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Joe’s birthday was last week, but it fell on the same day as my last exam and I’ve been sort of crazy for the past two weeks, and then the next day I slept all day and was still overtired and de-stressing. So basically, he got his presents, we went out for dinner, we had cake, but I didn’t even remember to wish him a happy birthday maybe at all.

And then today we took a day at home. We did things around the house – there was cleaning and tidying and electrical work. I got some work done. I’ve made a list of the things I want to do this summer with the time I now have.

And in the middle of the day I was scrolling through Twitter and saw the news that Jonathan Crombie had passed away.

Jonathan Crombie played Gilbert Blythe in Kevin Sullivan’s miniseries and I spent most of my life dreaming that I could find a Gilbert.

Someone who was a good friend, someone who loved me despite my sometimes crazy temper and wild emotion, someone who loved my brain and my thoughtfulness and my occasionally overly creative ways. Someone who will point out my flaws and mistakes but never make me doubt their friendship or love.

Well, there you go.

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This morning I found out from Twitter that Jonathan Crombie had passed away. Crombie is best known for playing the most perfect Gilbert Blythe there will ever be. Hearing that he had died brought tears to my eyes.

I’d never met the man, but through dozens of viewings of the Kevin Sullivan miniseries I had fallen for Gilbert Blythe, like so many others. Because Anne was clearly an idiot and Gilbert was the perfect match for her and why couldn’t she just come to her senses. Dammit.

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When I read the Anne series he and Megan Follows are the people I picture clearly in my imagination.

I know it must have been difficult for both of them, as actors, being so defined by those roles. I was so glad to read the interview with his sister who said he was happy to be recognized and remembered for it, and even responded to the name Gil on the street.

Rest in Peace Jonathan Crombie, you will always be Gilbert Blythe to me, and you will be my daughter’s Gilbert too. And thank you.

In 2004 I started my undergrad at Carleton. In 2007 I opted to do a three year general degree instead of an honours degree and graduated assuming that I would never go back to do any sort of post-secondary.

I got married, eventually found a job that I fell in love with, a couple of years later we had a baby. That baby changed a lot of things for me and in 2011 when Jack died I decided that I needed to spend some time at home, being with my family and taking care of myself.

And then two years after that she was starting school, I was growing my business and trying to figure out what was next. I was considering some kind of school and then an offhand comment made by my father started me thinking. In the years since I first graduated, Carleton has added a Masters in Political Management. Within a month I had applied to Carleton to complete my fourth year of undergrad so that I could apply to that program.

Fast forward 10 months – seriously, fast forward, I’m finding it hard to believe that second semester even happened – I write my final exam tomorrow.

And it just so happens that my final exam is Research Methods – the class that I avoided taking when I opted for a three year degree instead of a four year.

The exam is worth 40 per cent of my mark, I’ve got my labs and my essay back and I know that basically as long as I write it I’m going to pass the class.

And when I walk out of the field house tomorrow afternoon I am probably going to cry. I am excited about what’s to come next year, I am thrilled to be finished.

This has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, and this week of exams has been brutal. My kid misses me and I miss her, but I had to tell her that studying had to be my number one thing and that soon I would be done. And now I really almost am.

Her and me

Her and me

I am so excited for the spring. I’m ready to read for pleasure, watch TV, knit, play with my kid and even volunteer at the kid’s school. It’s going to be awesome.

I had my last class today. Now I have a week to study for exams. I have four exams, four days in a row and I’m trying to get everything organized so that I can quickly study for each class in the short time I have between exams.

All of this means that I have been in the office studying for most of the past two days, and I will be in the office studying for most of the next 10 days.

And that means that I had to sit the kid down yesterday and explain to her that my studying has to be the most important thing right now.

I have tried to explain that I have a long list of priorities and what sits at the top of that list changes constantly. Most often she is the top of the list, sometimes I actually make it to the top. Right now, school is the top.

It wasn’t something she was happy to hear, any more than I was happy to tell her. She’s been desperate for attention the past week or two. She wants to know what she can do and who can do it with her, which is very unusual for her.

Luckily I’ve had the time to go out on a couple of walks with her, talk to her, give her that feeling of importance I think she’s craving.

I got pushed on the swing

I got pushed on the swing

(Unluckily our last walk ended in tears and bandaids).

It’s wonderful to finally be able to get outside, walk in the sunshine and just talk. I look forward to so much more of that, but first I have four exams in four days.

My kid LOVES the Puppet Tamer. She loves puppets, she loves funny, and the Puppet Tamer is both. And so the Puppet Tamer’s appearance is one of the things I will tell her to get her excited about going to Kidsfest this year.

Also Peppa Pig, Junkyard Symphony, Splash ‘N Boots… the list goes on. It won’t take much convincing really.

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She loved it last year, she will love it this year (and it gives my husband a great way to spend some fun quality time with her while I study for my exams, which are all packed intp the week following Kidsfest).

Kidsfest is happening this year at the EY Centre (out near the airport) on April 11 and 12.

Just like every year (and this year is the 14th annual) there will be a lot of great exhibitors who will be doing giveaway, hosting activities and providing attendees with great information.

Last year the kid came home very happy with her face painted and a craft she had made. And she met a princess.

You can learn all about Kidsfest here.

You can also buy tickets here. And you can use the discount code Blogger10 to get a family pass for $30 or to save $3 on an adult ticket, or you can comment below to enter a giveaway for a family pass (2 adults and 2 children) that I will be drawing on Monday, April 6 at noon.

And you can get updates about the event by following @capitalparent on Twitter.

Disclosure: I was given passes to this event in exchange for promoting it, but all opinions here are my own. It’s a guaranteed good time. 

While Joe and I were busy at Progress Summit this weekend we failed to mark March 27.

It was March 27, 2005 that I spent a good deal of my afternoon working myself up to calling Joe and asking him to come over and watch some movies. That night we kissed. And, as they say, the rest is history.

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Though, in actual fact, the rest is ongoing.

If our relationship has done nothing else (and I’d argue, we’ve done plenty) we’ve got claim to this:

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And she’s going to take over the world.

Take the good

Posted by Amy Boughner in #MommyScholar - (Comments Off)

Joe and I are at a conference this weekend, two full days of panels and networking. We were very lucky because this particular conference has child care available, so we didn’t have to arrange our schedules in a way to make sure that one of us was around for bus drop off and bed time and to make sure the kid was fed and entertained.

We opted to take her out of school on Friday so she could spend Friday and Saturday in proximity to us. Fed and taken care of. She’s in the hotel so I’ve dropped in a visited a few times on breaks.

Colouring a schnauzer

Colouring a schnauzer

When I have visited this is what I hear: “You’re not done are you?”

In other words – ‘you’re not here to take me home, are you?’

When we finally went to take her home at the end of day one she was near tears because she didn’t want to leave.

I am thrilled. The people in the childcare room are amazing, clearly love what they’re doing and also seem to genuinely like my kid.

But, you know, I like her too, and I like to spend time with her and have her spend time with me, and not be sad that she’s not playing with someone else. Almost devastated that she has to come home with us.

(Seriously, she wanted to sleep at the hotel).

But, overall I have to thank the people at Progress Summit who organized the childcare, got these people that my kid has fallen in love with over just a few hours, the people that my kid doesn’t want to leave behind.

This is the second day and they have play dough and Spot It. She’s definitely going to cry when we pick her up this time.

BFFs

Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting - (Comments Off)

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Last week the kid announced to me that she had two BFFs. When I asked her what BFF meant she knew and she told me so. She then proceeded to list six different kids that she considers her BFFs.

(And none of them was the kid she declared to be her boyfriend last week).

Now she’s had friends before – kids that she’s comfortable with, that she plays well with, kids that we like. She made some good friends in preschool that we hoped to keep in touch with, but since she goes to a different school for kindergarten than any of those kids it’s not easy.

But now, now she’s making friends that she could have for the rest of her life and I am very excited. There are two little girls in particular that I’m focused on. One is a friend that we adore. When they’re together the house is full of giggles. And they make me laugh and smile too. They play well. They’re great together and this little girl is someone that I would love to see grow up with my daughter.

Then there’s the other little girl. She seems to laugh more at my kid than with her. She plays jokes that my daughter doesn’t think are very funny. She makes weird threats – we had several days in a row that this girl was telling the kid that she was going to tell on her. And when we talked about it, the kid said she had no idea what she had done that would make her friend hurt or upset.

After hearing more stories about the strange things that this child was saying and doing, I suggested to my daughter than maybe this girl wasn’t such a great friend to have.

I don’t want to disabuse her of the notion that people are essentially good. Not yet. But I do want to teach her that she has a right to tell other kids when they’re making her uncomfortable, or she doesn’t like the way she’s being treated. That sometimes she needs to worry more about her own feelings than other people’s.

For now, I will focus on the good kids she’s brought into our lives. The ones that really can be BFFs. The ones to form memories with. I mean, my kid is awesome, she’s bound to surround herself with awesome people too.

It happens in the blink of an eye. Four simple words: “I don’t feel good,” and your entire day is lost to the ether.

I have class this afternoon, I have an assignment to, I had scheduled a meeting and I was going to pick up some books at the library, maybe even go to the gym after I got the kid on the school bus. All of that was out the window by 8 am when I made the phone call to the elementary school that the kid was staying home.

Quick emails sent to my professor and the guy I was supposed to be meeting, a note sent to the husband. Trying to figure out how I can still eke out some work today.

This kid, you see, doesn’t lie down when she’s sick. She doesn’t do the ‘rest’ thing. She’s still active. She plays, she wants attention. And she talks. So much.

All of this – making sure she’s eating well, drinking fluids, feeling okay, not over-extending herself, not bored – means that it’s hard to sit at my desk and read the things I need to read for next week, or work on the essay I have to start, or do the lab I have due next week.

This is one case where being a working mom or a work-from-home mom was much easier. She’s sick, I take a sick day too, maybe try to get a little bit of work done. These days I don’t have any time to waste. Especially with an essay two in two weeks, another one in three weeks and one in four weeks, which is right before exams.

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I don’t begrudge her. In fact I’ve been missing her a lot lately, with all the stuff I have to do. And she certainly needed the day. But man oh man I wish she was the kind of kid that was happy lying on the couch under a blanket when they’re sick.

 

There is a young guy in one of my classes that has been driving me crazy. He’s in my TA group and he talks a lot. It’s not just that he talks so much that bothers me, it’s not that he cracks stupid jokes or that he repeats himself.

What really bothers me is that almost every single thing that comes out of his mouth is a complaint. After a few weeks of spending a hour together I’ve had to wonder if he is so stupid that he doesn’t understand anything, if he hates his program and classes so much why he bothers to attend school. If his day to day life is so horrible then why doesn’t he change something. He not only seems to prefer being unhappy, he also wants to broadcast his negativity to everyone around him.

And every week he wears on me more and more. And I look at him and wonder if people ever feel that way about me.

I see a lot of things that are wrong. There are a lot of things that I would like to change about the world around me and about myself. I fight depression and I’m a pessimist so I know that I turn to the negative.

So I wanted to write myself this little note, for the record:

 

  • I love school, I’m so glad I went back, it’s re-ignited my passion and I know I’m in the right place and I get to go to class and be engaged every day.
  • I love my family, my daughter is more awesome and amazing as the days go by.
  • I love our home. I love this city, I don’t even mind the weather.
  • My relationship with my father is better than it’s ever been in my life.
  • Joe is a gift and I can’t believe he chose me.
  • I am thankful for the friends that I have in my life and the support that they offer.
  • I feel very privileged, which is why I want to work hard to help other people get access to the privileges I have.
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