Monday, 29 December 2008

It's Handy Having A Little Boy

I never would have imagined little boys would be so fun. They can build really cool things... ...and they're very handy when something falls in the back of the lazy susan

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Skating Party

Whether we like it or not, we seem to go skating once a year. We had a great time this year!

Friday, 19 December 2008

I Am A Taxi (Deborah Ellis)

You've got to read this book. Every Deborah Ellis book I've read has caused me to marvel at the lives some children live in our world today! This book was no different.

This book is set in Bolivia. It's about a boy whose parents are wrongfully put in prison and so he grows up in jail. If they didn't live in the jail with their parents they'd be homeless. In those prisons the people PAY for their cells and luckily, they have children. Kids can leave the prison and so he earns money as a "taxi" (or what we'd refer to as a courier). His friend, however, convinces him to run away with him to work for some men. It turns out they men are in the business of cocaine manufacturing. The kids are enslaved and exploited. The experience of reading this book has left a deep impression on me!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

The Library Card (Jerry Spinelli)

I love libraries, so naturally I loved this book! It's about four people whose lives are changed by a library card. I'm not sure if there was meant to be a connection between all the stories, but they did all seem to be troubled in one way or another.

Mongoose - a teenager whose generally up to no good until he finds a library card and wanders into a library only to have a fire of curiousity ignited. Then there's the TV-addicted Brenda whose parents agree to a week of no TV. Her withdrawals from TV are all too familiar to what a lot of people I know might go through! Sonseray is a young boy that is homeless that has lost his mother. He finds a story-teller lady who seems to fill a deep hole in his heart. The last story is a girl that LOVES libraries too - but her family moves out to live on a mushroom farm far away from her well-loved library. However, they do have a bookmobile - which is much more exciting that most bookmobiles.

I'm not sure everyone would enjoy this book. Many would find it a little too far-fetched - but given the hours I've spent in libraries exploring unknown worlds and the love I have for books it touched a chord for me. Loved it! I want everyone to have the same love for libraries. Heck, I should be a library missionary. :0)

Peirce's Swim Meet

For some of the heats they used flutter boards. Peirce doesn't really need that anymore, but what can you do when you're six! You have to do what the team is doing. He has a really good kick so a kicking race is all his!

We had to talk Peirce into swim club this year - and once he was in he took to it like a fish to water and hasn't looked back. These are some pictures and video from the swim meet where he won all his heats! (The truth is he didn't win all his you'll see in this video, but he was sure he DID - so we went with it) :0)

You can see that 3/4 of the day he's getting pretty tired. This was his last race of the meet and he was quite tuckered by the end!

As usual Allen is the loudest guy cheering. Jill is trying to follow in his footsteps.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Witches by Roald Dahl

We finally finished this! I've been amazed that Peirce has stuck with this book...but he has loved it. I wrote about this book before when we listened to it on tape. You can read that post here. My feelings on Roald Dahl haven't changed that much. However, I'm amazed at how much Peirce has loved his books! While I was reading he'd often say, "I love this part." I am surprised at how much he still enjoys repetition. Lately if I don't tell him it's bedtime by 8:00 or so he'll say, "Are we going to read tonight?!" His internal clock seems to know when it's time to read. I love reading with him. I wish we had more time for reading together!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

School Concert

For the first time in YEARS our kid's school put on a school concert - and I must say, the school did a great job! I've rarely seen a concert executed so well: no boring blabbing by teachers to introduce numbers, and no big breaks between numbers. It was quite astounding. Peirce was VERY excited for the whole event and was going crazy from the moment he got home. He wanted to change and get to the school! We put it off as long as we could....ate dinner, got dressed up, warmed up the van, put air in the tires, stopped at the corner store, and drove well under the speed limit to get there....and we were still 40 minutes early. The good news though is that we got the front row!! Front AND center!

Jill's class sang a song about Canada. Jill got to introduce it (only when we were there she said her little blurb at the end because the pianist started playing the they just sang!)

Peirce's class did Mexico. They made sombreros out of newspaper. So cute!!

Feliz Navidad!!

Red, Green and White, the colors of the Mexican flag

Mexican Hat Dance

Every class/grade did a different country. At the end of it all the children all came into the gym and were around the walls and they sang a song about Peace on Earth. It brought tears to my eyes! It made me think of Parvanna and how some children in the world must ache for peace on earth.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Anti-Coalition Rally

Well, today the kids and I decided to go speak up against The Coalition. I've never been to a political rally before and wondered if bringing my kids was a good idea - but in the end I think it was a good experience. It was pretty tame....just a bunch of people waving signs and yelling. Now and then they'd break out in a chant or start singing Oh Canada. J&P thought it was a blast!

Peirce hadn't made a sign but scooped one that someone had abandoned. :0)
Jill's sign said "Coalition Smoalition". Love it!

One of pet peeves in this is that supporters of the coalition keep bringing up that 63% of Canadians did not vote conservative, so really the coalition has the majority vote. This is such a moot point I find it almost laughable. There were 5 choices in the last election (excluding independents), not a choice between conservative and everyone else. People did not vote for a choice of conservative or a coalition of the other 4. To get specific, 62.37% of Canadians did not vote conservative. However, 73.76% did not vote Liberal, 81.8% did not vote NDP, 90.03% did not vote BQ, and 93.2% did not vote Green. I guarantee the results would have been completely different had there only been 2 choices (Conservative or "other") and so there is no way to compare the two scenarios. I realize that the coalition isn't doing anything illegal and that it is part of our system to allow these kinds of things - but it doesn't mean we have to sit back and let anyone think we like it.

Jill wanted to go see the Famous Five statues.

Some people had left their signs there and we had fun taking pictures with the statues. I felt a great sense of gratitude for those women today. I told Jill and Peirce their story and when I told Peirce that women were once not able to vote, to own land, and things like that he said, "That's really dumb." Funny. Sometimes we shake our heads at the sliding morality in our world. Yet our children shake their head's at the systems that used to be accepted as matter of fact.

After we'd had enough of the rally we went over to the library and hung out for a while. Here's how I found Jill:

I guess some good came out of our trip to the rally!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli

I LOVED this book. It would be so fun to read this book with kids in Junior High or High School. Jill's teacher read it to their class and Jill raved about it for quite a while. Finally she got it out of the library and gave it to me and insisted that I must read it. I'm so glad she did! It's so refreshing!
The story is about a girl that home to high school after being homeschooled. She's a free spirit that doesn't worry about what other kids think. She dances in the rain, she cheers for the opponents when they score, she plays a ukele in the cafeteria and leaves surprises for everyone in her homeroom class. At the first the kids are horrified. Then they learn to appreciate her. Then they love her...then they turn on her....and her response to it all is inspiring.
Truthfully, I think this is an ageless issue. Women of all ages could probably do well to learn from Star Girl. I think it should be a book read once a year!
Apparently there is another book called Love Star Girl which full of journal entries to give perspective on her side of the story of everything that happened in StarGirl. Got to get that book!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Grade One Missionary Work?

Last Sunday the guy on High Council in charge of missionary work spoke in our ward. I found his talk quite inspiring and I had a renewed effort to simply be a better person and possibly, as a result, a better member missionary.

Then I didn't think about it again.


Until today. I volunteered in Peirce's class. They were doing a painting project (how to add a crazy twist to your day....paint with 16 6 and 7 year olds!) We were only about five minutes into the fun when a bunch of kids starting talking about church. "I never go to church." "I always go to church with my Grandma." "I go to church every Christmas." Then they turned to me and asked, "Why do you go to church?" I was kind of taken back. What should I say to a bunch of little kids? Is it okay to say anything? Do I bear my testimony? NAH! Finally I collected myself and said, "Why do you think I go to church?" Without looking up from his painting one kid answered, "To learn about God."

Yup. You're right. To learn about God.

I thought it was kind of crazy that it took me so off guard. Guess I better try to do a little more thinking about missionary work each day....just like that guy on Sunday encouraged us to.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Magician's Boy by Serena Riglietti

This is a fun book. Peirce and I read it together before bed. It's a story of a boy that is a magician's assistant. One day he misplaces one of the puppets and the magician sends him off to a fairytale land to fine the lost puppet. Along the way he meets characters from many different fairy tales. It's quite entertaining. Peirce really enjoyed it, and so did I.

Monday, 1 December 2008

FHE Job Charts

Last week at Activity Days Jill made a FHE Job Chart. I always thought those were just nice decorations...not really that useful. However, it made a difference in our FHE tonight! Normally I plan and run the whole FHE. This time we did all my ideas, but everyone felt like they were contributing a little more. :0)

After we finished dinner I was checking the job chart and mentioned to Allen he was in charge of the lesson. He groaned and so I suggested he start us off on our Christmas Jar (a jar that has a scripture to read each day that all have something to do with the life of Christ and his love for us). Then Peirce asked what his job was. He was in charge of treats. He had a look of alarm and so I whispered in his ear, "Why don't you go get your Halloween candy and we can have some of that?" He was thrilled. Jill was in charge of the activity....and so she decided we should play name that tune with Christmas songs. I was in charge of conducting and prayers. Love that job!

The interesting thing is that we did all the things I had planned we would do - but with each of the kids having an assignment you could see that they were enjoying the responsibility. It made it all better! Our FHE was still quite simple....but I dare say it was one of the best we have had in a while! We'll definitely continue with the FHE job chart!