Updates since my last post

I haven’t updated here since the post about Interlaken! After Interlaken, we went to Milan, which was busy and Italian and beautiful. We were a bit traveled out at that point, so we spent a good bit of time just hanging out at the hotel and only really saw a few important sights- the Duomo (which was breathtaking) and the Teatro alla Scala (which had a lovely museum, and really appealed to my theatre-side).

Duomo

Teatro alla scala

Anyway, came home after that, it was good to be home and to see Wesley.

Since then, I’ve also announced via some other methods that I’m pregnant. I’m around 20 weeks now. So that’s happening too.

Christmas has come and gone – we traveled to Texas for Christmas this year and that was nice as well. I got to meet my niece for the first time.

Playing on Christmas morning

Happy new year!

Good few weeks, but eyes on the vacation prize!

Things have been a little chaotic the past few weeks, but my vacation is coming and I’m excited! Before I talk about that though, a recap.

The Friday before last, I went to an outing of friends, wherein we all dressed up just for the fun of it and went to Imbibe. It was a good time, for sure- with one friend setting up an impromptu portrait studio so he could capture us all in our dress-up gear. It was ridiculous and awesome. Ran into a choir friend of mine there as well, so that was really fun. The image below links to the whole set of photos. Fun times!



CPLP exam is coming up soon. Worried about it, of course, but I don’t think I could have fit in more prep time. Like any standardised, proctored exam, there’s an element of the unknown going into your first take and you can’t fully prepare that away. If I need to retest, at least I’ll go into that with experience in how the test is written and run. I’ve done fine on the practice exam and other practice questions, but there are some things that stump me still.

But I’m not going to dwell too much!

I didn’t have much time to prep this weekend because I was volunteering and soaking up awesomeness at an amazing conference called Fluxible. I’ll write up some more details in another post hopefully when I’ve fully digested, but suffice it to say it was a really well-done conference, and an amazing experience.

This past Friday, I had to drive to Fort Erie, because I needed to do an interview to renew my NEXUS card. If you’re not familiar, the NEXUS card is basically an identification card for a trusted-traveler system between the US and Canada. You have to renew every five years, and the renewal requires an interview (though just by the US, it seems). It links to some other programs as well and is awesome, and means quick customs lines for cardholders. So Friday was pretty busy with driving down there for my interview and back, and then setup for the conference.

Meanwhile, I didn’t get to see Wesley much, but this week, it’s just he and I, as Trevor is traveling. So that will make things a bit less smooth, but I think it’ll be okay.

But then… on the 25th, sweet sweet vacation- and boy, do we need it! We’re traveling to Switzerland and Italy- Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken, and Milan. It’s going to be amazing. Wesley is going to stay home, and his grandparents have kindly offered to watch him while we’re away. It’ll be so nice to recharge and to see the Alps! No doubt I will have lots of photos to share here.

Anyone else have travel coming up soon, or am I the only one who schedules all vacations for the fall? 🙂

Virtual Choir 4

In case you didn’t see on any of the other places I posted this- I’m in the credits around 7:09! This turned out so amazing. I’m excited and proud to have been a part of this and of the previous Virtual Choir incarnation as well.

Collections of Learning Experiences

I’ve been doing so much LEARNING lately that I’m full to bursting. I’ve got like 10 different books that I’m reading, I’ve gone to some events, I’m studying for the CPLP, I’ve just wrapped up a leadership course and volunteer training and Family and Children’s services. I’ve been going through some internal courses at work. So many things! So I thought I’d talk it out here and try to get my thoughts in order!

First things first- the CanWIT event I went to this past week. So, I’ve recently joined the local Chapter of CanWIT, which is Canadian Women in Technology. They held an event called “Pitch Perfect”, which was mostly focused on pitching startups, but there were some good tips as well for just selling ideas in general. It was held at Workplace One in the newly renovated section of the Breithaupt Block, and the building is just gorgeous inside- worth the price of admission alone! There was a panel, and a number of young women there. I got to meet the mayor and the MPP, which was pretty awesome. Overall, a great event and I got some good tips.

In other news. my CPLP study group’s has been doing teachback sessions and they’re going pretty well, though I had to miss last week’s because I wasn’t feeling too hot. I’m starting to get kind of anxious about studying- there’s so much material to cover and sometimes I have no idea how I’ll manage. But I’m definitely learning new things, so that’s good!

I’ve also recently wrapped up a leadership course through University of Waterloo Professional Development. That was pretty good!

I have more presentations coming up. I (along with a couple of co-workers) also got accepted to present at a conference that unfortunately we can’t attend, which is too bad. I was really looking forward to that presentation.

Busy couple of weeks!

It has been a busy couple of weeks for me! I recently wrapped up training to be a volunteer with Family and Children’s Services, which was a really great learning experience. The group of volunteers I was training with were really engaged and it was a really positive experience. I look forward to taking an assignment with them and being able to help the organization do great work helping families.

I also got to give my very first conference presentation a couple weeks ago! I was super nervous but it wound up going pretty well. I got to talk to a lot of different people, got great feedback, and got a good glimpse of things from another perspective, which was awesome. I’m taking on a lot of public speaking opportunities, and I think it’s really helping me to learn better how to speak and connect with an audience, and how to organize a presentation. I’m still really new to it, and I know I have a lot of things I need to work on (I tend to sway a bit, I talk too fast, etc) but I’m getting more and more opportunities to work on that, which is awesome (and terrifying). 🙂 Maybe I’ll join Toastmasters.

Work has been busy as well, helping out with a bunch of really great projects. Exciting stuff, though!

I’ve also joined a CPLP study group. It’s a group that met online via a Linkedin group, and already I’m finding that it has been helpful, and we haven’t even properly started studying yet. I’m able to connect with others who are working on the same thing I am, and that’s invaluable. We’re planning to meet weekly via webex to discuss and teachback what we’re learning in our individual study. Tons of great ideas and I’m excited to be a part of it- I’ll learn a lot just being around this group of candidates.

We’re using a cool collaborative tool which I hadn’t heard of, but seems to be pretty useful thusfar!

So yes, a busy and exciting time!

May, and embarking on my quest for certification!

With the beginning of May came a bunch of really lovely weather, and it feels like there’s been a collective sigh of relief that winter is finally over.

I’m also starting on one of my major projects for this year, CPLP certification. I’ve been planning on doing this for a while, and I’ve finally signed up and am now preparing for the exam (which I plan to take in September) and the work product (which I’m submitting in either August, or February, not sure yet, more likely February). I’m excited about all the things I will learn in the process of preparing. I’m also interested to use the process as a sort of study of adult learning itself- it’ll be interesting to see what works and what doesn’t for me as I study and prepare.

The exam is changing next year, so I’ll be one of the last few to test on the current ASTD competency model. There are nine modules of content I will be assessed on, some of which fall into areas I know well, and some that don’t. I have a copy of the study materials, and I opened the box like it was Christmas morning. I’m making a study schedule this weekend with the help of a friend to help keep me on track for the exam in September. I may also use this blog as an outlet for summarizing what I’ve learned throughout the process of studying, and for reflecting on other professional development, we’ll see. Maybe I can connect with some other CPLP candidates this way!

Also coming up at the end of this month, I have some volunteer training with FACS, and a presentation at the accessibility conference in Guelph. Lots of exciting things going on!

April Updates

I think (hope?) that spring is finally starting to arrive. Of course, I pick a day where there was snow on the ground this morning to say that, but I’m convinced enough that I swapped the snow tires off my car, so hopefully spring is properly here now.

My US taxes are kind of a pain this year for a variety of reasons, so I’ve decided to have an accountant help me out, which has been super pleasant thusfar. Hopefully we’ll be back to normal easyness next year, but this past year I definitely wanted an extra hand. It wasn’t even figuring out what to file, it was just that some of the forms I need to file are super annoying. I do think I’ll be able to wrap things up by the June deadline, which is good, I didn’t really want to file an extension again this year.

Wesley has started to properly walk now. He’s been walking while holding on for ages, but he just wasn’t comfortable letting go and taking steps unaided until recently (and I don’t blame him, as someone who still ice skates right by the boards to this day). He’s getting more confident with it though, and it’s super fun to watch. He’s a blast. He likes to dance and he likes cars a lot right now, and computer mice, which he also likes to drive around like little cars. 😀

wesley_walks

Easter has come and gone, and it wasn’t quite as busy this year since we didn’t make the trip up to visit Trevor’s parents. It’s tough squeezing in family time around holy week services! And Advent and Christmas services, for that matter.

On the volunteering front, I have nearly got all my paperwork finished for Family and Childrens’ services- I should get my police record check back shortly. Then, next month, four evenings of training, and then I’m able to actually volunteer!

I got a new laptop recently, a Samsung ultrabook. I really love it. It has Windows 8, which I like more than I expected. It also has a touchscreen, which I am finding useful off and on as well. The best part is that it’s small, and weighs less than 4 pounds, so it’s super easy to carry around, while still being powerful enough for me to do work on it if I need to, or play video for a presentation or whatever. It tucks nicely into my laptop bag along with all my other junk. I’m a fan. I’ve been using it at work, since I have a desktop at work and the team loaner laptop is this huge heavy monstrosity that I don’t love carting around, and I don’t always have enough time to set up what I need on it.

Along with the technology vein, I also got a BlackBerry z10 a while back, and I’m a fan of that, too. I’m really coming around on the topic of touchscreens. The flick-up typing on it is super nice, and I love being able to peek into my email when I’m in another app. Overall, it’s pretty awesome.

March

So I guess I am falling into a once-a-month routine with writing here. I think I’ll just embrace it. 🙂  So here are the updates for March!

Earlier this month, we got back from a week-long trip down to Florida (my first time visiting that particular state)!  Trevor’s parents were renting a house down there for the month, and invited us to come stay for a bit. It was a nice trip.

Wesley is not nearly as easy to manage on a plane as he was the last time we flew.  He was only 4 months old then, and he was awesome, mostly slept.  He did okay, but now he’s a big strong writhing ball of kiddo, and it’s harder to keep him happy in our laps for any length of time.  Next time we fly, even if he’s not 2 yet, we’re getting him his own seat for sure.

Southwest Florida is nice, but if the weather isn’t super hot (it was warm, but not beach-going-hot most of the time we were there) there’s not a lot to do. We did some shopping and did visit the beach, but mostly we stayed at the house. This was actually a good thing, though, because it was nice to be able to just sit and read as much as we did.  Going outside without coats on was a huge plus as well (and spring would do well to arrive here anytime now!)

882828_10151475838218771_415710780_o

Work has gotten nice and busy the past few weeks!  Lots of exciting projects on the go.   That, combined with singing holy week services for choir means I’m looking at a pretty busy upcoming week, but it should be good.  I’m looking forward to the long weekend from work though. Also in the work category, a presentation that a co-worker and I proposed for a conference got accepted, so we’ll be doing a presentation in May! Should be good.

I got in touch with Family and Children’s Services about volunteering, and went for an interview there recently.  It’s a really amazing organization, and I’m kind of fascinated with their programs. I have to do some paperwork and training before I can be a proper volunteer, but I’m pretty excited.  I also got to see a presentation about another awesome local organization called Strong Start, and I’m really blown away by their programs as well, and hopefully will be able to help them out in some way. So many cool things happening here, if only I had unlimited time to volunteer!

Speaking of volunteering, I’ve been asked to be the costumer for a show that’s going up next year, so I’m pretty stoked about that. Hooray for costuming, my biggest theatre love! I might have to get a tuneup on my sewing machine- it’s been running pretty clunkily for a bit. It’s a really sweet workhorse of a machine- one of the older Singer school machines that have decent speed and are more heavy duty than what is produced now.

TedX is next week as well (falling during my busy week of busyness)! I’m really stoked about going, especially since I went last year and I know a little better what to expect. I hope that the talks are super inspiring!

New year, new routine!

Lots of changes for us in this new year- I’m back at work!  Wesley is in daycare full time. He seems to really like the opportunity to get to play with other kids and other toys, and seems to do well with it. All these things have meant some changes to our daily routine.  Overall though, things have been going really well.

I’m really enjoying being back at work. There has been a lot of growth and change on my team while I was on leave, but lots of things have stayed the same as well.  I’m working from home one day a week and taking some time off here and there as well to ease the transition, which is nice. I’m liking going to the office, I like my new desk (lots of growth means lots of moving around in our office space!), and I like having a reason to wear a lot of my nicer clothes and rock the corporate-Jenny look. 🙂 Here’s what my new desk looks like:

desk

The work itself is still super great.  I’m getting to know the new people on my team and trying to introduce some organization that we will probably need more and more as we become a bigger team.

In the evenings, we don’t get a lot of time to hang out with Wesley before it’s time to put him to bed- in fact, this past week, Trevor and I were so busy that our whole family wasn’t all awake and home at the same time for more than a a couple hours the whole week. This coming week should hopefully be a little bit calmer.  On evenings where we don’t have anything else on though, we all eat dinner together and then spend time playing  in the basement- playing blocks, watching tv, doing whatever.

In other news, I’ve decided to learn to cross-stitch. I made a little project (one that’s meant for kids, but it was the perfect size to start off with). I really enjoyed it! I am going to try making some bigger things next.  It’s pretty satisfying actually, pretty simple and not quite as fiddly for me as knitting or crochet. Here’s the little penguin I made:

penguin

Babynaut

So ever since I dubbed myself the Preggonaut when I was pregnant, we called the baby “Babynaut”, off and on. So his halloween costume was a foregone conclusion.

Ready for blastoff!