Posted on

Toy Story Trouble

Over the past few months we’ve been getting rid of stuff and really looking at what we use and don’t use, so we can make our home more joyful. We want to be able to use the space (and the stuff) we have without needing to put a ton of effort into cleaning in order to do so.

While Ryan and I’ve been going through our stuff and the general household stuff, w e’ve also been encouraging the kiddos to also get rid of their old toys they don’t use anymore, or the ones they forgot they even had.

Things were going pretty well, until we watched Toy Story 3.

Brom was so taken with the idea of toys being sad that their children didn’t want them anymore that he cried for hours anytime he thought about his toys being given away. It was heartbreaking to watch. We spent so much time this week cuddling and talking about how hard it is to say goodbye. We talked about the movie and how the toys felt, and also how the children felt. We talked about the actions the parents in the movie took and how that impacted the children and toys. It took time. A lot of time. He was heart broken.

We took all of his toys he’d decided to donate out of the box and sent them back to the playroom. He cried some more. We talked some more. We cuddled some more.

Then just as suddenly he brought all the toys back, put them int he box, and said he was ready to give them to someone else who’d continue to love his toys as much as he does. He knows his toys will be happy because someone loves them.

As a parent it was an amazing thing to watch. To hold space for him while he was sad, to walk this journey with him. Not trying to change his mind or make him feel better, but just being with him while he was sad.

It can be so difficult when our children do something different than what we want. It’s absolutely painful to see our children sad. But those are both experiences that are so powerful and important not only to our children, but to us and our relationship with them as well.

My heart swelled with so much love and pride when Brom gently placed his toys in a box, told them he loved them, and wished them well in their next home.

Posted on

Pizza Planet Week

This week we started our movie related activities before watching the actual movie. We’ve had difficulties getting some of our children to eat vegetables lately, but I don’t want to put pressure or stress around food, especially healthy food. So this week we decided to eat pizza every night. Who doesn’t love pizza?!?! I’m sure putting something on a crust and calling it pizza will make sure my children get a few more vegetables than usual!

To go with our pizza week theme, we’re watching is Toy Story. Of course we had to! I almost want to make a Pizza Planet sign for over our table this week. Almost. hahaha

Our children love hawaiian pizza, so of course we have plenty of ham/bacon and pineapple. But we also have some other really delicious combinations. If you follow us on instagram you may have seen some of our pizzas already. My favourite was the bacon, fig, caramelized onion, and blue cheese pizza – trust me, this was Ah-mazing!!! You must try it!

All of our pizzas start with a homemade sauce full of yummy ingredients and no added sugar. We usually have salad on the side. Though sometimes we just add spinach and herbs under the sauce so the salad is part of the pizza.

 

 

 

Posted on

Frozen Week Finale

We’ve sung ‘Let it Go’ and ‘Do you Wanna Build a Snowman’ so many times this week! It’s been so much fun!

Of course we couldn’t have a frozen week without actually going outside. 😉 We took to the fields, rivers, and hills this week to spend some time under the beautiful, blue Alberta sky.

We don’t have a reindeer on hand, so I hooked Chester up to our sled and had him give our kiddos rides around the field.

You’ll have to excuse the photos, it’s difficult to take pictures and run at the same time. lol Chester loves to pull, even with 80+lbs worth of child behind him, he runs faster than I do!

We also took some time to take the toboggans to the hill near our place. I didn’t get any pictures of that, but I did get pictures of the aftermath!

img_2533

The wind hardened the snow on the hill just enough to speed us up, without being dangerous. It was glorious!

For two runs.

Then we hit a drift of powder covered in a very thin layer of hard snow. We ploughed through it. Brom was not happy. We went home right after. Poor guy.

The next day Ryan was home so we took our skates to the outdoor river and rink by our place. It’s located next to the ball diamonds. They wound a manmade ‘river’ of ice through the field and then created a nice sized rink on the other side of the diamonds. It was really fun! I even managed to stop a couple times! I can be taught! hahahah

 

Brom didn’t skate, but he did have fun on the ice, and found a ‘snow sculpture’ to bring home with him. Isn’t it pretty? 😉 (yep the sculpture is the big snow ball lol)

Posted on

Snow-free Snowman Activities

The weather around here’s all over the place. One day it’s -30C, the next it’s melting. But melting didn’t improve the quality of our snow, the wind hardened crust got thicker and stronger as it melted, then refroze. There’s till plenty to do outside in our snow, but building snow people isn’t one of those things right now.

Instead we made snow creatures from marshmallows and chocolate chips. This activity was a huge hit! By the end there were plenty of sticky children and huge smiles!

 

But all good things come to an end. The marshmallows and chocolate were eaten, it was time to craft! I whipped up some puff paint. Sounds harder than it is – all you need is 1 part white glue and 1 part shaving foam. I also added some sparkles to help our ‘snow’ look more realistic.

If you’ve never painted with puff paint before, you really should try it!! Our kiddos always love to experiment with it and create texture to their paintings. Though be sure to wash brushes immediately after use lol we forgot one time and all our brushes were stuck together in one big clump that evening when I went to clean up. 😮

 

When Ryan came home we did another snowman activity. This time I made rice crispy treats and each person got to create their own snowperson. The silliness level was unusually high for this activity, which made picture taking difficult – well, that and my hands were covered in sticky marshmallow lol.

The kiddos all had snow much fun! 😀

Posted on

It's a Disney Life

To pass time while we wait for winter to be over, we’re starting our 3rd annual family Disney Movie tradition. Each year we plan a list of Disney movies to watch (yes, sometimes we add other movies as well). With each movie we add a couple activities that we do together as a family during the week. Normally we do this to prepare for a trip to Disney World. But we decided we have so much fun doing this, we might as well do it even if we don’t have a trip planned!

Given the weather over here, the first movie we decided to watch is Frozen. Hahaha It seems so fitting! We enjoyed cuddling on the couch watching the movie, singing the songs, and now we’re planning the activities to go along with the movie. Of course, we’re going to build a snowman – though at this rate we won’t use actual snow. For anyone who doesn’t know, snowmen require a specific type of snow, just wet enough to stick, but not so wet as to be too heavy. Right now our snow is rock hard on top and powder underneath. NOT snowman snow. Instead we’re making rice krispie treats and shaping them into snow people. It’ll be so much fun!

Later in the week, the weather’s supposed to warm up, we’re going to take the opportunity to go ice skating.

And, of course, we’re going to make paper fractals to decorate our house.

It’s so much fun immersing ourselves into the movies, and bringing our family closer together.

Posted on

Hibernating in our Cocoon

It’s been so cold around here lately! Cold enough to turn boiling water into snow. Cold enough that our poor puppy, Moana, hasn’t wanted to go outside without her parka. Cold enough that all we’ve wanted to do was stay inside and never leave. We skipped violin lessons so we could stay home huddled under blankets watching movies and playing video games. We’ve watched 4 seasons of Rescue Bots on Netflix, and all Paw Patrol episodes.

We’ve cocooned ourselves in warm fuzzy blankets, hibernating until the return of the sun. Or at least until its a bit warmer than -35c! Even though I haven’t wanted to leave home, I marvel at the beauty of it all! I love to watch the snow float to the ground, I feel so happy and excited when I wake up to see our world covered in Hoar-frost. It’s utterly magical the way our entire world sparkles with millions of little crystals refracting tiny rainbows over every surface. This week is too cold for me to enjoy outside, but the beauty is beyond compare!

As soon as it warms up slightly, the girls have so many activities planned. There’s a great ice ‘river’ close to home they want to go skating on. They want to go sledding, possibly try skiing. Of course, they also love taking our pups to the off-leash park so everyone can run around like mad without crashing into anyone else. Winter is so much fun!

Winter in Canada is beautiful, but it isn’t always easy to get out with small children. But Adventure is out there, and we’ll be ready – as soon as it warms up! 😉

Sorry for the bad pics, I may be able to send children and dogs outside, but I wasn’t venturing out in that cold! Notice Moana at the door trying to come in, while Chester (with his thick second coat) relaxing in the snow. 🙂 He only comes in to get mad at us for not being outside with him hahahaha

 

Posted on

Fostering Connection

It’s not always easy to foster connection with the people we love. Sometimes we’re tired, hungry, stressed, or just worn out. Connection isn’t always easy, but it’s always important.

This week I’ve found myself connecting more by stepping back than by stepping toward my children.

We went swimming this week. Brom wanted to learn to dive. He’s 3 and he wants to dive. I wanted to tell him no. Instead I told him not in the kiddie pool.  In deeper water, he climbed up on the edge, sat on the side of the pool, put his little hands over his head, then rolled, hands and head first, into the water. I stood by, telling him I was there if he needed me. I encouraged him, I cheered with each dive and was suitably impressed when he swam the 3 meters back to the edge each time. Over and over again. After about an hour and a half he began to tire, he couldn’t quite swim all the way back to the edge on his own. He floundered. I did not rush to grab him. I did not save him (though my hands were under the water to catch him if he needed me), I simply told him I was there.

I waited to see what he’d do.

He rolled onto his back, into his safety float. He relaxed, caught his breath, then rolled over and swam the rest of the way to the edge.

I cheered and congratulated him for his quick thinking and staying calm! I was so proud of him, and so was he!

Connection. It’s such a weird and interesting concept. By stepping back, being close, but not interfering I strengthened the connection I have with Brom more than if I stepped in, took charge, or directed his actions.

The same holds true for the older kiddos too.

Ella received a Kano kit for Christmas. It’s a build your own computer kit that uses raspberry pi as the base. (It looks awesome and she’s had so much fun using it!) She built the computer and was playing a game, but couldn’t figure out what the command prompt meant, she asked me for help. With some trial and error I helped her figure out what she needed to do. She deleted what I’d typed and re-typed it herself. It didn’t matter whether she needed help or not, she wanted to do it on her own.

 

Had I typed and hit enter, had I been the one to actually complete that step, I’d have taken away her sense of accomplishment. By answering her questions, showing her how, but not actually doing it myself I gave her the information she needed to move forward. When she ran into a similar problem later, she completed the steps on her own. I received the biggest smile ever for giving her that moment. I know Ella, if I’d stepped in and completed that step for her, she’d have been hurt and upset.

 

 

 

Posted on

New Year Themes

Writing here’s been difficult for me lately. I’ve floundered within myself and within our family. I haven’t followed our goals and plans that we laid out for our family or this blog. Looking back, I can see I didn’t really think about where we really were, nor what we were likely to be able to accomplish. I also wasn’t very clear in my goals.  

I’ve been disappointed in myself and with each day of disappointment, I try less and less to succeed. My goals became even less clear. 

It’s time to change that!

At the start of this new year I want to look back on what we did do that I’m happy with.

First, our family is stronger and more connected now than when we started! This is exactly what we wanted. Though I wasn’t able to write about much of that because it wasn’t only my story to share. When relationships need work, it isn’t pretty. 

Second, we brought more experiences to our children than we normally do, and we brought ourselves to experiences that we’d normally say no to. I’ve made it out the door for outings I’d normally say no to. This is huge! 

Third, when faced with difficulties, we’ve channeled our inner Disney hero/heroine more often than before. It’s really made a difference when we haven’t been sure how to proceed. We worked toward what we wanted, but we weren’t clear on what we really wanted or how it’d look. 

For 2017 we want more. We want so much more than what we’ve been settling for!

Resolutions have never been my style, but as a family we’ve came up with goals for the year that we want to work toward. Each week we want to do something that brings us toward our goals. I’m so excited!!Adventure and travel nautical theme. Diary with map and compass

If any word could describe what our children want, it’s Adventure!

As a family, we want more new experiences. We want to try new things. We want to find where X marks the spot and discover if there’s a magic world hidden in our woods. This means leaving the house even when it’s cold. 

Our second big theme for the year is Kindness.

kindnessThere’s so much more than being kind to ourselves and our family. We want to go out of our way to be kind to others. Friends or people we meet on the street, maybe someone online. There’re so many ways to spread kindness, I’m looking forward to hearing the ideas our kiddos come up with. 🙂 

Creativity is our next theme and also our easiest for us to accomplish. The members of our family are almost always creating something, but theres more to creativity than just making something. There’s freedom and fear. There’s questions about worth and there’s pride. We want to take our previous creativity and up the ante.

Finally we have Connection. Our family needs connection. We need connection amongst ourselves. When I need to make dinner, but Brom wants to play. I can choose connection, or I can choose disconnection. As we strengthen our family, our ability to form strong connections with our community will also strengthen. 

Did you make a new years resolution or do something else to mark a new year and a new you? I’d love to hear about it!