Sunday 27 December 2009

Lots of deep breaths and a few leaps

2010 is not going to be a year of resolutions for me. (I've never been a fan of resolutions anyway, so not having them is really not that much different for me!). This coming year.... which, by the way, is TWO THOUSAND AND TEN for those of you not paying attention. How did we get to 2010?! Is that not supposed to be some far-off futuristic year?! I remember thinking how OLD I was going to be when the millennium started anew. How far off that seemed.... And now, here we are ten years PAST that! Holy crap! I'm married to an amazing man who drives me nuts and challenges me, we are the keepers and shapers of two (awesome) kids. We have a house (ok, the bank has a house... they're just letting us live here) and both Jean-Paul and I are about to embark.... Oh. Getting ahead of myself here....

So, where was I? Ah yes.... This coming year is going to be a year of goals. Not resolutions. Go back and forth for a moment on those two words. Goals. Resolutions. Goals. Resolutions. Resolutions. Goals. I think there is a powerful difference. Resolutions are generally things you want to stop doing - or possibly things you want to start doing to offset negative things. They are also generally general. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Go to (join) the gym. Get in shape. Stop smoking. Quit eating mounds of junk, blah diddy-blah. (If those are some of your resolutions, great. They are something to strive for, but how about looking at them as goals instead? Specific, measurable goals.)

Goals are places you want to get to, not places you're trying to get away from. Goals are something to achieve, not something to give up. Yes, you need resolve to reach your goals, but they are not resolutions. Goals have steps so you can see how far you've come. (At least the goals you mean to reach should!)

So, back to our 2010 (and again I say "?!") goals. Jean-Paul is looking at being a *deep breath* self-employed franchisee of the DJ company he works for. This is an exciting *leap* opportunity. It means many positive changes are on the way. It should mean a doubling or tripling in income. It means more *deep breath* expenses, too, but that's part of the price of *leap* freedom.

Now... MY *deep breath* goal this year? Since being laid off in September I've been doing a lot of soul searching. As much as I loved the job that I had, I know there's something else I should be doing. Part of the reason I loved my last job was the freedom and flexibility it allowed me with my family. (I also loved the free company van, laptop and BlackBerry... but I digress). I looked deep inside and really thought about what I love to do. What do I spend my spare moments doing? What is it that I have to tear myself away from at 1 or 2am and go to bed? I love making books. Digitally. The comments I have gotten on the books I have made so far have been extremely positive. I want to do this for other people. I can do this for other people. I *leap* will do this for other people. And they will pay me well to do it!

So... I've signed up for a Photoshop course to refresh myself on the software. I'm going to be taking a small business course/workshop for 10 weeks. I'll also be doing an InDesign workshop. I lined up at 4:45am yesterday to get a great boxing day deal on a new desktop computer for my *deep breath* new venture. (And by the way, I have the "boxing day mayhem" figured out. If you need tips, let me know!)

My biggest concern at the moment is being able to use the name I want to use for my *deep breath* *leap* new business.

I aim to have a few more books done, a website up and running, some idea on how to price my work and, oh ya, my business name - with signs - all ready to go for April's MeFest here in Waterloo. I was in MeFest the last two years (and honestly was a little embarrassed by the company I was representing - not my job, but a side business). This year is totally different! This year I will be ME at MeFest!! It will be MY business. My confidence level about this new venture is so incredibly high no one can bring me down.

And I've decided this is my theme song this year. (My love for Glee shall be fodder for another post).

I LOVE this song!!

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Zach has Daddy's sense of humour

Alexandria, Zachary and I were walking in the mall when we were about to walk under something hanging (high) overhead.

From just behind me Alex shouted, "DUCK!"

Zach, trailing slightly behind, nonchalantly responded, "Quack."

Monday 21 December 2009

Disney damage?

Oh, Disney.... What are you doing to little girls? How is my daughter to grow up to be self-confident, self-assured and INDEPENDENT watching your movies? Don't get me wrong. I love the Disney movies. Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin.... They are all wonderful movies with great music.... but.... the message.... Oh. The MESSAGE!!

I took Baby Girl to see Disney on Ice: Princess Classics yesterday. She is now 5. Very impressionable and trying to figure out how she - and everything else - fits into this world. It's a black and white world right now. As we were sitting there thoroughly enjoying the show, I'd have these little jags of worry about what Alexandria was actually absorbing. As princess after princess got herself into an awful predicament, prince after prince was there to save her! What would those poor princesses do without their knights in shining armour?! No one else around them could possibly help them. And heaven forbid they have their own strength, courage and intelligence! How would they ever go on without a man to protect them, lead them, RESCUE THEM?! And, of course, most of their goals were to somehow find a price to live happily ever after after.

Now before you get all over me about positive role models in Disney, I know there are some. Belle does a fairly good job. Sally, the female lead in Cars, is a good example. She's the town lawyer. She's doing fine on her own. She's not looking for someone to come and save her. She doesn't fawn all over Lightning McQueen, in fact he has to pursue her a bit.

What prompted this post? Being hit over the head again and again and again with the message that a girl needs a strong man to come a take over so that things will be ok. Princess Classics was a microcosm of female weakness and dependence - dressed up in pretty, frilly, flowing gowns.

Now, reading this you will likely assume I didn't like Disney on Ice: Princess Classics. On the contrary. I absolutely loved the show. They did a great job with costumes, effects, timing, music, sound. The set was amazing. Alex loved how the castles changed. It was a wonderful experience. Alexandria and I both intensely enjoyed ourselves. And we had cotton candy and popcorn for lunch . Good mommy? Bad mommy? Depends on your perspective, I guess.  :)

Alexandria even commented how wonderful our seats were (we were seated in the second highest row). "Mommy, I can see everything from up here!"

These little twinges of concern surfaced only once in a while and made me wonder about the bigger picture. How much of this really sinks in? When my 5-year-old is trying to make sense of this world she inhabits, what is being burned into her brain? How much of that message is being subliminally reinforced every time she sees the princess being saved? I don't know. What I do know is my husband and I make a conscious, concerted effort to make sure BOTH our kids know they have the power within themselves to do whatever they want to do, like whatever they want to like, and be whatever they want to be.

I was very pleased when, on the way home, our subway had a shift change and a new driver came on board. Our new subway train operator was woman. And it was noticed by our daughter. I added, "See? You do anything you want to do."

Thursday 17 December 2009


Alex doing her best "picture" smile. We were able to coax Zach onto Santa's lap. I was crouched right next to the boy with my reassuring hand on him. Santa gave Zach his jingle bells to hold and that made it better long enough to get a keepsake picture.   :)

Sunday 13 December 2009

I love this age :)

Tonight Alexandria and Zachary saw Santa again. It's the third time Alex has talked to Santa this year and I was wondering if she'd start to question why Santa seems to have a very bad memory about what her name is and what she wants for Christmas. She hasn't seemed to worry about that yet!

Tonight we were at the KW Little Theatre Christmas party (it's the company that's putting up Jean-Paul's musical this July). One of the gentlemen had brought his Santa suit, which he donned for the kids. (Our two and one 3 1/2 week old baby girl).

Alexandria talked to Santa for a bit and was all smiles. The best part was when she was talking to him about how on TV she watched about how he grew up and how he used to not have his beard and stuff. And how he used to have red hair. Sooooo cute! She was referring to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". It's the 1970 special done in the same kind of animation as 1964's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I LOVE that she thinks she was talking to the same guy that was in the special we were watching. :)

Have I mentioned having kids is pretty cool?

Friday 11 December 2009

On the first night of Chanukah...

We pulled out the menorah that Alexandria and I painted at The Art Studios last year. We made some paper candles and the kids decorated them today. Tonight we talked about Chanukah, the menorah, The Festival of Lights and what it all means. We talked about how Alexander the Great was a friend to the Jews, but the dude after him, Antiochus, was definitely not. We talked about Judah the Maccabee, the temple and the significance of the eight candles on the menorah. I came up with a pretty good off-the-top-of-my-head Junior Kindergarten analogy for the Jews being forced to give up their beliefs, I think.

So, we "lit" the shamash (middle candle of the menorah) and the first candle. Ok.. we taped the paper candles on.

Then the kids got their first little Chanukah present. Alexandria got a balloon pump and Zachary got a balloon kit - both from the dollar store. So, of course the pump didn't work. I blew up the balloons and I STILL feel sick. Note to self: Never, ever buy anything from the dollar store that may require going anywhere near my mouth again!

I searched for an appropriate video about Hanukkah for the kids and came up with this:

Tonight, though, I found this one. Sesame Street explains Chanukah. I'll show them this one tomorrow.

Sunday 6 December 2009

Best. response. ever.

I just got the best response from Alexandria.

I said, "Please stay in this room."

Her reply was, "But I have wild adventures to explore!"

Thursday 3 December 2009

Waxing philosophical to ... Aerosmith?

You know you're in a mushy, emotional state when you hear an Aeorsmith song and go, "totally, dude. Totally."

Dream On came on the radio and the lyrics just clicked with me today.

"Every time I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer"

This is so true. I absolutely still see myself visually, in my head, as younger than I am and thinner than I am. When I look in the mirror, honestly, I shock myself. Almost every day. Sad, I know.

"All these lines on my face getting clearer." Holy shit, are they ever! I... have.... wrinkles!

If I could go back to my 20-something self I would say, "Self." "Yes, older self." "Please, please, dear younger self, moisturize and cleanse regularly. You'll thank me, um, you, when you're 30-something-or-other."

Now that I'm staring 40 in the face (ok, not staring so much as squinting at 40 from off in the distance, but it's there... I can see it) things are starting to droop, drop, creak, crack, go nuh-uh, expand, proliferate, pop up, and grow where?! And while we're on the topic, Mother Nature, why in the name of all things fuzzy does my body need to be covered in more hair as I age? Where is it going? Is it trying to escape? Is it taking over? Was there a coup?

I have not yet waved the white flag to signal my defeat to they grey hairs, but I now acknowledge I am losing that battle. Badly. Now I'm going to be colouring my hair not so much for the sake of a new colour, but for the sake of having colour. Ok. It's not that bad, but those little wiry beasts are conspiring, staging predawn attacks and gaining a lot of ground.

"Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away"

I TRY to live in the moment. I TRY to enjoy life, as it is, today. I KNOW it could all end in the blink of an eye (thank you Aerosmith for reminding me). It's so hard not to look behind.... or look ahead, but to live in the moment and not worry about what the future holds.

It's weird. I used to always have some big life event to look forward to. When you're little, it's always the next birthday or going to then next grade. Then it's going to high school, getting a driver's license, graduating, going away to college. Then maybe it's meeting a boy, falling in love, getting married. Then there's still looking ahead to someday getting pregnant, having babies. It feels like I've run out of the "good" and "momentous" things to look forward to. Now all the things revolve around someone else's life. My kids' birthdays. Their moving on to the next grade, graduating, etc, etc.... I'm not trying to say this in a negative way. I'm simply feeling a bit strange. There's no big "good" life event on the horizon for me anymore. Been there. Done that. Got the extra pounds still to prove it.

It's a weird shift. I love my life. I love my kids. It's just a different view on this side of the hill. Not sure when I "peaked", but here we go! I'd lay down and barrel roll down with you, kids, but I'm afraid I might break a hip!

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Holy sweet mother of smurfs!

What an evening!! One. thing. after. another. and. it. didn't. stop!

So, everything was fine until Jean-Paul left for work. Alex saw some new craft stuff and I said, "we'll do that soon, please don't open it yet." I finished unloading the dishwasher and saw her put the craft container (of foam shapes) back on the counter. She said, "that crack was already in it." I thought that comment was a little weird. As I was getting a couple pieces of construction paper out for them to put these foam shapes on, Zach grabbed another piece of paper which Alex quickly grabbed back from him and she proceeded to put it back in her hiding place. I saw that it had the new foam shapes already on it. The construction paper and new foam shapes were put away and they did not get to play with them tonight. She did not listen and then she LIED and tried to hide that she hadn't listened. She sat, sulked and tried not to cry. And now, instead of them doing something creative and requiring brain activity while I got dinner ready, the tv got put on.

Zach decided to help me with dinner instead of watching tv. Fine. Instead of getting the step stool from the family room (which I should have, but I was lazy), I let him use a Little Tikes chair. We had already said no more standing on those chairs (because he's a spaz and keeps falling off.) So, a couple issues here. 1) I'm breaking a rule we just set out (so much for clear boundaries, huh?) and 2) did I mention he's a spaz? Oh, and what are we making for dinner? French toast. With eggs. Four of them. They were cracked, put in ceramic bowl and mixed. He did a good job breaking the yolks and stirring. I stepped to the side for a moment to turn the burner on. In that blink of an eye, Zach somehow went ass over tea kettle over the BACK of the chair. He somehow went over backward, but landed flat on his chest. And what did he use to try and stop his impending free fall? THE BOWL WITH THE EGGS! I managed to stop the bowl from smashing on the floor, but not before the egg went all over Zach... the chair... and the floor. I turned the burner back off, picked him up, started wiping him down and de-clothing him. He managed to get egg on every single piece of clothing he was wearing, including his diaper! I was trying to comfort him while all this is going on, but even I draw the line at cuddling an egg-covered child. I got him stripped down, clothes rinsed off in the kitchen sink, and we went into the bathroom to wipe him down some more. Then we went into his room and got some jammies on. (Zach still crying.) He finally calms down and I plunk him back with Alex - who is still watching tv oblivious to what just went down in the next room. Now back to the kitchen to finish completely start dinner over (on my own.)

I finish dinner. One piece of French toast for Zach - he didn't like it last time, but insisted he wanted some for dinner tonight. Yup, he didn't eat it this time either. Two pieces of French toast for Alex - at least she's a fan. And three pieces for me. As I was clearing away their plates, I had asked Zach to sit still. He bounced up, hit my hand and the plate - the full plate of French toast and SYRUP - went flying. This is where "Christ!" was uttered for the second time tonight, followed by the f-bomb (under my breath, but still). The volcano erupted, I yelled at Zach to SIT. DOWN. RIGHT. THERE! Butt to floor in 0.3 seconds flat.

Just as I was about to clean this up, the doorbell rang. I opened it - damp paper towel in hand, syrup still on the floor in the living room - and exasperatedly said "Hello...'?" to which the doorbell ringer replied, "Um. Are you the homeowner....?" I have never been asked that before by a door-to-door salesdude. Did I mention I was still in my PJs at this point, with no shower? A short little conversation followed. "I'm from blah blah home security and we're..." I cut him off and said, "We're not looking into anything new right now. Thanks." With that I was alone with my two kids again.

With dinner done it was playtime in the basement. That went fine(ish) until the two offspring began fighting over a CONTAINER! I decided it was time to clean up. I mentioned it was December 1st and what were we going to start on December 1st? "The chocolate calendar!" exclaimed Alex. I said after the room was cleaned up. Quickest clean up ever. They each opened door number one and had their chocolate. At this point it's only 6pm! Too early for bath. I sent them back to the playroom. Fast forward to a half hour later. This time clean up is much more of a struggle. I finally said, "I better call Santa and tell him not to bring any new toys since you don't even want to clean up the ones you already have." I actually went and picked up the phone. Alex looked quite worried. "NO! I promise I'll take better care of my toys!!" We'll see how that promise holds tomorrow...

Then we had bath time. My arms are still wet. So's my foot....

We finally got settled, they agreed (I know!) on How the Grinch Stole Christmas as their story. We had a nice final few moments of the day with a calm, cuddly storytime. Twinkle, twinkle little star was sung. Kids were kissed and tucked into bed and the house is peaceful. They're so lucky they're cute.

(This hasn't been proofread, by the way. I'm too tired!)

Lemonade (The Movie)

I love this! This is how I'm starting to look at my situation now. I KNOW I'm heading in the right direction. I can feel it.

Lemonade Movie Trailer