Monday, November 28, 2016

Dear Jessica...

In the year 2000, I had a full time job. I was out of university, and I'd just moved into an apartment with the man who would eventually become The Husband. That was also the year that saw the beginning of the magic that was the Gilmore Girls.

I used to make absolutely sure I was home, every Wednesday night. I'd be curled up in front of my TV with a cozy blanket and a big cup of tea, ready when the music started. My boyfriend was not allowed to talk to me for that hour, not even during the commercials.

I loved that show. The writing and acting were phenomenal. The quick dialogue and quirky characters were something new that felt made for me. When it went off the air, I was bereft. There was a Gilmore shaped hole in the middle of my week. On top of that, it felt like it just... ended.

You can't begin to imagine how excited I was when I heard they were making four new episodes.

It's funny though. I started re-watching the old episodes, and they're just... different now. I don't identify with Lane and Rory as much, and I kind of get where Mrs. Kim was coming from. A husband and three kids later, I'm just not that girl anymore; although I still want to live in Stars Hollow. It got me thinking about how things used to be, and what I might tell that girl if I ran into her today. So here goes:

Dear Jessica,

Hey. There are just a few things I want to say to you, while I'm thinking of them.

First, you are not cool. Don't get huffy, I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean it in the best way possible. I don't know when "cool" turned into "just like everyone else", but that is not you. Someday, when you are raising your three daughters (you heard me right) you will pass that lesson on to them and be able to show them from experience that being your own person may be harder in the moment, but it's more valuable in the long run.

Next, you know that guy sitting beside you? Don't look, don't look! Yes, him. The guy that waits for you after work, and makes you tea when you get home, and brings you flowers, and sits through shows that he doesn't really care about, just to sit with you... him. There is going to come a point where it will seem like it's never going to happen. He is going to take forever to ask. And he is going to do it in front of a freaking EB Games up at the mall. But he is worth the wait, and you're going to be able to mock him about the EB Games thing for the rest of his life. He is a good man, and he is going to be the best daddy for those three (yes, really) girls. Go easy on him.

Most important, maybe, is this: I know that you don't like to hurt people's feelings, or cause anyone any inconvenience, but stop being afraid to take up some space. You have just as much right as anyone else to the last cookie, so every once in a while, let yourself take it. You've got to think of yourself sometimes. You really do. It's not selfish, it's self preservation. It's also a good lesson for your daughters (yes, there really are three of them) to learn before they have their own relationships, or jobs, or kids to worry about losing themselves in. Don't lose yourself. It's really hard to find you again.

Take care, and stay away from green eyeshadow no matter who says it "makes your eyes pop."

Much love,

P.S. Don't worry, you will get your stupid driver's license. Eventually.

 Anyhoo - I'm off to finish watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. No spoilers!

Friday, November 4, 2016

An Update of Sorts, and a Giveaway.

Wow. Okay. So it's been a while. The baby is almost 9 months old now, and starting to try walking, which is kind of terrifying because my house is in no way ready for that. It's choking hazard central here. I haven't let my sister visit with her kids since my nephew started walking because I'm scared he'll die. And yes, it really is that bad.

I've been in a fog for a while. The kind of fog where time wraps in on itself and makes all your movements slow and difficult while speeding up all the things around you. You can see things happening and know that you should want to be part of them, but you just can't care, and if you do manage to care, it just makes you sad that you had to try so hard to care. It's likely exhaustion. Maybe it's sort of like a self defense mechanism, the not caring. Things feel hard, and bad, so you just stop feeling so that you can get through it. The gist of it being that I have been performing my "keep the children alive" duties, but that's about it.

As a result, the house is even more of a mess than usual. My family... don't clean. It's like they just don't see the mess. They can step over heaps of laundry, skillfully avoid piles of sweeping, and ignore the fact that there is *actual garbage* lying around. I'm going to be kind and assume that they suffer from some kind of disorder, rather than that they're just lazy jerks.

So now that I'm finally starting to feel a bit more human, the first thing that hits me is how much I need to do just to get us back to "lived in", rather than "garbage dump". Then BAM! Mastitis! Baby with croup! Kids behaving like I'm invisible and they can do whatever the hell they want! I can feel it closing in around me again.

But I'm trying not to let it. Which is definitely something.

So. I'm making things. Making things and writing things has always helped me avoid the fog, but I haven't been doing it much since February, because... you know, baby, fog, etc. I've even signed up to do my first craft show ever in a few weeks.

Writing is a bit more tricky. I am the most prolific when there are no people around. Which is never. But I'm going to try to *make sure* that I make the time for it, if only to keep myself sane, so hopefully we'll be seeing more of each other in the near future.

Oh! One of the things I found while I was trying to dig out my desk was a box. A box that I received a while ago that then went mysteriously missing. A box which no one admitted to ever having seen, making me feel a tiny bit crazy.  A box, that contained gifts from Netflix, including a 3 month subscription card for me to give away to one of you lovely readers!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win 3 months of free streaming from Netflix! The winner will be selected by random draw and contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn. Contest closes November 19th, 2016. This contest is open to Canadians 18+ (excl. Quebec)

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer So Far.

Her: can I play on the computer?
Me: nope.
Her: can I watch TV then?
Me: nope. You lost screens, remember?
Her: you never said that!
Me: yes, I did *recounts entire conversation during which said child lost screens*

*Five minutes of back and forth about how I never said any of that*


Ten minutes later, she sits at the table with a granola bar and a colouring book.

Me: hey dude.
Her: hi.
Me: we cool?
Her: Yep.

*fist bump*

[Repeat, replacing "TV" with whatever it is that I've said they couldn't have (or do) five times already that day.]

How's your summer going?

I used to have time to do this kind of thing.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cats For Everyone!

Apparently, I do not make having babies look good. Both my girls, at 8 and 10, have decided that they are not having any babies. Which doesn't mean that they don't want kids, it just means that they don't think they want to go through the work of making and having them. As Beege says, "I don't want to break my vagina." Fair enough.

So where will you be getting these babies then? I asked. Well, we'll adopt some orphans, of course. Who do we call about that, anyway?

So we looked up international adoption in Canada and found a few agencies. We looked through the requirements for adopting in various countries. They were quite surprised to learn that, along with other requirements, adopting can have 3-5 year waiting periods and cost up to $40,000.

"$40,000?" Beege said. "Maybe I'll just have cats. Like... five cats."
"Making them yourself is usually the cheapest way to get a baby, for sure," I agreed.
"Wait a second," Kee interrupted. "Girls can marry girls, right?"
"You bet!"
"Well then, I'll just marry a girl who wants kids, and she can make all the babies."

Problem solved, I guess? We'll save sperm donors and fertility clinics for another discussion. She may end up with cats too.

I've forgiven her for the broken vagina.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

I'm So Tired.

One week down, eight to go. What did we do our first week of summer vacation? A lot of sitting around watching Netflix, actually. Usually, I'd be trying to get them to be more active, maybe read a book or something. But we're still figuring out how things are going to work around here with all of us home all day, and so far it's just super loud.

They did learn something though -- there is a whole bunch of new kids programming to look forward to this summer on Netflix, and they have some recommendations for you.

Beege (10yo) recommends Pokemon because... well, Pokemon,  and Glitter Force for those of you into funny anime and secret superheroes.
New episodes streaming as of July 1st!

Kee (8) thinks that everyone should take the time to watch Teen Titans Go! for super heroes and funny stuff, Ever After High (with new episodes starting August 15th!) for fairy tales and funny stuff, and King Julien for totally silly funny stuff. She's kind of into "funny stuff" right now.

Ever After High: Epic Winter streaming August 15th!

As For Husband and myself, he's super excited about Voltron and I'd like an hour or ten to myself so that I can watch the new season of Orange is the New Black.

What are you watching this summer?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

I Prefer Chicken.

My sister having a baby just a few months before me is great. She's still got a lot of the stuff that I passed on for her to use with my older nephew, and when she's done with it this time, she passes it back to me. Case in point, I have not yet had to purchase a single item of clothing for Bean.

Sometimes though, there's not enough of something to go around. In particular, there is a mobile that my nephew showed no interest in for a while, but is now pretty into. I'm trying to get little Bean to view her crib as a relaxing place to hang out for a while, instead of the pit of lava filled with spikes that she seems to think it is. A mobile might come in handy. I'm not about to snatch  a toy from a baby though, so I've decided to make one.*

As I was finishing up the first few parts, I hit a snag; I ran out of stuffing. I mentioned it to Husband, and we planned to go to the craft store for some on the weekend. Which of course didn't happen. "That's okay, there's a craft section at the grocery store, right? You can grab me some when you pick up groceries tomorrow." I added it to the list after toilet paper.

I've been going to bed with the baby lately, and he stopped at the store on his way home from work, so I was asleep when he got in. In the morning, he asked me if he'd gotten the right kind of stuffing. It had taken him a while to find it at the store, and he wasn't sure what kind I wanted, so he got me both.
"Both? I don't see it. Where did you put it?" "In the kitchen."

After I stopped laughing, I pointed out that neither was the best kind for a baby's mobile. "Oh. Crap. Right." He promised to pick some of the right kind up on the way home.

Anybody remember the felt?

For scale, that's my 10yo.

*I'll post it when I'm done. I'm hoping it'll be cute.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Talking About the Hard Stuff.

 This morning, Facebook threw up one of those "these are your memories" photos at me, of Kee and I.  Heads together, smiling, doing bunny ears on each other. I called Kee over to show her this adorable picture of us, and she says "why are we doing that with our fingers?! That means 'meet me naked in the shower in two minutes!" Uhm, no, sweet child, those are innocent little bunny ears. "But Karen at school said..."

Kee is going to be eight years old tomorrow. I know, I'm shocked too! And now that she's getting older, she's becoming less about princess dresses and playing pretend, and more about pop stars and fitting in with her peers. Less about being silly, and more about being "cool". I am more than aware that she is going to begin to make her own friends and her own decisions, and that I will think some of them are awful (friends and decisions, both!).

I think the most important thing that we can do is lay a foundation for our kids. Talk to them about things like good decision making, standing up for themselves, and taking responsibility, *before* they start to care more about what Karen thinks than what we do.

Sometimes it can be tricky though. How do you even broach the topic of drugs, consent, or peer pressure with an eight year old? It's not really something that's going to come up in our day to day conversations (unless spurred by the Karens of the world). Personally, I like to read with them, watch shows with them, and talk with them about their feelings and reactions to the stories. What did they think about somebody bullying somebody else? How can you tell when a secret is too big and you need to break a promise to a friend to get help?

One of my favourite shows to watch with them when they were smaller was Arthur, based on the books by Marc Brown. They tackle a wide variety of issues from bullying, to cancer, to plagiarism. It's always handy to be able to say "remember when that character did something similar...?" While I could happily watch Arthur every day forever, they're getting older and not so much into cartoon aardvarks anymore. Luckily, Arthur's not the only show around that can help you out.

While there are many more available, here's a short list of shows you can find on Netflix to help you get started:

 For the little kids:

Sibling Rivalry
Watch Ep. S1E1: Babee's Room

Buzzabee and Rubee compete over who Babee (their new sibling) gets to room with. Mom and dad must explain to Buzzabee and Rubee that Babee needs to grow up before she can share a room.

Watch Ep. S1E1: Puppies & Guppies/Sorry We're Closed Today

Larry and Laura Carrot want to adopt puppies, but quickly learn it takes responsibility in order to watch over and care for a pet of their own.

Following the Rules
Watch Ep. S1E6: Stormy Weather/ Baba's Adventure/ Rock Music

Mama tells Oona and Baba to stay close with a storm approaching. After ignoring her advice, Oona and Baba get stuck in a seagull nest during the heavy thunderstorms.

     For the big kids:

Watch Ep. S1E13: Star

After Dulcinea feels like no one in the group needs her help, she tries to use a newly-discovered wishing star to show her worth -- but fails -- showing her that her presence alone has lit up her friends' lives all along.

Watch Ep. S1E3: Smart is the New Cool

After McKeyla insists she works better alone, she learns that four is better than one when her friends jump in to help her rescue the Prince from a botched space mission.

Peer Pressure
Watch Ep. S1E6: The Legend of El Explosivo

After getting grounded for sneaking off to Bobby Popko's house, Jackson realizes he needs to stand up for what he knows is right and not give in to please his friend.

     For the teens:

Actions Have Consequences
Watch Ep. S1E1&2: Pilot & Consequently

Brandon finds himself in a dangerous situation when trying to help Callie (his new foster sister) find her brother -- learning that his actions can result in unexpected consequences. 

Watch Ep. S1E4: Kimmy Goes to the Doctor!

Kimmy quickly realizes that she can't fix her problems by simply "Buhbreezing" them away -- real change comes from the inside. 

Body Image
Watch Ep. S1E16: Home

After Sue demands that Mercedes lose weight, Quinn steps in to change her mindset and together they set the stage for beauty at William McKinley High, teaching the importance of empowerment and inclusion.