Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Christmas 2015

GIn November, as a last minute pull the rabbit out of the hat and make a good RS activity night, we had a class on planning for a stress-free Christmas. Turned out to be the best thing ever. I think from now on, in November, I will be sure to take some time to think about what I really enjoy and focus on that for the Christmas season. There is so much to do that sometimes I get bogged down in to do lists and don't enjoy this season. This year I didn't do that. I enjoyed the music more. I enjoyed the social gatherings more. I enjoyed my family more.

We have a few traditions. We go to the First Presidency broadcast the first Sunday in December, then we go to our friend's, the Hawryluks. We had my work party, Allen's office party, a RS party (missed that one, although I did help organize conflicted with my work party) our ward party, and we usually help serve at the other ward's Christmas party. I even went to my friend, Kim's, Christmas  concert. It was amazing music! I went alone...and that was just fine because I gave up all the expectations (it is okay to do some seasonal stuff without family!) and just did what I enjoyed. It was great! We went to Storybook Theatre's Christmas play.....loved that. We usually go to the Hudsons for a carol singing night, but this year they didn't have it. We would have missed it anyway because that was the day we celebrated Christmas with Grandma.


We had Christmas Eve at home. Usually, we go to the nativity pageant, but it was really cold, so we just enjoyed ourselves at home instead. I learned the joy of teenagers on Christmas morning: they slept until 8:00!! This year we didn't seem to do as many presents, but it was still great. Just perfect actually. We had The NAckroyds over for dinner the afternoon of Christmas Day. A lovely day!

I always have a long list of housework things to catch up on over breaks from school. This year I decided to just do one little thing each day to make our house a little nicer.....something I had been neglecting. It worked! Usually I have these long lists and never quite get sound to any of t because I really don't want to spend my whole time cleaning. That makes me feel a little bitter. This one little thing each day seemed to work much better. I might even continue it after school starts up again! I also did a little bit of school work - even though people like to lecture on how important it is to leave all work behind. Just a little bit now and then is what I did...and I think that will make going back to work even better. And the truth is, I don't hate the work I do. I enjoy why not?!

Peirce got a pet sitting job over the break so we have spent a lot of time driving him to the house of pets. They have a dog named Draco, two cats and a bearded dragon. I has been a good responsibility for him. Good $$ too, I would say!

Jill did a fair bit of homework and studying (still finishing up English 20!) She has some swim practices, worked a few days at Brokin Yolk, and did a lot of fun friend things. She pretty much never stops!

We tried to immerse Bobby into his first Christmas experience. He wasn't that into it. I decided I would just invite, and after that, not worry about it if he didn't participate. It was, however, very interesting to have someone who has n emotional connections to Christmas. That is a subject for a whole 'nother post!

I also spent a lot of time reading. I hoped to do a book a day (inspired by Donalyn Miller) but I got stuck in a couple books I wasn't that enthusiastic about. Didn't quite meet my goal, but I did get some great books read! I also exercised every day over the break. Every day!! It has been fabulous.

Looking back, we really did a lot. It didn't stress me the same as other years though. I think there are a few reasons. I decided to be conscious about simply enjoying the moment. I decided to not worry about expectations, especially when it comes to gift giving. I just did what felt right, not what I figured others expected me to do. I chose to not do some things that I just don't enjoy. I filled my days with things I love, rather than duties. 

I lived to feel the joy.

Really, I think that is what Christmas is all about.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

The Early Bird Gets The....mess to deal with??

The trouble with getting to school early is you're the first to find the flood. Not a great way to start the day!

I wish I had taken pictures. It was quite the scene!

Here is the story:

Being the swim parent that I am, I can rarely sleep past 4:30. So, even though there was no practice today, after a few minutes of debating whether I should sleep in or get up since I was awake anyway, I decided to get up so I could tackle those bulletin boards and Edmodo quizzes and prep the craft for today.

I arrived in the dark of the morning, just after 6:30. When I walked in, I could hear a swishing sound. It sounded like someone was in the school. Eeek! That's a little scary when you are pretty sure you're the first one there.

I turned off the alarm and snapped on the lights and....slop, slop, slop,....I was walking in water an inch or two deep. I walked down the hall, rounded the corner, and saw a horizontal gusher coming out of the caretaker's room. Pretty cool sight! Who knew so much force could come out of one little tap!

I stood there with my mouth gaped open. Now whadya do??? I considered donning a garbage bag but then decided I likely wouldn't be able to retrieve one without getting soaked anyway, so I went straight for the spot the gusher was coming out of. I figured if I kept my coat on it'd take a bit to soak before it got to getting my clothes soaked.

I did the breast stroke into the stream of water, approached the sink, and presto. Gusher averted. Problem solved.

Well sort of.

I stood there wondering, do I just go get ready for the day? Or is school going to be cancelled? Or do I start cleaning up? Is that my job? Where is the mop anyway? 

I did the backstroke down to my room, found my phone list and woke Preston up. He put on his superman cape and came over to the school, rolled up his pants and saved the day. "No! There's no need to cancel school!" he says. "We can handle this!"

He reassigned classes. Cancelled specialties. Found a secondary route for kids to get to the bathrooms...and we were back in business.


If only I had stayed in bed and arrived at a normal hour, the entire place would have been wet and school could have been cancelled.

*double sigh*

Live and learn! LOL

Friday, 18 December 2015

A Christmas Story

We have been volunteering at Storybook Theatre for years....and truly love it.

Tonight Allen even came! The play was a Christmas story. Odd. But fun and really quite enjoyable. Lots of chuckles.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

I DO have a great kid!

This week I got an email from Peirce's principal:

Sometimes teenagers get a bad rap. There are some good ones in this world though, for sure! So proud of Peirce and his friends. Peirce often tells me how nice this bus driver is. They had planned for quite a while to do something for him. It took some work and coordination. 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

True Hope

A strange thing has happened to me since entering the hell of perimenopause. I have noticed a significant change in my brain. I am always word finding. I can't remember names. I worry about dimentia because it has been an issue for some of my relatives. This can't be happening to me so soon!

Allen found some vitamins called True Hope a number of years ago. You used to have to order them online. Now you can buy them in stores. I took them now and then. A while ago I bought a bottle and kept it in my car. I took one a day like you do any multivitamin. Then my car got stolen. We had a lot of stuff to replace and the vitamins kind of went to the bottom of the list. I started to notice a significant difference. Anxiety and anger were growing. It was kind of scary.

A couple weeks ago we finally went and bought some more. In the past I took one day. Since I had been so long without them Allen suggested I take four a day. Seemed a little over the top, but I have been to the temple a lot lately and the blessing of ears to hear the counsel of your husband (and the word of the Lord) have been on my I decided to follow his advice.

Oh. My. Goodness!!

It is like a grey cloud has been lifted. Noise in my classroom doesn't bother me the same. Dumb things my students do doesn't make me angry. Instead I smile at them and deal with the situation. Suddenly the writer's block for report cards was gone. I have the energy to do little bits of housework here and there (it just seemed like an 'extra' that I just couldn't manage before). When I play the organ in church I no longer get totally caffuffled when I make a mistake. I play better. I am just plain happier. I feel the spirit more in every day things. 

They truly give me hope.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Family picture day!

We were so lucky to get a nice warm day! 

Jill seems a little leery of Becky's idea

Sure love these two

He is getting so grown up!

Not sure what was going on here! Allen and Becky have a special kind of relationship :)

It was Becky's suggesting that we take pictures in the Birth Place Forest in Nose Creek Park. I don't know if she knows that this is Destiny's birthplace forest or not. I didn't bring it up. I thought it was a perfect idea though. I am going to love these pictures.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Bobby - Basketball

I finally have a child who plays high school basketball! We are quite enjoying attending Bobby's games. Lots of fun!!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The End of an Era

We gave our trampoline away today. 

I felt a little bit sad.

I think it is repressed sorrow from when I found out my parents gave our trampoline away....when I was away at university. 

We had a lot of fun on trampolines in our house! Our kids really haven't jumped on it much for a couple years though and I am ready to do something different with our back yard. The trampoline pretty much took up half our yard. I always worried about neighbourhood kids jumping on it and getting hurt (and us getting sued). We probably should have had one of those fancy no springs, big net safer ones.

Nah!! You can't jump off the deck onto the trampoline if there is a net!
(Oh my shattered nerves!)

I am sure, wherever it is going, it will be well loved.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Bobby Experiences Frost for the First Time

Next we will teach him about how much Allen doesn't love people touching his car :)

Monday, 2 November 2015

Might as Well!

Jill has never been a big fan of homework. However, in grade 12 it has become apparent that it doesn't matter if she is a fan or not. It has to be done. 

She has decided that it is best to do homework in beautiful places. Starbucks. Trendy restaurants. Devonian Gardens....they are perfect candidates for homework.

This is her studying at the new and trendy and very cool Simmons building.

Why didn't I think of that when I was a student?!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Seeking Balance and Good Mental Health

In RS we have been doing pursuit of excellence. I've realized that I don't have a very balanced life. Much of my time is spent doing things for my kids to help them have a balanced life....and that is ok. I have decided though that I need to try to do more things for my own enjoyment as well. Last week we had a great RS activity. We had a psychologist come and talk about mental health. One of the things she talked about was mindfulness. It was a great message on how important it is to be in the moment and focus on what you are doing now.

With that in mind, last night while our is were busy with their Halloween activities, Allen and I were free to do whatever we wanted. We thought about the usual, go get something to eat....but instead we decided to go visit some friends. In our busy frenzied life in Calgary that just doesn't happen that much. They were thrilled that we would think of them. We had a great visit. When I left I felt that feeling I don't get that often that I had really enjoyed myself. I did something I wanted to do that was just fun for me, rather than something I had to do.

How weird is it that that is such a big deal? 

I think I will do that more often! 

I also have decided I need text back to more for it! More blog posts to come.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Car Thieves Strike Our Street

Earlier this month our car was stolen. It was a shock to have Allen come in the house and ask where the car was. I thought someone had tried to joke around with us. 

Not that funny!!

Here is the story:

I had picked Peirce up from swimming, then came home. I clearly remember locking the door because I was having trouble with my fob. The battery was low and it often took a number of attempts to get it to lock. So I do remember locking it. I went into the house and I hung my keys up in the back entry where I always hang them up. We had dinner. We had cleaned up. Jill and I were doing homework at the table. Alan went out at about 8 o'clock. When he came home at 9 o'clock the car was missing.

We did the usual stuff: We called our insurance company. We made a report with the police. We talked to our neighbors. It turned out the neighbors had seen someone that they think was the guy who stole the car. They think someone has consistent with their truck too. The guy was walking down the street and our neighbors said to themselves: that guy doesn't belong here. When he passed their driveway, they walked out to the end of their driveway to see where he was going. They figured he must be going down to those scoundrel's house down the street. Well, they couldn't see him. He had disappeared. That's probably because he had walked up the side of our house to go inside the house. They said he was awake guy in a white T-shirt and he looked like he was going somewhere on purpose. Soon after that our car drove away. They didn't even think that it could've been someone stealing our car. Who would ever think that anyway?

The insurance company let us know that they wanted a list of maintenance that had been done on the car. This as a way to prove the car actually existed (why would I insure a car for a year hat doesn't exist?) We called our guy. He actually lives near us. He said that that night there had been someone poking around on his deck when he came home. He chased him away and the guy stole a bike from his backyard and rode away on the bike. Turns out there was a bike in the field behind our house. We checked with our mechanic and sure enough it was his bike. So it sounds like the guy had been over at our mechanic's house, road bike down the road, hit in the field behind our house and watched us for  Who knows how long. He might have even seen Allen leave and  decided that was a good time to try coming inside. The washing machine was going. The dishwasher was going. We were all in the upper part of the house. So he walked straight into the back entry and took the key and drove away.

We had a few little run arounds where we thought the car was found. I heard a story about a car thief ring being busted up in high River by the RCMP. I checked the RCMP website, and discovered that my plate came up as a stolen vehicle that had been found. After a few days of phone calls and waiting to see the car and sending the adjuster out to see it, it turned out they were wrong and actually didn't have our car. So the insurance company settled with us and we bought a new car.

A couple weeks later, they found our car. We went to see if today to retrieve our personal belongings. My library books were there! My superstore bins were there! Sadly my wallet was also in the car. Most of that is gone. He didn't leave the Tim Horton' gift card and two Indigo bookstore gift cards. That was a nice surprise! Sadly, the garage door opener was not there. They made a real mess of the car too. One of the back windows was broken. It was the little back window behind the backseat. Why did they break that one? They had also poured pop all over the console of the car. What a mess. It's so sad to be to see something that you looked after really well, totally trashed by someone. It kind of broke my heart.

This is how they brought the car out to us. I guess the bad guy didn't leave the key.

So, The good news is now we have a new vehicle. I think it will actually be much better suited to our needs. Still doesn't change the feeling of betrayal you have when somebody comes and steals something from you.

We are much better at locking our doors now. That is for sure. Let's hope we never have to go through this again.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Peirce's Talk: How serving others has blessed my life

Good morning brothers and sisters. I have been asked if I would be able to speak on how serving others has blessed my life as a deacon.

In Doctrine and Covenants 107:99 it says: Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.

In the Duty to God book it teaches how deacons are to serve. It says that deacons are meant to assist the bishop in administering temporal things, this includes collecting fast offerings, caring for the poor and needy, caring for the meeting-house and grounds, serving as a messenger for the bishop in church meetings and fulfilling other assignments from the quorum president.

When we serve in the priesthood we take the responsibility to represent Jesus Christ. Whenever I pass the sacrament, it helps me feel the spirit and I feel closer to God. This is important to me because I can strengthen my testimony and bring the spirit into my life.

Having the spirit guide me is very important because it helps me in my day to day life. The spirit guides me especially with de-stressing my life and getting done what needs to be done first. When my friends, my school, classes, volleyball, swimming, homework, church and studying the scriptures I need to take the time to prioritize and schedule when and where I will complete these things. I like to do my homework after swim practice when I am waiting for my parents to drive me home and at swim meets in-between my races. I make sure to set time for reading my scriptures, although sometimes I don't get ready early enough so u am tired for school. Whoops.

I really like the scripture Alma 37:37 which reads: Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good.

I really love that every Sunday in Deacon's quorum we ask each other how we are doing with our temple work, our Duty to God, scripture study and daily prayer. I think that it is a great reminder and u love talking with the other deacons about how they are doing and if I can help them complete any projects.

I would like to bear my testimony that I know that the church and the gospel is true, that God listens to our prayers and get we are blessed for our service. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We had the option of going to a big family dinner in Lethbridge, but we opted for a quieter day at home. It was wonderful to have some time to clean house, prepare a great meal, and enjoy each other's company.

I'm sure grateful for my family. I love my husband deeply and am grateful for so many things about him. He is smart and kind and hardworking. He leads our family with confidence and with power that I'm grateful for.

I'm grateful for Jill. She is a bright light in each day. She's positive and happy and sees the best in everyone. 

I'm grateful for Peirce. He has grown so much this past year it's astounding. He's taller than me now and I think the gap will only increase. He is a good kid and while he enjoys his friends immensely, he also loves to have quiet time - he's a guy after my own heart!

Our newest member of the family is Bobby. I was a little nervous to become a guardian to another child, but he has made it easy. He works very hard at school. I can't imagine going to a new country and living with a strange family at such a young age. He's very brave and is working hard at his goals.

I did a gratitude challenge years ago, and I've decided, to prepare for our upcoming RS activity, I will try it again. I'm going to focus on all I'm grateful this week and I will blog about it.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Beaker head

Jill and I were down on 17th Avenue and we ran across Beakerhead. Never heard of Beakerhead before.... It is a smash up of art, science and engineering.  It looked fun so we decided to check it out. It was fun!

Don't let clouds get you down! These ones play music. This is Jill dancing amongst some musical clouds. 

Jill photocopying her body 

We also ran across some huge bunnies in another park. Apparently, one was hiding/missing. We never did figure that out.

Most interestingly, we also got to watch some parasol duelling by a bunch of steampunks (parasol duelling???? Good question ....I asked the same question. Still no answer)

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Cross Country Running

Jill joined cross country this year. She has really grown to love running the past couple of years. As her swim coach would say, she is becoming as tough as nails!

Today was the first high school meet. 

Love that look of focus!

They were running in the beautiful Canmore park.

The finish line!
She was #13! 

The city finals were out in Cochrane. What a beautiful place to run! 

I love listening to Jill talk about her mental conversations while she runs. She gets to a big hill and says: well, this sucks. No sense dragging this out. She turns on the guns and sprints up the hill because who wants to make that pain any longer than necessary?

I dream of being like that! Maybe one day....

Here are some great photos from the city finals. She was in the top 20 - just outside of being able to go to provincials. Too bad! Abe had some really good runners! Go Orange!

Jill and her friend, Robin. It is the "I'm too cool for school" look.

Braid twinners.

Post race snacks.

Friday, 4 September 2015

First Day of School!

It's nice to be a teacher and have days off when my kids have days off. The first day of school is different though. I'm glad I was not working when they were little. Now we all have the same rush, excitement and overwhelming feelings of the first day of school. Jill and Peirce and Bobby started on September 2. My first day was Aug 31. Everyone's first day went well and we were all totally exhausted at the end of it. Looking forward to getting this first week over!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

New Addition to our Family!

A strange thing happens in our life now and then. Students find us.

The latest one to find us is Bobby. He is from China and will be going to high school here. He emailed us before the summer to see if we'd have a room, and we do. He seems like a really nice boy. Today I picked him up at a house that his mother and aunt are renting. They're here to help get him settled. He seems pretty confident and excited about being here. His mother and his aunt came to our house and helped him unpack and get all organized. She also wanted to take the bus from here to his school so she could see exactly how he'll get to school.

I can't imagine sending my son to China to go to school. Must be a little heart breaking. We will take good care of him though! I think he will fit in well with our family!

Monday, 24 August 2015

First Day Back!

I love summer.
I really love summer.

I really love going back too.

Today was my first day back at school. It is surprising how nervous I always feel. You'd think I'd start getting the hang of this. I still have the butterflies. Although, I have less butterflies on the first day back with teachers than I do on the day I meet my new students! That is for sure.

I realized something the other day. These students likely would have been Destiny's classmates and friends. She would have been going into grade 3 this year. These are the kids she'd have play dates with and go to birthday parties with. They will hold a special place in my heart.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Big Hill Springs Park

Today after church we headed out of town for Big Hill Springs Park. Apparently, a lot of other people had the same idea. There were a lot of people and dogs there - and we were glad to be there with them. It is so beautiful! We basked in the sun, enjoyed all the dogs and watching the kids play in the water. Such a beautiful place to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Tomorrow it is back to school for me! As usual, summer has gone by all too quickly. I wonder how many more days there are until fall break?!  :)

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Freezer Meals

One thing I live about going back to school is how it forces me to get a little more organized.

I have been making freezer meals this week. A while ago, I got a copy of The Big Cook. It has been a great source of inspiration. This week I made four meals each of two recipes from that book: BBQ beef and Canton Chicken. That means two nights of the week for the next four weeks I am already started on dinner! Love that.

Tonight we had spaghetti so I decided to make some more freezer meals. We made enough spaghetti sauce for tonight and three more meals. Peirce opened all the cans and dumped them in (10 cans total!) Jill diced up mushrooms while I browned the beef. With everyone helping, I don't think it took much more time than it would have taken me to make dinner just for tonight. 

I like to put them in ziploc bags because they take very little space in the freezer and there is no messing around with faulty non air-tight containers.

We even had enough hamburger browned up to put aside for another night when we want hamburger with/in something. 

My plan is to do this every week. If I put four meals in the freezer each week I should be able to stay ahead of the game pretty well. 

Yea for menu planning! It makes my life so much better!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Party Time!

Jill decided to have a party tonight. On the agenda was laser tag and cake. I got to be the tag along.

One of the great things about teenagers, they can make their own cake! They even plan their own party.

Harry Potter style cake.

What to do with that extra icing? What to do. What to do.

The gang starts to arrive. I noticed the crowd was decidedly more male than female. Hmmm...

Peirce and Zane playing for the championship of the entire free world.

Sometimes the best part is just hanging out. We stayed until they were ready to lock the doors.

Puzzling Peirce

Recently, Peirce has a puzzle fettish. I think it started by hanging out with his six year old cousin, Davida. Today he hit the jackpot! Hours of entertainment!