Thursday, 30 April 2009

Aerospace Museum

I got to go on a field trip today with Jill's class to the Aerospace museum. I have driven past that place every day for years (especially when I worked at the airport!) but hever went in. I'm glad I did though! I didn't expect much but was certainly pleasantly surprised! We learned a lot and heard some really great stories. I loved it!

Best of all though, it's fun to see Jill's and her friends interact. I don't get to help in the class much now that she's so grown up. I think Jill would be okay with it but the teacher isn't interested in having parents volunteer in the classroom. So it was fun to be there today and get a glimpse into Jill's life at school.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


I found a great recipe book and have been trying a few things lately for the kids. It's all grain recipes - and most grains don't agree with Allen - but the kids love it all!

Today I decided to try my hand at making pitas. The book says they're so much better than the dry pitas you buy in the store - and man, is that ever true!! These were amazing!! It was a thrill to watch them puff up. They came out beautiful and the kids love them!

The book was right. Store-bought pitas don't compare at all! I will definitely make these again!

Sunday, 26 April 2009


Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.-Albert Einstein

Saturday, 25 April 2009


Peirce got Pixos from Grandma and Papa. He has sat all day today working on making pixo creations. What a lovely quiet activity!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Happy Birthday Peirce!

Seven years ago today our our life changed when our son was born. I remember the day so well! My mom and dad had come to visit. I wasn't due for a week or so but we were happy they were here because at 8:30 am my water broke. Grandma and Papa changed their plans for the day and decided to hang out with Jill while Allen and I went to the hospital. By 4:30 our boy was here! We were all thrilled and we continue to fall in love with him more and more every day.

So today we had a birthday party to celebrate his birthday. He came to me about a week ago with a piece of paper with his plan for his birthday.

Here's the translation:

1. Bowling

2. Go to our house

3. Musical Chairs (those are chairs and notes)

4. Trampoline

5. Birthday cake

6. Movie.

We almost did it all too - only we had to change it up a bit because we couldn't get a bowling lane until 6:00 pm. I think everyone had a good time. I know I enjoyed watching them giggle and play and enjoy being together!

Peirce's DS said Happy Birthday on it today!

Looks like a boring birthday cake - but that's his favorite! Plain old chocolate cake (made from my mom's famous recipe) with whip cream. Yum!

At the bowling alley:

Playing with the Loot bag toys:

It was a great time. A great time should be had for such a great boy! :0)

Thursday, 23 April 2009


We have a program in our school that is separate from the French Immersion program. Homework is a key element in that program. You have to agree that you'll ensure your child does a certain number of minutes (determined by grade) every night. Even kindergarten has homework. I've become friends with some of the mom's with kids in that program. I can't tell you how many times I've heard comments about how they're so glad for a break from school - and the root of that, I find out through the conversation, is a break from homework.

I want to ask them why the heck they continue in that program...but that isn't really politically correct or maybe even polite, so I don't say anything.

Our school's homework policy is this:

All students are expected to do homework on a regular basis for the following purposes:

- further the mastery of a specific skill.
- complete unfinished assignments
- complete assignments missed due to absence
- strengthen the ties between child, parent, home and school through shared learning activities (e.g., the Home Reading Program).
- develop responsibility for completing assignments.

Parents can help with homework by:

- Providing a quiet, regular place to work(Homework should become a routine affair).
- Helping your child organise time for assignments.
- Being the "audience" for reading practice andspelling and math drills.
- Providing information and knowledge for projects.Too much help, however, may make a child too dependent on you for help.

The Home Reading Program is an important part of a students’ homework routine. Please ensure that you child reads daily.

Often, a good guideline for the amount of time to be spent doing homework is ten minutes per grade level. By this formula, a grade 1 student would work about ten minutes per night (on average), while grade 6 students would work approximately 60 minutes per night (on average).

I find myself in a dilemma. I have found that most of the homework sent home is busy work. Jill has told me recently that her teacher has given a number of reasons for homework:

- They need to start getting into the habit because soon they'll be in junior high (My response: when you're pregnant do you start getting up at 3 am for an hour every night...because soon you'll have to?! No!!)

- If they don't have time to do homework they should quit some of those extra curricular activities (My response: Drives me nuts when educators assume their arm reaches into our privates lives and they should have a say in how we spend our evenings and weekends)

- The teacher works really hard to come up with interesting activities for us to do and she feels like they're ungrateful when they don't do it (take a break! We'd like a break too!)

I found a great article today on this topic. The author has a blog and she suggests people send an email once a month to their school adminstrators to get them to look at their homework policies again. Check out the article. I think she's got it right!

Does this mean I don't expect my kids to school related things? No. They love to read. They often play school. They sometimes do research and even write up reports on things they're interested in. That passion is never found in the stuff that is assigned. And if they're messing around in school and not getting their work done, then please do send it home and we'll have a conversation about it....but don't think I need to have someone direct us on how we spend that hour every night. And I do have her do the homework that is sent home...but I don't make a big deal of it. I sure don't have her stay up late to finish it if it isn't finished either. Rest is more important.

I believe kids need to have time to be kids and figure out what they want to do and what they enjoy. I think kids lives are too often controlled by parents and other adults. They don't get together in a field and play soccer anymore. They go to organized community soccer. They don't lay in a field and stare at the clouds. We think we have to watch them all the time so they're safe. Too few kids spend hours reading because they have homework to do first.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Working From Home

I've worked from home for the past ten years. I often have people ask me how they can get a job like I have. I often just smile as I don't really have an answer. Yup, I can stay in my pajamas all day (although that gets depressing). And I can volunteer at the school or do my visiting teaching during the day (although it usually means staying up later that night to get the work done that I didn't while out). My experience has been, though, that most people really aren't interested in working from home. They'd like to get paid, but they don't really want to work. I probably work more hours than I would if I went and found a regular job. However, every time one of my children is sick, or needs to be picked up early from school, or when there's a field trip to go on, or I go for a leisurely lunch out with my husband I realize I wouldn't trade this for any regular job. I also can't stand the idea of someone telling me when to work and I love being home, so I keep doing what I'm doing. Will I do it forever? I don't know. For now it sure works for us though.

There are some good websites out there for people intersted in learning more about working from home. Working Naked is one of my favorites - probably just because the name of it is hilarious!

I also have a blog I often read called Work At Home Mom Revolution. I'm amazed at the postings the author finds! There are a number of work at home options out there.

This past month I've worked a lot. I would guess probably 8 - 10 hours a day. I get up earlier now (5:00 or 6:00 am versus my previous 7:00) and work for an hour or so in the morning, then get the kids off to school. While the kids are at school I keep my nose to the grindstone. I've learned that if I take a 15 minute break every hour or so I'm much more productive, so every hour an alarm goes off to remind me to go change the laundry, or clean the bathroom, or make our bed, or get the meat out of the freezer, or whatever else needs to be done. After the kids go to bed I do it again for two or three more hours. There's no time for scrapbooking, no time for TV, and no time for long telephone conversations: all the things I imagine other stay at home mom's do. But that's okay. My house isn't always clean and sometimes we have toast and peaches for dinner, but that's okay. I'm pretty happy with the opportunity I have had to work from home. I am looking forward to this project wrapping up though! I'm much more comfortable simply working 8 hours a day. LOL

Monday, 20 April 2009

Remembering Sister Jensen

I realized today that it has been 20 years since I came home from my mission. I left in August of 1988 and came home December 1989. I sure don't feel as old as I imagined someone 20 years past a mission! It seems like I just came home!

This isn't a picture of me - the rare experience of being amongst all those missionaries makes my heart burn!

One thing that took a little while was giving up the idea that I'd be different (or that Elders wouldn't fart) when I became a missionary. I was still very much me (and Elders were still very much 19 year old boys)...but miracles still happened. I loved my experience. I loved working with other missionaries. And I loved the people of Orange County California!

I'm kind of weird - but I liked the intensity of the MTC and of being a missionary. I liked being shot into the system and studying and reading and focusing on something so important all day long. I liked the discipline of it. I also loved being able to go to the temple every week in the MTC. I look forward to doing that when we get a temple where I live now. thing I didn't like was wearing nylons every day. BLECH. Had to wear them every day in the MTC and on my mission. BLECH

I often think about the companions I had and wonder how they're doing. I keep in touch with a few of them but there are some I haven't heard from in 20 years. I sure would love to get together with them again!

And one day though, I plan to do it again! I actually have a reoccuring dream that I'm on a mission again and trying to balance family and a mission....doesn't work too well in my dreams!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Fernie Swim Meet

Well, I would say we could call this weekend's swim meet a success! We went to Fernie. They had a bus and all the kids went on the bug while the parents followed in a convoy. We visited Gaylene and Duane Friday night in Sparwood and then on Saturday went into Fernie. That night we stayed in a hotel. Staying in a hotel is a lot more fun when they place if full of people you know! The kids had an 'Amazing Race' all through the town of Fernie, then had a pizza party - and then they had to find something fun to do-so they swam some more!

Jill beat her best time in all but one of her races....although one won't show because she got DQ'd ...she sure felt proud of her good times though!

Girls 10 and Under:

200 metre IM Old time: 4:13:49 New time: 3:39! (which was just 10ths of a second short of a B time! What a surprise that was!)

100 metre Back Stroke - Didn't beat her time (1:52.70...and got DQ'd....I think her kick was the culprit)

100 metre Freecycle Old time: 1:43:12 New time 1:33! (Well, not really her new time...she got DQd in this one...missed the wall! Apparently her goggles had filled up with water and she misjudged the wall. Oh well!)

200 metre Free Style Old time: 3:44.68 New time: 3:15.51!!

100 metre Breaststroke Old time: 2:16.64 New time: 1:58!

....oh, and her team got 3rd in the relay. She got ribbons for placing in 3 of her races as well.

Here's a few pictures Gaylene took. Thanks for being the photographer Gaylene!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

I've read a few other books by Jerry Spinelli. I can see a pattern emerging. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he seems to like to write about people who stand out from the crowd. My favorite was Star Girl. I also read The Library Card. We read this one for our parent-child book club (LOVE LOVE LOVE the parent-child book club!)

Jerry Spinelli won a Newberry Award for Maniac Magee. I found myself wondering all the way through the book why they picked this book for that award. It's good. I just wonder what about it got the attention it got. It seems to be about a lot of things - lost children, prejudism, family, home, etc....and yet it seems to really not have much flow. I sometimes found it hard to follow because it seemed so disjointed. I wonder, however, if that was on purpose - kind of like how Maniac Magee's life was. Magee kind of reminded me of Huckle Berry Finn. (I should read that again actually!) It would be interesting to compare those two books side by side.

There's a good plot summary on Wikpedia. It says:
Jeffrey Lionel Magee is orphaned at age three when his parents are killed in a P&W trolley accident. After eight intolerable years with his Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan, Jeffrey runs away to Two Mills, Pennsylvania. There he amazes the townspeople with his athletic feats and his fearlessness, earning the nickname "Maniac." Jeffrey is out of place as he moves back and forth between the (primarily black) East Side and (primarily white) West Side, something no one else in Two Mills will do due to racial prejudice. During his time in Two Mills he makes friends and enemies on both sides of town, experiences living with the accepting Beale family on the East Side, the prejudiced McNabs on the West Side, as well as living in the bison pen at the zoo and with a retired baseball player named Earl Grayson. Together, Grayson shared his many minor leauge baseball stories and Jeffery taught him how to read. One enemy turned friend was named Mars Bar Thompson. As Jeffrey grows, he begins to understand the racial tensions dividing the city and joins with his rivals John McNab and Mats Bar, to bring both sides together. In the end he goes home to the Beale's house for good, after being homeless for so long.

I guess the thing I thought was odd about this book is how the narrator tells the story. He doesn't really seem to understand Maniac (like when he has the race and wins it quite handedly, but decides to do the end of the race backwards...kind of cocky - but we're never sure why he does that)

Anyway, it's an intriguing book. I'd recommend it. It give you interesting things to think about.

Jill and I read this for the book club. At one point she said to me, "Don't you think it would be cool to run away?"

Uh, no. I don't.

I'm Coming Back....

I've been working far too much - and it seems like work has an unquenchable thirst for my time. I'm cutting it off. It's time to get back to a routine, back to things that make me happy. Back to life!!

Take that! I'm going to sand off some of the edges of this beast and try to come up with a more well-rounded life.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


I keep meaning to write in here....but I am just a tad busy these days.

The new job is great.
The new project at the new jobo is overwhelming!

I should be out from under it soon!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

COP School

Peirce's teacher applied for and was accepted to have the class go to COP school this year. COP is a really cool place to learn! They did their regular stuff only it was all infused with sport and winter and skiing and nature. It was great. I got to volunteer for the day. It was a long day (how did I ever hang out with that many kids all day like that before??!)
The teacher uses journals for the kids to record their learning. They have the neatest things in these journals. He will use it for Grade One and for Grade Two. It'll be really fun to have when they're all finished with them! This is them working in their journals and having a discussion.

Working outside on a project. It was a beautiful day!
Everyone made a picture of what they think COP will look like in 30 years. They looked at pictures of COP 30 years ago. I was a "resident geezer" and was able to tell them about when it was paskapoo and we used to go there to go down the hill on the carts.