Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter thanksgiving

This Easter, I am thankful for:

-my risen Saviour! Chocolate is fine and all, but give me reconciliation with my Creator, not to mention eternal life, any day

-a beautiful morning at church with family, friends, and our neighbours from across the street

-family dinner at my mom and dad's (included ham, scalloped potatoes, corn, green beans, rolls, and two desserts, as always: lemon meringue pie and a chocolate log cake, all the more special because I missed the one at Christmas)

-playtime at the park after dinner: the fact that it was warm enough/not raining, and that everyone came on the walk (Mom, Dad, Grandma aka Gams, me, Hubby, D, sister, and her boyfriend; we were sad that baby sis, brother and sis-in-law couldn't be here). My girl being super brave on the swings and the play structure was a bonus. As were all of Hubby's awesome pictures.

-baby D singing herself to sleep tonight, after a brief cry. What a sweet sound to hear when I came up the stairs to put myself to bed.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Election reflections

Far be it from me to claim that I'm extremely well-versed in politics; that being said, I have to speak out on two election-related points. Maybe three.

1. On the choice not to vote: I've heard a number of people say that they don't vote because they're not informed, and an uninformed vote is worse than not voting at all. I respectfully disagree; I don't see why it has to be either one of those. With the amount of content available online, not to mention the more traditional media of radio and TV, there isn't much reason not to be informed. Granted, every media outlet has its special bias, but you can always go directly to a given party's platform.

As for voter apathy, I honestly do not understand it on any level. Do you pay taxes? Do you want to have some control over how your tax dollars are spent, or whether you have to pay more tax? Do you want a federal leader who will represent your country well? So go vote.

Just the other day, I saw a question on a friend's Facebook wall that just floored me. "Are you going to vote?" How is that even a question? (Maybe I should assume the person was being facetious.) I've seen lots of "who are you going to vote for" and the like. But honestly, how many people around the world don't even have the option of choosing their government? "Are you going to vote?" "Are you KIDDING me?"

2. I am highly skeptical of CBC's Vote Compass. I've seen one young person after another suggest it on Facebook, and I'm concerned, first, that this is becoming a generation's way of getting "informed" (i.e. told who to vote for), and second, that this is a liberal media outlet's way of trying to sway the young vote. I imagine a sinister motive like this: "it takes way too much effort to follow what's actually happening in the elections, not to mention read each party's platform. I mean, there are FOUR major parties. That takes valuable time away from social networking. So here, take a fun quiz and find out who you really want to vote for!" This may or may not be the case. I do enjoy CBC (and particularly Q, As It Happens, All in a Day, etc.), but I'm also made quite aware of its bias when I tune in to its programs.

I should probably mention why I'm so skeptical. Aside from a number of other articles and reports on the apparent bias, that is. A local DJ had a call-in show about the Vote Compass, and people kept remarking that they were coming up Liberal from their answers. A Conservative MP emailed and said that he had been present for 100% of the House votes, and consistently voted with his party; he took the Vote Compass, and it said he was to vote Liberal!

To close, here are links to the four major parties' platforms, and hey, why not, the Greens, too. In alphabetical order.

Bloc Québécois
(click on Plateforme electorale to download their platform in English or French)

Conservative Party of Canada

Green Party

Liberal Party of Canada

New Democrat Party

Baby D demands that you vote!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Further signs of spring

The sign the first: I hung my first load of laundry on the clothesline! I had given up back in September, when I would pin clothes up in the mid-morning or early afternoon, and take them down, sopping wet or disparagingly damp, a few hours later. To be fair, I had a lovely month-long reprieve in Australia, during which I happily made use of my in-laws clothes tree. And with that crazy sun, stuff would dry in two or three hours! Today, I went outside around 8:30, got a tremendous amount of baby clothes, towels, washcloths, etc on the line, and took it all down, perfectly dry and smelling of spring, about half an hour ago. The only downside was that baby D (who I should probably refer to as toddler D or maybe just D) didn't do so well outdoors. She toddled around, as her kind tend to, and made a break for the creek at one point, with Mama hot on her heels. Then I brought a chair out for her to sit on, and she did for awhile, and then fell off and cried a lot. Sorry, neighbours...

The sign the second: people, look at this garden! I'm so glad I posted that photo the other day, because otherwise you wouldn't believe the seedlings' growth since then! The tomatoes and zucchini are seriously kicking the pants of their greenhousemates, so to speak. I am loving this progress. I should have saved the leftover seeds, though; Dietitian sis wants to have an indoor herb garden!

The sign the third: my mom, one of my sisters, D, and I went for a 2.5 hour walk today. We started at my parents' house and went into Westboro and back, stopping to buy D her first pair of running shoes. They are Stride Rite, and super cute! She didn't want to take them off, even for diaper changes. If she didn't have footie pyjamas on, she would likely be wearing the shoes in bed right now.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Signs of life

Hubby had a look at the peat pods last night before bed and remarked, "are some of those sprouting?" I replied, with all the confidence of a longtime gardener, "no way, it's only been a few days." Then I went over to take a peek and what do you know? The zucchini and tomato seeds had both sprouted! This morning, this was further progress:

ALL the seeds have sprouted! I suppose this is to be expected, but I haven't seen such rapid growth since I put a loaf of bread next to ripening bananas and avocados. Two days and that bread was unusable. Sprouted seedlings are much more encouraging than white mold, to be sure. My instructions have me now prop the dome open and continue watering "when peat pellets turn light brown." I haven't really seen them turn light brown, so every couple of days, I spritz them with the spray bottle I use for blocking knitted garments. I want to be careful not to coddle the little seedlings, though. I read ahead in the instructions, and the process of getting the plants acclimated to the outdoors seems quite involved. I will continue being brave and trying not to kill my garden!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

D's half birthday by the numbers

It is my sweet baby D's half-birthday today, so forgive me as I indulge in detailing her copious accomplishments in her first year and a half here with us.

-18: months old today

-11: teeth she's cut so far

-4: bins of clothes she's outgrown

-5: number of months she's been walking

-17: months it took her to say her name

-9: months it took her to say my name (by which I mean "Mama")

-75, 6, 6: how many words D can say, respectively, in English, French and sign language. This includes names of people she loves and, somewhat sadly, a few Sesame Street characters. It doesn't include her myriad of animal noises, or words that she can repeat if we say them first.

-12: months she's been eating solid food

-8: approximate number of times she's asked to watch Elmo since I started typing this

-1: number of baths D takes per day; this isn't really an accomplishment, but the fact that she'll lean back and let us wash her hair, is. This replaces our prior method of dumping buckets of water on her head.

-3-4: times each day D says "amen" (before each meal, and at bedtime prayers). This is one of my favourite things!

-4: favourite stories she has in her toddler board-book Bible (Ruth, Esther, David, and Jesus the Good Shepherd). She flips right to them and can say a few of the relevant names. This is something I find incredibly precious.

24: months of "camp only child" she'll experience (barring an earlier delivery)

0: months of "camp only child" she'll remember

Because this is a joyous and festive day, I will not list the number of times this week that she's woken up screaming at 3 or 4 am, or the number of times in a day she cries or refuses to do something I ask.
Happy half birthday to my awesome daughter!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My little seedlings

The garden is a go! Or at least a start. I counted backwards from the May long weekend (7 weeks from now) and decided it was time to plant the seeds that needed an indoor beginning. Following the instructions as best I could, I watered the peat pellets, fluffed the soil, planted a few seeds in each, and covered them back up with soil. It said to only put 2-3 seeds in each thing, which I did for the bigger seeds (zucchini and canteloupe- this just in, now a vegetable?), but I put a few more when it came to the tiny seeds (tomato, chives, and basil, the latter two of which are as small as poppy seeds). Hopefully my disobedience will not be punished too harshly. I just want to give as many seeds a chance as possible! I'm looking forward to seeing them sprout, and so as not to forget to water them, they will be kept on my kitchen table, although out of direct sunlight. And I did remember what order I planted them in, and I've kept the seed packets for transplanting later.

It would be SO nice if this worked out! However, even if all the seeds fail, I've pinned my hopes on another project in the works, although this one won't be ready until later in the fall. See you then, Cashew!