We got a trampoline. Why did we wait so long?

On a very rainy Saturday in late April my girls waited expectantly at our front window watching for one specific vehicle to arrive.

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And when that Springfree Trampoline van finally turned the corner they both whooped with joy and excitement and ran down to greet them.

For nearly a year – since we attended a blogger party at the Springfree Trampoline store last June – they have been asking to get a trampoline. Begging really. Offering to forego allowances and birthday presents. Making lists of the games they would play on it and how it would be fun and healthy exercise at the same time.

And as parents we waffled back and forth. For good reason…

Before our visit to Springfree I would never have even thought about getting one. I remembered all too well the injuries my friends and me had suffered on the old style trampolines. From gashes on our legs when we fell through the springs to bumps and bruises when we fell off the thing completely to burns from the blisteringly hot jumping surface in the sun.

But when I saw a Springfree Trampoline first hand and asked a ton of questions I realized that I had nothing to worry about. That with all the improvements the company had made to the design and engineering – none of those old-school injuries was going to happen on a Springfree. Pretty cool right?

So safety issues dealt with, our other concern was the fact that we rent so we needed to not only get our landlords approval – but also feel confident that we were going to stay put in this house with a yard for a good amount of time.

The landlord thankfully said yes and because we realized that second part is a pure fairy tale that we could never rely on…we decided to go for it it.

And all we have been thinking since the day it arrived was why didn’t we do this sooner?!?

First of all, there was the girls reaction when we told them. M burst into tears and little T couldn’t stop beaming. It was a total mom fail that I didn’t record the reveal. But I do have this awesome little snippet from delivery day:

😂😂😂

A post shared by Kelly Duran (@kelsey_bar) on

The girls have been on it nearly every day since we got it and the only reason I say “nearly” is because I said no to jumping when it was a monsoon outside. That didn’t go over well.

They spend hours on it at a time. Jumping, making up games, using their imagination. And I’ve lost track at the number of neighbourhood kids who have come to play.

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When we have company over the kids always immediately head to the trampoline. Even the littlest ones have loved it.

This little guy played countless rounds of Ring Around the Rosy on it and also kindly safety tested the netting all around the trampoline by running directly at it and bouncing off. He didn’t miss an inch.

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And even when they are too tired to bounce anymore they still find a way to use it…

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I honestly can’t recommend it enough. If you have kids you need a trampoline. And Springfree has two events coming up that will give you a chance to win one!

Springfree 2nd Birthday Bash & Win a Trampoline & a Backyard BBQ with Rosie McLennan

So obviously you should enter the contests because winning a Springfree Trampoline would be amazing. But take my word for it…if you aren’t the big winner…don’t rule one out. Go to the store and check one out yourself. You won’t regret it.

Special note: If you have kids and work from home you REALLY need one. Our is going to keep the kids occupied all summer long and I can see them from my desk. Win-win!

 

 

Throwback Thursday: Ballerina in the Hall

Facebook Memories make me happy. Every day I look forward to getting that reminder of a moment from the past that may have forgotten.

 Sometimes they are big moments – like anniversaries or holidays or milestones – but it’s the little moments that pop up that make me the happiest. Moments like this day from 2010.
I had just gotten a new SLR camera and wanted to try it out.
My oldest had just gotten a brand new ballet outfit and wanted to dance for us.
And littlest…well…she just wanted to be there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so grateful to have been reminded of this moment in time. That they didn’t just become photos lost in the memory storage on my computer.
Way to go Facebook…

So You Think You Can Dance Tour – Kid Date Night

Last Christmas I gave my oldest daughter tickets to see the So You Think You Can Dance tour. She was 8 and sooo excited to go.

I considered buying a ticket for my youngest daughter too but at age 5 I thought she was a little too young to sit through the whole thing and I didn’t want her fidgeting to ruin the experience for her sister. Also – she just wasn’t as into the show as her sister was.

So I told her you had to be at least 6 to attend the show. She bought the little white lie and all was good. M and I had a blast at the show.

This summer we all watched SYTYCD together and my youngest daughter was much more into it. So when the tour announced a stop in Vancouver I thought it would be a great mother-daughters night out. Christmas shopping complete.

oh this look of awe and wonder…

yup…not quite a lover of live shows yet

“it’s the robot dance!”

team stage…all the way…

Verdict: it was a great night but I still think my youngest is either still too young for a 2 hour show or she’s just not the sit still and watch a show type.She fidgeted her way through the whole thing and nearly fell asleep halfway through the 2nd half.

Rant: Why would you start a show that is aimed at kids at 8pm on a Friday night? So ridiculous. 7pm would have been much more appropriate. My kid wasn’t the only one having a hard time keeping her eyes open.

Back to the show. It was fantastic, a great representation of the TV show and energy filled from start to finish.  But next year…I’m leaving the littlest one at home.

Sorry sweetie…

Reflections from a parent/teacher conference

As a parent the best compliment I get is when someone says something nice about my kids.

And the inherent value of said compliment triples when it is given by someone that spends more one-on-one time with my kids than I do.

To date that has been a select few daycare employees and – of course – their teachers.

I am lucky in that my girls both LOVE school. I know that love may one day fade but for now I’m gonna roll with it and enjoy the fact that they enjoy it.

This year it’s real school for both of them. No more kindergarten class with more playtime than book-learning time. No sir. This year my youngest has an actual dayplanner. It just got real.

And my oldest? Well…it’s letter grades for the first time. And her planner is the smaller version this year. I guess because her letters aren’t seven lines high anymore. Smaller printing = smaller planner.

They have been back in school for a month. We have settled into our routine – kinda. And that means it’s time for the first parent teacher conferences of the year.

I approach these meetings with equal parts dread and excitement.

Excitement because I have confidence that my girls are good students with kind and caring dispositions.

Dread because I can’t know this 100% for sure. What if they are actually big ol’ meanies at school. And they sass back to the teacher. And they never put the home reading books back in the proper lettered bin?

And so it was with all of these thoughts swirling in my head that I went to meet the teachers and find out which was the truth.

First up was my youngest daughter’s first grade teacher. She’s lovely. One of those teachers that has been doing it for a long time but hasn’t forgotten why she wanted to be a teacher in the first place. She still has that joy about her that the kids pick up on.

I sit down on the little plastic chair at the little table and wait for her to start.

“Well…let me start by saying your daughter is a real pleasure to teach and I’m very happy to have her in my class.”

[cue the deep exhale and the assumption of a cocky “aw shucks” kind of grin]

She goes on to say that T is a very good student with a kind and caring disposition. She is ahead of the curve in reading and writing and right where she should be in every other subject.  She loves art and has a great imagination.

“Do you have any concerns?” I ask her hesitantly – because I figure there must be something. But no. Her only comment is that she needs to slow down a little, stop rushing through her work and be a little neater. 

Sounds like advice she needs to heed in all areas of her life…not just at school.

With that meeting done it was time to meet with my oldest daughter’s grade 4 teacher. Of all the teachers in my little neighbourhood school she is the one that – how can I say this – gives off the least amount of warmth.

The kids all like her because she does cool projects and goes on lots of field trips. But she gives off the air of someone that has been teaching too long and has forgotten it’s supposed to be enjoyable.

So this meeting was one I was dreading more than the other. I’m happy to report I had nothing to worry about. That I really shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

While she isn’t warm and fuzzy…she’s good at her job and has pride in what she does. She has my girl pretty well figured out already and it was almost a relief to hear her talk about her strengths and weaknesses in a very matter of fact way.

“Your daughter is a wonderful student. She works hard in class and I enjoy teaching her.”

She talked about her love of reading and writing and shared that she is operating at an exceptional level in those areas. And she said in math – always my worry – that she was ‘right where she should be’

Phew….

As I left the school I had one phrase repeating in my head that made me swell up a little with parental pride.

“Whatever you are doing at home…it’s working.”

Both teachers had said that and it had made me feel so vindicated. My biggest worry over the past two years was that our marriage issues would have a negative impact on the girls.

That their grades would suffer and their self-esteem would take a hit. That they would lose their loving and confident natures and become emotionally needy and unsteady.

But so far it hadn’t. Our efforts had been worth it.

“Whatever you are doing at home…it’s working.” 

Milestone Moment: Swimming Level 1…check!

My youngest has always had a bit of a stubborn streak. She likes to do things her own way and in her own time.

That’s proved to be a slightly frustrating character trait over the years especially when it comes to things like swimming lessons.

My oldest is a fish. Has always loved the water and whipped through the first few levels of swimming lessons without issue.

But with dear little T it’s been a bit of a different story.

While she loves the water too – always begging for us to take her swimming and having a great time when we did – there was a clear disconnect when it came to swimming lessons.

The first time we tried she failed because she flatly refused to put her head in the water.  Only for the instructor was this the case…because she’d finish her lesson, rejoin us and promptly put her face in the water.

So…we’d tried again with the same level…and got the same result. Soooo frustrating!  Even her teacher said “we know she’s capable…she just needs to show us in the lesson.”

We decided to take a break and wait until she was older. And then my friend told me her secret of putting them in lessons in the summer when they can go every day for two weeks. Given that I now had the flexbility in my work schedule I decided to give it a whirl.

And from day 1 I knew it was going to be a big success. She loved her lessons at the outdoor pool. She was excited for each one and proudly showed off her new skills.

Onto Level 2.

Oh…and let’s not forget my oldest child. She passed level 7 with flying colours and is a better swimmer than I am.

Better get used to that I guess…

Sisterly Love – Part 2

I am absolutely loving the relationship between my girls right now. They have a genuine love for each other and every once there is a moment that really highlights that bond.

They recently decided to share a bed and I was worried it would be a mistake. But so far they have really enjoyed it and so have I.

Every morning I look forward to going in their to wake them up. But this morning I wasn’t ready for what I saw.

As I ran to get my camera to capture the moment I just prayed they wouldn’t wake up. Pretty sure I took about a hundred pictures before finally waking them up.

They were both sound asleep and neither remembers making a move to hold hands.

oh my heart…

Raising Girls: Building a solid foundation

When I was pregnant the first time I was desperate to have a girl. I tried convincing myself that it didn’t matter. That I would love a boy just as much as a girl. But oh how I longed for a daughter…and for so many reasons.

I wanted the same relationship with my daughter that I had with my own mother. I wanted to do all the girly things with her. I wanted to be her best friend. I wanted to see her have her own babies.

So cue my overjoyed enthusiasm when my little girl arrived. And it was double the joy when my second lovely daughter was born 3 years later.
 
 
 

And now…as the mother of a 6 and 9 year old girl…I’m in a bit of a panic really.  Because I realize that I have to guide them – carefully and lovingly – into womanhood.  And that means we have to go through the teenage years first. What if my girls turned into “mean girls”?  Or what if they fell victim to the “mean girl”?  I know I can’t keep them from getting their heart broken – and wouldn’t want to – but how do I help brace them for when it does?

I’m honestly not sure I’m prepared for that. Not that I was a terror of a teenager – on the contrary really. I was the 12 year old that spent Saturday’s clearing up her room and packing up old clothes to donate.  At 13 I got my first job and worked steadily ever since. I got good grades, stayed away from the “wrong” crowd and generally made my mother proud.

But the world that my girls will have to live in is so very different than the one I did. I don’t understand today’s youth. I find the majority of them to be lazy and entitled and just plain rude.

I know that’s a terrible generalization but I just can’t seem to prove it wrong. And so I know that I have some work to do in preparing my girls to be strong and independent and successful women but also kind and loving and caring to those around them.
So I’m starting with instilling these basic principles now:
  • Be kind 
  • Keep your promises 
  • Clean up after yourself
  • Be polite and respectful of others
  • Say you’re sorry and accept sincere apologies
  • Do your best 
  • Never give up

I look at that list and I feel pretty good about it. Confident that I am giving my girls a good start in the world. Building the foundation for them to be respectful and kind. But I know it’s not enough.

Because this is list could just as easily apply to boys. I need some girl specific tips. Some golden nuggets of advice just for them.

These are the things I want to teach them.  What I want to make sure they know… 

Love yourself.

You are unique and beautiful from the day you are born.  Don’t let society change that about you. Don’t base your self-worth on a dress size. And don’t base it on what anyone else says to you. Be healthy. Be happy. Be active. Be yourself. 

Love deeply.

Doing this means you will get your heart broken. You will think you have nothing to live for without “him” in your life. But you do have something for live for. You have the next ‘great love’ to meet. Judy Blume had the perfect quote for this:  “You can’t deny they ever happened. You can’t deny you ever loved them – love them still – even if loving them causes you pain.”  You said it sister. 

Don’t be a sheep (but try not to be the black sheep either)

I feel like I got through high school relatively un-traumatized because I existed on the fringes of all the “cliques” I wasn’t a princess or an athlete or a stoner or a brain or a weirdo (my kids will totally not get the Breakfast Club analogy…) but I had friends that were all of those things. I hope my girls do the same. That they befriend others for the person they are not the company they keep. 

Listen to your parents.

I know this might come across as a little self serving but I want my girls to know that not only am I capable of giving good advice but I also have their best interest at heart. Even if they don’t always like what I have to say.

Trust your instincts.

I expect this bit of advice to be tough for them to follow through on because I am only just now learning how to do this myself. But it’s important that we understand that sometimes the best advice comes from within. There is no one that knows us better than we know our own self.

This list will evolve and change over the years I am sure. Because as I see my girls grow I will (hopefully) see what areas need more work and which ones are working out fine. 
 
For now…I’m going to let these stand as my guiding principles. And hope that I can help my daughters grow up to be young women that I am proud of. Based on these early years I have high hopes that will be the case.