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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Buying Into Christmas

I am so completely sick of so many things about the Christmas season:

- Writing and sending cards
- Advent calendars
- The whole Santa charade
- Getting token gifts for EVERYONE EVER (teachers, daycare staff, mail carrier, pet walker/sitter...)
- Baking 123 dozen cookies
- Over-solicitation from charities
- The whole FOCUS of "WHAT do you want for Christmas?"

I've never really found the holidays super stressful, but this year I'm just finding the whole season annoying because it's so totally full of obligation, competition, and pettiness.

I used to like Christmas shopping. Going out to the mall/wherever, and just looking around until something struck me for someone specific. Now I just feel like it's all about gift cards and lists, and it's not even something I want to think about, let along DO (especially since everyone turns into an asshole when Xmas shopping).

I like baking all year round, but I find baking at Christmas really annoying because it just seems like some big competition - who can be the most miserable about baking? I also can't stand all the pictures on Facebook about it. It just seems so obnoxious.

Last year I didn't send out Christmas cards because of stroke. I liked the freedom so much that I decided to do the same thing this year.

I can't stand the focus on Santa and chocolate and presents for the kids.

Even decorating our house for the holidays didn't lift my spirits, and that ALWAYS works.

I don't know where I'm going with this post other than I don't like how the holidays are presenting themselves this year. I'm just feeling "meh" and "bleh" and want to just wash my hands of the whole thing. I need to either change my attitude and/or change the way we do things.

How are you feeling about the holidays this year?

Friday, December 12, 2014

$

This morning, I was talking to Evan about just the two of us going to the store so he could pick a gift for DH for Christmas.

He immediately knew what he wanted to get! A leaf blower, of course! (DH wanted one in the late stages of fall when he was totally over raking the leaves).

Evan and I then had the discussion about lack of money this year due to DH being the only one who is working and therefore making money. He's actually pretty good about it and often reminds DH and I of the fact when we talk about wanting to buy things that we might not necessarily need (I might often talk about getting a Corvette, for example).

Then, he turned to me and said, "I can make money!"

Intrigued, I asked him how. He began to explain something -- to be honest, I wasn't listening all that closely because Carter was throwing his breakfast all over the floor and squealing in delight.

When I tuned back into Evan, he was talking about how they glue it together then colour it. Huh? I had to ask him to repeat the story because I had forgotten what we had been talking about.

So, he went over the process how they "make money" at school by cutting pictures out, gluing them together, and colour them.

It finally dawned on me that after all this time of telling him that DH goes to work to make money, he thought that was completely LITERAL and that DH sits there and MAKES money! LOL!

Nothing like a 4-year-old brain to show why the English language is so confusing for others to learn!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Reflection of My Own

I finished my first practicum last Friday. I've had to write a couple reflection essays for my classes, but I wanted to write my own reflection here.

The practicum was 6 weeks in a high school, with a full-time teacher (associate teacher, or AT) and their classes. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a rocky start. I was given one placements, but I receive word a couple days later (the Thursday before I was supposed to start) that it needed to be changed. I received my second placement the Friday afternoon before I was supposed to start. Luckily, my AT checked their email and we were able to get in touch before I showed up Monday morning.

My AT was teaching one grade 9 academic science class and two grade 11 university level biology classes. My initial reaction was YAY for the first...WTH? for the second! The last time I took biology was in grade 10! Needless to say, I was worried, but I wasn't about to complain (some other students didn't receive their placements until the Wednesday/Thursday of the first week)!

My worries were for naught, because as soon as the teachers found out my astronomy background, they jumped on the chance for me to teacher the grade 9 space unit. So, I ended up developing and teaching an entire unit - start to finish- for two grade 9 classes with two different teachers!

It was an awesome experience! There was SO much about it that I loved...almost like this is what I was supposed to do, and I felt like I was "at home". The staff were amazing, and I felt like I made great connections with the students. Like I found my calling!!

Working with two different teachers was a great and unique experience, especially since their teaching styles were on opposite sides of the spectrum! This pushed me out of my comfort zone in both directions, and I'm really thankful for that. It was also tough though, because sometimes I felt I was teaching more to the teaching style of each teacher, and not developing my own. But, that's really part of the process, and I think it made me a stronger teacher.

There were definitely some ups and downs, especially in the last few days when I needed to deal with some unexpected behaviours and issues on assignments (like plagiarism). I found that I am definitely a hard-a$$ when it comes to such things - probably a little too much. I blame to many years in the"academy" :)

It was a very self-reflective experience...kind of like becoming a parent. You can talk all day long about what you THINK you would do in theory, but it's a whole different ball game when you're in the field. By the end, I started to think about what my teaching philosophy really is, and it will probably keep evolving for as long as I'm in this profession.

Being a student again  is tough, but it's nice to have some context for all the information we're learning (and honestly, it's a lot easier and a lot less stressful). I'm excited to taken on an independent research project next semester, and to take tidbits here and there that will help me in my second practicum and beyond.

All I know for sure right now is I made the right decision to get my BEd!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Evan the Photograher

Since Evan was a super young baby, he's always been interested in the cameras. Once he started to have the motor skills to hold it and press a button at the same time, he's been taking pictures. Here's his first few at 17 months old:

 Fig. 1: First portrait attempt.

 Fig. 2: first still life.

Fig. 3: First self-portrait. I interpret the use of motion in this piece to mean he sees himself as energetic and exciting.

Every time I have the camera out, he wants to use it, and will take pictures of whatever strikes his fancy. So far he's only used the point-and-shoot, but he really wants to use my digital SLR (so far I haven't trusted him enough with it, but maybe I should).

Here are some more samples:

 Fig. 4: First non-human life photo (2yrs 3 mths)

Fig. 5: Portraits getting a bit better (2.5yrs) 

Fig. 6: Getting a bit more artsy with the framing (3yrs) 

Fig. 7: Getting more action in the shot (4 yrs). 

 Fig. 8: I think the meaning of this photo is too deep for me to comprehend (4 yrs).

Fig. 9: I like the dept in this one (4yrs).


...maybe we have a budding photographer on our hands ;)

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Taken a Year

It's been just over a year since I had a bleed in my brain and required emergency brain surgery.

One of the biggest deficits I have been dealing with right from the beginning is extreme fatigue. When I was in the hospital for the first month, I needed to sleep 10-12 hours at night, and took 1-2 long naps during the day.

When I went home a month after my stroke happened, it was a struggle for me to get the sleep I needed and to get anything else done. I literally had to choose between having a shower and sleeping. It was frustrating! I just wanted to be normal.

As the weeks and months went on, I required slightly less sleep, but it did not change quickly.

Six months after the stroke, I still needed 9-10 hours at night and 1 nap during the day to function properly. At that point, I started having both kids at home a few days a week, and it was exhausting. I would go to bed at 8:30pm every night.

Once I started school in September, it forced me to cut my naps out. It took me a couple weeks, but I realized I didn't actually need them anymore.

Just this past week, I was waking up at 5am EVERY morning and it was driving me nuts that I couldn't get back to sleep. After thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that it actually wasn't a problem. It was that I was trying to get TOO MUCH sleep. Going to bed at 9pm each night, and trying to sleep until 6:30 or 7am...that's more than 9 hours.

I was so used to needing so much sleep for so long, it was hard to understand that it was changing. Now my sleeping needs have normalized and getting 8ish hours at night is perfect. It only took a year.

One big thing I've learned through this process is that sleep is one of the most important things for recovering from brain damage/injury.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Leap Month

Since Carter turned 1 year, he's made quite a few "leaps"...just like The Wonder Weeks book predicted.

He's learned so many new things:
- He figured out how to go down the stairs by himself
- He waves goodbye
- He can understand and carry out simple commands ("Can you get me that duck?")
- He LOVES books and will place them in our hands over and over until we read them.
- He can use a spoon to feed himself.
- He has said words like "Daddy, Mommy, and Soo-soo (what we call soothers)" in the proper context (but he hasn't done this consistently enough for us to call one his "first word". That's the problem with having scientists as parents -- we require far more data points than N=1).
- He is walking very easily with something to push (walking toy, chair, box, laundry hamper, anything).
- He has taken steps independently (but, we're not claiming "walking" yet).

The first month of his second year has been a big one for him. Now if he'd only let his brain rest enough to sleep well at night! It's a good thing he's cute --- evolution sure is smart that way.

This has nothing to do with this post, really, but it's just too cute to not share.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Baby G is 4!!!

Holy crap, time flies!

Evan - or Baby G, as we called him when he was in my belly - turns 4 years old today!

I don't even know how to summarize the last 4 years, because there has been so many thing and so many changes!

Lots of things have changed with Evan - he's getting more and more independent, he loves making new friends, and his interests are ever-expanding. Things surprise me, like the fact that he LOVES Food Factory, and his level of empathy for people and animals. He really enjoys drawing, and likes "teaching" us :). He loves school so much that he sometimes has a fit when we pick him up and have to go home!

Somethings don't change, which still surprises me! He still loves all things truck-related, and he really enjoys helping out in the kitchen. He's uncomfortable in new situations, but jumps right in after he gets more comfortable. His catch-phrase could be "I can't do it"...even if he can, or just did. He still likes to cuddle with us, which I love, of course. His interest about the world around him is contagious, even if all the questions can drive us a bit batty.

It's been amazing to witness him turn from a newborn, to a toddler, to a preschooler, and now a full-fledges full-day school kid. Even though sometimes I want time to stop so he can stay the same for a while, I cannot wait to see when and how he changes next.

Love you, Evanpotamus! Happy 4th!!






Monday, October 13, 2014

First Re-Birthday

This weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada. We had an awesome weekend with skating, apple/pumpkin picking, great outdoor time, and an amazing Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday (and a day of best-ever leftovers on Monday).

It was in stark contrast to last year's Thanksgiving, when we were struggling with a newborn and I had my stroke* (1 year ago tomorrow). In stroke-survivor circles, it's known as a re-birthday. I kind of feel like I was "reborn" that day - it certainly changed every aspect of my life, and all our lives have changed in the last years. We've been through a lot as a family, and have come through all the better on the other side.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wrote and delivered thank you cards to some of the doctors, nurses, and staff who, quite literally, saved my life. It's not everyday and opportunity like that comes around, and I wanted to share my gratitude.

I know I'm very lucky in how everything has turned out. A year ago, I'm sure we'd never thought I'd be throwing together a Thanksgiving feast like it's nothing, and thriving in my BEd program.

I am so thankful for so many things this year, and I feel like all future Thanksgiving will always have a special meaning for me.

*For those who aren't familiar with this, all my post related to it are here starting with this one.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

One Year of Carter

Well,  Mr. Carter, my Carterpillar, my angel-baby, I can't believe it's been a year since you came into our lives in a pool in our dining room! I'll never forget that moment when I reached down and brought you out of the water to my chest. You came out talking, and kept going for a whole hour! You had lots to tell us already.

We had a rough start, with me suffering from a stroke a mere 6 days after you were born, and spending the first month of your life in the hospital. I was worried that you wouldn't feel loved, but you had Daddy, Evan, and both sets of grandparents watching over you. And you took it all in stride and just spread your joy to whoever you came in contact with.

As you got older, your joyful and easy going personality started to come out more and more. You smiled and laughed easily and often. Anytime we took you out, you would make friends and make everyone smile and just light up a room wherever we went.

You're cautious about learning new things, especially when it comes to big physical milestones, but once you get it, you get going! You've been standing for long periods of time for weeks now, and we just know once you take a first step, you'll be off and running.

It's hard to believe how far you've come and how much you've learned in the last 12 months. From basically just sleeping and eating to crawling, standing, climbing stairs and into chairs, and cruising around the furniture. You love eating, you hand us books to read, and your favourite thing in the whole world are balls of any size.

You LOVE to make people laugh - you get such joy from it! You and your brother are two peas in a pod, and you could spend hours just trying to make each other laugh and giggle. It's so awesome watching your relationship grow. I think you'll have TONS of fun growing up together.

We've been through a lot in the last year, and we have both thrived. I can't wait to see what the next year brings for you and to see your personality come out more and more.

Happy 1st birthday!! We love you tons!




Friday, September 19, 2014

Bad Blogger!

Wow...I've certainly let this blog fall to the bottom of my priority list. Not only does that mean I'm not writing much, but it also means I've basically had to stop reading all my favourites too. :( So, if you've noticed my absence on your blog, I truly apologize. I miss my blogger friends and all of my social life, really.

Unfortunately, I think it might stay that way while I'm in school. It's incredibly busy. The work isn't all that hard, but the volume of work is intense. It's the kind of program that there's no way you can actually do all the work/reading assigned. Instead, you have to prioritize what actually needs to get done.

This has caused a lot of anxiety for me. In fact, by the end of week 2 I was having anxiety/panic attacks and breaking out in tears multiple times a day. I was considering leaving the program. It wasn't just the school work, but how it coupled with the stresses of home life (and how the kids were/are adjusting to their new routines - as well as mine).

I sought some help from my family doctor and counsellor, and felt better this week (compared to last week, anyway). I hope that as I continue to get into the swing of things at school and continue receiving positive feedback on my work, I will feel less and less anxious and maybe even be able to enjoy what I'm doing.

Regardless, I'm finding most of everything interesting and useful - even the more "boring" topics. One of the biggest issues I'm having right now is I wish I had more time to dedicate to the readings to really get into them. Right now, it's all about skimming and getting the hot points out so I can get the most important work done.

It's definitely a balancing act, and one that's very different from any other school experience I've had. Apparently it's good training for what life will be like as a teacher, when you're being pulled in 100 different directions and having to put fires out all day.

How is your September going?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

11 Months

Carter's just 1 month away from being 1 year old!

- He is standing on his own now (from sitting on the floor with no support)!

- He has climbed the whole flight of stairs, only one day after figuring how to do just one step. Now he does this repeatedly throughout the day (now he just needs to figure out how to get down!).

- He is now in daycare full time, and he LOVES it! He eats well, sleeps well, and is super happy when we pick him up.

Both boys on their way to daycare (Evan's last day, Carters 2nd full day)

- He often says "ma ma" and "da da", but not really in context.

- He says "ba" very often when referring to balls - which are his favourite toy! He even loves to play pass with us, which astounds us. He's making new sounds all the time, like "pa" or "nay".

- He cut one of his top middle teeth, and it was a rough few days, but now he's back to his old, fun-loving self. It does make it easier to eat things like apples :)







Monday, September 8, 2014

First Week Reflection

I have completed my first week of my BEd. program!

It was overwhelming, exciting, a bit boring at times, stressful, and fun!

I am really enjoying the majority of the courses. There are a couple that I'm not all that excited about, but I can see how they'll be useful.

One thing I've been really impressed with - as a stark contrasts to my previous university experiences - is the quality of the teaching! I guess I should have expected as much in a Faculty of Education, but I guess I just associate status-quo university style teaching with university (no matter what Faculty).

The best part is our teaching subject courses are taught by actual K-12 teachers! So, not only can they teach us about new and different teaching techniques, but can also give us tips on suggestions with how to navigate the job market, how to deal with behaviour issues, etc. Basically, they can give us an "insider" and practical perspective on what it's really like to teach K-12 students. Because it's all well and good to know the theory, but it's the practical stuff that truly makes a great teacher.

Going into my second week I still feel a bit overwhelmed, especially with the amount of reading that is assigned, but I feel more confident that I will be able to get through this, enjoy it, and come out at the end happy with what I was able to accomplish.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day of JK

Today is Evan's first day of junior kindergarten! In Ontario, kids start full-day kindergarten in the year they turn 4! Seems young, but at least the cost is much lower than daycare :D

He had been acting fairly nonchalant about the whole thing - unlike me, who has been crying randomly the last couple of week thinking my baby is GROWING UP way to fast!

The last few days though, he's been getting excited about it! He was practically giddy this morning as we put his backpack together and got ready to head to school for the first time.



Both DH and I took him to school and when we got there, he didn't want to hold my hand through the parking lot because he's a BIG BOY!! (and then proceeded to bail right in front of the principal!)

We brought him into the classroom (where he'll be before/after school too - bonus!). He was a bit shy at first, holding on my leg and giving DH big hugs.

But, then he found his cubby, put his backpack in there, and then promptly found a huge bag of dinosaurs. He took them to the play area, started talking to the other boy who was there, and went to town. After that, we were pretty much invisible to him.

When we said our goodbyes, we could barely get him to stop playing for 2 seconds! This was the only picture DH could get of me and him because he was so busy!



I drove by the school on my way to MY school* and he was in a line with about 30 other tiny kids with their huge backpacks heading inside. He looked happy as a clam.

I'm so proud of my big boy!!

*I will blog about this in the next few days I hope - things are CRAZY right now!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last Day

Today is my last day of maternity leave before I head to school. I flip-flop between being slightly sad to not have the kids around to feeling WOOHOO about not having the kids around and doing my own thing and being nervous about a bunch of stuff...

- Will I be able to cope, especially with my fatigue? It's still a factor, and some days I get so tired it makes me cry. My other deficits come out more when I'm tired too. I'm scared that this will be a problem at school, and especially during practicum where I have to be in a high school by 7:30/8am and be there all day.

- I'm SO scared of the daycare (and kindergarten) sickness train(s). I'm scare of getting sick myself. I'm scared of having to take time away from classes/practicum to care for sick kids (or myself), and DH having to do this too. I'm scare that it's going to go on and on and make the next few months a living hell. I'm just hoping the professors and teachers will be understanding of this.

- I'm worried about how all the logistics will work out - between my schedule changing between when I'm at classes (3 days a week I won't get home until 7pm :( ) and when I'm doing practicum, and what that means for pick-up/drop-offs for the boys, which of course will be at different locations and different times. Having to make lunches, how our routines are going to change.

- Last, and probably the most important, how are the kids going to deal with all the changes? How will our family deal with all the changes?

I know once things get going and we get into our new routines, things will calm down and roll along nicely. I know that I'll enjoy school and think it will be a fun year in that sense, and I know it will be worth it in the end,  but my mind keeps going back to these worries and wondering how the next few weeks and months will go.

What are your own stories (good or bad) of going through a big transition for yourself or your family? How did you cope? Those with kids who have done daycare and then transitioned to school, was there another bout of sickness? Those with more than 1 kids, how was daycare sickness the 2nd (or more) time around? 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

All The Feelings

Sorry that it's been pretty quiet around here. We're getting geared up for all the BIG changes coming up in the next couple of weeks which is bringing up ALL the FEELINGS.

Yes, for the past several months I've been looking forward to starting school and shipping the kids off to daycare and kindergarten. I will FINALLY get time on my own to do my OWN thing! Let those poor early childhood educators deal with them now!

It's still exciting, on all three accounts...but --- quite predictably - I'm feeling sadness too...and I'm a bit scared!

My little big boy is going to BIG school. He doesn't really nap anymore, and does lots of things by himself that he never used too.

My little little boy is getting bigger and is ready for daycare. He's standing on his own two feet - very literally - these days (or at least learning too...but without help from me, really).

WAHHH!!! They don't need me anymore! I'm going to miss them but they won't miss me!! I want them to miss me, but not too much!!

Everything will all be good in a couple of weeks, and we'll all do great. BUT, I'm going to cry like a baby when I drop Evan off at his first day of kindergarten and when I drop Carter off at his first full day of daycare. At least I know I probably won't be the only one!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Adv. Glasses?

There is a professor where DH works who makes their female graduate students wear glasses during conference presentations.

It is unknown whether they make the male students do the same because all of them already wear glasses.

What is your gut reaction to this "policy"? Does your reaction change whether the professor is male or female?

Discuss.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Point Pelee

We took our first vacation as a family of four in mid-July! We rented a cottage near Point Pelee (southernmost tip of Canada) and had a blast!

The cottage had it's own private beach so we did a lot of rock hunting/throwing.




We showed the boys how to light a fire and how to make s'mores.



We saw the "supermoon" (I hope that term dies soon).



We played inside and watched movies if it was raining.



We went to Point Pelee park.



We tried our hand at geocaching (something we all really liked!)



We took a ferry over to Pelee Island and went for a family bike ride.




And otherwise just hung out and enjoyed our time together as a family of four!




Monday, August 11, 2014

Course Selection

Well, I have taken another couple steps closer to starting school in September! I paid tuition (OUCH!! Haven't done that in a while) and registered for courses.

Since some have been asking what I'll be doing/learning, I thought I'd share the summaries for the courses I'll be taking (these are not the full descriptions).

Core Courses (everyone takes)

Practicum: The practicum is integral to teacher education, offering teacher candidates opportunities to learn first-hand about schools, classrooms, curriculum, students, and teachers.

Educational Psychology and Special Education: Basic concepts, principles, and theories of learning and human development as they apply to teaching and learning; particular attention to the education of students with exceptionalities.

Social Foundations of Education: A multi-disciplinary course addressing the historical, political, philosophical, social, and legal dimensions of the organization of Ontario education.

Teaching Subjects

Curriculum & Pedagogy in Mathematics (2 courses): An introduction to exemplary practices in the teaching of mathematics

Curriculum & Pedagogy in General Science (2 courses): An introduction to the nature of science and technology education, how students learn science, and contemporary curricula for science and technology.

Co-Curricular Courses (mandatory for teaching subject(s)

Teaching Environmental Science, Grades 9 to 12: An introduction to basic concepts in environmental science and to the integration of environmental science with subject areas in the secondary school curriculum.

Supporting Inquiry Science: The theory and practice of designing inquiry-based learning opportunities for students in grades 7-12 science.

Electives

Classroom Management and Assessment (This elective is "strongly recommended", so everyone is pre-registered - so isn't really an elective!): An overview of theories of student behaviour and classroom management, and of assessment and evaluation, with emphasis on classroom applications.

Special Topic: LGB2TQ Issues in Education (all students must choose 1 social justice elective): This course will foster a comprehensive and critical understanding of the political and cultural landscape of education for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, two-spirit, queer/questioning (LGBT2Q) youth.

Computers in Education: An introduction to the computer technology used in Ontario classrooms. (My plan is to drop this course so I can do an independent study on unconscious gender bias in the classroom).

Special Topic: Education Philosophy: No course summary yet (but I thought the title sounded interesting enough).


All of these courses sound really interesting, and I'm super excited to get to it already!


Friday, August 8, 2014

10 Months

10 months have come and gone since Carter was born! What has he been up to for the past month?

- He has his two front lower teeth! He didn't do well with the teething, but we think he also had a cold at the same time (unless the coughing, sneezing, and tons of mucus had to do with teething). Hopefully the next teeth will go more smoothly.

- I got to witness him figuring out how to make a new sound. He was doing his regular babbling "gah, yah, dah..." then he stopped. He started working his lips. Putting them together and silently moving air. Then, after a few times he did this..."BAH". Then, "Bah, bah, BAH!!!!". New sound :D

- I put him down for nap by lying down with him in the guest bed. He bounces around, plays, and giggles, until at one point he just flops down (either on his face or back) and immediately falls asleep!


- He likes to play simon says. He especially loves it if I'm the one copying him!

- He loves to clap, and seems to do it when we should be giving him praise! LOL!

- He waved goodbye for the first time yesterday!

- He does this super cute thing where he plays "coy" - puts his ear to his shoulder and looks at me like "aren't I cute, mom?".

- He loves to play chase! If he starts crawling away from me, he'll stop and look back at me. Then I'll say "I'm going to get you!" and he starts crawling away as fast as possible while giggling. Then, I fake trying to catch him and he goes faster and faster, still giggling. He thinks it's so hilarious when I catch him.

- He loves to cause trouble. When we tell him "no", he just giggles and continues doing it.

On "Carter Island" - where he goes when causing trouble at the dinner table!

- He has no qualms crawling away from me into other rooms, even at places he's not familiar with (like the Children's Museum).

- We went on our first vacation as a family of four! We rented a cottage and had a blast!

They really do grow up so quickly!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Leaps in Maturity

Evan has changed a lot in the past two months. I've  gone from being worried about him starting kindergarten in September to knowing he's ready.

- He's taking an interest in different things like books and reading, writing, and gardening.

- He gets excited when there are other kids at the park or playground to play with. Before, he would just say things like "I don't want that guy", " that's MY swing", or "I just want you to play with me, mom". It's nice to see that he wants to play with other kids that he doesn't even know.

- He's branching out with friends at daycare. He's had a best friend for a couple years now. Yes, they still play mostly together, but he's playing more and more with other kids, and doesn't rely on his BF to do things with him all the time.

- He is willing and able to learn table manners. He knows he has to try at least one bite of each thing on his plate. He knows he has to use a full sentence to ask for things ("may I have milk, please?" instead of "MILK! MILK!!!!!!!!!!"). He knows he has to ask to be excused from the table. He knows the TV has to be off during dinner (and in fact is the TV police lately! If it's on, he'll say it needs to be off). No, he doesn't do these things perfectly or all the time, but it's a start.

- He is taking much more interest in Carter and including him in his play and in "the family"...and he's actually happy about it (sometimes!). The other day, after bath time, they were both crawling/running around naked and they were having the time of their lives.

- He's not getting as scared during TV shows or movies. Last week, we went to see the Planes movies with his BF, and BF started to get scared. Evan just told him "it's okay, BF" and went back to watching the movie. That being said, he is showing more empathy for characters. Like last night, we watched Land Before Time, and he was so sad when the mommy died and even when the "bad" TRex died at the end (BTW: what's with animated movies and DEATH??!).

- He doesn't get nearly as worked up when things go wrong. For example, he and DH built a lego dinosaur the other day, and it fell over and broke. Instead of crying and having a TT, he looks at it and says "hmm..looks like we have to build him again."

Obviously these things aren't perfect all the time, but we're certainly seeing leaps in his maturity lately. He doesn't seem like a toddler in the least anymore - he's definitely in the little kid zone.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's Time

I am SO ready to start school and get OUT OF THIS HOUSE.

I'm starting to resent having to be at home.

I get jealous of DH who "gets" to go to work, and has soccer games one night a week.

Evan is clearly ready to move on to something more challenging, so I'm not worried about sending him to kindergarten anymore.

Carter loves hanging out with other babies, loves other people, and doing new things, so I'm not worried about sending him to daycare too early (like I felt we had to do with Evan).

Sometimes my brain feels like it's turning to mush with lack of activity. I feel better when I use it for something other than feeding, changing, disciplining, doing laundry, etc., ETC.

I need a challenge. I need to do something that interests me and keeps me busy in a GOOD way.

It's TIME. Only 29 days until school starts...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Give Yourself Permission


*This is actually a continuation of an excerpt from an email I wrote to a friend the other day*

Because of the events over the past year, I have been having issues with dealing with "negative" emotions (sadness, anger, worry, guilty etc.). 

I've been working with my counsellor about this kind of thing, and she's given me some good tools to deal with it. First, she said we need to stop labelling them as "negative" emotions --- all emotions are there for a reason, and it's OKAY to feel that way. Instead, I'm learning to label them as UNCOMFORTABLE emotions, and giving myself permission to feel them. 

Then, I practice giving myself the sympathy and leeway to feel those things that I would give to others. We are often so hard on ourselves with how we feel -- WHY am I sad/angry/jealous/ worried/guilty, what is WRONG with me? But there's nothing wrong...you're feeling those for a reason. We don't question ourselves when we're happy - why do it with other feelings?**

So, now when I am experiencing uncomfortable feeling,  I'm starting to FIRST give myself permission to feel that way, then to SECOND look at why I am feeling that way. What is making me so sad, or angry, or why am I so worried?

Then, in figuring out the reason, I can work through the uncomfortable feelings easier. I can use my scientific/logical side to figure out the best way to deal with those feelings and whatever problem there is causing those feelings (if there is actually one).

Last thing she has taught me is that it sucks to have those feelings, BUT I've felt them before and have GOTTEN THROUGH IT, and come out the other side okay. We are OKAY after feeling that way. I have been angry, worried, jealous or even really desperately sad before, and am OKAY. 

Having these uncomfortable emotions is part of life, and we probably learn the most from them as compared to the happy/sunshiny times. 

As an example, a couple weeks ago I wrote about how traumatic it was to go back to the hospital where I was for two weeks, and how upsetting it was that my doctor warned me about going back to school. In talking through this situation with my counsellor, I realized I was more angry than sad. 

I was first angry about being told I might not be able to do something that I really want. In fact, I realized that she wasn't warning me about it because she didn't think I could do it cognitively (which is why I was upset initially), but was more worried about if additional stress would put me back EMOTIONALLY (because I was really depressed in the hospital for 2 weeks 10 months ago). Now that I know that I crave that kind of stress and challenge - which she doesn't know (she only knows me for those 2 weeks of my life and defines me by that time) -  I know I will be okay. 

I was also angry about how I went back into my "patient" role during the appointment - that I didn't feel like I was my confident, well-articulated, self. I felt  I let myself down, and didn't prove  to her how well I really am doing. Uncomfortable emotions again - so, I had to realize I was allowed to feel that way, and that it's a natural reaction to return to the same "state" you were in during past similar experiences. 

Finally, I know that I might feel this way again when I have another appointment...but that's a good thing because 1) I'll know it's possible I'll feel that way and can be better prepared to deal with those feelings and 2) I am okay after feeling those things, and will be okay the next time too.

It's a whole different mindset to relabel those feelings and give yourself permission and sympathy to feel them. It's a work in progress, but I've been finding it has helped, especially at times when I'm feeling those things. 

**There's the whole thing about societal pressure to be "happy" these days, so of course we're hard on ourselves when we're not because we're not achieving some perfect life. I won't get into this here more than that!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lunch Box

With Evan starting kindergarten in September, one of my bigger worries is what are we going to send for lunches? He's been having a hot lunch for years at daycare*, and now all of a sudden it has to be cold, easy to open, and something he'll actually eat...and it's ALL ON US.

The easy fallback of peanut butter and jam/bananas/honey/etc. is GONE because of the whole NO PEANUTS thing.

What kinds of things do you send as the main part of lunch?

*If we were millionaires I would totally just keep him in daycare for life!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Randomly on Wednesday

- Still been feeling pretty down about school and stuff since my last appointment with a doctor. I have an appointment with my counsellor to talk about it.

- We went on our first vacation as a family of four! We rented a cottage by a lake nearby and it was glorious! Tough to come home, so we had a couple rough days as we transitioned back to normal life.

- Nothing like having to list emergency contacts who MUST live in the city to make you realize how isolated you are.

- I am in the midst of choosing my courses and schedule for the Fall. I will register in early August. Weird going back to "student" again.

- Tuition is due on August 1st --- UGH! That's gonna hurt.

- I'm taking Evan to his first ever in-theatre movie on Friday! We're going with his best-friend and his mom.

-  In early August, I'm going to a nearby city for a public lecture by Jill Tarter (Jodi Foster's character in Contact was based on her)!

- Just over a month until Evan starts kindergarten and Carter starts daycare!

- My hair is at a very awkward stage.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kinda Traumatic

I just had a follow-up appointment with my stroke specialist. It was at her clinic, on the same floor I resided on for the first two weeks after my stroke, and it was a bit more traumatic than I expected.

DH was with me, and we were struck with a very medicinal smell as we got off the elevator on the 7th floor and we both were also struck with not very fond memories of the place. It's amazing how much a certain smell can invoke a whole host of memories and feelings.

I felt okay, but when I had my appointment I fell back into the "patient" role. I felt like I  couldn't articulate how well I've been doing, or that maybe I wasn't doing as well as I thought. She asked me what things I still can't do (always the focus at the hospital --- what I CAN'T do.). She seemed very concerned about my moods, and warned me that going back to school might be harder than I expect.

I guess it's part of her job to talk of the negative things, but I just felt so down and a bit demoralized coming out of the appointment. I mean, I just put together this awesome (I think!) scholarship application this week, and am getting excited about our upcoming cottage vacation, but now I wonder if I can handle things as well as I thought.

Then, since I had Carter with me, I decided to do a lap of the floor (just like I used to to test/work my legs when I was there). There were more familiar smells, sounds, and sights that brought me back. It was almost too much when I walked by the high acuity ward and saw a younger women trying to walk with the help of two nurses.

On my way out, I passed the nurses station and ran into the social worker who worked with me there. It took a couple seconds for her to recognize me, but she came over, hugged me, and we had a nice chat. She told me how great it was to see how well I was doing - so at least the visit ended on a positive note.

I couldn't get out of there fast enough though. But, then I got outside, drove home, played with Carter, went to the post office and grocery store, and started to feel normal again.

Sure, I'll always be a stroke patient, I guess...but the doctors never knew how strong, resilient, and smart I am. I can do anything I did before, and will do anything I want to. Yes, school might be stressful, but it's nothing I can't handle.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

9 Months

Carter is 9 months old today, and has taken several "leaps" in the last month!

- He has started to crawl on all fours (but looks like he kind of has one "dragging" behind - but he actually pushes with it). He's very excited to explore absolutely everything in this house!

- He pulls himself up to stand all the time, and can transition well from standing to sitting (with a couple falls from learning that skill).

- He can stand unaided for a few seconds, and has started cruising around furniture.

- He can transition easily from lying down to sitting up.


- He's starting to understand orientation of things. For example, he can put his soother in his mouth himself (YAY!!), and he rotates food like watermelon slices to eat the correct side.

- He has started to use a sippy cup himself, and is getting a bit better (read: not as messy) with his feeding skills.

- He conveys his emotions well! When he's exciting he flaps his arms and claps. When he's frustrated he goes up to the nearest person, bounces up and down on his bum and cries.

- He's been on TV for the first time (during an interview about my stroke experience).

- He has a very clear love for all things Thomas the Train! He stops doing whatever he's doing if Thomas comes on TV. His favourite toys right now are balls, or things that look like balls (like oranges and bubbles).

- He seems to be going through the 9 month growth sport right on schedule (fingers crossed it's short lived!).

- He's interacting more and more with Evan - including rough housing (I see many future years of splitting up fights...


...and a lot of giggling!).


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Curating Notes

I spent last week curating the @PeopleOfLdnOnt twitter account, and I pulled away from other social media so I could focus on the task.

The process of curating an account was really busy but rewarding. I got to "meet" people I normally wouldn't have, and I got to learn a lot about our city and the people in it! If you get the chance to do something like that, try it out!

I learned that I enjoy twitter much more than Facebook. I find it's a much better way to connect with different communities - scientists, writers, locals, etc.. I also find the info posted to be more useful and definitely more interesting, and I find it much easier to keep up with current events. As I switch career paths into education, I'll need to seek out that community on Twitter now too.

Facebook used to be a great place to keep up with friends, old and new, but I've been finding it tedious lately. People are using it more and more as a political/sounding board/annoying quote archive rather than sharing personal updates, and the latter is how I prefer to use FB. My activity there has decreased substantially over the past while, with some "likes", and a comment here and there, and maybe a post a two a week. 

I also backed away from writing/reading blog posts, and I gotta say it was a nice break. I think it shows me that I follow way too many blogs for me to keep up with, so I need to decide what to do there (just follow some on twitter? cut some from Feedly? Only choose a set number per day to comment on?) --- any ideas? 

I still like writing blog posts though, but not sure what I want to aim for in terms of frequency. I'll probably just do what I've always done - write and post when something strikes me, and there will be busy times and more quiet times. Regardless, I will post all of them to my Twitter account, so follow me there too.

How do you use each social media tool differently? Do you take breaks to re-evaluate, or just to "get away"?




Monday, June 30, 2014

Evolving PG Feelings

I was thinking the other day about how my feelings about pregnancy - or, more specifically, getting pregnant - have evolved over time.

Of course those feelings started out as they do in most women - Oh, please God, NO! Not Now! Anything but this! Not now!! ...PHEW!

Then, things changed after I got married and we decided to start "trying". The first few times I POAS*, it was actually kind of weird - like I was being bad or something! I spent so long trying to prevent two lines, and now I was hoping, excited, and almost craving them to appear.

When I got my first positive, I was over the moon excited! We were starting our family! Wow! How amazing is my body to be able to do this!? I wonder if it'll be a boy or girl? What names will will we choose? How will we decorate the nursery?

Then, it happened. I had a miscarriage. Dreams crash and shatter.

We picked up the pieces and started "trying" again. This time, waiting to see those lines appear isn't exciting. Instead it's nerve wracking. What will happen this time? Will it happen again? That ignorant bliss of getting pregnant the first time after deciding to try is washed away forever.

That story ends happily with the birth of Evan, but with some unexpected hardships shortly after.

Then a few years later we decide to "try" for #2. This time waiting for the lines isn't exciting either. It's more filled with thoughts like "are we sure?" or "what are we doing?" or "is this a mistake?" or , but also --- "woah..family of four!?" and "we'll be complete!".

Then, it happened again. I had another miscarriage. Sadness takes over and and hopes dashed.

So, back to "trying" again and waiting for those lines is nerve wracking again, but for so many more reasons. Will I have another miscarriage? Are we doing the right thing by adding another child to our family? Can we handle it?

Then, Carter arrives, safe and sound in a perfect-for-me birth. And then, my brain bleeds. Stroke, caused by pregnancy.

We were never planning on having a 3rd anyway, but now that choice has been taken away because I would be at risk of having another stroke. Even without Evan and Carter depending on having a mother, that's not a chance I'd be willing to take.

So, now at 35, my feelings about getting pregnant are back at square-one again: scared shitless. But for much different and "weightier" reasons. Not because it would put a hamper on my life, or put things on hold for a bit, but because it would literally mean a choice between life and death --- either mine or the baby's. That's not a decision I want to make.

*Peed on a stick - sounds so much nicer as an acronym, don't you think?




Thursday, June 26, 2014

"I read an article"

Is it me, or are more and more people using "I read an article about X" to "prove" their point in an argument?

This DRIVES me crazy! Where? What article? Who was it written by? Where was the funding (if any) from?

Just because you read some blog on the internet that agrees with your stance on a subject, or (gag) saw something mentioned by that crack Dr. Oz, does NOT give it more credence.

Kudos for reading, but please do your research before you start calling people out on their actions or getting into non-arguments that just piss people off. You're entitled to have your opinions and don't need to back them up with "things you read" --- just own them for yourself instead of trying to make them look more valid by trying to prove that someone important (must be, if they've WRITTEN something, right?) has them too.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blog Break

I won't be posting this week, or being active on my personal Twitter/FB feeds, as I'll be curating the People of London Twitter account! Check it out @PeopleofLdnOnt.

Have a great week!





Sunday, June 22, 2014

Close Enough For Jazz

In high school, I loved music, and played the clarinet classically, as well as jazz tenor and baritone saxophones. 

Tuning was always an important part of our warm-up, and was especially critical in classical, since it can be really obvious when even one instrument is ever-so-slightly out of tune. We would spend whole class periods working on being able to pick out who was out of tun and by how much.

For jazz, our teacher wasn't nearly as hardcore about it. In fact, jazz can sound a bit better if the ensemble isn't perfectly in tune. So, he would often say during these tuning sessions, "close enough for jazz."

For some reason, the phrase really resonated with me (pun slightly intended), and I find myself muttering it 20ish years later...when I'm folding laundry, searching for something at the store but can't find exactly what I'm looking for, or when I'm adding spices to dinner.

Now, it fits perfectly with my general outlook for life - "good enough". Clearly our music teacher was on to something.

What things did you learn as a kid still resonate with you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pieces Come Together

Last update I had on my ongoing battle with the Penrose afghan, I was putting an extra section together because one was too small.

I set a deadline for myself to get it sewn all together for when my parents arrived on June 5th - mostly because my mom has been weaving in all the ends, and I didn't want to lug the thing across the country at Christmas!

So, once I finished that last section (for the second time) I started putting the bigger sections together.


  Two sections.

 Three sections.

Five sections. 

Sewn together...still loose ends.

All done!!

IT's DONE!!! It only took 3+ years! Special thanks to my amazing mom for weaving in every last end! That's 2-3 ends for each little piece and more from sewing pieces together!



Now just to wait for cold weather to enjoy it (not that I'm wishing for that!! I'm happy to wait!).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Life Lessons

A few weeks ago, after I crashed, I decided to start seeing a counsellor to work through some of the things left over from the stroke.

Initially, all I wanted to talk about what I lost. I lost the first month of Carter's life, and will never have the chance to bond with a newborn again. I lost out on a breastfeeding relationship - for a second time, and will never have the chance to have one again. I lost a month of Evan's life, and will never be there for his true 3rd birthday.

I talked about how envious I am of women who have just given birth and get to have those experiences with their babies. How I want to tell pregnant women that not everything will go as planned, and they could end up like me.

But she listened. She really listened, and validated my feelings. What happened to me was shitty. It wasn't fair. It was hard. Insanely hard. And it's okay I feel that way about that time, and that I'm not "over it".

Then she asked me how I would describe my relationship with Carter now. And I just said "normal". It's like any other mother-son relationship. I love him to death, and he drives me nuts sometimes. Then she was silent until it hit me --- we made it. We DO have a bond. A very strong one. I doubt it would be any stronger if that first month was different.

Ah....I get it, I think.

That first month was awful. It was. But (as my brother says), it is what it is. It IS part of our story, part of my life...but it doesn't define me or my relationship with Carter. We made a strong bond in spite of everything.

To heal, I need time and I need to give myself permission to feel those feelings. It's okay to be envious or to be mad or sad. And when I feel those things, I need to check in with myself to see where I go from there. Like this morning, I was sad that Carter will never be this small again, and it made me realize that means I need to be more present.

I've learned many lessons in the past few months. Some really hard ones that perhaps a 35 year-old woman with 2 small kids normally wouldn't learn at the point in life.

- I know life can be shitty, and bad things can happen. But, if it doesn't kill me (which it could have), I will triumph.
- I have a better appreciation for life and better understand what's truly important. I try not to dwell on insignificant things (but of course things still get to me!)
- I have become stronger and more confident in my actions and my decisions.
- Our family is still closer than it was before the stroke, and it's amazing how much support we do have, even if it's across the county.
- Time really does heal. Sometimes, we just need time.
- Kids are more resilient and intelligent than we give them credit for.
- I do know what I need in times of crisis to get through.
- I need to give myself the same compassion and leniency that I give to others. I need to be nice to myself.

I'm not sure if I will continue to see a counsellor, but it's nice to know that space is there for me if I need. Sometimes we need to have that appointment to force ourselves to make space and time to focus on ourselves, even for a little while.

Monday, June 9, 2014

8 Months

- Growing: I put all the 6-month clothes away (a bit late, and a bit sad too!). He decided to skip right into 12-18 month clothes. He looks so much older in two-piece PJs instead of sleepers.

- Moving: his primary mode of transportation is still bum-scooting, but he also rolls and pushes himself  around to get places (either while on his bum or stomach), but still no forward crawling. He does NOT want to learn how to crawl. He would rather stand that sit or lay down. In fact, he whines and snivels if he's sitting or is on his tummy for too long, and "asks" us for our hands so he can pull himself up to stand.  At 7 months, he started pulling himself up to stand on us, and last week he started using other things to pull up on (crib, chairs, etc). Once he's up, he'll make his way over to a table (or something) and stand there. About a week after he turned 7 months, he stood with no support for about 5 seconds, and has done that a handful of times since.



- Sleep: this has improved lately for the most part! On a good night, he goes down between 8-9pm, makes noises a couple times at night, but we put a soother in his mouth and then he generally goes back sleep. He wakes up for good at about 7am.

- Eating: he's still having 5-6 6oz bottles a day, and solids at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 1-2 snacks. This kid can eat. I'm seeing my future with 2 teenage boys! I feel like my whole day revolves around feeding them.

- Communication: the variety of sounds he makes has exploded! He babbles and uses intonation like he's talking in full sentences...too bad no one can understand him though! He likes to use "Da" "Gah" "Ah" "Yah" "Ge" "De", and strings them together in "sentences". He gets SO excited when one of the cats comes by that he starts bouncing up and down, waving his arms, and saying 'GE GE GE GE!!!!!". He also loves to blow "raspberries".

- Interests: he's showing distinct likes and dislikes. He loves Thomas the Train, pulling things out of containers or off shelves, pulling up to stand, and being destructive. He has definite favourite books (Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Canada 123).  He hates broccoli, being on his stomach, not being able to see someone, and waiting too long for food.

- Just last week, he enjoyed the bath for the first time! He loved splashing around and playing with the bath toys, and the suction-cup flowers that we stick to the bottom of the tub.



- He used the pincher grasp for the first time last week.

- He has started to either sign "more" or clap - can't tell which, but either way, it was cute :)

- Brothers: They are playing more and more, and the more Evan includes Carter in his play, the more Carter loves and adores Evan. I can already see how their relationship is going to evolve - they both love to make the other one laugh.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Answered My Own Question

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post about second guessing my decision to go to teacher's college! In responding to the comments, I think I answered my own question about whether it'll be worth it.

In summary:
- I often second guess myself for any big decision, so this is a normal reaction for me.
- I know all the stats about how hard it is to become/be a teacher in Ontario
- I'm familiar with how Ontario classrooms work, and know it's not an easy job at all.
- ...that being said, I'm prepared to "do my time" in order to succeed as a teacher
- ...and also, my additional qualifications, experience, and connections in the school board(s), will help me a lot.
- I'm excited to actually LIKE and ENJOY my course work and projects (maybe even for the first time in my post-secondary schooling career)
- Though I enjoyed doing outreach over the past few years, I found it was never "enough". I crave the continuity with a class that teaching gives (not just dropping in and walking out).
- When I think about applying to other jobs, I find myself thinking "but it's not teaching, and not what I want to spend my time doing"
- I know I can't be a stay-at-home-mom to be happy and to therefore be the best mom for my kids (I've known this since Evan was a baby, so I don't even know why I put it in the post as an option --- it's not)
- Regardless of if I go back to work or go to school, the kids will be okay...and THRIVE really, and they can see me thrive too (very important!)
- The timing is right in terms of the program (last year it'll be offered as a 1-year program)
- ...and I don't have the obligation of a job to go back to after maternity leave.
- ...and Evan will be starting school and Carter can be in daycare (yay for only 1 kid in daycare at a time!).
- ..and we have the financial ability for me to do this now.
- Yes, it's a good amount of $$ upfront, but losing savings is much better than going in debt (which we were prepared to do for me to do this).
- It'll be so worth it if teaching works out, and I finally get to achieve that dream/goal -  how awesome would that be??
- The worst that can happen if I go is we fork out the $$  and I end up finding work doing something else. That's a pretty good "bad" side.

So, to summarize the summary: I need to stop second guessing myself and finally go with my gut on this decision. I know it won't be all puppy dogs and roses, but I also know it will be the start of a new and exciting chapter in my career (regardless of where it takes me). Everything seems to be telling me to GO FOR IT...so I'd be pretty stupid to not grab this opportunity while I can!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

2nd Thoughts

and 3rd and 4th...about going to teacher's college.

I keep wondering if it's really the best decision to go back to school in the Fall to get a degree to be able to teach at the K-12 level (requirement in Canada to do so).

Yes, I'm excited to do it, and it's what I've wanted to do for many years. It's really my last chance to go - it's the last year it's a one-year program (I am SO not doing 2 years of school, for time and financial reasons), I applied* and got in, we have the financial ability to allow for it, and I feel like the last few years of being in science education & outreach has led up to this.

But...

so many Buts.

The biggest is financial.  It will cost us anywhere from 60-80% of our savings to cover tuition and the difference between DH's salary and our monthly bills for 8-12 months (the program runs Sept. - May, but could be until the following Sept. to find work (hopefully)). Is it selfish of me to put that kind of financial strain on our family?

The hope is, in the long run, it will be worth it. Teachers here make a very decent salary, with great benefits, and awesome vacation time. As well, of course, as making a different in so many lives! So, if I can find work relatively quickly, it will pay off.

But, what if I don't find work as a teacher (as many people are finding themselves in that position lately)? Are we just throwing that money down the toilet? Then I'd be back to square-one...no job and less money...and then what?

Maybe, instead, I should just find a job that I'm qualified for right now. No, it probably won't be a dream job. Perhaps that was something I should have considered a few years back (definitely not happy with some decisions I made), but now the needs of my family should outweigh my career desires. If I got a job, we wouldn't have to worry about paying for childcare, vacations, or renovations that we'd like to do.

Another But is the timing --- School would start in the Fall, and Evan will be starting kindergarten, and Carter will not even be a year old. I feel like I should be there for the kids during these times of transition. I wonder if I should consider staying at home for a few years until both kids are in school full time before pursuing a different career (though I know I'd find a hard time going to school if it's a 2-year program).

I keep flip flopping back and forth, and don't know which way to go. Do I take the path I've wanted for years, and put us in not-so-great position financially for the (hopefully) short term? Or do I forget about that path, and focus on reality and find suitable work now? Or completely give up on working for now and stay at home to support our children in their early years (which won't last forever)?

Oh, great blogosphere, what would you do?

*While in the hospital after my stroke...if that doesn't prove my dedication/desire to do this, I don't know what does.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Still Upset

I'm still upset about how my work situation was handled before I went on maternity leave* back in September.

I have not written about it much yet, but it's still bothering me, 9 months later. So, here's the story.

Basically what happened is that I was going to cut my contract on Sept. 13th to go on "leave" (not really a leave, since I was on contract, and would have no guaranteed job to go back to). I was told that the $$ was there to pay someone to take over the position for at least the duration of the contract (March 31, 2014), with a possibility of give them an extension on the contract until I want to come back (plan was August 1, 2014, if there was funding at that point).

At the end of July, we interviewed someone, really liked her, and my boss gave her a verbal offer. She was going to start September 1st, to overlap with me for about 2 weeks to learn the ropes. The contract was drafted, and her references were being contacted...until it just stopped. During August, both me and the person who was to take over, contacted several people several times about the contract, and why it was taking longer than expected.

Then, near the end of August. she was contact by my boss and another staff member to have a meeting over Skype to talk about the position. She asked me if I knew what this was about, and I didn't..I had no clue what was going on. They had the meeting on the 26th, and it turned out it was actually another interview (without telling her that). They told her the position was NOT going to be what it was at the time, and told her how it would be different (totally different duties, and much lower pay).

In the meantime, I was left out of the loop completely on all of this. I was frantically preparing everything to train the new person the next week, and to make sure everything was all organized for her. Three business days before she was supposed to start, she was offered the new job at the new pay and she turned it down. Again, I had not be told any of this, and never was.

I spent the last 2 weeks of my time there wrapping up loose ends. I knew there was not going to be a replacement for me, but not from my boss or other university staff. In fact, to this day, no one at the university has told me that 1) there would be no replacement for my position, and 2) there would be no option for a job for me to go back too (though we agreed I'd go back August 1, 2014).

Needless to say, I was not happy about how the situation was handled. It still upsets me. Nothing was done wrong in the legal sense, but it was just unprofessional. I have pretty much cut all contact with those I worked with/for**, but I have never brought it up with HR, my boss(es), or anyone else at the university.

What would you have done at the time? Would you do something now?

*Not really maternity leave, since I had no just to go back too.

**Though I do see one of my bosses from time to time with things unrelated to work, which can be awkward (for me, at least...can't speak for them)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Up A Tree

There is a new cat in the neighbourhood (from a couple houses down, we found out). It's black, very young, and super friendly! So friendly, it has tried to come into our house on a number of occasions. Our male cat, Isaac, who is a big and old boy, considers himself the alpha around these parts. He does not like this new one poking about, but he's pretty calm about the whole thing, as long as he asserts his dominance once in a while.

It's (Evan called him "the new Isaac") a very adventurous cat. The other day it decided to chase a bird, who was perched in the highest branches of one of our trees in the backyard.



That silly bird thought it was safe that high up.



After some coaxing, and a few scrambles to not fall to his death, he made his way down low enough that I could grab him as he was dangling from a not-so-stable branch by his claws.

At least it made for some good entertainment for the kids (even though I practically had a heart attack, thinking I was going to have to clean up cat guts from the lawn if he did fall).


Friday, May 23, 2014

Evanisms

Some fun things Evan has said recently :)

Evan was riding on the back of the stroller, and I warned him that we might fall when we go over a bump. A little while later we go over a big bump, but stay upright.
“Mom! We went over a bump and didn’t fall! We didn’t even die!”

DH and Evan were working in the backyard
DH: I need to take a break now.
E: Me too! I need a long break because I’ve been working really hard!

He calls Doritos  "Toronto’s"

Evan is tickling and making me laugh. With a very serious face he says “Shh..mom…it’s okay…this isn’t funny. Stop laughing.”

I go outside to see Evan looking out at the backyard.
Me: What’s going on Evan?
Evan: Shh…I’m thinking.
Me: About what?
Evan is silent for a while. Then “I’m trying to figure out how to chop up that ice”. He then proceeds to throw the shovel at the ice and laughs.

Evan crawls over me to pick a book and says, “Mommy, you’re squishy like a marshmallow”

While choosing bedtime books, Evan picks my Kindle, so I start reading the book I’m reading. He takes it, asks if he can try, then repeats the lasts sentence I read, then says “That’s so silly!!!”

After rough-housing with Daddy. Evan throws a pillow at Daddy and he doesn’t catch it. With a taunting tone, he says “You gotta be faster than that, SON!”

Every night I ask him what he’s going to dream about and tonight he said “fish poop”

E: I don’t like our toilet. We need a new one.
Me: Why don’t you like it?
E: I don’t know.
Me: What would you change?
E: The colour!
Me: What colour should it be?

E: Red! We NEED a red toilet!

When he's search for a word, he literally "hmms" and "huhs" and then says "Mommy, I lost the word. What is it?", and then I have to ask him questions until he finds a different way to explain what he's talking about.

He likes to pretend to be cats and we "meow" to each other instead of using words. It's amazing how much we ca communicate this way.

When we play I Spy, and he guess the right object, he says "NAILED IT!!"


This kid cracks me up on a daily basis - so much fun with words and language these days! Love it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Just Noticed

Remember when I wrote about how I was having a tough time typing after the stroke?

I just noticed today that there is no noticeable issue there anymore. It's probably been that way for months. I don't have to strain to use ";" or ":" or think about the movement difference between "o" and "p". I don't have to think harder about "," or "." - in fact, I don't have to think at all.

I remember thinking I might not ever be able to type like I used to, and now here I am.

Crazy. Thank GOD the brain can reinvent itself. It's an amazing thing.


Fig. 1: Love my brain (and love yours too)!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Hair

I did it! I let my hair grow out enough to finally get a style! Take that, stroke!

Thank you to Lisa S. at Salon Entrenous for doing such an amazing job!!

BEFORE



AFTER