Sunday, 29 November 2009

Sunday Seven - November 29, 2009

This is what I'm grateful for this week!

1. Recreational Therapists. I have marvelled for days, at what a wonderful surprise we got visiting my dad on Thursday this week.

2. In-laws who let us stay at their house so often these days. We go visit my dad every week and tend to stay at their house during our visits. They're so accomodating, and kind, and provide great food! :0)

3. Amazing Weather. I am stunned at how warm it still is! Up until now we've had no snow on the ground here...and most days my kids just wear a hoodie to school. It's a nice change after last winter! We got some snow Friday. How long will it stick around??

4. Flexibility. I'm so glad that we have flexible work schedules. Of course, that sometimes means that we work far most than most people, it seems. But on days when we can take the kids out of school and take off for the day, I'm so grateful for it! Just have to keep that in mind on those long working days I guess!

5. Christmas Lights. My neighbors have their Christmas lights up and on nwo and it's so nice when I'm working late at night to sit and look at the lights. I remember when Peirce was younger and was so crazy about Christmas lights. I think I'm crazy about them too! (Well, to be clear, I'm crazy about looking at them - but apparently NOT crazy about putting them up!)

6. Good health. I seem to be surrounded by all sorts of people with health challenges these days...and I'm so grateful that I've enjoyed good health. What a challenge it can be for some!

7. Skype. My sister made me download Skype a little while ago. I can't believe we didn't do this sooner! It's so fun to talk on Skype to my dad and mom and my sister and her family. I have a friend that is living in Australia right now and we talk on Skype too. Amazing little tool!! And the best part: it's free!!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Welcome Winter!

There are times when I don't like my job. And then there are times when I'm SOOOO glad I work from home! Today was one of them. We had our first real snow fall of the year, and as per usual, it resulted in all sorts of terrible traffic. Many people who normally have a 25 minute commute took at least 3 hours to get home today. It's days like this that I'm so gald I don't have to get out on the streets!!

This was all such good timing. Much better than having it on a Sunday night so everyone has a bad Monday. And good thing it came AFTER our trip to Lethbridge!

They closed the highway north of Calgary because it was too treacherous. They said at one spot there were more than 60 cars strong out in the ditch, smashed into each other, and stuck. What a mess!

This is one of those bendy-buses in Calgary. (Thanks Sonja for the picture!)

A Friday night is a perfect night to stay home, make a cake and have ice cream with warm cake!! (And next time I make a cake I'll put the sugar in it....oops!)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Hospital Surprises

We have been going to visit my dad in the hospital every week the last few weeks. He is now one week past his expected death date. He joked a number of times about that today.

My kids are happy to take a day off school to go visit. We tend to not go on weekends because:

1. Dad gets a lot of visitors on weekends. Well, who am I kidding. He gets visitors every day of the week. Maybe it has something to do with having old people as friends (i.e. more open time!). I'm not sure....but it's always a good time there! Apparently though, weekends are even busier.

2. Weekends seem to be so crazy for our family! It's hard to shirk all our responsibilities at the office, with church, and with activities for our kids....and since we can do it during the week we try to do that. It's working well so far.

Sometimes though hanging out at the hospital is not that exciting for Peirce. Jill is getting to that age where she loves to sit and listen to the adults talk - but Peirce, not so much. Today he cried when we were heading there because, as he said, it's just so boring!!

Well, what a surprise we had today!! One of the hospital's Recreational Therapists showed up with a Wii, a number of card games, crafts and board games, and a DVD player....just for us to use!! It was so amazing! Peirce and Jill made crafts, played games, and played with the Wii to their heart's content. It was such a blessing! I don't know how we got on her list for this surprise, but we sure were grateful! I just wish I had taken some pictures!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Never! No never! Not ever again!!!

I hate the end of the month. This month the end of the month is pushed up for us because it's American Thanksgiving tomorrow. Lately it seems like every month things are coming down to the wire with my projects. I'm so tired of it! It isn't for lack of trying. I am working hard every day and putting in way more hours than I want to be. I can't let myself calculate how much I'm making an hour because it's pathetic right now!! I've got to change this. I vow to never have this end of the month stress again!! Never! No never! Not ever again!!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Stop the Ride! I want to get off!!

I went to a meeting tonight that was for the people on the ward council and the ward missionaries. They're building a new temple here. President Melchin had a meeting with the Stake Presidents, and in turn our Stake met with the Bishops and High Council and Ward Mission Leaders a few weeks ago and talked about how sacrifice brings blessings and gave the stakes in Calgary a challenge to do more missionary work. Our meeting on tonight was to discuss what our ward will do to meet the challenge.

I hate to be a Laman/Lemuel grumbler....but my first reaction was, "Oh no! I have enough to do!" And as the meeting went on that feeling only grew. It was interesting to me that the Bishop confessed that he felt the same way while attending the meeting with all the Bishops. He said that at the end of the meeting the Stake President asked him to say the closing prayer. Our Stake President is amazing and seems inspired in everything he does - even down to who he asks to say the closing prayer. The Bishop said as he prayed he felt the spirit witness to him strongly that we can do this and that if we follow the counsel we will be blessed and won't be overwhelmed.

I hope so. I'm sure feeling lately like my life is just a little too full and if I add one more thing there will be a big mess to clean up thanks to everything flowing OUT of the cup! I still tend to feel a little overwhelmed at the idea - especially since my husband is all gung ho! and wants to make plans to have people over and do social things to try and be better member missionaries.

As a missionary I had little patience for those members who felt like they'd done their bit as far as missionary work goes, and who had no time for missionary work. Now I'm one of them!!

I'll try to repent......

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sunday Seven

So much to be grateful for!

With this week being Thanksgiving in the states, a lot of people on Facebook seem to be posting things they're grateful for. Made me think I need to get back in the swing of my Sunday Seven Posts!! This week's Sunday Seven has a family theme.

1. My dad.

My dad has not been doing well the past couple of weeks. He was diagnosed with cancer in the Spring. It's been a real roller coaster ride. The news, "You have cancer" really takes one back. But then they said that if you have to have cancer this is the best kind to have....and the roller coaster ride has continued. One day it's positive news, then a bomb drops and we get quite worried. Right now he's in the hospital with a big mass on his spine. A couple of weeks ago they told him he had 2-6 weeks to live - but he's determined to prove them wrong....and if you ask me, an attitude like that is 9/10 of the battle.

2. My mom!

My mom is amazing. She can do anything. I love her to death and I love to visit with her and I worry about her lately with everything going on with my dad.

3. Cousins

My kids are blessed to have lots and lots of cousins. My mom has a sign on her fridge that says:

Grandma's House: Where cousins become best friends.

It's so true. The other day I was IMing with my cousin Nickee and we were talking about the fun things we remember doing on our Grandparents ranch. We had so much fun as cousins! I'm glad my kids enjoy their cousins so much and have such a good time with them too! These are pictures of their Jensen cousins:

They have three cousins on my side of the family, and 16 on Allen's side of the family!! That's a lot of cousins! I think they're very very lucky.

4. My siblings

My brother and sister are a hoot. Life is always a party when my sister and her husband are around, and it's just increased when Neil is around too. I'm so lucky! We really like Neil's new girlfriend, too. We're cheering for her to be officially added to our family!

5. My extended family

And this is just one side! This is my mom's side of the family a couple of Christmas' ago. It's so fun to get together with all of them!!

6. The family I married into!

I have been so blessed to marry into the family I married into. They're wonderful and I feel like I fit in quite well. I admire them all for so many things. They're all amazing people. Wish I had a picture to post!

7. My dear husband

Oh how I could go on! I appreciate him so much for his desires to do what's right, to work hard and provide well, and to be a good dad. We have so much fun together. Hardly a day ends without us lying in bed and ending up in a fit or laughter over one thing or another. It's a great way to end a day!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Who knew it would be so fun......

I know. I know. Every mother thinks her children are wonderful. But I just have to tell you, I think these two are so great!! I think this picture captures them so well.

I love how they get along (when they get along). I love how they're so excited about life. I love how whatever they do they give it their all. I love how funny they are. I love how they have learned to tease their dad back. I love listening to their stories of their days at school. I love how they get obsessed about things. I love hearing about their friends. They're just plain fun!
I actually wrote this post up a long time ago but never posted it. Today seems like a good time to use it! This is a little write up I did for their teachers when they were asking about their strengths at the beginning of the year:
What I want for them most is to love school and for the people there to appreciate the wonderfullly interesting and talented people that they are.

Jill's strengths: She's got strong linguistic skills and actually has decided she wants to be a Linguist when she grows up. She's always been a talker and had good vocabulary. She loves to write and often journals and writes stories. She loves words games and reading. She also has a really good memory. She is very creative (one of the most creative people I know!) and loves drawing, clay, painting, etc. She also is very sensitive and good with people. She's not usually prone to peer pressure and tried to be a leader. She tends to be rather kinesthetic too and can't sit in one spot for too long! She's also very competitive...but she tries to keep that under her hat a bit.

What areas I'd like to see Jill grow: I'd like to see Jill be organized and take responsibility for her learning. She can really get into something if its somethimg that's peaked her interested. She can really shine if allowed to work on projects in her passion areas of interest.

What is Jill passionate about:
- the earth - she's a bit of a tree hugger!
- zen - she's conscious of her need for peace, creativity, etc.
- friendship - she's very social!
- Purple!!
Does she enjoy reading?
Is the Pope Catholic? Do one legged ducks swim in circles? Is the sky blue? Does a Big Mac have sauce? Oh ya...she will read for hours. (Especially if the hours are past her bedtime.)
What kind of a learner is Jill?

She's very visual (art, drawing, puzzles, colors) and has very strong auditory and language skills. She also is often very logical/analytical. She likes to know how things work and likes to create/re-create her own version of something she's observed)

Does your child participate in any extra curricular activities?
Jill is in a competetive swim club. She swims 3 times a week and would like to swim more! I'd like to say she does piano too - but sh'es not as serious about piano (much to her mother's chagrin)

Do you have any areas of concern for Jill? Mostly I want Jill to enjoy school and be appreciated for the great girl she is. We sure love her!

Peirce's strengths: Peirce watches carefully and once he knows the routine/expectations/rules/system you can count on him to follow! He's also very good at creating (loves crafts, painting, etc) and has really good find motor skills, He's also very good at being a friend. He was very very quiet as a baby and we worked hard to get that boy to talk - and he has definitely turned that into a strength too!

What areas would I like to see Peirce grow? I would like to see him grow as an independent learner...and learn to LOVE reading.

What is Peirce passionate about?
TV (Ugh) - truthfully, Peirce seems to need a little time on his own to cave and TV seems to provide that for him.

He is passionate about what he perceives to be the rules/right things to do. He also really loves '"Boy's Club" (i.e. special time with Dad). He's passionate about having a good time...all the time!
Does Peirce like to read and/or be read to?
He loves it. This past summer he's started to like listening to chapter books read by Mom, Dad or Jill...or on CD. He's becoming a great reader and is especially into joke books right now.

What kind of a learner is Peirce? Logical/Matmatical - he's always been obsessed about things being lined up and organized. Since being able to count he counts EVERYTHING. I think he is also quite kinesthetic (always squirming and loves to hold hands/snuggle, etc.) He enjoys quiet time alone and will play in his room for hours - but recently he's become a budding socialize too - so I don't really know if he'll learn best independently or working with someone. His language skills are really improving. Peirce talked really late and was on a PUF grant for speech at Providence Pre-school. He certainly shows no sign of weakness in that arena now! We read the Book of Mormon together every morning and there's rarely a word he can't figure out.
Does Peirce participate in extra curricular activities?
He swims at swim club two times a week and will go to two swim meets (fun meets) this year. He has a near perfect backstroke! He's also learning to play piano (just started)

Areas of concern: My greatest hope is that Peirce will be happy at school and feel loved...because we think he is priceless!!

Family Photos

My SIL is simply amazing. She's amazing in many ways - but today we'll focus on her photography skills. She did a photoshoot for us of our family. Check out the pictures here! There's more!

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Peirce and I are reading Witches, again.

I'm quite amazed at time with Roald Dahl. He's famous. People loves his books. Movies are made out of his books! (the ultimate money-making author situation)...but sometimes I find his books just so odd.

Witches is the perfect example:
  • It's scary - but kids seem to love it. At least Peirce seems to go at it similar to how people pass a car accident and rubber-neck. He seems to love to dabble in these seemingly scary stories

  • It's bizarre - a cigar smoking grandma? Come on! Kids should never bath more than once a month? Eeesh.

  • There are chapters that just seem thrown in there and don't need to be there at the chapter called The Heart of a Mouse. It has nothing really significant to do with the story. Why is it there?

I don't know how he gets away with it. Somehow it works though. I think this was the third time we've read this book together. I tried to get Peirce to do more reading out loud to me - but he really balked that. He loves to just sit and listen to the store. He soaks it all in...and then he's scared and has to come get in our bed in the night. But when I threaten to stop reading it because my bed is crowded....he cries and begs me to continue.

What is up with that??!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday Seven

1. Family - I've had quite a bit of family time lately. Cancer is trying to beat up my dad and so my brother has come out to visit, and my sister and her family. This past week was beaucoup family time. Despite the stressful time it is, it's still great to spend time together with everyone. We always have a lot of laughs when we're together. I really appreciate that.

2. Primary - Have I mentioned lately how much I love my calling in Primary? I love doing Sharing Time. I love conducting. I love interacting with all the kids. I love working with the presidency we have, and the teachers we have. It's a great experience!

3. Healing - this past week was two years since we lost our little Destiny. I'm happy to say that I really finally feel like I'm able to think or talk about her without just breaking down in tears...although sometimes I do have to swallow hard. But I am grateful that those wounds do heal. I so look forward to the day when we can get to know her!

4. Soy Beans - I now have a year's supply of soy beans! I love our co-op and the difference it's made in accumulating a much better food storage.

5. Opportunities! I contacted a Charter School Board here in Calgary about subbing. I had also contacted the main school board but their sub list is closed. I wasn't that broken up about it because their application process is really arduous. I will still work on getting an application in, but in the meantime I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do some subbing with the Charter School.

6. Allen - I so appreciate his desire to be a good husband, and a good dad, and a good Priesthood holder. We often have talks about what he's trying to do in his calling or what he's learning about in his personal study, or his desires to attend the temple often - and I'm so grateful to be married to such a good person.

7. Jill and Peirce - These two are so great. I can't believe I've been blessed with such good and kind and smart and darling children. They are easy kids to be a mom to - and I'm grateful for that!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Hospital Visits

My dad has been fighting cancer for the past six months. Recently things haven't been going very well. He has a mass that is growing along his spine which has limited his feeling in his legs. He's bed-bound but it seems like the chemo treatments are working as today he could move his feet again and did have some feeling in his legs.

Today we were all there to visit and see how he's doing. It's been really great to be here visiting with him.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Ready to Sub!!

I got a call this morning from a Charter School Board in Calgary. I had called them about subbing and they are going to add me to their list! YAHOO!!!

Bus Crash

Eeeesh! This morning a school bus in Calgary crashed. It's in the neighborhood next to us. Children on the bus may be people we know as they were heading to the other French Immersion school in our area. Scary!

Can you see the van in the yard that is upside down?!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Great Job Jill!!

Jill had a great swim meet this weekend. She worked really hard last year to try to achieve a "B" time but didn't quite make it. There were lots of tears, and then, once swimming was over for the year she decided to move forward with a clenched jaw and prepare to make it happen this year. She made a point of working out all summer either by bike riding or swimming every day. This past weekend she had her first swim meet of the year. And wow!! She did great!

On Friday night they did 400 free....and she got her MQT. I was particular entertained because she said she really didn't try that hard and she had even stopped at one point because she thought she was finished when she wasn't (she says she' terrible at counting lengths!).

Then on Saturday she had three races 100 breast, 200 IM and 100 back. She got a B time for both 100 breast and 200 IM!

This means she no longer can go to League Meets. Time to adjust our calender! Now she'll be swimming in the "B" swimmer meets and working towards her "A" times. She's excited because getting a B time was her goal for this swimming year - and she already did now it's time to adjust the goal and go for the "A"!

All day Sunday she could hardly wipe the smile off her face. She kept coming up to me and saying, "Hey! Did you know I got an MQT, and two B times this weekend?!" And I'd say, "Really?!" though it was the first time she'd told me.

Funny girl.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Star of the Week!

This week Peirce is Star of the Week in his class. He wanted to share something special about himself, so we made this blog post!



Twice a week Peirce goes to swim practice.

First they stretch to warm up. Swimmers always do a good stretch first. They stretch their arms and legs and body. They give special attention to warming up their arms. Maybe you could ask Peirce to show you how they warm up their arms (especially how they swing their arms in opposite directions!)

In this video Peirce is practising streamlining.

They use the flutter boards so they can focus on their kick. It's good to have strong legs if you're a swimmer!

In this video he is practising backstroke. His coach says he has almost a perfect backstroke! His uncle was a backstroker and we think maybe Peirce will be too!

In this video you get to meet three coaches: Jello, Carmen and Tom. Carmen is Peirce's coach. Tom coaches the bigger kids. He swam in the Olympics! He is the only swimmer in Canadian history to win four Olympic medals in three different Olympic Games (1992, 1988 and 1984). Maybe one day we should invite him to school to show our class his medals!

At this swim practice they did some relays. This relay is a backstroke relay (although some kids forgot and swam freestyle)

And then they had a fun relay called The 8 Legged Relay!(But we can't get that video to download!)

Jill is a swimmer too! She doesn't like this picture though because she just finished doing butterfly and she was really tired!