Sunday, 30 December 2012


I have decided I need to spend more time focusing on the positives things in my life. Sunday Seven is a great way to do that! Not quite enough time to do 7 right now - but a little bit is better than none, don't you think?!

Forgiveness - I'm acutely aware of my shortcomings and am so glad that God has patience and forgives me

Holidays - Although I get to about this point and feel like it's time to go back to work, I am so grateful for holidays. I still can't believe that they pay me every month and still give me two weeks off. I really do appreciate the rest.

Children - I am so grateful for my kids. We have sure missed Jill this Christmas. She is having a great time at her swim camp in California but we sure will be happy to have her home. It has been fun to have Peirce as an only child through these holidays too. They're both wonderful people!

Allen - I appreciate how much he loves me and wants me to be happy. I admire him as he works through struggles. He is committed to getting better all the time and I love him endlessly!

Come Follow Me

Today at church we learned about the church's new youth curriculum. I was asked to do part of the lesson. It has been quite interesting to read about it. I think they have really created something great. It made me so glad that I get to be a Sunday School teacher. I hope I can do it justice!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas Surprises

This has been a sad Christmas. For years I have felt like a bit of an outsider in my family with some know, that person you're related to, but would really rather not spend time with. Our Christmas plans this year were foiled when we found out at the last minute that what we thought was the plan, wasn't. Well, it was, but it changed and no one clued in that I didn't know.

When the issue was brought up instead of anyone saying, "We are sorry" we got a load of how we aren't that good at being part of the family anyway.

Did I mention I feel like the outsider??....ever wonder why I hesitate to call or visit? I often try to save embarrassment on all sides when people call us at the last minute and say, "Hey! It's New Year's Eve (or whatever the event) and we are all hanging out....where are you?" by responding that we already have plans.....which we generally do. I quit waiting around to get invited as it just makes my kids sad.....they want to join everyone, but we haven't been invited.....and we will no longer go over uninvited. They don't deserve now we go ahead and make our own plans.

Anyway, I have been feeling this for a number of years, and have brought it up a few times, but nothing I have my little cry about it and then I stuff it. This time was rather hurtful though, and instead of what I had hoped the response would be (the "we are sorry you feel this way....let's make a new plan).......instead the onslaught came.

Have you ever had a time where you had a sudden realization that made perfect sense, but was rather hurtful and embarrassing?

Besides the, "oh! We forgot you were coming....we made totally different plans....sorry.....hope you can figure something out for Christmas dinner" it was followed up with the reason I may feel like I do is because I am really not liked.

See. I am not imagining things after all!

When I was flat out told that one person in particular really doesn't like me and hasn't for a long time, suddenly things made a lot of sense. That's why I feel like she is bristly around me. That's why she invites people over, and it would make sense to invite me as well, but doesn't. As a matter of fact, she has made it quite clear that my family and I shouldn't show up uninvited. I'm pretty sure if I told the crowd of people who feels welcome to show up uninvited, they wouldn't believe it. But since we have felt funny about going over there when others say, "Come on over!" Allen has, a couple of times, checked to make sure it is okay. The response was, "Everyone certainly isn't invited!" we don't go.

I always cut them some slack when I felt spurned when interacting with them. I  figured there were just too many people hanging out for too long, or maybe she was going through a tough time. I really never did come to the conclusion that she would act that way because she really just plain old didn't like me. What a doh head!

Oh she's nice to me in the proper circumstances. We've exchanged Christmas presents. She was very kind and generous to me when Destiny died. Some situations people feel obligated to help I suppose. WANTING to spend time with me, though, apparently is a whole different thing.

She talks to me when I approach her. But, come to think of it, she never initiates conversations with me when we cross paths. Perhaps that's why our conversations are kind of awkward and short. I approach her. I ask questions about how things are going in her and ler family's lives. And then I walk away awkwardly.

Perhaps that's why her husband has never speaks to me. I always thought he was just shy. It really explains a lot of things I've noticed, but never gave a name to, and simply gave excuses for. It honestly never occurred to me that she plain old, plain and simple, doesn't like me. I was informed though, that it has been an issue for years - many years.

It kind of leaves me stunned.
And hurt.

I suppose all I can do is be polite. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could be a better person and get her to like me - but today I came to the realization that if I have to work that hard to get someone to like me, is it really worth it? I'm not a terrible person. I would never knowingly do something mean or rude. Come to think of it, there are even a lot of people who like me!

It's a good thing I have plenty of people in my life who do like me and make me feel like I have unique skills and talents and even like to be around me.

It's just a bit of a shocker. I feel a little bit like an idiot to to think I never clued in before this.

I will get up, shake the dust off, and hold my chin high.....and try to not let it bother me when all my family spends time at this persons house.

It's really the only choice.

....but it still makes me sad.

And it makes me sad that whenever I have brought up how I feel left, out nothing changes. No one cares enough to make it change. is what it is. I'm one of those people in the family people don't want to hang out with.

Small Improvements

Last night I volunteered at a hockey game at the Saddledome. The Flames organization has a program where you volunteer in the concessions and the money goes towards sports or school trips. I have done it for about a year off and on at Flames games, Hitmen Games, Stamps games, Roughneck games and concerts. It is a pretty sweet deal.

It has probably been 6 months since I have volunteered at at game at the Saddledome. Last night when I was there I realized I have come a long ways in fitness. There are two long flights of stairs and then about 4 shorter sets of stairs you have to climb up to get to the concessions. When I worked games there before I would get extremely winded going up the stairs. Often I would stop in the bathroom or wander a bit just so I wouldn't be so out of breath when I arrived in the concession. Last night I was late and I hurried up the stairs. Actually, I ran. Then I went straight to the concession. I was breathing a little heavy, but nothing embarrassing or worth going to hide for a few minutes to compose myself.

This was a great moment for me! I AM getting better! It motivates me to continue on.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas 2012

Life seems to run full speed around here. I have now been off work for a week, Christms has come and gone, and it feels like the dust is starting to settle.

This has been a diffent year for us because Jill hasn't been home for Christmas. If anyone would have told me that would happen when I had a 14 year old I would have never believed them. She is gone on an away swim camp in La Jolla, CA. She is having lots of fun and they are working her hard: two swim workouts a day and two dry land workouts. And the workouts are tough ones! She is a tough kid though. Christmas has been much quieter without her. We really miss her.

We spend Christmas Eve with Nathan and Becky and their kids. Every time we hang out with them I think that we should do more of that. I sure enjoy them.

Christmas morning came early. We mentioned to Peirce that it would be nice if he slept until 6 am. So at 6:01, there he was. Merry Christmas! We opened gifts, had waffles made with my new waffle iron, and then went to a movie! It was a very relaxing and lovely day.

On Boxing Day we went to my mom's house and visited. We had dinner with Aunt Shirley and her husband, and my mom's friend, Marion. Later My cousin, Brad and his wife, Jill, and Uncle Clifford came over to visit as well. It is always nice to see them.

Today feels like the nothing day.....I should be cleaning and organizing and sewing....but maybe one more day of laziness isn't so bad. I have a long list of things I wanted to do over the break, so tomorrow I will have to get busy. Until then, I am sure enjoying the rest!!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Saturday, 1 December 2012


Have you ever had one of those moments where you're in the middle of living and it all suddenly comes to a screeching halt and you stop and wonder, is this real??

The past two days we've had PD days. A teacher that I really admire was talking about her class. She has a bunch of real crackers in her class. They're quick and smart and catch on to everything quickly. She said that when one or two are finished she stops the activity and moves on to something else (she gives them flexible time later to finish things up). Why does she do this? Because, in her words, she can't just have them sit and read quietly. That's such a waste of time.


Do you really feel that way??

My heart was aching in that moment.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

How do you find time to read?

The other day, in the staff room, we were talking about a book and someone asked, "How do you find time to read?" Some agreed with the question. Some scoffed at the comment and added, "Ya. How is it you have a life outside of work?"

I wanted to start on my rant about how we're educators. How is it we can NOT read if we're expecting kids to read?? I didn't though. That never really helps.

The truth is, perhaps it has nothing to do with being an educator. I have always somehow found time to read. I don't do all these things all the time, but I guess I do enough because somehow it always ends up that I read a book or two or three a month.

So, to answer the question: How do you find time to read?

  • I read a lot as a kid. I remember we'd go to town when we lived out in the country. We'd stop at the library first and get a stack of books. Then my mom would run around and do her errands. I'd sit in the truck and read (I have no clue what my brother and sister did....I was totally distracted by books). After errands were finished, we'd go back to the library, return those books, and get some more to take home.
  • If I haven't read it, I likely have read about it and can converse about it. I have a lot of memories reading in school. In elementary school, I was a big Nancy Drew fan. In high school, I wasn't a big fan of required reading. As a matter of fact, I rarely read those books. Cliff notes sufficed. I hated being told what to read. I guess I have always been a big fan of choice.
  • When I was in University, I found little snippets of time to read. I'd read on the bus. I kept a book with me at all times so that when I was waiting, I could read. When I was early to class, I'd spend a few minutes reading.  Although I spent a lot of time being frustrated that I didn't have more time for pleasure reading, I did find ways to sneak it in.
  • When I worked at the airport for Pacific Western, I'd read at the gate while waiting for a plane. Sometimes, when I started work at 5:00 am and the first flights weren't until 7:30 am (those were before the days of crazy security requirements that had people at the airport 2 hours prior to flights....instead they showed up within the hour), I sat and read while alone at the check in counter. 
  • When I first had babies I read while I was nursing. There was a lot of reading that got done then! I can definitely nurse with one hand and read with the other hand. When they were older, I read when we went to the park. I read while they played in the yard. I read while I waited for them at swimming lessons and dance lessons and gymnastics. I read a lot back then!
  • I read when I wake up. I am committed to reading The Book of Mormon every day. I usually roll over, grab my iPad, and read off my Ipad. I make myself do that before I check Facebook. Funny how we have to play those games with ourselves. I teach a Sunday School class to 14-17 year olds though, and I can't fake it very well in front of them - so I have to read the reading for the lesson each week.
  • I often read when I'm eating breakfast. No one else is up, or at least no one else is in the kitchen - so I sit at the table and read while I eat.
  • I spend a lot of time waiting for my kids at the pool. I read while I wait. I used to sit and talk with the other parents. Sometimes I still do - but I found a lot of the conversations often led down a path of negativity - so I'm careful about the time I sit around chatting. I read instead.
  • Our school has DEAR time (drop everything and read). I read during DEAR time.
  • I have a motto in life: Always bring a book. I keep a book with me all the time so that when I have those unexpected waits at the doctor or at a meeting or waiting for a ride or waiting for a kid, I can read. About a month ago, we all got in the car to go watch Conference. My husband suddenly came up with the idea that we should drive to Banff to watch it (and he would!) I had a sudden sense of panic. I didn't have a book!
  • Although, I don't want to totally recommend it, I do read while doing other things. Sometimes I read while vacuuming. It makes the job take way longer, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do!
  • I usually read before I go to bed. Although lately, I find I go to bed and within 5 minutes I realize I've just closed my eyes for 10 minutes or so and end up putting the book away.
  • Sometimes we have reading dinners. I'll tell the kids to bring a book to the table, and we all read our own book (I know. Miss Manners would be horrified)
  • I read for recreation. That means sometimes on a Sunday afternoon I'll read for 3 or 4 hours. You can get a lot of reading done if you read for 3 or 4 hours straight.
  • I read on Friday nights with my kids, especially if Allen is out on appointments. I invite them to come into my room, snuggle up in the bed, and we all have our own book.
  • I read with Peirce before he goes to bed. I don't do it as much as I'd like to - but we try to do it quite often. Sometimes Jill and I read the same book. We should do that more.
Things I don't do:
  • I don't really watch TV. I'm going to cancel cable one of these days too. We just don't use it. Don't bother telling me about the latest show everyone is into. I have nothing for those conversations. I'm okay with that.
  • I don't sit around much. If I do, I usually grab a book.
  • I don't shop for recreation or spend time wandering malls (painful!)
  • I do crafts (although I like them!) or sew (although I'd like to!)
  • I don't clean much house as much as I should (I'm sure my mother is horrified, and my grandmother rolls over in her grave now and then)
What inspires me to read:
  • I love it. I always have.
  • I love discussing books with other people.
  • I read blogs about books and that's how I find great books to read
  • I want my kids to be readers
  • I believe reading is important
  • I want my students' truly develop a love of reading

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Student Letters

Every week my student's write a letter to one student (the Star Student for the week). Here's one of my recent favorites from a boy in the class:

Dear ____:

You are a good girl. I think about you as a good friend. I hope you have lots of friends. I hope you get taller when you get older. You are a silly, funny and creative girl. You are a cool cat. You are also a fun girl. You ask a lot of questions.


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Remembrance Day

We have a budding artist in our house! I'm really happy with how excited Peirce is lately about things going on in his classroom. I attribute his enthusiasm to a teacher with a great attitude. It's a great thing to see as a parent.

They had a contest for Remembrance Day. This was Peirce's contribution. He found a picture on a blog and made his own version using charcoal, pastels and pencil.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Reading Heroes

This past weekend I enjoyed the long awaited treat of being able to attend the Kaleidoscope Conference. It was as good as I hoped it would be. I left inspired. I also left with a long list of books I'd like to read soon!

One of the speakers I listened to was a man named David Bouchard. He is a former teacher, a writer, and a Metis. He had a lot of little lists of things to remember (how to raise a reader: Read to them, Rule the TV, and reach into your pocket and buy books). One of the other things he talked about was how it just takes one book to get a kid hooked on reading and you have to work hard to keep providing them with great books so that they do get hooked. He also talked about how kids need reading heroes - someone who inspires them to read and love reading.

Today at school I did reading fluency assessments with my class. I took the time to ask almost every one of them if they like to read, and what they like to read. It was interesting to me that when I asked them about what their favorite author was, or what their favorite chapter book was, many of them said their favorite author is Roald Dahl, and their favorite chapter books are The Witches and The Twits.

We are reading The Witches in class, and The Twits is the book we picked for Grade three book club this month. It made me stop and think for a moment. Maybe I really am doing it?! Maybe these kids are becoming addicted to reading thanks to things I have chosen to do with them.

I hope so! The conference this past weekend really reminded me how important reading is, and helped me recommit to spreading the love of reading to others. It's nice to get such positive feedback so soon after recommitting to the great cause of reading!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Remembering Destiny

I work with the greatest people. One of my co-workers brought me this today to remember Destiny because today was the day she was delivered.

I told her my bucket was full....and it caused my eyes to leak  So kind!!

I did pretty good today until she brought me the flower.

Destiny would have been in kindergarten this year. Imagine, we would have had a kindergarten child?! There's a little girl in the class across the hall that has hair like I did when I was that age. I wanted to give her big hugs today.

My little, Destiny.

Love you.

Monday, 5 November 2012


This week Jill gets to go to a leadership conference. The conference is at the zoo and she will be late for swimming if she goes back with the transportation they've provided so tonight we showed her how to use the c-train and the bus to get from there to the pool. She has come a long way! This past summer she started using the bus. She got stranded a few times after getting on the wrong bus and was really stressed about it. Now she is really good at rolling with it.

Peirce on the other hand, is much happier to stay close under my wing. He came with us tonight. When we were walking home it was dark and he hung on to me pretty tight. Once, as we walked along, a car right beside us started up. He about jumped out of his skin! I'll miss these times. It won't be long until he's too cool to show any fear. I enjoy having him as my little boy still!

Saturday, 3 November 2012


I read a hilarious blog on the rules of Halloween. My family could have written those rules. They live by those rules! They don't know about the extra mask idea though. I wonder if I should bring it up.

Halloween was a lot of fun this year. Peirce invited his friend, Anthony, to go trick or treating. With Anthony comes his sister. They always have a great time. Jill's getting too old, but somehow she still managed to go trick or treating. Allen takes them out and I stay home and hand out candy. We had more trick or treaters this year than we have ever had. I think it was partially because it was really cold. Some parents drove their kids around to people they knew - so I got to see more of our little friends. It was quite fun. I'm always a bit of a party pooper leading up to Halloween - but the night of Halloween is always a good time.

Now, what are we going to do with all this candy??!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Why I Love Walking

This month I have walked over 60 km. This astounds me!! I have been able to continue through the start of winter and hope to continue all winter long. By Spring I'd like to be doing some running.

Why do I love it? Solitude! I love being along for a time. An hour is about perfect. Sometimes I'm alone at home. Sometimes I'm alone at school. But there are always things to do there. I get very caught up in to do lists. I need that time where I have to abandon being productive and just move.

Left. Right. Left Right.

When I'm walking there's comfort in the repetitiveness of it all. Just me. Just my thoughts. There is nothing like it and I'm starting to realize how much I need this time.

I think of how my day was.
I think of ideas for tomorrow
I think of ways to help kids.
I think of the people I work with.
And I'm so grateful.

I think of my family.
I think of things they want to happen.
I pray for them.

I think of scriptures I have memorized.
I think of scriptures I should memorize.
I think of my upcoming Sunday School lesson.
I pause on the blessings of the gospel.

I think of books I've read.
I think of books I want to read.

I feel so richly blessed
And so grateful.

Sometimes it brings me to tears.

And by the time I arrive at home
I'm ready for life again.

I never ever fathomed it could be so great. It really is.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Class President

Jill's school has been having student council elections. She ran for Gr. 9 class president. She always amazes me. I was too intimidated to do things like that when I was in High School. Not Jill. She takes it all in stride. We heard a fair bit about it leading up to the election. Her big promise: abolish passé composé! LOL

The election was on Monday. I asked Monday how it went. She said she thought it went well but they wouldn't know the results until Tuesday. On Tuesday I forgot to ask and she didn't say anything until late at night. I was working in the kitchen and she was sitting at the table doing some homework.

"Oh mom, by the way, I won the election."

That was it. You'd think it would be the first thing she said when she got home! Nope. Just a casual, 'yup. I won'.

Now she gets to go to some leadership conference in Edmonton in the Spring.

What a kid!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Teaching: Not For the Faint of Heart

One of my not so smart moves: Today we had The Reptile Guy visit our classroom. He came to drop off his bins in his classroom before lunch and then left for lunch. I decided to peek in one and was met with a snake that was about a foot in diameter!!! OH MY HELL!!! I will never ever not ever look in The Reptile Guy's bins again. No siree.

Hanging With My Boy

Photo: Reading together

I don't do this often enough with Peirce. Tonight we sat and read together for an hour. It was clear that it was a great thing for him. He was all snuggly, and very animated and talkative. Just like when he was little, now and then he has to stand up and act out something from the story. And just like when he was little, he's really into repetition. We read The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl, which we have probably read 3 or 4 times. He has also listened to it on CD a number of times. Since he's listened to it so much he can't help but read it with an English accent. It's really quite funny. He has parts that he loves to read himself, especially the songs. So funny!

We read while sitting under his loft bed (I'm a little afraid I'll crash his loft bed!). I am always amazed at the weird stuff in his room. This is a big bag of elastics, and a suitcase full of cardboard circles (from the flyers for the food drive, paper clips, and big metal clips (binder clips??). Where does he get this stuff??!

Photo: Weird things in my son's room. A huge bag of elastics and a suitcase full of cardboard circles, paper clips and big clips. Where does he get these things?!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Working for Hawaii

Jill is getting geared up to go to a swim camp in Hawaii this December. I'm not sure I'm ready for my 14 year old to NOT be home for Christmas. She, on the other hand, is very excited.

We have been "volunteering" at Stampeders and Dinos games. The money we earn goes to her swimming. I was doing it a while before alone as she wasn't old enough. She is now though!

Photo: PizzA anyone?!

What a cute kid.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


We are on Day 2 of our seminary life....only 8 years to go.

Sunday started with a fireside. Jill was excited and nervous. She got to see who her teacher will be (Michael Murray is his name). She got to see who would be in her class, and she got to hang with friends. They had a number of kids bear their testimony, and then the seminary supervisor and the stake president spoke. Both talks were really terrific. President Thomas talked about how important it was for them to invite and remind their friends to get to seminary. He talked about cows and how when you shoot one in a field the rest hardly even flinch. They look over and basically look like they're saying, "Well, talk to you later." and then they just continue on eating their grass. He said they shouldn't be like that with their friends....when they see them in danger they should all rally and help them return to where they should be.

So, now we leave the house at 6:15. Jill gets dropped off at seminary and I get dropped off at school. Man, do I get a lot done in the mornings (I'm even blogging...see!) Morning swims apparently aren't going to start for a few weeks, so daily seminary it is. It's going to be great!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Last of the Book A Day Challenge

I really should have finished this last week, but I didn't quite get to 58, so I had to keep going. It feels great to have read all these books this summer!

We had a Welcome Back Breakfast this week with all the teachers and staff from all seven schools within FFCA. One of the speakers talked about his most dreaded question: "How was your weekend". He said that when he told his parents he wanted to become a teacher, like them, they took him aside and kindly said, "Son, don't you think you'd be happier being a librarian?" He talked about how his perfect weekend involves reading a few books, or listening to a book on CD. He listens to his colleagues who talk about the wild adventures they have on the weekends. He joked about how they fly to Hawaii, swim with the dolphins, and exciting things like that.

I so relate!! This summer I would have been plenty happy to stay home and read read read all summer long. My children wouldn't be too happy with that though so I do end up on some adventures. I'm always happy to get back to the hotel, or get back home, or sneak away to my room and get in another chapter or two. And the more I do it, the more I enjoy it. Yup. I'm a total nerd. :)

Anyway, here is the last of my list!

53/58 Timeless Thomas
54/58 Ivy and Bean
55/58 How They Croaked
56/58 The Wall
57/58 Mr. Popper's Penguins
58/58 The Forgotten Garden

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Definitely fitter....and maybe thinner too?

I have been limiting my time spent on my relationship with the scale. Today it said I had lost five points. My first thought was, "oh come on, you don't have to be all friendly just because I haven't visited with you this past quit lying to me." I think maybe though, just maybe it wasn't lying. Maybe.

This week I biked or walked every day except one.

Starting to believe it is time well spent!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

This Week's Books

47/58 Secret Chicken Society
48/58 Off To Class
49/58 What Do Teachers Do After You Leave School
50/58 Wandering Wanda
51/58 The Hat
52/58 Penelope Popper Book Doctor

Gratitude Challenge - Aug 22, 2012

I think I'm failing the gratitude challenge. I keep missing days! *sigh*

Oh well. Carrying on!

1. Peirce got to go to Lethbridge and have some Grandma/Peirce time. He has been wanting to do that all summer. So glad it worked out!

2. I got to drive to Lethbridge with my friend, Patti. Nothing like an entire day of visiting! We even did our walk in Lethbridge. :)

3. We got to go to Edmonton to wish Jill a happy birthday! It was such a great visit. Virginia and Andy have been so great to her. A great summer indeed! Jill has really enjoyed being there, but she is also quite looking forward to finally being home. It's kind of nice to have her miss us!

4. Only four more days until school starts. I'm a nerd. I know. I miss it!

5. This summer has been the greatest weather! I heard today it has been the warmest summer in years. Nice!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Gratitude - August 17

1. The Library - I sometimes worry that they'll announce that they have a new tiered system for library fees, and since I'm a super-user, I now get to pay some exorbatant fee to use the library. It is the best $12 I spend all year!! I seriously love the library and I go there many times a week. The other day Peirce was off at a friend's house and my walking buddy and I were talking about how I should spend my day since I wouldn't have any kids at home. What could I do that I can't normally do with kids?? I know!! I could go to the library for the ENTIRE day and read! Bliss!!

2. Sinks that drain - We have had a problem with all the bathroom sinks in our house. I fixed the downstairs one a week or so ago (packed with hair....sick!). Today I fixed the one off our bedroom. It was just gummed up (sick again!) I'm so happy to have a sink that drains properly again! It wasn't an easy feat either. I had to loosen this nut down underneath the sink that was really hard to loosen, take out the stopper, clean it all out, then put it all back together. Phew!! I am pretty sure I got it all back together properly. I will have to pay attention for leaks the next few days just to be sure. I felt so good to get that fixed though. It made me think maybe I should try and do something every day to make my house a better place....hmmm.....can I add to my goals??

Photo: Sink

3. Safety - After the fire yesterday, I'm sure glad that our home was kept safe and that my family is all safe. Poor Peirce was a little traumatized by it all. He had to sleep in our room last night. Hopefully soon he feels comforted and just as safe as I do!

4. Egg McMuffins - I had a coupon for a free one, so this morning I went and got I like free. And I like Egg McMuffins. Yum!

5. Time - I still have a week! I dropped by the school today. I'm not motivated to do that again too soon. It was a bit of a wreck in there. They've been painting, no bulletin boards are on the walls, there is stuff in my room from the hallways, things were all taken out and then put back (in the wrong spots) .....oh there's some work to do! I think I'll wait a bit before I go back in and maybe someone else will get some of that stuff put where it belongs.

Picture Books To End the Week...and a new blog!

I've been thinking for a while to start a new blog and have all my book posts on a separate blog. I decided it's time. It may be a good way for me to organize books by topic so that when I'm doing something where I think, "I swear I read a book that would work for this" I can look it up by topics. I thought about figuring out a way to transfer all the posts here about books - but I'm not sure I even want to start on that venture. It would be a long to do list!

I'll finish off my summer reading challenge list on this blog though, with links to the new blog.

41/58   There Is A Bird On Your Head (Mo Willems)

42/58 We'll Paint the Octopus Red Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen)

43/58 Just a Second (Steve Jenkins)

44/58 Chrysanthemum (Kevin Henkes)

45/58 Brothers At Bat (Audrey Vernick)

46/58 Once Upon A Cool Motorcycle Dude (Kevin O'Malley)

You know, I think I just might make it to 58!!

P.S. My new blog is: You should read...

Thursday, 16 August 2012

House Fire Too Close to Home

This afternoon Peirce and his friends were jumping on the trampoline. They came running into the house yelling, "Mom! The neighbors house is on fire!"

I had been reading and I calmly went to the deck to check it out and was suddenly quite alarmed! They were right!! Huge clouds of black smoke were billowing into the sky. I yelled for Allen and he called 911 while we all ran outside.

This was taken from the end of my driveway:

The wind was blowing our way and so we could really smell it. I had heard some pops earlier that sounded to me like gun fire, but didn't do anything about it (oops!). I'm sure it was the fire. The news says it started in the detatched garage and spread to the house. The houses on each side and the one across the alley all have melted siding now too. So scary!

They said on the news two firemen were hurt when the roof collapsed. A beam fell on them. They were treated at the scene and are apparently okay. It was scary to see all the ambulances and firetrucks and police cars there!

I had to remember what the house number was because I have friends who have a rental just down the street. I called her and it turns out they are away in Nova Scotia. She was a little alarmed and said she'd be sure to call her tenants right away.

Apparently no one was hurt in the fire. I will try to find out who lived there and see how we can help.

A fire broke out Thursday evening at a home in Beddington.
Global TV took this shot from the alley.

A shot from our Skyview camera shows smoke billowing from the fire.
The view from the CTV skyview camera

Smoke from a garage fire fills Bedford Drive N.E.
This picture was from the CBC news website. The smoke was overwhelming! This is the street the house with the fire is on.

A garage fire in Beddington has badly damaged at least one house.
CBC photo of the house at the end of my street. The fire was behind this house

You can watch a video of the fire here and a news story about it here.

Gratitude Challenge - August 16

1. Photo: Checking out injured dragonfliesToday on our bike ride to Park and Play we found an injured dragonfly. Peirce wanted to stop and check it out and ended up taking a picture of it. It is so nice to have summers off to be able to do things with my kids like this. I'm grateful to have time to stop!

2. I'm grateful for bunny songs. I got a call from Jill yesterday that went like this:
J: Mom, what's that bunny song?
M: Bunny song?
J: Ya. Raina and I are singing bunny songs
M: You mean the house in the middle of the woods one?
J: Ya....but how does dad sing it where he kills the bunny?

I had to laugh. What a funny phone call. I sang it for her, plus a few more. While we were talking they must have been bike riding or walking, judging from the side conversation. It was just a fun conversation.

3. I'm grateful for goals! I decided that from now on (like, for the rest of my life!) I have to read my scriptures and exercise before I can get on that time sucker, Facebook. Today I did it! It felt great to get those things done quickly. With Facebook I can stretch out exercise, reading and housework to 1:00 in the afternoon! Time to change that.

4.I'm grateful for rosy cheeks. Yesterday Allen asked me if I have started wearing more make up. I haven't. It's just the exercising. Too funny!

5. I'm grateful for rice flour cookies for my non-wheat eaters. Yum!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Gratitude Challenge - August 15

1. Lazy has been one of them!
2. Goals....I'm excited to be having a new start this September
3. Getting Set Apart....haven't been set apart for my new calling yet. I should talk to someone about that.
4. Washing machines and dryers...gee they make life easier!
5. Summer holidays.....I can't believe it's almost over! I have 11 days left. Eeeek!

Goals for September and on....

I tried to go back in January to see if I had posted about my goals for 2012. I didn't! Weird!!

One of my goals this year was to wear lipstick. I can't say as I am a regular lip stick wearer at all. I can't even say I'm committed to that goal. Allen wants me to wear lip stick. I still need to work on this habit.

My other goal was a load of laundry a day. I have to say that that goal has happened! I did make a few adjustments as the year wore on by making my kids do a load sometimes. They became responsible for doing their own laundry this year, and it's been a wonderful thing. I just couldn't keep up with laundry while working. The best part of having them do their own laundry is now and then when I fold a load for them they're soooo grateful!

This summer I have a goal to read 58 books...a book a day. I think I just might reach the goal too! I also had a goal to be an exerciser. I have made good strides there.

So, now I've been thinking about what goal I should set for when school starts. I should have a school goal or two, but I think what I really want to focus on is menu planning. I have tried to plan our menus out for a whole month at a time. When I do that life is so great! I only have to think about what's for dinner once, and the rest of the month I just follow the plan. I don't always follow the plan perfectly, and that's okay. Sometimes I move things around. Sometimes we go out for dinner. If that happens I just forward plan the meal we were to have that night. Sometimes I find we have so many left overs that we have a left over night.  I actually get more than a month's worth of meals from one session of planning.

In addition to my menu planning goal I plan to continue exercising an hour a day and I plan to do a better job of daily scripture study. And here's where I'm upping the ante! From this day on, I am not going to let myself get on Facebook until I've exercised, studied scriptures, and have dinner on the go (or at least figured out). I'm really addicted to Facebook, so it's going to be hard at first, but I think it will make my life much more productive.

Here's to new goals!!

And more amazing picture books!!

Hooway for Wodney Wat (Helen Lester)

I love this book! I had a good friend named Rod when I was a teenager. I remember driving home from church one day. He was in our van as was our little cousin Ryan. Ryan was poking Rod and saying, "Wod! Wod! Wod!" when suddenly Rod turned to him and said, "What Wyan??" We laughed and laughed. Never forgot it! The other reason I love this book is one of the characters is a capybara. When Jill was little she had a thing for capybaras. I have no idea where it came from, and at the time, I don't think I even knew what a capybara was....but when I read this book it reminds me of when she was little.

Wodney Wat is a wodent who can't say his Rs. He is embarrassed about this and so tries to stay out of everyone's view as much as possible. A mean old capybara moves in and torments everyone, and somehow Wodney Wat saves the day. Hooway Rodney!!


Courage (Bernard Waber)

Often times we label ourselves or refuse to believe that we are smart, or beautiful, or brave, or some other adjective. This book is a great reminder that there are many ways to show courage. It will  be a great book to read for a character discussion at school! When a child needs to work up the courage to do something new it would be a great way to remind them that they are courageous in many different ways!

One (Kathryn Otashi)

Another story that adds personification to colors, just like Yesterday I Had the Blues. Only this time some numbers come along and kick red in the butt. :)

My Heart Will Not Sit Down (Mara Rockliff)

What a beautiful story! This is a true story about a girl in an African village who hears of the suffering people in New York are going through during the depression. She cannot rest until she does something to help them. Her village gathers up  $3.77 and sends it to those suffering. $3.77 was a very generous offering from her village, and would have done very little to help anyone struggling during the depression. The sacrifice was much greater than what it could do to help. I loved it! The book I got from the library has the last page torn out. It starts another story of a little town in Guatemala that doesn't have enough to eat and wants to help children in Malawi....never got to read the end of the story though. I think I have to go buy this book! It will be a wonderful book for teaching compassion when we do that character virtue in school!

One curious thing: The author writes under four different names. I've always wondered why people do that! Hmmmmm.....It might satisfy my schizophrenic tendancies to be able to do something like that!! (er, or perhaps it is my tendancy towards multi-talking) :)

Weslandia (Paul Fleischman)

I love love love this book. It's about a boy who doesn't really worry about  fitting in with the crowd. Summer is a great time for him because he can really get into something that interests him - so he creates his own civilization called Weslandia. He has a staple food crop, food, clothing, shelter and even recreation. Pretty soon all the other kids want to come check out what he is doing.

I like this book because I think almost everyone at one time or another feels like they don't fit in. And who couldn't be inspired by a kid who just goes about doing something great, rather than worrying about "having" or "being" or "doing" just like everyone else. If you ask me, when you quite worrying about everyone else that's what you can really find your own real happiness.

One funny little quirk....inside this book a child had left some sticky notes. Whoever that kid is, I love him/her!
Photo: Book note 1Photo: Book note 2

I have really been looking for some great picture books to kick off the school year. This one might be one - but even more, I think it would be a great one to read at the end of the school year as kids are embarking on summer vacation. Although, because this book is so good, and the illustrations are great, it might be a great one to kick off our year's book club discussions!

Ish (Peter H Raynolds)

Another great self-esteem book. I think there are some great teachable truths from this book! I found a great blog with some ideas for that too! Check it out here.

You can't always do it all perfectly, so do it -ishly....draw pictures that are peace-ish, silly-ish, etc. Writing poem-ish poetry

Love the ending: ...and Ramon lived ishfully ever after.

The Junkyard Wonders (Patricia Polacco)

I wasn't totally comfortable with this book...but then again, sometimes great books DO make you uncomfortable and make you think about things like how people treat each other. I couldn't quite get over the idea that a bunch of kids were put into one class because they were odd or didn't learn very well. I guess I'm a fan of inclusive education, deep down inside! I also couldn't stand the label - the Junkyard, that was given to the class. So hurtful!! The teacher has a positive spin on it, but I wonder how many kids really bought it, or bought it soon enough to not be damaged by the label.

The story is about a girl who is excited that she will be going to a new school where no one knows about her issues, only to find out she is in the class with all the kids with issues, and everyone knows it. They have a great experience together though that binds them and that they never forget (and the author writes a book about it). It's kind of heart warming, especially as an adult, but I'm not sure it'd be a great one for kids. Then again, it might bring about some great discussions about inclusion and friendship!


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

My Exercise Revolution

I watched this great You Tube video today about exercise. He starts off talking about a antedote that helps almost everyone. He states all the benefits and lists percentages of people whose health improves with the antedote. He says the single best thing we can do for our health is EXERCISE!

I set a goal this summer to become more of an exerciser. I knew I needed to. I hurt my foot this year. What did I do?? Well, nothing. I was just walking down the hallway at school one day when it started hurting. I really think the root of it all was inactivity. I was starting to really fall apart!! Dr. Dottridge says it is achilles tendonitis and will take months to recover from. I decided I needed to change that this summer. I am embarrassed to say that even walking at first just about did me in. It was totally exhausting!! After a few weeks though I started to get stronger, and now I have even been going for bike rides with Peirce after I get home from my walk! (Then I come home totally exhausted) I'm really glad I could work on this over the summer though because you can't work out and then be a wreck for the day while teaching....I can do that in the summer though!! :) And now I'm not even totally a wreck after exercising. I was looking at some 5K races today and I think I just might enter one somewhere in the fall (still undecided). My goal is to become a day. In the meantime I will continue exercising an hour a day. I plan to ride my bike to school in the fall for as long as the weather holds out. Sometimes I think, "Who am I kidding??" But then again, I really want to be a success story. I also keep hearing lately about how exercise is a great way to ward of cancer. I have a bit of a fear of getting cancer, and so I am motivated to do what I can to stave that off.

I'm serious enough about this that I'm even going to make a new label: Fitness.

I'm really going out on a limb here!!

Gratitude Challenge - August 14

1. Shelter from storms! We have had some doozies the past few days...and we have come through them unscathed.

2. Visiting Teaching One of the sisters I visit had a birthday on Saturday. Our Saturday was crazy and I couldn't go see her that day, so today I took her a bowl of sticky popcorn. She was so gracious and so grateful...warmed my heart. I likely would have never got to know her if it wasn't for visiting teaching.

3. Life After Death Today our friend, Pete Estrabrooks, passed away. I was just talking this morning with my walking buddy about how real the plan of salvation has become to me after losing some people close to me - namely Destiny, and my dad. When I learned today that Pete had passed away last night I wondered what he and my dad are doing right now. I'm sure they're debating the score of some team somewhere!

4. Sleepovers Peirce gets to go have a sleepover at a friend's tonight. He has looked forward to it since Sunday. So glad he has such good friends!

5. Bikes Peirce and I have been biking this week to Park and Play. I have had moments where I think it might kill me. Luckily, my exercise goals this summer work well with my reading goals. I go exercise in the morning by walking for an hour and then riding with Peirce, and by the time we're finished I feel as though that is all I can do!! So I shower, and then get into a book. It's perfect!! I just realized today too that I no longer think about how much my bum hurts when I ride. I guess I'm getting tougher!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Gratitude Challenge - August 13

Wow. Missing a day of Gratitude Challenge is like missing a day of exercising. Suddenly one day is three (well, usually with exercise if I miss a day suddenly it seems to become a week...but that's another story)

Time to get back on track!

1. Visits Jill came home this past weekend. It was so fun to see her. She tried to pack in as much as she could in the few days she was home. I'm not sure it was long enough, but I'm grateful for what time we did have!

2. House Parties One of my favorite people, Jenni, had a house-warming/Olympics party. Love!!

3. Interviews Allen has had plenty of people in for interviews. I'm so grateful he has been able to set up those interviews and find some good people. Here's hoping it turns into some new prosperous team mates!

4. Movies Peirce got to go to two movies this weekend. On Friday, after the house-warming/Olympics party they went to the drive-in at Deerfoot Mall. Then on Saturday I took Peirce and his friend to McMahon stadium to watch a muppet movie. They had invited everyone who works at the football games to a movie night on the turf. Fun!! It was a great place to watch a movie!!

5. Saying No Sounds weird. But we had someone ask if they could come stay with us. I did not feel good about the prospects at all. So not good in fact that it made me cry almost intantaneously when I talked about it. So weird. I made a few calls and talked to people who knew this person and still didn't feel any better. I'm so grateful for the whisperings of the spirit. I'm grateful I was able to say no and that it was that simple. I'm grateful that Allen was supportive of that! I's a weird thing to be grateful for, but I am!

Picture Books Galore

Here's what I've been reading the last few days:

Yesterday I Had the Blues (Jeron Ashford Frame)

This is a cute story that uses great language. The main character in the story talks about how everyone in the family has different moods, and it compares those moods to color. It would be a great way to talk to kids about different ways to use language. Color isn't just something you see, it can be something you feel!


What Do You Do With A Tale Like This (Steve Jenkins and Robin Page)

This is great sit-with-a-kid-and-read book. I can imagine a child carefully looking at all the pictures and listening as you read, and having lots of questions! It has tails, mouths, eyes, ears, noses, and feet of different animals. So interesting!


Drumheller Dinosaur Dance (Robert Heidibreder)

This is one of those books I wish I had read to my kids! It would be a great one to read for a few days prior to going on a trip to Drumheller. It's rhythmic and fun and would make for some great bed time reading when you're looking forward to a trip to Drumheller! I need to remember to do that when we're planning a trip somewhere!


Raven and River (Nancy White Carlstrom)

This book has beautiful illustrations and rhytmic language. It is all about animals in Alaska. It inspired me to find books set in the countries we will study in Social Studies this year. There's so much to learn about a country even just be reading stories about life there.


Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes (Margaret Atwood)

The more I read this book the less I liked it and the less use I could think of for it - except that you could give a kid a sentence and have them use the dictionary to find out what most of the words meant and see if they could figure out what the sentence means. Ugh. The story uses the letter R all through's amazing in that sense! But not very readable for kids, I think. The inside cover says it is a rare and rewarding treat for readers of all ages - but I don't think it's for many of the younger ages. Odd.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

More Picture Books!

Here are some of the books I've been reading this week. I've been reading a big fat book called The Forgotten Garden, so I've needed to add some pictures books each day.

Missing Math - A Number Mystery (Loreen Leedy)

This is a rhyming story about a day when all the numbers disappeared. It has a great rhythm and you easily get caught up in the lists and lists of things they now cannot do since all the numbers are missing. Cute story!

Timothy's Tales from Hilltop School (Rosemary Wells)

This is kind of a chapterbook storybook. There is a story about a science fair, a birthday party, a project on birds, lunchroom problems and learning your own strengths, learning about measuring, and a bug study.


My Big Brother (Valorie Fisher)

I love this book! It's very simple, yet a wonderful view on a baby's perspective of his big brother. It would be fun to make a replica of this book for a big sister or a big brother I know and love!


Zoe and Beans: The Magic Hoop (Chloe and Mick Inkpen)

This is a cute story about a girl (Zoe) and her dog (Beans). In this story she has a magic hoop and she teaches Beans to jump through it. When he jumps through it he turns into something different. This might be a fun story for teaching the magic of three when the Gr 3's learn about how to create suspense in their stories.


Little Polar Bear ans the Big Balloon (Hans de Beer)

The author of this book is Dutch and apparently he has a series of books about Little Polar Bear. It is a cute book. Little Polar Bear meets a penguin whose wings have been covered in oil from an oil spill. He helps the penguin out and they end up helping the penguin find its way home by taking off in a hot air balloon they come across.


The Skeleton in the Closet (Alice Schertle)

The poor boy in this book has a skeleton come into his room in the night!! It is a cute story with rhyming and a funny twist at the end. A great book to read in October!


The Goblin and the Empty Chair (Mem Fox)

I read a book by Mem Fox once called Reading Magic: How Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, so when I saw this one I had to take it out of the library.

This is a great story about compassion and doing kind things for each other. A gobling, realizing how scary he looks, hides himself from the world. But then he comes across a family who is sad and he helps them.

A beautiful story! Definitely one to read when we're doing compassion as a character virtus.


Barnyard Banter (Denise Fleming)

The words in this book are very simple - more a toddler storybook than one for Grade 3, but the pictures are AMAZING!! They're bright and simple. It would be a great example to show kids about the beautiful illustrations they could do in their stories.


Dream Away (Julie Durango and Katie Bell Trupiano)

This is a beautiful, lyrical book that I would feel great about reading to my sleepy child....the illustrations are beautiful and I believe they would bring sweet dreams to any child! Not sure how I'd use it in the classroom. I'm sure there's some application for it though!


When Dinosaurs Came With Everything (Elise Broach)

I've blogged about this book before, but when I saw it at the library I just had to get it. It's a hilariously whimsical story about a boy who hates doing errands with his mother, until one day, while doing errands, people keep giving him dinosaurs. How exactly will he get all these dinosaurs home?? His poor mother is having birdies.

The illustrator for this book is David Small, who also illustrated one of my favorite books: The LIbrary by Sarah Steward. I must get some more David Small books! He's amazing!