Saturday, 31 October 2009

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

We found a great way to celebrate Halloween! Today we went to Storybook Theatre's, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. They did such a great job! The girls in the story were sweet and sugary and over the top hilarious. Ichabod Crane was perfect! The set was terrific. We loved it!! It was a great combination of funny and just a little bit scary.




I'm thinking every Christmas we should watch or read Tiny Tim's Christmas and every Halloween it'll be The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Pre-Cautious?

Conversations in the van are often quite entertaining with J&P. Today they were talking about what they like to do at recess. Jill has been playing football instead of the daily soccer match that has taken place for the last two or three years. Peirce jumped into the conversation to say he's been playing soccer lately too, and then added that he had trouble kicking it the way Mme Janet says they're supposed to (on the side of their foot). Jill said, "Oh, don't listen to her! She always has all these dumb rules!" Peirce agreed with her and said that they were using hoola hoops in gym and she told them to show them what they can do with hoola hoops. He can swing the hoola hoop around his neck but when he did that she told him and the whole class that that wasn't safe. Jill responded, "Oh! She's so pre-cautious!"


Me: Pre-cautious? What's pre-cautious? Do you mean precocious?

J: No! Definitely pre-cautious. She's always cautious before she has to be.


Of course! Pre-cautious!!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Why I Love the Library

The past few months I've come to a slow realization that there are people out there that aren't library enthusiasts. I met one person who has NEVER been to the library. One child to me her mother won't let her have a library card until she reads all the books she has at home. I met another person who is well-read and intelligent and likes to read - but doesn't like the public library because the books she wants are never at the branch she goes to...she didn't know she can get them sent to her at her branch.

The first memories I have of the library were around age 7. I remember going into town in our truck. We'd stop at the library and get a bunch of books. I'd sit in the truck in the backseat, crouched down, surrounded by books, and read while my mom did errands (she must have hauled my younger siblings along with her....I don't recall them at all on those days! I must have been lost in my own world of books!) Then at the end of the day of errands we'd stop at the library again, return those books, and get some more.

When we were first married and very poor the library was a great source of entertainment.

Then when we had our first child and were poorer it was an even greater valued resource.

We're still not rich - and we still love the library!
I love to spend an hour or so alone browsing the shelves, jumping into this topic or that topic, and finding gems to take home. I sip and nibble and feast on many different books.

I love surfing the web and finding great books to read - and having the library gather them up for me so I can just run in and grab them and go when I don't have hours to spend there.

I love the libraries that have made sunny corners and installed fireplaces where I can sit and read in comfort. All I need is a hot mug of steamed milk!

Oh wait!! I love how the downtown library has a place where you CAN buy steamed milk (okay...that's a lie...I used to love that. I wished that Good Earth would come back! Whatever happened??!)

I love being able to check out a book for FREE to see if it is worth buying.

I love being able to borrow DVDs (sorry Blockbuster! I have no idea how you're making it now that the library has such an expanded selection!)

I love books on CD.

I love the library programs. I LOVE the library programs.

I'm always surprised when I run into people that don't love the library like I love the library. I often feel like I should take them there and help them realize the things they're missing out on. However, I've learned to not say much. Some people think I'm a nerd when I get on my evangelical rant about libraries.

Oh well.

I do love the library. Our library charges $12 a year for the priviledge of borrowing. It's the best $12 I spend all year!

Monday, 19 October 2009

There's No Place Like Home! There's No Place Like Home! There's No Place Like Home!

She's home! But man, is she tired.

Jill just got to spend a week in South Carolina thanks to Nana and Grandpa. She was sooooo excited about it and clearly had a really good time. As soon as she got home today we went to the pool. Then of course, we had to stop at the library because she had nothing to read....but that was past the limit. After the library she had her melt down like she used to have when she was a little girl and would be away from home. She's been up since 3 am our time today, and said she had a great time but she had to be so nice and so good all week - it wore her out! Life is rough!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Let It Snow!

Everyone should have young kids. It makes this crazy weather so much more endurable!

I always hope the snow will hold out until at least Halloween. Not the case this year! We had a big dump...and the kids are loving it!

I've rarely seen kids have such a good time waiting for the bus as at our bus stop this morning. We've got quite a few kids at our bus stop anyway and this morning we had a few extras as their bus didn't show up. The kids were playing and hooping and hollering so much that they even woke up the grumpy Asian lady that lives in the house by the bus stop. She came out and scowled at us. Oops! It's really got to suck having a bus stop right in front of her house. I think we might need to take her some cookies (maybe fortune cookies!)

We have a girl gang in our neighborhood. This summer a family of three little girls moved in and Peirce has had a great time playing with them. He calls them the girl gang. On the way home from school Peirce noticed the girl gang was playing in the snow so he decided to ditch me and hang out with them. I went home and got things ready for dinner and for swimming and then picked him up when it was time to take off for swimming. He had such a good time! Peirce is always much more loving and appreciative when he gets to do things like that. When I picked him up he said, "Thanks for picking me up for swimming mom. That was so fun! We were building a secret tunnel to get to the inner chambers of the earth....." and he went on and on and on and on. When we were almost the pool (which is about 10 minutes away on a really bad traffic day) he finally took a breath and then said, "What do you think the girls are doing now?"

Kids are so entertaining. I love it.




Monday, 12 October 2009

Leaving, on a jet plane....


Our Jill is off to South Carolina today with Nana and Grandpa. They were going to SC to be there for Joel's baptism and they invited Jill to come along. She was THRILLED with the invite.


We'll miss you Jill! Have a great week!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

We have to DIE To Return to Heavenly Father??!!



Today I was supposed to do Sharing Time. I had the hardest time coming up with a plan for it. I read the info in the Sharing Time guide and just couldn't get it to come together. Finally I decided I would work with the kids on memorizing the scripture that goes with the theme this month and tell a story. My plan was pretty flimsy - but after it all was over I knew why. My sharing time got hijacked! It was so great....

I told the story of Amalakia and how he wanted to be king and he tried telling the people all sorts of nicey nicey things he'd do for them. We talked about what kind of things a person that lies to you to get something might lie about. Then I went on to talk about how this made Captain Moroni SOOOOO mad!! I really played it up too and talked loud and tried to portray how angry Captain Moroni felt about that. It's really fun to do that....because the kids really listen - and besides, I think that's how Captain Moroni felt!! I talked about how he tore off his coat and wrote the Title of Liberty and how part of the title of liberty was about protecting families. I asked if they'd ever seen the Incredible Hulk and how he gets really mad and his clothes all rip....I said Captain Moroni was probably mad like that. One boy piped up and said, "Well, King Kong is stronger than The Hulk...and I responded and said, "Well, you know, I think Captain Moroni was probably the strongest of all those guys!" The little boy was so cute. He's four and he was really wide-eyed then while we talked about how strong and righteous Captain Moroni was.

This all led perfectly into the scripture for this month:

The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”).

We talked about what it means that the family is central, who the Creator is, and what is plan is. The idea that we die and then return to live with Heavenly Father really struck one of the boys in Jr Primary. He is a boy that is living with an LDS family and so he's learning lots about the gospel. He said, "You mean we have to die to live with Heavenly Father? He wants us to die!" We then veered off into the Plan of Salvation and how we were spirits before and then we come to earth and will die and then we'll live with Heavenly Father and how this earth life is really just a short time in our existence. You could see the wheels just turning in this little boy's head. He asked a bunch more questions....and it was just wonderful!!

I love moments like that in primary!!



Saturday, 10 October 2009

Hyde Thanksgiving Dinner

This Thanksgiving seemed more important than any I remember. Aunt Colleen kept saying that we have much to be grateful for - and she's right. There's been a lot of health issues in our family. Dad is responding to his cancer treatments. Heidi and her broken leg and blood clots have been quite a rollercoaster and luckily she is healing and even luckier, has an amazing family that has really stepped in and helped out during a hard time. Aunt Marvelle is enduring plety of health challenges but still seems to maintain a happy spirit. She's a well loved matriarch in our family!
Here are a few pictures from the day:
My cute boy with Gus. Gus is a tiny new puppy that my cousin Ryan got for his family. Peirce just adored this little dog and played with him all day.

Must have been a good joke that someone told!


Visiting after dinner


Aunt Marvelle




Gaylene and Kara....partners in crime.




Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Winter. She's a coming....she's a here?


I just can't get warm!! The cold weather seems to be upon us. PLEASE!!! Just a few more heat waves!! I'm not ready for this!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Kid's Book Club is Almost Ready to Launch!

I'm quite excited. I have long wanted to do a book club at the school with kids. I mulled over doing it as a parent-child book club, and just doing it with kids. To keep away from adding more to our already crazy evenings I decided I'd offer to do it at lunch time, and if some parents can come, then great. And if not, that's okay too. I'll be partnering with a teacher to work on this. I'm really excited about it!

The principal sent an email asking how I'd respond to someone that might complain that we're doing English books rather than French - since it's a French Immersion program. I've thought about that a lot actually. Here's what I would respond. I told the principal to feel free to forward my email on to any parent that might be concerned.

One of the books we're going to give as a suggestion actually has quite a bit of French influence in it. It's set in Paris. The other two don't. We didn't pick The Invention of Hugo Cabret because of the French....it's just a great book that I think kids will love that happens to have some French influence in it. Really, that's neither here nor there...just interesting.

Here's the reasoning I've had go through my head:

1. This is an extra curricular activity. Participation is not required by anyone. While we'd like to think our kids all speak French out on the playground or in the lunchroom, I know they don't. And this will be a lunch time activity. The nice thing about this is that kids will volunteer to attend, they'll provide the meat of the discussions, and they'll choose the books. My experience has always been that learning is improved when it is more self-directed - and this will be a great opportunity for that.

2. The club was initiated by a parent. Since French Immersion is desiganed to accomodate families where the parents don't necessarily speak French.....them's the breaks. Simply due to the area we live in it's difficult to maintain a total French environment for Highwood. We have plenty of employees in the school that don't speak French. However, if a French-speaking parent wanted to participate I'd be happy to share the opportunity and work together. It would be fun actually!

I'm simply a parent that loves kids books, and enjoyes discussing them with kids, and really sees the value in helping kids love reading. Our world is quickly evolving and it's becoming more and more apparent that in order to keep up one must really have the ability to learn. Reading is key to learning about everything from new technology, health problems, consumer protection, science, or the arts, and on to research required to write dissertations....it all depends on the ability to read, digest the information and discuss it. A book club is a great opportunity to get experience climbing up Bloom's taxonomy to higher orders of thinking. And the more children read the better they will become at reading. It's just as simple as that.

3. English and French reading skills are very transferable. Kids benefit by reading in any language and doesn't everyone want their kid to love reading? We're just trying to foster a love of reading.

There's research to show that the skills are very transferable. Metalinguistic awareness (the general sensitivity to language and especially to its decoding) can be acquired regardless of which languages one is exposed to. Education in French gives children a greater metalinguistic awareness. A study by Dr Ellen Bialystok (a researcher at York University who studies bilingualism and the effect of cognitive development on children...see http://www.yorku.ca/coglab/) found that bilingual children demonstrated "the potential for transfer of reading principles across the languages." In other words, bilingual children are able to take methods or insights they have gained while learning one language and apply them directly to the other, without having to recreate the process from the beginning.

My own children have demonstrated this. Neither were taught to read in English yet somehow, by learning to read in French, they "magically" were able to read in English as well.

That's probably more than any parent will want/expect though. :0) But I appreciated the opportunity to reason it all through my mind. It's unlikely that a parent would argue the benefits of helping children learn to love reading. We'll see. The notice goes home this week!

Monday, 5 October 2009

My Continuing Homework Rant

I have blogged before about homework. I am not a big fan of homework. My experience has been that most homework sent home is tedious and often not worth the time. I don't mind reading or if a assignment is brought home that wasn't finished in class because time wasn't used properly by my child - but I really despise worksheets because more often than not they're just busy work and we don't need someone else filling out time with busy work of their choosing. I also don't believe in the theory that kids ought to get used to it because soon they'll be in X grade and getting homework. Or that we have to teach them to study so they're prepared for.....(fill in the blank...my favorite for that blank is University. Give me a break!)
When they need to do homework we'll do homework. If you ask me kids need more family time and more time to just be kids!

We just had parent-teacher interviews and I made a point of discussing this with my daughter's teacher. She seemed quite on board with my thinking and basically it sounded like we were on the same page. At least I thought we were - until Friday came along. Jill came home on Friday with some homework: a project about pets (okay with that one) as well as a fall coloring sheet. Coloring sheet?? Are we seriously concerned about her cutting and coloring skills? I know I'm not.

She told me the other day she is sick of all the coloring assignments they get. I told her to try to be patient with that kind of stuff. Sometimes teachers use it to kind of keep some kids busy while other kids are finishing up. However, when coloring assignments come home for homework I have to wonder?! Times like this I totally agree with bloggers like this.

In the meantime, Peirce really likes coloring - so he and I did it. I must say, we did a bang up job too! :0) Jill worked on her pet project while we colored and we all had a great time.

So why do I feel guilty?? I need to be more like this blogger....

Sunday, 4 October 2009

More Drumheller Fun

Prior to this weekend I had kind of had a silent source of pride in the fact that I had never succumbed to what I considered the Drumheller tourist trap.

I have to say, I'm an enthusiast now! It was really a great time. My kids LOVED it! Here are some more pictures from our weekend:


That's one big dinosaur! Apparently he's the biggest in the world. We even crawled up inside him. Nothing like peering out at Drumheller from a dinosaur's perspective.





I wonder if this is how Jonah felt.....



I told him not to get that close!








So much for looking after his sister. Looks more like he's laughing at her plight. What a guy.



Ugh. Ever crossed one of these hanging bridges? I hated it!! And my darling family loved dragging me across and watching my eyeballs roll into the back of my skull.

At least the colors on the trees were pretty. Never noticed that there until I saw this picture though!


Oh...and here's something really cool from Google Maps on Odee.com!!

Dubbed the "Badlands Guardian" by locals, this geological marvel (Google Earth coordinates 50.010083,-110.113006)bears an uncanny resemblance to a human head wearing a full Native American headdress--and earphones, to boot. Of course, The Guardian was produced naturally

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Drumheller for Conference

Since Sundays are such busy days in our lives these days, we decided that on General Conference weekend we'd try going somewhere to get away and spend time together while still enjoying Conference. Jill went to Drumheller with Allen this year for a High Council visit and so she was eager to go to Drumheller again - so that was the destination of choice. We watched the morning session at home and then hurried off to Drumheller. We've enjoyed Conference and enjoyed having fun together! It was really a great idea to get away.




These pictures are at the fossil museum. You get to dig for fossils and gems and then keep the ones you find! Loads of fun.







The kids have done a lot of climbing and swimming today. These pictures are from the fossil museum's climbing wall. They also climbed a hoo-doo near the Drumheller chapel (Well, to be more precise, it was just a hill - but we called it a hoodoo. Good thing too because we later found out you're not supposed to climb hoodoos!).

Had a great time....and then it all ended like this:. video

Sounds like we had dinosaurs in our hotel room! That'd be Jill snoring, by the way!


oh! And we finally figured out what a hoo doo is!




hoo·doo [ hdoo ]
noun (plural hoo·doos)
Definition:

1. religion Same as voodoon (sense 2)
2. bad luck: bad luck or misfortune
3. bringer of bad luck: somebody or something believed to bring bad luck
4. oddly-shaped rock column: in the western United States and Canada, a column of rock that has been weathered into a strange shape


Hoodoo info from here:


Hoodoos take millions of years to form and stand 5 to 7 metres tall. Each hoodoo is a sandstone pillar resting on a thick base of shale that is capped by a large stone. Hoodoos are very fragile and can erode completely if their capstone is dislodged (in other words, no climbing allowed).

Where do Hoodoos get their name?The name "Hoodoo" comes from the word "voodoo" and was given to these geological formations by the Europeans. In the Blackfoot and Cree traditions, however, the Hoodoos are believed to be petrified giants who come alive at night to hurl rocks at intruders

Friday, 2 October 2009

No More TV


We've recently banned the TV in our house unless permission is given to turn the TV on. I found that as soon as walk in the house the TV was turned on and kids flopped on the couch and it was driving my nuts. That, coupled with a couple other incidents, have caused us to shut it off all together, at least for a few days.


One of the other reasons I have made this move is from listening to a radio program about the mind-numbing effects of TV. It was interesting to hear the person interviewed talk about the effects of TV on kids. If it were anything else that did that to my kids I wouldn't hesitate to ban it. Why do we let TV do that?

Having it off has been so wonderful! I love having the kids visit with each other and with me, to color together, make crafts, read, etc. We just might continue this long term! (Don't tell our kids yet though)