7 Ways to Deal With Problems on the School Bus and Mostly Not Get Arrested

This morning I was seeking solutions to some ongoing school bus woes. I thought brainstorming here may help to clarify an appropriate course of action for me to take. Because despite my many (many) deficits, I am trying really hard to do this adulting/parenting thing correctly. I came up this list of seven possible solutions this morning.

7 ways to deal with a kid who is bothering your kid on the bus:

  1. Call the school, let the principal and support staff handle it.
  2. Tell your child to ignore it and the other kid will get bored and move on.
  3. Tell your child to stay respectful but stand up for his/herself and others when this clearly unhappy person is acting up.
  4. Pull your kids off the bus and drive them to and from school each day while cursing the broken school system and the ongoing breakdown of society.
  5. Call the school, let the principal handle it and pull your kids off the bus until you are assured that the problem has been effectively dealt with.
  6. Walk up to the offending kid in the morning, after drop-off and say: “ Keep your mouth shut and your hands off the other kids on the bus. I have over thirty years longer experience than you do at being a cunty bitch and you DON’T want to challenge me. You will lose. Now mind your fucking manners and make something good out of your life.” Use your meanest, most menacing Liam-Neeson-in-‘Taken’ face and voice.
  7. Homeschool.

I know it should not be quite so hard to decide on a course of action, but it is. Adulting is stupid hard. You want to be mature, serene, wise and calm, set a positive example and raise good and kind humans while at the same time you want to tell shitty humans who bother other children exactly what they are, where to go and how you’ll help them to get there, using a lot of extremely immature, inflammatory, ugly and yet momentarily immensely satisfying words.

Well, this exercise did not work out exactly as planned. I am still undecided on how to proceed and now my kids will be late for school. Oh well. I guess I’ll load my kids into the minivan now and figure it out along the way.

Or, I suppose I could just resurrect Mildred.

What would you do?

~A.

The problem is not kids these days. It’s us.

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As much as we want to blame the internet, the kids, the teachers, the schools, the media, none of those things are the problem. This is not a fun message to send or receive. The problem with kids these days is us. Children watch the adults around them (and their parents more specifically) and what they observe shapes the foundation for their views on the world. These observations help to develop how they, themselves react and behave towards others over the course of their day. And let’s face it, the majority of their day is spent at school.

Many parents and adults are polite, considerate, lovely people. They are not the problem (clearly). Many other parents and adults are loud, rude, angry, confrontational and reactive. They are the problem (clearly).

Today, the common thought by professionals in the education and helping professions is that children need to learn how to “self-regulate” and that being a successful “self-regulator” will resolve much of the behaviour and acting out that many schools are forced to deal with everyday, all day, with a greater number of students than ever (at least so it appears based on anecdotal evidence). Behaviours that are often serving as a barrier to accessing a solid education by all students, not merely the ones acting out.

Self-regulation is an excellent idea. It is a great theory. It fails in practice. Why? Because until the PARENTS are able to self-regulate and behave in polite and civilized ways, children do not stand a chance. Until the PARENTS begin to support educators and the importance of being educated, their children will continue to act out.

Children’s behaviour is NOT a school board’s responsibility. Children’s behaviour is the parents’ responsibility and if the parents need support, then THAT is where to school board can provide assistance. Educators and school staff are not there to RAISE children. Schools exist to educate and support children and help to guide them toward successful and productive citizenship. Schools are NOT daycares, babysitters or nannies.

This goal of educating and guiding children cannot be met when parents abdicate their parental responsibilities once their child(ren) pass through the doors of their first school. I have had parents say to me ” meh, it’s their [the school’s] problem to deal with, he’s with them all day. He’s perfectly fine at home. What do they expect ME to do about it if he’s not listening to them (replace ‘listening’ with any of these: hitting, acting out, swearing, fighting, refusing to work, spitting, running away, bullying, etc)?”

My opinions on raising children, school, and parenting are not popular and I accept that. I did not become a mother in order to have a bunch of new friends, or create my own clique, or to be popular with tiny people. I became a mother to raise good humans and pass down some of the skills and knowledge that I had gathered in my lifetime (turns out some those skills were somewhat less developed than I thought!) and sometimes that means that I am about the most unpopular person in the house, possibly the planet (just ask my kids!).  I am the primary caregiver in our family, and as such it is one of my jobs to set and enforce the majority of the routines, rules and consequences. I do not make excuses for my children’s behaviour when they make poor choices. They must take responsibility for their choices and they are held to a higher standard than “I don’t know” or “well, everyone else…” I do not let things that are wrong slide. We talk it out and problem solve what they could do differently next time. They do not get away with blaming others for their choices. Because they always have more than one choice. We all do.

I am not writing this from a place of infallible, perfect parenting. I am not the perfect parent. My kids are not perfect. One thing that I am though, is constantly aware, constantly watching, listening and seeking better ways of doing things, handling situations, and guiding my children (and the children with whom I work) toward making conscious choices rather than following the crowd, acting on impulse or simply being reactive.

And you know what? Sometimes it works. And sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, great, when it doesn’t, we try again.

One thing that every parent needs to know (in my unpopular opinion), is that it is the PARENT’S job to parent, that as a parent that you, and you alone are your child’s first and most important teacher. With that responsibility comes the requirement to work WITH educators and other helping professionals to ensure that your child is giving and receiving all of the effort and cooperation possible to ensure a successful result. When parents are combative to or confrontational toward the very people they are depending on to raise their children, it only serves to escalate the problems the child, and therefore the school and the rest of the children, must deal with.

This quick post has grown slightly longer than I expected. In the end, here is my wish list for all of us:

  1. Demonstrate the behaviour we want our kids to copy;
  2. Instill a love of learning and a sincere belief in the importance of being educated in all areas of life (i.e. history is not pointless and French is not dumb);
  3. Bring back social etiquette and manners – across the board;
  4. Place the responsibility of parenting back on the parents and provide support where needed and when necessary;
  5. Allow children to be children and to make mistakes without rushing in to ‘rescue’ them from all natural consequences of their choices;
  6. Learn, teach and share problem solving and dispute resolution skills with children from a young age (but it’s never too late to start);
  7. Spend less time on ‘devices’ and more time interacting, in REAL LIFE with our families – no more technological babysitters and distractions;
  8. Realize that not everything is personal or requires your response. If I say that I don’t like the colour blue, and your shirt is blue, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like you, it means that I don’t like blue. Period.
  9. Stop jumping to conclusions or attributing the worst possible meaning to everything. Give people the benefit of the doubt first.
  10. If you’re talking, you’re not listening. If you’re not listening, you’re not learning. If you’re not learning, you are standing still (and possibly moving backwards). Talk less, listen more.

And that, my friends, is my (consistently) unpopular two-cents on the subject.

~A.

Can I take a 50% completion rate as a win? Pretty please?

I have a list. On that list there are 36 things that I MUST do this week. Please note, that today is THURSDAY. This means that I have, essentially, one day left to finish my list (and probably save the world, as yes, my list is that important).

As of this precise moment in time, I have completed 18 items on my list. Using my superior fourth grade math skills, that means that I have completed roughly 50% of my list. Or, in layman terms, for those of you not as math-savvy as I clearly am, by completing 18 items on my list of 36 means that I’m well and truly fecked and destined fail to reach my goal of completion.

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So, on that happy note, I’ll sign off for now, dry the tears that now stain my list, and see what I can pull off in the next 30’ish hours (I must admit though that cleaning the kitty litter will likely not make the cut, but meh, it’s not like I use it). Honestly, this week has been a bit of a write-off. Between Trump being elected and all that means for both sides of the border, and my own habitual failures at life, things are looking pretty bloody bleak at the moment.

There’s still time for me to save the world with my super hero-esque like list completion, but please don’t bet the farm it. I think I feel a migraine coming on.

~A.

Santa Claus Parades in the G.T.A. in 2016 – Updated

Updated – new, improved, and probably still completely riddled with errors and omissions. Meh.

2016 parades

Here’s my good deed for the year. I sure hope that Santa is paying attention because this actually took some WORK. But, of course, you should always check and confirm dates and times for yourself (all information is linked to an official page of one type or another) before bundling up your family and heading out. Because sometimes I tell lies.

Some of these parades include Christmas or Santa or Light Festivals. Make sure to check out the event page so that you don’t miss out on any of the fun. Listed (mostly) alphabetically, not by date.

Daytime/Earlier Start Parades:

Beach (Kingston Rd) – November 27, 2016 – 1:00pm

Bolton – December 3, 2016

Burlington – December 4, 2016 – 2:00pm

Cannington – November 26, 2016 – 11:00am

Etobicoke (Lakeshore) – December 3,  2016 – 1:00pm

Fenelon Falls – November 26, 2016 – 11:00am – 4:00pm

Keswick – November 19, 2016 – 1:30pm

Kitchener – November 19, 2016 – 10:30am

Lindsay – November 20, 2016 – 2:00pm

Maple – November 27, 2016 – 2:00pm

Markham – November 26, 2016 – 11:00am

Milton – November 20, 2016 – 1:30pm

Newmarket – November 19, 2016 – 11:00am – 1:30pm

Oakville – November 19, 2016 – 9:00am

Pickering – November 26, 2016 – 9:00am – 12:00pm

Sharon (East Gwillimbury) – November 13, 2016 – 2:00pm

Streetsville – November 26, 2016 – 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Toronto – November 20, 2016 – 12:30pm

Tottenham – November 26, 2016 – 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Weston Village – November 27, 2016 – 2:00pm

Whitby – December 3, 2016 – 10:00am – 12:00pm

Night Time/Later Start Parades:

Ajax – November 26, 2016 – 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Alliston – November 19, 2016 – 4:00pm – 9:00pm

Aurora – November 26, 2016 – 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Barrie – November 19, 2016 – 5:00pm – 10:00pm

Beaverton – November 18, 2016 – 7:00pm

Bradford – November 19, 2016 – 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Brampton – November 19, 2016 – 5:00pm

Flamborough – November 26, 2016 – 6:30pm

Havelock – November 19, 2006 – 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Markham – November 25, 2016 – 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Orangeville – November 19, 2016 – 5:00pm

Oshawa – November 19, 2016 – 6:00pm

Peterborough – December 3, 2016 – 4:45pm – 6:30pm

Port Perry – December 3, 2016 – 5:00pm (website under construction)

Richmond Hill – November 19, 2016 – 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Schomberg (King City) – December 3, 2016- 4:00pm

Sunderland – December 10, 2016  – 6:30pm (scroll down the site, 4:30am is a mis-type)

Sutton – December 3, 2016 – 5:00pm

Unionville – December 2, 2016 – 7:00pm

So, there you have it. If you know of another parade that should be added to the list, send it to me, or leave a comment below and I’ll see that it’s added. (Unless my server deletes posts again. In that case, I’ll just start on the Easter Parade list and call it a day 😕).

Ho! Ho! Ho! Go forth and Christmas on, my friends!

What is the longest you have gone? Food for thought. Part 1

Ten questions. No wrong answers. Just trying to get a handle on some relative truths and whether or not ‘normal’ exists (my working hypothesis is that it does not). Also, thinking about your answers may provide a little food for thought or clarity if you’ve been struggling with one of these issues lately. I know that I certainly have been questioning just about everything for the last little while.

Food for thought. Part 1

What is the longest period of time that you have gone:

  1. Not talking to your spouse?
  2. Not being talked to by your spouse?
  3. Without cheating on a diet or exercise program?
  4. Without alcohol (for social drinkers) or other favourite vice?
  5. Without being online, checking email, Facebook, etc.?
  6. Without taking a shower?
  7. Without having sex, or really even wanting to have sex (while in or out of relationship – no judgements here)?
  8. Without the urge to pop a blackhead, pimple, or other skin imperfection. How about plucking an errant hair or skin snag? Yours or someone else’s?
  9. Without shaving your legs or armpits or face?
  10. Without talking to your parents (or kids)?

I’m a curious person by nature. Some may say nosy, but I reject that assessment and remain steadfast in my belief that I am interested, curious and concerned. I am also really invested in making sure that I am not living on a completely other planet because, you know, I am raising kids here. ????

But it sometimes crosses the line and earns you a punch in the nose. But, that's the price you pay for growing your brains.

But it sometimes crosses the line and earns you a punch in the nose. And, that may just be the price that you pay for growing your brains.

January – wrapped up late. As happens

In keeping with my modus operandi the first monthly wrap up is a week late. Yay, me! Points for being absolutely and completely consistent and predictable. ????

But, on the unshitty side of that, I did actually learn a few things in January that I can now make note of so that I may be able to avoid having to learn them again. This month, I learned (remembered/was told/came to understand) that:

No matter how old we get, we need our parents to be parents and no matter how old our children get, we still need to parent them. The parent-child relationship is not an eighteen year commitment. It is a LIFETIME commitment. The relationship changes over time, the requirements on both side ebb and flow, as do the needs to be met, but the obligation, the instinct, the need to parent and have parents is eternal. My 21 year-old needs me just as much as my 11, 9, 7 or 5-year-old do, the only difference is that we now have to negotiate an adult-child-parent relationship. My baby he may always be, but a baby he is not. And when the shit hits the fan or I’m feeling completely lost and alone, I turn to my parents to help me, because who has cared for me and loved me for as long as they have? I have a husband who loves me, I have children who love me, and I am grateful  and blessed to have both. But I still need my parents (I think that this realization means that I will be required to officially turn in my ‘spoiled adolescent card’).

Neither the length or colour of my hair, the shape of my body, the fit of my clothes nor the wrinkles on my face are allowed to determine how good I look, how good I am, or how good I feel. And I am SO done with holding myself back because I need to wait until something fits, looks better, is smaller, smoother or brighter. In January, I wore, wait for it, Jean Jeggings for the first time in my life. They were a Christmas gift from Mr. K.B. I’m not sure if he really believed that I would ever wear them, but yes, with my fluffy body and my thick, too short legs, I ditched my beloved, tried and true track pants and walked around wearing Jeggings. And I didn’t wear a hoodie or knee-length sweater to cover it all up. I wore a regular length shirt. And you know what? The world did not implode. In fact, my husband LOVED it. And I felt good to try something new, to step outside my comfort zone, to be aware of the fact that this is the body that I have and I need to appreciate it for what it is NOW, not hate it for what it is not or resent it for what it should/could be. It’s healthy, it’s functional, it provides comfort and cuddles, hell, it has created and sustained LIFE. More than once. So, no more hating on it. Every scar, every pound, every line, wrinkle and stretch mark have been hard-won and I’m done hating on them, for they represent much of what my life has been about – my family.

It takes not one kilowatt of energy less* to be growly, frowny and grumpy than it does to be smiling, positive and encouraging. It really doesn’t. In the schools right now, the buzz word is ‘self-regulation’ and they are really pushing just how important it is that children learn how to self-regulate at as early an age as possible. I discounted this as something that I learned how to do long ago, so didn’t give it much thought for myself. But, as it turns out, not so much. I still have a lot of work to do to achieve true self-regulation of my emotions. And food. And emotions. And chocolate. Shit. You get the picture. But that’s okay, because I am aware of it now. And I am working on improving. So I don’t have to flagellate myself relentlessly when I screw something up or handle something like a three-year-old two hours past nap time. I can do it better next time. See? No more self-inflicted emotional bruises. Because, learning.

Well, this pretty much exhausts January 2016 for me. I learned a lot. I cried a lot. I thought a lot and I made lots and lots of lists. Because lists are my happy place. Even when I don’t cross everything off, I still love me a good list. Now, onward and upward into February. We have a whole extra day this month. I’m still trying to decide how I want to use it. Probably doing laundry. Because I’m fancy like that. ????????

~A

*Edited to change out the word ‘less’ for ‘more’ in the third lesson learned because who the hell wants to expend MORE energy being a growly grump than a positive ray of sunshine?

Six simple steps to take after you quit trolling and scrolling Facebook

Okay. So. We’re taking  break from Facebook (or Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram or whatever (anti-)social media floats your burrito.

Argh. So what now?

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Einstein says…

1: Put down your phone, tablet or close your laptop. Just turn that shit OFF.

2: Look up, find a window and peak outside.

3: It’s fucking GORGEOUS out there. Snow, sun, rain, whatever. It’s ALIVE. Space for days and, depending on where you live and the window you’ve found to peer out of real PEOPLE to look at, meet, talk to, insult or ignore. Your choice. For reals.

4: Now, look around your home. Do other people live there? How are they doing? Is there anything you could do that would help them out, take out the garbage, shovel the snow, lend an (undistracted) ear to listen about their day? Once you’ve figured out who the other living beings are in your domicile, take a few minutes to re-acquaint yourself with their 3D versions, instead of the 2D digital versions you’ve become accustomed to ‘following’ or ‘liking.’ Practice looking each of them in the eye and smiling at them. It will be awkward and uncomfortable at first, but it’s like riding a bike, you’ll survive.

5: Now that you’ve discovered the other humans in your home, look around at your walls, furnishings, bookcases and the like. Any hints there as to what hobbies or interests used to hold your attention before the social media bug crawled under your skin and infected your soul? Are there real books, printed on paper collecting dust on shelves? Are there piles of Star Wars figures, abandoned mid-sort, just begging to be cleaned up and displayed? Maybe you have a tote or twelve of wool and yarn waiting to be needle-worked into swanky penis-warmers or those adorable areola showing breast-feeding beanie caps for newborns? No? Well, whatever you have, there is something REAL and TANGIBLE waiting for  you to rediscover your passion for it. So go and REDISCOVER it. Go now. I’ll wait.

6. Hi again. Okay, so now that you have turned off your devices, looked around the world, checked out the other life forms in your immediate physical vicinity, re-acquainted yourself with your home environment and rediscovered your hobbies, check this out: You can do this EVERYDAY. That’s right! It’s the original wash, rinse and repeat sequence. Instead of the time spent on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like, you can experience REAL people, conversations, adventures, laughter and drama EVERY SINGLE DAY, if you choose to. By not opening that app, typing in that URL or responding to that notification, you are CHOOSING a life free from the chains of a shallow, spirit-damaging, depression-causing, false drama inducing VIRTUAL world for the depth of real world living.

Congratulations, you win ????

❤️
~A

 

 

So, I marched to my own drummer, except it turns out that my drummer is an asshole with no sense of rhythm. Go figure, right?

Almost two weeks into 2015 I published a post listing my goals for the year. You can read that post here. This year, instead of a December wrap-up, I’m going to wrap up the year by reviewing my stated goals and reporting back honestly how badly I failed on them. I haven’t read them over before writing this post, so we’ll just go through them together and be surprised when I actually don’t come up short on each and every goal, ‘k?

2015 Goals:

1) Eat less chocolate. FAIL. Until around November when I gave up all animal products, including dairy. But Christmas came and I fell onto that turkey like a depraved lunatic, forgetting all about my vows of being a kinder, gentler me. Animal products and I had a torrid affair once again, but it’s over now. I’ve sent them packing. But overall, the less chocolate thing? Didn’t pan out so well.

2) Drink some water. I did this! I totally drank some water in 2015.

3) Join a gym for six months and don’t lie to yourself or others about going. FAIL. I did join the gym. And I did go. A little bit. But not enough to make it worth my time, money or humiliation. So I did not renew after the six month period. And I think I’m okay with it for now.

4) Smile. I think I did fairly well on this one. At least I hope that I did. I’ll ask my kids tomorrow. They pull no punches and will tell me the god-awful truth.

5) Compliment other people more. DONE! I think I was much better in 2015 about complementing people (sincerely) more often that I had been previously.

6) Read. Just read. DONE! I read actual books without pictures and not found in the juvenile section of the library. Woo hoo!

7) Crochet six things. FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. Crocheted ZERO items.

8) Blog, journal, write, write, write. I blogged. I micro-blogged. I journal wrote when I was offline and unplugged. But not nearly enough. Going a month at a time without doing much more than an occasional micro-blog post on Facebook or Instagram really is not good enough, but I’m giving myself a 4/10 on this goal.

9) Eat less chocolate. Nope. Still a FAIL, no matter where I put it on the list. I missed the mark on this one entirely. It’s almost like I did not understand the instructions.

10) Complete 12 30-day challenges. FAILED. Completely and utterly did not do this. I’m not sure if I forgot to or if I got sucked into a dark pit or if I just got overwhelmed and decided to concentrate on getting through the days intact, but I did not complete much more than my 30-day challenge to change my eating habits. I meant to keep that one going, but Christmas came and I’m a weak son of a bitch, so I caved. But, I’m thinking that I’ll likely toss this one back on the list for 2016. Because whatever else I am (and I am a whole lot of mess, let me tell you), a quitter I am not.

Huh. So there we have it. I’ll be back later this week or perhaps next week (am trying really hard to not make promises I cannot keep), with the 2016 goals or resolutions list, but I may need to scale it down some this time. Judging by my 2015 list, I seem to set goals that are a tad lofty and unattainable for my given skill-set or competency level. ????

How did you do on your 2015 goals? I’m sure you slayed them. Because your drummer is probably more like Ringo Starr rather than the tone-deaf, demented, one-armed sloth wannabe who’s been leading my parade lately.

The results of my 30-day spending freeze

Are not so much good. But I did learn some things over the past 30 days that have been helpful and I can use to re-evaluate my budget and spending.

I realized that the only way our family functions without accumulating debt is largely due to:

1) Mr. KB’s amazing talent of being able to fix anything and everything for a fraction of the price of hiring the job out or buying a new beebob;

2) My constant awareness and ability to plan for and predict future needs for our family and, for the most part, have provisions in place to cover these needs;

3) Stockpiling food and other consumables through price-matching, couponing and attention to detail (even though this means that I make the actual shopping trip(s) less about fun and more about function);

4) Ensuring that I maintain separate budget lines and accounts to cover most expenditures – both expected and unexpected, large and small. My one oversight, I have learned was not having a new-to-us car fund started to buy a replacement daily driver. Getting on this now so maybe when the need arises (as we expect it to in the near future), there will be some money available to help fund the purchase.

5) Our combined efforts to make purchasing decisions based on function and price/cost rather than impulse and glitter.

We are so fortunate that we can largely be a one-income household (because can you believe that no one is paying me to write? No, really. I can’t believe it either. Gaw.) Our combined contributions and talents make this possible and while we don’t pack up the family for a week in the Caribbean or Disneyland every winter, we do have family vacations, go to movies, go out for dinner, the kids participate in school pizza days, we hit at least one town fair a year, have swimming and dance lessons, take in a couple of big Rogers Centre events a year, and summers include cruise nights and beach days. And we do it all without racking up expensive, soul-crushing, consumer debt. We use credit cards for the points, gas discounts or other freebies and never carry a balance. If Murphy has been a particularly big bastard, I cut back in other areas to make up the difference without tapping into credit.

These past thirty days have not been the big money-saving adventure that I envisioned it would be. But, staying aware of our family spending and making sure that I’m creating balance, between saving and shopping has been useful. Did I follow all of my original parameters? No. I didn’t. When I find flip-flops for the kids at 75% off, spending 25% of the money now, rather than 100% of the money next summer just makes sense for the way our family and budget works.

Luckily though in terms of reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ I did quite well this past month. We tossed and donated a lot of clothing, household goods and toys. We still have more to go through, but we made a great start at it. Was I sad to say good-bye to some of the clothing that I’ve been hanging on to for ‘one day’? Yes, but the lightness I felt seeing my newly tidied closet and easily closing drawers more than made up for those sad feelings.

The next 30 days, I’m going to work on continuing to reduce our ‘stuff’ Broken or outgrown toys need to go, VHS tapes that no longer play need to go, outgrown clothing needs to go. With this many people in a house, hanging on to every single thing is not reasonable or plausible. I’m all for fame and fortune but the last place that I need to find that fame is on an episode of “Hoarding: Buried Alive” 🙁

Summer 2015 Bucket List – The Final Update or The post in which I come clean about all of my shortcomings.

I’ve put off this final update as long as I could. My babes go back to school in five days (insert this mama’s tears here) and while I’m working on cramming as much as I can into those five days, I think we all know me well enough by now to know it’s just not going to happen.

So, here’s the final update of my Summer 2015 Bucket List – my triumphs, my failures and my in-betweens:

1. Go for daily walks (not strolls) for a minimum of 45 minutes.
FAIL. I’m a slug.

2. Organize and declutter the linen closet.
FAIL – But nothing is falling out of it, so maybe just a tiny bit of a win?

3. Go for a bike ride with the kids three times a week (at least).
FAIL – One family bike ride does not 30 planned bike rides make.

4. Go to the library weekly.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! We SLAYED this one, my friends. Oh yes.

I'm so incredibly proud of how all four of my smalls worked so hard to improve their reading. And how the slightly bigger smalls helped the smaller smalls.

I’m so incredibly proud of how all four of my smalls worked so hard to improve their reading. And how the slightly bigger smalls helped the smaller smalls.

5. Do a family field trip to see a Blue Jays game.
Ha ha! Another one deserving of a poultry dinner. We’re going to see the Jays play Baltimore on Saturday!

6. Paint the laundry/powder room, including refinishing the cabinets.
In progress. Walls are painted, trim is installed in the laundry area and the cabinets are primed. Also, the door is back on, so privacy is possible again – yay for not seeing that which you cannot unsee!

7. Take my minion army to a splash pad at least once a week.
Splash pads have been a tad disappointing this year. The smalls didn’t have as much fun and I expected, so we changed it up. They played in the sprinkler and earlier this week we hit De La Salle beach for the morning. So, overall, the water play goal isn’t a total loss.

8. Deal with ‘Draft’ blog posts once and for all.
This one is a bit of a draw. I dealt with quite a few ‘draft’ posts, but, of course, I also created more. The scales may be tipped a little bit towards having fewer ‘draft’ posts than I started with so my beaten and bruised ego demands that I call this one a non-failure.

9. Do a big field trip to the ROM, complete with GO Train rides.
Done! Except we skipped the GO train and drove to my mum’s house and parked at the subway station. But we’ll do the GO another time, so giving myself a pass on that one. And bonus points for everyone surviving and having lots of fun! Yay, us! I didn’t lose a single small (for longer than five minutes) the whole time. And the kids LOVED taking the subway. Granted, we didn’t ride during rush hour, so they weren’t privy to the whole aromatic experience that summer on the TTC is famous for. Baby steps. 🙂

This is a good summary of our trip to and our day at the ROM ;)

This is a good summary of our trip to and our day at the ROM 😉

10. Go and visit with Nana once a week.
Except for this week and the weeks that we were out-of-town, we have done pretty well with this one. Happy all around.

11. Create, frame, and hang individual chore lists for each of my minions.
FAIL. I did buy the frames for the project though. That counts, doesn’t it? No? Ugh. Slug.

12. Go for one lunch and one dinner picnic each week.
FAIL. Just did not happen. But we had lots of yummy dinners and lunches, and a couple of my smalls now love eating tomatoes and cucumbers right out of the garden, which is just almost exactly like having a picnic. But alone. And with fewer picnic table splinters and less work for me.

13. Blog twice a week.
I fell down a bit of this one as of late. I have been updating the blog’s Instagram and Facebook pages but putting together actual BLOG posts has eluded me the past few weeks.

14. Set up a new bed for Pax, re-arrange the furniture all the minion’s rooms to optimize their spaces.
FAIL. Pax remains slumbering in his old bed and the furniture all remains as is. This does need to happen, so it’s still on my ‘to do’ list for September.

15. Make sure we get some family time at the cottage.
Done! I haven’t gotten around to blogging about it yet, but our time there included lots of sunshine, thunderstorms, swimming, fishing, roofing, plumbing, repairs, and destruction. There were books read, puzzles built and wild raspberries consumed on a daily basis. There were bites, stings, and a quiet afternoon spent in the ER (everyone is fine!). All in all, we packed a\lot into our cottage time and can’t wait to do it again (perhaps this time skipping the destruction, stings, and ER 😉 )

16. Read one book a week (for myself, no pictures, no large font 😉 ).
I’m working on this one, I’m nowhere near a book a week, but I’m still pleased that I’ve made a bit of time to get through a few books.

Bad Monkey at the beach. I just can't get enough of Hiaasen's writing - it just never gets old.

Bad Monkey at the beach. I just can’t get enough of Hiaasen’s writing – it just never gets old.

17. Go for nature walks weekly.
FAIL. No excuse. I may have previously mentioned that I’m a slug.

18. Wash the car with the kids twice a month.
FAIL. Mr. K.B. washed it that one time and it looked so good for quite a while. Until the kids and I drove home up Warden Avenue, which is all torn apart and a big water trunk drove past us while wetting the dirt road to keep the dust down. The state of the van was pretty much written off at that point.

19. Re-vamp the basement space.
Mostly a big, juicy FAIL. Maybe once I get Pax’s new bed set up and out of the basement I’ll be all inspired to get the rest of it overhauled. But probably not. More likely than not, I’ll get as far as creating a hiding spot for myself under the stairs…

20. Crochet blankets (lapghan or better) and/or scarves for my minion army.
FAILY, MCFAIL, FAIL. It’s just so stinkin’ hot! But, excuses aside, this also needs to happen, so on the September ‘to do’ list it goes.

So, at the end of it all, I may not have pulled off “Supermum, Superwife, SuperHomemaker, SuperBlogger, SuperCrafter, SuperFitness, Superwoman” status, but I know that my smalls had a good summer, I know that we had some really, wonderful family times, mum-child times, and summer times. So, in my whole touchy-feely, itchy-bitchy, be-nicer-to-myself way, I’m going to forgo the mental and emotional self-flagellation and instead make myself some brownies for managing to keep everyone happy, healthy and alive for another whole summer.

Can we have just six more months of this, please???

Can we have just six more months of this, please???

Now, to start my Autumn 2015 Bucket List, because my winter bucket list is easy. It consists of one thing. Just SURVIVE IT.