All photos on this blog taken by Adam Schwartz of the Two Hoser's Photo Show

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In the Footsteps of their Father

Sarah has caught the photography bug from her Daddy.  First she had my old Canon point and shoot and she felt so grown up taking it to family outings.  She recently graduated to Captain Canada's old digital SLR.  She loves capturing moments, although sometimes her moments are like a screen cap of what television program she is watching.  Jack never to be left out and always wanting to be like his sister, has begun to traipse around the house snapping photos.  I am surrounded by photographers.  This is not a bad thing because the moments get captured.  Who needs a camera with these photographers documenting all my moves?

"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.  What you have caught on film is captured remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything." -Aaron Siskind

Monday, January 30, 2012

Remember when......

This week's Monday Listicles was chosen by my wedding anniversary twin, Bruna from Bees with Honey.  Her topic:
"If they were to make a movie of your life what would the soundtrack be like? Share 10 songs that best tell the story of your life. Be sure to include the period or event that each song represents”.

This took some thinking, but here are some songs that bring back a flood of memories from different times in my life:

1.  Black Superman - Johnny Wakelin. This is the first song I remember dancing to as a little girl.  We owned the song on a single you know the LP that you needed to put the little plastic thing in the middle so it will stay on the turntable and actually play.  Or maybe you don't because I am way older than you.

2.  Saturday Night - The Bay City Rollers.  My sisters and I would put on my parents records and make up dance routines.  Whenever I hear this song it takes me back to our living room with the red carpet that we flattened with our dancing feet. 

3.  The Gambler- Kenny Rogers.  When I hear this song, I think of my family piled into my Dad's old blue truck heading out on a family adventure.  The adventures I remember most clearly were the ones that took us outdoors fishing, camping or getting wood.

4. Summer of 69 - Bryan Adams.  In junior high we would listen and listen to this song. We loved the whole album and I remember clearly that sleepovers consisted of watching scary movies like The Exorcist and singing along to this Bryan Adams cassette tape.

5.  Forever Young -Rod Stewart.  Our high school graduation song.  Don't even really like this song, but it marks an important event and when I hear it, the song takes my back to grad year.

6.  Home for a Rest - Spirit of the West.  I love this song and there are many good time memories attached to it.  This song was from my twenties my friend Jo and I had good times together. A few weeks ago, we had a family dance party to this song.  It was time to pass on the moves for this song and by moves I mean jumping up and down like crazy and bumping into people.

7.  You are my Sunshine- Anne Murray.  There are so many memories attached to this song.  Captain Canada put it on a CD he made for my surprise 30th birthday party that he helped organize.  It was one of the first songs on the CD I listened to when he was taking me to the super secret destination of my party.  This song was also a part of our wedding slide show.  When Sarah was born, we created a slide show of her early days to and used this song.

8.  Lucky Man- The Verve.  Our first dance at our wedding.  Chosen by Captain Canada.  He is a lucky man.

9.  Baby Beluga- Raffi  The only song that would sooth Sarah when she was screaming her longest and loudest.  I can sing this song forwards, backwards and from the middle.  I am especially good at singing it while holding a crying infant and bouncing on an exercise ball.

10.  The Good Life- One Republic.  When I hear this song I am reminded of my own good life.  
When you're happy like a fool
Let it take you over
When everything is out
You gotta take it in
Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

Sunday, January 29, 2012

For the Love of the Game

It doesn't matter what you call yourself or who you pray to, when it comes to your sport, your game or your team, it brings us together.  Sport is a universal language that we can all understand. We saw it when our city hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, the pride we showed the emotion we wore on our sleeves, we came together as Canadians to support our athletes and welcome the world into our backyard.  This is one of the many reasons, I love sports.  It's also that feeling of unity that I get when I am cheering with others for my team or my country.  I love sport for the chills I get when I see an athlete excel and feel inspired in my own life.

On a more personal level, a sporting event is a family outing that allows us to spend time together, enjoying each others company, grooving to the music and watching a good old hockey game.  That is what we did this weekend and there was no shortage of goals to cheer for, family time and unhealthy snacks.

Sarah and Jack were thrilled to spend time with their cousins.

There was also double the fun auntie time.

Captain Canada enjoyed trying out his new lens.
Uncle strikes a pose.
Jack rarely tires of watching the zamboni circle the ice.  Extra points if the driver waves.

I never get tired of this.

Let's BEE Friends

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Strike a Pose

Sarah is going through a rock star stage.  She sings and dances all over the house putting on performances.  When we told her rock stars pose for photographers, she was happy to play along.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things I Love: Sunsets

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky."
-Rabindranath Tagore

I love a good sunset and since Captain Canada has started taking pictures, I have had the good fortune to witness many of them.  Here is to many more sunsets.

I am linking up over at Bits of Bee, it's Tuesday and that means it's time for Quotable Bits.  Head over to Bianca's blog and be inspired by the quotes other are sharing.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ten Things that Keep me Awake at Night

It is Monday and time for some listicle action.  Captain Canada thought I just said testicle and so that needed a little clarification.

I am linking this post up over at The Good Life hosted by the lovely Stasha.  Add your own list or go read what everone is writing about.

There are two possible topics this week and I have chosen to write about ten things that give me anxiety and keep me awake at night.

1.  Sarah going to kindergarten in September.  I am nervous about how she will adjust.

2.  Working full time next year and juggling the added work load with my responsibilities at home as well as still finding time to workout and stay healthy.

3.  Confronting someone about something I don't like.

4.  Being late.  I have a recurring dream that I am late for work and obstacles keep getting in my way that prevent me from getting to work or calling and letting someone know that I am late for work.

5.  Potty training.  It took us the good part of a year to get Sarah fully potty trained.  She would not do it until she was good and ready.  When she decided she was ready, she was trained in a day.  Jack is turning three in two months and we have not done much in the way of potty training.  It is the whole fear of failing thing.

6.  Lack of calcium.  Neither of my kids drink milk.  But at least Jack drinks Yops (that I can sneak milk into) and eats yogurt.  Sarah doesn't eat or drink any of these things.  I give her vitamins, but I still worry about the lack of calcium in her diet.

7.  Flat tires.  I have a knack for getting flat tires.  I worry that when I get into my car to go to work that my tire will be flat and I will be late for work (see #4).

8.  Offending someone or hurting their feelings.

9.  Going into a store five minutes before closing time.

10.  Imagining my kids as teenagers and the whole new set of worries that will bring.  The part where they will probably go through a period of intense dislike of me and the driving, parties, girlfriends,  boyfriends and the list goes on and on.

What keeps you up at night?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Big Sister Sarah

I am a big sister.  As a child, I took my role very seriously.  I wanted to be helpful and take care of my younger sisters.  My Mom says I was especially helpful when my sister T was born.  I was four at the time and I relished the idea of being helpful.  When T was three weeks old, I thought she looked hungry so I tried to feed her potato chips.  When she was a little older, I took her for a walk and decided to try to take her stroller down a set of stairs with not great results.  As we grew older, I stopped stuffing food in the faces of my sisters and avoided dropping them on their heads, but still felt that protectiveness towards my sisters and still feel that today.  It is that instinct to protect and stand up for family, those people that you love and care about. The people that know you best and have been through blood, sweat and tears with.  I am not sure that ever goes away.

Now as a mom, I see the big sister role with new eyes, a different lens.  Sarah is a super big sister to Jack. Don't get me wrong, she has the art of torment down to a science and she knows exactly what to do to make him angry.  But when we are out and about, it is Sarah and Jack against the world.

Big Sister as Protector

Sarah makes sure everything Jack is being fed is peanut free.  She interrogates people better than I do.  She is the first person to tell anyone who is offering food that Jack has a peanut allergy and is allergic to all nuts.

When it comes to playing with other kids, Sarah is there to make sure Jack is never mistreated.  It is funny how Sarah is hesitant to stand up for herself in many situations, but has no problem standing up for Jack and telling another child when something is not o.k.

Today while at a birthday party, a little girl kept taking the ball away from Jack.  Sarah could see that Jack was getting more and more upset.  So Sarah offered the ball she was playing with to the little girl so Jack could keep his ball.

Big Sister as Puppet Master

At home, Sarah uses her big sister role for power.  If she wants something that she is quite sure we will say no to, like a treat or candy, she will send Jack to ask us.  He doesn't quite have his role down, so when he says, "Mom, Sarah wants us to have a candy"  she is so busted.

When it comes to watching television, the kids take turns choosing a show.  When it is not Sarah's turn to choose, sometimes she manages to get her choice anyway.  I can hear her whispering, "You want to watch Alvin and Chipmunks on the Apple t.v. right Jack?"

Protector or puppet master, she is a great big sister and they make a dynamic team.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Would Never! Insert eye roll here

It's that time again. Time to for some listicle action.  This week's list topic challenge was issued by Greta.  She wants us to fess up and come clean about all of those things we said we would NEVER do before we mothers.  Well this should be easy because I was the best mother in the world to the most perfect children in the world before I had kids of my own.

Here is my list of things I said I would never do as a parent:

1.  I will never co-sleep.  I used to think co-sleeping would prevent me from sleeping.  The truth is sometimes I co-slept to actually get sleep.

2.  I will not breastfeed my babies to sleep.  At the beginning, was there any other way?

3.  I will not use candy and other treats as a bribe.

4.  There will not be a DVD player in the car.  O.k. we can get a DVD player for the car, but only for long car trips.  Is a ten minute drive considered a long car trip?

5.  My daughter's hair will be impeccable when we leave the house and she will wear all sorts of cute barrettes and ribbons.  I had not met my daughter when this grand idea flitted through my head.

6.  I will not use rewards or time outs in my parenting and I will follow Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting to the letter.

7.  I will not be a short order cook and make different meals than the one we are eating.

8.  I will not get sucked into the abyss of talking exclusively about my kids.  While on maternity leave, I found this difficult because I had nothing else to talk about.

9. My children will not wear their pajamas out of the house.

10.   I will not say, "because I said so"  in response to the question, "why?"

What's on your list?

Monday, January 16, 2012

For the Love of Snow

As a kid was there anything better than a fresh snow fall?  I still remember all of the fun we had as kids playing in the snow.  The whisper of my arms as I etched an angel into fresh snow.  The push and roll as we fashioned large snow balls to create our very own snowman.  The cold feeling as snow smacked my face and rolled into my jacket.  Then there was the incredible sled run that my family built every year.  The hard high walls and icy path that we would careen down in long trains of people with whoops and hollers as we managed to stay in tact at another turn.

So yesterday brought back a flood of memories as Jack and Sarah made snow angels and threw snow balls and ran and enjoyed the newness of the snow that we don't see that often around here.  This was the first year that we stayed out in the snow longer than it took us to get ready to go outside.

 I helped make snowballs.

Jack did his part by throwing them.

Sarah, always the more hesitant one, loved it too.

Can you believe this sweet face is going to kindergarten in September?
It was fun to enjoy the snow with Nana and Pa.

Sarah doesn't think a family event is complete without a group photo picture where Daddy does a run in.

Later that afternoon, Daddy came home with a sled.  Jackpot.

“I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas: It brings people together while time stands still. Cozy couples lazily meandered the streets and children trudged sleds and chased snowballs. No one seemed to be in a rush to experience anything other than the glory of the day, with each other, whenever and however it happened” 
-Rachel Cohn, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

I am linking up over at Bits of Bee and quotable bits.  I love a good quote, especially when I find one that fits me so well.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday and a Quote

"Play is our brain's favorite way of learning." -Diane Ackerman

I am linking up with a new weekly meme called quotable bits hosted by my friend and quote twin Bianca.  Head over to her place to share a quote that you connect with and read some great quotes shared by others.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why I Love to Teach

I am linking this post up with Stasha's Monday Listicles.  The topic this week is ten strange jobs you have held in your life.  None of my past jobs are that strange or interesting so I decided to stick with what I know and tell you why I love to teach.

1.  I love working with kids.

2.  I love teaching children how to read and seeing that moment when they have an epiphany and recognize themselves as readers.

3.  I have a lot of autonomy.  Yes I have curriculum guides and learning outcomes to follow but I have a lot of choice about how I teach what I need to teach.

4.  Being a teacher allows me to work part time.

5.  Teaching is never boring.  You don't have to teach the same topics every year or even the same grade level.  If you do teach the same grade, you can take the same topic and teach it a completely different way. I love that.

6.  Teaching has kept alive my sense of wonder.  We do a lot of wondering in my classroom and with that comes a lot of exploration.  By encouraging my students to develop their sense of wonder, I have done the same.

7.  Teaching is fun.  I love nothing better than planning an interactive lesson that engages the kids and we all learn something in the process.

8.  I am constantly learning new things.  From professional development days to study groups to good old Pinterest, I am always learning something new.

9.  Teaching is busy.  If ever something in my personal life is getting me down, I need to look no further than work to take my mind off of it.  Between the lessons that I am preparing and teaching to the twenty plus kids that are calling my name, I don't have a minute to think about any of that stuff.

10.  I love working with kids.

I didn't even mention the fact that I get summers and holidays off to spend with my kids.  Don't get me wrong, it is a great perk.  The truth is, I would be a teacher even if I didn't get that time off.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Grizzly Bear or Teddy Bear

One of my favourite moments of each morning is when Jack wakes up.  He waits at the top of the stairs until I come and get him.  When I round the corner of our stairs, he is standing with his hands on the gate, a big smile across his face.  When he sees me, he puts his arms up and I pick him up and he gives me the best snuggle.  He leans his face on my shoulder and taps the sides of my arms with his.  It is like snuggling a real life, thirty six pound teddy bear.

Jack the teddy bear also makes an appearance when he wants something, like his sister's Leap Frog Explorer.  He tilts his head to one side, gives you the eyes and asks in the sweetest voice you ever heard.  When he doesn't want to walk anymore, he gets all snuggly and tries to make you forget you are carrying around a heavy load.

But our gentle giant can also be a grizzly bear.
When he is tired, the littlest things can bring his voice to a growling octave.
If he loses at hockey or Hungry, Hungry Hippos or any running race, the bear in him comes out.
When we have to leave a playground before he is ready, get the tranquilizer gun, the grizzly bear is back and it is not unheard of him to scramble away like a bear.

Do you have a grizzly bear at your house?

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 One Little Word

Thanks to my inspiring friend Janice and Ali Edwards' blog, this will be my fourth year of choosing one little word to guide me.  The first year I chose a word (embrace) more because it sounded good and not because it really suited me.  The last two years I have chosen words (grow and move) that meant something to me and carrying those words with me have helped me remain focused and become better in different areas of my life.

My word this year is CHOOSE.

I want to choose to live with less.  I recognize that buying things makes me happy.  I go to a mall and the smell of retail makes me giddy.  I am working on living with a budget that suits me and allows me some entertainment without going overboard.

I want to choose to simplify where we live.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with clutter and stuff and things we don't need.  I am going to make an effort to de-clutter, give away and sell the things that are sitting in the back of storage closets.

I want to choose to let things go.  I hold onto things.  When something bothers me, I carry it inside and it makes me miserable and sometimes I take it out on other people.  I need to either speak up for myself and voice my concern or let it go.  I am still working on letting go of my awful Canadian Tire customer service experience.  It's going to take a while.

I want to choose my food indulgences carefully and know when to stop.  I literally ate my way through December.   I don't think I said no to a single pastry the whole month.

I want to choose to move.  In the last half of 2011, I fell off the wagon in terms of exercise and being active.  I feel so much happier when I work out regularly.  Physical activity contributes to my overall well being and happiness.

I know this seems like a lofty list.  But here is the thing that is great about one little word, it lives with you for the year.  If you let it, your word stays with you through thick and thin.  Sure there will be moments where I may not live up to each and everyone of these goals, but by inviting this word into my life for a whole year, I have twelve months, 366 days to make change.  Change that will be for the better.

"You live with it. You invite it into your life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities. "-Ali Edwards

Have you chosen your word for 2012?

In honor of Friday and being friendly, I am linking this post with Bruna's Let's BEE friends.

Let's BEE Friends

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Kid Friendly New Years

We had a great time on New Year's Eve.  At the last minute, we found an excellent deal at the Residence Inn Marriott in Bellevue and decided to whisk the kids away for a last minute rendezvous.  The kids enjoyed every minute of it and loved the idea of a New Year's party where they could go a little crazy stuffing their faces with jujubes and corn chips.  "This is the best party ever" and "I love New Year's" could be heard through mouthfuls of chewy candies and salty treats.

Throughout the course of our little family's celebration, I was struck by the little things that reminded me that this was a kid focussed New Year's and because it is Monday and lists are on my mind, I compiled a little check list.

You might be at a kid's New Year's Celebration if:

1.  On the car ride to your destination, "Party Rock Anthem" is not blasting on the radio, instead Alvin and the Chipmunks are singing their rendition of "Hot N Cold."

2.  The New Year's party takes place at a kid's museum from 12-4 and there is a water table, face painting, balloon animals and make and take party hats.

3.  Lunch consists of cold grilled cheese sandwiches, warm cheese strings and a slice of pizza to go.

4.  Upon arrival at the hotel you jump into your swimsuits and head for the pool.  No time to relax here.

5.  You stay until the bitter end, but your not at a bar, you are at the play place at a local mall.

Kid's Cove at Bellevue Square Mall.  Image courtesy of

6.  Your romantic New Year's Eve dinner is at the mall food court.  You inhale a wrap while trying to convince your kids to eat some pasta.  I guess that pre-dinner cupcake did the trick.

7.  Your drink of choice is sparkling juice, the non-alcholic kind.  Thanks Janice.

8.  You are in for the night and relaxing in your pajamas by 7:30.

9.  You ring in the New Year at 9:00 p.m.

10.  You turn out the lights in your hotel room at 9:01 p.m., to calm down the kids and get them to fall asleep and you wake up three hours later.

Joking aside, we had a great time.  I love nothing more than heading out on a last minute unplanned get away.  We packed as many activities as we could into those two days.  I look at that family picture above and I feel happy and fortunate and love.  I feel warm and fuzzy.  I am lucky.  Happy New Year.

I am linking this post over at Stasha's place for Monday Listicles.  Normally I am a rule follower, truly I am.  But this week, I went off the rails.