Monday, April 30, 2012

The Accumulation and Storage of Things Outgrown

Seasons changing always mean a massive clothing migration, which means in the Spring and Fall we have every kind of clothing out and everywhere, from swimsuits and bucket hats to mittens and sweaters, and everything in between. Doesn't help that it was 30 degrees in March and snowed this past weekend. 

The thing about kids is, they are always growing. Always. They grow out of clothing, and you get them some more, and they grow out of those too.

Will the insanity never end??

Alongside the outgrowing and seasonal migration of clothes, we have the Accumulation and Storage of Things Outgrown. The boxes and baskets in the kids' closets, collecting things that you swear just fit them last week! Heaven forbid it's a favourite item, that you go to put on them and discover is at least 3" too short but, now that it's on, good luck getting it off.

And somehow these boxes and baskets are always overflowing with things outgrown. I empty them (okay only about once a year but still... I do it), and I turn around and they're full again. Poof! Magic clothes!

Then there are The Bins. Huge, plastic bins stuffed with more Things Outgrown, occupying nearly all the shelves in our basement, as well as some of our garage. Heaven help me if I ever need to go looking for something in one of The Bins. *shudder*

The issue is that I really don't have a good system in place to organize, label, and store these things. I'd like to think that someday I'll sell some of the really good stuff, but the thought of going through all those bins to pull out, photograph, list, price and categorize all the items is enough to stop me from doing it. (Also the possibility that we might have another child... hence we're hanging onto *everything*, just in case.)

As of right now I have bins 'sorted' (I use that term loosely) by size and gender. Size being the wearable size of the clothing, not necessarily what's on the label (so something that fit the boy at age 2 would go in the 2T bin). Then there are the boxes of shoes and boots - many of which should probably just be donated or tossed but got boxed up and put on a shelf forevermore. I'm filled with a sense of dread anytime I have to go put a box of outgrown clothes away in the basement, because I'll have to actually look at the bins and acknowledge the huge task that awaits, someday in the not-too-distant future: the reorganizing of the Things Outgrown.

When I get to it, I will organize things by gender: boy, girl, and neutral. I'll be more brutal when it comes to deciding what to keep, and I'll sort things by season. I'll purge. I'll store bins on the shelves in order of age. I'll keep a small bin in the kids' rooms for the next size up (at least for The Girl, for any hand-me-downs that can be worn from her brother).

When I get to it... Or maybe I can just call some professional service to come and do this?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My hopes for my daughter

I wish a lot of things for my kids in their life... health, happiness, success. But my biggest, most important wishes are the little things:

For my daughter...

I hope she can look in the mirror every morning, as she did on this morning, and say "I have pretty hair!"

I hope she will always "go for it", and not inherit her mother's reservations, hesitations, and worry.

I hope she keeps dancing like it's her job. 

I hope my daughter never loses her spark. Girls can be so mean, and I just pray that she is resilient and doesn't let some snarky b's squash her tenacity.

I hope she always sings with her arms open and her eyes closed the way she does today.

I hope she keeps doing silly voices, making up silly songs, and making silly faces.

I hope she keeps looking at her brother with all the love and adoration in the world, the way she does now.

Even though I grumble about it at the time, I hope she keeps waking me up with a big smile and a cheery "Mummy!" at the side of my bed, showing me whatever creation she's made while waiting for the rest of us to wake up.

I hope she takes her spunk all the way to the top, of whatever mountain she chooses to climb.

I hope she always knows how full of awesome she is.

I hope she never stops calling me "Mama" when she really needs her Mama.

I hope she keeps telling those around her exactly what she wants and when.

I hope she can find someone to share her life with, who truly appreciates her goofy sense of humour, and can see when she really needs a hug. As I have.

I love you, my spunky, sweet, adorable, awesome-filled girl. I hope you always know that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Seedling Watch 2012

We have more things sprouting up over here and doing a lot of planning. It's very exciting!

First - The Hubs is awesome. I mentioned (three weeks ago *cough*) that I needed my new grow light mounted somehow, to make it useable. I may have said something about making it adjustable... if possible. THIS is what he made for me! It's fully adjustable... though the height seems fine to me. Cool huh?

I have to say this project has meant a lot of learning on my part, some of it unexpected. Did you know that green, yellow, and red pepper are all the same plant? They're just picked at different times. WHAT!

My little seedlings are coming along as well. Unfortunately, being a bit of a disorganized twit, I've lost track of which plants are which. I know what most of them are, generally, but I've got all my tomato plants mixed up and some random cells of seeds weren't marked (me: "I'll totally remember what this is") so... yeah. Next year (if I do this again) I will come up with a good way to ID seedlings!

A few pics of my newest babies, half of which I'm sure I wasn't even supposed to start indoors but... my raised beds aren't built yet! (Hopefully this weekend...) Aren't they cute?

tomato (pretty huh?)
crazy zucchini (this is 2 weeks!)
green onion - not sure what's up with these
green leaf lettuce

I wanted the kids to get into the seedling action, so I had them shove a couple of bean seeds into some dirt just for fun. I had NO IDEA they'd do THIS. And that's the small one! Dude!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Gender Bias: Turns out, I'm guilty too

I've always thought of myself as fairly progressive when it comes to gender equality. While I didn't really think about it much when my son was born for some reason, I've been acutely aware of the effect gender bias has on our decisions when it comes to my daughter. I'm not sure why I focused on it with her and not him... perhaps because there's an assumption that if you pigeon-hole your daughter as a GIRL, it's oppressive, but if you treat your son as all BOY, you're doing him a favour. Why is that? I don't know. But I digress...

In the past two-and-a-half years since The Girl was born, I've done my best to maintain a balance and present a fairly neutral 'front' when it comes to the the toys, games, and clothes we provide for her. This was fairly easy, given that a lot of the toys we had in the house were either neutral or typically "boy" toys. Now, I don't know why trucks and dinosaurs are considered BOY things, but they are. Since we already had all those things in the house, when The Girl came along and we were given all the pink and doll things, it just blended in, and she had a choice as to what to play with. I imagined her as that little freckly-faced kid in jeans and braids who we've all seen, so proud of her (blue and red and green) LEGO creation.

At certain times I do find myself getting caught up in the whole "girly girl" thing. I did kindof want to slap myself when I realized I'd played right into the marketing of pink to girls: on her first birthday, when The Girl ripped open her presents, lo and behold there was a PINK toy sorter, and a PINK school bus. Oh, dear. How did those get in there?? Okay, I found it hard to resist... I mean that pink school bus is just too cute. But, why didn't I just buy the yellow school bus? Did it being pink offer any added play value? I'm not saying there's anything inherently wrong with pink... It's a great colour, but am I sending a message to my daughter when I buy her a pink school bus instead of yellow? I would never have bought my son a pink school bus. (And why not?)

Despite the occasional pink toy (and a boatload of baby dolls -- The Girl happens to love them, what can I say?), I think we have a fairly good mix in our house. We try not to influence them one way or another when it comes to choices, what they want in terms of colours, clothing, toys... We offer a wide range and they decide. The Boy often chooses pink, and why not? I'd say we're doing pretty well.

Or at least, I thought so. Until I realized gender bias is underneath it all, even despite trying to be aware of it and keep my own ideas of what is "for girls" and "for boys" checked at the door. After signing the kids up for various spring activities, I was smacked down with my own bias and realized I'd sent a very clear and unintended message to my son. When he heard that his sister would be doing gymnastics every Saturday he turned to me and said, "I want to do gymnastics too! Like they do on TV!".

Oh, dear.

Well past the registration deadline at this point, with no chance to get him signed up for this semester, I had to explain to him why I had signed his sister up for gymnastics, and him for t-ball, and not the other way around.

I really don't have a good answer for him. (Mom Fail #923)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Fear of Daycare Illnesses

Every other week or so, I receive an email that fills me with dread, makes my stomach lurch, or my heart start pounding.

The "We have a confirmed illness" email from daycare.

Dun dun duuuuuuun.

Oh sure - it looks cute NOW.

First of all, how are all these kids getting sick all the time? The daycare isn't even that big... but literally every other week there's something. Strep throat, of course. Or flu. Then there's the dreaded L word.


Ick yick gick. Lice may not make anyone really ill, but they still fill my heart with dread. We have, thankfully (*knocking on all things wood*) not brought any of these disgusting critters home -- YET -- but every time we get the email, I'm checking the kids heads like it's my job and filling their baths and shampoo with tea tree oil. The Hubs knows now, when he smells that stuff, "Lice at school again?" Yep, and don't even say that word or it will jinx us!

I don't know why, but I'm actually afraid of lice. Blech. Gross.

Oh and this week? Scarlett fever, AND Hand-foot-mouth diseases. Seriously. That place is a germ factory!!

Now, off to Lysol... everything.

Monday, April 02, 2012


We have sprouts! My little seedlings are emerging. I am giddy!

Go to the light, little green dudes!
This past weekend, I mapped out the location for our raised garden beds (ie the future home of our little seedlings). I had taken a few pictures at different times of day, and then laid out some wood where I thought we should build.

I think I've decided on two 4x8 beds. I don't know if that makes me ambitious, or naive, or just crazy... but I think I will need the space for everything I'm planning to plant. Here's the list... Eek!
- tomatoes (three kinds)
- cucumber (will try to stake so they grow 'up')
- green onions
- carrots (two kinds)
- leeks
- green leaf lettuce & arugula
- peppers
- beans
- pumpkins (not in the beds, might just throw these to the side and see what happens)
- mizuna? (don't even know what this is but got some seeds from Nikki Jabbour so am determined to grow it regardless)

The first thing I did when I decided to build a veggie garden was to choose what we'll grow. I wanted things we love to eat (obviously!) but also plants that are pretty easy to grow in our climate.

Second was reading up on starting veggies from seed, buying a few seed trays, and reading up on when to start them. That's when it started to get overwhelming - there are a lot of dates to keep track of! So I plugged them all into Cozi, starting with our usual last frost and working backwards.

Anyway now I've got a few things started under lights in our basement (The Hubs wondered if any neighbours would think we were starting a grow-op!) and have ordered soil to be delivered the first week of May. Now we need to plan and buy materials for the actual beds, and build them... Meanwhile I'm checking Cozi regularly for when I needs to start more seeds. I realized I should have basil going already (oops)and will plan cucumbers and peppers this weekend just to get them going.

Do I have time for all this? NO! But I can't help myself! It's an illness!