Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Our 2006

Happy New Year!

2006 was a busy year for us, and the following is a brief summary of our adventures.

Since January 2003 I have been concentrating my efforts on completing a Master of Educational Technology (MET) degree from UBC. In 2006 I finished four of the 10 courses, including ETEC 590, the graduating project, for which we had to present a portfolio of our learning during the program. I am looking forward to graduating in May after my last course!

I had intended to take a full leave from my job for a year but ended up teaching half-time for a few months. I was very excited to teach “Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers”, a course in the teacher assistant program, as well as filling in for a few courses in my other job in the Applied Business Technology program. When I was finished teaching at the college at the beginning of February, I put my name on the sub list for the school district to find out what it is like back in the K-12 system. The result? I survived, but by the end of the school year, I was saying to the booking person, “I can't work Mondays or Fridays... no, I don't really want to go back to that class... no, sorry, I can't work next week... and, oh, the week after that looks bad, too...” : )

This school year started off with my working two evenings during the week. However, one of my co-workers is now on maternity leave, and I am covering for her, which means that I will be working straight days until June. It's good for us in that we won't have to worry about the evenings anymore, but I will really miss my mornings at home to be able to work on the last course for my degree.

Mark spent the past year becoming more familiar with his role as District Manager for the Nadina Forest District. He started last year with a controversy about snowmobiling in a protected area near Smithers and worked his way through many Mountain Pine Beetle issues. We missed him several times throughout the year as his work took him to Vancouver and Prince George, with many day trips to Houston, Smithers and Vanderhoof. (Some of the Vancouver trips are to do work for the Legislative Policy Committee – doesn't that sound like fun! - I always tease him about it). Mark was also very busy cutting down trees in our yard this summer. Between him and a professional tree faller from Vanderhoof, who we hired to cut down the trees by our electrical lines, we now have 17 fewer (dead) pine trees in our yard. It really changed the landscape, and it has taken me a while to get used to it.

Cameron and Meghan are doing well in school. Cameron is now in grade 6 and Meghan in grade 4, both still in French Immersion. We really weren't sure how this year would shape up until almost the first day of school. Meghan's class (a 3/4 split) went back and forth between the primary and elementary school, until they at last decided to move them up to the elementary school. Cameron's class was without a teacher until the last minute, when they hired a woman who was a very good teacher but didn't speak much French. Luckily, this year their class has Cynthia, a 20-year-old French Monitor from Quebec. To complicate matters, the teacher's husband got transferred within a few weeks of school starting, and the class had a sub for the last six weeks before Christmas. Many of us think that Cynthia held the class together during that time; she'll have many interesting experiences to take back to Quebec with her at the end of the year!

The kids are still doing their regular lessons; however, Cameron switched from piano to guitar this year. Meghan still loves the piano and practices playing it almost every time she walks by. They had been doing Tae Kwon Do in the fall until someone accidentally pulled the fire alarm and got them kicked out of their gym! We expect that it will start up again as soon as the teacher finds another place to hold the lessons. For many winters the kids have taken cross-country ski lessons, but we decided to skip them this year. Meghan especially is too young for the group that she is in (her skill level is good but stamina is lacking), a result of being a dedicated ski lesson family, registering our children for lessons almost every year! We have made the commitment to go skiing as often as we can, regardless, and we want to have the kids try downhill skiing this year. Cameron is also anxious to go snowboarding again, but I'm thinking that Mark and I will go back to downhill skiing. I may have permanently wrecked something when we took our last set of snowboarding lessons!

When we weren't going to school or work, we had a few short but fun holidays. We travelled to Portage La Prairie, MB, during our two-week Spring Break in April and stopped to visit with my family in Alberta, and Mel and Gord Clark and family (kids, cats and dogs!) in Vanguard, SK, on the way. We had a good visit with Mark's mom and dad, and were able to record some audio conversations about their families and times past. Not satisfied with just one visit, Mark travelled to Portage again in June to help his brother Eric with some house projects. In late July we went to Rocky Mountain House, AB, to visit with my mom and enroll the kids in swimming lessons. As we have done in the past, the kids and I went earlier than Mark; a few days later, Mark took the train from Burns Lake to Jasper (with an overnight in Prince George) where he and I met and spent a night before driving back to Rocky. After Rocky we went to Edmonton and met with Mark's sister Barbara, her husband Tom, and three of their four kids. We had a good time with them at the Waterpark in West Edmonton Mall and the Telus Science Centre. Although we didn't have to go anywhere, it was a treat to visit with Bob, Sheila, kids and dog in August, when they actually came to Burns Lake! At Christmas we decided to do something non-traditional, so we booked a room for two nights at Esther's Inn (“tropical oasis”) in Prince George and went swimming and shopping. It was actually quite relaxing as we did our small amount of shopping in the early mornings before the crowds came out.

That's it for our news. As we head into 2007, we are looking forward to exciting new adventures in Burns Lake and beyond. We wish everyone the best for the new year!

Chris, Mark, Cameron and Meghan

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