Monday, December 15, 2008

Illegal contraband

Very soon, my clippies will be considered illegal to sell in the United States of America.

The US is bringing in new, strict laws to deal with the toy recalls and concern about public safety. New laws that, if enforced, will put an end to the handmade industry for children's items. Anybody who makes or buys items for someone under the age of 12 is affected.

Basically, the law requires testing of all components of all items made. So, in one of my clippies, I use a metal alligator clip, and 1 or 2 types of ribbon. To comply with this law, I need to have the clip and each type of ribbon tested. In every clippie. Never mind the fact that I use the same clip in every style or the fact that I use the some of the same ribbons. EVERY style of clippie I make has to be subjected to the same tests. So, since my store currently has almost 100 items in it, and if I only needed 2 tests per item, that would be 200 tests I would need to have done for lead.

Oh, did I mention that these tests cost about $400 each?

So, let's do the math. 200 tests at $400 a pop is $80 000. I guess once I get all of my current styles tested, I'm never going to change what I offer. After all, it will take me about 50 years to start making a profit again after having to shell out that kind of cash.

Toysrus and Walmart don't like this law either, but they can afford it. They might have to get 6 components of a toy camera tested, costing $2400, but they can then sell that same camera 50 000 times, spreading out the cost of the testing considerably. Most handcrafters will make less then 10 of a certain item. Some make everything one of a kind.

Nobody that sells children's items wants to put children at risk. But, the law, as it currently stands is oppresive and unrealistic. Grandmother's that make teddy bears will no longer be able to. Seamstresses selling one of a kind children's clothes will have to stop. Stay at home mom's who make hair clips will be committing a crime.

I rant on occasion about how much I hate Canada post, but right now, I am very happy to living and selling on this side of the border. I won't lie, it will hurt to stop shipping to the States, but it won't destroy my business the way it will for many.

If you are reading my blog from South of the border, please write your congressman and ask them to review this law. Express your concerns about the casualties of these new requirements.

The days before political correctness

Do you ever realize that you were born in the days before political correctness?

I caught a bit of "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" on the television last night. A bit of nostalgia hit me so I watched part of it with Spud. I remember watching this almost every year at Christmas when I was little. Anyone know what year it was made?

Anyways, it got to the part where Rudolf's parents were going to go look for him. Mrs. Donner wanted to go too, but Mr. Donner said "No, this is man's work," and then left.

I wonder if that would fly today?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I said I never would...

Co-sleeping that is. Prior to becoming a parent, I was adamantly against co-sleeping. I strongly believed that children need to learn to sleep on their own, and couples need their bed to themselves. My pre-child attitudes had no room for even entertaining the idea of letting my child sleep in my bed.

That was before I was blessed with 2 children who are lousy sleepers.

I fought co-sleeping with Spud. I had to get up with him anyways since I never managed to breastfeed him any way except for one position, sitting up. Plus, I always had to supplement him with formula afterwards. So, it was easy to fight the co-sleeping since I was up regardless. Those days are kind of like a blur anyways. I was pretty much always a sleep deprived zombie. Despite getting up with him though, I ended up giving in more and more often when I realized that he would sleep in our bed and I would sleep.

Somehow, I often think my husband shares my viewpoint on things without realizing that he often doesn't. Since I had been so strongly against co-sleeping, I figured he was too. At some point we discussed it and I discovered I was the only one that cared so much, and I had no reason for it.

When Sweetpea was born, I had a much more open mind about the co-sleeping thing. And when she turned into a baby that slept no better then her older brother, it was a godsend. This time, I was able to breastfeed without supplementing and before long, I figured out how to breastfeed laying down.

It's almost unfair. My husband gets up with Spud because I have to feed and "get up" with Sweetpea. There's more then the occasional morning where he looks exhausted and I am doing fine. Aside from the first 2 weeks, I haven't even had many days where I feel especially sleep deprived. I barely wake up when Sweetpea is hungry and the difference is amazing.

It is so easy to form opinions before your children are born, but sometimes alot harder to stick to them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I can deal with it if you brag about how well your child sleeps,

but I can't deal with it when you complain about it.

Warning: rant ahead.

Honestly, I don't know why parents feel that they are entitled to a full uninterrupted night's sleep. If you get it, good for you. That is really awesome and consider yourself very lucky. But, really, being woken up at night is just par for the course. If you can't deal with it, that is something you should have considered before becoming a parent. Maybe you can hire a night nanny.

Having said that, some babies do sleep through the night very early. My mother claims that I slept through the night starting at 2 weeks. I used to believe her, but since my own children show none of those tendencies, I wonder if she was just sleep deprived and delusional...

BUT DO NOT COMPLAIN when your child gets up once overnight. I feel sympathy if you are one of those unlucky ones that has a truly bad sleeper. (meaning multiple wake ups and stretches of sleep shorter then 3 hours). But, guess what? Having a 4 month old that wakes up to eat once is very normal.

Okay, rant done.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I've had an article written about my clippies!

Recently someone contacted me through my blog asking me questions in order to write an article about my clips. Now the article is up on their website. I think it's pretty exciting that someone I don't even know has shown interest in writing this article and I encourage you all to check it out.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

And the winner is...

Post number 45, as chosen by

Kari mentioned her favourite clippies as the being the black velvet clippies and the blue butterflies. Unless she has a new favourite, she will be receiving one of those items along with the dragonfly set and the Christmas tree clippie!
Thank you to everyone that entered! I am planning to hold another giveaway sometime around Easter, so keep your eyes open!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Critical error

A few days ago, I made a critical error. I decided to make rice krispie squares together with Spud. So, I pulled a chair over to the counter for him to stand on and he helped me pour in 6 cups of rice krispies and then stir it.

He had a great time. It may have been a simple activity, but he loved it. And I think that cooking/baking is great for kids. It helps them to develop life skills, and eventually even reading and math. (And for a 20 month old, rice krispie squares are baking.)

The error I made wasn't in doing this activity for him. Parents of toddlers have probably already spotted what my mistake was. No, in addition to valuable life skills, Spud learned another lesson.

He learned that you can pull the chair over to the counter to climb up on...

That was the next day. And here is a picture of Sweetpea just because.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My rant for the day

To the child hater at the mall:

Yes, I would prefer my toddler had not darted in front of you as well. Fixing him with a glare of death will have no effect. Fixing me with a glare of death will only make me rant about you on my blog.

To the person that threw the baby swing over the bar at the park:

You made a child cry. I hope you feel good about yourself.

To Canada post:

I still hate you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Clippie giveaway!

For Christmas, I will be giving away a Christmas dragonfly clippie set and a Christmas tree clippie. The lucky winner will also win one item from my etsy store of their choice (up to a $6 value).

To enter, go to my etsy store (link can be found on the left of this page). Look around, come back and tell me what your favourite item up to $6 is. Make sure I have a way to contact you, either by your blogger identity, or email. (I will not use this information for any other purpose.)

This contest will run until November 29 and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced November 30.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sleeping babies...

After some talk with my husband, we've come to a decision on an issue that has been causing us difficulty.

We are going to let our baby sleep on her stomach.

Now, I am an intelligent, educated woman. I am well aware of the "back to sleep" campaign. I think it is wonderful, in fact. Anything that can cut SIDS deaths in half the way it has is great. I think that everybody should try to put their baby on their back to sleep.

With Sweetpea though, there is a crucial flaw in the back to sleep campaign. It's the fact that it involves "back" but also "sleep".

Sweetpea does not sleep on her back.

If it were the "back to wake" campaign, it would work great for us. Because that is what Sweetpea does when we lay her on her back. In the three months since she has been born, she has probably logged only a couple hours (total) of sleep on her back. She sleeps with us, on her side, in bed. She sleeps in my wrap. Sometimes she will sleep in her carseat after crying herself to sleep. That's it.

Except that's not it. She will sleep on her stomach.

There have been a couple times when she has rolled from her side to her stomach and she has slept better then ever before. In fact, in the last week, she has had a couple naps where she has slept for as much as two hours, by herself, on her stomach. At first, I was terrified to leave her that way and checked on her constantly. Now, I am nervous, but slowly getting used the idea.

Having said that, I think it is amazing how much fear parents have about putting their babies on their stomachs to sleep. A generation ago, it was the reccomended way. It's one thing to teach that back sleeping can be safer, but to instill this fear? I don't know if that is good either.

There is one thing I know though. I need my baby to sleep. If back sleeping just made her more restless, I might still do it. If back sleeping prevents sleep from happening altogether, it just can't happen.

Don't tell the public health nurses! They'll come after me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In memory of Bugaboo

Today is the day that only I remember. Two years ago today is the day that my first baby might have been born.

Usually when I talk about my first baby, I am talking about Spud. Indeed, Spud is my first born baby.

Bugaboo is the baby that never got to be born. Bugaboo is the first baby for whom I had hopes and dreams. The baby that never got another name, but remains Bugaboo forever. The baby that lived inside of me for three short months and then moved on.

I am very blessed with the children I have, and I have no wish to change the way things happened, but today is a day that I remember Bugaboo.

As I look at my two living children, I am reminded of a poem that I read a long time ago.

A different child,
People notice there's a special glow around you.
You grow surrounded by love, never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy in your mother and father's eyes.
And if sometimes, Between the smiles, There's a trace of tears,
One day you'll understand.
You'll understand there was once another child, a different child
Who was in their hopes and dreams.
That child will never outgrow the baby clothes.
That child will never keep them up at night.
In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all.
Except sometimes, in a silent moment,
When mother and father miss so much that different child.
May hope and love wrap you warmly and may you learn the lesson forever
How infinitely precious, how infinitely fragile is this life on earth.
One day, as a young man or woman, you may see another mother's tears
Another father's silent grief
Then you, and you alone will understand and offer the greatest comfort.
When all hope seems lost, you will tell them with great compassion,
"I know how you feel.I'm only here Because my mother tried again."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Yes, I am a little behind in posting this. Things have been busy, but that is another post.

Just a quick post so that I can post a picture.

I took Spud and Sweetpea out trick or treating on Halloween. Spud was a monkey while Sweetpea was a kitty cat. Spud had a great time, running up to house after house and banging on the doors. It even helped tire him out and he went to bed at a halfway decent time. Sweetpea slept in my wrap for most of it.

Here is a picture of the kids with Daddy before heading out. Spud is not at all happy with the hood of his monkey costume and did not wear it after this.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Getting sick

I used to think I had it bad when I got sick. Everyone does, right? After all, your head is pounding, you feel nauseous, or you are totally sapped of energy. Or all of the above, which is how I feel right now.

I used to know nothing. Little did I appreciate being able to call in sick to work and lay down on the couch with a hot tea. I could watch movies or sleep if need be.

Getting sick when you are a stay at home mom is a totally different ballgame. The kids don't let you call in sick. If you are really really sick, you might be able to get your spouse to stay home. But otherwise, suck it up, take some advil and deal.

Forget laying down. Spud seems to take offense of anyone laying down in his vicinity. (Perhaps that is related to his hatred of going to sleep.) He'll push on your head and do everything he can to make you sit up. Once you're sitting, he undoubtably wants to pull you off in one direction or another.

Sweetpea is still basically a newborn (I don't know for sure what age they are considered newborn until). She could care less if I am exhausted, she needs to eat. This time, I fought a serious battle to make breastfeeding work and that means I am the only one that can feed her, day or night. She also inheritated some of the anti-sleep genes that her brother has, so she can't seem to go to sleep unless she is being walked around or at least bounced on the exercise ball.

Meanwhile, Spud seems to be teething, so he is cranky. REALLY cranky. Waking up from his nap, he threw a fit. When I pick Sweetpea up, he throws a fit. Yet, for some reason, he has started taking offense to her being put in her swing, so... wait for it... he throws a fit. He wants to hold her, then he pushes her away.

Really, none of this is abnormal behaviour for my (or anyone else's) children. The difference is, I just want to curl up on my couch with a tea. And that's not an option.

How little I appreciated being sick before.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I hate Canada post

Right now, I am really hating Canada post.

"Canada Post has served notice that it intends to raise the price of a basic stamp to 54 cents from 52 cents, starting in January.
The Crown corporation is also proposing to double the cost of mailing large envelopes, like the ones widely used in online shopping.
The cost of mailing a package weighing 500 grams would rise to $5.50 from $2.25."


Yes folks, that means that small businesses like myself may have to double their shipping costs in order to stay in business.

Now what's my beef, you may ask? I pass that cost on to my customers anyways. Very true. However, my biggest problem with this is that American sellers can send packages into Canada for less then I can. What a great way to encourage people to buy within Canada.

I understand and accept that it should cost me more to send internationally. Because of this, international customers are likely to have a preference to buy within their own country. Fair enough. Some of them still buy from me, but I understand if they choose not to. However, as a Canadian resident, I should have a slight advantage within Canada when it comes to the cost of shipping. Not so.

When I started my clippie business, I intended to have it be a clippie and bow business. That is, until I found out more about Canada post. While clippies can go in padded envelopes, bows would have to go in boxes to not get crushed. It would cost me about $6 to mail a small light box to the States and about $8 within Canada. Meanwhile, an american seller can send a 200 gram box (pretty standard weight for a few bows) to CANADA for a mere $2.86. Pretty hard for me to compete when I have to charge 2-3 times as much for shipping.

So I accepted the fact that everything I sold would have to fit into a padded envelope, and be less then 2 cm thick to fit through the "slot of doom".

Now, Canada post is going to double the cost for me to mail these padded envelopes.

So much for any kind of a level playing field...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I have an obsession

I love pretty things. Even as a little girl, I loved to have things simply because they are pretty. My mother once described me as a crow because of this. I just like to collect things and put them in my nest.

Now my obsession has become ribbon. A part of me wonders if I started this clippie business because I wanted an excuse to collect more pretty things. Here is my latest order of ribbon.

There's red and pink, blue, orange and green. I have more of my favourite lollipop ribbon and more colours of it. Pink and blue denim. Two of the boxed sets of ribbon that have such lovely prints.

Yes, I am obsessed. I won't tell you how many hundreds of dollars I have spent on ribbon in the last few months. This order is only a part of it. After all, you might tell my husband. But, rest assured, it will all be put to good use.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I became one of those mothers...

Today I became one of those mothers that other mothers raise their eyebrows at. Oh, the incompetence...

I was at the nearby malls play place today with Spud and Sweetpea. Now, Sweetpea is generally a passive observer in our adventures since her main activities still consist of eating, sleeping and pooping. In the last couple of weeks though, she has also started to smile alot.

So, Spud was climbing one of the structures. (A far better climber then he ought to be at 19 months.) Sweetpea was sitting in her bucket seat in front of me giving me one of her heartmelting smiles. I took a moment to coo and smile back at Sweetpea and when I looked up, Spud was no longer there. No worries, he probably just headed back to the tunnel he was at a moment earlier. Nope, not there either.

My heart started to beat a bit faster as I looked around for him. After what felt like an eternity (but was probably no more then a few seconds), I look towards the entrance, and there he is, gazing into the vast expanse of the mall. I call out his name and he looks back at me, waves, and takes off. The parents standing around the entrance part way for him to go through while looking on dissaprovingly. I rush over (while carrying Sweetpea in the bucket seat) and have to ask one of the ladies (who had moved aside without being asked, for Spud) to get out of my way. He doesn't get far before he is apprehended and brought back. (Only to take off again a few minutes later, which brought an end to our play time.)

Now throughout all this, there are many raised eyebrows and "tsk tsk"s.

And so, I would like to offer my heartfelt apologies to all the mothers and fathers I have "tsk tsk"ed in the past. I am sorry I let out that sigh as your son grabbed the chocolate bar. I realize I was out of line when I gave you a look for not controlling your temper tantruming daughter. I even understand why you just bought that that toy rather then having a full out fight in the middle of the store. I did not know.

I think a harness is in Spud's future. I can just see the looks already...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Unwarranted advice

It's cold in Calgary today. And when I say cold, I only mean it's the kind of cold that we complain about and bundle up for in the fall. When we get days with this temperature after the winter, you'll see people wearing shorts. In other words, it was about 5 degrees with a fairly nasty wind.

Now, I have a toddler that goes crazy if he doesn't get to spend time outside. I also had to make a trip to the post office. I figured it would be fine to walk, so I stuck Spud in the stroller and Sweetpea in my wrap and embarked on the approximately 20 minute walk. (While I could have let Spud walk, that would have made it into an hour long walk.)

As I am nearing my destination, the wind picks up and a little bit of rain (snow?) starts to fall.

I pass a man who is walking with a (around) 9 year old boy. (Who, I might add, only has a light jacket, and no hat).

He looks at me and says "what are you doing out here in this weather?" to which I cheerfully respond, "it's good for all of us to get outside." He looks at me with a scornful look and tells me "you have a little one. She's too young to be out in this weather." Now, I am trying very hard to stay polite. I give a little laugh and tell him that she's only too young if she isn't dressed for it.

I mean, this is Calgary. We're in Canada, buddy. Do you expect to have palm trees and drink margaritas by the pool year round? The weather is going to drop to MINUS 30 at some point. Quite frankly, I am not prepared to spend half the year inside simply because the mercury goes below 10.

Sweetpea was bundled up better then anyone. She was in the wrap, which puts her right against all my body heat. My coat was done up over top of her. The only part of her protruding (and the only reason he could even tell there was a baby girl there) is her head. That head was covered in a warm, cozy fleece hat.

And hello? Hypocrite? His son (or child in his care) was very ill prepared for the weather.

I could have told him all this, but I didn't. Since I having my children, I am learning that there are times you just have to keep your mouth shut. Smile and nod. Smile and nod...

Why is it that perfect strangers feel the need to give advice to you simply because you have children?

And just for the record, here's a couple pictures of the (very cute) hat that Sweetpea had on.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Going on a pumpkin hunt

This weekend, we took Spud on a pumpkin hunt at a local commercial farm, butterfield acres. The idea of it was that we go to the farm, go for a ride on wagon pulled by a tractor, find a hidden pumpkin, decorate it and then go pet the animals.

Spud is a toddler. Apparently someone didn't give him the agenda, because he wasn't that good at doing things the way they were planned.

Upon arriving at the farm and getting our tickets, we headed over to the playground to wait for our time slot to come. For the most part, he liked running around in the leaves, but there was a slide there that he absolutely loved. It was much faster then the ones at the playgrounds we go to. A 5 year old got off of it terrified, but not my little guy. He went down over and over again.

After a little bit of play on the playground, it came time to head over and listen to the pre-trip announcements. We headed to the "hoe-down stage" and listened to the safety talk. Spud had more fun playing on the hay bales and trying to pick up the giant pumpkin.

We then went on a wagon ride to go for the pumpkin hunt. Spud LOVED the wagon ride and was completely enamored with the tractor. So much so that when we arrived where the pumpkins were hidden, he didn't care about the pumpkins and just wanted to stay on the wagon.

Unfortunately, by the time we got him away from the wagon, most of the pumpkins had been claimed. It seems they only put out the exact number for how many children there are, and another child had claimed 2. Fortunately, Spud didn't care about the pumpkins and would rather run around in the leaves.

We did convince him to take a bit of interest in it.

Although he wasn't too sure about the decorating part.

In the end, we did get a toddler masterpiece. One without the "parental help" that many others received.

Once the pumpkin was decorated, it was time to explore the farm. He liked looking at the animals, but was a little nervous when he went in the parts where he could actually pet them.

Ultimately, Spud was more interested in the farm equipment, the playground and a dandelion that he found.

Throughout the whole experience, Sweetpea stayed nice and snug in the wrap. (See her cute Halloween clippie?

Ultimately, it was a good experience. Butterfield acres claims to be the "real farm experience" and I can't say it was really that. The pumpkin hunt felt a little bit like an assembly line experience, as they really tried to rush us through. But we had fun. I think we'll do it again in a couple of years, once Spud and Sweetpea are both old enough to care a little more about the pumpkins.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

4:00 AM

I am starting to really dislike the hours of 4 - 6 am. The reason I dislike them is because those are hours when I should be asleep, but lately have been awake.

The last week, Sweetpea has been waking up around 4:00 to eat. Now, I accept the fact that she is going to wake up during the night to eat. She is only 6.5 weeks old and when you decide to become a parent, you sign up for that. However, I would really like it if, after eating, she would go back to sleep. But she doesn't. She has wide open eyes and simply won't settle and fusses and cries when I lay her down or even lay down with her.

Somehow I was blessed with 2 children that just don't sleep well.

Now, maybe it's my fault. My parenting style has been described as attachment parenting. While I am hesitant to use the label, there are definetely aspects of it that I can't deny I follow. One of those is that I won't leave my children to cry it out.

So, here I sit, with my baby in a wrap, bouncing up and down on an exercise ball while I add an entry to my blog. Meanwhile, I know that my husband is upstairs sleeping in Spud's bed with him, because he woke up a couple hours ago and wouldn't go back to sleep without a cuddle.

Surely the day will come when both of my children sleep through the night. It has to. I'm just not holding my breath expecting it soon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Your grapes are better then my grapes

So, I'm sitting with Spud, having a snack following his nap. He's in his highchair and I am at the table. All of a sudden, his little finger comes up and he starts making his "eh" sounds. Now, Spud's communication at this point usually involves pointing or leading me to a spot where he wants me to do something. What remains is for me to figure out what it is he wants.

So, I look on the table and see my water. He's thirsty? I offer it to him, but nope. The finger is still up and his eyes are fixed on something. The salt shaker? If so, tough luck, kiddo. I don't need to clean up that much salt again. But his eyes (and the finger) aren't following it as a I move it to a safer spot. What's left? My grapes.

Now, there is nothing special about my grapes. Most of the time, I eat the same thing I feed him. Usually the only exception is when I want something that I know he won't eat. But, today, he likes grapes and I like grapes. So, the only difference between our snacks is that my grapes aren't cut in half.

I am still too paranoid about choking issues to give him an uncut grape, so I pick up a knife, cut that grape in half and hand it to him. Surely, it was something else he was wanting? Nope. As the grape gets to his little hands, a smile spreads across his face and a little "yaaaaa" comes out of his mouth. He promptly shoves the grape in and the finger comes up again to let me know that he would like another one of my grapes.

He still had about 10 grape halves right in front of him.

It just goes to show that we learn young that someone else's is better then ours. I'm not naive enough to believe that this behaviour is limited to toddlers. I, myself, am notorious for taking a bite off my husband's plate because "his tastes better".

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Getting started

So many years after it's rise in popularity, I've decided to join the world of bloggers. Why? Plenty of reasons, and none at all. I am a stay at home mom to 2 little ones, and sometimes my day consists of diapers, baby talk, the playground, and toy cars. I love my kids, but after an hour walk, where I am repeating "plane, plane, that's a plane" over and over, I start lack any real intellectual stimulation. I need to find a place where my vocabulary gets a little more of a work out.

Spud and Sweetpea are my children. Okay, those aren't their actual given names, but rather the names I used for them before they were born. Hence the name of my blog and the names you'll usually see them called by.

At the time of this writing, Spud is 1.5 years old, and Sweetpea is 1.5 months old. Needless to say, you can expect alot of my posts to be about them. If you aren't interested in my adventures into mommyhood, feel free to move on and read another blog. Other things you might see mentioned are my hobbies (gardening, hiking, the mountains, knitting), my business ( which is soon to be renamed) or just anything else that I have an opinion on.