; window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-6252405-9'); In the Mommy Trenches: April 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Last Day as Owner of MV

Well, here I sit on my last shift, blogging away.  You would think I'd be busy organizing or packing or just plain old doing something.  Something that is other than blogging.  I believe how I mentioned that these people already came in and started on reorganizing the back room well... you can imagine to my surprise that they have been at it all week.  Some with my SIL and some on their own.  One part of me is relieved that I didn't have to drive down an extra day to do clean up myself but the other part of me is a little needled.

We had planned on handing over the keys tonight after the store is closed.  What I had not planned on was coming in to find them working away entering inventory and getting last minute crash training.  What I had planned on was coming in and gather up the rest of my bookkeeping, finishing deleting stuff in the computer and going through the front counter drawers making sure I pulled out anything at all pertaining to banking info etc.  What I had not planned on was trying to handle a Friday night rush in around the one while the other rifled through all the drawers purging as she went.  Yeah.  Then he blithely informs me that he changed the price grid in the computer. WTF?  They don't even own the store yet and they're messing around with the pricing.

Still... like I said. I'm somewhat needled over it but being a keep the peace kind of person that I am, I've been able to shrug it off.  This is my last day and then I'm done.  I will be relieved.

Three Canadian Company Reviews

I was recenlty offered the opportunity to try out some Canadian products and since I am proudly Canadian, I was very happy to oblige.  So often it seems we get inundated with advertising for products from other countries that are often not even available to Canadians.  Too little do we realize what great products there are out there that are much closer to home.

Radiance Exfoliating Body Scrub  - I have to say I really enjoyed this.  It is a very light milky sort of wash and yet it still lathers up nicely with a cloth or scrubby puff.  The scent was light and fresh.  It contains Royal Jelly and JoJoba beads (don't you just love say jojoba?)  It definitely left me feeling clean and smooth. 

Citrus Facial Scrub -  I wasn't sure about this one at first.  When you first open the lid you see this dark almost mud like substance and a waft of citrusy smell assails you.  There doesn't appear to be Cinnamen or Nutmeg in it but for some reason, it vaguely reminds me of pumpkin pie.  What you do is take a little of the paste out of the jar and add a wee bit of water to make a thinner paste which you then would apply to your face in gentle cleaning motions.  Despite my first misgivings, I was sold.  My face instantly felt smoother.  Recently I had been struggling with a dry spot on my face and every time I put foundation on I'd get flakes.  Well after 2 years of using this scrub, my dry spot was gone.  I absolutely loved this stuff so much that I didn't hesitate to take it into the shower with me for my knees. 

Then I tried the Naturally Ageless Line Diminishing Day Lotion.  This marvelous lotion is supposed to help dimish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  It contains antioxidant fighting pomegrenate and Mexican wild yam to help firm the skin.  I absolutely loved the packaging on this.  I swear companies could sell a ton of stuff just be wrapping their products up in pretty colors.  I love the red and white combination and, of course, I love pomengranate and the smell of it.  This lotion definitely lives up to its promise.  While I haven't been using it long enough (and I don't have that many lines yet ;) to see if it's corrected any lines or wrinkles, my skin definitely felt firmer and smoother.  I haven't used this type of lotion and so was surprised that I actually could feel that it was working.   Again, this is a light almost milky product with a light scent.  I would caution you to be careful when pumping the bottle, as a little goes a long way.

Last but not least I tried the Replenishing Lip Balm with pomegranate oil.  Another great product.  With a nice light scent it left my lips feeling moisturized and smooth all day long. 

One of the things I like best about Burt's Bees is that they are a company committed to using the most natural of products and indeed help to set the industry standard.  They are also committed to the Environment and giving back to the community.  They have goals in place to become the "Greenest personal care company on Earth". 

Certified Organic, this company has a great line of products for both kids and adults.  Their products state that they contain Canadian ingredients.   I hadn't heard of this company before so I was glad to be introduced to them.

Here is what I received:

Let's take the Green Beaver jr Bubble Bath and Lip Balm.   Both of these items had a delicous berry scent. The kids immediately wanted to use the bubble bath because of the great smell and then because of how great it worked in the tub.  You see we had been using one of those Character bubble bath products that shall remain nameless.  It didn't matter how much soap I put in, I still had to stir the water up more with my hand to really get the bubbles going.  I thought it was because of low water pressure.  I guess that's not the case since this bubble bath produced tons of bubbles without any extra effort.  My kids love this stuff.

And the lip balm, anything that appears the least bit like makeup is sure to be popular only because the ingredients are organic and natural you don't have to worry about what they may be ingesting.  Again, they loved the berry smell.

Green Beaver Lavender Body Wash and Foaming Hand Soap.  If you love Lavender, then this is definitely the product for you.  The scent is very strong.  I kind of liked that for the bathroom though because every time someone washed their hands it left a nice scent behind and you all know how stinky those bathrooms can get with little ones around.  If you are not a Lavender fan, they do have other scents like Cranberry and Applemint.  The Body Wash was nice too, completely biodegradeble, vegan and glutenfree you can be completely guilty free using this in the shower.  The scent, while strong, is very invigorating, just perfect for those early morning showers.

and last... but certainly not least

Fudge Brownie Melting Delight Body Bar     OMG!  Love Chocolate?  Love Brownies?  Then you have to try this product.  It literally looks like a chocolate bar and smells even better than one.  What you do is break off a piece of the bar, warm it between your hands and when it softens use it on any of those rough or dry areas you may have.  It's absolustely yumalacious.  It contains Cocao Seed, Butter, Shea Butter and Coconut oil.  Three ingredients guaranteed to add more moisture to your skin.  A word of warning though, you might want to have a luxurious treat for you to eat after because if you're like me, you'll be craving something to satisfy your tummy along with your skin.

Upper Canada has a wide arrange of products and fully believes in using only Nature's purest ingredients and affirm that they do not test their products on animals.

There you have it ladies, three great Canadian Companies.  All worth checking out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Wish List

The sale of my store will be official May 1st.  I am not sure how I feel about that yet.  Right now I have a lot of lists running through my head of things we need to remember to do or change before Friday.  The new owners have not spent a lot of time training with us and so far have managed to irk me by showing up at my store when just our employee was there and starting rearranging the back.  Without so much as a by your leave. But it's almost over.  If they choose not to utilize us before they take over, oh well. 

I have been contemplating for the past two months what we will be doing with my share of the sale proceeds. It's not much so it's with some sadness that as I realize there won't be much if anything left over after we pay off the debt we incurred just to buy this house.  IN fact, we will still be left with significant credit card debt. 

Still I can dream, can't I? 

When I stopped to ponder if I could buy just one thing.. what would I want the most.  After all, I have been longing for a Sony Ereader, a Tassimo beverage system, a Kitchenaid mixer, new clothes, new furniture for our bedroom and the list goes on.  Sometimes you see so much you'd like but can't buy that it never really gets down to a choice.  After all, when dreaming we really don't have to make choices do we? 

So it was some careful consideration before I finally decided that I'd buy a Kitchenaid.  Perhaps it's the mom and wife in me that would pick the one item that would benefit not just me but the family as well.  I have been using a Sunbeam MixMaster for the past ten years which is that delightful shade of Harvest Gold.  Worn and beat up this old thing has been tried and true for me.  One thing I can say is that Sunbeam built those motors to last. This mixer has got to be at least 30 years old.  The bowls unfortunately are another matter.  The bowl set I have is not the original and I was only able to purchase them with another mixmaster.  I gave the mixmaster to my mom and kept the bowls, her mixmaster having given up on her.  She is much harder on her mixers than I am .  Now I have broken the big bowl in the great Christmas Cookie disaster and so have been unable to mix much in the mixer that can't be mixed in a small bowl. 

In all my ponderings I hadn't mentioned anything much to my husband.  As we approached the closing date of the store sale, I've begun to dream about perhaps keeping a $1,000.00 to myself to buy what I'd like or need for the family.  Imagine to my surprise then when my husband started the conversation first and without so much as a second thought outlined to me what he thought we should with the money.  I say thought but it felt like an edict. 

First we'd pay his parents and then the rest would go into savings.  He'd rather carve away the debt ourselves and continue to have our savings account grow.  After all we need to save if we are ever to take the kids to Disneyland.  I'd get my mixer, of course.  He knew about that, in fact, he wants one too.

Well, thank you very much honey.  Is it too much that I should want to spend just a little money on some of the things that I know will never be in our budget to buy?  Yet I am sure if I suggest we buy a bluray player I think he'd be all gung ho. 

I know we've been married ten years and all our money has always been pooled together but I really thought that he'd consider the sale of my business to be "my money".  After all, it's not like our household funds ever contributed anything to it from the get go.  It was my mom who gave us the initial downpayment to purchase the store.  Not that I don't consider it my duty to help the family out after all that's what his paycheques do and mine did too up until I stopped geting any.  But really, I would have thought he would have started the whole conversation asking me what I thought we should do with it. 

One thing I am certain of though is that I am going to buy a mixer.   I've chosen Kitchenaid because it is supposed to be a good brand.  I want a mixer that will be with me in the long haul and since I have carpal tunnal a mixer with a dough hook is, I hope, more likely to inspire me to bake more.  And it won't be no Wal-Mart Special either.   Why are they $100.00 cheaper than say the one at Sears? Even with a good Sears coupon? Because the motor doesn't have the same horsepower.  That's why.

It will be another couple of weeks before I'll be able to buy it as I have to wait for all the final bills to go through the work bank account before I can divy up the dough. 

Second on my list... one of those Tassimo one shot coffee machines.  I had one at a friend's house once and I absolutely loved it.  Hmmm maybe I should get Hubs that for his birthday in May?  Heh heh.  Just a thought. 

Does it make me selfish though to just want to keep a little of that money for myself?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's Complicated - On DVD today

Don't worry.  This is more than just a movie review. 

My husband and I watched It's Complicated last night with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. The basic premise of the story is that Jane (Meryl) and Jake (Jake) have been divorced for 10 years.  Jake is remarried but unhappy in his new marriage finds himself longing for Jane.  Jane is still attracted and drawn to Jake, after all they did have a 20 year marriage history between them and so they fall into an affair.  While Jane struggles with the rightness or wrongness of now being the "other" woman, Jake seems to feel like he has gotten his groove back.  In the meantime, Adam (Steve Martin) enters the scene and is obviously attracted to Jane and they both really hit it off.  Intertwined in all this is their three children and lots of comments about how nice it is that mom and dad are getting along (although they are unaware of the affair)

Got it?  Pretty simply storyline right? As you can probably guess this storyline has lots of opportunities for pie in the face type of humour and boy does it deliver.  At several times in the film, I was laughing so hard I was slapping my leg and even at one point and stood up and turned around in anticipation of the embarrassment that was about to unfold.  I thought it was a great film, thought the ending was perfect and was left feeling optimistic and upbeat. 

It was nice too seeing Steve Martin play a more serious role.  Not that he hasn't in the past, but all I can recall lately seeing of him are his roles in Pink Panther and Pink Panther 2. While I appreciate his comedy and humour it was nice to see him as a regular guy.

Meryl Streep as usual is fantastic.  She is such a talented actress.  Alec Baldwin did a great job as only he can do.  Unfortunately though his roles are often similar.  While essentially he seems to be a nice guy he always comes off as a womanizer and a little sad at his inability to look after himself. 

It's funny though how this movie did not make my husband feel the same way.  In fact, it made him feel a little depressed.  I was surprised at this because he was laughing at the funny bits just as much as I was.  When pressed further he said that the whole divorce thing was depressing.  On reflection I could see why it would affect him that way.  While we are both dedicated to this marriage and come from the perspective that "divorce is not an option", I am realistic enough to realize that it does happen (obviously) and that families on a daily basis struggle to work through divorce.  What he saw was what could have been and now wasn't.

When I start to break down the film a little more I got what he was saying.  It is obviously sad that they got divorced.  It is sad too to see them recognize 10 years later the role that each played in the break up while if they had been honest at the time, they might have had a chance to save their marriage.  That they were obviously still good together and could make each other laugh.  It was also sad that their three children are still affected by it even though they are now grown.  Despite all the funny bits about the film the message that "divorce hurts" still carried throughout it. Which is a good thing because we don't want to glamorize divorce at all.  Any single parent out there knows how hard it is to be one!

Of course this all got me to thinking this morning of a conversation I had with my daughter and a friend.  I guess divorce had been coming up in school lately and for the first time my child has been realising that not all mommys and daddys live together.  She expressed concern about K and I separating and who would she live with etc.  I was so dismayed by the thought that this would be going through her head that I promised her very emphatically that her Dad and I would never divorce.  That we would always work out our problems.

That was how I felt after all and felt that the certainty of my faith and beliefs supported me making such a large promise. 

When I shared this conversation with my friend, who is also a believer, she was surprised and concerned.  She told me that I should never have made that promise.  I was astonished that she would consider it to have been a mistake, after all my husband and I have been married almost 11 years and while life is not perfect  there is nothing in our marriage that would make me ever think I needed to get out.

She then reminded me of someone who was married to a pastor and had been for years.  She too made that promise to her child and now they are getting divorced.  He had had an affair.  Now all the ins and outs of their relationship are not known to me.  What part she played in their estrangement I have no idea.  But she regretted having made that promise to her child. 

I started to argue that I know that K would never do that to me.  That it's not in him to go after another woman.  But then I stopped because obviously the woman didn't go into her marriage thinking her husband might have an affair either. No one wants to suspect the worst of their mate.

Still in the end I don't regret having made that promise because it was absolutely the way I felt at the time and still do feel that way.  Who knows what 10 years could bring us.  We may drive each other to the point of divorce or we may love each other more than ever.  I just don't know but I don't regret trying to give my little girl some security in an unsecure world. 

I guess if a movie like this can get you all thinking about life and your own relationships and maybe make some changes for the better that it becomes more than just a comedy. 

Have you seen?  What did you think?

BTW this wasn't a sponsored or requested review, I did it because it got me thinking. As many of you know I own a video store and watch these movies for my work, poor me;)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Toys? Or Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Here is a list of toys that we have had to take away from our children.

1.  Skipping Ropes.  When they are not tying each other up with it, they whip it at each other causing the hard plastic handles to thwack the other kid.

2.  Plastic Golf Clubs.  O got this for his birthday last year complete with mini caddy.  Plastic clubs were not used to hit the ball, they weren't even used as a bat.  Instead they were perfect instruments to beat each other over the head with.  The clubs had to find a new home.  The mini caddy was missing its wheels by the end of the day.

3.  Plastic baseball bat.  See plastic golf clubs.

4.  Plastic kid's shopping cart.  Do you think they used them to pretend to shop for groceries?  Uh no.  They promptly took off the removeable basket so they could stand on it and use it for a scooter throughout the house.  The plastic basket?  After having pulled the handles off of it, it mainly was worn on O's foot as he pretended to have his foot stuck in a bucket like the "magination movers".  Of course, hubs yelled at them and I said why bother the sooner they break it the sooner it's gone.  We decided not to wait for that and are going to sell it in the garage sale to some poor unsuspecting parent. ;)

5.  Plastic play bin with wheels.  It's supposed to be their dress up box and most of the time it's used for that until the day their cousins came over.  They dumped it out and fortunately I just happened to come to the bottom of the stairs where I saw my nephew sitting in the bin at the top of the stairs with O behind him.  Was he going to launch it?  I don't know.  I never ran up those stairs so fast in my life. 

6.  Plastic Drum Set.  Well I'm sure I don't need to explain this one.  Thanks Nana. (note the sarcasm)

7.  Plastic flutes.  Again, no explanation required.  Thanks to the other Nana. (again note sarcasm)

8.  Toy Computer -  J for some strange reason thought it was waterproof as she hucked it into her play pool.  Course we didn't so much as take it away as it was ruined.

9.  Felts/Crayons/Pens/Paint.  Not so much taken away as more under strict tabs.  If so much as a pencil makes it way upstairs I am guaranteed to find it on the walls.  No matter how much trouble he gets into for it he keeps on doing it.

10.  Kid's porcelain tea set.  O thought it was great fun to dump them on the floor and bang them around.  The teapot is broken and the rest of the set now resides high up on the fridge.  We only had it a week.  It was a present for the girls.  They got to play with it like twice.  I think I will have to wait until he's a little older before we bring it out again.  Cause being the baby of the family, he's always here when they are.
I am sure there are several more I can add to this list and I may come back and edit this post once it comes back to me.  In the meantime, are your kids like mine?  Do they find more er creative uses for their toys?

What have you had to take away from your kids?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Confused and Sad Mommy

So this is my budding ballerina.  Adorable isn't she?  Just look at that face, so bright eyed and beaming with excitement.

You wouldn't think any mother could possibly become unaccountable frustrated with such a cheerful and pleasant looking little girl.  Well you would be wrong.  I do get incredibly frustrated with my gal.

From having to tell her repeatedly to do simple tasks like make her bed, put her shoes on, comb her hair to having to tell her to calm down, stop growling like a tiger and jumping on the furniture, to it's not okay to hit back when you're mad at someone. 

Most of these things I think are normal.  But some, I think may be pointing to some larger issue that we just can't figure out. 

For starters, she can't remember more than one task at a time.  Go upstairs and make your bed and brush your teeth does not translate into the actual actions.  She may make her bed, she may brush her teeth but never both and when you ask her, she gets incredibly frustrated that you are bugging her. Probably because she forgot to do the second.  Then she often doesn't answer to her name being called.  She gets easily frustrated if the answer doesn't come to her quickly when doing homework.  She is easily distracted.  She doesn't focus and often doesn't pay close attention to you. Sometimes, I think it's overwhelming when I am trying to discuss certain aspects of her behaviour with her because she starts to just nod her head and say yes mom to everything I say.  Is anything sinking in?  I think not.  To me, who has no idea on how to get through to her, this is incredibly frustrating and some days not only do I want to, I DO lose it.

Take Ballet yesterday.  I was able to stay and watch her entire class.  Last week she was a little shy.  This week not so.  She started out charmingly enough having picked dandelion flowers for every one in the class.  The all loved receiving flowers.  But alas that was the end of it.  While she was prettily behaved through most of it, she could not help bouncing around, tottering around like she was drunk, and repeatedly putting her hand up to ask the teacher questions.  I'm not talking useful questions.  Ridiculous questions. Like the teacher just explained to them about freeze dancing.  The teacher had barely started talking when up goes her hand.  The teacher made her wait and continued to explain the dance.  After which, E had an opportunity to ask her question.  What did she ask?  "What is freeze dance?"  OMG.

Okay not a biggie you say.  I agree.  But still it's frustrating to sit and watch your child do the opposite of everyone else or simply stare off into space when she's supposed to be learning. No wonder her teacher's are somewhat frustrated with her.  She was lucky in her old school she had such patient ones. 

Of course, when I caught her eye, I frowned and mouthed at her to stop bouncing around and to pay attention.  While there were many times that I was smiling encouragement there were many where I was shaking my head as well.  How else was I going to get her to pay attention in class?

When she was done, the first thing she did was come up to me and apologize for being so bad.  I could have sunk into the floor.  All the parents are standing around me and here I sound like one of those mothers who sit on the sidelines of their child critizing their every move and how it could have been done better.  Yet, to be honest that is some of how I felt. 

When we got out to the van I tried to explain to her that she wasn't bad, that I thought she was a beautiful dancer but that she needed to listen.  That when I frowned at her I was trying to remind her to pay attention, that I didn't think she was bad.  I spent most of the time trying to reiterate that I could see what a lovely dancer she was and that I think she has talent. She just needs to focus, listen to the teacher and follow instructions. 

Did any of the positive stuff get through?  I think not.  When I looked back at her in the mirror I could tell she was sad and when I asked her why, she told me she was sad because she wasn't doing well.  Well, that just about broke my heart.  Did she not just hear all the parts of how I thought she was a terrific dancer? 

The more I dwelled on it, the more it upset me and I began to cry.  I blubbered my way all through McDonald's and all the way to my MIL's house to pick up the other two kids.  E asked me why I was upset and I simply told her that I was sad because I had made her sad and that I had spoiled her enjoyment of ballet. 

I so desperately struggle to have my children mind me and put a lot of thought unfortunately into how it must make me appear if they don't behave well in public.  Some of that stems from the fact that you hear people criticize other people a lot for lack of discipline etc. Well all know someone who lets their kids get away with murder.  I don't want to be that parent.  But the problem is I just care to much and can't seem to just let it all roll off my back.  I get embarrassed when they behave like little monsters. 

It also doesn't help that I am too blunt and honest.  While I have had to adjust my thinking quite a bit since we've had children.  After all, it doesn't do well to inform your child that their painting is really ugly and no, you don't want to hang it on the fridge.  Okay, that's a little extreme but you get the drift.  How many times have you suffered holding sticky half dead, stinky dandelions just because your child picked it for you.  I hate having my fingers sticky but I do it because they did it because they love me. 

But when it comes to being honest and frank with them about their talents and abilities. Well, I don't believe in sugar coating it.  Why tell them they are a complete virtuoso when they are not? I don't get that.  E wants to sing, she can sing okay at times but at other times it's a complete nightmare.  Should I let her get up on stage and perform?  I don't think so.  Instead, I told her that she does have a good voice but that she needs to have a few lessons to teach her to learn better.  Is that too harsh of a truth for a 7 year old?  I always try to stress the good points when I bring up the bad. 

Still, I can't help but feel sad that MY desire for her to do well and MY expectations of how she should behave spoiled her enjoyment of her class.  So somewhere in all of this I must be wrong.  I really, really want to be that laid back mom that can just laugh and enjoy her kid's cuteness and not worry that everyone else might think my kid is a nighmare.  I want her to be secure not to feel lacking. 

Am I approaching this stuff wrong?  Is it too young for such harsh realities?  It is after all just a dream. It's not like I'm the kind parent who would push her into auditions or stuff like that.  Please, I can barely order chinese.  Anything that she does will be because she's asked to do it. 

I am probably making much of this but I just want her to be happy and I don't think she is.  All that's gone on, the move, the struggles with learning, it's all been weighing her down and me too. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Perricone's Face Finishing Moisturizer - Giveaway

Well ladies I am extremely excited to inform you that the lovely people from Perricone MD have offered to give one of my lucky readers a jar of Face Finishing Moisturizer.

"A lightweight, superior facial moisturizer formulated with powerful antioxidants to help firm skin's appearance and minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Face Finishing Moisturizer is rich in texture and feels simply wonderful on the skin, imparting a visibly radiant and smooth appearance. It's formulated with three powerful anti-aging sciences: Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE and Vitamin C Ester. Paraben-free."

This moisturizer sounds absolutely wonderful.  I checked out some of the reviews and they are all extremely positive. Among other pros, two things that are very important for me:  it's non greasy and it smells amazing. 

So, would you like to win one of these jars from Perricone that retails for $65.00?

Well it's easy.  Simply leave a comment telling me why you want or need this product.  It just doesn't get easier than that. 

This contest is open to US & Canada and ends April 30, 2010.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Budding Ballerina

We signed E up for a beginning ballet class.  It's supposed to be a fun and casual class giving children an opportunity to explore whether or not ballet is for them.  E was quite excited that first time we told her she was going to ballet lessons. One thing we've learned in parenting E that it doesn't pay to tell her too early about big events or special happenings.  She gets way too over excited and the count down to the event begins to turn into an almost nightmarish thing. Plus add to that the Rec Center has already cancelled one of the classes we had her scheduled for, we didn't want to get her hopes up only to be disappointed.

I was not prepared for the disappointment she did experience.

As I said E was ecstatic when we told her she was going to ballet.  She almost couldn't believe it.  Right away she whipped upstairs to get her dance leotard on and pink tights, thanking me profusely for buying her new ones. The she raced off to the bathroom so I could pull her thick hair back into a nice sleek ponytail.  We debated on her footwear since we were advised to wait to buy ballet shoes until after the first class to see if she liked it first. We settled on a pair of black ballet style shoes that she had. She was adorable.  She even had to wear just the right pink sweater with the whole ensemble before we could go out the door.  Luckily I had spied a pink bag in her room that would be just perfect for carrying her stuff to and fro from ballet.

Little did I realize the expectations that were building up in my little girl's imagination.

Disappointment #1:  The hall was small, old and ugly and WORST of all... it had NO STAGE.

Disappointment #2:  She wasn't permitted to wear her shoes. The ones we specially picked out.

Disappointment #3:  She had to remove her tights so she wouldn't slip on the floors since she didn't have proper ballet shoes

It was with a little dismay of my own as we huddled in the girl's washroom when I saw her sad face as I helped her take her tights off.  When I asked her what was the matter I got "It's not how I imagined it.  It's all wrong".  My heart sank just a little.  It didn't take me long to get a grasp on what she meant.  You see my girl was all dressed for the role she was to play and now not only she wasn't able to wear her shoes but her tights too had to come off.  That didn't fit the picture she had in her head of a ballet dancer.  Add to that the disappointment of the dinky little hall with no stage and the rather short and plump almost grandmotherly type of teacher who did not fit the picture either of a ballet teacher.

Darn you, Angelina Ballerina!

I do not know what it is with my daughter and the stage but it seems to me her biggest dream is to get to go up on a "real" stage.

I quickly and quietly tried to reassure her and promised her that we would go straight to the dance supply store afterwards if she liked it and buy her new ballet slippers.  We didn't have much time to talk so my gal had to just bravely go in and face her disappointment.  I could tell by her somewhat shy and quiet demeanor (cause this girl is no shy chick) that she was struggling a little.

Fortunately, the ballet teacher is a lovely understanding woman and managed to put all the girls at ease almost at once.  Before we knew it, the music was on and my little girl was learning how to skip and slide along.

Unfortunately, I missed the rest because I had J and O with me and they only managed to survive about 10 minutes of watching their sister dance before they began to complain loudly about wanting to go home.  So I took them outside to play.  But when I did get back in just at the end, they had scarves out and I got to see her pretending to be a floating butterfly and all of her shyness was gone.  One other kind grandmother there told E that she did a lovely job of pretending to be a princess.

The first words out of E's mouth to me was "Mom, I liked it".

So off we went to the dance store where we made it in the nick of time before closing.  Besides the ballet slippers I managed to buy her a pretty pink skirt and a twirly thing to help me put her hair in a bun.  (Excellent sales lady by the way.  She even had Car stickers.  Smart woman).  E is all excited at how prepared she will be for next class.

As I had waited outside the class with her siblings, I had contemplated on E's expectations and resulting disappointment. I felt bad for her.   One thing I was able to share with her later was that I, too, started off in an old gym hall when I first took ballet lessons.  That if she wanted to pursue dance then she'd go to a "real" dance studio etc.

It did make me realize that I need stop and think or even discuss with my kids what their expectations might be for things like this.  I know you can't protect them from every hurt or disappointment but it would have made those first steps go just a little bit smoother for her if E had known what the deal was.  It had never occurred to me that she would have been building the whole thing up in her mind like that and yet still I can see how she would have been expecting a pretty dance studio complete with mirrors and bar.

After all, isn't ballet supposed to be all pink and pretty?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Crayola KidsZone - Lights Camera Color - A Review

Wonderful news.  I have been invited to participate in

Crayola Canadas Mom Advisory Panel

I am extremely thrilled to be taking part in this panel.  Like most kids, my children just love to be creative and what better product to be creative with than crayola.  We have always been Crayola product users so it makes this opportunity just that much more exciting.  Like me, I am sure you parents out there have discovered that dollar store crayons just don't compare!

Now my first Crayola opportunity was to check out the Lights Camera Color application at the Crayola KidsZone.  I hadn't heard about this so I was more than pleased to check it out.  Basically it's a site where you upload a photo of your choice and then the application removes all the color from your picture transforming it into a black and white line drawing.  You can leave your photo as it is or dress it up with jazzy backgrounds or designs. 

The upload feature was quick and easy and in seconds I had a photo of E with Jingles the cat uploaded and transformed.  E was thrilled to have a picture of her and her beloved kitty to color.  I then took a photo of O in his sandbox, added in a clipart of Buzz Lightyear flying in to the rescue while he was playing with Mater and Lightning McQueen in the sand.  He LOVED it.  It made it seem like those toys had been in the photo all along.  There are several other Disney characters available such as Handy Manny and Tinkerbell.  Ooh J's favourite!

Anyone can pop in and try out the site but in order to print, you need a code which comes on specially marked Crayola crayons packages. Just register online and enter that code and voila you have access to their print feature. 

It was a lot of fun and since I'm always buying crayons anyways, it's a nice little bonus.

Disclosure:  I received a free product code in order to access the site and review the Lights Camera Color application. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gift Card Winners!!

Congratulations to Huguette who won the $50.00 Cara's Gift Card
Congratulations to Jamie who won the $50.00 Home Hardware Gift Card

Thank you to all those who enterd and thanks to Mom Central
for providing this giveaway to all of my readers!

The Tortured Life of Jingles the Cat

I really do hope cats have nine lives.  Seriously.  With my children, this poor kitty is going to need ALL nine. 

I have to say this is the best natured cat we have ever owned or even met for that matter.  He has greeted each spastic episode with an almost apathetic calmness.

Let's see, other than the tug of war that goes on over the kitty daily and I have learned to dread the early morning wail "I want the kitty,I had it first" before I even open my peepers, this is what the cat has faced thus far:

O put the kitty inside on of those kid folding, foam couches and closed it up and... sat on the cat.  The cat didn't even cry.  I only realized what was up from his sister telling on him. I opened up the couch, the cat just looked at me and didn't even attempt to get away.  Stunned?  Maybe. 
While having his bath O grabbed the kitty and pulled him into the tub with him.  The cat didn't mind. Well not until O decided to dump buckets of water over the cat's head.  Again, I have my information from his sister.  She's a prime source that kid.

Then this morning, his sister once again informs me that she wasn't playing with bandaids, O was.  Oh really?  Doesn't that just set my mom radar agoing.  Sure enough there was O with bandaids in his bedroom.  J feigning complete innocence and utter ignorance as to what was going on.  Sure you weren't sweetie, then who told O where the bandaids were?  Gotcha my girl!
 I thought that was it until hubby sees the cat. 

I guess they figured it needed a little doctoring.  The silly cat just sat there and let them do that to it.  Mind you, one of them could have had it pinned down. 

Who knew bandaids would stick to cat fur so badly.  Poor thing.  He didn't actually even cry when he got them off.  Of course, hubby tried to be as careful as possible. 

Guess I am going to have to hide the bandaids in a better spot.  Darn my weak moment.  I knew J had a predilection for bandaids and I actually let her see the stash when I put a bandaid on her knee yesterday but I figured hey, she was older now.  Silly mommy. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Royale Reno-cation contest & Giveaway

Mom Central has partnered with Royale to share this great opportunity with me and my readers. Royale is holding another great contest this year called the Royale Reno-cation TM.

Are you dreaming of home renovations?  I am.  While I love our new home our bathrooms are really tiny (we're talking postage stamp).  I can barely stand between the tub and the shower curtain without it touching. Very annoying especially after our last home had a deep soaker tub.  So I would love to remodel our bathroom. As in tear it out and rebuild it completely kind of remodel.  Then I'd take that lovely Carribbean cruise while they did the work.  It's a win win situation.

Who wouldn't want to win up to $13,000.00 towards a home renovation AND an $7,000.00 11 Night Carribbean Cruise Vacation for two on the Jewel of the Seas.  Hands up?  You, you and you... head on over to click here and enter for your chance to win. 

The Grand prize winner will receive:
  • $13,000 to spend on a home renovation in any way they choose AND
  • An 11-day, $7,000 "Royal Caribbean" cruise for two on the "Jewel of the Seas"
There is also an additional $5,000 in secondary prizing of 15 weekly prize packs from the Royale Luxury Bath Collection that include a personal heated towel rack, new luxurious towels and premium Royale robes.  Play the "game of the week" and get two entries instead of one, each time you enter! 

To top it off Mom Central is offering my readers a $50.00 Cara (accepted at Swiss Chalet, Montana’s, Milestones, Kelsey’s and Harvey’s) gift certificate and a $50.00 Home Hardware gift certificate. 

To enter to win (after you've entered over at Royale) comment below and share with me what your ultimate renocation would be. 

Like an extra entry?  Give me a follow. 

Like another extra entry?  Head over to Mom Central and tell me what the highlight of the day is.  Any will do. 

This contest ends April 15th to so what are you waiting for?

Disclosure:  I received a $50.00 gift certificate for participating in this blog tour with Mom Central. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Toughest Job I Will Ever Do

I know I've said it before but I just can't get past how really tough this job is.  I'm talking about parenting, of course.  One minute I want to tear my hair out because I think I just possibly deal with any more their stunts and the next minute my stomach feels sick as I read my oldest report card.

Yes, report card.  The *cough* wonderful new school we have her enrolled in has told us for the past two months that they don't have her report card from the old school  With Spring Break and holidays etc have now gone by I got on the phone to the old school.  They assured me that they had mailed her documents out February 1st, including the report card and by the way why was I the parent calling? According to her, I shouldn't have to be the one to track it down.  I didn't think so either.  Within a half hour, I had a call from the new school and sure enough they had it.  It was filed away.

So the next morning we got to meet with her teachers, all four of them, and tell them about the report card.  The secretary hadn't even bothered to tell them what she had found.  At least they were gracious enough to admit that they thought it was downright embarrassing that this had happened.

In the meantime, I felt sick after having read her report card.  E had gone backwards in many of her problem areas and here we were completely unaware for the past two months where things stood with her.  Add to that they we had asked over a month ago for a meeting with her teacher to discuss how her progress was going in the new school, especially since we had no report card only for it to take a reminder on our part for it to finally happen.  We got the... "these things take time you know."  It makes me feel even more guilty about not trying harder to work with her on her reading and math. Not that I hadn't tried at all, but the few times I did I met with such resistance from E that I gave up.  Patience is not my strongest suit and there is no way I can try and help a grumpy E and maintain my cool at the same time.

Imagine to my surprise when we met with not only her morning teacher and afternoon teacher but a speech teacher and a phonics teacher.  While we were aware that she was getting extra help with her speech because she abuses her pronouns and tenses dreadfully, we were not aware that she was seeing a phonics teacher.   Not that I am complaining about the extra help, it's just nice to be informed.  I should clarify E can speak just fine, it's just how she puts her sentences together that's the problem.

They did not have one positive thing to say about E except that perhaps she is transitioning better than before and not arguing as much.  That they were almost glad there was an incident wherein E was upset about something that happened with the other kids because it showed that she actually was interested in playing with the other kids.  Are you kidding me?  Of course, she wants to play with the other kids.  It just doesn't help that the little girl who was ecstatic to meet her dropped her after two weeks since E was no longer "new".  Girl thy name is fickle.  Add to that there are only 10 kids in the afternoon class and half are boys.  Not exactly a large pool to make friends from.

Then they oh so casually brought up that there was a problem with the afternoon kids with little "clicks" being formed, primarily among the girls.  Well no kidding.  No wonder E has been having a hard time. She goes out to play and they are all gone even though they say they will play with her.  Now this doesn't happen every day but I know it's happened often.  Apparently the teachers are aware of the problem but not once has any of them discussed it with me.

I know every child is not a little angel no matter how much his or her parents may think they are and I am sure that teachers are often driven to distraction by particular kids.  I know that my E can be one of those kids.    In Kindergarten, she didn't transition well and would have a downright fit on the teacher and yet THAT teacher while conveying to me that she was at first thrown for a loop with E still managed to let me know how bright or interesting she found E in other ways.  So while I heard the bad, which I knew already because I am not a rose coloured glasses kind of parent, I still got to hear the positive. It was a complete delight to hear from her grade one teacher that E was one of the quietest children in the class and has the heart of a scientist. She had settled into grade one without a hitch.  At this school, the best they could come up with was "she loves to talk".  Was that a compliment or a complaint?  I'm not sure which.

I know many of you out there have children with special learning needs and may have to meet with whole teams of people to advocate for your children's education.  I just didn't know how that would feel to be in that position.  All I can say is it's tough.  It's tough knowing that your child is struggling.  It's tough knowing that her teacher is often cranky with the kids.  It's tough knowing that E spent her lunch hour crying cause the kids all ran away from her.  It's tough knowing that yes I can show her my love and support but I just can't make it easier for her.

It's also tough knowing I will probably have to constantly explain my child's personality to strangers so they will attempt to understand her a little better and not mislabel her.  E may always be creative and not an academic but then again, who knows.  It makes me wonder how often I have mislabeled her.  E is difficult, E is passionate, E is ..... just E.

I guess all I can say is that I am glad that there are very many more months to this school year and that I sincerely hope her grade 2 teacher is a little more approachable.  I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Monday, April 5, 2010

First Day at Preschool & Easter Pics

One of the things I missed posting about last week and shouldn't have really been left out as it is just as important for the third as it was for the first was that O started preschool last Thursday.

Yes, my third, my baby, my little O started preschool with his big sister J.  When we first got J re settled into a preschool we were surprised and dismayed to discover that O expected he was going too.  After all, wasn't he successfully potty trained?  The magical carrot we had held out to him was getting to go to preschool.  However as this was all before Christmas, it didn't occur to us that he would expect to be going too. 

This presented the quandary of whether or not we could afford to have two kids in preschool at the same time.  This preschool gives a 5% discount for siblings and so while it's not a whole lot it was still something and we decided it would be worth it.

I don't know why but I kept thinking he was too young for prechool, still too babyish.  I had to remind myself that E started preschool just one month after her 3rd birthday and J started two months before hers.  O will be 3 at the end of this month.

Then too, I was concerned at how he would be.  He's not used to being left with anyone but his nana so I was worried that he'd cling or cry for his momma. 

Well, I shouldn't have worried. He had his coat off as quick as a flash and went to the first set of toy bins lobbed onto the first truck he could find and was off playing.  It was with some grunting and groaning when I interupted him to take a photo of his first day at school.  Sigh.  My baby. 

At the end of class, he was happy to come home and most excited to show us the Easter crafts they had made.  He was awfully grown up as he greeted me at the door with "I wanna show you sumpin".  Even K said O seemed grown up sitting in his car seat on the way home. 

So while I am incredibly happy and excited for him because I know how much fun he is going to have at this preschool, more fun than I could possibly create for him, I am just a little sad because he's my last and he just needs me just that little bit less. 

On the other hand, I am going to enjoy having an extra hour to myself two days a week.  ;)

I couldn't resist throwing in these photos from Easter.  The kids had a blast as usual decorating their eggs and eating their candy. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Power is Out

What a strange spring we are having. Too much rain, too few spring like day. Now on good Friday we are having the mother of all storms. The power is out and I've only managed to entertain the kidlets for half an hour with bunny crafts.

The storm is somewhat scary when those big gusts of winds hit the trees in my yard. The howl of the wind around the house is almost as ghostly as the wind is fierce.

Still I have my blinds up, not just for lighting but so I can watch mother nature in all her temper. I think this is how I must often appear to my children, a howling, shrieking whirling dervish storming through the house fighting the unending and hopeless tidy up battle. The poor dears. But not today, the house is reasonably tidy and they are playing somewhat quietly upstairs.

It's days like this that make me glad I had the foresight to go shopping yesterday and glad too that this is a holiday so I don't have to run the kids anywhere. Now if I just had a real fire and some way of making my self a cup of tea, I'd be perfectly content. Okay not perfectly..... Just somewhat content.

My only other wish? An ocean view. I just love watching the sea and hearing the crash of the waves in the storm. I used to spend hours on the beach.

With a whir and a whiz the power has just come back on making it no longer necessary for me to blog by phone. Yet the storm still rages so I better put the kettle on before it goes out again.

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Husband is Bad for my blog

Yes, my husband is bad for my blog.  Well I guess not entirely since he does often provide blog fodder.  It's just what with employee issues at work he's had to switch some of his hours around which means he's been home three days this week while working evenings. 

How many of you wives out there understand what I mean when I say he completely throws my schedule out the window when he's home.  I don't know why but things just don't get done the same.  It's almost like I want to perpetuate the myth that SAHM's really don't do much with their day. 

Maybe it's because I think he should do more around the house and I'm holding back waiting for him to take the initiative and get something started.  He's pretty good at helping out when you ask only I can't help but wish he'd just do it without my asking.  I'm not his mom too, if you know what I mean.

Then there is the fact that I have a certain way of doing things.  After E is gone to school and hubs to work, I do my tidy up, get ready for the day, start a load of wash and then I go online blog and visit other blogs.  While I'd like to be able to say that this doesn't take up too much of my time, I have to be honest and tell you it's a terrible time sucker and often an hour could go by in a snap.  Still, my jobs get done on and off throughout the day in between playing with the kids, fixing snacks, grabbing a quick read or cup of tea and browsing the occasional blog or making the odd post. 

When my husband is home that all goes completely out of the window.  I almost feel guilty if I sit down and play at the computer for any length of time.  Why, I don't really know.  I mean I'm a modern day woman, I believe men are just as nurturing and capable of looking after a home and children as we are.  Okay, not quite but they can be damn good at it.  So why do I feel guilty sitting down to do a quick read or when he obviously has no qualms about putting his feet up flicking on the t.v. or even picking up the newspaper.  Why do I feel like I have to hover and be on call 24/7.  He certainly doesn't expect it of me.  Why do I put myself in that position?  Is it age old generations of gender roles rising up unconciously within me?  Or for some reasons my plans always get put on the back burner for his.  It's a rare time for him to be home during the day and so he has lots of projects he'd like to do.  When all I can do is fantasize about having a block of time to myself so I can go check out that neat kid's consignment store I saw downtown.  Sigh.  Don't get me wrong, I love having him home to help share the work of looking after the kids. It's nice to have someone to run with you to the store and to drop off or pick up at preschool but I like having my time too.

So I don't get much blogging done on days that he is hanging around the house.  I should be able to do more in the evenings but let's face sometimes there are better things to do... like playing Sims 3.  Which I just got from Amazon with gift certificates from Mom Central.  Thanks Mom Central.  It couldn't have come at a better time what with hubby working evenings right now.  I dare not play it during the day or my kids won't get fed at all.  Like I could play it with hubs around anyways.  It will be fun for a few days until I figure out all the cheats and build myself fantastic mansions and then I'll get tired of it. 

What a long way to explain why I haven't been posting as much lately. Does it throw you off your schedule when your husband is unexpectedly home?  Does it bother you or do you love it?