Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Character Day

Riley has Book Character Day at school so since her cat outfit was only $5, we found a beautiful costume for her to wear to school.  She was Scarlett O'Hara, the southern belle.  The dress was white with pink trim and a khaki colored hat with pink tie under the chin.  She looked incredibly beautiful in it!  

All day Riley wore it.  Come to find out that it was beautiful, but a pain.  We knew the large hoop skirt would be difficult to sit in.  She couldn't sit on the floor well so her teacher had her sit in a chair while everyone else in the class sat on the floor.  She wasn't too happy about that.

She said that the girls in dresses could only stand around and talk on recess and weren't able to play like the boys.  And she got woodchips in her dress. 

The dress was caught on her chair and had to be untangled where the edges had frayed and caught on it.  She tripped on it.  Students tripped on it.

She was truly the belle of the school and incredibly beautiful.  But hoopskirts and big dresses will definitely be out of the picture next year as she'll want something simpler which is totally fine!

Halloween 2013

This year the girls found some great costumes to wear for Halloween.  Riley really wanted to be a cat so we got her a cute ear headband, bowtie and cat tail.  She was happy as could be!  Julia wanted to be a fairy so she found a purple and green fairy costume that she liked.

The girls got all dressed up and ready to go.  My dad and Jeremy passed out the candy while my mom and I took the girls out trick or treating in the neighborhood.  They were so happy and very energetic.  Riley practically ran from house to house.  She was bummed to be told to slow down and stay with us for safety reasons, but she did the best she could to not run.  Just speed walking.

At one home, the lights looked a little darker and there were scary decorations.  Riley turned to Julia and said "Jules, you knock on the door.  It's freaky."  So Julia said "Ok!" and went right up and knocked.  This happened at about 2 or 3 homes and each time Julia had no fear.

Turns out Julia doesn't fear much at all.  There was a werewolf teenager (or adult) who came by Julia and waved.  Julia started laughing and gave him a high five.  She then said "He's a cat like Riley!"  There was also an adult/teenager in a dog costume that she found hysterical.

The girls brought home their candy from the streets we had gone down and we got Julia a stroller as she was tired of walking.  We finished up the rest of the streets in the neighborhood with Julia sitting in the stroller while Riley walked up to the homes with two buckets for candy.  Every home she went to, they said "Two buckets?!" and proceeded to give her candy anyway in both of them.  Lesson learned: give each child two buckets and they may be asked why they have two buckets, but even with no answer, they will be given twice as much candy.  Ha!  (and no, I don't really plan to do that... or do I?!  heehee)

Buckets were dumped out and the girls were very excited about all of the candy they were able to bring home.  Each one had a piece before bedtime and will have plenty more in the days to come I'm sure.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Date Night

Jeremy and I went out on our monthly date night tonight.  My parents watched the girls (thank you!!!) and carved pumpkins with them.  Riley's pumpkin is carved to look like a cat and Julia's pumpkin has a cute mouth and two huge eyes.  They had pizza and had a blast I'm sure! (haven't talked to them yet about their night, but have no doubt it was great)

We decided to try a new restaurant that Jeremy's hairdresser recommended.  It's called Crudo and is an Italian restaurant in Frisco.  Sooooo incredibly delicious!!!  One of the best places we have gone to.

My Top Ten Restaurants in Dallas so far... and not in any particular order:

1.  Crudo
Love the atmosphere and waiters are top-notch.  Incredible food.

2.  Jasper's, Abacus and Blue Plate (all owned by the same chef Kent Rathbun)
*I realize that these are three separate restaurants but they are all incredible.  And being by the same chef, well worth trying all of them!!  My personal favorite is blueplate as we've gone there several times.  Jaspers has smaller portions and Abacus is just beyond amazing.

3.  Stephan Pyle's
This list is not in order, but this is by far my all-time favorite restaurant in Dallas.

4.  Hibiscus

5.  Maggiano's
Had our reception in one of their large rooms.  We just love the food here.  Not as costly as the others which makes it a favorite to go to.

6.  Place at Perry's
One of Jeremy's work dinners was here and it was wonderful.

7.  Fireside Pies
Ate here with my mom!  Delicious!

Great atmosphere.  Another great night out with my mom.

9. Bonnie Ruth's
Fabulous breakfast/brunch and lunch/dinner selections.

10.  Isabella's (sad to say it is no longer around)

MAC Makeup

My makeup is all fairly gone.  All of it.  I've gone back to cheap makeup and find it just isn't doing the job.  It doesn't stay on, I have a breakout under my eye from the concealer I'm using and it seems to not look as well.  I had been using Laura Mercier, Too Faced and Naked Eyeshadows.  It's been good, but I've heard so much about MAC from different people so I decided to try it out.  I've always been intimidated by the store as it is always so incredibly crowded and they always seem so snobby.  Decided to get over my impression and called the store to find out how to have my face done.

They offered a free full face with a purchase of $50 in makeup as long as I made an appointment.  So I had an appointment today at 1pm and learned so much that I was doing wrong!!  And am incredibly happy with their products.  Thinking I may become a MAC snob myself (but a nice down-to-earth snob at that).

Here is what I learned today:

1.  Put eyeshadow on before doing anything else!  Use the liquidy base before applying main color.  Main color (bronze in my case) goes on with fairly thick brush).  Darker brown uses a different brush and you brush it from the outside of the eye towards the inside of the eye a few times.  But not all the way across unless you want a very dramatic eye look.  Then using the same brush as the main color, you dab the pink eyeshadow under the eyebrow.  Add eyeliner.

2.  To put on mascara, don't move the wand!  Hold the wand close - very close - to your eye and blink several times letting the eyelashes brush against it.

3.  Apply foundation next.  Put dabs close to nose and then brush out towards the outside of the face.  And up towards the forehead and down toward the chin.  This puts most of the foundation in the middle of the face and it blends outward making it so there aren't any makeup lines.

4.  Add concealer under the eyes.  Blend down and out.  Don't need a lot!!

5.  Put powder on.  Use a brush - big one - and only put it on cheeks, forehead (T-zone).  Don't need to put it everywhere!

6.  Add blush.  Only a few strokes are needed!  For night makeup, add a few more strokes.

7.  Put on lip gloss first!  Then put lipstick on top of it.

I was seriously doing it all backwards!!

One of the perks is that when six packages of MAC makeup are done, you take the empty/used containers to the store and you get a free lipstick!

Feeling quite confident and hoping I can copy the look that she did on me today with some practice!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Riley's Story: The New Dog

Riley is wanting a dog so badly.  She has dreams about having a dog and wakes up so happy.  Telling us that she is so happy when she dreams about having a dog.

Tonight she wrote a story with her own illustrations.

Title Page says "The New Dog"  by Riley

"Onse there lived a gril. "I wish i had a dog" seid The grils. Ther mother herd what they seid. She herd the grils she seid to the grils "Why Downt we go get won" she said. "yes" seid the grils so they did on they walked down down down finley they were thar "What kind of dog shod whe get a poodley?"

So they got a poodley.

then some meny (mean) grils arived. "Hi" seid the grils.

"so what" seid one
"How kars (who cares)" seid the secend
"How (who) wants to take care of you" seid the tered
"How likes you" seid the last one.
they went away spiting (sticking) thar tungs (tongues) out.
and saying "we dont like you" they seid.

As Jeremy put it, there are two themes in the story:  dogs and mean girls.  She's dealing with some mean girls at gymnastics and wants a dog so the story fits right along with what is going on.  Love that she wrote this.  The illustrations are priceless too.


Riley: (after eating her dinner) Can I have an apple?

Me: Sure!  I had one of these apples at lunch and it was delicious!

Riley:  If you do say so yourself!


Yesterday as I was in the middle of teaching my kinder class, a gym aide from Coach's room came in and said "Mrs. Grant, Coach needs three instruments."  I was baffled because he never asks for instruments and if he ever needs anything, he asks a while in advance.  So I must have given her a strange look because she said "He needs them for a new game."

I asked her what instruments he needed and she told me that he just needed three.  So I chose instruments that would work in the gym - a large doumbek drum, a triangle and striker and a ratchet.

She walked out of the room with the instruments and back to Coach.  As she was walking into the gym, Coach gave her a strange look and was trying to figure out why she was carrying the instruments.

Then it dawned on him.

He had asked her to see if he could have "three extra minutes" (as we switch classes and he needed a little extra time).  She heard "Three instruments."

Love it.

All You Need is Love

Riley requested that we listen to The Beatles this morning on our way to work.  I think it's great that both the girls love them!  So I turned on the playlist and started "All you need is love"  right as Julia said "No!!  I don't like beetles! They are scary!"

Can I go to my school?

Julia:  Mom!  Mom!  Can you take me back to school?  I need to go potty!  (then holds herself)

Me:  Jules, we have a potty here.  Just walk over to the bathroom.

Julia:  (holding herself and crossing her legs now) No Mom!  I really have to go!  I need to go back to school!

Me:  Jules.  Just go in the bathroom.  I'll turn on the light.

Julia:  Ughhhhhh!!  Okay!!!!!!!!  (then laughing)  hahahahaha - bye bye chicken!

Spelling Words

Every week Riley has a spelling list.  She breezes through it and learns very quickly.  Thankful for that!  She also has a chart of sight words that are supposed to help her learn words that come up frequently.  Instead it has been more of a "I've memorized this chart and can do it with my eyes closed"  chart.  Despite the chart having a few extra words added each week.  She quickly memorizes those too and can demonstrate it by being away from her list and in a drone voice speaking it:  I the when did the a what not can you see this I the when did the a what not I"

We are supposed to time her three times every night for four days in a row.  Julia listens as we time her.  It only takes about 8 seconds for 25 words, but I'm not convinced she is actually learning them!  Just memorizing the order.

Julia has also caught on to it and went to the potty tonight.  As we are all sitting at the table, we hear her speaking in the bathroom:  I the when did dee a what not I the when did wee a what not ..."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Haley's Party

Riley went to her friend Haley's birthday party today.  It was quite the treat.  We met at the entrance to the trails on Lake Lewisville near her school where we had the Fun Run.  They took a hayride to the party that was at the lake.  Haley's parents had rented a few tables and small tents as well as a petting zoo.

There were several kinds of animals including a horse with sparkles and a painted purple tail and mane (though HE was a male).  The trainer said that boys like purple too and the girls stopped asking why he wanted to be purple.

Riley was able to ride the horse a few times, play games, swing on the swings and play out in the field with her friends.  She had a great time!

Julia has her friend Arianna's party the first week of November and was all ready today to go to her friend's party too.  She was quite sad that she didn't get to go today and kept asking when Arianna's party was going to be.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Halloween Party

We were invited to a family night out at our friend's church.  They are the most amazing and sweet family.  I get to teach two of their daughters as well as teach them piano every week as well.  Just great people.

At gymnastics today we invited Riley's friend Peyton to come with us since her mom was finishing remodeling their bathroom.  Peyton dressed as a witch, Riley dressed as a cat and Julia was a garden fairy. They looked cute and were so happy to be together.

The girls had a blast!  They played several games and got some cute little prizes.  They also participated in the cake walk where they got a cupcake if they won.  We were all hungry, but Julia wouldn't stop playing until she got a cupcake.  I finally went up to the lady running it and asked if she would please call whatever color Julia was standing on as she wouldn't leave and we all needed to eat.  She just laughed and called her color next - thank you!!

We got in line to eat.  Riley pulled a spoon out of the cup container and knocked all the spoons all over the ground.  We picked them up.  Riley tried putting the spoons all back in and it wasn't working well.  Jeremy went to get hot dog buns and Julia decided to start grabbing hot dogs.  She licked one of the hot dogs and set it back in with all the other hot dogs.  I quickly grabbed that hot dog and set it on our plates so we could eat it.  She then went inside the hot dog bags and started grabbing buns.  Our friend Karen was laughing hard and saying "You guys are awesome!  Hilarious!"  We were all cracking up.

We had a great cookout dinner with friends and then had Trunk or Treat in the parking lot.  The girls were so excited to get candy.  We've never done a trunk or treat before.  It is truly like a sprint trick or treat.  You get candy so fast and so much of it so quickly.

Julia was laughing so hard as we went and kept saying "I got YOTS (lots) of candy!!!" and "Yots and Yots of candy!"  and "I got SO MANY CANDY!!!!!"  "Dis is so fun!!!"

Riley's bucket actually broke near the handle from the weight of all her candy.  One guy gave Julia at least three handfuls of candy.  Just kept giving her more and more.  Her bucket was practically overflowing.  They were giggling so much because they couldn't believe how much candy they had.

The girls talked about how much fun they had when we got in the car.  It was such a great night out as a family.  Such a great time with friends and with each other.  Love these times.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Use Your Words

When the girls are angry, upset, sad, or very emotional, we always try to have them express how they feel by using words instead of just crying as we can't always tell what they are upset about.  So the other day Riley tried this technique before dinner.  She was helping Julia, but Julia didn't want her help even though she was getting frustrated at not being able to do whatever it was she was doing (can't remember what that was)


Me: But you don't have to yell at her, Riley.

Riley:  I'm using my words, Mom.  I'm using my words.

Painting with a Twist

Last Friday night my mom and I went to "Painting with a twist."  We had a three hour art course on how to paint a canvas.  They provide everything and the instructor guides you through the process of making the painting.  It was great to see how everyone's pictures turned out so different despite the process being the same to make them.

Riley wanted to make one just like ours so the next day we got out the acrylic paints and canvases.  Julia made her own up and Riley followed what I did to make her own canvas.  She did a great job!  Julia also made a great canvas with her favorite colors.  They both love art and have so much fun making new things.

Ethridge Fun Run 2013

This was the second year that Riley and I got to do the Fun Run together.  One of my all-time favorite days of the year!!

We walked down to the lake together with her friends and classmates.  This year teachers were allowed to run with students which made it really fun!!  I ran with Riley and many other students.  Riley just kept going and going and going.  One kindergartner challenged me to a race.  Sad to say, they beat me!  Holy Cow!!  The boy was so incredibly fast.  I seriously could not beat him and I was running as fast as I possibly could.  It was a blast.

Riley and her good friend Christopher

Riley ran a mile and a half with practically no stopping except for water breaks two times.  The courses were 3/4/5 grades on one course and K/1/2 on the other.  I did run with the older kids one time and their course was so much shorter than the other one which was interesting.  The little kids were working quite hard to get their laps on the longer course.

I found that the kids would see me jog past them and they'd say "Hi Mrs. Grant!!" and then start running too.  They definitely didn't want to be shown up by a teacher.  Many of the younger kids wanted to hold my hand and I'd run with them and cheer them on.

Riley saw that a boy was having trouble tying his shoes so she stopped and helped him tie his shoes before continuing to run.  She also tried to encourage kids to keep going.

It was an absolutely beautiful day!

Yoo hoo Anybody there?

Just got a message from my Dad#2 asking for the blog address.  Then realized it has been a little while since I wrote anything.  Apparently it has been almost a month.  Um.  Wow.  Didn't realize we'd been busy enough, but have known that life has been quite non-stop.

Our schedule is full this year more than it has ever been, but for good reason.  I am teaching sixteen piano students.  Yup.  Sixteen.  We have a credit line that we're tired of paying every month and the only way to get it done is to put in hard work up front.  So thankful to have the opportunity to teach these students and to have time with such amazing kids.  Also thankful that as a result of putting in lots of extra hours, we are finally making some headway into the loan (which came from appliances, roof, water heater, fence, hvac, duct work).  If things continue as they are, it will be paid off within two years.  Our goal is that it will be done by January 1, 2015.  It's great to have this goal and even greater to see it coming to fruition as each month passes.

As a result of teaching so much, I have my teaching job M-F until 3pm.  Leave at 3:30 on Tues. and Thurs.  Get home with about ten minutes to spare and teach piano lessons from 4 - 7:30 on Tuesdays and 4-7pm on Thursdays.  As well as a few hours on Saturday mornings.  Makes for long days, but I do enjoy it.  Has meant that I go to bed when the girls go to bed and explains why I haven't written as I'm only awake to work.

On Mondays I have 77 choir students after school.  They are sounding amazing!!  Wednesdays we have meetings.  Fridays I stay until 5pm to get work done as our schedule has changed at work.  We now have morning and afternoon duty every day as well as longer class periods which result in not having time to get everything done during the day.  It just means using time even more wisely and thankfully I'm organized so that has helped.  Plus Riley loves the time with me on Fridays after school despite the fact that I'm working and she is reading or doing art.  She said it's just nice to hang out with me and listen to music and be together.

Jeremy is working hard at his job and just started Wednesday night classes with CJ and Karen at SMU.  I see him for about five minutes every day to say "See you in a decade!"  And of course to say "Love you!" before crashing into bed and sleeping until 6am.

Riley is doing gymnastics at Sky High still and absolutely thriving.  She has come incredibly far in the last six months.  It's hard to believe she has only been doing it six months.  She has gained so much confidence and made new friends at the gym.  She is really quite amazing.  She also started doing piano lessons every week on Saturday morning (she is student number 17 if she's included on the list of lessons).  She's started learning notes C,D,and E.  She's very excited to be in the piano recital in December.

We started going to Saturday night services at church and she made a great new friend at church.  They had a playdate last week and are both excited to have another one soon.  She is having a wonderful year in First Grade and thriving there as well.  We went out and got her several more books tonight because she's reading them so fast.  Books like Judy Moody, Amelia Bedelia (the new series), Magic Treehouse, and several others.  She reads constantly when she's not standing on her head in the living room. :)

Julia isn't liking school as much as Riley.  She loves to be home snuggling on the couch reading books or doing puzzles.  Still looking for some new puzzles for her as they are either 12 pieces or 1000 pieces and she does 24-60 piece puzzles.  She's really smart at them and loves to do repeat them over and over.  Julia is taking tap and ballet as well as doing a gym class at her school called Stretch and Grow.  She gets really excited when they call her name because it means she gets to go to the class!  She has learned her numbers to 10 and is working on her letters.  Haven't seen much of her schoolwork until tonight when her folder came home loaded with work she has done.  So glad to see her learning!

Julia also loves to 'play' the piano and always wants a lesson after Riley has hers.  So we review black keys, white keys, loud, soft, and some fun songs together.

In the past month, we've just tried our best to keep our heads up and pushing forward.  And to make sure that sleep is more important than staying up late to watch a movie or tv show.  Speaking of which, I haven't seen any of those in a long, long time.  Unless Babar or Barney count before the girls go to bed.