Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lego and the genderization of toys.

When I see stuff like this, it makes me happy that I'm having a boy:

Lego for Girls in the 80s
Lego for Girls 2013

Don't get me wrong. I was a girly girl. I loved pink and Barbie with an unhealthy obsession! I made Ken kiss Barbie and played house and did all the gender stuff. I was all over it.

But Lego? Honestly it never even occurred to me to want Lego in girly colours or with Barbie like scenes. Lego was a different game all together and I didn't need it to be anything other than it was. Mind you, Lego wasn't also as fixated on building specific creations then either. Lego was about using my imagination to build cars or houses. And I spent hours creating whatever my heart desired with my Lego.

I feel like we're taking a step backwards here. Why do we still constantly feel the need to gender children through toys? What does it say to girls that they can't actually just build shit but that they have to have the perfect home, fashion accessories, etc.?

It's fine that some toys are all about catering to the Princess fantasy of little girls. I get that everything is about moderation and that girls like this stuff. But can we not have some toys just be about creativity beyond gender?

Shit like this makes me happy we're having a boy. Because honestly, I really feel like we're backtracking on feminism.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

life: how did you become so surreal?

Do you ever wonder, when you look at your life, how you got where you are in life?

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great life and I’m very happy, that’s not where this post is going.

But some days I wonder what my 16 year old self would think of my 36 year old version of me. There are some things that I think she’d be cool with, but others that I think she’d be thinking: WTF!!!?

Take for example, the Slovenian part of my life.

IMG_7606

I don’t think my 16 year old version of me would have ever expected to be at a church based event, watching Slovenian folk singers and folk dancing on a Friday night. You know? That I would marry a man who played in a band, sure that was on the table, but that I would marry a man who played polka music in said band? Hells no! Or, to marry a man who owns a pair of lederhosen. And not ironically!

But then again, if you know anything about my history (or rather childhood) you might not be as surprised as you’d expect. Because, after all, my 6 year old self was hanging out with my Mom’s Ukrainian friends, watching Ukrainian dancing, eating perogies, and watching pig roasts and perogy making parties. Little known fact that most of my teen friends didn’t know about me, I’m sure.

So in some ways, it’s not surprising that when Paul introduced me to this reality, I was nonplussed by it. It was familiar in it’s own way. This little Dutch girl had seen her fair share of cultural fairs and folk dancing, from Scottish to Ukrainian, because of her Mom’s friends. That said, my Mom’s friends also had me in gay pride parades (ok, only 1, but you get the point).

So when I see my husband dressed like this:

IMG_7614

Part of me wonders about the strange reality I have stumbled into and part of me isn’t all that surprised.
Suffice to say, since wandering into Paul’s Slovenian world, I have learned many new things that I’d never heard of before, such as:

Name days: As in, celebrating the day of the Saint you were named after instead of (or in addition to) your birthday. Thus, as Marya, which a variation of Mary, I would celebrate on Aug 15th.

Dober dain. Ana cupitsa vino. Falla. Nosdrajvia. (my attempts at phonetic spelling)  Good day, one cup of wine. Thanks. Cheers! All the most important words, really. But now that I’m pregnant, somewhat limiting I must admit!

Polka. Yes, I know how to polka, sort of. It kind of makes me sick and I’m not great at it, but I know how to do it and even did it at my wedding. Who knew!?

Cleaning etiquette: That your car must be clean and your sidewalk leading to the front door, washed, even after a rainstorm. Especially before a wedding or event in which your family will see said car.

Big hall weddings: With 5 course meals and open bars instead of big casual backyard parties. And so much food that you don’t eat before the wedding if you hope to eat the entire meal.

Speaking of food: Big family meals that require at least 2 meats, in huge heaping quantities. And leftovers to feed an army. And the constant running gag over saving the best cuts for me, the family vegetarian is who is inevitably always served at least 2 starches (usually potatoes and pasta) in any given meal because what else do you feed a vegetarian?

It’s funny really… I look at where my life is and wonder about how I got here, married into a family SO different than my own, with customs and behaviours that are so odd to me sometimes, I always come back to the same conclusion. Despite the fact that there are things I don’t understand in this world I’m living in, and despite the fact that it seems so comical that the new age hippie dippy girl who is anti-Catholic, anti-traditional gender roles, anti-well just about everything, has agreed to this life of lederhosen, polka and family values.

Despite loving my husband and his family, I can’t help but wonder what happened between 6 and 16, and 16 and 36 to make this journey turn out the way it did!

Monday, March 25, 2013

random pregnancy fact #171

The baby moves. As in, he really moves! You can feel him and see him on the outside. It's crazy but also incredibly cool at the same time!



Suddenly things are starting to feel very real! There is an alien boy growing inside of me, making his presence known!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

farewell Lucy, hello Lakhsmi

Farewell Lucy, my little blue lovebug. After much angsting over the decision, we have finally parted ways. It was a good ride. I enjoyed having my own little beetle but it was time. Ironically whenever I tell people that it's time to let her go, the first reaction is really, she's not that old. But yes, yes she is my friends. She's a 98 and the very first generation of new Beetles. She was in great shape for a 15 year old car, but the financial reality of maintaining her was taking it's toll and combined with a baby on the way and her 2 door, compact ways, she just had to go.

So now I'm all grown up in a subcompact Nissan Versa. A sedan. Yes. A sedan.

I could get all midlife, baby crisis on you about this decision. After all, I now live in the suburbs in a practical car, in a big house and have a baby on the way. It's surreal, you know? Life just sort of happens and the next thing you know, you're actually totally an adult. How does that happen? I mean, I don't feel 16 or even 25 anymore.... but a solid 29 or 31 seems about right.

I guess plenty of 29 year olds have babies, sedans and houses in the burbs. But given that it took me so long to finish school, it all sometimes feels a bit surreal. Good surreal, but surreal, you know?

She's used. 2008, but only 34 000 km, and in great shape.

Paul has suggested the name Lakhsmi for her. I like it. Never mind that he suggested it because he wants to be able to call her bLakhsmi like he called Lucy bLucy. He feels all smart with his blue bLucy and black bLakhsmi. [insert loving eye roll here]. But I like the idea of calling my new vehicle after a goddess of prosperity and good fortune. I think we could use a bit of a good fortune these days given the rough month we've had, what with every house bill, tax, etc coming due this month and killing us financially. (It will get better, but it's been rough).

So yeah, Lakhsmi it is. Bring on the prosperity.

Now the big question is, how do I spice her up a bit to make her mine? On Lucy I added a little fairy sticker, which now in retrospect I think might not have been a good identity to give to my car. Fairies are tricky after all. So I was think a couple of stars or a lotus? What say you? Thoughts, suggestions?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

random pregnancy fact #167

Some days you're just going to wake up looking like a tomato.

No, this is not an example of blush gone wrong.
It's that glowing prego look that everyone raves about!

There's no rhyme or reason to this fact. It just is. It's not a question of over-exertion. Or illness. Or anything other than the fact that your body has randomly just decided to be extra warm, particularly in your face, thus making you look as red as a tomato.

Monday, March 18, 2013

February Scrapbook Collage: One Little Word

I feel like I haven't done a standard old school scrapbook page in ages and I've been really longing to do one. The catch of course is that I thought that it would be a good idea to purge my craft room (pregnancy nesting much?), thus I am not all that inspired to walk into my creative space because it's currently a disaster as I sort through things.

I swear to god, even though it looks worse, it is actually better underneath all the chaos!

But enough of that. Let me tell you about my latest scrapbooking page, cause I know you're all just so very eager to hear about it! For my One Little Word assignment for Feb I was supposed to create a collage of images/words that inspired me. Well, being a bit contrary, I opted to do something different that fit more in with what I was longing to do creatively. So I fused the collage with a traditional layout.

February Collage:


Bonus: the images are actually photos of pages I'd torn out of creative magazines that I'd really liked, which now means that I can purge said images and create a little less clutter in my crafty space! I call that a win, win!

See, I told you that it was better underneath the chaos. There is method to my cleaning madness.

So this page was totally inspired by one of Shimelle's pages (I pinned it here so go check out the original if you're curious). I opted to keep it simpler because all of the images I had collected seemed to have this light, airy, romantic feel to them. This is something that I find somewhat odd about my nature. I love the romantic airy feel, but then when I'm in it, I find it too pristine and a bit cold. For example, our dining room is very white with pops of colour and I find myself constantly wanting to layer more colour, texture, etc into the space (much to Paul's chagrin). I'm fighting the impulse and working on a more Zen minimalist approach, but it doesn't come naturally to me.

Friday, March 15, 2013

car decisions

So (b)Lucy, my lovely little lovebug, has been giving me a lot of grief lately and I find myself asking the question: When do you give up and walk away from a car?



It's been four years (this month actually) and a lot of money later. And now I'm looking at even more money. My brakes are acting up and I need to replace my entire muffler. Essentially I'm probably looking at at least $1500 in work, on top of the $500 I spent in February.

My mechanic is of the opinion that keeping an older car is worth it because people under-estimate how much a new car will cost. He may be right. But then again, he might be just trying to keep my business (because let's face it, I'm good business).

I'm torn whether I should drop another 1500 + into this car. On one hand, I like my car. I like driving her, I like her size and zippiness. I like that I know her well and that I'm making a sustainable decision by keeping an older car from the landfills. I like that I'm not upping my carbon footprint by buying a new car which has produced a ton of toxins in the process of being built.

I don't like her mileage though. She was decent in 98. In 2013 she kind of sucks ass. Or petrol. Whatever! You get the point. And I don't like that she's a heavy carbon footprint because of poor mileage.

She's not going to be practical for strollers and carseats, but whatever.... having a car is a luxury (a needed one when you live in the burbs, but still a luxury).

She's also starting to rust. Which means I either let it happen or I invest more money in treating her before the problem gets too bad. Again with the more money.

At this point Lucy still costs me a little less than a car payment would and a lot less if I had a car payment and problems on a newer car.

But here's the biggest thing: my student loan will be finished in 3 years. And I can't help but ask myself if it wouldn't be a much smarter decision to pay the money on Lucy's maintenance and hold out for better financial times, student loan free times? You know?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I'm (we're) all grown up and the proud owner of a tub!

Bought a tub last week.


I never thought I'd say that. I bought a bathtub. It seems like a ridiculously grown up thing to say. Never mind that I'm having a baby. Nope, it's the bathtub buying that seems odd!

We still have to buy the faucet/pipes, but we couldn't turn down the deal on the tub last week because it was on sale. 

At least now our ridiculously large bathroom only looks large. No one can walk into it now and say "I could totally move into your bathroom, even fit a bed in here." Nope, now we just have a big bathroom.

Yay for a tub. I could have really used one during the colder months this year. I'm excited to have a good tub again. Hopefully we'll get the faucet sooner than later (mind you, my car keeps falling apart so it will probably be later).

Monday, March 11, 2013

boys will be boys

Last weekend we headed up to Tremblant to spend some time with Mark and Katie. You'd never believe it, but your's truly actually managed to stay awake till midnight, later than Paul even. It's like a new preggo record for me! But shh... let's not talk about the hour long nap I had to take to accomplish this amazing feat!

While I was there I noticed a common theme between Mark and Paul (who are cousins despite not looking related):


Mark feels the need to keep busy doing chores. In the picture above he is stacking wood for the fireplace.


Even though we're going no where, Paul went out to clean his car (after adding windshield fluid, which was needed). Like Mark, Paul gets restless sitting still and talking.

I think this is by-product of their mothers... I'm just saying...

That said:


Don't be fooled by their hardworking natures. At the first opportunity to play swords, the two of them seized the moment to geek it up and make crude little boy jokes while Katie and I waited on them.

Monday, March 4, 2013

3 little owls: a baby quilt completed

One Little Word: February Intention: To make something for the baby.

Since I numbered my intentions, I have free reign to move things around and juggle them according to where life takes me. This past month, life took on a baby crafting adventure that really challenged my quilting skills, big time.

But here is what I did.

The back and main inspiration for nursery colours:


The front:


Owls, edging, and stitching to hold the layers together in place. It turned out differently than I expected, definitely more blue but I'm ok with that. Next up, washing and trimming any loose strings. Overall I think the entire project took me about 16 hours over 5 days of work. Not bad.

Yay, I've just completed my first baby project and one of my year's intentions!

Ok... now for more posts that don't include the baby. I'm getting a bit baby'd out right now, time to talk about something else for a bit.

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