Summer Reflections

(En español abajo)

Today begins the last week of FREEDOM.  You see, in Southern Ontario, most schools start the Tuesday after Labour Day. This is the last week of living my life without being hounded by the whiny “M-iii-s” when students are trying to get my attention.  The last week of puttering around my house, reading to my son, writing and enjoying time with my family without routines, structure or deadlines.

This school year brings even more anxiety since it marks my son’s first official year of school.  He begins kindergarten – that is wrought with its own set of nerves that I will delve into later this week.

Before I get all anxious about going back into teacher mode or thinking about leaving my little boy in a gigantic building with one teacher and one E.C.E. in a classroom of 29, 4-5 year-olds  (so much for a cap of 24 – what happened there Ontario Government?), I want to fill my soul with all of the wonderful things that this summer has brought me.  I want to envelope myself in summer memories so that the carefree summer loveliness inspires me to carry excitement into next week.  I want to be able to inspire my students to see the new school year as a chance to keep creating themselves.  I want to be able to inspire myself to do the same.

Things I loved this summer that will carry me through the school year:

  1. Watching my son vastly improve his swimming skills through daily swimming lessons
  2. Our family vacation to Punta Cana – read about it here
  3. Watching my belly grow and feeling my baby move and kick all summer long – we are in for one active child!
  4. Sitting under the shade of our huge tree in the back yard with my son as we read Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets – read how this began here (We are now onto the Prisoner of Azkaban)
  5. Watching my husband work diligently on his portfolio as he works toward achieving his goals
  6. 7 years of marriage!!! (13 years together) – I feel like I’ve “grown up” next to my husband in a way…
  7. Watching my brother coach my son’s soccer team and pass along his love for the game – I just KNOW our dad’s spirit was with us at every single game smiling on our family
  8. Feeling my mother’s love for her family, identifying with her and gaining even more admiration and respect for her ability to give, to love and foster such a beautiful family atmosphere
  9. A family trip to Grand Bend, Ontario with tio and dear friends – we picked the coldest week of the summer and ended up having a great time!
  10. Visiting friends at the cottage – watching my boy (who is now “the BIG-4 mommy” because he is 4 and a half) develop friendships, roast marshmallows and make S’mores – sharing time with friends
  11. The Power Puffs!!! My friend’s husband mocks our network of friends because we are constantly talking, emailing, texting and inventing some kind of excuse to get together.  He claims we are too emotionally charged with each other’s lives.  We claim that our friendship is what keeps us sane.  Anyways, I love being a Power Puff.

No shots of husband…he’s a little blog-shy.

These are but a few snippets of what summer has brought me.  I am blessed and (reluctantly) looking forward to the beginning of a new school year, because that means I get to do this all over again, with an addition to the family, next year.

What has summer left you with this year?

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En español

Hoy comienza la última semana de la libertad. Usted ve, en el sur de Ontario, la mayoría de las escuelas comienzan el martes después del Día del Trabajo. Esta es la última semana de vivir mi vida sin ser acosado por el quejoso “M-iii-s” cuando los estudiantes están tratando de llamar mi atención. La última semana de estar tranquila en mi casa, leyendo a mi hijo, escribiendo y disfrutando del tiempo con mi familia sin rutinas, estructura y plazos.

Este año escolar trae aún más ansiedad, ya que marca el primer año de mi hijo de la escuela. Comienza en jardín- pero esto mis sentimientos sobre esto los voy a profundizar en esta semana.

Antes de ponerme ansiosa por volver al modo maestro o pensar en dejar a mi niño en un edificio gigante con un maestro y una ayudante escolar en una clase de 29 niños, de 4-5 años de edad (tanto por un tope de 24 – que pasó allí Goberino de Ontario?, quiero llenar mi alma con todas las cosas maravillosas que este verano me ha traído. Quiero rodearme de recuerdos de verano, para que la belleza del verano sin preocupaciones me inspira a llevar la emoción hasta la próxima semana. Quiero ser capaz de inspirar a mis estudiantes a ver el nuevo año escolar como una oportunidad para seguir creando ellos mismos. Quiero ser capaz de inspirar a mí mismo a hacer lo mismo.

Cosas que me encantaron este verano que me van a llevar a lo largo del año escolar:

  1. Ver a mi hijo mejorar en gran medida sus habilidades de natación a través de las clases de natación diarias
  2. Nuestra familia de vacaciones en Punta Cana – leer sobre ello aquí
  3. Ver crecer mi vientre y sentir a mi bebé moverse y patear todo el verano – nos espera un niño activo!
  4. Sentarme a la sombra de nuestra enorme árbol en el patio trasero con mi hijo para leer Harry Potter y la Cámara Secreta – (Ahora estamos en el prisionero de Azkaban)
  5. Ver a mi esposo trabajar diligentemente en su portofolio para el logro de sus metas
  6. 7 años de matrimonio! (13 años juntos) – Me siento como que he “crecido” junto a mi esposo de una manera …
  7. Ver a mi hermano como entrenador del equipo de fútbol de mi hijo y pasar su amor por el juego – Sé que el espíritu de nuestro padre estaba con nosotros en cada partido sonriendo sobre nuestra familia
  8. Sentir el amor de mi madre por su familia, identificándome con ella y aumentar aún más mi admiración y respeto por su capacidad de dar, amar y promover un ambiente familiar tan hermoso
  9. Un viaje familiar a Grand Bend, Ontario con tio y amigos queridos – aunque fue la semana más fría del verano, disfrutamos y tuvimos un gran tiempo!
  10. Visitar a los amigos en la casa de campo – viendo a mi hijo desarrollar amistades, asar malvaviscos y hacer S’mores – compartir tiempo con los amigos
  11. Los “Power Puffs”.  El esposo de mi amiga se burla de nuestra red de amigas porque estamos constantemente hablando, mandando correo electrónico, mensajes de texto e inventando algún tipo de excusa para reunirnos. Esta amistad nos ayuda a mantenernos sanas.

No hay fotos de marido … es un poco tímido para aparecer en el blog.

Estos son sólo algunos fragmentos de lo que el verano me ha traído. Estoy bendecido y (a regañadientes) esperando el comienzo de un nuevo año escolar, porque eso significa que tengo la oportunidad de hacerlo todo de nuevo, con una adición a la familia, el próximo año.

¿Qué te ha dejado el verano este año?

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I Don’t Share My Meals With My Child/No Comparto Alimentos Con Mi Hijo

(Abajo para el español)

Call it selfish.  Call it egocentric and self-centered.  Call it whatever you want – but I don’t like sharing my meals, especially with my son.

I watch as his father and grandparents love giving him food off their plate – sharing the best parts of their dinner with our boy. It is amusing to watch him open his mouth wide to receive the yummiest spoonfuls from their plates.  A few times he has affectionately cuddled into their laps and shares in their meal once he has finished his own.

When it comes to mommy’s plate…not much is really freely given.

At first I thought there was something wrong with me.  Really, Karen?  Really, you can’t share a bite of food with your little boy – to whom you give EVERYTHING?

And there was my answer.

I do give everything of me to my son.  My days and nights revolve around him.  His activities, his emotional, physical, moral and educational needs are at the forefront of every decision I make, of every action I take.  His comfort and well-being is my priority always.

So, when I refuse to share my dinner with him it’s my way of keeping something for myself.  Of reminding myself that I matter too.  This is a lesson that parenting has taught me quite clearly – but that’s another post for another day.

I think every mother keeps something to herself – something to remind her that she too matters.  And, I don’t mean the big things – like time to exercise, time with friends, leaving them an extra hour at day care for “me time”, or even separate vacations.  I mean little things in the daily grind, like not sharing food, keeping a secret chocolate stash or extra t.v. time for them while a steamy book is read.

After all, a happy mommy equals a happier child and a happier home.

What are the small ways you stay happy (and sane) every day to remind yourself that you matter?

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En español

Digamos que es egoísta. Digamos que es egocéntrico. Llámalo como quieras – pero no me gusta compartir mi comida con mi hijo.

Veo que su padre y sus abuelos les encanta darle comida de su plato – dando las mejores partes de su cena a nuestro hijo. Es divertido ver cómo abre su boca para recibir las cucharadas más delicioso de sus platos. Algunas veces se sienta cariñosamente y recibe la comida de sus familiares una vez que ha terminado la suya.

Cuando se trata del plato de la mamá … no mucho se le da muy libremente.

Al principio pensé que había algo malo en mí. Realmente, Karen? Realmente, no puedes compartir un bocado de comida con tu niño – a quien le doy todo?

Encontré mi respuesta.

Doy todo de mí a mi hijo. Mis días y noches giran a su alrededor. Sus actividades, sus necesidades emocionales, físicas, morales y educativas son la vanguardia de todas las decisiones que tomo, de todas las acciones que tomo. Su comodidad y su bienestar es mi prioridad siempre.

Así que, cuando me niego a compartir la cena con él, es mi manera de guardar algo para mí. De recordárdme a mí misma que yo soy importante. Esta es una lección que la maternidad me ha enseñado muy claramente – pero eso es otro post para otro día.

Creo que cada madre guarda algo para sí misma – algo para recordarle que ella también es importante. Y, no me refiero a las cosas grandes – como el tiempo para hacer ejercicio, pasar tiempo con las amigas, dejar los hijos una hora extra en la guardería para tener “tiempo para mí”, incluso tomar vacaciones por separado. Me refiero a las pequeñas cosas en la rutina diaria, como no compartir alimentos, mantener un alijo de chocolate secreto o alargar el tiempo para ellos ver television, mientras que un libro bueno se lee.

Después de todo, una mamá feliz mantiene a un niño feliz y un hogar feliz.

¿Cuáles son las pequeñas cosas que te hacen contenta (y cuerda) todos los días para recordar que eres importante?

What I’ve Learned From Reading Trashy Books

1.  I really love strong, female characters that speak their mind – fortunately, only one of the books I’ve been indulging in had a weak heroine that succumbed to her counterpart’s charms…well, I guess they all eventually do, but at least the strong ones show great wit as they match wills with their romantic interest.

2.  I’m so happy to have been born in the twentieth century.  The constant reminders that in medieval times women were a breath away from being raped, beaten and slain made me very grateful for the evolution of human rights. (And, sad that many women in other parts of the world still live with this fear on a daily basis).

3.  I now know what chausses (men’s pants), kirtles (women’s dresses), chemises (women’s underclothes) and tabards (vest-like sweaters…kind of like tunics) are.

4.  I don’t have to read every word of a book to “get it” – skimming through unneccesarily-descriptive parts to get to the good parts no longer induces discomfort or guilt.

5.  Too much trash is bad for you – as with food and bad television, bad books cause your brain to implode.  It was a great escape when I needed the break – and, now I know where to turn when life gets really stressful.  But, I am in need of a read that will offer me insights greater than how the touch of a man can cause a woman’s skin to quiver 🙂

What do you learn from your guilty pleasures?

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Top Ten Tuesday: OCD Bookish Habits!

(a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish)

This week we have been given free reign in our choice of topic.  I haven’t done a Top Ten list in a while (nor blogged in a while – sorry!), and as I perused the list of topics, I knew this one had to be this week’s Top Ten for me.

1.  I must finish every book I read.  (disclaimer: I still feel guilty about not finishing Fruit, but pretty damned satisfied that I didn’t waste any more time on Fifty Shades of Grey)

2.  I must have a bookmark.  It is imperative that the pages of my books not be folded or tampered with in any way.

3.  I must have a pen.  Weird, huh?  I can’t fold the pages of my books, but I can underline and note-take to my heart’s content.  It is a habit I formed when I became an English teacher – and, now, I can’t break it.

4.  I need a cup of tea.   Because reading makes me thirsty and I want to feel cozy and indulge.

5.  I need a blanket.  Again with the cozy.

6.  I must be curled up.  Is there any other way to read than with feet tucked in?

7.  When finished reading I close the book and inspect its cover – perhaps even brushing my hand over it to make sure its clean.

8.  Re-read parts I love. Over and over.  Which might help to explain why I take so long reading books.

9.  Select books based on their cover or title.  Although, since I started blogging I’ll select books recommended on favourite blogs.

10.  Walking through the book store just to be around books.

Do you have OCD habits around books or other hobbies?

Share yours with me in the comments below or at The Broke and the Bookish through the above link.

Where Did September Go?

What a whirl!  Feels like just moments ago I posted on my dread of returning to work full time and losing all my summer freedom…my thoughts and anticipation for fall…and now it’s the last week of September.  Wtf??

I have been absorbed in preparing lessons and marking assignments – all the free time I had for my blog has evaporated.  I am still trying to read though!

Currently re-reading The Awakening for teaching purposes and reading Room by Emma Donoghue (fantastic! can’t wait to write about it).

For those of you still visiting Book Marks…Thanks!  I hope to find more time (dunno where or how) in October as I settle into a routine…I miss being here and chatting with all the wonderful people that visit – and, visiting your sites as well!

Hope to find my groove soon 🙂

How was your “back-to-school” transition?