Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Only in My Dreams.

Let's hope so anyway. I could be a professional worrier. I'm very very good at it. If there is anything at all to worry about, (and even if there's not) I'll do it with gusto.

So, I've mentioned that my sister is getting married, right? Well, I have the pleasure of being the sister-of-honour. I may have also mentioned that I'm kind of artsy crafty. I also tend to take on more than I really ought to.

So. For my sister's wedding, I'm making head wreaths, baskets, swags, centerpieces (with help), the bouquet, the boutonniere, shortening some necklaces and providing a couple of flower girls. So of course, even though I'm done most of what I have to do, I wake up in the middle of the night thinking "Oh my god! I still have to do..."

I've also had a number of dreams of possible ways I could screw up my sister's wedding. Seriously, I wasn't even this stressed about my wedding.

Here are the various scenarios that are highly unlikely to happen, but that my fertile mind insists on reviewing as I sleep:

1. The 8000ft of tulle that I've been sewing flowers onto probably won't come to life and strangle me.

2. It is unlikely that I will have some sort of incident that requires me to wear an eye-patch. And I figured that one out anyway; I will stand sideways in the pictures.

3. It is implausible that as we get ready I am going to slip in the bathroom, hit my head on the toilet and split my head open and need to be taken to the hospital. And even if this did happen, as long as it's after the ceremony, it just means that I don't have to do a speech and someone gets extra cake.

4. It is dubious that someone is going to break into my house and murder me the night before the wedding. Seriously. I dreamed that I even said to the guy, "look, my sister's wedding is tomorrow and I really need to be there... could you come back next week?"

In a couple of days (assuming that no one is abducted, my husband doesn't leave me, and I don't misplace one of my children) I'll be sitting in a lovely room, surrounded by family and eating roast beef, with my happily married sister and new little brother. That night, snuggled in my bed, I'll start dreaming about normal things again; like being crushed by piles of dishes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm (Not) An Addict.

Okay, so I've already admitted that I'm a hoarder. Let it be known that I am also... an addict.
I need it. If I don't get my fix, I get jittery.

I can't help myself. Books have always been a weak spot for me. I love them. I love reading them, I love holding them, I love looking at them. When I was a teenager, I worked in the University Law Library and sometimes I would even stay after my shift and read the law magazines. Even the odd case study or two. When I managed to get away for 2 (2!) whole days, all by myself, this summer, I packed 4 books. One was a Romance, one was historical, one was a series of scientific essays and the other was a children's book I was vetting for suitability. I mean, you can never be sure what you'll be in the mood for, right? I know, I know... but it's mostly under control now.

But. Just when I can walk by (perhaps not through, but I'm working on it) a book store without buying anything... along comes the Scholastic book order form. It rides home in her backpack once a month. When it gets here, I take it out and put it to the side until they've gone to bed so I can salivate over enjoy it uninterrupted. Look at all these books! Just look at them! And the deals in there... well, it would be ridiculous not to buy some... and it supports the school...

They've made it impossible for me to resist; combining books and an interest in my girls' future. So although I'm avoiding buying new books for me, I'm going to give in to Scholastic.

I really want to instill a love of reading in my girls. It's so important; the world just opens up to you when you can get your hands on all that information. Even more so when you enjoy it.

However, I probably didn't really need the book on how to make balloon animals.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Katy Perry is Just Too Sexy.

It's really hard for me to believe that anyone had a problem with this. She's playing dress up. With Elmo. On Sesame Street. What could be more de-sexualised than that?

I'm trying to imagine the parents who complained about the segment with Katy Perry doing a duet of Hot and Cold on Sesame Street with Elmo. Sitting in their living rooms with the curtains drawn, the T.V turned to the wall, playing cards with their kids - with the Queens removed; wouldn't want those saucy bitches giving their young 'uns any ideas now. Does the fact that I've watched this video on YouTube with my kids at least 6 times today mean that I'm a horrible mother?

Let's have a look at some of the other entertainment my children love (and probably yours too):

I give you... The Little Mermaid. In which: a 16 year old, barely clad mermaid decides that she's not going to listen to her father, because she's a grown up, damnit. She makes a deal with the Sea Witch and almost loses her father his kingdom. (When she gets her human legs? And she's first on land? She's NAKED!) It's a happy ending though, because the 16 year old - on three days acquaintance - ends up married to the handsome prince. He has a dog, so he must be okay.

Tinkerbell. Ahhhh... Tinkerbell. Best known to my generation as Peter Pan's little fairy friend. Nowadays, she's a breakout star with her own series of movies. I haven't seen all of them, but based on the two that I have seen - Tinkerbell is another sort of spoiled girl who doesn't like to wear much. I'm hoping that she's learned something from the Linsday Lohan/Paris Hilton set and fashioned herself some leafy undergarments.

Princess Jasmine. I'm actually pretty fond of Princess Jasmine. Even though she is disobeying her father, at least it's because she's a grown up and doesn't feel that she should be forced into a loveless marriage - you go girl! Still. She doesn't wear much.

I've seen people walking down the street in less than Katy Perry is wearing in this video. So what was really the problem with the Elmo duet? Is it because she's a real, live person instead of a cartoon? Is it because of what she's wearing, or is it because of preconceived notions of who Katy Perry is in the minds of those parents? Would those same parents ban their children from watching figure skating? Ballroom dancing? Tennis? Where does it end?! I know that my girls have never seen Katy Perry in any context other than this video and have no idea that she's "sexy" or, in fact, any idea of what "sexy" means.

When I asked my 2 year old what she thought of Katy's outfit, she replied "Miss Katy want to play dess-up, but Emmo dust want to play tag!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kindergarten Teachers, I salute you.

I consider myself a fairly well organised, punctual, responsible type of person. I check the back-pack the night before, I lay out the clothes, we start lunch early just to make sure and STILL we're usually not out the door on time. I can not imagine being responsible for 23 kids at a time!

I couldn't do it. I just could not do it.

Did I mention that yesterday was the day I was volunteering at my daughter's school? Well, it was, and I did... and holy crap. Definitely not the career choice for me. I have been a manager at several different types of establishments. I have said to my staff at various times "You are behaving like CHILDREN!" I was mistaken. Not once has a staff member thrown a shoe at me, or peed on the floor in front of me, or demanded to hold my hand for 20 minutes.

You know what's harder than herding cats? Herding Kindergartners.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

To Trend, or Not To Trend...

I saw this the other day on Yahoo and I have to say; I just don't get it.

I could see how kids would enjoy Slinky, it walks down stairs! Alone or in pairs. That's kind of cool. And Big B actually had a pet orange (yes, the fruit) for a couple of days, so I can see the appeal of Pet Rock. Even though they have all kinds of toys, they'll often choose to play with a box for the morning. Which I also get - Pet Rock, a cardboard box, dolls that don't move on their own.. these are toys/things that involve imagination. And at least Slinky does something.

I just sat there, thinking Why on earth would someone buy that? $5.99 for some rubber bands? Really?.

However... I was looking at some pictures tonight and found one of me and some friends from grade 6. We were holding our wrists out to the camera and all of us were wearing those tacky rubber bracelets. Remember them? We loved those things, we collected them out of the machines at the mall and we were thrilled when the four of us all had the same colours.

So. I'm going to have to remember this for later, when my kid actually wants whatever ridiculous thing is going to help her fit in with her friends.

And So It Begins..?

Argh. I live in a basement. My bedroom and living room both have windows facing out onto the driveway and looking at the neighbour's house. It's not so bad; their driveway is also between us and the house is white, so we do get some light. At certain times of day..

Anyway. That house has been rented out for years and years, with a series of crappy tenants. With the last guys, we were out there a few times, one night/morning at about 4:00 holding our screaming new born and asking them nicely to please shut the f*ck up. (The police were also by a few times...) So when the house went up for sale, we kind of thought that would be good news. We watched people coming to the open houses, perking up every time it was a young couple with small kids.

That was over a year ago. Someone bought the house, but no one moved in. It's been sitting empty all this time, with the lawn getting out of control and occasionally an alarm inside beeping for days at a time (the police came by again - someone eventually broke in and turned it off). Apparently it was waiting for architect drawings and council approvals, etc, because now they're going to tear down the cute little bungalow and erect some monster house. They parked this load lifter here a few months ago, and I've been glaring at it ever since, just waiting for the noise and dirt to start.

It seems that it's finally about to start. Someone came by earlier today and put up a protective barrier around the tree in the front yard. Although, I suppose since the load lifter's been here long enough for the tires to deflate, maybe I still don't need to worry yet?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Confession Time.

I. Am. A hoarder.

Okay, okay, maybe not. But... maybe.

I'm totally addicted to the shows that are on about hoarders. Something about their disgusting fridges and piles up to the ceiling fascinates me. While I do endeavour not to let my fridge get that way, the piles up to the ceiling part scares me. Am I a hoarder? Had I but the time and money, would I be up to my armpits in precious *things*?

Before we had kids, we had thousands of books. We love them. Date night could quite possibly see us spending a few hours in Chapters strolling hand in hand picking up any book that caught our eye. Since the kids, We've come to realise that this is an expensive and space stealing hobby. We have befriended e-books and our local library. We've donated hundreds of books to various places in hopes of them finding a good home. But looking at our shelves, you can't really tell. That's the part that frightens me. What do you *mean* we just took 6 boxes full of books out of here and we're still two deep on every shelf? Are they procreating??

Another soft spot for me is craft supplies. I love them. I love the feel of fresh paper. I love sorting through little embellishments. I love sorting buttons! I sew, I knit, I draw, I paint... I love it all. The worst thing about craft stuff is that I have actually hung on to something for 10 years and then found it was absolutely perfect for something. How can I throw anything out after that? I've been getting better though. I've been trying to use up what I already have, and not getting anything new unless it's for a specific project that I am actually working on. And at least my hobby stores flat. Mostly.

My husband is a tech geek. He loves anything to do with technology. I totally understand. I don't really understand why we need so many monitors though. Or the whole box of cables; half of them are so old that they will never be useful ever again. He also loves Star Wars. Anyone who knows someone who loves Star Wars knows what this means. For anyone else, I don't have enough space here to detail all the Star Wars things that are out there to collect.

He is also a musician. We have instruments in our house. We have 4 guitars, 1 bass guitar, 2 or 3 amplifiers, a keyboard and a drum kit; there's probably more that I don't know about. These things do not store flat, my friend! Yet, these are not things to be gotten rid of. These are things that make my husband happy. These are things we hope to teach the girls to play.

I've decided to get rid of stuff. Anything that I have two of, one has got to go. Anything that I haven't used in a year or more? Gone!* Anything that's not actually mine, but I'm hanging onto it because I just know that the person really will want it back for sentimental reasons eventually? Gone!

I really can understand how it happens though - these piles to the ceiling. I can also understand how hard it is to get rid of things. I'm just lucky that I'm actually scared enough by these shows about how bad it can get that I stalk around the room with a box marked 'Goodwill', pulling things off shelves while I watch.

*Except if it is some sort of craft supply that will totally be useful at some point.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What Fresh Hell is This?

I know that I've mentioned that my little sister is getting married. It's looming quite close at this point - October 2nd is the big day.


Before I start, I would like to say (mostly because I know that my sister reads my blog occasionally - Hiya! *waves*) that I am happy my sister is getting married and I'm totally honored that she's chosen to involve my husband, my two girls and myself. I don't mind doing this work, because I love her and I want her happy and calm on her wedding day.

***end disclaimer***

Sooo... anyway. Today, we took the girls shoe shopping. They must have matching black Mary-Janes, un-shiny. First we looked in Zellers. Not a single simple, black shoe to be had. (I bought my shoes last weekend and I had the same problem but managed to find the perfect shoes and then had to go to another store to get my size.) So, on to the next store.

Before I go any further, I have to tell you that I only had one daughter with me. My husband and I had decided that we could split the errands we had to do at the mall and he would take the younger daughter, while I would have the older (hopefully more cooperative) daughter with me for the shoe expedition. I had a brilliant stroke of genius and traced around Baby B's foot and cut it out before we left the house; this could then be inserted into the shoes to make sure they'd fit, even though I was pretty sure of her size anyway.

At the next store, we had better luck. I found several pairs of passable shoes and was lining them up to appraise. Okay. Great. Now to find a pair in each of their sizes. Apparently, this is practically freaking impossible, because the styles are different in "toddler" and "children's" sizes. So I sat Big B on a stool and wandered up and down the aisle checking in each and every box, enlisted the help of a salesperson and then had B join us in looking. Eventually, after what seemed like forever, close to tears - we found them. The perfect, simple, black shoes. One pair in each size. Oh, thank god. I paid for them. I was pleased.

They don't fit. Baby B's feet have either shrunk about 1/2 an inch while we were shopping today, or I just didn't do a very good job. Either way, I've got to go back and hope to heaven that they've got a pair in the smaller size or I'll have to return them both and start all over again. So please, if you're a praying kind of person, or if you're not, think good thoughts for me tonight, k?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Let's Play School!

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Big B LOVES kindergarten. Absolutely loves it. On her first day of senior kindergarten this year, she ran to school, chanting "I'm an SK, I'm an SK!" When her teacher (She got the same teacher as last year, and she adores him.) came through the doors, she yelled a cheer that she'd made up about him. Enthusiastic doesn't quite cover it. I love that she loves school. I've always loved school, and it makes everything easier.

Last year, when Big B started school, Baby B was only a little over one, and really had no interest. By the end of the year, she had asked a few times if she could go too. Up until now, she has only been in the classroom on parent/teacher conference day, but really enjoyed the toys. She wants to be allowed to go in. She yearns to be allowed to sit down with all those other kids and learn. One of her favourite games to play at home is "school". It's kind of funny that while some parents are dragging their kids, kicking and crying, towards the school, I've got to drag her away. And there is definitely kicking and crying.

One of the weirdest things for me when Big B started school was that there was now this big gaping hole in my day with her that I knew nothing about. I mean, I asked her every day how school was and what she'd done, but unless something really exciting had happened (like getting Geckos; I heard about that) then she usually answered "I forget." A few of the other parents were able to help out in the class, and I'll admit, I was totally jealous. I couldn't do it, because I just couldn't find anyone who could watch Baby B for a day a week while I helped out. It was especially sad on the few occasions when Big B would tell me about another parent helping out, and then look up at me and ask "Why don't you ever come to my school, Mummy?"

Anyway... this year, I really wanted to help out, even though I didn't have any childcare. So I mentioned this to her teacher, and he suggested I bring Baby B with me! Baby B is going to be over the freaking moon when she realises that yes, I am letting her get in line, and not only that, she gets to go in! I'm not sure how it'll work out yet, but he said she can just sit in and be a "junior junior kindergartener." Awesome. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On a more serious note...

I worry about this all the time. I know how much the ridiculous societal standard of beauty has affected my every day life, and I shudder to think of my daughters going through some of the crap I've been through regarding their own bodies. It starts early, and I'm trying my best to never put myself down in front of them. I can't protect them forever though; I can only hope that things will change and that, miraculously, women will stop torturing themselves and the women around them and be happy with who and what they are. Advertising and the images of women that are out there right now are not very promising though. One campaign that I can get behind is the Dove "real women" campaign. Women come in all shapes in sizes and we are all amazing, regardless of age lines, stretch marks, or (the ultimate sin) being overweight. I think the worst part is that we're all aware of the situation, and it still continues.

I tried to embed this, but couldn't get it to size properly - have I mentioned I'm pretty new at this? Anyway - go watch the video.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Wish Makeup and I Could Just Make Up.

Let me start by saying that I'm about as comfortable when I get "dressed up" as a trucker in a tu-tu. And I'm not talking about a petite female trucker, I'm talking about Bubba-beer gut-stereotypical male trucker. I don't know why. I'm definitely a girl; I've popped out a couple of babies. I just don't feel all fancy and pretty when I stuff myself into a dress. I feel more like I have to be really careful so that I don't fall out/rip/spill or otherwise embarrass myself. But, when all is said and done, the dress is the easy part. I tried it on, it fits... we're good.

Now, I have to figure out makeup. Again, this may not seem like an occasion for anxiety medication for most, but makeup and I do not get along. I can probably count on my hands the number of times I've worn makeup (outside of plays, because for some reason, that SO does not bother me); at least 3/4 of them were weddings, and then only because once I'm in the dress, my face doesn't look quite right.

The last time I bought makeup would have been for my brother's wedding in 2005. Now that my sister's tying the knot (and I actually have to stand at the front, and don't want to embarrass her) I figure it's time for new makeup. Which is unfortunate, because I don't know what I'm doing, and I'm about to waste a lot of money. I always kind of feel like Marge after Homer hit her with the makeup gun.

I've managed to get some eye shadow that seems to be okay. But lipstick may be a problem.
My first foray into the lipstick arena this time around was Joe Fresh Lipstain. I thought it sounded like a great idea. It was not a great idea. It feels like drawing on your face with a marker, which I haven't done since kindergarten and it didn't look great then, either. It looks like I've been sucking on a popsicle, in a really strange colour, for a few days. Okay.. well, that's a waste of money... let me just wash it off before I walk my daughter over to kindergarten. *scrub scrub* Hmmm... maybe if I use soap... *scrub scrub* shit. Okay. Maybe if I use toothpaste and my toothbrush to kind of scrub and scrape off a layer of skin? great.

So. It stains down to your bones, apparently. I scrubbed for about ten minutes and was left with weird, blotchy stains, which I then tried two other colours of lipstick (one from my wedding in 2004 and the other from my brother's in 2005) over top of and couldn't cover it. So, I guess it's back to the makeup department. I almost wish that I had taken up the obnoxious friend who was kind enough to offer me "girl lessons" because I would "never be able to be girly without them."

Way up there, with my dislike of makeup is my dislike of shopping. The things I do for my sister. And yeah. I did just write a whole post on makeup.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The School Bells Sound Like a Choir of Angels.

What the hell happened to the summer?

You may notice that there is not one single post between when school ended and when school began. This was not by design, friends. I naively approached my first summer with a school-aged child full of plans and high hopes. I used to have my angel home all day, every day right? So what's the big deal?

During the school year, the day goes like this: We wake up, we very very slowly start our day (thank god for afternoon kindergarten!), we play for the morning - maybe go to the library or the park, we have lunch, we get ready for school. This is when school, nap and mommy's quiet time all combine for a harmonious hour and half of peace and quiet.

The shakiest part of my summer plan was this: I would maintain quiet time. Baby B would have her nap and mommy and Big B would quietly read a book, perhaps colour... and lets be honest, I was hoping there would be some dozing. Not to be. Quiet time is boring. Especially during the time that you've gotten used to running around with other children and doing things like music and gym.

So I brought out the craft projects - I forgot that for a four year old, something that can take painstaking-likes-to-get-it-perfect mommy 20 minutes, it only takes 2.

I tried work books. She got through an entire 200 page workbook in one afternoon of quiet time.

We tried playing games. I am not the most patient person in the world, but I really thought that I had more in me than I apparently do. Games for 4 year olds are BORING! Be honest, they are. I don't know a single mum who actually enjoys playing board games with their little ones. Maybe once we get into Settler's of Cattan or something, I'll be able to sit down and play a game with her, but anything that involves Dora or Diego will never darken my doorway again.

So, here's the gist of the summer:

My parents bought a new house that needed to be gutted (we're not done yet), cleaned and refinished. They'll be selling their old house, which I was born in (really, in the front room upstairs) and so I'm a little sad. Although not as sad as I thought I'd be, since my actual room was torn down and replaced with my brother's living room (now my sister's dining room) years ago.

There was a hysterical pregnancy. Which is to say I thought I was pregnant and was hysterical. I'd named the bump William by the time it became evident that, no, there is no baby and I should just do some sit ups.

My sister's wedding has been chugging along - almost time for that. There's been invitations, dress shopping, fittings, meetings. I've agreed to do the headpieces for the flower girls (who are going to be so FREAKING CUTE!) and the swag thingys to decorate front of the church and the head table. Husband is doing all the musical stuff - processional, recessional, reception, etc. .. so we've been pretty busy with that stuff.

Somewhere in there, Big B learned to read! She actually takes turns with us reading the bedtime story now, which I have to say is pretty darn exciting. More so for the fact that she's admitting she can read now - I have my suspicions that she's been able to read for a while now and just didn't want to tell us in case we decided to stop reading to her.

Birthday parties and barbecues, illnesses, car explosions (not literally - just the stupid van keeps dying at inopportune times, so it may as well have blown up) and other random events took up the rest of the time.

Seriously, I don't know where it went. I didn't manage to crack a book the whole summer and two days in to her school year, I've already written three exams.

Also, right now? I'm sitting, with my feet up, at the computer and eating a piece of cake right out of the tray and no one is bothering me.

I love school.