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 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, 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.


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,



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.