Saturday, June 27, 2009

time to celebrate


(with 2 of her granddaughters, Cara and Allison)

Last night we had a birthday party for Richard's mom, who turned 75 on June 16. We booked Bethel Church for the evening and gathered for a delicious meal of takeout Greek food and ice-cream cake, followed (and preceded) by lots of fun in the gym. It was a great evening and a perfect opportunity to honour a wonderful lady (who, by the way, surprises many people when they hear her age -- "she just doesn't look it!").
Adding to the specialness of our birthday celebration was our thankfulness for Audrey's health. In early May she had surgery for colon cancer; she recovered very quickly from the operation and found out this week that she doesn't require any further treatment. So we're all very grateful to God for bringing her through this challenge so well.

(Here she is blowing out her candles with granddaughters Kate and Megan)

Below, see the gift we gave her, a photo collage of her kids and grandkids.

- Top left: Richard and Jeannie with Allison and Jonathan
- Top right: Doug and Caroline with Josh, Luke, Corey and Cara
- Bottom left: Ed and Mari
- Bottom right: Mark and Carolyn with Kate, Levi, and Megan.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

one chapter ends, we look forward to the next

Today was Allison's last day at St. Joseph/St. Mary Catholic School. She entered this school for Senior Kindergarten in September 2003. Now she's finished grade five and on to a new, bigger school in September. SJSM has been a wonderful place for her to begin her education because of its small size; its slogan is "The Little School With the Big Heart", which is certainly true.
One of the highlights of Allison's grade five year was that she made a friend. Anneli has been in her school for several years but is one grade lower, so they had never been in the same class before. This year they really clicked: they are both quiet, sweet little girls who really seem to enjoy each other's company. Best of all she lives within a five-minute walk of our house so even though they won't be schoolmates anymore, maybe their friendship can continue.

Congratulations, Allison, on your "graduation" from SJSM!

School may be over, but ...

... but the special memories we have of people who made Jonathan's year great will last forever. Here is Jonathan with Kathy Mardicis, who was his classroom teacher for both Senior Kindergarten and Grade One. Ms. Mardicis has a laid-back personality that really endeared her to all her students. Jonathan never did learn to pronounce her full name -- "Deekies" was as close as he got -- but maybe next year, when he meets her in the hall, he'll surprise her with a perfect pronunciation!

Here's Jonathan with his very special friend, Bonnie Beals, who was his EA for 3/4 of the day. She's a fun-loving person who called him "Funny Guy" and said he was "full of silly beans" -- but still got so excited about all his little accomplishments. They had a great year together.

This is Joe O'Connor, a.k.a. "Mr. O", who was Jonathan's EA for the last quarter of the day and whose arrival each afternoon was a big highlight for Jonathan. Mr. O invariably ended the day by saying "He had a GREAT afternoon!"

Here's Jonathan with Vice Principal Mike Blackburn, who gave us lots of support and set up all meetings and progress reports regarding Jonathan (and who kindly gave Allison a tour of the school since she'll be coming here in September). He is moving on to a new VP posting at another school and we will really miss his friendly support.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

small fish tours big pond

Today I accompanied Allison on a tour of the school she'll be going to this fall, Rideau Public School. Because she'll be moving from a school of 70 students to one of 400+, I thought it would be helpful for her to go in for a visit. So this afternoon we met with Vice Principal Mike Blackburn, who welcomed Allison and showed her the Grade Six classroom, the gym, the library, the office, and other important sites.

I was so proud of Allison and observed how grown-up she is becoming. She looked around at everything with quiet enthusiasm and answered questions so maturely, even though she can often be abrupt or standoffish when addressed directly by people she doesn't know well.

There were a couple of funny moments. We went into the office and met the secretary, Shelley, who is in my opinion the perfect elementary-school secretary: outgoing, kind, calm, and motherly. When we introduced Allison to her she said, "Oh, can I give you a hug?" and came right around the counter and put her arms around Allison. Mr. Blackburn looked at me with a smile and whispered, "Now that might be pushing the envelope," but Allison not only tolerated it, she actually seemed to enjoy it!

The library was of course a must-see for a voracious reader like Allison. We went in quietly because a class was in there watching a movie. Suddenly I heard the words "And on the outside is the penis" -- it was a grade 7/8 class watching a sex ed film (snickers and all). Mr. B and I started laughing, but Allison didn't notice a thing; she was too engrossed in checking out the books!

We also of course had to go and visit Jonathan's current classroom as well as the one he will be in this fall. It will be nice to have them together at the same school in September.

As I walked through the halls I had such a good feeling about the school. There were boys in the hallway outside Allison's "new" classroom (one of whom attends our church), and they were very nice to her and wanted to know if she was going to be going there and what grade she was in, etc. I'm hopeful that her leap into the big pond will be a successful one.