Saturday, February 28, 2009


It always seems that people we know who have older kids are like chauffers, basically driving from one activity to the next. We always try to have our kids in one activity, except during summer when we travel, camp and do other things. Right now Jasmine is taking skating lessons on Wednesday nights and Devin is taking Sporty Kids on Sunday mornings. Jay goes to karate on Fridays at lunch, plays D & D every few weeks and attends the odd game board session on Tuesday nights. I go to a scrapbook club once a month and am usually the one with all the other social activities, like baby showers and TGIF's to go to. Anyhow, we are pretty busy already, so I can't imagine what life will be like when the kids have homework and sports and playing an instrument and ....?
For now, we enjoy the schedule that we have and feel blessed to have so many options. Jay attended the first 3 skating sessions with Jasmine and now she goes out on the ice on her own. When she falls she can get up on her own and she can get around fairly well. She doesn't like to fall, who does? Because of that she is too nervous to really glide, so is still shuffling her feet across the ice. She loves to tell people she can skate backwards, since she can also shuffle in the opposite direction - too funny!

Devin goes to Sporty Kids once a week this session and depending on the day, they play little kid games or have sports stations set up. He has got to play basketball, soccer, football, hockey, lacrosse, t-ball and lots of duck, duck goose! Sorry, no pictures as we have to participate with him!

I just registered both the kids for spring/summer soccer. It will be Devin's first year of soccer and Jasmine's second year. Jay will be participating with Devin and I will be an assistant coach for Jasmine's team. Mostly at this age they do drills for half of the time and then have a fruit snack and then a short scrimmage - no keeping score - just fun!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Learning to "love" reading

As many of you know, I am not an avid reader. Some of you may be privy to the knowledge that I learned to hate reading in grade 6 when my teacher, Mr, Wickenheiser (Yep, the famous women's hockey player... Hayley Wickenheiser's dad) made us write a book report every month. I should go and check my report cards, but I recall getting a 71% in English and walking home on the edge of the sidewalk all the way home knowing my parents were going to be upset. Over time, I got behind and books did not get read fast enough, not enough reports came in and I started getting in trouble and feeling lousy about reading. The next year, in grade 7, I remember we had to read the novel Shane with Mr. Dahl. I hated this book and for some reason could not get through it. I remember staying over night at my best friend Tammi's house and sleeping in her mom and dad's bed and I remember Tammi fast asleep (she read as fast as lightening) and me with the reading light on trying to answer questions and just get through the damn book at 1:00 a.m. Why was it so difficult?

Anyhow, all through high school I barely read a book, not even assigned books. Most teachers told you enough about them during class to pass the tests and in Mr. Maloney's (this was our alcoholic teacher, who literally wore the same set of clothes every day and reaked of cigarettes) case it really didn't matter if you knew anything, some people like me (and Tammi) cheated, as her older sisters had previously written all his tests and they never changed, others like hockey players just seemed to get good grades regardless of what they did and I had Mr. Maloney for 2 or 3 years of English, so there you have it - I just never did learn to read or enjoy reading! I was such a goodie goodie, I still can't believe I cheated, but I like to tell myself that I didn't have much of a choice because he was such a bad teacher?

So, what is the point of all this, well for 9 years now I have taught grade 6 English. I've always taught knowing what NOT to do based on my experiences. I've tried to make reading fun! I want the students to want to read. I never really cared how much they understood. I figure if they learned to like it, them they would read more and the more they read, the more words they would learn. The better they got at reading, the more they would in turn like reading and the better they would get at their own writing as well - or so this had been my theory!

Last semester I took a reading course and we had to do a lot of text book reading. It took me awhile to get into it, but once I did I learned a lot. For each set of reading, we needed to journal on how this impacted our teaching and give examples. I kept finding myself making connections to why I didn't like reading and started forcing myself to read before bed. The only books I had ever read before and enjoyed were books for kids in grade 6-8, seems to be about my reading level (pretty sad). I love Harry Potter and then was introduced to the Twilight series and love those too. So, then I decided I needed to try some adult literature and started talking to friends about what they read. My girlfriend, Pam lent me some books, mostly Harlequin Romances. My course ended and I got 92%, a real nice surprise for me considering it was all based on reading and I had to do tonnes of reading for it. I learned that making reading fun is the best way to encourage kids to want to read, but that I really do have to teach them how to read better, so that they have the tools to enjoy what they read more. Trying to do that and keep it fun becomes a bit of a challenge, so I am currently working on that.

As for the adult novels, well let's just say the Harlequin Romance novels are quite interesting. They certainly have the power to boost your sex life, well come on, how many times can I read about someone else having sex without wanting it myself. Let's just say Jay doesn't mind my wanting to read more. The "smut" book as I refer to them or my colleague at work says, "soft porn", is a nice change from the likes of Harry Potter, but to be truthful, not really my type of book. I like something with more of a mystery, remember I like Criminal Minds, Medium and Heroes, so more action and solving of crimes, etc. I will keep searching for the perfect books for me, but if you have any recommendations, I am all ears!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spoke too soon!

I'll start this entry, as I wait for Devin to decide he actually does want to get dressed and go to nursery school today. Since he has been sick and coddled for over a week, he has decided he can do what he wants to, like not eating supper or getting dressed. We are trying to get him back to "bad listening" he had before, which was much better than the pretty much "non listening" he has right now. Anyhow...

I waited until I was sure we had no more mice to post that last blog entry and sure enough last night we were awoken in the middle of the night! This seemed different, it didn't last very long, but it was quite loud, almost like he was rolling something across the attic floor - very bizarre - freaked me out, as it seemed bigger! Jay will have to go set more traps tonight!

Well, I hear Devin calling for help now, so I guess it is time to get ready!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our life with mice

For anyone who has ever woken up to scratching sounds in the middle of the night, you will know our pain. For me, more like fear! I am afraid of mice, who am I kidding, I am afraid of most anything on 4 legs (my best friend in high school tried to cure me of my fear by throwing her pet cats on my back - thanks Tammi - I'm now scared for life!) Luckily for us there was NO evidence of mice IN side the house, only hearing them in the night. They like our attic in the wintertime. Last winter the same thing happened and Jay, my dad, and even our house painter all tried to see where they might be entering from, but they didn't find any holes anywhere. Our friend Aaron gave Jay some tips for setting a good trap and it seems to have worked... something about moving out the insulation so it is right on the ground... I don't know... I sure as hell didn't set them. Anyhow the trapping worked great, except that when it trapped the mouse it only seemed to catch their leg. Then we would wake up in the night to a poor little mousie dragging itself across our attic with a trap on it's leg. Jay would have to get all geared up, mask, gloves, headlamp at 2 in the morning and go put the little suckers out of their misery! 3 cheers for my brave husband! This exact same process happened 3 times - poor Jay!

Another mouse in our lives right now is Despereaux, from The Tale of Despereaux that is! I still haven't seen the movie and unfortunately did hear it was pretty bad, but the book on the other hand is great! My grade 5 class and I read it together and it's a beauty of a book! We are currently trying to make connections from that book to 6 smaller books that we are reading in groups in class. The big assignment however has been to compare and contrast Despereaux with Remy the Rat from Ratatouille. This has been a very tough assignment for my class and wow, they are doing awesome with it! Amazing what they can do with a little push in the right direction!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dr. Phil Says

Alright, I got the cold everyone has been fighting and so last night while Jay went off raiding with a hord of vikings to the land of Skarl (he went to play Dungeons and Dragons), I stayed home and watched TV. With all the PVR'ing we do, you think I would have had something to watch, but nothing I couldn't watch without Jay, so I ended up watching Dr. Phil's Valentine's Special. Dr. Phil says that 86% of all men want SEX on Valentine's day. As I previously said, I'm sick, so guess Jay is "screwed" on his big wish for today. I woke up this morning to my favorite dessert, chocolate log roll. This is a huge deal, because it takes a long time to make and is also very difficult to make. I ate my breakfast and proceeded to have some for dessert, it was great! Thanks Jay - you are sweet! Maybe we will do like many other occasions and have our Valentine's celebration on another date. For now, he will have to suffice with the box of Bailey's chocolates I got him! Hey mom, Jay did a pretty good job, didn't he?

As for the kids, they each got a movie they have been wanting and a mini-box of chocolates. Too bad for them, but the chocolate in the log roll has both coffee and rum, so no cake for them! Jasmine loves fairies, so we got her the TinkerBell movie and she ran downstairs to put her own TinkerBell costume on. Devin loves Ice Age, so we got him the second one, "The Meltdown". You can't see in the picture of Devin, but he has a hot chocolate mustache. Our water has been off all morning, due to a main pipe break in our community. Last night when I went to bed I noticed the pressure was low. Freaked me out, since we had just repaired our basement from flood damage. With all the scary shows we watch, I didn't really want to go to the basement to investigate on my own either, so while I was on the phone with Jay, the viking warlord, I went down to check it out. No water on the floor - thank God! After talking to my dad, I figured it had to be a community issue, so phoned our good friends, the Dixons and yep, they had low water pressure, too. This morning, we have no water. So we have a sink full of cake dishes, kids with dirty faces and you don't want to know the state of the toilet, especially with Devin the morning poop monster!

Friday, February 13, 2009

More TV? Well, Yes!

As I said in my previous post, our MUST SEE TV shows include 24 and Heroes, but there are a few more shows that we PVR each week. Medium and Criminal Minds are two more that both Jay and I watch. Medium only started again last week and we were happy to have it restart. Allison Dubois is a psychic who works for the district attorney's office. She sees dead people and has dreams that lead her to solve crimes and "redrums", as she referred to them on her last episode. I like that her 3 daughters are showing signs of also being psychics and this often creates very interesting predicaments at school. My favorite character is their middle child, did you hear that Les, the middle child is my favorite - anyhow, Bridgette is quite the character. A few weeks ago she was compelled to draw naked pictures of her teacher. Eventually they realized that he had a mole that was growing in all of the pictures and encouraged him to be checked out at the doctors. I was so hoping, he was some kind of nudy pervert and that Bridgette was cracking into a big scandal, oh, well! The most annoying thing on this show is that Allison always believes everything she sees in her dreams, but every week things are not what they seem and unravel over a few dreams, but yet she never thinks to just wait and see what happens in a few days. And last, but not least, I love her husband Joe Dubois. Not only is he cute, but he has a cool job in aeronautics and wakes up with her every single night in his boxer shorts when she has bad dreams.

Criminal Minds is the other show we watch regularly and I'm not sure why? (According to Jay's comment, it's on his MUST SEE TV list, so I guess that is why I watch it) There are 2 characters I love, which are Reid and Garcia - sorry Jay, Hotchner is boring! Reid being the bookworm, no that just does not describe it, he knows everything, can quote anything, decipher anything and it's just plain cool and totally geeky! Garcia is the computer magician, she can find anything and hack anything within seconds. Her ongoing love chats with Shemar Moore (Morgan) are a nice break from the seriousness of the show. This show can be pretty brutal to watch, often kidnapped girls and freaky perps, makes me want to lock my door!

I also watch the Biggest Loser and haven't missed a season. I keep waiting for it to spark my dedication and willpower, but I will just have to keep watching and hoping. Parts of me wants get a physical trainer to keep me motivated, but honestly I think I am too scared and not quite ready for that commitment yet. Someday, hopefully I will be ready to lose the wait again, but for now I watch these huge individuals sweat it out on the treadmill and am inspired. I was so happy to see Joelle get booted off, finally - she was brutal to watch and so annoying to listen too. I try to think who I am most like and unfortunately, it isn't anyone exciting... I want to be like Tara, disciplined to the point of puking regularly, doesn't give up on anything, but yeah, that's just not me - too bad! I'm more like her pitiful partner and her name is even Laura. Okay, she isn't that pitiful, but she doesn't have the same drive and laughs things off, that is me! I also love that they have "Sami" from Days of Lives hosting the show, beats the pants of the last host.
Look at this picture, OMG, I wish! Truly amazing, isn't it? The trainers on this show are great, I'm sure I would want to pick Bob, but man Jillian is too much fun to watch - she is just cruel, seriously!

In the off season, I watch all sorts of other things when and if the time is available, Canadian Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars. Jay watches, when he can World Combat League. I know nothing about this, except it does look better than UFC, because all they do is roll around on the ground, at least in this one they stand up! And as cheesy as Texas Walker was, I liked it and I like Chuck Norris too!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to get more viewers?

I need more blog followers... better start talking about something more exciting... high fevers and what's for supper doesn't necessarily constitute as exciting reading.

Our week starts off with a BANG... A BIG BANG that is with Sheldon, Leonard, Koothrapali, Wolowitz, Penny and who could forget Leslie Winkle. I am of course referring to the show all my science geek friends love (yes, I am talking about you Heather and Sandi), The Big Bang Theory. I am not nearly as obsessed as my friends are, but I am frankly not as smart as them either, so half the things they think are hilarious, I didn't even realize were funny, but as my old friend Cam would say, "I digress". Please do not judge me for being an English teacher and having a million commas in one sentence, I just do and I don't care! I will also habitually put apostrophes where they don't belong and I love hyphens and ellipsis as well. Back to my show, I love that Penny got addicted to online gaming - too funny, especially considering Jay's personality. I love how Sheldon uses a template to fold his shirts and I especially love that Leslie and Leonard are more than friends, it brings back good memories from the old Roxanne days.

Of course our Big Bang follows with one of our favorite Canadians, which is Robin Scherbatsky from How I Met Your Mother. Our favorite character on the show however has to be Barney - whad' up! And not just because he brings back the Doogie Howser memory, but he is just AWEsome! The digs to Canadians on this show are hilarious, but we aren't all afraid of the dark... only me!

Although we PVR these shows each week and watch them adoringly, they are not our MUST SEE TV shows. These spots we save for Heroes and 24. In past seasons of 24, we rented them and watched them all in the span of a week or two. Having to wait a week between episodes is not nearly the same. Jay and I used to convice ourselves we would only watch one more episode and then go to bed, but we often ended up awake in the wee morning because of the awesome cliffhangers and of course...
the awesome Kiefer Sutherland - I do love him and his character Jack is so intense - gotta love it! I'd have to say that our favorite character on this show is Chloe, even though this season she has not played a major role, we hope to see more of her and they better not kill her off! I do wish they would bring back his daughter Kim though, I adore Elisha Cuthbert. Jay thinks they should hold her captive the way he does with other people's families and try to torture her (I think his vision is with her wearing hardly any clothing as well, ha!)

And then we have Heroes. Well, I love Heroes, but I can NOT keep track of which heroes have previously met each other and if it was in the passed or future. Sylar is what makes the show according to Jay and why even with bad writing this last season, he still likes the show. I however like Hiro and Ando (he must be working out because he is damn cute!) For some odd reason, I don't hate Parkman, like everyone else seems to. And then there is Suresh, he is cute too, but this season was horrible with him having powers, just not part of his character - sorry! The witchiest character on TV... Peter's mom - love to hate her - a truly complex character!

Time to wind down, but not done the TV critiques yet... stay tuned for more and post your theories on any of these shows or shows we should start PVRing!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sick Kids :(

I won't always be giving daily posts, but I'm still experimenting with this. Today I stayed home with Jasmine. She is still fighting off a fever, but it is much milder today, although her cough and snotty nose are worse. Devin carried on with his normal day and went to nursery school and daycare, but he wasn't home for 5 minutes and his voice started to get all raspy. As I prepared supper, he came up to me and said, "mommy, I don't feel very well." Poor kids! Jay will have to stay home tomorrow, as I am taking the grade 5 & 6 boys to a volleyball game at another school - can't miss out on that!

We just finished off supper. Tonight we had stuffed peppers and leftover pork loins wrapped in bacon. All the times when I don't tell you what we ate you will know we had KD or scrambled eggs or something.

For those of you who don't know, our basement flooded last spring and we finally had the repairs done before Christmas. We have slowly been making a dent in reorganizing everything that had been stored all over the whole house. Jay moved all the things out of the garage last weekend, so now we are both parked in there again - yahoo! I organized all the kids craft stuff, puzzles and games on the weekend and today hauled down the other toys from the dining room - feels good! Just have to decide what and where to hang things on the wall and it will be as done as it gets for now.

Better take a good look now, because normally there are toys scattered all over this floor.

This last picture is of my scrapbook room, well that's what I call it. Jay calls it the game room, where he can use the big table to play board games or D & D. He thinks we should call it the money pit, because that room has a whole lot of money sunk into it between all our hobbies current and old.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Our First Post

Hello everyone!

Well this is our very first post. I'm not really too sure what to say to be honest, but here goes. As I sit here and type I can hear in the background Hulk Vs. Thor and my feverish little girl is watching it with her dad. Her dad has exposed her to extremely violent cartoons at a very young age, but she loves it, doesn't have bad dreams (about that anyway) and it is great bonding time for them. Devin absolutely loves the Hulk, so he is watching too!

Some nasty germs have been going around Ottawa, in fact our school (I say ours, because I teach there and Jasmine and Devin both go there - Devin for Nursery School) has an enteric breakout and they had a special SWAT team come in and clean the whole building. Hasn't done much good, still lots of kids sick, including my little girl with a seal-like bark and a fever of upto 104 degrees (thank goodness for Advil)

Yesterday we did ... NOTHING! Well, I did get groceries, but that was it, so today we had lots to do. I made the spiciest Butternut squash soup ever, too much curry paste. Jay and I are having it for supper with cilantro pesto and prawns. I also made a bulk pot of spaghetti sauce - should get us through a couple months of noodles. I blended up loads of veggies to go in there too, unlike most moms I don't actually have to do that, because I have been blessed with kids who actually love vegetables.

Here is a picture of the kids from last week. We had snow for 2 days straight and it was beautiful out. Then it got darn tooting cold for 3 or 4 days, -34ish, brrr... and finally now we have very mild weather and it's melting. The weather in Ottawa is unpredictable to say the least.