Posted in Books, Family Adventures, In the Community

The Grinch

It is officially boxing day and we are done our 24 books of Christmas (with the exception of 1 book we ran out of time for that we are doing today), but I did not have time to blog about all our books and activities.  Over the next couple of days I will be blogging about the rest of our books and a few other things from the last couple of months.

Friday nights are movie nights at our house so on December 16th we decided to make it Grinch Night.


I first read Kaitlyn our copy of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  This is the first year she hasn’t been scared of the Grinch (Eileen still is).  My kindergartens for the month of December each brought in thier own holdiay traditions to share with class.  We had an awesome variety from: advent calendars, Christmas crackers, heirloom stockings, decorating Christmas cookies, and upside down Christmas trees.  One boy brought in a picture of his and his Grandparents houses decorated for Christmas – which would put the Grizwald’s to shame!  On the same day that I read “The Grinch” to my own children, a boy in my class brought in his copy of the Grinch DVD to share with the class, along with colouring pages for everyone.  His tradition is to watch the movie with his Dad at Christmas.  My class decided to invite the other Kindergarten class over to join them in watching the film, so Kaitlyn got to watch the movie at school.  This ended up being a very good thing because after we read the book at home I could not find the movie!  I have since found it and she has watched it a few times this season.

Posted in Books, Character Ed, In the Community

Rudolph & Kaitlyn to the Rescue

December 13th book was Rudolph to the Rescue by Robert L. May and illustrated by Lisa Papp

I will start off my saying I am not a huge fan of this book but the girls like it, it is an identifiable character and it fit nicely with the activity I wanted to do on the 13th.  After Christmas Rudolph helps Santa go through all of his Thank you cards from the boys and girls around the world and finds a very sad letter from Sonny and Sis who Santa missed because they are part of a circus and Santa couldn’t find them.  Rudolph makes it is mission to find Sonny and Sis and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Every year at Christmas the school we ask that instead of buying teacher’s Christmas Presents the children bring an unwrapped toy for the toy drive.  Kaitlyn hadn’t purchased hers yet so this became a good activity for one of our books.  I thought it fit nicely with Rudolph to the Rescue as there were two children in the book who didn’t get any presents for Christmas.  After skating on Monday I took the girls to Zellers to find a toy.  Kaitlyn picked out a ZuZu pet toy that was perfect for the toy drive.

Posted in Books, Family Adventures, In the Community

God Gave Us …

Sunday’s book (December 4th) was God Gave Us Christmas written by Lisa Tawn Bergern and illustrations by David Hohn.

I decided to put this book on a Sunday for two reasons: first its has a religious theme so it is a good book to read before going to church and Sunday school, and second we have more time on the weekend and the activity I had in mind  would take a bit longer.

First thing in the morning I read the book to the girls.  It is a story of a little bear who asks his Mamma:

“Who ‘vented Christmas? Was it Santa?”

Mamma answers that God was the one who invented Christmas, that “God gave us Christmas”.  The next day Little Cub asks to go find Santa but Mama suggests that instead they go to find God. I really like how Mama Bear doesn’t exclude Santa but instead says:

“Santa Claus reminds us about many good things like generosity and care.  But is is God and Jesus that we celebrate most come Christmas.  We always want to thank God for giving us Christmas.”

This makes it easier for children to follow without abandoning their young visions of what they know of Christmas.

Little Cub and Mama set out to look for signs of God – and that is just the task I gave Kaitlyn.  I gave her my little camera for the day and told her to take pictures of things that God gave us.  She took it to church, and Sunday School, and with us as we went to get our Christmas tree.  The pictures may have been different if we did it for a week instead of just a day but I still think she did an amazing job!

She put all of her pictures together to make a collage.  I helped her a bit with shaping her photos and with spelling but she did the rest herself.  In case you have trouble reading she came up with: stories, friends, nature, family, trees, home and us.

Posted in In the Community

What’s Your Excuse?

I keep wanting to make a sign for my kids to hold that reads: “I’m too young to vote – What’s your excuse!”

One of my many pet peeves is people who don’t vote!  We are a political family, my husband and brother-in-law are very actively involved in one of the campaigns (my b.i.l. is actually the campaign manager).  We watch the news every night and follow what is going on in government – even when it is not an election season.  We strongly feel this is our duty as responsible citizen and parents!

I completely understand that not everyone can be the news junkies that we are but I can’t understand how you can’t take a interest in events that may effect your future or your children’s future.  We are living at a very important time in history – people around the world are fighting, and dying to have the rights that many take for granted.

This is turning out to be an interesting political campaign in the home stretch.  Originally I thought the outcome might be right back where we started but this last week could prove to be very interesting!  If you are not sure which party you are supporting take some time to familiarize yourself with the different platforms.  Moms are the busiest people around, and have the most important job, but here are links to each party’s platforms on family issues:

Liberal Party of Canada

Conservative Party of Canada

New Democratic Party of  Canada

Bloc Quebecois – I can’t find an english version of their platform (let me know if you find one)

Green Party of Canada

So let’s get a dialogue going.  Too often the campaigns come down to mud slinging and we have trouble focusing on the issues. What are the most important issue for you as a mom?  Please post your comments and feel free to link to your own thoughts on your own blog (I’m still trying to figure out how to do a link-up).

Posted in In the Community

Contact in Hockey – A Mom’s Perspective

We are a hockey family.  My husband and brother both grew up playing recreational hockey and they both still play today.  My dad started coaching when my brother was young and has worked his way up to be the Regional Development Coordinator of the OMHA.  He loves the game.  He is passionate about the game.  But most of all he cares the most that others are passionate about the game.  In Simcoe he started running the initiation program for kids aged 4 thru 8 years ago.  It seems to me that he has been doing this forever.  There was over a decade where he was involved in SDMHA but had no child playing.  Last year everything came full circle when Kaitlyn started playing hockey.  At the time I had my two girls, Kaitlyn and Eileen, and my husband and I agreed that they would play hockey, if they wanted to, and Kaitlyn wanted to.  She is no Olympic athlete but she has developed a love for the game.

She is only 5 years old but I am already thinking of all the sacrifices we will have to make as hockey parents.  Early mornings, driving through bad weather to out-of-town games, giving up weekends for tournaments – but we are willing to do that for her, or any of our children, if it is something they love to do.  Right now she just finished the Learn-to-Play program which was once a week but in September she increase to twice a week.  She is playing in a mixed league right now and I am O.K. with that.  We have a girls hockey league here in Simcoe, and if she is still playing when she reaches Atom or PeeWee level she will probably switch leagues.  All I have ever cared about is that she switched before body checking is introduced at the PeeWee level.

Then last August all my hockey worries changed with the birth of my beautiful baby boy, Michael.  I had my two amazing girls but now I had my boy.  As much as we may not like to admit it, when it comes to hockey things are different with boys.  The girls were always encouraged to want to play hockey but if they didn’t show interest it was thought that there is nothing wrong with dance or gymnastics.  With a boy there seems to be a bit more pressure to play hockey.  If he really doesn’t want to play it won’t be forced upon him but somehow I don’t think that will be a problem.  With both of his older sisters playing and Daddy watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday there is a good chance he will love the game as much as the rest of us.

My worries come as I am watching all the news coverage and reading about all the research that is coming out on children and head injuries.  Then I watch clips of children’s hockey games with kids violently checking each other into the boards.  All the time I am holding my precious baby in my arms.  Now don’t get me wrong I know kids get hurt, and that is a part of life.  For anyone who knows me, knows that my 2-year-old Eileen is one of the most accident prone children around.  She regularly walks into walls when she is not looking, trips over her own feet and has dislocated her elbow a half a dozen times.  Most of these thing don’t bother me at all – I just pick her up, brush her off and kiss her boo boos.  It is part of growing up.  But developing a serious head injury after being hit into the boards the wrong way while playing a game is NOT a necessity of growing up.

I understand completely that hockey is a contact sport – and I accept that.  When grown men are playing the game, and are properly trained how to take and give a check it adds excitement to the sport.  I have even come to accept that younger players playing at a very competitive level, will have checking in their games.  And you know what, there will always be contact in hockey, with or without body checking.  It is the nature of the game.  There is even contact at the Tyke level, however often that happens when players accidentally crash into each other.

I know I have been rambling on but now I am getting to the point – I don’t understand why parents would put their child’s safety and well being when playing recreational hockey at a house league level.  If you are not playing at least AAA rep hockey by the time you are at a PeeWee level you are not going to the NHL.  You are playing the game for FUN! That amazing word which is why we put our 3/4/5 year olds into the game to start with.  We want to share our love of a game that is Fun, that you can play throughout your childhood and even as an adult.  When he has time, my husband still plays a pick-up game on Friday afternoons.  Why – because it is fun!  I know other adults who can’t play. Why?  Because they had too many injuries, usually head injuries, when playing hockey as a child.

So what will we do when Michael starts playing hockey.  Well first we will constantly make sure he is playing for the right reasons – because he loves the game.  Right now I am just hoping that all the research that is being published on head injuries and children will finally get through to its audience and the appropriate changes are made.  If he plays house league we will tirelessly campaign for a non-contact house league.  If he plays rep we will work to make sure all his coaches, teammates and he himself are properly coached and educated on safety and skill.  But most of all we will be his parents – we will protect, love and support him at all times!

For more information on the research into checking in youth hockey please check out the following file: Get the Facts

Posted in Books, In the Community

Hockey FUN Day

Today was the big wrap up day for hockey – the annual Beginner Fun Day.  For the third year the Simcoe Learn to Play teams participated in the fun day.  Learn to Play is a unique program started by my father, who works a lot with Development in the OMHA.  The program is for 3 and 4 year olds who have never played hockey before, and most of them can’t skate when we start in September.  I have been helping my dad with the Beginner program for years (the level above LTP) and also helped him when he started up LTP 3 years ago.  The past two years Kaitlyn has participated in the LTP program and in the fall she will be graduating to Beginner.  We may put Eileen in LTP this fall but not sure right now.  All of these programs are part of the Canadian Hockey Initiation Program.

We love hockey in our house but we were very happy to see today come for two reasons: it is so much fun for the kids, and it means hockey season is over for the year.  Today was especially cool for us as it merged two of our favourite things: hockey and books.  Kaitlyn’s team played two 24 minutes games and they had a one hour break in the middle where they could eat lunch (hotdogs provided) and hang out in the fun room.  For the first time this year we had the people from the Brady Brady book series at the Fun day.  This is a great series of kids books for any child who loves hockey, and we had an arena full of them.  The illustrator Chuck Temple was there today and he was signing books for kids and drawing illustrations for them.  Of course each of my own three kids got to pick a book and we got them signed (Kaitlyn’s picked Michael’s for him).  There was a special treat for the two LTP teams.  The really Brady Brady (well it was a mascot costume) came on the ice with them.  He played goalie during part of their game and then he gave them their trophies at the end.  With the exception of one poor little guy who was terrified of Brady Brady, most of the kids were thrilled!  A great day and a great way to wrap up the season!