August Wrap-up

Tomorrow is September! How did that happen?! August just kind of flew right by, didn’t it? We kept things pretty busy around here during the month, so I’ll just do a quick recap of what we got up to:

Hot Nite

The second Saturday in August calls for the annual Hot Nite in the City Show & Shine, and the girls and I headed downtown with my mom & stepdad to check out all the classic cars. It was a lovely break from the smoke we had been having, and it was just warm enough to not be uncomfortable.

We stopped and got some gourmet poutine before heading home, and Norah was clearly a fan:

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Road Trip #1

The girls and I went over to visit my dad for a couple of nights in Vernon. We were worried that it might get too smoky to do anything fun, but thankfully the smoke stayed away and we were able to enjoy the sunny weather! We hit the beach a couple of times and the girls had the best time ever, and we made a trip to the kangaroo farm which was obviously a hit! Our first night was a bit rough because of giant ice cream cones way too close to bedtime, but the girls had so much fun so I guess it was worth it.

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Road Trip #2

The next weekend Kyle and I dropped the girls off at my mom’s and Campbell off at doggy daycare and flew solo on a trip to the Fraser Valley to watch Joe Rogan do a stand-up comedy show! It was seriously THE BEST and my face hurt from laughing so hard. I’ll admit that his style of comedy most definitely isn’t for anyone, but man, he makes some good points in the most hilariously offensive way possible. If you enjoy his podcasts you’d definitely enjoy his show.

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After the show we drove into Langley to stay with friends for a couple nights. I managed to sneak in a quick trip to Ikea and bought ALL THE THINGS (not really – I resisted on a lot of cute knick-knacks) and was satisfied with my purchases. We had an awesome dinner and stayed up way too late just talking about life. The morning we had to leave we went to this great little place called Beatniks where I had the most amazing Crab Cake Eggs Benedict. If you’re ever passing through, it’s definitely worth the quick detour!

Our drive home was rainy but BC definitely needs it, so we didn’t complain too much.

Oh yes, and we brought home a whole bunch of snails for the girls to keep as pets! They just hang out on the sidewalk when it rains, so Kyle collected about 14 of them to bring home to show the girls. He ended up making a pretty awesome habitat for them, and they’re actually pretty neat to watch!

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Other bits

We filled in the random gaps of the month with various things: Kyle worked on the support beams and posts for our deck to protect them from the elements, we both tackled painting the deck stairs, I took the girls to the indoor jungle gym to burn off some of their energy, and generally just savoured the last bit of summer break! It’s hard to believe that school starts on Tuesday and we’ll be crashing into a busy schedule once again; Isla and Norah will both have swimming lessons twice a week, while Isla will be in dance once again (focusing solely on ballet now) and Norah is signed up for 10 weeks of ninja school! (You know that show America Ninja Warrior? That’s what she’ll be learning!) Oh, and I’ll be starting my schoolwork again after taking the summer off. Whew!

 

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Kindie Survival 101: Bits & Pieces

School starts in just over a week here in Canada, and I hope you enjoyed this series that I’ve whipped together for you. There were a lot of points that weren’t covered, so I thought I’d put those thoughts here to cover all the random bits.

Clothing

You know that saying, “Dress for success”? While you may already be knee-deep in back to school shopping it’s important to do the same when you send your child off to school.  At kindergarten age, many clothing options are still fairly child-friendly and feature snaps instead of buttons, Velcro instead of laces, etc. It’s important to remember that while your child’s teacher can help out when they can with certain things, it’s hard for them to help out with shoes, coats, etc. If your child hasn’t figured out how to tie their shoes yet, consider velcro or slip-on ones.

Another brilliant thing that our teacher had us parents do was to keep a full spare change of clothes in our child’s locker for any accidents that may occur. I have vidid memories of me having to call my mom while she was at work to bring me dry clothes because of a puddle-jumping war and her not being impressed, so by having that spare set really saved everyone a lot of time and money.

Also – label EVERYTHING. Hats, mitts, jackets, sweaters, shoes … whatever might get taken off needs to be labelled in the event that something gets lost or mixed up. Labels are generally inexpensive and there are both iron-on and stick-on options.

One more thing … Want to avoid the daily battle of what to wear? Give them a choice of a couple of options, that way they feel like they’re wearing what they want without being impractical. Picking between Shirt A or B and Pants A or B is a lot easier than letting them choose from their whole closet.

Playground Apprehensions

When Isla first started school I was damn certain that Isla was going to accidentally throw herself off the top of the jungle gym and that she’d wind up with a concussion. While we had visited the playground a small handful of times before her starting school, I was still so nervous during that first day of minimally-supervised playtime.

Not wanting to be “that” person sitting my my car across the street from the playground and watching my kid play, I just trusted that she would know her limits and not do anything silly. Thankfully, I never got a call home that she had hurt herself and needed medical attention, and by the end of the school year she was a playground master and needed no assistance on anything. (Under-duck pushes were still requested regularly on the swings though!)

Friendships

If there was one rule that I tried to instil in Isla’s head, it was to be kind to everyone. I would tell her that she didn’t have to necessarily be friends and play with everyone, but it was important to be nice and kind to everyone. Teaching that it’s okay to say “No thank you” to playing with someone without being mean is a difficult thing to do; I didn’t want her to become a bully, but I didn’t necessarily want her to be a pushover either.

On the flipside of that, I also worried about her being bullied, for whatever reason who knows because kids have poor logic to begin with. Acceptance is still something society is working on, but thankfully we had no incidents that needed intervention.

The brightest side to this is that at 5-years old, it’s so easy to figure out a friendship. Generally, it’s as easy as “Oh, you like firetrucks? Me too, lets play!” Don’t be nervous if your child doesn’t instantly create friendships, he or she may just be waiting for the right moment to ask someone else to play.

“See you after school!”

It’s such a bittersweet moment when you drop your child off for their first day at school. You look forward to having some free time to yourself or having your child learn a whole world of new things, but at the same time you think about how much your baby has grown and how quickly time goes by.

Some kids will embrace kindergarten and have no issues transitioning into the school, while others may show some major apprehension. I don’t know which situation is easier, but either way, it’s important to be supportive and reassure them that school is amazing and that they’ll love every moment of it.

I never felt overly emotional about Isla going off to school. I don’t know if it’s because kindergarten has such a gradual entry that made it easier to cope with or if I’m just a cold, emotionless human being, but I never thought I’d be one of the parents crying in the parking lot after dropping her off. I was good for the first two half-days, but the emotions took over after I dropped Isla off for her full first day. Isla’s teacher had her students give their parents little care packages with a very sweet saying and I pretty much wept as I walked with Norah back home.

You got this.

It’s going to be a big year with big emotions and changes, but remember that you got this. Your child has this. Learn from one another and the next 10 months will go by so smoothly and quickly. It’s a whole new chapter in both of your lives, so write it with the best of your abilities. Good luck!

From 9-5 and everything else

Quite some time ago, Stephany wrote this fun post on all the different jobs she’s had in the past. While I’ve essentially been a stay-at-home mom and occasional freelance writer/blogger for the past 6 years, I’ve worked in a bunch of different places doing a variety of different things! As it turns out, the list is long, so bear with me!

Gift Shop Sales Associate

The first summer I decided to get a “real” job I actually ended up working two jobs, one during the day and one into the evening. For Job #1, I was a sales associate for a gift store. While it wasn’t a stimulating job it beat flipping burgers. (Not something I wanted to do AT ALL when I was 15.) I got to meet a lot of tourists as well since the store sold a lot of precious stone jewelry, including jade which is abundant in BC.

Busgirl

Job #2 for that summer was at a Chinese restaurant where I bussed tables (mostly) on the weekends. I actually preferred working here over my daytime job as I interacted more with my coworkers, plus I went to high school with a couple of them so we had more in common. (Job #1 I had maybe 1 or 2 people working alongside me and they were adults so angsty teenaged me didn’t relate so well.) The pay was only okay, but the waitresses always tipped me out at the end of the night, which was great. Anyway, I enjoyed my stint here so much that I worked there for a second summer; while I wanted to waitress the owner wanted me to bus tables again, so I didn’t argue. I got to try my hand at waitressing a couple of times when it was super busy and learned that it wasn’t for me, so yay for that!

Sandwich “artiste”/Kitchen crew member

This job was by far my favourite place to go to work. In a nutshell, it was a farm market that had a little country kitchen attached to it. We made homemade breads, pies, cookies, soups, and sandwiches, and while I did a little bit of everything, my main responsibilities were either running the cash register or making sandwiches. It was a long and usually hot day of work (12-hour shifts with no A/C, and stoves and ovens going all day!) but it was so much fun. The owners were amazing and I loved everyone I worked with. Heck, even Kyle worked there! We have so many great memories at this place and it’s so surreal when we go back because while it’s changed so much it’s still very much the same. I worked there for three summers before I decided to hang up my apron for good.

Grocery store cashier

University expenses made me realize that I needed an evening and weekend job, so I applied at one of the big grocery stores in town and hoped for the best! It was the first time I had EVER had an actual job interview and I remember being terrified. Thankfully, I got the job and I ended up working here for about 5 years on and off. The job definitely had its moments, whether it was coworker drama or crazy customers, but overall I enjoyed my time there and still chat with many of my ex-coworkers when I go buy my groceries. I also made some of my closest friendships there, so I have no complaints!

Student labourer at a copper mine

My dad worked at this mine and most summers they offered up student labourer positions to the children of their employees. It was a dirty job but the pay was amazing, so I had a hard time complaining about most of it. There was a lot of shovelling and hosing, but there were some coveted departments that I got to spend time in as well – Mine Rescue and Environment. While helping with Mine Rescue, I got to play a fake victim so the rescue team could practice for their competitions coming up. Environment was a cinch because we got to plant wild grasses and go fishing!

News editor

During my last year of journalism school I was hired to be one of two news editors for the student newspaper. It was relatively easy as I only had to pump out a minimum one story/week, and the various editors took turns writing columns. The best part about working for the student paper was that we got to go to the annual Canadian University Press conference. While it was in Saskatoon in the middle of February, it was still a really fun trip!

Election officer

This was a sporadic job as it came and went with both Provincial and Federal elections. Essentially I was responsible for giving people their ballots for voting people into office, and then when the polling stations closed myself and my partner had to count all the ballots and tally the votes for each person running. Talk about putting the future of the province and country in your hands! Counting was super stressful, and we weren’t allowed to leave the polling station at all while it was open, unless we had to use the washroom. It was a long day, but it was a good experience overall and I appreciate all the work that goes into making our civic duty as easy as possible.

Editor

Right after university, I somehow managed to land an editor position at a little indie newspaper right in Kamloops. I was still pretty apprehensive about my journalism skills, but this fun little publication really let me work on developing them a lot more! Aside from pulling content together for the paper, I also was able to do a bit of layout work and got out on the streets for “streeters”. (Basically Q&A’s with random strangers, which usually gave me huge anxiety but I managed okay.) Working here also provided me with the opportunity to be a panelist for a writer’s conference, which was terrifying, and also to be on TV to promote said conference. (Also terrifying.)

Classified clerk

A position had opened up at the local daily newspaper, and it was my dream to work there and move my way up the ladder, so I applied. While I didn’t get the job I applied for, I was offered a part-time position in the classifieds department and took it as a foot in the door. I spent my hours taking calls and entering classified ads into the system, and I was occasionally left responsible for closing out everything for the day and sending everything to print. The toughest part of the job? The obituaries. I didn’t enjoy having to tell people how much it was going to cost to run the obituary for their loved ones.

Editorial assistant

Just over a year after I had started at the daily newspaper, this position opened up in the newsroom. I had just returned to work after Kyle and I got married, and I eagerly applied. During my interview the editor-in-chief asked me why he should hire me, and I told him quite simply that I wanted to have his job one day. I don’t know if that’s what got me the position, but I was so happy when I was told I got it! I loved every aspect of being in the newsroom and soaked every bit of what was going on up.

When I was let go after my maternity leave because of cutbacks, I was devastated, but it allowed me to stay at home and be with Isla. In the end, the paper shut its doors in 2014, but the paper will always hold a special place in my heart.

Auxiliary writer/editor

I had a short stint as an auxiliary writer/editor at the university, where I wrote a few stories and helped develop web content for the different programs at the school. It was a good glimpse of what working there would be like and I’d happily go back if the opportunity came up, even if it wasn’t in the same department.

So there you have it! I’m pretty sure I’ve covered every place I’ve ever worked, and it’s interesting to see how things have changed since I’ve left each place. Two of the places on this list don’t even exist anymore, which is sad in a way. It will be interesting to see what happens when I finish my certificate and start working on reentering the workforce. As much as I love being able to stay home and manage our household, a part of me still misses being out there and doing the daily grind.

Where was your favourite place of employment?