A day for being outdoors

It was beautiful today. And by beautiful, I mean the temperature was moderate, the sun was shining, and all you needed to be outdoors was a thin sweater, light pants, and sunglasses. It was a day where you want to open all the windows and just let the breeze blow through your house.

To celebrate this beauty, Andy and I headed to our favorite place to experience the outdoors. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you probably know how much I love Lemoine Point (I’ve been calling it Lemoine’s Point all this time, but today I actually took a look at the sign, and there actually is no apostrophe s…)

I opted to keep Andy in the carrier today, instead of taking him in the stroller like I usually do. That allowed me to venture down some trails that I would normally bypass. I had completely forgotten how beautiful some of these paths are. I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time here.


At various points along the perimeter of the conservation area, there are access points to the lake. I often take it for granted that we live so close to this body of water.

If you park your car at the south parking lot, there’s a large open field with paths cutting across it, just in case wooded areas are not your thing.


We’ve been coming here at least once a week. I can only imagine that number will increase as the weather gets nicer.


On a related note, when I was perusing Twitter yesterday, I came across the 30 x 30 challenge issued by the David Suzuki foundation. 30 minutes outside for 30 days. Places like this make it easy for me to want to spend time outdoors. Plus it makes reaching my daily step goal seem so much more attainable.

Inspiration

Kelvin and I had a discussion the other day about people in our field that we really look up to. It’s funny, because as much as I can list off thought leaders within education, when people ask me about my role models or people who inspire me, the first people to pop into my mind have to do with cities and urban space.

Jane Jacobs. Amanda Burden. Enrique Penalosa.

What impresses me about these individuals is the way that they see cities – not simply as machines that need to balance the perspectives and desires of different stakeholders, but as living, breathing spaces that are foremost for people. I love the way that Jane Jacobs observed neighbourhoods in an effort to understand them. I love how she advocated for them unwaveringly. I love Amanda Burden’s fervent passion for public space, and her recognition of the importance of details. (I also love her eloquence and the fact that she looks so put together). I love Enrique Penalosa and the vision and follow-through he had for Bogota’s priorities.

I also love TED talks, and the way they can inspire you, and remind you of these wonderful things. Talks like this one by Amanda Burden, which I watched multiple times.

6.

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I have a distinct memory of being younger and wondering why baby clothes was so much cheaper than the clothes I was buying. Now that I’m a parent and needing to buy said baby clothes, I realize two things. First, baby clothes is not always cheaper (in fact, some prices seem ludicrous for how much material the item is actually comprised of). Second, some babies outgrow their clothes in a matter of weeks, making the cost-per-wear less than impressive

That being said, we did some shopping this week. We will be heading to warmer weather in a few weeks for a short vacation (with some business for Kelvin), so it gave us an excuse to peruse baby clothing. Our local Gap store is also providing an additional 50% off all sale items, so needless to say, we spent some time there today.

We bought Andy some swim trunks, and this little rain jacket for under $25.

I got something for me too :) Plus I’m loving their summer collection.

In other news, I was able to attend two twitter chats this week – #leadupchat this morning at 9:30 am EST and #whatisschool on Thursday at 7 pm EST. Both highly recommended for other teachers out there who want to be challenged, inspired, and encouraged in their practice. This week’s #whatisschool chat featured Justin Hardman (@jahardman), director of 21st Century Learning International (@21cli) as a co-moderator, and they randomly selected yours truly as the winner of a free ticket to their annual conference in Hong Kong! What a privilege to be able to learn with educators not just in NA, but in Asia and across the globe! Kelvin and I are going to try and make it work :)

Anyways, my step count has been low the last few days, so I’m going to take the little guy out for a stroll. Head to our local Costco for more diapers. Speaking of which – how do I know when he’s ready to move up in size?

MOOCs

As much as I love doing laundry and breastfeeding all day (not really), it’s hard for me not to have something tangible to work and progress through. Thank goodness for MOOCs, and for sites like Coursera and edX. I have thoroughly perused their offerings and have signed up for a number of courses.

I am nearing the end of a self-paced course on getting organized and being a Together Teacher. I blazed through this one, and enjoyed the things that I learned throughout. However, I found the quality of the peer-review comments to be a little lacklustre, because there’s zero accountability.

This past Monday, I also started an 6-week course on Teaching and Assessment of 21st Century Skills. I am more optimistic about this course as it’s more regulated, and already I’ve learned some great things. I’m looking forward to the depth that I anticipate I will be able to get into with this course.

More courses to come in July and October!

5.

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Doing the laundry with a baby in a carrier is easier than doing the laundry with a baby in a sling. But man, loading the washing machine without a child strapped to me at all is the easiest of all.

My sister is back in town for the next few weeks, so we have a built-in babysitter when she’s home. It’s great! On Thursday, we left Andy in the carrier with her while we went downtown to pick up pad thai for dinner from one of our go-to asian places. Even though it was only a 45-minute jaunt there and back (including our in-restaurant time), it was glorious. This morning, I got a load of laundry in while she held him. It will be harder come the beginning of May when she is back in Toronto for good. Not looking forward to that.

Looking back at the last few posts, I realized I talk a lot about how Andy is such a good sleeper. And he is. Sometimes. Usually during the day…which is not when we need him to be a good sleeper. The past few nights have been pretty rough, with me not getting much more than 45-50 minutes of good solid sleep at a time. So, we have decided we are going to start introducing some semblance of a sleep routine. Right now, that consists of him being in the carrier with daddy from roughly 9:30-midnight while I nap, followed by an inconsistent few hours, then a big nap with daddy between 7 and 9 am and sometimes a continuation of said nap with mommy until 10. No more. We will attempt to start to wind him down around 9:30/10 (and by wind down, we mean wind down for the crib, not for the carrier), then have him up for a change (new diaper, and out of his PJs) at around 8/8:30. That will require that I am also up at 8/8:30. Hmm…that may prove difficult.

Now time for those random things around the internet that have piqued my attention this week.

I got domestic and made this pasta and these muffins.

I also follow an online magazine called GOOD and a few days ago, they made published this post about poetry. I wrote a poetry about parenthood. It’s an acrostic poem.

People told me that raising
A child would be both tough and
Rewarding. I’ve found this to be true.
Every day, my baby has
Needs that must be met;
There are times when he’s poopy,
Hungry, gassy, or fussy.
Other times, he just wants to be held.
One thing’s for sure, I’ve never known
Days as full of joy and love as these.

Last but not least, these illustrations about the life of a new mom made me laugh. I proceeded to share them with a number of other new moms around me.

4.

Next Monday will mark the completion of Andy’s first month. He’s really starting to become his own little person, and every day I look forward to seeing all the new little things he can do (and all the funny noises he makes!).

So far, I’ve only posted pictures of Andy on his own, but here he is with daddy :) Kelvin is insistent on cuffing his pants. These being newborn pants, they’re more like cropped pants now. He’s also over 10 lbs now, so definitely putting on weight. I bought a nursing pillow that first week but Andy was not enthused about it. I might have to break it out again to avoid getting serious cramping in my arms.

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It’s also starting to dawn on me that I’m nearing the completion of 1/6 of my maternity leave. Where does the time go?? I have lots that I want to get done in the next 10 months (really, in the next 8 months…) so I decided to crack down and put pen to paper with making my 2015 goals actionable. I split all the goals into subtasks and will slot them (and even further subtasks) into these beautiful monthly calendars.

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I’ve decided to axe the the weekly top 5 list, and in lieu of that just point you to things of interest around the web and otherwise.  This week, a local store that I’ve driven past so many times, but only just ventured into this year. Hands down my go-to place for baby-related things. Through them, we started a baby wearing loan today to try out carriers; we are debating between the Tula baby carrier and the Beco Soleil. Verdict to come.

3.

Lots of big changes this week.

Andy rolled over for the first time this week. He also had an explosive bowel movement that resulted in me having to clean the walls, the door, and the carpet. Oh, and we also moved him into his own crib and his own room to sleep at night. He continues to be a pretty good sleeper, waking up every 2 to 3 hours to feed and then sleeping the rest of the time.

Looking back at photos of Andy from the last three weeks, we are surprised to see how much he has changed in appearance. He’s outgrown his footed newborn onesies so he has now graduated into wearing clothes from his 0 to 3 months drawer.

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Last but not least, this is Andy’s first Easter. Though he has yet to understand the gravity of what it is Jesus has done on the cross for him, we continue to pray for him to one day have a deep, meaningful relationship with Christ – one that will bring many others to faith as well. This holiday also brings us many visitors from out of town. We’ll be heading over to the in-laws’ soon for some family time and Andy will get a chance to meet many of his relatives for the first time! Here’s hoping everyone is healthy :)

This week’s top 5:

  • Take a shower while your baby is sleeping – made the mistake of being too leisurely with my time on Thursday, spending time lounging and writing this blog post 
  • 9 pm to midnight “naps”
  • Our baby monitor – now that Andy is in his own room, it’s crucial for us to have a monitor to see how he’s doing. This thing is on the entire night and we love that it has some wicked night vision
  • A stroller – Kelvin did oodles of research and eventually we ended up with this one, which we bought at a fantastic store in Ottawa. It cuts through snow like a boss.
  • Our diaper bag – We don’t leave the house without this. Another one of Kelvin’s discoveries (after seeing it on one of our favourite blogs), this diaper bag has all the compartments we need plus is unisex and stylish enough that we could totally continuing using it after out diaper bag days

Learning a new skill

I must admit that as a new mom, the days often blend together. The distinction between weekends and weekdays is minimal, and it seems I am on a continual train of feeding, napping, and doing laundry. Surely this is not what motherhood is reduced to! Thankfully, I am not confined to my home, plus I have access to a whole range of opportunities through this handy little thing called the internet.

Throughout the days I do have moments of respite in which i am free to pursue my own interests. One such interest is design. For the last few years, I have had opportunities to do a whole bunch of hand-drawn and graphic design projects, the latter of which I have accomplished primarily on Photoshop and Sketchbook Express. Those two tools are great, though perhaps not the best avenues for creating the flat illustrations that I tend towards.

Enter Adobe Illustrator.

I have never used Illustrator before, but from what I can tell, this is the program I should be using for my flat graphic projects. A little while ago, I stumbled upon this crash course to Illustrator and my intention is to use Adobe’s 30-day trial to see whether Illustrator is something I should invest in. To learning new things!