Sunday, July 27, 2014

Camp, Christmas, Crap and Coins

Chloe went to Safari Zoo Camp this year.  She loved it. Like over-the-top loved it.  Which is awesome and makes me so very happy but unfortunately also raises a problem:  she loved it SO much that next year she's asked to go for two weeks.

Now she's been going to day camp for years so in the past sending her for two weeks to the same camp wouldn't be a problem, but Zoo Camp is overnight camp and one week of Zoo Camp costs about the same as a month of day camps (please let me emphasize that of all the overnight camps considered Zoo Camp was the least expensive and from what Chloe's told me it was worth every penny and then some.)

So what's a mom to do?  Well first off I've told her that she could ask for gift cards from Jungle Cat World to pay for her second week of camp for Christmas.  Lord knows we have more then enough stuff and Chloe's getting to be an age where toys don't hold the magic they once did.  I know she really wants a new ipod as well but Santa can get her that and maybe family can help her out with camp.

And speaking of stuff -- I hate it.  We're bursting at the seems and some rooms in the house look like a possible episode of one of those crazy organizing shows where they toss all your stuff onto the lawn and then decorate your house with IKEA furniture.  Thing is, I'm not particularly hyped on the "stuff on the lawn" or the "cheap but colourful" furniture.  I just want to get rid of stuff.  And my apologies to the garage sale fans out there but the two times I've attempted one I've actually lost money paying more for advertising than I made in sales.

So again, what's a mom to do?  Well in this case I've managed to find a combination of free online selling groups and while the stuff isn't clearing out super quickly, it is clearing out. I began by posting on the local BUY/SELL group for my community on Facebook (I strongly recommend you find and join yours if you're on FB,) I joined Varage which is on online garage sales and I've posted on Kijiji.  Kijiji has been the last ditch option and I'd say 60-70% of my stuff went on Facebook or Varage.  Things that didn't sell on any of the three I've put aside to try again in a month or two.  If they still don't sell they will go to one of the many charities willing to pick stuff up at your house.

And we're doing fairly well.  Keep in mind that the biggest ticket item I've sold is a $10.00 blow up pool but Chloe's bank is up to $57.00.  If all goes well it'll be closer to $65.00 today.  I post the pics of what I'm selling, get an interested reply and then put the item out on the porch with a ziplock bag under the mat and the item disappears and coins show up in the bag.

Chloe loves coming home from day camp to check the magic Ziplock bag and I'm happy to see the stuff gone.  Best of all, is I'm one step closer to being able to send my baby to camp for another week without having to dip into our long-term savings or sacrifice our reno budget.  Oh yeah, and Chloe's learning about money and working for a long term goal.  AND I hopefully won't find baskets of new stuff to put away from Christmas time.

Any way I look at it.. it's a WIN!



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bud Light Betrayal -- Or thanks a lot Jerks!

Dear Bud Light you big stupid jerks,

Thank you.

Thank you for portraying a "typical" summer weekend to my children.  My girls really needed to understand that dancing on the beach in their underwear for male entertainment was part and parcel of a normal fun weekend.  Because who doesn't want their daughters thinking that parading around drunk in underwear is not only fun but perfectly normal.  Pants off dance off indeed.

And lets not forget you teaching young males that it's perfectly acceptable to give girls beer and expect them to do a striptease on the beach for you in return.  Because that is what I'm sure every mother wants her son to learn.


I didn't like your beer before.  Now I don't like you either.

Sincerely Julie (who gets more and more pissed off every time she sees this stupid commercial.)

Friday, July 11, 2014

I'm just not THAT kind of Mom

I would consider myself an old-fashioned kind of Mom.  You know the one that sends her kids to the park to play alone and replies to cries of "Help Mom!" with phrases such as "you got yourself up there, you'll figure out how to get yourself down" and "suck it up princess, life isn't always fair."  From day one, we have felt that raising confident independent children was our number 1 priority.

And when people would ask me why I didn't do certain things, I would answer "I'm just not that kind of Mom."

  • Why aren't you crying when you drop your little bitty 3 year old off to Kindy for the first time?  I'm just not that kind of Mom.
  • Why aren't you standing under the monkey bars in case your daughter falls?  I'm just not that kind of Mom.
  • Why are you making your poor little girl pump her legs instead of pushing her on the swing?  I'm just not that kind of Mom.
  • Why are you doing the chores for your kids so that they have more time to play with their friends?  I'm just not that kind of Mom.
  • Why don't you play with your kids and watch their cartoon movies with them?  I'm just not that kind of Mom.
Or so I thought.  I confess, there was a part of me that felt a wee bit pompous in the fact that I wasn't a helicopter parent -- that I could let go of my kids and trust them to take care of themselves or find the help they needed on their own.

And then Sarah went on her grade 8 trip and I worried.  And I missed her and I worried some more.  But she had her cell and so long as I could text her once a day to make sure everything was o.k. I was cool.  I made sure to try to keep it to no more than once a day and a little voice in my head asked "what are you doing?  You're not this kind of Mom!"

And then Chloe went to sleep-away camp.  For a whole week.  I haven't seen or heard from my baby girl since Sunday.  And it's been cool.  And there's been rain.  And it might have thundered and she's terrified of bad storms after the cottage collapse incident.  And I worry.  And I worry.  What if she doesn't make the friends that I promised her she would?  What if she can't sleep at night in that bunkhouse because it's too hot?  too cold? too noisy?  too scary?  What if? what if? what if?  And my constant refreshing of the weather network only adds fuel to the fire.

The camp registration form included a number.  They clearly specified that they will only return messages in the evening and that we shouldn't call unless there's an emergency.  That if they don't call us we should assume that everything is fine and that the kids are having a blast.  And I mocked the necessity to include that proviso... until I discovered something about myself I would never have suspected... I'm not quite the kind of Mom I always thought I was after all.

Who'd a thunk?


Thursday, July 10, 2014


I am not athletically inclined.  I do not engage in any regular sporting activity, nor do I follow any kind of sport on television or through any other form of media.

My husband plays volleyball with the neighbours once a week and my daughters are both in Tae Kwon Do and that my friends is the extent of our sportiness.

I will confess to enjoying watching the Winter Olympics every four years, but other than that... no sports.

Now with all this World Cup action you might think an exception would be made but no.  In fact, my husband was born in Brazil and is a German citizen so we should have been at least mildly interested in that tragic semi-final game (I say tragic not because Germany won but because Brazil got trounced so very badly -- it pains me that their defeat was so humiliating) but we weren't.  In the least.

So there is no football or baseball or basketball watching in the Bo household.  We do not go to or throw Superbowl parties or Stanley Cup Playoff events.  I haven't been to professional sporting event since I was a young child and my Dad had seasons tickets for the Ottawa Rough Riders.

Maybe it's because I don't actually play any sports (though I have many friends who don't play and yet are still fans.)  Maybe it's some kind of genetic defect in my makeup?  Maybe.

But ultimately, I can stand back and see how much obsession with sports and events is almost always an economical disaster and scratch my head and wonder why so much money is spent on arenas and players salaries and Olympics and World Cups-- all while the population of these countries suffers.

And then it doesn't bother me that much that I'm not sporty.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cottage Life

We've just come back from our summer trip to the cottage.  I try to get there at least twice a summer but since we have our big trip at the end of August and I'm working now, I just won't have enough time off to go again until Thanksgiving.  Don't know if it'll be open still in the fall or not.

I have a love/hate relationship with the cottage.  Love the place, time with my family, relaxing, swimming - hate the bugs and the weeds in the lake.  All in all though, the love wins out over the hate.

The girls had a fantastic time this year.  They got to swim, ride giant inflatables, have a campfire, play cards with their cousins and go tubing.  Every year my cousin Victoria finds out about us being up and every year she magically shows up with her boat to take the girls out.  She told me this year that some things are worth always making time for and family is one of them.  I confess, when it comes to my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) I don't make any time at all.  Something to think about for sure.

So now I'm home and Chloe is off to camp for a week.  I'm trying really hard not to call and check up on her because I'm just not that kind of mom.  Only as it turns out, I am.  I worry and think about her being sad or picked on and I worry some more.  Sarah told me she'd be fine.  Sarah would know I guess.

Anyhow, time to go to work as my holidays are over.  Giving some thought to making a life plan.  Victoria told me about hers and I saw the joy and peace it gave her to know where her life was heading and what direction she wanted for her future.  I've always wanted to make one but I get really stumped at the setting goals and priorities part.  I still have no idea what I really want to do with my life.

And on that note, I give you cottage:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Canada Day

And Happy Holidays to me!

G and the kids and I are off to the cottage for the rest of the week.  We are of course leaving our pet Komodo Dragon Henry to watch over the place so anyone with nefarious intentions can just keep right on walking past our door thank you very much.

I am surprisingly fond of the cottage.  I say this because despite the fact that I do not enjoy the outdoors or roughing it in any way, I do actually love the cottage.  Maybe it's because my family will come join us and we will laugh and be loud and play together.  Maybe it's because it's the only place where I get to spend an extended amount of time with my mother.  Maybe it's because somewhere, deep in the recesses of my mind, I can still remember being there as a child myself where being able to spend a week at the cottage in the crew's nest (a small cabin for the kids consisting of bunk beds and a small table) with my cousin Michelle was just about the most amazing thing in the world.

Much has changed since those hazy days: my grandparents have passed away; my own parents have bought the cottage and remodeled it almost to the point where it is unrecognizable; Michelle and I have barely spoken in 15 years. But still some of the magic of the cottage remains.

More importantly though, I can see how much my own girls take to the place.  They love being there and they are creating amazing memories of sun, fun and family.  And ultimately, that's a big part of why I love it there too in spite of the dirt and mosquitoes.

So I will bid you all a Happy Canada Day and head off to relive some old memories and make some precious new ones.



Monday, June 30, 2014

The Write Stuff

It's been a year since my last blog.  I've visited, pondered, considered, a few times even started a sentence or two, but ultimately nothing got posted because, and here I must admit this to myself at the very least, I got lazy.

I lost the spark that fired me up to give someone else, anyone else really, a deeper glimpse into my life than could be had by the occasional flippant Facebook status.  And then, when the spark was down to just the memory of a fire, I began to wonder if I even had it in me anymore.

I used to be able to bang out a blog everyday.  O.k. they weren't brilliant or magical, nothing worth charging admission for by any means, but I actually could get coherent ideas and stories into something more than a two sentence blurb.  Now?  Well I'm not so sure anymore.  It seems that this is after all, an exercise on just what it is I am still capable of.

So here goes nothing:

It's been a year since my last blog.  Much has changed and much has stayed the same.  I'm still working for the same company and while I hold the uninspiring title of Customer Service Representative, I am in point of fact, a cog in a machine that ultimately saves lives.  I remind myself of this on hard days of which there are more than I'd like lately and on days where this idea gets a bit overwhelming I remind myself that this machine thankfully has redundancies so that if my particular section gets jammed up, other parts will take over.  I work for a company that sells rather specialized medical supplies in case you're wondering.  Coincidentally, I myself happen to have one of their products implanted inside me from years before I went back to work.  Life can be strange.

Gunther and I are still married.  We are still happy though to be honest it was easier being happy when I was home all day and we had more money.  Now we sometimes have to work at it which is normal I guess but not always fun.  Fortunately we're still in the same boat in terms of doing whatever we need to to keep our family whole and our marriage intact.  This is by no means to say that we are struggling as a couple, just to say that the honeymoon is over and real life has well and truly started.

Chloe is 10 and had a great birthday party.  She has friends which is something of an oddity at that age for us.  It's nice though I'm not always sure about how to deal with the pre-teen drama.  Like myself, Sarah only really started having close friends a bit older so I'm more used to that sort of situation.  She is a happy kid and doing passably well at school.  She's back in Tae Kwon Do -- both girls just tested for their blue belts -- and is obsessed with all things food though still a picky eater.  She is still my cuddle bug and SO much like me it is sometimes painful to watch.

Sarah, now 13.5, is more her Daddy's daughter.  She has just graduated primary school and is off to high school next year.  We're both a little nervous about that though I hope for different reasons.  She is still in the process of finding herself which is exactly where one should be at 13.  She likes roller blading and biking, she is a successful distance runner and she is thinking about pursuing dreams in 3-D animation and cartooning.  I suspect this will be abandoned when she gets her first zoo-keeping experience at Zoo camp this year but we will see.

Well, that's enough for now.  Seems that I still have something to say after all.  I won't make promises to write again but maybe I will.