Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Present for DiAnn

DiAnn is one of my best friends in Edmonton. She is one of those timeless people, that it is hard to believe that she is old enough to be my mother. She is one of the kindness person I know. One of the fun things about her, is because she is finished raising her kids, she has money to do things and her husband travels for work, so she has time to do things. I have the benefits of having a single friend that can do things, but the benefits of having a happily married friend to give me hope. So trying to figure out a Christmas gift for the woman who has everything is next to impossible. One morning in the shower it came to me that my roommate and I should babysit for all of DiAnn's grandchildren, so she can go to the temple with all her children and their spouses and then for dinner. We told her in November to give DiAnn lots of time to coordinate everyone. Sadly the week before we were to babysit, DiAnn's mother died and our great gift turned into a relief of what to do with the babies during the funeral and then what to do with the older kids, so the adults could share memories without being constantly interrupted.

Here are some pictures of us with the kids. 11 kids between 18months to 10yrs. And the 18month olds are twins. There were some serious moments of "what were we thinking?"
This is Rachel painting a star. Each kid painted and decorated a star and then put their favourite scripture on the back. We hid them all over the place for DiAnn to find.
Jake after he woke up from his nap. He was having some issues with the paint brush so Alison is helping him.
Tommy and Sidney working on their stars. Tommy was very decisive about his scripture. It had to be the one about the "man who paid for the hotel for the man that was hurt". I thought it was interesting that he focused on that part of the story of the Good Samaritan. I made a comment about how well all the kids knew the scriptures and Sidney pipped up with "well of course, we read the scripture every day". To all the parents out there that question whether there is any point in having family scripture study given how hard it is, there is your answer.

Dianna and Heidi. They were such a big help. Heidi is the oldest of 5, with the twins as the youngest. She has in some ways born the brunt of that and but for the most part is very positive about the whole thing. Anyway, we were deciding on a scripture for one of the twins and Heidi asked if there was a scripture for "cry babies"? We put "Cry unto the Lord" for her.
Jake, Jack(31/2) and Tommy(3). Jack is a bit of a wild man, but he is also so kind and gentle. Tommy was having a hard time spelling his name, so Jack started to help him. It was so sweet. They had to double check about how to print an "M" and I was impressed at how willing they were to work together and there was no pride about who knew more or receiving help.

We did make your own pizzas and we let them drink pop. The older kids were loving the pop.
It was a fun and exhausting day, and I would definitely do it again.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Primary Gingerbread Party

This year I decided to have a Gingerbread Party for my primary class. It was lots of fun. In addition to having the kids currently in my class, I invited the two girls that moved to another ward part way through the year. It was so great to hear everyone cheer when I said they would be coming.

I had planned to make Gingerbread Houses first and if there was time decorate my house for Christmas and maybe some quieter games. I bought gingerbread kits from Ikea and I would highly recommend them. They are small and relatively inexpensive, the perfect choice if you want everyone to have their own. I decided to put the houses together before the kids got there but there were some construction issues. So my friend Jason took over the kitchen and I got the kids busy on decorating.

This is Jonathon and Donovan untangling the lights. Donovan has been the only boy in his class his whole life so this year I suggested we pray for another boy to join the class and Jonathon is the answer to our prayer. His entire family were baptized this September. And Donovan has made sure that Jonathon has felt welcome. Anytime he isn't at Church, Donovan calls to say he missed him, drops him off stuff from sharing time or our lessons. They play together all the time. It's been great!

We discovered that Jonathon is better at tangling than untangling. Maggie(she moved part way through the year) took over as she got frustrated watching Jonathon. Don't worry, Jonathon got to go in the kitchen and help with construction.

More untangling/tangling.
Zoe is a creative genius. She is one of the reasons I had no problem letting a bunch of 9 year olds decorate. As a matter of fact, I think they did a better job than I would have.
This is Dianna, another kid that left us part way through the year. When we finished decorating, the constructions were not fully resolved, so I pulled out this book call "The conversation piece". It has all sorts of questions, some serious, some silly and everything in between. Each kid got to pick a question to ask everyone and then everyone answered. There was a lot of laugh. Especially about the question about what two sports would you combine to make a new sport.
Maggie gleefully decorating her house. I don't think Maggie knows how to frown or walk. She skips everywhere laughing. It's wonderful how contagious it is.
Young Joo was very serious about her house and making sure she had the right candy. Her family immigrated to Canada 2 years ago and she is a shining example at how quickly kids learn. She reads as well as anyone in the class and she spoke no English before moving. This was her very first gingerbread house. She had lots of questions, because she wanted to make sure she explained everything to her family correctly.
This is Claire and the "little miss trouble" t-shirt explains everything. Boy is she fun. She was covered in icing by the end and it was like she thought she was the gingerbread house.

More serious Young Joo. This is soooo contrary to her true nature. Normally, I can't get her to stop giggling.
Jason helping Claire out.
Zoe was all about the thin layer of "snow".
So this is my friend Jason and the mess of melted sugar. The back of the boxes said to melt sugar, and instead of becoming gluey, just went mushing. It was a mess.
As a side note: please don't ask about Jason, it is very complicated and totally inappropriate for me to write about on a blog. But suffice it to say, I'm currently dealing with a broken heart.

Temple Worker Devotional

For the past five years, some friends and I have helped out with the annual Temple Worker Devotional. It's lots of fun because some of the people I don't see except at the devotional. The workers drop off the food and then while they are in the devotional, we get to make it pretty. The pretty food.

Mandy, the expert sandwich person.

Barb, the person who likes to think she is boss. We just do what we want anyway, so there is no point in letting her think otherwise.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wedding Rings

I have always been under the impression that the purpose of wearing wedding rings was to indicate to the world and most importantly to single people that you are married. I have had people say no so nice things about single women being after their husbands, or accusing me of flirting with married men. Well, I'm getting sick and tired of men not wearing their wedding rings to church, activities, volunteering in the community, and at work where there is no danger of losing a finger. To the men, if you are too fat for your ring, go to Walmart and buy a new one. And if really hate wearing a ring that much have "I'm Married" tattooed on your forehead.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Canadian / Honourary American Perspective

As many of my friends are disappointed in the results on the US Presidential election, I thought I would write my perspective on the election as a Canadian and someone who loves the United States as her second home.

Over the last 8 years, Bush has systematically undermined the relationship between the United States and Canada. I will give you some of the "lowlights". This list is by no means complete. It started with failing to know who the name of the Prime Minister of Canada when he was elected. This may not seem like a big deal, but we are next door neighbours and the largest trading partner of the US. Then he failed to recognize the contribution that Canada made in assisting the US with relief during the September 11th terrorist attack. This after we were the first country to arrive, plus taking all the diverted planes and their passengers in like family. Then there is the ongoing tension about the contribution Canada is making to the mission in Afghanistan. In 2004, the Ambassador to Canada from the US actually interfered in our federal election. He stated that we needed to vote for a government that would be more sympathetic to the Bush administration. This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable. The homeland security act has given the US government the power to arrest Canadian citizens without cause. The official position is that the US Constitution doesn't apply to non-citizens. This is how the government has justified the torture and terror they have inflicted. And sadly this has happen to at least two people. I think this is one of the things that upsets me most. I believe that the US Constitution is the most inspired document besides the scriptures. It pains me to think that the President of the United States believes that your place of birth determines whether you have the blessings and protections of the US Constitution. This is not my definition of justice.

As you can imagine the resentment that has been building up among Canadians towards Americans is very high now. My heart breaks every time I hear a derogatory comment about "Americans". Bush and his administration is not representative of the people that I love and served and lived among. The people I know are kind, generous, tolerant of others beliefs without compromising their values and fierce defenders of all that is right and good. For good or evil, the republicans are equal to Bush in the minds of Canadians. In order to start rebuilding the great relationship that our countries used to have, we needed to have someone that wasn't a republican to open that dialogue. Just like the US needs another Lincoln to rebuild the trust between republicans and democrats, the world needs a Lincoln to rebuild the world's perception of the United States. I believe that Obama and Biden are the ones that can start that healing.

I hope and pray that the United States will realize that despite the economic downturn and the troubles that they are experiencing that they are the most blest people in the world and with that comes the responsibility to put aside differences and be the world leader in compromise and unity. They've done it before and I'm convinced it can happen again.

I have great hope for what the future holds.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Canadian Illegal Immigration Problem

As many of you know I'm a "bleeding heart liberal" bordering on communist according to my father. Anyway, someone send this to me and I thought it was hilarious. To my liberal American friends, if you can make it over the rough terrain, you can stay with me.

Canadian Illegal Immigration Problem

From the MANITOBA HERALD, Canada (a very underground paper): The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.

The possibility of a McCain/Palin election is prompting the exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and agree with Bill O'Reilly.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota .The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. "He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken.When I said I didn't have any, he left. Didn't even get a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," hesaid. "The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves."A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. "They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the McCain administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to shoot wolves from airplanes, deny evolution, and act out drills preparing them for the Rapture.

In recent days, liberals have turned to sometimes-ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers on Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney hits to prove they were alive in the '50s."If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies."I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history and English majors does one country need?"

Monday, September 22, 2008

coffee+tylenol cold=survival

On top of the insanity of trying to finish unpacking and settling in, I've been travelling a tonne with work right now and there is no way I could survive without coffee and my tylenol cold. Many of you might wonder how the survival of a nice lds girl and coffee are related, so let me explain. There are lots of terrible smells on air planes. There was the lady who took off her shoes and the smell was a terrorist act as far as I was concerned and another flight had the awful throw up smell. And the worst part is there is no where to go. But fortunately I have discovered the miracles of coffee. I ask the flight attendent for a packet of coffee, take the plastic off, put it in hanging out over the seat pocket and voila, air freshner. The best part of the coffee is that it doesn't just mask the odours with coffee smell, it actually absorbes the odours. I think this must be the purpose God was thinking of when he created the coffee bean.

Given all the stress needless to say my body is losing the battle against of the viruses out there, but that is where the tylenol cold is saving me. I'm all about control symptoms at this point. I'm hoping that this is the end of the craziness with work, but it can be hard to sometimes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bathroom Reno's

Putting a bathroom back together is much harder than tearing it apart. Let's just say there were a few nervous break down tears. My beautiful large tub. It is 38" wide in the middle. Well not exactly 38". I made the discouvering that the measurements on the box is not necessarily completely true. The tub is 24" deep, but that means from the bottom of the tub to the top of the tile flange and not how deep the tub actually is. The tub was actually very tricky to get into place because it is wider and deeper than the previous tub. The trick is to roll the tub into place.

These are my sinks and counter in the linen closet. It was soooo heavy that we had to get the movers to carry it upstairs.

This is my dad and the dog zack in the chaos called the living room.
More chaos in the dining room.
Me installing the denssheild behind the tub. It's better than concrete board. It's lighter and easier to cut and install and more water tight. Even if water gets behind the tile, the denssheild never rots.
My dad contemplating how to get the 60 and 1/8" vanity into the hole that goes from 60 and 1/4" to 59 and 3/4". We ultimately decided only to put the drywall above the vanity on one side to give the extra bit of room we needed.

Zack supervising the work.
The vanity in place. It actually went in pretty smoothly.

The counter and sinks is never coming out without a sledge hammer. Besides being incredibly heavy, it is wedged in.

Me tiling and yes I'm wearing a shower cap. I didn't want to mess up my hair.
I started off putting the morter on the walls, but found that it was alot easier to back butter the tiles and then place them on the wall. I'm glad I went with large tiles. It was so much work. This was one of my nervous break down days. I was a basket case by the end of the day and I still wasn't done.

Me putting the last tile in place. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!
The shower done!
My friend Laura teaching me how to grout.

More grouting.
The beginnings of the cork floor. The key is to make paper templates for the curve around the tub. This part actually went in very easily.
The hard part was putting in the last row. When I bought it, they failed to mention that I needed a pull bar to click in the last row against the wall. I ended up going to 5 different hardware stores looking for one, because every where was sold out.

My done tub and walls. I was painted the one Saturday night till 11:30, so I could have a shower the next day for church. This was another one of my nervous breakdown days. I just really wished I had some moral support. I love my shower, but I'm not sure I ever want to do renovation again.

My mostly finished sinks. I still need to caulk along the tiles.
My new light fixture.
New towel racks. I still have a bunch of finishing to do like base boards and trim etc... The fan is a serious problem, because it has to be install from the attic. For now I'm just keeping the window open.
Right now I just feel like renovating and moving at the same time is just a bad idea. I might feel differently a couple of months from now, but I'm writing it down so I remember, so I never do this to myself again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I bought a heavy duty tape dispenser for my boxes and have been completely outsmarted. Why on earth would they sell a tape dispenser without instructions on how to load the stupid thing? I went to the scotch tape website to see if they had any instructions and nothing! So now I have a totally useless tape dispenser and I'm still fighting with the roll of tape and scissors. URG!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A better frame of mind

I'm in a much better frame of mind now and decided to take off my previous post. I think all the stress of buying and renovating my house, just pushed my frustrations of dating over the edge. Now that I'm thinking clearly again, I've decided to issue an invitation to all my friends that want me to visit. I have one free plane ticket any where in North America and will use that ticket to visit the person that can find someone for me to date that meets the following criteria.
  1. Worthy priesthood holder and all that that implies.
  2. Smart. I would ideally like someone smarter than me, but will settle for as smart. Also, smart in different ways than me would be ideal.
  3. Has a sense of humour. When the dishwasher explodes and I'm up to my armpits in suds, does he swear or does he have a hard time running to shut the water off because he is laughing.
  4. Has a means to support a family. This doesn't need to be luxurious, a modest home and lifestyle is all that is required.
  5. Completely irrational about how beautiful I am. Please feel free to show my picture from my blog.

My wish list:

  1. Willing to relocate to Edmonton
  2. Loves to camp and canoe
  3. Enjoys art and opera
  4. Willingness to have a diversified palette.
  5. Preferably never been married. Or at least no ex-wife that I would have to deal with. I don't have a problem with kids, I just want to be the only mum.

So start looking, get your husbands looking, leave no stone unturned. As a side note: included in my visit will be one night of babysitting so you and your husband can have a hot date.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bathroom Demolition

This is my friend Rebecca's husband Terry. She was good enough to spare him for the day to help me out. He was in charge of capping off the plumbing. Note the hole in the wall. There was the appearance of the access panel for the bathtub there, but when Terry removed the panel the wall was completely solid. Needless to say a hole was cut. This is my friend Marlene, the demolition expert. She has been known to tear down walls while her husband is at work. It's a good thing her husband is a put back together expert. Next to her is my neighbour and very good friend Jason. He was getting a little frustrated with my constant reminders to wear the safety glasses I bought for everyone.
This is Terry pulling the tub out. We thought this was going to be the biggest problem, but it turned out to be fairly easy.

Jason trying to drain the toilet. A small funny. I asked Jason multiple times if he had shut off the toilet valve. He assured me that if had. So I'm down in the basement turning the water back one to test to see if the caps worked that Terry put one. And all of a sudden I hear "TURN THE WATER OFF! TURN THE WATER OFF!". I get upstairs and guess who didn't turn the valve to the toilet off and was now a little bit wet.
This is the rotten wax seal from the toilet. Turns out the toilet was leaking and the floor around the toilet was rotten and the dry wall from the ceiling in the half bath below was rotten.

Taking out the sub-floor. This turned out to be the hardest part of the day. If the rest of the house is build as well as the sub-floor was, I have nothing to worry about.
This is the hole and plumbing for the toilet.
This is the plumbing for the sinks.