Tuesday, 30 April 2013


I did it again!! I came close this month to not doing it. We got a van last week and the fun of driving won out over walking for a few days. The last two days I had to do 10K each day....which was not easy - but I did it! Last night I had to do 10K in the evening. I decided to walk to the school and back. By the time I was headed out to do the 5K home it was snowing! Argh! I wasn't dressed for it - but I found a scarf in my classroom and went ahead and did it anyway. It wasn't so bad either. Today I walked 3K during my lunch hour. I was soooo tired today from walking late at night yesterday. When I got home I knew I needed someone to help me. I called my friend, Patti, and we walked tonight. It was a total lifesaver. We talked and walked and I totally forgot about how tired I was....which I don't think would have happened if I had walked alone. I tend to think I probably would have said 94 was good enough and called it a night. Thank goodness for friends!

I wonder how many 100K months in a row I can string together??!

Monday, 29 April 2013


Fernie is the big meet of the year that the kids really look forward to. It is a lot of fun. They rent a bus and the kids all go on the bus and parents follow along in their vehicles. They love going on the bus and I love driving alone. We especially enjoy this meet because we usually stay in Sparwood at my sister's. It's nice to visit them because we rarely get down that way.

The Fernie pool is small. The kids are packed into the kiddie pool and there is not a lot of watching area....but we have a great time anyway!

Jill wasn't feeling well this weekend and so she didn't make any great strides in her races. She had a great time though! Peirce, on the other hand, really took a lot of time off! He had three races and took time off each one. Best of all was his 200 IM. He took off 17 seconds!

After the races they have a pizza party and night of Minute to Win It Games. It is a great time for everyone!

Jill really enjoys being one of the "big kids". They hang out all Saturday afternoon trolling around Fernie, and, of course, swimming.

There's lots of crazy fun there!

I hung out with my mom and sister and visited with them, did a bunch of reading, listened to a great book on CD, got some marking done, and did a bunch of walking! Fernie is a wonderful place to walk. All in all, a great weekend!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Gardening and Improving

I'm a terrible gardener. I can't even be called a gardener. I'm more of a 'try something in a pot now and then' kind of gardener. And then it ends up like this:

This little chrysanthemum though has been a real trooper. It has a pretty good spot for light, but I keep forgetting to water it. Despite that, it persists in growing new flowers. I never toss it because it seems to always be having new buds:

Today I was thinking about how we are a little bit like this plant. Somehow God put in all of us the ability to overcome. Even when we forget to give ourselves the nutrients we need, we should never give up on progress. There is always hope!

Our lesson in Relief Society today was about improving. The teacher asked how we can make sure we aren't getting discouraged about our frailties, but instead, are getting better each day. I have really learned from my walking the past 10 months how fun it gets when you keep track of progress. I often think it isn't that my walking isn't that big a deal. But when I look at my progress on Daily Mile.com I realize how far I've come. I find doing 100 km a month now not that big a deal at all. It's just 5 or 6 km a day. Last August I did 90 km and it pretty much killed me. I'd go walking with Patti and then afterwards come home and have a nap. My feet hurt. My knees hurt. I was worn out. Now I do it, work all day, and come home and do all the family stuff too. It's crazy! It's also very motivating.

I've found the same thing is happening with the children in my class with reading. When I challenged them to read 10 chapter books by the end of the school year some of them thought that would be impossible. One in particular told me he really couldn't do that. However, in the last two weeks he's read a book each week. Each time he has come to me to let me know he's finished a book. He always shows me the book and asks me if it counts. It's funny that he asks because the books he has read are certainly ones that do count! Each time he acts a little surprised. I encourage him to go write them in his reading notebook and he goes off happily to do so. He's a real example of someone who I'm pretty sure doesn't believe he's a reader, but as he continues to record the books he's read, and as he works towards the goal, I think he's going to start to realize he is a great reader. It's very exciting!

I wonder if God feels as happy when he sees us accomplish the things we thought were too hard that he knows that we can do. My guess is he does.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


The other day I was having a conversation with a friend at work. She had mentioned that she has a sister that is some twenty years younger than her and so I asked her about that. It's quite unusual for people to have children that far apart in age. She said that her sister was born after she had left home to go to school. She said that her mother's friends and acquaintances weren't exactly excited or supportive of her in this pregnancy. Quite the opposite. She went on to talk about what a blessing it had been in her family to have young children around all the time. Whether it was her younger sister, or her own children, or her siblings children - but most of her life there were young children around her family. She said she has very little patience or empathy who people who have anything but positive words for the idea of having a child around. Her words really touched my heart and made me wonder if this is one of the little secret ingredients that makes our school such a great place - people here really love children.

I keep little reminders around for myself to keep those same thoughts. When Destiny was stillborn, and when I had another miscarriage, I remember having a strong desire to always be kind to children, especially my own. I loved this story at this past General Conference about a mom who had lost her child in a fabric store. She was getting more and more worried and calling loudly for her child. One lady had a thought that maybe the child was scared to come out listening to the fear in his mother's voice. She decided to walk around and call for the boy with a quiet voice, "Jason, it's okay to come out. Are you here?" She finally did find him in amongst the bolts of fabric. It really reminded me of my decision to go back to teaching and my desire to be kind.

Today at school one of my student's asked me why I decided to become a teacher. It was while I was in the middle of a reading rant, so I suspect he expected me to say I became a teacher because I love reading. That's part of it, I suppose. First I told him I'd answer that question later. Then I paused and said, "Do you really want to know?" Of course, everyone was up for a story then. So I told them about how I had always wanted to be a teacher because I pretty much always liked school, and so I went to University and became one. And I loved it. Then I had a baby that I was soooo crazy about and I just wanted to stay home and be a mom after that, but I did have different jobs here and there, and they were okay. But mostly I loved being a mom. Then I had another baby, and I wanted to keep being a mom because now I had TWO BABIES that I was really crazy about! Then I had another baby....and I told them that that baby died. (I really had everyone's attention then) I told them that I cried for about a year (they laughed at that, because it sounds ridiculous....little do they know), and then I decided I needed to do something different with my life. I thought and thought and thought and decided I would like to become a teacher again because I knew now that I really liked kids and really wanted to share with kids how important they are. So I looked and looked and looked around for a great place to work, and I found the school I'm working at. I made a resume and I took a deep breath and asked them if I could work there (I really wasn't willing to go just anywhere). And lucky for me, they decided to let me be a teacher again....and so now here I am, spending my days with kids that are great, and I learned that I REALLY love it!

And that's a true story.

I love kids. And I love teaching.

The other day another teacher came into my classroom and took a deep breath and said, "Ah! All is right in my world again now that you're all back." She was being funny. I totally agree with her sentiment! All is right in my world when I get to spend my days with kids in my class.

Yup. All is right in my world.

This is a picture Peirce drew of our family, two years after Destiny was stillborn. I was so touched that he included her in the picture, especially after it had been two years since she was silently born. She always will be a part of our family.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

General Conference

This past weekend was General Conference. I try to always listen to all the sessions. This year I wasn't quite as attentive. I missed Saturday morning because Peirce and I went to Freckleface Strawberry. Normally I don't let anything get scheduled in the way of General Conference, but I've been a real poor calenderer lately, so these things happen.

In the afternoon session and on Sunday I just listened....didn't take notes. I've always taken notes! Not sure why I didn't - but I just listened this year. It seemed like the right way to experience conference this time.

It was once again, a great conference. On Sunday morning especially my heart burned as I listened to the speakers. I'm always amazed when that happens. I know what it's like to feel the spirit testify of truth, but now and then, when it's so apparent, it strikes me again how amazing that experience is.

I really look forward to those talks being in print so I can remember what it was that touched me so! All I know is the spirit was truly witnessing to me that what I was hearing was true. I just sat still and felt the feeling and marvelled at it.

So grateful.

Monday, 8 April 2013

I'm a Happy Swim Mom

It hasn't been an easy year for Peirce. I think it all boils down to the fact that we all go through ups and downs. Sometimes kids are right on top of things, and sometimes they spend time trying to figure out what they can get away with. Peirce is no different. Both school and swimming has had its ups and downs this year. I was so happy when I received this email from one of the swim coaches:

Hello Dawn!

I should have sent this yesterday but the day got away on me.

I just wanted to let you know that Pierce was so great on Wednesday night - very attentive, listened well and I saw huge improvements in all his turns. He was focused and really applied himself.

Please let him know that I was very impressed with how well he did and want him to think of how far along he could be in his swimming career if he applied that kind of focus to every practice. He has a lot of natural talent, uses the water really well and is very strong. He has everything physically it takes to be great in this sport. I saw it Wednesday, so I know it is in him and my expectations for him have been greatly increased ;)

Thanks again for your part in making him more engaged because he did just a fantastic job.
I was so proud of him. It really made me think about how important it is for me to share good news with kids I rub shoulders with. This email buoyed me up and made me feel so proud of Peirce. He's had his hard times, but he's working through them and doing a great job.
I'm so grateful my kids have swimming. I sometimes complain about swimming. It takes a lot of time and money and energy from my life. I haven't always had positive experiences volunteering and being a parent in the club, which has made it hard. However, my kids love it and their lives are improved because of it. They work hard. They have goals. They have positive role models. They have great kids to rub shoulders with. They are pushed physically. And they enjoy it! Whenever we have had an issue and have gone to the coaches for help, they have always addressed it in a way that has solved the problem and helped everyone improve as a result. It's always been a positive experience. I'm so grateful for that.
Friday night our kids both were in bed at 9:00. They go to bed early because we have early mornings. Even on Saturday Jill has swim practice (next year Peirce might be joining those ranks). I don't even really have to nag them to get to bed. Jill wants to do well at practice, so she goes to bed. Peirce follows suit. It's really a great blessing in our lives.
Put your kids in swimming. You won't regret it!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Freckleface Strawberry

Today Peirce and I volunteered at Storybook Theatre. They moved to Beddington and so we were even able to walk there! And best of all, we got to do our favorite job: selling the treats! We had a great time doing that (although Peirce thought the cupcakes were way overpriced....I'd have to agree)

The play was Freckleface Strawberry. It's a story about a girl who doesn't like her freckles. She goes through phases of trying to get rid of them and wishing she was like everyone else, and in the end, realizes she's just fine the way she is. It's really a wonderful story. I'd like to have all the kids in our school go see it! It would work perfect with our Character Education.

Best of all, it's a musical. They did a superb job of the music. I would totally recommend going to see it!

Turns out.....

Yesterday we drove to Raymond for a funeral. I love going on road trips because it is a great time for reading. Yesterday I read an amazing book called The Book Whisperer. I found a kindred spirit in Donalyn Miller! She is obsessive about reading too! She believes the same things I believe about reading. The beautiful part is now I finally have some tools for implementing what I believe into my daily classroom practices.

Poor Allen got to listen to me read excerpts, listen to me rant and rehash and think out loud about how I can make this work in my classroom. He is a good sport. I love that he loves reading too.  On Wednesday I had a reading tragedy. I was reading what I thought was the 2nd book in he Silverwing series. I was volunteering at the hockey game and had arrived a little early...well, I thought I was a little early. Turned out the game was an hour later than I realized so I was REALLY early. That was okay because I had a great book and relished the thought of having an hour or so to get deep into it. As I read though I realized I might be reading the wrong book. I went into the Flames office to get someone to google the library phone number. "I have a reading emergency!" I said. They chuckled and in the conversation one lady said, "I probably haven't read a book in 20 years." As I told Allen this story his lip curled. He said, "That is so embarrassing. Why would she say that out loud? That's like saying you haven't brushed your teeth in 20 years."

I fell a little more in love with him in that moment.

Anyway, back to The Book Whisperer:

Donalyn Miller has a blog. I was excited to get on the computer and read it. Sadly, the last post I found was from 2012. My heart sank. She is off the band wagon? How can it be?!

I kept looking - only to find out she is the created of Nerdy Book Club! This is a bog I read faithfully every day. I am amazed with this blog. They have new people write for it all the time. They have great info. I get a lot of great book ideas and great bogs to read from The Nerdy Book Club. As a matter of fact, I was just telling Allen yesterday about how great that blog is. Too funny. I have been sidling up to Donalyn Miller for months (years?) and didn't even know it.

It does my heart good to have days like this. I am so excited about reading with my students!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Boiselle Reunion

Today Allen and I drove to Lethbridge for the funeral of Lauretta Boisselle. She is the mother of my dear friend, Carma. I sure love Lauretta. She was always so good to me and always very welcoming.

LAURETTA MAY BOISSELLE (nee HEGGIE), beloved wife of Eugene Rowland Boisselle, passed away peacefully in Kelowna, B.C. on Monday, April 1st, 2013 at the age of 72 years.

Lauretta is predeceased by her first-born child, Richard Dean and by her parents, Dean and Georga Heggie.

She will be fondly missed by her 7 sisters and their families and by her surviving children: Patrick (Leslie), Andre (Bobbi), Carma (Lance) and Paul (Tracy), her 17 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren, who very lovingly called her "Bobo".

The Funeral Service will be held on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, KNIGHT STREET CHAPEL, 260 E 200 N, Raymond, Alberta. Friends may meet the family prior to the service at the church from 1:00 to 1:45 p.m.

Interment to follow in the Temple Hill Cemetery, Raymond.

The funeral was wonderful. Roly did the talk on Lauretta's life. He did it all with no notes and told wonderful stories. Their granddaughter sang I Heard Him Come, a song that I have played on the piano a lot. It gave me shivers to listen to her sing it. I haven't heard it for years and it was beautiful.

Pat did the doctrinal talk and he really did a super job.

The closing hymn was # 235, which I thought was so interesting. It certainly is not a common hymn to pick for a funeral. I wondered who she was speaking to when she chose that hymn. It certainly is a beautiful hymn and a funeral is a good time to think about how we are handling our relationships with people.

Should you feel inclined to censure
Faults you may in others view,
Ask your own heart, ere you venture,
If you have not failings, too.
Let not friendly vows be broken;
Rather strive a friend to gain.
Many words in anger spoken
Find their passage home again.

 Do not, then, in idle pleasure
Trifle with a brother's fame;
Guard it as a valued treasure,
Sacred as your own good name.
Do not form opinions blindly;
Hastiness to trouble tends;
Those of whom we thought unkindly
Oft become our warmest friends.

Best of all though, I had a wonderful time visiting with everyone. I sat with Paul and Tracy for a while and heard about their family and their lives. I loved seeing Pat and Les. Les was one of my inspirations growing up and one of the reasons I chose to go on a mission. She is still exactly the same. It was so great to see her. . And of course, it was great to visit with Carma again. It made me really excited about the idea of a trip to Kelowna this summer. I have a lot of really great friends in Kelowna and it has been way too long!

I love you Boiselle family!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


In October I got to attend an amazing conference. As I looked through my blog I realized I didn't even blog much about it! That is a tragedy because I truly found it to be one of the most inspiring few days I had all year. There's something about me and books and writers. It stirs my soul!

I cut out a little clip I found a while ago for a writing contest for Time Out For Women. I'm not going to post my entry (maybe in time). Writing it has made me think about a workshop I attended at the Kaleidoscope conference. There were only a few people in the workshop. The presenter started off by going around the room and having each of us answer the question, "What are you writing?"

I was the first to answer. I felt silly. I am interested in writing, but I don't really write. I write report cards. I write example paragraphs for students. But I don't seem to write much else.

The presenter just smiled and thanked me then went on to the next person.

That person kind of answered the same way: stumble, awkwardly come up with something, and stumble and hope that is the end of the conversation.

Again, the presenter smiled and went on to the next person.

After all six of us answered she announced we were going to do some writing. I can't even remember now what topic or starter she gave us. It was pretty vague. She told us, then said, "Okay. Go!" It was quiet in the room as we all paused, scribbled a few words down, and paused some more. And then the dreaded moment came where she asked us to share what we'd written! Again, we each stumbled through the process and hoped it would end soon.

I have thought a lot about that day since then. I've been thinking for a while about what I'd write for the Time Our For Women contest. I formulated some ideas in my head, tossed them around for a while, and then the other day finally sat down at the computer to start to put it together. It wasn't that bad. I printed off my story and have carried it with me, reading a paragraph now and then, editing as I go. And you know what?! I've really enjoyed it. Just like reading ,writing seems to stir something inside me.

Somehow I need to carve out some time to do more writing. I am thinking I'm going to have to give something up. Facebook? Scrabble? Mindless googling?

A lot of writers I've read about get up early and write first thing. I'm not sure I can get up any earlier - but I could try to get my mornings more organized so I can spend some time writing each day.

I feel like I need to give it a shot!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Easter Monday

A strange thing happened today. Allen organized a family get together! We drove down to Nanton and met the Letourneau's and the Nathan Ackroyd family and had a little picnic. It was totally low key and easy, and a great time....something we should definitely do more often.

After the picnic we went to see some baby lambs. They have had about 11 lambs born this week. One was born just minutes before we got there! And then, surprisingly, the ewe started again and had another one while we were there. Wow!

All the kids got to hold baby lambs. It was really a great time.

This is the little one that was born just as we arrived.