Saturday, June 29, 2013


This past week the girls went to Lakeside Montessori while I was at the Orff Level.  Riley was able to do some amazing field trips:  splash day, Perot Museum, Train Stop, Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) and the library.

While at the DMA, the students saw paintings and pictures of the cross and Jesus.  The kids had questions about them and the teacher didn't know the story of Jesus.  Riley did and shared all about the story of Jesus and the crucifixion and why he came.

After she went on the field trip, she didn't say too much, but did tell us that she thought it would be boring, but it wasn't at all!  Said she really loved it.  I asked her what her favorite painting was.  She told me it was the one that she drew after the trip!  :)

The next day when we walked into Lakeside, Riley's teacher said (with tears in her eyes) "You'd be so proud of Riley, Mrs. Grant.  We saw pictures of the cross and Jesus and the kids had questions about it and I was so thankful Riley was there.  I don't know the story and Riley gave a full account of the story of Christ and it was very detailed.  She was able to answer the kids questions when I couldn't and I was so glad she was there."

I thought she was going to say that Riley had set a great example and was good on the trip.  We were so very proud to know that she shared her faith and told others about the story of Jesus.  Riley was beaming and said "I just wanted to tell them about Jesus."

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five Year Plan

Orff Level One was completely amazing!!!  In fact it has completely rejuvenated me and given me a goal for as I move on in my career.  So here is what I'm hoping to accomplish in the next five years and hoping it will come to pass!

Join AOSA.  Go to workshops that are offered three times a year.

Spring of 2014: Apply at SMU for Grad School for Music Education

Orff Level 2 - Summer 2014
Fall 2014: Start as a part-time student
Orff Level 3 - Summer 2015
Continue studies until finished (hopefully in fall 2017)

Work towards being a facilitator and leading workshops

Work towards being able to present either Movement classes (my main goal) or classroom instruction (my secondary and also equally as fun goal)

Julia's Time Outs

Julia is into potty words: poop, butt, booty, doodoo, pee, ....

It's a tremendously funny time for her.  She loves to say "hey you little doo doo poodee..." repeatedly.  In fact she just got out of time out for telling Riley "you stupid... you little doo doo poodee."  When asked why she was in time out, she smiled sweetly and said "I say stupid."

Oh boy

Morning Routine

We always drive the same way to school every morning.  I've had an Orff Level One course at SMU the last two weeks so Jeremy and I have both dropped the girls off at daycare before heading south for the day.

Our drive goes as follows:

1.  Drive out of the subdivision and stop at the light.  The girls notice the big building on the right and yell out "Sky High!"  (it's their gymnastics place)

2.  Drive about two minutes down the road (if that) and take a guess as to how many firetrucks will be out at the fire station on Julia's side.  This morning Riley guessed it right (0 trucks).  Sometimes they cry if none of them are out;  other times they compare who had more trucks outside when we drive by.  In the afternoon the station is on Riley's side.  She'll cry if Julia's side has more trucks than hers; Julia cries if Riley has more.  Other times they cheer together.

3.  We then pass "The Royal Brush" where the girls paint and Riley yells out "The Royal Brush!!"

4.  We stop at the light at Main Street where Julia yells out "Donuts!!" when she sees the donut shop.  We always have 'Donut Fridays' where the girls get donuts for breakfast.  A special treat for them and a great negotiating tool for us when trying to get them out the door at the end of the week!

5.  We finally arrive at school where Julia always wants us to park in the back (meaning up on the hilly side of the parking lot.


"Who is G giss??"

We asked Julia this question repeatedly for months.  She told us stories about "G giss" and we would try to ask who it was.  "Do you mean Jesus?  Or do you mean Gregus?"  She would always say no and then we were at a loss for who this person was.

Finally after a few months, when I had a moment to talk to her teacher, I asked if there was a student named "G giss" in her class.  Miss Christina looked totally confused and thought for a moment.

"Ooohhhh!!!  Rodriguez!  She must be talking about Rodriguez because when they were in class together, there are two Ariana's so they are called by their last names."

So now we know that "G giss" is Rodriguez and "Nandess" is Hernandez.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Run or Dye

Yesterday Riley and I had a fantastic experience in downtown Dallas at Fair Park.  The running event 'Run or Dye' came to Dallas today and we were so excited to be a part of it!!  I registered us for the race when I heard about it.  And it was one of my goals this year to do a 5K.  Little did I know I'd actually get to run one a few weeks ago and this would end up just being a great bonding experience with one of my favorite girls!

I picked up our running packets at LA Fitness on Friday and got our dye packets and tshirts.  They only had adult tshirts so I used one of Riley's other tshirts as a pattern and cut and sewed her a new tshirt that would fit her.  So we both wore our new tshirts and shorts and old running shoes.

We woke up early at 6am and I got Riley up right after.  She asked for a hug and then I carried her downstairs and she said so sweetly "You're the best, Mom."  Totally made my day!

We got all ready and drove to the DART train station in Carrollton.  Riley was excited to ride her first train ever!  We took the train for almost an hour.  Riley loved looking out the windows especially when we were up high and looking out over the city.  It was fun to point out neat points in downtown.

When we arrived, we found the bathrooms and waited over an hour in line!!!  I had all of our things in a black bag (sunscreen, ipod, phone and snacks).  I carried two bottles of water for the two of us.  We were all prepared for a great day!

After we went to the bathroom, we got in line to start the race.  There was loud music and tons of people dressed up (tutus, matching outfits, families, etc...).  They had a countdown every five minutes.  When they reached one, you could throw your packet filled with dye up in the air.  Everyone had different colors of dye to throw in the air.  We had purple!  Riley laughed so hard and was super excited to watch the colors being thrown in the air and to throw hers up in the air.

They would let 500-700 people through the starting line every five minutes.  When it was our turn to go through, Riley wanted to run so we ran a short while and then walked.

She was quite tired from walking on the grounds before the race - especially having to wait for the restroom.  At one point, she didn't complain, but just simply sat down in the middle of the race path.  So I carried her for a short point.  Then we ate a snack while we walked.

Riley wanted to run whenever she saw the dye zone ahead.  There were four different dye zones on the race course.  In each dye zone, there was a different color being tossed onto the runners.  The first was purple - then pink, green and yellow.  Riley loved having the dye tossed on her and even asked some of the race helpers if she could have a handful of the dye to toss.  And when they would give her a handful, she almost always tossed some on them as well!  They always laughed and smiled.  And so did she.

It was extremely hot and with lots of pavement everywhere, it was really hot!  We ate some snacks, drank our water and played some games along the way to keep her entertained.  She never complained.  Did say "Whew - I'm hot!" or "Can we rest for a minute?"  But then we'd see a dye zone and she would run to it!

Some of the time, she even said "I'm gonna walk... just kidding!"  and would take off running and giggling.  It was never too congested for us and we were always able to take our time if needed.

When she got to the green dye zone, she chose to roll on the ground to get green all over her.  Then I rolled in it too.  It was so fun!

I was incredibly proud of her persevering and being able to finish 3.1 miles.  We got to the finish line and took some pics.  Then went to the stage area where they were playing music and doing countdowns every 5-10 minutes.  They threw out tons of dye packets.  And on "one" everyone threw so many of them in the air, that it was just a massive cloud of colorful dye in the air.  So incredibly cool.

We walked to the train station and rode an hour home.  When we opened the door to come into the house, Jeremy was like "Woh!!!  Oh wow!"  Julia looked totally confused and asked "Why did you do that?  Why did you paint yourself?"

The shower was hilarious.  Riley's hair was green and purple.  Tons and tons and tons of dye poured into the shower.  It was really something to get it all out of her hair and body.  Her scalp was still green and purple in various spots all over.  Came out the rest of the way today.

Riley was so excited to do it and even said "I can't wait to do this next weekend!"  I had to tell her that she'd get to do it next year if the event comes again.  And she is very excited about that!

Shaky Hugs

Julia loves to give big hugs.  Whenever Julia says goodbye to one of us (especially when she leaves Grandma and Grandpa's house to say goodbye to them), we pick her up and she holds on tight and shakes herself as hard as she can.  Not by rocking her body roughly, but by doing a tight tight shake against us.

So we always ask her for "shaky hugs."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A little Salty...

Been reading a lot of books this summer.  Wasn't sure what to think of this book... A little salty to cut the sweet.  Very Southern and charming!

Great Summer Reads!

I'm on the hunt for fantastic books to read this summer.  Came across the Tyndale Summer Book Reads as well as several other fiction books that I have started.  Finished reading "Still Lolo" by Lauren Scruggs.  Loved it!  And in the middle of several other books including "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children," "Captive in Iran", "Sparkly Green Earrings" and "Divergent."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Reading, Writing and Math

Summer is definitely a time for play!  But I do believe it is also a time to keep up the skills learned and not let them lag so each day we still do some reading/writing/math.  Riley and Julia are doing math on which is a math website.  They really enjoy it.  This summer Julia does it just for fun and it is done when she is in the mood.  Not required.  Riley has to do one section of ixl a day and she gets to choose it.

She doesn't want to do any Kindergarten sections this year.  Only First Grade.  She has challenged herself by picking out sections of math that they didn't cover last year.  So far she has reviewed money and counting including skip counting by 2,3,5,and 10, greater and lesser than symbols and days of the week.  Each section takes her about 10 minutes which is perfect for her age.

For reading she has to read at least a chapter from one book a day and I keep track of her reading on  I set up rewards for her to earn and she earns badges as well.  Rewards range from a sleepover with a friend at our house, ice cream, Paciugo, choosing our dinner that night or extra iPod time.  I read to Julia during the day and she often listens to Riley read as well.

Whenever she reads the Henry and Mudge books from Mrs. Townzen, she journals in her special journal so she can bring it back to school to show Mrs. Townzen when school begins.

These are the book clubs we are doing this summer.  So easy and such great rewards for kids!!

Barnes and Noble:  Read a certain number of books and get a free book!

Half Price Books:  Read a certain number of books and get $5 toward purchasing books!

Pottery Barn Kids:  Read ten of their books and earn a prize!

The Colony Library:  Read fifteen books and earn coupons!

TDBank:  Not sure if there is one around, but if kids read ten books, they give you $10 in a new account!

I also signed up Riley for a Home Depot Workshop in two weeks.  She and Jeremy will get to build something to do with Despicable Me for free!  And Strikz Bowling alley allows kids to bowl free one time every day through the summer.  Lots of fun!

Father's Day Gifts

I am still trying to figure out what to get Jeremy for Father's Day.  I know things he would like, but they are way above our budget at the moment.  And he has lots of technology items that he loves.  He does need some new shirts, but that's nothing he'd get excited about!  :)

There is a cute painting place around the corner where you can paint pottery and it is very affordable.  We went there for their friend Emma's birthday a month or so ago.  The girls loved it!!  I told them we'd go there again and this seemed like the perfect occasion.

We went this afternoon and I told them that we didn't need to share anything about it with Daddy until we picked the pieces up this Saturday.  They said "Okay" and picked out their pieces.  I thought they'd want bowls/plates/big things to paint with lots of surface area, but they chose very simple and thoughtful items.

Then they picked out six colors each that they wanted to use.  Riley was very detailed oriented and focused.  Julia loved using the brushes and worked very hard as well.  They were patient waiting for the sides to dry and then working on the other side as well.

Riley wrote words on hers that say "Awesome Dad."  This comes from the fact that one night Riley asked which parent she was going to have with her that night.  Jeremy said he had her and Riley replied with "Just plain old Dad?!"  And we turned it around into "Awesome Dad!"  So now he is Awesome Dad and not plain old Dad.

Julia liked using the bottom of the paint brush to make polka dots.  Riley did as well.

As I put the finishing touch (writing a few words) over Julia's paint job, the girls got restless so the owner brought over tiles and asked if they'd want to paint them and that he'd add it to his collection and put it up on the wall.  Riley loved the idea; Julia not so much.  But then the owner showed the girls where the tiles were on the wall and asked them if they could make it pretty for him.  They got right to work.

Julia turned to me and said "Mom, I work very hard on dis.  Dat man tell me to make it pitty so I make it really pitty for him to put on his wall."  Riley drew stars with polka dots in a blue sky.  Was very pretty.

At dinner tonight, Riley came over to our side of the table when Jeremy got up and whispered "Remember, don't say anything about what we did this afternoon when we painted."  Then she went right back to her seat.

As soon as Jeremy came back, Julia said "We go to the Royal Brush today and make you something.  We paint!"  Jeremy didn't catch it, but I started laughing softly and Riley put her head on her hands.  Julia then repeated "Daddy, we go paint today at the Royal Brush and make you something.  I do Grandpa's and Riley do yours!"  Jeremy was like "Ohh..."  Julia responded with "Happy Father's Day!"  We all laughed.

Jeremy said something about knowing his gift now and Riley made a comment about how he didn't know how many he was getting and that she had made two things - one for her to keep and one for him.  Jeremy said "The details just keep coming..."

It was quite funny.  I'm sure he'll still be surprised :)

AG Doll Store

Yesterday was a busy day.  Swim lessons in the morning, showers, lunch, ixl/reading/piano for Riley and ixl/reading for Julia.  In the afternoon, we drove down to see Jeremy at work. The girls met his coworkers.  They especially loved Mr. Best (Chuck) and his huge office windows.  Jules loved pointing out the airplane that was flying and Riley was fascinated with the line between the window panes.

Mr. Best commented on Julia's big blue eyes.  Jeremy said that she gets a lot with those eyes.  He replied "Yes, she really saw that airplane way out there!"  :)

I took them to the hallway bathroom and became very aware of how sterile and quiet the professional office is.  Everyone is incredibly nice, but it is a totally different environment than where I work!  As I was washing my hands, Julia proceeded to open the bathroom door and dart out into the hallway without shoes on.  Riley then yelled loudly into the hallway "JULIA!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!"  Julia found this hilarious.  I dried my hands as fast I could.  Ran out to the hall to find her giggling and Jeremy standing far at the end of the other hallway standing out his door saying "What is that?"  I explained and couldn't believe he could hear her inside of his office.  So apparently the entire tenth floor heard her as well.

We then made our trip to Preston Center to go to La Lobe and have our ears evaluated and we learned how to take out earrings and put them in.  Since the American Girl store is on our way home and is easy to get to, we stopped there on the way back north.

Throughout the last few months, I've been giving Riley any spare change that we've had in my purse, Jeremy's wallet or wherever any coins end up.  Turns out we have a lot of change!!  $78 worth to be exact!!  It was enough to purchase an American Girl Doll Horse and Cat.  Julia wanted a Bitty Baby and since I hadn't given her any change this time around, I pitched in for that.  The girls knew exactly what they wanted.  Riley was on a mission when we entered the store.  Didn't care about anything else that was around.

I asked if they wanted to look around and Julia said "Yes!  Let's look at the babies!"  Riley said "I just want my horse and my cat and then I want to go home!"  I convinced them to look around a little bit, but they mostly wanted what we had come for and then wanted to go home to play with it.

We spent the rest of the day with the dolls and new things and all morning today playing with them as well.

Small Town Living

Today the girls had their last day of swimming.  It has been a beautiful week and the girls have loved going every morning.  I am more and more thankful for the location where we live.  Gymnastics lessons are a block away, school is but ten minutes, daycare is five minutes and swimming is a ten minute walk.  We live in such a neat American small town.

Riley rode her bike to lessons while I pushed Julia in the stroller.  The girls loved it.  Both had a great time in the pool and worked on some skills that I hope will help the rest of the summer.

Julia still has NO fear!!  They put a platform into the water for the kids to stand on.  Julia had more fun climbing on the three bars on the side of the platform than doing anything else I think!  She would climb to the top over and over despite being told to stand on the platform.  She just smiled huge and would wave to me.  Her teacher made sure she was between the two sides today and not on the open side after her stunts yesterday.

Her instructor would take one child at a time while the other kids worked on their kicks or blowing bubbles in the water or things like that.  As the instructor took Riley out to work on kicking and moving arms while on her back, Julia decided she was ready to go too and just jumped off the platform in the water to where it was just open water.  The instructor saw her and helped her back on the platform and told her to stay there.  Julia just laughed and smiled.  Riley jumped to the instructor and Julia jumped out again.  And again the instructor had to help her back on.  This time Julia stayed, but the moment Riley let go so she could stand in the water again, Julia jumped onto the instructor's shoulders.

We rode the bikes/pushed sthe stroller back to our home.  Riley loved to yell out "Woo hooooo!!!!" as she rode.  Julia often yelled out "Riley!!!!  You go so fast!"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grandpa vs. Grandma

Julia:  I love Grandpa!

Riley (shocked):  You never like Grandma!!  I mean... you only ever want Grandpa.  You never want Grandma.

Me/Jeremy:  Riley, when you were little, you only wanted Grandma and you didn't want to go to Grandpa.  But you still loved him.

Riley:  Oh.  Well now I love Grandpa more than Grandma.

Jeremy/Me:  Oh you do?

Riley:  But only by a little bit.  I love Grandma 19 and I love Grandpa 22.  I love Grandpa more because he gave me that gift card.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Piano Lessons

Today Riley had her first piano lesson!  I went with my mom and Julia to Music and Arts to purchase new books for my piano students who will begin lessons on Tuesday.  I have 14 students this summer and I'm really looking forward to it!  Riley had mentioned at the end of the school year that she wanted to learn how to play the piano so I talked to her about it today and she asked for me to get her some of her own piano books.

I am starting her in the Faber's "My First Piano Adventure for the young beginner" books.  I love them!!!  In the first lesson, it is all about posture, a poem about how to hold your hands (so cute!), playing white keys or black keys, loud/soft/fast/slow.  There is a duet that we played several times together.  Riley really wanted to sing it by herself and loved playing it with me.  She also really enjoyed the writing book where she gets to explain why the postures are correct or not and then writes notes and symbols as the book goes on.

I love that she has so much interest in it!!  I've never wanted to be her piano teacher as I truly believe she'd learn better if she wasn't taking from me.  Mom, Music teacher at school and piano teacher are probably too many titles for me to have.  But for the beginning of her piano 'career', I am the most affordable and hopefully she'll learn to love it as much as I do!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer Take 2

The second day of summer is proving to be just as incredible as day one!  Shall I count the ways I love this summer...

1.  I love sleeping.  Not sleeping in.  That hasn't happened yet.  Julia woke up at 6:15am so that means I did too.  Which is totally fine!  Gave us plenty of time to play together and enjoy time just the two of us.

2.  Swimming.  Another fantastic day of swimming in the pool.

3.  No mowing the lawn anymore!!!  What???!!!  Say Holla!!!!  Today the workmen came to trim all our trees and bushes.  So incredibly thankful!!!  They have been very overgrown, but we don't have the tools or the ability to do it ourselves.  The girls loved watching the men up in the trees chopping down limb after limb.  Jeremy talked to them about mowing the lawn this summer as our lawnmower has been repaired twice already and is now broken again for the third time in less than a month.  They will charge $25 a week to edge, mow and clean up.  Awesome!!!!!  We took the mower to Mower Medic again to get the carborator fixed.  When we know it is actually working, then we'll be selling it.  In the meantime, they start our lawn service this Monday and will come every Monday.  I am so very thankful to not have to mow this summer or to have to remind Jeremy to edge!!  He'll love that too!

4.  Gymnastics.  Riley is doing amazing.  Seriously amazing at gymnastics.  Love watching her excel and focus and smile as she is learning so much.

5.  Naps.  Took a short nap with Julia today and it felt so great!

6.  No school on Monday!  All day I have been finding myself getting stressed internally about being ready for school Monday.  Then finding myself saying "Ummm... no work Monday!"

7.  Laundry during the day!!!  I can actually do laundry DURING the day instead of after a work day.  It is awesome!!

8.  Perfect weather.  Our summer weather has started in the low 90s and it is perfect for doing just about anything!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer - Day One

Today was our official first day of summer!  And it was the best start to a summer that I remember having in years!!  Probably because three years ago, Julia was only a few months old, hardly ever napped for longer than 30-45 minutes at a time, and kept me on my toes.  Two years ago Madi came to live with us and that was a definite shift going from 2 to 3 kids and especially figuring out a ten year old, four year old and one year old and the combination of things that each one deals with.  Last year Julia was two, Madi was eleven and Riley was five.  It had been a very difficult year in many ways and one of the hardest teaching years I can remember.  Summer felt like more work and there was no rest for the weary.  And now we are here.  Madi is with her mom so it is Julia and Riley, ages 3 and 6.  No big changes, babies, three children, or high stress.  If today is any indication of how summer will be, I can't wait!!!!

Julia woke up at 6:30am ready to go!  We played with barbies upstairs and played with strollers and spent a lot of time in the playroom until Riley woke up around 8am.  I told the girls that they could each choose one thing they wanted to do on their first day of break and we'd try to do it.  Julia immediately said she wanted to go to the park.  Easy and definitely do-able.  Riley wanted to swim at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Another easy thing to do!  So we got dressed right away and took our breakfast and snacks to the park with us.

Riley rode her bike and Julia wanted me to push her in the stroller.  It was perfect weather in the mid-70's.  The playground equipment was wet except for the swings.  The girls spent quite some time on the swings and we ate our breakfast/snacks at the park under the pavilion.  The girls loved watching the birds and talking about what they saw.  A woman who spoke no English at all came and sat by us.  She tried to communicate in her language but it was very difficult so we did hand motions.  She kept smiling at the girls and kicking her legs.  The girls weren't sure what to make of it so they just ate and smiled at her.

When the girls were ready to leave the park, neither one of them wanted to go straight home so we took a long way home.  This gave us time to walk and gave time for Riley to ride her bike.  They loved it!

As soon as we got home, we were warm so we all put on our bathing suits and got into the car.  Put more sunscreen on them and we went swimming for 45 minutes.  The pool water was quite cold!  Julia stepped onto the tanning ledge and said "Oh cold!  I not go swimming in dere today!"  Riley got in and screamed really loudly because she was so cold.  But we all got used to it and swam for a long while.

At the moment, my parents have an issue with rats in their backyard.  Yuck!!!  Has been a problem in the neighborhood so they are working at killing them.  It does make me paranoid though.

A few years ago, Riley and I were swimming (before Julia was in my belly).  As we went to swim to the farthest end, there was this black animal swimming toward us.  I tried not to freak out and instead pushed Riley very, very quickly to the other end of the pool.  And told her that we needed to get out.  Now!!!  I knew she would get scared if I showed I was scared so I just made my voice determined, but calm.

When we got out, we watched the rat swimming in the water.  I was totally grossed out, but Riley loved it.  She kept telling us "He a good wittle swimmer!"

Thankfully no rats made their appearance today, but I can't help get chills and become grossed out at the thought.  I made a point to stay away from the far end today for fear of seeing or being near one.

After we went swimming, we had some gummies and Riley showed Jules some things that Grandpa got for his birthday.  We left to go home for lunch and the girls ate awesome.

All of us were tired so Riley read a chapter in her book and wrote a short journal entry.  Then I read two books to the girls and we all laid down in Julia's beds.  Riley and I shared the top bed while Julia slept on the bottom bed.  It was cozy and sweet.  Riley sang us songs until we fell asleep and then she climbed in next to me to sleep.  She never takes naps so she must have been very tired!  We slept an hour and a half.

When the girls woke up, they both wanted to go to a store.  They didn't care what store, but they wanted to go somewhere.  Since Riley still had a gift card to Target from her birthday, we decided to go there.  She was hoping to find a baby.  I had a few gift cards to Target from students so we found a few things.  A new rug for the entrance to the garage, a doll for Riley and a Dora doll/Boots treehouse and Boots set.  The girls were ecstatic and kept saying thank you.  We then headed to Walmart for the longest. shopping.  trip. ever.

Julia needed to go potty, everyone else went shopping on Friday assuming that it wouldn't be crowded and instead there were kids everywhere and the lines were very long.  Took forever.  Thankfully the girls were in great spirits and never complained or got angry or had a hard time.  We just took our time and talked and laughed as we went.  Love them!

When we got home, Jeremy soon followed.  Julia had spent much of the day asking repeatedly "Where is Daddy?  Is Daddy coming home?  What time will he be here?  Where Daddy?"  She was confused as to why I was the only one home.

To celebrate a great year in Kindergarten (and a great year in general), all of us went to the restaurant Texas Roadhouse.  We had delicious food and great company.  My parents came with us and it was a really nice night.  Hardest part was finding parking!!

The girls came home, spent some time with Grandma and Grandpa and got ready for bed.  Looking forward to tomorrow - piano student, Riley's gymnastics lesson and more family time!

Last Day of Kindergarten

This last week was an incredibly fun time of enjoying students, meetings, graduations, talent show, and planning our summer fun!

Yesterday was the last day of school.  Riley chose to get really dressed up and wore a pale pink dress with lace and tulle layers in the skirt.  So adorable!  One of my favorite parts was that she wore her tennis shoes with the dress because none of her other shoes are fitting!  And it is over 90 degrees (just barely) so it made it easy to run and play.

As we were getting into the car in the morning, I said "Wow Riley!  It's your last day to be a Kindergartner."  She replied with "Uh - Mom!  Don't say that!  Call me 'First Grader Riley Grant!"  She is so incredibly ready for First Grade and so very ready to be a big girl.  Or bigger girl anyway and move into a new hallway.

She had a fun Splash Fun Day at the park and aquatic park at the beginning of the week.  They celebrated in class and got their Kindergarten Diploma Certificates and made Memory Books.  Mrs. E will always be such an incredible and special person in our lives.  So thankful for all the time she poured into Riley this year.

We had our "Donut Fridays" on Thursday this week since school ended on Thursday.  The girls and I always stop for donuts every Friday for a special treat and it's something to look forward to at the end of the school week which is nice.  They love it!  I walked in to get the donuts and one of her favorite families was in there eating together.  They paid for our donuts which was so thoughtful.  Completely not expecting it and told them that they really didn't have to.  Then they replied "Well, I know we don't have to!  We want to!"  Then they thanked me for a great year.  The Hartley family was such a blessing and I'm so blessed to get to teach their beautiful girls!

The last day was a half day and students got out at 12:30pm.  The Fifth Graders did their walk-through and walked all the halls before exiting.  Always a very sweet and tender time watching them walk through the last time.  Especially this year as Madi walked the halls for the last time too.  I'm thankful she was able to be at Ethridge the last two years.

Riley found me in the hallway and got really excited to find out who her teacher for next year was going to be.  We opened her report card to find the letter from Mrs. Townzen, her First Grade Teacher!  Riley is very excited!  She came out of the office and I asked if I could bring her down to her room just to see it and meet her.  She was up for it so we came down to her room about two hours later to give her some time to clean up and prep for summer.

We visited Mrs. E to take a final picture before Kindergarten ended and to thank her for all that she did through this entire year.

God sure knew what He was doing when He chose Mrs. Townzen for Riley!!  Her theme is Puppies!!  And her room theme color is blue - blue chairs, blue table, blue boards.  Riley loves blue and really loves puppies.  Her eyes were so big as Mrs. Townzen talked about it.  I could see Riley getting excited about next year and her love for learning growing as the two of them talked about what they do in First Grade.

Mrs. Townzen offered to let Riley take an entire set of books home for the summer to read.  She could choose between books about puppies or books about cats.  She chose the puppies.  Then Mrs. Townzen asked if she had a journal.  I told her that she did, but she then said "Well, one more would be good!"  She gave Riley a blue notebook to write in for the summer and she could write about the stories that she was reading.  Already Riley has read two books with us and has written a few sentences about her books.  She keeps telling Julia "Jules!  I have to do this work for my teacher!  She asked me to write in it so I want to do it!"  She's so excited!

They had a great discussion about the Magic Tree House book series.  Then we thanked her and left to go get my room all finished up.  Riley clung to her notebook and told everyone she saw about how her new teacher gave it to her so she could write in it.

Throughout the day, Riley kept asking "Mom, what is my new teacher's name?"

Then we'd see Mrs. Townzen in the hall and Riley would say "Hi New Teacher!  (whispering) Mom, what is her name again?  (shouting)  Hi Mrs. Townzen!"

My parents picked Riley up around 5:30pm since I had to stay late.  Riley was so tired and had a great time with them until she came home for bed.