Saturday, February 10, 2007

Private School?

Today, after gymnastics and a visit with my parents, we went to a private school open house.
This isn't just any private school. This is the school that I attended for 8 years. I was a little hesitant to go to the open house. I don't know why. I was kind of nervous.
But, we decided to go, just to check it out.
This year is the school's 25th anniversary. I went there the first year it opened (I was 4 and in jk). It's in the same location, but so much of it has changed. When I walked in it sort of looked the same and it sort of looked different. It had been upgraded, of course. But I think it just looked really small - since I'm significantly taller (at 5'2.5) than I was when I went there.
Anyway, from the moment we walked into the jk room it was amazing. Matthew loved the classroom, we were getting all our questions answered. The jk teacher was sitting chatting to some other prospective parents and we walked over. And she got up and shouted my name. Why? It was my favourite teacher of all time - Mrs. Black. She was my grade 2 teacher.
I have to admit, I love this woman. I loved her in grade 2. I loved her as I got older. She was a surprise guest at my wedding shower. I just didn't know she taugh junior kindergarten at this school.
She hasn't changed a bit. She's still cool and funny and pretty and wears great shoes. She still makes me laugh, and she could probably still make me sit in my sit and listen when she speaks. Love her.
So, a huge huge part of me is now debating putting Matt into this school just for this reason.
And, I also really like the discipline aspect. I like their core values. I like the class sizes. I like the foundation for education. I like it. I also like that in jk/sk at a private school you still get a tax credit like with daycare. So added bonus there.
I don't like that it's slightly more expensive. Nor do I like that there would be two months off in the summer since it's school not daycare. I have time to think about that though.
As I walked through the rest of the school I kept finding people I knew. I felt a little bad for Mike and Matt because I was like the walking social committee. Air kisses and hugs abounded. There was lots of laughing. There was a lot of storytelling. I relived my last 15 years for everyone. I introduced our family. It was cool and wonderful.
I was sad to leave.
I'm not sure if I want my child going to private school forever. There are a lot of pros and a lot of cons. (Cost being one). But, I have to say that I am seriously considering the option. At least for a couple of years.
And, as a complete side note - after reading Jeff's blog, and after deciding that if I watched Cars one more time I might crack, we went out and rented Curious George. Matthew is LOVING this movie. Thank goodness.

Friday, February 09, 2007

RRSP's on the Brain

So Mike and I have started talking finances.
Unlike some couples, we never discussed money before we got married. Really. We didn't. I had my financial goals, but we never discussed them at length. And, to be honest, as we went along we just kept going with the flow and hoping for the best.
Let me tell you, with or without kids, this is not the way to go at it.
Now that Mike has hit his 30's and I'm approaching them, we're realizing that we need to sort this stuff out. We did this thanks to the show we were on (yes, it has aired, yes it will air again, no I haven't watched it, yes I will).
But, my new found fear of retirement savings has really begun to hit home for me. Some of my friends/colleagues and I started the PPAC course - it's the Pension Plan Administration Course offered by Humber College. We've been doing this for a couple of weeks now.
The focus of the course is to get a broad understanding of pensions in Ontario. It's kind of interesting and kind of boring. But all together terrifying. I'm beginning to really understand that I may not have enough money to retire.
One of my friends did the calculation for me. If I were to stay at the company I work with (or any employment that offers my pension plan) for the next 30 years I could retire at the age of 60. So that gives me just over 30 years to save for retirement.
Mike has about the same, but no pension. So, essentially he could retire into poverty. What if I die??? (okay, we haven't actually gotten to the whole part about survivor benefits so he could actually be fine). But, really, can we survive on one salary when we retire?
I'm planning to travel. Have fun. Dote on my (yikes!) grandchildren. And, I can't do this if I'm not even able to afford a can of soup.
So, tonight, over dinner at McDonald's, Mike and I started a financial plan. We've lined up our RRSP guy and we're going to start saving. You know, my grandchildren will thank me!

And, on a much lighter note ... guess what? Mike and I are going to go away on a romantic weekend for 2 next weekend. A little post-Valentine's child free get away at a resort. I'm super excited!!!! We have never been away without Matt. I have some big plans for the weekend. Apparently they offer free cross country skiing and snow shoeing which Mike is excited about. I'm more excited about the pool, sauna, room service, spa and SLEEP!!!!

And, just for some fun, here are some pictures of Matt. Yesterday when I was trying to wake him up he just did not want to have any of it. He had removed all the sheets from the bed, was curled up in "child's pose" and was sleeping the cold away. I don't blame him.

Honestly, he really prefers the bed without the sheets. And, the pink blanket was mine when I was his age. He loves this blanket.

Poor Caillou ... buried under the neglected sheets!

PS He is sleeping in a bathrobe, but we always take the belt off - so he won't hurt himself.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Run Run Run

Sometime in January I set a goal for myself. In the spring I want to run a 5k.
I know that to some people this isn't a huge goal. But, to a non-runner 5k seems like a gigantic feat. The idea of all of this came from me joining a gym and a friend suggesting that we try a specific race. Not one to turn down a dare or a challenge I decided I would try it.
The thing is, I have started to enjoy it.
I've been following the whole idea of taking it at a slow pace and taking needed breaks. Know what's shocking? When you follow this it is actually do-able.
A friend of mine who is a runner told me to start by walking a minute and then running a minute. Afterall, she explained, who can't run for a minute at a time? At the time I honestly thought me!
But I'm sick of all the negative self talk. When I look at myself now as compared to a year ago I like myself a lot better. And a year ago there's no way I would have attempted it. Seriously.
And now ... I'm loving it.
So tonight I decided to see if I could actually go all 5 kilometres.
Here's the goal I set for myself. I wasn't going to watch the calorie read out and I wasn't going to care about the time. I would take walking breaks as needed and I would try to do all 3.1 miles.
By 1 mile I was stressed. Suddenly this goal seemed unattainable. I was tired and cranky and didn't feel like it.
But I persevered. Forty-five minutes later I finished running 5kilometres.
I'm pretty proud of myself!!!!
I know that it's harder to run outside. I know that 45 minutes isn't a great time. In fact, it's not even a good time.
But the point is, I feel like I can do it. And I like it. When things are crappy at work I actually start to think that I can run off the stress in the evening. Seriously. Does anyone else notice that this is new thinking to me? It's weird. And wonderful!
And, amazingly, although I was tired tonight I wasn't out of breath. I wasn't about to run another 5 k. My face was bright red. But I was breathing semi-normally. This above all is pretty amazing.
This running thing is pretty cool!!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Suburbia & Starbucks

I find it fascinating that I think so much about suburban life. Afterall, I was raised in suburbia. But let me tell you it's a whole different ballgame when you're living in suburbia by choice - and still looking at it from the outside in.
On the weekend my friend came over to visit. She's my friend, Ginny, from the condo. It sort of sucks that we can't just call each other and run down the hall, but the fact that her mom lives close and she can stop by to visit is pretty cool.
The fact that she came bearing Starbucks - even better! (you know how some friends you're like "no no no, it's okay I'll make coffee just come visit" and other friends they call you and it's like "are you still doing non-fat lattes"? Gin is the latter. But, I did have treats).
Anyway, so despite the frigid arctic that was Saturday, Ginny got out of her car and went into the drive-thru Starbucks to place her order. Why? Cause she wanted a whole lot of vanilla sprinkles. So, while she was in there getting her sprinkles someone came up to her and made a funny comment about how she was so bundled up. I forget the phrase. The point is that he interrupted her Starbucks bubble to comment on the weather.
We were laughing about it at the time. But, as I thought about it later I realized that this, my friends, is suburbia.
Trust me, we've seen many the crazy on a Starbucks outing, but in Toronto (or most urban centres) they keep to themselves. Seriously.
Here in the suburbs people talk more. Like, the other day I took a taxi home. And I admit I'm pretty chatty, but somehow in the 4 minutes it took me to get home we had established I was new in town. And then I paid the fare, and the driver spent another 5 minutes telling me about the cool local events, the local shopping and the movie theatre. weird.
Or, like the other day Matt and I were at Shoppers. Matt had his soother in his mouth. And, this other toddler pointed it out. I got all defensive "he's tired and cranky" and the mom was like "oh, noooo ... My son uses one too. Whatever gets you through the day."
We proceeded to go through all of Shoppers on a hunt for the Tide that was on sale (and found it.)
I'd say this is weird. But it happens all the time.
People at the gym stop and talk to me - telling me when the gym is quiet, offering to show me where the yoga mats are, etc. I worked out at 3 different gyms in Toronto. Chatty strangers were an exception. Not the rule.
And I'm loving it.
I can't help it. The more people talk to me me the more I get all chatty back. Sometimes it's just plain funny.
My opinion on this - part of it is all the available free parking. Seriously. Think about it. Why not linger at the drug store when you're not worried about how much time is on the metre. Who cares if you spend an extra couple of minutes at the hair salon if you're not worried about whether or not you are parked illegally. It's fantastic.
Not to mention, where there isn't an abundance of parking there's a drive thru. Within 5 minutes of my house there's a drive thru Starbucks, McDonald's, Wendy's, Tim Hortons (about 4) and I can't remember what else. The point is - here in suburbia we're not worried about our cars which leaves us time to talk.
What else could it be???
Or it could be something else. Truthfully I sucked at sociology. I bet some sociologist would have an idea, but as far as I'm concerned it's all about the mobility.
Oh - and thanks for the coffee Ginny. Next time I'm buying (extra vanilla sprinkles, and I'll remember which one is yours!!!)

And,just an update. Today my teenage neighbour came to my door. I realized I'd been gone way too long when I insisted on shouting out my door "who are you?" while a shivering 16-year-old was telling me they were turning the water off. Oops.
So, then when I figured that my poor neighbour was hanging out in the cold I let him in and let him turn on my water. I know ... city dweller!!!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

And then they get it

Instead of going to the gym today I had a nap. I probably could have slept right through the night. I think the combination of winter, stress at work, lack of sleeping properly at night and who knows what else has just tired me out.
So when Matt told me he was napping on the couch, and Mike said he would stay awake I made a beeline for the bed.
Two hours later I felt someone waking me up. I was a little surprised. I usually wake up either from Matt crying, Mike snoring (sorry, sweetie), my alarm blaring or my bizarre internal clock that just wakes me up before my alarm.
So the soft gentle shaking took me aback.
Maybe a dream still?
Nope. It was my super adorable toddler who decided it was time for Mommy to wake up. But instead of screaming or crying, or my favourite, having the lights turned on, he started rubbing my arm. And as I slowly started to wake up he whispered "mommy I came to share raisins with you." My eyes were still shut when he started to stuff his favourite food in my mouth. Adorable.
As it was, in fact, not terrible effective at waking me up, he decided to move on to other methods.
He first sang me a song (quietly) and then climbed into bed. And then he said the cutest thing ever "mommy, I will tell you a story to wake you up."
And, he sat on the bed reciting the words to Moo, Baa, LaLaLa. About halfway through the rendition I was awake, but he decided to read me one more story and pulled out his Busy Town book and went through all the pictures with me.
And then we just sat in bed and cuddled. He told me all about Diego saving the pygmy marmasats. He talked about Gravedigger and the Monster. It was pretty cool. It was one of the moments I'll remember because it was so loving and so sweet. He's learning.
And, after the awesome wake-up he had happy mommy back and all was well with the world.
I still can't convince him to watch football though.