Monday, December 10, 2012

Dear Santa

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

And all the little boys and girls are making their Christmas wish list.

I didn't need to remind my son to write a letter to Santa; he wrote it before December.



Isn't it sweet?

I just love my little writer!

Friday, November 30, 2012

A New Look

After twenty years, I finally did it - I cut my long hair!

What took me so long? What was I so worried about?

Well, Mr. O wanted me to keep my long hair.

Yep.

He adored my black, lengthy, wavy tresses cascading over my shoulders.

But it was time for a change.

And I think I deserved it.

For years, I've been cutting the boys' hair. It was my turn to get pampered.

And so, I spent a Saturday morning at the beauty salon; to get my hair cut, coloured, and styled.

It felt so liberating!

And when Mr. O and the boys saw me for the first time, they were astonished and said they loved the new look.

I do too!

So, if you're reluctant to snip those long locks, don't despair.

It's not as bad as you think.

Take a chance, get inspired and get a makeover.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Keep on Writing

This school year, book reports and writing assignments have taken up most of my son's schedule.

And so, when he came home to finish his creative writing project, I told him I'd like to read and check his work.

What was I thinking?

It was thirteen pages long!

And a complete mess!

For over an hour, I muddled through pages, making corrections on spelling and punctuation.

I pointed out run-on sentences; and suggested to keep them short and concise.

I also gave him some tips to improve on his writing skills.

And I reminded him to keep the reader interested.

Mr. O thought I was too hard on him.

I didn't think so. In fact, my son was happy for my guidance.

I understand he's young, and still learning.

Besides, all writing needs to be proofread and edited.

It's part of the writing process.

No worries, my dear boy.

Just keep on writing.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day

On the eleventh month, on the eleventh day and on the eleventh hour, we honour the many men and women who have fallen and paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. It was very important to bring our boys to pay homage to these brave soldiers. And after seeing a war veteran overcome with emotion, I could tell my children felt his pain and sorrow. An image etched in their minds forever.




 
As the poem, "For The Fallen", Laurence Binyon wrote:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Content

Just two days after Hallowe'en and we're bombarded with Christmas advertising on television.

Really?

Even some talk shows have begun the holiday segment.

The kids haven't consumed their candy, and the costumes haven't been put away.

And I have yet to do my fall yard cleanup!

The mere thought of making a list, shopping, Christmas decorating, baking and gift wrapping is not on my mind.

Some people have already put up the Christmas tree!

And I heard Mr.O humming Christmas tunes.

What's the rush?!

Don't get me wrong, I'm no humbug!

Can't we relax for awhile?

Thank goodness, J.P hasn't pressured me to get started.

I'm content with my stash of candy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The First Avenger

A few weeks ago, Mr. O and I went shopping at the local party store in search of J.P's Hallowe'en costume.

He chose Captain America.

And it's one hot selling item this season.

To our surprise, the outfit cost thirty-five dollars!

Wow.

Unfortunately, Captain America's shield did not come along with the ensemble. The price tag for one is twenty dollars.

Are you kidding me?!

All this for a child's costume?!

Even The Hulk would go berserk and smash those prices away.

So, we made our way home without the shield. Maybe we'll find a better deal.

As expected, J.P was thrilled to see the garb we picked up until he asked, "Where's the shield?"

I know. I know. We'll find one or make one.

But you know what? Our boy has been doing so well in school. Coming home with A's.

How could we refuse such a request?

Yesterday, we bought the shield.

And now he's been parading in full attire, flexing his muscles (lots of padding underneath the fabric) and holding his armor like a super hero.

He is, afterall, a star spangled man with a plan.

The First Avenger.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Why Can't Every Day Be Like Friday?

It's Friday!

Woohoo!

My boys came home early from school. And without delay, they hung up coats, put away shoes and emptied lunch bags.

Amazing!

Last month, I enforced a rule that homework, music lessons must be completed; and showers must be taken before computer time.

And funny how these tasks are always accomplished - most notably on a Friday!

At five o'clock, we have dinner.

I'm astonished as my kids devour the meal in ten minutes, not a word spoken!

No second servings? No dessert?

Huh?!

Nothing but eat and run.

And I'm left all alone at the table.

Sigh.

What happened to my boys?

Strange. But it's remarkably quiet here.

Nice.

Why can't every day be like Friday?!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Too Much

Are we putting too much out there on social media?

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes, I think we are.

It's wonderful to keep in touch with family and close friends but to let them see everything, I think is excessive and personal.

Sharing pictures of special occasions, trips and favourite foods.

Checking in places- restaurants, shopping malls and the doctor's office.

Even posting a status.

I admit I've done all that!

As I scroll down my timeline and see all the updates. I realize I may have spammed others with my life!

For the sake of Mr. O and my boys. I'll give them privacy.

Why allow every aspect of my life to be seen, or heard?

I'll be more careful next time. I promise.

Blogging?

Sorry, I couldn't leave that out otherwise.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Handy Man

Ten years ago, we moved into a modest family home just east of Toronto.

As new homeowners, we painted all the rooms, cleaned the old carpet and upgraded the windows.

However, Mr. O was clueless how to do minor home repairs. And so he called his father to teach him plumbing, building and electrical skills. He even bought Do-It-Yourself books!

At first, I wasn't too crazy about him buying power tools and spending time at the local hardware store.

He was busy doing projects around the house - replacing old light fixtures, tiling the floor, and installing a new bathtub.

Life at home with two small boys, and a barrage of home renovations can be very stressful.

Why don't we put the home restoration on hold?

Till the kiddies grow up a bit.

Truth is, Mr. O is enjoying his hiatus. It's been far too long.

So, when my son hollered, "Mom! The toilet is not flushing!"

Guess who popped in my head.

Who else?

Handy man!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Three Years and Counting...

"You still blog?"

"Yes."

Mr. O is amazed.

Just because I took some time off from writing - doesn't mean I've nothing to say. Do you think I've given up my blog completely?

Are you crazy?

What would I do without it?

I'm a mother of two boys - energetic boys! This is how I keep my sanity!

And I've been blogging for three years, with over two hundred posts under my belt.

Hmmph!

I think I can write whenever I want to.

There's no deadline.

No?

But I do care for my readers. You're all special to me. Perhaps, it's the thought that someone out there is reading, and relating to my experiences.

And how can I forget that it's my family that inspires me to write the most.

See?

No love lost here.

I'm here to stay.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Keeping The Dream Alive

Every year, kids across the country honour a Canadian hero named Terry Fox. He was an exceptional, and courageous young man who ran The Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research. Today, my boys participated in the National School Run Day. And this is what J.P brought home.


His grandmother would be proud, and so would Terry.

To learn more about Terry and his dream. Click here.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Talk

How does your child cope with disappointment?

My youngest is still having trouble dealing with setbacks, and he's nine years old.

I know there have been a lot of changes this September - attending a French Immersion school, meeting new people, making new friends and learning a new language. I understand he's going through a period of adjustment.

However, he's been having a meltdown almost every day!

Not typical behaviour for my son.

And no excuse for it!

Yesterday, I had the talk with him.

Here we go again!

I told J.P I wasn't happy with this behaviour. Whether he loses a Yu-Gi-Oh card game, didn't have enough computer time or didn't get a chance to play table tennis. He would lash out, whine and cry.

I'd say he was acting like a spoiled brat!

But I told him he was acting more like a toddler and that he was no longer one.

I went on to say that life isn't always fair, and that there will be disappointments. There are some things beyond your control, and you have to accept what ever happens.

Too deep? Perhaps.

In simpler terms, I recounted my attempts to get Johnny Depp's autograph at TIFF. I explained the crowds were just too overwhelming. Although, I was two feet away from him, I still couldn't get his signature. I was very disappointed but at least I saw him in person! Who knows when Johnny will come back to the film festival? It could be years!

J.P listened quietly as I told him my sad tale.

Sniff. Sniff. Sniff.

Did I make a connection with J.P? I hope so.

Or else, Mr.O will have to do the talking.

Monday, September 10, 2012

TIFF 2012

Back to reality.

Sigh.

And I don't mean summer vacation is over and the kids are back to school.

I'm talking about my weekend at TIFF (or otherwise known as the Toronto International Film Festival)

It all began with a red carpet event, and the movie premiere of "West of Memphis".

Guess who stars in it?


You bet! The biggest star in town. And it was probably the craziest red carpet I have ever attended!

Next, I saw Emma Watson who plays "Hermione" in Harry Potter and a group of up and coming actors such as Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson and the Olympians). Both featured in the movie, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower".

But the highlight of the night was seeing Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo and Tim Robbins, who star in the film called "Thanks for Sharing". They were all so nice and charming.


My weekend of stargazing came to an abrupt end when I returned home.

To a very messy home!

And a basket of dirty laundry.

Not that exciting or glamorous.

But no worries, there's always next year at TIFF.

Friday, June 1, 2012

In The Garden

Can you believe it's June? The month of May flew by so quickly. I was hectic in the garden especially during the long weekend. Here are a few pictures taken last month:

On Mother's Day, we spent the afternoon taking family pictures at Rosetta McClain Gardens. I also snapped photos of spring flowers.


During the Victoria Day long weekend, I worked in the garden. I planted new perennials - Salivia, Shasta Daisy, White Coneflower, Ballerina Lilac Armeria and a few annuals.


My perennial garden. A work in progress; ever-changing and growing.



Spring wouldn't be the same without this ornamental shrub - French Lilac in full bloom.


Oh, I can't wait for summer!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Connectivity

"Should I get a laptop or tablet?"

"It depends what you want to do."

Mr.O cannot make up his mind. I asked him if he wants to do more on the laptop, or does he want convenience?

He stated that it would be nice to have a tablet if we go away on trips.

Tablets are portable and lightweight while laptops can be bulky to carry around.

We compare IPad, Samsung Galaxy and Blackberry Playbook. All great tablets to have but which one would Mr. O prefer?

And just how much is he willing to spend?

Hmm.

We opted for the Blackberry Playbook. It made sense to purchase one because we already have a Blackberry smartphone. No need to get another service plan!

Mr. O asked me to set up the Playbook; he has no patience for apps!

My inner geek wanted to know what it could do. I spend the next two hours getting familiar with the tablet. And I end up tethering my phone to the Playbook, and even used BBM from the tablet! I was quite impressed.

Not bad for $200.

But still Mr. O wanted a bigger screen, and bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab. He tried it but realized the Playbook had better connectivity.

Would he get the IPad 3 instead?

No.

He wanted a Playbook.

It may not be as sleek, and cool as some of the other tablets out there but he really liked it.

I do too.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Together Again

Finally, some good news.

Last Thursday, A.R and his teammates competed in the Battle of the Books Regional Championships, and placed in third overall.

What an accomplishment!

Last year, the school team finished fourth, so it's wonderful they improved this year.

That same day, my youngest son came home with a letter, stating he'd been accepted to his brother's school - J.P  will be enrolled in the grade four extended French program this coming September.

And I hope J.P will like his new school. I know he will leave behind some of his friends, and start anew. It will be an adjustment for him but knowing that he has a sibling there will make the transition easier.

And it also means a new routine, J.P will take the school bus with his older brother.

Oh, how I'll miss taking my boy to school!

Sigh.

It has been a long three years; the boys going to separate schools, having different schedules and school events. At least, they can now share them and more importantly, they'll be together again!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dream Garden

A few days ago, I went out to the garden to rake, weed and clean up the flower bed.

I was so happy to be outdoors, enjoying the fine weather.

It was delightful to find that my climbing roses, and poppy survived the winter. I even discovered a new leafy plant - I hope it's not a weed!

There's still amending the soil, dividing and moving plants. And overseeding the lawn - a job for Mr. O to tackle.

And although I spent two hours in the yard; working hard to clear up all the leaves and removing old blooms. I must admit, it was time well spent.

Once inside the house, I took out my gardening books. This is where the planning and magic begins!

I'm so inspired.

What perennials will I plant this year?

Peonies? Daisies? Aster? Lavender?

And to think it was just a plain backyard nine years ago. I have no regrets creating a small garden - expanding the borders and adding new plants every year.

Now, It has grown to be a patch of heaven.

Slowly, it is becoming my dream garden.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In Training

"Mommy, the Easter bunny didn't come today!"

No? Really?

Truth is, my boys are too old for egg hunts and egg decorating.

It's hard to let go but it's time to move on and grow up - especially for my twelve year old boy.

I think he's been pampered, doted on and spoiled far too long.

I stopped doing things for him. A.R prepares his clothes for school, packs his lunch, and washes dishes. When we dine out, he orders and pays for his own food. Soon, he'll do laundry and learn how to cook.

Even our youngest boy is in training too.

I would do everything for my boys but I wouldn't be helping them.

I have to step back, and teach them to be independent. As parents, it's not only our responsibility to give them shelter, food and love but to guide them and teach them life skills for the future.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stimulate Your Brain

Mr. O slumps back on the armchair, and declares, "I'm mentally drained."

This is what happens when you haven't played chess in a long time.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

I've always believed as we get older, we should keep physically but mentally active.

We all have busy lives. Often going through the same, old routines.

Why be boring?

Why not change your routine? Do things differently once in awhile.

Go outdoors. Go for a walk. Read a book. Learn something new.

Exercise your brain! We all need stimulation.

In the evenings, I play Brain Age or do sudoku puzzles. And of course, I write and read a lot of books.

What's a few minutes a day?

I've encouraged Mr. O to do the same.

I may be old and a little forgetful but I like to keep my mind young.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Twelve

Twelve years ago, on this day, we welcomed a son into the world.

Such a tiny, sweet, beautiful baby boy.

Truly a gift from heaven!

Now, it's hard to believe you were so little then. For you have grown up to be a fine, young man.

So talented, smart, funny and independent.

How could we still call you our baby?

And although, you're finding your own way, I hope you'll never forget us.

Whatever you do, we will always support and encourage you.

For you have brought us so much love and joy.

If you only knew how much we feel about you - words cannot express.

We are so proud of you.

Happy 12th Birthday!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Think Spring

The sun is shining, and the temperature is soaring.

Gone are the winter coats, hats, gloves and boots.

Think spring!

Gardening, flowers, birds and longer days.

But think again.

There's no way I'll be enjoying this fine weather.

My boys are sick with ear infection and fever!

I've spent a whole week taking care of J.P. - working round the clock.

And now that he's feeling much better, my eldest boy fell ill on Sunday.

What?!

No!

There goes March Break. Sigh.

Think I need a drink.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Sports Fan

Modern Family, Parenthood, and The Big Bang Theory are just a few television shows that I watch every week.

Reality tv?

No.

I'm sick of it.

My brother asked, "What other shows do you watch?"

"DIY programs."

I have basic cable, no specialty channels here.

I do tune in to the sports channel.

Perhaps, I'm not your typical sports fan. But I do enjoy watching basketball, football, soccer and hockey games.

And funny how I'm the only one who keeps track of the games.

Somehow, I find the sports channel more intriguing than tv programming.

Thanks to Jeremy Lin!

And now that the playoffs are just around the corner, I'm cheering for my hometown hockey team.

And my boys have jumped on the bandwagon! Yay!

The more, the merrier!

It may take a miracle!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

"I don't want to go to the dentist."

"I don't like it."

Mr. O shakes his head and grins, and tells me I'm acting like a child.

Perhaps.

Appointment day isn't always easy for me.

Can I honestly say I look forward to sitting in a chair, feeling so utterly powerless and anxious? Staring up at the clock, the television, and the ceiling, mumbling as the dentist and his assistant ask if I'm okay.

Thinking what the heck am I doing here!

There's a tray beside me, spread out with unfamiliar tools. Oh dear.

I can't exactly see what's going on, and that makes me nervous.

Who enjoys going to the dentist anyways?

My son feels the same way as I do. And he had his teeth extracted seven times!

What a brave one!

It's the calm before the storm.

Which is worse?

The winter storm heading our way this evening, or the trip to the dentist?

Hmm.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What Valentine's Day?

Ahh, l'amour such a beautiful thing, isn't it?

And how wonderful it is to express your love and devotion on Valentine's day.

But for me, it was just an ordinary day. No chocolates, heart-shaped balloons or red roses.

You see, Mr.O isn't the romantic type. No Mr. Darcy here.

I shouldn't complain. He's an amazing husband and father to our two boys. I am truly blessed to have married a kindhearted, generous man.

And this year in June, we will be married for 14 years.

But for once, it would be nice to go on a date after all these years!

Sigh.

You keep telling me every day is Valentine's.

Uh huh.

And we watched "Breaking Dawn Part 1" at midnight on the most romantic night of the year. Does that count?

No.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thank Wiarton Willie

February is here.

Yay!

My favorite month of the year.

And today is Groundhog Day.

I'm watching the morning news with amusement; a local show feeding live updates from Wiarton, Ontario.

What will Wiarton Willie predict? An early spring or 6 more weeks of winter?

Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicted a longer winter.

No!

So far it has been a mild winter. No tobogganing or frolicking in the snow.

Whatever the prediction, Willie will know best.

Did he see his shadow?

J.P ran down, and shouted, "Mommy, I saw my shadow!"

I chuckled in delight.

Thankfully Willie Wiarton did not see his shadow and concluded it will be an early spring!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bedtime Blues

Bedtime can't be this difficult, can it?

No. Seriously.

I thought my boys knew better - meaning they would brush their teeth, and go to bed at 9:30pm.

Sadly, they did not and continued to make a raucous upstairs.

Boys! Arghh!

I thought an afternoon of skating would tire them out but I guess it didn't do the trick. They still have lots of energy, and are still awake!

And so I marched to their room, full of displeasure and told them it was way past their bedtime.

A series of accusations ensued; along with finger pointing and glaring.

However, my lecture silenced them - especially when I told them they were not allowed to play computer next weekend.

Oh well.

Tomorrow is school, and we can't have them up till midnight. Right?

I hope I don't have to address this issue again. And we can say goodbye to the bedtime blues.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Man Cave

I'm amazed what kids say nowadays.

In fact, I'm beginning to think my boys have a sense of humour.

During the last week of Christmas holidays, my boys were free to play computer games and watch their favourite movies.

I was busy cooking dinner when I went to briefly check on them upstairs.

I asked where they were and what they were doing.

"We're in the man cave!"

Oh.

Man cave?

How the heck did they know about that?

And I didn't even know we had one!

Sigh.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wonderful Memories

It's been a month since I last posted.

Oops.

You could say December was a busy month.

There were Christmas parties, school concerts, shopping and even a huge birthday bash for my twin cousins at The Fairmont Royal York. It's hard to believe we did all those things before the holidays!

This time around I was so behind schedule - I ended up shopping just days before Christmas! That was crazy!

Then there's the decorating, cooking, baking and gift-wrapping. How do we do it all?

Where are Santa's helpers?

Oh, I hope it was a magical Christmas for my kids - I try to do my best.

It's so tiring, isn't it? Whew!

And now that the presents have been unwrapped, and New Year celebrations have ended.

I have time to write again.

But it was the best of times - I spent them all with my family.

I hope you all spent them with yours. And I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!