Sunday Share: Week 45

Can you believe there are only 6 more weeks until Christmas morning? If you follow me via the Insta you’ll already know we’re down to 43 sleeps.
51 until next Halloween. We’ve got loads of time on that one, my friends.

Dream Big, Dream Often
The best five tips ever in the history of the world of blogging…

The Dad
Cutting the cables on your doodads… love or hate?

My Upward Spiral
Being reminded of what perfect really means

Dorky Mom Doodles
We all forget sometimes… Some of us forget more often than others. Thank you Tooth Fairy.

Coach Daddy
Just a dad answering his kids questions as truthfully and honestly as possible…

You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter

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Month in Review: April’s #atozchallenge

This will be the last time I mention the A to Z Challenge this year.

I promise. And since April is officially over, too, that means there are only 237 days left until Christmas!

For the first time this year the blog reached over 1,500 views. I was aiming for 2K, but fell just a bit short with a total of 1,516. I need to work on reaching out to new blogs and commenting on others. Got kinda wrapped up in my own little blog world over the last month. I hope to keep this trending upward.

Some didn’t just come, but stayed. There were 651 visitors. I try to create the same standard as a Lay’s potato chip. Betcha can’t read just one. This is down 10. I’ll take that. It’s still up from February.

Y’all really liked me. 194 more likes in April than in March for a total of 641. While it’s not the stat I base my success on, it’s comforting to know that you not only took time out of your day to read my chicken scratch, but you clicked that little like button.

The number of comments were down, but I at tribute that to me not commenting on other’s A to Z posts. I did have a bunch on my personal Facebook page which aren’t included in this number. These discussion and shared stories are what keep bringing me back doing this pro bono writing.  I seriously appreciate all your comments. Seriously.

I wrote 9 more post last month than I did in March. I wrote one more post than there are days in April (that’s 31 for those of you forgot how many days are in April). That’s because I wrote every single day for the A to Z Challenge plus an extra on for last month’s Month in Review. This brings me a total of 803 published posts. The most viewed post was D is for… (Dad) with 59 views. Sunday Share: Week 14 was a close second with 55. They were followed by Sunday Share: Week 15 with 53 views.

I went World Wide by being viewed by 34 countries. The US, Canada, and India were the top three countries to visit last month. UK, Netherlands, and Australia were bumped out!

Then only search term recorded for April was “boy tentacle wedgie”. I would love to know which post that search lead them to.

March ended with 843 followers. Just one month later and I have 884. A gain of 41 in just one month. My newest three followers (this is my favorite part of the review) Travels with IgorBad Mom, and Writing with A Side of Life. Thank you to ALL who have subscribed! I’m now only 116 followers short of 1,000. Who will be my 1,000th? It could be you! You’ll be amused, entertained, and occasionally you’ll thank your lucky stars none of this is happening to you.

The top 6 commentors:

Grubbs-n-Critters (69)
Kountry Mama 2012 (58)
A Momma’s View (42)
Dorky Mom Doodles (39)
That’s What Anxious Mom Said (25)
Coach Daddy (17)

Think you can make it into the top six? Leave me a comment and find out!

In an ironic twist of fate, two of the three most viewed posts during the A-Z Challenge weren’t even A-Z posts and two of the 6 commentors are the same person with two different blogs!

That was a fun month of posts. If you like challenges there is another coming up in September called the “Taboo Word Challenge” where you have to write your post without the word of the day. Sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds. More details coming in August.

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Q: If April showers bring May flowers, what do May Flowers bring?

The Rite of Passage

Your teen years.

Being a freshman in high school and again in University.

Being peed, pooped, puked on by your first newborn.

The first born’s first day of school.

Here’s a new one. Explaining to your first born about Santa, the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny. This year Crash questioned me once about Santa. I’m guessing he’s heard things at school. There’s so much he’s learned at school that isn’t in the curriculum. So much he’s learned from his friends. I could write a book about it. Or at least another post.

Anyway, he tossed it out one evening like it was no big deal, like he was telling me that he put milk in his cup. Like it ain’t no thang…

“I bet you and mom drink the milk, eat the cookies, and buy the presents”.

My response? “I wouldn’t do that. It’s not mine.” He went on to finish his bedtime snack and that was that. I mentioned once in a post that another mom used that as an opportunity  to help her son become Santa. We did something similar this year with the boys. As you may recall we did a daily random act of kindness. While our gifts and acts were not left and done anonymously, it still gave the boys a sense of generosity. It even came back to them twice. One kind soul gave us a turkey. Another kind soul gave us a gift card for a restaurant.

Anyway, back to the rite of passage. It could be because Crash is at that age, or perhaps just coincidence, but I read quite a few posts about children who had reached the “I don’t believe in Santa” age. While we may have skipped it this year, it was only by the seat of our newly hemmed pants. Crash picked up on a few irregularities.

Bang received a remote control car from Santa. However, upon putting batteries in it we discovered it didn’t work. How do you exchange a gift from Santa at Walmart? We played this off because DW’s dad and step-mom had bought the same car for our nephew so we just used their receipt. It sill left an impression on the oldest.

Next year I’m not sure we’ll be so lucky. What I wouldn’t give for them truly believe forever. Yes, it’s a rite of passage for us parents. However, it is just as much their rite of passage, too.  Our kids are growing up. We’ve kept them alive. They are smart enough to know better.

It doesn’t have to mean the magic is dead, though. Like love through a marriage, it doesn’t die, it just changes form. Once we realize this, we can adapt to the change. We change ourselves if need be. We grow.

I’ll never say good bye to the Jolly Old Elf. Even in years to come when neither believe it’s him leaving presents, I plan to make sure one or two have his name on them.

I know Christmas is over. The decorations are mostly down. We’re back to regular music. I just wanted to get this out there. I had it unfinished in my drafts folder and like a 9 year old asking to play Minecraft, it just wouldn’t leave me alone.

Lastly, if you’re really bored or you really love me, check out my YouTube channel to see me playing with my  Crash’s Christmas present. You’ll get a glimpse of where we live.

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Come and Gone and Going On

 

The new Christmas toys are put away, already well used. All of our new Christmas pants are being hemmed by DW on her new Christmas sewing machine. Bang and I tested it out by practicing sewing straight lines by perforating the blue lines of a sheet of notebook paper. The drone has taken flight and recorded some neat video of where we live. It only flew away once. Fortunately, it landed safely and we found it quickly (unlike some others we heard about). The Polaroid has snapped shot after shot. The Polar Express chugs proudly around its track in the basement. The cardboard house is slowly being colored. My “juice box” has charged my phone while on the go. Christmas was good to us and thanks to our daily Random Act of Kindness, we are so much more thankful for it.

New Year’s Eve has come. It has gone. We partied with the same friends we partied with last New Year’s Eve. It was just as much fun this year, even if there were fewer onion rings. New Year’s Day has come. It’s nearly gone, too. I’ve thought about resolutions. The only one I can come up with is drink less Coke. I’ll switch to Pepsi.

Just kidding… I’ll start drinking less pop (soda) as soon as the bottle of Coke in the fridge is gone.

December saw less running. When I say less, I mean I went once and that was because DW’s sister-in-law (does that make her my sister-in-law, too?) was in town and invited me along. I’m going to run more. And more and more if I can help it because not running sucks.

Never mind me. What can I do to better my family? I can I teach the oldest better interpersonal skills. We’re discovering his interactions with adults needs some work. I’d like to help motivate DW to get out for her walks. Or get on for her walks – the dreadmill treadmill.

I’m looking forward to writing tomorrow’s “Month/Year In Review” as 2016 was generous to my little blog’s second year. If you want to see my first year in review, it’s right here. Seeing where my blog was at this time last year compared to where it is today, a year later, gives me giddy giggles to think about where it’ll be in one more year. I have to thank all of you for that. Yes you. The one reading this sentence right now. You have brought be here. You have kept me here and I’m grateful for that. Your discussions are dynamic. Your input is inspiring. Your readership is ramazing!

Hang on to your hats… here comes 2017!

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The Daily Elf

It’s after midnight. I didn’t turn into a pumpkin. Or a fruitcake.

DW and I just spent the last 4 hours wrapping presents. It was going okay until one of the elves became ever so slightly inebriated. You can tell by his wrapping.

And DW’s snorting laughter at him. Good times. We’re not done yet, but the rest will have to wait.

As for our elves… they had a little fun behind the Christmas tree. And no, they weren’t inebriated.

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The Daily Elf

The boys were super excited to see Woody and Elfis in our hotel room yesterday and today. They really wanted us to, without touching them of course, put them in our suitcase so they could come home with us.

I said, “No. If they found their way to us 3 hours from home and even knew which room of the 16 floor hotel we were in, they could get home just as easy.”

Crash was worried. He did NOT want to leave them behind. But we did. You can now imagine how excited he was to hear his little brother shout, “I found them!” from atop the stairs when we got home. There they were, perched comfortably in the stockings hanging on the boys bedroom doors.

The Daily Elf

Elves after my own heart…

Of course they LOVE to read! So do we. Crash already has his book picked out for our road trip tomorrow. He doesn’t have clothes picked yet, but by God he knows what he’s going to read. And Bang wants to write more stories. I love these kids!

Ask me again tomorrow after being in the truck for three hours with them.

Anyway, here are our elves “hiding”.

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Daily Random Acts of Kindess

Back on the second day of this month I wrote about a different kind of Advent Calendar. Essentially, instead of doing a Christmas count down with a tiny piece of chocolate each morning, we are doing a random act of kindness for each day leading up to Christmas.

So far we have:

  • Donated food to the food bank
  • Paid for the customer behind us at Tim Hortons (coffee shop)
  • Make friends with someone
  • We were generous with hugs and smiles
  • Donated coloring books and crayons to the dotctors office
  • Did chores without being asked
  • Delivered cookies to the RCMP (police) and Paramedics
  • Made homemade bird feeders for our feathered friends (and a couple squirrels)
  • Donated some of our toys
  • Called family members we hadn’t talked to for a long time
  • Rounded up stray shopping carts in a parking lot
  • Shovelled a neighbor’s driveway
  • Surprised the garbage/recycling collectors with a box of chocolates
  • Ran an errand for a friend
  • Write a nice letter and mail it to someone who doesn’t get much mail
  • Had a family fun night
  • Lent a helping hand
  • Volunteered at an event in our community
  • Chose our 3 favorite decorated houses and gave them a certificate
  • Baked cookies and shared them with the boys’s teachers and bus driver

Tomorrow we’ll be on the road travelling for an over-nighter. Crash has yet another oral consult to find out what can be done about his front tooth that has come in pointing towards the back of his mouth. Braces? Surgery? Something else entirely?

While we are at the hospital on Wednesday we will “candy cane bomb” as many cars as we can (64 since that’s how many candy canes we have). Each on has a Merry Christmas message taped to it and we’ll leave them randomly under windshields.

Then on Thursday we’ll leave money in vending machines so that when people go get a treat or drink they’ll find it’s already paid for.

Upon our return we will only have 2 more Random Acts of Kindness or, as Bang calls it, Random Actness Kindness before Christmas morning.

The whole purpose when we started this was teach the boys the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about the gifts we’re going to get or Santa or Christmas lists. It’s also not about all the decorations or the sweets. It’s about being thankful for what we have. It’s being thankful that we are able to help others simply to make them feel good. It’s about the first rule of Christmas:

It is far better to give than it is to receive.

Bang took to it like a reindeer to flight. He was eager to help. If you could have seen him during the event where we helped serve 250 senior citizens turkey supper you would have seen him serving plates of food and later handing dishes over to be washed. While Crashed joined us and was eager to help he would still ask, “Do we get anything for helping?” No. You get thanked.

But it’s hard when you’re 9, I guess. To his credit, we have caught him doing more for others. Holding doors, helping others when he can, and attempting to think of others first. He’s made “gingerbread men” for the doctor(s) we’ll see tomorrow by drawing people on brown cardboard and coloring them. So we take our wins where we can. Perhaps he is learning after all.

The Daily Elf

I’ve got no post today. Instead of just writing something for sake of publishing, I’ll wait until tomorrow. I’ll write tomorrow and let you know how our daily Random Act of Kindness is going. Or as Bang calls it “Random Actness Kindness”.

For now I’ll just update you on the elves. Don’t forget to move yours!

The elves were busy last night. Not only did they move to their new spot on the closet doors after returning from the North Pole….

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When I checked my email this morning there was a message there from YouTube asking if I was ready to publish my video. HUH? I didn’t record anything.

What video?

The Elves hacked my YouTube account and used my GoPro last night! Once I found out it was them I showed it to the boys. They watched it 5 times in excited awe…

The Daily Elf

Today they tested their physical prowess. Perhaps they’re training for the next American Ninja Warrior? Or perhaps they’re slack lining or tight rope walking over Niagara Falls. Whatever they are training for they are training for it in our kitchen.

One of them did fall once. Bang wrote them a note “Woody and Elfis are you ok the last time you fell we love you”

They wrote back, “We’re okay.” so all was good.