Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SMU Class

Starting my Graduate Degree has one of the best decisions of my life.  I anticipate class every week and can't wait to meet up with friends to talk about all our readings and nerdy music things.  (It's not nerdy to me, but to others I'm sure it is)  It's refreshing to be around people who get what you do, who get what you work to accomplish and who love music and studying music materials like you do.

One of my favorite things about the class is how challenged I feel in examining my beliefs as a music educator.  After 14 years of teaching, I have felt that I understood more about what I do.  The more you learn, the more you realize how much you don't know!  Now I see how far I've come and how far I have to go.  And it's not a scary or bad thing - it's so truly exciting!!

Our professor Dr. Tunks is amazing.  He facilitates well and gives insight without ever making you feel inferior.  He has a great way of putting his thoughts and research into words.  Learning is so fun.

September Happened

Somehow September happened.  And apparently blogging did not!

The girls are back into the swing of school.  Riley is loving second grade.  She has Mrs. Ward whom Riley says is the best teacher ever.  She is truly amazing.  Riley has been so fortunate to have had such great teachers.

Riley started dance classes - hip hop and ballet.  She isn't too sure of them and is making friends slowly.  They don't get to talk like they did in gymnastics so it's harder to meet them, but Riley's enjoying it more each week.  Her favorite is hip hop.

Julia also started dance classes - tap and ballet.  She is incredibly blessed with Ms. Asila who is the most fantastic teacher Julia has had yet (besides Miss Nicole whom we love too!).  Julia is learning so much and going to school in the mornings has been much easier.  She still has friend issues with Rodriguez and Hernandez.  They are great friends for the most part but they also seem to be somewhat catty - Julia included.

Often Julia will tell on something that a friend did and if we ask her what she did, she says "I don't remember."  But then she's able to recall it and it's generally something like "I hit her" or "I was not nice."  So there you have it.

The best part of her day is being with her boyfriend Ian.  Julia talks about her 'boyfriend' all the time. She said that Ethan is Rodriguez' boyfriend, Evan is Hernandez' boyfriend and Ian is her boyfriend.  I asked her what that meant and she said "We hold hands at recess and when I am grown up, I will marry him."

Riley then shared that she has a crush on someone.  That means she loves this person a lot.  And it's her friend Chris.  He's a sweet, sweet boy.  I don't know Ian, but hopefully he treats Julia well also.  Scared for the teenage years!

The past week Julia had a high fever for a few days of 102.5 - 103 and then when she started to get better, Riley got sick with a stomach bug.  I got the call at work that Julia was sick last Thursday.  Today is Tuesday and I haven't been back to work yet.  Going tomorrow and looking forward to teaching.  Though snuggle time and loving on the girls is always sweet.  Even when you're holding hair back so they don't throw up on it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Month 8 Review

This year is going so fantastic.  I have to say that it's been one of the best years I've had.  Thrilled to see what God is doing in our family, our friends and us as individuals.  So thankful for all He has blessed us with and what He has allowed us to do.  Here's how the goals are coming for 2014:

1 - Send an email/letter/card to a different person every week encouraging them, praising them and thanking them.  Really enjoying finding time to thank others and think about them.

2 - Attended Orff Level 2 in June.

3 - Started my Master's Degree at SMU within the past two weeks.  Took theory and history tests, had my first class and turned in my first assignment.  So. Much. Fun.

4 - Make a list of 20 books I want to read this year and read them.  5 Christian, 5 classics, 5 teacher/educational, 5 of my choosing.

- Haven't read as many books lately due to studying, but still read "Crash the Chatterbox" by Steven Furtick, two books in the Legends series by Marie Lu and lots of review time in the music history book.

5 - Give myself $50 per month per person for 'fun money' towards clothes for myself and the girls.  Total = $150 per month on clothes per person

**August = expensive.  Purchased Julia's uniforms for school which will last her all year (roughly $150 total), purchased two new outfits for Riley (roughly $50), socks and shoes for the girls, new khakis for Jeremy, and school supplies.  Not to mention items for my room at school which totaled roughly $300.  Definitely wasn't a thrifty month.

6 - Start the girls on a commission chart and teach them skills appropriate for their age.  Each girl has tasks to do on days Monday thru Friday.  They earn $ if they do their task.
Ex// Riley puts away all of her laundry; Julia helps me with hers.  Julia helps take out silverware and put it in the drawer; Riley helps by wiping down the table after meals.

*Still having them help without making $$.  Though Riley would like to start earning $ to save towards items she wants.  Working on that.

7 - Exercise two days a week.  Wednesday and Friday - workout video at school. Friday and Saturday - run/walk.  That gives me four options to choose two days from and hopefully I can get stronger and more consistent!

Started P90x3 again as it has been so easy to fit into my schedule and it's a great workout.  Already on week 3 again.

8 - Travel somewhere as a family this summer!
*Didn't travel anywhere this summer, but enjoyed it none-the-less!

9 - Start the money saving challenge.  Savings jar.  Use it for something fun for the whole family at the end of the year?!  To see the challenge, click here:


*Working on building it up as we used it to help with payments for Grad School.

10 - Do our second annual "Kindness Advent" in the month of December.  Days 1-24 we do kind things for others and family events that bring us together to help show the love of Jesus.
*Can't wait to do this in a few months!

11 - Paint, spackle, and freshen up our downstairs bathroom.  Add new light and mirror if needed.  At least the mirror.  It's a hideous room... whoever put the really ugly wallpaper on only two walls had no taste.  Seriously.
*Repainted, speckled and freshened up both our Master Bath and downstairs bath.  They look amazing!!

12 - Attend a Women's Bible Study at church at the new West Frisco Location where we are now going.
*Attended the Crash the Chatterbox Bible Study

13 - Cook a meal with my mom every month - alternating side dishes and main dishes.
August - Meal?  What meal?  This month went too fast.

14 - Pray for a particular person(s) each day of the week all year:
Monday - Jeremy
Tuesday - Julia and Riley
Wednesday - school teachers and coworkers
Thursday - my family
Friday - my brother Jim
Saturday - Jeremy's family
Sunday - specific prayers for friends (Christine Chenault, Lea Jasper, Edwina Townsend, Stephanie Funkhouser, Beverly Perry and others that occur throughout the year)
*Praying.  So thankful.

15 - Learn one new song on the piano each month.
August - worked on some former songs from college including Chopin's Nocturnes and Bach's Two Part Invention No 4.  Helped to review the form of pieces for a portion of my Music Theory Test!  Already working on two new Chad Lawson pieces:  Swan Lake and I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.


Author:  Marie Lu
Pages: 400

This book was so fun to read!  Only took two days from start to finish.  It was fast and interesting.  Already starting the third book in the series.

Pianists I Love

I am finding more time to play piano lately for fun and coming across some amazing piano pieces that I love on the Pandora stations.

Chad Lawson - can't wait until his variations on Chopin pieces comes out in a few weeks.

Brian Crain - song "Rain" is beautiful!!!  Plus he has some violin and piano duets... thinking that could be so fun to do with my mom!

Paul Cardall - played a lot on Pandora.

Candlelight Dinner

Jeremy was cooking and I was practicing a new piano piece by Chad Lawson (LOVE his piano music!!!!!).  The girls went to the table and decided to make a special family dinner for us.  They set the table with napkins and silverware.  Then took the candles over so we could have a special family candlelight dinner.  It turned out to be so precious.

We had lots of laughs and good conversation.  We played Chad Lawson music using Pandora to have a calm ambience.  Made it so special.

At the end of the night, the girls were able to blow out three candles each.  Julia gave us such great belly laughs when she tried blowing out the candles.  She worked so hard to shape her mouth right so she could blow it out.  Then she got hiccups and made funny sounds as she tried to blow the candles out.

She would practice blowing into Jeremy's palm so he could feel if she was blowing strong enough.  We all had such a great time.

We've decided as a family that Friday Nights will officially be a candlelight dinner each week.  Can't wait to start this fun tradition!