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What My Kids Are Into (And How I Feel About It)

DD7 being a mermaid in our backyard pool

People often ask what my kids are into and how I manage all the activities. Managing it all is a constant work in progress, but as far as current interests go, this is how it’s looking:


Number One Son: 12 years old

At the moment, his greatest love of all is Minecraft. His dream would be to either play Minecraft or watch Minecraft YouTube videos at all times. I think he’d even sneak on a pair of “Depends” to avoid bathroom breaks. As such, we have some screen restrictions in our family. During the school week there is no iPod, iPad, Wii or Xbox use. Kids are allowed up to one hour on the computer if homework is done. Considering there is one computer between the six of them, no one ever really gets an hour.

Books – I spent a lot of time fretting in his younger years about reading. It frustrated me that all he would read were graphic novels. Finally, a teacher told me to relax and just be glad he’s reading – regardless of what it was. As soon as I did, he began to enjoy what I consider “proper” books. This summer he read the Hunger Games series and just finished “I Am Number Four” by Pitticus Lore.

Extracurricular –Scouts, hockey, taekwondo and hip hop keep this boy’s mind off Minecraft!


The Multitasker: 11 year-old daughter

This kid functions best with a very full plate. She runs from activity to activity, sport to sport and doesn’t like to miss out on any action. I think of her as a Julie 2.0 of sorts. She’s friendly, fun and delightfully resilient.

Books – She’s covered all the usual tween books: Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Percy Jackson. She devours books but won’t touch anything she considers “girlie”. Her latest favourites have been “Divergent” and “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth.

Extracurricular – hockey, ballet, jazz, tap, Irish dance, violin, school sports


The Sass Girl: 9 years old

This child can be found climbing trees and leaping treetop to treetop – in rollerblades while carrying her fishing rod. She loves anything to do with nature and animals and spends most of her waking hours begging me for a dog. She’s bright as a button, sweet as pie but crazy as hell.

Books – Afraid the Hunger Games will scare her, she’s avoiding them at all costs despite the pressure from siblings and cousins. She knocked off the Harry Potter series in the spring and is now on the fifth book in the Percy Jackson series.

Extracurricular – Cub Scouts, jazz, hip hop, tap, singing, hockey.


Little Lady #3: 7 years old

Currently obsessed with mermaids, she can be found swimming in our pool in the new mermaid tail our neighbour made her. Her favourite TV show, “H20: Just Add Water”, is about three Australian teenagers who are secretly mermaids. When out of the pool, she is obsessing over her “American Girl”. She spends time poring over the catalogue, fantasizing about what outfit she wants her AG to have. When I took her to NYC recently, we spent an obscene amount of time (not to mention money) at the American Girl Place. This AG stuff rubs me entirely the wrong way, but, she loves it and it truly keeps her busy and engaged in imaginative play.

Books – she’s not interested in the books my other girls were reading at this age, which were the Magic Tree House series and Cabin Creek Mysteries. She likes to read the Geronimo Stilton books, which are a step up from Junie B. Jones, who drives me crazy.

Extracurricular – hockey, tap, jazz, hip hop, piano


Little Man: 5 years old

This kid spends a fair bit of time remembering irrelevant numbers and dates. His favourite activity is math quizzes and he gets much pleasure from beating older kids at getting to the correct answer. When he’s taking a break from his math fun, he’s angling a way to play Plants vs. Zombies™.

Books – all that early-reader stuff.

Extracurricular – hockey, taekwondo, tap dancing and piano


The Pint-Sized Dictator: 3-year-old son

This wee man spends most of his time ordering people around and generally being a bossy boots. He likes to tell the biggies that it’s time for them to go to bed. At other times he can be found wandering around the house pretending to be a zombie.

Books –I hold the world record for number of times having read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”.

Extracurricular – going to pre-school, attending the sports and activities of the biggies, running around arenas, causing trouble.


What are your kids into at the moment? Do you have any kids age-matching my guys? Do they share similar interests?


DD11 dressed up as Katniss from The Hunger Games



Top 3 Reasons Why a Sports Team Should Fundraise with Mabel

#1. The “is this my son’s, or yours?” game
From ice skates to football helmets and shin guards to reusable water bottles, it’s hard to tell who’s is who’s. Especially when you’re in a chaotic locker room!


#2. Percentage of sales goes back into the team

Purchase Mabel’s Labels through your team’s personalized fundraising website and 20% goes back to the team. That’s right, 20%! It’s that easy.

#3. Equipment is expensive!

Think of Mabel’s Labels as your insurance policy for the $200 hockey skates you bought this year. Labels are a must in order to avoid the lost and found pile, or worse.


Please share our Fundraising Information with your son or daughter’s coach today!

Just Keep Swimming….and Biking….and Running.


My family spent a full week getting excited about doing a TRi KiDS™ triathlon scheduled for a Sunday this summer. Our kids have participated in triathlons for as long as I can remember. For a big family – a triathlon day is hectic, but a lot of fun!


Enter the Friday night before the triathlon, when Daddy-o manages a bad run-in with a garage door. Without getting too graphic, I had to collect a little bit of him that was left behind in that door before driving him down to the ER. They put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but my “wing man” was officially out of commission. How was I going to manage four kids participating in a triathlon on my own? I was grossly outnumbered. So how did I survive it?


1)      The volunteers. Honestly, I can‘t say enough about how professional and organized the TRi KiDS organizers are. They had people everywhere – all of them wanting to help me. Every kid got one-on-one attention in the transition areas, where they were welcomed with huge cheers and high-fives. Check in was a snap, the course was clear for the participants and the thing ran ON TIME!


2)      I was organized. I have to admit – I’m a bit competitive, so while I like my kids “participating”, I also like them to try hard to do well. Heck, they wear those little timer things on their ankles for a reason, so you can bet I’ll be online checking times! Now, I’m not so competitive that they wear fancy triathlon outfits or ride expensive racing bikes, but I do have a few tricks to speed things up and simplify life in the transition area. I have my kids wear two-piece bathing suits. That way I can pin the number bib directly on their swim top so they don’t have to bother putting on a t-shirt after their swim. Two-piece bathing suits make for practical toileting as well. Another quick time-saver is having them ride and run in their sandals. Make sure they are good running sandals with a closed toe. Sandals eliminates the need for socks and putting socks on wet feet can slow little triathletes down!


3)      Sibling power. I stayed with one kid during her race, and the two siblings who were racing later stayed with the child I couldn’t be with. Same happened with the older kids. The event location was safe and all the activities were close together, so there was no worry about anyone getting lost or run over.  I was actually able to put the 5- and 7-year-olds in charge of cheering on the 11-year-old!


So, another successful triathlon season, thanks to TRi KiDS. Next year, I will be sure to keep Daddy-o away from all moving objects just prior to race day!

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