Thursday, 23 June 2016

Jean and Mrs. Simons

The other day our kids brought home their report cards.  I take report cards with a grain of salt... I have written report cards in my past teaching career and I understand that it only explains a small part of the school year.  These documents don't say everything about how your child has really succeeded in class or how their overall year has gone.  What we pay attention to is the work they do throughout the year, the conversations we have with the teachers all year long and how they are doing when we work with them on assignments and weekly work.  We pay attention when they talk about their days at school and we try to encourage them to enjoy school and make each day count.  We also encourage them to work hard.

All that being said, as I was saying, I opened up our youngest daughter's report card, began reading through it and burst into tears.  She stood there staring at me and asked me what was wrong.  Nothing was wrong; I was just so happy and proud.  Unfortunately academics do not come easily for Jean.  She comes after two older siblings who are strong students; one has an amazing work ethic and the other is just naturally intelligent with a great memory.  Jean has not had an easy time learning to read and we know the struggle is not over but her report card and documents from her teacher show us that she has reached her grade level in language arts.  She has come a long, long way and I AM SO PROUD OF HER.  She has worked hard through evenings of reading with us, working with her tutor (of which she did not want to... nothing to do with her tutor but she did not like the fact that she had to go when her older brother and sister did not) and being constantly encouraged to practice practice practice. 

I think her teacher, Mrs. Simons, has been the best influence and cheerleader for Jean.  We have been blessed to have Mrs. Simons understand from early in grade 1 and all the way to the end of grade 2 (Jean has been in her class for two years) that we are willing to do whatever it takes to help Jean along.  She wasn't going to necessarily get extra help at school because she was not the "weakest" in her class so it was going to have to be a team effort of parent/teacher/tutor to give Jean the tools to be successful.  I kept thinking that if we don't work on this with her now she will fall through the cracks... and we are not willing to go down that road.  As grade two ends, we cannot say enough about Mrs. Simons... it brings me to tears thinking about how much she cares about Jean and all of her students.  I am sad to end our relationship with her but happy that Jean benefited from her as a teacher.

Jean has so much "life" in her.  She has so many talents and is passionate about what she loves.  She is creative and spunky.  She makes people look twice at her and brings a smile to their face.  I know she will go far and make us very proud.  She already has and she is only 7 1/2 years old.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Farmhouse Bedroom Makeover

True story... we picked shamrock green for our bedroom colour 14 years ago.  Why?  Well, first, we did not realize that it would be so shamrock-like.  Second, bold colours were stylish back then.  Lastly, we did not know what we were doing and how long it would actually take.  Yup.  We were newbies at living in a big, old home that we would have to take care of all by ourselves.  Pretty much as soon as we were done, we did not like it.  Skip ahead many years and I found myself devoting some time to making a big change. 
I don't really like home renovations.  I don't like the process of painting and it isn't easy in our century home.  Many of the rooms are still made of lath and plaster so the walls are wonky, pitted and filled with cracks.  Our bedroom is quite large with it's own staircase so it was daunting but once I devoted some serious time to it, I started to see some progress.  There was no going back.  I listened to my favourite podcasts during the day and actually enjoyed myself. 
I started with the staircase which was the most difficult and tedious.

Not only did I have to paint walls but cupboard doors as well. 
I don't know how long these hooks have been here but they are useful.

The quilt hanging is one of my baby quilts... almost 39 years old.

Handprint art we made in 2012.

I am so happy with the colour... it is bright but still cozy.  I bought some fabric to make new pillow shams and possibly a few other accent pieces.  My plan is to paint the side tables next fall but overall I like the look I achieved.  We are no-fuss people, our bedroom is generally a catch-all for laundry and kids.  The kids think our bed is perfect for running and jumping on and Ian is not known for putting his things away so I wanted the whole thing to feel simple and easy to maintain. 

Note:  The quilt folded on our bed was a gift from Ian's Grandma McGregor.  She made it many years ago and we love having it in our room.