Working Man-Building a strong family

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I don’t really believe that there is women’s work and men’s work. I believe that gender roles should be equal but that being said somehow in my marriage we fell into more of traditional roles and I have been lucky enough to not have to get my hands dirty changing my oil, changing tires or taking out the toilet all three times our children decided to flush something that didn’t belong.

About a year and half ago I quit my job. My husband and I thought it was important that I have more time for our children with him away. Initially trepidatious I agreed it was for the best.  I do some work from home and I am a volunteer board member for a local league.  I am a full time wife, mother, cook, taxi driver and role model.

Do not misinterpret this to mean that I love picking up dirty socks or dirty dishes.  I don’t and I can safely say that though my family does not readily change their heathen ways it is not from lack of trying. My displeasure is known and though it would be easier I don’t do it for them. If I have to ask ten times it gets louder everytime and eventually the socks will get picked up.

My husband is away for work more then he is home and I know when he is there everybody wants a piece of him. His phone rings steady, people are in his ear and he is responsible for a crew of young guys that he affectionately calls his kids.

One day last week I was on the phone bitching to him about trying to get our daughter out of bed for school and he asked if I would like to trade him and get five thirteen year olds out of bed in the morning. I changed the subject of the conversation. 

Both if us have our roles and he is exceptional at his and I handle mine. Sometimes we struggle silently because part of our roles as husband and wife is too lift each other up, not weight each other down with complaints. When you live apart from each other sometimes part of supporting each other is learning to lean on yourself.  It’s a unique situation for certain and I don’t know that I will ever master it but I know that I won’t stop trying.

I know that my husband doesn’t tell me everyday how lonesome it gets living up North, how hard it is to miss your childrens special moments and get up and go to work each day, everyday knowing how many people are depending on him.

In turn I try to make sure that all the business here gets taken care of. The children are fed, educated and active, I volunteer at their school and their league, the business paperwork is done on time and I teach our girls about hard work, about integrity, about accountability and about the value of a dollar. I try to have a little life for myself because it is important for me and for them to see.

Our roles are very different but equally important.  I know I miss Kirk somedays more then I say and I definitely appreciate him more then I could ever express. I know that he makes our lives possible  and in turn we make his possible. We are all doing our best and continuing to learn. I do not define him nor he me but I believe that we make each other better!

Our kids are growing up with a family that doesn’t all get to sit down at the dinner table together every night but they are being given opportunities that neigher my husband and I had as children.

Families don’t fit into a little box like they used to. That perfect fifties style family with the Mom serving dinner in a dress to a suit and tie dad while her well groomed children say their prayers and talk about their day over meatloaf and pie!

Tell me about your unique family!

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Simple Things

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My grandmother Bernice was born January 5 of 1925. It’s easy to describe her but I am not sure that a description could quite do her justice. She was very simple, but not in the way that you would describe someone who was “not the sharpest knife in the drawer”, more like  ” She was two dimes short of a quarter! ” and when I say that I mean that money and material things didn’t mean anything to my grandmother. She was sensible and practical and she absolutely wanted to be surrounded by nice things, nice things to her were her family and friends. Her name, Bernice means shining star and she most definitely was the bright light that lit up our world. I can’t describe any grand gestures that made this so, I can only say that she was simply herself and in that we all felt comfortable in being ourselves. She never wanted for more, she wanted to have enough. She was a remarkable woman and I will love and treasure her memory always. The best compliment my husband ever gave to me was to say that my grandmother was one of the best people he ever met. I agree. I also like to think that there is a part of her in me that keeps shining.

We strive for all sorts of things in our lives that we think we will make us happy but my grandmother taught me that happiness is a lot simpler then we think.

Things we think will make us happy

1. Being Wealthy
2. Being thin
3. Being loved
4. Pretty things
5. A nice home

Things that will actually make us happy

1. Measuring wealth by the people you have in your life
2.Being healthy
3. Loving yourself
4. Things that can’t be seen, only felt
5. A home filled with love and laughter

Sometimes the things we stress about have simple answers. I find myself often looking up to the heavens and wondering what my grandmother would do.

♥♥

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Under the light of the moon-Movies on the Square

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I love Sir Winston Churchill Square in the summer. The city organizes all sorts of family events and festivals to bring people to this downtown meeting place. Last night the offering was Movies on the Square, a free screening of Despicable Me on a huge blow up screen.

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The fun commenced long before dusk fell. A D.J. lit up the popular downtown mecca with the sounds of summer, Polynesian dancers delighted young and old alike, even giving mini dance lessons to those willing to shake their groove thing in front of strangers. Free hoola hoops, beach balls and sunglasses were a hot accompaniment to a summer evening that’s weather could only be described as “close to perfect”.

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Families delighted in face painting, balloon making, outdoor chess, table tennis, a bouncy house slide and some cooled off in the city hall wading pool. Food trucks offered tasty delights such as pulled pork, hot dogs, pizza, mini donuts and no movie night would be complete without hot, fresh popcorn.

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In addition to the Amphitheater seating families brought fold up chairs and blankets to ensure a comfy and cozy movie experience under the stars. It was a wonderful night, even long before the movie started my teenager told me how much fun she and her friends were having and the youngest loved the beachy atmosphere.

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A crowd favorite was Spider Man who talked and posed for pictures with all the children. Lots of prizes were given out, I won glow in the dark bubbles 🙂 The movie commenced around 9:45 when nature struggled to dim the lights on a magnificant summer day.

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Movies on the Square will be back on August 30-31. Tips for first time movie goers with young children, It is a long night, the movie does not start till dusk falls. Bring cold drinks and snacks if you are looking for an inexpensive evening. Weather can change quickly, pack cozy blankets and sweaters. Looking for more info about movies on the Square and other city events see HERE

Cheers. Happy Sunday!!

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A Week In July -Edmonton

Edmonton is a beautiful city in the summer. Festival City comes alive with food, music,  culture and fun for the whole family. There is no better way to connect with your family and your city then to immerse yourself into middle of it all. So that is what we did.

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Haley and I took in one of our favorite Edmonton Summer Events, Taste of Edmonton featuring live folk and jazz music on Sir Winston Churchill Square, along with favorite culinary delights from local restaurants. Our tastes vary slightly as Haley has a major sweet tooth and I tend to gravitate towards the main dishes. Haley enjoyed the sweet sensations of deep fried mars bars, chocolate lava cake with raspberry sorbet, chocolate covered strawberries and ice cream, just to name a few. I savored the flavors of bacon wrapped scallops, green onion cakes, Alberta beef with Yorkshire pudding and my fave jerk chicken. It was a beautiful YEG evening with the sun tickling the noses of those anxiously waiting in lines to try their favorite treats. The Art Gallery gleamed proudly in the background,  as a big brother would, proudly overlooking the Square and the diversity of people gathered to celebrate and enjoy the tastes of their fair city. This years slogan “Putting Picnics to shame for 29 years” speaks of the  longtime community involvement,  the loyal downtown food enthusiasts and the vibrant framework and heart of our city.

2013 KDAYS

For the second year in a row we kicked off KDAYS with the parade. Our group Greater Edmonton Junior Roller Derby, along with local adult leagues E-Ville Roller Derby and Oil City Derby Girls won a trophy for best crowd engagement. My youngest skater Haley was participating for her first year on wheels but unfortunately missed out due to a fever brought on by illness that led us on a golf cart adventure in the heart of downtown.  Never a dull moment! If you know a youth between the ages of 7-17 who may want to join the fastest growing sport on 8 wheels visit http://www.juniorderby.ca

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Kirk and I also took the girls to KDays for food and fun. Neither of us like the rides anymore but we both appreciate the smiles it brings to them. I love the food, the lights, the smells, the laughter.  The exhibition was a summer staple in my childhood and I am happy to share that with our girls. I never cease to be amazed by how many things can be deep fried or put on a stick.

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Taste of Edmonton followed by the food of KDAYS. Wow. So much food, so litttle time.

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We also took in a concert at KDAYS. Colin James who I saw 18 years ago in Ontario is every bit as captivating as he was in his youth. An amazing guitarist and vocalist,  even the kids were blown away. Colin James we ♥ you.

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Friday we caught up with some friends which turned into an all night affair while Haley led the adults in dances and charades and Morgan tried her best to make us all think we were uncool when we all are very aware of just how cool we are.

Saturday we traveled to Holden, the home of Hwy 14 Roller Derby where Morgan Mayhem was participating in a scrimmage. It is always great to see how the Roller Derby Community pulls together to put on such events. The Junior scrimmage was followed by Coed scrimmage but sadly we had plans back in the big bad city. Below is Morgan Mayhem (jammer in middle) trying to make her way through the pack while being blocked by Minnie Meanie and hit by P.OD Pippy. Notice her feet are not touching the ground. Thanks to Anthony Canada for the fantastic shot.

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The girls had a sleepover and we  rushed to meet friends at Pampas downtown.  Pampas is an authentic Brazilian Steakhouse that offers a unique dining concept called “Rodizio” offering continuous table side service with every tempting cut of meat available.  Yes please to bacon wrapped chicken, orange marinated chicken, rib eye steak, top sirloin steak, beef tenderloin kabob, spiced lamb, lemon pepper pork. Yes more wine please!! Food service and company was fantastic. If you want to know more about Pampas click Here

We left Pampas and headed to Edmontons Whyte Ave to take in some live music at Blues on Whyte. I always have a great time at Blues on Whyte. I meet the craziest characters, see the best live bands and always leave talking about coming back.  I think it is the diversity of the people that keeping me coming back. One minute you are chatting with a biker, the next you are sharing a table with a lawyer and his wife or doing a shot with some college kids that are celebrating the fact that it is Saturday. Blues is one of those places where there are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet. To me Blues on Whyte is the best of nitty gritty Edmonton. Check it out for yourself Here

A couple of days were needed to regroup and Kirk headed back up North to work. I handled some teenage drama and decided my girls needed some one on one time with their Mom.

Devonian  Botanical Gardens

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The University of Alberta Devonian Botanic Garden is a magnificent 190-acre property located in Parkland county about 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton, with cultivated gardens and plant collections, indoor showhouses, and an intricate nature trail system.

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Must sees include the beautiful Kurimoto Japanese Garden; a Tropical Showhouse with exotic butterflies; Temperate and Arid Showhouses; alpine, herb, rose, peony, lilac and lily collections; a Heritage Garden; Native Peoples Garden; trial beds and more. The kids were gracious to let me take a thousand rose pictures with the promise of homemade lemonade to follow.

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The Garden is a University of Alberta research site and visitor attraction offering children’s programs, certificate programs, Thursday date nights and more. Love nature? Check it out Here

The girls and I zipped back to the city for dinner at Red Robin.The girls like the friendly upbeat atmosphere and service and the meals are yummy. You can see Here

After dinner we ran over to Movies 12.  I love the cheap theatre.  Three movies for under $10 means you can go more often. We saw The Internship with Vince Vaugh and Owen Wilson. I laughed lots and even clapped at the end. My girls told me that was inappropriate but when I clapped others followed. There was clapping in the movie, and in the theatre, it was a feel good moment.
Silly comedy,  quick whit and innuendo mixed with real life lessons. The story, by funny guy Vince Vaughn used the storyline of the 80s movie Flashdance to teach life lessons in perseverance, being yourself and trying your best. The characters were as diverse as they were lovable and I needed the laughs so if you are needing some too I recommend.  Check it out Here

Today my garden is calling for some attention and the girls want to go swimming.  This weekend a fave multicultural event Heritage Fest begins as well as Movies on the Square. As I said, never a dull moment!  I hope summer is heating up in your city. Cheers

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Looks Like We Made It

I posted this last year on our tenth wedding Anniversary, I cannot believe another year has passed. 11 married years and it was a better year then the last. I think we learned a lot about ourselves that allows us to be better people and be better to each other. I wanted to share it again because it will always be relevant and a little video I made to celebrate 11 years. I made it to seem like it was a time capsule being looked at in the future.

Kirk is away till the end of the month so I hope he sees this and knows how much I miss him. Cheers to many more years.

xo

Michelle

I am feeling pretty nostalgic waiting for Kirk to come home and celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary so I thought I would share some things that I have learned…Marriage is hard, from way back in the Cave Man days when men clubbed you over the head and dragged you back to their cave it is unnatural to assume two people can live in peace and harmony all the time. Marriage requires work and upkeep, people will maintain their houses and vehicles but forget to maintain their marriage. To Error is human, to forgive divine. The minute you say “I would never”…you will! Fill your life with memories not things. Fun and laughter are fuel for a marriage. A marriage requires two people, you only become one in the eyes of the government, retain your individuality. If you truly love someone your heart will be broken a million times, but each time it gets stronger and great strength will get through this crazy world.
LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH, DARE, CRY….FEEL EVERYTHING!!

http://animoto.com/play/CFIYc0qVu9mDDp1P11PUAQ