It’s All About The Kids

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My kids go to a small school in Prince Edward County.  It is a kindergarten to grade 8 school, and each class is a split grade.  So far I’ve been impressed with the school, and my girls are all happy with their teachers.  We are only two months into the school year, and my kids feel as if they know the names of all their fellow students.  There seems to be a good bunch of kids at our school, and a strong sense of community.

I’m the kind of parent that likes to get involved.  There is always a job that needs to be done at a school.  So last week, I went to a parent council meeting.  There was a good turn out for such a small student population.  Both parents and attending staff were friendly and helpful.  Once we got down to business, I was a little surprised by what I found out.

The parent council operates on a very tight budget.  They are beginning the school year with $5.69 per student for the school year.  It is hard to provide adequate programs for less than $6 a child.  As most of you know, over the last few decades there have been massive cuts to funding in the education system in Canada.  It has fallen to local parent councils to raise funds for music, art, science and technology programs for their kids.  This has not resulted in equal programs for all children across Ontario.  Schools in higher income brackets tend to raise the most money, resulting in a plethora of enrichment programs.  Obviously, limited funds equal limited access to such programs.

We do have fundraisers planned.  A local artist has carved two amazing pumpkins to be raffled off today.  I bought several tickets, planned to win, and did.  Technically, my kid won but I can share the glory too, can’t I?  There will also be a Christmas raffle that brings in money every year.

Our school is situated in a hard working, rural community.  The teachers and parents are dedicated to their children’s education.  There are enough hands on deck to volunteer and put the work into new programs, but some things cost money.  For example, we would like to start a music program but our instruments are in such disrepair that they need to be mended before they can be used.  We would like to invite visiting artists, and scientists to the school but they need to be paid a fair wage.   If a field trip is planned, one bus can cost up to $200 for one day.

I know that none of your children or grandchildren go to my girls’ school.  If you believe that all children in Canada should have the same access to art, music, science and technology please consider donating to our school.  There is a donate button on the top, right hand side of the page.  I will take your nickels, dimes, quarters, and bills.  Every cent will go directly to programs for these kids.

Perhaps you don’t care about equal access to programs for students, but enjoy reading my blog.  I will also ask you to donate to our school, but maybe I won’t be so polite about it.

It’s getting close to that giving season, so why not get a jump start and give right now?

All donations $20 or over will receive a tax receipt.  Please send me your address at alysahawkins@yahoo.com so I can send you your tax receipt.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Happy Halloween!

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A Window

 

Our friends Julie and Joel and their kids came for a visit that was much too short back in July.  They are some of my favorite people, always interesting and always fun.   Joel made of the above video of their time here.

Just for the record I usually make my bed a little neater than I did that day.

I love the video because it shows how things were when we moved in.  We are always impatience for progress and sometimes it’s easy to forget that what we have right now is good and we should appreciate it.

On that note, my little one turned six today.  It’s hard to believe that I don’t have a small five year old any more.  Happy birthday my R.P.!

 

Shut Up Already

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It’s mid October and we have decided it is finally the time to start seriously working on the heating system.  We have all the parts (yah for us!), now they need to meet and get along.  We are having an impromptu cocktail party tonight so all important players can mingle, get to know each other and see if they want to coexist with each other for the next 20 years.  After 20 years, we will be hardy country folk and probably will have no need for heat.  Alternatively, we will wear our heated suits that Jess’ has designed and plans to make in the near future.  I’ll be serving an oil based cocktail with Asian nuts and bolts, and metal shards with dip.

We will be hosting the event in the shipping container.  Oh look, the first guest has already arrived.

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He is always unfashionably early.  Those bio mass boilers are so inconsiderate.  I don’t even have my party dress on.

Let’s stop this silliness.  This is what happens when I spend too much time by myself!  Why won’t someone move here and be my friend?  I do have three friends here which is an improvement from none a few months ago.  Two have just moved here from Toronto, and one runs a fabulous antique store out here.  Oh and there’s my neighbour whom I love but he is leaving shortly for Argentina for the winter.  So he only half counts.

Here are the serious updates:

Jess moved the 800 lbs boiler himself with with an abundance of physics knowledge and a few tools from the hardware store.

I have one more birthday party to go.  After Saturday I’ll feel normal again.

One bedroom is mostly drywalled.

Little Mousy died.  Only Wini cared, and she cried hard.  She buried him with her dad in the flower patch.

I won’t be inviting Mousy to the cocktail party tonight.

Fall

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It is a beautiful Fall day here.  After the kids got on the bus for school, my mom and I took the dog for a walk.  Here are a few of the sights on the way.

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Luckily in the back seat of that old GMC truck someone left this perfect cake.  And I think they baked it today.  It was a convenient find because it is my daughter’s 9th birthday today.   So I snagged the cake and stuffed it in my back pocket.  I ran all the way home, took a moment to slide into first base, and then got to work.  I reassembled the cake at home, and voila! instant party.  It will be an excellent companion to the requested spaghetti, meatball and caesar salad dinner that I have already prepared.

Every girl deserves a cake on her birthday, even if she did just turned into a ‘tween.

Upside Down

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Much to my dismay, little mousy has been reintegrated into our lives.  There has been talk that perhaps he is actually a baby rat and not a mouse.  This knowledge does not increase my love for mousy, and we all know there was little love to begin with.  Our little mousy is sick, and some of us are hoping some warmth and spoon feeding will help him regain his strength so he can grow up and be a disgusting adult rat.

He is kind of cute, but in a repellent sort of way.

We will see what the night brings.

Good luck mousy.  Get better and get the hell out of my house.

New Friends

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As we tear down walls both figuratively and literally, new friends appear.  This morning I entered my favorite stall in the girl’s bathroom and saw a wee little mouse.  I immediately ran and fetched Jess.  He was captured.  To clarify the mouse was caught not Jess.  There was no David and Goliath show down here.  Instead of an instant death, little mousy was set up in a fancy blue Rubbermaid container to show the girls.

Somehow, there was a rapid turn of sentiment from GET THAT MOUSE (that was me), to HE IS SO CUTE (that was everybody else).  Before the bus arrived for school, mousy had been named Alfred, he was being fed yogurt and graham crackers, and a make shift house had been constructed from an environmentally friendly take out container for his comfort.  All involved, aside from me,  thought it best that Alfred should be our new pet.  What is wrong with these people that I live with?  I was firm that Alfred must go by the end of the day.

We all know what would happen if Alfred was allowed to stay with us?  How could my family be so gullible?  Aren’t they from the city?  Alfred would act all tiny and helpless during the day in his Rubbermaid condo.  At night, when we were all asleep, he would crawl out, put on his smoking jacket, light a cigar, and swagger down the hall (obviously on his hind legs, they all walk like that when humans aren’t looking).  He would open the back door nice and wide and invite all his rodent buddies inside.  He is not as innocent as he looks.  Go back to the photo.  He is so giving me the eyeball.  Those upright, respected rodents of the field would not be invited.  He would summon the girls with the short tight skirts and their pimping friends.  Soon enough, they would multiply and I’d have to start charging them rent.  They would hand me their employment insurance cheques that they’ve scammed from the government.  Reluctantly, I’d accept them because I’d feel terrible for their innocent children.  I didn’t move to the country for this!  I moved so I could be at one with nature, run with the wind and hide from the ugliness of the world.

When the girls got home from school, I insisted that Alfred should be set free.  The first attempt was aborted because a snake was spotted and was sure to eat our little friend.  The next scheduled release was successful as far as I knew.  Before dinner, my eldest reported back to me that my middle child had stuffed Alfred in her sock to insure he was warm enough.  Gosh darn it, why are children so gross?

In the end, Alfred was set free.  He was last seen scaling our walls, and hasn’t been sighted since.  Maybe he was reunited with his parents, maybe the snake ate him or maybe he is hanging out in the girl’s bathroom in your house waiting for the keys to his new condo.

Visits

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Our weekend fun with friends and family was a blast.  It was wonderful to have so many people here. My favorite photo of the weekend was in the gym with my friend Emily on the pogo stick, 5 year old Zach on the drums, Neil on the electric guitar, many people dancing, and my nephew William shooting hoops.  Jess’ new drum kit was well used by both young and old, we sliced some roast beef with his new meat slicer, and made fresh ice cream with his new hand cranked ice cream maker.  We are hoping our neighbours forgive us for our late and perhaps too loud bonfires.

It’s Thursday and I am still recovering and still cleaning.  Not to worry, both myself and the school should be ship shape by tomorrow for our next batch of visitors.

We now have three classrooms framed, and they all have brand new windows.  The electricians are here making sure we will be well illuminated.  Rob is framing the bathroom and I have my bath tub on order.  Three months into this journey, and I am heavily craving a static, clean and comfortable space.  I want to be able to walk freely without shoes, and still have my soles relatively clean.  We have moved our bedrooms countless times since we’ve arrived.  We spent the last week all sleeping in the gym.  I’ve insisted that we move into our two guest rooms until our forever rooms are liveable.  Our kids have been very adaptable.  Often they would arrive home from school to find their beds in yet another space.

Yesterday, I moved everything out of the girl’s closet so Rob could install the windows.  Huddled in a corner, was a baby snake.  He caught it so we could show the girls.  We have not seen any adult snakes inside but quite a few outside.

Our new outbuilding was delivered yesterday.

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It is a 8×40′ shipping container.  We are going to use it to house our bio mass boiler, wood pellets and  fire wood.  As much as I like it, I do realize we will have to be creative when we design our backyard space.  It will have to serve as a industrial wall in our yard providing shade, privacy and shelter from the wind.

More festivities are planned for this weekend.  My oldest girl turns 9 years old, and soon after that my littlest will be 6.

Where does the time go?