Friday, August 19, 2011

First Day of Preschool--this year

Today was Portia's first day of preschool for the year. Since Bianca's been in school for over three weeks now, Portia was definitely ready. All of the children from last year's class are in her class again. I absolutely love this preschool. They'll be focusing a little more on violin this year, learning French, reading mastery (broken into two groups by ability), and all the other good stuff--poetry recitation, singing, etc. Portia's real talent lies in art, so there's painting and drawing as well. We will be carpooling again this year since it's about a 12-minute drive to get to preschool. I know it's a long way to drive, but it's totally worth it to me. I'm a stay-at-home mom; isn't my job to put my kids first? Bianca always jokes that she wished she had gone to a preschool like Portia's when she was younger. Believe me, if it had been around then, I would have sent her to Kinderprep Academy too.

Even though Bianca's well into fifth grade now, it's still new to her as well. She told me last night that her class is learning Hindi (how cool is that?) and they've been really focusing on states and capitals this year. I love the way Mrs. Jensen does spelling (so does Bianca) because they have a test on Monday and the kids only have to test on Friday for the words they mis-spell on Monday. This is the first week Bianca's had any spelling words at all. She is a really great speller, but when you read as much as she does, how can you NOT be? Bianca has also been taking great care of herself this year and this morning I even caught her straightening her hair with the flat-iron--by herself. Orchestra should be starting up in September and Bianca's going to start the double-bass this year in beginner/still playing viola in advanced. I can't wait to get a picture of her playing that big thing! We will be leaving it at school though, as there's no way she can lug the double-bass to and from school.

I'm going to end this post with a funny story I don't want to forget. Bianca teaches Family Home Evening each week (we do it on Sunday evenings because Eric has work meetings late on Monday). Bianca has also played the piano for the opening and closing hymns so that we can all sing. Lately, though, Portia has wanted to do her part. She insists that she get to do an opening "hmmm" as well. It's so funny to hear her say it. Then she goes over and plays a couple notes on the piano and that's it. So worth it just to hear her say, "opening hmmm."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'll put a flower in your hair

Toward the end of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Bianca wanted to stand out a little more--since she's in the orchestra with required black t-shirt and black jeans and black shoes. So one night she wore a scarf. The next night, she asked me to put some flowers in her hair. We have this great rose bush that creates the tiniest little roses. Her hair was so pretty. She liked it so much (and got so many compliments) that we did it every night for the rest of the performances. I couldn't help it, but everytime I was doing her hair, I'd sing the lyrics to that Jason Mraz song "Lucky": "I'll put a flower in your hair." One night I even took a couple pictures.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Paper Arts

I've been meaning to write about this for a while and finally things seems to be settling down a little. At the end of the preschool-year, Portia took a paper-arts class from her preschool teacher Miss Melissa. They made some of the cutest things so I just had to share. Portia is wearing the crown with "P" they made, and they also made the cute USA flags here. I know it's time to take these down for the year as both 4th of July and Pioneer Day are way over, but I just can't seem to do it. Can't we be patriotic all the year long? The kids also made some scrapbooks out of paper bags that we filled in with pictures. These are all definitely keepers.

Portia's showing the little bobble-head turtle she got at the Cahokia Mounds in July. And what kind of a mom can't take a second and wipe the food off her kid's cheeks before she snaps a picture? Unfortunately, that's me. Sometimes I worry if I stop my forward momentum, I'll forget what I was doing and never get around to it. You'll be happy to know Portia's cheeks are nice and clean at the moment!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Another change

Bianca's viola teacher is moving. We've known for a little while but now it's happening. I know Bianca doesn't like change (well, who does when things are going well?) but I'm dreading the change more than she is.

We have secured a new viola teacher, and I feel Bianca will learn a lot from her. She is a professor at the University of Utah and plays for the Utah Symphony. But she's quite a bit more expensive, and it's a much farther drive. I'm trying to remain optimistic and look at this as the great opportunity it is.

Over the last couple weeks, Bianca's been a little overextended. She is playing in Herriman's Community Orchestra for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat. And she loves it. I think it's really cute to see my little Bianca there among all the older kids and adults. She's by far the youngest in the group and she keeps up with them (I do think it's funny though that she sits with cross-legs and props her feet up on her case.) These performances are nearly every night until 10:30 and Bianca has to get up at 6 to practice viola and piano and then head off to school for the day. I know she's exhausted.

In addition to Joseph every night last week, Bianca had an audition for an elite orchestra downtown SLC on Saturday morning. I wasn't sure if she was ready to be a part of this particular orchestra, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to go and find out. She did awesome at the audition, but the director said she had a few fundamentals that she needs to perfect. I kind of knew it. Bianca's really talented and very musical, but she can be "wild" as her teacher Brian says. Sometimes her bow grip gets a little off and her wrist falls so she's not bowing straight. Still, it hurts anytime you're not accepted into something you want. The director wants to see Bianca again in the spring to see if she's ready then.

Saturday afternoon was Bianca's last recital with Brian. I think her exhaustion showed iteself here. She did a great job but made some uncharacteristic mistakes. I'm really proud of her and know that she does give it her all and she (usually) works very hard. She performed the following two pieces:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Where do liars go?

So, I've been having a mothering problem. Namely, Bianca has been lying to me. Not about important stuff; no it's about the trivial, really unimportant stuff. Yesterday, she lied to me about practicing Wohlfahrt Foundational Studies (which is the boring exercises on viola that help strengthen fingers). She hates Wohlfahrt , throws the book against the wall and the cover has come off on both editions she's gotten through already. That's fine. I'll allow her to hate it, but she still has to practice it when her teacher assigns it to her. I knew she was lying to me because the music on her stand was the exact same that had been there the afternoon before when I was tidying up her room (yes, I know I shouldn't be doing that but I just can't stand the mess anymore). She then said it was because she had it memorized. So I grabbed the book, opened to the correct page, and said, "Okay, let's hear it." She got about two lines through it and stopped.

This made me realize this isn't the first time. It's just a culmination of other instances: "Yes, I brushed my teeth" disproven by dry bristles; "Yes, I made my bed" only to see sheets thrown about in bedlam (one of Bianca's vocabulary words this week); "Yes, I put my clothes away" only to discover them all shoved behind the bean bag chair or hidden underneath the dirty clothes never even taken out of the laundry basket. It's a problem. And I have to fix it NOW! (The messy problem will have to be a fix for another day.)

So yesterday, I was visiting with Wendy, my husband's cousin's wife whose parenting skills I admire. I asked her what I should do. Her answer, "Go to a higher authority." She told me a story about some parents who schooled their kids at under two years old about where liars go--straight to hell. When Bianca's not brushing her teeth, tell her you're taking her straight to the dentist (or I thought maybe I'd show her pictures of teeth on the Internet of people who don't brush).

So I picked Bianca up from school. I told her that I had failed her as a parent. I hadn't taught her about lying. I hadn't told her what happens to people who lie. And I would have a lesson with her--and Portia. In fact, I had already started teaching Portia so we could start early. I turned to Portia and asked her, "Where do liars go?"

Portia responded emphatically, "Hell!"

"Where will you go if you lie?"

"Hell." It became a chant.

So I asked Bianca, "Okay, lessons over. Let's see what you learned. Where do liars go?"

Bianca couldn't do it. She couldn't say it. Maybe she felt so wrong uttering a swear word (it is, right?) that she wouldn't say it.

"And look what you've done to your sister," I said. "She's now the swearing queen."

Portia chanted "Hell, hell, hell, hell" all the way home.

I hope Bianca gets it. I explained to her that she's been baptized; she's accountable for her mistakes now. Does she really want to waste it on lying about worthless things that I'll figure out anyway? I guess we'll see how this goes. Either Bianca will be whipped into shape and stop the lying or I'm going to have a four-year-old who swears like a sailor and a nine-year-old liar. Let's hope for the best!