Mele Kalikimaka!

Tropical Tree

Today might be a three post kind of day because I have so many drafts, that I am starting to get anxious about it.

Anxiety at Christmas? You don’t say!

Hah!

Who doesn’t have a little extra anxiety during the holidays? I don’t think I know a single person, actually.

However, I have vowed to not be that stressed out Mummy. No way. It’s no fun to be told Christmas is nothing but stress. Or worse, to think it. Especially when you have little eyes and ears watching and listening to everything you do and say. It’s simply not true, anyway.

Christmas is a wonderful season of perpetual hope, and if there is one thing I have learned in my years on this planet* it’s that hope floats. It’s always there and you have to hone your hope holding skills throughout your life, because it’s short. Really, really short. Even when it seems long.

Christmas is what you make it. You can make it all about stuff and spending and stress. Sure! Go right ahead. Seriously, fill your boots, but don’t blame your getting caught up in the commercialism on Christmas. Nope. Christmas didn’t make you do that. Santa didn’t point to the most expensive, elaborate, electronics and say, “By the powers of Comet’s Candy Cane, I command you to buy that!”. Not a chance.

Christmas is simple.

Humans make it complicated.

You have to be human, but you don’t have to be pressured into a holiday that stresses you out.

Cool your jets.

Take a breath.

Remember the wonder.

Breathe in the aromas.

Think back to a time when you believed in the magic.

Embrace the simplicity of an old fashioned Christmas, whatever that means to you.

Know that you are not alone.

Everyone is stressin’ a bit.

No one has *everything* done.

Martha Stewart has a team!

We just have each other.

Smile and know that even when people around you seem to have everything under control, there’s always an element of mystery in how the heck things get done.

For instance, we here at Chez Peady have been having the soggiest December I can ever recall and we have also been fighting a wicked cold, so we are very admittedly behind our typical December schedule. All the things that have not yet been done, were put on the back burner while the things that had to be done got done. School concerts, finding the lost trumpet, trumpet practice, finding the right shoes, making sure everyone was where they needed to be on time, getting a bit of shopping done, making sure I talked to my mother as often as possible, getting to a few charity eventseven one in my Jammies – these all took precedent over making sure the ornaments were in the perfect place.

It’s life and it’s messy.

Look!

Christmas Mess

 

Am I freaking out? Nope. Why should I? Why should I waste a single drop of my precious energy freaking out when it will get done, with or without a grown-up tinsel tantrum?

It always has. I have yet to miss a Christmas. *wink*

So, my best advice to you, as Christmas is festively, twinkling up on us, is to take a deep breath and embrace the merriment.

 

Don’t forget to take care of your own needs, too. You matter! We need you to be at your best**, of course.

This morning I went to Zumba – just so you know I really am practicing what I preach – and I almost jumped for joy when I heard this pop up in the middle of class.

Yes, we did a Hula this morning to Mele Kalikimaka***. It was so fun! Could my Zumba instructor be any cooler?

 

So, tell me, what stage of preparedness are you in for the upcoming Holidays?

Are you about ready to be Dasher and flee the scene?

Are you happily a Prancer ready to take on the task and dance your way through your cookie exchange?

Are you feeling Grinch-like and wondering what the heck is the big deal anyway?

Has your inner Ebenezer reared his Scrooge-y grumpiness?

What is your best advice for having a yule that’s cool?

Leave a comment and share your best tips for avoiding tinsel tantrums.

 

 

*No, I have never lived on another planet. Though there was that time last winter when it felt like we lived on Hoth.

**But we even like you when you are at your worst.

***Mele Kalikimaka**** has been a month-long mind-worm. Go ahead and ask my chicas! Ukuleles at Christmastime? Oh YES!

****Then there’s this, which I saw on Saturday, but wasn’t blogged out until today, hence the edit! COME ON!! This is hulu-arious! (Day #8) Zucchini is the sweetest doggie!

It’s The Very Best Time Of The Year

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I told a friend this morning that I needed to get my “Jingle Bell Juice” flowing.

We have been fighting a wicked awful cold here at Chez Peady and 3/4 of us were affected. (1/4 of us has super immunity and I await the NASA scientists every cold & flu season, because this kid never gets sick! Seriously! How does he do it?!)

Anyway, not the best time of the year to catch a bug, is it?

I mean, we all have a lot going on and we all want to feel cheerful and energetic. It’s the time for dashing through the snow and sleigh bells, not trudging through the tissues or popping plugged up ears.

We are on the mend now and energy is slowly returning which is great because there is still so much to do. I feel like I am a bit behind on the Elf-ing schedule, but I really do try to adhere to Dr. Seuss’ Grinch’s timeless realization from “The Grinch who Stole Christmas”.

The school concerts are this week and that always makes me feel like Christmastime is here. Thing 2 is very excited this year because she (a tall kiddo) gets to stand in the front during her class’ performance. She was so excited when she learned this a few weeks ago she wrote this* as soon as she got home from school.

 

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Isn’t that sweet? How much** do I love the little white board in our office?

Thing 1 is pretty tense about his concert. It isn’t helping that his trumpet is MIA for the night. It was left on the bus. Yup. Not even kidding.

I am just going to have faith and believe that everything will work out. What else can I do, really?

It’s the season of perpetual hope, right?

 

Speaking of hope, my Things are really hoping for a white Christmas. We have no snow – at all – in Bedford. We have had lots of rain this month and we have yet another, rain-filled, nor’easter headed our way. It’s difficult to get all “Ho ho ho!” and “Deck the Halls!” when there is no sign of snow.

Unless of course you have a dear friend who sends a childhood memory out into the Twitterverse for you.

Do you remember this gem?

Thanks, Kyooty! That made my day.

 

So, what are you finding challenging this month? Are you all set for the holidays?

Is it easy breezy decorate all the trees-y or are you untangling tense tinsel at every tick of the clock?

 

*Have we talked about how every family should have a white board or chalk board accessible to everyone for writing special news, notes, or asking questions? No? There’s a forthcoming blog. Promise!

**SO MUCH!

Panda Hugs and Electric Cars or Why I Love WWF Canada

The PandaI love charities.

I am a fan of fundraising.

I have this cockamamie dream that one day I’ll reach the pinnacle of my career as a volunteer and become a philanthropist extraordinaire and spend the remainder of my days making people’s lives better.

It’s a lofty goal. I admit it.

Oh, but what a great story that would be.

I’ll keep dreaming and doing my part to make the world a better place one little act of kindness at a time.

 

In the meantime I am so glad there are organizations like WWF Canada making steps towards reversing climate change and keeping our planet, our one true home, safe, so that my children (and yours!) will have a home for a very, very, very long time.

Clearly, I am a fan. Yes, of the planet, of course, but also of WWF Canada. I’ve written about it here before. I’ve also written about it there.

 

On Monday, I received the latest “Panda Mail” from WWF Canada and one of the featured pieces was called “First Dates with David Miller”. This is a three part video series wherein Canadian celebrities go on a first date with former Mayor of Toronto and current WWF Canada President & CEO David Miller and chat while riding around Toronto in an EV (Electric Vehicle).

You could go ahead and let your imaginations run wild, but I think it would be best if you checked out the silliness for yourself.

But I will share one.

Enjoy!

Yes, that is Kid In The Hall, Mark McKinney.

I wonder if he tried to crush David Miller’s head.

 

So that was fun, wasn’t it?

I thought so.

But…

Now I can’t get this out of my head!

 

How *can* you deny an electric car?

 

Thirty-Four Years. That’s Quite the Run!

Last Friday, Thing 2 participated in her school’s Terry Fox Walk. I wrote my usual lunch note for her, but I included one of my very favourite Terry Fox quotes.

“It took cancer to realize that being self-centered is not the way to live. The answer is to try and help others.” ~ Terry Fox

She didn’t know what I wrote until she saw the note at lunch.

Before we headed down for the bus she ran to her room and came out with a handful of coins from her piggy bank.

Oh my heart! The little hand with all her little quarters and nickels and dimes.

We must be doing something right.

 

Oh sure, there’s that, but this kid… she’s something else. All on her own.

Terry Fox Walk @ St. Rita's (Sept. 14, 2007)

Looking sporty in Roots from head to toe for her first Terry Fox Walk showing her Canadian pride!

 

I helped her put her donation in her back pack and explained why I choose each year to add $1 per person in our family.

 

“When I started this run, I said that if we all gave one dollar, we’d have $22 million for cancer research, and I don’t care man, there’s no reason that isn’t possible. No reason!” ~ Terry Fox

 

It’s what Terry wanted.

 

I did it!

“I did it!” Second Terry Fox Walk under her teeny belt. Her Big Bro set quite the example and she knew she was a part of something special.

 

I couldn’t stop tearing up on Friday. Maybe it’s because Terry Fox was a kid.. or maybe it’s that I remember him from when I was a kid.. but I just kept thinking about how his family – and country and the world at large carried on his Marathon of Hope just as he wished. What a beautiful tribute to his life!

 

Terry Fox Inspirational Quotes signs

These are the signs I made for Thing 1’s 3rd Grade class. It’s amazing what a paint stir stick and a bit of time can do! The kiddos loved the signs. Simple. Of *course* the baby sister had a sign, too!

 

 

“If you’ve given a dollar, you are part of the Marathon of Hope .”

 

I love that his legacy lives on through so many children who take part in these events year after year.

Thing 1 with his sign.

This photo makes me cry. Grade 3 was a very challenging year for Thing 1 and this quote was very intentionally given to him. There’s *always* a bright side! One of my all time faves.

 

“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.”

 

 

 

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Don’t worry, Terry, it has gone on without you. It goes on and on and on.

Every year in 25 countries all over the world.

To date The Terry Fox Foundation has raised $650 million* to support cancer research in Terry’s name.

Not bad for some Canadian kid, eh?

 

Do you participate in the Terry Fox Run? Do your children take part at school? Do you have memories of Terry Fox?

Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

 

 

*Of course you can always donate directly, anytime of the year here.

Happy Easter!

Good afternoon from beautiful, sunny Bedford, Nova Scotia!

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It has been a kooky week and I have been feeling positively mute.

Positively mute.

That is to say, I had nothing nice to say, so I was saying nothing. (It’s in the manifesto, so…)

It was for the best, really.

 

Now, here we are a full week later and I can honestly say that even though some things are still “kooky” I feel much better now.

It’s Easter! It’s Spring! It’s sunny! The world is filled with newfound joy that comes each year on this day. The Easter Bunny found us and brought lots of nice chocolate for Thing 1 & Thing 2, some fun and unique old fashioned candy treats and a few new sunny weather items. There’s nothing like some new sidewalk chalk, sunglasses and a fedora to make everything right in the world of a child. (and a parent*… seriously.. gleefully happy with the fedoras!)

All day I have had a song in my head. It’s my happy, springtime, hopeful song. May I share?

Okay. First though, you should know that these lyrics have been ingrained in my brain since I was about 12 (Thing 1’s age!) and the reason I know them is because I was blessed to have an amazing, smart, funny, excellent, musically talented, music teacher, choir director (and later, English Lit. teacher (See? Awesome, right?), but I digress..) when I was a kid!

 

Isn’t it reassuring? Watching the buds appear?

Isn’t it great? Spring to await!

Watchin’ the landscape rejuvenate! Oh,

Doesn’t it lift your spirit? Doesn’t make you glad?

Isn’t it keen? Viewin’ the scene!

Watchin’ the grass turn green!

The winter’s gone now and the snow!

Seeds burstin’ below!

Cold’s over at last!

And everything’s starting to grow!

Doesn’t it make you happy? Doesn’t it make you see?
Part of the plan, given to man,
ever since time began?

But nevertheless, I can confess, just between you and me,
That it’s good to see it happening, so nice to see it happening
So great to see it happening

Anew! Anew!
And reassuring toooooo!

 

Easter, always seems to bring with it the exact kind of weather Easter deserves. It comes just in the nick of time after a long winter and this year, quite frankly,  a rather sketchy start to spring.

Today was a great day to be outside, so after all the Easter Bunny shenanigans and a nice brunch, that is exactly where we went. We headed to one of our favourite local parks, near the water, and played, walked, wandered, explored, enjoyed nature, collected shells and rocks, took pictures and made friends with a snail!

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Despite the earlier stresses of the week, I had a great time. I really am a nature baby. I need it. So do my Thing 1 and Thing 2. I would argue so do *all* of you, too, if pressed. I will try not to be too bossy, though, and just strongly suggest that if you missed an outing today you have a shot at another tomorrow. (Don’t make me come over there. Go outside and play!)

 

And reassuring, toooo!

Yes.

 

So, tell me, how was your day? Do you celebrate Easter? Are you celebrating Passover? Are you happy it’s spring and the weather is finally starting to show it?

 

 

*The Easter Bunny was very kind, as he is every year, and brought one small, very good quality, dark chocolate bunny, each to Daddy-O & me**.

**This year the ol’ EB also got wise and brought some special, high protein, healthy snacks for me. Go, EB! You rock!

“Isn’t It Reassuring?” Words & music by Natalie Sleeth

Talk On!

Talk, it’s only talk

Arguments, agreements, advice, answers
Articulate announcements
It’s only talk

Talk, it’s only talk
Babble, burble, banter, bicker, bicker, bicker
Brouhaha, balderdash, ballyhoo
It’s only talk, back talk

Talk, talk, talk, it’s only talk
Comments, clichés, commentary, controversy
Chatter, chit-chat, chit-chat, chit-chat
Conversation, contradiction, criticism
It’s only talk, cheap talk

Talk, talk, it’s only talk
Debates, discussions
These are words with a D this time
Dialogue, dualogue, diatribe, dissention
Declamation, double talk, double talk

Talk, talk, it’s all talk
Too much talk, small talk
Talk that trash, expressions, editorials
Explanations, exclamations, enfadulations
It’s all talk, elephant talk, elephant talk, elephant talk

“What the heck was that?!”, you may be asking.  “All those words! That’s just weird.”, you might be thinking.  That’s okay.  You have a right to your thoughts and your words.

So many wonderful words.  Out they fly in a funky rhythm that brings me back to a time and place that usually makes me quite happy.  Brothers playing records loudly.  Parents remarkably tolerant of, nay, encouraging the teenage weirdness.

This is a song that I love.  Throughout my life I have gone back to it.  Again and again. At first as a little kid just trying to figure out what the heck they were even saying.  Looking up words in the dictionary to find their meaning and then finding the exercise only led to more words. (It’s a terrific vocabulary builder, wouldn’t you agree?)  Then as a Tween, (No one ever referred to us as “tweens” back then.  We were just big kids.) feeling rather cool that I liked King Crimson when most of my friends were falling head over heels for the latest boy band or pop star. (Not that I didn’t.  Remind me to tell you about the time Corey Hart touched my arm.  *swoons*)

Then later as a brooding Teenager filled with angst (behind that big happy grin, there were some deep thoughts) (FYI, there still are)  I started to really listen.  They were right!  It’s only talk.  Just words.  Everyone going on and on about everything all the time.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.  Make it STOP!  No one even cares anyway, so why are any of us even bothering to try to be heard?

Teenagers are not fully formed humans.  I know this.  Now.  Then, not so much.

It can be very scary to feel hopeless.  To be young and hopeless?  Downright terrifying.  Scary for the one feeling it.  Scary for the one who knows.  As brief as a flash of hopelessness can be, it can feel like forever.

Thankfully, I am loquacious by nature and never (really) stopped talking.  I had friends who understood me and supported me through our broody teen years. Oh yes!  Our broody teen years.  You see?  We were never really alone.  All we had to do was reach out.  Make eye contact and know that someone else knew exactly what you thought/meant/felt.

We shared music like our lives depended on it and guess what – sometimes, it did.

It didn’t fix everything, but it sure as heck didn’t break it, either.

I started with the lyrics of “Elephant Talk” because ultimately, even if it feels like it’s all just talk, it is important to keep talking.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you make perfect sense to someone, whether you can pinpoint a problem with perfection or feel confused and scared and are unable to speak with the precision of an “articulate announcement”.  Just keep talking.  Eventually you will find, your words find their target. You will find your people.  It will happen.  I know because I found my people.  The best part about growing older is that you tend to be able to locate your people with pretty excellent accuracy.

And hope? Hope floats. You will never find it on the ground. So get up. Then look up. You might not always see it, but trust me, it’s always there.

Talk on!

“Elephant Talk” was written by Belew, Adrian / Bruford, William Scott / Fripp, Robert / Levin, Anthony Charles.

Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Read more: King Crimson – Elephant Talk Lyrics | MetroLyrics

And then a window opens…

My weeks are long.  Some weeks seem so impossibly long, that by the time Friday rolls around I am fairly certain I will not make it through.  One too many e-mails, phone calls, appointments, meetings, bills, arguments, conflicts, worries . . . what have you.  I do, of course.  We all do.  No matter what happens, we are all usually gifted with enough . . . (What?  Oomph?  Chutzpah?  Will?  Determination!  Yeah.  Let’s go with determination.) determination to make it through those days and weeks when the challenges seem to outweigh the triumphs.

This was one of those weeks.  This month has kind of been (mostly) made up of these weeks.  Why?  Didn’t 2014 get the memo that *this* year was supposed to be the best?  Did the Universe not understand that *I* had big plans to be better – AT EVERYTHING?  Better wife, better mother, better friend, better, better, better….

Better s-l-o-w down there, missy, because *you* are setting yourself up for a major face plant on the floor of this shiny New Year!

Where was I?  Oh yes!  Long week.  You “get” it, yes?  Great.  Moving on.

This week I didn’t even make it until Friday before my mettle was tested.  Bare in mind, in many ways, it’s tested on a daily basis for various reasons.  Some of which are typical, run-of-the-mill, everyday annoyances that everyone experiences to one degree or another.  Some, well… some are unique to my situation as the mother of, and the wife of, some pretty interesting individuals. (To be clear, I just have the one husband, but I am confident he’d agree that he is definitely an individual!)

Maybe I put a bit too much pressure on myself?  Maybe thinking my very first blog entry should be so gripping and interesting that it would catch the eye of a kind audience of readers who would all declare, “I laughed.  I cried.  It moved me!”, was a bit ambitious?  When I think about it logically, I have to agree that it is possible.

I mean, just since I started typing at my laptop, here, in my kitchen (where I must stand to type because “laptop” is a bit of a misnomer for my “Frankenputer” now, but I digress…) I have been interrupted no fewer than five times by Thing 1 who is currently playing Clumsy Ninja on my iThing and is just so excited by every. single. new. thing. his Clumsy Ninja pal does, he can’t help, but interrupt to share all the fun with me.  Forget that there are two other people here who would be happy to listen.  Forget that his little sister might actually *really* love to hear what he has to say, so she can try to do a similar thing with her Ninja.  He comes to me.  Me.  Always me.  It’s lovely, really.  It is also, if I am to be honest at all, exhausting.  However, his enthusiasm is pure joy and when he cheekily asked a few minutes ago, “Was it worth it?” I just smiled and kissed him and agreed that, yes, it was.  Watching that chicken, with 5 balloons attached to her back, floating up into the cartoon sky was totally worth my losing my train of thought.  And it was.  This is my life. 

So, yes, perhaps I made a bit of a mountain out of a molehill where this particular endeavour is concerned. Okay.  I’ll get over myself.  

This week was a challenge from stem to stern. Thursday’s mail came with not one, but two scary letters. The kind that make you catch your breath. The kind that make you wonder why you bother trying to be a good, fine, upstanding citizen. The kind that you are 100% certain will have nothing good to say on the inside of their envelopes. The kind, that though you are digging deep and putting your inner Pollyanna on high alert for a serious dose of positivity, you just know nothing good can possibly come from. The kind, worst of all, that you can’t do a darn thing about until the next day. Ugh! Who can sleep now!?!

Then Friday came. See? We make it. Despite everything to the contrary, we make it.

On Friday, there’s a tiny bit of a “hope boost”, isn’t there? It’s organic. Naturally built into even a stressful week. The weekend is so close we can taste it. Just get the children out the door and onto their buses and we’re golden! The Things will have time to play, read, breathe, do nothing. If I’m lucky, so will *I*! This is enough to get me through the day, but on this  particular Friday a beautiful thing happened. A very kind message left on my iThing by the VP at Thing 1’s school, praising Thing 1 for something that had occurred the day before. A reminder that the things we do and say make a difference, not only in the lives of our Things, but also in the lives of their friends and classmates (and teachers). Kindness.

I cried. Yup. I cried in my car in the parking lot of a bulk food store. Then I laughed at my ridiculousness and went to buy Chia (You know? Ch-ch-ch-chia!) for my smoothies because – gosh darn it – this year I *am* going to be BETTER! 

Just maybe not at everything, all the time, right away.