hospitals, concerts gone wrong, and stockholm

hi. here i am again. caught up on paperwork and reports. surprise file audit? bring it on!

so. let’s talk about the hospital.

it sucks. it smells. the food is something to be desired.

we won’t talk about the specifics but just before christmas kid #1 had to spend a week there being the bravest of brave kid i’ve ever seen. this kid endured 3 spinals, countless needles, iv’s, and peeing in a bottle, or portable urinal. whatever. now this is the kid who was once asked to leave a flu clinic because just the idea of having a shot was enough to propel him into fits of anxiety and there were concerns that he was terrifying the other children. fair enough. similarly we are not allowed to talk about body parts around him, god forbid he might have to envision the sight of blood. but the kid’s obsessed with zombies. go figure.

back to the hospital.

it would be helpful if the dietary staff could please explain to me their reasoning for preparing food in the manner in which it becomes unrecognizable.

also, doctors. what the f***? bedside manners also to be desired. don’t ask my kid which family member he prefers over me (gramma). and i am not an idiot so don’t treat me like one. on the contrary i have several useless degrees and know stuff. and why the comments about how terrible i look? my kid is sick, right? and i have slept here multiple nights without showering in the adjoined bathroom because i am terrified of stepping on germs. also i am plagued with worrying about my kid. so that.

obviously he’s alright now and thankfully was home for christmas. so that was good. but also that meant that he was well enough to show up to his school christmas concert in which i had to endure multiple groups of kids singing holiday songs in french which i failed to understand. and then kid #1’s class came on stage.

let’s back this up.

post that day of school kid #1 began harassing me for a santa hat with bells on it because apparently this had become a thing amongst his classmates. so fine. i piled everyone in the car to go in search of a santa hat with bells on it. because i am the best. also, because i’m the best, i agreed to let him wear a hoodie over his nice shirt so long as he promised to take it off prior to going on stage. what i did not mean was to unzip it and let it hang off his shoulders like a slob on stage. next to all of the other well-dressed children. i glared at him. he glared back at me. my mother tried to remind me that he was alive. as in a ‘pick your battles’ type reminder. i told her that this was not an excuse for looking horrid and disobeying your mother.

and then. oh then.

some horrible nameless child whom i have since come to despise decided to elbow kid #1. which pissed kid #1 the hell off. who then retaliated and elbowed him back. harder. and back and forth and so on. and then the teacher must have gotten wind of this in which case kid #1’s singing came to a halt as he began violently gesturing towards the other kid, clearly attempting to signal that what was going on wasn’t his fault.

i was embarrassed. i was ashamed. i wanted to hang my head and crawl into a hole under my chair. and also the other kid was much better dressed than he was.

the teacher later told me that it looked like i could use a vacation. obviously.

christmas was toy laden but otherwise uneventful.

on new year’s eve we went sledding and i promised the kids they could stay up until midnight.

side note, kid #1 has finally figured out that you do not in fact turn into a pumpkin if you stay awake past midnight. he is mere weeks away from being 8. 

regardless, at 11:40 i gathered everyone into my bed to discuss resolutions for the coming year. which it would appear no one understood.

me: so resolutions are when we make goals, or things we hope to accomplish in the new year.

kid #1: oh. ok. well then i want to have a resolution to get to more levels in minecraft.

me: that’s not really what i was talking about.

kid #2: i want to eat more treats in the new year.

husband: i think your resolution should be to drink less wine.

me: you can’t have a resolution for someone else. that’s not the way it works. and besides, i don’t actually drink that much.

husband: hmmm…

me: well we have 3 kids unless you haven’t noticed. and anyway doesn’t anyone want to know what my resolutions are?

silence.

me: you know what? nevermind. you guys suck.

kid #3: mama! booboo!

right.

and those were basically our holidays.

and now comes the part where i get to share my love of stockholm artist ingela arrhenius with you.

my knowledge of sweden up until reading the girl with the dragon tattoo triology was that it appeared to have a proverbial hot-person factory responsible for pumping out blonde-haired, blue-eyed uber-people. and that it was cold. and that they ate herring and meatballs and lingonberries and designed furniture. and that it’s claim to fame was ikea. and ingela arrhenius as far as i’m concerned because i love art and i love things for children and i love items that combine the two.

and incidentally want to plaster my walls with this parisienne themed poster she’s come up with through omm design.

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and also these similar ones for good measure.

 

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omm products, which can be purchased at stores worldwide, hosts a number of other ingela arrhenius-designed items including adorable melanin plates that my kids won’t manage to be able to break even if they huck them across the room at me.

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and various matryoshka sets. kid #2 is all about these things since she likes arranging EVERYTHING (read: cups, bowls, blueberries, raisins…) into families. and why not a family comprised of randomly chosen animals?

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fern living also carries exclusive ingela arrhenius-designed products out of their european stores, although they ship worldwide. like these pillows.

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and wallpaper (oh how i do love wallpaper…)

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i’ve also discovered la marellea french company who will ship to me, i mean others, and carries ingela arrhenius goodies such as puzzles packed in suitcases

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and notebooks.

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and remember how i went through that whole sewing phase? well if i ever feel inspired to do that again i will head on over to liandlo which carries ingela arrhenius-designed fabric and children’s clothing made from it.

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nice, right?

here she is, hard at work, being much more creative and talented than i will ever be.

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ever. ever. ever. ever.

which is why i just get to write about stuff.

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the return

so i’m back at work. it’s a thing. another thing is my attempt to re-enter the world of blogging after a bit of a hiatus of sorts. the thing is that i started sleeping. which is good although the quality of it sucks. kid #3 has taken to sleeping on my face. true story. the moral of this being that if i can’t blog at night there is no way i can sit uninterrupted at the computer. let alone the toilet. or any activity that requires me to be left alone.

this being said, here i am sitting at my solitary desk, in my solitary office surrounded by office supplies that are not likely to grow feet and walk away.

sidenote: why can no one ever find a pen in our household??

ok. so it’s not that i am unproductively not working. instead i am productively waiting for a new client to arrive. and then i will do some paperwork and consider writing a report and possibly organize something and maybe even empty my overflowing recycling box. and in between all of this i may or may not be able to blog. we’ll see how it goes.

my client has still not arrived. until she does i will make a short list of some stuff that has happened since i last blogged.

the necklace incident.

the hospital incident.

the selling frenzy.

some holidays.

and now i have just viewed what appears to be my client entering the reception area. i shall be back. (hopefully)

and now it is later. a day later actually. yesterday’s borderline personality disordered client later. yesterday’s obsessive compulsive foot phobic teenager later.

basically another crazy-making day come and gone.

whatever.

continuing on.

the necklace incident involving kid #2 began one morning when for the life of me i could not find the pyrrha necklace i wear every single day. kid #1 is not very interested in moving my things unless it involves handfuls of change for him to not necessarily take per se, but sort of borrow for a bit.

me: “my change has disappeared. did you take it?”

kid #3: “yes, but could you at least give me some of it?”

me: “ok fine”.

for her involvement, kid #3 touches nothing unless it’s at ground level or no more than a foot and a half high. i did not leave my necklace at these particular heights which points to kid #2 as the culprit. also, kid #2 is exceptionally naughty.

oh naughty #2. i love the way you grind my red chanel lipstick into oblivion by painting your bedroom walls with it. i love how you refuse to wear pants and more than one shoe at the best of times. how you jump on my bed RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME even though there is a no tolerance rule about this.

me: “i think you took my necklace.”

kid #2: “i’m not sure”

stern look.

kid #2: “don’t see me”.

me: “where did you put it?”

kid #2: “ummmmmm….maybe in the garbage?”

me: (completely exasperated) “which one?”

kid #2: “wellllllll…maybe the bathroom one?”

ok. the bathroom one. totally handle-able. the only things the bathroom garbage contains are used q-tips and toilet paper rolls.

and an orange apparently. a super disgusting rotten orange that i somehow did not know about. gooey and black because now i know that this is the colour of extremely old rotten oranges. total shocker!

also shocker, the necklace was not in fact in the bathroom garbage or anywhere else that kid #2 thought she might have put it.

seriously though. this is the kid who remembers every flavour of candy she’s ever tried. who remembers the most obscure facts about completely random bits of information. and now the little bugger can’t remember where she put my “pirate” necklace!?!?!

and then the kicker.

kid #2 was in the bathtub at this point emptying my entire bottle of expensive body wash when she decided to sing THIS song:

“mommy’s pirate necklace is soooo pretty! i love it! yeah yeah!

yeah yeah yeah! mommy loves it so! yeah yeah yeah!!!”

oh my freakin’ god!!!

and this is life with kid #2 who will pick her nose and eat it and tell you that she’s not doing it as she stands right in front of you with her finger up her nose. and who mysteriously leaves cups of water on the floor throughout the house to be tripped over (someone told me there is a movie where they do this to ward off aliens or something so who knows what she’s up too…). and who is so clumsy that she managed to inhale allspice in her eye while she was “helping” me make dinner and then tried to get it out by rubbing hello ketty soap into it. and who’s first attempt at drawing a person was not me or daddy or anyone else we know, but buddy from cake boss instead.

sigh.

but actually, truth be told, kid #2 is a super awesome little person who proclaimed her 3rd birthday “the best EVER!” even though she spent it in the hospital alongside her fairly comatose big brother (more on the hospital incident later) because she’s that great!

epilogue: my “pirate” necklace was eventually found by mistake in a completely random place unrelated to the bathroom garbage can which has since been scrubbed by (my) hand.

now, let’s talk about something i discovered last night and have added to my personal wishlist. or my son’s. whatever.

so thanks to one of my favourite web destinations brain pickings, i discovered that a new edition of edgar allan poe’s tales of the macabre has been released with stunningly beautiful illustrations by french artist benjamin lacombe. and while i realize that edgar allan poe doesn’t exactly scream appropriate for child consumption, i have decided to feature this book because it is something i would consider buying for my son who is a kid because he would love it. he seems to have inherited some of my darker tendencies, although currently he happens to be reading the captain underpants series, which i can’t help judging as a stupid waste of time. i have been reminded that at least he’s reading.

i am a terrible literary snob of a mother but he’ll thank me for it one day. i think.

so here it is, edgar allan poe’s tales of the macabre, illustrated by my new artist obsession benjamin lacombe.

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nice right?

now let’s look at some stunning illustrations from the book.

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sigh. so good….but also child friendly because the man writes and illustrates books for children too. such as cherry and olive which was completed as his graduation project from art school and named one of time magazine’s best children’s books of 2007.

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it’s about a girl who prefers reading to playing with other kids, particularly because they make fun of her by calling her fat (sounds a bit like my childhood), and so she becomes friends with a stray dog instead.

his other illustrated works are just as gorgeous, such as the pop-up book once upon a time…

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and the fairy herbrarium written with sebastien perez 

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watch this: http://herbierdesfees.com/video_en.htm

and now for the creme de la creme, i really really really want the memories catalogue but it lists for something like a billion trillion dollars. or 280,00 euros. whatever that equates to. the book took 18 months to put together, is over 200 pages, and according to benjamin lacombe’s blog features iron foil stamping, cold embossing, precious fabrics and papers. flaps, fine art prints, and hand made boxes. this is what it looks like:

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definitely definitely watch the memory box video

as a final comment before my work day is officially over, isn’t benjamin lacombe super good looking? he’s my new artist crush. move over oliver jeffers

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actually, final final note, check out this benjamin lacombe inspired tattoo.

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out.

 

epic cake fail etc.

ok. let’s see how much I can write before my green cake comes out of the oven.

what, you say? a green cake? yup. a green cake. a bright green cake. the second in 2 days.

but let’s back this train up.

me. last night. standing at the kitchen sink and saying to my husband in the most defeated voice possible “why are things so hard?”

like remembering that I was supposed to do that whole ‘fall back’ time change on the weekend.

saturday, 11pm text message from my dad: “don’t forget to change your clocks before you go to bed”

ok. because I totally absolutely did not know that I was supposed to do that.

I cannot get it together. over and over and over again.

sad face.

moving on.

the cake.

remember lyndsay sung’s beautiful coco land cakes? here, let me refresh your memory.

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as you may recall from my last post, kid #1 and i decided to attempt this cake. the tutorial made it look easy peasy. as in, even i could swing this thing.

so we did, although kid #1 preferred a green interior (hence the cake currently in the oven), and red frosting. because apparently we’ve moved on to Christmas.

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this is the cake that came out of the oven yesterday. the right side of it collapsed inwards. i had the magical idea to try to fill in the side with icing. did not work.

also my photo looks weird. i took it with my phone and uploaded it to my computer and it is somehow the wrong size and looks odd. i’m sure this can be fixed. currently do not feel like buggering around to make this better. i live with someone who can do this for me. besides, i’m busy making cake.

moving along.

the next step was to slice the top off a bit to make it flat. this involved lots of crumbs which seemed wrong but i was following the directions so this was not my fault.  although this could possibly have been attributed to the fact that the instructions said i could use a boxed cake mix, which i did, and i chose extra moist. it was on sale. 3 for $5. lot’s of room for error.

time to frost!

here’s kid #1 mixing up some accidentally holiday themed frosting.

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weird blurry small picture again. let’s ignore the fact that kid #1 looks glow-in-the-dark.

and now we are spreading frosting.

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oops! the cake caved in. kid #1 was reasonably concerned. i assured him that we could just cut around the cake and shape it into a smaller circle. at which point kid #2 was all like “yay cake!”

kid #3 enjoyed some too.

try to ignore that my daughters look somewhat radioactive.

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kid #3 is adorable even when she is covered in fail cake.

fur making time!

over the weekend i purchased the appropriate ‘Witon grass tip’ for the purpose of decorating this cake. however, i did not take into consideration that this tip would not be compatible with my ikea purchased ‘drommar’ pastry bag.

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we persevered.

here is kid #1 trying to hold the tip in the bag while also frosting. props.

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we skipped the fondant part. obviously.

fail cake anyone?

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life is difficult.

now while green cake the second is cooling, let’s talk about an awesomely crafty person who is not me.

during a former post i may have mentioned that i do not knit. i actually didn’t give myself a chance to fail at knitting. instead i bought a pattern for a scarf and then spent an exorbitant amount of money on red wool to complete my project. i managed to make it through about an eighth of the scarf before i decided it was taking too long and was actually quite boring to do. i figured i could buy an exorbitantly priced scarf at a store for less work instead. i actually did. it was leopard print and awesome.

my husband does not care for my ‘projects’. they are ineffective, abandoned, or a complete fail. like watercolour painting, or collaging, or scrapbook making.

my mother says i’m a “tryer”. she once “tried” to make a carpet. i don’t fall far from the tree.

enough said.

but now let’s meet super crafty british knitter fiona goble. she’s somewhat of a celebrity in the knitting world and holy moly she is amazing!

in another more crafty life i would knit the entire royal wedding. like all of it.

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oh my god! look how cute!

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what does this even mean? and also, holy painstaking!

for extra impressive fabulousness how about some knitted zombies?

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for real. who comes up with this craziness?

i am tempted to purchase this book. just to have. my husband would cancel the sale and claim our credit card was stolen by a crazy person. fair enough.

and storybooks!

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fiona goble is one kick-ass, creative knitter!

and i am not.

until next time in which readers will be privy to the results of mutant bunny cake 2.

cheers!

on winning back the affection of kid #1

happy belated halloween.

i haven’t posted for awhile mainly because my insomnia issues seem to have disappeared for the most part, replaced by snapping at kid #2 the other night for singing a song about cheese post 10pm.

last night i hit an all time sleeping low when i fell asleep during an episode of The Walking Dead. nowhere in my tv watching universe did i ever think that sleep would be induced by the sounds of apocalyptic zombie mayhem, painful screams, and gun shots, but there it was.

or maybe i just have 3 children. 3 demanding wonderful small human beings who suck the life out of me. or the fact that i’ve been trying to win back kid #1’s affection.

kid #1 and i used to be best buds. inseparable. we did all kinds of everything together.

and now he is 7 and in grade 2 and has taken a break from participating in family activities in favour of other things. part of it seems to be that he has become perpetually annoyed at me for having 2 other time-consuming children, one of which has to be hand-fed and diaper-changed. this is not to say that he doesn’t want to hang out with me. it’s actually the opposite, but the problem being that he wants to ramble on endlessly to me about his video-game playing, lego creations, and extremely detailed drawings. all the time. uninterrupted. all of which i want to hear about. but other people live here and have needs and want to talk to me. and this is fair because we are a family of 5 and no one of us is more important than the other.

except that kid #1 disagrees and this has become a problem.

consequently i’ve spent some time perusing handmade charlotte and spoonful to come up with some DIY activities to hold kid #1’s attention while i’m doing all the things he finds unnecessary such as cooking (usually in the company of kid #2 which is fun but means it takes a hellishly long time to get dinner on the table) or cleaning. because really, why not just order a pizza and let the dirt collect? 

i just want him to want to be in the same space as me despite the fact that other family members might be residing there as well.

i desperately want this to work because i desperately want him to be happy and not resentful that he has younger siblings. in retrospect a closer age gap between kids #1 and 2 might have made things easier but that’s a different topic for a different day.

this aside, poor kid #1 is the son of a serious craft-fail extraordinaire. but we’re trying.

may i present the spoonful version of the ‘hot-dog mummy’

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kid #1’s melon brain

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clearly this is the child of a craft-failure. doesn’t fall far from the tree.

nice professional pictures too i might add.

moving along.

so this week kid #1 and i have big plans to make, er, attempt to make, a mutant bunny cake care of coco cake land for handmade charlotte

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recently i purchased a piping bag and various tips. also i’ve watched a lot of cake shows so this should be do-able. maybe.

now let’s talk about coco cake land.

lyndsay sung is another super cool vancouverite who also contributes to poppytalk and craftsy – otherwise known as really awesome DIY blogs for pro-crafters like myself. and basically she makes brilliant cakes and cupcakes and offers step-by-step tutorials for idiots like me.

maybe one day i’ll make this

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or this

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or any of the other amazing things lyndsay sung seems to have whipped up. basically i’m totally on top of it.

just like everything else.

as always.

 

 

a happy accident/my kid thinks i’m an idiot

so. the soccer thing again. and the fact that this week i almost had it together. i was so close.

and then kid #2 peed her pants. on the way out the door.

so things were not exactly ‘together’ anymore. but together enough that we still managed to get to the field exactly 5 minutes before the start of kid #1’s game.

so there i am tying cleats as fast as is humanly possible. and side note, why does my kid not UNTIE his laces when he takes his tripple-knotted cleats off?

anyhow, remember ‘super-mom’? well super-mom has a husband who i’ve always given credit to for being a nice, fairly normal individual. no more! this day’s reality showed me that he is actually a passive-aggressive super-dad who happened to be standing within the vicinity of my frantic cleat tying.

“i can’t believe these parents who show up with their kid 5 minutes before the game starts”, he proclaimed to another parent.

and i can’t believe my 2 year-old peed her pants 1 minute before we left the house. because life is like that.

and so are happy accidents.

so this particular game day in which we were not late for, kid #1’s team was playing against super-kid’s team.

now for the record i have nothing against super-kid except for the fact that his super-parents think he should have his own super-team to play on. and granted, super-kid’s an awesome player, while kid #1 occasionally looks like he’s forgotten he’s actually playing soccer and instead looks suspiciously as though he might be designing video games in his head. or planning some sort of sniper attack. whatever.

but then kid #1 is put in goal. and as he’s staring up at the sky a small miracle happens. kid #1 looks down just as super-kid attempts to score and blocks the goal!

it was literally one of the proudest moments of my life. and (most of) the parents of kids on both teams were cheering because everyone loves an underdog.

and in that moment kid #1 could not have been awesomer!

and then this.

kid #1 thinks i am an idiot.

one day a week kid #1 walks with some friends and an older responsible sibling to an after school drop-in program.

except on this particular day i received a phone call from the mother of kid #1’s best friend, informing me that kid #1 had just shown up at her house proclaiming that the other kids had left him behind.

this seemed fishy.

me: “why did they leave you behind?”

kid #1: “the sibling had a scooter and we can both agree that scooters are faster than feet so you can’t blame me for not being able to keep up. and also you should actually be proud of me because when they were gone and i was all alone i knew i had 2 choices. i could have walked by myself down a busy dangerous street, or i could have gone a shorter distance to my friend’s house, which you know is safe. so i did the right thing. and you should be mad at them. not me.”

me: “then how did the other, non-scootering kids manage to get there?”

kid #1: “they have faster feet.”

me: “unlike you?”

silence.

on speaking to the mom of the sibling: “she doesn’t even own a scooter”.

kid #1 thought he could get away with this lying business because apparently i am an idiot of a mother.

no deal.

i gave birth to you. i know what you’re up to. i have eyes in the back of my head. and i am smarter than i look even though i am smeared with banana and currently wearing mismatched socks.

i may be messy but i’m a pretty kick-ass mom. and despite your ridiculous antics, you’re still a pretty kick-ass kid.

but it’s soooo good to know i’m still smarter than you.

and next time, try to be a bit more creative when you’re attempting to get away with things. it makes it more fun for me.

moving along.

4 things i love today.

1. loulou & oscar cat dolls, made by scottish librarian and self-taught designer lisa aaron

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2. minini brooches and spoons, made by south korean porcelain artist min lee

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3. British kids line tootsa macginty

ImageImageImage4. mijke hoogervorst’s little rose kids line from the netherlands (she had me at her little red riding hood and deer prints)

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this mother needs a shower. and a nap.

out.

you can’t make this stuff up, featuring ‘a cagey bee’

“that’s weird”, says kid #2 in her nasally new york sounding accent. she lives in canada. on the west coast. so that’s weird.

my children are weird. people are weird. some things are so weird in fact that you can’t make them up.

occupation 1: i used to work as a manager in an upscale gourmet foods grocery store. one day we were sampling fancy chips when a woman came up to the counter, put the entire bowl in her cart, and walked down the aisles munching on them.

another time a woman called to complain that the produce department was cheating her out of potatoes. and by cheating she meant that the potatoes were getting smaller while the price was staying the same. except that potatoes are priced by weight, not size. i told her i’d look into it.

occupation 2: as a family counsellor for a non-profit agency i’m surrounded by weirdness at all times. one time a woman stood on my desk to prove a point. another woman’s ideas for the future changed drastically from week to week depending on the advice she had received from her numerologist.

but clients aren’t the only weirdos. within my professional life i’ve met people who believe that with enough spiritual empowerment it is possible to walk through walls. like for real.

someone else i know doesn’t believe in evolution and thinks dinosaurs never existed despite evidence that proves otherwise. and that is some weird stuff.

despite being weirded out by weird people, i do have a propensity for weird art. and local artists. and i love the fact that vancouverite kris g. brownlee aka k.g.b. aka a cagey bee (get it?), has a weird enough imagination to envision wide-eyed girls cuddling skunks, hiding inside wind-up toy birds, dressing as bandits alongside raccoon friends, and riding life-sized squirrels. plus adorable robots, and fairy-tale and movie-inspired characters.

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a snow-whitish looking print hangs in my hallway, while a robot resides in kid #1’s bedroom.

recently a cagey bee is offering prints on wooden blocks that are finished with boat resin. last week i was lucky enough to speak to her husband, aka ‘a cagey beard’, who told me that the blocks were inspired by their nephew’s birthday in which brownlee wanted to make a piece of art that could hang in his bedroom while being knocked-off-the-wall proof.

not only do i want to devote an entire wall of my house to brownlee’s blocks, but also want to purchase them for kid #2’s bedroom. she’s clumsy so anything destroy-proof fits the bill for wall art as far as she’s concerned.

you can purchase a cagey bee‘s prints and lockets here.

and for your viewing pleasure:

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kid #2 is the poster-girl for weirdness, or as i lovingly refer to her as ‘the queen of crazy town’.

here’s to all the future weirdness that i can’t possibly imagine yet.

because life’s like that.

the perils of not being able to get it together, or if you are an idiot you will probably get eaten by a wolf

one of my biggest fears is that i can’t get it together. this falls behind random violence and in front of ignorantly opinionated individuals. and said people in possession of guns. and being forced to exercise. and washing up on a deserted island without a pair of eye glasses and without my husband there to do everything for me. and terrible things happening to people i love.

i like to try to venture into the outside world looking like i’ve got it together. with red lipstick. and fashionable footwear. and children in clean clothing. and kid #2 not looking as though she was raised by wolves in the forest without a comb.

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sometimes you lose the genetic lottery.

moving along.

sunday was a serious ‘i can’t get it together’ day. first off, my beloved iPhone betrayed me. i was not informed that if i pressed snooze 3 times the alarm would turn off. i can happily press the snooze button for 2 hours straight so this was a major failure on the iPhone’s part. clearly the 2 of us had a lack of communication. also i cannot figure out how to change this setting. i am adding it to the list of ‘ridiculous things i do not know how to do’. i’m sure i can look it up online but my desire to do other more interesting things has prevented me from doing so. the benefit to this situation may be the kick in the butt i need to get out of bed earlier because sunday morning sucked.

i don’t know what actually propelled me to open my eyes but when i did i realized that i had exactly 42 minutes to get kid #1 to a bike safety course. and myself and kids #1 and 2 dressed. and red lipstick on. so i freak out. which is exactly the best thing to do in this kind of situation. also i phoned my parents. because also this is the kind of thing i do.

my dad was like “she better not be asking me to drive one of the kids somewhere”, which was totally fair because i had done the same thing 2 weeks ago when i almost slept through kid #2′s dance class.

backing up.

last week kid #1 crashed during gym class and broke the arm off his glasses. i promptly ordered a new arm but before it could arrive he somehow managed to snap the part of the frame that holds the lens in AND lose the lens. the poor kid couldn’t see a thing so i made a paper patch to cover the hole where the lens had been. i figured that mono vision was better than no vision although he looked like a complete moron. luckily, my mom had found the lens and was sending them over with my dad. yup, that’s right. he was coming to “drive one of the kids somewhere” even though he said he wasn’t going to because a) he lies about these things, and b) he also comes to my rescue. a lot. because i. cannot. get. it. together.

so i’m scrambling. my husband saunters in with a quad americano for me (bless his heart!) and is like “hey, you know the bike’s at the school right?”

“uh, what? why the heck would the bike be at the school? it’s sunday! it’s been pouring! why didn’t you tell me?”, i screamed.

“i thought you knew”, he replied.

“WHY WOULD I KNOW THAT!”

i failed to mention that he was in uniform at this moment but he made a mad dash to the school in his cruiser to pick up the bike. my apologies to the city for wasting police resources.

so my dad shows up with the lens which i stick on the kitchen counter while i’m searching for tape. i find the tape but now i’ve lost the lens because it is clear and on a dark granite counter and i have no memory of where i’ve put it down. also the kitchen looks like a tornado has blown through it because i was out the night before and NOBODY seems to be able to clean the kitchen without me. minus 10 points for my husband.

i’m still running around the kitchen patting my hands along the counters and watching crumbs fly everywhere, and kid #2 is complaining to me that kid #3 “smells poopy”, and my dad is standing in the kitchen doorway looking shell shocked. because in my ‘i can’t get it together’ world my alarm hasn’t gone off, the bike is at the school soaking wet, kid #1 has broken glasses (in 2 places!), there are bits of scrambled egg on the floor, kid #2 is naked (again), and kid #3 stinks. also i cannot find the lens.

finally the lens is found. but not by me of course. and i’m standing there taping the glasses and wanting to apologize for this whole crazy scenario and also for the fact that he’s stepping on something mushy (a raisin?), and that his very nice car is about to get wet and muddy from the bike that should have been clean and dry in the garage. and also i want to cry.

my dad’s always there for me in a pinch (whether he wants to or not) but my not-always impeccably clean house makes him anxious. during the summer an electrical switch in the playroom caught on fire. it burnt itself out almost immediately but there was black smoke everywhere. i called my husband, who was on duty, instead of the fire department because i am an idiot like that and he was able to contact them directly to attend. it happened on a my-house-is-not-so-tidy day and when my parents came over to hang out with the kids outside while the firemen did their thing, my dad turned to me and said, “the firemen must think your house is a disaster. your husband works in the community and these things get around”. and also my house almost burnt down. but you know, whatever. and then he gave me tips on how to better clean up toys and arrange my pile of books. and tried to mentally calculate where i might fit another bookshelf in my living room.

sigh. and now i needed his help AGAIN. and also i am 30.

i don’t know why i have such a fear of not being able to get it together. i could list off a number of positive credentials to counteract this but it’s not enough. and i don’t know why.

moving forward again.

i love books. this is just a thing about me. also i love the colour red. and fairytales.

i’ve knocked the princess crew quite a bit for their lack of cleverness and inability to be the heroine of their own story. kid #2 and i are in particular disagreement about a certain girl in blue. kid #2 thinks cinderella is perfect, albeit slightly forgetful when it comes to footwear. i, on the other hand, think she is dim-witted and may be suffering from the psychological condition known as learned helplessness. either way, the princesses are not where it’s at for me.

which is weird because i have a thing for the most notably idiotic, can’t get it together, useless fairytale character EVER.

little red riding hood.

oh little red. you are so cute in your red hooded cape. so adorable in fact that i make kid #2 wear a red hooded pea coat instead of the blue one i’m sure she’d prefer.

but dear red, you are an idiot. and i feel you because i too cannot get it together.

the story goes like this:

once upon a time there was a little girl, who was probably not so little since she was allowed to cross an entire forest by herself. her grandmother was sick so she was given exactly one task. to take a basket full of treats straight through the forest to her grandmother’s house without stopping to talk to strangers.

simple, yes? apparently not for little red the space cadet.

“hi. i’m not only a stranger, i’m a wolf. a big wolf. and i’d like to know what’s in your basket and where exactly you’re going…oh, you’re off to your grandmother’s with treats you say? and her house is located where?…”

darling red riding hood, you DESERVE to be eaten by that wolf. you are a failure of a fairytale character.

act 2: grandma’s house

“grandmother, what big ears, eyes, teeth etc you have”

is red categorically trying to remember what her grandmother looks like or does she know it’s the wolf? because every kid in the 2 and older crowd knows it’s not grandma. if my grandmother suddenly sprouted weird facial hair and a wolf-like appearance i’d like to think i’d realize that it wasn’t her.

but not little red riding hood. because she is a class 1 idiot. who doesn’t get eaten only because a randomly wandering-by woodsman happens to save her from a gruesome demise.

poor poor useless red riding hood who could not get it together enough to follow simple directions and tell the difference between a wolf and an old lady.

i feel you red riding hood. i feel you.

and that’s why i’m obsessed with these little red riding hood inspired awesomeness:

1. lil’ red & mr.wolf handstitched cuteness from dollyrocketlondon

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2. violastudio red riding hood pocket doll

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and reversible capelet

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 3. hand-carved stamp from freshbakedpapergoods, because it’s always important to leave your mark

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4. mini-friend message dolls from kekekaka

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5. little red double-brooch from krize

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6. one-of-a-kind made-to-order baby dress and cap from tenderblue

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6 great shops; 1 stupid girl.

chomp chomp.

the anti-princess club

“though she be but little, she is fierce!” – shakespeare, a midsummer night’s dream

kid #2 has a thing for cinderella. the disney one who looks just as hot in a tattered apron as she does in a ball gown. the one with perfect blond hair who strives for nothing more than to wear a pretty dress to a party. the one who seems content to live in an attic bedroom singing to mice and birds.  and what is with “a dream is a wish your heart makes”? i don’t even know what that means.

the closest i ever got to being a princess fanatic as a little girl were the dozens of times i watched ‘beauty and the beast’. i identified with belle the bookworm. i could have cared less whether belle and the beast hooked up. i was just rooting for her to get that library. with the sliding ladder. that i have wanted forever.

as a kid i was painfully shy. shy to the point where i was terrified to pick up the phone. where i could not force myself to ask a stranger a question, let alone make eye contact.

books were my thing. and so was the anti-princess. i was attracted to precocious, free-spirited, mischievous little girls. like madeline.

madeline taunts tigers at the zoo. she performs dangerous feats. she roots for the underdog. she stands up for what’s right. and i’m a little bit obsessed with her. which is why kids #1 and #2 can recite the book from memory. i may have pushed the book on them a tiny bit but they’ll thank me for it later. or at least when they have their own children.

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and then there is pippi longstocking who is quirky, completely unconventional, horribly behaved, and has the strength to throw pirates across the room and take on five bullies at a time. she. is. awesome. and i was desperate to live with her and her monkey, mr.nilsson, at villa villekula. forever. and on the 100th anniversary of astrid lindgren‘s birth, oxford university press put out a commemorative edition illustrated by lauren child. i adore lauren child! more on her later.

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i cannot wait to introduce my kids to this book!

i also stumbled upon this lauren child inspired pippi doll at mmmcrafts. i completely covet this.

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some people, that are not me, are so freakin’ talented. it always blows my mind.

moving along.

so. i became a teenager. and that was terrible. and then i grew up to be a nice, normal person and had kids of my own. in particular i gave birth to this child. kid #2.

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here she is in all her cinderella glory.

and while i couldn’t wait to introduce her to my favourite picture books and characters, we also discovered some seriously awesome ferocious little girls along the way. because if madeline and pippi were to have a tea party, they’d definitely invite olivia and lola.

this is olivia the pig, created by ian falconer, illustrator for the new yorker.

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she is headstrong, non-conformist, and in her newest book, ‘olivia and the fairy princesses’, she considers a career in exposing corporate malfeasance, and dances like martha graham. olivia is like no other.

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as a side note, anyone who knows me knows that i LOVE david sedaris. as in, i want us to be best friends.

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him and ian falconer joined forced for sedaris’ ‘squirrel seeks chipmunk’. another win win!

which brings me back to the world of lauren child and lola sonner. and this is how the story goes.

one day lauren child was riding a train in denmark when she spotted a blonde elfish-looking child chatting and chatting and chatting non-stop to her parents. lauren child found her mesmerizing and decided to base a storybook character around her. and lola and her retro-styled, collaged universe was born.

this is lola.

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and lola and her big brother charlie are somewhat of a double act. just like kid #1 and kid #2. they go together well, like charlie and lola!

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charlie goes to great lengths to teach lola about the world around her in the most imaginative way possible. he is also, for some reason, responsible for convincing lola to eat her dinner as well as getting to bed. charlie is somewhat parentified. i suppose it’s the same thing when i disagree with kid #1 and #2 that it is not in fact “good morning time” and send #1 off to make snacks and put a tv show on for #2 so i can be left in peace.

i’m a good mom. really.

anyway, lola makes my super-awesome-character list because of her cheekiness and her unique world-view and curiosity about the things and people around her. she has a huge imagination, is utterly non self-conscious, and completely knows who she is. also she wears weirdly put-together outfits. like kid #2.

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but recently i have one more little girl to add to the list and her name is lily.

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lately lily is a collaboration between author/illustrator micah player and apparel designer erin nichols. the premise of lily’s story is that she is daughter to a photographer and a writer for the ‘international exposition definitive journal of global curiosity’. lily travels on assignment with them exploring cities and terrains both urban and rural, writing and drawing in her sketchbook about what she’s been up to and what she’s learned from the people and places she’s visited.

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the drawings from lily’s “sketchbook” inspire t-shirt designs each season.

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currently lily is in paris, exploring the arrondissements by metro and visiting the famous sites of the city such as the tuileries on the grounds of the louvre.

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her parisienne explorations culminated in lately lily‘s newest season of apparel for babies and kids.

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in past seasons lily has fished peruvian waters while learning about the area’s people, culture, and history.

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she has also had a stopover in iceland,

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china,

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london,

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and of course, the USA.

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lily encourages girls to explore the world, think for themselves, and be an original.

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she believes that women can do ANYTHING!

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and teaches girls to support each other. lily is the anti-frenemy.

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she was there last year when sarah attar became the first woman in saudi arabia to compete in the olympics.

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and to celebrate the life of astronaut sally ride, the first american woman to be launched into space.

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i encourage you and your daughters (and sons) to pack your very own suitcase, and follow the traveling girl.

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oh, and ps, lily’s now got her very own iPad app available for download on iTunes.

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that’s it for today folks!

happy travels…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the politics of parenting (with legwarmers!)

kid #1 wanted to play soccer with his friends this season.

kid #1 has not exactly proven himself an athlete. he is best left to video games, lego creations, and sketch books. one day kid #1 will take over the world. just not on the soccer field.

kid #1 is a latecomer to the game. and what i mean by ‘latecomer’ is that he has joined the league at the ripe old age of 7 instead of 4. these missed years are apparently a problem as are team arrangements.

prior to this season, teams were based on which elementary school your kid attended so they could play with their friends. a simple yet solid plan.

but no. this was not good enough. according to some parents this did not lend the teams to fairness. some schools had stronger players than others. fine. good point. so what. the kids were 5 and 6 at this point and i’m pretty sure they had fun.

i think. unless their parents told them how crappy it was not to win at grade 1 soccer.

and some did because this caliber of parent exists. coaches were lobbied to make changes and changes were made. skills were assessed and players were scattered. teams were posted, coaches assigned, an uprising ensued.

emails from angry parents poured in. “my son needs to be on the same team as _______ (insert random dire reason here)”.

the coaches stuck to their guns. after all, they had made these changes to appease parents hadn’t they? or at least to appease the parents that hammered on relentlessly for these particular changes to be made. but the coaches had not taken into consideration that they’d be put under pressure by other parents wanting different things. so they caved. and teams were moved around again. except not without the aggressor of the first group of parents having her hand in it. which resulted in her son being exactly where she wanted him to be. on his own little super team. with players who won’t let him down. so he can be a grade 2 soccer champion.

kid #1 is on team 6. super-kid’s super-mom was consulted to see if she would be okay if super-kid was moved to team 6. just to even things out. super-mom gave a big super no.

wait. what is this consulting business? i’ve paid my soccer fees in full and want my own consultation time. in which case i would say that my kid just wanted to play soccer. and learn some skills and good sportsmanship. and have a good time and go home and move on with his life. because he is 7.

yet i worry that the parents of kid #1′s teammates will resent the fact that a non-seasoned player has infiltrated their team and messed up their chances of winning.

i had hoped this was going to be a fun thing for him. it still better be a fun thing for him because i will be the one standing on the sidelines in the rain watching this all go down.

the moral of this story though is that if you are a bully you can have what you want. which sucks. and is wrong. and is completely the opposite of my belief system or the way i am trying to raise my children.

also, i am particularly sensitive to bullying. i experienced it first hand as a child and it messes you up. bullying tricks you into believing that somehow you deserve to be treated badly because you’re not worth anything. you’re ugly. you’re small. you don’t have a voice. as a 12 year-old my lunches were eaten by someone else, the faces of my barbie dolls were cut off, my hair nearly set on fire. and it stuck with me. for a long long long time.

watch shane koyczan’s TEDtalk. just do it. and encourage others to.

i cannot prevent bullying on the soccer field or the precedence it sets for others. but i will not let it happen on the sidelines.

kid #2 knew a little girl at the field and they are friends. they have spent time playing at each others houses. they have gone on a small family trip together. they are friends. but this friend is also friends with super-mom’s super-daughter. and that day super-daughter decided that kid #2 was not allowed to play with them. they made fun of her. they ran away from her. kid #2 did not understand. why wasn’t her friend being nice to her?

kid #2 is 2 years old. which is why a pack of watermelon gum, her very own pack, was a big deal. so she came and asked for it and said that maybe if she shared they would be her friend. and they took the gum. and they ran away.

i tried to keep it cool but i was fuming. i walked over to “remind” them that it wasn’t okay to be mean. but there was more teasing and intentional meanness.

they are just little kids, i kept telling myself.

one of my favourite literary quotes is from margaret atwood’s ‘cat’s eye’, where she writes “little girls are cute and small only to adults. to one another they are not cute. they are life-sized”. and this is true. and so it was to her.

kid #2 had been having an excellent day. she had attended her very first dance class where she had worn the special blue tutu she had picked for herself. she felt big and happy and proud of herself. i was not going to let super-daughter mess with kid #2′s self esteem. not on my watch.

and then out loud i said i wanted to choke super-daughter.

what kind of crazy person says that about a little girl? so now i am embarrassed about that. mostly just because it makes me come off as an insane person.

moving along. except not really because i was still in a terrible mood after dropping kid #1 off at hip hop later that afternoon. so i went and bought stuff. naturally. this time huggalugs leg warmers for kid #2 and kid #3. and it made me feel much better. because i am shallow. whatever.

for kid #2

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and kid #3

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i had never purchased legwarmers for my kids before. lots of striped and spotted leggings and tights for kid #2 to match with nothing. but no legwarmers. and now i am super sold on them! they’re easy to get on even when kid #3 is rolling away from me, they’re soft, and they look good with anything. even with kid #2′s frilly hello kitty skirt or any of the random non-matching outfit choices she comes up with. wearing huggalugs legwarmers also do not require her to completely strip every time she needs to pee. and they can be worn as armwarmers. super bonus!

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huggalugs are stretchy so they fit kids of all ages and sizes. kid #3′s huggalugs are considered ‘nubies’ because they are made with smaller dimensions in mind. but just as cute. actually more so.

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the huggalugs brand, which originated in australia, makes adorable hats as well, many of which are specifically designed to match certain styles and prints from their legwarmer collection.

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so freakin’ cute. i just want to eat that bunny up.

the styles are numerous and i’ve picked at least a dozen more in their online shop that i’d love to have. for my kids i mean.

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and although i specifically bought them for kid #2 and kid #3 to wear as legwarmers, they’re both super cute and super practical on arms since they’ll make summer tees wearable in colder weather.

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i might even be able to sell kid #1 on these just by showing him this picture.

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because he’s a rock star.

or a soccer player.

and he’s 7.

whatever.

book therapy

friday was a crummy day. completely non-enjoyable. i’m not going to go so far as saying it was a bad day because in comparison to third world issues it was nothing. smooth sailing. but as far as non-significant first world problems are concerned, it was both sucky and inconvenient.

my newish car started buzzing, vibrating, whatever the technical term for ‘my car is acting funny’ is. plus my oil light kept going on. i guess i need more oil, i thought. so i went to the gas station. 

“my car is acting funny and i think my oil needs to be checked” i told a cute teenager.

“ok”, he said. “no problem”

awkward silence.

“so i’m going to need you to pop your hood” he said.

“um”, i replied. “i don’t actually know how to do that”.

“it’s right here”, said my sister who was with me. she neither has a driver’s license or a car.

it turned out that the oil was fine but my car was still acting weird. i called parts and service at the dealership where i had purchased the car and was advised not to drive. a tow truck arrived but i had no way of safely getting to the dealership so i could get a courtesy car since i had kid #2 and #3 with me. this was quite the sucky situation. i asked for the courtesy car to be driven out to me so i could get to the dealership and work out what was going on. after all i was only 20 minutes away.

“no”, i was told. “we’re currently having a sale and are very busy at the moment”. customer service at its best.

luckily my sister was able to get int touch with her boyfriend who piled us all into his van and drove us there.

now for the fun “i can’t believe this actually happened” moment. here i am exiting the van. i’m pushing the stroller with kid #2 on the back. kid #3 has fallen asleep in her car seat so i’m carrying her in it. tucked under my arm is kid #1′s booster seat and my sister is struggling to carry kid #2′s surprisingly large toddler seat.

we must have looked like a disastrous disaster. i can only imagine.

an employee of this particular brand of cars was clearly waiting for me to make my way over to him. i assumed he was the parts and service guy i had been conversing with on the phone.

“are you here to purchase a car” he asked jovially.

i assumed he was joking.

but no. as soon as i said i was not in fact there to buy a car he turned on his heel and walked away. true story.

after signing papers and dealing with the courtesy car situation we were off. but i was in a terribly horrible mood. and we were close to my favourite bookstore. and i decided that i not only needed but actually DESERVED a new book. or four. whatever.

for myself i purchased ‘the rosie project’

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and ‘the elegance of the hedgehog’

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and then also for myself, i mean my kids, i bought oliver jeffers’ newest picture book ‘the huey’s in it wasn’t me’

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as well as his newly illustrated book ‘the day the crayons quit’

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and then i felt much better. just like i knew i would.

and then the car dealership called and asked me to bring the courtesy car back to exchange it for another one because they had decided they wanted to sell the one they had loaned me and could i please do that this afternoon. i said no. because i am not a push over.

“can you bring it in tomorrow morning then? we need it as soon as possible” i was told.

“i have a busy day tomorrow” i told them back. “so i think you’ll probably have to bring the new car to me. but i’ll need you to do this no later than 9am because i have a place to be at”. and that was that.

and then 8:55am came and the phone rang and i didn’t recognize the number. so naturally i asked hubby to answer it for me because i am scared of strangers on the phone. but he had a mouth full of granola so i had to tentatively answer it myself. it was the car guy and he was in my drive way.

damn. i had totally forgotten.

proof that once again i cannot get it together. my uselessness exhausts me.

anyway, kid #2 and i have been reading the oliver jeffers books over and over again. she loves the ridiculousness of the hueys. kid #1 just really likes to give the story angry sound effects. they love the crayon book just as much.

oliver jeffers has been a household name in this family ever since i fell madly in love with ‘how to catch a star’ when kid #1 was a year old. he’s been hooked ever since and he’ll tell anyone who asks that ‘the incredible book eating boy’ will always be his favourite. santa splurged for the pop up edition one time.

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kid #2 thinks ‘stuck’ is the most hilarious thing that’s ever been read to her. every single time. “he’s such a silly guy! he threw a cat up there? hahahah!” every. single. time.

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my husband loves ‘the great paper caper’

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because it’s got a criminal/police edge to it of course.

i will also mention that my husband literally jumped with delight when i showed him the new books. he’s as mad about oliver jeffers as we are.

so as you might imagine i was completely delighted when i saw that oliver jeffers‘ website now had a new component called oliver jeffers’ world.

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in oliver jeffers’ world kids can print pictures, puppets, and puzzles to make which feature favourite characters like the huey’s, the boy, the penguin, the bear, and others. you can also click on characters and take them for bike rides, space hops, and to the south pole.

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it’s a visually stunning website and loads of fun too so get your kids over there.

so, while i was searching out some oliver jeffers related images, i happened to stumble upon one perfect day where a super crafty (ugh!) and eco-friendly mom and her kids have recreated scenes from lost and found with materials they’ve found around their home.

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but for the less crafty (ahem) and more intellectual moms (and dads) out there, he co-created the opening film for TED2013 and has been very involved in the process of this year’s conference which features the theme ‘the wise. the young. the undiscovered’

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isn’t oliver jeffers fabulous?

i may not know how to check the oil in my car, but i sure can pick my storytellers.