Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Three Years

A lot can happen in 3 years. It seems like a million years ago, and then again it seems like yesterday that my dad died. I miss him. Our whole family sure misses him.

When he passed away I was pregnant. Then that didn't work out. It was so much sadness...too much for me. I decided I had to do something different with my life, and decided to step back into the world of teaching.

So many changes....so many changes. There's lots to think about on a day like this.

Mostly, I'm just going to think about my dad and the fun we had. Is it okay to say this? ....I think my mom wrote the best obituary I ever read, and threw the greatest party/funeral to celebrate his life.

Monday, 28 January 2013

In light of my dear uncle's 75th birthday, I thought I'd share something that made me laugh out loud today at school.

I always have my students write in their journals on Mondays and today their journal prompt was: What do you want to have or do or be when you're old. I left "old" up to them to define.

Some wrote about what they want to be when they grow up. Some wrote about being old like a grandparent.

This one was my favorite:

When I am old I will have a cat, not a dog, because cats are calm. I will have a big comfy bed and chair. I will have white hair. And I will have oatmeal for breakfast. every day. I don't want to be old.

Happy birthday Uncle Clifford! Be a little crazy and skip the oatmeal today!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Scenes From Saturday

In our house we are often in bed as early on Friday night as any other weeknight. Saturdays start early, and this was no exception. We were at a swim meet.

This is the officials meeting prior to the meet. Lots of officials today!! There were two pools - girls swimming in one and boys in the other. Lots of help is needed to run these meets. Here we're all getting the scoop on how the meet is to be run. Looks like chaos, but it's actually pretty organized.

 Warm up for the kids....more stuff that looks like chaos but is organized. Well, mostly chaotic.

Take your marks!! I'm pretty sure that is Jill, lane 6, at the beginning of her 200 free

Peirce waiting for his turn to race

Peirce, lane 2. Take your marks!

Jill, being very serious about warming up

It was a great day. Peirce inches closer to an MQT every meet. Jill is points of a second away from her A time. Jill made it to the finals for all her races, and Peirce did for one. It was a great day!

Monday, 21 January 2013


I have a strange phenomenon in my life. I am becoming more aware of premonitions. I get these feelings that something is going to happen, and then it does. Unfortunately, it is usually when something bad is about to happen. I wish I understood why this is happening to me. Is this a new gift? Why does it happen? Does it ever happen to you?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Little Sunday Miracle

I know there are others like me. We are the ones who keep clothes in closet that do not fit. One day, we promise, they will fit.

About a year ago I decided I would never again diet and never again set a goal to lose weight. My plan wasn't to remain fat. I planned to change that. I knew I had to change my focus though. I decided I would stop setting goals to lose weight and set goals that could help me lose weight instead. One was to walk every day. Another was to eat a salad once a day. I have had times where I have been sorely tempted to buy another bottle of hCg, or go to TOPS, or read some meat loving diet book AGAIN....but then I stop myself.

Now and then there are days where I want to shout out to the world that IT IS WORKING!!

What is going in today? well, today I took up the fight and put in a pair of tights I bought a long time ago. When I put them on back then they came just past my knees. I knew there was no point trying anymore. So I put them in the back of my drawer because they are really nice tights and I hoped to one day wear them. Today they were the only clean pair available so I thought I would subject myself to the torture again. After all, it has been a long time since the last try.

And you will not believe it. They are on!!! I put them on and stood in front of the mirror for a long pause. It still isn't a very pretty picture. I have so far to go. But they are on!!! And they fit! I can breathe! And I don't think the threads are suddenly going to give way!

It's a modern day miracle.

It takes a lot longer than some of the great diets I have tried, but I think this time, finally, it is going to really work. I will never again lose 20 or 30 or so pounds and gain it back, plus 5 more.

It is really working!!

Now.....to put something over this tights.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Gifts of Time

That wonderful moment when you realize you have the swim meet written on the wrong day and suddenly your day just became much more free. That's what happened to me this weekend. I had a swim meet on our calender. Turns out it's happening next weekend, and now I have time to do what I need to do on Saturday. I have a bunch of marking to do for school. I also have a RS lesson to prepare for Tuesday. They asked me to teach a lesson on literacy. Is there any better topic?! I don't think so!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Crazy Saturdays!

Most people look forward to the weekend. I can't say that I really do. It's too tiring! Here was our day today:

6:30 am Get up. Allen drives Jill to swim practice. She decided to go to two practices today since she missed yesterdays - so she swam from 7-9 am, and then again from 10:30 - noon. One thing the away camp did for her was she realizes now how much more she can do! After the 10:30 practice she went home with a friend and hung out at their house for the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Peirce and I did some housework that morning.

Allen went off to a funeral with his friend who recently lost his aunt.

Allen got home around noon and we headed off for a PFS meeting. That went from 1-5. I had to leave a little early though to go volunteer at the Roughnecks Lacrosse game. Meanwhile, Allen took Peirce to the swim club's Winter Warm Up party. They met Jill there. Then Allen took off and went to a birthday party for one of his trainee's sons. He then went back to the Winter Warm Up to see how the kids were doing. At 10:30 he picked me up from the lacrosse game and we went back to the Winter Warm Up for the tail end of the party.

6:30 - 12:30 we were pretty much go go go.

Good thing tomorrow can be a quieter day! I need it!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Independent Kids

One thing I tend to notice is parents who do too much for their kids. I have always encouraged our kids to be as independent as possible. I make them talk to the  clerk when they have a question in the store. I make them call their friends when they want to set up a play date. I leave looking after their room to them. Sometimes, though, the independence we have worked so hard for is hard on my nerves!

Jill made the basketball team and today she had a basketball tournament. She had games at 2 pm and 4 pm. Allen was going to go watch her 2:00 game and then give her a ride to the pool. She figured she should go to practice. Mid-stream though, she decided a game might be more important than a practice. When Allen got there and got this news he left without making any plans for how she'd get home. I wasn't too worried because I figured she'd take the bus or get a ride with someone. However, 5:00 rolled around, then 6:00 and still no Jill. Finally at 7:00 I was getting worried. I really had no idea where she was and she has lost her cell phone so I had no way to get in touch with her. Finally I decided to go to the school. Maybe she had decided to stay and watch other kid's games. I don't know. When I got there, after searching for the second gym in the school, I finally found her. They were in the middle of another game. I got to see the last few minutes of the game. That was nice - but still, my stomach was all in knots over wondering where she was. Afterwards she was totally non-chalant about everything. I got a casual, "Oh hi mom!"

I asked her later what her plan would have been if I hadn't shown up. She shrugged and said she probably would have taken the bus.

*sigh* I guess independence is a good thing....as long as the mother can handle it! :)

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Sunday Seven

Kind Sister In Law
This week Peirce went down to Raymond and got to play with a bunch of cousins - something that he loves to do. He called while he was there and asked if he could stay for a few days. My sister-in-law was coming up later in the week and could bring him back - so it was a go. I'm grateful for her and her kindness and unconditional acceptance. She's always happy to see us, always happy to have our kids spend time with her kids, and always accepting of whatever we do. I want to be more like her.

Good Weather
In December we had a couple weeks of really really cold weather. My walking tends to stop when it gets that cold. I'm so glad to have been back at it this week. Feels so good! It has been perfect walking weather.'

Together Again!
Jill has been gone all through the holidays. I'm so happy to have her home!

We have a girl named Reema who is renting a room from us.  She is a teacher and I really have enjoyed getting to know her. She went home to Toronto over the break and I'm happy that she will be back this week.

Books on CD
I've been doing a lot of work in the kitchen this week. I have a new plan to always listen to a book on CD while working in the kitchen. I seem to spend hours cooking and cleaning, and if I can couple that with some books, I think it will make it much more enjoyable. This week I've been listening to Inkheart on CD. Love that story!

I'm back at it this week! I'm looking forward to being back. I really enjoy the people I work with, and I love the process of teaching and learning.

Flames Work
Jill and I have volunteered with the Flames organization for over a year now. Jill started doing it after the summer once she turned 14. I did it alone for about a year before that. We are called volunteers. The pay from working there goes to her account with the swim club. It's a great way to make money to pay for swimming, and it's a lot of fun too. I worked a few games over the break and plan to do 2 or 3 each month. The goal is to make enough money to pay for swimming up front next year.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Home Again!


Late last night Jill got home. We sure missed her! She came in around 11:00 pm. All the parents and many siblings were at the airport waiting for them to come out of customs. It was clear that they were all in great spirits and had a great time.

Peirce especially missed Jill. He was tough in the airport, but once we got in the car he cried because he was so happy she was home. He couldn't stop hugging her.

I love it that they love each other so much.

Photo: She's home!

We stayed up late listening to all of her stories. Jill couldn't sleep and so she and Allen stayed up and watched movies. Crazy conks!!

Here are some more pictures from her trip:

Friday, 4 January 2013

Team Lead Initiation

I'm trying harder to take pictures more often in daily life. I've never been very good at taking pictures (nor organizing them, nor making scrapbooks!) But I have learned how to get pictures off my phone, so that seems like a good way to get into the habit.

This is a picture from the Hitmen game tonight. I probably should have taken a picture in the concession stand. Maybe next time.

The Flames organization is involved in a lot of things besides the defunk hockey season this year. They own The Stampeders and The Roughnecks too, I think. They also provide all the concession services for Hitmen games and concerts at the Saddledome. I have been "volunteering" with them for over a year now at various events. It's been a great thing for us and has been a help in paying for swimming for our kids. It's my little beer and hot dog side job - who would have ever imagined! It's kind of fun though. It's a really festive place. Everyone is having a lot of fun. And I spend the night with a bunch of good people: parents and kids raising money for school trips or extra-curricular sports. It's usually a good time.

Recently they seem to have run out of people to work as Team Leads. I have never done the training, but I guess since I've worked at plenty of games they asked if I would be a Team Lead. I was never really ever interested in being a Lead, but they do pay a little more, so I decided I would give it a shot. Tonight was my first official night in that position. It was the craziest night ever!

Before the game the hockey players often seem to like to come up on the concourse and play with hackey sacks or soccer balls or just run around, race each other and in general, make a lot of noise to get psyched up. Last night just before it was time to open the doors I realized I had forgotten to get money for the floats for our stand. I ran back down the long long stairs.  When I came back upstairs I was in a hurry, not really paying attention, and ended up stepping on a poorly shot soccer ball that the hockey players were playing with. I ended up splat! on the floor...clip board going on direction, money back going another direction (luckily it stayed in tact!), and papers flying everywhere. One nice young man from the Moose Jaw team helped me pick up my stuff and after declaring I was OK, I snuck off to my corner. So embarrassing!!  Mishap #1

The big seller at these games is beer. We usually have one person who spends most of the night just pouring beer so that we have enough on hand to keep up with customers. Last night the beer was pouring slower and slower until the taps finally just stopped. I have never seen that happen! I figured out who to call and they got to work on it. We ended up not having any beer on tap for the rest of the night. They got us some cans and we could resume business. It was a little stressful in the meantime though! Mishap #2.

Some poor little girl, while standing with her dad at the concession to get some hot dogs, had the unfortunate experience of having her hot dog wrapped touch just the perfect spot on the popcorn machine. Big sparks flew everywhere. Snap! Snap! Snap! Scared her (and me) to death! We had to call an electrician. Mishap #3.

It was such a crazy night! I have never, in all the games I've worked, had so many crazy things happen. Marna, the lady who oversees the volunteer program, asked me how my night went. I told her it had been a little crazy. She just laughed it off and said, "Well, we have to have some sort of initiation for you!"

I guess so!

2012 - The Review

I've never really been one to go back and read my old journals, or, now, old blog posts. I've been taking some time to do that this week and it has really been interesting. I sure didn't blog as much as usual in 2012. I have resolved to do better in 2013.

The temple was a big part of 2012. We started off the year with Moroni being hoisted on top of the steeple, continued to watch the construction, took part in the open house, youth celebration   and dedication, and now get to attend. I'm thinking that should be my focus for 2013.....attending a lot!

I had a fantastic year teaching, with plenty of laughs (here and here), plenty of fun, some scary times (what was I thinking?), and the joy of being offered another year's contract. I continue to pray each day that I will be able to continue on again next fall, and I'm bold enough in my prayers to  ask that I even be offered a probationary contract. I truly love love  love my job.

I became a bit of a book missionary in 2012. I feel compelled to share my love of reading with people and try to do that with parents of students, students, friends, and other adults I know. And I've had a great time reading on my own. In the summer I took on a book-a-day challenge. I think it changed my approach to reading forever. I decided too, that since my blog was getting so full of books, it was time to start a separate book blog.

We also saw a number of plays with Storybook theatre. Robert Munsch,  Little Women (with some of my favorite students!),and others that I never did get around to blogging about. Now Storybook Theatre has moved to our own neighborhood and I look forward to being even more involved.

I experienced sadness in dear friend's lives, funny times with our kids, and spent a lot of time at the pool. We still have our damn dog.  We had family reunions, took part in The Stampede, and went on a trip with the fam jam. We experienced the terror of watching our neighbor's house burn down. I started walking and  have continued on through the fall, and love it. I seem to even be seeing good resultsPeirce started grade 5, and Jill, who seems to run life at a whirlwind pace, started seminary, is in her last year of Junior High, and spent the summer and fall earning money to go to a swim camp (which started out being planned to go to Hawaii, then Puerto Rico, but they ended up in California). Jill and Peirce are both still swimming with NCSA and love it. Allen is still working with Primerica and loves it. He is serving in the Bishopric as first counsellor and between work and church responsibilities, stays very busy.

So that's it! That's us, in a nutshell. Here's to 2013!!

Fairy Tale Warts

Can I get this off my chest?

I have been reading and thinking a lot about life, the universe and everything else over the break, and this is one of my topics to ponder. There's something that's been bugging me. I usually don't say anything because it's not socially acceptable in the church to say these things out loud. Everyone looks at you with wide eyes like, "Shhhh! You can't say that! We have to seek for the ideal!" 

It bugs me when we talk to the girls in the church about how wonderful marriage is. There is a meme going around on Facebook that has a picture of a temple and says, "If this isn't your castle, you're not my prince." On the surface that's all nicey - but as I think about it more and more I really don't like it. I think there's too much talk of princes and castles, and not enough about reality. Truth is, I don't know anyone who lives the fairy tale. Life isn't a fairy tale.

 Last Sunday we had a new YW presidency called. The new YW president was asked to speak for a minute. She talked about how much fun they were going to have, how great she thinks the girls are, and how she looks forward to getting to know them, and ended with a testimony of temple marriage. She said she heard a lot, when she was in YW, about how wonderful temple marriage was, and it wasn't until she was actually there getting married, that she thought that they didn't even say it enough. She went on for a bit about how wonderful wonderful wonderful marriage was. I understand why she says that stuff. She was actually probably even encouraged to talk often about the temple.

And that's what bugs me.

I'm not saying this because I'm some angry, raging feminist, nor am I saying it because I'm unhappy in my marriage. I'm not (well, actually, I am a bit of a feminist). I'm bothered because I think that when we put so much focus on how marriage is the ultimate, beautiful, end of the road achievement, we may be setting girls up for disappointment, and even depression and rage.

According to a 1981 membership survey, 30% of members are single. Only 51 percent of women and 64 percent of men between eighteen and thirty in 1981 are expected to be in an intact first marriage by age sixty. The others will have experienced some period of singleness due to having been divorced, widowed, or never married. If these trends continue, one-third of adult Church members will divorce at some time before age sixty (Goodman and Heaton, pp. 92-93, 96).

I get a little rankled when I hear people talking to my daughter so much about marriage. I do want her to get married, but I don't want that to be her main focus. I want her to have her own goals and interests. I want her to feel good about herself whether she is standing alone or with a partner.

My own family is a good example of why it's important to feel comfortable in your own skin, whether with someone or not. My oldest aunt is still married to her first husband. She, however, is experiencing declining health and is incapacitated and not expected to live too much longer. Soon her husband will be alone. Next is my mother, who has become a widow at an age we nor she did not expect to be left alone. She is now 70. My next aunt is divorced and remarried as is the youngest aunt. They have all had, or currently are facing life without a partner. I've seen them all really struggle in that solitude. And many would look at us as one of those good families for whom everything works out!

I personally have a number of friends who have never married. In a church where family is the focus, that can be painful. Some have struggled with activity and with life management. They hadn't intended to be supporting themselves all their life. Some of them never really got serious about a career until it was painfully clear that they ought to get serious about it.

I can't even count the number of people I have known who are divorced or unhappily married. I also have many friends who did not see the dream of having someone look after them come to fruition. They ended up having to work, and not so their families could have fancy vacations or extended comfort - just so they could get by. I also have a number of friends who once they did get married and have children were left wondering 'what now?' because they hadn't even thought of what life would entail after marriage and children and find themselves sucked dry by giving all the time and never having any interests or goals of their own. I remember once looking at a list of goals I had and realizing how hollow they were. They weren't really mine. They were more about my husband and my children. And while I realize those things are important, I realized then, that there was nothing on the page that was just for me - and perhaps that was why it felt so hollow.

If I could have my wish they would not talk about marriage in YW much at all. I wish they would talk about healthy relationships, about smart choices, about personal development and goals. I wished they'd encourage them to go to school, go on a mission, travel and work before getting married. They do talk to them about those things, but it's always with the addendum 'in case things don't work out'. And whoever thinks things aren't going to work out for themselves? We're all hoping for the fairy tale ending! I wish they would have women talk to them about divorce and death and plans for when things don't work out. I wish they'd have women who have risen up from depression to finally have their own goals and interests talk about their journey. I wish they'd talk to them about tricky family relationships and how to continue on when you don't get along with your mother-in-law, or your sister, or your family doesn't like your husband. And I wish they'd teach them to be strong and independent and fiercely focused on personal development and achieving.

Instead we seem to want to focus on the fairy tale.

I'm afraid life ain't no fairy tale girls. Yup. There are wonderful times. And the actually wedding can be kind of fairy tale-ish - but a wedding is just one day. You then continue on and have to make your way in life together - which can sometimes be tricky and hard!


I said it.

So shoot me.

And for those of you reading this, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Goodman, Kristen L., and Tim B. Heaton. "LDS Church Members in the U.S. and Canada: A Demographic Profile." AMCAP 12, no. 1 (1986):88-107.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Figuring Out Me

A while ago on facebook a discussion came up about whether or not I'm an extrovert or an introvert. My mother said there is no way one could be a Jensen and be an introvert. My mother-in-law is pretty sure I am an introvert.

It really got me thinking. I read a bit of the book Quiet after watching a video of the author on Ted.com

I am pretty sure I am actually a mix of introvert and introvert. The older I get, the more of an introvert I become. Susan Cain says that it can be defined by how you respond to stimulation. Introverts are people who need time to get away and re-energize themselves after they've been around people. Extroverts are energized by being around people. For me, it depends on what is happening with the crowd and how I feel with them. If I'm with my book club friends I feel energized and can talk with them for hours. If I'm with a rowdy crowd who is simply "partying" I can only handle it for so long. I need a break from the craziness. Some of the websites I have read on this topic have led me to think I'm more of an ambivert.

I have found that in my classroom I can't have too much craziness. I always thought I was a bit of a flower child teacher. I was happy with children roaming, eating snacks when they feel they need to, and working on projects of personal interest. I can't though. I do need order and quiet and my classroom is actually quite structured. I have taught my students to come in quietly, to quickly get to their desks, and to get to work. If they have something they need to talk to me about they can do that when I come around to check their homework and to have a one on one chat with of them. If the day starts with kids all rushing to me with questions and comments I start to get a little crazy. It's important for me that all the children are engaged and that everyone has an equal chance to participate and so I need to be careful to structure things so that the children who tend more towards introvert personality types have opportunity to participate and don't get talked over by all the extroverts in the room.

For me, in my own person life, solitude does matter. I am a self-confident person and I am quite independent. I did a quiz online and this was the result from the answers I gave:
Independent Thinkers like you are analytical and witty persons. You are self-confident and do not let yourself get worked up by conflicts and criticism. You are very much aware of your own strengths and have no doubts about your abilities. People of your personality type are often very successful in their career as they have both competence and purposefulness. Independent Thinkers are excellent strategists; logic, systematics and theoretical considerations are your world. You are eager for knowledge and always endeavour to expand and perfect your knowledge in any area which is interesting for you. Abstract thinking comes naturally to you; scientists and computer specialists are often of this type.

Independent Thinkers are specialists in their area. The development of your ideas and visions is important to you; you love being as flexible as possible and, ideally, of being able to work alone because you often find it a strain having to make your complex trains of thought understandable to other people. You cannot stand routine. Once you consider an idea to be good it is difficult to make you give it up; you pursue the implementation of that idea obstinately and persistently, also in the face of external opposition.

As an Independent Thinker, you are one of the introverted personality types. That is one of the reasons you prefer to work alone. This does not mean that you cannot be successful in a team, as well. For you, the task is most important and people who are involved come second. The contact with others, the necessity to adjust yourself to their daily changing sensitivities - all of it is just more gratuitous emotion that keep you from totally devoting yourself to those things that truly interest you: analyzing systems and policies, researching potentials for change, developing new ideas and implementing them in reality.

Here you differ from the second introverted Thinker type, the Analytical Thinker: You truly enjoy implementing your concepts and you enjoy the results. Therefore you should look for a work environment where you can accompany and expedite your ideas through to their conclusion. You consider difficult situations as challenges that really try your creativity and you frequently surprise people around you with genuinely incredibly bright ideas, rendering others speechless with their excellence. Your world consists of statistics, legitimacy, and systematics.

Considering all of this, your Thinker type is very praxis-oriented, and by no means lives on an intellectual ivory tower. You are not interested in theories not related to reality. As in chess, you are excellent at predicting the consequences of your methods in advance, and then choosing the appropriate alternative. Once you have made your decision on how to deal with a situation, you are totally willing to use your elbows and you don’t necessarily show any consideration for others. With that, you occasionally encounter resistance from other, less task-oriented colleagues that you quickly brush aside.

It has been quite an interesting exercise. I'm okay with being a bit of an introvert, even if I'm in a family of people who are strongly extroverts. If I go off and read a book at a family event people want to know why I'm being less than social and encourage me to put the book away. I clearly understood it isn't the time for reading. One thing I noticed when I started to socialize with the family I married into that there would often be someone off in a corner absorbed in a book - and no one had an issue with that. It was fascinating.

One of the best experiences of my life was going to Education Week at BYU. I went with a friend who was really more interested in going there to do some shopping than attending classes all day - or at least the majority of the day, like I had intended. I ended up spending most of my day alone going to different workshops. At the end of each day I would run across campus and go to the temple in Provo. It was the greatest experience ever and I resolved that if I were to go to Education Week again I would definitely go alone and so that I would have time for solitude and learning. I absolutely loved it.

Susan Cain says we need to stop the madness for constant group work. Collaboration is good, but people do need some time to do their own thinking and planning and working. I'm grateful to work somewhere that encourages collaboration, but also allows me to work on my own. She also says we need to have time to go to the wilderness. We all could stand some time to unplug and get inside our own heads a little more often. She also encourages us to have the courage to speak softly.

Something to think about!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Book Club

Today was our monthly book club meeting. We discussed The Christmas Cookie Club. You can read my thoughts on the book here.

We were a small group. I always feel like I need to work hard to get some more people to come to book club, but we remain small. I sure enjoy our small group though. Maybe in time we will grow, but for now, I sure am enjoying our small group discussions.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Away Camp

Jill has been away this Christmas at a swim camp with the club she swims with. They went to California for two weeks. The purpose of the camp is to swim their guts out so they get stronger and so that they turn up the heat a bit at competitions. Doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me, but she sure looked forward to it, and is really enjoying it. I haven't heard one word of her feeling homesick. I will have her write about it when she gets home. In the meantime, here are some photos that the kids and coaches and chaperones have posted on Facebook to keep us parents in the loop on what's going on at the camp.

Their swim practices are at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex. Looks like a pretty nice place! She has really enjoyed swimming in an outdoor pool. They have two practices a day, and they're tough practices. One day they swam 20X400 for the second workout. Second! That would be enough for one day and then a few days off for me. Not only do they have two swim practices, but they do two dry land workouts each day too. She says she is really becoming buff.

Yup. They look like one tired crowd!

I love the sign above the hot tub saying the capacity is 10 people. My guess is there isn't a life guard there while they're there to be the rule police.

  She loves it.

Their dry land workouts aren't always on the pool deck. Running on the beach. Now that is a workout you don't often get in Calgary!

They are staying in a hotel and eat there most of the time. The hotel has a continental breakfast and then later they either go out for lunch and dinner, or get something brought into the hotel.

Every evening they have some kind of activity: charades, board games, singing Christmas songs, and all sorts of other craziness.

They've also enjoyed playing in the ocean. Their hotel is a short, two block, walk away.

They were all assigned as Secret Santas and on New Year's Eve they wrote a poem for the person they had been a Secret Santa to to reveal their identity.

They have four days of workouts and then one day of fun. For fun they also spent a day at Disneyland, rented boogie boards and played in the ocean, and on Christmas Day they went on a Safari at the San Diego zoo.

They're a bunch of crazy and fun and really good kids. I  couldn't be happier for her.