Saturday, August 28, 2010

Creative Play - Dates

Thank goodness for helpful friends. It has been a very busy weekend for me. Getting ready for school this year is taking me a long time and I have been doing a lot of school work this weekend. Lisa and McKenzie came over Friday evening to play and then again this morning. This was perfect for Maks to spend time with his girlfriend and perfect for me to chat with Lisa and not worry about what the children were up to. It was easy to get course outlines, long range plans, and scope & sequence charts done while the children played. Lisa even offered to help me get work done. There was no way I was going to say no to any help. :) Unfortunately for Lisa, I have now come to the realization that she types much faster than I do and I may be begging for more help in the future.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A New School Year

Today was the first day back to work and it actually felt good to be back in my element. I am usually stressed and frantically trying to get everything done in time but this year I am feeling calm and relaxed. In this school year, I need to try and remain focused on my family and my health and not become instantly overwhelmed by work. This is a hard balancing act that I usually lose but I am going to try and remain conscientious of myself and the stressful events that always bring me down at work. I have a fair schedule but I am teaching four different classes at three different levels ( grade 9, 11 and 12) so, that could be a lot of prep work and marking. We were also told today that the average class size this year will be around 35-38. Ouch! That is crazy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Maks the Artist

Maks painted a canvas the other day and he loved it. He kept asking to paint and I had only bought one canvas at the dollar store so I was looking around the house for something he could paint. He loved painting the cardboard and went through a lot of our recycling. Then I found an old Father's Day Bobble Head we were supposed to paint and he finished that project as well. I think we have another artist on our hands. Hopefully, he will spend more time on his art than I do.

I really have enjoyed this summer with Maks and Lawrence. Our son is at such an amazing age and he inspires me every day. He gives us lots of hugs and kisses, laughs with such heart that it is contagious to anyone who hears him, and talks and sings constantly. Hearing him sing along to the Cars movie or to Go, Diego, Go has got to be a highlight for anyone. I am going to miss being able to spend all day with Maks when I go back to school but, I know that Maks and his father have a great time together and I will cherish all the time I do get with him. I can't wait to see him tomorrow morning.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Did You Miss Me?

It has been a difficult couple of days and I am not too sure why......I have a lot of things going through my mind and school starts back too soon, that could be the reason. We have gone through a couple of the fertility tests but the most uncomfortable tests are still to come. I am thankful that all the tests will be done before I go back to school. I would feel kind of guilty going back and having to take days off right away.
I do have some seriously cute pictures of Maks when he was painting his canvas. I thought it would be fun for him to paint. What I didn't realize was that as an art teacher, it was really hard to not stop him from turning all the paint into a lovely mud colour. I will post some pictures tomorrow. In true "kari-style" I have no idea where the cord is that I need to transfer the pictures from the camera to the computer. Ooops. Well, I will find it tomorrow when I try and get some serious house cleaning done. Wish me luck.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Haircut

Maks was starting to look like no one owned him, it was time for a new haircut. This is the result of a quick visit to Beaners and we have one adorable little boy. (Photo by the talented Mr. Carriere)

Look for some of Maks' amazing artwork tomorrow. Yea!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our Garden

We have accomplished one of our many goals....a garden. With some help, Lawrence and Dad built the garden plot, my mom and son planted the seeds, and I well,....I have watered it a couple of times and pick the excellent vegetables from the ground to use. It has been great to pick fresh lettuce, peas, carrots and potatoes. Actually, the potatoes are for Lawrence's sister Colette, we are not big potato eaters in this family. I am excited to have the garden and proud that we have been able to keep it alive and thriving. If you have seen our house and our yards, you would quickly notice that we do not have "Green Thumbs" around here. So, the garden success is a big deal to me. We will definitely be planting another garden next year. Bring on the strawberries next year. (Another expert photo taken by my husband)

Day at the Zoo

Yes, it was very chilly and wet, but we had a great day at the Zoo. My beautiful niece Shelby, Maks' Girlfriend McKenzie and Maks in an artistic photo taken by my husband.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another Family Journey

"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination." (Don Williams Jr. American Novelist and Poet)

I never wanted to be selfish but I would really like Maks to have a sibling. We have started our own journey through infertility with a doctor's visit yesterday. After a plethora of tests to come, we will make the decision as to what to do next. Being that I am 40, the doctor has absolutely no reservations with me starting the fertility drugs right after the tests. I am nervous, anxious, but also hopeful.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Bookshelf

In trying to inspire teenagers, I am always looking for new literature or discovering new levels of understanding in the classics. Last year, a colleague of mine who marks the English 30-2 Diploma exams in Edmonton, read a lot of papers involving a novel called "The Road". I had heard a little about the movie, being the movie geek that I am, but I really did not know too much about the novel. I read the novel last semester and I absolutely loved it. I am hoping to teach the novel to my English 30-2 class this next semester.

Written by Cormac McCarthy, the novel is a post- apocalyptic look at a journey of survival for a man and his son. The literary elements and visual imagery are so beautifully written that the author draws the reader into a world that no one would be comfortable living, let alone trying to survive in. I found the imagery to be overwhelming at times and sometimes find myself trying to imagine what our city would look like with "Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world."

* Bonus marks for those of you who can identify at least two literary elements in the above quote. *

As I mentioned above, there is a movie that was made based on this novel. I have not been able to finish the movie and I found it kind of disappointing after reading the novel itself. The language and style of the novel just can not be put into a film. (Of Course, that is just my opinion. Some may like the movie) Either way, the novel or the movie, it is a story that will make everyone consider what is essential to us and to our survival.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Coming Back

My knee injury has caused way more problems than I thought it would. I was so proud of myself for pushing through the work out even though my knee was aching, I guess that was bad. Well, almost two weeks later my knee is worse now that it was on the treadmill. I have tried to take it easy, I have been icing it and just walking but it is getting worse. We went camping this last weekend, which was fantastic, but not good for my healthy eating habits. My friend Charlene is way too good of a cook. So, with a bum knee and an interesting eating weekend behind me it is time to start again. I think I will have to stick with just Yoga instead of running and Yoga, just until I can get my knee figured out. To get my eating back on track, I go back to my essentials, one being my favorite Dr. Oz smoothie. It tastes amazing.

Magical Breakfast Blaster

1/2 large ripe banana
1 scoop Protein Powder
1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil ( I have been using flaxseeds)
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon psyllium seed husks
8 ounces of water

* I also add some Salba and ice cubes

Camping at Lake Newell

For the past three summers we have been meeting up with my friend Charlene and her family at Lake Newell. This was a great camping trip and Maks loved the Lake. He was always excited to go swimming and spent a lot of his time skipping rocks (which is more like just throwing rocks in the Lake for Maks) but he loved it. We borrowed my parents tent and Maks was really excited about sleeping in the tent, although there was not a lot of sleeping that happened. Maks is a real "home body" and does not sleep well anywhere but at home. But, for a little boy who loves to be outside, camping this summer turned out to be an excellent idea. My friend Charlene took some pictures and so did Lawrence so hopefully I will post more pictures of camping fun.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Inspiring Teens

I have been teaching for 17 years. What?! Really? It doesn't seem like it has been that long but I guess it has been almost twenty years of trying to inspire teenagers. I love teaching high school. Some may say that I am a little crazy, but really there have been some incredible students and friends that I have made over my career. It still amazes me that I have such amazing friendships from my first year of teaching, it just means so much to me to know that I have inspired students over the years. I taught my first four years in Wabasca, Alberta. Although some people have told me it was a mistake to spend four years up there, I think it was an incredible experience. I have friends on Facebook that I taught and coached back then and it was just a couple of weeks ago that some of the girls got together. They were discussing the happy memories of cheering together and one of the girls sent me a message saying how much they all appreciated me and those years that I coached them. I felt overwhelmed. And, that is not all of the stories I have from students and friends. So many to talk about that I just feel so incredibly blessed to have the career I have today. I started writing a book about my career and mentioned it to the student who inspired me to write when he so politely told me...
" Why, would you write a book? No One would read it!"
My reply "Why?"
"Becasue Mrs. Carriere, you over think EVERYTHING!"
So many great students, so many great years and I love all of the friends I have today that have been students of mine. I can not tell you all how you have inspired me and made me the person I am today and the teacher I am today. Not to mention the coach I will be again. After taking a few years off I am going back to coaching cheerleading again and so thankful to all of my alumni that will help me. Mark you have been invaluable to me in bringing me back into the coaching world. Your knowledge and skill level are incredible. All I can say is that you must have had an amazing teacher and coach in high school.

"Why do you build me up, (build me up) Buttercup, baby?"

Magical Moments with Maks

I know you all enjoy the alliteration of the title. (heehee) I love the summer holidays because I get to spend a lot of time with Maks and Lawrence. Today was awesome. Lawrence had a new game that he was playing on the computer. Maks is addicted to the computer so he was over there begging to play with daddy. What ensued were some incredible moments of concentration, game playing skills and insane laughter. I loved watching the two of them play together and having Maks laugh with absolute joy with his dad. I am not the photographer in the family, and Maks' face is covered in chocolate milk, but I love the photos that captured some true moments of inspiration and joy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A New Beginning

It has been a difficult couple of days. I injured my knee after having a really great week on the treadmill. It was hard not to go on the treadmill and hurt myself even more. I felt that I would lose all that momentum. After the break, I was back on the treadmill tonight, it was not that great. I couldn't actually run because of my knee but I did take it easy and walk for 25 minutes followed by some beautiful yoga stretches. A small step but an important one to keeping up the healthy habits. I took this picture after my workout. This is my view while I am on the treadmill. I love our tree in the backyard and I noticed that it has a lot of new growth. Being the English Teacher that I am, I started thinking about the symbolism of these new leaves. My family needs a new beginning. We have started again with our health, our eating habits and our outlook on life. It is a great new beginning.