three little words


Not only did the big one let me smooch him on the lips this morning at the bus stop (something he hasn’t let me do since starting Grade 2), but he left me this note, hidden among the empty containers in his lunchbox.

Do you have any idea how many love notes I’ve put in this kid’s lunch over the years? Today, I didn’t even write a note, I just packed a napkin. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I have written him a note yet this school year. Maybe his resistance to bus stop kisses made me think, however subconsciously, that he was getting a little old for his Mama. 

But with three little words, he told me that this isn’t the case at all. And tomorrow, he’ll get two bus stop kisses.

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marriage monday: the shoe game

14107617_10153879309261033_3157235520014336580_oWe attended a family wedding recently at which they played the shoe game. If you’re not familiar, the bride and groom sit back to back and each hold one of their own shoes and one of their partners’. Then they’re asked a series of questions to see if their opinions match or differ (by raising the appropriate shoe). It’s inevitably pretty funny.

Whether for better or for worse, Mike and I thought this could be an entertaining game to play with the kids (we didn’t play the game at our own wedding). We asked them questions about us and let them answer either mum or dad.

Who’s the better cook? Mama

Who smells the best? Mama

Who’s the better singer? Mama (at this point, I think Mike started to get offended)

Who’s the better driver? Daddy

Who yells the most? “Jacob” (Isaac’s answer); Jacob said “Daddy” (but then qualified it as “who yells the loudest” … then they changed their answer and said I yell the most. I don’t think I like this contest).

Who’s the tallest? Mama/Dada. They’re right. It’s a tie.

Who’s the silliest? Dada (this one shocked us both)

Who’s the best snuggler? Mama (Isaac); Dada (Jacob)

Who does the most chores? Mama (true story)

Who talks the most? OH MAMA! (that’s a direct quote)

Who’s better at video games? Holy, Daddy for sure!

Who is messier? Jacob says neither. “Adults are not messy really because they clean up their own messes.” Isaac says “definitely me!”

Who spends the most time on their phone? Mommm. Then they added Dad in, too. We are both a little guilty.

Who’s better at sports? Jacob said “Daddy” and Isaac said “Jacob.” (I’m not sure he completely understood the concept of the game). Jacob then revised his answer and voted for himself. Then a competitive conversation ensued and I’m not sure if dad or Jacob came out victorious in the end. There may be a tie-breaker game of H-O-R-S-E happening on the playground after school.

Who laughs the most? Jacob said “Mommy” and Isaac said “Me.”

Who’s the loudest? We all agreed in unison: “Isaac!” (this just became a family-wide game)

Who tells the best jokes? Jacob says “Jacob.” (And then laughed at himself)

Who’s the biggest Schuler (are you unfamiliar with what a schuler is? then you’re going to need to click here)? Jacob says “Isaac,” Isaac says “Dada.”

Who’s smartest? Jacob says “Daddy is smartest because he’s a teacher,” and Dad says “I think Mommy’s the smartest because she always beats me at Jeopardy.” Fact.

Who’s the stinkiest? Jacob! (even Jacob said Jacob)

Whether we agree or disagree, we realized that none of us are perfect and that it’s also pretty entertaining to poke some good-natured fun at each other.

friday favourites

Audio books: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love listening to books in my car! Now, it’s even better because I got the library’s app and can borrow books for free and play them on my Bluetooth. On my commute home today, I’m going to start The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.

Speaking of Shonda Rhimes: I’ve only watched the first episode of the new season of Scandal so far and it. is. awesome.

Low-key anniversaries: Mike and I celebrated nine years of (mostly) wedded bliss this week. The day was sunny, just as it has been every Oct. 11 since the day we got hitched. We celebrated with cooking date night (Chinese) and watching a few back episodes of Austin on Jeopardy. It was just right.

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Working on the golf course: I got to spend a day at a client’s golf tournament this week. I was admittedly terrified because I don’t golf, but my team was super encouraging, the sun was shining and I actually made a few decent shots (between shots with which I didn’t even touch the ball). I think I’m a convert. Especially when you get to spend the day taking in views like this:

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Overalls: Do you know how hard it is to find overalls for a seven year old? Maybe it’s not hard if you go straight to Oshkosh, but these are for a Halloween costume so I wasn’t about to pay full price. Who am I kidding? I don’t pay full price for anything. Well, a local thrift store was having a 30% off sale and I popped in just in case and found a pair! Size 10, but they’ll work and they only cost me $2.80. Score!

Happy Friday!

giving thanks

IMG_6139Driving down the Trans Canada from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia today was a perfect opportunity to reflect on why I’m thankful on this Thanksgiving Monday.

Despite the annoyingly intense volume coming from the backseat, I am immeasurably thankful for my kids. They make my day, every day. They’re smart and hilarious, wild and loud. They’re kind and sweet, sassy and ridiculous. They bring out the best of me (most of the time). My life is devoted to them.

Actually, I take back what I said about the annoyingly intense volume. Let’s edit that to: I’m thankful that my seven year old is reading a book about alligators to his brother in the backseat.

Speaking of people who bring out (mostly) the best in me, I am grateful for Mike. He is a true partner – in marriage, homeownership, parenting and plain ol’ everyday existence. I’m thankful that we are able to practice love and patience, generosity and understanding in the life we’ve built together.

I am privileged to have a career and workplace in which I am challenged and supported on a daily basis. There’s rarely a day that I feel negative about getting up and going to work in the morning, which is something I try hard not to take for granted.

I feel incredibly fortunate to call this my home. Typing this as we approach the N.B.-N.S. border feels especially appropriate for me because, as of next year, I’ll have officially lived in Nova Scotia longer than I lived in New Brunswick. So as equal parts New Brunswicker and Nova Scotian, I’m fortunate to have two incredible places to call home.

My heart is filled by family that visits us often and welcomes us to their homes at all times, even though we inevitably make an enormous mess. They spoil our kids (in the best way possible) and every time we’re with them feels like a special occasion.

I’m thankful for my girlfriends. They make me laugh; they keep me grounded. They are my TV-watching crew, my book-club buddies, my nine-minute-meeting ladies, they are friends who feel like family.

Having been in New Brunswick for a family wedding also made me think (and talk about it to everyyyone at the wedding reception) about how lucky I am (and we are) to have a big family (and the ability to stay connected through social media. Even if we don’t see uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, in-laws, nieces and nephews as often as we’d like, I like following along with how their lives are going and it also helps us all to pick up where we left off when we are fortunate enough to come together.

I also asked my fellow passengers why they are thankful:

“I’m thankful for how much football I got to watch yesterday.”

“I’m thankful for my cat.”

“I’m thankful for my house and all of the food we have.”

I’ll let you decide who said what.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

marriage monday: date night

Ah, date night. I have a love-hate relationship with thee.

Funny, before Mike and I had kids, I’m sure we did things like go out to supper, go to movies and see concerts. But I don’t remember ever calling it “date night.” It was just a day in the life. Now, getting out without the kids for some — dare I say romantic? — adult time is somewhat rare and when we do make plans, it comes with oodles of advanced planning, days or weeks of anticipation and what amounts to be a heap of pressure to have the best. time. ever.

Fast forward seven+ years, and somehow date night has become a thing that is illusive and revered that when it appears, we treat it like something akin to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (something we need, something we want and yet something we can’t seem to bring to fruition).

Take Saturday, for example. Mike planned a date. Like, really planned. He even booked the sitter. It may be the first time in seven years of parenting that he booked the sitter. So it felt like a big deal out of the gate. In the best way. And we weren’t doing something we’d normally do, like see a movie. Nope, he upped the ante on this one. He booked us a canoe reservation for a sunset cruise down the Shubie Canal.

Right? I wasn’t kidding.

So I’m sure you can imagine how we were feeling when, 15 minutes after our reservation was due to start and more than an hour after the sitter-metre started running, we realized that no one was going to show up at the locked canoe-rental shop — our reservation somehow got lost in translation.

We put on a brave face and decided to enjoy a walk through the park anyway. We then hopped into the car and headed for our chosen restaurant, knowing the food would be awesome and we’d salvage our night out.

So I’m sure you can also imagine how we felt when we saw the line to said restaurant snaking out the door. Whether we should blame the lovely Saturday evening weather or the newly opened Ikea bringing throngs of people to the area, our search for subsistence carried on for the better part of an hour as restaurant after restaurant told us to expect wait times between 30 minutes to an hour. Admittedly, if we’d stayed put at the first restaurant, we’d probably have made it to a table in that amount of time, but we were frustrated and hungry and feeling a little desperate to find the perfect end to our not-so-perfect evening.

We ended up at a pub with a decent atmosphere and so-so food. We were stuffed when we left but still decided to stop at the grocery store for a bucket of ice cream on the way home, just in case we found room for dessert.

In the meantime, we also heard from the canoe-rental dude who was very apologetic. He offered us a free rental for Sunday, which didn’t feel like a whole lot of consolation at the time, considering we’d already paid a sitter and wouldn’t be booking her for a second evening. That adds to the pressure, btw. The fact that a five-hour date night that only amounts to dinner out costs more than $100.

Sunday morning brought new perspective. It was no longer date night (pressure was off) and the kids slept until 7:45 a.m. (oh unknowable universe!). The boys piled into our bed and the sun was streaming through the window and it felt like a perfect morning for a paddle.

And our date night lemons turned into the best family lemonade ever.

seven years 

Have you ever had a memory so strong that you could smell it? Maybe that sounds weird, but I swear I can smell this picture. 

Jacob was brand new and he smelled like only a new baby does. Of fresh laundry that I’d carefully folded in his nursery and clean (or sometimes not so clean) Pampers on his little baby booty and breastmilk everywhere and quiet late nights snuggling him on the couch.

I hope the vividness of those moments never fade and that I can always smell this picture. 

10 things

I’m just going to have a little giggle and pretend that my list of 10 things I intended to accomplish in the summer wasn’t really a thing. I’m going to take a do-over, okie doke?

10 things I intend to accomplish this fall (and they’ll all be much easier things because a) I’m tired, b) fall is hella busy and c) I’m tired)

  1. Get some new family photos taken. My pixie-cut-growing-out days are behind me so we can all celebrate with a photo shoot.
  2. Paint our kitchen. This is one of those “royal we” jobs that really won’t involve me beyond the paint-chip aisle at Home Depot because Mike insists that I’m the worst painter ever.1450759_10151760075006033_158196943_n
  3. Listen to more audiobooks and podcasts. Now that my commute belongs to me and only me, I can listen to whatever I want. And, spoiler alert, it’s not Sharon, Lois and Bram. So far, it’s included this and this.
  4. Go on a monthly date with Mike. Even if it’s something completely free. I just need to get out of my house with my husband occasionally.
  5. Make some new fall-inspired recipes, including slow cooker cider, toasted pumpkin seeds and a pie of some sort. One of my favourite things about fall is the ability to bake and not melt in the process.19059202_10154699609071033_5948929459909889037_n
  6. DIY the kids’ Halloween costumes. Soon they’ll be too old to let me do this so I gotta make hay (or costumes as the case may be) while the sun shines (before the snow flies?). This metaphor went nowhere fast.
  7. Get all of the fall yard cleanup chores done before the snow flies. Sometimes the first snow doesn’t happen until Christmas so I’m not feeling superrr rushed.*
  8. Start planning our 10th anniversary trip. It might be a long weekend road trip, it could be a week on a beach. No idea.
  9. Host friends for a games night. Because we like our friends. And games are fun.
  10. Craft some new Christmas decorations. Because I just wouldn’t be me if I weren’t always thinking one season ahead.

*Now it’ll be my fault if we get a foot of snow in October, won’t it?