What I Learned in March 2014

Strocel.com What I Learned Last MonthIt’s April already! Where does the time go? Once again I am, in fact, overdue for my monthly review. I didn’t want to let it go, however, because monthly reviews are one of my favourite traditions.

Here’s how it works – every month I come up with some things I learned, and not always the easy way. Then, I ask you all to join in with some recent revelations of your own. Or this time, perhaps you can share some less-than-recent revelations that occurred over the past year. Either way, we all learn and grow and what-not. Or at least share a laugh at our own expense, because some of these lessons are both hard-fought and funny. Sound good?

So, without further ado, here is what I learned in March – or some of it, anyway.

What I Learned Last Month

1. I re-discovered the joy of seeing those first sprouts poke through the soil.

what i leanred last month

2. I learned the injustice of rain during Spring Break, and a gorgeous first day back at school.

3. I found out that you could drink maple sap … and it’s actually not bad. Much better than coconut water, in my book.

what i learned last month maple water

4. I re-discovered the process of letting go that is writing and submitting a term paper.

5. I found joy in raising my own Mason bees.

mason bees what i learned last month

6. I learned that when teaching your child their first song on the recorder, you become well and truly tired of hearing that song long before your child tires of playing that song.

7. I painted the playroom, and re-discovered just how much prep work is involved in that. Luckily, the result is worth it.

what i learned last month

8. I learned, yet again, that I cannot be trusted around a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs. Not even a little.

9. I discovered that cooking and cleaning is much more pleasant when listening to a podcast. You would think I would know this, having recorded 80+ podcasts of my own, but it was a revelation.

what i learned last month podcast

10. I went for a world record in the number of times in a row I can turn on a kettle and then completely forget about it until the water is too cool for tea. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’ve shared what I learned – what did you learn in March? Leave a comment and tell me! Or, if you’d like to play along by writing a review post of your own, link to it in the comments. And please feel free to grab the button from the top of this post.

What I Learned in February 2014

Strocel.com What I Learned Last MonthSo it turns out that it is not only March now, but March 5. Once again I am, in fact, overdue for my monthly review. I didn’t want to let it go, however, because monthly reviews are one of my favourite traditions.

Here’s how it works – every month I come up with some things I learned, and not always the easy way. Then, I ask you all to join in with some recent revelations of your own. Or this time, perhaps you can share some less-than-recent revelations that occurred over the past year. Either way, we all learn and grow and what-not. Or at least share a laugh at our own expense, because some of these lessons are both hard-fought and funny. Sound good?

So, without further ado, here is what I learned in February – or some of it, anyway.

What I Learned Last Month

1. When renovation work started (and then stopped) on my ensuite my husband and I spent two weeks sleeping in our family room. We re-discovered the joy of a bedroom door that closes when we decided we might as well move back upstairs while we try to resolve our home improvement fiasco.

what I learned last month home improvement monthly review

2. Speaking of that home improvement fiasco, I learned that I really should listen to my gut and ask more questions.

3. One of the bright spots of the month was re-discovering just how flipping cute kindergarten crafts are. How can I be sad when “thumb-body” loves me?

monthly review valentine's day

4. I became the mother of a nine-year-old.

5. My garlic told me that spring is coming … and hopefully, soon.

monthly reviews what i learned last month garlic gardening

6. I fell head-over-heels in love with VSCO Cam (and I have not been compensated in any way for that statement).

7. I learned that sometimes all the pretty makes up for having to drive up to campus for an early-morning class.

sfu what i learned last month monthly reviews

8. I felt very proud of myself for squeezing into my wedding dress … until I inhaled a little too deeply and ripped a seam.

9. I found the world’s most perfect flower pot for a tea lover such as myself.

what i learned last month monthly reviews plants flower pot tea cup

10. After repeated experiments I confirmed that yes, there is such a thing as too many gummy bears. I also confirmed that this knowledge won’t stop me from eating too many again on my next outing.

I’ve shared what I learned – what did you learn in February? Leave a comment and tell me! Or, if you’d like to play along by writing a review post of your own, link to it in the comments. And please feel free to grab the button from the top of this post.

What I Learned in January 2014

Strocel.com What I Learned Last MonthWow, January really flew by, didn’t it? I suddenly realized this morning that I am, in fact, overdue for my monthly review. I didn’t want to let it slide, because monthly reviews are one of my favourite traditions.

Here’s how it works – every month I come up with some things I learned, and not always the easy way. Then, I ask you all to join in with some recent revelations of your own. Or this time, perhaps you can share some less-than-recent revelations that occurred over the past year. Either way, we all learn and grow and what-not. Or at least share a laugh at our own expense, because some of these lessons are both hard-fought and funny. Sound good?

So, without further ado, here is what I learned in January – or some of it, anyway.

What I Learned Last Month

1. I returned to school for the first time in almost a decade and a half, and discovered that while the technology has changed, mostly everything else has stayed the same. I also discovered that getting a second degree as a bona fide grown-up, completely based on your own choice, is way more fun … although homework and exams are still less than inspiring.

monthly review what i learned in january

2. I found out, once again, that the way to not finish a knitting project quickly is to ignore it and then get angry that it’s not already finished six months after you cast on.

3. I learned the joy of taking (almost) daily self-portraits.

monthly review what i learned in january

4. I discovered, along with a very sheepish looking man at the vasectomy clinic, that your wife will not be sympathetic about your anxiety over your impending procedure when she is pushing a large double stroller with toddler-aged twins. Instead, she will give you an earful about the joys of pregnancy and childbirth and breastfeeding and so on and so forth. What’s more, she has a point.

5. I brought more greenery into my life with some new houseplants, and re-discovered just how much I love having plants indoors.

monthly review what i learned in january

6. I conducted extensive research and confirmed that there is no such thing as too much rooibos tea. Mmm, rooibos tea. I also confirmed that there is no end of ways to pronounce rooibos.

7. I learned that the world’s most awesome cheese slicers come from Sweden. Thanks Kirsten!

monthly review what i learned in january

8. I enjoyed the banjo stylings of my Canadian History professor, who plays at least one song during every lecture. This is every bit as awesome as it sounds.

9. Once again, I experienced the thrill of home organization. Hooray for IKEA!

monthly review what i learned in january

10. In my kinesiology class I learned that I am actually significantly more muscular than the average woman – most especially in my legs. One the one hand I am flabbergasted, as I would not describe myself this way at all. On the other hand now I know why I have a hard time finding boots that fit, and why I will never have a thigh gap.

I’ve shared what I learned – what did you learn in January? Leave a comment and tell me! Or, if you’d like to play along by writing a review post of your own, link to it in the comments. And please feel free to grab the button from the top of this post.

What I Learned in December 2013

Strocel.com What I Learned Last MonthIt’s 2014, and while many people are looking back on the year I just ended, I’ve just realized it’s time for me to share my December monthly review. I always go back and forth at the end of the year. Should I share lessons from the entire year, or just the past month? I’m opting to cover only the past month, because my memory is not that great, and because monthly reviews are one of my favourite traditions.

Here’s how it works – every month I come up with some things I learned, and not always the easy way. Then, I ask you all to join in with some recent revelations of your own. Or this time, perhaps you can share some less-than-recent revelations that occurred over the past year. Either way, we all learn and grow and what-not. Or at least share a laugh at our own expense, because some of these lessons are both hard-fought and funny. Sound good?

So, without further ado, here is what I learned in December – or some of it, anyway.

What I Learned Last Month

1. I experienced the joys of chaperoning a whole bunch of third graders on a field trip to the local science museum. I managed to not lose any of my charges, so I’m calling it a victory.

what I learned last month

2. I re-discovered the joys of post-secondary bureaucracy when I had to change my name at the university I’m re-enrolling at after graduating some 14 years ago. I also got to re-discover where my marriage certificate was, as I crawled around under my house in search of it. Whee!

3. I walked across the Capilano Suspension Bridge on a cold and dark night as it twinkled with thousands of lights, and discovered that the way it sways it every bit as scary to me no matter how festive it happens to look.

what I learned last month capilano suspension bridge

4. I learned that while my son won’t sit still for me he will do it for his kindergarten teacher, as I watched him wait serenely with his hands folded for his turn to sing at the school holiday concert.

5. I vicariously experienced my children’s joy when we had a couple of days of snow, and found once again that their extreme enthusiasm really goes a long way towards overcoming the inconvenience.

what I learned last month snow

6. I discovered – to my surprise – that I actually work better without background noise than I do with background noise. Here’s to quiet (when you can get it)!

7. I once again experienced the amazing smell of a real, cut Christmas tree in my family room. It was more than good enough to compensate for any cleaning and watering that was required.

what I learned last month christmas tree

8. I finished up my first-ever tap dance lessons, and I miss it already. I’m not sure if I can fit it into my schedule now that I’m going back to school, but I’m going to do my best to try.

9. I learned that when decorating a cookie, a five-year-old will never embrace the ‘less is more’ approach, but will squeeze on every last bit of sugar that he can. In the photo below, Jacob was only about halfway done with his cookie.

what i learned last month cookie decorating

10. I discovered that all of the hassle, and expense, and hand-wringing of the holiday season is totally worth it just for the looks on my children’s faces when they wake up Christmas morning and see that Santa has, indeed, come again.

I’ve shared what I learned – what did you learn in December, or anytime during 2013? Leave a comment and tell me! Or, if you’d like to play along by writing a review post of your own, link to it in the comments. And please feel free to grab the button from the top of this post.

What I Learned in November 2013

Strocel.com What I Learned Last MonthIt’s December now, for real. Don’t even ask me how that happened. All the same, it is, which means it’s time for me to share my November monthly review. Monthly reviews are one of my favourite traditions. Here’s how it works – every month I come up with some things I learned, and not always the easy way. Then, I ask you all to join in with some recent revelations of your own. And we all learn and grow and what-not. Or at least share a laugh at our own expense, because some of these lessons are both hard-fought and funny. Sound good?

So, without further ado, here is what I learned in November – or some of it, anyway.

What I Learned Last Month

1. I visited Tofino for the first time, and got a taste of the wilderness that is really never all that far away from me.

what I learned last month monthly review tofino

2. I re-learned the joys of registering for university classes. I’ll be sharing more about that experience – and why I did it – later this month.

3. I learned that sometimes the Hulk likes to dress it up a little.

what I learned last month monthly review incredible hulk costume tie

4. I discovered that nothing turns my bad mood around faster than standing in a sunny window, in a quiet house, and just feeling the warmth on my face.

5. I tried skating on synthetic ice. It felt weird to me, because you can’t get an edge. My five-year-old, on the other hand, loved it because it’s not as slippery or cold.

what I learned last month monthly review ice skating artificial ice

6. I learned that if I’m not entirely sure whether or not my son is old enough for an event, it’s best not to bring him, when I had to drag my reluctant daughter out of a local performance of Mary Poppins during the intermission because her little brother couldn’t sit still in the theatre. I’m feeling very glad that they were complimentary tickets, I can tell you.

7. I geared up for the holiday season, by buying a reusable Advent calendar, and re-discovered the joy of handmade items made by someone else.

what I learned last month monthly review advent calendar handsewn

8. I re-discovered the truth that while a kid-free long weekend is fabulous, the very best part is coming back home and hugging my babies.

9. I learned that my sister-in-law has mad cake-decorating skillz when we celebrated my nephew’s first birthday.

what I learned last month monthly review robot birthday cake cupcake

10. I found out that when you order wine after an evening of wine tasting, you won’t remember exactly what you ordered after you sober up. I am happy to say that when the wine arrived nothing was terribly disappointing, because honestly it could have gone either way.

I’ve shared what I learned – what did you learn in November? Leave a comment and tell me! Or, if you’d like to play along by writing a review post of your own, link to it in the comments. And please feel free to grab the button from the top of this post.

What I Learned in October 2013

Strocel.com What I Learned Last MonthCan you believe it’s November? I’m living in denial, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s here. This means it’s time for me to share my October monthly review. Monthly reviews are one of my favourite traditions. Here’s how it works – every month I come up with some things I learned, and not always the easy way. Then, I ask you all to join in with some recent revelations of your own. And we all learn and grow and what-not. Or at least share a laugh at our own expense, because some of these lessons are both hard-fought and funny. Sound good?

So, without further ado, here is what I learned in October – or some of it, anyway.

What I Learned Last Month

1. I learned that few things in life are as undignified as having someone turn your nostril inside-out with a pair of tweezers in order to pierce your nose. Luckily, for me, the results are worth it.

what I learned last month nose piercing

2. I discovered that if you carve your jack-o-lanterns too far in advance, they will mold, and you’ll just have to do it all over again.

3. I saw my first in-real-life bears and found out why people don’t take them as seriously as they should. I was walking my kids to school and saw a mother and two cubs strolling down my street towards us. The mother looked right at me and didn’t react at all – they seemed very calm and non-threatening. Knowing that could quickly change I immediately sent my kids back home (we’d only walked a few houses down), snapped this very grainy photo (one of the cubs is behind the truck here) and then took an alternate route to school.

mother bear and cub what I learned last month

4. For the first time since the departure of Wonder Nanny two-and-a-half years ago we’ve found a babysitter our whole family loves who isn’t related to us. I am rejoicing at the possibilities this provides!

5. I learned that chickens can hold their own against cats and dogs, when I met my veterinary clinic’s resident hen.

vet clinic chicken what i learned last month

6. I discovered, yet again, just how easily I cry when I sniffled my way through my nephew’s christening.

7. I enjoyed manning the door on Halloween – and I’m pretty sure I had two of the cutest trick-or-treaters on the block.

halloween what i learned last month

8. I talked about my experiences with postpartum anxiety and depression at a local event celebrating the launch of a new website aimed at helping expectant and new moms, and learned just how many other people can relate. Having a baby is hard.

9. I re-discovered the joy of walking through a carpet of leaves.

fall leaves what I learned last month

10. I made a point of drinking more tea, and learned that my tea stash is large enough that even twice-daily cups doesn’t make a noticeable dent after a month.

I’ve shared what I learned – what did you learn in October? Leave a comment and tell me! Or, if you’d like to play along by writing a review post of your own, link to it in the comments. And please feel free to grab the button from the top of this post.

What I Learned in September 2013

Strocel.com What I Learned Last MonthCan you believe it’s October already? I can’t. All the same, it is, which means it’s time for me to share my September monthly review. Monthly reviews are one of my favourite traditions. Here’s how it works – every month I come up with some things I learned, and not always the easy way. Then, I ask you all to join in with some recent revelations of your own. And we all learn and grow and what-not. Or at least share a laugh at our own expense, because some of these lessons are both hard-fought and funny. Sound good?

So, without further ado, here is what I learned in September – or some of it, anyway.

What I Learned Last Month

1. I learned that sometimes you just have to play.

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2. I got my hands on a new phone after three years with my trusty iPhone 4. I’ve upgraded to an iPhone 5s. I’m still just getting the hang of it, but I am feeling the joy of a new toy and enjoying the much-improved camera.

3. I attended my first long table dinner, featuring amazing local food served under a tent looking out over farm fields. It was just as amazing as you would think. My thanks to the fabulous folks from Vitala Foods for hosting it.

monthly review what I learned last mont

4. I helped my five-year-old adjust to kindergarten. It started out very well, but by day four the change in routine wore on him a bit. Kindergarten was ‘boring’. His teacher was ‘boring’. His classmates were ‘boring’. I am happy to say that by week three things resolved themselves, and he now loves his teacher and classmates, and is excited about visiting the computer lab, library and so on.

5. I participated in the Vancouver Color Run, and in the process I discovered two things. First, I learned that I can run three kilometers of a five kilometer race without really training for it. Second, I learned that I will regret my lack of preparation for at least several days thereafter (ouch!).

monthly reviews what I learned last month

6. I coordinated the speakers backstage at the Leading Moms event co-hosted by VancouverMom.ca, which is my day job. I met Tara MacLean and Christine Magee, and the latter has kept the Sleep Country Canada jingle in my head pretty much ever since.

7. I attended my first-ever tap dancing class, and enjoyed it a whole lot. I may need to just wear my tap shoes in everyday life, because they are way too much fun.

monthly reviews what I learned last month

8. I learned that last-minute sewing is not relaxed sewing. It’s much better to give yourself time to finish a project. However, if I’m being honest, I’m not likely to give myself more time, so perhaps I should just accept that I’m not a relaxed sewist.

9. I went away on a weekend retreat with an amazing group of women. I re-discovered Galiano Island, ate fabulous food (cooked by someone else), did yoga and made art. It was pretty sweet, I must say.

monthly reviews what I learned last month

10. I finally resolved my blog issues. The culprit? My broken link checker plugin. It was making any work on the back-end ridiculously slow. Once I changed the settings it resolved instantly. I only wish it hadn’t taken me so long to figure out what the problem was.

I’ve shared what I learned – what did you learn in September? Leave a comment and tell me! Or, if you’d like to play along by writing a review post of your own, link to it in the comments. And please feel free to grab the button from the top of this post.

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