Book Tale: The Invention of Wings

Along with summer comes a LOT of reading time! This is one of my favourite things about having time off. I try to read a little bit each night before bed but I usually only get through a page or two before I'm too exhausted to keep my eyes open. In the summer I can stay up reading as late as I want and it is awesome!

jpegThis book has been sitting in my bedside table drawer for a while, just waiting for a chance to be read. Sue Monk Kidd is one of my favourite authors and I have been holding onto this book for a while waiting for a chance to read it. It was worth the wait!

"The Invention of Wings" is an AMAZING story based on the Grimke sisters' lives but with fictionalized characters that bring the story to life. The story follows Sarah Grimke and Hetty (Handful) throughout their lives starting when they were young girls. Handful was given to Sarah as a birthday gift, her own slave despite her wishes for abolition. The story follows them throughout their lives as they grow and change, sharing the tender friendship that is built in a strained world. The side through the eyes of Handful is beautiful but hardened with the sadness and despair of the truths of slavery. Sarah's story is about her struggle to find a place in the world and to make change in a powerful way.

I was glued to every word of the story and could not put it down! I think it was one of the only times that I finished a book, read the whole author's notes, and then proceeded to research about the story right away - I just couldn't get enough!

In many ways, I related to Sarah Grimke's character (obviously I am not a pioneer in abolition and women's rights, nor am I trying to claim that I've gone through even a fraction of what she and her sister did) because of her strong will to make the world a better place. There were so many moments when I could just completely see myself in Sarah's shoes - unsure of the best course of action. Being born into a middle class white world but having this deep unrelenting feeling that you can be a part of the change in the world, that's where I relate the most.

I cannot recommend this book enough, it sparked a passion in me to be the best of who I am and to push myself past the dominant world view that it is all too easy to look through. It was a reminder of the sacrifices that will need to be made in order to make change in the world and it was also a reminder that change needs to happen - we have come a long way since abolition and women's suffrage but we still have a long way to go.

Sue Monk Kidd, you did it again - you opened my mind and my heart. Please read this book! I promise  you will be enthralled by the characters and the story.

Meaghan


Photography Fun

One hobby Joel and I share is photography.  Three summers ago we bought our camera (Cannon T3i) because we wanted to be able to take some of our own pictures during the months leading up to our wedding festivities (we had three main wedding events over the course of 5 months...maybe I'll tell that story one day).  Since purchasing our camera we've bought and sold various lenses and bits and pieces for it, studied a few photography courses and we've taken TONS of photos of people, places and things.  Some of our most favourite photo sessions have been with our dear friends, the Peros.  These days we are finding it challenging to take out the "real" camera; iPhones and Instagram filters always seem to be the most convenient.  I love a good photo sesh with friends to remind me to put the tiny iPhone down and take out the real deal...it's way more fun!

Yesterday I took 500 photos in just over an hour.  I sifted through all of them in the afternoon and got 42 great shots! Here are some favourites from yesterday's fun photoshoot:

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Aren't they a beautiful family!?
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Camera clicking noises make for excellent baby entertainment!
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She was really into her sand digging yesterday.
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This little guy gets cuter every day.
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She actually requested to go home to bed post photo shoot. Models work hard, you know?
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Destruction.

 

Here are some photos I've taken of our favourite kids in sessions past.

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Learning how to put on shoes!
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Taken a few weeks before baby brother arrived!
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Baby brother - one week old.
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Baby brother - one week old.
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My girl when she was just a tiny thing.

We need to do photos of these kids more often than we have been lately! Love them!

Karley


Meaghan's Kitchen

Sorry for the lack of posts lately... well actually, to quote our lovely middle school friends: sorry, not sorry! We have been busy enjoying our summers without a lot to write about.

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My day today was spent enjoying this amazing poolside view...

The weather has been fantastic here and spending a lot of time relaxing outside is a must whenever possible! Besides that I have been working out, finishing up my summer courses and  running a leadership course at the rec centre I used to work for which has been a blast! That also means I got to work with Ryan for a couple of weeks which is fun but it means we have to be more on top of things like lunches and morning routines since we usually leave at different times. So because of that and because I have a lot more energy in the summer I've been cooking/food prepping up a storm!

Here are some of the favourites in our household lately:

1. Salad Bar Lunches

20140713-191155-69115151.jpgWe have been doing this one quite a bit this year because it's so easy and delicious! It takes a bit of time to prep on Sunday but makes things so easy for the rest of the week that it's definitely worth it. We just cut up celery, peppers, cheese, avocado, apples, and cucumber (or whatever other veggies are around), hardboil some eggs, and wash some lettuce (and leave it in the salad spinner for ease). The night before or morning of we just each toss whatever we want into a big contatiner, bring some dressing and we are good to go!

2. Fruit/Veggie "Chips"

We don't have a dehydrator but I've been experimenting a bit with making different fruit and veggie chips over the past while. I just turn the oven on to 200 and bake them for a long time. Our favourites have been banana chips, yam chips, and carrot fries - although everything has been delicious. If you haven't tried carrot fries yet please get on it - Now! They are just so good! This stuff takes a long time so I usually only do it on a day when I have laundry/coursework/chores that need to get done so I'm home for a while.

3. Favourite "Healthy" Cookies

This recipe 20140713-191156-69116974.jpgI found a while ago but have just been absolutely loving! No sugar, so easy, so good! I love that you only need four ingredients and they are ingredients we pretty much always have around the house. Peanut butter, banana, oats and chocolate chips... so good! (They don't last as long as regular cookies so keep them in the fridge or eat them fast!)

 

 

 

 

4. "Healthy Nachos"

I got the idea for this recipe here. For these nachos I used the yam chips I made and then topped them with black beans, onion, peppers, and cheddar cheese. Finish them off with a little guacomole and they were delicious! (I happened to use wayyyy too many black beans so I compensated by using wayyyyy too much cheese to hold it altogether - delicious but much less healthy than they were meant to be!)

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Do you have any delicious summer recipes for us to try?

What other things have you been doing this summer?

 Meaghan

 

 

 


World Class Athletes

This year I taught many students who truly inspired me.  I know stating this sounds very "cliche teacher" of me, but one student in particular reminds me of me when I was her age.  For the sake of this student's privacy I will not and cannot divulge any information about her, but in this post I want to tell you about her goals and dreams because her intentions helped me become a better teacher this year.  Let's call her "Beth".

From the moment I met Beth I knew she was the kind of person who required a true teacher-student connection in order to achieve both academically and socially.  I don't know how exactly I picked up on the "connection vibes" Beth was giving off; let's just call it instinct.  Thankfully, I trusted my instincts and can honestly say, I had a fantastic year with this student.  This year I made sure I always had time for Beth, always tried to answer her questions, always put her in her place when she needed to be told and always made sure to laugh with her every single day.  Beth will be the first to tell you that she doesn't have the cleanest record when it comes to grades or behaviour, but this year she rose to the occasion and became an excellent leader in our class.  If we had written our term 3 report cards I am confident Beth would have achieved straight As.  This girl is going into grade 9 on cloud 9 and she should be very proud of herself (she is, trust me).

Did I mention Beth is a superb athlete? Well, she is.  She is as athletic as they come and her sport of choice is rugby.  Beth got accepted into a special rugby program for her high school years and her whole support team could not be more excited for her because her dream of playing for the Canadian National Women's Rugby Team will be supported and fostered throughout her increased training during the next four years.  Beth's focus and determination for her sport is where she and I draw some parallels.

As a child/teenager I spent six years competing as a nationally and internationally (in the States) ranked rhythmic gymnast.  I think I've talked about that on our blog before, so I won't go into too much detail.  However, everything I did was for for the sake of my gymnastics training.  While I never made national team, I competed for a spot on that team several times during my athletic career.  My hopes and dreams and goals for my gymnastics were very similar to Beth's intentions for her rugby.  The photo below shows me stretching at home, constantly working to be better.  Beth runs 10k on the weekends to help increase her cardio.  I used to write down my sport specific goals and post them on my bedroom wall - Beth does the same thing, in fact, she told me she even framed her written down goals.  Nothing like having your life plans stare you in the face every single day, hey!? The little book of quotes pictured below was given to me by one of my closest gymnastics friends when we were little, but now it's time to pass it along to someone else.

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As athletes I believe it is extremely important to have good role models as inspirations; these people help keep our goals aligned and our fire fueled.  As a gymnast I had many great athletes I looked up to and I was even fortunate enough to meet some of those people,which was incredibly exhilarating!  During the last month of school I was trying to get a local national team rugby player to come into my class and speak to my students; however, with a stacked tournament schedule and school ending two weeks earlier than anticipated, that guest presentation didn't come to fruition.  I planned to set this presentation up especially for Beth and the few other grade 8 rugby girls I taught, but I never announced it to my students because in the back of my mind I knew there was a chance it wouldn't happen.  And then our local rugby star, Jess, went above and beyond for my student, Beth.

Jess plays rugby for the Canadian Women's Team; in fact, she was just named a member of the Canadian World Cup team, coming up this August in Paris, France.  I know Jess from my lululemon days and because I still frequent that store quite often we've kept in touch.  When it became apparent that Jess' presentation to my class wasn't going to happen I asked her if I could get a signed team photo from her for Beth.  What Jess did was even cooler:

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It's tough to see the signatures so let's get even closer:

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Jess got the girls on her team who live in BC to sign a jersey for Beth! Now, I've told Beth's family about this exciting little gift I have for her, but Beth has NO idea what's coming her way, so before she leaves for camp tomorrow I'm going to swing by her house and drop it off for her.  I can't wait to see her expression when a) her teacher shows up at her front door and b) said teacher comes bearing super cool gifts.

To Jess and the teammates who signed this jersey for Beth, thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Believe it or not, you women are incredible role models for some young, aspiring athletes.  And Jess, wishing you the best of amazing memories and fun in Paris this summer!

To Beth, who may or may not read this post tonight, keep chasing your dreams because you are worth it.  You are going to become an incredible rugby player over the next few years and I can't wait to watch your games next year!

And to everyone else who has sports related dreams, goals and intentions, whether they're recreational or highly competitive, keep seeking inspiration.  Keep working to maximize your potential.  Dig deep and sweat lots during training.  Thanks for being awesome role models to us all!

Karley