Thursday, June 21, 2018

the end of an era

Two days ago I attended my very last parent council meeting, ever. Next week Maya will "graduate" from her elementary school and head off to middle school in September. Yep, she doesn't want to talk about it. I kinda don't want to talk about it either, because with her leaving, that means I have to leave as well and I am not going to lie, it's a bit of a hard pill to swallow.

I was trying to explain to Abby the other night why I found this transition such an emotional one. I mean I already proved I can survive a child transitioning to middle school, so what's the big deal? I was bumbling my way through an explanation when Mike piped up to hit the nail on the head, "It's where your mother found her voice." And I may have gotten a little weepy because he is 100% right. Really, can you be more right? If so then he's that. So right.

A casual acquaintance suggested that I come out to a council meeting back when Abby was in her second year of kindergarten, that's 11 years ago for those keeping track at home. Let me tell you Shannon, 11 years ago and Shannon now are two completely different people. I'm not actually sure why I thought it was a good idea to go, but went I did. I was quiet as a church mouse back then, with a quiet little life and an incredibly tiny circle of friends.

Over the course of my years on council I held the positions of secretary and for the past 7 or 8 years as Chair or Co-Chair, depending on the year. Over that time I learned how to lead a meeting, take usable minutes, Robert's rules of order, even if we were pretty loosey goosey.  I learned how to be organized, how to fundraise, how to organize a fundraiser, how to organize people to organize a fundraiser. I learned to delegate and to always value and respect people's time. I learned how to be a leader, to be encouraging and supportive. I learned that people want to be heard, acknowledged and appreciated. I learned that a difference in opinion is not an attack. That you can still be friends, but see things from completely opposite sides. I learned how to voice my own opinion and that it had value. I learned all of these things and I continue to learn all of these things because I am far from perfect at any of it.

And I made friends, guys. I made such terrific and amazing friends. Some who were teachers, Principals and fellow parents. Friends I have shared a few tears, a lot of laughs, drinks, meals, quick chats, long talks, text messages, GIFs, massive thumbs up and the #rubelife with. Friends who have picked up my kids or who have allowed me to watch and feed their little ones. Friends who have employed my kid as a babysitter, invited us to parties, movie nights, and a bunch more fun things.

My attending that first meeting was a true tipping point in my life.Without that first meeting, Jammie Movie Nights wouldn't have been a thing and without that there would be no Jersey Girls. No endless hours of walking, bonding and none of the over $50,000 that we have donated to cancer research, medical equipment and programs over the years. I wouldn't be involved with the organizations that I am and certainly not in the positions I now find myself in. I wouldn't be leading youth with really great friends. I wouldn't be helping plan community events. I would've missed out on countless coffee dates, lunch dates, backyard wine sipping and a bazillion other super fun things.

As we wound up my very last meeting the other afternoon some very sweet things were said about my time on council and I did my very best to not become a weepy mess as I listened. While their kind words were about the mark I have left during my time at the school, I was completely wrapped up in the mark that time has left on me. The people and experiences it has brought to my life. My take away from it is to always choose kind, be helpful, take a small second to really listen, because you have no idea what impact you are having on another human being, what encouragement you are sharing, that you might be a cheerleader without even realizing it. I found a community and a version of myself I was not expecting to find and I thank them all from the very bottom of my heart for such an amazing gift. Much love.

Monday, May 21, 2018

randoms

It was a some what unexceptional weekend in a lot of ways. More than our fair share of down time, which is okay by me. After a few packed weekends and last weekend that was packed to the tits, a quiet one is nice.

On the watch list this weekend; Justice League - it was okay, I prefer the Marvel movies, but one of my girls is a huge Wonder Woman fan. Coco - all of us loved it. A few of us shed some tears. Lady Bird - I dunno. I really don't have an opinion, other than, yep, I watched it.  Life in Pieces - 3/4's of us are watching this. So funny. And finally a little Grey's Anatomy as laundry folding encouragement for yours truly.  What are you watching?

Also if you follow me over on instagram, where I am getting insta-story famous, you know we were up bright and early to watch the Royal Wedding and maybe we ate wedding cookies supplied by Granny. Abby couldn't keep the family members straight, but 5am wake up calls with no coffee will do that do ya, I guess. We loved every minute of if, we got weepy where appropriate and everyone had a nap once the festivities were over

Tested out a new (to me) chocolate chip cookie recipe from Cook's Illustrated. Slam dunk. Home run. All those other sport's metaphors. A damn good cookie is what I am saying. Mike claims the best cookie I have ever made, so.....

Meal prep Sunday on a Monday, still my jam. It makes my life through the week a million times easier. Are you a meal prep fan?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

bullet journals and me

So bullet journaling. Yep, I drank the kool aid. For me though, it really is a total game changer. I am not going to show you my lay outs. Sorry gang, no bujo porn here. Mine are 100% completely utilitarian and 0% pretty. Don't get me wrong, I love a pretty bujo (oh yeah I totally use all the lingo) layout. I obsess over them even. Half my instagram follows are bullet journalers, the other half remains food, bakeries and restaurants, so don't worry, same old Shanny here. My only attempt at pretty is some ink joy pens, fine line markers and an assortment of highlighters.

I had heard about bullet journals a lot around the net, as I am sure most of you have as well. It's right up there with being a vegan and/or into crossfit/orange theory fitness. If you're hooked you want the whole world to know. I didn't full appreciate what a bullet journal was or how to make it an effective tool in your life. The very first article I read that made this whole craze make sense was this one.

Yes, we already have a huge calendar on the fridge. That is more a whole family tool. Lets everyone know what is going on and coming up for the month and months ahead. A quick glance can tell the kids which weekend Dad is working. Or Mom who's pay week we are at. Who has a late night at school, who has a meeting, who has a dentist appointment. All that fun busy family stuff.

Yes, I have a calendar on my phone. Which is a carbon copy of the one on the fridge. It's an on the go version. So when I am out and about and someone says are you free next Tuesday for such and such I can give them an answer right away.

Both of those are very effective organizational tools that I use on the daily, but they weren't quite cutting it. I have tried many things to help get me more organize. I mean, we fall into what can be described as a fairly typical dynamic of me, the mom, being the family CEO, which I am happy to do, but it is easy to lose yourself in that role. As I have gotten older (and far cooler if you are asking me) and my kids are getting older and requiring less of me in a hands on type of way. They feed, clean and dress themselves now. Heck sometimes they even feed me! That hands more free time back to me and I am attempting to fill it up with a lot of super fun and pretty cool things.  The problem was, I was feeling disorganized and with not enough time to get to all the things I really wanted to get to. Obviously the very most important and time sensitive stuff got too, but a lot of other stuff would slide to the wayside. Things like laundry, dusting, yoga, drinking enough water and washing my own face. Not to mention, just a general half assing of a lot of things.

Enter the bullet journal. I use a standard lined notebook, because that is what I had on hand. I list my daily, must do items across the top, things like drinking my water, getting my steps in and taking my supplements. The "to do" lists changes daily with things like emails I need to answer, 30 minute walk with my walking buddy, social media posts for our charity group, a plan to do a face mask, change the sheets or write this blog post. Writing these lists helps me to better organize my plan of attack. I have an easier time stringing tasks together in the most efficient pattern. It also encourages me to tackle these little tasks that I might set aside because I have to leave the house in 30 minutes, even though the task will only take 6 minutes to complete.

I am not going to lie, I do slide right off the band wagon from time to time. When things get extra hectic around here, it's usually the first thing I stop focusing on, which is a total mistake and I always regret it because I less feel like I get less accomplished and that just makes me angry. So my goal for 2018 is just to be better with it. Anybody out there drinking the bujo kool aid?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

sunday randoms

Hey guys! Does this thing still work. More importantly, I guess, does anyone care anymore? Don't get me wrong, this isn't a poor me statement. I don't want you out there saying, look at this asshole, she took a million year break and now she's whinging that no one is reading. Nah, I just mean the bottom really fell out of blogging. Didn't it? Oh, it's just me? Weird.

I guess I could write a few paragraphs about where I have been and why I took the break, but really.... see paragraph one. Nobody cares. Totally not trying to garner up any sympathy, it just truly doesn't much matter. I did it, it's over. I'm back. Maybe. Who knows how long before I get distracted again.

Too be honest I have been super busy getting insta story famous. It's totally happening too. I am pretty popular with the 12-15 age group. That live in my house. It actually started out as a joke with a child person who lives here with me, but I am actually having a lot of fun with them and my partner in crime has been (surprisingly) willing to take part in these stories, so there's that.

Guys, I have totally become addicted to many many new things in the million years since we last spoke. Things like Sweetlegs. I was going to blame Auntie KK for that, but dudes I ain't even sorry about it. They are a dream. And like my dear friend ML says, those are happy pants and really, who doesn't want to put on happy pants?

Also bullet journaling. Oh yeah. Big time. Total game changer. In fact the only reason I am writing this right now is because I put it in my bullet journal.

Also pretty busy watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffe, The Crown, Bob's Burgers and Stranger Things. I am so behind on all of them. Unlimited Internet is a thing that needs to happen here.

One last also, read a couple of enjoyable books by Jojo Moyes, no not those ones (Me Before You or the other way around, whatever it is), but The Last Letter From Your Lover and The Girl You Left Behind. Can recommend.

What have you cats been up to?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

hippity hoppity

So we got a bunny. Well, Maya got a bunny if we are being truthful. It's no secret that Maya has wanted a bunny for over a year, but we had kept putting her off as Mike is allergic to timothy grass and she had pretty much resigned herself to never getting a bunny. Then along rolled this summer, another week at Fair Camp and another batch of baby bunnies that would need homes when camp had wrapped up for the year. Maya really stepped up and helped out with the animals at camp this year. I happened to be around during feeding time one evening and watched in amazement as she scurried in and out of the pens that housed the sheep, goats, and chickens. I actually couldn't even believe it.

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As we worked around the fairgrounds this summer Maya was naturally drawn to the bunny cage and as often as she could she had a bunny in her lap.

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People have asked how she convinced us to let her bring a bunny home. She didn't. She didn't even ask. Unbeknownst to her, Mike had become the big push for this to finally become a thing. He felt pretty strongly that this would only be a good thing for her, something to help her manage some of her worries, but I really don't think he was expecting little Cupcake to work her way into all of our hearts so stinking quickly.

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She is the most adorable ball of fluff. She is super sweet, very easy going and ridiculously easy to take care of. She is very much loved by us all and she has the greatest Bunny Mama ever. We owe a million thank yous to ML and her gang for making Maya's bunny dreams come true.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

a beautiful good-bye

I, along all of Canada (except my Compound Wife TC, which was such an incredibly shocking bit of news that we are now in Compound Couples counseling) watched the Tragically Hip's last concert in utter awe and more than a few tears shining in my eyes. Admittedly, I was less emotional than I had anticipated being. There is something incredibly wonderful and awe inspiring of watching some one live with such incredible grace. I can only hope to achieve a fraction of that.

I don't really know what I want to say about the show. I have so many words, but I fear I don't have the ability to string them together in anything that conveys the true depth of what happened Saturday night and to be fair, far more eloquent writers have written the shit out of it already. Go read them all if you have the chance.

Fully Completely was the soundtrack of this Sunday morning in Blogmotherland. I asked Abby if the music struck a chord in her or if it just wasn't to her taste. Bear in mind this is 14 year old with ear buds permanently affixed to her ears. She listens to a lot of music, is what I am saying. She said, "it's not my bag really, but if you're dancing, I'll dance with you". Not a total fail, I guess.

At that point I tried to explain thirty years of The Hip to her. How they were more Canadian than Canada. How they and their songs were us, her Dad and I, her Uncle Dave...... everyone of our generation. How not achieving mega success across the border made them just ours. Something ultra elite. Like the secret warehouse district party that you need to know the code word to get into. I tried to explain how beautiful and out of this world their lyrics were. How they were so deep despite their, some time, simplicity. How the night before would never happen for a Justin Bieber. And I guess that right there is the problem, there is nothing comparable for her generation.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

my happy little tree

It can be easy sometimes to let the petty little annoyances that come along with day to day life to pile up. When they roll over you spaced too close together it can be hard to shake them off. I was having a few days like that. Most of my nearest and dearest will tell you I am fairly easy going and don't really sweat the small stuff. Sure, I may grumble about the shopper hogging up 77% of the aisle while I am shopping, but you can bet your bottom dollar and I had a warm smile and a genuine, "no, no, that's okay" for the poor soul when I finally am able to maneuver my way around them.

So I had a couple of days where I was using the hashtag #ShannyHatesEveryone, pretty liberally and by liberally I mean I used it in a text to Mike and another one to my compound wife, TC. I was full of grumbling and cursing and really just hating everyone-ish, which Mike always finds hysterical in the beginning, as it is out of character for me.Lest you think I am a saint, the last two days have proven I can be as cutting and cold as the next asshole. It's when this behaviour ticks past the 24 hour mark that Mike begins to get nervous. Usually that's when things start to turn around on their own anyway. I have far too much amazing in my life to be down for long, but this time was different.

It may have been because the kids were out of town, so I had no one to model good behaviour for and having celebrated 20 lovely married years with Michael this week..... well he's seen all the bad parts already and still likes me, so I was free to let it off the chain for a while, but it wasn't enjoyable at all. It just isn't me. In the midst of all the angry-ness I got a last minute-ish invite to one of those paint nights. You know the thing, at the bar and then you paint a picture. My default was to say no.... because you know #ShannyHatesEveryone, but I knew I really needed to say yes.

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The state of things by Paint Nite, were not much better. I may have told Mike I "wasn't fit for public consumption" at which he laughed.... nervously, and suggested maybe I should cancel. It was a highly appealing thought, but I soldiered on.

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This is my, "Oh my Gawd, I can't paint that" face.

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The other girls in our group could paint that...

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Turns out I could too!

More importantly I had a super fun and great night out with some of my favourite chicks and totally rewired my thinking. Just the break from myself that I knew I needed. Thanks so much for the invite you lovely gals!