Lists

How to Make the Most of an Hour

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My husband just took the kids to the park, he said he’d be back by noon for lunch and nap time. Which means I have approximately ONE HOUR, one glorious hour to myself to do whatever I choose that does not involve cleaning the kitchen {which is a mess}, folding laundry {which is all over the house} or thinking about what to make for dinner {which will probably come out of the freezer anyway.}

Not even the fact that we’re out of the “good” coffee can wrinkle this excitement.   I’ve just put on a pot of the “backup” stuff and will mask it’s mediocrity with coconut oil {thanks for the tip, Lish!} and lots of hot, frothy milk – it’ll be like the real deal in only a matter of moments….

So, “The Thing” I choose to do, since it’s been a while since I’ve done it: write a post.  As quickly and rambly and possibly nonsensically as possible.

Let’s have at it then, shall we?

vscocam-photo-1Me.  Writing.  Now.

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SUNDAY MUSINGS
{aka Things That Popped into My Mind Today}

“Damn you, yogurt covered raisins.”

“If I tweeze this white eyebrow hair, will two grow back in it’s place?”

“How long has this wet laundry been sitting in the machine for…?”

“Must remember to Google: getting poop out of shag carpet.”

“God, this coffee is gross.”

“That’s a prune in my shoe, somehow…”

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We’ve been hitting up the library a lot lately, I find it’s the perfect way to kill the hours between “after nap” and “baby hand-off when Hubs gets home.”  There are the usual suspects Bee regularly wants to take out, like anything Robert Munsch {“Andrew’s Loose Tooth” is a particular fave} or Beatrix Potter {is it just me, or are the messages behind those books rather dark…?}  But amongst the stacks there always seems to be a hidden gem that sparks her interest, that even pleasantly surprises me.  A few of those have been:

Magnus Maximus, a Marvelous Measurer by Kathleen T. Pelley

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Magnus Maximus is a marvelous measurer. He measures wetness and dryness, nearness and farness, and everything in between. When a lion escapes from a traveling circus, Magnus and his trusty measuring tape come to the rescue. Now a hero, all is well until the  day Magnus accidentally breaks his glasses, and he sees—for the first time—that he’s been missing out on life’s simple pleasures.

Lively Elizabeth! by Mara Bergman

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Lively Elizabeth lives up to her name – in fact, she’s a bit of a handful. She doesn’t mean to hurt anyone, but one day at school she finds out that one little push can lead to BIG problems!

Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere

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In this hilarious bedtime story, a monster is licking his lips . . . maybe he’s thinking about eating a bedtime snack? And what if that snack just happened to be you? Gulp! He’s getting closer and closer . . . and his tummy is rumbling really loudly. But all this monster actually wants is a sloppy monster-sized goodnight kiss!

The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra

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This rollicking alphabet story features the lowercase letters of the alphabet. Like children, they have a trunkful of tricks for putting off bedtime. But ultimately their moms and dads (the capital letters) succeed in tucking them in with a good-night kiss. Melissa Sweet’s watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations enliven these little letters with animated expressions, and Judy Sierra’s brief rhyming story begs repeat readings at bedtime.

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

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Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. No running allowed. And you must be quiet. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren’t any rules about lions in the library. And, as it turns out, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His big feet are quiet on the library floor. He makes a comfy backrest for the children at story hour. And he never roars in the library, at least not anymore. But when something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.

There have been quite a few more, but these five are the ones that stand out as having been obsessively read over and over…. and over again.  To the point where, even though yes, I did enjoy them very much, I still could not wait to return them!

What are some your favourite library finds?

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I’ve become sort of hardcore for podcasts lately.  YouTube is great fun {I have a channel, by the way.  Didn’t know?  WELL!  Check it out HERE, then}, but for the long errand walks and taking transit to appointments, getting lost in a great podcast is kind of the best.

I’m loving Off Camera with Sam Jones.  Sam is a photographer, director, musician, and skateboarder who now curates Off Camera, which is a website, magazine, television show and podcast all in one… or, as he describes it, a “multi-platform technologically relevant episodic blogpodzine.”  Amazing.

He interviews A-list celebrities {recently in the chair: Will Farrel, Ethan Hawke, Jon Hamm, Laura Dern & Jessica Chastain, just to name just a few} in the beautiful long form conversational style which I love so much.

My own podcast is growing – I’m currently editing episode 1 of “Town Hall” {like, literally.  Garage Band is open behind Safari} which I will get to talking about in a upcoming, soon-to-be post – and any time I can connect with and learn from others doing what I want do be doing, people like Sam, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Are you a podcast fan, too?  I’d love to hear what you’re listening to!

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Okay.  It’s noon.  And like clockwork, I can hear my family ambling down the hill towards the house.  Time to put my Mama Hat back on and get lunch going.

What a lovely hour, though.  And no need to worry…

…nap time will be here before I know it.

It’s just too bad about the coffee.

What I Know & What I Don’t Know Since Becoming a Parent

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Happy Monday, everyone!  And welcome to my first instalment of:

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I’m calling it my first instalment because I imagine this is the sort of list that I’ll be building on constantly.  Kids are kind of amazing creatures; I’m finding myself learning something new and being baffled by them every day.

This particular list started last week when I watched Bee for the very first time climb the ladder to the big slide and actually go down, all by herself.  The big, yellow, twisty slide usually reserved for bigger kids; kids with a little more courage than she has shown in the past.  Bee’s always been very thoughtful in the playground – not exactly a risk-taker – and preferred to be pushed contentedly on the swing while seemingly contemplating the bigger picture of the universe, as evidenced by this recent photo:

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But, back to the slide.  As I watched this mini-human, all wild hair and bare feet (she also suddenly decided that shoes are for chumps?) climb the ladder and spin down with a look on her face I can only describe as hysterical joy, I wondered to myself, “where does this courage come from?!  What is it that makes a kid say to herself one day, ‘yes.  Today is the day I’m going to do this slide!’??”

I just didn’t know the answer.  Not that there is an answer to it, but all these other things started rattling though my head, things I didn’t know about children and life – and also all the stuff I realized I now do know.  Stuff that I never in my entire existence would have come to know or not know, had I not been blessed to become a Mama.

Sure there’s probably scientific or anthropological explanations for most of this stuff. But let’s just say there isn’t and go with it, k?

WHAT I KNOW

I know that not two children are alike when introducing solid food: one will choke with every mouthful you feed her, and the next will scarf with such abandon that you’ll wonder if they even have a gag reflex at all.

I know banana is incredibly difficult to get out of hair/eyebrows:

IMG_5541Yew, boy.  Poor kid.

I know Velcro is awesome.

I know that learning to share is HARD and often incredibly emotional.

I know playground politics is a real thing.

I know following through with promises and threats is crucial if you want solid parenting cred with your Littles.

I know putting a towel over your head and pretending it’s long, flowing princess hair is instinctual.

I know I can hold my pee until I forget I have to go.

I know that baby farts will always be funny, especially in completely inappropriate situations like church, or while talking to baby-less single, ultra cool people you used to be friends with until you decided to become one of “those” people who got married and had kids.  Baby farts are especially awesome in that situation.

I know that when my toddler cries, “mommy, I NEED A LOLLIPOP RIGHT NOW!!” she truly believes she needs a lollipop in that moment or else she will probably crumple and die.

I know my floors will be perpetually sticky until the kids move out of the house.

I know that a baby will be just as happy playing with a spoon and an old face cloth as it would be with a $50 toy.

I know that somehow there will always be a dirty diaper somewhere in the house at any given moment, regardless of how diligent I am with throwing them in the bin.

I know that baby socks are bullshit.  Like, seriously.  Teeny tiny pieces of fabric to cover a baby’s feet that will only end up in a gutter somewhere on the other side of the city or lost at the bottom of a purse?  Ridiculous.  I say, footed sleepers for Fall & Winter, then bare feet in Spring & Summer, or until they are able to walk and then need socks and shoes.

I know I will always, without a doubt, have some sort of food/bodily fluid substance on my shirt until the kids move out of the house.

I know that babies and kids will live and thrive just fine on non-organic food & dairy products.

I know that this parenting gig is the hardest f*cking job in the world, but I am all the better a person for it.

 WHAT I DON’T KNOW

I don’t know what makes a child love salmon one day but then gag dramatically just thinking about it the next.

I don’t know why it’s so true that you can buy a kid every damned toy in the world but all they’ll want to play with are the boxes they come in.

I don’t know why I bother to HAND WASH this $18 Old Navy dress, but I do:

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I don’t know how a child can survive for days on nothing but Cheerios and raisins.

I don’t know how I am surviving on no sleep.  Seriously.  How is this happening.

I don’t know how I would get through the week without parenting drop-in centres, public parks and the library.

I don’t know if there actually is such a thing as “too much coffee.”  Sheesh.

I don’t know where the irrational fear of pooping on the toilet comes from.

After everything I’ve gone through with two kids, I honestly do not know how people have more than two.

I don’t know where this love for my children comes from, if you can even call it love.  What’s bigger and deeper than love?  Because that’s what I feel for them.

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I’m sure I’ll be updating this list in the coming weeks.

Until then, I’d love to hear from you!

What are some things you now know or realize you don’t know, since becoming a parent?

It’s Mother’s Day! My Gift Suggestions for 2015

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Guys, I ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT MOTHER’S DAY THIS YEAR.

After weeks of everyone being taken down by virus after virus, having both kids on “the pink medicine” as Bee calls it (aka: thick, sugary strawberry flavoured amoxicillin), sleep training going out the window because of travelling, as well as all sorts of childcare drama, Hubs and I were sitting on the couch clutching our glasses of wine the other night like they were there to save our lives, and I sighed a loud, “uuurgh. I need a BREAK.”

We sat there in golden silence for a moment, only the crackle of the baby monitor lilting through the air, when Hubs said slowly, “isn’t it Mother’s Day soon?”

“…..oh my God.  It’s Mother’s Day soon.  It IS MOTHER’S DAY SOON!  Find out when it is!!!  GOOGLE IT!!!  MOTHER’S DAAAAAAAY!!!”

Through all the madness and hysteria of the last few weeks, I had forgotten the one day of the year when it’s every Mother’s RIGHT to ignore everyone and everything – children, spouses and mountains of laundry included – and laze about like an old-timey Lady of Leisure, splayed out on a 4-poster bed or a chaise longue (lounge? long?), sipping mimosas and eating bonbons brought to her by above mentioned ignored children and spouses.

A day which sees her being showered in compliments (“oh my darling, your eyes looks so refreshed and youthful. Not at all like the eyes of a woman with two small children who never sleeps.”), grand gestures (ignored children miraculously learning to do laundry on their own, “don’t get up, sweet Mother.  We shall tackle these mountains for you.”) and, perhaps most importantly:  GIFTS.

With the realization that this GLORIOUS day is just around the corner, I flipped open my laptop and started taking note of what I’m dreaming of for Sunday, May 10 (thank you, Google!)

***Now, seeing as how we just bought a house, I do not expect any of these to actually materialize this year.  But for those of you Mamas looking for something to wish/hint/outright ask for, or if you’re a Papa looking for suggestions, here is my Mother’s Day Gift List for your consideration:

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1.  Auburn Jewelry

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Specifically these gorgeous, delicate and colourful stacking rings!  Jill over at Baby Rabies listed them on her 2015 Mother’s Day Gift List, and the moment I saw them I knew I must have them on my list, too.  I totally stole the idea, but… I mean, look at them!   Full disclosure here:  I’m not someone who wears a lot of jewellery – in fact, you can list the amount of pieces I own on two hands.  Maybe even 1.5 hands.  Okay, I own 7 pieces of jewellery, and that counts my wedding rings.  It’s not that I’m accessory deficient!  I have a vast collection of scarves (much to my husband’s displeasure), quite a few pairs of shoes and various purses/bags for different occasions.  It’s just, jewellery has never “done” it for me.  I like to think of myself as Marilyn Monroe, who rarely wore any in her day-to-day life. Yes, I just compared myself to Marilyn.  It’s a Mother’s Day post.  I’m allowed!  But there’s just something about these little rings… they’re so delicate, and with those pops of colour I think they’re just the perfect thing to add to any outfit, giving it that extra bright, happy “oomph!”  Plus, they’re subtle enough that you can wear them for any occasion. Kind of the perfect accessory, I’d say!  So I have to thank you Jill, for introducing me to Samantha and her lovely company!

2.  Daniel Wellington Classic St. Mawes Lady Watch

Classic St. Mawes Lady

The last watch I owned I bought for myself as an early 30th birthday present in Las Vegas.  It was after a wild night of uncontrolled gambling that saw me win a whole $50!  AMERICAN!  Don’t ask me which game I was playing, I couldn’t tell you.  It was a card game.  Not Blackjack.  Not Poker.  Apparently it was something that old ladies play and it’s super easy and all I remember about the event was calling my then boyfriend (now husband, lucky guy) at 4am and hoarsely shouting that I had WON!  I WON, BABY!!  And to celebrate, the next day I blew it all (*coughplusacouplehundredmorecough*) on a Michael Kors watch I’d had my eye on for a while.  I loved that watch.  I still have it, and still think it’s pretty great!  But it is big and chunky, and five years later and two babies on, just isn’t practical anymore.  Now that I’m entering a “Schedule or Die” phase of my life, with Bee being at home part-time and Bubs having set, regular nap times, lunches and playdates and appointments to keep track of, not to mention the fact that I’ll be going back to work in a few months, I’m looking for the next generation in a “I’m Still Cool Look At My Cool Watch” watch.  And I believe I’ve found it in this Daniel Wellington beauty.  What I love is the large face, which I think it looks bold and sexy on a feminine wrist, as well as the deep tan colour of the strap.  The simplicity of it, the clean lines are exactly what I like in a timepiece.  Wow.  I just said timepiece.  I just aged myself there, didn’t I.  

3.  Adult Colouring Books

colouring book

Get your mind out of the gutter.  Not those kind of colouring books!  These ones by Johanna Basford (I especially like the look of the Secret Garden edition), look dreamy and ethereal, and I think would be a lovely way to de-stress while the Littles nap on a rainy day.  I’ve always loved colouring, and once upon a time imagined I might one day think about maybe possibly looking into taking an art class.  That never happened, of course.  But I’m totally into these “grown-up” colouring books, and would love to have them tucked away in a drawer for those days/nights I’m feeling like flexing my artistic bones.  Anna, from Annawithlove Photography posted the above photo on her Instagram and Facebook pages a few days ago, and I’m already drooling over how gorgeous and perfect she’s making the images out to be!   I can’t wait to have a go myself!

4.  Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

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If only for the food photography alone, I need this cookbook.  The words “beautiful” and “gorgeous” are used in every review and, from what I’ve seen, Tara has created not only a practical cooking guide, but a collector’s item to proudly display on your coffee table rather than stashing it away on a shelf.   Perhaps these aren’t quick 5-minute weeknight meals, but they are beautiful and thoughtful, and sometimes dizzyingly complex (in the best possible way ), and are meant to be treated with love and shared with the ones you love.  I got the warm and fuzzies  – and quite hungry – while poring over it in the bookstore, and can’t wait to own a copy of my own some day soon.  In the meantime, I’ve put my name on the wait list at the library behind 150 other people hoping to admire Tara’s work.  If you’re too impatient to wait like me, Seven Spoons is available for order on Amazon now…. Also, Tara replied to a comment I tagged her in on Instagram, which means we’re totally BFFs.  That there is reason enough to buy her book!

5.  Consonant Skincare Ageless Beauty Kit

ageless beauty kit consonant

I’ve been a fan of the Consonant Skincare line from waaaaaay back when I first interviewed the ladies at The Freeze Clinic all those many moons ago. Since then I’ve been a regular user of their dreamy Organic Foaming Face Wash and Ultra Firming Organic Eye Cream, and recommend it to anyone who cares to listen to me go on about basic hygiene as if it’s a “thing,”  “washing your face is the coolest.  You should try the Consonant line!!  I love their stuff!”  The truth is though, that their line is pretty cool:  they use only healthy, 100% natural botanical ingredients in all of their products, and their HydrExtreme serum won the grand prize at the 2012 Canadian Beauty Innovation Awards for its “potent” – and natural – moisturization.  I can vouch for this award, I used it every day until the bottle drained completely dry (which took a while because, another amazing thing about these products: they LAST FOREVER) and my skin has never looked or felt better.  The price point is great what you’re getting, so a kit like this one – with the 3 products I’ve tried plus your choice of face cream and a $25 gift card- is definitely worth it!  Your skin will thank you!

6.  SLEEP.

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I would like to look like this lady, sleeping happily and peacefully for one day.  One full day.  In bed.  Without sticky hands or or meals or pee or puke or sh*t or laundry or natural disasters or crying babies or Royal Babies or fights before school or scheduled playdates or knocks at the door or people needing something they forgot or phone calls or emails or “is this okay to give the kids?” or  Instagram or Facebook or anything else you could possibly think of that could distract or keep me from delicious, glorious, wondrous, elusive, desperately needed and desired SLEEP.   Just… give it to me.  Just that.  Only that.  Sleep.  I want sleep.  One full day.   Sleep.  THAT, is the greatest gift of all.

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Now I’d love to hear from you, Mamas!  What’s on your list for this year?
If you could have ONE THING, what would it be?