Friday, July 27, 2012

A big change to life as I know it

My life will be changing soon. And as much as I’m excited about what this big change will bring, I’m also a little sad.
The big change is that in five more weeks, both of my kids will be in full-time school. It’s a milestone event for them, and for me. Because for me, I made a conscious decision to leave a full-time job to stay home with my two kids. At the time of that decision, they were 3 and 1. Now they’re 6 and 4 — no longer babies. I can hardly believe it’s been more than three years since I left my full-time job — time certainly flies by when you have children.
So, on the positive side of this big life change, here are a few things I’m looking forward to:
  • Being able to work during regular business hours. Let’s face it, I’ve been working in this business on a part-time basis for three years now. And for three years, I’ve worked during nap time, half-day school time, and in the wee hours of the morning time. To me, it almost feels like a foreign concept to be able to work between the hours of 9 and 3.
  • Meeting friends and clients for lunch. Again, let’s be honest here. I haven’t ‘done’ lunch in over three years — unless you count ‘doing’ lunch at McDonald’s PlayPlace.
  • Arranging a meeting or coffee with a client without having to arrange for childcare. This one has been one of my biggest challenges in the last few years — in fact, there has been more than one occasion where I’ve brought my kids with me to meet with an understanding client or I’ve met with clients around my kitchen table while my kids watched a movie in the other room simply because I couldn’t find childcare.
  • Going to personal appointments, running errands and doing the groceries without an entourage. Because seriously, can I tell you how many times I’ve had to bring the kids to the dentist with me? (And here’s where I say ‘thank you iPad, for entertaining my children while I get my teeth cleaned’.)
But, I’ll be honest, the nostalgic side of me is dreading this big life change. But that dread goes along the same lines as lamenting the fact that my babies are growing up. What I’ll miss most is simply being with my kids all day/half days. Over the last three years, some days may have been long – so long that I contemplated putting the kids on the front porch with ‘for sale’ signs around their necks — but the weeks and years have flown by.
I’m going to miss them when they go to school. But I know I’ll quickly fall into a new rhythm of working during the day and spending some quality after-school time with them. And, in a blink of the eye, it’ll be next June and my head will be screaming ‘what do you mean, the kids will be home every day, all day for 9 weeks!’.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The summer bucket list

Yes, I'll admit it. I've been a little MIA this month. July just seems to be flying by and I'm doing everything in my power to make the most of this summer with the kids.

It's been challenging, I'll admit. Not the having fun part, but the managing to get my work done at the same time as having fun -- that's the challenging part. 

You see, back in April, I accepted a large project -- one that was so large that it was going to take me about 20 hours a week. So, I hired childcare to come in three days a week over the summer. I was a little sad about this, because it meant losing time with my kids in my last summer before full-day school, but I was excited by the prospect of working more.

Then, in mid-June, that project fell through. I was pretty upset and annoyed, but worst of all, I had to lay off the girl I had hired just two weeks before she was supposed to start. I felt terrible leaving her without a job just as summer was starting. But I couldn't justify paying her if I wasn't getting paid.

And so, the first week of summer was relatively slow for me -- work wise -- so the kids and I were busy, busy, busy. And then, the last two weeks, work picked up. Suddenly old clients were coming out of the woodwork and I was hooked up with not one, not two, but three new clients in a matter of days. And they all had jobs for me to do.

So although it was unfortunate that the big job fell through, in a way it was fortunate, because it meant that I could take on all this new work.

Except, I haven't had childcare. 

Thankfully for me, the girl I had hired and then laid off has still been free, so she's been coming in once a week so that I can work during the day. (But she does have a job starting August.) And last week and this week has been camp time for the kids (full day for Austin, half day for Alex).

But enough rambling about work, what I wanted to ramble about is the summer. We have been having a great time making our way through out bucket list. You see, during the last week of school, the three of us sat down and brainstormed ideas of things we wanted to do this summer and places we wanted to go. The only restriction on creativity that I had was that every idea had to be within the GTA (in other words, they weren't allowed to suggest trips to Niagara Falls) and Wonderland was not an option since we'd already been there in June.

The picture can be hard to see, but here's the list we came up with:

And we've been steadily checking things off every week. So far we went downtown to have lunch with Auntie Suzie (by bus and subway on a 36C day no less), we've been to the pool a few times, we've played with friends and been to the Science Centre, the park and more.

It's no wonder I haven't had time to blog this summer. I've either been at play during the day or 'at work' during the evening. 

In September my days will be childless. Something I'm looking forward to and dreading at the same time. Hey, what can I say, I've been a stay-at-home mom for over four years now -- it's going to be a big change.

But to avoid getting anxious by the dread of this big change, I'm choosing to enjoy as many minutes as I can. So don't be surprised if you don't hear much from me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fun Summertime activity: Water balloons angry birds

I'm not usually one to create activities and then write about it. But I do read many blogs with creative craft ideas and games. This craft/game was just so much fun, I decided I had to share and give you all the play-by-play. 

Austin loves Angry Birds so thanks to No Time for Flash Cards, we created our own outdoor Angry Birds game. 

First: I filled a bucket full of balloons -- adding angry faces and all. 

 Step 2: Draw pigs on the driveway.

Step 3: Take aim
Step 4: Bombs away!

The kids had a blast and it was a great way to get rid of the afternoon crankies. And surprisingly, it never occurred to either of them to toss water balloons at each other.