Thursday, October 7, 2010

How do you teach social values?

I just read an interesting post on Everything Mom questioning about when and how to introduce your children to volunteering and what I would call being a good citizen.

I have wondered the same thing myself, especially when our days are so busy that it is so hard to find the time to volunteer myself - makes setting a good example a bit difficult.

Of course, I believe that setting a good example is best way to communicate any value to your children. When Little Mr. Man was a bit younger we did an activity in a local church. They had a food drop off box there and I would try and pick something up at the grocery store and drop it in the box, all the while talking to him about it and explaining why were doing it. Not sure if any of it stuck, but I suppose there was no harm in trying.

Since we just did a huge move we had a lot of trips to goodwill. Again, I would try and bring him and his sister along and explain what we were doing and why. Again, not sure what stuck, but I hope that through exposure both children will get a better sense of the world around them and learn how they can help make a difference.

My next attempt to instill this knowledge in them will be to ask them to give up a few toys before each Christmas and Birthday and donate it to a charity. I may wait until they're around five though so they can have a better understanding of what is going on.

These are just some ways I can think of getting the kids directly involved in the community and learning about being a good citizen.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - things we don't need

In a time where we debate cloth nappies vs. disposable, do we *really* need disposable hand towels? I didn't think so.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Road tripping


So, what's your take on DVDs in cars?



If you know me you probably won't be surprised to hear (read) that I am not a fan. When I was a kid we did a lot of driving and, seeing as I'm near ancient, we did not have DVDs (or even CDs). We did have a tape deck, but I really don't recall ever getting to listen to 'my music' in the car. Of course that's because 'my music' was on records and those didn't work in the car ;-p

But I digress. When I was little my brother and I learned to amuse ourselves, beat each other up while strapped in, and continuously invent new ways to drive our parents crazy! The joys of the road trip!

Now I just got back from a 4 hour road trip (each way) with my 16 month and 3.5 year old, solo. That's right, Mighty Lungs, her big brother and I braved the roads on our own. And lived to tell about it!

The ride up was a bit more 'difficult' than the ride home. On the way up, Mighty Lungs thought it was great fun to scream. I don't call her Mighty Lungs for nothing. I did learn that if I passed back a toy she'd stop screaming. So i had an ample supply of toys up front and kept on passing them back. Sadly she'd burn them in no time. Food also helped. Suffice to say, that by the time we arrived at our destination she nearly had enough food and toys piled up below her to make a comfy ottoman.

Little Mr. Man didn't like the screaming either. Unfortunately, he thought she would stop if he screamed too...I stopped him in his tracks though, because 1) his screaming had no effect on hers and 2) I told him if he didn't stop, I'd pull the car over and leave his cars on the side of the road.

Of course it should come as no surprise that the next time Mighty Lungs screamed the little guy asked me to pull over. His answer, when I asked why was "Pull over so we can leave Miss Moo (AKA, Mighty Lungs) on the side of the road". Much to his dismay I explained that was not an option.

Little Mr. Man did manage to quell her screeches by pulling his boot off and on, putting his foot up and yelling out "Woody" (he was wearing Toy Story socks with Woody on them). Might not work on Saturday Night Live, but Missy Mood (that was a typo, but I think it might be her new nickname!) sure loved it!!

Little Mr. Man and I played a bit of I spy and talked about all the cool things we could see (in between Might Lung's screeching sessions). We talked about what we would do when we got to our destination. He amused himself with his toys and played nicely with his sister (again, in between her screeching & screaming).

On the way back there was little screaming and much more sleeping. No need for "woody", food or toys really. Both kids fell asleep for a good hour and I got to enjoy driving my new super duper car. I even listened to one of my CDs.

Much to my husband's dismay, this road trip did not convert me into believing that DVDs are needed in the car.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Confessions of the time poor

Ok, so truthfully, how long do you take before getting your baby/toddler from their crib?
Do you jump up from your comfy seat (or immediately drop the broom) as soon as you hear them stir? Do you wait for the rambling or gurgling? Or do you wait until they start shaking the crib and screaming?

Me, I've always taken the really slow approach. I figure when they're good and ready , they'll let me know. The same way they let me know about everything - by screaming (or talking REALLY LOUDLY).

At first, I thought that maybe I was being mean, that I should rush into their room and cuddle and lavish them with attention as soon as they were up. And then, well, my son started waking up at 5am. I didn't really like 5am. So instead of jumping out of bed, I would lie in my warm bed, doze in out of sleep, listening to him ramble.

My daugher is pretty much the same. And with only 1 nap a day, there's just not enough time to get everything done (and blog ;-). Plus, I rationalize my slow reaction time to allowing my children to practice talking. When they're done practicing they let me know. Just like Little Miss is now!

So next time, don't jump, finish your cup of tea or sweeping or your own nap. The kids will be fine ;-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

costco tales

OK, so I had a ridiculously fun & exciting time at Costco last week. Seriously. Before you judge, imagine not having access to one for 4 years. That's what I thought.

Now my exuberance *may* have blinded me a little bit. Just a little. In my defense, it is really, I mean REALLY frikkin' hard not to throw all the cute and CHEAP stuff for kids in my cart. I mean really really really frikkin' hard. OK, I think you get the point.

Maybe, just maybe I should've looked at some items a little more closely, but again, *in my defense* I only had an hour and half and I had to renew my membership in that time, so really, only an hour.

OK, enough of the excuses, the long and short of it: my son is currently sleeping in girls PJs. Again, in my defense, the jammies are blue & green and look (at least in the package) like they're boys. Until I dressed him for bed tonight. The shoulders are, well, a little pouffy. You know, 1980s gathering at the shoulder (or as my husband pointed out, maybe 1780s men's fashion). And, upon closer consideration, the design of the fabrics is decidedly, well, girlish.

Now, I am really not a fan of gender stereotypes. I think boys should play with dolls and girls with trucks. Pink looks great on most boys and blue on most girls. So, it's not that I have a problem with dressing my son in girls clothes, it's just that, well...to be honest, I can't stop smiling when I see him in these jammies.

Maybe it's because by the end of the day, he's so, well, passionate when he talks. He's so serious. And it's really hard to take him seriously with these puffy shoulders!! I would love to take a picture for you, but, he's asleep right now and I really don't think he's going to wear them again. It's just not fair. For me!! All I want to do is laugh when I see him....so methinks, in the morning I'll just tell him that they're too small.

Thankfully they won't go to waste as they'll be fitting Little Miss in no time.

In the meantime, I shall be a bit more careful when I'm at Costco next time.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - My beautiful children


Feeling a bit sentimental. And really really really proud of my two beautiful children.
I've moved them from Sydney, Australia to Vancouver, Canada and they have been on their best behaviour!!
I'm sure this feeling of euphoria will come to a crashing end sooner or later, so in the meantime I thought it would be nice to celebrate them!
This picture is from a photo shoot we did about a month before leaving Sydney.

I can't share anything more recent as I believe the cord I need to transfer pictures from my camera to my laptop is in a shipping container that will arrive sometime next month (although I suppose I could start using my new iPhone 4 ;-)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Best kids in the world!

Haven't had a lot of time of late to think, let alone jot a line down here.

We have successfully moved to Vancouver, Canada from Sydney, Australia. In 4 short days, we test drove at least 4 cars, two of which we've had overnight. Checked out 2 preschools/daycares, finally got to see the house we bought (without having stepped foot in), got drivers licenses, put my name down on a VERY long list for an iPhone 4, shopped at WalMart & PetSmart but not Costco, hired a babysitter for 6 hours (sounds way more exciting than it was - non-child time was needed for mortgage talk and car talk) and probably a few more really non-exciting things.

All of that, and both my kids have been super duper! Seriously. OK, so we've had a bit of attitude from Little Mr. Man and Little Miss has been a bit grottier than usual, but really nothing more than what you'd get after a busy weekend. Plus, they've barely seen the inside of a playground, only had a few sniffs of fresh air and not one single playdate! Basically, it's been in and out of the car, in and out of shops and strange surroundings and unfamiliar faces. Hmmm, maybe they're just in a state of shock and the real effects of the move won't be for another couple of weeks??!!
Here's hoping that's not the case and I just have two of the best kids ever!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Last night

Well, this is our last night as residents of Sydney, Australia.

Four years ago, my newly wed husband and I boarded a plane to Sydney, not really knowing what to expect...except lots of sun and really hot days. While there sure were a lot of sunny days, the heat was a bit more than expected, being pregnant and all makes you feel like it's 10 degrees warmer!

Baby #1 was so much fun, we thought we'd go ahead and have another. Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy wine? Australian wines, especially. So, while we were here, in beautiful, sunny, Australia, I was pregnant for 18 out of 48 months, add the 15 months that I was breastfeeding, that left me with a whopping 15 months to enjoy the many, many seriously yummy wines of this great country. So, while I am overjoyed to have my two beautiful children and really would NEVER change that in a million years, I just think that maybe, just maybe, we should've gone somewhere else to have the babies...you know, somewhere that doesn't make such yummy wines.

On that note, I am having the very last sip of Australian wine (in Australia) and closing one chapter of my life and starting a new one. That is, after we survive the 14 hour flight to Vancouver...oh, and even before that actually get ourselves to the airport. Turns out, we have A LOT of baggage! Literally!! Looks like Momma might be in a cab on her own to the airport in the morning.

So if you don't hear from me for a while, it's not because I've dropped off the face of the planet...I may just be, you know, a little busy...MOVING MY FAMILY OF FOUR from one hemisphere to the other! Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tears of joy

Scary Mommy & Soy-Joy have a contest going on right now on JOY. In fact, the contest ends in but a few short hours, and I'm still struggling with what to say and how to say it. Here goes!

I noticed a number of entries in this contest all have a similar theme...the little moments. It got me thinking about an article I recently read in the NY Times about how things don't really make us happy, but rather it's all about experiences. Holidays or meals shared with loved ones (or maybe even just 'like' ones ;-) - joy and happiness come from experiences and not designer jeans. Ya don't say?! I could've told you that! As long as I can remember, one of my favorite memories, you know, one of those that give you the warm & fuzzies, involves washing dishes....by hand (yes, I was deprived and grew up without a dishwasher!). Anyhow, it's true. It reminds of time spent with my older brother. Just the two of us, hanging out in the kitchen and chatting while Mom & Dad relaxed.

Anyhow, all this talk about JOY and I can't stop thinking about sad events. You see, when my mother passed away (6 years ago) I was absolutely devastated and I could not imagine ever feeling happy again. Someone, I can't recall whom, said I was lucky to feel so sad because it meant I had so many happy memories of my Mom. If I didn't have a huge collection of tiny moments of joy then my heart would not feel so empty for loosing her. I know, this post isn't really sounding 'joyful' but stick with me and hear me out...I think it'll turn around.

See, once again my heart is feeling heavy. Thank goodness it is not because anyone's passed away, but rather it is because my family and I are moving back Canada after living in Sydney, Australia for the last 4 years. While I'm thrilled to be moving closer to family and friends, I am sad about leaving all the wonderful friends we've made and lives we've become a part of. Really, really sad!! But, in order to stop the crying, I remind myself how fortunate I am to be feeling this sad. I know, that doesn't make much sense. But it all goes back to being lucky for feeling sad.

So, this odd post on JOY (that seems to talk more about sadness) is really about all those tiny moments. Those silly times shared with friends, that at the time may seem meaningless but at the end of the day (or four years) culminate into one big feeling of JOY. Tinged with many tears of joy

So, even though my heart is heavy with a deep sadness that I will soon be so far away from these friends that I have shared so many wonderful little moments with, I find JOY in having had the opportunity to experience these moments.


“This post is part of SOYJOY‘s What brings you joy contest. Learn more here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Hot Chocolate Fall Out

This is what happens when you let a 15 month old drink a hot chocolate...unsupervised.

She managed to soak through 2 layers of clothes and make a lake on the footrest of the pram. Thankfully the pram's black so you can barely notice the hot chocolate bath it had and thanks to the power of Vanish Preen, the whites almost came clean.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Toast it Thursdays - Zilzie

Not sure if this has caught on, but I'm big on Toast it Thursdays....the idea, raise a glass of something and toast something.
So, on this Thursday, August 12th, I'm toasting the day with a cheap Australian Cab Sauv, Zilzie - the great thing about 'cheap Australian wines' - there all so frikkin' good!
This one hails from the Coonwarra region, which, really, please show me a crappy wine from this region. The beautiful thing about this wine is that it is balanced, a little heavy, but really extremely well balanced, especially for a wine that's around $10 AUD. It's one of those wines, that no matter your palate or preferences, I think you'd like it. Although, if you don't like Cab Sauv then, really, you won't be won over, but that can't be a surprise, as it is, after all, a Cab Sauv ;-)
...and what pray tell am I toasting (other than lovely cheap Australian wines?) - my beautiful children. original, no. but really, it means a lot after a day like I had today. I mean, of course, we always love our children, but you know, some days you want to scream, run, hide....today was one of those days for me!
But after a bit of crazy this morning, my 3 year old and I had a *heart to heart* and decided to change our ways. no more screaming and no more arguing. And really, we pretty much succeeded in this. Both my kids are pretty smart. They may not understand what PMS means, but god love 'em, they have figured out it's not the time to act up!!

So, clink-clink, here's a Toast it Thursday toast to my two beautiful children!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Throwing out the book

When Little Mr. Man was born, I did everything by the book...ok, it's not like there is ONE book and I didn't do everything by the book (lets be honest, I hate being told what to do!), but in terms of his naps and bedtime routines, I was, well, pretty inflexible (understatement of the year) and insisted that he have all his naps at home in his cot and be home by 6pm for his bedtime routine. Oh yeah, I was a barrel of fun!!

You see before he was born I'd heard all these HORROR stories about babies that didn't sleep. and to get them to nap or sleep for the night a ridiculous routine would have to be followed, which usually simply ended with either mom or dad crawling into bed (or sometimes cot) with them.

Now, if you know me, you know I NEED sleep (again, another understatement). I could easily sleep for 12 hours, wake up, have a snack and go back to bed for another 6 hours without any trouble (i've even paid to sleep, it's true, click here). But as you know, kids change all this. So, after hearing all these sleep horror stories I was VERY worried that my first born would be a non-sleeper and I'd become one too. So, in my defense my rigidity around his sleep routine was for a reason - the preservation of self.

Thankfully, the little guy has always been a pretty good sleeper, whether my adherence to his schedule contributed anything, I don't know...but lets just say it did!

Now of of course, it's much harder (READ: IMPOSSIBLE) to adhere to a similar schedule with baby no. 2. I mean you could, but with no back yard there's no way LMM would allow us to spend as much time as necessary at home to adhere to a routine for Little Miss. She's now 15 months and for the most part is also a pretty good sleeper. I think that's because as far as she's concerned, she is not going to miss out on an opportunity to sleep - she's never quite sure when the next opportunity is going to come around.

My point - throw away the damned book! I stressed so much over the silliest things with LMM and while I loved being a mom and believe it or not, even thought I did a good job, I never enjoyed it without abandon. And really, there are so many more things to worry about than whether your baby is napping at the right time in the right place!! I'm glad that there's heaps of parenting advice out there. Not only does it give me things to argue about but having tricks and tools of trade is always beneficial. It's when you loose yourself and stop following your own instincts is when it becomes troublesome. I think that's partially what happened with LMM. I'm much happier (still worry WAY more than I need to, but heck that's genetic ;-) and so much less stressed.

Guest Blogging - must haves for new (and not so new) parents

Come and see my guest blog at kidsvancouver.com. The top 10 list of things every new (and not so new) parent should have!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Move over Wendy, Bob's got a new crew

Breast may not always be best

Hooray for Gisele Bundchen - apparently breastfeeding her baby helped her keep her figure! I suppose there's some truth there, I breastfed both of mine and unfortunately I got to keep my figure too (it's just not one anyone would really want to keep ;-)

Seriously though, to say that all mother's should be 'forced' to breastfeed, as she is apparently suggesting, is ridiculous. Yes, we all know breast is best, but not all of us can. It's great if you have a staff and don't have to work 9-5 Monday-Friday, or more. I think the staff and being a professional model probably had more to do with Gisele keeping her figure, but it's her story, so far be it from me to question...). The reality is though that not many new mom's have the luxury of staying home with their babies for the first year (or even 3 months). I know that's why we have breastpumps, but not everyone can pump enough milk or fit it into their workday (yes, I know there are laws that should/do protect new mother's but in reality, in this market it can be hard enough finding or keeping your job as a new mom, adding 30 minute 'pumping' breaks throughout the day may just be the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back).

What about women who are on medications that have harmful effects on a nursing baby. Or women who suffer from post-natal depression or post-natal anxiety disorders? It seems that by reducing the level of stress associated with breastfeeding (and of course going on some good drugs) can have a much more positive affect on the mother / baby relationship than having the little one tugging on her breast. Let's not forget about *those* women who just choose to give their baby a bottle because they want to go out on the town and enjoy a few drinks or just "couldn't be fagged" as the now infamous editor-in-chief of Mother & Baby Kathryn Blundell suggests (gasp!).

Choosing to formula feed your baby does not make you a bad mother. Choosing to make women who do make this choice feel bad and crappy about their decision does make you a bad person (or at least inconsiderate, rude and really not a very supportive woman). Yes, breast may be best but life's not black and white. I think the axiom ought to be changed to : breast is usually best, but not always.




Thursday, July 29, 2010

The real top 10 list - Things all new moms & dads need

Not the regular top 10 that will see you your local toy store and baby centre. No, this is the REAL top 10 list of things you actually need.

1. smart phone - preferably an iphone, but any that have a big screen will work - this is not so you can text, email and facebook until your heart's content (well, ok, maybe it is) but it also works as a GREAT flashlight for middle of the night feeds, nappy changes and temperature checks. Apps also serve as a great distraction when you're out and about. Cost = priceless!

2. wine and/or chocolate - i lump these together as some people don't drink and others don't like chocolate. and for those, like me, that like both, it is safer to save one for after 6pm (you decide ;-)...OK, so those days when you it's not even 7:30 am and there's already been three meltdowns (2 of them yours), there is nothing like sinking your teeth into an exquisite piece of dark chocolate (or really, any kind of chocolate will do). And once it's 5:30pm and those meltdowns have not stopped and you are covered in snot, poop, food and some unknown substances, there really is nothing like sitting down with a glass of wine. Truly, every mother's best friend!

3. facebook/twitter accounts: face it - you're not going to be going out like you used to. At least with FB and twitter you can still keep your finger on the pulse and see all the events that your single/married without children friends are doing. And of course, they can look at all the pictures you post of your gorgeous kids (or not)

4. a good therapist - seriously - you're going to need it. I don't know too many men/woman that can take the constant erosion of self and thoughts of self-doubt that comes with being a parent. And I don't have a mother to add to those levels! I love my kids more than anything else in this world, and for the most part they're pretty good, but good lord, they wear me down. Having an impartial, objective person to talk/vent to is absolutely priceless. Because face it, there's only so much whining your friends/partners will take. Hire a professional.

5. Make friends with the local teenagers. You are going to need a battery of babysitters. Trust me, even your parents will get sick of looking after your kids at some point.

6. A cleaner - again, the cost = priceless. You will spend more time at home than you ever thought possible and the mess that will be created will be beyond your wildest dreams. My bathrooms smell like urinals - and my son actually pees in the toilet. Yet still, my bathrooms smell...While I'm not exactly sure why this is, after a visit from the cleaning fairy the smell is gone (at least for a day or two). It really pays to have someone come, at least once a month, to clean every corner of your house, from top to bottom, all at once. It's a great feeling to walk into that house.

7. Put your child's name on wait lists for daycare. I know, you don't want to go back to work. All you want to do is gaze into the eyes of your beautiful child and be there for every teeny tiny little change or developmental milestone. And of course, no one could do as good of a job raising your child as you. I know. But you know, there will be days that you will want to go back to work. Trust me. There may even be weeks and months that you have that feeling. If you don't have your kids on a wait list, it becomes really hard for you to go back to work. But if you have done all the research, have them on a wait list for *the best* care centre, going back to work is always an option. And of course, you can always turn that spot down should they call and you really and truly don't want to go back to work, or have just one day a week where you can go pee by yourself. It's always good to have options. Just sayin'.

8. A good hairdresser. I mean a really good hairdresser that you trust. Preferably one that works long hours. You will have days when you have been spit up on, pooped on, bit, kicked, used as a kleenex and poked and prodded. There will be days when you will barely recognize yourself in the mirror for the puffy eyes and blotchy skin. There will be days when you clothes, yes, even your fat clothes, won't fit right. Those are the kind of days when you need to get your hair done. Get it cut, coloured, styled. It really doesn't matter. Just being out of the house--without anyone tugging at your pant leg or screaming in your ear--and being pampered is the best thing in the world. And really, who doesn't feel better about themselves after visiting the hair salon?!

9. A gym membership at a gym with a creche. I don't care if you hate going to the gym. I don't care if you don't even know what to do at a gym. It DOESN'T matter. Gym's with creches are your best friend. Especially if you find one with a steam room and sauna. It doesn't matter *where* in the gym you are, you just have to be in the building. Heck, you can spend the whole time at the gym's juice bar reading a book or sleeping in the locker room. You'll usually have at least a whole hour to yourself and the cost is usually minimal. Worse case scenario you may even get in shape, or at least counter some of the calories from the wine and chocolate ;-)

10. The Entertainment Book - and USE it. I know the books are only $60 and are bought to support your local insert-good-cause-here and usually end up collecting dust or are used as a door stop. I say use it as an excuse to go to the hairdresser, call up that local teenager and go out for a lovely night out with your partner. It's amazing how much better food tastes when someone else cooks it and cleans up after you.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Now you see him, now you don't

Shopping expedition = FAIL

So my darling son and I were having a day out in the big city. The plan was to take the train, the ferry, have lunch and just hang out. The only glitch was that as we were heading into the city, I remembered that we needed to do some clothes shopping for a family photo shoot planned for the next day. No problem, I figured a quick detour to the department store wouldn't be a big deal.

Yeah, well, never make assumptions! For starters, have you ever tried to buy clothes for yourself with a 3 year old in tow....that's what I thought. You either bought an armload of clothes that you never tried on or you left with nothing - in either case, you probably ended up with nothing (if you're new, i'll explain - that armful of clothes you bought - none of it fit or looked awful so you returned it all). But sadly that's not even what this post is about.
No, my shopping trip was a big fail because it was so boring for little man that he decided to play a 'trick' on me...hahahahahah...ya, not so much.

You see, as I was mentally trying on some really bad fashion statements, the little mr man decided it would be *fun* to see what it would be like to *vanish* behind some clothes - not a big deal, as usually as I see him disappear, however today, I didn't see the beginning of the vanishing trick. When I looked up from the "80s mistake redux" my darling son was *gone*. Gone as in NOT there.

I yell out his name, not once, not twice, but THREE times and it feels like I could hear a pin drop in the store. And still NO little man. My heart starts to pump, I'm scanning the store, yelling out his name in a panicked voice, worst case scenarios popping up in my head. And still, I don't see or hear him. All I see are the women around me that seem to be looking at me like I'm mad. Not one sympathetic look. I start to think I've gone mad. Is there a child standing by my side??? still no. One last time, I yell out his name, and finally he comes running to me.

With him in my arms, I collapse on the floor with him and start crying. In my rational mind, I know I'm being ridiculous. This whole episode probably took no longer than a minute. I am a rational woman. I know that people don't go snatching kids. The majority of missing kids are usually with with a parent, friend or relative. and again, the entire episode was not even an entire minute.

I didn't end up buying anything and on Little Mr. Man's suggestion we ended up having ice cream for lunch. With sprinkles and chocolate sauce. and lots of hugs.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Summer

As we are in the middle of our first of two back to back winters, I've been thinking a lot about summer.
Here's a lovely shot of Little Mr. Man running up the sand 'hill' at Avalon Beach, NSW last summer.

Yes, I know the job sucks, but can't we look on the bright side? At least once??

So we all complain about being our jobs. Or at least I do.

It's like the weather. No one's every *really* happy with the weather. It's either too sunny, too hot, too humid, too wet, too cold...too freaking something.

Same goes with our jobs....too boring, too busy, too slow, too hard, not enough pay.

What I wonder, is why should parenting be any different? How exactly is complaining about this 'job' news? Somehow it is. From New York Magazine's ''I love my children. I hate my life'' to SMH's own "Much to Hate About Parenting" complaining about the world's oldest job is news.

Of *course* there's lots to hate about parenting. Most days are spent playing referee, being climbed on as if you're a jungle gym, being spit/peed and/or pooped on. Your hair gets pulled. You walk around with dirty clothes. You don't get much sleep and not because you've been out partying. No you don't get to out, at least not at night. And if you do, it's so you can go to the grocery store or chemist. You go to the gym just so you can go pee in peace. It's called 'me' time. You get called names. You get to see your worst habits thrown back in your face. This list took less than 2 minutes to come up with and I could easily come up with more. There is no shortage of things to complain about.

But, just like in the workplace all that complaining has a negative effect. Brings morale down, makes people less productive. Makes you want to quit your job and find a new one. And as a parent, that's really not an option. Well, it is but for some, but not for me.

And really, it's not such a hard slog. I know, some people have kids that don't sleep. Some kids throw tantrums that would give the Super Nanny a run for her money. Some kids throw things, hit, bite...But they are only kids. They don't even go to school yet. They are not the boss - you are. Take control. It's not easy, but I wonder what the hell's going to happen when these out of control kids grow up. Now then there will be something to complain about.

I know the horror stories are what sell. It's like sex, it's what people want to read about. When you're having a shit day, you don't want to read about how great someone else's day was or how wonderful their kids are. I get it. That's why I read the blogs too. But you know, every once in a while, it might not be such a bad thing to show a bit of the bright side.

So here it is. My kids rock. As my son went downstairs to sit on the couch to watch his Thomas the Tank Engine with his Dad before going to bed, he pipes up and asks "did you clean up Mom?" thinking he was talking about the kitchen, I said "yes" and then the sweet little boy replies "thank you". YOu see he thought I had cleaned up the living room and his mess. The kid isn't even 3.5 and he rocks.
My sweet little daughter wakes up much too early, but will happily hang out in her cot in her room singing and talking to herself until the sun comes up.

anyhow, back to more complaining tomorrow. My readership isn't that large that I can afford to start alienating anyone ;-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

When you have no one to call in sick to


Ever have one of those days you wish you could start over?

It used to be, you know, days before kids, you had options when you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. If a workday, you could call in sick and stay in bed all day or go shopping or go to the gym or do whatever it is that you used to do to shake the crabbies away. If a weekend, you could just pull the covers over your head and go back to bed.

I tried calling in sick, but my 'bosses' don't have phones. Well, they do, but they don't take incoming calls. Actually, just as I was trying to 'call in sick' Little Mr. Man was using his 'phone' as a drum on Little Miss' head. So, calling in sick was not in the cards for me today.

Instead, we had a lovely playdate at a friend's where we ate a ridiculous chocolate cake with 700g of Lindt dark chocolate and a few other ingredients (thanks Donna Hay - can't find recipe online, but can add if anyone likes). Plus coffee. You'd think this would be a great way to shake those crabbies, eh?! Not for someone with caffeine sensitivities.

Sure, I was 'perked' up, but I was also ready to pounce. It was like I had taken really bad speed. I mean really bad. I should add, it's not like I ate the whole freaking cake by myself. I only had one teeny tiny little piece, but that was clearly more caffeine than I needed (ok, the cake also had 1/3 cup of coffee and I had a cup of tea and a coffee...maybe I should've turned down the coffee, eh?!). Needless to say, instead of shaking the crabbies, i turned into a giant CRAB monster!

Now of course a one and three year old don't understand that all they really needed to do was STAY AWAY and/or be REALLY QUIET and all would be OK. Instead, on the 30 minute car ride home Little Miss screeched as loud as she could - she was tired and wanted to make sure I knew she knew she missed her morning nap. And Little Mr. Man thought it was HILARIOUS so copy Little Miss' screeches at even higher decibels intermixed with a sing-song whine of "I'm hungry".

It was only 12:30 when we walked in the door. There's a whole lotta day left at 12:30. And by this time the speed of the caffeine was wearing off and somehow the irritability factor increased. Who knew that was possible.

I tried calling in sick again, but to no avail. So I did what anyone in position would. Put the baby to sleep and curled up on the couch with the little guy and watched Sesame Street. Best 30 minutes ever!!! And then, as with all good things, the show came to an end and I was faced with that feeling of dread. It was now just coming up on 1:30 and I had NO plan.

We managed to make it through the rest of the afternoon. We didn't destroy the house or each other. In fact, I think we may have even had an enjoyable afternoon. LMM on his bike, LM on her trike. Bliss.

I even had a bit of bliss with a lovely chat with my very good looking (and very gay neighbour) who was telling me about his recent trip to Europe. The chat came to a bitter end when LMM got off his bike and I realized that his pants were soaking wet. At first I was wondering when did he jump in a puddle, until I realized that there were no puddles and the wet was top-down and not down-up. I said a sheepish goodbye to my pretend gay boyfriend and hurried across the street to our house.

For some reason I felt horribly guilty that LMM had such a huge accident...but as my DH pointed out, it's not like I have control over the little guy's bladder. And he does have words and knows how to tell me if he needs to use the bathroom. But as a mother that was having a grown up conversation and momentarily lost herself, fantasizing that it was she that was just returning from a whirlwind European holiday that did not involve children, it was hard to shake the guilt.

The moral of the story: if you don't have a boss to call in sick to, have a temp on speed dial (ie: dial-a-nanny!!)...and as the tittle suggests, maybe tomorrow I'll be a better mother...just maybe.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The humble potato

A potato,
a skewer,
an old fashioned counter mounted apple slicer,
some batter and some oil
and humble the potato is no more.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

No "wogo"

Apparently the average American sees approximately 5000 advertisements a day - that's a lot of persuasiveness. Now, this isn't necessarily your old-school 30 second TV or radio clip. No, this includes all sorts of advertising, including that orange and white B you probably didn't even notice at the top of this page. Yes, that one. The one that lets you know that this blog is sponsored by Blogger. Thanks B.

You and I may be able to navigate our way through these 5000 ads and not have meltdowns. We may be able to live our daily lives, somewhat normally. Ok, with the odd craving for McDonald's or Subway and not be sure where the craving came from, but otherwise, we're probably pretty good with it all. We're used to the huge yellow, glowing Ms that greet us on the freeway and at the shopping malls. The little man on the horse on a polo shirt really doesn't mean that much, except that maybe the 3 year old shouldn't be playing in the muck in it. But that's through our eyes. What about through the eyes of the 3 year old? How does he navigate in this media saturated world?

There's not enough space here to fully address the issue, but it is one that over time I'd like to give more thought to. For now, let's have a talk about logos. But first, a minor detour.

I remember in a grade six english class my teacher asked us to write to alien telling him how to tie a shoe lace. An everyday occurrence at the time (Yes, this was before the advent of velcro straps on shoes). You know, that was one of the hardest exercises I had ever come across at my ripe age of 11. I pity the alien that came across my essay. One thing is for sure, he'd never have tied up those shoe laces. The point is, it is very difficult to explain something that you take for granted to someone that has no knowledge or understanding of what it is you are trying to explain.

Keep that little detour in mind when I tell you about how I tried to talk to my three old, Little Mr. Man, about logos. It went as well as the alien shoe lace story.

You see, LMM is really excited about recognizing letters and numbers in the world that surrounds him. And sure, who wouldn't be. Up until now, when he goes out the world has been a collection of odd shapes and colours but none of it really made much sense. But now that he understands the idea of letters and words, he's beginning to think that instead of mere shapes the world is filled with stories. Stories because he associates letters and words with stories.

Anyhow, on the way home from the grocery store today he was asking me about a particular logo (which one, I can't even remember!) and so I started to explain to him that what he saw was a logo. For starters, logo is very hard for a 3 year old to say. "L"s are a difficult consonant to master and it usually still comes out as a "W". I begin to explain to him that "wogos" are a company's face. When he goes to school his teachers and friends recognize him because of his face. His face is a big part of his identity. His face is is "wogo". Are you still with me???

I continue, saying that company X doesn't have a face so they had an identity created for them. So whenever you are out and you see X "wogo" you know that it belongs to company X.

I'm pretty sure I've lost you by now, but if not there's not much more left as I know I'd lost LMM by this point (if not before the conversation even started....all I could hear from the back was him repeating me every time I said "logo", but of course all I heard was "wogo").

Being stubborn though, I soldiered on, trying to explain that companies want us to remember their logos so that we remember their identities. They want us to like them. Just like he wants the teachers and kids at school to like him.

By this point, he's tired of saying "wogo" and was on to talking about how beautiful the sky was. A much better conversation to be having and a much better thing to be focussing your attention on when looking at the world around you. I just hope that he continues to keep his eyes on the important things!

I quickly conclude my discussion with LMM saying that of course logos are really for bigger kids but that you're never too young to start learning about them.

I have no idea what he grasped from this conversation, except for that he learned a new word, "wogo". I really don't expect him to truly understand the media landscape that he lives in, but I do hope that by starting early, I will be able to provide him the tools necessary to navigate his way through the 5000+ ads he will be bombarded with and still be able to enjoy the beautiful sky.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What to do on rainy days

School holidays and once again it's raining! Not sure how it is that every year during the July school holidays it rains. Not just for a day or two, but it seems like for the full 14 days! Now if I was in Vancouver or Seattle, I'd get it. It probably wouldn't even phase me, being so used to the rain. But we're living in sunny Australia right now and I've forgotten how to be a duck. Especially a duck with ducklings.
However, as my move back to the rainy wet coast is nearing, I am desperately trying to remind myself that in fact rain is good and there's so much to do on rainy days!!

Here's my list:

1. Splish-Splash. Put on those rubber boots & rain jackets and go hopping in puddles. Some of the best walks Little Mr. Man and I have had have been in the rain!

2. Go the the museum or art gallery: Not an original idea, so try and choose one that isn't as popular as the others. Might not have all the bells and whistles as the regular haunts, but on the plus side it won't be as busy and it'll be something new!

3. Read. I used to love curling up on the couch with a good book and waste away the hours of rainy days. Not so easy to little ones under 3, but it's a great opportunity to instill in your love of books in your little ones.

4. Enjoy the theatre. Not the real theatre, but a puppet theatre at home. Depending on the age of the kids, rainy days are great to make puppets and then put on puppet shows. If kids are too little, then just the puppet shows are great fun!

5. Go to the library. Tired of your own books? Pop into your neighbourhood library. Some even have readings and most have great kids sections. A great place to spend an hour and not spend any money!

6. Speaking of spending money - I have to add the mall to my list. Depending on your willpower, you can even get away without spending any money. This outing is great with toddlers that are learning to walk. There's usually a quiet spot in the mall, you know, the floor with the really expensive shops or the gov't agencies, go there and let the little one free! We used to take Little Mr. Man to the zoo when he started walking, but his time around it's been much too wet to take Little Miss there, so the mall's been a saving grace. Bonus are the malls that have play centres/structures and stores with Thomas the Tank Engine tables! Pet stores are another great place to hang out around.

7. Bake. Baking is a great way to spend rainy days. It warms up the house and make it smell great! Plus you get to eat the results of your hard work. Win-win!

8. Let your children dictate activities. So often when the weather is good and all the regular activities are on, the schedule gets filled up very quickly and there's little time to just hang out at home letting the little ones do what THEY want to do. It's amazing what sorts of games they come up with and they can amuse themselves without your help. It's also amazing what they can teach you!

9. Go online. There's a world of really great things online...for your kids!! Sesame Street is a great place to start. Everything is searchable to character or theme and they have great games to teach your little one about using a computer. Here are some of my other favorite kid sites:
Story Cove - Stories from around the world
How the Body Works - Great little video clips about how different parts of the body work. Definitely for older kids, but my 3 year old loved it! Could be because he got to see where pee and poo comes from!!
Knee Bouncers - great for the little ones.
Fisher-Price - after all that money you spend on their toys, it's nice to get something for 'free' on their website!
Most brands like Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, etc have websites as well that usually have games for kids.

10. Pick up one of those 365 free things to do with your toddler/pre-schooler, etc. I have a few of these books kicking around the house and for most of the year I forget about them, but when the rains start, I live by them. A super quick resource for all kinds of things to do, from making goop & playdough to making forts with your kids. Your house will be a disaster after this, but isn't there a saying about a messy house, means a happy house?! And cleaning up should always be a part of the activity. Many hands make light work!!


Please dear reader, add to my list!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pierced Ears

When I was a baby, my Mom had my ears pierced. At what age, exactly, I am not sure. In fact, I'm sure I wasn't a 'baby' in the traditional sense, but I was young. Under 5 maybe?

Nowadays though, piercing a baby's ears is akin to mutilation. A comment on a recent blog read: "seeing a baby with pierced ears makes my stomach churn". Come on people, really. Pierced ears is so horrible? Now the writer of blog said she couldn't get her daughter's ears pierced because she didn't want to see her in pain, she remembers getting hers done and that it hurt like the dickens.

I remember a friend of mine piercing my ears when I was a teenager. A shot of Brandy, a safety pin, a potato (so the safety pin didn't pierce my neck) and some ice. Done! It wasn't that bad. In fact it wasn't bad at all. And I have an extremely low threshold of pain. So, I'm thinking that if you go to a professional place to get it done it probably won't 'hurt like the dickens'.

Having said all that, I will probably wait until Little Miss is a bit older. Maybe 5. Maybe 7. I'm not sure. Why wait? Quite simple. It's bad enough when I go shopping, even for me, I end up buying really cool clothes for Little Miss & Little Mr. Man. Once her ears are pierced, I won't stand a chance of getting anything! At least now, if in the jewelry store, it's all about me!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don't take parenting advice from me

So, today the first food that passed my son's mouth was a cookie, soon to be followed by another cookie. Let's just say, by the time he sat down for his healthy breakfast of mini-wheats, well, he wasn't really hungry. Surprising, no.
He was of course, very hungry at snack time, which since we were at the doctor's was some other easily transportable food item (read: chock full of preservatives and most likely other things not really related to nutritional value).

Of course all this could be tempered if we actually went out and played outside in the fresh air. But, that didn't happen. No, instead, we hung out on the couch and watched TV! Oh yeah baby, the mother who wouldn't let her child watch the 'evil' box for his first 2 years and now wastes the afternoon away in front of the ol' box! In my defence, we're all sick! Ok, we could've read books or done a puzzle...but sometimes you just gotta say what the f#%k!!!

And it wouldn't really be right if I can't end a least a few of my posts with the tag: "maybe tomorrow I'll be a better mother"



OK, so that's my bad parenting confession for the day. Feels great already having it off my chest!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The price of sleep


How much does sleep cost? Well, in my house, it runs around three hundred bucks a night.

With two young children, having a good night's sleep usually means something around 6 hours of uninterrupted shut eye. Or if you're really desperate it means going to bed when your kids do, around 7:30 pm so you can get sleep in the double digits!

But no matter what you do, you will be woken up. Whether you've had 3 hours or 12, early morning will come and with it dirty nappies, runny noses, screams, hollers and chants of "I'm hungry" or some other ridiculously loud, barely comprehensible chant. The idea of leisurely waking up and enjoying some quiet time in bed before starting your day? Ha! Breakfast in bed seem like a good idea? Ha! Idea it shall remain. Quietly sipping your morning coffee whilst reading the morning paper? Ha! Another "idea" that will remain just an "idea", or so I thought. Until I had the "idea" of checking out and checking in. That is, checking out of my house and checking in to a hotel. For some, this might seem like an extravagance that's just not worth it. However, for many of you, I'm sure you are thinking "now why didn't I think of that!".

It's really quite simple. A mini-holiday. 24 hours of freedom. 24 hours to do with as you please. I choose to sleep for most of them. 16 of those 24 hours were spent in a glorious king-size bed with my eyes shut and drool escaping from my mouth. You can probably tack on another couple of hours in that bed, as I enjoyed an exquisite breakfast (exquisite in that it was made my someone else) and read a book, a couple of magazines, a newspaper and watched some TV, all in that very comfy bed...the whole time, undisturbed. Can you say, "heaven"?!!

If you are ever stuck for a gift idea to ask for, I suggest ask for a voucher for their favorite hotel. If you want to get a deal check out wotif.com. They offer last minute hotel deals in most large cities. Or just check out the hotel website. I've found very little difference in the price, and in fact, many hotels will match the best price you, especially if you're doing a last minute booking.

A few tips on making it a memorable and worthwhile getaway:

1. cab it - for starters, parking at hotels is expensive, and there's something indulgent about being picked up at your house, suitcase in hand, and getting in the taxi, waving good-bye to your loving (read screaming) family

2. don't plan your time away - that is, don't plan your hubby's time with the kids. He's a big boy, he can figure it out. Part of the joy is being plan free and that includes, not worrying about what the kids and Dad are doing.

3. pretend you really are on holiday. Check out the city. Spend an hour in a coffee shop. Do with your time whatever it is YOU want. DO NOT shop for your kids or husband. It's about you!!

4. indulge - be it an hour in the bath / a facial / massage / something from the mini-bar - just do it. it's your holiday!

5. turn off our phone - and DO NOT call to check in on the family. it's 24 hours. I'm sure they'll be OK!!

6. The brand of hotel doesn't matter. Just make sure they have comfy beds and black out blinds. The Westin boast heavenly beds, The Hilton brag about their pillows. A quick Google search shows that hotels of all stripes offer special "rejuvenate" packages - from special soaps in the rooms to special 'quiet floors' - your very own mini holiday is out there.

7. indulge - (I know I've already used this heading, but it's important...deserves to be used again!) - don't skimp on the food or the wine.

8. ignore the guilt - if you're anything like me, you'll start feeling guilty before you reach the hotel in the cab. Don't. You deserve the break. In fact, you deserve a longer break!!

9. kick back & enjoy!

10. if you can, extend for another night ;-)

Now, I slept my mini-holiday away and am very happy about it. What would you do on a 24 hour mini-holiday?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless wednesday

No, Little Miss, you don't put the ham on your head....in your mouth!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sadness

Flitting through Twitter and Facebook, as you do, you are never really prepared for anything more moving than "need caffeine to get through the day" "kids driving me mad" or some helpful soul trying to sell you something or other. My online surfing is done sporadically throughout the day, stolen moments here and there. Never really thinking I'll stumble across something of significance or moving. Today, however I did, and I wish I hadn't.

Somewhere out there, there is a mother, a family, grieving for the loss of their 19 year old son. A son that, from what I understand, has battled with drug addiction for a number of years, and due to a drug deal gone wrong, has died.....

It is the sort of thing you read about in the news all the time. What you never get is the story behind the tragedy. The feeling, emotions, realness of the people that are living these lives. The fact is, this horrible and tragic reality could become our story. Any one of us. That is the scary part.

This mother's reality puts things in perspective and reminds me that things really could be a hell of a lot worse. Katie, my thoughts are with you and your family. I am truly sorry for your loss.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Eau de Hobo

So Little Mr. Man thinks it's fun to smell like a hobo. He must, otherwise why would he insist on peeing in his pants?

OK, so yes, next time round I'll pay more attention to the know-it-all-adults who say you should not follow the child's lead, in terms of TT, but rather wait until they're 3 (for boys at least, so really what am i saying, there won't be a "next time round" because i only have the two, one boy and one girl, and there ain't no more ;-)
anyhoo, so yes, I concede maybe, just maybe we were a bit quick on the gun with the whole TT thing, but really, it's been a really freakin' long time now, the kid is over 3, but yet he still fancies the feel of cold cloth against his skin (that reeks) rather taking 3 minutes out of his really important play and going to the bathroom.

What gives? My theory is simply that he hates me! You know, it's punishment for being such a lousy mother, but then, he does it at pre-school and really, who doesn't LOVE their pre=school teacher??? So there goes that theory, guess the little guy doesn't hate me after all?! I'm completely stymied.

I suppose I should feel blessed though, as many a friend has commented that although their darling sons have no problem going wee in the toilet, their child would rather walk around with underpants full of poop than concede and sit on a toilet. So really, maybe it's just the way it is in pre-school land. Eau de Hobo is au courant and us 'oldies' ought to just but out and let them do their thang!

So dear reader, what do you do to keep sane in TT wars?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Peace & Quiet

Some days you just have to let things go. You know, life is way too short to police a 3 year old and a 1 year old. What good is it to be those ages, if every once in a while you can't just let loose. You know, fling your toys in the air, stomp around and well, act like the zoo animal you are.
This picture is a small example of what happens when you take a "laissez faire" approach to parenting!
The kids had a great time and I got to make dinner in relative 'peace & quiet". Relative in that there wasn't really much in the way of quiet, but nowadays so long as no one is screaming or crying it seems pretty quiet to me!

What are some things that you turn a blind eye to in order to get through the day?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Secrets from the kitchen

I recently came across an article about Ellen Pompeo and her approach to motherhood. Or more accurately her approach to feeding her baby. It's lovely that Ms. Pompeo vows not to feed her daughter (Stella Luna) any junk food. I commend her. And really I felt the same. With my son, I even suffered through watching him throw countless meals on the floor, that I'd worked so hard to prepare. It really wasn't until I ran out of time. Really. Just plain ran out time and never managed to figure out how to get more of it. Sure it would be lovely to make home made meals with fresh, organic broccoli and organic meat. But there are two main problems.

1. The time issue. like I said, I ran out of it. If I were to prepare each of my children's meals from scratch, then I would never get to play with them, clean the house, go to the gym, get sleep, surf the net, update my blog, read a book, answer an email. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, I may be able to find the time to surf the net, in the name of finding healthy recipes.

2. The other problem is that my kids don't like my cooking. Well, they do sometimes, but it's really, really, really hard to compete with dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets and Mac & Cheese. I've made my own mac & cheese. Several times. Each time it was just thrown further and further away.

Now I still shudder when I see what I feed my children. But I also want them to grow. And if I don't offer them those Dino bites and mac & cheese at least once a week, I'm sure they'll fade away! I do however add a fresh vegetable on their plate and most nights it gets eaten.

PS. Ms Pompeo: Cheerios really aren't that bad. Coco Puffs, you might want to stay away from.

What do you feed your children?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

10 reasons why it's good to have children later

I tried to write a list on the perils of being an older mother, but kept on coming back to reasons why it actually isn't such a bad thing. So here you go: 10 reasons why having kids later in life isn't such a bad thing:

1. you don't care that you don't get to out to clubs any more. Been there done that.
2. you don't care that you spend most of your days in daggy clothes.
3. you've proven yourself as an academic/career person and are keen to take a break from it all.
4. if you're lucky, most of your friends procreated before you, so you can get all their hand-me-downs, making the whole thing that much less expensive!
5. you don't mind spending heaps of time on your own (well, with small baby, but that's really kinda like on your own, especially when they're new and sleep a lot).
6. you don't care what other people say or think. You've been around long enough to believe in yourself and trust your instincts.
7. you're not afraid to ask someone for help. you have enough faith in yourself that you know you're not a failure if you need a little bit of help.
8. you've been around long enough to know the traits in yourself that you dislike and aren't afraid to try and change them (if for no other reason than it really sucks seeing them mirrored back at you but via a 3 year old)
9. kids keep you young. my brother once told me that you're only 'old' when you have kids in high school. so some 40 year olds may be old, but you're not ;-)
10. when you're old they'll be young enough to take care of you and not put you in an old age home.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tried & true classics

Every month my beautiful Donna Hay magazine arrives replete with food porn to shame the best of us. Utterly amazing pictures depicting the "special made simple" selected to tantalize wannabe gourmets.

My monthly ritual is to leave the magazine around the kitchen for a few days, then the dining room table and then the lounge. Notice how each week the magazine migrates further and further from the kitchen. Suffice to say, I don't often cook anything from the issues. At least not in real life. In my fantasy life I do. However, every once in a while, fantasy meets reality and I'll find myself in the grocery store, shopping list in hand getting ready to transform the taste buds of my husband, if not the children.

Unfortunately the only part I am really any good at is the shopping bit. I have made 2 dishes from the latest issue (please note that I skipped over the majority of recipes for all things chocolaty--maybe that's the problem!!) and neither of them turned out. I mean, if we were keeping score, it would be Donna Hay: 2, me: Zilch!

Maybe with her new tag line of "Fast, Fresh, Simple" I may have better luck, but until I muster up the courage to tackle another of her creations I think I'll stick to my trusty favorite Campbell's soup recipes, One Dish Chicken & Rice Bake - a no fail, fast & easy dinner that takes all of 5 minutes to prepare and 45 minutes to cook (add a few extra minutes if you want to steam a veggie).

So tell me, what are some of your secret weapon recipes?





Monday, May 3, 2010

Mommy Mojo

I feel my Mommy mojo coming back. Well, I did, at least for about an hour the other day

I mean I really had it going on. Made goop (cornflour & water, even added some food colouring), had the kids enthralled. No kicking, no screaming, no fighting...for nearly an hour!! It was GREAT!! And then, it was over. The novelty of the goop wore off. I could no longer tell what colour the kids' clothes were from all the 'goop' covering them. And the kitchen floor...suffice to say, 2 days later I'm still finding bits of it. But it sure felt good to feel like I was 'mommy in control'.

That's the problem really. Most of the time, with both the kids at home, I don't feel like i"m in control. I'm more like a really bad referee. You know the kind-- spends most of the time running up and down the field and misses really important calls and the players yell and throw things at. And unlike the referee, there is no end to my game ;-)

The solution: Spending as little time at home as possible and when we are home, breaking out the 365 toddler activities book! Free play is for weekends when Daddy's home ;-)

How do you manage those looooong rainy days at home?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Heatlhy tips

This was one of the winning posts!

As the big 40 is less than a month away, I've been giving a lot of thought on how to be just a little bit healthier. Let's face it, the cards are stacked against me as it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, so these tips are very simple and hopefully easy to incorporate into your life. Notice I say nothing about drinking less wine ;-)

1. Walk instead of Drive.

Sounds simple but it isn't. I know. As a Mom we're so busy and always in a hurry to get from A to B then back to A and then C and on and on until we're at Z. But it can be done. Even if it's a matter of changing one day a week so you can run one errand or drop off by foot. You'll be better for it. And so will your relationship with your child. When you're in the car talking can be difficult, all to easy to tune one other out or fight with the neighbouring sibling. When you're on foot you can stop and talk, point interesting things out, even hold your child's hand. Much nicer than having your hands on the steering wheel.

2. Eat what's on your plate, not theirs.

Again, sounds simple, but it isn't. For starters, I hate throwing food out. Until my brother told me he lost 5 lbs just by stopping his grazing. If you're hungry when you're kids are eating, eat with them, but from your own plate.

3. Don't buy junk food.

I'm not saying never eat any, because sometimes you just gotta have that chocolate bar, ice cream, chips, whatever your weakness may be, and that's fine. Just don't make it easy. Don't keep it in the house. And if you do bring it in, after you've satiated the craving, throw out the rest. Better in the bin than on your thighs.

4. Hug.

Hug your kids and your spouse. A lot. Hugs bring out endorphins. Endorphins are good.

5. Try and include 30 minutes of rigorous exercise a week.

Seems like an impossible task. Then try for 10 minutes for a couple of weeks, then increase by 5 minutes every couple of weeks until you're at 30. Dust off the stationary bike you're using as a clothes rack and put it in front of the TV or in your kids playroom and sit on it...and pedal. Go to the gym you're paying a membership for. Join a running group. Have sex. Do something to get that heart rate pumping so the next time your little ones run in opposite directions at the park, you can catch them both.

6. Worry less.

I just bought the Little Miss Naughty worries Mr. Worry book and was embarrassed at how much I'm like Mr. Worry. Somehow I turned into my worry-wort Grandmother. It's no wonder I feel stressed. When you catch yourself worrying, acknowledge the thought then put it far away and replace it with something positive - like how you're going to fit in that extra 10 minutes of vigorous exercise today ;-)

7. Do less.

We are so caught up with keeping up with the Joneses, shuffling our kids from this activity to the other, working and shopping that we are constantly on the go and feel rushed and stressed. Un-enroll your child from an activity or schedule one less playdate. Slowing down can be hard to do, but once you do it feels really good. You'll feel better and you'll be surprised how the rest of the family will too.

8. Read more.

Where's the time to do that you ask? Turn the TV off and you'll be surprised at how you can find the time. Children who grow up around books are better poised to succeed. Not only do books open up whole new worlds and encourage independent thought and imagination, there's also very little (if any) direct advertising in books.

9. Play outside.

If it's raining, put on rain boots and a rain jacket, and jump in puddles. If it's hot, break out the hose, if it's snowing, make snow angels. You will enjoy the fresh air, as will your kids.

10. Laugh more.

You know when you're having one of those days...those really really bad days and to make it just that much worse, your 3 year old pitches a tantrum in the middle of the mall and has an accident in his pants (and being the 'bad' mother that you are, you don't have a change of clothes for him) and all you want to do is run away and hide (and scream). Try laughing instead. Really, just laugh. Because in all honesty, the moment is probably just as funny as it is frustrating. And laughing automatically changes your attitude from stressed to the max to almost manageable. People might think you're a bit loopy, but I'm sure there'll be at least one Mom or Dad out there that gets it. Who knows, maybe they'll start laughing along with you.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tropicana Trop50 blogging program to be eligible to win 6 free Juicy Rewards points and a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Trop50 Little Things for Happy, Healthy Living
1000 Little Things for Moms from Trop50

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nana's dead and other ways to make your 3 year old cry

So Little Mr. Man started pre-school yesterday. What a momentous day! I think he was a little nervous, but you never could tell, because as soon as he found the box of trains & train tracks he let go of my hand and was off. As I stood there watching him, trying to ingrain the moment in my mind (because of course I forgot my camera AND phone at home), I couldn't help but feel proud of him and sad. Sad for myself, him and his little sister.
You see, it was 6 years ago that my amazing mother passed away.

Of course, being a motherless mother, I romanticize the relationship I would have had with my mother and how wonderful it would have been to share my journey through motherhood with her. Of course, my relationship with my mother was by no means perfect when she was alive, but it had improved greatly over the years and really whose going to fault me for trying to eek out some 'good' after loosing my mom.

Ever since Little Mr. Man's birth I've talked about Nana (my Mom) and tried tell him at least once a week how she loves him, etc. At the beginning, I'd even 'buy' him presents from her, but you know that may just get weird as the kids get older! My goal though is to keep her memory alive as much as possible so the kids have the chance to 'get to know her'.

Anyhow, as I was lighting a memorial candle for my Mom this morning, LMM pipes up and asks what I was doing and of course WHY. I explained to him that I was lighting a candle in memory of Nana, my Mom. WHY? Because she no longer lives on the planet (we were just talking about planets before). WHY? Well, because she died. COMPLETE SILENCE followed by what I'm sure was a QUIVERING LIP. OMG....did I really just make my first born cry by telling him his Nana was dead?! And you wonder why I named this blog "maybe tomorrow I'll be a better mother"...better than "Maybe tomorrow I'll ruin my son's day by telling him his Nana's dead, there is no Santa Claus and the tooth fairy's a hoax"!!!

10 hours later, my husband walks in the house and the first things LMM says to him is "Nana's dead Dada". Oh dear, we're in for a long couple of days!

So tell me, how have you handled the issue of death with your little ones?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Can't believe I was "that" mother today

At Little Man's activity this morning, I was "that" mother. New term, new location (closer to home), same company. As I walk up and see which group my darling son has been placed with, I am horrified...all the other kids in the group looked SO YOUNG. how will these children challenge my son and push him to do his best? It looks like they've only just learned to walk, let alone run, jump, hop on one foot and play t-ball!

Yes, I was that mother, thinking MY child may only have only just turned 3, but he is more suited to being with 3.5 year olds, there must be a mistake. He should NOT be with these children...they're, they're....well...just 3.

OK, so thankfully I was not that bad, but nearly. In fact, had the group leader not (rightfully) shut me down (in less than 3 seconds no less-methinks I was by no means the most formidable opponent she's faced in her years as Sports Leader) I may have taken the issue further. Thankfully she shut me down and I quickly snapped to reason, remembering this is an activity that is supposed to be fun for my son. It is nothing more.

I do hope I remember this little episode and can manage to remain humbled for all his and his sister's years of activities, school, work, friends...well, for all their lives. I don't like being "that" mom!

How do you strike the balance between advocating for your child, wanting to see them excel and be challenged and just letting them have fun and be 3 (or 5 or 10, or whatever age they may be)?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The plight of the toy filled home

i am slowly recovering from the Little Man's 3rd birthday. We had an awesome Dinosaur themed birthday party, complete with dinosaur cake, dino volcano toss and pin the horn on the triceratops. For goody bags, the kids were each given a space and bucket filled with sand with little dinosaur treasures buried for them to discover at home.

On his actual birthday we spent something like 8 hours at the Royal Easter Show! The highlight for me was when Ryan said his favorite part was the pony ride because I was with him. Aw, way to make Mommy's day!!

Now I just need to figure out where to put all the toys!!

How do you manage not to have your home overrun with toys?

Monday, April 5, 2010

knee deep in dinosaurs

Trying to avoid all things branded, a couple of months ago I planted the idea of a dinosaur themed party with my soon-to-be-three year old for his upcoming birthday party. I knew that if I didn't plant something soon we'd be having a Thomas the Tank Engine party and I'd be making a train cake...again. So, at the time, the dinosaur theme seemed like a good idea. As did the non-branded thing. Until now, a mere 5 days before his party and me at the ripe old age of (let's just say closer to 50 than 20) I am learning how to draw. I am making my own dinosaur bean bags. I will be making a volcano to toss said bean bags into. I will also be making a dinosaur cake.

So, you'll forgive me, if from where I'm sitting right now, an out-of-the-box-Thomas Party seems like a pretty fab idea!

And because of this, I am slowly eating my way through said son's Easter loot. Maybe tomorrow I'll replace what I've eaten. Mabye...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The true cause of gray hair

So my not-yet-three-year-old is channeling his future teenage self. (Or maybe that's my old teenage self!).
From morning to night he challenges me. On the one hand, I'm proud of him. You know, it's because of his brilliance that every step of the way he asks me "why" and questions my every move. His desire for independence and natural ability to lead causes him to ignore most of my requests...until he decides it's time. You know, "hey, Little Mr. Man, time for dinner"..."I'm not hungry" (time lapse, 3 minutes) "Mommy, I want my brekfax".
Or my favorite "Hey, Little Mr. Man, do you think maybe you need to go potty?" "NO MOMMY!"
(time lapse - 30 seconds) "MOMMY, I HAVE TO GO POTTY" (as he runs to the bathroom, legs crossed and little trickles of pee seeping through his shorts).
So, yes, I'm proud of him. I drink a lot and turn grayer and grayer as the seconds tick by, but yes, I am proud of Little Mr. Man.
How about you? How do you get through the never ending challenge that is raising children?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Change the title to Broken Mom

Seriously. My lovely, beautiful, sweet, loving, caring and wonderful little man broke me today. Seriously. I'm not sure if it was the 6 changes of clothes (care of sudden fear/dislike/??? of the toilet), the hitting, bashing or name calling...but he broke me. So bad that I broke down in tears at the MAC Cosmetics counter (yes, although broken, I am fortunate to have a husband to come home early enough from work that I could get out and make it to the shops to try and get some makeup for a 'pick me up', which turned into a mini-therapy session, but that's a whole other story).
Thank you also to a dear friend that reminded me that of course 'this is just a phase'. Oh and also reminded me that a nice glass of bubbly cures all the ails a 3 year old can dish out!

And with the night (and bubbly) I can look back and plan how I would handle these issues in a more positive way. You know, how to break through the power struggle that is my life! Ah, positive parenting always comes to the rescue. To be fair, I often come away from this stuff and end up feeling worse. You know, it's like hmmmm, maybe I shoulda done that, but I didn't and boy I suck as a Mom, and no wonder we fight all day. But really, the reality is, tomorrow is a new day and well, you know, maybe I'll be a better mother ;-)

As a total aside, did you know that Snoop Dogg is a voice on Tom Tom GPS?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We bond through food

I was once told to help Mr. Man feel more secure and less antagonist towards his sister, I needed to spend at least 20 minutes of quality time with him, alone without said little sister. Easy peasy!
The caveat: it has to be doing something HE wants...so, 20 minutes each day of watching him play trains, trying to join in, only to be told I'm not doing it right, followed by "mom play trains" (after he's taken all trains away from me because "I don't do it right")

So we bake and we eat. These are things we can do together. I may get fatter and fatter, but at least we'll be happy. That is, until Little Miss wakes up from her nap and joins the party.

Which she is doing now...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making an effort


I did my hair, put on make-up, even put on jewelry other than my standard,-always have on-necklace. At the outset, my clothes were clean. Throughout the course of the day I have been peed on, puked on, had food spit into my hand, pooped on, kicked, punched and spit on. Needless to say, I'm not so sure why I made the effort and more so, why all the other women in this area do? Personally, I find showering in the morning a waste of time, let alone worrying about putting on clean clothes.

But I digress as my main item for this entry was to rant about the "world's only fashionable hands-free pumping bra" that has apparently won a "major parenting award". I don't even know where to start. Maybe I should start with the pictures. I'm sorry, but they look like they'd be better placed in a porn, minus the funky pump and bottle hanging from the woman's breasts.

But the real issues I have is, was pumping that easy for good ol' Wendy, that she could conduct business whilst pumping? Really? I guess I should add my lack of pumping ability to my list of being a 'bad mother', because I couldn't pump while playing with my first born or even starring at the intended recipient of the freakin' milk. The helpful woman at the Breastfeeding Association told me I had to sit and relax and think about feeding my baby, remove all distractions, just focus and that would help the milk flow. So my question to Wendy and all the good people that gave her the award is "how exactly are you to focus on the task at hand when trying to close a merger or do whatever very important business is being conducted whilst being strapped to this ever attractive, and I'm sure fully comfortable, contraption"?!

And for some reason this whole business about making woman that much more productive kind of bothers me. I don't know about you, but I get very little time to myself and to be honest, when I was trying to express, I savoured those 2o minutes to myself. Ditto for when I was breastfeeding my children. The silence. The fact that I could not possibly do anything other than the task at hand. It was bliss. Because for every other waking moment of my day, I am doing at least 3 things at once, never really having the opportunity to enjoy any of them or give them my best.

Yes, I think it's great that mother's have choices. That Mom's can return to work but still offer their babies breast milk. (Although I don't see many women sitting in their cubicles with the "pump ease" placed on their desk and the milk bottles hanging from their breasts. ) But don't you think you can give these women a break and let them sit back and relax for 20-30 minutes while they express?

Of course, I don't mean to disparage the Pump Ease and it's founders. I agree that anything that can help make expressing milk easier and more comfortable is great. I loved my Medela Swing Pump. It too was designed for the 'working' mother and I tried to take full advantage. While not working in an office, I was working home. I tried playing trains, do the dishes and read stories to my first born all while trying to pump while my second born slept. Sadly, I never had much luck. Maybe I'm an anomaly. Maybe it is possible to work on high pressure deals while simultaneously expressing milk for your baby.

Maybe it's all possible to shower and get dressed in the morning and not end up smelling like a urinal at a high school prom. Just maybe.