Tuesday, August 25, 2015

words from the fridge

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This has been the theme of the last 19 years. The secret to our success? Possibly.

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Yes, Michael and I recently celebrated our anniversary. If you know us in real life you know we aren't hung up on celebrations really. So we had no real plans for the day. Work, home, evening with the kids. Lucky for us the 13 year old and her trusty cell phone were cooking up a plan with Granny.

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A plan that included a home made anniversary banner.

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Homemade flowers.

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Breakfast for dinner because Mom likes eggs benedict for special occasions.

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And thanks to a well stocked pantry at the neighbour's.... cake too!

It was the perfect big deal/not a big deal kind of celebration. Thanks to the girls for cooking it up and Granny for helping them out. We loved it!

Thanks to Michael for making me a wife and a mom and a better person. Thanks for being the best partner in everything that a girl could ask for. Thanks for living simply, dreaming big, being grateful, giving love and laughing lots with me. Here's to the next nineteen!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

we're streaming

Have you heard the exciting news? That we recently had our bandwidth cap raised from an archaic 20 gigs, to a more reasonable 100 gigs? It's like we won the internet lottery! Of course the first thing we had to do was sign up for Netflix! So exciting to finally be one of the cool kids! It's kind of a lot of pressure though, what should I watch first. There is so much to get caught up on. Things you unlimited internet users take for granted. So after much thought and consideration I started thusly....

1. Suits! Because of course I did. That whole show could just be Harvey Spector walking around in those suits and I would be happy.... but not really because my true love is actually Donna!

2. Once Upon a Time. Pre-Netflix we'd borrow seasons of shows from the library, but if the show was popular then the wait list was long and by the time you got your hands on the next season there had likely been some sort of spoiler alert breakdown because your jerky friends assumed you'd already seen that episode. The girls and I are actually watching this together. I love that we can start an episode at our leisure. Another library issue, you need to wrap up a whole season in a week or prepare to be fined 25 cents per day it's late.

3. The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Mike is a bit of a documentary junkie. Don't get me wrong I love a good documentary too and this one about an incredibly interesting baseball team hits all the right notes.

4. House of Cards. Getting caught up on season three. Oh boy do I love Kevin Spacey even though he scares the life out of me.

5. Derek! Oh my, I don't think I made it through an episode without weeping. What an incredibly sweet series. What an incredibly sweet portrayal of Derek, by Ricky Gervais. Loved it!

What are your NetFlix favourites?

Sunday, August 09, 2015

go jays go

Just wrapping up another week of holidays here. It was the perfect combo of busy and relaxing. Due to the re-jigging of some travel plans the kids were away for a few days at the end of the week, but Mike and I occupied our selves with catching up with Shameless and hitting up a Jays game.

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Oh the Jays! How I love you, even more now that you're tearing it up! Martin has been my favourite player, but I'm not going to lie, Donaldson has been worming his way into my heart.

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In true Michael fashion we were at Roger's Centre hella early, but we did get to check out Greg Zaun and Jamie Campbell in action and we strolled through the Jays Store where Michael ix-nayed the purchase of this hat, even though the compound wife said I'd be crazy not to buy it.

It ended up being a great game to go too. We splurged on 100 level tickets, we're usually 500 level people. We were one section over from the guy who got himself ejected from the game. I'm sure he's a perfectly decent human being in his regular life, but dude made a big mistake and Joey Bats was not having it! Either was the rest of Roger's Centre. Being booed the entire walk up has got to be all kinds of not fun!

The ride home on the train, may have been the most interesting ride I've ever experienced on the Go. There was a lot of passenger communication. A lot of story sharing. Mike got a fist bump from some random dude. A spontaneous round of applause began for another passenger. You had to be there to truly appreciate the absurdness of it all.

We're hoping to squeeze in one more game, this time with the kiddos before everything gets crazy here with back to school and fair stuff. Maya is pretty desperate to see a game in person, now that she knows there's a scoreboard at the dome that will help her keep track of how many balls, strikes and outs there are. She's a pretty hysterical baseball fan, if you get the chance you should totally watch a game with her. She's the most encouraging armchair coach you ever did meet.

Friday, August 07, 2015

cellphones for the next generation

So the thirteen year old has a cell phone. Now I realize some of you out there will be saying, "yeah so, what took you so long?" and others will be saying, "seriously, thirteen? Nope, wouldn't happen in my house!" And that's fine. All of that is fine. You know yourself and your family far better than I do. So you go right ahead and rock on with your bad self.

It should be noted that the cell phone decision did not come about lightly. Nope, it's been a topic of discussion for the better part of two years, between Mike and I and just as many that included the teenager. Prior to having children of my own, I was firmly in the "They can get a cellphone when they can pay for it themselves" camp. The world and I have changed, a lot, since those days. The teenager clearly does not have any form of regular income that doesn't come out of my bank account, so yes we are footing the bill. There is an expectation that, in return, we shouldn't have to ask 500 times for her to pitch in around the house. In general she's a pretty decent kid in that regard so there was no real worries.

I think the biggest tipping point for us, was her finishing up her first year of middle school. She was involved with some things that required her to stay late at school. She also joined some clubs, made some new friends and just in general was spending more time independent of her family and close friends. We live in a rural area and there are very very few places she can walk to. Every where requires a ride, which is fine. We choose to live here, but it gave us peace of mind for her to be able to get in touch with us or another trusted adult independent of who she was out with.

Trusted adults, before she even had her pone in her hands, I had loaded her contact list with the names and phone numbers of people she could call/text if the situation ever arose. She may have memorized our home number and our cells, but what if she couldn't reach either of us? Again, just for our own peace of mind it is nice for her to have the numbers of those people. Her plan comes with free evenings/weekends, unlimited texting and enough any time minutes, no data. At this age, I feel the internet on a cell phone is a secondary function. There is wifi just about everywhere and we went for quite some time with her just having an ipod with a wifi connection and she was able to text us, but the app was only so so. It wouldn't always let me know that she had texted me.

The rules for the phone are not that much different from the ipod. I have her pass code and I do random spot checks. She texts her Dad and I the most, but she's not a heavy duty texter. She has facebook, instagram and some games on it, but she knows which apps I am not cool with. We also need to discuss apps she would like to put on her phone. I don't constantly hover over her because she's fairly trouble free and we want to afford her a certain amount of respect and privacy, but I keep myself in the mix just enough. There isn't a time she needs to hand the phone over, she's a kid that likes her sleep, so her staying up late texting her friends is not something I worry about, also see above, not a big player in the texting game.

For us, it was important, as is true with most things, to really know who and what you're dealing with. As I have mentioned many times I parent with my words, I spend a lot of time talking with my kids so I feel I have a fairly good grasp on what they can handle. I also make sure to be explicitly clear on what my expectations are and the consequences should they not be met. Reading that last sentence it sounds a little heavy handed, but I never ask for anything at an unreasonable level. The foundation to all of my expectations when it comes to my kids is be kind, be respectful, be polite and have some empathy. Not everything, everyone or every situation is going to go your way or be your cup of tea, but that is never an excuse to abandon those ideals.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

year of more update

Well we are more than half way through the Year of More! Betcha thought I forgot about it. I haven't, it's something that is still happening. Maybe not quite the way I envisioned it on January first, but I think that has been true for every year I have assigned a "theme" to.

So while I haven't been "more on top of the laundry"...... let's be honest, that one was never going to happen, as nice as it would be. There has been a lot more things that I wasn't anticipating.

More coffee dates. More Somersby. More nights that begin with... hey what are you up to tonight and end with a shared bottle of wine and laughing with friends. More wine. More water. More after dinner walks with the teenager. More Jays games. More texts about the Jays. How could there not be? The Jays are in it to win it! There's been more Netflix (was not expecting that!!) There has been more fundraising and volunteering and more fun people to do those things with. More outdoor movie nights. More dinners with friends. More skyping with the out of towners.

Can't wait to see what the second half brings!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

summer camp at the fair

My girls were recently gifted with a week of summer camp. They were given the choice between two camps, but picking the brand new Ancaster Fair Day Camp was a no brainer for many many reasons, including Revill Family bestie, ML being the camp director. So there was zero worry about whether or not the girls would have the best week ever. In related news this summer has been chock full of the "best weeks ever" with more best weeks ever on the horizon! Yep, we are doing summer right!

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So what is Ancaster Fair Camp all about? Not surprisingly they have animals! Not your average animals that most kids come in contact with, but there's a cow and goats and ducks and bunnies! Each one cuter than the last and the kids get hands on experience with them all!

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Of course there are crafts. What self respecting summer camp doesn't have crafts. These crafts are special though, the kids can enter these crafts into the Ancaster Fair in September!

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The girls came home with a stack of cute crafts with the entry tags already filled out! They can't wait to enter them. The kids got to spend time baking, playing, and learning camp songs all the while "earning their buttons".

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By all reports my girls were game to try everything, they were friendly, respectful, they made new friends and as I mentioned, had the best week ever!

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There was time spent with community heroes. Firefighters that let the kids have a try at working the fire hose. This picture just kills me. That's Maya back in the group, arms in the air cheering on one of the camp counselors. 

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They had set up a pylon and the kids were trying successfully knock it over using the hose.

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Looks like it was difficult business.

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They wrapped a week of amazingly fun experiences with an animal parade and a trip to Ripley's Aquarium.

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I am so incredibly grateful that my girls had the opportunity to attend not just a week of camp, but a week of camp put together by one of my very best friends. I have been an ear (and a hug) for her since this project was suggested. I have watched and listened to her put this whole thing together piece by piece for the past few months and it amazing. Every bit of it screams ML and trust me when I tell you, that is a good thing. I knew when she told me about this that it was going to be something great, but the reality has far outweighed my expectations. I am so proud of that chick!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

random bits

Mike and I finally wrapped up the final season of Sons of Anarchy. Yep, we are late to every cool party. No spoilers, but I was satisfied with the way the series closed out. I miss Nero and his old man cardigans already!

Big news our internet package improved greatly a few weeks ago, so I set us up with Netflix. We can't go crazy with it, but it's super great to be able to catch up on all the cool shows everyone else is watching like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Once Upon a Time, The Unstoppable Kimmy Schmidt and Suits!

Derek is where we landed first. Mike and I are both huge Ricky Gervais fans, so it was kind of a no brainer. Derek is unlike anything else I have ever seen him do. It is incredibly sweet and each episode has been near tears. 

Is it just me or does this summer seem like it's just racing along?

Abby has braces. Maya is on the verge of finally losing a tooth. It's been a big summer so far.