Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It gets busier (if you mistakenly thought it gets easier)

I've done it before myself, seen a mom with a couple of toddlers and a newborn, or a set of Irish twins (or triplets) and said "oh my, you have your hands full". And they do, and I did, and probably so do you. But what no one tells us before we have kids, is that the busyness of babies and toddlers, while tiring, is nothing compared to the full-on non-stop day-in-day-out hectic schedules of school-age children.

Before I had kids I worked full-time, and I imagined life after the birth of my daughter as a calm and relaxed lifestyle, with leisurely coffee dates with friends while my baby slept in her stroller. Instead, I had a colicky baby with reflux who never stopped crying or nursing, day or night. I couldn't leave the house with her. Then when she was three I had another baby. I had two kids who tag teamed getting up at night (and still do). The only thing that got me through sometimes, was imagining the day that they would sleep through the night and go to school for a portion of the day.

Then a month before my youngest started kindergarten, I started a new 20 hour a week job (which, surprise!, is often more than 20 hours a week). I was sure that I could easily juggle work, kids, my volunteer commitments, and running a household while still pursuing a creative life. Was I ever naive. I have immense respect for full-time working mothers, and even more for those of you who are full-time working single mothers. To spout a cliche: I don't know how you do it.

You think it's going to get easier, but the busyness of babies and toddlers is multiplied and transformed into a schedule no longer of your own design as they get older and involved in more activities. Suddenly you're eating in the car while driving kids from one event to another. Or trying to cram a quick trip to the store for milk and bread between work and picking up the kids from school (because you've realized there's no bread for sandwiches for lunches the next day or milk for breakfast). There are always a million forms from school to read & sign (at least that's what it feels like). Then, just when you think you have a handle on your schedule, the random extra events pop up, like music festival, science fair, specialist appointments and field trips or work gets heavy and suddenly you find yourself trying to jam a bunch of extra stuff into limited hours. Or, as I experienced last week, both your kids come down with viruses and then one gets pink-eye just to top it off.

Honestly, I've come to believe that families with children under the age of 18 need one full-time stay-at-home parent in order for a household to run smoothly and efficiently.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Alberta has a Revenue Problem, Not a Spending Problem

The Alberta Progressive Conservatives could have avoided the current financial problems had they managed our resources correctly in the first place.

Check out this website which shows how much revenue could have been collected and where it could have gone.

General Observations While in Florida

We didn't spend much time outside of theme parks, but when we did, these were my general impressions:
  • I was always wary that there could at any time be a random shooting. This is part of the reason that I prefer not to travel in the US.  I never feel safe there because of their lax gun laws. I did feel a little better knowing that my brother-in-law was along, he's an RCMP who is part of the Prime Minister's security detachment, so I figured if something bad went down, he'd keep us safe.
  • I felt guilty all. the. time.  Here we were on a wonderful vacation and probably every person who waited on us at a restaurant or served us at a store was making minimum wage and living without a social safety net.
  • The palm and orange trees never got old, but the rest of Florida was pretty scrubby looking.
  • The beef was terrible - tough and chewy.
  • The disparity between rich and poor was much more obvious than here at home. Gated communities with large homes were next to trailer parks with crumbling single-wide trailers.
  • I almost never heard anyone speaking English.  Virtually every person I overheard was speaking Spanish.  Even the tall, blond, germanic looking people.
  • My husband claims that everyone was much fatter than Canadians, but I didn't notice a significant difference to be honest.
  • My husband also noticed how few people had tattoos. Once he pointed it out I saw it too. Unlike the Medicine Hat or Calgary Stampede, where virtually every person in a tank top and shorts has at least one tattoo showing, I saw virtually no tattoos on the people at the parks.  When I did, it was someone extremely tatted up who looked like they would knife you if you gave them a wrong look. I guess Americans are just more conservative than Canadians (as if you didn't already know that!).
  • We went to the largest Wal-Mart I had ever seen.  It was a 24 hour Super Wal-Mart.  (I must point out that I normally do not shop at Wal-Mart due to my issues with their employee policies and profit margins, however, there wasn't anything else near where we were staying and we didn't buy that much, so I'm giving myself a pass on this one.) When you entered the store, you couldn't see the end of the building and that is not an exaggeration. We were there to buy some groceries and since I purchase produce for the Good Food Club, I was curious as to the price differences.  I was shocked to see that produce prices were almost identical to what we pay in Medicine Hat, even the oranges! Processed foods, dairy, and eggs were where I saw the biggest price difference. They were so much cheaper.  I'm not sure the reasoning behind the cheaper processed foods, but I know that American dairy & eggs are cheaper because they don't have a supply management system in the US.  They also allow growth hormones in their dairy and egg production, which Canada doesn't.  This leads to increased production and cheaper product.
Here's a picture of a some alligators that I took at Gatorland and a sea turtle from the Clearwater Aquarium.




































Disney Won Me Over

In February we went on a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  I have to be honest here and tell you that I wasn't actually looking forward to this vacation, AT ALL.

My parents have been talking about taking the girls to Disneyland for years, but my youngest has had an overwhelming fear of people in costumes since she was tiny, so we've been holding off.  Every six months or so I would ask, "Are you still afraid of people in costumes?". Finally last summer she said that as long as she didn't have to stand by them, she would be fine, which was the greenlight to begin planning.  At about the same time, our niece told my mother-in-law that for her birthday she wanted the family to go to Disney World and to the Clearwater Aquarium, where there is a movie famous dolphin, Winter.

So we began planning, and planning, and booking, and more planning, and working ahead, and applying for passports, and so on and so forth.  You get the picture.

All I could think of was that we would spend all our time standing in line-ups in the heat.

We went for 9 days with my parents, my husband's parents, my sister-in-law and her husband and children. We rented a 7 bedroom, 5 bathroom house with a backyard pool in a gated community just 10-15 minutes from the parks.

And you know what?  It was kind of amazing.

Disney World is so clean and well-kept.  There are loads of courteous, helpful staff and the Fast Pass option prevented us from having to stand in line. My 9 year old and I spent 1 day at Universal Studios at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it was fantastic as well.

Also, the parades were the best I'd ever seen.















Friday, January 23, 2015

Sassiness

This is the insane level of sassiness that I'm dealing with when it comes to my 6 year old.

Me, "I'm getting real sick of the angry and whiny tone of voices you guys use when you're talking to me and each other.  It needs to stop."

6 yr. old, "Then why don't you just get rid of us and have a new baby?"