Friday, December 14, 2012

An unsent Christmas Letter

Good Morning!

I hope this Christmas season is  happy and peaceful one for you!  I am terrible at writing Christmas cards, so I am sending this instead.  :)

This year has been quite uneventful!  How many can say that?   I guess I should clarify uneventful~ uneventful in a bad way.  Many good things and blessings have come our way this year.  So I guess it's true "For after much tribulation come the blessings!".

Dear Husband is doing well, working hard and has just been made the ward clerk.  He says he knows all the gossip, has input, but no real responsibility!  Except to get numbers and reports together.  Guess that works for him!

Church wise, I am only teaching Sunday School.  Well Dear Husband and I were team teaching a class of 19 thirteen year old lovely reverent teens.  Guess which word I am exaggerating.  Our class is loud but I consider it an accomplishment that none have skipped a class or had to be coerced to come to class.  If I teach the same age group next year, I get Dear Daughter's class.  Should be fun.  They are looking at splitting that group as well as my class because they are just so huge!  I truly hope so.  We averaged around 16 kids each week, so I would appreciate a smaller class.  Other than that, I am busy hauling kids to and from school, and other activities.  I still co host an ESL book club at the library, but our numbers are diminished, so we are in a recruitment phase.  Our Bishop challenged us to read the Book of Mormon in 40 days.  I hated him that day, but I did it.  How great!  I hadn't done that in years, so it was fabulous for me.

Dear Son turned 16.  Had a huge sweet 16 party that he didn't want or ask for, and had a great time.  Surprise!  He spent the summer working for my brother, and though he loved the money, he does not love physical labour.  Still doing well in school, he is currently deciding between the IB program, or just taking some AP courses.  As he is 16, we are letting him decide.  I am having a hard time trusting his decision.  Big surprise there as well.  He has to wait until spring to get his license though.  Colorado law.  Yay!  Then I won't be able to say that the year was uneventful.

Dear Daughter is 13.  Kill me please!  Typical teenage girl with ups and downs.  She is busy in a bunch of activities.  She is NJHS Vice president.  She is in choir, she takes private voice lessons.  She crafts.  Meaning all things sewing, clay sculpting, and drawing.  She has just started teaching a little girl in our ward to sew.  Her mom is so generous, she is even paying her to do this.  So, Tess feels like she is rolling in the dough so to speak.  She still keeps up with her school work though.  I love that girl!  She keeps me hopping!

Other than that, our family is happy and busy and growing.  Life has it's ups and downs, sometimes very down, but I am grateful for this past year.  Don't you love Christmas letter?    Generally, we don't list all the negatives like fighting kids, missing or just incomplete assignments, drama~both for Dear Son and Daughter, and other "Family" issues. Speeding Tickets, Money issues, ( Read I need to learn to manage it better and distinguish between needs and wants and not keeping up with our very affluent neighbors the Jones').  Learning the importance of a generous fast offering has been interesting to say the least.  Decluttering ~read clearing the hoard of junk from the basement.  New garage doors because the old ones were literally falling apart, and I didn't use them for fear of them dropping on either myself, my family or my vehicles.  The installer guy showed me how broken they were by using one finger to rip them down...Scary!  Dog barfing/ losing bowel control in Dear Husband's office.  That one went over well~just ask him yourself....I am surprised we still have a dog.  Broken dishes, vases, car repairs, bills to pay.  And how is it appliances all seem to die at the same time?  Don't you just love this life?  I do.  Some days are way more difficult than others, but I am glad that I have lived the life I lived.  I don't have too many regrets.  Yes, there are some, but I don't have any Major regrets. 

Listening to Christmas Carols this month, there is one popular/current one right now that talks about how "His Gospel is Peace".  Somehow that struck me this year.  I Chose and am Working on my "gift to the Savior" this year.  It won't be an easy one.  It truly requires a change on my part, so we will see how this works out.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ahhh! Summer!

For the next 5 days, I will be an official empty nester!  Son number 1 is spending the summer with his grandparents~and daughter number 1 is now at camp!  This means I have to adapt to meals for two~the quiet, not so much during the day, but definitely at night~the lack of contention....ahhh!

Summer!  Bring it on.  I would continue to blog, but I have things to do!  See ya all later!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dynamite comes in small packages

The day my daughter was born, I knew she was a force of nature.  After asking the nurses to keep her in the nursery that first night so I could get some sleep, knowing that I had my almost 3 year old at home, my sleep was interrupted by the nurse at around 2am.  I repeated my request that she spend the night there, but I received this in reply~ "You don't understand, she has woken up ALL the babies in the nursery" and hence, my daughter spent the night with me.

Things haven't really changed much.  She is still a very determined girl.  She fights through life, but her tenacity(read stubbornness) stands her in good stead.  She is smart, talented and driven.  And sometimes, pays for it.

However, this time it paid off in good ways.  She has been a member of our local NJHS~national junior honor society ~Local Middle School Chapter.  This is a national organization that promotes academics, citizenship, responsibility and leadership.  Each year, the group of kids who are involved in NJHS hold elections for the positions of President, VP, Treasurer and Historian.  You must be going into 8th grade to hold an officer's position.  So, She ran for the position of VP~and won!  I think it was her speech that did it.  It was short and to the point.  It went something like this.

The top 7 Reasons why Dear Daughter should be the Vice President.

7)I am so organized my lists have lists.
6)I am so outgoing that I have been told that I should have my own talk show.
5)Responsibility is my middle name.
4)I will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
3)I have had my own computer since I was 6 months old, so the website is no problem.
2)I hold the principles of NJHS is the highest esteem
1)I am the best~vote for Me.

Quite bold in it's simplicity, but then she has never stepped down from anything.

It is a nice way to end the year.  She will be very busy next year as they have 1 big service project a quarter, serving the community and keeping things running in general.  I guess I will see what a time commitment this will be, but I am just so proud of her!  Yay!

I would write more, but I must be off picking up madame VP from school.

Have a great day!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What's your story?

My friend Vonelle and I host an ESL book club at our local library. We may be small in numbers, but we are mighty in our discussions. We have learners from all over the world~China, Mexico, Switzerland, Ukraine and others who come and go. From our various backgrounds we work on finding similarities in our lives. This past month we read "Three Weeks with my Brother" by Nicholas and Micah Sparks, and boy did we discuss our upbringing, our parents and our parenting styles. It was a great night, and we asked our learners to write down one of their stories growing up.

I am excited to see what they wrote about. They were scared to write, seeing as how they are just learning English, but I told them that would be the beauty of it all, that their "voice" would be heard in their writing, and that it would be a good thing to look back upon, and see how much they have improved. They also felt like they had nothing exciting to tell, but from the short discussions we had, I know that not to be true. The deal also included that Vonelle and I both had to write a story from our childhood~and I don't know where to start. Which one do I write about? Which one would be of worth leaving on paper, or are they all the same in importance? Do I write something that brings me memories of happiness, or memories of sadness, memories of learning experiences, memories of laughter...not too sure which one to start with...

How about two? Let's call this "On Roosters and Hair Styles"

I don't know how old I was when this story takes place, but when we were growing up, I lived on a farm/lumber mill. I know, an odd mix, but that is what we were, farmers,lumber millers, gardeners, school children.

My mom was an avid gardener. I am sure that her vegetable garden is still about as big as my whole yard, and she is the only one who lives there now, but she loved fresh fruits, vegetables. As well as the bountiful harvests we had, (there is another story to share at a later date) we also had various animals on the farm. We had horses, and cows, pigs, chickens, geese and ducks. We also had cats and dogs. We all had our chores to do concerning the animals. My sister was usually the one who did morning chores, feeding, and watering the animals, I had afternoon responsibilities.

One year, we had chickens, and one MEAN rooster. I mean, he was so mean you could not turn your back on him or he would attack! Even if you looked straight at him, he would still come a chargin' at you, cawing away, all fluffed up, and half way flying at you if he got close enough. He was mean and nasty and looked the part. I had to collect eggs each day in the stinky, dark hen house. No, it was not my favorite chore, made even more difficult by this nasty rooster that attacked whenever he saw you coming! I more than hated it. Sometimes you were lucky, and only had to deal with the chickens who were still on the nests, but most times you had to deal with that nasty rooster.

One day, my dad, who had more than enough of my whining and complaining, went out to show me how it was done, and that I was just making things up. Well, we didn't even make it into the coop when that darn rooster came running from behind the pen, flying up at my dad. As fast as you could see, my dad kicked at that dang bird with his big, heavy winter work boots on. Next thing I know, the bird is high tailing it out of there, squawking away. My dad had hit the bird in such a way, that the back talon of the bird had stuck in the toe of his boot. Dad pulled it out, and said while walking away "I don't think you will have any more problems with that bird". And I didn't because it didn't take a day or two, but he ended up in our pot, making chicken soup. I don't know who took care of that bird, it certainly was not my father, he could not kill anything, but I do know that someone disposed of it, and we enjoyed the dinner. Thank you to that cocky rooster, you were delicious!

Another memory, brought on by my daughter who is forever having issues with her hair:

Due to family circumstances, my cousins came to live with us. That meant that there were 5 kids trying to get ready in the mornings, using only 1 bathroom. 4 teenage girls, and my younger brother~we all had to be out the door by 7:50 am, so that we could take the bus to school. We had our scheduled routine, 10mins in the bathroom~exactly~and if you weren't done, you were booted out of the bathroom to finish getting ready elsewhere in the house. We set a timer to keep track.

Well, all 4 of us girls had to curl our hair to be beautiful for school, so I had my curling iron station set up upstairs in a corner of the kitchen. This was just outside my parents bedroom door. I being about 14 yrs old, was getting extremely frustrated with my hair. It just looked terrible. I couldn't get it to curl the way I wanted it to, so I was rather loud, cursing my hair. Big surprise on that one, seeing as my hair is very straight, and still won't hold a curl. But, I had to be fashionable, so I tried to curl, curl and curl some more. Well, out of the blue came this loud, deep German, gravelly voice shouting "THEN CUT IT OFF!" My poor dad had had enough complaining first thing in the morning and had shouted his advice from out of the bedroom. I knew I had gone too far, and walked away. I never shouted at my hair again, at least not when he was around! I think I might have been a little scared, that my dad might actually make me cut off my hair. Drama over!

However, I feel like I am living the same thing in my house today, as my daughter is having her own hair drama! We have an appointment for her tomorrow after school with her favorite hair dresser. Hopefully this will help her with her frustrations!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

On Mothers...

Mothers are powerful!

There is no one else on the planet that has greater influence on a child~for good or for bad. Children follow closely in their mother's footsteps. They learn their moral compass. They learn etiquette, politeness, work ethic, house keeping skills, parenting skills, cooking skills, communications skills, driving skills, and everything else that I am not thinking of at the moment.

May we all use our powers as moms to do good in this world. To build, create and grow.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A memory

Let me preface this story by saying that we don't usually have white store bought bread in our home. But, yesterday, I bought a loaf just for fun. Reactions from my family were "sweet! White bread!"~and over half the loaf is gone this morning.

This afternoon, I was looking for lunch~and what did my eyes spy, some tuna salad that was left over from yesterday. So, Tuna for lunch it is! However, I put it on white bread, and it brought me back to the following memory.

When I was growing up, vacations were seldom on the horizon. My parents owned their own business, so time away was very limited. Several times, or should I say all of our vacations consisted of packing up the car(lightly), and cruising to BC to pick cherries (or other fruit) for canning. We had to pack lightly, so that there was room for all those cherries that mom would can for winter. On one of those trips, my dad decided to come along. We left from our home, traveled past the Brazeau Dam, and went back roads to Nordegg~gravel roads all the way, to continue on through the mountains to BC.

My dad was known for stopping along the way to pick up treats. My mom hated that dad allowed us to eat in the car. It was the only time we were allowed to eat in the car. Chips, drinks etc. Dad was good for that. Mom..not so much! We ended up stopping at a road side cafe, truck stop, where there were upside down trees cemented to the ground. The roots were the tree tops. I won't ever forget that, because I thought that was just amazing. I also remember the rocket ship playground that we could run around and play on.

I also remember on this trip that we got to go inside to eat. I wonder if mom didn't win the battle of not allowing food in the car. The cafe was long and narrow, but it looked great to me. We didn't get to eat out too often. My choice? A tuna fish sandwich on white bread, and blueberry pie! (You know, the kind from the cooler with glass windows). Who knew that such a mundane lunch in 2012 would bring back fond memories of a summer vacation 30 odd years ago. I do remember that the pie was better than the tuna, but I had to have it so that I could eat white bread~which was never allowed in our home either.

Funny how traditions are passed through generations. I think I will buy white bread more often. Who am I to deprive my children of something so treasured?

Also, Wishing my dad a happy birthday! He would have been 73 today. It would be great to share a piece of blueberry pie with him~he was not one to eat tuna~or white bread! Although he loved his burgers, so he had his fill of white bread then! ;) Maybe he is having a slice of cake in Heaven.

Memories are great things! Have a great day!

I am so thankful for this picture. Dad decided to go on our annual mountain trip with the kids. (2008) We are on/at Spirit Island close to Jasper, AB. My mom and I would take the kids to different spots in the mountains each year. Dad didn't ever want to go, but this year was different. He decided he wanted to go along. We had a great time, and spotted 5 black bears, elk, mountain sheep, and bighorn sheep. All in about 48 hours. He was our good luck charm. By the time the trip was over he was done with the kids and the truck! It was like any trip we had when I was a child~drive, drive, drive~stop, look around~and drive back home. (Minus the fruit picking, it was too early in the season) Too funny!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oh the joys of parenting!

Did anyone hear the sarcasm of the title? Why do I have the privilege of mothering a high school student and a middle school student at the same time? Well, I guess I know, but yikes! This year has been a difficult one in terms of parenting. They are getting older, and thus, they have more responsibility for their own actions. But, it is so difficult letting them make their own mistakes~and suffering the consequences that arrive with said mistakes. It hurts my heart, and makes me question the right or wrong of the whole thing. Deep down, I know that it is better for them to learn now, when they are at home with a mom and dad to help brush them off and prop them back up for the next challenge ahead. But it just bugs me!

I guess I better understand my relationship to my Heavenly Father. He is around me, he sees me, and watches what I'm doing. However, I know I make mistakes all the time, and I am continually suffering the consequences thereof. I know he would like to protect me and keep me from doing dumb things, but he doesn't. If he did, would I grow? Would I become better? No. And besides, Agency is a fundamental. We all get to choose what we do with our lives. So, I can just picture Heavenly Father lovingly bashing his head against a wall, wondering just what I am doing,~the same thing I am doing concerning my own children.

Anyways, patience is a virtue. Guess I am learning all about that virtue~AGAIN!

To end this post, I would like to share a few photos of my darling angels~although I do question their angelic natures at this age. It will come back again, but I am assuming not for another 10yrs or so. They will both be in their 20's then, and will have resumed their human nature at that point. I hope. ;)