Category Archives: Microblog Mondays

Microblog Mondays: Thankful

It was Thanksgiving here north of the border a couple of weekends ago. Q. and I opted to rent a cottage for the weekend, rather than making the drive to see my parents, partly because we couldn’t face the idea of driving in holiday traffic in both directions after the abject horrors of said drive the previous year and partly because we realized that we hadn’t gone anywhere without friends or family since August 2014, when E. was three.

It felt both wrong and right to put my little nuclear family first, even though we found another weekend this fall where we could go to see my parents (E. has the Friday off from school and we’ll pull him out on the Monday as it’s not feasible to do both houses unless we have four days) and there’s the possibility that my father might be actually moved into his new house by mid-November. Gaining an extra five hours to visit (instead of sitting in traffic) and avoiding the horrors of visiting in the ICU with a toddler in tow seemed like a no-brainer, but I still felt guilty knowing that my sisters had made similar decisions and this meant that all the parents would be alone over the holidays. Our family is not in extreme crisis any longer, but it would be a lie if I said either situation was easy at the moment.

When asked if I was looking forward to the cottage, I said that I expected it would be not remotely relaxing but that it would be a nice change of scene, and (surprise, surprise) I was right.

There were some excellent moments (E. learning to kayak, discovering a tree castle on an island in the middle of the lake that E. could climb, watching the storms blow in and blow out again, E. catching tiddlers off of the dock, P. sitting up on the big outdoor benches eating her lunch) and some less than perfect ones (having both kids screaming within ten minutes of going outside because E. had fallen off a wooden swing and hurt his tailbone and the swing had then swung forward to smack P. in the head, not going hiking with our friends because the car couldn’t get back up the driveway that I had told Q. on arrival I didn’t think we should drive down, but which Q. thought would be fine, and then taking two hours to get said car up the driveway, breaking a taillight in the process). P. struggled with the slope of the ground between the cottage and the lake (read: fell down a lot), and tried to throw herself (or any toys within reach) off the dock at every opportunity.

E. had a blast.

Q. and I each managed to get in a bit of solo kayaking, and Q. even braved the lake for a (very) brief swim. I didn’t get much time to play with my camera, but I did what I could.

 

 

 

A cottage will be easier next year, when P. is older, and even easier the year after that, but I am trying not to wish away the phase of life that is my present. Two years ago we went to another cottage with friends for Thanksgiving. I had learned I was pregnant the day before we left. We didn’t yet know how it would turn out, but now, two years later, here was P., giggling and smiling and climbing into the kayak when she thought we weren’t looking.

I am so thankful.

How do you balance vacation time between your immediate family and your extended one(s)? Does anyone else find this incredibly difficult?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, Choose Happiness, E.- the seventh year, Microblog Mondays, P.- the second year, What were we thinking? (aka travelling with small children)

Microblog Mondays: Planning Ahead

I’d been doing really well with Microblog Mondays until September arrived and my new academic year started. I think I’d only missed one or two in 2017 before Labour Day. Since then it’s been a struggle, as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing this on Tuesday morning in the spare fifteen minutes I have before meeting with my postdoc supervisor (for the first time since the postdoc started on 1 September- we’re pretty relaxed about the whole thing and she recognizes I don’t want to drive the 90 minutes it takes to get to her university any more often than I have to).

It’s a combination of being home with P. on Mondays (and thus having very little time to myself), teaching on Tuesday nights, and trying to keep teaching prep and marking from eating into my regular working hours on Tuesdays. This means I spend P’s nap on Monday and Monday nights frantically making a PowerPoint, creating an answer sheet for the exercises from the chapter(s) I’m teaching that week, adding grades to the spreadsheet, etc. I should also spend Sunday nights working on the course as well, but I’m usually so tired by the end of the weekend that I opt to watch something on Netflix with Q. instead.

All that to say I think I need to start writing these entries on Fridays.

Have you had to suddenly change up your routine this fall? How do you figure out what needs to change and where you can fit it all in?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

 

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Filed under Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), Life after the PhD, Microblog Mondays

Microblog Mondays: Don’t Rock the Boat?

“I love [Nanny’s name] days,” E. told me one day last week.

“That’s great!” I replied. “What do you like so much about them?”

“She always has so many great ideas for what we can do after school.”

“Of course she does,” I said. “She doesn’t have to worry about cooking dinner or cleaning the house or all the other things. Her whole job is to have fun with you.”

P. & E. are happy with the new routine. In fact, they’re thriving. P. loves her new routine so much that she gets cranky if I don’t do things the same way L. (our nanny) does.

Q. is enjoying his day at home with P. and is somehow able to do the grocery shopping, clean the entire house, and get most of the laundry done, all between dropping E. off at school and putting P. down for her nap. Apparently P. just potters around next to him and has a nice time rather than attaching herself to his leg and screaming until he picks her up, which is what happens when I try to do any of the above.

All of which raises the question: if everyone else in your family is happy, is it selfish to want to change things just because you aren’t?

I still miss my baby.

I miss my big kid.

But they don’t miss me.

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), Microblog Mondays

Microblog Mondays: The Green-Eyed Monster

In late August a house on our street went up for sale, one that I’d often walked by and wondered what it was like inside. I went to the open house, determined that it was big and beautiful but a) needed too much work and b) was going to be too expensive even if we were looking (which we aren’t, not even small ‘l’ looking, as E. took pains to point out at dinner that night telling me in no uncertain terms that “Our house is a good house!”).

The first day of school I found out that one of the families I know best had bought the house (the mum is one of the mums I keep trying to make into a friend). And although I was (and still am) really excited to have them on the same block, and I was super happy for them as I knew they’d been small ‘l’ looking for a while (they are really squished in their current house), there was a tiny small medium-sized part of me that was hugely jealous.

It turns out that the house doesn’t need as much work as it looked like it did (they went through with their contractor) and it didn’t sell for as much as I had been assuming it would (although I’m still not clear how they were in a position to buy it since they are a single-income family- maybe family money, maybe they’re not as debt averse as we are, who knows- it’s none of my business).

It might have been the right house for us in four or five years, but it wasn’t the right house now. I knew that when I walked through it, and I know it now, even if it did have a third floor that would have been our library (just like the other house that “got away” nine years ago when we first bought our place, which I STILL think about sometimes).

There is something about having someone who is “just like us” buy it that makes it harder to let it go.

Do you second guess your decisions? Do you have a house (or houses) that got away?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Microblog Mondays: Our House(s)

Both of my parents’ houses are up for sale.

They are for sale for good reasons: my mother wants to move closer to her children and grandchildren, and my wheelchair-bound father cannot get into his house and needs to sell it so he can move to the new house which will be accessible.

Still.

It is surreal to be able to look them up on MLS, to read how the real estate agents have described them, to watch the slideshows of the rooms I know so well.

My mother has lived in her house for twenty-six years.

My father has lived in his house for twenty.

Neither of those houses is “home” for me now, but I have a lot of memories tied up in both.

E. is also struggling. He’s asked both sets to take videos of the houses, “going through every single room so I can always remember what they looked like”.

Some change is good. Some change is necessary.

That doesn’t always make it easy.

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under Family, Loss, Microblog Mondays

Microblog Mondays: (Not-Quite) Total Eclipse of the Sun

We’re all set for the partial eclipse of the sun this afternoon. There was no possibility we were going to be able to reach the zone of totality, but apparently we’re meant to get close to 75% coverage, so that should be enough to make things interesting.

I’ve spent the last two days with Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart and U2’s Staring at the Sun going round and round in my head.

E. has a pair of viewing glasses from Sky News magazine that his Grannie gave him last week. Q. is working from home today, so we’ll be able to take turns watching the eclipse and watching P. (who, at fourteen months, won’t have any idea what is going on and certainly will not understand the importance of not looking directly at the sun). After lunch he and E. are going to build a solar viewer (one of those pinhole projector types), so we’ll have two ways to watch.

And then I guess we’ll just be hanging out, waiting for the sun to partly disappear.

It’s rare for something to get all three of us equally excited. I wouldn’t have predicted that “partial solar eclipse” would be a major family bonding moment, but there you go. Astronomy for the win!

Are you watching the skies today?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under E.- the seventh year, Fun, Microblog Mondays

Microblog Mondays: Unwanted Houseguests

Ants are trying to move into our house.

Specifically, they’re trying to add our dining room to their territory. They come out from under the baseboards somewhere and then fan out to search for food.

I repeat: they’re in my dining room. You know, the place where we eat every.single.meal.

The dining room is carpeted (don’t ask me why- previous owners of this house did some crazy things).

I have two small children.

I vacuum after every meal and yet the ants always, always, manage to find something to keep them coming back.

I feel like I’m Sisyphus.

But, as I keep reminding myself, it could be worse. Back in November 2015, when we discovered that indoor cats can too get fleas, I was vacuuming the entire house every day, including all furniture and baseboards, while pregnant with P.

This too shall pass.

But they sure are a pain right now.

Any suggestions on how to get rid of ants when they’re in a spot where you can’t use a trap?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under Daily Life, Microblog Mondays