Our Family Update

We’ve had a busy January so far! How about you?

 

I started back in to kickboxing. Our class on Monday and Wednesday is now called “Cardio Kickboxing Bootcamp” and welcomes men as well as ladies. But don’t worry ladies, we kick the boys butts! *laugh* It’s going well. A slow start. I started off the New Year, clumsy as usual, by taking a small fall down the stairs with the help of our Kali-cat. It was dark and she didn’t move. I, of course!, jarred the shoulder that I hurt rock climbing once, so I am having trouble punching as hard as I should or doing pushups in my class. Oh well, I’ll take it slow. Both Kali and I are fine otherwise.

 

I was selling AVON last year, as some of you remember. I stopped a few months after starting. It turned out that I was allergic to most of the stuff I was selling, or that my skin was too sensitive and broke out in adult acne. So I had to quit. How can you recommend products you don’t even use….because you can’t? I have a feeling there is a ton of perfume and additives in their products. My skin is really sensitive and soft so it reacted. Oh well!

 

I am desperately trying to get past the awkward stage and grow my hair out to shoulder length. I miss being able to pull it back in to a ponytail and other styles. My hair has become more coarse and wavy since having Hunter, so it is more difficult to keep a pixie cut looking sharp.

 

J is busy with work as usual. He gets busier every year, which is great. Whenever there is a hockey game on he cheers on the Canucks. And we watch a lot of movies together. One of our fave cold weather things to do is to play a movie on the laptop in the kitchen and make homemade pretzels. Comfort food snack!

 

Iz is going through the “stubborn 3’s”, but otherwise is a gem. She is obsessed with My Little Pony lately, so we went on a Value Village excursion and got her a couple more. She was willing to give them a huge garbage bag of her old toys she doesn’t play with in return!  She even found a plush Baby Pinkie Pie pony that talks for $1.99! I love finding deals like that! I got some fabric to make her a doll, and to make me a purse. Sometimes Iz gets me to dress her in the colour of her favourite pony of the day. (pink for Pinkie Pie, blue for Rainbow Dash…. hahaha!). She also seems to really love penguins and polar bears. She has always loved penguins though. Her favourite shows right now are My Little Pony, Special Agent Oso( if you have toddlers around 3 check it out. It’s a good show for teaching them things. “Three Special Steps!”), and Handy Manny. She sings the songs and we watch it together and then act out the things she has learned on the shows. *smile* She can count to fifteen and is starting to learn how to count to twenty. She knows a few letters of the alphabet.

 

Hunter, my little bugaloo, my sweet smoosh, my little prince. My little Hunter was ONE YEAR OLD THIS FRIDAY,  Jan 20th. My goodness, how did that happen!? It seemed to happen faster for him because the two of them keep me so busy i didn’t notice a year has gone by already. He is walking 99% of the time now, and very proud of it. He has amazing control and can even take a couple backward steps. He loves stacking blocks and is convinced he is good at eating with a spoon(which he isn’t, as evidenced by my floor after he tries!). He is babbling constantly. He accidentally mimics words Izzy says all the time, and it will be neat when he understands what he is saying! He does know some simple words tho. Of course, Mama, Daddy. He just started calling cows “Moo”s and dogs “Ruff”s. He loves picking up his cow or dog stuffy and making the noises. His favourite animals seem to be ladybugs and koalas. He is so busy that he hates sleep! sigh. I have tried everything. But it will get better. It has to!

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Headstrong Kids

I go to a playgroup every Thursday. You can sure tell who are first time moms and who have more than one kid. There is even a stay at home dad.

Iz plays well with all the children. We’re working on getting her to be less aggressive, more assertive. One lil boy, O, is super passive and will give over a toy if she goes over and says, loudly “My turn PLEASE”. At least she said please? We are working on surviving the bossy threes. The “terrible twos” were actually the “terrific twos”! :/ Iz was a dream. Occasional tantrum and bedtimes were a struggle but otherwise, amazing. Now we’re in the bossy, defiant, aggressive 3’s. I’m waiting patiently, with a ton of parenting, for it to be the end of this phase *sigh*.

There is a little boy at playgroup, we’ll call him S. He has the same personality as Iz. They are both boisterous- both leaders! So they butt heads a lot. Thankfully the mom is really cool and thinks it’s funny and -thankfully!- lets the two of them work it out for themselves. Lil S is nearly 3 and just as headstrong and emotional as Iz. So half of the time they fight, half of the time they play beautifully together. S’s mom told me today she likes to see Iz and how I deal with it. She goes, “It makes me feel better about S and how he acts, that there are other kids out there as boisterous and that we are doing the best we can!” That made me feel good too. Not every kid is gonna be the “no ma’am. yes ma’am. of course i’ll share” type! But if Iz gets parented properly (and I try my best by trusting my instincts and trying to see the situation through Iz’s eyes), then I think Iz will grow up to be an assertive girl, a good leader and get what she wants and deserves from her life. *fingers crossed*

My Top Five- Kid’s Shows for Toddlers

I have had my fill of Treehouse, Disney Junior, PBS etc in the 3.5 years my daughter has been alive, and will continue to since my son is not even 1. We’ve watched and dismissed a lot of shows. My kids like a lot of shows that I can’t stand or love to ignore. For example, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is cute but I’m tired of it and the chirpy voices are starting to annoy me. Also, Toodles kind of confuses me…bugs me….i can’t think of the right word. Sometimes he  talks and is a full on character; then sometimes he is just a box of tools to help them…hm. Well, my daughter loves Toodles to pieces anyway. I usually let her watch it while I go fold laundry or vacuum or whatnot. But here are the shows that I like to snuggle up and watch with her! Or get caught up in despite the fact that I have things to do. Or are so good at teaching her things that I can’t discount their worth and must include them.

1. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

The main gang of ponies

This show, on first glance, looks saccharine, giggly and girly. It is, I just found out,  directed, produced, and overseen by Lauren Faust, wife of Craig McCracken. Also mastermind of The Powerpuff Girls. Which means it is smart, the characters are well defined (I often find myself comparing the ponies personalities to those of my friends) and always includes a joke or two just for the parents watching. The story lines are engaging and it always teaches the kids something without hitting them over the head with it. I enjoy this show as much as my toddlers, and it’s not just cuz of nostalgia for my childhood. (My mom kept some of my ponies and now my daughter plays with them). No, this show really does show friendship is magic and the lost art of manners without being condescending or overbearing.

2. Handy Manny

Manny and his Tools.

With the soothing voice of  Wilmer Valderrama, and many famous voice talents for the tools and Manny’s friends, this is a talent fest. The voice acting is superb, and the lessons learned are well written. Manny Garcia, voiced by Wilmer, is a bilingual Hispanic handyman. He always comes to his friends rescue when they need something to be fixed and we learn a lesson along the way. It seems like a straight forward show, but is so well done that I recommend it. We also learn a second language. Unlike other shows that teach you another language, Manny will say the English afterward so even the parents get the full meaning of the word we’re learning. The tools all have distinctive personalities and it teaches the kids tolerance and, sometimes, makes this parent laugh. I’m not doing the best job of describing it, you just have to check it out. Or read the Wikipedia article. Haha

3. Yo Gabba Gabba

The Main CastAt first look, just another weird kid’s show. When actually watched tho… Amazing. This show has taught my kid to eat her vegetables, wash her hands, share, dance and keep rhythm….all without being heavy handed about it. The lessons were all taught in a really fun way, with great music the whole time. DJ Lance’s energy is infectious and the guest bands (including Weezer and The Shins) rock. This is one of the best kid’s shows out there. I hope it becomes a classic.

4. Stella and Sam

Sister and Brother team, with their dog FredA sweet show without all the bells and whistles about a big sister, Stella, who helps out her little brother Sam. Similar to Max and Ruby, except Stella isn’t Miss Bossypants like Ruby is. This shows a true sister and brother relationship and how to be a great and helpful big sibling, which is a great help to my kids. My daughter loves the dog Fred and the fact that Stella has to put up with a little brother, the same as she does.

5. Pocoyo

So cute, so helpful and the narration from Stephen Fry is priceless. Pocoyo learns lessons such as how to clean up, go to bed on time and be careful with pets. All with a simple background and basic drawing. Not much for bells and whistles, which means it is timeless and great for all cultures. I’m so glad there is an English version now, as I believe the original is Spanish.

Honorable Mention

Special Agent Oso

Pumpkin Carving helperAlthough it is not a very engaging show for parents, the toddlers 4 and below love it. Which is why it is not in my top 5 but deserves to be mentioned. Agent Oso gets called away on a mission, which is always a child that needs help with an every day task.  I like that it teaches my children simple tasks in 3 easy steps. All things they would have to do. Special Occasion duties; from pumpkin carving (above), decorating a tree or making snow angels. To every day things like washing your hands. All these things you know your kids should know, but sometimes don’t have the patience or time to teach thoroughly or slowly enough. Oso is pretty cute and the little songs stick in the kids heads, solidifying the lesson they learned. A useful show and worth a mention.