Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Help The Animals

Last year we decided to start giving our daughter an allowance for doing a certain amount of chores. It also came with the understanding that part of her allowance had to go to charity. Not really understanding what charity is we picked 2 charities and said she could either 'help the animals that have no home' or 'give gifts to kids that don't get presents for Christmas'. She picked 'help the animals' and this has been the phrase we've used ever since we started this.

When my son turned 3 we started the same process of chores and an allowance and when given the option who to help he said the wanted to 'help the animals'. Both kids have been saving for quite some time so today I took them down to the Edmonton Humane Society so they could deliver their donations and take a tour of the facility. Since they've become a little older I explained that their money would go towards feeding and caring for these animals until a family would give them a new home. They seemed to understand that a bit better than just 'help the animals'.

When we got there I was saddened to see that the main facility was closed until 2pm (we were there just after noon). I was especially sad as I had called in to ask someone about coming down and was told to just come down anytime. So we trucked inside to the only section that was open and I just asked if the kids could leave their money, figuring we would need to make another trip some other day to actually visit the animals. When I explained the kids wanted to leave part of their allowance money I was so pleasantly surprised that the receptionist said that someone was coming down to meet the kids. Not only did Marissa come to meet the kids but she took them on a tour, counted out their money ($36.90) and gave them each a little package of colouring books, toys, treats, etc. The kids were estatic when she toured us around and took the kids in to pet the cats.

The staff at the facility were so kind and enthusiastic about a 3yr old and 4 yr old giving up $36.90 from their allowances to help the animals. I could see the kids were a little shy about the acknowledgements but were very pleased that people cared about what they did. I have to say the staff were also so nice to me, as the parent, for helping to get them involved in it. They asked why I started it with them and I said that they are very blessed children; they are relatively healthy, they're loved, and have a home over their heads so it was important to me to help them learn that there are others (people, animals, the environment) that need their help. They said that they have definetly noticed that the earlier you get kids interested in this kind of stuff that it follows them for life. That just warmed my heart to know that for all my faults, I am doing at least 1 thing right!

So I encourage you to help your child pick something important to them and let them see how they can make a difference in this world.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What? No Snack Time?

So now that my little girl has completed her first few weeks of Kindergarten I thought I would reflect on the things I wish someone had told me BEFORE she started Kindergarten.

1. At my daughter's school they do not have a formal snack time for the kids. It seems that every other parent in the class knew this but me and yet it wasn't on any of the info we were given prior to the start of school. No snack time? Are you serious? What can I say, I was shocked.  So, not knowing this, I packed the usual lunch bag full of snacks and sent it along with her. When recess started the teacher explained that the kids take A snack items with them to the playground and they eat at the picnic benches before they hit the playground. This meant a shift in the types of snacks I usually send her because Lord knows those Tupperware containers would never make it back from the playground each day.

2. Only 1 kid in the whole class (besides my daughter) had a backpack with a character on it. What??? They're already too old for backpacks with Disney characters on it. That's so sad :(  I lovingly remember my Smurfs, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, etc, lunchboxes and this it's so sad DD's generation is already phasing these things out at too early of an age.  It turned out her Disney backpack was too small to hold her 'homework/paperwork' folder so we had to go buy a new backpack anyway so she got one with hearts on it. *sniff, sniff*

3. They do not give you a class list with the parent's names (which we got in preschool) so we've started the slow process of exchanging vital information in case one parent is late and needs another to watch their child. It was so much easier when you were just given the list of info!

4. You need to send your kids in coats/shoes they can completely do up on their own. DD had been able to do up her last jacket on her own but as with a new school year and growing up I had purchased her a lovey new coat and forgot to have her practice doing it up on her own. The bloody buttons are so small she can't do it so thankfully we had another coat she could wear. We've been practicing at home to manage the buttons and zippers on all outerwear as the teacher doesn't have time to do up 22 sets of shoes and coats. Recess would be over before she got it all done! Now we need to start focusing on getting her to get her snowsuit on and off by herself as we all know that season will be upon us faster than we expect.

There's also a few things I haven't figured out yet that I hopefully will over the next few weeks: Can we just walk to her classroom or library or do we need to check in at the office first? How do you hand out birthday invites to the kids without all the other kids seeing and having their feeling hurt? (in preschool they had mailboxes you could slip it into)

It's a whole new world for me as a first time parent in the school system. I'm sure that by the time DS enters school I'll have this all down pat but until then I feel like the blind leading the blind. I'll take any advice people have!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

August Books

I've decided to switch things up a little and no I'm going to list the books I read in order from the one I liked the least to the one I liked the most (or the one I'd recommend the most).  I'm hoping I didn't forget to write any down this month. Normally I try to write them down as soon as I've read them but this month I was bad and just stacked them up. BUT then I was a dumb ass and gave 1/2 the stack away for others to read before I realized I hadn't recorded what I'd read! From memory here's what I remember from least enjoyed to most enjoyed:

5. The Vendetta - Honore de Balzac:  This one is my fault. I knew I had to read a book called Vendetta from the 501 Must Read Book list but who knew there were so many books named Vendetta?? So, apparently I read the wrong one. I read THE Vendetta instead of Vendetta. Sigh. So the one I did read was a simple tale. Not a ton of depth but was still a bit sad at the end, which one might guess with such a title.

4. The Heretic Queen - Michelle Moran: This was the 2nd book I read of hers. I enjoyed it but really it's very simple reading that's more like escapism for me. I'll admit I did buy another of her books as it's a good break every now and then. The hard part about these books is that I'm not sure how much of it is actually fact based. I figure very little so it makes it harder to enjoy.

3. The Paris Wife - Paula McLain: Really the only reason this one is higher up on the list is because I know more of it is true based on what I read in a Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemmingway's memoires. Really I think both books should be read together so you get a good understanding from both sides. They lived in quite a fantastical time; it makes you think of old Hollywood movies when you read about their lives.

2. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana - Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: I like these kinds of books because it gives me a glimpse into the lives of people who are going through things we read in the news. It makes it more tangible, something easier to understand when you see the human side to the info you read in the newspaper. These women are fulled with courage and it makes me wonder if I had one tenth of their moxy to be able to pull something like this off. It proves women do whatever it takes to look after their loved ones.

1. Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal - Conor Grennan: what I loved about this book is that you can tell it's not written by a professional author but just by someone who wants to retell his experiences to his friends. I love that he was honest to say he started this journey because he thought it would look good on a resume and sound good to girls he's trying to pick up. His honesty was refreshing as is his passion for his cause. An enjoyable read from someone trying to make a difference.  READ IT :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Confessions of a Frantic Mom

Time to fess up. Whenever someone says to me 'You're so organized' the first thing I think is how I want to tell them it's all an act. Yep. It's all an act. I'm a faker. I do my best to hide my frantic side from most people but at times like this it's not just seeping through the cracks, it's pouring out.

September is notoriously a difficult month because it's the start of the school season but it;s also one of Hub's busiest months at work as he travels a great deal in this month. This year though we not only have DD starting kindergarten but DS is starting preschool and both kids are starting swim lessons twice a week. On top of that it's less than a month before Run for the Cure so it means lots of meetings, events, etc. Now I just got the schedule for both kids and see that I have to attend some parent info nights and had to sign up to volunteer for their schools. Yep. I'm in panic mode.

Simply put I'm a frantic mom who has no idea how to pull this all off. Most days I just want to cry 'I want my mommy!'. The calendar is freaking me out and I am honest when I say I'm not handling it very well. Lately I've been going to bed earlier and earlier each night. It's a way for me to escape the reality of our crazy lives. I'm just so entirely thankful that we have the help of my parents. I couldn't imagine trying to manage this month without their help.

At this point my best hope for the month is to just manage without falling apart. Or at least to manage without other people noticing me fall apart. I have my fake image to uphold right?