Friday, 23 September 2016

First few weeks

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Oh my goodness we made it. 

Three weeks into school already, and we're all still alive, we're all still breathing, we've got lunches packed, forms signed, clothes picked out, teachers met and first week fears settled.

And our kindergarten classroom? Well, we have floors now.


Once our floors were finally in, my teaching partners and I were scurrying around literally the day before school started trying to put furniture in the right place, put furniture together and set out activities with the hopes of fooling kids and parents into believing that we didn't just pull this off hours before those school doors opened.

And that very day before school started as I was rushing off to finally be able to put our classroom together, I also rushed our poor baby Sophia to the only walk in clinic that was open on that holiday Monday to find out that she had Hand Foot and Mouth disease. Just for kicks, ya know.

One trial day at daycare gave her a nice little gift that lasted over a week.

So, when I say that we made it...we really did. It's been like a 3 week long marathon of excitement, emotions, anxiety, stress, happiness and everything in between.

And our kindie class? Well, we made it through the first few weeks of peeling scared, crying kids out of their parents arms and snuggling them and distracting them until their tears settled and their smiles came back.

But this little guy...well, he didn't even look back once those school doors closed.

He was thrilled, excited and pumped beyond belief to finally be going to school like his big sister and cousin.

So we packed their backpacks, filled their lunch pails, kissed their cheeks, hugged them tight... 

and sent them on their way out into the big big world of school.

And that little monkey in the middle started daycare a few days a week too, while my mom is watching her the other days. So big changes, hard changes, exciting changes all around.

And after school sibling snuggles from kids who now miss each other all day long are a regular occurrence.

So we made it, this little family of ours.

Life is changing, life is moving, life is carrying us along and big changes, hard changes, exciting changes are all what this life is really about.

And whenever I've come home from a long, tiring day of 26 kindergarteners, this little baby Batman always makes me laugh. 

So even the hard days are still pretty darn good.

Good job parents for pulling it together and getting everyone set over these past few weeks, great job teachers for making it all happen and good job kids for making it through some new, scary, great firsts.

And thanks to my superb teaching partners for a great start to the year.

Happy weekend everyone--enjoy every minute of it!

Erica xo

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Is everyone kinda falling apart just days before school starts? ...ya, us too.

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I snapped this picture and literally 2 seconds later the relax police told me to please put my camera away and "just relax please". But what he didn't realize is that I was actually documenting my relaxation, so that I could look back at this moment in time when--by the way relax police, I was actually incredibly relaxed-- so that I could look back on this picture and feel all calm and peaceful and zen-like...and so that I could pull it out on a day like today, when zen-like was out the window. 

Because sitting at the Scandinave Spa at Blue Mountain, just Terry and I, having just gotten out of one of the hot spas, reading my trashy magazine and sitting by the fire is pretty much the most relaxing feeling ever.

So I'm taking a moment tonight to look back on our little mini-vacation away last weekend, so I get my zen-like mojo back again.

 Because taking myself back to the beautiful gondola ride up the mountain...

to find a wedding scene at the top, getting ready for their big day...

or when we sat by the water, and just let our cares wash away--well, it will bring me right back to that calm feeling, and I can forget for a second that when I stepped into my school on Friday we still didn't have any floors in our classroom.

*Insert calming-thoughts right now*.

Because the reality of this week--just days before school starts, has now hit us, and we all need a little zen.

So if your kids are all out of sorts this week---if siblings are bickering, if kids are crying over the smallest of things, or if it just feels like they're irritable towards the world..take a second and feel a little zen today.

It's days before a huge change for everyone, and kids feel it the most. So if it is starting to feel like everything is starting to crumble just a bit in your household, just remember...anxiety can cause adults and especially kids to act sometimes in the most unflattering of ways. And starting back to school for everyone can be an exciting time, but also an incredibly anxiety-ridden time for everyone.

So chillax. Find something that makes you happy. Give your kids a break when they're falling apart and being anything but reasonable and enjoyable. Go somewhere fun. Know that once everyone gets settled into their new routine this year things will start to settle again (and as I reminded myself today, this could take a good month to happen).

So, with that an effort to forget that my bare-bones empty classroom is completely out of my control at this point (praying for floors when I go in to check again!), and in an effort to remember that even though everyone in our household is feeling a little out of sorts around here, we've got some good happy stuff still going on--and sometimes those little things are really the things that we should focus on the most.

So this is for me--a little reminder that life is still oh so good, even when things are anything but settled around here.

Cause sisterly love can make you instantly forget that school is only a couple days away.

And man does this big sister ever adore her little sister (and vise versa). Mya would literally take her as her own if she could and never give her back to us if she had it her way. Both Mya and Carter are a little more than obsessed with this little girl, and the fight over who gets to hold her, walk with her, play with her or feed her more is a daily conversation.

I can't blame them. I feel the same way.

And our vegetable garden? Well, the joy that this little garden has brought to these kids will definitely make me forget and not care about the fact that I have totally forgotten how to pack a school lunch.

Because remember not so long ago they planted these tiny seeds and prayed for something (anything!) to grow?... 

Well, check it out now. 

Those exact little snow pea seeds grew into bowls upon bowls of delicious snow peas that we've been eating all summer long. 

and beets...

and massive zucchinis that are still sitting on the counter waiting for me to bake up some chocolate zucchini bread like I've done a million times before. 

and cucumbers that we've been eating like apples...

and tomatoes that don't last two seconds on the vine before little fingers pop them off and eat them.

and strawberries that were constantly being picked way too early since little hands have no patience for the perfectly red strawberry to ripen...

and holy lettuce!!!

So with strawberry picking on a hot summer day (at someone else' huge garden)

and a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants I have no idea what I'm doing decision to buy a bushel full of peaches one day at the market and teach myself how to can them...

life is still full of such good stuff (and some now delicious peaches)--thank you YouTube and several emails to my amazing friend Elana who answered some of my how-to-can-peaches questions (check out her blog post HERE to get full instructions if you want to try it yourself!). These peaches sitting on my counter right now make me so ridiculously happy. You should give it a try-even if you have no idea how to do it.

So hang in there teachers, kids and parents. Everything will settle soon.

And in the meantime, go can some peaches (you know, with all the free time I'm sure you have these days).

It will make you happy.

Erica xo


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

When peppers prepare you for back to school

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I'm in go-mode right now. Back to school is just around the corner and I'm at that point where I start to look at the calendar and then I look at our house and I start to MOVE.

So cupboards are being organized, labeled and beautified. Muffin recipes are being pinned on Pinterest for wildly huge batches of these things that I'll bake and freeze for school lunches. Clothes closets are being purged and organized, fall clothes are being bought and all of the to-do-list things that I meant to do during my mat leave are constantly on my mind.  

And food? Well, I feel like I'm preparing for an apocalypse.

But before I get into that...let's just take a second to breathe and remember that it's still summer time...

and when I start to run through my to-do lists and feel like the time crunch is on...

I just take myself back to summer time fun, and it brings back some perspective.

Because breakfast tables with a view...

sm'Oreos early in the morning (because, well it's summer time, so we can)...

walks along the dock before bedtime...

and kayak rides with Grandma at the cottage mean that we can forget about reality for a second, and stay stuck in summer time mode for just a little bit longer. 

But when I let my eyes stare at the calendar again, and then picture my kindergarten classroom without floors yet since it's currently under construction just a couple weeks before school starts (eek!)...and I think about dropping off Sophia at daycare and both of us crying, and then prepping Carter for his first day of kindergarten and getting Mya ready for her first day of big girl grade 1--then oh ya, getting myself, our classroom and everything ready for my students while going back to work after being on mat leave for over a year...I start to realize that I'll control what I can control. And I'll understand that everything else will happen as it is supposed to and as it will. Everything will come together in the end and everything will work out for good. But in the meantime, I'll scurry around pretending like I can get all of these millions of things done in the 2 weeks before the real craziness begins.

So kitchen cupboards are being organized, because sure, I can't organize and prep my classroom right now--but noone is telling me that I can't organize my tupperware cupboard. So I shall. 

And dinner time? Well the rush of getting dinner on the table after a long day of work means that I want to prep for that too--and what we've done for years now is prep tons of veggies ahead of time and freeze them.

So I bought ginormous bags of peppers from the market (for only $10 a bag!) and we put Sophia down for a nap and spent some time chopping up these millions of peppers and bagging them (then freezing them) so that we will have prepared peppers for meals all winter long. Terry and I have done this many times before with both peppers and onions and it is a LIFE SAVER when it comes to meal prep and it saves us a ton of money since veggies become super expensive during the winter months.

And the great thing about kids growing up right before your eyes? ...well, they can pitch in and help with the whole process..

and they actually think that using our beloved chopper is FUN! So go for it kids...thanks for the help.

And other veggies that we washed, blanched {boil for 3mins, then quickly transfer to a bowl of ice water}, and froze?


and tons of beans.

So with tons of bagged, frozen veggies now filling my freezer, I feel a slight sense of I can actually possibly pull this whole teaching/mom thing off in a couple of weeks. Just maybe.

And until then, I'll keep scurrying around my house cleaning out closets, organizing cupboards, buying cute little organizational things that give our clutter an actual home (like this fabulous little caddie for our kitchen counter that now holds all of the mail, paper etc that used to pile up in this corner)--*from Homesense.  

Because when my house is clean and organized I always have a sense of calm about everything else going on--even when my classroom doesn't even have floors yet.

Power on teacher friends. Power on.

Erica xo
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