Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Week of the Friend

A couple weeks ago, elbow deep in my latest read, I got sentimental and thought about my good friend S and our escapades at the beach when we were teenagers. One afternoon while we were tossing a frisbee back and forth at the beach, we saw a couple of guys in their late twenties/early thirties (back then that was old) having their own frisbee toss. They were really going hard. After a few retrieved frisbees from both parties, we agreed to play together. We had a great time and coincidentally met up with these guys on a couple of other occasions in the same spot and played again. I half jokingly sent S a text that we should go to the lake and play some frisbee for old times sake.  While we never made it to the beach, we did hang out last Monday night on the deck in my backyard (without kids) and talk about how much things have changed since the good old days.. and then drove to get coffee and decided on the fly to catch a movie (The Campaign) - very much like old times. S assured me that I would be home by 11 since I was hesitant at staying out late on a "work night". Yep..the more things change, the more they stay the same.

On Thursday, I met up with one of my lifer friends for dinner after work in the city. Our parents met in pre-natal class so she truly is a lifer friend. We went for fabulous greek food on the Danforth.

Earlier during the day on Monday, I received a text from my university roommate, M. M was following up on dinner plans we have been trying to make for nearly 6 months with a few gals from university. We haven't had much luck with since we can't seem to coordinate around all of our schedules. She suggested that coming weekend. Doubtful, I checked with our friend A and she checked with our other friend S and success! I guess all it took was some last minute planning. Another friend was also able to make it so the 5 of us gals went and had dinner in the Beaches. There was also a certain pie place we were dying to try for dessert. However, when we finally made it back there they were closed 5 minutes early. So we stood on the sidewalk in front trying to decide what to do next while staring in the front window of the shop like a bunch of creepers and after making some attempts to get the storekeeper to open up shop for us, begrudgingly settled on frozen yogurt instead - which sadly I couldn't partake in.

Though 3 nights out in one week was a bit much, I'm glad I was able to make time to hang out with some great girlfriends. I also don't feel so bad since I'll be single parenting it for the next 10 days. But I've also managed to arrange a night in with the bestie who is back in town from out West for a wedding. Wish me luck with my solo parenting gig!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review: MWF Seeking BFF

After reading Kelsey’s review of MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche, I jumped on the bandwagon, and checked it out from my local library. I haven’t read for pleasure in a few months and it felt good. It was very much along the lines of one of my other favourite reads this year; Gretchen Rubin’s the Happiness Project .

Parts of this book made me laugh – sometimes really hard - but mostly I felt I could relate to a lot of what the author was writing and I loved the tidbits of research interwoven with the story-telling because I'm nerdy like that. Unlike Bertsche, I am not new to my city. I have spent most of my life in this area. But I am in a different life phase from many of my childhood, teenage, university, and post-graduate friends since I am married with two kids.  Consequently, while I have remained close with some friends, I have understandably drifted apart from others.

Some of my takeaways from this book:

Friendships take a lot of time and this I already knew. Follow-up is a key part of being a good friend and maintaining friendships. 

Interestingly, I wrote on maintaining relationships with family and friends earlier this year. However, I’ve been working so hard on maintaining relationships with my childless friends, since we lack the common experience of family life to draw us together, that I have not focused as much attention on fostering new friendships or maintaining friendships with people who have children. I need to do more of this! Most of my mommy friends are mainly bloggy online friends or those who I tend to keep in touch with online rather than in the flesh. The bonus to maintaining and building on these relationships is that my children are welcome accompaniments to get togethers. Being a busy working mom, meetings that satisfy multiple purposes with friends/family/children are most welcome since I have less time overall to spend with family and friends.

I should stop trying to nag encourage my husband to seek out new friends. He likely has enough friends already and doesn’t need the face-to-face kind of friendships I do as a woman, but rather the side-to-side activity buddy type. He works all day along-side guys he has come to think of as friends. He even travels to and from work with some of these guys. When he does do things with friends outside of work, the plans usually revolve around an activity like golfing, wakeboarding, or playdates – yes, I am slightly embarrassed to say that in the past year my husband has arranged more playdates with his friends and their kids than I have. Just more proof that I have to up the ante in that area! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fall Planning

Apologies for the downer post the other day. To take my mind off of the hunt, I’ve been thinking about all of the prepping that needs to be done for the Fall. Here is what is on my to-do list:

  • Sorting through everyone’s clothes and donating things we don’t wear or have outgrown
  • “Back to School” shopping – B is off to kindergarten in less than a month and though I’m not exactly sure what he’ll need in terms of supplies (hoping the teacher will let us know). I do know he needs a few things like two pairs of running shoes, lunch containers since he’ll be going two full days/week and then 3 full days the next week, a first day outfit, and a few other items of clothing. He’ll also need to have everything labeled – which reminds me that I need to purchase some labels. I’m thinking I will use the last name only so that both boys can use them. The school also recommended that we label all of the food in the order in which they are supposed to be eaten (1,2,3). I thought this was genius!
  • Painting the garage and front door. In all honesty, this item might have to wait until the Spring. We’ve done a lot this summer in the yard and in the house but this is for another post. 
  • Halloween costume planning. We like to pull together creative costumes on the cheap. With N being big enough to walk around - I'll have to make him a costume this year too. I really like Sara's idea of going with the baby's favourite things. 
  • Christmas shopping! Yes.. I know I’m talking about Christmas in August but it tends to creep up and I was so happy last year that we were able to buy all our gifts bit by bit and not have to charge anything. In years prior we always had cash at Christmas time for gifts. Last year we spent close to $1500 on Christmas. This year I’m hoping we’ll spend no more than $1000 which will take some creativity. This includes everything from gifts, to decorations, Santa photos, and a Christmas Tree. We're trying to stay true to our goal of creating holiday traditions where gifts are only a small portion of the holiday. 
What are you doing to prep for Fall? 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I did a Google image search for uncertainty and came up with this photo. I'm finding it hard to enjoy uncertainty lately. I've been very fortunate to have some pretty great opportunities no thanks to a wonderfully supportive husband and family. For example, I was able to stay at home with the boys, go back to school for a Masters (I am always in my element when I'm working toward something and learning new things), take jobs that are meaningful and that I enjoy and not have to worry that they don't pay extremely well. Make no mistake... these came with financial sacrifices and relationship quabbles at times.

I've come to realize that I am happiest being a working mom. I am also happiest when we aren't restricted to a tight budget and I feel good when I am contributing financially to the household. I think I've mentioned before that DH's income can fluctuate depending on a number of factors like the weather and work paces (sometimes it is just slow). We're never really in trouble but there have been times where we've been uncomfortably tight for money. On the flip side, there have also been periods of time where he has worked a lot of overtime and his usual pay has increased by 50-75%. For the most part, it is steady but there are ups and downs. It can be stressful.

I love the position I'm in right now but it is a contract and will finish in two and a half weeks. Consequently I've been working on the stressful task of job hunting. The only unfortunate part - aside from being a contract - about my current position is the commute into Toronto which ends up being about 90 minutes each way with transit and walking. This has narrowed my job search considerably to only jobs in and around where we live (20-30 minute commute would be reasonable) which makes my job search even harder. I've always said that I didn't want to just take any old job to pay the bills but I think I'm at a point where I'm craving something permanent with paid vacation (!) and sadly, most of the jobs in my field right now are contract. I've been doing contract work intermittently between having babies for 5 years and I'm ready for a little stability and luckily I'm at the point where I have the 1-3 years of experience which is the minimum most employers are looking for. So - my short term goal is to find full-time permanant employment utilizing some of my skills such as communications, research, and report writing, bonus if it is in my field or something remotely related. This will give me some stability and then I can keep my eye out for full-time permanent positions close to home in my field. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, right. I do have a few leads.. one from a prospective employer who interviewed me in the Spring for a position which I did not get and contacted me this morning to let me know that another job had come up and that she was wondering if I'd like to interview for it. Fingers crossed for some good news in the coming weeks.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Nights

Every now and then DH and I unknowingly put the boys to bed quite early. Natural rhythm just seems to takeover sometimes. Aside from work and scheduled commitments, I wonder why we put so much emphasis on letting time dictate when we eat, sleep, etc.

Shortly after 6PM (all was quiet, pie was eaten, and movies were watched)