Daddy Says… My dress up Princess

Yes, I am a proud Daddy of a beautiful little girl.  She is smart and funny, creative and witty. And… she loves to dress up.  She always has.

Typically, she dresses up like a princess, or like a favorite character from a movie or show.  But every now and then she pulls out a cute little waitress outfit and takes Mummy’s breakfast order.

Though sometimes she pulls off something unique…  Like, dressing up in Daddy’s shirt… complete with tiara and purse!

And once in a while, she manages to convince the Little Professor to join her.

Or at the very least, perform with her while she is dressed as a princess.

So, whether she’s rubbing elbows with celebrities,

Or just jamming with Daddy,

I always love my little dress up princess!

Toys, Toys, Toys….

Is it just me or do kids have way too many toys these days?  Our house is over run with toys.  I’m constantly stepping on small Lego pieces or little Barbie shoes.  There are toys in every room in our house. They are everywhere…on the kitchen counter, the living room, the bathroom, my nightstand.  I’m being buried alive in toys!  Not only are the toys overflowing our living area, we have boxes of toys put away in both the attic and the basement.

What really upsets me, is that my children do not appreciate the toys they have, they don’t take care of them like they should.  How can they when they have so many.  There’s Barbies, Strawberry Shortcake, Star wars, Super Hero’s, Mario Brothers, Princesses, Cars, and Squinkies just to name a few.  Boy, would I like to have a little chat with the person who created Squinkies!   As far as the Princess and the Professor are concerned, it’s just every day life to get 20 new toys on their birthday or 40 new ones at Christmas.

 

I am to blame for our situation.  Somehow, probably from all the commercials out there, I got it in my head that toys = love.  The more toys I gave my children, the more I loved them.  I wanted them to have everything their friends had.  I wanted them to have everything they wanted. I wanted them to wake up Christmas morning and be blown away by all the gifts under the tree!  After all, they’re only children for a short time…why shouldn’t they get to enjoy all the wonderful toys in the world.

Gradually with time, as the piles of toys grew so did the feeling inside me that we were somehow missing the mark with our parenting in this area.  We were actually doing a disservice to our children by letting the toys get out of control.  Not only were we wasting a lot of money on more and more toys, but we had allowed the toys to take over our house, causing tension and disorganization. We were teaching our kids to be materialistic and ungrateful by lavishing them with so many gifts.  After a while, it became expected and no longer special.  I knew things had to change – of course Daddy already thought we were giving the kids too many toys, he just needed me to come to the same revelation.

Here is the plan we came up with to set us on the right track:

  • First of all…we have started telling people to stop buying our children toys.  That doesn’t mean they have to forgo gifts altogether, it just means that we ask it not be another commercialized toy.  The only exception to that is Lego.  Our children love Lego, and it’s one of the few toys that actually teach them skills and let’s them express creativity.
  • Instead of toys we encourage art supplies, crafts, board games or learning items – a really good example would be Snap Circuits.  It provides hours of fun and it gives hands on teaching of how electricity works.
  • Instead of giving an item, we have started giving our children experiences…ie. going to a movie, going on a trip, going to a restaurant etc.
  • Instead of buying something, give something hand made.  It has more meaning to it because someone has taken the time to create it just for them.
Hopefully, this helps limit the amount of toys coming into our house.  However, we still have too many toys to begin with, so we’ve decided to go through all the toys with the children and choose some toys (lots of them) that we can sell at a garage sale.  With the money they make they’re going to take a percentage and put it towards a charity that will help other children who are in need.  The other half they decide what they want to do with it as long as they don’t spend it on more toys!
We are not looking to deprive our children of toys, we just want to give them a better perspective.  We want them to really enjoy the ones they have and teach them about greed, materialism and waste.  We want what every person wants for their children – To have the best possible life ever!

 

Puff Monkey…

Who could resist that face?!

Certainly not I!

My little Milk Monkey has found a new love.

He just can’t get enough of the puff!

 Gerber’s Graduate Puffs.

Most of the time he likes to pinch them with his chubby little fingers

and quickly place them in his mouth,

or he grabs a whole handful and smashes them to dust.

Sometimes he likes to drop them to the floor and watch as the fall.

Once in a while he’ll take them back out of his mouth and stick them on his clothes or in his hair…

or on his face.

Dare I say…

he is now the Puff Monkey?!

Normandy Farms – Part 2

We slept well that night, for the most part.  The Milk Monkey woke up a couple times and wasn’t sure about his surroundings.  He eventually made his way into our bed as he usually does.  It made for a very nice view when I woke up…those little chubby cheeks and the toothy grin with the scrunched up nose are so hard to resist.  Too hard actually, I usually just end up kissing them up which evokes an abundance of laughs and giggles.

It had rained during the night and left the air chilly and damp.  Daddy turned the furnace on in the trailer so we were definitely not in a rush to go outside.  At one point, I had all three kids in bed with me, snuggling and laughing and telling funny jokes while Daddy made us coffee with the Keurig – I know, tough life roughing it in the wild!

Eventually we all made our way out; first Daddy and the kids to make pancakes and then eventually I joined them.  After breakfast we put our bathing suits on under our clothes and made our way to the indoor pool.  Yes, that’s right, this campground has an indoor pool!

The pool area was really nice.  There was a section that had a lot of tables set out with umbrellas so it gave the feeling of being outdoors.  The tiles had a flagstone look to them and I’m pretty sure they were heated.  There were two whirlpools off to the side too.  Everything was very clean, even the showers in the change rooms.  The only negative was the pool water…it was a little foggy.  It wasn’t terrible but I’m super picky about pool water, after all, I have three little ones.  I know what they do, I don’t care what any parent says!  In defense of the campground, the pool was very popular and there were a lot of kids in it over the course of the two days.  I mostly hung out in one of the whirlpools swapping Mummy stories with a fellow camper.

After swimming we checked out the “big” playground and I have to admit it was very impressive as far as playgrounds go.  The kids had a blast  playing while I took some pictures.

 

We spent the rest of our time exploring all the ins and outs of what the campground had to offer which turned out to be a lot!  The recreation building, where the indoor pool was also had an adults loft for 18 yrs and older, but directly across from it was the children’s loft.  Both lofts were stocked with books and games and had cozy chairs and couches.  The adults loft provided a large screen tv next to a huge fireplace.

There was an arcade room, for those who enjoy it and a bike park, which I thought was a very unique idea.  The campground also provides an off leash dog park for their furry visitors.  If you didn’t feel like cooking there was an outdoor restaurant for the warmer seasons that serves breakfast lunch and dinner.  Anything from omelets, to sandwiches, burgers and even steak tips.  I couldn’t tell you if it’s any good, since it was still closed for the winter months.

There were softball diamonds, volleyball nets, basket ball and of course horse shoes.  Normandy Farms also has 3 outdoor swimming pools in the summer.  There was a little store in the registration building and laundry facilities at all the restrooms throughout the campground.

Of course all of this comes at a price.  Sites range from $41 – $79, depending on the types of hook ups and the season.  That’s just for two adults, every child over the age of three is $5 more.  Considering all the services provided, their rates seem to be fair.  Still, if you have a large family and you’re looking for a vacation that’s easy on the wallet, this place is probably not the way to go.  However, if a place like this suits your fancy, we were told through the camper’s grapevine that it books up really fast!  Dropping in last minute is not recommended in the summer season.  We enjoyed it enough to book another weekend for Daddy’s 40th birthday in two weeks!

Normandy Farms – Part 1

We finally did it!  Saturday we went camping for the first time with our trailer and it was everything we had dreamed about.  We really weren’t sure what we were getting into but it didn’t take long to find out.  The campground we went to is Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort.  Here is how our adventure went…

Saturday morning we started packing the trailer which turned out to be a lot more than grabbing a few things.  Our goal is to have it completely stocked with everything we need – cookware, towels, bedding and toiletries – we want to be able to grab some clothes and go.  It’s going to take a while to get to that point.

After we were all packed and the trailer was hooked up, we headed off down the road.  It didn’t take long for our wonderful little travellers to drift off to sleep for the hour long trip.

This was the second time for Daddy pulling the trailer but it felt like he’d being doing it forever.  He’s always so good at everything he does – I really admire that about him!

When we arrived at the campgrounds I went in to register at the front desk.  They were so friendly and organized and they were very accomodating.  We had reserved a campsite right next to the playground so that the Professor and the Princess could enjoy a little freedom.  Alright, I admit that it was also so Mummy and Daddy could relax by the campfire and still be able to keep an eye on them.

A little confession,  I am not one of those mothers who love to hang out at the playground while the kids are playing.  To be honest, it’s one of the most boring things in the world!  I’m not exaggerating either…it’s like watching paint dry or listening to golf on the radio.  Of course, the kids absolutely love parks, as all kids do, so I endure but the idea of being able to relax while they play until they get bored – well, that’s just perfection!

We were escorted to our site by a “Ranger”, who turned out to be a very polite, enthusiastic young man.  He was very nice and his disposition didn’t change the slightest when I requested to be relocated the moment I saw the site.  I realized that because of the side the hookups were on, our trailer would block the view of the playground.  I immediately envisioned myself spending countless hours sitting at the playground, which would result in a very sore behind – as every parent knows, if some sort of seating has been provided at all, it’s usually the most uncomfortable kind possible.  It didn’t take long and our sites were quickly swapped out for something that would work.

It didn’t take us very long to set the trailer up, we’ve played with it so much the last couple weeks that we’re pretty good at getting it open fast.  While Daddy took care of the last few things, I took the kids to check out the bathrooms.  I was pleasantly surprised at how nice and clean they were.  They were bright and new and they even had granite counter tops…pretty fancy for a campground!

Everything at Normandy Farms was so clean and well kept, we were really impressed.  The sites were very well kept and all the facilities were spotless.

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and exploring and eventually we turned in once the campfire burned out. I absolutely loved not having to drag everything to the washrooms at night for teeth brushing and cleaning up.  It was so nice to be able to do it in our own bathroom at the trailer.  It made getting ready for bed so easy.  Once in pajamas our little sweethearts kept professing their love to us as we tucked them into bed and kissed them goodnight.  I was so happy we were able to give them this experience and even more thrilled knowing it was just the beginning to many, many more.

To be continued……

This is the view I woke up to in the morning….

and this is the view from our campsite…

 

All the Gross Stuff…

Today was a three poop day!  Most days are one poop days, sometimes we get a two poop day but it’s a rare thing to get a three poop day.  Thankfully Daddy arrived home just in time to change the third one!  I was finished with cleaning poop off baby bums for the day.  Daddy and I have a deal, when he’s home he changes the diapers – for the most part.   Daddy is very helpful!  I don’t think we’d have 3 children if he wasn’t.

Daddy is also in charge of cleaning up puke – my stomach can’t handle it, especially when I’m pregnant – which I’m not, at the moment.  The worse time was on our way home from Canada, 5 years ago.  I was pregnant with the Princess.  The Little Professor was about 18 months old and all of a sudden he threw up all over himself and the back seat of the car.  It wasn’t the baby puke kind either, it was the full force projectile kind.  We were on part of the highway where there weren’t any rest areas for a stretch and there wasn’t enough of a shoulder to pull over.  Being the brave mummy that I am, I reached back to hold the little guy’s hand as we drove for a good 15 mins to the next rest stop – it felt like forever!  The stop was the kind that was just a park without washrooms, not very helpful in our situation.  We pulled over just in time for me to get out and start throwing up myself.  Daddy cleaned the Professor off as best he could with wipes and bottles of water, then handed him off to me, which started a whole new round of retching.  That was talent on my part being able to throw up with a big pregnant belly and holding a toddler at the same time.  In the end, Daddy got everything and everyone cleaned up and we all piled back into the car.  The overwhelming sent of puke surrounded us for the next 5 hours, while I periodically dry heaved the rest of the way home.

So yes, Daddy takes care of gross stuff in our family.  He’s also the one who cleans out the mystery dishes from the fridge…eeeewww!  Daddy’s pretty awesome like that!

On a much cleaner and less gross note….

Today we did our homeschooling in the trailer.  It was a trial run for when we finally get out there.  After lugging all our books and necessary school supplies outside – boy, was that a job in itself –  we finally got to work.  It was a very distracted day but it was new…I think with time it’ll be great.  I know it will!!  I’m excited – can’t you tell??!!

 

 

Treasures….

We are watching The Muppets!  Daddy surprised the kids with the new movie.  Yes, it was a bribe for good behavior but I don’t think that’s wrong. All five of us are hanging out on the couch draped over each other.  The Princess has parked herself in my lap and I love it!   It’s the perfect end to a wonderful day.  The disaster that was previous day is a distant memory now and we are back in our family groove.

After tackling school and work with tenacity of 1000 ants, and getting much accomplished we headed outside for a treasure hunt.  With a list of items to hunt out and some bags, the kids enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather.

 

Being the super mummy that I am I had brought many copies of the list and extra bags to hand out to all the inquiring children.   Today I think I became just a little bit cooler -do they still say cooler?- in the eyes of the neighborhood kids!  Maybe it’s just in my head…ok, it’s definitely in my head, but I like it.

The rest of our day was pretty uneventful until now, as we sit on the couch enjoying the closeness of each other.  Soon we will get the kids in bed and mummy and daddy will have some romantic time together.  Ewwww!  Mushy kissy love!  That gets the kids going every time.

One of those days…

Have you ever had one of those days where everything goes wrong and any attempt to fix it just makes things worse?  Where normally pleasant and agreeable children have decided today is the day they are going to pick every battle?  Where the laid back, sweet little baby refuses to play on his own and is indignant that you are not holding him constantly?  For us yesterday was that day.

It started off with a pounding headache however I wasn’t about to let that interfere with our routine.  I jumped on the treadmill but every step I took just made the headache worse.  I tried to distract myself  by staring out the window at our unused trailer, longing to escape.

Downstairs I was met by the Professor who appeared to be as unpleasant as myself that particular morning.  I was a bit weary because I’m not a naturally patient person.  It’s taken a combination of 3 children, a fixer upper house and homeschooling to build up the level of patience I have now and it was in jeopardy of being torn down in minutes.  It certainly wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but it’s never pretty – it always leaves me feeling defeated.

Homeschooling was tough, about as pleasant as a root canal. Later that day the pile of work on my desk was going down painstakingly slow and the Milk Monkey just wouldn’t nap, or play on his own.  I was beginning to question my parenting abilities, then it hit me, it’s an unusually lovely day for March, we need to get outside and go for a walk.  After scrambling to pack the diaper bag and trying to get everyone in shoes and  just a bit of frustration we found ourselves enjoying the warm sun and the sounds of birds.  That is, until the Princess fell and scraped her arm.

The thing about the princess is that she tends to overreact to things.  She can be very dramatic especially when it comes to pain or even perceived pain.  There have been times when we have closed all the windows just to try to remove a splinter from her finger – we don’t want the neighbours to think we abuse our children.  Just trying to get a look at one of her wounds sends her off in hysterics.  She screams and yells and shouts “No, no, no…don’t hurt me!” at the top of her lungs.  She gets herself all worked up to the point that her body starts shaking.  It’s all very traumatic.

I imagine the shrieks that came from the Princess yesterday could be heard halfway across town especially after she spotted the blood.  She screamed her usual “no, no” and I was secretly glad that we were outside for all to see that I was not beating her but merely dressing a little scrape.  As I held her tightly in my arms, kissing her little head and wiping away her tears I realized that being outside was not the magical cure to our disastrous day.  The Princess had enough and wanted to go inside, so we did and the baby started crying again.

I longed to lock myself in the bathroom with a good book and a bubble bath when Daddy got home but remembered it’s in desperate need of remodeling.  Instead I decided to let the kids watch a movie while lying on their beds.  I turned on the tv downstairs and played with the baby feeding him puffs to keep him quiet and happy.  I gave up on any hope of accomplishing anything of significance.  Maybe it’s not the best parenting moment but it was what worked for us at that time.  Once again there was peace in the house and the headache I had woke up with started to fade a little.

Not every day is going to be a great amazing day and I can accept that.  Some days are just tough.  I realize that I just need to keep focused on how blessed I am to have my three wonderful children.  I’m able to stay home with them and raise them myself.  We have a great life and I’m not going to let one day detract from all the other amazing days we normally have!

 

 

 

Daddy says… Our amazing kids

It’s an interesting adventure being a parent.  One day, you’re living your own lives as a couple and then you get the news you’re going to be parents!  Needless to say, everything changes at that point!  Your lives are no longer just about the two of you – you will soon have a little one to look after, to care for, to feed and bathe, to teach and most importantly, to love.

My wife and I had our oldest boy, the Little Professor, 6 and 1/2 years ago, and it amazes me how he’s changed and grown in that time.  I can remember the day he was born, how incredible it was to have him in my arms.  I can remember him playing with a balloon the first time, his adorable little smile as he would play in the living room of our little apartment. How he had his own special language where he would just make up words – Laylo was water, Pepok was interchangeably ketchup or chicken – and Papapar was Polar Bear.

 

Then, a year and a half later came the Little Princess.  She was a tiny little peanut by comparison to our ‘big boy’.  She was always so delicate and pretty, it was surprising to find how adventurous she was.  I remember her up and moving, climbing over, under and around every obstacle in her path. She is truly an amazing little girl.  She and her big brother were instant friends and spent time untold together playing, singing, fighting and having fun.

 

 It’s hard to think now that I spend my mornings working with and helping to teach them both their homeschooling.  That those cute little babies grew up into adorable toddlers, and are now brilliant, cute little kids learning to read, write, add and subtract.  They just seem to grow up so fast.

And now, we have our youngest… the Milk Monkey!  Our little sweet baby – he has such a laid back attitude and yet is just as smart and adventurous as his older siblings.  He’s quick to smile and laugh, and he just makes me feel absolutely amazing when he looks up and gives me one of his contagious smiles.

So, while life definitely does change once you become a parent, the adventure never ends!