10 Things I Want to Teach My Kid

School
Off to school to learn stuff. But there is so much that I want to teach him that you can’t learn in school.

We are only on this earth for so long.  We only have so many opportunities to learn from life, and we learn so much from our parents, and older relatives, and those that are supposed to be smarter than us.  It’s human nature.  We learn from and emulate those that set examples for us.  Those that we love, those that we trust, those that raise us.  Sometimes we learn about the type of person that we want to be, sometimes we watch them struggle with things and resolve never to have to deal with their issues ourselves.  Either way you look at it, either way it goes, it’s still learning something.

I have a 5 year old son.  I love him to pieces.  He is the most important thing in the world to me.  People come and go in your life.  But your children come from you and they will always be yours.  You will always bear some type of responsibility where they are concerned, and it is up to us as parents to do everything we can to give them a good start.  Good values, the ability to see what is right from what is wrong, and to be able to prioritize things in life so we don’t let trivial things get in the way of what is truly important.  We need to give them the tools to have good relationships, to treat people with respect and dignity, and to grow up to be aware individuals that will contribute in a meaningful way to society.

In order to do this, we need to teach them things.  By example and by just plain telling them and showing them how.  If I leave this world tomorrow if I get hit by a bus, or 50 years from now from natural causes (what I’m hoping for) or anything in between, there are things that I want to teach my kid before I go.  Lessons that I want him to learn from me, and from my example.

The top 10 things, in no particular order are:

1. Take risks.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  If someone gives you an opportunity to do something, don’t stand back shaking your head because you’re scared.  Take the plunge and do things that are out of your comfort zone.  You’ll have a lot more regrets in life because of the things you didn’t do because you were scared than the things you did do.

2. Be responsible.  This ties in closely with taking risks.  Every little thing you do has an impact.  It impacts your life and the lives of those around you.  Always think about how your actions may reflect on others.  Think twice before you speak.  If it looks negative, think twice about it and tread very carefully.  Rely on your basic knowledge of right and wrong (which hopefully I will have taught you) when making decisions.  When you take the risks above, always be responsible and safe, never putting a whim ahead of your own safety or that of others.

3. Believe in something.  I’m raising you in the Catholic faith, as I was raised and your father  was as well.  I have you in Catholic school, take you to church, and pray with you every night.  This is my gift to you.  As you get older, your beliefs may change.  You may take different paths, begin believing in different things.  You may meet a girl (or boy – who knows?) that shows you a different way of life, a different type of faith, and that’s okay.  As long as you have something to believe in, somewhere to go, someone to pray to, a community to support you.  A good, solid belief system and set of values to live your life by, that teaches you to treat others as you want to be treated.

4. Look after yourself.  There may come a time in life where you may be alone.  You may move away from your family for a job or school, you may just live on your own sometime, doing your thing.  Know how to look after yourself.  Learn how to cook, how to do laundry (including how to properly fold a fitted sheet).  Learn how to properly clean a bathroom and remember to change your sheets once a week.  These are all important things that some people, men in particular (sorry guys, but it’s true!) never learn to do.  They wait for others to do it for them.  They eat out 4 days a week and survive on ramen noodles and Kraft Dinner the other days.  Learn to do things for yourself and you’ll never have to rely on others.

5. It’s okay to ask for and accept help.  This ties in with the above point.  While you should know how to look after yourself, it’s absolutely okay to ask for and accept help sometimes.  Sometimes you just can’t do it all alone.  Sometimes you just don’t want to do it all alone.  It’s okay to let someone you trust in to share the burdens life brings, both mental and physical.  There is no shame in it.  And chances are, those that love you will be more than happy to help if you only ask.

6. Never lose sight of who you are.  You will meet people in life that want you to change.  You know what?  Sometimes that’s okay.  Sometimes a change of behaviour is needed.  You’re not always right about everything.  There may be a better way of doing things.  But if someone asks you or tries to make you become someone you are not, or do something that goes directly against what you believe in, don’t be afraid to put on the brakes.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and who you are and say – “I am who I am.  If you don’t love me for it, then love me in spite of it.  But don’t try to change the essence of me, because I’m worth being me.”  Healthy relationships are wonderful, but never let someone else define who you are.

7. Money isn’t everything.  We’ve all heard it before, and we’ve all rolled our eyes at it.  Sure, money doesn’t fix your problems but it sure helps to make life easier.  Which is true.  I’ve gone through financial difficulties, and I will admit – life is a lot easier to plan when you don’t have to worry so much about where your next dollar is coming from.  It’s important to plan for your future.  It’s important to be responsible enough to make sure your bills are paid and you’re saving for retirement.  But it’s also important to live life.  Treat yourself to indulgences every now and then if you can.  Have fun.  Do things.  Don’t wait until you’re 65 and filthy rich to start living life.  Live it every day and don’t have regrets.

8. Stay in school.  Education is everything.  It gives you opportunities, it opens doors.  Even when things get hard, find a way.  Finish.  If the opportunity is there, learn more.  Always keep your mind open to learning new things.  Read, read, read.  Read anything you can get your hands on.  Books, magazines, online or in print.  Worlds can be opened to you by reading, and it’s often free.  Always remain a student – in the classroom or in life.

9. Work hard and give your best in everything you do.  If you can look back and say “I did my absolute best” you will never regret not trying hard enough.  When you work hard, people see it and you go can places because of it.  Your work ethic and reputation will precede you wherever you go.  Work hard and live up to it.

10. Love DOES conquer all.  Love people.  Allow yourself to be loved.  A safe, healthy, loving relationship is one of life’s greatest gifts.  Don’t shut yourself off from those who love you, no matter how easy it may be to do so.  Sometimes love is hard.  Sometimes it’s about loving someone so much that you realize that you need to let them go in order for you both to be happy – because together it just doesn’t work.  Don’t be afraid or shy to show your love.  Love your friends, and tell them you love them.  If someday you are blessed with children, make sure they know every night when they rest their head on their pillow that they are the most precious thing in the world to you.  Give love freely, and accept it freely…….especially from your mother.  😉

Just 10.  There are so many more.  And so many more that he has taught me or reminded me of in his five years.  Maybe that will be what my next post is about.

It’s Hot People! Take your kids out of the car!

hot-sunIt boggles my mind how many reports I have seen of people leaving their kids (and animals for that matter) in their cars in this hot weather we’re having.

With all the media attention this has been getting, I am amazed that people would leave a child unattended in a car at all, for any length of time, let alone in this intense heat.  Children are dying.  Isn’t that enough to say:  “wake up sweetie, you’re coming in the store with me.”

I came across this video in my facebook feed.  I know it’s a simulation, but it brought me to tears.  It brought me to tears because this kind of thing is happening all the time!  Children are being injured, and dying all the time, and it is absolutely 100% preventable.

Please – take a few minutes and watch this video.  Please – understand that this could happen to you.  With all the abductions happening, it is unsafe to leave a child alone in any weather.  Please be responsible, please, please – do what you’re supposed to do.  You have had this child, or you are responsible for this child.  Do what you need to do to protect it.  Please.  And if you happen to be walking past a vehicle with an unattended child in it – get help.  Those few minutes could end up saving a life.

 

What’s so bad about Religion? Yeah…I’m going there.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Today, 115 Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church elected this man to be our next pope.  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina.  The first pope of the modern era that is not European.  The first ever Latin American pope.  The first pope to take his name after one of the most beloved figures in the Catholic Church – St. Francis of Assisi.

I’m not really up on my Cardinals, so I didn’t know much about this man before he stepped out onto the balcony to bless the people in St. Peter’s square.  The more I learn about him, the more I think I like him.  He seems to me like he is a humble man, not much one for luxury, seeming to prefer a more simple life.  We will see where his leadership takes us, and he is in my prayers and in the prayers of many I’m sure as he takes the leadership role of the Church in a time where there are many uncertainties, and a Church that seems divided.  This man has his work ahead of him, and I hope his papacy is one that each and every Catholic can be proud of.

I had been watching the “chimney cam” along with billions across the globe, waiting for the white smoke to signify the new pope.  I was quite excited to see the white smoke come out of the chimney.  When Pope Benedict the XVI was elected back in 2005, social media wasn’t as prevalent as it is in today’s society.  It certainly wasn’t in 1978 when Pope John Paul II began his papacy.  Today, we weren’t just watching on TV, or listening to the radio.  We were watching live feeds streaming over the internet.  Checking the “conclave” app on our iPhones.  Watching our Twitter streams and Facebook news feeds.  The moment the white smoke started, we were literally getting notifications.  Social media is wonderful as it keeps us up to date on what’s going on, and allows us to share our thoughts and feelings with our family, friends and peers.

It’s this last part that has me troubled.  Along with the “shouts of joy” that I read celebrating the vote, there were some vile and ignorant, downright rude comments as well.

I believe in freedom of speech.  I believe that everyone has a right to their opinion.  However expressing your opinion in a way that resorts to name calling and hurting other people is inappropriate and rude.  I know I don’t have to read your posts.  I know that if I don’t like what you have to say, I can simply keep scrolling, or if it offends me enough, I can unfriend you.  But why should I have to?

This is a blog about food.  It’s also a blog about books.  It’s a place where I post funny videos, pictures, and talk about things that are important to me.  This is not a political blog, or a religious one.  But if I’m to talk about things that are important to me, I’m going to go there.

I am a cradle Catholic.  Born, baptized as an infant, and raised.  I attended a Catholic elementary and high school, and for the most part, have attended church every Sunday for most of my life.  I have had times where I haven’t been as good about that as others, but I always end up coming back.  My faith has helped me through a lot of very difficult times throughout my life and I am thankful for it.

I believe in God.  I believe in the teachings of my church.  I think that in a lot of ways, my church has got things right.  I think abortion is wrong.  I believe in life from conception to natural death. (I don’t want to debate this here, I know that there are many people who disagree, and this isn’t about that.)  I also believe that there are a lot of things that are consistent with today’s society that the Catholic Church has not modified their stance on.  Gay marriage, contraception, pre-marital sex, are examples of these.  I am a very tolerant person.  I believe we are all equal.  I have a hard time believing that God is going to condemn a good person to burn in hell for simply loving someone else – just because they are the same gender.  But that is my opinion, and again, I’m not going to debate all these finer points with anyone.  That’s not the point of this post, and I won’t let anyone make it the point.

My problem is people that have such a problem with God, or with Catholics in general, Jewish people in general, Muslims in general.  I believe in the teachings of the Catholic faith.  This does not mean that I think Jewish people are idiots, or that Muslims and Buddhists are morons.  Or that Atheists and Agnostics are ridiculous.  Part of being a human being is to accept others, their faiths, and try to learn from them, no matter their beliefs.  Many people say that God and religions start wars.  I don’t believe this to be true.  God does not start war.  People start wars.  People with misconstrued visions of God, and of religion, that can use their faith as an excuse to wage war on others.  People blame God for many things, but it is not God, but the stupidity of man that has gotten us into the situation we are in.

There are a lot of horrible things that have happened throughout the years surrounding different religions.  People who have died and killed many in the name of God.  Scandals of many kinds in the church.  Horrible child abuse scandals.  These are bad, no doubt about it.  There aren’t words to describe how bad.  I believe that these men should be tried by the law, as many of them are nowadays, and the fact that they wear a collar should not protect them from this.  What we need to realize is that the Church, as are all religions, are run by humans.  Simply humans.  Not all priests molest little boys.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the majority of them don’t.  One priest, one person who abuses is too much.  But to quote a friend, don’t paint everyone with the same brush.  I have met some priests that are wonderful, God fearing, loving, intelligent men.  I find it hard to believe that any man has entered the priesthood for any reason other than they were called by God and had answered that call.

We need to stop looking at each other and judging each other based on the faith that we practice and start looking at each other as humans, and respecting each others beliefs.   If everyone just stopped for 10 seconds, and thought about that, who knows, maybe there would be fewer wars.  I know for sure that there would be fewer people pissed off in social media.

Hatred feeds hatred.  Love feeds love.

Peace.

Grateful – #blessedin2013

What a wonderful outlook to have.
What a wonderful outlook to have.

Way too often, we let all the crap that happens in life bring us down.  Sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes it’s really, really hard.  There is no doubt that everyone today has something or other to deal with.  Something that keeps us from saying “life is perfect.”

Yes, sometimes life sucks.  And sometimes we look around us and we feel like we are alone in our misery and that no one understands.  Trust me when I say that is not true.  We all have times of despair, and if you feel bad, all you have to do is look around to find someone that has it as bad or worse, who has been there before, or will go there someday.  No one is immune.

In the meantime, it certainly helps to look around you and count your blessings.  Remember all the good things you have in life to be thankful for.  I made a New Years resolution this year, to post on Twitter every single day of 2013 something in my life that I’m grateful for.  I’m going to use the hashtag #blessedin2013.  I’m sure that some will be profound, but others may be as simple as someone thinking about me or doing something for me in a tiny little way that made my day better.

Life is hard sometimes.  As human beings I truly believe it’s in our nature to care.  To care about what happens to us, and to other people.  It affects us.  But if you stop and add up all the good things in your life it helps.  It may not take away all the bad stuff, but it may help make that bad stuff just a bit more bearable.

I wish you all the best in 2013.  I hope it is an amazing year, filled with wonderful things.  I hope you’ll join me over on Twitter and remember for yourself all the great things you have to be grateful for.

#blessedin2013

 

Countdown to Christmas

ChristmasAh, Christmas.  Truly one of my most favourite times of year.  Growing up, Christmas was always big in our family.  Pepere loved Christmas.  He really got the true spirit of what it is supposed to be about.  I am so grateful that he passed this on to us.  I know that it is because of him, and in turn my Mom, that Christmas is such a special time and that it means so much to me.  I hope that I can pass this on to my son and someday to my grandchildren, so that the spirit of Christmas stays alive in our family.

I know that some people don’t like Christmas because of how commercial it has become.  I agree that for some it has become more about what you need to buy, and what you have to do.  I also think that Christmas – like most everything else – is about what you make it.  Yes, it’s commercial, but in my home, it’s still about the same old thing:  getting together with your family, eating and drinking lots, listening to some Christmas music, and exchanging a few gifts.  The commercial part of it only gets to us and bothers us if we let it.  The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in our home as we sit by the tree and enjoy a glass of eggnog.

I also know that Christmas can be a very tough time of year for some people.  Those that have lost a loved one, those that have loved ones that they can’t be with.  Those that don’t have the money for gifts that wish they could buy tons of things for their loved ones but can’t.  I remember the Christmas of 1996.  Our first Christmas without Pepere.  That was the hardest Christmas ever.  The thought of sitting around the tree celebrating when the focal point of Christmases past was no longer with us – seemed like a crazy thought to us all.  I’m sure my mother would have taken a sleeping pill and slept through the whole thing.  None of us were ready.  So the whole family up and went to the Dominican Republic for a week that year.  And two weeks the following year.  Was it nice?  Of course.  Did we have fun?  You bet.  Was it Christmas?  Well…..kinda, but not really.  It was great, but when Christmas came around the following year, I think we all knew it was time to face reality, and to have Christmas continue on.  I wasn’t married yet, but I had started seeing Joe, and I knew that I would want my children when I had them to experience Christmas as I had growing up – and not decorating a palm tree with lights.  Not that palm trees and sandy beaches aren’t great for some, but it wasn’t Christmas to me.  I knew that if I wanted my child(ren) to experience the wonderful type of Christmas I grew up with, it was up to me to give it, just as my parents and grandparents had given it to me.

So here we are, December 2012.  Some of my shopping done (much of it online now – thank God).  I have plans to do my baking this week, I’m doing a craft with a friend this weekend and having folks over for dinner and doing a family Christmas too.  We’ve written and mailed Nicholas’ letter to Santa and the decorations are up.  I’m excited.  I’m excited to watch my little guy get excited about Christmas, and talk to him about the Advent wreath and light a candle with him each week.  I love the lights, and the smells, and the feeling that comes with finding that perfect gift for someone that you love.

I hope you all have an amazing Christmas season.  If for some reason you’re not loving it, or you’re hurting at this time of year, or missing someone, or bah-humbuging about something, I’m sorry.  I hope that you will find joy in your own way.  Be thankful for what you do have, for the people in your life, for the joy in Christmases from the past.  I learned a very important lesson back in the Christmases of 1996, 1997 and 1998:  we all have in mind what Christmas is supposed to be.  Sometimes things happen in life that just don’t make it possible.  In order to be happy, I think we have to try to work with what we have, and be willing to accept that things change, and we need to change with them.  I know that I will never, ever have the Christmas that I had growing up again.  But that’s okay, because I’m not supposed to.  As a wife and a mommy, it’s now my job to make it the best it can be for my family.  That may not be exactly what I had growing up, but aspects of it will be there, along with special touches of our own.

Love to all this Christmas season.

Peace.

All that Thanksgiving crap…

Booze? Yeah, I'm thankful for booze. But I'm more thankful for what this bottle represents.

Ah, Thanksgiving. One of my favourite holidays of the year. I know, you're thinking – this is going to be one of those sappy Thanksgiving posts where she shares all the things in life she's thankful for. Alas, you are correct.

So where do I start? Because seriously, the list is long. I'm pretty sure it would exhaust any polite reading threshold you may have and have you clicking on to find that perfect pumpkin pie recipe, which I happened to make the other day. Try this, it was very good.

Obviously the list starts with family for me. Family of course is multi-faceted, with a few branches. The first provides my foundation, my parents, grandparents, and everyone else that comes with them. I have been very fortunate to come from a very loving, supportive family. Each and every one of them made me who I am today. My parents are the most amazing people I know. They have been there with me every step of the way throughout my life supporting me and being their awesome, amazing, generous selves.

Of course family for me has branched out to my amazing husband with whom I just celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss with last week. (See champagne, above). It hasn't all been roses, there have been times where mutual neck wringing has been considered. But I wouldn't change a thing. Every single moment of our marriage has brought us to where we are right now. Solid, happy, and possibly more in love with each other than we were 10 years ago. He is my other half, and I am so thankful for him, and the extended family he has brought into my life. Every day I wake up and make a conscious decision to work with him. To work on us. For us, and for the family we've built together.

Speaking of what we've built together, no list like this would be complete without the one thing I am most thankful in the world for: my son. Nicholas has brought so much joy and so much light into my life. I love that child so much that it doesn't seem like I could possibly love him any more. Then, remarkably, I wake up the next day, and I do love him more. He is an amazing kid, and it has been such a gift to watch him grow, and I can't believe how lucky I feel every single time that child calls me Mommy.

In addition to family, I am also blessed to have several good friends. If you're reading this, you know who you are. Some I've literally known forever, and some just a few years, and various amounts of time in between. However long I've known them, I have an amazing support system. I have no blood sisters, but I have several women who I could not love more if they were my sisters. I've learned a lot about friendship over the last few years, and incredibly lucky I am to have each and every one of them love me for who I am, no matter what.

I have several other things to be thankful for. My health, I realize how important that is. Employment for Joe and myself. In today's economy, we are both fortunate to have jobs that put a roof over our head and food on the table. I'm thankful for all the pleasures I enjoy in life, and that I'm physically able to enjoy them – cooking, reading, music, technology – all those little things that shape my life. I'm thankful for them all.

I hope you all are able to come up with a good long list of all the things you're thankful for. And if you've read this far, I'm thankful for you too.

Gobble Gobble.

;

Tired. Very very tired.

I could just totally nod off.

I’ll admit, since the end of August, I’ve been going through quite a few emotions. I had an amazing vacation, though it was very busy, and I spent much of it worrying about Nicholas starting school. September has been all over the place, we’ve been busy with friends and family, celebrating Birthdays, getting Nicholas off to school. He has been three days now (he still goes every other day) and seems to be doing okay. Considering how he normally is, the fact that he’s getting on the bus and going to school at all is a huge thing for him.

So it’s been busy, emotional, and I haven’t been sleeping well. I have no problems falling asleep, just staying that way. I’m very restless. So because of that I spend half my time yawning.

Partially, I think it’s because this has been such a huge change for Nicholas – cutting out the afternoon nap, starting school, he’s been tired and very cranky sometimes. I think being overwhelmed with this whole thing has been part of what has been causing some of the constant meltdowns that we’ve been dealing with for the last couple of weeks.

Things should improve though. Nicholas is getting a little better every day with school, I’ve got some time booked off in October for a little mini-vacay to Niagara Falls for Joe and I to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. 10 years! Wow. I see a blog post in the making there.

Not much else to pass on, just providing a little update on how things are going because I know I haven’t checked in for a while. I have to start making some amazing food or reading some fabulous books so I have more to talk about than my boring old life. 😉

Hope you’re having an amazing Friday, and have a wonderful weekend. I’ll leave you with an amazing video that I first saw this morning. It’s from the X-Factor UK, and it’s a guy named Christopher Maloney, who is so nervous he can hardly audition. His story, and his audition make me want to give him a big hug. He’s so talented, and so humble. What a wonderful story.