kids

Family, kids, Home, art

June!

Hey guys, it's June! How are you?

Top 5 things happening in my life right now:

1. We got a Camper Van!
... and have been camping and escaping to the country whenever we can.

 Meet Lady Luck, our new camper van.

Meet Lady Luck, our new camper van.

2. New Studio!
I moved back to my old studio and the light and the company and separateness of work and life is so good for me.

 Here is a drawing I did in Procreate!

Here is a drawing I did in Procreate!

3. The iPad Pro, particularly with Procreate.
I have been using the Apple pencil and the iPad pro, and just loving it so much. Above is a drawing I did of Indy who is......(read on!)

Indy

4. Indy! We got our dog guys. Our perfect dog. She is a rescue from India, has polkadots all over, and sleeps spooning with the kids.

kids

5. (Best for last - ) The kids. Ages 5 and 7 are pure magic, and I can't wait to kick off the serious camping season with these Tigers.

art, Family, Home, maps, New Work, kids, parenthood, Parenting, stories

Map of my First Paper Route

My paper route delivering the Toronto Sun as a kid

Hey guys,

Lately I've been doing a lot of writing / thinking / reflecting on my childhood and the places I grew up. I mean, I always do that anyway but I've been working on a project that requires me to really dig down into all the details of it and while it's disturbing to revisit some stuff, it's been pretty delightful remembering some of the fun(ny) things that happen when you're a kid.

My very first job was delivering newspapers. The Toronto Sun. I had about 125 houses to deliver to on Saturday morning - I would wake up at 5am to assemble the papers - my mom, such a sport, would get up with me to help fold the entertainment section and the best part - the comics -  into the outer shell. I would hurriedly read the comics before heading out the door with my cart and my dog Sooner. 

I was about 10 years old - a hard worker, always happy to have more customers added to my route. I had a great memory and carried my chit book around with me, able to pop by and "collect" on my way to my best friend Priscilla's house, surprising my hard-to-catch houses that were always behind in payment. My boss, Mark, really thought I was great - he even gave me a bird at one point, a budgie. He seemed so old at the time but I wonder if he wasn't actually 20.

The pay was minimal, arriving in the form of a cheque every 2 weeks - that went straight into the bank. But it was the tips that I was working for. I gathered up to $200 a month in tips, splitting my earnings with my dog.

Things were different back then - kids were free. All of us from the neighbourhood went to the school nearby - Gordon Graydon. We all played together after school, in a huge gang, staying outside til dark, when our parents would start yelling in a chorus for us to come in. We played Hide and go Tag, hiding under parked cars and hopping fences to evade those who were "it." We played hockey in the middle of the street, moving the nets only when cars passed by. 

I wonder if my kids will remember their childhoods as so free when they are older. I hope so.

History of the route

Details of my paper route

kids, parenthood, Parenting, Home, Family

My new staff

Guys! I'm pleased to announce that I have a new help staff at home, 2 part-timers who do all the little niggly things around the house. AND - they only cost about $4 a week each. Not bad right?

I have officially doled out chores for the kids, making them accountable with a chart, and reviewing the chart each Sunday around the table - "Payday". 

I'm loving having the extra hands to help. I used this chart I found over on http://www.livingwellspendingless.com to decide which chores were appropriate for each kid - I then downloaded this template from their selection of blank charts. 

The kids' weekly chores. (Have to buy smaller brooms if the sweeping is really going to happen.)

I then pay them each about $4 or $5 depending on how much they helped in the week (Flo is expected to do more at 6.5 years old than Lenny at 4 years old - but I give him more daily jobs like watering plants and feeding the fish etc). I then use the SPEND, SAVE, GIVE method of teaching them to take care of their money. (a simple way of dividing up the $ into 3 envelopes titled - yup - SPEND, SAVE & GIVE. Choose how much goes into each envelope.)
We do 50% into Save, 25% each into Give and Spend, but that might change.

Save, Spend, Give envelopes and the charts which I hang in the kitchen.

The kids can spend their Spend money on whatever they want to except for candy (which is the first thing Flo wanted to spend on, obviously) and their Save will eventually go into a bank account, then one day turn into a whole lotta money, right? and Give can be to any cause they like, probably the SPCA or the library. Anyway, I keep coming across more and more chores they can do (Clean up my office! Make my bed! Fix my bike!) (kidding) - but in all seriousness,  it's so nice to delegate extra tasks. Should have done this years ago.

**sidenote - the other day, the kids wanted me to buy them an ice cream cone. I used my usual "I didn't bring my money" excuse and then Flo said she wanted to give me her Give money. So yeah, you should probably talk about the whole GIVE envelope thing. (Though I did let Len buy me a coffee last week with a toonie he found on the ground!)

 

kids

Gearing back up...

Baie St. Paul light - sigh

Hi guys! Summer's winding down and CAN YOU BELIEVE IT - school starts in just 3 days. That's it? Yup. Here comes autumn; stews, leaves, Halloween costumes, dark.

I love Autumn.

Our summer was good - it was weird. We took a bunch of different trips out of the city which were all good - and ... weird. Those of you who know me know that sometimes my neck freezes up and I am pretty much a plank of nerves and pain for days and weeks at a time. This condition was bad for many years (6 or 7) and then it disappeared more or less for a few years, rearing it's very unwelcome head only now and again to remind me when I was working too hard, sleeping too little, or carrying my "little" guy too much.

neck traction

Well, it came back this summer and I've spent many days in excruciating pain - but why the 3 times I was away?! So hard to manage without my piles of ice packs, heat packs, ointments and stuff at home. The third and most recent time was a pretty bad one, when we were in the middle of nowhere. I had to go to an emergency room to get some good painkillers and muscle relaxants, which worked but to which I had a really bad reaction days later, again in the middle of nowhere. More hospitals. More drugs. Gah.

I need a detox.

Low tide in Charlevoix

(Or do I? No, I think I need to start swimming and stretching and laying on ice regularly like I used to. Goddam central nervous system.)

Our trailer for 5 days - so much awesome!

BUT! Guess what? We rented a huge camper trailer in Baie St. Paul at Camping du Gouffre, where we got married 9 years ago, and it was so wonderful that I didn't care that I couldn't turn my head very much or move my left arm, or feel my left hand. We had so much fun, and I spent lots of time swimming in the frigid waters with the kids, Sylv, and my wonderful mom who accompanied us on our holidays. (Ya, I've got one of those laid back moms that you can take on vacation with your husband and kids. Thanks Mom!)

Flo digging in the riverbank

Back at home, I looked forward to feeling rested and happy while I smiled at my children and lovingly wrote their names in marker on all of their school supplies.

Turns out even after vacation, I'm still a Totally Crabby Mom. My neck, shoulders, collarbone and armpits are all swollen and raw-nerved, I have to sleep sitting up on the couch, and I'm weaning myself off the good drugs so ... yeah. I really can't wait till the kids start school Monday and I have a teeny tiny pang pulling at the underbelly of my heart for feeling so. (Seriously, will I survive without Lenny by my side all day?)

Grape eyes at the chalet

Another highlight for me while away was the visit from my bro-in-law and his lovely little family. They foster a MIRA dog (actually the spokes dog for Mira in Chicoutimi) - an insanely beautiful 115 pound bag of fur and love. I spent lots of time with this dog and remembered the great energy I get from (giant smelly) dogs. They also brought their 3 month old Burmese Mountain dog who is a total shit disturber but so cute I actually feel the saliva pooling in my mouth when I look at her. (The first time I saw her I grabbed her and hugged her and she took my entire nose in her mouth and filled it with the prickly needles of it's baby teeth.)

Mira's Spokesdog, Velcro at the river with me after a swim

But being in the forest, full of river water hair and sand, cooking and playing with dogs with family and friends, I felt good in a way we just don't get to feel in our everyday lives. It was like a concentrated dose of the summer I missed while working alongside the kids and snapping at them every 10 minutes.

Anyway. To all of those people I have whined to these past days, I'm sorry and thank you. I love my children. Staying at home with them was an insane choice I don't regret at all. I  tear up thinking about leaving Lennon with his teacher Monday. But you know how it is...

The parallel feelings of parenting amiright?

 

 

kids

Summer awesomeness

Hey guys,

It's a balmy summer evening - the kind I love where the sky has a soft set and everything looks hazy. I got to go run errands alone on my bike after a long beautiful day in the sun with my kids and another awesome family in this pool -

The massive pool at parc Jean-Drapeau. Why don't I go there more often? I will. Starting now.

I used to not like summer. I don't usually like being hot, it makes me lazy. And I am not crazy about sunny days (I credit my Newfie heritage for this). But this year I am really enjoying it so much. My kids are older, I don't have to carry anybody, my kids like awesome places and I don't have to think about cooking... summer dinner means carrying a large bag of food around with a blanket and some spoons. 

I've realized that the recipe for my summer happiness is this;

  • enough time alone to get the work done that I need to - I do this by waking up at 5am with my hubby who has to do the same (it's kind of awesome
  • small, bite sized personal projects. Right now my favourite artist and homegirl  Erin Candela and I are illustrating secrets we have. Any medium, on wooden slates, we're gonna mail them to one another. It's fun!
  • a slower beat to everything - wear bathing suits all day, lay around drawing on the floor, lounge around the pool, hang all day at the library.
  • scrap the routine (my kids have been going to bed at 10pm and getting up at 9, it's amazing.) Routine bores me and is something I struggle with all winter. I love doing what we want when we want.
  • a biggie -- a sweet and enticing plan for my return to work come the Fall. I'll be working full-time as both kids will be in school this year - something I admit it, I daydream about and that sends energy shooting through my creative mind in weaker parenting moments - but feels like a private indulgence that's making me the awesome mom I am this summer.)
  • naps while my kids watch tv beside me on the couch - I do this almost every afternoon for a half hour and it is delicious.

Have you been staying home with the kids this summer? Do you love it? Hate it? What have you been up to?

kids, parenthood, art

1, 2, 3 i love you

Flo's note for me.

While going through some papers in my office, cleaning up stacks and stacks of drawings and ripped envelopes (have I mentioned that my office has become a veritable post office / disaster site?). I found, among other amazing treasures, this sweet note that Flo left me one day not so long ago. 

I don't know when Flo and I started doing something we call "1, 2, 3 i love you" - a silent and efficient way to communicate this message with 3 little squeezes of the hand. It's delicious to have this secret between us when we're out and about.

Flo left this note for me in the morning a couple of months ago while she was at school and the pure shot of happiness it gave me upon finding it was a good reminder to leave more thoughtful notes for my kids (and hubby, why not? I used to do that all the time). Love feels good, people. Let's remember how simple that can be.

And actually Lenny has started doing this too  - in his own hilarious way, looking at me straight in the eyes, squeezing my hand three times, saying seriously, "I. Love. You". 

Hope your Tuesday is as sweet. Go write your kid a note and hide it under their pillow.

Sandy

kids, New Work, Work from home

New Work / Off to the Woods !

Hey there! It's a sunny cold Friday and I'm getting ready to pack out first thing in the morning to go camping here! Have you guys tried out the Tente Huttopia camping in the Québec National Parks? They are the best.

Tente Huttopia

Like camping without the schlepping. They are so super comfy and well equipped. Can't wait to wake up in the forest Sunday morning :)

Have been working on lots of awesome new projects, big and small. Banged out a fast poster for a friend's show that I'm going to miss - we have a wedding that day - but it's going to be great, a reading involving music and performance. Here's the first poster I sketched out (I limit myself to one colour, India Ink, and a brush when doing posters).

First attempt

Nicky thought she might want something more urban. Whaaaa?! Who wouldn't want a drawing of a bear eating them while they read from their new book? She thought it might be nice to show little imagery - and something about the iconic Cheval Blanc stage and setup. Have you been there? It's such a great venue. It's where I did the super-dorky move of "accidentally walking by" (stalking, with much forethought) my now hubby one night when I really wanted to hang out with him but was too shy to just ask him out. AAaaaanyway. So I came up with this:

Go see this if you can! It's going to be weird and wonderful.

I kind of love when a client rejects a sketch that I really like - I alway think "hmmm wonder what I'll come up with" - I still like the hungry bear idea better but I'm turning that into a print for a good friend so I'm glad I have it.

Also did some funny customs lately - there are some Dads I can't show yet - but here's a cute one I did for a 40th birthday - we printed it as a large card that everybody signed for the surprise party and then a modified version for a wall print.

 40th birthday card for a friend and neighbour

40th birthday card for a friend and neighbour

Have an awesome day, people! I have Lenny home with me today, a clown after my own heart. Fridays are good.

Lenny.

Talk soon,

Sandy

parenthood, kids, Work from home

Movin' on up

My littlest just turned 4 over the weekend.  Four - it's like the age in my head when things start to get so much easier. Leading up to this birthday, I'd done lots of nostalgic thinking but also excited dreaming about what the fall will bring. As of September, both my kids will be in school, and I will have my days to myself. That sounds selfish but I mean it in a literal way - like as in, my days will be managed according to my own needs, mostly. This is huge.

 Lenny in his bonnet with vanilla-rhubarb ice cream, how I usually spend my afternoons.

Lenny in his bonnet with vanilla-rhubarb ice cream, how I usually spend my afternoons.

I'd been thinking about this birthday lots, leading up to it. It seems crazy to me that already I am finished with babies - life is so much easier now and we sleep all night.

I have this really romantic idea of what my days will look like once these two are in school - hope I'm not being delusional. I know I'll miss having Lenny at my sides, and that feeling of really being needed all the time - I see that disappearing with my oldest already.

Which is why I'm trying to work up the courage to ask my landlord if we can get a dog - something small and full of love (Cocker Spaniel?) - I know he hates dogs (!?) and is generally against pets, but he did buy his 7 year old daughter a Bearded Dragon which is waaaay grosser than a dog.

Anyway, I got up at 5am so that I could write, trim some prints, and draw a hilarious portrait of somebody.

Back to work.

Happy Thursday folks,

Sandy

 

maps, parenthood, kids, sleep, springtime, embroidery

Drawings in the Night...

Do you guys ever get insomnia? I have never been a huge sleeper (meaning I like to get about 6 or 7 hours of sleep a day, plus a little 30 minute nap in the afternoon). Since having kids though, I go through weeks at a time of insomnia. I get up at 3am and just can't get back to sleep. Things I googled before getting out of bed finally at 3:45 -- embroidered illustration (gasp! I must try!),

 Embroidered illustration by Jillian Tamaki - the best.

Embroidered illustration by Jillian Tamaki - the best.

Tai Chi videos - I love this quick 8-minute video, you guys should try it. Especially great for us who are often hunched over their desks for long periods of time.

and then I combed through images of Wild Garden on , just to give me a bit of hope, as it's been pretty chilly here still. LOVED these -

 Love these colours!

Love these colours!

and these!

So that's what I googled at 3am instead of sleeping like a normal person. Know what is awesome though? I have a vey flexible schedule so just like that I rearranged my day, and went downstairs to print and trim a large order for a beautiful new galerie / boutique in the Old Port that I'll deliver today.  I am working on a map of the Old Port so I can go and have a good look at a few buildings and streets I want to draw, so it worked out well! Anyway, this new retailer is a gorgeous galerie / boutique featuring work from all over Québec - it's called L'Empreinte Coop. They have a dated website but so worth popping in - Check them out!

Ok - I'll leave you with with drawing I did a couple of weeks ago. I was feeling nostalgic and sad about my kids growing up. I really truly do enjoy them at this age - yes despite the fits, the chaos and the mess of it all, young children fill me with energy and purpose. I drew this map
(I think it was in the middle of the night, couldn't sleep, etc) - A Map to Motherhood.

A Map of Motherhood

Happy Thursday to you! It's rainy and beautiful and the most perfect kind of weather.

xo
Sandy