I threw a Star Wars Themed Birthday Party …

… Because I forgot to set a low bar for the future. I mean, really. When G said she wanted a Star Wars themed party and that she’d already mentioned it at school and some of the kids were really excited about it (“I said I MIGHT have a Star Wars party, Mommy. MIGHT!”) I decided to just invite her whole class of 20-ish children. What else was I supposed to do? Invite only the girls to a Star Wars party? I know Star Wars is for everyone and lots of girls are Star Wars fans, but that just seemed like it would be a bit of a disappointment for some of the boys G is friends with. I didn’t want to invite just a few kids, because some of my daughter’s best friends don’t care about Star Wars … so how do you choose who to invite? So I figured that it would just be fun for everyone to host a short, Saturday, no-meals necessary, low-pressure birthday party. And then we genuinely did have a pretty good time planning it, and the party itself was great, thanks to the fact that I coaxed a few of my friends and my Mother to stay and help run it. Continue reading

Please Let Me Celebrate Mother’s Day

By Juli

A lot of tough emotions come up around Mother’s Day. Many people have a really difficult time when Mother’s Day comes around, for very good reasons. They can have lost their own mother, or one or more of their children – or lost the ability to be a mother. Some women have struggled with fertility issues for years, so mother’s day really pokes them in a sore place, emotionally. They may have a strained relationship with their own mom, or have faced abandonment from her. It is my utmost intention to be as gentle as possible to all people on Mother’s Day, knowing that it can be a dark day for some people, a day when they need gentleness, a day of mourning. For some, Mother’s Day is a bittersweet day, full of complex emotions. They may have both things to celebrate and things to mourn. Perhaps they have some children here on earth, and some in heaven, so they only get to hug half of their children on Mother’s Day. Continue reading

On Waiting for the Perfect Photo Moment

By Jac

In my upstairs hallway, I have a lovely framed family picture. It was a winter photo shoot, so there is snow in the background, and the girls are wearing adorable boots and shawls, and I’m wearing a sweater and looking happy, and my hair was cute that day. There’s just one problem. There are only two little girls in this picture, and I have four children. It’s just that I’ve been waiting for a good time to organize another family photo. When there’s no baby, when I get a haircut, when someone’s bangs grow out, when Anton decides family photos are a good idea.

But I’m realizing that that time will never come.

There will never be a moment when everyone in a family of six is simultaneously looking their best. Continue reading

Winning the Sun Run

By Juli

I am not a Runner. I should clarify that I define a “Runner” as someone who does it at least semi-regularly, and somewhat enjoys it. I don’t really enjoy running for the sake of running, and this is largely to do with my huge sense of practicality. If I have somewhere to go, yes, I could run there, but it is faster to take the car. Also, usually where I have to go is to Costco to get groceries, and that involves having something to transport them with. Thus it never usually seems like a good idea to run.

But when I heard back in February that my workplace was sponsoring a corporate team to do the Vancouver Sun Run, a 10 kilometre run through the streets of downtown Vancouver, I thought — hey! That might be fun! Also, I realized that I would get a free shirt out of it, and that they would be paying for it (there’s the appeal to the practical side) and I was quite sure that by April I would be fit as a fiddle based on my strict regimen of occasional yoga and sneaking my kids’ Easter candy, so I decided that of course I should run the Sun Run! In fact, it made no sense NOT to! Continue reading

Podcasts Make Me a Better Parent

By Jac

When I was a kid, the radio was often on in my house. My mom was not really into music, but she did enjoy talk radio. This was especially true on days when there weren’t many people home and my mom was cleaning. To this day, if I pop by on a house-cleaning day, my mom will be listening to something as she works, only now it’s usually an audio book on her iPad that she pauses when I arrive.

I must take after her because I have recently discovered the 2016 version of talk radio: podcasts. Only they are better than the radio because they can be so much more specific. Imagine your favourite morning DJ’s doing whatever it is they do that you like best, and I guarantee you can find a podcast just like that. I like comedy podcasts, interesting interviews, the day’s news highlights in 10 minutes, investigative journalism, story-telling … there’s something for my every mood. Continue reading

Five mom things that happened on my birthday

By Jac

*The above Birthday-cake photo credit goes to my friend Maria. I stole this picture off her Instagram, where it was captioned: “Today is my birthday. Another year older, guys. And yes I made my own cake.” Happy grown-up birthday, Maria. You’re a good Mom.

It was my birthday a few weeks ago. I really didn’t care much, of course, because I was turning 34 which didn’t feel particularly note-worthy, and because I just really don’t pay much attention to birthdays anyway. Besides, I was leaving for a lovely kid-free holiday a few days later, so I knew I would have more than enough special me-time very soon. Besides, I’m not exactly new to parenting, so I know that a parent’s birthday is never actually about the parent. It turned out that this birthday was exceptionally not about me. Here’s some things that really happened on my most recent birthday. Continue reading

Spring Break, Magic Camp, and the “B-word”

By Juli

For me, this Spring Break has been … difficult. Now that my work is very full-time and my husband’s work is also full-time, and my children are both in school, I have become accustomed to the amount of time I have to do my work either after I drop my kids at school, or before I pick them up from school, and Spring Break does not fit very well into this plan. Also, Spring Break has apparently introduced a new word into my children’s vocabulary, a word that I happen to despise. I call it the “b-word” because for me it is worse than the original “b-word” (I may change my mind on that if my children start using the original one, though).

The “b-word” to which I am referring is the word “bored.” An example of it’s use is in the following exchange:
“I’m BORED, Mommy!” Continue reading

Five things to do if you find yourself completely alone in the house at night

By Juli

Tonight I found myself alone at home, after my two kids miraculously fell asleep without incident, and my husband went out for the evening with some friends. And because I do not usually have evenings to myself, I figured out some ideas of what to do and will share these ideas now, for your benefit, just in case you also manage to have an evening to yourself in the not-too-distant future. Disclaimer: In order for these to work properly, make sure you have a full glass of wine and are properly pyjama-ed before beginning any of these activities. Continue reading

I Don’t Feel Bad About Missing My Kid’s Birthday

By Jac

Three more sleeps. That’s how long I have to wait until my husband and I leave for a week-long, kid-free vacation. Seven nights with just the two of us, while his parents stay at our house and look after our children. I keep thinking about that moment when I arrive at my gate at the airport, and I have made it through security and checked my luggage and found my gate … and then I’m done. I will pull my book out of my bag, and I will start to relax. I can’t wait.

But because I am a normal human mother, I of course feel a bit guilty. Continue reading

Five Toddlerisms You Should Know if You’re Looking After My Kids

By Jac

My husband’s parents are coming to look after my children for a week while I go on a much-needed, super exciting, delightfully relaxing vacation with my husband. I’m very confident in my in-laws’ abilities to care for my kids, and I know that my kids love their Oma and Opa, so I won’t really be too worried about my kids while I’m gone. However, over the last few weeks as I’ve been mentally preparing for this trip, I keep noticing things my younger children say and do that would be completely confusing to someone who isn’t with them all day long. Because toddlers make no sense. So this post can act as a translation guide for my in-laws. Thanks so much, you two! And … ummm … good luck? Continue reading

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