Like countless others, I saw the photo - of your Christmas tree dwarfed by a mountain of presents. Even though you posted it to Instagram, someone took it to Facebook calling you "materialistic."
Of the 300 or so presents surrounding your tree, you estimate that your three kids get around 85 apiece and overall it cost you around $2,300. That's easily $2,000 more than I personally spend on Christmas. But I'm not here to talk about your finances, whether you scored good bargains as you shopped throughout the year or whether you racked up debt in the process.
Frankly, your finances are your business and they're a moot point, compared to the sheer volume. As a fellow mom who is perpetually purging my son's toy cupboard, I'm wondering where the hell you find room to store all this stuff!
We each have our own traditions, and gift giving isn't an exact science. Nowhere is it marked thou shalt by X number of presents. However, I get why people were taken aback by that picture. By most standards, 300 presents feels excessive and a tad compulsive even.
I'm sure you work hard just like the rest of us. That said, I've seen how overwhelming presents are for my son. And I remember the most memorable Christmas mornings from my own childhood, playing with just one or two most cherished items.
There's something to be said, I think, for paring down, for holding out for that one special gift - whatever it may be. Mine was the year I got a "Real Baby" doll, and I question whether having so many presents somehow dilutes the overall experience.
Mostly I'm curious. I don't know you or your kids, so I can't call either of you names like "spoiled" or "materialistic."
That being said, you posted the picture to Instagram so you must have known it would attract attention, and my hope is that the ensuing media storm has given you some pause for thought.
It's totally your choice. You can continue to lavishly mark the occasion by stockpiling hundreds of gifts as you see fit. Or maybe next year you will take stock and realize how little those hundreds of presents actually matter in the grand scheme of the holidays.
The only thing more painful than getting a tattoo is getting a tattoo removed. Luckily that wasn't necessary for a Calgary mom whose tattoo required some major adjustments as her child grew older.
Although Lindsay Peace bears inky impressions of all three of her children on her body, the one of Ace was painfully inaccurate and outdated.
The little girl in a pink dress with her hair in pigtails couldn't have been further from the Ace of today. At 15, Ace no longer identified as the female toddler.
Instead of having to live with tattoo regret or some botched revision, Peace found the perfect solution.
In order to capture the transgender teen more accurately, his father Steve decided a redo was in order, and the original artist from Immaculate Concept Tattoo set to work.
"We just winged it," admitted Steve, who brilliantly swapped out the pink dress for a t-shirt and shorts and removed all traces of bows and pigtails.
You can imagine Ace's surprise and delight when his parents revealed the new and improved tattoo that better reflects the person he is.
While Steve admits that having a transgender child can be a challenging adjustment as a parent, he claims Ace has become happier with every step of the journey.
Of course, his parents' accepting attitude is a key factor in his happiness.
"You have to support your kids," said Steve. "I mean, it's tough when you hear that as a parent, but you have to be strong for your kids. You have to come to terms with it yourself, on your own time, and just have to offer 100 per cent support."
As the first flight touches down in Toronto today, carrying 150 Syrian refugees, Canadian children of all ages have an important and incredibly touching message for them: welcome.
If you watch one thing today, make it this unbelievably touching video by World Vision.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called today "a great day," but it's the little people, the citizens of tomorrow, who paint the best first impression to people newly landed in our country.
Not only are the kids super cute, but the video represents the huge tapestry of backgrounds and cultures that make Canada so awesome:
"Can't imagine what you've been through. I hope you really like it here in Canada."
"There's food, there's toys and clothes and everything you need here."
There's no war, and you can go to school safely."
"I hope you'll be my friend. See you in school."
The kids make a solid case for life in Canada. Hey, what's not to love? After all, we have Timbits and hockey and four seasons (so glad they didn't mention The Bieb.)
Seeing what these kids have to say causes an enormous swell of national pride.
Without delving too far into murky political territory, let me just say that it's amazing to see our country taking steps to reaffirm its international reputation as the friendly and multicultural society.
In total, Trudeau's Liberals are planning to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees over the coming months, many of whom have been privately sponsored by their new communities.