Saturday, April 2, 2016

Changing Scenery

Hello all...thanks for visiting!

I have moved my blog over to a new Wordpress platform - you can now find Writing Down the Bones here:

Hope you come and give the new site a visit...

Monday, February 15, 2016

Reflecting on Valentine's Day

Last night - lying in bed, about to turn out the light - I asked my husband "Do you remember where we were 20 years ago tonight?" 

I didn't see the look of panic on his face but I'm sure it was there. As it is for any man when his wife starts a sentence with "Do you remember when..."

We had spent most of this Valentine's Day apart - him working on a construction project and me handling kid duties - we had dinner as a family and got the kids into bed and then settled down to watch The Walking Dead.

So...not really a romantic evening. I wasn't disappointed but it got me thinking about the past and what Valentine's Day used to mean.

Because 20 years ago - on our first Valentine's Day together - it was all about romance. We were 18 years old - oh my god! - and I was so excited that he was taking me out for a fancy dinner at the Sutton Place Hotel. (Hubby remembered by the way...phew.)

I got all dressed up, he got all dressed up, he brought me roses, he opened my car door, he held my hand as we walked into the fancy restaurant and were seated at our little corner table. It was so god damned high brow that I couldn't quite believe we were even allowed to be there.

It was a great night. I loved every minute of it. I felt loved and happy and spoiled.

We celebrated in similar style - dinners out, roses, occasionally booking a night a swanky hotel - for many more years. And then - as they tend to do - our Valentine's Day plans changed with the arrival of kids.

And when that happened I remember thinking that our love as a couple - and an "us" - didn't need to be celebrated anymore. We were beyond that. Above it though with the arrival of our first born our love status was now elevated above those that were just "couples".

I even wrote this post about the evolution of Valentine's Day in 2013 that included this line: "Now before you feel sad for me and think the spark has gone out of my marriage...don't worry it hasn't. We just don't need a specific day to say I Love You."

Oh how wrong I was. Just a few months later I would be faced with that exact reality. That the love had gone out of my marriage and in actual fact we needed more than one specific day to say I Love You. We needed to say it just once and really mean it. Really feel it.

Luckily we made it through that dark time and are working our way back to love. And that experience has given me a new outlook on Valentine's Day. While I still think there is a commercial aspect of the holiday that warrants disdain...the basic premise behind the day is an important one.

It is essentially all about celebrating love. And I know now that love not only should be celebrated but it should also never be taken for granted. Love should never be assumed in any relationship no matter how long you have been together.

Love might not take work but it takes nurturing and attention. And days like this provide a perfect opportunity for that to happen.

So next Valentine's Day I think I just might be dropping some not so subtle hints that I like roses and getting dressed up. Sacrifices must be made...

Friday, February 12, 2016

I know It's annoying but I'm not gonna stop...

I've turned into one of those people. The ones that post on social media all the time about their workouts and their runs and their physical accomplishments. 

Ones that perhaps make you think this...

When I share the view from my run...

And a photo of sweaty post workout face...

and sometimes even pictures of my running shoes for heavens sake...

I know my oversharing in this area is probably annoying to some people. They may think I'm fishing for compliments or searching for validation. I've got news for them...they are totally f'ing right.

Damn straight I'm looking for likes.

Hells ya I want you to comment and cheer me on.

Because I worked hard on that run and it hurt and now I'm sore and I could've been sitting on my couch watching Downton Abbey with a cup of tea in my hand but I didn't. I ran.

And to be honest - sharing every post about every run and getting the love and support from friends and family - is huge motivation for me to pick my running shoes over my couch.

I'd like to say that I'm doing it all for me...because I love the feeling of running...and I know it's good for me...yada yada yada...but I'm still working on becoming the me that always chooses the healthier way. That will come...I know...but for now I use social media as my motivation to keep it up.

The way I see it is that I'm more accountable to my exercise regime if I share it with everyone. If I post about my great runs for a few weeks and then do nothing...I think it might get noticed. And people would say..."well...looks like Kelly is back on her couch. Figured that would happen."

And the thought of that doesn't feel good. The drive to make sure that doesn't happen is what keeps me going.

So please excuse me while I blatantly use you all for my own needs and self indulgence. Because - fingers crossed - you all are going to have to get used to seeing my pretty views, dirty shoes and sweaty face in your timeline a lot...

I'm only kinda sorry...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Ballerina in the Hall

Facebook Memories make me happy. Every day I look forward to getting that reminder of a moment from the past that may have forgotten. 

Sometimes they are big moments - like anniversaries or holidays or milestones - but it's the little moments that pop up that make me the happiest. Moments like this day from 2010.

I had just gotten a new SLR camera and wanted to try it out. 

My oldest had just gotten a brand new ballet outfit and wanted to dance for us.

And littlest...well...she just wanted to be there. 

I'm so grateful to have been reminded of this moment in time. That they didn't just become photos lost in the memory storage on my computer. 

Way to go Facebook...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: New Art

We have a new piece of artwork hanging in our kitchen and I am totally in love with it.

It's a one of a kind mixed media piece called "Monster Truck" and it's by a new and relatively unknown 6 - almost 7 - year old artist. I see big things for this girl.

And lots of new art for my walls...

Happy hump day!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Adios January!

When the sun comes out in the winter it's like a bit of happiness breaking through the gray gloom of the Pacific Northwest Winter.

That's exactly what happened this weekend - the sun came out after raining all day and the girls and I decided a walk on the dyke was just what the doctor ordered...

saying hello to our friend the crane...

Anytime we make it to the "stage" on our walk...a little dancing must be done.

obligatory mummy & girls selfie...

Adios January blues...we are one month closer to spring!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Oh so true...

This quote came up in my Facebook feed a little while ago and when I read it I literally felt like I'd been punched in the chest. It hit home so hard.

At the time, I saved the link rather than hitting 'like' because I wasn't quite ready to admit this was how I felt when my husband and I separated.

But it is how I I still feel actually as we continue to repair the damage and see if we can fall in love with each other again.

Nothing in certain in life and I do choose to remain hopeful...but my god...this feeling. Well that will be the hardest thing to forget.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Are we really the worst parents ever?

I've been reading a lot of articles lately about today's generation of parents and how we indulge our children too much, give them too many choices and too much control.

Many of these articles have awesome click bait headlines like "Are We the Worst Generation of Parents Ever?" and the like. And despite the sensationalist nature of the headlines, many of them also make a whole lot of sense and speak a crap load of truth.

I found myself nodding in agreement with many of the statements. And also feeling guilty of the failures I was clearly making as a parent. Like trying to hard to make sure my kids like me...

I've had the "can parents be friends with their kids?" conversation with many of my friends. And the conversations usually end with us all in agreement that we can't really be both friend and parent...but also that many of us are still trying really hard to make the impossible happen. What is lost in that quest is our level of authority as a parent. Our very important role as the rule setter, the boss, the one in charge...has been lost.

Russell Peters touched on this phenomenon in his latest Netflix stand up special "Notorious". Granted he was referring to "white parents" in the show but I've seen it cross over all ethnicities.

The joke was - and I'm totally paraphrasing here - about a mother asking her 5 year old son what he wants for dinner. She didn't give him any restrictions or parameters - "when you know what you want you tell me sweetie. I love you. kiss kiss kiss." Basically handing the kid all the control.

Peters jokes that the kid could have asked for a shoe for dinner and she would have said okay - that's how accommodating white parents are. While in his childhood experience he ate what dad wanted for dinner - every night, no exceptions, eat it or else. So which approach is the right one? Or are they both just a little bit extreme.

At our house there is only ever one dinner prepared and everyone eats it. No kids meals and adult meals - its all for one and one for all. Sounds like I've set good parameters right? Good ground rules?

Doesn't mean I don't still negotiate with my kids through the meal. Doesn't mean I haven't said - many a time - "just eat 5 more bites." or "okay, one more carrot and you're done."

And that certainly doesn't mean that my kids never get dessert unless they have finished every last lick of food on their plate. Often they win the dinner battles and I know I have exposed weakness. I know they have worn me down at the end of a busy work day. That they saw their opportunity and pounced.

Pick your battles right? But does picking our battles and letting our kids win sometimes really earned us the title of the "worst generation of parents EVER?"

My girls play soccer and they have one other creative class - acting for one and art for the other. 3 nights a week each for lessons. Am I over programming them? Or encouraging them to try new things - both athletic and creative?

I was happy when my oldest daughter said she wanted to get more serious about soccer and join a select team next year meaning more practices and more effort on all our parts. Am I putting too much pressure on her to succeed? Or supporting her desire to excel in her chosen activity.

I'm not ready to let my almost 10 year old walk the 4 minutes on super quiet side streets from school to our house on her own even though at her age I walked 15 minutes down a major street to get home.  Does that mean I'm too overprotective? Or just cautious?

My kids have chores that they are supposed to do regularly. They don't get allowance for doing them...and they don't always do them regularly. Am I being too easy on them by not making them do them every day?

I honestly don't know sometimes. Because there are days where I would give anything to not have any damn classes at all. And then other times where I watch my kids perform at acting or on the soccer field and I swell with pride at what they are able to do. So determined and successful at such a young age.

I pretty much had no programming in my childhood. I think I must have taken a few swimming lessons and I also remember going to Brownies but that's about it. And I don't think I turned out that bad.

Often I look at my girls and am struck by how well rounded they actually are. How when they play they still use their imagination - hell...they still have an imagination. And they are able to write stories and create art and play games and laugh. And then I see them at soccer practice working on new skills and trying them out. Focused and determined.

Parenting is a crap shoot. We do our best, we make our choices and we choose our battles. And all with the goal of raising our kids right and preparing them for the world.

The thing that puts a kink in that plan is the world we are preparing them for is not the same one we experienced when we left high school. And in knowing that we as parents find ourselves forced to change the game plan on the fly. To adjust our strategy and our trajectory.

And we do so with the hope that we manage to stay just enough on target for both their sakes and ours.

Are we the worst generation of parents ever? Maybe. But I suspect that many of the follies that have earned us the label of "worst" have come from a place of love for our children, concern about doing what's right by them and also - a shit load of articles that make us think we're doing this parenting thing all wrong.

Ultimately the only judge that matters is your own kid.

Ask them if you suck at being their parent. But be prepared for the answer. Because if there is one thing you can count on your kids's brutal honesty.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Words of Wisdom: Kicking off 2016

Can't think of a better way to start off 2016 but with a couple of kick-ass quotes.

And finally...a little humour...

Because really...who doesn't want to be a Fruit Loop?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturdays at the Park

Saturdays are soccer day in our house.Little one has soccer the gym...and then after a quick bite of lunch we rush off to big sister's game outside.

When you're 6 it's hard to sit for an hour and watch the big kids play soccer...she can usually manage half the game if I bring snacks.

So the other half of the game we hit up the park and see what kind of fun we can get into.  I'm starting to really look forward to these moments with her. When we talk about our days and our dreams and our hopes.

She's funny and sweet and a little crazy. And she's all mine.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

So You Think You Can Dance Tour - Kid Date Night

Last Christmas I gave my oldest daughter tickets to see the So You Think You Can Dance tour. She was 8 and sooo excited to go.

I considered buying a ticket for my youngest daughter too but at age 5 I thought she was a little too young to sit through the whole thing and I didn't want her fidgeting to ruin the experience for her sister. Also - she just wasn't as into the show as her sister was.

So I told her you had to be at least 6 to attend the show. She bought the little white lie and all was good. M and I had a blast at the show.

This summer we all watched SYTYCD together and my youngest daughter was much more into it. So when the tour announced a stop in Vancouver I thought it would be a great mother-daughters night out. Christmas shopping complete.

oh this look of awe and wonder...

yup...not quite a lover of live shows yet

"it's the robot dance!"

team stage...all the way...

Verdict: it was a great night but I still think my youngest is either still too young for a 2 hour show or she's just not the sit still and watch a show type.She fidgeted her way through the whole thing and nearly fell asleep halfway through the 2nd half.

Rant: Why would you start a show that is aimed at kids at 8pm on a Friday night? So ridiculous. 7pm would have been much more appropriate. My kid wasn't the only one having a hard time keeping her eyes open.

Back to the show. It was fantastic, a great representation of the TV show and energy filled from start to finish.  But next year...I'm leaving the littlest one at home.

Sorry sweetie...