Thursday, August 19, 2010

Knowing When to Unplug

Earlier this summer I read a great article in the NY Times about parenting while plugged in . It is a great piece about the impact of parents who talk on their phones, instant message, tweet, facebook all while trying to parent. I was really struck by the piece because I have, like so many other parents, been guilty of doing the very thing I was reading about. I have put my kids on the back burner while answering a tweet or checking email on my blackberry BUT I try not to do that anymore. Reading that article was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. Sad really that I needed an article to make me notice what I was ( or wasn't ) doing with my kids. I now try to make sure that I am not spending a lot of time online while I am with my kids. I am trying to make a distinction between family time and computer time. Sometimes it is work to resist the urge to sit down in front of the computer and start tweeting, checking facebook and email. Or even worse, picking up my blackberry and checking email.

Now to the reason I decided to write this post. On the weekend I took my girls to a great city hosted event, the annual Childrens Festival. It is close to our house, just minutes away. It is free and a great chance to spend some quality time together. It never ceases to amaze me though that so many parents/adults find it so hard to unplug when the are out with their children. Don't get me wrong, I know there are things/calls/emails that just can't wait but do you really need to talk on the phone for 20 or 30 minutes while waiting in line with your children or even worse, while your children are running wild around the park because their parental unit is not paying attention? I get a quick call, or email to deal with the issue and then get back to spending time with your children.

Why is it so hard for us these days to actually unplug and spend quality time with our families. Isn't it more important to actually be focused on our children, to really be PRESENT with our families?  What are your thoughts?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Play Date Police

So today was a first for me. Every Mom sometimes plays play date police. You know, monitoring the screaming and yelling and the mean talk, the usual play date mayhem but today was a first. My daughter's play date friend was caught with stuff that didn't belong to her and then tried to say it was hers. Here is how it all went down.

My daughter's friend arrived at our house a little before 1 o'clock pm. She was dropped off by her mother. The play date went fine. The girls played well, all three of them. Both my daughters were involved in this play date. After about an hour everyone decided that we should go to the park so we did. We got to the park and the girls started to play on the monkey bars, trying to do tricks. They were hanging upside down and that's when it happened. From the friends pocket dropped a case of eye shadow. My oldest daughter said " Hey that looks just like Emm's." (Emm is my youngest daughter.) To which the friend said "No it's not. It's mine. I have one just like it." To which my daughter said "No that looks just like Emm's." So I decided that I needed to get involved, especially when I saw the friend trying to slip it back into her pocket and walk away. I said "Let me see that." The little girl tried to hide it in her pocket and walk away from me. So I insisted. When she showed it to me it was immediately apparent that it was not hers. The eye shadow case had my kids initials written in nail polish on the lid. I told the friend that I was going to have to take it back and everyone continued to play.

Now, fast forward about 10 minutes. And guess what happened? Ya, something else fell out of her pocket. It was just a little trinket but it wasn't really the fact that it was just a little toy, but rather that it didn't belong to her, she didn't ask to take it or even play with it and she was trying to conceal it in her pocket. My oldest daughter said "Hey, are you trying to steal our stuff?" The friend said "NO". To which my daughter said, "Well, then why do you have all our stuff in your pockets?" Good question I say.

Now I didn't make a big stink about it at the time. I took back the stuff and the play date continued. I was stunned to be honest. I started to think back on all the times this little girl had been over to our house. I started to think that maybe I didn't handle it the right way. Should I have been more direct with this little friend? Should I have said something to her mother when I dropped her off at home?

What do you think? What would you have done?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Tooth Fairy is Coming

My youngest daughter reached a milestone today. She is growing up.( **sniff, sniff. Can someone pass me a tissue?)

This is a funny picture she is over smiling... if there is such a thing
 "M" is so proud. She lost her first tooth today. She was ready to shout it from the roof-top. She did manage to walk down our street and tell every neighbour who was home that she lost her tooth. Oh and of course she had to show everyone.

Evidence. The tooth. It is so tiny.

Playhouse Disney Canada Blog Tour/Giveaway (CLOSED)

Before I had children I always wondered why there would be a 24 hour all kids/cartoon channel. I mean really who would be watching kids T.V. shows at 3 o'clock in the morning. That was B.C. - before children. Now that I am a mother of two young girls I see the beauty in a 24 hour, 7 day a week non-stop kids cartoon channel. It is a lifesaver.

Playhouse Disney Canada is one of those life savers, on T.V. and online. I have been blessed with two beautiful girls, one is a great sleeper and the other is not. We have spent many a night over the years up at night, surfing channels at 3 a.m. and now when we are up in the middle of the night on those rare occasions we have a family favourite to turn to. The beauty of Playhouse Disney Canada is that there are shows for both my girls. My oldest daughter is 7 years old and has outgrown some of our favourite shows ( or so she says) but there are two shows that she likes, Franny's Feet

is a long-time family favourite and a new favourite, Strawberry Shortcake.

( I am happy to see Strawberry Shortcake back on T.V. It is a favourite show from my childhood.) My youngest girl is only five years old and she loves the classic Disney characters, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is her fav.

She would watch this show over any other, hands down. She sings all the songs, knows all the characters and will watch without interuption right until the end (and that is saying something because she isn't a huge T.V. watcher, she would rather play than sit and watch.) As a Mom I like Playhouse Disney Canada because I never have to worry some inappropriate show will come on. It is a safe option.

The other great thing about  is what parents and kids can find online. There is a never ending source of games, activities and even shows. It is a great online choice for families.

I would love to hear what you and your family love to watch on Playhouse Disney Canada. Leave a comment on my blog and include your email and you could win a Playhouse Disney prize pack which includes;
  • Playhouse Disney DVD with 5 full episodes (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Imagination Movers, Special Agent OSO, My Friends Tigger & Pooh).
  • Magnetic Pen
  • Sticker Sheet
  • Crayons and Colouring Magnet
Contest Details
  • Open to Canadian residents only. You may enter this giveaway on multiple blogs but are only eligible to win one prize package as part of the Playhouse Disney blog tour.
  • Giveaway will run until Wednesday, August 18th at 11:59 pm EST
  • Winner will have 48 hours to reply to my e-mail with their name and address or another winner will be chosen.
Must Do Entry
  • Leave a comment telling me what your child’s favorite Playhouse Disney Canada show is.
Bonus Entry
  • Go to Playhouse Disney on Facebook and subscribe to the newsletter. Leave a comment saying you have done so.
  • follow my blog with google friend connect
  • Follow me on  twitter and tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #PlayhouseDisneyCanada (can be done once a day, don’t forget to leave a comment with the direct link to your tweet)
Disclaimer: I am participating in this Playhouse Disney Channel Blog Tour by Mom Central.  I received a Playhouse Disney Prize Pack and a thank you card for my participation.  The thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another Monday

It's Monday. And I am tired. It is the start of another work week and feeling as tired as I am right now it could be a long week. I wonder why it is after a weekend I feel less rested then when I started. More and more weekends are about working and cleaning and buzzing around town with kids. Saturday and Sunday are probably two days that are the busiest of the entire week.

I work evenings during the week and so often miss out on a lot of things with the kids. I try to do as much as I can with the girls but I often run out of time and must head to work. So when the weekend comes there is cleaning to do, shopping to get done, meals to cook, laundry to wash, rooms to tidy, dishes to wash, kids play dates to arrange and family time to squeeze in somewhere. By Sunday night I am exhausted and it's time for bed and then the week starts all over again.

I often wonder why I try to do too much. I think deep down I am trying to make up for the lost time with my girls. I try to spend as much time with them as I can, while still getting all the housework and other chores done too. It is all part of that Mom Guilt thing that I think all Mothers deal with( secretly or not so secretly) I try not to let it get to me but that is often easier said than done. Working is just part of life. I believe that I am teaching my girls that girls can do great work, love what they do and be a strong part of a household....but I am missing out on a lot of things. I, like a lot of people, struggle with balance. It is work. I have to keep reminding myself of what is important and not to stress about the small stuff. Time with friends and family is more important sometimes than the dirty dishes in the sink. It is all about mind, body, spirit and making sure that you are nourishing all parts of yourself. It is work for sure. It is a struggle but if you don't take care of yourself you will be no good to the people who you love the most and who love you....I am learning to do that a little bit every day.

What do you do to nourish your mind, body and spirit? I love to hear your stories and learn a few tips along the way. Here's to Monday! And to nourishing myself so I have enough energy and strength to make it to the weekend!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Best Neighbourhood Ever

I am lucky. We live in a fantastic neighbourhood. Our house is on a great street with mature trees, beautiful houses and great neighbours and we are a block and a half from the lake. From our house we have a beautiful view of Lake Ontario. When the sun shines, it glistens off the water like diamonds.

Today I decided to take the kids to the beach. We loaded our stuff in the car and picked up a friend and were at the beach within minutes.
We are so lucky to live so close to water. I have lived near Lake Ontairo my entire life. It is so great to be able to share this with my children. I think kids grow to have a greater respect for nature and the environment when they experience it, live it, touch it.

It was a great day at the beach. We got to spend time together. We enjoyed the beautiful sunshine together.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tanner's Story and the Power of Twitter

The story of Tanner Bawn and his aunt Catherine Connors has gone viral. It is the talk around water coolers and online chat rooms and social media. Tanner's customized motorized wheelchair was damaged while on an Air Canada flight from Toronto to New York. Tanner is 10 years old and has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and is completely dependant on his $15,000 wheelchair to get around. It is his life. Tanner and his Mom made the trip with Aunt Catherine to watch a group of tutu wearing bloggers and social media mavens, including Catherine, as part of Tutus For Tanner, a charity run in Central Park. When the group arrived at New York's LaGuardia Airport they discovered the wheelchair had been dismantled, seemingly beyond repair.
Catherine  immediately took to Twitter, first asking people for Air Canada phone numbers, and then explaining what happened. The online campaign created a flurry of reaction, making it one of the ``trending'' topics in Canada. By Thursday afternoon the family had the chair back. In a statement, Air Canada said an all-night repair service in New York managed to fix the chair. The company also said it would make one of Tanner's wishes come true. A trip to Disney World for the family.

While Air Canada finally came around to fixing the problem and is promising to look into what happened so it doesn't happen again, it wasn't without pressure from the twitterverse. And I am very proud to be an active member of twitter and what the power of the people can accomplish. Social media is a great tool for people and corporations. WE get to express our trials and tribulations, joys and passions, we can bitch and complain and most importantly find answers, friendship and support. Companies would do good to listen to what is being said in the realm of social media. There is much to learn, glean, and discover from customers and there is also a great opportunity for these companies to reach out to customers to offer real help, services and insight.

I am proud of the twitter community. We are a strong bunch of people, we support each other in good and bad times. Way to go TWITTER!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cottage Tradition

My aunt walking to the car from Webers
People stand in line in the rain with Webers umbrellas.