Thursday, May 30, 2013


Bianca graduated from sixth grade. There was a big ceremony where they all dressed up (no cap and gown though) to get their certificate. Congressman Chaffetz spoke to the kids (I think that's a pretty big deal, but then found out his daughter is a sixth grader at Westfield too).

Bianca got the Presidential gold award for good grades. I'm not surprised. She's such a good reader and got the highest grade in her class all three terms for language arts (the teacher Mrs. Nevarez was really cool--Bianca LOVED her--and would buy the student with the highest grade in each subject Subway for lunch). I'm very proud of Bianca for all her hard work. I love that I don't have to oversee her homework anymore. This whole year, she took the responsibility for herself, and that's exactly what I want at this age. Because middle school is next year and that is going to be a lot more teachers and a lot more homework, just a lot more work! I think she's ready.
Bianca's teacher Mrs. Nevarez

We sat at the ceremony and Portia was surrounded by friends in her class who also had sixth-grade siblings. That girl is always playing, playing, playing. She's so smart, but I think it's going to take a lot more effort to reign her in! They didn't have a graduation for kindergarten, but the teacher did give all the kids little awards and Portia was titled "Miss Friendly." Hmmm, that seems fitting. I got a bunch of pictures of Portia with her friends, but Bianca wouldn't sit still for a second for me to get some of her with her friends. There was a bbq afterward at the park and she just wanted to change out of that dress and get out of there.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Aunt Joanie asked Bianca if she would want to come fiddle for her ward party last weekend. So Bianca printed out some fiddling music and practiced all week, then we dressed up like cowboys (as much as we could) and Bianca fiddled on her viola. It was really cute. Bianca doesn't always like practicing, but she loves performing!

Go to bed...NOW!

Cello practice isn't always pure torture. Portia actually likes practicing when I don't oversee everything (which is what I let her do on weekends). I like Portia's teacher because he keeps things moving right along. He assigned her Andantino last week (along with Bach's Minuet in C), and Portia learned this song in one night. It's probably because he gave us these words to sing along with the tune, and Portia thought they were hilarious. So, here I am, sacrificing my dignity and singing on this video clip just because Portia's part is so dang cute.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Taming of the Shrew

It's no surprise that I love Shakespeare. For goodness sake, my girls have all been named after a character from one of his plays. My girls know which play is theirs. So when Bianca's teacher announced their sixth-grade play would be Taming of the Shrew, Bianca had only one goal: to get the part of Bianca, her namesake. She worked really hard and auditioned, and got the part!

As a class, they were working on this for over two months. At last, on the day of the performance, we got to see Bianca on stage being Bianca. Some of the school classes came to see the performance, and the parents too, of course.

The part really was made for her. In fact, one of her first lines is: "My books and instruments shall be my company." If that doesn't describe my daughter, I don't know what else does.

The production was quite good, and I think Bianca's a better actor than I realized.

In character
We had to provide our own costume and I thought Bianca's Jottum Rembrandt dress worked great, although it could have been longer as most dresses were ankle length in Renaissance times.

There are a ton of girls in Bianca's class so some of the girls had to take on the boy parts (funny how in Shakespeare's time, it was the boys dressing up as the girl characters).

Bianca got to know a lot of the kids really well from working together on this project. It was a lot of work--they made their own sets (see photo above), did their own costuming and make-up, wrote some of the scenes, and then of course memorized all the lines and actions. Bianca had a hand in the music production as well. And we all know old English isn't exactly the easiest to understand and they were great.

The video footage we got isn't spectacular. In fact, you have to listen really hard to hear what they're saying as we were sitting against the back wall and using Eric's phone for this scene. But here is a scene of Hortensio (played by Morgan) and Lucentio (played by Garrett) both trying to win Bianca:

It's sad to see Bianca's last year in elementary school come to an end. Our experience at Westfield has been great and I don't doubt our move now, at all. Here are a couple pictures of some of the kids who worked so hard on this production.

Bianca, Daniela (Biondella), Libby (Narrator 1)

David (Petruchio), Bianca (Bianca), Ben (Bianca's father Baptista)

Garrett (Lucentio) and Bianca

Bianca's class with her teacher Mrs. Nevarez in the back row

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Crazy Newton

The other day, Portia was trying to find something. I can't even remember what it was--peanut butter or cereal perhaps? She knew where it was--"in the Crazy Newton." Where? "The Crazy Newton!"

It took a good ten minutes to figure out that she had mixed up the term "Lazy Susan" for "Crazy Newton." Which makes you kind of wonder whoever came up with the term Lazy Susan in the first place. I love the crazy stuff that's going on inside her six-year-old head!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Playing in plays

I swore to Bianca this was the last play she'd ever be in a week before Westfield Elementary's play, Beauty and the Beast Jr. debuted. (Ha ha--it's what it felt like as this was hands-down the most professional elementary school play I'd ever seen.)

Bianca had been given the part of the Hat Seller. It had two small solos in the villager's song. Fortunately, she only had to practice one night a week (and that still seemed like too much to me) until the last several weeks and then they were practicing every night. And then, of course, the full week of performances, which kept Bianca up much too late every night. I was exhausted, and I wasn't the one on the stage.

She did great and really enjoyed wearing all the make-up. And it was nice that I always knew where she was on the stage with all the other villagers as she was carrying around the tall hat stick. See? You can see her amongst the crowd too.

I particularly liked finding the photo below. I know the look on Bianca's face. I'm pretty sure she's actually trying to read that book Belle's holding. That's Bianca, my reader.

Bianca always says how much she hates dancing, and up there on stage, you could tell it's something she really doesn't want to be doing. At least the the Hat Seller part didn't have much dancing. Here she is, a little uncomfortable.

After we left the auditorium at Timberline, though, Portia asked me, "How old do I have to be to try out for the play?" I guess I may have to re-assess things in a couple of years. ("Third grade," I told her.) After all, it's good for Bianca to have a "team" environment in which everyone has to work together to do something great. She doesn't do team sports so I guess this is a nice alternative. And I know she made some friends along the way. Maybe it's like having a baby--the outcome outweighs the inconvenience and discomfort.

In a similar vein, although Beauty and the Beast is long over, Bianca had auditioned and got the part of "Bianca" in her sixth-grade class performing Taming of the Shrew. They've been working on this a lot for the past couple of months. And her costumes are all hung up and ready to go. The big performance is on Tuesday. Stay posted.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Music Room Wall

I've been working (very slowly) on getting pictures hung on walls. For some reason, when we moved here, I really liked the clean look of pretty much nothing on my walls. I'm trying to go more clutter-free and decided to use the art from my last house down in the basement and get new stuff on my main floor. However, I did want to do something special for the back wall of our music room.

I love the idea of incorporating musical instruments as wall art. Although I very seriously considered selling my kids' instruments (I love making a couple bucks selling things second-hand), I thought it might be cool to put up a more artistic musical photo of each of my girls (I printed these on canvas) and then pair the photo up with that child's first (smallest) instrument--Bianca with her first viola (Viol) and Portia with her first cello (Peggy). I pulled down the end pin to rest on the radiator grate so that it's obvious that the instrument is, in fact, a cello. It's so small (one-eighth size) that once when Portia was having a preschool play-date with a girl whose sister played viola, I heard them arguing about whether Portia's little cello was a viola or a cello. It still makes me laugh to remember how adamant Portia was insisting that it was a cello.

It's like family history on the wall without being too family-portrait-y. Of course there's Penny (Bianca's quarter-size double bass) in the corner, which I know I could get a couple hundred dollars for secondhand, but I kind of like it as decor.

Anyway, I finally completed my project and am happy with how it turned out.

Now if I could figure out how to decorate that huge shelf that goes all along the ceiling on all four walls! Ideas anyone?