Monday, December 21, 2015

How've You Been?

Hey! Long time no see! Sorry about that... you know how it is.

Anyhoo... what have you all been up to? I've basically been knitting. That's pretty much it. Every year I vow I'm only going to give handmade gifts, and every year I realise about a week before Christmas that there is no way on earth that I will actually be able to do it.

This year, largely due to the fact that I haven't been feeling very well and I find it easier to justify sitting on the couch all day if I 'm doing something else as well (and binge watching Netflix doesn't count), I think I'm actually going to do it!

I started in November this year, and that probably helped. I managed to do something for Beege's birthday too, which pleased us both.

Beege's new "Pikachu inspired" Electric Mouse hat*.

Then I got started on Christmas. While my intentions are good, it's hard to make something personal for everyone when you've got a whole raft of kids to make things for. So everyone's getting mittens! Everyone needs warm hands, right? I've been sitting on the couch gestating and knitting mittens ever since.

This is just the beginning... I've made at least five more pairs since then.

I actually got so involved with making mittens that I forgot to do anything else. And here it is, *less* than a week before Christmas with a few important people to make things for, who I'm pretty sure don't want mittens. Wish me luck!

How about you? All done your holiday gifts? Do you make or buy?



BTW - Keep an eye out for the next post - I'm going to be running a giveaway for a 6 month subscription to Netflix! (I promise, it'll be later this week, not next month.)



*In case you're interested, here's the pattern I followed on Ravelry, by KGuz.




Monday, November 9, 2015

Sometimes You Need a Little Glama.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm a "Glam-bassador"? That means that every once in a while, the girls get to go to a cool event at a Glama Gals Tween Spa, which in all it's sparkly pink splendour is one of Kee's very favourite places ever. As a place that caters to girls who are just entering that awkward phase where they're trying to figure out where they fit in the world, and focuses on encouraging them to be themselves, I'm pretty fond of it too.

Just last weekend, they got to go to the Newmarket location and experience the "My First Time at the Spa" package.


My girls were made to feel special from the minute they walked through the door. They traded in their coats and runners for robes and slippers, and were led to the back where, after a snack of cupcakes and pinkatinis, they each got to choose their own scent of foaming foot bath before their pedicures.


Pedicures done, polish applied, they moved over to the manicure bar to soak their hands and get their nails done. Kee chose her favourite classic sparkly pink, while Beege went for purple and green (with a solitary yellow nail), with sparkles over top of everything.


Then they finished it all up with a relaxing chocolate facial while listening to some calming music.


When I asked them what their favourite part of the experience had been, I got a very enthusiastic "everything!" in response.

My kids know how wonderful I think they are. I tell them that they're smart, and brave, and kind, and beautiful every chance I get. Now that they are older, and spend the bulk of their time out in the world, they're starting to get different messages. They are constantly being bombarded by the media, as well as their peers, with someone else's ideas of what they "should" look like, wear, and do.

I do my best to counteract it; I tell them that the only people who really need to like them are themselves, because that's the only person who will be with them forever, and that changing for anyone but themselves is a really good way to be unhappy. I also realise that no matter how true my words are, there will always be a niggling little doubt in their minds that I'm only saying these things because I'm their mum.

So it's nice to have some backup for my "be true to yourself" message from outside sources.

Especially cool, sparkly, pink ones.






This post is sponsored by Glama Gals Tween Spas, and my girls received some super fun spa services for the purposes of writing this article. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dear Daughter,

You know I love you, right? I tell you that all the time. I tell you in words, and I tell you with my hugs, with bedtime snuggles, with my kisses on your scraped knees, and my holding your hand when we cross a street.

You may not recognise it, but I also tell you how much I love you when I nag you about eating your carrots, or make you take a bath. I tell you every time I force you to get in your bed when you'd rather be playing, or encourage you to clean up after yourself, or make you think about why what you've done has made your sister cry and whether you should apologise.

It may seem to you, at times, like I don't think you're good enough; like I'm always trying to "fix" you. I want you to know that I love you just the way you are.

I love your stubborn little pout, and the way you can be fiercely loyal to a pair of socks. I love that you express yourself through cartoons. I love the perseverance that makes you smuggle books into the bathroom after lights out to get in a few more minutes reading (even though I really wish you wouldn't, because you need your sleep). I love the way you cover me with Blankie when you know I'm not feeling well. I even love the way you throw your whole being into an argument when you think you're right (although I hope you will eventually learn to save your energy for the things that are actually important to you, instead of digging your heels in just for the sake of it).

When I am asking you to eat vegetables, have a bath, or go to bed, it's because I hope you will grow up strong and healthy. When I ask you to clean up after yourself, it's because I know how much smoother things will go when you don't have to spend half your time looking for things. When I ask you to consider your actions and your treatment of other people, it's because I want you to realise that you have an impact, and that all of these small choices you make determine what that impact is.

You may not know this, but there are days when I cry after putting you to bed. On bad days, when we've fought over every little thing, from pants to homework, or not leaving your backpack on the stairs, I feel like a failure. When our nighttime routine deteriorates into you yelling that you need your bed *this* way before you can possibly get in it, and me yelling at you to just get in your damn bed already, I'm not really angry at you, I'm angry at me. (Okay, I'm a little angry at you.)

I can only hope that you know so deep down how much I love you, that things like me yelling or not snuggling you after you've screamed in my face don't make you feel that I don't.

Let me assure you, while neither of us is angry and no one is upset, that I love you no matter what. It doesn't matter what path you end up taking, or where your life lands; I will always, always love you. Even when I'm mad.


XO,
Mummy.





Tuesday, November 3, 2015

NaNoWriMo!

Last year, I somehow managed to knock out 50,000 words and successfully "win" NaNoWriMo*. I was even pretty pleased with the characters and story I had created; although, as a true Pantser**, it was nothing like what I started out to write.

Then I did nothing. It's still sitting there, on a dusty USB drive, all alone and abandoned.

This year, I am once again going to give it a go. With one major difference; I'm going to keep going when it's over. I am going to actually edit the thing, and attempt to find a home for it. That's what authors do, I hear... write things and then attempt to have them published.

With that said, of course I haven't started yet.

But I'm on it. I just found a French Vanilla coffee that some lovely coffee fairy (yay for thoughtful husband type people!) left in the fridge for me, I've dug out my clunky old laptop, and today I begin. I've got a blank page, and three and a half empty hours in front of me.

Wish me luck!





*National Novel Writing Month. Interested? Check it out here! Maybe sign up to write your own novel!
**Pantser. n. colloq. One who begins without a premeditated plan. (One who writes "by the seat of one's pants").

Friday, October 30, 2015

Be Comfortable.

Pregnancy is uncomfortable. Anyone who's been through it knows it. Even the most glowing, happy, radiant pregnant woman is beset by undignified, irritating things like sore breasts, excessive gas, and having to worry about peeing when they sneeze. Your body is changing and growing, and while yes it's a beautiful thing, it can also be  complete pain in the butt.

My whole goal in life, you know aside from the writing things thing and the making things thing, is to be comfortable.

Which is why trying out Bravado Designs, whose slogan is "Comfort Never Looked So Good", sounded right up my alley. They test each new design with hundreds of pregnant and nursing mothers, and I recently had the opportunity to try out their new design: the Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra.

Image Provided by Bravado Designs

So. What is so special about this bra, you may be wondering? First of all, this company was started by two nursing mothers. If anyone knows what a pregnant or nursing mother is going to be going through as far as changes to her body and comfort, it's another nursing mother. The focus on comfort that they began with is still one of the company's guiding principles today.

The Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra is a seamless design (because seams suck), has convertible criss cross straps (which are wonderful for someone with narrow shoulders like me), 4 way stretch fabric, and new Anti-microbial SilverbreezeTM* technology (which prevents growth of odor causing bacteria).

Image Provided by Bravado Designs

That's all great, but is it comfortable?

Yes! It absolutely is. As you know, I'm the kind of person who gets home at the the end of the day, ditches the bra, and changes right into my pajamas. Even if the end of the day is just after lunch. In fact, I'm in my pajamas right now. But I'm also wearing my new Bravado bra.

I've tried this baby out at an early morning yoga session, as well as over an entire weekend of running around at the Blissdom conference, and I'm pleased to say that I found it comfy and wearable the whole time. I love the adjustability of the band and straps; combined with the 4 way stretch, they've managed to make a bra that can take you through your pregnancy as well as nursing, adjusting to your changing body.

Bravado Designs are available at several retailers**, as well as online. I wasn't able to get in to a store for a fitting, and was worried about getting the fit right, as I've honestly only worn sports bras for the past few years and had no idea what size I might be. Luckily, they've got a video on their website to help you with the fit, and if you're still unsure, you can call up someone in their fitting department before ordering. Isabel helped me figure out the right size over the phone, and she was wonderful.

So... now that I've got the bra thing covered, can anyone recommend some super comfy pants?




This post sponsored by Bravado Designs. I also received product for the purpose of review. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.




*Silverbreeze™: The Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra also features patented Silverbreeze™ technology, an antimicrobial finish that is applied to the fabric which prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew that can cause unpleasant odors, premature decay of the fabric and discoloration. The active ingredient silver ions, control the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the fabric surface, keeping it fresh through the most rigorous Vinyasa class, power walks and Pilates routine.

**Availability: Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra is currently available in Charcoal Heather and Pink Heather for $55.00 in the US and Canada at National and Specialty retailers including Diapers.com, Breakout Bras.com, Figure 8 Maternity.com, Bosom Buddies, The Pump Station, Yummy Mummy, and in Canada at West Coast Kids, Snuggle Bugz, and Well.ca, and online at www.Bravadodesigns.com 


Monday, October 26, 2015

Aaaaaaand, We're Back.

I've not done that well in the "write every day" arena this month. I have reasons though, reasons, I tell you!

First there was Blissdom. If you've never heard of it, Blissdom Canada is a conference for bloggers and "social media influencers". Basically, a bunch of us hole up in a hotel/conference center for a weekend and meet new people who know what we're talking about, share our experiences, and learn about the business of social.

Canadian Lentils threw an epic party. I fell in love with Lentil Beignets.
There are always amazing sponsors who take part. Vaughan Mills kicked off the weekend with a shopping experience, Chevrolet Canada provided shuttles to attendees, and Blue Mountain  sent us off on some really amazing excursions (like a visit to the Scandinave Spa) to give us a taste of what the area has to offer. I got to work personally with one of the sponsors (more on that later), and I even somehow won a teeter totter from sponsor Active for Life, so my kids forgave me for leaving them for the whole weekend.

Sadly, it was announced that this will be the last year for Bliss in its current form. They will be putting on smaller local conferences though, so if it's something that interests you, keep on eye out for them!

Maybe my favourite part of the weekend.
The best part of the conference for me though, has always been the people. I've met some really amazing people over the years, who I am proud to call my friends, and this year was no exception. I met new bloggers, finally put faces to the words I've been chuckling about on Twitter, and got to catch up with friends from across the country.

It was great, but it was also a really exhausting weekend and I'm just starting to recover now.

The other big thing that's been going on around here: My sister had her baby! She makes the most adorable baby boys around.

Honestly, I'm jealous. My baby has started doing karate in there or something, and all of a sudden things are intensely uncomfortable.  If you don't hear from me for a few days, just assume I'm propped up somewhere in a nest of pillows having finally found a comfortable position that I'm refusing to leave.








Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Maybe In a Box?

I fell off the wagon a little bit this weekend. I started out with really good intentions about writing every day, but then I just forgot. I'll blame my family. For some reason, when you go and hang out with them, they prefer you to actually like... talk to them and stuff. Also turkey, I blame turkey (Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!).

Anyhoo! I did manage to get a start on covering that ugly ottoman.

A little tip for any of you who may be thinking about adding some additional "beans" to a bean bag anything: have your vacuum handy. Those little beans try to escape the second they feel a breeze. I am pleased to say that I managed to develop a system with a barely opened zipper, a cardboard tube, and a rubber band that minimized loss. The vacuum was still very necessary. Those things hide everywhere.

Since I'm me, I didn't bother with a pattern, or helpful things like measurements. I had to rip the whole thing down a few times before I checked in my handy Complete Guide to Needlework to figure out how to make a flat circle. It was published in 1979, so the patterns are... very 70's, but the basics don't really change, and this is my go to book any time I need to figure out a basic shape or stitch pattern.


Once I figured out the circle thing, it went a lot more smoothly. Now I just need to crochet what is essentially a giant hackey sack with no bottom. So far so good!


I've got to put it aside for now though, because it's time to frantically look for all the things I could have sworn that I knew exact locations of, and hope to find them in time to pack for Blissdom. Which is on Thursday. Things like those business cards I have two hundred and fifty of. Contact details on bar napkins are acceptable, right? Ugh.





Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Was Hungry When I Said That.

Now that the nausea is, for the most part, a thing of the past, I'm ravenous. I'm the kind of hungry that, left untended, could cause some serious problems.

Take last night for example.

Husband got home a little later than usual, but I'd been waiting for him to get home to have dinner with him. We decided we would order Chinese food. Of course, then the kids staged a mini revolt, and bedtime was extended by at least half an hour, which meant that by the time we finally got around to thinking about actually ordering the food, it was after 9:00. Which for me is past the ordering dinner threshold. If you order past 9:00, you may not be eating until 10:00, then you don't get to bed 'til 11:00, and you get up at 4:00 with raging heart burn anyway, so really no point.

So what to do? Husband is nice, so he offered to make me a sandwich. I'd had a sandwich for lunch, I'd be having a sandwich for lunch the next day, and I really didn't want one now. He offered again to order something, I declined. He offered to make anything else that was in the house. I almost cried, and told him that I hate every single thing there is to eat in the house, and I didn't want any of it, dammit.

He was also hungry by this point, and so he started making himself a sandwich while I contemplated the open cupboards, getting more and more despondent. Then I told him that if he finished off the sliced turkey, I would stab him. And I totally wasn't joking.

He finished making his sandwich, and backed out of the kitchen, where I had begun putting together a plate of veggies, yogurt and toast; none of which I actually wanted to eat.

About half an hour later, after consuming my thrown together dinner, I realised that I had threatened to stab my husband. Over lunch meat.

All this is to basically say that I'm sorry for whatever horrible thing I said to you when I was hungry. Really, really sorry. I'm usually very nice, I swear.













Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Because I Don't Have Enough To Do.

We're still at the stage in our lives where none of our furniture matches. Since most things are actually hand-me-downs, we didn't pick them, and they don't go together. We've got a big green recliner couch, next to a sleek looking leather chair, next to an antique couch with scrolled feet.. our "style" could be called, at best, eclectic. At worst, you might say it looks like we live in a storage locker. I'm trying (halfheartedly right now) to change that.

As luck would have it, a friend of mine was cleaning out her craft room recently and came across some yarn she didn't want. She asked me if I wanted it, and I said, "sure! You can never have too much yarn!" I didn't realise until she showed up at my door how much "some" was. I stand corrected: you can have too much yarn. There's got to be at least twenty pounds of yarn there. Sitting in bags in my already overcrowded living room.

We can't afford to redecorate right now, so I need to work with what we've got. I've decided to start small. We have a really ugly ottoman. It's a sort of dirty green (the colour... it's not actually that dirty) blob, and the kids love to sit on it. It's actually great to have as extra seating... but it's just so ugly.

I'm going to try and use some of this yarn to crochet a cover for this hideous ottoman and begin to solve two problems at once.

This is merely the tip of the yarn iceberg.

It's either going to turn out really great and I'll post pictures, or it'll be awful and you'll never hear about it again. Wish me luck!





Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's Just a Phase. Right?

"Kee says that you're her favourite treasure, Mummy! That's how you know she loves you, despite how she treats you," Beege said, offering me a feel better hug.

Kee and I haven't been getting along so well lately.

She's always been stubborn, but mostly reasonable. If you had a good reason for her to do (or not do) something, there was a good chance she'd do (or not do) it.

Not the case anymore. She makes up her mind, and it doesn't matter what you say, or what else needs to be happening at the time, she will scream and cry and fight until she feels like she's got what she wants. And since I'm doing my very best not to give in and allow her to grow into an entitled tyrant, that means there's a lot of screaming and crying around here.

She glares at me and clenches her fists, she scowls and rolls her eyes, she screams and stops just short of hitting me. Over everyday things like asking her to wear pants, put her dishes in the dishwasher, or brush her teeth.

I am trying my best not to yell. Not to react. To let her know that even when we're fighting, even when it seems like we don't like each other, I love her. I tell her that I respect myself too much to allow her treat me the way she has been, and that I love her too much to let her continue behaving in a way that will make her life so much harder in the long run. I tell her that she can choose her own way, but that all of her choices will have consequences, good or bad. The hope is that eventually, the things I'm saying quietly while she screams at me will sink in and stay with her.

For now though, it's breaking my heart.
 


Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Morning Miracle Muffins

Last night, I was siting around with Husband watching some Netflix and feeling like I'd forgotten something. This isn't unusual for me, as I'm generally the sort of person who will purposefully make a detailed to do list, and then promptly lose it.

Anyway. Around 11:00, I remembered what it was that I had to do; my daily blog post. So I sat down at the computer and whipped up a last minute post, then went to bed feeling very satisfied to have remembered in time to keep up with the one a day thing.

Fast forward to 6:30 this morning when I exclaimed "shit!" and sat bolt upright in bed (which is getting harder to do these days), startling Husband awake. It wasn't the blog post (although I'm still glad I got that done), it was the muffins. The night before, we'd noticed we were running short on lunch stuff for the girls, so he offered to go and get groceries. I wanted him to stay home and watch a movie with me, so I said "don't worry, as long as we've got enough fruit, veggies, and cheese we're okay. I'll make muffins tonight. Then we watched a movie and all thoughts of muffins were forgotten.

Luckily, I have this recipe up my sleeve. I don't even know if it counts as a recipe exactly, because I only bother to measure a few of the ingredients, but it has saved me many many times in a pinch. If you've got everything on hand, and you probably will, because most of the ingredients are variable, you can have muffins in about half an hour total. Which is awesome when you remember that you've got no lunch for the kid who needs to be at the bus stop in 40 minutes.




Monday Morning Miracle Muffins
Makes 12 medium sized muffins.
(Can also make one loaf. Bake in greased loaf pan for 50-60 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.)

1/2 cup softened butter (I'm sure margarine or similar would work just as well)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (any kind, really. White, whole wheat, multigrain... I've even used 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup crushed up bran flakes when I was stuck.)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
about 1/2 cup yogurt (usually use plain, but any flavour will do), or sour cream, or silken tofu
about 1/2 cup mashed banana, or apple sauce, or pureed pear

Unnecessary add ons - choose 1 or 2: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup chocolate chips (best with banana), 1/2 cup thinly grated carrot (best with apple), 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup ground flax seed (yay, fiber!), 1/2 cup wheat germ
When making them with apple or pear, I also like to add 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon. 

Preheat oven to 350C.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a medium to large bowl, then add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (also flax seeds, wheat germ, or crushed up bran flakes if using them). Mix dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, blend. When fully blended, add fruit and yogurt (or tofu, or sour cream)

Fill 12 greased or lined muffin cups (they're quite dense, and don't rise overly much.)

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.






Sunday, October 4, 2015

*Burp*

Pregnancy kind of sucks.

At least this one does. It's draining all my energy, leaving me listless and exhausted. No, actually, I stand by my first statement: Pregnancy kind of sucks.

When else in your life is it considered completely normal for your limbs to swell, your nose to bleed, your body to ache, your stomach to constantly be heaving its contents, your bladder control to completely abandon you, belching, flatulence, constipation, dizziness, headaches... need I go on? If someone without a fetus was displaying those symptoms, they'd be sent to a specialist*. Yet, this is the everyday for most pregnant women.

Yes, this is the miracle of life. There will be a baby at the end of all this, and that's truly amazing and wonderful, and I know that I'm very lucky.... but right now, I'm looking at four more months of feeling like I have no control over my body or any of its processes and it's starting to get to me.

There are a couple of pluses though.

Take today for example. There are a lot of things that we really need to do before this baby arrives. We need to unpack some boxes, sort things, get rid of things, move furniture around, and clean. A lot.

Husband started today. He moved all the shelves around in the living room to make way for the couch to get through to go to the basement. I offered to help, I really did, but he didn't want me to, because baby.

I sat on the couch drinking tea and watching him move things, offering helpful suggestions about vacuuming behind everything. I was actually feeling a little guilty, because I know that I am fully capable of moving things right now. I'm pretty strong, despite being constantly tired.

You know what he said? He told me that he really wasn't worried about me hurting myself. He was more worried that if I did help him move heavy furniture, then from now until February, every time I felt like something might be wrong, I would blame myself. And the furniture. And maybe him for not stopping me from helping.

Although, now that I'm writing it down, it seems more like that might be more a benefit of being a known neurotic than being pregnant.

Hunh. Okay. Nevermind.

Pregnancy kind of sucks. 




*I just tried looking up this combination of symptoms on WebMD, and was advised to seek emergency medical attention. True story.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

For The Love of Books.


Over the years, our book loving and hoarder tendencies have combined to fill our home with books. Overfill, actually. We've cut down on buying books for ourselves quite a lot, but we can't seem to help ourselves buying for them. Beege has books spilling off of her shelf and stacked on every surface. Kee's actually got piles of books in and under her bed. It's getting nuts.


Instilling a love of reading is one thing -- if you can read, you can learn anything -- but this crazy collecting needs to stop. At the rate we all read, we were buying new books very week or two.

As someone who loves books, but really should not be spending the money or the space on the, right now, I love the library. Really, I've always loved the library. A place that will let you bring home stacks of books to read... for free? What an incredibly brilliant concept.

The first thing we did when we moved last year, before even unpacking was head to our new library to get our library cards. We didn't make as much use of them as we should have, and the books kept piling up.

Since September though, we've been making a real effort. The girls are starting to come around to the benefits of being able to read everything without having to find a spot on the shelf for it when you're done, and a trip to the library has become on of our favourite Saturday activities.

Although, I'm guessing it might also have something to do with the fact that our new favourite coffee shop is across the street and we always stop in for a treat and a game of chess or two before heading home.

Mostly though, it's the books.



Friday, October 2, 2015

He's My Favourite.

Most of the stories that I post on here have to do with me and the kids. Primarily because most of my day, most of my time, most of my headspace has been devoted to them for years. Someone else does live with us though, and he gets mentioned occasionally, as though he's a visitor who pops in every once in a while to get us to laugh, or hang out with the kids so that I can get a much needed break; but I don't very often just talk about him.

So today, he gets his very own blog post.

Husband and I met in University. During my Frosh week, actually (he was a Frosh Boss). We were both commuters, and as such, spent frosh week camped out with a bunch of other commuters in common rooms so that we didn't have to go home at night and miss any of the late night parties. He offered me a couch to sleep on when he noticed me camped out on the floor, and gave me his coat to use as a blanket.

We were friends for a long time before we were anything more, and I think that will always be the most important part of our relationship. All these years later, I find that I like him. Like, really LIKE him. He is the one I always want to talk to, always want to see, even when I'm not in a mood to see or talk to anyone.

He's not perfect, by any means. In fact, I think I might like him a little less if he was. But his imperfections mesh  well with mine. I'm the one that keeps us running on time and remembers to feed the kids. He's the one who keeps us thinking rationally, even when I've already assumed the worst. I'm the one who reminds everyone to eat vegetables, and he's the one who reminds me that playing with Lego is time well spent.

I am also aware, even if he isn't, of just how many times I would have fallen apart completely so far if it hadn't been for him.

Anyway, long story short: I'm really lucky that he was able to see past my flaws (or somehow find them endearing) and embrace the big bundle of crazy that is me, because I have gotten to feel super smart very day for the past sixteen years for choosing to spend my life with someone like him.

Love you, Sparky.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pants.

I have had problems with pants in the past. I have some... digestive... issues, and there has been a lot of pain, bloating, and general discomfort since I was a kid. The constant pressure of a waistband has, on occasion, actually made me throw up. So yeah... pants aren't my favourite. But I've learned to deal with it. I wear yoga pants, I buy stretchy waisted pants, and yeah, my "formal" pants are from a maternity store.

Actually, my hatred of pants has helped me in some ways. For example, I think that I have been far more patient and sympathetic with my children on the issue than I might have been otherwise. You see, they too hate pants.

Both girls have some sensory issues. Things need to be soft. There needs to be a complete absence of tags, itchy bits, seams, and buttons. They can't be too tight in the legs. They don't like them too loose either. They can't be snug in the waist, but they also can't feel like they're shifting. We've solved these problems, up to this point, with a wardrobe of leggings and jogging pants.

Beege is way better than Kee on the issue, because at least she is (mostly) consistent. She wears three pairs of pants. I made them for her, and I should probably make her some more because they're getting worn through at the knees and are a couple of inches too short at this point.

But Kee? She is not consistent. A pair of leggings that were just fine yesterday make her scream when they touch her today. Only one of the two pairs that are pretty much exactly the same are acceptable. Pants that I've avoided because she threw a half hour tantrum last time I suggested she wear them are the only thing that will do right now.

Today, the first actually cold(ish) day of fall, she decided that NO pants were okay.

She needed to wear a skirt with shorts. Why? Because, pants, obviously.

I told her she would be cold. So she got out her snowpants. I reminded her that there was no snow and that it wasn't actually that cold, so come recess time, her legs would get sweaty and stick to the insides, which she hates. She fell in a heap on the floor an lay there for ten minutes. I suggested she wear proper pants again. She balled her fists and glared at me. I'm very proud of myself -- I didn't yell. I told her that my reasons for wanting her to wear pants were all very logical, and had to do with her comfort throughout the day. She told me that she needed to wear the skirt "because it's pretty." I told her that in the end the decision was hers, and I laid out my arguments again.

In the end, she went with the skirt. I let her. If I'm lucky, she'll remember being chilly at recess the next time this comes up, and decide to be practical all on her own. I'm probably going to get a note home about how the weather is changing, and I should ensure that she wear appropriate clothes to school. I probably won't write back that they're lucky she's wearing any clothes at all.

But really, they are. 






Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We Got a Popcorn Maker!

So a couple of weeks have gone by since the beginning of school... things are looking good. I still haven't really gotten anything done (except embrace the joy of napping), but I've got plans. Big plans. Okay, no I don't really. My plans thus far consist of "clean something" and "write something". Both plans need me to sit down and focus on them so I can figure out where to start. And I'm a little busy with the naps.

See? Just a dude! Not scary!
Beege is doing great at her new school. She's making friends, joining teams and clubs, and loving taking the bus. She's not doing so great with the homework, but it's a focus issue more than anything. Something to work on.

Kee is enjoying being back at school and reconnecting with friends. She has a different problem. She seems to have stumbled on all sorts of new things to be afraid of. She's decided that being on a floor of the house by herself is scary. Being in the washroom at school by herself is scary. Being in the dark is scarier than ever. She's collected all of her fears and personified them as "the Grinch". The live action movie version (which I hated), not the cartoon version (which was lovely). I will never forgive Jim Carrey. I'm trying really hard to be patient with her (we even did a little research about Mr. Carrey to show that he is just a guy, and not really a scary green monster that sneaks into your house at night), but the later she pushes her bedtime with tears over the Grinch, the harder it gets. He was the voice of Horton in Horton Hears a Hoo, for crying out loud!

Perfect excuse for Movie Night is what I call this.

In the midst of all my doing nothing, Beege's homework struggles, and Kee's bone deep conviction that the Grinch would bother to hide in her closet, I decided that we needed a movie night. Not just any movie night; a movie night with a popcorn bar. Even better, Netflix sent me all the fixings, so I didn't even have to leave my house to get things organised!

My kids were so excited to pull out all the treats, and oddly excited by the popcorn maker, declaring it the coolest thing ever. I like that it's far less chemical-y than microwave popcorn and just as easy. Amazing how we humans can make good things bad for us in the name of convenience.

Anyhoo. Our movie of choice for the night: Freaky Friday. Now I watched this movie when it first came out... oh geez.. 12 years ago, and I thought it was cute. This time, I watched it with my daughters scrunched up by my sides, and it was completely different.


My girls are going to be teenagers soon. I've already had a taste of the door slamming and accusations of "you're ruining my life" from Kee (she's SEVEN, dammit!), and I can see B becoming distant from behind her books and technical manuals (she's really into robots and tinkering right now). This silly movie, made me cry and re-evaluate my relationships with my daughters. I cried. Because of a Lindsay Lohan movie. But it was just so... and they didn't understand... and then they did... selfless love!

I'm thinking next time we'll try the Lizzie McGuire movie. Nothing for me to cry about in that one. Right?





Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ahhhhh....

So. Quiet.

It's the first day of school, and so far, I've spent most of it doing important things like being frustrated by my unsolved rubik's cube, dancing to some Wham!, and reading a fluffy YA high school drama.

I figure that I can take the first week of school getting used to the new 6:30 wake up (B has a bus to catch this year!) and catching up on all the stuff I couldn't watch over the summer (Hot Wet American Summer, anyone?).

I actually have fun watching the kids' shows with them; there is some really good stuff on Netflix for their age group. Just last month, new episodes of Ever After High and Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman started streaming.

They also really enjoyed a new show called Project Mc2; there are only a few episodes so far, but they're looking forward to more. While I thought the girls (and their styles) were too homogeneous, it is really nice to see a show aimed at tweens, that isn't intended to be educational, where the focus is more on kids using teamwork and their brains than trying to figure out how to get some boy to like them.


My big project at this point is re-arranging the house. My craft room is going to be the baby's room, so I need to shift some things around to make room for creating in the living room. Would you believe that I still have boxes that need unpacking? We're on year two in the house.

So here's the plan. Binge watch some of the shows I've been missing out on while emptying boxes/sorting things/purging things. It's a solid plan.

I mean... I didn't do any of that today... but it's just day one.



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I Guess I lied?

I said I was going to write more. I honestly meant to. I'm sorry. Really.

I've been feeling a lot better lately. Which essentially means that I'm able to stay awake, even when I'm sitting, and I don't have roiling nausea all the time. I still run out of steam pretty quickly though, and if I don't eat the second I feel hungry, I'm in for feeling barfy for the rest of the day.

This time around, I'm showing a lot earlier, and things are already getting a little tight. I went shopping for some maternity clothes with my sister (she's due in October!), and we were sorely disappointed with what we found. I'm trying to get it together enough to make myself some long(er) tops to wear with yoga pants. In the meantime, tank top and pajama bottoms it is.

I did manage to put on actual pants, and drag myself to the Quilts at the Creek show that I go to every year with my mum - my sister and her family came too this year - didn't manage to take any pictures though. Luckily, they've got their own website you can have a look at, and they've posted plenty of pictures. If you're at all into quilting, or just enjoy admiring amazing work by talented artists, I'd recommend checking it out next year. (Also, I just love the village.)

I've also gone and gotten my first look at the Bean.  I was watching one of those "your baby this week videos" with the girls, and the line that keeps running through my head in a soothing voice is "your baby is starting to look more and more human"... well, good. You know how most 13 week ultrasounds look like a cross between a squirrel and a chicken? That's what I was expecting. Our Bean looks surprisingly a lot like an actual human baby, which is very reassuring because I'd been having dreams that s/he had no face. The ultrasound tech assured me that, as well as a face, it has two arms, two legs, a spine, a heart, AND a brain!

Looking more human every day!

The long and short of all this me-feeling-awful-and-falling-asleep-everywhere though is that my kids' summer vacation, thus far, has sort of sucked. As far as I'm concerned, anyway; they've actually been quite lovely and understanding.

I feel like a jerk though. I haven't really taken them anywhere, and we haven't really done anything. It's been super hot, which makes the nausea ten times worse, and I'm not the best with heat in the first place. As soon as I go a few days feeling mostly good, I'm going to have to make it up to them.

For now, they still love me because they're getting more screen time than usual. If I can't take them on any real life adventures right now, at least I can let them enjoy some vicariously through Netflix. I mean, really, where would I get a dragon, anyway?

They're in love with Dragons: Race to the Edge. The series takes place between the first and second movies, and follows Hiccup and Toothless on their adventures to explore and find more types of dragons. I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of the Cressida Cowell series of How to Train Your Dragon books; well we loved both of the movies, and we are pretty happy with the new series as well.


They watched all the episodes the week they were released, and are now waiting impatiently for new ones. I don't know how they got the idea, but they seem to think I'm actually in charge of these things. For now, they're satisfied to play vikings and dragon riders themselves, which in itself is awesome, but I hope I'm feeling more normal/mobile soon, or we're in for a mutiny over here. 





Thursday, July 16, 2015

*Whew*

Alrighty. So I haven't been around much lately, and here begins a list of my excuses:

 ...

The kids.

...

Okay, just one excuse really. Made up of a few parts.

1. The kids are home for the summer. They are animals. I honestly don't think that I fought with my siblings as much in my entire childhood as these two have in the past few weeks*. It's amazing really how they've managed to distill "sister bugging" into a fine art. They are masters. It's not a marketable skill though, so I'm trying to convince them to move on. They feel they have more honing to do.

2. I don't seem to be able to write with distractions. I've been working on it, but I haven't yet managed to completely ignore the eruptions of screaming from the basement every few minutes. 

3. I've been laying-on-the-couch-trying-not-to-move sick for the past couple of months. And when I'm not fighting nausea, or breaking up fighting sisters, I'm asleep. I fall asleep in the middle of sentences. Book on my face. Propped up against the wall on the stairs. Drool everywhere. It's not pretty. Number three is the size of a kumquat, and already asserting him/herself.



Did I forget to mention? I'm forgetting a lot of stuff these days. Yep! Who's got two thumbs and is totally pregnant? This guy right here! (You know... me.)

So between coralling the kids who are running around outside of me, and trying to stay conscious in spite of the one rolling around inside of me... I'm exhausted.

At least I think that's where I was going with that.

And that, friends, is my super stellar pregnancy announcement.








*My mum would probably beg to differ, but it's my blog, so nyeah.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

June... Is Over?

I don't know how it happened. One second, it's Kee's birthday, right at the beginning of June, and the next, I'm watching fireworks and thinking, really? What the heck have I been doing?

Having the kids home all day every day has been a huge adjustment for me. I'm used to having at least a few good hours of complete silence in my day. It has taken just one week to realise that I won't have even a semblance of quiet again Until September. Am I terrible that I'm already looking forward to it? Don't get me wrong - I love having my kids around, I just also love having some time to breathe and actually focus on what *I* need for a minute.

As a result, I'm instituting a daily quiet time. You know that part of the day just after lunch when it gets so hot that you don't really want to move anyway? Perfect. I dub thee "Quiet Time". With capitals, because it's important.

I will be napping. The kids will most likely turn their nose up at such an idea, so I'm going to loosen the reigns on screen time a bit and let them work through a list of pre-approved Netflix titles.

We're going through a bit of a throw back period with our viewing these days. The kids are all excited about things that I used to watch when I was a kid. Some shows like My Little Pony and Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Incorporated have been updated and revamped, while one of my personal favourites The Magic School Bus is the same excellent show I remember from watching with the kids I babysat. (Sadly, though it is available, they have no interest at all in Jem, so I'll have to watch that on my own time.)  There are also some excellent new shows, in particular Dragons: Race to the Edge (which takes place between the first and second movies), that they're stoked about. 

But that only takes care of an hour or so every afternoon. What to do with the rest of the summer? Once again, I'm leaving things to fate, so we're wide open here.

What are you guys doing? Any super fun ideas  that I can steal?





Saturday, June 6, 2015

Thanks, Kerry!

Do you guys know about the Sew Mama Sew site? There are literally hundreds of tutorials on there, as well as some great ideas for sewing with kids. There is also the wonderous thing that is Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day.

"Hmm..." you say, "that sounds intriguing. What exactly is that?"

Twice a year, Sew Mama Sew is host to hundreds of giveaways for handmade items, patterns, fabric, and notions. It's gotten so big that a single day can't contain it anymore; now it's more like giveaway week. Not only is it a great chance to win stuff, but it's an opportunity to go through all the links and find those hidden gem blogs that you might not otherwise be aware of. I tend to go through and browse all the sites, and find at least a couple that I keep reading. Despite the odds, I enter all of the giveaways that I'm interested in, and consider it a day well spent.

This past giveaway day, I finally won something! Just this week, I received a lovely package of cotton fabric scraps that are going to come in very handy for future projects.


Aren't they lovely?

So, thank you very much to Kristin and Beth at Sew Mama Sew for hosting such a comprehensive giveaway, and to Kerry of PennyDog Patchwork for the beautiful scraps!



Friday, June 5, 2015

This Will Indeed Be a Challenge.

Yesterday (while taking a break from moving shelves and things) I came across an 8 week crafting challenge that I've decided to take part in. What better motivation to get my craft room in order than that, right? This was the first week - make anything at all using a photo. As long as there is a photo involved.

Of course. I did manage to get the shelves together yesterday. But I couldn't lift them. So this is my room at the moment.


They're going to be great once I get them upright and filled with wonderful craft supplies... but at the moment, they're blocking access to everything. Especially the closet (you can just see it on the left there) which happens to contain my big box of photos. And my photo printer. I also only had one day to do it, and it just happened to be a PA day for my kids. I had an inkling of a plan that involved the three of us sitting around the table painting some lovely wooden picture frames... but I think they're in the closet too.

So for my week one challenge, I cut a picture out of an old calendar that I found stuffed on a shelf. Which I hope counts... it is a photo, I just didn't take it. Still good?

"Out of this world"... get it? *snort*
I promise, next week will be more involved!

Do any of you want to take part? Let me know! Tag me in your posts or tweets or whatever so I can see what you made!



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Perfectly Pink. (And Sparkly!)

This week, Kee turned seven! Can you believe it? I've been writing this thing since she was a tiny baby... and now she's seven. I'm officially all out of babies over here. *sniffle*

Kee is my little tiara wearing ninja. My feather boa coveting knight in sparkly armour. She loves all things pink, and aside from climbing everything in sight, a "spa day" is one of her favourite things to do. Up until now, a "spa day" has meant having a bubble bath, then me painting her nails and trimming her hair while she watches a movie. (See how I snuck in the haircut?)

I don't know if she'll be falling for that one anymore, now that she's had a taste of a real spa. I've recently become a "Glambassador" for Glama Gals Tween Spa, and over the weekend we were invited to the Grand Opening of the new location in Barrie. Right in time for my ninja princess' birthday!

From the moment you step into the space everything is pink and white, glitter and sparkle. We were treated to cupcakes, "pinkatinis", and a room full of every pink candy you can think of. The girls were in heaven.

Then they were whisked away to pick a nail polish colour and have their nails done, using Piggy Paint.  


Off to the hair station, to get colour, braids, sparkles, and updos.


They even got to make their own personalised bubble bath and lotion to bring home at the "Glama Lab".

I couldn't pry them away for a pic until we got home!

By the time they'd taken part in all the spa activities, eaten their fill of pink food, and rocked a few dance party breaks and sing alongs, my girls felt like princesses. The people we met there were all wonderful. Everyone was full of smiles and positive energy. That's the thing that I love about Glama Gals; It's about more than nail polish and sparkles, it's about making the girls feel cared for and special.

I think Kee summed it up when I asked her if she'd enjoyed going, and she replied, "BEST. DAY. EVER!!"







*If you haven't heard of Piggy Paint before, it's a non-toxic, odourless, all natural nail polish. It's what I went out of my way to find when I was trying to bribe the girls into not biting their nails anymore. That didn't really work, but we do love our Piggy Paint!

I am part of the Glambassador program, and as such receive things like party invitations every once in a while. My opinion, as always, is entirely my own.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Family Time.

Lately, a lot of my Netflix watching has been shows that I remember watching as a kid. Shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-air (raise your hand if you can still sing the entire theme song from memory?), Party of Five (the angst!), and Gilmore Girls (I desperately want to live in Stars Hollow). All great shows centered around families!

Family can mean a lot of things. It can mean the people you're born to. It can mean the friends that you grow up with. It can mean the people you bond with at work. It can even mean the minions that your scientist partner created, or the children you adopted under false pretenses to further your plan to steal a shrink ray to facilitate you stealing the moon.

If you're at all intrigued by that last one, you might want to watch one of my family's favourite movies of all time, Despicable Me.


Not into cartoons? How about Raising Hope? Jimmy Chance, a well meaning guy with a big heart has a one night stand with an escaped convict. He later finds out that she'd gotten pregnant, and decides to raise the baby, Hope, by himself. He's not *all* by himself though, as he still lives with his parents and grandmother. It takes a village after all.


There's also a great new series, exclusive to Netflix about redefining your definition of family later in life. Grace and Frankie have lived and raised their families parallel to each other for years, their husbands being partners in a law firm. They couldn't be more different though, and don't exactly get along. When, after 40 years of marriage,  their husbands leave them for each other, Grace and Frankie are forced together to reevaluate their lives. Despite their abundance of differences, they discover that having one huge thing in common can be the basis for a meaningful friendship.


How about you? What are you watching?



Monday, May 25, 2015

I Just... I Can't.

I've been getting things into a better state around here. There are still boxes hiding in the laundry room, but I was going to get to them after I finished sorting out my office/craft room/etc. Which, I remind you, was about to get underway. The living room looked like this:


This past weekend, Husband went home to visit his mum. He came home with a van. This happened.


These are boxes of stuff that has apparently been festering at his mum's during the 15 years that we've been living together. They are full of things like old magazines, books, toys, and games; basically assorted junk. They are now in my living room.


There are two of these. What the hell, man?
 
I'm going to have a nap now.










Friday, May 22, 2015

The Verdict Is In.

Three weeks in the cast, three weeks in a splint, then an as yet unspecified length of physio.



It's pretty though, right?




Thursday, May 21, 2015

At Least I've Painted?

I swear, I had a plan for today. I finally finished painting the baseboard in my writing/crafting/whatever-room-that-is-all-mine yesterday, so today I was going to start shifting things around.

I drifted off to sleep thinking about which wall the shelves with the doors should go against, and where would be the best place to find a really big table top for cheap. I dreamed that I was putting supplies away in well organised, and pretty, containers. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Today, I moved the paint cans and trays down to the basement, and I scraped a couple of drips off the floor. Then I looked out the window for a bit. I looked at the pile of stuff in the middle of the room. I sat on the floor and played a game on my iPod for a bit. Then I left.

Hopefully, next time I go in there, I will actually pick objects up and move them. I think that part of the problem is I really don't know quite how I want to set it up yet, and I feel the need to have a plan before getting started. I also know that I'm going to have to pull shelves and things from other parts of the house, and find places to put the things that are currently on those shelves and things. It's a bit daunting, and apparently just too much for me to deal with on a Thursday.

I can, however show you the before and after of the paint:


Notice the dirty grey and royal blue two-toned paint of the before, versus the lovely (very slightly) off-white of the after. I wanted to have a colour in there that wouldn't reflect too much onto whatever I was working on in there, but still had a little warmth to it. (It looks a little yellower in the picture than it reads in person.)

I really am looking forward to working in there, I swear. I'm hoping to have a better update (you know, where I've actually done something) early next week.

Here's a question for you though - any organisation tips? I'm pretty much starting from scratch in here, so any suggestions would be helpful!




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ruminations on Reading. Or Not.

I've always preferred print books to e-books. They just seem more "real" to me. Nothing beats the feel of a brand new book in your hand. Cracking it open for the first time and immersing myself in a new story... bliss. I held out on the e-reader thing for a really long time, actually, not even giving them a chance. I was quite the snob. Then I got given a Kindle. I grudgingly tried it out.

The fact that I can get books out from the library in the middle of the night, and carry six different books in my purse while only having the weight of one pretty much sold me.

I've stayed away from audio books though. I mean... e-books are one thing, but to not even read the words myself? Well that's just lazy.

And then I started getting frequent migraines. To add insult to injury, my migraines come with these really interesting visual disturbances that make everything look as though I'm looking at it cross-eyed through a tank of water filled with sparkles and strobe lights.  All I can do when I've got one is lie still with my eyes closed and wait til it goes away. It's very boring. I've tried reading through one, but even with my e-reader set at the largest font and line spacing, I couldn't. So I sucked it up, put aside my worries about sub-par voice actors and bad accents, and tried it out.

The first one I tried was awful. I didn't even make it through the first chapter before I was so annoyed with the voice actor that I gave it up. Put me right off unfortunately, and it wasn't until this past weekend that I tried again. I had somehow managed to get book one and book three in a series, and the only book two available immediately from the library was the audio version. *sigh*

I listened. I suppose the trick to audio books is finding the voice actor to suit the book, and Moira Quirk was the perfect choice for Gail Carriger's Finishing School series. She has single handedly revived my interest in audio books. Brilliant.

Do you listen to audio books? Any recommendations? Any favourite voice artists?



Oh! And I've finally joined GoodReads, so feel free to come find me over there www.goodreads.com/Skwishee






Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Victoria!

So. Here in Canada, we just had a long weekend. I spent Saturday in bed, nursing a migraine, so I can't tell you what went on, but the rest of the weekend was pretty great.

On Sunday, the girls and I walked (the girls scootered) over to my sister's to check on the progress of the painted lady butterflies that we're studying. At this stage in their life cycle, they look like nasty little greyish pickles.They're kind of neat, but only for about five minutes.

Then, after the girls picked dandelions for an hour, we headed back home. On the way home, Kee hit a bump and had a rather spectacular wipeout. (Why is it that when there's one kid was ahead, and one behind, it's always the one you're not looking at at the moment who does something weird?) I ended up carrying both scooters home, while trying to reassure Kee that her hand probably wouldn't fall off. I was so focused on scooters and children that I went right past my husband who had walked out to meet us.

That, or I don't recognise him at all when he's wearing sunglasses and/or not in the proper context of my house or the car.

Not a pickle.

We got ourselves a pizza, then put the kids to bed at around eight or so. That's also about when the fireworks started. Around ten o'clock, it became entirely obvious that they were not, in fact, going to be able to ignore the multitude of fireworks going off in the neighbourhood and settle down for the night. Knowing when we're beat, we told them to get dressed and took them for a walk around the neighbourhood, taking advantage of the fact that all our neighbours were setting off explosives in their yards. It was a beautiful night, and we managed to find a great spot in the school yard that let us see fireworks going off in the yards surrounding the field.

On Monday, nothing was open, it being a holiday and all. Wait a minute! The Ontario Science Center is open every day except Christmas, and we are lucky enough to have a membership!* So we packed a lunch, and headed down for a day of science. That place is awesome. There truly is something for everyone, and they get new exhibits all the time. (I'm anxiously awaiting the Myth Busters exhibit opening in June.) We were there for the entire day and there are bits that we never got to. I really do need to go spend a day there by myself.

We got home, I went upstairs to change into pajamas (yes, the second I stepped in the door), and before I even got back downstairs someone had broken their arm. No, really.

Sister incurred fracture.

Apparently, Beege was on the floor, under a duvet, pretending to be a rock. Or maybe hiding? I'm still not sure. Anyway. Kee did what Kee does when confronted with a big pile of comfiness, and flung herself off the couch, onto the duvet. There was a crack, and screaming, and now the poor kid is in a cast for the next six weeks.


Lessons we learned this Victoria Day Weekend:
1. Chrysalises look like tiny pickles.
2. There is no point trying to sleep when there are fireworks going on.
3. Free stuff is awesome, especially when there's science involved.
4. Always check under blankets before hurling yourself on top of them.
5. Maybe don't hide on the floor under blankets.




*Thanks, Mum and Dad!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Seven Things About Writing.

My friend Lillian tagged me for this, and you know I can't resist a list...


1. I am always writing. I may not be sitting in front of a computer, or holding a pen, but there is always a story working itself out in my head. A lot of writing is sitting around with a cup of tea/coffee/whatever, staring off into space, so it looks pretty easy. But...

2. It's hard. Having an idea is one thing, sitting down and writing it is another. I can play out entire novels in my head, the details of someone's entire life from start to finish, but as soon as I sit down in front of a blank screen I have trouble. For example: I'm writing a novel. I have the whole of the story in my mind, down to the shoes the protagonist is crunching leaves beneath as she runs across a darkened street. But sitting my butt down in a chair to finish it off is giving me trouble. It's also scary. It seems to me that any creative endeavour would be. Imagine ripping out a little piece of your heart, tying it up in a bow and handing it to someone to see what they think. That's what showing someone else my work feels like.

3. It's kind of lonely. I need to be alone to write. I have trouble concentrating if there's anyone else even in the house, whether they're near me or not. It bothers me that someone might be reading over my shoulder, and I can't stifle the niggle in the back of my mind that tells me not to get too into what I'm doing because someone is going to come and ask me for a snack any minute. However...

4. Writing can be a way to meet people and make connections. If I hadn't started this blog, then I never would have even known that some of my favourite people (Lillian being one of them) existed. 

5. Everything is a story. Everything. Whether it's Husband being late home from work (late meeting? accident? traffic? detour?), or an interesting town name (why is it called that? do they have a rivalry with another town? is it a poor town? rich town? does a serial killer live there?), or even a chair on a lawn (why is it on the lawn? whose is it? how long have they had it? was it a gift?) everything is a spark.

6. You need to read to write. At least I think you do. I feel like exposing yourself to as many different genres and styles of writing as possible expands your vocabulary and your world view, and makes you a more interesting writer.

7. It's like therapy. Writing, whether it's a blog post or a short story, is a way for me to work out all the tangled thoughts in my head. My mind is constantly jumping from idea to idea, like an overly caffeinated grasshopper. Writing makes me sit down and focus on an idea or feeling, and that's something I need to keep my head on straight.




Monday, May 4, 2015

Stop Playing in the Butter!!

Yesterday, I was a jerk. For pretty much the entire day.

It was one of those days when nothing seemed right to me. It started first thing in the morning.

For no reason I could think of, EVERYTHING was irritating. I was awful. I couldn't let any little annoyances pass without comment. I was snarking at everyone and even though my head was yelling at me to shut up, the nitpicking and grumping kept pouring out of my mouth.

Luckily, I realised what an unbearable ass I was being and, in the interest of not alienating my entire family, took myself and my shitty attitude back to bed where I lay around and wondered what the hell my problem was.

You know how little kids can be total a-holes, for no discernible reason, and then they run a fever, or have a rash, or are generally under the weather, and you kind of forgive their jerkiness because "awww... the poor little guy was getting sick!"?

Well, this morning, I woke up feeling awful. Throat full of spikes, nose running like a faucet, and a body that felt as if someone had been using it as a punching bag. I did feel relatively cheerful though.

I was so relieved.


I'm not a jerk, I'm a toddler.





*Really though, don't play in the butter. Gross.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fun With Charts.

Somewhere along the line, I decided that I stink at following patterns. It probably has something to do with the fact that I get distracted between one instruction and the next, which leads to skipping steps. Or sometimes doing steps twice. Which leads to... well, usually a mess, and definitely not what I was hoping the pattern would lead to.

As you may know, recently I decided it's finally time to try again. The first step on my quest to actually follow instructions was the blanket. As I said, I didn't quite manage it. The next thing I decided to tackle was a hot water bottle cover for my grandma. I made her one when I was living in her basement apartment, but it's a little worse for wear and needed a replacement.

So I found a gorgeous pattern* online and decided to give it a try. This is the first time that I've ever followed a chart for any kind of knitting pattern and I was sure that, given my distractable nature, I would screw it up.

I know myself pretty well; I had to rip it down five times.

Part of not having followed patterns properly before is not actually knowing the proper names for anything. Thank goodness for the internet! New skills I learned to make this thing: following a chart, "bobbles", seed stitch, provisional crochet cast on, and making a button band (complete with button holes!). 

In the end, I managed to stick it out, and grandma's water bottle is now properly cozy-d. 



I'm pretty pleased with myself.






*The Haworth hot water bottle cozy is a free download on Ravelry! Easy to follow instructions,even for those of us with short attention spans.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Lying, to me, has always seemed like a waste of time. It always comes out, and it's always worse when it does than if you'd told the truth in the first place. Which is exactly what I say when I talk to my kids about it. My kids aren't really big on lying anyway, mostly because they just stink at it. Beege turns red and won't look at you. Kee, squirms around the truth like a contortionist, answering every question but the one you asked. See? They stink at it.

Maybe it's because I'm a terrible liar that I find shows about people who do it all the time so fascinating.

Recently, My sister and I became full on addicted to Pretty Little Liars. The show starts out about four teenage girls, beautiful and rich of course, who are being terrorised by a mysterious cyber bully called "A". A knows all of their secrets - holy crap, do these girls have secrets - and is willing to use them against the girls. So do their parents, and all of their friends. As some random artist in season four says, "this whole town is strung together with whispers." A town full of secrets is, by default, full of lies.

I can only think of one person on the entire show that doesn't make a habit of continually lying to everyone around her, and as far as I can tell she is also the most oblivious person in the world. The real miracle is that any of them ever believe anyone else. We've given up trying to figure anything out, and just enjoy yelling "what?!" at each other when they pull out another completely ridiculous piece of 'evidence', or previously unmentioned but somehow pivotal character.

Joking aside, I think that it's important to talk to your kids about lying, and watching a show or movie with them is always a good jumping off point for a discussion. My kids are a little young for it yet, but Mean Girls is an excellent movie to spark questions about bullying, lying and how to be a friend while being yourself. I've said it before, Tina Fey is a genius.

It's an important discussion to have, and a good idea to start early so you can have a continuing conversation as your kids get older, just like anything else.
 
If you're looking to start a conversation with your little one(s) about lying and its pitfalls, here are some suggestions for your jumping off point:

  
  1. Super Why!: S1,E15: Humpty Dumpty and Other Fairytale Adventures: Pinocchio
  2. Curious George: S1, E19: Truth about George Burger
  3. Clifford the Big Red Dog: S1, E26: The Kibble Crook
  4. The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: S1, E9: The Pothole / Chuck’s Perfect Plans