The Life of K

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Change is in the air


Big changes around here. It's been a week now since I stopped working as a doula. That's right: I sold my part of the business back to my partners and I'm currently unemployed.

I keep waiting to miss it but right now all I feel is relief.

Everyone I tell seems shocked. Every time I share on social media another person asks why? I've met so many people in the last 5 years, people who know me as a mom because I met them through playgroups or kid activities or school. Or they know me as a doula because I met them at events or they are clients and invited me into their pregnancy, labour, or early postpartum.

I'm going back to my government job I tell them. And I watch as their view of me shifts. I'm not just a mom or a doula. I'm also a scientist. A biologist.

It feels weird to say because that was me from a long time ago. I've changed so much. It must feel weird for them too, to have me be something different that I've always been to them.

It's like when you find out someone's maiden name. Or that they use to live in a different city. Or any other big difference. Shifting realities.

My world is changing. My head is slowly wrapping around the fact that come January I will be at a desk for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I won't be woken up in the middle of the night contractions are 3 minutes apart. We need you now.

J and I are prepping the kids for the idea that mom will go to work just like dad. They don't know me as someone who works a regular 9-5 job either. Who's going to take us to school? Who's going to pick us up? Work in progress, kids.

We'll figure it out. We always do.

I admit: there are some things I am looking forward to. More money. Predictable work hours. No mid-night phone calls. No overnights in the hospital. Evenings and weekends free. Paid sick days. Coworkers to chat with.

There are definitely things I will miss, too. Getting the kids to school and picking them up. Doing Costco runs during the day. Sipping tea with Sandy in the afternoons. Squeezing an episode of tv between tasks. Helping new moms settle in to life with baby. Witnessing a life begin.

Life not only begins, life goes on. The season of my life is changing as it has before and will again.

I'm taking this month to sit. To relax. To enjoy. To plan. To prepare. To put away my doula things. To get ready for working life. To sink into the holidays in a way I haven't been able to do in the past few years.

In January I will put on my work shoes and walk into my new (old) life. But now I sit. I enjoy. I marvel at all I've accomplished over the last 5 years. I see how far I've come.

Here's to new beginnings, to change.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Gifts of Experience - Adult Edition



I'm not talking X-rated, but these are activities for adults, that would be perfect to gift to your partner, friends, or family members this Christmas. This is a brain dump so they aren't in any particular order. I had a hard time deciding how to group them so I didn't.

What would you add to the list? Do you like to give and receive experiences?

Get out! - Escape Manor or Diefenbunker Escape
Nature Nocturne - party at the Museum of Nature
Paintball
Funhaven
Bowling
Rock Climbing
Wine Tasting
Painting - Paint Nite or Pop Up Painters private class
Learn to sew at Fabrications
Massage gift certificate
Spa gift certificate - Le Nordik or Tay River Aqua
Supperworks
Movie passes
Restaurant gift cards
Yoga classes
Try karate
Karting
Photography course
NAC tickets
Concert tickets
Dance lessons - Ballroom&latin, Pole dancing, Hip Hop
Charity event tickets
Bubble soccer
Comedy show - Absolute Comedy, Yuk Yuks
Isolation Floatation
Archery
Ax throwing
Skiing/Snowboarding - lift tickets, lessons
Skydiving
Bungee Jumping
Aerial Park ropes course
Stained glass
Paint your own pottery - Color Me Mine or Mud Oven
Brush up on first aid and get certified
Cooking classes
Piano lessons
Plane ride
Hot air balloon ride
Train tickets
Night at a local hotel
Hot air balloon ride
Burlesque dancing

Xpeeria.ca has some fun ideas too!


Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Gift of Experience



When I read this post about giving experiences instead of toys, I knew it was something I wanted to adopt for my family. I already try to limit the number of gifts we give the kids at Christmas (by following the 4 gift rule) but this takes it to another level.

This family gives their children one toy but the rest are gifts of experience. The idea is that experiences make us more happy than things. Experiences become part of who we are. I especially love the tip about getting family on board by gifting experiences to them as well!

It got me thinking... what would make good experience gifts in Ottawa? Why not create a list in case other people are tired of the piles of toys (not that we aren't all grateful that so many people love our kids!) This is a list of things for kids, but a lot would be great for adults too (I'm looking at you, Skyzone and Funhaven!)

Please let me know in the comments if you can think of anything to add. Here we go!

Memberships


Memberships or passes to the city's museums are such a great idea!

Museum of Nature
National Gallery of Canada
History Museum, Children's Museum and the War Museum
Science and Technology, Aviation, Agriculture
Little Ray's Reptiles
Valleyview Little Animal Farm

Art activities


Not all kids can sit through painting a mug or want to learn to sew, but lots do!

Color Me Mine (Nepean and Trainyards)
Gotta Paint (Kirkwood Ave.) 
The Mud Oven (Bank Street)
The Pottery Play House (Stittsville)
Pop Up Painters
Fabrications (Sewing classes for kids)
Stained Glass Stuff

City of Ottawa

I would go to the facility you're interested in and ask there.

Swimming
Skating
Gift cards

Musical


National Arts Centre (NAC) - they have both packages and gift cards
Centerpointe Theater (Nepean) and Shenkman Arts Center (Orleans)
Gymboree Play & Music (Orleans)
Monkey Rock Music

Gymnastics Places


Most gyms have drop ins especially for young kids.

Precision Gymnastics (Barrhaven)
Starr Gymnastics
Corona Gym (Nepean)
Ottawa Gymnastics Centre
Tumblers Gymnastics Center (Orleans)

Indoor Play


Monkey Around (Bank Street south)
Kids Kingdom (Kanata and Orleans)
Altitude Climbing Gym (Gatineau)
Midway Fun Park
Skyzone
Xtreme Trampoline Park (Kanata)
Archery Games
Kids Fitness League
Funhaven 
Cosmic Adventures
Tubes and Jujubes (Gatineau)
Little Lotus Yoga Classes 
Cooking Classes
Disney On Ice
Putting Edge (indoor mini putt, Nepean)

Outdoor Play


Pirate Adventures (Mooney's Bay)
Saunders Farm
Nepean BMX
Pedalheads
Alight at Night (Upper Canada Village)

Bowling


Merivale Bowling
West Park Lanes 
McArthur Lanes (Vanier)
Walkley Bowling
Orleans Bowling

Go Karts


Karter's Korners
Top Karting (Gatineau) 
Amigo Karting (Gatineau, 8+)

Water parks


Calypso
Mont Cascades

Race Registrations


These races all have a family run or short distance, except the Mud Hero which would be for older kids. Run or walk with your kids and in a lot of cases, raise money or awareness for a cause at the same time. Great for combining activity and charity.

TriKids Race Series (Triathlons)
Ottawa Race Weekend (May)
Army Run (September)
South Ottawa Race Day (October)
Rattle Me Bones (October, CHEO)
Canada Day Run (July, Kanata)
Manotick Miler (May, Manotick)
The Color Run
Mud Hero (June, Navan)

Random ideas


- movie passes
- ski/snowboard passes
- gift card to a restaurant
- dance lessons
- drawing class


Outside Ottawa


Maybe you're looking for a day- or weekend trip. Toronto, Montreal, Montebello and Brockville aren't too far and have some pretty fun stuff!

Wonderland (Toronto)
Ripley's Aquarium (Toronto)
Parc Omega (Montebello, Quebec)
La Ronde (Quebec)
Montreal Science Center
Montreal Biodome
Aquatarium (Brockville)

Christmas Activities


Spending time together at Christmas is what's important. Here are some ideas for activities you can do with your kids.

Write and mail letters to Santa
Sing Christmas carols
Decorate cookies
Make a gingerbread house
Make Christmas Rice Crispie squares
Make dipped marshmallows using red and green sprinkles
Watch Christmas movies/shows
Make ornaments (Ninja Turtles, salt dough ornaments)
Christmas crafts (check Pinterest for ideas)
Santa Claus parade (complete list of parades around Ottawa here)
Visit Santa at the mall
Pick a gift to donate
Put up the tree and decorate
Go sledding
Put on red, green and silver nail polish

Let me know in the comments of any other ideas and I'll add them to this post!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Thing One and Thing Two

It's the weekend. That would mean more if I weren't on call, but still. Time for dance classes and knitting and organizing and getting my new freezer set up in the basement! Freezing cooking here I come!

Almost exactly four years after buying the Miata, we bought another! Introducing Thing 1 and Thing 2. They're twins.

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All snug in the garage together.
J has alerts set up so he gets notifications when things like guitar pedals and car parts go on sale on Kijiji. He went a little crazy when this car was posted. It was cheap and is perfect for just parts but it's in great condition. Apparently the women selling just wanted it gone and was inundated with calls and emails. J actually didn't get the car; his friend M did, but since J was the one who found the deal, M let J buy it. What a good friend!

They went together to pick it up. They make a cute couple.

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Checking under the hood.
The original idea was to use it for parts, but since it's in good condition, we may drive it next summer. I might autocross it! For now it's tucked in tight in the garage, beside its twin. Aww.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Little J's Belt Test

Happy Friday everyone! Halloween made this a weird week... long but quick at the same time. Either way I'm glad it's Friday.

My little karate kid had a belt test last month and he rocked it! After the summer he moved up a class and now that it's 45 minutes long, we don't stay to watch, so I was so impressed with how much he's improved. He's strong and fast and flexible. He knew all the moves and remembered his patterns. I'm very proud of Little J!

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Punching.

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More punching.


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Little K not bored at all.


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Proudly holding up his new belt!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Field Trip to Valleyview

When both kids came home with field trip permission slips I got excited. They were on days that I wasn't working. I volunteered for both. I quickly heard back from Little J's teacher that I wasn't chosen but I didn't hear back from Little K's teacher.

It was the night before her trip, which was the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving long weekend, when I finally got an email saying I was picked to go on the trip. Talk about last minute!

The only field trips I've been on are the ones where the kids walk to the park across from the school. I hadn't been on a bus or responsible for other kids until this one.

I drop the kids off at the school and since Little K has the same teacher, one ECE, and half the same classmates from last year, I'm comfortable around them. I was assigned Little K and two of her friends. We hopped on the bus and made our way to Valleyview Little Animal Farm.

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On the bus!

I've taken the kids to Valleyview before but we'd never done the tractor ride so it was interesting to hear what Farmer Joe had to say about corn, soybeans and old farm equipment.

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Corn.
Other than the tractor ride, we got to see a short video about the farm and listen to a talk about the animals. Most of the time we were free to go wherever we wanted. We fed the goats, saw the peacocks, and other animals, but most of the time was spent on the play structures.


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Peacocks.

Valleyview has some really impressive wooden play structures like this ship below.


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Play structures.

The girls also played on tractors and ran through the corn maze. It was so fun seeing Little K with her friends and chatting with the other parents when we'd cross paths. I got so many great pictures of her and her friends.

I was surprised when Little K fell asleep on the bus ride home but she was exhausted. I was too!

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Sleepy girl.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween 2016

Halloween


I say it EVERY year and I'll say it again: this was the BEST Halloween yet! Good costumes, great weather, lots of candy, no crying... amazing!

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Cute pumpkins.

The pumpkin we picked up at Abbey Hill Farms the other weekend was carved into this cute little face. The kids also decorated their little pumpkins and everything was put on the porch with happy yellow mums that were dropped off last week.

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Harry Potter.
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Happy witch.
I managed to get dinner prepped and ready early so we weren't rushed. The kids got into their costumes, which they had worn at school all day as well, and happily posed for pictures. My only regret is not getting one of them together this year.

Neither was very happy at having to wear a coat, but that's Halloween in Canada, kids!

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Harry Potter and two witches.
One of Little K's friends came and trick-or-treated with us for a bit. We did our block before heading back home to see J who had stayed to hand out candy. Our friend left, Little K stayed in with J, and Little J and I headed off to a nearby street that was amazing!

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Amazingly decorated house spooked the kids!

We met up with our neighbours and did this one street. Almost every house was decked out, kids running everywhere, parents chatting in the streets. It was a perfect little slice of heaven.



Walking home with just Little J, who was chatting happily about all his candy, I had a huge smile on my face. It was just such a perfect night.

Candy, chips and chocolate was dumped all over the floor, costume pieces were thrown off, and both kids picked a piece of candy to have.

I've been munching here and there.. I even put a KitKat in the kids' lunches today. Now that it's November, J and the kids are singing Christmas carols and time marches on, but I won't soon forget our perfect Halloween night.