Sunday, 31 July 2011

God's Minions

Today in Sharing Time I had the children share their favorite scripture story or something they have learned from the scriptures. It was so great to hear them share. My favorite was one who shared the story of Ammon. It went something like this:

"and so he cut off all the robbers arms - so the king said, "Whoa! are you God or something" and Ammon said, "No, but I am one of his minions....."

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Out For a Spin

After the BBQ today Allen and the kids went to the church to clean. Our previous Bishop is a motorcycle guy and he gave the kids a ride on his motorbike! Oh the things that happen when the mother isn't around!

Here's Jill getting ready for a spin!



Davidson's Annual BBQ

Every year our friends, Mike and Chelle, have a big BBQ party. It's lots of fun. They live out in the country and they treat all the kids to wagon rides behind the tractor, horse rides, a bouncy house, and a big big bigger than you can believe bon-fire. Lots of fun!

This year even Peirce rode a horse! He said to me that at first it was no big deal, but the more he did it the more he got addicted to it. Now he loves riding a horse!

I'm just sorry I missed it! I was at another Vipers game.

Destiny

Do you ever have times where you are for some reason just sent back and memories are at the forefront? For some reason I felt that way. This morning I got up and put on my necklace that I have't worn for a while. We went to a movie and there were parts of the movie where I was almost brought to tears with memories of pregnancy and of Destiny. (But the movie was Smurfs....so I couldn't get too emotional...it was Smurfs after all!) LOL Then someone posted this thought on Facebook:

"Sometimes," said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." (A. A. Milne)

.....so true.
So very true.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Girls Camp

What a great time! Here are some pictures from Jill's Girl's Camp. We have the greatest group of girls in our ward. They're all great....and they get along famously :)

















Out of My Mind (by Sharon M Draper)

This book is one that I just couldn't stop reading. Luckily today was a day where I could just keep on reading. I cried. I laughed out loud. I held my breath. I would jump ahead because I could hardly stand the anticipation, and then go back and carefully read what I missed. And when it was all over I just sat there and stared off into space as I slowly shook off the story and surfaced back into
reality.

This is a great book!

The story is about a girl who has cerebral palsy. The center of the story is when she is in Grade 5. It tells what happens prior to Gr 5...and then picks up from there where the central character, Melody, is.

Fifth grade is probably pretty rocky for lots of kids. Homework. Never being quite sure if you're cool enough. Clothes. Parents. Wanting ot play with toys and wanting to be grown up all at the same time. Underarm order.

And Melody is right there. Only we would have never known if she hadn't discovered Elvira - a computer that helps her communicate. Prior to that she couldn't at all. Even though no one knew it (well, her parents knew it) she had a lot going on in her head and Elvira helps her show others what she knows. She's not just smart, she's brilliant.

There were so many places in this book where I turned down the corner of the page (my apologies to the librarians) so I could remember that bit of the story.

This book is an amazing insight into the life and mind of a disabled person. I plan to never be the same as a result of reading it!

Some of my favorite parts:

  • Chapter 7 - I love Melody's mom and how she tells off the teacher. Idiot teacher! Teachers are supposed to have a special vision and see children's potential. That teacher was a dough-head.
  • Chapter 11 - Melody gives amazing insight into how badly she would like to communicate. She knows words. She understands - she just can't say them. I love her description of Garfield and how she wishes she could have balloons above her head.
  • Chapter 15 when she tells her parents for the first time with words, that she loves them. I wanted to put the book down and cry with the ugly face! So heartwarming!
  • Chapter 19 where Melody prepares responses for people who ask what is wrong with her (she has a hilarious sense of humor). For those who are genuinely concerned she says, "I have spastic bilateral quadriplegia, also known as cerebal palsy. It limits my body, but not my mind."  And for the snotty people she runs into she prepared, "We all have disabilities. What's yours?"
  • Chapter 21 where she makes the team.....I wanted to jump up and shout! I thought my heart would explode. It reminded me of times when I've watched Jill race and succeed. I just love her so much I ache to see her succeed and be happy. The author of this book does an amazing job of helping you feel that way about Melody. And then, Chapter 33, when things don't go that well, you just wish you could fix it, rewind life, run away - but you can't. And all the heartache is part of growing up. It makes them the amazing people they are....but it kills you to see them go through the heartache. That's what happens in this book.
I read this book while the kids were at Park and Play. I hung around in case they needed anything. At the pool I was sitting in the awful viewing area where there's no air conditioning. It was horridly hot - but I couldn't move. I had to keep reading.

Seriously. You've got to read this book.The author has a great website with a Q&A section. It's well worth checking out. Apparently the author is a teacher. No wonder she had the school aspects of this book so bang on. Beautiful!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

What are you reading?

The average book club member reads 36 books per year. Only 12 of those are book club selections. (The average American reads 5 books per year.)

(Interesting facts from Book Movement: http://www.bookmovement.com/info/about.php)

This summer I planned to do a ton of reading. While I have done a fair bit, I don't think I am really taking advantage of my free time this summer enough. Time to get reading a heck of a lot more (and less iPad!)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Discovering new books

I used to go to the library and scan the shelves. I rarely do that anymore. I usually go straight to the hold shelf and grab the ones there waiting for me. Thanks to my Gogle Reader I peruse my favorite blogs each day (many of which are about books) and get book recommendations that way.

That is how I found out Melanie Watt has a new book! It is so cute. I think I might read it to my students on the first day of school.


When I signed it out the librarian sad, "oh! Melanie Watt's new book! I Got to hear her speak once. I always enjoyed her books but now, after hearing her speak, I love them!"

...and then by strange coincidence. Ran into an interview with Melanie Watt on a blog. You can read it here.

I would love to hear her speak!

Monday, 25 July 2011

My Flower Child

I love this picture of Jill. We took it when we went to Taylor's party.

It's so Jill....dancing in the flowers. Totally Jillish!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Happy Birthday Taylor!

One day road trip! Allen does this kind of thing all the time, but I am not a big fan of it....but I decided what the heck, it is summer.

Today was my niece Taylor's birthday so after church we headed off to Sparwood. It is about a three hour drive. The kids and I went and we had a great time. It was a surprise party for Taylor and she was really surprised! It is always so fun when it works out like that.

Then tonight we drove home. Tomorrow Jill has girl's camp, so we had to get home. I had some Beaver Buzz to keep me awake. Unfortunately the beavers are still buzzing around in my head and I cannot get to sleep. Tomorrow is going to be interesting,





Saturday, 23 July 2011

Go Stamps Go!

Tonight I worked my first Stampeders Game. It is all a part of the swim club fundraising. I had an amazing twist of fate with being paired up with Brenda Winkler! I knew her from my stake where I grew up in BC. She later moved to Calgary around when I did and we hung out prior to getting married. I probably hadn't seen her for 20 years. And then tonight we were paired up at a cash register at the game. It was really fun to catch up with her!

I have to say that a football game has a totally different atmosphere than a baseball game. It was a real party atmosphere! And the fun never ended. There were always people in line. I was astounded at how busy it was. But then again, being busy is better than standing around, that is for sure!

Anyway, it was a good time. Looking forward to doing it again!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Preparing for Adulthood

It was a week ago that we had the meeting about scouting. I have thought a lot about that meeting and a lot about the things Allen has told me about Helaman's Encampment. I read a blog today by someone we got to know when we were in 3rd ward in the West Stake in Calgary. He brought up a great point about these boys. Boys that are scouting age are the boys that have gone to war in the past. I just can't imagine. Gives a new perspective on how important it is to teach our boys to be men. His blog post is here. I thought it was terrific.

It's interesting to me to watch how my kids respond to things we're trying to teach them. One of our topics recently is speaking respectfully to each other. Life is so good when that's how the conversations in our house are....and so frustrating when they're not. I think they're starting to get it though.

The other thing we're working on is helping around the house. My kids have chores to do each day and usually they need to be reminded. Tonight Jill wanted to go swimming but hadn't done her chores for yesterday or today so I told her they had to be done before we left. Her friends were already at the pool so she was very motivated. I couldn't believe how quick she could do it! LOL If only they would just do it that quick on their own. We'll keep working on it!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Baby It's Hot Outside!

Today was the hottest day so far this summer.

I decided it was a good time to hang out in the basement and get some sewing done.

A few months ago Allen and Jill went shopping and bought some dresses. A few were way too long. Today i hemmed the last one. I didn't want to just shorten it from the bottom so I took the skirt off and cut inches off there. Now all three panels are about the same length. When I had it hemmed Jill asked if I could sew some straps on it....we got fooling around with it and ended up making not only straps, but little capped sleeves. It turned out quite cute! A great summer dress.

I also got a bunch of really nice blouses from someone on Freecycle recently. They all had long sleeves. I am not a fan of long sleeves, and most of these were a little too short so
I cut them off and made short sleeves. Love them now!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

War Wounds

Yesterday we did a bunch of housework and yard work. Definitely a day of trials for our children. Pierce was raking and got a sliver in his hand. Oh the weeping and wailing!! You would have thought the world was coming to an end.

This morning as we were leaving for church I asked him how the "wound" was.

He said, "Oh it's fine. I am going to tell the ladies it was from a shark bite though."

Oh brother!!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Date Night at Box Wood Cafe

Usually we have some time during the week when we take the calender off the fridge and make sure we're all understanding what is going on in the week. When we did that this week I told Allen we'd be going on a date on Friday. He joked, "Oh good....grocery shopping together."

Sadly, our date nights are often like that. We don't do it too often because life is just too busy. By Fridays we're dead tired, and usually Saturday is packed with more to do than we can do, so we opt to rest and get ready for the craziness of Saturday. However, this week seemed like the perfect time to get ourselves out of the house together to do something with each other!

This is Stampede Week, and judging from the attendance at the Vipers Game on Thursday, not much else happens in this city besides Stampede! So it took some thinking to decide what we'd do. Actually, I put a post on Facebook for suggestions for our datenight. We decided to go with dinner out at the Boxwood Cafe. What a great place! I had actually driven by their earlier this month and made a mental note to tell Allen about it. It looked like an interesting place. Turns out it is owned by the same people who own The River Cafe another amazing place in Calgary!

I had Quinoa Salad with Cucumber, Roasted Peppers & Feta , and Spiced Almonds & Pecans with Citrus & Rosemary....and they were both so delicious!! Loved loved loved it! Allen had lamb with some kind of sauce on it, and a lentil soup. I was amazed at how our serving sizes weren't that big, but we were totally satisfied by the end of it all. Truthfully, I found myself eating slowly and wanting to savor the amazing tastes.

They try to serve food produced and sold around Calgary....I love that too. They even had Broxburn cucumbers from Broxburn farm! The menu even says: To reduce our carbon footprint, we offer water that is filtered onsite. Still water is complimentary, and unlimited sparkling water is available at a small charge of $2 per guest. Thank you for supporting our efforts.

It was a refreshing change from those places where all the girls wear black revealing clothes and all kind of look the same.

Definitely recommend Box Wood!! Thank you Lynn Ursenbach for the recommendation!



After that we drove around and looked at beautiful houses around Elbow Drive....another favorite past time of ours!

All in all, a great night!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Art of Racing in The Rain

On Saturday when we were driving to and from Lethbridge I listened to a book on CD. I don't listen to books on CD very much. I don't seen to have a long enough time span where I can focus on it, and as a result, I lose track of the story. I always thought it was because I am not much of a auditory learner, but I seemed to do okay with this one. I'm starting to think that the issue is having the time to focus on it. It gives me hope! It has been killing me since Saturday to not be able to finish it. Truthfully, I read a bunch of it yesterday when we were at Chapters for the Harry Potter Party.....I went and found the book and stood there for an hour or so reading. I was so sorry when the kids were ready to go!

Part of the reason I was able to enjoy this one might have been that it was a great story. I was reading it for the online book club that I'm a part of (and hardly ever participate in).

One thing I really enjoyed about this book is that it is told from the family dog's perspective. His name is Enzo. Great dog! While I was listening I found myself looking at, and thinking about Chico a little differently. I wondered how much he understands and what he would say to me if he could put the words together.

I loved the ending for this book too. Enzo didn't disappoint :)

Calgary Stampede

I'll admit it. I'm not much of a Stampede fan. Like I said before, I usually I do my best to make sure we're out of town when it happens. My kids though seem to have an insatiable curiousity for the Stampede. This year we skipped the parade. It was so much more fun when the fund companies used to give Allen bleacher tickets. We would get up at a normal time, go downtown, and saunter down to our spot on the bleachers where someone would bring us breakfast...now those were the days. They haven't done that for the past few years (something about sub prime mortgage crisis and all that) so the first year they didn't I went downtown at 6 am to save us a spot. I was horrified to see all the people there. It wasn't easy to find a place. I wasn't that interested in doing that again....so this year we skipped the parade and sold the kids on small town parades.

Jill really wanted to go see her favorite band, Down With Webster. Man, was that an experience!! They were on the Coke Stage. That means no seating - which can work really great. It also means when it's with a bunch of DWW crazed teenagers it can be a little crazy. But we lived to tell the tale.

And here are some photos to prove it! (Thank you Peirce for remembering your camera!)








I have to say though, I love the Stampede bands! We had a lot of fun listening to them tonight too.


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Yee haa!!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Magic of Harry Potter and Stampeding!

Tonight we stopped by Chapters for a Harry Potter party. Peirce wore the Dumbledore costume my mom made a few years ago and won the costume contest! The prize was the last Harry Potter book. His teacher this year read the first one aloud to their class and he has a goal to read them all this summer. Jill also won a prize. She was the first to find the snitch and she won a HP Lego set. Pretty fun to have both of them win something!

This is Stampede week in Calgary. Mostly I avoid all things Stampedish, but one of Jill's favorite bands was playing at the Coke stage. What an experience it was! Jill loved it. Peirce hated it, and I endured it. Nothing like hanging out in the world, the nasty worldliest of worlds, with our kids. *sigh*

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Scouting

Tonight Allen and I went to a meeting about Scouting in our ward. I went as the Primary President since one of my stewardships is Cubs and 11 year old Scouts, and Allen had to be there because he is in the Bishopric.

I was so impressed with everything we discussed. Scouting is, well, can be an amazing program. I am really grateful my son gets to be a part of it, and am especially grateful that we have a Bishop who has a great vision of what Scouting can accomplish.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Park and Play

The new season of Park and Play has begun for us! I am so glad my kids have always loved this program. Today Peirce said to me, "Mom, did you know the leaders get paid to go?? They get paid to have fun!! I'm going o get that job one day!"

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Sunday Parties

Well, the summer fun continues. After church we headed over to Aunt Shirley's to celebrate Ardell's 70th birthday. There was a lot of really nice people there to meet and a great BBQ and salad feast.

After we went over to the Rice's to celebrate Kylan being ordained a deacon. I ran into my old friend Suzanne (Clark) Maucieri. It was so fun to see her again!

Then we stopped by Aunt Colleen's and enjoyed a couple more hours of visiting.

Quite the social life we have!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Car Prayers

Today Peirce and I went to Lethbridge for Dustin Noble's new little baby's baby shower. What a cute little guy that Logan is!

We went down in Allen's car. On the way home at Fort Macleod we ran out of propane. No problem. I switched over to gas....or so I thought. The car kept stalling. I called Allen and we couldn't figure out the problem. I figured out if I didn't touch the gas it would start, so we coasted into Claresholm. Peirce was scared and asking tons of questions non stop driving and me crazy. I finally said: Peirce, how about you stop talking and just pray...and don't stop praying....and wouldn't you know it, that was when we figured out what was wrong. Suddenly the green light for propane came on. Maybe I had hit it twice when I went to shut it off. I don't know. All I know is it took us about an hour to go the 18 km's into Claresholm. It wasn't until Peirce started praying that we saw the light. Maybe we just needed a prayer experience for the kid :)

Friday, 8 July 2011

My Mouthy Kid

One day I am going to spend a day writing down the funny things Peirce says. We hear the funniest things from him. Here are some of my favorites today:


"Mommy, If you want to avoid a lawsuit, I suggest you start thinking about what to make for dinner."

Jill was admiring some purple flowers in the ditches. Peirce said, "I'm not sure why you would like those. I'm pretty sure they've an invasive plant, and what is there to admire about an invasive plant? Nothing if you ask me!"

After talking with a family at Calaway Park: "clearly some parents are blinded by love."
(translation = that was one ugly kid!)

Camping with Cousins

All the Ackroyds love camping. I don't love it - but fortunately they are kind enough to take our kids with them. This year they went to the Kananaskis and had a great time. Here are some of the pictures from Peirce's camera. Well, here are some of them. He took about 800 pictures of rocks and things that I can't figure out what they are. I'll spare you those....I'll just burn those ones on a disc for him. I'm sure they are very important.

















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