Tuesday, July 15, 2014

short cut take two

Just to make life ridiculously easy our baby sitter also cuts hair, so when Abby was complaining about the state of her mop top yesterday morning Mike suggested she ask the sitter for a cut while she was there that day.

Neither of us were expecting this...

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Mike was a little shocked at how short she went, but she LOVES it and she has two pony tails (that kid has crazy thick hair!!) to send along to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths! Hat tip to her little sister for the inspiration.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

chips and dips

Mike and I took advantage of being child-free and off work on Monday to hit up one of the local flea markets. It's something we do from time to time. We're not usually hardcore looking for anything but we do share a fondness for retro glassware; quirky drinking glasses, interesting pop bottles, milk bottles and such. There is one thing I am always on the look out for when I'm shopping, a retro chip and dip bowl set.

A few years ago when we were hosting the "Papa Al sold his house Garage Sale" I came across a chip and dip set that had been Papa Joyce's. It was love at first sight and I rescued it from my garage before it ever saw the light of day at the garage sale. I can't tell you how long I had that bowl for, but I know it made appearances at many Jammie Movie Nights and various other parties along the way. Then, the unthinkable..... I broke it. It was 100% my own clumsy fault and I was heartbroken for several minutes, but I had enjoyed the bowl greatly for the time I had it.

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I found this on Monday while we were poking around the treasures. This is the retro chip and dip set that I used to have. The pattern on my bowl was different, mine was a  painted design applied with wide brush strokes. This set was a steal at $15, but the pattern did very little to blow my skirt up. The thing about that bowl I had is I loved it because it was beautiful, the fact that it was also Papa Joye's was total icing on the cake, so while I am in fact looking for a replacement I'm not going to settle for just anything.

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My bowl was more in line with this style and if you notice this booth wanted $32 just for the chip bowl. I see a lot of the chip bowls on their own, the dip bowl and the attaching piece gets lost or broken. We walked away from our visit mostly empty handed. Mike scored a glass to replace one he recently broke and a tiny wink pop bottle, which was a sentimental purchase more than anything. I almost picked up a Bar Mitzvah trophy... which I don't even understand. Did Benjamin win his Bar Mitzvah? But no chip and dip set and so the hunt continues.

Do you flea market or garage sale? Any special collectables you're looking for?

Saturday, July 05, 2014

social media

It's no secret that I enjoy many different forms of social media, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that helping my girls navigate growing up with it is concerning.Twelve years ago when they put that little pink bundle in my arms social media wasn't even a thing... at least not in the broad sense it is today. Obviously I personally feel these sorts of platforms have value... there are many fantastic people I've had the opportunity to meet and get better acquainted with via social media. I've worked on some very excellent projects that have relied heavily on social media.Without question this whole adventure has been a huge learning experience for me and I have the benefit of several decades of life under my belt.

And so here we are.... I have girls who have never grown up with social media before and they have a Mom who's never raised kids with social media. As wonderful as I may think many of those platforms are..... I realize they can become dangerous tools if not handled correctly. It's enough to keep me up at night if I'm being honest, and we're learning together the girls and I. Thus far we've dipped our toes into instagram, facebook and texting. I'm probably lucky that so far she has only a passing interest in any of them. She'll pop up every now and then with a few clicks to like a picture or three and maybe a one word comment if you're lucky then she's gone again for several weeks.

I am that Mom though. I have her passwords and I routinely check her accounts and messages. Last week when a little brouhaha began stirring via text message the three of us (Mike included) looked at each other... now what. It's easy for the Mama Bear to get all riled up when your cubs are being "threatened" in any measure no matter how small, but that's not always the best way to handle it. My first instinct was to coach her on how to handle the issue herself and she appreciated it, even if it did very little to shut the issue down. In fact the issue escalated a little bit and she was both upset and perplexed as to why this was even happening. At that point we decided to step in, I messaged back identifying myself, asking that the messages stop at that point and suggesting that any further problems should probably handled between the child's Mom and I. The messages from all fronts stopped immediately and an apology was offered shortly there after.

Did I handle it correctly? Who's to say? I mean I achieved the desired end result, but only time will tell if it did more harm then good. To be fair, I have to assume that the messagers had no idea the full extent of what they were doing. I'm sure if you suggested that it smacked of bullying they would be shocked.... or at least I hope that to be true. On the receiving end it was an opportunity to have a long talk about how not to behave and how quickly these sorts of applications can go from fun to not so fun. She also seems to have gotten over the whole incident, which really only amounted to a morning wasted, a lot quicker and easier than I have, but that's because my fear is this is only just the beginning and I only hope we can manage to get them both through to their adulthood relatively unscathed. In the grand scheme of things this was a relatively minor skirmish, but it was certainly enough of an eye opener for all of us.

Do you have tweens and/or teens? How are you handling their social media use?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

play ball

Yesterday Mike and I had the extreme pleasure of being guests of the Down Syndrome Association of Hamilton in the Community Clubhouse at the Blue Jays game. The DSAH had been selling tickets to yesterday's game as a new fundraiser for them. In addition to use of the Jays Care Community Clubhouse, one of their members.... the now world famous I'm sure..... Cowboy Dave got to throw out the first pitch.

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If I had to sum up the day in one word...... Wow. Just wow!

The whole day was just an incredible experience and Mike and I thank the DSAH for having us along. Specifically we are thankful for our wonderful friends John and Tracy. Tracy and I have known each other for close to twenty years, we met at work and a transfer separated us for a long while, but the past few years have found us back together. I met John through Tracy and the moment I met him I liked him instantly he's just one of those guys, you know. Working with Tracy I had a front row seat as they expanded their family to include serious little Natalie and Rockstar Ryan, who followed along shortly there after.

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Rockstar Ryan is the push behind John and Tracy's involvement with the DSAH. Ryan was born with Down Syndrome and while that may have been unexpected John and Tracy didn't miss a beat. I know it couldn't have been half as easy as they made it look, but they certainly jumped right into being the best parents and advocates they could be for their son. While Ryan may have brought them to the organization now that they're there they feel an obligation to put forth their best effort for all of DSAH's members and that's the kind of thinking and dedication that inspires me.

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I'd like to talk for a moment about our experience being in the Jays Care Community Clubhouse. First the staff. Absolutely top notch. They were pleasant, courteous and engaged with our entire group. The Jays organization have much to be proud of there. Now as a baseball fan I am completely fascinated by Major League pitchers. Mike will tell you I spend most games dissecting the different pitching styles on display. Casey Janssen is a particular favourite of mine, that guy is intense when he is pitching, but despite my love of MLB pitchers Sergio Santos was not really on my radar before he walked into the box yesterday morning.

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That is Sergio Santos with a few of the DSAH members, including the now world famous Cowboy Dave there on the far right in the plaid shirt. Sergio could not have have been any more gracious with our group. He posed for pictures, signed autographs, and spent time chatting and visiting with the DSAH members and their families. Sergio wears number 21, a significant number in the Down Syndrome community. The Jays couldn't have sent a better representative to the box that day.

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Cloud nine would not have been high enough for these guys. The thirty minutes or so that Sergio spent with us yesterday morning sealed the deal, making Sergio Santos my new favourite Jays player and I think you would find a lot of the people in that room share that sentiment. Not long after he left the Jays Care Community Clubhouse he would be meeting Cowboy Dave down on the field to catch the ceremonial first pitch that Dave tossed out. Cowboy Dave of course rocked that first pitch, even if they wouldn't let him pitch from the mound... not that he didn't try to convince them... and many down at the field told him that he did a better job than Fifty Cent, not that anybody in the room was surprised by his epic performance.

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That's Cowboy Dave walking off field with Ace after rocking that first pitch. He came back up to the box to a well deserved round of applause in additions to lots of hugs and hand shakes. I feel very lucky to have been there for it. Yesterday was emotionally overwhelming for me in many ways and several times I found holding back the tears was near impossible. There is never a moment when I do not miss Ricky, but yesterday it settled into my chest like an incredibly heavy weight. I so happy to see the members of the DSAH enjoying this incredible experience, but obviously heartbroken at the opportunities that Ricky just didn't have.

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And that brings me to why were Mike and I there. Well in a word we're being wooed or courted if you will. John has been very open about his interest in having either Mike or myself or both of us join their organization. He has big dreams for the DSAH and he's looking to load their organization with "doers". I guess the word is out that we fall into that category. Mike and I have taken the invitation very seriously and it's something we've been discussing the past few days. John is a crafty recruiter because after spending the day with the fine folks from the DSAH the following conversation happening in our kitchen...

Mike: I hate to say it, but we can't not get involved now.
and before I have a chance to respond
Mike: Well actually, I don't hate to say it.

There was never any doubt and I'm fairly certain JC knew that. 

Oh yeah and the Jays won too!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

no kidding

Maya: Hey, do you know who doesn't get along?
Me: Who?
Maya: Me and cleaning. We do not get along at all!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

giddy up

On top of all the other awesome this weekend Maya competed in her first horse show.

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It was a lead line class, which means someone is leading her on her horse, but she's really keen to show, so this is a nice way for her to begin.

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The class lasted all of about 10 minutes, but of course it was the greatest bit of horse showmanship ever before seen.

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Definitely good enough to send her home with a third place ribbon and the desire for more shows! Let's do all the shows and all the classes!!

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It goes without saying that Mike and I were the proudest horsey parents there today. More importantly she was crazy proud of herself. And can we talk about her in her riding gear.... it's almost too much cute. We almost couldn't get her out of it when we got home. There is little I love better as a Mom than watching my kids finding their place, finding their love and it's so easy to see Maya has certainly found hers. I guess I better get used to hanging around the back of a horse trailer.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

the results are in

Hmmmm where to even start? My girls! My Jersey Girls and my baby girls! I love them all so much. I'm so very grateful that they choose to go this adventure with me every year. I really couldn't ask for a better team. I thank them all from the very bottom of my heart for all the fundraising, the spaghetti dinner helping and the walking. Oh boy, the walking. So much walking, but there's also hugging and laughing and hand holding and silliness and bonding.

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It's always causes me a bit of anxiety having the girls there overnight. Actually not so much Abby anymore, but Maya, for sure. I'm always relieved when she finally crashes out in the tent. She made it to about midnight and Abby was up and down a it before finally giving in for good around 2am. I think what they gain from the experience for outweighs my anxiety though. The friendships and memories they are building with the other Junior Jerseys is a wonderful thing. And they have their own laughs and jokes and silliness that's fun to see.

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But let's get down to the real nitty gritty.... I know what you're all here for! As of this moment the Jersey Girls raised $4553 for our 2014 campaign ($95,000 for the entire event). There may be a few straggler donations come in and we will gladly accept those!! Our links are conveniently located all over facebook! This year was my first year walking with my fitbit, so I have an accurate report of my walking activities for last night. During Relay I walked 53,118 steps which equals out to 35.11km, sore hips and one blister the size of Texas. Yep, I'm kind of astonished myself. Don't ever think I don't work hard for your donations y'all. Between Relay last night and the spaghetti dinner this year I donated over 76,000 steps to the Canadian Cancer Society and on behalf of the lovely people I carried on my shirt it was my extreme pleasure to do so.

Thank all of you who took the time to support The Jersey Girls this year. It was greatly appreciated by each and every one of us. Much love and warm hugs for everyone!