Monday, 5 December 2011

Stop Online And Cell Phone Spying!

Last week Trevor Eckhart, a security researcher, found secret software from Carrier IQ running on his android phone. It tracked and logged his keystrokes, text messages, emails and even encrypted information. "The software is programmed to be as undetectable as possible, ridiculously hard to take off one’s phone, and if that’s not already bad enough—it’s installed and run on smartphones without the owner’s knowledge or permission." For more info, read this article from Open Media and this article from PC World.

With secret software tracking your every text, email and web browsing move, the spying has already begun. Though who is doing the spying right now is a major question that is being investigated (internet service providers or cell phone manufacturers?), soon it could legally be the Canadian government. If the government passes their online spying bills they will have the right to legally track and monitor wireless information and wired internet usage without a warrant, your consent or your knowledge.

We, as Canadians citizens, have a fundamental right to privacy and that should not be taken away from us. Please help stop mass surveillance from becoming legal in Canada. Do your part and get informed. Open Media has a petition that you can sign to let the government know that you do not agree to online spying.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A New Chapter Begins

Well summer is almost over (in a couple of days) and with a new season, also comes a whole new stage of my life. Both of my kids are now in full time school! My daughter started kindergarten and my son is in grade two, now both of my kids are no longer at home during the weekdays, and it feels so weird. They are growing up! I get a little verklempt every time I think about it. I got especially emotional on my daughter's first day of school last week. They had the gradual entry system for the kindergartners, so the first day was only an hour, but I still got all choked up (I had to put my sunglasses on so no one would see my tears, luckily my husband was with me, so he could drive us home). Her new school is so big, and she is still so little, and full, six hour days seem so long for a five year old. My son had half day kindergarten when he first started school and I though that was perfect, but now the whole district has switched over to full days. I know she'll get used to it and she's getting bigger everyday, but it's still hard to think about. Certainly I will enjoy the time off and am looking forward to getting a lot done around my house, but hearing my daughter tell me in the morning that she misses me when she's at school, is hard.

I feel like so much has happened over the summer and I was just too busy to write about it. I felt burnt out and couldn't bring myself to post anything. I needed a break and I also wanted to focus my attention on my kids and not the computer. But now that I have some free time, while the kids are at school, I am going to try writing again. I do miss it and it's a good outlet for me to have some creativity in my life and have something that is all my own.

So I'll play a little catch up here and tell you about what's been going on with me and my family. My daughter finished preschool in June and my son finished his program at a special school for kids with behavioral difficulties. It was bittersweet having them both leave their schools. The preschool that my daughter went to was so great, and we had been taking our kids there for four years (my son for the first two and then my daughter for the second two). We will deeply miss the teachers that nurtured and cared for our children, they so were amazing! I can't say enough good things about them, and I feel like my kids went to the best preschool in Vancouver, that's how great they were! And then my son's school, they really helped him a lot. He was in a one year program to help him with his behavior and though some people might not understand what it's like having a child with behavioral issues, and might judge him (or me), I have seen so much improvement over the last year and I'm so happy about that. It's like night and day really, and though I know he's not perfect and certainly still has some things to work on, he's on the right path to success in his life, and I owe it all to that school.

After school finished we spent the summer at beaches and lakes and spray parks and outdoor pools and playing with friends and family, it was so much fun. We went canoeing, and peddle boating; we went camping and to Playland (my son was tall enough to go on all of the big rides this year and he loved it, he even went on the big wooden roller coaster and exclaimed when he got off "That... Was... AWESOME!!!"). My husband started a new job, my kids had both of their birthdays (now my daughter is five and my son is seven), and we got a new kitten. My son learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels and fully dunk his head underwater, and my daughter learned how to swing on the swings with no one pushing her and to climb to the very top of the climbing web at our local park. There has been so much growth and change this summer it's almost unbelievable to my husband and I, and we both welcome it.

Now my kids are at a new school together and it seems like a good fit for both of them. My daughter's kindergarten teacher seems really nice and my son's new special program seems really great too. I'm happy with the new changes life is bringing and I feel like things are heading in the right direction.

Here's a bunch of pictures from some of our fun, summer adventures.
These are from our annual camping trip at Manning Park, when we got to go canoeing for a few hours, it's one of our favorite things to do as a family.
These are from Playland, the kids always have a blast there!

These are from our day at the beach with the cousins.
This is when we went to Alouette Lake with friends, we got to go peddle boating and the kids loved it.
Here is my daughter on her birthday and she was very happy with her present!
A new kitten!!!
And here we are at a birthday party in the park, gotta love face painting!

So how was your summer? Did you get to do all of the fun things you wanted to do? Feel free to share, I'd love to hear about it : )

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

This Morning, I Was THAT Mom

It started out to be a good morning, except that I was tired (as usual) because both my monkeys woke up with nightmares last night and I was up at three o'clock and four o'clock. But aside from that (or maybe I should have seen that as a sign) things were going well. I got my son up for his summer camp (which is a special day camp, through his school, that he is going to this summer), and he was in a good mood. He was eager to go, and I was eager to get him out of the house so I could get some house work done (as much as I can do anyways, with my four year old daughter at home). And then I made a fatal mistake, when the girls came to pick him up (yes, I am super lucky, they pick him up) I told them about a book that he's been reading at the school that isn't age appropriate (it's super violent and he's only six). I let them know I didn't want him to read it anymore, and he lost it. He threw the biggest tantrum and refused to go to camp. The girls were waiting on the front steps for me to rein my son in and get him to calm down so he could go, and he wouldn't. Instead he was hitting me and saying horrible things, and causing a huge scene. I tried to keep my cool, but it's hard. I told him that he doesn't want to miss camp, he doesn't want to miss out on seeing his friends and all of the fun they were going to have today, but he wasn't having any of it. Instead he just refused and proceeded to be difficult. I finally had to send him to his room and say that, fine he wouldn't go but if he stayed home he'd have the most boring day ever with no TV, no computer, no anything.

He stomped up to his room and I told the girls I couldn't make him go. I was so embarrassed and frustrated that I started to cry (there it is). The girls were great and super understanding and they even said if he changed his mind and wanted to go, that they would come back for him (which is pretty amazing). I thanked them and of course apologized profusely. After I closed the door I sat on the stairs and really let the flood gates open, I started to bawl. Not only did these ladies see me lose it (cry), and see my son's big tantrum, but they probably also saw my messy house while they were waiting at the door. I hate being THAT mom, the one with the child that doesn't behave, the one with the child that talks back to adults and throws tantrums in public. What a crappy way to start the day. Of course not even two minutes later my son came crying down the stairs and said "I do want to go, I change my mind." But they had already left, so I had to call the school to get them to come back. And they did, they came and got him and I was thankful, but also still totally embarrassed.

I know I shouldn't be embarrassed, the people at my son's school see this kind of thing all of the time. You see, my son goes to a special school for kids with behavior issues, and my son has a few. He's just recently been diagnosed with ADHD, and he also has Sensory Integration Disorder which can affect his behavior, and he also has Stereotypic Movement Disorder, which most people have never even heard of. I don't talk about this stuff very often. When you look at my son, you wouldn't know that he has these issues. He's a good looking kid, who's bright, personable, outgoing and very chatty. But if he gets upset, look out, he just can't control his emotions yet. It's something we are working on, we his parents, and his school. There has been much improvement over the past year, which is encouraging, but these things take time. I am hoping that when he's older, life won't be so difficult, I'm hoping he will have mellowed and matured to a level where he can deal with life's problems better.

For now I take things one day at a time. For now I sometimes have to be THAT mom, the one who can't control her kid and gets emotional from the level of stress that accompanies these kinds of situations. For now I just have to try and suck it up and deal, and also try to remember that there are sometimes better, more strategic ways of getting things done (like I could have phoned the school about that particular book and they would have just made it go away, without my son even knowing that I told them he can't read it. Then that outburst would not have even happened and I would not be writing this post right now).

So there is my rant about my difficult morning. As I was writing this I was reminded of a post I read awhile back, by Shell at Things I Can't Say. She was talking about her morning of being THAT mom (a different kind of THAT, but still THAT nonetheless). I remember chuckling and thinking that I have been there too. There are so many ways to be embarrassed as a mom. It's as if becoming a parent is an immediate enrollment into the embarrassing moments club, to teach us about humility and make us more humble. I know I am a member, how about you?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Rockin' The Baby

First there was Rockin' The Bump and now there's Rockin' The Baby, which is another great link-up by Shell at Things I Can't Say. Thanks Shell for having such a cool link up. I always love having a chance to show off my cuties, and it was also great taking a walk down memory lane and looking at all my monkeys' old baby pics. I miss the days of tiny fingers and tiny toes, and boy does time ever fly by fast!

Here is my son at five weeks
Here he is at six months
And here he is at ten months
Here is my daughter at eight weeks
Here she is at eight months
I couldn't decide on which one of these to have here, so I put them both.
Here they are together at two and a half years and nine months
And again at about three years and fourteen months
And here they are just a few months ago at six and a half years old and four and a half years old, wow have they ever grown!

So thanks again to Shell for doing this fun link-up, I really enjoyed it. Go on over and check out all the other beautiful babies at Things I Can't Say and even join up if you want. You'll be happy if you do, I know I am!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Enviromommy Update

I really don't like apologetic posts, where people say sorry I haven't written much lately. So I'm not going to say that. What I will say, is that I will be doing things a little differently from here on in. It's the summertime and my monkeys are out of school, so I don't have as much time to blog lately. I really want to spend some quality time with them and get out and do some fun activities, like camping (which we are doing very soon). So I won't be posting here as often this summer, maybe once a week, but I will be putting up lots funny videos on my new blog Humormommy. Come check it out when you feel like a laugh, I've already got a few up and they are pretty funny. There's some old In Living Color sketches like, Fire Marshall Bill and Vera De Milo, and a super funny SNL commercial parody.

I hope you are enjoying your summer, I know we are!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

I've Started Another Blog

With the different topics that I like to cover on my blog, I've felt torn at times about what to talk about. Should I just cover parenting topics or environmental issues? Does it mesh well to have all of my funny posts here too, or are they a little out of place? So I've decided to do a second blog. It's called Humormommy, and it will cover all of my fun video link and silly post needs. I just felt the need to take that part of my blog in a different direction. So come check it out when you get a chance. I'm not totally unpacked yet, there are some boxes still laying around, but feel free to visit. I have my first post up and hope to be posting there more often. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, 27 June 2011

SNL - Ford Hybrid Commercial

As my hubby was checking out hybrid car leases online, I asked him if he would consider a Toyota after all of the trouble they were having last year, with recalls and mechanical problems. He said he might, and then I remembered this SNL commercial parody. It's super funny, check it out.

If you are not in the US and can't watch this video (like me), you can also watch it here. The audio is a little off but the video quality is good. Enjoy  : )

Saturday, 25 June 2011

How Many Times Will I Have To Do This In My Life?

Having children means that you have to do a lot of cleaning. I mean A LOT! Actually, CONSTANT is a better word. Because if you want your house to be as clean as those pre-kid days, you'd have to be cleaning day and night. Or maybe it's just me. I clean up a room and it's like the children have clean room radar. I can almost hear the little dee-dee-dee-dee sound of said radar going off in their heads. "Room is clean... Room is clean... Must rectify" *said in a robot voice, of course* and they immediately go right behind me and mess it up again. So sometimes I ask myself (about specific cleaning tasks), how many times will I have to do this in my life?

It first started out with questions like:
- How many times will I have to clean baby poop (or pee) off of the carpet, my clothes, the car seats or any place where poop can leak, squirt, or ooze onto?
- How many times will I have to clean spit up, or barf, or drool off of those same things?

Then it became:
- How many times will I have to clean up spilled or thrown baby foods off the floors and walls?
- How many times will I have to clean mushed up bananas, avocado, carrots, peas, pasta, etc. out of this d@mn high chair (because it had so many weird, little crevices that made it so hard to get clean)?

Mind you, I didn't mind cleaning up this cute face of course, it was just the darned high chair that bugged me.

And a little later it was (and still is):
- How many times will I have to vacuum up crushed crackers and cookies from the backseat of our car?
- How many times will I have to get on my freakin' hands and knees and clean up spilled juice (that you have to go over a bunch of times, otherwise it's sticky for days)?

And now it's:
- How many times will I have to put back the couch cushions, and pillows, and blankets after the monkeys have made forts, or beds for their stuffies, or have just decided to throw everything everywhere just for the fun of it?
- How many times will I sweep up crumbs that get tracked to every corner of the house, because my kids do not understand the meaning of "please eat that at the table, don't walk around the house eating food!"?
- How many times in my life will I have to pick up little game pieces, or Polly Pocket doll clothes, or other teeny tiny toy parts (that toy companies seem to love to include in toys these days), that are scattered all over the house? Does every little girl toy for ages 3-8 have to include beads, or sequins, or tiny shoes, or tiny combs and brushes, or small elastics, or teensy barrettes? Why so many freakin' accessories? Does my daughter really need all of this kind of crap?

Anyways, I am not trying to whine over here, I just want to legitimately know, how many times? A hundred? A thousand? A hundred thousand? Inquiring minds want to know. Then maybe I can steel myself for that number and say every once in a while, only fifty more times to go, and I'll never have to do this again. Though I'm betting that when that day happens I'll be crying about how my kids are all grown up, and where did the time go, and oh they grow up so fast! Because really I don't want to speed up time and I don't want them to grow up yet. I guess I just wish had a magic wand or that special nose twitch from Bewitched, to magically make it all clean. That would be just perfect.

Which kid messes are you tired of cleaning up? Do you wonder any of these very same questions? Or do you have different ones, perhaps?

Oh, and here is one mess I never thought I'd have to clean up. Thankfully, I only ever had to deal with it once. My son had gotten a hold of a crayon and decided to chew on it and turn it into a crayon paste while I was making dinner. He wasn't even two at the time. I didn't know crayon could be turned into a paste, but now I know. It can!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I Am Joining The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Have you ever heard of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC)? I hadn't, until last year. It's pretty much what you would expect from the title. People join together to cleanup shores around lakes and rivers and the oceans, all across Canada, for a few weeks in September. After reading about it, I thought it would be a great thing to participate in. It would be good for me and my family, good for my community, and especially good for the environment in this wonderful and beautiful, coastal city I live in, called Vancouver. I thought, wouldn't this be a great lesson to teach my children? It would help me to teach them about giving back to mother nature, the way that she gives to us everyday. I always tell them about how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place, with mountains and the ocean and so much to do outdoors. But isn't it also great to teach them how to take care of this place and not to take it for granted?

 I was really stoked to do it last year, but then life stepped in and changed my plans. Not to make excuses, really it was just that a bunch of other things came up. Two birthday parties and an Aunt that wanted to see the kids on the particular day we signed up for. It ended up being a crazy day of driving all over and visiting and kiddie party madness, but it was a great day. I was really bummed that we didn't get to do the cleanup though, especially because I was telling everyone that we were doing it and I was asking friends if they wanted to participate too. So I made a promise to myself that we would do it next year.

And next year is here. I just signed up today. I am going to do it right this year. I was even contemplating being a site coordinator and taking on a whole area to organize by myself. But I decided to be realistic and just participate this year and see what it's like. If it's something I think I can handle on my own, then maybe I can be a coordinator next year.

Doing this kind of thing is important to me. I took an Environmental Studies program in college and it was really eye opening. I learned so many things in those two years. One thing that really shook me up was seeing a picture of a lake that was turned into a dumping ground for electronics. People would come there to find parts to sell, or scrounge for copper or other metals in the stuff that was dumped there. It was so filled with junk that it didn't even look like a lake anymore, it looked like a garbage dump, but it was just filled with electronics. I was looking on the internet to see if I could find that same picture (which I'm sure is really old, I saw it at school, about nine years ago), and I couldn't. But I did find some other horrible pictures. Like this...

The Citarum River in Indonesia
And this...

I really don't want the beautiful place, that my family and I call home, to end up like these places. So I am doing my part to help. If you feel inspired too, and you live in Canada and want to join, click here to find a cleanup site in your area. If you don't live in Canada, but want to help out where you live, here are some other shoreline cleanup programs:
This list is from the Other Resources page on the GCSC website, which has tons of useful info if you want to know more.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - M. Gandhi

Friday, 17 June 2011

Whole Foods Parking Lot, Rap Video

This video is awesome! A friend of mine, Mina of DeTox... the devil in the details posted it on Facebook the other day and I thought it was so hilarious I had to blog about it. "It's gettin' real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot!" Hilarious! Check it out, and happy Friday : )

*Warning there is a swear word in the video, just one I think. So use caution if you're watching this with little ones*
"Pay my 80 bucks for 6 things, and get the heck out!" LOL