Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Volunteer Tea


I have been going to Volunteer Teas for years as a parent. Tonight I went to my school's Volunteer Tea we put on for parents in our school. I have never seen anything like it! It was an extraordinary night! The theme was Alice in Wonderland. The hilarious part was the admin team dressed up as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum!


Well, the Queen of Hearts was a total ham too!
We even had a chesire cat, Alice herself, and the rest of us were cards!



Oh wait, there's more....the rabbit...with a 'don't be late' sign on her very expecting belly :)


.....this is them in a spontaneous congo line that erupted during the entertainment




All the guests made hats.


And I even got to play the piano....well, the keyboard.



The food was amazing....and it was really a good time. I am so impressed with the people I get to work with!! They're truly amazing.

Stink, The Incredible Shrinking Kid



I just finished reading the book for my school book club. Cute! It's a lot of fun. I'm starting to think the trick to writing good kid's books is just clueing into kid's lives. This one is full of a bossy sister, a little brother into gross stuff, pets, and lots of funny adventures. A good read!



Sunday, 29 May 2011

Inspired

Today I found Sacrament Meeting really inspiring. I feel a great desire to do a better job of my own personal prayer and with scripture study. Someone recently posted a quote on facebook that said: "One hour of study per day will put you in the top of your field within 3 years. Within 5 years you will be a national authority. In seven years you will be one of the best people in the field of what you do."

I am not looking to be a national authority with scriptures, but I liked that quote because it speaks to how much difference just one hour a day can make. That is my commitment: an hour a day.

More posts on scripture study to come!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Corrall City Classic

Last night and today we spent the day at the pool for a swim meet called The Corrall City Classic.

Last night wasn't as good for Jill. She had two races. She swam 50 fly. Time going in was 38.82 and she swam 37.75 and she came in 12th of the 70 girls in her age category for that race. That wasn't so bad. Then she was to swim 50 back. However, she didn't have the right lane down and missed her race. I told her next time to just get in any lane and swim and they'll fix it at the other end. Not sure if that works, but it would be worth a try! Those 50s go really fast and if you're in the wrong spot when the start happens, you're hopped. On Saturday we had a swimmer show up in the wrong heat and they fixed it, so I think it would be worth a try!

Today was a really good day for her. She first swam 200 free. Time going in was 2:49.45. She swam it in 2:45.82 today. (B time is 2:47.8 so it was a good B swim. An A= 2:32.40.) She came in 11th in her age category. There was 44 girls in that age category for that race.

The best race was next: 100 fly. Her time going in was 1:35.00.  (B=1:34.80  A=1:23.10) today she swam it in 1:28.14 and came in 5th of 21 girls. Apparently not as many girls like to swim 100 fly! As Jill would say: Beast!

The last race was 50 free. Her time going in was 34.77 (B=39.50 A= 32.10) Today she swam it in 34.18 and was 14th of 81 girls.

Proud of four new PBs!

I timed all day. I timed with a dad from Patriots that I quite enjoyed getting to know. The other person was a woman who works in intelligence for Canadian boarder services who is married to a police officer. I bet their kids behave! LOL

Friday, 27 May 2011

Great Afternoon of Organizing

Have I mentioned how much I love my job? Oh ya....about every other day.

Well I just have to mention it again!!

Today I got to schedule a sub for the afternoon while I worked with another Gr 2 teacher on math. It was so great. We had some assignments we had to prepare to share with the other campuses, and we needed to get all our lessons organized with Performanc Task Assessments inserted in the right places. It was so wonderful to be able to take an afternoon to do that. I feel uber organized for math now!

We finished about half an hour before school was over. I decided to stay and organize a few more things. It was so great. I am hoping hoping I get to teach the same grade again next year. I feel like I have dipped my toe in and if given another chance could do so much better next year. Please pray for me. They are working on staffing right now!!

Some of the teachers have been talking about what a hard year this has been. I don't say much. Mostly I want to giggle and say, "Are you serious?! You mean it gets even better?!"

All in all, I still feel richly blessed to even have this opportunity. Love it!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Summer at the ball park!

This summer I am going to spend lots of time at the ball park. It will be like the old days! My dad would be so proud of me.

Our swim club is hooked up with The Vipers. We get paid to work the games, and the money goes to our swim accounts. Perfect!

Tonight was supposed to be opening night. Instead we are all busy building arks.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Competitve Swimming X 2

Tonight was Peirce's last night of swimming. The end it all with a fun meet, and a hot dog pot luck. Lots of fun!

They have "graduated" Peirce on to competitive swimming. I think it will be really good for him. He is going to love it. I will take a deep breath and focus on the fact that it is really good for him. This means that I'll be at the pool on Monday after school for Jill, Tuesday mornings for Jill, after school Tuesday for Peirce, after school Wednesday for Jill, after school Thursday for Peirce, after school Friday for Jill and Peirce, and on Saturdays for Jill. Oh my!! That is six days a week, and twice on Tuesdays.

...and some wonder why we don't do meets on Sunday. Eeeesh!

I'm thinking I should get a membership to the pool and exercise while they're swimming.

I'll think about it.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Best of times, worst of times

Best part of today: getting my hair cut! Feels so much better!

Another best part of today: listening to my daughter's delight in seeing a need and organizing her BeeHive presidency friends to do something to show love to a girl in need......love seeing her learn the joy of service

Another best part: an amazing salad with tuna and fried red pepper hummus dressing for lunch. Yum!

Worst part of today: helping/making Peirce clean his room. Why do boys collect such junk?! I think we could work on that room every day for a week. Ugh!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Happy Victoria Day

We hoped to go to the parade in High River today like we did last year on the May Long Weekend, but there was too much rain so we decided not to go. We did get a good visit in with Nathan and Becky and all though, so it ended up being a great day. We just don't get to spend enough time with them! I think we will have to figure out a way to change that.

Today I signed up on DailyMile.com. I am very excited about it! I went for a walk today despite the rain....and I was so glad I went. It was really great. I am looking forward to doing it tomorrow so that I can report on the website!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Saturday Night at Safeway

Jill and I have the funniest experiences at Safeway.

Last week we were there in Saturday night for Hagn Daz ice cream (Girls Club!) Behind us in line were these loud obnoxious men. They were arguing about something. One would declare that he knew it because he's from Newfoundland. I think they was an alcohol factor too. The cashier turned to us and said in a sort if joking way, "Don't leave me!"

Then last night we were there getting Robaxacet for Allen (did you know they lock that stuff up at night??? Luckily Jll has a skinny arm and can get behind the barriers though!) LOL When we entered the pharmacy area a lady dressed in some cultural specific clothes with a heavy accent (maybe African? Not sure) came up to us and asked if we coukd help her. She wanted a pregnancy test but didn't know what they we're called or how to find them. So we helped her find them. Then she told me she didn't know how to use it and could I show her. No problem (I am actually a pregnancy test expert!) So she went and paid and we paid and then I opened the box for her and showed her exactly how to do it and explained that she should do it in the morning, how to most easily pee on the strip without making a mess, etc. Quite an education for Jill! LOL She was quite wide eyed and attentive the whole time. :)

The lady said she wants to be pregnant. She has two boys already and really wants another.

We wished her luck and off we went. She really was a nice woman.

Just seemed like a rather personal experience. I suppose though if I were in another country I would need a little help too.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pippi Longstocking

This next week is our second book club meeting at school. We are going to discuss Pippi Longstocking. I finished reading it today. It was funny to listen to the kids in my class talk about this book here and there. They really seemed to like it, and they really like Pippi. She is kind of a kid's hero who seems to be living the dream. All those braggadocios things kids like to say are realized in Pippi. It's entertaining to read it as an adult and hear how my kids in Gr. 2 eat it up. Really looking forward to discussing this book!

Way to go Jill!

So proud of our Jill. Please forgive me while I indulge myself in a little "Jill is amazing" talk.

This week she came home and told us about a great day in gym and with a test.

In gym they had a beep test. I guess they have to run lines, and this thing beeps, and the point is they end up doing it faster and faster until they can't keep up. When she did it this week she was the fastest girl, and 3rd fastest in her class. That is really something because when she was 3 and 4 and 5, and on until....well, for quite a while, we wondered if she would ever resemble any type of athlete. We put her in soccer when she was about 6 or 7 and it was a brutal experience. I'm not sure she even kicked the ball in a game. Seriously.

Then in about Grade 6 she decided she didn't want to do what girls do at recess....walk and talk. They played soccer. She doesn't play soccer this year, but she has really come into her own in sports and athleticism. Gym teachers talk to me about why she should try out for this team or that team. It is bizarre.

Then there is the academics. She has always done well, and she hardly puts in a lick of work. We sometimes have the conversation that goes something like, "you know, if you put in a bit of effort you would be a 90%+ kind of girl." ....which didn't really go too far because she figured honor roll was good enough. She has a friend who is really diligent about studying and this week they had a Humanities test. Jill's mid-term mark was threatening to boot her out of the honor roll, and we weren't very impressed with that - so she decided she would study with her friend. They went to the library after school for an hour before swim practice and made a study guide, then she reviewed it that night. She said when she was writing the exam she couldn't write the answers fast enough and the answers just spewed out of her pen.

We had a big talk about it later. I think we dispelled some of the myths of nerdiness concerns. If you ask me she is anything but nerdy. I told her that if she were to the amazing grades she is capable of one day she could go to University on a scholarship, and swim (and this was the clincher) and when you swim with a university they pay for it! You don't have to go with your parents who have relatives and friends in every city so that hotel costs can be avoided. You stay with the team, and you fly to meets that are far away! It was hilarious to see the wheels turning......I think she was finally converted. Time will tell I suppose!!

That being said, honor roll, or no honor roll, beep test and athletic skills aside, we think she is amazing!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Deep breath.....Life is good!

This is a four day weekend for me. Today is a "school holiday" and Monday is a stat. My kids are off today too for PD days. I have been making plans for things we will do....and it almost makes me giddy! My life has changed so much since going back to teaching. Holidays used to stress me out because the kids would want to do stuff and I always had work to do. I would try to do stuff with them but it would stress me out because I would worry that I should be working. I took my computer with me everywhere. Now I can just plan fun things, and there is no stress!!

It is a wonderful thing when you really live the days on the job, and the days off!!

Ready for lots of fun this weekend! I am soooooo very grateful!!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Are favorites ok?

I often tell each of my children that they are my favorite. Each one is my favorite!

The other day at school one of my darling girls had written a homework sentence for the word 'wonder'. Her sentence was: I wonder why Mrs. Ackroyd is always so nice to me.

When I read her sentence I had to smile, I asked her if she really did wonder, and then I said, "well, that is an east answer! It is because you are my favorite!"

Then later I wondered if I really shouldn't have said that. The truth is they are all my favorites for one reason or another. I should work harder at helping each one of them really feel like they are my favorite.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I feel so blessed to work where I work. Three weeks ago we talked about doing some "service learning" projects. But what to do? Well, now after the fires in Slave Lake we have a focus! We met again today and decided we would see if we could make any connections. We would like to adopt some families. Hopefully they will be families who did not have insurance to cover all their losses. We aren't too fussy about that.

Well, tonight I post something on facebook and within the hour I had four or five threads going on with ideas of who we can help. I feel so blessed to be part of a school that looks for opportunities to teach kids this way.

This is going to be a great experience!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Still Walking

I am still doing it every day. However, I have slipped into the dangerous habit of waiting until the evening to go walking. I really need to switch back to mornings!! This week I even change my route so I go a little further! And, it no longer kills me. Progress!! Maybe one day I really will be a runner!!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Sadness

Allen came home today and the first thing he did was tell me that someone had died.....one of his favorite clients. So sad! His wife was away visiting her mother and when she came home she found him. How sad!! My heart breaks for her. He was close to retirement. His investments had done really well. They invite allen and I for dinner last Christmas.

....it's moments like these that I wish i knew something useful to do for them....but I don't. Well, except for prayer.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Lessons in Service and in Cleaning

Yesterday was a big service project for our ward. Apparently once a year we are supposed to do a major cleaning of the building. We polished all the wood in th chapel (never noticed how much wood is in there before!), we wiped down every metal chair, we cleaned all the windows, inside and out, we wiped down all the baseboards, we wiped down every cupboard in the kitchen, and much much much more.

I have thought about it a lot since then. the church teaches us so many things. I would have never thought to do some of those things! It seemed really quite unnecessary at first - like a make work project. However, as we were doing it I realized how dirty things were, and how amazing it all looked after! Made me re-think the cleaning I do in my house. I have never dine some of those things in my house, and we have lived here 12 year!!! Ugh!! Time to get busy I guess.

I am not sure I coukd ever take on a big spring cleaning like that in my house - but if I could just get in the swing with Fly Lady and really do zone cleaning every day I might come close. Time to do that I think!!

One thing I have also thought a lot about is how it seems to always be the same 10 or 12 families who show up to these things. It took about 3 hours to do the building - well, truth be told, some leaders were there an hour before the rest of us doing some of the more nasty stuff.....so maybe it took 4 hours. I bet it if everyone had shown up we could have done it in an hour. They did have a bit of a scheduling issue. We were to start at 10am, and then the other ward said, "Hey! Wait a minute, we have a primary activity planned! And no, we aren't moving it!" (had to wonder why in the last 3 months that was never noticed in meetings.....oh well!) so maybe some people had planned to come in the morning and when it got changed to afternoon then couldn't. I would think that if I hadn't heard people ranting at the ward party Friday night about how they work full time and only have one day to grocery shop and clean their house.....you're right. stay home. After all, the rest of us usually have more days in our weekend than you do. *sigh* I will stop on that topic.

Anyway, the truth is, I was glad I went. And I am glad I have the opportunity to learn from what originally seemed like a make work project. I have totally changed my mind on that!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Schooled by Gordon Korman

I have had this book on my TBR pile for a while. Lately I have been trying to fit in more time for reading. It is good for my soul...although not so good for my housework routines. Oh well!!

This book is about a boy who lives with his Grandmother named Rain on a kind of hippie commune. Rain falls out of a tree while picking fruit and breaks her hip. While she is in the hospital recovering the boy, Capricorn, gets take by social services to live with a family while Rain recuperates. He experiences many firsts: school, money, friends, TV, and more.

The book is pretty heart warming. It would be a great book to read with teens or pre-teens to talk about bullying, conforming, sticking to your values, and things like that. This book is a lot like Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli but would work better for boys. Star girl is a little too flowery. Capricorn is just plain innocent and inexperienced. The main character is really likable and the things the kids go through in the story, while a little exaggerated, would make for a great discussion with kids on what really matters to them and how they treat people around them. It is a unique writing style too. Every chapter is written from the perspective of another person. Some do repeat, but there are never two chapters in a row from the perspective of the same person.

The ending was a little too corny and simple....but I could live with it. The way they solve the problem though just seemed like they were giving into the things they professed to want to avoid at all costs. Oh well!! So much for idealism.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Endless Steppe

When I was in Grade Six I borrowed a book from my teacher. Memory is a funny thing. I never forgot the title. I only got to read half of it before I had to return it. I remember being totally absorbed in that book. I remember the open area classroom I was in.....I thought it was so strange (and noisy!) If I had to teach in a classroom like that I would hate it! I remember that my teacher was from Bombay, but I can't remember her name. I even remember wondering about what the girl was holding on the cover of the book (turns out it is yarn....which makes sense now!)

Recently I decided I should try to find that book and finish it! Lo and behold I did have the title right!! Tonight I finally got to finish it!

The story is about a Jewish family from Poland who get taken away during the war and sent to Siberia. The story is told from the daughter's perspective. They were quite well off in Poland and live a life of extreme poverty and manual labor in Siberia. They say in the book they're taken to Siberia because they're capitalists, so it must have been a time when communists were taking over Poland. I assumed it was because they were Jewish, but now I think otherwise. Their experiences are truly amazing.

I fund myself reflecting on myself as an 11 year old girl. I probably was amazed by the brutality of it all. I wonder if I knew about the Jewish holocaust back then? I probably really related to the sadness and wonder of this young girl's experience. I was probably amazed at their resilience. I wondered why, after all these years, I always remembered the title of that book.

Maybe it is because I was really ticked off at my teacher for not letting me finish that book. Glad I finally did!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Slave Labor



This house has been cleaned by unpaid child labor! ....and we're proud of it :)



Actually, this has been one of the hardest things for me since teaching full time - figuring out how to still fit in all the things that have to be done at home. The truth is, I can't fit it all in. I need help. Figuring out how to get these kids in gear to be helpers has been a process....but I think we're finally getting it! I have found if I can get them to do two chores a day it makes all the difference. The trick is making sure they do it! Maybe, just maybe one day this will come naturally. One thing I do know for sure is that for a lot of years they haven't had to do a lot around here.


Times are a changing baby!

Supervision is not for Wimps

Wednesday is my day for Supervision. I have decided that supervision is not for wimps! Here in a rundown of how lunch recess went today:

(names have been changed to protect the guilty)

* walk way down to the corner of the field to see what the small group of kids is huddled around doing (turns out they found a jackpot of ladybugs)
* "Mrs. Ackroyd our ball went over the fence" (go get the ball)
* Walk around with the kid who is too timid to ask to play with anyone. Find her someone to play with.
* "Mrs. Ackroyd Joseph is stuck on top of the monkey bars" Help Joseph get down (turned out he was too scared to move)
* "Mrs. Ackroyd, our ball went over the fence again." (go get the ball again)
* "Mrs. Ackroyd those kids keep throwing rocks and putting rock on the slide!" Go remind those kids that what belongs on the ground stays on the ground.
* "Mrs. Ackroyd my stuffy is stuck on the tether ball pole." Go figure out how to get the stuffy down ( and wonder how the heck they did that) and finally find a kid who can climb the pole.
* "Mrs. Ackroyd our ball went over the fence again. We are really sorry!" Go get the ball again.
* "Mrs. Ackroyd, Jason is hurt." Rush over to Jason. Ask him what happened. "I got kicked in the balls." (Note to self, next time just try to get the kid to stand up and change question to 'Are you okay?')
* "Mrs. Ackroyd, the wind blew the gate to the courtyard shut and we can't get back in." Go open the gate. Put a pylon in front of the gate so that it can't blow it shut again.
* "Mrs. Ackroyd Romeo keeps trying to kiss everyone." Go talk to Romeo and remind him that there's no kissing at school. "But I'm not really kissing them." Talk to him about how pretending you're going to kiss them makes people uncomfortable.
* Tell Tarzan he shouldn't be climbing on outside of the play structure

RIIIIINNNNNGGGGG!!!!

Most kids make a mad dash to line up
rustle up the stragglers who didn't hear the bell again

Pick up 7 coats that were forgotten. Get someone to take them to the Lost and Found.

Realize I never peed. It is a long time until the end of the day bell! Oh well. I should be fine. (still developing my bladder of steel)

.....sometimes when that bell rings it isn't soon enough!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Back to a Book Club



We started a book club at school today!! Oh how I only wish we had done it sooner. It was so fun. There is nothing I like more than getting kids excited about reading. The book they chose for the next discussion is Pippi Longstocking!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Day 5

I'm still at it. Walking every day! (Well, except Sundays). Can I keep it up for a month?? Here's hoping!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Generations of Faith and Courage


I come from a good line of women!! This is what I gave my mom for mother's day. The first picture is my mom, then her mom, her mother's mom, and her mother's mother's mom! I love them all for the great legacy they have left me.

What a wonderful Mother's Day weekend I have had! Yesterday and Friday I got to go to Time Out for Women. My mom, sister, niece, cousins, aunt, and even Jill came! It was wonderful. Then today was a great day. I enjoyed breakfast in bed, and the priesthood took over Primary so all the sisters serving in Primary could have a Sunday off. It was lovely!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Time Out and Answered Prayers

I spent last night and all day today listening to speakers talk about women's lives, God, becoming, and more. It was a great day getting my bucket filled. While sitting there I suddenly realized I had had a prayer answered yesterday. It was interesting to me that it was after sitting through hours of talks and feeling amazingly enlightened and spiritually fed that the thought suddenly struck me. I wondered if I would have even come to that realization if I hadn't had so much time for thoughtful reflection. It also made me think I need to spend more time studying and pondering. But that would be a third goal in only one week: daily blogging, daily exercise, and better scripture study.....is it too much to expect of myself?? you know what they say: focus on one thing at a time. But then again, maybe there is a snowball effect. Not sure. What I do know is that I want to have the feeling I had today more often.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Two Days In a Row!

I have two goals right now actually.




One is to blog every day. The other is to exercise every day. Well, six days a week.


So far I've done it two days in a row.




I think I found a secret to help make it happen. If I have my exercise clothes out for the morning, then I put them on and go do it. If not, for some reason, I seem to be able to convince myself I don't have time, or it's too cold, or whatever the excuse of the day is.


I have been reading a book at school called The Dog Days of Charlotte Hays. It's about a girl who isn't a dog-lover but has a dog. Her mother has a baby and has post-partum depression. Charlotte is always commenting on how she wishes her mom would put her runners on like she used and go for a run because she just isn't as happy as she used to be. Now that I'm a work out of the house type mom I have found that I need exercise more than ever. It helps me be happier. Reading this book has been the little nudge I've needed to finally decide to get at it. I don't want my kids feeling like I'm always tired and a grump. It also helps me feel like I have something I'm doing that's just for me.




Here's to exercise!!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Kids These Days!

Funny conversation at school today:



While walking back to my classroom I pulled out my phone to check a text message.




A student walking along beside me says, "Hey! I know that kind of phone!"


I reply, joking, "Cool! Do you have one like this?"




Student (who is 8 years old by the way) says, "No. I have a blackberry."

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Math is Making Me Crazy

Well, Peirce's experience with math is actually what is making me crazy. I have to ask: Why the he'll has no one taught this kid to borrow or carry over??

Tonight he brought home 3 pages of two and three digit addition and subtraction. In his mind he has to be able to just look at it and know how to do it. I had to talk him into trusting me and zipping his lip about how he isn't allowed to do it my way for a bit to see if it might make any sense for him. It didn't take long until he was flying through the questions (well, except for the fact that he gets distracted by every shift of wind....sometimes I think he has the attention span of a gnat!)

It probably isn't good to be a teacher and a parent....particularly when I feel like someone is needlessly messing with My kid (or not sharing key info to help achieve success). Tonight I sat here and finally realized I had to stroke his ego all along the way. Every time he added or subtracted something I would have to add in there, "you are so amazing" "perfect!" "you are really getting the hang of it now" "you are becoming a math whiz" and on and on and on. He is so frustrated in math that basically he gives up before he had even started. I think the whole idea of how you need to give three positives for every negative means that I have a lot of work to do to make up for all the negative talk he has running through his head about math.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

New Goal....and a new beginning in politics

Every day I enjoy reading a post by one if my favorite people: Jeni She has inspired me to be a better blogger. I am going to try to post every day.

So, to start off, just a bit about the election.

The opposition, namely Mr. Ignatiaff, forced an election. It didn't work out too well for him as the minority government at the time now has a majority and Mr. Ignatiaff's party has been reduced to rubble. Couldn't happen to a finer bunch if you ask me. They did the same thing in September 2009 and took a beating, and yesterday Mr. Ignatiaff lost his seat. Today he announced he would resign. Perhaps he will go back to the USA. He didn't make that announcement, of course.

Did you know that this was the first time since Confederation that the Liberals were not one of the top two parties in power? Yup. The winds of change certainly are blowing.

So the NDP are now the official opposition. It will be interesting to watch how they do. They are a pack full of people with very little experience in politics. My favorite is the woman in Quebec who was working as a manager of a bar at a University. She campaigned in a riding she doesn't live in and has hardly visited. Her French, apparently, is questionable. Oh, and she spent a week in Las Vegas during the campaign. And she got elected!! I say, hey, way to go! LOL

I am happy with a conservative majority. A minority government prove to be unable to move on weight matters but instead played games and jockeyed for position too much. Looking forward to seeing what the Conservatives can accomplish and hoping they don't disappoint!