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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Curing the Back to School Jitters with Netflix

I have a little one who is nervous about heading to school. She's going into Kindergarten next month. Our countdown tells me it's 16 days away. Some days, when I'm ready to trade her to the neighbours for a decent cup of coffee, it feels like it can never come soon enough. Other days, I feel almost as nervous as she does at the idea of relinquishing my baby into someone else's care.

She speaks in television based idioms, little riddles that would be indecipherable if I hadn't spent a bazillion hours cuddled up next to her on the couch watching Netflix. Climbing into my lap she confides, "When I think of school I feel Fluttershy." (For the uninitiated that's one of the main characters on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a soft spoken pony who loves animals) "So you mean you feel shy?" I ask, and my normally exuberant kid says "Yeah, like my voice is gone", she whispers low as she adds "and I don't want to talk."

She doesn't like surprises this one. She wants to know exactly what will happen when she goes to school, step by step, play by play. What will it look like? Who will be there? She wants all the details I simply can't provide her. I tell her that she will love school. I tell her that she will meet so many new friends. I tell her that she should just walk up to her classmates and say "Hi, my name is G. What's your name?" and see what happens. She walks in and out of my bedroom practising. Pretending I'm some strange kid she says "Hi, I'm G? Who are you?" I tell her she's doing great. She says "When I hello I'm all Twilight Sparkle." I stare at her blankly and she adds "She made friends with the other ponies when she said 'Hello, I'm Twilight Sparkle.'"  I remember rewatching the first ever episode of season one the other day and I realize that yes, when she first met the other main characters she did say exactly just that. "Yep, just like Twilight Sparkle." She thinks about it for a bit and says "Hmm... I sound like Twilight Sparkle but I still feel more like Fluttershy."

Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy meet for the first time. 

I tell her that's okay. I tell her that the other kids will probably feel a bit shy too. I fish around in my brain for other words to reassure her. All her talk of ponies has me thinking of TV. I remember an episode of Blue's Clues where Blue's friend Periwinkle goes to school for the first time. It's been quite a while since we've watched it, she's probably forgotten all about it. Knowing she'll never turn down an offer to watch television, I suggest we head downstairs for a break. Big Sister joins us as we snuggle down on the couch and I bring up the particular episode I want to see (Season 5, Episode 29, Blue Takes You to School).

Steve asks, "Periwinkle, are you excited about your first day of school?"
"Yep", she says with a little bounce, then she comes in close to the screen and confides
"But I'm a little nervous too. You're coming with me right?"

Big Sister gives us a running critic of Periwinkle's classroom experiences, comparing them to her own memories of Kindergarten. "We never had a rabbit, but we did have circle time! I love circle time!"

"Circle time, circle time. It can be anything, as long as we're together."

Noticing how watching Periwinkle and Blue go to school seems to be making her feel more comfortable with the idea, when the episode is over I enter "school" into the Netflix search box, hunting for other "first time at school" episodes. We watch Leap Frog: Let's Go To SchoolShe looks serious and contemplative, like she's processing it all. 

Edison gives Tad and Lily a sneak peek into the classroom.

Next, at the big kid's request, we watch the first episode of My Little Pony for the umpteenth time. The little one snuggles up against my shoulder as she points out tips on how Twilight Sparkle makes friends. "See mom, she 'Hellos', just like I said." "Yep" I agree, "Saying hi is a great way to make friends".  After watching three shows I suggest we move on to something else that doesn't involve screen time.

However the next time TV time comes around the little one asks if we can watch Blue go to school again and by the end of the episode my youngest child is more her usual bouncy self. "When I think of school I feel like Blue!", she says loudly, almost screaming. "So you mean you feel excited?" "Yes! Excited!"

I expect she'll continue to fluctuate between nervous and excited. I also suspect she'll ask to watch Blue and Periwinkle head to school at least a dozen more times over the next 16 days. And that's okay. I can handle a little repetition, if it helps makes her feel more secure. I'm also all too aware that I should treasure these mid-day TV snuggles while I still can. 

Yep. Excited and nervous. This mom is all Fluttershy and Periwinkle these days too. 

What about you folks? Got any good recommendations for shows to watch to help calm the back to school jitters?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, and as such I will be providing thoughts and suggestions about what's currently showing on Netflix. As always my words and opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lego Bridge Build Off #ThrowbackThursday #ThenAndNow

While looking through some old photos I found a picture of 8 year old me, in my footed PJs sitting at the dining room table, showing off the Lego bridge I'd created, Lego newsletter in hand. The photographer was my preschool aged little brother, so perhaps it's not surprising that half my head is cut off.

I remember being intensely disappointed when my mom wouldn't let me send this photo into the Lego club magazine. I mean just because I was in my PJs, and most of my face was missing, that's no reason not to use the photo, right? Ha. Yes, the days before digital cameras.

When I showed the picture to my 8 year old daughter she immediately said, "Oh I should build a bridge! How about I build one and we see whose is better?"

Amusingly enough, taking photos of her with her creation I quickly realized it is hard to get the entire bridge in AND her whole face. So I ended up with bunches that look like this, and a new found respect for my four year old brother's photography skills.

F.Y.I., I think she totally kicked my butt. This kid builds a mean bridge.

The Great Canadian Giveaway Link-Up ~ Week of Aug.27th

Welcome to the The Great Canadian Giveaway Link-Up 
This is a weekly link-up, with a new linky published every Thursday (often up by Wednesday night).
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Meeting a New Wildflower {Not so Wordless Wednesday}

We went for a nature walk last weekend and I snapped tons of photos; photos of my kids, of wildflowers, of bees and dragon flies. My kids want to know the name of every plant and creature we see. My wildflower knowledge peters out somewhere around Cornflowers and Queen Anne's lace. One of the flowers that peeked my interest was this light pink-purple beauty, which seemed quite popular with the bees and butterflies.

I didn't have a clue what it was called, but I thought it was pretty so I took a few close up shots, just for fun. Once we were home it occurred to me that I should be able to figure out the name of the flower by doing a reverse photo look up on Google. Bingo. Apparently this plant is Eutrochium, more commonly know as Joe-Pye Weed. 
Jopi, or Joe Pye, was an Native American healer from New England who used Eutrochium to treat a variety of ailments, Folklore says that he used this plant to cure fevers and to help treat typhus outbreaks in the American colonists. which led to people using the name Joe-Pye weed for these plants.
Neat. And I have to say, I love the internet, because that was way easier than hitting the library and searching through a wildflower guidebook.

What sort of photos have you folks been snapping?

Love to Travel? Love Instagram? Join in on #TravellingMaple Tuesdays!

Welcome to Travelling Maple Tuesdays! Each Tuesday we invite you to post a picture on Instagram and include the hastag ‪#‎TravellingMaple‬. (This happens EVERY Tuesday, I just post about it every few weeks on here as a reminder.)

Travelling Maple is a website meant to showcase Canadian travel content. Canadian writers are invited to submit their travel themed posts. It can be about worldwide travel, or travel that takes place here in Canada; around the world or down the block, we want to hear about it (Remember, what's local for you can be a tourist destination for someone else).

Each Tuesday we move the party over to Instagram, sharing our Canadian perspective on travel with the world. We invite our fellow Canadians to join in (you don't need to be a blogger to take part). Just post any sort of travel photo, tell us where it's from and be sure to tag it #TravellingMaple.

If you decide to take part we ask that you share the love. For each picture you post please comment on or like at least two pictures with the #TravellingMaple hashtag.

And please be sure to follow your hosts:

We can’t wait to connect with you and see your awesome travel photos!
Monday, August 24, 2015

Housework Can Kill... {Monday Musings}

"Housework can kill you if done right." ~ Erma Bombeck
Thursday, August 20, 2015

How do you take care of your loved one's Facebook page after they've passed away?

What happens to your Facebook page when you die? My father passed away about a year and a half ago. My mom had the password for his Facebook account and she mentioned to me that she intended to log in and delete his account "after a reasonable time". I begged her not to do it because there were so many notes, funny comments and photos from my Dad, many of which existed solely on Facebook, and which I desperately didn't want to lose. My mom had a valid argument too though, she hated seeing his face pop up on Facebook.

Last Friday would have been my father's 61st birthday, a fact I was well and painfully aware of long before Facebook sent me the usual reminder. Throughout the day my father's name was prominent in the righthand side of my feed. Did I want to wish Gord a happy birthday? Well, yes, yes actually I really would like to. But since that's not possible how about I just sit here and cry and feel like garbage, thank you very much Mr.Facebook.

I mentioned to a friend online that it was my Dad's birthday and I was missing him horribly. She pointedly asked, "Did Facebook tell you to wish him a happy birthday like they did last year?"  She then went on to suggest that I look in to memorializing his Facebook page.

I was aware that Facebook often sets up pages as a memorial. It is something I'd considered in the past but I hadn't looked into the details on how to do it because I assumed it was something my mom, as the executer of his will, would need to do. I expected a tricky form, one where we would likely have to present a scan of his death certificate.  I dreaded asking my mom to do it because I worried she would instead start talking about deleting his page again, or worse yet just go ahead and delete it without further discussion.

My friend sent me a link to some information about how to memorialize a Facebook page. I read through the definition of memorializing an account, and what happens to your account once its memorialized, and finally got to the part where it said "To report a profile to be memorialized, please contact us." Clicking on contact us I was brought to the "Memorialization Request" form, which was shockingly simple.

I called my mom to verify that she'd be okay with me requesting that Facebook set my Dad's account to memorial mode. She burst into tears, and said "Oh God, yes please!" Seeing the constant reminders of the fact that it was his birthday had been bothering her too. She told me it had been a wretched day and she would be so relieved if I took care of this.

Filling out the "Memorialization Request" form was ridiculously easy. I had to provide a link to my Dad's Facebook account, his date of birth, his date of death, and a link to his online obituary. That's it. I wasn't asked to prove who I was, or what our relationship was. I didn't have to provide his death certificate or any other supporting evidence. Simple. Done. Within three days I had a very polite and respectful response from Facebook offering their condolences on my loss, offering to answer any further questions I might have, and letting me know that my memorization request had been approved.

Now when I go to my Dad's Facebook page it says "Remembering" above his name, and the banner image behind his icon has been removed (it's now just solid black). Other than that his account remains the same. Everything is still there. I can still comment on his feed. I can still tag my Dad in photos and have them show up on his page. However now his name no longer shows up as a suggestion when I go to recommend a page, and next year I won't get a reminder asking me to wish him happy birthday. It's an improvement. It leaves me with a sense of relief.

I was shocked by how quick and easy the whole process was, and I regretted that I hadn't done it sooner. That's why I thought I would share this in a blog post and perhaps help some other folk to discover how very easy this loose end is to take care of.

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Hi, I'm , a Canadian stay at home mom to two rambunctious little girls.
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