Saturday, September 26, 2015

Right Place at the Right Time

Yesterday was an insane morning.  Started off normally.  At around 6:20am, I took Val out.  I was in the laundry room about to take him into the backyard, but had a very quick thought that I should take him for a short walk as he hadn't been out much.  Put him on the leash, got the doggie bag and headed out.  We made it to the other side of our driveway where he likes to go on the big pole.

As he went, I turned to look around and watched as a truck slammed into a small car.  It was quite surreal.  The truck driver was speeding like crazy down the road and the impact was awful.  The smoke and sound was something that stuck with me the rest of the day.  Parts of the car covered all six lanes of Royal and chunks of it were everywhere.  I had my cell phone on me so I immediately called 911.  I went fast toward the corner and as I did, I rolled my left ankle badly and stumbled.  I prayed over my foot quickly before the dispatcher answered.  It was a very very quick prayer and it hurt so badly.

I watched as the truck driver backed up and sped off.  Unbelievable.  I explained what I could and was sad I couldn't see the license plate of the truck as it was so dark out.  I could tell the driver of the small car was still awake as she was trying to get her car out of the wrong side of the street.  She was blocking two lanes of traffic and facing the wrong way.  Her headlights were gone but her brake lights still worked.  Her tires were completely sideways and she was dragging metal across the street as the car moved.  However oncoming cars couldn't see her well because her car was so dark.  They kept honking at her and veering around her.  It was awful to watch.  However it didn't look like an accident because there was only one vehicle in the road and not two.

When I saw the traffic was clear for a bit, I ran across the road to the median and told her "Ma'am, I've called 911 and help is on the way."  Her face was covered in blood and her dress was covered in blood.  Her airbag had not deployed and she completely out of it and in shock.  She told me not to call 911.  I'm not sure why, but all I can think is that she was in shock.  I ran back across the intersection to the corner because I knew as traffic came it was possible that a car could hit her again and I would be hit if I stayed there.

I still had the dog with me on the leash and I was just trying to hurry with the pain shooting all over my foot.  I went inside and told Jeremy we needed a towel for her face.  We then heard the sirens and knew they were almost there.

I saw a clearing and went to tell the ambulance people quickly that her face was bloody and she was alert.  I asked if they needed anything more and he said no so I left.  I watched as two men held her up as she stumbled with blood coming out her face to the ambulance.  It was awful.

My ankle has bruises on the top and left side, but is nothing compared to what this lady went through yesterday.  I truly feel God healed it from being worse as I could feel a pop and yet all that's there is bruising.

God truly had me there to help this woman yesterday.  This road is usually covered in cars or at least several cars who would have seen this and yet there wasn't one car around that observed the accident.  The truck driver had time to back up and leave before any other cars came across what had happened.  From the time I called 911 to the time the ambulance and fire trucks showed up, it was merely minutes.  Yet so much happened.  She was able to get help as fast as was possible and for that I'm thankful.  I truly truly know that God had me take the dog for a walk instead of to the backyard so that I could help her.  It's a blessing to be in the right place at the right time.  Still praying for this woman.

Julia's First Tooth Falls Out

Last week Julia showed us how loose her bottom tooth was.  We were all excited because we knew the tooth fairy would be coming soon!

On Thursday this week, I went to eat lunch with her.  There weren't enough seats so Julia sat on my lap while we ate.  Not a few minutes after getting there, she said "My tooth just fell out!"  I asked her where it was and she said it was on her skirt.  She found it and held it up.  It was SO little.

We then took a trip to the nurse's office where she was given a tooth holder necklace.  She wore it proudly the rest of the day.

When we got home, she found a 'safe' place to put her tooth so the tooth fairy could find it: her Rosetta doll had it resting in her hand next to a note that Riley sweetly wrote to the fairy. Riley was incredibly sweet and kept saying things like "I'm so happy for you Julia!" and "You're first tooth!"

The next morning Julia found a gold $1 coin with a note from her tooth fairy name Violet (Vi is what she's called).  We read her the note and she said she was going to put the coin in her piggy bank which she did.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Soccer Game 2 for Julia

Julia did amazing at soccer game #2 last night.  She got to kick the ball a few times and started off one of the plays with a kick.  She kept looking at us, smiling and shrugging her shoulders with her hands out to her side.  She did awesome.

There was a point where a group of girls were huddled around the ball and one of the girls pushed Julia lightly.  Julia decided she'd had enough so she cried and walked off the field while the game continued to play.  They sent another player in.  We talked with her about how sometimes that happens in soccer and how everyone just wants to get to the ball to help their team, but it creates crowding.

She continued to play.  Loving watching kindergarten soccer.

Step Dad

As we drove home today from school, Julia announced this out of nowhere:
"I have a stepdad."

Me:  Are you talking about your dad?

Julia:  No I'm talking about my stepdad.

Me:  You don't have a stepdad.  You have a dad.  You are talking about Jeremy, your dad?

Julia:  No he's my stepdad.  He's mean to us most of the time.

Me:  Honey, he's not your stepdad.  If I chose to not be married to your daddy and then married someone else, that person would be your stepdad.

Riley:  Or if Mom died, then Dad would be by himself.

Me:  And then he might remarry someone else and you'd have a step mom.

Julia:  No.  I will not have a step mom.  They will make me do chores, bring over two mean stepsisters and treat me terrible.

Me:  Not all stepmothers are like in Cinderella.  They're not all mean.

Julia:  Yes they are.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Video Game Music

I am loving every single moment at GSES.  What an incredible blessing the school and community has been.  And I'm blessed to be a part of it.

My students have blown me away with their ability to improvise, sing, drum, play recorder, and barred pieces.  Their musicianship is delightful and amazing.  I am striving to challenge them and incorporate new ideas to help them continue to grow as musicians.  This article was published recently.  It really caught my eye.

The session will be presented at the NAfME National Conference in October. My eighth grade students stated that their two topics of interest are technology and video games.  They have had thorough Orff experiences at GSES and I have begun to wonder:

Could the Orff Schulwerk work as a means to improvise, create, and notate music for a computer game that students create?  Or a game that others have created - and we add the music to it?

Could we use our SPARQ lab to access technology that would allow students to create their own video game?  And then use music class to compose and use Orff processes to develop music for the game?

**Note:  free site to make a game - Sploder or UCLA Game Lab

Could students test their product on a specific grade level at GSES and receive feedback on the musical aspects that students noticed?

Could students learn about the history of musical styles and genres and allow it influence their compositions in a way that they could explain what parts of the past inspired them to write?

There is also an online course about Teaching Music in the Cloud.  Would this be a good tool for students to compose in the classroom?  How would it work?  What would it let students do?

Other interesting aspects:  - Free for up to 10 scores - making music online

For middle school:

Match my sound: Practice First

First Soccer Games

Today was momentous as both girls had their first soccer games.  Julia woke me up and said "Mom, it's time to get up!  My soccer game is today.  We need to ask Siri where it is."

Julia was eager to get going, but tired.  We'd spent the night before out later than usual at the GSPO Annual BBQ.  It was such a great night with our school community, but made for an early morning.  I got her dressed as she laid on the ground face first.  She did fantastic with her shin guards, firework socks and cool silver cleats.

Once we were at the field, Julia was nervous and kept her hand in her mouth for a bit.  She cried when I took her to her team as they practiced on the field.  Her coach, Mr. Starr, was incredibly patient and helpful.  He carried her while they said the sportsmanship pledge and she held his hand while she was a player on the field.  She did break away a bit and go after the ball, but was quite reserved.  All of this was completely fine!  The other moms told me that their kids were also shy about going out, but that they got comfortable with it and after a game or two, they knew what to expect.

I think her favorite part of the game was when she wasn't on the field and she and I kicked her ball back and forth in the field next to the game.  Another mom and her daughter did the same.  Just to get them comfortable with it.  She told me she didn't want to play on the field because it was harder and that she really loved just kicking the ball with me.  Though she did go back out and kept with it.  Even her teacher, Mrs. Powell, came to watch her play.  Which was incredibly sweet.

Julia was happy after the game and we were so proud of her.  We went home for a few hours before going to Riley's soccer game.

Riley was afraid she'd make a mistake.  We told her that it's okay if she did and that the only mistake she could truly make was scoring in the other team's goal... which even professional players have done in the past.  We told her to have fun, do her best and enjoy it.  She was a little nervous at first and stayed back a bit.  She's such a sweet soul that she didn't get in where all the action was when there was a group of girls going for the ball.

When she wasn't playing and was on the side lines, she drank her water a lot and seemed to enjoy playing with the other players.  At one point she spent quite some time kicking dirt. :)

After the game ended, she ran over while kicking her ball across the field.  Dang - this girl can run!!  She is very fast.

We were so proud of her after her first game.  My parents took her to their house for a sleepover where I'm sure they're sewing something and watching the Hobbit.

Both girls did such a great job!  Can't wait to see them play again next week. :)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Kindergarten Picnic

Today was the GSES Kindergarten Picnic.  I wasn't sure how much time I'd have to be with Julia so Grandpa came for the event.  It was great to spend a little time with my dad showing him around my classroom.  We then walked down the hall to meet Julia at her event.  She was in line in her classroom and saw us where she yelled "Mom!!!  Grandpa!!!!"  We smiled and she was ecstatic.

We packed an oversized beach towel and sack lunches to eat.  Grandpa brought his and Julia had hers.  We got to sit down next to the playground and spend time eating together with other Kindergarten families.  Then the students were able to play on the playground.

It was an absolutely beautiful day outside.

Julia had a special treat to look forward to as Grandpa drove her home in his red car (she responded with her jaw dropped, "I've never gotten to go in that one before!") and she is now having a sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa.

It is such a blessing to see her thriving!

We are now a soccer family

Well, I had said that when we moved and started at GSES we would keep the girls out of activities and make it an easier year so they could adjust.  I was just kidding apparently.

Both girls are thriving at their new school and making new friends.  It turns out that soccer is a huge deal and with the Town North YMCA adjacent to the school, it's also affordable and easy to get to games.  The girls were both invited by friends to join teams and with both of them interested in trying a new sport, we've chosen to let them try their hand (or feet) at sports this year.

Julia will be on team "Sparkle."  Purple is the main color.  Can not wait to see her in ponytails and cute bows with her soccer uniform.  It's the little things.  If she kicks the ball, great!  If she picks dandelions the whole game, that's fine too.  I'm excited that she'll have a group of girls to encourage her and learn team work.  What an incredible way for her to learn how to work with others and get up when she falls down.

Riley has several friends on the team and has never played before.  I think Riley will also benefit from working in a team.  In gymnastics it was a different kind of team work.  This will be an incredible way for her to learn that you can stand up for yourself and use people around you to help.  You don't have to do everything on your own or do it perfectly.

GSES also has a program after school called Encore.  Riley will be a member of the Art Club on Mondays and Julia will take gymnastics classes on Mondays as well.  Riley has chosen to also be in the 3rd and 4th grade choir.

I'm so very proud of our girls and so thankful for our school.  What a complete blessing to have such a great community to be a part of in so many different ways.

Birthday Invitations

Our mail is delivered by foot (God bless our mailman!!) to our door where he pushes it through the opening slot.  I absolutely love it!  It's just so simple and makes me feel like I'm in 1958.  Which is when the house was built.

When we arrived home yesterday, Julia ran to get the mail in the entryway from the floor and brought it onto the kitchen counter.  She yelled out to Riley, "Hey Riley!  You got a birthday invitation!!!" This made Riley so happy and she was calling out, "What!?"  Riley ran to look for the birthday invitation only to find two letters addressed to Jeremy.

Riley then yelled out not so nicely, "JULIA!!!!!"

Julia giggled and said, "I was just kidding."