Well, I *should* have been doing school work…

images

It’s amazing what I can find to do while my daughter is having a playdate here, and my son has started his “circuits” around our home. Started listing them off at a Facebook status but frankly, it was getting too long so I figured I would change it to a blog post.

So, here’s the list of things I’ve found to do today when I *should* have been doing school work (I have an assignment due TOMORROW!):

  • decluttering, specifically starting to find my front hall because that has pretty much disappeared. It’s just a start. Still more to do but at least there’s space for us (and my daughter’s playdate’s parents to pick her up tonight!)
  • folding laundry to finish packing everything for the kids because they are going to their dad’s for March Break
  • putting away (most) of the laundry
  • watching organizing videos on Youtube while doing laundry (seemed appropriate)…which leads me to wonder, should I start doing vlogs…? Would anyone be interested? Bueller? Bueller?  😉
  • More wondering: Would I actually be able to figure out the technology to do vlogs? I always have lots to talk about so content wouldn’t be a problem. 😉 Do I want to be on camera more often than the Many Faces of Autism? I chatted with the production assistant for the Many Faces of Autism on Friday. She and I came up with a number of interviews for me to chat about…should we do those as actual interviews, or me just vlogging? Can I just use my cell phone as a video camera for vlogging. Hmm…
  • started categorizing my Youtube channel…just in case I start vlogging… 😉

Back to the list…

  • put out the garbage, recycling and compost
  • started my checklist to pack myself because I’m going to my parents’ for a few days. I’ll be childless and what am I doing? Going to my parents’ farm…and I still have meetings in person and via Skype so basically, I’ll be doing my normal stuff, with a different view and fresh air.
  • unload and loaded the dishwasher
  • decluttered the table beside my side of the couch…yet another space that got “lost” in the last couple of weeks. What can I say? Life gets busy. (I took a “before” picture…may turn into a blog post, if I’m brave enough to share that photo)
  • cleaned and reorganized my cutlery drawer because, well, there was a weird battery explosion that just made NO SENSE!
  • Facebook chatted with the next mom who is kind enough to share her family’s Autism journey on the Many Faces of Autism.
  • writing this blog post 😉

And now, I need to get started on dinner, so clearly my school work is not happening until later this evening. Sigh.

PS – I’m almost kind of serious about thinking about vlogging. Message me, Facebook me, or comment and let me know what you think. I’m completely ok if the overwhelming response is No! 😉

What Changes I Made in 2013 to Better Myself (#InspireMe2014Challenge)

Today’s Inspire Me 2014 Blog Challenge writing prompt: What changes were made in 2013 to better yourself, or what changes will you make in 2014 to better yourself?

Return to school

The biggest change I made was returning to school for a Social Service Worker diploma. I made it through my first course, with a final grade of 81%, which was quite motivating! Will take one course for sure this coming semester (starts in two weeks) and am looking at taking a second one. Discussions to be had with the powers at be at school to determine the best way for me to move forward.

20 Questions to Recap #2013

One of my girlfriends saw these questions on her Facebook, then posted them on her blog. I liked the questions and, surprisingly, they were difficult/inspired lots of thought to answer them so, here are my responses:

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

Returning to school. I have a number of “pieces of paper” from various post-secondary education institutions. I can honestly say that this is the first time where I actually felt “right” and that I “belonged” in this program, compared to being there because it’s the next step in my career development.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Again, returning to school. It’s forced me to read something other than Autism and special needs (although there was a unit about special needs…rocked that one!). Apparently I did ok…got 81% as a final grade for my first course in over 10 years! Yay me!

  • 3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

My daughter whizzing through swimming lessons so quickly! I was shocked at how proud I was about this! She’s a natural fish, just like her big sister. Related to this, my son overcame his fear of the water…so much so, that now I can’t keep him out of water, whether it’s a pool or a puddle. 😉 Completely unrelated, my son also let me cut his hair…without him trying to kill me! Woohoo!

  • 4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

Losing one of my “babysitters” so I can attend school. She’s a girlfriend of mine who offered to watch my kids (“what’s two more kids when I already have four?!” LOL!) while I’m in class. Unfortunately, she seems to have disappeared and I’m quite worried about her. I have tried all methods of communication and because she lives in an apartment building where you need to get buzzed in, I can’t get in to find her. I hope she and her family are ok. Thankfully, my man stepped up and instead of being the “back up” because he is busy editing photos from weekend photoshoots on Monday nights, he ended up being my primary caregiver while I’m in school. ❤ you, for so many reasons!

5. Pick three words to describe this past year.

Outside my comfort zone”. OK, I know that’s four words, but they are kind of all needed. Between camping, going out of the country for the first time since long before kids, owning cats, returning to school, driving a lot at night (I’m not very comfortable with it anymore. Not sure why, but I acknowledge that hesitation is there), etc…I’ve been forced into situations that were very new to me and therefore caused me a lot of stress (both productive and unproductive stress). It was a good challenge but also one that makes me appreciate my comfort zone even more. 😉

  • 6. What were the best books you read this year?

Looking back, I don’t think I actually read my books…something I need to change in 2014. One of my friends actually has made a goal of increasing her number of books read and has challenged others to join her. Her goal is 40. Mine is 5 (excluding textbooks of course). LOL! My favourite book I read this year though was Carly’s Voice.

7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

My kids, my man, my parents, and my BFF. Don’t come between me and these relationships…you will lose. Consider yourself warned.

  • 8. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

Getting the confidence to return to school.

  • 9. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

I lost two friends from high school to suicide this year, and I miss them terribly even though our primary form of communication was through Facebook. They and their family were very important to me in high school. The first shocked us all, and the second was just unbelieveable. I plan on visiting their graves as soon as I can. I also started some new relationships, which I look forward to growing and expanding.

  • 10. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

My belief in karma, optimism and treating others as I wish to be treated remains intact, and continues to grow.

  • 11. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I dislocated a bone in the same wrist as I broke last year. Physically, it taught me and reinforced that I can overcome very difficult situations.

  • 12. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

I have stopped apologizing so much (I’m so “Canadian”, eh?). A former colleague told me over a decade ago that I apologize too much, and that every time I apologize without needing to, I increase my own stress levels. It’s always hung around in my brain and the past few years, I’ve really tried to be aware of when I apologize for things that aren’t my fault. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one to admit that I messed up, and I apologize when I need to. I think this has strengthened my personal relationships…I hope!

  • 13. What was the most enjoyable part of your work?

Meeting other families with children with special needs in real life and online. Sharing stories. Helping them gain the confidence in their own decisions and what’s right for their family. Prioritizing next steps. Accessing services/funding. Also, writing this blog. I love writing and sharing our lives with each of you!

14. What was the most challenging part of your work?

Staying emotionally “detached” to a certain degree. My natural instinct is to want to “fix” whatever issue they are having, but you can either give a person a fish and he’ll eat for a day, or teach him to fish and he’ll eat forever. The most challenging part of writing this blog is sometimes not having enough “inspiration” to write from…or alternatively, too much! 😉

  • 15. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Let’s be honest…Facebook, but it’s also my main source of a social life so really, is it a time waster when it’s also “Me Time”?

16. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

Being “present” with my kids.

17. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

My own inner resilience. I have been through many ups and downs, which tested my emotional, personal, spiritual, and physical strengths.

  • 18. Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.

Outside the box”…thankfully, my son has trained me well for this so we all made it through. 🙂

Happy New Year

From my family to yours, Happy New Year!

First Assignment Done (#BackToSchool)

1240228_629601623746270_204407857_n

After much contemplation, I decided to return to school this year. I was very tempted to take a bunch of courses, but then reality hit. The last time I was in university was 20 years ago; college over 10 years ago…and I didn’t have kids. So the practical me decided just to take one course … ease my way in.

I’ve made it to every class (thank you to my man and a girlfriend of mine who are splitting looking after my kids!). I’ve kept up with the reading. And now, I can add that I submitted my first assignment, and even a day early! I was a bit nervous when I found out that assignments were to be submitted through something called “DropBox”, and I naively asked the instructor where the DropBox was, thinking there was a room number at the college. Nope. It was an online DropBox. Thankfully, it wasn’t hard to do, and I even got an automated reply confirming it was submitted correctly. Phew!

The course material hasn’t been hard…in fact, one of the projects that I helped proof in my former career was actually in my textbook! That was a weird moment. My favourite class so far was last week when we had guest speakers. I didn’t really know what to expect but they were going to speak about a topic that wasn’t my focus for my diploma: homelessness. I’m not sure why I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the guest speakers as the main speaker was a youth who has experienced chronic homelessness for about a decade. He was a “bugger to go” (as my family says) and, thanks to motivation from his younger brother, some key Social Workers and his own motivation and drive, he has been able to finish his highschool education and been accepted to college, starting in January. Fantastic! During his presentation, he even thanked us for wanting to be Social Workers: “You are going to change people’s lives!”. Goosebumps!

Just trying to continue balancing all my “hats”: being a mom, partner, daughter and friend, with the new commitments of studying, readings and assignments. Thankfully, everyone is really supportive…and my kids think it’s cool that “mommy’s in college”. My daughter has even asked that I take her to see the inside of the college! 🙂