Sunday, October 19, 2014


I love this

So sweet...

Some Puppy Pics


Riley had some math homework to do and was determined that Mrs. Ward only wanted them to group the numbers into groups of tens.  There were 17 other numbers that were extra.  After some tears were shed, I texted Mrs. Ward to let her know that Riley needed to know if she should group the last 17.  Riley wouldn't take my word for it, but as soon as I read Mrs. Ward's text that she should include the extra 17, then Riley said "Ok" and did it.

She continued to do her work and came up with this answer:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Four Books

In September, I read four books that were really wonderful.  Some more wonderful than others.  In order of my favorite reads:

1.  Quiet
Introverts vs. Extroverts: Fascinating read!  Favorite one of the month!

2. Heaven is For Real
And seriously, this book took all of an hour to read cover to cover.

3. Ben Carson's One Nation
Great questions at the end of each chapter with things to do such as "Read the entire US Constitution."  The older I get, the more important that I realize our freedoms and our rights are.  But also how important it is to be knowledgable about what our politicians truly believe.  Which is near impossible.  I felt that he takes good stands on his beliefs and I like the ideas/questions he asks us to think about at the end of each chapter.  Though I don't know that I completely trust him either - he comes across as a know-it-all and as someone who thinks a lot of himself.  But also as someone who really wants some good changes for our country as well.  I'm a lot tainted with politicians and have major trust issues with them.

That being said, I am also very anti-media of any sort.  I don't trust anyone from either side of the table.  I refuse to watch the news channels and I never read magazines (unless it's something related to crocheting, working out or a cheap tabloid magazine while standing in the longest Walmart line ever).  To get information, I like to use sources I think I can trust from both sides which means that I truly don't get good information about anything because I don't read anything.  This truly has me wondering where I get my information... my husband, my coworkers and Facebook.  Not that I believe all the information I read because I don't.  Need to broaden my horizons and find true, factual sources.  Thinking I need to read sources from outside the US to see what others think of what we are doing - my coworkers' husband does this and I think it's brilliant.

4. Can't remember what book it is and my iPad is upstairs and it's 10:24pm and I'm too lazy to go look it up.  But I'm pretty sure it was good.

More Books I Want To Read

To name a few...
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Manage your day to day by Jocelyn K. Glei…
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Contagious by Jonah Berger
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelly
Letters to a young poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Bossypants by Tina Fey
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor
It’s Not How Good you are, It’s how good you want to be by Paul Arden

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Dancer Book by Misty Copeland

Life With a Dog

I have never been an animal person.  Still not.  Except for our little Valentino.  I've got a little soft spot for him.  He's such a good dog!!  He fell asleep on me this morning and is now laying on my foot as I'm typing at the computer.  He's quite a little snuggler.

The girls are loving him.  Julia's still figuring him out and doesn't like his sharp nails (we need to get them trimmed).  Riley loves him to pieces and wants to be with him constantly.  It's so sweet.

Though I think Val's very favorite person is Jeremy.  This morning he followed Jeremy around downstairs.  When Jeremy left to put some things in his car, Val sat by the door whimpering and whining sadly until Jeremy came back in.  Then he followed Jeremy around and sat at his feet for while.  When Jeremy left, he acted a little forlorn, but soon popped up to sit on me and take a nap.

A few things we've learned:

1 - Don't use a flea collar on a dog under 12 weeks old.  I put one on him yesterday and he didn't seem to be feeling quite right.  It was only on for a few hours.  I immediately took it off when I read the complete information on the back of the packaging.  Turns out it's not a safe or good thing to use!

2.  Dog poop smells worse than just about anything.  Ugh!  Thankful he hasn't had any dog farts yet because those can be just as bad.

3.  Val loves to sleep under our couches and on the bottom of our coffee tables next to the baskets.

4.  Your house is actually cleaner when you own a dog than when you don't.  No little beads or small items under the tables that we would just leave there and vacuum up when I vacuumed.  Everything needs to be clear of tiny pieces.  Have thoroughly cleaned the downstairs and loving how sparkly and fresh it is!  Julia's already doing better keeping her snack wrappers in the trash too!

5.  It truly is like having a newborn in the house except Val is already doing great about sleeping in her crate and going potty on her potty pads.  Now if we can get her to go outside...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Month 9 Review

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

1 - Was a little inconsistent with writing letters and encouraging emails.

2 - Attended Orff Level 2 in June.

3 - Several weeks into 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!

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 a few 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 September.

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.
September - learned a new Chad Lawson song (can you tell I LOVE his music!)

Julia's Fall Conference

Here is the email I sent to Jeremy and my mom to let them know about my phone conference with Julia's teacher.  

So I just spent twenty minutes on the phone with Ms. Asila.  She’s wonderful!  She gave us some insights on Julia that I think are so cute and so accurate.  It’s somewhat funny to me all of the expectations put upon her… I’m not sure I could identify a sphere ;)

She said that Julia is doing her works perfectly (washing hands, washing table, pouring water, getting napkins, etc…).  She has mastered her colors for age 3, but is progressing on colors for age 4.  There are over 60 colors for her to learn for age 4 and she’ll master them at some point.

She mixes up her geometric shapes – puts the word ‘trapezoid’ under the picture of a ‘sphere.’  She said she works very hard to try to read the words and put them in the right place.  

Her language is good.

She needs to practice tracing.  It is getting better but she needs to work on her writing skills.  Her 2’s are backwards and look like 5’s.

Sounds are coming along fantastic.  When she was tested on August 19, Julia could only identify two sounds in the entire alphabet.  She was tested last week and now knows all of the alphabet sounds!  She read her first word this past week in class to Ms. Asila!!!  It was the word ‘cat.’  Ms. Asila had her phonetically sound out the letters a and t.  Then put them together and added the letter c to the front.  Julia read all three letters like “c-a-t” and then looked at her and said “Cat!”

Her numbers are good when writing them, but she can’t count by two’s by herself.  She’s working on counting by 2’s, 10’s and single digits up to 100.  Her addition is great and they are starting basic subtraction skills.

Art is good, she participates in music, but she is off-task during circle time.  Her attention goes quickly and she needs to be redirected often.  She plays with her fingers instead of doing what she’s supposed to be doing.

Her behavior during class is wonderful – no problems there.


Riley got home from bowling about ten minutes or so before the dog arrived.  When the doorbell rang, everyone pretended not to know who it was.  Jeremy mentioned that maybe Peyton was back.  We had Riley go to the door.

When she opened the door, Lynn handed her the dog and said "Surprise!"  Riley said "A puppy!"  She didn't quite understand that it was actually going to be our puppy.  It took her a little while to realize that the puppy was for us.  When she realized it, she just said "He's so cute!!!"

Lynn gave us a few items and then shared information about the dog's name.  Her daughter had the dog for a few days and had named him "Valentino" because he has white fur in the shape of a heart on his chest.  We all loved the name and have decided to keep it!  Quite nice as it fits him and we don't have to deal with the girls arguing over what name they want for him.

Before Riley had gotten home, we had talked with Julia about getting a puppy.  She was so excited and kept talking about the dog.  We told her that she'd need to stay totally quiet about it when Riley got home. She told us "Ok.  I will put it in the back of my mind" as she pointed to the top of her head.  She did an amazing job not saying a word to Riley about the dog.

Julia wanted to name the dog either Prince or Prince Felix.

The girls played with the dog last night for a while.  It was a pretty late night.  Riley loved to have him snuggle with her and lick her face.  Julia would reach her hands toward Val and when he would come towards her, she'd scream and walk backwards.  It was hilarious.  Then she'd cry because the dog wouldn't come to her.  She's doing much better this morning and is more familiar with him.

Jeremy put the dog in the laundry room for the night with a potty pad, soft bed in a box with towels, and a water bowl.  He whimpered quite a bit.  Riley's room is directly above the laundry room.  Even with music playing, you could hear Val whimpering.  Riley was so worried about him.  It took her a while to get to sleep.

This morning Julia and I woke up and went directly to get Val.  He was so happy to see us.  He'd used the potty pad a few times and the room was still very clean.  Val has a great personality - loves to play and has a cute little walk.  His tail has a cute little kink in it.

I'm still in awe of the fact that we now have a dog.  Here's to some fun adventures!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Our Family Dog

A few months ago Riley was (again) asking why we couldn't get a dog.  She has been wanting one for the longest time and has often cried about it.  We've explained how we aren't home as much as we'd like to take care of a dog, that they are work and they cost money.  She has tried to be patient, but was always very sad.

I finally told her "Riley, if you really want a dog, you need to start praying that God has someone knock on our door and give us a dog for free."

Jeremy responded with "Be careful!  Someone just might do that."

Go back to the summer when Riley was selling chocolate bars.  We stopped at a neighbor's home and she had a Maltipoo.  Riley loved the dog and asked what kind it was.  Then told her how much that she wants a dog that is a Maltipoo.  The lady (Lynn) shared that her good friend is a breeder who sells Maltipoos and that she could let us know when she has more for sale.  I told her that would be great!

Riley and I walked past the lady's home the other day asking if we could stop to ask if she had any dogs available.  I told her that she'd come to us if she had one.  Fast forward to today:

Today Riley came home from her sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's house with a pet lizard.  She tried convincing us that the lizard is real.  She even made a leash for it made from yarn and a ponytail holder which she put around its' neck.  She carried it around all day long pretending it was her pet and talking to it.

She left to go bowling with her friend Peyton and their family.  Jeremy, Julia and I were home having dinner and playing on the computer when the door bell rang.  We knew it was early for Riley to be coming home and I answered the door.  It was Lynn.

She asked us if we were still interested in getting a dog.  Her breeder was offering a "buy one dog and get one dog free."  Lynn had just purchased a dog and had gotten a second dog for free - and wanted to know if we wanted the free dog.  She had given her daughter the free dog, but they are fostering a baby and it was just too crazy a time to take it.  So... would we want the dog?  For free!!  AND would we want the dog tonight?

Jeremy and I looked at each other and said "Yes!"  I mean - how do you say no to that?

When Riley gets home in about an hour, she'll be surprised with our first family dog.  I have no doubt there will be tears, laughter and jumping!