Elexis Penner Blog: That Noise? That's Me, Kicking and Screaming

Stained Glass Secrets

by: Elexis Penner

That Noise? That’s Me, Kicking and Screaming



If you are calmly ecstatically waiting for that big yellow bus to come around to whisk the beloved youngin’s away to fun and adventures, know that you are not alone.


In Jen Hatmaker’s hilarious blog, she writes, “Yes, the girl who bemoaned homework folders and daily school requirements and reading minutes and All The Things is now on her knees, begging the teachers to take these children back.

You understand this, right? We had the fun. We surely did. We did the swimming and the vacations and the sleeping in and the loosey-goosey living, and now ladies and gentlemen, I am very much over it.”


Love it. But personally, I’m not looking forward to school – I’m just not.

I know. Maybe part of it is that my kids are older and more independent. They are not getting bored and hounding me for things to do. Or at least they’ve learned not to look bored, as it usually doesn’t end well for them.


A recent conversation with my daughter went like this…


Me: Well if it’s any consolation, I’m not looking forward to school starting EITHER.

Her: Yeah, because you won’t have your SLAVE around anymore…

Me: Nooooooo. Not entirely.


Besides, a little boredom does them good. I think back to my childhood, and we were bored all the time. Except we didn’t call it bored – we just called it summer.


Now, to the normal, relatively organized mother, school means routine, and things happening when they should. And this is good. This is how you raise respectable, contributing members of society.


But to moms like me, this means things need to be done at certain intervals, and with a certain dependability, or else bad things happen. Children get sent on field trips without lunches. Or get left waiting after soccer practice. For hours. In the dark. And for moms like me, this causes a certain amount of, let’s say, debilitating claustrophobia.


While I abhor mosquitoes and I opposite of like jungle weather, some of the reasons I love summer are these:


I don’t have to grocery shop with any particular lunch supplies in mind – scrounging is a perfect summer skill-builder.


The time from 4:00pm and on does not need to be plotted out with the military precision of a Navy SEALS team. Honestly, most nights go something like this:


4:05 Bus arrives to drop off kids.


4:08 Shoot hastily thrown together supper of leftover sloppy joes down throats of unsuspecting children.


4:15 Yell at all children to make sure they have their hockey equipment slash soccer cleats slash saxophone slash whatever the heck they need for whatever thing we are on our way to before – oh for crying out loud what do you mean you’re supposed to be there 30 minutes earlier than usual today??!! And yes, you DID tell me that you were bringing cupcakes for both teams after the game. But I got distracted by something shiny before I had a chance to write it down.


8:30 Get home, unpack stuff – as in, throw aforementioned music/sports paraphernalia on pile in entrance.


9:00 Clean up aftermath of supper, as if it can be called that…


9:45 “Mom, I said that I was going to bring 21 fresh fruit skewers for our Jamaican festival tomorrow. Remember? It was in the note I brought home.” Right. Something shiny must have happened.


10:45 I find myself staring into the bathroom mirror, debating whether or not it’s really worth it to brush my teeth and muttering, “How in the fricken frack am I going to get 21 skewers into a backpack without anyone being impaled…”


Soooo, whether the sound of that bus rolling up to the end of your driveway causes joyful feels or not – it’s coming. I’m sure when the day arrives I will kiss their shiny happy faces and wave goodbye and smile. And there will be a pleasant little buzzing inside that feels kinda like anticipation – there always is.


Let the games begin.

Cloud 9 -- An Airplane Proposal

Gil Gauthier wanted to do something special when it came time to propose to the love of his life, Linda.  Check out the video to see what he came up with.  And - by the way - she said YES :)

CJRB Set To Serve Up Meals

Farmers put in long, hard hours. They don't just clock out at the end of the day, and rarely take a holiday. They contribute to the community, sponsor events, and support local businesses. Farmers stimulate our economy and put food on the table for all of us.

So to show our appreciation, CJRB and DiscoverWestman.com are teaming up with local businesses to put some food on the table for our farmers!
We'll be delivering a meal to two winning farms for up to 10 people each!

To enter, submit your name in draw boxes located at the following local businesses between August 18-29:

Home Hotel - Chicken Chef Boissevain
Rocky Mountain Equipment Boissevain
Rocky Mountain Equipment Killarney
Du Rite Auto and Ag Boissevain
Southwest Agencies Boissevain
Sunrise Credit Union Boissevain
Killarney Tire Killarney
Steads Farm Supply - Boissevain
Boundary Co-op Deloraine Boissevain Home and Ag Centers
CJRB Boissevain

Home, Home On The Range

Stained Glass Secrets
by: Elexis Penner
Home, Home On The Range


Home, Home on the Range…


So I guess I must have blinked.


We spent a few days at my parents’ cabin with our kids – all of them. It was a summer vacation miracle! These times are getting fewer and farther in between. With six schedules it’s getting harder and harder to make time together, and I was so grateful that this worked out.


I remember when we used to come here with our little troupe of four kids, ages six and under. I don’t know how we did it. I’m not sure WHY we did it.


We’d pack enough kid gear for every possible event or mishap. Then we’d spend each day riding herd – trying to make sure no one tripped into the fire, or slipped off the dock, or impaled themselves with roasting sticks. The list of conceivable perils is long when you combine toddlers and cabin life.


There were hours playing lego, building sand castles, and learning survival skills (aka tromping around in the bush). We’d endlessly cast from the dock. If we were lucky we’d catch a few perch. And with four little rods waving around, if we were REALLY lucky, no one got a hook in the eye.


Then we would finally coerce them into their beds and probably stay up half the night with a baby who wouldn’t settle in a strange place. Only to be woken up at the crack of some obscene hour by our eldest – the early-bird. Hardly relaxing. Usually there was more fighting and crying and tantrums than a session of parliament. And the kids were often upset, too.


Once, just as we were packed and ready to go home, we realized the toilet had backed up, and I spent an hour trying to entertain four homesick kids while Bruce spent an hour up to his elbows in... Well suffice to say, it was a pretty crappy (ba-dump-CHAAAA) ending to an already exhausting weekend.


Anyway… I don’t know how we did it, but I do know why. We love our family, and we love making memories.


That part hasn’t changed – but the activities have.


This weekend Bruce and our son, Rory biked (as in, on bicycles) to the lake – 200 kms!! This weekend the boys had a contest to see who could dump me off my air mattress. I won that one – I dumped myself – I will not be overthrown by two punk kids. This weekend everyone slept in – an event that was once just some kind of mythical thing that happened to old people. As in, people in their 40’s.


The kids are older and the tantrums are few. It warms the cockles of me heart to see them watch out for each other’s feelings. Sometimes it involves wrestling and yes, ‘Butt-Face’ can be a term of endearment.


My dad has an extensive collection of old westerns, and we usually end up watching one while we’re there. Maybe that’s why I kept finding myself singing ‘Home On The Range.’


You know, where seldom is heard, a discouraging word….


This is what I shot for this weekend. Six individuals in a small space can be a pile of fun, but it can also get a little squirrely. I made a deliberate effort to avoid any ‘discouraging words’. I did okay. But I can think back to some other cabin weekends that had some really ugly moments.


I sometimes catch myself in the past wishing I had been better at this when the kids were little. I tell myself that if I could go back and do it all over again I would, and I would be WAY better – more patient, loving, always having time. Lighter on the screaming. You know, perfect.


But it’s easy to say this now, with my uninterrupted nights’ sleep, and regular me time. No. Maybe I did the best I could with the sleep I had.


Because we aren’t perfect. And maybe the sooner our kids (and us!) realize that, the better.


To my sleepless friends who are in the thick of the toddler (or teenage) years, remember that line from Cheaper By The Dozen (this is the part of the movie where I go into full-on sobbing…)


“… you taught us that there is no way to be a perfect parent, but a million ways to be a really good one.”

(VIDEO) HOPE Growing Project Volunteer Video Montage

We've been seeing some activity on fields in Southern Manitoba as combines start to take off some winter wheat.  That pace will accelerate quickly and that's also the case with the Canadian Food Grains Bank.  The first field of 2014 special growing projects was combined at Ste Elizabeth near Arnaud. The event was captured on video