Friday, March 30, 2012

We Have a Match

For anyone who was interested in how my grand-nephew is doing we have just heard that they have found a match. They still have a very long road ahead of them but the news of a match is cause for celebration!

If you contacted One Match or the equivalent in your area thank you. If you would keeping Linden and his family in your thoughts please continue to do so. We appreciate all of them and they helped to bring about something wonderful.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Thousand Words: Local Murder Edition

The Bean has been keeping me awake nights with tossing and turning and teething and not being happy about going back into her own bed. Add in the early morning bed invasion of the Peanut and I don't get a lot of sleep or a chance to doze lazily in the mornings. I don't mind, I really don't there's something sweet about the whole family snuggled up first thing in the morning. The Bean and the Peanut giggle at each other, I get a few stories out of the Peanut and then we're up and starting the day.

What isn't sweet is the sound of about 100 mourning crows in the backyard. Yup that's right they were in mourning for one of their own. I had a murder of crows at the soft and gentle hour of 6AM and they were not being soft or gentle in volume.  And then there was the body left behind.

I'm no animal CSI specialist so I couldn't say what the cause of death was but I did cordon off the crime scene, take a few photographs of the body and the surrounding evidence. None of the witnesses stuck around long enough for me to properly interview them so as of now it is in the cold case files.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scavenger Hunts, Party Plans and Gift Ideas

How to do an egg hunt with a five year old and a 14 month old (yup that's what I said; the Bean turned into a 14 month old yesterday). Colour coordinate the eggs for each kid of course. The Peanut will become the proud owner of any warm coloured eggs that are hidden around the house (pink, orange and yellow) The Bean will get the cool ones (blue, green and purple) of course this is a bit untrue because at the tender age of 14 months she will not be any position to even look indignant when I commandeer her jelly beans and devour them on the couch while watching the UK version of Being Human on Netflix...

But I digress. I don't even know if we'll be going with jelly beans or mini eggs in our eggs this year. The Bunny refuses to fill me in when ever I email him.

In the meantime I'm mulling over birthday party ideas for the Peanut. Last year we did Peep and Quack b=and the husband did a mini dry ice demonstration with bubbles and soda geysers.  This year we've decided to pull out all the old moving boxes we've been holding on to and let the kids go wild with them. They can build their own forts, make towers, cut (with a little adult help) and paint, stack them climb into them, hide behind them...ooh ooh can you imagine the hide and seek game that could come from that? Anyway, I think you get the idea.

I'm at the moment toying with party favour ideas, paper robots and dolls are at the top of the idea list, along with cookies stickers and crayons.

And then there's the whole end of the year teacher gift. I'm busy drafting a letter to my fellow parents asking for whatever they would like to contribute towards the gift. I'd like to do something that the Peanut's Teacher can use in her classroom next year (alphabet flash cards) as well as something just for her, a gift card to a shoe store or a packed coffee card. What types of gifts would you consider getting for your child's teacher at the end of the year?

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's been a whole since I shared one of the treasury's I've put together on Etsy. This collection was inspired by the City of Stars print by LisaChow. I pulled each item using the ideas behind reaching for that ultimate goal, grabbing for your dreams, jumping out of faith and the idea of rebirth and new beginnings. Please, feel free to click on the image to get a much better view of the collection.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Slow Goings but going none the less

I think I may have wildly overestimated my ability to get through the long list. I'm still at it though. The flying man is so far an absorbing read whenever I get a chance to be absorbed. The main character is a charming minor villain, leaving broken hearts and families behind his wandering feet.

I've started The Night Circus as well. When I say I've started I mean I've read the prologue and the first page of the first chapter. The premise is very promising but I haven't heard good things about it. I'll keep on it and let you know if I have anything bad to say about it. Tides of War is sitting on my kitchen table waiting for me to get through Flying Man before it can be started...

Are you reading along? What books are you reading, what are your thoughts? 
  • Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg 
  • On the Floor by Aifric Campbell - On deck
  • The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue 
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan - Finished
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
  • The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki - about half through
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon 
  • Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding 
  • Gillespie and I by Jane Harris 
  • The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay
  • The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy 
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - started
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick - Finished
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • There but for the by Ali Smith
  • The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard
  • Tides of War by Stella Tillyard - on deck
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman 

Monday, March 19, 2012

It Comes Down to the Bone

I'm sure you remember a few weeks ago when I posted about my Niece's little guy, Linden going in for surgery. 

The surgery went well, the swelling in his head has gone down dramatically and we have been waiting to hear back about whether anyone in the immediate family was a bone marrow match and to hear the results of the testing that they were doing to find out what health issues he is going to face. The results are in, and I'm afraid they are not good on either front. Linden doesn't have a match within his immediate family and he's been diagnosed with a very rare bone disease.

I'm quoting from the facebook page that has been set up for Linden here:
Help us find a match for our baby linden! He was diagnosed with osteopetrosis; a rare bone disease and needs a bone marrow transplant! Please donate today! You could be a match for our little guy!
 Half Filipino half Caucasians have a better chances for matches.. but we need EVERYONE to become a donor, please spread the word and become a donor today!!
If we cannot find a match, there is no other treatment for this disease and eventually the bones will become too thick restricting the nerves to his eyes and ears causing him to become blind and deaf. Eventually he will die.
Children who do not get treatment for this disease don't make it past childhood. Linden is only six months old.

If you live outside of Canada you can become a donor in your own country. Matches can be made from all over the world. To list a very few:

In Canada visit One Match
In the US go to Be The Match 
In the UK go to the British Bone Marrow Registry

Even if you aren't a match for baby Linden you may be a match for someone else who's life could be saved by a donation. I signed up as a donor and am waiting to hear back about becoming a donor. If I can help out my nephew or anyone else who needs it I will do it because it is the very least I can do. 

Like any baby, Linden is loved to bits, he's adorable and a cheeky little monkey. He likes to flirt with the ladies and loves his Mama to bits. I am asking you for help here too. Please consider becoming a donor. If not  pass on information about becoming a donor to your friends and family. If you could help save the life of somebody's loved one wouldn't it be worth it? Please help spread the word.
Thank You

It's a Sideways, Downward Zig Zaggy Spiral

The Bean is in the midst of sleep training. We're not exactly sure who is training who right now though. We're trying to get her to the point where she can sleep through the night without needing a milk feed from her Momma. We've cut it down over the last week or so by one waking but that required the husband to sleep at the foot of the bed with his hand resting on her so she'd stay lying down and drift back to sleep. I tried that but because I'm the giver of milk it kind of backfired and the night turned into a round of pick up the baby, cuddle her to see if she'd go back to sleep and if not nursing until she stopped drinking and putting her back into her own bed only to replay the whole thing again a few hours, or an hour or half an hour later.

Looking back I think training the Peanut was so much easier. She was a sucker, and not in a "Ha ha sucker!" kind of way but in a put a suckey (soother) in her mouth and she would self soothe back to sleep kind of way. I originally didn't want a soother with the Peanut but she got one when I wasn't looking and it turned out that it wasn't a problem for us. She didn't use it all the time, when she needed it, it was a lifesaver and when it was time for her to give it up it was easy peasy. So we got one for the Bean and she refused to use it. She's not a sucker, unless it's with me then she's right on it. I've been diligent about breaking the latch when there is no actual eating from day one which leads to either a stretch and roll over to go to sleep or a frantic scramble to get back onto the milk train. If we had the soother to fall back on this whole sleep thing would be so much simpler. We'd just be replaying the Peanut's sleep training instead of feeling like first timers all over again.

Any suggestions out there? Did you have a soother refuser? how did you do the getting them to sleep through the night thing?

Friday, March 16, 2012

And Speaking of Something New

Last week I posted about working in a new medium. This week I tested some new waters myself.

When the husband quit his job he made the decision to apply for school and pursue Stomp Box making as a means of income. Since then we've been brainstorming about how to set him up to do just that. Part of that is setting up a blog for him to write and share YouTube videos of the boxes he makes. While we're getting that organized we've been pondering ways to decorate the boxes he makes. To add a little flair to them.

Getting the Peanut to put her super art skills to work has come up as had combining that idea with etching into the boxes. Both Ideas that I'm itching to get on. In the meantime I've transferred an already well used technique onto the boxes as well. On a test box I used one of my hand carved stamps to impress an image and a ghost print onto the sides of one of the enclosures the husband is working on. I quite like the effect and am pretty excited to keep on with the idea to see where we can go with it.

And Speaking of the husband's new endeavor he's written his very first blog post, Why not hop over and take a quick look?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

For one thing "no" is going to be heard more often

Last week the Peanut went out with her Dad, to fly a kite. When they got home the Peanut was crying and the Husband was beside himself with frustration. It seems that she'd asked for a special treat and when he said, "no" she turned into a whinge monster.  Pouting and on the verge of a temper tantrum the rest of the way home.

What followed was a 45 minute talk about how we don't always get to hear "yes" when we ask for something.

How when we get upset when we are told "no" after we have spent an afternoon doing fun things together, it makes both Mommy and Daddy feel like that time spent having fun isn't important and our feelings get hurt.

How, if we can't look at the things we've already been given and done and be happy about them instead of focusing on what we've been told we can't have; then things were going to have to change.

Yesterday we had a replay. Which means a little more work for the husband and I. We're going to have to stay firm and attitudes are hopefully going to change. Oh boy are they ever going to have to change. "No" is going to be a word that is tossed around a little more often around here. 

We've been seeing glimpses of Princess Spoiled Rotten for a while now and we've been turning a blind eye; hoping that we could reason her (her being  Princess Spoiled Rotten) into obscurity. The last year hasn't been easy on her. She went from being an only child to being a big sister. Not only did she become a big sister but she became and awesome big sister. She plays with her sister, shares with her, looks out for her. We couldn't be prouder of her as a big sister. She's had to put up with a lot of waiting to be heard because the Bean requires immediate attention and for the most part she's been so good about it. Things have been changing drastically around here with career path changes and the family income being extremely cut down. So we've been allowing things to go on a little bit too much, allowing this special treat here, that time on the computer there, ignoring the attitude here or there.  We don't want her turning into an obnoxious monster whenever things don't go the way she wants them to. Hence the need to make some changes.

When it comes right down to, it I'm a little embarrassed that it's had to come to this point. I had honestly thought up until last night that we were doing a better job as parents. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Two: Foreign Bodies

And on to Book number three. I can't tell you what it seems to be about because I haven't even taken a look past the cover art. I'm super tired today since the Bean has been keeping odd hours, going to bed on her own in her own bed and then waking up two to three time a night and fighting going back to sleep. Between the husband and I, we are both exhausted.  I don't recall sleep training the Peanut to be this tricky... but on to the reading:

Foreign Bodies was filled to the brim with foreign bodies of all make and manner. From the intrusion of estranged family members in one characters living room to the literal foreign bodies that inhabit post war Paris. If I was an English Lit Student, this would be a great book to write an essay on based on the Foreign body theme alone. It was a good read; I'm just not sure that it's going to inhabit my brain the way a really superb book would.

Are you reading along? what book have you started on? Let me know what you've read and if you want what you thought about it here or in another Orange Prize labelled post. 

  • Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg 
  • On the Floor by Aifric Campbell - On deck
  • The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue 
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan - Finished
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
  • The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki Starting
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon 
  • Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding 
  • Gillespie and I by Jane Harris 
  • The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay
  • The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy 
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick - Finished
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • There but for the by Ali Smith
  • The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard
  • Tides of War by Stella Tillyard
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book one: Half Blood Blues and Foreign Bodies

So here's the list. I also have it on my last post as well. I'm posting it here again because I'm going to mark off the books as I've read them, about to read them or reading right now. When I went through the list the other day I was pleasantly surprised to see that Half Blood Blues could be marked off as read.

I finished the book a few months ago and it's one of those books that takes you in. Set during Nazi occupied France as well as in Germany and modern day. For some reason (possibly the referrals from my good friend who just happened to be obsessed with literature set during WW2) a lot of my most memorable reads over the course of the last six months have WW2 settings. Half Blood Blues tells the story of a group of black jazz musicians who escape to Paris. It hops back and forth between modern day when two of the characters are heading to a film festival celebrating the youngest member of the group and the events leading up to that member's capture by German soldiers in Paris. It's a book whose characters still hop into my mind here and there, as I go about my days; which to me, is a pretty good indication of it's booky goodness.

Yesterday I said I was starting off with On the Floor but that changed when the Husband brought home my library holds and Foreign Bodies was cracked open first. I'm enjoying it. I don't really like any of the characters (my vote is still out on the main character) but then I'm also enjoying not really liking them. The concept of the story is very interesting. Cynthia Ozick has taken the Henry James's The Ambassadors  and rewritten it, giving it new meaning. This is at least what it says on the book flap. As I said I'm not too keen on some of the characters but not because I'm not relating to them.  I expect to have the shading on Foreign Bodies at bright orange by early in the coming week if not by the end of the weekend. What are you reading now?
  • Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg 
  • On the Floor by Aifric Campbell - On deck
  • The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue 
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan - Finished
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
  • The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki 
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon 
  • Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding 
  • Gillespie and I by Jane Harris 
  • The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay
  • The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy 
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick - half way through
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • There but for the by Ali Smith
  • The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard
  • Tides of War by Stella Tillyard
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman

Friday, March 9, 2012

Reading Reading Reading

Last year about this time a good friend tossed out the idea of reading as many of the Orange Prize long list books as possible before the Long list became a short list. So what's the Orange Prize you ask? It's a literary prize that was launched in 1996 which celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women's writing from throughout the world. The books I read from last year ranged from about four or five that were so fantastic that I'm still thinking about them; considering the themes, the characters the ideas; to very good reads that I wouldn't have picked up otherwise, to one that I just couldn't get into.

When the long list for 2012 came out yesterday I was poised at my computer with my local library's site open on search so that I could place holds on any and all of the titles that are on the shelves there. I was fortunate that most of the titles are either at my library or on the Vancouver Public Library 's list. Now I'm waiting for the first titles on my list to come available so I can dive right in.

if you're interested in joining me here's the list:

  • Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg (Quercus) - Swedish; 1st Novel
  • On the Floor by Aifric Campbell (Serpent's Tail) - Irish; 3rd Novel
  • The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen (The Clerkenwell Press) - American; 4th Novel
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue (Picador) - Irish; 7th Novel
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (Serpent's Tail) - Canadian; 2nd Novel
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape) - Irish; 5th Novel
  • The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki (Headline Review) - British; 5th Novel
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (Quercus) - American; 4th Novel
  • Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding (Bloomsbury) - British; 3rd Novel
  • Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (Faber & Faber) - British; 2nd Novel
  • The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) - British; 2nd Novel
  • The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy (Jonathan Cape) - British; 6th Novel
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Harvill Secker) - American; 1st Novel
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury) - American; 1st Novel
  • Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (Atlantic Books) - American; 7th Novel
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury) - American; 6th Novel
  • There but for the by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton) - British; 5th Novel
  • The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard (Alma Books) - British; 2nd Novel
  • Tides of War by Stella Tillyard (Chatto & Windus) - British; 1st Novel
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman (William Heinemann) - American; 1st Novel
First up on my holds list is The Flying Man. I haven't read any synopse of any of the books. I won't until I pick up the book to start it. Once I've started I'll post here about how it's going. 

Any good books on your reading list?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trying Something New

A Painting the Peanut & I did together
can be daunting. Especially when you go from working in a medium that you have become so comfortable working in, that the process is mostly a focus on bringing about your vision instead of learning the aspects of that medium and how to work within the medium to get the finished product that is in your minds eye.

For example changing your drawing medium from pen and ink to brush and ink. With pen and ink you draw using lines, crosshatching or scribbles for building up your shadows. After a certain amount of time you don't really think about where your pen tip is going how your marks are being made you just look at your subject and draw, or int he case of drawing from your head you just draw. If one day you decide to try something different and pull out a bamboo brush and a jar of india ink the process of drawing becomes a little more about using that medium instead of the medium as a means to an end. With ink and brush you start with light washes, working from light to dark, it's a slower process, the ink dries in a specific way and the look of the sketch is softer. if you are working wet into wet you get unexpected blends and unexpected hard lines where the wet areas have dried. The process becomes focused on the medium and you start to look at your subject differently. When that happens there's growth in your art.

Snapshot from my phone
Of course one of the daunting aspects is that what you're making isn't going to be perfect, that there are going to be less than ideal and unpredictable outcomes. The trick is to use the newness of the medium to let go of the finished project. Make the process the goal instead of the final piece; at least until you've gotten to really really know the medium. Of course that's not as easy as it sounds when you put it down in words. Creating something be it a drawing, a photograph, painting or sculpting is a personal thing. Becoming invested in what you are creating is inevitable. there's the time invested, the money that goes into buying the materials, the imagination and the effort. All those things put together make it almost impossible to give up control, to relinquish the desire to put what is being worked on up on a pedestal. A good friend just posted about this very thing on her blog. She put is so perfectly that I felt I had to address the same subject here.

Why? well because I made a decision at the end of last year that I was going to reintroduce myself to the basics of creating. You know, in between dealing with a busy Bean and a precocious Peanut. It's not always easy but to motivate me I've started following the Sketchbook Challenge and I've started photographing on a daily basis with an iphone. (getting past the camera has to be a camera mindset helps a little. My camera snobbery was holding me back, especially when I was worried about braining the Bean with my heavy SLR when she'd need to be picked up.) I'm more prolific with the camera right now but that's not what's important. What is important is that I'm making time to create and the process is more important than the final outcome.
Doodles from my sketchbook a la
The Sketchbook Challenge

Giving myself permission to make mistakes, push past them and go too far, to reign it back in and push too far again to go so far that there's no turning back, no fixing it. To let go. It seems like taking advantage of that permission is the greatest challenge. So what about you? do you sometimes find that you are holding on too tightly to what you're creating that you aren't letting it grow? I remember a drawing class where after a set amount of time we stood up moved to the next space and continued on the drawing that our neighbor had just left... I still cringe at the thought of letting go of my ownership of that piece of paper...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Looking Ahead

Another calendar page for next year. I liked how the crane shape was mirrored in the street light. I personally like to have a glimpse of what came before and what's coming so I've included teeny calendarettes with last and next months dates for easy reference. Another great feature of the My Memories Calendar option? That I can make changes to colour, size and all manner of options on one page and have all the calendars be the same with the click of a mouse. What are your favourite options for a wall calendar? Do you like to know when the moon is going to be full? When the next Stat holiday is? Please share in the comments.

Monday, March 5, 2012

And The Winner

for the My Memories Giveaway is Kelly Nash!

You should check out Kelly's blog where she lists fun giveaways. Congratulations Kelly I know you're going to have a blast with the software.

If you're still interested in the software it is very reasonably priced at $39.97USD and you can get it for $29.97 USD if you use the special Promocode listed under the graphic below. I'm in the midst of collecting photographs of some of our families favourite dinners so that I can put them all together into a recipe book similar to the one my Second Mom made for me a few years back

Use code STMMMS25295 to save $10

In other news my Grand-nephew is out of the hospital and doing well. He and his parents have got months and months more to go, but for now he's showing himself to be a super fighter. Thank you for all your kind thoughts and prayers for the little guy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

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