Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Reads: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

For my review of the first book, The Rosie Project, Click here.

This book picks up a year or so after The Rosie Project.  Don Tillman and Rosie are now happily married and have moved to New York for Rosie to study and Don to participate in some research studies at Columbia.  In Don's eyes, their little work is perfect...until the day Rosie unexpectedly announces they are pregnant.

BLAMMO!  Don's world is set into a tailspin.  His brain cannot comprehend becoming a father so, in true Don fashion - he constructs ways for himself to wrap his mind around it...and hilarity ensues - particularly when he ends up getting arrested after observing children playing in a playground.

Unfortunately, he forgot one little thing in this...the fact that this pregnancy is not a science project or something he can control and Rosie is having nothing of it.

Their marriage feels a strain that Don doesn't understand but that Rosie feels is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I can't give away too much without spoiling the book, but let's just say that they learn a whole lot about family, friendships, love and loss...and Don might yet become a socially capable person.  Maybe.  Guess we'll need to see.

This book was just as quirky as The Rosie Project - though I found Don to be a bit much to take this time around.  I still really enjoyed the book and it was definitely laugh out loud funny...Don was just a bit more rigid than I remembered him being.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Three Things Thursday

My birthday was a couple of days ago and I am surprisingly chill about turning 38.  Talk to me in a couple of years when I am knocking on 40's door LOL.   Anyway - that's just an's my three things this Thursday:

1) My efforts at NaNoWriMo have seemingly failed this year - not for lack of content and inspiration...but for lack of time.   I simply do not have time to write this year.  So, unless this coming weekend proves otherwise and I suddenly pump out 30K words - I am going to need to let this one go.  No biggie.  Some years are just like that.  Maybe next year will be better.


2) I've determined that my superpower is buying holiday gifts for kids.  Not bragging - I just talked to my brother last night and every time he gave me an idea for my nephew and niece - I checked it off the list that i had already bought.  I'm just going to call it my superpower.   I just wish I could be with them when they open them.


3) I have had some seriously crazy luck thrifting this week.  Like new wardrobe for $100 luck.  I still can't believe some of the amazing finds I had at 50% off day at Value Village - designer names that fit perfect for a couple of bucks apiece.  It's nice to have some more colour for my winter wardrobe and is doing wonders for my mood.

Have you had to let go of something recently?  If you could say you have a superpower, what would it be?  What is making you smile these days?  Please share in the comments!  I'd love to know! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

MOMday: The Portable Time Killer Purse Pouch

We've all been there.  We're at the restaurant.  We have the kids there.  Those colouring/activity books and 3 crayons the waitress tossed at them just isn't cutting it while they wait for their meals to arrive.  You're just starting to wonder why you thought a restaurant would save your sanity.

Suddenly that meal out is more like hell than family fun times.

I have a little trick up my sleeve for restaurants that I have used for a while, but only recently streamlined it so it would fit neatly into my purse.

Enter: The Portable Time Killer

I'm sure most moms out there carry some variation on this, though usually it involves a second bag like mine used to.  It also isn't very friendly for spontaneous outings unless it is left in the car.  This, on the other hand, just stays in your purse and you have it at all times.  Super handy.

I had this relatively small pencil case that is all kinds of fun, but I was scared to use it for my fountain pens in case I ruined it.  Silly, right.  But - it totally works for this.

Inside, I stowed a really small amount of things.  

Two small notebooks (I made these ones myself out of cardstock and writing paper, but they are the same size as most pocket notebooks), Two 4-colour pens and a package of animal shaped page flags (I got these at Daiso, but I have seen similar ones elsewhere and there are tons on ebay)

Suddenly - my kids had a stage and actors for a puppet show.   Characters to play with their drawings.  A whole new way to express their creativity - neatly and quietly - while we waited for our meal.

Needless to say - this little kit saved the day.  And it takes up next to no space in my purse nor does it add to the strain on my shoulders. I can carry it with me at all times and not even notice it until I need it.

And it makes my kids look like the best behaved, most creative midgets in the place.  What more could a momma really ask for?

How do you keep your kids occupied when they have to wait for something?  Share in the comments :)

And, if you like this idea, please pin it and share with your momma friends.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Reads: The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde

On one of the notebook/planner groups I belong to, a woman posted this book and it immediately got my wheels turning.  The description basically sounded like doodling my notes instead of regurgitating lectures onto paper and I loved the sound of it. I ESPECIALLY loved the idea of it for journaling.  Next thing I knew - the book was in my Amazon cart and winging its way to my door. (I tellya - Amazon Prime really DOES make it too easy).

The book is filled with plenty of examples of sketchnotes - some easy to understand, some nearly unintelligible - but I found myself glossing over those pages because I knew this was going to end up being something specific to my own style and I wouldn't be copying someone else.

Because of the sheer number of examples - the book took me less than an hour to read.   I feel like it failed to hit the mark as an intructional guide, but it did work as an inspirational one.  I am now working to incorporate sketchnoting into my personal and work notebooks - even if it is just a little at a time.  I Just ordered the Sketchnote Workbook on DVD because I have a feeling it will go more in depth on practical application than I could get from a book.  Guess we'll see.

Monday, November 10, 2014

MOMday: A Day In the Life of the Working Kindergarten Mom

I've never really done one of these posts, but my reality has changed so much in the past two months that I felt a strong need to write down what my days actually look like these days.

4:30am - Alarm goes off

5:30 am - wake up and fly out of bed because I have just lost an hour I desperately needed.  Turn on the lamps in the girls rooms and lay out their clothes for them.  Since I started letting them play on the tablet if they get themselves ready - they actually get up right away.  Before the tablet bribe - I would sleep dress them before we left.

5:45am - Shower

6am - Dry and straighten hair, do makeup

6:15am  - Get twins off tablet and on to getting jackets and shoes on.  I then get dressed

6:20am - rush to make snacks for school, pack backpacks

6:25am - let dog out for one last potty break before he is left alone for 13 hours, send girls out to car to get themselves buckled in.

6:30am - Pick up bin by the door containing all things needed for day, load car and check twins are buckled in properly

6:35am - Everyone is in the car and we are on our way to the dayhome

6:45am - Dayhome dropoff

6:55am - Me and Hubby hit the highway for the long commute.  Scream at idiots in big black trucks who left 10 mins late for work and didn't have to deal with dayhome dropoffs

7:15am - held up in traffic at 16th Ave and 52nd street.  Make last minute decision to just take 52nd to memorial to get into downtown.

7:35am - Drop hubby off at office downtown and head south to my office

8:10am - pull into parkade at my office, grab everything and bolt into the building for my start time of 8:15

8:15-11:30am - Make web magic and drink coffee

11:30am-12:30pm - Lunch...otherwise known as "try to accomplish everything I need to accomplish that I can't because of my 3 hour a day commute and kindergarten twins"  also known as "time to exercise if I remember my gear"  These days alternate as necessary.

12:30-4:30pm - Make more web magic and drink tea

4:30pm - dash to parkade

4:35pm - enroute to Hubby's office downtown

5:10pm - pickup Hubby

5:15pm - start long commute home.  Yell road ragey swears at other motorists.

5:50pm - arrive in Langdon. Rush to get to mailbox in case of parcel cards because post office closes at 6pm

6pm - Drop hubby off at grocery store to get dinner ingredients

6:05pm - pick up kids and try to make sure everything is in their backpacks before we head home

6:10pm - pickup hubby at grocery store

6:20pm - get home and let out dog

6:30pm - simultaneously start dinner and unload bin from car.

6:45pm - Read notes from teacher and find out what we need to have in place in two days time (which amounts to about 5 hours usable time in the full-time worker - out of town commuting momma's life - thereby eating lunch hour the next day to accomplish). Feed dog.

7pm - Family sits down to dinner.  Try to do daily homework assignments with the twins while eating (unless it is something we need to separate them for)

7:20pm - Do separate homework assignments while getting ready for bed

7:30pm - Bedtime story

7:45pm - Tucking in, kisses and I love yous.

8pm - Parents head downstairs

8:15pm - collapsed on sofa smacking forehead while trying to find energy to do all of the things that need to be done so the household will continue to function the next day.  Realize house can't possibly be as messy as eyes tell us it is because if it was, the house wouldn't be habitable by humans.

8:45pm - do minimum necessary to ensure household continuance.

9pm - rush to try to work on hobbies

9:30pm - head upstairs to get ready for bed.  Smack forehead again when realizing lunches weren't packed yet and vow to get up early the next day to do it because I am simply too tired at that point.

9:40pm - get ready for bed

10pm - fall into bed exhausted and lament fact that I didn't go to bed at 9 because 4:30am comes really early and I REALLY need to actually get up with my alarm tomorrow...

So, that is my typical weekday.  I wish I was exaggerating but this is actually a fairly modest account of it.

For the record: 

Time spent in company of my kids: 3 hours
Time spent commuting: approx 3 hours
Time spent in office: 7.75 hours
Time spent scrambling: 24 hours

Lather rinse repeat.

And I have yet to figure out how I actually do it.  Coffee.  It's got to be coffee.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Reads: The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons that I Run Long Distances by The Oatmeal

I am pretty sure that this book was one of the most highly anticipated running books of 2014.  Seriously.  At least amongst the runners I know.

For months, The Oatmeal has been sharing snippets of it.  A whole race was developed around it that sold out, but when a second day was added it ALSO sold out.  And then they added a virtual race (which I signed up for, but haven't done my miles yet...gotta get on that).

So - I was excited to include a copy of it on one of my recent Amazon orders.  

This is a super quick, super fun read.   I was a little disappointed, however, in that I feel like I had pretty much read it all before it arrived - thanks to the massive blanketing of excerpts before publication.  There wasn't much new in there.  It didn't make it any less funny and I know I will read this over and over, but it would have been nice to have more new material.

Also - the book took me 20 minutes to read so even if you are a slow reader or don't have much time - you'll be able to finish it fast.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Three Things Thursday

It's been a while since I did a 3TT, but I have also been so busy that finding time to blog anymore has taken a bit of a backseat.

and whoaaaaa...two posts in one day....
just saying.

1) I have not run since Ekiden. 

Not for lack of inspiration or want...I just haven't had time and I was sick.  I am hoping I can spend my long weekend this week figuring my shit out so I can schedule in my me time again.  I need it.  When you all read my upcoming MOMday post, you'll understand a little bit better.

2) It's NaNoWriMo month again!

How is it already November?  But yes - National Novel Writing Month is upon us.  And for some godforsaken reason, I tricked myself into believing I have time to write a book this month! HAHAHAHA!  But I'm not writing a novel this year - more of a memoir/brain dump to free up some headspace and clear out cobwebs (and, most importantly, get me writing regularly again.) So far it is going well and the words are pouring out fast and the rate I am going, I might be done pretty early in the month...or I could end up with the longest NaNoWriMo book ever.  Or - I might get too busy and it will end up being pushed to the side (I hope it doesn't)

3) Christmas Goals

I have this crazy goal to be done Christmas shopping by next weekend.   I think I might just be on track for that, though it will be very odd to be done before my birthday.  I just have this strong desire to be way ahead of the game this year.

Ok - a bit random, but there's where I'm at these days.