I Must Confess…

They say that confession is good for the soul. I don’t know who “they” are, and I am sure that is rooted in the scriptures that tell us to confess our sins to God. However in this post I am seeking to simply “confess” some trivial matters, perhaps you even find yourself doing the same things…then I won’t feel so silly!

I buy Sugarfree freezies…shhhhhh! Don’t tell the neighbourhood kids, most of them have no idea that what they eat at my house (and enjoy) are actually sugarless freezies…tee hee hee!

I dream that one day my home will have a main floor laundry room. I know it seems silly and I really don’t want it just to avoid the stairs (although that would be nice too) but the problem is actually that I forget to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer, almost every time I do a load. So I confess, that sometimes I just add some soap and put the wash cycle through again. Of course, sometimes the clothes make it to the dryer but they don’t get pulled out and folded quick enough before getting wrinkled. So I will also confess that I will throw in a wet sock and dry them again, that usually gets rid of most of the wrinkles. I can’t stand ironing.

I add the last little bit of a nearly empty bottle of salad dressing to the next full bottle. Don’t worry though, we go through the ranch dressing like crazy so it doesn’t ever go bad, but I’m telling you I get tired of the bottles multiplying in the door of my fridge.

I still water down the juice my kids drink. And sometimes I even water down the juice I serve other kids in my home or elsewhere. There I said it. So sue me, I just think that the kids today have way too much sugar on a daily basis, and if they get a little bit more water in every glass, what’s the harm?

I use Jello No-Bake Cheesecake mix. Most people can’t tell the difference and I find that the no-bake mix tastes really nice and yet a little less heavy. Besides, the lighter it is, the more you can eat without feeling guilty!

I wonder sometimes if anyone else gets tired of finding tupperware containers in the back of the fridge with old leftovers? I can’t tell you how much I hate it when I just finish washing a load of dishes, only to find that my hubby has decided to de-clutter the fridge by dumping out all the leftovers and tossing the stinky dirty containers in the sink for me to wash. I confess, on my own, I often just leave the stuff in the fridge until I have the energy to wash them. I mean, at least in the fridge they won’t get yuckier, right?

I love taking the children to Canada’s Wonderland, Marineland, African Lion Safari or any other amusement park. I don’t know if it’s just the pure joy of watching how much the enjoy it, and sharing that experience with them or if deep down, I take them because I enjoy it. Either way the kids get to spend a fun day at the park and I love it, it’s a win-win! 

So one of my family’s favourite veggies is broccoli, especially with cheese sauce..mmmm. But I have to confess that I use cheese sauce mix from a package. My mom always made it from grated cheese and cream, but I never have much luck getting it to the same creamy consistency, and it takes a long time so I just use a mix. Well, as long as I’m at it, I might as well just admit that I use packaged gravy too.

Sometimes when the milk jug is almost done and I pick it up for a drink, I just drink it straight from the jug! I know, it’s so ghetto and unladylike, but the truth is, why should I have to wash another glass just to finish off the end of the bag of milk?

One of my favourite playdate activities with the children is to visit a local splashpad. I know, that’s not news to anyone who reads my blog, however I must confess the reason I love it so much. I love to let the kids play and run around where I can see them, but without me needing to chase around after  them. After years of holding their hands and helping them up and down on the slide etc. I love to be able to sit and chat with the other mom’s now that they can play unassisted. It’s true and if you still have little ones…don’t lose heart, your day is coming too!

I have something rather embarrassing to confess now, for anyone who has read some of my previous blog posts, this is especially difficult for me to admit. I have of late, found myself laughing at the Spongebob Squarepants television show. I know, it’s beyond hard to believe even for me. But the kids like it and I inevitably find myself in the room within earshot of the silliness, and on more than one occasion I have found myself laughing involuntarily. I am ashamed.

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’!!

10 Things I LOVE About My Kids!

10. I love that they both look very latino, brown hair, brown eyes and lovely tanned skin. They are both even browner than their father from whom they get the latin flavour! I find it exotic and simply lovely.

9. I love how they can spend all morning bickering and snarking at each other but when the car door opens to drop J off at school, he leans back in the car to give Princess G a kiss goodbye and she shouts “I love you J, have a good day” as the door closes behind him. So cute.

8. I love how well they share, with each other and with others. I get a huge surge of joy in my heart when he comes home from school with half a bag of popcorn b/c his baby sister missed popcorn day. Or when Princess G and I go to McDonalds and she voluntarily takes her happy meal girl toy back and asks the lady to give her a boy toy so she can give it to her brother. * sniff*

7. I love listening to them read. It makes me so happy to hear J reading and imagining the stories in his mind. She is just starting to sound words out and it is such an exciting time to observe them and so much fun to be a part of this huge developmental milestone, watching the world of words open up to them.

6. I love listening to the detailed explanations about their artwork. What appear to be splotches on a page or random scribbles in pencil, are actually exciting worlds they have created offering a sneak peak into their beautiful little minds.

5. I love their independence. I carried them for 9 months inside my body and then for about a year after they were born and now I revel in the fact that they can walk on their own! I also enjoy the fact that they can put on their own clothes, go to the washroom, eat a meal and climb up the ladder at the park, ALL on their own…

4. I love how cuddly they are. Everytime I’m at their school and I see one of them in the hall or the class, their face lights up and I get a full on hug! That’s the BEST feeling in the world! And every morning one by one they climb up on my lap for good morning snuggles!! Love it! I don’t care how old or big they get, I will never tire of the snuggles. Mmmmm snuggling’s my favourite!

3. I love how much they love their Dad. Even though sometimes it’s tough to share them with someone else, deep down I truly LOVE that they have such a great Dad and they know it. One of the funniest things in our house is the moment when Daddy comes home from work and the children run from wherever they are in the house screaming “Daddy Daddy Daddy” and swarm him, lavishing him with cuddles.

2. I love their quirks. I find it so entertaining that G like to have her armpits kissed, changes her outfit 8 times a day and consistantly wears shoes mismatched or on the wrong feet. He likes to carry his star wars figurines in his bedroom trash bin, puts framed family photos out of a box in the basement to set up all over his desk and likes to make a nest behind the armchair in the living room.

1. The #1 thing I love about my kids is that they are MINE. The Lord gave them to me to care for and love. He knew that they would bring tremendous blessing to my life and I am so grateful to have been gifted with the most amazing, intelligent, quirky, lovable munchkins in the world. And I love them more than I could say.

Notes from the Edge of Reality TV

So last night was the finale of American Idol Season 9 and I was predictably disapppointed in reality television. In the history of American Idol, voters have correctly chosen the best performer only about 50% of the time. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks and David Cook were deservingly crowned the American Idol. However, the other 4 winners (Ruben, Fantasia, Taylor, Kris) won because they were popular, not because they were the better choice.

However hopefully, as Chris Daughtry, Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert have discovered, Crystal Bowersox will find that it’s easier to spread her career wings without being fettered with the Idol crown.

Since it has been way too long since I actually wrote on my blog, I thought I would share my favourite moments from the finale, for anyone who is interested….

1.William Hung and General Larry Platt singing “Pants on the Ground”…very funny and surprisingly musical.

2.Simon Cowell’s classy goodbye speech, following Paula Abdul’s typically awkward and ditsy-farewell-to-Simon-speech.

3.Excellent performance by the previous Idol Winners (sans David Cook)…Kelly, Ruben, Fantasia, Carrie, Taylor, Jordin and Kris….

4. Bret Micheals singing “Every Rose has it’s thorn”…I have never been a Poison fan, however I like the song and I enjoyed Micheals on this latest installment of the Celebrity Apprentice, which he won. Despite having heard horrible things about his character and behaviour on his Rock of Love reality show, I actually liked him on the Apprentice. Considering his recent brush with death, seeing him performing onstage with Casey was very uplifting.

5. Alanis Morisette, Chicago and The Bee Gees, I love these artists. It was nice to see some talent in the midst of some really strange artists, namely Alice Cooper, Hall & Oates and Janet Jackson.

6. Dane Cook’s salute to Simon Cowell, “You have the honesty of Abe Lincoln and the charm of the guy who shot him!”

7. Crystal Bowersox performing “Black Velevet”, I know it was technically the penultimate episode, rather than the final episode; but I’m including it in this list, b/c it was the performance part of the finale on Tuesday night, and I have waited a long time to hear someone on that show sing that song well.

8. Kris Allen performed a great song, although he was definitely NOT better than Adam Lambert last season, perhaps he has enough talent to keep my interest for a little while….time will tell.

9. Clips from the last 7 seasons of the show. It was fun to see Simon’s hair change and t-shirts get tighter, not to mention getting to see all the terrible contestants freak out at Simon again. And of course no video reel on AI would be complete without a chance to revisit some of the more absurd auditions.

10. And my favourite moment of the Season 9 Finale??? The Fox Network cutting Lee Dewyze’s winning performance of “Beautiful Day” in order to move on to CSI:New York because, let’s face it…he didn’t deserve to win and….frankly….nobody wants to hear him sing anyways….

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