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Showing posts from 2014

In 2015 - A Horoscope of Sorts

Back in my pre-baby and pre-Van days, I remember writing a blog post (on my old blog) to ring in the new year. In it, I included my personal "horoscope" for the year. It was an optimistic time; Hubbs' career was on an upswing and I was wrapping up my B.Ed. after-degree and looking forward to working again. We had only been married a scant year and a half, and were feeling invincible and ready to face our future head-on. Everyone in our respective families were healthy and happy, and life was good. It was easy to praise God because we saw His goodness so readily in every aspect of our lives.

As I look back on 2014, I can still see God's goodness, but it is like a hidden treasure that needs to be uncovered from the rubble. This past year I buried my daddy, and Hubbs buried his granny. My sister's marriage became irreparably broken, and Hubbs left the job that was his security for the past 8 years. These were all life-altering events that left us sifting through a m…

It's a Potty Life for Me

Well, we did it. We said on Little L's application for preschool that we would have her potty-trained by her third birthday (coming up in February), and Nanny Miss Bee and I accomplished it!

Now I realize that at 33 months, Little L is probably a little late to the potty-training world, since I have heard of little girls (including myself) who mastered the art of peeing in a pot shortly after age 2. The range of "normal" usually falls somewhere between 2-3 years of age. Some of the literature I've read has suggested waiting a bit longer before attempting, because developmentally immature bodies that are potty-trained too early can develop toilet issues down the road. Others have suggested that training after 32 months has detrimental results, too.

So basically, there's really no "right" or "wrong," and as a parent, we have to just read our kids and find a time that is right for them. In Little L's case, the readiness signs had been increa…

In My Bathroom...

Not my typical ranting or reviewing kind of post, but just a list of some of my favourite new cosmetic and bath products. I recently subscribed to ipsy, a monthly curated cosmetics goodie bag, so some of my discoveries have been from these samples. Others I've just come across by random fluke.

Everyone Soap for Kids - Little L and I both use this for our bubble baths and for my hair and body wash. It's everything-free when it comes to toxic ingredients, it's inexpensive, and my hair comes out clean and residue-free (per my stylist). Plus it smells lovely!
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner - it's my first ever liquid eyeliner and it goes on dark. It does take a minute to dry but makes a great cat-eye and doesn't smudge that much once it is on. It's probably full of toxic ingredients but so far I haven't had any allergic reactions :)
Geisha Ink Liquid Brow Liner - for a more natural brow, I've been trying out this liquid liner. It's not very dark but…

Showdown with a Sociopath, or Just a Day at the Public Library

(Scene: City's largest public library, on a quiet rainy weekday afternoon. Little L and I are just about the enter the toddler play area, where another woman and her son are already playing. The woman is also on her smartphone while her boy is body-slamming himself into the mats)

Little L enters the play space.

Boy runs up until he is literally inches from her face, and yells his name very loudly and exuberantly. Surprisingly, this does not cause a major meltdown from her, but she ignores him.

Little L begins to move a chair so that she can play with it.

The moment she lets go and turns around to figure out where to move it, the boy runs up and snatches the chair away.

I coax Little L to find another chair, because my girl is just about to experience some big feelings.

Little L notices the foam cubes and decides she is going to build a tall tower instead. She crouches on the floor and begins to stack two cubes, one on top of the other.

The moment she turns to grab a third cube, th…

How We Do CHRISTmas

After reading First Time Mom and Dad's post I wanted to write about how we're trying to teach Little L about the true meaning of Christmas. This is the dilemma that I suspect many parents face, and we're all just sort of figuring it out as we go along.

For us, I am thankful that up to this point we have been able to shield her from the commercials and ads that dictate what a kid "needs" at Christmas time, so Little L has no preferences or wish list for gifts. This makes buying her something a truly fun and easy process (unless you're an auntie or uncle or Nana, in which case maybe it makes things harder). It has helped to reduce the focus of the holidays on "things" because I genuinely don't believe that Little L expects *any* gifts on the 25th. Weird and wonderful, this ignorance is.

We have also chosen not to pretend that Santa is "real," opting instead to introduce her to the historical Saint Nicholas. I know that this is not a pop…

An Event Advent

Little L is obsessed with the "Snowflake Day" from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. In this PC, Christmas-free holiday special, the children of the neighborhood put on a school play for "Snowflake Day." The little girl in the play is granted three wishes by a fairy, and she asks for three presents. When she discovers that her newly-acquired gifts cannot play with her, tell her a joke or give her a hug, she cries into her pillow out of sadness. The fairy returns and magically transforms her presents into friends, and then they end the play singing, "Friends make the best presents..."

Anyway, the reminder I had from this oft-watched episode is that what is meaningful to children is our time spent with them, and not the things that we buy them. Sure, presents are fun, but Christmas can quickly become excessive and expensive, and sometimes I wonder if we don't put too much pressure on ourselves to "outdo" the previous year's material overlo…

Oh the Inhumanity of It All - A Rant on Naps

My little night owl follows the principle of, "Late to bed, late to rise." I am sure it is genetic but I won't point any fingers to protect the guilty.

Anyway, she has been trying to drop her nap for a while now, and with increasing frequency in the past two months. In any given week, I'd say she is napping 40% of the time. 
But this process of nap elimination can be a cruel ordeal for all involved. For parents, no nap means that your cute and entertaining tot turns into a temperamental gremlin in the late afternoon. Also, this change in disposition just happens to occur when you hit your mid-day wall and need a nap yourself. It's not a coincidence that this is also when you debate (and end up having) that second or third coffee.

However, a nap occurrence (that usually happens in the late afternoon) might bring you and your tot rest and a break from each other, but it also brings postponed misery; it pushes bedtime to some ugly hour in the night. What to do with …

It Is Time

Time to wean my 33-month old, that is. And not necessarily a complete and immediate full-stop on breastfeeding, but a gradual reduction from what it currently is. Now, before you think I'm still nursing every 3-4 hours, I'm not. Not even close.

What does breastfeeding an almost-3-year-old look like here? On a regular day:
- A cuddle/nursing session when she wakes up
- One 2-minute quickie in the afternoon if she's feeling "off"
- Nursing down for a nap (if it happens, which is only like 40% of the time now)
- A couple of false-start nursing sessions when she is supposed to be going to bed (not every night)
- A mid-sleep nursing session

However, I'm kind of reaching that point when I want to reclaim my breasts. I think she's ready-ish.

To prep Little L, I started reading her Nursies When the Sun Shines. Since it features a toddler with crazy sleep hair like hers, it was an instant hit. Also, there is only one kid in the story, much like our situation. She…

Are They Impressed Yet?

You know how you sometimes start thinking about one thing, which leads to another, and then another? I was originally thinking about decorating our home for Christmas. That led to thoughts about one day buying a home that I could decorate, which led to contemplation on big beautiful homes in general ... and then it dawned on me.

I'm slow, so forgive me if you've already figured this out. While most of us probably do like living in a clean, organized, aesthetically-appealing home with matching decor, I realized that when we strive so hard to make our abodes look magazine-worthy, we do so to impress others. Not necessarily family "others," but our friends and colleagues and neighbors and acquaintances. I mean, my Hubbs and Little L could care less about the colour of the rug and whether or not the book baskets match the drapes, even though this is the space they live in 24x7. So why do I care? My comfort and convenience may be enhanced by having modern appliances, but…

Gone with the FLLO - Traveling with the Clek FLLO

In previous posts, I've already detailed the awesomeness of Clek's FLLO seat, so no need for redundancy here. The true test of its greatness lies in how well it travels, since it is meant to be a "compact" and more portable version of the gargantuan FOONF.

Now, to be clear, we purchased a Clek WEELEE bag to transport our car seat on our flight to and from Maui, *and* we checked our car seat with our airline, which I know is a big CPS Tech no-no. They argue that any car seat that has been checked is as good as crashed, because the potential rough handling of the seat by the carrier compromises its integrity and could damage it internally. My experience (now that I've done it) is this:

a) The Weelee bag is very well padded and sturdy. Once I had the seat properly placed inside the bag, I felt that it was as good as any seat in a styrofoam-packaged box. The bonus, of course, is that unlike a box, the Weelee has a telescopic handle and deeply-grooved, rugged wheels, …

Descriptive, Not Prescriptive

As usual, I was scanning through my feed, pausing to read articles that caught my interest. Two articles stuck out to me. The first, from my dear friend April of First Time Mom and Dad, mused about trying to keep life "innocent" for her little boy by protecting him from the harsh ugly things in the world. The second was a momma blogger / former teacher who was detailing her bedtime routine for her littles.

While both articles enticed me to read them, I ended up deleting the latter from my feed entirely. Why?
Descriptive vs prescriptive. 
You see, there is always a purpose for writing. With an awareness of one's audience, the author seeks to persuade, describe, inform, entertain, solicit information, something. Any blog post has an agenda, even if its only aim is to get you to giggle over your morning coffee. 
The older I get, the more selective I am about what I read. While I can appreciate an odd prescriptive post here and there, my tastes run decidedly descriptive. I am i…

Three Weeks Silent

For the handful of you who like to read this blog and wondered if I had dropped off the face of the earth, the answer is.... sort of. I dropped off the Blogosphere to enjoy the sunshine in Maui. Our return was delayed by three days so that we could avoid any of the turbulence and stormy effects of Hurricane Ana / Tropical Storm Ana, who just happened to visit the islands on the tail end of our trip.

The good news is: everyone is safe, and we got a chance to squeeze three extra days of R & R in Maui. The bad news: jet lag, and now that we are back, we have suitcases yet to unpack. That said, I promised a Clek Fllo travel blog post, and you're going to get one from me. Soon.

Until then, I have to catch up on my zzzz's and a crapload of other stuff that I missed while I put my life on hold to hula and sip lava flows ;)

Pinterest Phony Bolognas, or How One Toddler Really Does Art

I am convinced that Pinterest was invented to make mothers feel inferior. However, those of us in the know have already realized that when it comes to certain pins, Pinterest is actually just full of phonies. One such area would be toddler art. 

Now, I do realize that a very talented and phenomenally gifted young artist might be able to come up with a spectacular piece of art. I can concede that when it comes to a craft that has heavy adult assistance, the end product could look incredible. This one, for example, doesn't look too shabby. I did a lot of "helping" though. 
I have yet to meet a toddler who doesn't spill, or doesn't accidentally drip paint or glue in the wrong place. I don't know of a single child who hasn't accidentally smeared something that needed to dry. I have witnessed five and six-year-olds cry over their "ruined" art, and I've also seen some very frustrated nine and 10-year-olds who made one poor decision with their paint …

Scribbles Over Colouring: Early Literacy and Process Art

Little L doesn't like to colour. I've tried hand-over-hand with her, modelling it, and enthusiastically selling the activity. No dice.

For a split second I was concerned. Is there something wrong with my toddler?! Why doesn't she want to use these nifty creamy super-bright crayons?! Why is she scrawling crazily in black marker all over the page and then running off to do something else?! 
As it turns out, not only is it completely normal for her not to want to colour, but it's actually not altogether beneficial to colour. True facts. Colouring is a good fine-motor activity to develop hand strength and fine motor/hand-eye coordination skills, but those aren't really our goals for Little L at the moment.

But scribbling??! This is apparently linked to literacy, and a very very good and normal thing. Scribbling is a precursor activity to writing, and it helps kids practice the motions that will eventually lead them to learn to print and draw letters and shapes. It also…

Eat 'Em and Weep

I am a junk foodaholic and a carnivore. I also abhor many vegetables, with only few exceptions. This makes me the worst possible example of healthy eating for Little L. Like, if I could just have chocolate cake and chips for a meal, or maybe a few pieces of deep fried dark meat chicken (with skin, of course), I would be in seventh heaven. My tastes run distinctly juvenile when it comes to nutritional meals.
Having said that, and realizing that I have a problem that must not be passed to the next generation, I have made it my goal to incorporate more veggies into our meals. I hope that somehow the constant exposure will lead to experimental eating, which will then lead to a lifelong love of healthier food. It's a long shot, I know. Genetics work against Little L, since Hubbs could easily down a pint of ice cream in a sitting, and I have my junk food anti-veg leanings.

Some of the veggies I've been trying to bring into our lives, with mixed success, are:

- salads with ranch dres…

Seller Beware - On Reviews and This Blog

Recently, I've started getting offers to review stuff on my blog. While this is very flattering indeed, I have mixed feelings about reviewing things that I have been somehow compensated for. My issue is that I believe that most people, when given something for free (or paid for something), will be more inclined to write a favourable review even when it isn't merited. This has been proven in sociological studies; when someone does something nice for us, we tend to want to reciprocate. Welcome to human nature.

I polled some of my blogging mommy peers on the matter, and the general consensus (from those who replied) was that they either didn't review things anymore, or if they did, they would give the companies who comp'ed them the "right of refusal" to not publish a post if it was negative.

This is where it gets tricky, because I can't just do what everyone else does. My stupid convictions and strong opinions get in the way! In this case, it is this: I cann…