Sunday, November 30, 2014

Magical Window

This past Spring when the weather was gorgeous, the girls asked if I could roll the windows down in the car.  For some reason, one of them called out "Magical Window - please roll down!"  I then used the button to roll it down and they laughed incredulously as they believed they had power.  Super girl power :)

It has now become a silly thing that we do whenever we want the windows down.  Today was a rare 75 degrees or so.  Julia asked if we could have the windows rolled down and immediately said "Magical window - please roll down!"  The girls giggled and the fun began.

"Magical window - please roll up.  Not yet... not yet.  Stop!"

"It's too windy!  My hair is in my face!  Magical window - please roll up a little more!"

"Magical window - please roll all the way down again!"

"Up... keep going... up... okay.  Stop there!"

As Julia is speaking, she is waving her hand in circles and then pushing her hand forward when she wants the window to stop.

It's the simple pleasures that make life so fun!

Faith of a Child

I love the faith of our oldest girl.  So many times God has answered her prayers and made Himself incredibly clear to her.  And she has taken notice.  Her faith in who He is continues to grow.  It's a beautiful thing.

While writing the previous post, she was soaking her thumb in a detergent/water mixture for 15 minutes as she's fighting a bad infection.  We did this once yesterday and twice today.  It was a home remedy that was said to help alleviate the pain and swelling.  Jeremy texted his sister Monica with pics and asked her advice about what to do.  She said that we would probably want to puncture it to help with the pain.  Thankfully we didn't even have to do this.

After Riley finished soaking her thumb, Jeremy set her hand on a washcloth and noticed that it was draining all on its own.  We were able to help her as she cried tears of happiness and pain at the same time.  There is still redness around the nail, but we were able to drain the infection.  Praise God!

Riley was teary and said "I knew God would do it.  I knew He'd do something amazing like this.  He is so good!"  We talked about how God made us so amazing.  That we are beautifully and wonderfully made.  How He knows us so well and hears us when we cry out to Him.  How He cares about every detail of our lives.  Riley kept saying "God is awesome!  I'm so glad He made it so much better."

I love that she saw God's hand in her healing.  That she knew He had made a way for it to clear.  I love that she knows her God and that she understands that He knows her.

***Update:  her finger is disgusting.  Nail is peeling off.  Infection is completely gone, but wow - it looks terrible.  Will be interesting to see what happens when the nail is off.

The Weird Diseases

For some reason our family contracts the odd diseases.

Jeremy had shingles when we were first married;  Julia had hand, foot, mouth and giant hives that resulted in ER visits;  I had plantar warts beyond what is considered even normal on both feet resulting in double foot surgery... and gout... and now ringworm.  Riley is now fighting a nasty infection in her thumb nail and thumb due to picking at the skin (she does this like Jeremy does whenever she is stressed or nervous).

We went to Katy and Andy's house to spend time with them and their three boys - all three boys are under the age of 3.  And incredibly cute.  I had a drink of water and set my glass on their kitchen island.  A little while later, Andy came over and took a drink out of my cup.  He laughed about it and I said "No worries!  I'm not sick!"  Riley chimed in with "Yeah - she just has ringworm."  The looks they gave were priceless and they started laughing until I said "Yup.  True story."  I shared that I really wasn't completely sure as to where I contracted it (likely the gym on the equipment when I used the tricep machine), but thankfully it was on the underside of my left arm and was only one patch of it that hadn't spread.  I've been treating it for four weeks now and it's almost 100% gone.  Can't wait to wear short sleeves again!!  So that's on the mend.

A few days ago Riley asked for a bandaid because her thumb hurt.  She had a small red cut on the side of it.  Yesterday we saw that it was turning yellowish green and was infected under the nail.  We researched how to treat it at home and started following the directions.  Today it is now on the side of her thumb and is looking much worse.  She has a nail skin infection - called paronychia.  Completely normal but has developed into something beyond just a red cut.  Calling the doctor tomorrow to see what we need to do next - likely draining it.  Ouch!

Today Julia had her staples taken out.  It seemed to be harder to take them out than it was to get them in.  They said that she was looking great and there wasn't much scab which was a great thing.  She got a grape sucker and is now happy as can be.

Hoping the weird stuff ends soon!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Advent Year Two

We started this tradition last year and it is one that I've anticipated all year.  It is such a blessing to be able to give to others.  My hope is that others will see Jesus in our actions and that we will bless others this Christmas season.  I loved that we were able to focus on giving and not receiving last year. Can't wait to begin these acts of kindness on December 1st.

**Not that we can't be kind before then, but planned acts of kindness helped me to really think through my actions and to be intentional in what we chose to do.**

If you're thinking of doing this with your family, here are a few things I learned last year:

A.  Get your children involved - our kids do these things with us and we talk about why we are doing each act.  Kids love to be givers and helpers!

B.  Pray for God to use you in ways you may not have expected - He may have a different idea of how you can bless others; be flexible as you watch people around you.  Needs will come up and being sensitive to how others are doing can open your eyes/ears for other ways you can help.

C.  Start simple - if you can't do every day, choose one day each week to participate in an act of kindness.

D.  Every act of kindness is important... even if it's not acknowledged by anyone or seen by anyone else.  That's an important lesson to teach our kids as well:  that giving shouldn't be noticed by others every time.  I only share this blog post so that someone else may be encouraged to bless others as well... the more people who spread kindness, the better!


Week One:
1 - Bring a warm drink of coffee and some donuts to our school crossing guard

**Riley loved this one last year and wanted to do it on our first day!
2 - Tape quarters to the pop machine at work for teachers to have free pop
3 - Bring dog food and treats to our local pet shelter
4 - Write a letter to a family member that lives far away to say thank you/we love you
5 - Women's Banquet at church

6 - Holiday in the Park: choir performs and watch the light show as a family
7 - Put all the newspapers on our neighbors porches on our street and pick up trash along the way 

Week Two:
8 - Put $$ on a students' account at school - Last year I handed the cafeteria manager an envelope and simply asked her to put the $$ onto a students' account that they thought would be most beneficial.  I don't know who it went to, but it was nice to be able to help.
9 -  Starbucks Gift Cards for the Bus Drivers at school
10 - LovePacs:  Shop at the store and purchase enough food for one family
11 - Holiday Piano Recital
12 - Give flowers to someone who could use some cheer
13 - Letter and pictures for our mailman
14 - Send a card/letter to a child fighting cancer through this site:  Hugs and Hope

Week Three:
15 - Buy donuts for Julia's school staff
16 - North Pole Exposure: Choir Musical
17 - Purchase gifts for Julia's and Riley's teachers
18 - Julia's Holiday Performance
19 - Pay for someone's dinner at the Texas Legends Game
20 - Watch the movie 'Elf' as a family
21 - Performance in Dallas

Week Four:
22 - Purchase a gift card at Target and give it to the person in line behind us
23 - Read the story of the first Christmas as a family
24 - Spend time with family and go to our Christmas Eve Service at church


Jeremy came home on Sunday night after grocery shopping at Walmart.  He began to put away the food and other items.  Julia likes to help by putting away her snack foods into the bins at the bottom of the pantry so Jeremy called her over to help out.

As she was putting away the snacks, Jeremy reached above her to set a can a few shelves higher.  He reached to put it up as it bumped another can and hit the teriyaki sauce.  Which is in a glass container.  The container hit Julia on the top of the head and then smashed to the ground where it shattered.  Julia began to cry immediately and we were so grateful to see that her legs were fine as she only had on her tutu and leotard (same outfit she was wearing when I sliced my finger with the mirror this summer).

I went into the kitchen to see her holding the top of her head and Jeremy told me what had happened.  As he was talking, she moved her hand and she was bleeding a lot.  Though the head bleeds a lot even with a small cut.  I told him that she was cut and grabbed a clean hand towel from the drawer.  Made the hand towel wet and pressed down on her head. 

Jeremy called his sister Monica to see what we needed to do.  I was thinking the ER as it was cut about 3/4 of an inch long and looked fairly deep.  We sent Monica a picture and she said that it didn't look as though she'd need stitches, but we should take her in.  We were thinking she might get a butterfly bandaid.

I took her to Acute Kids in Frisco.  We were seen quickly as there wasn't a wait.  The doctor looked at her head and cleaned her up a little.  She said that Julia would need three staples to keep the cut closed.  She didn't recommend numbing as the needle would hurt more than just doing the staples.

Julia handled it fantastic.  She got teary and said "Ow" a few times, but overall she just held my hands and let the nurse push the skin together while the doctor stapled.  The staff was so impressed with Jules and gave her two suckers for doing so incredibly well.  Julia immediately saved one for Riley.  This made the doctor smile even more.  Jules was sooo sweet.

We'll go back this weekend to have them taken out.  She's doing great.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

SMU Tests

I have seven exams to take to be able to be in the SMU Masters Program.  I passed five of them the first time around which was awesome.  Had two more to go.  Just took my final test last night.

After studying all weekend and meeting up with my friend Jason, who is also in the class, I took the test last night.  Only 15 questions.  Finished it feeling great and submitted.  Found that I earned a 100% on the test.

The professor was like "Oh!  Wow - you got 100%."

I said "That's more like it!  I studied so much."

Then he proceeded to tell me that's it's too bad it's only a pass/fail exam and not a graded one.  You just have to get 70% to pass each test.  Honestly, I don't care that it's only pass/fail.  I know the material and I understand it.  Earning a perfect score was enough for me.  Actually, just passing the exam with a 70% would have also felt fantastic.

The pressure is off - I won't have to pay $1500 to take the tests next semester and won't be on academic probation and can completely focus on my degree now without the tests hanging over my head.  So thankful!!

It's Time to Neuter

Our dog Valentino has figured out that he's a little frisky.  Unfortunately the vet said he still has a testicle that hasn't dropped so the surgery to neuter will cost more unless it drops.  So we're waiting a little while.

Tonight Riley laid down on the ground and let the dog get on her leg.  He began to start moving on her and Jeremy got on to Riley about not laying on the ground and needing to get up.  She did.  The dog then moved on to Julia's leg as she was standing.  Oh for Pete's sake.

As this all happened, Jeremy tried explaining to Riley why she shouldn't lay on the ground and let the dog on her.

Jeremy:  Riley, you can't lay down on the ground and let the dog hump you like that.

Riley:  What is humping?  What does that mean?

Jeremy:  Well, humping is...

Me:  (turning around and setting my bowl of granola on the counter while laughing and wondering where this will lead)

Jeremy:  I can't explain it really well.  Humping is...  it's.... how do I say this...

Riley:  Why can't you tell me?

Jeremy:  Because it's not appropriate.

Riley:  Then why did you say that?

Jeremy:  I don't know what else to say.

**Apparently, the action he is doing is simply to show his dominance over the girls.  The vet said that he doesn't have the amount of testosterone yet to actually be 'humping.'  The vet said that the girls have to show that they are in control by rolling him on his back and gently holding him there until he goes still.  Then they are to let him walk away and not pet or cuddle him.  This helps him learn that he is not their equal.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How We Roll

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach piano students at our home.  The girls often color, play upstairs, finish homework/Fasttmath/Spelling City (Riley anyway) and go on their iPads.  Tonight they got creative.

Riley checked out a library book about making creative crafts.  One of the crafts were puppets.  She showed it to us yesterday after school as Wednesday is her library day.  When piano students were done for the night, Riley asked if we wanted to see their new puppet crafts that they made out of socks.  She brought them down and they really were cute.  She had used some kind of marker, tape and other odds and ends to create a sock puppet for each of them.  The main material was Julia's brand new socks.

While Riley was making puppets, Julia and her friend Samantha (they are both stinkin' cute together!) decided to do their hair.  Samantha is the sister of one of my students and they are a precious family.  The girls got ahold of my "After Party" hair smoothing cream made by Bed Head.  When Julia and Sam came downstairs with shiny hair and Julia's hair part was as white as white can be, I knew immediately what they'd gotten ahold of.

It smelled very sweet as well.  And their hair was very very silky and shiny.  Julia was quite proud of it.  And is now being given a shower by Jeremy while I type.

Love our creative girls.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Teach Teachers

I had my evaluation with Martha about her observation from last week.  She came into one of my third grade classes to watch me teach the 50 minute class.  She gave me many compliments and said several things that spoke to what I am hoping to become as I further my teaching career.

The first thing she said was how exceptional my teaching is and how I absolutely must teach teachers.  That we need good teachers to teach other teachers and that I have a gift.  That I must teach teachers.

She continued to praise specific characteristics of my teaching and encouraged me with her words of encouragement about the difference I make in our students' lives.

I was truly encouraged and can't wait to see what happens as I pursue my degree.  After all, Martha was the one who used Ethridge Fun Run $$ for my Orff Level I conference which launched my Masters Degree at SMU.  Thankful for her influence in encouraging me to see what I sometimes don't see in myself every day.

Ice Skating

We met up with Jeremy's family to go ice skating at the Galleria on Sunday for Major's birthday.  It was the first time either of our girls had ever skated.  Julia didn't want to fall down, but we were able to convince her that it'd be fun to try it.  Riley was excited about it.

They both thought the ice skates were funny because they were so heavy. Jeremy waited to get skates because we weren't sure how long Julia would last and didn't want to spend more money if she'd end up sitting out.

I went around with Julia and helped her hold onto the rails around the rink as we went.  She laughed the whole time and kept saying "I'm ice skating!  I'm ice skating!"  Riley got the hang of it pretty well.  By the end of our time, she was able to skate while just holding onto my hand.  She loved it so much that now she wants to take ice skating lessons.  I'm sure she'd love that!

Julia and Jeremy skated for a while and I took Riley around the rink.  It was a really fun family afternoon.

Then we all went out to celebrate Major at Pei Wei for dinner.  It was nice to have the family together and spend time with everyone.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween 2014

This year Riley was Maleficent from the movie with Angelina Jolie and Julia was a firefighter fairy.  Julia wanted to wear her fairy outfit from last year but add a firefighter helmet.  It was adorable!!

The girls walked around the neighborhood with my parents while Jeremy and I passed out candy.  They came back with very full buckets.  My parents said that they used their manners and said thank you at each house.

Month 10 Review

So as far as what happened with the month of September:

1 - Again, inconsistent with writing letters and encouraging emails.

2 - Attended Orff Level 2 in June.

3 - Halfway through my first semester of my Master's Degree. Loving every single moment!

4 - Read a few books... can't remember which ones.

5 -
Did really well on expenses this month!  Bought the girls new clothes as they are growing insanely fast.  Riley in particular is shooting up.

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.
Riley is really wanting to do this.  We're using an app that allows her to check off her tasks.

7 - Exercise two days a week - has been going great!  Meeting my mom at the gym on weekends.

8 - Didn't travel this summer, but that's ok

9 - Money Saving Challenge - saving where we can.

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 two months!

11 - Repainted, speckled and freshened up both our Master Bath and downstairs bath within the last two months. 

12 - Attended the Women's Bible Study: Crash the Chatterbox Bible Study

13 - No meal cooked in October.

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)

15 - Learn one new song on the piano each month - learned yet another Chad Lawson song "Change of Season" (I think I'm a little obsessed with his music)

Family Night Out

Yesterday we took the girls out for a fun family night.  We started the night off with a trip to AMC to watch the movie "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."  We'd heard that the movie was cute and the preview looked funny.  Plus who doesn't just love Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner??!!

When the day starts out badly for the family, the daughter is sick, the parents sleep in and then the mom walks into the bathroom and sees her naked teenage son.  Nothing is seen - just implied.  Later in the car, the teenage son is driving and the mom tells him to slow down (or something like that) and puts her hand on his thigh.  The son looks down uncomfortably and asks the mom to take her hand off his leg.  She looks down and says something like "Is this about what happened earlier in the bathroom?"  She then tells him that it wasn't the first time she's seen his penis.  That she's seen every penis in the van.

The theater had lots of laughing being heard and the scene was quite funny in the way it was done.  Riley called out "What's a penis?  What's a penis?"  quite loudly.  The people in front of us were chuckling and Jeremy and I both began to cry from laughter.  Jeremy was sitting next to her and couldn't get words out as he was laughing so hard so Riley called out even louder "What's a penis?  What's a penis?"  He finally croaked out in a very high pitched voice "It's the boy part."  Riley completely lost it and laughed so hard.  Jeremy and I had many tears down our face as we laughed as well.  Love her innocence.

We don't shy away from explaining the facts of life but don't go out of our way to give descriptive details of things that aren't asked or that aren't necessary to know.  We later told her that it's just what it is called and that it's just what it is called.  That girl parts have names as well as they are part of the body and it's just what it is.  She just said "Ok!"  Wishing we could keep her this innocent forever.