Friday, 31 December 2010

Goodbye 2010


What a year it's been! I will forever savor the sweet and remember the bitter. Writing this post has made me so glad that I blog!!



  • My dad passed away. 2009 was our last Christmas with him, and we miss him so much. I never thought my mother would be a widow at such a young age. I never imagined life without my dad. There's always a hole. I'm grateful for the great life he lived. I loved the obituary my mom wrote. I think it's the best one I've ever seen.

  • We watched lots and lots and lots of swimming. So glad Jill has something she is so passionate about. In the fall Peirce decided he didn't want to swim, then decided he wanted to (swimming is much better than sitting around the pool waiting for your sister to finish swimming.....but alas, the program was full!). I'm happy to say in 2011 he's going back to swimming! Jill also started early morning practises. Yawn!

  • My little girl has changed into a beautiful young lady. I`m amazed at how much she has grown up this past year. Something magic happened when she turned 12. Hardly a week goes by where someone doesn't come up to me and say, "What is going on with Jill? She's so grown up all of a sudden!"

  • We found out we were expecting, and then again experienced the heart ache of loss. I still feel like our family is incomplete. I'm not sure if that is because we will have someone else join our family, or if I will always feel the sadness of pregnancy loss. I still don't know. All I know is it has forever changed me.

  • Peirce turned 8 and got baptized!! He's such a great little boy. He adds a zest to our family that we all appreciate.

  • I decided I'd had enough of the world of Scheduling and have slowly returned to the world of teaching. It has been wonderful! I slowly cut back in the fall, until in December when I was cut loose. So excited about the change! I even made a new label in my blog called "Adventures in Teaching" so I could record some of the great experiences and learning moments. It was a lot of work, but all meant to be, I think. So happy to be back in the world of teaching! I still plan to do mystery shopping though. I love having money in my PayPal account!

  • We spent most of the year as a one car family. There were some benefits to that - it sure makes you scale back and simplify life...which isn't always a bad thing. I sure was happy when in September we got a second vehicle again.

  • I love my husband more and more every year. One of my goals in 2011 is to go on a date every week with him. Can't wait!

  • I read some great books, but not as much as I would have liked to. Life got a little busy in the transition from scheduling to teaching, but I survived. I also worked on our food storage, and enjoyed serving in Primary. What a great experience that has been!

  • Allen spent the whole year in our ward! He got released from High Council and called into the Bishopric. It's been a real learning curve, and we're proud of him and all he does for the ward. I realized that I didn't even blog about this this year though. Weird!


Wow! Life is good! It is a great experience to go back and look at the year and all that has happened. It has made me want to be a better blogger!! There are lots of things I missed blogging about. Here's to blogging in 2011!

Courage? Or Submitting My Will? Or Both?!

I've been thinking a lot lately about how grateful I am to be able to start a new teaching job in January. When I was interviewed for the position they asked me to tell them about myself. I told them how I had taught 12 years ago, and loved it, then stayed home with my children, and now that they're older, decided to go back to teaching. She said to me, "That was really brave." I was kind of taken back and didn't know what she meant and so I asked her. She said it was brave to try to come back after so many years away.

I've thought a lot about that little comment, and wonder about it. I didn't really think I was doing anything brave at all - I was really just following my heart.

Truthfully, how everything all fell together must have been destiny. When I called them to see if I could apply to sub they initially said their sub list was closed. I expressed my disappointment and told the lady how I really loved the Charter School concept and had taught at one previously. That changed the conversation. She took my resume and I started subbing right away.

Then I was content to sub. I watched all the postings and didn't apply for any and then later regretted that. Then in June I got a call to ASK if I'd be willing to take on a contract. When does that happen??

I have so many connections to this school, it's simply amazing - and it goes way back. I have actually planned for years that I would check it out one day and hoped to teach there. I am stunned how it all has fallen into place.

Maybe I shouldn't be too surprised though. Maybe that's just how life works! I'm not really sure it was courage. I tend to think it was moreso being willing to submit to what God wanted me to do, and grab opportunities when they show up. The one thing I know for sure is I am just plain grateful!

.....and Oprah seems to agree:

It's Decided!

All through Christmas break school has been on my mind. I'm so excited to start as a Grade 2 teacher on Jan 4! One of the big questions I have had is what book we will read aloud first! This class is a totally different group than the Grade 4 class I was teaching. I thought about starting off with The Breadwinner again. While I think they'd love that book, I don't know if I'm really up for reading it out loud again. After all, since I'm picking the book I should be able to pick something I'll really enjoy as well, right?!

The other day Allen announced that he found out they're making a movie of The Invention of Hugo Cabaret. I was happy to hear that! We have all read that book a few times in our house. Well, sort of happy. I kind of don't like it when there's a great book turned into a movie because so many people skip the book and just watch the movie, and usually the movie isn't as good as the book, so we hear lots of 'it was okay' comments. The great news is it is going to be in 3D! YEA!

I think this one is a great book! So I decided I will help the kids in my class not miss how great it is, and that is what we will read aloud first. So looking forward to it!!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Home Sweet Home

This week I've had some time to do some well-needed housecleaning - and it has felt so good!! I have decided that I will go back to living the FlyLady way because otherwise I'll just spend all day cleaning and organizing. I haven't quite decided if it's because I like cleaning, or simply because I love the results. All I know is the past year or so it seems like I haven't had time to do enough of that and so now it's time to catch up. I'm officially no longer working as a Scheduler (aka as a time-sucking 24 hour work from home affair), and I'm no longer the treasurer for the swim club (another huge time-sucker!)...and what a difference it makes in my day! I feel so at peace it is just astounding....and I'm loving have a little more time to do more things to make life just a little better - like getting our house back to being more like a home. The past few months I didn't even want to have people over...but that's all changing now!

I thought about taking some before and after pictures - but that would just be embarrassing. The other day I spent my 15 minutes of zone work cleaning up our computer desk....got rid of all the old papers and unorganized piles of stuff...and it's such a lovely place to work now! And the beauty is it really only took 15 minutes. Every time I walk past it I want to pause and admire it again.





We made this space years ago. I was working from home and babysat one little boy in the afternoons - which was great. Only one day the repercussions of being too focused on scheduling, and having my desk set up in the far corner of the house, resulted in them cutting each other's hair.....oh what a sat day that was! So we decided we should change where I worked and we set up this desk in our front closet! It worked wonderfully and I had long since moved to working on a laptop - but we still kept the desk because it was so great to have a central place like that for the computer....and when we have people over we want to we just close the door and poof! It's gone.

...and today it's all organized and clean. Love it!!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Together Forever

Last night Allen and I went to a party with a bunch of other couples. We played Bunko. It was a lot of fun - the funny thing though was that at the end of the night Allen and I had both had six wins, six losses and five bunkos. We had laughed about how we don't like to play games together but we did end up as partners and as opponents a couple of times, but after having a score that was identical we decided it must be a sign that we're really meant to be together!

I sure do love you Allen and I appreciate the fun we have together - no matter what we're doing! Marriage can be a gamble, and I lucked out! It seems like whatever we do together we are able to laugh and always have a good time. I love that!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Dear Santa Claus,

I want to thank you for delivering all the presents around the world. Thank you for being so cheerful. I watched a movie called Stalking Santa. Now I know for sure you are real. For Christmas all I want is a DSIXL and one of those chocolate mint oranges. And last of all I want to get along better with my sister and for my friends to think nice of me.

Sincerely,
Peirce

P.S. If you want to give me more things I'm also interested in a hermit crab, gold forero roches, a nerf gun, especially a light pen, a bee bee gun, a metal slinky, smarties, and 100 funny shaped elastics.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Moving On....I'm free!!!

For the past 12 years I have worked from home as a Scheduler. It's had its ups and downs, but all in all I've been really grateful for the experience. However, the time has come. I'm moving on!! I am no longer doing any scheduling, and I'm so excited!!

I sometimes read a blog that is written by a principal. He just posted one called Post Semester Stress Disorder. It's pretty funny. You can click here to read that one. He says: "And as I repeatedly tell myself, working at school beats a real job.
Even with the stress."

He's so right. So right!! I'm so glad to be a teacher!

A friend of mine posted a video today of a bunch of high school teachers at a Christmas assembly. This just makes me smile. It's so darn fun to be a teacher.

Christmas Miracles

It's the little things around here that make me smile. The Christmas anticipation around here is palpable.

P: JILL! I broke on of your crayons.
J: That's okay. Please just try to be more careful. Thanks for being honest.
P: You're welcome. I'm trying to be really good for Christmas so I don't get coal. I think I'm doing much better.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

I Really Should Stop Manipulating My Children


Me: Peirce, I heard you and dad bought me a present yesterday. What'd you buy?

Peirce: Want me to tell you?!

Me: No! (acting alarmed and horrified)
Peirce: Well, I'll give you a hint
Me: Perfect!


....we go through a series of hints and I soon figure out what the present is


*look of horror in Peirce's face*


*pause*


Peirce: Well, mom, I'll give you until the end of the day and if you don't figure it out I'm not telling you.


LOL Nice try Peirce!! :0)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

I'm a Rock Star

Tonight I took Jill and Peirce to watch the Christmas concert my old school was putting on. It was so fun to watch it. The class I taught the first 3 months of the year is mostly boys. Watching them up there sing Christmas songs was hilarious. They love standing up in front of a crowd and singing songs! NOT!! LOL It was sure fun to watch them though.

It's so fun to go to things like that. I felt like a rock star. So many people say, "Mrs. Ackroyd!! Hi!!" and even some of those tough boys in my class came up and hugged me. It was so fun. Peirce said to me, "Mom, I think the kids in this school really must have liked you!" A bit of an eye-opener for my darling children who think their mom is the ultimate in not cool.

One of the boys from my class was Scrooge (they did A Christmas Carol) and he did such a gret job. At the end of it, during the bows I felt like my heart would burst! I was so proud of them all....it brought tears to my eyes. I'm kind of weird that way. I often come close to tears during the bows of a performance - but when it's kids I know and love, it comes quite quickly!

God is Good

What a difference a week can make.

Last week at this time I was a little depressed. I had applied for two different teaching positions but hadn't heard a thing back. I figured they had to have hired someone already because who would leave it until the last week of school? And what a bummer that I didn't even get an interview.

Then on Saturday I spent some time exercising and studying and decided I wasn't going to be depressed about it because I know God loves me and everything would work out for the best - even if it meant I just continued subbing. My scheduling manager emailed me and asked if I'd like some more projects in January and I told her I would and I decided maybe that is what was meant to be.

I was scheduled to sub on Monday, but on Sunday my spidey senses started tingling. I couldn't find the note written down in my planner showing when I was asked to sub that day. It's funny I'd even question it because I never have before. I decided to email the vice principal anyway and found out my gut was right....I really wasn't needed that day. I was looking forward to the day off when I got another email from the vice-principal of one of the school's I had applied to and she wanted me to come in for an interview on Monday!! I was so glad I had found out I wasn't needed for subbing. If I had put off the interview and then found out I really didn't have to sub it would have been a big drag!! As it was I went in on Monday for the interview. Tuesday I subbed at that school. The teacher who is going on maternity leave was doing a demonstration of a teaching technique for some teachers and I was invited to go in and watch her. As I watched her teach (she is really amazing!) I was seriously humbled and wondered if I'd ever get that good! I went home a little discouraged again.

BUT!! That night, around 8 pm, the vice principal called me. She and the principal are real poker-faces (well, not always, but they sure were in the interview, and she was again on this phone call). She asked if I was subbing the next day and I said I was subbing at another school. She hmmmmm'd and then said, "Well, the real reason for my call is we would like to offer you a position here at our school." I tried to act cool and simply grateful, but the truth is, I could hardly contain myself. I am sure I caused her to smirk a little....I was a tad excited! She ended up working something out with the school I was to sub at the next day and then I spent today shadowing the teacher that I'll be replacing. I'm so thrilled with this opportunity!!

.....oh, and to continue, today I also I got a call from the other school where I had applied. They said they short listed me for their position and asked if I'd come in for an interview. I explained that I had actually just accepted a position and thanked them for short-listing me. Then I said a little prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for helping me to feel like I'm not a loser! :0)

I'm so excited about this new position. It's a grade two class, and they're a wonderful group. Also, the school is right across the street from Peirce's school! He will be able to walk across the street to my class and not go home on the bus if he doesn't want to. It will be wonderful to be working so close to where he is. We decided we will look for each other on days I'm on supervision and wave to each other. LOL

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Hardly a Sacrifice!


So, I've decided there are two things I need to do every morning: exercise and study. I am too hit and miss with these things lately. Part of the problem is I plan to do it later in the day, but the day gets busy and late and then I don't get it done. I decided today is the day! I was the driver for the car pool to swim practise today. I decided I wouldn't even go into the pool - instead I'd go for a walk first, and then go inside and find a quiet table somewhere to read my scriptures, and study. What a wonderful morning!! This was where I walked. It was funny that this morning I was thinking about how I need to make this sacrifice to do these things each day, and as I walked along the river I was so struck with how beautiful everything was. that I had to take a quick snapshot with my cell phone camera. The walk wasn't a sacrifice at all!! I hope I can remember that on those early weekday mornings!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Women Food and God

I saw Oprah talk about Women Food and God and decided I should read it. I quite enjoyed it. I have to admit I'm a sucker for programs for women....goals programs, reading programs, and yes, eating programs. I got this book from the library but I think it's one I need to buy!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Freecycle Rocks!


I love freecycle!


Recently I noticed a boy at school who wasn't wearing a winter jacket. I asked him about it and he said he didn't have one - so usually he wore two hoodies. I figured at first he might be trying to be one of those cool kids and simply not wear something warm enough and when it got really cold he would....but even in our deep freeze weather he still only wore two hoodies. This weekend I posted a message on Freecycle explaining the sitution and asked if anyone had an extra winter jacket around. I couldn't believe the offers that came pouring in. Not only did people offer jackets, but snowpants, mitts, boots, and hats. I even had some offers of money to go buy him a new one. Today I went and picked up a jacket from one of the responses and I think it will be perfect for him. I'm so excited to give it to him tomorrow!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

YW in Excellence.....yawn!

Tonight we went to our first YW in Excellence fireside. I don't remember doing YW in Excellence when I was in there - so I really didn't know what to expect. They had all the girls speak who were receiving their award. It was nice to hear from them - even if some were pretty sappy! I wished I had heard someone talk about something great they'd accomplished - something academic or great personal accomplishments - but mostly it was about preparing to be wives and mothers. However, Jill found it very inspiring and has committed to get to work on her goals. She says no TV until she has completed her Personal Progress. How did I get such a zealout??

Peirce, on the other hand, wasn't as impressed:



He was especially not impressed when he found out he slept right through the pie for dessert!

It's Over!

When I took a teaching position this past Spring I figured I could do anything for 3 months and that it would be so short it would hardly hit our radar screen. Well, was I wrong about that. It was short - but it was impactful and a big steep learning curve for me to climb, and really quite life-changing.

I should have put a page in the back of my day plan book to write down the lessons I was learning...but it seemed like life was spinning so fast there was hardly time. I'll try to capture some of the things I learned here:

  • I learned that I really really love teaching. I always had a hard time nailing down why I wanted to be a teacher. I finally just figured I liked kids and wanted to be around them and just in case I never got married and had my own, teaching would be a good way to have some in my life. Then, when I did have my own children I thought I really didn't want or need to go back to teaching. After all, my own children were so darling and beautiful and smart and fun and I figured I really didn't like other people's children that much at that point. However, I was wrong. I still like them! And there is planty of room in my heart for others. :0)
  • I had to do report cards for the first time in 12 years. That was something I forgot about!! Eeesh that's a lot of work.
  • I learned that having an hour in the morning with his dad can be the best thing in the world for Peirce. Allen has stayed home in the mornings to take Peirce to the bus and after Jill and I left they had about an hour together. They worked on cub badges, built marble runs, read together, and all sorts of fun stuff. I think it's been really great for BOTH of them!
  • I learned that my kids can make a meal here and there, and they enjoy it!
  • I learned that I'm definitely a morning person. If I got up early and got to school an extra hour early I would get 5X what I'd get done by staying late after school to get ready for the next day. After school I was way too worn out to be of much good for anything.
  • I've learned that I definitely need a full night's sleep. I don't like children that much when I'm tired. And when I'm well rested I can even laugh to myself at the most obnoxious children!
  • I've learned that what every child needs most is to know that you care about them. Without that nothing else happens. Truthfully, I knew that before, but it was a beautiful experience to put it into action and see again and again that that really is true.
  • I learned that I should have written things down all along the way....because I know there was much more!

All in all, I'm so glad I had this experience. It was a wonderful dip back into the world of teaching. Now I shall sub and if another position comes up I'll happily apply for it. I have a bunch of sub days booked already for December. And as a matter of fact, I have applied for a position for January. Here's hoping!! This time I will keep a page for lessons learned! I think I will also keep a page for funny things that happen. Classrooms can really be hilarious places!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

3rd Birthday....but no party


Today was the day our little girl Destiny was silently born. It seems like so long ago - and in many ways it seems like yesterday. When I think about it or read my journal and blog posts from that experience tears come quickly and easily.

It's hard to imagine that I would have a little 3 year old girl right now. I think of Jill when she was 3 years old - and she was so fun!! If we had a little girl in our house I imagine she would be so loved and doted on. I imagine she'd idolize Jill and love playing with Peirce.


I've learned a lot from that experience and since that experience.


I've learned that there really is comfort in the gospel in knowing that our family is sealed together and that we will all be together one day. When I was in the thick of the experience and dealing with loss I was more irritated than comforted when people would say, "Aren't you grateful for the gospel in all of this?" I was....but it still hurt so much and it hurt that people passed off what seemed like a trite phrase. At times I wanted to yell....NO!! I don't!! Who caresabout that?!! I found little comfort then - but as time has gone on I realize that I really did get through it all quite easily and there was comfort in the testimony that I have that this life isn't all there is....that we will see Destiny again one day and our family will finally feel complete.


I've learned that pregnancy loss is a huge issue. I can't believe how many people quietly tell me that they've had the same experience. I have women who have shared their experience with me and my heart aches for them as much as for my own situation. I feel a great bond with these women and probably always will. I remember talking with a woman I know who is a nurse. She quickly dismissed our conversation and said I'd soon get over it. She was wrong. It isn't an experience I think I'll ever 'get over'. I hope I don't. There's so much I learned from it all, and my perspective changed on so many things. I hope it is always close to my heart and never forgotten.

I've learned to not question. I spent so many hours wondering what I should have done different. After all, at 27 weeks lots of babies live. If only I had realized something was wrong. If only I had done something. If only I had not done whatever caused her heart to stop beating. I don't know if I did though. They did an autopsy and they had no answers. They didn't know why she didn't live. She was always a gentle baby. Her kicks were never really hard. That I did notice. Sometimes, when I'm in bed, sometimes I feel like I can still feel her movements. Sometimes I think I'm a little off my rocker too. I can't question anymore. There are no answers. I look forward to having a full knowledge one day and I believe I will find great comfort in the answers.


I've learned that I have an amazing support network at church and work and in my neighborhood. I'm lifted by people's sympathy and kindness. I remember noticing so many things at the funeral service we had for Destiny that I hadn't thought to do but someone did. I have no idea who did those little things - but I find great comfort in the friends and family I have that were so kind and thoughtful. I always will.


I've learned to trust in God. I don't know why this happened - but so much of that experience was a perfect storm that caused decisions to be made and things to happen that I wonder if they would have otherwise. We decided after Destiny was born to take Jill out of school and homeschool that year. I don't know if I would have done that if I hadn't been through that loss. I had a great desire to show more love and care to my children. That year for Jill was an amazing year and there are things about her personality now that I can point back to that year as the formative moments.


I've learned to be grateful for what I do have. I have a greater desire to be a good mother to Jill and Peirce. I have a greater desire to be kind to all children. That's probably what has led me back to teaching. I really do love children and often still feel like our family is incomplete. I'm not sure that means I will get pregnant again. We would welcome it - but so far have not been blessed with that. Maybe I feel like our family is incomplete because we don't have Destiny with us. Maybe it means there is someone else who will join our family. I don't know.


I've learned that we really did exist before we were born. And when we die our spirits do continue to exist. I know that Destiny continues to exist. She is a beautiful girl and I look forward to getting to spend time with her one day. She is a great strength to me.


A stillborn death is a pregnancy loss after 20 weeks. Apparently it happens to 1 in 115 births in the United States....which means 26,000 per year, or one every 20 minutes. And in developing countries the rate is much higher. I still have a great desire to do something to help women who go through this experience. I still don't have any idea what to do.


My friend, Vicki, wrote this poem. I love it. I hope she doesn't mind me posting it here.



Once Upon A Time

In the “before”Once Upon A Time,

We knew each other.

You were as precious as a rose.

We grew and we loved,

And we knew our Savior then,

Once Upon A Time.


I left you then

With a wish and a prayer

To see you again.

When I came to earth,

Once Upon A Time,

You grew until the day came

When you returned to me

And were gone again in a flash.


As I miss you now

How I long to hold you.

My heart aches to know you,

And I wonder about

Those days we spent

Once Upon A Time.


One day we will see each other

And hold each other tight.

You’ll be my little someone

And I’ll be your mother,

And we can begin again

And be with our Savior

And we will say,

Remember when,

Once Upon A Time?




Thursday, 4 November 2010

Just Sharing My Love of Books


When I started teaching this fall I was excited about reading novels out loud to my class. I decided the first book I'd read with them was The Breadwinner. I'd read it before and loved it. They loved it too. It fit really well with the group of kids I have (many of them are from families that have immigrated from India or Pakistan and other countries), and we're doing a unit on Risks and Rewards in Language Arts. That sure fits with many of Deborah Ellis' books! Plus, with Remembrance Day coming up, having a peek again into the lives of people affected by war has been quite moving for me.


When we finished The Breadwinner we voted and the majority voice clearly wanted to continue with the next book - Parvanna's Journey. We finished that today. The book isn't about real people - but the experiences they have are definitely real types of experiences that people in the middle of the war in Arghanistan are experiencing. Yesterday when we were reading the chapter where one of the characters is killed I could feel myself getting emotional.....I kept saying, "I'll hold it together....I don't want to cry in front of my class." But, alas, I was wrong! The tears came. My poor kids. They were a little uncomfortable with me crying....a couple boys were quick to bring me a tissue, and one girl kept saying, "You don't have to read it!" I laughed and told them, "No!! I have to read this! It's so well written!"


So now we're finished Parvanna's Journey and once again we voted, and we're going to continue with the Trilogy and read Mud City. I never thought I'd end up reading all three of these books out loud!


The sad thing is that I am pretty sure the teacher that will take over at the end of this month won't continue reading books out loud to them. Rats! Oh well. Deborah Ellis is one of my favorite YA authors. She has so many more books that I think these kids would be crazy about....so many books, so little time!


I wonder what kind of job I could get where I could just do language arts with kids....like a full-time book club! Now that would be amazing!!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Saturday is a Special Day

What did you do on Saturday? I'm amazed at how our weekends are always so full! Here was our day:


6-8 am: Get up early and try to do a little housework (pretty much a fail..not much accomplished)
9 am: Off to the church for a primary activity (Sacrament Meeting presentation is tomorrow!)
Noon: Clean up the church, do some work to get ready for sharing time tomorrow
1-2 pm: Do a bunch of swim club stuff - write checks, pay bills, etc.
2 pm: Go to Jill's swim meet
7-10:30 pm: Take in a basketball game while we're there!



.....then fall into bed! (The big party next door didn't even keep me awake this time!)






Oh for the simple life of a quiet weekend! *sigh*


I love it when Jill has meet's at the U of C. I find it a totally nostalgic experience to be there and see all my old hang outs. I love it.





We went to the basketball game because we were there, and they were playing Lethbridge. My cousin is an assistant coach with their team. He apparently went home after last night's game though and wasn't there for this game. Oh well. We had a good time there! Peirce used his wooing skills to befriend the girl that throws prizes into the crowd and he scored with candy, a water bottle and a t-shirt. The game was a lot of fun and he decided he's not going to be in the Olympics with Jill. Instead he wants to play basketball for U of C. That works for me! :0)
Peirce went around to a ton of the players and got them to sign his shirt. He says it's his most prized possession and that he will never wear it and get it sweaty :0)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

My Ghoulish Boy

Peirce wanted to be a ghost this year. I don't think we've ever come up with an easier costume! We took a sheet and cut it up.....it was perfect because that was about all I had time for.

I think he enjoys the ghoulishness of it all too much. Gone are the days of clown costumes, bunny, and puppy costumes!

They're right. They really do grow up too fast!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Adventure Time!

When Peirce got home from school today he was up for an adventure - and in true Peirce form, he nagged someone until he got it!

I had a PD day today and was downtown at a conference so Allen and Peirce decided to go get on a bus and come and meet me. With the magic of cell phones and them getting a bunch of bus transfers as they went, we were able to find one another along the bus route and end up on the same bus. What a fun surprise to be sitting on a boring overcrowded bus and them get on!!

After our bus ride we stopped at the pool to pick up Jill from swimming - but not without a stop first at the library. We discovered the greatest thing! The library lends out GPS devices that you can use for geocaching!! Looks like another adventure is in the works! When Jill got home she got busy playing with it and reading the instructions. I have a feeling this is going to be a busy weekend running around Calgary to find all sorts of treasurers! Let the adventuring begin!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hanging With the Hitmen

Ever since Jill started school her birthday parties have been disappointing. Poor girl. It's almost impossible to get in touch with her friends and gather enough to have a successful birthday party in the summers. This year I finally convinced her to wait until school was back in session to have her party - and tonight was the night.


Allen has a friend who got us a deal on Hitmen hockey game tickets and so she took a bunch of friends to the hockey game. I was kind of concerned about how fun it would be. What I learned was that that bunch of girls can have fun no matter what they do! It was a real kick to hang out with them.
She got her name up on the jumbo-tron to wish her a happy birthday. And Farey came into our section. He had just swiped a bag of mini donuts from one of the vendors and when Jill told him itw as her birthday he gave her a big kiss and gave her the donuts. Just wait until her father hears!!

Happy belated birthday to my little girl! I loved watching you have a great time tonight!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

How Quickly Things Change

Today we had a Thanksgiving dinner at my mother's sister's house. We did the same thing last year. Only last year my dad was there. He was still walking then. We knew he had cancer and he had been through some chemotherapy - and we thought it was going quite well. It wasn't long until we learned they hadn't beat it. The ride was quite a rollercoaster - sometimes we thought it was going well - and then we'd get news that made us think there really wasn't much hope. He passed away 3 months later. This Thanksgiving weekend really caused me to think of him a lot. One reason was that I have some good friend's at church whose dad is quite sick with cancer and probably won't live too much longer. The other reason, I think, is because I prefer to think of my dad as being very much alive. I believe strongly that he does still live and I will see him one day.

That is one thing I'm most grateful this Thanksgiving weekend. While I've gone through times of loss people have often commented to me about how grateful I must be to have a knowledge of eternity and the plan of salvation. While going through the moments, I didn't feel too much gratitude for that knowledge. It still hurt. I still felt sad. And I still felt a great loss. I realize now though as time has continued on that I was in fact quite comforted by that knowledge

I don't know how people go through it when they're just not too sure about those things. It changes everything.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Those Empty Places in My Heart

Is it okay if I say this? I know some people are uncomfortable when people talk about pregnancy loss....and some people who have gone through it don't like to talk about it....but here goes...

I have just thinking a lot this weekend about our baby we lost to miscarriage about six months ago. I was due the beginning of October. It seems like so long ago. But this week it has seemed like yesterday. And the beginning of November is when we lost our baby, Destiny....so it seems to be my season for remembering those little babies.

In some ways I really understand those crazy women who steal babies. I don't feel like stealing any babies - and I'm really grateful to have the children in my life that I have...but I have an inkling of what it must be like to want to have children and not have it happen. I am grateful for the direction my life is going and the things we have going on. I do still feel like our family is incomplete though. I am not sure if that's because of the babies we've lost, or if there really is another child that will somehow come to our family. Or maybe I'm just crazy. I don't know.

I still really wish there was something I could do to help women who go through pregnancy loss. I don't know what though. It's such a personal thing. I have a friend in my ward who lost a baby recently. She was close to 20 weeks - but not quite 20 weeks so it was classified as a miscarraige. I went to visit her and she really wasn't into visiting.....but I hope she felt that I understood and that I really care. The next Sunday I was standing in the hallway talking with her and another woman came by and made some comment about her baby she was expecting, and then went on her way. We just kind of looked at each other and didn't say anything...but we both knew exactly what the other was thinking, I'm sure of it.

Heartache. It's just a lot of heartache.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Simple Prayers

A post by my BIL on facebook reminded me that I need to blog about an answer to prayer.



First his story: he had a mollusk emergency. Apparently their kids have a snail (not sure if it's an aquarium or just a snail....really need to go visit them!) and the snail went down the drain. His post wondered if his lettuce strategy would work....put a lettuce lure down the drain and hope the snail decides he's hungry. His kids were quite upset:




There was some hyperventilating and a lot of trembling. The current strategy is fishing with lettuce lures. Crawl onto the leaf little snail. Come on... Come on...

Later the update said:




... (drumroll...) IT WENT FOR THE LETTUCE LURE! THE SNAIL LIVES!


I don't doubt there were some prayers going on there.



Now my story.....On Thursday while we were at Jill's Cross Country Meet we lost Peirce. Allen had come to the meet with Peirce and they went to the bathrooms when they first got there. That was the last he saw him. We didn't worry about it too much at first. We figured we'd run into him. But we didn't. Then Jill's race started. Still no Peirce. We follow Jill's progress. Still no Peirce. The race ends. Still no Peirce. We start looking....looking....looking. After about half an hour of a focused search I'm starting to get a little worried...okay a lot worried. So I went into some trees where I figured I could pretty much be alone amongst the 800 or so people there, and said a prayer. It was a focused and pleading prayer. "Please don't let this be one of those life changing moments that haunts us forever! I need to find him right now!" I got up, walked up the hill - straight to my boy - who was totally oblivious to the panic he had set in the rest of his family.



Amazing! One little prayer - and I walked straight to him....in an area I hadn't been looking in before. So thankful for answers to prayers!

Friday, 1 October 2010

The Pee Pee Parade


If I could change on thing in teaching it would be the Pee Pee Parade. Kids always have to pee at the darndest times. I hate being the Pee Pee Parade Marshall. No one should have to ask if they can go pee.....however, for the sake of classroom management I know why it has to be that way....but it still bugs me!


So today was another story in the Pee Pee Parade.


Have I mentioned that I teach Kindergarten Phys Ed class? That's an interesting experience. I have learned that I have to really break everything down my more than I ever would have imagined I'd need to. I can stand in front of the red line, put my arms out and ask everyone to line up ONE THE RED LINE....and I get kids standing on random red lines all over the gym. Eeesh!


Well, today the cutest little kindergarten girl came dancing over and holding herself and announced to me she had to pee. We were outside and I'd rather they go in pairs back to the school so I asked her to find a friend and go - but it was clear that there was no time for her to find a friend....so I encouraged her to just hurry and go. So she did.


A few minutes later a male teacher in the school comes out to tell me he just caught a little girl from my class peeing on the compound and now there's a big puddle of pee for me to figure out how to clean up so other kids don't step in it.


NICE!


Oh the joys of kindergarten!!


Poor thing.....so knew she wasn't going to make it so she took matters into her own hands and took care of the issue. I thought she did a pretty good job - but apparently they frown on kids peeing on the compound....wrecks those four square games I guess!


LOL

Follow up: The Superintendent

I got a letter from The Superintendent today.

The Superintendent. Mentioning him still makes me nervous.

Well, the letter was nice. He reiterated what went on in the class, gave me a bunch of compliments, and asked for some feedback on how I'm enjoying my experience as a teacher.

And best of all, he didn't mention my time table fiasco. PHEW!!

....apparently he did get a laugh though....my principal asked how the visit went...I told her the sordid story. She tried to be kind...but I could tell she really got a chuckle out of it.

Well, at least I have a story!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Wrecking Mine and Everyone Else's Sleep!


Apparently my sleeping in days are over. I try to get to school early to get a head start on the day. On Sundays we have 9 am church. On Saturdays Jill has a swim practise at 6 am, and now on Thursdays she has one at 5:30 am!

Oh my goodness! I got up at 4:30 today!

I took her to swimming then went to the school at 6 am. I sure got a lot done! ....but man, 3:30 pm sure took a long time to arrive.....I feel like I used to feel when I worked for Canadian Airlines. I may never feel well rested again. I'm sure of it.

Today was the Terry Fox Run. I didn't run - just walked with all the fat kids. :0) After school Jill had a cross-country meet so I hurried off to that. Then we lost Peirce so I ran around the park in a panic (more on that story later) until I found him. Then we hurried off to get Peirce to Cubs late once again, then took Jill to YW, and waited for them to be finished. Right now at 8:30 pm I feel as close to a zombie as I've ever felt.

Oh, and to top it off, I set off the alarm in the school. When I went in I saw that the light with the lock on it was lit up - which seemed to say that the alarm was on.

So I called the number by the alarm for the alarm company. After a long conversation with a guy who barely seemed to understand English (and I'm pretty sure English IS his first language) he said it was fine to go in. However, as soon as I stepped past the foyer I heard a beeping. Oh dear. So I went back to the foyer and stood there and wondered if I really should go in. I finally decided that I set it off so I might as well go see if I could find that paper in my classroom that tells me how to get into the school after hours. I found it and realized there was a different number to call - so I called that one. It was pretty much the same conversation - don't worry about it. You're fine. So I got to work. About 30 minutes later some old guy with a flashlight who clearly just got out bed comes into my classroom. He's the maintenance guy they send in to see if there really is a break-in.

*sigh*

I think I owe the poor guy cookies.

Apparently they're going to get me a security pass code now though!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Superintendent

The Superintendent: I know. It probably isn't right to capitalize "the" in the post below. It seems to me though that THE is an important part of his title. He's the guy in charge. Da boss. Da big cheese. Here's hoping he's a nice guy!

The visit from The Superintendent went well. Well, sort of well. I was well prepared and the lesson came off without a hitch. The Superintendent came in part-way through the lesson and sat at the back. That kid who always has to interrupt of course had to say, "Mrs. Ackroyd, who is that?" Grrrr! Do we have to talk about that??!

I introduced The Superintendent and we continued on with the lesson.

He sat in the back writing feverishly the whole time. I wished he would smile. I wished he would participate. I wished he wouldn't just sit there and write and write and write.

I tried to not let myself be nervous but I was. Apparently quite nervous - because at 9:10 I got everyone to line up quickly for music - only to discover that I hadn't paid close enough attention to the timetable. Music starts at 9:20 on Wednesdays.

We got into the room and the music teacher says: "What are you guys doing here?"

Me: "What do you mean? We have music today don't we?"

Music teacher: "Yes - but it starts at 9:20 and I'm really not ready for you yet. Can you take them back and come back in ten minutes?"

Me: "Oh!! Sorry! Sure."

The mortification process sets in. As I walk back down the hall with my class I realize that The Superintendent is STILL in my classroom. So now he gets to see me parade my class out, parade back in, and go back to the writing lesson.

Oh the pain!! Sometimes I'm such a loser!!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Can't sleep.....

Tomorrow the Superintendent is going to come visit my class. I told my coach this and her response was, "How exciting!"

That wasn't my thought.

Try not to be nervous.
Try not to be nervous.
Try not to be nervous.

If I keep saying it will it work?

Monday, 27 September 2010

Family in the Trees

Tonight we were invited by another family in the ward to come pick apples for a couple in our ward who cannot do it all themselves. There were 3 families there, and we sure had a great time! The kids all loved climbing the tree and it didn't take much time before they had the entire thing cleared of all the apples. It totally took me back to reading Baron in the Trees when Allen and I were first married and joined a young married's book club. It was the weirdest book - but it really left an impression on me! I also was reminded of The Giving Tree. I think that tree was very happy tonight.


...and I was happy too. It was great to visit with the other moms, great to see our kids have a great time, great to give some service, and great to spend some FHE time together with great friends. It was a great night!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Date Night!

Tonight we went to the Stake High Priests Meeting and Social. First off, can I just say, it's weird being married to a High Priest. How did we get so old?!

They do this annually. They order chinese food and have a fireside - and TONS of people attend. It was actually quite a lot of fun. We sat with Allen's brother, Nathan and his wife, and we ate more Chinese Food than we should have (Chinese Food is like that it seems)

They had a couple speak who just came home from a mission to Africa. One of the countries they served in was Malawi - where The Heaven Shop is set. It was amazing to listen to their stories. It is amazing the abundance we have here, and the lack so many people live with. I was really touched by their stories.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

No Good Terrible Rotten Very Bad Day

Today has been terrible. Last night I attended a workshop from 3:30 - 4:30, so I didn't get a lot of time to plan. Then this morning Allen needed to take his car in way down in the south so we drove down to the south before school, dropped it off and then he took me to school - which got me there later than usual - so no time to plan again - which made my school day go less than spectacular. The day all went downhill from there. After school we had to do it again - drive down to the south to get his car. On the way home I call home to tell the kids to put a frozen pizza in because we won't have much time, and Peirce is bawling. We recently banned TV on weekdays and he was sneaking and watching TV. After a couple warnings we told him we were going to cancel the channels he loves and he still was watching - so Allen cancelled the channels. Today Peirce discovered this and boy, was he upset. He didn't want to go to Cubs tonight. I told him to suck it up and get dressed. I got home at 5:30 - just when I was supposed to be at the school for Parent-Teacher interviews. So we rush off there and miss our appointment and have to wait to get squeezed in. We finished at 6 pm - when we were supposed to be at the church for a Presidency Meeting for Primary and for Cubs. Peirce is unhappy because he won't get as many bones (bones??) Jill asks when we're going to her Parent-Teacher interviews. "After Cubs" I say. Now she's upset because apparently her interviews are on a schedule - you go from room to room and it starts at 7 pm and so we'll miss some of her teachers. She hadn't brought home the notice to fill me in on all of this so now I am frustrated with that. We go to Cubs, have our Presidency Meeting, and then rush out to what's left of Jill's interviews. Luckily when we got home Allen had cleaned up the kitchen and put a fresh clean table cloth on the table....thank goodness something good happened today! :0)

But I made it!! A little tattered...but I made it!


I think I'll go read The Daily Rotten....

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

So how's your teaching job going?


The pat question these days seems to be, "So, how's your teaching job going?"


Today it's going well. It's a roller-coaster. Some days are great and I think, "I love this!" and some days are terrible and I think, "I'll never get this!!"


Luckily there are more good days than bad days. I really have felt like I have been on a steep learning curve and feel like a first year teacher all over again. I suppose that's par for the course when it's been 12 years since I taught full time.


I think I will get good at this. In the little conversations in the staff room and work room I often get, "Don't worry, you have the toughest class in the school." If that's true, then I should feel pretty good about myself because if that is the case, then I'd have to say it's going quite well.


Next week the Superintendant is going to visit my classroom. Oh boy!! Let's hope that one is a good day!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Happy Birthday Allen!











Today was Allen's 40th Birthday! Gee is he old!!

We sure love him! Happy Birthday to my dear husband!! I even was able to come up with a flourless cake - and it was good!! :0) (....unlike some of my gluten free baking attempts)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Back in the Two Car Family Way

We are the proud owners of a new van! Well, okay. It isn't exactly a new van. It's an old van. Quite old - but I'm so grateful for it! And no, I'm not going to post a picture. :0) I'm really not a car person. I like fancy cars - I just don't like how much money you have to sink into them. I'd much rather use the money in other ways - which I think sometimes drives my husband crazy. He'd like for me to have a beautiful new car...but I don't want the car payment. Nope!

I am so grateful to soon be able to run errands, book visiting teaching appointments, not have to get up and drive Allen to 6 am Bishopric meetings so we can come later to the church on our own, and drive myself to and from school....and when it works for me! Perhaps I will pick up my kid after school sometimes, or even drive them to school - and when we want to - we'll go to DQ and go through the drive thru for a treat......things we haven't been able to do for 9 months or more! Not only that, Allen can be free to set appointments and work and not have to worry about driving us around all the time. Oh the freedom!! Life can only get better from here on out! LOL

We decided to be a one car family for a while to cut down on expenses. Last year was not kind to us income wise. Luckily those issues are changing and things are improving. The darn sub-prime mortage fiasco and ensuing market issues really stabbed us where it hurt. However, we've survived and are stronger as a result.

In time maybe we'll even get a newer van. Until then, I'm grateful for a vehicle with an engine that runs so well! Tomorrow we'll call the insurance company to get it insured, get it registered - and then I'm off!! YEA!!!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The Heaven Shop


Sometimes I don't like to go to movies because of what they do to me. I get so engrossed in the movie that when I come out of it I have a hard time shaking off the story and coming back to my own reality.


Debra Ellis' books do that to me too - but it's different. I love her books. This morning I finished The Heaven Shop. Ironically, this one has apparently been made into a movie!


It's set in Malawi and is about the affects around the HIV/AIDS epidemic there. Everyone should read this book! The Wikpedia website says it was written to dispel myths about HIV/AIDS and celebrate the courage of child sufferers in Malawi.


The website about the movie has a synopsis that says:




For Binti's father, who runs Heaven Shop Coffins in the small African country of Malawi, business is booming. Binti lives the life of a national celebrity, private school student and self-centered teenager. Despite her mother’s death and the reality of starring on a radio program created to educate people about the HIV crisis – Binti chooses to be oblivious to the AIDS epidemic around her. Her one goal in life is to become a famous actress or even better, a successful director.

Overnight, Binti’s belief that she is special ends dramatically. After her father’s funeral, Binti and her brother are robbed of their inheritance and sent to live with abusive relatives. Ostracized by their extended family, the orphans are treated like slaves. Once the child star of the most popular radio program in the country, Binti is now reduced to a desperate AIDS orphan.


“There is a lion in our village, and it is carrying away our children.”

Even as Binti clings to the hope that her former life will be restored, she faces a greater challenge... can she save her brother Kwasi from prison? Wrongfully arrested for defending Binti against a sexual predator, he has no chance at freedom. Binti Phiri is not about to give up. After a daring escape and journey into the unknown - help and hope is found in Binti’s grandmother and a group of ragtag children who identify themselves as cousins. There is no money, scarcely any food, constant work and little to hope for - a perfect environment to learn about what really matters in life. By helping others, Binti learns to look outside herself and find a new way to be special.

Binti’s whole journey comes full circle, as she dramatizes her own story for the radio program she once starred in. In the process, Binti finds her family and a place that will always be home... a place where the lion cannot roam freely.



My favorite part of the book is where they talk about losing themself, and then finding themself again. The Binti and her brother have found each other and they find out they're sister Junie is working as a prostitute. They're shocked and ashamed. It says:
Binti remembered their life in Lilongwe. "Junie got lost," she said. "I know what that's like, to feel yourself slip away."

Kwasi thought about this, than he slowly nodded. "That happened to me in Monkey Bay. I started to forget who I was, what made up me. It was even worse in
prison."

"I lost my self when my uncle's friend used me." Memory said. "Gogo helped me get myself back."

"And when I was told I was HIV-positive, I thought that the disease was all I was. There was no more Jeremiah, there was just the HIV."

"How did you get yourself back?" Kwasi asked.

"I met other HIV-positive people. They said they weren't sick, they were living positively. As soon as I heard that, I felt Jeremiah coming back into me."

There was quiet for a moment, as they all thought about their lives.....
The issues in my life pale in comparison to these children's, but I feel like I'm finding myself again with my teaching job. Thanks for the inspiration Debra Ellis! You never fail me! I love your books!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Exit Strategy?

My life has been a little crazy lately - which is the reason for my blog hiatus...but I'm back!


Here's the synopsis:


I was offered a teaching job last June. I accepted it. Mid-August I had to go to teacher training - which I loved. I love learning about curriculum. I love learning about classroom management. I love planning. And I love being in the classroom! It was all complicated by the fact that I was leery to quit my current job. The contract I was offered was only for 3 months. I didn't want to quit my other job until I knew if I could get something else after. If nothing else I'd sub - but I'm afraid that might not pay the bills.


Previously I worked 6-8 hours a day. With my teaching training, and then in September with my teaching job I was working 8 hours a day at school, coming home and doing all the mom stuff I need to do (although I have had a LOT of help from my dear husband and a lot of patience on the part of my children) while trying to squish the 6-8 hours I was working into 3 or 4 - which is practically impossible.....although I was pretty much managing. However, it has been painful. I never rest at school.....I run run run and don't even take time to eat or visit with other teachers. When I come home I make something easy for the kids to eat, and then sit down at the computer until I'm too tired to do anymore. Then I go to bed, set my alarm clock for a little earlier, and then do it again. Run! Run! Run! All day long. Originally I figured I could do anything for 3 months. Now, after a full month of it, I'm not so sure.


Things with my other job are rather unstable too. Crappy projects. Poor outlook for new projects, website issues and more website issues and more website issues, poor management who seem to think shoppers and schedulers are disposable, etc. Bottom line: it's been nasty. My manager decided she didn't like me only working a few hours a day. She didn't think I was performing up to par and so has decided to take away some of the work. In October I'll have about 1/4 the work of what I was doing before. At first I was mad.....but the more I think about it the more relieved I am.


I have a few friends who've quit the mystery shopping industry lately. It's been interested to hear their comments. We keep in touch on Facebook. One said:







It’s hard to believe it has been 5 months since I left my crazy, stress-induced, 60+ hour/week, no vacation/sick day job that I had for the past XXX years. Miss the thrill of scoring on a project and my boss/friends – but life is SO lovely right now. *Sweet loveliness*


She sure summed it up well. Then today another friend talk about what a great time she is having on a long-awaited vacation (only able to happen when you LEAVE the mystery shopping world). She talked about what a great time she was having. In the conversation her husband said:


We have been traveling for the last 7 weeks and finally XXX is able to enjoy herself, she always worked as we traveled before using our air card. She scheduled the day my mother died, the day after giving birth and during holidays. I think she was never appreciated for all her hard work.

Later he said:

The thing is Dawn that she always gave all her effort. She fell asleep almost nightly with the laptop in her lap, only to wake up and work some more before going to bed. She literally worked 18 to 20 hours a day, waaaay to much devotion. She hated to fail and took it personally. I could go on and on about all the sacrifice she made, but it would be a book. Appreciation and reward just did not come her way at all the last couple of years and enough was enough. Life is good for our family now though!!! :)

That about sums it up. When people hear that I work from home they say they wish they could do that and muse about how great it must be. I just smile and nod. I know that most people aren't cut out to do it. You have to be willing to work way too many hours, ignore your children and your house, and not leave the house hardly ever to be really successful at it. Don't get me wrong, I've been very grateful for it for the past 12 years. I'm so glad I was able to be at home when our kids were little. I think it's time for a change though. Recently I've been praying that another teaching position will come up quickly that I could apply for and therefore, feel more comfortable in totally quitting this job. I keep hearing there's a big baby boom amongst teachers. Here's hoping those openings show up soon!

Today wasn't quite how I planned an exit, but the more time goes on the more relieved I feel. Truth is, it isn't an exit - but it sure frees up a lot of time.

So why am I disappointed that they're not giving me as much work? I figure I work for $8 an hour or less in that job the past couple of years. Teaching definitely pays better! I guess the thing is I once made much better money at it and I keep hoping that things will get back to the way they were. I can only wait so long though. I've actually been thinking of quitting for quite a while but kept doing the "it'll be better when they get the new website up"...then they did and it wasn't better. So I said, "it'll be better when we get some new projects"...which they've been talking about for months but it never happens....and on and on it goes. So I guess eventually it's time to give up on it.

In the meantime, I'm grateful to be doing something I love! I really do love it. I'll blog more about that later!





What will I do with all my time if I don't have to rush home to sit in front of the computer? Maybe I'll clean my house! Maybe I'll hang out with my children! Maybe I'll get caught up on Swim Club stuff. Maybe I'll get organized for primary! Maybe I'll read!! Maybe I'll do some marking and planning! Maybe I'll read!


It kind of makes me giddy to think about it. October 1 can't come quick enough!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Good Thing For Little Brothers!


Funny story from while we were at the funeral yesterday. J&P decided to go for a bike ride and hunt for grasshoppers. Jill was the one who relayed the story to me. They had a great time and biked a long ways. They found tons of grasshoppers too and decided to bring them home to put in P's bug cage.


Me: How'd you get grasshoppers home?


J: I told Peirce put them in his pocket. That's what little brothers are for, don't you know?!


Nice. Can't wait for laundry day!

Friday, 20 August 2010

So blessed

Yesterday Allen and I helped pull off a funeral. It was for someone we'd never met. Allen was asked to conduct and I was asked to play the organ. As the day unfolded I realized how therapeutic it was for me to help someone who has lost a child. Our situations are quite different - but I think the feelings are very similar. I was surprised at how emotionally draining it was for me, even though I didn't even know their son.

His name was Keith and he lived in our ward but we had never met him. He was 35 and engaged and led quite an interesting life. After listening to the stories about him I wished I had met him! He was a really great guy. Lots of fun and full of adventure. He died in a car accident. He was engaged to a girl from Connecticut that he had met in Mexico (he loved to travel) and was planning to go back to school this fall at Royal Roads, a military academy. He loved to golf (like REALLY loved to golf), and came from a big family. He bought a theatre when he was in his early 20's and ran that for a while, then worked in the oil fields, and I think his next venture was to go into something with golf course management of some sort. His fiance had been here in July for 3 weeks. A week after she left he was driving somewhere and got hit by a semi truck and was killed in the accident. What a tragedy. My heart just broke for his fiance, and for his family.

We were there early to help set up. They didn't have a funeral home helping with the funeral so we tried to think of things we could to that they would normally do. After they had a luncheon. It was catered by a hotel (the hotel had donated all the food as his brother works for the hotel chain) and just needed a little help with knowing where things were, keeping punch pitchers full, etc. Someone else from the ward came and helped with that. The High Priests set up the tables and chairs for them and the Elders Quorum came after and took them all down. It was really a team effort. The parents are divorced and both are remarried. One lives in Victoria, BC and one lives in Halifax - so they were both trying to pull this off not knowing anyone here at all. I think it all came off without much of a hitch.

After the funeral was over his step mother came up to me and grabbed both of my arms and said thank you for all the help. She said, "Isn't the church wonderful? Who else could pull off a funeral and have things go so well and have so many people helping when they don't really know a soul here?"

That has stuck with me all day. She's so right. We are so blessed! While I played the hymns for prelude and postlude my heart was full. Hymns can really stir up some emotion in me and they sure did yesterday.

She's right.
We are so blessed.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Magda Visits Our Primary

For Sharing Time this pat Sunday I did the one about miracles and the Savior's power over death. I first worked on the song for the 10th article of faith. We sang it last week and it was T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E. So we worked on the first half of it - and they did quite well with it. I told them we'd sing until our "special guest" arrived. Half way through the song I said, "Oh! She's here. Hold on" and I went out of the room...and then came back in with a scarf over my head like someone from the middle east.



I told them my name was Magda and that was short for Magdalene - but since I was friends with Mary Magdalene and hung out with her all the time they came up with a nick-name: Magda (I work with someone named Magda....I think it's a beautiful name). I told them I had been a part of the crowd that hung out with the disciples and with Jesus and I told them of some of "my experiences".



I talked about how Christ has power over death and told them the stories the Sharing Time guide recommends (raising Lazarus, Jarius' daughter, and the widow's son). The last one is to talk about the greatest miracle of all: the resurrection. I tried to kind of tell it verbatim from the scriptures (not sure I did that so well - but I tried!) I tried to talk kind of sweetsy and biblical (blech) and I acted like I didn't know anyone's names. At the end one girl said, "What does resurrected mean?" and so I talked about how we're all sad when someone dies - but just like Jesus died and then lived again through resurrection, we'll all live again and be resurrected. I asked if anyone had known anyone that had died - and tons of kids had someone....I so I asked each who'd died, until I got to one little girl that is about 4. She said her big brother died and she said it makes her really really sad and I said, "Oh! That must have broken your heart!" and she nodded and told me it really did, and then I said, "The wonderful news is he will be resurrected, and so will you! And you'll be together again!" It worked so well. It was one of those pin-drop moments. Acting is something totally out of my comfort zone, but I'm glad I did it because they sure listened!


Then I said, "Oh! I've stayed too long. I'm sorry! Sister Ackroyd asked me to only take a few minutes." and I walked out the side door and then into the back door without the costume on.



When I walked in all the kids laughed and they were saying they knew it was me....I just went into closing exercises, but now thinking about it I should have asked them about what happened and who was there and how they felt.....missed a teaching moment. Oh well! I'll get better!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Joy of Service

Today I stopped in nursery to see how our newly called nursery workers were enjoying their day. One brother in there kind of sighed and said, "It's a busy place!"

My response was, "Yes, but it's a happy place!"

He said, "Oh ya....so much joy it about knocks me out"

That's when it hit me. People in the Book of Mormon were always passing out from joy. I've always wondered about that. How exactly does that happen? I didn't think I've ever felt that.

Then it hit me - about every Sunday, an hour after church is over - that is about how I feel! I'm full of joy - but man, am I worn out.

Ammon must have been serving in the primary. :0)


Alma 27:17 Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he
was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhuasting of his strength;
and he fell again to the earth


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

More on Bread


I have a friend who was doing some figuring today. She calculated that it costs her about 30 cents to make a loaf of bread, and 50 cents to make a dozen buns.


My family can eat two loaves a week (that's probably a conservative estimate because there are days they eat a loaf a day - but I try to discourage that!)


In the grocery store, I've found the bread I prefer to buy is around $2.50 a loaf.


$0.60 X 52 weeks = $31.20 a year

$5.00 X 52 weeks = $260 a year


So, making bread saves us around $250 a year! And my guess is that that is a conservative estimate. $250 goes a long ways to a Christmas that is a lot more fun! I should put the money in a jar every time I make bread and use it at Christmas.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Comforted!

This past year or so has been an interesting one for us. We've felt the brunt of the market issues. The interesting thing for me was that although last year was not a good year for us income-wise, we probably have a better food storage after it all than we ever have! How does that work?!

Tonight I noticed an article that got me thinking about this. It was a CBC article that said that wheat is going up.

I joined a co-op this year where we buy things in bulk at a (hopefully) reduced rate. It's been a great experience. A few months ago the guy who sends out the emails said he was worried about the grain crop this year with all the rain we'd had and wondered if it wouldn't be a good idea to order flour before his prediction of higher prices came into play. It made sense to me - so we ordered 40 kg of flour to add to what we already have.

And now the article. It said there's a wheat shortage in Russia that will push up the prices of bread in Canada - by perhaps 20% over the next two months.

There is comfort in being prepared!

Monday, 2 August 2010

I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen...(A.A. Milne)

I don't know why everything seems so fleeting this summer. It feels like our kids have really grown up. They are more independent this summer and it seems like we're at a real phase of change.

Peirce got baptized this Spring. I don't know what it is about the age of 8, but it's kind of magic. He just seems more responsible, more grown up, and more reliable suddenly.

Then there is Jill. Soon she will be 12. This summer she has started riding her bike to all sorts of further places than we ever allowed before. She works out every day. She has focused on her Faith in God goals and now has that finished. She also decided she wants to memorize all the Scripture Mastery scriptures for seminary before she's 14. And she is so excited to go into Young Women's! I think YW and Jr High will be really great for Jill. She's a great girl and will have a lot of fun with all the new things she gets to do.

Meanwhile, though, I stand back and am amazed my kids are growing up so much. I have never really been one to cry when they reach certain milestones. I was always happy for them that they were getting to those next phases as they were usually always very keen to get there. That being said, I really get it now. It does go fast. In six years Jill will graduate. That will go by so quickly! In 10 years Peirce will be getting ready to go on his mission. Time really is flying by! I'm excited for the adventures to come.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

No One Needs To See That!

Today I got to teach a primary class....not something I get to do that often! It was a last minute thing so I didn't have a lot of time to prepare (i.e. grab a manual while they're singing the opening song, flip through it while someone's doing the scripture and stuff like that, then teach!).

The lesson was "I can be kind" and we were supposed to learn about the story of The Good Samaritan as well as a few other things, but in the limited time I had to prepare I figured that The Good Samaritan could be our main focus. I read it to them out of the Bible, stopping as I went to explain things. Then I had them tell me the story. Then we acted it out. It was funny: No one wanted to be the Priest or the Levite. They didn't even want to be the robbers! They only wanted to be the good guy. Those are good little 5 year olds :0)


I read from John 10: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho (and we talked about different trips we'd all been on) and fell among thieves (and we talked about bad guys and how to stay safe from bad guys), which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.


I explained that raiment is clothing. One bright little girl said, "They took his clothes? Oh great! Then I bet everyone saw his penis. No one needs to see that!"


However, one boy, who'd obviously been told the story before was quick to add that he saw the picture, and he knew the guy still had his underwear on. We found the pictures in the manual, and sure enough! PHEW!! He did still have his underwear!

She's right. No one needs to see that. :0)

Saturday, 31 July 2010

A New Perspective




Last week I got the dubious pleasure of having an evaluation done on my work performance. It wasn't a great experience. They said some nice things - and it was interesting to me how I could only focus on the things they weren't as happy with. It really put me in a funk.







I decided that I needed to do something to pick myself up - so I listened to some talks from BYU Broadcasting. I love that website! It was such a good reminder of what really matters. It's good to get an eternal perspective on things when we're feeling down in the dumps!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Where is our summer going?!

Time is flying by!! Summer seems to be in superspeed.

The first week of summer the kids got to go to Grandma Camp. What a good time they had!! I'm so grateful my mom does this Grandma Camp. She takes all the grandkids for a week and they have a great time and create some great memories. I wish I could post some pictures - but no parents are allowed - so I don't have any to post. Grandma camp. We all love it!!

....well, I did steal a couple pictures from Taylor's facebook page. Here they are swimming. I'm not sure I like seeing my little boy jump off that high diving board!



The next week Jill got to go to BeeHive Camp. That was a big hit! She is so excited to be a BeeHive that she glows when she talks about it. And since coming home she hasn't stopped singing and talking about it. The songs come out all the time! Imagine....60 beehives. What a good time they had!There she goes!! No looking back! Just like Jill does everything in life!

The next week we had a Hyde Family Reunion. It was in Mountain View at the Payne Lake Lodge. What a great place for a family reunion! It was wonderful. Jill's favorite part was the boats! Peirce's favorite part was non-stop play time with cousins. It was a great time!

This week we don't have anything scheduled. Imagine?! Could we already be at the dog days of summer?? Nah!! We have Park and Play, bike rides, dog walks, lemon aid stands, the library's summer reading program, and much more to fill our time. In only 22 days I go to Teacher Orientation! Ack!!