It Ain’t Easy Being Green

vectorstock_224829Why the hell does it cost so much to be green?

We try to be green.  We recycle, we compost, we try to use less water.  Its an on-going process as we learn more about what we are doing wrong and trying to correct this behaviour.  After reading about the chemicals in cleaning products and cosmetics, I switched everything in the house over to more environmentally sound cleansers, shampoos etc.  Learning more about the potential dangers in GMO products we are working towards eating more organic products.

When I was first pregnant with Shorty #1, I started to become paranoid about all the environmental dangers that faced the poor little bean before she was even born.  It was easy to become panicked about the microwave or the toilet bowl cleaner, not to mention the food we were eating.  That’s when we started a more conscious attempt at eating organic/ free-range/ grass-fed/ hormone-free/ non-GMO.  We very quickly learned that this proposition is NOT cheap.

Enter Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheque.  This place is a license to print money as it plays on our conscience to try and reverse the damage done.  Seriously, I know I can buy the non-organic peaches for $1 less (or more) a pound across the street but do I really want to inflict one of the dirty dozen products on my kids.  I feel like I’ll be called out on child abuse!  But when you walk out of that place $200 poorer and only 2 bags of groceries to show for it – ouch! vectorstock_1098832

What was the small business solution to a big problem is now the big business bad guy.  So we look for alternatives – Mom & Pops, Co-Ops, Farmer’s Market.  All good options.  But do not replace convenience.  Instead you are schlepping across town to the Co-Op to pick-up the produce, the local butcher for the grain fed meet, then to the big box for toilet paper and the regular grocery store for peanut butter.  So now the weekly groceries kill a Saturday and have a carbon footprint the size of the Amazon rainforest.

We won’t give up however.  We’ll keep striving to be greener.  Maybe we could convert our electricity at home so its generated by a treadmill.  Then we would save the planet, money and have the kids run it so they’ll sleep through the night… Just kidding.

Sleepless Nights

Check out this great book - The Guide to Baby Sleep Positions

Check out this great book – The Guide to Baby Sleep Positions

Just before Shorty #2 arrived, we decided to buy a king size bed.  Turns out this was a very good call.  You see, our kids are like pack wolves.  They love to sleep all snuggled up with us.

When #2 was born, we didn’t even bother with the crib.  She nursed so often, we just kept her in the bed with us (in a co-sleeper – don’t worry!).  Eventually she moved into her own crib and now sleeps in a toddler bed.  But she falls asleep with us and most mornings wakes up with the sun (thank you very much 49th parallel in the summer when the sun rises at 4:30am!!!) and climbs back into our bed.

The challenge is that Shorty #1 is now 6 (and the height of at least an 8 year old) and she often climbs in with us when she has a nightmare or just wakes up in the middle of the night.  Sometimes, we end up 4 across in the king bed with elbows and butts pushing J and I to the outer banks.

I know I should relish this quality, snuggly time with the kids while they kick and wriggle and stick toes in the waist band of my pj’s.  But man, I’m almost as sleep deprived as when they were babies.

Shorty #2 is a hair twirler (like me), but since her locks are only just coming in she would much prefer to twirl (or better yet clench) my hair.  She can’t go to sleep without a good mass of hair to twirl.  Shorty #1 is becoming more independent, but at bedtime her jealousy of #2 shines through and she fights for position next to me.  So this means I get to be in the middle with a kid on either side; twirling, snuggling, clinging, scratching, elbowing etc…  Forget about having to pee, I am stuck there until everyone falls asleep and we can move them to their own beds.

Hands down, my favorite bed-sharing move is the spin.  That’s when the kid’s head moves off the pillow and nestles into J’s back.  Her feet push into my back (usually her little toes hook into the pj’s waistband) creating the letter “H”.  Sometimes you get lucky and get the head in your back – but don’t be fooled it can be as painful getting a melon in the spine.

I know, I know.  I really need to enjoy these moments because in the not so distance future they won’t want to be anywhere near us.  The real kicker is that when I’m on the road in a hotel room all by myself, I can’t sleep.  I need these little monkeys around me.  So I’ll keep drinking lots of coffee in the mornings, use plenty of under-eye concealer and enjoy the moment.

Its My Potty…

vectorstock_939376Shorty #2 is almost two and a half and its getting to be potty training time again.  Shorty #1 was late to the Potty Party.  She didn’t dig it.  Personally, I think it took too much time out of her already packed schedule to sit on the potty and wait for nature to um… take its course.  So she rocked pull-ups for months and months.  I tried everything; brand new Princess Panties – loved them until they got wet.  Incentive chart – fun for about the first five minutes.  Incentive chart with toys still in the box waiting for when she had 10 successful potty attempts – yeah, she forgot.  Nothing worked.  Finally one day not long before her 4th birthday she just decided that that was it – she would use the bathroom.  And she did!  That was it.

This suited me perfectly because I am not down with the “accidents”.  Diaper changing is OK.  I guess I’m used to that.  But the poops in the baths, in undies and elsewhere just gives me the creeps.  Shudder.  I have resolved the fact that I am a bit of a germo-phobe and the lack of controlled circumstances surrounding “accidents” creates too many opportunities for hazardous waste issues.  There’s no containment and a toddler with poopy legs will not stand still long enough for sufficient wiping, so you end up chasing said toddler around the house with the wipes, tormented by the fact that poop is now flying everywhere.  Ack!  Nightmare!

So now #2 is expressing interest in the potty and I’m starting to freak out a little.  Everytime we’re out, she says she has to poop and wants to use the public washroom.  Ummm, yeah, well, I think you can IMAGINE how I feel about that.  But what can I do, I need to encourage her enthusiasm even though I know she just wants to check out the facilities, waste a pile of toilet paper and then flush it away.  So in we go, wishing I had haz-mat suits for us, piling the seat with layers of toilet paper and seat covers, indulging her whim and then dutifully scrubbing both our hands on the way out with a last minute dash of hand sanitizer for good measure.

Today we decided that maybe its time to retire the diapers and graduate Shorty #2 to pull-ups so she can be the master of her own domain.  Am I ready for this?  Do we have enough hand sanitizer and antiseptic cleansers for what is sure to come next? I guess I’m headed to the drug store to stock up.  In the meantime, wish us luck and send Purel.


Mommy Brain Attacks


Yes it does, when you least expect it.  The phenomenon known as Mommy Brain can be defined as the degradation of one’s short term (and sometimes long term) memory following the birth of children.  Its real.  Make no mistake about it, I’ve experienced it first hand.

Before the arrival of Shorty #1, I didn’t even need to keep a calendar.  Important dates and appointments were entrenched in my little brain like a photograph.  But now, its a whole different story.  Everything goes on my Google calendar which J and I share and (thanks to my favorite Nerd husband) is colour coded for each of our family members.  I need this.  Trust me.

The arrival of Mommy Brain along with #1 came as a real shock.  As you now know, I am a type-A personality.  I like to be organized and keep everything together.  But the capacity to fulfill even the simplest tasks, let alone remembering appointments was degraded completely from a combination of sleep deprivation and crazy hormone imbalance.

I remember one foggy morning attempting to make a pot of coffee, I filled the machine with water and grounds and walked away.   A little while later I heard a weird hissing sound.  Yep, the pot was still sitting on the counter while the black gold was pouring out of the machine all down the front of the cupboard door.  Awesome!  Its still stained to this day.  I don’t know if I was more upset about the mess or actually having to wait for another pot to brew.  Another time, catching up with J listening to him recount his day at the office I actually wiped his nose with a tissue.  Are you freaking kidding me?  I just wiped a grown man’s nose.  Get a grip sister!

#2 is now 2 years old and I wish I could say it was getting better. Maybe it has a little, but we are definitely nowhere near the pre-natal levels of brain function.  To be honest, I think that even though the sleep is getting better and the hormones are re-balancing, the hectic pace of daily life creates the same issues.  Just the other day after the usual crazy morning of getting everyone dressed, fed etc I realized as I arrived at the office that I had left my beloved cellphone on the kitchen table at home and had to go all the way back home to fetch it.

At least I knew where the phone was!  Last week we were hosting a BBQ and Shorty #2’s diaper leaked… while sitting on my lap.  I came in from the backyard to change us both and dropped my sunglasses somewhere.  Couldn’t find them for days.  Made me crazy.  Eventually I found them on a shelf in the closet, obviously left there during my wardrobe change.

I wish I could say the kids help ease the problem, but seriously I swear they like to f%^$ with me.  On a recent vacation, I swore I packed a pair of flip flops and they were missing.  I was sure I was losing my mind only to find them tucked away in the hotel room safe – courtesy of Shorty #2.

So to all my harried friends out there juggling a million things, know you’re not alone when your memory fails and your brain gives up on you!  XO

Fashionista in Training


This is Shorty #1.  She is a Fashionista in Training.  As a baby I always liked to dress her like a mini-hipster.  Skinny jeans, converse, t-shirts and hoodies.  She rocked the look very well and happily.  Until one day, she found a dress in her closet and put it on.  From that day forward she dressed herself,  “Mom, I need to wear something beeeeeyooteeeful.”  My little hipster became a true girlie-girl!

Who was I to intervene?  I like that Shorty #1 is self-styled.  Who cares if her version of matching is to wear all stripes (striped dress, striped leggings, striped socks, striped hat).  The fact that the stripes are all varying non-matching colours doesn’t bother her in the least.

Now shopping for her is tricky.  I can’t buy any pants at all – she won’t wear them.  She has a couple pairs of leggings she’ll wear to gymnastics or when riding her bike – but they are always accessorized with a skirt over top.  The dresses need to have a very specific look – as a rule they should twirl well.  Its summer camp season now and she wouldn’t be caught dead in shorts and a t-shirt, not a chance.  Always a dress or skirt and if its the latter the top better be interesting – sparkly or something!

Speaking of accessories, they are not lost on her.  She loves hair bands – ESPECIALLY bows.  Can’t get enough of them.  Every morning we play the hairstyle game:  “Mom, I need a pony.  No a braid.  No two braids.  No, wait – a braid AND a pony.”   Sure!  Why not??

Lately, she’s taken to giving me fashion advice:

#1: “You’re wearing that?”

Me: “Sure, why not?”

#1: “You would look better in a dress.”

She and I went shopping recently to check out the annual Holt Renfrew sale.  (She brought her rolling backpack full of Barbies just in case we needed them.)  In the shoe department we disagreed slightly on what I should try on.  I found these:


She didn’t really like them very much.  So she went and found me these Miu Mius:


Disclaimer: In no way did I coach Miss Thing in taking these photos.  Her facial expressions are entirely her own.  As is her styling – Note: satin bow, poplin dress and pull-y backpack full of Barbies.

I’m cool with Shorty #1 expressing her creativity this way.  How can I not be?  She’s kicking my ass with fashion sense!

Adult Conversation

Don't feed the animals...

Don’t feed the animals…

The other day we were out with friends for brunch.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we were entrenched on a patio having a great meal.  The Shorties were with us of course… We tried to carry on an adult (A-dult, not a-DULT) conversation with our pals that we haven’t seen in a while.  It was challenging.  After many tears Shorty #2 managed to pass out in her stroller in the midday heat (woohoo) but this left Shorty #1 looking to be entertained.  “Mom, Mom, Mom” she bellowed across the table.  When I didn’t immediately answer since I was listening intently to our friend recount a story, she yelled louder “Moooooooooommmmmm!!!!”  Apologizing to our friend, I interrupted “Yes?”  She looked me in the eye “I farted.”  Okey dokey, thanks for that.  I’ll alert the media.

We like to include the Shorties in our adult meals and conversations.  I personally think its good education for them to learn by osmosis how to behave in these situations.  I think it helps kids develop their own opinion and can give them the confidence to share their thoughts in a group.  However, while they develop their inner monologue and hone the fine art of conversation they continue to share topics that are not exactly ideal for dinner parties.

Luckily, our friends who don’t have kids of their own have been exceedingly patient with our Shorties, welcoming them into the fold and encouraging their participation in the conversations.  For this I am grateful for the part they play in the kids education.  But it can be trying for them I’m sure as it can take several attempts to actually finish a story, if at all.  For this I apologize.  My post-partum brain after 2 babies hasn’t bounced back as well as I would have liked so I often struggle to stay on the topic and return to the story once interrupted.  I’m working on that!  Perhaps I’ll keep a notepad handy so I can jot down where we left off when the Shorties interject!

The Glamour of International Business Travel


If you’re a regular at The Rock and Roll Mom, you know I have to travel a fair bit on business.  So I’ve seen my fair share of travel drama.  Its inevitable really.  Rarely does any amount of travel go by completely without a hitch when flying is concerned, especially when you throw in a connection or two to make things interesting.  If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll also know that I’m not a carry-on only sort of girl so throw in a piece of luggage or two and you’ve got the potential for a perfect storm!

With the Shorties, my goal is to always be gone for the least amount of time possible.  This often means taking some pretty crazy travel options to be able to get home as soon as I can.  I’m most proud of my New York for the day trips.  With the help of Cathay Pacific, I can leave Vancouver at 10pm, land at New York JFK at 6am.  Take a car into the city, have a quick shower and then hit the ground running with a day full of meetings, press or even a TV taping (luckily the late night shows usually tape around 4-6pm).  Then I head back to JFK around 8pm to fly back to Vancouver on the red-eye arriving at 2am.  I can sleep in my own bed for a few hours before the kids wake-up.  Genius!  I love it!

But you know, life isn’t always so simple.  Throw in a delay or two and the best laid plans go out the window.  I had one particularly harrowing adventure as I was heading to NYC for a major, 2 day press hit for a news magazine show for one of our clients.  This time I was routed through Toronto.  Some nasty weather in Vancouver delayed our departure and I missed the connection to NYC.  I had a very early start the next morning in NYC with an interview scheduled to take place in my hotel suite.  Luckily I was rebooked on a flight leaving Toronto at 6am.  No problem!  My bag went missing at this point so I was sent off to the hotel with a “Comfort Kit” consisting of a size XL men’s t-shirt, some shaving cream and men’s deodorant around 2am.  After a couple of hours of sleep (if you can call it that) I packed on back to the check-in counter, smelling like a dude in yesterday’s stinking, sweaty airplane clothes.  Luckily my bag was there and rechecked and I was off.

Arriving in NYC at 7am I headed into the city with the rest of the rush hour traffic.  I raced up to my room to shower off the eau de Dude and rinse out my sweaty bra in the sink.  Just as I put down the curling iron the camera crew arrived to set up.  I wrung out my laundry from the sink (I always travel with laundry detergent for moments such as this) and much to my horror realized this hotel room did not have a closet, just a wide open rack to hang clothes.  I found a little perch in the corner of the room to lay my old bra to dry behind the suitcase.  At this point, the crew had effectively taken over my suite – cameramen, producer, lighting and audio guys, publicists – and horror of horrors the esteemed journalist who would conduct the interview had moved a chair to that exact corner of this vast 2 room suite and was now resting his feet next to my dripping bra.  Lovely!

Another time, I was pregnant with Shorty #2.  We were doing a shoot for a TV commercial in Buenos Aires.  It was January so in the dead of the Argentine summer.  I was routed from Vancouver to Toronto, Toronto to Santiago, Chile and then finally Santiago to Buenos Aires.  After landing in Buenos Aires I had that horrible sinking feeling that can only come when you are the last person standing at a an empty baggage carousel, watching the same remnants of packing tape and yarn go round and round, ever hopeful that by some miracle your bag will appear from nowhere.  It was not be, I was 5 months pregnant and I had an early meeting with ad agency the next morning!  The next flight from Toronto wasn’t arriving for at least another 24 hours!  Luckily, shopping malls in Buenos Aires are open at 8pm on a Sunday night!!!  The lovely production assistant took pity on me and brought me to the nearest mall where I managed to scrounge together a wardrobe for the next couple days.  I almost kissed the bellman who arrived the following evening with my bag in hand.

Sprinting through airports to make connections, facing full security patdowns (like can I have a cigarette afterwards kind of patdowns), neverending waits for delayed flights, lost (and found) luggage.  All par for the course when you travel.  On my last trip as I stared down an air-traffic control strike that started while I was en route, I just kept thinking “Oh well, maybe there’s a blog post in all this…”  Looks like there was.

Kids TV

We let our kids watch TV.  Don’t judge.  We all do it.  Otherwise dinner wouldn’t get made, laundry wouldn’t get folded and conference calls would never happen.  TV can be a great distraction for the kids.  But the truth is, its like crack for them.  Once they get a little taste, they want it… all the time.  Shorty #1 will stop any misbehaving the second anyone breathes she will lose movies for the rest of the day.  Shorty #2 has already conquered the iPad and knows how to open Netflix and start an episode of Dora all on her own – and she’s 2!

We are working on reducing screen time for the little monkeys as much as possible but truth be told my own personal opinion (which is not based in ANY scientific research so don’t yell at me) is that there is some good screen time to be had, like Sesame Street or any of the other PBS Kids programming.  To me that’s actually time well spent as early childhood educators are overseeing the crafting of the content and the kids love it.  Some of the apps for iPads/ iPhones can be super* educational (*super in this case is a subjective quantitative description) like Preschool Memory Match (a matching game) and Endless Alphabet (letter and shape recognition).  Some are just fun like the Elmo Monster Maker or Little Bella’s I Close My Eyes.

The real trouble with kids TV programming is the amount of absolute crap that’s being spoonfed to the kids.  Dora is one of the worst.  #2 can’t get enough Dora and is always reminding us that Swiper shouldn’t swipe.  But man, its factually incorrect MOST of the time, yet she is riveted.  Or how about Max and that Bitch Ruby.  Where the hell are their parents?  Ruby is parenting Max and she’s a total shrew!  Don’t even get me started on the other crap coming out of Nickelodeon – where the cartoon kids come with a serious attitude (I’m looking at you Fairly Odd-Parents).

The truth is – my generation grew up watching television far worse than some of the kids programming that can be found today.  How about Bugs Bunny?  Poor Elmer Fudd with his speech impediment out hunting (and shooting) a rabbit.  The Wiley Coyote chasing a Roadrunner only to be violently beaten at every (literal) turn.  Even Sesame Street has box sets of some of their original seasons that come with disclaimers on how they are not suitable for children.  In those days Snufflelupagus was still imaginary and Cookie Monster still actually ate cookies.  I watched all these shows relentlessly and I didn’t turn into an axe murderer and still managed to complete a university education.

Nevertheless, we are working hard to reduce the screen time our kids experience.  It is arguably more frequent since the access is so easy with portable devices.  Thankfully summer is upon us and we can send the kids out into the fresh air.  I think it would be cool if someone started a Summer Camp Screen Time Rehab for kids.