Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Dear Mama (Happy Mother's Day....I'm so sorry)

Mother's Day is just over a week away as evident by looking at any greeting card or jewelry store suggesting that you show mom just how much you care by purchasing her fake diamonds in the shape of a heart that she'll never wear at least so long as your mother isn't an 11 year old tween.  What this means for me is that after yet another 12 months of parenthood, I have realized a lot more to apologize to my own mother for. Not only do I have my own toddler antics to repent for, I also have the strife caused by my progeny to add to this list.   That's right, two generations of bad behaviour to apologize to my mom for! Sigh, here it goes.

Double strollers for twins

Dearest Mom,

I'm so sorry....

  • Any time I drew on anything that was not paper and essentially ruined your nice things.  I recently caught Jack using bathtub crayons to "decorate" our antique Duncan Phyfe drop leaf table and wanted to cry.
  • That on those rare occasions when you'd fall asleep on the couch for a cat nap, I ALWAYS woke you up and I don't even fully comprehend why I was so compelled to do this.
  • The way I criticised how your ponytail skills never made my hair flat enough, that you brushed too hard or took too long, despite the fact that I was moving my head around like I was a head-banger at a Pantera concert the entire time you attempted to do my hair.
  • Any time I insulted your cooking.  There has to be some sort of graph that shows the coorelation between increased time spent preparing a meal, also increases the likelihood that the minions are to say, "I don't like it" and push their plate away as if I'd just served them a plate of dog food.
  • Public Tantrums - Particularly in front of neighbours, other parents at daycare or anyone we have to have contact with on a regular basis.
  • For spitting in the face of danger by running into the street, across a busy parking lot or doing anything that made your heart skip a beat because you were sure that I was repeatedly trying to die.
  • For saying mean things when I didn't know any better.  When Molly says things like "I don't love you any more" and then giggles, I know she doesn't mean it, but that doesn't make it suck any less.
  • That the first time Molly and Jack gave you kisses and told you they loved you, they immediately passed on a terrible cold.
  • For every time that I ruined your night sleep by crawling into bed with you and dad and then took up more room than the pair of you combined.
  • For whining, so much whining!
  • That I know I'm probably forgetting at least 20 things that I should be sorry for.

P.S. Still not sorry about the black lipstick as a teenager.

To see The Mother's Day Card Hall of Shame click here

To read my apology from last year click here

To read my first ever Mother's day apology click here

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Monday, 28 April 2014

The Whole World Is Our Playground: Playground Review Pricefield Road Playground

I found this playground during an online search.  It showed up as a hidden treasure, so I thought it might be worth a drive downtown/uptown to explore with the minions.

My park review disclaimer: If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me.

Pricefield Road Playground Review Toronto

Park Name:
Pricefield Road Playground

 There is a decent amount of street parking beside the park.  The park is a five minute walk from Summerhill Subway Station.

Pricefield Road Playground Review Toronto
Theme of Park:
Mini urban playground.

Ground Coverage:
 Wood Chips

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
 Most of the equipment is best suited for kids five and under.  There are some climbing structures that have a bit more height that held the interest of some of the older kids.  I did not see anyone over about seven years old playing at this park while we were there.

Best Parts of the Park:
The park is right next to a soccer field and a dog park, so it would be very easy to multi-task if you had older kids who liked soccer and/or a pet who needed a walk while the kids played.  The park also is right near a series of train lines, so if you have a kid who is big into trains this is an added bonus.  If you are interested in seeing trains I'd recommend avoiding a Sunday when there aren't as many running.  As a family that lives in the Junction with a house near the trains, this wasn't a "wow" factor for Molly or Jack.

Pricefield Road Playground Review Toronto

There was no equipment available that you couldn't find at almost any other playground.  There were also a couple of people who waked their dogs directly through the playground (even though they didn't have children with them) which could be scary and or dangerous to the children in the playground depending on the dog and the kid.

Pricefield Road Playground Review Toronto

Overall Rating:
I rate this playground a 2.5/5.  There was nothing available at the playground that I couldn't get closer to home, if you were a local it may be a decent find, but I would never go out of my way to take the kids here again.  Molly and Jack weren't overly wowed by the park and Molly actually asked me if she could go home after about 45 minutes there.  

To read my review of Jamie Bell Adventure Playground click here

To read my review of Dufferin Grove Playground click here

To read my review of Neshama Playground click here

To read my review of Vermont Square Playground click here

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Read All About it - Book Review: Stuck By Oliver Jeffers

Every once in a while Chris or I try to get a new book into the mix of story time rotation, because if I have to read the book about Toopy Goes Bananas one more time I think I'm going to hurt someone.  I consider these purchases little splurges because they open up the kids to new words and stories and they're generally books that appeal to us as parents.

The latest book we've added into the regular rotation is Stuck by Oliver Jeffers.

book review Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Why We Bought It
The Once there was a Boy boxed set is already a favourite of Molly and Jack so we knew that they liked the other offerings by Jeffers.  It also has repetitive themes and words which we find help the minions (Jack in particular) build his vocabulary.

Book Summary
A modern take on There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly.  The book features escalating ridiculousness that begins when a little boy loses his kite in a tree.

The verse provides an easy story to read out loud to children.  The hand written styled font can be hard to decipher when there are two little ones sitting on your lap blocking your view and could be challenging for a child who is learning how to read.  There are some UK specific words (like calling a truck a lorry) that I've changed on the fly to avoid confusion.

What Molly and Jack Think of the Book
The kids have never requested the book be read to them, but sit still and pay attention when it's read to them.

Ideal Age
I'd say this book is best suited for kids 2-5 years old.

What We Paid for the Book:
$9.49 on Amazon

Would Recommend for..
Mixing up story time for parents.  I would buy this book as a gift for another child down the road.

Overall Rating

To read my book recommendations about under dogs click here

To read other kid focused book recommendations click here

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Hair of the Dog

The first time I coloured my hair was the August before eighth grade.  My older sister had given me the remnants of a bottle of Sun In that I had been coveting all summer long.  I applied it to my hair, went out into the backyard and later that night marvelled at my new Malibu Barbie streaked hair.   Even though my natural hair colour was the type of chestnut brown that Anne of Green Gables prayed for nightly, I was hooked on the blond.  Sun In was my gateway drug into the world of hair altering substances.  When I ran out of Sun In, I bought some more.  When I ran out of that and I didn't have any more I used some peroxide cut with water for an Anarchist's Cook Book: Beauty for Beginners Edition solution.

Why did I have such ample supplies of hydrogen peroxide?  When I was in grade seven I desperately wanted to shave my armpits and legs...My mom told me I was too young and suggested that I use peroxide instead to bleach the hair...I tried it, the result: it looked like I had Billy Idol in a headlock 24-7.  I found other usage for the peroxide supplied by my mother.

By high school I graduated to Henna hair dye and then Manic Panic.  Manic Panic was the worst: It got all over everything; marking its territory on pillow cases, towels and phone receivers, like it was some sort of alternative/goth gang member tagging anything in its path with a smear of colour remnant.* My Manic Panicked hair also turned green when it was combined with pool water because of my extracurricular activity of swim team, fortunately most people thought I had done this on purpose. I finally moved onto the hard stuff - Permanent hair dye.

manic panic after midnight blue
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Over the years I have gone from blond to black and bright red to dark blue.  In my mid-twenties there was an incident at a trendy salon**, where the hairdresser in question left the colour on too long and fried all of my hair.  It wasn't just bad, it was awful.  The damage was irreparable and I had to cut all of my shoulder lengthed hair off at my ears.   After the disaster I silently and dumbly paid the full price, bought a hat and went home and cried.  I knew the proportion of the disaster when the hair dresser called my apartment to "see if I was okay".  I WAS NOT OKAY, and even if that salon had offered me a life time of free services there was no way I was ever going back to give Sweeney Todd another chance.

When my hair grew back, I had to cut it one more time to get rid of the rest of the wreckage, nearly two years later I finally had my hair back.  Today I'm more of a safety girl and I relish my chestnut brown locks.  I colour my hair three to four times a year generally within three shades of my natural colour (with a pinch more red) under the watchful eye of a hair dresser I trust.

Looking back, from the perspective of a mother of a daughter who also dons cinnamon shaded hair, I think her hair is lovely, but know that she may decide that she doesn't feel the same way. I don't know quite what I was looking for in my quest to colour my hair every shade of the rainbow, or if my journey would have been different had I been a little more Betty and a little less Veronica.  Lesson learned, if your 13 year old daughter says she wants a razor to shave her armpits, just let her.

To read about my love/hate relationship with bangs click here

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*After I ruined a cream telephone receiver with wet Manic Panic doused hair I had to physically prove to my mother that my hair was dry before I was allowed to speak on any other phone in the house beyond the one that I had already destroyed.
**I just Googled the salon and I can't beleive that it still exists.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Working for the Weekend

Whenever I'm trying to get something major done around the house and the minions are up, it's a struggle. Working full time, we want to spend as much quality time as possible with Molly and Jack, so I don't love the idea of scrubbing the floors or doing intensive chores and sacrificing our time with the kids.  We often find ourselves letting things slide around the house in favour of an extra story before bed, extra time at the playground or that we've melted into the couch in sheer exhaustion post bed time because we want to make sure that Molly and Jack get enough quality time with mom and dad.

10 ways to know you're a working parent, hooded raccoon towel
Racoon blanket, errr, towel.

You know you're a working parent when:
  1. You think ahead and purchase Easter chocolate for your children, but are so focused on family Easter brunch that the Easter Bunny forgets to show up and it's still sitting in the back of your closet.
  2. Clean clothes live in laundry baskets and story time chairs more often than they live in closets and drawers.
  3. You finally have time to sweep the floor of the nursery and you find enough hair clips, bands, elastics and barrettes to open up your own children's accessory store.
  4. You see a mom on the subway frantically filling out Valentines for her son's preschool class on the way into work on February14th and you want to give her a hug because you feel you've discovered some kind of kindred spirit.
  5. Your child comes home in clothing that is labelled, "DAYCARE PANTS" because you forgot to bring in a spare pair after the finger painting incident.
  6. It takes you two months to return "DAYCARE PANTS" clean because they make their way into your regular clothing rotation.
  7. You've used receiving blankets or housecoats as emergency back-up towels.  This happens at least once a month.
  8. Your children's feet literally pop out of the ends of their shoes before you rush out to the store to purchase new shoes.
  9. Your big "threat" to get your daughter to behave is that you're going to tell her favourite ECE worker that she wasn't listening.
  10. It's Sunday night and you can't wait for Monday morning because your children have tried every last nerve.  This is followed by the Wednesdays where you miss them like crazy and count down the minutes until Friday at 5pm. 
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

With A Little Help From My Friends

When I was growing up my favourite TV dad was Kevin Arnold's from The Wonder Years. Jack Arnold* was surly and gruff, but when he had a heart to heart moment with Norma, Dwayne, Karen or Kevin it always seemed genuine.  Everything on that show somehow seemed more real to me.  One of my favourite scenes is the one where his parents have a fight over Pepsi**.  In real life that's how things erupt, the devil was in the details and small moments as opposed to the "big issues" that were commonly tackled by shows in the 1980's and 1990s.   TV dads cut from the Danny Tanner/Mr. Seaver cloth seemed syrupy sweet in a way that always left a bad taste in my mouth.  My dad is far too eccentric and paternal in a Eugene Levy/American Pie kind of way for my affinity to Jack Arnold to in any way relate to my own relationship with my father.

Molly is a very affectionate child.  She demands hug and kisses constantly.  She declares her love to everyone around her like she's running her own personal election campaign.  Her brother does not subscribe to her tactics.

bumboo baby, baby in Johnny Cash onesie

Jack is a very selective fellow.  He saves most of his hugs, cuddles and affection for those he deems worthy, if he feels like it (usually the grandfathers and a few select friends).  Chris and I both race to daycare every night because we know that the first one of us Jack spots will get a highly coveted run and hug from our son.  These are only available in limited supply.  Chris and I brag to each other when we are the lucky recipients of a kiss from Jack.  In his 32 months of existence I believe I have earned about 20 kisses from my son.  He's told me that he loves me, maybe 10 times, a number that Molly covers over the course of most days.  Jack will only sit in your lap for story time when he wants to: there is nothing disingenuous about earning his affection.

We thought we had Jack figured out.  We need to earn these gifts from our son, and much like an affectionate hair tousle from Jack Arnold we know when we get them, that they mean so much.

Jack likes ping pong balls, a lot.  The other morning he decided that he wanted to take one with him for the car ride into daycare.  When we arrived I asked him to leave his ping pong ball in the car, as I'm fairly certain that it is something that could become a choking hazard to younger children at the centre.  He set his ping pong ball into his car seat and called out, "Bye, Bye ping pong!  I'll miss you!  I love you!  I love you ping pong, I love you!" as we walked up the path and into the centre.

I've tallied the score so far: Ping Pong Ball 3, Mom 10.

Game, set, match.

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*Are you asking yourself, is my son named after Jack Arnold?
**Other best scenes: Kevin Amold ID bracelet and the Becky Slater break-up scene when he tells her that he wants to be friends.  I also loved the tree house episode.

Monday, 14 April 2014

We Didn't Start the Fire - Playground Review Jamie Bell Adventure Playground

This Toronto playground was recommended via Torontoist in their Best Playgrounds feature.  This park is very close to where we live, so Chris didn't believe me when I told him that I've never written a review because we've been here so often.  This playground made the news a number of years ago when an arsonist torched the playground to the ground.  Because of generosity of sponsors such as Canadian Tire, Landscape Ontario and Canadian construction icon Mike Holmes they were able to re-build the playground.

My park review disclaimer: If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me.

Park Name:

high park Jamie Bell Adventure playground, Mike Holmes
High Park (Entrance near Parkside Drive - about a 10 minute walk from Keele Subway Station) 

high park Jamie Bell Adventure playground, Mike Holmes

 There is a decent amount of parking on Parkside and in the park by the Animal Paddocks, however the nicer the day, the less parking available. 

high park Jamie Bell Adventure playground, Mike Holmes

Theme of Park:
Castle themed play structure designed (in part) by kids for kids.

Ground Coverage:
 Wood Chips

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
 This park has playground equipment in two main areas, one with a mazed entrance to help contain  toddlers and a more open area with bigger climbing towers (structures and slides) for older kids.  There were washrooms just up the hill from the play area.  Most of the children around the play area ranged from one to ten years old.

Best Parts of the Park:
The variety of equipment and added design themes by children.  Like the crests painted by kids inside the tower below.  There is a little bit of something from everyone: including some small climbing walls for older kids.  There are also benches alongside the playground so parents of older children can sit back and enjoy some quiet time while supervising.  There are often hot dog carts and ice cream trucks nearby, especially on the weekends.

high park Jamie Bell Adventure playground, Mike Holmes

Since High Park is a main attraction of the city, the playground is really busy all the time.  The volume of kids in the yard means that there can be line ups for equipment and that you need to be careful of children loitering at the bottom of slides.  Random complaint from Chris, the large red slide had a lot of static when he went down with Molly.  The park is still a little beat up this year from December's ice storm.

high park Jamie Bell Adventure playground, Mike Holmes

Overall Rating:
I rate this playground a 4.5/5 but it could grow a half point as the kids get older and we can sit by the sidelines without getting dizzy from of the sheer volume of children running around with bellies filled with ice cream. 

To read my review of Jeff Healey Playground click here

To read my review of Marie Curtis Playground click here

To read my review of Dufferin Grove Playground click here

To read my review of Neshama Playground click here

To read my review of Vermont Square Playground click here

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

April Showers

This past weekend I attended a baby shower for a good friend of mine, so when I asked how I could help I was tasked with organizing a few games.  I thought to myself, I can handle this.  My grouping of friends has hit Babygeddon and some people are beginning to have their second kids.  That being said, we've all been to the showers and played the same games ad nauseam, so I wanted to try some new things.

We have this rule in my inner circle where no one is allowed to measure how gigantic anyone's butt, boobs or belly has gotten as a result of pregnancy or any other life event, like "The Aprils" - so any games that measure girth were off the table.  The sentiment of, "Hey everyone, did you notice how gigantic Baby Mama got in her pregnancy?" as a game is not exactly my idea of showering a mother-to-be with love.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden Vancouver

These are some games that I found that would be great if you wanted to turn your shower into more of a Stag or Stagette type event.  We didn't do any of these because I'm pretty sure my friend would have murdered me if we played any of the following games in front of her mother-in-law.

Pin the Sperm to the Egg
The adult version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Can you tell the difference between the sounds of women in labour or performing in adult entertainment?  Form teams and keep score.

Baby Beer Bottles (we didn't play this one since mama to be has been craving beer and it didn't seem fair)
Buy a number of baby bottles and fill them with different beers (6-8 varieties). Guests have to guess what the different beers are.  Apparently even if you let the guests know which beers are in the selection they still may not get it right.   Be sure to have disposable cups for guests to taste so they don't need to share germs, or provide guests with one bottle of their own to rinse between tastings.

Here's what we did play:

Mama Knows Best, Or Daddy Knows Best?
Dad was asked a bunch of questions about the pregnancy and parenthood ahead of time and then in a dating game show format Mom had to answer from her perspective.  Guests had to guess how many matches there would be.

Unique Baby Names, AKA - They Named Their Kid What?
Guests were asked to put down their mobile devices (no cheating) and see how many celebrity parents they could match with their oddly named kin.  Do you know who the parents are of: Jermajesty, Sage Moonblood, Petal Blossom Rainbow or Diva Muffin?

Baby Shower Gift Bingo
Although this is a fairly traditional game, it's a good way to keep people engaged, if/while the parents-to-be are opening up the gifts in front of people.  Guests fill out on their score sheets what they think will be given as gifts and then check it off when their item gets opened.  Whoever gets a complete row first wins.

To learn how to navigate a baby shower registery click here

To view my list of baby shower gift ideas click here

For alternatives to the traditional shower click here

Happy Showering!

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*This game name has been trademarked by my friend A.  I'm pretty sure that as soon as the mom to be is able to join us for some cocktails we'll be playing this.

Monday, 7 April 2014

On a Plain (Plane)

I was sitting on the arm chair in the corner of my parents house watching the endless coverage of Kurt Cobain's death.  I was in the middle of  watching MTV's Nirvana Unplugged when my mom joined me as she folded laundry.

"This reminds me of when I was your age." she said as she paired socks.

I gave her that apathetic eye role that only a 15 year old girl is capable of.  She ignored me and continued on with her story.

"The day the music died?" she said, both a statement and a question to see if I had any clue what she was talking about.

She told me about the girls at her school crying in the hallway because everyone had been so upset over the untimely death of so many young and talented musicians.  She explained to me that she had thought that it was very sad, but didn't quite understand the tears and strong reaction towards someone who her friends had never met.

Earlier that week a friend of mine berated me because of my reaction (or lack thereof) to Kurt Cobain's death.  I think this was the 1990's version of calling me a sell-out.  My friend was angry at me for two reasons: I had refused to wear all black to mourn Kurt's death and because I had declined an invitation to go light candles in the park in a vigil to Kurt.  I opted out of wearing black because I didn't want to.  My friend clearly saw some sort of kinship with Kurt that I just didn't get.  I declined the vigil because I had a babysitting gig, in which I got paid money to sit up late and watch Pearl Jam perform on Saturday Night Live.  I also knew my evening babysitting wouldn't end in someone puking peach schnapps on my shoes.

"I get that Kurt was talented, I get that he is and will be an influence on many people, but he was kind of a jerk and being famous doesn't make you a good person." I said to my mom (and no one else).

She nodded and sat down with me to watch the end of Unplugged and some interviews.  When Nirvana's rewritten version of Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam came on she was mildly amused at Kurt and told me how he had added "doesn't" to the lyrics of a song she used to sing at Sunday school.  She told me how she thought that Courtney seemed "troubled" which was my mom's polite way of saying a hot mess pile of crazy. I tried to explain to my mom why I liked Pearl Jam better than Nirvana and told her about how Kurt had punched Eddie Vedder in the face for no reason and how I thought he had always seemed arrogant in his interviews.  This was probably the longest conversation that didn't erupt in a fight that we'd had in months.

The Saturday night of the vigil I watched Pearl Jam's performance on SNL while the twins slept upstairs (there has to be some sort of irony about the insane number of twins I used to babysit as a teen).  When Eddie opened up his jacket to reveal a tribute to Kurt, my heart melted.  If Eddie could forgive Kurt then so could I.   When I got home from babysitting late that night there was a tape sitting on my bed.  My mom had stayed up and taped the SNL episode for me.

Kurt Cobain's body was found 20 years ago this week, it changed the course of music history.  Kurt's death was also an oddly warm bonding moment between my mother and I amongst a sea of teen angst.  This week as everyone talks about everything April 1994 I think about the death of Kurt from the new perspective of a mother: Addiction and illness doesn't care that you're a parent or a rock star.

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Don't Let It Break Your Heart

You know that girl that you didn't like in high school but you couldn't quite figure out why?  The one who you creep on Facebook and are secretly happy that got fat, divorced, peaked in high school (fill in the blanks here).  Hollywood has oodles of examples of these people we love to hate.  There is something about being famous that comes along with the big pay cheque...people will be really vocal about what they think and not take your feelings into consideration.  I sometimes feel bad when I come across sites that feature shots of celebrities reading negative Tweets about themselves, but I feel a little less bad when already very well off people leverage their celebrity to make even more money.

I don't know if you've been online lately, but if you have you'll know that everyone is hating on Gwyneth Paltrow again since the announcement of her "conscious uncoupling".  My favourite commentary so far was with respect to Chris Martin's first actions as a free man, "I'll be at the pub having a beer and my first cheeseburger in years. I'm having an orgasm right now just thinking about it." courtesy of Jen at People I Want to Punch in the Throat

why we all love to hate Gwyneth Paltrow
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Here's my breakdown on Gwynnie where I explore why we all love to hate her so much, and 9 reasons why we may be able to love her again some day.

11 Reasons Why We Love to Hate Gwyneth Paltrow:
  1. She villainizes food in her book It's All Good with recipes for clean living meals that come at a hefty price tag. She recommends you do crazy stuff like put your turkey meatballs in broccoli sauce.  (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit)
  2. She boasts about how she allows herself to indulge in one cigarette a week on Saturday nights - you party hard girl!
  3. She dates, gets engaged to and breaks up with all of the best guys.  First 1990s heartthrob Brad Pitt and then sensitively attractive rock star Chris Martin.
  4. She comes from money (producer dad, actor mom) so there is no rags to riches story here to endear us to her because life was so hard.  
  5. No wait a minute, her life is really hard.   She's alienated a lot of supporters into Gwyneth hatred because of her commentary on how it's harder to be an actor parent than it is to be a regular working Joe with an office job.
  6. She went to a private all girls school, because of course she did!
  7. She runs a site (Goop) that boasts "sharing all of life's positives" which apparently means recipes alongside expensive clothes that most people can't afford.  You mean I can buy a white blazer with no sleeves for the low price of $595.00, but wait I can't afford it because of all the hippy food I just bought on your diet you skinny B!
  8.  She says she wants privacy during her divorce in a pretentious statement on her website about the end of her marriage, labelling it "conscious uncoupling". 
  9. She signs the above mentioned statement "LOVE Gwyneth and Chris" - more throw up.
  10. She gives her children names that won't make their lives any easier: I can deal with Moses , but Apple - come on!
  11.  Gwyneth thinks that working parents should always have time to cook a proper meal and says she'd, "rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup." I wonder what she'd say if she saw the meal of Kraft Dinner and cut up chicken wieners we feed Molly and Jack whenever we're low on groceries. Murder suicide? Does it make it better or worse that they come with a side of non organic cucumbers?

Now before you go and put Gwynnie's head in a box in some sort of tribute to Seven, here are a few reasons why you may want to put your pitch forks down in favour of some popcorn (although I'm not sure if that's allowed in the It's All Good cleanse.)

Here are 9 Reasons Why Gwyneth Paltrow is Awesome:

  1. Shakespeare in Love
  2. She dumped Ben Affleck. No matter how many nice things Kevin Smith says about him, I can't get over how smarmy he is.
  3. Apparently, according to Rebecca Harrington's article, some of her recipes are pretty good (albeit expensive)
  4. The Royal Tennenbaums
  5. She's the love interest of Iron Man, how cool is that?
  6. Her honesty surrounding her struggle with postpartum depression.
  7. Estée Lauder donates a minimum of $500,000 of sales of items from the 'Pleasures Gwyneth Paltrow' collection to breast cancer research, that's pretty awesome. 
  8. Emma - her portrayal of one of my top 50 favourite books is amazing!
  9. Shallow Hal - I don't know what it is, but this is one of the movies that if it's on TV I have to watch it. 
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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Everything is Awesome!

Earlier this year I posted my New Years Resolutions (nitty gritty details here).  I figured what was the point of posting them if I wasn't going to update on whether or not I've kept them up.  This is my Three Month Resolution Check In:

Read more stories to Molly and Jack
I would say we read more to the minions now than we ever have, this is mainly because they're more interested in story time now that they're older (and in stalling out bed time).  Most nights we read two to three stories before bed.  We also have been storing some of Molly and Jack's books in locations other than the nursery to encourage non-bed time story telling. Molly's insistence on reading multiple books on the potty has also increased story time at an alarming rate.  Right now Molly's favourite book is Five Little Monkeys  while Jack likes Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb (which is also a book about monkeys)

Read More Books for Me
In 2013 I only read about 10 books for pleasure.  So far this year I have read four and a half books which puts me on pace to read 18 this year, nearly double last year's grand total.

Here's what I've read so far:
The Mother of All Meltdowns - Various bloggers explore their biggest freak-outs post parenthood.

Catcher in The Rye - In February Chris and I watched a documentary on Salinger.  Chris couldn't believe that I hadn't read Catcher in The Rye.  I think because of how much I like to talk about all the books I read when I was a lit major he assumes that I have read all of the classics...After I reminded him that my focus was in Canadian Literature and not Americana he bought me a copy of Catcher for Valentines day.  I'm glad I read Catcher, but I think I was too old to get the most out of it.

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? - Musings from Mindy Kaling on her career, life perspective and being successful despite not being blonde, six feet tall and 90 pounds.

The Rosie Project - A coworker recommended that I read this book because she knows that I like the Big Bang Theory and the protagonist reminded her of Sheldon Cooper.

Photo from the High Line New York City on our long weekend without the minions

Have More Date Nights With Chris:
We've made an effort to schedule more quality time just the two of us. Here's what we've managed since January:

Dates to go and see the Lego Movie (Everything IS AWESOME) and The Muppets Most Wanted (review here)

Valentines Date at home: we sat on the couch, cuddled, split a bottle of prosecco and watched The Notebook on TV, it was great!

After our group ice fishing trip was cancelled because of weather conditions Chris and I took advantage of our free afternoon, took a nap and had dinner and a beer at the local pub before picking up the kids from my parents place.

Be Less Strict with Toddler TV Time
We've incorporated a family Sunday night movie night where we let the kids watch about half of a movie before story time to give them a little more screen time and we have also made exceptions when they're sick or the weather is crummy.  Right now the minion's favourite flick is Finding Nemo and Jack's impression of Bruce the shark is hilarious.

Book More Time For Me
It's so easy to get stuck in the martyr trap as parents.  I am a better parent to Molly and Jack, and better wife when I make time for me.  Since the New Year I have treated myself to 1 manicure pedicure, had a handful of coffee dates with friends and implemented a bi-monthly brunch date with a fellow mom friend. I have managed to get my hair cut twice in 2014, but have yet to indulge in a massage, which is on my to do list soon.

How did you do on your New Years Resolutions?

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Karma Police

The other night I was trolling social media when I came across this post about how pretend pregnancy announcements can be hurtful as April Fools pranks, especially for those who have struggled with loss and infertility, I was intrigued.  The timing of these practical jokes falls three weeks before National Infertility Awareness Week.

As a parent of multiples I encounter a lot of questions based on the assumption that Molly and Jack are a result of fertility treatments rather than an impetuous romp after dining at Red Lobster - we were extremely lucky.  I know and love so many people who have experienced loss and endured exhaustive fertility treatments in the hope of becoming a family and I can only imagine the feeling of heaviness in their hearts whenever they see the flurry of REAL pregnancy announcements and bathroom mirror photos of growing bellies without adding phonies into the mix.

The April Fools pregnancy "jokes" always bothered me but I could never put my finger on why they annoyed me: why should I stop you from playing a joke?  From my perspective what it comes down to is that there are very few life events that we give ourselves permission to celebrate publicly, to scream down from the mountain tops for all to see and that's part of what makes them special: It's not every day you get engaged, buy a house, run that marathon or finish your master's thesis.  It's the social equivalent to posting about that exciting new promotion you got on LinkedIn to CEO of your company and then receding that you were just kidding, APRIL FOOLS'.  I am not usually superstitious but there are certain milestones that I would never fake because I wouldn't want to jinx anything that was so exciting or precious.  I was also taught to never cry wolf and I'm pretty sure that my mom would kill me if I did, especially about imaginary grandchildren.

New years Eve PJ party
Chris and I New Year's Eve 2011 - we'd just discovered I was pregnant.

Remember when an April Fools joke was those decal stickers to make your dad think you put a baseball through his car windshield or hiding behind a corner with a wagon full of water balloons to "get" your siblings?  I miss those classics.  One of the math teachers at my high school pranked all of his students one spring by shaving his beard and pretending he was his twin brother filling in as a substitute teacher for weeks before he "returned" from sabbatical, now that took commitment!

Aside from the possibility of unintentionally hurting someone you care about in the spirit of a joke, you may want to consider this fact before you post a false positive online: People are inundated with information via social media every day and usually are only skimming these news feeds. This means that they may not be privy to your grande hoax reveal...So when you post that selfie in a few months and someone compliments you on your baby bump (beer baby), know that you kind of deserve it.

What do you think about the fake pregnancy (or major milestone) April Fools' joke, fun or foul?

For some fun April Fools' jokes to play on your kids click here

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