Saturday, April 4, 2015

Last Reminder | Last Post

Hi everyone, just wanted to put up one last reminder that my blog has now moved to Wordpress!

Please update your RSS/Feedly/bookmarks/etc tohttps://mrscomethunter.wordpress.com

Hope to see you over there!

Blogger: you treated me well for so many years!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Books I Haven't Read

**Just a reminder that this blog is moving to mrscomethunter.wordpress.com - update your bookmarks!**

I've never really gotten in to reading classic literature. Once in a while I'll give it a go, but usually end up getting annoyed with the language or pace. I buy them from time to time because I feel like I SHOULD read them, but they often end up back on the shelf.

I've done this with Great Expectations, The Great Gatsby, A Tale of Two Cities, among others.

I was at the dollar store today, and they had a bunch of classics for $1.25. So, I did it again, and picked up a copy of Little Women.

I can hear all the gasps of horror through the computer - "how can you call yourself a reader and have never read LITTLE WOMEN???"

Funny enough, when I got home, I checked our shelves, and sure enough there is a copy of this book already there. Clearly, I've tried this before.

The one I bought is really short though, so maybe it's a kids version or something? Maybe that will help ;)

What books haven't you read that people would be surprised about?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Last Day of Classes!

**just a reminder that this blog is moving to mrscomethunter.wordpress.com - update your bookmarks and feeds! I'll cross-post for a while**
Today is my last day of classes of my BEd program! It's hard to believe how far I've come and how much things have changed since the first anxiety-inducing days back at the end of August.
I really didn't think I was going to pull through, but with the support of friends, family, and awesome colleagues at school, it turned into an amazing experience. I've learned more about myself through this process - like that I hold my morals deeply, I am willing to stand up for myself, that my confidence in myself has grown, and I truly do love teaching AND the students too.
Though classes are done, the program is not! I have my second practicum starting next week, and I'll be in three math classes (two grade 9 and one grade 12) - you can read more about that on my other blog! After that, we do a two-week volunteer stint, and I'll be working at the school board office developing much needed inquiry-based astronomy resources for the board!
Super excited for these next steps, to finish, and to (hopefully) get out into the classroom!!! Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Home Wants/Needs

**just a reminder that this blog is moving to mrscomethunter.wordpress.com - update your bookmarks and feeds! I'll cross-post for a while**

My theme for my goals this year is re-evaluation, and one thing that led to my choosing this theme was a constant battle in our minds: whether to stay in this house or move.

Our house is old, like 1910's old. That means we a) have a tiny kitchen, b) very little storage, c) a creepy basement we'll never use for more than laundry/workshop/dumping grounds, and d) have tiny bathrooms (we're lucky we had space to put a 1/2-bath  on the main floor - a hot commodity around this neighbourhood).

When I get in one of those "GOD, I HATE THIS HOUSE!!!" moods, the things I dream about are:

- a more open floor plan on the first floor
- a kitchen with more cupboard space and an island between it and the dining room
- a large mudroom/laundry combo off the front (MORE SPACE for all our clothes/bags/gear/etc)
- a MUCH bigger upstairs bathroom
- a finished attic, so we can have a second living area (and a place to move all the kids toys so they're not the first thing we see coming in) --- which could house a THIRD bathroom!
- being on a much quieter street (I know I can't change this, but I'm DREAMING here!)

During and after these moments, we often start perusing through the MLS listings, searching for houses. We talk for hours  about whether it's worth it to stay here and do the renovations, or would it be better to try and find a house that hits all our "must-have's". It's our own personal "Love It or List It", without any help from professionals.

Sure, we can easily find homes that have everything we want...for a much heftier price tag than what we paid for this house. 

And, just like Cloud wrote about recently, these things are much more WANTS than NEEDS. When I really thing about it, we're pretty darn lucky with our life (and house) as it is now. Why do we feel like we NEED more room, or NEED a bigger bathroom, or NEED to have main floor laundry?

We look at bigger, newer, more "fancy" houses - with their huge kitchens, giant walls of windows, massive master suites, and living room/family room/game rooms - as though that is what we NEED.

Yes, we could afford to go with either of these options, but then it hits us: what are our priorities in life? Do we want to spend money for years on making or getting a bigger/"better" house, or could we spend that in a way that could really make a difference in our lives in other ways. Like,  being able to do more of the things we enjoy like golfing, going to baseball games, going on family vacations, or taking art or music classes.

We get so tied up in what we WANT in a house, as though having an island in our kitchen or a walk-in closet would make us happy.

So, we are trying to keep these things in mind and we move forward with these types of decisions. We will constantly be re-evaluating our goals and aligning them with what our priorities really are.

How do you reconcile between what you WANT and what you NEED.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Joyous Understanding

**just a reminder that this blog is moving to mrscomethunter.wordpress.com - update your bookmarks and feeds! I'll cross-post for a while**

I've mentioned a few times that I started a new blog to write about my experiences in teaching and education. Now that I have a few posts, I'm ready to start sharing it!

My teaching/education blog is called Joyous Understanding. The title is derived from a Carl Sagan quote:

The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.
Yes, that's right - two blogs with two titles from two Carl Sagan quotes. What can I say? He's been a big influence on my career.

In the blog, I'll write about my experiences as a teacher in the classroom and about my own learning, and I'll also share resources that can be used at multiple levels of education.

I'm very excited to write about my experiences more fully, and to connect with other math and science educators and bloggers.

Come on over, check it out, and let me know what you think: joyousunderstanding.wordpress.com

Friday, February 13, 2015

Our Little Linus

**just a reminder that this blog is moving to mrscomethunter.wordpress.com - update your bookmarks and feeds! I'll post this reminder in each new post for a while**

C has never really been a big cuddle baby, and isn't too fond of stuffed animals or cuddly things,

But in the past few of months he has become VERY attached to his blanket.

He needs it first thing in the morning, for naps, first things when he gets home, and for bedtime of course. He needs it anytime he's upset, and gets really made if it's out of reach even if he doesn't need it at that point.

A couple months ago he was sick and got some vomit on his blanket. So, given this attachment and the fact he was sick (and therefore exceptionally needy), you can imagine how big of an issue it was that it had to be in the washer AND dryer for practically two hours!

We tried distracting him with toys, games, going for a walk. Everything. We tried every other blanket in the house (we've amassed quite a collection since E was born). Nothing would work. He was like a crazy, possessed, Chucky Doll. I'm pretty sure his head floated up and turned 360 degrees.

So, in order to make sure that never happens again, I bought a back-up blanket for the house, and we have another at daycare. Now he carries it slung over his shoulder.

He's our literal little Linus...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Blogger -> WP

I am in the midst of trying to move my blog from Blogger to WordPress – mostly because I like all the options of WordPress. I think I’ve managed to redirect the main page, but am still working on other things.

So, I apologize if things get messed up, because this is not as easy as I thought it would be.

If you have done this move successfully by yourself (to a “example.wordpress.com” blog — not one on another host), please let me know any tips!

If you want to update your feeds and such, the new address will be: https://mrscomethunter.wordpress.com/ (though it might be best to keep the blogger one in case I get fed up with the move!)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Social Media Management

I need some advice about how to manage my social media accounts as I continue down the path to becoming a high school teacher.

Right now, the only social media account I've used in my teaching is my Twitter account. Nothing formal, but I have used it to connect with the schools I've worked with, and students have followed me.

I have started a new blog on Edublogs to write about my teaching experiences (I will share this in the near future, I promise!).

I have a second 6-week practicum coming up in March/April, and I want to use social media more in the classroom, but I'm wondering just how I should manage it.

Facebook is completely off the table for teaching purposes right now. I only use it for personal reasons now, and don't think it's a good idea to change that.

I want to have my two separate blogs, since it's a natural split to have my more personal posts here, and teaching-related posts on the other one. I will probably link from this blog to the Edublog, but probably not the other way around (mostly because, even though I don't think I've posted anything all that controversial,  somethings in my archives I'd rather not share with students/parents/other teachers).

I might also make a separate website that is specifically for students & parents with assignments, resources, calendars, etc.

One thing I'm not sure about is Twitter. I have one account right now that's now called "MsAGilbert" (which I changed so I could use it as a teacher). That happens to be the name of my Edublog. I have been using it for both personal and professional use. So, I'm trying to decide between the following options:

1. Keep having just one Twitter account linking to it from both (all) blogs/websites.

2. Keep the one Twitter account and only linking to it from one blog and not have Twitter at all for the other.

3. Creating a Twitter account to be associated with each blog.

I lean toward #3 because I do post controversial/opinionated (to some) things on Twitter that might not good in the teaching world, and I would like to have a teaching account that I can use both in and out of the classroom. BUT, my problem is my current Twitter account is very connect to my personal blog (this one) and most of my followers associate the two. That causes a problem because I'd rather use MsAGilbert for my teaching account - which means having to come up with a new name for another Twitter feed, which could be really confusing.

What do you think, readers? Do you have more than one Twitter account? How do you manage your social media? Any Twitter handle suggestions?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

16 Months

The last time I did an update about Carter was at a year - 4 months ago! Yup, time really does fly.

He is certainly growing and changing fast!

- He's been walking for months, and often runs places (and most definitely away from us, especially when we want him to get dressed!).

- Though he hasn't said a proper word yet, he is excellent at communicating with us and the daycare staff. He knows the signs for "more" and "all done" (the MOST important signs when your life revolves around eating ;)). When he signs "more" he also says "mo". He has sounds for all kinds of things that are oh-so-close to the real world - like Gigi (hard-G sounds) for kitty, and pulls out "mama" and "dada" in context, but not all the time. When he's hungry, he goes over to his booster seat and points at it until we put him in and put food in front of him.

- He's really great at understanding what we say. He can follow complicated instructions with no problems. If I ask if he's ready for bed or bath, he'll "pack up" and start going upstairs.

- He's still no the greatest sleeper and wakes up a couple (or more) times at night. Sometimes it's just to find his soother, other times he wants one of us to take him into the guest room (and we know he won't take anything less if he has his soother in his mouth, blanket over his shoulder, and reaching out to us while standing up). He's doing a lot better in this area since we started being consistent with a bed-time routine.

- He's a big DANCER and loves music! He has some serious moves, which is the cutest thing. Music always seems to calm him down, which is a nice tool to have on hand ;)

- He loves to rough-house with Evan and DH, and  he's a big laugher.

- Like in every other post I've written about Carter, my favourite thing is watching him and Evan together. Their relationship is getting more fun and more violent at the same time. Brothers are good fun ;)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The I Can't/Won't Child

One of E's most frustrating personality traits that has come out more and more in the last year or so is an attitude of "I CAN'T" or he WON'T even try.

It comes out the most during new physical activities like skating and swimming lessons.

I get that not everyone wants to try everything, and he's never been the type to jump right into new situations and activities. I don't want to force him to do anything,  but what thing I find particularly frustrating are

1) he gets so excited about new activities beforehand and then breaks down in tears at the first sign of not being able to do it perfectly right off the bat,

2) claiming he can't do something even though he doesn't try (or, even more frustrating, when he CAN do it), and

3) breaking down into tears because he tries to do something new, does it, and then I  (gasp!) cheer him on.

It pushes me to the breaking point every times this happens. It is beyond frustrating to me. Why can't he just TRY? Who cares if he can't do it perfectly right away? Why does everything have to end in tears? Why can't he just have fun trying (sometimes he doesn't and sometimes he loves it and can't wait to go to the next lesson, but it's a crapshoot what his attitude will be like the next time)?

Both DH and I are totally flummoxed by this and don't know what to do. We don't want him to give up on things so easily, but we don't want to force him into things either.

What worries me is that he'll become so afraid to try new things that a) we're going to start thinking twice about signing him up for classes/lessons or buying him new things (like a bike) because we don't want him to give up and essentially waste the time and money, and b) I don't want this attitude to keep him away from so many cool things in life.

Any thoughts or advice from parents who have been there, done that, with this kind of attitude?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Dichotomy of School

I get asked often how school is going and, to be perfectly frank, it's a pretty distinct dichotomy. I go between it being amazing and being defeating.

I LOVE that I'm doing what I need to become a teacher...something I've wanted to do for years. I get shots of joy and happiness even from just realizing that fact. The second placement is coming up in March and I'm really excited about that! I've met a handful of people who I know are "my people" and who I know I will keep in touch with after this whole thing is done. A few of the courses are really enjoyable, and I get a lot out of them - be it resources, or ideas for teaching methods/techniques, or even some "ah-hah" and navel-gazing moments about my own thoughts or opinions of things. Some of the classes aren't that great, but I'm still able to get tidbits here and there that I know I'll put to good use.

On the extreme other hand, I find this school is like a cesspool of negativity. It's like walking into a pit of anger/fear/uncertainty/insecurity all balled into one. I can practically feel the toxicity seep into me slowly as I walk through the door and hallways. There is so much talk about job potential worries, the amount of work (which is really not that much), what's to hate, what's unfair, who's too busy and who's too tired. It can be hard to hear (or be involved) with the same negative conversations day after day and NOT let it rub off or affect me in some way.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Maybe not surprisingly, there are a lot of assignments at teacher's college. Many of them are relevant and practical (such as making lesson plans, unit guides, or rubrics), but the ones I really like are when we get to use new technologies or methods I've never seen.

For example, in our Math class we've had two full classes of student presentations about "cool math" - either math tricks, or neat math websites, online tools, or aps. A similar assignment in our computers class get groups of students to present cool, new-to-us teaching/education technologies.

That being said, one of the assignments I'm really looking forward to this semester is to create an education/teaching blog!

Needless to say, this is right up my alley since I've been writing on this blog since 2008 (6 years? really?!). I've also been thinking of creating a blog just for my teaching journey, and this gives me the perfect reason and opportunity to do just that.

I've started creating and, in all honesty, am probably spending way too much time on it, but I'm excited about it! Not only will I write about my journey as a new math and science teacher, I'll also blog about cool tools, aps, lesson, methods, etc. I come across in hope that it will be a resource for other teachers (both new and experienced).

Once it's up and running and I have some content, I'll share it and link to it from this blog. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hair Evolution

It's been about one year since my first visit to my hair stylist after my stroke. I've had a few appointments since then, including today -- here's how my hair has evolved since it was first shaved for my emergency brain surgery (if you're squeamish, you might not want to look at the first photo or two --- especially the second one).

 Fig. 1: Late October, 2013 (about 2 weeks after my surgery).

Fig. 2: Late December, 2013 (a couple days after my second surgery to put my skull back on)

Fig. 3: Late February, 2014.

Fig. 4: Mid-May, 2014 (right after an appointment with my stylist).

Fig. 5: Mid-August, 2014 (shortly after another visit to my stylist)

 Fig. 6: January 6, 2015 (right after a visit to my stylist)

First, how awesome is my stylist? She managed to make my hair look like a million bucks at every awkward stage! She's actually an award-winning hair stylist, and it really makes a world of difference, especially when dealing with such hair issues (I did start seeing her before all this and noticed a HUGE difference between previous stylists - she has a deep understanding of the connection between hair type, face type, personality, and style).

Second, I know it seems a bit vain to be writing about my hair of all things after everything that has happened, but it's amazing how much it affected me throughout this journey. It was hard looking in the mirror and not seeing MYSELF, if that makes sense --- I was just staring at a stroke patient. My stylist gave me ME back, even though my hair wasn't the same as before. She helped me take ownership of it - choosing styles that I wanted, even thought I wasn't so keen on the length. Being able to make the CHOICE instead of it being thrust upon me, really helped me feel more confident.

Never underestimate the worth of a great hair stylist!

Saturday, January 3, 2015


We spent the last week and a bit of 2014 down in Arizona with my family (hence the quiet on the blog), which was a much-needed break from the realities of life here!

C managed to get some sort of killer cold the first day out, and the rest of us ended up getting it to some extent over the holiday. Despite that though, we managed to enjoy the nicer weather, spend some good family time together, and I even got in a round of golf - on Christmas Day even (first time I've been on the course since before I was pregnant with E)!!

2014 was a good year for our family with lots of changes and growth! What about my goals from last year? Here they are and how I did:

1. Get the okay to drive from doctors.
- This was done early in January, but completely official by April (though I drove since I got the initial "okay", because the winter would have been all that worse if I couldn't get around!).

2. Knitting: finish afghan, and choose some new (smaller) projects
- I did finish the afghan in June! I started a sweater for C, did a garland for Christmas, and have just about finished a scarf for E.

3. Begin to learn to play the piano.
- Not even close to an attempt.

4. Decide on next step in my career.
- Done! I am half way through my B.Ed to teach high school!

5. Read at least 1 book per month.
- Just snuck in at 12!

6. Find ways (and time) to exercise.
- I did very well with this one until my first practicum in October, and then it totally fell off the radar. I will be getting back to swimming now that classes are starting again.

7. Find new and fun things to do with the kids.
- We bought a fish tank (and fish) in January, and that held our interest for a while!
- We built a big playset in the backyard
- In the summer we started geocaching, and really like to do it al together!

8. Figure out some storage solutions for our house.
- We got a couple new storage systems for toys/books/games
- I did reorganize some of our closets which has helped
- We bought baskets for the cubby by our front door
- Am using small flower pots in the pantry to store my excess kitchen utensils
- DH refurbished a storage cubby by our side entrance and it looks great (and is functional!)

9. Keep trying new and different recipes
- Didn't keep up with this so much, but have added a few more regular meals to our rotation (sausage pasta, chicken parm)

10. Get Evan fully potty trained by the time he starts school.
- YAY we did this one, and much earlier!

11. Find a way to be an advocate for or work with other stroke survivors
- I did a few local media interviews to share my experience, but haven't done anything specific (though have been looking into it).

12. Take care of myself (specifically in terms of progressing in my recovery).
- Taking care of myself will always be a work in progress, because I tend to drop to the end of my priority list. I know that I need to keep this up because I'm a better person when I'm eating, sleeping, exercising, and have time to relax.

I think I did pretty awesome, so go me!

What about for 2015? Instead of a list, I have chosen a theme: re-evaluation. Basically, just checking in with myself (or ourselves as a family) about how/why/when we are doing things and if any changes need to be made.

Sometimes we find ourselves doing things simply because we have in the past. For example, I've been keeping track of our finances the same way for years, and I think it's time to update with all the technology that's available. Other things that come to mind is what we spend our money on (being more mindful would be good), how we organize our lives/house, and how we spend our time.

On top of these, I have my usual goals in terms of reading (keep up with at least 1 book a month) and knitting (finish C's sweater, learn how to make socks, and take a class).

Looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings on every level for us!

Happy new year to all my wonderful readers and hope that it brings you much joy and happiness!