New Puppy = No Sleep. Who's Bright Ideas was This Puppy thing Anyway?

Puppies, who's bright idea was it to get one?  Oh ya mine.  What was I thinking?  I thought getting a dog would be simple, it was not.  I thought everyone would help out, I was wrong.  I thought it would be a great thing for the kids, I was right.  It may be more work then I thought but seeing the kids play with the puppy instead of sitting in front of the TV is worth it. 

When we first went to the breeders to meet the little guy he was so cute and playful. Just a tiny bundle of fur running after the kids on the lawn. The 2 week wait until we could take him home was killing the kids, to be honest it was hard for me too. Everyone was so excited and impatient we ended up getting him one day early. That was the beginning of the end for me. The next day I had to go pick up my mom from the airport and I didn't know what to do with him. He'd never been in a kennel and I didn't want him to be running around the room on his own. I finally decided to leave him in the kennel and hope the experience didn't make kennel training any harder then it was going to be. I couldn't believe that I cared he would be sad in his kennel.

Sure he's a cute and lovable bundle of black fur with the sweetest little puppy eyes that burn into your soul but could he please sleep.  I need my sleep, consistently.  Trying to get him to stop whining and to sleep in his new home was a flashback to my kids baby years.  Getting up in the middle of the night to let him out to go "potty" is better than having to change a messy diaper but the interruption in sleep can be taxing.  The result of all this missed sleep? Irritability which lead to fighting with everyone.   I have not been the easiest person to live with this past week.  My family should have been more understanding but obviously that would be asking too much. 

My husband and daughter have all these rules when it comes to the puppy's care and worry about every little thing.  The dog's shampoo is more expensive then mine, now that's pathetic.  What to feed the dog was a whole other issue, lets just say I have an easier time feeding the kids.  Heaven forbid I even think about giving the dog something without first having a discussion based on scientific research.  My daughter panics if I'm not paying attention to everything the puppy does and allow him to chew on a cardboard box or two. You'd think that with all the rules and demands these two have, they'd be picking up some of the slack.  I could only be so lucky. 

The amount of attention the kids give the little guy isn't enough but when they do pay attention to the little guy it is heart warming. The first day they fought over who got to play with him, by the third day I couldn't get either of them to do anything with him.  At least until I threatened to send him back to the breeder, then they were front and center to help out.  I love to watch them play with him and take him for a walk.  If anything this new addition to our family has us outside more then ever before.  I may be his main caregiver but I won't be his favorite one for long.   I may wonder what I got myself into and if its worth all the extra effort but when I'm honest with myself I'd have to say 'yes'.  I mean who could say 'no' to a face like his.

Gotta Make a Chocolate Bar Halloween Costume - OH HENRY!!!!

This year my daughter has her mind set on being a chocolate bar for Halloween, at first I thought OK easy enough - cardboard, paint, and some tin foil.  Well, she never takes the easy route, she wants to be an Oh Henry bar. 

When it comes to sewing I have no skills - none!  Rounded cardboard box, not so easy to come by.  Perhaps some yellow poster board.  I know if it doesn't look exactly like the chocolate bar she's going to pout and then all that work will have been for nothing.  So, I did some Internet surfing and here's what I've found when it comes to making a chocolate bar costume:

Homemade costumes.
How to make a Chocolate Bar Costume
Hershy Bar from Garbage Bag
 A S'more anyone?
Buy A Snickers Bar Costume
Buy a Three Muskateers Costume

Today I went out to Wal Mart - found a box for free and bought 2 yellow poster boards to glue on it. Now to get out the paint and start making it look like an oh henry bar!  It will be a rectangular oh Henry bar but at least people will get what she's suppose to be.

In the end my daughter made the costume herself.  She used my cricut to cut out the letters using black contact paper and red construction paper.  She used markers to write the smaller details on the bar.  We attached it to a cardboard box and painted her face brown to cover it in chocolate.  Everyone loved her costume and she ended up with a lot of oh henry bars in her trick or treat bag.

My son's costume is a whole other issue - Artillery Zobie Soldier.......  What ever happened to pirates, princesses, and superheros?

What to do? What to do? It's a PD day..... again.

PD days, there is a lot of them and my on a rainy day with no money are..... not much.  Right now they are playing video games after sleeping in.  I've been checking the Internet for things to do in Vancouver for next to nothing.  There are lots of parks, beaches, and pools but its raining. 

There may not be anything free to do but there is a lot to do for cheap and thankfully a local family has listed them all with valuable information for people like me.  Check out their Find Family Fun website.

Today I think we'll go to Steveston for fish n chips and to check out the local fisherman's catch. 

We might get a little wet but the fish and chips will be worth it.

You Can't buy an Animal on Craigslist but You can buy a Child or Woman.

Ontario and Manitoba have asked Craigslist CEO, Jim Buckmaster, to stop enabling sex traffickers to make money by not allowing sex trade ads to be run.  According to the Calgary Herald Craigslist has stopped the ads south of the border but not in Canada and does not plan to. 

In my search for a family pet I discovered that there are no ads allowed to sell an animal as a pet.  Craigslist has put the rights of animals ahead of profits to help stop puppy mills and puppy brokers from making quick cash.  Why don't women and children who find themselves forces into the sex trade not given the same consideration? 

Are women and children not as valuable to the world as animals are?  Does the CEO value animals stuck in puppy mills more that those who are forced into a life of servitude?  Most children and women do not choose a life in a brothel.  Until the CEO of Craigslist starts to value human life as not something to buy and sell then I am boycotting the site, I encourage others to as well.

If you agree and want to boycott Craigslist until they remove sex trade ads please leave a comment and pass this post along to friends.  Together we can make a difference.

Vancouver Sun Article
Vancouver Sun Article re Sex Trafficing in Canada
Sex Trafficking - Modern Day Slavery in Canada - lots of information on how women and children are forced into the sex trade and how immigrants are used as slave labour. 
Canada an International Embarassment -

Buying a Dog - I have to be Approved!?!

Buying a dog isn't something to do on a whim, especially if you are looking for a certain breed or personality.  When we finally decided to get a puppy as a family pet I thought it would be a simple trip to the pet store with cash in hand.  I was definetly in la la land, day dreaming, when I came up with that idea because buying a family dog is about the same as trying to find a job.  Since my husband and kids are determined to avoid the puppy mills and buy from a quality breeder the process of finding the "right" dog has become very difficult.

I was flabbergasted when I first learned that we'd have to interview for a dog.  I'm interviewed out, I've been on job interview after job interview, the last thing I wanted to do was interview for a dog.  I'm not even a dog lover, in fact I don't have much use for animals.  If my life depended on me coming up with an animal person type to discribe myself, I'd have to say I'm more of a cat person... no make that a fish person.  Not that I want an aquarium to clean out but I like to swim and they don't need much attention. 

By now you are probably wondering why I'm even thinking about buying a dog, let alone interviewing to be approved to purchase a dog.  One word - Kids.  My kids have bent over backwards for the last 2 years proving that they are responsible enough for a dog.  They've begged, pleaded and all but sold their soul to get a dog.  My son has babysat, fed, dressed and walked his little sister without grumbling or fussing and my daughter has cleaned, organized, and help out around the house.  They have been patient and waited until we finally caved after over 2 years of asking. 

I am realistic and I know that once the dog has been in the house for a while the kids will revert to lazy excuses and need to have a fire started under their butts to walk the dog.  I have an ace up my sleeve though, my knight in shining armour, my husband, is an animal lover and will pick up the slack.  He'll whine and have hissy fits but he'll take care of everything.  That's the kind of guy he is - responsible.  As an animal lover he'll have no choice but to take care of it as wonderfully as he cares for us. 

If I really think about it though, I wasn't much for kids before I ended up with 2 of them.  So maybe a dog will melt the ice and I will end up a dog person yet.  Of course that's if we ever do find the "right" dog.... afterall, I do have to go through the  interview process first.

Kids Home Sick!

As if I didn't have enough to do, the kids are home sick.  They aren't very sick, just getting sick and with all the germs running around , I thought quarantine would be best.  I have to admit I am guilty of using a little throat tickle to spend more time with them.  Mommy's prescription for a soar throat - extra cuddles in the morning and after lunch while watching cartoons and playing video games.  There are some real benefits to being unemployed and stuck at home with no money.  I'll take whatever 'joy' I can get from being cooped up in the house by myself. 

Watch Parenthood Online in Canada

I was disappointed when I couldn't watch Parenthood on Zshare anymore because all the other links on were American only viewing.  Then I checked out local stations online to see what they had and I found Parenthood finally on Global TV. 

So if you want to catch up on the latest episodes of Parenthood check out Global TV.

What is Going On? Is There Something Wrong with Me?

I gotta tell you I'm beginning to wonder what in the world is wrong with me?  I'm beginning to take the rejection personally. I have never in all my years, and that is quite a few, had such a hard time finding a job.  I usually am choosing which one I want to take and if something goes array with one, there is another in the wings ready to scoop me up.  Then again I've never looked for work in Vancouver before, maybe I just don't have that whatever it is Vancouver employers look for.  -- Which is what exactly? 

I wouldn't be in such a rush except I have no cash flow and the credit card company calls me everyday asking for money I just don't have - I have to buy my gas with spare change.   Really it is embarrassing to drop $4.00 in change on the counter just to get a few more kilometers down the road.  My husband, God love him, is stressed out because we doubled the mortgage when we moved out here and its all on him.  I get it, but standing over me and blaming me for not giving it my all doesn't help. 

Thing is, even if life was perfect, I had a job, could buy whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I'd still find things to bitch about.  To the bulk of the world I've got it good - I have a roof over my head and I'm not starving, all thanks to my hubby by the way.  I've got two great kids and parents who love me.  I couldn't ask for more. 

Really what am I complaining for?  How many mothers would love the chance to stay home with their kids?  I should see my lack of employment as a blessing in disguise.  I should be thrilled to be able to focus on my family and home.  Thing is though, the job situation is consuming me and I can't think of anything else.  At some point things will all work out and I'll wish I was unemployed and home with my kids. 

Sibling Love in the Latest House TV Episode

An impossible choice, one that no parent can make. The latest house episode left me in tears but showed an example of sibling love and courage. When push comes to shove do your children sacrifice for each other? My son is the giving one but he's getting to that age where he wants to be more independent, have more of his own identity without her. The result is more skirmishes, more arguments, and more tears. I yearn for the days when they were everything to each other but that was before friends. Its my job to help them learn how to communicate, accept, and love each other. Hopefully they will always remain healthy, God willing, but if not I hope there is enough love to give the gift of life.

zSHARE video -

The Problem with Prayer

I'm no pro when it comes to praying, I probably could use a few lessons.  The problem with prayer though is communication, its all one sided most of the time.  I tell God clearly what I want but I have to guess at what he wants.  How is that fair? 

God knows my trivial requests, a trampoline for the kids.  He knows my urgent serious requests, a job please.  He knows my important requests, support for a family friend dying of cancer.  I ask him, what do you want from me?  What is it that I am suppose to do now? What is your plan for my life? and I get nothing.  I have to sift through a text written centuries before my time by a culture so foreign to me that I cannot possible understand the meaning behind every word. 

I don't keep a record of prayers and a tally of those answered.  I feel to do so would be testing God and I don't want to tempt fate for the worse.  That takes my thoughts a whole different direction to that of Fate - how much is fate, chance, or personal fulfillment?  How much of what happens in my life is a direct result of answered prayer? or is it just the consequence of actions and decisions made?

I have been lead astray by thinking this must be what God wants because everything is coming together, then it all falls apart.  I've believed that a prayer is in the process of being answered only to find out that things are getting worse not better. 

I'm tired of guessing, I want a road map, I want a detailed outline, I want to know what decision is the right one.  Am I asking too much for a dialog? a relationship where both parties are equally engaged? Probably, after all I am talking about God here.  There is no equality.  I am but an ant, one of thousands on this tiny ball in the middle of the universe.  Maybe the only comfort I can take is that prayer if not heard, is at least helping me define what I want out of life.  Today that happens to be cash flow.

Homelessness - But for the Grace of God Go I....

I never really thought about how a family ends up out on the streets but I've been thinking about it lately.  I've been out of work for a year now, and out of Employment Benefits for 3 months, my bank account is in a negative balance and I am unable to pay even the minimum balance on my credit cards.  I have no way of putting gas in the car or even buying a bus ticket.  I have absolutely no income. 

I am so frustrated at how hard its been to find a position that works for me and my family.  When I look back at my job search and the types of jobs that I should have taken I am filled with regret.  Especially when I can't even afford to put my kids in extra curricular activities.  I feel guilty my kids friends are off to after school activities and I can't afford something as cheap as Brownies. 

Thankfully I am married to a wonderful man who is gainfully employed at the moment. However, if for some reason the economy takes a turn for the worst and he finds himself on unemployment insurance we will loose everything and be out on the street. 

But for the Grace of God go I.....  Without my husband's income we'd be on the street starving to death.    The sad thing is that there are too many families on the street unable to afford housing, food, or things for their children.  There are too many who are employed but can't afford the high prices of rent or food.  Not everyone on the street is there because of drug or alcohol addiction, some just can't afford to be anywhere else. 

We throw a can of food into the food bank bin, we toss some coins at charities assuming they are handling the situation.  We don't see the homeless families so we assume they aren't there.  We go through our life thinking that its someone else's problem, but tomorrow it could be ours. 

Should Kids Play with Kids Older than Them?

My friend's daughter, who is 8, is spending a lot of time with girls who are 12 years old.  She's torn about how to handle the situation.

In one respect her little girl is getting a boost to her self esteem because the older girls keep complimenting her and teach her new cheer leading moves.  On the other hand she is neglecting friends her age and hurting her relationships with her peers. 

I had a similar situation with my son earlier this year when he was hanging out with a boy 5 years older.  It was much easier for me to say that they couldn't hang out because they didn't go to school together.  Its harder for my friend because her daughter is at the same school as her older friends and plays with them every chance she can.  By ignoring her peers on the playground in favor of older friends she is damaging her friendships with peers.  For example my daughter thought they weren't friends anymore because she (the 8 yr old) was always running off to find her older friends.

I can understand how cool it feels for a younger child when older kids pay attention to them.  However, its not good for younger children to always be with children years older than them.  Older children are going through things younger children can't comprehend, nor should they.  Can children form real friendships with children 4-5 years older than them?  As siblings possibly over time but as school mates, I'm not so sure. 

In Calgary the schools are divided more then the schools in BC.  In Calgary my children couldn't go to the same school because of the way they are divided: Grade K-4, 5-7, 8-10, and 11-12.  In BC they are in the same school: Grade K-7, 8-12.  I don't like the way younger kids are put onto the playground with older kids and I certainly don't like it when grade 8 girls are hanging around grade 12 boys. 

In my girlfriend's case I can see how this friendship gives her little girl confidence but I believe it should be monitored and limited so that better friendships with peers have a chance to grow. 

Sibling Rivalry - Don't Let it Be the Norm in Your Home

I hear parents talking about their kids fighting like its a right of passage, a badge of honor, something that is natural, something to be proud of. They are more concerned about how the fighting effects them instead of how it is effecting the sibling’s relationship. If parents truly want their children to get along and be lifelong friends then it is up to them to ensure it happens. It comes down to the parent to figure out why their children can't get along and that takes effort, time, communication, conflict management, and a bit of psychology.

If a child is about to become a sibling, now is the time to start educating them on the realities of being a big brother or sister. Forget the fluff, after all, the baby won't be a playmate for awhile and will take a lot of mommy's attention and energy for the first few months. You need to figure out ways that the older child can help care for the new baby by giving them responsibility and communicate your expectations. As an older sibling they are responsible for helping care for and teach the younger sibling. Above all though, make sure you make time for the older sibling. Special mommy and son/daughter time will go a long way to help quench feelings of resentment. Elicit your spouse to step up and take on a more involved role with the older child, father and son/daughter time will help them develop a stronger relationship and make the older child feel special because they can do stuff the baby can't. Ask grandparents and friends to take an active interest in the older child and not just coo over the baby. Have the older child introduce his/her new sibling to friends and family thereby ensuring he/she feels like part of the process. Building a close sibling relationship starts at conception and by involving the older child with a responsible role.

If your children are a little older make sure you don't step in between them too much. It's always tempting to solve their fights or champion the one you see as being the underdog. When younger children start to fight just separate them, it’s probably time for them to have some alone time anyway. If they are fighting over a toy, just take the toy away - if they can't share it then neither gets it. By not taking one child's side over the other you ensure that both are treated equal - favoritism or perceived favoritism is the root of sibling rivalry. Once separated young children usually settle down and are ready to play again. You don't have to put them on time out and punish them - just send them to their corners or rooms to cool off and play by themselves for a little while. They will come out and start playing again on their own when they are ready. Younger children learn from natural consequences rather than elaborate teaching concepts like time outs to solve conflict.

When kids are older and can communicate how they feel or what they think, its time for the parents to listen. If they are fighting, separate them into separate rooms, give them time to calm down and then talk with each of them one on one. Just make sure that you aren't always talking to one child first all the time. Listen to what each of them says and ask them leading questions to help them see things from the other child's perspective. Ask questions to help them see how they contributed to the problem and how they can solve the issue. Don't let them get away with self-pity, which leads to unrealistic and untrue conclusions. Call them on lies and help them to understand reality. As children get older parents can utilize communication skills to put each child into each other’s shoes and come up with their own solutions.

Sibling rivalry is not a necessary right of passage. Families can find harmony in each other if they listen and find common ground. Discipline has its place in raising children but it doesn’t belong as a solution to sibling rivalry. Bring children closer by increasing their responsibility for each other, encouraging communication, focusing on common interests and celebrating differences. I believe that with a little work and some communication any family can avoid sibling rivalry and develop close sibling bonds.

Prayer - Does it Matter? Does it Work? Why Bother?

Ever feel like your prayers fall on deaf ears, that its just a waste of time?  I've been there, heck I'm there.  Life has a way of throwing you curve balls that cause you to strike out.  Ever feel bone tired but unable to sleep?  Drained of all emotion and left feeling lost wanting to give up?  Ever wonder if God really cares?

Everyone of us has a sob story, a feel sorry for ourselves, all out no one loves me type of story.  We pray and believe that our prayers have fallen on deaf ears or worse they've been heard but God just doesn't care. 

We watch the news and believe that the world is the worst it has ever been and it can't get any worse.  When in reality its better in so many ways then when the Romans ruled the known world, then when Genghis Khan ran rampant throughout central Asia.  We forget how terrifying the inquisition was, or what the common person went through during the dark ages.  We forget how dehumanizing and violent hand to hand combat was compared to today's impersonal killing from a distance.

When things are going terribly wrong for us, when we can't find solace in our prayers we forget when our prayers were answered.  We forget what we are asking for, we forget to look deep inside ourselves to find some sort of answer.  We only want the response that we seek, we do not seek the response that is given.  To often we miss the answer because we are too stuck, too busy, too self centered to see what is right in front of us. 

How often do we get bogged down in the troubles of today, only to forget the glory of yesterday or the promise of tomorrow?  I try hard to focus on my blessings, but too often I forget about them because I am focused on what I want. 

Too often we see the trials others go through and pray that God would heal, provide, or "fix".  All we see is that God is not answering our prayer and the person continues to suffer.  We don't understand what is going on behind the scenes, the global or spiritual implications - but God does. 

Today was difficult, but is that God's fault or mine?  As hard as it is for me to admit it, I have to say mine.  I made choices that resulted in consequences I didn't foresee or want.  I didn't ask the questions that would have provided me the necessary answers to make better decisions.  Should God fix it? Should I expect that he'll step in and take away the consequences, just because I asked him too?  Can God change my DNA so that life will be easier, different, better?  I thought about how unappreciated I felt today and how my kids and my husband hurt me.  Is it so different for God when we don't appreciate what he has done for us, how he made us, or how he answers us?  Maybe some prayers are best left unanswered. 

A New System to Motivate the Kids to Help Out Around the House....

I am constantly trying new ways to get the kids to help out without it becoming a huge fight. Every time I start a new system the kids get motivated for a day.... Hopefully this new system will work.

Both kids want to go somewhere - My daughter wants to go to the water slides and my son wants to go to Seattle. I was so pissed off at them yesterday I decided I wasn't doing anything nice for them until they started helping out. So I created a points system.

If they do some work around the house they get a point.
If they do it without being asked they get another point.
If they do a bigger job the get an extra point.
If they do what they are told they get a point.

In order to go to their place of choice they need to collect 40 points each. I will not be doling out money or driving them anywhere without enough points.

I'm not sure how long this will last... hopefully longer then the marbles idea.

God grant me Patience the Summer.... Getting the kids Outside is a War of Wills

Trying to get my kids to go outside is resulting in a lot of screaming, removal of privledges, threats, and hair pulling. I'm not feeling good because I've had the stomach flu so my irritability is high and my tolerance is low.

Despite being jumped on, covers ripped off, screamed at my son didn't get out of bed until noon then promptly came down and demanded breakfast. No food for big boys who can't get out of bed in time - He had to find his own food.

My daughter was given a limited amount of time to play video games since she'd just spent 3 weeks at the cabin with no electronics. An hour after deadline and me screaming at her I finally had to threaten canceling a trip to the Cultus Lake waterslides.

I am a busy person, just like every mother and need my kids to listen without me strong arming them and beating them to a pulp. In between watering gardens, applying for work, working on my own business, and trying to clean the kitchen I have to remind them to do what they were told, over and over again.

Why do transitions have to be so hard for my kids? It takes 3 times as long as it should for them to go from one activity to another or to get ready to leave the house. It's not like their babies or toddlers and need me to dress them and get them ready, but they still need me to stand over them and give them step by step instructions just to get out the door.

God please grant me some patience today and take away this irratibility so that I can get through today without creating a war zone with my children. - Amen.

A Prayer for My Children

While unpacking and going through stuff I found a prayer for my children I had written about 6 years ago.  Looking back at the last 6 years I would say that it has been answered and its time to pray these words again as my son is quickly coming upon the dreaded teen years.  I prayed these words daily for a time and although God has answered this prayer I hope that by taking up these words again he'll continue to answer it.


I ask you to give both (my son and daughter) wisdom.  Tune their ears to wisdom and their concentration to understanding.  Inspire them to search it out as they would lost money or hidden treasure, so they will understand what it means to fear you Lord and gain knowledge of you.  For only you grant wisdom and from your mouth comes knowledge and understanding.  Grant them good sense, or common sense, and be their shield protecting them as they walk with integrity.  Give them understanding for what is right, just and fair, so that they can find the right course of action every time.  Allow wisdom to enter their hearts with Joy.  For wise planning will watch over them and understanding will keep them safe. 

Lord, I ask that you will give them an understanding mind so they will know right from wrong, as you gave to Soloman, but also give them the courage to put it into action.  Lord, may they listen to the teachings of (my husband) and I, may it crown them in grace and clothe them in honour. 

Lord, pour out the spirit of wisdom upon them and make them wise.  It was by your wisdom, oh Lord, that you founded the earth, by your understanding you established the heavens and by your knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth and the clouds poured down rain.  The profit of wisdom is better than silver and her wages are better than gold.  These things I pray for my children. 

Lord help them to learn to be wise and develop good judgement.  Lord I plead that wisdom will cry out to them and they will hear her raising voice.  May the welcome her and all that comes with her.  May they see her value above that of gold, silver, and rubies.  May it multiply their days and add years to their Lives.  Lord, there is no greater gift than that of your wisdom.  If you are only to give them one gift may it be that of wisdom and the courage to act upon it.            - Amen.

As I copy this I realize how convoluted and formal it sounds.  When I wrote it down 6 years ago I was studying prayers of the Old Testament and have recommitted my self to studying prayer recently so it is fitting that I copy this prayer at this time. 

Six years ago, seems like such a long  time ago and so much has changed since.  I am not as satisfied or content as I was, then again at the time I focused more on my daily blessings then what I was lacking.  I wasn't distracted by the TV or the Internet, I was focused on reading and studying the Bible from cover to cover.  Maybe its time I recommitted myself to learning and study and turned off the distractions and have quiet in the house.  Now if I could just get the crows to be quiet....

Drive In Movies - Karate Kid and Grown Ups

Last night we took the kids to the local drive in movie theater for a double feature.  We mean to go every summer we are hear but the movies don't always comply with our timing - This year though the double feature was Karate Kid and Grown Ups.  It's a good thing my kids can stay up late and then sleep in the next day because the movie didn't start 'til 9:15pm and was done at 1:30am. 

We took our camping chairs and sat out under the stars and enjoyed ourselves.  Grown Ups was the favorite movie according to my husband and kids, they love comedy and Adam Sandler is one of their favorite comedians.  Personally, I would wait until it hits DVD and rent the movie.  There is some gorgeous scenery of the lake and the surrounding countryside but nothing that needs a big screen to be appreciated.  The story itself was predictable and the kids laughed at some parts but for all the talent I felt it came up short in the laugh department.  Then again I've never been one for slap stick humour.  The message of the story was not lost on me, and since we are spending time at the cabin with no video games, computer, TV or cell phones the kids are living the outdoors. 

I preferred Karate Kid, it was filled with amazing scenery and culture.  After watching I was so impressed I wanted to visit China for the first time.  I was blown away by the images on the big screen but felt I missed the full impact by being so far back.  It is a movie to see in the big theater.  Jaden Smith was amazing and the amount of work he put into the role proves that he is a talented hard working actor in his own right.   Its rare that I want to watch a movie twice, or want to pay theater prices to watch it once let alone twice on the big screen, this is one of those movies.

The outdoor experience of the movies and the rare drive in experience was truly a great family movie night moment.

Summer at the Lake - A Time to Read.

I'm not sure what it is about life at the family cabin, but everytime I'm there I go into a slumber.  The cabin is a great place for me to catch up with my cousins and their families but I go into an anti-social stuper.  All I feel like doing is sleeping, eating, swimming, and most of all reading.  This is the one place where I read fiction novels and I consume a book a day at least.  I always take parenting books etc with the best of intentions to catch up on my non fiction reading but I rarely break their spines.  I picked up a bunch of novels at used book stores and garage sales, yes I am very behind when it comes to reading the annual best sellers or Oprah approved books. 

Along with some good reads by John Grisham and Joy Fielding, This year I picked up:

Memoires of a Geisha
Letter in a bottle
She's come Undone

I loaded the car down with books for the kids to read, since there isn't much to do up there except swim and read.  NO TV, internet, cell service, video games, or computers.  This year I left their portable video games at home.  My daughter spends almost every minute in the water or playing with her grandparents.  My son always has his nose in a book and avoids swimming or exercise.  This year he has an excuse though, on our first day of camping he was hit by a tree and sprained both ankles, that's for another post though.   Since there is no TV, cell service, video games, or computers at the cabin they have little choice but to occupy their time reading or running around in the great outdoors. 

I'm always looking for a good book or a good writer at garage sales just before I head out to the cabin.  This year I found a few but I've almost exhausted my favorite readers and am open to suggestions.... What's your favorite book to read at the beach or curled up with a glass of wine. 

I've been talking with other kids we've been visiting with, trying to find another series of books the kids will like.  So far Percy and the Olympians and something about the Ranger's apprentice are the front runners for my pocket book.  What books do you're kids like to read?

What's so Great about being a Princess Anyway?

I watched the pilot episode of 'The Tudors' the other day and was curious to learn more about life in the court of Henry VIII.  Thanks to the Internet I was able to find a massive amount of information on him, his wives, his children, and his ancestors.  The questions that struck me at the time was, "why would any little girl ever want to be a princess?" 

The fairytale princess that little girls dress up as and dream of did not exist in reality.  Princesses were betrothed in the first few years of life then sent away to live with the in-laws until their wedding day at the age of 12 or 13.  Many married men much older then themselves who left them widowed at a very young age.  The men they married were not knights in shining armour but spoiled power hungry brutes with many mistresses.  Even contemporary princesses have found themselves in loveless marriages which lead to self destruction. 

So what is the draw when we look at our daughters and picture them as our little princesses?  Why does Disney make a fortune portraying princesses that are in distress and in love with the perfect prince?  After all, we all know the perfect prince does not exist.  To be fair, neither does the perfect princess.  Yet we are drawn to the illusion of the perfect romance from a young age and continue to buy into it with romance novels as we get older.  Should we not be preparing ourselves for the reality of love? 

Reality seems boring when we live it, yet we all know a movie based on reality is much more interesting then a story based purely on fiction.  Was Diana's life so glamorous and interesting that ours pales by comparison?  I'm sure glamour can get boring when its your reality day in and day out.  I remember watching Diana's wedding to Charles and theirs was a fairytale love story, at the time ....  Now we know different, even fairy tales are not what they seem. 
My daughter is the anti-princess.   She doesn't like to dress up as a princess, doesn't act the part and certainly isn't looking for a knight in shining armour.  As much as I'd like to take credit for this attitude, I can't, she's just made that way.  I bought crowns and dresses for the dress up corner but they laid there unworn.  I see in her a strong girl who knows her mind, and as difficult as that can be sometimes, I'd rather that then a Sleeping Beauty any day.

Marijuana in Canada and Ineffective Laws

The ineffective laws created by the courts have made the illegality of marijuana laughable. It might as well be a legalized and regulated making our communities safer. Personally, I think marijuana is a bad thing and should be criminalized but since our court system is unwilling to act on laws put in place to protect society, we'd all be better off if it were legalized. The pro marijuana and free Marc Emery protests happening in Canada are evidence at how absurd the whole mess really is.

Protesters in the lower mainland BC are rolling joints in MP's offices and the police are there only to make sure they stay peaceful. The protesters don't light up because it is illegal to smoke anything, including legal cigarettes, in public places.

Protesters in Calgary, AB rolled a huge joint on the desk of the leader of this country, our premier Stephen Harper. They then proceed to light that joint and smoke it in his office. Police do nothing to stop them.

All this proves is that the courts have tied the hands of law enforcement and have, in practice, legalized the drug. The protesters are not protesting the illegality of the drug, after all nothing happens to them when they break the laws that govern this substance. They are protesting the extradition of Marc Emery to the US for breaking US laws governing the sale of marijuana seeds. In Canada Mr. Emery would receive a $200.00 fine for the offence, he's facing jail time in the US.

In my opinion, if you do the crime you do the time. Mr. Emery was well aware of the laws and choose to ignore them - the consequence of that decision is jail. Had he just done business in Canada he'd still be walking around the streets free as a bird.

The courts have thrown out case after case, frustrating the efforts of the RCMP. The judges continually allow criminals to operate in our communities making them unsafe for our children. Powerful and dangerous criminals continue to grow, smuggle, and sell marijuana with no regard for their neighbours safety or health. To change the situation the whole legal system would need to be turned upside down because the laws as they stand now protect the criminals.

The government and courts need to make a decision and stand by it.... either marijuana is a legal substance or an illegal substance. The whole mess of making it illegal and enabling judges to interpret the laws to ensure criminals receive a slap on the wrist, if that, is laughable.

Parenthood - Not the Easiest Job Around

Being a parent isn't easy, its filled with trials and tribulations that lead to extreme frustration. We want the best for our kids, we want to be perfect but we fall short. Parents are only human, we make mistakes that we feel guilt over for years. We second guess our decisions, we bend over backwards to make our kids happy only to feel unappreciated and taken for granted.

My oldest is just hitting the pre-teen years but it feels like he's been there forever. My youngest is always demanding more and more of everything and anything. Some days I feel like no matter what I do, it's not enough, I've come up short and I've missed the boat. The constant demands of this blood sucking duo at times can leave me empty. Yet when I think I have nothing left to give they say "thank you mom, I love you" and I find that my bucket is full to the brim with so much more to give them.

Every day is filled with decisions that effect those in our family. We try hard to put on a facade of perfection to those outside but its a lie. Every family, no matter how perfect they look, has problems, issues, and make mistakes. Trying to be perfect causes more stress and problems for a family then just admitting your human. Every family yells, hurts each others feelings, makes bad decisions, wants more, needs more, and find themselves in situations they never thought they'd be in.

What all parents need to do is give themselves a break. Kids grow up to be who they choose to be and as long as you did your best, you loved them, and were there to support them when they needed you - you were the perfect parent. As long as you didn't beat them, abuse them, or misuse them you were the perfect parent.

So parents pick up the phone and call your parents and say "Thank you for being the perfect parents." After all, parents were kids once and weren't the easiest little people to raise. Forgive the little mistakes and frustrations you have with your parents because guess what - your making mistakes and frustrating your kids now.

Parenthood - The TV Show. One of my favorites!

An episode which examines the importance of Communicating with our children and just showing up.

My Son's Auditions are Becoming a Part Time Job for Me

I am surprised at how many auditions my son's agent has booked for him in such a short period of time. I guess "they" were right - after the Olympics the industry would pick up again. My son was happy with the agency when he signed up because they didn't have any other kid's with his "look." There are agencies out there which specialize in children but he choose one that didn't. He didn't want to compete within the agency for exposure and wanted someone who needed him as much as he needed them.

It gives me a day in the city with my son every week, which is really nice. I barely see him anymore, he's always out with his friends. The auditions give us a reason to go into the city together. Whenever I can I make a day of it, but mostly it is a nice few hours to spend together having lunch and talking.

Today is the first audition where he has to miss some school. He's thrilled about it, his teachers - not so much. I am hoping that the amount of school he'll miss for auditions will be few but it is what it is. Time will tell, if it ends up being too much time off school for a lot of 5 minute auditions we may have to revisit the benefits of this venture.

There are a lot of life long benefits for him going on auditions - not just financial if he gets work. He's learning about preparing for job interviews, interviews, and how to handle rejection. He understands that when he doesn't get a part it's not personal, someone else just had what they were looking for and maybe next time he'll have what they are looking for. I am gaining wisdom from his outlook on the process.

Although I'm not 100% sure about him having an agent and going on audition after audition, I am trying to focus on the benefits. There are quite a few benefits but time with my son is the biggest benefit of all!

"Woe is Me" Rant....

OK I hate the whole woe is me thing but today.... I'll make an exception. A month and a half to go before the money runs out and I passed up on the one and only job offer paying real money I received because I couldn't figure out daycare.

I've reassessed my resume, I've sent out so many resumes I've lost track. I've sent out emails, I've made phone calls, I've knocked on doors, I've met with people, I've updated my online contact lists, and I've applied for advertised positions.

OK so I'm frustrated, I look at the four walls that surround me and am going cabin crazy. I want to work, I want to be home for my kids, I want time for myself, most of all I want an income better then what I have.

I know I could be starting my own business and really I should, I've got the skills and the desire, I just can't pull myself together to do it. Since I'm on EI, I really can't do it because it's one of those not allowed to do things. My employment counsellor believes I have too many marketable skills to refer me to the SEED program.... so I feel a little stuck. I can't believe I've left it at that, I should push and demand the recommendation, after all that is what a "GOOD" salesperson and entrepreneur does.... but I'm deflated, done like dinner with a screw it attitude.

I'm not sure why I'm so unmotivated, I don't want to sit here day in and day out doing nothing but cleaning and being alone. I want to do something, but I don't know..... I can't put my finger on it, maybe that's the problem.

I'm tired of fighting, trying to convince others, to sell something, to get them to see me. Who I am , my skills, my strengths, my willingness to work hard for the promise of more. I think I was sick of the being employed game way before I even wrote my resume. I am tired of having my life, my success, my future in the hands of someone else. Some days I'm just plain tired. Maybe one day things will come together and this post will be a stupid blip, an embarrassment and a joke all wrapped in one. Deep down I know I'm better than this, I know I have the abilities needed to persevere, but right now I'm ready to lie down and surrender.

Time to enjoy the sun and maybe tomorrow........

Life sucks until you find out someone else's life sucks worse. I just stopped by facebook to find out a schoolmate's 3 year old son died today. I can't find a job, big deal - so what - that's nothing compared to his loss today. I feel petty and stupid - what a self centered wallowing ass I've been today. I've got my kids - they are healthy and happy - THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS!!!!!

Home Schooling - OK Let's Try it?

My son is verbally and visually gifted with a processing disorder which is causing some real difficulties at school. I tried to find a school with programs that focus on his type of learning. I couldn't find any - So he attends the local elementary school and at first it seemed things would go good but I was wrong, they've been going steadily downhill.

When I meet with his teachers I hear things like, "he's not working to his potential." "He doesn't do the work, he just sits there." "I need to stand over him and constantly bring him back into focus." "He's not organized." "His knowledge is above grade level but his work is way below grade level." "He won't stop reading in class."

My son is a conceptual learner - tell him something and he's got it right away. He's a project based producer not a worksheet based producer. Give him a project and he'll eagerly bite into it and produce results beyond expectations. Give him worksheets and you'll never see them again.

For example, his class was assigned two book reports, one could be presented in whatever format they choose, the other was to be written on paper with drawings. For the first book my son choose to make a movie trailer of the book. I taped his ramblings about the book, he took some pictures, downloaded others and then edited the whole mess into a cohesive reader response. This seemed to take no time and his teacher was so impressed she gave him a special postcard note to say how impressed she was. The other report took him forever to write down and his drawings were less then stellar. Her response was to tell me, "he could have done better, as it was lacking. He should have spent more time on it." To me this proved that given the right type of learning tools he could excel beyond anyone's expectations.

My son has requested to be home schooled, I'm convinced its because he just wants to watch TV and play video games all day. I'm not sure what else to do though, he needs someone to keep him on task when tasks are boring. Other things like projects I am confident he'll fly through on his own. I know it's a lot of work but my kid is worth it.

This summer will be the test - we're going to give him projects, let him find projects to do and work towards completing a basic curriculum. If that works we'll seriously look at figuring out how to home school, which may not be easily achieved since I am going back to work.

Women Living in Vancouver Area -- GIRLS NIGHT OUT

Do you live in the Lower Mainland Vancouver? Are you looking to meet new friends and make new connections?

I am presently organizing girls night out events that will be filled with fun, entertainment, prizes and networking.

If you are interested in more information leave me a comment and I'll make sure you get notified.

If I had a Million Dollars .... it still wouldn''t be enough!

A million dollars sounds like so much money, especially to my kids, but in reality if I won a million dollars it wouldn't be a win fall. My kids brought up the "if I won a million dollars" fantasy the other day and I started to think, what if I won a million dollars?

Once I paid off my house, set aside some money for the kids education, and took a family vacation there wouldn't be anything left.

That is just depressing. So if I won a million dollars I'd move to Mexico or the Caribbean and live off the cash.... financial planning be damned. When I started working in the financial planning industry in 1995 a million dollar retirement savings plan provided a decent retirement. Not today though, today you're house better be paid off before you retire, you need at least a million and have a couple rental properties or a small business to bring in cash too.

I have a few more decades before I need to think about retirement, by then how much money will be enough to retire in comfort? If I had a million dollars.... I'd be comfortable but not rich.

Recurring Nightmare ... Missing Daughter

I keep having a nightmare that my daughter is missing. I felt the absolute grief and emptiness while I searched for her. Every time I pictured her face I'd lose all sanity and an intense emptiness would envelope me, all I wanted was my baby girl. A little girl I'll never see again, even awake, because like every parent, I've lost my baby to time.

She is older and wants more freedom, freedom to walk to a friends house, freedom to ride her bike in the cul de sac out front, walk with her older brother to school. I utilize a walkie talkie to ensure I am with her at all times but even this isn't enough to quench my fears. When she walks to a friends house, all of a block away, I talk with her. I ask her if she sees strangers, I ask her if there are any cars, I ask her to describe either if she sees them. I instruct her to look around and identify any dangers she can and then help her steer clear of them. The great thing about the walkie talkie is that the volume on her end is so loud that everyone can hear what I'm saying to her. A stranger that is being described to someone may feel a little weird, but at least I know the description of the person she just passed.

When kids are small we keep a tight leash on them but as they grow the leash gets tight and they need more length or it will eventually break. Thanks to technology it easier to keep the leash tight but give it more slack at the same time.

My parents think I'm nuts sometimes, giving my kids technology that they deem as unnecessary, that is until they see the advantages. First it was the DVD player in the car.... why in the world would my kids need to watch tv in the car.... Oh I don't know maybe because I would drive 6 hours plus to visit them with the kids on my own. It's a lot safer to drive when they aren't bugging the hell out of you.

The next unnecessary item for my kids... a cell phone. At the moment the walkie talkies work because I am always in range. However, when I go back to work that won't always be the case and I can talk to them as they go to childcare facilities or if I'm running a little late and they have to go home on their own. (My son is babysitting age).

I'll never get my baby girl back. I miss constant cuddles, hugs, and kisses but I am enjoying the new relationship that is building between my daughter and myself. I know that the nightmares aren't real but I still wake up in a sweat longing for my baby.

Renovation Frustration - Storage Needed!

I have this space in my dining room, most homes built in the 80's and 90's do, I want to convert the spot for a buffet into storage space. The issue - my tight budget... I have no money, being unemployed kinda has that effect on a wallet. It's frustrating because the cost of built ins is so high, I'm probably looking at a couple thousand dollars just for the supplies.

The other frustrating part is figuring out what I want in this space. Do I want it to be complete storage or do I want countertop space or should it be bookshelves with doors? Are there bookcases that are 2 feet deep? Can I get away with white MDF or should I look for paintable shelving or prestained? Does MDF come in espresso or black brown?

I guess I'll have to go hang out at Home Depot or Rona to figure it out, another day shot.

Once its done it'll be great because I can start unpacking all my crafts and books but until then it's frustrating to live with an idea that I won't see finished for a long time. I've never been the most patient of people.

The Emerson GM522 Karaoke Machine - Reviewed

I am getting really fed up with the lack of quality in products we've purchased lately. So I thought hey I'm gonna write about the ones that suck and the ones that rock -- this way you can hopefully put your money to better use then we did.

The first item up is the Karaoke machine I bought my daughter for Christmas on ebay. I usually don't buy stuff online because it costs way more by the time you pay for shipping and customs but I wanted the latest Karaoke machine and I couldn't get it at the local Toys R Us here in Canada. I didn't pay full price but I didn't pay much less either, I was short on time and didn't need the extra hassles of waiting out bids that end up near the price anyway. By the time it went through customs and was delivered I had to add another 50% of the cost to the machine. Turns out the ebay seller just drop ships it from Kmart.... lesson one, drive across the border its cheaper.

The first issue ... the microphone that comes with it doesn't work very well.... you have to almost swallow it for your voice to come through. We had a professional quality mic already so I didn't worry to much about the crappy mic.

The next issue ... it worked good for about a month then all the CDs started skipping and whiting out the screen and the lyrics kept writing over themselves. Now it skips all the time and barely can play one bar without skipping. My daughter isn't dancing around and when it started was sitting in front of the machine reading the lyrics as she sang them. I watched her today and she just stood there reading the lyrics and the machine kept skipping the CD. I changed CDs a number of times but it didn't matter - it is definitely the machine and not the CD.

She loves playing with it so much I have to get it fixed somehow. I'm going to try calling Emerson and see what their client service says. Failing that - I don't know what to do, any suggestions?

Punishing my Son for What Friends Do

Kids can be mean, the playground is a tough place for a lot of kids. I am trying to teach my kids how to pick "good friends," and sometimes that means punishing them for their bad choices. When my son was young there was one incident where his friend was throwing rocks at a house while my son stood and watched. When our neighbour informed us of this transgression I quickly grounded my son for a week, his friend was not punished. Try explaining how that is fair to a little boy.

No matter what we do though he continues to stand by and watch as friends make stupid decisions or bully other kids. He knows its wrong, he feels bad when we talk about it, but he does nothing to remove himself from the situation, he doesn`t correct his friends or stand up for others. He just stands there and does nothing. Not the action I am looking for.

What he doesn`t understand and refuses to believe is that his friends will stop what they are doing if he leaves the area, if they are the types of kids to be friends with. If not then find new friends. It`s not like his friends are bullies or criminal, they just get wound up sometimes as boys do and don`t think about what they are doing at the time.

My son has picked some really great kids to be friends with and they sometimes feed off each others energy and the next thing you know someone has done something stupid. For 11 year olds stupid can be as innocent as running over a neighbours lawn or not making a new kid feel welcome. What I want is to ensure is that if my son knows what is going on is wrong or stupid to walk away, not to be involved. However at the time he doesn`t think, he gets wound up by their energy and cuts through private property or hurts a new friend`s feelings. It happens, I just want him to realize that their are consequences when he does it.

Birthday Party for an 11 year old Boy - Last Minute Showdown

My son`s birthday was the day after my daughter`s birthday party so when her friends were picked up that morning we were off again. Thankfully he wanted to go dirt biking with dad so that just left my daughter and I to go find his present. Easier said then done, my kids have way too much stuff and trying to find them something that they will like, they need, and won`t clutter up the house was impossible. We were at the malls all day long and I forgot to pick up the cake. What kind of mother forgets to pick up the birthday cake? So at 9:00pm we were pulling into Dairy Queen to get the cake. Day one down, day two.......

I don`t know how I made it through day two. We had six 11 year old boys to entertain and keep busy. I had no idea what to do until a few hours before everyone arrived, thankfully the dollar store isn`t too far away. I planned on a scavenger hunt, followed by a friendly game of capture the flag, and if there was time a game of search and destroy.

Before the kids arrived I drove all over the neighbourhood tying balloons to signs, trees, fire hydrants, whatever I could without getting yelled at. I drew a letter on each balloon and made notes of some smaller landmarks. When I got home I started typing up the scavenger hunt lists, one list was letters with blank lines for them to fill in - what is the balloon lettered ___ tied to? The next list was a list of small items I wanted them to find, a rock, a dandelion, a yellow leaf, a piece of garbage that type of thing. The last list was a series of questions about what was located at certain addresses or intersections.

I divided the kids into 2 teams of 3 and each boy was given a clipboard with a list. They were to work as a team to find the items and answers to all three lists. Each team set out to do there best. While they were out I raced around with more balloons tying them to items and discovered someone had popped some of my balloons so I had to replace them as well. As soon as I got home I set up the food table so they could have a snack before the next round.

The teams were assigned a colour - Blue and Red. I used helium to blow up blue and red balloons and tied them to 4 liter milk jugs filled with water for the home bases. I used blue and red 8x10 pieces of felt for the flags and attached them to broom handles for the flags. I sent them off to the back 40 (the school field) to play a game of capture the flag until dinner was cooked.

My husband cooked hot dogs while I refilled the food table and I tallied up the points from the scavenger hunt. The blue team won and their prize was to eat first and get first pick of the goody bag prizes. I had bought various $5.00 DVD and $10.00 Video games from Wal Mart for them to choose from - Next year I need to buy more variety I ended up with more kids and not enough DVDs. As soon as they finished this they were off to play in the creek.

Once everyone had been picked up and things calmed down I realized that we totally forgot all about the birthday cake. Oh well, more for me I guess, not like my but really needs the extra calories. I should have planned the parties better but with so much going on I did the best I could. Sometimes though, these parties are the best - but next year I`ll start setting up sooner so I`m not running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to make the deadline.

A Birthday Party for 6 Screaming Girls - My Daughter`s 8th Birthday

I can`t believe my daughter just turned 8!!! Thankfully her birthday party turned out to be a blast considering the lack of planning that went into it. The last 3 weeks have included, painting our new house, moving, my parents coming for a visit, Easter dinner with my extended family, my daughter`s family birthday, my son`s family birthday, my daughter`s birthday party, my son`s birthday party, extensive job interviews, and a full time course starting. Due to all the hoopla going on in my life I didn`t plan the birthday party, but it still came together beautifully.

Four little 8 year old girls arrived right on time, making the head count 5. They were so excited and started chasing my son around the house, so I sent them outside to run around the perimeter of the house as many times as they could. While they did this I blew up balloons with helium, cut up fruit and melted Nutella in the chocolate fountain. They loved this idea!!! Everything got covered in Nutella..... which was a huge issue because one guest was arriving later -- she has a peanut allergy!!! So I had to clean everything up with extra soap, so after they cleaned themselves up the girls went upstairs to play.

After I finished cleaning up I collected all the kid`s craft stuff I could find in the boxes of unopened toys. I set up a craft area in the dining room and all 6 girls came in to make 3 crafts, including their goody bags, a necklace, and a card. As they worked on these projects I got my husband on the bar b que to make hot dogs. Little girls make short time of eating!!! So while I cleaned up, yet again, I sent them to play upstairs and figured out what to do next.

As soon as I was done I grabbed the Hullabalo game for them to play. This game has been a party favorite since her 4th birthday, a life saver for me as it gives me time to take a breath and figure out what to do next. Time for Cake!!!! I used to make cakes, buy cakes and all the kids did was eat the icing and there was always leftover cake on their plates to be thrown out. Until, I discovered that if I made a jello cake and bought a Dairy Queen ice cream cake there would be no left overs on the plates - the kids lick their plates clean.

Earlier that day, I skipped out of class early and went shopping for the food because I was picking up my friend`s kids from the school until she could get home from work. After she picked them up my daughter and I bolted for Dairy Queen to pick out an ice cream cake. She had to pick it herself, if you knew my daughter you`d know that she has to have what she wants and no substitute will suffice.

So after cake was served and devoured I found the CD case and the CD player -- Time for dancing to Hannah Montana. I had a couple small clip boards and the girls took turns judging each dance. This gave me time to clean up and get their goody bags ready.

I don`t like to give out goody bags filled with candy and useless little token toys so I buy toys, dolls, or games that are on clearance at Wal Mart. For $5.00 I can put together a fantastic goody bag!!!! Each bag contained one bag of Eggies, a fruit roll up, their crafts, a helium filled balloon and a Hannah Montana board game.

Three girls were picked up that evening, two were staying for a sleep over. I let them continue dancing and playing while I tidied up then it was time to get ready for bed. I carried up our smaller TV and DVD player with a handful of DVDs I could find in the boxes located in the garage waiting to be unpacked. I got them settled in my daughter`s bedroom watching Daddy Daycare and then I went to bed.

I would have slept like a rock except my husband kept waking me up to tell me the girls were still awake and I needed to check on them. You should know my sweet husband was downstairs watching a movie with my son while I was conked out upstairs. I think it was just before midnight when the girls finally fell asleep and they didn`t wake up until morning..... which was my son`s birthday and I had to start the whole process all over again!!!!!

Working Mom's - What do YOU do for Childcare?

Lately I have been interviewing for different positions and the main issue I have is childcare. In the past when I worked, outside of the home, my husband worked from home and took care of the kids. I could work long hours and travel for extended periods of time because I knew my kids were in good hands. I am not so lucky this time round, my husband works 10 hour days 4 days a week outside the home. So I have to figure out what to do with the kids.

As you know I just moved into a new area and know very few people. There isn't a daycare in our neighbourhood and I don't want care outside the neighbourhood. After school for me isn't an issue, 1 day my husband is home, 2 days my mother in law can come by and 2 days I'll hire a teenager for a few hours. It's the mornings that are the issue. My kids are not morning kids and I can't rely on them to get themselves to school.

My dad thinks I should look for something that is part time, not so career oriented, just a job. I guess I could for the next few years and then look for something more career oriented in a few years. That way I spend more time at home with my kids and can get more done around the house. I wonder how much Indigo pays?

Some businesses in the world need to realize that childcare is so important to ensuring success because when you don't have to worry about your kids you can focus on your work. When you focus on your work you can produce better results and increase profitability. Those company's that understand this are hard to get into because they have such loyal long term employees.

What I'll need in terms of childcare will depend on where I land a position and the hours I have to be away from home. I know that there is something out there for a hard working focused individual such as myself that will offer the flexibility I need for my family. Patience and staying on course is the key......

Everything is Finally Working Out

Ever find yourself in a situation where nothing is working out. Every time you try to do something an obstacle pops up, things fall apart, or nothing comes together? That was 2009 for my family. We couldn't catch a break and I was just trying to keep things from falling apart all together. The problem with these times in our lives is sometimes we can't see the bigger picture and when we finally emerge from the chaos we find hindsight to be 20/20.

I am looking out my office window while I type this, across the street is the house we had purchased last summer but the deal fell through resulting in more uncertainty for our kids. I remember the day we signed the offer, we were settling for a house that would work kind of for our family, not a house we really wanted. At the time we saw the house I'm sitting in now and wished it was for sale within our price range. Funny how life works, 4 months later on the way home from Christmas at my parent's place we purchased that very place.

It wasn't convenient to rent across town for 6 months and it meant a lot of packing of boxes but in the end it was worth the wait. The uncertainty had my husband second guessing the decision to relocate to the Lower Mainland BC. I was unhappy, lonely and bored.

Now, life is good again and although we are exhausted we are happy. We have put in a lot of work, painting, cleaning, tearing down fences, pressure washing, scrubbing mildew off siding, and unpacking. We feel fortunate every time my kids walk to school, their friends stop by, they go biking, or play in the creek out back. The kids are finally happy and that is worth its weight in gold!

Life is Wonderful when I`m Busy!

The past 4 days has been a blur of paint and phone calls. I start early in the morning to get ready to paint all day and into the evening. It really feels wonderful to be doing something productive again.

I love to work - well anything but housework - and I am happiest when I`m occupied so I`m really happy that we have this huge project with such a short deadline.... 3 days to go `til we start moving in and lots of rooms left to paint.

To top it off my phone is ringing with job interviews. Thankfully they are phone interviews this week so I just take a break from painting. Its really exciting how God is bringing everything together right when it is time to. My time of rest is coming to an end and I look forward to being busy working again.

The downside to working again is that my focus will be off my kids and back onto work. I tend to work long hours, not because I have to but because I want to succeed quickly. I am fortunate though because my kids are wonderful about it and they then value their one on one time with me even more. I feel guilty about not regretting the 6 months I was on the road and away from them. I don`t - I still value that time away traveling focused on work and I think the kids did benefit from it because they got more time with dad.

I`ve been blessed through the years to have opportunities to stay home, whether by self employment, home based employment, or employment insurance benefits. Many people I know think that my kids are sometimes getting the short end of the stick because I`ve merged work with family but I think its made them even more amazing. My son, although lazy, has a healthy desire to work and takes his paper route job very seriously. Now if I could just get him to work as hard for me as he does for them.

I fully believe the time I spent with them working from home when they were young benefited them more then if I had continued working outside the home. It meant long hours taking care of other people`s children but it was worth it. I`ve been a good mom and now its time for a solid new start and I`m looking forward to a career outside the home again.

Quality Does Make a Difference. - Can You Have a Love Affair With Paint?

What luck! Home Depot was out of the base we needed in the 5 gallon pail of CIL so we bought the Behr 5 gallon pail and what a difference. I was thrilled painting with the CIL paint compared to the no name crap my husband usually comes home with. However, after using Behr the CIL was like painting with water. If one could paint with butter that would be the same as painting with the Behr paint. It`s going to cut our painting time in half.

Painting can be fun - with each stroke I was falling more in love. I know it sounds crazy but really it was an amazing experience. Quality paint where have you been all my life? and how did I ever paint without you? My husband is in trouble now, I`m spoiled I can never go back to economical paint again.

Who Knew Painting Could Be So Relaxing....

I am enjoying some of the painting process at least. The edging is my favorite part probably because I'm using a brush instead of the roller. Much more my style. The roller makes such a mess and I always manage to hit something I'm not suppose to with it.

So far the fuscia kiss pink has been the messiest experience ever. It started the minute I opened the can and the lid went flying off. The can was almost over flowing because it needed so much tint to get the colour. When I poured it into a container it went all over the drop cloth. I've got it everywhere. I got some on my son's bedroom carpet - no his walls are not pink. My jeans are covered in pink and I hit the ceiling with the roller, no where close to the wall but almost dead center of the room. The colour is so bright it almost hurts the eyes. It needs another coat but I've been finding other rooms to start painting instead. I need to just suck it up get it done and then I'll never have to paint with that colour again.

I've got 5 days and 7 rooms to paint before move in day.... I don't know that I'll make the deadline since I've only done 3 rooms in 3 days but I'll try. I really wanted the carpet pulled out before we moved in but I'm not sure there will be time. Priority... get it out of the kids room before move in date.

What Colour to Paint the New Place?

I've been busy the last couple of days painting the kids rooms the colours they chose - now it's time to pick a main colour for the house.

I don't know what I was thinking letting a 7 year old pick her own colour from the wall of paint chips but I did. Painting her room was like being inside a huge pink bubble gum bubble. The theme of her room is Rock n Roll - specifically her favorite - Avril Lavigne. I'm going to try to find a small black crystal chandelier and some large black poster frames. I'm going to paint a rock n roll tattoo image in black on the main wall and a guitar in black on a small side wall. I'll stain the closet doors as black as I can and put really big crystal door handles on them.

My son's room is grey - concrete grey. He wants an urban themed room. I'm going to put up some brick wall paper, find some metal for one wall and some chain link fencing to make frames with. The closet door will be stained black and I'll use old skateboard wheels as handles. The skateboard will be affixed to the back of the door. I found a street light lamp to put in the room and I still need to find a cool urban light fixture.

Any ideas or links to products for these two themes would be appreciated.

Now for the big decision..... which colour to paint the rest of the house. Which colour do you like? This picture and the picture at the top of this post are of the same colours, just in different rooms and different lights. Funny how light works on colour.

Darkest colour is Belgium Sweet
Medium colour is Toffee Crunch
Lightest colour is Bison Beige

The Grey is out... too cold.

Possession of the House Today - Now the WORK Starts

We just received the keys to our new place. It is going to be a lot of work over the next few years but in the end it will be worth it.

My husband and I couldn't agree on the priority of some things but in the end we've come up with a solid plan. We are going to keep the carpet for the short term, 30 year old carpet. The good news - it's beige and in decent shape so it won't be too bad. We really want hardwood throughout the house but until I'm working price would dictate the choice and I'd rather wait and get the "good" stuff.

We start painting tomorrow. This should be FUN - Not. I'm sure there will be a lot of yelling at each other and miscommunication as there always is. Oh well, hopefully we come through it without too many hurt feelings. The big fight will be when I first use the dishwasher and demand that we replace it now! The one I've picked is only $1200.00 plus tax... What's the big deal?

Is saying I Love You Enough? - Building Kids Self Esteem.

I am trying something new. My kids are getting older and their self-esteem is going to be a huge factor in their success both in high school and beyond. When we moved here it was obvious that my son’s self esteem wasn’t as secure as I thought it was. He was so unsure of himself, who he was and how he’d fit in. For my daughter the opposite was true, she came out of her shell and developed more confidence in herself.

When my kids were young they found pride in themselves whenever they learned a new skill. I always gave them opportunities to learn how to do things on their own. They were proud of themselves when they learned to put on their own clothes, their own shoes and then tie those shoes (which took my son a little longer than most). They became more skilled as they figured out computer games and toys on their own. Often they would ask me how to show them how to do stuff before they even tried, I’d always say "figure it out." They almost always did. When they couldn’t then I’d step in and show them a step or two. They’ve become very capable in their own abilities.

Now that they are older, especially my son, things are different. At 10 he’s starting to care about his appearance, be interested in girls, worrying about fitting in. He’s questioning himself and if he’s good enough. So I started thinking, how can I help him love himself?

I’ve always told my kids that "I love you" on a regular basis however I think I need to do more. I’m trying to tell them why I love them and what I love about them more often. So instead of just saying "I love you," I’ll say "I love your ability to problem solve," or "I love you because you have the cutest freckles." Not just "I love your freckles" because if they don’t then they’ll just ignore it, but I’m hoping that if they know that I love them because of their cute freckles they’ll learn to value those freckles.

This new approach has made me realise all the things I love about them. I’ve had to really look at who they are and what their strengths are. I’ve had to take time to talk to them, get to know what’s important to them and then let them know that I love them because of it.

My husband doesn't agree with me and thinks "I Love You" encompasses everything so therefore it's enough. Which may be one of the reasons I don't always feel secure in his love for me.

I don’t know if this will help to build their self-esteem but it can’t hurt. I asked my daughter why she loved me the other day and she just said "because." I don’t want them wondering why I love them, I want them to know I love them because of who they are. I don’t ever want them to question my love for them or assume I love them because I have to. I want them to know that I value them for them and not because I’m their mom.

Other Online Resources for building kid's self esteem:

Kids Edge on Self Esteem
Building Your Child's Self Esteem
Child development info Website

A Nightmare - A Dream - A Sign?

Last night I dreamed that we moved into our new place and it was located in my home town, a small town in the middle of nowhere. My husband was thrilled and driving me nuts, I was unhappy, very unhappy. What I was feeling didn't matter to my husband and he got pissed off because I wasn't as happy as him.

I miss Calgary, my friends, my house, my job, my life there. Vancouver isn't so bad, it just rains a lot. I love that the flowers are out and there are so many different plants here. I know that once we are in the house, once I've made friends, and once I have a job things will be better here.

I know it was just a dream, but I should be excited about the new place and all the changes we are going to make. I feel drained and tired. 2 days to go 'til possession day and I just don't care.

3 Days Until We Take Possession of the New House - Why Aren't I Excited.

The relocation to the Lower Mainland BC has been a long haul for our family but its finally coming to an end, we take possession of our new house in 3 days. Since its been months of unsettled living arrangements I should be thrilled but I don't feel excited or anything for that matter.

I've been packing because I know I have to pack, not because I want to. I've picked paint colours and looked at flooring samples but I feel detached from the whole process. I drive by the house everyday - twice - when I drop off and pick the kids up from school, the house is right there in front of me but it doesn't feel like mine.

I've packed up the house for the 3rd time in less than a year for the last time for a long time. I've gotten so used to living with boxes of stuff it feels normal to not know which box marked kitchen a bowl is in.

I have to wonder, if I can't get excited about moving into our new house, will I ever be excited about anything?

Can I please just be sick? A Mother must Push On

The kids are home on spring break and I've got a wicked head cold. A head cold is the worst kind of cold because although I feel like crap I don't look sick enough for my husband to get off my case. To top it off he's home with the same head cold and is freaking out on me because I sat down to rest. I've been cleaning the house and getting the kids (and him) lunch and I just sit down to check my email, have a hot tea and he starts yelling at me to finish cleaning the house.

I can't blame him in some ways because I don't get the house completely cleaned and organized. I clean a room or two and then go off and do something else, usually something on the computer. Its never ever 100% done, even the rooms I do get finished are usually destroyed within hours.

The kids are scared to play with anything when he's around because he freaks if they don't clean it up afterwards. Yes they need to learn to clean up after themselves and if they can't maybe they shouldn't be able to play with the truckload of toys in the playroom. I certainly get sick of picking up after them.

My break time is about up - I had 1/2 hour to check email (and vent here) before I get harassed again for not getting everything done. The good news is that my head is so clogged up I can't think straight so I don't get distracted from doing thoughtless chores.


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