Monday, February 27, 2012

Preserving memories

So, the startup disk on my laptop is full... apparently it's not very big. Anyway I was finally sick of the errors popping up all the time that I thought oh I'll copy some photos to our external hard drive. I should be doing this monthly. I just realized the last time I copied any photos off my laptop (besides uploading to FB) was before we moved... well over a year ago!

There we go - 2010 done...
Now I'm just trying to get things copied over, almost frantic because something could (in theory) happen to them before I get everything copied. Also, it's taking forever. I have taken SO MANY photos in the last year alone. I'm glad to be getting to this before a real disaster - I would kick myself if I lost an entire year of precious moments captured on film - but by leaving it this long I've made a relatively easy thing into a huge project.

So when was the last time you backed things up? Do you have a strategy for how you store photos / videos and how often you copy them somewhere? Where do you keep them all?

Also... how often do you print photos? It's been forever since I've printed any. I used to LOVE sitting down and flipping through photo albums as a kid - something my kids don't really get to do. It would be nice to have a few albums of photos printed... just have to get through them all and do it. This is my Spring project! Sort out photos!

As of right now I'm about half-way through copying December 2010 over. I'm determined to get everything copied, and then I'll go through and print out a few hundred photos to put in an actual, put-on-the-table album with real plastic pages that my kids can sit down with on a Saturday morning and flip through, and say "I remember that!"...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Why Moms are so freaking stupid

You know that moment when you're in the middle of a conversation and you suddenly lose your train of thought... or say, "Did you tell me that already?". If you're talking to another parent, they'll likely say "Oh no worries." -- because they know. But your childless friends will look at you like "WTF, are you seriously that stupid? We literally just talked about that yesterday! You texted your husband to relay the story! You can't be that dense.". Well let me tell you: yes, yes we can.

Here's the reason: as moms, we have no less than four-hundred-and-fifty-five-thousand 'important' things running around in our brain at all times. It's a constant cycling of things to do, things to remember, things to get, people to talk to, oh right that thing I need to remember to do... it's relentless. I know I'm applying a vast generalization here, but it seems to me that Dads just don't suffer from this particular phenomenon. Either they're not thinking about all these little details, or they've found a way to keep track of crap that doesn't involve the constant to-do list scrolling past their medulla oblongata. I'm pretty sure they just don't think about all this stuff. Really, do the Dads know when registration dates are without hearing it from Mom?

Yes, the children also ate our brain when we were pregnant, so there's that... But it's The List. The non-stop frigging LIST. And here's the thing: if we need to jam something else in there, like whatever it is you just told me and said was 'critical', well something else is going to have to go, because I can't fit another thing in there. When you see me standing in front of the PIN pad at the grocery store, trying to remember my PIN (the same one I've had for 15 years), you'll understand why. Something had to give.

Here's just a sampling of the types things an average mom will have running through her head at all times.

  • little one needs more diapers at daycare
  • Bake Sale next week
  • ran out of chilli powder last time we made chilli
  • swimming registration this week... must remember to log in first thing Wednesday morning...
  • must find out where that smell is coming from
  • father-in-law's birthday next week or -- crap -- was it last week?
  • did I remember to record The Bachelor? must check DVR...
  • car is out of gas... again... must fill up before work tomorrow
  • do I have pants for tomorrow?
  • when was the last time I called my mom?
  • it just occurred to me I didn't check to make sure the big one was wearing underwear today
  • argh, the litter box...
  • is this the last diaper? in the whole house?
  • the kid's dentist appointment next Tuesday (alternative: when was the last time the kid was at the dentist?)
  • why is my eye twitching like that?
  • file taxes... right...
  • what did I just step in? must clean the floors...
  • library books due back next weekend
  • what did we sign up to bring in for the class party? more importantly why did we sign up?
  • should email some photos of the kids to the grandparents
  • when did I change the sheets last?
  • that damn lightbulb still needs to be replaced
  • where did I put my keys
  • seriously, What.Is.That.Smell.
  • oh crap have to take the casserole out of the freezer
  • really need to book a sitter for Friday night
  • should the kids be taking a multi-vitamin?
  • have to decide on summer camp before all the spots fill up
  • when does the car insurance run out again?
  • have to make a hair appointment... like last week
  • kids' snow pants need to be dried for tomorrow
  • did I lock the car?
  • the big kid needs a replacement set of spare clothes for school
  • how do we only have one glove for all six pairs?
  • do we have cash for the babysitter?
  • pay the cell phone bill
  • must make our summer vacation plans
  • wait, is the Bake Sale tomorrow?
  • Scholastic order due on the 10th
  • what are we doing this weekend
  • is the little one due for more shots soon?
  • we should be contributing to a college fund. Or two.
  • must plan the big one's birthday party next month
  • pretty sure none of the little one's pants fit anymore
  • is there a kid's birthday party this weekend?
  • this is the last bottle of wine. For all that is good and holy do not forget to pick up more wine.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Which Mom are you?

Another holiday has passed (if you can consider Valentine's Day a 'holiday' -- any day that I still have to work is just a day with a fancy name), and once again we were subjected to the barrage of posts on Facebook and other social media sites (what 'other' sites? I don't know, just covering my bases) signifying the day.

And, I was once again reminded that as moms, we fall into one of several categories regarding our approach to these things. There are the Overachievers, the Underachievers, The Regular Moms, and what I think is a somewhat new phenomenon (or maybe I'm just now seeing it): the Overachieving Underachievers.

After reading a post on PeopleIWantToPunchInTheThroat (yes, you read that right, and she's hilarious) I had a pang of guilt -- for I, too, had pinned all kinds of wonderful things on Pinterest thinking "I could do that!", and I even did a few of them. It wasn't an over-the top holiday extravaganza by any means, but I did do a few cute things, take photos of them and post them to Facebook. Why did I do this? I wanted the accolades. There, I said it. Melting down crayons and sticking them to heart-shaped cards had nothing to do with The Girl and how much she and her classmates would love them. Let's face it: they are two years old. They had no idea. But, I knew parents and teachers would see them. I did them for me, and so I could post pictures of them. Yep. I'm resisting posting a photo of them here, right now!

Now, I know I'm not the Overachiever Mom by any means. After my recent Christmas Rant about how I suck at holidays, I came to grips with the fact that generally, I'm just trying to Keep Up. I find myself scrambling at the last minute, forgetting things altogether (those Scholastic orders? We never remember to submit them!), throwing things together in a half-baked attempt to prove I'm a worthy mom. It's not about the kids half the time... it's about how people perceive me as a mom. Wow.

So am I an Underachiever? I don't think so. There are very few legitimate Underachiever Moms. Those are the ones who really don't give a crap what happens to their kids. They are out there... but they aren't the ones reading parenting blogs, so I'm not too worried about offending them ;)

Regular Moms... that's me, and probably you too. Try their best, do what they can, try to make their kids smile sometimes, need a glass of wine every now and then, forget stuff, cry when their kids get hurt, try to make most meals balanced ones, sometimes end up with a Happy Meal. Yell sometimes, hug lots.

But then there are these Overachieving Underachievers. The ones who are trying to prove they are NOT trying too hard at all this. The ones who refuse to do anything from Pinterest and will tell you how stupid it is. The ones who seem to make it their goal to underachieve and rant about what all the other moms are doing. They are proud of their lack of parenting skills. It seems to be the hip new club that everyone's joining, and I have to say I can kind of relate. If I can't be an Overachiever, I can at least be the antithesis of one, and then point at them and laugh.

In any event, I realized I was reaching a new level of crazy when I forced my 4.5 to sit with me and work on his Valentines, and when he goofed off and wrote his name wrong on one of them and I crumpled it up in anger. Yeah, I did that, and I felt horrible about it and gave myself a Mommy Time-out. It really made me question my motivation for the things I do 'for' my kids...

If you couldn't take a photo and post it online, would you still do half the things you do? Hmmmmm.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Impromptu Family Marching Band

Kids LOVE to stomp their feet and make noise... why not put those natural instincts to good use, and form your very own band?

It was some random night after supper, the kitchen was a mess and it was bathtime, and yet there we were: four of us, shirking our duties and instead marching around the house, one following the other, making noise. A LOT of noise.Giggles and smiles abound.

It was one of those impromptu family events that you don't plan or anticipate, and ends up being so fun and memorable that the kids occasionally say "Remember that time we...?".

I'm demented! Heeheeheeheehee!!
One of us - I can't recall who - asked, "What makes music?" (a la Let's Make Music Elmo Video which we had just watched*). The challenge was upon us: find the things around us - in the kitchen, living room, toy box - that would make 'music' -- or, in our case, just funny noises. Now, maybe you have one of those sets of toy instruments with a tambourine and various other noise-making apparati, but we do not - we were winging it!  

*As a side, can anyone tell me why Elmo is always giggling? What is so damn funny all the time? What is that dude smoking that makes everything worth a giggle? "Elmo loves his green crayon! Hee hee hee hee hee!"

Just like this, only with more spoons. And fewer carrots.
Anyway. There we were... marching with gusto, playing our instruments -- coffee cans, spoons, toy cars, containers filles with popcorn kernels... we even added vocal instruments with the likes of "Bup bup buhh-bup!" and "Doot doot dee doooooo". We took turns being the leader (not on purpose, mind you... some of us just got lost going around the corner and / or changed direction and ended up in the front somehow!). The 'song' (I use the term loosely) changed as we went, but we all went with the flow and I'm telling you, we had a blast in our Impromptu Family Marching Band.

Personally, I thought we sounded fantastic... The neighbours may have beeged to differ (or begged for earplugs) had our windows been open. Lucky for them it's the middle of the winter...

If you try this at home, tell me about it, okay? I want to know about all the parades going on in other houses. What instruments did you come up with? Keep in mind it's not about making some elaborate thing that requires glue or scissors or talent... it's literally just pick it up and start marching.

And if you're not giggling right along with your kids by the end of it, there's something wrong with you. ;)