Friday, July 26, 2013

London calling to the faraway towns

Mr. Canuck and I are heading to England in September and I CANNOT WAIT. We're going primarily for a friend's wedding, but will also be seeing several other friends and bopping around the countryside. I have wanted to go to England for as long as I can remember and I can't quite believe it's really happening.

I recently realized that I am going to be the only American in the group of friends at this particular gathering, so in the spirit of being a good traveler, I've been mentally compiling a list of things I could do to try to fit in and change everyone's ideas of what American tourists are like. Here's what I've come up with:

1. Sing "London Calling" every time we step outside.*
2. Hang around outside Buckingham Palace and ask loudly when we'll get to see the Queen.
3. Try to make the guards crack a smile. (They find that amusing, right?)
4. When we tour the Tower, ask the tour guides, "So you guys still have public executions, right? When's the next one?"
5. Convince my friends to re-create the Abbey Road album cover with me.
6. Take a hammer and chisel with me to Stonehenge so I can hop the fence and grab a souvenir.
7. In Nottingham, ask everyone I see about Robin Hood.
8. Lead everyone in the pub in a rousing rendition of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."
9. Ask everyone pityingly why they're not yet free of the tyrannical monarchy like us Americans (being very careful not to reveal that I actually live in Canada).
10. Criticize the government in public and freely offer my opinions on why all of their policies are crap, even though  they have zero noticeable effect on my life and also I have no idea what I'm talking about.**

I am quite sure that these tactics will endear me to one and all. The Brits are gonna love me.

*This is the only one I might actually do. I can't resist shit like that. Sorry, everybody.
** This is a great tactic for tourists in the United States too.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fun With Small Children, Part 1: Animal Sounds

One of the things you are obligated to teach babies is animal sounds. Why this is, I do not know, but we all do it and it's super cute.

However, you can only run through the basic animal sounds so many times before you get screamingly bored. So, being both easily bored and a smartass, I decided to change it up a little. In addition to your basic "The dog says bark bark" and "The sheep says baa baa," these are the animal sounds we added to Ellie's repertoire:

Sharks: "Fish are friends, not food!"

Penguins: "Ah, ee, achoo!"

Steve Martin: "Excuuuuse me!" (Skip to about 3:00)

Miss Piggy: "Kermie! Kermie!"

And of course it goes without saying that she knows that Fozzy Bear says, "Wocka wocka!" Duh.

It's times like these that I sort of regret my "no images of the child on the Internet" policy, because I really want you all to see her do this. It's hilarious. You'll just have to come over to my house and have her run through her animal sounds for you.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Running on empty

For a few months this winter I had some icky mental health issues (which have since been resolved. Apparently hormonal birth control can cause major anxiety and panic attacks. THE MORE YOU KNOW) and before I figured out what was causing it, I prescribed myself leafy greens and exercise to try to combat the issue.

The leafy greens are easy. Salads galore, or else I shove a bunch of spinach in the blender along with some various fruits and have a delightful smoothie. The exercise part was a little harder, though. I enjoy weight lifting, but I have chronic tendinitis in my right wrist and have to be careful with that. Yoga, same problem; all those planks and downward dogs just about destroyed my hand. Walking gets boring, and I get very shy about group exercise classes (because I'm just weird that way).

So I started thinking about running. The sadistic gym teachers in high school made me loathe it with the fire of a thousand suns, as the saying goes, and up until now if you ever saw me running you had best get out of the way in a hurry, since there was probably a rabid bear chasing me. But I kept hearing about the Couch to 5K program, and people kept talking about how it changed their lives, and I figured what the hell, it can't hurt to try.

So I did. I found a nifty little app for my phone with voice prompts and set off. The first day was hard, I'm not going to lie. I was woefully out of shape and could barely manage the 60-second run intervals. But I got through it, and amazingly, instead of feeling like I wanted to die afterward, I felt exhilarated. It was bizarre.

And I kept going. Eventually I got myself fitted for a good pair of running shoes (which has made a tremendous difference) and got a little armband thing to hold my phone, and I go running three times a week. I'm almost done with week 3 now, and even though at the beginning I had a hard time running for 60 seconds, now I'm up to 3-minute run intervals and it's perfectly manageable. I just take it easy, go slow, and do what the robots tell me, and it's all good!

The difference this has made in just one month is astounding. My mood is better (although that's partly due to going off the hormones), my lung capacity has improved tremendously, and you should see the muscles in my legs. Clearly this is working!

So I am here to tell you, if you've ever thought about taking up running but find yourself hating every second of it, give Couch to 5K a try. As with most things, if you take it slow and sensible, it will be much easier. I can actually believe now that eventually I'll be able to run a 5K, and I'm even thinking about registering for a race to give myself something to work toward. I never, ever would have considered that before, and it's pretty amazing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Just promise me we'll be all right

(Today's subject heading is brought to you by Mumford & Sons. "Ghosts That We Knew" is an amazing song and has knocked "Little Lion Man" out of the top spot on my list of favorite M&S songs.)

Anyhow. Sorry for the radio silence. I do hate to disappoint my nonexistent readers. But today I felt the need to log in and complain about all the noise the roofers are making. Our roof is in very sorry shape and every time there was a little breeze we'd all find bits of shingles covering our lawns. (I live in a townhouse.) So right now there is a crew of burly men crawling around on my roof and making an unholy racket. They're right over my head right now and I swear it sounds like they're going to come crashing through the ceiling any minute. First-world problems, I have them.

Also, a quick note about pictures. I won't be putting pictures of Ellie on the blog anymore, at least not ones that show her face. She's getting older and I'm starting to feel weird about putting photos of her on the Internet for any old stranger to see. Plus, I have heard at least two horrifying stories about mamas who put pictures of their small children on their blogs, only to have disgusting people download those pictures and use them for disgusting purposes. I will not take that risk.

I'll try to brighten this sucker up somehow though, since it's looking awfully drab. The weather is finally getting nicer and I'll be able to take my camera outside more, so keep an eye out for experimental nature photos.

In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed that the roofers don't actually come crashing through my ceiling, since that would be one hell of a mess to clean up.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A hazy shade of winter

Didn't write last night due to the ongoing struggle to keep the toddler in her bed. We've come up with a strategy that seems to be gradually working but this whole process is proving to be very difficult on all of us. Sleep issues are the PITS, y'all.

Especially when the weather has been this awful. Today is supposedly the first day of spring but it's 28 degrees right now (Fahrenheit, not Celsius) and we got another inch of snow overnight, on top of the several inches that were already there. It has been a hard winter and I am really feeling it. If I didn't have so many damned responsibilities I would totally pack up and take off for Cancun right now.

I hope you're all doing better than I am right now!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Send help

Somebody please remind me why I thought it was a good idea to transition Ellie to a big girl bed. Because I honestly cannot remember and so far it has been a nightmare.

We put her to bed nearly two hours ago, which was already an hour past her bedtime, since we thought that if we got her good and tired she'd be more likely to stay in her bed. We were wrong. We have spent this entire two hours walking her back to her bed over and over and over. SuperNanny says that after doing this a few times they will get the picture and stay there. SuperNanny has clearly never met my child. Either that or she is just a big fat liar.

Somebody tell me that she will eventually get the picture, because my mental health is already a little fragile and this might just break me. 

ETA: While I was writing this, Mr. Canuck laid himself down on the bed and sang to her until she fell asleep. This took all of ten minutes, probably because she was beyond exhausted by that point. At least she's asleep now.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I suck

Haha, two days in to my "writing every day" goal and I've already missed a day. This is entirely typical of me.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Practice makes perfect

I am doing more writing that I am actually getting paid for, which is awesome, but the problem is that writing does not come easily to me. It is like pulling teeth, to be honest. And I figure that the more I do it, the easier it will get, right? So I'm going to use this here blog as my practice vehicle. I'm going to try to put something here every day, or at least most days, even if it's just a couple of sentences. Because not only do I need the practice, but I'm not doing anywhere near enough creative things lately and I don't want my brain to atrophy.

So, since this started out as a mommy blog (and dear God do I hate that phrase), here are some stories about Ellie. If you are friends with me on Facebook then you have already heard these stories, but they are super cute so tough noogies.

I will start with the gymnastics debacle. There is this thing here in Canada called March Break, where all the kids are off school and a surprisingly large number of the parents go on vacation too, and lots of stuff is closed. This is very strange to me as an American, since as far as I know we don't really have anything like that. There is spring break, sure, when the college kids go crazy, but the rest of us pretty much stay sane.

Anyhow, this week is March Break, and Ellie's gymnastics studio is closed all week. I, however, forgot about this (see above, where I barely even know that March Break is a thing) and took her to gymnastics anyway. I was just about to get her out of the car when I finally realized why it was so easy to find a parking spot and felt like a tremendous doofus. Ellie adores gymnastics and was super excited about going, so I felt awful telling her that Mama made a mistake and we couldn't go in after all. She cried most of the way home. I told her, "Honey, I'm so sorry, Mama made a dumb mistake," and she replied, "No, Mama, you made a BIG mistake!" And a little while later I heard, "Mama, are you still sorry?" Two and a half years old and she's already learned the power of the guilt trip.

The other story involves facial hair. Mr. Canuck grew a mustache for Movember and Ellie was fascinated with it. He also likes to give her "whisker seeds," where he rubs his scratchy chin on her face and pretends that this will make her grow whiskers. She adores this, and has recently started announcing that she is going to grow a beard and a mustache. And since her favorite color is purple, she is going to grow a purple beard and mustache. We tell her how pretty that will be and how we can't wait to see it.

Life with a two-year-old is pretty awesome.