Archive for June, 2006

Women’s Recreational Soccer

Soccer is taking over our family this year.  My son is playing.  I’m coaching his team.  And now I’m playing.  I’ve been on a wait list since the early spring and finally got a call yesterday saying they were adding players to the teams and adding some new teams.

You gotta love kids, man.  We’ve been watching some World Cup action and it’s clearly having an impact on our 6 yr old son.  I told him I finally got a spot on the team and here’s the conversation that resulted 20 minutes after I told him.

Him: What’s your team?

Me: I don’t know.  I forgot to ask what colour our shirts are.

Him: No, I mean what Fifa…oh no, Canada doesn’t have a team.  I forgot.

Me: ??Pause?? Honey, do you think I’m playing in the World Cup?

Him: Yes.

Now wouldn’t that be something?  Yeah, it would be something alright.  It would be some of the worst soccer action you’ve ever seen.  I’m not saying I completely suck but let’s get real — compared to a World Cup player, any rec player would suck.  As proof of that, I actually went out last night to kick my ball around in my new cleats (which gave me MASSIVE blisters) and an 11 year old boy who was hanging at the park with his grandmother, asked if he could play with me.  I should have said “Okay” when he wanted to be in net and have me take shots on him.  I shouldn’t have said, “Sure, let’s play some 1 on 1.”  But I did.  The result?  I was beaten 3-0 (or was it 4-0?) by an 11 year old in 25 minutes.  Okay, I did take it easy on him a little.  By that I mean, I purposely took it easy when I tried to get the ball away from him.  One time I did almost trip him and he immediately said “I’m OK, I’m OK”.  He knew I was worried about him getting hurt.  We talked about it.  He was funny.  He kept saying “You can try, you know.” and “Are you trying yet?”  It was cute without being obnoxious.

We’re supposed to meet and play again.  I’m bringing reinforcements next time.  If I’m going down, I’m taking my 6 yr old and 3 yr old with me!

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The End of the School Year

Well, it’s that time of year.  June.  Specifically, the end of June.  That means children running free, a decrease in rush hour traffic, summer hours for some employees and my SK guy is moving on to Grade 1 next year.

Being a parent is weird.  At least, for me it is.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Blog Carnival: Carnival Against Child Abuse

My post about speaking to your kids about sex has caught some attention.  Without really meaning to, I focused my post on the prevention of sexual abuse, through child education.  I submitted the post in a blog carnival – specifically the Carnival Against Child Abuse.  Check it out.

And speak to your kids about sex.

How?  Well, it really helps me discuss it, if I remember that my kids are a blank slate.  They don't know anything.  They don't have any hang-ups about sex.  There isn't any emotional connection to sex, in their brains.  So it's rather technical.  Insert tab A into slot B.  Okay, maybe not that technical.  But it's matter of fact.  My son hopped into the shower with me this morning (yes, we still shower with our kids) and he saw me washing.  He commented that he didn't know I washed my nipples.  I replied, sure – they're just like yours.  Then he wanted to know if, when I was nursing his sister (2+ years ago!), if she got soap in her mouth because I wash my nipples.  The answer of course was no, we rinse our bodies off after we wash them.  My point here – other than the fact that I clearly have clean nipples – is that kids don't know anything.  This is a fabulous opportunity for you to teach them.  Think about what you would like to know.  Think about how you would have liked your parents to handle these situations with you when you were younger.  What would you change?  What did your parents do that you think was right?  I know this isn't easy for everyone.  I'm rather surprised it comes so easily to me.  I had a rather promiscuous youth and I guess I wish that I had had someone to talk to about this stuff, when I was younger.  I wonder if I would have had the adventures I did, if I felt I could talk to my mother about sex stuff.

Get some help if you need it.  Find a close friend or a family member who feels comfortable talking about this and get some suggestions from them.  And don't be afraid to tell your child that you get embarassed speaking about body science.  It's a good opportunity to explain to them that some people can speak about this stuff easily and some people get embarassed and that just because you get embarassed, it doesn't mean you don't want to talk about it.  You don't want your kids seeing you stammering, getting all red-faced and coming to their own conclusion that they can't speak to you about this topic.  I think you'd rather have them know that you are uncomfortable but knowing that you still want to keep the lines of communication open with them.  And of course, these conversations are private.  Not secret.  Secret means you don't tell anyone, even your family.  Sex should be private – something you can talk about openly with family members but it's private.  You might not want your little ones running up to their grandparents and telling them that their mommy has a period.  Especially if it's your in-laws and you're the mom!

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The Wedding Debrief

It's just not a party until someone's son throws up in the reception hall, right?  Ah, but I've spoiled the end of this post.  Read on if you don't mind the spoiler.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Food for Thought: Chew on This; Everything You Don’t Want to Know about Fast Food

Chew On This

I should preface this post by telling you that I worked part-time at McDonald's from Grade 9 through to Grade 13 (back when they had Grade 13).  While attending high school, I worked my way up the food chain (total pun intended) from a regular crew member to trainer and eventually to a Swing Manager (part-time manager).  Nevertheless, I chose to shield my eldest child from the golden arches until he was 3.  And then, it was my in-laws who fed him that his first happy meal while we were in the hospital, giving birth to my youngest.  I'm not against eating McDonald's food.  My motto is really "Everything in moderation".

You may or may not have heard of Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know about Fast Food by Eric Schlosser.  This book is not an attack on the fast food industry.  The best way to describe it is:"…Schlosser, along with co-author Charles Wilson, presents the fast-food industry to preteens, focusing on the aspects that will interest them most — the nonconformist teen entrepreneurs who founded the industry; the mistreatment of animals in slaughterhouses and employees in restaurants; the shocking effects too much fast food can have on growing bodies; and the impact of the industry on schools, communities, and the earth."

The book is written for the pre-teen audience, which I didn't realize until after I put it on hold at our local library.  I'm now about 2/3 of the way through it and feel the need to share some of the content with you.

One particular section discusses food additives; namely artificial colourings and flavourings.  The next bit is going to be loosely paraphrased from pages 121 and 122 of Chew on This (gotta give credit where it's due!).  Cochineal extract aka carmine aka carminic acid is derived from Dactylopius coccus costa.  Dactylopius coccus costa is a small bug found in Peru and the Canary Islands.  The female feeds on cactus pads and colour from the cactus concentrates in her body and her eggs.  Once the bugs are collected, they are dried and then ground into a colouring additive. Once these bugs are ground into carmine (70,000 bugs = 1 lb carmine), carmine is then used to make processed foods look pink, red or purple.  "Dannon strawberry yogurt gets is color from carmine, as do many candies, frozen fruit bars, fruit fillings, and Ocean Spray pink grapefruit juice drink."  As a result of this newfound information, you can bet your bippy that we read food labels much more carefully.  Any (and I mean ANY) item that lists "artifical colour" or "artificial flavour" is not purchased anymore.  Our son was a little bummed about the loss of yogurt tubes from our pantry but when I showed him a picture of the Dactylopius coccus costa and read how they're used, to him, he suddenly became okay with the change.

Other things that surprised me include the lengths to which companies will go to market their products to kids.  I mean, I've always known deep down that most commericals are geared towards getting kids to want their parents to buy stuff for them but this book presents marketing to kids in a pretty strong manner.  I didn't realize that lobby groups in DC actually work against legislation that would benefit our kids' health.  I didn't realize there was so much money in this industry.  I didn't realize the impact that large multinational fast food companies can have on farmers.  Think: potatoes.  Think: french fries.  Think: corporate farms driving mom and pop farms out of business.

There is a lot of information packed into this book and I find it to be presented in an easy-to-read, concise manner.  I expected a significant sized bibliography to be attached to this book and Schlosser doesn't disappoint.  30 pages of references complete this book.  If you've got a minute, I recommend you pick this up for yourself, or if you've got one, for your tween.

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Inline Skating, Coaching U6 Soccer, a Wedding and Ra

When did Rollerblading become Inline skating?  When K2 built a better skate than Rollerblade?  It may be a generation thing (I can't believe I just said that…) but regardless, I find myself having correct myself everytime I start to say rollerblade in-line skate.

I took my rollerblades in-lines out tonight for a spin. I thought I'd give the outdoor rink a try.  I skated over there (a nice change from having to drive in the winter), toured around for a bit and skated back home.  I took the back streets and the nature trail there and back.  Tonight I had the luck of actually getting a gnat in the mouth.  I've decided that while the outdoor rink is nice and well-constructed for in-line skating, I actually prefer skating on the roads over all other surfaces.  Sidewalks are killer – skate bump skate bump skate bump.  Paths/trails are okay but they're filled with dogs, dog-walkers, cyclists and runners.  Not to mention, gnats. It was manageable except for the unleashed dogs.  They're too unpredictable.  I zig left, dog zigs right and then zigs left at the last minute.  Whoops!

Speaking of the unpredictable, I started coaching U6 soccer last weekend.  For the uninitiated, that means I'm coaching 10, 6 year old boys.  It's good.  Unfortunately we lost both our games so far but the kids are having fun.  This Saturday we played in the rain.  We had an amazing turnout – all of our players showed up, unlike our opposing team which only had 1/2 a roster in attendance.  We were all soaked by the time we were through; even the parents with brolleys were drenched.  There is something to be said for playing in the rain when the temperature is fair.  It can be a little exciting.  It can be a little freeing.  And it can be a little slippery.  Having said that, if that was the only game we have to play in the rain this year, that's fine by me. It's all fun and games until you're wet and the cold sets in and the kids start to whine in the van on the way home.  It's suddenly not so much fun anymore.

We're headed out of town this weekend to a wedding.  It's a bit of an odd situation.  The wedding is for a friend of mine that I went to high school and university with.  However, I haven't seen this guy since at least 1999 and I actually think it was closer to 1997 or 1998 that we last saw each other.  He's the type of guy who emails you to say he's coming to the city (he moved back to our hometown ages ago), would we be around and then weeks after his planned visit, you find out that he came and went without so much as a text message to let you know he was in town.  So, you may be asking why I'm going?  Well, for one, to see the wedding.  Technically, we will actually miss the wedding ceremony — I'm not skipping a soccer game for this event.  We'll drive (4 hours) after the game to make it to the reception. Which leads us back to why we are going?  To see some old friends, to show my husband and children where I grew up and to put away some old ghosts.  In another year, I will have lived away from my hometown for the same amount of time that I lived there.  I don't have any connections there anymore as what family I did have moved away shortly after I did.  My mom and I moved around a lot when I did live there.  If my memory is correct, we've got 8 different residences to visit.  I might be leaving one or two of them out.  It's a small town so between all the "I used to live there" and "I used to live there too" we should be able to cover the whole town and still make it to the reception for 5pm.

I found the most *amazing* dress for this wedding.  I'm not going to even try and describe it here because I know I can't do it justice.  The two people I did model it for both said "wow" when I tried it on for them.  Even the girl in the changeroom at the store (I needed someone to zip me up) commented on how cute it was.  It's an off-the-shoulder style dress and that means I have issues with various tan lines.  Between the countless number of tshirts I wear, tank tops and bathing suit straps, I'm a map of tan lines in this dress.  The sun god, Ra has seen it to take me into his favour and has changed our "cloudy with scattered showers" forecast for the week into "25 (that's Celsius folks) and sunny" for the next 3 days.  Plenty of time to throw on my bathing suit top (sans straps!) and try to fill in those white lines while playing with the kiddies outside.  Oh, and the dress – it was $24.99 (regularly priced at $50+) at Winners.  You should go!

Update: Sun?  Where?  Here?  Not a chance of seeing it behind all those damn clouds! 

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I’m hooked on my heart rate monitor

So, I was back on my eliptical machine last night, having a good workout for the first time in about a month. Time was flying by and I was reading about some soccer drills and thinking about coaching the game this weekend.  Suddenly I looked at my heart rate monitor and egads! I was dead!  At least, according to my heart rate monitor, I was dead.  The readout had an ominous 00 on it.  Damn!  I was 40 minutes into a 60 minute workout.  Most people would probably go on, knowing full well that they were indeed alive and not trusting the foolhardy device.  Not me.  I've got a thing for my monitor.  I'm one of those people that needs to quantify my activities.  I need to know how many kms I cycled or ran.  I need to know how many cals I burned on my eliptical and what my average heart rate was.  Yeah, my eliptical has some of those things on the readout but the cals result isn't accurate. I ended up running downstairs to see if there was some wireless interference that might be causing me to appear to be dead.  That might seem silly but we've found that things like starting a vehicle while wearing the monitor, causes the same result.  We've got a new wireless router, baby monitors and who knows what else that could interfere with my monitor.  Unless our popcorn popper was suddenly trying to go wireless, I never did find out what may have caused the problem.  I ended up taking the watch apart and while I was fiddling, it suddenly started up again.  I'm alive!  Alive! [/Dr. Frankenstein voice] Of course by then, all hope of rescuing the workout was lost.  But I still maintain my love for my monitor.

Oh, and I'm watching the US National Spelling Bee and it rocks!  (did I really say that?) Finola Hackett (Go Canada Go!) appears to have just come in second.  Unless the last person up messes up her last word.  Great job Finola!

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