Monday, 30 June 2008

More on the mission thing....

We were at the airport tonight and while we were waiting we noticed a husband and wife come through the International Arrivals. They were wearing missionary name tags! I pushed Allen over to find out where they had served and such. Turned out they were just coming home from Ethopia! Now there's an experience!

I was trying to convince Peirce to go over and tell them he was going to be a missionary one day too. Jill was quite put out that I would only suggest HE go over.

Ah....yes! I sure do hope my girl goes on a mission.

Jean Paré: An Appetite for Life by Judy Schultz

I stayed home with the kids today instead of going to church so we didn't infect everyone else there. It's amazing how much you can do in a day when you don't go to church or do the normal work-day things that fill one's life! It's been a great day.

One thing I did today was read the story of Jean Paré- the author of the Company's Coming Cookbooks. I didn't think the book itself was that well written. It had strange blocks of quotes in places that I couldn't quite figure out why they had been placed there. I think I finally figured out that they were explanations on pictures....only the pictures weren't there they were in one section all together later in the book. Odd. However, her story is quite inspiring. The tell the story of her roots in smalltown Alberta, of her heartbreak in her first marriage with an alcoholic husband, and how hard work, pure grit, and chance brought her to the point of publishing her recipes and selling over 17 million books.

Imagine.....I wonder how much she made a book. What if she only made $1. Or 50 cents per book. Probably a little more though. Imagine going from living in a tent after your alcoholic husband has abandoned you and your four children to making millions. Now that's a great story!
The most inspiring part of it all to me is how she has always remained simple and kind and hard working. I'd sure love to meet her. In the meantime, I think I'll go make some squares or muffins or something.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

It's Hard To Compete With Santa

Peirce: Mommy, I just can't decide....but I think....well, I think I like you as much as I like Santa.

You know you're loved when you're ranked amongst Santa. :0)

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Let The Summer Fun Begin....pppffffffffffftttttttt!

Well, we're off to a slow start when it comes to summer fun. Peirce has had a cough for a couple weeks and on the last day of school it escalated into a fever. He shared it with me that day as well and it hit me quite suddenly. After about 10 hours of sleep we both felt a little better. It's still trying to hang on and Jill and Allen have also caught it. Not a fun way to start off summer!

Yesterday we decided to go buy a family pass for a month to the rec center near us. We went swimming for the first time with the pass yesterday and today everyone is dead. Hopefully swimming doesn't knock us out like this every day!!

Monday, 23 June 2008


You have to check out this blog entry on phonics. So funny!

Summer Jobs

School hasn't quite ended...but my kids are off to their favorite line of summer work....lemon-aid stands!

They always make a killing. I should consider getting into the biz maybe.....

Sunday, 22 June 2008

I Hope They Call Me On a Mission

Lately this is Peirce's favorite song. He loves to come into the RS Room after primary on Sunday. He's learned how to call up that song and get the programmed piano to play it. I often hear him singing it while he's playing around home as well. Too cute. He let's Jill carry the ball here and just kind of follows along with her - but then again - that's kind of how he lives his life! Good thing Jill is a good example for him. :0) Clearly they know the first verse best. Peirce gets a little distracted in the beginning because Chico is bugging him....that's kind of how life genearlly goes in our house!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Service of Remembrance

We went to a 'Service of Remembrance' today that one of the hospitals had for families who'd had a stillborn child in the past six months or so. I didn't have any high expectations going into it -but I sure came out grateful that we went!! It was so amazing to see all these other couples who had recently gone through the same thing. The wives cried and cried just like I cry and cry about Destiny. Peirce sat on my lap and rested his head on me and patted me most of the time. He said to me, "Mom, I don't think you should be listening to this." He`s so cute. He doesn`t like to see me cry. He always comes and comforts me when he notices that I`m sad.

They had a couple speak and I found myself nodding my head all through it because I had felt and experienced so many ofthe same things. After they had a candle lighting ceremony. They read the name of each baby and the parents came up and received a stone with the baby's name on it and lit a candle in honor of their baby. We had our kids with us so Peirce received the stone for us and Jill lit the candle....almost lit the table on fire...but not quite (why or why do we always have to be so memorable?? LOL)

Despite our almost fire, the whole experience was really really beautiful. Afterwards we visited with some ofthe other couples and it was so emotional and bonding it was just amazing. Even Jill and Peirce, who had put on their Laman and Lemuel faces about having to go to it, said afterwards that it just felt really good and they were glad they went.

I was really glad too. My favorite quote from the evening was: Each life, no matter how short or how long, changes the world.

We love you Destiny Dawn. You sure have changed our family`s world.

A person`s a person no matter how small.

-Dr. Seuss

Swim Week

The last week of school at the kid's school is always the week for swimming lessons. It's fun to go and watch them and visit with the other parents who enjoy doing that too. Peirce was a little nervous about swimming lessons - but soon learned that there was nothing to be nervous about and has really had a lot of fun.

They are supposed to shower first and then wait on the deck until their lessons start...and they often are cold at first....

...but soon they realize that the sun can warm them up quite well. This picture makes me realize again....he is one SKINNY kid!

Peirce has reached a momentous point in life - he can touch the bottom and still breath air!!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The Birth House

This month for Book Club we read The Birth House by Ami McKay. I LOVED it! The book is full of many many women`s experiences and stories told through the eyes of a midwife. It`s set in the maritime provinces of Eastern Canada around 1918.

From Booklist:

When Dr. Gilbert Thomas, self-proclaimed expert in hygienic, pain-free childbirth, opens a practice in a Nova Scotia coastal village during the World War I years, it sets the stage for a classic conflict between long-held traditions and modern medicine. Seventeen-year-old Dora Rare, the only Rare daughter within five generations, improves her lot in life by becoming the apprentice of Marie Babineau, the independent but caring Acadian midwife who helped bring several generations of Scots Bay residents into the world. The women of the village (not to mention their husbands) grow bitterly divided when Dr. Thomas calls the health and safety of expectant mothers into question. His vengeful actions toward Dora herself--a young woman looking for guidance with her own love life--turn particularly personal as well. McKay has fashioned what she terms a "literary scrapbook," reproducing and re-creating historical news clippings, advertisements, and letters within the text. This sensitively written novel of women's birthing rituals, strengths, and friendships will appeal to readers who enjoy gentle humor and plenty of homespun wisdom. (by Sarah Johnson)

This book made me glad to be a woman and grateful for the ties that bind women!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Freckle Juice

Nicky has freckles -- they cover his face, his ears, and the whole back of his neck. Once, sitting behind him in class, Andrew counted eighty-six of them, and that was just a start! If Andrew had freckles like Nicky, his mother would never know if his neck was dirty.

This is a fun and quick book. You can tell it's an older boy (Andrew's allowance is 10 cents a week - and the mom plays cards in the middle of the afternoon with her neighbor.....who does that anymore?!) But some things don't change over time - things like the kid in the class whose good at manipulating other kids to get what she wants, and the interest kids without freckles have in freckes (and how kids that have them hate them!) There's a good moral to this book too - to just be happy with who you are.

Peirce is really loving reading chapter books together lately. I love that!! Jill has even started reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together with him. :0)

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Little Rat Makes Music

I'm not a fan of early reader chapter books. I find the content is usually too thin. However, I liked the message of this book and decided maybe Peirce would enjoy it too. Little Rat loves music. His parents take him to fancy concerts and to folk-music concerts at the community hall. I loved how the author described the music and its mezmorizing effects on Little Rat. Little Rat decides to start taking violin lessons. He's very excited about it - until the monotony of daily practising gets to him. Little Rat's wise teacher pairs her up with Kitty, someone Little Rat really looks up to. They learn a duet and perform together at a recital and Little Rat is thrilled with the beautiful music she makes.After reading the book I have a renewed desire to get back on the band-wagon with teaching piano to my kids. Maybe we'll have a summer of music and reading!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Reading Olympics

I read about a bunch of people that do a 48 hour book challenge. Immediately I thought that I would love to be involved in something like that! Imagine - 2 days of just reading! This weekend Peirce and Allen went to our ward's Father-Son camp and so we decided while they were gone we'd have our own book challenge - only Jill dubbed it Reading Olympics. It was terrific! They were not even gone for 24 hours so we didn't even get close to 48 hours - but we had a great time nonetheless.

Right now Jill has three books on the go: A Nancy Drew book, The Sign of the Twisted Candle, The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls, and the fifth Harry Potter book. We just bought the Harry Potter book today and I was leery to buy it since she was in the middle of two books already - but she assured me that they're in separate places in her brain and she could handle another quite well.

I read The Birth House and School's Our Children Deserve . I'm not finished either book yet (I'll write about them when I do)....but I sure enjoyed being wrapped up in a couple great books with my daughter. We need to send those boys away more often!

Friday, 13 June 2008

1 Ne. 3:7 Really Works

Last December when we were contemplating taking Jill out of school because of the bad situation in her class I felt really really overwhelmed. I have never led much of a life of leisure. I work from home and I stay busy with many other things. I was also full of grief over Destiny. However, I couldn't feel good about sending Jill to school every day when I knew that things would not be resolved quickly enough to justify her having to put up with her teacher's antics. As I've listened to other parents and students through the year I've been quite confident that we did the right thing for us. I think that we've grown closer because of the time we've spent together. It's important to me that she really knows that she doesn't have to endure abuse from anyone - even a teacher (especially a teacher?!) Jill has also really grown emotionally and spiritually the past six months. Our friend Jenny asked if she could tutor Jill in French...and what a blessing that has been....not just because of the French, but because Jenny is an amazing role model. She has influenced Jill in ways that will have a life-time effect. I think Jill has a different kind of respect for us as her parents as well. And I know I certainly appreciate the life I have. I'm SO grateful that we're in a situation that we could take her out of school without too much of a disruption to everything else in our lives. I don't know if it would have been the right thing for everyone (I seem to have conversations on a regular basis that include a comment from someone along the lines of 'I could never do what you've done'). I have difficulty agreeing to the idea that those children will be fine having to put up with that teacher - but it really isn't my place to impose any value judgements. Every parent knows what is best for their child. I know I felt very strongly about what was best for mine. I'm sure glad we could do what we thought was best!

We're pretty much hanging up the hat on our homeschooling these days. We had our end of year school visit and while I had planned to continue, the motivating is waning. Looking back, I'm amazed at how things fell into place and made it all so managable. I really believe that God helps us when we need to do things that seem beyond ourselves. This scripture is true!

1 Nephi 3:7.....the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

One of the things that happened that made it all much more managable is that I hardly had any work the past six months. Normally that would stress me out and I would be asking for extra work and being saddled with impossible projects. However, I wasn't in a position to ask for anymore work, and interesting enough, no one even asked me if I wanted more. Usually there is more work than they have people for - but somehow I remained under the radar when it came to extra work. It was also amazing how our finances didn't suffer at all - as a matter of fact, we probably have had more income in the last six months than we've had in the past 10 years. Neither Allen nor I earn a salary - it ebbs and flows according to how much work we have (oh the joys of commission work!) Allen has been run off his feet with great clients the past six months or so. An amazing blessing!

The interesting thing is that the week we had our end of year visit suddenly I got two new big projects - which certainly boost the time I'm required to spend on the computer. They look like good projects too (some are much more painful than others).

This may seem like a little thing to some - but to me it was another example of God's tender mercies. I received a recipe book for Christmas called The Big Cook. I've written about it before here and here. Our live certainly wouldn't have been as smooth around here the past six months without this book in our lives. We have great meals (if I do say so myself) and I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Right now I have about 30 meals in my freezer, ready to go, thanks to this book. I could take a month off of cooking if I needed to! I won't - but it sure feels great to have that in the freezer. It blesses our family. It's also a great blessing to know that if someone else needs help for one reason or another providing a meal for them would be a breeze.

In case you're interested, here's a video that talks about how it all works. I'm telling you, it's changed my life!

The Big Cook

Today I feel so grateful for the gentle way God directs our lives and helps us to accomplish the things we need to do. We don't need to fear!! We will always be able to handle the things that fall in our laps.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

It must be time for summer....

It was time to get rid of the battle of the tangles, especially since summer is coming. Here's the before picture:

And here's the after:

What a cute girl. She sure does have beautiful hair. It's a shame to put it in the garbage! Some people would love to have as much hair as we cut off today!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Breaking News

I was driving alone in my van, listening to a talk radio program, when suddenly they broke in with an urgent news story. They have a little musical preamble and while it was playing I thought, "Oh no! What is it?! A terrorist attack? A hurricane? Oh no!"

And then they broke away to Stephen Harper and his speech with an apology to the aboriginals of Canada over more than a century of abuse in residential schools.


I was amazed that it is breaking news when our government apologizes. Why did it take so long? Why so planned and formal? Why is it breaking news when someone apologizes? We all knew it should happen. It was long overdue.I think our world would be much better of with a LOT MORE apologies!

I just pray the healing will be helped by this apology.
(Picture from here)

Sunday, 8 June 2008

The Twits

Peirce and I have been reading Roald Dahl's book, The Twits.

I think Roald Dahl is an interesting writer. I didn't realized that he was so recent. Apparently he died in 1990. This book was written in 1980. I never read it as a child. I would have been 13 at the time. I wish I had known about Roald Dahl back in the day - it would have been fun to have been anticipating each book as it came out. Kind of makes me sad that I could have experienced that but just didn't know. He wrote James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the 60's. Makes me wonder when they became popular.

The Twits is a book that I felt a little uncomfortable reading. Honestly, Roald Dahl's humor reminds me of what Jill's Grade Four teacher might think is funny (and he wasn't that nice). Hopefully he wasn't quite as nasty as I imagine a person would have to be to come up with such craziness...but apparently he wasn't the easiest to live with. His grand-daughter, Sophie, described him as "a very difficult man – very strong, very dominant ... not unlike the father of the Mitford sisters sort of roaring round the house with these very loud opinions, banning certain types – foppish boys, you know – from coming round."

The book starts off talking about Mr. Twit and his nasty beard. Apparently Roald Dahl really didn't like beards and this book was a bit of a vent for him. Mr. and Mrs. Twit have poor hygiene (to say the least!) and treat each other terribly. It says that Mrs Twit grew to become ugly because of her ugly thoughts. They're always playing mean tricks on each other and Mr. Twit drinks beer all the time - even for breakfast! It was interesting to me though that Peirce was not bothered at all by these details. It seems like kids don't have issues with such horribleness - it works quite well with their imagination I guess!

Friday, 6 June 2008

I Want To Sing and Dance....

You thought we were done?! Heaven's no....there's more!

This is a fruit salad song...on va preparer la salade fruit!! Everyone! Sing!!

Kindergarten Assembly

The best assembly of the year was today! The two Kindergarten classes did their little song and dance. Part of me feels like I should apologize for these videos (you know....don't want to be the obnoxious relative that makes you watch their boring home videos)...but then don't have to watch! I can just come back here and watch it again and again with a big smile on my face admiring how darling my boy is. :0)

He said to me after the assembly: "Mom, did you notice I didn't have a turkey tail in the assembly? I tried to look my best today."

This a French version (?) of 'If You're Happy An Your Know It' Peirce is in the second row in this one so you can see him as well - but you can get the gist of his great performance.

You can see him a little better in this one.

In this one they're making a pizza (or maybe they ARE a pizza...not sure)

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Stage 4!

I am so proud of Jill. She had a goal all year to move from her current leven in swimming to the competitive level....which is Stage 4. Sometimes the girls in her class were whiners and lazy and she decided early on that she wasn't going to listen to their negative nonsense. She worked hard to be the fastest and the first and to have the best form. Today when I picked her up from Swim Club she looked like she was going to BURST!! She got her evaluation form and she is now in Stage 4. She said she was so happy when she read her evaluation that she told her coach, "I can't believe it! I just want to hug you!" ....and so hug they did. :0)

It's so great to see your kids accomplish their goals. Love it!!

End of Year Visit Part Deux

Well, we did it. We had our end of year visit. It was pleasantly pain-free.

I've been so impressed with the CBE approach to homeschooling. If ever a parent said they didn't like this or that or if something wasn't working for them the answer was, "How can we make it work better." The classes Jill went to were amazing. I don't think she's ever learned as much in Science and Social Studies as she did this year. Funny thing was when we started off she really didn't want to do the Ab Ed topics for Science and Social Studies - but when we decided to do their blended program all that went by the way-side - and I have never seen her as interested in Science and Social Studies as she was. Jill really loved their project-based approach. The teachers were all terrific.....very kind and encouraging and I found it all very inspiring.

So why aren't we doing it again next year.....sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't be.

All I know is that if my kids want to homeschool ever again I'll be happy to have them do so.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Extraordinary Adventure of Ordinary Basil

Tonight Peirce and I finished reading The Extraordinary Adventure of Ordinary Basil (By Wiley Miller)

Basil is a boy that lives in a lighthouse in Maine. He thinks his life is oh so dull....and wishes for an adventure. His wish comes true when a flying boat arrives outside his window and he jumps aboard.

It was a kick to read this book with Peirce. When we first started the book he spent a lot of time moaning about what an ordinary life he has....just like Basil does in the book. I remember well Don and Anne Green telling us that when you read to children they live the stories....sometimes they have to get up and act it out quickly, or they'll do it right where they're sitting. Peirce appears to weave things from the book into his every day life. (It makes me want to go back and read their books again!)

This book is 127 pages and it is full of amazing pictures. The print is quite big and it reads quite quickly. (As a matter of fact, tonight Peirce said to me, "You know why I like this book? Because the words are nice and big"....meaning the font is big rather than having a ton of words squished on one page....the funny thing about it was this was a repeat of a conversation Jill had with Peirce today. She is reading a Nancy Drew book and she was telling us why the book is so great...and one of the things was that the front is nice and big). I was a little worried that the vocabulary would be a little too tricky - but Peirce didn't seem bothered by it. It was a great experience to read this book together!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

End of Year Visit

It's almost time for our end of year homeschooling visit. We were supposed to have a visit early in the year - but for some reason that didn't happen. I figured it's their responsibility, if they don't do it I wasn't going to worry about it. When the teacher called to set up our end of year visit I said a silent, "oh rats!" and used my cheerful voice while setting up an appointment with her.

Then I sat and worried.

We could have done so much more.
What if she says we didn't do well enough.
What if the approach I took was, well, wrong.
What if, what if, what if....

Then I said to myself, 'what are they going to do, fail me?'

(Notice this is all about ME and not about the student!)

Finally yesterday I sat down with all the charts we kept each week and had a look at what we'd done. Then I read through the curriculum really really carefully again. Then I went through the checklist made from the curriculum outline....and I sat back and said, "Man, if we can get it all done with such little effort and time....what the heck do they do in school all day?!"

I'll probably still fret about this a little more until Thursday even though I figure we've done just fine.....why? I don't know.

Maybe I need counselling.

Then again, maybe that's what these home visits are about!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Outraged Parents

I just read a blog that had a link to a story about a terrible situation with a teacher and student.

It's really too bad that it has to go that far. I wish parents listened to their children more. I wish principals listened to parents and children who complain about teachers. Kind of reminds me of our story!

I don't get why teachers continue being teachers when they're this darn mean.

The best part of the video is at the end where they say the teacher needs an opportunity to tell her side of the story. Hmmmm....what could be the reasoning to act not only unprofessional but plain old mean and like a bully....she had a headache?? She hadn't asked for help soon enough?? I just can't think of what she could come up with that might be justifiable in treating any child like this.

If I could change the world....this is one thing I'd change!