August 18, 2014

When Friendships Fizzle

I suppose the silver lining to that golden rule is that all bad things must come to an end too. At some point anyway. 

Even if you're up to your chin in moist festering crud, the tide of wretched crap will eventually recede. And though treading water in a sea of sludge isn't pleasant, at least there will ultimately be an end to your suffering.

But what about when GOOD things come to an end? Things you don't want to let go or have torn away. Like friendships— when a relationship is meaningful one day, then missing the next.

I've been there. You probably have too. Losing a friend is awful at any age. It seriously hurts.

But what about children? How do we teach them that it happens to everyone and that's it's okay? Or that it will be okay once the sting subsides.

This is something we're working through at the moment.

Friends grow apart. Especially when interests begin to vary. Say one friend is creative and loves to read and the other lives and breathes hockey. Once inseparable, the weekly interaction begins to wane until they haven't spoken in months. Phone calls go unreturned and your child finally acknowledges the loss by saying, "I guess I've been ditched," with a look of sad resignation on his face that makes you cringe.

What do you tell him? 
You know he's right but you don't want to hurt him. So you tell him what a great friend he is and remind of the other terrific friends he knows. You talk about the good times he's had with his old buddy and explain that relationships bloom and fade all the time. It's normal. And it's okay. And that he's okay just the way he is.

Have you had to deal with a situation like this with your child?

August 13, 2014

Kids These Days....

Our little girl turned eight last week. Eight, not eighteen, but from her recent behaviour the line is somewhat fuzzy.

First we caught her hot tubbing in mixed company. Don't let the water wings fool you, she's a wild woman.

Later that night we found her elbows deep in coins, playing the slots, drinking (apple juice) like a sailor on leave.

Then we spotted her wandering around Chicago, coffee in hand (she was probably exhausted from a late night of gambling) mixing with the locals and painting the town red.

The next thing we knew, she was on her first date playing coy. Ha! It's a ruse. She's such a cheeky little monkey—I'm sure I spotted her playing footsies under the table. Kids these days...

Kidding aside, Avery has grown up so much this year. SO. MUCH. Things we never imagined she'd be able to do, she's doing like a boss.

Running, turning a perfect somersault, swimming, talking a blue streak, traveling—the girl knows how to pack a suitcase and has a wanderlust to rival that of any explorer. As for dating, she really did meet her "boyfriend" in Chicago —a  sweet 'younger man' who up until now, we've only known over the internet.  Finally meeting J. and his family in person was a true pleasure and we look forward to watching this friendship grow in the years to come. And, I wasn't actually kidding about the footsies....

August 12, 2014

Running For The Cure

I have so many fears that I'm afraid there's something wrong. It frightens me.

I worry about things like Hog Weed, and Lyme Disease, and planes crashing, and nuclear war. I'm scared of penicillin resistant super bugs, and child abduction, and funnel clouds, and pesticides, and GMOs, and solar flares destroying the earth or at the very least, our internet access. And tsunamis (which is dumb because I don't even live near an ocean, but we occasionally visit the seaside). Oh, and Ebola.

But the thing that scares me the most; the one fear that consumes my thoughts on a daily basis, is cancer. It's the Exorcist of diseases. Gory slasher flicks don't scare me, but horror movies like Paranormal Activity and the Exoricst terrify me because they could happen.

Just like cancer could happen. And it does. Based on 2009 estimates two out of five Canadians (45% of men and 41% of women) are expected to develop cancer during their lifetimes. And one out of four Canadians (29% of men and 24% of women) is expected to die from cancer. Source

This is truly frightening.

FYI, fretting over every lump, bump and funny mole doesn't actually help. In fact, the resulting stress can make things worse. So what can we do?

Eating well, cutting down alcohol consumption, regular exercise, reducing stress, and supporting research initiatives can help give us the upper hand.

My friends and I took action a few years ago by participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. My son and I ran together (he ran and I lumbered along behind). We ran for my aunt (aka "Superwoman") and proudly displayed her name on our shirts and raced in support of her and the many others who are living with this disease.

I humbly acknowledge that running a few KMs is nothing compared to what too many people are facing. But it's one small step towards taking control and showing our support. It's a drop in the proverbial bucket — a deep, dark bucket, like the buckets at the bottom of a dank, ominous well in those scary movies.

Let's fill those buckets with light and hope...and money towards a cure. Doctors are hopeful there will be a cure within our lifetime, so let's go! What are we waiting for?

My parents, son, daughter, husband and I are running on October 5th. We've chosen the Toronto Zoo as our venue. *I asked if I could ride on the back of a camel or a giraffe, but they haven't gotten back to me yet.

Will you join us? At the zoo or at a community of your choice. Let's run (or walk) for a cure!

 Register to walk or run, Donate or Volunteer and join the conversation on Twitter and on Facebook

This post was generously sponsored by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit 

July 27, 2014

Super Simple Summer Fun

outdoor fun for kids

As Canadians we spend a lot of time indoors. This past winter was especially brutal. Spring arrived just in the nick of time because the Thornburys were getting dangerously close to a "The Shining" situation. Rum—good. Red rum—bad.

My kids have been itching to get outdoors and back to nature and that's exactly what we did last week. We spent seven glorious days with family at their cottage on a lake in New Brunswick— sans wifi or television. No iPhone grafted to my hand? I expected it to be difficult. It wasn't. It was heaven.

Here are a few of the activities we enjoyed:

rainy day fun for kids

On day one of our vacation, thanks to the last remnants of Hurricane Arthur, we had no choice but to make our own indoor fun. To be clear, the dads coordinated the fun. I sat on the covered porch and read for three solid hours. Bliss. So what fun did the guys come up with?

First they played a game"Super Moose" (Reg. $29.99). It's a wooden puzzle challenge where players take turns balancing antlers on a wobbly moose head. It's meant for ages 3+. The older more dextrous and patient kids enjoyed it, but the younger ones found it a bit frustrating.

Next up was cards. Crazy Eights, War, Go Fish = timeless classics. We introduced our 11 year old to Poker this summer. Note: His poker face would leave Lady Gaga speechless. My husband's? Pathetic. I can read that man like a book. (Hey Julian, how are tired are you of hearing your sister-in-law say, "Poker? I don't even know her!" heh heh)

kids poker

Next was Hex Bug Races! They set up a track using wooden train tracks and the cousins brought out their Hex Bugs. The object was to see whose bug would make its way out of the maze first. Wagering? What wagering? Just ignore the monopoly money in the video. Ahem. 

*Check out the toddler taking in the action via binoculars at 2:18 
and just listen to that rain pounding down on the tin roof!*

When it stopped raining and I told my kids to "get out" (in the nicest way possible) they were happy to oblige. With binoculars around her neck (outdoors and inside too) Avery checked out her surroundings. For young children, adult binoculars are difficult to manage. These light-weight, durable, kid friendly Kidnoculars (Mastermind Toys Reg. $16.99) have a silicone rim that guides little eyes into place. We give them a hearty Forever In Mom Genes thumbs up!

Hiking is one of our favourite summer activities. We climbed over fallen trees and made our way to a spectacular waterfall. Ironically this was the one spot where I could get wifi. I was both delighted and horrified. The beauty of the waterfall and my quest for wild raspberries forced me to stuff my phone to the bottom of my backpack.

summer hiking

We collected leaves and consulted our wilderness books. We looked under logs and in ponds and were lucky to find a newt and a frog. We carefully toted them back to the cottage in the specimen jar that came with our Walk in the Woods Into The Field Guide Kit Mastermind Toys Reg. $22.99. We created a temporary habitat and examined our guests and released them back into the wild that night.

Being on a lake there's also water to explore. Canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, swimming, jumping off rocks, exploring under the surface... There's endless fun to be had. Avery, my seven year old doesn't like to wear a mask so this Underwater Explorer Boat, Mastermind Reg. $16.99, was great for her! It's essentially a hand held "glass bottom boat" that lets you see under the water without going under. Perfect for little ones and their moms who'd rather not get their hair wet.

If you build it, they will play. Or at least give you a few minutes of peace to finish your book. A tent offers a shady spot for kids to read or do a puzzle. We spent an afternoon collecting fallen branches and ferns and constructed a rather impressive tee-pee. No, we didn't have a permit. Shhhh... ;)

Hours were spent playing "Water Gun Wars in the Woods" complete with walkie talkies and battle strategies. There's talk of adding camoflauge next year. Sigh. Boys will be boys. (FYI I'm talking about the dads, not the kids.)

 Some of the silliest and greatest moments were those we didn't even plan.

1. At the end of the week we had an awards ceremony. We made paper ribbons naming each person's biggest accomplishments and presented them with loads of pomp and circumstance.

2. Using regular water soluble Crayola makers we got inked! It washes right off in the lake. Even the dog got in on the fun. Also, I thought I was all that with my cool tribal tat.

3. You can use a sheet of plastic and a hose to create your own Slip and Slide! Spin, roll, and ham it up while you slide. My brother-in-law won with the "Reading on a bus pose."

Could summer be any Smore fun? Er, sorry. Hot dogs, marshmallows and grilled peppers roasted on the campfire.... sweet.  Yes, roasted peppers. We brought two Fire Fishing Poles with us to the cottage and used them every night. The Fire Buggz Fishing Poles are sturdy and easy to use. Best of all, you can do two wieners or 4 marshmallows at a time. When one side is done, you can easily flip them to roast the other side. They retail for $24.99 each. A little pricey, but they're fun and would make a great cottage host gift. *I just noticed they're currently on sale at Mastermind Toys for $17.49*

There's only one month of summer left so get out there! Dig your toes in the earth, catch a firefly, make a daisy chain, hold a Banana Slug, skip stones, throw a water balloon, climb a tree, watch the sunset....

Nothing beats a Canadian summer!

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. In other words, I was not paid to say nice things about these products. The kids and I hand selected a few items from Mastermind Toys to bring with us to the cottage in exchange for our honest opinions.


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