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. 

Learning about learning.

This past week – and for every week moving forward – Andy has been going to his grandparents’ twice a week for a few hours. It’s given grandpa a chance to get used to having him around, and it’s given me a few hours to get back into the swing of working and studying.

Online courses
I’ve been taking the Ultimate Guide to Design Thinking course on Creative Classroom Academy and am currently developing a unit plan around the Grade 2 Social Studies curriculum of Global Communities. It’s so neat to think about units and lessons through the lens of design thinking, and I’m hoping to have a chance to implement this in the future!

Blogs, Sites and Social Media
I participated in the #tlap discussion this past Monday, and it was such a fruitful time of discussion around the Innovator’s Mindset (which also happens to be a book by George Couros). I’ve been sitting back from twitter chats for a little bit now, but was very glad to be engaged in this one. It also led me down a trail of websites, and now I’ve got some new reading material, including Angela Watson’s The Cornerstone and A.J. Juliani’s site.

Books
In a wonderful coincidence to #tlap, I’ve been reading Tony Wagner’s Creating Innovators. It’s really pushed me to think not only about creating an atmosphere that encourages inquiry in the classroom, but also about the way that I will be encouraging a mindset of innovation at home with Andy. Ironically, in an effort to be “more than just a print book”, the text uses the now defunct Microsoft tags to link to videos for a more in-depth look at content. Just goes to show you how quickly technology changes.

Podcasts
And of course, who can resist some good education podcasts. The newest ones I’m following are Cult of Pedagogy and the K-12 Greatest Hits produced by Bam Radio Network. I particularly liked K-12’s recent episode about Uncommon Makerspaces. Such an inspiration to see thinking spilling out into the hallways!

Last but not least, I’ve also really enjoyed engaging in conversation with a friend about the psychology of teaching and learning and what ed reform can and should look like. She’s challenged me to really work on articulating my teaching philosophy, so that’s something that I will also be fleshing out over the next little while.

The Best of 2015

After having read this post by a blogger I follow, I thought it fitting to follow suit and reflect on the top 15 things/moments/experiences of 2015. Some of these were huge things, others more mundane, but altogether these made my year.

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Our first visit to the Tett and the Isabel. These were actually two separate occasions, but they’re in the same complex and together make up Kingston’s newest creativity hub. We went to watch the KSO play at the Isabel in February, then attended the Tett grand opening this May. I still can’t believe we have such amazing spaces in our city.

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Andy’s birth this March. Hands down the biggest event of the year. This little guy has changed our life forever, and we could not be more thankful for him.

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Having my poem featured on GOODJust for fun, I participated in a little poetry challenge online. I wrote an acrostic poem on parenthood.

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Winning a ticket to the 21CLI conference in Hong Kong via #whatisschool. For the last year or so I’ve been really into twitter chats as part of my own professional development. I’m really excited to attend this conference in February 2016.

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Watching the Jays vs. the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Kelvin had a work meeting down in Houston this May, so we made it a family affair. How we came to actually attend this game was pretty random, but it was definitely one of the most memorable, electric experiences of the year.

The Live Sent sermon series. We are blessed with an amazing pastoral team at our church, and this sermon series really challenged us to think about the vision of our church and how we are to go about our daily lives missionally as people of faith.

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Witnessing the marriages of some of our good friends. It is a joy to share life with those around us, and it was an absolute honour for us to have had the opportunity this year to see so many of our friends commit to serving and loving each other for the rest of their lives. These weddings took us far and wide, from within Canada, to the States, and even to Spain.

Joining the KFPL board. I talk about our local library system a lot. I absolutely love what they’re doing. I’ve always enjoyed taking on new roles, and this is one that I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s only been a few months and already I’m learning so much about governance and about the shifting role of libraries today.

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Moving into our new house. This August, we ventured to the edge of suburbia for a little more breathing room. It’s been an adjustment, but we are settling in nicely and really loving making the space our own.

Planning my very first Edcamp here in Kingston. Ever since attending my first edcamp in 2011, I’ve been wanting to host one here in town. With the time off from work, I was finally able to get it done! Hoping this will become a yearly event.

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Our trip to Europe. I could probably fill a top 15 list from this trip alone, but hands down this was one of our favourite vacations yet. There’s something other-worldly about Europe that is so hard to replicate here in North America. We spent time in Spain and in England, and though they couldn’t have been more different, we enjoyed them both.

Discovering podcasts. I know podcasts have been around for a long time, but I just started listening to them this fall. Now I can’t stop. I listen to them all the time. Here are some faves.

Reading Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavour. This book has really broadened my understanding of what it means to integrate faith and work. I’ve loved the discussions that have come out of this, and I cannot wait to finish it with our small group.

Finally subscribing to Darling. This was one of my treats to myself on Black Friday. I fully support the mandate of Darling and I am so happy that  it now comes to my mailbox every 3 months. Pages and pages of goodness that truly feed my soul.

Netflix with Kelvin after Andy goes to sleep. One of my favourite times of day (other then going to sleep) is when Kelvin and I get to hang out, cook dinner, eat, and watch a show together. We’ve worked our way through lots, including Selling New York and Worst Cooks of America.

And there you have it – the Top 15 of 2015. Here’s to reflecting on an amazing year, and looking forward to the next one!

38.

This post is coming a little later than usual, but it’s been busy! And can you believe it is already December? Where has this year gone? 

Last Sunday, we went to one of our favourite local restaurants for some lunch with friends, and we ordered from the kids’ menu for the first time for Andy! He had a cheese omelette and he loved it. 1/4 of it ended up in his mouth, another 1/4 ended up on the floor, and the remaining half was boxed up for consumption at home. The photo below of Andy was taken by one of or friends visiting from out of town!

  

We have been trying some new things with Andy sleepwise. We had a few brutal nights this week and eventually I cracked and asked one of my mom friends for some advice. She lent me The Sleepeasy Solution, which I’ve been reading through and we’ve been trying to be a little bit more consistent with Andy’s bedtime routine. It has helped! And today for the first time, Kelvin was the one to put him to bed, with a bottle. It is a little crazy to think that for the last (close to) 9 months, I have been nursing Andy and to sleep every single night. I don’t know that I’ve ever done anything as consistently as that…He didn’t drink as much as expected so I’m not surprised that he needed a top up just now, but we will see whether this lasts him through the rest of the night!

Thursday was a particularly social day for him, with a walk and two play dates. It’s been so nice to have other families in the neighbourhood that we can visit just by walking. This bodes well for sending Andy to play with the neighbourhood children in the future! 

  
As for us, we spent a fairly sizeable portion of our evening tonight trying new configurations in our living room, just to realize that the one we had originally was the only one that made sense. Maybe that’s why we did it…

We also put up some more art and have plans to put our Canadianist posts (printed by our friend Vince over at Everlovin’ Press) along our stairwell. Here they are hanging out on the landing waiting to be hung. 

  
Reading update – I have around 6 books on the go right now. Terrible idea. I wish there was a way to keep my name in the reservation queue at the library but to let a few people go ahead of me. 

Podcast update – been trying some more shows, including radiolab, invisibilia, cbc radio (both spark and the current), slate’s working, and bbc world service documentaries

Other life update – I am officially caught up with our Project Life binder. It is glorious to have that up to date. Scrapbooking for the lazy person. Highly recommended :)

Podcasts I love

I had never been one for podcasts or audiobooks, or AM radio. Perhaps it had something to do with my affinity for visual stimulation over auditory input. Friends kept raving about Serial and This American Life, but nothing really compelled me to give it podcasts a try.

However, that all changed when I stumbled upon Limetown earlier this year. I listened to the first episode and I was hooked.

From there, my love for podcasts has ballooned into something ridiculous. I share what I’ve been listening to constantly (probably to the dismay of many of my friends…) and every spare moment I get, I listen. The tedium of household chores – of folding laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, and washing dishes – becomes that much more bearable when I’ve got something interesting that I’m focusing on instead. I have podcasts playing whenever I’m in the car, and Andy and I have been going on some longer drives so that we can both enjoy more of the activities that we love (podcasts for me and nap time for him).

I’m still exploring the podcast world, but here are a few that I’ve been listening to regularly:

Limetown
The podcast that started it all. Something mysterious happened in Tennessee that involved the disappearance of a few hundred people. This podcast follows Lia Haddock as she uncovers the story of what happened.

The Lively Show
My favourite podcast. Jess Lively hosts this show which is all about “adding a little extra intention to your everyday”. She brings guests on to talk about values, life, business, and pretty much everything I love. I actually didn’t enjoy this show when I first started, but Jess has won me over! Plus I emailed her a little while ago and she is such a sweet person to correspond with.

On Being
For the intellectually and spiritually curious. I’ve had On Being on my RSS feed for a while but never listened to their podcasts until recently. Hosted by Krista Tippett, this is a podcast that looks at Big Picture topics and makes me think a little more about what life does and should look like.

TEDTalks (audio)
Ideas worth sharing. Because who doesn’t love TEDTalks? I like these shorter segments that range wildly in topic and that keep me current.

Timothy Keller Sermons Podcast
Continually challenging me to live a more gospel-centered life. We have had nothing but good experiences reading Tim Keller’s books and we make it a point to attend service at Redeemer whenever our visits to NYC fall on a Sunday.

The Simple Show
A glimpse into what life is like for some really awesome people. Most of these people are people I’ve never heard of, but I love the content and the spirit behind what it is Tsh is doing in her show.

Stuff Mom Never Told You
For women navigating the world. This is a hilarious but also informative podcast that dives into a plethora of things to do with living, loving, and learning as a woman. They touch on so many topics that resonate with me, with (not so) occasional tangents.

I also haven’t finished Serial yet, so I’m in the process of doing that.

I’m always looking for new podcasts that might be interesting, and I’m trying to broaden my horizons and learn about fields that I normally wouldn’t engage with much, so would love some recommendations!