Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Pastime of Time Wasting

Oh gawd.  I'm an addict.  Facebook. Instagram. Twitter.  Blogging.  Pinterest. And now Polyvore.  (Not listed in any particular order.)  I haven't pinned, blogged or tweeted in a while.  But I have Facebooked - shamelessly posting comments and updating my status (in the hopes that I get a like or two).  And for sure, I have instagram-ed - shamelessly posting photos of myself babywearing my little brood of Timbits and, of course, various foods I'm eating (totally annoying but too bad, it's my Instagram account).  I thought that was it for me - I tried to keep away from "pinning" as much as possible.  But now I've discovered Polyvore.  Sigh.  Just another time waster...  But, oh so much fun!

Result of last night's Thai food:
accessorized a dress I scored from Winners!
I spent two FREAKING hours discovering, searching, exploring this friggin' website. Oh dear God, I can hear my mother now: "Stephanie, you're time wasting. You should be spending time with your kids."

Well, I might as well share this secret: last night's Thai food did not sit well with me, so while I sat in my lovely bathroom waiting for my tummy to make peace with coconut soup and yellow curry eggplant - I created an outfit on Polyvore. No joke. I'm not embarrassed - it happens to the best of us. (Please believe me when I say it doesn't happen often - like right now...I'm blogging on my iPad on the couch...not the bathroom.)

Accessorizing an owl dress: perfect for
wandering the cruise ship or ports of call.
Anyway, I did time waste a bit just before the kids' bedtime routine.  Manny was all over putting them to sleep, so as to give me a break from the chaos that has been our week. So whilst he managed all 3 kiddos and searched for their pajamas, I searched for dresses, shorts, tops, shoes, purses, jewellery...etc. Polyvore has got it all. And it was fun. Or at least I thought so.  At the moment, I'm planning outfits for an upcoming family vacation.  Next, it will be for a summer wardrobe...

This sounds like a completely absurd question - but how on earth am I suppose to juggle all my time wasting activities and fit them into my schedule?  Writing, reading, running, baking (not to mention countless activities that I do with my kids)...and now I can officially list time wasting as a (favourite?) pastime.


Have you discovered Polyvore?  Follow me at http://fashionmommies.polyvore.com.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Krazy Krafty Kids' Art for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is coming up quick, and if you haven't made something crafty with your kids yet - you've still got time!  All you need is an egg carton, card stock, glue and red paint and voila you've got yourself an egg carton heart which I found on iVillage - original photo and idea courtesy of A Little Hut.  What a gorgeous piece of art!  And thank you iVillage for finding me an "easy-peasy" Valentine's Day craft.

Not to knock the idea - because I actually love it.  But - here I go poo-pooing on everyone's fun parade - are you f***ing kidding me?  (I'm trying to cut down on my swearing...I figure not typing it all out helps.)  Easy-peasy kids' craft my ass!  Unless you've got Picasso on your hands...your kids' art is probably going to resemble this...

Oh wait!  I know why your up-cycled egg carton craft looks so freaking perfect...you stole the glue stick out of your kid's hands and completed the project yourself.  Oh you know what I'm talking about Moms and Dads - I see you at my parent and kid art classes.  There I am sitting relaxed in my chair, while my Timbits get down and dirty at the art table with feathers glued to their heads and warpaint on their faces, and there's your kid wearing a clean smock while you hold the paint brush and paint for him.  Now, how is that any fun for Little Johnny?


I know, I know.  I'm being "judgey".  Let's be honest - we don't want to be but we all are, you just don't want to admit it that you're judging me and my dirty kids.  But I was you once.  Actually, I am you.  I am going to attribute this to an act of God (whichever one you pray for - I myself am a fan of Buddha, but I digress...) because I never thought this possible - but I've learned to let go (somewhat).  I sit there looking all patient and shit waiting for my Timbits to finish eating glue; when really, I want to rip the glue stick out of their hands, and go to town on their construction paper to show them how art is really done.


When I took the Big Timbit to his art classes, the first couple of times I would put glue in all the right spots so he couldn't possibly make a mistake.  His art projects always looked like the examples shown by our instructors at the beginning of class.  Then I realized - he's 2.  It is highly improbable that his felt Thanksgiving turkey art reflected the artist inside of him.  In actuality - it reflected me and my neuroticism associated with raising "perfect children" and being a "perfect parent".

Pretty deep, eh?  This is the crap I think about while crafting egg carton hearts.



And make no mistake, we all suffer from the perfection syndrome.  As parents we kick ourselves down when we feel we haven't done our best, and we worry that what we've done isn't enough.  Like the turkey art we did in class - what are we, as parents, creating?  Maybe we should stop "creating", and start guiding so that our kids have the tools to create for themselves?  Hmmm...something to ponder in art class.

Over time my control-freakishness, affinity to perfectionism...or whatever the reason for my overbearing behaviour, subsided and I became more relaxed.  Relaxed about: paint being on the floor; their hands getting dirty (I am a total germphobic!); sparkles being in all the wrong places; and accepting that my middle Timbit glued the cotton ball meant for the bunny's tail to the top of its head.  Sure, my kids' artwork may be less than stellar in your eyes and mine - but what counts is the effort they put into it, and that they are happy with the work they produced.

So now, I sit idly by watching them - the oldest kid has the concentration of a master artist; the middle one paints and - every once and a while stops to sniff the paint - then asks what it is made out of; and my youngest has no idea what paint is, because he's feeling it between his fingers for the first time and wants to eat it.

Oh shit!  The Middle Timbit is sucking on a marker (I hope it's non-toxic), and the older one is drawing on the baby's face with paint - I better get back to parenting duties.

I guess the point is, no matter how fugly the kids' up-cycled egg carton hearts look...I know that they will be perfect to show Manny how much we love him.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Intolerant of Intolerance


I wanted to call this post: "Why Stupid People Should Keep Their Mouth Shut", but was told by my husband that I may want to sound at least semi-intelligent.  So I listened to him because he is my sounding board and more tolerant than me.

I haven't written in a long time and it's not that I have nothing to write about, believe me - I have LOTS to say.  You just have to take a look at my Facebook status, the walls of my FB friends and favourite pages where I leave my long and bitchy remarks.  I was once told to "watch what I write" and asked if I was afraid of saying too much - but what I write is nothing different from what I would say if I was standing right in front of you.  Yes, I suffer from verbal diarrhea, but biting my tongue is more painful than hearing the backlash of people's opinions.  I think it's healthy for all of us to hear another perspective and participate in debate - it allows us to consider things we may not have considered before.  And though you and I may not agree, it doesn't change what I think of you…until you say something stupid.

I should note to my FB friends - this is not personally directed to any of you, so please don't take offence.  If I didn't "like" you, I would not hesitate to unfriend you.  So if you don't like me for my opinions or status updates - let's unfriend because it won't bother me if you do.  But you see, although I've seen some some crazy ass status updates (I know many of mine are), I'm actually a very tolerant person…except when it comes to intolerance.

Over the last couple of months, I've been struggling with a love/hate relationship with social media.  I love it for its ability to: bring together communities, get me in touch with people whom I otherwise may not have been able to, become friends with people whose paths I never would cross in real life, gather insight, share ideas, and make our world feel smaller than it is.  Sure - we may not use the phone as often and we may text or Facebook message more than we see each other - but there is something to be said about the ability to just say hi without the limits of boundaries, time zones, differing social circles or changing circumstances.  Without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Pinterest, in some strange way, it would make us more isolated and less "social" - not in reference to physically seeing each other, but rather in the ability to have a communal conversation.

That being said-- I hate it.  I hate that people feel the keyboard makes them warriors (thank you Kathryn Ahmad for that analogy).  That people can make remarks, state opinions and share their small-minded thoughts without having any repercussion other than a friend or two "unfriending" them.  It irks me even more when people start to "Like" their comment.  Because then I think to myself - why the fuck do people think it's ok to make judgemental, racist or close-minded comments; and there are people out there that still think this way and support them?

Yes - we are all entitled to our own opinion; and we all have the right to free speech, but people need to self-regulate themselves - just like I'm sure people are saying I need to self-regulate myself for using the F-word.  Maybe I'm naive, but I truly believed that our generation was taught to be more open, understanding, empathetic, less judgemental; and yet when I read posts by the general public - it is scary.  Scary because people are more willing to put their thoughts out there without hesitation or regret; scarier when people start to validate their comments; and even scarier than that - that although we teach kids about openness, community, tolerance, respect and even self-regulation - these people making blind comments are raising children who go to school with my kids and yours.

I came across a post this morning and that's why I'm writing.  I'm not angry - but maybe a little shocked and surprised that people are THAT STUPID.  It was a comment made in a thread by some unknown person to me.  It had some religious and racial undertones such as referring to multiple families living under one roof, adding a dome on top of a home to make it a temple, and the kicker - this is Canada and we don't do this.

Maybe this person is nice in real life.  Maybe what she wrote was not meant to sound racist or intolerant.  And yes, I'm writing and I haven't given her a chance to defend herself.  But the article that she was referencing, was about an individual building an excessively large home in a community and not following the by-laws/permits that were approved by the city; it was not about his ethnicity or cultural practices. And she had to take it there?  Really? 

Personally, I could never live in a multi-family dwelling - but that is what some cultures do.  Sure "this is Canada" - but who's to say they aren't just starting out, and those extended family members might move out when they are able to afford it?  And what if they do continue to live together?  And yes, some people pray in a temple - just like some go to a church, a mosque, a synagogue or feel like the open world is their place of worship.  What is the relevance of her comments?

If people have opinions I wish they would stick to relevant facts and the issue at hand, instead of making off-handed remarks that do nothing to move the discussion forward.  People need to learn tolerance - in all of its applications with cultural differences, parenting beliefs, sexual orientation, political opinions, stay at home parents, working parents, gender differences…the list goes on.  So maybe she had a point when she said "this is Canada, people" - that we should recognize what a diverse country we are and made up of different cultures, religions, ethnicities, family values - it's what makes us colourful and Canadian.