My Kids Survived Another Summer…barely!

Have you ever thought of putting your kids on Craigslist? This summer I actually sat down and wrote an ad…just for fun *wink.

“Two kids free to ANY family. Both need constant stimulation. A horse and NLL lacrosse star within arms reach would be a huge plus. Neither can quite finish any task for some unknown reason…but close. Constant supervision is mandatory. Attitude adjustments are required regularly. Money tree in back yard would eliminate the tedious whining. One sleeps till noon, the other is at your side the second your eyes open. Can only be in the same room together for 3 min max until the little one says “Jessssseeee donnnnn’t” and the big one says “wooooooow” and then all hell breaks loose. Taxi and maid service would be handy. They come with a dog they don’t walk that’s out of control…but really cute and loves to dig” (and then I realized I was dating! ) “I thought you had kids?” “Ya (insert long pause here) I did…” Not sure how that might play out!

My girlfriend Carri offered to have her daughter join the ad suggesting we give the two girls to the same family since blended families seem to be so popular (her daughter is 1/2 Filipino which = super cute)…then both my kids walked in my office and said “Mom, you’re the best Mom on the planet” and I loved them once again more than life itself. Their intuition is right on track! Moms just want love and affection and 10 minutes in the bathroom without hearing mom, mom, mom, mom through the door.

Anyone with kids the same age will totally relate. Parents of younger kids, all I can say is don’t judge, karma’s a bitch!

My daughter’s umbilical cord reattached to my womb over the summer. It happens when we spend lots of time together. I am NOT complaining. I remember getting the same feelings about my Mom as the summer came to an end. I couldn’t live without her throughout the year let alone after spending all day and night with her for 2 months. I got homesick at the thought of her being in another room. I can relate to my daughter very well.

I am taking every single hug and kiss I can get knowing that these moment are fleeting. My sons has a couple of years on his sister so he is at the age of loving his freedom…ahhh freedom remember that. He is awfully love-able for 13 so I can’t complain. I take every lingering boy hug I can get. I try not to make a big deal of it so it last longer. If I don’t move maybe he will forget I’m hanging on for dear life! He has his hormonal teenager moments like the rest of them that don’t go unnoticed but I have learned not to take them personally. He simply needs to flash that irresistible smile and I melt. Moms and their boys…sigh. 🙂

Being a Mom has been one of the best experiences I have ever had hands down. I’ve learned over the years to let go and allow my kids to grow. They have learned to be independent which has given them both confidence. My job now, it to just be there for moral support and teach them by example. (that is definitely questionable at times but hey, at least I’m honest!) I don’t mind telling you though it’s a bitter sweet time for me. I love spending time with my kids, they are incredible little human beings but I too have a life I need to reacquaint myself with in-order to be a great Mom!

Happy September Everyone! Enjoy each moment making memories with your little humans!







Svaha Spirit Series: Teachers ~

We’ve all had teachers in school that made an impression on us. My English teacher Mrs Morton inspired our class because she was so passionate about the English language. I loved creative writing because it allowed personal expression in a class filled with rules. She would probably be horrified at my grammar in some cases but hey blogging is a loose form of writing…in general. I am still learning!

My Math teacher Mr Paulson was compassionate. The only reason I passed his Algebra class was because I tried so hard and he recognized my efforts! I came in everyday after school for help but still didn’t understand it. Sometimes you really do get graded on your effort kids!

Teachers have the opportunity to make a difference in our kids lives. My son and his friend were talking fondly of their teachers on our way home from school which made me smile because I knew exactly how they felt. Teachers make a difference! Taylor Mali is one of those teachers.

I’ve posted this video of Steve Jobs before but since Graduation is just around the corner I thought it was fitting. Enjoy, it’s worth the time I promise you…Pinky swear! 🙂 Stay Hungry…Stay Foolish!


Going Back to School ~

Okay Girls, we’re going back to school for a semester, what are you signing up for?

TracyTracy signs up for~

I have been spending time with my friend Kelsey who has completed her 3rd year in Human Kinetics.  Kels puts every ounce of her being into her studies, which is reflected in her marks.  Each time we talk I hear the wealth of knowledge she has acquired.  She is a young woman who has found what interests her, and can do anything she wants to.  There is no doubt that Kelsey will be the BEST at what she does when she completes her studies.  I wish I had been as focused as Kelsey when I was her age.

Kelsey has inspired me to think about what I would take if I was to re-enter school.  I know when it comes to school the opportunity is always there, it’s just how badly you want it.  I would take a real mixture of classes, some that would lend themselves to what I am doing right now, others that I just find interesting.

Creative Writing~ I am passionate when it comes to writing.  My Dad, Robert Westerholm, is a writer.  I really love how visual and descriptive his writing style is.  I can appreciate his passion for words when reading what he puts to paper.  Check out his website Caterwauls to get a taste of his style.  I have a love for words in general.  There are so many different writing courses that interest me, but I think I would like to try my hand at  romance.  My Dad has written one of the most  psychological  love stories I’ve read Acts of Empathy.  Inspiration is everywhere!

Silver-smithing~ I would love to learn how to work with silver to create unique treasures.  I used to make jewelry and love the creative process.

Spanish~ Si Aún me siento un vacío cuando se trata de aprender esta lengua y considera necesario seguir adelante con él, así que un día cuando me conecto los puntos veo por qué soy tan apasionado sobre el aprendizaje de ella.

(Yes I am still feeling a void when it comes to learning this language and feel it necessary to keep going with it, so that one day when I connect the dots I see why I am so passionate about learning it.)

Introduction to Theology~ Theology describes the study, writing, research, or speaking on the nature of gods, especially in relation to human experience.  Typically the concept includes the premise that such study is done in a rational, philosophical manner and can also refer to specific schools of thought – for example, progressive theology, feminist theology or liberation theology.  I love the conversations that lead to what we believe in and why.

So goddesses what would you sign up for if you could pick anything at all !!


I went back to school to work on a degree when I was 25 and at that time I thought I was old!  The most inspiring person to me was a new art history professor who, at age 61, had just completed her studies and was teaching for the first time in her life.  She was slightly awkward and uncomfortable but you could tell she loved the subject and that she knew what she was talking about.  I remember thinking how cool it was that she wasn’t letting age get in her way and, at a time when most people are thinking about retiring, she was just starting out.  Every time I begin to think I’m too old to start something new I think of her and push forward.

I recently read a very interesting article in the New York Times about the increase in enrollment at community colleges in America and how people eager to upgrade skills, or change to more financially rewarding careers, are willing to take night classes at unprecedented hours.  To accommodate all the new students, colleges have started offering courses starting at 6 am or night school classes that begin at 11:45 and don’t end until 2:30 in the morning!  I can’t imagine putting in a full day at work and then heading off to school until the wee hours of the night, but I applaud those who are doing it and wish them much success and fulfillment.  I always threatened my kids that when they were ready to go off to college I’d register for classes myself and be able to hang with them at the cafeteria and out in the Quadrangle.  I did take a few more art classes when Emilie started university and thoroughly loved it.  I’m looking forward to being a senior citizen as I believe we can then audit classes for free.  I’m going to go confirm that and report back as I’d hate to give false information.   OK, found it.  Check out Yahoo! Answers for the scoop.   If you’re willing to take classes without getting credit for them them you can do the audit thing.  I’d just want the learnin’ part so I’ll do it when I’m 65, for sure.

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie studies~

When I think about the idea of  “going back to school” I know deep down that I just like to fantasize about the learning.  I don’t really want to go to a college/university and sit in a class or lecture hall with a bunch of students half my age…but I do love the idea of learning new things constantly.   Sometimes I wish that all classes were open to everyone and anyone and I could just drop in on some classes and learn something new and interesting, but then leave if it started to bore me.  Without being in trouble or needing a note.  Yes, I admit, I’d like to flit from subject to subject, learning all the while but not being tied down to any one topic.  I’m sure this speaks volumes about who I am.  Perhaps if I’d studied psychology I’d be able to tell you.  I get bored and distracted quite easily.  Learn, learn, learn, NEXT!  And then there are the tests that come with going to school.  I hate tests.  I panic during tests and when I panic my mind shuts down, my memory disappears and I don’t see clearly.  Not a good attribute for a student.

My son is working on his business and entrepreneurial degree.  I’m very proud at how hard he works toward his goal.  I love hearing about the courses he is taking and I’ve often thought I’d love to take some of those classes too.  I doubt these courses would have interested me when I was younger but now that I’m *cough* older I realize the value in the business knowledge he’s acquiring and I’d love to be able to use it myself in business.   I think he gets flashes of that truth now and again too, but for the most part he’s just trying to get through it.  Right now he still has the stress of getting good grades, working to afford it all, and maintaining a busy social life as well.  If I were to go back to school now at this stage of my life it would only be for the joy of learning.  The grades wouldn’t matter, I wouldn’t have to worry about affording it, and as for a social life…let’s just say going to bed early every night would not be a problem for me.


Sports Day Ribbons…what’s happened to them?

Sports Day RibbonIndividual Sports Day Ribbons are obsolete unless of course you really know how to decorate your bike.  We acknowledge the ‘artsy’ kids but not the ‘athletic‘ ones.  Why is that?  We grade our kids in Math, Spelling, Art, Science, Social Studies, and PE in their daily school activities but we are afraid of hurting their feelings at Sports day.

Who decided that kids don’t need a ribbon for being the fastest in the relay or catching the most bean bags?  I understand that not everyone is good at sports but not everyone is good at art!  I think as parents it is up to us to encourage our kids and give them support for trying their best.  Sometimes your personal best is just not good enough to come first place!  Is that so bad?  Olympic athletes are going for the Gold metal but only few achieve it!  This doesn’t discourage them from training for years to give it their best.  Which sadly is sometimes not good enough, but we all still love to watch them try.

Sports day today is made up of  ‘Houses’ with names and colours attached such as the ‘Green Flaming Frogs’.  The kids in the school are divided up into those groups and their group competes for points in order to win 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, as a group.  There is no individual ribbons given out anymore.  To make it worse they don’t even get their ribbon until the following week, when all the excitement has worn off.  Kind of like getting a pat on the back for something you did last week.  Anticlimactic!  There’s more…it’s also fixed on occasion just in case ‘yellow house’ has never won, they need a turn too.  What’s the world coming to.  Why can’t kids be acknowledge for their individual efforts instead of being lost in a group.  Come on it’s not a union job, it’s sports day!  There is nothing wrong with knowing as a child or adult that there will ALWAYS be someone bigger, stronger, faster, taller, smarter, funnier than you!  That’s life, embrace it.

Do we really think that kids would have as much fun or even want to put their best effort in if they knew it was fixed?  I hate to hear about sporting events being fixed.  It ruins it completely!  It’s not real!  Just like when you find out an Olympic athlete used steroids to win.  It’s not fair and you don’t really care about the results because it’s all made up.

When I was little every kid in the school decorated their bike.  You did it by yourself.  You didn’t want your parents help or it wasn’t your ribbon you won, if you won.  Your effort or creativity usually matched your placing.  Usually, just like in real life.  Makes perfect sense.

I spent the entire day with my kids at their sports day.  I love to see them having fun, being challenged and bonding with their friends.  I cheer them on with words of encouragement just to see the smiles on their faces while they try to balance a new potato on a spoon while running around a chair.  But much to my chagrin they still don’t give out ribbons to individual kids.

I remember when sports day was about trying your hardest and maybe coming home with a few colourful ribbons!  Sometimes you got 1st and sometimes you got 8th.  There was no ‘participation ribbon’.  If there were 6 kids in the race you could get anywhere from 1st place to 6th place.  You got a ribbon either way, it didn’t have to say 1st on it, it was just a different color.  At end of the day we all rode our bikes home talking about who won the relay or whose bike was the most creative.  We laughed and everyone loved the day from the moment they woke up to the moment their eyes closed that night from exhaustion!

I know I am not the only parent who thinks this or I wouldn’t have even thought it worth a post.  I don’t want any kids to feel bad at the end of the day for not getting the pretty purple ribbon but I honestly think this is adults sheltering kids from life lessons that they are more than equipped to deal with.  Perhaps a ‘sports day grinch’ story is behind it all.

I heard a couple parents talking last year about possibly arranging a ‘Rep Sports Day‘.  Tryouts will begin in the spring!  (that’s a joke)  Not a bad idea though.  House sports day or Rep?  Which would you sign your kids up for?  My son would be rep for sure!  My daughter, she’s just there for the fun experience, a true Canadian!  Did you win any ribbons as a kid or even care?

I recently had this article brought to my attention and wanted to add the link for those of you interested in reading more about Sports Day Ribbons!

Let school kids learn their life lessons early Skip self-esteem issues, stir up those competitive juices... by Jon Ferry