Monday, 30 March 2009

Saudi Arabian Experiences

We are having a great experience this month. We have had exchange students stay with us now and then for a number of years. This month we have had a boy from Saudi Arabia named Abdul stay with us. We've never had someone from Saudi Arabia! It's been an interesting learning experience.

Today Abdul invited Allen to go to an event at Mac Hall at the University (another flash back for Allen and I!) that was a party of sorts for a number of Saudi Arabian students. I was surprised when Abdul came upstairs dressed in a traditional Saudi outfit - a long white dress! He said it is typical dress for men in Saudi Arabia.

When Abdul came home tonight our kids were quite taken back. Peirce was quick to tell Abdul that he thought he looked nice but in Canada boys don't wear dresses. I thought that was pretty funny considering all the dress up clothes he enjoys with his cousins that involve dresses.

It's really great having our kids learn about these things. They really love it too!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sunday Seven

1. Snow. I'm grateful for snow. I ought to be because we just keep getting it. If I keep saying it will I soon love it??? (sorry for the cynacism)

2. I'm thankful my kids get to go to school. They've been off all this week. (oops....leaning towards cynacism again)

3. I'm thankful for opportunities I have to get to know other moms. This week we went rollerskating and invited kids from school. I was chatting with one of the mom's and in our conversation it came out that she had a stillborn baby last year at 37 weeks. We didn't talk for too long- but it was clear that there was a deep understanding between the two of us. I left there feeling grateful for the opportunity I had to talk with her about her experience and share a little of mine.

4. I'm thankful we have a student staying with us! He is from Saudi Arabia and he's a really great guy!

5. I'm thankful for free movies!! One of the moms I've come to know at school invited us to go to a free movie Saturday hosted by a real estate agent she knows. We happened to run into a couple families from church as well. We sat with them and it was really hilarious sitting and listening to three little six year old boy's commentary on Monsters versus Aliens. Little boys are hilarious!

6. I'm thankful school will start again tomorrow.
7. I'm thankful school will start again tomorrow.

....oops...I'm repeating myself. It's been a long week! :0)

Saturday, 28 March 2009

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

I don't even know where to start. This book brought out a lot of feelings. Here's the basic story from Jodi Picoult's website:

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate - a life and a role that she has never questioned… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister - and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable… a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves. My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life… even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less?

I think Jodi Picoult. Is a great writer. There were so many times I stopped and re-read and re-read paragraphs to soak up the beautiful way she puts the words together.

Sometimes I wonder if I qualify as a parent that has lost a child. Does it count if you never got to know the child? I wonder if it hurts more to have a baby die and never have the chance to get to know her than to lose a child later in their life. As I read this book I expected that Kate would die...and I found myself stalling and not wanting to get to the end of the book because I was afraid of going through that experience.

And just like life, this book didn't give what I expected.

I realize then that we never have children, we receive them. And sometimes it's not for quite as lon gas we would have expected or hoped. But it is still far better than never having had those children at all. (page 395)

I'd have to agree.

You've got to read this book. I loved it. I also hated it. I had a hard time dealing with a lot of the feelings that it brought out - but all in all, it feeling like a part of the healing process to go through those feelings.
It made me wonder if I could have done anything to save our little Destiny, what would I have done. I can understand a mother that would do anything to save their child. I suppose that's a gift of a great writer - to be able to write the story in a way that people feel like they can relate to the story.

My little're still very alive in my heart.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. Happy birthday mom!!

My mom is amazing. She can do anything. (well, except figure out how to use our phones LOL)

Love you mom!! Happy day to you!!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Is it over yet????

When Spring Break was starting I boldly stated that Spring Break is my favorite school holiday. There isn't Christmas to prepare for, no big dinners to make...just fun to be had.

Well, we had fun.

And I'm tired!! Maybe it's the weather (Still freezing. Still tons of snow. BLAH!)

Nope. I'm just plain tired.

I'm very excited for my kids to go back to school!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Sunday Seven

1. I'm grateful for friends!! My husband isn't particularly handy. Truthfully, I think he COULD be handy - but he hates doing stuff like that. I'm so glad we have a few good friends who are handy with fixing things!! This week I was especially grateful for Brent fixing our garage door!

2. I'm grateful for Allen! He's doing our taxes. I hate doing taxes. I could learn to do taxes - but its kind of the same as Allen and fixing things. It's better if someone else does it. Doing taxes just wrecks my day. Wrecks my week! I'm grateful Allen is willing to do our taxes.

3. My dad! He has a minor surgery procedure done this week on his nose! He had a polyp growing in there and they took it out. I'm glad he came through it all just fine and is recovering well!

4. Communication! I had the funniest thing happen this week. Uncle Jon called and said he'd heard on the radio in Lethbridge that Lester Ann Jensen had 8 minutes to call the radio station to win $10,000. WHAT?! I called every number I could find....still couldn't find her. I finally called Gaylene and she said to try dad's cell number (why would she answer dad's cell number?) I got the number from her (how did I not have that one?) and presto!! Mom answered!! So I quickly told her to call the radio station...and she did!! ....but it was too late.
WAAAHHHH!!!! After all that work I figured she'd at least have to split the money with me! :0) be continued.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

A Blast From the Past

When I was in Grade Six I would get on the bus on Saturdays and head off to Lloyd's Rollerrink - a familiar Calgary hang out. Today Jill got invited to a birthday party there. We went and since it is on the other end of town decided to stay down there to pick her up. Well, when Peirce saw the fun going on he wanted to stay. They loved it!! Lots of loud music, lots of exercise, and plenty of junk food to buy. What more could a kid want! By the end of the day Peirce was so tired! And if you ask me nothing is better than a really worn out kid.
I think we'll try that gig again!

Friday, 13 March 2009

The Fight

I’ve often thought about the best approaches with kids learning to read.

Is it best to start with all the building blocks: teach all the sounds, put them together, and build on up? My concern with that is you don’t really get to enjoy great writing and good books along the way. Instead you’re left reading Dick and Jane style books. Boring!

Is it best to jump into books and read together for hours and hours? You get to enjoy great books but then you’re left wondering if they’ll pick up on sounds and learn how to put them together and become independent readers. Will I be left reading aloud to this kid for years to come?

We seem to jump between the two types of approaches. Apparently we haven’t done too much damage that way.

I suspected for years that what mattered most was what you did at home to instil a love of reading. My oldest, Jill, never had a home reading program of any sort, and that was okay with me. I have never been a fan of tracking minutes or books. However, this year, Peirce's teacher has a home reading program.

Insert deep breath.

In an effort to be a supportive parent, we decided to give it a shot and participate. There's just one challenge in this home reading program though: the English books don't count. Rather, it has been all about the French books. Our list of English books we read pale in comparison to the other books we read on a daily basis - but we chose French Immersion - so we decided we should give it a hearty effort. Some weeks we do well and others are quite dismal. I put up with his criticism on my poor French accent. I put up with having to keep track of the books. And along the way I’ve learned a lot! Not only that, we have enjoyed the snuggling time, made it through the good books and the bad, and have had great conversations thanks to books.

Recently Peirce has been quite motivated to read every day and has been reading two or three times as many books each evening because or the dangling carrot: when you get to 100 you get a book!

Today he finally reached that summit. Sure enough he got his book and a certificate. The book he was given is a Magic Tree House book - and funny enough, we haven't read any of those! So tonight at bedtime we got started on it. In the middle of reading Peirce suddenly had to tell me a story:

Peirce: Peirce: I finally got my goal Mom.

Me: Did you go running in to hand her your duo-tang and announce you were at 100?

Peirce: No. I just gave it to her and sat down. But she was so excited she had to look right away and she counted...but she counted wrong. And we got into this big fight. She said I read 100 books but it was really only 99.

Me: Oh dear. Was it like Thomas' Snowsuit?

Peirce: Yup. It was a big fight. And I ended up with her clothes on and she ended up with my clothes on, and Mom, you wouldn't believe it. She wears red underwear with pink hearts on it. And everyone saw it because the principal was coming upstairs to talk about literacy and another teacher was going downstairs to the opera and another teacher was coming back from the library and it all happened when we had our fight.

Me: Wow. So what did the principal do?

Peirce: We had to get back in our own clothes right there and then. That's when we saw her red underwear with pink hearts. It was crazy. (insert pause) But, I'm still glad she gave me this book. It's really good. Keep reading.

My Peirce sure can weave a tale!!!

Oh, and by the way, Peirce was wrong. It really was 100 books.

AND he is learning to read!

Do You Believe???

Today is Friday the 13th. Did you have any bad luck? I did!

It all started when I went to walk with my kids to the bus stop. Our garage door wouldn't open. So I tried it again and again and again....only to finally realize I really screwed up and now the door is hanging lopsided and won't move at all. Eeeek! Now our house looks really lovely with the garage door looking like its falling apart. Nice!

FYI: This isn't our garage door (just a picture I found somewhere on the net) but if gives you a general idea of how ours looked. Ours didn't look quite this bad...but almost!

We finally go out another way and get to the bus and all is well.

Next problem: I'm supposed to be volunteering at a casino today (not my favorite assignment...but here the casinos have to give 1/3 their profits to charities/non profit organizations - and our kid's swim club is on that list. In order to get the money you have to a day we make about $70,000....un-damn-believable if you ask me) ...Anyway, how am I supposed to get to the casino if I can't get my van out of the garage?? So I get Allen to come and drive me to the casino. I get there right on time at 10 am only to wait and wait and wait. No one else from the swim club is there. Do I have the right casino? Oh no! I panicked for a while and tried to make a few calls to other people in the swim club. Of course, no one is answering their phones....finally I said, this has to be the right place. The guy at the door said I was early - so I decided I'd just wait. Turned out I was a full hour early. I sure could have used an extra hour this morning to do a few things....but oh well. Then around 11:15 all the volunteers start arriving and we visit like swim parents like to do while they wait around (we do a lot of waiting around!)

Soon the casino lady comes along to tell us what our assignments are. My name isn't on the list. What?! I don't have to be here?! But one person hasn't shown up so she asks me to wait to see if that person shows up. In the end that person did show up so around noon I was able to go home.

Only problem.....I don't have a vehicle there. While I'm trying to call Allen again another parent shows up, clearly stressed. His car died on the way there, he called a friend, and got him to give him a ride to the casino - only to get there and find out he's in the same boat as me. His name isn't on the list either and he doesn't have to be there. So now there's two of us there that don't have vehicles to get home. ARGH!!!

We made a series of phone calls. Neither of us could find out spouses or get a hold of the other people we tried. So we decided, well, let's go have lunch!! (They feed all the volunteers on their days at the casino) Just as we're about to go have lunch my husband shows up and drives us both home. So, no free lunch either.


We got someone to come over and look at our garage. He said a wire snapped and lucky us, he has one in his garage we can use. GREAT!! Only he went to get it and hasn't come back. So now its time to take my daughter to swim club and I still can't get my van out of the garage. Finally my husband comes home again and takes her to the pool.


Things can only get better, right?!! Today made me think back to that crazy week we had last Spring break. Wait a minute...that was just about this same time last year when we had bad luck on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday!!!! Now we have our Friday, I guess.

ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Next March I'm going to just stay in bed.

UPDATE: Our friend did come over after dinner tonight and got our garage door working lickety split! We're so glad we called him. He said his neighbor had a similar problem. The neighbor's wife said, "You should call Brent." But the neighbor figured he could fix it. Brent said by the end of the day the garage door was broken in pieces and unrepairable - so he was glad we called him. We're sure glad too!!! YEA Brent!! if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go open the garage door again....just because I can!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

French Immersion: Best Kept Secret at CBE!

Tonight I went to the School Council meeting at the school. It's always an interesting time. Tonight one of the topics was how crowded the school will be next year. We have two programs in our school: French Immersion and a kind of 'back to basics' program called Traditional Learning. The Traditional Learning program is really popular and it seems it doesn't matter how many spots they open, they fill quickly. As a result, next year our school will be full to capacity. A number of parents expressed concerns over how many students per class this means. I didn't really say much because the concern doesn't really apply to us because our kids are in French Immersion. I sure was glad! Peirce's class has 16 kids and Jill's has 21. It's a far cry from the 26+ they're predicting in the Traditional Learning classrooms. I've always said, French Immersion is one of the best kept secrets. Apparently it is even in our school! If I were a parent I'd really consider moving to the other program if my child had 28 kids in their class. But that's just me! My kids have been really lucky to always be in small classes.

Recently Jill has been dropping hints that she wants to go to English Junior High. She's in Grade 5 so we still have a year to figure it out. I decided though, that since she was already on top of that issue maybe we should start checking things out. The other day there was an open house at the French Immersion school she would go to as well as the English Junior High she says she'd like to go to. We decided to go check both of them out. I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried! The French school had an amazing set up planned. There were displays and activities and demonstrations in every classroom...and not just the elective subjects either - even the math teachers were there with displays and kids in the classroom, and the science teacher had some kids there cutting up cow eyes (blech!). They had games going on in the drama room and kids playing volleyball in the gym and even a French cafe set up in the library where they were serving crepes. It was amazing!! When we went to the English school there was nothing in comparison - but there were still lots of kids there. Which mostly meant there were kids running around acting like junior high kids do. Jill said she really didn't feel great about the English Junior High. Just to make sure she knew I was seriously considering the option I even went and talked to the principal (who happens to be an old friend) about whether or not they accept out of bounds students. We explained our situation (Jill would love to attend there because its close to the pool) and since he was also a swimmer he was quite sympathetic to the situation. In the end, though, I don't think we'll need to take him up on that favor. I think we'll just continue on in French.

YEA!! I'm excited for Jill to go to Junior High. I think she is really going to love it! That girl was built for Junior High!

Monday, 9 March 2009


One of the reasons I changed jobs is because of the slow and unpredictable pay situation at my old job. Today I submitted my invoice and guess what?! They paid me today!!


Can I just tell you how happy I am to have taken the leap! Life is good.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sunday Seven

No fancy stuff today....just a plain old list. I don't have a lot of time but wanted to make sure I focused on gratitude today. It's been a busy weekend and I'm pooped!

1. I'm grateful for all my new swim-club-mom friends I've made. I spend a minimum of 4 hours at the pool each week and am really enjoying getting to know some of the moms there. They're great people!

2. I'm grateful that I have such good kids. I generally go to church as a single parent these days since Allen is always in some other ward for High Council business - and I'm so grateful that they're good kids and I can still enjoy the meetings and get something out of my time there.

3. I'm grateful for Freecycle. I don't know how it could be possible - but I've been giving away stuff on an on-going basis. There always seems to be more I can give away to de-clutter my life.

4. I'm grateful for my new job! Have I mentioned how much I love it? I have seen amazing teamwork and work with a bunch of really terrific people.

5. I'm grateful it's going to warm up this week and that I have a garage to park in while it is cold.

6. I'm grateful to have family around. We got to spend this afternoon with Becky and Nathan and sure had a great visit there. Life just gets so busy sometimes that we don't hang out often - but I sure enjoy it when we do.

7. I'm grateful Jill has a real love of reading. I think Peirce is developing that too. We have some great reading going on in our house. Love it!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Timmerman's Meet

Hanging out at a warm pool
400+ kids
2200+ events

That was my day.
I'm exhausted!!!
....I know. I know...and I didn't even swim!

Friday, 6 March 2009


Peirce is 'Special Person' next week in his classroom so this weekend he has a little booklet to do for homework: Moi, Je Suis Moi! He has to write down things like his hair color and eye color, address, phone number, draw pictures of his favorite food and a friend, and also his family. In his true style he got up first thing this morning to get it all done. He even woke up Jill so she could help him write the French words he needed. I loved his family picture he drew. He even included Destiny. I asked Jill later if she told him to draw her in the picture and she said that she hadn't but that Peirce wasn't sure he should put her in because he didn't want to make me cry. What a wonderful boy! Tonight I asked him about it and he said, "Well, she'll always be in our family mom."

You've got that right Peirce.
...and for the record, I didn't cry - but I sure felt my heart swell. :0)

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Junior High?!

My little girl is already talking about where she's going to go to Junior High. Actually, she has been badgering us about the idea of NOT continuing on in French Immersion. There's a junior high that's across the field from the pool and so she wants to go there. I tried to find out her reasons - but it really came down to one: it's close to the pool.

I happened to find out that the French Immersion junior high and the school by the pool were having open houses this week. We had to go check them out. I have tried to be open minded about the idea of Jill going to the pool by the school - but I didn't feel great about it. I talked to a woman in my ward whose kids had gone through French Immersion and talked to Allen's aunt as well. Neither of them were hard care dedicated to the idea of French Immersion and it caused me to be a little open minded....but I wasn't making any decisions just yet.

Well, the open houses were quite interesting. The French Immersion open house was amazing! There were kids at the front door welcoming us. Kids in the foyer telling us what places we should go see. Kids in every classroom showing us stuff in the classes: kids in the art room, the band was performing in the band room, there were kids in the drama room playing drama games. There were kids in the math classroom having fun with their math teachers (??!?!) There were kids in the home ec room making crepes and there were kids in the library serving the crepes to us! There were kids in the gym playing volleyball in their school uniforms. There were kids in the resource room having great conversations with the teacher. There were kids in the science room cutting up cow eye balls (eeewwww!) It was simply amazing!! Jill and Peirce BOTH loved visiting that school. When we were leaving I said, "Jill, I think you were built for Junior High!"

Then we went to the school by the pool. I have to cut them some slack because we were there at the end of the night - but man, it sure didn't compare. There were lots of kids. Yup lots of kids. Acting like junior high kids (not impressive). We talked to the drama teacher and we talked to the band teacher but we really didn't know where else to go. Then we went into the library and chatted with the principal (a friend of mine!) It was a good visit....but it just didn't feel the same. As we left Jill said, "I just don't feel good about this place."

I was so glad we went and checked them out! And I was glad I let Jill lead in the decision making process. She's right. I didn't feel that good about it either. It's decided...she's going to continue on in French Immersion.


Monday, 2 March 2009

Snowed In??

Well, today there is a big snow storm in NYC. The company I work for is in NYC and as a result, I haven't been able to work today. I can't get on the website because there are 50 people that can't get into the office there that are working from home today and plugging up the server. Ain't that something?! A new twist to our new world economy.
....and to think it's supposed to get up to 10 today here! What a strange world we live in!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Sunday Seven

Today I have much to be grateful for.

1. I'm grateful for the experiences that help my children learn the gospel. Peirce really seemed to be interested in the whole concept of baptism this weekend. He kept asking Sydney, "Do you feel different?" They also watched the First Vision video during the baptism. I was kind of making fun and saying the words as it went along (I watched that probably 8492 times on my mission and can quote it word for word). Peirce shushed me and was clearly irritated because he really wanted to watch it and really enjoy it. Today in church he kept saying to me, "Mom, you should get up and talk about Sydney's baptism." He's also SO good in church lately. I really appreciate that.

2. I'm grateful for our Sunday School teacher! She is so good!! I love the discussions we have in SS and always leave feeling like I've been uplifted, felt the spirit, and have learned something.

3. I'm grateful for the co-op that our stake has started. This weekend I ordered hutterite chickens through the co-op and the price beat the prices at all the grocery stores around. I love a deal!

4. I'm grateful for Allen and his hard work. This RSP season hasn't been the money making time it normally is thanks to the market....but he still works hard and manages to do what he needs to do to take care of us. I'm so proud of him!

5. I'm grateful for miracles. I sat by someone in Sunday School today that is from Kelowna where I grew up. It turns out that they've been in Atlanta for four months visiting their daughter as she has cancer. She had gone through radiation and chemo and the cancer was thought to be gone - and they did tests and found out it wasn't gone. Through a series of priesthood blessings she was healed. They tested her again, and the cancer was gone.

6. I'm grateful for family....the family I was born into, the family I married into, and the family we've started

7. I'm grateful it's going to be warm this week!!! I'm seriously grateful for that! :) See that Chinook arch?! I love a chinook!!!