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11 ways I know we’re parents of little boys


I know none of these are exclusive to a house with boys but, as a whole, I think the gender of our children is pretty clear.

1) Random toy collections litter every surface of our home. 

2) There is a high-tide line in our bathtub. 

3) “Wash your hands before you touch anything!” is a standing order. 

4) We have a mysterious “trail-mix” factory in our car.

5) We are grateful everytime the puddle on the bathroom floor is only water.

6) We know the excruciating pain of stepping barefoot on Lego. 

7) The only “F word” in our house is fart. 

8) We have a “no bugs/rocks/sticks in the house” rule. 

9) We can’t make plans until we check the kids’ hockey schedule.  

10) The laundry never ends. 

11) Our house had a stinky dog odor before we even got a dog!

Do you have boys, girls or a mixture? Does your house have a particular gender flavour?

Friday flashback – 1977

Me and my dad when  I was four

Me and my dad when I was four

I love this picture for three reasons:

1) The chair (my parents still had the matching couch up until 2 years ago)
2) My dad still looks exactly like this
3) I still look at him with this much love

I was going to feature a different photo today, but a school friend’s father died yesterday and I feel a burning need to write about this one instead.

Allow me to present…

11 Practical things my dad has taught me

1) You should not be allowed to drive a car until you know how to change a tire – One day, when I was 16 and newly licensed, I  headed out to use the car only to discover it  had a flat tire. Mid-change, as I was putting on the spare, two neighbourhood mothers came over to watch because they didn’t know how.

2) If possible, a man should own a classic tuxedo – Once or twice a year when I was growing up, my parents would attend a party that would be “black tie optional”. My father would look extremely dashing in his tuxedo while the other men wore suits. The Husband bought a beautiful tuxedo for our wedding and, in the long run, we have saved money not having to rent over the years. In fact, he wore it to a formal dinner this week.

3) Be a good salesperson – This is important in any job you do, and life in general. In a job interview, you need to sell yourself. As a parent, you need to sell the idea of healthy food and good behaviour. In my work, if I want the clinic staff to remember to refer people to my research projects, I need to sell the idea and “advertise” with reminders and notices.

4) Always be able to name a few great things about yourself – Dad is famous in our family for saying things like, “You know what I like most about me?” It’s this kind of confidence that always keeps him positive. For example, he might tell you that he played a horrible round of golf that day, but at least his drive off the 4th tee was spectacular.

5) Marry someone with different strengths than you – My dad is smart (look at all the great stuff he’s taught me) but his strengths are in implementation and daily operation. My mom is smart in a long-term visionary kind of way. They are a great team and complement each other’s abilities.

6) Know how to dance the Jive – Even before Dancing with the Stars made it commonplace, my dad could dance a mean Jive. He and Mom even once won a contest. As a little girl, I loved getting to dance with my dad at a party. Still do!

7) It’s important to always vote – When I was just 19 or 20, I was angry at my dad for something and, in an odd attempt to show my rebellion, I randomly yelled, “Well then, I’m not going to vote!” I remember him setting his jaw and declaring that he didn’t care what I did about blah, blah, blah, but voting was my duty and I would only be hurting myself if I didn’t. I voted then and always do.

8) When cooking or baking, keep the kitchen clean as you go – When he’s working in the kitchen, Dad always has a sink full of hot soapy water and a dish towel over his shoulder. If you’re finished using a bowl or a utensil, take a minute to wash it so you can reuse it. After using an ingredient, return it before moving on to the next step. At the end of things, you’re not left with mountains of stuff to wash and put away.

9) Don’t let not knowing how to do something stop you – Before my sister and I were born, Dad met a guy who was planning a group ski trip to Europe. They really hit it off and Dad convinced Mom that they should tag along… even though they had never skied before. This man and his family, became our best family friends growing up and our annual joint-family ski vacations are some of my favourite memories.

10) Never return a borrowed car without putting gas in it – I remember my older sister once borrowing Dad’s car and returning it with an empty tank. I don’t exactly remember the fall-out, but when I was of age and borrowed the car for an evening, I would always put some gas in it before coming home. Most of the time I could only spare $5, but that actually bought about a quarter of a tank back in the day.

11) When family needs your help, you make yourself available – Last weekend, The Husband called Dad and asked if he could borrow his van the next day to move some stuff into storage. Twenty minutes later, my dad was at our house and spent a couple of hours helping out. Just yesterday I had to call on Dad for some last-minute help to get CJ home from a  hockey practice. No matter what he has going on, if his kids (or grand-kids) need him, he is there. It’s pure love and devotion.

I learned these 11 lessons, and much more, because Dad (and Mom, of course) always led by example. Everyday I try to raise my kids  the same way.

I guess that’s just another lesson learned.

What practical wisdom have you learned from your parents?

Previous Friday flashback

He did it… he finally broke me

Torture in the Pit of Despair - The Princess Bride (1987)

Torture in the Pit of Despair – The Princess Bride (1987)

ET is going through a whiny phase. This has been ongoing for sometime but the long school days have made him tired and the whining has increased. At times it is like a dentist drill boring through my brain. This evening is one of those times.

I feel like running outside and screaming at the top of my lungs, but I’ve decided that just writing my way through it is probably the saner option. Continue reading

I love to hug

Laws of Nature #17: There's no such thing as too many hugs...

Laws of Nature #17: There’s no such thing as too many hugs…

Soon after The Husband and I moved into our first flat, I gave him this card. At this point, he was still getting used to my penchant for hugs. Continue reading

I’ve seen the future and it is expensive

A few years ago if you had asked me what would be the biggest expense we would face as a family, other than buying a house, I would probably have said car or vacations. I would have thought about “big-ticket” items.

I would have been wrong… it’s turned out to be food!

Continue reading

Out of time…

To my writing group: Sorry ladies, I didn’t get those new chapters to you as promised.

To my book club: I didn’t get a chance to read the book.

To my dad: I meant to have a freezer full of home cooked meals for you.

To my sister: Happy birthday! XOXOXO

To my mom: You are the greatest woman I know. Happy mother’s day!

To my readers: Please don’t abandon me.

To my husband: I love you. Let’s go to Italy!

Mom and Dad are moving in to look after the kids and we are off to Italy for two weeks. Huzzah! I am not be taking anything electronic with me (except my e-reader of course) so there will be no posts for a fortnight. I’m sure I’ll have lots to share upon my return.


Weekend wrap-up

Whew! We just had a crazy  busy weekend.

Our eldest just turned eight and our youngest will be six next week so we had a joint birthday party for them on Saturday. We have gotten away with this every year because the kids are still excited to celebrate together and the majority of the invites are mutual friends anyway.

One cake and one afternoon of insanity, then it is over until the next year. Anyone can put up with fifteen screaming boys for a few hours when you know you won’t have to do it again for another year. You’ll still need a stiff drink when it is over, but you can do it.

My day off on Friday was spent making the cake. Here are a couple of pictures.   Continue reading

A woman of a certain age

My Chatelaine magazine came today. Whenever I see it bulging out of the mailbox I’m filled with a strange combination of excitement and pathos.

I’m excited because, well it’s exciting to get mail that isn’t from a corporation or the government. Plus, there is always the hope I’ll find a great three ingredient meal that can be whipped together in 10 minutes and is guaranteed to please the whole family.

The counterpoint to that thrill is the depressing fact that there is a Chatelaine in my mailbox. Continue reading


Our son is eight today.

Last night he joyfully washed the seven off himself in the bath and then stood in front of his mirror for moment to say goodbye. Finally, just before he jumped into bed, he climbed onto my lap so I could have a last snuggle and kiss from a seven-year-old. It was a farewell ceremony filled with all of the pomp and pageantry it deserved.

My husband astutely reminded us that we will have another seven year old to snuggle and kiss in a year’s time, but this seven-year-old is unique and I’ll miss him. Please allow me to indulge myself for a few minutes. I won’t nauseate you with the details of his birth but there are few salient facts which must be disclosed. Continue reading

Mmmm… cake

I like cake. I like to eat it and I like to bake it, but I LOVE to decorate it. Here are a few pictures of cakes I’ve made for birthday parties over the recent years:


The Star Wars cake was the boys’ request last year and is my personal favorite. The Ewok is a little wonky hanging off the side, but I made a figure for each of them and only later realized I had nowhere to put it! Continue reading