sabbatical & pei, 2022

Oh, hello, blog! I wandered away for a while, didn’t I? I’ve been avoiding my computer since it’s mostly for work stuff, and I can’t type fast enough on my phone, so blogging fell by the wayside when I started my sabbatical in August. Photo dump ahead!

I’m just over halfway through my time off, and my days are mostly spent puttering around the house, painting, building LEGO, playing video games, and hanging out with the kids when they’re not in school. I’m grateful to have this break, but it’s a bit weird not working. I’ve probably overcompensated by taking on more responsibility at home, but I still don’t feel like I’m doing “enough” sometimes, whatever that means. I’m definitely enjoying the increased number of walks and naps (as is the dog).

I’ve also enjoyed all this extra time with the kids. By September I’m usually more than ready to ship them off to school for a few hours’ peace, but this year I was sad to see the summer end. The time off has allowed me to be more fully present with family life and reminded me how cool it is to raise new humans. Last time I was on sabbatical they were just coming out of babyhood, and now they’re entrenched in tweenager-dom. In five years, they’ll be getting ready to fly the coop. They’re coming into their own, and it’s a joy to follow along and cheer them on.

We took a family trip to Prince Edward Island in Canada last weekend, something I’ve looked forward to since Tim and I first visited in 2019. It’s such a beautiful place. Things looked a little rough post-hurricane, and unfortunately most of the national parks and beaches were closed, but everyone was gracious and welcoming. I treated myself to a spa day, we spent some time exploring the city, ate lots of Cow’s ice cream, and visited Green Gables Heritage Place.

Tim and I were smitten, and already planning to do a summer trip when we can visit the beaches. I could see us living there; it feels just like home, the perfect marriage of potato fields and farms with little seaside towns, with the added diversity and culture of Charlottetown just a few miles (or kilometers) away. We floated the idea of immigrating to Canada with the kids, but Gwen is hesitant and Ellie is not at all interested in pulling up roots, and I suppose I can’t blame them.

Now I’m in the process of planning our next adventure: Christmas at Disney! We’d tentatively planned this back in 2020, but the pandemic put a pause on everything. Fast forward a few years and we’re all twice-boosted against Covid, so I feel better about flying longer distances, and at Disney we can spend a lot of time outside. This will also be the first time we’ll stay on premises at an official Disney resort (Wilderness Lodge) and the first time we’ll be away from home for the holidays. It’ll probably feel a little weird to break from tradition, and to experience a Christmas without freezing temps…but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. 😜


Patented Gwennie smirk

Seven years ago today, I was feeling pretty miserable. I was a week overdue with a pregnancy that had been a long slog, and I’d developed a cold that kept me up in the wee hours. My midwife prescribed me antibiotics and Tylenol PM, and I went to bed that night hoping to get a good night’s sleep.

Then my water broke.

The next morning, Gwen entered our lives like a superhero, with one little fist raised in protest. She’s been our little fighter ever since.

Dat sass

Gwen is our wild child, our goofball, our daredevil. Her imagination knows no bounds, her stories are endless and filled with dramatic delights. Murderous villains, triumphant superheroes, bullies, and best friends. One day she’s a puppy or a kitten or a bunny rabbit, and we’re hard-pressed to convince her to break character to do mundane things like eat or do chores or homework.

Tending to her kitty.

She builds amazing things out of LEGOs and plays with them for hours. She eats ketchup on everything, and by everything, I mean one of the three foods that’s currently in her Acceptable Foods rotation, which changes on a daily basis. She’s her big sister’s best friend. She loves to be tickled until she can’t breathe, and then she’ll catch her breath and beg for more.

Future engineer

Gwen does everything with gusto. Sometimes her love is so fierce, it physically hurts. She throws herself into my lap like a canon ball, squeezes tight with her arms around my neck like a vise. She’s loud; we have yet to find her volume control switch. She’s told me she’s meant to be a monkey who lives in the trees, that she’s too wild to be contained in our house — then she says, “I’m not a nature girl” when I tell her to go outside and play.

The Incredible Sulk

Gwen is the kid who makes me laugh when I’m not supposed to laugh, who makes me question everything I’m doing as a parent, who brings me to the edge of patience and tips me over just to see how I’ll react. She learns the hard way, over and over and over.

She’s the reigning champion of the time-out corner.

Oh, this face. This sweet little face.

Her hair still smells a little like it did when she was a baby. She still reaches for my hand when we cross a busy parking lot. She crawls into bed with us and tucks herself under Tim’s arm, and her face still shows faint traces of babyhood when she sleeps. She still has my whole dang heart. 

serious cute
Once upon a time, there was a tiny baby who grew up to be mine.

Happy birthday, Guinevere. May we survive your tenacity so it can serve you well, as you do all the big, dramatic things you dream up.

Christmas 2017

Christmas blew past in a whirlwind of food and family. We’ve had a wonderful time with my brother and sister-in-law, plus birthday festivities for Ellie. It’s been a great week, and I’m looking forward to a few days of solid R&R before the new year.

Me: Do you know who Chewbacca is?

Ellie: Do you know who Chewbacca is?

Me: No, really, I’m curious.

Ellie: No, really, I’m curious.

Me: Ellie…c’mon, remember how we watched Star Wars yesterday?

Ellie: Ellie…c’mon, remember how we watched Star Wars yesterday?

Me: …


In other news, I’m finally putting all that fifth-grade memorization to good use!

An interview with Gwen, age 4

  1. GoobWhat is something mom always says to you?
    “Be quiet.”
  2. What makes mom happy?
    “Coffee.” (Mom’s note: Accurate.)
  3. What makes mom sad?
    “No coffee.” (Mom’s note: Also accurate.)
  4. How does your mom make you laugh?
    “Tickling me.”
  5. What was your mom like as a child?
    “Me & sissy.”
  6. How old is your mom?
  7. How tall is your mom?
    “18.5 inches long”
  8. What is her favorite thing to do?
    “Play with me.”
  9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
  10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
    “I don’t know.”
  11. What is your mom really good at?
  12. What is your mom not very good at?
    “Making snowflakes.”
  13. What does your mom do for her job?
    “Team chat!” (Mom’s note: Theme Team, you’ve made an impression!)
  14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
  15. What makes you proud of your mom?
    “Your glasses!”
  16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
    “One of those robot thingees from cartoons.”
  17. What do you and your mom do together?
  18. How are you and your mom the same?
    “We have the same skin.”
  19. How are you and your mom different?
    “Our hair.”
  20. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
    “Hawaii!” (Mom’s note: Highly accurate.)