She's a portrait!

Wow, only a year and a half, and Claire has already had her portrait painted!

This was a surprise - I sent Mom a picture of Claire splashing in the puddles this spring, and she loved it so much that she had her niece-in-law paint it!

Check out more of her work here: Angela's Art.

So tired...

It's been a very busy few days at the Atlantic Summer Institute on Healthy and Safe Communities in PEI!

After the Institute I'm taking a couple of days off - pray for nice weather! I've been feeling like summer has left! Here's hoping we have some beach weather this weekend so we can take Claire to the beach!

Music Makers #1: Children's Edition

This is the first post in a new series. It will be fun for me to share some of my favourite music with you, and hopefully you'll find some hidden gems!


You gaze down upon your newborn, sweetly snuggling in your arms as you rock her to sleep, while a soft lullaby plays in the background. As you hum along to Braham's Lullaby, it suddenly occurs to you that your child's musical tastes won't always be so innocuous.

The Wiggles! Elmo!! Barney!!!

It's enough to fill any parent with terror.

I'm a bit of an oddity, never having lost my love of kid's music. I have quite a Disney collection, and probably know as many children's songs as most kindergarten teachers. But while I can sing "The Eensy Weensy Spider" with the best of 'em, I like to think that I have some standards.

I'm a fan of Sesame Street, and I'll confess that I actually like Elmo in small doses, but you won't find The Wiggles, The Doodlebops or Barney in my house (okay, that's a lie. There is a Barney book shoved way back in our storage room).

I've always thought that kids can appreciate all kinds of music. 50s and 60s pop were staples of my music collection as a child, and growing up in Alberta even gave me an appreciation for country music. But while we play many different types of music for our one and a half year old daughter, she still seems to prefer children's artists right now. CDs have to pass our test before they get played more than once, though!

Our daughter isn't a great car traveler, and if you drove with us very often, you'd realize that the phrase I say most often in the car is "Thank God for Raffi!". I loved Raffi's music when I was little, and his music is one of the few things that can calm Claire down when she's really worked up in the car. Thank goodness his voice is pretty soothing for us too!

He's best known for "Baby Beluga", but he has about a dozen albums - all great! He doesn't have any music videos, but here are two YouTube creations:

Raffi - "Baby Beluga"

Raffi - "All I Really Need"

A new addition to our children's music collection is Justin Roberts, and I can't say enough about him! He has catchy songs that kids love, and which parents find pretty funny too. My husband even likes him! Here's a video from his new album: "Pop Fly".

...and a simple little tune from his first album: "You Got One".

Ahhh... children's music for a new generation. Because no one should have to listen to Barney.


Yay, my template is back to normal!

A great big "Thank you!" to Kimberly Brooke for her help!

Technical difficulties

Excuse me while I try to find the missing background of my blog (so you can read the white title again)!

Update: Okay, green title for now, while I try to track down the missing image. Everyone using a version this blog template is having the same problem.

Could PETA possibly sink any lower?!

PETA tries to run ad comparing Manitoba beheading to animal rights abuses

This ad is just sick. They obviously have no respect for the family of this poor man.

Wow, this must be a BAD day...

Looking at my blog stats, approximately 98% of the hits on my website for the last day have been from people Googling "most depressing songs you've ever heard."


Now listen people, I know things aren't all that great out there. There are wars, poverty, crime and loneliness. But for so many of you to be looking for depressing songs all at once? Yikes!! Sadly enough, it's the post I wrote that gets the most visitors!
(Update: wow, I just looked at Google and Yahoo, and I'm #3 for that search string. That's kind of creepy.)

For those of you wondering what I wrote about depressing songs, I'll link you to the post in question, a blurb I wrote in 2006 about a book called: I Hate Myself and Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You've Ever Heard.

On a related note, this winter I was listening to As It Happens on CBC Radio, and the hosts were asking people to call in with their votes for the most depressing song. Interestingly enough, the song that received the most calls is not even on the top 25 list in the book mentioned above!

The winner: Gloomy Sunday.

Frankly, I like the song. It's gloomy, obviously, but I guess I didn't pay enough attention to the lyrics. Reading them now, it is rather creepy! The song has even garnered a reputation as the "Hungarian suicide song", due to reports (or urban legends) of high rates of suicide after listening to the song.

For your listening pleasure (posted with a warning), I bring you 2 versions of the song:

The incomparable Billie Holiday:

and a personal favourite, Sarah McLachlan.


Now, go watch Human Tetris and have a laugh!

Rental car seats, rental cars, and taxis - putting our kids at risk?

Pssst... have you ever done it?

The blogs are hopping about renting car seats, and the consensus seems to be: if you have any choice in the matter, never rent a car seat.

Parents report receiving old, dirty, and potentially unsafe car seats when they have rented infant and toddler seats from rental car companies. And we're not just talking about an isolated incident, or one rental company.

I wrote about this the other day, and since then, I've seen more on the topic. Click here, here and here for stories from parents and former rental company workers that will make you want to scream and never let go of your car seat again.

Okay, so we're all agreed that you could be risking your child's safety by renting a car seat from a rental car company (I'm sure some of their seats are safe, but I don't think I'll ever trust one again after reading these stories).

But what about taxis?

I've never taken a taxi with my daughter, but I'm curious about whether taxi companies provide car seats (I assume some must), who installs them, and what condition the seats are in. I tend to think that the situation would be similar to rental cars, but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised!

What has been your experience?

Cross-posted on BlogHer