Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Mini-Van road trip from Canada to California: Destination, Disneyland

Ever since I hatched the insane plan to take four kids (ages 8,7,4, and 1 at the time) on a road trip from Vancouver, BC to Anaheim, California, I wanted to write about it. Its been in the back of my head for almost a year, and like post traumatic stress, certain images are burned into my brain forever.

At this point in time, I am sure that I won't ever do a road trip down the I5 to California again UNLESS it isn't in my mini-van. For all of the virtues of the Pontiac Montana (and there are many, as it has been a reliable vehicle), I would not do it again. In an RV, it could be a possibility.

I'd actually like to do a cross-country comparision of RV to personal vehicle and the differences between the two. The problem? RV's are ridiculously expensive.

For an idea of what it is really like for a Canadian family of six to go on a road trip to Disneyland, see Part One in Survive Parenthood Magazine.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Best animated movies for rainy days

So many of us are waking up in our cold houses lately and weighing the pros and cons of turning the furnace back on.  Like anyone who lives in a climate that is supposed to have seasons, I flat out refuse to give into the need to turn mine back on. Yes, the thermostat says 19 in the house, and yes, I am layering all of the kids all the time, but COME ON weather. Blow yourself up north where you really belong and stay there for at least 3 months.

I hate to look out the window and see the kid's big pool set up in the backyard, all ice cold and waiting for swimmers, or try to answer the questions as to when the weather will get warm and stay warm (Answer: I have no idea. Second Answer: I'm not the weatherman.)

I struggle to find rainy day activities when every single day is a cold and rainy day, so this list from Time's Magazine came at the right moment. Check it out:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My kid is excited about Pottermore

I received a news blast this morning about Pottermore, an online world dedicated to making the Harry Potter books come to life. Created by J.K.Rowling and Sony, this website promises to be an ebook gone wild.

My daughter plowed through all 7 Harry Potter books last summer vacation, and she was seriously unhappy when she found out there wouldn't be another book. When your kids is a book worm and not exactly into the movies, the option of a Pottermore is welcome indeed.

You can't access the website right now, but can enter your email address to be notified when registration starts. For more details, see

Friday, June 17, 2011

What can I say about Father's Day?

As Father's Day is upon us once again, I find it is a time to reflect on the role of Dad. Yes, he is the hanger of curtain rods, the fixer of flat tires, and the leveler of shelves. But he's also so much more.

In honor of Father's Day 2011, I have written a 3 step bit of advice for Dad's everywhere, whether they are new or seasoned (sounds better than old, but I'm not sure if I'd be happy if someone called me seasoned). Take it as you will Dads, but it might just help you out if you are expecting a new baby in the near future or keep your vital organs intact if your wife has just given birth.

3 things not to say to your wife after she's just had your baby - Survive Parenthood Magazine

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What are you going to tell your kids about the Vancouver Riot 2011

Like many in Vancouver, I was glued to my television last night. Not only because of the hockey game, which put a wrench in my heart for the Canucks. No, I was glued to the aftermath. The moment that first car flipped I had a feeling this could get bad, but I had no idea that the stupidity would be so truly out of control.

If I had to have a favorite part, and I use that term loosely, I would say that it was when the TV cameras captured a bunch of idiots in The Bay. One guy in particular had a hammer in his hand and he was talking away on his cell phone. These are people who had no clue they were being taped, but at the same time, did they not care that the public was standing there watching them? Did they feel entitled to those Coach purses, just because the Canucks lost?

News flash people: The Canucks are ashamed of you. Instead of being proud they got this far, you brought shame down upon them. Good job! I'm sure when you woke up this morning with a hangover and puffy eyes from tear gas, you probably thought to yourself, "What the hell was I thinking?"

But its too late for that now.

For some helpful suggestions on how to discuss the Vancouver Riot 2011 with your kids, visit Survive Parenthood

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blogging and the lack thereof

I've been busy lately. I mean, more busy than just having 4 children and a husband who recently had surgery (thus, turning into my 5th child.)  More busy than the usual copywriting jobs, laundry, shuttling the kids back and forth to school and swimming and various birthday parties. Don't forget those year end activities: scrapbook pages, photos, parades. And its been fun, but I've been busy.

I've never felt that my blog captures my writing style or who I am exactly, so because of that I've decided to consolidate and launch an online magazine. I've been working on it for awhile, and am currently just tweaking it and loading content. Anything that I write will go there, and I will link to it from here. 

I'll be doing more app reviews, more investigative articles, and just more writing. And the theme?

Being a mother, who is also a parent, and who, once upon a time, was also someone else that I can't quite remember anymore. Someone who vowed that, after University, I would continue to read Madame Bovery or The Woman in White, just to mentally stimulate my brain. Now, if I tried to read that, I'd be snoring in 5 minutes from pure exhaustion.

I know there are people out there who love their kids, but at the same time, lament the fact that their 20's, or 30's or 40's are cruising by them and their lives are slowly trickling by them. Its a sobering thought, but it is one that I've had many, many times. I sincerely hope that life begins at 40, because if not, I spent the most intellectually creative years of my life peeling potatoes (which I wasn't happy about) and raising kids (which I am very happy about).

I'm writing for people who don't have a ton of time to read online, but want to find what they are looking for in under 10 minutes. Topics that will soon be covered are:
  • Journey to Disneyland: The Insanity of a 6 person road trip down the I5
  • You might be insensitive if....3 things a man should not say to his wife after she has given birth
  • According to my neighbor, these are household chores you should not be doing
Its called Survive Magazine: Because Parenthood can be Preposterous . Coming soon, laundry willing

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The double edged sword of technology

I remember the moment so vividly.

I answered my front door to find my husband's friend standing on the steps. In his hand was a bright, shiny, slightly newer iTouch, and he was giving it to me.  Up until that moment, it never occurred to me that a small, thinnish piece of technology would drastically improve my life, but it did. Oh how it did.

I am one of many mothers who managed to survive endless hours of rocking, breastfeeding, and soothing in the dark with nothing to entertain myself but a random thought of dinner or could I possibly sneak out and put her down. I wasn't resentful, I was just lacking entertainment.

When he handed me that iTouch, he opened up a portal to the world. No longer did I have to nurse my 4th baby for hours on end with nothing to stare at but the wall. And don't get me started on the wonders of the app store. I've never been the same since. Mousewait, Huffington Post, Youtube. Bliss.

Of course, I progressed through the ranks of new technology quite quickly after that, and now I have a choice of what to pick up when I want to go and rock the little guy to sleep. Generally I choose my iPhone 4 over my iPad,  just for the fact that its small and easier to hold. I think though, I may be opting for the iPad more often now.

The World Health Association, in a study recently submitted for your consideration, showed that cell phones may be emitting radiation that is the same league as shoving your face near the car exhaust or smoking. This is bad news for anyone as addicted to Smart phones as most of us are. Although they have stated that further study is needed, it is a wake up call for many who have their cell phone attached to their hip.

In a recent article posted on HULIQ, the amount of radiation emitting from various cell phones was analyzed and a list of the best and worst cell phones was compiled:
* Side note: For comparison purposes, the Apple iPhone 4, 8G emits 0.974 and did not make the top 20 for highest amounts of radiation

Cell Phones that Emit the highest amount of radiation

1 Motorola Bravo 1.59
2 Motorola Droid 2 Global 1.58
3 Sony Ericsson Satio (Idou) 1.56
4 Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro 1.55
5 Kyocera Jax S1300 1.55
6 Motorola i335 1.53
7 Nokia Astound 1.53
8 Motorola Defy 1.52
9 Motorola Grasp 1.52
10 ZTE Salute 1.52
11 LG Rumor 2 1.51
12 Motorola Droid 1.49
13 Sanyo Vero 1.49
14 Motorola Droid 2 1.49
15 HTC Desire 1.48
16 LG Chocolate Touch 1.47
17 Motorola Atrix 4G 1.47
18 Kyocera Wild Card M1000 1.46
19 Kyocera X-tc 1.45
20 Motorola i576 1.45

Cell Phones that Emit the lowest-radiation cell phones

1 Samsung Blue Earth 0.196
2 Samsung Infuse 4G 0.2
3 Samsung Acclaim 0.29
4 Samsung Replenish 0.3
5 Huawei Ideos X5 0.34
6 T-Mobile Sidekick 4G 0.34
7 LG Quantum 0.35 8 Samsung Haven 0.41
8 Samsung Evergreen 0.41
9 Samsung Captivate 0.42
10 Samsung Smiley 0.43
11 HTC Surround 0.439
12 Doro PhoneEasy 410 0.445
13 Motorola Devour 0.45
14 Motorola i890 0.45
15 Kyocera Neo E1100 0.479
16 Samsung Contour 0.49
17 HTC Imagio 0.498
18 Motorola Flipside 0.5
19 Samsung Flight SGH-A797 0.505

So how serious is this, and what does it mean for parents who rely on these phones as their main source of communication? There are three things you can do right now to mitigate your exposure to radiation from your cell phone:
  • Use earphones when talking on the phone: Apple ships the iPhone 4 complete with a set of ear buds that work as both ear phones and a headset when driving. Don't hold the headset to your ear when talking, use your ear phones. The possibility of radiation transmission will be lower.
  • Keep the phone away from your body: When in use, put the phone on the seat beside you or on your desk. Don't put it in your pocket. You can actually feel the little black box heating up, which can't be good for radiation risk.
  • Use it for texting and surfing, not talking: Most of us still have home phones, so you don't have to use your cell to talk inside your house. Pick up your home phone and use it whenever possible. The study showed increased radiation when using cell phones for talking, not necessarily texting.
It remains to be seen whether or not the World Health Association will place cell phones in a category along with gasoline fumes and smoking. At the very least, you owe it to yourself to decrease whatever risk may be out there, and that includes putting down the phone once in awhile.