Archive for July, 2010

Summer Vacation Essentials

So of course as a stay-at-home-mother of two children, once the final school bell rings at the end of June, my life kicks into high gear. No more leisurely lounging on the sofa eating bon-bons all day watching soap operas. No NOW I actually have to work!! Ha ha that was for all you working folk who think that we SAHM’s do just that all day.

But seriously…summer vacation is in fact, anything BUT a vacation. Vacation from school means that we have to entertain our children all day long; keep them busy but not over stimulated, playing outside but not for too long b/c of the humidex level, spend quality time with them while teaching them to find things to do independently…the task is arduous for even the most hands on mom.

That is why I have compiled a list of things that I found absolutely imperative to have/do during the summer “vacation”…feel free to adopt any or all of my list, or leave a comment sharing you most essential item/activity during July and August.

The “I’m Bored Jar” – fun stuff, chores, homework practice, stuff you hate to do, anything it takes to get them to entertain themselves and not drive you crazy with the words every mom hates to hear “I’m Boredddddddddddd!” (I have to give a shout out to my friend Kristina for this great idea!)

The Air Conditioning – I’m not sure how people live without it, and make no mistake I am unbelievably blessed to have 3 and I try to maintain a spirit of gratitude every day I don’t pass out b/c I am sitting comfortably in my cool home!

The Good Book (or two) – aaahhhh I remember this time last year when I read several novels while away on vacation with hunny….I HAVE to make time to read, even at home with the kidlets. (Also a great thing to do at the splash pad!)

The Sunblock – Because nothing ruins your summer like blistering skin

The Guilty Pleasure – “Big Brother”, “So You Think You Can Dance” and this year’s new addition of episodic silliness,”Bachelor Pad”

The Cottage – I don’t have one, but I’m sure it makes the summer vacation that much better

The Quiet Time – Daily-after-lunch-one-hour-individual-quiet-time, an absolute necessity in our house. It doesn’t have to be every day, but certainly any day we are home and not out and about. They don’t have to sleep, but they do have to be quietly occupying themselves for one hour.

The Sidewalk Chalk and Bubbles – It’s incredible how kids of all ages can find the fun in these to simple and inexpensive toys.

The Half-Price Cinema – This is your chance to cool off, see a newly released movie (usually at half the price) and guaranteed that the kids will stop fighting for at least 90 minutes!

The Lopez Tonight Show – George Lopez doesn’t take a haitus in the summer so the laughs keep coming all season long! (Yeah I know I mention this guy in most of my blog posts, but it REALLY REALLY is the funniest show on tv!)

The Barbeque – Get out of the kitchen and grill dinner as much as possible! I especially love this one, b/c my hubby insists on doing ALL the barbequing, so it’s a win-win!

The Splash Pad – The beauty of most splash pads is that they are free for everyone to use no matter where you live. I have a particular friend who finds it hilarious that we go to other suburbs to find a splash pad where we can while away a sunny afternoon. Well “C”, until they put in a splash pad in my neighbourhood, I think we will continue to make use of them wherever we can. In fact I’ll be at one tomorrow morning, relaxing in my lawn chair with a cup of ice coffee chatting with a friend while the children run around and stay cool!

So I Didn’t Marry Superman…

I know that this is a repeat, but it’s one of my favourites. And somethings….just bear repeating…

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Just over 11 years ago, I married Superman…well I thought I married Superman. It turns out that he couldn’t fly, or leap over tall buildings, he couldn’t see through my clothes with his x-ray vision (a fact for which I am eternally grateful) and he didn’t have superhuman strength. It turns out that instead of marrying Superman, I actually just married a plain old Super Man. He’s a fantastic father, a great friend and lover, a quality human being and about as dependable as you could ever ask for in another person. He’s Super, not like Sarah Palin Super… but actually super!

A couple of years ago, I was part of a woman’s bible study called “A Wife of Noble Character” and one part of the group study was a section that challenged us to make a list of all our husbands qualities that we appreciated. Not a list of things that we wish they would change, instead we were to focus on seeing the good in them and looking to articulate our gratitude for the things that we loved about them. I discovered that I actually married several men in one package. I thought that would share this list of husbands that I am married to, a sort of public recognition of all the wonderful qualities my hubby posesses and all the things I just appreciate so much about him.

1. The Spider-Slayer – He willingly kills all the bugs and spiders that cross my path, even if it means waking him up in the middle of the night to show him an ugly black spider on the ceiling right above my bed. He has trained me so that when he is at work, I can buckle down and kill a spider, but I still prefer him to do it when he’s here. I’m sure he’d feel less than manly if I did it when he was home…right?

2. The Music Man – He is a wonderfully gifted musician, I fell in love with him and his guitar and every time I hear him play, I get giddy with girlish glee. God has given him such a wonderful talent!

3. The Rock – I am the sensitive one in our partnership, he is the one I turn to when I am hurting or upset. My husband is very loving and gentle, however given that I am a marshmallow and easily offended, it is really good that he is so solid and strong. I need that, and God knew it. 

4. The Armadillo – There is nothing that anyone can say to hurt my hubby, he is so confident that he rarely feels slighted or gets his feelings hurt. He seems to be impervious to all forms of insult, sarcasm, manipulation and the other common things that other people find offensive. I greatly admire this quality, except of course when I am trying to goad him into an argument.

5. The Superhero – Each evening as my husband walks through the front door and I am overwhelmed by the screaming, jumping, shouting, and running that immediately occurs. They greet him like he is Spiderman swooping in on a hanging web or a conquering hero returning from defeating evil in all corners of the universe! As much as I get a tiny feeling of jealousy in the back of my heart because they never greet me like that, I actually love it. I think that children should believe that their father is superman; that he will protect them, care for them and fight of all the bad guys (and unworthy suitors). And the truth is, he really is a superhero trust me, I do the laundry. Who do you think washes his cape? 

6. The HandyMan – Some women complain that their husbands couldn’t fix a toilet or light with two hands, a manual and a home depot associate in their pocket. My husband on the other hand can fix anything, truly. He has a knack for problem solving and carefully examining a problem to see what is not working. He is methodical, diligent, incredibly patient and will relentlessly continue to try various solutions until he finds the most suitable one for the problem at hand. If you can’t figure it out, call my man, cause he’ll get the job done no matter how many hours it takes.

7. The Romantic. Although life often gets in the way, and he doesn’t always think of the most romantic things to do or give me. My man is in fact a romantic at heart (probably has to do with being a musician) he will often send me loving text messages, or leave me little notes to encourage me and remind me that he loves me. He is big on loving nick-names, and tries really hard to love me according to my love language, even though it is different than his own. Fortunately I have learned to recognize some of his strange expressions of love and I appreciate him so much for it.

8. The Neat-Freak – This personality has been forced to spend the last 11 years shackled to his messy and unorganized wife, so it has sustained some long-term damage. However my husband is very organized and prefers things to stay in order, he is good at picking up after himself and cleaning up proficiently. I often say that he is a better house-wife than I am! If only I could adopt some more of his neatness through osmosis…

9. The Worker Bee – Many people work hard and there are probably people who work even harder than my wonderful husband, but I don’t know any. He never shies away from a difficult task (unless it’s an explosive diaper) and he will willingly take on any job, large or small, dirty or difficult. He is driven to achieve his goals and is uncomfortable coasting or sitting back and letting others work hard. He’s the guy that you can be sure will show up, diligently get the job done, and clean up after.

10. The Perfect Husband– Perhaps not according to Hollywood Movie standards, but according to real life and God’s plan, my husband is the perfect husband for me. He compliments me, challenges me, protects me, lifts me up and makes me a better person in general. I am so grateful to the Lord for giving me the perfect partner…a Super-Partner if you will.

Random Observations

Sometimes things pop into my head at any given moment and I tell myself to remember that for later to put in a blog posting. Sometimes I actually remember those things and make note of them (whether or not they ever get fleshed out into a full blog post or not is another story) but more often then not I completely forget about them or realize that they are hardly worth writing about and less worth expecting people to take the time to read about. These various random thoughts are what I like to call my, “Random Observations” and I think that I will periodically compile them into a posting of that title. So here is the first installment of my Random Observations, feel free to chime in at any point to agree or disagree.

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Why is it when I walk in front of someone at the grocery store and say “excuse me”, do people say “sorry”? Despite the fact that many people have forgotten to interact with politeness and good manners, it is in fact proper to say “excuse me” when walking in front of someone or blocking their vision. Nowadays, people say “oh sorry” and jump back like you are aggressively reprimanding them….is it so foreign in our day to simply say “excuse me”??

On the flip-side, I often find when I am browsing in a store that other people will push their buggies up towards me without saying a word, as if indicating their desire to pass me. Why can’t THEY say excuse me, so I will understand that they would like me to move aside and let them pass? I’m not a mind reader you know. On that same note, I will often hear the gentle chiding of my hubby to move over because someone behind me wishes to walk past and I am in the way. Why can’t they say “excuse me” so I will know that they are there? Despite what my mother said to me as a child, Mother’s do NOT in fact have eyes on the back of their heads, if you want me to move, you’ll have to break out some form of “excuse me”.

Not sure which is more gross, the clump of hair in the drain (which is inevitably at least 50 percent mine) or the fact that my hubby pulls the gross clump or yucky wet hair out…and then leaves it on the side of the tub…? blech!!!

What is with the four-way stop? Why can’t people just follow the rules? There seems to be this desire for drivers to be either super aggressive or err on the side of too polite. Just follow the rules people! When you are the first to arrive at the intersection, you are the first to proceed, don’t try to out-manner me by letting me go first when I know for a fact that you have the right of way. Because, what happens? I hesitate because I know it’s your turn, then you generously wave me on, but I KNOW it’s your turn so I wait and then I realize what you are doing and I take my foot off the break to go through. Almost simultaneously, you decide that I have ungratiously rejected your benevolence and decide to claim your right of way and…..*SMACK*

I love Toaster Strudels…I mean all that warm creamy cheese and jam nestled inside the flaky pastry smothered in icing…mmm….nuff said.

My dog is neurotic…this point of course won’t matter to anyone else reading this, but it’s my blog and the posting is titled Random Observations, and this is random. So my dog has separation anxiety, he has to be in a cage when we leave the house and he has to be shut into someone’s room at night or he pees on the floor. He sleeps all day, get’s up off of one sofa, stretches, meanders over to the other sofa and flops on it as though the movement has sapped every ounce of his energy. But by far, the most annoying thing about my crazy dog is that he will NOT drink water inside the house. I mean he will walk past a perfectly good bowl of drinking water in the kitchen and bark at the back door until I fill the outside dish. Such a freak.

I find it interesting that people forget that they are modeling behaviour to their little ones every day. Some day we are going to reap the “benefits” of everything we have taught our children both actively and passively. Whether we are talking about speeding on the highway, lying on the phone, aggressive driving, copying DVD’s, dropping the “F’ bomb in conversation, gossiping about our friends or unhealthy eating habits. The truth is eventually we will be faced with a child’s behaviour we are forced to deal with and it will be no ones fault but our own, because we have taught our kids to them their noses at rules or encouraged bad habits that we thought were harmless. Interesting.

There should be a law about marketing adult movies to small children. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care about whatever next twisted movie concept that pops into Tim Burton or M.Night Shamalan’s head, I just don’t think movies should be marketed to children when their content is not appropriate for youngsters of the same age. Case in point, Transformers II (and Transformers I but to a lesser extent) why are they allowed to sell lunch boxes, pencil cases and fruit roll-ups advertising the movie, when the movie content consisted of swearing and gratuitous appearances of Megan Fox’s ta-ta’s. There should be a rule.

I wonder if anyone else finds their teeth MORE gross in the morning when they brushed their teeth before bed? Is it just me? I find that if I fall asleep and forget to brush my teeth, my mouth tastes a whole lot better the next day then wheen I scrub my pearly-whites the previous evening. I know random right?

Lovin’ On Your Wife

Married couples are often on different pages as far as expressing love. I believe that people speak different “Love Languages” as outline by Gary Chapman in his book and one of the keys to a happy marriage is to find what makes your spouse feel loved and do it for them. So as a little help for all my Mom friends (specifically stay-at-home mom friends) I have compiled a list for our husbands of the top 10 ways (according to my extensive research) to start Lovin’ On Your Wife!

10. Wash the dishes. Sometimes it’s nice to walk in the house after a late night at work or even out with the girls, and find the dishes done and ready for the next day. Maybe it’s not your job, maybe you don’t have to, maybe you shouldn’t feel obligated, but I’m telling you, if you wash the dishes for her, she will feel LOVED!

9. Plan a night out for dinner, movie or even coffee. But please make sure YOU arrange the babysitter! Nothing says I love you like, “Don’t worry, I already took care of the kids, let’s go!”

8. Offer to go get the groceries by yourself. Maybe she writes the list and you take it and do all the shopping yourself. Especially if your sweetheart usually does the weekly shopping with the children in tow. I love it when my hubby says, “Give me a list, I’ll go!”

7. Sit with her on the sofa and watch HER favourite t.v show or movie. Don’t just suffer through it or doze in a chair, but actually WATCH the show and pay attention. If she enjoys it, she will enjoy sharing it with you.

6. Foot Rub…’nuff said.

5. Dedicate your first 10 minutes home from work to her and her alone. I love it when hubby walks in the door, dishes out kisses to all the little ones and then sends them away so he can focus on me for a few minutes. It’s a great chance to share the good and bad from the day with each other and a chance to connect before the dinner hour and bedtime craziness takes over.

4. Random text messages to tell her you love her, or to tell her you miss her and can’t wait to see her later in the day. Be specific, “hey baby ‘sup?” is not the same.

3. Play with your children. I mean REALLY play with them, I’m talking about running in the backyard, tickling on the floor, imagination games, board games or making a fort. Nothing pleases a woman more than when her children get full out play time with Daddy, it tells us that all that painful labour we went through was worth it, b/c you love the kids as much as we do! Plus sometimes it’s nice not to have to be the one doing all the playing.

2. Buy your wife a gift. This is not the kind of gift that you purchase on valentines day or her birthday, but something random that you know she needs or wants, but hasn’t bought for herself. A book she’s waiting to read, the bra or underwear she needs but hasn’t made a priority (not the kind YOU like, but the kind that SHE likes!), a magazine she was eyeing in the supermarket, a plant she can put on the table to brighten up the kitchen. Something that says you noticed she would like it and you want her to have it.

1. Listen to her. Really listen to her. Ask her about her day and listen carefully to what she tells you, pay attention when she is talking about her job, schoolyard politics, playdate dramas or neighbourhood activities. If she is the mother of your children, especially a stay-at-home-mom, this is as important to her as your (perhaps boring) job is to you. She will feel loved if you are interested in what she does in a day, there is a good chance she has spent years listening to all the goings on of your workplace and sports teams, she would appreciate the same respect. Trust me, when your wife feels listened to, she feels loved. That’s just a good plan for both of you! Good Luck and Good Lovin’!!

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