Calm Before the Storm

Content at one of my favourite places to be – the beach.

What an awesome vacation I have had.  Relaxing, calming, amazing.  I’m on Day 7 and I have spent 5 of them so far by a body of water – either the beach or a pool.  It’s not over yet, so there could definitely be more.  I’m actually counting on it.  To say I’ve got a tan is a bit of an understatement.

The best part has been the time that I’ve spent with my son.  We’ve always been two peas in a pod, but this week it seems like we’ve gotten even closer.  He starts school next week so as you’ve read before, it was very important to me to make this week amazing, and I think I have.

Sometimes I find that after a vacation, I feel like I need another vacation.  Usually I feel that way.  This time, not so much.  I’ve spent time cuddling, laying on the beach, reading, floating on a pool raft, stretched out on the sand staring at the water rolling in.  I feel relaxed, I feel content, and I feel like I’m ready for what lies ahead.

The storm is coming.  That storm is called: Nicholas Goes to School.  He says he is excited, he says he is looking forward to school, to the bus ride, and all that stuff.  But he doesn’t get it.  He doesn’t really grasp what is coming.  That he is going to be out there on his own.  No Mommy, Daddy or grandparents to cling to.  He is such a shy little boy.  We go anywhere and he meets new people and he literally clings to me until he warms up.  We were at the beach the other day with Joe’s parents and I literally moved ten feet over from where he thought I should be and I heard him yell “where’s my Mommy??” as he ran up to where his Nana was sitting.  Once he realized I had just moved over a bit, he came over and put his arms around me and said: “you’d never leave me, right Mommy?”

Talk about breaking my heart.  Because I have to tell him that of course I would never leave him.  Then I have to go and betray him as I make him get on the school bus by himself.  Make him spend the day at school without me.  I try to explain to him that of course I would never leave him alone without someone there to look after him.  That even when I’m not there, there will always be someone to turn to if he needs something.  That even when he goes to school and I’m not there, he will have the teacher, and all the other kids there with him.  He won’t be alone.

But come the first day of school, I know he isn’t going to understand this.  He’s going to be absolutely devastated.  I know that he’ll be fine.  I know that once he gets used to school and gets into the swing of things, that it is going to be amazing for him.  He’s going to make friends, he’s going to grow in so many ways – socially especially.  It makes me so excited to think about all the things that he is going to learn.  The world is laid out at his feet and it’s all there for him to possess.  He’s so lucky.  We just have to get over this little hump called the first day – week – month – of school.

But now, it’s Friday night.  I have three more full days left of my vacation.  Lots of time to soak up some more sun, and some more cuddles from my little guy.  I’m not going to dwell on that first day until I absolutely have to – on that day.  I’m not going to ruin the rest of my vacation worrying about the inevitable.  I’m going to make the absolute best of it.  For all of us.

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Vacation – Day 4 – Update 1

I could set up a hut and live here.

Officially, I guess this is day two, if you don't count the weekend. But considering I was on vacation starting on Friday at 4:31, I count the weekend, so today is day four.

As most of you know, my four year old son is getting ready to start school next week. So it's very important to me to make this week awesome and spend lots of quality time with him because it is his last pre-school summer. He'll never be a not-gone-to-school-yet kid again after next week. He doesn't really realize it, but there are huge changes coming for all of us. So it's extra important that we have a great week.

So far, so good. Saturday we went up to Port Franks and spent the afternoon and evening with family at their cottage. Nicholas had an awesome time playing with his cousins, two of whom he's going to be attending school with. We spent the afternoon at the beach (pic above) and it was really really great.

Frolicking in his grandparents' pool

Sunday we went in to spend the afternoon with Joe's parents and go swimming in their pool. Another great day in the sun, in the water, with family. We've certainly gotten our share of vitamin D this summer, and we're loving it.

Yesterday I took a couple of hours for myself and met a friend for breakfast. We had a nice visit, lots of laughs (as usual) and I returned home feeling refreshed and content.

Today was the busiest so far. Nicholas had a dentist appointment, and sat in the chair like an angel while the hygienist cleaned and polished his teeth, and the dentist came in to have a look. No cavities for him, and we were so happy that he seems to enjoy the dentist almost as much as his parents do. Yeah, we're weird.

After his appointment we went into London and had some lunch, and then strolled around the mall for a bit before going to see a movie. We saw Ice Age: Continental Drift. It was cute, and funny. Nicholas fell asleep, but mostly because he had been up early and was pretty tired.

After the movie we did some shopping, including some school shopping for him. A very productive day all in all.

I've got some plans for the rest of the week, including a couple of beach days. I want to take advantage of the amazing weather we're having. I hate to say it, but winter will be here before we know it, and the beach days will be over for another year.

My big plan for reading for the week was to start an finish Steve Jobs' biography. It's been pretty busy, so I haven't had much time. I'm only about 50 pages in. I'm hoping I'll get some reading done on the beach this week.

I hope everyone is having a great week. I'll check in with some more tidbits later. I feel you all trembling with anticipation. 😉

 

Vacation is around the corner!

Look out beach, here we come!

Woot, woot!  One more week till vacay!  Boy, do I feel like I’m needing it this year.  It’s almost the end of August, and so far I’ve taken 2 days vacation.  My decision – my friend and co-worker tells me that I hoard all my vacation days like a squirrel saving nuts for the winter, and she’s right.  I get three weeks a year, and usually I don’t feel like I need much time off for the first six months.  I usually take a week in July, a week sometime in the fall, like October, and then a week at Christmas.  But I do hoard my days, mostly I think because I want to make sure I get the perfect time, and spaced just right.

So I’m ready.  Boy, am I ready!

My husbands work schedule doesn’t allow for much time off for him in the summer, so he’s working a lot of the week that I’m off.  A day trip will be in store, a lot of time at the beach I’m hoping, and we’ll probably get in to see a movie, as the boy loved that when we went on his Birthday in May.  We’ll have to get his school shopping done as well.  We have most of what he needs, just another pair of shoes and a lunch pail are needed.

Wait – what?  Did I say that my son is starting school?  How can that be?  He was just born, wasn’t he?  Something is wrong here.  Something is very wrong.

This brings us to the meat of the topic.  My son, my baby, my little guy, is starting school in 2 weeks.  I’m kind of starting to freak out.  I know it is going to be good for him, I know he needs this experience and socially it will be a wonderful thing for him.

Once I remove him from my leg.

He is so shy.  I know a lot of this is my own fault because he has not been in a daycare setting.  He is great when meeting new kids, but so so shy around new adults, especially men.  I don’t know why this is, he has an amazing relationship with his Daddy, Grandpa and Papa.  But it really takes him a while to warm up around men that he doesn’t know.  He’s never really been away from us with at least one family member present – ever.

So I’m a bit worried.  Mostly because it breaks my heart to imagine him all on his own for the first time – at school, all day.  Then I think back to my first few days of school.  I was exactly the same way.  My mom stayed at the school with me for the first few days because I cried whenever she tried to leave.  When the teacher finally told her to go home, and she did – she got home to find the phone ringing.  It was the school secretary calling to let her know that I was doing just fine, and the teacher had her call Mom so that she wouldn’t worry.  I was fine.  I turned out okay.  So will he, but it’s much tougher being on the Mommy end of the situation.

That’s why next week is so important to me.  I delayed my vacation by a few weeks so that we could spend some awesome quality time together before he starts school.  He’ll always be my baby, but he’ll never be my pre-school-days baby again.  So this time together is as much for me as it is for him.

Why didn’t somebody tell me that being a Mommy was so hard sometimes?  I blame you all for this! 😉

Burn…Baby Burn!

Meh…

The picture above was from the fortune cookie I had yesterday at lunch.  It kind of struck me when I read it…how enthusiastic am I – about life?  Lately it seems – not very.

I mean, I’m happy and everything.  I am content with the way things are going.  What have I got to complain about?  Not too much!  I just sometimes really feel like my get up and go – got up and left.

So here it is – past mid August.  Here’s my mid-August resolution: find the excitement again!  Grab life by the ba….uh…horns, and don’t let go!

Part of it might be that I need a vacation.  I have my much anticipated first week of vacation the last week of August.  I’m starting to feel a bit burnt out I guess, and need some time away from the day to day.  Hopefully that helps.

Hope everyone is having a good Friday, and a wonderful weekend ahead.

Peace. 🙂

Left Neglected – Book Review

I just finished reading Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. I was a very big fan of Still Alice, and when I won this book in a Twitter contest from Chapters, I was very excited. Free anything is awesome. Free books? Well, that's bloody amazing! 🙂

I loved this book. Lisa Genova has a PhD in Neuroscience from Harvard. She's no dummy. Though she writes fiction, the topics are ones that she knows a lot about. Still Alice was about a woman who suffered from severe early onset Alzheimer's. Left Neglected is about Sarah Nickerson, a woman who suffers from a true neurological disorder called Left Neglect. But more on that in a bit.

Sarah is a thirty-something woman with a lot going on in her life. She is married to Bob, the mother of Charlie, Lucy and Linus (yes, her children are named after Peanuts characters) and works as the vice president of Human Resources in a huge company. She works in the neighbourhood of 80 hours a week, juggles work, family, social, etc. with amazing order and precision. Her husband Bob is also a very motivated individual, devoting many hours at work. Their lives are very hectic and in many ways they are the perfect match for each other.

There is tons of stuff going on, including parent-teacher interviews with their sons teacher about his behaviour, meetings at work, trying to make it to one soccer game out of the season, who is going to win the “rocks-paper-scissors” game that they play each Friday to see who is going to drive the kids to school and daycare.

One morning, on her way to work, trying to make a phone call, she takes her eyes off the road for a split second, resulting in a life changing car accident. When she wakes up in the hospital, it becomes apparent very quickly that there is something extra unusual going on. She has had severe trauma to her brain, and required surgery. It is discovered that she is suffering from Hemispatial Neglect on the right side of her brain, which causes her to completely lose the left side of everything, even herself. Her brain is unable to register the left side of absolutely everything.

Of course this drives her crazy, and she automatically assumes that she will be healing up and back to work in two weeks, with therapy and whatnot. She can't stand that she's away from work, away from her kids, away from her life. Sarah soon realizes that the simplest tasks – dressing, eating and going to the washroom become nearly impossible without help. Healing is not going to be a cake-walk, and that she may never completely heal, and never get her life back as she knew it.

Combine all this with the sudden apperance of her mostly absent mother, who has all of a sudden shown up with the intent to help her through her recovery, and Sarah is embarking on the journey of a lifetime. Though where she ends up is definitely nowhere near where she thought she would.

One of the main reasons I liked this book was that it concentrated on Sarah. It was from her point of view, just as Still Alice was from Alice's point of view. There are so many accounts from the family members of people with neurological disorders, but not nearly as many from the actual patients. It is different, and it is very interesting and breathes life into these conditions. Makes them more real.

I liked that in Left Neglected, the focus was Sarah, and her condition. Her husband was awesome, and for the most part stayed awesome. It wasn't like her whole life fell apart when this happened to her, but it was almost a blessing in disguise, for so many reasons.

I totally recommend this book, and her other book Still Alice. Both are extremely well written, compassionate and real.

5/5 stars.

 

Just like that…it’s over again.

I love the Olympics.  Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics, I love them.  Everything about them.  It’s amazing to me to see all the talent walking (or running) around on this planet.  I sat on my butt and watched as these athletes put years of training to work and compete at the highest level possible.  I think to myself as I watch all these perfectly toned bodies doing what they do best – I really have to give these people a lot of credit.  I can’t imagine what type of training program they must have, what type of eating program, and how dedicated they must be to it, especially in the weeks and months leading up to the Olympics.  I have to pep talk myself to get out the door to go for a walk after supper, let alone the hours these folks must spend in the gym, on the fields, courts, etc.  They pour their hearts and souls into their sport, and it shows, time and time again.

My favourite thing about the Olympics is how it connects people.  In many ways, but three in particular.

First, through social networking.  There were a lot of people calling London 2012 the “Twitter Olympics.”  The volume of tweets was unlike any before.  I created a special list on my Twitter account for the Olympics and checked it regularly.  The number of tweets throughout those two weeks showed exactly how many people were watching, were paying attention, were caught up in it.  Twitter wasn’t the only social networking platform that exploded over the last two weeks, but it was my go-to place for updates.  In this way, the Olympics connected millions of people around the world and allowed for not just people to all sit and watch it at the same time, but for them all to have a conversation about it.  From each corner of the planet.

Second, through the day to day with the people you hang with.  Our office was the hub for the Olympics in the building.  I had my iPad set up on my desk with my CTV app and would stream live coverage all day long.  People would come up when they had some time to check on the standings in the diving, or call up to check the score of the soccer game.  To find out what the medal count was.  It caused interaction, conversation.  Everyone was (mostly) on the same side.  Everyone cared about the outcome.  All part of the Olympic connection.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important to me, is how the Olympics connects countries around the world.  Yes, they are all there to compete.  Yes, they all want to win.  But the last two weeks has shown some wonderful moments of camaraderie that you are not always used to seeing between countries.  It can be sportsmanship at its best.  You often see athletes upset, crying, or angry after not winning.  For the most part though, the person that they are angry with is themselves.  They are upset that they didn’t meet up to the standards that they held themselves to.

One of my favourite moments from London 2012 was when Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang wiped out on the first hurdle in his qualifying round.   Not that he wiped out of course, but that when he was able to get up, he started to leave the stadium, then decided he was going to cross the finish line after all, so proceeded to hop his way through the rest of the race.  He stopped at the last hurdle, kissed it, and then proceeded across the finish line where he was met by fellow racers from other countries, who were there to congratulate him, and help him off the track to the medics waiting for him.  You can watch the coverage here.

Now, as a friend reminded me, the paralympics are starting in about 16 days.  All the wonderful things about the Olympics with an added dose of inspiration.  So we’ve got another week and a half to look forward to there.

Then we go into waiting mode.  I’m sure my four year old will be asking us why we’re not watching the Olympics, because that’s all that’s been on the last two weeks.  Now we wait until February 7-23, 2014 when the next Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia.  It’s not so far away…I guess.