My Grandma just turned 80. 80! I wrestled for weeks with what to get her, how do you properly celebrate such an important milestone? My Grandma is largely responsible for my love of "making stuff". Craft days at Grandma's are some of my happiest memories. So, naturally I made her something. If anyone would appreciate a handmade "rock island" it would be her. Oh and she loves lighthouses. So, how could I resist?
Just in case you were tempted to think otherwise....
- I haven't been to the grocery store since Levi was born.
- There are dirty clothes on the floor; in the bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, the craft room, our bedroom, the nursery. Oh wait, that's all of the rooms - darn it.
- Somedays I feel like super-mom when i manage to remember all of the materials for my art classes, when I get together everything Levi needs while I'm teaching and then teach class as if I had had a full night's sleep...and then I come home to my disaster of a house, my empty refrigerator, my dirty bathroom and my long unchecked to-do list. And then - not so much.
- I think my cat is about to disown me. I'm no fun anymore.
- After the last feeding of the night I very often fall asleep while burping the baby and spend the rest of the night with him cuddled on my chest (Admittedly, I don't feel too bad about this; these will be some of the times I'll miss most about having a snuggly little newborn.)
- I've had my fair share of cry-fests, as I try to figure out how to juggle work and mommy-hood.
- We've been eating a lot of really healthy food. You know, like spaghetti, hot dogs and Annie's mac and cheese.
- Levi is on nothing that resembles a schedule and considering I can't remember my own schedule, I'm not sure how I'm going to put my baby on one...
- Last night I realized that we were out of clorox wipes - and I got a little teary-eyed.
- Last week I locked myself and the baby out of the house. Thank goodness for secret magnetic car key boxes and my parents' house.
- I haven't read the "What to Expect the First Year" book (or any other baby book for that matter) since he was like a week old. So, I guess I don't know if I'm doing it all "right".
- I worry too much about tomorrow.
- I try to not get too close to my students or co-workers, because I'm well aware that I smell like spit-up.
- I take super long showers these days. I consider them vacation.
I always like to start the year off with a project that helps all of us get to know each other better. It's also a way for the kids to express their individuality and personal creative style. For my high school class, I came up with an "Identity Box" project. I was partly inspired by trying to find other ways to use my husband's collection of empty Altoid boxes (remember how he stashes these away in his school desk like a crazy person?) I did manage to convince him to part with a few of them, but I ended up letting the kids use boxes of other shapes and sizes, if they wanted to. The project was very open ended, but I gave them guiding questions to think about, such as:
* What are some important things about you? What makes up your identity? (Family? Friends? Hobbies? Faith? Character traits?)
*What kind of images or symbols could portray those characteristics?
*Will the inside of your box be as important (or more) important than the outside? How will you use the sides? The bottom?
*What types of tool and materials will you need to portray your symbols and characteristics?
I also made my own identity box, in hopes to inspire...
Here are some of the students' work. Their boxes really excited me! I'm so blessed to be working with such a dynamic, creative bunch. I know we're going to have a great year together.
This fall at New Hope, I've been teaching a six week workshop I created called "Inspired by the Masters". Each week we study a different master artist and complete a project inspired by him or her (hmm, just realized there are no hers, whoops). Anyways, this week we studied Claude Monet and impressionism. The kids chose a photo of a landscape (from calendars that I've collected over the years) and worked on an impressionist style painting of their photograph using the "stippling" technique. The kids really got into it and were very proud of their paintings. I think Claude would have also been proud of these beautiful impressions. Muy, muy bien!
These days Brian and I enjoy planning impromptu "dates" while the baby sleeps. Although we'd probably still be spending time together during Levi's little naps, calling it a "date" makes it seem much more important and precious. (And you can't do laundry or the dishes on a date, now can you?!)
The other day we had an art-date inspired by a little trinket we saw at a flea market on Sunday. It was a rock, about the size of a fist and it had a little wooden lighthouse stuck to it. It was very simple, but this little "rock island" was so charming that Brian and I decided that we MUST make our own.
We started out by picking out some nicely shaped rocks on the coast of Marblehead during our family outing on Labor Day.
On the way home, we stopped at the craft story for some moss, twine and small wooden sticks for building. At home, we already had a glue gun and other little beads, wire, fabric and sculpey.
As soon as the little one was a-snoozing, we went to work; we used the moss for foliage, the wooden sticks for structures and twine and beads for other tiny details. Sculpey is a great material to use, since you can build almost anything out of it and all you have to do it stick it in the oven for a few minutes to harden. I used it to make little houses for my island and then I painted them with some acrylic paint. Everything was attached with a glue gun.
- getting through the first week of my various part jobs, almost unscathed. :) - visiting Parker Middle School, lunch with Brian and meeting his co-workers - Wailin Jennys Pandora station (thank you kindly, Lili) - weekends - being able to let go of a clean and tidy house
- very real smiles! - a chilly autumn walk and these beautiful steely eyes looking up at me...
"There were no baby-sitters then and Bumby would stay happy in his tall cage bed with his big, wonderful cat named F. Puss. There were people who said it was dangerous to leave a cat with a baby... F. Puss lay beside Bumby in the tall cage bed and watched the door with his big yellow eyes, and would let no one come near him when we were out... There was no need for baby-sitters. F. Puss was the baby-sitter."
-Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
[Disclaimer: No, I don't use my cat as a babysitter and I wouldn't recommend it. Unless of course you have a cat like F. Puss. :) ]
Speaking of the happy couple, we spent the weekend at Matt's family's house up on Lake Winnipesaukee for what felt like a wonderful last hurrah of summertime. "The Rock" is a house on its very own island and a most perfect getaway retreat. Our family enjoyed a relaxing mini-vacation; boating, kayaking, grilling, gaming, sun-bathing, baby-cuddling, fire-pitting...ahhh.
Approaching "The Rock"
Levi and Grammy
Uncle Jonathan loves his Levi time...
gorgeous full moon over Winnipesaukee
nap time with Auntie Kate (not sure why she's pouting!)