friday favourites

Who works on Fridays? Not me! (At least this week, next week and the one after that … but who’s counting?)

Another year bites the dust: The school year is ovaaa! While I could spend this time being excessively bitter because my menfolk get to stay home all summer while I work like a schmuck, I choose to be grateful because:

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It’s also the season in which I have several pointed conversations with people about why teachers aren’t “lucky” to have their summers off. I work year-round with three weeks of vacation and my husband puts more work hours in annually than I do. That’s a fact.

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Happy Canada 150: We recently had a music-related discussion at work that turned into the creation of an epic Canada Day playlist. Check it out here.

Gifts for friends: Isaac and I created tags for bubbles as a gift for his friends to say farewell (I still can’t believe he’s finished daycare and headed to school!). I love doing little projects like these with my kids.

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A good book for the weekend: Digging into this month’s book club read, Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller. Have you read it?

Have a lovely weekend!

grading day

When I was a kid, grading day wasn’t a thing. It wasn’t even called that. It was just the last day of school and it certainly wasn’t cause for celebratory gift giving. We may have gone out for ice cream after supper or something like that (I’ll have to consult my parents to confirm, but I feel fairly certain about this), but it wasn’t a big to-do. I wasn’t bringing home report cards full of straight As either. Regardless, decent grades were also an expectation, not something incentivized by presents.

Now, with social media giving a lens into everyone’s living rooms, I see that grading day can mean big-ticket gifts and accolades. It makes me wonder, what ever happened to the reward being two months’ off school or getting to proceed to the next grade?

Last year, at the end of Jacob’s primary year, we went out to supper. But to be honest, that was more about the fact that Mike works his tail off during the month of June to grade a pile of assignments, record marks, write thoughtful report cards, wrap up the softball season, clean out his classroom and  million other little things that make the end of the school year more of a marathon than a sprint. I think he earns a plate of Swiss Chalet for that, don’t you? Because it was a special occasion and we were in a mall that had an Indigo store, we bought the kids each a Beanie Boo that night, too. They weren’t wrapped or presented specifically for the end of the year, but just a spontaneous bit of fun.

This year, our boy brought home straight As again so to celebrate his and dad’s accomplishments, we are going out to supper tonight (Montana’s this time). It was a milestone for the wee one, too, who marked his last day of daycare today.

Update: Then, over the weekend, I gave them a slip ‘n’ slide. I’d picked it up a month or so ago because the one they loved last summer was quite worn and was tossed. I’d tucked it away for a special occasion. When I gave it to them, I said “Happy summer!” and praised them both for having excellent school years. I can’t decide if this means I got suckered in to the grading-day-gift-giving-palooza or not, but I admittedly can see the excitement involved. But they’ll never be getting new bikes or video games. A $15 strip of plastic is my limit.

summer reading club #goals

The local library visited Jacob’s school yesterday to talk about summertime literacy and to encourage kids to enroll in the summer reading club. They asked if anyone had already joined and my kid was the only one to raise his hand, a fact he was pretty excited about and his mudder was pretty proud, too. #wordnerd

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My wee readers, circa 2015.

We love it! The kids each choose a goal. This year, Jacob chose 75. He had the same goal last year, but this summer he intends to do it all without mum and dad’s help. Isaac’s goal is 50, many of which will be read to him by his big brother, which also makes me ooze more of those fuzzy proud feelings.

It does take commitment on the parental end too though. We will write each book title in their record books and remind them to work toward hitting their goals. Each achievement comes with special prizes at the library, too, like pencils, stickers and tattoos, which is unsurprisingly huge incentive for my boys.

Here are three ways we intend to hit our goals this summer:

Books before screens: Reading time will be priority. TV and video games won’t be an option unless they’ve spent 30 minutes with their noses in books. This is just one thing on a list of things they’ll need to do to earn screen time in the summer — that post is coming soon.

New books: In addition to our weekly trips to the library, we’ll also browse yard sales and Value Village shelves for new reads to keep things interesting.

Character projects: Our kids love a good project and the Internet is a foolishly infinite wealth of ideas, like these on Pinterest:

friday favourites

Satisfying shows: We finally caught up on Scandal and the end of season 6 was the best to date. While I don’t really want to have to wait until the fall to pick it back up, I’m also glad to be finished for now and move onto other things. Since then, we’ve watched Bad Moms (in two sittings because I can’t possibly be expected to stay awake to watch a whole movie in one sitting) and about 839 episodes of Jeopardy.

Summer lovin’: Today is the last full Friday of school for my menfolk! This represents multiple levels of excitement for me as exhibited by this handy dandy pie chart I whipped up.

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Wine: When you’re on an office-cleaning roll and you wipe down the desk of a colleague who happens to be the food and drink editor and he brings you a bottle of wine because his house is literally full of wine and can do things like that. And you also don’t have to look at his dirty desk anymore. Double score.

Fridays: This is my last Friday to work for a couple weeks. I have next week’s off for Grading Day and I have the following off to take my handsome hubby camping for his birthday (with the kids, of course, because it would be kind of weird to go to camping at Yogi’s Jellystone Park without the kids). Hooray for short weeks!

Happy Friday!

family photos

Our last real family photo popped up in my Facebook memories today. Three years ago. Don’t you hate it when your FB memories make you feel like a total slacker?

I must confess. I’ve been putting off new family photos for a very vein reason. I was growing out a pixie cut and there were some phases in the months that followed that decision that I did not want immortalized in frames on my walls.

But now I have a bob that I’m cool with and the kids are getting older by the second. With Isaac starting school in September, it feels like an ideal milestone to mark with a photo shoot.

Here are a few outtakes from that day, three years ago:

 

These photos have filled a gallery wall in our dining room for years and it was only a few months ago that Mike said, yeah I don’t really like to those pictures. Whaa? Seriously? There’s something about the colour combo he doesn’t like. Good to know, just as it’s time to take them down and replace them.

And planning family photos is magical isn’t it? You need to arrange clean clothes, matching outfits, ensure that everyone is happy and willing to participate. You need to watch out for visible bumps and bruises in the weeks leading up (Jacob has a black eye as I type this, so thank goodness our pics weren’t scheduled for this week!).

For goodness sake, don’t look at Pinterest for ideas. You’ll find pages and pages of magazine-esque families in perfectly ironed white shirts on beaches with excellent lighting and gleaming white teeth. AKA it’s not real life. Not my life, at least.

Here’s the other thing I wonder about those perfect Internet photos — how does the photographer feel if you send them 20 of your favourite Pinterest-sourced photos to recreate? Would it be the same sort of feeling I’d get if an interviewee handed me an article written by someone else and asked me to write about them just like that? Seems rude somehow, right?

So I’m going to fret about it a little while longer (thanks for the reminder, Facebook), pick up some Crest white strips, call a photographer and hope for the best.

marriage monday: 5 things

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Um, who are these babies? Circa 2009, before we’d gone bald and grey and soft from parenting.

5 things I’d change about my husband:

  • I’d make him a smidge taller … maybe a few inches.
  • I’d smother him when he eliminate his snoring. He took this one to heart, actually, because it occasionally wakes him too. He promised to mention it to the doctor.
  • I’d love it if he’d share his feelings more often. Not in a cry-your-heart-out way, but in a “I love you because …” way.
  • I’d give his memory a tune-up because I have to remember everything, as explained in detail last Monday.
  • I’d bring back some of those first-few-months-of-dating gestures. Not the sappy love notes and mixed tapes (gag), but the small ways he used to try to impress me, like planning date night or making me dinner or surprising me with a little treat because it’s my fave. Just small things that made me feel like he thinks about me when we aren’t together or when things are really busy or when we’re caught up in the insanity of parenting.

5 things he’d change about me (when I asked him, his first response was “I’m not falling for that one.” Smart man):

He struggled to come up with five things, which I take both as a sign of my perfection and of his own self preservation.

  • He’d make me a bit shorter. I’m just a hair taller than him and we’d both prefer it the other way. Maybe I should get him lifts for his shoes.
  • He wishes I’d like to watch baseball more often. This I could probably do. If it’s the Jays. And if it’s playoffs. And if they are winning. But my fave, Kevin Pillar, made some hideous remarks during a game about a month ago and it ruined me a bit.
  • He would rather not have to wake me in the morning. “Have you seen yourself before coffee?”
  • He wants me to be more detail oriented about projects, like painting or nailing deck boards. Read: He wants me to be anal just like him. But trust me when I say, he’s particular enough for both of us.
  • He wishes he could beat me at Jeopardy. So much so that he wishes I’d just let him win. But that’s something I can’t do. I just can’t.

What would you change about your significant other, given the chance?

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friday favourites

Welp, Friday again. Amazing how that happens.

New shoes, new foot forward: Now that I have completed a few 5K runs, I think I can say out loud that I’m (tentatively) back in the routine. It’s only 30 minutes (OK, 36 minutes), but it’s a little me time that I can really enjoy right now. In fact, I even bought new sneakers. Nothing makes you want to workout more than new workout gear, amiright?

My little book of things: I picked up a book at Winners a while back, mainly because it was inexpensive and cute. I figured I’d put something in it someday. I kept hesitating. I didn’t want to waste it. But I finally ripped the band-aid. It’s my little book o’ lists. Things I’d like to do, books I’d like to read, movies and shows I’m interested in checking out, home projects I’d like to prioritize and so on. It’s kind of like a bullet journal without the insane pressure of creating a gorgeous work of art like the bullet journals on Pinterest.

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Essential watching: Watch this TEDx Talk about The Magic of Not Giving a F*ck. It’s absolutely brilliant. “Clear out the annoy to make room for the joy. This is mental decluttering and it is magical.” Then, if you go down a rabbit hole like I did, watch this one too.

I hope it’s sunny where you are! Happy weekend!