Saturday, February 28, 2009

Money Making Schemes

It has come to my attention that we've stretched my husband's salary as far as it can go, and I may have to do some work myself. Yes, I am of the school that being a stay-at-home mom is work, but it's difficult to buy groceries when one is payed in hugs and kisses.

Thus far, no one has randomly given me writing work after looking at my website, so I'm going to try another plan, equally unlikely to succeed. I realize that until now even those who want to pay for this fabulous blog cannot, but fear not wealthy blog readers, I have signed up for a paypal account and you can now make donations using the new button on the sidebar.

Also, my graphic design husband is going to teach me everything he knows about graphics so he can pass me some of his freelance work. Eventually, my goal is to become a better graphic designer than he is (it always bugs me a little when someone I know is good at something that I'm not). I do have a degree in art and art history, and I assume oil painting and using the Adobe programs is pretty much the same thing. For one of my first lessons, Adam taught me a bunch of tricks in Illustrator and Photoshop and I made a cover for Jadzia's baby book:

Pretty impressive, eh? Later I'm going to try to redo all these techniques by myself, and see if I remember how to do everything. Hopefully I'll eventually be able to add a graphic design section to my website.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sock foot, bare foot

My husband took this photo of his feet, then came to me and said "You should make a blog entry about how I only wear one sock. There's a picture on your camera." This just proves that he only does it to get attention.
I concede that there may be reasons to take off your socks randomly and leave them scattered throughout the house, under your compuer desk, in and around the couch, on the dining room table, in the kitchen. Maybe the elastic band was strangling your ankle, perhaps your feet suddenly became unbareably sweaty, perhaps you couldn't bare that giant hole any longer. But why take off one sock and not the other?
I can't stand it if my right foot feels different than my left. So I asked Adam how he could bare the single barefoot. Now that I've noticed he seems to think the quirk annoys me. So he now does it deliberately, rather than unconsciously. I have also caught William, and even Jadzia, sporting only one sock.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mommy needs nap time.

Maybe he's sick, maybe he's getting a molar, maybe there's some logical explanation that, when I look back on this, I'll feel embarrassed and guilty for being so frustrated.  Well, actually I already feel embarrassed and guilty.  I'm a mother now, I'm supposed to be loving and virtuous at all times.

I don't remember how much sleep I got last night, but I remember that while I was lying awake listening to my husband wrestle with a screaming toddler in the next room, I glanced at the clock and thought "4 am, we are not getting any sleep tonight."

Which brings us to nap time.  I read William three stories while his sister, the puking princess, wailed in the other room.  I finally got him down, but when I went to leave, my son awoke from his slumber moaning "Mommy sleep."

Clearly, the baby needed me, couldn't he see that?  He wouldn't let me go.  Every time I tried to tend to Jadzia, there was snotty, red-faced William, whining, demanding, and throwing board books.  (Yes, throwing books, no kidding).

I'd like to say I took all this in stride, but I kept feeling that same surge of anger that caused me to physically abuse my siblings as a child.  Well I'm a grownup now, so I don't hit or pinch, or anything like that.  However, in a moment of weakness, I said to my son: "So you like being a selfish brat."

He patted his chest proudly "Sel-fush bat. Sel-fush bat. Sel-fush bat."

So I pulled out the technique I only use when desperate: I piled all the kids in the car and drove around the block a hundred times.  Normally this puts my son to sleep right away. This time, no such luck.  I must have been driving for twenty minutes around all the windy little sidestreets in the maze that is my neighbourhood.  Finally I gave up and went to my mother's.

I love you Mom.  Sorry that I was once a toddler.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fish Puppets at the Discovery Centre

I submit for the consideration of the Academy Awards, this puppet show (the unedited director's cut) performed by 2-year-old William and his Mom, yours truly. Shot on location at the National Parks Discovery Centre in Hamilton.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Government's Version of Convenient and Easy

Since I recently gave birth to a Canadian citizen, I'm entitled to some monthly money from the government (which I think is supposed to be for child care, but doesn't even cover diapers). Anyway I decided to use the goverment's "convenient" online service to apply for the benefits.

Step 1. I had to create an epass account. Social Insurance Number. Got it. Date of Birth. Easy. Dollar amount of total income on line 150 of my tax return. Darn it! Am I the only one in the country who doesn't keep her tax records handy at all times? I'm sure the answer to this question can be found somewhere in that accordian thing where we keep all our important (and somewhat unimportant) paperwork, but I didn't know exactly where the accordian thing was, or have any desire to spend an hour sorting through it. On to step 2:

Step 2. Phone the helpdesk. Guess what they asked me to verify my identity? Line 150. Maybe this is a super easy question that only someone completely ignorant of taxes wouldn't get. Guilty. Anyway, the helpdesk guy asked me a bunch of other questions and, when he was satisfied that I wasn't an imposter, gave me the answer. I would never have guessed that number. Anyway onward we go!

Step 3. I created my login an password and I was all mentally prepared to fill out a form and start receiving my goverment money. Nope. For extra security (and to make sure we still waste paper in what should be a paperless process) the Canada Revenue Agency has to mail me a security code. Not e-mail mind you. SNAIL MAIL.

Step 4. Wait. The website promised that the security code would be here in 5 days. Perhaps they were using some other planetary calendar to calculate those days, or perhaps the mail was slow because of Valentine's Day, but it took longer than that. When it finally arrived I had forgotten what login and password I had chosen.

Step 5. I tried all my usual password favourites, without success. Then I checked out my security questions. Unfortunately I always put bogus answers in for security questions because any truthful answer I think of is either so easy that anyone who has even heard of me can get it, or so abstract that even I am unlikely to get the answer (like listing an ex boyfriend as "first pet").

Step 6. Call the helpdesk again. This time the helpdesk woman suggested that I sign up for a new account, and assured me that I could still use the same security code. I started to do this, when suddenly it dawned on me what my password must be. I immediately entered it in and...received an error message telling me I was locked out from too many attempts.

Step 7. Wait 24 hours. Or, in my case, forget about it for two days. Finally today I was able to login, input the security code, and access a world of tax benefits to apply for. I clicked on the one I was looking for and put in all my daughter's info. I'm ready to receive my money, thought I.

Step 8. For some reason (to waste more paper) I need to verify my marital status. Now my printer hasn't had a cartridge replacement in quite some time, and has been printing light grey for at least of year (I keep shaking the cartridge to keep it going longer). I printed and filled out the barely legible form. My husband (yes I'm really married) and I both signed it, and it is currently sitting on my desk.

Step 9. Buy stamps.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nice to have friends

I had a great morning.  I met my friend Columbia (William's future mother-in-law) at the Early Years, and we took our kids over to ikea for lunch and a romp around the toy section. I don't have a million friends, and I have even fewer that understand the unique experience of parenting a toddler.

Lucky I got my adult social time in early, because the moment I got home my husband called to say that he's going to be late tonight.  Of course this means I'll be going to my Mom's for dinner. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The real world is hard to draw

I was watching cartoons with William (Jadzia too, only she wasn't really watching) when I remembered that when I was younger I used to wish I lived in a cartoon world, because then it would be much easier to draw things realistically. It worked for the man with the yellow hat, a man took one look at his drawings and invited him to Paris to have his work displayed on street signs. Still, now I'm glad I live in a world with lots of detail, and shading.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I see bugs!

After a thorough scouring of the internet, my husband found that the perfect activity for Family Day (and also the only thing open) was visiting the "Backyard Monsters" exhibit at the Royal Botanical Gardens, featuring both live insects and giant (somewhat cheesey) animatronic bugs. "I see bugs. I see bugs!" William repeated over and over form the time we ran the idea past him.

While we were there William thoroughly enjoyed running around pushing every button pushable, and excitedly pointing out every bug illustration, animatronic, and live creature there was to be seen, held, or petted. We even got to eat some insects. Further proof that my son is not a picky eater. While everyone else either passed on the chocolate covered crickets, or very cautiously sampled one, William chowed down on about a dozen. Then, when he was told to leave some for everyone else, he exclaimed "No! I want candy!"

Before you ask, yes I did try a cricket. The insect didn't really add any particular flavour to the chocolate, but it was very crunchy. Pretty much what you'd expect from a bug that's been sitting in semi-sweet chocolate. I passed on seconds.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

William turns 2

I'm just recovering from a wild party, but before I go to bed I must mark this joyous occasion with a blog entry. We had the whole family for dinner (more people than chairs). I made baked mac & cheese and cake for everyone (15 including toddlers). Dinner could have been cheesier, but the cake made up for it because of its over-abundance of icing. Truth be told, the cake fell apart coming out of the pan and I had to use about a hundred pounds of frosting to glue it back together. Of course, even though there were mostly adults at my son's 2nd birthday bash, we somehow ended up with only pictures of the kids.

Gone are the days when cake-eating pictures are at all interesting. Not only does William NOT have icing all over his face, like a kid's birthday shot should, but he's actually more interested in eating the blueberries and strawberries. What a health nut!

Here's the birthday boy with his future fiancée Zoe. Obviously this was taken near the end of the night. Toddlers tend to take the phrase "party until you drop" quite literally.

Of course Jadzia wore her party dress just for the occasion.

At first it was a bit of a shock that my baby had suddenly become a two-year-old, but I actually made peace with that weeks ago. Now people ask me how I feel about it and I just shrug and look like such a laid back mother. I must say I'm delighted that my son can talk, and has his own interests and opinions (mostly centering around cars and food). Now I just have to get him to teach his sister.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Playing with blocks

To an outsider it might seem like my children and I don't do much during the day, but we're actually quite productive. Today I actually got photos to prove it.

This car was my first attempt at creating a vehicle using blocks that were clearly meant for making columns and arches. William found it immediately recognizable, and thus demanded I make the following:

Here we have a truck or, as William would say, "Mack", as in Mack the Mack Truck from the movie Cars. Yes, my son is just that obsessed with that movie. Although sometimes he does say "Mack Tuck", or "Tuck" , or occasionally "Mommy Tuck." (He also has a "Daddy Car" and a "Baby Car"). I realized as I was taking this photo that the truck would look better with one extra block on the cab for the driver to sit in. Unfortunately my demolition guy yelled "I knock!" and destroyed the truck before I had a chance to fix it.

"De Choo choo tain. I will knock!"

I noticed as we were stacking blocks randomly, that it looked like we were trying to spell something. So I made this attempt at building my name. The one I made for William actually looked better I thought, but I wasn't able to complete it. I made W I L L I A and was looking for the right pieces to create the M, when William excitedly squealed "I will knock!" and that was the end of that.
Unfortunately this kind of productivity doesn't result in the house getting clean or the laundry being put away. Still, I think this stuff is more important (and more fun) than housework.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hyde and Jekyl

Naughty things my son did today (not including random tantrums):

-pulled the sugar bowl off the kitchen counter and proceeded to eat large quantities of sugar off the floor.
-used a pen to colour on a recently printed photo.
-climbed onto Daddy's desk chair and played with his very expensive camera and flash.
-purposely spit water all over himself.
-tried to swing on Jadzia's baby swing even though the chair has been removed to prevent just that.
-somehow got hold of my dried dill and sprinkled almost the entire jar on the floor.

Good things my son did today:

-put his blocks away in their bin without even being asked
-finished all his kraft dinner and did not throw the bowl on the floor.
-went down for a nap without too much fuss.
-helped me empty the dishwasher

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Snow Family

A snow family has recently taken up residence on our front lawn. There's a mommy, a daddy, a toddler, and a baby, just like our family. What a coincidence! Unfortunately, I think the heat is getting to them already.

After the snow family fun, William was kind enough to shovel the driveway and walkway, with only a little help from Daddy.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The all-seeing all-knowing, and grannies.

Today at the Early Years, I was chatting with a couple grandmothers, both of whom thought my daughter was just so beautiful and sweet. They went on to marvel at the beauty of all children. This lead one of the grannies to say "I think anyone who says there's no God needs their head examined." To be fair, granny didn't know that I am an atheist, and that she was essentially telling me that I need my head examined. Annoyingly, I didn't say anything. If only I'd been wearing my Atheist Angel T-shirt. On the way home of course I was thinking of a couple of comebacks:

"I believe the opposite." Not exactly true, I don't think theists necessarily need their head examined (not all of them anyway), I just think they're mistaken.

"Oh, I don't know. I think belief in God requires a lack of imagination." Closer to what I think, but much too insulting. The woman wasn't dissing me on purpose after all. And anyway, how do you deliberately insult someone who's gushing over your daughter? No, even if I had the moment to do over, I wouldn't have said either of these things.

"I don't believe in God." Simple. Straightforward. Let's the woman know that she's put her foot in her mouth without taking an unnecessary stab at her beliefs. This is the winner if I ever get a time machine. Or if this lady ever starts bathering to me about God again.

Speaking of being all-seeing and all-knowing, I can now see where my husband is at all times (or at least where his blackberry is) using Google's new application Latitude. (He's at work right now). This is useful at the end of the day, when I want to see if he's left work yet and I can start dinner. On the news they were talking about this "raising privacy issues" and basically making it into a paranoid, big-brother-is-watching type thing. Of course you can turn the app off, or preset a location, or hide your location from certain people, or (gasp) leave your cellphone at home, so the privacy issue thing is a bit silly. But then again, being a mom, I have recently put my vagina on public display, and rarely get a moment to myself even in the bathroom, so maybe privacy doesn't mean as much to me as it does to most people.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Ten minor events.

I haven't posted in a while.  My life it made up of a series of small events, none of which are important enough to warrant a full blog entry.  Here's ten of them:

1. I drove to St. Catharines in a snowstorm just to visit my friend for a playdate.  On the way there I got stuck behind a fleet of show plows.
2. On the way back the car in front of me hit a patch of ice and lost control.  It was a pickup truck towing a trailer.  It ended up taking up all three lanes.   Luckily there was noone on either side of us, and I was far enough back that I was able to stop without any trouble.  I was sure someone would hit us from behind so I reached for my hazard lights, and turned off the defroster instead! It could have easily been a disaster worthy of the evening news.  Of course the kids slept through it.
3. I went to William's friend Aedan's 2nd birthday party.  Pizza and cheesebread and cupcakes were enjoyed by all.
4.  I ran into one of my high school math teachers at the Early Years Centre.  He was there with his grandkids and he recognized me even though it's been over a decade since I was in his class.
5. We've been having an ice-damming problem, where a whole bunch of ice on our roof is making the roof leak.  I first noticed water coming into the laundry room and thought the washing machine or the pipes must be leaking.  Then I noticed the carpet in Jadzia's room (directly above the laundry) had a damp carpet.  The icicles outside that side of the house were as long and as thick as my arm, maybe even bigger.
6. My husband cleared off a lot of the ice and made a path for the water to drain off the roof by filling pantyhose with road salt, something he read about on the good old internet.  That trick worked for about a day.  Now he's working on installing a heating coil.  There's still ice up there, but for now there's no leaking going on that I can see.
7.  William has started telling me when he has to go potty.  Unfortunately, he usually tells me after he's already gone in his pants.
8. As I was typing this entry, William, who up until that moment had been quietly watching tv, suddenly and loudly banged his face on the coffee table.  A lot of screaming, a little blood, and a fat lip.  As I was comforting him with hugs, a cold glass of water and a snack, Jadzia woke up and wanted to nurse.
9. William's favourite movie is Pixar's Cars, which Santa bought him for Christmas.  Even though we've only owned it for a month, I could probably recite the whole thing word for word. While I was nursing Jadzia in her room just now, William came in, wagged his finger at me and said "You come watch Cars!"
10.  Adam took some gorgeous pics of Jadzia smiling yesterday.  Here's one of them:
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