mercredi 30 décembre 2009

On this, the second last day of the year...

Yup, lifting Barb's title from her last blog entry today ( : I know that she won't mind ! In this blog entry, I will endeavour to resume 2009, not an easy thing as it was such a heavy year. Lots of happy memories, some sad ones but also lots of difficult situations in our family life and a very busy year to boot. I feel like I never had any time off. I am very tired. I am also hopeful, positive and I'll keep going. It's been one thing after another this past year. My time-off was always filled up with appointments and errands of all kinds. My hobbies of photography and scrapbooking have been put aside - I'm hopeful that I will be able to resume them this coming year. This was year 2009 for me and I've lived it as best as I could. I've learned lots from all of my 2009 experiences. This is what the Universe had in store for me for 2009 and I feel blessed and thankful about it in many ways ... I am hoping though that 2010 will be lighter ! ;)

So, here's a random sampling of my 2009 memories (a bit long but it will be useful for me to scrap about, sometimes in 2010) :

- Great memories of my work as a teacher, having awesome teaching experiences with my students and my colleagues
- Creating new displays with my students for my school's art gallery in the main office
- Introducing scrapbooking to my class of grade 6 boys after they asked for it (they wanted to do a scrapbook like my grade 6 class of girls were doing) and then taking to it in an incredible way
- Transforming our son's playroom into a library last March : the change was great visually and the best of it was seeing my book-loving son and nephew reading even more, spending loads of time in the library, either sitting comfortably in my late in-laws comfy chair or on their stomach over a big ball. It also made it more pleasant for me to go play the piano so that I resumed playing piano almost daily !
- Putting up our home in Hull for sale in mid-July (a little heartbreaking for me as we have loved living there for the past 20 years but also happy to buy a smaller home, closer to my family and our friends)- and all that comes with putting up a house for sale (leaving at specific times to allow for visits, keeping it spic and span all the time, etc)
- Shopping for homes in Orléans during the 2 last weeks of July : we looked at so many houses on the internet and visited so many homes (sometimes 7 in the same day) that our life was consumed by it. A whole other kind of life, let me tell you ! It seemed like it lasted 2 months instead of 2 weeks. All the while maintaining our Hull home in a pristine condition for potential buyers' visits.
- Buying a new home in Orléans that we absolutely love after visiting so many that didn't appeal to us : what a blessing to have found this one in a neighbourhood that we love !
- The packing of our stuff over several weeks ; renting a small U-Haul trailer 4 Saturdays in a row; the multitude of extra trips I made from Hull to our new home in Orleans during most week evenings after DS had fallen asleep, with our car filled to the brim to then unloading it all in our new home and organizing our belongings right away so that we'd feel more at home after our big move later on ; our many trips to the red box to donate some of our stuff all the while having to keep our house always ready for people visiting our home to buy ; packing all of my art stuff (boy, do I have a LOT of it) and moving it personally in plastic bins so that I wouldn't have to pack them in boxes (more work) .
- My being dreadfully sick for 10 days in August, therefore missing our Montréal trip (DH, DS and nephew went and had a great time). I spent most of those 10 days in bed or on the couch.
- Two new great friends entering my life in the fall.
- The shopping to select wood-flooring and paint for our new home in between appointments and DH's and my work in October ; finding people to do those renovations right after we got the keys to our new home - not a small feat ! No more carpet in our home ! YES !
- Our son improving his crawl abilities while taking swimming lessons in September-October by bringing him to practise 3 nights a week in between his lessons
- Spending a night at CHEO on Halloween's Eve with our son to learn that he had H1N1 influenza virus and then spending a couple more hours after 1 a.m. to find a pharmacy that was able to fill up his prescription. We arrived home past 3:30 a.m. DH and I were literally white with exhaustion.
- My DH taking over for his boss during his medical leave.
- Our many trips to the Shawarma restaurant in Hull during our moving months (Oct. & Nov.) : we love the food at that particular restaurant and we had limited time to cook. YUM !
- Learning at the end of November about the Gatineau's Learning Disabilities Clinic after I told her that I was sure that my son had learning disabilities but that no one had put their finger on it yet.
- Having our furniture and most of the rest of our belongings moved to our new home by professional movers on Saturday November 27th, including my piano. The first thing I did after the movers had left at 3 p.m. was to play on my piano ! So thankful that we had moved lots of our stuff in the previous 6 weeks so that we didn't have to live with mountains of boxes !
- Traveling with my colleague in her car every morning to go to work : great conversations and good laughs !
- DH and I meeting the Director of the Learning Disabilities' Clinic on December 2nd (that date is etched forever in my mind) to talk about our son, knowing that we had finally come to the right place (team of multidisciplinary experts) to help our son after searching for more than 5 years.
- Our son being evaluated the next morning by the first specialist at the Learning Disabilities Clinic and finally having more information about our son's learning disabilities coexisting with his giftedness and epilepsy at a subsequent meeting with the LDC's Director.
- The Christmas student concert that I participated in with my colleagues at school, playing on the new school keyboard. That concert was such a smashing success !
- Creating many musical parts for the above-mentioned Christmas concert. It was great for me to reconnect with music after so many years of doing nothing musically ! LOVE that ! It was so good for my soul !
- Celebrating Christmas with my family (father, brothers, sisters, etc) on Dec. 18th
- Our son having a 24 hour ambulatory EEG on Dec. 22nd to get more information about his epilepsy. It went very well and he was such a trouper. I call him my champion ! The hardest part was seeing him suffer when the specialist was removing the "glue" from his head afterwards. It was very painful for him. We finally opted that he keeps the white "glue" on his head and he had it unglued in the warm shower afterwards. We celebrated the patience of our son by going to his (and ours) favorite Thai restaurant, Royal Thai, in downtown Ottawa for lunch. Yummy !
- Our son's happiness in receiving the Nintendo DSi for Christmas, his two Lego boxes (airplane and helicopter) and a few books (some on his favorite animals, the penguins).
- Our little family of 3 celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25th in a relaxed manner in our new home, all cozy.
- Our little fun trip to Montréal after Christmas ending with our wonderful visit with Nathalie and her family at their place : they were truly the highlight of our trip ! Thanks again !
- Organizing our home - it's a long process but I am enjoying it as I love organizing our home.
- Our many trips to IKEA : buy, return, check the AS-IS section, etc. We have eaten quite a lot of their hot dogs for a quick meal since the end of November ! We also got some great deals in their AS-IS section, amongst them a couple of great bar chairs for DS's worktable, a CD unit and my new scrap table.
- The joy in my DH's face in finally buying a new high-tech television a couple of weeks ago and picking it up last night !

Mostly, I'm deeply thankful to have my family and friends in my life and our health. Those are truly the most important things in life. I never forget it, this year more than ever.

I'd love to hear about your 2009 year, the joys and the challenges of it ! In the meantime, this gal has more areas to organize in our new home and some laundry to do while the boys are out at Canadian Tire to get something to hang our heavy mirror in the entrance and donate some Christmas decorations at the donation center in Orléans. Hurray for more simplicity in our lives ! Take care !


vendredi 25 décembre 2009

Joyeux Noel, Bonne Année à tous et à toutes !

Je prends un petit moment dans cette belle journée de Noel pour vous souhaiter une merveilleuse journée avec votre famille et vos amis !

Taking a moment here to wish you all a wonderful Christmas Day with your family and friends !


dimanche 20 décembre 2009

Unrelated subjects.

Well, yes they are unrelated subjects, but then I could have them all in one category which would be the one called LIFE. ;)

At the school where I worked, we presented our music show this past Friday and it was a huge success ! Everything went really well ! It was our first music show in years, and it was just wonderful ! Everyone left in high spirits ! I had a great time, I loved accompanying most of the classes on the brand new keyboard, playing with the father of one of my colleagues. He played guitar and he also did the spoons in a Canadian french folkore song to which my colleages sang to.

Yesterday, I worked all day in our house, organizing stuff. Our new home is coming along very nicely, thank you very much ! I love organizing it and knowing me, I won't stop until it's done !
Last night, we went over to one of my brother's home to celebrate Christmas with my other siblings, my father and a few friends. A great time was had by all ! DH and I almost forgot our camera, since we haven't taken many photos since last May. It was almost odd to bring it with us. I really miss taking photos and I predict that in 2010, I will take more photos than in 2009. Not hard to beat ! LOL

Today, I spent a big portion of the day putting away my scrap stuff in our basement. It took a looooooooooot of time because I deliberated where to put my most used stuff in such a way that it would be more practical than in my previous scrap room. I am almost done - so happy about that ! The floor and my new worktable are now cleared. I had placed different stuff on the floor to put together same things (tags, etc). It took me quite a while to organize the existing cabinestry because I wanted everything related in the same corner. In my previous home, for example, my letter stuff (stickers, chipboard, rub-ons, etc) were in at least 4 different spots in my scrap room - so I always forgot that I had more option to choose from - and use my stuff. Now, everything letter is grouped together, everything words is grouped in the same corner, etc. Makes me realize even more how much stuff I have. How much, you ask ? Too much ! But I'll have fun using it, creating with it and sharing it ! And the scrap shopping has stopped for quite many months already. Almost exclusively, some Martha Stewart punches have made their way in my scraproom this fall.

DH and I went to pick up our son at a friend's place this afternoon around 4:30. He was there since 10:30. He had a great time, spent most of his day outside on the ice. The friend's mother told me how she enjoys listening to my boy talking as he has a wonderful, rich vocabulary. DS played on his cousin's DSi - and came back saying that that is what he wants for Christmas this year. He doesn't want a big Lego box or anything else. The DSi is his first choice. I guess that means that I'll have to return the LEGO kit I bought him on Friday. Then we went to do a few returns of merchandise to two stores then went out for dinner at the restaurant Boston Pizza on Innes Rd. Yum ! Since I hadn't stop to really eat breakfast and lunch (grabbed a few oranges and a bran muffin before leaving home to pick up DS), I eagerly ate a slice of pizza and some of DS' steak and mashed potatoes. Yum !

Back home, after DS was asleep, I finished clearing out my new worktable, then sat down at my computer to check out some sites. I'll soon be in bed though as my eyes are just wanting to close. Tomorrow, DS has an early appointment at his dentist in Hull. Then we're going to our house in Hull to counteroffer the offer we got yesterday for our home. It will be interesting to see where it all goes !

Hope you had a great day and that you found time to enjoy the last weekend before Christmas is upon us ! We haven't gotten our tree yet, but will be doing so sometimes this week. DS insists on it - if not, DH and I wouldn't have one this year - too busy with stuff to do with our new home and our home in Hull !

I'll be sure to post some new pics sometimes this week ! Take care !

mardi 15 décembre 2009

music, music, music ...

I have lots of music singing in my head as we're preparing for our school December music concert. I have been having so much pleasure out of playing on the new keyboard that my principal bought. In fact, I spent most of today playing on it, even though I work only mornings ! Turns out, I realized today, that I'm accompanying on piano all of the classes except for the 2 kindergartens. How fun ! I composed most of the arrangements also so I've been having a ton of fun ! I am enjoying playing music SO much ! I haven't done anything music-wise in the past 15 years at least ! It does a lot of good to my soul to get reacquainted with my first love, music, which is so ingrained in my soul.

Today, I created a musical score on the keyboard for the song that one teacher wrote with her husband and that she taught to the grade 1 students. Now I'll have this tune in my head for the rest of the night ! ;) I wrote down the score (I usually invent and memorize, never write them down) this afternoon so that I could give a copy of it to the teacher : I believe that she'll appreciate having it written down ! The song is about having 2 holes in the nose and how to clean it. Super well written, words-wise and tune-wise. The teacher who taught it to her grade 1 students did an awesome job, including the gestures that accompany the words to the song ! They are just adorable and the public will get a chuckle at the end of the song ...

I came back home with a cold, feeling feverish, so I'll be sure to be in bed earlier tonight that the last 2 months' nights ! I usually work late in the night, putting touches to our home. Also, I am really excited about finishing putting away my scrap and art stuff in our basement. I'm almost done but it will have to wait for the weekend probably ... unless I feel better Friday. Too much to do at school before then. DH assembled the IKEA Alex storage piece today (he stayed home, he's nursing a cold) and I was so pleased to see it just besides my scrap table when I came downstairs to admire my DH's handiwork ! I already have ideas of what the 9 drawers will house ! Man it takes so much time to organise a home after one has moved ! Incredibly time-consuming but at the same time, so exciting for me that loves to organize stuff (and musical shows !).

Dinner's ready : barbecued steak ! Yum, gotta go !


samedi 12 décembre 2009

Thankful ...

... for so much in my life right now :

- First of all, my husband and my son.
- My family.
- My dear dear friends Mance and Hélène and others, including the new ones that the Universe sent me this fall in the persons of Jeannine and Anne : so so grateful for them !
- My health.
- Our new house where we feel so much at home (hurray for smaller houses !)
- The new wonderful keyboard that the principal at my school just bought for me : I'll be using it this coming Friday at our Christmas music show.
- My really awesome colleagues : I love them !
- For our great new neighbours !
- The learning disabilities specialists that have identified this past week 2 learning disabilities in my son - diagnoses we've been looking for for the past 5 years. Not many people know that giftedness often coexists with learning disabilities. In fact, the more gifted a person is, the more chances that he or she will also have learning disabilities. Dual exceptionality is what it is called in professional jargon.

Today on the agenda :

- emptying more boxes
- measuring our son's bedroom window to order some blinds - his window has been covered with a blanket for the past 2 weeks, since we moved in.
- finishing re-assembling our bedroom furniture (DH)
- assembling the ALEX storage unit that I bought at IKEA several weeks ago to store my favorite punches (DH)
- dropping some toys and children furniture at Boomerang Consignment store
- refining the musical arrangements that I created to accompany each class in my school for the Christmas music concert. NOTE TO MYSELF : I need to write down all of those arrangements so that I'll remember them next year !
- getting a haircut, which I desperately need !
- addressing bought Christmas cards for friends
- enjoying every moment of my day

Have a great day everyone ! Much is awaiting me !

mercredi 18 novembre 2009

Almost to the weekend again ...

Weeks are just flying by around here ! I'm really busy at work, lots of projects going on at school. I'm involved in the Christmas show at our school this year - we haven't had one in YEARS ! It does my heart good, it swells with joy to hear my students singing happily and asking eagerly whether they are going to sing during their English period or not ... :)

I'm gearing up to make lots of Christmas cards with my students that want to do it during lunchtime, like we did last year. We gave the cards to seniors in a residence and they were so happy about them ! I believe that I started a tradition last year ... one that I aim to continue for many years to come ! I'm also gearing up to write the report cards this weekend : they are due on December 1st, following our move to our new home the weekend before ... so I want to finish the report cards before then.

Our moving our stuff to our new home is going along in a speedy fashion. DH drops some stuff at our new home every morning, after having dropped our son to school. Last weekend, we did set up my stamp room (storage room #2 - I'll eventually name the two storage rooms (scrap and stamp) by something more interesting, just haven't had the time to go there yet !). DH assembled quickly my IVAR shelving system and Rafael and I put back on the many shelves. It went up pretty quickly. I'd say it took about 3 hours to redo the set-up that I had in my previous home. I had placed all of my stamps which were in plastic trays (by category) in boxes so it was a piece of cake to just unload the numbered boxes and put back the trays on the shelves.

DH and DS assembled our PAX unit (from IKEA) in our basement. I love watching DH and DS working together. It took them quite a while !

This afternoon, I went in after work and spent 2 hours working in storage room #1 : I have now put away all of my CS and PP ! So happy about that ! I still have lots of shelves that are empty so I'm deliberating what else this room will store. I did put away quite a bit of stuff this afternoon and I felt quite satisfied with my work when I left Orleans at 4:25 to go pick up DH and DS. I'm thinking of going back tonight after DS is in bed to empty more boxes. We're officially moving in to live in our new home on Saturday November 28th and we want to feel like it's a home, not a house filled with boxes !

Gotta go : supper's ready ! Some yummy mussels that DS prepared ! Take care !

vendredi 13 novembre 2009

so excited ....

... because tomorrow we're setting up our basement combined art-fun family room ! After much planning, it is soon going to be reality ! Yippee !!! :)

In order to make this happen, late this afternoon we went to IKEA with the U-HAUL trailer behind our car. We purchased the table tops for our computers plus the table tops for the creative section of the basement. I will have enough space for 2-3 persons creating at the same time - perhaps 4. I'll know more after the set-up is done. After that part has been set up, I'll make the final decision on whether or not I'll buy the IKEA kitchen island to scrap standing up. I really really love it, but since it's a big purchase, I'm carefully weighing the pros and cons in getting it. I'll also be setting up my old and practical IVAR shelving units for my rubberstamps in the second storage room, the one I call #2 because it's a little bigger than the storage #1. I am really excited to have my rubberstamps at my fingertips and be able to stamp again. In my former art room, there wasn't enough space on my scrap table to be able to stamp and emboss on it without having embossing powders flying on the table. I'll admit it, I'm anal about not having any glitter on my scrap pages. It just bugs me to have pieces of glitter moving around in my plastic sleeve of scrapped pages. In my new art room, I'll have a separate table to stamp and emboss and glitter to my heart's content ! :)

In case you don't know, I used to rubberstamp extensively, especially scenic art. I used to belong to the BIO scenic club, By Invitation Only, but dropped out of it after I had my son because I just didn't have the time to rubberstamp. This club, which still runs, has the best scenic stampers in the world. I was sad to read lately that the person who started this club years ago, Joan Wear, a fabulous scenic stamper, one who started the movement of scenic stamping, stopped stamping a while ago and is selling her stamps. For reasons of health, she can't stamp anymore.

On another note, I need to get in touch with our family doctor again as our son is still falling asleep in class although he has slept 11 hours during the night. This situation has been going on for the past 2 years. Today again, he fell asleep during class. He started his math evaluation and then fell asleep. I'm hoping to be able to get in touch with a sleep specialist. This situation has been going on for too long. I don't know that we'll get an appointment with a sleep specialist soon as CHEO is really busy with the H1N1 flu : Rafael's scheduled EEG in November was postponed indefinitely we were told a couple of weeks ago.

I had tears in my eyes at noon today when I read in the papers that a 38 year old University physics teacher, father of 3, died of the infamous flu. It's so sad.

Hope you have a great weekend : it looks like it will be a splendid on, weather-wise ! We intend to take advantage of it during the afternoons. Thanks for stopping by !

mardi 10 novembre 2009

Two weeks to go ....

... before we actually move in our new home ! We've had the keys to it since October 15th but waited to move in for the installation of wood floors (dining room, living room and on the second floor (3 bedrooms, hallway) as we didn't want to live with the noise and the mess of having something installed in our home. We've also have had installed some "plancher flottant" (wood flooring) in the basement and boy did it ever changed the look of the basement. We love it ! The walls freshly painted in a revigorating green, same color that was in my previous art room, also made a H-U-G-E difference in the atmosphere in the basement ! I am sooooooo looking forward to organizing the living part of the basement as my art studio and also a space for our family and friends. It's a much smaller basement than our previous one but we do want to make it work for both art and relaxation.

We've been moving my art stuff progressively to our new home for the past 3 weeks. I knew that dismantling my art room (Studio D, as my DH calls it !;)), would be a lot of work and I was right ! I own a LOT of art stuff. Too much for that matter, but that's for another post ! Ha ! We've moved most of it in laundry baskets and other plastic containers. Simple and very quick !

This past weekend, we again spent quite a bit of time in our new home and I finally started to organize the smallest basement storage room (there are 3 storage rooms) : it will house my PP, CS and some other scrap supplies. This little room used to have ugly blah linoleum flooring and washed down pinkish white walls and the previous owners were using it as a storage room for their paints and tools for the household. This very small room is now sporting the same flooring as the rest of the basement floor and the same gorgeous green paint. It looks like an extension of the main living part of our basement. It's exciting to organize this room as I visualize myself (and friends) ambling over to choose CS and PP and letter stickers, among other things ! In our new home, I don't want all of my art stuff in plain view like in my previous scraproom ; it was too distracting even though everything was well organized and labelled. It was stiffling my creativity at times.

On the same topic of scraprooms, have you been following Donna Downey's scraproom rejuvenation ? I love watching her room evolve. I've spent some time during the past month on the internet, looking at other scrapbookers' rooms since I have to organize my new one. It gave me some neat ideas.

Here's a link to Donna Downey's blog, in case you would like to see her scraproom's transformation :

If you have ideas or suggestions for the placement of stuff in my new scraproom, I'd love to hear them !

Until next time, take care !


mercredi 4 novembre 2009

Life ....

... always has some unexpected turns when one least expects it ! Ha ! Ain't that the truth ! These past few months have been super busy (and tiring) for our family. Also exciting.

Lately, it's still very busy. So many things and situations that appear and keep us so busy. Lately, it's our health that has been on the forefront. My son came back from school last Thursday, he had a fever, was tired, had a sore throat. He stayed home on Friday, fever got worse, started having some respiratory problems. It reminded me of 7 years ago when he had the flu and then asthma set in and he spent 6 days under the oxygen tent at CHEO (hospital for sick kids in Ontario, Canada). So Friday, when I noticed that his asthma was getting worse, I didn't wait any longer. We got into the car at 9 p.m. and headed straight to CHEO where we were greeted with a smiling woman who immediately gave us a mask for all of to wear. In fact, everyone in the hospital was wearing one, including small babies ! We left the hospital at 1 a.m., after the doctor had told us that Rafael had the H1N1 flu and had given us a prescription for Tamiflu, a ventolin pump and another pump plus a cupful of Advil. There were lots of people in the hospital. The personnel was pleasant even though it was clear that they were overworked.

We then spent 3 hours to get the Tamiflu. We had a list of pharmacies opened 24 hours so we went to the first one, in the south end of Ottawa, to learn that they had run out of the Tamiflu. While my husband was getting that piece of news, I was in the grocery store next door, getting some light foods for our son : jello, popsicle and such. Then we drove to the far end of Orleans, near Tenth Line, to this other pharmacy where we waited an hour and a half to get the Tamiflu prescription. We got home at 3:30 a.m. No one hardly talked : we were all so tired, we all headed straight to bed.

A good portion of Saturday was spent working in our new home, installing stuff, etc. DS spent a lot of time sleeping. Then DH went to work at 7 p.m. (yes on Saturday night) on a special project he is heading at work. He came back home at 4 a.m. Sunday morning. Yup, two nights in a row with little sleep. Result ? He now has a beginning of pneumonia. So he has been staying home with DS since the beginning of the week. His voice has gone down considerably lower. Quite a sexy voice ... almost. As for myself, I have been holding down the fort. But today, I started to feel symptoms of a cold. Sore throat, scratchy throat. I took a nap this afternoon. I'm hoping that I'll be soon back to normal. Positive thinking IS always good !

I am so looking forward to unpacking my art stuff : I miss so much having time to create art. I miss being able to amble down in my art room. Soon though. I still need to exercise my patience ! I am thinking of doing the December Daily again this year. For the second year. I haven't taken photos since the month of June. I am missing taking photos, especially of nature. That too will soon resume in my life.

It's already past 9 p.m. Time for this tired and a little sick person to get to bed. Have a great day tomorrow !

vendredi 5 juin 2009

Still here ...

This week has gone very quickly, like they the previous ones ! I've been working a lot, napping during several afternoons to heal my body of the cold that invaded it and took my voice, I started the end-of-the-school-year routine in my classroom (pulling stuff away from walls, etc), designed Father's Day's cards for my grade 2-3 students.

This afternoon, I spent more than 2 hours in our basement pulling stuff for the consignment store and some stuff to give to my colleagues since it doesn't look like I'll be teaching some subjects in the near future so I might as well take this teaching material out of our home and have another teacher use it. I also prepared a little pile of stuffed animals and misc. stuff that my husband and son left at the nearest St-Vincent-de-Paul red bin as soon as they got home. While in the basement, I threw a couple of loads in the laundry machine. I made a pile of books from my teaching years in grade 3 for Rafael to look through and decide if he wanted them - if not, out the door they go ! LOL Edited : He took them all except for 2. I love his passion for reading and learning ! :)

Barb, if you're reading this, let me know when the silent auction at your sons' school is - I'll be happy to donate something like the previous years !

I gotta go ! We're dropping off our 2 bins of stuff to Boomerang Consignment Shop and then we're coming back with a pizza and a rented movie ! I'll be back during the weekend, in between report cards and around the house. We have a long list of things to do but I'm feeling really good about having done 2.5 hours of it this afternoon ! What a great headstart for the weekend ! Getting rid of more stuff feels so good ! Simplicity is soooooooooo much better than having lots of stuff ! Amazing how, as time went by, I just want to be surrounded by simplicity. One could argue that I'm now allergic to stuff surrounding me ! LOL This way of living my life has a lot to do with my personal growth of the past few years. I know more about who I am inside, rather than defining myself by what I do, what I wear, what I own, etc. Life sure has its advantages as we get older ... and wiser ! :)

I'll be back with photos of the mini-scrapbooks from my grade 6 girls, called MY BOOK OF FAVORITES.

Have a great evening, everyone ! Bonne soirée, mes copines francophones !

dimanche 31 mai 2009

Procastinating ...

I am usually not procrastinating but today, I certainly did ! I had planned, among other things, on starting to write my students' report cards but ... I didn't. I felt too tired. DH and I went to bed past 1 a.m. last night - I haven't done that literally inYEARS ! - and I paid the price today. But, it was well worth it : last night was so much fun ! :) Anyway, the report cards will have to wait another day before I start them as well as the other stuff on my list to do ! Life goes on !

I mostly vegetated today. I stayed in my pjs the whole day, sent some emails, did very little housechores, had chats with DS, savored DH's lunch (steak and veal on the BBQ - can I just say YUM !), then went for a 2 hour long nap. Niiiiiiiiice ! :)

This afternoon, I was inspired by a lovely page done by Nathalie V. (see link to her blog on the side bar on the right) and I thought of going upstairs in my scraproom to lift her page but that's as far as it went (the thinking part) because I couldn't muster the drive to do it. Oh well, I'll lift her page one afternoon this week, that's one of the benefits of working half-time. Thanks Nathalie for the inspiration !

Today will end like I started it : slow and relaxing. DH is cooking some chicken breasts on the BBQ and fresh veggies are broiling. After dinner, we'll take out a boardgame to play with our family. That kind of thing. I have a busy week ahead so a relaxing weekend was good-timing : the school end is near, always more to do at this time of year plus a couple of appointments scheduled after work.

Hope your weekend was as you intended it to be ! Have a great week ! :)

samedi 30 mai 2009

Finally !

Yes, finally, the good weather is back ! It was hard having 3 days of rain in a row. That means, since I'm teaching in an elementary school, that all recesses are inside the school - which means some students being more active than usual in class (read disruptive and having difficulty concentrating on the lessons and the work) because they haven't had the opportunity to use up their energy playing outside. Sigh. But I understand them because I would find it hard to stay cooped up inside all day. I need my time outside, rain or sunshine !

My family and I went to get reacquainted with nature this morning after those 3 rainy days by stopping by at Petrie's Island just outside Orleans. The chirping of the birds, a Canada Goose family strolling on the river, a heron meditating quietly nearby were all very soothing to the senses. I also enjoyed watching the many people fishing nearby. There's this quality about fishing - tranquil, living the present moment, cultivating the virtue of patience - that appeals to me although I've never had the opportunity to fish in my lifetime.

Besides working at school (3 weeks left before the summer vacation !) and hiking in nature, I've been playing lately with colorful scrapbooking papers, and all I can say is YUM ! My circle and square punches have been very much loved also ! ;) More about that soon !

My entire family of 3 - LOL - took a lovely long nap this afternoon ! :) It felt sooooo good ! Right now, DH and DS are busy preparing our dinner and then I think that we'll be heading outside again. Gotta take advantage of the lovely weather !

I'm leaving you with this photo of an Oriole that we saw this morning, jumping from branch to branch, from tree to tree, in search of its food. These birds are really difficult to photograph as they move sooooooooo fast ! Hence, I didn't have the time to adjust my camera to shoot upwards towards the sky for this photograph so we can't truly see their lovely bright yellow-orange color that makes me happy - but one can see how these birds just sort of throw themselves in the air towards their next destination ! LOL

Thanks for stopping by and take care !

jeudi 28 mai 2009

Tooth Fairy money, rain and a cute little swamp sparrow !

This morning, Rafael showed me the 5$ bill that the Tooth Fairy left for him under his pillow ! He had a big smile on his face ! I asked him if he wanted to deposit it in his bank account.

"Huh-huh", he said, shaking his head.
" Are you storing it in your wallet ?" I pursued.
"No, I will be using it later on today to buy some batteries for my flashlight and other battery-operated objects that I have."

And that's what he did. After dinner DH and Rafael went out to do two very quick errands. Rafael came back with 5$ worth of batteries, saying that it was 1$ for 4 batteries so he got 20 batteries. I commented that he could have bought less batteries at a time and save the rest of the money for later. He said that his father told him (after telling him pretty much the same suggestions as me, about saving, letting the store shelve the products instead of it taking up space in our home, etc) that that's how he will learn the value of money : by making his own choices. So true ! I remember my parents doing the same thing, letting us figure out the best way to spend-save our money by trial and error. Perhaps Rafael will realize in the future that it might have been better to buy less batteries at a time and save the rest of his money. But knowing him, most likely, he will use ALL of those batteries without wasting any. Besides, like he pointed out, it's almost camping-season and he will be using his flashlight a lot besides his other battery-operated gadgets! LOL

After my morning's teaching, I stopped by Scrapbox to see the store owner about those Impressabilities that I bought for my school about 2-3 weeks ago. Without wanting to do any play on words here, I wasn't impressed at all at the embossed impressions I got with the Impressabilities (with the school Cuttlebug). The embossing was very faint, not a neat embossed result like with the Cuttlebug embossing folders. The store owner graciously offered me a store credit and I got some beautiful Basic Grey paper from the very vibrant Lime Rickey collection instead. Those will do just fine for my students Father's Day project - and I bought 5 sheets for myself. I will definitely be challenging myself to use these new pps VERY SOON as the big scrap stash that I already have is the main reason why I've cut down drastically on scrap purchases since last December. I am so happy about that ! :)

And we had more rain today ! As soon as I got out of the bus around 1:30 p.m., it started to pour. I was ready though, with my umbrella in hand. I enjoyed my ride in a double-decker city bus (OC Transpo) - it was my first time sitting on the second floor of this kind of bus. Very cool ! The only drawback about the rain these past two days was that I couldn't go and photograph birds. Yes, I'm THAT addicted to photography ! LOL

I'm leaving you with this lovely bird, a swamp sparrow, that I shot a few weeks ago in our backyard ! It reminds me of the penguins' babies, with all that softness and grey color. My son and nephew, who are both enamoured of penguins, have each this very soft and cuddly baby penguin stuffed toy - hence the comparison with the swamp sparrow !

Hopefully, I'll be posting some of my new layouts this weekend .... if I have the time to scan them in between writing my students' report cards !

Take care !

mercredi 27 mai 2009

Great Blue Heron and a lost tooth !

Yesterday evening, I drove down to Petrie Island in the hope that I would have the opportunity to photograph some birds - yeah, it's getting to be an obsession. ;) I was secretly hoping to see a heron, as herons are my favorite type of birds. A good example of how effective visualisation is, as I was driving over the bridge leading to the island, I spotted this heron standing in the water at the far end of a part of the island. :)

Keeping my enthusiasm in check in order not to be disappointed if the heron left before I would get to see and photograph him, I put on my boots to trudge into the woodsy muddy area to the end of this part of the island, and lo and behold, this beautiful heron was still standing there, quietly. Awww ! I snapped quite a bit of photos of this beautiful bird, in different light settings as well as a couple of beavers swimming in front of me. There is something so serene and peaceful about herons that I just love ! They have a contemplative quality to them, almost like they are meditating, which appeals to me. Here he is (click on the photo to view it bigger).

I almost missed the heron taking flight a few minutes later as I was busy snapping photos of one of the beavers swimming away. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the heron starting to move. So I turned my camera to the heron and although I didn't have time to change the settings on my camera to follow the heron in sharp focus while in flight, I am pretty impressed with this photo nevertheless. Slowly but surely, I am bettering my photographic abilities in regards to birds, which is my goal in photography for this year.

In a totally different world, Rafael lost another tooth this morning ! Here's his smile tonight, just before going to bed. He lost the tooth that was at the left of the two front teeth. I asked him tonight what he had done with his tooth and to my surprise, he had already put his tooth in a plastic container and placed it under his pillow ! He hadn't bothered to do that for the previous lost tooth so I thought that it was over for him, the Tooth Fairy thing ! Apparently not ! LOL I asked him how much he thought the Tooth Fairy gave for 9 year old boy's lost tooth ... he didn't know ! LOL

I'm still really tired, in spite of having napped 3 hours this afternoon so I'm going to bed in a few minutes ! I'm still itching to finish this layout sitting patiently on my scrap table but it will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon, when I am more alert than today. LOL I had much difficulty in staying awake on the way home in the bus this afternoon ! LOL Talk about being tired ! The rainy weather didn't help either as far as feeling lethargic !

Take care !

mardi 26 mai 2009

Nature lover ...

I've always been a nature lover - something about nature draws me very close to it. I feel in tune with nature. One could say that nature calls me. I alsonhave very fond memories of all the camping outings that I did as a child with my family.

Most of this past weekend was spent in nature with my family. On Friday night, we went to Andrew Haydon's Park in Nepean where we saw more sweet babies of Canada geese along with Orioles in flowering trees and some cute squirrels. Saturday morning, we went to Petrie's Island and I was so excited to spot a yellowlegs sandpiper (type of bird). I recognized the bird as a sandpiper because during the years pre-Rafael, I used to spent many many hours rubberstamping and my stamps of sandpiper were some of my favorites ! It's amazing all of the flowers' and animals' names that I learned through my rubberstamps ! I crouched on the side of the road near the sandpiper for quite a bit, taking many photos of it which got the attention of several photographers who stopped their car to come and join me in an impromptu photo session of the sandpiper ! Photography is very addicting !

On Sunday, we went ambling in the Arboretum and admired some little baby ducks and a cute baby squirrel high up in a tree. Photos to come during the next few days of all of those outings. Rafael has started to be interested in photography and was using our compact Canon to shoot his interests ! Fun !

This morning, I had 2 extra free periods as our grade 6 students (to whom I teach English and arts) were writing the provincial testing. So I took this free time to prepare the scrapbook that our school (adults and students) are making for our colleague who is retiring in just about 3 short weeks ! I was happy to have this project underway ! Now it's up to each class to decorate-draw-write a double-page in the album. I'll be putting everything together plus the finishing touches.

Then this afternoon, I had 3 free hours before an appointment on Montréal Road so I decided to spend it in Petrie's Island. It was just beautiful and serene with the sun shining and lots of birds chirping. Many turtles were sunning on a log on the river, some squirrels were running after each other, many red-winged blackbirds were calling to each other, some goldfinches were going from tree to tree and a gorgeous woodpecker was pecking at a tree. Did I mentioned how much I love nature ? Hum, yeah ! :)

I also admired this lovely fiddlehead which had grown amongst ferns ! I've been fond of fiddleheads ever since I ate some delicious cooked fiddleheads picked out by hand by my boyfriend's mother in my early twenties. Yum ! This lovely woman had thought it quite appropriate to have me taste fiddleheads back then since I was studying violin at Ottawa University ! :) To this day, I love to admire fiddleheads' lovely curls because they remind me of the love I had for the lively and fun mother of my first boyfriend. Here's a fiddlehead ...

My son's class started writing the Ontario provincial testing today. Rafael was somewhat anxious about it but all went well and he's looking forward to it tomorrow. Yay for Rafael ! :)

I went back to Petrie's Island tonight and photographed more of lovely nature ! More photos and layouts to come very soon !

This will conclude this post tonight as I'm starting a cold and I'm tired of hearing myself sniffling LOL. So I'm going straight to bed with some cold medicine and most likely, I'll be feeling better in the morning ! Thanks for dropping by and have a good night !

samedi 23 mai 2009

Some sweetness !

Last night, we were driving along Ottawa Parkway (Promenade des Outaouais) when I saw some Canada Goose along with lots of goslings. DH made a right turn in the closest parking lot along the river and off I went to see up close those cuties !

Isn't this gosling absolute sweetness !!! I was sitting inches away from the whole family which consisted of 4 adults and over 50 goslings, clicking away ! I took literally hundreds of photos of them, mostly of the goslings - more than 1000 actually but deleted at least 400 yesterday and more today. I also saw a beaver in the water and a couple of wood ducks - I had never seen those IRL before.

Here's a shot of the 4 adults and their kidlets ! They would take a LOT of place in a restaurant, were they to reserve a table for their whole family !!! LOL

I have a new LO almost completed ! So excited about that ! I would have finished it already were it not for my passion for photography and the lovely weather we're having ! We went out early this morning and got some great photo ops, then went out again tonight after dinner and got more photo ops ! So lots of photos to share in the coming days and weeks !

I can't wait for school to be over so that I can have more, MUCH more time to cycle, scrap and take loads of photos in nature spots !

Time to wrap up the day ! Have a great evening !

mardi 19 mai 2009

New camera.

So my husband came back home tonight with a new camera, a small compact one ! Since I always have to think about my neck (two damaged cervical vertebras) and what's best to minimize the pain- and sometimes I have so much pain that I can't handle our heavy Canon 30D with the stabilizer and with the long macro lens - I had been talking about us acquiring a smaller lighter camera since last summer.

Pierre did some research recently about these kinds of cameras. We went to shop on Saturday to look at the compact cameras and Pierre wrote down all of the different ones available there plus their prices. Back home, he did a research for each of them, made his choice based on his readings and went back today to purchase his choice !

So we have another Canon camera in the house ! LOL For a minimal cost, I must say, compared to the cost of our other 2 Canon. This one cost 120$ (instead of 160$ elsewhere- that's the beauty of : great prices. Last fall, we got a heating blanket for 50$, while the same thing at Wal-Mart was 125$ !). It evens films so Pierre had fun with that tonight !

Here's our new family member, huh ... family camera ! ;)

I'm off to bed ! I have had a pretty big headache most of today and I am just exhausted !
Have a great day tomorrow !

lundi 18 mai 2009

Wrapping up the long weekend.

This morning, we started up bright and early - 8h10ish - towards Dow's Lake to admire and photograph the lovely tulips before they desintegrate. Their time is almost up ! We wanted to take advantage of the morning light and to be able to take photos without crowds. Our timing was perfect : we arrived and there were 3-4 people there. We were able to take lots of photos. Here's a couple of them. You may click on them to see them bigger. I'll post more of them during the next few days.

Then we dropped by a market to buy some fresh fruits and vegetables ! Yum ! Back home, Rafael worked some more on his homework while I started a new layout. I'll be gluying it down tomorrow as well as a second one. We had lovely steak and salmon cooked on the barbecue for lunch while listening to the birds. I had the opportunity to take more photos of the goldfinches that visit us daily. I think that they are getting used to seeing my camera : they were not flying away today when they saw me approaching so I got several very close shots that are very good ! I'm leaving you with this one as I bid you good-night and wish you a great day back at work tomorrow !

dimanche 17 mai 2009

Productive Sunday !

After breakfast, I sat down and did 2 hours and a half of marking students' work. After lunch, I went and pulled out the weeds from the two flower beds on each side of our patio steps and some from our rose garden. Then I tried the new Stampin' Up stuff that I picked up yesterday. The 6 background plates that I got, which are compatible with the Cuttlebug, are just awesome : WOW ! I'll have students very eager to cuttlebug lots of background come Tuesday ! :) It is just soooo useful to have all kinds of backgrounds and borders prepared in advance for my students' arts-writing projects ! Every year, I always have a dozen or so students really eager to prepare art stuff during the lunchtime recesses and I am always SO happy to oblige ! LOL

We saw today, for the first time, a hummingbird eating in our hummingbird feeder. It was SO cool ! Man, these birds move their wings super duper fast ! They are like mini-rotators ! LOL I got a few pics but none that are in great focus. I'll need lots of practice and lots of photos to get decent ones, I'm sure of that ! :)

Rafael was testing limits big time today. Pierre and I were on the same page though and held strong. It's hard to parent in those moments - or days - but the end result in a few years will be way worth it ! At least, that's what were telling ourselves ! LOL

I spent some time in my scrapbook room this afternoon - I'm aiming to finish a page and start one or two tomorrow ... or perhaps tonight ! I just might lift some pages from different scrapbookers that I admire ! :) That would go faster ! ;)

Yesterday, while I was getting back into our car with our camera in hand after photographing some birds, I hit the side of my right eyebrow really hard with my camera and the skin bursted open. I was massaging it, saying that it was hurting a lot when Pierre said that it was bleeding quite a bit. I looked at my hand and lo and behold, it was bloody ! ACK ! Well maybe you don't want all of the gory details, but anyhow .... I have a really nice dark bruise and I confess that I haven't tried to remove the black part topping the bruise as it is still too painful. I'm expecting that within a week, most of it will have healed though. I now have a healthier respect for our camera's impact on my life ! LOL

Since I haven't posted a new LO in a while (I have some new ones unscanned so far - I'd rather scrap or make cards than scan), I'm leaving you with a layout that I don't think I've ever posted - one that I did sometimes last fall. Have a great evening !


samedi 16 mai 2009

What a wonderful day !

Indeed, we had such a wonderful day !

While having breakfast, Rafael and I had our friends the goldfinches eating their breakfast just outside our window ! See for yourself here ! I never get tired of looking at them, they are so gorgeous !
Around 10:30 a.m., I went out to the Galeries de Hull to meet Céline and her family, and I picked up the Stampin' Up butterfly die and the backgrounds (use-able with the Cuttlebug) that I ordered back in March I think. I can't wait to play with them tomorrow ! The butterfly die came just a little late, since I wanted it for my students' Mother's Day book, but we'll use it next year !

Then I returned home, picked up my husband and my son and we drove to Ottawa to do some errands. First stop was Rideau Centre - unfortunately, the hair product I wanted at Amalfi was out of stock so I will have to wait a couple of weeks for it. As we were about to step outside, we were shocked to see that it was pouring, really pouring ! So Pierre went to get the car while Rafael and I crossed over to the Bay via the tunnel to protect our camera that I had brought with me. It was strange to be walking in Rideau Centre as I hadn't been there in a very long while. Shopping malls and myself haven't been friends in several years !

We then went driving along the Rideau Canal (to drop off some more board games and books to Boomerang Consignment store on Bank St) and I had the opportunity to take some photos of the lovely daffodils, before they disappear until next year ...

... and take some photos of the rain-drenched tulips along the way ...

Then we went along the river in front of Billings Bridge Plaza to check out the birds there ...

... and also went briefly to Fletcher Gardens near the Experimental Farms and snapped this blackbird beauty !

Then it was on to Midway for Pierre and Rafael while I went to do the rest of the errands nearby. I picked them up around 4:30 and we had dinner downtown at Dunn's. Back home, I downloaded my photos while putting away our groceries and shampoo away. I believe that I will be heading back to some of those natural spots tomorrow to try some other experiments with my camera. I didn't quite get what I wanted out of my photography today. If you would like to see more photos from today, you might want to head out to my flickr account. Thanks for dropping by !

Take care !

jeudi 14 mai 2009

Some news from here ...

Already Thursday night ! Weeks are just going by so fast ! This past Monday, I took the day off because I was feeling dizzy (labyrinthite again) and then during noon time, Rafael's school teacher called to say that he had napped half of the morning on his desk. He is looking and feeling very very tired lately - he looks increasingly tired as the weeks go by. His epilepsy medication needed to be upped again this week. The epilepsy really tires him a great deal, it's hard on the brain and the system those episodes. He had a pretty big episode on Friday morning, in the car while going to school. Pierre went to see Rafael's neurologist on Tuesday morning, which is when the medication posology was upped again and the neurologist said that if Rafael keeps having epileptic episodes after this new posology, he will have to take a second medication in addition to the Tegretol he already takes ! Sigh... I really hope that one day, he won't be epilectic anymore ... which is a possibility with his type of epilepsis (complex partial seizures). Keep your fingers crossed for him, okay !

So after the teacher's phonecall, Pierre went to pick up Rafael from his school and brought him home. He napped for 2.5 hours and went to his usual bedtime at 7:30, and feel asleep right away. He stayed home on Tuesday and Wednesday, having naps every day and going to bed at the same time every night. He went back to school today, but was tired and napped a bit although not as much as on Monday. The upcoming 3 day weekend will do him good rest-wise.

I have tons of photos to post - tulips, other signs of springs, birds, etc. I need time to scan my new LOs - hoping to be able to do that this weekend.

That's it for tonight ! Take care everyone !

samedi 9 mai 2009

Gorgeous, gorgeous !

Yes the tulips are gorgeous ! Look at these :

DH and DS were busy concocting a scrappy surprise for me for Mother's Day so I chose between scrapping or going outside to take pics of birds and I opted for the latter. But as soon as I left home in the direction of bird spots, it started to rain pretty heavily so I opted to cross the bridge to Ottawa and visit Scrapbox instead, the only scrapbook store in town. I hadn't been in there for quite a long time, I actually hadn't bought anything scrappy for myself for the last 5 months, just about - so I picked up my membership card ! LOL I chose a few items for my students - I spent the remaining money from my arts budget - to do a Father's Day gift. Yes, gotta plan early as Father's Day will be upon us in no time !

Then I was deliberating going to a river where I was just told that there are lots of birds' nests filled with eggs where the rain started pouring even more. So I decided to go back home and while driving in downtown Ottawa, I saw clear skies and a bit of sun in Hull. I started to get hopeful that I might be able to photograph the tulips in Jacques-Cartier Park in Hull ... and that's what I did ! The tulips were just so gorgeous and in great numbers ! Here's a view of them with the Interprovincial Bridge and the Art Museum just behind :

You can click on the photos and you will be able to view them in a bigger format.

I love taking photos of nature treasures that have been sprinkled with rain ! The droplets just look like mini diamonds to me, all glistening and shining !

This tulip was among the 6 that we have in front of our home ! I love this warm mix of colors.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to get outside again to photograph more tulips and birds with their nests filled with eggs !

Have a great evening and thanks for dropping by ! Happy Mother's day tomorrow !

À mes amies francophones, je vous souhaite une belle journée de fête des mères demain !

vendredi 8 mai 2009

Ahhh... the weekend's here !

The feeling of being free for 2 days is always exhilarating ! I am super super tired so I am looking forward to sleep longer than during the week, relaxing, taking pics of tulips at the Tulip Festival and perhaps even gluing down that layout that has been waiting patiently on my scrap desk !

I went to my chiro this morning and talked to him about "labyrinthite" - a condition I have sporadically but that I used to have almost steadily for 2 years. He gave me some exercices to do in the morning when I wake up having vertigo feelings in order to get rid of them faster. I am looking forward to see the results after having tried those exercices next time I wake up with vertigo.

On the school front, my grade 4, 5 and 6 students completed their Mother's Day butterfly chipboard books today and I am so thrilled about that ! They were just gorgeous and so very creative in the decorating and the written poems. But I saw SO many butterfly books, helped so many students with their books, attached so many ribbons to the books, punched so many holes in the pages - for the students that couldn't do it by themselves -, supervised the dolling out of the rhinestones (that the students so much loved that I had to keep an eagle eye on them if not many students would not have the pleasure of using some as some students were, ahem .... taking loads of them) that I was close to getting fed up with this project. Wow ! So happy that this project is over and done with and that regular English lessons programming is on for the next few weeks ! LOL I don't want to see another butterfly chipboard book in quite a while, thank you very much ... even though I wanted to make one with a different theme for myself ! That will be in the far far future I predict ! LOL

We went out for pizza tonight and it struck me again, while watching Rafael walk over to the counter to get our pizza slices, how he is growing ! He is walking in an assured manner and that is good to see. I think that in about a year, he will be as tall as me. I am not hard to beat though, at 5 feet 2 inches ! ;)

There's 6 weeks of school left and one can smell the end drawing near in the school. Tired teachers, educators and other school personnel have a little new spring in their step, looking forward to the end of the school year, counting the weeks or the days left. I do too ! It has been quite a difficult year, although a rewarding one.

I'm leaving you with one of my favorite photos of this lovely goldfinch (chardonneret in French), taken just outside my kitchen window. Have a great evening !

mardi 5 mai 2009

A delightful outing !

Yesterday afternoon, I met with my friend Hélène and we went pickniking in the Rockcliffe Park ! My first picnic of the season ! It was quite lovely ! We had great weather, the sun was shining brightly, albeit the wind was a bit cold. Nevertheless, we had a great time chatting while each eating half a wrap complemented by fresh vegetables and fruits ! Yum !

Then we drove to Ottawa's By Market and walked to the Major Hills Park, which is one of the Tulip Festival sites which incidentally started last weekend. Near the entrance, we stopped to admire this ship made up of empty fish cans : pretty impressive construction indeed !

This is one of the views that greeted us along our walk : we both love and never get tired of seeing the graceful architecture of the Civilization Museum across the river in Hull.

Hélène and I were trying to get a photo of both of us while stretching our arms for an auto-portrait when this nice young woman came up to us from behind her ice cream kiosk and offered to take photos of us with our cameras ! How kind of her !

This was one of my attempts at self-portraits before the ice cream lady came up to us ! LOL Still pretty cool though as a pic ! What do you think, Hélène ? ;)

Of course, we did get to admire the lovely tulips and photograph some of them. I definitely need to go back to Major Hill Park though because we didn't have enough time to see the whole display of tulips.

Hélène, it was wonderful spending time with you ! Time always go by so fast when we're together !

Have a great evening, everyone !

dimanche 3 mai 2009

What an awesome weekend !

A great weekend indeed ! The sun was shining, the birds were chirping away, I love these kinds of days !

Today, we went to visit my sister and nephew and Rafael had the chance to play with his cousin and also his best friend from school, Ashley, who lives 3 houses away from my sister's. Ashley told my sister, when she learned that we were coming over, that Rafael was her very best friend at school. It was my first time meeting Ashley and I loved it ! She is a very assured young girl, with great manners and a lively imagination. Seeing both she and my son playing and talking together, I could see why they connect so well !

We also had fun playing with one of my sister's birds, the lovely Wally below ! Isn't he gorgeous ? He can't fly so he keeps coming to land on us, it was just so sweet !

I have started taking pics of the lovely tulips that have made an appearance lately ! Many more pics of tulips will be taken in the next few weeks I am sure ! I just love tulips, there's something so simple and yet magical about them ! This photo and the bird photo below were taken with the rented lens 100-400 mm from Canon. You can click on the photo and see how clear and sharp they are !

Birds keep enchanting my life ! I love taking pics of them everyday from our dinette's windows and in nature ! Here's one I took yesterday ! Their bright yellow color just makes me feel so happy ! This pic was taken with the lovely lens 100-400 mm that we rented for the weekend. I feel a little sad that we're returning it tomorrow. Oh well, we'll rent them another time !

My favorite tv show "Tout le monde en parle" is on right now, so off I go ! Have a great Monday tomorrow !

samedi 2 mai 2009

En amour avec les oiseaux ! BIRD-LOVERS !

J'adore les matins de weekend ! Ils sont relaxes, très agréables ! Pierre a le temps de déguster son café en lisant La Presse, j'ai le temps de déguster mes fruits en lisant La Presse et Rafael déjeune et puis joue avec ses jouets ou il lit. Ouais, c'est une famille de grands lecteurs, ici !

Et puis, de notre dînette qui a 3 murs de grandes fenêtres, on a l'occasion et la grand plaisir d'observer les oiseaux ! C'est un vrai régal visuel ! On commençe à être bons à connaître les habitudes des cardinals, des chardonnerets, des rouge-gorges, et des autres espèces d'oiseaux qu'on voit régulièrement. Pierre et moi prenons photo après photo ! Des photos des oiseaux qui viennent manger dans nos mangeoires à oiseaux ! Et vu que ce weekend-ci, on a loué un objectif 100-400 mm, on s'en donne à coeur joie encore plus que d'habitude ! Pierre a même installé notre trépied devant une fenêtre pour prendre des photos plus stables. Personnellement, je trouve un meilleur équilibre à tenir la caméra moi-même, même si celle-ci est plus lourde avec le plus long objectif loué.

Rafael et moi sommes allés au Rona vers 10h pour aller chercher d'autres graines pour oiseaux et j'ai décidé de faire l'acquisition d'une petite mangeoire pour attirer les colibris : j'ai hâte des voir de plus proche ! En même temps, on a fait l'achat d'une autre pôle à 2 courbes pour y accrocher d'autres mangeoires à oiseaux, histoire de pouvoir observer et photographier de notre dînette davantage d'oiseaux.

As I was saying in French, we are book lovers here, and also DH and I have developed a passion for birds ! For our vantage position in our dining room which has 3 walls of large and long windows, we are fortunate to be able to take photos after photos, close-ups actually, of the birds visiting our birdfeeders ! Every day, we see finches, cardinals, and other types of birds and I'm getting quite good at figuring out their lifestyles. Like when the male cardinal gets food and then goes to the female cardinal to put the food in her beak ! It's just so cute ! They look like they are kissing ! LOL

THis morning, DS and I went to Rona to purchase more bird seeds and got by the same token, a birdfeeder for hummingbirds - I am SO looking forward to observing them up close - and we also got a new double pole to hang up more birdfeeders on it so that we'll have more opportunities to observe and photograph our friendly birds !

I'll be back later on today to add pics on this post ! Take care and have fun on this NSD ! I hope to be able to scrap later on today ...

vendredi 1 mai 2009

1st of May

Wow, it's already the first of May ! Time sure goes fast, especially when one is always busy !

At work lately, well at the school where I teach, so many activities all of the time ! It's one of the perks of my career and I just love it ! Let's see ... among other things ... In March I was asked to prepare something for the inauguration of our school's literacy library nicknamed affectionately Ali Baba's Cavern ! :) So I purchased a frame at Winners and filled three of the 4 picture slots with pictures of books and students reading and the fourth slot I filled with CS, rhinestones and rub-ons to write the name of our literacy library. My frame was a big hit during the inauguration ! I was so pleased but mostly I had such fun going around our school, taking pics of our students reading ! I also did a pretty big display of more photos on the bulletin board near the literacy library's door, photos of students reading, photos of hands turning book pages, etc. It was actually a collage of photos interspersed with punched shapes and punched borders. Very neat, actually ! People commented in great detail about it. Again, I had much fun creating this collage with 3 of my grade 6 students.

Lately, my grade 3, 4 and 6 students are passionately creating a chipboard book for Mother's Day. Such creativity is displayed ! They paid for the chipboard book and I supplied all of the patterned papers, the rhinestones, the stickers, the letter stickers, going through my scrap stash to let go of stuff I didn't think I was use finally - and my students had a field day with all of that stuff ! They created gorgeous pieces of artwork - I am sure that many mothers are going to be teary-eyed in two Sundays, when they see and read their children's Mother's Day's book. Such heartfelt poems and messages were written in these books also ! Most of all, I really really enjoyed watching the process of creativity unfolding in my classroom. Almost every lunchhour recess, I've been opening my classroom to my grade 3, 4, 5 and 6 students and it is just so so amazing to watch all of these different grade students working together, sharing tips and creative ideas, creating side by side, laughing, etc. I witnessed another wonderful noon hour today, gosh, my classroom must have had almost 40 students in it ! Lots of good noise and very tiring but very satisfying also ! A classroom filled with creativity, laughter. Such a joy to witness. Wish I had had the energy to take pics of it but I was too busy guiding, helping, explaining and watching ! :) But boy was I ever tired when I left school at 12:40.

Late this afternoon, my husband came back home with a surprise for me : he had finally rented (after me asking for it for the past several months) the Canon lens EF 100-400 mm Ultrasonic with the image stabilizer. I AM IN LOVE !!! We took photos of birds at our birdfeeders and boy, are the photos ever sharp and in such focus ! It bears repeating, I AM IN LOVE !!! LOL Such great lens ! I want to purchase them even more than before and I've been salivating for these lens for months now, over a year actually ! They are just awesome !!! Well, since I've not been spending any money on scrapbooking stuff for the past 5 months, I think that these lens just might make it into our home by the end of December. But it would be so great to have them for this summer to shoot all of these birds that I am so fond of. Yup, I've become a real bird-lover !

Anyhow, it's late enough : I am really tired and my bed is calling my name ! LOL Have a great evening and I promise to come back soon, sometimes this weekend, with pics ! Take care !

mardi 14 avril 2009

I'm back ...

... into blogland, that is ! Almost 3 months have gone by since my last post. Too much physical pain (neck and right arm) led to the decision to stay off for the computer, for one thing, until I felt better.

That extra time led me to thinking about simplifying further our lives. Hence, we got rid of a HUGE amount of stuff that was in our home during the past 2 months. Furniture, toys, books, clothing, decorations, teaching material, picture frames, art stuff, yarn, etc. I brought loads of teaching material that I will not use anymore to a new teacher at my school - she was ecstatic. And then, my clearing out in my home inspired the same teacher to do the same in her home. :)

Most of my March break (and DH took the week off) was spent clearing our basement (more than half of the stuff is gone, lots of empty shelves and plastic containers - we can hear our echo) and transforming DS's toy room into a family library (very very nice) and putting back into their original boxes most of my son's Playmobil toys in order to sell it. That took a lot of time !

We brought 2 trunkloads of stuff to the consignment store (DS toys, clothes, books) - for which we got a few hundred dollars for it, still more $ to come - we brought boxes of books to the used book store - got very minimal amount of $ for them but we care more about simplifying our home and recycling - and we donated a large part of the rest of our stuff to the St-Vincent-de-Paul organization. We also simplified our garage and the room where we store coats, work bags, etc.

What a relief ! And I must say that our home was far from being cluttered.

The simplifying still goes on, every week more stuff goes out. Our closets are getting leaner as well as shelves, pantries. We see more and more empty shelves everywhere in our home. We gave away most of our holiday decorations (Easter, Halloween, Christmas) and only kept a minimum of Xmas things. We threw out a lot of stuff also.

The good in all of that ?

- We breathe better.

- We have more time for activities, relaxation times, time with friends and family.

- Cleaning duties on Saturday mornings go a lot faster !

- Our son loves the fact that he doesn't have a playroom anymore and much less toys : he just takes out what he needs for his play time in the library (he has his toy-games cupboard in there) and then puts everything back in his toy cupboard afterwards, instead of leaving it ready to play with the next time, like it used to be). He commented a few times that he has more time to play because he has less stuff to deal with. A powerful lesson indeed" !

- I play piano everyday, in our "new" library room (we moved a IKEA shelving unit that we had in the basement (got rid of most of the books from that unit) and another IKEA shelving unit (the same kind) from DS's bedroom to assemble in our library. It's awesome to play piano in a toy-free room ! My family loves the fact that I play everyday, DS now asks me to play longer when I sit at the piano and he can sing most of what I play, since I play daily !

- We have purposefully reduce to a minimum our shopping-spending since the beginning of last December. We were already not going to malls for the last three years (if not more), and now going to the store feels also foreign to us, as if stepping on another planet. We go to the grocery store and very very rarely elsewhere. Our desire to eliminate anything that we don't truly need is very strong. I see all the stuff in the stores and the only thing I can think of is, "Most of this stuff would be cluttering our simplified home and life and would end up pretty quickly in a get-rid-of-it pile." I have no desire to spend nor acquire.

We have re-acquainted ourselves with the difference between "want-desire" and "need". So simple really. We also plan before buying our groceries, buying only what is needed for a week's time. Less food in our cupboards. The store can stock it, not us. :)

It's hard to describe in words the feelings that these changes brought in us. The calm in us, the deeper breathing, more enjoyment of our lives, more content, the feeling of more space in our life. More time to just be. Ahhhh ...

NOTE : The simplifying is not over yet. It will be when everything that we have in our home is actually used in a more or less regular manner and nothing more will be residing in our home. Like I won't get rid of a punch because I haven't used it in 2 weeks, type of thing.

Less is so much better. For us. And that comes from a girl (me) who has accumulated a LOT of art stuff during the past 20 years (pretty much the only category-department where I did spent). I used to think that I would rather have some stuff that lasted to show for my spending. Now I think exactly the opposite ! :) I prefer consumables. They don't add to a person's stash of any kind.

Stay tuned for pics of our newly simplified home. Too bad I didn't think of taking before pics. Also coming, pics of the 2 other Valentine chipboard books and some Project 365 layouts. Many photos. THe photographing has been going strong. Photos taken every day. And now that spring is here, the birds are visiting our birdfeeders in a large number which provides DH and I with lots of photo ops !

Take care everyone ! I would love to hear what you've been up to these past few months !

jeudi 26 février 2009

For the next while ...

I will not be blogging for the next while as I have health issues that need to be addressed asap. I'll be back in due time with LOs of Project365 plus the other 2 Valentine chipboard books.

In the meantime, take care !

dimanche 22 février 2009

Couldn't stand it anymore .... and simplicity.

My blog's banner that is. Couldn't stand the sight of the snow. So I changed it to this LO of mine that I did a while ago.

Aaahh, I'm looking forward to signs of spring outside. Colors, little buds of flowers, the green of grass. In the meantime, I'm still enjoying long walks in the Gatineau Park. I went there today with Rafael while Pierre was sleeping. He slept most of the day as he worked all night last night. He came back home from work at 7:30, dark circles under his eyes. Of course, his sleepless night got his cold in an even worse condition. The man's not talking right now, he's kind of croaking. Losing his voice. He needs some TLC and lots of sleep.

I had a most awesome day today. A great mix of work and play. Spent a lot of time with Rafael. Outdoors and indoors. Prepared my teaching stuff for this week while Rafael was studying for his geometry test on Tuesday. Got more stuff out of our home, which is part of the on-going project of simplifying our lives. For us, living simpler has a lot to do with having less stuff, which means less time dealing with the said stuff and more time to play. The more I live, the less stuff I want to be surrounded with. Same thing goes in my classroom. Simplifying. Simplicity has been a key word in my life for the past 3 years and is still a key word. Yesterday I dropped some stuff at the consignment shop. Picked up the $ I made with the stuff I dropped there last time.

I'm still nursing a cold ... and my bed is calling my name right now ! LOL Take care and live the present moment ! I'll be posting the other 2 Valentine love books sometimes this week. Ciao !

jeudi 19 février 2009

Love Book #1 plus other subjects ...

Here's the Valentine chipboard love book that DS and I created for my awesome husband-DS's father.

Pages 1-2 were created by me, pages 3-4 were created by DS and the last two pages were created by both of us. Needless to say, there's no X-rated stuff in this book ! ;) I scanned the pages with a black piece of cardstock behind them for scanning purposes as the edges of the pages were uneven ; so while viewing the pages, keep in mind that the black CS that you see here doesn't exist IRL. The photo of DH and I was taken by my friend Nathalie V. about 2-3 years ago in Montréal. Remember the occasion, Nathalie ? It was at the Butterfly Exhibition during Easter time. Lovely memories !

It was lots of fun and very satisfying to finally use some of those Valentine embellishments that I have collected over the years. I still have lots more to create more Valentine books in the next few years, hehehe ! As a matter of fact, I've already chosen next year's Valentine books from my stash ! Supplies used here includes MM papers and stickers, SEI papers, 7Gypsies rub-ons, KI Memories heart (very last page), Scenic Route lined PP, Bazzill textured CS, AC pen and various heart punches.

Today President Obama is visiting in Ottawa for the first time since his election. The town was all buzzing about it including students at my workplace. As a result of this important visit, the buses were taking different routes today for protection reasons so all streets leading to downtown and near the Parliament were closed to public. It made for a different bus circuit for me when I left work at 1 p.m. and I enjoyed it ! I happened to have my camera with me since I brought it to school to take pics of my students working on their painting so I got lots of glances thrown towards my Canon 30D. A bus passenger asked me if I had been downtown to photograph Obama and several passengers turned their heads my way to hear my answer ! I didn't think that the passenger behind me was talking to me when he asked that question but when the passenger in front of me turned around to hear my answer, I made the connection with the camera around my neck and answered, "No, but it would have been fun !" and then we chatted. I wish I would have had the opportunity to photograph Obama ! :)

My principal asked me today to design our teachers-aides (the school personnel) room, you know the place where we eat, talk, relax and have meetings in. The room is really ugly and has always been that way - I've been teaching at the same school for the past 22 years. I hope that I remember to take before and after pictures. My first step for the renovations ? To choose the paint colors and then some teachers will be volunteering to paint it one weekend. I have already submitted an idea to decorate the walls of the room and I got a very enthusiastic "YES !" to go ahead with my plan ! My principal loves what I designed for our school's office last year, she regularly tells me how much compliments they (the two principals and the secretaries) get for that art display from the parents, the visitors and the teachers, etc. It's always fun to hear that one's work is appreciated ! Personally, I loooooove changing the students' artwork in that Art Gallery that I designed last year, I get such a kick at designing it every couple of weeks. It is such a fun project !

Well I'm off to finish off a Project365 double pager. These are so much fun to make ! I'm trying to think of some ways for my students to do that kind of project next year, about their school year. I need to iron out the particulars of this project made by students who don't have a camera for the most part, and other important aspects of this very cool project.

Thanks for stopping by !

mercredi 18 février 2009

some news ...

It's already past the mid-month of February ! Wow ! The days and weeks go by so quickly ! We've had more sickness in our home and probably that single fact makes our weeks go by even faster ! DH got the flu really bad, he was in bed almost all of last weekend, feverish, very sore throat. Lots of sleep for him. He should really be staying at home to rest and heal but there's this big project at his workplace with a looming deadline and his presence is much needed for it. So away he goes every day to work, feverish or not. He's in bed early evening though and that helps.

I've come back from work today (elementary school) with another start of a cold. So many of my 110 students have the flu, or sniffle, or cough, or constantly reach for tissues for their running noses, etc that it's no wonder that I've started to cough myself. :(

We spent a lovely Valentine's Day on Sunday ... hum yes on Feb. 15th because DH was too sick on the 14th ! We exchanged our chipboard Valentine's books and everyone was thrilled with the results ! We also exchanged store-bought Valentine's cards ... well you know, it's a tradition between DH and I that started over 24 years ago and we enjoy it tremenduously ! Now DS has joined in. He asked one of us to drive him to Wal-Mart last Saturday so that he could choose a card for each of his parents. Aw, so sweet ! I happened to glance at him while he was in the cards' aisle at WM and saw that he read the text with great attention. He later told me that he makes his choice based on the design on the card cover and the written words inside. He's very involved in the choosing of the cards. So cute !

We had a lovely Valentine's dinner and then once DS was in bed, DH and I had a cozy movie night in our living room !

I will be posting pics of our chipboard Valentine's books along with my Project 365 layouts as soon as I have the time to scan everything. That's a promise.

One last thing before I go for a much-needed nap after the short night I had last night ... I need to change my banner very soon as I'm quite fed up to stare at this snow pic. I'm longing for spring, its perky colors and all that it entails ! What about you ?

Take care ! :)