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Red-pop puke stains everything: And other observations on parenthood

Written by Jennifer Miller on Nov 24th, 2013 | Filed under: Lifestyle


A small child, when given the choice of A or B will invariably choose the square root of A divided by B.

An alternate definition of Boy: A loud noise covered in dirt.

By age three, “Why?” is not a question, it’s a fine art, a meditation, a merry-go-round you just can’t get off.

Utter the words, “My children will never…” is the very worst kind of karma.

You know life has changed forever when the best Christmas gift you get is your four year old’s commitment to wipe his own bum.

Red pop, hot dogs and a car sick kid are a deadly combination.

Red pop puke stains. Everything.

Even kids who have never seen Sponge Bob, Barney, The Wiggles or will magically know and sing the songs… over, and over, and over…

Bribery may be the moral low ground… but it sometimes works.

The combined evil genius of a four and two year old should not be underestimated.

Things no one tells you:

  • You will, at some point, find poop floating in your kid’s bath, and you will scoop it out in a plastic IKEA cup.
  • Boys sometimes dump lawnmower gas on the deck “just to see what happens.”
  • Your baby will puke in your mouth or hair.
  • Parenting books are 99% bullshit
  • Quiet is the loudest (and most dangerous) sound.
  • You will be brought to your knees by your own weakness and inadequacy
  • You will feel like super woman
  • You will negotiate with terrorists.
  • You’ll be able to recite “Goodnight Moon” in your sleep… trust me.

It is impossible to have only one child. Every kid is born with an invisible evil twin called, “Not me.”

Laughter is an art perfected in infancy

College is excellent preparation for parenthood: you learn to exist on little to no sleep, function with a hangover, and eat cold pizza or ramen noodles for breakfast.

Factory work is excellent preparation for parenthood: you learn to do the same tasks over, and over, and over, and over and no one says, “Thank you.”

Babies are as addictive as crack.

It is possible for two boys, working together, to completely dismantle and destroy a toilet with only two matchbox cars and their bare hands as tools.

There’s nothing funnier to parents (or more shocking to non parents) at a dinner party than a naked preschooler pressing himself against a sliding glass door and then smearing himself back and forth and around until his junk looks like something from a Salividor Dali painting.

With three boys, urination is a team sport: snapshot: big boy, belled up to the pot, tiny boy knees on one rim, hands on the other, carefully pointing “down”, middle boy aiming carefully under tiny boy’s armpit. Big boy shouting, “Ready guys, ONE, TWO, THREE, GO!”

Toddlers are easier than teens: if you cannot find them, they are generally just under the couch.

Teens are easier than toddlers: they never stick their fingers under the bathroom door while you’re showering to ask if you’re done yet or if they can have a cookie.

Putting snow suits on young children: an olympic sport I could medal in.

Everything: carpet, furniture, clothing, curtains, stuffed animals, EVERYTHING, should colour coordinate with peanut butter.

No matter what you do, someone will assure you that you’re doing it very, very wrong.

Do your best, every day. Your “best” will vary. That’s okay. Do your best.

Don’t be surprised if your daughter and her bestie cut their hair off and jam it into a heating register to hide the evidence.

When it comes down to laugh or cry: always laugh.

All those things your parents said that you swore you’d never say. You will say them. With pride.

The quality of a day is measured in dirt between little toes.

People to ignore:

  • The lady in the grocery store who feels the need to point out that your kids shoes are on the wrong feet.
  • The mother of one child who feels the need to point out what you’re messing up with your fourth.
  • The competition moms: it’s not a race to solid food, toilet training, sleeping through the night, letter recognition, violin virtuosity, all-star little league captain or Harvard admission. It’s just not.
  • The older mom who’s raised a tribe and thinks she knows better than you what’s good for your baby. She doesn’t. You’ll find your way.
  • Parents Magazine.
  • The activist parents.
  • The neighbour who gripes when your kids yell in their own backyard in the middle of the afternoon.
  • Your childless friends who don’t “get” the massive priority shift that comes with parenthood.
  • The “Just wait until they’re…. pick an age” naysaying parents.

Reading aloud to kids is time well spent. So is a bubble bath alone.

The best thing I can do for my kids today is to take care of myself.

Children do not appreciate the precarious nature of their existence.

Date night: When you get away from the kids long enough to talk about the kids and worry about the kids.

Quote from my cousin Griff: “Parenthood, where you allow your children to get your way.”

Having children is a form of enlightenment: it opens your eyes to entire worlds, both inner and outer, that you never knew were there.

I’ve been tired for 17 years. I will rest when I’m dead.

When toddlerhood passes, you stop hearing the music.

When a teenager asks for a snuggle, put down whatever you are doing and unfold your lap as big as you can.

“Just nufing!” is a worrisome answer to the question, “What are you doing in there?”

The days are long. The years are short.

Tips for spending less on kids clothes

Written by Jennifer Miller on Sep 16th, 2013 | Filed under: Uncategorized


Although it stings a little as you witness your little bundle of joy rapidly changes his clothing preference, it’s actually a normal phase every parent has to deal with. Not to sound dramatic, but you can actually turn this transition period into something that is beneficial to your child as he gets older. In fact, you can help your child cope with the fast changing fashion trends with some helpful tips we have provided below:


According to fashion blogger Ashley Henshaw, “before any shopping trip, remind yourself of the basics. That is to say, your child’s lifestyle should ultimately play a role in choosing his clothes. Many kids spend a significant amount of time running, playing, goofing around, and doing other things that could potentially rip or stain their clothes.” Always go for practicality—remember, less is more.


Having a wide array of children’s clothes can actually come in handy. Your child’s M&S Autograph Lace Pleated Lightweight Top can be layered with a dark colored cardigan which comes appropriately for this season. Carrots For Michaelmas suggested that “learning to layer clothing appropriately lets you stretch out those spring and summer clothes a little longer. This comes in handy when your children are not born in the same 3 months of the year – layers can keep you from having to buy a whole new sized wardrobe for that lone child who had the audacity to be born in the winter instead of the summer.”

It is true that clothes made of high quality materials can last longer. “My son has been sporting a hand-me-down pair of Keen sandals that were bought new – they’ve been worn by 3 different children already and show no signs of wearing out anytime soon. Quality can also signal a better fit, and nothing will get an item of clothing sent to the bottom of the pile faster than a child’s discomfort,” blogger Molly W shared.

Dads: Get Outdoors With Your Kids!

Written by theoutdoorsdad on Aug 22nd, 2013 | Filed under: Lifestyle

Photo Credit: Photos by Mavis via Compfight cc

These days more Dads than ever before choose to get out and about with their kids. This is great news on a number of levels and something which I would encourage everyone to consider doing. Here are some of the main benefits to living a few outdoor adventures with your children.

Build a Strong Bond

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever read in a book was one that said that children and parents don’t automatically have a strong bond just because they have a blood link; that bond is something which is built up over time and through shared experiences. How you choose to share time together is clearly up to you but I can highly recommend having some outdoor adventures along the way. I know that some of my boys’ favourite memories are of us sitting around a campfire telling stories to each other and heating some food. Of course, these are some of my favourite moments as well, and it is great to sit there in the glow of the fire and know that we are all living a very special moment together. These times are when bonds are built and this much becomes even more obvious when you look back later on at the fun you have had together outdoors.

Encourage Good Communication

A lot of parents complain about the lack of proper communication between them and their children. In fact, from what I have heard from other Dads, this is the biggest problem of all in a lot of parent / child relationships. Encouraging good, open communication in the family is one of the biggest challenges for many people but I have always found that it comes naturally. I think that part of the secret lies in us spending a lot of time together in different places and becoming more comfortable in each other’s company. Some Dads I know think that the generation gap is just too big these days. You probably know people like this too; people who think that youngsters are only interested in computers and phones and other stuff which they aren’t interested in. If you think that you have nothing in common with your kids then how can you expect to enjoy good communication with them? I find that getting out of the house and doing things which are new to all of us is the best way of relaxing and talking about things which genuinely interest all of us.

Give Them Good Habits

Living an active, outdoor life is a fantastic way of giving your kids some healthy habits. During the summer holidays, for example, they don’t have any problems in getting up early and going out to do things instead of lying in bed like other children of their age do. I can still remember how I used to get a really early start with my Dad when we were going to play golf or go camping. There is something magical about the early morning air when you are a youngster and I feel that my boys have got the start of a lifelong love of getting up early and being active. We also take part in a lot of different sports while we are away and have learned how to make a lot of types of food, some of it healthier than the rest I must confess. I used to think that teaching children about good habits was all about sitting them down and lecturing them. Now I have discovered that getting out of the house together and getting exercise is a far better way of doing this.

Learn and Teach

I have to confess that I learn as much from most of our trip as my boys do. Sure, I am the person who drives to the destination and has most of an idea about what we are going to do there. However, I always make sure that there are also a number of tasks which the young ones are more comfortable doing that I am. This means that while I can teach them about driving and fishing and playing golf and all of other things I have a reasonable grasp of they can teach me other things at the same time. It is because of this that I like to take out some gadgets with us and get into situations in which the kids know more than me. This gives me a chance to learn and gives them a chance to teach, which I think is brilliant for helping all of us grow as people. It is important to give your children a chance to teach you things occasionally, rather than you being the one who is always giving out lessons to them.

Keep an Eye on Them

I have never been the type of father who is constantly looking over the shoulders of his kids to see what they are doing. However, I am aware that there are a lot of dangers out there these days. I have heard other parents complain about how difficult it is to keep an eye on their children now, with mobile phones, the internet and all sorts of other dangers. I worry about this kind of thing as well, but I know that when we are together out in the countryside or on the beach they aren’t in any danger. As far as I can see, the best way to keep an eye on your children is to spend time with them, so you might as well do something which you all enjoy instead of turning it into some form of torture for everyone concerned. When we go out on an adventurous trip we take about other things as well, so I get to find out about their other friends and what they do during the rest of their week. I can’t say that I am 100% sure that they don’t keep any secrets from me but I am a lot more comfortable about the direction their lives are going in than I would otherwise be.

What do you do to strengthen your relationship with your kids?


Five fun, frugal activities for kids in NYC, from Hostelbookers.com

Written by Jennifer Miller on Jul 22nd, 2013 | Filed under: Travel

Everyone enjoys taking a good vacation with their kids. However, vacationers who think outside the box always look forward to activities that are unique, enjoyable and, most of all, memorable. Of course, you can have a bucket of fun without emptying your pocketbook. And, yes, this is possible while vacationing with your kids in New York. It is simply a matter of finding out beforehand what places are available and deciding what to do once you get there. When the kids know what to expect, they will be ready for adventurous times that call for little or no spending and you can start with a reasonably priced New York City Hotel there are a few that are family friendly on Hostelbookers.com such as the Royal Park Hotel. To get you started here are five children’s activities that can last a lifetime.

A Thousand-Word Friendship

Naturally, children are very sociable creatures. They also enjoy outdoor activities like playground fun. Once they arrive at the site, unlike many adults, they join in the playtime and share smiles and laughter with their newly-found friends. The idea is to take them to a playground such as Bleecker, Pier 51 or Downing Street. Equipped in advance with their own inexpensive camera, have them take snapshots with their buddies. Once the friendship has been established, with parental consent, they can exchange ways to stay in contact: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Play Dough Liberty-for-All Outing

Few people will go to New York without taking in the view of the Statue of Liberty. Of course, a long wait is usually unavoidable. The waiting time is a great opportunity for the kids to enjoy an cheap sit-down picnic at a nearby playground. While there, they can draw sketches of the statue and surrounding areas. Following the viewing they can re-construct the scene using play dough on hard cardboard.

Hook, Line and Sinker Adventure

Lakes, ponds, rivers and streams are in abundance in New York. So, there is no shortage of fishing opportunities. Instead of getting dressed up and attending an expensive activity, get dressed down, pack a basket and head on out to catch your choice of coldwater, saltwater or warmwater fish of all kinds. Recreational fishing is a memorable time for kids when they have their own equipment and are allowed to experiment for themselves. Children under age sixteen do not need a fishing license.

Sunrise and Sunset Watch

New York sunrise and sunset are gorgeous and fascinating. Watching them is a free activity that the kids will enjoy. Not only will they bask in the glow of the suns’ magnificent radiance, but it will broaden their perspective of nature. Wherever and whenever they behold another similar sight, they will be able to compare and contrast. With their personal inexpensive cameras, they can capture the sun’s brilliance in print.

Tree Rubbing – The Central Park Highlight

Visiting Central Park is one of the main highlights of vacationing in New York. Prior to taking a trip to this historical location, the kids should be taught how to do a tree rubbing. During their walk, let them select a tree of their choice to do the rub. To conclude this fabulous experience of nature, they can frame the finished product to keep as a souvenir.

When it comes to kids having fun, even if it’s on a budget, it does not take much to please them. Likewise, when taking them on vacation to New York, it does not have to take too much money either. As long as the activities are kids-appropriate, they will love the experience. The important thing is to plan in advance. The preparation will pay off because they will have the tools needed for the individual experiences that will last them for years to come.


Life Books: Celebrating 13

Written by Jennifer Miller on Jul 1st, 2013 | Filed under: Lifestyle

This month is a busy month for our family.

July is “birthday season” at our house, with three of the four children leveling up within a three week period. How we managed to pop out four in that tight a window over a ten year period is a subject of great mystery and amusement in our family. The result? A non-stop parade of balloons and leftover cake that guarantees my desire for pie when my birthday rolls around, the first week of August.

This year is a special year because Elisha is turning 13, and turning 13 is kind of a big deal in our family. It’s the point at which we expect our kids to be ready to start taking the reins of their own lives. We consider them demi-dults (not dolts!) who can be relied upon to pull their own weight and some of someone else’s too. It’s the age at which we welcome them into the adult world and encourage them to step up to that very big plate, insofar as they are able. It’s not about the age, really, that’s just a convenient mile marker; it’s about celebrating the magical change that causes a little kid to all of a sudden fill very big shoes. It’s not like yesterday they were “little kids” that we were bossing around 24-7 and today they’re free wheeling adults. Very little changes on the outside, but we mark an external milestone on the inner journey. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the growth and maturity of a young person, the individuality and creative genius of one kid at a time, and to encourage the passions and dreams of each of our kids as they step over the threshold into a new and exciting phase of life.