom of a fur baby or even like a Mom to someone…you all deserve to have a great day.

Life is Happening Right in Front of You – Are You Watching?

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How about this?

Yesterday evening, after putting my two children to bed, I happened across a moving video and I would like to share it with you (in case you haven’t seen it already).  The video is called “Look Up” and you can view it by clicking right HERE.  Don’t worry, it will open up in a new window!  Go ahead, check it out now (but come back!!).

In case you haven’t seen the video yet or plan on watching it later, this video was created by Gary Turk.  As of today, since being posted on April 25th, the video has 17,117,289 views and counting.  In this approximately five minute feature, Gary speaks about the downsides of cell phones and social media.  He tells the story as if it’s a poem and truly…it hit home.

I admit it.  I’m one of them.  There have been times when my family has sat down to a nice meal and, rather than engage in conversation, I would be seen checking Facebook on my cell phone.  There have been times when I’ve played a game on my phone while my children played blocks in front of me.  I admit it…and I feel terrible for it.

Do these things happen all of the time?  Definitely not.  However I really want to make an effort to ensure that these instances don’t turn into bad habits.  After watching the video last night, I went to bed and thought about what I had watched.  I silently promised myself to put the phone away while my children were up during the day…to look up.  Today that promise was kept (easily I might add!) but in looking up, I really got to see what this video is saying.

While at swimming lessons tonight, I took notice of how many parents were actually watching their kids.  Not counting myself, of the nine parents on deck, only two were paying attention to their children.  Everyone else were engrossed in their cell phones.  I could hardly believe it!  I remember when I was young, my Mother had me in swimming lessons and I was constantly glancing at her to make sure she was watching my awesome swimming techniques.  I felt bad as I watched several kids try and get their Mom or Dad’s attention to show off a dive or something…but nobody looked up.

The video goes on to say that social media is making people unsocial…that cell phones are turning people into robots.  Do I necessarily agree with this?  No.  I enjoy social media!  Facebook (while annoying at times!) is a wonderful platform for keeping in touch with family and friends who live away.  However, do people need to check Facebook every half hour to see what their friends are up to?  Most definitely not.  That’s borderline crazy!  As for me, after the kids are in bed I don’t mind logging on for a bit to catch up with some of the people in my life.

As for cell phones, I have a motto I use with my kids – Phones are tools, not toys.  I don’t allow my children access to my phone.  Some parents do, and that’s fine for them.  I don’t judge people.  I believe cell/smart phones are wonderful tools.  One of the most important thing my phone does is allow my Husband to be a part of my children’s lives when he’s away at work.  My Hubby works away for months at a time and he misses so many things – birthdays, holidays, etc.  With the help of our iPhones, he’s able to see some of these things.  Though away at work, Hubby was able to watch as our Son was initiated into Beavers.  It meant a lot to them both.

As a Mom, my iPhone has many apps which make my life a little easier.  It carries my grocery/shopping lists, it helps to play music in my vehicle during long road trips and it also gives me great new healthy meal options to try.  Like I said, a wonderful tool.  However that doesn’t mean I have to hold it in my hand constantly.

Don’t make the mistake of missing out on life.  Don’t let your kids miss out on life.  Put the phones down and put the computers away!  Don’t just “like” life, get out there and LOVE it!

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My Day Starts After Tetley Tea O’Clock

ImageI don’t know about you guys, but I am the furthest thing from a “morning person” there is.  I know many people who say that mornings are their best time of the day…that it’s the time when they are most energetic.  Early bird gets the worm and all that, right?  Well not for me!

If I jump out of bed before giving myself some time to really wake up, it totally messes me up for the entire day.  I’ll end up feeling dizzy, nauseated and downright cranky.  If you toss my kids into that nasty mix, things never end well!  I consider myself to be a caring and loving Mother, but I’m sorry, this Momma doesn’t punch in for the day until I’ve had my cup of Tetley tea.  No doubt most of you are coffee people, am I right?  Can’t start your morning without a good ol’ cup of Tim’s coffee or perhaps a cappuccino? 

The picture I’ve posted today pretty much sums up what a morning conversation is like with my kids when they go crazy before I’ve had a chance to wake up.  They’ll wake up all bright eyed and eager to start the day, come into my room and blurt out “Hey Mom!  Let’s have a morning snuggle!  What are we gonna have for breakfast?  Are you going to the store today?  What’s for supper?”  To which I respond something along the lines of “You…boy…with the face…stop bugging…your…girl person…who’s related to you.”  LOL!  I know, pretty bad right?

I wish I had an eighth of my children’s energy and focus in the mornings.  Until that time comes, bring on the Tetley!