There are so many things we "fangirl" to as a family, and I totally think that this is when we have some of our best family time together.
This is a little sad for me to write about today because tonight, Taylor Swift will be bringing her Reputation Tour to Toronto, and we AREN'T. GOING.
I've spent countless amounts of time tracking ticket sales and resale sites, trying to make it work for our budget this summer, but I just can't justify it. So... it is with a sad heart that I share this little detail about our family. We are huge Swifties: my husband and I since 2006, and our kids' joining of the fandom might just have occured in the womb - each one was born during one of Taylor's album eras so her music was always playing, with us singing along. I think we as parents are fans of Taylor's parents, Scott and Andrea, too. I mean; they've raised two children in the entertainment industry who are both extremely talented, down to earth and care about the world and about giving back.
When the 1989 tour was announced and Ottawa was a stop, I bought tickets the moment they went on sale as we had fan club access. (Yes, the fan status goes that deep for us.) and that was our Christmas present to each other that year. It was also our last big family outing as a party of three: our second child enjoyed the concert in utero, and was born a month later.
Our 1989 seats were amazing: second row reds in tiny Canadian Tire Centre - so we were really close to the stage.
I saw this coming from the moment it was announced that Reputation was a stadium tour. Tickets went on sale with a "Verified Fan" deal (which I participated in), and when I got access, if I wanted to pay the same price as our 1989 tickets, we'd be sitting in the nosebleeds. And paying extra money to sit closer (in that large of a venue) wasn't an option either. It was either spend all that money on one night with Taylor, or spend it on lots of days off together as a family this summer. Plus we still have a lot of renovation work on our house and property to finish.
Sorry, now I'm just rambling about my disappointment... and I wanted to share about the fun we had last tour:
How To Be A Fan Family:
I can attest that supporting and joining in on your child's favourites (be it TV show, movie, artist, band, etc.) will bring you closer together as a family, and these kinds of events will be cherished memories. Our daughter still talks about the 1989 concert which was three years ago when she was 4. Besides listening to Taylor, watching her videos, singing and dancing along, here's what we do as a Swiftie Fam:
If you happen to be going to the shows tonight and/or tomorrow, leave us a comment below or tag us on social media so we can see you at the show:
Are you a Swiftie too? Give us a follow on the Swift Life: @SwiftyFam. You will find our photo and Taylor's comment on her feed and if you click "Taylor Likes" on our page.
Remember when I said our family wasn't perfect? I know it never will be, but I have made it my mission to work hard to make our relationships stronger, which is how this blog came about.
One relationship I never expected to suffer was the one with our first born; our daughter.
For almost four glorious years, she had her parents all to herself. Again with my romanticizing real-life, I imagined her being the "perfect" sister. In many ways she is an amazing big sister to her brother - but that resentment is still there... towards me,
Here is where some of that "mom-guilt" comes in. (And FYI, dads get "mom-guilt" too, I've seen it in action!)
I feel guilty that we are a family with two full time working parents. I KNOW in my heart that I would feel guilty if I decided to stay home and not bring in an income. I feel guilty that we all have different schedules that doesn't allow for enough family time. Schedules that have us rushing around, jobs that are mentally and physically draining, and the stimulation and activity of school and daycare that make our kids exhausted. It was a miracle if one of us didn't fall asleep during our Friday Family Nights.
What I didn't expect was to have our eldest feel like she was left out, after we tried so hard to make family time a priority.
I thought I did everything right: as an educator and an ex-nanny, I thought I knew what we were doing when we added one more. From day one. I made sure not to be holding the baby when she walked into the hospital room and greeted her first. I made sure to include her in the baby's life by helping with his routine and buying him things. Amazing hubby made sure she got one-on-one time with him so that she got lots of attention.
Last week, while we were having a girl chat (which is far and few between now-a-days) she revealed to me that she missed doing things together - just the two of us.
Before her brother was born.
Three years ago!
I had been working so hard to make sure that both kids felt included and that we did everything as a party of four - I didn't realize that I could be making one of them feel like they weren't getting enough of me all to themselves.
The immediate thought I had was to make her a promise, that after the work week was finished, on Saturday, we would spend the entire day together. We will have a girls day and Daddy and Brother will have a boys day.
After all, there are things that we share in common - things she and I love that her father isn't interested in: like art museums... and tea.
My daughter's words completely made me rethink this project of mine!
Technically this was a Family Day, not night. It's been a really long time since we have had a family night at the actual movie theater. Our son is about to turn three - the last movie we saw in theaters was Finding Dory and he fell asleep nursing in my arms. Today though, he had way too much sugar and literally bolted around the theater after the movie... However, he was old enough to sit though the whole thing.
Hotel Transylvania 3 Summer Vacation was a must on our Family Night to do list this summer. We have been fans of Hotel Transylvania since the first movie came out (Mavis was on my short list for girl baby names when I was pregnant with my son) AND we recently just caught the cruising bug. When I was a teenager, my friends and I went to see EVERY Adam Sandler movie in theatres, I’m so happy my kids can carry on my tradition. Dad on Time Out and I are also big fans of Andy Samberg and Brooklyn Nine Nine
Watching the movie had us smiling about all the cruising clichés acted out by some of our favorite characters voiced by some of our favorite actors.
We have been Scene members for years and have a bank card that racks up more points for us, so our movie tickets were FREE today!
We also received a ton of discounts with our Scene points for concession food, so we ate lunch and popcorn during the movie. For a family of four it cost us $28.
Before the movie, I played TimePlay on my iPhone. TimePlay is an interactive app that you can play in conjunction with the movie screen in your theater. I won the first round so I won 25 Scene Points. The games are a lot of fun, and you can earn points and cool prizes like cinema gift cards.
Do you collect points for freebies for your family? Which loyalty cards and points systems do you recommend?
I am not the perfect mom. We are not the perfect family. This blog is not perfection. We don’t get to travel to exotic locals every month like some of the other families you can find on Instagram. It’s a struggle just to make it out the front door most mornings. Ok... fine, every morning is a struggle. And yet, I still dream about having “perfect” family time with my family.
Last week marked our first “vacation” since I have started our blog. It was a bit of a last minute affair, but still I had time to research, plan, organize and dream about the all the lovely time we would get to spend together. I didn’t think that getting that family time was going to happen when so much was going wrong...
What went wrong? I planned a camping trip (in a tent) during a heat wave. A heat wave that claimed more lives than Ice Storm 98. Hubby forgot his favorite camping essentials. (Namely coffee, as well as the camping coffee pot.) We were eaten alive by every fly native to Canada. Each family member had a fight (or more) with each family member present. I injured my thumb. My son threw a rock at my daughters head. A grand parent ended up back at the hospital. Tantrums. Children tantrums AND adult tantrums.
At the end of the day (read: at the end of ALL the days), the kids were handed the phones for screen time that I had planned to abolish for the entire trip. We left the campgrounds 2 days early.
Upon returning to the land of wi-fi, I posted a picture of the kids, hand in hand wading in the water as my profile picture on Facebook. Everyone commented how much fun they looked like they were having. Needless to say... I didn't happen to capture the moment when my daughter got the rock to the head minutes later...
This was a good reminder as to how people share photos of the good times. Just remember of everything that happens that isn't captured on camera, what happens behind the scenes. No one is perfect.
But especially, remember YOUR imperfect family moments. The ones where you don't have time to take out your camera because you have to check your child for a concussion. Those crappy moments between the picture-perfect ones. Because those moments are still family time. They're learning moments, and reminders of how resilient your family is. They might just be the best family time spent together.
Over the years, my husband and I have searched far and wide for new places we haven't explored yet. We love to camp and hike, and especially learn about our natural surroundings in our beautiful country. So when we came across a park whose trails were mostly hikes through rock formations and caves, we were hooked.
So what is "spelunking?" One guide had us walk through a cave tunnel alone. He met us on the other side of the tunnel, and exclaimed: "There! Now you are spelunkers! Spelunking is exploring caves without a guide." (Note: We only ever explore caves that have been cleared to be safe and offer guides!
This hobby has led us to some beautiful environments worth seeing. We have witnessed and learned about thousand year old fossils, stalactites, Aboriginal tribes, icebergs, and even bats. It has been an amazing learning experience of the history and natural evolution of Canada.
We are big fans of the Scenic Caves Nature Adventure in Blue Mountain, Ontario (Which was where we had our first caving adventure and realised that this was a thing!) and the Bonnechere Caves in Eganville Ontario. Our next goal is to the visit the Crystal Caves in Bermuda.
Have you ever toured a cave? Do you have any suggestions on where we can spelunk next? Let us know by leaving us a comment below!
Melissa is a mom, wife, and early childhood educator who blogs about her journey looking for new experiences for family time.