Taking on 2013 and hoping to revitalize my life

Posts tagged ‘family fun’

Unexpected Surprises

What a great holiday this has been. (I’m not counting the blow-outs with my teen as those are temporary and eventually we will outgrow them… hopefully before I run away from home.) But the rest of the holiday has been grand.Tree

The few days leading up to Christmas were a rush of last-minute organizing, shopping, crafting and wrapping but it was all worth it. We even had some family photos done on the 23rd and although I expected none of them to turn out we actually ended up with a couple of really nice ones.

Christmas eve included chilli for 4 (with my kids and ex) and then off to an inter-denominational church service. By the time we got home there was time to open one Christmas present each, track Santa’s progress and get jammies on before hopping into bed and dreaming of sugar plums (OK, probably not sugar plums, more like Monster High dolls and a new cell phone).

Christmas morning began at a leisurely 6:50am with my ex knocking on the door. The kids were already awake but waiting patiently in their rooms for their father to arrive. Then began the flurry of unwrapping, laughter, happy children, games, turkey and movies. All in all, everyone had a fantastic day and I didn’t even mind having my ex in my house for 10 hours.

On Boxing Day we packed up the car and headed out to visit family for a few days. My sister always hosts the whole crew and it started out with 10 people then up to 13 who needed beds for the night. There are always loads of games, food and drinks to go with the newly added abundance of teenage hormones and attitudes. In spite of the latter, a good time was had by all and it ended much too quickly as per usual.

We got home last night to a lot more snow in the yard, luckily I had my ex call a plow so the only shovelling was the deck and walkway. Once inside, I rushed like a madwoman to get ready for my date with Sven. Dinner was a little later than expected but we had a nice time.

We had planned to see each other before Christmas but those plans got cancelled so I took his present to him last night. My kids thought it was a lame gift but he had mentioned wanting a cast iron frying pan so that was what I bought him. At least I knew he would like it.

I actually bought it expecting that I wouldn’t get anything in return. I just didn’t think that Sven would think to get me anything. I was wrong. He bought me a lovely pair of earrings with a matching pendant. I was so surprised at his thoughtful gift. Did I mention I didn’t expect him to get me anything? We didn’t discuss exchanging presents, I got him the frying pan because I wanted to. I guess he got me earrings because he wanted to. For all of the complaining that I do about Sven, this is definitely a +1 for him. We even have plans to get together this weekend even though he doesn’t like to make plans. Hopefully no one will have to cancel.

And tonight is New Year’s Eve. I thought I would be spending it by myself  but a dear friend of mine has invited me over. I’m not sure who I will know there but I have accepted the lovely invite as one of my final ways to put myself out there in 2013.

Creating Christmas Magic

I have one child who still believes in Santa. And once she no longer believes, Christmas will be a little different. Slightly less magical.

But this year is not that year. This year I have written her a letter from Santa regarding some Littlest Pet Shop toys that I got second-hand. These toys are obviously not new but still have many years of life left in them. Someone was practically giving them away so I had to take them. However, I knew that I couldn’t wrap them up like the other gifts so I decided to do something a little fun.

 

Letter from Santa

 

I hope this letter helps to create a special memory this year. Christmas is about creating magic and my heart wishes for excited laughter and smiles, which sounds magical to me.

 

The Top 8 Benefits of Being Unemployed

I’ve been unemployed for 10 months now and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. This time off has been an opportunity for me. An opportunity to explore new things, to take time for myself and to re-evaluate where I’m going in life. So without further ado, here are the

top-8

Benefits of Being Unemployed:
  1. The gift of time.
    One of the things about not working 8+ hours/day is that you have a lot more free time to do other things. Of course, searching for work takes up some time but you can’t spend 40 hours/week doing that soul-sucking task or you would end up in a fetal position on the floor.
  2. Less stress.
    I’m sure that several of you are looking confused at this one. Let me clarify, some days are pretty damn stressful, when you wonder why no one is hiring you after multiple interviews, that can be pretty stressing. But I haven’t been feeling that every day. For the most part I have been enjoying the lack of work-related stress. No deadlines to meet, no lack of communication, no problems with co-workers… you get the idea. Plus, when the kids get home, the evening rush of homework and activities is a lot less rushed and a lot less stressful.
  3. Better health.
    I have lost 14 pounds during the last 8 months. It has not been due to dieting. It has been due to eating better, less stress, more exercise and an increased focus on self-care.
  4. An opportunity to try new things.
    During this period of unemployment I have embraced blogging, tried meditating, learned about chakras and life energy, completed some small challenges, reached out to friends new and old, and signed up for a writing course. Plus, I learned a lot about happiness, positivity and gratitude, started playing badminton, and spent some time volunteering.
  5. Did some things I did not previously have time for.
    I’ve done a lot of reading, purged some stuff, organized a get-together, scrapbooked, did more yoga, taught my youngest how to ride her bike, planted a flower garden and a few vegetables, went on some day-trips, did a little dating, and watched too much TV.
  6. Explored options for my future.
    This time off has given me an opportunity to assess where I am in life and where I want to go. It did not happen quickly but after some soul-searching I have become a lot more serious about writing a book. I think I needed to go through certain steps to get to this point but I am excited about writing and I want to see what I can do in this field.
  7. Improved a friendship.
    I have this friend who I liked but we didn’t hang out that much. We both got laid off together and it was a bonding experience. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders in the whole blogging adventure and job search process. I really appreciate her support and I ❤ her. Thanks Regan!!
  8. Made new friends.
    Blogging has put me in touch with some people I never would have connected with before. I like that I have readers and I like reading other people’s blogs. Plus the writing course has added more people to my life. I’ve only been there a short time but they seem like a super supportive bunch and I am excited to get to know them better.

I know that these are my benefits, but if you’re unemployed you can make some of them yours too. Don’t spend all of your time feeling sorry for yourself. Put yourself out there, take risks and do something that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. Of course, don’t give up the job search but keeping busy with things you like will help you keep a positive attitude and that will help in the big scheme of things.

More Vacation Fun

sea cavesWe went on a trip to see some sea caves one day this week. It didn’t rain at all that morning but when we got to the sea caves, guess what? Rain. Luckily for us the rain didn’t start to really pour until we had completed about 80% of the tour. We soldiered on in some sexy rain gear but ended up cancelling the rest of the plans for the day.

on a horse

Me on a horse!!

Today we went to visit a family friend who owns horses and then spent the rest of the day at the beach jumping waves. My other sister and her kids were able to join us and everyone had a fantastic time.

Our friend gave everyone the chance to take a short ride on one of the horses. Most of the kids had never ridden before so it was pretty exciting. I’ve only been on one horse before at around age 10 so I jumped at the chance to try it again.

We went to a rather chilly beach today that is known for it’s great surf. The water was so cold that the adults didn’t last too long out in the crashing water but I didn’t want to miss out on the wave-jumping so we braced ourselves and charged into the frigid ocean with smiles on our faces. How is it that kids are oblivious to the cold?

One bad thing about today, I was not on top of the sunscreen and it shows :(. Hopefully the red will fade quickly.

Vacations and Mini-Adventures are Good for You

Day 1 of my vacation involved a lot of walking and a mishmash of activities. We started with a picnic at a little beach and ended it by poking through an old cemetery. Who says I don’t have diverse interests?

beach cemetery

Really, if you’ve never gone through an old cemetery before you should take a look. Most of the headstones we saw today were from people who died around 200 years ago and the oldest one we found was dated from 1760. Some of the headstones even gave quite a bit of information on the person who was buried there. It’s almost like a personal look into local history. We easily could have stayed longer but we were rushing to beat the meter maid. If you’ve never taken a tour of a cemetery before, you should give it a try, you might find something interesting.

The thing about vacations and mini-adventures is that not only are they good for your mental health, it is easier to live in the present while partaking in them. For the most part I had a great day, the kids were pretty well-behaved, the weather was fantastic, we had some fun photo opportunities, we did some things that were out of the ordinary, and we treated ourselves to ice cream. The only low point was when I checked my email and got the confirmation that I did, in fact, not get the last job that I interviewed for. It side-tracked my good mood for a short period of time but my sister helped get it back on track.

I’m not sure what my plan is for next week yet, but for this week, I’m going to do my best to enjoy myself and my family. Tomorrow we are off to see some ocean caves. Hopefully the rain will hold off and we won’t really get wet. And even if it does, it won’t stop us from having our mini-adventure together.

Can You be on Vacation if You Don’t Have a Job?

We arrived at my sister’s place last night after 4 hours of driving. I’m not sure if it’s exactly a vacation but it must be. I’m not home, we’ve got some day trips planned and I’ll be spending lots of money on gas. However, I still have to apply for a couple of jobs this week.

Now I’m sure there are some people out there that think that I have been on vacation for the past 9 months. Let me tell you, that’s not true. Vacations are planned events. I have not been able to plan anything for the last 9 months. The best I can do is make tentative plans based on nothing job-related happening. As a matter of fact, I’ve had to change tentative plans due to interview related stuff. And when I want to plan something, I always have this nagging feeling that I should be applying for jobs or putting everything on hold in case I get that elusive interview or that after the interview they may want to hire me and have me start right away.

Anyway, I have tossed all of that aside this week (as much as possible) and am going to try to enjoy my “vacation”. So first things first, I need to turn this computer off :). Have a great day, I plan to.

A Funny Thing Happened at the Beach

I took my lovelies to my favourite beach yesterday! It’s a 2 hour drive from home but it was worth it. It really is my happy place 🙂

meThere was lots of playing in the sand, splashing, swimming and exploring. An absolutely fantastic day.

Well during this day of hanging out and relaxing there was lots of talking.  My soon-to-be-teen and I were chatting about some of the stupid reality TV shows that are out there. Since we don’t have cable, she was wondering where I was watching one of the shows that I mentioned. I told her that I saw part of an episode at Kirk’s place.

She said to me, “Isn’t he the guy that likes sex?”. EEP!! I almost swallowed my tongue, I mean I didn’t remember having THAT conversation with her! I quickly composed myself and said, “Pardon?” She said, “Isn’t he the guy that likes his ex?” (Say both sentences out loud and quickly, you’ll see how I misheard the first time.) “Yes”, I replied, “that’s him“. (My daughter and I were discussing the challenges of dating on a previous occasion and I shared more than usual, lol).

OMG, I was laughing on the inside for that one. It was too good not to share and since I figured that I had already shared enough with my oldest, you guys get to hear about the funny instead. I hope it made you smile too.

sandBTW, does anyone know why the sand does that when you scoop it out of the water? I’m assuming it has to do with trapped air escaping but the sand was under the water where there is no air….

sand

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