A small start to a new year

Why it’s probably a good thing we don’t go out on New Year’s Eve:

What can I say? Loud noises scare me.

We spent our evening flipping between college football, kid’s TV and old music videos. I didn’t have remote privileges or much veto power so I worked on (and finished) the book I was reading. When Flora went to bed, Sean and I poured ourselves a few drinks and had a few laughs while watching more old music videos.

Today has been lazy, but not a complete write-off. We took down the Christmas tree and decorations earlier this afternoon. I made beef stew in the slow cooker knowing I wouldn’t want to come up with dinner after a long day at home. Flora spent most of the day in her new ballerina outfit and I spent most of my day in my jammies. We’re both dressed now, but she is wearing a summer dress that is much shorter than it was last summer.

A perfect illustration of time moving forward.

I feel like I should have all these grand plans for 2013. I’m not ready to make any big commitments yet, but I’m thinking about stuff. I want to succeed with small changes – and honour those successes – before I proceed  to any major overhauls.

For now, I’ll go with this:

8am #photos12 artwork on my desk at work

This is author Ami McKay’s Pledge for Digital Humanity. I printed this image out from her blog post “I’m Nobody! Who are you?”. It’s on my desk at work. I find it inspiring there, but probably need to apply the pledge outside of work too.

That’s a start. Happy New Year.

She Wins

I started leaving the house at 6:15am this summer to start my work day a little earlier. At the time, I didn’t give much thought to when I would be both going to and coming home from work in the dark. I just wanted to be done work at 4pm so I was able to pick up my kid and be home before 6:30pm. That part works well, but now that it’s dark in the morning and at night, those early mornings can be a little rough. See this tweet from last week:

Sean and Flora are usually still asleep while I get ready. I usually poke Sean awake enough to tell him I’m leaving, Flora’s lunch is packed, to drive safe and that I love him before I kiss him goodbye. Sometimes I even get a response beyond “mmrphh”. I then go into Flora’s room, kiss her on the cheek, whisper my I love you and leave the room quietly. I go downstairs, grab my bags, turn out the lights I turned on and off I go.

Now that we’re no longer on Daylight Savings Time, we’re all a bit screwed up. Flora is zonked by bedtime and I’ve spent the last couple of days both not wanting to get up, and not wanting to go to bed, so I’m fighting it on both ends. The nights feel so late now that it’s pitch black so much earlier than usual.

Not sure why this extra hour screws us up so much – it’s not like this time change business is a new thing.

This morning I got up and got ready as usual. I was running a little late, but nothing awful. As I was saying goodbye to Sean I heard little feet and told him “we have a friend coming in”. Soon a little girl in a Hello Kitty nightgown came in to use our bathroom. I told Flora I was leaving and that I was late.

She looked at me and asked, “Am *I* late?”

“No baby, you’re fine. Come down with me and you can get a cereal bar and I’ll give you a hug before I go.”

Flora held my hand as we walked down the stairs together. I opened her cereal bar and got my hug. She went back upstairs to talk Sean into some early-morning cartoons. I was doing a couple of last-minute chores before I could finally leave when I heard her yelling something unintelligible at me. On the third time I asked her to repeat myself, she finally said it clearly.

“One more hug mama.”

Like most working parents (edit – like *all* parents), I hold on to oodles of guilt surrounding how I balance my family, my marriage, my work, my life, and myself. We have an okay system, but it doesn’t take much for that system to unravel. I don’t always make the right decision at the right moment. I do what I can to keep as many people at least a little bit happy all of the time. Most of the time, I do okay, but I wish it wasn’t always so hard.

It wasn’t a hard choice to give my daughter one more hug. I need those hugs as much as she does. Those extra moments remind me that Sean and I are Flora’s advocates. No one else will have her back like we do. She will learn – is learning – so much from her teachers and other adults in her life, but she needs to learn how a family treats each other from us. How to form healthy relationships. How to be thoughtful and kind.

And, like it or not, teaching my daughter those things are more important to me than catching the 6:39 train into Union Station.

She wins. She has to.

 

This is why you hire a pro to take your family portrait

Flora was home with the sniffles yesterday so I worked from home to be with her.

I started my day at the office so I got to do the cliché commuter thing and head back to Union station and wait an hour for the next train since I missed the train I was hoping to catch.

I may have whisper-screamed a very bad word when I watched the train drive away. I’m a lady so I won’t repeat it here.

After supper, we decided to all have a snuggle on the couch. Sick kids like to snuggle.

Flora then decided we should take a picture of the moment. I took some with the front-facing camera on my phone so I could try to compose them, and some with the regular camera so they were better quality.

Most pictures were shaky, blurry, blown-out messes (see the other one I posted on Flickr – we look kinda cute, but the picture looks awful), but this one makes me smile.

It also reminds me to get a family portrait taken by a professional. When we’re all dressed and not flopped at unflattering angles on the couch in weird light.

What family memories are made of

Yesterday started out as a typical summer Saturday — housework, laundry, errands and kid-wrangling. We capped the afternoon off with a delicious barbecued supper of pork souvlaki, peppers with goat cheese and rice*.

By the time dessert was eaten and the dishes were cleared, it was almost time for Flora to get ready for bed. I hate getting her ready for bed right after we eat. It makes me feel like we’ve ran out of time and I’m therefore a bad mother**. It happens more often than I care to admit.

Since I didn’t want to put her to bed just yet, I asked her if she wanted to take a walk around the block in her pajamas. This is not something we do every day.

“A silly walk Mummy? In our pajamas?” (I don’t think Flora has ever watched Monty Python, so not sure where that came from.)

“Yup. Go get your jammies on and we’ll go for a walk. You, me, and Daddy.”

Flora took off to find her silliest pajamas (not sure what the criteria for that was). She asked if I was going to get in my jammies too. I hadn’t planned on it, then I thought “why not?”. So I went and found pajamas that covered all my interesting bits and didn’t look too out-of-place without wimping out and going with yoga pants and a t-shirt, since I knew Flora would call me out and say “that’s not jammies Mummy!”.

When we got out the door, Sean was heading to the car.

Flora was confused. “Daddy! Aren’t you coming on our silly walk?”

Sean’s answer: “Do you want to go and see the lake?”

Our new house is close to the lake. We knew that we could park our car and go down a walkway to get to it, but hadn’t actually done it in the four months we’ve lived here. This was going to be the night we finally got there. Flora and I got our pajama-clad selves into the car.

Less than ten minutes later, we were going down that walkway. There were a lot of people with the same idea, but Flora and I were the only ones in our jammies. (I was doubly grateful that I had left my bra on.)

As Flora ran ahead of us, I whispered to Sean that I wanted to get a picture of the two of them walking together.

My heart could burst looking at them together.

When we got to the lake, we discovered that the park was actually a beach. A beach! I have a beach less than ten minutes from my house! I think I knew this, but didn’t really think about it when we planned our adventure. It was late and we had no sand toys but we walked in the sand, looked at the boats and ducks, and threw rocks in the water. We went home after an hour or so and Flora went to bed without any prompting from us. She was so happy that Sean suggested the trip and gave him lots of big hugs.

Big enough to run ahead.

Score one for Daddy. Unexpected adventure makes for the best family memories.

* Is it possible to cook rice on the barbecue? Has anyone ever had any real-life success with it? Sean has been a barbecuing machine lately and the more he BBQs, the fewer dishes I have to wash.

** We’re doing better on weeknights because I recently shifted my work hours to start at 7:30am and be done at 4pm. I pick up Flora and we’re home by 5:45 where I used to get home at 6:30. It’s easy to get lazy about dinner timing on weekends since duh, it’s the weekend.

 

Welcome to suburbia

Well, I’m here. We’re all here. We moved into the new house a couple of weeks ago and while we still have boxes to unpack, we’re mostly settled in.

We’re getting used to having more space than we had before. Space is nice.

Sean and I are figuring out our new routines. We’ve truly joined suburbia and bought a second car. Looking around the neighbourhood, I’m shocked at how many cars are in the driveways. I shouldn’t be surprised about that, but it’s still quite a sight when everyone is home for the night.

We’re still getting used to getting up earlier in the morning. I should probably be in bed right now, but after working late tonight (a not-so-regular occurrence given my preference for spending what few evening hours I have with my family), I needed to get some things done. I also needed to have some by-myself time. I need to make sure I carve out some writing time – I have lots on my mind.

In short: we’ve moved, we’re happy, we’re busy. We’re like every other family in suburbia. And that’s okay.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.