Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Amber Teething Necklaces: Do They Work?

Amber Teething Necklaces: Do They Work? It probably looks like this post is going to answer that question, but sadly, it's not.  I'm a big fan of evidence based research and conclusions and facts that have resulted from properly executed bias-free and double blind studies, but I can't seem to find one on Amber Teething Necklaces.  In fact, this link is pretty much the best thing I've found to explain "how" they work:

At best, that article basically states that there are no studies that prove they work.  At the same time, there are tons of people that swear they do. We happened to have been given a free necklace several months ago, and upon receiving it we asked ourselves two questions:

1. Where is the evidence that the necklace is going to work?
2.  Is this necklace going to choke our child?

So the teething has hit an all time horrible high, and I've desperately resorted to putting the Amber Teething Necklace on Aias despite my concern about it strangling him.  I guess I'll just have to keep an extra close eye on him while he's wearing it.  I'm looking for some sort of evidence as to "why" the amber necklace supposedly works, and can find nothing.  At the same time, we swore those homeopathic teething tablets worked even though the explanations of homeopathy we read left much to be desired (the water remembers, what what?!).   I'll try anything at this point I guess, Advil and Tylenol have left us dissatisfied and we certainly aren't going to give him any stronger pharmaceutical.  Homemade yogurt popsicles do the trick during the day, and constant (ugh ugh ugh) nursing all night seems to do it too, granted, it keeps me awake the whole time. 

I'm curious if any of you adults have used amber to help with your own injuries or ailments. If so, do you feel like it helped at all? Obviously I can't ask a toddler if they've noticed any difference, but I'd be interested in hearing some adult opinions.  Maybe even perspectives on any changes you've noticed in your toddlers after wearing their necklace for teething?

Grouchy little strawberry face doesn't even seem to notice he's wearing that necklace.  It's hard to tell if the toys are distracting him or if the necklace is working it's voodoo magic on his teething pain.   At the very least, the thing looks kind of cute, right?

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Two Awesome FREE Places You Need to Know About If You Have Kids Aged 0-5 in Vancouver (or most of BC)

Please, Please, PLEASE share this on Facebook, Twitter, ETC where your Vancouver or BC friends can see it.  I have no idea how I went 18 months without knowing about these programs. 

From the second Aias was an embryo, I was on the computer Googling like crazy in a mad frenzy to find local activities for him to participate in as an infant/toddler.  Even as strongly linked-in to the parenting community as I am, I somehow managed to go the past 18 months without knowing the following two programs existed.  I think the reason I completely bypassed these was because my searches were mostly yielding sponsored links or programs that were being marketed; you know, things that cost money.  Well, it turns out the best things in life really are free.  

Awesome Place #1: Family Centres
Family Centres are basically a "home away from home" where you can bring your child aged 0-5 to take part in free play as well as guided sing-a-longs and healthy snack time with other children.  We recently discovered these Family Centres and I'm completely in love with them and so is Aias (you can read more about my experience in this entry from last week).  Our local Family Centre is the Mount Pleasant Family Centre located on St. George just off Kingsway in Robson Park.  These Family Centres are free, although if you are able you can become a member by paying $25 a year (it also gets you a vote at their AGM and the ability to take books out of their parenting library).  You are welcome to attend twice a week at one of the drop-in sessions, which at the Mount Pleasant location are Monday through Friday 9:30am to 11:30 am or 1pm to 2pm.  For the first 90 minutes or so your child gets to play in the most amazing play room you've ever seen, and then 30 minutes before the drop-in session ends, everyone gets together for family time to read books and sing songs, and finally have a healthy snack.  After the indoor drop in portion gets out, there is a bit of outdoor time where the kids can play on a fenced-in playground or in a fenced-in paved courtyard full of ride-on toys.  The best thing about this is that these centres are staffed with early childhood educators and skilled volunteers; while you can't leave the site, you are able to go downstairs and have a free coffee, read, and socialize with other parents while your child plays upstairs with the other kids and is looked after by staff and volunteers. These family centres are open through the summer, with the exception of a few of their satellite locations that take place in rented gyms because of the summer camps displacing them in July and August (I didn't list those).  Here are the websites for the Family Centres in Vancouver:

The Family Centres are also fantastic because they offer libraries for parents and there are also drawers of free baby and maternity clothes for families in need.  You can also donate toys, clothing, and books for other parents.  There are also toy swaps from time to time.

Awesome Place #2: Strong Start
I was really shocked when I heard about Strong Start, because it's a part of the Vancouver School Board so you'd think it would be common knowledge that the program exists. I only happened upon it a few nights ago while having a conversation with a former staff member and friend of mine.  Strong Start is similar to the Family Centres in that it's free and it's for kids 0-5, although it's a tiny bit more formal.  For example, Strong Start is a program offered through the Vancouver School Board so you actually register your child at your first session and they carry their identification number through high school, should you choose to send them to public school in Vancouver.   Strong Start works similarly to the drop-in program at the Family Centres, except the program is 3 hours long instead of 2.  Parents also participate in the program with their child so it's different from daycare or preschool.  It looks as though many of the Strong Start locations operate during the school year (September through June) although a few operate through the summer.  I'm not sure how many times a week children can attend or if there is a limit to how many sessions you attend in a week.  Aias and I have not attended this, but we are going to find more out about it in the coming week.  A great Question and Answer page on Strong Start can be found here.  Strong Start locations in Vancouver can be found at the following places:

Britannia Elementary
Captain James Cook Elementary
Champlain Heights Annex
Collingwood Neighbourhood (Bruce Annex)
David Lloyd George Elementary
Florence Nightingale Elementary
Henderson Annex
Lord Nelson Elementary
Lord Selkirk Elementary
Maquinna Annex
Mt. Pleasant Elementary
Queen Alexandra Elementary
Sir Alexander MacKenzie Elementary
Sir Wilfred Grenfell Elementary
Tillicum Annex
Thunderbird Elementary
Walter Moberly Elementary
Waverly Elementary

So, what are you waiting for!?
Be sure to check these out, especially if you are still trying to decide between public school vs. homeschooling vs. private school.  It's really been interesting to see how Aias acts in a formal school setting, which is something these programs allow you to get a glimpse of. 

And remember, share this with other parents in the community.  I literally have come across 4-5 programs in my neighborhood that offer these exact programs but for $150+ a month, even though the parents have to stay and participate.  Your tax dollars pay for these programs and they are absolutely AMAZING; I have no doubt these are the highest quality and money can't necessarily buy a better program.  Put those hundreds of dollars into your kid's savings account instead, and take part in these awesome programs.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

If You Give a Toddler a Lush Bath Bomb...

Last weekend, like every year, I volunteered to coordinate the barricade volunteers for the Car Free Vancouver Commercial Drive Event. This year LUSH generously donated tons of bath bombs, bubble bars, and lotions for the volunteers. After the day was done and everyone had taken what they wanted, there was a huge box of stuff left. The Volunteer Coordinator who had picked it up said she wasn't taking any because it had already been in her house for three days and the smell (though lovely) would likely never go away as it is. I couldn't just let it get wasted so I ended up taking a ton home:

I don't know if you shop at LUSH, but what you are looking at here is some serious swag.  The bath bombs alone are $6 a piece and the bubble bars are $7 a piece (totally worth it if you have the cash to drop on luxury bath items, the ingredients are wholesome and the smell is to die for).  Those little things you see on the right, I think they are mini bath bombs or something, I'm not sure if they even sell them.  All I know is, they are perfect for toddler baths if you use 1 or 2 at a time. 

Anyhow, blah blah blah, long story short, I have a lot of LUSH kicking around my apartment now.  I had been putting one or two little tiny bath bomb bits into Aias's bath in the last week, but the other night I thought it would be hilarious to put him in the tub with a whole huge bath bomb. I figured he'd get a kick out of it since he loved the tiny ones so much, and how often are people able to give their toddlers indulgent luxury baths!  The results? Hilarious.  First off, he wanted to eat it and probably did have a bite or two. Luckily he quickly realized it was disgusting.  Second, it looked like a massacre of pink in my bathtub.  The walls of the tub and the water were the brightest pink I have ever seen.  I thought the dye would never come off the tub, but it did very easily.  Unfortunately, his hands were dyed pink for two days afterward (granted, I didn't give much of an effort to get the dye off, of course, that's not a battle worth choosing in my opinion).  The bath bomb literally took about 45 minutes to completely disintegrate so I have to say, you get your money's worth with those things for sure.

Thank you, LUSH, for giving me this experience.  My son will forever be a customer.

He loved holding it under the water, removing it, watching it fizz, repeat, repeat, repeat. I can't believe how long it survived despite him doing this for like 5 straight minutes at least.

Once he realized it sort of doubled as a bath crayon of sorts, he went to town.

"Um.. I didn't eat it, what are you talking about..."

Checking out the sweet pink bubbles.
The whole time all I was thinking of was A Christmas Story where Ralphie's dad kept saying he looked like a Pink Nightmare.

It looks like the scene of a giant bubblegum murder.

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Vancouver Weather Summed Up In One Picture

The weather in Vancouver is completely unpredictable, but lately it does this thing where it pours rain endlessly all morning and them BOOM the sun is out for the rest of the day.  Yesterday we were certain it was going to rain all day so I got Aias in his MEC Newt Suit and into his rubber boots. It was pouring outside when we stepped out the door. We got into the elevator, into the lobby, and stepped outside.  The sky was ominous but there wasn't a drop of rain coming down.  Typical.

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How To Get the Most Juice Out of a Lime... Crazy!

I wish I knew who to credit for this picture, it's just off of Reddit. We don't really drink lime juice but we always buy fresh limes to squeeze onto our pad thai. Sometimes we end up with the most un-juicy limes, or at least we thought that was the case.  Turns out we may just have been "doing it wrong."  We recently taught Aias how to peel and squeeze the juice out of oranges, so I think we will pick up some limes tomorrow and he will get a kick out of this.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Why I Think Lowering Gas Prices is a Bad Idea and My Challenge to You

I know this won't be a popular opinion in general, and that's totally fine with me (as always), but here's my opinion anyway: lowering the price of gas is a bad idea for everyone. 

Don't get me wrong: I don't WANT to pay more money for gas.  Not one bit. In fact, when I go to buy gas, my wallet is very unhappy.  I'm not happy about paying more. It sucks.  But the fact is, the fuel problem the world is facing is not about me.  It's much, much bigger than me.  Believe it or not, it's bigger than you, too.

I know, I know, you have reasons for thinking it's great idea to lower gas prices. You want or "need" gas to be cheaper. In fact, here are your reasons:

- "I have no choice but to drive to where I work. I can't afford to live where my job is. I have no choice but to drive. Driving is not a choice for me. If gas prices are too high I can't afford to work or to live and I will end up homeless."
- "I don't have good transit service where I live. I have to drive."
- "The place I live is set up for driving, without driving, I will be stuck where I am and not be able to get food or to medical attention."
- "Because of the lack of urban planning I live in a place where driving is required. This is through no fault of mine so the government should subsidize the fuel prices."
- "I would literally never see my friends/family/partner if it weren't for driving a car."
- "I have [insert sickness, condition, disability here]. I need to drive!"
- "I have [x amount] children!  I can't possibly spend my whole day transiting around with them, getting groceries, etc.  It's unreasonable/dangerous/stressful/tiring."

Let me just say, I am sympathetic with all of the above reasons. Those reasons are all 100% valid. In fact, at least half if not all of those reasons apply to me or have applied to me at one point in my life. The reason we have all those excuses/reasons/whatever is because North America is set up for people to rely on a system of highways and roads that are used by personal vehicles, trucks, etc. That's a fact! It's a fact and it sucks, because if fuel were to run out today, most of us would be royally screwed as a result.  True story!

So while all the above reasons are great, here's another fact for you: oil is finite. As in, it's not unlimited. There is x amount of oil and once it's gone, it's gone. Once it's gone, we are out of luck. There is nothing we can do to magically bring it back. Once gone, forever gone.  You may or may not remember this from your high school or University economics class but there is a concept called the Law of Supply and Demand

The four basic laws of supply and demand are:[1]
  1. If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, then it leads to higher equilibrium price and quantity.
  2. If demand decreases and supply remains unchanged, then it leads to lower equilibrium price and quantity.
  3. If supply increases and demand remains unchanged, then it leads to lower equilibrium price and higher quantity.
  4. If supply decreases and demand remains unchanged, then it leads to higher price and lower quantity.
Have another look at number 4 above, where supply decreases and demand remains unchanged:  note how it leads to higher price and lower quantity?  This is where we are with gas, except in this case, there's no opportunity to make more to meet the demand.  There's no method whatsoever to increase the supply.  None. Zip. Nada.  Even if we were to take over every country on the entire planet and take all of their oil, we would STILL run out. When we run out, it's not just a trip to the mall we won't be able to indulge in; it's everything!  We won't be able to get food to us, we won't be able to build things, we will be left almost entirely in ruin.  Life as we know it will cease to exist. 

This is the reason why I think it's absolutely, 100% ridiculous to lower or subsidize the price of any commodity or product when it's impossible to increase the amount of supply.  Why should the price be lower so that people can make the supply go down even faster, with absolutely no real plan in place on what to do when it's gone for good?

This is where you get defensive, pissed off that I've even brought this topic up, and remind me of all the reasons above why you need to use your car.  That's fine.  Be mad, be pissed, be annoyed. But don't direct that energy to me; direct it to the people in charge of urban planning in your area, be mad at the people before us for setting our communities up this way, be mad at an economic and social system that has become entirely dependent on cars without any foresight whatsoever as to what will happen when there's no more gas. Most of all, be angry that the wool is constantly being pulled over your eyes by governments and corporations that don't want us to even think about this.  Trust me, when the oil runs out, there will be hoards of it for the wealthy or powerful, and unless you are actually a truly temporarily embarrassed millionaire, that won't include you.  Even then, the richest and most powerful people in the world won't be able to make fuel reappear once it's gone. 

So what the hell do we do about this?  For starters, take a few minutes right now to think of the last 5 trips you've taken in your car.  Then we can ask ourselves if we really needed to take those trips.  I'll play this game with you:

- This week we drove to North Vancouver to pick up a computer for our friend.
- 3 weeks ago we drove  to the Squamish area to go camping.
- 6 weeks ago we drove to IKEA.
- 8 weeks ago we drove to Lander to see my aunt.
- In February Morgan drove to the YVR airport to pick Aias and I up after returning from NH from a funeral.

Not very frequent right? Well, it's sort of cheating for me.  I live in a huge city.  I literally could walk every single place I need to go, and if I'm feeling particularly lazy, I could take one of a dozen or so busses that drive by my condo in any given hour.  Now five years ago if you had asked me the same question when I was living in Coquitlam (a suburb of sorts), my answers would have looked something like this:

- This morning I drove to Subway to get a breakfast sandwich.
- This morning I drive to the mall to shop.
- This afternoon I drove to the gym to work out.
- This afternoon I drove to Blockbuster to return a movie.
- This afternoon I drove to class and back.

I lived in the suburbs and I had stuff I wanted to do. I didn't need to do those things, sure, but I did them and I used the car.  I had a car. I paid for insurance.  I was going to drive my freaking car. Had I tried to do all that stuff via bus, it would have taken my whole day to do half of those things.   In both cases, I could reasonably have transited in almost all of those situations. Why didn't I? Convenience.  It's that simple; pure 100% unadulterated convenience.  And why not? It was my perogative to drive, so I did.  At the same time, what is the long term cost of this convenience?  Looking at my two lists, I see examples of where I could have transited but chose not to.  Imagine if every day, people looked at their plans to drive somewhere that day, and asked themselves if they really need to?  I have far more respect for a person who drives twenty times a week because they absolutely have to than for someone two drives twice a week but purely for funsies.  At the same time, maybe the point is moot anyway.  No matter what your reasons are for driving it all boils down to the fact I keep repeating: OIL = FINITE.  When commodities are finite, you have to pay accordingly, regardless of your reasons for needing to consume them. 

Look, I'm not suggesting that anyone is a bad person or selfish for using their personal vehicle.  You can't help it, and that's the truth.  If you personally have any of the reasons I listed above for driving, I don't blame you for it.  I also don't blame you for feeling like gas prices should be lowered because why should driving be only for the rich? There are a lot of things we can't personally change about society, at least not overnight, and we do have to get by and live our day-to-day lives. In many cases, these day-to-day lives rely on vehicles.  Fair enough.  However, here's a challenge for you.

I challenge you to hold yourself accountable for the gas you use and to use it responsibly.   If you need help with this, use the questions below to guide you.

1. Ask yourself where you are going; is it somewhere you need to go or somewhere you want to go?  How will going or not going impact your overall quality of life (for example, if it's going to see family, it's totally worth the money for gas in my opinion!)?
2. Ask yourself if there is any other way of getting there (bike, public transit, etc)?
3. Ask yourself if there is a closer or more accessible location you could travel to as an alternative?
4. Ask yourself if there is any way you can arrange to carpool with others or combine multiple tasks into one trip to make better use of your fuel?
5. Ask yourself if you can handle doing without the trip at all?
6. Ask yourself if the fuel you are using would be worth using if it was double the price?

There's no need to feel guilty about using your car, especially if you really can't help it, but just be aware of how often you are using it and what you are using it for.   Even if you cut down your gas usage by as little as 25%, that's more gas remaining and more money in your pocket no matter how much gas costs at any given time. 

Maybe by encouraging many people to hold themselves accountable and to be conscious of their fuel usage, we can (at best) delay how long it takes for the gas to run dry.  Maybe an extra year or two will be the difference between finding an alternative solution and implementing it, or not.  I can't change the reasons you have for driving, nor can I change the current state of our completely oil dependent society.  All I can do is what I have the power to do.  I recognize that people need to drive, and I recognize that people also WANT to drive.  I'm not actually even suggesting that anyone should have to lower the amount of gas they use, I just truly think that people need to be willing to pay for it.  The fact is, if you need or want to drive, you are going to have to cough up the cash to do it because lowering the price of gas makes zero sense from a theoretical, logistical, or economic* standpoint.  You can argue in circles until you are blue in the face but it all comes down to the fact that once the oil is gone, IT'S GONE.  What I would personally like to see is more car-pooling, more transit being available in suburban areas, more affordable public transit options for places that already have awesome transit systems in place, and more options put in place for people who have the reasons listed above for driving.  Let's try and focus on those points instead of lowering the gas prices. In fact, let's raise the gas prices so that people will be more careful and considerate when it comes to using gas, and let's take the extra money and put it toward more sustainable long term transit options. 

The bottom line here is this: at the time being, it's your right to drive wherever you want and to use as much gas as you want.  At the same time, we have to be willing to pay for it, because soon enough we will all be paying for it anyway.  In many ways, we already are.  The next time I choose to get in my car to drive an hour away to my aunt's in Abbottsford, for example, I'll be happy to do it.  It's worth it to me to see my family.  I will go to the gas station, I'll roll my eyes at the gas prices, and I'll fill up my tank.  On a personal level I'll be annoyed that I'm paying so much, but on an intellectual level I'll understand why I have to.

*There are lots of good arguments that suggest that if people use less fuel, they'll buy less "stuff" and it will harm the economy. Fair enough. However, the fact still remains that once the fuel is gone, IT'S GONE. I obviously can't emphasize this enough.  I think this just means that urban planners need to find ways to ensure people have access to the things they need or want to buy without having to depend on personal vehicles.  

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Even a Danger Ranger Control Freak Has to Cut the Cord, One Step At a Time!

Since the day Aias was born, we've spent almost every minute with him. I'm not exaggerating this. Here is a complete list of the times we've been apart from Aias:

- Twice my aunt came to the house and we walked to Starbucks for 15 minutes without Aias.  He was 2 months old. 
- Once my aunt came to the house and watched Aias while I went to a volunteer commitment and Morgan did work in the other room (so technically he was still home with Aias). He was 10 months old.
- Once we went skiing and my sister Jessy stayed at the lodge at the bottom of the ski hill with Aias while we skiied (I'm not sure if this even counts, since we went to check on him between each run).  He was 14 months old.
- In December 2010 we went to Morgan's Christmas Party for work for 3 hours and left Aias with my close friend Beth, who is also a pediatric nurse. He was 13 months old.
- My sister and I drove to the dollar store for 30 minutes while her husband (Uncle Shaun) looked after Aias at home.  He was 6 months old.
- We had an important phone call once and our friend Becky took Aias and her son, Elliot, out for a walk around our neighborhood for one hour. He was 15 months old.

I'm fairly certain that covers it; for the duration of his entire life Aias has either been with myself, Morgan, or both of us.  Sometimes I wonder why I even bothered letting them cut his umbilical cord in the first place; surely just having him physically attached to me would be no different, right?  For all intents and purposes the kid is pretty much glued to my side.  When I make plans with people and they ask me if Aias will be coming along, I generally laugh... after all, where the heck else would he go?  We don't have family within an hour of us and the friends we trust to watch him are usually working or taking care of their own kids.  I'd also feel like a jerk asking someone who's been at work all day to come watch my kid at the end of their shift, or to ask someone who already has their own toddler to deal with to watch mine as well.  To top it off we're not super comfortable with leaving him with a stranger, qualified or otherwise, and it's not like we could afford a professional babysitter anyway so that's just how we've rolled.  Whenever people talk about how they can regularly leave their child with their parents or siblings, I feel so envious.  Trust me, if we would, we could!  The amount of strings we have to pull to just schedule an Aias-free dentist appointment or something simple like that is absolutely crazy.  So this is just how it is for us.  We just keep telling ourselves that babydom and toddlerdom are such a short period of time; someday we will be able to have time to ourselves. 

Now I should say, it's not like I have a problem with this or that I'm even complaining.  Even before Aias was born, we decided we would avoid daycare* if we could, even if it meant taking a financial hit on our cushy pre-parent lifestyle of eating out regularly and buying whatever we wanted for ourselves.  I took my year of paid parental leave and when it ran out, I quit my job.  Instead, I stayed home and looked after my friend's darling son for literally 1/4th of the amount of money I had been making at my job.  Has it been worth it? Absolutely.  Sure we will take a hell of a lot longer to pay our student loans off than we would have otherwise, but staying home and witnessing Aias's every movement and milestone is really worthwhile to us.  After all, he's only going to be this young once and it's only a matter of time before he won't even want to hang out with us at all.  At the same time, it's hard sometimes never getting a real break. 

So by now you've either stopped reading, or you are probably like "DUDE GET A BABYSITTER!!!"  I know... I know... it's madness.  In fact, I think one reason why this situation works out best for us, particularly me, is because I'm not only a Danger Ranger and Safety Fetishist, but I'm a card carrying member of the Control Freak Club (if you haven't noticed this yet, I'll assume you are new here).  I'm an overachiever, I get things done, and I work my butt off, all in the name of preserving the illusion that I'm in control of my life.  Part of the reason why it's so hard for me to send Aias off into the hands of someone other than myself or Morgan is that I can't imagine anyone else who is willing to throw themselves in front of a bus to save Aias from harm.  Furthermore, I can't trust anyone to constantly be conducting a mental risk analysis of everything within 100 yards of where Aias stands.  Where some people see a spoon, I see an object capable of impaling my child.  Where some people see a piece of furniture, I see something that could topple over and crush him to death.  You see, I'm always a few steps ahead in my mind, mentally computing all the worst outcomes and how I can step in to prevent these horrible things from happening. Is this normal? Probably not.  Is it healthy? I doubt it.  Will I have to let go at some point? Absolutely.  And trust me, I'm not looking forward to it. 

Of course, as Aias gets older, I'm finding myself having to let go of my need to feel in control.  From time to time even the queen of all Danger Rangers needs a break, and what better time than the present?  A few days ago at the playground a woman was telling me all about a place called the Mount Pleasant Family Centre which just happens to be a few blocks away from where we live.  This afternoon we decided to check it out.  When we arrived, it was far different than the playgroups we are used to. You see, normally we go next door to the Community Centre to participate in their Tot Gym.  During this time, parents are 100% in charge of looking after their kids.   There aren't any volunteers or child care providers around, it's basically just an environment for your kids to play on toys you probably can't fit in your condo but with your supervision.  The Mount Pleasant Family Centre, however, has trained staff that are educated in looking after children under 5.  There are also volunteers present that play with the kids.  When I arrived I was warmly welcomed and given some information on how the family centre worked.  Of course, Aias isn't interested in all that so he took off into another room, so I tore off after him... after all, who else would?  The woman who welcomed me said "oh no, don't worry, [she] has him." A minute later I saw a kindly volunteer holding Aias, bringing him back into the room.  Another person had touched him, and he didn't disintegrate or freak out. What was happening? A few minutes later we went upstairs to play in the amazing toy room that had every type of toy you can even imagine.  It also has a beautiful wooden toddler friendly slide that Aias went up and down about 100 times.  After about 15 minutes of myself playing with him, a volunteer came over and played with him as well.  Aias was so pleased with this that I slowly pulled back and after a few minutes I found myself sitting in a chair across the room just sort of observing him.  One of the staff members then told me that if I wanted I could go downstairs and get a coffee, and that she'd let the volunteer know to look after Aias.  I hesitated for only a second, but the lure of coffee is something I can't often resist.  I felt very comfortable leaving him with the staff and volunteers, even though we had only just met.  It was a strange feeling.  With that, I opened the door to go downstairs, stepped through the door, and shut it behind me.  I listened for Aias... nothing.  I walked down the stairs, stopped at the bottom, and listened for Aias... nothing. No one was running back to get me to report that my child was freaking out that I had left.  I walked to the end of the hall, got a coffee, read some pamphlets, and had a chat with the parents and staff downstairs.  The whole time I was half expecting someone to come down carrying Aias to let me know that he had realized I was gone and was upset; but it never happened!  About 10 minutes later I'd had my coffee and walked back upstairs.  I opened the door to see across the room that Aias was happily playing with two volunteers and a few other kids. He hadn't even noticed I'd left. I thought for sure it was only because he hadn't seen me, but he looked over at me, smiled, and continued playing.

I know it sounds like such a total non-event and maybe it will generate some eyerolls, but for someone who has been glued to another human for so long, it's actually pretty big. So that's that; baby steps.

*Before anyone gets defensive, I should add, I'm not at all against daycare.  In fact, if I'd have been making more money at my pre-Aias job in the first place, he'd likely have been in daycare since my parental leave ended.  It just so happens that if Aias had gone to daycare, I'd literally have been paying a daycare provider more money than I would have been taking home, and that would have driven me nuts to even think about.  

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lists: Hilarious and Disturbing Search Terms That Have Led People to My Blog

Perhaps those of you without blogs don't know this, but the blogger stats page gives bloggers quite a bit of information about who is reading their blog.  In addition to that, I use Google Analytics, which gives me even more information.  Now, I don't know people's IP addresses or who specifically is looking at my blog, but I do know what search terms they used in Google to get here and it's one of my favorite things to look at (seriously, I have no idea who you are, just where you are from and how you get here).  Every few days I take a peek at the search terms and while lots of them are to be expected or are just plain boring, some of them are hilarious or disturbing.  There are hundreds and hundreds but are some common ones:

Unusual, Hilarious, and/or Seemingly Random Search Terms
First I'll show you some of the unusual, hilarious, and/or seemingly random search terms.  What I find especially funny about these is that multiple people have searched these terms or at least the same people have used these terms multiple times to get back to the blog.

"porno pizza de chorizo" (multiple times... what?)
"why dots balloons"
"shiny floors autism children" (Upon further though, I don't really think this one is strange, but it's unique for sure)
"aias facebook hair show"
"can gender variance cause autism?"
"crossdressed grandpa breastfed babies" (This is like.. one of my personal favorites ever)
"im pregnant and i just drank water with soap accidently [sic]"
"monkey backpack leashes teens"
"presentation of banana"
"udon ok for toddler?"
"vancouver 2011 hockey riot breasts"
"back of head bedhead pictures"
"denounce vancouver riots morons"
"ex girlfriend pictures + angie"
"sophie marie afternoon delight"

Disturbing Search Terms 
The following are almost deeply disturbing to me for two reasons. First, because clearly people go online to look for kiddie porn.  I obviously knew this, but this really makes it feel close to home. Second, these people are ending up on my blog where I have photos of my child. It's for this reason that you won't see naked photos of Aias on this blog, ever. At least if I ever put them, it would be rare and untagged. Scary stuff, right?

"toddlers who enjoy sex"
"www. children sex dot com"
"www.young-kids sex"
"young sex kid my doktor"
"young kids sex "
"transgender child pics"

(I want to add to this part, I realize that copying these terms may get me more negative pervy pedo traffic... if you are here because of that SEEK HELP!)

Shamefully Spelled Search Terms
"talking to toddles about their sexulaity"
"tesigrity poppisickle projct"
"dollar giant presants"
"pinyada cake"

A Special Message to a Search Term User
To the person who quite regularly gets to my blog by typing "i'm sad stay at home mom," please contact me. We can chat.  No one should be sad and feeling alone.  All sorts of hugs to you.  Additional reminder, I have NO IDEA who you are.

The Queen of All Search Terms
Finally in case you were curious... the most common search term people use to find my blog is:

"18 week ultrasound"

For some reason this post here is the most popular post on here, with just under 4,000 unique views since April 14th:

Every day I see people coming to that page by the hundreds and some aren't unique users so they are people who have viewed it before.  I keep telling myself not to be creeped out by that.  It's just pregnant women looking at it for comparison, and not pervy men looking for pregnant woman pics to jerk off to.  Bloggers can't afford to be shy...

FELLOW BLOGGERS:  When you are done reading this post, "like" the post on Facebook, leave a comment, and then post your OWN similar post! I want to see what other fun or creepy search terms people have in their stats logs!

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A Long Stream of Consciousness Piece on Why I'm Happy With My Non-Compliant Toddler

The following is an un-edited stream of consciousness type piece, so bear with it! Sometimes it's just nice to write that way. 

Ever since Aias has been able to cognitively process the concept of having his own opinion, he's been exercising the ability to apply it.  I thought for sure I'd never forget the first time he said no to us and meant it, except for since then it has happened so often it's all a blur. At 19 months old one thing is for sure; we are in for quite a ride with this headstrong little guy.  You see, sometimes Aias doesn't want to do things a certain way, or even to do them at all, whether it's riding in the stroller, putting on shoes, going to a certain place, or playing with a certain object, toy or otherwise.  We try things like "redirecting" him or singing little songs, or sometimes just plain insisting he do something, but these things don't exactly work fantastically with him.  At this point in the game it's a bit too soon to be issuing effective time-outs or real discipline, so we simply choose our battles very carefully to avoid what we consider to be incredibly aggravating (and sometimes embarrassing) meltdowns that can result when Aias doesn't get what he wants.  Of course, there are some things you simply can't have as a toddler.  No matter how fun it may be to put metal prongs into an electrical socket or run into the street, we simply can't allow him to do these things... and so the battle will begin.  Furthermore, kids shouldn't always get what they want just because they want it, because you don't want to end up with a kid who's just spoiled and feels entitled to everything, right?

Now to move onto the topic of kids who are spoiled and feel entitled to everything, this past week the riots in Vancouver after the loss of the 2011 Stanley Cup have been a hot topic, and after seeing the pictures and videos myself, where the vast majority of rioters were young men, I asked myself (and my Facebook friends!) how I could best ensure Aias doesn't grow up to be one of those testosterone happy, out of control, and entitled, shameless young men.  I mean, running around shouting, breaking things, flipping things over-- these are some of Aias's favorite hobbies!  The answer I got on Facebook when I approached the topic was that I should instill fear into Aias to prevent him from acting out in that way.  I suppose what was meant by fear was fear of getting caught, fear of being punished, fear of those around him not loving him if he doesn't behave in a certain way, fear of his reputation being tarnished and/or his life ruined. Seems pretty simple, right?  All you need to do is make people fear something and you can control their behavior.  Maybe it would work, but of course, something about that suggestion didn't really seem right to me.  In fact, the more I thought about that strategy, the more it bothered me.  Do I want to be seen as someone who rules with fear?  Even more so, do I want a child that will behave in a certain way simply out of fear, rather than out of an inner drive of his own?

This past weekend we went to one of our local Attachment Parenting playgroups and the topic of discussion was "positive discipline."  I went to the meeting quite desperate to get some answers on how we could deal with Aias's behaviors and reactions to not getting his way.  When we arrived (late, due to a meltdown because Aias didn't want to sit in the stroller on the SkyTrain), there was a small crowd and the topic at hand was the past week's riot.  I brought up my question: how do I best ensure that Aias doesn't grow up to be like the rioters?  The first answer I got was this; I can't ensure it.  The fact is, people can praise or blame parents for a child's personality or actions all they want, but as parents we aren't magical shape-shifters and we certainly aren't molding humans out of clay.  It's nice to think all the great things your child does are because of your fantastic parenting, or that the not-so-nice things your child does are a result of some poor decision you made down the line that you could have changed if you had "done it right," but this is unlikely the case.  We are not able to make our children certain people any more than you can be given a seed for a tree and decide you want to grow an SUV out of it.  Instead we are given a seed to a tree, and we can either decide to plant that seed and then be neglectful of it by not giving it the sunshine and water it needs, or we can plant that seed, nurture it, give it the sunshine and water it needs and watch it grow up to be the best tree it can possibly be.  Beyond that, our hands are tied. 

The facilitator went on to explain that she understands how frustrating it is to have a toddler that is so headstrong and non-compliant; it's a lot of work and it can sometimes make you feel like you are going crazy!  She then went on to say that many people who have headstrong and non-compliant toddlers often find that their kids grow up to be less trouble as teenagers due to their ability to not bend to peer pressure or to simply go along with the flow because other kids are.  The more compliant kids that may be easier to manage as toddlers can sometimes grow up to be less trouble as teenagers, but they also sometimes bend easier to peer pressure and go along with the flow due to their desire to please.  This made me think of the rioters again, especially because as the days have passed many of the rioters have been revealed to not be what we would traditionally consider to be "troubled" youth.  In fact, many of the rioters have proven to be high achievers with many privileges and seemingly cushy upper middle class lives.  I can't help but wonder if these people stayed on the straight and narrow in an effort to please their parents and peers, but then the second the people around them were acting out, they followed suit in typical compliant manner.  Now of course, they are paying for their actions, but wouldn't it have made a huge difference if they'd have had the ability to say "hey, just because other people are doing something, doesn't mean I should. Just because this is what the majority of people here are doing, doesn't mean I have to do it too."  You see, if you only choose your behaviors because you are living in an environment of fear, what happens when the fear is lifted? During the riot so many people were participating that it stands to reason there was little fear of being isolated and caught.  People driven to behave and act with respect only because they are afraid to act otherwise out of fear of consequence, will often act differently if the fear is washed away.  The acts that took place at the riot were not the acts of people with an inherent respect or value for people or their community.  While many of them may have made it up to this point by leading an entirely compliant and socially acceptable lifestyle, it all crumbled to the ground immediately when the fear was lifted. 

I know this post is long and there are a lot of thoughts coming out here and there, but this exercise has made me a feel a lot better.  There are absolutely times I wish Aias would just be happy to do whatever we ask of him because it would make toddlerdom a lot easier. At the same time, I wouldn't want him to grow up to be that sort of adult, so why should I teach him that sort of thing at all?  Instead I want Aias to respect the people around him not because he's been scared into it, but because he sees the inherent value of it.  If he asks me why he can't or shouldn't do something, I won't offer answers such as "because it will disappoint us" or "because you'll get in trouble" or "because you'll be seen as a failure." Instead, I'll take the time to explain the real reasons.  Sure, it may be a lot more work, but I didn't sign up for this parenting role because I thought it would be easy.  At the end of the day, I don't want a compliant child that's scared of me. I want a child that is confident in his own ability to make decisions and the value of his own choices... even if at this age it only translates into him wanting to write on the walls with chalk or wear two different shoes.  Choosing your battles, indeed. 

In essence, I'll raise him not to fear me, but to know he should come to me and take my advice not because I'm a totalitarian dictator of his actions, but because as his parent who loves him, I'm his best bet. 

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Check Out Super Stalker Sunday: I'm the Featured Blogger This Week!

It's time for my favorite blog hop of them all, Super Stalker Sunday! This week I'm super pumped because I happen to be the featured blogger!!! Exciting right? You can check out my interview questions and more on Marni's page. While you are there, poke around her blog... it's one of my favorites to stalk ;)

How to Super Stalk (taken from Marni's page)

-Follow each host at least one way. Don’t forget to let them know you did so by commenting on their blog.  We will return all follows, but please be patient as we are busy mama’s it may take us a few days to return the visit and follow.

You will only have to link up on one of the host sites and your link will appear on all as we use the same linky.

-After you follow the hosts, follow as many bloggers in as many ways as you are willing!

Already follow somebody? Consider visiting and following them in another way as well!

Remember: You will only get as much as you give. The more blogs you can visit, the more visits you will gain in return.  We are all here to socialize and greet, not visit only your blog.

While we encourage sharing our button and hop with as many as possible,it is not required. The more you spread the word though, the more we socialize and all gain followers!
Thanks so much to the following bloggers for hosting. Be sure to check out their blogs and follow them all as many ways as possible (Facebook, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs, etc).

Mariah of Formula Mom
Emily of Naptime is My Time
Featured Blogger Monika of Aias Dot Ca

Super Stalk Sunday

Want to share this hop link up on your page, too? Go ahead! The code is right here

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Night Pizza Porn (Safe For Work, Good For Tummies)

I've had lots of "heavy" content lately.  It's time for something a little lighter!  Last weekend I decided I wanted a single meal that was a break from our normal healthy fare.  I wanted pizza; something I rarely even enjoy!  I had some work to do so Morgan was home with Aias, and I let him know I wanted pizza for dinner and that we should order one.

When I came home, the pizza below was on the stove.  Instead of ordering it, Morgan went and bought an uncooked cheese pizza at the grocer and put free range antibiotic free pork, cilantro, mushrooms, and peppers on it.  It was a delicious surprise.  Unbelievably delicious, and not even really all that unhealthy.  I don't think we will ever order a pizza again after that.

Next time I think we should have chorizo, artichoke, mushroom and olive.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beyond Simple Idiocy: The Vancouver 2011 Stanley Cup Riots Through Another Lens

Last night as I sat in our Vancouver apartment and watched the hockey game, in the back my mind I guessed there was about a 50/50 chance that the riot that occurred in 1994 under the same circumstances could potentially repeat itself.  At the same time, Vancouver managed to get through the 2010 Olympic Games essentially unscathed with the exception of one smaller incident, so I thought maybe I could give the city the benefit of the doubt.  After the game ended and the cup was lost to Boston, I figured a few windows would be smashed.  I never could have predicted what actually happened; cars on fire, looting, fighting in the streets, total chaos.

My first instinct is to simply denounce the people participating in the riot as drunken idiots with zero respect, plain and simple.  In a lot of cases, that's probably actually somewhat true.  At the same time, it's not helpful to leave it at that.  At least, not for me.  I want to pretense the rest of this blog entry by saying that regardless of psychology or reason, there is absolutely no "excuse" for the behavior exhibited in Vancouver last night. That being said, a riot is not generally just a riot.  There are a number of sociological, psychological, and even political forces driving behavior like what we saw last night. Our best defense and our best offense against these events repeating themselves (again) are to look at these reasons and more importantly, what we can do to address them.  I decided to do some research on the topic to see what I could come up with. 

If any of you have been to Vancouver for something other than a sports event, you know it's not exactly a city known for violence.  In fact, it's known for quite the opposite.  Many cities have areas that you really can't wander into for risk of being stabbed, mugged, what have you.  In Vancouver, we don't really have that.  We do have the Downtown Eastside which is known for being inhabited by the homeless and drug users, but even this area constitutes only a small piece of one street and you aren't really writing yourself a death sentence by walking through there.  Even then, generally your biggest threat is that people will beg you for money or make you feel uneasy.  The rest of the city is generally people drinking Starbucks, reading books, rushing between work and yoga, volunteering, and texting each other on their iPhones.  So why is it that we can't seem to hold it together during a hockey game?  Why can Edmonton and Calgary handle a big loss without destroying their city, but we can't? Why VANCOUVER?  As a resident of Vancouver, the riots disturbed me because they had me asking: am I living day in and day out among people capable of something like this?  I found myself mentally teetering far closer to a "Not In My Backyard" mentality than I ever thought I could get.

So, why Vancouver? If I had to answer this question my answer would be this: Vancouverites can hold themselves together just fine during a hockey game; it's the the people that come into the city from the suburbs and smaller cities in the area that can't (or as a friend of mine recently called them, "the Tunnel and Bridge Community"). Now ok, let me look back at that statement.  And trust me, I'm going somewhere with this, and it may not be the direction you think I am going.  Now is not the time to skim, folks.  I know you are probably thinking "Good job, Monika, blame it on the suburbanites!" or worse yet, "blame it on the OTHER guy!"  Because we all know how helpful it is to simply write off a terrible act as being someone else's fault instead of recognizing that people you are akin with are capable of malice?  Ok, fair enough, but try to follow my train of thought here through a series of points, most of which are formed by armchair psychology of course, but I digress

For those of you who don't know, Vancouver is an expensive city to live in.  In fact, it was recently named the most expensive city in the world to own a house.  Even rent prices are astronomic.  What does this have to do with anything, is it just me bitching again about housing costs in Vancouver? Maybe... but my point here is that most people can't afford to live in Vancouver in the first place. At the same time, Vancouver is the location of many jobs.  The solution to this is the same as in any other major city; people can't afford to live in the city so they move to the suburbs.  In the case of Vancouver, people live up to an hour away by commute in order to be able to work in the city and be able to afford their own home.  So where are they living? Richmond, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Mission, Coquitlam, Abbotsford and Surrey to name just a few.  All of these cities have people driving in and out of Vancouver on a daily basis for work, for hockey games, to go clubbing on Granville Street on a Friday or Saturday night, or to watch the fireworks in the summer.  They drive in to enjoy an event, and then they leave.  Unable to afford to live here or to form any true attachment, Vancouver probably seems like a wealthy, fun place to visit, but unattainable in terms of ever owning anything here or encouraging people to feel any true sense of belonging within the city walls.  Even as someone who lives here, I recognize this and I feel the same way.  I roll my eyes at the sight of every new condo building, knowing full well I could never afford to buy there or even rent there. 

So where am I going with this? To start, here's what I'm not saying:

1. I'm NOT saying that people with less money are the problem, or even that everyone in Vancouver has money.  I'm from Vancouver, I'm certainly not rolling in money, and I definitely didn't take part in any riot.
2. I'm NOT saying that people who live in the suburbs are the problem, or that there is anything inherently wrong with the suburbs.

3. I'm NOT saying that Vancouver as a city is an innocent victim to all this, in fact, I think the way we've allowed the economy to develop in this city is a crime in and of itself.  I'd maybe even go as far as to say it's a riot against the working class being led by the rich that are few and far between.  The distance between poor and rich being what it is, and how there doesn't seem to be any end to that is just pouring fuel on the fire. 

What I am saying, and what I feel I can say with confidence is this:

1.  People do not vandalize, or destroy, or light on fire, or riot in a place they consider their "home."  Even the angriest dog has the good sense to not pee in their own crate. 

2.  Vancouver has set itself up as a place to go for a good time but the reality is, the majority of people see it as unattainable, wealthy, and full of people and businesses that can afford to lose a little of what's theirs (for example, I doubt if any tears were shed for the Hudson's Bay Company for the money it will cost them to repair their windows or awnings).

3.  People from the suburbs very likely did not come into the city to watch a hockey game and to start a riot.  HOWEVER, due to the alienation and lack of a real relationship this city has created with people from outside the city, once a riot had been started, there was very little holding these people back from participating.  They were drunk, excited, emotional, and in the thick of it.  Would they have lit their own cars on fire or vandalized their own street knowing full well that the next day they'd have to clean it or pay for it? Knowing full well that their families would be watching them? Probably not.  But why NOT vandalize or riot in a city you can drive away from at the end of the night, especially when you figure all you are doing is harming a wealthy city or  wealthy business that doesn't really give a crap about you anyway?

Let's be honest here about one thing; Hockey fans don't pack ski masks and Molotov cocktails with them in anticipation of a hockey game.  Hockey fans put on their jerseys, pre-drink, find a place to park themselves and then glue their eyes to the game.  The people who pack ski masks and Molotov cocktails in anticipation of the hockey game are the people who are disgusted that so much money goes into team sports, and so little money goes into affordable housing and solving the issue of homelessness in our city.  They are the people who are bitter against the conservative government for cutting funding to social services, they are bitter that the front page of the newspaper for the past two weeks has talked about a sporting event that caters primarily to the wealthy instead of covering topics such as misused spending, they are the people that feel they have no other voice that can be heard aside from violence.  They are angry, and to be honest, they have every right to be.  In fact, I'm angry too.  Do I choose to incite violence as a method of solving the problem? No. But all it takes is a handful of people like this to incite violence and chaos, and then you have all the people I mentioned above there to fuel it. The small minority of people who started this intended for it to happen exactly as it did.  And I have no doubt it had very little to do, in the end, with a hockey game.

I actually wonder if myself, if I had lived the reality of any of these people, could I ever have been capable of what we saw last night?  I'd like to think no, but who can really say?  To quote Dale Carnegie:
"You deserve very little credit for being what you are - and remember, the people who come to you irritated, bigoted, unreasoning, deserve very little discredit for being what they are. Feel sorry for the poor devils.  Pity them. Sympathize with them. Say to yourself: 'There, but for the grace of God, go I."
"Take Al Capone, for example.  Suppose you had inherited the same body and temperament and mind that Al Capone had.  Suppose you had his environment and experiences.  You would then be precisely what he was - and where he was.  For it is those things- and only those things- that made him what he was.  The only reason, for example, that you are not a rattlesnake is that your mother and father weren't rattlesnakes."
The fuel and the fire, they may seem so different at the core, but combine them and what you have is an explosion.

This situation, this riot, this Vancouver; it's a complicated one.  Last nights riots were disgusting. They were representation of the worst we can be as British Columbians, Vancouverite or otherwise.  It's time to ask some serious questions about why this happened; to ask why our city is so obviously disrespected by so many, whether they call it their home or not. Most importantly, how we can make sure it will never happen again.

The above is just a small collection of thoughts and reflections on how these events could be interpreted.  And I'm no expert on any of this.   Who knows, maybe it's as simple as bunch of people acting like idiots.  Maybe we'll never know.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I mean really, what could go wrong?

I mean really, what could go wrong? 
Super packed fan zone
Drunken revelry
Unfortunate loss and crushed Canuck Dreams
Angry, drunken fan (from the Valley? The jury is still out on this one detail)!
Rioting in the streets of Vancouver?
Sad Luongo is sad.
It's not like we could possibly have predicted this! Oh wait... 
Canucks, vancouver 2011 Stanley Cup Riot, Vancouver riots, photos of riot in Vancouver

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Welcome to Mount Pleasant, mygoodness! gluten & wheat free kitchen!

Several weeks ago Aias and I were on our normal walk when we noticed that the catering company around the corner had closed it's doors. In it's place, we saw  a huge sign for mygoodness! gluten and wheat free kitchen.  We were totally excited to see this, because before getting pregnant with Aias, I had a gluten intolerance and during that time I was left with some pretty crappy options when it came to desserts, noodles, breads, etc.  Any opportunity I had to try a gluten free treat was a fantastic one, but lots of times the products fell very short on the deliciousness scale.  Long story short, when we saw
that mygoodness! gluten and wheat free kitchen had moved into the neighborhood, we couldn't resist trying it out.  We contacted the owner, Arlene, and she gave us the grand tour of her beautiful and cozy bakery, and even let us try some of her goods. Let me tell you, this place is not just for celiacs... there's not a person out there that won't love the treats she's cooking up in this kitchen!

The thought behind mygoodness! gluten and wheat free kitchen began when Arlene's daughter was diagnosed with celiac's disease.  A natural baker, Arlene took a sour lemon of a situation and made some lemonade!  Her goods were so delicious, she started first at the farmer's market and now has a beautiful brick and mortar store at the corner of Kingsway and Broadway. mygoodness! gluten and wheat free kitchen features signature loaves, scones, specialty breads, flat bread, flax baguettes, focaccia, desserts, and more.  They happily accept special orders, if there's something you simply must try but can't have the gluten.  Arlene also makes delicious granola that is certified gluten free (we had a chance to try this, and it's loved by everyone in the house, and even Morgan approved for it's simple and healthy ingredients!). 

While we were there Aias was given the opportunity to sample a delicious vegan chocolate chip cookie made with almond flour, agave nectar, and organic cocoa nibs.  These cookies cost only $1.25 each (most of the cookies are only 75 cents) and despite Aias being the most selective eater on the planet, he fell in love with this cookie immediately!
Suspicious of course, but brave enough for a first bite!
Success!  Enjoying that first bite very much!
He happily wandered over to the window seat to eat the rest of his delicious cookie.
Just another satisfied customer!

No matter where you live in the city, you need to make a trip to mygoodness! gluten andwheat free kitchen.  I promise you'll be blown away, and you'll be quick to return!  The summer hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 6pm, and you can also try these delicious goodies at the Farmer's Markets on Saturday and Sunday at UBC, Kitsilano, or Main Street.

This upcoming weekend in celebration of Car Free Vancouver, if you spend $10 or more on the 19th you'll receive a free bag of mini cookies!

Additionally if you mention this blog post, you can get a free mini bag of granola with purchases of 20 dollars of more until the end of June!  Make sure to let Arlene know you are a friend of Aias ;)

A shelf of carefully hand packaged certified gluten free granola and oats.  
Delicious wholesome ingredients that are 100% Morgan approved for adults and toddlers alike!
Yes, those are cupcakes on top! Yes, that is cinnamon bread on the bottom!
Nom Nom Nom!

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