clarity : my kid was bullied.


fall, muskoka

i hope everyone had a lovely thanksgiving weekend.

we celebrated up at the cottage with family. we enjoyed the warm temperatures, sunshine and time together. but, this post is not about our weekend up in muskoka. it’s about the complexities of mothering, parenting and realities of school life for our kids

fall, muskoka, fall colours

remember a few weeks ago when i wrote about our struggles with the whole back-to-school transition. i shared how bear especially was having a hard time with things. well, after some subtle mama investigating, you know the kind where you pretend to be busy with something while asking questions about school, so as not place any obvious pressure on your kid. well, after a few minutes of this with bear it all came spilling out, he was being bullied. yes, two days into the new school year this kid who has been a problem in the past was at it again.

as the pieces fell into place, i understood where my kids “bad” behaviour was coming from. once in the safety of his own home he was unloading all of the stress and anxiety building up inside of him during the school day. obviously his little brother was an easy target and bore the brunt of the unleashing. my heart broke the more i thought about those first 10 days of grade 2 for him. of course as his mama i took on all kinds of guilt, about not protecting him better, not piecing things together sooner and just feeling guilty for his pain. 

after all the necessary conversations with teachers, the other child’s parents, bear’s behaviour completely changed. he was back to his old self. the kid who is  making up his own jokes, thinking about pokemon all day everyday and building his latest and greatest lego invention!   

i’m not sure the anti-bullying campaigns at schools are effective. bear has never been up front about problems with his peers; it is always something that as his parents we have had to figure out. the school is reluctant to get involved, although there seems to be a lot of the right things being said, it’s just that nothing is being done. from where i sit there is a lack of accountability, which is very frustrating. i don’t want to play the blame game, but if my kid was doing things to hurt other’s i would want to know. right?

things at school have calmed down for bear, i think. i have asked subtle questions and direct questions, i have shared my own experiences from my school days in the hopes to keep the lines of communication open with him. he is my anxious guy who takes things and carries them inside, blaming himself. i want so desperately to take away all of his hurt, but i know that it not realistic. i have to instead teach him to stand-up for himself not by hitting back, but by using words. i have to encourage him feel confident in telling a teacher or adult if he or someone else is being bullied. these are hard things. even for adults.

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fall, muskoka, look out

mothering is the hardest job i have ever taken on. it is not at all wheat i expected. the deep emotional twinges of pain and love i feel for my children is astonishing. although it is difficult and exhausting, i wouldn’t change any of it. i feel like the luckiest gal around with the best set of kids ever! and, i realize my opinion is quite biased, but so be it!

xo, mama lola

giving thanks.


thanksgiving is this coming weekend here in canada-land. 

fall has arrived with it’s cool temperatures, soggy days and falling leaves. i love fall. well, i actually appreciate all the seasons, but i love the change in the seasons most. yes, the transitions are hard with kids; do you wear rubber boots or sneakers… BAH! 

but, on a personal level in the fall i love how slowly things quieten down. birds disappear to warmer climates down south, while squirrels scurry around madly hiding acorns in random holes in the ground. the nights become darker sooner and morning arrives later. and, the colours… mother nature really knows her stuff when it comes to transitioning from the hot to cold! already many maple trees in our neighbourhood are on fire with their vibrant red, oranges and yellows. every season i am amazed!

we have experienced a tough september and beginning to october, and instead of dwelling on the negatives i have decided to make a list of the things i am grateful for instead. yes, it’s a bit cheesy and cliche, but i believe that focusing on the positive does help with ones mental health in the long run.

 

so, here we go.

1. great FREE healthcare : we have had a lot of sickness in our family. pneumonia, kidney infections, strep throat, fevers and so on and so on. i am so grateful for having a family doctor who is available and free for us to visit when we need to.

2. our home : we had someone break into our house and steal my phone at the beginning of september. that kinda threw us for a loop; having us question our safety, our children’s safety, as we felt violated and vulnerable. since then we have had some smaller incidents at the house, which raised the hairs on our arms. at the end of the day i have come to understand that i cannot control what other’s do to me, to my home, to my things. but, as a mama it is my responsibility to continue teaching my kids those important lessons in life about what’s right and wrong and how to stay safe. i am grateful for our home, where we can have these conversations, the place that keeps us warm and dry.

3. my family : yes, they drive me batty, push my buttons, talk back to me, ignore me, yell at me, get sassy on me, upset me,  …but more importantly they kiss me, hug me, make me laugh, snuggle me, smile when they see me, create art for me, bake me my favourite treats, and they really, REALLY do love me!

 

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happy thanksgiving everyone!

xo, mama lola

BAT craft round-up!


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this BATTY round-up of bat crafts is intended for slightly older school aged kids. my kids, 5 and 7 love to get crafty and are often looking for slightly more challenging projects to get involved in. the brooch is actually an adult craft, but i thought with some adult assistance a kid could absolutely sew an adorable bat brooch! right?!

halloween is a month away and it’s time to decorate, a little at least! we’re not going to do too much outside this year as the road in front of our house is under major construction, but we will definitely put some fun decorations up inside. kitten friendly ones of course, leo our wee one is always jumping after anything and everything that hangs! haha!

ok, so here are the pictures and sources to each craft!

aren’t they just battyest ever!

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bat origami from layers of learning

 

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nocturnal animal craft : bat hat from green kid crafts

 

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felt bat halloween brooch from do small things with love

 

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paper bat puppet from made by joel

 

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it’s getting batty around here (DIY) from buggie & jellybean

hope everyone is enjoying this transition to fall.

the weather has finally cooled and the air is crisp with fall!

xo, mama lola

parenting slump: help me!


oh world, i need some mama help!

since the boys went back to school, chaos has taken over our house. there is an unreasonable amount of whining, crying, fighting, shouting, hitting, throwing, and it’s not just coming form the kids. i feel like i am at my wits end!

i know transitions are hard. 

i get it, i really do.

but, this transition of going back to school has been so terrible and i’m not sure how to make it better. bear is on an epic roll attacking his little brother with his fists, feet and words. he’s always going on about punching his brother and then he’ll actually do it! or, he’ll start doing this hair-raising cackle, laughing at everything that lion does, which doesn’t sound so bad, but we all know that the reaction the 5 year old gives is what makes this scene unbearable. i could go on with examples of the tense fighting at our house, but it think you get the idea.

lion on the other hand does not really pick on his brother, but takes bear’s example and has stopped listening. lion now talks back in his wee sassy voice and giggles uncontrollably when he knows he’s not listening. and, as the younger brother his reactions to his brother’s attacks are loud, huge and attention seeking. exhausting.

when we’re in our moments of chaos, i try not to show preference between the boys; usually they are both responsible for some aspect of the situation. i try to touch, hug my kids, because i think that’s often what they really need from adults. especially now that they are gone at school all day! obviously if someone has hit or done some creative name calling, i will enforce a consequence. but, as attachment parents i try to still remain attached to my kids, because they don’t know how to ask for that.

anyhow…

as i write this i can recognize that my kids need more structure, more defined expectations and clearer consequences, as they seem to be flailing through this major change from summer to school.

i guess i am struggling with how to incorporate those into our new routine. i want to get away from the counting to 3 thing; it feels young for my 7 year old. i want to say something once or twice and have the kids do it (for the most part). i realize they are children and will be slow, or will have to include a song or dance with the completion of some mundane task, it’s the repetition that drives me banana’s! i feel deeply disrespected, hurt and exhausted when all of this is happening. i have tried to sit down with the kids to talk to them about all of this, but all they do is laugh, interrupt me and then things escalate and, well things end poorly.

 

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if you have any parenting advice you want to enlighten me with, please do so! maybe you have read some great reads about this very topic (she says as she peeks at her own bookshelf to see if her barbara coloroso book is there! it is!)

 

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i know this will pass, but living in this chaos is stressful for all of us.

i want to change the present.

xo, mama lola

recipe for a buddha bowl!


i have really gotten into making buddha bowls, before i even knew their name i was layering healthy, delicious ingredients in my pretty blue bowls and serving them as dinners to my family. they’re a great way to fill your family with lots of vitamins and minerals, while using all sorts of yummy foods and flavours.

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basically the idea is that you layer or group your ingredients together in a bowl. typically, a pretty bowl.

 

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typical ingredients for our buddha bowls include (but not all at once) rice, quinoa, hummus, various beans, arugala or other greens, avocado, salmon, tofu steaks, grated carrot, green onions, corn…. well, i’m sure you get the idea! 

buddha bowl layers

 

i love making buddha bowls for dinner. my kids love them too, and it’s easy to omit things that someone may not love without making a big deal out of it. it’s such a great way to use up odds and ends in your fridge, but it’s also a fun way to present food. i love getting creative with colours and arrangements! 

 

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from what i understand there are no set rules on how make a buddha bowl. i prefer to mix warm, cooked ingredients with cold, chopped ones. depending on the season i will change up the elements of my buddha bowls. in the summer i tend to use more cold ingredients using what’s in season and fresh from the garden or market. i also love using items cooked on the bbq. now in the fall i am excited to include roasted veggies, or baked sweet potatoes, squash, beets and other rooty veggies in my bowls.

 

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my mouth is salivating as i prepare this post! holy moly do i love these colourful, super healthy meals!

which ingredients do you love in your buddha bowl?

 

happy cooking friends! 

 

xo, mama lola

the robbery


we’ve had a tough week transitioning back to the school routine. there have been chaotic mornings, injured kids and awkward dinners prepped by yours truly.

but, to make our week even more stressful we had a theft in our home. 

on saturday evening lion, now 5 years, touched the stove while DH was cooking dinner. poor kid burnt the tip of his finger, which meant there were lots of tears for a lot of hours that evening. we all know that even the smallest burn can really hurt for a long time! so, at bedtime lion fell asleep with his finger in a bowl of ice water as DH was reading harry potter to the boys. but, then he woke up when his finger moved or something causing the pain to kick in all over again, meaning the tears started all over again as well.

i was on the couch watching tv and playing scrabble on my phone when i heard the crying start. i put my phone on our dining table on my way upstairs. it was about 9pm when DH headed out to get more ice. he came back after about 10 minutes, but i sent him back out to see if the pharmacy had any lotion or potion to help with the burn site. as i sat with my wee guy trying to help him through the pain he kept repeating “i shouldn’t have done that”. augh, my heart! we talked about learning from our mistakes and trying not to feel badly about our choices. DH finally came home and we got the boys settled.

when we returned downstairs to watch a movie i was scanning the rooms for my phone. as a creature of habit i was confused why i couldn’t find it, but DH suggested we just wait until the morning when there is day light to do a proper search. so in the morning before even having breakfast we searched, high n’ low moving furniture, crawling on our hands and knees, calling it, texting it… then i got this weird, sinking feeling… what if someone had stolen it? DH thought i was being dramatic, but when hour 3 of our search still turned up nothing he too was becoming suspicious. he called the phone company and had service to my phone cut off. then we got a text from our service provider saying we had used up 75% of our data for the month.

BOOM! confirmation. right there. stolen phone.

DH called the police.

a police officer arrived, took our statements and told us it sounded like a crime of opportunity to him. the thief had seen DH pull out of the driveway in our car and thought hey now’s a good time. when the thief walked in they would have heard my lion screaming upstairs from his burn injury! that’s the part that angers me most; we were in our own family crisis when this random person did this horrible, selfish thing to us. sure our front door was unlocked, but we were home! i had just been on the couch a few minutes earlier!

in the past couple of days i have shared this experience with others, and to my shagrim i have heard similar tales of theft. we live in a city of about 100, 000 people, and we had assumed that moving from a city of millions to something smaller would make life safer. i guess not!

lessons learned:

  • keep your doors locked, even when home, ALWAYS!
  • always turn porch light on at night
  • keep valuables, like electronics hidden from windows
  • everyone is a target. doesn’t seem to matter what neighbourhood, street or city you live in. (see next point)
  • some people just suck!

i don’t think i’ll ever see that phone again.

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i am sad that i have lost so many fun pictures and videos from our summer adventures (oh, another lesson learned… back up phone stuff!) i’m irritated that my home has this peculiar feeling of violation still floating in the air. i am confused as to whether or not i can open the windows on the main floor; should i lock them when i head to the grocery store? i am pissed that there are people in this world who don’t care about what’s right and wrong, about common decency and who only care about their own selves. i will ride this wave and let go of these feelings moving onto the next chapter of our life. i will not let this person squirm into my mind or mess with my psyche. things will be fine.

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stay safe friends.

xo, mama lola

back-to-school : sew your own pencil roll-up case!


school for my boys starts tomorrow!!!

it’s hard to believe summer is over, even though at times i was feeling quite burnt out and tired. my boys are ready to go back to school, see their friends and meet their teachers. i am ready for them to return, as well.

i don’t really do much in preparation for back-to-school. i am always looking for deals on things and will stock up on sale things. but, this year bear had a request…

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my bear told me he needed a pencil case as he enters grade 2. i thought that sounded quite reasonable, so i decided to sew up something fun for him, instead of buying one. and, of course i had to search for some design and sewing ideas!!!

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here are some roll up pencil cases i used as inspiration for my own design. these bloggers have shared fantastic pictures and tutorials for this sewing project so i will spare you my horrid instructions.

i will say this that to sew up bear’s pencil case took about 90 minutes from start to finish. that includes finding fabric in my basement, ironing, filling my bobbins and fixing some mistakes. all-in-all it’s not a very difficult project!

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10 minute pencil roll from my poppet makes

 

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no sew coloured pencil roll from small + friendly

 

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make a colourful roll-up pencil case from guide central

 

bear’s pencil roll-up case was  a surprise and he was thrilled with it when i showed it to him. he immediately went to the art room and chose which supplies he needed. it was pretty sweet watching him kiss it! haha!

HAPPY BACK-TO-SCHOOL!

xo, mama lola

wish me luck: it’s also back-to-school for me, eeeeek!!


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as summer starts to wind down, i tend to get a little introspective about my life. it’s probably the smell of change in the air; the new routines, different clothes,  the stewy recipes i so adore! transitions can be tricky, but this year i think for us, for me, it’ll be one of the simplest falls yet. kids are both eager to go back to school, to see their friends and dive into that familiar life.

this will be my second year alone at home, but this year things will be different for me. i have applied to go back to school and finish my women’s studies degree via distance education. it’s a huge leap for me having been out of school for a few years. i finished my second year of uni, while bear was 2 years old, lion was still in my belly and i had a terrible tumour growing in my head! in hindsight i am amazed that i was able to do all of that!

now, i will have two kids at school, better health and peace at home to do homework and complete whatever academic demands are thrust upon me.

i am feeling very inadequate however. my mommy brain has left me terrified about writing essays, studying for exams and generally participating in the world of academia. my insecurities seem to have all risen to the surface in the last few weeks. some may tell me “oh, that’s silly. you’re gonna do great”. sure, i guess, but that doesn’t make me feel more confident, that can only come from within me and with time. 

now i wait. i am waiting to see which credits are transferable from me previous college and university experiences. i completed an honours diploma in addiction and mental health counselling many moons ago. i loved that course working hard to achieve that honours standing. i have about a half of a women’s studies degree, but the higher ups at the university i was attending decided to cancel the program. it was a very upsetting, ironic and stupid! 

anyhow, now i have found this university that specifically caters to online learning, which is perfect for me and my big ol’ bag of insecurities. it will be easier for me complete the work without also having to attend lectures. i am trying to do what’s best for me, while also fulfilling a promise i made to myself I WOULD FINISH WHAT I STARTED!

so… here we go! i have to print these positive affirmations and post them around my house! haha!

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wish me luck friends!

my kids and DH are all very excited and supportive of me!

i will keep you posted!

xo, mama lola

back-to-school with brother label maker!


i keep saying in my blog and to my friends that i don’t want to wish my summer away. and, i don’t. but, let’s be real here, school starts in a matter of weeks and it’s time to start planning. i don’t actually need to do too much shopping this year, but i do have to re-do a bunch of labels. thanks to brother it’s going to be super easy and fast and FUN!

and, let me be clear here. this brother p-touch PT-D600 labeller is not your traditional label maker. this beauty can make custom labels in 6 different widths, has an awesome colour display, has lotsa funky fonts, can be connected to your computer, makes fabric iron on labels, comes with cute symbols & pictures! such fun!

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i’m no techno whiz, but i found this machine easy to use, and FUN! the boys love that they can easily ask for a label for a school item… voila, lunch box labelled… pencil box done! well, you get the idea! haha!

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i want to label everything in my house now!

 

*this post is sponsored by brother brand, but the images and opinions expressed are my own.

xo, mama lola

camp fire nachos!


who doesn’t love nachos???

what about nachos cooked on a camp fire??? YES, PLEASE!

camp fire nachos

during one of our camping trips this summer i decided to try making nachos on the fire. i would totally recommend it, as it’s fun and delicious.

i used my iron skillet for cooking the nachos in, as it’s a perfect for over the fire. i layered chips, cheese and chopped veggies for ultimate goodness. we also enjoyed some fresh, local corn which we also cooked on the fire. first we soaked the corn in water for an hour or so and then placed them on the grill. we kept rotating them to ensure the cooked evenly. worked so well! corn was amazing with sea salt and butter!

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camp fire nachos
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Ingredients
  1. 1-2 cups cheese grated or cut int small pieces
  2. 1/2 red pepper cut
  3. 1/2 orange pepper cut
  4. cherry tomatoes diced
  5. green onions cut finely
  6. 1-2 tblsp olive oil
  7. corn chips
Instructions
  1. 1. make sure your fire is burning well in the fire pit.
  2. 2. add olive oil to pan.
  3. 3. layer chips, cheese, veggies to the top of skillet.
  4. 4. place skillet on grill on fire pit and let cook until cheese has melted. be careful, as the skillet heats up and stays hot.
  5. 5. sprinkle green onion on top and serve out of skillet with guacamole, sour cream and salsa!
bear & lion http://bearandlionmama.com/
 cooking times will really vary. the wood we purchased was really wet, so it took a while for the logs to catch and burn well. it was super frustrating! we had to keep blowing in the fire to keep things going.

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kids devoured the nachos!

easy camping meal! yum!

xo, mama lola
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