Gift Cards For The Boy

Posted in Parenting on October 8, 2014 by Luc

The boy received a number of gift cards for his birthday. Each had substantial amounts for an 11-year old boy. Within hours of having received them, he wanted to go and spend them. There was no plan. Nothing specific that he wanted. He just wanted to go out and spend.

This is…difficult…for me. Whenever I get a gift card, I usually have something I want or need. I plan ahead. If there is nothing I need or want in particular at that given moment, I wait until I do.

Now, I understand why the boy wants to spend his money instantly. I mean, he’s got a ton of cash just sitting there and he wants to get himself something. Instant gratification.

But I see what he has gotten himself in the past. Toys that we end up giving away months later. Pokémon cards that he looks at once or twice and then puts away never to pull out again. Memberships in online game sites like Club Penguin that he plays for a week and then doesn’t play again. It just seems like such a waste!

This time, I told myself I would try to prevent this. I really wanted him to identify a few things that he really wanted and then he could go and get them. For instance, he really wanted a new Pokémon game that is coming out in November. We agreed that he should keep EB Games gift cards until then. But Jen, at this point, intervened.

Jen raised a good point, in that the boy should be able to buy himself something if he wanted to. It was, after all, his birthday gifts. I finally relented. As long as he didn’t spend his EB Games gift cards. Happy, the boy went to get himself a Pokémon movie and some sort of stuffed thing from Walmart. I figure both things will be in the spring garage sale.

I guess I don’t agree at all with Jen’s point of view, but I do see that getting a gift card should be a fun event, and not a dreaded one. I just hope that the boy will understand the value of money soon!

See Jen’s point of view on this topic.

Five Things I Need More and Five Things I Need Less

Posted in Top 5 on September 7, 2014 by Luc

It’s been a while. Spring and summer were a busy season. Also, I got lazy. But we’re back.

Jen wants to do a blog post where we relate things we need more of, and less of, in our lives. It’s hard to boil it down to just five, but for now, this is what is top of mind for me. If I did this next week, it could change. I guess I’m not as deep a thinker as I thought…

Five Things I Need More In My Life

  1. Time with kids
  2. Dates with Jen
  3. Working with my hands
  4. Reading and writing
  5. Exercise

Five Things I Need Less In My Life

  1. Construction season
  2. Pillows and/or throw cushions (I swear they reproduce in my house)
  3. Tennis elbow (right arm) and tendinitis (left wrist)
  4. Debt
  5. Feeling overwhelmed by events

See what Jen has to say.

So there I was, happy…

Posted in Life with tags , , on May 20, 2014 by Luc

Define happiness. That’s a tough one isn’t it? I think I’ve found the answer though.

I’m at my happiest when time flies by. I mean, really flies by. As in, you think it is about mid morning when in fact it is almost dinner time.

For instance, just this past weekend, I had to take down my shed. I had to take it down because the roof caved in over the winter. I could go on about the general suckiness of vinyl sheds, but this post is about happiness, therefore I will abstain.

Anyway, I took down my shed with the help of my son and eventually, the neighbour. Having taken down the shed, I noticed that the fence was now at a precarious angle (the shed was keeping it up, it seems). So, down came the fence. Of course, the fence had to be replaced, so off I went to buy some wood with another neighbour and proceeded to begin rebuilding the fence.

The point of this is that in my mind, I had done all of the above in only a few hours. Yet by the time I had installed the posts, it was past dinner time!

Time just flew and I came to realize that I loved it. I had a blast.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure if Jen was as happy as I was, taking care of the kids all day! Let’s find out what makes Jen happy by checking out her latest post.

How to Read the Newspaper

Posted in How To with tags , , , on May 13, 2014 by Luc

This week, we are writing about how to read a newspaper. It seems, after all, a simple thing to do. Look at the articles and read the one you want. But it is not.

Let me explain.

How you read the paper during the week will be very different from how you read it on the weekend. If you have kids, this is even more so.

This is my routine during the week:

  1. Go for a run.
  2. Grab the paper at the front door on my way back in.
  3. Drop the paper on the kitchen counter.
  4. Scan the front page articles and pick one to read.
  5. Put bread in the toaster and boil the water for tea.
  6. Remind kids to prepare breakfast.
  7. Try to read chosen article while toast is toasting and water is boiling.
  8. Make tea and toast.
  9. Tell kids to prepare breakfast.
  10. Scan other pages for interesting titles.
  11. Yell at kids to prepare breakfast or they won’t be able to have screen time for a month.
  12. Go take a shower and get ready for work.
  13. Take lunch from fridge, look longingly at paper.
  14. Yell at kids to get ready for school.
  15. Go to work.

This is my routine during the weekend:

  1. Wake up.
  2. Make sure kids are still sleeping. Perfect.
  3. Grab the paper.
  4. Sit down.
  5. Look at the first section of the paper. Attempt to begin reading.
  6. Sigh with exasperation.
  7. Deal with kids by turning on the TV.
  8. Return to first section of paper, now being looked at by Jen (note choice of word “look”).
  9. Grab the Analysis section of paper.
  10. Half-heartedly read some analysis while looking to see if Jen is done with first section.
  11. Jump on first section when Jen gets up to make her coffee.
  12. Deal with bloody kids again.
  13. Finally read most articles, especially those dealing with international news.
  14. Fight with son for Sports section.
  15. Read it.
  16. Sit back, satisfied.

I hope that this how-to will help you in your own quest for reading the paper. I really do. Now check out Jen’s look at how to read the paper!

Blog Out Loud Baby!

Posted in Life with tags , , on April 27, 2014 by Luc

Jen and I will be at the Blog Out Loud event this coming Tuesday. It’s part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival (for more info, check out the little badge thingy on the side).

We were asked to read a particular blog, chosen by a panel of judges.

That’s pretty cool.

Maybe see you there!

Check out Jen’s reaction to our selection!

Favourite Moment of the Week

Posted in Favourites on April 13, 2014 by Luc

As a parent, I am often thinking that I am too harsh on my kids. It seems to me that I am always telling them not to do this, or to do that, etc. etc. I spend my life with them saying what they are doing wrong, as opposed to what they are doing right. Part of me thinks this is the right thing to do, as I don’t want my kids growing up to be coddled and incapable of dealing with the real world. But another part of me thinks I am too harsh and that my kids will grow up with low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence.

This is why, when the boy decided to sign up for baseball this year, I told myself that I would not be hard on him. He had played the year before, and could never quite get over the fact that a hard ball was coming at his face pretty fast! Therefore, I would be positive and that I would not lecture him. And yet, when we were practicing before the tryouts this weekend, I realized I was still telling him what he was doing wrong, as opposed to telling him what he was doing right. After the practice session, I made sure to tell him he had made great progress, and that he was going to do great at the tryout.

When we got to the tryout, off he went to his field (field is a strong word, it’s a dome to keep out the snow) and went through four stations. The first was pop-ups. When his turn came, up went the ball and…landed right in his glove. The second was hitting. They put the ball on a tee, and he did not miss once, hitting the ball solidly three times. The third was throwing a long ball. He nailed the throw two out of three times. The fourth was fielding a grounder. He missed it, but came really close to getting it.

The pride I felt at that moment was unbelievable. He wanted to do well, and he had done it. Was it because we had practiced and I had been hard on him that he did well? Was it because I had told him that he had made a lot of progress? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. He did what he did because he had it in him to do it.

This is what a parent should strive to do. To let their children do what is in them to achieve. Each child is different, and the same applies to all parents. Sometimes criticism is necessary, and sometimes encouragement works better. I just hope I can remember this when I’m called upon to be a parent again (should be in about five minutes!).

Have a look at what Jen’s favourite moment of the week was!

How To Do Absolutely Nothing

Posted in How To with tags , , , on April 6, 2014 by Luc

At home, I am the king of doing nothing. Once Jen and I decide that we will be doing nothing, that’s exactly what I do. Doing nothing is simple, really. Here are my rules:

  1. Don’t vacuum
  2. Do read a book or the paper
  3. Don’t do the dishes
  4. Do have a nap
  5. Don’t tidy the living room (again)
  6. Do watch the TV
  7. Don’t dust or Swiffer
  8. Do play a PC game (or whatever game strikes your fancy)
  9. Don’t  plan the next week’s activities when your significant other is doing 2,4,6,8,10
  10. Do relax

Pretty simple, right? My son certainly has got this figured out, as does my daughter. Jen, however, has a different concept of doing nothing. To understand it, simply inverse the Do’s and Don’ts. I’m sure she will be sharing more of her concept of doing nothing with you in her own blog post. Make sure you go have a look!

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