Archives for August 2007

Kid for Sale, Cheap

I went upstairs, by myself, to pee (big mistake, I know). As I was finishing, I heard the sound of dry pasta being poured out. I roared, “NOOOOO!!!” as I ran downstairs with my pants around my ankles. The scene was much worse than I expected. The total contents of the containers holding expensive, organic, whole wheat flour and pasta, and a glass of equally expensive and organic apple juice, had been poured all over the kitchen island and floor. My flour-covered toddler was gleefully playing in the horrible, horrible mess. When she saw me, she cheerfully announced, “Look what I did, Mom!”

That was 40 minutes ago. The intervening time has been spent cleaning, and re-cleaning (since I insisted that perpetrator help me). I have now employed the electronic babysitter, and am taking some deep breaths, since Jon’s off covering a soccer game and I am flying solo this evening. The only hope on the horizon is that there will be an early bedtime, since Hannah didn’t really nap today.

Then, I will knit and watch horrible reality TV and reflect on how peaceful kids are when they’re sleeping. 😉

String Bags

A few months ago I bought some string bags. They look like this:

I bought them online at Eco-Bags, although I have since found a Canadian source at Birdie’s Room.

These are simply the most convenient bags. We already have re-usable grocery bags, which we take on our shopping trips. However, we generally don’t cart them along anywhere else. These string bags are so small when they’re empty that you can tuck them in your purse, but they expand to hold a lot of stuff. I use mine all the time – with a toddler I’m carting a lot of stuff, all the time, and having a bag that’s so portable is just the thing.

What can I say, string bags are fabulous!

Our Summer Vacation

As I mentioned in my earlier post, we spent last week vacationing in Parksville on Vancouver Island. We decided to splurge and rent a cabin at Tigh-Na-Mara, a beautiful family resort right on the beach. It was fabulous. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

Flying down Rathtrevor Beach
Hannah flying down Rathtrevor Beach

– We visited Lions Venture Park, the best playground Jon or I have ever seen
– We took in the sandcastles that were part of the Parksville Beach Festival
– We visited Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, saw the animals, and tasted some fabulous cheese
– We visited our friends Pete and Clarice, and their adorable 3-month-old daughter Janel
– We took in the Summer by the Sea Market, again part of the Parksville Beach Festival
– We stopped in Coombs, quite possibly the most fabulous tourist trap on Vancouver Island
– We saw Cathedral Grove
– I had my first ever visit to a spa, and it was totally awesome – I will definitely do that again
– Hannah roasted her first marshmallow
– We spent a lot of time digging in the sand, wading in the water, and exploring the beach
– There were two ferry trips, during which Hannah kept whining that she wanted to go on the boat ride

Two and a Half

We just got back today from 5 nights in Parksville. It was lovely, and I will write more about it later. For now, though, I wanted to talk about my girl.

This past Sunday marked the day when Hannah was exactly two and a half years old. So, what’s she like at this age?

Hannah is a dynamo, a force of nature. She runs a lot, screams a lot (in joy and sorrow), and generally doesn’t stay in one spot. She loves other children, animals, and music. She likes to dance and climb and is fearless on the playground. Higher, faster, and more challenging are the rules of the day.

Compared to 6 months ago Hannah’s verbal skills have taken off. She uses complex sentences, recites nursery rhymes, and relays stories (often about events that occurred weeks or even months in the past). We now face the disconcerting challenge of answering awkward questions in public, as her words are intelligible to strangers, even while her social skills remain highly primitive.

We’ve passed the usual milestones. Hannah has all her baby teeth now. She’s nearly toilet trained, and remains dry most days. She can open jars and tupperware containers, undress herself, and can even put on many garments on her own. She’s still on the small side, but we see her growing all the time.

Our little girl is not a baby anymore, and is zooming headlong out of toddlerhood. I’m still struggling to hold on and capture the moments. Not an easy thing to do with this child of mine.

Little Earth

I visited a great new children’s store in Vancouver yesterday. It’s called Little Earth, and the owners are Flavia and Mariska. The store is bright and airy, and they have a great selection of really cool items. They also carry consignment, so they have some really affordable stuff. And, oh yeah, they have some fabulous Skookum diaper bags. 😉

If you wanted to check the store out, they’re having a grand opening on Saturday, August 25. Definitely worth stopping by if you’ll be in the area.

My Fabulous Husband

I’ve had this experience a number of times now. I’m chatting with some other moms, discussing the daily minutia of life with kids. I make an offhanded comment about Jon washing the dishes, or doing the laundry. Suddenly, the conversation stops, and these women look at me with surprise. They ask how I get him to do that. They question if he really does most of the cleaning around our house. And I discover that in most homes the division of labour is a little different than it is at Casa Strocel.

To be fair, I work, and many of my friends do not. At home, I do the lion’s share of childcare. I am hardly spending my days in leisure whilst my husband toils. But I do get a lot more help around the homestead than many other women.

So, how did I get so lucky? Well, Jon is a great guy. And his mother taught him well. Fundamentally, though, he’s becoming more intolerant of messes as I’m becoming more tolerant. My response to a toddler throwing things everywhere is just to accept it. Why spend all day trying to clean up after the greatest force of mess-making I’ve ever seen? Jon’s response, on the other hand, is to try to stem the tide early and often, since who knows how bad the mess will become if we just allow it to accumulate. And so, we have reached our division of responsibility. I try to keep the kid from making more messes while Jon cleans up the current disaster zones. And he keeps me in clean socks, while I keep our child fed and clothed.

So, there you have it. Were it not for my husband, I would surely be gathering today’s outfit from a pile of clean laundry on the couch. And were it not for me, Jon could live in peace and quiet in a clean home. But he would miss out on the joys of being married to me, such as picking up my shoes. And having organic food in the house to scoff at. See how things all work out for the greater good?

In other news, I updated the videos page today. Now you can find all of Hannah’s motion pictures in a single location, for easy viewing. Enjoy!

Berry Good

In my effort to eat local, I have been preserving food. So far, I’ve only been freezing fruit and veggies, because canning scares me. Although the idea of canning tomatoes is appealing, it requires Special Equipment and probably long stretches of child-free time. Neither of which I have, so I’m at a loss, and sticking to freezing for the moment. Baby steps, right?

So, anyway, here is what I have tucked away in my deep freeze so far:

9 bags of blueberries
2 bags of blackberries
1 bag of peas
1 small bag of corn

So, yes, you can see what we enjoy. We love our berries (not surprising, given our Abbotsford roots). Lots and lots of berries. And the best part? One bag of blueberries is from my own bush, and the blackberries are from my local park. You can’t get much more low-impact than picking berries in your own backyard.

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