Go Jays Go!

We’re all pretty excited around here with the Blue Jays in the playoffs for the first time in more than 20 years. Today, on the way to school, Littleman announced, “it’s Blue Jays day for the whole world!” I didn’t bother explaining to him that his statement wasn’t entirely true. Because it was Blue Jays day in his whole world and that’s the only world that really matters to him.   

Game 1 was a bit of a bust for the Jays, but that didn’t stop us from cheering them on. I want to share the experience of watching our team with the boys. 

I have great memories of watching the Blue Jays with my parents when I was a kid. I was a teenager when the Jays won back-to-back World Series and it was so much fun.   Tomorrow D and I are going to Game 2 and I can’t wait to cheer on the Jays in person. Go Jays Go!


Today’s my first “back-to-school” day since becoming a parent. Littleman starts kindergarten today!

His (superhero-themed) backpack is ready, lunch is packed and clothes are laid out. He’s ready. 

But am I ready?  I thought so. Littleman is going to be just fine. I know that. So why do I have that nervous, first-day-of-school tummy right now?  After so many years away from the school scene, I had forgotten how that feels!

In two hours, I’ll deliver my sweet boy to his new teacher and watch him head off for a whole new adventure. He’ll make new friends and learn new things. This is good.  Right?

Life lessons: sun protection

As I slathered on my SPF 60 yesterday before heading outside for some time at the pool, I realized that I’ve finally accepted that my skin is pale.  

Growing up, sun care was not the same as it is today. My sister and I are pretty fair-skinned (thanks to our Irish-Canadian mother who’s genes managed to dominate over those of our Italian dad). I remember my mom cracking out the SPF 8 “sun tan lotion” and sometimes, if we were getting really red, we’d have to use 15. Can you even buy 8 anymore?  Does it actually help?

Anyway, as I got older, I knew I needed to take better care of my skin – and I new how painful sunburns could be. But I still loved the feeling of being in the sun and felt so much better about myself when I had a great tan. 

Now that I’m a mom, I’ve finally accepted that it just isn’t worth it. Already, I can see the damage that’s been done to my skin – the fine lines and freckles. I hope that my kids will grow up knowing that their skin is beautiful just the way it is. I hope that they understand how important it is that they protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun. 

 Just yesterday, Littleman looked outside and spotted my dad on the tractor, cutting the lawn with no shirt on. He announced to my mom, “Nana! Nonno is outside with none shirt and none sunscreen!”

I think he’s getting the message. 

The family vacation, part one

I love going on vacation. I hate packing and unpacking but I love arriving at a new (or previously visited and loved) destination. I like exploring and getting settled into a new location. And I especially love visiting a warmer climate during the cold winter months.

Vacationing with kids is a whole different ballgame, though. No sleeping in and sipping cocktails here!

We arrived in Orlando after a very early wake-up and long morning. The flight was quick and painless but the airport experiences on either end we’re trying.

When we finally got our rental car and installed the car seats, we hit the road for the 90 minute drive to our friends’ beach condo.

Neither are car sleepers, but both boys conked out from total exhaustion.

We grocery shopped, unloaded, ate dinner, settled in and passed out. The next morning, feeling refreshed, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise.

We took a morning walk on the beach and explored the property. We played outside. We wore sandals (no winter boots!) And, the coolest thing of all? We went to the beach to watch rocket launch from Cape Canaveral.

While D and I both admit that this isn’t the type of vacation that we are used to, and it certainly isn’t relaxing, there is something amazing about watching the pure joy in your children as they experience a new place. Littleman is having the time of his life. He loves the beach with his whole heart. He can’t believe we’re letting him wear shorts.

So, yes, vacationing with kids is not the same as vacationing as a couple. There is definitely more work involved. But so far it is worth it.



My first-born son, my baby-who-is-no-longer-a-baby, is four years old today!

Littleman has grown and matured so much this year.  He became a big brother and has rocked that role, right from the start.  His baby brother worships him and I love to see their relationship developing.

Everyday I am amazed at all the things Littleman can do on his own.  He is so independent these days.  He can reach the light switches, go to the bathroom on his own, wash his hands, get dressed.  He can talk on the phone to his grandparents, ask politely for what he wants, help set the table.  He’s learning to ski and skate and swim.  He’s no longer as shy as he used to be and it blows my mind when he goes off for his lessons with barely a wave in our direction.

Three was an interesting age. I found it harder to parent a three-year-old than a two-year-old. Littleman’s patience was in short supply and he struggled with listening. I would get frustrated with him, which never helped. Things seem to be getting better as he continues to mature. There are still some meltdowns and whiny moments at home, but my boy is very polite and well-behaved outside our home.  People often compliment us, which, I must admit, feels good.  I have to remind myself of those compliments when I’m in the middle of battle with him at home.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been a mom for four years.  In some ways it feels like he’s always been here, but sometimes I don’t know where this big kid came from!

I was looking back at what I wrote on his birthday last year.  At that time, I was dealing with a lot of guilt about being distracted by other things that were going on and not being fully focused on Littleman.  This year, it’s a different kind of guilt.  I’ve spent much of this year focusing on the baby, while Littleman has waited (usually very patiently) for his turn getting the attention.  I hope, in the coming year, I can find a way to split my time and attention more evenly so that Littleman and I can get some good mommy and son time together.

Happy Birthday, Littleman!  I am so proud of the incredible boy you are becoming.






Parenting guilt trip

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a cold. I felt crappy but had to get up with the kids, nonetheless.

I nursed Bo while D got breakfast for Littleman. Then I plopped Bo on the floor to play while I sat on the couch with my coffee. I flipped on the TV and put on our morning show to catch the news while Littleman ate his bowl of cereal in front of his iPad.

All of a sudden, I noticed Bo engrossed with the TV. And what was on the screen? A commercial lecturing me about kids and screen time.

Oops. We try not to let the boys watch too much TV, but sometimes we just need it. What I don’t need, though, is the TV making me feel guilty about it!

My son’s first birthday party

I’m in the midst of planning Littleman’s first birthday party.  No, you didn’t misread that.  I’m not talking about Baby Bo’s first birthday party (although he is the child who will be turning one soon!)  In two weeks, Littleman will turn four but we are throwing him an actual birthday party for the first time.

I know that sounds crazy in the age of Pinterest and play gyms.  But really, I just couldn’t wrap my head around spending hundreds of dollars on parties for a kid who was too young to know the difference.  Sure, we could have had parties at our house to save money, but our tiny little semi-detached house can’t hold many people and a backyard party in January is out of the question.

I’m not a total party pooper.  I just figured there were other ways to celebrate our kid’s birthday until he was old enough to actually enjoy having a party.

His first two birthdays were very low-key.  We had separate family gatherings with each side of the family, so he still got to have cake and open some gifts.  Last year, for his third birthday, we took the day off so the three of us could spend the day together (before Bo was born).  We rode the subway (woohoo!), went to the aquarium and went out for lunch.  We gave him a couple of presents.  It was special and fun.

During this past year, though, he finally started to really understand the concept of “the birthday party.”  We’ve always attended them, but more recently, he starting asking when his birthday was.  So I knew the time had come to party on.

So what are we planning?  Well, I found a relatively inexpensive indoor play gym to rent.  There’s a big playroom where the kids do some activities (and climb on stuff) while supervised by the staff.  Then, the kids sit down and eat dinner and cake (which I have to provide).  There’s plenty of room for all the parents and the younger siblings, which was important to me because almost all of Littleman’s buddies have baby brothers or sisters now.  And, of course, the kids are still too young to come to a party without their parents.

I am not totally immune to the draw of Pinterest and have found cute ideas for a construction-themed party.  I’m not going to focus on decorations because we don’t get access to the venue in advance of the party.  Instead, I’m focusing on the cake and party favours.  Keeping it simple is important to me because I hate when Littleman comes home from a party with a loot bag full of crap.  Dinner will be pizza (plain cheese for the kids and a couple other options for the parents).  I will make a big rectangle slab cake and decorate it to look like a construction site.  (Think dirt, piles of rocks, bulldozers, etc.)  I found some awesome little Caterpillar construction vehicles for a good price, so I bought a bunch.  I’ll use some to decorate the cake and rest will be wrapped up for party favours.

Beyond that, I need to bring drinks, cutlery, plates and napkins.  I hope I can keep it pretty simple because I know all Littleman cares about is having fun with his buddies (and eating cake.  The kid really, really likes cake!)   I don’t want to stress too much about having the most unique decorations or the fanciest cake or the snazziest venue (the last party place we went to actually had a zipline!) because, let’s face it, the kid is four.  We will have many more birthday parties to plan in the future and I don’t want to get caught feeling like each year needs to top the last.

So there we go.  That is how we’re planning to celebrate my four-year-old’s first birthday party!

The joys of living with boys

Sometimes I still can’t believe that I live in a house of all boys.  Growing up with a sister, a stay-at-home-mom and a dad who worked long hours, I wasn’t really prepared for living amongst all this maleness.

First, there’s the potty talk.  Why is it that boys find anything that has to do with bodily functions totally hilarious?  Sometimes, my older son will have a whole conversation using only bathroom-related words.  If he is in a bad mood, all I have to say is “toot” and he’s howling.  If we want him to smile for a photo, we just need to say “poop” or make a fart sound and he’s good go… a totally natural smile.  It all starts so young, too.  The baby let out a giant belch the other day.  Then, he looked up at me and burst out laughing, like it was the funniest sound he’d ever heard.

Then, there’s their junk.  Boys appear to born knowing where their man parts are and they take any and every opportunity to touch them.  The moment the diaper comes off, my ten-month-old reaches down for a quick grab.  In the bath, my older son is fascinated by his package.  I try not to say anything and let them explore without making it a thing, but why?  Why the fascination?  Why?

Of course, we can’t forget the stink.  I can only imagine (with terror) what my house will smell like in a few more years.  Right now, I’m only dealing with one man, one kid and a baby, but already, they’re stinking me out!  Smelly little bums.  Foul smelling bathrooms.  And how, just how, does my sweet little baby manage to have man farts?

The girly girl in me is slowly disappearing as I learn to navigate toilet seats that have been left up and pee that’s just missed its mark.  My tolerance for odour is getting much higher (there’s nothing like wiping someone’s butt while pregnant to test your ability to keep down your lunch!)

Despite the grossness that lives in my house, I wouldn’t trade away my boys.  At the end of day, there is nothing better than burying my face into my sweet baby’s neck or having my older son climb into my lap for a bedtime story or collapsing on the couch with my husband to watch some tv.  I may be the lone lady in this house of hooligans, but I love them.  If anyone wants to lend me their daughter, though, I’d be cool with that.  Seriously.

Winter activities

Today, my big kid seemed even bigger as we sent him off for his very first ski lesson!  Skiing is something that I grew up doing.  My parents put us in lessons when my sister and I were little (and they took lessons themselves at the same time) so it was something we always did as family during the winter.  D also skied (mainly cross country – he did competitive biathlon) so we knew that skiing would be a fun sport to do together as our kids got older.

We are lucky to have a small ski hill just minutes away from our family’s farm, where we spend most of our weekends and holidays.  They offer a three-day ski camp during the Christmas break, so we enrolled Littleman.  Today was the first day and he did great!  D, my dad and I bundled up and watched from the base of the hill.  After a few minutes near the bottom, they jumped on the chair lift and hit the (beginner) slopes!

I swear, I couldn’t stop smiling.  It was so, so cute.  And I was so proud of him.  He used to be so shy and would fight going off without us.  I knew he would love skiing, but wasn’t sure how he’d feel about being with the instructor.  No need to worry, though.  He was great.  He told them his name and then off he went, no looking back.  I think it helped that he did swimming and soccer lessons in the summer.  He definitely seemed much more mature today.

It’s been about 15 years since I’ve been on skis, so I’ve decided to sign myself up for a refresher lesson tomorrow.  We’ll see if I’m as brave as my kid.  I’m guessing not…