Friday, April 27, 2012

What's Good About My Job?

Recently, my friend Lisa reminded me of a post I wrote around this time last year, called What's Good? inspired by a keynote address at a work-related conference I attended.  The speech was about coping with change and choosing your attitude.  Thank you, Lisa, for this very important reminder

I've been getting a little caught up in my own negativity lately, what with all the change on the horizon.  We are going to be renovating a townhouse we purchased, selling our condo, and moving (though not far - more on this later), not to mention the expected arrival of Lilah's baby brother in August, which involves changes in my body, crazy fluctuating hormones, and changes to our family and the relationships within it.  And I'm what that keynote speaker would have termed "change averse."

In addition to these huge life changes in the works, I am looking at a very busy time at work in the next couple of months as I prepare for my maternity leave.  My caseload is large, and the pressure to get it all done can be intense, especially at this time of year with so many kids heading off to Kindergarten in the fall, and all that those transitions entail.

With my commute and the daily grind, it's easy to wish I didn't have to go to work every day and could just focus on the home front.  But when I stop and think about what I get to do - and earn money doing! - I realize that I am one of the lucky ones.  There are so many things I love about my job:

  • My role as a speech therapist involves play, and lots of it.  My expertise may be in the field of speech and language, but working with toddlers and preschoolers means that I have become pretty proficient at the art of play, too.

  • It's hard to be crabby when a child says a new word for the first time, solves a new problem, or sweetly tells you he's going to "babysit your baby when it gets born."

  • What I do is part science, part art.  I have a Masters of Science degree, and what I do is based on evidence, but I also get to flex my creative muscles on a regular basis.  The best of both worlds!

  • No one makes fun of me for being a word nerd.  In fact, it's an asset in my job, and I'm surrounded by others just like me!  Lunchroom discussions sometimes revolve around our mutual disdain for poor grammar and spelling on signage or in print.  And no one judges me for playing Words with Friends on my iPhone at the lunch table because most of the people I'm playing with are my colleagues.

But most importantly?  I get to make a difference in the lives of children and families. Every. Single. Day.  As part of our moving process and attempts to purge and de-clutter, last night I was going through cards I have received over the years from families I have worked with.  Cards tend to trickle in, and I get the usual ones at various times throughout the year and think, "Aww, that's sweet," but reading them all at once really hit home.  I help these children.  And I empower their families.  How can I possibly complain about that?

So what's good about my job?

A whole lot, actually.

What do you love most about your job?
Mama’s Losin’ It

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Beloved Books

Monday Listicles time again!  This weeks' theme is books.  I get access to hundreds  of children's books through my job, and yet I always seem to come back to the same dozen or so.

Just like her mommy, Lilah is a creature of habit.  You can tell which stories have received the most love over the past two-and-a-half years by the condition they are in.  Here are some favourites from the Lilahbility collection.

1. Such a classic that I needed a copy for home and a copy for work:

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2.  Every kid growing up in Vancouver needs one of these:

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3.  I'm not sure what it is about this one, but she got it for Christmas and sometimes we have to hid it just to get a break from these nursery rhymes.  (They're lovely, but every night for several months straight...?)

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4.  Lisa and family gave us two of this series for Lilah's first birthday and they have been on constant rotation every since Lilah came into her "girly" phase:

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5.  Another of Lisa's picks (girl sure knows her stuff!):

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6.  A bunny tale proving the futility of trying to run away:

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7.  Cute and humourous:

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8.  Another Eric Carle favourite:

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9.  For some reason, Lilah seems to find this one especially enjoyable as a potty read:

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10.  She says she likes this one because it makes Daddy cry (I'm raising such a sweet child):

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11.  Bonus book:  This one was a gift from a family I worked with and so far, I haven't had a chance to read it with Lilah because I have kept it at work, but it's really a special one and I just know she's going to love it!

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What are your favourite kids' books?

Listmaster strikes again:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cherry Blossoms



Magical petal-raining,

Cherry blossoms.

Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Working Mother

"At work, you think of the children you have left at home. At home, you think of the work you've left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself. Your heart is rent."  - Golda Meir

Linking up with friends at:

Live and Love...Out Loudand
 then, she {snapped}

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pregnant Celebrities: Are They Just Like Us?

This week, the Listmaster was inspired by Us Weekly and asked us to come up with a list of how celebrities are just like us. Or not.

One would think pregnancy would be the great equalizer, right?  Wellll, yes and no.  Some celebrities do seem to be fairly normal when it comes to pregnancy.  They admit to craving naughty foods, gain weight everywhere instead of just looking like they swallowed a basketball, and some of them probably even get stretch marks.

Just like us:

Jennifer Garner
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Apart from being married to Ben Affleck and being famous and having buttloads of money, Jennifer Garner seems like she could be the girl next door.  Like we could totally rent a chick flick together and pig out on popcorn, candy, and chocolate and justify it by saying we're eating for two.  And then we would compare pregnancy symptoms and braid each other's hair...
(Okay, it's possible I have a slight girl crush on Jennifer Garner.)

Jessica Simpson
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Yep, she's gained a lot of weight during her pregnancy.  That's what most of us do.  Seems normal to me.  I wish people would stop calling her fat and back off a little.  Having grown up in the spotlight, it's probably the first time she's not had to watch her weight.  Let's just let her have that, okay?  (Those heels, however, fall into the "not normal" category.  Pregnancy is known to throw you off balance, and those just look plain treacherous!)

Alyson Hannigan
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She just seems really down to earth.  Plus, she wears flats.

Reese Witherspoon
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Another girl-next-door type. But blonder.  And this is the type of maternity outfit I can totally get behind.

Not at all like us (or perhaps I should just speak for myself?):

Victoria's Secret models
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They look cute at every stage of pregnancy, stay skinny everywhere but their bellies, and are back on the runway and doing photo shoots mere weeks after giving birth.  Nope, not like me at all.  But then, I am currently polishing off the last of the Ben & Jerry's and am planning to chase that down with some Girl Guide cookies, so... mystery solved, I guess?

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I don't really need to explain this one, do I?

Natalie Portman
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No one is supposed to look this good in a white dress while pregnant.  Her butt didn't even get fat!  (Butt not withstanding, I do love Natalie Portman.  This is purely jealousy speaking.)

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I have nothing against Beyonce, but she was impossibly glamorous and glow-y throughout her entire pregnancy.  It just makes it hard for the rest of us regular preggos to keep up, you know what I mean?

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C'mon, you had to know that one was coming!

Now, in all fairness, I should be posting a recent preggy pic of myself for comparison, but sadly, I have very few from this pregnancy, and literally none since I truly popped.  It's on the to do list, I promise.  For now, you'll have to make due with my (somewhat distorted) shadow:

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I'm a little late posting these.  Pregnancy had definitely slowed me down on many fronts, not the least of which is blogging.  Lilah also had a tough weekend due to a cold and a low grade fever.  She was moodier and more irritable than even me on my most hormonal of days.  Still, we managed to make the most of the highlights, which of course involved hunting for eggs and spending time with friends and family.

Lilah's take on Easter eggs.  In her world, more is more when it comes to decorating.

Chocolate has a way of bringing people together, don't you find?

I hope your Easter was as chocolate-filled as ours!

Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Incidents and Accidents

This week the Listmaster has instructed us to come up with a list of ten things to do with the road. And what the Listmaster wants, the Listmaster gets (except when I am feeling rebellious, which is often, I suppose). 

While I am lucky in life, I've had more than my fair share of bad luck when it comes to the road.  Well, with cars, to be more precise. 

It all started way back when I was six and my sister was twelve.  She got hit by a car while walking her bike across an intersection like the good girl she was.  (Okay, so that's not really my bad luck, but it definitely had an impact on me - no pun intended.)  Her collarbone was broken but thankfully that was the extent of it, and she also got a nice little settlement when she turned eighteen, of which I was always quite jealous.  Perhaps my bad car luck is payback for that jealousy?

Then there was the time, back in my racing days, when one of my skis flew off the roof rack of my dad's car and went flying down the length of the highway.  My dad had failed to properly secure the rack because it was bitterly cold that day and we were rushing to get into the warm car.  To make matters exponentially worse, who should happen to be driving behind us and ended up driving over the errant ski?  None other than the boy I had a humongous crush on from my ski team.  Thankfully, there was no damage to his parents' car and he was unhurt.  Plus, I had an excuse to call him later and make sure everything was still fine.

Must have been more than fine, because that same boy and I later dated.  When we met up with some friends at a bowling alley, my purse and his car keys got stolen, so a friend had to drive us to his house an hour away, and he then had to break into his house, get another set of keys, and we drove back to pick up his car at the bowling alley.  The poor guy then had to drive me home and then drive back to his own house once again.

Fast forward to the time when the Hubs and I were living together in a rented apartment and we got back from a summer vacation to find the front end of my car crumpled into itself, still in its parking space on the street in front of our apartment.  Turns out some idiot had parallel parked a block away but had forgotten to set the parking break on his manual transmission Jeep.  The Jeep had rolled backwards down the hill, through an intersection, weaving across the street until it finally came to rest on the hood of the car parked in front of mine.  As you can imagine, my car is what cushioned the blow of that collision.

Then, in July of last year, I was on my way home from dropping Lilah off at daycare so I could work from home.  I was traveling (safely) straight through a pedestrian controlled intersection when a car turning left at the same intersection barrelled into me, causing my airbag to deploy and completely writing off my car.  I can't say the experience was fun, but I was lucky in that I was not hurt and Lilah was not in the car.  Everything, including her car seat, was covered by insurance since the other driver was 100% at fault.

Enter my new car, which is almost a minivan but just slightly cooler.  And if you call it a minivan, I will make sure you will never see the inside of it. 

A couple weeks ago, I was stopped at a red light, as were all the cars around me, including the car behind me.  I suddenly heard the crunch of metal on metal and then a second later felt the car behind me colliding into mine.  I cannot fathom what could have been more important than stopping at the red light, but apparently the driver of the third car thought he was above the rules that apply to the rest of us, and he rammed into the car behind me with enough force to push that car into the rear of mine.

Which brings us to today.  I am currently enjoying the unfamiliarity (read: cleanliness) of a courtesy car supplied by the collision repair center that is replacing the rear bumper of my non-minivan.

*Among these incidents and accidents, there have been a couple minor knicks and scrapes that have actually been my fault.  But they are in the tiniest minority.  What's up with my luck on the road?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Snapshots of Motherhood

I love my camera.  I love taking pictures; capturing snapshots of the day-to-day and the sweet moments of parenthood.  I think my photography skills have improved leaps and bounds over the past two years.  But no matter how proficient I get, there are some moments in time; some moods and feelings I just cannot capture through my lens and convey in a two dimensional image.  I don't think even the best photographer could.  These are the moments of motherhood I try to imprint on my brain, that they may stay burnt into memory to sustain me in my old age.

Reading stories in the rocking chair at bedtime, locks of her fair hair falling into mine; dark and light weaving together.

Glancing back from the driver's seat to glimpse a small body nestled into the car seat, blond head bobbing rhythmically to the music playing on the radio.

The sheer joy of nakedness streaking past me after a bath, face full of mirth, squeaky clean scent wafting off baby soft skin.

Sleepered feet padding down the hallway, eyes squinty against the morning light, hair fuzzy, lovey clutched tightly in small arms, greeting me with a sleepy smile.

A sweet, high-pitched voice, sing-songing nursery rhymes, snippets of songs she has learned, and startlingly accurate imitations of things she has heard and seen.  A whole internal monologue made external.

The same high-pitched voice calling me "Mama," always needing, sometimes maddeningly so.

Arms reaching up to be carried.  The fit of small legs on either side of my waist, even as her weight becomes almost too much.

Tickles and squeals of delight and out-of-control flailing limbs.

The fit of a her frame against mine in quiet moments, chin tucked over my shoulder, arms around my neck, pouring comfort between us to share.

These are the images that no flood, no fire, no crashed hard drive can take from me.  These are the pictures I hope to keep locked in the safe deposit box of my memory forever.

Linking up with the Listmaster, since this is a list of sorts,
though not exactly what Miss Marina Star had in mind.

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