Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our Little Preacher

Tonight I gave Riley a shower and then we got on the subject of music class.  I started singing some random Beatles song:  Mrs. Robinson.  Got to the words "Jesus loves you more than you could know... woh woh woh..."

Riley:  Mom, you totally need to teach that song to the kids at school.  They have got to know that our God is SO amazing.  Not everyone at my school knows God and they really need to. (we'd had a talk about how other families teach their kids differently and not everyone believes the same things a few weeks ago)

Me:  Riley, I'm not allowed to teach songs about Jesus at school.  There are laws that don't allow me to.  But I can still follow Jesus and in what I do, show the kids that He is good.

Riley:  Oh no Mom.  You have to tell them about Jesus.  They don't know him and they HAVE to know Him.  They have to, Mom.  They need to know that He is so amazing!

Riley's First Music Class

Riley has been waiting all week until her class had music with me.  She's been anticipating it and was very excited.  As her class walked down the hall, I saw her clutching her cardigan near her mouth, heard her high pitched squeal (very muffled thankfully) and saw her jump up and down.  I had prepped her by telling her that she'd have to stay in line and she'd be sitting by her classmates.  That I probably wouldn't choose her for games and such today as that wouldn't seem fair to the other students.  She told me that she totally understood and that she was fine with that.  And then reminded me that I had already told her all these things so I didn't need to say it again.

As her class walked into music, I watched as she was wiping her eyes with the back of her hands.  Riley had red cheeks and her smile couldn't have been bigger.  She was crying because she was so incredibly happy.  We started the lesson by walking along the dots in a circle and singing "Looby Loo."  As I sang and the kids followed the words in the song, Riley called out "Mom - this song repeats a lot!  You keep saying the same thing over and over!"  I motioned to her to not blurt out and did so as quietly as I could as she was still somewhat teary and I didn't want to start an outburst with her.

Then we played a poem name game.  She was so into it - very wide eyed - and started saying the poem nice and loud with the other kids.  She really wanted to be chosen during the "Here we sit" game - where I sing a song while the kids hide their eyes and I choose one student to hide behind the piano.  Then the students have to figure out who is missing. Helps me learn their names!  But I chose other students today and she handled that totally fine.

We then played rhythm sticks.  The kids loved that!  And we did a dance to "If you're a kid" - a YouTube video that has a great beat.  They were so cute.

The kids then sat on the lines on the floor and I read "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom."  We sang our ABC's next.  Her class sings SO good!!  Especially for their first day in kinder.  Loved it!

They also learned some sign language and we sang the song "Welcome to our School."  They were just amazing.

Riley sang out strong, played good patterns on the sticks and had a smile on her face the whole class.  She looks so little compared to many of the kids (which makes sense since she is one of the young ones who won't be six until next May).

Several times throughout class, Riley would just call out "I love you mom!"  "I love you Mom!"  She always said it somewhat soft and always with a very sweet voice.  I would usually say "I love you too!" and then move on in the lesson.  It was quite cute.  Though I'll definitely have to talk to her about blurting out so others don't follow too.

One of the girls in her class said "You're her mom??"  I replied with "yes, I am!"  Then she said "I wish my mom could be a teacher so I could see her at school."  I do have to say it is one of the most amazing parts of my job and I'm so blessed to be able to have Riley with me.  Especially knowing she'll be with me for six years.  That will be amazing if that can occur.

Riley didn't want to leave music class and started to get teary in line.  She was about to get clingy and I told her that she had to do what everyone else was doing, that I'd see her in two hours and that she'd be fine.  She did end up crying in class, but she was totally fine.

It was a very fun day!  And has been the easiest start to a school year that I have had in years.  In fact, it's been a very long time since it's been this easy.  Could very well be due to Riley being with me and all the hard work from the past five years is now paying off since I can be with her.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Working Girl

We are three days into the week and I'm totally wiped out.  It is truly exhausting to be a working mom with three kids in the house.  There is never - and I mean never - a downtime.  At least, not until they are down in bed around 8:15pm and I have just enough time to finish making my lunch, put the laundry from the washer to the dryer, brush my teeth, wash my face and go to bed at 9pm.  Such has been the last three nights.

Obviously I have 'downtime' at the moment and am choosing to write this blog.  One day I'm sure I'll look back and realize that it was a very special time.  And it is.  But it is also non-stop exhaustion mixed with a 'go-go-go' feeling to get everything done.

We've had lots of paperwork from school.  Money to be collected for science items.  Madi is in the "inappropriate fashion show" on EETV tomorrow to demonstrate things kids are not supposed to wear - high heels, flip flops, short shorts, etc...   and trying to explain to an 11 year old girl why it is inappropriate to wear a slinky tank top with spaghetti straps (tanktops that fit her last year and are in the 'don't fit' pile) during the early stages of puberty in front of the entire school is hard.  So we went with "You'll look inappropriate in the inappropriate fashion show."  And that is also hard to explain.  I mean how is it possible to look inappropriate in an inappropriate fashion show?!

In the midst of explaining that and deciphering the non-stop talking from Madi, Julia was in full swing with the whining.  Riley was climbing on the fireplace and all over the place.  Jules kept asking for food, refused to eat it and then asked for more food.  Threw fits when we wouldn't get her cookies.  Or a second helping of gummies.

Riley was incredibly tired.  It was either hyperness or full out crying.  It is definitely the first week of school and getting adjusted to getting up at 5:45am and getting home after meetings around 5:15pm with the three girls.  Dinner, checking planners, doing paperwork, laundry, clean-up, showers (skipped those tonight as there just wasn't time), packing lunches, cleaning more dishes.

The best part of my job is that I have two girls with me.  It is so awesome to be able to stop by Riley's lunch table and give her a hug and tell her I love her.  She even told me today that she loves seeing me at school and she loves having so much time with me.  That it is the best part of her day.

In class, she got super excited that they have music tomorrow.  It will be interesting to teach her in class and see her interact with kids.  She has been playing by herself at recess time :(  but today she saw a friend from her preschool last year and they were able to play together which was great.  I'm hoping she makes some good friends!!

I'm very blessed to have my job and even more blessed to have a job where my kids get to be with me for six years of their schooling.  One week almost done!!!  Has been the best start to a school year that I have ever had here in Texas.  That's a great feeling!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Riley's First Day of Kindergarten!!

Riley and Madi did awesome this morning.  Jules was great too, but did NOT want to get out of the car seat.  She wanted to stay with the girls.  But I spent a moment with her getting her settled and did a silly dance as I left and she did great.  No tears!!

It was so awesome having Madi and Riley in the car on the way to school this morning.  Riley was so happy and appeared very calm.  We got to school and she put on her backpack and carried her lunch in.  One of the teachers saw her and said “Hey, who has their first day of Kinder today?”  Riley called out “I do!!  I’m SO excited!!”  When I took them inside, Riley told me “This is my favorite part” and ran into my room to set off the motion sensors so the lights would go on. 

We walked outside to get pics of them by the flagpole.  I took several.  Thankfully they allowed all parents to drop their kids off at their classrooms so Riley didn’t have to sit by herself in the cafeteria.  The three of us walked together and hugged.  Mrs. Hill asked Riley if she was ready for Kinder and Riley said “I’m just SOOO excited!!!”  Madi then went off to her class.  Riley and I walked to her room.  I helped her hang up her backpack and she was told to get out her box to start coloring.  Kiah was already there and Riley asked her where she was sitting.  She walked over next to her and said “Bye Mom!  I love you!”  I gave her a quick hug, she sat down with her friend and didn’t say anything more.  I left to do outdoor duty.

Mrs. Gooding saw me in the hall and said she had stopped by Mrs. E’s room.  Riley clung to her and said “I love your phone!!!” (she had let Riley use her phone when I was working in my room to play games about two weeks ago)  She thought it was funny.

I saw Madi in the cafeteria getting the run down of how to go through the line and gave her a hug.  She told me she loved me and looked very happy.

Ms. T, the counselor, told me that Riley was a doll and that she was just precious.  She said she was so well-behaved and sweet.  Several other teachers came to brag on her and it totally made my day.  So proud of her!

Riley was exhausted at the end of the day.  Didn't really say too much other than that she wished she could have a build a bear from the mall :)  She was teary and tired and settled down once we were home.

Can't wait to see how the second day of school goes!!

First Day!!

Walking in her classroom 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Day Before Kindergarten

Shopping!  After church today, Riley and Madi went over my parents' house to have lunch and then to Stonebriar Mall.  The girls each picked out some clothing for school.  Madi got a grey/white/black poncho and a black fuzzy vest.  Riley chose a new dress that is grey with black polka dots and a three-tiered black bottom on it.  Super cute.

We played in the playroom this afternoon.  Was really, really nice.  Madi wanted to clean out her closet and drawers to get them organized before school started - her idea, not mine which was awesome!  So tonight I helped her organize it all and it looks amazing.

Then I had Riley and Jer put down Jules.  Riley was super sweet.  We read a few stories and the Bible.  Then laid down to pray and snuggled.  She's been loving the snuggles lately which is very sweet.  She popped up and said "Mom, we have to pray for Grandpa.  He told me that he would be praying for me and so I told him that we need to pray for him so let's pray."  So we prayed for Grandpa.  Then she and I laid down for a little longer.  I gave her lots of kisses.  And she asked for another sweet thing like a big hug which I gave her.

The girls are both a little nervous about school and excited too.  Though I think Riley is more excited than Madi is.  Riley is nervous that there will be mean kids and we've been praying that she'll make great friends.  She loves her teacher and is excited about school so that's a huge prayer answered already.  I can not wait to see her at school tomorrow!  Very excited that I have a few minutes between classes so I can stop in the lunchroom to give her a hug and check on her day!

Julia still wants to go to kindergarten and is still adamant that she is going.  Sweet girl.

Tomorrow will be full of lots of stories and I can't wait to hear all about their day!!

Treating Molloscum Contagiosum

Julia has had bumps on her tummy and right leg for several months now.  Doc told us they'd go away on their own.  And then said that if they don't, there are procedures they can do that are very painful at the dermatologist.  Sounds fun... not really.

I haven't been able to bring myself to take her to the dermatologist as I don't want to cause her major pain.  So I've been researching homeopathic ways of treating them and can not wait to try this one!  Has worked for so many families and just praying it will work for ours!

Poor Jules.  She always gets the weird illnesses.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

From June...

Posted this in Madi's blog in June and just figured out that I meant to put it on here:

Julia has been in a Dora mood these days.  She has only seen one or two episodes of the show, but simply loves her.  We have several Dora books that we've been reading each night.  She loves to find the green turtle in one, talks all about the Mami and Papi and compares their clothing each night, asks over and over to read the book about the eggs.  But I think we've had too much Dora.

Last night Jules woke up at 4:00am.  Actually she was probably up much earlier as I finally heard her at 4:00am and could barely hear her in our room.  When I got to her room, she was wailing.  Her face was wet, she had big tears and was doing the sobbing breathing where she's trying to calm herself, but is very distraught and worked up.

I held her and then rocked her in the chair.  While I was rocking her, she put her arm out - somewhat shakily.  Looked like she was reaching for something.  I said "Jules, are you reaching for something?"  She said tearily "Swiper no swiping!  That's my Grandpa!!"  Poor Jules had a dream that Swiper was taking her Grandpa and she was very sad.

So I spent the rest of the night trying to calm her down and she finally fell asleep on me.  So sweet!

Julia's Day with Grandpa and Grandma

Around 9am, my mom came to pick Julia up.  She was totally ready!  All morning she had asked if she could go to Grandpa's house and kept saying "I go see Grandpa!"

They took her to the mall and tried to find a cute dress that she would like.  They said she'd hold up a dress to her waist and say "That one fits!" or something like that.  Only it would be much smaller or too big.  But after a while, she'd just throw the outfit on the ground.  Never found anything that she'd really like.

She did get to ride on the carousel, have lunch from Sonic and play at Pottery Barn Kids so she was in heaven!  She's so cute.

Once they got back to our house, Julia did not want them to leave!  She was crying a lot and was very tired.  I took her upstairs to put her down for a nap.  She was crying and crying saying "I want Grandpa!" repeatedly while big tears streamed down her face.

Needless to say, she fell asleep incredibly fast and slept for about three hours!!

Tonight she told me to leave and I am really interested to find out what exactly she is doing up there...  keep hearing thumps, but that could be from Madi's room if she's moving around since she is above me?!

Tomorrow Riley and Madi get to have a shopping day with Grandpa and Grandma.  I took Madi today to get new bras and panties and we had a fabulous time together!!  It was nice to have one-on-one time with her as that is rare lately.  Also gave her a chance to walk around Justice to get an idea of what outfit she'd like to get.

Can't wait to see their new school gear and start on Monday!!  It's going to be a great year!!!

Pics from Julia's first day of preschool:

Friday, August 24, 2012

I Believe

Tonight I read Riley the story of Moses when God allowed him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land and through the Red Sea.  Riley asked for this story to be read.  I got to the part where the wind came from the East and the sea opened up to create a path for the Israelites.

Me:  Wow!  Isn't that amazing?  That would have been crazy to see, huh?!

Riley:  I totally believe it, Mom!  I know God could do it!  I know it!  I believe He can.  I believe in Him.  I believe in Egypt!  I believe that He can do anything.  I know He can make clothes... and dogs... and curtains... and everything!!  And I know that Grandma and Grandpa believe in Him too.

Me:  It's really great to be able to trust and believe in such an amazing God, isn't it!

Riley:  We all believe in Jesus.

Me:  Yes we do.  There are some people who don't believe in Him.  Some people don't know Jesus in their hearts.  Some of the kids in your class won't know Him or believe in Him.  It's sad for them that they don't know Him because He's so good and awesome.

Riley:  Oh.  That's so sad Mom.  I feel bad for them.  But I believe in Him.  I know He can do it.

Me:  There is one friend in your class who believes in Jesus - Kiah!

Riley:  Oh yeah!!!  I love her!

School Traditions

My mom and I talked on the phone this afternoon as we usually do.  She asked if they could have a Julia day tomorrow.  She'll pick her up after her haircut in the morning and have some fun with her for a few hours.  Oh. Awesomeness!!  Julia is going to LOVE that!!!

Then my mom asked if she could start a tradition with the girls since it is Riley's first year of Kinder.  She wants to take Madi and Riley to the mall and let them each choose one outfit for their first day of school.  Oh awesomeness again.  They are thrilled!!

I shared what Grandma/Grandpa were going to do tomorrow and Julia can't wait.  She kept saying "Gandpa pick me up tomorrow.  I go play at Grandpa's house!"  She is so excited.

Riley and Madi are already plotting and planning exactly the kind of outfit that they want to get.  Riley asked if she could get an outfit for her doll instead.  Then asked if she could get earrings.  I told her that she'd have to get holes in her ears first and that maybe that'd be a fun Christmas gift from Santa.  She got very excited about that.

Riley then thought it'd be a great idea to get a dress for her doll AND herself.  So I have been explaining that the shopping trip is ONLY for her and she can get one outfit only.  Not more than that.

Madi has in mind the type of thing she'd like but it's a secret.  Riley wants some kind of dress.  With leggings maybe or some shorts.

I'll pass along a "Spend $50, get $25" off coupon for Justice as well as an extra 20% off Gymboree coupon.  Hopefully my mom will be able to use those and keep things a little less expensive.  Can't wait to see what they pick out!!!

I've been trying to think of some traditions we might like to start here.  The obvious is the first day of school picture.  Might be fun to do a German tradition of a Schultuete...  or a fun breakfast like crumb cake or something.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

School Supply Drop Off Night!

Today was nuts.  As is totally normal a few days before school starts.  I had a music teacher meeting all morning, came home to eat lunch and then went back to school to work on tons of things.  Didn't get done with all of them, but so thankful to have tomorrow as a school work day.  Picked up Riley and Madi at their fun camp and then picked up Jules.  Drove through Sonic for dinner and took all of us back to school to eat lunch ala picnic style!  Got some butcher paper and set it on my floor while the four of us ate.

We all changed into our clothes for the school supply drop off night - me, I got to wear my lovely bowling shirt with the Ethridge logo.  Seriously not cool looking.  Especially when it goes well with jeans, but we can't wear them and have to wear business pants.  Polyester does NOT mix with business pants.

Anyway, Jeremy met up with us and we got the girls all set to meet their teachers and classmates.  We took Riley to her classroom first since Madi had been to the school the year before.

Mrs. E greeted us at the door.  Then told us to find a chair and follow the directions on the paper.  Riley asked Mrs. E where the pencil sharpener was and then sharpened her pencil with help.  She helped sort her items into the proper places and found her locker.  It was super cute watching her sit in the Kinder chairs and picturing her learning in Mrs. E's room.  I think she'll do fantastic!

She got to sit by her friend Kiah.  We met up with Kiah and her mom at the mall this summer so it was nice that they both knew each other.  She also got to meet a few other kids in her class.  They were all really nice and so cute!

Then we took Madi to her class.  Totally different in Fifth Grade compared to Kinder.  The kids just set all of their items on the desk of their choice.  Madi wrote her name on the desk using erasable marker.  She chose to sit next to her friend Elizabeth and across from her friend Gracie.  I fully expect that won't last long as they will talk incessantly!!  There is no way the three of them would not talk.  But that will be Mrs. Von's to deal with.  And I have no doubt that she'll handle it great.

Madi set her stuff down, put her bag in her locker and met all four teachers that she'll be with this year.  I think she'll have a great year too!!

The hallways were super crowded with parents and kids.  There were tons of new students since our school has been rezoned and lots of students that moved into the area.  I'm very excited about that!!  Feels like a new school and hoping for a refreshing year that is much better than last year was!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Five More Days!!

Every time that we count down the days until Kindergarten starts with Riley, she gets more and more excited.

Me:  Only five more days!
Riley: (eyes wide open, jaw dropped) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! (very, very high pitched)

She told me the other day that she's a little bit nervous about Kinder, but that she is very excited too.

We've been praying that she'll make great friends, like her teachers and make great choices at school.  I can not wait to see what this year brings for her!

Julia is very excited about kindergarten as well!  She has been arguing with Riley quite a bit about it actually.  Usually when they are in the car on the way to dropping her off at preschool.  Typical conversation:

Jules: I go to KINDERGARTEN, RI - LEY!!!!!

Riley:  No Jules.  I am going, but you go to preschool.

Jules: NOOOOOOOO!  No Riley!

Riley:  Jules.  Jules.  I am serious.  You don't go to kindergarten.

Jules: I GO!  I go Kindergar-TEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

So we've told Riley to stop correcting her and that we'll just tell her "yes, you'll go in a few years!  Huh, Jules?!"  That seems to be working as she doesn't understand time, but she knows she'll go at some point.  Julia has been doing totally amazing at preschool in the transition class.  They moved her up to the class since she is fully potty trained.  She's the youngest one in there, but she is keeping up with all the older kids and doing what they are doing.  So proud!

Madi is excited, but not near as much as the other girls.  She'll feel better about it after she has her first few assignments and can tell how much work she'll be doing this year.  Should be a great year for her!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mommy's Nap

I have been so tired lately.  Probably just from getting ready for school and Julia waking me up in the middle of the night - every night - around 12-2am to go potty.  Then having to work at going back to sleep or getting her back to sleep or both.  Feels like we have a newborn in the house again.  Lack of sleep is always a challenge for me as I don't do well without sleep.

Today we mostly stayed home so I told Jeremy that after I put Julia down for her nap, I was going upstairs to our room to sleep too.  He was totally fine with that.  Madi was playing on the computer and he and Riley were going to watch the rest of a movie they had started yesterday.

It was an awesome nap until:

Riley:  Hey Mom!  Mom.  It's time for you to get up.
Me:  Did Daddy send you in here?
Riley: Oh no!!  But he could have!

She's so silly.  Turns out he had sent her in to tell me it was after 4pm and that we needed to get up to get ready to go out to eat with my parents and my aunt/uncle who are in town. We all went to Buca and had a great meal together.

Books are so fun!

Riley and I had a 'Mommy Night' as they are called.  Jer and I switch off which girl or girls we have each night and take turns putting them to bed.  We call them 'mommy nights' and 'daddy nights.'  Tonight was my turn to hang out with Riley, read, pray and lay down to snuggle for a bit.

We started off reading in the Jesus Storybook Bible and read about Jesus' birth.  Then read an entire chapter from her new American Girl Doll Book "Mckenna" (the second book that's out).  Then I read her a story out of her Disney storybook that she loves so much!  She always requests a story out of there every night that I read with her.

As we read 'The Lion King' in the Disney book, I would point out words now and again to see if she could read them.  Some easy and some that I just wondered if she knew.  She got excited about reading and was able to read the entire last line of the book.  So then she said that she wanted to read the entire last sentence in the book and with a little help, she did it. She was so excited that she then asked if we could find an easier book that she could do all on her own.

I searched through her nightstand to see if she had any simple ones that were not in Julia's room.  We found three books and I told her that the one to start with would probably be the book "I was so mad" (I made her read the title) by Mercer Mayer.  It's a really cute book with repetitive text and pictures that would help her understand what was going on.  We've read it before, but it has been a long time and that was good so she would actually have to read it and not recite it from memory.

It was amazing!!!  Riley got more excited with every page.  Didn't get frustrated if she couldn't figure out the words and I helped her along the way.  There were many pages where I didn't have to help her at all.  Words like grandma, grandpa, water, mom, dad, and others she did with ease.  Other words like decorate, dollhouse and garden she was able to figure out from the pictures.  And other words I helped her with: don't, won't, wouldn't.  Mostly words that are contractions.

At the end of the book, she dropped her jaw in awe and said "I did it!!!!"  I cheered and we hugged.  She was so excited that she had read the book.  Riley wants to find more easy books that are books she can read on her own or with a little help.  So proud of our big girl!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012


I had my first day of the official school year today.  On a Friday.  Yup.

I've been in the classroom the last five days and working hard to get everything done.  It's been overwhelming trying to balance everything, get the girls prepped and Jules settled in preschool and getting back into work things.  One bulletin board has already taken me two and a half hours and it's not finished yet.  Though this I know:  the room looks amazing due to the amount of time I'm spending on it!!!

I decided that I can't control my work environment;  can't control who I work for, under, work with or what my job circumstances are;  can't choose which children I teach;  can't choose which duties I have.  But I can control the type of room I have and how it makes children feel when they walk in it.  And I can control my attitude and my ability and my effort in my classroom and my teaching.  So I'm really working on focusing on the things I can control at work so that I can let the other things go.  Not to mention spending every night and morning praying and spending time in God's Word to get me mentally and spiritually prepared for my day.  Which is literally a spiritual battlefield every. single. day.

To spruce it up, I have some cool posters in my office, some poofy poms, spiral thingies, and a really cool framed print that reminds me why I do what I do.

Jeremy took today off to save us money on daycare.  Speaking of which, we had so much credit from our Flex Savings Plan, that daycare for two and a half weeks this month only cost us $84!!  That's SO much better than the $1800 we were paying last year.  Praise God!!!!

The girls were sad I wasn't going to be home so Jer and I talked last night and decided that he should do something fun with them.  So he surprised them with a trip to the movies to see Brave - a new Pixar film.  He said he bawled like a baby in two parts and that it wouldn't be a true Pixar film if you didn't cry.  So true!  We both bawled our eyes out at the end of "Tangled" and in "Up" and every other Pixar movie we've ever seen.

The girls loved the surprise!  Then they got some ice cream this afternoon!

Monday, August 13, 2012


I'm sure that God has blessed our girls with gifts that we are not able to see yet.  But I have no doubt that they possess certain gifts already as evidenced by their actions and behaviors.  Just writing them down for future reference for them in case they are ever feeling down and wondering if there is anything good in them.

Riley - Your gift, sweet girl, is the gift of encouragement.  You are very aware of others' feelings and concerned for how others are doing.  You always seem to know what to say to make others feel better and to help.  You love helping!  And in a way I have never seen another child help.

Examples of your gift of encouragement:
- reminding me yesterday when I was frustrated that the computer wouldn't work right in Microsoft Word, that Daddy is a good helper and that it is good to ask for help when you can't do it on your own. And that Daddy is doing a great job.
- standing by Daddy whenever he's working on something and telling him repeatedly what a great job he is doing.
- drawing with me and telling me that my artwork is really beautiful.
- praising Julia for something she is working hard at - whether it be puzzles, jumping, drawing
- telling Madi that you love her even when she is mean to you and when she is not mean to you
- caring about Julia at dinner when she got scared as she slipped and going over to hug her to tell her that she was ok and that you were sorry it happened even though it had nothing to do with you

Julia - Your gift, sweet girl, is the gift of joy.  Many people are happy, but you have a special something inside of you that brings pure joy.

Examples of your gift of joy:
- You exude joy in everything you do.
- You giggle constantly with a deep, hearty laugh.
- You never stop smiling and are rarely in a bad mood.
- You wake up completely full of joy and ready to take on the day!
- You go to sleep with a sweet smile every night.
- You love being around people.
- You're most happy when there are people you love all in the same room and noone is missing!
- You truly love life and are happy just to be you and to be alive each and every day.


About two weeks ago or so, I was working on a bunch of doll clothes and Julia's napmat.  Doing quite a bit of sewing.  Thought I had blogged this story, but couldn't find it so I thought I'd write it down as a reminder of how good God is.

Julia had a bunch of grapes in a bowl.  Yes, whole grapes.  I had never cut them because she has never had issues chewing them and chews very thoroughly.  Never thought about it being an issue which was not smart on my part.

While I was sewing, the girls were playing in the room and watching Dora or Boz.  Julia went downstairs to get her grapes.  Then carried the small bowl of them upstairs and sat down right next to me while she ate.

I finished a seam and heard a cough and she was standing up.  Thankfully I could hear her crying and hear some air moving in and out of her body so I knew she had a small amount of air with which to breathe.  I really didn't think much and just went into action mode.

First thing I did was to pick her body up and lean her forward.  Thrusting several times to hopefully dislodge the grape.  I heard a small difference and she started crying.  I started praying that she would cry and kept asking God "Please let her cry!"  because I knew if she was crying, she was breathing.

It wouldn't come out and so after a few seconds I decided to do a sweep of her mouth to see if I could feel anything.  Sure enough I felt the full grape - unchewed and whole - in the back of her mouth.  In the one mouth sweep I could feel where the back of the grape was and knew that if I could pop it forward and out, then I could get it out and help her be fine.  I did it quite gently so I wouldn't push it in the first time.  The second time I knew that I had to get it out.

I put my finger to the inside of her left cheek and bent it around back and popped that grape out with good force.  Allowed it to soar in the air and land a ways from where we were.  Julia then started crying and I just held her for the longest time.  I hadn't really thought through what had happened and didn't really think through what could have been until it was over.  What if she had eaten the grapes downstairs instead of coming up?  What if she hadn't been sitting near us?  What if I had pushed the grape further down instead of popping it out?

I can only say Thank You God!  to my Creator and Savior for helping my little Julia be able to breathe and live.

The rest of the day Julia would say "Dat really huht! (that really hurt)  Mommy get it out!"  I haven't been able to give her grapes since as I've been afraid of her choking even when they are cut.

Turns out that she was opening her mouth wide and popping the food in.  Caught her doing it with another food and realized that was what had most likely happened.  Madi and Riley were in the room and thankfully I was able to stay very calm and just act.  They were already quite scared and they were incredibly sweet to her after it happened.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Swing Dancing

Our friends are going swing dancing at the end of this month and we were asked to join them.  Jeremy does not like dancing unless it is just to be really silly and does it a lot for our girls who love to giggle and copy him.  I love dancing but rarely or never do it anymore.  Swing dancing is some of my all-time favorite!!  So I'm hoping to convince Jeremy to try it...  we'll see!

I was talking about swing dancing and Riley pipes up:

"Oh swing dancing sounds so much fun!!!  I would love it because I love swings and I really like dancing a lot!"

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bye Uncle Jim!!

My brother is moving to Augusta, Georgia tomorrow.  We will miss him so terribly!!  The girls adore him and love giving him hugs and seeing him work at Buca.  He's excited for a new chapter in his life and we're excited for him.  But we will miss him so much!

Tonight I took Julia over to my parents' house to say goodbye to him and hang out.  He was so sweet.  The girls made a video saying goodbye that was precious.  Made us all cry.

Julia was sweet and gave him lots of hugs and would say "Love you Uncle Jim" and "Bye Uncle Jim."  Tonight at bedtime she asked a lot about him and kept saying "He move?  Why?"  So I told her that he had a new job.  She would say "Alright."

We prayed for Jim before I took Jules home and gave lots of hugs.  I can only pray he knows how much we all love him and that his new adventures in Georgia are just what he needs!!

Passing it on

Madi was sick on Sunday night in the middle of the night.  Thought it was due to intolerance of dinner or just upset stomach.  Thankfully she only got sick one time and made it to the bathroom.  Today she was totally back to normal which was great!!  And I was very thankful to know that we were passed it. Or so I thought...

Riley complained of her belly hurting this morning and didn't eat much for breakfast.  I had piano students this morning starting at 8:30am and by 10:00am she was laying down on the sofa by the piano in a daze.  One of the moms came over for their lesson at 10 and asked if she was sick.  I told her that she had told me she wasn't feeling great, but that she had no other signs of being sick.

I finished the four lessons and then headed to the dentist.  Riley came with me.

Got two cavities filled and Riley was awesome!  Played on my phone and was so sweet.  The dentist and hygienist commented on how awesome she was.  Always is!  I called my mom and was chatting with her.  Riley said she felt sick and went to squat in front of the toilet, but forgot why she was there and associated it with other things.  As I'm talking to my mom, I hear the sound of flowing water.  Riley looks down and laughs and says "Oh no!  Oops."  Turns out she was peeing in front of the toilet. She and I both started laughing really hard.  So I cleaned it all up and gave her a shower.

We got home and she wasn't really hungry for much but said she really wanted blueberry eggos.  So I made her two eggos.

Told the girls that I needed to run to Michaels to finish getting a few things for my classroom as I'm planning to start set up this week and get going on decorating it.  Riley decided to come with me and was great - just hanging out and talking.

She rode inside the cart at Michaels because she had worn small shoes and they were hurting her feet.  She played on my phone at the end of the store and helped pick out some posters, paper and other accessories for my room.  Was fun!

Thankfully there wasn't anyone in line and there was only one cashier working so we were able to get right up to the counter.  I took everything out and set it on the counter.  Riley set my phone down.  As soon as she got to the last few items, Riley looked up at me and said "I'm going to throw up."  And I saw her head go back a little and grabbed my phone as quick as I could.  Selfish I know.  I just could not stand the thought of it getting thrown up on.

And away she went.  And went and went.  Poor girl got sick all over herself, the cart, inside her shoes (as I set them in front of her to catch some of what was coming).  The cart had holes in it which meant it went through it and all over the floor.  As she started getting sick, I asked the cashier for a bucket, towels or whatever she had.  She was a young girl (teen) and obviously did not realize that you need more than one thin paper towel to collect the mess so I continued to ask for more and more.

I cleaned up the floor, the cart and some of Riley's face and arms.  Her face was beat red.  And when I looked behind me, there were now 4-5 people in line watching the whole scene.  None of whom offered to help.  Not that I blame them!  Between the sound and the smell and the fact that we were very calm and getting it taken care of, they were probably stunned.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, I handed her my card to pay for the items.  Little did I realize it was my health savings card and would be rejected.  She told me to go ahead on my way and that I could go to the bathroom in the back.  I didn't wait for a receipt.  I just took her back.

Riley said very sweetly "Mom can you take me to the bathroom to clean me up?"

One of the workers asked if he could help and I told him that I knew I wasn't allowed to have merchandise in the bathroom so I was trying to prop my feet against the door and lean to reach the faucet.  So I asked if he could simply hold the door open.  He said no problem and helped out.

I got Riley out of the cart.  Threw away her shoes - not worth trying to clean up at all - and wiped off her dress.  She had chosen one of her dresses that she loved from the cruise and was all fancied up.  Thankfully it's machine washable.

Then I cleaned the floor as more had dripped all over and cleaned more of the cart and the worker helped clean my arm as I had stuff on me as well.

As we're cleaning up, the cashier comes back and says that my card didn't go through.  So in front of the people, she had to wait for someone to open another register and then find me to get my credit card. Was so embarrassed that I'd handed her the wrong card!  Let her take it to the register to ring it up while I finished taking care of Riley.  She brought it back and I thanked them and apologized several times for the mess.

Riley and I stayed extremely calm the whole time.  Just got the job done.  I carried her and our items out of the store and told her how proud I was of how she handled herself and that I was so sorry she had gotten sick.  She was very sweet.  They gave us a trash bag to use in the car if it happened on the way home.  Thankfully she got sick just that once.

Got home and gave us both another shower.  Pulled her hair back and put her in comfy clothes.  For the rest of the day, I cancelled piano students and then had her lay down to watch tv.  She took a good nap and even ate two pieces of toast with butter.  Has kept it down.  Now praying that Jules can avoid getting it!  Gave her some probiotics in her juice today and they have helped in the past so here's to hoping!!

Monday, August 6, 2012


I took Riley and Julia to my friend Magda's house today!  They just moved to McKinney and Riley really wanted to play with Maddie and Julia and Emma are now both almost two so it was great that they could play together also.  Madi was sick last night and so she stayed home for the two hours we were gone.  I had thought of cancelling the play date, but then Riley came jumping in the room and was SOO excited this morning and said "I just remembered!  This is a Maddie Neely day!  AHHHHHHH!!!  I need to get ready!"

Their new home is absolutely beautiful.  Magda has incredible decorating skills and it is just beautiful.  Julia has been so awesome with her potty training.  And wouldn't you know it.  Fresh brand new carpet is just screaming to be wet on and that's exactly what she did.  I was so embarrassed.  Felt awful!!  Thankfully most of it was on her, but not exactly the thing I was hoping would happen.

Our second fun incident was when Magda offered all the girls fruit snacks.  In our house we call them gummies.  Of course they were super excited.  Riley saw her pink fly swapper (as Tripp calls them!) and got it out and hit it once on their brand new leather couch.  She thought it was cool looking and had no idea what it was.  I had her apologize and put it on the counter.

The girls continue eating their gummies and I notice that Julia is sitting by their dog Chug and feeding him her gummies.  You know that she must REALLY love you if she gives you her gummies because she doesn't feed or share them with anyone.  Ever.  So I explained that she can't give her food to the dog because it will make him sick.  She said in her cute voice "Alright."  And stopped feeding him for all of five seconds.

Once they had their goldfish and chocolate teddy grahams, the girls started feeding him those too.  So I explained that dogs only eat dog food and that giving him their food will make him sick.  Riley decided to get out Chug's food pellets and call his name until he came to her so she could drop his food on the ground for him to eat.  Turns out Chug usually only eats at night.

I apologized again and told her that I hope he does ok with pink/red gummies, chocolate and orange goldfish.  I felt awful that her brand new carpet could get stained because our girls wanted to share with the pup.

The girls loved spending time with their friends and Chug.  Riley and Maddie spent time in Maddie's room for almost an hour without us hearing a peep from them!  Turns out they were dressing their dolls and trading clothes and having so much fun.  They even locked us out of her room! (or locked Emma and Julia out)

Hopefully we'll be invited over to play again as the girls get along so well.  And hopefully they'll forgive us for the mess and possible other mess that may have occurred from us being there!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Julia has two favorite tv show characters:  Boz the Bear and Dora.  She loves, loves, loves Boz and sings all of his songs which is fine.  They are catchy and cute and have a spiritual message that is awesome.  Dora is ok.  She's cute and repetitive.  She's cute and repetitive.  She's cute and repetitive.  Say it with me!  Oh sorry... got a little repetitive.

We read Dora books every night with Julia.  She's been very sad because our internet hasn't been working which affects our tv due to Netflix.  So her favorite Dora episodes have not been available to watch.  Her favorite book is "Dora had a little lamb" and we found the episode a week or so ago on Netflix.  She was so very happy about being able to see it.  But it hasn't worked so she's been like an alzheimer's victim:

Where Dora go?  Dora had a little lamb?  Oh no.  It not working?  Where Dora go?  Oh no. It not working Mommy.  It not working.

The whole time she is talking her hands are cupped upwards and she is moving them very emotionally and looking very sad about her Dora.

So instead we've read the book many times and we've sung "Mary had a little lamb" even more.  I love that she has her own version of it:

May-ee had a little yamb, yittle yamb, yittle yamb (Mommy you no sing wit me!)
May-ee had a yittle yamb.  Feece why ahs no.

Eh ee where dat May-ee wen, Maye-ee wen, May-ee wen
Dah yamb sure to go.

Ee follow her to cool one day, cool one day, cool one day
Ee follow her to cool one day
He love her so very much (instead of because he love her so).

Incredibly cute to hear her sing it!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

American Girl Doll Clothes

I have now moved on to sewing doll clothes for Madi and Riley's American Girl Dolls.  They have a few outfits, but as I had quite a bit of fabric left, I thought it'd be fun to try it!

I found some incredibly cheap fabric in the clearance section that was 50% the marked price.  For almost one yard of this thick and awesome looking tweed plaid and almost one yard of thick lace, I only paid a little less than $4.  So happy!

Here is how the hat and coat turned out from the tweed plaid fabric.  The pattern was very vague.  I added a silky maroon lining to it as well as doubled the fabric with a silk lining on the hat.  Had to play around with it a little bit.  Loved that there was enough fabric to make both the girls their own coat and their own hat.  Riley's coat doesn't have as much of a finished look as it was my first attempt to figure out a way to add the lining as well as sewing the ends.  This pattern was originally made out of felt in the design, but I couldn't resist sewing it using the gorgeous tweed!  Here is Madi's doll and her coat/hat:

To make little white tshirts for the dolls, I actually cut up some of my old tshirts and recycled them in that way.

My old sleeveless tank

Riley has a pair of pants with a matching shirt that has a pocket made from the same material.  All of it was taken from her dress that had ripped.  Pocket is a little high so I need to lower it, but still cute!  First attempt at creating pocket and adding it on.

Madi now has a pair of pants and matching top with a pocket.  All of that outfit was taken from one of her old tshirts.  Don't have a picture of that one yet.  Here are two pictures of Riley's doll wearing a shirt made of another old tshirt and pants/pocket made from leftovers from Julia's napmat.

Has been so much fun to find fabrics in our old clothes and cutting them up and recreating them.

Today I made Madi's doll a new outfit - brown shirt with lace pocket and pink/brown/white striped pants.  I also made Riley two new shirts to go with her pants that I made yesterday.

I love how short the seams are, how simple the patterns are - once you kind of figure it out yourself because they are SO poorly written and how fun it is to the see the girls dress up their dolls in their original clothing.


My new hobby is actually an old hobby that I hadn't done in years.  My mom taught me to sew when I was younger.  Don't really remember how old.  I also remember taking a home ec class (why can I not think of how to spell home ec??  I know this is so totally wrong and can not remember how to spell it?!) in middle school and sewing a pillow.  And then sewing some pj pants.

I also remember using my mom's bendable cutting board as a little playhouse and walking in and out of it with my brothers while she would sew.  I remember hiding inside of it and playing with it.

Jeremy had found a great deal on a sewing machine last year for my birthday on Woot.  It was some closeout deal or something.  A Singer Sewing Machine and Serger.  I haven't used the serger yet and have yet to read the manual.  I have finally used the sewing machine.

I started out with a nap mat for Julia that I found on this website:  called "sew like my mom."  The lady there used a kinder mat insert from Walmart and then created a nap mat cover.  Being that Julia's napmat was used by Riley and my parents had found it for cheap at a garage sale, it is close to being ripped apart and she desperately needed a new one.  I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to use my machine!  And it looked easy enough!

The girls and I went shopping at Joann's with coupons and the list of what we needed.  So I took some time a week or two ago to get it all together.  And I am incredibly happy with how it turned out.  Knowing that she'll need two covers just in case one of them gets wet/dirty/whatever, I found super cute fabric to make two covers.

One is a calm, brown/yellow combination with minky dot for the pillow and blanket

The other is a bright pink/black/sparkle combination with the softest pink furry fabric on the blanket.

I also used iron on appliques to add some design as well as rick rack.

At first I wasn't going to add her name, but decided that I could do it!  So I traced out bubble letters on a large piece of paper.  Then used iron on adhesive to the back of the fabric.  Cut out the letters in the fabric.  Then ironed it onto the nap mat section.  On the pink cover, I remembered to use a fancy stitch around the letters to secure them more and add more detail.  Was so fun!!!

Finished Products:

When folded up


How it comes together.


Actual cover 
All three pieces together.

This started out my desire to sew more as I was now familiar with the machine and had plenty of opportunity to work with it. And I am extremely pleased that Julia has already napped on it twice at home and loves it!!


A productive and low-key day at the same time.  Possible I guess.

This morning Jeremy had his haircut, then I had my haircut around lunchtime.  I got home to take two of the girls and he had just put Julia to bed.  He and Madi made their way to the office so he could do some work and she could play games on the computer there.  While Julia napped, Riley and I played together and then I made some more American Girl Doll clothes.  The last few days I've been sewing a lot while the girls hung out or watched movies or played on ipods.  It's way too hot to go outside and the girls have been all tired lately (thanks Olympics for being so awesome and hard to stop watching).  So I've let them just chill on their electronics much more than usual.

Julia woke up and then I took the girls to Mardel's to do some prep work for my classroom. Going with an i-pod type of theme this year.  Creating an oversized iTunes card and iPod.  Using the apps to represent things they will learn this year.  I'll have different titles for the six boards on the wall:  iSing - choir;  iPlay - instruments;  iLearn - computer stations;  iRock - their work on the wall; and iCreate - composing.  Will give me a chance to totally change up the look of the room.  Want to make more of the poofy poms to have from the ceiling and have a really fun atmosphere going on.  Hang some small ipod icons from the twirly things I got 75% today (nice!!) and display the oversized large one in the front corner near the piano.  Got some positive posters as well as posters about the different music eras. Bright and colorful is what I'm going for.  Very excited to start this year!  And expecting it to be fantastic.  After such a difficult year last year and how poor the morale at work was, I'm really hoping to make my room a refuge and a fun place to be.

So we got a few things from the store and then came home.  Jeremy came home and made dinner.  I cleaned up and we got the girls to bed.

Julia desperately wanted me again tonight so I took her.  Last night I started the new routine of putting her down while she is still awake and shutting her door.  I talked to her about what it means to be a big girl - Madi is a big girl, Riley is a big girl, Mommy is a big girl.  She always laughs if I ask "Is Daddy a big girl?"  She goes "Nooo!!  He a big boy, Mommy!"

I told her that big girls sleep in big girl beds with their baby dolls or animals.  And they sleep in their beds all night long and can spend time with their friends.  She just said "Ok" and then "Hold my hand.  Don't leave.  Stay wit me.  Pease mommy stay wit me a little more."  I sang several songs and then gave her warning that I was only going to stay for two more songs... then one more song.  I got up and left.  She bawled her eyes out and after three or four times of putting her to bed, she actually stayed in her bed.

And then miracle of all miracles, she stayed in her bed all night long!!!  After almost a month of being woken up virtually every night and either sleeping in her room or having her sleep in our room, we are very thankful that she made it a full night in her room by herself.  Praying that this continues!  And she was incredibly well rested and happy this morning.

Tonight I did the same routine.  Only tonight she still cried, but stayed in her bed and is now asleep only ten minutes later!!  Go Julia!!!!

She is precious!

Friday, August 3, 2012

This is the stuff

One of my favorite songs right now is called "This is the stuff" by Francesca Battistelli.  Very much takes a snapshot of how I have been feeling.

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

So break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations
I've got a new appreciation
It's not the end of the world
Oh Oh Oh

So what exactly is my 'stuff?'  Juggling three children all day every day while my husband is at work and spending weekends on his filing project.  Managing the house, the lawn, the shopping (that one isn't really a chore though unless it's to Walmart), the cleaning, the laundry, the mail.  Seriously junk mail is unbelievable and never seems to end.  Living in the Texas heat and feeling totally suppressed and stifled to the point of being ready to jump in the car and drive to a cooler state even if it is days away.  Dealing with a tween who won't stop talking, who is intelligent but has no common sense, can be thoughtful but is also selfish to the core and doesn't seem to understand that there are other people in this world outside of herself.  Dealing with a five year old who is very sensitive and feels stuck in the middle and can't wait to start kindergarten but wants to be a bigger kid who can do everything herself.  Dealing with a two year old who will not stay in her bed all night long, refuses to let me out of her sight, follows me everywhere and clings constantly.

This is the stuff that drives me crazy... yet this is the stuff that makes me realize how blessed I am.  Blessed to have kids who love me, talk to me, and want to be around me all the time.  So I must be cool enough to be around if they do those things.  I'm blessed to live in Texas for 9-10 months out of the year.  These next two months are the depressing months when you just can't do anything outside and we've had a fairly cool summer for us, but still.  So ready to get out!

As for all the chores, I am thankful to have a house to clean.  I'm thankful to have Scott's Lawn do our lawn and the fact that I just have to mow it and it is incredibly green and looks beautiful even if I do get covered in dirt and dust every week when I mow in 100 degree heat.  I'm thankful for laundry because it means that we could afford to purchase clothing and wear clothes that fit.  I'm thankful for mail because it means that our Post Office actually does get some things to us on time and in the right box.  *Note to self:  take pile of mail to our neighbor that was left in our mailbox yesterday!*

I'm thankful for shopping at Walmart and being able to price match and use coupons.  It means we save money and use our resources wisely.  I'm thankful to be home with the kids for ten weeks to love on them, spend time with them and watch them grow into amazing little people.