Tuesday, June 16, 2015

It's ALIVE!

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I woke up this morning with two thoughts in my head.

1) Coffee. Because, coffee.

and

2) Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF?! Because, holy freaking crap – I’m in a book that’s being released TODAY. As in right now.

Did I mention I’m in a book?  Yes a book! This book:



Shannon Day and Tara Wilson of Tipsy Squirrel Press have collected 37 amazing stories that will make you laugh, make you cry and make you pee your pants (in a good way).

I’ll be honest here. The thought of my words hanging out in a book, with other - much cooler words - written by thirty-six other women - phenomenal women - from around the world, makes me want to go straight to the mirror to check if I have any flax seeds stuck between my teeth.

----------------------------------------------------
Who are the Wonder contributors
Who are the Woe contributors?
Who are the WTF?! contributors?
 ---------------------------------------------------- 

It’s mind boggling and exciting and terrifying. And it’s enough to drive a girl to eat chocolate bars. Or chocolate chips. Or at the very least a tablespoonful of those candy sprinkles you find in the cake aisle.

But all of that is nonsense because I am in a book and that book is – as of this moment – available to the world.

And because YOU my faithful reader are a BIG part of why I am in this book, I am going to share a brief excerpt of my essay, found in the WTF?! section of Martinis & Motherhood, published by Tipsy Squirrel Press.

I'll warn you ahead of time, the essay involves this:



--------------------
 Bug House
When my daughter was a toddler, she could whack a housefly like nobody’s business. And when I say whack, I mean annihilate.
Wings. Guts. Everywhere. 

When other parents were busy making sure their tiny tots Knew their red circles from their blue squares, I was encouraging my kid to work on her gross motor skills with the help of a fly swatter named Smack. 

 Her natural-born tracking abilities were most welcome during the year we lived in a rental while our new home was being built. 


Our temporary place was an A-frame with large, south-facing windows and about 70 billion fly-sized holes in the walls. 

We had a good system. My child would hunt, and I would help her ceremoniously flush her conquests down the toilet where they would (and I quote) “go to the fly fair” to be happily reunited with their friends and family.
And presumably, their legs. 

But then my daughter turned four, and just like that, the free ride was over...
--------------------


If you want to read the rest, you'll have to buy the book. It's available (print and Kindle) on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. and (Kindle) on amazon.ca. My fellow Canadians can buy the print version from amazon.com now or can hold on for the 6 weeks it will take to become available from amazon.ca.

Now because sometimes I speak too quickly or too quietly or not at all, I should pause here to let you all know what Martinis & Motherhood is all about. So here, from the publisher, are the deets.
Stories that inspire, entertain, and make you laugh ’til you pee. Plus martinis! And not just any-old-martinis—these ones were designed just for moms! These tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF?! share a little glimpse into the lives of other moms, who are a lot like you. Through their tales, we’re reminded to savour the little things (like capturing extra morning snuggles), to let go of the stresses (they won’t be in that unfortunate phase forever), and to be grateful for the laughs that the unexpected brings (because laughing is better than crying and it may be the only workout our abs get!). So shake up an easy-to-make martini, put your feet up (quickly, before the kids find you) and join us on our journey as we toast to the many clink-worthy moments that motherhood brings.
Awesome, yes? But WAIT! There's more!

To celebrate all of this wonderfulness, I'm giving away a copy of Martinis & Motherhood and all you need to do to enter is leave a short message in the comments section below. Be brave, be honest and be quick because I'll pick a name at random on June 25th.

And... thanks for your support. I mean it.

No, really.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ps: Here is a list of my co-conspirators. They are all AMAZING!


Tellers of Wonder
Lynn Morrison nomadmomdiary.com
Angila Peters detachedfromlogic.com
Magnolia Ripkin magnoliaripkin.com
Louise Gleeson latenightplays.com
Jocelyn Pihlaja omightycrisis.com.com
Alison Huff crumbsdown.com
Leigh-Mary Barone Hoffmann happilyeverlaughterblog.com
Shannon Drury theradicalhousewife.com
Patricia Mirchandani raising-humans.com
Lauren Stevens lo-wren.com
Cordelia Newlin de Rojas multilingualmama.com
Sarah Deveau doingallthethings.com

Tellers of Woe
Shannon Day martinisandmotherhood.com
Tara Wilson dontlickthedeck.com
Vicki Lesage vickilesage.com
Abby the Writer littlemissperfect.com
Brooke Takhar missteenussr.com
Kate Parlin shakespearesmom.com
Christina Antus christinaantus.net
Jennifer Baird-Dean thechiofjen.com
Sara Park crcrsmommyblog.com
Tamara Schroeder thattamiam.com
Kristen Hansen Brakeman kristenbrakeman.com
Lori Lu Green LeRoy theinadequateconception.com
Carolyn Mackenzie facebook.com/carolynmackenzietvpersonality

Tellers of WTF?!
Susanne Kerns thedustyparachute.com
Sarah Halsall del Rio established1975.com
Lisa Webb canadianexpatmom.com
Jessica D’Andrea Kapp jesskapp.com
Kim McDonald twobugsandablog.com
Lisa Carmody Doiron momologues-soliloquies.com
Olga Mecking europeanmama.com
Holly Rust mothersguidetosanity.com
Kathryn Leehane foxywinepocket.com
Jill Hudkins Robbins rippedjeansandbifocals.com
Kristine Laco mumrevised.com
Andrea Mulder-Slater noreallyandrea.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

25 Minutes in a Medical Office

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Yesterday, I went for a follow up visit with my optometrist, after something peculiar was discovered during an earlier appointment. Perhaps pure spun gold was found at the edge of my iris. Maybe I had a third pupil. Really I had no idea because I had asked exactly zero questions.

Remarkably, I wasn’t the slightest bit concerned about my ocular oddity, which was completely out of character considering the fact that over the past year, I’ve been painstakingly working my way alphabetically through the medical community (cardiologist, dermatologist…) you know, just to “rule things out.”

But, for some inexplicable reason, what can go wrong with my eyes is a question I had not yet asked Dr. Google.

I arrived early for my 3:30pm appointment. This is what happened next.

3:25pm: Enter waiting room, sit down and grab home decorating magazine. Flip through pages of pristine kitchens with monstrous bowls of glossy lemons sitting on gleaming countertops while speculating why wealthy homeowners require so much citrus. Glance at the teenage boy sitting to my right. Imagine how bizarre it would be if I could read his mind. Turn my attention to the radio as Taylor Swift encourages me to “shake it off.”

3:27pm: Say, “No, actually I’m Andrea,” after the receptionist looks at me and declares, “you must be Mary.” Watch the receptionist rifle through file folders before abruptly leaving her desk.

3:28pm: After finding out that today is Monday and my appointment is on Tuesday, I pull out my iPod and pretend to look at my “schedule” while apologizing profusely to the flustered woman behind the counter.

3:29pm: Say thank you repeatedly when my optometrist agrees to see me today instead of tomorrow. Breathe a sigh of relief since I wearing my last clean pair of underwear and laundry tonight is not in my plans.

3:31pm: Follow a cheerful eye technician into a dark room. Sit down and rest my chin on a padded cushion - wet with the scent of rubbing alcohol. Press my face firmly into a machine designed to encourage captured spies to turn in their co-conspirators. Feel my body jolt uncontrollably as tiny puffs of air are repeatedly forced into my eyeballs.

3:32pm: Willingly trail the same technician into another dark room where a giant camera sits, waiting to snap photographs of the inner workings of my weepy eyes.

3:33pm: Sit down in a second waiting room with a nice supply of children’s books and toys.

3:35pm: Smile at my optometrist who has just emerged from her office with a tissue in one hand and a small bottle of liquid in the other. Answer yes when she asks if I have someone to drive me home. Lean my head back and allow a woman I barely know to drizzle an unknown substance into the corners of my eyes. Listen to her tell me to keep my eyes shut for a few minutes while also adding that the drops might cause a slight burning sensation.

3:36pm: Hear my optometrist walk away.

3:37pm: Open my eyes. Feel an immense burning sensation. Do a quick scan of my immediate surroundings. Notice a giant stencil of a pair of glasses on the wall down the hallway. Wonder what time it is. Bend down to grab my purse.

3:38pm: Try to focus on the contents of my handbag while searching for my phone. Blink furiously in a futile attempt to clear the haze from my eyes. Realize that I am unable to see my fingernails. 

3:39pm: Look here. Look there. Look at the wall. See pictures of large eyes on giant posters. See black lines where words once appeared. Key in on the LARGE PRINT WORDSEARCH book that is sitting in a basket on the floor. Pick it up to get a closer look. See nothing but colors.

3:40pm: Wonder why my mother neglected to mention this symptom when she had the same procedure two weeks ago. Then, freak the fuck out.

3:41pm: Breathe in. Breathe in again. Wonder where everybody went. Hear nothing.

3:42pm: Strain to look at a colorful wave of spectacles hanging on the wall in the distance. Think about everyone who works in this office. Realize THEY ALL WEAR GLASSES. Reflect on the fact that after their examinations, both my mother and daughter ended up WITH GLASSES. Deduce that that everyone who has ever set foot in this space is now WEARING GLASSES. Convince myself that these drops are how my optometrist talks people into BUYING GLASSES. 

3:43pm: Picture myself in glasses. Imagine deciding on a nice turquoise frame with a bridge wide enough to accommodate my enormous Dutch nose. Wonder what contact lenses might feel like.

3:44pm: Hear footsteps. Reach out into the foggy abyss…

3:45pm: Shuffle behind my optometrist into the examining room. Ask if I will ever be able to see well enough to pluck stray hairs from my chin again. Feel much better when I hear that in order for my doc to properly inspect my eye, she had to use a medication that relaxed my focusing muscles, effectively give me the eyesight of a drunken ninety-year-old man.

3:48pm: Leave the office with a warning (to watch for any bright lights and/or sudden darkness) and a recommendation to see an eye surgeon just to make sure my retina isn’t trying to quietly defect from my body. 

3:49pm: Pay the bill with utter and complete difficulty. Because, blurry everything.

3:50pm: Climb into the passenger side of a stranger's car. Exit said car. Find my mother and child by scent. Ride shotgun to the grocery store to purchase many new items without being able to read any ingredients. 

Once I arrived home, I strained – with no luck - to see my reflection in the mirror. Instead, I took this photograph of my eye so I would be able to inspect it once my vision returned. Keep in mind; this photo was taken in a brightly sun-lit room and typically, bright lights will reduce the size of your pupil. But as you can see, mine looks like a dinner plate. A big black dinner plate that does not budge. I mean seriously, You could serve a tuna melt on that thing.

 Full disclosure: I Picmonkey’d the hell out of this image.

That was yesterday.

Today my pupils are properly expanding and contracting and I can see clearly again, although my head is aching which may or may not be normal.

Wait, let me just go and ask Dr. Google…

No, really.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Make Flowers

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Do you like flowers?  Of course you do. 

Do you like it when flowers start to wither and die, leaving cupfuls of thick, stinky water in their wake? Of course you don't.

To bridge the gap, I've come up with five blossoms that won't drop their petals in your cereal bowl.

This week on The Art of Childhood, find flower-making ideas that are super-easy, even for non-crafty types.





Read it here: 5 Stunning Paper Flowers Kids Can Make

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20150429/5-flowers-that-will-live-forever




Saturday, May 2, 2015

Enough With the Arting and Crafting

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Children and art DO NOT go together.

Yes, you read that right.

This week on The Art of Childhood, find out why I am banning my kid from making art, and why you should too.

End the madness before it's too late. Trust me, I'm an artist.


Read it here: Kids Crafts: Just Say NO

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20150421/im-banning-my-kid-from-making-art-and-so




Thursday, April 23, 2015

21 Questions That Changed My Life

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

The best-laid plans are doomed to fail.

As you may or may not know, I began 2015 with the goal of painting/drawing a coffee cup each and every day for the entire year.

#ACoffeeADay

Three hundred and sixty-five cups!

 



I was chugging along... drawing, painting, Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming - well on my way to completing month two of the project - when I did something that would forever change the course of history. Well, not YOUR history. Just mine, mostly.

I came across a note on a friend’s Facebook page.

The note was called 21 Questions to Ask Your Child and like a happy-go-lucky puppy, I did it.

Here's how my daughter responded...
 
1. What is something I always say to you? 

I love you.

2. What makes me happy?

I make you happy.

3. What makes me sad? 

When I get hurt.

4. How do I make you laugh?

By dancing funny.

(I don't try to dance funny, but whatever.)

5. What was I like as a child?

I wouldn’t know.

6. How old am I?

I don’t know... 27?

(I love this kid.)

7. How tall am I?

Tall.

So far so good, right? I was smiling and thinking about how much fun this was and how it would be so great to get in the habit of asking my daughter these 21 questions every few years - or months.

But then, things deteriorated. Quickly.

8. What is my favorite thing to do?

Work.

9. What do I do when you're not around? 

Work.

10. If I become famous, what will it be for?

Working.

11. What am I really good at? 

Working.

12. What am I not very good at? 

Playing with me.

When I asked my daughter why she felt that way, she replied, "Because you work all the time."

At this point, I felt the pain of a thousand daggers puncturing my heart.

13. What do I do for my job?

You work. You write, but mostly you paint coffee cups.

This is when the needle scratched the record, the nails ran across the chalkboard and the theme song from Growing Pains started running through my head.

The thing is, I really don't have a lot of extra hours in my day. I work from home and I usually have a million things on the go at any given moment. My writing usually takes place after my kiddo is asleep or before she wakes up. But, the fact of the matter is, that in order for my coffee cup project to be successful, I had to steal time away from somewhere - or rather - someone. 

As it happened, I had been stealing time from my 6 year old kid.

As I choked back the tears, I made a decision right then and there to make a change. But not before finishing the quiz…


14. What is my favorite food?

Cheese.

(She doesn’t know about all the chocolate I consume while hiding in the bathroom.)

15. What makes you proud of me?

We look the same.  

(Note to self: teach child the meaning of the word proud.)

16. If I was a cartoon character, who would I be?

A mother cat.

(I really don’t like cats but she loves them, so there’s that.)
  
17. What do you and I do together? 

Talk.  

(Yeah that's right. Mother of the Year, here I come).

18. How are you and I alike? 

We look the same. We both work.

(That work thing again.)

19. How are you and I different?

Our eyes are a different color.

20. How do you know I love you?

You tell me. You hug me all the time.

21. Where is my favorite place to go?

Florida Or maybe Wendy’s.

(Of course! Because, poutine. This kid knows me. Too well. )
 
So, here's the thing, instead of a painting #ACoffeeADay,  I’ve been painting a coffee only when I have a few spare moments here and there that don't take away from what precious time I have available to hang out with my kid.

I thought about renaming the project but the hashtag would be a real bitch to remember.

No, really.

-------------

By the way, if you are prepared for the answers, here are the 21 Questions You Should Ask Your Kid(s).

  1. What is something mommy always says to you?
  2. What makes mommy happy? 
  3. What makes mommy sad?
  4. How does mommy make you laugh?
  5. What was mommy like as a child?
  6. How old is mommy?
  7. How tall is mommy?
  8. What is mommy's favorite thing to do?
  9. What does mommy do when you're not around?
  10. If mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
  11. What is mommy really good at?
  12. What is mommy not very good at?
  13. What does mommy do for her job?
  14. What is mommy's favorite food?
  15. What makes you proud of mommy?
  16. If mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
  17. What do you and mommy do together?
  18. How are you and mommy alike?
  19. How are you and mommy different?
  20. How do you know mommy loves you?
  21. Where is mommy's favorite place to go?
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