Saturday, March 26, 2011

A first I could've done without

Earlier this week, I got my very first speeding ticket.

Yup. A speeding ticket.

It was Tuesday morning, and I was driving downtown to see Ryan (yes, hon, you may not have been driving but you're still getting some of the blame for this too, Because if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have been anywhere near that intersection.) I had just dropped Austin off at school and now I had to go see Ryan because he needed his Blackberry which he had left on the couch at home.

I was a block from his office -- coming over the bridge on Gerrard St. E. (just before Broadview). I wasn't going that fast. 56 km/h actually, according to the cop that pulled me over at the speed trap.

The problem? Gerrard is a 40 zone. So yes, that would be 16 km/h over, not exactly a cheap speeding ticket. I was honest with the cop when he came to my window -- when he said that I was doing 56 in a 40 zone, I told him I didn't realize it was a 40 zone (Seriously, why is it only a 40 zone there?). I don't know if that made a difference, but he knocked my ticket down to doing only 5 over the speed limit. So in the end, my little misadventure cost $27.50.

And the inability to never again say that I haven't had a speeding ticket.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear Spring, Where did you go?

Honestly, the kids were riding their bikes on the driveway just yesterday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Paddy's Day....mommy style

Green beer for mommy. Green apple juice for the kids.

Chicken nuggets and fries for dinner alla pub fare. Something has definitely changed over the years.


The soother fairy

I've been seriously promoting the soother fairy lately. What's the soother fairy you ask? It's the magical fairy that you give all your soothers to. This 'fairy' in return gives the soothers to other babies and leaves you a fancy dancy present to say thank you.

Yes, I know, it's really a suped-up bribe.

Alex is going to be 3 in a few weeks and I'd really love for her to give up her soothers. She only uses her soother to sleep -- so at nap (when she does nap) and at bedtime -- but she's religious about it. She will not sleep unless she has one. And if she wakes up in the middle of the night and can't find one (and yes, there's usually 2 or 3 within arms reatch at all times), guess who she calls to come and fix that situation?

Thankfully, sleeping is the only time she has it. With the exception of when she had the stomach flu a few weeks ago, it never leaves her bedroom (well, unless of course, sleeping is going to be happening somewhere other than the house, like in the car or on the plane (when we flew to Texas)). And she's very good about that; she knows the soother rules.

But it really is time for it to go. We never had this problem with Austin because, although he did take a soother as an infant, he gave it up on his own around 7 or 8 months. I'd put it in his mouth and he'd spit it back out. And that was that.

Alex on the other hand, got very very very attached to it.

In chatting with other friends with soother-addicted children, I've learned that the soother fairy is the way to go. In other words, convince your child that they're doing a good thing by giving their soothers to babies who don't have any; babies who would be very sad without one; get a present in return and then be a "BIG GIRL"!

But so far, the convincing of how wonderful the soother fairy is with Alex has gone something like this:

Me: So we're going to give your soothers to the soother fairy soon, right?
Alex: Yeah, and my going to be a big girl.
Me: That's right, the soother fairy will take your soothers and leave you a present.
Alex: My no want to give my soothers to the soothers fairies.
Me: But you're a big girl now.
Alex: No my not. (Thinks for a minute). But my still want a present.
Clearly she's put some thought into how to get around this system.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Time to run again

I need to start running again.

Unlike last winter (when I stupidly sprained my ankle and ended up on crutches), I didn't actually stop running all together. But I haven't exactly been hitting the gym often enough to make a real effort either.

Winter is hard for that. I really don't like running on a treadmill. I wouldn't come right out and say I hate it -- because it does have a few minor advantages, such as managing my speed and pushing myself to go faster. It's easy to do when all you have to do is set the speed and run at that speed. If you slow down, you fall off.

But other than that, treadmill running is boring. Even with music on, it's boring. There's nothing to look at but myself in the mirror or other people working out. And that gets boring quick. And when I get bored, I get tired. And when I get tired, it's very difficult to convince myself to go on.

When I get tired while running along the sidewalk, I find something to distract me -- flower gardens, houses, cars, whatever is around to look at is more interesting than looking at yourself in the mirror.

So needless to say, I haven't run all that much this winter. But when I have, I've managed to stay at a steady 5 to 6 km effort. (And hey, I've done it a little bit faster each time!)

But this May (May 1 to be exact) I really want to run in the Sporting Life 10K down Yonge St. I wanted to run in it last year, but being on crutches for much of January kinda killed any illusions that I could do it. But I really want to do that run this year. It  just sounds like fun -- running straight down Yonge Street with 12,000 other people.

So, although I haven't yet signed up, I've decided to start commiting to training again. That means getting out and running twice a week, and by April, 3 times a week. I'd like to run it faster than 74 minutes (my time at the Zoo Run last October), but really, I just want to run it.

So here's hoping the weather starts to improve soon so that I can once again go back to running outside. Because knowing me, if I run outside before the ice, slush and muck is gone, I'll manage to slip, fall and end up on crutches again.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

My Mom Inc. life

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, but readiing Shell's Pour Your Heart Out on Things I can't Say this morning inspired me to link it up.

The other day, there was an article in the Toronto Star about a new book called Mom Inc. by Amy Ballon and Danielle Bottrell. The title is pretty self-explanatory -- it's all about mompreneurs.

I think I need to buy this. Just to see what they have to say.

I started my 'business' with the thoughts "hey, I know how to write so, um, maybe when I'm at home with the kids, I'll pick up a little writing in my spare time'. Now, almost two years later, life has turned out way better than I could've ever imagined. I love working for myself, building my little business and making a name for myself. I've gone from having just a couple of clients who called on me to write for them to having about half a dozen people (maybe even more) who call on me on a semi-regular basis to produce copy. I've made connections and it's just spiralled (and continues to do so) from there.

But along with life turning out way better than I could've ever imagined, it's also turned out way busier than I could've ever imagined. Working night after night after the kids go to bed is exhausting. Working on weekends when I could be hanging out with my family or doing things around the house, or heck, even relaxing for a change, is frustrating. Working in the afternoons while the kids are sleeping/resting or while they're watching TV is guilt-inducing.

So to sum it up, being a mompreneur is exhilarating and exhausting. There just isn't enough hours in my day to write, liaise with clients, play with the kids, ferry the kids to and from school and to and from activities and then, at the end of it all, have a little time to myself. Thankfully, the nature of what I do is contract work. Meaning at times I'm so busy that I need 26 hours (at least) in every day, just so that I can catch a few hours a sleep and then there are times when there's absolutely nothing going on and I have time to have a life and catch up on everything else (like my blog).

This isn't a post looking for a shoulder to cry on. We all have our lives busy to the max -- whether you work in an office while the kids are at daycare or you work at home while the kids fight around your ankles -- there just isn't enough time for everything when you have two kids under the age of 6. You work (maybe you even go to school too) and you want to have a life in there somewhere.

It'll get easier as time goes on -- and it'll get harder. The kids will get older and both be in school (although that's another post for another day that I'm kicking around in my head right now. And that post will actually be completely contrary to everything I'm writing about now...but anyway) and I'll actually have 6 hours a day to work -- instead of just an hour and a half if I'm lucky. That'll mean more working during regular business hours and less working at 10 p.m. It'll get harder, because then, more will be expected of me. Having 6 hours a day to work is great when I have work. But what will I do when I don't have any contracts on the go?

I'm done rambling about my Mom Inc. life. I'll leave with a comment from the article I read -- a comment that inspired me to ramble about my mompreneurship world and that made me laugh out loud at how true it is:

"You’re never more popular with your kids than when your work phone rings."

Another year, another birthday cake

Once again this year, I created a birthday cake for Austin's birthday party.

To be honest, I'm not really sure what possesses me to do such things. I've written before about how I'm not overly crafty - I never really have been. But over the last few years,I've somehow been compelled to start doing craftier things. My abilities are limited but there are a few things I enjoy doing. Crafting with the kids is one of them (if you can call that crafting, it's really just construction paper, random stuff from around my house or the dollar store, markers and white glue), painting rooms (I've enjoyed that for awhile), scrapbooking (when I can find a free evening to do so) and making cakes (or other kitchen goodies).

So this year's cake, as you can see from the picture, put his age front and centre. After all, 5 is a big number -- it's a whole hand old! I got the idea by doing a Google search for birthday cakes and among the pictures that came up was one of the number 10. And I thought "I could do that but with a 5".

The idea to put a road and the Cars characters on it was an after thought -- when I happened to see those cake toppers at Bulk Barn a few days before Austin's birthday.

Making the cake was actually fairly easy -- a lot easier than the character cakes I've made in the past. I baked two 9x13 cakes and once they cooled I cut the number 5 out of one, iced the bottom one and then stuck the top one to the bottom one. Pretty simple -- although I screwed up icing the bottom one the first time around (too many crumbs) so to solve the problem I made another batch of icing and re-iced it. So we ended up with a double-iced cake with a iced cake on top!

All in all it went over well. Although, when you make a cake that is really two cakes, there's a lot of leftovers.

Next up, what to do for Alex's birthday cake this year.