Saturday, December 26, 2015

Plans for 2016

Early last year I joined a group on Facebook called 40 bags in 40 days. This group is meant to help you clean up your house and get rid of 40 bags of garbage or donations in 40 days. 

The woman who started this group did it because she had 2 family members and a close friend pass away and after having to go through all of their things she realize she didn't want her family to do the same for her.

 I like the idea of putting into practice a lot harder than you think. I try to do a few bags every day or every week or every month, but it's not working so well.

Arnold and I have decided to put this into practice this year. We will be going to the house and cleaning up anything and everything we find. This means going through storage unit and taking a hard look at what we own and what we want to keep.

I came up with a plan to go through one section of the house each month take a hard look at everything and clean it up. This won't be as easy as it sounds but we should be able to get it done.

Here's to getting decluttered and organized this year!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Advent Days #11 & 12 - Justice & Awake

Yesterday and today are being put together.  I can't figure out what to put in for Justice.  I'm thinking I will work on it for the next few weeks.  What we did yesterday was go to The Phantom of the Opera!  It was incredible!  I love it so much!

Today is "Awake".  And lets just face it, I'm trying so hard to be awake.  I just about fell asleep at school!  It was amazing!  I'm so lucky we got to go!  Now back to Christmas!  15 more days until Christmas

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Advent Day #10 - Free


Free to do what we want.

Free to believe what we want and in who or what we want.


For me, free means a free morning!

While I was at school this morning, nothing pressing was happening and my kids I normally work with were doing coding with my hubby this morning for the week of code!  So I was free!

I made this:

We have a door decorating contest coming up and I make this for the staff room door!  I wanted to have a little fun!  I even got a few more doors done :) 

Sometimes it's nice to be free for a morning!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Advent Day #9 - Peace

So yesterday was "Listen".  And today is Peace.

It's surprising how those two go hand in hand. 

Today I got to enjoy some Peace at home! 

You win a prize if you can spot the dog.

Snowy and I even got to enjoy a cookie while we were peaceful!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Advent Day #8 - Listen

I'm changing it up a little.

I did some great listening today!  We had our church choir sing.  It was awesome!

One of the cool parts was watching my oldest son find a carol in the hymnal.  He had never done that before.  He was surprised how it worked and I'm proud of him for trying it out.

Listening is sometimes hard.  Not just hard but incredibly difficult.  We can hear just fine, well generally.  It's the listening to what is happening.

Thankfully we got some great time to listen on Sunday!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Advent Day #7 - Wisdom

As my son always saying to me "you learn something new every day".  Today I learned that after making a million cookies my tummy was done and my hands were done and I was done.  However... in my wisdom... I knew that I could still EAT the cookies!

I'm pretty sure that's not what he was talking about.

Each morning for the past 7 days I've been doing a Christmas Carols Devotional through my Bible App.  I love it!  This Devotional is so cool. 

I love the other ones I have done as well but this one is awesome!

For anyone who doesn't know me, Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year.  I love the decorations, the feelings behind Christmas, the reason for the Season = Jesus's Birthday!!, and most of all the songs. 

I love singing them.

Sometimes I swear my voice was for OLD music, not the new music that was done.

I sing carols at the top of my lungs when everyone is out of the house.  It's just something I do.  If you ever walk by my house, or the classroom I work in I'm singing at the top of my lungs most of the time!

This brings me to my picture.  I love the devotionals.  I love the songs, and I love that this devotional gives me a little bit more wisdom about the carols, and about my life.

As a side note... I gained a little more wisdom about how to screenshot without having a power button! 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Advent Day #6 - Comfort

Comfort.  Comfort and Joy!

Today, was a crazy day for me.  But I did get a bit of comfort.  My comfort today was popcorn!  I love popcorn!  Seriously love popcorn!

Today, we popped over 200 bags of popcorn for our movie night at school.  I got to enjoy a bit of comfort.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Advent Day #5 - Open

Aside from gifts, one of my favourite things to open is cards!  I love opening cards, any time of year.  Christmas is my favourite!

I love the sparkles.

I love the glitter.

I love the way the cards light up the space.

I love how people hang them in their houses.

I love how they are part of the decorations in my families living room.

I love Christmas Cards!

But really, opening cards is awesome!  It's great to remember all those people who love you enough to send a card!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Advent Day #4 - Journey

Todays theme was "Journey".

When I was younger I used to love when our stained glass nativity screen would travel around our house.  We have had Mary and Joseph in the bathroom, in a home built out of Lego and much more crazy adventures.

It's my turn to do this with my kids.  They are beginning to understand how a journey moves and the distance that had to be traveled for Mary and Joseph.  Right now, our journey has begun in our kitchen.  Mary, Joseph and their donkey are in our kitchen window and are slowly traveling around the house.

To go along with my window writing I've been doing, we have quoted Luke 2:1-4 on our kitchen window.  What a journey these two took years ago. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent Day #3 - Wait

I don't know about you but I hate waiting!  I might seem like I'm ok with it but I'm really not ok with waiting.
Waiting is hard.  Like, really hard!  You know something is coming.  You sometimes know the outcome.  And yet, you still have to wait for that time for it to happen.
At Christmas, we are reminded of when Jesus came to earth.  When He was born.  And now we are waiting for Him to come back.  I'm not very good at waiting for these sorts of things.
My boys have a different kind of waiting... for them, it's their countdown to Christmas.  They are waiting for the day that we exchange gifts under the tree.
The boys are also waiting for each morning when they are allowed to eat one of their candies from their countdowns. 
Each morning the boys have gotten out of bed, had breakfast and gotten changed super fast so they can enjoy their treat.
Yes, we did start early, but we are actually counting down until we visit Nana and Papa more than when we have Christmas.
So for my photo today, it's wait... the boys have to wait for Christmas:

Monday, November 30, 2015

Day #2 - Prepare


How do you prepare for Christmas?

We start with buying a Christmas tree and setting it up.  We get it decorated when we can and enjoy.

We go shopping and get gifts.  I watch Christmas movies and wrap the gifts.  I love it.

The boys count down with their advent calendars and get more and more excited.

We love preparing for Christmas.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent photo-a-day Day #1

A while ago a friend of mine posted something about an advent photo-a-day challenge.  I love it!

Today the picture was to be about Hope.

We talked about hope in church today.  About having advent hope. 

My advent hope is that Jesus has seen the end and there is a house with many rooms for me!

Friday, November 27, 2015

And slowly it's not memorable.....

It's that time of year again.  Where I try to stay as busy as possible and not think about anything. 

And I do mean anything!

About 3 years ago, to the hour, we were told that our son's heart had stopped beating.  They said our baby was dead. 

Want to know the first thing out of my mouth?

Thank God!

Followed by tears. 

These are the kind of tears that never stop. 

That ultrasound was the hardest thing in the world.  We were trying to make the choice between continuing the pregnancy and possibly having more serious health risks, or ending our child's life so that I could recover. 

After that ultrasound, Arnold and I went back to the hospital room and cried.  We cried and cried and cried.  The tears didn't stop until hours after.

The hospital worked fast.  We went to the delivery rooms and began to be induced.  I got to shower and eat before our labour began.

Was it crazy for me to thank God?  No. 

I thank God that He was able to make the choice for Arnold and I.  I could never, ever choose between my life and my child's.  And Arnold knew that, my parents knew that, and they all knew what that would mean.

Eventually it would mean brain damage and death.

I still cry when I think about Otis.  I was talking to a friend at school the other day and I teared up.  I try not to break down.

Every year it gets easier.  Last year I was crying in the hallway all morning with a good friend of mine.  This year... I've made it through the day with only a few tears.

While this day, or even this weekend, doesn't mean a lot to people.  It does to me.  My friends have slowly forgotten about our son, but I know I haven't.  

And it's ok.  Totally ok.  Not everyone has to remember everything.  Just remember it's hard for me and my family.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Christmas List

I've been asked lately what is on my Christmas list.  And I have to say... I'm not sure! 

How sad is that?

I'm not sure what I want.  I've always thought Christmas was more of a "want" holiday.  But lately it has become a need.  Which, don't get me wrong, is wonderful!  But sometimes a "want" is funer than a "need".

I recently joined a group online called "40 bags in 40 days".  It was created by a woman in the USA who had lost her best friend and a parent within a few days.  After realizing how much stuff there was to go through for them she never wanted that to happen to her family when she passed on.

I've been following the group and getting incredible inspiration.  Last night, someone posted on the group:

"This year for Christmas I don't want stuff.  I want time."

She didn't want time to herself (but hey, that could be nice!), she wanted time with her grandkids.  She wanted time to get things in order.  And mostly she didn't want more "stuff" in her house!

I kind of understand.  I want to get stuff and time!

If I could find my perfect Christmas list it would be:

My mom, at my house, for 3-5 days.  During these days we would drop the boys off at school then attack a room or 2.  We would take everything out of the room.  Decide if it was worth keeping, donating or trashing.  Then repaint/touch up or do any minor repairs.  And put the room back together.  I'd go to work at lunch (for a break!) while my mom slept.  Then back home to do more work on the room(s).

My dad, breakfast date!  I would love to go out with my daddy and spend some time with him.  While is cancer is getting better, it is still a reminder that we have to spend time together when we can.  And I'd love a date day/meal with my daddy.

My brother, babysitting for a weekend!  So I could get away with my hubby.  We haven't done that in a while, and after spending time together this past weekend I realized we need more of it.

My kids - I'd take anything they give me!  Stuff or time!

My Mom and Dad in law, visiting!!  We love spending time with Arnold's side of the family.  If it is just going to visit them in Alberta, or spending some time at a vacation home or anything!  But we would love for them to come and visit us here in Toronto again.  We haven't been able to show them the house!  Arnold has said out loud more than once that he would love to show his Dad what he has done.  Mind you our house is small so I'm not so sure how visiting would really work!  Unless they borrowed and RV and stayed in the driveway (warmer weather) or a hotel nearby.

***Now please, if you are reading this and are listed above, do not feel like this is what I have to have, or anytime soon.  It's just something I'd love to see happen!

And yes, I'll still take gift cards for home depot :)  We have a second level, basement and a backyard to think about!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015


In my household ES days stand for "Emergency Supply".  These are the days when I get called into work.  Not just my normal work (FDK LRS) but some sort of emergency work. 
Today was my emergency supply for a SNA (Special Needs Assistant).  It was wonderful!  I worked with my best little man.  He and I have worked together before and I had a blast. 
It was fun to check out other things going on in the school.  We had music class together.
I do miss music class!!  But we had a blast.  This little dude had an amazing time and is fantastic at dancing!!
SNA isn't the only thing I supply for.  I've been an ECE, Teacher and EA!  I live each of those jobs too!!
But these days make my days crazy busy!  I always feel like this is much harder on me and the family.  It takes alot out of me and I get grumpy sometimes.
Thankfully my boys understand and my kids enjoy is having a bit of extra money :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

So Proud!

Every once and a while (or more than that) my kids make me so proud I want to share it with the world.

Sometimes it is after a long week of struggling to get them to study their spelling words and they get 9/10.

Other times it is when they finally remember to bring home all their homework every day that week (the struggle is real in this house ladies and gents).

And still others are when our children come home with an honour.

This week Quinton came home with an extra piece of paper in his backpack.  It was a story, or part of a story, highlighted about the poppy and the wars that Canada has been in.

He has been working so hard on learning this and being able to say it in front of people.

While he tells me he is "shy" I know it's not true.  This little man is going to be amazing.

So on November the 11th at 11am while everyone is taking 2 minutes to remember those who have fallen and what they have done for us, please think of Quinton.  Send him a little love!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Sometimes I ask myself if I'm prepared.  Prepared for life.  Prepared for school.  Prepared for my children's lives.  Prepared for dinner.  Prepared for anything...
I am a big planner so sometimes I am prepared.  Other times I'm totally not ready. 
I've had a few weeks lately when I've been unprepared.  School seems to do that to me.  Thankfully I'm generally ready for school!
We have finally planned our monthly meals and got our lives in order! 
I got things in order for parent council stuff.  It takes me a while to get things prepared but it is now!  Which helps me out alot!!
I don't know about you but sometimes being prepared for life makes things a little easier :-)

Monday, November 2, 2015

It's just the beginning

Today was totally a Monday.

You know those Mondays when you feel like everything is going well, you are finally on the ball and then things start dropping away.

That was today. 

I had bags ready to go to school.  My tote was filled, I had 2 more bags and I was ready to go!

We got to school and I walked around and delivered all of my things to other people and slowly I got more done.  Then.... things went a little crazy.  The ECE in the room I work in was a little late this morning so I was trying to get things going in that room.   Just as things were getting in order our ECE showed up and I backed off to my "Parent Volunteer" role.

Then I forgot to go and check on a class that asked for help in the AM, and I blanked on getting a few things done. 

At lunch, one of my kids with an allergy ended up sitting beside a kid who brought something the first kid was allergic too.  Quick move and disinfectant on everything and we were back in the game.

Outside my kids have clued in about a certain student who is always getting in trouble.  And now they blame everything on him.  Today was just the beginning of "he took my shovel", but when I said I would watch them to see what happen again the kid said "oh, then never mind".

After lunch I got home and my dog was all wet from panting.  I don't know what to do about him.

Shortly after... I realized I forgot my new water bottle at school.

So getting ready for the gym was a bit of a challenge. 

And at the gym my besty's son called from school to go home so gym time was cut short ( family ALWAYS comes first!).

Supper I didn't have all the ingredients for, and picking up the kids seemed to be a bit crazy.

It was just one of those days.  It's the beginning of a week and so becomes a bit crazy.... but it's just the beginning

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Still Around...

It's been a long few months. 

We are trucking along here at our house.  Things are just crazy!

This month I'm challenging myself to write more.  There is this thing out there called NaNoWriMo.  It stands for National Novel Writers Month.

It's meant for people who want to write a novel.  Me.. no way!  I'm not writing a novel at all!  You are to try and write about 1,665 words or so per day.  My challenge... writing each day, not even that many words :)

So will we get there?  Who knows!  But here's to day 1 :)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I love fall!

Fall is one of my favourite seasons.  I'm not sure why. 

It could be because I don't have to wear shorts anymore (they really aren't my favourite thing to wear). 

Or because I get to try out all my favourite sweaters/shrugs/coats again. 

Or maybe even because I get to enjoy those incredible colours!!

But I'm finally getting to see my first little peak of fall.

Last weekend it was chilly!  VERY chilly.

We broke out the mugs and started to enjoy some hot chocolate with whipping cream.  In fact I had a wonderful snuggle down afternoon of hot chocolate with whipping cream, popcorn and a wonderful book!

Today, as the wind blew out my front window I saw the leaves fall.

I love the colours.  I love the smells.  I love everything about fall.

If you are one of those people who don't love fall, so sorry!  Don't worry, summer will come again soon.

And if you are one of those people who love fall like me.... Welcome to your favourite season!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What did we do before cell phones?

We are camping this week with my parents.  The kids and I have loved every minute of it!  After a week at Nana and Papa's hanging out, then a week for Kyler at FCC with Amber and a week for Q and Lisa to hang out with Nana and Papa it was a good change.

The boys and I are in our "12 man tent" and the girls are with Nana and Papa in the rv.  Its been alot of fun.  We have had craft time, two libraries were built in the RV complete with sign out sheets, we have rainbow loomed, played games, played in the sand and had lots of food and campfires!

FYI Thank you Joanie for introducing my mom to "happy hour"!!

One thing I have noticed is the amount of people walking around with cell phones.  Please don't get me wrong!  I'm one of them!  But I'm surprised how many people don't look up anymore, smile at their neighbours or as how their day is going.  Now a simple run to the bathroom includes checking your phone on the way there and the way back and making sure nothing has changed.

I'm just as bad.  I'm always texting Arnold or checking up on something we feel we need to " Google ".  But I'm sure I had just as much fun, if not more, before cell phones.

Maybe next time, I need to make the time to unplug and enjoy nature. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My heart breaks...

I feel as though this post will offend some.  And guess what!  It will.  But it wasn't my plan.  Remember that this blog is somewhere for me to get out my thoughts, feelings and share news.

My heart breaks....

My heart breaks for my grandparents.  On Friday my grandfather will be moving into a nursing home for a while.  My grandma needs some time to recover from not doing so well and in order to do that she needs more help with grandpa.  It can't be easy watching your husband slowly go downhill and need more help.  Grandpa forgets more and more but the one thing he does remember is his love for grandma.

My heart breaks for my parents.  This week things changed for them.  My parents are learning the ropes of how to care for aging parents more than anything.  They are having to separate grandma and grandpa for a while and are learning to deal with the changes.  It can't be easy. I can only imagine the emotional heartache this causes for them. 

My heart breaks for my husband.  Our plans for march break are thrown out the window.  The kitchen is slowly becoming harder to do with our childcare being canceled and my hubby will have a lot to deal with.  He is also dealing with changes that, with the kitchen, seem to be causing more stress than joy tonight.

My heart breaks for Kyler.  Today will be his first ever basketball tournament.  He is so proud to have made the team and so excited to be going.  It does mean he misses a day of school! But... The minute he made the team he called his Nana and asked her to come and was so excited for her and Papa to see the games.  And now they can't come.  Last night, when we told the boys all the plans for March break were canceled he didn't cry.  He didn't seem upset.  Arnold and I did our best to 'up sell' but it didn't work.  Kyler came to me and asked if we could speak in private and when we moved to a different room he broke down into tears about not having his grandparents at the game.  He had told everyone they were coming and he was so excited to show off for them and now he was devastated.

My heart breaks for Quinton.  He has been counting down the time for his march break with my folks.  He has been telling everyone that he won't be there for pizza day because he will be with his Nana and papa.  I made the mistake a few days ago telling Q that "Jack and Sam's Nana and Papa" would be picking him up.  He heard Nana and papa would get him and he was running out the door at school so fast.  Then came back in wondering why his Nana and papa weren't there for him.  He has been so excited to see the dogs and to play with them.  And when plans went to plan b yesterday, he was super excited to go see amber and Lisa.  Now... He is so sad that its not going to happen.

And I'm sad.  Once again, I feel as though all my plans have been thrown for a loop and I'm back to square one.  It seems that when I make plans that involve my children going away I need to almost double book them into something else as things seem to get messed up.  I'm sad that I don't have the time right now to celebrate the amazing things happening in our lives because we are scrambling to clean up messes more.  And I'm sad that I feel this way.  I do realize, contrary to popular belief, that the world is not all about me.  But sometimes... It would be nice.

Sometimes, my heart just breaks.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

.... I was hoping you would change....

Those 6 words made an argument that Arnold and I were having even worse!

Remember those sayings "Can't teach an old dog new tricks?"  or "You can never change a man who is set in his ways"

Well... Arnold said this to me during an argument we were having about me needing things planned out.  He thought I would change from before we got married.

It got me thinking.

Would I change?  Would I ever be able to not have things planned out?  Would I ever be one of those people who could just jump in a car and go?


Sorry guys!  I need to plan things out.

I lose sleep over things.  Just ask the people I work with!  I started stressing over something with our kitchen and I literally was up from 2am on thinking my lights wouldn't work.  My co-worker, who is helping with the house, had to draw it out on the white board at work and tell me it would be fine. 

Yes, I'm a freak.

I know!

I need to have things organized, and put in it's place.  It may not be a place you know about but it's a place I know about.  I can tell you where almost any paperwork is in my house.  It may not be in the proper bins and the proper labels but I know where it is.

Do you really hope people will change? 

Sometimes we pretend. 

Sometimes we pretend it's just something we would like to encourage the person to "grow" in that direction.  We may want our children to "grow" and become more responsible.  If it happens YEAH!  if it doesn't... well yeah.

Sometimes we pretend that character flaw is what we love about them.  While I may need to have everything planned out and ordered and ready to go, it comes in handy sometimes!  I am great when it comes to packing for big trips, or getting money organized and budgeting.  I'm wonderful at that.  But making sure child care is figured out before we go on a date (and I mean like 2 days before) makes me mad that it's not done. 

I remember shortly after we lost Otis, we went on a date.  Arnold and I weren't more than 1 km from the house and I flipped out "Why do I have to plan everything!"

And see that?

Right there...

That was when I wanted him to change.

Will he?  No

Will he learn from that?  maybe!

Will I still love him even if he never changes?  ABSOLUTLY!

And that is the most important thing.  I may not change.  We have been married for almost 11 years now and I will not change.  And thank the Lord, Arnold won't change either.  I love him for all he is.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Perfect Valentines Day!

I remember trying to preplan what my future spouse would do for Valentines day.  It was always something huge.

When I was in high school it was something along the lines of: dinner and shopping in London, and some sort of show.

When I was in university it was something along the lines of: dinner and a limo ride to an opera/theater (I liked to pretend that I was super cultured, hehe)

When I was first married it was something along the lines of: dinner, drinking, night "on the town"

When I first had kids it was something along the lines of: find a sitter, have a nice quiet dinner and go home to a house where the babies were sleeping.

When my kids got older it was something along the lines of:  find someone to take my kids for the day, do a breakfast/lunch out and get some shopping done (the kind that is easier without children) and then bring home supper and enjoy at home.  Kids come home before bed.

Now, it's different

Now I love it when the whole family spends time together, however I don't want to cook!  I hate cooking on days I can have off.

I love spending time with the boys.  Having a games day or just hanging out in the same home.  It's great to have nice quiet days at home.

This year hubby didn't do much.  Last year I had flowers and treats from all the boys.  This year we were in Sarnia and it was a bit harder to get things going.  Arnold did buy me beautiful roses this year.
Arnold also bought the kids a special treat.  It's nice to see the example of the man giving things (not that it should always be that way).  The girls each got a chocolate rose and the boys got smarties hearts that they shared with the girls.   Trust me they all had chocolate on their faces!
We really had a great day, and even a fondue!
Next week Friday Arnold and I are thinking about doing our own Valentine's Day.  We have some gift cards for The Keg and we are trying to get a babysitter.  I'm excited to get the chance to get dressed up and go out.  It should be good.  It's nice to have time to go out.
But for now there is no perfect valentine's day.  Every year just seems to be perfect for that day.
Did you have the perfect valentine's day?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The "Other Mother"

When I was a little girl I remember getting the most devastating news of my life (at the time), my eyes weren't shaped right and I couldn't get contacts.


4 eyes forever.

What a disappointment. 

What heartbreak

I totally remember sitting on the front porch of our house on Glady's Street.  It was a wonderful picket fence, nice and white and beautiful.  There was this little gate for you to come into and sit down.  My parents had put chairs in the front with a little table. 

I had finished school for the day.  It was a rough day, but on the bonus side I wasn't bullied that day on the way home.  Things seemed to be looking up.  It was exciting for me.  I was going to hear when my appointment was for my contacts so I could look just the same as everyone else.

I skipped across the front yard and opened the gate and sat down with my mom.  I must have looked so excited because she immediately said "Hunny, I have some bad news"..

And then things went downhill.

I cried.  And cried... and cried.

Just as I was sure my life was completely over, a blue Volvo pulled into our driveway after being waved down by my mom.  Mom's best friend, Joanie, came over to see what was wrong.  My mom said to her "Mandy needs her other mother right now.  She was just told she can't have contacts".

Joanie did her "awe baby!  we can get you some awesome glasses!"  and pulled me into a huge hug and let me cry.

That's not the only time I've had my other mother come and help me. 

When Otis died I called her and she walked away from her company and cried with me on the phone.  I was having one of those "I can do anything" moments.  You know... after a loss, you never have those moments without breaking down.  And Joanie was the one person who I knew I could call and she would understand.

Sometimes I feel that the "Other Mother" is something every child should have.

My kids do!

My kids met their "Other Mother" when we moved to this area.  Q was 2 and K was 4.  Arnold would take the boys to the park and come back talking about the adults there... and some chick named Lori "who had boys around our kids ages".  Little did I realize how she would become a big part of our lives!

When the boys were 4 and 6 we were moving into the school system with both boys.  I could see them at school and slowly got to visit with the moms out there after school and I got to know Lori more.  Ever since then she has become a regular part of our lives and family.

Lori and Gabe have 2 boys, Jack and Sam, and they are my children's basic best friends, if not "brothers from another mother".  They hang out, fight, play, and enjoy their time together a lot now. Every day after school Lori makes sure the boys get home while I get my home ready for the evening.

Earlier this week was my prime example of the "Other Mother".

Kyler and his friends built a huge fort.  The kids were given a warning, over the announcements, to leave each others forts alone.   After school, Lori was picking up my boys and her son found Kyler in a corner crying.  From what I understand some of the bigger kids felt it was their job to "make sure the fort was 100% secure" and they kicked it down and threw a lot of the snow chunks into the puddles so they melted.  Kyler's job was to protect the fort afterschool and he blew it.  He was devastated.

Lori ended up taking him into the office, along with some other kids who had seen what happen, and they left a list of names of who had destroyed someone else's fort.

On the way home from school Lori told my boys they were more than welcome to come over to their house for a bit and make a new snow fort in the backyard.  My boys jumped at the chance.  Kyler even told me through his tears that "Lori knew how to make it all better".

I have to admit I did cry a little when they went to her house.  She knew how to make it better right away.

My boys came back after a little while and were so happy.  They got to play with snow dye and had a great time.

As my son says when you ask him "Who loves you?"  "Lori does!"

And I'm perfectly ok with Lori being my children's "Other Mother"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Perfect View

Have you ever looked out on your back yard or down your street right after a beautiful snowfall?  Everything looks just perfect!

I will always remember driving to band practice one early morning when I was in High School.  The snow had just fallen on Lakeshore road and it was beautiful.  I even stopped the car and got out and looked.  I had always wished I had a camera with me that day.  Just to see the perfect white covered roads.

Sometimes I even get that look in our own backyard.  The snow is just beautiful.  It covers the dead grass, the over grown bushes, the kids slide and swings, the fence and makes the whole world look so wonderful.

And then....

And then something happens.

Nothing big, nothing so horrible, but just enough to mess with my perfect view.

And yet, somehow it makes it even more beautiful!

My kids play in the backyard.  They run around leaving tracks all over the place.  Then run around until they fall down laughing.  Then jump off the picnic table and giggle the whole time.  The boys throw snowballs at each other, at the back fence, at anything they can.  The run all over and make a huge mess!

At first my heart fell.  My perfect view out the back yard.  The view that I admired every morning and night was totally destroyed.  There was no beautiful landscape.  No freshly fallen snow. 

Now it was just trampled all over.

And yet, somehow it makes it look even more beautiful.

It reminds me of my babies when I look out there now. 

How much fun they have even in those few minutes after school.  How their backyard is even still an adventure. And how much I love them for being so much like me.

While My Perfect View may not be the crisp clean backyard in the snow, it is totally my family!

**If you visit my house please apply this to my home.... cleaning up when you have children is like shoveling snow in a snowstorm!**

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fun times!

We got a nice dump of snow this weekend.  Nothing crazy but it was a good snow storm. 
I will fully admit I miss the crazy times I had when I was little.  I remember shoveling the snow and it being hip height.  It took hours and many many rotations of my mom, dad, sister and I.  It was so fun to make caves and tunnels.
Now you can't.
There are so many real fears now.  A tunnel could cave in.  A cave could be driven over or someone could jump on you while you are under the snow.
Thankfully there are a few safe places for my children.  Arnold and I love having the boys explore our yard.  It is fantastic.  We now have tunnels and caves and oh so much more in our yard.
I try to make things fun for my boys... Even if I'm not playing outside with my boys.  This week we did snowy ice cream!!  It was such a hit!
It was 1/3 cup of whipping cream.  A cap of vanilla. Two big scoops of sugar.
Then wisk!!
Pour it over about 6 cups of snow and mix. 
I had so much fun so I did make it for the kids at school.  They loved it!
Anyway... That's how I have snowy fun!

Friday, February 6, 2015

What I've Learned in the past 100 days of school

1 - I love each and every one of my 30 something kids!
2 - There are so many boys in my class
3 - I have finally (and I do mean like this week) realized that I have 8 A names and 7 S names (makes doing paper work easier)
4 - Most of my kids know their ABC's now
5 - Sometimes they can add
6 - I love reading to them
7 - I can finally get down some "cool" voices when reading
8 - I miss the afternoon routines
9 - Some of my kids have learned so much in the past 100 days and they are ready for grade 1
10 - Kindy chairs are very small, no matter how long it has been since I sat in one.

11 - K loves being in school, most of the time
12 - K can not be organized at all.
13 - We have organized his desk at least 4 times this year
14 - K loves gym
15 - K is the "supply teacher" for coding on Wednesdays
16 - He is doing swimming lessons with his class
17 - He is finally wearing his snowpants outside (might have to do with the fact that they can't play on the snow hill without them!)
18 - K may not like studying but is doing well at it.
19 - K has done great on most of his tests, but forgets to bring them home a lot!
20 - K is doing well with coming home on his own from school

21 - I love winter but I'm not sure about all this snow
22 - I'm always surprised how much fun the kids have in the snow
23 - I'm slightly grossed out about the kids eating snow... even though I did it when I was younger
24 - The kids love to play with the snow on the wall and "draw" pictures
25 - I love the reaction that kids give when they finally get something... like snow angles
26 - Every time it snows I hear in my head "If all the snow flakes were candy bars and milk shakes oh what a snow that would be...."
27 - Some children need to learn to dress faster!
28 - I think it's great how fast the kids get into a routine (ABC's or 123's at the gate)
29 - Sometimes I'm happy it's too cold out and we get to play longer
30 - I love the staff I work with outside!  They are amazing!

31 - My kids are great at learning songs to sing for the Holiday Concert
32 - They are good at colouring their monthly pictures
33 - Some of them have finally learned what their names look like
34 - I love how the children grow each and every day
35 - the kids had cute costumes for the concert
36 - We practice a lot of our poems or songs outside at lunch
37 - I like learning the songs along with the kids
38 - The kids love learning about new things, Hanukkah, Christmas, etc.
39 - I'm surprised how many kids had never seen a Christmas Tree
40 - The kids love Dance Parties!

41 - November is the best "down month" we have had so far
42 - We had I've never read so many "winter" themed books
43 - The sand box can easily be changed to a "wood pelt" box.
44 - Children can have fun with just boxes
45 - I love that things become "new" when the boxes go away ever few weeks and come back
46 - This year, the children can't seem to keep toys in the right boxes
47 - Straws are the coolest thing to Kindy's
48 - There are more books for American Thanksgiving than Canadian Thanksgiving
49 - Halloween is so much fun with the kids
50 - Almost everyone wears costumes, or bring extra costumes

51 - Some of our parents are amazing!
52 - Kids love the snow table
53 - I'm never surprised and how much the kids forget after a long weekend
54 - First report cards for the SK's are such an exciting time
55 - It's always interesting seeing how the kids are doing in their review
56 - Some kids are great with "homework"
57 - Library is one of my favourite times, even if I don't go
58 - Every once and a while the kids have it all together!
59 - Every once and a while the parents have it all together :)
60 - Once a month I need to empty the mailers from some of the kids.

61 - Q thinks his class is the best ever!
62 - He loves all his classes all the time
63 - I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop with him
64 - Q is reading more and more books every day, and he keeps going
65 - Q is very excited about what he will be learning in the next few grades.
66 - He is doing really well in swimming lessons
67 - Q loves his after school Cooking Club and Basketball
68 - Q has a great teacher
69 - He loves his Chess club he joined at school with Mr. V
70 - Q is in that "perfect age" that he can still give me kisses and hugs at school

71 - The people I work with are generally AWESOME!
72 - It's always surprising how many of them are overworked
73 - There are a lot of stupid things happening in schools and most people don't know it
74 - Some people lead the school and others drag their feet
75 - It's been over a year since I fell and I still cling to the banisters while going down the stairs
76 - There are a lot of stairs in the school!!
77 - The photocopier is one of those things that can like you or dislike you... most of the time it dislikes me
78 - After seeing classroom budgets and learning how much paper costs I'm always careful on how much wasted paper I have
79 - I love talking with the other staff
80 - My favourite time in school has to be the couple days before school starts (I realized the don't count for 100 days but still!)

81 - The first day of school is always a scary one
82 - At least the crying stops :)
83 - Kids grow!  More shoes are needed!
84 - Days 1-5 drive me crazy!  I never remember what days we are on!
85 - The new layout of the classroom still confuse me but it looks amazing!
86 - Reading with the SK's is one of those amazing things
87 - I can officially stuff the "I can read" and "Alphabet book" in less than 20 minutes
88 - Blocks are the favourite thing in our classroom right now
89 - We are very lucky to have a great art ECE and the kids are really enjoying it
90 - I love doing bulletin boards.. shh don't tell anyone :)

91 - Our school has growing pains but it is one amazing place to be
92 - The kids that eat healthy lunches are my favourite!
93 - I've dealt with lots of accidents this year (for the first 15 days of school we had more accidents than school days)
94 - Puke is where I cross the lines and remind myself I'm a volunteer
95 - I still don't want to go back and get my ECE... I want to be a volunteer for as long as I can
96 - I'm very blessed to be working at the school for lunches.
97 - Some days I love being at school more than being at home
98 - I love themed reading books (currently working with 100's day books and V-day books)
99 - Sometimes you find something that works in the classroom and sometimes you don't
100 - This school/class is the best place ever :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Dearest Otis, 2 years later

My Dearest Otis,

Today marks 2 years since we lay you to rest.  While I think about you often the days are getting further between.  Some mornings I wake up and don't remember what you look like.  And that scares me.

My Dearest Otis,

Your brothers miss you more than I ever thought.  Your brothers think about you a lot and think about you often.  Every once and a while I get this little "What do you think we would be doing with Otis now?"  or "How old would he be?  Would he be in school yet?  Could he walk?"  and sometimes "I wish I could snuggle him".

My Dearest Otis,

Life has changed so much over these past 2 years that all my plans I had for you in our lives seem to never have been able to fit.  Your time with us was so short and so precious and had such an effect on us.

My Dearest Otis,

You were buried with a little angel bear and a white lily in honour of your sibling, Baby Casey.  I trust that you two are having the most amazing time in Heaven.  I envy the time you get to spend together.

My Dearest Otis,

I still cry when I hear your name.  Sometimes it's not so bad, other times its a full break down. Sometimes it's a few tears and other times it's a headache of memories.

My Dearest Otis,

The past few months I've gotten rid of a lot of the baby items I had for you.  For some reason I had held onto every thing I had just incase.  Just incase why?  I have no idea, but I do know they were meant for you.

My Dearest Otis,

I dreamt of you.  I dreamt you were 2 almost 3.  You were walking and talking and playing with toy cars.  You were such a snuggle bug and I spent most of my time watching you and holding you.  You smiled so much and I woke up in tears.  Oh my dearest Otis.  I miss you.

My Dearest Otis,

I miss you more than words and I can't wait to see you in heaven.

Friday, January 30, 2015

'Cuse me Dr.... Grow the hell up!

A few day ago I read an article online about a Doctor of Family Medicine.  He had contacted a new place after receiving a letter home from school.  The letter said something along the lines of :

Dr and Mrs XXXX

The cafeteria reported to me that your child's lunch today included 4 chocolate bars, a bag of marshmallows, ritz crackers, and a pickle.  Please see that XXX packs a proper lunch tomorrow

Supply teacher

Parents Signature Requested:


The Dr was totally pissed off that he got this letter and said that "the letter was the judgmental tone it struck, leaving him in no doubt his parenting skills were under question." 

SERIOUSLY!!!  Grow the hell up!

I do realize that he has said that the letter was wrong and his child did have a healthy lunch, but DUDE  Get over yourself.

I've never really had this sort of passion about most articles before but this one just urked me to no end.

Lets say this was your child's lunch.  So getting that reminder could be a good thing.  It's a way of the school saying "hey, things aren't going right today.  Your Child needs some healthy lunch to get through the day better prepared and learning better."

Some parent's need that reminder.  I've worked in the lunchroom.  I've seen what the kids eat.  Or more so what they don't eat.  I've seen kids eat a dounut for their lunches.. at least 2 days in a row, until mom and dad had a chance to get to the grocery store for something else.  I've seen the kid that has a slice of bread and nothing more.  I've seen the kid with 4 chocolate bars and nothing else.  I've also seen the kid that has a healthy lunch.  The kid that has something from at least 3 food groups.  I've seen those children who have a healthy lunch do so much better during the afternoon that those who don't.

It's hard to believe something so small like their lunch could make such a big difference.  But it does!  That's why we encouraged main dish first (sandwiches, soup, hotdogs, rice, meatballs, etc) before the "extras" (candy bars, mini chocolate bars, fruit gummies, etc.)

I can honestly tell you I send my kids with unhealthy food ALOT!  But not the whole meal, just their "treat".  Sometimes it's teddy grahams, or fruit gummies, or even mini chocolate bars (near Halloween). And Sometimes it is carrot sticks and dip, celery and cheese, or even extra leftovers. 

Now to be fair, lets say the Dr. was right and the lunch actually included what he said "4 pieces of ham, a whole protein meat, she also had some pickles, which we admittedly cheat on pickles every once and a while as a vegetable, because some fights aren't worth having.... she also had 4 marshmallows in a Ziploc bag and then she had three very small pieces of chocolate, which she ate one for lunch and then she also gave her brother and another friend one at an after school program"

I guess a lot of this has to be my problem from being at our school and with our rules in place.  You are not allowed to share food!  We have a lot of allergies in our school and we don't want any of our students to have an allergic reaction because of shared food!  So the fact that she shared chocolate (of any size really) is slightly irritating!

But that your child was sent with meat, pickles, chocolate and marshmallows... SERIOUSLY?  You think this is a healthy lunch?  I guess if you reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyy stretch it you could get meat (protein), pickles (veggies), chocolate (dairy?) and marshmallows.... fun?

Get over yourself.  So what.  You gave your child an unhealthy lunch.  Suck it up buttercup!  And deal with it. 

Then once you have done that... STOP CONTACTING THE NEWS!!  This is so stupid... slow news day?  or because you are a doctor?  Whatever the reason, grow up.

TDSB's website says the following on 3 different links:

Nutrition and Healthy Eating
Eating breakfast impacts your ability to learn and focus in the classroom. By packing a healthy lunch you ensure that you can recharge and get through the day.
Making the connection between what we eat and how it affects wellness is at the core healthy eating. Many of our schools offer nutrition programs. Contact your Principal to see if one is offered at your school.
Health and Active Living

Health includes everything from emotional and mental well-being to eating a balanced, nutritious diet to living an active lifestyle. When it comes to learning, good health is one of the most important factors for success in school.
Across the TDSB, individual schools, program areas and central departments support the physical health and mental well-being of students in all kinds of ways. But the role parents and families play is just as important, and we help by sharing tools you need to support healthy living at home.
Nutrition and Healthy Eating
Making the connection between what we eat and how it affects wellness is at the core healthy eating.
Eating breakfast impacts a student’s ability to learn and focus in the classroom. By packing a healthy lunch for your child, you ensure they can recharge and get through the day.

Many of our schools also offer nutrition programs. Contact your Principal to see if one is offered at your school.

Kindergarten Healthy and Active Living

Nutrition Programs

Making the connection between what we eat and how it affects wellness is at the core healthy eating.
Eating breakfast impacts a student’s ability to learn and focus in the classroom. By packing a healthy lunch for your child, you ensure they can recharge and get through the day.
Many of our schools offer nutrition programs. Contact your Principal to see if one is offered at your school.
Model Schools for Inner Cities Health

While our school system doesn't say what your child has to bring exactly, it does say eating healthy is important! 

So Doctor, if your child doesn't have a healthy lunch one day and you get a note home. Suck it up!  Send her with an uber healthy lunch the next time.  Next time, forget the news crew.  Grow up.  Please!  If nothing else do it for those of us who spend our time watching your child and others to make sure they are eating healthy lunches and being safe.

News Article I referred to

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Working out like a crazy person!!

I'm proud to say that my goal of working out every week is going well!!  We, my friend and I, have been going at least 3 days a week since school started.

Lori, my neighbour and best friend, is working out with me.  We both have goals, but right now it's just to be healthy.

I can honestly say after working out with Lori last year (Sept to November) we had a blast!  I was able to talk with someone every day, and work my ass off.  Well... sort of.  I don't have one to begin with, or maybe I do?

Anyway... back on track here!   I'm so blessed to have Lori to work out with.  We have been burning, according to the machines, about 500 calories in 50 minutes or so.  It's great to know we can do that.

For the first 2 weeks we did our normal "hills" program, and then this week we have been attempting the "Personal Trainer" set.  And oh my gosh!!  It just about killed us.  For the first time since September we were hurting after workouts.  Not that bad kind of hurt but the good kind!  I can actually say, that 24 hours after my last workout and I'm not going "OHHHHHH" when I stand up!!

I've been feeling good about myself.  I made a huge effort to get rid of some of the clothes I was hanging onto.  Not the bigger clothes (I have kept one pair of pants to see how truly big I was when I get down a bit) it was the smaller clothes.  You know those ones that you "dream" about?  I was so loving those outfits, but after them being in plastic bags for 2 years... yeah they aren't going to go on me anytime soon.  I've donated them to our school clothing drive!  I figured someone else who IS that size should enjoy them.  And for now I wear what I have.

That brings me to today.  I felt really good about myself this morning and I put on a yellow tank top (to combat the ickyness outside) and had my trusty grey hoodie on it.  I felt great!  And then I got to school.  At lunch time I had to ball up the hoodie to fit in my coat to wear it warmly and one of the little boys said "Ms. V, why are you so fat?"  To which I showed him my hoodie and explained it.  He went  "ahh ok!".

Then I was standing inside with my coat overtop of my clothes and waiting to take a child out to the bus.  One of the little girls in another class said "do you have a baby in your belly?"  "Nope!  sorry kid!"  The teacher goes "Sorry!"  Really though... it doesn't phase me anymore.

Now I'm having "one of those days".  I never realized how much a little comment like those could start to bother me.  I'm sure it has to do with other things but my day seemed to get worse.  I went from having a great bright day to feeling "fat" to feeling walked on in class to feeling just plain "done" with working out.

Thankfully Lori came to the rescue!  She and I are heading out tomorrow afternoon to kick ass working out!  I'm very excited for another day at the gym.  It's not longer one of those things I want to do.. but more so something I NEED to do.  Working out is a great stress reliever!

Here's to working out tomorrow and kicking some ass :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


There ya have it!  It's that new years resolution time and everyone is "Trying" something new.  Or different.  Or even something they have done year after year and never completed it.


Am I the only one?

Well I'm back at the gym (been going since September - minus December) and I'm really enjoying it.

I'm also back drinking more water.  I was going to write "back drinking" but I thought that could be bad :)

I'm also trying to get back to the blog a bit more.  I have all these posts in my head but they never get down to my fingertips. 

Our life is so busy that sometimes I forget to just chill out and enjoy my family, just the way they are.

This Month we have no birthdays in the house (even though it's Aunt B's Bday, Kasmira's Bday and Grandpa V's Bday, and Uncle Jason and Aunt Sasha's anniversary - yeah 11 years!)  so we aren't too busy that way.  But it doesn't stop our boys from planning out their birthday parties already.  I'm dreading the bills.

We do have a lot going on at school so that keeps us busy as well.  Here's hoping we can get though it all!

Well, I'm off to help out with some math and get some reading finished!  I'm "Trying" to help from my seat behind the computer but it's not working!