Monday, December 22, 2008

Welcome Christmas, Bring Your Light

I've wanted to put up holiday lights ever since...well...ever since we bought a house. I think it makes a dark and dreary winter so much more festive. But, you see, I'm far too cheap (uh, "environmentally responsible") to spend the money to power said lights. Anyone else with me on this?? I mean, our bills in the winter are astronomical enough without adding lights into it.

So, you can imagine my excitement when Canadian Tire approached me with an offer to decorate our house for the holidays! Doubly excited too, because I am not a high-profile blogger or anything. Anyways, I looked through their catalogue and what to my amazement did I find but: solar-powered lights! [Cue Heavenly Music] What could be more perfect for the lowly blogger who is environmentally responsible??

I have a bit of a snowflake fetish, and I found these really lovely lawn stakes. They change colour every few seconds, and Big C is just mesmerized by them. He was so excited to have some "beautiful lights" on his house at last. (We've been admiring the displays of others on our walk home from daycare.) All the trouble of putting them up in a snowstorm was worth it to see the look on his face.

We also have strings of solar-powered lights in our cedars, but the only pictures that turned out decently on our crappy camera were the snowflakes. Behold! (These pictures do not do them justice.)

Our house, and the environment, are smiling. Good times.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Slipping Through my Fingers

Well, now, I'm all depressed. Just finished watching Mamma Mia. The movie was mostly fluff - the best thing about it (besides the music, of course) was the fact that it was filmed in Greece. And then they played this song:

Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while
The feeling that Im losing her forever
And without really entering her world
Im glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl
Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when shes gone there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can't deny
What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go (slipping through my fingers all the time)
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why I just don't know
Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers...
Slipping through my fingers all the time



This just goes to show how brilliant Abba really was. And it's a timely reminder for me not to let precious moments drift away.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wherein I bore (um, WOW) you with my Acting Prowess

At long last, rehearsals for my show are finally underway. Do you remember that I auditioned back in June? Holy Moley that seems like a long time ago! For one thing, we weren't covered in a mountain of snow. [Public Service Announcement: Shovel your @#$% sidewalks! You know who you are. Don't make me come after you with this big chip on my shoulder. But I digress...]

I've had a lot of people ask me in amazed tones just how I do it - get up on stage in front of so many people, memorize all those lines, produce tears, etc. These questions always kind of take me aback, because I don't see it as any special talent - it's just what I do. I have always maintained that acting is 5% talent and 95% hard work.


Continue reading at Playdate

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'll have a Blue Christmas

One of my very favourite things about Christmas is the tree - by a longshot. I have never grown up or out of the wonder, the magic, of the decorated tree. I love to see it lit up at night. I love walking downstairs in the morning and smelling the piney scent. I love to walk around and look at the decorations. No designer tree for me - ours is decorated with love and memories. And eventhough the actual put up and take down always seem to me an insurmountable chore, I love unwrapping the tissue and seeing my old friends:

I bought this the year we bought our house - which was also the year we got married. It looks nothing like our house. It looks homey, though, doesn't it?


This one I got in PEI this summer at the gift shop for the most famous lobster dinner on the Island. It's so famous I forgot the name. But the lobster was very good.


He doesn't look very Christmassy, does he? I love him though - he reminds me of Merlin. I am crazy for the Arthurian legend. Both Big C (middle name) and Little G (first name) were named after knights of the Round Table - who happen to be brothers.


When I first got this ornament as a gift, I thought he looked kind of creepy. He's grown on me. He's so festive! He is always placed near the front of the tree so that I can see him when I pass by. He makes me smile and do a little jig. (Okay, not really, but I do smile..)


My glass ornaments are very precious to me. I have no idea why someone gave me a teapot. I'm really more of a coffee drinker. I like this though, because it reminds me of Beauty and the Beast, and I always break out in a chorus of "Be Our Guest". And then I can't get it out of my head for a week.


Big C made this at daycare last year. Isn't he full of Christmas joy? Good times.


My mom made this in one of the Crafty Phases of her youth. Big C loves it. Little G will love it. I love it. And her.


I simply must have doves on my tree. This one is from a set of felt ornaments from the 70's. They have graced my tree for years.


My parents bought this for me in 1977. They bought us a decoration to commemorate each year and I am trying to follow that tradition. She usually hangs upside down in her swing. I have no idea how I managed to make her sit upright for the photo. It's a Christmas Miracle.



This is my Absolute Favourite. This was the first present I ever remember receiving. I was in kindergarten, and it was a Christmas present from one of the boys I went to daycare with after school. It's technically not an ornament at all. The tail is faded. The mane has been loved off. It is my Skin Horse. I would be devastated if it was lost.

This is the first year that Big C actually "helped" me to decorate the tree. Every time he unwrapped an ornament, he shouted "HOLY MOLEY" at the top of his lungs. It was enchanting. I will be sad when we have to take the tree down. It's the physical representation of holiday joy to me. What's yours?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I just can't seem to watch this enough

So tell me...which one are YOU??


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let your Heart be Light

No news on the sleeping front. We remain ever wakeful.

We've got a couple leads regarding care for the Little Guy in January, but it's mostly nannies. I don't know why I continue to feel this way, but I just don't feel that a nanny is a good fit for us. Maybe I just haven't met the right one...?

I still hold out hope that things will just magically work out. A Christmas Miracle. (Mr Earth's new and much overused phrase).

But YAY! Christmas is almost here! In the spirit of holiday cheer and good times, I will share with you 7 Random Things About Nomo's Christmas:


  1. I love Christmas Carols. I never get tired of hearing them. Really! And you know what? When I hear them in a store, they really DO make me want to buy more. Go figure.
  2. I can't stand blinking holiday lights. They make me crazy. If you want to see me go ballistic, stick me in a room with blinking holiday lights and come back in an hour and watch me go. It's some kind of weird Pavlovian-like response. (Or maybe I was abducted, hypnotized and sent back out into the world to wreak havoc...it could happen)
  3. The only tree topper allowed in Casa Earth is a star. With apologies to you angel lovers out there, I just don't get it. Having a pine branch stuck up your butt all season just looks painful, and it makes me uncomfortable. But what do I know? Maybe the angel loves a prickly goose.
  4. Christmas presents are opened on Christmas morning, NOT Christmas Eve. For those of you who open them on the Eve, whatever do you do the next morning? [Caveat: We open one present on the Eve, and one only - pyjamas to wear that night so everyone is decent for pictures in the morning.]
  5. We must have a real tree. End of discussion. And, yes, I am still sweeping up pine needles from last year.
  6. Much to Mr Earth's dismay, I find that Christmas is just not Christmas without Boney M.
  7. When not screaming at me because they haven't slept long enough (Little G), or fake puking because I forced them to taste the sweet potato (Big C), my kids can actually be quite pleasant to be around. Sometimes they are even...adorable:


Photography by Tangerine. Winning message for this year's card is the title of this post.

I haven't been around much to your blogs due to lack of sleep, and desperate last-minute Christmas shopping. If anyone is struggling with presents for kids (yours or others), stop by Playdate today and read about the cool toys I found for the kidlets on my list. I got some rockin' deals! Nothing over sixty dollars!!

And now I sound like a used car salesperson.

Merry Christmas everyone. I am missing you greatly.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Yesterday

My day started at 4am when the Little Guy was up for the day. For. The. Day. No amount of coaxing would put him back to sleep.

I made a major error at work, a client shouted at me, and I broke down in tears (after hanging up) due to lack of sleep. I spent all day fixing the error, ignoring the many other urgent requests.

The lady who watches the Little Guy during the day - whom we love and the Little Guy has bonded with - has had to give us her notice. Her father was diagnosed with cancer. Awful story - he went to the hospital with what he thought was bronchitis, and it turns out he has inoperable lung cancer. Can you imagine? I feel just terrible for her. She's separated from her husband, watching her two kids (and mine) all day, her mother's passed away and she has to deal with this. Quit her job. Leave her house. Take care of her father. Merry Christmas.

I don't know what we're going to do for the Little Guy come January, but right now I can't even think about that. I haven't slept properly in so long that I'm about to lose my mind. My regular Playdate post was intercepted by a sorrowful tale of woes about the lack of sleep in our house. Please go over there and offer advice, support, anything. I'm desperate.

And tired. So, so tired.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The next Star Wars movie will be...


Dark Vader and the Dinosaur
(May include a guest appearance by a dimunitive green man called: Yoga)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Am What I Am

Hi, my name is NoMo and I have a confession: I don't like to cook.

I don't like it. I don't derive any pleasure from doing it. In fact, it stresses me out. Timing everything so that it's all hot at the same time. But not too hot or it will burn the mouths of babes. Worrying if you're going to make people sick by undercooking the chicken. Worrying if you overcook the chicken that no one will eat it. Angry because you spent a lot of time making food and a certain somebody won't eat it because it's not grilled cheese. This is not fun for me.

I DO, however, love to bake. But you can't just bake goodies all the time. Brownies for breakfast, lunch and dinner is not cool. Especially when you have two little mouths to feed. (I'm pretty sure an all chocolate diet for kids is frowned upon. I'm not 100% positive though - I didn't read the handbook.)

I was reading Domestic Goddess Kgirl's post at Playdate about a working mother's meal planning, and I was just floored by how she's got her act together. I swear, one of the toughest things about going back to work is not rushing to get the kids out the door and to two different daycares, not rushing through a backlog of work, not rushing through lunch doing Christmas errands with less time than usual because you have to leave early, not rushing to get to two different daycares to pick up the kids and get them home before their mouths and there stomachs complain too loudly - it's that after all this, I then have to find something for dinner. And find it fast. This week I've foisted the dinner-making on Mr Earth, and have been much less stressed because of it.

This past year on mat leave, I have tried and tried to better myself in this arena. Once a week, I would make a healthy, balanced dinner from scratch. Not reheated, not defrosted, not from a can or a mix. From scratch. (And yes, I'm aware that once a week is abysmal, but remember, I am The UnChef). The boys and would go to the local markets and get fresh meat, fresh produce everything. I had some help from this awesome book that my friend at Random House sent me: The Good Food for Families cookbook. It's pretty great - it has lots of easy to follow recipes, advice about what to serve with the main dish, how to make the family meal kid-friendly and stuff about the Canada Food Guide. It's so user-friendly that I actually came to enjoy cooking a meal. The kids still didn't eat it, but oh well. The Boy doesn't venture far off the grains section of the Pyramid, and the Little Guy was just starting solids. I felt pretty good about myself. The quintessential Family Dinner. We even went around the table and shared our "three (favourite) things" of the day.

Needless to say, that has fallen by the wayside since going back to work. It actually fell by the wayside earlier than that, who am I kidding? And now that the Little Guy is turning out to be such an adventurous eater (beets! parsnips! salmon! bok choy!), I want to get some of that back. I feel so pressed for time, though. At the end of the day, I'm just happy if the four food groups re represented. I already spend so much of my evenings prepping for the next day so that I can get out the door and to work on time, if I add prepping a meal, I fear that I will lose any "me" time that I've scrounged for myself. Ack! Get out the world's smallest violins and play a sad song for me will you? Parenting is hard and I should suck it up.

Cooking is not my talent. No sir. I am good at many things, and that is not one of them. I need one of those doohickies from Star Trek where you just tell it what food you want and it appears. OH! That reminds me - something I AM good at: spotting the hotties. Get yourself on over to Playdate and see what Hollywood hotties made Mama Drama's list. You'll be surprised.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Truth about Packs and Dogs

One of the best things about going back to work is the chance to read. Twenty minutes on the way to work in the morning and twenty minutes on the way home. If I'm lucky, and not running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I even get to read some at lunch.

Heaven.

I find reading so relaxing. It's one of the many manifestations of order in my life. If I have time to read, I can't be too overburdened or overwhelmed. I must always have a book 'on the go' and at least one 'in the queue'. If I don't have a book to read - even when I don't have the time to read anything - chaos ensues. If a book I am reading is no good, I am moody and annoyed (well, more so than usual). If a book I am reading is suspenseful I am tense and spook easily (Koontz's Intensity was a bad choice - I couldn't sleep). If a book is good, it's -- magic. I will find any and every chance to squeeze in a few pages, paragraphs, sentences even. I'm a slow reader, admittedly. I like to savour the words, not rush through them. On the upside, I remember what I've read really well. Sometimes I can even picture the words on the pages. That probably comes from memorizing so many scripts.

I just finished Kelley Armstrong's Bitten (Random House Canada). What a fun read! Just what the doctor ordered. I've been so stressed about returning to work, the Little Guy not sleeping, everyone being sick and trying to figure out just what I want to be when I grow up, that I really needed some kind of break. Bitten is pure escapism, and I loved it.

I went at it kind of blind (thought it was going to be about vampires - whoops!), and was surprised at the loot that fell out. I've never read any books about werewolves although I've seen lots of movies (Ginger Snaps, An American Werewolf in Paris, Teen Wolf. Anyone-??). With the exception of Ginger Snaps, most werewolf stories are kind of...um...unreal. (This is coming from a girl who LOVES fantasy novels, so take that as you will.) Armstrong pulled off a really neat trick of making a story about werewolves not only thoroughly modern, but very believable. Her narrative style, while it took me some time to get used to, is very familiar - like sitting down with a good chum and recounting what you did last summer.

If you want to get all philosophical and thinky, I would add that the book really spoke to me on a personal level because although it is about werewolves, fights for Alpha position, betrayal and all that, at the heart of the story is Elena's (the sole female werewolf, and central figure) struggle with accepting who she is, and not who she thinks she wants to be. Working through that whole can of worms myself, and it's a messy job.

But Boo to thinkiness - I want fun! I want excitement and intrigue! Bitten delivers. It's total book-candy. (And anyone who knows me well, knows how I loves me some candy..)

Monday, November 24, 2008

First Word

"UH-OH!"


We're in trouble.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Day More

Wow, this week has been rough. If you're wondering why I've not been around more when I'm finally back in front of the computer most of the day, it's because I can barely keep my eyes open.

The Little Guy has decided that sleep is for the birds, and he's just going to forego naps and bedtimes in favour of staying awake and screaming. He screams on the way home from daycare, too. He wants to be held, and I just can't push the stroller and carry him at the same time. Not for that distance, and not with the Boy in the stroller. He also screams and crawls away when I try to clothe or diaper him (But that's old hat around here. You'd think I was torturing him, instead of trying to put on a onesie.)

The Little Guy now spends his days with a local mom and her two kids. She's studying to be a nutrionist, so she's a very good match for our second son, whom we fondly call "The Mouth". He'll eat almost anything. He does seem to like it there, though. In fact, the only time he's not screaming lately is when I drop him off in her arms in the morning. (I'm a little insulted, actually. The only time I expect him to scream and he turns mute and just watches me leave.)

The other day, Mr Earth was blowing raspberries on the Little Guy's tummy before bathtime and the Little Guy was chuckling away to himself, and I felt so lighthearted. I realized that it had been quite some time since I'd heard that sound. That made me a little sad. Okay, a lot sad.

On the plus side, I don't look as sloptastic as I usually do. Every few years, I go through this metamorphosis in the grooming department where I decide Everything! Must! Go! and this time around it happened to coincide with my going back to work. I've decided that if I'm going to work in an office, I should look like I work in an office, not like some student fresh out of university who cobbles together a sad little outfit that is woefully unacceptable. I've tried to apply the rules from my favourite show What Not to Wear. (I always laugh at the people who complain about having to shop on the show, but it IS actually very tiring! I should stop laughing). I've written about my new rules for what not to wear at the office when you're a mother newly back to work over at Playdate. Go have a read. Laugh at my blighted fashion attempts. Give me some wardrobe advice. I obviously need it..

Must sleep now. So very tired. And so very glad tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And on the second day, it all went to sh!t...

Instant replay of my morning (or night...or morning...not sure which):

3am Mr Earth up with Little G
4:50 Mr Earth up with Little G (and, yes, Mr Earth rocks)
5:20 Nomo up with Little G
5:22 Nomo changes large stinky poo
5:25 Nomo puts Little G back to sleep
5:27 Nomo changes small stinky poo
5:30 Nomo sits in chair with Little G till Little G falls back asleep
5:45 Nomo puts Little G back in crib
5:47 Nomo disposes of stinky poos
5:50 Nomo goes back to bed
6:01 Nomo's alarm goes off
6:50 Nomo changes large stinky poo (this time from the Boy)

7:00 Nomo wakes up Little G
7:15 Little G poos again! (Mm, blueberries and sweet potato. I may never eat
again)


So, I had time to get ready without being screamed at, which was really nice. I smell like poo, which is not nice. The house smells like poo, which is even less nice. I did make it to work on time, but just barely. I had to run with the stroller most of the way. (Did I mention that Boy and Little G are in two DIFFERENT daycares?)

I am only now am drinking coffee.

[Side Note: Blogging at work is bad. Very, very bad. Bad, Nomo, Bad! But what a day Nomo had!]

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Second Thoughts

Just when I have a lot to say, I find myself absolutely mum. Is it just me? I go back to work on Monday. I'm not certain it's the best decision. But I don't know if staying home is either.

I remember this time with the Boy. I was so ready to go back to work. It's not that I loved him less or anything, it's just that the whole baby thing was so overwhelmingly life-changing that I felt the need to cling desperately to what was. To the person I was before. To prove that everything had changed, and yet nothing had. I needed to go back. And I was emotional, but it was after the fact. I lost it when, breasts bursting from night-weaning, a colleague put forth the argument that people (mothers) who aren't prepared to stay home to raise children, shouldn't have kids at all. That kids raised by "other people" (whosoever those people may be) would basically grow up to be psychokillers (qu'est-que c'est). You just don't say things like to a mother who is newly back at work. You just don't.

This time, after five months of life moving in slow motion, my mat leave seemed to slip by like a feather in stream. I had all these plans, all these dreams of how I was going to do it so right this time. I wasn't going to make the same mistakes that I made the first time around. And I was right. I didn't. I just made new mistakes. The biggest one was that I let precious time slip past me while I was just trying to keep up with Life. I was so busy with the minutiae that I failed to see the Big Picture. My Achilles Heel.

Now I want that time back again. I want to say "Wait! Please rewind! I know I can do that better!" And I'm afraid. Afraid that I'm making a mistake. Afraid that by going back to work, I am losing precious time that I will never get back. Hugs and kisses and "good jobs!" that will be bestowed by another woman.

But I'm also afraid that if I stay home, I will once again get lost in the minutiae, and fail to see how special what I have really is. Perspective is crucial. But sometimes it comes at a very great cost.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...oh crap.

After mocking people for starting Christmas way too early, I'm starting to get a bit freaked out about it myself. Maybe it's the unexpected carols in local paper store, or the 3 AISLES of Christmas decorations already up in the superstore, but my pulse is starting to race just a bit at the thought of all the things that I have to get done before December 25th. Christmas cards! Bridal shower! Holiday parties! Gift exchanges! Oh yeah, and going back to work on Monday. It's too much.

The Boy and I have been pouring over the toy flyers that have been mysteriously showing up at our door (how do they know where we live??), trying to find gift ideas for the multitude of children that are on my shopping list. Our evenings go something like this:

flip-flip-flip
"Oh, mummy, can I have this?"
flip-flip-flip
"This is my very favourite thing!"
flip-flip-flip
"Can I get this, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeasssssssssssse?"

We're not materialistic at all.

Everything is too expensive, has too many flashing lights and loud sounds, or is just too old or too...much. And I've got a serious hate on for all things branded with movie or tv characters (yes, Disney, that means you too - eventhough my sister-in-law is a bigwig at your company). And I love the handmade, wooden, environmentally-friendly, politically-correct toys but WOWSERS do they cost some big bucks! We're on a budget, people! But Christmas is for the kids, and it's a BIG DEAL around Casa Earth. I want to see the magic in their eyes when they walk downstairs and see what has appeared beneath the tree overnight. And I don't want to spend a gazillion dollars.

So I'm trying to think back to all the Christmas mornings and birthdays that I've had over the years, and to the toys or gifts that really stood out for me. I've compiled
a list of my favourite toys that you can read over at Playdate. Go and have a read if you have a moment. Who knows - you may be inspired yourself. And for the love of Pete, if you have any really good ideas for gifts in the 4-year-old or 1-year-old range, please let me know in the comments here or at Playdate. I need help!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

At Sixes and Sevens With You

Kyla tagged me for a meme. [At least, I think she did. The post was in my Google Reader, but it doesn't exist when I actually go to her site. This is the second time this has happened to me with a blog today. Am I the only one? Am I reading phantom posts? It's weird. Anyways.]

Technically, I think she only [phantom] tagged me for the 7 Random Facts about myself or my kiddo meme, but since she was simultaneously doing the 6th picture from your 6th folder meme, I thought I'd jump on that bandwagon too. Cause, really, who doesn't like pictures? I mean, really-? So here goes:



Strictly speaking, this is not the sixth picture of the sixth folder. It is actually the seventh. BUT, one of the pictures before this is a cropped version of the picture before it, so I discounted that one, making this one essentially the sixth. (Also the TECHNICAL sixth picture includes me coming home from the hospital with no makeup and no sleep for four days. Not pretty. I'm all about sharing, but NO ONE needs to see that..) Part of the meme is to tell the events surrounding the picture, if you can remember them. This one is simple. WE JUST HAD A BABY. Look how cute and small the Boy was! Mean parents that we are/were, we unswaddled him in the hospital so that we could get a picture of his tininess in all its miniscule glory. The Boy was NOT impressed (see above).

Since we're on the subject of the Boy, let's do 7 Random Things about The Boy:

1. He does not like vegetables very much. It's a struggle to get him to eat them. And those people who think I should just "hide" them in his food? IT DOES NOT WORK. He is on to me, and he is not impressed.

2. He can trip on flat ground with no obstacles.

3. He heard the word *sizzlin'* on Yo Gabba Gabba the other day, and he thinks it's the funniest word. Ever.

4. He thinks all presents are for him to open, no matter to whom they actually belong. Birthday parties for other people can be stressful.

5. Every morning he greets his brother with a huge smile. (And the Little Guy thinks he walks on water.)

6. He is very sensitive. Maybe a bit over-sensitive. And I love him all the more for it. Better that than a bully.

7. Thanks to our trip to PEI, he loves loves loves restaurants and hotels. I think we've created a monster.

I'm going to [phantom] tag Kgirl, Mad, Bren J., Mimi and Painted Maypole. Do you want to play a game? (Bonus points for anyone who still gets that reference. I've been watching too much Spaced. Must. Do. Pop-culture. References. Send. Help.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

And so it begins..

I was walking the boys home in the stroller, and in between neighbouring pumpkins, ghosties and ghoulies, one lone house was stripped of Hallowe'en. In its stead was the merry twinkling of Christmas lights. It had the effect of simultaneously making the undead outdated and also making itself seem rather too precipitous.

Similarly, I was in a store earlier day getting more supplies for the handmade invitations that should have gone out last week for the bridal shower I'm hosting. The wedding is on New Year's Eve. I'm sure I will have NO PROBLEM finding a babysitter. Yeeaaahh. Anyways, as I was paying the exhorbitant amount of money they charged for sturdy cardstock, I recognized one of the tunes playing in the background as a Christmas carol. Here's how the ensuing conversation played out:

Inside Voice: "Freaks. It's barely November."
Outside Voice: "Omigoodness! That's a Christmas carol! Wow! Already. I wasn't prepared for that."

Shopkeeper: "Oh, it's just one of the songs on a mixed CD we have. We play that all the time."

Inside Voice: "Yeah right. Do you play that mixed CD that just happens to have a Christmas carol on it in the middle of July? Boo-yah!"
Outside Voice: "Huh."

See how interesting my life is?

Oh, and if you're already planning your holiday shopping, or - god forbid - are actually so organized that you're already shopping for the holidays (damn you and your crafty organizational skills!), then be sure to check out my latest post at Playdate. I have a recommendation for the awesomenest TV on DVD boxed set that not many people have heard about. If you like to laugh, then this show should be at the top of your list.

Don't tell me you don't like to laugh. Go. Read.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One








A birthday Haiku:

Laughing, kicking, loud
Wanting in on the action,
You make us complete.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Time Warp

I'm finding it difficult to believe that this time last year, I was pregnant. AND little beknownst to me, I was about to give birth - NOT in three weeks as calculated by doctors and ultrasounds. Due dates, schmue dates. This year has gone by extremely fast, and ridiculously slowly. I'm finding it hard to be coherent when all I feel is schmaltzy, so behold some of the (very few) Hallowe'en pictures that are (sort of) in focus:


The Not-So-Spooky Jack-O-Lantern Pizza. Rule #1: Nobody gets to eat Hallowe'en candy unless they eat dinner first. (Best thing about being a parent? Making up crazy rules.) This pizza may become the new tradition at Casa Earth.


My lovely, sweet "Ninja" Turtle Boy. He refused to wear the mask, so that makes him a...turtle. Sans ninja. That worked out perfectly. Look at his poor cheek! His hand-holding partner in the daycare's Hallowe'en parade took a tumble, and the Boy came tumbling after. Apparently, he was very brave. He cried a bit, and then made sure that his friend was ok.


This is the last first holiday for my baby. My Little Guy is not so little anymore. Sniff. Excuse me while I get all googly...

Happy Hallowe'en from Casa Earth!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Pumpkins, The Plan, and the Product

Little known fact: I'm just not that into Hallowe'en.

You'd think that a holiday centered around dressing up in costume and getting candy would be right up my alley (don't say it, Crazymumma). But I get my fill of costumes from the stage, and although the candy is great, I tend to eat waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much, and then I just feel guilty. Add to that having to closely monitor the amount of candy the Boy consumes before bedtime (he is my son, after all), keeping the Little Guy up later than he would like, having to stand outside in the cold almost begging kids to come and take our candy (What's with that? Don't kids want candy? Am I frightening them away with my desperate cry of "Candy! I have candy! Please come and take it"!?), and the whole thing kind of makes me go... Meh.

I do love dressing up the kids, though. And I LOVE carving the pumpkin. I don't know what's gotten into me. I don't recall ever carving a pumpkin before we bought a house. Seriously. And now I'm all Pumpkin Competitor #1. So behold..

The Pumpkins

Poor $2.99 pumpkins from Loblaws. They don't know the seriousness of their fate. I spent a week trying to figure out how I would get two pumpkins, two kids and a stroller home from the Village, and I finally gave up. I snagged these while I was getting samosas for our regular Tuesday night Indian cusine. The backs are all flat and scarred, but don't the fronts look nice? It's all about appearances.

The Plan

I have this freakish new tendency to carve the pumpkins to echo the kids costumes. I may have created a whole new category of fetish. Moving on.

The Little Guy is going to be Cookie Monster. I created this design freehand based on a retro t-shirt that I found online.

The boy is determined to be a Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle. I didn't even know he knew who they were. And aren't they passé, anyways? Fashion-forward does not describe our family. Anyway, we compromised by buying him a turtle costume, and borrowing a blue mask from a work colleague of Mr Earth's. I'm hoping that the mask gets "lost" and he gets to be the cute plush turtle that suits his personality much better.


I totally stole this design from my favourite pumpkin carving pattern site, Zombie Pumpkins. They rock, but I refuse to pay money to buy a pattern when I can just copy it from the online site. So I look at the pattern they created and draw it freehand. But, one of their "new" designs for 2008 is Count von Count from Sesame Street, and I did that exact pumpkin two years ago, so maybe they're stealing from me..? Probably not. But it's nice to dream that I have some claim to fame.

The Product



They probably won't last till Hallowe'en, so I had to photograph them all lit up today. I highly recommend that you don't carve your pumpkins untill the day of, if possible, especially if they are intricate or delicate. They tend to wilt. However, with two small kids in the house, carve ye pumpkins while ye may. Babies don't nap for very long. At least, mine don't.


Monday, October 27, 2008

I need to channel my inner Jerry Springer

So I'm walking down a fairly busy street near my house on my way to pick up the Boy from daycare. It's a bit chillier than I thought and I'm wondering if I dressed the Little Guy warmly enough. He's sitting in the stroller thumping his legs and jawing away to himself as per usual.

Halfway down the street, I come upon a bunch of teenagers hanging out. There's about ten of them in a clump, and they're blocking the entire sidewalk. They don't see me or the stroller (naturally), so I stop and politely say "Excuse me" audibly enough to be heard over the giggles and guffaws. They reluctantly make a path in the knot of bodies just large enough for me to pass. I walk through, and just as I'm a few steps beyond the group, a blond girl speaks up, her voice nonchalantly oozing disdain:

"Your baby is fat."

I look back, not sure I heard her correctly. And then she laughs. And not in an 'I just made a joke' way. I heard correctly. I shoot her a look so dark, I'm surprised she is still standing upright. I hold the look but she looks away, dismissing me. I want to do something but I'm in a state of shock. Who insults a baby? In front of the baby's mother?? I am livid. I want to go back and say:

"The Little Guy may be on the larger end of the spectrum, but he's a baby. He will lose the baby fat as he grows. Your lack of civility, however, is a much more difficult problem to address. You are lucky that I am in shock from your appalling lack of manners, or you might find yourself in a conflict you have no hope of resolving."

Or, as they would say on Jerry Springer:

"Yo skank! Yeah you, with the puffy jacket and the painted on jeans. The baby may be large, but you're a b*tch. He, at least, will lose the baby fat. You'd better duck before I throw my shoe at your head."

Don't mess with the Mama Bear. The claws will come out.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sympathy of Souls

Do you believe in reincarnation? I'm not sure how I feel. My romantic side immediately stakes it's territory, refusing to believe that life can simply end. It wants to believe that the people in my life are there because they are meant to be. Fated. Endlessly intertwined. Then my practical side rushes to the fore, wagging it's metaphorical finger and telling me not to be so silly. Death is an end. Period. My creative side, of course, thinks that the ability to reincarnate is so much more of an interesting choice.

At the risk of sounding overly fanciful and new-agey, I believe I have what, for a lack of better words, might be called a sympathy with different historical periods. I don't imagine I was a princess in a tower pining for a lost love, or a president's wife quietly ruling a country from a seemingly subservient role. (Why do people who believe they are reincarnated always assume that they were someone extraordinary in their past lives? For surely if I lived before, I came from peasant stock.)

But I don't know how to explain why music from the forties breaks my heart as if I was personally affected by the war. How picking up a long skirt so that I could run up a grand staircase without tripping seemed oddly familiar. How every time I visit the ocean, it feels like I've come home and yet I've never lived near water. Why the Claddagh ring is ridiculously important to me (I have some Irish background, but it's mixed in with Scottish, German and Russian and no doubt many others). Why hearing words like Old Bailey, or Ludgate, or Fleet Street make my blood race.

I call it a sympathy, because I just finished reading Mary Novik's Conceit (Random House). It's such an interesting novel. I didn't warm to it right away, but somehow somewhere in the middle, I realized that I was really enjoying it. It kind of gave me the comfortable feel of Pride and Prejudice meets Little Women. But what really stood out to me, and what I think makes this novel worth reading, regardless of what you think of the story itself (I preferred the secondary story of John Donne and Ann More to the trials and tribulations of the central Pegge), is the author's voice. She manages to write as if she is actually from 17-century England. I've read many plays from that time period, and if I didn't know from the flap that Novik is Canadian and still alive, I would have thought that this book was written back then. It's remarkable. Authors can do extensive research, but it doesn't mean they can pull that off.

As I was coming to the end, I read this passage:

..two lutes, being both strung and tuned to an equal pitch, and then one played upon, the other will, like an echo to a trumpet, warble a faint audible harmony in answer to the same tune, yet many will not believe there is any such thing as a sympathy of souls. (pg 346)

The author was talking about love, not reincarnation, but the phrase struck a chord. This sympathy of souls describes how I feel connected to a past that I never experienced. Is this reincarnation? Is this a scholar who has done too much study on a particular subject? Is this a woman who reads too many historical romances and uses sympathy with the past as an excuse for not fitting in to the present?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New drapes have been ordered.

I had some grand plans for my year of maternity leave. The boys and I would roam about town dressed up in playclothes made out of old drapes, soaking up the culture that the city has to offer. We would see plays! We would go to art galleries! And the Zoo! And Ontario Place! I'd bring my acoustic guitar and we'd make up teaching songs on a hilltop!! And we would do it all on our own - an intrepid threesome.

We did end up doing some of these things, but we only started doing them recently, and never by ourselves. Frankly, on the days that my elder wasn't in preschool, I counted it a very grand thing if we made it out of the house before 4pm.

Read more at Playdate.

I play a mean guitar. Learnt it from a nun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Under the Mad Hat






Well done, Mad. G-dog is one cool puppy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Frost Wind Made Moan

The family and I went to the Eaton Centre on Saturday to find clothes for Mr Earth's new head shot. He's getting them done on Wednesday, and like me, all his clothes are either completely inappropriate or threadbare - having chosen to spend all our money on the kids. Someday soon they will realize that they are better dressed than us and that we are completely "out of it", but what they won't realize is that it is their fault. So nyah.

Anyways, we're going up the escalator in Sears because the Boy was tired of shopping for things that weren't for him and he wanted to see the toys (Toys, Mummy! I want to see the toys! Can we see the toys?! But I HAVE to see the toys now! NOW!), and smack dab in the centre of the first floor was a little square of Christmas. Trees, decorations, nutcracker dolls - the works. Nowhere else was remotely decorated.

My first thought was - GAH! - commercialism. Not even Hallowe'en yet, and they're already pushing consumers to Buy!Buy!Buy! I felt like Charlie Brown, only taller. And more hair. Then I thought that it looked kind of sad, like someone had forgotten to put away this small patch of Christmas from last year. I wanted to take my blankie and wrap it around the section and perk things up a bit.

My third thought was - GAH! - it's almost Christmas! Christmas is almost upon us! I started twitching, wondering how I was going to get everything done. How has the year gone by? I remember thinking last Christmas how fun it would be this year, with an almost-4-year-old and an already-1-year-old. Christmas last year was a bit of a washout. We were so newborn-tired that it was difficult to muster up the energy to celebrate. Luckily, I don't think the Boy noticed.

You see, Christmas is VERY IMPORTANT to me. It trumps any and every celebration of the year - birthdays included. Yes, a day that is All About Me is LESS important than a day that is mostly for the kids. And it's not the presents either. It's the feeling of the season. Everyone being a little bit nicer. Everybody going that extra mile. And everyone is celebrating something sometime in the season: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc. But I swear, I get simultaneously giddy and misty when I hear Christmas carols. Mr Earth has shouted at me for singing Sleigh Ride in July (you have to admit, it's catchy).

So eventhough Hallowe'en is still two weeks away, and I mocked the Christmas section in the Eaton Centre, I'm already looking ahead to this year's festivities. Every year, we do a Christmas card with a picture of the kids which, of course, has to be shot in November in order to get it out in time. And here is where I need your help... I always use a well-known quote from the season. So far, I've used:

  1. Tidings of Great Joy (it was a Christmas Card and a pseudo-birth announcement for the Boy)
  2. Tis the Season (the picture was of the Boy looking very merry)
  3. The Greatest Gifts (Christmas Card and pseudo-birth announcement for the Little Guy - a play on the line that the best gifts come in small packages)

But I'm stumped for this year. Here's some I'm considering - all lines from some of my favourite carols:

  1. Eyes all aglow (The Christmas Song)
  2. Two Birds of a Feather (Sleigh Ride)
  3. Let Your Heart Be Light (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas)
  4. Give My Heart (In the Bleak Midwinter)
  5. Hold the Hands I Love (Song for a Winter's Night)

Yeah, it's cheesy. Yeah, I don't care. If ever there was a place for cheese in my life and in my heart, it's during the holiday season. Do you like any of those? Do you have a favourite holiday sentiment that is child-friendly (as the photo will be of the kids only) and not overtly Christmassy (as we have family that are Jewish)? Serve 'em up. I'm all ears.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wean

Forgive me Little Guy, for I have sinned.

It has been eighteen days since I've replaced a feed with a sippy cup. Three days since I've replaced a second feed. You are now going from morning to night without breastmilk.

It is not going well.

I don't know if it is that you are not thirsty. I don't know if it's that you don't like the (multitude of) sippy cup(s) I've offered. Perhaps you don't like the formula. Why would you when the real thing is close at hand? Maybe it's just the fact that I'm the one giving you the sippy cup. Who knows what's going on in your head? If there ever was a time to use your words, now would be it. If only you had any.

From morning till night, you don't drink. From morning till night, you have - maybe - some random sips from the cup. You seem to be taking in some small amount of water occasionally, so I guess that's something. But there's no nourishment there. I don't give in. I offer food (with high water content) and distraction instead. If it weren't for the fact that you're a champion eater, I would be beside myself with worry.

As it is, I'm as tense as a horse at the gate, waiting for the pistol that never shoots. I'm snappish and stressed, worried that I'm doing the wrong thing. No, not that I'm doing the wrong thing, per se, but approaching the right thing the wrong way. Maybe that's more accurate.

I go back to work in a month. I start rehearsals shortly after. And even if I weren't, I would be looking to wean soon anyways. I used to think that I was doing a good thing by breastfeeding for a year, but now the recommendation is that you do it for two to four years. Well, I've never been able to pump successfully, so unless I stay home altogether, it's basically all or nothing. Still, the guilt is there.

I thought that dropping four feeds in two months would be enough time. How on earth do people wean in a week? This is amazing to me. Do they know something I don't?

I press on, hoping it will somehow magically work itself out. I wonder if I spend too much of my life hoping things will magically work themselves out. You have been remarkably good humoured throughout. A person would only know something was amiss when you knock the sippy cup out of my hands and screech. If I offer you food, though, you will happily munch away. But it begs the question - what happens when the morning and night feeds are replaced...?

Even if you don't remember a single moment of this - because I don't think you will - I still don't want to be the person that takes the light out of your eyes. Not even for a moment. You may not remember, but I will.

Is this really what it's like to be a grown-up? If so, it's kind of sucky.

Pardon the pun.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thank Heaven for Little Boys


Happy Thanksgiving from Casa Earth!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Zoo Story

What a difference a year makes! My last memories of visiting the Toronto Zoo include being insanely hot (the weather, not me) and rather pregnant (me, not the weather). The Boy didn't want to sit in the stroller, but refused to walk, so Mr Earth and I took turns carrying him. He enjoyed the zoo. Our arms, not so much.

This year, the Boy, the Little Guy and I went with my very good friend and her two children. I was a bit worried about how it would all go down, but I was pleasantly surprised. The weather was fantastic - warm, sunny, cool breeze. I couldn't stop talking about how glad I was to be out of doors on such a nice day. I felt a bit giddy with the freedom. (Or was that the vodka in my Klean Kanteen? Hm.)

The Little Guy, Mr-I-Hate-the-Stroller-Don't-You-Dare-Put-Me-In-That-Thing, sat contentedly the whole time. The. Whole. Time. Unheard of. Perhaps he was as tired as I am of looking at the same four walls of our house? Methinks we should get out more.


Oh sure, he gave me some funny looks. But he sat there. The. Whole. Time. Have I mentioned that this is unheard of? I was starting to think that he had drunk some of the contents of my Klean Kanteen. Hm.

The Boy and his friend explored the giant fallen tree. It was pretty cool. Man-made? Not sure.

I would have crawled through myself, but was afraid of getting stuck. Besides, someone had to take the pictures, right? The perfect excuse. How would I explain getting stuck in a gigantic fallen tree? Humiliating.

The boys stopped to examine a caterpillar crossing the road:


Oh sure, twenty bucks admission and eight bucks for parking, and the most fascinating animal at the Zoo? A caterpillar. He was pretty darn cute, though. (Was it a he? How does one tell these things? Are there even He-caterpillars? You can see I got me a good education..)

More shocking than the live bat we saw (Live bats. Shudder.), was the peahen who jumped out of her cage, and came to the snack bar for a little treat. Or was she window shopping? Hm.



If you look in the window, you will see the faint reflection of the Boy. I think that's a pretty neat effect for a sucky photographer like me.

One of my personal favourite parts of the Zoo (besides the weather, which really was phenomenal), was this poster:



I just think that says it all, don't you?




Thursday, October 09, 2008

Myers-Briggs analysts would have a field day.

'Cause I'm over at Playdate today talking about actor/mother split personality: I seek attention, but loathe it when I get it. What's with that? I'm a freak.

So come on over to Playdate and look at the freak. Have a read. Analyze me if you can. If nothing else, it'll make you feel good to know you're not nearly as crazy as me.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The earth beneath my feet

Lately I've been feeling oh-so tired and uninspired. I have a lot to say, but no energy to put it into words. I needed something to lift my spirits and give me that rush I used to get every fall when starting a new school year.

So I gave the keys to my blog to my good friend Motherbumper, and had her go in and rearrange the furniture. She put up a swanky new header, and tweaked other areas, and the result is simply stunning. It brightens my day just looking at it. (In fact, if you look at my Sitemeter stats, it will probably show that I am my biggest fan.)

I feel like I have a second wind, and I have my ridiculously talented friend to thank for it. Please give her props in the comments for doing such a great job.

Motherbumper, you are my gravity.

Monday, October 06, 2008

My in-laws are great, BUT..

...they're not always the most sensible people out there, ya know?

So they come over to our house for a visit on Saturday (and thank god they did because I swear it's the only way that my house gets cleaned), and they brought presents for the boys:

Cookies.

What's wrong with cookies, you ask? Well, these aren't just any cookies. These are Cookies, with a capital "C". Gourmet gingerbread cookies smothered in hard candy icing. Yummy! BUT. They're GINORMOUS. They are the size of a small child's head. No word of a lie. My mother-in-law (Mr Earth's stepmother) took the cookie meant for the Little Guy out of the bag and waved it in the baby's face saying "Look what I got for you!", and he backed away screaming and crying from the sheer size of it.

In fact, just so you don't think I'm exaggerating (because I do tend towards exaggeration on occasion, ahem), I photographed the Cookies in question with a tape measure for reference:




Then I photographed the boys with the same tape measure (please excuse the blurry photos - I get all shaky when I'm so close to baked goods that I'm not allowed to eat..):







They were trying to do something nice - which I appreciate, I do! - but no good can come from this situation. The Boy is THREE. Maybe your three-year-olds have more sense than mine does but he will:

A) Try to eat the whole thing - because it's his Cookie and he will not share - end up with a tummy ache, and start crying.

B) Have a flying fit because I broke off a small piece that he could eat now, saving the rest for another day, and start crying.

C) Spend the week asking what happened to the Cookie (I hid it), and telling me that Granny's going to be so sad because we *lost* the cookie (I ate it). He'll start crying, I'll commiserate. And later on I'll start crying because I have a tummy ache.

Any way you look at it, it ends in tears. And this is not the first time that they've done this.

And while it's highly unlikely that the Boy was going to actually get to eat that cookie (see above reasons), there is NO WAY the Little Guy was ever going to touch it. I have to assume that "the Little Guy's Cookie" was actually meant for my (um, OUR) consumption. Surely, surely, they don't think that he would be allowed to eat it...?

So now I have two cookies I have to eat. I could throw them out, but let's face it, I have no self-control. I wish I could convince Mr Earth's stepmother that books would be better objects of her shopping prowess.

I'd be a lot thinner.



Thursday, October 02, 2008

Do You Gossip?

Do your friends Gossip? Do you Gossip when you're home alone at night? Do you Gossip with your husband? Do you Gossip on the couch, or in bed? Do you Gossip more than once a week? Would you, if you had the chance?

Come on over to Playdate today, and find out why I can't stop Gossiping. And send help.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

3 Going On 13

I thought it wouldn't happen quite so soon. I thought I had at least a few years grace. But it's official. The Boy hates me.

I get that kids go through Mummy-phases and Daddy-phases and it's completely natural, but holy crap it's hard to deal with. Especially because, in the moment, it does not feel like a phase at all. It just feels like complete and utter dislike. I can do no right.

Every morning starts out pleasantly enough. It's a fresh start. Today is the day that every will go smoothly. Then I do just one thing wrong. Just one little thing. Like not helping him with his socks right away. Like insisting he eat something other than bread. Like asking him to open his mouth so I can brush his teeth. Like making him cereal when he wanted toast. Like asking him to either walk or sit in the stroller (not sit on the curb and sulk). I am such a Bad Mother.

And then the screaming starts. And the crying. And the wailing. And the sulking. And the shouting.

"Stop being mean to me!"
(See: Bad Mother)

"You're not going to be my friend anymore!"
(Well, I'm still you're mom, and I love you. So there.)

"You're not coming to my birthday party!!"
(I got news for you, kid. If I'm not there, there IS no party.)

I only think those responses - well, except perhaps the last one - I don't say them out loud. But the constant screaming and insulting really grates on the nerves, you know? And then I start to lose my cool. And I am not nice. I scream back sometimes. I'm not proud of it. I want to stop. I want to get through one morning without the spewing of anger - from him or from me.

I'm supposed to be the adult here, but I am not doing my job well. Just call me "35 Going on 3".

Tomorrow's another day. Right?

Right??

Friday, September 26, 2008

Before and After

Today was interesting. The kids and I were playdating on the other side of town. After an early lunch, we took the kids to a little park close my friend's house. It was one that I'd never been to, but she and her kids frequent regularly. Her son's preschool uses the park as their outside space, and the nearby high school students find it a pleasant refuge. A group of boys were hanging out on the bench near the entrance, dishing the dirt. Another little grouping was enjoying the grass under a tree.

It was pristine. An empty cola can lay on the ground near the pergola but it looked awkward and out of place. The park was essentially empty, most kids undoubtedly home napping, but ours had decided that sleep was for the weak. So there we were. A fabulous play structure rested smack dab in the middle of newly laid sand. Bright fun toys were scattered about waiting to be investigated. The boys leapt out of the stroller. Heaven.

The lawn was freshly mown and bright green. The sky was refreshingly blue and the air was crisp. One lone tree blazed in it's autumnal glory. Somewhere off in the distance, a bagpiper played Amazing Grace. I remarked to my friend that it had a melancholy effect, like something grand was coming to an end. We trundled the babies around in the back seats of our strollers, hoping that they would fall asleep.

We stopped momentarily and noticed him at the same time. A willowy young man with thin dark hair and skin the colour of thai iced tea. He was wearing nylon athletic pants and a light jacket. Nondescript. He walked silently, seeming to glide across the grass. We were both looking at him and he turned his head and smiled at us. It was meant to be a smile at least, but it reminded me of The Gentlemen from Buffy's Hush. My hackles raised. We kept walking the babies in a circle.

The young man walked to the far corner of the park and began to undress. Not undress, redress. He was changing into women's clothes. We half-watched in amazement, not sure where to look. Then he started walking around. No, gliding around, like a geisha practicing her walk. Unsure. He did this for a while.

We tensed, waiting to see what would happen, but nothing did. We questioned the kids in the park to see if they came there often, and whether they had seen him before. They did, but they had not. We were prepared to protect the kids if necessary. The boys on the bench valiantly offered to take him to task if he came after them. But all he did was quietly put his masculine clothing back on, and slink away in the direction from which he came. He didn't take the women's clothes with him. Upon investigation, it seems he had a box for them stowed amongst the trees.

The kids played on, oblivious. My friend and I wondered what, if anything, we should do. He didn't do anything. As far as we know, all he wanted was an audience for his actions. And he wanted an audience. He may have been furtive, but he did nothing to hide his actions. Not even the transformation from before to after. We have no indication that he would harm anyone. But the potential is there.

Four years ago, I would have found this incident merely interesting, possibly humourous. Part of the reason that I love the city, and want to stay here, is that I want my children to grow up with a wide array of cultural experiences. I want them to be safe, but not sheltered. I want them to learn that all people, no matter what race, gender or sexual orientation are worthy of the same consideration. I think living in a big city is a good way to do this.

Today, I am a little ashamed that upon seeing someone who for all I know is completely harmless, my first thought is of the potential danger to my kids. It's a survival instinct, but that doesn't necessarily make it right.

It's a fine line between protection and exposure. This parenting thing is hard.