Sunday, 31 December 2006

As One Year Ends...

Happy New Year to you!

We were planning to go to Lethbridge and go to a party the city puts on there for kids. However, when we woke up Sunday morning I felt terrible and Jill felt worse. We stayed home from church...which wasn't great since I was supposed to teach RS...but what there wasn't much I could do. We decided we should skip the party tonight too. We thought we'd go visit tomorrow since Gaylene was there with her kids - but this afternoon we got a phone call from Allen's dad saying that his mother passed away. She was 92 and she had been in the hospital for a number of years. It's a blessing that she can go because for the past number of years she has not known anyone who comes to visit and has been quite incapacitated. However, it's still sad.

The funeral may be at the end of this week so we put off our plans to go visit since we'll have to make a trip there for the funeral. They are trying to see if they can have it the next weekend instead as one aunt just had a surgery and Allen's sister just had a baby - so they're not in the best form for travel. We should find out later today when the funeral will be. For the past several years Grandma has been having strokes. They seem to knock her out for a few days and we receive messages from family telling us that Grandma probably won't last too much longer. Then she tends to sit up and ask for toast, or something, like nothing happened. A week ago, she had a major stroke. She hadn't had any food or water in seven days. Saturday Allen's dad was sitting with her and she tried to clear her throat and simply stopped breathing.

We will miss her. I never really knew her that well. She had fallen down some stairs and bumped her head just before Allen and I got engaged - and has had progressively worse memory and brain function since then. Everytime I'd see her she'd pat my hand and ask my name. I'd tell her who I was and who I was married to and she'd say, "My, aren't you a pretty girl." From what I understand she was just one of those darn nice people that you couldn't help like.


I found a cool thing today. It's a site where you can create a virtual model of yourself. I made a model of myself at my highest weight and at my goal weight. Looking forward to getting there! I'm especially glad all the Christmas celebrating is coming to a close so I can get back at it in a more serious way!

Quite a difference!
I think I like the hair-do too!

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Sensitive People

Yesterday my sister-in-law had a baby! Yea! We're all so happy to have this little one here finally. He didn't arrive without a little excitement though. Luckily they were in the hospital at just the right time. If they hadn't been it is likely that they would have lost the baby and perhaps even my sister-in-law. We're counting our blessings!

Interesting side note to it all. Yesterday afternoon Jill came to me to tell me she had a really bad feeling. She had big tears in her eyes and said she felt scared. We had a little talk about it and I told her perhaps she needed to go pray and read scriptures for a while and try to listen to the spirit to see if there is something she needed to do. She did do that, and soon the feeling went away. Tonight Grandpa was telling us the story of the events yesterday when the baby was taken in an emergency c-section, and suddenly it all made sense. We wondered if perhaps Jill was sensing that something was wrong with her Auntie. Grandpa said his mother was like that - that she would have feelings to warn her when something was awry with someone she loved.

Jill has always been a sensitive girl. It made me grateful that I didn't brush aside her feelings when she came to me to tell me that she felt scared!

Tuesday, 26 December 2006


We had a wonderful Christmas this year! It was a new experience for us - and I think one we'll repeat: to have Christmas in our own house! Loved it!

The Letourneau's came to visit on Christmas Eve. It was wonderful to visit with them. We went to the Nativity Pageant that the church puts on at Heritage Park every year. It was sure fun to listen to Peirce's comments as he watched it for the first time. The donkeys were cool and the sheep were cooler - and having the angels suddenly appear on the hill and speak with such a booming voice - well, that was way cool.

In the Ackroyd house stockings are a big deal. I hardly even remember stockings at Christmas from when I was growing up. I think most years we didn't have them - but I'm slowly becoming converted to the fun of stockings. We had a great time with all the stocking stuff on Christmas morning. The Letourneau's opened their stocking stuff with us and then they left for Edmonton for more visiting. We opened presents slowly and enjoyed each one as we opened them. It was a lot of fun. Lots of squeals and happy faces!

Later in the day my parents and my Grandpa came for dinner. While I got dinner ready Allen was busy putting toys together, putting music on IPODs and generally helping kids get their presents together and where they wanted them. He said he's never done so much building in one day! (We'll have to remember to do a bit of that sooner in the month next time I guess, if we

It was the first time I had cooked Christmas dinner. I have never cooked so many things for one meal before! I think it at turned out well (no one got sick with food poisoning I'll call it a success). There were tons of leftovers and so I shouldn't have to cook for a few days now! Yea!

We'll definitely do Christmas this way again. It was a lot of fun!

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Fun Meet

Today Jill had her first swim meet. They called it the I Can Swim Fun Meet....and it was a lot of fun. The kids got their first experience in a swim meet. All the parents sat along the deck to watch and to cheer...and cheer we did! Jill swam front stroke, breast stroke, back stroke and butterfly - all 25 metres, then did 50 metres of free style. She was really nervous about it all before-hand - but as the meet unfolded she decided it was really quite a lot of fun. 25 metres is still pretty far for her to swim - so 50 was a real challenge! We were sure proud of her for her efforts! Her favorite is the back-stroke - probably because it's easiest to breathe in that stroke. She hasn't quite mastered breathing in front crawl - but she's getting there! After each heat she'd come over to where we were sitting and hug us and tell us her time - which I dutifully recorded for her. It was GREAT!

It's so fun to watch our kids learn and grow!

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Getting there!

I feel like shouting for joy! ...actually, I did...and Peirce thinks I'm pretty weird.

I haven't explained - but I work from home for a company that finds people to do mystery shopping jobs. In December there's the same amount of work to do - but fewer days to do it in due to holidays and people's busy schedules. This month I had 334 shops to schedule (which is a little lower than normal) so my goal was to get them all taken care of by Dec 20. I haven't met my goal. I wanted to have all the shoppers have their shops submitted by that date - but looks like that will have to be pushed to Saturday. I did, however, get all my shops assigned! Yea!! Just got the last ones assigned this afternoon. Well, there's one twist to it - I did get an extra project last week...but I am not counting that in my numbers yet since I just got the project.

Now I can get to finishing those last few items on my buying lists, writing the Christmas letter and mailing the cards (do they still count as Christmas cards if I at least get them in the mail before Christmas?) and cleaning the house. The fun never ends! The house cleaning might have to wait until I can get up and down the stairs with a little more ease. I'm REALLY sore today!!

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Oh! Oh!

I'm really enjoying my new gym. I've done cardio each day. I've used the machines and I've even gone to a yoga/tai chi/pilates class. Today I went to a new class.
Oh my goodness....I'm in trouble.

The class was called body pump . It was fun. And it didn't seem too hard....but it's only been an hour since it ended - and I think I'm in trouble. I'm going to be SOOOO sore! I started out with 2.5 weights on the bar and the instructor suggested I change them to 1 pound weights. I felt like a dope having such little weights on my bar...but thank goodness I did change them! My quads are shakey and going up and down stairs is a risk right now. As I type I think the best I'm going to be able to do is just sit here and keep my arms on the arm rests. My calves are pulsating.
I might have to go have a nap.

Oh dear. I've really done it to myself!!, where is that glutamine powder Allen was telling me about...I need help!

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Back At It!

So excited! I joined a new gym today.

Allen and I joined a gym about 3 years ago that is right by his office. It was fun to be able to work out together. However, over the last 3 years we've run into snags a number of times with childcare. It isn't a big priority there - and if the childcare person gets sick or quite or goes on vacation then there's no childcare. Recently the person doing it quit and so it's now been 3 weeks since I've worked out. Apparently in this job market in Calgary it's hard to find someone to take the job! I decided it was time to make a change - and so today I cancelled my membership at the old gym and joined a gym closer to home. I was so thrilled when I found out the childcare hours and policies! They have childcare 7 days a week from 9am to noon, and Monday to Thursday 5-8 pm. Wow!! I'm so excited! Tomorrow will be the kick off day!!

Sunday, 10 December 2006

The Value of Money versus the Value of a Generous Soul

Yesterday I took Jill and Peirce to the zoo. At our zoo you walk through a long echoey tunney to get to the entrance. It is a great place for buskers to perform as the acoustics really carry the sound. We always look forward to see who is performing. This particular day Jill had brought some money in the hopes that I would let her buy something at the gift shop. We didn't have time to even stop by the gift shop on our way out. However, there was someone playing in the tunnel. She quickly went up and put $5 of her $15 into his open guitar case. She had a big grin on her face and was so pleased with herself!

When I saw what she did I laid into her.

"Did you see any other bills in that case??!! You know why?? It's too much! You don't put $5 in put a loonie!"

Big tears welled up in her eyes and she told me she would be too embarrased to go take it out and put a loonie in. I agreed with her...and suddenly felt terrible about my rant. I told her that actually, she could forget the scolding and that I was proud of her for being generous and I gave her a big hug. Now I had tears in my eyes.

As I thought about the whole thing I felt a little embarrased that in my mind $5 was too much to give. We're not rich - but we certainly have some dollars to spare. I don't think Jill quite understands the value of money - but she does understand generosity.

As I reflected on this incident later I thought about how I hope, especially this time of year, that I can think more like Jill and be willing to share so freely.

Thursday, 7 December 2006

'Tis the Season

"It's that time of year again....time for the ward Christmas party," she said with a groan.

It's Ward Party Eve today - the eve of the 5th ward Christmas party I've planned. I'm wondering if that's some kind of record or something. It was the thing I feared the most when I was first called to be the Activities Chair. Now planning a party to feed 250 people hardly phases me. When I was first called there was absolutely no way I was going to be in charge of the food. It was critical that I had someone that knew what they were doing when it comes to preparing such large amounts of food. I think though (although I'd never say this out loud in Ward Council Meeting!) I might be able to do it now. That being said, I still feel more comfortable having a specialist in charge of the food (actually, I'd feel most comfortable having it catered - but I haven't been able to sell any of the Bishoprics that I've worked with yet on that idea)

Some things don't change though. It seems to take all day the day or two before to prepare. Maybe next year I'll just show up at dinner time and eat. :0) And I always have those last minute flashes of brilliance that keep me running like crazy (why don't those come the week before rather than the day before??) However, it's probably the most satisfying activity to plan because almost everyone comes and a lot of people bring a friend too. This year I finally got a little better at getting people to logically it shouldn't be too crazy. One thing I know for sure is I'll make sure we don't have a party on a Friday again. We need to have it on a Saturday when more people have time during the day to help. Oh well. Live and learn!

One thing that always seems to happen for the Christmas party is that I get sick. It started last night. My throat felt like it was swelling up and was quite sore. Hopefully lots of vitamin C and a good night's sleep tonight will fend off the bugs. Time will tell!

I know one thing for sure - I sure will have a different view of any big parties that I attend in the future when I'm not involved in planning them.

Friday, 1 December 2006

Shhhhhhhhh!!! Can you hear that??! It's so quiet!!

No school today for Jill. We were out of the house at the regular time though because we had a parent-teacher interview to get to. We did that, visited the book fair (yet another fundraiser?? Ugh!....I'll have to blog my thoughts on fundraising another time), and then did a few errands. We ran from one end of the city to the other. When we finally got it all finished it was 11:00. I had promised the kids if they were patient and good while doing errands we'd go through the drive-thru at McD's - and so we did. I was really on a roll to make this a majorly productive day - and then it got better!! When we got home Allen was getting ready for a quick road trip to Lethbridge to see a couple clients. He decided to take the kids along - and after a whirlwind effort at packing toys and books and writing utensils for travel entertainment as well as a few snacks, they were all gone!! It's been so quiet here all afternoon!! When I'm left alone I go through a series of emotions. First I feel a rush of glee...then I get a little panicked feeling as I consider what would be the best way to use the time...and then as I check things off my list I get a rush of euphoria.

I've been working like a mad woman and taking breaks here and there to do a few thing around the house. It's amazing how much one can accomplish when you're not interrupted with DVD emergencies, or having to find the remote control yet again or pieces missing to a puzzle or game, not to mention the seemingly incessant need for snacks or stories or something else! I love being a mom...but gee, I sure love being alone now and then!

Now I think I'm going to go do a few more errands. I'm going to just walk out to that van and get in and go. Don't have to remind anyone to tie their shoes, do up their coat, put on their seatbelt - and I can listen to whatever radio station I want to!!

Ah! The simple pleasures in life.