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As Halloween approaches and my kids are putting the final touches on their costumes, I can't help but get extremely aggravated when I am out shopping for the accessories. Have you seen some of the costumes that are being sold to our pre-teen girls? It truly is an outrage. How are we supposed to teach them that their self-worth does not lie in their looks, when clearly that is what is being sold to them. 
There is a term I have heard a lot recently regarding Halloween. Whore-a-ween ... an ugly term that I do not want my daughter associated with, nor myself for that matter. 

Ok, before you all go off the hook here, I don't care if you are an adult, and want to dress up like a sexy witch or a scantily clad pirate. That's on you and good on yah for making it look good. Do I understand the want to dress up as an alter ego? Yes, I do, but maybe we should think about how this is affecting our little girls. We are showing our daughter's that they need to look a certain way in order to gain male attention. The wrong type of male attention, I might add. I find it quite heartbreaking, just googling the term teen costume ideas, that so many of them are so sexual. I literally found 3 out of 50 that were not some what sexual. That needs to change! 

Stop selling my little girl sex! She has the right to be a little girl, the right to grow and experience her sexuality in her time, her way. It is time that women change the way we are being treated as a consumer. It is up to us, to demand different products and ideas. If we choose not to buy the "sexy costume", there will be no demand for the "sexy costume".  
 
 
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Simple to do and super cute, these painted Pumpkins could class up any house for Halloween. I found these on Pinterest. Click here for Tutorials
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Each of these Pumpkins can be found on Pinterest with tutorials for each of them. 

 Please Click this Link. Pinterest Pumpkins
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OMG, it's happening, I am starting to miss the busy days of parenting a Toddler. With my son being 14 and daughter 12, they need me less and less. Actually let me rephrase that. They need, money, a ride to their friend's house, help with homework, I have no clue how to do they way they are being taught, rides to concerts and sporting events, food, that they somehow can't seem to find in the kitchen, anywhere,  and did I mention, money? Yet, they don't need me watching over everything they do, they actually hate it. 
The good old days of sitting on the floor and playing lego are gone, and I must admit, it is tough. 

1) Halloween 

Halloween was so much fun for me when my kids were little. Making costumes, decorating, and carving pumpkins. I miss the excitement they had as the day came closer, my daughter wearing her costume for a week, and my son changing his mind the week prior. I even miss the sheer terror in their faces at some of houses.  My son running back to me and clinging to me leg and my daughter needing to be carried home, because she was too tired. 

These days Halloween goes something like this, Mom, I am heading to so and so's, I will be back at 10. Then I worry the whole time and can't stop looking at my watch, who am kidding I mean my phone. 
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2) Snow Days

Remember being so excited it was snowing you would wake your kids up at midnight to show them? I do, but that could have something to do with the fact that I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and snow days aren't a regular occurrence. There was nothing more frustrating at the time, than getting the kids in their snow suits. It literally could take up to a half an hour and once you were all done, someone had to pee. But do I ever so miss the look on those little faces as the snow started covering the ground. 
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3) Bubbles 

Funny right? Who would have thought bubbles. I think it just has to do with the pure amazement of them, as young people. I literally would blow bubbles for hours. Nowadays, bubbles not really a 14 and 12 year old's thing.  
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4) When things got Quiet, and This happened.

Things would finally get quiet and I would think for a moment, ahhh this is nice. Then, a sort of panic would set in, and I would think, wait, why is it so quiet? Usually, quiet meant, someone was somewhere, getting into something. There was a need to be aware at every moment back then, and I do miss it. Quiet now usually means my kids are out of the house, which isn't a bad thing. Just a lot different. I remember being so overwhelmed at times, feeling I couldn't get everything done ( I still do ). Waiting for them to be grown up a little more, so I could have a little more freedom. It goes by so fast, take it all in. 
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5) The creations they were so proud of.

I use to sit on the floor for hours with my son, completely frustrated at times, trying to build intricate lego characters. Have any of you seen the instructions for these things? It can be maddening, and my ridiculous need for perfection, was of no help. 12 bags of intricate little pieces would be laid out in front of me, and I would think, I would rather be putting together an ikea shelf. These day's my 14 and 12 year old, are much more into creating,  a mess. One thing I do not miss, is stepping on lego pieces! 
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6) The Beach 

Lake, ocean or river, didn't matter. It was kinda like getting ready for the snow day. You literally had to pack for what seemed like a 4 day excursion. Making sure you had enough food, water, sunscreen. Which you needed to apply every 15 minutes, because you were not going to be that parent with a burnt kid. Yet, the pure joy in their faces when they caught their first fish, or built an amazing sand castle, was absolutely priceless.
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7) Back Yard Play

Go outside and play! Spending the day in the back yard  (usually with a beer in my hand, hey, how else was I gonna get through the day *wink *wink ) was what summer was all about. It just doesn't happen anymore. There truly is not a lot of play happening in the back yard anymore, wait, unless their ipods are with them.
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8) The water Park

Cherish this Mom's! Not one teenager I know wants to go to the water park anmore, not the free, community water park down the street anyway. Now, in saying that, I have definitely taken them to the water slides as teens, and watched them run off with their friends. Whilst breaking my wallet to pay insanely high priced entry fees and buy them over priced food and drinks. 
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9) The first time they played sports

This one really needs no explanation, just that you will never get this back.
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10) They actually got along

Don't get me wrong, I have been pretty lucky in this department. My kids, being polar opposites, get a long fairly well. But, I do remember a time when they were best friends. Inseparable actually.  My laid back son, get's bossed around by my high maintenance daughter, what could be better? A lot! Now that he is 14 and doesn't want to put up with her shit anymore, my house has become more of a battle ground. They are rarely in the same place anymore, and unless my daughter whine's at him for 30 minutes, he won't do much with her at all. Sometimes I don't blame him. 
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Life can pass by so quickly and all these little moments can sometimes go unnoticed. Take time while your kids are young to drink it all in. Try hard not to get frustrated with all the preparation, but revel in the moments.  For these moments are going to be the ones you cherish as your kids grow. You can never get them back.  Now don't get me wrong here, I am sure I could write an article about ten things I don't miss, or more *wink. 
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photo via - https://mickleblog.wordpress.com/category/labour/
If you live in BC, Canada, have kids or not you are very aware of Teacher's Strike. As a parent and a member of the community, I have my opinions, but instead of spewing my concerns, I chose to ask my 12 and 14 year old what their thoughts are. 

I sat down with my kids this past week and talked with them about the teacher's strike. The 2 of them at first seemed extremely bored with it, it was difficult to pull them away from their laptops and Ipads, but I did (I celebrate the small victories). My 14 year old son, had a lot more to say then my 12-year-old daughter, which if you know her, that is a rare occurrence.  We came up with this: 

Quotes from my Kids about their teachers: 

Thank you for being my friend, without you there may have been times that I felt insecure, scared even. I do not always feel as smart as everyone in the class, but you have never made me feel that I couldn't do it. You taught me that I could do anything. - Rayne Wagner; to her grade six teacher.

I may not have liked the time that you emailed my Mom about me not finishing my homework, actually I didn't like it at all because she took away my laptop. I know now though that she needed to know because I failed grade eight math and because of the strike I did not get a chance to make it it up in summer school. - Tiegen Wagner; to his grade eight math teacher

I am so grateful for all the time my teacher spent with me before and after school, so that I could be more prepared for Grade eight. - Tiegen Wagner; to his grade seven teacher

If it wasn't for my Grade One Teacher Jodi, I am not sure if I would have even liked school. - Rayne Wagner

I am not sad that we aren't in school; I mean at least it is sunny out still. I am just worried that I may be even worse at math this year and then how am I ever going to be a graphic designer, or video game designer. - Tiegen Wagner

I didn't like having so many kids in my class in grade six, it was hard to feel as though I was even there, even though my teachers spent a lot of time with me. Tiegen Wagner; on being in a split class with two part-time teachers

Quotes from my kids when I asked them if they understood what the Strike was for:

Money - Tiegen Wagner

School supplies, we have to share all the school supplies, even though you bought them Mom - Rayne Wagner

The government thinks the teachers make enough money, and the teachers think they don't make enough money. I don't care about the money anyone makes I care that the teachers seem sometimes exhausted - Tiegen Wagner

Class size, I think the teachers want smaller class sizes, at least that is what I heard - Tiegen Wagner

Quotes from my kids when I asked them what they wanted:

I want my teachers to be happy; they are who I see in the morning and most of my day - Tiegen Wagner

I want to you to buy my school supplies, and I get to keep them, I don't understand why I have to share all of my stuff. I mean you paid for it Mom, isn't that our stuff? - Rayne Wagner
So without voicing my opinion on this debacle. Here it is, from the little people we are all fighting for!  What I took from this was a lot less simple than their answers.  We all want our kids in school, but what I didn't realize is they want to be in school too. For the most part they love their teachers and appreciate all that is done for them. 
 
 
So we are all talking about Ray Rice and Janay Rice, because we are mortified by what we saw all over the media. Why is it that I am so saddened by what happened to Janay Rice? For reason's that you may not expect actually. I am devastated that I had to see her abuse splashed all over the internet with little thought of how she may feel.  The only people that should be ashamed here are the people posting these stories, the people that want to make money off them. This footage did nothing for Janay Rice other than feed a burning desire for us to get a glimpse into the celebrity life.  

I know what you are going to say. You are going to tell me that we need to stand up against abuse, and you are right we do! But there is no way in hell that I would feel better if every mistake I had ever made being splashed all over the media. There is no excuse for what Ray Rice did to his now wife, but we know nothing of her story or what she has been through since this happened. Listen to the words she spoke, feel that pain also. 
The following message, which the Baltimore Sun reported was from Janay Rice and was intended to be released publicly, appeared Tuesday on her official Instagram account:

"I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it's reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.

"THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don't you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!"

Via CBCSports 

We all want her to feel that she can leave, that it isn't ok to be in an abusive relationship. Many women have come forward with stories of their abuse; it is wonderful that they want to give Janay support and lend her a helping hand. That Is not what I am criticising. I am criticising the media for using Janay's story to make money. 

So instead of writing an open letter to Janay telling her it's ok to leave, I want to write a statement to her telling her, I hope you are ok, and I am sorry that you have had to relive this part of your life due to the insatiable appetite of the media wanting to make a quick buck.  
Janay,

I am truly sorry for what you have been through. Not only have you had to deal with the immense pain of being hit by your partner, but you have to re-live this pain many months later. I don't know you, but what I do know is that I know nothing of your story, or of your husbands.  So I will not judge you for standing up for the man you love. I will not pretend to know what emotions you have been through in the past 24 hours or the past year. 

You are a strong woman, and you have every right to make your decisions. I do not condone what your Husband did that night. No woman should ever be hit, pushed, shoved or held against her will. But you know what you are up against better than any other person on this planet.  I hope that you and your family get through this as unscathed as possible. What I believe you should hear is we will stand by you whatever your decision. Be safe! I am sorry that this has happened to you many months ago, and that you are now re-living it today! 
 
 
My happiness vs what I thought would be my kids happiness.  That is the place I was in, while considering leaving my husband. A decision I did not take lightly, an agonizing, heart breaking, painful decision. How could I take my children away from their Dad, how could I break up all they knew as a family. It simply came down to what I truly wanted for my children. Their happiness.  

Flash back 15 years .... 
Walking towards the alter, I saw the man of my dreams. My heart filled with nothing but (what I thought was) pure love. I nervously clutched my Dad's arm as we walked towards the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. This was what I was born for, I thought to myself. This is what I always wanted, this man, he was going to be my forever. I will never forget, or regret that day. I am flooded with wonderful memories even now, as I write this. It was a perfect day. 

I lost myself somewhere in that relationship.

No one get's married thinking they are going to end up in a divorce, but shit happens. It gets complicated, and just because it got hard, didn't mean I didn't try. I did, I poured my heart into that marriage and my family. I just couldn't stop crying. I cried every day, every time I didn't have to show my brave face, I cried. It started to affect my parenting, which was unacceptable to me. 

Do I know the devastating effects that my divorce had on my children? Yes I do, they are my children, and I am a good Mom! 

I did not take breaking my family up, lightly. In fact, for years, I chose their so called happiness over mine. I still do, I believe all mother's do. It wasn't good enough for me, I believed we all deserved to be happy. That is when I decided, our happiness could only be achieved, if I left their Dad. Toughest decision I have ever made. 

I clearly remember driving my kids home from daycare about 6 months after leaving my husband, and my 4 year old daughter asked me why we couldn't live in the big house with Daddy anymore. Why did we have to move to this little town house without him. My heart was broken and all I could say was, sorry baby. I cried myself to sleep that night. I felt like I was ruining my children's lives. All those great things they had, the big yard, the toys, their own space to play, and a stay at home Mom. I felt as though I ruined everything! I apologized to them almost everyday.

 These are the reason's I stopped apologizing and started explaining to them the truth. 

"Much as we might like to believe the opposite, children are much more concerned with their own personal happiness than anyone else’s. Parents contemplating divorce should remember their own emotional concerns are not naturally aligned with their child’s. So when a divorcing parent argues, “How could my children be happy if I wasn’t happy?” I always think, “Quite easily, in fact.”
Everyone has the right to be happy. Even their Mom an Dad

Yes my children should do all they can to make sure they stick with what they have signed up for. I do not teach the easy way out. Divorce or quitting anything should be well thought through, and not always an option. Yet, I believe that I deserve to be happy as much as the next person, as do they.  Why I disagree with the above quote is very simple. Living in a tumultuous house can be just as detrimental. We as parents have to pick which we believe is better for our children and teach them that hard decisions will have to be made. They will have to live with something that wasn't their choice, true. Who doesn't. There will always be tough time's and not everything is in our control. I do not preach quitting anything! I teach my children, that their happiness is important and they deserve it. They have to work at it. 
People aren't perfect, I am most definitely not perfect. Of course I didn't want to hurt my kids and tear them away from all they once knew, but I stopped apologizing for it. Everytime I apologized to them, they had no choice but to believe it was a bad thing. I mean really, we are supposed to only apologize when we do something wrong, right? It only perpetuated the problem. I had to be strong and stand up for my decisions, so do they. I can't possibly teach my children to stand up for what they believe in if I don't, can I? 
I never wanted to put my children through a divorce, but I stopped apologizing and started explaining. I started talking with them, not to them. They know it is not their fault I left their Dad.

I recently did a Mock interview with them, a Q&A about, what they think about divorce and how it affected them. That Blog entry is soon to come. 

To all the Mom's still apologizing to your kids for your divorce, take some time to think about what you are apologizing for. Take some time to hear what they have to say. They deserve to know why you made a life changing decision. It doesn't have to include all the gory details, but they are much smarter than you think, they may already know. 


 
 
Whether you loved or hated highschool, doesn't matter. I know many people that hated it and many people that kind of still live in its glory, forgetting that it is truly just a small piece of your life. I am quite indifferent about my experience in highschool, I neither loved nor hated it. But what I do know is it can be tougher on some than others. 

As my son starts his second year in highschool. I thought about my experiences in highschool in comparison to my experiences in the last 22 years. I realized that I too felt it was a whole world inside one big square building. That everything that happened there could feel like it was my only thing. I wanted my Son to understand that his time in highschool is a great one, but not the only one. 

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There is nothing in this world I hate more, than talking about my sexual abuse as a child. It is one of those things that if people have not experienced, they seem vaguely touched by. I see the expression on their faces, usually one of commiseration, yet not understanding. I don't blame them, actually; I am happy for them. No one needs to go through that type of trauma. There is a great loss in childhood, for that matter adulthood, in being abused sexually as a small child.

As a very young girl, ages 3-6, I was sexually abused by my neighbour. There is an utter shame in it. One that cannot be explained by a person of that age, barely by a person of my age. Without getting into any of the gruesome details. I will explain this; it is something I put away in a part of my brain for many years. Something that I put away so far, that I didn't even know it had happened to me. A definite defense mechanism, I still use  today, begrudgingly. A fight or flight type of response. 

It wasn't until many years later; 19 to be exact, that my abuser came to me to confess his indiscretions and that I may not be the only one he had done this to. It clearly brought up a whole hell of a lot of confusions. As a young girl in my mid 20's now, I knew very distinctly that he was telling me the truth, but I had not let that part of life in for so many years.  I felt very scared, alone and traumatized as if it had just happened to me that day. With the same response I had learned so many years earlier, I put this pain to bed, carefully, never wanting to awake it again. It didn't work this time.

 You see I met this man, my soon to be husband, and one day we were walking downtown and we passed a flyer posted on one of the small businesses. It was my abuser; I was appalled! He was looking for young children to join his baseball team. I couldn't just stand by; I couldn't let this happen to anyone else. I pressed charges! My fiance stood behind me 100%, as we went through the process. Retelling a story I had never told, not really. The heartache was deafening. A foggy white mist seemed to follow me wherever I went. I couldn't see through it. It took my first pregnancy, for me to see any good in this. Unfortunately this man is still free today, but at the very least, I know I tried my best to serve justice. 

Becoming a parent has been the happiest time of my life. My first pregnancy came on the heels, of me finding out I was sexually abused as a child. As all of you Moms-to-be know, it is a fascinating time in your life. We spend much of the pregnancy looking into parenting techniques, tips and ideas. I spent a lot of my pregnancy doing the same, with just one small adjustment. I thought about how never to let what happened to me, happen to them. I obsessed over it at times.

5 Key Points

The Fear of becoming a Bad Parent

Not only did I fear being a bad parent, I feared that I would be extremely over protective. Now that my children are 14 and 12, I have realized that I have done a great job raising them, so far. I am sure they will have their own criticism once they are adults. But at the very least I have grown to be the best Mom I can be. 

The Fear that my Children would be abused. 

I certainly had anxiety, especially with my daughter. I realize that most parents are protective, as we should be. I fought with myself about whether I was being too protective, because of my abuse.

Shame and Guilt 

My shame and guilt, had all to do with my parenting. Would I be good at this? Am I doing the best for my children. I over compensated many times, and was not as strict on my kids, because of this shame. 

With all of that being said. I have had the support of family and friends throughout my journey. Being a parent is one of the most rewarding things, I have ever experienced. It can also be tough at times, without any of these factors. Knowledge is the key to success in any endeavour. If you do your best and know what you are dealing with, you will succeed. 
 
 
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Recently we have seen a surge of blog posts, facebook updates, twitter hashtags,  all relating to Robin Williams Suicide. I get it, it is a terrible loss and it too saddens me. It has brought some much needed talk forward, regarding mental health issues. Issues, that hit close to home for a lot of people. Issues, that may have been overlooked if a celebrity had not been the one dealing with them.  I send my love to Robin William's family and friend's in this extremely difficult time. 

The same has happened with Breastfeeding in Public. With the past month being, breastfeeding awareness month. Many people have told their stories of being shamed, and some of being accepted.  I applaud all the women and men speaking out on this topic. Only good things can come when we as a people, speak out about these types of issues. We, in North America, have the luxury of freedom of speech. We are lucky that we have a medium to express our feelings and share them with the world. That I am grateful for.  

Recently, my very good friend made a good point, she shared it on Facebook. Here it is .... 
Nailed it! I don't believe this could have been said any better. It got me thinking, what do we really care about, what really worries us, or is it that we aren't being given the right things to worry about, via the Media? We are a part of the trend, what we share, follow and like is the MEDIA, we can change this. 

 I am a "mommy blogger", I enjoy writing about women's issues, parenting, my family, recipes, and what ever comes to mind. A great freedom that I have been given, one that I cherish. One that many women (or men) in our world do not have. No, I don't believe we should stop writing about what we care about. I believe, most of us are doing our best to get through the day. Life can be hard, but my complaints are much smaller than those in many other parts of the world. 

I am definitely not taking away from the issues we as women write about. I certainly don't believe that we should stop writing about, shark week, breastfeeding, or Robin Williams for that matter.  Yet, we have the ability to make a difference. We have the ability to write better content. To uplift communities and help them! Through our words! Just because we are so called "mommy bloggers" does not mean would shouldn't be speaking out regarding these types of issues. I wouldn't want my kids to think that these aren't important issues, because they are. 

When a celebrity's death is trending over a possible genocide, I do believe we have a problem. If you are interested in helping the woman of Iraq, please take a look at this website. Women for Women International. Also please watch the following video. I believe this man has some very great things to say. 

AffiliateManager.com Affiliate Program Management Services
 
 
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I forgot to go over one thing, when I spoke to my daughter, about the birds and the bees. 

Pubic hair! Okay, don't get me wrong, I wasn't even aware I had to, but things have changed since the 70's. You know what I am talking about ladies, when pubic hair was, let me just say, a whole other animal! 

I never had to ask my Mom about pubic hair; I saw her naked, and well, it was the 70's, she had a lot of it. I guess I just knew that I would be getting it, and that was that. My poor daughter did not have that luxury. Yes, she has seen me naked, but I am carefully manicured down there. She hasn't been privy to a whole lot of pubic hair moments in her life. 

So this is how it went down. My partner and I had just turned on Netflix prepared to watch a full season of whatever caught our eye. Marathon it, as we like to say! My kids were just getting themselves ready for bed, and as usual my daughter, who has a bit of a bathing addiction, was in the bath.  

To give you a bit of a back story. Ryan, my partner, boyfriend, common law husband, or whatever you want to call him, has been in my life since she was just little. He loves her like she is one of his own, but nothing could have prepared him for this moment, or any Dad for that matter. 

Just after we said goodnight to my 14-year-old son, my 12-year-old daughter came barreling down the stairs. Butt ass naked! This is not a big deal in my house, as I believe there is no shame in the human body. Besides, she is a little girl, a late bloomer, and has never had a reason to cover herself up.

 I digress ... 

The 2 of us, Ryan and I, are sitting in the living room, just about to start our Netflix marathon, when she walks up to me, points at her vagina and shouts out, WHAT IS THIS!!!!! She was pointing at her newly found pubic hair! IT IS ITCHY; she shouted again.  Ryan, quickly turned his head, to not embarrass her, or himself I am sure. I then, let out a bit of a laugh, unsure of myself in that moment, unsure of how to react. I was proud that my daughter would want to come to me and ask that question. Proud, that she has no fear or shame in her body. Proud that she was comfortable enough in her skin to ask that question. 

I brought her back upstairs, as not to embarrass either Ryan or her, to talk to her about pubic hair. What has my life come to, pubic hair, really?  I explained to her what it was and why it was there. The one thing I may have skipped when talking to her about the birds and the bees. A strange but defining moment for the 2 of us, my daughter and I.  

I have always been open and honest with both of my children about sex, hormones, changing into a teenager, etc. I guess, I forgot to explain pubic hair. #parentingfails  

Do any of you have similar stories? Anything you forgot to tell your kids about the birds and the bees?
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