Tag Archives: Parenting

Be on a Radical Sabbatical from Munich to Milan

Munich.

Alps.

Milan.

Food and toilets too!

Travelling with these boys is ALWAYS fun!

Truly an amazing time. No social media fluff and puff.

Take a scroll through and see what we have been up to as we have wanders from Germany to Italy. Please leave a comment too!

November 10th

Munich.

Biggest toy store (and LEGO section the boys have seen).

Biggest beer.

Oldest central plaza in Munich (Marienplatz)

Walking everywhere on foot.

Seeing Steve at work!

This guy LOVES RC cars.
Yes, more handstands. We will have a whole blog with all of these.
We even made it to the City Hall at noon to watch the clock go round and round.
Hofbrauhaus – our waiter could carry 20 beer at one time!

With help from a friend, I was able to find gymnastics training for the boys in Munich. It was a cool experience for them and made them appreciate their gym back home even more.

After training, we were able to zip to where Steve was doing his Fair talking to families in the Munich area about his school district. We were very grateful to see what he does. CC bought a new jacket at H & M today which matched his Dada’s.

After the Fair, it was time to get back to the hotel, get packed as we had a 5 and a bit hour drive to Milan, Italy the next day.

November 11th

1 final shower in our bathroom/shower room. Have you seen this before?

1 hotel breakfast.

I loved this window where the tea sat.

1 shake for a boys who has eaten too much bread.

The rest of the family getting their breakfast.

1 more walk to Marienplatz.

1 more visit to the toy store.

Purchases of 2 Porsche’s and a German Shepherd figurine.

1 solo shopping trip to H & M for ME! I found some awesome Christmas gifts for the boys.

11:11 in Italy. Remembering.

1 final squeeze through the driveway from the hotel garage to the street. The rental car was beeping like crazy. Sexy Neck is a genius to work the angles to get our station wagon in and out of this garage.

5.5 hour car ride to Milan, Italy.

Through 5 countries.

From Germany to Austria, by Liechtenstein, Switzerland and then finally into Italy.

11 tunnels.

Clouds, snow and sun!

Switzerland

1 panic attack by ME! (The first 5km tunnel freaked me out and sent me into fight or flight even though cognitively nothing was wrong! It was a learning experience.)

1 very strange toilet. You pushed the toilet seat down to make it flush and the water to wash your hands went into the toilet. 🤪

Can you see the stream of water coming out of the wall? This is what you use to wash your hands. 😂😂

Another toilet for 50 cents.

5 amazing slices of margarita pizza, some gnocchi, a calzone and some gelato to end off this beautiful day.

1 awesome room at the Meininger Hotel/Hostel. (The same brand of hotel we stayed in in Brussels, Belgium).

This is how excited the boys get about a new hotel room!
This is mama asking them to sit still!

Steve is working hard to catchup on email and prepare for morning meetings. The boys are watching cartoons in Italian. I am doing laundry… Hence the huge pile by my feet!

Bongiorno from Milan, Italy!

November 12th

I had completely forgotten, or maybe I didn’t realize, how much Italians LOVE children. From the waiter ruffling our son’s hair and shaking their hands last night to the free metro rides and free entry to the museums, wow, I love you even more Italy.

Today was the day that our oldest son, twelve year old JC, has been planning for months. Tying in with his study of Ancient Rome, this would be as close as we would get. Milan. He rocked his negotiation of the metro system and got us everywhere he wanted to go. We even saw a movie being filmed by the fountain outside the Castle.

Today’s plan was a fun one! I love seeing my boys plan, take charge and speak with the locals along the way. Jackson even ordered our lunch in Italian and paid for it.

Parco Sempione (Park)

Castillo Sforzeaco (Castle)

FYI, we have run into these African men all over Europe trying to give you some string, that they then make you pay for. They were scary for the boys at the beginning but we have taught the boys to be very assertive.

Museum featuring the mind-blowing work of Leonardo da Vinci. Hallogram videos and sitting in the room he worked on for many years was incredibly awe-inspiring.

They said no photos… but I could resist taking these. It was a first person story of how Leonardo da Vinci came to be painting this corner of the castle in Milan.

Fried pizza for lunch. There was a HUGE line at Luini’s, so we knew it must be good. JC found this place on the internet through watching videos about Milan.

This young man was very brave ordering for our family in Italian.
Fried pizza. Was exciting but the boys didn’t love them.

Gelato in Gallerio Vittorio

Duomo Di Milano (Church)

Just wow!!!
Inside the church! I wish I had taken more pictures! The statue of St Bartholomew had us talking at dinner that night!
More prayers for Nana and Grandma in heaven. They have been ever-present with us this trip in so many ways. They had come visit us when we lived in Europe and we had travelled with them (and our two Papa’s) to many of these places.

Climbing over 200 stairs to the terraces of the Duomo.

FYI, this is on the Terraces is the DUOMO and they will blow a whistle and yell at you if you do a handstand!

A clean toilet in McDonald’s. (Probably the only reason I will take my boys there).

Meeting Steve spontaneously in between his meetings. (I almost hit him when he came up from behind and surprised us)

Love this picture… anyone know how to photoshop Steve’s eyes open? Reminds me of his Gramps. Xoxo

2 metro rides.

Many kilometres of walking.

Dinner back at a very Italian restaurant by our hotel in the Lambrate area. The boys declared that this was the BEST pizza they have had in their life. (Sexy Neck and I thought last night was better!)

And MORE gelato and a play at the park in the dark before we head to bed at 10:00pm.

November 13th

Cake and pie for breakfast. Sure why not! We are in Italy after all! This is how our boys started their day. We are finding our rhythm with a buffet breakfast between 8:30 and 9:30, then a mid-afternoon snack and then dinner around 6:30 or 7:00. We are all feeling GREAT and are truly eating our way around Europe.

The boys made Daddy’s coffee for him this morning. They are becoming quite the jokesters. It’s hilarious to watch. Look at CC and JC’s faces.

This is our second and last day in Milan before we head north to meet friends in the Swiss Alps. We have been asking the boys each morning what they would like to do and it was unanimous that today would include:

Heading back to the Parco Sempione, a stroll by the Duomo again, a stop at the largest LEGO store in Italy that just opened on the 11th, a visit to the main train station and dinner there too! And yes more gelato too! We even convinced Sexy Neck to take the boys back into the Museum to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. He missed it yesterday when we went because he was working.

As the boys went back into the museum, I sat outside with a hot drink and got caught up on the blog. Now this is what a hot chocolate looks like:

It was hot and thick and absolutely delicious.

Ah my heart!!!

The boys wanted to checkout the largest LEGO store in Italy and along the way, CC decided to buy the Swatch Watch he had been looking at since we were in Brussels.

Lego, this is very cool! Which character are you?

We decided to head home to our hotel/hostel via the metro to cook dinner for ourselves. We had soup and salad. First, we went to our favourite grocery store, Lidl, to pickup some supplies.

One of the boys doesn’t like the metro noise!
What a man! A water man!
Dinner time!

A few handstands before bed doesn’t hurt! Right? JC attempting to walk around the room on his hands.

Ciao! Italy, it’s been a very fun couple of days. We want to own an apartment in Italy one day.

Next stop the Swiss Alps!

Be Taking a Radical Sabbatical with us!

Our Radical Sabbatical – Chapter One

Imagine biking away from school on June 28th knowing that you would not be returning to that industrial looking school building and schedule for over a year?  Imagine being able to design your learning, travel the world and live at a ski hill with the foundational goal of skiing every single day of the ski season? Imagine moving into a nine hundred square foot home with five people and no dishwasher nor in suite laundry?

Imagine.

What would your radical sabbatical look like?

This imagining above is the reality we are creating and that I will be writing about during our radical sabbatical. Our family of five is riding our bikes away from grades two, four and six and walking into grades three, five and seven as homeschoolers living in a two room condominium, overlooking the ski hill.  With the addition of two trips, one month long trip to Europe and one two week vacation in the spring, you now have the big picture of what is going to unfold over the next twelve months and corresponding chapters of this book about our life yet to be written.   

Could you imagine?  

Would you ever step out, take a time out and shake up your reality to press pause on life? 

Stopping all activities except skiing and gymnastics.

Withdrawing from all volunteer positions on boards and activities in our community.Renting out our main house and only bringing the bare essentials into our small living space.

Inspired by the gift of grief given to us by my beautiful mama over five years ago.

Fanned by the gift of grief given to us this year by Sexy Neck’s mama, grandma, grandpa, my aunt and our Labrador, Summer.

Walked out first and foremost, by Joanne Kraft when her family took a year off from activities outside of school. Her book, “Just Too Busy: Taking your Family on a Radical Sabbatical”jumped off the library shelf last winter and cemented this idea in my mind.

Watered and lovingly supported by our friends who live our freedom and growth lifestyle.

Practically supported by our teacher friends and the school that we will work with to educate our boys over the next twelve months.

Divinely inspired by our Father in heaven who knows our hearts and allowed everything to seamlessly and truly effortlessly unfold.

Now, we create space for us to live in a nine hundred square feet condominium.

Building a learning space for three creative and hardworking eight, ten and twelve year old boys.

Building a triple bunk bed so that we have more space to play.

A radical sabbatical.

Twelve months to pause and change our routine.

New rhythm.

New schedule.

New space.

Finding our rhythm.

Our schedule.

Our space.

So, I sit here and ask again: What would a radical sabbatical look like for you? It doesn’t have to be as extreme as what we have done, but maybe it’s something as simple as eating dinner together every night or what Joanne Kraft did and taking a break from extracurricular activities. Whatever speaks to you as you share our journey with us, may it be meaningful to you and light up your life!

These are exciting times my friends. Truly exciting!

xoxo Joanna

#befree

#momofboys

#isalife

<Note: Joanna is currently seeking a publisher to partner with to publish her book as she helps people be free on their own journey as she shares her radical sabbatical with others.>

Be Observing International Women’s Day

What is a better what to observe and notice International Women’s Day than with words and photos.

This wordsmithing woman threw together some words and founds some pics to show you the faces of the inspiring woman surrounding me.

May the women around you stand by you.

Lift you up.

Hold you up.

Pray you up.

And never stand you up.

The woman in my life that is ALWAYS very present was my Mama.

She made me a better mom to my boys, a more thoughtful friend, a more forgiving wife and always helped me to get over my temper tantrums.

I am grateful for all the women in my life.

If you are the sum of the people you surround yourself with, I am kick *ss.

These are the women in my life.

The ones that truly care and you know that they are there.

Ones that help you with your babies and your business.

Those who nurture your mind, heart and spirit.

Women that help you grow, that you may not even have in a photo. 😉

Thank you to all you wonderful women!

😘 Joanna

Be Finding Food For Fuel (4 Pillars of a Healthy Fuelling System)

Isn’t it funny how a few days flat on your back allows you the privilege to reflect on health? February flu season is wafting through the house and it happened to grab on to me last Friday. The weekend was spent trying to breathe, staying warm and lying in a slightly upright position. Fun time for this jet engine energy girl. One thing about me, though, is situations like this help me grow.

These last seventy- two hours have afforded me the opportunity to think deeply about what I put into my body. Over four years ago, I was forty pounds heavier than I am today. Over four years ago, I was on a deep growth journey working through the grief of my loving mama. Over four years ago, I discovered, by my own willingness to never sit or lay in a pit too long, the best fuelling system for my body. And I want to stress “system” because there are no miracle products. Sorry. There are no one week detoxes that are going to fix your eating habits. Sorry again. And there are no amount of counting calories or points that will teach you how to nourish and listen to your body. Truth.

I now have partnered with the company that formulated this system over fifteen years ago. I have left my full time teaching life that I was very passionate about because I think all children are a gift from God. I now help match people’s personal goals to a system of products that support the systems that work within the body. And yes, we even touch on poo! After my mom died, as well as weekends like I just had, I know with 100% certainty that if we don’t have health we have nothing. If we don’t get a handle of how to fuel our bodies, we don’t have energy. If we don’t understand what our individual bodies need, we will have “dis ease”.

Here are my few gems from lying in the couch with “dis ease” if you truly want to learn how to fuel your body:

First, before you even try to uncover the food dilemma, how is your water intake and what amount of sleep are you currently getting? Furthermore, are you drinking enough water and sleeping enough for your body? How is your sleep hygiene? Are you able to sleep without your “handheld computer comforter” beside you?

Second, what do you LOVE to eat? Do you enjoy plants, meat, soups, fruit? Just because the current rage is to eat no fruit (no carbohydrates) or only eat meat (protein), you decide what is best for you personally and build your fuelling system around that.

Third, are you moving between the eating habits of starvation and overindulgence. Most people do. My company’s name literally means “balanced life”. This is your ultimate destination with your fuel. Eating every couple of hours with a balance of variety of foods that nourish you and bring you energy.

Water.

Sleep.

Love.

Balance.

Simple.

Isn’t it!

The four pillars of a healthy fuelling system.

One that doesn’t rely on feelings or emotions.

One that doesn’t flutter in the wind depending on the current ‘famous food’ that you can’t pronounce or diet plan you really only can follow when motivation is high.

Something that relies on you nourishing and listening to your body.

Something that allows your body to become more alive as you age and continue to grow.

Until we breathe no more.

Fuelling with water.

Recovering as we sleep.

Nourishing with lovely food.

Finding balance in all areas of our life, but especially with our food.

Comment below with your favourite fuelling tips.

Follow me on Instagram: @cannjoanna

If you need support in your fuelling, be free to ask me for more information at jj_cann@yahoo.com

With gratitude for feeling healthier,

😘 Joanna

Be Giving Four Tech Tips to Parents (speech preparation)

In April, I am going to be sharing my experience with technology and our three boys to a group of parents, professors and community members at the local University. I will be on a panel with four experts that have immersed themselves in learning and being awake to technology.

Here is my speech, your comments are appreciated:

When I was growing up I had a neighbour named Michael. He was not allowed to eat gum, candy or anything that had sugar in it. When he became a teenager, he always seemed to have a piece of gum in his mouth as soon as he walked down the end of his driveway. He was focused on when he could have his candy and gum. He was a sugar zombie. As I now raise three boys in a overtly technologically driven world, like sugar was for my generation, and ponder them as teenagers, this has been in the forefront of my mind. As parents, my husband and I always “start how we want to finish”. We don’t want to do anything that won’t help our young children grow into adults.

Our discussion around technology began when our youngest was four months old and I flipped on a children’s television channel and saw an Oil of Olay commercial. I asked myself if I wanted my son to grow up thinking that women looked like that? The answer was no and the cable was taken off the television. Our boys are now 11, 9 and 7. They have access to technology but have maybe seen the nightly news five times in their entire life. My husband and I have come up with four guiding questions or tips about technology that have helped us as we parent our boys.

BUT, before I share these tips, I want to give you a bit more depth of insight about our vantagepoint as parents. All of the information in the world, is now in our pockets, we can also take pictures, communicate immediately, count our steps and even open our garage door. When we grew up, we had to access a library, find someone, or have a gigantic set of encyclopedia Brittanica on our shelves at home to access information. With this power in our pocket, we also know that it lights up our brains like cocaine. Oh it feels good! Technology gives us instant gratification. And we have observed that most people spend more time with their technology (than?) with any human being in their life. Therefore, we don’t take technology and our children’s connection to it lightly.

NOW, here’s our four questions we use to guide us. I implore each of you to steal our questions or be inspired to create your own. May you find a healthy relationship with technology for you and your family.

First, how do we want technology to look in our family knowing the average usage of screen time is 6 hours per day for children?

We held a family meeting to discuss this and we talked about our weeks as well as the activities that we live to do. We decided on 4.5 hour per week. Yup, per week. The boys created Tech Coins so that they could personally keep track of their time. We know they will soon be teenagers and I don’t want to be keeping track of their technology time. I want them to be able to know when enough technology is enough. Remember my neighbour and our motto for parenting: “Start how you want to finish”.

Second, we wondered how do we help grow creators using technology not just consumers. Like good food, alcohol, shopping… we believe you can consume too much technology. Have you ever met a young child that can only talk about technology? I believe we are dealing with an overconsumption! In our boys, 4.5 hours of technology per week, they do play a few games that are apps. They mostly will create skits that they video, make cartoons, build things or make stikbot movies.

Here’s the big question, number three: How do we engage in social media as a family? I use it sparingly for work, after I overcame my own addiction. My boys don’t do it at all. Common Sense Media recommends that children aren’t ready til 14 years old. And as my husband has worked as a Vice Principal at both a middle and high school, I don’t know if our boys will have access to social media before they leave our home at 18. Haha. My husband estimates that 70% of the issues he dealt with were at least partially connected to social media. It’s a platform that creates communication and a life that isn’t real. I read things personally, that I know that person wouldn’t say to another living human beings face but the technology had caused a disconnect. We are all about connection.

Our fourth question was one from my journey, do we crave technology? Can we leave it for an hour or two or a day or a two? I am proud to say that I now can. But now I am very careful to see if my boys are being seduced into the instant gratification of technology. If yes, we talk about it, then take a break for a day or two.

Image from http://www.rearfront.com

People worry about zombies coming to the earth, but I think they are already here… mouths dropped open, head down, phone in front of their face, running into poles on the sidewalk, ignoring every human being around them. To prevent a generation of zombies, I ask:

1. How does technology look like for you and your family? What do you want it to look like?

2. Are you using technology to create or consume?

3. How do you engage with social media?

4. Do you crave technology?

A few questions to ponder as we live in an ever changing technological world and strive to raise awake, creative human beings and not zombies.

Be Finding Balance Again (Overconsumption has taken over!) 

Overconsumption rules the world right now and, in my opinion, is ruining the world. 

From the plastics that are flooding the earth and waters. 

To the devices that are flooding our brains and bodies. 

On to the food that is stripping our lands of minerals and then not giving our bodies what it needs even when we think it’s good for us. 

Overconsumption has taken over! 

Did you know that most teens now spend more time on devices than an adult spends at their full time job per day?  

Did you know that some family’s have their children signed up for activities every single day of the week? 

Has anyone else noticed that rarely do we talk about reducing or reusing what we consume, instead all our energy has gone into recycling?   

Tonight, I lift my glass and say cheers to finding a balance life. 

True balance. 

Harmony within and around. 

Time and space to be. 

Energy and effort to do. 

Balance between men and women. 

Testosterone and estrogen. 

Just enough.  

All around. 

In balance.  


Our three boys ages, 10, 8 and 6 receive four hours of screen time PER WEEK. Today, their brains were flooded with the sounds and sights of skiing on snow. Their bodies climbed trees, hammered rocks, played piano and even jumped on mattresses in the basement later in the day.  

My husband and I don’t allow screens anytime on Mondays and Wednesdays when the boys have activities.  The rest of the week, they are free to choose when they use their “tech time”.   They are open to choose how to spend their free time.  It is in these in between time that is so fun to see what they create. 

Imbalance is killing us. 

Overconsumption is killing our planet. 

Each of us, can find ways to create balance. 

Individually it is easy. 

Collectively it makes a difference. 

Balance in mind, within our bodies and through our spirit.  

Imagine this place of balance for you, what it would look like and feel like. 

Who would be around you? 

What would you eat? 

What activities and moments of stillness would flow through the day? 

What would you do tomorrow if you lived a day in balance? 

You ‘Cann’ do it. 

😘 Joanna Cann 

Be Living A Brut-iful Life!

img_8886 As I sit, ponder and let my mind wander, I think of all of you reading this 2017 message. Each of my Facebook friends and all 996 of you that follow my blog. I want to pour out extra love to everyone going through their sprinkling of brutal and beautiful as I did three years ago.  Couldn’t that be all of us?  Isn’t life imperfectly perfect?  What a brut-iful life we are living here in the stunning Okanagan Valley!  A sprinkle of brutal, but ALWAYS beautiful!

Three years ago, I walked with my mom as she was being released into heaven.  I walked as a daughter, an advocate, a pain reliever, a massager, a water getter, a midwife and had to make phone calls that I never thought I would have to, I think back at how brut-iful these moments were.  Brutal moments where I just have to lie down and cry and beautiful moments where I lie down and rejoice!  All magically weaved together into living each day with the gift of grief.

My boys were playing in their “Astronomer’s Lair” a few days ago, and I was very surprised to walk in and see them playing with old Tupperware bins.   I experienced one of my brut-iful moments when they proceeded to inform me that the extra bed was a place for their beloved Nana.  It was a lying down rejoicing and crying kind of moment!  The boys were 2, 4 and 6 when my marvelous Mama went to heaven, but she is still very much present in our lives!   It is slowly moving from brutal memories into beautiful moments.  Don’t underestimate your power to leave an impact on peoples lives!

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As I send  you wishes for an healthy, energetic, adventurous 2017 filled with dreams, may you savour all your brut-iful moments knowing that they are neither good nor bad, they just are.

Day by day.

Beautiful.

Brutal.

Memory-Making.

Healthy.

Living EVERY day.

Brut-iful living.

Brut-iful life!

Smooch, Joanna

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Be Saying ‘Yes’! 

I have many incredible mentors in my life.  

Women.  

Men. 

Children. 

Time.  

Life.

Death. 

One incredible mentor that I am blessed to know is Linda Lou, my old Principal.  

Often when I am living life, her sage wisdom will come into my head.  

Last weekend was one of those marvelous moments! 

Linda Lou ALWAYS tried to find a way to say ‘yes’ to every person, adult or child that she worked with.  She was an incredible negotiator.  She listened well and she came up with amazing solutions so it was a yes for everyone.  

After a few days of feeling like a drill sergeant with my boys: fill your water bottle, grab your hombag, where is your helmet…. I decided to say ‘yes on Sunday.  

First I said yes to post-breakfast painting:  

 and then my oldest wanted to make a brunch buffet for everyone.  (CC had shared earlier in the week that he loved our resort in hawaii because he could take whatever he wanted at the breakfast buffet.) 

And then we finished off with some sewing:  

 

Just say ‘yes’ and see what happens.  

Creativity? 

Freedom? 

Joy?

Laughter? 

New adventures? 

I wonder what will come our way next! 

Be a “Messy” Christian

Messy.

Yup, that describes me.

I ain’t no one hour sitcom that figures it all out.

I don’t live in a magazine showhome.

Nope, not me.

Today, I bawled my eyes out twice talking to my friend in Germany and my cousin in PG.

Yup, crocodile tears rolling down my face.

Yup, that’s me.

I am the kind of girl that sometimes doesn’t even comb her hair.

And sometimes I even wear the same clothes TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Had to admit it.

I don’t set aside specific “quiet” time to pray.

Not a lot of quiet time to be had.

This is what my morning quiet time looks like:

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(Insert three wee boys at the end of the table running around, yelling eating breakfast.)

I do talk with our God throughout my day.

Please Lord, help me keep these boys alive!

I don’t attend church every weekend.

But I do worship and show gratitude to our Lord every day.

No, I am definitely not a nice and tidy Christian attending church every weekend, tithing my ten percent with my perfect “everything is just fine and dandy” smile on my face.

I am one “messy” believer in the Maker of the Universe, glory that God came for the imperfect, the ones that don’t have it all together, messy people like me!

Beautiful to know that God came as a baby, Jesus, and that we get to celebrate his birth next week!

And he was born in a stable.

Now if that ain’t messy, I don’t know what is!

Glory for imperfection.

Tears.

Love.

Life.

Friendship.

Fellowship.

Togetherness.

Celebrating.

My messy life.

With a beautiful birth.

Jesus.