Countdown To Back To School

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It’s summer. A time when everyone expects moms to jump up and down for joy because their darling children will be home 24/7 for what can sometimes feel like forever…

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer vacation. But I miss the structure that the school year brings. All the hard work we as a family have put into our routine, our schedule, it is all thrown right out the window in the summer.

I plan and plan for summer vacation, to the point that I’m tired and left feeling drained. Then summer vacation happens, and 75% of those plans go out the window. Every year. Every single year. Which just leaves me feeling somewhat disappointed that all that effort and time was wasted.

Then there is the dreaded “I’m bored” from the kids, or the sibling fighting. Fighting over nothing. “Mom I think he looked at me all weird like!” Seriously kid?!

Oh how I have a love/hate relationship with summer vacation. I like the relaxing mornings compared to the rush of getting to school. But I still have to get my kids up and fed, clean up after them, feed the again and again and again, because they have apparently never eaten before and must eat all day long during the summer.

Summer vacation is far from relaxing when you are a mom. I have 3 kids, and so far summer vacation has consisted of breaking up fights, dealing with the I’m bored, going on adventures only to have them fight in the car, dealing with the constant parade through my kitchen, the endless toys and mess inside and outside my house. Its not as simple as checking the living room for toys before bed, I have to check outside too now.

I miss my kids when they are in school, I honestly do. But right now, school is looking pretty good.

Maybe its because I am such an introvert, that I feel most comfortable when things are done a certain way, and I just find all this more draining than other moms do. Maybe its because I haven’t slept properly since my daughter was born. Maybe its the not having a single moment to myself thing. The lack of adult conversation. Maybe its the feeling so alone in the summer when its just me and the kids day in and day out.

Blame it on what you want.

As much as I love my kids, love the extra time with them, love the extra cuddles, love the extra talks, as much as I love being able to go on adventures and spend so much time with them. As much fun as we have already had, and will have, I am counting down to the first day of school! (Which of course I will cry over. Don’t judge!)

Do you feel the same way? How do you deal with summer vacation with kids?

~Michelle

 

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Talking To My Kids About Adoption

Something was brought to my attention and I felt the need to write this down. I am adopted, and I am a birth mom. There is no denying or hiding it. Its a major part of me. And really it is something I would never try to hide or deny. There is no shame in adoption, in being in any part of adoption. And there is also the  minor detail about having an adoption tattoo on my arm in plain sight that I show off proudly.

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Growing up I don’t remember any single moment that I was told I was adopted. It was a simple fact that I grew up with. When I placed my son for adoption I knew without a doubt that any future children I had would grow up knowing all about him. Fast forward 3 children later and they all know about him. My daughter is only 2, but she has spent every summer of her life with him, and sees him on FaceTime, and sees his pictures around the house. She may not understand, but she knows he’s her brother.

No, telling my children that they have an older sibling that was placed for adoption did not hurt them, or scar them in any way. No I did not tell them “too soon”. Well unless you mean I talked about their older brother even before they could talk, then sure, maybe it was “too soon” as they couldn’t talk about it and join in the conversation.

My children have grown up with the fact that they have an older brother. Being that my oldest son was placed into an open adoption. My oldest son was able to meet my 3 younger children all before they were 6 months old and been able to visit them every few years.

Adoption isn’t something to be hidden away, kept in secret, only talked about in dark corners in the middle of the night in whispers.

I am adopted. I am a birth mom. Why should my children grow up not knowing these things?

Yes, my children miss their older brother. Yes, I miss him. Yes, it hurts me to know they miss him. Yes, I have answered many, many, many questions over the years and will probably continue to do so. Yes it is hard, some days harder than others. Yes, we have all cried countless tears. Is it worth it? Yes. My children all know each other and get to grow up together and create their own special bond together. Seeing all four of my children together, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Adoption should be talked about. All the time. Adoption is not a bad thing. It is nothing to be ashamed about. Adoption is a beautiful thing. Adoption is all about love and family. Because of adoption my family has grown in numbers and love, a love that crosses the oceans.

Just as my kids grow up knowing that the sun rises and sets, they know that they have a brother who has another family and has his own life path to follow, but that he is still their brother no matter where he lives.

~ Michelle

Summer Vacation Is About To Start


Summer is here. School is almost done. And my kids spend every minute they can outside. I’m not even joking, last night I didn’t get my kids into the house till 8:30pm. Since the time they got home from school we were outside. We played outside. We ate dinner outside. The kids would have probably slept outside if I let them.

All this outdoor fun is amazing. But lets face it, it means less time for me inside the house to work. House cleaning, work, blogging, all of that. Ok, the house work I can do without, but the rest… Working and blogging is my outlet. I miss it when I don’t get to do it. I need it, you know? My creative outlet is what keeps me grounded, helps with the stresses of everything and my anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredible happy to be outside with my kids playing all day. But sometimes, you just need that time to yourself to do what you crave.

My kids are my world. My whole world. They make my heart happy and my soul sing. But sometimes motherhood is overwhelming. Sometimes I crave the creative outlet to relax. And thats ok, and totally normal. Summer is here, and it is all about a new kind of balance. Trying to figure out how to get work done in the house while outside with the kids all day. Not sure how it will work, but I’m sure some how it will.

This summer I have a feeling will be different. It will be great. It will be amazing. It will be interesting to find balance for whatever whatever needs and wants.

This summer I refuse to put myself last. I will find time to work and blog and do things that are just for me. I am a mom, first and foremost, but I am still me. I still have separate needs from my kids and my whole family unit.

But in all that, summer is here, and its fun to be outside, so if its quiet around here… Well I just hope you are all outside enjoying the summer too!

~ Michelle

 

There Are Sometimes Bad Days In Motherhood, And That Is OK

I’ve been a Mom for  10 years. I have learned so much in that time. So much about myself, my husband, our kids, our family and friends, and life.


Mostly what I have learned is that not every day is a great day, and thats ok! I’m not super woman, I’m not an expect, I’m not sure what I am doing. At all. But I do know one thing that is for sure, I try my best every day.

Some days I feel like I am totally rocking this mom thing, the house is clean, meals are cooked, clothes are washed, everyone is happy and clean. And then some days the house is a mess, the baby won’t sleep, the boys argue with each other, there are mountains of laundry growing and I feel like I am failing.

There are days that are amazingly good. So good. I feel like I am on cloud 9 all day. Some days I end up crying, mostly on the kitchen floor. I’m not sure why, but the kitchen floor always seems to be the spot.

The first few bad days were the hardest. I felt like a failure. A failure as a mom is the worst feeling. As a mom I always want to be at my best, and be the best, and sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

But I learned something along the way, its ok to have bad days. Life’s balance. Good and bad. Ying and Yang. Dark and Light. Up and down.

More importantly I learned that my kids don’t care if I have bad days, because they don’t remember. What they do remember is me trying, they remember the good, the fun, they remember that despite everything I tried my best, that if I got knocked down I got back up.

I try my best every day. I may not know exactly what I am doing, or what the perfect choice would be. But I try. Every day. And if I have a bad day, its ok. Every single day may not be the best day, but there is good in every day. The sliver lining. It is there. Always. You just have to have the strength to look for it.

On the bad days I may feel like I am falling down a hole and failing, all I have to do is look at my kids, look into their eyes and I know I’m doing something right. Probably the most important thing I am doing right. I look into their eyes, and I know everything will be ok.

The bad days end, they don’t last, and they won’t be remembered. And the best thing about bad days, is that even bad days end and there is always a new day just around the corner.

~ Michelle

Summer Screen Time Rules

Yes I am a mean mom. I set rules for my kids, even in the summer. If my children think they will spend the whole summer glued to screens they have another coming!

So naturally I set out some guidelines, rules if you will. Here they are:

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Happy Summer Break!

I have high hopes for this, but also wondering if this will last past the first week if I’m going to be honest.

~ Michelle

 

First Day Of Summer

Hello New Day.
Hello New Week.
Hello New Season.
Hello New Adventure.

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Holy crow! Where has this year gone?! How is it already officially summer and almost the end of June?!

This month has been crazy busy around here with birthday parties, Fathers Day, and my parents 40th wedding anniversary. Yes 40 years! I will just let that sink in for a minute…. I still can not believe my parents have been married for 40 years! That is crazy! I am so incredible proud of them, this accomplishment, their true love, and their dedication to each other and their every growing family.

And the celebrations will continue with a big birthday celebration for my mom in a few weeks! I love this family. With all these celebrations happening lately it has got me thinking a lot about life, family, love, and all that mushy stuff.

I am so blessed that I was placed into this family. The amount of love this family has going on is amazing. I couldn’t think of a better life to have or a better family to call my own.

So before I get carried away with all the mushy feelings and start crying it is time to get my butt in gear and get stuff done!

My goals for the week are:

Home:

1. Clean up and organize. This past weekend my husband and I went away for 3 days for a quick getaway. My house seemed to have thrown up every single toy all over the floor while we were gone, and then with the rush to prepare for fathers day… there is just so much to get done around here now.
2. Meal plan. I am having trouble finding meals that don’t involve a lot of cooking, or can be cooked in the crockpot that my kids like. They have suddenly decided to become picky eaters and hate everything.
3. Some how find a way to waterproof my house from the kids in the summer with all their water fights and pool time.

Family:

4. Figure out end of year teachers gifts for my sons teachers. Usually I am totally on top of this, but like I said, this month has just gotten away from me.
5. Figure out how we will survive summer vacation.
6. Pick out our family books to read together this summer.

Personal:

7. Read a book this summer. I started one way back in March? February? Either way I still need to finish it. If I am feeling really lucky maybe I will get two whole books in this summer!
8. Stop biting my nails. Oh my gosh, let me tell you I had long, pretty sparkly nails last week, then my husband and I went away for 3 days… hello anxiety, goodbye nails.

Work:

9. Come to terms with the fact that I can’t work as much as I want in the summer, and thats ok. Family comes first.
10. Never stop dreaming.

What do you hope to accomplish this week or this summer? Would love to hear your plans!

~Michelle

Taco Pasta Salad

I made this one night when I was making dinner for my family and realized I didn’t have anything to eat, as I am a vegetarian. So I quickly threw this meal together with what I had on hand in my kitchen.

What you will need:

Noodles – 1 and half cups
Tomatoes – 1
Onions – 1
Salsa – 1 cup or more if you like more
Ranch Salad Dressing – half cup
Taco Seasoning – 1 packet
Cheese – however much you like
Nachos – however much you like
Beans – 1 can
Corn – 1 and half cups
Lemon or Lime  – 1

First boil the noodles. I used one and a half cups.

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While noodles are cooking prep the corn (1 and half cups), and beans ( I used half a tin of black beans and red kidney beans), and cut up the onion, and tomato.

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For the “sauce” I used half a cup of Kraft Ranch dressing, a whole lemon squeezed and a packet of taco season. Mix together until no seasoning is completely mixed in.

Drain the noodles. Mix everything together. And then I added in a cup of salsa.

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Cool in fridge.

When ready to serve grate up cheese to desired amount and crush up nacho chips to add on top.

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Enjoy!

~ Michelle

An Open Letter To The People At The Toronto Zoo Yesterday

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Dear People Who Visited The Toronto Zoo Yesterday,

First let me start by saying this isn’t a debate about zoo’s and all that. And it is not about the staff of the Toronto Zoo either. This is to the people who visited the zoo, and acted like completely fools and almost ruined my day.

To the people looking and walking around the Gorilla exhibit, making jokes about having your kids fall in there so you could get 15 minutes of fame is just wrong. An innocent and beautiful animal was killed. It is not funny and not something to joke about.Going as far as to try to figure out how to get in there and telling your child and joking about it, that is just wrong. So very wrong.
To the people outside sitting with their children on the fences where it clearly states not to, and telling your child to kick out their legs to see if the gorilla can touch it, you guys suck. Have some respect. Teach your children respect.

This part is a shout out to the man standing by the tiger area. When my family walked pasted you, and my children asked ME why the tiger was walking back and forth by the gate and asking if the tiger was waiting to be fed. He asked ME because we had just watched other animals have their feeding time and he was curious. What my child did not need to hear was your jackass remark stating that the tiger was in your words “That tiger there is waiting for you to fall in so he can eat you.” You sir, are an ass. There was nothing funny about your statement, especially to a child, a child you don’t know, to my child. Next time you are around children and you go to open your mouth I hope that you will stop and actually think. Be a decent person next time, don’t be an ass again. I went to the zoo for a good time, not for my children to ask why someone would be so mean and heartless to say something like that.

To the parents that watched your children tease, throw things, and down right torment a family of geese with their small babies. You should be ashamed of yourself. You and your children laughed when these birds were clearly in distress. Instead of teaching your child respect you laughed. I try not to judge parents, it is not my place to tell people how to parent your child. But when your child thinks that is is funny to throw things at animals and try to hurt them, on a basic human level, that is just not cool. Please, for humanity sake, teach your children kindness towards all living things.

And finally, to the man, I don’t even want to call you a man, regardless… To the man that thought it was a good idea to follow a peacock, back it up against a wall, and proceed to kick and step on its tail in an attempt to get it to open up its tale. You are an ass. But you didn’t stop there did you, just when I thought you were leaving you went and got your child, pulled them with you back to the peacock so you could try to step on it again… you are a giant ass. Please sir, have some respect. That bird is not there to please you and entertain you. That bird is an animal yes, but no animal should be treated like that.

I understand people, some people don’t like zoos, but IF you do visit a zoo, all I ask is that you have some respect. Respect for yourself, your children, and the animals – big or small- that are all around you.

I like to think the best of people. I like to think that there is still good in the world. And I like to go out with my children and have a good time. What I don’t like is going out with my children and seeing such disrespect and meanness and have my children ask why when all we wanted to do was see some animals.

Kindness goes a long way, towards people and animals. It really does. Give it a try.

~ Michelle

What Netflix Has Taught Me

We made the switch a few months back. It was very exciting at first. And it still is. But having it has also taught me a few things.

1. There are way too many movies and tv shows out there.

2. The amount of time I can waste just choosing a tv show or movie is unreal. I’m talking over 30 min. Ok over an hour.

3. Having no commercials during a tv show is awesome.

4. My kids will never be able to watch regular tv again. The ability to watch whatever they want when they want is ruined them.

5. There are so many cop shows and hospital shows.

6. Deciding what to watch on Netflix has turned into the new “What do you want for dinner” argument/conversation.

7. The amount of time I can spend binge watching a show is both sad and amazing.

8. This would have saved me so much boredom while I was on bed rest, or breastfeeding 24/7.

9. I spend way more time than anyone should wondering why the States gets more shows (and sometimes better shows) than we get in Canada. Its not fair. Yet I still have a hard enough time finding something to watch.

10. Kids shows are super annoying. Watching kids tv channels is one thing, at least there are commercials and different shows. But when a child can watch one single show over and over again on demand… help me.

11. I find it both insulting and amusing when Netflix asks “are you still watching”.

Do you have Netflix? What has it taught you?

~ Michelle

ps- This is NOT a sponsored post. I just have Netflix and love it and want to share the love.

Lost In Translation. Talking To My Kids.


Sometimes things get lost in translation, like when you are traveling around the world. But mostly it happens, every single day when you are a mom.

So if you are new mom and have yet to experience things, I will give you a few examples.

What I say: Put on your shoes.
What my kids hear: Run around the house and destroy everything in your path.

What I say: It’s time to go.
What my kids hear: Do all the things you forgot to do. Also, go to the bathroom, and then start playing in the sink.

What I say: Lets paint a picture.
What my kid, especially my toddler, hear: Lets paint our entire bodies, paint the floor, bonus points for each hand print on the wall and appliances. And to finish it off with a perfect score, suddenly develop a fear of water.

What I say: Bed time!
What my kids hear: Let out a burst of energy equal to an atomic bomb.

What I say: Dinner time.
What my kids hear: Suddenly hate all food, and suddenly become starving after dinner.

What I say: Do your homework
What my kids hear: Forget how to read.

What I say: Clean up your room / put away laundry.
What my kids hear: Go to your room and play with every single item in there, and make an even bigger mess.

What I say: Five more minutes till we leave.
What my kids hear: We are never ever going to leave!

What I say: Stay still.
What my kids hear: Move around as much as possible.

What I say: Go play nicely and quietly with your brother.
What my kids hear: Go start a war and scream and fight as much as possible.

What I say: No
What my kids hear: Yes, or ask a grandparent.

What I say: Help clean up after dinner. Or help with anything around the house really.
What my kids hear: Suddenly develop a tummy ache or have to go to the bathroom.

What I say: Go have a shower or bath.
What my kids hear: Have a water fight with imaginary friends and soak the bathroom.

Do you have any experience with things getting lost in translation with your kids? I would love to hear it.

~ Michelle