Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cloth diaper experiment update

I'm happy to say I found a diaper service in Perth that will deliver fresh, pick up and wash dirty cloth diapers every week. It's the best of both worlds for me - the ability to use cloth diapers but not have to wash them, hooray! I just have to purchase and wash my own covers and they provide everything else.

The owner of Sweet Peach, Casey, was a real pleasure to talk to on the phone. She was so patient with me and my round about questions, repeating things over and over... this happens when I'm nursing the babe and trying to communicate over the phone. I was also moved by her sincerity and commitment to the environment and well being of others - she kindly responded to my question about using Vaseline with cloth diapers by saying "there's no problem, but we don't usually endorse petroleum products, especially when olive oil works just as well and is much better for the environment".  Ahh, I never even thought about that before - I will be switching to olive oil when needed, thankfully Robyn hasn't had much problems in the way of diaper rashes.

I'm expecting our first delivery next Thursday! If you're in the market for this service, tell them I sent ya!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The cloth diaper experiment

I finally followed my conscience and bought a trial kit of cloth diapers. I've been debating with myself for the past 6 months whether this was the way to go or not and my eco-friendly side finally won. There are valid arguments for and against cloth diapers being the way to go, these are the reasons I finally chose to give it a whirl:
  • we're going through an overwhelmingly large amount of disposable, yet un-biodegredable diapers - a huge waste for our landfills
    • my plan is to keep some disposables on hand for times when I may need them but for the most part I will be sticking to cloth diapers.
  • if properly cared for they can be used for 2-3 babies - then I'm told they make excellent rags for cleaning
  • they're not like cloth diapers of the past with complicated folding and pining required - they're actually quite cute and not too bulky - using snaps and/or velcro
  • the amount of water and energy consumed in paper mills to produce disposable diapers is much greater than that used to clean cloth diapers
We started today with the 3 covers, 9 inserts and a travel bag provided in the kit. I can see we will need to have at least a 15 more inserts, a dozen covers, 2 dirty diaper bags and 1 travel bag to make using and washing efficient. The initial start-up cost is a bit steep so I will be building my collection over the next few weeks. We're using AppleCheeks (made in Canada) right now but I may try Mother-ease, or another brand if someone has a suggestion. The AppleCheeks system works with pre-fold liners and covers where Mother-ease uses one-size cloth diapers with covers. 

So far so good, although I haven't had to change a poopy diaper yet... can't be much different than a regular diaper, other than shaking off poop into the toilet when she starts eating solid foods; strictly breastmilk fed poop is water soluble. 

Feel free to give me your opinions. I will keep you posted on the result of changing.

Next step in meal time

Started feeding Robyn rice cereal for breakfast this week. She seems to enjoy it and it gives us a little routine in the morning which is nice. I'm thinking I will introduce a vegetable to her evening meal next week, carrots most likely as they are a bit sweet. Here's a little video of her eating cereal, just for fun.

video



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who's the man?!

When Stargazing fell for her true love she hadn't felt happiness as pure and lovely in years.

Dating him was like being a teenager all over again, not that she was old at the fine age of 24.  It was like dating the quarter back from an American high school - in that he was Mr. Popularity, ultra cool, sporty and very smooth.  Their first movie date was an afternoon showing of Saw, which turned into a yearly tradition. It doesn't sound romantic but was the perfect excuse to snuggle up to his chest, and take in his sexy Gillette Glacier scent. Still yum!

He's definitely a manly man; he loves his beer, can't get enough of sports especially football (Go Packers!) and must have meat with every meal - a variety from several animals is ideal. He is a sponge for sports and classic rock trivia. This comes in handy as a bartender in a sports bar; he often becomes the referee who calls the tie-breaker when the regulars go head to head on some sport related thingy... I have now become a true fan of watching golf, curling and especially football. No joke, last year I even declared, to the chagrin of my father-in-law, my team to be the Pittsburgh Steelers - Troy Polamalu baby!

He really knows how to keep a girl happy. One of the first dates we went on was to see Sarah McLachlan at Scotia Bank Place, in the 4th row from the stage. He tolerated So You Think You Can Dance for the first few episodes of season 1, then became a fan who accurately calls the choreographer of the opening number of the results shows every time - save last week when it was someone new to the show. He even suggests and pays for spa days... often!

Morgan is a super father, a loving husband and a great guy to hang out with. I love him ridiculously.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The shortest version of a long story

Any other person would learn from an experience like being lied to by a poster in a tattoo parlour, and would probably even be a bit jaded. Not me. I didn't learn from that mistake and proceeded to continue trusting the posters and people inhabiting those said parlours, not once but four more times for this one tattoo. I am naive to think most people are "helpers" like me and also a tad scared of large men, covered in ink, wielding a needle gun.

Mistake number 2: Although I knew the problem with the chinese character, I kept it and even incorporated it in the building of my half sleeve tattoo. Why? I didn't really know how to get cover ups at the time, and it still looked cool enough - how many people can read chinese anyhow?

Mistake number 3: I had a vision of the chinese symbol floating above a lotus flower in a blue mist... don't ask me why, I was 17, ok. That wasn't the problem, the problem was I only had limited funds so my choices of flowers on the poster were scarce. I live in the world of instant gratification so instead of waiting for more money I went with one that I thought was decent enough. **sigh**

Mistake number 4: The decent enough lotus actually looked more like a bond fire, especially because I wasn't able to describe the mist to the tattoo "artist" well enough - it looked like smoke. To top it off, when he asked me if it was okay I said yes because I didn't want to hurt his feelings.

Mistake number 5: I lived with this tat for about a year or so before I went back to get it modified. Again, I left it to the judgement of the tattoo "artist" to fix the mist and make the flower look less fire-like. The result was positive with the flower, he made the bottom petals larger which really helped. Unfortunately he added this odd graphic around the mist, in yellow and green no less, which was just weird. "Yeah, this is great, thanks!" I tell the Hell's Angel looking dude working on my arm.

A step in the right direction: In 2003, in Victoria, I added the faeries and stars to the upper portion of my arm, this took the focus away from the still butchered image below. What I really liked about this experience was the Artist took his time designing what I asked and used a west coast technique of watermarks for the stars - no black outlines and softer colours.

Although it was better, I still was not satisfied with the lotus and odd graphic, so in 2007 I had yet another Artist do a major overhaul of the flower and the results are... almost satisfactory. He was able to make the lotus look like a decent flower and added water around it for a nice effect but after 5 hours my arm was so swollen he couldn't quite fix everything we'd discussed. No problem, "Come back in a month or so and I'll finish it" he said. Well, my wedding was coming up soon after this so I didn't go, then time just kept passing and now we're 3 years later and I haven't been back. I think it's too late to take him up on the offer to fix it without having to fork over more cash, but I plan on doing so before returning to work.

What it looks like today:


The obvious lesson here is: take your time, really think through what it is you want to have permanently tattooed on your skin and choose your Artist wisely!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Do you know your chinese alphabet?

Take it from me - don't trust everything you read... especially if it's on a poster in a tattoo parlour. 

In 1997, I decided to get my second tattoo. It was very trendy to get a chinese symbol and although I wanted one I didn't want the everyday "love", "good luck" or "happiness" characters... that would have been too easy. I was drawn towards the chinese symbols for our alphabet and chose one for the letter "e". I had it tattooed on my left arm in the middle of my bicep about the size of a quarter. It looked cool, so I had no reason to think there should be anything wrong with it.

At the time I worked at Mail Boxes Etc., one day a young asian man was at the counter and asked me why I had chosen the symbol. I told him it was the symbol for the letter "e", my name is Emily - I thought it was neat. He informed me that there is no such thing but realized that the character when paired with other characters has the sound "e". It really didn't mean anything by itself, but thankfully is the power symbol when paired with others. EEEKKK! I thought to myself... why on earth would there be an entire poster for these letters if they did not exist? Was it someone's cruel joke? The joke was certainly on me, and that's not even the end of the story of this tattoo...

Friday, July 23, 2010

My name is Mommy, how do you do?

There are many things I wanted to do as a new mom; breastfeed - check, baby-wear using a carrier or sling as much as possible - check (more on this another time), join a mommy and me group - check and uncheck because it wasn't really for me, and among other things take swimming classes together - check.

What I didn't know I wanted to do, until I  heard a great interview on CBC with Danielle Gaylord of Signing Start, was take baby signing classes. Check! When Robyn was about 6 weeks old we went to an introductory class and although she was asleep through most of it, I thought it would be something we'd really enjoy. We started taking classes when Robyn was 2 1/2 months old, this is quite early, I really wanted to get out of the house and do something. The class taught us basic signs, using American Sign Language, that with practice and patience will enable us to communicate with our young ones before they are able to speak. Robyn has already demonstrated the ability to recognize, sign and react to "milk", "more" and "all done", how awesome is that! Danielle, our instructor, was so animated, patient, knowledgeable and fun. I would highly recommend this to everyone. To read more on her classes and FAQ's on signing with babies please check out her website: www.signingstart.com.

video
Here is a video I recorded of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" that we learned in class. We also learned "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Three Little Monkeys". These songs are a great way to distract Robyn when she's getting fussy in her stroller or in the car.

I really miss our weekly classes, Danielle is taking the summer off. I'm looking forward to joining again in the fall.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stepping on your toes, or following in your shoes?

My first memory of creating art is with my mom, I couldn't have been much older than 4. We were sitting at the dinning room table with red construction paper, lace patterned paper doilies, scissors,  markers, glue and sparkles - come to think of it all her art project had something shiny or sparkly in it, but that would come as no surprise to anyone who knows her. We were making Valentine's Day cards, a simple but lovely design of a red paper heart covered by a doily decorated with sparkles and a VDay message.

My mom got me hooked on crafts of all kinds, sewing both by hand and machine, and beading.  She inspired me to try new things and always seemed so impressed with the creations I made. Always ahead of the newest trend, she even suggested I set up a henna tattoo stand in the market before it was the craze of 1998. As I so often think - I wish I'd listened to her. 

Do you remember FIMO? This moulding clay became popular in the mid 80's for sculpting figurines but my mom had a brilliant idea to use it to create jewellery. I'd help her roll it out, keep it warm (or it was terrible to work with), shape it and add sequins or rhinestones when needed. I made some of my own and happen to still have a pin we gave my Nan. Notice the use of silver rhinestones.

Stargazing created some beautiful pieces of jewellery. Hours were spent in bead shops combing every aisle, box, bottle, and tray for the ultimate combination of unique beads. She collected enough to fill two large tackle boxes full. One of her pieces was an experiment in green with a large glass disk as the focus point.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who was she anyway?

Stargazing dreamed of owning a holistic healing clinic, specializing in massage therapy, reflexology and reiki, complemented harmoniously with personalized aromatherapy blends. She made unique jewellery with wire, leather, semi-precious stones, beads of all kinds and objects found at the beach. Art was her passion, be it dance, music or various projects dipping into any form that caught her attention. Eating out at a restaurant was a treat; home cooked meals were an important part of her life. She spent hours reading, loved poking around boutiques downtown and wandering around Beacon Hill Park and up and down Dallas Road. Her confidence in her sewing abilities never failed her.

Although she pursued her dream of being a healer far enough to become a Certified Aromatherapist, she simply did not have the drive to take it any further. Life throws obstacles, challenges and people at you for a reason and she surely had her share during her early 20's. We could blame it on the pot; it would be safe to say she did not smoke in moderation. We could blame it on money, or lack there of but that would be lame. We could blame it on love and the pursuit of someone else's dream... we could, but let's just say the combination of all these things and the lack of self confidence in her ability to make it happen, for real, was the downfall to completing this dream. It has never quite left her mind though. This is why she still has her portable massage table she bought in 2000 in her storage room and simply cannot part with it, no matter that it has not seen the light of a soothingly lit healing area for almost a decade.

Oh! Is that the baby I hear crying? Better put my mommy shoes back on... they're really great, I got them at the chiro on my last visit - Okabashi sandals actually.

She first appeared in 1999

In 1999 I was living the dream; I made the move to Victoria, in beautiful British Columbia, three long years after my first visit to the west coast where I fell in love with absolutely everything. 

Since I was a little girl, my folks have always said I was born in the wrong decade - my tendencies towards long flowing clothes, abundance of silver and stone jewellery, appreciation of folk and classic rock music, peace, love and alternative healing grew as I got into my teens and exploded in high school.

I spent my 16th summer in BC, two weeks in Vancouver and two weeks in Victoria, and it blew my mind. Vancouver was lush, green, excitingly hip. I hadn't expected the ocean and mountains to be so powerful. Athletic and artistic energy pulsed around me everywhere we went. I lived in a VW bus in my sister's backyard and thought I would do this for the rest of my life if I could! I honestly felt I had found my kindred spirit: the city.

To my delight, I discovered Victoria had all these things in a more relaxed, down to earth pace that resonated with me at a deeper level. My uncle and his wonderful family lived in an apartment unexpectedly situated above the rec centre in the middle of a park. I spent hours reading in and tending to the roof-top garden, biking and hiking with my uncle, drinking tea and having long chats with my aunt, playing all sorts of games outdoors with my cousins and eating the most delicious organic, locally grown food. Victoria felt like home; comforting, welcoming, grounded and peaceful. The ocean called my name everyday and I'd walk the path along Dallas road or through Beacon Hill Park, the two most gorgeous places I've ever been. Did you know there are peacocks in this park? Peacocks! I vowed to return someday, it was my destiny.

So there I was, in the internet cafe of the Chapters downtown, creating a new email address that would serve as my identity. I had to choose wisely, it must be creative, mystical, and very "Victoria". Stargazing was born.