Breaking News About Santa

Caution: Bahumbug post with Santa spoilers you may not want your kids to see

Internet. I need help.

How do we explain to children that Santa brings big bountiful presents to some while others are living lives of misery? Starving. Cold. Neglected. Abused.

And not just in far-away lands.

Probably someone they know doesn’t have enough to eat. Or warm clothes that fit. Their parents can’t afford heating oil or electricity despite working three jobs. But sure, Kiddo, go ahead and ask St. Nick for an Xbox. No big deal. (Full disclosure, there will be an Xbox or some such thing in this house this year.)

How do we teach them gratitude when we’re telling them that they’re entitled to expensive gifts simply because they tell a magic man wearing a red suit that they want it? And because they tell him they were really, really good this year. (Ha. More lies.)

I have lived this lie through five children, two of whom are still believers and it gets harder and harder each and every year. Is this the kind of magic we really want our kids to believe in?

My seven year old said this week he’s going to ask Santa for $50,000 so he can just buy whatever he wants. Yes he has no concept of how much money that is, but still. He is literally the sweetest child I know. He is kind. He shares. He is a good boy. But, Mom, Santa is magic.

How do we place rules on what they can ask the magic present man for? When my little kids have asked for expensive electronics, I’ve always said Santa doesn’t bring stuff like that. And if I decide something of that nature will be under the tree, the tag clearly says it’s from Mom and Dad…Not Santa. But he does bring that stuff to their friends they are quick to tell me with confusion. Why did friend x get an iPad mini from Santa. *You said Santa doesn’t bring those.*

It’s just a shitty lie and I hate telling it. There, I said it. I can’t wait for Littles four and five to know that the presents under the tree are from us and they are privileged to receive them – not entitled.

I know, I know. Gaggles of people will say we need to let them be kids, let them believe in the magic of Christmas while they’re still young… But someone tell me why we have to do this? What good comes from this big fat jolly lie? Is it really Santa and his sack full of toys and electronics that makes Christmas awesome? No. It. Is. Not. It is time that makes Christmas great. Presence not presents.

Some parents literally go in to debt buying expensive crap they can’t afford so their kids can believe that they’re entitled to a boat load of gifts from the big guy. It just seems counterintuitive to me.

Why can’t we focus on spending time with loved ones? Why can’t we teach our kids to give to those less fortunate instead of asking for stuff? Why does it have to be all about the things?

Santa is a lie that causes more harm than good in my opinion. Tears when they don’t get the thing that they wanted but all their friends did. Riots in stores while parents fight over the last trendy must-have toy. Yuck. That’s just the beginning.

I know this post is not very jolly, but this Santa stuff and all the pressure and lying that goes with it brings me down.

So, while the imaginary man will surely visit my home again this year, I’m hoping it’s the last damn time. And, I’m resolving that I am going to focus on the things that actually make this holiday awesome. Time with my family. Love. Good cheer. Good food that we are blessed to have.

And booze. Lots and lots of booze.

My Little Miss Little is Nine!!

Dear Little Miss Emma:

So nine years have gone by in the blink of an eye. It’s crazy really how a human being can evolve and grow in such a relatively short period of time. I mean, think about it. Nine years ago, you were a teeny, tiny helpless bundle of mush. You wanted to be nursed around the clock, you pooped (a LOT), and, even though you couldn’t do much, you completely changed this family in every possible way.

Now look at you. You’re in grade four. You’re one of the big kids. Before you know it, you’re going to be a teenager. Seriously. Look out, World. Just nine short years, and you have grown so much. But, you know what? Even though us grown ups may not grow taller like you do, we grow, too. Just like you. I’m not the same mom I was nine years ago. I’ve grown and evolved right along with you.

There are a few lessons I’d like to share with you on this, your ninth birthday.

  1. You. Are. Amazing.
  2. You don’t have to try to be like anyone else. Because…read number 1.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to anyone – not your friends, not your siblings and definitely not the people you see on TV and YouTube. Because…read number 1.
  4. Every single human on this planet is unique. And, it’s our differences that make us awesome. It’s our differences that make us who we are. Don’t try to blend in. Because…read number 1.
  5. Keep playing “imagination land”. Keep playing outside. Keep making homes for your jungle babies in the woods. Keep riding your bike. Keep skipping. Keep running just because you want to get where you’re going faster. Keep playing with chalk. Keep being excited about life. Be Peter Pan. Stay young forever. Don’t tell yourself you have to grow up. You can be young at heart for your whole life if you just keep playing.
  6. Growing up can be hard sometimes. People can be mean. People can play tricks on you. Sometimes, you’re going to feel like you don’t have a friend in the world. We ALL feel that way sometimes. But, even when you feel that way…read number 1.
  7. I will ALWAYS be there for you. I WILL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU. And, so will Daddy. And so will your big sister, Brenna. And so will all three of your brothers. So, when you feel like you don’t have a friend in the world, remember you have six permanent, ready-made, love-you-to-pieces, best-friends-forever, friends – always. You will NEVER be alone. So, when you’re having a bad, crappy or lonely day. Just remember that your family is never far away.
  8. You are lucky. You are more than lucky. You are privileged beyond what you can even understand at your nine years of age. It’s so important to be grateful for all the extra you have in your life. Use that extra to help others who aren’t as lucky and privileged as you. Like donating your birthday presents to the kids in the hospital for the third year in a row? That’s a such a great start. As you get bigger, your ideas will get bigger, too. Use your imagination to help the world. Because…read number 1.
  9. Ok…this might make you blush…but it’s an important lesson, so listen up: you’re going to start getting crushes. I know, I know, you’ve had crushes your whole life. But, you’re going to start getting MORE crushes. On boys. Or on girls. Or just on nice people in general. There’s no rule for the kind of person you’re supposed to have crushes on. Crushes are totally ok and normal. And they make you feel kind of weird. It’s ok, weird is good. But, don’t let those weird feelings mess with your mind. And, don’t try to change yourself so the person you have a crush on will like you back. Because…read number 1. Just be you. For real. Read. Number. 1. 
  10. Be a leader. Be kind. Do the right thing. Don’t do what your friends are doing just because your friends are doing it. When your friends are not being kind, when you’re friends are not doing the right thing, show them the way. If they’re mean to you for being kind, if they’re mean to you for doing the right thing, walk away. And, in the meantime, read number 6. And, oh yeah…read number 1.
  11. You are loved. No matter what. The only thing in life that is 100 percent for sure is that you are loved. I love you. Daddy loves you. Cameron loves you. Brenna loves you. Devon loves you. William loves you. And all of our extended family loves you. Even when we’re cranky. Even when we’re mad. Even when we’re tired. Even when we’re not very nice. Even when you’re not very nice. You. Are. LOVED.

I hope you had a super birthday. I hope these lessons are something you think about and that you take them with you in life. I hope they help you be the you you want to be.



One YEAR Vegan-niversary!!!

Wow – I know I haven’t posted in, like, forever….but I couldn’t let today go by without acknowledging the decision I made one year ago today!!! It hasn’t been a completely perfect or easy road – but I don’t for a second regret the decision I made. I’ve been a pretty lazy vegan lately…eating processed foods and even turning the other cheek and eating some foods that I suspect *know* have some dairy or egg hidden in them. 

I’ve also recently learned that I have low levels of vitamin B12, despite having tried to eat vegan foods fortified with this important nutrient (i.e., fortified almond milk and nutritional yeast). As a result of the B12 deficiency, I’ve had a couple of rough months with low energy, dizziness, nausea, etc. But, I had my third weekly injection this morning and am feeling MUCH better.

So much better, in fact, that I’m planning to reset my system very soon with a few weeks of completely clean eating. And, I’m excited. So, while I haven’t been posting anything about anything…those of you who care can look forward to some new posts with updates on what amazing vegan foods I’m eating and how I’m feeling. Those of you who don’t care…well, I promise you won’t hurt my feelings if you click away… 🙂

A bond that lasts forever

Last week at school, Emma and her classmates had the opportunity to write stories on a topic of their choice using the school’s computers. Today, she brought this home. (There is some punctuation missing, but she still did a super job.)

Never underestimate the potential depth of a relationship between the very young and the very old. Emma was more deeply affected by Nanny’s death than any of us could have imagined. Clearly when an 8-year-old asks for nothing for her birthday but a locket with her Old Nanny’s photograph in it, it indicates a bond that will last forever. Emma remembers what she was doing on the day Nanny died and, even now, all these months later, thinks about it enough that she wrote a story about it in school and drew pictures to illustrate our grief. She is a special girl. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone given she was related to Dot.

Happy Birthday, Doodledoo Bopper!

Well, today marks another special birthday in our family! This girl, child number 4/5, celebrates turning 8 years old!?! Words cannot express the emotion this little pixie can evoke in the span of a moment. She makes me feel fiercely proud, exasperated, exhausted, inspired, grateful, guilty, hopeful and scared out of my mind on a daily basis. She is, quite honestly, the most animated, exuberant, enthusiastic, dramatic human being I know. She’s still 8 going on 18 and some days she has the mood swings to prove it. But, mostly, she cracks me up with her wit, moves me with her sensitivity and inspires me to be the best me I can be. Happy birthday, Doodledoo Bopper! I love you to infinity and beyond!!!

Today is a good day.

Hey everyone.
I know today was a scary day here in Prince Edward Island, and emotions were running high. There was confusion, and information in the media was conflicting and hard to understand. It was frustrating. I get it.
But, can I please politely point out that our kids are safe? What happened today was unprecedented…and hopefully this is the only time, ever, that all schools in our little province will have to be evacuated due to a potential security threat.
Can we please remember to be grateful to those who care for our children and to those who are forced to make difficult decisions under immense pressure. I honestly think it is safe to say that EVERYONE tried to do their very best for our kids today.
I’m sure there were many lessons learned on the part of the schools, the Department of Education, the law enforcement agencies, et al. But, they did their best. I’m sure of it.
My kids were safe. Yes, I heard on the radio and in the news that they would be bussed home/to their early closure location from their safe location, and then they weren’t and I had to go get them. And, yes, I was worried that they would be scared and confused. But, they were safe and cared for and having fun in the sun when I got there to collect them.
I choose to be extremely grateful that they were safe and cared for, and I will say a huge thank you to everyone who had a part in putting their safety first. Miss Jolena? Miss Lori? Thank you.
Yes, I know there was confusion and many parents and children had some moments of fear and uncertainty. They didn’t know where to go or what to do. But, the kids were safe.
Let’s (pretty please?) remember that in some parts of the world bombs are actually going off. And, innocent children (and men and women) are actually dying.
We are so lucky. Our children are SO lucky.
Yes, it’s all relative, and life is not perfect for any of us. But, instead of reacting to today’s series of events (from a coordination of evacuation perspective) with rage, blame, anger, and disdain and instead of contributing to rants about how much better we could have done if we were in charge, can we just stop and acknowledge that, today, all is right in our world. PEOPLE: The news could have been that a school (or schools) blew up.
So, please, turn off Facebook for a few minutes, take a deep breath, hug your loved ones and think about how lucky we are that the headlines were not tragic.
One grateful and relieved mom from Prince Edward Island.
Feel free to share the positivity if you agree!

Goodbye “Old” Nanny

Eleven years ago, I had the privilege of meeting an amazing woman. She was 84 years young and a going concern. The first day I met her it was clear that she loved to chat, she loved to bake and she was kind, sincere, hard working and generous. 

I don’t think she had an easy life, but I knew right away that she was a giver. She was always concerned with the wellbeing of everyone around her – her family, her friends, her neighbours and anyone who was fortunate enough to be welcomed into her home for a biscuit or a piece of homemade gumdrop cake.

I have so much to thank her for.

Thank you, Nanny, for giving birth to the woman who gave birth to the love of my life. Thank you for helping to raise him and care for him when your son-in-law died tragically young, leaving your daughter a widow with a baby daughter and a young son. Because of you, my family grew. I gave you two more great grand children (and three step great grand children) but, thanks to you, I got a wonderful nanny, a mother-in-law, a sister-in-law, two nephews and a niece…and all the other extended family that came along with those new family members.

But, Nanny, thank you most of all for the gifts and lessons you gave to Emma and William. They loved you. They loved to visit with you and give you hugs and make you cards and chat your ear off. (Non stop!) On our last visit, William even did a dance for you. It was never a chore for them to spend time with you. If anything, they knew better than anyone how important it was to see you and visit with you as often as possible. My only regret is that we didn’t visit you more.

Today, you helped to teach them another incredibly valuable lesson: If we are lucky enough to live 95 good years, death is not scary. Death is not bad. Death is but a welcome part of a good life. It’s what gives us freedom from the chains of our bodies when our bodies grow tired and worn. I am so grateful that they had this time with you. I know that they will always remember the love they had for you. They are so blessed to have the good fortune to learn about death, for the first time, from you – someone they loved who lived a fulfilling 95 years, instead of someone they loved who died too soon.

They have so many questions about where you are now, physically and spiritually, and it’s hard and emotional and exhausting to answer them all. But it’s also interesting and fun and rewarding to answer them all. I’m so grateful that their first encounter with death is this one. Your death makes sense in so many ways. Crazy ways. Ways that would make even the most skeptical believe that there are bigger powers at work making sure that all is at is should be. 

We have cried together in memory of, you, Nanny, and we have acknowledged how lucky all of us are to have known you, to have loved you and to have been loved by you. 

Emma wants you to know that, one day, she will tell her own children that her “old nanny” died when she was seven years old and that she was very lucky to have you for so long.

I want to thank you for today, for this weekend, for letting me say goodbye to you in the most intimate of ways. To have been included as part of your small family when you took your last breaths was a gift I will always treasure.

Rest in Peace, Nanny. We will remember you always.