Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Don't brush them under the rug!

I am shocked, surprised and saddened to learn how "Special Needs" children are really dealt with in the New Brunswick school system. I had no idea that the policy on special needs was basically "shove them under the rug but make it look good while we do it". It makes me wonder how many people out there have voiced the same opinion as me, only to be completely ignored with "Well.. its all we have..." or "Its all we can do...".

No, it really isn't all you can do. For instance - why do children on the Special Needs busses arrive at their school so late? Sometimes more than an hour after school actually starts. Using my daughter's class as an example, her teacher specified at the first of the year that the majority of her daily teaching was finished by 9:15am. The rest of the work is group or individual based on the teachings from that first half hour. Winnie's bus did not even get there some days until 9:15. The excuse being apparently is that busses only start at 7:30am and it takes so long to do the special needs runs that they can't possibly get there any earlier. Hmm.. lets see... if I had to be somewhere for the start of soemthing... wouldn't I just leave earlier? If you're a special needs bus driver, aren't you already signing on to a little extra? Wouldn't it be more worth while for the children to actually learn something at school as opposed to simply showing up, and late at that?

Once they get to school, their learning plans are so modified from the average student that they can't possibly be on their own, and are not expected to learn as much as what the other children know. While kudos to the system for putting in place these wonderful plans that accomodate to the student's disabilities, I think "dumbing down" the curriculum instead of ensuring they understand it on a level with everyone else, is a little hard to handle - especially with kids on the autism spectrum. These kids are not dumb, they simply learn differently. To expect them to take an oral test, and then only give them 40% of the requirements of everyone else, is a little excessive. One method or the other would likely do just fine. Using them together is overkill. Don't push them along because you don't have the time and resources to teach them properly.

And that is the icing on the cake - the lack of resources. When Winnie started school this year, it was deemed that she needed one-on-one support - her own Teacher's Aide. THis was approved by the schoolboard and she received this. However, now that we're heading back to school after a 2 week break, her TA is no longer available. She's been pulled and sent to another school. "Not to worry!" they say - they've switched around everyone's schedules so that Winnie now gets 2 hours a day one on one and the rest of the time she shares her TA with another boy. Out of her 5 hours previously, she now gets 2 and the teacher herself expressed concern that Winnie would be falling behind due to lack of support. I'm wondering how I'm supposed to be happy with that downshift, when Winnie needs all the help she can get. When questioned, the school said their hands were tied, and basically told me I should not persue it because the verdict has been handed down from the Head of the District.

To help me try to feel better about this turn of events, the resource teacher decides to tell me that it wasn't just Winnie who had her services cut. There are children who need TAs who don't even have assistance in the classroom. Non-verbal autistic children are integrated into a regular classroom with no one-on-one assistance, or any assistance at all. Why? Apparently simply due to budget cuts.

I'm now wondering what else was cut, and where did the money go? Why is it that the children who need the "extra" the most, are the ones who got cut? Does the province just deem these children a lost cause? If that's the case, they need a wakeup call. These children are not a lost cause, in fact they may become some of the most amazing individuals you have the pleasure of meeting - if we help them through the rough road to get them there.

It is indeed time for your wakeup call New Brunswick education system. *ring ring ring*...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Pumpkins - the week long activity

It occurred to me today, as I was carving out my very first pumpkin with my little ones, that for a normal household, this activity would probably be a one evening activity, that lasts maybe a few hours. For us, its a week-long activity that looks something like this:

Day 1 and 2: Talk about pumpkins, picking out pumpkins, look at pictures of pumpkins, talk about decorating them and draw some. Pick out pumpkins while driving etc..Locate a small shop/greenhouse/local store that is quiet, away from the road, and sells pumpkins (Sometimes this is harder than it sounds)Let the kids know that this year they'll be getting pumpkins to decorate. Give them a good heads up about what is expected, and what it will be like.

Day 3: Take girls to pick out pumpkins - expect to stay a while. Also expect crazy excitement, lots changed minds about pumpkin picking decisions, for people to stare, for your nerves to be shot and for your "Momma-cam" hawkeyedness to be in full effect. Let the girls know that they will be decorating the pumpkins, but not today. Trust me, you've all had enough excitement for one day, and if you take the time to tell them (again and again), it will be ok with them because they'll still get to decorate them in the foreseeable future.

Day 4: Carve the first pumpkin - let them pick out the design, help them poke the little dots into the pumpkin skin to cut it out, dig out the guts of the pumpkin etc. When finished, let them know that you'll carve the next pumpkin tomorrow.

Day 5: Repeat day 4 with pumpkin 2.

Day 6: Have them draw THE PUMPKINS THEY MADE.

Day 7: Light the pumpkins for them to see. Go over safety with pumpkins, no touching, walking by, playing with etc.. Take pictures of the great pumpkins and the wonderful kids who made them.

So as you can see, it can be easily done - but you may ask "Why doesn't she just give them the damn pumpkins and have them carved and everything all at once?! It would save time!!" - Indeed, it would. But if I did it all at once with my kids, who get overload at most of the things we consider "simple" - like going to the store, getting on the bus or being asked to two things at the same time - doing our "pumpkin thing" all in one go, would likely overload them, and not be enjoyable for them or me. Its interesting the things you find you're considering and thinking through more thoroughly when your kids enjoyment of "simple" tasks depends upon your abilities to judge their tolerance to sensory overload.

On a completely different note, Winnie has decided to be the impossible costume of the year.. has anyone ever seen BAT WINGS anywhere? I see fairy wings of all shapes and sizes.. but no pointy bat wings anywhere... I may have to make some from cardboard and string... Ah, the things I never knew I was capeable of until I had children. For instance, now, I'm crafty! (Not really "am" - more of "can be" really..) Necessity is certainly the mother of all invention!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The holiday check in

The holiday weekend is upon us and I find myself looking at my girls with more joy, more understanding and more.. well.. giggles. They are little girls after all!

Winnie is enjoying school, although I have to drive her now as the special needs bus (the safest way for her to get to school) arrives at her school at about 9:15, when school starts at 8:35. This means that she actually misses a good deal of her schooling. We put her on the bus originally so that she would get the experience of the trip, although still within the safety of having an aid with her. Unfortunately, the bus being so late is completely unacceptable. To circumvent this, and still allow Winnie the opportunity of the bus experience, I now drive her to school in the morning, and she takes the bus home. So far, its working out well.

Her TA communicates with me through a notebook that she sends home with Winnie every day, although mostly the entries are "Winnie had a good day today, we painted with potato cut-outs." or something similarly vague. Of course, she is busy, I'm just used to knowing more. Winnie is getting better at telling me what her day is like though, or maybe I'm just getting better at deciphering her slightly erratic attempts at conversation. I think perhaps its a little of both.

Maggie is turning out to be a fashion diva. I dress her, and then she "completes the outfit" every day. A funky hat, some interesting shoes, beaded necklaces or, if nothing else, a princess crown purse made from fuzzy material, bright pink with purple fluff edging. Her compliance has come way up though, and I'm trying to shape her away from getting up at 4 and 5am every day. Today she slept in until 6ish, so I call that a win so far.

I did notice a post on www.circleofmoms.com asking about what books people would recommend for help with autistic kids, and I have a pretty good library right now. All of which are very helpful to me in their own way - MOST of which can be found in Fredericton at Chapters in the Regent Mall or Westminster Books on King Street. (A lot of them may also be available on loan from the Autism Connections Centre on the Lincoln Road).

My recommendations:
- Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew - by Ellen Notbohm
- The Way I See It by Temple Grandin
- Steps to Independence: Teaching Everyday Skills to Children With Special Needs by Bruce L. Baker and Alan J. Brightman
- The Autism Mom's Survival Guide by Susan Senator
- Early Intervention Games by Barbara Sher

I have LOADS of other books, but I find these are the ones I come back to again and again to help me cope, learn and get ideas for helping my kids discover and learn about the world around them. Hope this helps!

Have a great holiday weekend everyone! I'm sure we all can find things to be thankful for this year!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Thief of Understanding

Yesterday was a sad day. Exciting, for sure, but sad.

Exciting, because it was Winnie's last "Normal" full day at the Autism Intervention Centre. She starts kindergarten the week after next. She is VERY excited about it, as are the rest of us.

The sad thing about today is that for two of Winnie's ASW's, it was their last day with her. They were very sad to leave her. I can't blame them, they worked so hard with her and the changes in Winnie are amazing.

One of her workers has been with her since the beginning of her therapy and the other has been with her for just the summer. I am sad to know they will not be with Winnie any longer.

The extra sad thing was at the very end of the day. Her worker looked as though she was having a hard time saying goodbye. She shuffled her feet a bit and said bye a few times, she wished Winnie well at school and said that she had fun playing with her this summer. Winnie was her normal smiling self, she said bye like she was taught to and hopped into the car. The girl looked at me and shyly said "Do you think she understands... you know.. that I won't be with her again?"

I looked at her, a comforting smile on my face and replied honestly "No, unfortunately, I don't think she understands that you won't be here next time.."

Saddened, the girl said "Oh, well... I had fun with her, and it was so nice to meet you. Winnie has come so far.." and we continued to chat a few moments before she dragged herself away. I turned to Winnie, who had buckled herself in her carseat and was patiently awaiting the trip home, and said "WInnie, Danielle is sad. " Winnie looked at me and sighed deeply "Yes." Comforted by that response, I said "Do you know why she is sad?". Winnie looked curiously at me and replied "Yes." I thought to myself, oh, well good, maybe I underestimated her and asked "Why is she sad?". Winnie scrunched up her face and thought for a moment, then it was as though she thought "I don't know what to say, but I know she wants me to say something..." and out came "Look at this momma!" and shoved the toy she had in her hand in my face. I tried to ask the question again, but got the same response. I gave up, thanked Winnie for showing me her toy and climbed into the car to start the trek home.

When I got home, I told Scott what had happened, and as I was telling him I came to the thought - I can't actually tell.. I can't tell if she didn't understand, or if she just wasn't able to tell me. In either case, it broke my heart.

While no one likes for their children to feel sadness, the ability to feel sadness in an appropriate situation is something that we don't miss until its not there. If she understood what was happening, but just wasn't able to express that she understood, that is sad in itself. Everyone wants to be able to share their thoughts and feelings with others, even if they choose to keep it inside, they have that choice. Winnie, right now, may not have that choice.

For a Mom who wants to give her kids everything, and afford them every opportunity, my battle with Autism and the things that its sneaking from my children continues. Take a moment, breathe, this too shall pass.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A conundrum

One of the joys of completing family trees is that you get to piece together puzzles in the family. Its hugely satisfying work to toil away on a family unit, putting information together so that you can make some sense of what happened to the family as a whole.

Currently, I have a puzzle in my family tree that I will likely need assistance on. The patriarch of our family - the farthest back I have gone in the Sinnett family of my line - has a conundrum.

Francis Sinnett - born possibly in Quebec about 1801 - has a 'wife situation'. From what I can apprise.. he had two wives. One named Hannah, born in New Brunswick in 1811 and married to Francis in 1833. No last name is provided and I'm not able to locate any information on her aside from one census when she was about 60 years old.

The other wife that I can find is Savannah Carl, born in 1801 in Ireland. She married Francis in 1822 and had a daughter, Letitia. I know this because she is listed as such on Letitia's death certificate from Massachusetts. The marriage date I obtained from someone else's family tree who is tracking this family unit. So, it may be incorrect.

My question... are they really the same person? Hannah and Savannah? Its entirely possible.. now to discover the truth!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Here's to conversation..

When I pick Winnie up in the afternoons, generally she tells me what she did that day, to the best of her ability. It takes some piecing together, but we can hammer out a pretty decent conversation. Today though, takes the cake so far.

Winnie: Momma! I'm scared! 
Me: Oh? Why? What are you scared of? 
Winnie: I'm scared of boys.
Me: Boys? What happened? 
Winnie: Today a boy was screaming! 
Me: Oh no! What happened? 
Winnie: He was in time out.
Me: oh, well I can see him screaming then...
Winnie: *big sigh* What are we gonna do with boys Momma?
Me: I dunno Winnie.. *Big Grin*

(about a minute later...)

Me: So Winnie, I have a surprise for you at home.
Winnie: Oh! A surprise!!
Me: Yes, I made bread and left the flour out for you to play with
Winnie: Momma.. that's not a surprise
Me: Oh, Sorry..
Winnie: A surprise is a toy... like a pony...

And so I've been schooled.. Screamy boys are not cool and its not a surprise if its not a toy... preferably a pony... 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our New "Family Mystery"

I've made a hobby of researching my family history, as most of you know. Its such an interesting and fun pasttime for me. Not only do I get to learn the history of people and places, but I'm allowed to research and put together the puzzle pieces that are in fact related to me somehow. Its like being in a history class (which I loved immensely) but to an amplified degree. Its history that I can connect personally to.

I've been taking each "branch" of the tree as far back as I could go  - with the startling revelation on one of the lines I've first followed that I am indeed a direct decendant of King William I of England. That was fascinating to discover, and I have yet to really look into that line  other than tracing out the names themselves.

Instead I have moved on to another mystery. I was curious to find out about my paternal lineage - my Mom holds stories of my grandfather that I wasn't aware of until he passed. I would definitely like to get these stories on paper. I was also able to trace our line to my great great great grandfather, Michael Sinnett, through Ancestry.com. It was interesting to note that that particular branch of the family lived in the same small community for about 100 years.

After much scrounging on the internet, I met a man who was had been researching that branch of the family as well and had found Michael's father - Francis Sinnett. And unfortunately, collectively our trail runs cold.

I know that in the 1871 Census it states that he was married to a "Hannah". Also in that census their name is listed as "Sennet" which is, of course, one of the many variations of my surname on the census forms. His birthplace on that census is merely listed as "Canada" and his religion "Church of England". The part that sticks out to both our minds is that this family professed that they were "French" in origin, where most "Sinnett"s or various in the area indicate an Irish origin.

My cohort and I have chatted once or twice, and sent emails back and forth about the mystery of Francis and we've tossed around a few ideas. One being that "Francis" actually is "Francois Zenet" of Quebec. If this is true, he was christined in 1801 in Saint Hyacinthe Quebec and was also married once before his wife Hannah in Clarendon (who I have yet to uncover successfully). I believe, if memory serves, that his previous wife was named "Marie" or "Sarah" (Completely from memory... so that could be wrong).

Another idea that we have is that Francis was an Acadian who hid during "Le Grande Derrangement". It started out as a plausible argument for me because of the location of the family (Basically the Saint John River Valley and viscinity) and that we can find virtually no record of Francis Sennet before he shows up at the age of 70 in Clarendon.

However, one part that makes me think he is, in fact, Mr Zenet from Quebec,is this; as it was emparted to me, there is a gravestone with Mr Zenet's name on it in Millville, NB and spelled as such. Although he is not buried there, his name is listed on his daughter's family stone. The other part is that I can not find any record of an Acadian family with the name Sinnett, Sennet, Zenet or any variation of those names. Acadians love to keep track of their history and what family names arrived in Acadia - but these names were not on any lists that I could see (not even anything close unfortunately). I'm fairly certain I've exhausted this particular line of thinking. Which really is good, it gives me a narrower search in my quest for information.

The whole mystery of Francis and his wife, or wives is completely fascinating to me and I have been looking for any scrap of viable information on the family before they arrived to New Brunswick. However, as I'm quickly entering the era before Canada was a country and the constant strife of that era, the documents and information available to correctly "match" any information I currently have is sorely lacking.  What happened to them? How did they get here? Why did they come? Why did they change their name? What happened to his first wife? Did they hide or did they move after the explusion? Are his children from his first or second marriage? Who were his wives? Who was his parents? Why are we French and not Irish?

Unfortunately, we may have hit a knot in this branch of the family tree, but its interesting that our family appears to be different in the rest of the Sinnett's as claiming to be French and not Irish. I hope my detective skills improve enough to unravel this mystery to my satisfaction.

As a side note, I completely enjoy looking up information and piecing together results for family information, so if you have something that you're curious about and would like assistance, (or even just to let me look something up for you), just ask! I'd be happy to!! (and that's a huge understatement!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Winnie's graduating already! Well... kinda... :D

Tomorrow is Winnie's "graduation" from Pre-School and I think I'm more excited than she is. They've been practicing two songs to sing tomorrow morning for the adoring crowd, and then there will be treats and cake. Its not the ceremony, which Winnie considers a big party that she should get presents for... but the fact that its a sign she's growing up. And boy, has she grown up in the last year.

I had to force myself to glance back to September and remember the trying times we'd gone through with pre-school. Winnie couldn't tolerate sitting for long periods (aka, 10 seconds..), she didn't talk to her peers, was obsessed with dinosaurs, was unable to transition to and from the pre-school without screaming, hitting, crying and running away.

As I dropped her off and picked her up today from her "last official pre-school day" I thought about these things, all of the things that she can do now and shone with pride at how she has indeed blossomed at pre-school this year.

She walked to the pre-school without my help, dropped her things off at her locker and went to wash her hands by herself. As she walked by to join her classmates, she looked up at me and said "Bye Mom". Walking on her toes she entered the classroom, stopped, and then walked flat footed around the room to choose her starting activity. She' was alone, but I gave a little smile as she tried to ignore my presence watching her. I know now that once she gets settled in, and with a little prompting from her ASW, she'd find something she'd like to do with her friends instead of alone. At the beginning of the year she would try to be alone for the entire day and being next to the other children was incredibly uncomfortable for her. Now she can not only play beside them, but she can play with them and engage them to play with her.

When I went to pick her up, still thinking about what it was like in September, I allowed myself to be amazed at her progress.

I got to the playground out back and Winnie was in the centre of a bunch of kids. They were playing with plastic frogs in a bucket of water. Winnie was singing "Splish splash i was taking a bath" and the other kids were joining in with her. She looked up and saw me, smiled, and said "Hi Momma, we're playing with frogs!" The other kids continued to play as we asked them all questions about the frogs, which Winnie was able to answer all of them. However, when we asked her what the little boy's name was she had been playing with, she couldn't remember. You see, she was more interested in the frogs then playing with the boy. But the fact was that she tolerated his presence with her and her play frogs, and that in itself has been a long way to come for little Miss Winnie.

When I said "Are you ready to go?" she jumped up, smiled and said "yes, lets go get Maggie". She still needed prompting to pick someone to say goodbye to, which she did with no problem and we left to a chorus of small "bye Winnie"s. Holding my hand she walked with me to the car and proceeded to tell me all about her day. She had circle time, played with Rachel, found some frogs, sang some songs and there is a party tomorrow! Most of all "I had fun at preschool today Momma", which is just music to a parent's ears.

No screaming, no crying, no kicking, no running away... at least not when it came to pre-school. ☺

I am so proud of her for all of the work she has done this school year. Unfortunately we can't put the cheer pompoms up just yet... While the other kids are on summer vacation, Winnie will be starting kindergarten prep right after Canada day holiday. Its a testament to what her life is and will be like. The other kids are able to rest and she's still hard at work... just trying to learn all the things that other kids pick up 'naturally'.

You go girl.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How different it will be

It's shocking when we realize how different our children's lives will be from our own, and the milestones that you obtained as a child may or may not come to fruition in the same way for your children. Today, I wrote down each girls' SSN on a federal application form. At 2 and 5 I've already had to apply for them on their behalf as a federal government identifier.

I remember getting my SSN application form and being excited when I received the little white card that meant, to me, that I was allowed to join the workforce. Now that I'm older, I know it means more than that - and I also know that we have one as soon as we're born, but I've never really thought about it until my kids needed theirs. When I saw the request on the form, I did a double take - then I called the office to be sure. "Yes" i was told, "It is better to have them early in your situation, than later on - this way they can be properly identified always".

So, I sit here and quietly mourn the "loss" of that experience for my girls, at the same time knowing that its a loss they will never realize - so therefore not really a loss at all... There will still be moments where they'll feel that hype and excitement, that feeling of wonder and growing up, but that particular moment - the same one that I had, is lost to them.

This seems like a small thing, and one may wonder "Why is she going on an on about this one little card?! Its so silly, just let it go already!". But, its these "little losses" that we're faced with day in and day out. The little things that our children won't experience the same way as us, or even as other children their age. At each little loss we take a moment to ourselves and we mourn that loss. We mourn for our children yes, but we also mourn for ourselves - the loss of the experience for them, the loss of the added experience for us. Who doesn't want to share an experience with their child that they once had?

This constant grieving is a mainstay in the lives of those with disabled children. Yes, we enjoy the wonderful moments that we have with our children, but we do mourn what could have been. This is not to say that our children aren't amazing and perhaps more so because of their disability, but that the expectation of the child that may never be is always there.

However, in this grief, it's important to remember that there is a light. That moment may be gone, but our children have a future, and their future is as bright as the shining stars in their brilliant eyes. In this future, we have time to make our own moments, experiences and memories.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

On Finding...

Most people who know me know that I'm not the religious sort. Indeed I profess undeniably that I am agnostic. In the past when I've heard that someone has "found religion" or "found God" I looked on them with infinite pity and some slight scorn. In their darkest times, they've needed someone or something to cling to when they've thought there was nothing else. It was die, or cling to a faceless being that may or may not exist - who had the power to provide redemption.

"How deluded, but sweet" I thought to myself. I knew that God had no "plan" for everyone, and everything happened by happenstance. My own story was classic - I was God's babe and he threw me into the pool of life to sink or swim, watching, perhaps with concern, from the side of the pool. Once I was in the pool I was on the own to make my way.

Last week I went to visit my Grandmother and she asked me how I was. I was honest in how I felt and where I thought I was and the report was quite bleak. She looked at me, loving concern on her face and said "God would never give us more than we are able to handle". I nodded through my tears, remarking to myself that I'd really never heard my grandmother speak of God.

Through the week that has stayed with me, and I've mulled it over in my mind again and again. I've come to a few realizations. The first one is that I know how wrong I was about those who've found God. I envy them that they are so strong in their convictions so that they can share and discuss it with others.

The second is that I was wrong about myself and God. I am not His babe. I am His child. He did not throw me naked into the pool of life to sink or swim. He is there with me, teaching me to swim. Like every loving parent who has done this task, and every child who was taught so lovingly knows - you will get wet, you may sputter, your head will go under, you may be scared and feel that you're not ready for them to let go. Although they will let you sink and feel the power and danger of the water around you, they will never watch you drown.  God is here with me, whispering sweet encouragement as I struggle to discover my own buoyancy in this pool. I won't drown because His hand is hovering under me, waiting to lift me when I truly need Him to - not just when I think He should be there. If He was there when I thought He should be, I would never learn to swim.

I don't believe I've found religion, but I have found God in my own way and it is a comfort in the darkness.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Painting Tips for Beginners

I started painting my sisters room tonight - and here's some wonderful tidbits on painting that I've learned. I'm sharing in case anyone decides to take that job on one day...

The things I've learned...

  • TV makes everything look easy.
  • Just because you saw it done on HGTV does not make you an expert.
  • No, it will not "even out" when it dries.
  • Sometimes you need more than one coat.
  • Paint spatters
  • Paint sticks to cats.
  • That funny looking fumes mask was meant for you.
  • Professional painters don't have paint all over them to look cool.
  • If you have a big butt, don't sit down until you change.
  • Small room does not necessarily equal "Small can of paint". Those big ones were meant for you...
  • When they say "use in well ventilated places" they really mean "Open windows and doors or you may pass out while using.."
  • The HGTV people don't need to work out - that fat guy in the show is the "designer" and does nothing physical.
  • If its your first time, give yourself at least two days, you will get done half of what you think you will.
  • If you don't want paint there, you'll definitely get some there.
  • If your paint brush "might" touch it, cover it up. That "I'll just paint right up to it, but not touch it" trick won't work.
  • Those outlet covers come off
  • They don't use the drop cloth for "ambiance".
  • Although the roller is faster, its not always the best tool to use...
  • If you can see the old wall through your paint, you need more.
  • If the paint is dripping, you need less.
  • Brush the same way (Up and down..)
  • "Oh, no one will see that anyways" is a lie. Someone will.
  • Your hand can go numb holding a brush
  • When they say "Stir well", they don't mean "Shake the shit out of it and hope for the best". They really mean "Stir it up with something..."
  • Don't dump the whole can into the roller brush basin at once, it will dry up before you use it all...
  • The roller brush basin was really only meant for the roller brush, and not your regular brush...
  • Be proud of what you've done! There was a first time for everyone!
I'll continue painting tomorrow and hope for the best. Now that I'm covered in paint, high from the fumes and completely exhausted, I think its time for bed!

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    Thoughtfulness is not hereditary...

    Its Friday and the promise of a nice day is in the wings - Sadly its windy and colder than I was hoping, but still sunny instead of rainy, so I'll take it.

    Winnie's preschool is canceled this morning because there is no school so the "big kids" will be in the daycare and there is no room for the preschoolers. So she'll be walking with my mom, my grandmother and I while we do our 30 minutes.

    Today is the day that we're supposed to start work on the new fence for my yard, although I'm skeptical as to how much we'll actually get done today. Like always, I just seem to have too much to do.

    Included in the "OMG THERE IS NOT ENOUGH HOURS" schedule is the fact that Mother's Day is on Sunday. Have you remembered? Did you get your mother something nice? As always I completely forgot any holiday until a few days before - I basically only remember Christmas and Halloween and that isn't even a real holiday. For the next two days I'll be racking my brain trying to remember "What did mom ever mention in passing that she'd like to have?". My mom is amazing with that stuff. I could have said "Ugh, I need..." or "Boy I'd like to have..." way back in January and the darn thing will show up at Christmas. I wish I had as much insight and thoughtfulness as my mom has in her little finger.

    Here's to hoping I get at least a fraction of what I'd like to do today done!

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    The Geneology Egg Hunt

    Among all of the other things I'm doing in life, I'm also researching my family tree as an amateur. Its so interesting to learn about where we came from that I'm completely addicted to it. I even got a subscription to www.ancestry.ca so that I could see the original documents and look more in depth. I don't think I've ever had a viable addiction before, but genealogy might just be the crack I hadn't found yet.

    The search for my family brought me lots of places, although one branch of my family has stayed pretty stationary for the better part of 100 years. I've finally reached someone who may be from a different location, and that location is from Quebec. My first thought was "ah yes! They'll have some information at the Provincial Archives!". Off I went to their website - http://www.banq.qc.ca/ - From what I can gather so far, I have to pay for a membership to get any information. But the good news there is that by hopping around on their site, I find links to other great sites I never knew existed.

    For instance, did you know that the Canadian Encyclopedia is available online? I sure didn't. It can be found at http://www.canadianencyclopedia.ca

    There is also a site available from the combined efforts of the Historica Foundation of Canada and the Dominion Institute. http://www.histori.ca/

    These very likely won't have facts about your individual ancestors, but for me, it always helps to put into perspective what they were living through. For instance, the ancestor I'm currently researching was born possibly in Quebec in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars - Knowing information about that area at that time in history may help me find more information on him and his family. I am excited to learn!!

    I'll have to keep a record of the interesting sites I've found so I can share, now that I have a place to share them!