Monday, July 19, 2010

I could get used to this

Today was Austin's first day of day camp -- all day day camp. I dropped him off at 9 a.m. and picked him up at 4 p.m.

For those of you doing the math, that's 7 whole hours where I was only responsible for one child. The last time I dropped Austin off for an entire day was 19 months ago when he went to daycare 2 days a week.

Now, I know, I know, I'm a stay-at-home mom by choice. And I do love my job. But, I'll be honest, it was a nice change of pace to have only one kid today. Alex and I dropped Austin off, played outside, went for a bike ride around the block and then went to two different parks with a friend of mine who was visiting from Chicago.

After our park trip, we headed home for lunch, played a little more and then, when my friend left, Alex took a nap. And I had two complete hours of time to myself. Of course, instead of lounging around and relaxing, I used the time to get work done as I'm on a deadline right now. (A stroke of good luck with camp being at the same time that I'm deadline, considering I signed Austin up for this camp back in March before I ever had this particular job.) But that's alright, because that's two hours of work I won't have to do in the evenings.

In all, Alex and I had a great day and Austin came home happy and tired. I could definitely get used to this.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Seriously blurring the line between my self-employed career and my mom career

I tried something incredibly brave today.

Over the last few months, I have been getting more and more freelance work. To the point that throughout most of May and June I was working most evenings and weekends and I called in at least half a dozen favours (or paid visits) for babysitting so that I could go to daytime meetings or events.

Just last week, a new client wanted to meet with me and a friend oh-so-kindly added my kids to hers for two and half hours so that I could drive downtown, meet him and show off my portfolio (now hopefully that'll result in new work in the future).

All of this work has been great and I'm really happy with the way business is going, but it has got me seriously thinking about looking into part-time daycare options in the fall. Just so that I have some daytime hours to myself to work or meet and I'm not constantly working in the evenings.

I sure hadn't thought I'd be in this position when I decided to be a stay-at-home mom.

Which brings me to today's incredibly brave, blurred line adventure.

One of my clients wanted to meet to discuss the next phase of a project we've been working on for months and I couldn't get a sitter. All of my regular sitter's are on vacation or working and at a certain point, favour-asking wears thin..

So, I asked my client if she would mind if the kids joined us while we talked. And, since she's that kind of person (and has two kids of her own), she agreed to meet me at a café in Leslieville called lil' bean n' green.

Why that place? Well I found it online and chose it because it's a café and play place. And true to it's name, there are tables and expresso -- and beyond a little fence is a climbing structure, toys and books for the kids.

So while mom sits and talks the kids can run around and avoid being bored by the conversation.

I was pretty nervous heading into this meeting because it could've gone either way -- the kids could've been completely independent and left me alone or they could've decided that they don't want to play unless mommy joins them.

Thankfully, it went brilliantly and the kids played for an ENTIRE HOUR while I met with my client. They played nicely and even participated in the song and story time, led by one of the moms, without me. And yes, it wasn't exactly the quietest place to meet, but it allowed me to do two things at the same time -- be a self-employed professional and a stay-at-home mom. And it also made me realize that my kids are far more independent than I realized.

By the time my client left, it was almost noon so I rewarded the kids for being so good by buying them lunch there. The food prices weren't bad although it was more than I would normally spend on lunch for the kids.

I would definitely consider pulling this stunt again, with the right type of client. Or, when I'm really stretched thin for time, I'd consider bringing a laptop, sitting down with a cup of coffee and getting an hour's worth of work done while the kids play.

Now I just need to buy a laptop.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Time to start cooking, baking and canning

Last summer was my first adventure in growing vegetables. All in all, it went well, aside from the fact that I overplanted. Throughout the month of August, and into September, we ate fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini and I canned salsa and relish and baked with zucchini...a lot.

This year, when I planted, I hoped that the end results of my garden would be as 'fruitful' and that we'd once again get to eat yummy fresh vegetables and I'd get to spend hours in the kitchen.

And thanks to the hot, hot sunny days we've had these last few weeks -- and a fair bit of rain as well -- the garden is exploding with vegetables and I going to be cooking and baking way ahead of schedule.

You see, I just assumed that all would be similar to last year, and that I'd be cooking in late August and early September. But I forgot to take one small thing into consideration...last year, was cold all through July. Meaning everything likely grew and ripened much slower. This year, not so much.

Right now, sitting on my kitchen counter are three good-sized cucumbers and two very large zuchinnis. There are another two zucchinis out back waiting to be picked and the first batch of grape tomatoes are almost ready. The tomatoes are still quite green, but I'm sure they won't be long. And I won't even begin to tell you how many raspberries we have. There are so many that we can't eat them fast enough and I've now started freezing the leftover picked ones at the end of every day.

So, this afternoon the kids and I are going to bake some chocolate zucchini bread. And then maybe some muffins if we still have an abundance of zucchini. If those cucumbers don't get eaten fast enough -- I think there's relish in my future this week. Which is a good thing actually, because I'm down to my last jar from last summer!

And the raspberries? There's definitely going to be jam in my future.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Happy Canada Day!

Austin and Alex are both really interested in the Canada flag. Being older, Austin started it of course, but everywhere we go, they both have to point out -- by yelling -- every Canada flag we see.

So, last week, I explained about Canada Day -- which really just got the two of them excited to see more Canada flags. (Of course, they received several paper ones to wave around as we joined in on the many festivities of the day.) And for their pre-soccer snack the day before Canada Day, we did a red and white theme. On the top row, we have grape tomatoes, Babybel cheese (half unwrapped to show both colours) and strawberry yogurt. On the bottom row we have strawberries (picked by the three of us at the strawberry farm the day before), a piece of bread with cream cheese and strawberry jam spread to look like a Canada flag (I'll give credit where credit's due -- that was Ryan's idea) and milk.

The kids loved it. Austin ate every last bite. Alex, on the other hand has finally entered the picky two-year-old eater faze and licked the jam off the bread, ate the yogurt and strawberries and declared that she was 'all done'. (Really, I'm not going to complain that she's entered this faze -- until recently she could outeat her brother!)

See everyone else's Muffin Tin Monday here:
Muffin Tin Mom