Create Your Own Village

This post has been on my mind for months and I finally put it into words. Honoured to have it posted on BonBon Break (a new community I am excited to join). Click here to check it out and while you’re there, get inspired by other posts. Stay a while.

A big thank you to all the friends, neighbours, and coworkers in my life who inspire and encourage me. And thank you to this month’s theme sponsor, OurPactApp.

What Are you Doing?

Ah, teaching kindergarten children. Is it rewarding? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. Challenging? At times, yes. Energizing? You betcha. Draining? For sure. Worth it? Without a doubt.

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to work with small children every day? Here you go.


Student (to me as I stamp letters with a classmate). What are you doing?

Me (thinking it is pretty obvious). What am I doing?

Student (smiling). What are you doing?

Me. What am I doing?

S. What are you doing?

M. What am I doing?

S (giggling). What are you doing?

M. What is in my hand?

S. What is in your hand?

M. What do you think I am doing?

S. What are you doing?

M (gesturing directly at the stamps and paper and classmate). What does it look like I am doing?

S. What are you doing?

M (weeping quietly). Stamping. His. Name. With. This. Stamp. In. My Hand.

S. Hahaha. What are you doing?

M. Go find a centre, honey.

S. Bye.

photo 2

1 Simple Trick…

It’s my most Buzzed title to date.

Today I’m posting over at What The Flicka and sharing some thoughts on getting your kids to pitch in with household chores. Here’s the link:

Thanks – you guys are the best.

Let Me See Your Hands

“Let me see your hands,” she said as she held out her own to me. As she cradled my twelve-year-old hands in hers, my cousin went on to tell me how they looked like my grandmother’s. She gently stroked my fingers and described how kind and gentle my grandma was, how she spoke with her hands flying, the quiet presence she maintained in a loud and rowdy clan.

Grandma was the matriarch of a family of eleven. She had her share of losses and heartbreak, but anytime someone shares a memory of her, it is always one of admiration and fondness.


I’ve been thinking about hands a lot lately. As I clip our boys’ fingernails, I see how much they’re changing. When I type out a new post my own hands catch my eye and I notice the freckle on my left ring finger and how it is slowly fading as I age.

Holding my mom’s hands during church and examining her rings, her fingernails, all the spots and imperfections. She hated her the age spots, but I carefully traced them and memorized the uniqueness that was hers. I can close my eyes now and picture how her hands looked and felt to five-year-old me.


Adolescent me spent Tuesday nights watching “Growing Pains” and “Who’s The Boss” while carefully painting my fingernails. I took meticulous care of each one. Filing, buffing, and pushing back cuticles. These were my glory years – before the endless handwashing, dishwashing, laundry, and scrubbing that came with adulthood. I believe my last manicure was just before our wedding. My nail maintenance is mostly done at stoplights these days. My hands reflect who I am.

You have your grandma’s hands.

Tell me I have tiny fingers. Say that they look like little sausages. Tease me for being a hand-talker. That’s okay. I have my grandma’s hands and I will always be proud of that.

Hands are for helping.

Lend a hand, please.

Did you wash your hands? With soap? Let me see.

Hold my hand, it’s a busy street.

Recently I held my hands up to my oldest’s and noted that mine are not much bigger. Those tiny fingers that curled around my pinkie as I cuddled my newborn are now becoming little man hands. Soon he will have outgrown

So I will quietly slip my hand into his and hope he holds it, just a little longer. Because I’m not quite ready to let go. I want him to memorize my hands, trace my emerging age spots, know who I am.

Let me see your hands.

Dishwasher Fairy

I’m back to work, but continuing to use my time wisely. You know, focussing on my songwriting and stuff.

Here’s the first release, “Dishwasher Fairy”. Already drafting the follow up, “Backpack Magic”.

Strep Breath and Juicy Talker

“I should just make the doctor’s appointment now,” I thought right after the spittle landed on my lip.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

For the past fourteen months I had been home full time to take care of various combinations of our four boys. It was glorious. And illness-free. Sure, the boys had some colds, stomach viruses, and even a incredibly strange reaction to the flu which caused our third born to be immobile for a few days. BUT I WAS FINE. No sick days for me. Feeling groovy.

Fourteen wonderful, healthy months.

Then the “incident” happened.

My first day back to teaching after my hiatus, I spent time with some young friends in a small group. I remember it like it was only three days ago. We were sitting down together having a picnic-style lunch. The conversation was flowing, they were adorable, I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

“Mrs. Moister, could you open my juice box?” asked a little cherub. But it was more like “Missish Moisssster, could you open my juish boksh?” because she had her mouth half-full of sandwich. It was white bread and balogna, but I digress.

It was on the “Moister” and “boksh” that this young juicy talker let the spit fly. I could see it coming, but it was too late. It landed on my face, and definitely on my mouth. There was no where to go.


“I am absolutely getting sick and will need antibiotics, it’s only a matter of time. I should just make the doctor’s appointment now,” I whispered to myself as I went to wash my hands. Hand washing was required because another kindie friend asked me to open his cheese string after swearing he didn’t try to open it with his teeth. He lied.

 A day passed and the incident slipped my mind. Until 5:30 in the morning a mere two days later when I woke to discover I had small rocks that had been lit on fire residing at the back of my throat.

Juicy Talker.

How do I know for certain it was JT? She had Strep Breath. It’s a thing and I can identify in less that two whiffs.


After some deliberation, I called it in and booked a supply teacher. It hurt to do that so early on in the school year, but not as much as my throat of flames.

Thankfully, the doctor’s office got me in quickly. I love my doctor, but that guy laughed at me. HE LAUGHED. And he made some cracks about how we should be given facemasks, which isn’t as extreme as it sounds. He also told me that being home for a year made me soft, but he wrote the prescription. He’s my people.

One year ago I was making my second trip to Target, just because I could. Today I’m dodging walking petri dishes and taking drugs. Let’s reflect on the change of my status for a moment. It’s okay if you want to weep a bit, I understand. It’s horrifying. I’d shout about the injustice of first-week illness, but I can’t because my throat is on fire.

I love my job, but kindergarteners are gross. Cute, but gross.

And so the new year begins…


Want to contribute to my hazmat suit fund? Details to follow.

The Mysterious Case of the Stabby Hydrant and the Zombie Mouse

Bad days. We’ve all had them. In fact, I have a had a few reaching epic proportions. There was Brown Tuesday back in 2003. And then the Perfect Storm of 2011, and then there was yesterday.

The Year of Jan is coming to an explosive conclusion. After twelve months at home full time, I’m going back to teaching in a few days. To maximize my school-prep efficiency, I went into school in the evening. I’m easily distracted so working at night is best for my time-management.

Sit back and I’ll tell you the tale.

It was a dark and stormy night. No, for real, it was. I spent an hour or two organizing my space and getting settled back in to school. There was no one else in the building, but I’ve been in after hours before and no longer jump when the lights automatically turn on. Knowing ahead of time that our sixty-year-old building has mice makes me a little less jittery when I hear the odd scurry in the ceiling tiles.

After a successful blitz of paper cutting and pencil sharpening, it was time to head out. But I really needed to pee. Curse you, Tim Hortons and your dark roast. This call of nature caused quite a conundrum: Pee with the door open? Close the door and get stabbed by an unknown intruder? Or wait until I get home?

I went with option C.

Next it was time to exit the building. This involves swiping out, and absolutely NOT setting off the alarm. I managed that successfully, but then of course had to wait and test that I really did lock the door.

Despite being an adult, the walk across the dark playground to the parking is terrifying. So the obvious choice is to run. Like a little kid. Squealing. Did I drop my wallet who cares there’s no time don’t go back just get to the car someone is lurking at the side ready to stab you at the first opportunity.

It was a fire hydrant. But a very ominous-looking fire hydrant. Also, your own hair flapping in your face does feel exactly like someone trying to kidnap you. And your reflection in the windshield does look like a serial killer. BUT I SURVIVED.


Nothing takes the edge off a stressful drive home better than a few episodes of Breaking Bad. (I might start my own life-coaching business, stay tuned).

Around midnight I thought it was time to head to bed and at that exact moment I heard the snap of a mousetrap. I turned and saw a tail sticking out from under the stove. It was definitely time to go to bed. I am surprisingly adept at running through the kitchen with one eye closed and switching off the sink light all while squealing like a little kid. Do not look at the mouse corpse are you crying, woman, toughen up and get out of there it’s probably coming to get you.

Normally I would inform my husband about the dead rodent, but ever since the Buzzy Fly Burglar Incident, I’m not allowed to do that anymore.

The adrenaline coupled with the caffeine from my coffee (curse you, Tim Hortons and your revved up elixir) made sleeping difficult. But I lulled myself to dreamland by thinking peaceful thoughts like “what if it was a pregnant mouse and it’s dead but the babies aren’t and it’s all wiggling around?”

The following morning we were awakened by whispered shouts of “THERE’S A DEAD MOUSE IN THE KITCHEN IT’S SO COOL WELL IT’S NOT REALLY DEAD LOOK AT IT FLIP AND DO TRICKS”.

In case you’re wondering, zombie mice are real and I will never sleep again.

Be sure to PM about the life coach thing.


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