Always Wear Sunscreen

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Oh sure! It looks all friendly and happy with its toasty rays and snazzy shades, but trust me there’s a burning desire to fry your skin lurking just under those fiery smiling lips.

I just committed a drive-by sunscreening at Thing 2’s school. I’m guilty as charged, but I’m not sorry.

The UV Report is “High” today and in the confusion of the morning rush to make it to the bus on time, Thing 2 – who will spend an hour outside during high noon – did not get her sunscreen. Aack!

What’s an easily scorched, SPF MUD wearing, mother of Celtic heritage to do?

Well, first I consulted social media, because TWEEPS!

Then, I called school to make sure it was okay to pop by, then I brushed my teeth and grabbed my Kinesys and fled.

Because skin is our largest organ and we don’t have a spare.

Summer is coming’ in, but fast.*

Don’t be fooled by our hazy Maritime mornings, either. Those hazy** days can be the worst offenders for sun damage.

My best advice?

Always wear sunscreen.

Och!

 

So, do you have a favourite brand of sunscreen? Do you have a way to remember to apply it – even during the crazy-busy morning rush? What’s your secret to keeping your skin safe?

*Bonus: Natalie Cole because I love her and I used her Daddy’s lyric – and often do!

**BONUS Bonus of Nat King Cole because I said “hazy” and well… just listen.

This is Planet Earth

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

 

We have one home. Really.

We are connected to it in more ways than we know and certainly in more ways than many of us care to acknowledge, but make no mistake about it. We are one.

Have you ever looked at a leaf? I mean really looked at one. Closely? Carefully? Following the lines and creases from stem to edges?

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Have you ever looked at your hand? I mean really looked at it? Closely? Carefully? Following the lines and creases from wrist to fingertips?

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Have you ever watched a stream of water flow across dry land or sand? Or taken the time to stop and look at a tree in in the sunlight?

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What did you see? Did you see similarities? Patterns? Something that made you stop and think, “Wait a second… that looks an awful lot like this…”

If you never have done any of these things I encourage you to do so someday soon. You might be surprised by what you see. Maybe you will start to notice something new.

Try to see things in a new light.

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Maybe through the eyes of a child.

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I believe we are connected with all my heart. My children know what I believe. They hear me talk about it. They see how I live. They will come to their own conclusions in time. Until then I encourage the observation of special days and events that reflect what I believe in. That’s the power of parenthood, isn’t it?

Earth Hour is one of these events. I like it. I know to some it falls into the category of “slacktivism”, but not for me. I observe it. Nay! I celebrate it!

We anticipate the day. We plan something special each year. Yes. Really.

We have gone out on freezing cold nights in Ottawa to the Museum of Science and Technology to celebrate and catch a glimpse of “the” Panda.

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We have stayed in and made shadow puppets. We have made crafts and signs and posters leading up to the day. There was even a time when I convinced the “Panda” to visit Thing 1’s and Thing 2’s school! Oh yes! I fully embrace it!

Isn’t that what life is all about? I think so.

Tonight was no different. We had our Earth Hour dinner by candlelight. It’s remarkable how relaxed everything becomes when you turn off all the lights, shut off the computers and devices, and light a candle (or three). It was so calm and nice.

After dinner we planned to read by candlelight. Since Daddy-O has been reading the “Little House” series to the Things at bedtime, it was very fitting. They were just about to start “Farmer Boy” (one of my personal favourites), so I decided to read* for the remainder of Earth Hour! Time flew!

 

So, we put another Earth Hour to bed and hope maybe a few more people decided to turn out the lights. If so, great! If not, well, there’s always next year. I know we’ll be celebrating. I hope you’ll join us.

If you don’t that’s okay, too. Just know this..

On the land…

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in the air…

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and in the water…

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on this planet we are all connected.

 

 

Let’s take care of the only true home we have.

For the love of our planet and our children.

 

 

 

*FYI. It’s not so easy for aging eyes to read by candlelight. How did “Ma” do it!?

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

I love Dr. Seuss. I have loved him for as long as I can remember. I am convinced that Dr. Seuss is the reason I learned to read at an early age. Well, Dr. Seuss via my brilliant mother and big sister who would have reading races with me using the very famous “Fox in Sox“. What a wonderful way to learn to read!

You never feel like you are the only one making mistakes when the mistakes are so utterly ridiculous and impossible not to make as is proven by your brilliant Mummy’s tripping over phrases like, “First, I’ll make a quick trick brick stack. Then I’ll make a quick trick block stack.” and reinforced by your beautiful big sister, whom you admire more than any other (still do!), who struggles to spit out, “Who sews whose socks? Sue sews Sue’s socks. Who sees who sew whose new socks, sir? You see Sue sew Sue’s new socks, sir. That’s not easy, Mr. Fox, sir.”

The goal was to read as far as you possibly could without making a mistake. When (not if!) someone made a mistake it was time to pass the book and give the next person a chance to beat the record. On and on it went until eventually we reached the end of the book. Great fun! The excellent repetition a beginning reader needs in a funny, colourful, entertaining book through a fantastic activity. Perfection. It is one of my fondest childhood memories. Honestly. There were some serious belly laughs shared over “Fox in Sox”.

Dr. Seuss’ birthday is on Sunday March 2.  If he was still celebrating birthdays he would have a BIG cake with 110 candles this year!  Isn’t that remarkable? I bet he’d have a pretty amazing cake, but I digress…

Every year on Dr. Seuss’ Birthday at Chez Peady we celebrate by having Green Eggs and Ham. Oh yes we do!

Green eggs

“Greener-than-Green” Green Eggs! How? Blue food colouring because yellow and blue make green! Yay! Science & Art!

Green eggs and ham

Here is a plated portion of green eggs & ham with a tortilla.

Green eggs and ham (Tex-Mex)

Green Eggs & Ham + Tortilla, cheese and salsa! Olé!

So, you must tell me…

Do you celebrate the Birthday of Dr. Seuss?

Is it a formal occasion? Do you really let loose?

Are there Green Eggs and Ham on all of your plates?

How do you mark this most important of dates?

Do you have a big battle in a bottle with paddles?

Do you tell lots of stories, some tales and some tattles?

Is hopping on Pop more of your scene?

Just tell me right now, you’ve got to come clean!

P.S. We will also be reading all of our Dr. Seuss books tomorrow and there will definitely be a “Fox in Sox” race! After all Thing 1 and Thing 2 have Dr. Seuss built right in!

P.P.S. Here are a few links to help you with your own Dr. Seuss Day celebrations!

P.P.P.S. Please come back and tell me what kind of fun things you did to celebrate! Thanks!

Random House maintains this most excellent “Seussville” site. http://www.seussville.com

An interesting set of surprising Seuss facts. http://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-dr-seuss

Terrific list of Dr. Seuss’ books. How many have you read? http://childrensbooksguide.com/dr-seuss-books-list

Here are 10 interesting facts about Dr. Seuss books. http://visual.ly/10-facts-about-dr-seuss-books

This list of 30 quotes is simply awesome! I especially love #17! http://www.mamiverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/30DrSeuss_quotes.jpg

This is an amazingly comprehensive collection of Dr. Seuss goodies! Yup! Totally obSEUSSed!

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You can even follow @Seussville on Twitter, but it seems like there isn’t anyone manning their account lately. That’s a shame! Twitter is such  great way to engage and celebrate.

Family Day, we hardly knew ye.

It’s Family Day in Ontario (and several other provinces). We live in Nova Scotia. I have two kids. Thing 1 and Thing 2 have been hearing a LOT about how today is Family Day all weekend because we have been watching CBC (Yay, Olympics!) and YTV – way more than on a typical weekend, because of the yucky weather – and they mentioned it quite a lot.

Now it’s Monday morning.

I’ll just let that sink in for a minute.

Yeah. That.

Thing 1 is in an uproar about how “everyone” else gets to stay home. Everyone? Really?

Even in Ontario (which is where the Things started school and therefore (contradictatorily) their introduction to the glory of the day off) not everyone has the day off. I saw someone refer to today in Ottawa as a “Half-Holiday”. Yes. Many people are working today.

Being the parent that I am, this led to a chat about exactly who has a holiday today. Telling me you don’t know is not helpful and doesn’t support your whining argument that you should be allowed to stay home. Find out!

So, Thing 1 wandered sloth-like towards the Mom CPU aka my beloved, awesome, perfect, old school, made of paper, calendar and was aghast to discover that “FIVE!!” places have a day off today. Never mind that one of the “places” is the United States of America celebrating President’s Day (not a Canadian province, but hey, they can hope). Four provinces are listed on February 17th as having a special day. Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan, all celebrate Family Day and Manitoba observes Louis Riel Day.

Not exactly “everyone”, is it?

Poor Thing 1.

So what’s the big deal about Family Day anyway and why doesn’t everyone celebrate it? Why doesn’t Nova Scotia have a day off from school and/or work?

Well, the good news is that next year Nova Scotia will have a February holiday. It was decided, but you know, we need a whole year to prepare for the shock of a day off for just nothing. We wouldn’t want to implement it right away. That would be too much. MY GOD! Think of the children!!

So, we have a whole year to prepare for the third Monday in February, 2015. There will be a name the holiday contest and I just heard on the news that the very first to-be-named-February observance will honour Viola Desmond. You know who she is, right? I hope so! If not you should make a point of learning who she is. I’ll give you a hint. February is designated as a very special month each year for a particular aspect of our history. No. Not Valentine’s Day. No. Not the Olympics. Something much more important than either of those.

February is Black History month! That’s your hint. Go find out!

Olympic Spirit: Go Canada Go!

Wow! What an amazing day for Canada’s Olympic athletes and Canadians at large!

Currently Canada has a total of 7 medals – 3 Gold (WOW!), 3 Silver (W00t!), 1 Bronze (Yippity biscuits!) and is tied with Netherlands and Norway for the most medals. That is a great start, wouldn’t you say?

With so much speculation leading up to (and political buzz surrounding) these Sochi games, I am glad that, so far, the athletes have been able to focus on their individual and team events (aside from some funny tweets, a few crazy bathroom photos, a trapped athlete and some judging rumours) without too much controversy.

We spent much of our weekend watching Olympic coverage on CBC (So thankful for the CBC!!) and talking about all the cool and interesting sports with our kids. Watching the Women’s Hockey Team on Saturday was a definite highlight of the weekend and I am so glad that Haley Wickenheiser is playing. She was the flag bearer for the opening ceremonies and is quite the amazing ambassador for Canada and sport. During one of the breaks in the coverage of the Canada vs. Switzerland game, they showed the most awesome clip of Haley Wickenheiser after the Canadian Gold medal win against the USA in Salt Lake City at the 2002 Winter Olympics. This quote has to win something! (Even if we’ll never really know the entire story behind it.)

The Americans had our flag on their floor in the dressing room and now I want know if they want us to sign it.

Whoa! I was amazed at how calm and pointed her question was. It, at once, raised her level of cool while pointing out a pretty awful example of sportsmanship on the parts of the American players. Nothing more needed to be said. She got her point across and her little dig in. I’m sure it’s all water under the bridge by now. Right?

Are you watching all the action from Sochi? Are you lucky enough to be there? Are the games making you feel extra pride for your country, homeland or heritage? Does seeing all the amazing athleticism make you want to go out and play more than usual? How are you using the Olympics to foster the joy of sport or activity with your kids and family?

Me? I got a Silver medal just for showing up today. Mondays are hard and Thing 2 is a very generous judge. Sure, I didn’t win Gold – that was reserved for Thing 2, but I received Silver, while Daddy-O only got Bronze, so, you know …  WINNING!

Silver!

This is *my* Silver Medal. Not too shabby, eh?

You should know I am not competitive at all. Nope. Not one bit. Yup. *wink*

If you are interested in making some medals of your own (or with your kiddos) here is where Thing 2 got her templates. There are also some great activities and printables here, lots of good information here, and some good Canadian stuff here.

The LEGO Movie: A Mini {fig} Review

O-M-G-O-S-H! Go see “The LEGO Movie” as soon as you possibly can!

Seriously. It was BRICKTASTIC!

I wanted to spill all the details last Saturday (February 1st), which is when I got to see an advanced screening at Cineplex (on my Birthday, no less!) with my family, courtesy of a local radio station, a few sponsors AND our favourite local toy store, Brain Candy Toys, where I WON the tickets!

There is no joy like seeing a movie on a Saturday morning with your favourite people on your birthday! Popcorn for breakfast? Come on!! I was ecstatic.

We had BIG expectations and they were not only met, but exceeded. ALL your favourite Mini Figs were in there somewhere. (Assuming you have favourites. I mean, you have favourites, right? If not, we need to discuss this further, later though, I’m kind of in the middle of something here!) It was the perfect mix of “kid” movie and “retro” for the parents or adults who still just really love LEGO. I am not judging! I LOVE LEGO!

The actors who voiced the characters were perfection.  Yesterday on the radio one of the announcers was talking about it and she said “All the Wills are in there!”.  I had to laugh because she’s right. The LEGO Movie has three excellent Wills – Farrell, Forte & Arnet. Seriously. Perfection. There are a lot of familiar voices you will likely recognize, like Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Chris Pratt (Parks & Rec) and possibly my fav character 1980-Something Spaceman enthusiastically voiced by Charlie Day. Not to mention Morgan Freeman, who is perfectly cast as the “ancient and heroic wizard” Vitruvius.

This is what my LEGO dudes had to say:

hippie

rock-guy

elf

space-pirate

alien-queen

angry-scot

Now LEGO of your smartphone or computer and go see “The LEGO Movie”. Today, even. I’m so confident that you will enjoy it – I *might* be willing to bet my Angry Scot on it! Och!

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.