Monday, 27 January 2014

Math Miracle

This is Jill's first year of high school. She has always done pretty good in school and never has had to put in a lot of work. This year though, things changed. She had a math class that was really difficult, and after a month or so it became known to us that her mark was around 55%. We had a big talk and helped her realize this wasn't going to be okay. She wants to go to an away camp with the swim club for Spring Break and so I told her that she had to get her marks up to 80% in order to be able to go to the camp. This seemed to her to be an absolutely impossible goal. She got to work though. We helped her understand that for every hour i class she might have to do an hour's work at home.  This was shocking and horrifying to her and initially, I think she didn't believe us. As time unfolded we realized she really didn't know how to study. She came to me one day and said, "Mom, I have my calculator out, I have my books what do I do?"

I helped her figure out what she needed to do (practice!) and pretty soon she got the hang of it. Soon she started bringing the books home and studying quite regularly. Each test got a little better, with a few stars here and there, and a few mishaps as well. However, by the end of the semester she needed to get a really good mark on her final to help to get 80%.

Luckily, in high school, there is an exam break, so she got the time to spend her days studying.

As the day of the exam approached she was really nervous. Her mark was hovering around 70% and she really couldn't afford to blow this. Her nerves were really getting to her. My heart was softened a little and I told her that if she really worked as hard as she could, and wasn't at exactly 80%, she probably would still get to go on the trip.  That was a bit of a relief - but she still, appropriately, felt the pressure. She even cancelled out of a swim meet to prepare properly for the exam. Now we knew she was serious!

The day of the exam Allen gave her a blessing. She wrote the exam and told us that she knew what to do on every question. That was a big deal! We got the results, and sure enough, she had done very well on the test. Well enough to bring her mark to 78.5%!

We were relieved. She was grateful.

All in all, it was a miracle. She had to work hard. It didn't ever come easy to her, even after plenty of studying - but somewhere along the way there was some grace. She said she thought maybe the teacher made the test a little easier than she had originally planned. I think maybe we saw a miracle happen. She did the work. The Lord knew she had put in the time and she was blessed to be able to understand it, to have the wisdom to focus on the right topics, and as a result, she did it.

I'm so grateful for miracles!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Jr. High Orientation

It's that time of year. Orientations at schools for new students. For us, it was Junior High orientation tonight for Peirce.

My little boy is going to be in Jr High?!

It was actually quite fun. I remember it  being like this when we went with Jill too. We went from room to room to see activities and talk with teachers of different subjects. Peirce is really ready for this step. He is excited about choosing options. He even talked with each of the teachers as we went into each room (well, except the drama teacher because she had some kids actually practicing a play). It was a good time.

One thing I'm grateful for is that as each step has come, my kids have been really excited to take that step. Whether it was kindergarten, moving from primary to the youth program at church, junior high or high school - it has been a good experience each time. Here's hoping that continues!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Blogging plans

Blogging goals

1. Sundays: Sunday seven will focus on seven things I am grateful for (Ackroyd House)
2. Tuesdays: Family history stories (Ackroyd House)
3. Wednesdays: God's tender mercies -looking for god's hand in my life. (Ackroyd House)
4. Mondays: What I am reading (book blog)
5. Saturdays: Celebrate - weekly reflection (Jungle)
6. Thursdays: Gospel study - reflections on what I have learned and plan to teach in SS that next week
7. Fridays: Family Scribe - a lot goes on with my family each week. I will record growth and happenings (Ackroyd House)

Friday, 10 January 2014

Storybook Theatre: The Cat in the Hat

I was quite curious about how they would present this story. It turns out it pretty much matches the book, which I think is quite a feat. The play was a delight. It is a definite must see, especially if you have little kids!

Thing 1 and Thing 2 were amazing! Truly hilarious. 

Peirce and I LOVE volunteering at Storybook Theatre. Tonight was the opening night so we even got to be part of the gala after. Fun!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A Temple Miracle

It used to be that as soon as a break from school started, I would get sick. It was as though when I finally relaxed all those germs I had been carrying around said, "Ah ha! We've got you now!" I would spend the first 3 days of a break sleeping, and then the next week being sick. I don't seem to do that anymore. All through winter break I felt great. However, on Monday, at our PD Day, a cold suddenly hit me. On Tuesday I felt really really terrible. Like really terrible. This was was a doozie. I stuck it out though and made it through Tuesday. Wednesday wasn't much better. It seemed like no matter how much cold medicine I took I couldn't stop my nose from running. I was blowing my nose all day long. My skin was worn out and sore from all the nose blowing and my head was aching. I helped Peirce with homework in the evening and I was blowing and blowing and blowing my nose and sneezing and sneezing and sneezing. I felt really miserable.

Big problem: I had volunteered to clean the temple. In my mind I went through all the reasons I shouldn't go do it.

  • That place is clean enough!
  • There will be other people there to help.
  • I'm sick.
  • I need sleep.
  • This is just a make work project. Do they really need to clean that place every single day?!
  • Jill has swimming tomorrow morning
  • I really just want to go to bed.
  • I don't know what I'm supposed to wear.
  • I just don't want to do it!

In the end though, I decided maybe I should just go and do my duty....because I said I would.

I arrived at 9:15. They give you white scrubs to put on. I went and sat in the chapel with everyone else and waited and grumbled to myself that we should just get at it. Finally President Stonehocker came along and gave us a spiritual message (a spiritual message for cleaning the temple?!) and we got to work. I was assigned to sweep and mop bathroom floors (there are a lot of bathrooms in that place!) I realised about 45 minutes into things that I wasn't sniffing anymore. No need to blow my nose anymore.


This morning it's the same thing. I still feel like my sinuses are going a little crazy - but I don't have a terribly runny nose like I had with a vengeance Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday.

It's seriously a temple miracle. I'm one who only gets better with lots of sleep. Last night I was there until 11:15 and got home at 11:30. It always takes me a little time to unwind and so I didn't really get to sleep until after midnight. I shouldn't feel this good today! I'm sure grateful that I do though.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Smuggle Mom

Jill's coach calls people who don't know the swimming life "smuggles". In Harry Potter a muggle is a person who lacks any sort of magical ability and was not born into the magical world. In our life, a smuggle is someone who doesn't understand the magic of the swimming life.

I'm a smuggle. I'll admit it. I had no idea what we were getting into when we started this swimming life. I can't keep track of swim times like some parents do. I don't know all the terms, and I often say the wrong things to my kids about how to get a better time (just move your arms faster!)

However, I am oftensimply amazed at the beauty and wisdom involved in the demanding life of a swimmer.

This week, most kids are being lazy, playing with their Christmas toys, eat bad (good?) food, and other fun stuff. That's not a bad thing. It isn't what swim kids do though. Swim kids are at swim camps!

Jill has had twice a day workouts. 8-10 am and then again 2-4:30 pm.
Peirce has just had once a day workouts - and that's enough. He sure sleeps better.

Sometimes I think the demands of swimming life are way too much. I suppose that is the smuggle in me coming out. We drag Peirce to the pool now and then. Jill doesn't require any dragging though. She loves it. She works hard and follows the instructions her coaches give quite closely. She's also learned the dangers of staying up too late. One 3 am night (New Year's Eve) has made this a double-hard week. She's survived though. She even went to YW when she felt way too tired (it's amazing what washing one's hair will do to pick you up though). Her motto is that she does hard things.

I think that's a good motto.

For me the hard things are getting out of bed before my preferred time of 9 am, the driving, the preparing food, and the waiting around at the pool.

I probably shouldn't complain. It's great reading time!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Shoveling Dough

The swim club has another away camp coming up so we have been helping Jill find ways to make extra money. The kids and I have been volunteering at saddledome games for The Flames and The Hitmen to raise $, and today Allen took a group of kids out to shovel snow. They made some good dough! I was so proud of them!

New Year's Eve

What a night! We ended the year off with a bang!

Peirce and I worked at a hockey game. Did you know they can do fireworks right on the ice?! That was pretty cool.

After we went and found Allen and then subsequently found a restaurant that had tables available. It was a bit of an eye opener for Peirce: loud music, DJ, fancified people, champagne (well, not for us) and lots of noisy people. They handed out party hats and noisemakers for the countdown. Fun!

These are terribly grainy pictures....apparently I need a better phone. 

Jill on the other hand, had five parties in one night:

1. Shop and have a friend over to get ready for the dance.
2. Go to the before dance party at a boy's house.
3. Go to the dance.
4. Go to the after dance party at another boy's house.
5. Have a friend sleepover (attempt to watch a movie first....which didn't last long. Valiant effort though!)

Translation: That meant a bunch of driving for Allen. I'm always amazed at the number of kids looking for rides on nights like tonight. I wonder what their parents did for New Year's Eve? Oh well! It is good bonding time....a win for Allen.

Now bring on 2014!