Summer Activities

The countdown is on until everyone goes back to school. This is a new experience for me, since though I’ve attended college for a year, I’ve never been ‘back to school’.  While I am looking forward to choir practice and the physiology class I am taking, there is a lot less freedom during the day, especially in comparison to homeschooling. So, I’m trying to make sure I squeeze every little bit of summer out I can.


I have been working as a CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) at a nursing home nearby. I was in training for a month where I watched the other CNAs do their job. They can also complete everything much faster than I can, and they make it look easy. At first I was struggling to complete all my work in the time frame, but after a month on my own I am finally beginning to keep up. I’ve gotten better at working under stress, and prioritizing what needs to be done first.

It is very hard work physically, and my body had to adjust to walking, bending, and lifting so much. At first my legs would ache terribly in the last hours of the eight hour shift, but now they have adjusted and can handle it without complaint.  I also had to learn how to lift with my legs after I strained my back, and started working on strengthening my (very wimpy) arms. It is definitely helping, and this week a resident I was assisting said, “You’re stronger than you look” and I have stopped pulling muscles.

As a bonus for my future as a nurse, I am becoming familiar with medical terms and medications. I get to experience working with many kinds of people, both needy and independent, some very easy to work with and others who are not.  I also am around a lot of nurses who have many tips and stories to share that are helping me learn about the many different types of nursing. Hopefully, this can help me narrow down the areas I am (and am not) cut out for.

Now that I am getting better at the skills, I really like being at the nursing home. I work with the same group of people all the time, and I enjoy getting to know them. I know when I work in a field where patients come and go I will miss that aspect. With the exception of the afternoon nap time, there is rarely a dull moment. I have had quite a few very interesting experiences in my short time working there.  The residents often remind me of my little brothers, since they often say very funny and unique things, and they keep me laughing.  I also get to wear scrubs, which make me feel a bit like a nurse already. Landon says when he sees me wearing them, I look like ‘someone important’.


Ballroom Dancing

The teenagers of our local homeschool group have a casual ballroom dancing night about twice a month, and Landon, Maria and I have gone a couple times this summer. I used to go dancing with friends almost every week two or three years ago, but then I became busy and stopped for a while. Now I’m remembering how much fun it is. I’m quite rusty, but when you dance with a guy who knows what he is doing, it tends to work out as long you can keep the rhythm and hang on tight when he spins you!

Unlike a few years ago, Landon is tall enough to be able to turn me without bumping my head on his arm. He really enjoys learning new moves, and has even been watching internet tutorials to learn steps to teach me.  He is beginning to know several types of dancing quite well, and is a good leader. (The man controls which steps you do in the dance, for example, when the lady turns and how fast, so being a strong leader is really important so the girl knows what to do.) Our favorite type of dancing so far is swing, and we are working on a few dramatic and tricky steps. 



-also an activity hosted by our homeschool group. It has been going on for three years, but I am enjoying it most this year. Sports have never been my forte, and the first year the only way I touched a ball was if it landed on top of me. I learned in my college human growth and development class that crawling as a baby is important for depth perception. Since I never did crawl, I use this fact as a scapegoat for my seeming inability to tell where a flying ball is in space. However, there were a couple of volleyball games at the new student activities at college last fall, and among a group of non-players I was actually -dare I say it- a little bit good at it. So even though I am still picked nearly last when selecting teams, I know that a little bit of practice goes a long way. Also, I have been more consistently hitting balls this year. No telling which direction they will go, but at least I’m hitting them.



I taught ballet classes twice a week last year, and worked on and passed my second teachers exam. I am aiming to take another this October. Then I will be able to teach Cecchetti (a style and syllabus of ballet) Grade III, which is one of the first levels to begin some advanced steps and turns. I am taking classes this summer  in preparation, and will also be practice teaching a few. I am enjoying that a lot, since though I taught classes twice a week last year, by spring I was missing taking classes as well.



One of my favorite things to do in the evenings I don’t work. Daniel, Dominic, and Claire usually accompany me, with the two little ones in the stroller and Daniel on his bike. We stroll around the neighborhood, soaking up the last of the sun rays. After the bitter cold winter we had, I don’t want to let one bit of time outside get away!

Odds and Ends

Hello, everyone!  Monday I had my wisdom teeth taken out, and the surgery went really well, but recuperation has felt really slow.  I’ve been existing on a pretty much liquid diet, and I’m only just beginning to get back to regular foods. I’ve had enough milkshakes and pudding to last me a year!  Also, everyone around the house can’t wait for me to talk better again.

All that sitting around has had me searching for things to do.  I went through some recent photographs and found ones from several events from the last couple months:

Alexander and his friend from my ballet class’ recital dance at the end of May.  They danced to ‘Danse Macabre’.


May and June brings a bunch of birthdays: Claire’s first:



Daniel’s fifth:

Alexander’s tenth,


Dominic’s third,


and Joseph’s eighth.


Joseph also got to receive his First Holy Communion


Probably the first photo of our entire family together (including Claire):IMG_2114




Christmas Reflections

Well, now we’re exactly halfway through the twelve days of Christmas. I’m currently enjoying listening to my Christmas music collection and looking forward to dining on my family’s traditional midnight snack of shrimp and sparkling pear juice to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I’m also spending some time reminiscing about the past year. Of course it seems like the time has flown past, but somehow, that time that seems now so short was packed with a lot of wonderful experiences.

The  first half of the year was a flurry of performances, from Tantara One-Act Festival to my ballet recital and finally the Drama Camp musical. There wasn’t one week from  January till June when I wasn’t either rehearsing, memorizing, singing, or pirouetting in preparation for one of these three events. In Drama Camp, our wonderful director really pushed me out of my acting comfort zone. The play we performed was a melodrama, and I was the over-dramatic heroine, so the intensity of every word I said had to be magnified three times over what I thought was over the top.  Doing a love story sometimes felt very awkward, and I was fortunate that the hero was played by a boy who was the master his facial expressions. Amazingly, he never once broke into a grin at the crucial parts of the play such as at the end of the play (when I had accepted his proposal of marriage). We had to gaze lovingly at each other, and I would never had been able to pull it off if even so much as the corners of his mouth twitched!

This summer passed without a day that I wasn’t in the garden. I loved every minute of trimming, fertilizing, digging, and planning my little plot of earth. One of my favorite things about gardening is that nothing is ever finished. There will always be new plants to grow and more ways to improve the soil. My soil needs improving really bad,  so in the spring I found a way to take things that would be ordinarily wasted and put them to use in the garden. With the help of my Dad, I started a vermicompost system (that’s using worms to make the best fertilizer on earth). Now every evening after Mom makes supper I collect egg cartons for worm bedding and coffee grounds and vegetable scraps for worm food. The first batch of super plant food was ready this fall, but since it was the end of the season I saved it for spring. I’m looking forward to using it on vegetable seedlings in a few months. Now we also have chickens that eat the meat scraps the worms can’t have, and turn that into even more fertilizer. Next summer is full of potential!

2012 is also the first year that I have had a real job: teaching at the ballet studio. Teaching ballet has probably been the hardest challenge I have faced this year-and the most interesting. I was the helper once in a ballet basics class, and I must say that I really didn’t appreciate how hard it was to direct a class. There are many fine lines to walk with the seven to nine-year-old age group. For forty-five minutes every week, I tightrope between keeping it fun and keeping them learning, making sure the steps are not too difficult and yet still challenging, explaining difficult concepts and not going over their little heads. Phew! I have to glance around at their sweet little faces frequently and judge whether I am boring, overwhelming, or doing everything just right. Also with such a large class (I have twelve students) there is the additional challenge of making sure that they are well behaved. One minute they are standing neatly against the barre in first position, ready to start the next combination.  I turn my back to start the music, and if there’s even the slightest delay with the CD player they suddenly erupt into talking, squirming, jumping, and hanging on the barre.

Fortunately, I have become much better at keeping class moving smoothly than when I first started teaching in September. Once you do figure out how to balance all the elements of the class, seven to nine-year-olds really are a very rewarding age group. I am actually surprised by the concepts they are able to understand, and they always are very happy and excited to be at class. And the way their faces light up when they finally understand a new step is precious.

As this is my senior year of high school, I am trying to cherish every moment. I know that the year will be over before I know it.  Yet even as I try to focus on every moment of the present, my mind keeps running on to the future. Where this time next year find me?  What new things will I have experienced?  I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures 2013 brings.

Pictures From Nutcracker

Last month Maria, Johnathan and I were in our ballet studio’s production of the Nutcracker this year. We performed it eight times after practicing once a week for three months.  Maria played a flower blossom, Johnathan was a toy soldier, and I was Clara. It was a very fun part to play, and I loved my costume.




Ballet Shoes

A brand new pair of ballet slippers:


What they look like after a year and two months of wear:



March flew quickly past, as I kept very busy with schoolwork, vision therapy, and preparing for my grade 4 ballet exam. I’ve been working hard on my geometry, getting in an extra lesson a week on Saturday mornings to stay on track, since I’m a bit behind because of the problems my eyes have been causing me while reading. Fortunately, I just made a breakthrough in my vision therapy that I attend once a week, and it seems to be the beginning of the end of my eye pain.

Ballet exams for Maria and I took place at the end of March. I had to wait almost a week for my score, and I just found out tonight  that I received a pass plus for my score.

The only other exciting thing to happen this March was my sixteenth birthday, which was made even more special by the robins arriving on that day for the second year in a row. My cake also turned out nicely, and it was six layers of white cake with raspberry frosting and jam in between the layers. It was delicious!