Generations (Giveaway)

by , on
August 31, 2011

When I arrived home this week from a trip to see my grandfather and my mother there was a lovely package waiting for me from Seventh Generation. Yesterday I took my daughter on a trip to our local natural product store (thank you Rainbow Foods) and picked up a few of the environmentally friendly products.

I am of the generation that first learned about acid rain and the hole in the ozone and all the things that human beings had been doing to hurt our environment and make things harder for future generations. I have known for years that I needed to change the way I do things and be more careful, but I have often chosen the easy or fast way of doing things. Now I have a daughter who is approaching 2 and I need to teach her about the effects our decisions can have on those around us.

Cleaning products have been a big thing for me – I have tried natural things before (vinegar and baking soda, Greenworks, etc) but I always go back to what I’m used to because I know it works. When I got the opportunity through Mom Central to join the Seventh Generation Nation (you can sign up here) I wanted to dive right in. I was given coupons to try a few different products and I picked up dish soap, cleaning spray, laundry detergent and baby wipes. I am very much looking forward to trying the diapers when they arrive as they were not yet available in my local store.

Baby wipes are a great tool in this house, not just for bums but hands, faces, table messes, makeup removal (Sara gave me that tip, I think). Seventh Generation baby wipes are made without bleach – something I don’t want to be rubbing on my baby’s skin or have her ingesting. I noted that these wipes weren’t as soft as name brand wipes, so I would probably stick with washcloths for newborn bums, but my toddler doesn’t seem to mind the difference at all on her hands and face.

My biggest fear about trying the laundry detergent was the smell. I love the smell of Tide, it’s what I grew up with, and I always thought that a more environmentally friendly product wouldn’t clean as well or smell as good. I was pleasantly surprised today when I moved the kid’s clothes into the dryer and then smelled fresh and clean as usual. All that and there are fewer chemicals going into my community’s water.

I tried the cleaning spray on the treadmill downstairs this afternoon – the treadmill that the kid decided would make a good chalk board. The spray and a good scrubbing got most of the chalk off, but I’m going to be trying it on different surfaces that are a bit easier to clean. The real test is going to be the bathroom tomorrow.

*Giveaway*

Share your best tip on how to be more environmentally conscious in the comments below before noon on September 15 for a chance to win a 100% organic cotton Seventh Gen Eco lunch bag as well as coupons for a free package of Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers, Free & Clear Baby Wipes and dish washing products provided by Seventh Generation.

Disclosure – I am participating in the Seventh Generation program by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

 

UPDATE:

Random Number Generator says 6 – so thank you Suzanne, I am sending you an email.

Getting it Done 7

by , on
August 29, 2011

Fix up the bikes so we can actually ride this summer

Get a ticket for the Social Capital Conference

Arrange a date night (with babysitter) Thank you, Grandma

Organize a book swap in Ottawa – July 31 at the Elmdale Tavern, 2-5 pm  A smashing success, we have to do it again

See Harry Potter

Weed the garden (started by Joe)

Knit a shawl for my mother (in progress)

Knit a sweater for Joe (in progress, but barely)

Go to a FatCats game

Find a fall activity for the kid – waiting for the city’s fall activity guide Looks like we might register her in Indoor Soccer and Skating lessons, but we have to wait for January starts  Registration complete

Schedule a physical

Get through my at work to do list (progress stalled)

Back up my computer

Organize the laundry room

Organize the storage

Hold a garage sale – Come on out and join us!

Organize the kid’s wardrobe and figure out what she needs

Check the air pressure in the tires

Schedule the facial to use my Groupon

Make brunch reservations at Le Cafe to use our LivingSocial deal

Renew Joe’s passport

Learn more about Google+

Change my LinkedIn profile picture

Actually do something on my Pinterest ‘Things to Make board  Peach Bars  and Coca Cola Cake
Get the car serviced – scheduled for this week – re-scheduled for next week
Potty train the monkey – in progress
Check out Teksavvy
Go to the Running Room to check out new shoes
Attend at least one of the Capital City Derby Dolls’ open houses
Thoroughly clean the house

Attempt freezer cooking

 

My other goals for 2011 include:

  • Hitting 175 lbs – and then to keep going
  • Being able to make it all the way to my 10th floor office on the stairs
  • Consistently having a meal plan so that the whole family is eating healthy food
  • Continue to test my knitting skills in my project choices
  • Make my way through my ‘to read’ pile (my ever-expanding ‘to-read’ pile)
  • Build up my profile at work
  • Keep blogging, keep tweeting, maintain my connections
  • Organize the second annual Road Hockey Showdown
  • Improve my French

Dear Jack,

by , on
August 25, 2011

I will not be at your funeral on Saturday, Jack. I missed visiting you as you lay in state in Ottawa, and I could only watch you leave my city on TV because I am in Regina right now.

In your letter you wrote to others who were fighting cancer, you said: My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

I am in Regina because I brought my daughter, just a few months younger than your dear Beatrice, to visit her great-grandfather. He’s 91 years old and he is one of the most special people in my life, I want her to know him for what time they might have together. Jack, he always asked me about you and he always referred to you as the next Prime Minister.

And so on Saturday I will watch the celebration of your life on television with my grandfather and my daughter and I will try to put your words into practice.

Jack

by , on
August 24, 2011

I got the statement in my work email Monday morning, from Olivia Chow, Michael and Sarah Layton. I did a double take. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to work.

I went into the office because I didn’t know what else to do and I needed to do something. I hugged my colleagues, I asked if there was anything I could do, and I left when it was clear I was only getting in the way of what had to be done. I took my mother and my daughter up to the Hill a little after noon to see the tributes and try to express to her that something terrible and important had happened. That evening Joe and I went up to the candlelight vigil on the Hill and I got to see more of my colleagues and share the grief.

I have spent four years working for Jack, day to day, I have been a cog in his machine.

I admired him for everything he was and everything he believed we could be as a team. He was constantly thinking and always optimistic. I was proud to work for him, I am proud to have been able to serve him.

This morning I watched his coffin arrive at Parliament Hill. I watched his wife, a woman I have come to greatly respect walk behind the man she loves. I watched his granddaughter, I had seen her in the office, I had seen them interact and seen his love for her. At the start of the last election campaign he talked to us, gathered staff, and he spoke about Beatrice and how important our work was for the next generation, and I thought of my daughter.

Jack was a very, very special human being. I am so sad that I will never get the chance to see him speak again and I don’t know where we go from here, but I do know that we have a great group of people and we will carry on in Jack’s name. He left us a legacy and it’s our job to live up to it.

3 feet tall

by , on
August 17, 2011

This morning Joe and I both had a moment. This morning we both looked at our baby and saw a real kid. She’s 19 months old now but I can’t help but to keep thinking she’s already 2. She’s very big for her age, always has been at least 100% on the height and weight charts. She stands a head above some kids months older than she is.

She’s picking up new words every day. Every day she surprises us a little bit. 

She loves to dance, she loves to run around, she loves to laugh.

She hates to sleep.

My mother reminds me that she takes after me. I have always been a bad sleeper – it’s hard to wind down at the end of the day, it’s hard to turn off. She takes a long time to go to sleep and she wakes up early and doesn’t want to lie down again.

So we struggle, we have nights of little to no sleep, we fight with her, we give up, we start over.

This morning we both took a moment to realize that this is our little girl, growing up. She’s healthy, active, beautiful and smart. She brings joy to us, our families and our friends. She’s wonderful.

Even in the hard times we have to remember that she is wonderful and we get the opportunity to be part of her life.

 —-

I think Amy undersells both ends of the spectrum – the highs and the lows. I know for me this has easily been the most trying time with her. I think because she seems so much more grown up now I expect too much of her. In my sane moments I know how ludicrous it is to expect a toddler to be rational but when I’m in the midst of it I lose sight of that. She’s clearly a kid, why can’t she be more logical?

She’s smart enough to be manipulative but not smart enough to understand that’s what she’s doing.

But at the other end the high points are so incredibly high. Hearing her form a short sentence or watching her jump, bounce and run across the living room I can’t help but be struck at how cool it is to watch this person – my daughter – be so coordinated and energetic and blissful.

I love that she’s developing a personality – one that’s challenging but only because it’s so inquisitive and enthusiastic about things. It’s hard a lot but it’s pretty cool too.

Pronounced

by , on
August 17, 2011

Following along with Project Priceless and watching wedding shows on TV has got me thinking about our wedding.

Our wedding was nothing more or less than us. There were things that were not perfectly perfect and certainly not traditional or conventional, but it all came together to be us.

Jordan asked on Twitter this week what stressed people out the most in the week leading up to the wedding. My answer was the weather, though I think there was more stress than just the fear of rain. I remember having dinner with my family two nights before and then having my mother and my sister back to our house to make my bouquets. I remember rushing around on rehearsal day to pick up the suits and going to our rehearsal and wanting to just get married right there. The weather was beautiful, our close family was there, it would have been so easy. Joe said no.

We woke up to a cool day and rain was threatening our outdoor ceremony, but Joe dropped me off at my Mom’s where all the girls were meeting to go and get our hair and makeup done. We went back, got dressed and waited for the word that we were ready to go.

The best thing about the morning of the wedding was that Joe and I were talking the whole morning. We were on the phone to each other making sure everything was going well. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I lean on him, so how could I have not called that morning?

We had made the decision not to include Henry in the wedding, but he will always be in my memory of that day, because as we were leaving to go to the ceremony my mother opened the front door and away he went. In my wedding dress, hair done and make up done, I chased my dog down the street through puddles and carried him back to the house.

The things that stick in my mind about the wedding and the reception are our vows, our cake – a hockey rink made up of four cakes (lemon, carrot, chocolate and vanilla) with cake toppers handmade by my maid of honour so that they would be facing off at the centre – our play-by-play and colour announcers at the DJ booth, the first dance that seemed to take forever, and just being happy that finally we were married, because that had seemed like what was supposed to happen for so long.

I will never ask you to be more than who you are because that’s who I fell in love with.

I promise to be the rubber of backs, the giver of hugs.

I will be the Bert to your Ernie, the Ernie to your Bert.

I will fight for this marriage every day that it falters and not take it for granted when things are good.

I will love, honour, support and be faithful to you.

Fear of falling

by , on
August 16, 2011

Last Friday I got out my roller skates again, for the first time in about a year. I put on my pads and my helmet, and I skated around for a bit. I ended up on the sidelines after about half and hour because I couldn’t handle the workout. A whole lot of falling on one knee and getting back up. Lifting my body weight is hard – especially after more than a week of bad sleep, a day of bad eating, and nerves.

I listened to my body and decided I needed to stop before I really hurt myself. I told my friends I would be there with them again next week and I would be more ready this time. In my head I was trying to figure out if I could get a way out of it. I’m scared.

I am scared of falling. I am scared of falling on my ass and making a fool of myself, I’m scared that I won’t be able to get through it again, I’m scared that I’m going to fail.

But then I read this post.

I am not alone. I can think of at least a couple of other girls from last Friday that probably felt the same as I did – and they made it through. There is no reason that I can’t make it through, unless I don’t try again. How could I not just try again?

This Friday I will be more appropriately dressed, I will have had more sleep, I will plan my meals better, I will do my best. And maybe I’ll fall, just to get it over with.

Getting it done 6

by , on
August 14, 2011

Fix up the bikes so we can actually ride this summer

Get a ticket for the Social Capital Conference

Arrange a date night (with babysitter)

Organize a book swap in Ottawa – July 31 at the Elmdale Tavern, 2-5 pm  A smashing success, we have to do it again

See Harry Potter

Weed the garden (started by Joe)

Knit a shawl for my mother (in progress)

Knit a sweater for Joe (in progress, but barely)

Go to a FatCats game

Find a fall activity for the kid – waiting for the city’s fall activity guide Looks like we might register her in Indoor Soccer and Skating lessons, but we have to wait for January starts  Registration complete

Schedule a physical

Get through my at work to do list (progress stalled)

Back up my computer

Organize the laundry room

Organize the storage

Hold a garage sale – Lara has been harassed, planning has begun

Organize the kid’s wardrobe and figure out what she needs

Check the air pressure in the tires

Schedule the facial to use my Groupon

Make brunch reservations at Le Cafe to use our LivingSocial deal

Renew Joe’s passport

Learn more about Google+

Change my LinkedIn profile picture

Actually do something on my Pinterest ‘Things to Make board
Get the car serviced – scheduled for this week
Potty train the monkey – in progress
Check out Teksavvy
Go to the Running Room to check out new shoes
Attend at least one of the Capital City Derby Dolls’ open houses
Thoroughly clean the house

Attempt freezer cooking

 

My other goals for 2011 include:

  • Hitting 175 lbs – and then to keep going
  • Being able to make it all the way to my 10th floor office on the stairs
  • Consistently having a meal plan so that the whole family is eating healthy food
  • Continue to test my knitting skills in my project choices
  • Make my way through my ‘to read’ pile (my ever-expanding ‘to-read’ pile)
  • Build up my profile at work
  • Keep blogging, keep tweeting, maintain my connections
  • Organize the second annual Road Hockey Showdown
  • Improve my French

Community

by , on
August 11, 2011

I have been very lucky to find a great group of moms in my community and online. In the past two years or so I have found myself surrounded by a supportive community.

When I was first pregnant I had no idea how to build such a community, but people kept telling me how important it would be. Who would have guessed that I would find these women online? (And not just women, not just parents, all these people that are there to offer advice, answers to questions, or just support and virtual hugs). There are women that I have felt an instant affection for and they have been lovely enough to welcome me into their group.

What I did not expect was that I would fall in love not just with these people, but with their kids.

I am not good with kids. I haven’t had a lot of interaction with kids since I was one. I have nieces and nephews but they didn’t really grow up nearby. I babysat a total of two times that I can remember. Before M was born I had held one baby – my nephew who is now almost 20 years old.

I go on Facebook and I see pictures and I smile just seeing these kids enjoying their days with their moms and dads, doing things that I know we’ll be able to do with Miss M in the future. I have had the opportunity to watch these kids grow up, going through stages that we’re going to experience, some that are M’s age or just a bit older, reliving her baby moments with the kids that are younger.

I love watching her play and interact with these kids, I love that they can teach her a bit about what’s right and what’s wrong.

I knew that building this community was important for her, so she could grow up with friends, kids to interact with and play with. I had no idea it would mean so much to me.

The God question

by , on
August 8, 2011

My name is Joe and I’m Catholic.

Growing up, my faith was a pretty significant part of my life. My mom’s family is Catholic and she’s been involved with the church as long as I can remember. She worked as a receptionist in the rectory, she reads at mass and she even ran my youth group for a year or two. Dad was actually raised … Anglican, I think, but he converted to Catholicism when I was quite young and he too has been involved, both reading at mass and – along with Mom – running marriage prep courses.

My experience of religion as a child / youth was very positive as it was largely manifest in community and fellowship. I knew the tenents of the faith, of course, and I did the sacraments with relative enthusiasm, but Catholicism was more about friendship and community than it was a strict interpretation of scripture or anything. We moved a few times in my life and the church was a constant amidst upheaval and a convenient source of friendships, much like the hockey rink. Many of my friends came from the church. Family friends did too. And there’s comfort in knowing you can walk into a church anywhere in the English speaking world and know the mass word for word.

As I got older, though, there were things about the church that really challenged my faith. There wasn’t a eureka moment or anything, just a growing unease with what the Catholic church as an institution does and says on issues that mean a lot to me. It forced me to re-examine what I believe and where that fits in as part of the greater conversation about organized religion and – ultimately – I’m left with more questions than answers.

I fundamentally believe in what Catholics would call the Holy Spirit – the notion of an unseen force or karmic balance, if you allow yourself to express it in a non-Christian way. I am pretty sure I believe in God, or at the very least a higher power of some sort. I believe in an afterlife though I’m not sure what form that takes. And perhaps most importantly, I believe in the Judeo-Christian values that I was raised with. I try to live a good life and I’m trying to raise my daughter with the same values and morals that defined my upbringing.

The problem for me comes in the black-and-white modern-day interpretations (by humans) of scripture that was written centuries ago (by humans), often to serve a political purpose. This right vs. wrong, us vs. them version of Catholicism can be so exclusive, judgmental and it has led to so much needless pain and suffering.

And yet Catholicism has been too positive in my life to totally disregard it. I look at the strength that my parents draw from their faith and it inspires me. I’m glad that they can find such support and strength and I’m incredibly proud that they can do so while still maintaining open minds and a progressive mindset. They’ve found a comfortable place in their faith and even though it’s a place shaded by greys within the black and white world I don’t believe it makes them bad Catholics – and certainly not bad people. Quite the contrary; the church could use more like them. But it’s not a place I’m comfortable going right now.

I’ve been asked if we are going to baptize our daughter anyway and the question has always kind of confused me. I certainly don’t think less of people who baptize their children but don’t otherwise practice their faith – that’s their decision to make and it’s far too personal a decision for me to ever second guess – but, in a twisted way, I feel like I respect the church too much to fake it. I can’t stand at an alter and pledge that I will raise her as a Catholic and invite the church into our lives if it’s not a commitment I’m ready to honour.

But I’m not ready to close the door on it for her either. I want her to see the powerful force that God has been for her Grandma and Grandpa and even for her Daddy. I want her to understand that some people are Buddhists and some are Christians and some are Muslims and that all of those can be a force for good. And ultimately I want her to make her own decisions; to set her own path and to find a relationship with God that she can find her own strength from.

——-

I was born into an Anglican family, I was baptized and I remember going to Sunday school a few times when I was a kid, but then we stopped going. Church was never a major part of my life, though I had a general understanding of God and prayer and that different religions existed. My best friend used to invite me over for sleepovers on Saturday night so she would have an excuse not to rush out to church on Sunday morning.

When I was a teenager my cousin got married and I went to the church for the big Catholic ceremony and discovered that part of my family was very definitely Catholic. When I was 18 my Great Uncle died and I travelled with my family to Peterborough for the funeral. The service was held in an Anglican church and I was shocked when both my grandmother and my mother knelt to pray upon our arrival at the pew – I had never seen them do that before.

I knew Joe was raised Catholic, and that his family was Catholic and that scared me a bit when we were dating, moving in together (it took him a while to tell his family) and then getting married. Our wedding was performed outdoors by a United Church minister. At the beginning of the ceremony there was a prayer, which I was comfortable with because I know other people believe and take comfort in prayer, and I knew people would be praying for us as a couple. We asked Joe’s parents to do the readings, and we asked them to pick their own, something that meant something to them and their wishes for us.

I’ve struggled a lot with what I believe and what I don’t. Sometimes I wonder if I would have been fighting depression for so long if I had grown up in the church. I believe in fate, I believe in karma to an extent, I believe in ghosts and angels and the idea that when you die you’re not just dead, but not in any way I can explain.

I also believe that a lot of the problems in the world stem from people misusing and misunderstand religion. I’ve had friends hurt by their parents because the church came above their children.

The problem is, I have no idea how to approach any of this with my kid. I don’t want to prevent her from believing, but I don’t know how to let her.

Copy Protected by Tech Tips's CopyProtect Wordpress Blogs.