The Birthday Boy
Today was my nephew's 4th birthday.  Both of my sisters live in British Columbia, so I don't get to see them as often as I would like, especially these days while I am living on my student salary.  My mom is there visiting right now and I feel slight pangs of jealousy as I flip through pictures my older sister has posted on Facebook.  Last night while Austin was sleeping, the crew blew up a bunch of balloons and covered his bedroom floor with them.  Needless to say he was delighted to find the sea of balloons in his room this morning.  The day went on to include lots of fun such as multiple bike rides on his sweet new bike, a visit to the bug zoo, a trip to the children's farm, and a walk around the park.

Millipede Mustache
Like Father, Like Son
Can I have a bite?
After my night class this evening, I called Austin to wish him a happy birthday.  He was busy playing when I phoned so my sister had to coax him into taking my call.  This is the special conversation that we had:

Miss W: "Hi Austin!"

A: "Who's dis?"

Miss W: "It's Auntie Michelle."

A: "Hi Annie Shell!"

Miss W: "Is it your birthday today, Austin?"

A: "No" (to my sister) "Is it my birthday?"

K: "Yes"

A: "It is my birthday!  It is!  It is!"

Miss W: "I thought so!  Happy birthday, buddy!  How old are you today?"

A: "I is 4.  I go play now."

I haven't been able to spend a birthday with him yet, but am very thankful that technology allows me to still be a part of his day.  Because without it my sister would not have been able to post pictures to Facebook for me to creep, she would not have been able to email them to me to jazz up my blog, and I would not have been able to call my little buddy on his birthday from school before his bedtime.  High fives to technology! 
I spend a fair bit of my day on my computer or iPad; sometimes doing homework but mostly googling recipes or browsing Used Regina ads (it's like an online garage sale you can browse from your home, and who doesn't love garage sales? No? Just me?). Both my computer and iPad automatically log me into Skype whenever they are signed on.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Skype, it is literally the best thing since the telephone.  It is free to use and allows you to call up your loved ones to have a face-to-face conversation through your respective  computers. I actually remember thinking about the invention of a phone that would allow people to see who they were talking to when I was 7 or 8.  It really creeped me out because for some reason I thought it would only be one sided and it would be without my knowledge.  Skype isn't like that. It has allowed me to watch my nephew and (much) younger sister and brother grow up, even though we don't live in the same province. In fact, my 5-year-old sister knows how to operate Skype on multiple devices and has been known to Skype me several times a week, pending my green check mark showing (a Skype feature that lets you know who is online). This reminds me how different my childhood was 20+ years ago from children today. Another example is going to the movie store to rent a video.  I used to love going with my parents, my friends, my boyfriend to pick out a movie and grab some snacks for an evening of cinema in the living room.  With the exception of small convenience stores and specialty shops, we are currently witnessing the death of physical movie rentals. It is actually on life support in Regina.  Big stores like Blockbuster and Rogers just couldn't compete with the likes of Netflix and on-demand services offered by cable companies and both have since closed all their mortar and brick locations and made the move to offer online rentals. My prediction is that music stores like hmv are next.  Technology is changing the way we offer a lot of services, including education.  I don't know how many times I have wondered how teachers lesson planned before the Internet. It's funny to think that one day children will wonder how we managed to live life with the little conveniences we have right now.
someecards.com - When I was your age, we had to dial to get online
At work we have been decorating little flower pots for Mother's Day this weekend.  The kids have been busy painting and creating little bouquets of fake flowers to go inside.  Last semester we had a discussion in our EHE 310 - Health Education in Elementary Schools - course about whether or not certain holidays should be acknowledged or celebrated, particularly in public schools.  Mother's Day was one of those holidays that came up, and the discussion got very heated as my classmates shared their differing points of view.  I personally believe that we should be showing the important people in our lives that we love them everyday and that we don't need big businesses to sell us cards and stuffed animals on a designated day of the year to let our mothers, fathers, spouses, etc. know that we were thinking about them the other 364 days too.  From my perspective they should not be celebrated in schools if the celebration is solely to make cards and other crafts for moms and dads on their respective days because I don't believe we should be utilizing the little time we have making things that are "cute" just for the sake of making them.  I think there are plenty of alternative ways to acknowledge the day that also incorporate some type of learning and don't have children cutting out hearts and making flowers out of egg cartons.  I guess where I am coming from is the perspective of the children who don't have a mother or a father, the ones that might have two, or the children being raised by grandparents or a combination of many relatives.  The family dynamic has evolved over time and what was considered "normal" 40 years ago is quite different today.  So maybe instead of celebrating Mother's Day the same way we did when we were children, we should consider the families that are currently in our schools and decide if that still makes sense for them today.  Thoughts?