Thank you to everyone who followed this blog faithfully – I have started some new and exciting projects.  If you would like to continue to read posts from me, please follow the following –

www.thinkmediaproject.ca

www.realbeautyblogger.ca

www.unplugyourfamily.ca

I will no longer be posting on this blog.  Thank you!

I recently received an email with the following passage –

“Lovers of the English language might enjoy this…

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP’.

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP! When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP. When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so………it is time to (hush) UP!”

I found this really fascinating.  Mostly, because I had never thought of the word ‘up’ being so versatile before.  I think it’s mostly habit that we use it the way we do.

But, let’s face it, English is an incredibly complicated language to learn – you just have to try to teach a child to read to be reminded of that.   Did you know we actually do have the most complex language when it comes to speech and pronunciation?   We  have more than double the sounds than we do letters, where most languages are equal in sounds/letters or characters.

Not only that, we use various spellings to convey the same pronunciation as well as the same WORDS to describe different things.  No wonder kids are falling behind when it comes to literacy in school.  It takes an incredible amount of commitment and love to properly instill the english language into our little ones, but it is possible.  I promise.

And, just when you think you’re going crazy, re-visit the fact that you’re NOT crazy, in fact, it’s the language that has lost ‘its’ mind!!!

Not exactly the same thing - but close enough...

I was surprised to see the family bed debate hit prime time on CNN yesterday.  It is a topic of intense personal-impact and very little societal impact.  Whether or not a family co-sleeps warrants the topic of hot-debate just about as much as whether or not a Mom chooses to babywear.  It’s intensely personal – purely a family choice.

But on CNN, Psychologist Lawrence Shapiro stated that the family bed, “is not giving children what they need”.  He goes on to explain that kids really should be sleeping in their own beds from two years on.   And many medical ‘experts’ mirror his opinion, stating reasons like, autonomy for the child, space for the parents, fostering individuality and positive sleep habits, and the list goes on.  Autonomy at 18 months of age?  Now that comment, I disagree with… but that’s a whole other post, isn’t it?

As for me, I don’t take a stance for or against co-sleeping because our family does what is right for us, and I cannot worry about what other families do. If I did, I’d be insanely nosy, and – truthfully, I’d go crazy.  What strikes me odd is that National News programs feel the need to critique attachment parenting practices like this, yet, issues like children spending hours de-tached from their families in daycares and schools, and the over-obsessive media-culture our kids live in are left untouched.  I mean, really?

Do we co-sleep?  No.  Not if I can help it.  We use many attachment parenting methods, but the family bed was never one of them.  For me, sleeping with our kids past newborn/infant stage just did not work.  I almost lost Audrey off the side of the bed when she was tiny due to lack of sleep and delusional night-time nursing.  Personally, I felt (and still feel) our kids sleep much better on their own.  We did have a bassinet/crib in our room for a long time with our two youngest (up to 5-6 months?) but not in our bed.  Our eldest was in his own crib, in his room, at one month old because he was such a loud sleeper and I was such an over-anxious new Mom that I was getting NO sleep.

When our kids are in our bed, no one sleeps.  They toss and turn and talk and giggle and whine and drive me and my husband crazy.  The two of us have never been able to understand how people claim to sleep BETTER in the family bed.  It just isn’t the case with our family.  Do our kids crawl in after a bad dream or for a cuddle?  Sure.  Do we sometimes cuddle our kids to sleep in their beds?  Sure.  But most of the time, it’s just Wes and I in our own bed, and we’re very happy about that.

For us, fostering our quiet time and time alone is crucial – especially with three babies really close together.  That is our sanctuary, our space, our time to be in each other’s arms.  Also, I home school our kids and spend extensive amounts of time with them everyday.  Were I to sleep with them too, I honestly fear I’d lose my mind.

Now, I’m sure a co-sleeping parent could give me a long list as to why sleeping with their munchkins WORKS for them… and I don’t mean to make this seems like and anti-co-sleeping post, as it’s not at all.  I’m simply taking the spin from our family perspective.  (If fact, I’d love to hear from you in the Comments!!!).

It does offend me when co-sleeping parents say things like,”How can you deprive that closeness?”.  It bugs me because it insinuates that, by having my children sleep in their own beds, I’m somehow depriving them of something.  I don’t feel I deprive my kids of anything – and certainly not love, attention, and affection.  In our home, if we co-slept, I feel I’d be depriving our kids of a proper sleep and a happy Mommy and Daddy.

Here’s the clip from CNN.

The Winter Blues have bitten me– big time. (So bad, apparently, that I am finding alliteration a bit too fun…).  I dislike the cold, I dislike the grey skies, I dislike the sickness that tends to circle like a vulture.  Maybe I’m just grumpy today, but this season IS getting to me!

If you’re a stay-at-home parent like me, and you have little ones that need entertaining, I’m sure you may be going through many of the same feelings!

This is an activity that is a great way to blast away an afternoon.   I’m going to try to look at Winter, not as a time we’re stuck inside (when it’s too cold out), but a time when we can spend cozy afternoons of interactive fun with our little ones.  Yes, that’s my new outlook.  *cough*

Honestly, though – this activity is really great!

Homemade Carnival Toss

Needs: Cardboard Box, Scissors, Markers, Crayons, or Paint, Items for Tossing.

What to do:

1. Take your cardboard box (or use more than one – I had one for each child) and place it vertically on the floor. (The largest side of the box, standing up, should be towards you and your child).

2. Have your children draw colourful circles of different sizes in various locations on the face of the box.

Colouring circles.

3. If your kids are old enough/able, have them cut out the circles, either entirely or leave them as flaps/doors.

4. Now have your children number the circles (or if they are unable to write numbers, do it for them while engaging them in the process). These numbers will be their ‘points’. For an added challenge, ask older children (preschoolers+) to number them from biggest to smallest, giving the most points for the smallest holes and less points for the bigger ones. I don’t suggest any more than 10 holes – we used five.

5. Collect your tossing items, count them out, and distribute them fairly. We used large pom-poms and pipe cleaners bent into arrows. The pom-poms worked much better. Think of some creative objects to use for tossing and discuss how the different objects launch differently (depending on size, weight, etc.).

Vary the distance the kids are shooting from and challenge them to challenge THEMSELVES! We used a pipe cleaner to mark the starting point and moved back for successful rounds or closer if it was too difficult.

 

TYING in the LEARNING

Number Recognition. As the kids toss and score points, they are constantly shouting,”I’m going for 5!” or “You got 3!”. What a fun way to encourage reading numbers, they don’t even realize they’re doing it… that’s when the real ‘clicking’ happens.

Hand-Eye Coordination. Throwing objects into a target is a good developmental skill-building tool. Concentration, accuracy, aim, hand-eye coordination… it all ties in.

Adding and Counting. Kids will naturally add up their points and the points of their siblings (or friends). Have older children record their points on a chart and give a small reward for accomplishing a goal of a set number of points if you wish.  This is great printing and penmanship practice too.

Beginning Dividing. I had Simon (5 yrs) divide up the pom-poms and evenly distribute them between himself and his siblings. He was able to quickly tell me that if there were only 2 of them playing, and 12 pom-poms, they’d each get 6. So, I asked him what would happen if his younger brother joined in, making 3 siblings in the mix? I’m asking him math questions, but he decodes them as simply a part of the game.

Fostering Healthy Competition. A little competition never hurt any one. With a loving parent involved and encouraging all the players, competition is a great leaning experience. How to be a good winner, how to cope with not winning, how to help others, how to take turns.

Hope you can have lots of fun on a cold afternoon!

 

Blessings to you all and STAY HEALTHY!

I’ll admit, I’m a huge lover of children’s books – and I’m often taken by the stories, the illustrations, the humour…

And, sometimes, a children’s book is so good, it brings me to tears.

“Old Turtle” is a thought-provoking, beautifully illustrated story where the animals argue over who God is.

“God is a sound and a smell and a feeling…”

“God is a twinkling and a shining…”

“No, He is a river who flows through the very heart of things…”

Each part of nature and animal seems to put God in perpective with relation to who they are and what role they play in the circle of life.  The Old Turtle gives wisdom and understanding to the animals that God is and can be all of the things they belive Him to be, as He is everywhere.

But what happens when the people come to earth and forget their purpose?  When they too begin to argue over who ‘knows’ God, ‘where’ God is and is not… when they misuse their power to hurt eachother?

This is a moving, deeply touching story that will have you smiling, grimacing, thinking.  It will inspire us to see God in the everyday – in the grass, the mountains, the wind, even, each other.

This is a must-read and will be added to our family library.  Beautiful.

Illustrated in watercolors by Cheng-Khee Chee.

I’m a sucker for a great comedic children’s book… and I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!
cracks me up. 

The illustrations are very different – it’s the sort of book that kids stare at in awe because the colours, contrasts and character expressions are so engaging and interesting to take in.

The story is about a little toddler who paints, well, everything.  His Mother initially takes the paint away, but the naughty little one climbs up to her hiding spot and proceeds to paint all his “body parts” with bright colours are crazy patterns and designs.

I value literature that offers a great story but also has great rhythm and rhyme.  This one is great for teaching children rhyming words, as every page hints at what is to come.  For example: “…Still I just can’t rest ’till I paint my…”  (then on the next page) “….CHEST!”.  It is a fantastic way to casually have kids figure out what the rhyming body part will be.  Try delaying your reading of the next word to encourage them to beat you to it.  Books like these are great tools for teaching, as little ones barely figure out they are learning.

A word of warning, I wouldn’t say this one’s for the faint at heart.   There is the word “heck” and there’s also a joke about the toddler painting his “butt” (which made both my AND the kids laugh out loud).  But we’re a little more relaxed then some about humour like this. 

An all-around great book for kids toddler through early grades.  Love it!  We borrowed it from the Library but I think I’d like to add it to our home library!

Leave a Comment if you read it!!!   🙂


I kept a journal almost every single day for nearly ten years.  And, although much of the content of those diary entries was private (as in, I’d be in HUGE trouble if my parents ever read it), often embarrassing, and seemingly pointless to save – I saved them.  Every. Single.  One.  Sounds silly, but I always knew, deep inside, that I’d need them one day.

It is a rare gift to have these daily accounts of my life age 13 through 22.  I also have two huge poetry books that were written throughout the same years.  In these pages I find laughter, pain, confusion, growth, tons of immaturity and ridiculousness, and a wealth of insight into the insanity (literally) of the teenage mind.

I’m very excited about my new project (as if I needed another one, ha!).  A brand-new blog, titled, “Letters to my Teenage-self…” will allow me to open up

These long-buried diaries and share them with today’s teen girls.  Sure, it was a few years ago – but the struggles are the same.  I’ll couple the shared entries with my responses to them now – in many cases, ten years later.  If only I could have really been there to give myself the advice I can lend now.

My collection of 16 diaries and 2 poetry books...

Kind of like Taylor Swift says in her song “15”, “…wish you could tell yourself what you know now…”.

In many instances, I’m nervous – no – petrified – to share the content of these entries.  Many of them are raw, humiliating, and some are even down-right stupid.  But, they were me in another time.  And so much of what will be read is relevant and painfully real.  Kind of like an under-ages Soap-opera told by a neurotic, incohesive, obsessive, sporatic narrator who never knows what craziness the next scene entails.

The purpose of the project is to reach out to teen girls by reaching back in time to when I was them.  By making myself vulnerable and opening up, I hope to speak to and, hopefully, inspire teen girls to not make the same mistakes I made.  Or maybe to make them if they need to – but to do it more wisely than I did.  I hope to touch the hearts of today’s teens in a way I couldn’t if I weren’t endeavouring to journey back to that “head-space”, so to speak.

I can only pray that my mistakes and lessons-learned can shed light, offer a giggle, a tear, a pin-drop of inspiration to the beautiful hearts that lie in the bodies of today’s struggling teen ladies.

This project goes very closely hand-in-hand with my current book and speaking work, entitled “Project LIGHT” where I endeavour to encourage teen girls to defy the norm by rejecting negative Media messages about women, felinity, sex, and the value of these precious beings called ‘girls’ in our world by shedding LIGHT on the lies and darkness of current media attitudes and trends.

 

To see the first post, visit:

www.myteenageself.wordpress.com

To participate in an online interview, or to contribute your thoughts, experiences, etc. to the current project I’m working on about girls, teens, and women and how we’re affective by negative media messages, please, email me at cldorman@sympatico.ca and let me know you’re in!