Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Shopping: The Lazy Bastard Way.

I've never been a person who uses credit. It's good to have in an emergency, but I've always preferred to hand someone some money and walk away with whatever it is that I've paid them for.

Two years ago, I got my very first ever credit card. So that I could pay for my correspondence courses. I've also used it to donate charities and on rare occasions purchase things that aren't available except through the web. I never use it for general shopping, mostly because I just really like not owing money.

This year, I'm not sure why, but it just seems that I'm not able to get out to the stores. Okay, I'll re-phrase that: I'm not able to get out alone. Also, I hate shopping. So this year, I've decided to do most of my Christmas shopping from in front of the computer.

At first, it was great. Look at all I've been able to get done! And I'm in my pajamas! Awesome! I'm beginning to understand why people do this!

Then you wait. And you wait. And you start to wonder if everything is going to get here on time. Maybe it won't come at all? You start to worry about being away from the house in the ten seconds that the courier is there to drop off packages.

You start having dreams of a naked, filthy doll with ratty knotted hair being in the box that is supposed to contain your daughter's lovely new best friend. The other boxes are all empty. My money is gone, and everyone is disappointed. Now the turkey is on fire! Someone stop that monkey!!

Basically, I think I'm going to be a little insane until everything is safely arrived, wrapped and under the tree. I feel bad for my husband.

Apparently, I just don't have the mental fortitude for internet shopping.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh... The Weather Outside is Frightful...

Well, not really. It's Canada, it's winter. There's a bit of snow and it's kind of cold. Don't tell me you weren't expecting this. The one thing I didn't realise (for some reason) would be a hassle was holding hands. No, I'm not being romantic; as the mother of two kids who tend to wander off and/or bolt off suddenly, I like to have a handle on them.

I think that this wasn't a problem last year because I didn't have proper gloves. Holding onto a kid wearing big thick mittens while I'm wearing big thick gloves just doesn't work, so we end up taking off one each and holding hands and having chapped hands.

And yes, I suppose I could try keeping the gloves on and trusting her not to run in the road and get squashed by oncoming traffic... but why give up holding my kid's hand when I can knit instead?

So here is my solution:

Basically a legwarmer. (My first go at cable knitting, Jen!) I'm going to make a better one; longer and lined with fleece. Now we can hold hands inside the sleeve and be all snuggly and warm, and I don't have to worry/obsess over the possibility of her darting out in front of cars.

I think I'm also going to make a couple of extras to stick in Beege's backpack so on those really windy days she can tuck one end inside her coat and pull the other over her mittens to avoid that sad little line of freezing wrist.

Take that, winter!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just When You Want to Give Them Away...

I've been having a hard time lately. With the holidays fast approaching (and the mine field that they always turn out to be), Beege's birthday just behind me, my Grandfather being in the hospital, not having picked up my homework for a month and just generally feeling like my life was spiraling out of control (more than usual)... I've been feeling like I need a secret room to go to where I can scream and smash things.

I spend all day with my kids. I spend most of my day in the house. While I love my kids, and I'm grateful I have somewhere to live, it's not always the most exciting way to spend a day. On the days when we've somehow reached yelling before 8am (and that's been happening quite a bit lately) it's also not the most fulfilling. It's easy to start feeling unappreciated and angry, and once you're in that place, it's hard to get out.

Enter Beege. We were watching TV the other day when a commercial about the Ladybug Foundation came on. It's an organization that supports various charities that help the homeless. And it was started by a 9 year old girl. Beege thought it was pretty cool that a kid started something like that.

Having recently had her birthday, she has a bit of money in her piggy bank. She immediately said "I want to give them twenty dollars."

I've always tried to make sure that our girls know how lucky we are to have a warm place to live, enough to eat and a big family who loves us. We make sure to set aside food for food drives and donate toys to children's charities. I think it has sunk in; they really seem to understand that while we don't have a lot, we do have all that we need and certainly enough to share with others.

So. Next time I'm in the middle of feeling like no one ever says thank you, does what they're asked, or even listens when I talk, I will try to remember this. I have loving caring children. I have a girl who -- underneath the 5 year old frustratingly asserting her will at all the most inconvenient times -- wants to give all her birthday money to make sure people have somewhere warm to sleep.

At the end of January, Beege and I will be walking a mile around our neighbourhood, as others will be walking around theirs, to raise money for the Ladybug Foundation.

If you are able to donate, we'd appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tangled: A Review. Sort of.

Last year, for her birthday, I took Beege to her first ever movie in a theatre. Unfortunately, the only (possibly suitable) things playing were Planet 51 and Fantastic Mr. Fox. After letting her watch the trailers for both, she chose Mr. Fox, because "everybody keeps shooting everybody!" in Planet 51. Okay then.

I bundled her up and brought my overexcited little girl to her first ever movie. She got her very own popcorn and her very own seat. She spent the bulk of the movie burrowing into my chest and asking if the scary people were gone yet. Not the best movie selection, that.

This year, there was no question. Tangled. Disney movie about a princess. Perfect. I've never read the original Rapunzel story, but anything would be better than Mr. Fox.

I loved it! She loved it! There was no chest burrowing - although there were some exclamations and hurried hand holding. The funniest thing was that we missed the first 10 minutes or so, so we saw a different movie than everyone else.

Unlike the movie that people who got there on time saw, the movie that we saw had a few mysteries involved; who was this girl in the tower? Where had she come from? Why is her hair magic? Why is her mother so mean??

The mean mother bugged me for most of the movie. You mean Disney's been making movies with dead mothers all these years and now they finally make one with a live/present mother and she's horrible? I was so relieved when we found out that her mother was actually a lovely, soft looking person who likes to hug.

The movie was great. The story was sweet and the dialogue was snappy. The visuals were beautiful. Everything that you'd expect from a Disney movie, actually. Except for one thing. You know how you usually walk out of a Disney movie and there is at least one song that you just know is going to be stuck in your head for a week? (Hakuna Matata? Tale as Old as Time? A Whole New World? Under the Sea?... ) There weren't any of those. In fact, when I left the theatre, I wasn't even sure that there had been any songs in the movie.

So for me, parts that made a good impression: They made her 18. She could defend herself and the guy as well, thankyouverymuch! I liked that her "prince" had issues. Beautiful visuals.

Things that made a bad impression: They never got her any shoes. I really felt let down with no song to hum on my way out.

Overall, a pleasant movie going experience. And I really want her tower in the clearing as a vacation home.

When I asked Beege what her favourite part had been, she told me it was when the chameleon turned purple. Oh, and Rapunzel's dress; it's purple.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy 5th Anniversary, Stitches!

I cannot believe my daughter is five. Yesterday marked the anniversary of the first time a real live person every exploded out of my nethers. We did most of the birthday stuff on Sunday, with my family. She was thrilled to pull Taryn out of the box; and she is either really good at pretending to be surprised, or really good at making herself forget things. She really seemed to not know what the big box would be.

As for my contribution to the doll's well being, I was up until about 12:30 finishing up the bedding for her bed. I finished the pajamas in plenty of time, and then -- since it's cold in the basement -- made her slippers, and since kids need snugglies, made her a teddy bear.

She really is a very sweet looking doll. Along with Beege, Kee absolutely loves her. Which presents a problem. Beege, of course, is very protective of Taryn, and while she is open to letting Kee play with her sometimes, more often than not there is screaming and crying, and then Taryn retires to Mummy's room for a nap.

The thing is, that Beege likes to set her up and then leave her there. Kee wants to dress her for the situation and then interact with her. Kee was playing school with her and put her in one of the little chairs at the craft table and stuck a pencil in her hand; Beege went ballistic.

So allow me to introduce you to the newest member of my family, as of December 25th; Jenna.

Kee had decided that she wanted that one "because she looks like Mummy!" (My heart swelled a little for that one.) She was planning to save up for her by herself (yes, the 2 1/2 year old!), but it has been decided that we (mostly me, because it's only day 2 and they're already driving me nuts) can't wait that long. We've told her that since she already has half the money, Daddy and I will pay for the rest for Christmas. I guess I'll go get started on her pajamas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Words Cannot Describe.

Some things that people make (and buy? Does anyone have proof that people buy these idiotic things?) just floor me. I was over at Rachel's blog today, and she was posting about these little gems. Oh, Teva. Really??

Despite the pictures, there is (apparently) a warning that they are not really safe for hiking, gardening or construction work. Really? Thank you for that warning because, I swear to god, I was gonna pick me up a pair of these the next time I had a hike to go on. You can't be too sexy when you're hiking.

And just in case you love the "hiking" stilettos, but just feel that they're not quite sexy enough for you, I've got the answer.

"Cargo" nylons. Every outdoorsy woman's dream.

I yoinked the "cargo" picture from my friend Sarah and couldn't tell you where it originally came from... anyone?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday's Child is Full of Cake.

I don't know whether I was born on a Wednesday or not. I do know that I was born around dinner time, and I had the decency to not be born on Halloween, as predicted, amidst the ringing of doorbells and trick-or-treaters (you're welcome, mum).

Wednesday has become my favourite day for many reasons: it's the middle of the week and there is weekend in sight, Beege has piano lessons after school so I (theoretically) get an extra hour of alone time, and (perhaps most importantly?) if there is any cake in the house I actually have the time to sit down and sneak eat some. I enjoy cake. It's good stuff. If you were here, I would share with you.

Grandpa is still in the hospital. I feel much better now that he's finally under the care of some health professionals, but I'd feel better still if they could seem to figure out what the problem is. That's what they do there, right?

This morning, Beege and Kee came running into my bedroom and jumped on the bed, yelling about Hanukkah. I'm not Jewish. Neither are they, to my understanding, but Beege's really into playing dreidle and getting a menorah this year... I'm okay with that. Especially since when I was looking up things to tell her about the holiday I found out that part of the celebration is fried foods. Really? I can get behind celebrating fried foods.

I suppose this is around the time that children start asking about religion? I'll have to do some research. I'm not from a religious family, myself, and so don't really know much about any of it. I went to Sunday school, once, with a friend. All I remember is that there was orange juice.

I'm one of those "not sure" people. I think that there must be something bigger than us. We can't be all there is. That seems just too... random. When you get right down to it, nature isn't very random. How can you explain animals knowing what to do from the moment they're born? Bees are an interesting case. I mean, how did they know that they should go drink pollen and then bring it home and spit it on the wall? But while I believe that there is something larger than us, I've always felt it more laying out in a field with bees buzzing around and birds flying by and the sun warming us all.

And since I don't know anything about any of it, we will celebrate it all. We will embrace each culture and see what sticks. If they decide to attach themselves to a certain religion and its beliefs, I will support that. And if they decide that they'd rather lie in a field with me, I'm cool with that too.

I guess, with the various holidays approaching and mortality on my mind from both ends of the spectrum, I can't help but start thinking about higher powers. I'm not comfortable believing that when I say goodbye to someone I love, they just turn to dirt; I'd much rather believe that they are somewhere finally having the chance to just do what they love.

Do horrible things happen so that people have a chance to be good? Do there need to be people less fortunate so that people have a chance to help? Who decides who gets to be on which side? Why have I been lucky enough to get a beautiful family who loves me when someone else is starving and being beaten? If I question, do I not have faith? Do I need to believe in an all powerful caretaker to get into the after party? There are too many questions, and not enough answers.

Anyway, Beege's birthday is on Monday so you can bet that at this time next Wednesday, I'll be full of cake.

Oh - I just checked. I was born on a Thursday. Apparently, I have "far to go".