Outdoor time

I really like biking. And I really like being outside. These are things that I hope Andy will come to like as well.

Andy’s too small for his own bike at this point, but I did want to take him with me on rides, so Kelvin and I decided to invest in a bike seat for him. We opted for the WeeRide Kangaroo Ltd. Centre-Mount seat, which I installed this morning. I do have to ride a bit bow-legged because of the angle of the posts on my bike, and it is significantly harder than cycling without the added weight, but we both loved it. On our first trip out, which was really close to Andy’s nap time, we didn’t even make it out of our subdivision before Andy fell asleep. I opted to turn around. After a trip to the library, and lunch at grandma and grandpa’s, we rode home. Again, he fell asleep. This made me feel really good about getting the seat with the padded pedestal/pillow :)

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As for general outdoor time, we visit Lemoine Point regularly, and if we can’t make it down there, we go to our community park. Our backyard is currently nothing but a plot of grass (we don’t even have a deck, so if we opened the sliding doors from the dining room, we would fall straight down about 4 feet). Despite this, Andy and I sometimes spend our afternoon out there on a blanket, watching our neighbours’ dogs play. We also have snacks out there.

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We’ve had some crazy cold spells over the last little while, but here’s hoping this spring-summer weather is here to stay.

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Saying Goodbye

It’s a bittersweet time.

Today, Kelvin and I closed the sale on the first house we ever owned. It wasn’t a big home, nor a fancy home, but it was our home. And for that reason, it will always hold a special place in our hearts (okay, maybe a bigger place in my heart than in Kelvin’s…he is super thrilled with our current home).


That little home was where we hung our own artwork, and painted our own walls. It was where we hosted small groups and where we invited friends to stay with us. It saw many iterations of IKEA and Target furniture and linens. It’s where we started our family, and where we set up Andy’s first nursery.


Things I will miss:

  • the foyer (which we REDID)
  • the proximity to everything
  • the white walls (in our MASTER and our DINING ROOM)
  • the front door
  • the ceiling fans (Andy loved them, plus they were so awesome in the summer)

Things I won’t miss:

  • the orange/pink colour in the kitchen
  • the weird cut out in the basement wall between the main room and the storage room
  • hearing our neighbours through the walls
  • that finicky sliding door leading to the deck
  • the struggle of getting the lawn mower to the backyard

I moved into this house in October of 2011, just a few months out of school. I was working 3 different jobs to piece together an income, and I was just discovering what Kingston had to offer to those who were no longer living the student life. THIS is what the house looked like. 4.5 years later, a lot has changed, and though this little home will no longer be part of our everyday, we are grateful for the memories that we made within its walls.

Goodbye, house. It’s been so nice knowing you.

At the heart of it

I recently finished reading George Couros’s THE INNOVATOR’S MINDSET. It challenged me to think more deeply about why and how I do the things that I do, and to consider the small and big actions that I can take to bring about innovation in education.

I’ve always been someone who has loved learning. Conferences, professional reading, twitter, RSS feeds…I soak them all up. I’m keen to implement new ideas and to change things up as I learn. But something that’s been gnawing at me for a while now is this disconnect between my theoretical understanding of education and my day-to-day lived reality. I have these ideas brewing in my head, but I find that I so often lack the skills to bring them to fruition. And when I do begin to implement them, why is it that the results are so often different than what I had envisioned?

Reading through the book, one quote in particular struck me:

If you want to see the effectiveness of an educator, you do not look at what the teacher is doing but at the learners whom they serve.

And behold, the reason for my disconnect. In evaluating my own effectiveness, I have focused so much on what I’ve done, rather than on the children I work with. In my rush to transform myself into what I thought was a great educator, I completely forgot my reason for being. For that, I am deeply saddened.

Thankfully, the story does not end there.

I’ve known for a while that relationship-building is something that I struggle with (which I mentioned not too long ago in THIS POST). Some might say that I’m in the wrong profession if this is the case. However, I’m optimistic that this quality is something I can develop more each day. And I endeavour to do just that. George Couros reminds us in his book:

…we make a connection to the heart before we make a connection to the mind.

Here’s to striving for more of those heart connections.

The Joy of Partial Solutions

I’m someone who has a hard time getting to the gym. It’s a ridiculously short drive away (or a 2.5 km run), but the mental effort required to get me there is unreal. 

Enter: the partial solution. 

Last week when I was really not inclined to go to the gym, I decided to go for a run instead. It was just a short one, but I felt energized. I had done some exercise, and it had only taken up 20 minutes of my time. 

While on that run, I was listening to the Simple show, and it referenced the idea of partial solutions. Serendipitous much?

Anyways, all this to say that sometimes doing just a little bit of something is better than not doing it at all. 

The Trouble with Separation

In early February, as I was starting to think more about my return to work, I wrote THIS POST about my “education blog”. This being my personal blog, I didn’t think it fitting to talk to much about my work life here. My intention was that I would post all about the things that were happening in my classroom and school on my edublog, and that my learning-related reflections would be there.

But this is where I got stuck.

When I came across a new idea or something I learned, I found myself struggling with knowing where to post about it. Is it too personal for my edublog? Is it too “school-y” for my personal blog? Could I just post the same thing on both blogs? So many of the things that I learn in my work are relevant to my personal life. And so many of the things that I read or experience spark interest across a whole gamut of areas and cannot be contained to just my educator “box”. As much as I wanted to post weekly reflections or things I’ve tried in the classroom, I found that what I really wanted to talk about was learning. In and out of the classroom.

And so, in an effort to more accurately reflect the way thinking and learning works in my life, I’m going to start including my “school” posts here on this blog. Here’s hoping they’ll give you a glimpse into what my day job looks like, and that they’ll add a richness to the conversation that I’ve already started here around this thing called learning.

More podcast love

I’ve talked about podcasts on MANY OCCASIONS. Some of the ones I listed previously, I’m no longer listening to. Others are still going strong. Here a few favourites right now:

MILLENNIAL

I love that this podcast is about navigating life in my current age bracket. Megan Tan shares deeply about the big and little things in her life, and I look forward to each new episode. 

THE LONGEST SHORTEST TIME

It’s technically a parenting show, but it’s actually relatable to everyone who exists in a family. They’re currently doing a few reruns before the next season, but since I only started listening a few months ago, I’m so grateful. Following the story of “The Accidental Gay Parents” right now. A story that is melting my heart. 

ART OF CHARM

So I hear this podcast is actually geared towards men, but I really enjoyed their episode with Chris Guillebeau about finding and pursuing work that echoes with your entire being. I continue to get these inklings that teaching in its current iteration is not what resonates most with my life purpose, but I’m still trying to navigate through what that all means. I know public education is where I want to be, but I don’t see my current classroom as being that learning and thinking incubator that I envision for children. Shall continue to work through this. 

INVISIBLE CITY

So this is a fairly new podcast hosted by Jennifer Keesmat, the Chief Planner of the City of Toronto. I love all things related to urban planning and design (thinking that intersecting this with public education would lead me to what I feel is my maximum impact in the classroom) and have been feeling a dearth of input into my life on this front. Alas, I am soaking all of this in. 

And there you have it – that’s what I’m consuming and chewing on as of late.