Baby Boy Nursery | Shelves and Prints, and a Giveaway

Another sneak peek of the nursery today, including a fun giveaway for you, dear readers!

Revamping Cecelia's nursery to make it feel fresh and new for her baby brother meant that I wanted to rearrange all of the existing furniture a bit. So the glider is now in the opposite corner of the room, the changing table/dresser is where the glider used to be, and the crib is turned around against the other side of it's previous corner. It will make more sense when I show you every square inch of the nursery in a true reveal after he is born!

But today's feature is the 'big wall' that is behind the glider, right above my little re-finished wooden bench. I wanted a huge, high shelf at the top of the wall after spotting a few long shelves on Pinterest. I found two shelves at Target, that were each three feet long but $25 a pop....and they were kind of crappy/fake wood. I showed them to Nate one day and he said, 'We could just make one six foot shelf for $15.' And I was sold! I bought the four brackets you see below for $10 a pair, Nate bought a six foot long board from the hardware store, and I stained/polyurethaned it. Easy enough!

I love how it turned out! I haven't totally filled the shelf the way I envision but it's coming along. And yes, that is the first letter of his name up there. And if you try to guess his name in the comments, I will ignore them;)

Cute, right? A few of the little 'vintage' figurines are from Nate's childhood McDonald's toy collection! Cannot believe Lois kept all of the boys' Happy Meal toys, but love the forest theme/animal ones. The two unframed prints on the shelf are from a blog reader who didn't need them anymore (!!) and I want to get a few more 8x10 prints up there. I like prints, duh. And speaking of...did you wonder about those adorable framed prints on the wall yet?

Let's talk more about the three prints in the yellow frames, shall we?

First, I hand-painted the white frames that Cecelia had in this room with the crib paint. Super easy project, love how it turned out.

Then I randomly discovered TADA's Revolution on Etsy, while spending countless hours searching for nursery prints. I really wanted to find prints that are slightly different, unexpected and quirky for this nursery. When I found TR's work, I immediately loved her images. I mean, they all make me smile, make me happy, and are pretty freaking hilarious...maybe just a little bit 'odd' in the best way possible. Nate definitely raised his eyebrows when I showed him my new-found loves but he likes them now that they are hung in the room. I love the three prints I chose, and here is my favorite. It's called Poisson Descends Upon Cromwell's Pumpkin Patch. HILARIOUS! Each print has a story behind it!

I mean, are you kidding me with the cuteness? A tiny stuffed animal is flying over pumpkins with a cape and mask, and mountains are in the background. So 'weird' and awesome, all rolled into one print.

Here are my favorite images on the TR Flickr site, and I would have purchased them all if I had room for these beauts.

I got this one because, duh, a family of five little bears crossing a bridge together? Yes. It's called 'Bears Over Troubled Waters'.
Bears over troubled water

Here's my favorite Poisson guy!
Poisson descends upon Cromwell's pumpkin patch

And the third print I got? This hilarious fox in a trench coat, sitting on a bench and drinking Starbucks. YES! Now this is using the fox/woodland theme of the nursery in a way I didn't expect and I love it. The title? 'Out of the corner of his left eye, Fabian spies something succulent and delicious'. Hahahaha!!
Out of the corner of his left eye, Fabian spies something succulent and delicious

I didn't get this one, but 'Helix and Proto go fishing' is seriously cute.
Helix and Proto B go fishing

And what about this one, called 'Which rabbit would you pick?'
Which rabbit would you pick?

Then this guy with a giant head, on a laptop with a coffee mug? Love him. It's called 'It says here that there is a wild bear on the loose...'
It says here that there is a wild grizzly bear on the loose...

I immediately spent way too much time on TADA Revolution's Flickr site when I finally settled on just three prints for my nursery. And then I was so excited about finding something so unique and FUN, like nothing I've seen before, I asked Susan (the owner of TR) if she would consider doing a giveaway for my readers. This is VERY unlike me, since I usually get something gifted to me with most giveaways and the companies usually contact me first. (#SpoiledBlogger) I actually bought my own prints from TR and am the one who suggested this little treat for my readers (aren't I proud of myself on this one?). I just think her prints are so cool and special and think you will, too;)

These images would totally work in other rooms of the house besides a nursery, too. Which means I sort of want a few of my other favorites and will figure out where to put them later. They just make me happy and I think they'd be great conversation pieces for the home.

Susan happily agreed to write up a little blurb about how her company began and you guys, she freaking MAKES most of her little characters! Each image is like a tiny work of art if you ask me. I don't know why I'm so into this little company but I am, so forgive me!
Susan on the set of "Public Service"

From Susan:

TADA’s Revolution began in 2008 when Susan Chi, a former chemical engineer traded in her safety goggles and lab coat, for a set of crochet hooks, and a digital SLR camera in pursuit of a lifelong dream.

Susan is completely self-taught, and has learned to crochet, knit, sew, and work with polymer clay and wood to build the characters, miniature scenes and dioramas of the Revolution. Susan’s specialties are amigurumi crocheted animals, 1:6 scale furniture, and ultra miniature 1:24 scale designs. 

Susan started posting her photo stories on Flickr ( in 2008. In 2013, in response to overwhelming demand, TADA’s Revolution began releasing art prints and miniatures for purchase on her Etsy Store ( 

Susan photographs the secret life of toys, from everyday experience to the mischievous and dark. Each story is told over one or two panels, which are immersive, meticulously detailed, and powerful enough to communicate the emotions, irony, and humor. TADA’s Revolution has a devoted following which spans the world, and TADA’s Revolution’s photos have been viewed more than 700,000 times on Flickr. Who could resist Susan’s big headed furry animals with shifty eyes who get into all sorts of trouble? TADA’s Revolution photos and characters have appeared on calendar covers, books, and star in two stop-motion videos. 

TR Flickr

TR Facebook Page

Official TR Website

TR Etsy

Now for the giveaway information:

To enter the drawing for one free TADA's Revolution 8x10 print of your choice, you follow TR on Facebook or Flickr. Then comment below saying you followed, and tell us what your favorite image is from the site. You get one entry into the drawing for each 'follow', so divide up your comments accordingly.

I will randomly select up to five winners, depending on how many comments we get, on Wednesday May 7. Have fun looking at all of the miniature animals causing trouble!

Requesting Help for Two Kids Who Lost Their Parents

You guys know that I very rarely ask you to donate money towards any specific causes on this blog, right? In fact, I think the only time I've done that was when my good friend Keri was going through breast cancer (now she is doing great six years later!). Today I'm posting because two wonderful people died in a horrible car accident last week. Their story has moved me to tears many times and it made me feel ill when I first heard the news Friday morning. I constantly think, 'that could have been us, or any other young parents that we know.' This could have happened to anyone. So much can change in an's just so unfair.


I did not know Shari and Bram personally, but they were dear friends of my friends, Kelly and Dizzy. When Dizzy asked me to post about them on my blog to ask for prayers and donations, I jumped at the chance. You can read their story from Dizzy below, check out the news link for more information, and then I hope you feel moved enough to donate money towards their two small children. At ages 2 years and 2 months, I just cannot stop thinking about these kids who will never remember their parents. I feel like this is one of my worst nightmares and it seems unimaginable as reality. If anything ever happened to Nate and myself, I know I'd want our kids to be supported by everyone and anyone.

IMG_1604 copy

Hi to Julia’s readers and thank you for reading this. I know most of you are moms, or hope to be someday, and I thought Julia’s blog would be a great forum to tell this heartbreaking story and to ask for your help (and prayers)!
This past weekend, my high school friend Shari and her husband Bram died in a car accident, leaving behind their two sweet children, Wesley (2  years) and Charlotte (2 months). I don’t think I can come close to describing how devastating this tragedy has been for everyone involved.  Shari and Bram were a radiant, happy couple and are already so missed by their family and friends.  We are doing all we can to keep their memory alive for their children, and the outpouring of love the last few days has been amazing!


My wonderful friends have set up a few different ways to donate money for Wesley and Charlotte, if you feel so inclined.  Please see the links below for further information on how to donate and more information on Shari and Bram’s story.
Thank you so much!


Here is where you should go to donate. No amount is too little for two small children who will grow up without their parents.  I think that the GoFundMe site seems easiest to navigate and am blown away by how many people have already donated. I'm headed over there when I publish this and hope you feel moved to give something, too. Shari and Bram were obviously very loved and I know that Wesley and Charlotte are, too.

Here is the most recent news coverage on Shari and Bram's story. I tried to embed the video but couldn't, so you will just have to click on the link.

Here is the blog that Dizzy's friend, Kelly, set up for Shari and Bram's friends and family. There are so many beautiful pictures and updates on this site, and it shows that everyone wants to support these children and their remaining family.

Thank you, readers, for your time and thoughts!

Baby #3: 30 weeks

4.29.14: Thirty weeks, baby! 'In my thirties', just like my age;) Final decade of pregnancy weeks....or, whatever. Woah.

Camera Roll-529

Do you know what happens every single week when I sit down to write these posts? I always think, 'There is nothing new going on, I have nothing to say, so maybe I will just phone it in or skip this week's update.' And then I somehow manage to post a lengthy update I didn't know I had in me. Whoops;)

Camera Roll-532

Baby is: up to three pounds and 16 inches, at his max for amniotic fluid this week, and kicking his mama like crazy. As always, he seems to like jabbing my belly button at all times. I seriously love feeling this kid move.

Highlights of the week, since there were too many 'best of' moments to narrow down:

Tues: Truman informed me he wants to marry Cecelia when they grow up. OMG. Heart melted. Also had a wonderful morning at the playground with some friends/kids, then a long walk to Starbucks with just my kids in the afternoon before hitting another playground. Fresh air, exercise, and SBux treats for the win!
Wed: I got off work early, so I went to a coffee shop for 'me time' on the computer. My happy place, for sure, and I would love to make this happen more regularly somehow. Also: lots of decaff coffee treats this week;)
Thurs: Went to a meeting at my office for the first time in many months. Co-workers were shocked that A) I'm pregnant and, B) due in July. They say I 'wear it well' and seemed generally excited for me. Realized I have about two-ish more months of work and then 12 weeks off. Yesssss.
Fri: Took a long walk with Henry dog and soaked in the sunshine after work. Another happy place for me.
Sat: Family time!! Playground, errands, amazing mommy-nap, and then an adults-only game night here after major deep cleaning of the house. We had ten people here this time, instead of the usual eight and it was maybe one of the most fun game nights yet! Love hosting parties here.
Sun: My birthday! General amazingness, including brunch with my guy, family time lounging around and also walking to Starbucks for a treat, and a solo maternity shopping trip-- resulting in a new spring wardrobe that makes me feel cuter and ready to tackle the final weeks of pregnancy in style. Also: my kids are the sweetest and husband is the best. All of my friends and family members (and social media, thank you!) made me feel super-special and loved on my big day. Feeling very overwhelmed with the love and gratitude all day on my birthday. I almost wrote a mushy/emotional blog post that day just to remember how happy and content I was feeling, but did not in the name of enjoying the moment instead of blogging about it. Each year really does get better and better. And 33 doesn't feel 'old' most days.
Mon: Started my 'to do before baby list.' This feels so real all of a sudden!

Truman took these family pictures for us before my birthday brunch. Hilarious that he asks to take pictures now, and we are working on finding the right composition/not cutting off our heads.
Camera Roll-484

Yeah, let me see how many you just took, buddy;)
Camera Roll-485

And Nate took this one. Love that CC is picking her nose. Put on my shoes so that my gargantuan feet weren't blinding you, like above.
Camera Roll-487

My birthday lunch was freaking phenomenal. Monkey bread with whiskey caramel sauce? Yes.
Camera Roll-488

And the best omlette/pancake ever. That's cheesy-beer sauce on top (bacon and sausage inside) and Wisconsin 100% pure maple syrup for the 'cake. Drool.
Camera Roll-489

Such a lucky lady with a 'made by the kids and husband' cake. Perfection. And yes, kids stayed in their jammies all day on Sunday 'just because'.
Camera Roll-519

Exercise stuff: Walked three days this week, probably about 2 miles each time. Still with the slight cramping/tightening of the old uterus but if I slow way down it gets better. Somewhat annoyed that I can't be as active as I'd like because my body tells me to chill out, but I get it. I'm very pregnant and realize it won't be forever, which makes me both very sad and very happy depending on the minute.

How I feel: Exhausted some days, high on life for others. Harder to get up from laying down, difficult to carry my children around, and still with the pressure 'down there' that makes me feel like baby is sitting directly on my private parts. Not sure my nether-regions will ever recover from this babe:/ Also really struggled to get up on Truman's top bunk to read the kids books the other night--I was just so uncomfortable sitting up there and both kids were kind of rough with my belly, so I vowed to avoid the top bunk from here on out. Also: it was not a pretty sight to see me get down from there.

I think I'm more tired this time around but still feeling really good for being in the final stretch of pregnancy. Mostly it's just the whole 'having two kids to care for' thing that makes me so tired compared to other pregnancies. Duh, right? Feeling very close and very far away from meeting baby boy.

The Superficial: Belly seems round and high to me, and I'm still loving my basketball belly. I think it's the biggest of all my pregnancies so far but strangers still seem to think I'm 'soooooo small' when I tell them my due date. I particularly enjoy telling people that this is my third, not my first, child when they ask. There should be a study on people's reactions and comments to pregnant women out there---such a wide variety of opinions on gestating mamas. I haven't heard anything especially MEAN this time around and honestly don't even care about the 'too small' comments. Definitely taking that as a compliment this time around! I don't feel 'fat' but I still marvel at how much my body is changing. Pulled out my big girl C cup bras and held up one to my usual A cuppers, for Nate to see the difference. Seriously, it's insanity up in here---porn star status compared to my teenage boy status before! Truman and Cecelia found it hilarious to wear my big girl bras around the house a bit....then Nate quickly ended that party, disturbed by seeing his children with big knockers. ;)

Best comment of the week: 'You don't look old enough to have three kids!' Hahahahaha, thanks, sales lady trying to get me to buy more maternity clothes from your store. Your comment worked and I like you, cha-ching;) Especially because she told me this on my thirty-third birthday and I was questioning my youth before this statement.

I posted these outfits on Instagram--some of my favorite new purchases. Bought them all and then some, so pretty sure I'm set for warmer weather should it ever decide to come! Had big success at Motherhood Maternity/Pea in the Pod. A little nervous about the coral leggings but I went for it after Dizzy and Nate both confirmed they were cute via text. Also: my belly button seems to have it's own agenda these days, huh? And I was having a great hair day on my birthday, so another point for 'Life is Good at 33!'

Camera Roll-527
The coral leggings. Can I pull them off? Didn't get this tank, already have two almost identical at home. Also, do I love stripes or something??
Camera Roll-501

And this dress was a huge hit on Instagram, and I do love it. But from the side I feel like I look a little bit like a house. In my efforts to embrace more flowy tops/outfits, I realize that they make me look very pregs. And I am.
Camera Roll-503

And these were the 'maybe' outfits that I did not purchase, but I secretly want a few of them right now looking at this line up. I just had to draw the line somewhere and it was difficult to edit my giant pile of, whatever.
Camera Roll-528
I did actually get that black cardigan in the bottom center pic. Wanted those jean shorts, too, but they were $75 so I opted for the darker ones in the first grouping instead (only $40). I feel inspired by those lighter denim shorts though and might attempt cutting off some of my old maternity jeans that are super flared. Wish me luck!

Enough dressing room pictures....

Happenings: No big nursery progress this week, but instead I'm focusing my energy on cleaning and organizing our house.Wiping baseboards and door frames of the dirty/sticky hand prints is not my favorite thing to do but all of a sudden it's very necessary! Scrubbing our kitchen floor by hand, washing the couch cushions in the washer (scary!! but it worked), and sorting through our closets were all highlights of my week-o-nesting.

Also, we have been talking a lot about maternity leave/return to work set ups this week. Nate is going to take some substantial time off for paternity leave this time! At first we thought he got paid at 60% for 6 weeks and we were planning for him to take off the entire month of July, but it turns out the policy is nothing special and sort of sucks. (ie no paid time off at all for dads, but they can't fire him for using PTO---awesome!). Cue the sad trombone. So now he is thinking about using PTO to be home for the first week and then maybe take of every Tuesday and Thursday for three more weeks after that.  I'll still take it, even though it's not nearly as amazing as having him home for a full month! I knew that rumor was too good to be true.

I will probably stop working right before the Fourth of July, assuming I make it that long---really not feeling like working lately, not good since I have another ten weeks to go! Then we will likely send Truman and Cecelia to Lori's just two days per week during my maternity leave this time, although last time we sent Truman there for three days each week. I don't want to pull them all the way out of Lori's because it's so good for them to have their friend/other-authority-figure time....and Nate and I want some time alone with the new baby, too. Win-win for all. By the end of my maternity leave, Truman will be in Junior Kindergarten anyway (!!), and will be totally done with Lori's at the end of August. Can hardly imagine that transition!

Also, my mom wants to fly out and stay for a solid few weeks, too. Do you know what this means? SO MUCH HELP for baby #3!!! And trust me, I know better than to turn any of it down. Maternity leave is always such a special, magical, exhausting and chaotic time of should be infinitely better with my husband and my mom around for a majority of it. Cannot.Wait. I'm lucky, I know!

My guys with matching hats. Love them, and I know one more little guy that can't wait to be a part of their manly activities!
Camera Roll-468

Food stuff: I've actually been craving spinach salads and any/every fruit out there lately. Sure, I still love my sweets (birthday cake, Easter candy, etc) but it's interesting that healthier foods are what I want more than anything. This was around the time when my appetite calmed down with Cecelia, too. It's nice not to have that ravenous, 'must eat all the food' feeling anymore. Hope it doesn't come back anytime soon because I'm running out of room for big meals, anyway.

Other random belly pictures:

Friday night before bed, felt like my belly was super round and low all of a sudden:
Camera Roll-464

Saturday, feeling like this belly was crazy high:
Camera Roll-479

And later that night, a little blurry but again....hello, belly! You keep changing on me.
Camera Roll-480

Birthday belly!
Camera Roll-482

Comparing pregnancies: Truman's pregnancy at thirty weeks: others telling me my bump was 'too small' and I was 'barely showing'.  Ooohh, and I forgot about the one of the rudest comments ever: "I'm sorry but you don't even look pregnant, it just looks like you got a fat gut.' NOW I remember that one, and that particular person is pretty much miserable in general (and I never see her anymore anyway). What a mean thing to say to someone! I mean, my belly wasn't huge but I had just experienced a huge growth spurt and most definitely looked pregnant at 30 weeks. I was still running and trying to get the 'very active baby kicks' on video.

Cecelia's pregnancy at thirty weeks:  feeling like my bump was pretty small, others telling me 'you don't even look pregnant', getting harder to move around, new maternity clothes lent to me by friends, and moving into bi-weekly appointments. Oh, and I thought CC was very active. I guess I've thought all of my babies were active, but I still think this little guy takes the cake and have successfully gotten MANY videos of his antics already, unlike my other two pregnancies when I struggled to capture it on film.

Summary: I freaking love being pregnant, even though I'm tired and getting bigger and cranky at times. Can't believe I'm so close to being done with pregnancy. I will absolutely miss the sweet anticipation of meeting our newest family member, will miss feeling his gigantic kicks and like I'm protecting him from the outside world. Even if I'm not actively thinking about this baby as much as I did for my others, I definitely feel very connected to him and can't wait to meet the little man.


Moms Make it Work: Andrea from Canada

Today for the Moms Make it Work series, we have Andrea posting about how she makes it work as a part-time college instructor and full-time mommy to two boys. Andrea emailed me about contributing to the series as a blog reader and I'm glad I took her up on the offer. I loved reading about the famous 'one year of maternity leave' that our Canadian mamas experience up there. Amazing!! Such an interesting, level-headed post, Andrea. Enjoy!


Hello All! I am Andrea...I am Canadian and I don't blog. I just felt so connected to this series that I asked Julia if I could contribute. I am an avid blog reader, but don't blog because I am a college instructor, and I just wouldn't feel comfortable if a student found my blog that shared all of the goings on of my family. I teach business part-time on a course by course contract basis. My husband Chris and I were married in 2008, in 2010 John was born, and in 2012 Will was born. No babies are planned for 2014, so I wonder what big event our bi-annual schedule will bring. Chris is a dairy farmer, and we live just outside of a town of about 35,000 in south western Ontario, for a frame of reference 150km (100mi) west of Toronto. In addition to being a mom of two and a college instructor, I do some business consulting, and volunteer as the treasurer for our church. I also enjoy decorating and being a "homemaker" in our well over 100 year old farm house that house Chris grew up in. I hope you enjoy my story. You can find me on instagram as andreanjansen.


What is your background story? What was your career/schooling before you became a mom? And now where are you?

I have always had a mind for business, learning and communication. A few years into my post secondary education I looked at the professors that made learning educational and entertaining and was inspired. I realized one day maybe I could do the same thing, and be the difference in someone's education.

I have a Bachelor of Business Administration and an MBA. I finished my MBA the month before I got pregnant with John. I am so glad I was not pregnant while working on my masters, as it was not an easy pregnancy. Oh the joys of the first trimester, and then I was hospitalized at 35 due to preeclampsia. Looking back, it made sense why I was absolutely exhausted at the end of the work day during my pregnancy, as I think my preeclampsia had been coming on for quite awhile.

I was working full time while completing my MBA, and I commuted to Niagara Falls, NY every weekend for over two years to complete my MBA. This was about a 2-hour commute. During this time I was working for my father at our family's recreational vehicle dealership. My parents sold their share of the dealership in January 2010, and John was born in March 2010. I had decided that I didn't want to take over the dealership as my dad often worked seven days a week, and I didn't see this as being compatible with having a young family. So I decided that I would not return after my maternity leave...

Now here is where my story is a little different from most that you will read in this series. In Canada we are blessed to have Government run Employment Insurance that provides women with income for a year when they go on maternity leave. In fact you can even split the leave with your baby's father if you are so inclined. You receive maternity benefits for 15 weeks, these are for the mother only and are given to any woman contributing to EI that has given birth. Parental benefits are available for 35 weeks and can be split among parents contributing to EI, including adoptive parents. You receive 55% of your income up to a maximum of almost $27,000. Some employers even top this up. I took the full year off with both boys.

After I finished my maternity leave with John, I continued to consult part-time with the RV dealership, and I still do to this day. I then got a job as a part-time Business Instructor at a private career college. It wasn't a perfect job, as the college was new and struggling. I worked 5 days a week mornings only. While working there I got an email asking me to teach a night course at the college where I teach at now. What I would call a "real" college. It was a door opening that I didn't expect to see open for many years to come. I jumped at the chance and started teaching there in May 2011 two nights a week while still working at the private career college. In June I was let go from the private career college as it struggled with enrollment. At the time it was hard to take, but it was a blessing in disguise. Unfortunately, I believe that I was let go because I was a woman and mother. A man who was hired at the same time as me, and had less education and similar experience was kept on. I was also honest with the college about the other course I was teaching, and maybe they just thought they would lose me eventually anyways.

That summer after I was let go I started counting up the hours I had worked. You have to work 600 hours to qualify for another maternity leave, and I realized if I got a few courses each semester at the college I would qualify for mat leave with my hours from the private career college. So my husband and I got right to "work", and late August we found out another baby was on its way. I knew I would have lots of hours, but likely would not max out my income on EI. That winter semester I took every course I could get, four day courses and two night to boost my income. Will was born exactly one week after the semester ended. May the fourth be with you Will!


Again I took my year long maternity leave. My husband doesn't contribute to EI because he is self employed, and really it wouldn't be an option for him to take extended time off from the farm. I wanted to go back to work at the end of the year, but administration had changed in the School of Business at the college, and I had a difficult time connecting with the new Chair to get contracts. Eventually someone from Continuing Education (night courses) connected me to a new Chair, and when an instructor took medical leave last minute I was given two courses in the fall of 2013. This semester I am teaching five courses, and I building great relationships with two of the new chairs. I probably average 25-30 hours work per week including 15 hours in class. I am so thankful to have had the flexibility with my husband's job to wait until more courses were offered to me. So, this semester I work Monday through Thursday. I have full days on Mondays and Thursdays, and Tuesday and Wednesdays I teach one class each morning. I teach Interpersonal Communications, Organizational Behaviour, Word Processing and Office Administration Procedures.

What are the best parts of your situation? What are the biggest challenges?

The best part of my situation is that I get to do something that challenges me and I enjoy on a part time basis. It doesn't hurt that I get paid decently as well. I also choose my availability in regard to when I teach, so I was able to choose to have Fridays off. This also helps when arranging child care. However, I do have a great child care arrangement. My mother-in-law takes the boys on Mondays, and Thursday afternoons. On Tuesdays and Thursday mornings they go to an amazing Christian pre-school. I have flexibility with the preschool, and can take them there other mornings if need be, and the head-teacher takes them home some afternoons when I need extra time to get work done. My dad takes the boys on Wednesday mornings, and then I meet him to take Will, while he takes John for a skating lesson. All Canadian boys must play hockey!

The biggest challenges are related to the uncertainty of not knowing how many courses I will get the next semester, and arranging different child care situations each semester. Additionally, if one of the boys are sick it is very difficult for me to cancel class, and I usually have to leave them with a family member.

I am also trying to build strong relationships with the administration before going on another maternity leave, so there is a big question mark as to when we would go for baby number 3?

Probably the biggest challenge I face is that I bring my work home with me. I have to do a lot of work outside of class hours with prepping, marking and student communication. This often means it cuts into my time with Chris to relax at the end of the day, but there will always be a compromise.

Cottage time on Mat leave 044 (2)

Is this how you expected it to be pre-kids?

No. It's better! I really didn't think I would be teaching at this point in my life, and figured I would be working in a business full-time. I am so thankful for the time I get at home with my boys. I got to nurse both of them as long as I could. John for a year, and Will until nine months. My little stinker, aka Will, abruptly stopped nursing and would not go back, but because I was on maternity leave it wasn't insanely hard to pump to get him fed with breast milk to almost a year. Major props to the working mamas out there that pump.

These days, I get at least one full weekday home with them each week. I am so thankful to have balance.


Is this your ideal situation? If not, what is?

My ideal situation would be a permanent full time teaching position. Usually these positions involve full-time hours in the fall and winter semester, but with time off for the summer semester. Some of this work can be done from home. My understanding is the hours required to be at the college are 20-30 hours a week. This includes 12-15 teaching hours, meetings and office hours. The rest of your work including curriculum development can be done from home. This would definitely be ideal once all of our children are in school. John starts Junior Kindergarten this fall. However, I was told by another part-time instructor last week, that now they are starting to want Phd's…


Do you see yourself making a career change in the next 5-10 years, or is this current set up staying put for the long haul?

...well I guess now I need to think about getting a Phd. Which definitely won't happen until all of our kids are in school. At that point I will have to question if the time I need to put into it will be worth what I get out of it? I love teaching, but I don't think part-time will be enough for my entire career. We want to able to travel, buy our own cottage, and this means me working more than part-time. We try to keep as much money in the farm to grow it as much as possible. I could supplement my teaching income with more consulting, or by starting my own business. The longer I teach the more difficult I think it will be to do something else in the business world. I also think I won't want to give up the flexibility.

Working 2 Working 3

Tips on how you make this work for you?

Well first off I have someone come and clean my house bi-weekly. This takes a load off of my plate. Chris works a lot on the farm, and I can't expect him to never rest, so this is where we give ourselves a break. He is off to work by 5:30 every morning, and works most very long days, but has some shorter days on occasion. We have hired help for every evening milking, however, he is on call a couple nights a week and every other weekend. On his on call weekends he also works in the morning, six hours on Saturdays and five on Sundays. The cleaning lady comes before the weekends when he works as I have less help to get it all done that weekend. It can be hard to make it all work. Chris comes home for breakfast every morning around 8:00am, and during this time I will finish my make up or hair before I leave at 8:30, except on Mondays when I have early classes.

A lot of the time I skip breakfast or eat it during my half hour commute. Rarely do I take my own lunch. I find by the time I have taken care of everyone else I don't have much time to take care of myself. I could probably get more done if I woke up earlier, but I am a girl who needs her sleep. Generally, if the boys wake up, I get up in the night since Chris gets less sleep overall. On that note, I think healthy sleep habits really help. We actually have followed a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Our boys go to bed between 7:00 and 7:30pm and sleep until between 7:00 and 7:30am, of course with the occasional waking.

I try to be really organized. In our house. Having meals planned. Having bags ready for the next day. Not procrastinating on prep work, and the list goes on. When I am home and trying to get organized or work done, I often put the boys in the playroom with a gate closed so I don't have to worry about what they are getting into. Or the next thing I know I find Will upstairs hiding in a closet. I just need to know they are safe. Otherwise I wouldn't get to start working on anything until 8:00pm.


How do you handle mommy guilt that comes with each role?

Each semester is a new adjustment for the boys, and any guilt I feel is usually related to changing their routine. It has been harder on Will than on John. I just try to make sure he gets extra mommy/daddy snuggle time, because he is a little suck.

I guess I am lucky that I don't feel this applies to me much right now. I am so blessed to work part-time doing something I love. Of course I miss my boys on my long days, but I know the next day is usually shorter. It really is the best of both worlds. The worst is when I get stuck in traffic, which happened last week when my half hour commute took three hours!  (Thanks to the Canadian winter) So that night we kept them up a little later.

Untitled Winter time fun mat leave Working with Daddy

Advice for new moms struggling with returning to work outside of the home? Or struggling to decide if staying home is the right choice?

Move to Canada, and you'll get a year off! I kid, but really I do realize how lucky we are. Part-time works really well for me, but it's not an option in all careers. I am a very practical person, and I think first and foremost you need to look at your finances, and determine what your goals are for your family financially, but also personally and career wise. Long term are there implications to staying home? Will it have an effect on your career that will mean less opportunities for your kids as they get older? Do you need to be intellectually challenged? Maybe for you it is important to save for their education, but if you don't work you won't be able to do it. Do your children have special needs that they need you home for? Will has respiratory issues, and when I was having trouble getting a contract after my mat leave I didn't try too hard to get back in that semester, because I knew I had a lot of work to do to get him healthy.

There is so much to consider. I honestly think it's best to look at it practically, rather than emotionally. Easier said than done I know, but it works on both sides of the table. My thoughts above probably looked like they favour working, but what is the point in working if your income barely covers child care? Will you come home tired and cranky if you are working full-time, and have nothing left for your kids because you really don't like your job?

I think acceptance is key. No matter what, when you have children there are going to be compromises. What are you most willing to compromise? Ask yourself what will make you happy? A happy mom that works for example is better than an unhappy mom at home.


Thanks Julia...this was very cathartic, I can see why you enjoy blogging.
IMG_9315 IMG_9206

* might look like I made some spelling errors but we spell a few word differently up here...behavior = behaviour, favorite = favourite :)

(Ha, thanks, Andrea. Find the rest of the MMIW series here)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...