Monthly Archives: January 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Book 2

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Book: The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

It’s amazing how long you can get by with saying: “Well, of course, there is The Heart of Darkness, but that’s an overused comparison…” in school to avoid having to actually admit that your knowledge of the book actually comes from the movie Apocalypse Now.  I *may* have avoided reading it for 10 solid years of postsecondary academia.

And I should have waited another 10 years. At least. Once I realized how quick it was to read when I considered it was only about 150 pages, but getting into it was a drag. Finishing it was a drag. It was really only the middle portion I burned through, but that’s likely due to the fact I was pinned in place by a sleeping baby (a classic #sorrynotsorry moment… well, I am sorry that I grabbed my eReader instead of my phone when I went to check in on her cries).

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What surprised me the most was how not profound I found the ending to be. That should not have been a surprise as I did remember, as I was reading, that I never actually saw the end of Apocalypse Now because I fell asleep.

Whoops.

1/5 stars

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These Little Moments #3

I’ve had the luxury of taking random days off of work, as my vacation allotment ran from September until this coming April, instead of a full year, as a result of my mat leave timing. There were no family vacations to eat up a chunk of them, no out of town weddings to plan around, and with my parents looking after C, no sick-child days either. Yes, these vacation days still have to cover her doctors’ appointments and the like, but we have a good number of “just because” days.

Without a laundry list of things to do, I wanted these days to be “special”. We had the first day, since Christmas break, this last Friday. For a “special” day, it felt ordinary.

I was fortunate to get 12 months off of work to spend with C after she was born. It’s been four months since I went back. But even after 4 months, from the minute I wake up on days I spend with C at home, I fall back into our old mat-leave routine without a thought. Eat breakfast. Get dressed. Do some cleaning. Run some errands. Home in time for lunch. Nap. Play time. Tidy up. Start supper. If it weren’t for C frantically searching the house for “Dada,” thinking it’s the weekend, or insistently handing me her snow boots, thinking I’ve forgotten to take her to daycare, I might even forget that I’d gone back to work.

But I had gone back to work. After adjusting to seeing her for a short time in the morning, and only a few hours in the evening, a full day with C felt expansive. There was time for a dance party while making the bed. There was no nagging voice in my head as I read my book and snuggled a sleepy baby after her nap. And there was even a moment where I consciously chose not to play with C. Without the feeling of needing to soak up every second of her attention, I had the chance to actually sit and watch her enjoy her little world as she chattered away to her little stuffed friends.

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Days like Friday didn’t happen every day when I was home with her. I doubt I was that relaxed and patient for a full day very often at all in that whole year. It was a hard decision to go back to work. Weekends are never long enough, and rarely offer much time for just C and I to spend together. But when we get those chances to spend time together, just the two of us, even the most ordinary day feels magical.

Linking up with Shaunacey of Confessions of a Frumpy Mom for Monday Moments of Gratitudemondaymoments

Categories: The new identity | 3 Comments

Muscles I Didn’t Even Know Existed Hurt

The new year seemed like a good time to start a new fitness program like Focus T25.

6am was the only conceivable good time to workout on this new fitness plan.

16 months old seemed like a good time for Charlotte to decide she hates going to bed and will scream through all hours of the night until we let her sleep with us (but note that the “sleep” only applies to her, because who can sleep with a baby’s head on her daddy’s shoulder… and her legs across her mama’s neck?)

I’ve never been so exhausted, mentally and physically, as I have been this week.

And this week isn’t even over. I still have to get through Double Day Friday. And Staturday. And the Sunday stretch.

The only benefit that can keep me going is the fact that 6 am workouts are better than coffee for waking the brain up.

The body? It’s usually a few steps behind the brain, creaking and groaning the whole way.

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These Little Moments #2

Linking up again with Shaunacey from Confessions of a Frumpy Mom for:mondaymoments

 Like most parents, and, well, most people, there are inevitably weeks and months where you find yourself not at the top of your priority list and sometimes the only thing lower than you on this priority list is your relationship. But Wednesday night we received a phone call from Scott’s parents telling us they were coming over to babysit for a couple hours on Saturday night. While it wasn’t long enough to go see Star Wars (which was our initial instinct), it was long enough to go for supper. And you know what the benefit of going for supper, as opposed to going to a movie is?

The chance to talk.

There has been a lot of stuff going on in our lives that we’ve been trying to get covered in the all too short evenings after C goes to bed. But those conversations get sidelined by crying babies, hockey games and errands. It was nice to have the only interruption be the server asking if we wanted a refill on our drinks.

It wasn’t the most romantic date we’ve been on, but it was the most productive.

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2016 Reading Challenge: Book 1

A friend of mind posted on Instagram a 12 book reading challenge for 2016 from Modern Mrs. Darcy (a blog/podcast I’m not familiar with, but seems interesting. Bookmarked) It seemed… doable. And the motto in our house usually ends up being “Doable and passable”.  I decided to give it a try. As you read the other day, I picked up a “book I own but haven’t read” and discovered it was actually a “book I previously abandoned”.  MMD-2016-Reading-Challenge-page-001

 

Book: Bluebeard’s Egg by Margaret Atwood

What bugs me the most about Atwood is how often she recycles ideas. While the marginalia in the first short story tipped me off that I had at least read that story once before, the lack of marginalia suggested I gave up after that story. Yet, everything felt so familiar. I kept thinking “was this in Cat’s Eye? Edible Woman? Life Before Man?” which felt especially odd, since the connections I was supposed to be drawing were from fairy tales NOT written by Atwood (as blatantly suggested by the title).  I feel it’s fairly safe to say that I love the Atwood of the late to mid 90s. What I find most interesting about Atwood’s short story collections (which is particularly pertinent in this one) is that I spend a good portion of the first few stories trying to piece together if it is the same narrator, or whether they just work well enough together. Knowing Atwood, it is something we are meant to question, especially given the abrupt shift to the first person narration at the end.

3/5 stars for Atwood, which is 4/5 for every other scale.

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These Little Moments

I know I usually end my week with some type of list of things I’m proud of in the week, silver linings that I’d found, or just the random details of my life I want to remember. Now, that exercise will start my week, thanks to a fellow Canadian – blogging – mama, Shaunacey from Confessions of a Frumpy Mommy who is starting up Monday Moments of Gratitude

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Since the beginning of January are the hardest weeks for me at work, I’m kind of glad to have had the weekend to practice some gratitude, because sometimes, the best way to deal with a rough week isn’t to try to knitpick out the good details, but to just straight up forget it.

But the weekend? It made it easy to forget the week. And I actively took two moments to sit and reflect on how great my life was in those moments.

The first was around 3 on Saturday. After having to cancel my 30th birthday / house warming party / New Year’s Eve party two years ago, birthdays have made me grumpy. So this year, we decided it was time to reclaim them. We held a come and go “Belated 30th / Housewarming / We had a baby” party, and as any one who has thrown a come-and-go party knows, no one shows up right at the start. As a result, we had a perfectly clean house and nothing to do. C was still down for a nap (which she took willingly — not something that happens often!), and the sun was streaming in through the window. For a moment, it was peaceful. It was calm. It was serene. It was what every parent longs for on a Saturday. So I soaked it in (and then resumed my paranoid neurotic thought pattern which kept telling me that no one was ever going to show up… but I digress).

And when people showed up, people showed up. People we hadn’t seen in months. Others we hadn’t seen in years. It was more than we could have hoped for, given how checked out we’d been as of late. But that, of course, came with a price. The party was still going strong when it was time for C to go to bed, and of course, she wasn’t as willing to sleep with a house full of people. I shrugged to Scott as I grabbed a wrap to put C on my back to keep her calm but still part of the action: “It’s just one night.” As I stood swaying back and forth, still actively engaged in the group I realized that for once, I was having the metaphoric “all” that I never really attempted because I never thought it was possible. You could have kids and still have a social life. It just took some flexibility, and while it isn’t my strong point, I could make it work.

I needed that party. I needed it to forget the week I’d had at work. I needed it to get over the grumpiness I’ve felt about birthdays. I needed it to have an excuse to clean and primp the house. I needed it to show me that we could still have a life and a baby. And I needed to take those moments to actually appreciate that there is a lot of good in our life and hopefully that is something that will carry me through this work week (you know, so we don’t have to have another party next weekend).

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Currently: January

Resolving: to act
It feels a little cheesy to me to choose a word to centre your year (I feel compelled to embroider it on a pillow and despite my newfound domesticity, ain’t nobody got time for that!), when I thought about the next year, I kept thinking about how I wanted to ACT more.  Now that we have survived our first full year (and then some) with the little one, I feel we can go back to acting rather than reacting when it comes to our day to day life. I also want to stop planning to do things with Scott and actually start doing them — even if it means buying tickets to things before we’ve had a chance to think things through (and have to get creative on babysitting).  And finally, I want to find something I’m passionate about and find away to take an active role in supporting that cause. It’s perhaps my most vague goal and one I don’t anticipate to necessarily get right on the first try.

Reading: Margaret Atwood’s Bluebeard’s Egg
Now this is where it gets a little embarrassing.  A friend posted a year long reading challenge on Instagram that included “Read A Book You Haven’t Read Yet”.  I marched over to my bookshelf, went to the top shelf and pulled out the first book I hadn’t read, the one listed above. I pulled it out on the bus on Monday morning and realized there were markings in the margins. That’s not uncommon since I bought a good many of my Atwood books at a no-longer-existing second hand bookstore in Regina (side bar: breaks.my.freaking.heart. I loved that shop!) But the marginalia was definitely my writing. Three-quarters of the way through the story started to sound familiar. “Oh right! The brother dies in a plane crash!” I think and figure it’ll likely cover another category on the challenge and keep reading. And then, I get to the end. The brother doesn’t die. There is no plane crash. And then I realize that Atwood, in her very Atwoodian way, has recycled this story in one of her novels. I still have no recollection of reading this book. A few more short stories in, and I STILL have no recollection of reading this what-so-ever (though my marginalia has stopped, so maybe I did too?).

Organizing: A Birthday Party!
Today is my birthday! And while 32 seems like an odd number to celebrate, I am all about celebrating this year. We actually had to cancel my 30th birthday because it was terribly terribly cold, and I was horribly sick, and we had just found out I was pregnant and I couldn’t wrap my head around anything. I’d had a case of the residual grumps about that for the longest time so I figured why not celebrate 32 like it’s my 30th?! We’re having a come-and-go type of party on Saturday, inviting our friends and their kids.

Loving: My FitBit
Scott got me a FitBit for Christmas and while it did end up in the toilet a couple days in, it survived and now I’m a step tracking junky. I like that it tracks my water, my steps and my physical activity, and works almost seamlessly from the clip to my phone to my computer. I’m not so much into the goal setting, but very much into the patting-myself-on-the-back at the end of a particularly walk-y day.

Craving
I am so over food right now. I ate way too much at Christmas, had a filling supper and am mostly just thirsty (does anyone else find that they feel more dehydrated when they start consciously drinking more water? I assume it’s something to do with flushing out the old retained water or something, but yowza I could drink my weight in water these days!)

Thank you Anne and Jenna! I look forward to this link up every month!

Categories: The new identity | 8 Comments

In the Year 2015

  • I met my bare minimum goal of reading 12 books, which is significantly more than in the past few years, so definitely still a successScreen Shot 2015-12-31 at 7.16.04 PM
  • I managed to overcome my high school insecurities and completed 8 months of stroller fitness (even though C often would only cooperate if she was in a carrier on my back), managed to get my stroller hating daughter on-board with with running, squeezed in a few home workouts and made it back to the gym when I returned to work.

  • I got sucked into the world of babywearing, and went from “why do people spend so much money on this” to stalking wraps. Just a couple more carriers and I’m set 😛

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  • We didn’t have monthly adventures, but we get to do a number of things including Festival du Voyageur, C’s first time to a swimming pool, celebrated C’s baptism, helped with a family garage sale, got rained out of an outdoor concert, went to the zoo, spent a couple of weekends at a cabin, had our first family vacation, saw Uncle J marry Auntie J, went to the beach, went to a corn maze, and celebrated an 85th, a 90th and a 90th birthday, on top of the usual activities. Ya, we kept busy!

    A busy calendar.

  • I got me back. I don’t know whether it was going back to work, weaning C, or simply just time, but I ended this year in a good place — feeling like myself. It’s been a long two years, and while many good things happened, but it’s been a struggle when my greatest joy (C) was also the reason I wasn’t me.

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    I have no concrete plans for 2016. There are a few things that would be nice if they happened. I’d like to look at different opportunities at work, if the right ones come up. I’d like to take a family road trip, but I’ll be just as happy if it’s 2 1/2 hours away as if it were 2 1/2 days away. But more and more, I’m wanting to just sit back and enjoy the year as it comes. I’m looking forward to it.

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

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