You can now find Capital Mom at www.capitalmom.ca

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Return

Squatting down in front of my open purse I rifle through the papers and business cards and the rest of the jumbled mess that I carry with me everywhere I go, looking for my keys. The wooden porch boards around me are already littered with books and my laptop. I pick up the purse and shake it, listening for that familiar jingle jingle sound but I already know that as much as I look I won't find them. My keys are somewhere on the other side of the locked door.

I consider lugging my suitcase and two bags down to the corner coffee shop, but the light rain stops me. Instead I decide to stay here. How long can they be? I wonder even as I admit to myself that they aren't expecting me. Turning away from the street to gather up my scattered belongings, I catch a glimpse of a grey rain coat out of the corner of my eye. I straighten and run down the steps just as the double stroller turns into our walk way.

Hi! I yell excitedly. The husband starts. The girl whips open the stroller cover and climbs out before her dad has even stopped walking. Launching herself at me from the edge of the stroller, I catch her in my arms and twirl her onto the third step of the stairs. I lift the surprised boy out from the depths of the stroller and hug him before placing him at the top of the stairs. I smile at them both. Then the girl demands to know what I have brought her and we herd them inside the house before the entire contents of my luggage are dumped out in search of whatever it is she considers to be a good present.

Sitting on the couch later, I marvel that the children that had seemed so small and young only hours ago have grown exponentially in front of my eyes. The growth in size and abilities seems to be directly correlated to the amount of noise they have made non stop since my return home. I remind myself that they are just excited to see me and that once the novelty of my return wears off they will settle down. And then I remind myself that these are my children and so no, they won't.

I find myself longing for a little bit more of what I had these last few days. Not the learning or the awesome swag or even the great friends. I find myself thinking about the queen sized bed that I sorely neglected by only using it for sleep. I tell myself that the next time I go away I will lie in the bed for hours, doing nothing but staring at the ceiling and listening to the silence.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

If a blog falls in a forest?

This is a live blogging transcript from the Blissdom Canada session If a blog falls in the forest? How to get your blog to make a sound

Annie @PHDinParenting
Heather Greenwood Davis @greenwooddavis
Aidan Morgan @palinode

Amy Urquhart @heartstohome
Emma Waverman @emmawaverman

Annie: Will share the secrets of blogging. It is a s simple as this: like encountering a mountain lion in forest, there is no guarantee. We can give you tips. Advantage with blogging you can try things out. It is okay to fail.

Will go through the anatomy of the blog post. Titles, comments, etc.

Titles. Should I be clever or literal? People want to be cleaver, don't know if it will work with SEO. Different titles will work with different situations. She gives examples of her posts about co-sleeping. How to title it depends on what you are trying to do. First post about co-sleeping used title in response to news. First time people found her blog other then her sister because Annie used same words as news. It was top 4 search on Google.

Also wanted a longer-term post, not news specif search so wrote more general, short title. Did key word research first with Google trends. Her post now top ranked for co-sleeping safety. Above Dr. Sears. Because of words in title, not necessarily content in post.

Post with numbers was great for Twitter. A post got a lot of traffic because numbers caught people's attention.

Body of post, If you are a gifted writer, just go and write. If you struggle with writing, keep it under 500 words. It will force you to stay on point, keep people interested. Structure it and use subtitles. Annie's posts are long. She used subtitles and structure. Helps keep people engaged. For SEO use key words in first paragraph and bold them.

A picture tells a thousand words. Didn't use pictures at first. Annie now tries to add pictures to every post. Make sit more visually appealing. She shares posts to Facebook and it grabs pictures. She loves to grab pictures from Flicker.

Internet loves lists. Two top posts are lists. Highest ranked posts, people share. Other post may be better written but people love lists.

Different styles for posts, storytellers (non-fiction and fiction), prose or poetry. Sometimes telling a story to tell a story, sometimes to get a point across. Advocates will blog to get a point across (Annie's blog). Artists use video, writing, drawing. There are comedians (ex the Bloggess). Informative posts are presenting info on a topics, lists of links or sharing other posts.

Regardless of style, you want to make people think. Annie loves to go away and think about a post. Making people think generates discussions.

Tags or categories. Categories are lists of main things you write about. People can search topics. Tags are keywords are individual posts. LinkWithin is a fun plug in that shows users related posts that they might be interested in on similar topics.

If you want comments on your blog, don't just hope they come. Invite people to comment. Ask a question or their experience. People love to share their own experiences. Ask for advice on something. This is going to get comments from own community. Annie also likes to respond to comments in post. Comment in on what they said. If it is someone new you want to engage them, invite them into community. Comment on other people's blogs. Seek out new blogs and leave comments. When Annie started she left comments on other people's blogs. the more real your comment the more people will engage.

Thread your comments. Annie won't comment if she can't engage an earlier comment, she doesn't want to be lost later in the comments. Have the conversation keep going.

Don't poke the trolls. Sometimes it is fun. Annie will sometimes poke the trolls. If she doesn't reply other readers will, so Annie will comment but not engage.

Q: would you delete the comment
A: No. I would leave it but not engage it. Never know who comment is from.
Emma: a professional troll will repost if you take comment down. They will come back
Aidan: A troll said he will never come back to post again. I deleted comment and asked if he was still there and he came back. Kept doing it!

Annie: I like to track IP address of trolls. :)

Trackbacks are links from someone else's blog to your site. They are great. Annie likes to link to other people's stuff too. Try to link to her readers to build community. Sometimes blog will catch trackback, but also use alters or other tools. Radian6 is $500 a month so use it professionally.

Some people put them after comments, some before. Some people don't approve trackbacks because they are linkbait, the post against you but you are giving it prominence.

For SEO - write good stuff. Write often. Scott (@unmarketing) said only write when you are passionate, but you may want to write more if you are only passionate 2 a year.
Use words that people search for at beginning on post.

Sharing the love. Get words out once you have a blog. People won't read it if you don't tell them. RSS readers will know, but they might not get around to reading it. Annie reads most stuff from Twitter. Use Facebook because lots of people on Facebook hat not on Twitter. Link to older posts on Facebook for new followers. Use Digg, Stuble and Reddit to share your content and others. Have a share button. Use blog carnivals to get blog out based on interest, they write post about same topic.

Don't spam others that have written posts on same topic or @ people on Twitter with lots of followers. Don't steal other people's contents - take a snippet and link back, but don't take a whole post. Don't be a jerk. Be civil. Be authentic and transparent. Be yourself. Have fun!

That is the presentation. Now panel discussion around content.

Q: What is your best post? Lots of different ways of defining best post.
Heather : I like post What matters most. Got a call from child's school and worried something terrible had happened. Everything was fine but in that moment realized I would drop everything to go. Wrote it for me. A moment of realizing what was important to me. Posts like that get tremendous reaction.
Aidan: Different criteria. Know which post is most popular because Dooce linked to it. Wife called me because of stats. My 10 am stats were at 10,000 already. Post was about direct mail that said for 57 cents you can feed an old Jew. Wrote about it because I thought it was bazaar. People start coming and telling me how evil I am. I wasn't nasty in post, I just thought it was strange. Most popular but not best post. My favorite post was Insulting the Elements. Insulted all elements in period table. It took awhile. Hard to find characteristics about all elements. in doing this post, realized it was what I wanted to do with blog: tell stories in unorthodox way.
Amy: Post that most spoke to readers was a satire of Martha Stuart. Had magazine on coffee table and on cover Martha looked like a picture of me on couch in pjs. Post was satire on Martha magazine cover. Made up own magazine. Struck a note with people. Other post was called Breast was Best about switching son to formula. Proud of post because she was afraid to publish it but she did.
Emma: Best not always most popular. Top number posts are about sex or mom against mom. Some favorite posts don't get comments. One post was about how hard it is for kids to understand difference between reality and fiction. Bets posts are often written about you. Most popular post is We are a Naked Family.
Annie: 10 reasons we don't do cry it out most popular post. Best posts are ones about feelings, moms, passion. They are the ones that just flow out.

Annie: Want to talk about where people get ideas for posts.
Emma: I am a content whore. 260 posts in last year. (laughs) Don't remember them all. Get my ideas Best ideas are looking around universe, avoiding momesphere because someone else will already have written it better. I find topics, editors send me stuff.
Amy: I get ideas from comments readers have left. Jumping off point for another post. Get posts from photographs, the story around photo.
Aidan: I get my ideas from direct mail. Also blog professionally at MamaPop.com. With deadlines, trending topics on Twitter give good ideas. Hard work is finding something interesting to say about topic. Ideas come and find me and don't leave me alone.
Heather: Ideas from all other the place. Kids. Questions about how to deal with something.
Annie: A post asking for questions was a great way to generate ideas. A series about quotes from books or other posts and write around that.

Q: How much personal info to share?
Annie: I use different names for the kids, do use their pictures. Don't want it to be really easy for people to find us. Different names for professional and personal blogging.
Heather: Have been writing family travel for awhile, son is in Toronto Star today. Did backs of heads, kept them out there, but getting more comfortable with it. Don't blog personal things about relationship with husband. Do do photos.
Emma: Do use pseudonyms. Son is 11. A lot of mommy bloggers stop blogging about kids once they hit 10 or so because it is there stories not mine.
Annie: Protecting them from what might happen in future
Amy: Decided to assume everyone is reading me. With new URL used real name and it was a conscious choice. I am accountable for my words. Know what what I say is acceptable to people in my life. Do post photos of son, real name. There is potential to use image as way for parents to teach children about responsible online presence. If you start process with images in responsible way, maybe kids can pick up on that.

Q: Any experience with something in personal life move over to professional life.
Annie: Experience of an ex-client following her on Twitter. DMed her once she figured they were on same page and now great friends.
Amy: Have had supervisor come across blog. Would rather know that people are reading it by having them leave comments.
Annie: One person had a picture of her wearing nothing but a quaker box, and maybe she didn't get jobs because of it but the job she had knew about it and they were fine with it.
Aidan: No matter how much personal info you share on blog, someone will call you a monster one day. You will have arrived.
Heather: Be aware of protecting the rest of your family too, not just kids.

Annie: What do you need to consider about blogging professionally vs personally? With a client she is more cautious writing for someone else.
Emma: My distinctive voice is my strength. Don't have a personally blog, let it all out on msl blog. Sometimes I can't mention other companies. Keep in mind who you are writing for. Sometimes I don't have juice left over for guest post.
Aidan: For professional blog you are sometimes asked because the person like your personal blog. Ironing out voice for a professional blog is a mistake. They wanted me talking about them (client). What they want is your voice, your unique style. Look carefully at writing in professional blog (links work, editing. I got all links wrong and client not happy.
Annie: Can be hard if you don't get to edit professional posts.
Aidan: Check the post after it is published. Check links.

Q: Video.
Aidan: Don't know anything about video but I do it. Writing blogs can be hard but reading blogs can be hard. My reader is full. Sometimes I don't want to read, I want to look at images, video. The cheaper and easier it becomes, the easier it is to make and consume video. I do video for MamaPop.com. I started doing it because no one was doing it. Became biweekly. When I started I was terrible but it was practice. Can use a flip. Most cameras have good video. Don't be afraid to use own face. We all have interesting and beautiful faces, even the AV guy in the back.

Annie: My only word of caution is that not everyone has broadband high speed Internet in Canada. There is huge demand. Video this morning I would watching, Nummies Bras video.
Aidan: Not everyone has access. Still on ground floor of content. In 10 years see increase in video.
Heather: Don't do video now, will use it on trip. Would prefer not too. There is a reason I did print and not tv.

Q: Any post you wish you have never written?
Emma: I don't think so. Every day there is something I want to say. Sometimes I wish I had been more or less judgemental.
Amy: If feeling uncertain about a post I leave it in draft and then come back to it. No posts, but maybe some tweets. But you would have to dig to find those tweets. Stick it in draft and come back.
Aidan: One post I regretted. I made fun of a name, like nails on chalkboard. Kyle. Wrote about it. And 3rd comment was "Not funny, Kyle". Felt like it wasn't funny.
Heather: No regrets, but once I wrote about son Kyle (laughing) I don't hit publish until I am really certain.
Annie: No posts, but parts of post. Those bits where the comments focus on that. I wish I could take them off.

End of panel. Questions open to floor.

Q: Do any of you have secret blog?
Emma: I can't keep secrets.
Aidan: I have a blog that no one reads.
Annie: Someone told me I should. Have thought about a secret password protected blog for input of community that isn't open to public.
Heather: Will have a password protected blog for trip so kids can post too.
Amy: I don't but maybe it is something worth pursuing. I can do that with a pen and paper.
Aidan: Don't count on a secret blog staying secret.

Q: How do you think Twitter had impacted blogging
Annie: Twitter is essential to my blog. On day absent from Twitter, my traffic is way down. Not because I'm not linking, people see your presence and more likely to go visit your blog. Twitter is essential to community.
Emma: Friend said blogging is dead. Without twitter you don't know what is out there. If you want to blog you need to be on Twitter.
Amy: it is a vital tool to maintaining community. I don't link to myself, because can seem spamming. New posts will be tweeted once.
Aidan: Twitter a valuable tool. Have to tweet professional blog. Hurt personally blog because I can get joke out right away. Don't want to rewrite it on blog.
Annie: I have written posts to explain tweets.
Heather: I love Twitter. I wouldn't have started blogging if not for Twitter.

Aidan: Question for Heather. You have a recent blog. What made you decide to start blogging when you wonder how relevant they are.
Heather: My blog designed around trip. I hope people are interested in this too. I wanted to share with others.

Annie: Forgot question. Why did you decide to blog?
Aidan: Boredom in my job. Stated a blog after reading others. Use it to keep writing.

Q: How to get people to comment on blog and not Twitter.
Annie: Do you ask questions on posts?
Amy: Keep leaving comments on other people's blogs and then make it easy to leave a comment. It can take time to build relationships.

Q: Did anyone had issues with families and friends about your blogging?
Annie: Don't write about family or friends unless I have permission. I don't share stories of others. Maybe sure other person ok with that. Have asked permission to share stories of friends.
Emma: I take poetic licence. I sometimes change relationships. Your family has to know that when you write a personal blog your family become characters. My husband has become with that.
Amy: Could vent about certain people, but I don't do that online. Not willing to take that risk. I assume family reads my blog so I don't tell those stories.
Heather: Husband is but of joke on blog today, but if he is in post he gets to read it and veto it. Same with parents. Once wrote post my mother was horrified with, so she gets to read about it.
Aidan: As far as the Internet is concerned my wife and I are just characters on each other's blogs. Relationship is based on making fun of each other. When writing personal blog you are a storyteller first, you can make a little but up and still tell the truth.
Annie: Don't ever say anything online you wouldn't say in person with your mother standing next to you.

Question about growing professional blog.
Annie: Don't ask bloggers to write for your blog for free. Bloggers starting to get upset being asked to write for free. Talk to people and engage them in conversation.

Emma: If you are starting a blog Twitter is your best friend. Personalise who you are and people will come to you.
Heather: Write in print media and have gotten lots of stories from Twitter.
Annie: Have to wrap things up. Thank you.

Thank you to the speakers. Any errors are mine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whispers

She presses her mouth against my ear and speaks in what she thinks is a whisper. She says something, anything, about what she wants or what she doesn't like. I feel her breath trickle into me. It makes me shudder and I laugh.

He wants a turn too. He leans towards my ear and mumbles nonsense. Abababba, he whispers even though he is perfectly capable of speaking words I will understand. But whispering is something special and so he creates his words from nothing. All so he can breathe them into my ear.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Back of the bus

When the bus pulls up in front of our house the boy and I are there waiting. We have spent the last few minutes jumping and twirling and looking for the bus. Until there it is.

The bus stops and the door opens while I scan the faces staring back at me. I finally spot her through the window standing on the seat in the very last row. The bus door stays open but she doesn't move. She is wedged in the corner by her two friends and they are slow to let her out. They are too busy yelling hello to me.

I yell hello back and wave and wave at all the kids as they wave at me. When the girl appears her coat is zipped open and she is clutching her mitts in one hand. She takes her time walking down the stairs and away from the bus, stopping only to say goodbye.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday

I stood in the kitchen of a friend's house cutting vegetables and wondering when it was that I became the adult. She ran around the house, weaving in and out between the grownup legs. I remember when that was me.

In the middle of the music and the singing our eyes locked. She smiled at me, with her mouth, with her eyes. She shone her joy out from the centre of her heart and I felt it across the room. She turned away to resume her dancing and left the smile on my face.

Before dinner I sat on the couch, a sick boy cuddled in my arms. He moved aside the top of my shirt so he could lay his fevered head against my skin. I wrapped him tighter in the blanket and pulled the girl in closer beside me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Travel companions

I left the gas station convenience store clutching a small bag of chips, a bag of pretzels and a root beer. Heading back to the car I started to feel optimistic. This was sure to make me feel better.

I climbed back into the front seat and we drove off. I felt guilty about the last stop knowing it was late and we were all eager to finish our long drive. The two in the back seat closed their eyes and rested quietly while the car weaved around the trucks driving with us on the highway.

It had been her idea to try the chips. At our second stop, she suggested I eat whatever caught my eye. It's what your body wants she said. So I stood morosely along the snack aisles, peeking out from under the hood of my sweatshirt that was pulled low over my head. Nervous to try anything, but still desperately hungry.

Finally, I selected a bag of Old Dutch potato chips, like any loyal ex-Winnipegger should. Settled back in the front seat I opened the bag cautiously. Soon I was licking the salt off each chip and devouring them quickly. When I found myself eyeing her bottle of pop sitting in the front seat cup holder near me I knew another stop was necessary. All in the name of me not throwing up in the car, of course.

The mistake I made was eating as soon as we started driving away from the hotel. My body was exhausted after a busy day and little sleep the night before. Even the make-up I had done at the conference, while making me almost unrecognizable to myself, could not hide my blood shot eyes. My body didn't like being so tired. It didn't like the food. It didn't like the turning and starting and stopping as we made our way slowly out of Toronto.

We had to make our first stop at a coffee shop just outside the city so I could try to relieve the car sickness somewhere other then the nice, clean car. It was a blessing and curse when I was unsuccessful. I threw up enough when I was pregnant with the boy that I am reluctant and bitter about ever having to do it again.

When the nausea overtook me I felt a sudden rush of sympathy for the girl. I opened my car window and snuggled into her pillow, willing myself not to throw up. I resolved to bring the girl's chewable Gravol with me on my next car trip.

Most of all I resolved to always travel with such kind, understand and caring travel companions. Thanks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lego man

Grr says the Lego man from where he lies on the dirty kitchen counter beside the sink. Or that is what I imagine he would say if he could talk. The scowl on his face suggests he was ripped from the middle of a tense encounter, maybe with some cowboys or vikings, and tossed onto the counter in passing. His brows are furrowed. His frown is barely visible from underneath his large moustache. He is cranky.

I know just how he feels.

I spent over an hour this morning cleaning the main floor while the girl was at school and the boy amused himself. And by that I mean he stayed one step ahead of me by creating new messes for me to clean up. I tidied, I organized, I vacuumed. My house is almost clean. I am sure it looks like yours at its messiest.

I can't keep up. Most of the time I don't bother. Some days I just can't face being Sisyphus one more minute longer. So I let the stickers stay stuck to the floor. The walls aren't wiped free of crayon. The toys aren't picked up. The laundry isn't put away. The table isn't wiped clean.

My boulder stays at the bottom on the hill. And I sit on top of it going Grr just like the Lego man.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ranch hand

She sat on the pony's back with both hands gripping the horn at the front of the saddle and a grin plastered on her face as she was lead around the muddy track. She wasn't afraid. She was eager for her turn and each time she dismounted she went straight back to the end of the line. Four times she was lead around the track by a teenager that was as patient as the girl was excited.

A purple riding helmet perched on the top of her head, a touch too small. The red rain boots I had bought that morning at a consignment sale and pulled from the trunk once I realized that the mud would easily win the battle against her white running shoes, matched her red ruffled long sleeve shirt perfectly. Her blue jeans completed the ranch hand look.

She looks like she should be in National Velvet a mom said to me. She did. She looked comfortable and at ease riding on the ponies. Suddenly I had visions of weekends spent with her in the stables or watching her ride horses across great open fields.

Then I was too busy trying to make sure she didn't step on one of the tiny piglets running frantically around the barn stall when six 4 and 5 year old invaded or hovering nearby as she clutched a small and delicate kitten to her chest, to think any more about horses. I did think about how nice it was to have an afternoon together, even if we were surrounded by the rest of the birthday party. I thought about how glad I was that she hadn't been car sick on the way to the party. I crossed my fingers that she would make it home still looking like a ranch hand.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reflection

I can see me in your eyes she said to me as we snuggled under the covers in my bed. It was true. Her face was reflected in my blue eyes as she started intently at me, her face inches from mine. I can see me too I said as I leaned closer to her. Our noses almost touched. We watched each other.

I breathed it in.

Don't move she said as she tried to poke the reflection of herself. Don't poke my eye! I shrieked quietly, worried about waking the boy asleep in the next room. I pulled my head back but her index finger pursued my left eyeball until she made contact. Satisfied, she dropped her hand onto the top of the covers. Irritated, I sighed.

We cuddled for a moment longer, my arms wrapped around her, and then we headed downstairs.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Notes

Things are getting better the further away we get from September. My equilibrium is slowly being restored with every boring routine day that passes. I love boring, routine days.

A note home from the teacher yesterday caught me off guard. Notes home make me feel like the girl is perceived to be a bad kid and me a bad parent. The reason for the note sure didn't make her look good. To my surprise the girl had bitten a boy in her class while they sat together for circle time. The girl is not a biter so this came as a shock. In her note the teacher mentioned the girl had said she was pretending. When the husband asked her that evening, she said again that she was pretending. Pretending that the boy was a piece of bread.

I almost laughed out loud at that. She once gave a not too different explanation as to why she had bitten her brother.

Maybe I am just feeling the change in the seasons and the decrease in light, but I am tired. Tiredness combined with the note home titled my equilibrium yesterday and resulted in a lot of yelling. And by a lot I mean more then normal which is none.

Today the rain is causing me to think about last winter. It was long. It was hard. I ate a lot of cupcakes.

I am hoping this winter will be easier. Because despite my earlier assertions and the fact that I sometimes have to stop and wonder if I am crazy, I will be home again with the kids this winter. If nothing else my folly at somehow becoming, and choosing to be, a stay-at-home mom is reason enough to make me smile today. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pie

She asked for a piece, just like she did last night. Because it is a treat. Because it is special. Because it is pie.

I watched her closely. I started at her as the forkful of pumpkin pie disappeared into her mouth. Immediately a smile appeared on her face. A big smile. A determined smile. The grin stayed plastered in place as the rest of her face contorted in disgust. Her nose wrinkled. Her forehead frowned. Her eyes betrayed her desire to spit out the foul tasting orange coloured "food".

She didn't. Instead I watched her as she moved the pie around in her mouth. Back and forth. Side to side. Swallowing as soon as a piece was small enough.

Smiling all the time. But refusing a second bite.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Peas

Sitting beside the girl at the dining room table I started thinking about traditions as I spooned peas and carrots off of her plate and into my mouth. She had pushed the plate away to focus her attention on her grilled cheese sandwich. It was Friday night. This was dinner.

I don't remember a lot of family traditions growing up. Things that we would do year after year. Things that I just assumed would happen.

What I do remember involves food. It was a tradition to have homemade tomato soup and Yorkshire pudding, and roast beef too but even back then I spurned meat, for supper when eating at the formal dinning room table in the house of my maternal grandparents. It was tradition to sit on the yellowish floral couch underneath painted portraits of my aunts in the living room of my paternal grandparents eating peas and mashed potatoes off of a TV tray while watching Little House on the Prairie on Sunday evenings.

These memories might not be of actual traditions, but they felt like traditions to me because they were what I most looked forward to. They are what stay with me. They evoke feelings of comfort.

We don't have a lot of traditions in our small family, but I am trying to make some. Every holiday I talk to the husband about what traditions we should have. Should we have special food? Should we do a special activity? How can we teach the kids to mark and celebrate these events?

I am thinking about all this because Thanksgiving is coming. Yesterday the girl sang me a song she learnt at school about Thanksgiving. The turkey ran away before dinner she sang and I laughed. What was going to happen to the turkey? I asked. They were going to eat it, she said, but we don't eat turkeys. That's right I replied. Because we are vegetarian ,she continued, we talked about that at school.

There won't be the traditional meal of turkey and stuffing laid on our table on Sunday. There won't be any extended family clustered around. It will just be the four of us. Eating homemade macaroni and cheese with pumpkin pie for dessert. Because these are the foods we like. These were the foods requested.

I ate the girl's peas and carrots off her plate as I thought about all this. Then the girl started to sing the awesome song about her dad and it hit me. Whatever we have may not look like traditions from the outside, but they are. They are ours and that makes them tradition.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Good dad

I am a good mom because of him.

He listens to me when I struggle, he reassures me when I think I am failing, he praises the way I care for the kids. He walks in the door at 5pm and takes over so I can sneak off for a few moments to myself. He engages them, he plays with them, he cares for them. He loves them.

By being a good dad, he makes it easier for me to be a good mom.

I am a good mom because of him.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Late

I have been going to bed too late. When the little hand on the clock hits ten I always tell myself time for bed. But I don't move. Instead I sit there while the big hand moves its way around the clock. Each night it is getting a bit later. Five after, ten after, fifteen.

When I wake up in the morning it is an effort to drag myself out of bed. I'm tired.

Still, that time is mine. I can't give it up.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kids in Cowtown

When I'm not here it is because I am busy over at Kids in the Capital. And things have been busy. We are getting ready to launch a redesigned blog with a fabulous new logo and look. Really, just looking at the new homepage makes me smile. And feel proud.

I am also really excited to have just helped launch a new Calgary parenting blog called Kids in Cowtown. It's Kids in the Capital but, you know, in a different city. Kids in Cowtown is being run by a great mom (and ex-Winnipeger) Danielle. I am sure that it will be just as well received by parents there as Kids in the Capital is by Ottawa parents.

If you live in Calgary or have friends or family that live there, make sure you visit for lots of great ideas of fun things to do with kids in that city!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dat bus

We sit beside each other on the bus stop bench. Just waiting. We are always early, so worried am I that we will be late. So we wait.

Is that your sister's bus? I ask him pointing at a car as it drives past us. No! he shrieks as if I have said the funniest thing he has ever heard. Is that your sister's bus? I say about the bike heading down a cross street. No! he yells.

Dat bus? he asks me pointing to a truck coming down the road, a pleased smile on his face. No! I laugh, as if what he has said is the funniest thing I have ever heard.

We sit and wait and pretend to see the girl's bus. Until we actually do see it, and then we stand and wave. Waiting for her just a little bit longer.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Couch

She is tired so she leans into me. She rests her head on my shoulder. I stretch my right arm around her and pull her closer. She snuggles in and continues to read the book open on her lap.

The boy sees us. He climbs up onto the couch and settles in on my left. He motions angrily at me until I tuck the wool blanket around him too. He picks up a book to read.

We sit like that, all together, until the husband calls us to dinner.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Say it

Say it out loud.
Tell me I am not alone.
Admit it.
I want to hear it.
This is hard.
It's not just me.
Say it.
Please.

Friday, October 1, 2010

September

September was hard
From start to finish
It wore me down
Bit by bit
I'm glad it's finally over
Now to put myself back together
October better not suck too