Sunday, June 29, 2014

Letters to Grandpa Mo

At school this past week, each student in Riley's class was asked to write a letter to someone who lives far away.  Riley chose to write to Grandpa Mo:

Dear grandpa Mo,

I am having a great time at school.  now how are you doing? by the way...do you remember when I was bald and woe that silly old ripunzzle wig! (she drew a picture of herself looking like rapunzel)  he he he it was funny I looked so funny in my Rypanzzle dress and hair. oh and how is tenusey  is it good bad ok or awesome!


Tenusey - Tennessee


Julia then made a cute picture out of stamps and drawings that she made so we could send him something special from her as well.  Love their little loving hearts.



Friday, June 27, 2014

Orff Level II

Beth Melin-Nelson calls the next few days after the Orff courses "re-entry."  She always says that her family understands that it takes her a few days to process her experience and to re-enter her usual life of laundry, cooking, every-day life things.  I'm finding this to be completely true.

Having been immersed in musical experiences for virtually every waking moment the last two weeks, I am finding myself a little out of it tonight.  Jeremy even commented that he was surprised I wasn't sitting with him and Julia to watch a show.  I couldn't explain with words very well, but did the best I could.  My mind and spirit are somewhere else even though my body is at home.  I am so incredibly sad for yet another amazing two weeks that are over.  So grateful they happened!

I really felt stretched as a musician personally these two weeks and came away with new skills I hadn't even really tested or tried before.  We were asked to compose original melodies in different modes.  One of my goals was to try to write lyrics and compose to which Jacque replied that we'd be doing that in class.

When she handed out our certificates, she said kind words about each and every one of us.  When she got to me, she tilted her head and just stared at me for a moment as tears were in her eyes.  (We were pretty well all crying at this point, but it was still a very tender, sweet look) It took her a little while before speaking and as she stared at me, I said "I must be next?"  Her words to me were "You have to promise that you will write.  You have to write."  She was referring to the fact that she wants me to continue to compose songs and write music.  That I have a gift at it.  She also said something about me having a tender, graceful spirit.  Being that I admire Jacque and look at her as a mentor, I completely respect the words she spoke today.  We hugged and I received my Level II Orff Completion Certificate.

These past two weeks can not be summed up in words.  I learned so much about myself, about how to teach children, how to express movement in class and have a much larger sense of what I am able to accomplish if I take fear of failure out of the picture.

I actually improvised in Lydian mode by myself (this is huge!) in front of a large audience today for our sharing time.  Improvisation is scary for me!  I don't want to hit a wrong note or make a mistake in the sounds of the piece.  And I did it.  I actually did it.  I also improvised a singing duet with David earlier in the week and did it then too.  I don't have to fear anymore.

I truly believe I was meant to be an Orff-concentrated teacher and can't wait to see what new opportunities open up as a result of what I have learned and what I believe about myself.  Every year we end with a haunting, beautiful song as we hold hands together and weave around the room as we sing to each other to end the time together.

Song " Round and round we go, we hold each other's hands and weave our lives in a circle.  The dance is done; the song goes on."

What She Knows

Jeremy was walking down the hall and casually asked Julia a question:

Jeremy:  Hey Jules!  What do ya know?

Julia:  You da boss!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Matched

Author:  Ally Condie
Pages: 400
Buy here:  Amazon

Another dystopian young adult book.  I liked the concept that everything is decided for you and that Cassia is questioning why they are not allowed to think for themselves and choose life for themselves.  It is a very light and easy read.  Quick.  Isn't my favorite, but being that I have lots of studying of serious music history that I'm delving into, I truly enjoyed escaping into this world.  I've started the second book in the series and am hoping the ending is much better than the last trilogy of books that I read (Divergent series) as I loved the first book, but then it went downhill from there and very much disliked the last book.  On to the next book "Crossed!"

New Friends

Riley is very happy as she has made several friends at school this past week.  I love how God knows our deepest desires - even the simple ones - and shows Himself faithful in hearing our prayers and showing that He is there.

Strep Throat

Orff was harder than I had remembered.  I was tired, throat was sore and I thought it was just due to pollen/allergies.  Pushed off on Wednesday.  Again on Thursday.  On Friday I tried to convince myself that I felt better.  On the ride home, I realized I should go in to see a doctor as I wasn't feeling any better and still have one more week of Orff training that I do not want to miss!

I went into the doc.  They took my temp and told me I had a fever of 100.2.  I was completely unaware and had no idea as I didn't feel feverish.  They asked me if I'd had one earlier to which I responded I hadn't even taken my temp because I was sure I wasn't running a fever.  Though the fact that I was having aches and chills probably should have led me to that conclusion.

The nurse came and talked with me.  She did a strep test with the long sticks (two of them) at a time.  She apologized several times and said my throat must be in major pain.  I told her it hurt.  She showed me the sticks and there was blood on them.  I almost cried when she did the test.  Very painful.  She said she was so sorry for causing such pain as it was apparent my throat was not feeling well.  Said the test would be done in about 10 minutes.

It showed very quickly that I had strep throat.  She gave me meds to take three times a day as I'm allergic to penicillin/amoxycillin.  I have to drink tons and tons of water with it and avoid dairy.  The pharmacist told me that it is known to cause diarrhea and to avoid the dairy at all costs.  No problem! Thankfully all is good so far.

When asked about my pain level, I said my throat was at an 8-9 out of 10.  I haven't been sick like this in a few years so it really hurt.  Pain can be relative.

The doctor said she was concerned about my pain level and wanted to offer some solutions to it.  One was that she could write a prescription for pain medicine "hydro-codone" or she could give me a mouth wash that has benadryl and other pain aids in it.

I was taken aback at how easily the pain medicine was offered.  This is strep throat.  It is not a major surgery.  My throat hurts compared to every day normal health, but I truly feel this level of pain management should not be needed for strep.

I shared with her that I was not interested in either of them.  The reason being that addiction to pain medication is in my family and that it wasn't an option I was willing to take.  Unless I was having major surgery, but even then I'd be mindful of my dosage.  She looked surprised that I'd say this.  I wanted to say so much more.  I also didn't want to offend her.  I just wanted to make it clear that it was going to far to offer such a highly addictive drug for such a small sickness.  (One day I'll share about all that has happened through the addiction of this drug with my brother Jim, but I'm not ready yet.)  I also said I wasn't interested in mouthwash.  Sleep and the meds specifically for the strep were all I needed.

Yesterday I slept virtually all day long.  It was a rondo form day:
A:  Eat oatmeal and take meds
B:  Three hour morning nap
A:  Eat toast and take meds
C:  Do a little homework and teach Riley new piano songs
A:  Eat Dinner (more toast) and take meds
B:  Four hour afternoon nap
A:  Eat a light snack of... you got it- toast

Then went to bed at 9:30pm.  In total, I think I was awake for maybe 5 hours total yesterday.  Today has been better so far!  I've actually been awake for four hours straight and will be taking a nap quite soon.

Thankful to have gone into the doc on Friday and then picked up the prescription to have one more day of rest before another long week.

Orff Level II - Week One

My mind, heart and body are so full right now.  Tons of new ideas and ways of thinking through music.  I can't wait to try so many things with my kids!

A few great take-aways that I'm afraid I'll forget:

1.  Don't play in the clouds and don't play in the mud (mallet technique).  Keeps kids from pounding down on bars and from lifting mallets too high away from bars.

2.  When students are asked to find a partner, the answer for when a student asks them to be their partner is ALWAYS "yes."  There is no other answer.  Students can not turn away from students that are walking toward them.  Build community.

3.  Simplify the melody when teaching.  Students don't have to learn the entire melody as it is written.  Take the melody and only teach the outline of it (all of the notes that land on each beat (1-2-3-4) and eliminate the eighth note pairs or more challenging rhythm patterns.  Add on after the outline has been taught.  So much easier for students!

4.  Create a spreadsheet of what dances and music are used for which grades.

Example:
KINDERGARTEN
Highway No. 1 - Kindergarten - Shenanigans cd - Children's Dances of Terra del Zur
Shoemaker's Dance - Kindergarten - Shenanigans - Dance Music for Children Level 1

SECOND
Sasha - Second Grade - New England Dance Masters cd - Sashay the donut
Slow G (Kings and Queens) - Second Grade - New England Dance Masters - Sashay the donut


5.  Take risks!
Write a new melody.  Create lyrics - watch scansion!

6.  Use the volumes
Something I didn't do last year and I'm feeling so much more ready to take the pieces from the four volumes that I own and perform the pieces with my students.  Choosing one per grade to start the year with!



Monday, June 16, 2014

Making Friends

Riley and Julia are going to Lakeside this week and next week while I am at my SMU Orff Class.  Riley doesn't like going and calls it "Baby School."  She had a hard time last year as the kids weren't nice and didn't include her.  It wasn't a good experience.

This year Riley and I have been praying for one good friend.  That she would have a friend to make the ten days that she is there better.

When we picked her up today, she handed me a note she had written.  It said:

Dear Mom Dad and Julia,

I haven't found a friend yet but I'm sure to get one soon.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Scare

This afternoon all four of us were in the office listening to music and hanging out.  Julia was on Jeremy's lap and Riley was standing next to him.  I was at the laptop.

The next thing we know Riley has gone very suddenly from standing to being slumped down to the ground with her head near the desk and laying on Jeremy's leg.  Jeremy asked her "Riley, what are you doing?"  I hopped out of my chair fast and had a feeling she had fainted as she normally doesn't just sink to the ground so strange with her in such a weird angle.

Jeremy pushed Julia off his lap and I took her back a little ways.  Jeremy took Riley's head in his hands as she glazed really oddly out into space.  He rested her back to lay her down and she came out of it.  She looked very much as though she had no idea what had happened.

Julia started crying because her belly had been bumped against the chair.  Riley blinked and was very out of it.  She stood up and seemed ok.  We all walked into the living room to let Riley lay down on the couch.  She was a little sweaty and said she hit her hip on the desk.  This did happen, but she didn't remember falling to the ground and hitting her hip as she went down.

She ate cinnamon toast and had some water while laying down for a while.  We talked through it all.  She was hot; she was hungry; she had been standing in one place for a while.  She said she felt dizzy and then saw lots of colored spots.

Sure enough - she had fainted.

We thought through the day and realized she had a hot dog and mac and cheese for lunch; one pop tart for breakfast.  And that was about it.  Not really sure how much water she had.  It was very strange and scary.

We watched her carefully the rest of the night and asked her a million times how she was feeling.  She thought this was silly how many times we asked, but we were very much concerned.  It scared us badly.

The four of us went out to a Father's Day dinner at Carrabba's at 4pm.  We had a wonderful time as a family.  Then went to Walmart to get groceries for the week.

As we drove home, Riley said really sweetly "I like our family.  We are funny, fun and dramatic.  We are quiet sometimes when we color and sometimes we are loud."

She was fine the rest of the night and we watched her closely.

Julia's First Dance Recital

Yesterday Julia performed in her first dance recital.  She takes at Sheena's Dance Academy in Frisco. We're fortunate that the teacher comes to her daycare during part of their play time once a week.  Makes for an easy way for her to take dance!

Her mommy wrote down the wrong date for the dance rehearsal and we missed it completely.  My friend wrote to ask what time Julia's group performs and we had the same performance time.  She mentioned the dress rehearsal that night and I looked at the paperwork again to notice we had missed it.

We weren't sure how Julia would respond as she's never been on a large high school auditorium stage with bright lights and tons of people watching.  She also refused to put on her tights or to even try on her dance costume.  We took a lot on faith and thankfully it all worked out.  Her tights and costume fit absolutely perfectly despite them being very itchy.

Julia didn't want to take a shower before the recital, but I bribed her by telling her that I could put makeup on her after the shower.  That was all it took!  Julia gasped "Lipstick??!!"  I smiled and said yes and sure enough - she was ready to go!

We put her hair up in a tight ponytail, added pink eyeshadow, lipstick and blush.  She loved it.

I was able to get her new tights on.  Dancers don't wear panties and Julia thought this was hilarious.  She kept saying "Dis is very weird!  I have no panties on!  So silly."  She kept laughing about it.

Once we got to Heritage High School, Julia had to be fully dressed before going to her room.  I took her into the bathroom and tried to get her costume on.  She kept saying how itchy it was and how she didn't want to wear it.  I tried my best to keep her calm and to stay calm myself.  I could hear other moms laughing at the sink area.  Finally we got it up, but the straps were being pulled off so I opened the door knowing she wouldn't want others to see her belly.  She pulled the costume on and out we went.

The moms reassured me "We have been there!  It gets better!"

Julia sat on my lap to watch the first dancing number and then was able to go back to get ready for her performance.  She loved to watch the other dancers and kept smiling huge.

There was a man wearing a pink tutu at the dressing room drop-off area.  Julia giggled and went no problem to the man with the tutu (whom she named Tutu Man).

I was nervous for her because she'd never done it before.  A few acts before she went on a girl stood and cried the entire dance.  I was hoping that Julia would be ok.

When the lights came on for her dance - called Goodness Gracious - she covered her eyes and mouth for a second.  We couldn't tell if she was crying or not.  Then we noticed she was laughing really hard.  She leaned forward to see her friend at the end of the row and waved to her friend.  Then continued dancing and performed the whole thing!!  She did little points and turned around and smiled.  Riley turned to Grandpa and said "Look!  Julia looks so cute!"  We were all so proud!

I went back to pick up Julia after her dance and she sat on my lap through the remainder of the show. She grew hungry and ate some animal crackers.  Then got very heavy on my lap and turned toward my chest.  Fell fast asleep.  Looked like a complete angel with her hands together next to her cheek and sitting in her fancy little costume.  She slept through half the program on my lap.  Was very precious.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Outselling a Solicitor

As we were working on dinner, a solicitor came to the door asking us questions.  Julia and Riley came to the door to stand next to me.

Solicitor:  Hi there.  I'm _____ with Vivint.  I'm sure you've seen us on tv and our commercials.

Me:  Actually, no, but that's ok.

Solicitor:  We're looking to put in a system in a home in your neighborhood.  Your house is ideal - nicely maintained lawn (thank you Scotts!), beautiful home (thank you for the compliments, but what are you really wanting?).  We're looking for someone who knows their neighbors well to give them feedback on the system if you choose to do it.  Do you know your neighbors well?

Me:  Well, we saw a few of them today.

Riley:  We sold chocolate bars!

Solicitor:  Are you a girl scout?

Me:  It was for her gymnastics team.

Riley:  They're only a dollar!

Julia:  Do you want to buy one?

Solicitor:  Let me see if I have change... (pulls out a dollar)  I'll buy one - thanks!  How can you say no to these two cute girls?

I agree, Mr. Solicitor.  I agree.

Down to three bars left to sell.  These girls are golden!

Selling Like a Girl Scout

We have a Booster Club at Sky High Gymnastics that raises money to help support the coaches and various other items that come up.  Each year we pay money for Riley to be part of the team to the Booster Club.  This year they are doing fundraisers to help offset the cost for each gymnast.

Today was the day to pick up our chocolate bars - the World's Finest Bars. (Buddy the Elf would be so proud) Riley was so excited!  "This will be like I'm a Girl Scout!  How awesome!"  Each family is responsible to sell one box of chocolates - a total of 60 bars which totals $60.

I am not against selling them, but I don't really view myself as someone who really does well in sales.    I've had jewelry parties and had only two people come.  Held another jewelry party by catalog only and no one bought anything.  Apparently jewelry selling is not my deal.  Maybe chocolate bars are more my thing!  I was determined to not let this hold Riley back and told her we'd work together to sell them.

After over half an hour that consisted of the girls picking out what to wear, Julia clothing her doll in a leotard and skirt, Julia changing her clothes twice and the girls arguing over who gets to knock and who gets to talk, we were finally out the back door and standing in the garage.  With two cute girls adorned in Sky High leotards and leggings, we made our way out the garage to sell some chocolate bars.  I said a silent prayer to Jesus that He would bless them and help them to sell bars so that they'd have fun.

We started with the two neighbors that we know.  In the car after picking up the bars, I talked with Riley about what to say.  We figured out a simple speech that introduced her, what she was selling and shared how much each bar cost.

Riley proudly walked to our first neighbor's home and rang the doorbell.  Many times before I had Julia ready and up to the door. (Oh my - sorry neighbor!  So thankful you don't have babies napping!)  Riley said so sweetly "Hi.  My name is Riley.  I'm with the Sky High Gymnastics Team.  We are selling chocolate bars.  They're only a dollar."  Then she smiled and looked up with big eyes.

Our neighbor bought two bars.

The next neighbor also bought a bar.  We chose the homes that had cars parked out front as it gave us more of a chance that there was at least one person home.  I held the box of chocolates as they were heavy for the girls and stood behind them.  Julia and Riley stood side by side a little ways back from the door.

After a few houses, the girls were pumped.  They had sold a chocolate bar at each home and were so happy.  They stood at the next house and began arguing over who was saying the speech.  They stood there pushing each other - fairly gently.  "I want to say it!"  "Not fair Riley!  You say it every time!"  "But it's for my team!"  "I want a turn.  I say it!"  I broke up the argument by saying "Hey girls - they're not home!  Let's choose who is knocking and who is saying the speech.  Riley, which role do you want at the next house?"  The girls immediately got chipper and happy again.  Riley chose to knock on the door and let Julia say the speech.

It took a few houses until someone was home.  Julia looked up sweetly at the man and said "Hi.  My name is Julia.  I do gymnastics.  Do you want a granola bar?"  He smiled and said "A granola bar?"  We let him know they were chocolate bars.  He went back to get money and bought five bars.  "I can't resist those big blue eyes!  I'll have to buy five."

After several more houses, we came upon a family who had seven children at the house - friends and relatives.  No one wanted to be left out so they bought eight bars.  So thankful for this family!!

Riley asked me "Is this what it's like to be a Girl Scout?  This is so much fun!"  I told her that she was a good sales girl and she responded "No I'm not.  They just like chocolate!"

In less than an hour, we sold 31 bars.  Then five more over the phone to my parents so that made 36 sold.

Our neighbor to our side asked us to come around 6:15pm tonight.  The girls couldn't wait to get back out there and sell more.  They bought five bars.  We saw that there was a neighbor walking towards us so Riley asked him politely if he'd like a bar.  He said he'd go back to his house to get money.  While he went to get money, Riley asked the lawn guy who was prepping to mow if he'd like one - he bought five bars.  The women whose home he was mowing the lawn for also bought five.  The neighbor who went to get money returned with $5 and also bought five bars.  A total of 20 bars sold within minutes.  56 down - four to go.

We walked up to our door and the girls rang the doorbell and knocked several times.  Jeremy answered our door and just laughed as Riley said her speech.

Later we had a solicitor come by and Riley sold a bar to him as well (despite the fact we didn't go for what he was selling).  I put out on Facebook that we had only three almond bars left and a friend said she'd take them so I'll be dropping them off to her tomorrow.  60 bars sold!!

So very proud of the girls and their determination, confidence and effort today.   We had a really fun time together and it was an easy way to help out the Booster Club!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bliss

The past two days have been amazing - if you don't count our trip to Walmart at noon when all three of us were tired and hungry!  So I'm not going to count that time.  :)

The girls and I have read books, played Candy Land more times than I can count and laughed a ton.  I've tried some new recipes and made a chicken meal that my mom and I made for a dinner last month.  It has been unusually cold (80's to low 90's) and somewhat rainy.

We ventured to the gym, Target, Half Price Books and Walmart.  I cleaned the office and it is sparkling now!!  It truly needed a major overhaul and finally got it.    And can I just say what an amazing feeling it is to do laundry at normal times of the day?!  I love that.  I can do it when I want and then put it away during the day!  What is this?  Amazing.

Julia has been waking up bright and early.  6:30am being her latest so far.  I really think she knows that she gets extra time with me and chooses to wake up early just so we can play games, eat together and read.  Riley has been taking full advantage of sleeping in and woke up at 9:40am this morning!  Over 12 hours of sleep.  She looked taller when she got up.

The girls have created lots of fun things together.  Riley made several art things with yarn and plates that Ms. Martin had taught them in class.  She also learned how to do a few origami pieces and then created one to look like a pig for her second grade teacher who collects pig items.

This summer is beginning beautifully and wonderfully.  The girls are relaxed and I'm relaxed.  Jeremy is having a really hard time going to work and I feel really bad about that.  Summer is always hard on him.  Though I don't think teaching would really ever be his thing even if he wanted summers off...  he loves his job.  Just hard to leave family when we're in pjs or making delicious smelling breakfasts.  Glad he gets to take some with him tomorrow to work!


Monday, June 9, 2014

June Spending

June 8 -
Music for Children Textbooks for my Orff Level II Class next week  $42

June 9 -
Half Price Books - $10 for four books (Does this count since I brought in books from home and earned over $15 on them?  In a way I made money on that trade!)

June 21 -
Riley's backpack, lunch box and water bottle - $72.49
- Her backpack lasted through Kinder and First.  Got a great deal on her new ones!

June 24 -
Orff Level II Materials - $76

June 27 -
Women's Bible Study at Church - $15
SMU Barnes and Noble - got two SMU tshirts and Star Wars Trilogy Books/Wreck this Journal for Riley as well as a large book of poetry for me to use to write songs - $87.11


The Energy Bus

Author:  Jon Gordon
Pages:  165

Will try to be diplomatic about this book.  Having just finished "How Children Succeed" recently, I went ahead and read this very quick read (finished it in a few hours).  We were assigned this book to read for the summer as we will be doing some activities with it at our fall orientation.  The idea behind the book is that there are ten rules that can fuel your life, work and team with positive energy.

While there were some good quotes and few interesting knowledgeable tidbits, I did not enjoy this book at all.  It was very corny and it just didn't impact me strongly.  I realize the entire book was about positive energy - what you emit gets out to others and you should be positive.  I just couldn't get into a book about a created fictional character whose car breaks down and he ends up riding the bus every morning with this bus driver named Judy as she and her cast of characters on the bus give wisdom to this business man each day as he transforms into this positive, popular leader who influences his work, his marriage and his life.  So much so that he ends up choosing to ride the bus every day instead of driving himself to work after his car is fixed.  Um ok...  I didn't care about the character and was thankful it was a fast read.

One cool fact I found was on page 100 - "The heart acts as an emotional conductor and radiates how you are feeling to every cell in the body via the heart's electromagnetic field; this energy field can be detected up to 5-10 feet away.  The heart's electromagnetic field is 5,000 times more powerful than the brain."

I understood the point of the book, but just didn't enjoy it.  According to the book, I guess I'm an "Energy Vampire" who will suck the life and positivity out of anyone who truly wants to 'ride the bus.'  I'm a positive person much of the time, but this book just didn't do it for me.

How Children Succeed

Author:  Paul Tough
Pages:  231 (if you include the index - otherwise 201)

Great book.  Really interesting read for educators.  The main point is brought home in many ways:  change a family - change a neighborhood - change a community.  To change education, we have to change families one at a time.  How students are raised at home affects how they learn in school more than any other factor.

Towards the end of the book, more was shared about a chess team and the difference chess made with students.  Character education was also talked about.  It's impossible to bridge the gap in learning completely, but you can offset the disparity through five main character traits - resourcefulness, resilience, ambition, professionalism and integrity. (pg. 162)

Very well-written and interesting read.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Care For American Girl Doll Skin

Julia showed up last night with pen on her hands from playing upstairs.  We talked about how we don't draw on ourselves.  Never really found out why she's doing this.  She doesn't seem to know or share.

I'm not a fan of drawing on your skin.  I looked up several websites and found that many children (or most) draw on themselves.  Some parents don't mind at all - after all, most pens aren't toxic or harmful.  Some parents don't like it.  I'm in the latter category.  It's messy, looks awful and tends to lead to drawing other places like dolls.

As I was putting Julia to bed, I saw that her doll Isabelle was lying in the bin with her clothes and that she'd changed her outfit.  I said "Oh fun Julia!  You.... (gasp!!!)"  Julia's reaction was immediately with loud crying and big alligator tears "I'm sorry Mommy."  The gasp was my reaction to seeing the arms and face of her doll covered in ink markings.  I truly should have taken a picture of it.

I realize that it's a doll.  It's not a person and there are many other things in life that matter more.  However, we don't go out and frivolously spend $120 on a single doll and then not take care of it.  Yes, Julia is only four.  These things are bound to happen and be experimented with.  Thankfully, I was able to find a solution on the AG doll site and fixed it with only a very faint line on her forehead left.  You'd have to really be looking for it to find it.  So thankful to not have to send it to the AG Doll Hospital and pay an extra $40 just to have it fixed.

There were several ways to clean the doll, but more ways to NOT clean the doll.  Her skin is made from a special vinyl that soaks up colors from markers, inks and fabrics.  Her eyes are not to get wet as they can rust.  Her hair is also special and shouldn't get anything but spritzed water on it.  The doll can not be submerged in water, but I think that's without saying anyway.

Here is what I did and it worked.  Though the website says it might not.  It took out the pen and with some scrubbing, all is back to normal.

How to care for your doll

Skin Care Video - scroll through the video options to find "Doll Skin Care Video."  I followed the steps and made a baking soda/warm water mix that was thick like toothpaste.  Though I didn't measure it out.  I simply poured baking soda in a dish and then added warm water until it was thick.  I then used a white wash cloth to rub in teeny tiny circles around the pen.  I scrubbed fairly hard in some places.  And covered the hair and eyes with portions of another cloth as I went around.  It took some time (15-20 minutes), but all was fixed.

So far today Julia hasn't drawn on anything except paper.  She sure keeps us on our toes!


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Seat Selection

I love Charlotte Gambill and her passion for Jesus.  I love this sermon!  What a powerful message:

Seat Selection

Making Friends

Julia came home yesterday after gymnastics and had a great time.  She had a somewhat different day at school because she was moved into a new classroom with a new teacher for the summer.  This is always difficult when there is a change.  Especially when we finally seemed to get a routine established after her teacher changed four times this year.  It was quite difficult.

She has a friend at school who is hot and cold - likes her one minute/won't play with her or be her friend the next.  Julia is determined to make the friendship work and always talks about her friend in terms like "I wonder if ______ will be nice today!  I hope so!"  or "Today at school she was nice.  But not all day.  She didn't be my friend at the playground."

Today Julia and Riley went upstairs after we got home while Jeremy cooked and I was doing laundry.  Riley called down several times really sweetly to tell me to come up.  I politely told her that I'd be up in a minute to see what she was doing.  She was persistent and I thought she just wanted to show me something she had done.

"C'mon Mom!  You'll really want to see this!...Mom - better hurry!... Seriously Mom - you need to get up here."

I finally went upstairs and Riley led me to the playroom where Julia had dropped a dark brown thick marker on the ground.  I looked at her legs to find that her left leg was completely colored in the brown marker.  Her hands brown as well.

She looked up with somewhat of a smile.  I really wasn't sure how to react so I simply smiled and said "Julia, we don't draw on ourselves.  Why did you do that?"

Her reply saddened me "(Friend) won't be my friend unless I look like her."  Her friend is a beautiful Hispanic girl with dark skin and black hair.  Earlier in the year she had told Julia that she'd only be friends if Julia had dark skin and black hair too.  Julia has taken this to heart and chose to color her skin.

We talked briefly about how God made her with white skin and blonde hair.  That she is beautiful the way that she is.  That we don't change to please our friends; our true and real friends will accept us for who we are and not tell us that we have to be/look/act like them.  Riley was incredibly sweet and shared things like "Peyton's my friend and she doesn't ask me to change.  God made you the way you are, Jules and you're beautiful!"

I brought her downstairs for Jeremy to see.  He smirked as I had as well and then we took pictures to remember the occasion.  Don't want to send a wrong message, but wanted to capture the moment in case we need to talk more about it again some day.

It's hard enough to raise girls to be confident women who see themselves as beautiful without someone telling us otherwise.  Especially at the age of four.  My prayer for Julia is that she will find peace and joy in being herself; and accept others as they have been made by God as well.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Wide Awake: The Book

Author:  Erwin Raphael McManus
Pages:  251
Get it here:  Amazon.com

At the Women's Conference, we were all given the book "Wide Awake" by Erwin Raphael McManus.  I love how logical he is and how he just makes sense.  I began to highlight the book as I went along because there were so many great thoughts and quotes I wanted to remember.  Here's a few of them:

The word Eden means 'pleasure.'  God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Pleasure.

You are created by God to expand the good.

"to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given and they will have abundance."  You need to maximize your capacity and that takes at least two things:  responsibility and risk.

Ask yourself what does God expect of me?  What is my oil?  (in reference to the bridegrooms and their oil - or lack thereof)

Eventually we realize that success isn't gained by talent alone.  Some people have less talent and are far more prepared; they have far more discipline and foresight.  (can't count the number of times we had discussions with Madi about this!)

Preparation is the beginning of the creative process.

Often the person who has the most luck is the person who won't quit.

To make even one dream come to reality, many other dreams have to be sacrificed on the altar of your imagination.  I love the insight that the word 'decide' is Latin for "to cut."  Every one of us is a surgeon.  We live our lives cutting away every potential future we reject and giving life to the one we choose.