Thursday, 29 April 2010

Spring Concert

Today was the Spring Concert. It's so fun to watch our girl perform. Her confidence and her cuteness just is overwhelming (well, okay....maybe not for everyone - but I sure think she's great!) I could just look at these pictures of her all day. :) It was a concert full of tree-hugging, earth loving, cutest kids you ever saw!

The school's music teacher is simply amazing. She pays attention to the smallest of details. Notice in the second video, when they're brushing their teeth, how they all do it at the same time. Amazing! She's a master teacher!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Hey Kid?! Wanna play?!

I've been thinking a lot lately about the value of teaching correct principles and letting people (namely kids!) govern themselves. One challenge is the fine balance between giving kids lots of freedom, and role modeling/direct teaching. The school I've been subbing at has a heavy emphasis on direct teaching. I can see the value of that. But something about it also makes me scream inside: Run! Be free! Run! Trouble is, it looks to me like most of these kids have been so closely managed that they really have a hard time making good decisions when left on their own. It's a great breeding ground for tattle tales and adult intervention infinitum!

I read a great blog on this topic. (Do read it!) The author argues that pickup ball (or whatever neighborhood games kids end up playing) is both more fun and better for children’s social and intellectual development than organized sports. I would tend to agree. I think it is a dying art!

Recently our kids decided they were going to teach everyone in our neighborhood to play Kick the Can. It was no easy feat. Most families do not let their kids roam around our neighborhood - so they had to pre-arrange this. The kids had to get permission to cross the busy road that separates us from some of their good friends. Then they had to find a place to play. I bit my tongue a number of times while they made their plans and phone calls because I really wanted to just let them do it. When the time arrived, some kids forgot so they had to go get them. They were going for a couple hours gathering friends and playing. When they came home their cheeks were rosy, they had big smiles, and there were no broken arms, no stories of abductions, and it sounded like everyone got along! However, they came home with all those kids too. They all came to jump on the trampoline. The pull to the safety and familiarity of the backyard is strong! I spent a lot of time telling them how they had to stay IN the yard....and now I'm trying to get them to get out of the yard. Make up your mind mother!

I really want to encourage them to have this happen more often. As Spring starts to approach they itch to get outside and play. Playing with your bossy big sister or your irritating little brother gets old at times - so they want to include other kids. My preference is that it is done without me having to drive them here and there and sit on the bench and watch them play or solve the disputes as they play. My experience has been that if they're left to do it on their own they can do it just fine. And I think that's a good thing!

Here's hoping we can see that happen this summer!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Baptism Day!

Today Peirce was baptized. What a wonderful experience! He was so excited about it all day long. He got a new white shirt and vest and a tie and socks that matched from Grandma, and so he looked appropriately amazing. I think he was walking on air most of the time.

Events like this are funny. We invited a lot of people, expecting about half of who we invited to show up - but alas, we were wrong. I think everyone came! We couldn't thinking of anyone we had invited that said they'd be there that didn't show up. It was a packed house.

The talks were given by Peirce's cousins. It was really wonderful to listen to children teach these basic yet key principles of the gospel. It was a great experience.

My heart was just full. I'm so proud of Peirce. I love him to bits!!

You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

Storybook Theatre has been doing You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. We volunteered today and got to watch the play. It was so great! The music was amazing. They practically spent their whole time singing! It was so well done. I simply LOVE musical theatre!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Hitmen Win!

And so do we.

Our Swim Club volunteers at hockey and football games selling 50/50 tickets. Tonight we were asked to go sell the tickets because everyone in the club is gone to a meet in Fernie. We stayed home for Peirce's baptism. I really had to talk Allen into going....he hated the idea. In the end he succumbed and we went - and it was a great time! I am shocked at how much money people will drop into those draws. We took Peirce with us and he worked the machine and I handled the money. He'd take off and go watch the game now and then and then come back and help. We had a great time! The draw tonight was $30,000 in total! Imagine going home from the hockey game with $15,000. Now that's a fun night!

For us, we're just happy that we probably paid off our meet account as well. YEA!

The Hitmen won their game tonight (last in the series). It was a great time!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Butt Prints in the Sand

This is hilarious. I read this here.

Butt-prints In The Sand

One night I had a wondrous dream.

One set of footprints there was seen.

The footprints of my precious Lord,But mine were not along the shore.
And then the strangest print appeared.I asked the Lord,” What have we here?”

This print is large and round and neat.“But Lord, it’s much too big for feet.”
“My child,” He said in somber tones,“For miles I carried you alone.

I challenged you to walk in faith,But you refused and gained no strength.”
“You laid quite still. You would not grow,This walk is not for me, you know.

So I got tired. I got fed up.And there I dropped you on your butt.”

“Because in life, there comes a time,

When one must walk, and one must climb,

and one must rise and take a stand;

Or leave his butt-prints in the sand.”

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Computers and Classrooms

I read a blog today that was talking about using Social Media in classrooms. It was quite interesting...and it made me think of my experiences lately with subbing.

One funny thing about teachers is that they often know very little about the computer world. Oh sure, every school has tons of computers, but when you really look at how they use them it's not always that impressive. I'll never forget volunteering in Jill's class when she was in Grade Four. Her teacher knew nothing about computers...literally. He looked at computer time as free time for him, I think. He had no idea how to navigate the programs they had to use. If someone asked him a question he got grumpy. It was sad really.

The place I've been subbing has really grabbed on to the idea of Smart Boards - and it's so exciting. The other day when I was subbing the "Special Person of the Day" was busy on the Smart board while I did attendance. He looked up the temperature on and graphed it on an electronic graph in front of everyone. Then the kids said, "Let's look at the temperature in Miramichi!" And so they did. And then a few more suggestions came. It was a beautiful day here, but all around our city and to the south there was a blizzard happening. Schools were closed everywhere. So I said to them, "We should look up the weather in Lethbridge!" They were astounded to see the pictures.

....and the Smart Board use continued throughout the day. In Language Arts I had the page up on the Smart Board that they were working on, and filled it in along with them while we checked their work. Then when they were working on something else I said, "Okay, everyone has 4 minutes to finish up!" and I set the timer on a program and displayed it on the Smart Board. Everyone knew how much time was left and when the timer went off they all quickly got into ready position so we could continue on. At lunch time they asked if they could watch some Tumble Books. I had no idea what that was - but soon learned. It was amazing! So they watched some stories read while they ate lunch - and the stories we picked were ones that related to things we had talked about in the morning It was amazing. While they were working on some science work the conversation amongst a group turned to the Olympics. As they talked someone wondered aloud whether the Winter or Summer Olympics were first. They couldn't decide so they asked me. In my best teacher way I said, "Why don't we look it up?" and so we googled it on the Smart Board. We found out the Summer Olympics were first. Then someone else asked, "Well, when were the first Winter Olympics?" Once again.....Google to the rescue. Later while they were working on a Science project about Hot and Cold temperatures one girl was drawing a penguin. She came to me with one of those typical Grade two questions: "Do penguins have ears?" That one I really didn't we googled again and found out that they do, but they don't have an outer piece like our ears, just a hole.

It was all so amazing to see this learning take place right on the spot! In the past I would have said, "That's a great question! Why don't you look that up when you get home." But instead we did it right there and then.

I get excited about those kinds of things in a classroom!

Oh, and here's the great You Tube video that inspired this post. I think it's stand-alone-great!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Eight is Great!

Our Peirce will be 8 on Saturday, and he gets to have his baptism on his actual birthday - just like Jill did. Tonight we planned everything for it. It's so fun to see how excited he is for it, and also how excited Jill is for him. These are the moments in motherhood that I really love. I hope the day is as special as he hopes it will be.

On Sunday he had his interview with the Bishop. He looked forward to it all week. As he sat outside his office waiting for his turn he started to get a little nervous. He said to me, "What happens if I don't know one of the answers??!" Then the Bishop came out and invited him to come in. He turned to me with a bit of a panic on his fact and said, "Oh no! I can't remember the prophet's name! Mom!" LOL

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sunday Seven

1. Escaping the storm - this week much of Alberta was lambasted with a big snow storm. Here in Calgary we didn't see a bit of snow! It's always nice when the farmers get what they need (moisture) and us city slickers don't have to partake!

2. Temples! We learned this week that the ground breaking for the Calgary temple will be May 15. I'm so excited to have a temple in Calgary!

3. Good kids - my kids have played outside together much of today and have enjoyed it! They get along well most days...and I'm grateful for that. It's a thrill for me to watch them play together.

4. Swimming - Jill has really grasped the whole swim club thing. She loves working out and she is getting into great shape. She likes to have me feel how strong her muscles are getting...and they are! Recently she got moved up and now gets to go to Saturday practises...something she's been wanting to do for a long time!

5. In our ward today we talked about the restoration and so in Jr Primary we watched The First Vision. I was amazed at how intently they watched (the magic of TV?) I thanked them at the end for being so reverent so that everyone could learn the story and feel the spirit and then I bore my testimony to them about Joseph Smith. I told them that my heart felt warm and that that was the spirit telling me again that the story was true. One boy said that his heart was burning too. It was so cute. I said to him, "Well, you must know it's true too!" and he said with great enthusiasm, "I do!"

6. A clean house - I've worked hard this week to get caught up on a few things I've let slide the past few months. On Saturday Peirce was a big helper too and then when Jill came home from her practise she did a bunch of chores too. I really love a clean house!

7. Spring! I'm so grateful for Spring. This Spring truly feels like a new beginning. I wonder what changes are in store for us. Looking forward to watching it all unfold!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Always Look on the Bright Side

Peirce wanted to do some baking today. He badgered me and badgered me and after I'd felt like I'd had enough of my leisurely Sunday nap, and fake sleeping (well, I call it resting with my eyes closed) I gave in and we made a chocolate cake. I've had some mixes downstairs for a while so we decided to use one of those. I'd say it turned out terrible: flattest cake I've seen in a long time! But Peirce, the eternal optimist, had a great line: let's just call it brownies!

Sunday Seven - April 11, 2010

1. Primary - Today at church I almost felt giddy with how much I enjoy primary. I love the kids. I love doing Sharing Time. I love hearing them sing. I love interacting with the teachers. I just love it!

2. Being a two car family again! Well, truth is, we're not quite yet - but almost! This trying to find a good used vehicle is a lot of work, and time - time that we don't seem to have. The other day Allen that what we need is for one to fall into our lap - and then one did! YEA!!

3. Subbing - I am so glad the Charter School I sub at is back in school this week. Hopefully there's some sick teachers out there who will still need a break :0)

4. Ya! 4's!! Peirce had a good week of school this week and got two 4's. I hope that can continue!

5. Potential new projects. I got word this week that there is a potential new project on the horizon and they asked if I'd work on the pilot. I'm excited about it!

6. Realization that things do always work out for the best. I lost my job a number of years ago with the first mystery shopping company I worked at. After I was gone they went through another merger (they had one nasty one while I was there) with a company in the US. Well, now they've closed the Calgary office. I drove by it on Saturday and it is gone. No signs. No furniture. No nothing. Totally gone. So glad I was already gone too!

7. Good health. I've really felt good the last week or so. I am grateful to be feeling so great and realize this is a direct result from the blessing I got a couple weeks ago. So grateful!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

You're mad, bonkers, off your head! But I'll tell you a secret: All the best people are. (Alice to the Mad Hatter)

I have a confession. I'm not much of a movie person - which is a big disappointment for my husband who truly loves movies. Today, however, I had a great theatre experience.

We went to see Alice in Wonderland. Truthfully, I wouldn't have gone. I went out of obligation. We have a student staying with us and he wanted to give us a gift - and so he bought us tickets to the movie. Not even a gift card....but actual tickets where we had to show up at a certain time - so I did. And in the end I was so glad! I found myself sitting there with my mind still racing, going over all the things I wanted to accomplish today. I had to talk myself into ignoring those thoughts and just sitting and relaxing - all the while trying to not fall asleep. In the end it wasn't too difficult to not fall asleep!

So, we saw the movie in 3-D - which was a delicious experience! The movie kind of reminded me of a Chronicles of Narnia type scene. The story is Alice when she is 19 years old. She is set up to get engaged to some proper guy who is rich and well, that's about it. He's rich. Other than that he seems horrible. She gets escorted by her mother to a party - which she finds out later is her engagement party. He proposes, and she almost caves - but decides she needs to think about this for a moment. Off she goes, running down the hill, and once again falls down that darn rabbit hole she fell down years ago.

Watching this movie took me back to University. I took a children's literature class, which always seemed kind of weird to me. In the beginning I quite enjoyed it. The professor was this tall, handsome man with two darling children. He, however, had to go away for a couple weeks and so Dr Blackburn took over. I hated Dr Blackburn. He was the opposite of everything the other professor was. He was short and stout and had a big unmanicured black beard and crazy curly long black hair. We did Alice in Wonderland while he taught the class - and I hated it. But today I said to myself, "Maybe Dr Blackburn was right! Maybe there is a lot of symbolism in this story!" I don't think it is quite as sexual as he made it out to be though.

I loved how all the characters in her dream weren't sure if she was the right Alice. Until she started to realize her potential (and fight the dragon) they knew she wasn't being true to herself. Marrying that guy that everyone had set up for her to marry was right to do - but not for her. And when she went through the whole experience she could comfortably say no to him and go on to what she knew would be fulfilling. She wasn't being her true self in the beginning of the story - that's why they weren't sure if she was the right Alice. In the end I was so happy she didn't give into what everyone expected her to do - that she went out and found her own happiness! I wanted to cheer for her! (and then I felt that familiar...oh, I better be quiet since I'm supposed to be a nice LDS girl that just wants to get married and have 48 children)...but that's for another post!

Also, all the physical changes that she had happen didn't make a lick of difference. She had to find her strength inside of herself!

I also liked how all the people in her dream matched people in her real life. I think the Queen of Hearts was her MIL, and the Mad Hatter was her potential fiance, and the White Queen was her sister. Those two giggling gossiping girls, of course, were Tweedle Dee and Dweedle Dum. The only one I couldn't figure out who was in the dream was the father who she became business partners with. I'm sure there's more - but those were my thoughts right off hand.

I was talking to my kids about it on the way home. They looked at me like I was from Mars. I'm just their weird mom :0)

There were so many good lines in it too! I actually got a notebook out of my purse because I wanted to write the lines down - but I couldn't see! LOL It's sure a classic though.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Spring Snow Storm

Nothing like a snow storm to make Spring a little more interesting.

This was our day yesterday.

Remind me: Why do we live here???

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Cub Car Success!

Tonight was our ward's Cub Car rally. I've never been to a cub car rally before and had no idea what a big deal it was. It was a great time. And to make it even more fun, Peirce had the fastest car!! I don't know who was more proud: Pierce or Allen!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A Great Holiday

We had a great Spring Break...and today it all came to an end.

During Spring Break Peirce got to attend an Art Camp. He loved it! He loves to paint and sculpt and create and draw and do crafts....and he was in the company of experts. It was perfect for him!

We made a list at the beginning of Spring Break of all the things we wanted to do. I think we got it all in! ...well, except for raking the lawn and cleaning out the garage (things Allen put on the list) No one was really interested in those!

We must have done all we needed to, because today the kids were really excited to go back to school. And so was I!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today was my dad's birthday. We decided the best place to spend it would be at the temple together. Mom, Gaylene and Allen and I were all there together. It was a wonderful day!
Happy Birthday dad! We miss you!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Spring Break Countdown

Today we decided to head downtown and use our free pass to the Police Interpretive Center that we got on Jill's fieldtrip. Riding the bus was a great adventure! So many strange people and interesting things going on! It was really fun to watch Jill and Peirce experience it all. When we got downtown we decided we would first check out the Olympic Athlete special recognition ceremony happening at Olympic Plaza. it was lots of fun! We were glad it was because after we left there to get to our planned destination we found out it was closed today! So we wandered around some more, enjoyed Starbucks and the downtown stores and sights along the way. All in all we had a good time! We came home in time for swim practise (how could they still not be too tired to swim too?!) and then headed off to Raymond for tomorrow's last chance at Spring Break fun.

...and when I figure out how to get pictures off my cell phone I'll post some here!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Sunday Seven

Things I'm grateful for this week:

1. My mom! It was my mom's birthday last Sunday and so after church we made a quick get away and took off to Lethbridge. There were a few relatives there when we got there and a few more that dropped by. It was great to visit with my mom and wish her a happy birthday.

2. Art Camp! This week Peirce got to attend an Art Camp. It was the perfect thing for him. He LOVES to do crafts and this camp gave him opportunities to do that all day long (without me having to supervise or clean up!) We were both happy about that.

3. Sunshine! It did peek out a few times this week. There's nothing I love more than the sun beating down on me while I'm sitting at my desk at home working. Bliss!!

4. Good kids. We had guests here for the weekend, and they played with their cousins. I'd hear them talking in a way that was kind and patient, and it made me so grateful!

5. Pigs! We got a pig this weekend. It's in our freezer. I love a full freezer!

6. Easter! What a fun morning we had. The Easter bunny brought a few little gifts, we painted eggs, then we taked about the real Easter story, went to Conference, and then had a family dinner. Talk about a fun-filled packed full and great day. Loved it!

7. Life! I just feel like my life is so good right now. I feel God's love, and I feel happy. Life is good.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Easter Honesty

I have a friend who shared a quote from her pre-school son the other day:

"I like the Easter bunny, but I don't really care about all the Jesus stuff... well not that much."

Gotta love an honest kid. :0) Sounds like he almost gets it!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

You're a Teacher?

Recently I've started doing some substitute teaching. It's really funny to me how many people don't realize that I am a teacher. Of course, I have to cut them some slack, since it has been 11 years...but it's odd to me because I consider that a big part of my experience and a big part of who I am as a parent and as a person. Isn't it funny that that could be such a big part of me, and so many people had no idea. Weird.
I've been thinking a lot lately about whether or not I should go back to teaching full time. I really love teaching. But I don't really know if I want to work away from home every day. The money is enticing. The time, I'm not so sure about.