Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour in Toronto


Apparently residents of Toronto got into Earth Hour. Check out these Pictures courtesy of WWF on Flickr (Creative Commons license):

earthhour befor earthhour after
cn before earth hour after

Friday, March 28, 2008

Disney Countdown!

In a few weeks we take Owie-Bear to see Mickey Mouse! Since Play House Disney started broadcasting in Canada he has been hooked on Mickey Mouse's Playhouse.

Miska Mooshka Mickey Mouse!We made the mistake of telling Owen we were going to see Mickey - back in December or January and because of that his little two year old brain thinks that every day is THE DAY!

"Going to see Mickey Mouse today? Miska Mooska Mickey Mouse! With Bobbi and Papa G. And, Mommy and Daddy. Going on an airplane, on a big airplane. It's me by the window, see lots of airplanes. Daddy works on airplanes. Daddy go to work?"

This is the basic Mickey Mouse speech. It varies only slightly. Then of course we have to explain to him that we aren't going TODAY. That it is still quite some time until we see Mickey Mouse. I showed him a calendar, and told him it wasn't this week but many weeks from now.

Unfortunately it doesn't take much to remind him about the impending trip. A picture of an airplane, his Mickey Mouse back-pack, the television program. The other day I was on the phone with my parents (who we are going to Disney with) and we were talking about Hotels to stay at. We didn't mention any of the following words:
  • Airplane
  • Mickey
  • Disney
  • Florida
Yet, somehow, Owie-Bear knew. He pipes up with " Going to see Mickey Mouse. With Mommy and Daddy."
I say, "And, who else?"
He says "Papa G."
I say "And, who else?"
He says " Owen!"
Meanwhile, Bobbi says " What about Bobbi!"
He says, " And Papa G."
We laugh. "Who is going to Florida, Owen"
"Mommy, Daddy, Papa G. and Owen!" - he laughs and laughs...
Poor Bobbi!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wal-Mart Canada Supports Earth Hour

I wrote a post few days ago about Earth Hour. I just received a release through CanWire that Wal-Mart Canada announced today that it is reducing its store lighting in support of Earth Hour, a global event organized by the World Wildlife Federation to raise awareness of climate change. While this is great news! What about the other days (and hours) of the year? What is Wal-mart doing to help the environment. They have introduced Wal-Mart cloth bags, which last time I was at the store - were no where near the cash...(brilliant!), and in the summer they reduced lighting in the store to conserve energy (why not all year? Those florescent lights kill me!)

In the meantime, they have added video screens all over the store that play all day long (instead of turning on when perhaps I walk by!), the stores keep getting bigger, they use more and more cardboard disposable displays rather than permanent shelving, and they offer very little in Organic and Green products (where are the BPA friendly bottles?). For a company that pressures its manufacturers to cut product costs and incorporate expensive logistical systems they have done little to pressure their manufacturers to cut down on packaging or use recyclable materials.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

A second news release, moments behind the Wal-mart announcement - 600 Plus Hbc Stores Join Earth Hour Movement by Turning Off Lights on March 29th. Only HBC is dimming lights for an hour rather than for the entire day as Wal-mart is doing.

Nothing like retailers jumping on the latest trend that might make consumers happy! If only they made environmental concerns a mandate for the year and for more than just dimming the lights!

A&P and Staples Business Depot join the fray!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blog Plunder

So I am reading Twitter posts by the people I follow last evening and I notice Queen of Spain says:

If we're all our own f'ing brands now how in the HELL do I control that when ANYONE can take my shit & post it like I freaking WORK for them about 1 hour ago from web

I am I go back and read the trail of conversation. Here is the gist of what I uncover.

*dramatic pause...

Or rather the boy decided to get out of bed and torment the cat, go for a washroom break, ask for water, and remind me that he wanted to take the stuffed dog to school tomorrow.

end pause*

So, there is the web site called BlogNetNews which claims to be a blog aggregator - one that "jumps a generation ahead."

They state in their "About"

We are going to use your feeds and the feeds of top bloggers from your online community to create new content and information that will organize this slice of the Internet making it work better for bloggers and their readers.

What?! Your going take blog feeds and ones by "top bloggers" without their permission? Just plop it on your own site, where YOU collect the ad revenue and yet YOU create NOTHING. How exactly are you creating "new organize this slice of the Internet"? Is this your 1-10 rating system perhaps? The ability to show the "most clicked" or "hot comments"?

It would be one thing if the site had permission to use the bloggers' content- but it seems from reading Queen of Spain's various tweets - she was never asked to contribute - rather her parenting blog suddenly appeared on BlogNetNews. And, BlogNetNews won't remove her feed.

Now to give credit to BlogNetNews, like other aggregators, if you want to read the entire post, or if you want to comment you are directed to the blogger's site. You can only read the first 7-10 lines of the post on BlogNetNews. Which means that BlogNetNews could potentially drive traffic to these blogs. At the same time, the Permalinks link back to BlogNetNews. And, the way the URL re-routes to Queen of Spain is odd...

I am no expert in Intellectual Property and copyright, but I certainly hope that when I write this blog, or my MEGO blog, that I own that content. Obviously, other bloggers are free to quote me - that kind of access exists in copyright of any written material - printed or or digital. But, to take the entire feed as your own content without permission, without authority is unethical.

Access CopyRight in Canada recognizes 3 content users: Educational Institutions, Businesses, Public and Not-for-Profit.

Prior to copying, emailing, scanning, or faxing materials from periodicals, journals, newspapers and books, businesses need to legally secure permission from the copyright owner.

The same goes for Public and Not-for Profit - only educational differs where a licence:

gives educators and students advance permission to copy from millions of copyright protected newspapers, magazines, journals and books from around the world, complementing what is allowed under fair dealing, educational exceptions under the Copyright Act, and through the public domain.

I could find very little on copying digital content on the site, only licensing information to copy to digital formats (scans, Intranets etc).

However, this little tidbit suggested that when it comes to online content:

If no copyright notice is provided, or if the copyright notice does not allow the use you want to make, a good starting point for getting clarification or permission is to send an email to the site’s webmaster.

Obviously the web is a very different beast, where a "printed edition" doesn't stem from one particular country where a licensing agent such as Access Copyright can help to determine help negotiate agreements between intellectual property owner and interested party, but it seems only common courtesy to do as Access Copyright suggested - and ask for permission!

What do you think?


Visit Queen of Spain for her communication with the editor of BNN and if you are were unlucky enough to get scraped - make sure you contact him (his contact info is on her post).

City Mama also posts a link to another post which gives you more background on BNNs editor, David Mastio. Ironically, Mastio is a former GWB speech writer! And, quite obviously a serious douchebag.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Classy Baby: Functional and Fantastic

I went with my friend to the Safety Superstore, a fantastic store for parents of young-ones, and rather dangerous store for a pregnant mom.

I already have three strollers (a Graco Travel System, a wonderful MacLaren, and a Joovy Sit 'n Stand), two varieties of high chairs plus a Bumbo chair, a play-yard, bouncy chair, diaper bag, three different baby carriers, two car seats, and a play-mat for baby.  For my first child I was very practical, I bought the majority of these used, except for the play-yard, Graco Stroller, and car seats.  

Why then I am I so tempted this time around to buy some of these new lovely items?

Now three years later it seems that everything from high chairs to car seats, and baby slings to baby furniture is simply more stylish, more beautiful and better designed to fit my lifestyle. There are fantastic fabrics, less plastic, and more selection than ever before. Perhaps manufacturers are figuring out we want items that are both functional and fit our home style - even for our children - and that we are willing to pay for it!

A comparison:




Don't even get me started on the strollers...

Sadly, I think my husband would have a cow if I went out and bought even one of these things because it is beautiful and functional - rather than for "need".  I will have to live with the giant plastic high chair, and navy-blue ugly car seat, bouncy chair with fish fabric...for just another little while.

Although, couldn't I say I need a new Baby Sling because my Heart to Heart doesn't match all my outfits?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Getting the Sugar Out

Egg Anyone?

Owen spent the morning search for eggs that they Easter Bunny had left him. I do however, suspect that at least a few have been left hidden - and I will happily eat those later.

Egg anyone? Because I don't need them all..

Friday, March 21, 2008

Earth Hour - Pass it along

I am going to be a bit of a copy-cat and borrow a topic from Mom on the Run who just recently wrote a post about Earth Hour.

Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.

This simple act has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world. As a result, at 8pm March 29, 2008 millions of people in some of the world’s major capital cities, including Copenhagen, Toronto, Chicago, Melbourne, Brisbane and Tel Aviv will unite and switch off for Earth Hour.

I am not sure what the savings will be for turning off the lights and other energy sucking equipment for one hour. However, if it encourages more people to consider their energy consumption and find ways around their home and office to reduce their own emission footprint in the long term - it will be a success!

Here are a few ways we conserve energy at our house:
  • Turn off appliances when not in use
  • Use energy efficient bulbs
  • Replace older energy sucking appliances (yes, that deep freeze in the basement counts!)
  • Use Warm or Cold water for laundry
  • Use reusable bags for grocery shopping
  • Instead of bottled water use reusable bottles (most bottled water bottles never make it to the recycling bin and they cost the environment in transportation and manufacturing!)
  • Turn off your car - don't idle!
  • Programmable thermostat can save you money and save the environment
  • Teach your kids the importance of conservation early on!
Thanks to Mom on the Run for pointing out this great campaign. Turn it off on March 29.

A Mom's Dream

I love my son, and I love my husband. But some days I dream of a day all to myself. One where I can sleep in, really sleep in - not with one eye on the door waiting for the barrage of "mommy, where's Lightning McQueen." and "Wake-up time mommy!". Or the guaranteed guilt if I stay in bed and hear from downstairs the sound of crying, screeching or even laughter - that I am not involved and missing out on something!

Once I decide to get out of bed I would make a cup of coffee, turn on MY music (not the TV) and read a good book. Later, I might consider shopping since I could actually try on clothes without having to chase a toddler - every two minutes when he crawls out of the dressing room. I would refrain from making lunch, and just munch on crackers and cheese, cereal, and ice cream. For dinner I would make salmon, mashed potatoes and carrots. That night I would no doubt watch a romantic comedy.

I suspect, however, while dreaming of sleeping in, an uninterrupted cup of coffee, and shopping alone sounds wonderful, reality is a day of missing my little boy and counting the hours until I see him again. Just writing my dream of my day to myself makes me miss Owen!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Freaky Chucky Child

Is it just my kid who does this?

Middle of the night, tip-toes into your room. Makes no sound. Then stands at the side of the bed staring at you. Until of course you wake up screaming.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Country Boy

Not sure how, but it seems that my three-year old son, likes country music. It can't come naturally because neither my husband or I are BIG country fans.

I have rather eclectic taste, thanks to my parents who seem rather schizophrenic in their music taste (my mom swung from 50s pop to country, to American Idol Pop to Bon Jovi in a matter of my lifetime; and my father has records (literally) from Chet Atkins to Dire Straits, and CDs from Roseanne Cash to Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young to Sheryl Crow). My iTunes catalogue includes Jazz, Rock, Hip-Hop, so-called "alternative", acoustic, and dance music. When QueenofSpain tweeted looking for song suggestions I gave her a good variety of ideas: Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai, Buddy Holly by Weezer and Poison by Bel Biv Devoe. Notice no country. While I have a few "crossover" country on my iTunes (Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Dixie Chicks) and a few "'cause the title is funny" ("Did I Shave My Legs For This" and "Here's a Quarter Call Someone Who Cares") - I have likely never played them for Owen. He is on a strict diet of rock, pop and Raffi.

This morning while I was getting ready for work Owen rudely changed the channel on the radio alarm from all news radio (where I can get my update on the TSX, politics and traffic!) to a random Hamilton country station. No idea what song was playing, but the kid went nuts wiggling his butt and doing something that can only be referred to as "head banging". Now do I have to encourage this musical interest? Or can I kick it?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Frosty the Snowman

An odd title this time of year.

Perhaps not this year if you live in Canada where we have had an unbelievable amount of snow. I have a four foot tree in my front yard that is just peering out of the snow.

However, this isn't about your favourite ice creature. This is a plea for good baby names! Currently, I have one suggestion from Mom on the Run to name him Hunter. We have pondered over the name Jack (but are there simply too many out there - with Jack Sparrow, Jack Shephard and Jack Bauer?).

We asked Owen, and his suggestion day after day is..."Frosty the Snowman". you know a good name for a boy!?

Monday, March 17, 2008

So Baby Number Two is a...

Can you tell?

It's a boy!

Baby name suggestions accepted in the comments...!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sleeping, Playing and More Fun

After a long outdoor adventure at Mountsberg for the Maple Syrup Festival Owen was a sleepy boy. He kept rubbing his eyes and yawning - in any event. Although I believe the sugar...I mean syrup was keeping him awake.

We made a deal that he could watch Leap Frog's Letter Factory one more time and then off for a nap. But...about 1/2 hour into the "nap" I heard him upstairs open a door, and then close a door. After that it was quiet.

So he should have been:
But in reality he was:
Which included:
When I found him he was in his upstairs playroom playing with a puzzle. He said, " I had a good nap."

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P.S. Now, 1/2 later he is watching Letter Factory (again...he is honestly learning something from this video otherwise he wouldn't be watching it) and he has fallen asleep on the sofa!

Maple Syrup Festival

Notice the line-ups of cars - the street was packed with cars trying to get into Mountsberg. And, then notice the picture of the line-up for Pancakes!

It was even worse when we left that afternoon. A great day for an outdoor pancake picnic.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fear of Car Wash!

Today was nice and warm. 11 degrees around 3:30 when we went for a family road trip to Costco. A great day for a car wash. And, what kid doesn't love the car wash.

Apparently ours.

During the wait, the seemed excited - maybe be because he didn't know what what it was quite yet. We get to the front and he starts to look nervous. Big wide eyes, mouth slightly open.

Once the water and the big spinning cloths hit the car- he has had it. The tears start flowing. " I want to out!" We both console him, and I hold his hand. He stops momentarily when the cloths stop hitting the car, but starts up again when the water powerfully hits the car.

At the end of the car wash we asked him if he wanted to do that again. "No, no, no.!"

Now at 6:30 he says, " I want to go in the car wash again." What a brave little boy.

Of course, this is also the little boy he wants t eat outside today. We are BBQing so I believe he remembers last summer when we did!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Likely in the category of TMI

TMI, is of course - To Much Information...

So Potty Training has been going well. At least in the "pee" department. He has been wearing underwear to school like a "big boy" for four days. He still has accidents, and at nap time he wears a diaper - but all said it has been successful.

In the "poo" department - or department 2 as we like to call it....things are not so good. The first few days of "big boy" underwear he would wait until about 8:15p.m to poop. Basically, bath time, story time, bed time - then poop time. He waited until he had a diaper on, and we had given up having him sit on the toilet, and had gone downstairs while he was meant to be sleeping. He did the same thing at school on Wednesday - waiting until nap time. On Thursday he didn't poop. Today he said he had to poop. Sat on the potty for 10 minutes. Nothing. Got up and said he didn't have to go after all, that he had already pooped. When? I asked. Saturday, says he.

So now we have a boy who pees on the toilet, and who is going on to be seriously bunged up if he continues to avoid department 2.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Potty Talk

This picture says a lot about how potty training is going for Owen:

Owen is now 3 months shy of 3 years old. One day he will be King of the potty, keeping a dry diaper for hours. The next he refuses to go near the toilet - feet planted on the floor - screaming "Nooooo Thank You..."

I can count on my hand (note - not plural) how many times he has pooped on the toilet. Three. Those stickers you see all over his potty are for peeing. We ask him if he has to go potty and we can get a variety of answers:

I peed already in my diaper
I peed already today
I will poo next week
No thank you...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

6:30 this morning Owen is wandering the hallway while I am brushing my teeth and changing to go to work. I hear him in the bathroom, and ask what he is doing...this is what follows:

Owen: I have poop on my fingers and poop on the floor.

Me: What! (run down the hallway).

Owen is standing on his stool with poop all over his little fingers, pants around the ankles, diaper on the bathtub, large pool of poop on the floor. He has already attempted to clean off his hands, so now there is poop on the counter and poop on the faucet. The poop on the floor means he missed the toilet, so there is also poop all over his legs and in his Cars pajamas. I half expect to find a poop trail to his bedroom. Good for him for trying to go potty. But what a mess at 6:30 am.