Monday, December 20, 2010

Yay, only 5 days until Christmas- I can't wait for the stress to be over!

Only five days left until Christmas. I actually hate Christmas, just for the stress it causes in our family. Everyone feels like they have to get together, but they don't want to, and for whatever reason, they all choose me to complain to about it. I find it so stressful, and then my spouse always acts all grumpy at having to see any family, because his family is so dysfunctional that they don't even care to see each other at all!
This year my Dad just had a quadruple bypass (today) and was supposed to be getting a new valve and some kind of anuerysm repaired somehow, but all I know they did for sure was the bypass. I hope he is totally healthy after this! it has been a long time of uncertainty for him, with trips to the hospital, and out again, and then back in, etc.
I'm just relieved that the ordeal is over, my poor mom, I wasn't sure how much longer she could stand the stress and worry. Not that her stress and worry is over, not by a long shot, but at least the operation is done with, so that is one thing off the list.
But I digress... Christmas equals stress, and money that is spent that is way over budget, and the whole stress of trying to buy for people who always seem to want or actually deserve something better than what i can afford to give them. Well, it all adds up to a time of year that I really don't enjoy. We are 5 days away, and I think it's time for tums or something, because the stress is making me feel sick to my stomach. Oh Christmas, I can't wait for you to be over!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Parenting Essentials- Strollers (before you buy)

I have kicked the tires on many a stroller model, and over the infancy and childhoods of my 4 children, I have witnessed the revolution in strollers, from hard to push beasts that required octopus arms to manage to fold it or manouver into your trunk (assuming it could fit there!) to well thought out strollers designed to actually make it a pleasure to be out with your baby/babies.
Once upon a time, places to buy baby stuff used to be limited to department stores like Sears, or ..well, there just wasn't much out there. Now you can shop around for previously loved deals as well as new.
The world has kijiji, and craigslist and a whole host of places to buy used equipment, which I really do recommend, because then, if you do make a choice you don't love, it's not so financially painful when you are reselling it.
Strollers are something I love to look at, love to try out, love to buy. Ahh, if only I had the money to indulge! But, I have had the chance to try a bunch out, as I have ordered and returned more than my fair share.
Now straight off, I will say that no one I know, who has ever had to use their stroller more than once in a blue moon, has recommended graco to me, or safety first.
Maybe they've changed. When I had my daughter in 98, I remember selling my older awful sears model " a'96" that barely pushed empty,(never mind with my 10lb newborn in it!), and getting a graco with "sporty" tires, a useable basket and nice high seat. For the times, that was really a great stroller. It cost me 98 dollars at Costco (or Price Club as it was back then.) Sadly for Graco,they've gone downhill in quality, and uphill in cost.
As with all baby equipment, I can't stress enough, the need to look around and try some out. Push and fold it one handed, while clutching a twenty pound weight and your purse in the other arm. Can't do it? You might want to try another model.
You should also consider what you will do mostly with the stroller.
Are you in the city? Will you be walking a lot? Will you be taking it on and off public transit? In and out of your trunk? Are you just starting out having kids? If you might have more in the future, you may want to think about a model that grows with you, like the Britax B ready, or the Baby Jogger city select. The Baby Jogger city elite offers a similar option, but seating is intended for one baby, one toddler, and might not be suitable if your children are close in age, or fairly well rounded. The top seat weight limit is 33lbs. That sounds huge to you now I bet, but once you have the baby, you will see that supposedly at a year a baby weighs an average of 23 lbs. So, if you need at least 9 months between kids, maybe more, you stand a high chance of child numer 1 being too heavy for the top seat.
That being said, I do love my Baby Jogger city elite, and thankfully, my four year old is only 28lbs and can ride there.
I did not love Phil and Ted's VIbe. It was a pain in my butt, and putting the baby in and out while there was a toddler in the stroller was awkward and weird. It felt like i was trying to pull him out by the head all the time.
I also loved my little Zooper Hula, but it is not convertible to two seats.It is from the time before that phenomenon. It folds up like an umbrella stroller, has a good little canopy, and nice adjustable handles. It can't compete with the Peg Pliko on the canopy, but kicked the Peg to the curb in side by side comparison with my friend's stroller, in terms of weight, manoueverability, ease of folding, size in trunk , etc.
But I'm not trying to sell a particular stroller, since you can see that I like a few different models, from a few different brands. I say, you really do need a lightweight one, if you shop at all, and you need a nice sturdy one that takes rain covers and has a great canopy, if you are going to be doing a lot of walking, or just regular walking at all really. And adjustable handles! A must if you and your partner aren't the same size. I find most strollers are too tall for me. I had to get the baby jogger bike trailer to use as my double jogging stroller, because if anyone else had adjustable handle, I didn't find it, or it was so expensive, I dismissed it as a practical option.
I do not recommend the ones that take your infant seat latched on to them. Might be nice for you, but it is bad to leave the baby in the carseat. They have proven that extended use of carseat compresses your child's airways, and causes death at worst, flat head at best. Not super either way. Is it that difficult to take your child out and put them into the stroller and let them stretch out? No, it's really not. Of course the stroller makes great storage too,if you prefer carrying baby in the sling, or mei tei, your arms, whatever.

Good basket is a plus, and so are drink /cup holders, snack tray, little pockets for mom's stuff... Of course you can always grab Phil and Ted's pannier bags and strap em on to the side of your stroller, like I did. They fit pretty nicely on my Baby Jogger City Elite jump seat. I think they would fit onto a few stroller out there, possibly the Sit and Stands, Bob maybe-any stroller with a space to slip the looping velcro handle on. Rain covers, weather shields, fuzzy Protect-a-bub wraps that strap into your strollers are awesome too if you can get your retailer to toss one in for you. Makes those chilly walks comfy for your little one.
Finally, an important note, regarding price. A friend of mine recently told me 400 dollars was an insane amount to spend on a stroller. She said, she'll just go grab whatever.She is 5 ft 10, her DH 6 ft 3 or 4. GOOD LUCK! They will have to go through a few strollers if they don't test them first and find one they can push without putting their backs out.
I know she is thinking foolishly, because number one, I have 15 years stroller experience that she does not, and number two... grabbing whatever because it is cheap, just causes stroller disappointment, and then purchasing a better stroller, which in the end costs you more, so you might as well just buy the one that actually works for you in the first place. It will be a good investment. Trust me, I wasted money,I'm trying to save other people from doing the same.
Even a "cheap" Graco stroller these days runs in the 270 neighbourhood, so you might as well go the extra mile and buy one that hopefully won't have the tire fall off before your little one turns one!

Parenting essentials-what you need to know, before you buy

As a parent, there are a few things I know now, that i wish i had known before. And I don’t mean things like how babies can soil 14-16 diapers a day in the beginning, or how sleep will seem like a long lost cousin, that’s how little you will see it for a while. A really long while....

I’m talking the basics. Very basic. Like, a newborn baby doesn’t always fit into newborn clothes. Not one of mine ever fit into those tiny outfits. 0-3 month was a better size.

I wish we had have known about outlets, and how you can pick up a $199 high chair for $49.99 if you don’t have to have the newest pattern. Yes my poor child had to do with last year’s colours *gasp*.

I also wish I knew how awesome a sling can be, and that test driving a few in the store is helpful, and i was able to pick one that I subsequently got a lot of use out of.

Back to the highchair; Great big, puffy monstrosity that they are, padded, seat belted, bells and whistles galore....after you have tripped on that thing and banged your toe, spilled the baby food etc... You may end up wishing you had something more compact, and actually space friendly.

Really think about how much space you have in your chosen feeding area. Then, check out the high chair you are dreaming of. Get a box or even just lay out a blanket covering the same square footage, as the footprint of the highchair, and see if it’s in your way after a while. If you have a larger than average home, or a dining area with great design, it might not bother you. If you are like the other 95 percent of people, you’ll be wishing you hadn’t spent so much, and now will be looking for an inexpensive or used booster high chair, or small framed high chair. I like the Ikea one BUT...yes it is a big but, it doesn’t adjust in close to baby, which means that the baby spills food on to their clothes all the time. Erase away that dream of cute little bibs too, most babies rip them off.

Anyway , really consider things before buying the highchair.

Crib too for that matter. None of our kids ever really slept in it, but wow it was great for storage! Playpen, not really a necessity either, and to be honest, who wants to spend time trapped in a little box with limited toys? We used it mainly as a bed for our 3 year old when travelling.

I’m sure I will think of many things I wish i hadn’t bother buying, as time goes on, and I will update when they come to me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One month till Christmas, not a cent in the house....

'twas the month before Christmas,
and all through the house,
no decorations were showing,
not one gingerbread house
The grass was still green, the lawn tended with care,
displaying bright christmas lights strewn here and there
some presents were hidden in the closet upstairs
bills jammed the mailbox, arriving in pairs
The children were dreaming,
their lists almost done
itunes for the teens,
vtech for the young one
Dad checked his wallet
and saw they were broke,
pulled out his visa
charged the gifts
with a choke
in his voice and shake of his head
he wondered if christmas dinner
would be buttered bread

A month until christmas
so much to be done
we've spent every dollar,
each little one
on family and friends
and their lovely gifts
hoping to light up their faces
with smiles you can't miss

we'll put up our tree to the happy sound,
 of  laughter, smiles
and early christmas songs
and hope for a while
 the kids get along.
Then comes Christmas Eve
when they're snug in their beds
and visions of itunes cards
swirl in their heads
Exhausted and tired,
we'll wrap every present,
get to  sleep for three hours,
and feel no resentment
Because Christmas will be here,
it's a season for cheer!
(until january comes
and all the bills appear)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Parents just don`t understand

Sometimes parent's just don't understand. Here I'm referring to report cards. Why on earth do they keep changing the formats? And if the teacher is not actually going to write something personal about your child, then frankly, they ought to just skip that section totally, because the computer generated "insert here" tidbits actually tell me nothing about my child, but it certainly tells me something about the teacher!
Yes, yes, I'm aware that they have to use those things, blah blah whatever. Use your own brain, since you are expecting my children to use theirs, and actually give me some insight into my child's academic understanding would you? I already see and sign all their tests. I know how they are doing marks wise, I want to know, really, how are they doing?  Are they pleasant to others? Are they rude? Are they working in a timely and cooperative fashion? Do they talk instead of working? Do they sit in the corner of the schoolyard all alone and mopey all day? Hello, teacher? Are you out there? Please send me some sign that you actually can tell my child apart from the ones sitting around them.
I mainly say this, because on my dd 1's report card, the teacher inserted the prefabbed comment that my daughter is an active participant in a certain subject. She is not. She would rather be boiled in oil than put up her hand. She is a very good student,  but not into speaking in front of others at all.
My daughter saw that on her card, and said, oh, I wonder if the teacher has me mixed up with X who sits next to me, because I never put up my hand unless I have to.
Ahhh. Sweet honesty. And, a report card that clearly includes her friends' mark!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Parental wisdom

Some days you just feel so smart as a parent, and some days...well, not so much!
Today I learned that sometimes life bites you in the butt, and some days, your kids do.

Yes, too true. My 18 month old walked up and bit my backside while I was prepping dinner. Seriously, I know I've got a little meat to spare back there, but geez...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday for real,and trying to blog for real....

I'm having some difficulties getting the hang of blogspot. I wanted to post into categories, but didn't know how. Nor do I know how to do it now. I tried , but alas, my categories do not exist. So, my blog is currently mishmoshed all over the place, no division, intermingling all over. ARGH! I will get the hang of it, and eventually put all my stuff into the right place. Maybe....
I am totally open to suggestions on how to do things on here, in simplest terms possible, because i just don't have the time to read the instructions in the first place.

Tuesday. somehow i didn't manage to post this until friday.

It's Tuesday. It seriously felt like a long long monday the last two days. I'm living with wild animals, it was like they escaped from a zoo today- uncaged, rampaging around the house. I'm crunching cheerios underfoot, removing papers glued  to our ceramic topped table with chocolate milk
I have heard authors say that they see the whole story they are writing, and their characters, playing out in their  minds. Seriously? Who the heck has time for that? I can't even stay on topic in my own mind long enough to make up a grocery list, let alone dream up an entire world and characters.

Britax b ready

B ready? Heck I was born ready to use such an awesome stroller! Or should i say, my kids were born ready to B riding in it!
I would love something like this, sturdy, fashionable, pushable, and featuring the dual functionality and practicality of a single stroller and double, all in one. I have already recommended it to a few moms I know that are expecting.
My kids aren't the same age, but they are close to the same weight, and while I do love my BJ city elite with it's jump seat, I would absolutely adore the Britax. It would be much easier to manage than the steering that I am struggling with right now. (the jogger jump seat has a max weight, but with one riding up top, steering is getting wonky)


Thanks Natural Mommie for steering me in the direction of this awesome looking stroller!
Check it out on Britax's website at
Or Natural Mommie's review on her site at

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Products I adore or abhor

From time to time, I think about products I wish existed, and of those I have a decent list I have created,  and also products that are pretty  near perfect the way they are, or products that just didn't quite get things done.
One of my pet peeves is strollers. They are not always designed with actual parents in mind,

I hate tried and tested many strollers that are out there today, and for myself, I love my baby jogger city elite. I wish that the city select had come out sooner, or had an adjustable/ bendable handle like the city elite, but, the dual seats that are positionable in all variations, that is a lovely invention.

I loved my Zooper Hula, but it has no possibility of adding the second seat, which we needed, so bummer, because it folded up small like an umbrella, but had a nice seat, decent canopy, good basket, and it turned on a dime.
The chariot that we had was an older model, but it was lightweight, easy to pull with the stroller as well, and had great storage space.
Sadly, I'm falling asleep, so i guess i'll finish this post later.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Live from bummerland

I've been looking online for a job or a miracle, in hopes of being able to earn enough money to help us out, but avoid sending the kids to daycare, and the logistical nightmare that presents. And of course in an attempt to get to stay home with the younger ones a bit longer.
Sadly, I've been off the market too long. On the shelf, Out of the loop, and really any number of other metaphors. It all adds up to the same thing- I've got no job, no options because I have no recent experience, or useful skills, and I'm starting to dream of just getting in the car and driving until I can't drive any further to escape my life.

Christmas is creeping closer, and again this year I have unsuccessfully tried to stand firm with my family in my refusal to exchange gifts with everyone . How many crappy dollar store mugs do I need to get as a gift? I really don't want or need any more stuff.
Well, there is stuff I need, but they are things so expensive that we can't afford to repair or replace them, so neither will anyone else, or things I just want, well, I don't necessarily really need those.  
I really need to come up with a viable option for earning money.I'm afraid of failure, and frankly I just don't know what options are out there. It seems like none. I'm certainly open to receiving a miracle, or finding viable online, at home job opportunities.
I wish I could go back 15 years or so and make a whole different string of decisions leading up to this day.
Ah, sweet melancholy fall, and the crushing horrid expense of Christmas, family gatherings, winter gear and ...well, everything! That's all the whining from bummerland for today!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Welcome to my blog.  I chose the title, because over the years, through many pointed comments, my MIL has made it clear that she imagines I sit on my butt watching TV all day while tossing back the bon bons.  ahhh yes, the simple and easy life of the mainly SAHM (I say mainly because I have worked outside the home, here and there over the years, sometimes for pay, sometimes as a volunteer). I just can't make enough to cover daycare, I am.
And TV all day? As you know how boring daytime television is?
And judging by the half blank keys on my keyboard,  I spend my free seconds playing on the computer, and obviously, I'm not eating bon bons while doing that, because do you see sticky fingerprints or chocolate smears on this page? No, you do not.
 I will admit, I do watch a few things at night, by some strange twist of television fate, they were all moved to the same night. I watch survivor, because I feel like I can't turn away from how daft the contestant's decisions are, time and time again! Do they not watch the show before they sign up? I follow that up with Modern Family and Cougartown.
Love Modern Family. Mitchell and Cam kill me. If I were a gay man, I have zero doubt I'd be Mitchell. Except my partner wouldnt' be the uber awesome Cam, he would no doubt be more like Phil.
Le Sigh.
I aspired to be hip and cool one day, and sadly that train left the station while I was in the restroom no doubt.
So, I am currently a stay at home mom, to 4 kids ranging 18 months to 14 years.  I'm living in small town Ontario, just outside the GTA grid, so we've got access to the best of both worlds. (yes, my dd watches Hannah Montana sometimes).