Posts By: Guest Blogger

…and THAT’S how we met.

Guest post by Karen Pearson

Our family watches a LOT of movies. If it’s the weekend, it’s a safe bet that you’ll find us at a movie theatre. We have an Oscar party every year, fill out ballots and have movie-themed snacks based on the best picture nominees.

For example, this year’s menu may include such delicacies as Irish stew and Tang in honour of Philomena and Gravity. We have fun filling our display coffee table with movie posters and props. Maybe a map of Nebraska, a toy boat if I can find one around here for Captain Philips…you get the idea. With the Oscars coming up, it got me thinking about this little running joke we have in our family. To explain it, here’s a conversation between my husband, Gary, and myself…

KAREN: You know what one of my favourite games is?
GARY: Well, I know it’s not Scrabble, because you’re a really sore loser.
KAREN: Is it really necessary to do an end zone dance EVERY time you play all your letters? I was talking about the one where we’re at a movie with the kids and at the pivotal moment where the lead characters realize they’re falling in love, you turn to whichever kid is sitting next to you and whisper “And that’s exactly how your Mom and I met!”
GARY: Is this because we just watched Puss N’ Boots?
KAREN: Probably, although I’m starting to think that maybe the kids are old enough now to question us wearing masks, and doing amazing acrobatic stunts across rooftops while trying to steal magic beans. We’re just not that agile.
GARY: Um, and also because we’re not CATS?
KAREN: You’re right. Uptight Captain that falls for failed-nun-turned-Governess is probably more believable.
GARY: Or grouchy but good-hearted ogre who saves the beautiful princess and THEN finds out she turns into an ogre at night…
KAREN: Nice. Or spandex-wearing superheroes that have playful, witty banter, get married and have 3 super kids!
KAREN: The best is when they beat us to it and ask if that’s how we met before we even get a chance.
GARY: Yeah. Maybe one day they’ll play the same game with their kids.
KAREN: And then THEIR kids can roll their eyes and think what goofballs their parents are.
GARY: And THAT would be the circle of life, which reminds me of when we met…a young lion and lioness, frolicking in the jungle, getting into mischief…and falling in love.

How did we really meet? Oh, my sister set us up.

What’s your “How we met” story? Do you have a favourite running joke in your family?


Guest Post from Karen Pearson.

I started that hashtag for fun one day on Twitter, after my son’s coach skated over to the boards with a smile on his face, to let me know that I had put my 10-year-old son’s goalie pads on the wrong legs. * face palm *

Don’t get me wrong; I’m no stranger to chilly arenas and snack bar hot chocolate. We’ve got three kids who all took skating lessons and performed in those big production skating shows at the end of the year. Shows complete with dress rehearsals, lighting, music, professional photos and souvenir DVDs. Elaborate costumes ranging from Alice in Wonderland to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and my all-time favourite the adorable Penguins (perfect choice for aspiring 4-year-old skaters. Lots of shuffling, falling down, helping each other back up…still one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen!).

But hockey’s different. I’d heard stories from other parents about how hockey completely takes over your life, and if your child makes it into rep, LOOK OUT! When we signed our son up for Timbits many years ago, my husband agreed that he would be the hockey parent and handle all those details like registration deadlines, schedules, skate sharpening, equipment shopping, and shuttling to early morning practices and games. I can be counted on to make sure all the equipment is labeled (with the Hockey Combo, naturally!), show up for games and marvel at how it’s even possible for a young boy’s hockey equipment to smell THAT bad.

When my husband is out of town, with the best of intentions I bravely slip into the hockey mom role (see goalie pad mix-up above). I sit in the stands with the other hockey parents and try to casually divert the conversation when talk turns to levels, divisions and stats (Yikes, is he in blue or white this year? Which one is the middle level? Is this Atom or Pee Wee?). I can’t get that equipment in the washing machine fast enough and admit to accidentally putting the cup back in the jock backwards AND upside down. Ouch! Apparently nobody ever takes those things out when they wash the jock. Who knew?

We always wanted our son to play hockey for fun, exercise and all the benefits that come from playing a team sport. Now that he’s getting older, the pressure’s heating up and the stakes seem higher. I’m okay with my lackadaisical role and I’m pretty sure he won’t be scarred by the involvement I’ve had (or haven’t had) in his hockey years.

In fact, I think he enjoys teasing me about almost melting his new mouth guard in boiling water, hearing me yelling from the stands “Hey, no pushing!” whenever anyone gets a little rough with him on the ice…and those tricky goalie pads.

Does your child play hockey? If so, what’s YOUR hockey parenting style? How does your family manage all the sports and activities in your busy household? Ever put goalie pads on the wrong legs or something similar? I can’t be the only one, right? Right?


New Year’s resolutions for families

The great thing about New Year’s resolutions is that you can make them even after the clock has struck midnight and the silly hats have been put away.

I find that it takes a few days after the hubbub of the winter holidays has passed to reflect and allow priorities for the coming year to crystallize. Luckily, there’s no one checking our homework to ensure our New Year’s resolutions are dutifully recorded, or standing there with a stopwatch to make sure we’re getting to the gym, teaching our kids Mandarin or cleaning closets January 1. If you haven’t yet quite figured out what you’d like 2014 to hold for your family, don’t sweat it! You can gently move in the direction of your goals as you catch your breath.

Here’s how I like to approach New Year’s resolutions, both for myself and my family:

Keep it simple: This isn’t your bucket list. If your resolutions fill an entire page single-spaced, you’re complicating it too much. The point is not to catalogue your vision of the perfect life with everything you’d hope to accomplish from perfectly tidy kids’ rooms to learning to play the guitar. There are many virtuous pursuits to undertake as the various seasons of our lives allow. Go easy on yourself and zero in on what really matters to you and yours in 2014.

Accelerate slowly: Whatever your goals are, choose metrics that are realistic. If, like so many others, your goal is to exercise more, don’t make your resolution “Go to the gym five times a week.” It’s January. It’s cold. New routines take a while to establish. Instead, consider articulating your fitness goal with something like “Improve endurance and strength.” This way you’ll be making progress even if all you’ve committed to for today is one weekly yoga class and more brisk evening walks. Once you’ve got a little momentum, ramp up.

Make resolutions about the important stuff: Yes, it would be nice if every closet were perfectly organized. As the owner of what I like to refer to as “The Garage of Doom” and “Attic of Shame,” I know what I’m talking about. But as much as it would be nice to address these overflowing storage spaces, I’m not sure that getting organized for that garage sale we keep talking about is really a priority for us this year.

I like how Leslee Mason, Canadian Family senior editor and mom of four, is approaching resolutions at her house in 2014. Her family has pledged to go screen-free one day a week. “We’re going to start small with a weekday but then work up to a Saturday or Sunday spent playing boardgames,” she says. It’s a goal that emphasizes quality family time, and I can’t wait to hear how it goes! You can learn more about what Leslee and other families are pledging to do in 2014 in our special New Year’s resolutions package in the Winter issue of Canadian Family, which is on newsstands now, and find more inspiration in this great list of 101 goals to accomplish over 1001 days

Involve the kids: Sometimes family resolutions are going to be the inspiration of Mom and Dad, but your kids probably have some great ideas about how they’d like to spend time as a family or what they’d like to prioritize. Ask. Sure, they might say they want to go on a Disney cruise, but they might also simply request more family taco nights.

Celebrate growth: While it’s great to keep resolutions about family fun, the changing of the calendar year does provide a tidy excuse to gently nudge your child toward simple goals that will benefit him and the family as a whole. The key is to frame these in a positive light: “Wow, now that you’re nine and getting so much more responsible, I think this may just be the year you can learn to write things down in your school agenda. What do you think about that as a potential New Year’s resolution?” Ditto taking out the recycling containers, remembering to make their own beds in the morning or picking up Duplo.

This is a bit of an unusual year for me in New Year’s resolutions. About a year ago I decided that I would endeavor to complete the Pentathlon des Neiges in Quebec City as a way to mark my 40th birthday. The event is on February 22nd, so getting through the last weeks of training is my only New Year’s goal. It’s a biggie, so I’m not complicating life with anything else right now. My eldest son, Cameron, 10, says his goal is to help me, which is pretty sweet. We decided that one of the ways he could do this is by making dinner once a week, something he was doing for a while until soccer disrupted his cooking night. Until now we just haven’t managed to reestablish the routine. He told his brother to, “Get ready for grilled cheese sandwiches and simple pulled pork!” (his two specialties).

Today I’m up early to finish this blog post and squeeze in some time on the stationary bike before the kids get up (mercifully, they’re past the early-waking years during which I never needed an alarm clock). When the Pentathlon is past, I look forward to seeing what the rest of 2014 will hold. May it be a great one for you and yours!

What are your family’s New Year’s resolutions? Please share in the comments!


About the Author:

Brandie Weikle, Editor-In-Chief of Canadian Family

Brandie Weikle has been a parenting journalist for more than 13 years. She’s the Editor-In-Chief of Canadian Family magazine, has been parenting and relationships editor at the Toronto Star and held various roles at Today’s Parent. On the digital side, Brandie was the founding editor of the Toronto Star’s and digital director of House & Home Media. She’s an avid user of social networks, especially Twitter, where she tweets as @bweikle. Raised in Alberta and B.C., she’s a winter sports enthusiast and the mother of two boys, Cameron, 10, and Alister, 6.

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