Monday, January 25, 2010

Can Daddy guess what it is? (ikaya)

We had fun with the senses game with Daddy this week. He was very scared, but we weren't tooo horribly mean to him. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Boycotting Walmart

Kaya was just 10 months old and this was Rene's first time out of Europe. I kept reassuring him he'd be fine, I spent much of my childhood in Florida, he's going to love it, and he'll find driving won't be that difficult after all. The roads are big and the cars are automatic. It was late at night when we finally arrived after delays. The first thing he did after exiting the airport area was try to turn onto the wrong side of the road on a major highway. Oops. Enter anxiety and quarreling here.

We got lost and drove 1.5 hours away from our intended destination. Kaya was screaming for her life in the back seat and we were tossing a giant map back and forth and getting tangled in it. We finally arrived at the hotel in the wee hours of the morning, just to be told it had been flooded and they reserved a room for us in a hotel. It's only a few miles away. There was no way we were getting back in that car so after a little intense discussion they got us a cab which took us straight to the hotel without any detour.

After we slept off the stress we got our rental back and decided to try to go some place and enjoy our vacation. We were intimidated by the vastness and unfamiliarity of America and weren't enjoying ourselves a whole lot. Until we figured out the route to Walmart.

Insert angelic singing here.

We were sorted. We pretty much spent the next week in Walmart, getting lost in it many times and reveling in the wonder of the huge shelves stacked high with colorful packaging and bold colors and fonts. The clothes were so cheap we bought a new suitcase to bring home as much as we could stuff into it. There was a Dunkin' Donuts near the entrance and lots of new food types with high fructose corn syrup which was a new wonder to us peeps from glucose syrup land. So we spent the vacation going from hotel room to Walmart to hotel room and so forth. It provided food, entertainment and miscellaneous other shopping.

We aren't the only ones. Whenever friends and family come to visit from Scotland, one of the first places they want to visit is, Walmart *insert angelic singing again*. In fact, after 4 weeks of crazy fixing up, packing up and selling our house, getting visas, saying goodbye and leaving the country for an International move with 2 young kids on tow and another one due in 5 weeks, on arriving in the freezing cold Northern Maine in the middle of a blizzard after not sleeping for about 50 hours, one of the first things Rene and I both wanted to do was go to Walmart. We were chomping at the bit. We had moved to the land with streets paved with cheese (or is it supposed to be gold? I watched too much American Tale) and we wanted to jump straight in to this beautiful, materialistic society. It was all such novelty.

I guess we bought into the golden arrow thing that they talk about on The Story of Stuff (click on it! It's a fun 20 minutes of online watching. The kids will enjoy it too)

Of course, the novelty wore off soon enough. We realized we are the poster family for People of Walmart . The obese couple with lots of unruly kids wearing pjs and sporting messy, unbrushed hairstyles. We started to notice how you walk into Walmart to do your weekly grocery shop and you enter some time warp. You come back out hours later hanging onto your sanity by a thread. In the interim, you've exhausted yourself walking around this miles long store, just to realize you forgot something back on aisle 1 and will need to go back for it, dragging unwilling children behind. You've become involved in more than a couple lovers tiffs over whether or not you should buy this brand or that or why they didn't check if we were out of paprika like you asked them to. And the People of Walmart around you are loving this free entertainment and don't mind at all if they start at you. You walk out the door frustrated, exhausted and confused as to how on earth you came out spending twice your budget after you planned it out so carefully.

I watched an interesting bit of propaganda recently called Walmart, High Cost of Low Prices. You can watch it online, and I suggest that you do. Click here to watch online via google video. It's also on netflix view immediately.

And Rene and I have decided to boycott Walmart for a year. Jan 2010 til Jan 2011. Hopefully by then we'll be quite out of the habit and won't go back to Walmart ever again. I'd like to say our reasons for this were noble. But mostly I am just so sick to death of shopping there. I can't stand the place. The produce is so bad. The store smells bad and is dirty. The kids almost always catch a virus after we've shopped there. We lose half a day of our lives just trying to shop for our basic needs every week. We always end up fighting. I grew weary of waiting in line for an excessive amount of time before the senile chic behind the counter finally remembers where she is and why and decides to start serving people. It's just. not. worth. it.

Thankfully here in Lincoln we have many other options. And Rene and I are having fun visiting the other grocery stores and choosing our favorites. We might need to visit a few places now instead of getting everything from one place. Kind of like how it used to be, the butchers, the bakers and the candlestick makers. We have one place we prefer for produce, another for grains etc. It won't cost a whole lot more than shopping at Walmart if we plan properly and go to the right places. We're buying more local produce and supporting smaller, local businesses.

Don't get me wrong, I am fully aware that Walmart is being made a bit of a scape goat in this. It represents the epitome of American capitalism and extreme consumerism. It's not just all about Walmart. But this is a little thing we can do that can be a small contribution to a big issue. Lots of small contributions can have a big impact.

And it's such a relief to drive past Walmart (hold the angelic singing voices please, they're driving me crazy) and know that we don't have to go in there!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Late to get this going today...(TTT)

Sorry I got to this late today. I've been busy cooking a million things with bananas in it after my friend dropped off a huge crate full of very ripe bananas. Took most of the day and made a huge mess of the kitchen. Lots of goodies to eat now.

Ok so the other day I was rolling out dough and Zoe asked, "what's that stuff called" while she played with the white powdery mysterious stuff and drew pictures in it with her fingers.
"it's called flour"
She responded with a tone that indicated she thought I was soooo silly and clueless and she felt a bit sorry for me, "Noooooo, it's not called flowers! It's called COOKING".
Mums these days. They know nothing, I'm tellin' ya.

Recently she has been asking me to put "Bentoring" on Netflix for her to watch. These conversations never went well and often ended with her in tears and me on the verge. She was so desperate to watch "Bentoring" but I had no idea what it was and couldn't find anything like that on netflix or by searching google. I couldn't figure out she had heard of it or seen it. No luck. Then a couple days ago while I was cooking (hmmmm I see a recurring theme here, I seem to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen these days!) I had this song from one of the land before time movies stuck in my head. "we're going to go adventuring, adventuring, adventuring". I smiled to myself while I thought on how Zoe loves those movies and I imagined her singing along....I played back in my head the way she dances in front of the screen and sings, "going to go bentoring, bentoring, bentoring". I can't believe it took me so long to figure it out!

I questioned her about it. "Is bentoring the one with little foot?"
She was pleased that I had put the pieces together. "Yes, bentoring is so much fun. People need to go bentoring every day. It's so good for you. I wike bentoring every day."


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Monday, January 18, 2010

Lana in the limelight

She was keen to have some of the fame and glory her sister has been enjoying recently with the web show thing. So she came up with istormy. Lana did all the writing by herself. She is an obscure kind of gal, with a very active imagination. So watching this may make you feel slightly trippy, kind of the way watching teletubbies used to (in the olden days).

I think she's awesome. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You missed a bit (TTT)

I was sweeping up and Zoe was watching intently. I was wondering if she was going to offer to help. My mind traveled back to when a cute little 2 year old, with my pretend iron and how much I wanted to be just like mummy. I loved pretending to clean and do mummy type chores. I was pondering how precious the whole gender role model thing is and what a sweet privilege it is that I get to be on the other side of it. Just as I was delving deep in my reflections Zoe spoke, revealing what had been going through her own thoughts while her eyes had been following my brush moving across the floor.

"Um, there's a other bit there. You missed dat bit wight der".

Pop goes the bubble. Gee thanks. I guess I can count on Zoe for some constructive criticism.

"Yes, I'm getting to it Zoe" and I rolled my eyes while she trotted off and I secretly admired her for her temperament and her keen observation skills and that she is not afraid to speak up when she sees error. She's about 99.8% choleric. A born leader. Doesn't make for an easy 2 year old, but she'll do great things one day. :) And she'll have a super clean floor.


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Monday, January 11, 2010

Bobsleds, flying baby superhero, tips about s(p)linkies - it's ikaya

Rene wanted me to add the disclaimer that for his part he had no warning or practice. We told him a couple minutes before filming that he'd be singing and he guessed the song right away. But didn't rehearse. He really is a good sport!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I heart faces - and I heart prizes!

There's a prize for this week's i heart faces photo challenge. The winner gets a 18-200 Tamron Lens.

I really really need a new lens. My 2 decent lenses have both broken. Which is why I haven't been taking as many photos recently. I'm left with a sigma telephoto lens, which can't be used indoors at all. Not in my little, dark house anyway. And my kit lens, which is also not very good indoors. My flash doesn't work either. So I can only really do outdoor pics, which isn't much of an option when it's -15 outside.


I did my best to get some pics for this contest though. I opened up the back door and sat my daughter in front of it, so I could get as much light in as possible.

The challenge this week is to enter up to 5 photos, showing the i heart faces logo.

Ok I found out I had been wrong about the rules. I thought it had to be pics taken in Dec or Jan but it turns out that's the rule for next week's challenge! So I went through to find a pic I might want to use instead. I have found it really hard to narrow this down to 5 pics. I'll probably post my shortlist on a different post. Maybe some before and after PSing too.

So after having some friends help me choose I decided to omit my first entry (sorry Turtle, you're adorable but your sweetface didn't make the cut) and am using this one instead.

I took some of Zoe and Kaya, with the door open to let the light in.

I just love the expressions she makes. It was so hard to narrow them down because she had so many adorable facial expressions. She's so funny.

Just when Kaya was relieved that I finally released her from her modeling duty, I got a burst of inspiration when I saw the can of snow spray in the kitchen. I couldn't find my snow boots and dusk was fast approaching, so I quickly threw on my Dr Martins without socks and went out in my jammy bottoms, thin t-shirt and untied boots and traipsed through the knee high snow drift to paint the window and take photos. By the time I got inside my boots were frozen solid and my feet were twice their size and as red as a pillar box (fire truck red) and itching like you couldn't imagine. Silly me. You can't accuse me of not putting in the effort for the photos anyway!

Click here to visit the i heart faces blog and see other entries.

I am submitting this photo into the I Heart Faces logo photo contest. By entering, I am granting I Heart Faces LLC permission to consider my photo for use in the marketing and promotion of their website

Kids and computers


I love you - or not (Tot Talk Tuesday)

Turtle says "I love you". It sounds more like "ah wuwoo" and my brother says it reminds him of those youtube videos of talking dogs. But it's close enough to the real thing to completely melt my heart.

I've been desperately trying to get him to perform this for the camera, but he will not cooperate. I've taken 6 video clips today of me constantly saying I love you to him and pulling his thumb out of his mouth and trying to get him to say it back. This boy says I love you about 10 times a day. Especially when I'm putting the girls to bed. But he won't do it for the camera.

So here's the closest thing I got. On Christmas night, with his thumb in his mouth and he said it sooo half heartedly. Oh well, it's better than nothing.

And for your amusement, here's a talking dog from youtube


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Monday, January 4, 2010


I made you all a picture today for this post. Here you go.

Yes, it is very disturbing. It's supposed to be me as a bear, hibernating in a cave. But it turned out more scary that I envisioned.

I've been doing a lot of thinking and I wanted to get these thoughts down. I love Christmas. Summer is my favorite season, but I am such a fan of the magic of Christmas and the snow everywhere. We got a ton of it this year, in fact the weather man said it was a record Christmas day snowfall for Lincoln. And I hear that my friends and family back in Scotland got lots of snow too.

I had a positively wonderful time blasting Christmas music through my kitchen speakers, playing games with the family, baking copious amounts of cake bars and cookies, wrapping presents, singing carols, drinking mulled apple cider, watching the kids climb the walls with excitement and anticipation, melting at the cuteness of my 2 year old monkey singing, "little donkey" in her bestest voice, smiling at the husband snipping out paper smowflakes with the kiddos and all the other fun holiday activites. The snow, the bible stories, the magic, the excitement, the charity, the time with Daddy being off work.

And then it was over. And I have a house full of paper, packaging, pieces from toy sets that we promised ourselves we would keep together this year now scattered all over the house. A kitchen full of dirty dishes. A ton of laundry I have been neglecting to do. Kids with let down and head colds. And a Christmas tree I can't bare to take down. It's dead as can be, lopsided and ugly. But I can't take it down. I'm not ready for it to be over.

I always fall into a funk this time of year. Without fail. Oh, other than 2007 I guess, because we had an international move 2 weeks away, a house to pack up and a going away party to organize. And it kept me going I guess. But other than that year, this is a time of year where I just want to shout "Boo" to the world, pull the blanket over my head and sleep for a few months.

I hate going into the stores or turning on my radio this time of year. Because I see diet programs and exercise equipment every where I look. And the most annoying thing is how everyone is talking about New Years Resolutions. It's January now, and we're all supposed to be buzzing full of motivation to clean up our lives and be perfect in every way and full of new plans and get our houses organized and our schedule set. Our church is advertising all the new classes they have coming up and everyone is hyped up about big plans for this new year.

If Bah Humbug would apply here I'd use the phrase. I'm not ready to give up on Christmas yet. I still feel festive and full of cheer. I hate the daily grind. I hate the normal every day effort. I am soooo not motivated nor do I feel like buzzing around making promises to myself that I know I'm not going to keep.

And so I do some soul searching. Why do I feel the way I do? I don't want to drive, or even leave the house. I want to stay home, warm and snuggled with my kids. I don't want to start a diet, I want to eat warm, comforting, home cooked foods. I don't want to socialize. I don't want to go through my closets and clean stuff out. I want to sleep more, I'm tired, unmotivated and dissatisfied. I'd be content enough in my own little cave with my cubs snoozing beside me, if not for the pressure I feel to perform. Radio adds, posters, store windows and people all around seem to be prodding me to do more and they're all full of energy but I just can't seem to squeeze out a drop. And it can make me feel completely inadequate. What is wrong with me? Do I have depression? Every year I find myself asking that.

This year I noticed something and I am taking on a new approach. We were driving past a lake that's frozen over and the kids started asking questions about how the fish stay alive in there with all the ice. We drove past a bunch of migrating Canadian Geese. And we started talking about how God set up nature in such an amazing way. That winter is a cleansing and nature is so prepared to deal with it. Some animals hibernate, their metabolisms slow down and they rest so they can put their energy towards keeping warm. We talked about how the cleansing aspect of Winter plays an important role in nature and the whole cycle of the seasons.

And I remembered that I am a part of that too. I am always very effected by the seasons. I adore Summer and the heat of the sun. I love barbecues outdoors with friends, going to the pool and playing water games. As soon as Spring comes around I'm hardly ever at home. I scoop up the kids and we go out. Doesn't matter where. The zoo, the park, a bike ride. We're out, playing, picnics, running, breathing, laughing, living. During the spring my soul feels explosive with new life, ambition, motivation. I feel on top of the world in Spring.

In Winter, I just don't. And that's ok. Maybe I'm just not supposed to. The only resolution I am making right now, is to put off my resolutions until Spring. For right now, I'm going into hibernation, and I am not going let myself feel down or guilty about it. I'm a part of nature too. I will take down the tree whenever I feel ready to let go of Christmas. And then I'll go back to taking it easy. I'm blessed to be homeschooling and not have to go to a job. The kids and I will do more reading and discussing things in bed or on the couch and less of the exhausting activities for now. There's a time for everything under the sun. This is a time for resting. Short days, long nights, comforting foods, spending time together, slowing down, huddling together for warmth, drinking hot cocoa, leaving the chores till later.

I'm not on top of things. My house is messy, I have library books to return and e-mails to write. And it may just have to wait. I'll get to it. Come Spring if not before. I'll make up for it. Life is a cycle.

As soon as I started letting myself think like this, I felt such a burden lift. I'm not going to get bogged down with guilt. I'm going to praise God for the wonderful way he created nature, and the diversity of the Seasons and how beautifully he integrated all aspects of nature together. I'll take this period of hibernation to reflect and bask in the beautiful things I've been given, to savor the PJ days with the kids while they're little, and to maintain the spirit of thankfulness and charity that I enjoyed over the holidays. Sounds healthy enough to me! I feel so much better when I'm not forcing myself to go against the grain.

So that's why I drew a scary human faced bear with snow.


Oh, btw, during a couple of these laid back days I've taken the time to start working through editing some pics. I hadn't had the chance in ages. I was backlogged to September. I'm though Sep and most of Oct. Then Nov and Dec to do and then I'll do a photo dump on here. Because one of my fav things about having a blog is being able to post pics. And I haven't done nearly enough of that lately!! Hoping to get that back to the way it should be.

So here's to a great 2010 for you all, and I look forward to peeking out and facing it some time in March or April! Until then I'll make some awesome memories and enjoy a wonderful time in my cave with the cubs.