Friday, February 28, 2014

P90x3

Jeremy and I are finishing our second week of P90x3.  We've both worked out every day now for two weeks and are feeling great!!

Highly, highly recommend this program.  I love the combination of stretching, high aerobics, weight training and yoga/pilates.  My favorite one so far is the CVX workout where you do weights mixed with aerobic exercise.  Jeremy likes that one as well.

Up Next: Strep Throat

Julia came home yesterday from daycare looking really pitiful.  Her upper lip and under her nose is so chapped and cracked due to rubbing it all day long with kleenex at school.  I chose to sleep with her last night as she wasn't feeling well, but didn't have a fever or anything to accompany the runny nose.

During the night, she had trouble breathing when she inhaled and made funny sounds.  Kept waking up and coughing.  Sounded different than croup that we've dealt with in the past.  After not much sleep at all, I called into work around 4am to give some possibility of a sub picking up the job.

Took her to the doctor and they tested her for the flu.  She had strain B a few weeks ago but it was possible she had it again.  Thankfully that was negative.  They then tested for strep because they'd been seeing so much of it lately.  In my mind, I thought that it was very unlikely she had it as she was exhibiting no symptoms of it - as far as what I'm used to seeing with it.

A few minutes later the doc walked in and said she was positive for strep!  We went to Walmart and picked up a prescription as well as our week's worth of groceries.

February has been a brutal month of sickness for the girls.  Praying that March is much better!!

Switch: How to change things when change is hard

Written by Chip and Dan Heath, this book was offered as an online course for LISD.  I thought the book looked interesting so I decided to read it and I'm so glad!!!  It was fascinating and wonderful!  I wasn't looking to change anything in my life at the moment and I tend to work hard to 'perfect' things.  It's just like God to put things in your life at the right time so you can have the information you need to make the changes you need to make.

The book focuses on sharing many short stories of people helped to change things for the better in their lives, work, families and so on.

A few great quotes from the book:

How to view my students and bring out the good in them... great thought:
Notice, too that because of the calm environment that Elder managed to create, “bad” kids started acting like good kids.  A good change leader never thinks, “Why are these people acting so badly?  They must be bad people.”  A change leader thinks, “How can I set up a situation that brings out the good in these people?”



Former UCLA Coach John Wooden, one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time, once said, “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur… Don’t look for the quick, big improvement.  Seek the small improvement one day at a time.  That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.”

The book is structured into three sections, each one suggesting specific behaviors you can follow:

I. Direct the Rider (our rational side)- Find the bright spots- Script the critical moves- Point to the destination


II. Motivate the Elephant (our emotional side)- Find the feeling- Shrink the Change;- Grow your people


III. Shape the Path:- Tweak the environment- Build habits- Rally the herd


"Change isn't an event; it's a process."

Get it here:  Switch:  How to change things when change is hard

Outline:  http://www.giarts.org/sites/default/files/switch-handout.pdf





Month Two Goal Review

Two months into the year... how the goals are coming:


1 - Sent emails or cards to special friends.  Loving this one!

2 - Go to Orff Level 2 in Summer of 2014 at SMU.... have to wait until summer comes to go, but will enroll once I hear about the Master's Degree!

3 - Finished my Master's Degree Application to SMU, had my interview with Dr. Scott and all my references are in!  Will know in three weeks whether I am accepted to the program or not.

4 - Read these books this month:
    A.  Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide that You'll ever need by Dave Barry
    B.  The curious incident of the dog in the night- time by Mark Haddon
    C.  Switch:  How to change when change is hard
    D.  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
*Started Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" and working through the "Total Money Makeover" with Jeremy

5 - Did amazing this month - spent just under $11 TOTAL!  No new clothes, shoes or unnecessary purchases and it felt really great ...unless you count lice treatments for Julia (ugh and expensive as I went overboard to make sure we had the best chance to rid ourselves of it), flu medicine at $220, dr. visits and days off of work after using all my days, a broken heater, brand new garbage disposal and large hole in the chimney that were all fixed.  It was an expensive month, but not due to my spending on clothes and things!


6 - The girls allowance got put on hold while they were sick with flu this month.  And they don't really seem to care.  Still playing around with how exactly to work it.

7 - Exercising has turned into an everyday thing which has been amazing.  Started the program P90x3 and absolutely loving it.  30 minutes a day and it truly is awesome.  And hard.  Feeling strong and determined.  Two weeks in and feeling great!

8 - Travel plans to be determined later.

9 - Start the money saving challenge.  Savings are going great!!!  Loving this. The jar is filling and we're ahead of where we need to be which is great!
To see the challenge, click here:

10 - Kindness Advent to come in December... only 9 more months away!

11 - Downstairs bathroom still ugly... moving on...

12 - Have not attended a women's bible study yet... summer...

13 - Cook a meal with my mom every month.  Our meal was incredibly delicious!  Check out the menu and recipe information here:   February Meal

14 - Pray for a particular person(s) each day of the week all year - much better this month; still striving to make a particular time each day to do this and to make it more habitual (if that makes sense).  Will use some strategies presented in the book "Switch" that I read!

15 - Learn one new song on the piano each month.
I learned to play the Ballade in C Minor by Chad Lawson. It has become one of my favorite songs!  Still have a tricky part towards the end of the song that I mess up (excuse that part) and the sniffles are all from Julia.
Click HERE to listen to the recording done using MicPro:  Working on this....

I especially love the conversation I have with Julia in the middle of the song:
Julia:  "You're not done yet"
Me:  "No I'm not"
Julia:  "Dis is a long song!!"

And the end when I've been watching Julia playing near my phone and stop abruptly to see what she's been up to... didn't realize it was still recording :)



Sunday, February 23, 2014

Facebook Back

So the last post I wrote recently was about my feelings on Facebook.  I took the app on my phone and found that I was checking it less often which was a good thing.  Then this morning I received a text from my mom.  It had a picture of someone sleeping.  I thought it was Julia (as the girls were both at a sleepover at my parents' house).  But when I looked at it, the baby looked nothing like Julia.  And it had a cute beanie on its head.

My brother Jon is now a dad!!!!!  And Allison is a mom!!!!!  My nephew Matthew was born this morning around 3:30am and they are all doing well.  He has the most adorable cheeks and was 7 lbs. 13 oz.  I'm so excited to be an aunt again.

After getting the text, I quickly put Facebook back on my phone.  After all, I don't want to miss these moments.  There are positives to Facebook and using it wisely will be better than missing seeing my nephew.

A couple of things I'm doing to make Facebook more useful and easier to use:

1.  Delete friends that aren't truly friends.
Sure, you won't have as many friends on it, but you'll have your 'real' friends and who's keeping track anyway?

2.  Block posts from people you don't want to lose touch with, but don't want to hear their every word.
By doing this, their posts don't show up in your newsfeed, but you can choose to view their page when you feel you can handle reading what they've bragged about, talked about, or when you want to know what they ate for breakfast.

3.  Choose a time to check Facebook once a day and leave it at that.
I will often check anytime I see a number pop up or a pop-up message showing that someone said/did/wrote something.  That takes me away from my family and oftentimes it isn't urgent.  Ok - it rarely is.  Having self-control with it and only checking once a day will help me stay in the moment with my family.

4.  Text
Make sure I have cell phone numbers of my friends, family and coworkers so I don't have to send messages via facebook.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Facebook

I'm thinking in Facebook statements in my mind lately.  And it's irritating me.  When something happens, I think "Oooh - that'd be a good one to post."  Then I think about why I'd post it and if it makes sense to post it.  I think about how some of my ideas for posts would show what I'm doing and give insight into our lives.  Then I think about how others might judge me for sounding too spiritual/not godly enough/too boastful/too occupied with myself/that I post too many pictures/negative posts/positive posts...  and that thinking wears my brain out.  I don't need it.

I have a love/dislike relationship with Facebook.  Highly considering stopping looking at it or posting just because it seems silly and time-wasting and more destructive than positive in my life at this point.  (And no, this is not a cry for "please convince me to stay on facebook" - more just a way to write how I feel about it and see if I agree with myself)

I will be the first to admit that I love taking pics of our kids and talking about what we're up to.  Though I do realize that most people probably could care less or glance and go "that's cool" or "awww... cute girls" (meaning Riley and Julia).  Lately I've been pondering why I post information at all or why I put up the pictures.  I've got tons of questions in my mind:

1. Am I trying to get lots of 'likes' so I can feel good about myself and our life?
2. Am I wanting to prove that I'm a great person/mom/teacher/wife/crochet-er?
3. Am I wanting to share wisdom that I've learned?
4. Do I feel that what I know is so important that I must share with my many friends - many of whom I haven't seen in years and years, who are not truly involved in my life, or who are involved in my life and I have better conversations with them in person or by texting when the whole world doesn't see the texts?
5. Is this truly something worth my time and energy and thoughts?

The answer to all of these lately seems to be two things:
No, it's not worth my time and energy and mental resources.  Not to mention my emotions and the way I feel when others boast (I'm guilty of this too) about what they are doing, where they are going or how awesome their husband is and what he does that makes their life so much better than mine.

I don't think most people post things thinking about making others jealous or proving how much better their life is than mine.  Or do they?  Do they think about how great they've got it in certain areas and focus on those areas solely to make themselves feel good about who they are?

This may be WAY too deep as to why people do what they do.  They simply might want to talk and share.  I do believe that under every post is a reason.  A reason to share great news like "Baby is here!  We're in our new house!  Look how good God is!"  There are other reasons behind posts as well "My husband bought me a trip to Cancun - who's the most amazing person on earth and who's the luckiest girl ever?" (NOTE:  This was a made up line!  I didn't copy it from any of your posts)  or the post "Check out my seat for the next two hours" (front row of a rock concert or view of the ocean).  There's no way that it is anything except boastful and wanting to show off.  Again:  this person is guilty as charged of that as well.

The other answer for me is unfortunately Yes.  Yes, I do want to feel good about the life I've created and that Jeremy and I have created together.  Though I already do feel good about it.  However, I feel even better when people 'like' my statuses and when I'm validated in how blessed or how awesome the things are that we get to do.  So silly.  Yet I know I'm not alone in my feelings on it.

I'm also not alone on reading post after post about how fabulous others lives are and then wondering why my life doesn't live up to that standard.  After all, I have it so incredibly good until I read about others' lives.  Then I grow resentful... and it comes on slowly or without even knowing it.  There's even a trend called "Facebook Depression."  Seriously.  Check it out:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0069841

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/21st-century-aging/201308/facebook-depression

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/facebook-depression/

Not sure that I have that;  what I do know is that I don't always come away feeling energized, excited, upbeat and joyful after being on Facebook.  That should say something.

All this to say that after writing for the last 10 minutes, it is time to take the Facebook App off of my phone and take a break from trying to prove something, think of something clever or spend time on unnecessary posts (reading or writing them myself).  Instead fresh air outside, time with my kids, reading good books and lots of them and just BEING sounds like more fun.

Here goes...


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide

Having a hard time figuring out which book to read next!  Can't remember the second book of the Divergent series well and started the third book, but can't remember much.  About 30% through The Total Money Makeover, but Jeremy and I are reading it by ourselves and then coming together to talk about it and make a plan for how to pay off our credit line that we took out when our a/c, heat, duct work, all kitchen appliances and fence all went bad within three week of each other.  Ouch.  Making headway but can't wait until it's over and done!

I digress.  I am not ready to shell out $$ to buy some of the books I want as we just spent quite a bit this week on house repairs.  So I read a more light-hearted book:  Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You Will Ever Need.

Humorous.  He calls himself "We" throughout the book.  Gives us ideas for what to do in the 50 States, North America and Europe.  Don't believe a lot of what is said; though some of the festivals and things listed inside are true and truly strange.


February Dinner Complete

Wow - amazing food!!!!  I am stuffed, happy and so thankful to get to do some yummy cooking with family each month.  It feels great to relax in the kitchen cooking up great meals with a small glass of wine and lots of smiles.

We cooked up quite the selections this month:


Main Course:

1.  Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin from Epicurious




Sides:

1.  Three Cheese Garlic Scalloped Potatoes from allrecipes.com

2.  Mukimame and Corn

Three Cheese Garlic Scalloped Potatoes

Prepping potatoes



Salad:

1.  Homemade Vinaigrette with greens - the recipe I used


** Other amazing vinaigrette recipes to try:

Emeril Lagasse Vinaigrette:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/simple-balsamic-vinaigrette-recipe.html

Allrecipes.com Vinaigrette:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Balsamic-Vinaigrette/Detail.aspx?evt19=1


Dessert:
1.  Homemade Creme Brulee by Alton Brown
Jeremy made the dessert!!  One of his goals is to bake something from a famous chef from Food Network each month.  Last month was some amazing blueberry pancakes.

Prepping the Vanilla Bean.


Ready - aim - fire!

This is what a vanilla bean looks like...
then you scrape out the inside of it.



Friday, February 14, 2014

SMU Grad School Application Complete

Finally finished it!  I have worked in all my spare time to get my application complete.  Very, very excited to be able to say that it is all submitted and that now all they need is my references (done online by the references submitted) and my transcript (which was sent last week).

I will find out when my interview in front of the department occurs in the next few weeks and then given information as to if I have been accepted - should hear sometime around Spring Break in March.

Valentine's Gifts

Reasons to not do anything for each other this Valentine's Day:

1.  The restaurants will be crazy busy!  Usually we celebrate a few days early or late to avoid long waits.

2.  We just plunked down over $1000 between the heater and the plumbing this week.

3.  Our roofer came out as part of our chimney needs replacing so that will require more $$.  Or should I say $$$$?

4.  I am out of sick days/vacation days for work and actually owe money for going over my days.

5.  Our week was long and no need to stress out more about finding something just to find something.


Jeremy and I are about as practical as you can get.  I took the girls to the store to get special shampoo with Rosemary in it (aids in keeping away lice), lice kits, new brushes and hair ties, etc...   Did this yesterday and found a $3.99 Yoda doll with some jelly beans attached.  Also went to the card section and bought him a sweet card.  Total I spent $6.99.  (And yes, I am including this in my $50 allowance per month as it was 'extra' $ spent.)

He came home from work yesterday to find the card Yoda.  He was like "Oh man!  What?!  We weren't going to do anything and now I feel bad."  I let him know that I remembered that, but couldn't resist at least saying 'thank you' for his help this week.  He opened the card to read the phrase I wrote:  "Yo-da one for me."  Then laughed.  Thought my originality in writing that was... well, original!  :)

As Riley said several times today as she was wondering what Grandma and Grandpa would think of their paintings, "It's not the gift that's important;  it's the thought you put into it."

Happy Valentine's Day 2014

Today was a nice way to end our week.  Nothing broke, Riley's fever was gone all day, Julia was cheerful and it was peaceful when the girls weren't arguing over the most minute things.  Does it really matter if the Candy Land characters are on the same square?  Does it really matter if you are shorter/taller/hungrier/thirstier/more tired than the other?  Today it did.  Too much time cooped up together is making them long for going somewhere.  So we did!

Yesterday Riley asked if we could do a Sick Valentine Party since she was missing the party at school.  I told her that we'd find a way to make it fun in our own way.  Here were the ways we made our Sick Valentine Party unique and special:

BREAKFAST:

Riley slept until after 10am this morning - more than 13 hours of sleep!  I stirred her to wake her up and make sure she was still ok.  For breakfast, I made her special pancakes made in the shapes of hearts.  Super easy!

Heart Pancakes
- Make the batter
- Heat the skillet
- Place cookie cutter on the skillet and fill with batter
**Once batter is completely filled in, take the cookie cutter out.  On my first attempt, I left it in because I wanted the shape to remain perfect.  Instead it stuck to the cookie cutter and I had to cut it out with a knife in order to flip it over.  Still worked, but the shape remains well even when the cookie cutter is removed.**
- Flip over and cook
- Take off skillet and eat!

I cut out extra red and pink construction paper hearts with sweet messages on them.  Put notes like "I love you" and "you are special" on them.  Decorated her placemat with them and put the three heart pancakes on a plate in the middle.  She wasn't very hungry still, but ate one of them and smiled.

Simply add the mix and quickly take off the cookie cutter
so the mix doesn't stick!



Here is a link to some delicious looking heart pancakes and where I got the idea.  Though I did not add all the sweetness to them!

http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/02/06/red-velvet-pancakes-with-sweet-cream-cheese-topping/


PAINTING:

I found a fun heart painting that I thought would keep the girls busy, but be low-key enough that Riley would have the energy to do it.  She had MUCH more energy today though it went in waves.  She got hyper several times and would then crash - looking like a zombie for a while before re-energizing.

We got out all of the acrylic paints, tarp for the floor, painting supplies and canvases.  I showed the girls the idea that I had seen and gave them hearts made out of construction paper to use.  On Pinterest there were tons of ideas about using the eraser of a pencil to put small dots around a cutout heart and create really cool heart outlines.  I asked them what they thought and they both had completely original ideas so we went with it!

Julia's Heart Painting:
Julia just wanted to paint the canvas.  Didn't care to use the bottom of a pencil to make cute dots around the heart.  She wanted the heart in the center and then chose her paint colors: purple and yellow.  We peeled the heart off and she wanted to make the heart section a deep red.  I traced the heart shape in permanent marker and she painted the heart.  Turned out beautiful!








Riley's Heart Painting:
Riley loved the idea of using the pencil eraser, but asked if she could do something different with it.  Of course!  She drew a puppy face.  Then placed two hearts on the dog's head.  She told me she wanted the hearts to make it look like either his ears or a bow.  I traced the hearts with permanent marker.  Then she created as she went!  She used the pencil eraser to put dots on the bow and different colored dots around the edge of the painting.  At one point, she wanted me to help and then told me I did it wrong and asked me to wipe it off.  When I wiped it, the paint smeared and she loved it.  She then made several other splotches with the eraser and asked me to smear it like the other one.  She added a red eye to one of the dogs.  (Though she was trying to simply paint just the eye, but it got wider and she loved it too - as did I.)  Her picture turned out precious!!




SURPRISING GRANDPA AND GRANDMA:
I asked the girls if they would like to do something special and take the paintings to Grandma and Grandpa at work to say "Happy Valentine's Day!"  They got very excited and both went upstairs to change.  They each picked out a cute dress with leggings.  Riley even put on a black headband.  It was gorgeous weather outside and the first time we'd been out of the house in days!!  Felt awesome.




It was so fun to show up at their work and give them the paintings.  The girls were very proud!




GAMES:
We played a few board games together - Candy Land and Zingo.  The girls both love these games and it was fun to spend time together cheering each other on.


The rest of the night we did some fun things:  watching the Skeleton runs for the Olympics, reading books together, eating dinner.

It was a really great day and Riley especially talked about how much fun her day had been even though she missed her school party.  Hoping we created some fun memories today!

Riley with flu and the best she looked that day.

Loved all the sweetness they had going on... sweet girls.




Crochet Organic Baby Beanie

Here is a pattern for a baby beanie using 100% Organic Yarn (I use Nature's Choice).  I was trying to find a baby beanie to match the cocoons that I make and couldn't find one that worked like I wanted it to so I wrote this one.

Crochet Organic Baby Beanie

Materials:
1 skein of Nature's Choice Organic Yarn
I hook

Pattern:

ROW 1:    Make a magic circle.  Ch 2 (counts as a DC).  Make 9 more DC.  Pull string tight and sl st into top of first ch 2.  Total of 10 DC

ROW 2:  Ch 2.  DC in same st.  2 DC in each st around.  Sl st into top st of first DC.  Total of 20 DC.

ROW 3:  Ch 2. DC in same st.  1 DC in next st.  *2 DC in next st.  1 DC in next st.*  Repeat from * to * around.  Total of 30 DC.

Rows 4 - 7:  Ch 2.  DC in each st around.  Total of 30 DC.

FASTEN OFF.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Double Flu

Riley is confirmed to have both strains of the flu!  Wow - what a week!!  The doctor walked in after the flu test and asked "Didn't you just go through this with Julia?"  I said "Yes."  He then says "Are you ready to go through it again?"  Then told me that she tested positive for both A and B strains.  Since it has been over 24-48 hours, the Tamiflu won't work so we just have to ride it out.  I'm still in shock as she even had the flu shot!

I really feel like this is a test of character this week.  Part of me wants to just cry from being so tired and part of me feels tough and strong.  It's been a pain for sure.  I've loved the time with the girls despite it being full of sickness.

Plumber is going to be here in the next hour so we'll see how that goes as well!

Let My People Go

Another day off with a sick girl :(  and :)   Love the time with her, but can't wait until she is feeling much better.  Taking her to the doctor this afternoon.

As I was getting Julia's breakfast ready, I saw water start to run out from the cabinet under the sink.  Opened the doors and water was covering the entire base of the cabinet.  Took everything out from underneath and tried to figure out where the water was coming from.  Our dishwasher was running at the time so thought that might be it.  Thankfully it's not.

I then ran the water in the sink and watched as water poured out the bottom of the garbage disposal.  Pesky thing.  Texted Jeremy and he made this joke in his text:

Disease (fever/flu)
Pestilence (lice)
Flood (well, er... flood)
What's next?  Frogs?  Water to blood?  What people are we supposed to let go?

Love that we can laugh in hard/testing times!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar

Yesterday Julia kept asking repeatedly for girl scout cookies.  She didn't know they were girl scout cookies - they were cookies and she loved them and that's all that mattered.  I told her she could have two.  She threw a fit and I let her work through it.

Dinner was coming soon and I

She eventually ate the two cookies and I had placed the others in a baggie in a bowl toward the back of the counter.  I went into the office to work on the computer and send out some emails for work.

I came back later - thinking five minutes at the most which is plenty of time for her to think of things to do - and Julia was nowhere to be found.  I then heard scratching sounds on the pantry door.  Noticed it was closed and opened it to find Julia standing inside while holding a bowl with cookie crumbs inside it and a half-eaten cookie in her hand.

She simply laughed and there wasn't anything else to say.  Or do.  Except laugh with her.

Guilty as charged :)

Perfect Day

Tonight Julia was exhausted and asked if she could put on her pjs.  I took her upstairs, brushed teeth, put on pjs and read three books plus the Bible.  We laid down on her bed and snuggled together.

She leaned in really close with her head on my shoulder and sighed while saying "Ahhh... I like that."

Julia started to get hot so she sat up and pulled her leggings up to her thighs.  When she did, there were sparks from static electricity.  The look on her face was priceless despite the dark.  Her eyes just lit up as she said "Did you see the sparkles?!"  I smiled and said that I did.  She laughed and asked to do it again.  So we found different ways to make 'sparkles.'  She loved it.

Then she kissed my cheeks and I kissed hers.  She gave me a huge grin and started to chuckle.  I started to chuckle too.  Then she sighs again and says the sweetest words:

"This day was perfect!"

Letter from a Friend

Riley has a really good friend named Christopher.  He's a very sweet boy and chose to write a letter to Jeremy and I to plead Riley's case for a puppy.  She talks about wanting one all the time and without being asked, her wrote the following:

Riley loves puppys.  Sey wonts a shnoodl.  sey licks dogs.  seys owese wontid wun.  sey is my frend to.  sey has a hol dog book.  plus sey reley is my best frend reley.

(Riley loves puppies.  She wants a schnoodle.  She likes dogs.  She always wanted one.  She is my friend too.  She has a whole dog book.  Plus she really is my best friend really.)

So sweet.

Home again

Riley is still running a fever for the third day in a row.  I cleaned Julia all up last night and sprayed the beds, did loads and loads of laundry and then today I tackled Riley's hair.  So grateful that there was nothing to be found in her hair - all clear!  Makes me itch just thinking about it all.

Last night was a real ordeal.  Julia screamed and cried through two hours of doing little itty bitty sections of her hair.  She didn't want it pulled up in sections and wanted it down.  That started the crying.  Then it was wet.  And cold.  (She was in a robe with a towel around her neck)  The liquid gets very wet and I could see why she was uncomfortable.  The problem was that it was all so little and very very hard to get out in some spots.  Took her to the shower when it was all done for the final shampoo and she screamed through that as well.  Nothing we did or said helped.  And it was so hard to keep going, but we couldn't stop as we needed to make sure we got it all out.

By the time she was done with the treatment, her eyes were red from crying so much.  She crashed hard in bed and slept hard all night.

This morning Riley woke with a lower fever.  Her eyes look better and thinking that we are probably nearing the end.Still continuing to do laundry and spent over an hour just putting it all away.

Julia stayed home today as we got to bed so late last night because of how long the treatment took last night.  Plus I want to keep her away from her classroom another day to give them time to get it clean.  Called the school to let them know about Julia.  Has been a peaceful morning and looks beautiful outside.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Where Do I Begin

This week God has been teaching me about facing challenges in groups instead of one at a time.  Riley came down with a fever on Sunday night in the middle of the night.  Kept Jeremy up most of the night.  I stayed home with her on Monday.  Our heater broke and we got it fixed.  Not as much as a brand-new heater, but still hate to spend $ on things that I wish would just work.

Today I took Julia into school and Jeremy was able to take the day off to be with Riley.  Her temp is still high and she is quite lethargic.  Poor girl just doesn't feel well at all.  I'll be home with her again tomorrow and praying this thing passes.

When I took Julia into school, there was a note in her cubby stating that there was lice found in her classmate and that we should be on alert for it.  Been there, done that and it's not anything I ever want to go through again.  Or so I hoped.  I chose to look at Julia's hair as she was sitting down to eat her breakfast.  Sure enough... found eggs.  Lovely.

Even pointed them out to her teacher, but as they were not 'live,' she stayed at school.  I thought about taking a half day, about what exactly to do.  I just want to teach!  And go back to our boring, normal, everyday, uneventful lives.  I like when drama is not a part of the everyday and it seems that life is throwing us some curveballs.  Nothing we can't overcome, but just a hassle.

Julia ended up staying at school all day long.  Picked her up, got fun shampoo and spray and combs at Walmart, got home just as my piano student was entering the room and then taught the last three hours.  Helped Jeremy get Julia's bed all sorted out and started more washing in the laundry room.

Truly nothing I despise more than lice.  Thought I'd look into this subject of 'louse' and find out some interesting facts:

1.  Lice is spread mainly through CLEAN hair.  Yes, our girls are very clean.
2.  Lice can not hop, jump or fly.  Wonder if they can sing?
3.  Using mayonnaise and a head cap will NOT kill lice.  Ewww... why would you even try that?
4.  Lice and nits can not survive in temps above 130 degree Fahrenheit.  Hot dryer and hot water included.
5.  African Americans generally do not get lice.  Thinking we're quite capable then as we are so white skinned... unfortunately.  And lice prefer girls to boys!
6.  Pets don't get lice and you can't give them lice.

Tonight will be a long night of combing, wetting, brushing, picking and checking, checking, checking some more.  Truly one of my worst nightmares to deal with again after the incident last year with Riley.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Richardson Gymnastic Competition

Yesterday Riley competed at her second competition.  She amazed us.  Her high score was 9.15 on the floor exercise.  She also did amazing on the beam and bars.  Vault she did her best.  That's definitely the hardest one for her.

We hadn't seen her at practices in a while so when she got to bars and performed her pullover perfectly and a beautiful back hip circle, we were so excited!  She is so close to being able to perform her windmill by herself as well.

Poppi and Madi were able to come out to watch her.  That was really awesome.  Riley loved having people there to cheer her on.

During her warm-up on the floor exercise, she would finish her routine and then stick her hip out and wave at us and smile.  It was so cute.


It's pouring

The saying "When it rains, it pours" seems to be running through my mind today.  Julia finished getting over her flu at the end of last week.  She didn't have a fever long and wasn't contagious, but still felt not-so-well and didn't eat much until today really.

Last night Riley slept with Jeremy and kept him awake pretty much all night.  Neither one slept much at all and when I woke up, Riley was still awake at 6am.  I felt her forehead and she was running a temp.  A stay-at-home day for her.  She hasn't eaten anything except a few bites of a poptart and won't drink hardly a thing.  Mostly lays in bed and says she is either cold or tired.  She's still sleeping at the moment.

As I brought her downstairs to take her temp, I noticed that it was freezing.  A nice cool 65 degrees when the heater is set for 73.  Turns out our heater is broken.  I called our friend Richard who owns Cool Air Company and he got us all set up for a guy to come out about two hours later.

Thankfully it turns out we just need a new $145 part plus labor.  Something about the spark plug thing that causes it to light.  Kind of important.  They had to order it and it was looking like we wouldn't get it in until tomorrow afternoon, but they were able to get it quickly so the guy will be coming out here in about 30 minutes to install it.  Just very very thankful that it is a part needed and not a new heater.

I realize that this could be so much worse than what it is.  Ready for life to calm down (ha!) and everyone to be back to health again.

Unbroken

Speechless.  Hard to imagine anyone living through even one of the trials that Louis Zamperini endured.  Took me only a few hours to finish because it read so quickly.  I don't want to ruin the story, but will say that it is a must-read!!!

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Unbroken-Laura-Hillenbrand-ebook/dp/B003WUYPPG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392048897&sr=1-1&keywords=unbroken+bookhttp://www.amazon.com/Unbroken-Laura-Hillenbrand-ebook/dp/B003WUYPPG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392048897&sr=1-1&keywords=unbroken+book


the curious incident of the dog in the night time

My coworker walked into my classroom and handed me this book.  Said it was a fascinating story and she knows how much I love to read.  The book is written from the perspective of a boy with autism.  It's an interesting view into how amazing the mind works as well as a good read.

Publishers' Weekly says:
Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them," the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Grad School Application

I took the first step last night towards preparing for my graduate school application.  To say I'm beyond excited is an understatement.  To say I'm nervous is also an understatement.  Especially after finding out that SMU only takes 10-12 students in their program each year.

I've been videotaping myself teaching for a few months.  Mainly to prepare for the 20 minute video that I need to prepare.  I want it to be a true reflection of my teaching and to showcase what I am able to do with students.  I know that I work hard, teach well and love my job despite the days that are very difficult.  All a matter of whether I can get that to come across in 20 minutes.  I think I can, I think I can...

One of the items on my application is a Statement of Purpose.  I want it to reflect my belief in Music Education and why,how and what it is that I believe.

A few websites I'm using as references to think through how to write this paper:

Great ways to brainstorm and start writing: http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~natalia/studyinus/guide/statement/link4.htm

Tips:  http://www.syvum.com/gre/sop.html

Examples of younger student statements that might help me think:  http://www.studential.com/personalstatements/getpscourse.asp?type=37

To do and not to do:  "Ever since I was little..."
http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/writing-your-statement-purpose

Thoughts:
http://voices.yahoo.com/applying-graduate-school-tips-strong-statement-387862.html


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Gone with the Wind

Author:  Margaret Mitchell
Length:  1,024 pages
Interesting facts about the book:

-Scarlett was partly based on Mitchell herself and her grandmother
-Rhett was based on Mitchell's first husband Red Upshaw
-the initials JRM in her dedication refer to her second husband John Reginald Marsh
-Margaret Mitchell maintained the only character taken from real life was Prissy the maid
-When asked who she'd like to be in the movie version, Mitchell said 'Prissy'
-Like a detective novelist, Mitchell wrote the last chapter first and the first chapter last
-GWTW is the only book to sell more copies than the bible
-Mitchell nearly went blind just proofreading the manuscript!
-Mitchell scrupously researched every detail for GWTW, even going to the town register to ensure there was no Rhett Butler or Scarlett O'Hara alive during the Civil War
-The novel took ten years to complete, most of it was written in three
-For style, she endeavoured to make her prose so that a five-year old could read it
-If she were ever to write a sequel, it would be called 'Back With the Breeze'


There is definitely a reason this book won the Pulitzer Prize.  I love the character depth, the descriptions,the entire book.  I must admit that by the end I was sad that it was over and yet relieved because it was such a heavy reading.  The end was so tragic.  Even so, I must say that it is one of my favorites ever.

I will have to go back and watch the movie now as it has been years.  I remember many parts of the movie.  My favorite part when I was a girl was the big party at the Wilkes' home 'Twelve Oaks.'  I always wanted a hoop skirt, a green and white dress and large hat.

As I read, I could picture Vivien Leigh as Scarlett and am so thankful she was the actress that portrayed her as she caught the essence of Scarlett.  Loved that the casting in the movie was with Clark Gable as Rhett as well. Looking forward to watching it at some point again.

February Spending

February 2 - bought a piece of sheet music from www.chadlawson.com for $3.99
     I was laying next to Julia on the couch trying to help her fall asleep for her nap as she was having a tough time getting comfortable.  We turned on the calm/meditation station on Pandora and I heard this beautiful piano arrangement.  Wrote down the song/artist and found the sheet music.  Then spent about 30 minutes tonight learning it and practicing.  Thinking I may have to add to the resolution list that I want to learn a new piano piece every month as it was so peaceful, relaxing and meditative to be able to play.

February 13 - bought a Valentine's Card and a Yoda plush doll that came with candy for $6.99.  Jeremy enjoyed it :)

Late February -
Birthday present for Riley's friend - $30

Substitute Lesson Plan Crate, file folders, labels, hanging folders - $58

Total spent this month:  $98.98

Wow!  What a great month of spending (or saving!!).  I had forgotten about the birthday present and the substitute lesson plan stuff.  Bummer!  It was even better when I thought I'd only spent less than $11!




Books

I love books.  Love them.  I love when books are uncreased and new and ready to open for the first time.  I can never wait to start the books and then finish my books, but I rarely reread books because there are always so many more that I want to read.

Love this comic:

Money Saving Mom posted on Facebook this morning about her reading plan for the month of February.  Great books that sound amazing.  My friend Katie posted her list of books to read earlier in January and

Undaunted by Christine Caine
Restless by Jennie Allen
Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath
I thought it was just me (but it isn't) by Brene Brown
How to be an explorer of the world
Hands free mama by Stafford
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Great blog full of great book ideas:
http://www.howdoesshe.com/the-top-books-every-home-should-have-for-every-age/

List of 100 Great books to read:
http://www.kansascitymamas.com/goodreads-100-books-you-should-read-in-a-lifetime/

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Flu Strikes

We've had a very healthy 2013 except for when the girls both got the flu in January of 2013.  Julia is having a repeat experience.  Only one week later this year than last year.

It has been a tough day.  I feel awful that I didn't get her the flu vaccine this year (again) and that I didn't learn the lesson from last year's experience.  Riley and I had our vaccines at school which was convenient and free.  Jeremy did not get his and neither did Julia.  I even told Jeremy several times that I needed to get Julia vaccinated and then didn't.

Yesterday when we picked Julia up from school, she was feeling quite hot.  Her eyes had the darkened circles and I could tell she wasn't feeling well.  I asked her teacher how her day had been and if she had felt hot at all.  She said that Julia was perfect and that she wore her winter coat on recess even though it was 70 degrees out.  Julia hates wearing coats no matter how cold it is and never wears them unless forced.  I knew she wasn't doing well.

She spiked a high fever last night.  Our thermometers are missing so we couldn't take a temp.  Just felt that she was very hot despite using Advil/Tylenol.  This morning Jeremy went out to the store while I did piano lessons (kept Julia out of the area and away from all students) and he got a thermometer.

We took Julia to the doctor this afternoon and she was diagnosed with Flu Strain B.  Last year she had double flu so at least this is somewhat better (ok not really, but feeling a lot of guilt).

Then we went to Walmart and picked up the $221 prescription.  Yup.  And that's with 'good' insurance.

Julia was restless early tonight and is finally sleeping.  Praying that she can sleep more soundly than last night and that she continues to get better.  It's so sad to watch your baby look so pitiful and sick.

My parents are incredibly amazing and offered to have Riley spend the night at their house so we could focus on Julia.  Wow - what a God-send.

First Month Goal Review


One month complete!  So how am I doing on my goals?  

Goals for 2014:

1 -  It has been fun to find friends and family to send emails/cards/letters.  Nice to say thank you, you're loved and you're special. There are so many people that are amazing in my life and it's been an easy one to do!

2 - I can't go to Orff Level 2 until the summer of 2014, but I am working towards starting my Master's and this will be part of it.  Praying that it works out. 

3 - There is a meeting at SMU this Monday night at 7pm that I'll be attending to get more information on applying for my Master's Degree.  Application is due in early March!  I've taken videos of my teaching during class as well as photos and getting together the necessary items for the application.

4 - There are brilliant authors who have written beautiful books.  Finding my list is growing each week and may have to add on to what I'm hoping to read.  Reading is one of my passions (as well as Jeremy's) and finding that our girls feel the same way.  Picked up a book for each girl yesterday and then listened to Jeremy reading with Riley and laughing so loud together.  Made my day!  Finished four books this month and still working on 'Gone with the Wind.'  Wow - that is a long book!!  But loving it.  Now to watching the movie again.

Books Completed:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome Klapka
Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
Things Pondered by Beth Moore
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - 86% finished


5 - One of my challenges - spending less $$.  I gave myself $50 for fun money.  Should clarify.  $50 is 'fun money' that buys any needs that arise as well as any extras that I just want.  Doesn't go very far.  I did spend less than I normally do each month which is a plus. Though I did find that I spent over $50 for myself by about $20.  I was much more controlled in my nickel and diming but will have to work harder to meet this goal next month.

6 - The commission chart for the girls is going very well! They have just been saving their money and not spent a dime of it. 

7 - Exercise two days a week has been an easy feat and I feel so much better.  Doing workout videos with a friend as well as some workouts on weekends.  I found some amazing videos on YouTube that I love!  Highly recommend the following:

Jillian Michaels:
Banish Fat Boost Metabolism - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTT4W8ygJ7w

Tae Bo Billy

Denise Austin 
Upper Body Sculpt Workout - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-J0SPl6kxQ
Pilates Workout: Lower Body - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s24co_ExiUU

Tracey Mallett:  
Booty Barre Abs and Flexibility Workout - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k661WPg62wQ



8 - We haven't talked about where we'd like to go this summer, but hoping it works out even for a short weekend!

9 - I'm loving the Money Saving Challenge!  We have a jar where we saving up and it's been exciting.  I chose to save in the opposite direction and start by saving the larger amounts at the beginning of the year.  So I saved $52 the first week, $51 the second, $50 the third and so on.  When I've had a chance to add more $$, I have.  We have saved a total of $273 in the month of January.  

To see the challenge, click here:

10 - Do our second annual "Kindness Advent" in the month of December.  December is 10 months away so this will happen later in the year.

11 - The downstairs bathroom is still as ugly as ever... thinking this one will wait until a ways into the year when I have more time.

12 - I haven't signed up to attend a women's bible study at church yet.  Summer courses will work really great!

13 - My mom and I cooked a delicious meal this month.  (if I do say so myself)  Looking forward to cooking more!

14 - This one is embarrassing.  My goal is to pray for a particular person(s) each day of the week all year.  I do pray for others and I do spend time in prayer.  However, I did not specifically pray for particular people every day of every week.  To help change my habits, I am putting a list of who I am praying for in my phone, on my corkboard at work (just listing names next to days behind my desk), in a note inside my Jesus' Calling Devotional in my desk at work, and at home on my nightstand.  

I'm finding that I need to be reminded as this has not been a habit.  Now I need to build it to be something that is a part of my life.

OVERALL:  Loving the year and working towards being healthy, Godly, others-minded and financially wise.  Looking forward to February!