Monday, August 31, 2009

To my Mother-in-Law

Thank you.
Thank you for welcoming me so warmly into your family when I married your son.
Thank you for teaching me that even if you're not a great golfer, anyone can putt and win some money.
Thank you for sharing your unfinished crossword puzzles with me.
Thank you for offering to have us for dinner on Mondays when I was frazzled and busy from being at work all day.
Thank you for cherishing your grandkids.
Thank you for making Birch Bay a highlight of my kids' summer memories.
Thank you for sharing a daily 4:00 glass of wine, Oprah, and a chat when we visited you in Palm Springs.
Thank you for raising such an incredible man.
Thank you for showing me that family is to be valued above all else.
Thank you for your incredible generosity of time, spirit, and love.

Even though you're not here with us physically anymore, I still feel your presence with us.
We love you and we will miss you always.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

May the Farm Be With You...

I've been trying to shop organic more often lately even though it's a bit more expensive. I've heard that there's not much difference nutritionally than commercially produced food, but I figure that the fewer pesticides our family consumes the better.

I saw this little short at Telus World of Science when we were there last year and loved it! The kids who are nuts for Star Wars loved it, too, and they're secretly getting the message about "the Farm."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Africa - Amazing!!

If You Need a Laugh...

This is hilarious! Randene Neill, our local noonhour Global anchor, gets lurrrrvvvved by a doggie named Ginger and never loses her cool. Enjoy!

***Did you notice that Randene seems to have forgotten real shoes on this particular day?

The Inevitable Santa Question Dodged - For Now!

Trevor is 7. Amy is 5. It was bound to come up eventually.
We're in the van on our way to pick up a couple of friends for a playdate. The subject of toys comes up...

Me: We're going to go to Toys R Us later to pick up a couple more low booster seats for the van.
Trevor: But we're not getting any more toys right? 'Cuz we already have too many, right? (hoping beyond hope that I'll disagree with him)
Amy: Yeah, but Santa has to bring us toys, right Mommy? Right?
Me: Uh huh, but Christmas is still a long way away.
Trevor: Santa isn't even real, Amy.
Me: <holding my breath, waiting to see where this goes...>
Amy: What? Yes he is.
Trevor: No he isn't. He's....a ghost.
Me: <exhaling quietly>
Amy: What?! Then what about when we saw him at the golf club last year. Remember, he brought me that fluffy puppy in the purse? Right, Mommy? Remember?
Me: That's right, Aim.
Trevor: That was just a man in a costume.
Me: <taking a deep breath> Well, at that time of year the real Santa is super busy at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas Eve. So he has helper Santas who look like him all over the place. Like at all the malls. <Trevor looks a little relieved to hear this.>
Amy: But how do they get the toys before Christmas?
Me: <getting in deeper, trying to be vague on the details with my child who never forgets ANYTHING!> Well, he sends them.
Amy: Like how, in the mail?
Me: Well...
Trevor: Well, he's magic, Amy. That's how. <So much for the non-believer.>
Me: So, what do you guys want to play with Maddie and Sydney? <trying to steer the conversation away before we pick them up and they undo whatever Santa stories their mom has told them...>

So, how have you handled the Santa question at your house? I wasn't expecting to have to deal with it in the middle of August!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Normalizing Breastfeeding

With my third baby, I've become much more passionate and rooted in my belief about the power of breastfeeding and the need to normalize it as much as possible. I really struggled to get established in breastfeeding all three of my children but it was so worth all the tears and effort of pumping (more on that in a future blog post). My point is that it can be difficult enough without the added negativity and judgment that many people put on women who breastfeed in public.

That's why I was outraged when I read this article on
Controversial Doll Lets Little Girls Pretend to Breast-Feed
Wednesday, August
05, 2009 By Jessica Doyle

Gloton means "gluttonous baby." She comes with a special halter top for young
girls to wear as they pretend to breast-feed.
A controversial new doll is
leaving some parents wishing for the good old Cabbage Patch days.
A Spanish
toymaker known as Berjuan has developed a breast-feeding doll that comes with a
special halter top its young "mothers" wear as they pretend to breast-feed their
"babies." The halter top has daisies that cover the little girls’ nipples and
come undone just as easily as the flaps of a nursing bra would.
The doll —
called Bebe Gloton, which translates as “gluttonous baby” — makes sucking noises
as it "feeds."
Click here to see Bebe Gloton on 'FOX & Friends.'
many other dolls, Bebe Gloton can cry, signaling she wants more
Although many health care providers promote the benefits of
breast-feeding, parents around the world have criticized Berjuan, saying the
idea of breast-feeding is too grown-up for young children -- and may even
promote early pregnancy.

"That's not cool," Lori Reynolds, of El Paso,
Texas, told "No, I would never get that for my child."
other moms said they support the product.
"I think that it’s great that
people want to have a doll that promotes breast-feeding,” said Rose Haluschak,
also of El Paso. “Most dolls that are purchased come with a bottle. That is the
norm in society, an artificial way to feed your baby.”
Dr. Manny Alvarez,
managing health editor of, said although he supports the idea of
breast-feeding, he sees how his own daughter plays with dolls and wonders if
Bebe Gloton might speed up maternal urges in the little girls who play
“Pregnancy has to entail maturity and understanding,” Alvarez said. “It’s
like introducing sex education in first grade instead of seventh or eighth
grade. Or, it could inadvertently lead little girls to become traumatized. You
never know the effects this could have until she’s older.”
Alvarez said
breast-feeding reduces childhood infections, strengthens maternal bonding and
increases the child’s immune system. But introducing breast-feeding to girls
young enough to play with dolls seems inappropriate, he said.
“What’s next?”
wrote Eric Ruhalter, a parenting columnist for New Jersey’s
Star Ledger. “Bebe Sot — the doll who has a problem with a
different kind of bottle, and loses his family, job and feelings of self-worth?
Bebe Limp — the male doll who experiences erectile dysfunction? Bebe Cell Mate —
a weak, unimposing doll that experiences all the indignation and humiliation of
life in prison?
"Toy themes should be age appropriate. I think so

I have so many problems with the opposition to a toy such as this cited in this article (unforrtunate translation of the name aside...):

1. "Breastfeeding is too grown up for young children and may even promote early pregnancy." But playing mommy by feeding a doll with a pretend bottle is somehow less adult? Only if you view breastfeeding as a sexually charged activity. Along this line of faulty logic, playing with cars might promote underage driving? Ridiculous.

2. Alvarez's comments as a doctor are totally alarming to me....speeding up maternal urges? Pregnancy and breastfeeding could traumatize little girls? No sex ed until they are in Grade 7 or 8?! Children as young as preschool age need to know about body science, pregnancy, and birth; breastfeeding should be part and parcel of that education (for more on this read here, and here). The last thing seeing or playing at breastfeeding should be is traumatizing. If anything, it would go a long way to normalizing breastfeeding and desexualizing breasts.

3. Unrelated to the article specifically, but as more of a comment on society...why is it not okay to facilitate children's play at a non-sexual activity such as breastfeeding but it's okay to let our little girls dress up like "prostitots?"

4. Ruhalter's equating breastfeeding with alcoholism, erectile dysfunction, and life in prison is just plain insulting to all nursing moms. Playing at feeding a baby is completely developmentally appropriate for young children. That's why they make dolls, play-dishes, and bottles; this is just one more way to feed a baby.

A toy such as this is, of course, not even really necessary at all. Just ask Amy. Shortly after I came home with Gavin, she sat down next to me with her Baby Alive (whose pretend bottle has been long lost) , discreetly lifted her shirt up a little, and "breastfed" her doll alongside me (once I finally got Gavin latching and settled into breastfeeding). Trevor brought over a pillow for her to rest her elbow on, like he'd seen Dave do for me.

And no-one discouraged them one bit.

Ah, Sweet Music

I came across this at Bacon is My Enemy, and I just loved it. Music is math, music is science, music is unifying, music is universal.
Music is magic.

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Look What I Grew!

I planted some raspberry plants a couple of years ago and forgot about them. So imagine my surprise when I tackled my semi-annual gardening and came across these little tidbits! They are lovely and juicy and sweet.
If you know me and my gardening prowess (HA!), you'll appreciate how miraculous it is that these have lived in spite of me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

After a Trying Day...

It was a trying day with my darling daughter yesterday. My mom tells me Trevor went through a similar phase at five years old, but it's hard to remember when he seems (mostly) so reasonable now at seven. Compounding her five-year-old-ness, Amy's also dealing with her middle-child "stuff." Running down the list of challenges for yesterday:

- she threw Trevor's Spiderman car and broke it

- tried to slam the basement door in his face so he couldn't come upstairs

- woke Gavin up from settling down to TWO of his naps yesterday, one of which he couldn't get back to sleep

- refused to eat her pasta at dinner. This is nothing new, but I made her favourite kind and picked all the veggies and shrimp out of it, only to have her declare, "Yuck. I am NOT eating this."

- broke a lame little string of beads I won at Blackjack in Vegas last year, but they were blue and therefore, Trevor's. This had the intended effect of making him cry.

So when she asked me at bedtime:

"Mommy, why do you love me?" I had to dig deep and put aside the challenges of the day. I hugged her and listed off all of her wonderful qualities. I mean, look at her. How could you not?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

As Seen on TV

I received no fee or compensation for this...
This thing really works! I've never been one for regular pedicures. Occasionally I've had one done for a treat, but generally, my feet have been pretty neglected. I recently took this neglect to new heights during my pregnancy when I couldn't reach my feet for more months than I'd care to admit. Socks were a struggle, shoes with laces out of the question, so I pretty much wore flipflops for much of the winter. Eventually I couldn't even get those on to the balloon-like appendages at the bottom of my "cankles," so I resigned myself to wearing slippers for the final few weeks.
Anyway, in that period of time my feet went from looking mildly unkept to becoming downright hoof-like. The demands of a busy family of five (one of whom was a newborn) made my poor, callused feet worse and I just didn't have the time or money for a pedi. I had pretty much accepted the fact that my kids would recoil in horror if accidentally brushed by the edge of my foot and that I might need to call in a farrier every now and then, when I came across this little gem.
I found it at London Drugs for around $14 or so. I went at my feet for about half an hour and finally reached skin that had some sensation! I finished that off with a whack of Vaseline before bed topped off with some old socks (tres sexy, I know) and the next morning - normal looking and feeling feet!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Much Ado About Save-on Foods

I have to say I was really looking forward to the new Save-On Foods opening up at Westminster Centre. I was hoping to see them give our two local Safeways a bit of price competition. And when you're a mom with young kids, an efficient and pleasant grocery shopping experience is a major event of any given week. Alas, I was greatly underwhelmed by my recent visit.

First of all, it's too small. Way too small. Like they tried to fit an entire grocery store in a space two-thirds the size of a normal grocery store. Each department on the perimeter of the store is like a miniature version of a real grocery store, but with all the "stuff" still crammed into every nook and cranny. The lack of space is also an issue down the aisles as it's difficult to pass two grocery carts past each other. Also, there is not nearly enough room to accomodate lineups, much less allow the shopping "traffic" to swing around the end of the aisles near the checkouts.

As for service, I had two cheerful manager-types greet my children and I, and the clerk in the bakery offered my daughter a cookie without us having to lurk around the counter. However, I noticed several of the younger clerks fooling around and they seemed more interested in visiting than getting customers through the checkout.

I opted for the self-serve checkout as the line seemed easier to access and I only had a few items. I always chuckle a bit at the notion of self-serve checkouts like it's a trick or something...sure, I'll check out and bag my own groceries, got any shelves you want me to stock while I'm at it? But whatever, it seemed like less of a hassle and we got through relatively quickly.

I went there needing to pick up 3 or 4 items and had intended to also grab a few of the weekly essentials while I was there. After trying to negotiate the tight spaces, however, I gave up and only picked up the three necessities deciding it wasn't worth the hassle of playing shopping cart-bumper cars just to save a couple of bucks.

I liked the covered parking (not such an issue now, but very nice when our winter monsoons arrive), and Amy got a kick out of the escalator for the shopping carts. My mom reported to me, however, that on her recent visit the escalator wasn't working so you couldn't get the carts up and down, so on that day she opted to only pick up a couple of things rather than doing the bulk of her shopping.

The verdict: I won't be rushing back there to do my shopping on a regular basis, though it might be a handy stop to pick up the odd necessity while I'm waiting for Amy while she's at dance nearby (starting this fall). It looks to me like they tried to do too much with too little and really missed the mark.

Carnival of Maternity Leave, part 2

My original post from a few weeks ago got picked up by Amber - yay! Check it out on her blog,, as well as her many other funny and thought provoking previous posts.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

And now for something a little lighter

Posting has been a little light this week as we've had some heavy family stuff going on. This made me laugh, though...enjoy!

***wear headphones if kids or your boss are in the room, nsfw***