Monday, May 31, 2010

Le Weekend

This weekend we were supposed to go camping at Honeyman but we cancelled our plans and stayed home to nurse Avery back to health. It was a good decision. She was SICK. Friday we laid ve-ry very low. I made posole and it rained and we watched Iron Man.

Saturday while my husband ran in Forest Park I made bran muffins and weiner wraps. I had brought back all sorts of good things from the library the night before that the kids wanted to watch so they laid low and vedged out while I sewed. I made a pillow from this wonderful book that I'd been wanting to make FOREVER! I noticed others are turning out projects from the book, too. Amazing book,eh?

Avery's temps were up and down all weekend, at their highest 104.6. I don't think either kid has ever had such a high fever and it was freaking me out. I gave her the fever reducer, and it came down each time, it just kept going up. There was hurling. She lay sluglike and flushed and we worried. It was all really awful and put me in stress mode worrying about her. Thankfully I balanced that worry with calming things like sewing and then the next day, yard work while she napped and watched stuff. Thankfully she seems to be doing better today, three days later. Bit by bit she is returning to her old self.

So, the yard work. Sunday we worked hard on our yard-me pulling weeds, spreading bark dust, pruning, my husband mowing, planting, and edging. I am so sore from the yard work, surprisingly. We ended our day watching Avatar. Despite my disinterest in seeing it when it was in the theater, it was so good.

Memorial Day finds we three girls hanging around the house while the husband is back at work. I'm not going to lie to you, despite my efforts at keeping the kids entertained with a few finishing art projects and an afternoon matinee, I have heard multiple times about how bored they are. Bored. Is there a worse word out there? The ice cream truck dinged its' bell and when I said no I got to hear how mean I am. The girls have also been fighting a lot. The good thing is, I got some dusting, vacuuming, and various other chores done amidst it all.

Summer looms, unfriendly. I know it will be great when we settle into our next routine. We will have fun. Still. Today we're just in the transition zone. Avery's transitioning away from being sick and being in school, Julia into being seven. Her birthday looms large. She lost a tooth last night and got a dollar from the tooth fairy today. Big Stuff.

It is Memorial Day, so I will also mention my dad, Vietnam Veteran. I'm so proud of his bravery. Miss you, Pops!

Our Version of Matisse's The Goldfish and More

The kids took a five week Portfolio class at My Masterpiece in April and May that was such a wonderful creative outlet and produced the COOLEST artwork. It was such a worthwhile way to spend a few Wednesday afternoons. I loved it because not only did they do some amazing projects, they got to do them together. A few of my favorite creations are displayed around our house.

Above, Rodin's "Thinker" sculptures sit on the mantle.

These paintings are based on modern artist Richard Deibenkorn.

These Peonies Have Cheered Me

Friday, May 28, 2010

So Long It's Been Good To Know You

Avery's last day of preschool was today. It's tough stuff in and of itself, but tougher still because she was sick and didn't get to go.

We drove to preschool to pick up her things. I went in to collect them, disappointment filling me up. It seemed out of character that I'd be standing there sobbing while collecting her things because I'm a fairly reserved person. My attachments surprise even myself; I typically anticipate so many things, feeling them way before they happen. This snuck up on me.

The sadness makes me focus on the nevers. She will never leave for preschool in the morning, something for the sharing box in her hand. She will never hear Teacher Penny sing, "So's been good to know you" and plow through other hugging arms to hug Penny herself. I will never pick her up again and see her beaming after a great day. She will still see friends, but never there in that classroom doing those things they did together three mornings a week.

I looked at her memory book with her once we were home snuggled up in her bed. It was full of pictures of all the things she did this year. It reminded me just how much she's grown and changed, so much more than even I realized. In each picture she's active, engaged with others, learning through her play. In each picture she seems like a special part of something special.

This afternoon Teacher Penny dropped off a few more things that we missed. Every year she gives each child a book on the last day and as parents it's so fun to see which book she chooses for your child. The one she picked is called, "I Like Me" and it reminded her of Avery and all her sides, the perky, the reserved. Teacher Penny cares for her a lot and that is clear. We got to hear more about how the last day went. Many parents with a long history with the preschool cried. Though I didn't get to share in the sadness, we are all alike in our transition away from a world we've known well. Even if we HAD been to school and particpated in the last everything, we'd still be feeling sad.

I'm mourning the end of an era, and endings in general. There will probably be a few more tears. Nursing Avery back to health will fill me up for now. Then we'll move forward toward summer and new adventures and friends, our HPP memory book tucked lovingly next to our pillow, certain songs being hummed forever.

How lucky we were to have had it.

I Sold a Collage!

A fellow preschool mom and friend bought my collages at the last two auctions and recently asked me if I could make her a third one because she wanted to hang them all above her bed. I was super thrilled and flattered.

She has four sons so I represented each member of her family with a bird. It came together easily (I didn't know if it would since I was making it for someone and thus had an added pressure to make it well). I was pleased with the colors. She had said she wanted to pay me but I had no idea what to ask. When I gave it to her, I left it up to her to decide how much she wanted to give me. Today she paid me $50! It is the first collage I've ever sold. Feels pretty good to create something AND get paid for it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

For the Bookshelf

All mothers get to be seen as the Meanest Mothers on Earth sometime, which makes Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Eartha gem which we can all relate to. Written by Kate Klise, illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise, it is a dear story about responsibility and disappointment. Little Rabbit wants to go to the circus, but his mother will only let him when he's finished cleaning the playroom. As most mothers know, playrooms rarely get cleaned willingly (or such is the case in our house) and all can understand the events that unfold after Little Rabbit fails to clean up, runs away anyway, and then advertises the Meanest Mother on Earth as a way to sell tickets to the circus. What happens when Mother appears is a delightful surprise that will give all a good laugh. The Klise sisters have created several other books that you can find on their website. I can't say enough about how charming the illustrations are and how touchingly their stories become resolved. This book is a new favorite that we will have to own.

Epossumondas Plays Possum by Coleen Salley is the tale of a possum lost in the deep and creepy Louisiana swamp. What first struck me as wonderful about this book was its' voice. Even though it's a book about a lost creature afraid of a terrible loup-garou, the tone and language of the book are playful and fun. The patterns in the book charm listeners into predicting what might happen next and reveal Epossumondas character. The characters shine. The illustrations are wonderful. It is a lot like Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Earth in that the mother says to do one thing and the character does another. I highly recommend sharing it with your favorite little listeners.

So Many Days by Alison McGhee, is the perfect gift to buy for anyone you love, but perhaps a graduate or your newborn child. It's got darling illustrations in wonderful muted hues, and it says, in short: "You are capable of greatness," a message we could all stand to hear now and then. If nothing else, check out a copy and read it to yourself in the mirror when you need to feel brave and empowered.

Who Wants a New Waffle Recipe?

I've been kind of on a waffle kick off and on since I got a new waffle iron last summer for my birthday. When I found this, I was thrilled to have two new recipes to try. Last weekend I made the second recipe, the adaptation of the "Waffle of Insane Greatness" and indeed, it was amazing. Julia herself spoke about how rich the flavor was. So you must try it next time you want to forgo the Krusteaz. By the by, hopefully we are going to get to go here this weekend for one of their waffles. Can't wait.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bright Star

I just saw Bright Star, a visually beautiful movie set in early 1800's England about the poet John Keats' romance with Fanny Brawne. In the movie we get to watch their romance develop and flourish. We get to see the way her mom supports her relationship, despite the fact that Mr. Keats isn't a viable option for her to marry. We get to SWOON over Fanny's outfits. Then we get to cry because John Keats gets Tuberculosis. It's a really sad story, but also really beautiful. If you need a good sad movie that is full of lovely images it's worth sitting down to. Guaranteed you'll marvel at a life lived too briefly, a poet appreciated too late, a love that enlivened all and Keats' way of arranging himself ever so neatly in the top branches of a blooming apple tree. Wouldn't that be a fine place to situate oneself for awhile?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Her Passion for Fashion

Lately Avery has been wowing me with her clothing combinations. This creative dressing CAN happen up to three times a day. Her laundry pile usually towers over ours.

Here she looks fairly inconspicuous upon first glance. Look a little closer and you'll see that her legs are layered with a pair of tights, a pair of leggings, a skirt, and a pair of socks. She's even layered her head wear: fabric headband? Check. Plastic headband: got it. Her "tank tot" (no lie, she calls them this) is on backwards, flashing the word "CUTE" to anyone behind her.

I totally let her leave the house looking like this. EVEN when her tights are hiked way past the waistband of her skirt. For some reason the only thing about these get-ups that get to me are the multiple pairs of socks (today three pairs, OVER tights) which make her feet bloated and require wearing shoes that are typically too big. "Perhaps we could do away with the tights?" I asked her the other day when it was 70 degrees. She finally took them off, but she's having a little trouble transitioning out of tight-mode. Shucks, we had 40 degree temperatures just last week, can you blame her?

Oh my little fashionista how I love you so.


The girls are BIG INTO slugs these days, Julia so much so that she collects them in her hands regardless of the slime factor (we use dish detergent to get the slime off their hands). They even give them names. My favorite is Troublesome Charlie. They call him that because of the way he won't stay where they leave him.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

DING! Shining Like Smiling Teeth on Commercials

We finally have the kind of garage we've never had: a clean, organized one. It took seven years, but we have it. Phew.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

When the Kids Are Away, The Mom Eats Pho

What do you do when YOU have a little free time to do whatever you want?

Today Avery had a playdate after preschool, a huge treat for her and me! Instead of picking Avery up, I picked up one of my new favorite treats: Pho and headed home to enjoy it in front of last night's recorded episode of Parenthood. Pho and Parenthood, two of my favorite things. I consider this to be a HUGE and rare treat, sitting in my quiet house alone while the people who usually need me a lot don't because they're playing with friends or learning at school, while it's cold and blustery and I'm warm and eating yummy Vietnamese noodle soup and watching a super entertaining (to me) show and chasing it with coconut M&Ms. Yes, I did say coconut M&M's. They're new and they're tasty.

Anyway, back to the Pho. (Pronounced "fu")

Have you ever had it? We have a great little place that I recently discovered after craving something soupy and asian but never having actually HAD it. Ever since, from time to time I find myself craving its'goodness. It's such a comforting meal. Soon after this craving hits I am sitting in front of a large plastic take out bowl, my face immersed in steam, smelling garlic, ginger and basil. I sip the tasty broth. I dip the chicken in the hoisin sauce. I taste the noodles, swimming with fried shallots and chopped scallions. I pig out on Pho. It's not pretty, but it's yum, totally yum, a delish sensory experience not to be missed.
PS Thanks Jennifer and Emma!