Thursday, 31 May 2007

Visiting Teaching

I often laugh at the sappy pictures that people often use to represent visiting teaching. Honestly, it makes me a little nauscious.

I'm under no illusion that there are many sisters out there that fit the 'Norman Rockwell' type portrayal of visiting teaching. Maybe there are some - but most, I think, somehow in their harried lives find a way to fit it in and even though they sit and smile and have a lovely visit - I think most are like me, and afterwards they are back on the run and trying to catch up. Maybe I'm the only one...somehow I doubt it though.

I found a quote on Mormon Chick recently that said: Let visiting teaching be a joy in your life! Now be honest. As the end of the month draws near, do you feel pressured by your visiting teaching "obligation" and stress over how to fit it in? Give yourself a break - change your perspective.

Without continuing on to read the information on the page many would just laugh and walk away, clearly dismissing the idea that there is any hope of it being any different. I'm starting to realize it can be different though.

The article on the page goes on to say:

Admittedly, there are times when visiting teaching is hard. Perhaps you are very busy, or overburdened yourself, or depressed. Taking that half hour for a visit, or a phone call, or a short note will lift your spirits and renew your energy. Guaranteed. See it as an opportunity to be rejuvenated and blessed.

Perhaps you are rebuffed by a sister: she refuses to see you, is absent when you arrive, cancels your appointment. She still needs to feel cared for and valued. Think how great will be your joy when at last she accepts your overture. See it as a challenge, not an obstacle.

Recently I was called as the Visiting Teaching coordinator in my ward. I'm starting to realize that the author is right. It does get exciting and I feel rejuvenated when things start to happen! I suppose I have a unique vantage point being able to know first hand how it's going for each companionship. Perhaps one of my jobs needs to be to share what I see from my perspective in this calling. (I'll have to work on that)

Home and Visiting Teaching stats in our ward have been quite, umm, in a word, pathetic. We have hovered around the 30% mark since we became a ward almost 2 years ago. I have mystified by this ever since I became aware of the stats. Most people response, when I've asked why no one does home/visiting teaching, is that we have a bunch of busy young families. I always wanted to answer, "Ya...and????"

Well, this is my second month of gathering stats. Last month was slightly better than the average, but nothing to get excited about...I think around 40%. We made a number of changes last month to partnerships and sisters to visit, and I've made sure I touched base a few times with each partnership somehow this month. I've called people, emailed people, and talked to them at church. Imagine my surprise when one after another everyone keeps telling me that they did it!! Even the ones who didn't do it did make an effort...which is a totally different response than what I got last month when I called around for stats. I have about 7 partnerships still to hear from...and so far we're around 80%!!!

I think we should close down the ward and call it a day while we're doing so well! LOL

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Nice Neighborhood

My alarm clock is a radio alarm clock and so I wake up to the news at 6:30 am. (I should probably change that so that the first thing I hear in the morning isn't all the nasty things from the news!) This morning there was a story about a shooting in Beddington. Well, I sure was surprised when I took Chico outside and saw police tape and a cruiser at the end of our street blocking off the road!

Here's the picture of the window that they shot (shamelessly "borrowed" from the CFCN website):

Here's the story from:

Shots fired at Beddington home
Calgary Herald
Police are investigating after someone fired shots at a home in the city's northeast early today. No one was hurt, but a shotgun blast broke a window and penetrated walls at a home in the 100 block of Bedwood Crescent N.E. at about 2 a.m.

"Somebody came up to the house and fired a shotgun through a window and the walls," Staff Sgt. Bob Wiltshire said.
Investigators are still searching for suspects and are speaking with residents of the home to determine a possible motive.

Allen said it happened at 1:30 am. He was still up reading his book and he said he heard 3 shots...and he said to himself, "That was no car backfiring." One of the benefits of being as sound a sleeper as I am is that I never hear these kinds of things in the night. I was chatting with another neighbor after walking the kids to the bus and she said she didn't hear gun shots but she did wake up and heard the helicopter around our neighborhood.

I'm not very comforted by the idea that they don't know why they would be targeted. Somehow I'd rather know that it was some bad guy evening up a debt rather than a random shooting.

Our street has had news trucks and cameras and people around all morning. Not only that, the street sweeper trucks came and cleaned our streets today. We don't have this much excitement very often! Peirce says this has been even better than garbage day. He's a little concerned about who the bad guys are though. I don't tend to dwell on feelings of fear too often, but in this case, frankly, I wonder who the bad guys are too.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Thanks AGF!!

Today is my sister's birthday. We celebrated by going to a movie. LOL

One of the companies my husband invests money with is AGF. They had a movie day to day for families! The AGF rep that welcomed everyone at the start of the movie said that this business often takes people away from the families a lot, and so they wanted to do something to give back to families. We were all for that!! They invited everyone to a private screening of Shrek The Third. When we arrived they gave all the kids a little bag of surprises: ogre ears on a head band, a shrek vest, and pez candies and dispensers with Shrek characters...not to mention candy, popcorn and pop...and no one had to share their popcorn! According to Peirce it was waaaayyy cool. They took pictures of the kids in their shrek ears with a couple people dressed up as Shrek and Fiona. They said they'd be emailing those to us. When they arrived I'll post those pictures. I kind of thought they'd send them by email right away who knows.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Spring in Calgary

This is what we woke up to this morning.

Last night Allen had appointments out of town. It took him 3 hours to drive from Red Deer to Calgary (which is usually an hour's drive) He said there were lots of cars in the ditch. He picked up a guy that had slid into the ditch and had been there for an hour and a half. Poor guy!!

This just isn't right for May!

This is the front of our house. Many people had broken trees this morning. Ours didn't have any branches break off - but it sure looks tired!

This can't be good for these blossoms!

This is a bush that stands taller than my kids on regular days!

Oh dear! The tulips!

The birds were quite upset about everything. It was amazing to listen to them all carrying on this morning!

I just love Spring in's full of surprises! (groan)

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

My Favorite Part of the Day

Tonight I let Jill and Peirce play some games on my laptop. I was doing some housework. When I was finished they were having such a good time and playing together so well that I just let them keep playing. At about 8:45 Jill came upstairs and said, "Mom! What are you doing?!" I replied that I was reading. She said, "Well, do you plan to just let us stay up until 9:00 playing??!!"

Far be it from me to let them stay up too late! LOL

I love to sneak into their rooms and watch them sleep. It's my favorite part of the day!

Here are my sleeping beauties:

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Our of the mouth of my babe...

The other day we were driving somewhere and we had Peirce in the car. He was telling us how he doesn't know what he's going to be when he grows up. I responded that it's really fun to think of all the different possibilities because he can be anything he wants to be. I asked him if he had a few ideas of what he'd like to be. He said he
thought he'd like to be teacher. When I asked him why he said because teacher's know everything.

Spoken like a true Ackroyd! LOL

Today Peirce has been playing on a website that is for helping kids learn to read. He is really on the cusp of catching on to things and becoming a beginning reader.

So he's playing this game and he gets off the chair and comes over to me and says, "Mom, the rooster says if you don't know the word to chop it up. But I don't know any of the words at the library - and I don't think I should chop them up. The librarian would be very upset with me."


I think we should get some Amelia Bedelia books out of the library and see if he gets it. :0)

Monday, 21 May 2007

Happy Birthday Queen Victoria

I should probably do a little surfing and try to figure out why it is we celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday still.

Nonetheless, happy Victoria Day!!

We've had a great weekend. Friday Allen had to do some appointments in Lethbridge so he took the kids along with him (which means I was left all alone at home....ahh! Blessed peace!) They had a great time too. They played a while in Raymond with Allen's parents, then also went to my parents. My mom was gone out of town but my dad was there and he took them swimming at his hotel. Afterwards they came home and ordered pizza for dinner and just got to play and watch TV. They had a great time.

Saturday was not too exciting. Sunday was our regular church day - but we also had fun having a pot luck with some friends. On Sunday a friend in our ward invited us and some other families
over for a pot luck of sorts. We all brought our own meat to BBQ and
a salad to share. I also brought dessert. We ate and then we had a
FHE. Each family was also supposed to bring a little FHE lesson. We
each took turns giving our mini lesson...well, ours was mini - the
rest were a little longer! Peirce has learned the story of Jonah and
the Whale and the past few weeks for FHE he likes to get the puppets
out again and have us listen to the story again. I figured a new
audience was a great chance to do it again! It is so cute to have him
tell the story. He doesn't say his r's very well, so there's he has a few of the details wrong. He'll say Jonah got
swallowed and he was in there for 3 days, uhm, 3 weeks, uhm 3 years
(days and weeks and years are a concept he doesn't quite get
yet...they're all in interchangable). My favorite part is when he
tells how the whale puked up Jonah. It must have been pretty yucky
actually to have the whale do that!

Anyway, it was cute to listen to him tell the story. He felt quite
proud of himself to do the lesson for our family's contribution.

It was nice to see what everyone else did too. One family read a
story from the New Era, another had a story with puppets that they
read, and another had a lesson with scripture to look up, and another
just talked about gratitude and had every family share something
they're grateful for, and another read something from a book about/by
President Hinckley about FHE and we discussed what he read.

It was really great. It was kind of long for the little kids - but I
think there was enough variety in the people presenting that they
were able to stick with it. I enjoyed seeing all the different types
of lessons.

Most of all, it was fun to visit with the people they had invited. We
decided afterwards that we're going to start doing that again. We
kind of get away from doing it in the winter but in the summer when
kids can play and eat outside I'm a little more interested in having
families over. :0) We also are going to see if we can get people
together at a park and have a pot luck there.

I actually set a goal for myself at the beginning of this year that
we'd not just have FHE each week - but we'd have a lesson. We were
pretty good at doing something each week - but sometimes it was
something on the fly - or we'd play a game or do some sort of
activity. Truthfully, we don't have a problem doing stuff together as
a family and so I felt like it was important for us to make sure we
tried to lengthen our stride a little by making our FHE a lesson most
often than not.

Today I took the kids swimming at Churchill pool. It's a nice pool to go to because they have a tank that they can move the bottom. Sometimes it's a dive tank, sometimes it's a wading pool. Today it was just over a meter deep - just perfect for kids. Jill and Peirce had a great time. I was amazed at how Jill just giggles the whole time. She squirts you and giggles. She gathers up water toys and giggles. She gets a noodle and giggles. She rides on the boats they have...and she giggles. She plays with Peirce and she giggles. She gets in the hot tub and giggles. It was a lot of fun...although swimming sure does wear me out. I don't know why everyone else didn't want to go to bed at 5:30 - but I sure did! I have an appointment with the TV...time for the season finale of 24!!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Jill's Doggy Daycare

Jill has started a dog-walking business. It's so interesting to watch her work at it. She got the idea from a scholastic book she got from the classroom book order. The book was The Smart Girl's Guide to Money. One of chapters in the book talks about starting your own business. She had been delivering flyers for a while but got laid off (quite a young age to experience your first job loss I'd say!) The company just decided to quit doing the flyers business. I think they had trouble getting enough people to do it. So she no longer had a way to earn money. With flyers she usually earned $8 - $10 a month (we didn't do very many flyers - it took about 20 minutes when we finally got it down). After reading the book she decided to start a business and chose a dog walking business. She sat down and figured out what she'd like to make and how many dogs she'd have to walk if she charged certain amounts. At first she thought she might like to have a partner - but when she figured out she'd have to split the money she decided she would just do it herself.

She's been pretty faithful about working on this little business. She designed some business cards and got Allen to print them in color. She carries them with her and whenever she sees someone with a dog she gives them her card. She wasn't getting any calls so she talked to Allen about it and he said he's found people don't call him when he gives them a call and the best way to do it is to get their number. So she changed her tactics - and things started picking up. She walks 2 or 3 dogs every Saturday and makes $2 - $4 each she makes almost $10 on a Saturday...which is more than she'd make all month sometimes doing flyers (and certainly more than she'd get out of me if we were giving her an allowance). She's really excited about that aspect of it!

Today she decided to make some flyers and put them up. I think she's got a good gig going on. I really get a kick out of watching her figure out how to do it well. She keeps track of which dogs she walks each week and how much she gets paid so that she can keep track of the tithing she needs to pay.

She was telling me today how it's way better to have your own business instead of working for someone else. I had to smile. She sure is right there!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

My Mild Heart Attack

Tonight my son aged me a little.

We don't have many kids in our neighborhood. There is a boy across the street that is a year younger than Peirce...but he doesn't speak English and is quite they haven't played together too much. However, he's learning English now and so they play a little more. The neighbor won't come over to our house - but Peirce will often go over to their house to play if he sees him outside.

Tonight Peirce had been playing in our yard a lot and was venturing out into the field behind our house. He seems to get a little more freedom with that than I ever gave Jill. Maybe its' because I'm a little more permissive with Jill now...and so he thinks he can do things too...but he runs around much more than Jill ever did...and it makes me nervous sometimes. Tonight he was playing in the field behind our house and he came in to tell me he was going to the park. I told him he couldn't because he can only go to the park if someone goes with him. He tried to argue with me - but it's a hard and fast rule in our house and not negotiable. Soon he left the house again...and after a bit I got to wondering where he went. I figured he had probably decided to go to the park off I go to find him. He have a few parks near our I went to the closest one. Not there. Went to the next one...not there. Then I started asking people as I walked around the neighborhood if they'd seen him. No one had. Now I'm getting nervous. Finally I decided I'd go get in the van and drive around....and lo and behold..there he is playing with the neighbor in their driveway. Turned out he had gone over and played with the boy in their back yard...but didn't tell me.

I was sure glad to see him!! But we also had another talk about how he has to tell me where he's going. He said, "But mom, you said I couldn't go to the park so I didn't!"

I had to smile. It all made perfect sense to him and he really couldn't see why I was having a mild heart attack.

Motherhood...sometimes it's just crazy!!!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Mary Called Magdalene

This week is the week for my Book Club - only thing is I'm still finishing up the book we read for last month! Oops.

I've been reading Mary Called Magdalene by Margaret George. It's a big heavy 600 pager - and although I'm enjoying it, I think it could have been just as good in about 300 pages. Lots of walking and talking and such that I think could have been edited out.

The one thing I've really enjoyed about tihs book is to have a new perspective on the human nature of the Savior, his family, and the people that followed him. I never could have imagined how people could have rejected the Savior when he walked and talked among them - but this book has given me a little insight into why perhaps people might have done so. It's also an interesting perspective on the Savior and his family. The author portrays his brothers as rather unhappy with him for leaving the family business (Joseph has died an early death in this book). His mother, Mary, leaves the family and follows the Savior as a disciple as well.

I am almost finished the book (about 100 pages to go....hope to hit the sack early tonight and finish it up)...and I would recommend it to others. I think it would be especially good for a vacation in the sun where one has a lot of time for long stretches of reading! (which is something I obviously haven't had a lot of lately) Since I'm very familiar with the New Testament it hasn't been a book I've read that has pushed me along to uncover what happens in the end. I was quite interested in reading what happens to Mary in the beginning when she's filled with demons. She does many different things to rid herself of the demons - none of which work until she meets Jesus. After he heals her she follows him and becomes a disciple.

Interesting read!

Monday, 14 May 2007


I have had a slow growing pain in my knee. A couple week's ago I moved wrong when I was putting away some laundry - and got this sharp nasty pain in my knee. It hasn't been the same since. Sometimes it feels just fine...and other times I cannot even walk on it at all. It's quite bizarre to me because I've never had anything like this before. I'm trying to stay off it this week...which means I am not going to the gym. I don't like that one bit really....but I don't really see any other option. I'm hoping if I stay off it as much as possible for about a week that it will heal and things will be back to normal.

Allen thinks it might be arthritus. I don't know .Maybe I'm just simply getting old??!!! Naahhhh!!

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

The Long Awaited Party

Well, we finally did it - we had the party.

For some reason Peirce hasn't had birthday parties quite the same as Jill. There's a couple reasons I think. One is the second child syndrome. The other is he has been a much more reserved character than Jill. The past year or year and a half though he's become much more social...and he LOVES playing with friends....which is what we mostly did for this party. I didn't plan too much. We had a simple craft and we had food. We played Dog Dog Cat (i.e. Duck Duck Goose)...but other than that we mostly just rolled with whatever they were interested in.

First order of business: playing outside on the trampoline and swing set!

Then we played inside and we ate.

This is the puppy cake I made! I think I'm getting better at this cake thing. A lot of people make much prettier and fancier cakes - but I'm kind of partial to these simple ones.

With six little boys there were a few clashes - and everyone had their turn to pout or have a little cry...even Peirce.

Here are all the boys in the puppy ears I made...well almost everyone in the puppy ears...a few went missing for a while (did I mention it was slightly chaotic at times??!) I tried to line them up nicely and take a lovely picture. Have you ever tried to herd fish?? Impossible!! This was as good as it got:

At the end of the party we were going to go out front and do sidewalk chalk - but that soon got changed to a lady bug hunt! For some reason our lawn is absolutely full of ladybugs - and the boys had a great time finding them! They probably had 50 or more ladybugs in the jar by the time we were finished. I wish I had had jars for everyone so they could each fill their own jar! In the last picture, if you can see it well enough - you can tell there are tons of lady bugs all over those pine cones.

This is where I should have a picture of me sleeping. I was ABSOLUTELY wiped by the end of it all. Peirce had a great time - so it was worth it. He got all the things he had been asking for too: a piggy bank, dominoes, a slip and slide and a very cool spiderman thing (I'm sure he could describe it much better than that!).

I was never too sure about little boys...but I've decided that I quite like them. One thing I love about these pictures is the close up ones where you can see just how dirty their hands are and all the scrapes and scratches from previous days. (Click on the picture to see an enlarged version)

We had a great time today. Little boys are a riot!

Back at it...

Today we got back to our normal schedule of going to the gym in the morning. I went to a Body Pump class...and boy did it wipe me out! Why is it that it is so easy to backslide?! I missed four days of going to the gym because of Peirce's pink eye - and gee, it's tough to get back at it! This afternoon I was so tired I could hardly get anything done (well, more truthfully, I got almost nothing done) As a result I'm up late now decorating the cake, making loot bags, and other last minute things for Peirce's party tomorrow. I hope it goes well. This has to be the most drawn out birthday a kid has ever had!