Monday, November 5, 2018

Maternity Leave Bucket List

maternity leave, coffee, bucket list

With Belle getting close to being one year old, the end of my maternity leave is drawing near (I live in Canada and we are blessed with an entire year for maternity leave). It has been pretty great, I would say! I love spending my days with my girl and being in my home and making an effort to keep it orderly and running. I have done a lot outside the home, too, but I keep feeling like I didn't quite make the most of my time off from work. Reflecting on it, I know that's not true; I flew with Belle to Ontario, I have hosted playdates and we have attended them, we have gone to the mall numerous times, we have gone for walks, we have taken mid-week trips to visit my parents and my in-laws, we went down to Gravelbourg to see my best friend and her baby (who was born eight days after Isabelle!), we took a family camping trip, and so, so much more.

As a way to try and combat this feeling, I decided to compile a list of things I would like to try and do at least once (or one more time) before I head back to work. Is there anything you would add if you were in my shoes?

Maternity Wishlist

  • Playdate with both sets of nearby cousins (or all of them at once!)
  • Host a playdate with friends
  • Walk along the river - I specifically want to park where I would park when I was working downtown and walk a big loop of the river, early in the morning; while we have gone on plenty of river walks, we haven't gotten to this iteration yet.
  • Walk to the mall just for the walk
  • Head out the door right when we both wake up for an early morning neighbourhood walk
  • Coffee shop visits (We have done far less of these than I anticipated, but they are also harder to manage than I anticipated.)
  • Go to the Farmer's Market on a Wednesday morning
  • Do an early morning visit to Riversdale 
  • Mid-week trip to Prince Albert to see my in-laws
  • Mid-week trip to Regina to see my parents
  • Go to a public swimming pool
  • Make use of my sewing machine and sew something
  • Finally get my office organized and tidy - the goal is to have it safe for Belle to crawl into.
I'm sure more will come to me over time, but I think this is a good start to help me direct my days. Sometimes the whole day will fly by before I realize that I didn't do much more than simply care for Belle, which is fine! But, I would prefer that those days be intentional rather than accidental. 

If you have ever been on maternity leave, what were some of the things that you liked to do, or what do you wish you would have done?

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

On My Reading List - Fall 2018 Edition

Along with my recent post about what I've been reading lately, I wanted to share some of the books on the docket for the coming months. I am hoping that this will serve as a bit of accountability to actually get to reading these books!

The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery
We're reading this one for book club and the discussion is at the beginning of November. I just got started and I am loving it!

The Grace of Enough - Haley Stewart
This is another book club read that we will be discussing at the beginning of December. We're all really excited to read this Catholic blogger's new book!

I Heart Forever - Lindsey Kelk
The next (and final?) book in the I Heart series; I am super excited to read this one as I really enjoy all of the books I have read by Kelk so far.

That's all I am going to hold myself to, since I also have two very large textbooks that I need to be reading. I am also hoping to listen to a couple audiobooks, but I haven't picked those out yet. Any recommendations for a good audiobook?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Reading Lately: Volume One

I keep telling myself that I'm going to share all of the books I have been reading here on the blog, but it really hasn't happened. I think part of my problem was that I don't really want to dive in and do these full reviews or even explain the books, I just want to tell you what I've been reading. So, I decided to start a little series here that will most likely not be on any sort of regular schedule, but it will pop up every now and then when I think of it or when I have enough books to share.

Before I dive in to the books I want to mention today, though, I want to chat a little bit about reading in general. I absolutely love reading, and I have from quite a young age. I always had books accessible to me, and I definitely made use of them. I was that kid who ploughed through my moms collection of Nancy Drews once I was introduced to them, and I was also that kid who read the large Harry Potter books the evening they came out (I'm super cool, guys).

In recent years, my reading habits have been sporadic, but something that has helped me get back to my love of reading has been taking part in a book club that my friend, Brandi, started up a little over a year ago now. The group consists of twelve women from four different provinces and we meet via Zoom videoconferencing once a month. We are all quite different, but the main thing we have in common is that we are all Catholic mothers. Our book choices have sometimes been spot on for my style and tastes, and other books have pushed me outside of my comfort zone - sometimes becoming new favourites and other times just falling short. But it's not about the books. It's the conversations we have! Goodness, those meetings are just so wonderfully fruitful I cannot even begin to explain how much they mean to me.

Oh, and in case you want to check them out, three other women from the book club have blogs: Liz; Brandi's twin sister, Amanda; and my sister-in-law, Hannah.

Being new to motherhood, I haven't found how to balance my time to allow for very much reading yet, so most of the books I mention here will be from this book club. I'll be sure to let you know, though!

Something else that has aided me in reading a bit more lately is setting a goal on Goodreads. Something about being able to log my progress and check in on how many books I have to go really motivates me to sit down and read instead of engaging in some other form of pastime. It's also fun to see where my friends are at with their challenges. Feel free to add me on Goodreads.

Now, on to the books I've been reading lately. I'm not putting these in any specific order, and it's definitely not chronological for when I read them. It's kind of going to just follow the order that they pop into my mind or when I think of something I actually specifically want to share.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
I LOVED this book when we read it for book club! We read this ahead of the movie coming out, and then a few of us had a little viewing party at my house once it was available on Netflix. I totally recommend this book as well as the movie. Note: The movie is slightly different, but not in a horrible way, and the casting is SPOT. ON.

A Girl's Best Friend - Lindsey Kelk
I am a fan of everything I have read by Lindsey Kelk so far. Her books are what I call "chick-lit" - a light-hearted read that really draws you in and makes you fall in love with all of the characters. There is some scandal without too much promiscuity, and there is always a good underlying message.

One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both - Jennifer Fulwiler
This was a recent read for book club and I am so, so glad we chose it! I bought the Kindle edition when it was on sale for $1.99 and it was clear that I wouldn't have access to the copy from my library in time for our monthly meeting. This was the first book I ever finished in ebook format. I was so proud! But it was actually so easy. This is the perfect definition of a page turner. This book definitely ignited something within me to really pursue my passions, but to first narrow down what is truly a passion and what is just "so-so" for me. We had some great discussions surrounding this book and I find myself talking about it and recommending it frequently.

The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton
I wasn't excited to read this book and I can't remember why, but I was so very wrong. It was great! There is an awesome twist at the end that I kind of saw coming, but not too early (so it just made me feel smart, rather than ruin it for me). This was also a book club read, and the conversation around it was really engaging! What made it extra fun was quite a few of us that are in the book club also have a mom's group and we had our annual Mom's Weekend while some of us were still reading the book so we actually got to have a few in person chats, too.

So, that's a taste of what I have been reading lately! What have you read lately? Have you read any of these books? What would you recommend?
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