Mummy is at school #4: Exams

Semester two has ended. All my assessment pieces and exams have been completed and now I am eagerly awaiting my grades (9 days to go!).  It was my first exam period as a mother of two children, and Tim’s first experience of looking after the kids without my help. We both survived and I am pretty happy with my performance in my exams.

I needed to take my deferred Discrete Mathematics exam as well. Lilah was only a month old when my previous semester’s exam period was on. I was doing really well in my assessment pieces and didn’t want to compromise my grades.I must say prepping for three exams, including a complete subject review, in 2 weeks was intense.

 

Pretty accurate at times over those 2 weeks.

Pretty accurate at times over those 2 weeks.

I am so glad that from this new semester, Semester 3, my university has made their StudyDesk much more mobile-device friendly. I relied heavily on my phone to study when I was looking after the kids during exam prep and even travelling to my exams. As an external student, we have our exams in the major city closest to us.For me, that is Ipswich: an hours worth of public transport or 20min-ish drive.

I find it better to be alone on the bus/train and studying than to be driven in [I don’t hold a license at the moment]. It gives me a chance to have a final look over topics I am not confident in. I go into my own solo study place. It also helps me separate from mummy-mode. I’ve been in mummy-mode and written Ethan’s name instead of my own out of habit.

I admit, I was a little sad to see I was the only female in my exam sections. Multiple courses have exams at the same time. There were only 4 of us in my IT subjects, and I was the only maths student. I hope that is just because we are so dispersed across the state, country, and surrounding countries.

I enjoyed a nice 3 day study break and now I’m straight back into it with Semester 3. I’m also learning some programming languages alongside my course. I only have the one available this semester. I’d also like to get a headstart for my programming courses next year.

my-code-works

I don’t want to get into my Java/C++ courses and feel like this…too much of the time.

 

Mummy is at school #3: I help

Germ season is well and truly here. Without even going, my boys managed to get the Ekka lurgy. Tim was well enough to go back to work today but Ethan’s still under the weather. I came down with a 4 day migraine last week so I am a bit behind in my study. Plus, I have 2 assignments coming up so I can’t afford to many days off.

This week I’ve been getting snippets of study done when I can. Ethan loves to help me when I am on the computer. Cheeky thing managed to change some of my settings in Win 8. 

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Ethan typing away on an old keyboard

He loves to push the buttons on the keyboard so today I’ve set him up with his own. He’s typing away as we watch Tangled (I needed a break from Frozen).

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Lilah just after I rescued my pen from her mouth

Lilah is just as helpful as her brother.  She doesn’t let Tim hold her so I can study. So, she sits in my lap while I write. She has discovered her hands and the ability to grab objects. Her favourite thing is to grab my pens and rub them on her face.  Very cute and clever but also distracting.

Mummy is at school #1: Preparation

After a chat with Tim and a quick check of the USQ student centre site, I am set to start study! Now comes the fun part of preparing for the semester. Time to unleash the stationery addict within! If only I wasn’t a SAHM with a small budget. Most of my budget (on my payment I receive a supplement of $60 per fortnight to help with study) went on getting a laptop. I’ll be sharing it with Tim so I don’t feel so bad about such a large cost. Especially when my textbooks are going to cost me a fair bit as well.

Ethan off to kindy

Ethan ready for kindy…a day early

We have Ethan going 3 days a week from this week so I will have more time to study. Tim will be home some of those days so he can help me with Lilah as well. She tends to know when I’m even thinking about studying. Ethan loves going to school so I don’t feel bad about sending him, despite the fact that I am actually home all day.

I love spreadsheets. I have one for my degree, outlining my course plan.

schedule

Colour coded into core, major, and electives

I have another with the semester study plan but that is still a WIP.

There was a mix up with my laptop and it was sent to Springfield WA instead of QLD. The shop site glitched and used the wrong postcode. But, AustPost quickly fixed it up and my laptop arrived on Monday.
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Being second year subjects the course load is higher than my first year subjects. The amount of course readings I have has grown substantially ! It’s a good thing my degree is about stuff that interests me.
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Lilah has a feed at 4.30-5am so there is a window for me to get in some study each morning. I can access my lecture recordings via my Google Drive so I can watch them during nap time. I find I study better in chunks rather than a long session. So, having it broken up through the week may help me retain it better. I want to keep, or even improve on, my 6.0 GPA (we have a 0-7 system here)

Wish me luck!

What is truly important to me

A commercial plane full of people was shot down by surface-to-air missiles. Children were killed in bombings. War and destruction. It’s breaking down my view of the world; chipping away at my belief that people and the world are at their core, good. This isn’t the world I want for my babies. I find myself grieving for nearly 300 people I’ve never knew. And, I grieve for the sense of stability and security I felt. I live in Australia, 12,983 km away from the Ukraine. I don’t hold a passport and have no immediate plans to travel. But, even from so far away this tragedy affects me. The images and reports of war. Fellow Aussies losing their lives. It scares me.

But, it’s also helped me realise what is important. I cannot shield my babies from this forever. But, I can give them happy memories to counter the fear. Reminders that there is good amongst the bad. How much of these times will my almost 2 year old remember? Probably not much. So, let what he does remember be positive. I’m writing this as both my children sleep soundly: Ethan on his sofa and Lilah on my chest. I’m putting down my phone (well weaning off it…change is hard) and being a more present parent.

Ethan, Lilah, and I off for a walk

Ethan, Lilah, and I off for a walk

I’ve stopped making excuses about why we can’t go to the park. Although, yesterday was so windy it wasn’t even safe to walk there. We did try but ended up turning back and curling up in front of the telly and watched movies.

Enjoying my kids

Enjoying my kids

I’ve stopped looking at being a SAHM as a job but rather many opportunities to make memories. Mess and all.

Cake making

 

Life with two under two

Monday! AKA Kindy day here. Lilah is having a sleep and Ethan is off having loads of fun so I have some time to blog.

Lately, the chaos of adjusting to a new baby while looking after a toddler has meant my needs dropped lower and lower on the list. I found myself below “keeping the house tidy”. I became too busy for morning and afternoon tea and needing to feed Lilah while Ethan was having lunch. Food was pushed further back. And for someone with a history like mine, that’s not a good thing. As my meals dwindled down, the voice got louder and louder.
“See, I don’t need to eat”
“If I keep this up until X kg I wont have to worry about dieting any more”
“Losing weight will make me a better parent”.

It was that last thought that got its hooks in. It provided justification for the behaviours. It latched on to the one thing most important to me. But it was a lie. Prolonged caloric restriction can reduce your milk supply. I’m not against formula feeding but I was risking Lilah’s health with it all. And, Ethan’s as well. I managed to hide it from Tim but there were some days where it took it’s toll and I’d be barely able to look after Ethan.

Selfie with an Ethan photobomb

Anorexia for me isn’t about looks

For me, it was the busyness of my day that triggered these thoughts and behaviours. And it will be busyness of a different kind that will get me out. I was planning on taking this semester off but I think I still need that mental stimulation. It gives my mind something non-food to focus on. Turns out I had already enrolled in semester 2; I guess pregnant Keira knew something ;) I’m enrolled in two subjects: Intro to software engineering and Software development tools. I still have time to change my enrolment. If we can get Ethan into kindy for more than 1 day a week I think I might go for it.

 

Welcome to the world Lilah!

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My second little dovahkiin was born on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 at 4pm. 

My stubborn little princess was breech from about 35 weeks and refused to go the right way. So, we decided it was best to book a c-section. It was such a different experience to Ethan’s birth, which was filled with first time parent panic. It was a very calm and happy experience for me. I had a laugh with the anesthetists as they numbed me up for surgery. As they lowered the sheet so I could see my baby she wasn’t crying. She got distracted by the surgery lights and just looked up in awe. What a beautiful way to greet the world. She refused to cry; there wasn’t anything wrong…although I did hold my breath for a bit in anticipation. 

I feel like we made the right decision opting for a c-section over trying for a “normal” breech birth. I don’t feel guilty or cheated. I have a beautiful daughter and that’s all that matters to me. 

I spent 4 days in hospital with Lilah. She had some complications from my medications so needed extra monitoring. Thankfully, she was over the worst of it when she was 2 days old. 

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Ethan has adapted wonderfully to his new role as big brother. He brings her dummies, food, clothes, and other random objects to soothe her when she’s crying. He wants to give her kisses all the time, even if she’s not in the mood. We are trying to make sure Ethan gets individual time with each of us. Today we had lots of Mummy-Ethan fun :) Drawing, playing Mario kart, and just having cuddles. Tim and Ethan hang out outside and have more rough-and-tumble play. 

My family feels complete now. I don’t have any lingering urge to be pregnant again. I’m hoping Tim feels the same. I couldn’t imagine my life without the three of them. They bring so much joy to my heart.

The nerd is strong in this one

Still pregnant. I’m 36 weeks today.

This was last week...I'm too gross and sick to take a pic today

This was last week…I’m too gross and sick to take a pic today

I have a cold that wont go away. So naturally, instead of catching up on 3 weeks worth of study I’m posting a blog. Might just put on one of my lectures so I can multitask. Today’s blog will be written to the soundtrack of: Sets and Relations (discrete maths). My brain is weird that it needs to do two things to study. Usually, I have to listen to a TV show to maximise my study. I do not recommend this as a study tip unless your brain is like mine. I’ve been watching One Born Every Minute or Mythbusters while I study. Last semester it was Sherlock and Supernatural. I love maths. I was that odd psychology student who preferred the statistics subjects. Except at 8am on a Monday morning, nobody wants to do stats that early.

I follow a few Girl Gamer and Geek girl pages on Facebook and a lot of times they will talk about the “OMG FAKE GEEK”, “GET ME A SANDWICH, B*TCH”, etc type hatred towards girls with a nerdy inclinations. Am I nerdy and geeky because I want to snag a ahem, charming gamer partner? No. I am married to a geek – socially awkward, full of lore, and a little obsessed with his favourite games. But, I don’t think he’d be game enough to demand a sandwich…Partly, because he’s a decent man and knows how to treat people with respect. And partly because…I’m smarter when it comes to networking and general computer nerd stuff. Yeah, don’t piss off the person in control of the Internet connection.

I’ve been a nerd for a long time now. And it’s never been about getting male attention. It started with books for me. They were my gateway to the wonderful world of nerd. My mum told us about the many times I’d run off to the book section of the supermarket, plonk myself down, and read. The whole time my mum’s frantically trying to find me. My sister was still a bub so I would have been about 4-5 years old. At that age I believed boys had cooties.

Well, I should get back to my logic laws and sets. Wish me luck

Stay at Home Study Parent

Remember when I said I would never study while pregnant again…

I’m in my third trimester and studying Discrete Mathematics for Computing (Shh… as my husband says when I mention uni. Get it, discreet…yeah) with an 18 month old. I’m only in week 2 but it hasn’t been as chaotic as I thought it would be. Well, my home life hasn’t impacted as much as I thought. My lecturer isn’t as on the ball as my other coordinators have been. It’s less like studying externally and more like being a student who doesn’t go to classes. I think, any other time and I would be fine going week by week and having to wait until all the on campus classes have finished to get a recording of the lecture. But, I really need to try and be ahead. In Week 11 I’m due to have a baby. Not, that babies necessarily follow a schedule.

I’ve been in contact with my SRO (Student Relationship Officer) to find out what supports are available for pregnant women. I can’t really go through disability services as it’s not an impairment, it’s a temporary condition that then becomes a personal issue, e.g. post-partum recovery, adjusting to new routines, newborn stuff.

Ethan has been surprisingly helpful so far. When he wants to study, aka draw pictures and colour in my notes, he will get up in the high chair and yell “Chair. Sit. Mum mum!” or throw things at me if I’m not fast enough.

Time to study mummy

Time to study mummy

He’s having a nap now so I’m getting everything uploaded to my Google Drive account. That way I don’t have to deal with being in the study while he is awake. I can just read my lecture slides from my tablet or mobile phone.

We’ve also enrolled him in day care on Mondays so I have a whole day dedicated to study (and rest). From what the ladies at his day care said, he loves it there. We had to keep him home this week due to a rather nasty cold. So I am a little behind this week.

I’m still new to this whole stay at home study mum deal. But these would be my top tips:

  • See if your toddler/child will sit and draw or read while you study
  • Make sure you can always access your materials for micro study sessions
    e.g. when Play School is on, nap time, or when they decide to ignore you
  • Look into having them baby sat one day a week
  • Consider using a tablet or other mobile device to access material
    • I personally use Google Drive and save all my lecture recordings and pdfs/ppts there so I can study while Ethan naps on top of me
    • Sometimes I watch it through my Xbox and make Ethan endure a 2hr lecture on Programming

That’s how I’m doing it so far. I’m sure this list will change when I have a newborn and a toddler…in about 10 weeks time

2014: Year of Connections

I have seen a few blogs talking about picking a word to represent their goals for the year. Mine would have to be ‘CONNECTIONS’.

With an ongoing battle with depression this pregnancy, I felt I had lost some of the closeness I had with my son and husband. And, with myself.

So, I have been making an effort to have more quality time and fun.
– we took a trip to Southbank and chased the birds.
– we went shopping for swimmers. We were stuck in the centre due to a storm so had a big play in the playcentre
– we stayed in and drew on his water doodle mat, cooked some food, and played dress ups. ..with the dirty laundry of course

Today we are off to the park for a picnic and a play!