The Queen of Good Intentions

I am not really one of those people who makes New Years Resolutions or actually it’s more accurate to say that I am not really on of those people who keeps resolutions. Don’t worry, it’s not like I don’t think I need to improve in any area, I actually do attempt to make positive changes in my life all the time. In fact, if there was a title awarded to the woman with the “Best Ideas on How to Improve” or the “Most Sincere Plans for Growth” I would claim the title of “Queen of Best Intentions” with my head held high…of course the title would be sweeter if there were, say, a crown!

The truth is, as much as I am a pathological list-maker, I have very little ability to actually follow through and finish all the tasks. Sometimes I get bored, like with repetitive paperwork sorting and financial document filing, or sometimes it’s becomes too difficult and I can’t spend anymore time on it; like organizing the boxes and boxes of stored photos and childhood mementos etc. And sometimes I just get distracted by all the things I think to do that are NOT on the list. Whatever the reason, I have many things that I have thought I would do and either didn’t manage to successfully complete, or indeed never even got around to starting.

Meal Planning – I love to cook, but as a busy mom sometimes I wish that I didn’t get so tripped up on the task of thinking up meal ideas that coincide with what happens to be in the fridge and my family feels like eating that day. I used to tell my husband “please I’m not offended, I’m ok if you call me every day and dictate what you want for dinner!” I completely understand now why my mother often made the same meal several times a week. Let me tell you, there are so many websites, books and blogs out there, extolling the virtues of meal planning and freezer meals, I really have no excuse. One of these days I may get around to a freezer meal party…one day.

Scrapbooking – For a brief season about 11 years ago, I enthusiastically embraced the scrapbook phenomenon, however once all my scrapbooking friends went back to work or finished their projects, I was left with $200 worth of equipment and supplies, 10 half finished pages and no desire to do this tedious (although lovely) project. Oh well, one day I will enjoy showing my kids the beautiful 3-4 pages of their newborn photos, successfully scrapbooked.

Baby Books – I didn’t even try this with my second child. My poor son has a half filled baby book (he will probably be scarred for life) that just required too much thinking and remembering of details and since I procrastinated, he was already in school before I even got around to it…much like the scrapbook, too much catching up to do. Daunting.

Canning – When I was a kid I can remember my family and my Gran traipsing out to the local farmer fields and picking Roma tomatoes, green and yellow beens and maybe even peaches. Then we would spend weeks (probably just a day) washing, cutting, peeling, stewing and blanching all the fruits of our labour. My Mother and Gran would put everything in freezer bags and mason jars and we would spend the evening sitting around whining about how sore our hands were and listening for the inevitable “pop” of canned tomato lids as they sealed. To which my Gran would excitedly inquire “Did’ja hear it? Did’ja hear the pop??” I often wish that I had the foresight to plan for the canning season and maybe now that I have some more space in my house, I will give it a try this fall…maybe….

Christmas Cards – I know that I am not the only one who feels the social pressure that comes with this one. Many people don’t distribute Christmas cards and some people write them up in August or September and have them ready to drop in the mailbox on the eve of November 30th. I however, am NOT one of those people. Sometimes I start writing them and even get them half addressed but run out of stamps and set them aside to finish later, which never comes.  Then I give up, after all if I have not sent them before December 25th, it’s unnecessary to send them after. Once again, procrastination robs me of a simple pleasure and forces me to feel increasingly inadequate as I open the mailbox during the advent season and gaze on all the lovely cards from my friends, most of which now contain beautiful portraits of their family. Portraits which of course, they had the foresight to have done in the fall, well before the Christmas season.

Blogging –  Oh yes, don’t worry, I see the irony too.

Sponsor Child Letters – We sponsor a child in Peru through an incredible organization called Compassion Canada. Truly these people are making a difference in the lives of the sponsor children, their families and the community in which they live. I highly recommend that you check them out and participate in one of the many ways they have to make a difference. One of the things we do (in theory) is write letters to our child. He is smaller than my children and when we brought his info pack home, we were all excited to pray for him, send him letters and of course pay the monthly contribution. Perfect right? Except we often forget to send him letters. Sometimes the kids and I will sit down and write letters and then they start drawing pictures and we run out of time so we leave it to do “later”, which as previously articulated, later never comes. The worst feeling is to be digging through the desk drawer and find a pile of papers and three letters to our little Peruvian friend, completed and in the envelope simply awaiting a stamp. **Insert Mommy-Shame Face*. (This one has to change for sure!)

Deleting Photos – I live in perpetual fear that somehow I am going to forget my life and not remember the beautiful times I have had with family and friends. Maybe it is because I have seen movies like “The Notebook” and “50 First Dates”. Whatever the reason, I tend to take copious amounts of photos and videos. This obsession has been nicely normalized by the introduction of the smartphone to our society, now everyone is taking excessive photos and videos. SO what is the problem you ask? I have at least 3 laptops FULL of photos and videos and that i have taken over the years, the entire time assuring myself that “later” I will go through and delete the ones I don’t need and organize the keepers into neat files on my computer. Unfortunately, later never comes and I don’t fully trust the external hard drives and “time capsules” so I worry that if I delete photos, I may lose them forever. Although this is a semi-rational concern, it doesn’t explain why I can’t find the time to go through the photos and choose meaningful ones while deleting the accidental pocket shots and blurry pics. The longer I procrastinate, the bigger the job and the more I just want to do it “later”.

Well, as this was my “New Year’s Resolution” blog post and it is February 4th already, I should probably cut my list there. However I assure you that there are so many more things I never get done that I could share with you all, expect a second edition of The Queen of Good Intentions”…of course it won’t happen now, I’ll get to it later.

Feel free to take any of my list ideas and add them to your to-do list, I would be delighted to hear how you managed to work everything you need/want to do into your family schedule. I can’t be the only person with this problem, there may even be someone out there would has good intentions and may be WORSE at getting things done, feel free to share, maybe we can encourage each other…although don’t expect me to give up my crown 🙂

 

To Everything A Season

This is a cliche title, but to tell the truth, I find it so fitting for where I am in my life right now that I am just going to roll with it. It’s completely true, Ecclesiastes 3:1 in the bible tells us that “For everything there is a season, a time for every matter (or activity) under heaven.

Often when we are going through something difficult or painful, people will tell us “don’t worry, it’s just a season”, as if that alone will calm all your fears and give you the peace of heart and mind that you seek. While it is true, it can be discouraging when you believed that promise in a previous “season” and then when the seasons changed, you found yourself mired in the bog of self-doubt, discouragement and wondering how on earth you could be STILL struggling??!

As the mother of two children, now 11 and 14, I find myself in a completely new season of parenting. I won’t lie to you or try to pretend it’s not a great season, because that won’t make you feel any better if you are having a rough time. What I can do is be completely honest and maybe give you a little hope that there is a change on the horizon. You won’t always be woken up in the middle of the night to feed and change little ones that scream and puke at random intervals. Life with big kids is physically easier;  I don’t have to help anyone to the bathroom, I can run errands by myself and chat on the phone uninterrupted and I finally have time to read a book. Real reading…not just permission slips, board game instructions, curriculum guides and read aloud history books, but actual pleasure reading! Reading is truly my favourite past time, and for those who know me, you know how much it pains me to have months (and years) go by with time for little more than blog reading. Well I can tell you that now that my children are a bit more self-sufficient, there is much more time for reading and its like a bear hug to my heart.

So now that I have shared some of the “bonuses” that come with the big kid season of parenting, let my assure you that by no means is it perfect smooth sailing. Parenting teenagers and pre-teens is really hard in and of itself. They have so many more words, they are louder and stronger willed people with thoughts and wills of their own. Wills that they have perhaps always had, but are now accompanied but the knowledge of the outside world and the me-first-do-what-I-want-I-have-rights culture in which we live.  Sometimes I find myself in the midst of a “dramatic” wardrobe discussion and I wonder if I have travelled back in time to the 45 minute argument with my 4 year old about the necessity for clothing to be worn WITH the red rubber boots. Or I hear myself repeating an instruction for the 20th time (not hyperbole!) and think, is this 2017 or 2005 where I needed to constantly repeat myself about every little thing to a 3 year old boy who refused to retain the answers to the questions he asked incessantly.

Its frustrating to realize that we never pass through the “seasons” completely. There will always be a new season of living with children, or in marriage or all relationships really. There will always be something new that we have to adjust to, cope with or learn how to manage in order to love our families and friends and function properly on a daily basis. When our children finally get the hang of crawling, they start learning to walk and then start bolting into traffic. When they finally master the tricycle, they are desperate to learn a two-wheeler, which means much more running for Mom and Dad. Our children learn to read and write and we feel satisfied, but then they need help with homework and studying for tests. Once they can be trusted to stay home alone we feel a fleeting feeling of freedom until we realize that now they will want to always stay home alone and then invite friends over to visit without us.

Each new season brings with it things that fill our hearts with wonder and excitement at the new phase of independence and growth we witness in these lovely little people God has given us. But there will inevitably be something that causes us a little pain in every season, and we will have to continue to fix our eyes on Christ as he will be the only source of encouragement in the thick of it. Remembering each season has passed and we lived through it will be just the thing to ensure that we won’t lose our minds in this season.

See? That’s the way it works. We have to experience the difficulties in order to see God’s sovereign hand at work. Seeing his love for us and his faithfulness is what holds me together in each new season. I have seen his love for me and my children as we sat beside two incubators begging Him to let us take our babies home and love them fully. His love has held us together as we dealt with tantrums and breakdowns, chicken pox and car accidents, his loving arms have embraced us through the death of a mother/grandmother and financial difficulties. We have never been abandoned by the Lord and His grace and constantly see His mercy on our lives. THAT is why we can truly embrace each season as it comes because although we often get discouraged that we are never struggle free, we can take heart and be encouraged because God and his steadfast love will sustain us through THIS season in the same faithful way that he has done so in the past.

For the well-intentioned friend who wants to calm your fears with the cliche “don’t worry, it’s just a season”…remind them that there will be many more seasons to come, and the next season could be harder than this one, so maybe you don’t want to rush through it anyways.  We don’t worry because God is sovereign and as long as we remain in HIM, He will provide all that we need to cope and even thrive….that truth is why there is no need to worry.

But WHY Do You Homeschool?

So of course, as soon as I tell people that we have decided to homeschool our children, inevitably they ask “Why?”…especially if they have known me more than 5 minutes. Good question.

After several weeks of reading a copious amount of books and magazines on homeschooling, spending time with my Mom-friends to pick their brains clean of ideas and tips, and praying my face off, I was convinced that homeschooling our two children was the best plan for our family and the rewards would far outweigh the difficulties. Soon after that, the Lord really led my husband to the same conclusion and we felt God calling us to the crazy and amazing journey. Remembering that we “…Can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength.” (Philippians 4:13) we made the decision to move ahead and trust the Lord with our family, knowing that he would be the lamp to our feet and the light to our path as we took the plunge into the unknown world of home education!

Some people have heard me say something similar to the above paragraph and it makes sense to them or they at least accept it. Some people need more details, so I will indulge the more curious minded, detail oriented people or those of you who just want practical answers to the question, “Why Are We Homeschooling?” Here are a few of the rewards and goals that we have placed before the Lord…it is neat to see how the Lord has been and will continue to use homeschooling to grow us, change us and bless us.

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Here are some of the independent reading books they did in the first year of homeschooling!

1. We want our children to love learning. They have both always done very well academically in public school, but they have never seemed to be passionate about things they learn in school. Some of the BEST times we have enjoyed since homeschooling has been spent time reading great books together and providing them the opportunity to pursue topics that interest them and watch them as they get excited about the material. No more Captain Underpants and graphic novels, the kids have found that they really enjoy the classics. Books that have a plot and character development and a real story, not just cartoons in print. Two of the best moments so far…? When she asked me to read Jayne Eyre AGAIN? And the day he asked permission to skip Math and English lessons so he could read Huckleberry Finn all day…and finished it!! Epic moments for this book-nerd-mom.

2. We want to know our kids better. I have always been very involved and connected with them even with school, but spending more intentional time with them as they grow and learn every day, is helping me to know them on a deeper level. And hopefully when they struggle in life, they will feel even more comfortable coming to their father and I for guidance and advice. As a bonus, I love love love getting a ringside view of them discovering something new or overcoming an obstacle they struggled with in Math or writing! It reminds me of when they learned to walk and eat and tie their shoes. School teachers are great but why should they get all the fun of watching them grow and mature and figure the world out? 🙂

3. We will be our children’s primary and most significant influence. We try to be their best role models and the ones to teach them and help them grow and point them to Christ, but the bottom line is that when they are in public or private school for 6+ hours a day, they are under someone else’s influence. No matter how competent the teachers are and how great the school is, this is better for our family.

4. Freedom from busy schedules. We anticipated a really big change in the stress incurred by the school schedule, and we have not been disappointed! Rushing to get to and from school at the correct time, the full calendar of popcorn days, field trips, book reports, achievement assemblies, homework deadlines for children in two different grades is a lot of things to keep track of for some people. Not to mention trying to fit all of our life in between 4 and 9pm is daunting. Five hours (roughly) in the evening is not enough time for us to enjoy the children, give them time to themselves, give them time together, teach them all the things we want to about life and responsibility, extra curricular activities, church and youth group etc. Life is much more relaxed now, there is less fighting for time, since they have much more free time throughout the day to tidy their rooms, or practice their yo-yo and play outside. Although sometimes a lack of routine can be troublesome, well planned homeschooling has actually brought some stability to our house as our life is a bit more holistic. School and the rest of our life are all one and the same.

5. Closer Sibling Relationship. One of our biggest goals was to foster a better relationship between the children. My kids have developed a much closer relationship with each other. They know each other better now than before, and more importantly they want to spend time together playing or just hanging out. In school they would come home after a day spent with tonnes of other kids and no desire to really spend time together to find out if they would have fun. Now they do. Of course they are siblings so they bicker and argue too, but at least we have time throughout the day to encourage them to resolve conflict more positively and learn some better problem solving strategies. I have also noticed in this second year so many things that they have learned from each other, she has become a lot more brave, trying things she never would have before because her big brother is right their to show her and support her. He on the other hand has become noticeably more generous than he was before (and he was always kind)and much more interested in caring for and playing with little ones that we know. I can;t imagine how he would have had so many opportunities to mentor and guide little people and gently play with them, if he spent his whole school day with a glassful of peers his own age.

6. Less school-related stress and conflict. Mornings are more relaxed since I don’t have to make lunches and hope they will get eaten, we don’t have to rush out of the house by 8:30pm. And as the teacher, I understand the work that the children are doing so I am never confused about how to help them and…no homework. No searching for lost field trip forms or library books either! Don’t get me wrong, there is STILL a lot of conflict, however it is manageable because I am able to root out the cause of the stress (whether it is a curriculum choice or a need to alter the order of subjects to allow for breaks etc) and the most important thing is that, when we have a problem, we have time throughout the whole day to redeem it! No more fighting over backpacks and then separating for 6 hours, both of us feeling unrest and regret. Now when there is a problem, we can calmly get to the root of it and right the ship quicker and move past it. That is invaluable.

7. Who can teach my children better than me? I have been “homeschooling” them in various subjects since they were born. Parents often say “I could NEVER homeschool my kids!” And I get it because that was me for the longest time. But the truth is, we teach them how to eat and sleep and use the bathroom, we teach them how to dress themselves and interact with other people in their world, long before they set foot in JK. There is no one who understands the way they think and how to bring out their best learning than their parents. My kids have had some amazing teachers over the last 7 years, but the truth is that no one is more committed to them thriving and vested in their success than I am, and I believe they will be better off. And there are SO many amazing comprehensive curriculums out there, I don’t need to know everything, just help them navigate through the material and inspire a love of learning and discovering!

occ8. Opportunities for us to do so much more in the week. Homeschool curriculum can be completed in much shorter hours than regular school. That gives us a lot more time to do gym time and swimming at the YMCA during the day, visit with friends and family, take more day trips, explore the world, volunteer and participate in community events. Not to mention the days when their Dad is available to spend time with them in the day and we can juggle the school schedule…invaluable!

9. Parental Refinement. This one is really tough for me personally. The homeschooling lifestyle is like a kiln, it is sometimes the hardest and hottest thing I have ever had to do. And yet through each difficulty and challenge, I find the end result is more and more lovely. I used to think I could be a better parent if I just got time away from them, and maybe that was true for a season. But now I know part of God’s plan is for us to stay in the thick of it until we get it right. One of my dearest friends calls homeschooling the process that God uses to bring all the “Yuck” to the surface so we can get rid of it. When you are with the kids all day and part of every single thing going on in their life, you become their defiance dump truck and their silly sounding board…it can be overwhelming and some days I fail. But the beauty is that every day is new and I know that God is using this to grow me and refine me and that makes it worth it.

10. More time with the most amazing people I have ever known. When I gave birth to my children, I had no idea that I would be fulfilled as much as I have been, I never imagined the joy I would experience being a staying home mom, and now this next step of blessing in my life promises to continue taking our relationship to the next level! Life is so fast and the kids grow so quickly, how could I NOT want to spend every minute possible with them, pouring into them, loving them and getting up close perspective to their growth and brilliance!

And THAT’S why we homeschool…

Homeschooling? Seriously?

If I can do it, ANYONE can do it….

For years and years, I have been a cheerleader for the concept of homeschooling and celebrated friends of mine who made the difficult choice to run point on their children’s education 24/7. Previously, when asked if I thought that Homeschooling was a good idea, my answer was always “Yes….for someone else!” If you were one of those silly people who didn’t know me very well and suggested that I might be good at homeschooling (since I love books and was staying home with the children anyways), you would have heard my laughter as I sarcastically set you straight. “Uh no, I LOVE my kids….but I love them a LITTLE bit more when they have been gone to school for 6 hours a day! Homeschooling is wonderful, I WISH I could do it…but unfortunately…it’s not for me”

So you are probably wondering what happened? How did I get from a position of admiration of homeschooling mothers mixed with a healthy arms-length perspective to the Harried Homeschool Haze in which I currently find myself maneuvering?

God.

That’s the only answer I can give you. The notion of me as teaching my children at home every day of the school year, is in itself, entirely ludicrous. It is an idea that really could only have been birthed in the mind of a Sovereign God who has no limitations, no weaknesses and who breathed the universe into being. Because truly, there is no chance that I would run this gauntlet at the behest of anyone else!

It was suggested to me last year that I should keep track in a journal or diary, a written record all the things that happened to us and in us during the first year of homeschooling. For those days when doubt sets in and the frustration takes over, a record of how God has shown His faithfulness to our family, memories of the good days and the high points that can often get lost in the day to day battle to teach my little ones. Last year was a lot to handle, I was still working part time from home and we were all in a huge adjustment, there was no time for quiet pondering or logging our activities 🙂 But this year I have a bit more time and things have begun to settle down so here we go!!

Since I am by nature a short-task oriented person, I have always found blogging to be a cathartic and effective way to process my thoughts and feelings and exercise my love for the written word. The beauty of online blogging of course is that one never knows how many or how few people are actually reading the blog. There is a freedom in the anonymity, freedom to be vulnerable and share my heart without worrying whether or not people are entertained or offended. There is also the unknown hope that somehow, millions of people are being transformed every time they read one of my riveting and life-altering musings! For a budding writer, that is often what entices me back to the keyboard on a regular basis…well, let’s be real here…probably more like a SEMI-regular basis. After all, homeschooling 2 kids, 5 days a week, does keep me a little busy. (Also I am a terrible procrastinator!)

So since this new development in out family is a huge factor in my perspective, I will probably share some of those experiences periodically.  I am open to answering respectful questions about this lifestyle, so feel free to ask 🙂

I have no idea what direction our homeschooling life will go or where the Lord will take our family. But I know that we are in His Will and there is no place I would rather raise my children.

Welcome to my Homeschool Haze!

Thanks for Nothing

So we all know that advertisers go out of their way to try to entice young viewers into buying their products. And we’ve been hearing for years about how evil commercial conglomerates have been targeting our young people in order to hook them into buying their product so they will turn into lifelong customers. But as a mother, there are a few particular things that businesses do that make me see red!

The Ice Cream Truck – this entity is particularly frustrating for me because I am busy making dinner and washing lunch dishes with my children tucked safely in the backyard, when all of a sudden they hear that music from a mile away. Before I know it, they are running in the house begging for a popsicle that will likely cost me $4.00!! Now, I have NO problem saying “no”! My children have been hearing “no” in regards to the ice cream truck for years. The problem is that I feel like our home life has been violated. The ice cream peddler has now forced me into a conflict against my will. It’s not like when I choose to go shopping knowing that I am setting myself up for the mass-marketers. I haven’t dragged my kids into a store and been faced with deluge of products for sale, they have come to MY home and dangled a treat in the neighbourhood in an effort to pressure and manipulate. It’s so unfair to my kids.

Grown Up Movies Geared to Kids– In theory, I have no problem with the Film and T.V industry producing inappropriate movies and shows, featuring Megan Fox half naked, angry cops swearing up a storm or vampires stalking and endangering the life of a minor aged girl. We live in a society where people are free to produce and sell whatever they want, regardless of how trashy. I reserve the right to avoid these productions and will not allow my family to view them, but production companies are entitled to make whatever garbage they want. However, I take offense to movies like Twilight, Transformers, The Hunger Games and Men in Black being marketed to small children. I remember being horrified to see the Scholastic Books flyer for grades 4-6 featuring a trilogy of The Hunger Games. I personally enjoyed this series a lot, but it is in no way appropriate for a 9 year old! Likewise with Twilight and Transformers, maybe it would be easier for parents to tell a preschooler that they are too young for these movies, if the child didn’t see pencil cases, lunch boxes, action figures and backpacks with the movie pictures on them!

Balloon Giveaway – Please stop calling my children over to your kiosk in the mall to give them a balloon and then tell them that you want to speak to their Mom/Dad. Honestly, this bothers me so much that I have given back the balloon on more than one occasion. My kids are not babies so they understand a little better, but I would rather buy them a whole bag of balloons from the dollar store, than indulge a sneaky salesperson by agreeing to hear their pitch after they so blatantly manipulated my family. No thanks.

Inappropriate Undergarments. Perhaps I have addressed this issue in a previous post, but it bears repeating. Why do little girls who wear size 6 and 7 need to have underwear with slogans and cutesy comments. Who is reading them? When I was a child, I had undies with the days of the week…cute, practical and in no way encouraging me to drop my pants and show them off! Also, why are there padded bras with sequins and sparkles for little girls?

Victoria’s Secret. Ok so I run the risk of coming off jealous or petty in this post, but I feel enough conviction that I will risk it. Again, I accept that stores have a right to sell what they want and technically to advertise however they want. My issue with this store is that it has larger than life posters in the window that portray models in lacy bras and underwear that are barely containing their “wares”. And in the mall we shop at, the store is strategically located across from the Apple store. Why is this not offensive to more people? Every time we need to have our Mac serviced, my poor 12 year old has to walk past this store and avert his eyes in an attempt to shield himself and his innocence so as not to be assaulted by the breasts shouting at him from the store window. (A proud moment for Mommy, when he does this…and good practice as he gets older, but NOT the point) If women were walking around a restaurant or library dressed like that, the townspeople would cry “indecent” but because they sell this product, they are allowed to sex it up in any way they want and in any dimensions, with no thought to the affects on unsuspecting children. Victoria why not keep SOME things a secret? Thanks.

 

The Haitus is OVER…

So after more than 2 years, I have finally decided to get back into blogging…no more distractions and procrastinating. Having spent a couple of years working handling the social media and blogging for a real estate agent, it’s time for me to get back into writing my own thoughts with my own personality…just for fun!

I have no idea if anyone will still be interested in what I write about, but since so much has changed in the last two+ years, I am bursting with words!! I’m not sure what direction the content will take, it’ll be a challenge to get back into the swing of blogging, so please bear with me 🙂  Stay tuned…maybe something nonsensical that I have to say will interest you in the near future.

As usual, I welcome feedback and comments…I love to hear how people can relate to my stories or opinions. And if you are new to me, my writing or what I have blogged about in the past…check out the archives on the right hand side of the main page. Sometimes even I like to go back and read what I wrote previously and ponder how different things are now, how experience and change grows us ans changes our ideas. There’s some fun posts and some emotional ones and even some crazy ideas…

But as Albert Einstein once said… “If at first an idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it”

The “Angriest” Birthday

This June, my firstborn turned 10 years old! It was a difficult milestone for his mother, without a doubt. I can’t believe how fast the last decade has flown by, where did the time go? I mean, I know that everyone says that..but I am certain that something strange has happened to the space time continuum in our family. Never have I been more anxious to have an encounter with Doctor Who and his TARDIS, than I am this year. What I wouldn’t give to slow down the hands of time, even just a little bit. Or better yet, rewind my son’s life just a bit to ensure that I really have enjoyed every.last.moment to the fullest.

This kid I gave birth to is amazing, truly one of the Lord’s works of art. He is brilliant, handsome, talented, athletic, creative, quirky, energetic and imagitative. He makes me laugh regularly, he makes me cry often and sometimes makes me more frustrated than I could ever have imagined! And yet I wouldn’t change anything about him. I love him so much sometimes I actually feel a little pain inside.

So for his big 1-0 he asked for an Angry Bird birthday party, so that’s what we gave him. Angry Bird Cake, balloons, bobbing for apples, jelly beans, pinball, submarine sandwiches, and a life sized Angry Birds game….and THIS is how it turned out!

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THE CAKE

                          

 

Bet You Didn’t Know…

I try to be very open and honest about who I am in person and in my blog…but there are some things that maybe you don’t know about me. So in the interest of full transparency, here are some things that I bet you didn’t know.

My hubby and I had an engagement ceremony where we both exchanged rings, he actually has an engagement band as well.

I always use the SAME stall in a bathroom that I frequent often. I am not OCD but I find that unless it’s occupied, I will always choose the same one.

I can’t stand getting my hair cut…I don’t enjoy having it unkempt or in a perpetual ponytail, but I actually prefer that to having to get my hair cut again, fake contentment with the results so I don’t hurt the stylist’s feelings and then come home, cry, and pull out my basket of scrunchies!

I started writing my first book at 10 years old…still not done….I guess some things never change.

I can’t stomach anything to do with cotton candy or bubblegum. I won’t eat either, don’t like creams or bubble baths of those flavours and I definitely stay away from cotton candy and bubblegum flavoured ice cream.

I often wake up with night terrors…my poor husband has been startled out of a restful sleep more than once by me hitting him or screaming at him to get the spiders before they drop on me! Fortunately this instances seem to be connected to stress in my life and do not occur every night.

I love pie.

My Mother used to buy me strawberry babyfood as a treat once and a while when I was feeling sad or down…crazy I know, but it always made me feel better even as a teenager and into adulthood….once and a while when I really miss my Mom, my hubby shows up with a jar to help me down memory lane…

My fear of earwigs, maggots and pin worms all come from close personal encounters with these disgusting things. I can’t talk about it though, you’ll just have to take me at my word.

Except for the first two chapters; I read the rest of the book “Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix” in one sitting.

I check the mailbox every time I step out my front door, even on the weekends, no matter how many times I have already checked in the previous hours. Every time.

I couldn’t stand the book “The Catcher in the Rye”, I don’t know why it is so well regarded in the world of literature, but it strikes me as a sort of “Emperor’s New Clothes” phenomenon, no one wants to appear uncouth or uneducated, so everyone pretends like it was some literary masterpiece. I found it boring, with a dragging story line and entirely too self indulgent. Sorry, if it’s your favourite book.

Popcorn is the perfect food. Movie popcorn is the Rolls Royce of popcorn.

I think every bank, grocery store, department store and doctors office should be equipped with a ball pit/play centre where we can drop our children off. Imagine a safe, fun environment, with bonded staff, so we can get on with our shopping/business unfettered by our children. I’m just saying that I would spend more money and leave with a much better attitude toward the stores.

I have never successfully done one single chin up in my WHOLE life…even as a kid.

Despite their cult-like following, I did not make it through any of the following movies: The Blair Witch Project, Borat, Interview with a Vampire, American Pie, The Matrix, The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Dazed and Confused. I don’t feel the need to defend this list, if you’ve seen the movies and you know me, you don’t need any explanation.

There…don’t you feel like we know each other just a little bit better?

Can’t Live If Living is Without You

Do you ever think about the things that you have in your home and use on a daily basis, and wonder if everyone else finds them as imperative as you do? Are they quirky things? I was going to give my bathroom a quick clean today and realized that I had run out of the cleaning wipes…as I pondered the likelihood that my world would come crashing to an end, it got me thinking about some of the other things that I can’t live without.

Clorox Wipes – essential to keeping on top of the bathroom…who has time to do a full cleaning as often as needed. Clorox wipes make it easier.

Gum – between drinking coffee several times a day and chronic migraines that make it tough to brush my teeth sometimes, I cannot live without access to a pack of gum throughout my day.

Popcorn – I am possibly addicted to all kinds of popcorn, cheesy, movie, dill pickle, buttery, spicy….mmm love it!

Large Coffee Mug – if I’m going to have a regular cup of coffee, it might as well be a big one. Plus I use sweetner and if the mug is too small, the coffee ends up being way too sweet.

Multiple Pillows – I have several pillows that I sleep with each night and I love to have the bed covered with decorative pillows.

Books – I think that I have been fairly clear in many posts, just how much I love books.

Flip Flops – Any kind of sandals really but I am partial to my Birkenstock sandals. I wear them all year round as long as I can get to the car with dry toes. I only wear closed shoes when it rains or there is snow on the ground.

Keurig Coffee Maker – if you love flavoured coffee, THIS is the way to go. We even took our Tassimo machine camping last year, this year…Camping with Keurig!

Water – I drink about 5 litres of water a day and I have found that since I started that routine, if I don’t drink enough, I end up feeling dehydrated and my lips are super chapped by the end of the day.

Sunglasses – Even in the winter I find I rely on my shades to keep out the sun. Although experiencing headaches on overcast days means that sunglasses can be necessary to even leave the house sometimes.

Chap Stick – I feel like my lips are on fire without a regular application of some menthol or fruit flavoured chap stick.

Camera – my husband rolls his eyes incessantly when I get out my camera. I think somewhere deep inside, I am worried that if I don’t take photos of everything, I might forget the memories. Regardless of the reason why, I enjoy snapping pics of all the things we say and do.

PVR – I don’t have a  lot of time to watch tv and I am typically busy during regularly scheduled programs. I have found that the PVR machine allows me to spend less time channel surfing when I am free for a little while and allows me to sit down and watch something that I enjoy without commercials whenever I am free, which is usually after 10:oopm.

Elastics – I cannot describe the irritation that I feel when my hair falls in my face constantly. No matter how nicely I can style my hair, there inevitably comes a time when it no longer hangs nicely and must be wrangled into a scrunchie or hair elastic for my peace of mind.

We all have things that we can’t live without on a daily basis…what are your Must-Haves? Don’t be shy…

Moved to Tears Again…

I was sitting on the edge of our bed chatting with my channel surfing husband, when he left the room to have a shower. I didn’t think anything of him leaving the television on, until I realized it was on a Christian Music Video channel and the song that was on the screen was one that makes me sob uncontrollably EVERY time I watch the video. So while I desperately searched for kleenex, I watched Steven Curtis Chapman dancing across the stage with his little girl, lamenting the fact that he knows she’ll soon be gone and he needs to take time to spend with her now while she is asking.

It’s very sad on so many levels, not the least of which is the fact that not too long ago, his own little girl was tragically killed and I can only imagine how the depths of his grief have forever changed his view of these lyrics he once wrote. Not nearly as heart breaking as losing a child to death, is the fact that the song saddens me due to the fact that my children get older and pull farther and farther away from me in imperceptible ways every day. It grieves me to think that my little ones won’t always want to snuggle and spin to the music with their Mommy, and so these kind of songs directly affect my tear ducts. This moment, courtesy of Mr.Chapman, started me thinking about all the other songs throughout which I have had difficulty maintaining my composer.

So in a sort of follow-up to the previous post Moved To Tears, that referenced various movies that were hard for me to watch with any dignity, here is my list of songs that move me every time I hear them.

1. Steven Curtis Chapman – Cinderella

Of course this song is the impetus to this entire blog post…if you have children, go ahead, I dare you to watch it and keep it together!

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2. Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah The lyrics are messed up and somewhat nonsensical but the sound is haunting and to be honest, listening to it always reminds me of when Shrek and Donkey were fighting. *sniff

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3. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

This one isn’t so much sad in the lyrics, it probably makes me cry because like most people, the first time I heard this song was on the show Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t watch this show anymore (too much bed-hopping for my taste) but early on Izzy fell in love with Denny and then he died. In possibly the most heartbreaking grief sequence I have ever seen on t.v, this song was playing.

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4. Mark Dinning – Teen Angel

“They said they found my highschool ring, clutched in your fingers tight….” so moving and heartbreaking!

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5. Micheal Buble – Home

Of course, we can’t forget the inspiration for a previous post called Home.

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6. Sarah Mclachlan – Angel

Although the lysics in this song are sad and speak of lifes difficulties, my tears are probably more to do with the movie City of Angels with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, and the sweet haunting voice of Ms.Mclachlan.

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7. Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven

I am not even going to try to explain why this one makes me cry, I’m guessing that you cry too when you hear it!

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8. Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

I have never been a fan of Green Day and I probably couldn’t tell you what this song is about, but I remember an episode of ER years ago, had a young woman singing this song at the funeral of a teenaged boy and it was melancholic and sad…maybe that’s why I cry…who knows…?

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9. I’ll be Missing You – Puff Daddy

Again it’s someone else singing of their loss and grief and I remember this song was released back when I was going through something difficult in my personal life.

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10. That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard it Should Be – Carly Simon

This one is a bit strange, my mother used to blast this song on the hi-fi stereo when I was a kid. Not sure if my emotions are tied to sad childhood memories from that time or the singers evident hopelessness throughout the song…

Pin-somnia

I have been excited to discover the website “Pinterest” and have lost many hours delving into the crafty consciousness of all the people who “pin” their favourite pics and websites. It got me thinking about some of my favourite projects and crafty-type things that I have done over the years. At the prodding of a great friend of mine, I decided to post some of the things we have done that were the most popular with my family. Most things were found online or in a magazine, and a few of these even came out of the recesses of my quirky brain. Based on how addicted I am to the amazing projects on Pinterest, I anticipate a tonne more pictures coming soon…

Food

   Giant Rice Krispie Hamburger

Reindeer Icebox Cookies

Rice Christmas Tree

Strawberry Cheesecake

  Edible Fruit Bouquet

   Barbie Rice Krispie Cake

Christmas Cake Balls

Costumes 

  Soccer ball and Strawberry Shortcake

Bumblebee Costume that Transforms

 Yoda and R2D2

Moved to Tears

I recently sat down with my 9 year old to watch the movie “The Passion of the Christ”, a poignant and important movie to anyone in the Christian faith and specifically those who are devout followers of Jesus Christ. I have only seen it once before because it affected me so deeply, I remember sobbing almost uncontrollably in the movie theatre. I am an extremely sensitive person and this particular movie cut me to the core because I believe it illustrates the truth about what God did for me. But to tell you the truth, I often cry when movies are sad. It started me thinking about how many movies have moved me to tears, each for individual reasons. *possible spoiler alerts*

1. Sommersby – my BFF would say that the fact that Richard Gere is the romantic lead in this movie is enough to make her cry…but the truth is I thought that the premise of the movie was sad and very moving. Unfortunately  I have to turn the movie off for the last 7 minutes, because it is so sad that I become overwhelmed with grief.

2. Shindlers List – similar to “The Passion”, this movie is especially sad because it is a true story and that is even more heartbreaking than any fictional movie. The atrocities committed during the Second World War cut me to the core and overwhelm me with feelings of injustice and heartbreak at the human suffering.

3. Hotel Rwanda – the strife and genocide in Rwanda is such a blight on human history that one can’t help but remember the news coverage in the 1990’s. Perhaps it is because I remember the graphic news images that affected me so deeply during my teens when I was developing a social conscience, or perhaps the events were so awful it is forever imprinted on my heart and mind.

4. Spirit – this movie is actually forbidden in my home because Mommy has a nervous breakdown every time I watch it! Again, the knowledge that the heinous treatment of early Native Americans and “breaking” of wild horses actually happened, is heart-breaking and I don’t want to watch it for entertainment.

5. P.S I Love You – a movie about a woman who loses her husband to cancer and he schedules letters to arrive after his passing periodically to help her through her grief. I still have my husband fortunately, but I think this movie is cathartic for me in that I know what it is like to grieve my Mother intensely. I believe that crying through this movie is a healthy way to tap into my “Walking Grief” without hurting as much. It’s like a cleansing cry.

6. Steel Magnolia’s – Sally Field’s portrays the over-protective Mother so well that the viewer cannot help but feel her pain as she loses her daughter. The frustration and despair that she feels is contagious and I cannot help but feel my own heart-wrenching loss right along with the movie.

7. The Notebook – this incredible timeless love story reaches me as a woman and wife. And the incredible devotion of the male protagonist to his wife suffering with Alzheimers is the kind of thing that love story legends are made of. Every woman dreams of a man that will love her that much.

8. Braveheart – again a man devoted to the love of his life and so filled with righteous passion it is truly inspiring. So much so that one cannot help but feel devastated at his death and the manner in which he is executed. This is another movie I can only watch up to the last 10 minutes. Just knowing how it ends is almost too much to bear.

9. The Lion King – I don’t have a problem with the whole movie, but the part where King Mufasa is killed is very difficult for me to watch…especially since I can barely see the screen through all my tears. I remember watching this (as an adult) and sobbing like a big toddler, while surrounded by a theatre full of unaffected children. See, I am a cry-baby.

10. Green Mile – although completely fictitious, the concept that an innocent man could take upon himself the evil and sin of unworthy people with whom he comes in contact, cuts me to the core. Micheal Duncan Clarke beautifully portrays this messianic character to perfection. I find the injustice represented and his beautiful sacrificial spirit so compelling that it requires me to consider my heart and my need for a Saviour.

Which leads me right back to the inspiration for this post. Unlike the Green Mile which is not real, The Passion of the Christ portrays something real that happened and reminds me of how grateful I am that God sent His son to die for me. This understanding of His incredible sacrifice for me, moves me to tears of sorrow over my sin and tears of gratitude that such an amazing was gift offered to me so freely. Awesome.

Grammy Observations 2012

So I FINALLY managed to watch the 54th Annual Grammy Awards celebrating achievements in the music industry. For fun, and to justify the time I spent watching this 3 hour extravaganza, I have made some observations on the show. Feel free to comment, disagree or share any of your own thoughts on this years Grammys.

I can’t believe how OLD the Beach Boys are, I half expected them to start singing a remake of California Girls….”I wish we all could be in our fifties…” Perhaps they thought it was the 2012 “GraNNy Awards”…although considering they shared the stage with Sir Paul McArtney, Tony Bennett, Glen Campbell and Bruce Springsteen, I can see why they were confused.

Nikki Minaj…blech….’nuff said.

What exactly is the difference between “Record of the Year” and “Album of the Year”??

Adele made me laugh when she was crying and laughing and “got a little bit o’ snot come out” ha ha ha…so genuine and real!

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the Bruno Mars performance. Very clean and artsy, loved the big band aspect and real old school soul dancing, without over-sexed gyrating. Extra points for the pompadour hairstyle, even Ryan Seacrest sported a similar hairdo…thumbs up Bruno!

The camera continually panned to Marc Anthony and his companion…yeah we get it, he moved on…Jennifer Lopez was absent otherwise he probably wouldn’t have gotten any face time at all.

Speaking of missing stars, it was nice to have a Grammy Awards without Kanye West, no wonder Taylor Swift was so relaxed on stage. Actually I didn’t see very many of the usual gangsta godfathers like Jay-Z, 50 cent, Puff Daddy or Kanye…maybe THAT’s why I enjoyed it so much this year. hmmmm….

Beautiful gowns…Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum) and Katy Perry.

It was great to hear the opening monolgue by LL Cool J that included a prayer to “Heavenly Father…”, they may not all believe in Jesus Christ and they may not all really have been praying to God, but it was sweet to hear His name lifted high in public in front of millions of viewers around the world!

Loved the Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean duet…too bad his microphone gave out near the end of the performance and instead of singing along anyways with grace, he felt the need to make a big deal about his mic being off…ok we get it, no one can hear you….doesn’t matter ’cause we were only listening to Kelly anyways. Nice hat though…

DeadMau5…Dead Mouse? What is the deal? And I wonder if Walt Disney will be soon bringing a lawsuit against them for the black mouse ear hats they give out to audience members…

Was so excited to see the Civil Wars “open” for Paul McArtney…ha ha so cute….love this couple too, such a lovely simple sound that really evokes a lot of emotion. And in case you didn’t hear her the multiple times she told us, they are friends with Taylor Swift…got it?

Too many men with open shirts for my taste like Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum) and Chris Brown.

Did not enjoy Sir Paul McArtney and Bruce Springsteen attempting to remain young by having a 10 minute electric guitar jam session….holding the audience captive with their annoying self indulgent ripping…sort of like watching a child’s comedy routine…it’s cute for the first minute of too, then you are just smiling to patronize them.

Pretty Sure that Chris Brown was just singing along with the canned music…doesn’t matter, it was a boring song and I only listened to half before hitting fast forward on the pvr. I mean, I am still bothered that he performed twice on this years show and won a Grammy. I believe in second chances, but I think this guy has been ushered into music industry royalty despite his abominable behaviour towards Rhianna right before the Grammy’s 3 years ago…what kind of example is this for the youth today?

Taylor Swift’s performance was refreshingly wholesome compared to Rhianna, Katy Perry and Nikki Minaj….but I found the depression era set/costumes and banjo’s a little boring and old for a young lady like that. I also found her giant microphone distracting because I couldn’t see her mouth while she was singing. I’d give it a 5 out of 10…too bad, because I was really looking forward to Miss Swift…

Katy Perry’s blue crimped hair was so fun!

Love Adele, and I am SO happy that she won so many Grammy Awards…she is talented and lovely and she doesn’t need to be outrageous and vulgar or perform half naked to be recognized for her artistic achievement. They really should have left a chair up on stage for her…well done Adele.

My Valentine…

I have updated this previous post to include some new things that I have realized I LOVE about my Man in honour of today being Valentine’s Day…

I have been married for 13 years to an amazing man who has given me two wonderful children. I never imagined what marriage would be like or how our relationship would change and develop over the years. With so many marriages breaking up and couples suffering in unhappy relationships, I am so grateful to God for my husband and the love that He has given us. I also think it’s really important to take inventory once and a while and remind myself of all the little things that I love about my man…

1. He keeps a picture of us when we were engaged in the visor of his work vehicle…every time I drive it, I realize that he keeps the photo there so he can see me every day.

2. He often washes the dishes for no reason, just because I am tired and he wants to give me a break. Usually he has worked many hours longer than I have at a physically taxing job, but he takes the time to help me out with something I have planned to do…just because he loves me.

3. He gets choked up when he sees an older woman working in the McDonalds, Tim Hortons or Supermarket bagging groceries. He gets visibly upset at the thought that an octagenarian would have no choice but to still be working so hard at that age.

4. He lets me be the hero. Since I am a stay-at-home Mom, I often feel like all I do is yell and nag the kids. I’m the one who makes them do homework and pick up their toys, whereas Daddy often gets to be the fun one who comes home after chores are done and gets to snuggle and play with them. I get jealous and so I like to tell them about an upcoming family activity or give them the treat we picked up at the store for them that will make them squeal with delight. He probably like to be the hero too, but I appreciate that he lets me have those moments once and a while, even if it was him who bought the treat!

5. When my mother died, he took it really hard. He will still often comment 2 1/2 years later about how much he misses her. I knew that they got along great when she was alive and I know he was sad with me when she passed away, but it’s nice to know he mourns her too.

6. He kills the spiders when he’s home, even though we both know that I do it when he’s not. He knows how much I hate it, so he’ll do it.

7. He bugs me about taking care of my diabetes. Ok, to be honest, usually this drives me crazy and I get mad. But when I am pondering these things, I know that his pestering comes from a place of love and wanting to care for me.

8. He is so good at refusing the unwanted product offers. The people who come to the door, solicitors that call the house, sales people who stop you in the mall to sell stuff…whoever it is that tries to pressure us, I know that my Man will easily say no thank you. He doesn’t have the sense of irrational guilt and is secure enough to just take a pass. If I am alone I end up spending $1900 on encyclopedias! (I wish I were joking)

9. He gets up on the weekends so I can sleep in a little longer. Neither of us can sleep past 8:30 usually anyways, but he’ll get up at 7:00am and keep the kids quiet even though, it’s the only day he could sleep in.

10. His willingness to help anyone who needs it when I ask him. Whether my single best friend needs the fridge fixed, my friend with the bad back needs the front walk shovelled, the school needs books schlepped into storage, someone at church needs help moving or friends need a jungle gym assembled…whatever it is that someone needs (or I have committed him to doing), he’s there. Ready and willing to lend a hand.

11. He picks up the broken glass, sweeps the cobwebs out of the basement and takes out the garbage. I CAN do all these things, but I don’t like to so I am grateful for him.

12. He has one shoe from each baby hanging on the mirror in his work van, no fuzzy dice or FIFA flags..just reminders of the greatest thing we’ve ever done.

13. He tolerates my silly crying. Whether it is a missing child on the news, my sore feet or the movie P.S I Love You, he may not understand WHERE the tears are coming from, but he has learned to just hold my hand and let it ride without trying to rationalize.

14. He loves playing with the kids. My children love to toboggan, build snow forts, ride bicycles, be pushed on the swings, climb trees, play limbo, race up the stairs (every night on the way to bed), have lightsaber battles and tea parties, dig for worms and snails and catch water snakes and frogs. Their father will do all those things with them no matter how tired he is or how long his day has been and I love that.

15. When I am making grilled cheese, I often get distracted and I forget that I have something cooking…he always remembers to flip it before it bursts into flames!

16. He’s a man’s man. I know that’s not very politically correct. But I love that my man can fix anything, lift anything, carry anything, defend me and shoot everything on the wii hunting game. Inside I am definitely a princess who likes to be protected by her prince!

17. Deep down, he loves my dog. He won’t admit it and I don’t force the issue, because it probably has more to do with the fact that Bailey was my Mom’s dog before she passed away, but I often see him patting Bailey when he thinks I’m not looking. My Mom always said you could tell a lot about the character of a man by the way he treats his dog!

Bigger is Better

Tick Tock. Can you hear that? Tick Tock. No? My biological clock has been ticking like crazy lately, I seem to cross paths with new moms almost daily and I cannot resist the urge to cuddle and coo at every newborn I see. I’m guessing that the approach of my youngest child’s 7th birthday has sent my emotions into a tailspin. Do I want another baby? Not really. (Although more and more I find that the notion doesn’t give me an anuerism like it did a year or so ago.) But really I think there is a nostalgic aspect to my newfound longing for a baby, not so much because I want to have another one, but more because the children I have are so glaringly NOT babies anymore.

Every time I see photos or videos of them when they were babies and toddlers, I remember how sweet and lovely they were. Even the annoyances and difficult moments are blurred by my longing to just hold them again and smell that sweet sleepy smell of newborn baby. Things were so much simpler then; I always knew where they were, I could cuddle and snuggle them as much as I wanted and their problems were instantly solved with food, rocking or a diaper change. There were no kids at school bothering them or math homework stumping them. There were no birthday invitations that didn’t come or beyblade toys they NEED to have but you can’t find ANYWHERE. They were simple and perfect and some days, I would give my left arm to be able to time travel back for a quick visit. Just to give them a soother and rock them to sleep while I deeply inhale the sweet aroma of johnson’s baby shampoo and angelic baby hair one more time.

In an effort to snap myself out of this before I find myself in the delivery room cursing the intoxicating smell of baby shampoo, I began to compile a list of all the things I LOVE about my children being older. The benefits to having bigger kids if you will, a list I periodically will refer to every time a friend comes near me with her brand new bundle of sweetness trying to persuade me that the grass was greener when they were younger.

1. Snacks on the Go are so much easier. I don’t have to stop the car and set up a high chair to monitor their eating. If the whining starts about being hungry, I can just toss a granola bar to them in the back of the van and they have a water bottle to wash it down. Easy Peasy.

2. Trips to the park are  much more relaxing. I don’t have to chase them through the park, they can go down the slide alone and pump on the swings, I can enjoy my coffee and book in my camping chair while I watch them run around and have fun.

3. Fewer Potty Breaks. It is nice to have an older child to help with the younger one. Now when we are in the middle of a lovely dinner at a nice restaurant, I simply say, “Please take your sister to the bathroom” and thankfully I can eat my meal when it’s hot. (Never did that when they were infants, I can tell you!)

4. More Sulf Sufficient. Now, they can tie their shoes and dress themselves, brush their teeth and hair with minimal supervision.

5. Shared interests. I taught my 9 year old to play backgammon. And I can tell you, it’s a LOT more fun than I Spy…

6. P.A. Days are fun. Now that they are able to play more on their own, I don’t spend the whole PA Day jumping through hoops to entertain them. Plus we can do more things out of the house now that they are potty trained and no longer napping.

7. They have real thoughts. We can actually have a conversation with our children now and they have interesting thoughts. I enjoy hearing their perspective on the world and now that they are little people a conversation consists of more than babbling and mimicking mommy.

8. Deeper Spirituality. It’s so great to see my son growing spiritually, he loves to talk about God and what he believes. He has questions and can understand the answers that I give him. It is wonderful to hear him talk about his faith and see him grow.

9. The don’t run away in the mall anymore.

10. When G “helps” me make cookies, it acutally IS a help, as opposed to when they were little and it was more trouble than help.

11. They are much better at pouring milk and making peanut butter sandwiches…much less clean up for mommy when they get up early and want to make breakfast for themselves.

12. They know how to use their teeth. I don’t worry as much about them choking while they are eating, they are much better at chewing their food properly.

13. Better public image. I never worry about taking them out in public to a restaurant or theatre. They don’t throw tantrums, or drop dishes on the floor.

14. Fewer safety concerns.  I can leave my hot coffee, lit candles and the Christmas tree unattended because they know better than touch them.

15. They pick out great birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day gifts for mommy now.  Which means no more hideous brooches!

16. They can spend the day at Daddy’s shop…which means mommy can go grocery shopping alone!

17. They are old enough to appreciate watching the shows of my childhood like Jem and the Holograms or Care Bears.

18. Smarty Pants. Sometimes I find that J is so smart that he can actually understand things about how the world works, when I explain them to him. He often even explains things TO me!

19. I no longer need to help them with their bathroom business. That’s just a good thing.

20. Our house is baby gate, safety handle, lock and wire mesh-free…they are responsible enough to go everywhere in the house and I know they will not pick through the trash or flush things down the toilet.

21. Jokes are funny now. They finally have real senses of humour…sometimes it’s even beyond the knock knock jokes if we are really lucky.

22. They are starting to understand the misleading nature of advertising campaigns and the unfortunate truth that toys usually can’t do exactly what they see on the commercials. It means a little less disappointment when they try to make the lego planes fly…

23. He can shower entirely by himself and she can brush her own hair…sometimes, but it still looks better when I do it.

24. Share the blame. Now, when anyone asks…it is ALWAYS possible that THEY ate the last cookie, not mommy!

So if you are like me and have found yourself wistfully looking back to when they were small, or if you are a new mom wondering if you could possibly DIE if your teeny baby were ever to grow? Consider this list as an encouragement….sometimes, Bigger is Better…

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