Mummy is at school #6: Holidays

Another semester finished! And, I even get a month long break before heading into semester 1 this year. What to do, what to do?

CodeAcademy of course. Yep. I am using my down time to study. Where most people live for uni holidays, I sit eagerly awaiting the next class. Ethan still has kindy 3 days a week so I split my time between learning languages, housework, and gaming.

I have completed the HTML/CSS course, which had some new aspects as well as refreshing my existing knowledge. I taught myself HTML with a small book my mum had tucked away in her study. I loved that book. I was in high school, early high school, and made slightly embarassing fansites about my favourite Aussie comedians. I remember mastering iframes and working out how to remove the underline style from my links.

I have also finished their Ruby course. I loved that one. I got to see the theoretical knowledge from my subject realised in a practical sense. We learnt about software engineering outside of a specific language – but focused on Object Oriented programming. My big nerdy heart leapt with joy when I recognised the class, object, and attributes from my course. “I know this stuff!” I am looking at getting a book or two on Ruby programming to further my skills.

I haven’t just been studying during my holidays. We finally set up the Xbox One, Tim’s Christmas present from me and the kids. We’ve both been playing
Watch_dogs, although, Tim has just finished the campaign and I am way back in Act I. It’s not a game we can play while Ethan is awake/home so it is taking me longer to finish.

We have also been trying to go out for family outings more. Ethan has discovered the joy of Thomas the Tank Engine after a trip to the Rail Museum here. I’m thinking of taking him into the city on the weekend for a picnic and a ride on the ferries.

[Edit: Oops, seems I cannot count]

2015 – A year of possibilities

Hello 2015!

New-Year-fireworks-2015

This year I have opted not to make a resolution list. Life is so unpredictable and my new year resolutions tend to fall by the way side. I do have a few projects planned for this year:

  1.  To migrate from WordPress.com to a self-hosted site
  2. Apply for summer internships in the IT industry
    [I am a little nervous as I’ve been out of work for a few years now]
  3. Start building a portfolio of work – code, design, apps
    [Going to give this place a redesign]

As well as some ongoing things happening:

  1. Uni work – I am almost into my “2nd year”
  2. Maintaining a study/work/kids/hubby balance
  3. Working on my health – the osteoarthritis and my maintaining my mental well-being

I turn 29 in the middle of the year; the big 3 0 is fast approaching. I’m not dreading it; in fact, I think I am starting to embrace my age. My 20’s have been a bit of a discovery of who I am. I lost a few years chasing dreams that other people had for me. But, I feel like I have found who I am. I have reconnected with the nerdy child I once was. I’ve learned to love myself more and let other people into my inner circle. My relationship with my family is the best it has been. I’m also on the path to the career I want. I look forward to each new subject in my course.  This year is bringing some changes for myself and my family.

 

 

Mummy goes to school #5: Results

Results have all been released. I had performed well in my assessments through the year so I wasn’t expecting to fail any subject. But it was a pleasant surprise to see this on my transcript:

My academic transcript so far

My academic transcript so far

All High Distinctions for the year! I am taking the Communication and Scholarship course over the summer, along with reading my textbooks on Unix systems and C++ in preparation for next year. I think I did so well in these subjects because

a) I’ve developed a study system that works for me;
b) These courses are practical based and I can see the real-world application;
c) This is what I love;
d) I have my mental health stuff settled; and
e) I’m a bit of a nerd.

Having Ethan in childcare for three days a week also has helped me focus and do enough study each week for it to cement itself in my brain. I still dream about bash scripts and UML diagrams. Sure, I got frustrated at times but I really enjoyed my subjects. This degree isn’t just a means of qualification. It’s 6 years* of immersing myself in a digital world that I love. I feel that same giddy excitement I had all those years ago fiddling with my Commodore 64.

My husband has been really great at listening to my computer tech related ramblings when I get excited. He has also studied IT at a university level so I can pick his brains or at least brainstorm with him when I get stuck. I hope that my kids learn to pursue what excites them. I love being a mum and staying home to look after then and I also love working with computers and code.

_______
* I am a part-time external student so my 3yr bachelor degree will take 6yrs

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.