Friday, August 30, 2013

The FOUR Letter Word

Hello, Internet!  Today is the last day of my back to school series, and I'm talking about lice.  Yes, lice.  The mere thought of lice strikes fear in my heart.  I literally think of my life as a mom in terms of BL and AL...before lice and after lice.

I was going to take an in depth look at the 2 prongs of dealing with lice:  treatment and prevention.  But, that got really long in the treatment department, so I'm going to focus mostly on prevention.

Leah got lice in Kindergarten.

My friend, Michelle, rode over on her gallant white steed of knowledge, armed with her leftover lice killing supplies and fine toothed combs and saved my sanity.

Her kids had lice earlier in the year, so she was an expert!  It's fair to say that nobody who is an expert in lice actually wants to be an expert in lice.  

I knew I didn't want to use a lice kit (like RID), because I'd read in some reputable websites that lice can be immune to those insecticides.  I also didn't want to be essentially pouring Raid onto my daughter's head.

Michelle put Lice MD in Leah's hair, let it sit, and then combed through her hair with a fine toothed comb.




You may have noticed that Leah has a lot of hair, so that took a while.  She showed me what to look for and what to pull out...dead lice and dead nits (lice eggs).

Michelle also told me how to take care of the rest of our stuff.  

Can I just say how much it meant to me that Michelle swept in and told me exactly what to do?  After she prayed for us and left, I told Aaron that I couldn't remember the last time I had so tangibly felt the love of God expressed for me in such a practical way.  

Anyway, I touched every strand of hair on Leah's head for 10 days to make sure we got everything out.  And we did!  It took upwards of 3 hours to do it at first.

We were lice free until 6 weeks later when Leah brought it home again!  But, that time all of us girls got it.  I didn't tell very many people, because I was so overwhelmed.  

We took care of it much the same way, with a few tweaks to make it less stressful for me.  Aaron said it best when he said that lice is like psychological warfare for the mom.  It really, really is.

Lice was running rampant in the schools the year Leah got it.  I also could have done better in the prevention department.  

This is what I started doing after we got it the second time:

  • Use coconut scented shampoo and conditioner!

I've read and heard that lice don't like the scent of coconut.  It's a nice, cheap, easy prevention!
  • Use Fairy Tales.

Fairy Tales is scented with rosemary which is another scent that lice don't like.  I wash and condition the girls' hair with coconut and use this conditioning spray as a detangler.  I think that was a hole in my prevention in between the times we had lice.  I used the coconut scented shampoo and conditioner, but then used regular old detangler and covered up the coconut scent.  I feel like Fairy Tales is worth the extra expense.
  • Braids.

You may have noticed that Leah wears braids all.the.time.  She genuinely likes to wear braids, largely because her hair doesn't get as snarly.  But, when you have as much hair as Leah does, even in a ponytail, it touches more people and just gets more places.

Leah is also an incredibly social and compassionate girl.  After she had lice and I was in her classroom, I noticed how many kids Leah hugged or put her arm around.  It was a lot...which meant lots of heads close together.

I wasn't about to tell her not to hug or comfort other kids, but I feel like having her hair more confined was better.
  • Use your own helmet in gym.

When they are using scooters in gym class, we get a note from home saying that we are welcome to send our own helmets for our child to use.  I totally do this!
  • Use your own headphones when it's computer time.

Now that Leah is in 2nd grade, it's actually on the supply list to bring your own.  This wasn't the case in 1st grade, but I sent Leah with her own anyway.  She had Hello Kitty headphones, which she thought was very cool, so she didn't mind the hassle of using her own.
  • Use lots of hairspray.  

Lice likes clean hair.  Apparently it can't grab on to dirty hair.  My friend, Kim, who was Leah's 1st grade teacher, said that when she knows lice is going around school, she uses an extra lot of hairspray.  She's never had lice and neither had Leah's Kindergarten teacher.  I feel like there's something to the whole Lots of Hairspray thing!

I feel like the old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is totally true when it comes to lice.  

Do what you can to prevent it!  But, if your child brings it home, you can at least know that you have a clean, friendly child ;)

And, I'd be happy to pay forward the help and knowledge Michelle gave me...so you know who to call if it ever happens to you!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

4 Balanced After School Snacks!

Leah is starving...starving, starving, starving when she gets home from school! 

I really like being able to give her a snack that is balanced with protein, carbs, and fiber.  That can be easier said than done!

But, I think I did it!

Plus, she liked all of them, too, which is a win in my book!



First up:  Apple Nachos!


All you do is slice an apple and arrange it however you want on a plate.

Melt about a tablespoon of peanut butter in the microwave until it is pourable.

Drizzle the peanut butter on the apple slices.

You can also drizzle some caramel ice cream topping on top if you feel so inclined.

Sprinkle the top with mini chocolate chips (about 2 teaspoons) and/or chopped peanuts.

You know how people always say apples and peanut butter are such a good snack, but then when you try to dip the apples in the peanut butter, the peanut butter slides right off of the apple slice?  That doesn't happen with apple nachos!  I think they're my favorite of these snacks.

Next we have Popcorn and Peanuts!


Make some popcorn!  I like to pop the popcorn on the stove top using canola oil or coconut oil.  You can use microwave popcorn if you want to! 

Whatever floats your boat :)

I like to partner peanuts with the popcorn so the snack has some staying power.

Number 3 is Greek Yogurt with Frozen Raspberries and Cereal.


Put about 6 ounces of vanilla Greek yogurt in a bowl.  You can use any flavor of yogurt, of course!

Top with frozen raspberries and cereal.

I used crushed Cracklin' Oat Bran this time, but Kashi Crunch (even the Aldi version) is great, too!

And, last but not least, Whole Wheat Mini Bagels with Cream Cheese and Berries.


Slice the mini bagel, smear with cream cheese, and top with berries!  I wanted to use strawberries, but they didn't look good.  The blueberries were great pinch hitters :)

Aldi carries whole wheat mini bagels, and I was very impressed by how soft they were.

The added bonus to this snack is that Leah can make it by herself!

What is your go-to after school snack?

In case you missed the other posts in the Back to School Series, check them out:
Why I'm Happy to Send Our Daughters to Our Public School
How to Develop a Good Relationship with Your Child's Teacher
The FOUR Letter Word: On Lice Prevention

I'm linking up with Abbie on Five Days Five Ways

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Principles for Developing a Good Relationship with Your Child's Teacher

Welcome to Day 2 in my Back to School series!  In case you missed the first day, click here to read about why I am happy to send our girls to our public school.

Up for today, we have...



It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that I have a ridiculous amount of respect/awe for teachers and everything they do!  

I feel like they are kind of celebrities.  

Anyway, I think developing a great relationship with your child's teacher is incredibly important!  You are entrusting your child to this person, so you should want to build trust with him or her and be an encouraging parent.

Please keep in mind that the following 3 points are principles.  Everyone has their own personality, so the way I say things or do things might not fit with you or your child or the teacher.  But, these 3 principles can be tweaked for everyone!

Remember that your child's teacher is a person.
I know.  That's so basic that you wonder why I even mention it.  

But, here's the thing: 

  • Do you have a hard time getting your family out the door in the morning?  If you do, I bet your child's teacher does!
  • Are you ever up several times at night with a sick child?  I bet your child's teacher has.
  • Do you forget to eat breakfast in the morning because you are taking care of everyone else?  I bet that happens to your child's teacher!
  • Do you have difficult coworkers?  Your child's teacher might.
  • Do you feel under-appreciated for all of the hard work you do for others?  You child's teacher might feel that way!

There have been times that Leah's teacher had a substitute because she was home with a sick kid.  So, when I see her, I ask her how her child is feeling. Pretty basic, but it communicates that I care about her and her family.

I ask Leah's teacher how her weekend was.  

If I make cookies or muffins or scones, I send some to school with Leah so she can give some to her teacher.  And not just when it's teacher appreciation week.  Do it any old day!

I remember that teachers are not super-humans (even if it seems like it).  They probably have a rough day sometimes.  They could have issues in their family.  They may feel the pressure of teaching and test scores, etc.

I think sometimes we see people more as the role they play in our life than who they are as a person.  So, I just want to be sure that my attitude towards my daughters' teachers is characterized by understanding, grace, kindness, and compassion...the attitudes I would have towards a friend or that I would want someone to have towards me.

Don't get all crazy!
Here's the thing...it doesn't take a lot for a normal mom to turn into a psychotic mama bear.  

source
This doesn't mean that we neglect being advocates for our children.  Rather, the way we approach a tough situation should be seasoned with grace.  We should ask questions instead of throwing around accusations.  We should assume that there is more than one side to each story.

Isn't that how we want others to treat us?

I had a situation when Leah was in Kindergarten that had nothing to do with the teacher, but it was more of a recess issue.  I really wanted to overreact and get into crazy panic mode.  So, I reined in my psychotic mama bear and sent an email to her teacher that was lighter and not filled with heavy mommy panic.

Here's a snippet:  

Hi Jxxxx!

Leah said you got to go see your son's concert today!  How fun!

So, quickly, tonight Leah mentioned that Nxxxxx has a club and gave her the idea to have a club.  Apparently Leah's little club likes to play puppy together.  Some of the stuff she mentioned about her club seemed harmless, but some was a little concerning like she told Dxxxxx he couldn't be in her club if he wanted Jxx to be in it or something like that.  I'm not even sure how often her little club plays together.  ...  Do you have any thoughts or observations?  The overreacting mom in me was like, "She has a gang!  My daughter has a gang!"  :) Hahaha!

I'm actually going to pick Leah up from school tomorrow, so if it's easier to talk as opposed to respond to an email (I know you're super busy) maybe we can talk quickly then!  

Have a great day!

She responded to my email and then here is part of my response to that:

Did you read Sweet Valley Twins in jr. hi?  That may account for a tiny bit of paranoia on my part :)  She hasn't insisted on wearing a little bit of purple every day, so I think we're safe from that whole thing ;)

source
Now, obviously there is a lot in those emails that is specific to my personality, so it would be weird for other people to email like me!  

Additionally, this issue came up in December, and I had already developed a great rapport with Leah's teacher, so I could email her with a lighter, not too crazy tone.

I also was respectful of her time and didn't assume she'd be able to email me a lengthy response.  Believe it or not, Leah wasn't the only kid in the class :)

As you get to know your child's, you'll be able to get a feel for how to communicate with them in a healthy, maybe even fun and encouraging way!

I can only begin to imagine the emails that teachers get, so if my emails can brighten up her day, I feel like that's a really good thing!

Do what you say you are going to do.
This is pretty simple.

Did you tell the teacher you were going to come in and help with centers on Wednesday morning?

Then come in and help with centers on Wednesday morning!

Be on time!

A late volunteer can really throw a monkey wrench into the timing of the day.

Obviously there are exceptions to this, like if you have a sick kid or if you have lice (yes, that happened at our house).  So, don't come if you're going to spread germs or share lice.

Remember:  it's cool to be reliable!

I hope that your school year and your relationships with your child's teacher gets off to an amazing start!

Tomorrow I'll be sharing 4 after school snack ideas and on Friday I'll be talking about treating and preventing the 4 letter word that strikes fear in this mommy's heart (lice).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why I am Happy to Send Our Girls to Our Public School

Today kicks off my short Back to School series!  

I don't intend at all for this to ruffle feathers or make people feel bad, but today I am writing about...



Disclaimers:

  • I am not against homeschooling.  It's just not what we think is best for our family.  I applaud families who make that choice and do it well. 
  • I would not be good at homeschooling.  I know that if that's what would be best for our family, that God would give me what I needed when I needed it.  
  • Please note that I said I am happy to send OUR girls to OUR public school.  Our daughters are "typical" children, in that they don't have dramatic allergies or needs that we would deem incompatible with the public school.  Our schools are amazing; I've seen it first hand.  The teachers work SO hard and care SO much.  I have no doubt that our daughters are getting a great education.  
So, this isn't against homeschooling or private schooling...this is about the positive points about sending our daughters to our public school.  Some of the things I say are/could be true about other schooling options.

Don't get mad at me, OK?

OK!

Plus, I'm putting in random cute pictures of Leah's first year of school :) And, I'm limiting myself to 3 reasons!

Their teachers are awesome!
Due to the flexibility of Aaron's schedule, I'm able to volunteer in the classroom once a week. I can only think of good/wonderful things to say about any of Leah's teachers!  

I've seen them deal with wildly difficult students while maintaining their composure and grace and kindness.  

I've seen their enthusiasm and interest in not only my daughter, but in other students.  Leah is an "easy" kid.  She is a rule follower who is bright, learns quickly, and is excited to be in the classroom.  I've seen her teachers love the kids who aren't easy.  I've seen them pour energy and thought and creativity in to how to help kids who are hard to reach.  

One of my dear friends is a teacher, so I've seen the commitment she has to teaching.  Being a teacher is much, MUCH more than an 8-3:30 job with the summers off.  She goes in on the weekend, brings work home, and thinks and prays over her students when they are not together.  


Being a Light.
You know the kids who can be hard to reach?  They are hard to reach for a reason.  There was a little girl in Leah's class whose home life (from what I could surmise as a mommy observer) literally made me weep.  My friend and I would volunteer in their class (at different times) and she would cling to us.  I don't know the details of her family, but it didn't take a lot of guessing to infer that it wasn't pretty.

There aren't kids like that at our church.  Which may beg the question, "Why aren't we seeking out people who need Jesus?" but that's not the point of this...maybe another day.  But, by having our daughters in the public school, we can be Light to people who need Jesus. When I see her classmates, I talk to them, ask them questions, treat them like the important people they are, and pray for them.  I don't have that opportunity if my girls aren't in school.

Our girls don't know very many people who are different than them.  Being in school gives them a chance to have friends of different races, different socioeconomic levels, and different family types.  I've seen this help Leah grow in understanding and compassion.  

Plus, I get to be friends with, or at least have conversations with, the parents of all sorts of different kids.  It's a great opportunity for not just our girls, but for Aaron and me, too!


Learning Life Lessons
Just because we have our daughters in public school certainly doesn't mean that we send them in with our eyes closed.  

There's more drama at recess than in the classroom, so we talk about those interpersonal things...how to include kids, how to be okay playing by yourself (or in Leah's case, going along with someone else's idea as long as it isn't naughty), how to stand up for a friend.

I also know that there will come a time when some of the things she learns won't line up with a Biblical worldview.  We will talk about that.  I would rather have them be mildly exposed to these things when they already talk to me about eeeeeeevvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeerrrryyyyyything and see me and Aaron as the holder-of-truth... i.e. she believes me and not her peers.  

Also, we get updates on what they are talking about in their guidance time.  This has led to conversations about good touching vs. bad touching, how to handle our feelings, etc.  As a parent, I really want to talk to our daughters about these things, but I'm not always sure when or how to do it.  They give me the opportunity, and I am very grateful for it.

And, yes, there might be a time when we don't appreciate the topics that come up in guidance, but we'll talk about them and bring things back to Scripture.

We have our eyes and ears open to what our girls are seeing and hearing at school and we talk and talk and talk.  We bring Jesus into the equation, which is kind of silly to say, because He's already in the midst of it anyway.  We really just need to pray for eyes to see what He's doing.



So, are you the mommy who is homeschooling?  Press on, friend!  What you are doing is certainly not for the faint of heart!  Your job requires such patience and creativity and perseverance.  You are a light in your homeschool group or 4H group or activity classes.  

Are you the mommy sending your kiddos to public school?  Jesus is sending you on mission to your school community.  Be the Salt and Light!  Love your child's classmates, love their parents, love their teachers.  Have your eyes and ears open, not only to what you kids are learning, but to what the people around you need.  How can you represent Jesus well?

Are you the teacher?  I applaud you... a little standing ovation in my heart :)  You work long hours, you likely don't get paid enough, you spend some of your own money on your classroom, and you give bits of your heart to each little friend who comes into your class. You are a hero.


Oh, and if you're interested, here is a link to an Aaron-edited version of an article by Tim Challies which explains some of the reasons we have for choosing public schools for our family.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gracie is 3!!!

Guess who is 3 today!


Will you indulge me in a little walk down memory lane?  

Try not to spontaneously burst into tears upon seeing Gracie in all of her adorable tininess! 

Dear Gracie Kate,

I can't believe you are 3 today!  You are so much the baby of our family but such a big girl at the same time!

The day you were born was amazing!  I was in labor for only 2 hours and only had to push 4 times for you to be born.  I remember being in the bed, holding you in the peacefulness of the room and looking at your daddy and saying, "I can't believe that was so good!  I feel like I should be doing something else!"


When you were in my tummy, you wiggled more than Leah and Maggie did combined.  You wiggled and squirmed more than you kicked.  I remember holding you on my chest that first week and feeling you wiggle.  It was the very same feeling as when I was pregnant...except you were on the outside!


Being the third-born daughter, you have 2 bonus mommies in Leah and Maggie!  They loved you and wanted to nurture you from the very beginning!  I feel like they still do.  In a way they compete for the chance to take care of you.


I was so much more relaxed with you than I was with Leah!  You were born on a Thursday, and we took you to church on that Sunday!  With Leah, I hardly left the house for 6 weeks!


Even though you've always been a wiggle worm and very busy, you were a good sleeper!  You slept through the night at 8 weeks...such a gift to a tired mommy.


You've had a sparkle and an energy about you from the very beginning!  I like to say you are spunky and spirited :)


And incredibly determined!  Let's just say that you know your own mind!  

I think that your spunk, spirit, determination, sparkle, and personality make you a force to be reckoned with in the best possible way!


God made you that way for such a specific purpose!  I know that once Jesus captures your heart, you will do amazing things for Him!  People are drawn to you because of how God made you and I can't wait to see you point people to Jesus!

I love that you laugh so easily!

I love it when you joke around and say, "Just kidding!"

I love that you know what you want (even though that presents some challenges).

I love that you nurture dolls.

I love that you like to run and jump, too!

I love that you are so bold.

I love that you are so willing to try new things.

I love that you take risks, and I pray that one day God redeems that into a boldness for Him.

I love that you can articulate your thoughts so well.

I love that you brighten any room that you enter.

I'm not really looking forward to Maggie going to school, but I am looking forward to having it be just you and me 2 days a week.  I can't wait to get to hang out with just you!  I'm looking forward to getting to know you on your own and see who you are without you responding to your sisters.  I think we're going to have fun...how could we not!

I love you so much and am blessed beyond measure that God put YOU in our family!

Love,
Mommy


I'm linking up with Blair at wild and precious!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Shrinky Dinks!

Happy Friday, Friends!

Aaron has been out of town since Wednesday, and he's coming home this afternoon!  We're awfully excited!

He's visiting Southeastern Seminary in North Carolina with a pastor friend to recruit church planters to our area.  It's been fun explaining what church planting is to the girls and see Leah grasp what that is!

We've kept pretty busy, so that's good!  The only bad thing is that I was pouring boiling pasta water out of a pot and accidentally poured some on my fingers (I was making this...SO delicious).  A HUGE blister formed (and recently deflated...ew).  Better me than one of the girls, though, that's for sure!

What's one of the ways we kept busy?  I reached back into my camp counselor days and pulled out some shrinky dinks!  Leah got a shrinky dink kit for Christmas, and I set it aside for a time like this!


The girls had lots of fun!  The kit came with the big paper you see there.  It's full of pictures to trace!


I actually let Gracie use sharpies which surprisingly didn't backfire on me!

I made little game pieces.  I've written before about the drama of choosing game pieces, so I'm thinking having their own personalized game piece might cut down on some of the aforementioned drama.  We shall see :)


Here's the rest of our handiwork!


Leah is going to make her shrinky dinks into zipper tag/backpack decorations.  I might try to seal them so the decorations don't rub off.  

The rest of today will be spent on finishing up birthday party preparations for Gracie's party on Saturday.  It's my goal to have as much done ahead of time as possible!  

I'm excited for what I have planned for the blog next week!  Gracie's birthday post will be up on Monday, and the rest of the week will be all about back to school! 

I'm writing about:

  • why I'm happy to send our girls to our public school.
  • how to develop a good relationship with your child's teacher.
  • 4 easy and balanced after school snacks.
  • LICE!!!  Treatment and prevention.  Yeah, we had it.  Yeah, it was awful.  Let me help you :)

Be sure to stop back next week!

Oh, if you have some time, check out this online conversation I had with Moriah!  And please ignore how weird my eyes look :)

Happy weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chicken Tandoori Skewers

Here's another awesome recipe from the cooking class that Kim and I went to!

I love a good skewer/kabob as much as the next girl, but sometimes I like something a little different in the kabob department.

This recipe really delivers!

Much like the Chimichurri Steak Kabobs, these Chicken Tandoori Skewers have a fresh punch of flavor!

Here's the line up!


1.)  1 and 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 pinch ground cardamom, 1 dash black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt

2.)  1 and 3/4 teaspoons chopped garlic

3.)  1 and 3/4 teaspoons minced ginger root

4.)  1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Add all of those ingredients to:


6 ounces of plain yogurt.

Put everything into a freezer bag and squish it all up to mix.

Add about 1 and 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces.


Marinate in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.  

When ready to grill, remove the chicken from the marinade, scraping off the excess marinade.  Put about 4 pieces of chicken onto bamboo skewers (if you are using shorter skewers, more for longer skewers).

Whatever you do, don't crowd your skewers.

I realize that sounds over-dramatic, but really, don't crowd the skewers or the chicken won't cook evenly.

Ain't nobody got time for under-cooked chicken!

Grill the chicken over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes on each side.


I served this with rice, cucumber and pineapple salad, and grapes.


Sprinkle the chicken with some freshly minced cilantro to bump the fresh flavor up a notch!

Enjoy!

I'm linking up with Abbie at Five Days Five Ways

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oh, the Kitchen Scale

I got a kitchen scale last week!  I'm going to try making macarons for Gracie's birthday, and you need a kitchen scale for the recipe.  I figured I would be able to use it for lots of other things, too!




I was really excited!



It could be argued that I was too excited.

Is that even possible?

Please don't answer that hypothetical question.

I was weighing my phone, the camera, some strawberries...you name it!  If it was seemingly less than 12 kg, I weighed it.

Gracie was napping, but Leah and Maggie saw what I was doing and joined the fun!

They weighed a book!


This house is full of Charlie the Ranch Dog fans!
And then a bunch of other things!


1.  Doll (clothes on...dolls don't care about their weight like grownups do)
2.  Lalaloopsy Doll.  I believe that's Toffee Cocoa Cuddles.  The ceiling fan was not included in the weighing.
3.  Napkin Holder.  HEY!  GET THE DOLL'S FOOT OFF THERE!  WE ONLY WANT ACCURATE READINGS AROUND HERE!
4.  Water Bottle.  Another tricky one.  The weight changes when you (wait for it) take a drink.

Then, I introduced Leah to the tare feature.


She was pumped!

Here's the reading on the scale.


Whoa.  40.25 ounces.  

Then, Leah wanted to weigh her hand.


I tried explaining the whole pressure and weighing things thing, but I am neither mathematician nor scientist.

Maggie weighed her hand, too!


And, no, we didn't chart or graph or measurements...not yet anyway!

So, if the girls turn out to be nerdy, I feel like we can look back to this moment and point the finger of blame at me.

But, if they turn out to be witty and charming, I'll take the blame for that, too ;)

Hey!  Weigh something today...it's actually really fun!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Get Yo' Dance On!!!

My post was so long yesterday, that I thought I'd better save the pictures from the dance part of the reception for their very own post.

Guess which one of our daughters was most into the dancing?

You can read the rest of this before you submit your answer :)

Oh, but before I get to the pictures, I wanted to tell you something cool...well, cool to me anyway!

I posted last week about how God had been teaching me about my expectations lately.  Well, I got to see that play out amazingly on Saturday!

We took 2 cars to the reception, because I planned on leaving earlier with the girls so they could get to bed at a more reasonable time.  Aaron drove with the girls to the reception, so I had a little time to myself on the road.

I took that time to adjust my expectations (or, as my friend Kim wisely said, "expect the best and prepare for the worst").

I realized that...
  • the girls would probably have to go to the bathroom a lot.
  • I wouldn't have uninterrupted conversations with people.
  • the girls might be afraid of the music at the reception.
  • the girls might not want to dance and perhaps they would whine about it.
I prayed that God would give me joy in those circumstances and that I would genuinely enjoy serving my family.

I'm glad to say that God totally showed up!  The girls did have to go to the bathroom literally 6 times in the first 2 hours, and it was fine.  I wasn't irritated, and we just had fun together!

So grateful!

Anyway, as you'll be able to see, the girls did want to dance!

Maggie dipped her toe into the dancing pool first!


And then Gracie ventured out with Becca.


Gracie was all about Becca!  Gracie kept visiting her at the head table and then enjoyed dancing with her.

Then, she moved over to dancing with Aaron!


Once she got comfortable on the dance floor, there was no stopping her!

She's still by Becca :)
Maggie was glad to join in the fun!


I love that you can tell how big Maggie is smiling even from a profile view!

Gracie and Maggie even danced together.



And some more!


But, Leah wasn't quite sure about the whole dancing thing.


She is SO my daughter!  She kept saying that she wanted to dance but didn't know how.  

That's totally me.  I don't like to try something unless I'm reasonably sure that I'm going to be good at it.  Nobody would say that Leah or I are risk takers.

Risk averse?  Yes.

Risk taker?  No.

She also has my sense of rhythm which in the dancing department, isn't the best thing ever.  Aaron is the one in the family with all of those skillz!  (Well, Gracie, too, I think!)

Leah loosened up and jumped along to the music!


I was SO proud of her for trying something she was initially a little uncomfortable with.  She kept at it, too!

Eventually, Gracie wanted to dance with me.


I was quite honored that the Dancing Queen graced me with some of her dancing time!

The girls and I left at like 8:30.  On the way home, we talked about what we liked better:  the moon and the stars.  

Verdict?  We like them both for different reasons.

Maggie fell asleep, but Gracie and Leah made it home awake.

It was a good...GREAT day!