Friday, September 28, 2012

Become a Birth Partner with the Shanti Uganda Society:

I'm very lucky because my personal experience with pre-natal care and labour has been very positive. I'm fortunate enough to live in a country where my expenses were covered, I was able to have extended maternity and parental leave, and I was able to choose a birth program and have a fabulous doula present during my labour. 

We're certainly pretty fortunate here in Canada.  However, approximately 300,000 women give birth every day and in some countries, the experience is far less positive.

Uganda is a country where poverty has left its mark and millions of children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and thousands of women die annually in childbirth. With a tremendous shortage of health care workers, maternal health in Uganda is in need of critical support. 1 in 22 women in rural areas die giving birth and 18% of new HIV infections occur from mother to child.  Right here in Canada, there's a group of people who wants to offer a helping hand.  The Shanti Uganda Society runs a Birth House which provides mother-centred pregnancy, birth and postnatal care. Through the monthly donations of the Birth Partner program, the maternity centre is able to ensure that women have access to a dedicated team of midwives, which improves birth outcomes and reduces maternal and infant mortality rates.

I'd like for you, my reader,  to consider reading about this society and if you are able to swing it financially, to consider becoming a Birth Partner and helping contribute financially to this cause.

Through regular monthly donations, you can help provide essential pre and post-natal care for 50 mothers per month in rural Uganda: 

· $100 per month supports the birth of two babies/month
· $50 per month supports the birth of one baby/month
· $25 per month supports the birth of one baby every two months

Birth Partners will receive:

- A special welcome package and gift (if you become a birth partner in the next few days, you will get a necklace handmade by their Women's Income Generating Group)
- Quarterly email updates of the births you make possible
- An annual tax receipt for your donations

If you are unable to contribute financially on a regular basis but this cause really speaks to your heart, you can also help by volunteering from home, hosting a home party,  or donating supplies

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

How Pinterest Makes Me Look Way Cooler Than I Actually Am

A few months ago I was looking at another mommy blog, and I could not believe all the awesome stuff she was doing with her kids. This woman seemed to have the most creative craft, snack, and activity ideas in the world, and I felt horribly inadequate.  I was chatting with my friend over at Duppa Dee and complaining to her about how incredibly un-creative I am. 

"Dude, that woman isn't creative at all. She just has Pinterest" was her response.

Huh? I had not heard of Pinterest. Ok, that's a lie, I had heard of it mentioned on Facebook but I had never bothered to look at what it was.   My friend assured me that this woman wasn't actually very creative, she was just getting ideas from this fancy "Pinterest" thing.

I decided to go look at Pinterest.

Oh. My. God.  She was right. This woman wasn't a fountain of creativity, she was just a skilled user of Pinterest!

I went ahead and joined Pinterest. Oh my word, it was a great few weeks.  I made all sorts of creative things around the house, both with Aias and for dinner. My projects were always met with great praise from friends and family, who now believed me to be the most creative and domestic person who ever lived.


The other day I asked the little boy I watch, Elliot, what color cupcakes he wanted for his birthday. Aias and him discussed it and the final decision was "rainbow." How on earth was I going to make rainbow cupcakes? Oh wait, I know, I'll just look at Pinterest.

I peeked at a few DIY rainbow cupcake posts, and I found one that seemed simple enough.  Tuesday night, Aias and I made rainbow cupcakes (don't worry, more on how to do it later, with better pictures.... but cell phone pics will have to do for now).

The next day I brought the cupcakes to a playgroup we attend on a regular basis. When people saw the cupcakes, they were beyond impressed.  I think I explained the simple process no fewer than a dozen times, while people listened in awe, totally impressed by my obvious cupcake genius.  Riiiiiight. I explained to a few people that I had just seen the idea on Pinterest, but they were like "huh? What's that" and I was sort of at a loss on how to explain something like this.

Oh well.   Thanks, Pinterest.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Deep Confession of the McWorst Variety

I can't believe I'm willing to put this confession in writing, for it is shameful and embarassing, but here goes:

I love Monopoly at McDonald's.

Let me make this very clear; I realize McDonald's is quite possibly the root of all evil for more ways than I can even count.

1.  The food is made of horrible ingredients, both healthwise and from an ethical standpoint (those ain't free range McNuggets!)

2.  The very fast food model McDonald's "created" is quite possibly directly linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity... etc, etc.

3. Salt, salt, salt. 

I get it, I get it...  McDonald's is evil, you can read all about that here.  

I'm not proud of it, you guys.  But it's the truth. And let me explain how it happened.

I ate McDonald's sporadically throughout the course of my life, as often the track team would stop at McDonald's for cheap post-meet meals, etc.  My ex, despite being a National running champion and now doctor, ate at McDonald's all the time, and I was often with him when we did.  Needless to say, I've had a few french fries in my life and I can pretty well describe every vegetarian option they've ever had (and quickly done away with). 

From 2004-ish to 2010, I can honestly say I did not step into a McDonald's even once. Why would I need to?  I didn't eat meat, I require copious amounts of vegetables at every meal, and living in this beautiful city means there are delicious restaurants on every block of every street with food more healthy, delicious, and even CHEAPER than McDonald's.   Living in Mt. Pleasant, especially, you would never need to go to McDonald's.

Fast forward to Fall 2011.  We moved to the West End.  Nestled at Cardero and Davie, as well as Bidwell and Robson, are two McDonald's locations.  I swore I'd never go in.

One early morning that Fall, Aias woke up painfully early.  When 7am rolled around, I was ready to take him outside. I desperately needed a coffee.  Delany's, Waves, Blenz, Starbucks... NONE OF THEM WERE OPEN!!!  Where do you get a coffee around here at 7am, my word!

Then I saw it. McDonald's.  It was teeming with elderly and people with young babies.  I stepped in.  I bought a small coffee and an oatmeal.  It happened to be Monopoly.  I peeled off my stickers and I had won a coffee and a cheeseburger.   It felt stupidly awesome.

Every morning after that, I popped in to McDonald's to get myself a coffee and an oatmeal.  My little map started to fill up.  It was a simple daily pleasure in the life for a SAHM. Would I win a vacation? No. But I didn't know that at the time, and I sure wanted to.   Oatmeal and coffee was cheap, and wasn't really that unhealthy either.  Aias didn't have any interest in the food there so I wasn't concerned about that either (Morgan basically made me swear an oath that food from McDonald's would never pass our child's lips. I've broken the oath since then, but not too often!).

The funny thing about it all, is that I'm horribly embarrassed that I even go into McDonald's at all. It is totally against everything I feel like I'm generally about, and while I know it's not ideal, for some reason, I just can't quit it.  I go in quickly, with my head down, trying not to make eye contact.  I think sometimes I even look around for people I know, making sure no one sees me go into McDonald's. When I leave with my coffee, I sort of wrap my hand around the label in hopes that no one will notice where it's from. Ridiculous, right?  We all have our vices I suppose. Whenever I see someone in there that I know, I'm partially embarrassed, and partially relieved: we share the same dark secret.  What's funny in this neighbourhood is that the McDonald's patrons are the same people who do most of their shopping at Whole Foods and eat generally healthy diets, I suppose that's a good thing!  Balance, people. Balance. 

So the stupid marketing gimmick of McDonald's Monopoly totally roped me in.  I'm weak to that sort of crap sometimes I guess.  After Monopoly ended, I quit McD's cold turkey, only to return with copious amounts of free coffee coupons or when they offered something for free.  Once we were on the Canada line and we went to the McDonald's on Marine Drive for a Kid's Meal and to use the play area because it was that or let my energetic kid run circles in the wet parking lot on a rainy day.  Aias has since then developed a passion for hashbrowns and fries, but those are a special "sometime" food that I'm sure is offset by the fact that he will probably breastfeed until he's 30.

I walked by McDonald's today (hence the inspiration of this post) and saw that Monopoly is on again.  I was somewhat heartbroken that they no longer put the game pieces on oatmeal, and in fact, the only thing they put game pieces on that I'd actually buy is the coffee.  But I'll totally be there buying it, hoping to collect enough pieces to win a vacation.  I'll win lots of food items I don't actually eat, and I'll happily pass them on to people who do.

If you will be playing McDonald's Monopoly in Canada this time around, whether you our in or out of the closet about it, here are some free Mcdonald's monopoly codes you can enter at to try and win their sweepstakes:


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Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Most Bizarre Baby Book We Own

We have a lot of baby books, and some are better than others.  Aias chose this book from the 10 cent bin at the Salvation Army.  It's a book about cats.

 The sales pitch for this book on the publisher's website says it is:

• Perfect for babies and toddlers.
• Small and sturdy format to withstand hours of fun learning.
• A fun and colourful way to learn first words.

I figured it would teach babies vocabulary words related to kittens or something.

Here's what the back says:

In case you can't read that, it says "this book will increase your child's vocabulary by associating words with beautiful pictures."

Here's a sneak preview at the book.  It's a pretty solid representation of the book as a whole:

Yes.  This is an entire book with pictures of different kittens and their names.  The first time I read it, I couldn't stop laughing, and yet, I can't really articulate why it's so hilarious to me.

It's sort of weird, right?

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Best Airplane Toy, EVER!

We were walking to the park last week and stumbled upon a yard sale.  I didn't see anything outstanding myself, but something caught Aias's eye and he ran toward it immediately. What was it? A model airplane!

We weren't really sure what to make of it, because it clearly wasn't a toy, but Aias let us know that he had to have it.  It was pretty large, solid (maybe made of wood or metal) and looked pretty rad.  We asked the guy about it, and he told us that his uncle used to be a flight attendant on Canadian Airlines and this was one of the airplanes they gave the staff when they met various milestones on the job.

We were pretty inrigued but cut right to the question; what's this thing gonna cost, because obviously our 2 year old wanted it pretty badly. The guy asked for $10 but I only had $5 in cash on me. We said we would come back later and if he hadn't sold it for $10, we would buy it for $5.  He said $5 was fine and off we went.

Aias hugged it closely all the way to the park, while he was on the swing, and all the way home.

We're going to hang it up in his room soon.  He broke one of the engines off, but it was nothing a glue gun couldn't fix.

I figured I'd Google them so I could see some others like them, and OH MY WORD... they are normally really expensive!!!  Oh well, it's a toy now :)

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Little Red Radio

This weekend my father-in-law gave me this little radio he picked up at a thrift shop for a dollar:

It has no screen. It has no cord. It barely even has buttons.  It doesn't play tapes CDs, or MP3 files.  It requires a few batteries and a few inches of space on the counter and that's that.

I couldn't be happier.

I love CDs and MP3s and iPods and digital music as much as anyone.  I love that I can program the music on my computer so that it will play whatever song I want, when I want it and that it can be set to a timer, etc, etc.  At the same time, sometimes I just want to have the option of not making any choices at all. My radio is set to CBC on the FM station, and static on the AM station.  I use the AM station as white noise when the baby I watch is sleeping and I listen to CBC as "background noise" during the day.

It's rad. 

At first Aias had no idea what it was and it occurred to me that it was because radios aren't really apart of his life. I'm glad it is now.  I only wish there was a kid's radio station around here.

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