Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blog O'clock

I found these lovelyvintage clocks
over at Sadie Olive's Etsy shop.
It's blog o'clock. That is, it's 10:30pm and I've been sitting at this computer for nearly three hours since I put the boys to bed. I've got a rare night to myself and I fully intended (in fact, looked forward) to creative time tonight. However, my desire to think big and grow a business and stay in the loop and maintain my marketable skills pressured me into working instead.

Working for Edgewise that is. It's writing, it's editing, it's Facebook, it's Twitter, it's looking at dozens of fabulous artists' websites - I'm working on a press release for Shiny Fuzzy Muddy. It's working for myself. And yes, I'm really trying to complain here.

It's just that I was beginning to think that I might be able to free up my evenings for my creative endeavors and maybe even read one of the many books piled on my bedside table. I haven't even gotten halfway through my much anticipated copy of Stephen Fry's "The Ode Less Traveled" and it's nearly time to return it to the library; the same goes for "Vancouver: Stories of a City". Fortunately I own "Vancouver's First Century", though I'm not even a third of the way into that one - the introduction was such a pleasantly intricate and entertaining surprise that I think I'll have to go back and start over, when I have time of course.

My bedside milieu is not
quite so serene.
Then there are the two parenting books that are getting dusty and really should be returned to their shelf. Maybe I'll have a chance to read up on Dr. Sears' take on disciplining a preschooler and "What to Expect the Toddler Years" once my boys are in school.

That - right there at the end of the last sentence - was a completely ridiculous but rather representative thought not unlike others I have daily about all the wonderful things I'll do once the boys start school. It's only three or four years away (IF we don't have more kids)! Now rationally I know this is akin to all the wonderful things I was going to do on mat leave - other than take care of one teeny tiny baby and his or her teeny tiny needs - but the thoughts still occur.

Back to the bedside table. There are also a few food magazines kicking around, literally. The toddler knocked them off the table yesterday and they've been on the floor since; I keep writing 'meal planning' on my to do list and I keep just scraping by with one idea a day. I really do have the best intentions as the magazines on the floor can attest to.

Getting back to how I am able to afford to work - if you don't have young children that statement may seem like an oxymoron, but I assure you time is not money, it's much more valuable than money (though there isn't enough of either as far as I'm concerned). I can afford six hours a week to tentatively dip my toe in the lake of non-familial (aka: paid) childcare. I'm giving the granny nanny a brief respite, or at least I'm not solely relying on her, while testing out the world of the nanny share two mornings a week.

In theory, the goals that these six hours of childcare a week are going to allow me are to further my business, find a mentor, blog more, and possibly even plan more than one meal at a time. I'll keep you posted.

"A house without books is like a room
without windows" Heinrich Mann

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Love Me a Good Bedtime Routine

A consistent bedtime routine can make or break a vacation, settle a late night or a rushed bedtime, and generally make the day to night transition smoother. A routine gives a sense of familiarity and comfort and it can be taken and used anywhere - on a road trip where the kids are strapped into car seats in the back seat at bedtime, on an airplane with children on your lap and strangers all around who are hyper sensitive to sound, or in a foreign hotel room or distant relatives' guest room. I've taken to memorizing my favorite rhymes and songs so that I don't even need light or books to read so long as I am within earshot.

When I sing to my kids at bedtime I tend to always fall back on the same old songs. There's the predictable and wonderful "May There Always be Sunshine", (we fill in the names of the people in our family or who we saw that day). There's the somewhat unlikely "Brokedown Palace" by the Grateful Dead; it's pretty cute to hear a two year old sing "listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul"! And then there's the unlikely two verses of the hymn "How Great Thou Art"; it's a long story, suffice it to say it's a fond memory thing.

There have been some new additions to my repertoire since attending baby time at the library for two years straight. I've appropriated the short but sweet ditties that can be repeated as much or as little as the situation requires. You know how it is; sometimes you need a short little four-liner to get your toddler through book closed, light off, and into bed so you can get out the door and other times you need something simple enough that you can repeat it until your wakeful baby returns to slumber while you're still half asleep yourself.

Sailing, sailing over the ocean
Sailing, sailing over the sea
Sailing, sailing over the water
Sail back home to me.

Tall trees, warm fire,
strong wind, rushing water.
I feel it in my body.
I feel it in my soul.

Do do mon petit
Do do mon petit
Do do mon petit
Et bonne nuit, et bonne nuit.

Some nights I just can't bring about a singing voice and so I've started memorizing stories. So far I've committed to memory "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown - who hasn't? "The Big Red Barn" by the same author, "Wynken, Blynken and Nod" by Eugene Field, a dozen R L Stevenson poems (which I adore), more than a dozen traditional sleepy time rhymes from anonymous sources, and one beloved poem by Shirley Hughes titled "Alfie Weather" but which I call "Benny Weather."

If you're not already acquainted with Shirley
Hughes and Alfie get yourself to the children's
section of the nearest library!
Alfie Weather

Whether the weather is sunny
Or whether it's drenching with rain -
A river along the garden path,
A sea of mud in the lane;
Any old weather is Alfie weather,
He doesn't really mind,
Even the sort that nips his toes
Or the steamed-up-windows kind.
Sooner or later the clouds will set sail -
Maybe after tea...
Sooner or later the sun will come out,
And so will he.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Working for the 'Hood

It's a whole lot better than working for the man and there are decent perks too. Since moving to my current neighbourhood and staying home full-time with my two kids I haven't been able to get involved enough in the local goings-on. I like to feel like I'm making a difference and being active on a super local level lets me see the change my efforts make; it's more gratifying than vacuuming! I've also really honed my clip art skills as you can see below.

Here's a sample of a few of the projects I've help organize.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Right Back at Ya'

Thanks to Lisa over at The Sprog for naming me and my Mighty Little Acorns in her List of 10 Compliments to her bloggy buddies. It's good to be appreciated!

If you haven't checked out The Sprog (and my listmates) I'm sure you will enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

This Week's Books

The Stars Will Still Shine by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

"This new year the sky will still be there..."
Here is another book that reads like a poem and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Rylant has a talent for unassuming language that packs a sentimental punch. This book reminds us of the big picture through small details. It is at once hopeful and reassuring making it a great nighttime read.

The illustrations portray the highlights of a childhood year as an adult might remember them: beach days with ice cream cones, reading curled up on a couch next to the fireplace, swinging on a swing in a tree, eating peaches and making pies. Along with these happy times there may be darker times, but the author assures us that in grey, winter cities there can be colorful flowers, even dark nights have light, and despite obstacles in our lives the "sky will still be there / there stars will still shine / birds will fly over us / church bells will chime".

When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Diane Goode

This biographical story about the author's childhood in rural Appalachia was a favorite of mine as a child. My mom always called me a "mountain girl" when I was young in the mountains. I still identify with that part of me despite having lived in the city for the past seven years. I can't help but feel that this is only a temporary home and that if I stay here too long I will disappoint a part of myself and possibly my parents who chose to bring me up in a rural area.

As a girl it was clear to me that this story took place a little earlier in time and a little ways away in distance, but nonetheless, I could relate to shelling peas from the garden, warming up by the wood stove, drinking hot cocoa, and reveling in the still evening air of the mountains.

It concerns me that my kids won't relate to this book as I did, not being raised in a small town in the mountains. On the flipside, I imagine they will find themselves in other books that will make an impression deep enough they'll remember a few of the words and illustrations when they're adults living far from home.