Love Has No Rules

Rainbow

A couple of weeks ago, my bright-eyed girl did an assignment in school that her teacher loved so much I was sent a personal note about it.

And though it didn't surprise me to read my mighty-hearted girls' words, I still found myself moved by what she wrote: so simple and compelling. 

She is growing up in a time, in a country and in a family where judgements about who someone chooses to love don't exist, and I am so glad.

In the last few weeks of my first year in university, a group of my friends and I had started a discussion about moving off campus together. One of those friends came into my room, shortly before we started the process of going out house hunting, and said 

I need to tell you something, because it might change your mind about wanting to live with me.

I remember feeling such heartache for him. And when I cried, he asked me if I was mad at him for not saying something sooner. I felt nothing but a heavy sadness that he ever thought a friendship like ours could be altered by what he told me. And I felt even greater sadness that people who didn't know him the way I did might judge, and worse, reject him. The years I spent living with him and being loved by him were one of the greatest gifts I took away from my years at university. He taught me more about love than he will ever know, and much of what I teach my kids about love comes from the years I lived with him and my other roommates. 

And though it is easy to forget what my kids see, because it's all I've ever known, our family is diverse and multicultural. My kids have a biracial mother and they are exposed to many different cultural practices in their day-to-day life. So much of what I teach them about love comes from my parents and their decision to choose each other.

After watching this video for a lesson on media literacy, my girl's grade three class had to give feedback on what they felt and thought when they watched it. 

  

When she was asked who she thought the target audience for this video was, she replied:

This video is for people who believe that love has rules.

She wrote that it made her happy, and when I asked her about it she told me she felt glad there was a video to help people change their mind and understand that you can love anyone and be loved by anyone. 

And yesterday, when we sat together and listened to a news story announcing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision about gay marriage I felt like our society had experienced a triumph. For my daughter, it was a given. 

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AFTER HOURS

Now that school is out and the sun stays up really, really late, our only quiet time seems to land at the end of very long days of in/out, up/down, on/off—when parental energy levels are hovering just above zero.

And as much as Netflix served me well during the long, cold winter...it continues to find a place in my heart now that summer is here. 

JB and I have been meeting wherever we can find an empty room around 10 o'clock each night, and then we swear we will watch one, just one episode of a show. We've been mixing things up as a way to drag out the newest season of Orange Is The New Black (which is amazing), because we definitely have a tendency to binge watch the good ones. For every one episode of OITNB, we watch two episodes of Lost (yes, we are one of the few people on earth who didn't watch Lost the first time around). 

FridayNightLights

The last series we burned through together was Friday Night Lights, and y'all know how much I loved that one. Oh Timmy. Lost was a slower start for us, but we're definitely committed to seeing these characters through their backstories—which is an element of OITNB that we really enjoy, too. 

When the heat has gone to our heads, and the mess has risen to a height that feels like it surpasses our knees, sometimes the best thing for us to do is retreat to separate corners for alone time. 

In my corner, I'm making my way through Nashville (a nice way to hang onto FNL a little while longer) while JB is really enjoying the contemporary version of Sherlock.

Sherlock

I hope you find your quiet/alone time and spend it whatever way you need to for a recharge. If your summer is about to be anything like mine, we're all going to need it. If you're watching a good show on Netflix, I'd love to hear about it, please share!

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Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam blogging program. I was not compensated for this post, but do receive perks and insider information about awesome shows from Netflix. 

The opinions and recommendations regarding the shows I watch are all mine. 

 

 

 

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BACK TO THE EARTH

Boots

We've finally landed in spring—in our rainboots, of course.

Even though the skies have been grey and the air chilly, it's the perfect season to honour the Earth as it wakes from a (long) winter slumber.

The buds are beginning to show themselves and the grass is finally taking on some colour. 

Mommy, LOOK, the flowers are popping up!

WORMS!!

Mommy, I like the smell of the sky. 

Screen shot 2014-05-03 at 11.15.34 AM

I'm very lucky to have four kids who love to get dirt under their nails and mud on their knees. 

They happily spend time outside and show a lot of curiosity about the well-being of the environment. From their earliest days in school, topics like recycling and energy conservation have been part of the curriculum—and they are keen to hold us to it at home. 

Having a bigger (and busy) family can make it all too easy to seek out conveniences and short cuts. But now that the kids are asking questions, I'm more conscious of it. And we are taking steps to do better. 

One of the areas of family life that I've really started to focus on this year is the way we eat.

I am very fortunate to have friendships with two amazing women who also have four kids each. And a lot of our idea swapping centres around how/what to feed our families.

I've been looking to them more and more for inspiration. One is raising a vegetarian family, the other a vegan one.

Screen shot 2014-05-03 at 4.28.43 PM

Since I started to hold myself accountable when it comes to school lunches, I've come to understand that I can do the same for all of our meals. While I don't imagine we will ever become pure vegetarians or vegans, we have been successfully introducing more of this style of eating to our family meal planning and shopping. 

We've already been practising Meatless Mondays for several months, and I've been introducting more vegetarian meals. When Netflix sent me an alert about their green eating documentaries, I knew I had to set the time aside to watch. I know myself well, and the visual facts would be hard for me to ignore.

Vegucated

We started with Vegucated and Forks Over Knives and we plan to watch more as we continue to look for ways to make changes. 

Both documentaries were thought-provoking and being able to follow real-life individuals and families, as they learned about the impact of their food choices, really resonated with us. 

We've been grilling our pumpkin pancakes in coconut oil and putting spinach in our smoothies. We're adding hemp seeds to our baked goods and cutting back animal products as much as we can. 

It feels really good. And one of the added benefits is being able to teach the kids about how these choices are decreasing our family's impact on the environment.

One of the messages we've been working hard to reinforce is that although we are one family, we can make a difference and inspire others to do the same. Each person and their choices matter. 

What about you? Did your family take on any new challenges to honour Earth Day? 

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Disclosure: Netflix has invited me to join their #StreamTeam blogging program (yes!), and therefore provides me with product and an extension on my existing subscription. The opinions regarding the shows I watch are mine. 

 

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GET WHAT YOU GIVE {#GIVINGTUESDAY}

When our oldest daughter was chosen to represent her school at WE DAY, she was beyond excited.

I think it's going to change everything, Mummy. And I am going to change, too.

She's always been a thoughtful kid, but it's still something we talk about a lot in our home and with all four kids. 

~ YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE ~

Givingquote

Give respect, generosity, compassion and kindness. 

All of it will come back to you in beautiful ways. 

It's harder during the holiday season with all of the What are you going to get for yourself? that goes on.

And that's okay. Kids will be kids, and there is a lot of joy around the idea of receiving something you wished and hoped for. 

But learning about the number of children who don't have the opportunity to go to school, because they can't afford supplies or have to work to support their families, really struck a chord with my daughter. School is her favourite place to be. 

She has committed to joining the Free the Children Education Campaign to help build 200 new schools in developing communities around the world. And being the fashionista that she is, the ABC Education Rafiki Friend Chains are a perfect fit for her. 

RafikiChain

During this season of generosity, take some time to find a charity that resonates with your family and learn how to make a difference, no matter how small. Teach your children about the needs of people in their own neighbourhoods (e.g. by collecting goods for the food bank), as well as those on the other side of the world. 

ABC Education Rafiki chains are the perfect stocking stuffer for your socially-conscious family member. They are handmade by a Maasai Mama in Kenya and every $10 chain sold equips a child with school supplies for a year. Each chain sold, makes a direct impact on the life of a child as well as the women who earn fair wage income as a means to support their families and take on a leadership role in their communities. 

To help span the distance, these chains also come with a unique code that can be entered online to track your impact and see where your life-changing gift was delivered. 

Chaingiveaway

Our friends at ME TO WE would like to help you make a difference. They are offering three ABC Rafiki Education chains to my Canadian readers. If you'd like to give the gift of making a difference this holiday season, leave a comment below and I'll randomly select my winners next week. 

For other holiday gift ideas, be sure to visit the Me to We Artisans page.

  

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