Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Parenting tips that I'm working on:

  • Do what you say and think before you say it
  • You must have patience with your kids. You'll go crazy if you don't
  • Find your sense of humour
  • Use simple words and get to the point
  • Yelling is the worst way to communicate
  • Teach by example
  • Allow disagreements
  • Listen, really listen
  • Be consistent
  • Follow through
  • Practice patience
  • Play with your children
Taken from the Parenting for Dummies reference book.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Florida and GLBT Adoption

Sometimes I forget how lucky Hilary and I are to be a family and to have been able to adopt Liam together as a couple. There are still places in the world that we cannot travel as a family because it would be dangerous to be seen in public as a lesbian family. Even closer to home, I have many friends who still cannot enjoy the same priviledges and safety that we do. My gay and lesbian American friends, for the most part, cannot get married, be on each other's health insurance or be considered equal parents to their children.

Florida is now appealing the judgment from a Miami-Dade judge declaring that Florida's 30+ year old law violated equal protection rights. It seems that the state of Florida believes that gay and lesbians just aren't healthy safe people to whom they should entrust the care of children (overlooking the fact that they allow gay and lesbian foster parents - it's only when the parenting becomes permanent that we somehow become a threat). The state plans to argue that we "have higher odds of suffering from depression, affective and anxiety disorders and substance abuse, and that their households are more unstable"*.

I can't wait to hear how they plan to prove that one.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Deal EVER!

I'm cheap. I know this and am not ashamed of it. I shop for bargains, I use coupons, I love a good sale.

And today I stumbled upon an AMAZING sale!

I was at the mall to pick up a last minute item (that I'm still kicking myself for not getting yesterday when I was there because it was gone today.) I thought it was odd that people were walking around the store putting items into shopping bags, but I thought maybe they were just using them instead of baskets. Then a lady came up and said "you DO know about the deal going on don't you?" Am I ever glad she told me!

Turns out that you could go up to the cash, ask for a bag and then fill it with any of their items that had 50% off stickers. The whole bag then cost you $5.00. Yup, you read right, FIVE DOLLARS!!!

Well!! When I went up to get my bag I asked if it was limited to just one. NOPE! As many as you want. So I took 4. I figured I could blow $20 on Christmas eve!!

I walked out of there with more then $300 worth of stuff. I think I now have NEXT years Christmas shopping done!

Merry Christmas Eve to me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Telecommuting and kids

I've been working from home off and on for a couple of months now. Usually one or two days a week. But with having had a bad sinus infection for the past 2 weeks, no one wanted me at the office spreading my germies before Christmas. I was more then happy to oblige, especially since we don't have a car and it's hideously cold and icy here.

So far when I've worked at home Liam has been in school. We have some time that overlaps; I start work an hour before he leaves in the morning and he's home an hour before my day ends. Those are quiet hours for him though where he is easily occupied while he wakes up or winds down.

Yesterday was the start of Christmas vacation for Liam. Hilary and I however had to work. We found a great program at our local wave pool. It was a day camp for kids with arts, crafts, games and a swim. Liam loves the wave pool so we thought he would have a great time!

Yeah, not so much.

He cried in the morning that he didn't want to go. We coaxed, cajoled, threatened and bribed and got him there. By 10:00 they were calling to tell me that he was sitting in the corner with his tiger Ralphie, crying and refusing to participate. Boy, did that make me feel swell. The program director said that they were going to try and get him engaged and not to come pick him up just yet, but they just wanted to give me a heads up. When Hilary picked him up at 4:00 he was jammin' on Guitar Hero and having a great time. So we figured that going again today would work out all right.

Yeah, not so much.

He decided before bed last night that he wasn't going back. No way, no how! After feeling like a schmuck for making our child cry in a corner surrounded by strangers we decided to not force the issue and let him stay home. He knew that I had to work so I couldn't play and he couldn't bother me. Hilary stayed home too to get some last minute pre-Christmas stuff done.

My job is very task driven. I run a lot of reports that require an intense 30 seconds of work to set them up and then10 minutes of watching the gears spin around counting down the time till it's done. So having Hilary and Liam home while I work is not that big a deal. I can chat, pour milk, snap the hard pieces of Lego together as needed. On Tuesdays though I have a one hour conference call that I lead that several important people attend. I told Liam that this was happening and we laid out all the activities he could do while I was on the phone and covered all the activities he could not do. Could nots included shouting, loud toys in the room, interrupting etc.

Somehow though when a 6 year old sees a telephone in their parents hand they go berserk! He lasted about 1 minute of being quiet then started in on a loud stage whisper asking me questions. As I covered the mouth piece and tried to shoo him away he dissolved into a bit of a maniac (Hilary was previously occupied in the shower at this time, as the plan had been for her to take Liam out during my call but they were running behind.) As I shot him "the look" he decided to make raspberry noises on his arm, jump up and down, practice his arm-pit farts, wrap himself around my leg and generally be a menace.

Part of his outing with Hilary had been for him spend some of his cash and by a small toy. (Yeah, yeah, I know.. it's 2 days before Christmas.... ) In a fit of frustration I hissed at him "that's it, you are NOT buying a toy today!" Which of course was met with a loud wail akin to a wounded goat.

I banged on the bathroom door (all the while keeping the call going and trying to screen the noise out with my hand) and got Hilary to come out and deal with the whole situation. Apparently Liam sobbed for half an hour with her upstairs. I finished the call and we regrouped as a family. Appologies were given and accepted in all directions, hugs exchanged and there were promises to try better by everyone.

No one on my call seemed to notice the hoopla going on at my end of the call, or at least they were polite enough not to comment on it!

I had planned on working at home for the remainder of the holiday season (and perhaps beyond if I can convince my boss that this should be a full time thing!). I'm going to have to come up with a much better strategy for phone calls and meetings though. I wonder if my wireless connection works in the attic?

Keeping a close eye on that mouse!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas traditions

Every family has different traditions. We are no exception. We have table presents for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner. We have crackers and insist that everyone present wears the hat.
We also started a new tradition a few years ago: Finding the Christmas Pickle. The history of the Christmas Pickle is varied and no one knows for sure where or when it started. Many people say that it is German in origan, but most people in Germany have never heard of it. The idea is that an ormanent shapped like a pickle is hidden on the tree and who ever finds it first gets a special present. Hilary has been the purchaser of the present and then the hider of the pickle after Liam and I decorate the tree. Our pickle presents are musical Christmas decorations. A tree that opens to reveal a train set inside that moves and a ferris wheel that plays music while it spins around. Hilary is out today looking for this years presents. I wonder what it will be?
What traditions does your family follow?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Am I? Christmas edition Reveal

Well done Heather! It's a Christmas card holder in the shape of a tree:

Each circle holds a card:

We don't use it any more as we like to display our Christmas cards on the side board with our Advent Calendars and our Pickle Presents.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why I love the Maritimes!

$5.00 a pound!

What Am I? Christmas edition

This item was my Mom's, but it was my favorite Christmas item when I was little, so when I moved out it went with me. I'll post one picture a day between now and Christmas. Good luck guessing!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Look at the size of those snow flakes!

It is actually snowing here in Halifax, but so far the flakes aren't quite this big. I had fun making these quick and easy decorations this morning. Some scrap paper, tape and staples and you are all set. You can check out a how to here .

I haven't been in a very chatty mood lately. Not here, not on the forums or groups and not even in real life. Granted, I'm on week 2 of a bad sinus infection, so I haven't been feeling the greatest, but it's more then just that. I think it's the impending holiday. Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited about Christmas; eager to see Hilary and Liam's reactions for gifts I got them, anticipating what Santa might bring everyone.

Holidays just have a bad way of reminding me of the losses in my life. Losses from adoption (both mine and Liam's), from the deaths of loved ones and from family/friends that I have lost over stupid and petty little fights.

It's those last ones that are the hardest, because they are ones that could be fixed. A phone call, a letter, anything to reach out. But it can be so hard. Especially as years and years pass. When you can't really even remember what the original fight was about. When you are willing to apologize for past hurts (even if you weren't the one who was wrong!) but you know that the apology won't be accepted. I know I will never have another family Christmas like the ones I had growing up because our family is now divided. Family members that I probably won't see or speak to until the next funeral. That's gonna be a fun time!

So Hilary, Liam and I will make new memories. Happy, wonderful memories together while I push the losses to the dark corners and try not to let them peak out too much and ruin my holiday.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How did they know?

15 years ago

15 years ago I walked into a bar (a straight bar at that!) with a group of friends, not knowing that my life was about to change.

15 years ago I sat across the table from a gorgeous woman and was tongue tied.

15 years ago my friend took me aside and gave me a pep talk (that sounded more like "Buck up and get on with it already!)

15 years ago I realized that I had fallen in love.

15 years ago Hilary and I became a couple.

Happy Anniversary my love!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Amazing Mosaic

Recently Liam's school produced their Art Cards for their annual fund raiser. Every child submits a piece of art work, we scan it, print it onto a note card, and sell them in bundles. You can check out Liam's here. I'm involved with the committee that works on this project each year and I wanted to do something different, something to give back to the school. One idea that the committee had was to create a mosaic of all the cards. Sounds cool... but hard!

So I searched the handy dandy Internet. And lo and behold I found some amazing software! Check out Andrea Mosaic. It's a quick and free download that lets you upload your main picture and then use any pictures you have on your PC to create the mosaic.

Here is my final creation: A picture of the school made up of the 155 art card projects from the kids this year.

and here is a zoomed in view of the individual pictures:

So if you are like me and have a couple gazillion pictures on your hard drive, I highly recommend that you download this great piece of software and start playing!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Explaining the terror of Mumbai

to a 6 year old.

No, we don't normally watch the news with Liam around. As my last post pointed out, the violence is getting closer to home (literally!). He doesn't need to know about that, or about gunmen taking control of a city and killing hundreds of people.

Unfortunately he did see the news: men with guns, people screaming and fleeing, confusion.

Liam had sat down to watch a DVD, so I put it in the machine and told him to hit play after all the intro stuff finished, since I was in the middle of something. What I didn't realize was that the TV was set to channel 3, the channel that the cable feeds through, and not to channel 4, the channel that the DVD player feeds through.

So I walked away leaving the TV playing a news recap of the terror in Mumbai.

Mother of the year award for that one!

Liam watched for about a full minute before he called me back to tell me that it wasn't right, there were men with guns on TV. I moved pretty quickly once I focused in and could hear the announcer.

Liam had many, many questions and concerns about what he had seen. We answered them as honestly as we could in an age appropriate way. I don't understand why people do these things, so it makes it pretty hard to explain it to a six year old. He was then very worried about something like that happening here, what our plan would be if bad men came to our house, reminding us to call 911 and to run away. He brought up different scenarios once or twice as the day went on, but overall I think he is satisfied that we are safe, he is safe and that we will do everything in our power to keep him safe.

I just hope that I can continue to keep him safe in this crazy world.