Sabbatical Recap

There’s only a few days left in my summer sabbatical! Where the heck did the time go?

I accomplished some of the things on my list of goals, although the more expensive activities (mostly travel) were dropped or cut short after working an unexpected septic system replacement into our budget. I made up for that by mapping out and budgeting for a family Disney vacation during the kids’ upcoming winter break, so we have some fun travel to look forward to. Knock on wood nothing else in this house explodes before then. ๐Ÿ˜›

Most of my time was focused on drawing or working on my print-on-demand shops; I’ll make a separate wrap-up post about drawing later. We took a fun trip to Freeport and Saco as a family. I tackled some minor organization projects that I’d been putting off for a while, decluttering and cleaning out closets that hadn’t been looked at since we moved in. I also continued practicing meditation and French, and caught up on reading and TV.

We spent a couple days at the lake with the kids, and Ellie had a fun week at camp (while Gwen enjoyed a fun week as an only child). After all the drama at the beginning of the summer, things calmed down a bit.

So, what have I learned over the last three months? I’d like to continue to make time for my hobbies (new and old) outside work, and that’s going to require rethinking my work/life balance. I could be better at taking time for myself and not waiting for a summer sabbatical to do All The Things.

Am I nervous about going back to work? You bet. I haven’t checked in beyond the absolute necessities for HR, so I have no idea what I’m coming back to. I’ll no longer be a manager; I’ll have to figure out how to be a regular worker bee. And I haven’t touched code since I logged off back in May, which should make for some “fun” theme bugs while I re-learn how to WordPress.

But I’m also looking forward to seeing my colleagues, and to our annual grand meetup next month. I’m eager to get back into the routine, back to some semblance of normalcy. I am so glad I had the chance to take the time off, though, and I already look forward to doing this again in five years…minus the head lice and septic system woes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

๐Ÿ˜ƒ+

santa’s village

I’ve had a difficult time getting into the Christmas thing this year. Not sure why, although I’m guessing a last-minute trip to North Carolina for a funeral and the stress of going back to work had something to do with it. In any case, I just wasn’t feeling the holiday cheer… I’m way behind on shopping, we’re not even putting up a tree until Christmas Eve, and I ordered Christmas cards but I kinda forgot where I put them. Oops.

santa's village

Last Saturday I woke up and decided I wanted to do something to change that. So in a rare moment ofย spontaneity, we booked a motel room, strapped the kids into the van and were off to New Hampshire to visit Santa’s Villageย for the weekend. We figured this would be one of Ellie’s birthday gifts since she’s just as excited about experiences as toys (and she already has way too many of the latter).

cozy and warmIt was cold, but only in New England do people still flock to an amusement park when it’s 25 degrees out.ย We spent most of the time bundled up in layers with the occasional pit stop into a restaurant to warm up. You don’t see Gwen in many of these pictures because she was tucked away in her stroller, wrapped in a snow suit and a couple blankets with a canopy cover to keep the wind out. In fact, she slept through the majority of the park, waking only to eat and smile and smugly prove to us just how easy-going a baby can be.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the park was especially friendly to little kids… there was more than enough stuff to do in the two days we were there. I was worried Ellie would get scared on the rides but she LOVED them–the train, the monorail, the spinning cups, everything. She liked visiting with the reindeer and decorating her own gingerbread lady (and then inhaling it, of course.) The light display after the sun went down was spectacular (I’d hate to see their electric bill) and Tim and I both enjoyed watching Ellie soak it all up with wide eyes.

hi (rein)deer!

riding the carouselย  ย ย gingerbread lady

Ironically, the only thing we didn’t do was visit with Santa… the line was too long for a three-year-old’s attention span. But you know, I don’t think Ellie missed out–the whole “sit on an old man’s lap to get candy” thing probably seems pretty creepy to a kid who is finicky around strangers.

cupcake girl

We know it was a successful trip because by the end of the day, Ellie was an overstimulated grouch. She passed out in the car on the way home and didn’t wake up for two hours. Operation: Exhaust the Preschooler was a success!

daddy's better than any stroller

And wouldn’t you know, I found a bit of Christmas spirit along the way (and a pound of homemade fudge from the candy shop certainly didn’t hurt).

๐Ÿ˜ƒ+

in which i compare my daughter to a sheep on crack

I know I should write about our eventful week’s vacation, but it can be summed up in one sentence: see toddler run, chase toddler, catch toddler, repeat.

Oh, there were many good times. It was great listening to music around the campfire in New Brunswick and drinking Mike’s at the annual summer party. I was so happy to see my friends Sarah, Amanda and Rachel in Boston (everyone I love moves to Boston eventually. It’s like I’m cursed.) And I spent far too much money at Lush.

But it’s hard to relax and enjoy the moment for long when you have an active kid who is too young to understand that playing in traffic is a bad thing. I spent a lot of time feeling like a shepherd with a flock of one–one crazy sheep with unending energy and a death wish.

Not to mention, there’s nothing like a 1-year-old to remind you that a vacation, while fun, is a vast difference from the normal routine. Naps are fleeting, and saved solely for long car trips. Meals are grabbed on the go, and often rejected entirely in favor of graham crackers and milk. Lots of playtime. Lots of vehement “no’s,” the kind that can only be uttered by a small, overtired child who is utterly confused as to why we’re sleeping outdoors, in a tent.

A tent, mother? Are you serious? This can’t be legal. I’m calling DHS.

Someone does NOT care for camping (I can’t say I blame her.) She did, however, seem to enjoy our three-day trip to Boston, so maybe she has a future in the city (see? Cursed!)

As much fun as it was to see my family, to hang out with old friends who I’ve missed dearly, and to watch my daughter discover a larger world, I am more than happy to get back to a predictable schedule.

Routines–they aren’t just for babies anymore!

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