Tuesday, 27 December 2011

So Sick

Not sure what is wrong with us today. Jill has been throwing up every few hours. I haven't, but I feel like if only I could things would be okay. Jill is really funny. She is happy and bouncy, and every few hours she stops that and throws up.

There always has to be someone sick in our family during the holidays, it seems!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day

Mom wanted us to go to dinner today to a place she had been invited. Brad's wife, Jill's, sister had invited her. I felt kind of weird about going, but mom wanted us to go, so we decided we would. I figured we could endure it.

I have to say, I had to most fun at a party where I didn't know anyone. There were probably about 30 people there for dinner. Mom and Uncle Clifford and Brad and Jill were there - so we knew some people at least.

Turned out we had a few connections! Jill's sister's name is Mikenzie. She is really outgoing and fun and easy to be around. She was sitting and talking to mom and I suddenly it clicked who she was. She was talking about sewing and shopping and sewing machines....and it clicked. Patti Hawryluk always talked about her friend Mikenzie who she'd go shopping with and who likes to sew. So I asked her if she'd ever lived in Calgary and if she knew Patti, and sure enough!

We also found out that her son lives in our ward. Funny thing was his little girl was singing happy birthday in French to Jill. While she was singing I said to myself that I should go talk to this little girl - but I didn't. Then when we found out that Mikenzie's son lives in our ward (he's less active and someone the Bishopric has been trying to visit) Allen visited with him some and we found out that their daughter goes to Peirce's school. We had a really nice visit with them.

Such a small world!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Peirce's Letter to Santa

I'm not a scrapbooker, but I do like to keep a record here. If I were a scrapbooker I would put a page in my book with Peirce's letter and the reply from Santa with cute stickers. I could even scan it or take a picture and post it here - but he typed it up, so it's not like the printing is that endearing or anything. Anyway, here is his letter:

Dear St. Nick,

I would like to thank you from last year and this year in advance. you are so cool. I hope you have set up your Christmas tree. This year my favorite toy is an i-pot and some Harry Potter lego. I hope your elves can make two more presents. I was just wondering if you could speka another language other than English. I speak French. I think it is fun knowing that you can speak French and English. I hope you have a nice trip.

Peirce

P.S. When I said my favorite toys are, that is what I would like for Christmas.

I love the letter because it is so Peirce....exactly how he talks. :)

He is always sure to show me the letter. I'm pretty sure he's on to the Santa thing. He's smart enough to know though that he should still play along. :) That's okay with me.

He got a letter back too! It said:

Hello Peirce!

I was so happy to receive your letter. I'm always over the moon to hear from boys and girls who love the magic of Christmas.

Yesterday, Mrs. Claus suggested that we take a break and go for a walk in the lollypop forest. The elves strapped on waffles to the bottom of their boot to keep them from slipping. We walked, laughed, and picked some lollypops - grape,butterscotch, berry explosion and my favorite - maple swirl. Mrs. Claus took pictures to put in the workshop.

Well, I must go now. It's snack time and I promised Rudolph that we would try out the new cookie machine.

Thanks again for your wonderful letter. Please remember to write me next year.

Your friend,
Santa

P.S. My, you write a wonderful letter. I speak French too! I can't wait for Christmas - can you? Meilleurs voeux pour un Joyeux Noel!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!

I think Sundays are my new favorite kind of Christmas day.

Today was a great day. I woke up at my usual 5:30 am and waited for everyone else to wake up. It didn't take too long as the kids woke up at 6:00 and we were quickly downstairs opening gifts. It was a lot of fun. I'm so proud of my kids for their reasonable Christmas lists. They each made Christmas lists and we were able to get almost everything on their lists - and they noticed that. They were really pleased with their presents.

One funny moment was Peirce with his gyroscope. He plays with one of those every year when we go to the Hudsons for carol singing. He has asked for one a number of times and one day while we were in Chapters we noticed they had some in their old fashioned toys section! I bought one for him. Allen also ran into them one day so he bought one too. We gave one to Jill and one to Peirce. The funny moment was Christmas morning when Jill had opened hers. Peirce actually had his in his hand. He sat their open mouthed not knowing what to say when he saw that Jill got one. We laughed and laughed and told him to go ahead and open the one in his hand. Pretty good timing! :)

After gift opening we had a few hours before church. I really don't remember any other Christmases where we went to church. We probably didn't! Today we did. The program was all music - and it was so amazing! The primary children sang. I was touched by how many little children knew the words so well. Then the young men sang. My heart was about to burst! I was so happy to see them up there singing. It wasn't anything fancy - but I think that it was beautiful to see them do it. I'm sure singing does something good to their hearts. Something that boys need! I hope they're still singing when Peirce is in young men's. There were various other musical numbers by the choir, a Spanish group, a quartet, and some instrumental pieces. My heart was burning all through it all. It was beautiful!

After church we had a big of a social with squares and snacky food. It was a perfect way to end the meetings and it was really lovely to visit with everyone.

We made a quick get away though and came home to get ready to go to Lethbridge. Once again the kids surprised me and we were ready in record time. By the time Allen got home from doing tithing we had everything by the door. We had hoped to leave at 2:00 and we were in the car at 1:45. That never happens!

Dinner at my mom's was fantastic. We opened more gifts there, visited and had a great time. We missed Dad. Taylor is also gone this year. She went to Germany! But those of us who were there had a great time. By the end of it all I was really pooped though.

It has been a wonderful Christmas day! Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve this year. We started the day off by insuring and registering Allen's new car. YEA!! It took much longer than I anticipated - but everything worked out. Actually, one thing I'm quite pleased about this year is the relaxed feeling I have around Christmas. When school was finished I started in on incorporating FlyLady routines into my day and it seemed like I was comfortably caught up on housework in no time. Phew! I did pretty much all my Christmas shopping this past week (risky, I know!). It seems like Christmas preparations fit into how much time you give them - and that's okay.

This afternoon I broke one of my Christmas resolutions and went to a mall. I was pleasantly surprised though. It wasn't that bad! It was like an average busy Saturday. I didn't even have to drive around the parking lot for 30 minutes trying to find somewhere to park. A Christmas miracle!

We had planned to have the kids go tobaganning today - but it seems we are not having a white Christmas and there definitely wasn't sufficient snow for tobaganning. Nathan and Becky and their kids came over for dinner. It was a great dinner, and great company. After dinner we had planned to sing carols and share favorite Christmas stories - but that didn't end up happening either....and that was okay! Another Christmas miracle: our kids decided to go to bed early so Christmas morning could come quicker. Allen and I spent an hour or so wrapping the last few gifts to be wrapped, filling stockings, and getting breakfast ready for the morning. Christmas morning here we come!

So long Aziz!

We have had students from other countries stay with us on and off for the past 13 years. One of my regrets is that I haven't kept a record of these interesting people!

This month we said good bye to Aziz. He stayed with us for about a year. A year?! wow. Time flies!

Aziz is from Saudi Arabia. He has a large family - it seems to me he said there are 17 children, and he is the youngest. His father died when he was a child. He was raised by his mother and his 'aunt'. His dad had two wives and they have continued to live in the same house after his father died. I think the 17 children are from both women.

Aziz had to be the best student we had at trying to get to know Canadian culture, learn the language, and be a part of our family. He also tried to infuse some of his culture into our home. He didn't think we were celebratory enough when someone returned home and would always rush to the door when anyone returned home to pronounce a hearty, "Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!" (on my off days this sometimes prompted me to quietly enter through the front door where he wouldn't hear me LOL). A lot of students who have stayed with us have been serious students, but he was probably the most earnest learner of English that I have met. It was amazing how much he learned in a year.

Aziz really loved our children. Sometimes his care made them uncomfortable though. He developed a habit of grilling Jill about where she had been and Allen talked with him and told him we do not treat daughters like that in our culture. We trust Jill and don't expect her to ask for anyone's permission to do things, except her parents. He lightened up on that. I think he was just trying to play the role of protective older brother, but his approach made Jill and us uncomfortable. It was too close to that Moslem control girls issue. He also got on a kick where he was trying to arrange a marriage for Jill with one of his nephews. He said she would always be looked after and that his family would give us lots of money (like a million dollars!) the entire discussion made Jill uncomfortable and often angry. He gave that one up to. Then he would talk about how he would love to take Peirce to meet his family. Peirce was curious, but I think a little afraid Aziz really would take him there and not bring him back. He was probably a little afraid because even though he thought it sounded like an interesting adventure I would always say no to the idea I wouldn't even joke that it might be okay. After Peirce's complaints Aziz finally gave that one up too.

That being said, Jill and Peirce loved to watch TV with Aziz, they loved how he always had treats for them. They loved helping him with his homework (it is always flattering to be a kid expert). And they had a lot of fun teaching him about Canadian things like tobogganing, skating, not wearing flip flops in snow, and things like that.

I appreciated the things Aziz taught me about Saudi culture and his religion. He prayed many times a day at specific times. He loved his family and spoke with them often. He had a favorite sister and whenever we mentioned her name (even when not talking about her specifically) he would clutch at his heart and say, "Oh my Sarah. I love my sister Sarah. she is my favorite." There are many things in his culture about women that I hate: they cannot drive, their work opportunities are limited, they must get permission from their husband or father (or whoever has been assigned to stand in in those roles), and they must cover themselves. Whenever I would ask him about these things he had answers that almost swayed me to think the customs were rooted in care and respect. Almost.

One thing Aziz and I discussed a couple times - and after a couple very dynamic discussions wouldn't discuss it with him anymore - was the Israeli Arab conflicts. We could not come to an agreement. He could see no other way than the belief that his brothers there have been wronged and the wars and killing are justified....even celebrated. Now and then he would drop comments that made me think he even admired Hitler. I could barely tolerate this, and Aziz knew it. We both greased very lightly on that sensitive topic.

We often had religious discussions and discussed many similarities between Muslims and Mormons. He said his family worried he would convert to Mormonism because he often told them how much he admired our religious ways. We invited him to come to church but he never did come on a Sunday. He came to a couple parties, and that was all. He was amazed at our grand church house and wanted to be able to visit the temple here when it is finished. He was always amazed when I knew Old Testament stories of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Sarah, etc. I don't know if he ever really understood that I got that knowledge from The Bible. He would always be aghast and say, "You know Abraham?! I cannot believe it."

One thing about Aziz that was odd was that he never really adjusted to our schedule. He would go to sleep after school, then wake up at a certain time for his prayers, and then stay up until 3 or 4 am talking on Skype, studying, and praying. He would often sleep until noon or later when he didn't have classes. Sometimes he stayed at the University all night studying in the library, and after a couple days of that he would come home and sleep for 12 hours or so straight.

Aziz was generous. He would always ask me if I needed anything if he was going out. He paid us full rent but very rarely ate here (that is part of the deal). He would often bring home treats for the kids and always offer food to us. He had a big heart and truly tried to be part of our family.

I have always found that when someone stays for more than six months I get a little tired of hosting. Aziz could sense that and I felt bad about that. He left at the beginning of December to move to Halifax and go to school there. He will be doing a masters degree in geomatics (I think). He already has an undergrad degree from a Saudi University.

I admired how Aziz loved his country, was grateful for his king's generosity, and how he was generous in praise towards our family. I am grateful that we got to know him.

I never could figure out what the watering can in the bathroom was for though.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Ethnic Christmas Party

Tonight we had another ward Christmas party. This one got started when some people in the ward decided they wanted to get together and share food and sings from their culture. It ballooned until it ended up being a ward party. The food was terrific! Allen said he could have done without the singing - but I thought it was nice to be able to have people share those things that are important to them. We had some Iranian singing by Sister Nachsbondi, some Romanian songs by the Badaras, a Japanese carol by a collection of Japanese members, families and return missionaries, a Spanish song by a group of Spanish speakers, and the kids and I (and Peirce's friend, Anthony) sang Quand La Pere Noel (much to their chagrin). We were going to bring poutine to continue with our French theme but we ran out of time so we bought some chicken fingers to warm up, a black forest cake, cookies and punch. Canadian food, I guess.

What I loved about this party was that it rose up out of an idea from members rather than leaders planning an activity because we are supposed to have an activity. That is how it should be more often!

After it was all finished we met a man who came to the building for his 'test' with the missionaries. He has been taught by the Mandarin missionaries and is getting baptized on Christmas Day! I love that! A real white Christmas!

Play Dates With Anthony

Today Peirce got to have his friend, Anthony, over. I am pretty terrible at arranging playmates. When he asked today and I agreed to it he was over the moon excited. They had a terrific time too. We really should do it more often! They played on the computer, played with their DS' together, and had a great time together at our ward party tonight. Anthony said it was the most fun he has ever had at a church. :)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The End

Today is the end of part 1 of my vacation. This week I was off but my darling children were still in school. Oh the things I can accomplish when I am home without them! I have never been as unprepared for Christmas as I was this year. I worried about it but just planned that I would get everything done this week. I worried a little that something would come along to thwart my plan - like sickness....but phew! I have stayed healthy. In the past when school was finished I usually had to spend the first 3 days sleeping. I couldn't do that this time - and luckily didn't need to. Phew!

Today I got to go to an assembly at Peirce's school. It was so fun to see him there. They did a little salsa dance first....every kid in the school was in it! It was great. Then the after school program did a little play, and Kambul Bloxham cut off his hair! He grew it out for cancer patients and today he got it cut off in front of the whole school. He asked kids to come up and cut chunks off - and Peirce even got to be one of them. Quite a lot of fun. They used this as a way to present the virtues for January: caring. It was really great. At the end of the assembly there was a flash mob by the teachers. So fun!! I was so happy to be able to be there. My first assembly at Peirce's new school (this is one of the hazards of going back to work full time). Made me think now and then I should take a personal day to go to their assemblies. Something to seriously consider!

And now our kids are finished school and our Christmas can officially begin. Allen is out trying to find a car today. Here's hoping we can find something in our price range that will allow us to get to Lethbridge for Christmas!

Grace by Richard Paul Evans

I have been listening to this story on CD. I might have to resolve never to get book CDs out of the library though. The last CD was damaged so I couldn't get the last two chapters of the book. So frustrating!! The afterward though was good and filled me in, and I put the book on hold at the library.

The beginning of this book was a little frustrating to me. It is about a girl who runs away and hides with the help of a boy from school. She hides in his tree house in his yard. His parents never figure it out. Her parents never find her. That part kind of drove me crazy. I can't imagine having my kids hide someone and not figure it out.

Apparently the story is based on the author's experience. You can read about that on his website. When he explains this at the end it about broke my heart. It's about abuse, caring, and protecting children. I won't give it away, but just say that you seriously have to read this book!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Morning Date

This morning Allen's office had a Christmas Breakfast. It was so fun to have a date on a Wednesday morning! We had a great time visiting with friends from the office. Wonderful day!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Digging Out From the Mess

Today has been a day filled with housework. So much to do! I feel like I've neglected my house for so long - and it shows. Today I worked like crazy getting caught up on laundry and doing some housework. The interesting thing is it doesn't take that much before I start to love my house again. It makes me wonder why I don't just work a little harder to keep up.

Oh ya. Time. Our life seems to run in high speed. Seriously, I do the best I can. I'm so glad to be able to catch up this week! Now I can have people over without feeling like dying. :)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Look Ma! No Nap!

1. Today was the first Sunday for me to not be in primary. I have to say as I heard them from the Sunday School room as they were singing the opening song it really touched my heart. I missed them!! I am grateful for the music in primary. I always said the music leader is like the gospel doctrine teacher of primary. I still stand by that.

2. Today was a glorious Sunday. I enjoyed Sunday School immensely. We discussed the Christmas story and read Luke 2. It was absolutely wonderful and I left feeling spiritually nourished. Relief Society was the same. I loved it. Most interestingly of all, when it was all over I didn't feel like I needed a 3 hour nap! That's been my Sundays for the past couple of years. I found after church I was positively exhausted. I guess it wasn't just that I'm getting old. I wonder how the new primary presidency felt today? I will have to check in with them some time.

Maybe.

3. Today I feel especially grateful for Christmas. I am off now and have a lot to do this week. So glad that I have the time and resources to do it!

4. I am so very grateful for my job. I almost don't like to be away. I really miss it. But I am grateful for the break. I feel truly blessed to have the job I have.

5. My family. I found out Neil isn't coming out for Christmas - but he is going to come out in January. Luckily he picked a weekend that we don't have something going on. I'm really grateful for that. I'm excited to see my family at Christmas. Can't wait!

6. I'm grateful for the wonderful people I got to work with in primary. It was strange being in RS today with Karyn. I wished Deanna was there. And I wondered where Colleen was. I love those ladies!

7. I'm grateful for life! I am grateful for the good man I'm married to. I'm grateful that my kids are healthy and happy. I love to be with them all. Life is good. :)

In Training

Sometimes it is harder to teach kids to help, than to just do it yourself. However, the pain of knowing my kids can't shovel a sidewalk, or look after their own house, or do dishes pushes me on through the pain of getting them to learn how to do stuff.

Last night it snowed so after I took Allen to the church for ward council (we are still a one car family right now) Peirce and I went out to do some shoveling. Man, who knew shoveling was such a complex subject! Peirce was whining and complaining....so each time he continued to complain I'd tell him, "Well, I guess we have to do another driveway. You need to learn to do this without complaining." By the time he stopped we had shoveled our driveway plus 3 others, plus all the sidewalk on our street. Eeesh!

Let's hope we get some more snow. He is in training to learn to be a good shoveler!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Released!

I'm actually writing this on Wednesday - but can't publish the post until Sunday.

Tonight the Bishop came to visit us. He released me from primary! I was kind of mixed about it. I have felt like it is time for a change, but then again, I have also felt like primary is the best place to serve and would be happy to stay forever! I guess, though, everyone needs a chance to get to see how great primary is.

The one tricky thing about it all was that I was planning on a presidency meeting on Thursday night to plan classes for January. Didn't quite seem like a good use of time-  so I cancelled the meeting. Ahhh!! So looking forward to a calling with no more meetings! :)

No new calling yet though! I guess I get a bit of a vacation. That's okay with me!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Charlie Brown Tree

When I got to my classroom this morning this is what was sitting on my desk:

So cute!

There was a card that said:

No matter how big or how small
your role is...
Every effort, every smile,
every carding word
ties into
the success of the students
both today
and tomorrow!!

Thank-you for your hard work and
dedication!!
We appreciate you so much!

Merry Christmas!

FFCA NWE School Council


I am SO grateful to work where I do. I love working with people who all really like each other. I love working with people who are just genuinely good people. I appreciate the generosity and kindness everyone shows. I feel privileged to work there! There seriously cannot be a better place to work! ....and it isn't even about all the presents I am getting :)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Secret Santa

Recently, at work, they announced they were going to be doing Secret Santas. Call me a grinch if you want. Initially I groaned when I heard we were doing this. I figured I don't need more to do. I don't need gifts. Why a make work project!

Today was the first official day of Secret Santas. It was so fun! One co-worker made a Christmas tree of coke cans because she had someone who loves coke. There were all these emails going around to say thanks for this and thanks for that. Someone sharped another's pencils. I even got something!! A mug with oreos and a candy cane, and a Starbucks card!

I have repented of my grinchy ways. I have to say, after watching all the fun, and even receiving a gift, I have really enjoyed it. I'm excited that we're going to be doing this all week long!

Here's a picture of my gift today. I only thought to take a picture after munching on oreos while correcting spelling. The cup was full of them!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Blessings We Didn't See At First

This weekend Allen took Jill to Edmonton for a meet. On the way there he started to have car trouble. When he got there his car died. Dead. Not to be revived. It is the transmission (again!) we replaced the transmission once, then had to do a big transmission repair again, and now another transmission issue. Enough. Time to move on. A few weeks ago he was in an accident. That is the blessing we didn't realize was a blessing. The insurance money to pay for the no longer needed repairs will be a great start to a new vehicle. Phew!

While I was sitting in church today I was thinking about my week: about what I learned about planning versus letting go, about not getting upset when bad things happen like car accidents, or car deaths, and about trusting God, when the spirit whispered to me that God always has a plan, a much better and more grand plan than I could ever come up with. Letting go and just stepping off the ledge and trusting that God will be there to catch me is hard for me, but I am learning to trust Him. I am grateful for that little whispering today. I know from the pain in my sciatic nerve that appeared today is because I am worrying. I will try to have more faith. I am trying!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Trickster Learning Curve

This has been an amazing and exhausting and fun and educational week. We had an artist in residence program called Trickster. I was telling my mom about it and she said, "Oh, so they come in and you get the week off?" Well, not exactly. I make a plan for the week, then they come in and change it all, and add 80 or so extra things to to do lists! :) .....but it is all worth it. It is an amazing experience.

I have seen Trickster a few times with our own kids at their school, but this was my first experience as a teacher. It was amazing to watch the Tricksters get our crazy ideas that seemed to spread over a myriad or topics into one story. Our theme was Nights of Character and every class had a character virtue to focus on. Our virtue was integrity. I worried all week that we wouldn't touch on integrity enough in our play. Our Trickster was amazing at letting the whole play totally come from the kids. It was their ideas, their humor, their understanding of integrity....all wrapped up with hunting rabbits, farting in tents, and things like that....and in the end, it was a lot of fun and it all made sense. I did a lot of letting go and did my best to try to learn from the process. I am a planner and don't let the kids lead as much as they got to this week. I really think the strength of this program is that they are masters of letting the kids take the lead.

It was very inspiring!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Sick!

It isn't often that I just want to stay in bed. This morning though, I did want to. It must have been a premonition. At school the first thing that happened was one of my students came to my and asked what all the gross stuff was on his binder. Another teacher, a mom, and I were standing there. The mom touched the gross stuff and gave it a whiff....right away we knew. BARF! I sent him to the office to get some help cleaning it up. All the kids were coming in and they kept asking what the horrid smell was. I finally realized that the backpack he had taken the binder out if is full off barf!! SICK!! Sent him to the office with his backpack. The ladies in the office said no way they were cleaning that up....they called the parents. Dad came to try to solve the mystery. No one knows how the barf got in the backpack! It wasn't my student. No one was sick on the bus. No one was sick at home. It is a total mystery!

Sure is a nasty way to start the day though.
I should have stayed in bed!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Steal of a deal!

I have been wanting some new chairs for my living room. What I really want I can't quite afford. So I stop by second hand stores, I check out kijiji, but kept not having any luck. Today I totally lucked out! Someone posted these on free cycle! It was so fun to go pick them up. They came from a BEAUTIFUL house in Mount Royal. The arms have been clawed by a cat, so my plan is to recover them. They are really heavy chairs, and look to be really good quality. And the price sure was right!!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Winter Cup

Peirce was racing today. He had a great day! The meet was at the Winter Club....not my favorite place for meets, but today ended up pretty good.

200 Free - Man that is a long race! He was quite worn out by the end, but he did a great job. He did it in 4:15....not bad formhis first 200 Free. The race didn't look nice because he was last in his heat, but he was with a bunch of other kids without a seed time and I think he got in with some older kids. It feels a little discouraging in the middle of the race when that happens - but he did great looking at the numbers.

100 Back was beautiful! Peirce is a great back stroker. He beat his time by 14 seconds! As Jill says, Peirce is a backstroking beast!

100 free was next. I forgot to time him so I will have tp update when the official stats are posted.

50 breast was a tense one because he has been DQd in the past - but it looks like he is getting the technique figured out. No DQ and a great time today!

Then last of all he swam in the relay. They didn't win but they had fun.

Looks like we have another swimmer on our hands!

He was one super tired boy tonight. That is just how I like 'em to be at the end of the day! :)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an awesome book. I've read it with my kids. I've read it with the book club we had at Jill's school. I've also read it to my students. Today the movie based on the book came out! We decided to go to it and invited the kids from my class last year to come along with our family. It was so fun!

The movie is called Hugo.

Peirce said it was the best movie he's ever seen. It was great to have Jill and Peirce turn to me and whisper all through the movie that this scene was so perfect, or that scene was all wrong. The movie was pretty true to the book.

It was also really fun to be there with my students from last year. About half a dozen of them came, along with their parents. The funny thing was the preview was for Save the Whales, which is also a story we read in Grade Two! The other preview was for Beauty and the Best, which the high school came and did a little assembly to tell our school about the play today so that kids would come to it. Too funny!

It was really a great night. Loved it!

Romance!

My dear husband brought me flowers at work today. Why? Just because!

He's a keeper :)

Friday, 11 November 2011

Anne with an 'e'

Tonight the kids and I volunteered at Storybook Theatre. I am not sure how many years we have been doing this, but it has been a while. The kids LOVE it. Yesterday the guy who was Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last year was there. He was the choreographer for Anne. He came and chatted with us for quite a while. I guess Peirce had gone up to him when we first saw him and told him how much he loved that play, and he was kind enough to have a long and meaningful conversation with us about theatre, performing, and life in general. It was really great and Peirce felt very validated as a theatre aficionado. It was great.



The play was also terrific. I have always loved the Anne of Green Gables story. Jill, not so much. I think she is converted now though! She kept saying last night, "She is just like me!"

Love it. :)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Peirce

My mom found some pictures of her grandkids in some of Aunt Marvelle's stuff. Here's one of my darling boy, Peirce.

Just love that little face. Oh to go back to the days of dressing him in OshKosh overalls!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Being a Working Mom

Truth is, I've always been a working mom. For the first 12 years though I worked at home. It was a little crazy. Now, changing to teaching, it's a little crazy in a different way. I don't have the same flexibility with my schedule that I used to - but I definitely work less hours. Some would be surprised at that. Working from home seems like a dream. But the truth was I got up early and worked, worked all day, and worked late into the night. When we would go somewhere I'd bring my computer with me and work along the way. It worked at the time - but now I'm grateful to be back in the world of teaching.



Teaching is a crazy life too - and I work lots of hours....but I really love it. This is report card season so I've been especially busy lately. Still, we've had real meals, I've gone to bed at a reasonable hour, and my kids have still got to the activities they need to get to. We can call it a success! I am amazed at how much I have accomplished in the last seven days. It seems like every waking minute I'm busy busy busy. Hopefully by Monday I'll be finished report cards though and will be able to get back to regular life. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

So Blessed

Today one of my co-workers brought me a flower. She said it was so I could look it and think of my little Destiny.

Brought a tear to my eye!

I'm seriously so blessed. I work with some amazing, kind, creative, fun and thoughtful people.

Released!

I'm actually writing this on Wednesday evening, but I couldn't publish it until Sunday. The Bishop came to visit and released me as Primary President. I pretty much expected it. It's been just over 2 years. I sure have enjoyed it. I felt kind of tossed about getting released. In some ways I feel like it's time for a change. But then again, I'd be happy to stay in primary for a long time. I guess a change is good so that the kids in primary get some fresh ideas and new enthusiasm. I will miss them!

No new calling yet. I guess I get a vacation!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Book Club Night

Tonight was the night I wait for! Book Club! Peirce and I joined a book club at the library and this month we read The Magic Half....well, I read it. I read the first part with Peirce and one Sunday afternoon read the rest of it, and then forgot about reading it with him. Oops! He really isn't much into reading chapter books on his own. Hopefully the book club will help create more joy in reading. Right now he likes books like Geronimo Stilton and Garfield comic books...which is okay...but I sure would love to see him learn to love regular chapter books. We'll work on it.

So we had a great night at book club. On the way home we made a stop. When we went to get back in the van poor Peirce got his hand slammed in the door. Poor little guy! Now that isn't going to create good book club feelings!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Four Years Later

We have a little girl in our ward that was born the week that our Destiny was stillborn. We sang happy birthday to her in primary today at church. I often look at her and wonder what it would be like to have a little girl that age running around our house. Our life sure would have been different than it is right now. Time does heal wounds though. My time with Destiny changed my life for the better. Today is the day she was delivered (I never know if I should say it was the day she was born - or the day she died)

All I know is it is possible to love someone you haven't spent time with. She is a gentle soul whose presence I often feel.

Thank you for all you have done for me, my little Destiny Dawn Ackroyd.

I have have grown and changed through all this. I contemplated whether I should post anything. Sometimes I think people think I should move on. I know some people are uncomfortable with the topic. I guess the big reason for me is that I never want her to be forgotten.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Fall Fling

Today was another swim meet day. NCSA hosted and so parents have to volunteer at two sessions. Since my kids swim in different sessions I ended up volunteering all day. I was there from 8 am until 7 pm. Ugh! Talk about a long day. I sure have soft moist skin now though. :)

In the morning I was a timer. Easy peasy. In the afternoon I marshalled. Oh the pain! I did it at the last meet too and I had resolved that if things got too crazy I was going to call in the coaches to come help...and when things got really crazy I forgot. I'm tossed about whether I should volunteer to do it again so I can remember to do that - or hope I never have to do it again.

Decisions. Decisions.

The meet went well for Jill. She improved in one race and did about the same in the other three. This was Peirce's second meet. We'll just say he is on a steep learning curve. He is enjoying it, but has a few more things to learn about technique so he has fewer DQ's. He did have one race though where he didn't get DQd. I was proud of him for pushing on despite the disappointments. At one point, in his 3rd race, the starter asked the boys to step down (which they often do if someone is on the blocks too soon or doing something they shouldn't). Peirce got confused and ended up falling off the block into the water. Poor kid. He was embarrassed. He didn't get DQd for that though!

All in all, I'm glad we have swimming in our lives. Although it seems to make my life a little crazy, our kids are sure getting in good shape and learning a lot. Life is good.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Daily Blogging

I'm recommitting to daily blogging. It's my way of journaling, and I am sorry to miss things. I resolve to do better!

Friday, 21 October 2011

You've Come a Long Way Baby

Today we had a PD day for the Charter School Conference. The conference was at the Calgary Science School (another Charter School). Turns out they lease the building that the Montessori school used to lease that I worked at for my first teaching job. It was so cool to go step into the room where I taught music, then Science, then Grade Two. The feelings of nostalgia that swept over me were almost overwhelming. It was all so real. I remember the feelings so well. There were a lot of positive feelings. I loved those children. I sure felt inadequate though! I have come a long way since then. I had no idea what I was doing back then. I worked SO hard. I wondered if it would ever get easy. I can't say it is easy now, but I sure feel a lot more confidant compared to how I felt there back in 1993! It was great to be back there.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Book That Changed My Life (edited by Roxanne J Coacy and Joy Johannessen)

This book is a collection of vignettes about writers and books that they love. It's kind of a fun book to read because you don't have to read it from beginning to end - you can jump all over. Here are some of my favorite parts from the book:

Nicholas A Basbanes: Something else Professor Berkelman preached in all his courses - and I took eight with him over four years, quite possibly a Bates record - was the merit of reading favorite passages aloud, a practice I use to this day, most productively with my own writing. When my daughters were children in the 1980s, it became customary for us to read their literary assignments together at night, and to discuss what we had just learned as we went along. Shakespeare's plays were by far the most fun for us. We selected our roles, assumed what we thought were appropriate voices, and visualized the scenes as if we were directors staging our own productions. We tinkered with blank verse, examined the language, shared our perceptions. Most of all, we allowed reading to enter our lives, and to work its magic.

I wonder if this is one reason I love reading books with Peirce so much - because we always read aloud. There's something special about reading aloud!

Benjamin Cheever:  When a friend sticks a book in my hand and crows, "It changed my life," my heart plummets. They never say, "It changed my life." They sing it out, as if boasting about intellectual suppleness, while not talking about the book at all. As if change were easy, welcome.
    I know better. Sure the Renaissance was change, but so was the Ice Age.
   Plus, I'm not intellectually supple. When one of those books does come along, it knocks me over. I'll read it twice. If I can possibly get a recording of the book, I'll do so. I'll run with it in my iPod, wash the dishes with it. I'll dog-ear and underline my copy. I'll quote endlessly from the text in e-mail. I'll bore my neighbors, embarrass my friends, infuriate my family.

I think I like this guy. I love his description! I love how he loves books. :)

Claire Cook (her favorite was the Nancy Drew series!): She talks about how she grew to love Nancy Drew. Her mother had died and she relished getting lost in the world of a book, rather than living in her own. Nancy, interestingly, also didn't have a mother. She talked about helping kids love reading, and says: The truck is, as I came to see it, is that once you fall in love, really in love, with that first book, you'll never be able to stop. There will still be plenty of time to introduce the classics. I give Nancy full credit for that teaching epiphany.

That's so true! That's my goal with the kids I teach...and with my own kids :)

An author named Sark (no last name....just Sark) said she was touched by Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. She said she was abused and while reading the book she had an epiphany. I went to hear Maya Angelou speak at the same library where I'd found her book, and clearly saw her invincible spirit as she talked to the group. Right there, sitting on that folding chair, I decided to have no more shame about the abuse that had happened to me. That is amazing. Books can bring miracles!

Then there are a few books I noticed, that I'd love to read. One of them being by Maureen Corrigan. It is called "Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading." Now that is right up my alley! I also learned some strange facts. Like, did you know: Sherlock Homes is....the only fictional character ever made an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry because of his contributions to forensic investigation. A fictional character! LOL And I learned some funny things about some authors I love....like Jack Prelutsky. He said: When I was in junior high....I fell in love with Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton. I hid the book in an obscure place in the school library so it was always waiting for me, and read it a couple dozen times. I wonder why he didn't just sign it out? LOL

Friday, 7 October 2011

Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

Well, I've really got to get better at blogging! Once in September, and suddenly it is October 7. Life seems to spin faster and faster!


Peirce and I joined a book club this year at the public library. The first book we read was Elephant in the Garden. The book is pretty good. It's a story of a family in Germany during the second world war. It was interesting to read a World War II story from the perspective of a German family. It made me want to read more of his books though. It was a great introduction to this author. You can read more about the book here. It isn't a book I probably would have ever pulled off the library shelf on my own. That's one of the great things about a book club! It gets me reading books I wouldn't have otherwise.


More than anything though, just the experience of reading a book with Peirce has been really wonderful. I seriously recommend it! I am pretty sure it wouldn't matter what the book was about - it is good bonding time. Next month will be a test to see if my theory was right because next month's book looks like a girls' book to me! Time will tell!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Race

Well, you can tell when school started for me because the blogging stopped. I have been able to come up for air so thought I would try to catch up.

I went to teacher training mid-August. I attended it last year so I was lucky to be able tonattend again. I found it really helpful because ow I have some experience and a place to file the info in my brain. The new teachers I was with are really great. I lived the entire experience!

The big news work wise is in August I got a call asking me to come in to chat with my principal and vice principal. Hmmmmm......intriguing! it turns out one of the teachers got engaged this summer. I got to sit down with her one day and listen to the whole story. It is the kind of story movies are made of. Very romantic and definitely meant to be. I got goosebups on my goose bumps and shed a tear or two over the beauty of it all! Her fiancé is from South Africa and while he waits for immigration to allow him to move here, she is taking a year off.....so they asked if I would move to Gr. 3. I said yes and while I felt a little disappointed (I was really looking forward to teaching something again) now I realize what a blessing for me it all is. I thought it would be more work because I am learning a whole new curriculum. Whole that is true, the teachers I am teamed upmwith are amazing! They are very organized and very helpful, and lfe is very very good. Not only that, my class is a dream! I taught all but one last year. There are a few from my Grade two class, and the rest I taught math to last year. I felt like I was able to hit the ground running since I already knew them. All in all, I am really loving teaching this year!

At the end of summer the kids went to Grandma Camp. This was a different year. Poor Grandma was really worn out by the end. They had good times, but there was too much bickering amongst cousins. Not sure if it was lack of sleep, too much planned, or the ages they are at, but it was a tricky time. Grandma was a real trooper through it all.

Peirce has been particularly miserable. Grumpy, Fights with his sister, a doomsday attitude about everything, particularly his new school, and a few other issues had me considering adoption. LOL After some thought and prayer we wondered if he has wheat issues like Allen does. We decided to try taking him off wheat and saw a remarked improvement quite quickly. It is an adjustment for us all.....but we will get it figured out. All I know is my happy and quiet boy is back!

Another great thing in our life is swimming. Jill counted down all summer how long it would be before swimming would start again. She has moved up again and now swims six days a week. She couldn't be happier with that. Peirce is also swimming competitively this year and has been loving practices and his new coach. I am at the pool six days a week and twice on Tuesdayand Thursday. Oh boy!

Jill is loving being in Grade 8. She says it is the perfect time because she is no longer the youngest, the Grade nines are just old Grade eights, and she gets to see her old Grade Fives who are finally in Grade seven! .......confusing, I know. But she's happy, so the logic works for me. Peirce's school closed last year....er, rather, the program moved. He has been in a wonderful small school and has never had more than 16 kids in his class (kindergarten had 9 kids!) and now he is in a more normal sized class and there are 5 classes of his grade! He was really nervous about the change, but his new teacher is wonderful, he is with some of his old friends, and he already has someone who has a crazy crush on him. All works out in the end!

Allen has been a wonderful help in all the craziness of the schedule being back in full swing. He is busy with Bishopric responsibilities, and business is going well. I love him more and more all the time.

So, life has turned up a notch. I will try to keep up with blogging so we can remember it all!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Family Bottle Drive

Little miracles seem to happen all the time.

Jill wanted to attend a swim camp this week. We told her she would need to raise half the money to attend. We talked about some things she could do make money. She decided to try dng her own "bottle drive" of sorts. She tried knocking on doors with Peirce on Friday, but hardly anyone was home. I suggested we try going to some restaurants and businesses. They were kind of leery at first, but after a few successful attempts they were on a roll. We went out for 3 hours on Friday, and then had some places to follow up on Saturday. Some people said they would bring their bottles from home, or they had to check with the boss, etc. So we came back Saturday.

The camp cost $250. Just before heading out to the camp today we added up what she had.....an astounding $125.50.

Can you believe that?? What are the chances that we would get the exact number of cans and bottles needed for the exact amount needed?? My thinking is that it was a miracle indeed. A real lesson that God provides exactly what we need.

Friday, 12 August 2011

New Stage in Life

Tonight Jill and I went to a wedding reception for my friend, Kelly's daughter, Brittany. It was a whole new experience to listen to the parents give their little talks at the reception. It was different because these are my friends! I have known their kids since they were babies! It was really interesting.....and heartwarming!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Deerfoot Drive In

Every summer the Deerfoot Mall has a drive-in. We always enjoy it. Last week they had their first movie, but they got rained out - so last night they did a double feature. Peirce and I weren't tough enough to stay for both movies - but Allen and Jill and Soleil and Tanner did! They had a great time.

The first movie was ET - a classic! And then they showed Jurassic Park. The kids all had a great time!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Close Call

Late this afternoon we were all having a little rest. A thunder storm had started. Suddenly we heard the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard! Peirce came running into our room, and we went out to check to see if any houses were on fire. Soon we heard sirens too so we figured it was somewhere near by. Turns out a tree in the field behind our house got hit. It is about 100 feet from our back yard.
 

 
First they put their danger tape around the tree.
 

Then they had to figure out how to get the split part of the tree down so it didn't fall on anyone, I suppose. I wish I had taken pictures when they were trying to get it down. They put a big rope around the tree and tugged. One fireman couldn't do it so a second one got in to help. Then a third, and a fourth. Finally the fifth guy came along, put the rope around his waist, and they all tugged and pulled and pulled and pulled....and down it came. It was great fun for the kids to watch! In the far left of this picture are Peirce and Jill and Sunny. The guy standing by the firemen in the blue shirt is the guy whose house is right in front of these trees. He is a retired minister. I bet he was counting his blessings!

Good fun for a Wednesday afternoon!


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Syd and Peirce

Today I burned discs for Peirce. It was fun to see the things he takes pictures and videos of. Play sure seems to have changed for kids! Now part of the fun is recording what you do!


video

Saturday, 6 August 2011

10 Day Countdown

I got up this morning for my morning prayer and study and planning time realized I really only have 10 days of summer left! ACK!! In 10 days teacher training starts! I am excited about it, and also sad that summer will end. I really haven't accomplished a heck of a lot. I had big plans, but found relaxing took over. At first I was a little embarrassed about how much relaxing I was doing (I hate to call it laziness). However, this past week I have realized how much I needed it. I feel a change coming over me. Pretty much ever since Jill was a baby I have had a computer tied to my hip. I have taken work everywhere with me, which was a blessing, and also not so much of a blessing. I don't need to get into the details of that, except to say that having six weeks off for the first time ever has been revolutionary. I have had time to think a about me, about my life, my attitude, my goals and my dreams. I am excited to start this new school year a better person. A better wife. A better mom, and a better teacher. I am so grateful to be able to return to the world of teaching. I love it and I love what it has done for my life.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Rained Out

Tonight for our date night I suggested we go to a walk along the river. Allen really doesn't like walking though (back issues) and sometimes it's worse than others. Tonight walking was out. Well, how about we drive down to the river and sit on a bench?! It was a deal....until this happened:


video
 
This is the view from our front door. Unbelievable!!
 
We decided we would stay home and play Scrabble. Allen hates Scrabble. I had to let him win :)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Ladies Fastball

This week I have worked at Vipers games 3 nights if the week. Well, truthfully, it wasn't Vipers, it was ladies fast pitch. There is s professional league in the states and they cane up here to play. The crowds were a little small so that was disappointing, but it was fun to see them play. They we're good!! It made me want to play ball.....but, well, I guess I will continue in the concession for now. LOL

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Summer Fun

Jill made a summer journal this year. She decorated it with words and pictures about what she hoped summer would be. It is really cool. Both my kids made summer lists of things they would like to do this summer. I am so proud of them for first of all making the list, and for being sure to do some of the things in the list!

This week they are checking things off like crazy while they spend time in Raymond at Nana and Grandpas. Jill went on a canoe ride that was hours long. Peirce didn't want to go so he went to my mom's and hung out for the day. They have been horse back riding, swam with the Raymond Swim Club, played lots with cousins, hung out in the beautiful Raymond library, and more.

I miss them, but I am glad they are having such a good time!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Sticking my toe in

I went into the school today and started working on my classroom. It was so great!! The other teacher has moved her stuff out and now I can see what I have and don't have and clean up and get ready for September. There is a lot I need to do and get, and a lot to throw out and sort through. I will get there though. I loved being there! Apparently some other teachers had the same idea because there were about 5 or 6 of us there. It was fun to see them. I can't wait until September!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Nanton Days

 Today we went to Nanton for Nanton Days! First order of business: the parade! ...and here it comes! We always have a lot of fun at these small town parades. The candy. The people. The sun. It's great! Oh, and did I mention, no crowds? Love it!
 After they had a Children's Festival at the park. Jill was so happy
that she wasn't too old to go in the bouncy houses.
 Some little boy latched on to Peirce while we were there. Peirce was so cute with his new little buddy.
 Sparky!
 More bouncy houses



 Jill got a tatoo. Yup. A shark!
It's a swimmer thing, apparently.

Nanton is raising money to replace their structurally damaged roof on the arena. They had a duck race. We bought a few ducks and went and watched. It was so funny....all these people on the bridge watching this quite slow moving river. I figured it was a prank to see how many people they could get to come hang out there, and then they'd take a picture of all of us fools. Finally, they did come around the corner. We didn't win anything, but it was fun to watch our kids run around on the shore, and visit with the other people on the bridge!


All in all, a really fun day :)

Sunday, 31 July 2011

God's Minions

Today in Sharing Time I had the children share their favorite scripture story or something they have learned from the scriptures. It was so great to hear them share. My favorite was one who shared the story of Ammon. It went something like this:

"and so he cut off all the robbers arms - so the king said, "Whoa! are you God or something" and Ammon said, "No, but I am one of his minions....."

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Out For a Spin

After the BBQ today Allen and the kids went to the church to clean. Our previous Bishop is a motorcycle guy and he gave the kids a ride on his motorbike! Oh the things that happen when the mother isn't around!

Here's Jill getting ready for a spin!



Davidson's Annual BBQ

Every year our friends, Mike and Chelle, have a big BBQ party. It's lots of fun. They live out in the country and they treat all the kids to wagon rides behind the tractor, horse rides, a bouncy house, and a big big bigger than you can believe bon-fire. Lots of fun!

This year even Peirce rode a horse! He said to me that at first it was no big deal, but the more he did it the more he got addicted to it. Now he loves riding a horse!

I'm just sorry I missed it! I was at another Vipers game.

Destiny

Do you ever have times where you are for some reason just sent back and memories are at the forefront? For some reason I felt that way. This morning I got up and put on my necklace that I have't worn for a while. We went to a movie and there were parts of the movie where I was almost brought to tears with memories of pregnancy and of Destiny. (But the movie was Smurfs....so I couldn't get too emotional...it was Smurfs after all!) LOL Then someone posted this thought on Facebook:

"Sometimes," said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." (A. A. Milne)

.....so true.
So very true.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Girls Camp

What a great time! Here are some pictures from Jill's Girl's Camp. We have the greatest group of girls in our ward. They're all great....and they get along famously :)