Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Grandpa's 80th! ~A Photo Album

My sweet father turned 80 last month.

Now, I know a lot of folks reach 80, but he has had two heart attacks, the last being almost 20 years ago, on Guy's and my 1st anniversary.  With a history of heart trouble in the family and his own father passing away in his 40's, mom had always predicted dad would die young.  But it ended up being her that left us far too early.

For Dad's birthday my awesome sister-in-law, Tracey, suggested that we gather to celebrate.  My amazing sister Korinne who cares for my dad planned a big project for us to do as a gift for my dad.  We would build an aviary for him to raise quail and turtle doves (because apparently the hundred or so hummingbirds he feeds everyday don't quite keep him busy enough!). 

Almost every member of the family was able to come, which made it extra special.  The menfolk dug and chopped and did very manly things that required much sweating and grunty-sound-making.

"Num", as Natalie calls him (Adam).

While the dudes worked and got stinky, Julean and I pretended to work (but mostly talked and laughed) while we assembled the bench that was our group gift to Dad.  I mean, there were only so many shovels, and the guys had it all under control.  We lady-folk did assemble a meal worthy of a barn-raising, though.

(Testing out the bench.  The "sitting" pictured here is for purely scientific purposes.  Nothing lazy about it)

Auntie Julean and Nanobot.  A regular redhead convention.

Cousins Jason, Natalie, Emma, Sam, and sundry animals.
  Jason always finds a baby to look after.

There is a predominance of Y chromosomes in our families  (If you look at the young man standing by Guy you will see John, Adam's twin from another mother).

Pete, Caleb, and Isaiah.  And cake.  Lot's of cake.

Ellie, Jonah and Elijah.  They worked for an hour filling in State nicknames.  Homeschool kids are known to suddenly do schoolish things without provocation whilst right in the middle of an otherwise utterly non-schooly event.  It's awesome.  Also awesome; a picture of Jonah smiling.  A rare sighting from our little camera-phobe.

Happy Birthday, Dad!  
I hope the next time I see you, there are a dozen baby quail following you all over and calling you "mama" in Quailese.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Something Ventured

Adam had another meet.

Of course he did.

But this one was just minutes from home, and there was only one other school competing, a considerable improvement over the 19-school, hour-away meet-a-thon-o-rama-saurus.

He took second in both his races.

Small pond, you know.  But mama was still proud.

(Jonah is that little kid you see out in public and have to stare at.  This is his "Sup-heeyo" (Superhero) suit, and a lovely sword he found on the ground.  Yes, he makes sound effects and battles invisible foes)

When Adam went over to the long jump pit to jump, he realized he had gone over too late to get a practice run in so he could pace out his "steps" to determine where he should begin his run.

"I'm not going to jump today," he said.

"Aw!" I whined.  "But I loooove to see you jump!"
(also, between you and me, I love the fact that he falls into a big soft pit of fluffy sand, rather than getting all twisted up on giant, deadly, solid iron, spike-encrusted hurdles).

"I don't know..." he said, now feeling conflicted.

"Do what you feel is right son.  I don't want you to have a bad experience.  I just love to watch you."

"But I haven't paced my steps and so I'll probably scratch on every jump."

"Well, that's true.  But what if you don't scratch?  What if you have a really good jump?  Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

"Okay," he smiled after a moment, "I'll go for it."

He jumped twice, scratching on the second jump.  They closed the pit, so he ran out of time for his last two jumps.  Jumping is funny that way.  You snooze, you lose.

Also, jumping is not like racing, where you see the winner cross the finish line and you know the outcome of the event right away.  It was two days before Adam saw the results posted on the school's website.

"Hey, Mom, they posted the long jump results..."
Adam smiled at me as he walked through the room, stalling for suspense.
"I got first place."

First place by 2 inches.
  It was a foot and 8 inches short of his best jump last year, so he knows he can do even better.  


It's true that we might fail at things we try, but if we don't try at all, we will fail, guaranteed.

Yes, we might fail at things we try,
but what if we don't?
What if this time is the time we will succeed?

Makes me wanna go jump into something.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Thousand Words

Enough said.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Somebody's Watching

Somebody's watching,
In big ways 
and small.

Somebody's watching.
Watching it all.

Somebody's listening
somebody hears.
All that is spoken
fills little ears.

Somebody's waiting
to know what to do
Waiting and watching
and following...


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dem' bones, dem' bones

One day recently I walked into the living room to this:

Adam and Jonah sitting almost motionless.  I thought they were snuggling, but then I noticed the pen in Adam's hand.  He was drawing on Jonah.

Oh, awesome, I thought.  
But not all snarky and sarcastic-like.  I was truly glad.  I get a crazy high when I get to see my kids in the act of making art.

Adam is very artistic. And frequently bored at school when he is done with work early.  This combination has led to a new pass time: Body art.  Okay, left-arm-art, really.  He regularly embellishes his left arm with interesting designs; zombie flesh, gears and pulleys, and of course, skeleton bones.

Jonah found his old PJs/Halloween costume of skeleton bones and wanted Adam to complete the look for him.

Big brothers are so cool.

Can you believe Adam is getting a meh sort of grade in art class?

I guess I can. They say an artist is never truly appreciated in his own time.  Apparently, Adam doesn't like some of the parameters of his teacher's assignments, and sometimes refuses to change his work when his teacher tells him to.   Also, it is very hard to turn your project in when it's on your little brother.

I was once told by my art teacher I should switch to home economics.  "You wouldn't be a good artist.  You don't know how to follow directions."

Because, as you well know, all of the greats obeyed tradition, fell in line and above all, followed directions.  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pickle Girl

I am so far behind.  
I missed three birthdays in our family, and several other important events, like ground hog day (hey, it's an important day.  The whole meteorology world holds it's breath till they know what a large rodent thinks).

Guy's birthday was at the end of March, but he just went from old to older, according to him, so there is mot much new to report there.

But Ellie, on the other hand, hit a big milestone like a Mack truck.  She turned twelve.  I remember twelve.  I think that was the unfortunate year I began wearing a ribbon headband and knickers.  I had a super cool big sister and I wanted to be just like her.  The headband looked way cooler on her.

Ellie loves certain things... and when she loves something she really loves it.  She adores the color green.  She has monkeys everywhere.  She loves pickles.  Her favorite present was the giant jar of pickles we gave her.  When she's older I plan to tell her it was her only gift.

She had a fun birthday party with a monkey theme which she meticulously planned out, including a banana eating contest, swinging from vines, and "grooming", where party goers had to search through the grass, the "big hairy back", for candies (lice, apparently) and eat them.  Don't worry, they had wrappers.  I wouldn't let them eat little chocolate balls right off the grass.  Too risky; dogs, you know.

Coconut Alley... look for the prize!

Some of these girls have been friends since they were babies or toddlers.

Ellie also had her first real-life, paid-in-cash babysitting job.  I am told she did an amazing job and even did the dishes.  My favorite part of her retelling of her adventure was when she wasn't sure if she could leave the 3 year old alone so she could go pee.  She waited till she was dying to go, and in that 30 seconds when she stepped out of the room, the little girl she was watching peed her pants.  I think Ellie will never use the bathroom while on the job again!

We have been learning a lot about Ellie lately.  She's rather a late bloomer academically, and I have been requesting testing through the charter school for a year, but they only have very basic assessments.  I started to pay attention to the nature of the reading mistakes she makes and realized there are a lot of letter and sound reversals (like seeing the word "item" and saying "time"), and I began to suspect dyslexia.  Our Educational Supervisor got us some assessment materials (a program called Brain Integration Therapy by Dianne Craft) and I was able to run and interpret a few tests, learning that Ellie has what is called a blocked Auditory Processing Gate.  Now all those millions of times I have had to give her instructions over and over are beginning to make sense.  Interestingly, this dysfunction occurs often in children who didn't crawl long or at all.  Ellie crawled for two weeks at 8 months old, and then stood up off the middle of the floor and started walking.  The lack of practice her brain experienced working both sides in tandem left her with an underdeveloped ability to use both sides of her brain for the same activity, something very necessary in reading.  

We are beginning the retraining program now, and it will be at least a year of daily exercises.  She may begin to show improvement in about 8 weeks, but it will be a challenge to remember to do it everyday.  We are going to make it be one of her daily tasks, like brushing her teeth.  We'll let you know how it goes.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Invitation

Hey!  I finally did something I've been talking about for ages!  (no, not clean my closet, sadly.  Looks like that old prom dress will be staying for another couple years)

I started my ART BLOG!  

and, not to be out-done by myself,

I opened my ETSY SHOP as well!!!

(it's like twins!  Born the same day!)

I am excited to begin posting items that I make often, as well as show projects and other artsy endeavors I am embarking upon.

(FYI: it is politically correct to call an artist "artsy" if you are a friend.  It is also acceptable if that person refers to themselves as "artsy"  It is, however, total TABOO to pair the word "artsy" with any reference to flatulence.  We hate that.)

It has taken me a long time to take this jump.  
I am great at making cute babies, but to be honest, they sort of make themselves once the DNA gets mixed.  But there is a certain fear in making art and then putting it out there for the world to scrutinize and judge.  It is why I particularly dislike commissions.  I have had the regretful experience of making a commissioned piece that was not well received.  Maybe it was a breakdown in communication, or a lack of vision on my part, I'm not sure.  
I hate that feeling.

But nothing ventured nothing gained!  
So here we go!

Please stop by often to read up on the latest art HERE.
Then pop over HERE to see what's looking for a new home.

Thanks for your support!!!