April 2012

Bloggy peeps, I need some advice. There’s a 10 year old boy in my life who is dying for a skateboard.

I am nervous about this whole concept for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t know anything about skateboards. My childhood experience included many trips to the ER due to spills on toboggans, bicycles and falling up the stairs, but I have no experience with skateboards.

Second, we have a very steeply pitched driveway that dumps into the road at a spot well-hidden from oncoming drivers by a giant cedar hedge. I don’t worry so much about the 10 year old here, but I do worry about the four year old who THINKS he’s a 10 year old.

I don’t want to be overprotective. A skateboard is really not that different from a bike. Is it? But how do you get a good one and am I insane if I make him wear elbow, wrist AND knee pads in addition to a helmet? (And, erm, a full suit of bubble wrap?)

I have some serious misgivings, but I want to be convinced. Help me, bloggy peeps. Tell me what I need to know to make Tristan’s dream come true!


In which history repeats itself

by DaniGirl on April 29, 2012 · 1 comment

in Ah, me boys

It was only a couple of months ago I happened on an old blog post that I had completely forgotten. With more than 2000 (!) published posts in the archive this happens rather often, and it’s one of my very favourite parts of having the blog. Although I’d forgotten the story and it made me laugh when I re-read it recently, I didn’t mention the story to anyone after I stumbled across it, and so I couldn’t help but laugh when history repeated itself just yesterday.

First, replicated for your ease of clicking, here’s the original post from 2007:

For the most part, potty training Tristan was a breeze. He waited until he was three and a half to be ready for it, but when he was ready, the transition was quick, painless and relatively dry. From the last day of diapers, we’ve had a total of maybe a dozen accidents at most. A year and a half later, however, one hurdle remains.

He refuses to wipe his own butt.

We’ve tried cajoling, reasoning, bribing and ignoring him, but he outwaits us every time. And for reasons I’ll never understand, the vast preponderance of the time, he likes to go when we are sitting at the dinner table.

Tristan, from the bathroom: “I’m done.”

Me, at the table: “Good.”


Tristan: “Are you coming?”

Me: “No. Wipe yer own butt.”

Tristan, whining: “I can’t!”

Me: “Yes, you can.”

Tristan: “I don’t want to!”

Me: “Well, that’s probably closer to the truth. You have to learn to wipe your own butt, Tristan. Big boys wipe their own butts.”


Tristan: “Is this Monday?”

Me, unfazed at the non-sequiter: “No, it’s Saturday.”

Tristan: “Well, I only wipe my own butt on Mondays.”

How do you argue with logic like that? He may have won again today, but you can bet he’s not getting away with it come Monday!

(Edited to add: and by God if he didn’t wipe his own butt on Monday. By his choice, mind you. He called from the bathroom, I reminded him it was Monday, and he said “Oh, okay” and did it. Who knew??)

Fast forward back to 2012. I’m editing photos in Lightroom just as the kids are getting ready for bed when the call comes from the bathroom, except this time it’s Lucas:

Lucas, from the bathroom: “Mo-om! Come wipe my butt!”

Me: “No way, José. You can do it.”


Lucas: “I don’t know how to wipe my bum in the nighttime, only in the daytime.”

I can’t say much for their bathroom hygiene, but at least I know my boys share a strong streak of creativity.

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I seem to be feeling inspired early in the day this week. The majority of this week’s pictures were taken within the first hour or so, some before I’ve even had my first coffee. Early bird gets the photo?

It seems like ages ago now, but it was only Monday that we woke up to heavy, wet snow in Ottawa. The tulips fared better than the daffs. They’ve got strong necks!

spring in Ottawa can be fickle

I’d actually forgotten I had taken another picture with my camera instead of my iPhone and was pleasantly surprised to find this one a couple of days later. Pleasantly surprised because it’s a much better picture, but also because the snow had completely disappeared by the time I found it.

Spring snow

I kinda thought I’d have another couple of years before I started taking pictures like this of my baby. Sigh. (I loved the window light in this one. Look at the catch-lights in his eyes!)

Precocious preschooler

I was taking pictures of raindrops dripping off a branch with my Lensbaby when Simon walked by on the porch and I snapped this portrait of him. I’ll take smiling boy over drippy branches any day! (You see the faint stars in the background? That’s the star shape in the Lensbaby creative aperture that does that. So hokey, but I love it!)

Lensbaby Simon with stars

This isn’t an official “photo of the day” but I’m still bragging about it so I thought I’d slip it in! 😉 That’s my pictures of the skaters down there, published in an advertorial in the current issue of Macleans.

Proud Canadian

It’s been a miserable week weather-wise, but the sunrises have been pretty amazing. I actually doubled back on my way over the way over the Rideau River to take this one. I kept those branches in the foreground intentionally thinking I’d give the shot some depth, but I find they clutter up the shot now that I see it. Oh well, the colours are still pretty, no?

Manotick sunrise on the Rideau River

I like this one much better, taken a few minutes down the road at the Long Island Lock a couple of days later. Can I just say that running into a really big flock of geese and sending them honking and panicking into the water is an awesomely fun way to start the day?

Geese at dawn

And hey, I saw yesterday that they’re officially filling up the Rideau Canal now. There’s no more sure sign of impending summer in Ottawa than that!

I snapped this one with my iPhone. I really like the composition, but didn’t expect it to be so noisy. Not guitar-noisy but photographic noise: that speckly grain, caused by excessively low light. Oh well. I’ll do it in a brighter room next time.

Noisy guitar

One of the many odd theme groups to which I belong on Flickr is Fenced Fridays. I am drawn to fences, and especially the miles and miles and miles of rural fencing I see out here. I’ve thought of doing a shot like this for a while, and finally got around to it.


The funny part is that last night while I was processing it, Lucas was bouncing around with his “guitar” (not the one I snapped above) and so I asked him to sing me a cow song to go with my picture. Beloved recorded this surefire hit on his iPhone:

You’re welcome! 😉


Through the month of April I’ve been putting up a series of posts on why I am incredibly impressed with Indigo Kids. The first post talked about how pleasantly surprised I was to find Indigo Kids offers a selection of great pre-wrapped toys to make your birthday-gift-shopping experience as painless as possible. The second post talked about how Indigo Kids saved my butt with awesome loot bag content and free loot bags to boot.

One of the criteria Mom Central Canada set out for this blog tour was that you’d need an upcoming birthday occasion to buy for. With three boys and a steady stream of party invitations, I knew we’d have that part covered. What I didn’t expect was that it would be Lucas’s first party invitation ever (awwwww!) from one of his mates at day care that we would be using as our excuse for an amicable morning spent browsing at Indigo Kids. And better yet? We were buying for a GIRL! (I get seriously excited about buying girl stuff.)

We looked at puzzles and books, games and stuffies, crafts and playsets. The clerk who helped us was awesome, pointing out options and ideas I wouldn’t have otherwise considered, and offering the kind of personal assistance you just don’t see in many stores anymore. (Hell, good luck finding a warm body in most big-box stores lately!)

My heart melted into a puddle of goopy love when I noticed Lucas intently studying a display of Groovy Girl dolls. “I think she needs a dolly,” he said, his brow furrowed in concentration. We looked at a few, and he was particularly enamoured with a blond one. “Why do you like this one, Lucas?” “Because she’s pretty like Marika.” Melt.

So we almost got the pretty-like-Marika blond dolly, until Lucas noticed I was holding a Colour and Cuddle Washable Pony, and he decided that would be what Marika liked best of all. We added in a handful of Robert Munsch mini-books and we were good to go.


The clerk sent us off to pay for our purchases, and told us to come back for the free gift wrap, which we did.


So now you know my go-to resource for the next decade of birthday-party-gift shopping! Would you like to win an Indigo gift card so you can check out the Indigo Kids experience on your own? Contest closes on Monday, so this is your last chance!

Here’s the details:

  1. This is a giveaway for a $35 Indigo gift card.
  2. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on any post in this series of three telling me why you love Indigo Kids or how you think Indigo Kids could be helpful to you.
  3. This giveaway is open only to Canadian residents, excluding residents of Quebec. (sorry!)
  4. This giveaway will run until 11:59 pm EDT April 30.
  5. One winner will be chosen from all comments posted on any of the three contest posts on this blog.
  6. You can comment as many times as you like, but you will only be entered into the giveaway once.
  7. You can also enter to win on other blogs, but you can only win once.
  8. If you win, you must be willing to provide your full name and address to me, to share with Mom Central Canada, in order to claim your gift card.
  9. Gift cards will be sent 4 to 6 weeks after the close of the giveaway.

And if you haven’t get checked out the great new Indigo Kids section of your favourite Chapters/Indigo store, this store locator link will help you find a location near you.

Disclosure: I am participating in the Indigo Kids program by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation for my participation in this campaign, but the opinions on this blog are ALWAYS my own. I only participate in promotional campaigns for products and services I feel I can personally endorse.


When I got my royalty statement from Getty Images last week, I was pretty excited. Not only was it my highest-grossing month to date with 10 sales, but it had some pretty interesting-sounding buyers: a couple of European ad agencies, Microsoft (!), and Macleans magazine. I was particularly curious about the Macleans one, not only because it paid a pretty penny. Not in my wildest dreams could I picture a more awesome use than this!

Proud Canadian

See that bottom-centre photograph of the skaters? I took that one on my lunch break on a freezing but brilliant day back in January!

Skating on the Rideau Canal - Beginners

Talk about proud Canadian moments!

And I found this one, too, which isn’t nearly as awesome but interesting nonetheless:

Found in the wild - Caiman sale

That’s my picture of a caiman, snapped at the boys’ school Halloween party featuring Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, masquerading as a crocodile on the website for NBC Miami, channel 6. 🙂

I tell you, between having a picture of Lucas and Willie used to support the concept of “cutest kid/pet picture ever” and Macleans using this one to define the ultimate Canadian moment, Getty has been doing as much to boost my ego as line my pocketbook!

So you think this qualifies to enter as a “Proudest Canadian” moment?


Wouldn’t it be great if there was a comprehensive database of information about services, companies, events and other resources relating to raising a family in Ottawa?

Well, thanks to our newest bloggy sponsor Help! We’ve Got Kids, now there is! Help! We’ve Got Kids was founded in 1994 as a print directory and evolved into an online database for parents and caregivers with a comprehensive listing of the products and services for kids and families in the Greater Toronto Area. They’ve since expanded to several Canadian cities, and as of this spring, they are establishing a presence in Ottawa as well.

I’ve been following the Help! We’ve Got Kids twitter stream for quite a while, and I was happy to help promote the Ottawa launch. On the Help! We’ve Got Kids website, you’ll find information and resources about birthday parties, camps, after-school programs, sports, schools, amusement centers, indoor playgrounds, support services, parenting articles, event calendars, parenting resources and more. You can even get a free basic listing for your own business or submit an event.

In addition to the services and parenting resources, there are deals, coupons, events and contests, and even a couple of blogs to follow. And of course you can follow them on Facebook or Google+ as well. Looks great, doesn’t it?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Help! We’ve Got Kids. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.


The kiddie “bucket list” – 50 things kids should do before age 12, with an Ottawa-centric twist

24 April 2012 Fun for kiddies

Okay, this? Best parenting advice I’ve read in a long time, and very in line with my ever-strengthening philosophy of giving kids room to be kids. Thank you to my friend and longtime reader Kim for sharing this article in the weekend Globe and Mail: Bucket list for kids: 50 things to do before they’re […]

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Off-label ideas for your favourite Fisher-Price toys

24 April 2012 Reviews, promotions and giveaways

I don’t know why my kids like to play with me. I am not a creative sort of person when it comes to play, especially imaginary play. I like board games because there are rules and processes to be followed (oh, I have been badly damaged by my 20-year civil service career, haven’t I?) and […]

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One hundred love letters to Ottawa

23 April 2012 Life in Ottawa

I‘ve toyed with changing the name of my “Life in Ottawa’ blog category to “Love letters to Ottawa.” I like to think that a lot of this blog is exactly that. But while my love letters are about the places in Ottawa, the things to see and do and visit, Kym Shumsky’s 100 strangers project […]

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Upgrades and other timesinks

22 April 2012 Editorial asides

I have spent waaaaaay too much time this weekend with my nose pressed to the monitor of my laptop, doing back-ups and upgrades and all the ridiculous site maintenance issues that I should do more frequently but never seem to get around to doing. First, I updated the banners on my portfolio site, and then […]

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