Sunday, May 28, 2017

Future Husband

Riley came home the other day and shared that she thought a boy in her grade liked her.  She's very friendly with the boys (which is great!) and has told us that she's one of the only girls who is nice to them as most of the girls want nothing to do with each boys and/or tease them.  she shared with us that the boy had told her friend that he liked her.  Riley then talked to the boy and she said that she asked him several questions to get it out of him.

I shared that it's a great thing to learn how to be around boys and be their friends.  That they are fun to be around and that I wish I had spent more time just being friends with boys rather than worrying about if I liked them or they liked me.

Riley said that she told him "I don't think I've found 'the one' yet."

She's ten so it's very unlikely that she has.  However I shared that she should make sure he doesn't feel bad for liking her and that the best thing she can do is to treat him respectfully, kindly and friendly.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Random Things

Mother's Day Gift:  Riley wrote me a note -

I love you are a kind mom who takes care of me and loves me.  You risk your life at breakfast and I love you for that.
Love, Riley Grant

Two things I'd like to point out:
1) I often tease her that I will only risk myself one time every morning when I put peanut butter on her Eggos.  It makes me nervous having to be near the peanut butter like that.
2) She included her last name... guess that's in case I'm not sure which Riley wrote it :)

Fidget Spinners

Riley:  I think Mom would go out of her nuts if Julia got a fidget spinner.
Jeremy:  There's 'going out of your mind' and there's 'going nuts' but there's not a 'going out of her nuts.'  
Until now!


Jeremy wrote Riley a sweet note for her COE trip to Dinosaur Valley:

I pray that you have a wonderful COE trip. That you find tons of adventures...and tons of rocks!!! Bring the adventure - leave the rocks.
Love, Dad


Jeremy (looking at her writing):  That's beautiful penmanship!
Julia:  Yeah, it's actually pencil.


Julia (at bedtime):  I just don't get life.  Like everyone sees life different because they have different eyes.  When we go to heaven and wake up with our new bodies, I see yellow everywhere and you and dad there with me.  And God will have a puppy for all of us.

Goal Check Up #2

Finally taking time to evaluate where I am with my goals for this year.  Here goes...

1.  Take a course to learn Finale
Hoping to get on it this summer!

2.  Continue learning Spanish using a workbook, Duolingo app and lunch with friends
Have done Duolingo every single day this year.  Haven't had time for the workbook.  Eating lunch with friends but not speaking Spanish.

3.  Go to church
Definitely more consistent!

4.  Complete my SMU Graduate School Degree in December
Received grades for this semester - maintaining a 4.0!!!  Just have my project in the fall.  Already registered.  Can't wait!

5.  Clean our upstairs room completely and begin using it as a livable area to workout, play video games and lounge
We've been using it to work out, play the Wii and watch movies.  Has been great!!  Hoping to still declutter it more...  I did a thorough clean of the girls rooms today (took 3 hours) and that felt incredible!  So nice to be able to have the time to do it.

6.  Finish reading the entire Bible
Only have 6 days remaining!

7.  Apply to teach a workshop/session at TMEA and offer workshops in local districts/Orff chapters/GSES
My seventh grade students performed at the Bill Martin Symposium at Texas A&M in Commerce.  Was such a blessing to be asked to come!  Also able to help Julie Scott and taught one of her grad school classes on a Saturday as well as assisted her another day.  Was a great way to break the ice.  Hoping to develop my skills in this area.

8.  Go on one date each month with Jeremy
Well.... hasn't truly happened.  About 3 times since January.

9.  Limit myself to purchasing only one new unnecessary item for myself each month
Doing SO well with this!  I have purchased a total of 7 items this year - two of which were for the auction event, another 2 for school events.  This is more than 1 item per month.  However, the two items for the auction were absolutely necessary (as I truly didn't have a fancy enough cocktail dress and my heels had begun to rip in the front).  So with that added in - I've maintained one new item a month.

In May, I purchased a lavender dress for $9.99 and a super comfy soft dress for $14.95 - both from Altar'd State.   Using the Stylebook App to track what I wear and cost per item.  Not quite a minimal wardrobe but enjoying seeing patterns and it's helping me identify what I am missing and what I tend to gravitate towards.

10.  Find a tv show series to watch
Scandal!!!  Loving it.

11.  Family Fridays
Haven't done a designated day... or time.  Julia and I have played games every single day this week after school.  She sets them up in centers in her room.  Have loved the time with her.

12.  Complete the Google Teacher Certified Educator Level One
Surprised myself - completed it and passed the test on the first try! Passed the Level Two Google Educator course!

13.  Do all I can to locate, contact and engage with my brother Jim
Sent Rana a letter and a picture of Jim.  No word back as to his location.  Continuing to pray.

Julia turns 7

A few months ago in March, Julia turned seven.  She celebrated with a party at home with her Primer friends (Caroline, Yvie and Ellis).  The girls played some Mario Kart Wii, danced in the living room, ate ice cream cake and had a lot of fun together.

Julia has grown so much this year.  She often had sensory issues with clothing and had a hard time letting me go every morning.  This year she has developed more confidence in herself and security at school.  She still likes to roll her pants and leggings at the waist (even her jeans) but doesn't fuss at all about the uniform shirts in the armpits or cuffs.  This is huge.

Her reading and math concepts are definite strengths.  The biggest developments have been the social and emotional parts.  She is able to express herself verbally and not using physical outlets towards Riley when she's upset.  Again, this is huge.  We've worked a lot on telling the truth and saying sorry. She doesn't like to do it, but she's improved so much in this area.  I love seeing her being able to take responsibility and forgiveness too.

At night, she's been better about sleeping in her room.  This past week she slept with me almost every night.  One night she couldn't get to sleep so she wanted to write a song.  She hit her pillow repeatedly on a steady beat and asked me to sing a new song - make one up.  Then she'd ask me to keep a beat on my pillow and she would create a song.  She was hilarious.  And completely exhausted in the morning.  lol...

Julia loves Primer so much.  What an amazing year it has been!  So thankful we chose to give her a year with Ms. Hackney and all the special times they have together.  It's such a unique and special year.  I have no doubt she'll look back on this as one of her favorite years.

One of the highlights was when all four Primer girls went out to Ms. Hackney's farm (owned by Carley Hackney's aunt and uncle).  The girls were able to feed the cows, see their chicks (that had been hatched in their classroom), go on a hayride and make crafts.  The girls spent the night.  In the morning, all of the families came for a delicious pancake breakfast.  The girls had helped with all the fruit and gathering eggs from the barn.  We prayed together and had a wonderful morning.

Riley turns 10

Riley is now in double digits and is becoming such a wonderful young lady.  Her teachers often share stories about her with me.  Coach Mestre often shares that Riley goes out of her way to give him hugs and to say thank you.  In her fourth grade graduation speech, she said that one of her memories of 4th grade was on COE when one of her friends caught a giant fish.  Riley said that while she didn't catch one herself, she was so happy for her friend.  Love this quality in her!

She had a hard season of volleyball as her team lost every game.  However, it was not a total loss.  Riley worked diligently on her overhand serves and set a goal to get 5 serves over the net in her games.  She finished the season with 6 overhand serves - 2 in the last game!  We're very proud of her.

Riley went on a COE trip to Dinosaur Valley.  The students went down a muddy rock slide, swam in the Blue Hole, hiked and pitched tents and spent the night in the wilderness.  Amazing.

She also spent time blowing a glass flower at a local glass factory.  It was a fun Girl Scout activity.  And also very, very hot.

She chose to invite her entire class plus a few girl scout friends to her birthday party.  They skated away for over an hour and a half.  Riley loved every minute.  She chose Nothing Bundt Cakes for dessert - they were big hits!

It has been wonderful to see her so happy this year and settled in nicely at GSES.  What a blessing Ms. Swan and her friends have been.

Catching Up

Here's a brief update of what has been our spring semester:

Jeremy - work. work. work. gaming. cook dinner. work. work. work. gaming. cook dinner. repeat. repeat. repeat.

Julia - school. soccer. playdates with friends. sleepover at Ms. Hackney's farm. turning seven this year. sleepover at Yvie's birthday party. growing up so quickly

Riley - school. volleyball.  playdates with friends. girl scouts. turning ten this year. birthday party at the roller skating rink. fourth grade graduation ceremony. recorder solo. growing up so quickly

Me - school. grad school. interviewing LS music teacher candidates. school. grad school...repeat. repeat. repeat.

This is obviously simplified but does show what we've been up to.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Grandparents Day

Every Spring we have two days for Grandparents Day at school.  Yesterday was for middle school.  My Orff and Recorder ensembles performed.  I was incredibly proud of them.  One of my favorite parts was having my dad there to see what I do with students.  You're never too old to have your parents support!  And I was so proud to spend part of the day with him.

The girls were fortunate to have both Grammie, Poppi and Grandpa there today.  Primer students sang a few songs and then the grandparents went back to their classrooms.  The students wrote puppet shows, created the puppets and the sets.  They were adorable!  Julia and Knox wrote one that they called "Two Friends are Great!"  Julia's puppet played the part of Crazy Girl and Knox's puppet played the part of Mr. Maraca.  They took a trip to the airport, rode an airplane and got a little silly along the way.  Loved it!

After the puppet shows, Julia showed us her Seesaw app where we got to see some of the work she has done throughout the year.  This was followed by chapel and then Julia went back to class while everyone hung out to wait for Riley's turn.

Riley's grade level sang a few songs.  It was cute watching Riley and her friend Lauren as they sang their hearts out and had great stage presence.  Then the Swan Squad girls performed a revised version of the song "Can't Stop the Feeling!"  They rewrote the words so that it was about Grandparents.

When we went to her classroom, each student had prepared a potato project.  The potatoes were dressed as the career that each student wanted to have when they grow up.  The shoe boxes holding them were decorated to match their career.  Riley's potato was an inventor and she had her BB8 figurine on a table to represent a robot that she built.  What I didn't realize about the project was that each student was going to read the short essay that they had written about what they want to be/do when they grow up!  I knew Riley had written one, but it was so impressive listening to the students present to a room full of grandparents!  It made me so proud to see a Grandma turn to another Grandma at the end of Riley's speech with wide eyes and saying "WOW!"  Her speech was very well written so I'll copy it here, exactly as she wrote it:

Have you ever made a robot?  Well, in my job, that's a lot of what I will do.  Hi.  My name is Riley.  When I grow up, I want to be an inventor.  I chose job because its' what I'm best at.  And, of course, my favorite thing to do.
Some of an inventors responsibilities include having to fix big problems around the world or making big decisions for my products.  Although, other than that, most of my time will be spent creating fun toys and games for kids just like me.  To me, this job is the best for me because I"ll get to do my favorite things.  For this job, I will need special training at MIT, Massachusets' Institute of Technology, in order to fulfill my dreams.  And, scince my job will be in Boston, I will live by my aunt and uncle.  I will live there because then my uncle can give me tips.
This job is important to me because I love helping others and seeing smiles.  When I'm older, I hope to create things that will change the world.