Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Quote of the Day

"I can't hear what you're saying with all the noise happening in my brain."
- LK to EK after a very, very long day.

(Christmas holidays are only 17 days away! YAAY!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mushy Monday

Today was one of those days when many little things went wrong no matter how hard you tried to make them right. Days like today make my head hurt. My brains feel like mush. I have lots of work and lesson planning yet to do, but can't seem to find the energy to do it. So, to make myself feel better, it's time for the Muppets! Take it away, Beaker!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Kindle Girls

My spouse and I recently received an early Christmas gift - a Kindle.  You can read more about my spouse's love for the Kindle ereader here.  I'm not surprised at how quickly my spouse took to her Kindle (actually, it was for both of us, but it is already literally named on the ereader as "Emily's Kindle").  She loves books of all kinds, and this love of reading has been passed to our children, the oldest sprout especially.  FK loves, loves, loves to read!  I think she loves reading more than my spouse, which says a lot.  FK was promised a turn at trying out the Kindle, and after reminding her parents numerous times a free version of "Alice in Wonderland" was downloaded for her reading pleasure.  She curled up downstairs for awhile in a chair, reader in hand, clicking pages faster than I typed this sentence.  Because her little brother was bothersome, she left the chair, climbed the stairs and went to her room for "privacy", all the while reading (just so we are clear, she would have done this with an open book as well).  An hour later she finished the book and wondered if another could be downloaded soon.  So, we have another Kindle user in the house.  I wonder how many seven year olds have a Kindle on their Christmas list?  So the boys in the family don't feel left out, I also wonder if I can ask Santa for a 32" Sony Bravia EX500 flat screen that I can "share" with the other sprout?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Snowy Afternoon

The first major snow storm of the season started very early this morning and continues even as I blog.  The wind gusts blow the snow every which way and at times reduce visibility out the window.  School was let out at noon because ice was forming on the roads, with the concern that the bus wouldn't be able to deliver students home at the usual dismissal time.  So we came home early, full of excitement, as the "waiting" for winter weather is now over.  Shovels were dug out of the shed (catch the pun?), as were the sleds.  The tent trailer was moved from the driveway to behind the house (and that's all we will blog about that frustrating experience, although my spouse sees it in a much more humourous light.  Lesson learned.).  After the "work" was done, the family enjoyed some outdoor time playing in the snow with shovels and sleds.  I, being anxious lately about not taking pictures, quickly grabbed my camera and started shooting.  I felt rusty, but used the time outside to practice.  I'm sure that I will have more opportunities this snowy weekend for photography.  I do love watching the Sprouts try to pull each other on the sled, and their giggles, laughter and antics make up for a lackluster day at work.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Am Thankful For...

... a high school teacher who went out of his way, unasked and to no benefit of his own, to create a fish "fossil" for a pre-reading activity for a novel study.

... an elementary school teacher who went out of her way, and to no benefit of her own, to buy sunflower seeds for the same pre-reading activity.

It is people like the above who inspire me to strive to be a better teacher.


The video below is for all my family, friends and colleagues who are artists in some way: musicians, painters, writers, storytellers, teachers, singers, photographers, videographers, sculptors, graphic designers, interior decorators, animaters, authors, fashion designers, pastors, scrapbookers (did I miss any?), ...

Continue to inspire.  Continue to be inspired.  Your voice matters.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Zip (-a-Dee-Doo-Dah)

So my spouse and I finally broke down and subscribed to Zip.ca.  We made the conscious choice a few years ago to cancel our cable television service, and since moving to NW Ontario we decided to not get a satellite TV service.  We did this mostly for savings, but also to stop our keisters from growing too large, and our brains too small.  We do like to watch TV and movies on occasion (especially after a long teaching day), so we have in the past used the local library's DVDs for our viewing pleasure.  However, we have picked over the selection available, and so needed to find another alternative to buying seasons of TV episodes and movies (except for those DVDs that will be watched over and over again, like The Incredibles or Planet Earth).  Because we know that friends of ours enjoy Zip, and because of the cost benefit (versus buying DVDs), we decided to try it out and signed up for a free trial on the weekend.  My spouse and I sat side by side at the kitchen table perusing the selection Zip has, and have already picked out an extensive Wishlist.  I just received an email telling us that our first DVD is on its way.  Woohoo! 

The most amusing part about the whole signing up process was that we had to provide a street number for our home, or we would not be able continue on with the order.  We don't have street numbers where we live (its just general delivery)!  So we had to be creative and make up a street name and provide a house number.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas is Early This Year

Setting: just after 4 PM as the family is exiting the school.  Picture lots of snowflakes falling.  Picture a little sprout running around, trying to catch snowflakes on his tongue, all the while shouting: "It's Christmas, it's Christmas!"
This is the same little sprout who for the past three weeks has been asking to put up the Christmas tree.


This past weekend we were in Winnipeg as part of FK's birthday celebration.  We spent some time Saturday morning at the Forks Market, where we discovered a wonderful bakery called the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company.  I highly recommend this bakery as it has very delicious food, especially the Gouda cheese croissants.  We arrived just as one of the bakers was preparing the croissants for baking.  Very fascinating to watch!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family Quote of the Week

Setting: walking out of the school at 4:30 PM to go home, the sun setting on the horizon

JK says: "Papa, it's dark.  It's time to go to bed now."

Daylight Savings

My favourite time of day to run is early morning (6 AM or earlier).  Yet for the past three weeks I have had to run after school because it has been too dark to run.  There are no streetlights, and the moon and stars don't give enough light to even see my shuffling feet.  But this morning was a blessing thanks to daylight savings time.  I laced up my Sauconies, put on my Nike cap and gloves, and stepped outside.  Though it was dark, the hint of a glow from a rising sun helped point my way down our driveway, up the lane, down the big hill and out into the "wild".  I love running.  It's my alone time, my exercise time, my thinking time, my praying time, my de-stressing time, my admiring the beauty of early morning time, my "get pumped up for the day" time.  Early morning runs help me find focus for the day.  Often I come back into the house looking for paper and pencil to write down thoughts and ideas that have jostled loose during my run.  When I miss a morning run, it impacts my whole day.  In just two weeks I will once again have to run in the early evening (the sun is already setting at 4:30 PM!).  So, for now, I will enjoy thoroughly running at 6 AM, feet pounding the pavement (or gravel), watching the sun peek its head over the horizon.

Friday, November 5, 2010

How Will You Remember?

Today begins Veterans Week, which leads up and into Remembrance Day.  I'm not sure why, but I get very emotional about Remembrance Day.  I haven't served in the armed forces, I don't have any close friends or family serving, and I haven't experienced the horror and tragedy of war.  I think my emotions come from a mixture of patriotism and a sense of pride in my family's history.  I love this country, its grandeur and majesty, its people, its history, its influence on the world stage (yes, I believe that Canada still moves and shakes politically, just ever so subtly), its openness and its freedoms.   I had a grandfather on my mother's side who served valiantly with the Canadian Army in Italy during WWII.  My grandparents on my father's side experienced and overcame the trials and tribulations of German occupation in Holland in the same war.  I hope that I, my spouse and my children will never experience what my grandparents experienced.  I am very grateful for their contribution to providing peace in this broken world.  I will wear my poppy proudly this week and beyond, will probably have tears in my eyes at the school assembly, will spend time with the Sprouts explaining what Remembrance Day is all about, and will pray that Peace will come soon and reign forever.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Seven Year Old Sprout

It's hard to believe that our oldest sprout is already seven. I can still remember vividly Fiona's birth, the emotional roller coaster of having a child put in an isolette, tears streaming down my face. I remember the day she finally came home from the hospital, and how terribly slow I drove home to keep her safe. I remember her first steps, words and gestures like it was yesterday. I remember taking her on subway rides, going with her at least twice a week to the library, exploring the nearby neighbourhoods, reading all the time, playing at the park, singing, talking, drawing, building train tracks, and, well, the list continues.

And time marches (sprints) on...

Today it still amazes me that my spouse and I are the parents to this young girl. How blessed we are to have the privilege of raising such a bright, intelligent, curious person. A person who can read the instructions to a new game in the time it takes me to make a cup of tea, teach me the game, and beat me, too! A person who reads novels in one sitting and reminds me of the Dr. Seuss quote:

"The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

A person who asks deeper questions than I, writes from the heart and who cares for her immediate and extended family (and close friends) deeply.  A person who loves God, sings His praises, and challenges me to do the same. I hope that as she continues to grow and mature into a young woman that she will enjoy and experience life with the same seven year old spirit she has today.

Happy Birthday, FK!

Pic of FK at two:

Pic of FK at almost seven: