Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Bye-Bye 2016

I have been doing year-end reflections on this blog, and really wanted to do it this year again (even though I haven’t been writing nearly as much). To start, here were my goals from the beginning of 2016:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation ✓
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking ✘
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized ✘
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more ✘
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better ✓

Family

E started grade one and is learning how to read. C has entered his threenager stage. DH and I found two awesome babysitters who kids like, and we’ve been doing date nights more often (but not enough). We stayed at a hornet-infested cottage in the summer, but had some good times too!

Home

After looking at our options, we decided that we’ll stay put. So, instead of looking at real-estate listings, we began thinking of how to improve our home. We added serious colour in our kitchen, DH built a mudroom area in the basement,  we replaced the huge bed & desk in the office with awesome Murphy bed/desk, and we took down hedges at front of our property.

Health

I played soccer this summer, but have decided it’s just not the sport for me. I signed back up at the YMCA, and have been using it much more for swimming and yoga. I’d like to start playing badminton this year and get back to riding my bike.

Mentally, things really went downhill in the Fall, and I stopped doing all the things I know I need to do to have a happy life (eating/sleeping well, exercising, reading, knitting, time with friends). With my time off, I’ll be focusing on making this a priority.

One good thing with my long drive to work (1hr15min each way), I got through a LOT of audiobooks, and hit 13 books for 2016. Check out what I’ve been reading here.

Career

I began the year by teaching at university/college levels, and I quite enjoyed it, but realized quickly it would not be a sustainable career option (low pay, limitations on how much I could work, nowhere to grow).

In the summer, I took 2 additional qualification courses to make me more marketable to public school boards. I got hired by one board as a supply teacher, but didn’t get on to the local board (which is the goal).

I did get my first public high school teaching position in September (what’s called a long-term occasional assignment, where supply teachers fill in for permanent teachers on leave). I was teaching grade 11 and 12 physics, and the contract was until the end of January. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to overwhelming stress/anxiety. I’ll get back into the game when I’m ready, but will only be supply teaching.

 

There’s my 2016 in a nutshell! Stay tuned for what my hopes are for 2017.

Our Kids to a “T”

It was just after the kids went to bed, and I needed them both to sign a Father’s Day card for DH.

I go into C’s room first. I creep inside, whisper “C, are you still awake?” Dumb question. As I get close I see his eyes are wide open and he has a big smile on his face. I tell him I need to turn on the light and he needs to “sign” DH’s card. He gets very giggly and exuberantly signs the card multiple times. I tell him that’s good, and he lies down and practically yells “goodnight mommy!!”.

Then I got into E’s room. I had just left about 5 minutes before, and he is completely passed out. Luckily, since it wasn’t for long, I was able to wake him up (which is usually impossible*). After a few false wake-ups, I was able to get him to sit up and he mumbles something completely incoherent at me. I put the pen in his hand and ask him to sign DH’s card. He used the wrong side of the pen first, and then didn’t press down hard enough his second try. Then he signed his name quickly, laid down and promptly fell back asleep.

These two are as different as night and day in so many ways!

*One evening, our fire alarm (which is located right outside our bedrooms) went off for a good 10 minutes, with us running through the house, turning on lights, yelling at each other trying to find the source of the smoke**. E never even flinched once. It’s a bit scary.

**C has put one of my old stuffed animals on the bulb in my bed-side lamp and it practically burnt to a crisp. We were luck it didn’t go up in flames! We now use LED bulbs in all our open lamps!

IMG_0587

Poor 1980’s Stegasaurus

Changes for the Summer

I’m done teaching my university and college course, so I’m heading into the post-secondary summer (yay for 4 months!).

E will stop attending before/after school program starting tomorrow, and I’ll be walking him to and from school every day. I’m excited about it because a) it’ll force me to move and b) I get to spend some good 1-on-1 time with him.

C will be going back to part-time at the daycare and will be home with me on Tuesday/Thursday each week. This will allow me to have some nice 1-on-1 time with him as well.

I’m a bit nervous, because the summer last year was very hard for me because it was just TOO MUCH kid time after a very stressful and busy academic year. But, I’ve put some things into place that will hopefully make this summer more enjoyable:

  • I’m taking a couple additional qualification courses for teaching (special education and getting my physics teachable). This will help me make strides toward my goal of getting into a public school board, but shouldn’t be too stressful (I hope!)
  • I’ve registered E in 3 summer camps, so that’s 3 weeks with him out of the house and being around kids his age
  • Both sets of grandparents will be visiting
  • We have booked a cottage for a week
  • I have joined a women’s soccer team in the hopes it will motivate me to move more AND I get automatic social time every week

At the end of summer last year I was more frazzled than at the beginning and ended up taking a not-so-great job just so I could BE AWAY. So, here’s hoping this year will be better (and hopefully with some kind of decent employment in September.

Ignoring or Avoiding?

I can’t decide if I’ve been ignoring or avoiding this blog. I miss it, and I am constantly coming up with thing to write about, but never end up doing it. I think this is for 2 reasons: 1) I know it takes time, and there are so many things going on that it drops down the priority list, and 2) I know my readership has dropped off because of lack of posts and writing just reminds me of that.

Anyway, I’m going to keep writing when I can because I enjoy it 🙂

First, an update on things!

I finished at the private high school before the Christmas break, and now I’m teaching at the local university (astronomy) and college (math). I’m quite enjoying these courses, and would like to keep teaching at this level.

This brings me to the most frustrating thing of all: jobs. I am still not in with the local school board (I ignorantly thought my 10+ years work experience in education and my own PhD+BEd education would get me in the door, but I was wrong). The university/college teaching jobs are term-to-term. so no stability there either. It can be super frustrating finally KNOWING what I want to do with my life and not have the options to actually DO it on a regular basis. But, I’ll keep plugging along and hope things continue to crop up, and eventually get a long-term post.

Family-wise, we’re deep into the terrible 2’s with C. And we thought E was bad when he was 2? Oh no…C is showing just what 2 can be to the extreme. His TTs are epic and nothing like I’ve ever seen. Thankfully, he can be really funny, happy, and just plain silly. He’s a huge risk taker too, which is much different than E.

E is amazing us with his intelligence lately. It’s awesome to witness his learning and how he LOVES to learn! He’s going through his own behaviour issues: he’s starting to talk back to us when we need to discipline him. This is very new to us, so we’re trying to get a handle on how to deal with it (most things seem to just make it worse).

Home-wise, we’re still flip-flopping on whether to do renovations or move. We agree our first step should be to get some designs and quotes on renovations to see if we can get what we need for a reasonable price. DH is going to a home show this weekend to connect with some contractors who can come and do this soon.

That’s our life right now – I hope that my posts will become more conversational rather than lists! How are you doing?

Hopes for 2016

As you read in my last post, 2015 was pretty meh. So, I’m hoping things will change in 2016. Here are my hopes:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better

What are your hopes for 2016?

PR in the Family?

This image has been circulated around Facebook lately:

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 9.03.09 AM

…and many of my (girl)friends generally agree this is true to reality in their home.

I know it is in mine. In fact, DH often tells me that I’m in charge of PR in our home. I think that’s pretty typical. Honestly, I’m pretty sure nothing like gifts, cards, birthday wishes would be sent if I wasn’t around. This goes for appointment making, rsvp’ing to social engagement, getting & bringing host/hostess gifts to such engagements, etc.

If you live with someone else, who is in charge of “PR”? Is it mostly on one person, or is it shared?

Why do these tasks *typically* fall on women?

 

Home Wants/Needs

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.

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