“D” is for “Daredevil” – An A-to-Z Blogging Challenge Post


For the A-to-Z Challenge 2017 I’m writing all about myself. Every post will be some random fact or bit of information about me that you may or may not have already known. Maybe you’ll learn something! Feel free to let me know! ^_^

No, I’m not talking about the comic-book character or any of the iterations thereof. I’m still talking about me, here. 🙂

A lot of the people I know and love at this point in my life probably wouldn’t believe it since I’m such a lazy, cat-in-the-sun kind of person, but when I was a kid I was quite the daredevil. Nowadays I like to sit on the couch and write, curl up in bed and read or watch TV, and it’s a great bit of effort to even get me to go outside in the sun during the summer, but go back about 25 years and I was scaling everything in site and generally putting my limbs at risk on a daily basis.

Every kid thinks that they’re invincible – that’s just one of those things that the still-developing brain convinces itself of – but when I look back now I seriously cringe at some of the things that I used to do without even thinking about it. There were the common things, like climbing too-high trees or leaping from said too-tall trees into piles of not-so-soft snow. But there were also significantly more dangerous things, like doing flips and hanging upside-down from the monkey bars, or standing on one side of the see-saw and getting my friends to jump on the other side and launch me into the air. More than a few of the things I used to do make me genuinely wonder how I never killed myself, such as how I used to shimmy down the cliff face along the water near where I grew up and hop from slippery-wet stone to slippery-wet stone, looking for fossils.

The worst thing that I can think of, however, is climbing the barracks. Near where I grew up there are a number of abandoned stone war barracks that kids have always loved to explore. There’s one that lays underground, and you have to descend a pitch-black set of stairs to get into it, and there are several along the cliff that are like circular tunnels with little windows poking out to watch for approaching ships. But there’s one that is like a tower that was the most fun to explore because there were no ladders or stairs and the entire thing had to be traversed by climbing, boosting or pulling up your friends, and a fair bit of insanity.

This is the barracks in question:


For scale, see that door on the front, to the far right of the picture? That door is about eight feet tall. Now see right above the door, on what would be the second level of the building, where that long window opening is? Okay, here’s the fun part… See the third and fourth levels that are the tower bit? Well there was no access to those, so as kids we used to get up there by climbing on the ledge of that second level window, getting our friends to give us a boost, and climbing up on that second-level roof, then into the third-level window. Similarly, we’d boost ourselves from the third level window onto that tiny, super-skinny ledge, and then shimmy up to the fourth-level window.

At the time it was great fun, and I can really remember it being this amazing adventure that I wouldn’t have given up for the world, but looking back now I gasp at my own stupidity. How incredibly easy it would have been to fall from any of those levels. How easily I could have broken my neck or worse.

And yet at the same time, I feel lame as hell just speaking like that, because I can still remember it being the best. I guess even a cat-in-the-sun adult like me still has a small sliver of daredevil hiding in the back of my mind somewhere.

Were you a daredevil as a kid? Did you do anything back then that you look back on now and cringe about? Please feel free to leave a comment!

Pat on the Back

Today’s post comes courtesy of The Daily Post‘s “Pat on the Back” prompt, in which they asks us to Tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.


My little girl.

Oh my goodness, how can I express just how proud I am of you?

My little girl: you’re one of the most amazing kids I’ve ever known. You may be clumsy as hell like mama and stubborn as a mule like daddy, but you’re also bright and brilliant and remarkably well-behaved for your age. You’re the youngest in your class (by quite a wide margin, actually), but you’re always on top of things, your classmates seem to adore you, and your teachers praise you. I could hardly be more proud.

You’ve got a memory unlike anything I’ve ever seen. How many 5-year-olds can remember the names of hundreds of comic book, TV, and movie characters, as well as about a hundred frikkin’ Shopkins, while also pretty much memorizing the entire script of dozens of episodes of shows and movies? Not to mention that you’re learning to read far quicker than I ever imagined you would, and you’re already doing basic math in your head, without use of fingers or toes at all.

You’re so well-balanced as well…sure, a lot of your favorite things are traditionally “girly” things, but the things you enjoy cross such a wide range of wonderful things. You love My Little Pony, but you love Ninja Turtles too. You adore wearing pretty dresses and fancy things, but you’re also a huge fan of gym, and running and climbing around outside. You enjoy reading, board games, Play Doh, Lego, dolls, action figures, coloring, and all other manner of fun stuff. You could play with pretty much any kid you ever meet because you’re wide open, willing to try pretty much anything.

We barely ever hear a peep out of you during long road trips, you’re happy as a lark to be dropped off with a babysitter if mama and daddy want to go out, and you’ll talk the ear off of pretty much anyone once you’ve had a moment to get used to them. You almost never give me trouble when it’s bedtime, you’re almost always well-behaved and pleasant at restaurants, and you always understand, “No, we can’t buy that today.”

You’re a joy and a gem.

Now, don’t go and get cocky because I’ve praised you so much. There will always be other kids who are awesome too…other kids who are smart, and adorable, and get along with everyone, and love a wide variety of things. You’re hardly the only one out there.

But you’re the only one who matters to me. 🙂


Raising a Reader

Memoir Mondays

Every parent hopes that their kid will be smart, and although “smart” is objective, depending on what each kid’s individual strengths are, it’s easy for parents to focus mostly on academics, because that’s what we’re all forced to put up with for thirteen or so years of our lives.

Personally, I hope that my daughter will turn out to be well-rounded, but as a woman who grew up loving books enough to eventually write one, I do tend to put a little more of my own personal focus into ensuring that my daughter can read (and hopefully spell) at an acceptable level. That’s why my husband and I would sit down with her as a baby, patiently showing her each of the letters from her wooden puzzle until she could point them out herself (at barely a little over a year old), and singing the Alphabet Song with her until she had it memorized (at about eighteen months). Then, I moved on to what I personally thought was the fun stuff, but is apparently something that many parents never bother to do anymore: I started reading to her at bedtime every night.

Of course, at first, she wasn’t all that receptive to it. She was still very small, and thus mostly wanted to look at the pictures and interrupt me to talk about whatever was randomly rolling through her mind at the time. But eventually it became a routine. Eventually she began to pick which stories she wanted to read. Eventually she began pointing out random words (mostly character names) that she recognized. And eventually, she began to mouth words along with me, or insist on reading little bits of sentences that she recognized by herself.

My daughter is currently in grade primary (kindergarten to most of Canada, and the first “grade” of grade school to anyone who doesn’t recognize either of those terms), and of course part of the curriculum is learning to read, she she comes home with a homework book every night and reads them to me or her father. They’re all very basic, repetitive stories (“I can make a banana with my play dough.”/ “I can make a carrot with my play dough”/ etc.) but I was still very proud when she first came home and read to us, pointing at the words proudly, sounding out or using the pictures to figure out words she didn’t know. I thought she was doing great, especially considering that she’s the youngest kid in her class (her birthday was just before the cut-off date and we chose to let her go instead of holding her back until she was a little bigger).

The stories were very simple, but she was reading them, and I was more than happy with her progress. And then, one night last week, we were reading a couple of Disney Frozen board books that her friend gave her for her birthday, when she decided that she wanted to read it herself. I let her go ahead, expecting that she’d be stopping and asking for help rather often, but was amazed to see how little help she actually ended up needing. Below is a transcript of the little book, with the words I needed to help her with crossed-out:

“Anna was a princess in the kingdom of Arendelle. Anna’s sister, Elsa, was the queen. The sisters did not always agree. One day, Elsa accidentally revealed that she had magical powers. She was so upset that she ran away. Anna made up her mind to bring Elsa home. Anna met an ice harvester named Kristoff. He was covered in frost! Soon Anna and Kristoff became good friends. He helped her find her sister. Elsa learned to control her powers, and ruled Arendelle once more. Anna and Elsa were together again! Anna was happy to be at home with the people she loved.”

So by my count, out of 102 words, she only needed help with 13 of them, and two of those words were 3 and 4 syllables. Can I remind you that this kid just turned five this past December?

And the thing is, yes, a lot of the words she knew because she’d seen them when I was reading other Frozen stories to her, and some of them she worked out logically by noticing what was happening in the pictures (she knows that Kristoff is an ice “harvester”, for instance, and he was in that page’s picture). But that’s great! That means that she’s paying attention! It means that she follows along when I’m reading with her! It means that she’s got reasoning skills that she can use to work out a word she’s unsure of! It means she’s trying, in whichever way she knows how. And that’s awesome.

It’s entirely possible (likely, even) that my daughter will never been obsessed with books like I was when I was young. She’ll likely never get deep into writing her own stories like I did and dream of becoming a published author. And that’s okay, because I’m not trying to turn her into me. But I do want her to be well-rounded, logical, and hard-working, and seeing her work her way through this little book the other night showed me that she is well on her way. Score one point for parenting, and one point for a wicked-smart little girl. 🙂

How I’ve Become My Parents

Memoir Mondays

Courtesy of The Daily Post:
Do you ever find yourself doing something your parents used to do when you were a kid, despite the fact that you hated it back then?

Upon my first glance at this prompt I would say that I’m really not all that much like my parents at all, but that’s not likely since the overwhelming majority of people turn out to be very, very much like their forebears. My reaction, then, is probably just a result of the fact that, in general, most people never really see their parents in themselves. Parents often see themselves in their children, but children often deny it vehemently. For instance, when I was younger I was constantly being told how much I look like my father. It was absolutely true – I look much more like my father than my mother – but I denied it like my life depended on it because what I was hearing was that people thought I looked like a man.

But I’m a grown adult now, so I should be mature and reasonable enough to accept that yes, there are things about me that are just like my parents, even the parts that drove me insane as a kid. So let’s just sit back and think about it for a moment…

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that, as an adult, I have a pretty intense hatred of snow. It’s funny because as a child I loved snow so much that I would spend hours out playing in it until my nose turned blue, and it would drive me up the wall when my parents would complain about it and wish for it all to melt. I still love snow in the sense of it making the world feel Christmasy, and it’s adorable to watch my daughter play in it, but after a few short weeks of shoveling, and poor road conditions, and delayed flights I begin to develop a hatred that would rival the intensity of a small sun.

Another thing, which will probably give my parents a good chuckle, is that I can’t stand when my kid is being “saucy” (i.e. talking back). I was an outrageously saucy kid myself, and I hated how my parents would always get so mad at me for it, because in my mind I was just telling it like it is and/or standing up for myself. But nowadays I catch myself seething with barely-contained rage when my daughter gets saucy. I try to tell myself that she’s just saying things as she sees them, but like most parents I can’t help but feel like she’s being a saucy little brat and she damn well knows it.

Something that’s more specific to my mom: my temper. I feel pretty strongly that I’m significantly better at keeping mine than she is (yeah, you heard me, mom), but I’ve definitely inherited her ability to Hulk-out. When I was a kid I used to think she was nuts; sometimes it felt like she was getting unrealistically angry at me for no good reason. Now I find myself in the opposite position…I’ll be fine many times in a row, but then there will be this one little thing that my husband or daughter says or does that snaps something inside my brain and makes me want to put my fist through a wall. The key is that I manage to not punch any walls (or anything else), which is now something that I can appreciate she was capable of as well.

And something more specific to my dad: a complete inability to read instructions properly, in particular when building something. It always used to drive me mad when I’d be helping him build something and he’d skip a step, resulting in a need to backtrack and deconstruct several steps before being able to continue. Now, for whatever reason, I seem to have become the exact same way. It’s like I’m genetically predisposed to glaze over certain crucial information whenever it comes to household furniture and appliances. Honestly, it’s rather quite amazing that my husband has never murdered me while attempting to put up shelving or a new installation in the house.

I’m sure there are many more things that I can’t see. I’m sure my husband could point out a few, and I’m quite certain my parents will have compiled a mental list if they’re reading this post. Hell, my daughter could probably point out a similarity or two. But I’ll end it here, because I’m feeling a strong urge to go out and reconfirm my individuality. ^_~

How are you like your parents? Don’t be shy now, go ahead and share!

Mommy Confessions

I love reading stories about parenting adventures because they make you smile about the kinds of things that, in your own life, would make you want to pull your hair out or hide under a bed for eternity. My friend and former classmate, Katie, understands this perfectly and shares the joy/horror of motherhood regularly on her mommy blog, She Didn’t Come With Instructions. Recently she wrote this post full of “mommy confessions” meant to give hope and a chuckle to those ladies out there who are beating themselves up trying to be the picture-perfect mom. Katie’s confessions made me laugh, cry, and nod enthusiastically, so today I thought I’d share some of my own mommy confessions.

"Confession" #1: This is what true love looks like.
“Confession” #1: This is what true love looks like.

When we first put the little missy in her own room at night (around 6-7 months) I used to rock her to sleep first while singing to her. Why is this a confession? Because I would sing the love songs from Disney movies.

At around 8-9 months we hit a period during which she would neither go to sleep nor stay to sleep, and we were pretty much at our wits end. Somehow we discovered that by sitting my portable DVD player outside her crib and playing “Baby Mozart” on it, she would lull herself to sleep, and I didn’t give two rat’s tails what anyone said about how babies shouldn’t watch TV because the solution meant daddy and I actually got to have more that an hour’s sleep at a time.

At four, my daughter still goes to bed with a TV show on, and I still don’t give two rat’s tails what anyone has to say about that because it settles her, keeps her in her room, let’s daddy and I get our sleep, and trust me, she gets plenty sleep of her own.

When I was home with my daughter during the first few months of her life, I would often lull her to sleep on my chest, and then use the fact that she was sleeping on me as an excuse to not move for hours (while watching Netflix, of course).

I have, on occasion, given my daughter crackers and cheese 2-3 times in a single day because I just couldn’t be bothered arguing with her. She never gets constipated, so I guess it’s all good in the end.

Until very recently I was still wearing some of my maternity shirts and sweaters (I only stopped wearing the sweaters because the zippers broke on both of them).

Sometimes, when I was home alone with the baby while my husband was at work, she would start crying and I would have no idea why. While entirely normal, this would spike my blood pressure and stress hormones (hey, I was getting next to zero sleep) and more often than not I would end up curling up in the armchair and crying with her.

In the past four and a half years I think I have taken at least five hundred pictures of my daughter sleeping. The most recent one was about three weeks ago.

We try to encourage our daughter to help out with the chores, and I definitely think that it’s super-important to do so, but sometimes when she comes running out to the kitchen to help me with supper I get a little nervous twitch because I was planning to whip through the recipe super-fast so I could move on to other stuff.

My husband and I are raising our daughter to be an ultra-nerd. We teach her the names of comic book and video game characters the way other parents would teach their kid new words.

My daughter watches tons of stuff that would make some parents raise their eyebrows. At 3 years old she watched all three Alien movies with my husband, and we’d all often watch Futurama together. These days she has quite a liking for Godzilla and Gamera. For the record, she has had about three nightmares in her life, and none of them had anything to do with what she’d watched the night before.

I often sneak candy behind my daughter’s back. Doubly so after just explaining to her that she can’t have cookies for breakfast.

Addendum: Mommy sometimes has cookies for breakfast.

When I first returned to work at the paper mill (when she was around 7 months old) I still wanted her to be having breast milk, so I had to pump. Pumping didn’t work well for me, so I had to do it every couple of hours in order to get anything at all, which meant I regularly had to sneak off, lock myself in the women’s locker room, and strap up. The industrial noise just outside the door probably did nothing for my nerves in these moments.

I was so relieved when I finally decided to stop pumping because it meant I didn’t have to worry about having an alcoholic drink whenever I wanted anymore.

The first couple of times I left missy with someone I was a nervous wreck because, despite having raised some pretty awesome kids of their own, I somehow felt that my parents and the inlaws were in no way capable of taking care of my daughter.

I still enjoy singing Disney songs to my daughter. So does she. We just do it in the car when daddy’s not around.

I’ve lost, like, 2 lbs since I gave birth. At my current rate of loss I should be back to my original weight in approximately 47 years.

I want my daughter to be an outdoorsy kid; I just don’t want to be outdoors with her all of the time. I’m a vampire. Sue me.

I have absolutely no shame about letting my daughter see me changing or getting in and out of the shower. My husband thinks it’s weird, but my mother was the same way with me so it seems totally normal to me.

I have gotten through entire conversations with my daughter by nodding and saying, “Mmm-hmm” whilst concentrating on something else and not hearing a single word she’s said.

I often find myself thinking that my husband is definitely the better parent, and though I know I’m a great mom, it still makes me feel small and insecure.

There is nothing in this world more wonderfully satisfying and comfortable to me than when my daughter and I snuggle up to watch a show or movie together and she lays her head on my chest and wraps her arms around me. I would do that exact thing every single night of my life if I could.

So there you go; some more confession-like than others, but a hearty list of mommy confessions none-the-less. Did any of them make you chuckle? Commiserate? Shed a tear? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to share some parental confessions of your own!

A Lot of Work for A Lot of Play

Memoir Mondays

This post is courtesy of a 642 Things to Write About prompt: “Your favorite piece of playground equipment”

I don’t like to sound like the cranky old person who says things like, “Back in my day…”, but the truth is that when I was a kid there were fewer high-tech distractions for children. We had television and video games of course, but we didn’t have cell-phones or tablets; we didn’t even really have computers until I was 8 or so. And so we tended to spend a heck of a lot more time outside than the current generation. Summers in particular were filled with days of bike riding, hiking, swimming, and of course, playing on whichever playground equipment was available.

There were several playgrounds near enough for me to walk to from my parents or grandparents’ houses. I had a swing set with a see-saw in my own backyard, and the elementary school – which was right down the road from my grandparents’ house – had a set of monkey bars and later a bigger playground with slides and lots of things to climb. When I got a little older the town erected a larger public playground down next to the ball field; it was the kind of huge structure that dozens of kids could be playing on at once, with rope bridges and bars to swing on, and lots of climbing areas that would give you a little thrill of feeling like you could fall to your doom at any moment.

My favorites were always the bars for swinging on. I was never the most terribly graceful person, but I loved to jump up on top of the bars and swing around them, hang upside-down from them, and act like I was some amazingly-talented gymnast. I always had a ton of fun if there were bars to swing around, and I’d often come home with hands polished raw from all the twisting and flipping.

My daughter, on the other hand, seems to have a strong propensity for all things playground. She loves the swings, the slides, the rock walls, the rope ladders…pretty much anything is game to her. Last summer she was ecstatic when some neighbors who were moving offered to leave their swing set with us. It was an old set that had been passed along from two or three different families over the years, but she didn’t see the age, only the fun. She got tons of use out of the swing itself, and was super-proud to climb the little ladders by herself. She practically beamed with pride when her father taught her how to climb to the top of the rope ladder without any help.

This summer, with her kindergarten “graduation” as an excuse, I decided that I wanted to replace the old swing set, which had definitely served its purpose but was getting old and starting to split in several places. To say that I went overboard is a bit of an understatement, but my daughter loves playing outside so much that I couldn’t quite help myself…I ended up getting a swing/playhouse/slide set. The one I picked up was deeply discounted because it was a discontinued model, so I felt I was getting a great deal. But my husband and I soon found out why this particular model was discontinued.

Two parents have scarcely worked so diligently, with so much biting frustration, to construct something for their child, I swear. The front page of the instructions claimed that it would take between 10 and 14 hours for two people to build the playground. Being tradespeople, both, I figured we could easily fall within that estimate, but I didn’t count on road blocks at every turn. My husband and I are the kinds of people who are perfectly capable of following instructions to completion, but the instructions for this kit mocked us from the very first step. The kit came in three boxes stuffed with cuts of wood, and while the instructions showed pictures with labels and measurements for each piece, none of the pieces of wood themselves were actually labeled. Aside from a very few pieces that had some kind of manufacturing number stamped on them, the only way to find the pieces needed for each step was to actually take out a measuring tape and painstakingly move through the pile until you found the piece with the proper dimensions. That was frustrating enough on its own, but when we came to actually bolting the first two pieces of wood together we came across the second problem. The instructions called for two “H8” bolts, but in the bag marked “H8” there was only one bolt. We searched through the mountainous pile of marked bags of screws, nuts, bolts, and washers, but couldn’t find another bolt of that particular size. So before even being able to complete the first step, I had to run to the store for parts.

This trend continued over the course of the next two days. A couple of steps later I was screwing two pieces of wood together and flabbergasted by the fact that the screws were going right through the other side of the wood. It was then that we discovered that many of the bags of screws and bolts were labeled wrong, so we had to actually start measuring everything to confirm which ones to use. Later we were certain that there were pieces of wood missing, but it turned out that the pieces in question were slightly longer than what the instructions claimed. Another scream-worthy moment came when we ran out of a certain length of bolt and found out that neither of the nearby stores carried a bolt that size, so we had to use ones that were almost an inch too long. By the time we found that one of the rungs of the ladder had only been machined on one side, we almost just had to laugh.

It was a painful ordeal that spiked our tempers more than once, but what really spurred us on was when the little missy finally realized what we were building. We hadn’t told her, but around the time that we were screwing the floorboards into the little playhouse area, she happened to pick up the instructions and flipped to the picture on the front page. She came running over to us then, with a cry of, “Mommy! Make it look like this!”

In the end, we spent about 18 hours (a few of them in the rain) trying to build this monstrosity. We weren’t able to complete the ladder, since the lumber store in town didn’t have the proper machine to fix that one rung, and we ended up having to purchase a couple of pieces of 2×4 to create a stable base for the swing set side, which kept wanting to sink into our mossy backyard. It was frustrating, and cost more than it should have, and technically it’s still not quite done, but in the end it was worth it because my little missy loves it to pieces, and watching her and her cousin play on it was like looking back into the past, to another little girl who used to love to climb and jump and slide and swing.

And what kid doesn't love "death-defying" rescues? XD
And what kid doesn’t love “death-defying” rescues? XD

What was your favorite piece of playground equipment?

Slip-Sliding Away

Have you ever felt the strange sensation of time slipping through your fingers?

If you follow my blog (and I know at least some of you do…hi guys!) you may have noticed that I failed to post anything for the past two days, and that’s not terribly like me. I miss days every so often, of course, but it’s rare for me to miss two in one week, and very rare for such a thing to happen when I’m not even working (i.e. have plenty of spare time).

But the thing is, I’ve been having one of those times – you know the kind – when even though you’ve got nothing that needs to be done, you still feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day, like you’re losing time somewhere.

Do you guys realize that we’re already (pretty much) into the last week of January? How the hell did that happen? It feels to me like Christmas just ended and somehow the first three weeks of 2015 just up and flew away from me, never to be seen again.

Of course, there are reasons for this feeling, because there are always reasons. One big reason is that I’ve finally (after a great deal of back-and-forth-ing, I might add) gotten my official call-back for work, complete with flights and camp booked. This means that in less than two weeks I’ll be flying back out to Alberta, away from my husband and daughter for two weeks at a time, freezing my butt off while working 12-hour days for 14 days straight. Now, see, I really don’t mind the fly-in fly-out lifestyle that much, and it has certainly been worth it for my family to be able to get ahead in life the way we have. But this particular job has me cringing a bit for a few reasons. One is that I’ll be working out in the field again (by which I mean literally outside, in the freezing cold, in Northern Alberta), which is something I haven’t done in quite a while (I’ve been working via the control room, all warm and cozy at a desk), so it’s going to be a bit of a shock to the system to get used to again. Another thing is that the camp I’ll be staying at is nothing to write home about – unlike the last two camps I stayed at this one requires me to share a bathroom with my neighbor, the walls are so thin that you can hear every little noise at all hours of the night, and about 80% of the food options make me physically ill. Finally, since the cellular network is so awful where I’m going, and since my work hours coincide with her waking hours/kindergarten hours, I’m fairly certain that I’m not going to be able to Skype my daughter while I’m on this job. It might even be difficult to call her since I’ve been warned that the cell network has only gotten worse since the last time I was out there.

So yeah…understandably, I’m not exactly looking forward to starting this particular job. But then again, with the price of oil the way it is right now, I’d be a complete moron to turn down any kind of work.

Then there’s another factor playing into my feeling of time-loss. The other day when I picked my daughter up at kindergarten I was handed this pile of papers:

schoolregThat’s right…school registration. This coming September my daughter will be officially starting school. Real school. How screwed up is that? My cousin (whose daughter is 4 months older than mine and thus also starting school this September) and I had a long conversation last night about how crazy it is that we’re sending the girls off to school already. They still seem so young, and my daughter in particular seems so tiny (short girl genes, poor thing). Now, technically I could hold her back another year, because her birthday is only about a week before the cutoff, and parents do, of course, have the option to wait an extra year if they don’t think their child is ready. But I do think my child is ready. She’s a smart kid, she learns fast. She’s already learning the basics of reading, and she’s way better with numbers than most kids I know her age. And she loves “little girl school”, so chances are that she’ll love “big girl school” too. Honestly, I think it would hurt her to be held back until next year way more than it might help her. She is definitely ready to go. Even if it makes me feel like I’ve suddenly gotten very old very fast.

Of course, there’s always lots of little things to destroy my sense of time as well… Like, for instance, the fact that I’m desperately trying to get my manuscript straightened out in time to be able to submit it to the local publisher’s call-out next month. Or how my husband and I are trying to get some stuff done around the house before I’m 3000 miles away and unable to help out. Or the fact that for some reason I’ve been tired as hell lately, so I’ve been wasting even more time snuggled up in bed late many mornings.

All in all, everything culminates in the frustrating sensation that time is rapidly moving away from me and I have no idea where it’s going or how to stop it.

Have you ever felt like time was slipping away from you? How do you deal with it? Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? If you’ve got kids, do you ever feel like they grow up every time you blink? Here’s a question: how many hours do you sleep in a night, and does it feel like enough (for me, it seems like I can sleep 9 hours a night and still be tired)? Share! Comment! Commiserate!

The Little Things in Life

No one who knows my husband and I personally would dare disagree with the statement that we go a little insane at Christmas. We’re not crazy people with endless disposable income – it’s just that we don’t spend a lot of money throughout the year. Our hobbies are cheap ones (he mostly just plays video games, and I’m happy to write on my slowly-dying laptop), and we make a point of trying not to buy our daughter things regularly because we don’t want her to be one of those kids who thinks she can have anything she likes every time we go to the mall.

But at Christmas? Oh, we totally lose our minds at Christmas. It was bad enough when it was just the two of us buying each other geeky collectibles by the truckload, but the past few years we’ve had a kid to deal with as well and the resulting Christmas-tree explosion is a completely ridiculous testament to our mental states.

And I won’t say that the daughter doesn’t enjoy it, because what kid wouldn’t enjoy a mound of presents to open all at once? However, as usual, our adorable little mini-me shows us that quantity is not necessarily the be all and end all.


That little critter in her arms right there is a stuffed Rocket Raccoon. My daughter asked Santa (several times and through several different methods and mediums) for a Rocket Raccoon for Christmas this year, and so when she woke up on Christmas morning this little critter was sitting, unwrapped, at the front of the present pile with a little pink bow on his head. And you know what? She’s hardly let go of him since then.

I’m not saying that she ignored her other presents. Hell no. She loves the superhero action figures that she got, has been rocking out on the Barbie guitar that great-nana gave her, and I’m pretty sure she’d play Disney Infinity all day until bedtime if we allowed her… But this little Rocket Raccoon toy – this little stuffed dude who doesn’t do anything other than be hugged with a grumpy look on his face – has barely left her sight for the past week. She’s been sleeping with him cuddled into her arms every night, and he didn’t leave her hand the entire day when we went out shopping for Boxing Week sales. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that someone had super-glued him to her hand.

And you know what? There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Kids (and adults) these days are surrounded by technology, thousands of channels, hundreds of thousands of options, everything bigger and better and flashier and more expensive. And yet a kid’s favorite toy can still be a little plush that does absolutely nothing. It doesn’t play games, it doesn’t talk, it doesn’t move at all. And yet it’s exciting to her to be able to take him to the grocery store and buckle him in to the seat in the cart next to her. That’s pretty amazing, and something we should all probably think about emulating. Because toys (whether they be actual toys, appliances, electronics, or whatever else) don’t have to be the biggest, brightest, noisiest model with the most possible options to still be fun and enjoyable and make a person happy.

What were your favorite toys as a kid? Were they the simple ones or the complex ones? What about as an adult? Do you have to upgrade to the newest cellphone the second it comes out? Or are you the kind of person who is happy to snuggle up and enjoy an old movie favorite? Do you enjoy the simple things in life, or are you all about the complexity? Please share!

Big Things in Small Packages

Here’s a confession: I love presents. That may sound a little selfish, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. I love getting presents, yes, but I love giving presents just as much. Since I was first old enough to go out to the store with my own money and buy my parents little tokens of my affection, I’ve loved the feeling of seeing someone open a gift that I picked out for them. It’s half of the reason that I love Christmas so much, and to me it’s just as fun as opening my own presents.

But not all presents are the kind that you wrap up in pretty paper and stick a bow to. Four years ago today my husband and I received a very special early Christmas present, which, incidentally, was also kind of a present from us to our families. My little princess has grown a lot since that day, but she’s still the best present in the world to me, and she’s made Christmas an infinitely more wonderful holiday in our household.

Happy Birthday, baby girl! And thanks for being my Christmas present again this year! ❤