Sunday, October 28, 2012

Driving Mr. E-Dawg

A couple months ago, when Evan started his new daycare, he was having problems falling asleep - both at night and during nap time. What used to take < 5 minutes was taking about an hour, including some huge tears/wailing/getting out of bed/etc..

Night time sleeping went back to normal relatively quickly, but the nap did not. We thought maybe he didn't need a nap anymore, but it was clear that wasn't the case. For one, he would nap just fine at daycare (he even puts himself to bed!!). Second, when he finally did fall asleep, he would nap for 1.5-2 hours as usual. So, he was just having a hard time falling asleep.

One day, while driving back from the grocery store, he fell asleep. We were able to bring him inside, put him in his bed, and he slept for his normal nap. So, since then, we've been doing this to get him down for his nap.

Yup - that's right - our 2+ year old son needs to be driven around to fall asleep! We've never had to do this until now. I know we should try different things but, honestly, it's just not worth the fight. Soon enough, he won't need his nap, and this will all be forgotten.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shorter Slacking Intervals

Trying to incorporate exercise into my life has been up and down. I often go through spurts of feeling very motivated, then into valleys of laziness.

I'm starting to realize this is okay. Following EcoGeoFemme's advice on a post of mine a few weeks ago, I'm trying to keep in mind that adding exercise to my life is an on-going process, not something that happens over night, and not something that has to be all-or-nothing. Some weeks are better than others.

One thing I've noticed is that the time interval between my motivated periods (i.e., the length of my lazy periods) seem to be getting shorter. There is only so long I want to be lazy before wanting to exercise again. 

Another thing that I'm doing is modifying my routine to something I can maintain. At the moment, I'm trying to fit in one yoga session and two aerobic exercise sessions (either Gillian's 30-Day Shred or a couch-to-5K walk/run) in per week, and it's going well.

I recently became motivated again because of a blog post written by Sam B over at Fit, Feminist, and (almost) 50 (a blog written by two of professors at my university, and it's really great!), She talks about research that says sitting is pretty much the new smoking, and how getting daily physical activity isn't enough to offset the risks. Seriously - go read it (and the rest of their posts)!

As exercise is slowly becoming a part of my regular life, I have set a goal of running a 5K. Not sure when right now - this will depend on a few factors - but it's on my bucket list!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The "Right" Way

The other day, we bought Evan a bunch of stickers from the dollar store. When we got home, we would give him a couple, he'd stick them together, then ask for more. In my head - and even out loud once - I said "but you're not using them right!". Apparently, in my head, there are only specific ways one can use stickers correctly.

I had to bite my tongue and just let him play how he wanted. After all, we always say how we want to foster his curiosity and experimental side, as long as it's free from danger. Also, what harm does it do if he doesn't play "the right way" with the stickers? 

It's funny how doing things "right" is so engrained in us.

Take the cake decorating class I'm in, for example. Each week, we learn how to do new designs using the different tips. Often, when I feel I've had enough practice, I'll start playing around, seeing what else I can do. Or, I'll try a different technique to achieve the same look. The teacher will come over and either tell me I'm "doing it wrong", that "it looks awful", or ask me "what the heck are you doing?". I usually reply with "just experimenting - it's okay! The world won't end!" and keep going. She doesn't often interact with me anymore.

Now, in a community class like this one, I don't expect a high level of teaching. I know she's not trained and is doing this as something fun to do on the side. It doesn't bother me, because I know how unimportant the class is in the scheme of things. And I can also learn all the things she's teaching without positive interaction with her (however, it is making me NOT want to show her a photo of the cake I decorated for Evan's birthday).

But...transfer those same words to an elementary science or writing class, and you've got a serious problem. All of a sudden, you're squashing that innate curiosity and need for exploration we are all born with. Students start following and memorizing the instructions like a recipe, without knowing why, and stop experimenting and asking questions.

This is why we can't say "you're not doing it right" to our children at this stage. However they want to play is their "right" way (again, as long as there is no danger to themselves or others). It's their way of learning about the world around them, and they need to do so in a safe environment free from ridicule and correction. 

If we can do this for them, then - at the very least- when they're in their 30s they'll feel confident with experimenting with the #13 tip even if their decorating teacher tells them to stop.

Friday, October 19, 2012

2nd Birthday

Today is Evan's 2nd birthday!

Warning: gushy mom-talk ahead...

Evan, I can't believe how much you have grown, changed, and learned in the past two years. Starting off as basically a sack of potatoes that ate and pooped, you are now a little man with your own personality, emotions, likes, dislikes, and interests.

You're incredibly independent - you will walk away from us and not look back. We love that about you, and it worries us a bit too sometimes!

You love counting things, but only by two's (though I've heard you count up to 7 before (and apparently 9 as of this morning)). 

You love making piles - of anything - and then, of course, destroying those piles only to start all over again.

You love your trains - so much so that they're regular props in our family portraits this year.

Your vocabulary astounds us - you can pretty much say anything, so we have to be careful!

We love it when you give us hugs and kisses, especially after you've gotten in trouble ;)

There are thousands of other things we love about you, and I'm sure there'll be thousands more in the next year. We can't wait to see what you'll learn or do next.

Happy birthday, Evan-potamus!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Review: Quiet

Long-time readers of the blog know that I'm an introvert - I scored 100% on the I side of the I/E section of the Myers-Briggs personality test. Since taking that test, I have become much more accepting of myself, how I spend my time, and who I spend my time with.

A few years ago, I read (and reviewed) The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, and found many of the tips in the book to be useful. So, when I heard about Susan Cain's book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Just Can't Stop Talking, I was very excited to pick it up.

Quiet is a lot different than The Introvert Advantage. The latter is more of a self-help book, with tips and tricks on how to deal with certain situations, while the former was more of a review of the psychological and neurological research done on introversion versus extroversion. For a great review of the content, check out Bee's review of the book on Backreaction.

I'll admit, this book was a bit drier and a more difficult read than The Introvert Advantage, but was incredibly interesting nonetheless. Even though the book didn't include a lot of specific tips for how to thrive in an extrovert world as an introvert, except in the last couple of chapters, it did validate many of my thoughts, feelings, and actions. 

For example, I know I have a socially demanding job in science outreach: I share an office, I attend a lot of meetings, and I go into classrooms 2-3 times a week to give presentations and do activities. I can do all these things while showing my pseudo-extrovert side, but as soon as the day is over I just want to crash in front of the TV or computer and be "in my head". It's my way of recharging in order to thrive at work the next day.

I'm feeling more and more comfortable in my introvert skin. I understand my limits, and know when I'm pushing myself too hard. For example, I know to make sure I don't have social events two evenings in a row, or more than one social obligation on a weekend. It works for me, and I'm getting better at not apologizing for filling my needs.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who's interested in the research side of things on this topic --- which would mostly be interesting to introverts ;) --- there still is a lot to learn, but I hope that it opens the doors to more conversations about how to address the needs of introverts as well as extroverts at schools and in the workplace. I give this book a 4/5.

Check out Susan Cain's TED talk about her book (and, yes, she's an introvert and gave a wonderful TED talk). 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Athletic Disappointments

It seems like every time I turn on the news lately, there is another world-class, record-breaking athlete admitting to doping (the latest athlete in the spotlight is Lance Armstrong).

These people amaze us with their abilities, we are proud of them because they show how must faster and stronger humans can be, and hundreds and thousands of people are inspired to join a specific sport or to get fit in general because of their performance. They're continually pushing the limits, and it's amazing to watch.

Then we find out it was all because of chemical enhancements.

Some don't care - regardless of how they did it, the athletes still inspired a lot of people, and they didn't sign up to be role models, right? Lance Armstrong probably raised millions of dollars for cancer research - are all those people who donated money because they were inspired by him now angry? Do they feel slighted or betrayed?

I don't know, I find I get really disappointed. I think it's so exciting when someone comes along and shatters world records, completely dominates their sport, and leave everyone in their dust. No matter what the sport, I love watching people at the top of their game, like Tiger Woods, Sidney Crosby, or Michael Phelps. It shows that (extremely) hard work and dedication can make you better at something than everyone else on the planet. But, when it comes out that doping was involved, it's just such a disappointment to find out that maybe people can't be that good without interventions. That maybe you can only achieve average athleticism without it. That we're all just destined to achieve mediocrity. Plus, there are some serious health dangers that come with doping - shouldn't we want to protect our athletes from that, just like we want to protect them from getting head injuries?

There's just no way to know who's doping and who's not - at least not for a few years until the testing catches up with the doping methods (which is why we often find out about these occurrences years after the fact). How can we make every competition a fair one if this is the case? Should we just allow any and all doping, since that's the way it seems to be going anyway? Maybe we should have doping and dope-free Olympics?

What do you think? Is doping in sport a big deal, or is it just part of it now?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Roof

We sprung for a new roof a couple weeks ago. We were sad to see the slate go, but with a price tag of $75K to replace, or the same price tag as a new asphalt roof to "patch" it, we went with the asphalt. 

Here are a couple of before-and-afters:

Now that the roof is replaced, we're starting to think seriously about what to do with the great attic space!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend in Pictures

DH and I started the weekend with a date night - we took in a London Knights game and it was really fun!

Saturday we did a lot of work around the house. Here's Evan helping Daddy raking the leaves.

Sunday morning we went to the Children's Museum and Even had a blast!

And on Monday, we went to an apple orchard/pumpkin patch.

It was a great weekend, with many reminders of what we should be thankful for. I'm so lucky to have a wonderful husband and a darling son, both of whom can make me laugh until my stomach aches!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Exercise & Eating Better Screws with Body Image?

Here's a brain teaser: I actually tend to feel worse about my body when I'm exercising regularly and/or keeping track of my eating habits.

I think it's because I'm focusing on my body when I'm changing my exercise/eating habits, and so I tend to look critically at myself more often. When I'm not doing those things, I'm not thinking about my body, therefore I don't look at it in detail much.

I hate this, because it can negatively impact my progress and attitude and I start the downward spiral: Shouldn't I feel and look better if I'm being healthy? If I don't, then why do I bother? Quitting soon follows.

This time, I need to fight this. I'm not sure how, other than to just try my best to ignore it.

Does anyone else have this problem? How do you combat it?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Show & Tell

I saw this meme over at Livin' the Dream, and thought - since I've been low on blog fodder lately - I'd go ahead with it.

1.  tell us about your five favourite memories in your life.

In no particular order:
- Our wedding day. Specifically being outside the hall in the lobby, chatting with DH, with music and laughter flooding through the doors.
- The day we took possession of our house. I remember walking through the front door with so much excitement and nervousness!
- One family Thanksgiving dinner where 8 of us went through 10 bottles of wine.
- Evan: so many, it's hard to choose one. One of my recent favorites: having a leaf fight at a nearby park. I could listen to him laugh all day.
- On our trip to South America in 2009, jumping off a sail boat and swimming in the warm tropical waters near Rio.

2.  show us three of your favourite beauty products.


- Body Shop Shea Body Butter: I use this on my feet every morning and they are so soft!
- Eyelash/brow brush: I use this to brush my eyebrows - weird, but I feel more put together.
- Pur minerals make-up brush: I use this to put my foundation on. It's very luxurious, even if I'm only putting that on for the day.

3.  tell us what your favourite tv shows are to watch.

In no particular order: Big Bang Theory, New Girl, Grey's Anatomy, Dragon's Den, Modern Family, Top Chef, House Hunters, and NFL. 

4.  show us two of your favourite pictures.

5.  tell us your favourite things to do during "me time."

I'd like to say knit, read, and workout --- but these days it's more like veg out in front of the TV while surfing the net. I need to get my priorities straightened out!