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Words on the page

September 26th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal - (Comments Off on Words on the page)

About 10 or 15 years ago I read The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood. The book meant a lot to me, though I wasn’t yet ready to wake up the feminist inside myself. When I finished I felt a desperation to write a book that was as good, as imaginative. I will never forget the reading of that book, though the story has gotten lost in the years.

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Not easy being green

September 25th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in #ToddlerLife | Canadiana - (Comments Off on Not easy being green)

When I got the invitation to join the folks at the Museum of Nature for the launch of the new exhibit on frogs I was very excited because, well, frogs.

Frogs are cute, they’re cool, they do many a fascinating thing without being gross.

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Books books bookey books books

September 24th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in #ToddlerLife | Canadiana | Parenting - (Comments Off on Books books bookey books books)

The kid is in her third week of school and this week something very, very exciting happened.

I mean she’s making friends, and she’s having fun, and she’s willing to go and those are all exciting things.

But this week in her pocket with her name, where her art projects and forms and whatever else goes for me to pick up I found the month’s flyers from Scholastic Canada.

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I have lovely memories of going through those flyers and circling books I wanted to read. My mom would order a few, and then one glorious day a few weeks later the packages arrived and I got brand new books wrapped in an elastic.

I loved receiving my Scholastic orders at school and I’m very excited for my daughter to feel that same giddy new book feeling.

I was even more excited when I found Judy Blume’s entire Fudge series for $9.99. Classics.

We’re readers in this family, and the kid is really starting to pick up her letters and sounds. She loves rhymes and she loves characters.

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Anything she wants to read I am fully encouraging. This month’s order includes a book on space and more Gerald and Piggie books (which she memorizes so that she can recite them as we turn the pages).

That thrill that I got every time my teacher called my name and handed me that package of books wrapped with elastics, that’s something that made me excited about picking out books and reading my new finds and that’s something I most definitely want to pass on.

The kid is 3 and she’s tired a lot of the time. This is a bad mix that leads to a lot of cranky.

It leads to back-talking and fighting and yelling and grump.

And that leads to me wondering after a few days of frustration whether I’ve run out of time.

I surprised myself by being a good mother and after a rough week and a tough weekend I wonder if I’ve run out of whatever magic I had.

Realistically I know it’s just a transition. She’s mentally and physically exhausted when she gets home from school, she doesn’t get to do what she wants when she wants like she used to – like swimming. Every day she asks to go swimming, but we have this schedule and other things to get done. Not only that but she has a lot of things that we’ve told her are coming up that she has to wait for, which I know must be excruciating to a child.

She has good times too. We cooperate, we play, we read together.

Park time

Park time

Meanwhile I hear nothing but good things from the teachers and the parents at school. Every parent does duty time in the class and I’ve been getting compliments. She’s even making friends. She’s more and more willing to go to school without hanging off me and being dragged away. Yesterday when I told her she had school the next day she even smiled instead of telling me she wouldn’t go.

 

Keeping organized with Trello

September 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Tools | Work - (Comments Off on Keeping organized with Trello)

I keep a lot of lists. It’s something that I learned at a summer job years ago – keeping a notebook with my upcoming tasks and check boxes beside keeps me on track. I’ve tried to keep these lists going with colleagues and at home with my husband, but it’s been hard to find a way to have it all make sense to everyone.

I first read about Trello on The Next Web‘s blog. It was listed as one way to improve productivity. Since my husband had told me that my usual email lists get lost in the shuffle, and Trello allows you to share boards between people I signed up.

I’ve only started using the basics of Trello, creating cards with titles for different things we need to have on our radar. I create my checklists a week at a time, to do lists for both of us, and I have a separate board for things, like Christmas gifts, that I want to keep for myself. I love being able to add comments to things so that we both get updated.

Trello is something I will definitely share with clients if they need to be kept up to date on the status of various parts of a project and can make comments on the things they want changed. Added to Google Docs or Dropbox it’s a wonderful things for a virtual office.

All’s well…

September 21st, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in #ToddlerLife - (Comments Off on All’s well…)

Kid has been enjoying school, if not the drop offs. She’s made a couple of friends, one that she talks about all the time. She made a friend at her gymnastics class too and participated without Daddy by her side this week. Things are looking up.

Except…

Why I am having such a hard time?

The thing is I have work and I used to work in the mornings when the kid was happy enough to join me in my office and play. Now I feel guilty for doing that in the morning because she’s gone all afternoon.

Except I drop her at 1 pm and pick her up at 3:30 and with travel time I have maybe 2 hours to get things done while she’s at school, whether that be trying to get work done, going to the gym, cooking and cleaning the house. Two hours is not a long time, at least it doesn’t feel like it is when I’m watching the clock, making sure I don’t get too involved in something I’m working on just in case I leave late.

It’s a lack of time and focus and it’s driving me nuts.

Add to that the kid being tired from her half day of physical and mental activity and being a grump from the time I get her home and it’s pretty crazy around here.

I tell myself that this week was an anomaly because I had things on my schedule that aren’t always there, but looking over the next month I always have things that aren’t usually there.

It’s this constant feeling that I thought I got ahead of things but I was wrong.

At least the dog is happy.

We've been going for long walks

We’ve been going for long walks

A very bad thing

September 18th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal - (Comments Off on A very bad thing)

A very bad thing happened in Ottawa today. A very bad thing that resulted in 6 dead, more injured and a lot of questions. A train and a bus crashed, somehow, at Fallowfield.

Usually I would have no reason to be anywhere near Fallowfield. This morning, I did have a reason. Joe was heading to Toronto, taking the train, and the kid and I were dropping him off. She wanted to see the train, then she needed a bathroom and that’s how I ended up watching the train jump the tracks on its way into the station.

I found Joe, we re-grouped, the kid and I went back to the car and that’s when I found out that the situation was much more than what we had seen. I only saw the train, Twitter told me there was a bus at the other end of what I was seeing. I spent the day trying to stay up to date.

It was a very bad thing, and it was much worse for a lot of other people than it was for me. I saw something fairly innocent, others lost family members, saw the dead, experienced the terror.

But I can’t stop going back to that one moment…

I turned, I saw the train, I saw something was wrong, it was coming in at an angle. Was it slowing down? Was it going to stop?

I didn’t know what was happening or why, but I knew that if that train didn’t slow down or stop it was going to hit the station, and I was standing there with my daughter, and my husband was standing next to the tracks.

I’ve been walking around in disbelief at being there, in that place, seeing that. I’ve been thinking about my whole life – my family, any part of it – just get wiped out.

The kid doesn’t know what happened beyond what she saw. She knows that something went wrong with the train, but that’s all. I think.

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I’m just shaken, confused, thankful. Something. Not sure how I’ll feel in the morning.

Most of my life I have been the top size in “regular” stores. There was a brief period of time in high school when I was a size 10/12 (what was I doing that made that difference? I went from little to no physical activity to walking home every day, which turns out to be the recommended daily 30 minutes)…

…but usually I’m a 14 or a 16. Right now I’m an 18, which irks me because it severely limits my options when I need pants.

Pants are hard for me, I have a smaller waist and big hips and fat thighs. I like my waist and my hips, I like my shape, and I like that I can carry my daughter on my great big hips – birthing hips, I think some would say – but they make a great fitting pant something that’s almost impossible to find.

(But seriously, finding that curve between my hips and my waist is one of my favourite things about taking some weight off).

Shirts are not a problem, I fit into an XL on top in most stores – with gaping at the bust if there are buttons.

It can be a problem finding underwear and right now I’m really struggling to find a good belt.

When Target opened in Ottawa I was excited to see what kind of plus size items they stock – figuring that as an American chain they would have some options.

They don’t.

While my Gap size 18 jeans are falling down on me I could get the Target size 18s done up. I know that there are size differences from store to store (do not get me started on vanity sizing), but I’m an 18 at the Gap (where they sell an 18), I’m an 16/18 at Peningtons and Addition-Elle, I’m anywhere from a L to an XXL at Old Navy and in Joe Fresh.

Why is Target suddenly trying to tell me that I’m a 20 or a 22?

Moreover, why are they telling me that I’m a size or two larger and then not providing me with any clothing options in their stores?

My intention is that for Christmas I will be asking for gift cards to clothing stores so that I can buy the new clothes I will need after dropping some weight. Will I shop for clothes at Target? If their sizing is skewed enough to make a more vulnerable woman feel bad about her body I might have to decide against it.

 

On Target

September 16th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Canadiana | Sponsored - (Comments Off on On Target)

Target stores are opening in Ottawa tomorrow, and it’s something a lot of us have been waiting for. Since the closure of Zellers stores around the city I have certainly been looking for a store like it – a one stop shop – that I’m more comfortable shopping at than Walmart (and their questionable treatment of employees).

I got invited to take a peak at the Target opening at Billings Bridge Plaza, which happens to be the mall I grew up going to – Target is in the space that I remember as Robinson’s and then as Zellers, of course it has now been totally renovated.

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I was very interested to hear a lot of what the spokesperson leading the tour had to say, such as their goal of having the lowest footprint possible for each of the new stores, and that Target opened in waves here in Canada and has been trying to learn more about Canadian consumers as they go. I was also interested to know that each pharmacy is run by a franchisee pharmacist with a focus on overall health.

I have never been to a US Target so I wasn’t as excited as the other bloggers on the tour to hear about some of the Target brands their bringing to these stores, and I was disappointed to learn that in terms of plus sizes the women’s clothing only goes up to an XXL, which is really more than other stores.

Tomorrow I’ll be going to the official store opening and checking out the toy section, the girls’ clothing and the arts supplies that I only got to glance at today.

I’m happy to have Target here, filling a gap, and I’m looking forward to exploring more.

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Disclosure: I was compensated for this post with a gift card to shop at the opening of Target at Billings Bridge. Thanks to Greta at Billings Bridge and Target Canada for inviting me on the tour. 

 

Inch by inch

September 14th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal - (Comments Off on Inch by inch)

I’m hard on myself almost all the time. I am my own harshest critic. I know this, my husband reminds me of this. My mother tells me this…

The fact right now is that I have been taking slow and meaningful steps towards real change.

Slowly but surely.

Budgeting is getting better. Food is getting better. Exercise is going to get better.

My sleep schedule is totally off right now because allergies have been waking me up every morning around 4, sneezing and wheezing. I’m told that the coming frost will provide some relief.

The kid has started school and our schedule will regulate. I’ll figure it all out.

My stress level peaked on the first day of school – I’ve been sick, losing sleep, and I was terrified that she would fight going.

Don't know what would have given me that impression...

Don’t know what would have given me that impression…

Now, after spending all of Friday in bed, totally drained of energy, I feel better. I think. Kid had two good days at school, we’ve got nothing specific booked for the weekend, and I’ve got some things on my social calendar that will help lift my mood while I work my way back into my exercise routine.

Slowly but surely…

 

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