Saturday, April 30, 2011

Almond Blossoms Step-by-Step

Here's the series of pictures that outlines the process. There was a lot of detail, but not as much as my Starry Night imitation, so it took some concentration. I feel that the night, though enjoyable as it was, would have been more so without the drunk ladies sitting by me. Well, that and the double vision I've been experiencing. I couldn't tell what the teacher was doing because from where I sat, she had LOTS of branches and flowers. Upon closer inspection, she didn't have as many as I thought. More about the vision thing later. Now, without further [edited to say "ado" for you, my love]:

First, the background:

Then, the chunky branches:

Then the little branches:

Applied a little light brown to highlight the branches:

Then some light light green that you may not even be able to see, but it added yet another color dimension to the branches:

Then add a splash of white flowers with yellow centers and a signature for the final masterpiece:

The artists, bleary-eyed at 11 p.m. (at least I was, anyway):

I love Sips N Strokes. Thank you youngest sister-in-law for the gift card! I love that my family takes care of my creative interests. :)


Friday, April 29, 2011

Sips N Strokes tonight

Quick update before I pass out.

GR and I went to Sips N Strokes in Auburn tonight. There's a new store in Opelika, but I have looked at their calendar and haven't found anything I wanted to paint. GR, however, has had her eye on this one for a while. It's inspired by Van Gogh's Almond Blossoms. I have a picture of the two of us on my actual camera, but I can't get my card reader to work, and it's midnight--2 things working against me.

So, here's the painting, from a picture I took on my phone.

I had a great time. Thanks, GR, for going with me. :)

I'm going to bed. Cheers.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Is Risen

What a wonderful day to celebrate the great sacrifice that our Lord made for us. Church this morning was nourishing, and we had lunch with sweet friends afterward. Some pictures for you:

Outside our house before church this morning:

Elsie was in a foul mood, so I wasn't able to get a really good picture of her with her hat and gloves before those went the way of the ground.

And then some pictures from after church, at my friend's house:

Happy Easter!


Friday, April 22, 2011

God is sooooo good!

I don't know when it started, but at some point in my life I started funneling my anxiety into my dreams. Have a major paper due for class? I would dream about NOT turning it in one hundred times the night before, so that when I woke up (in a panic, usually) I would be exhausted from the drama, and relieved that I had one last opportunity to do it right. Getting married tomorrow? I spent the restless night before my wedding dreaming about every worst-case scenario possible. This probably actually worked to my favor because then I was relaxed--everything that could go wrong already had, in my dreams anyway. Those are just two of hundreds of instances where my dreams reveal my real anxiety, no matter how much in denial I am.

A week or so ago I had dreams about my pending observation at work. I'm surprised I didn't wake up crying more than once, because I certainly woke up with a feeling of despair and defeat since all scenarios ended in my termination. Admittedly, this anxiety is stacked upon piles of previous anxiety-inducing experiences. So, in plain terms, I am feeling very uncertain about whether I will have a job next year.

Our revamped teacher evaluation system includes a scheduled observation and an unannounced observation. My scheduled observation came shortly after the meningitis fiasco of 2010. And I've just been anticipating my unannounced for weeks, since the beginning of March. My small group has been praying for me and my anxiety, and I'm so thankful for their intercession.

But Wednesday morning I started to become anxious in real life. During my planning period, I mentally started to beat up on myself for my shortcomings as a teacher this year. I had to get a hold of myself and make a conscious effort to not let it take me over, deciding that I did not want to let it control me to the point where I would be needing Zoloft or Xanax. I stopped and I prayed for release from this torture, and I e-mailed Eli and asked him to pray for me, too. And this is how the rest of my day unfolded:

- A meeting I was dreading because I was unprepared was postponed until next week.
- With my time freed up, I was able to get everything done that I needed to before my students came back from exploratories.
- A student's "attitude adjuster" [probation officer] came to sit in my class to observe the student during 3rd period.
- My principal showed up 5th period to observe me. My lesson was fully developed, and the kinks had been worked out with the first two classes, and I'd already been indirectly observed, so it was all good.

Thank You, Lord, for taking this burden from me!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

8 Months of O

We had a sweet dinner tonight with our friend from church and at some point she asked if Oscar was teething. Nah, I said. Elsie didn't get her first tooth until 10 months, and so far O has been behind her in everything.

After dinner I picked him up, since he was starting to get hungry and restless, and he started gnawing on my thumb joint. Ouch! It was sharp!

What? What?!?

O has a tooth! Woot woot! It's his bottom right tooth. The left one is under the surface and should push through pretty soon.

As for my previous statement about him being behind Elsie on everything else, he's still holding the line. He's rolling around like a champ now, with destinations (objects) in mind. He is not getting up on all fours and is not close to pulling up or crawling. He is, however, leaning way over to grab a toy and sitting back up--abdominal muscles are getting stronger! He also likes to stand up, and tonight he really liked standing while holding onto the coffee table.

His little neck is ticklish and he has the sweetest laugh.

He's wearing anything from 6-12 months in size, depending on the brand.

He's still not really eating solid foods, but soon and very soon that will change.

When we got back from spring break I chose not to swaddle him anymore, and he did okay. He's still not sleeping through the night. We'll tackle that when his daddy gets back, or when we get a big girl bed for Elsie. One of those things has to happen soon or I'm going to lose my sanity...

Bedtime for me.


Friday, April 8, 2011

My friend had her baby...oh, girl, did she..

I mentioned that last weekend we went to a play date that was a surprise baby shower for a friend from breastfeeding support group from when Elsie was little?

She had her baby today! That's exciting! But probably not as exciting as baby girl's arrival story!

I don't know the details, but I do know that S was in labor for under an hour, didn't make it to the hospital in time, and ended up having the baby at home. She said her husband had their 22-month-old in one hand and 911 on the line in the other.

Wow. I'm pretty sure Eli would have not been very helpful had this ocurred with us [edited to add: because he would be passed out on the floor]. Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with this house so close in proximity to the hospital!

Congrats B family!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

23 Months of E

Ack! It's already 9 p.m.--I should be in bed, but I wanted to tell you about my sweet girl and share some pictures. We're one month away from being TWO! Did you hear that? I've been putting this post together in my head all day to tell you what she's been doing (climbing the fence, jumping off the bottom stair, going up and down the stairs indepedently except when she wants me to hold her hand, taking her clothes off during naps and sometimes [unsuccessfully] trying to put them back on, communicating complex ideas) and now I don't have too much time to explicate.

I'm still so amazed by the language explosion ("I got you shirt, Mommy!" as she's tugging on my shirt) and interaction with Oscar ("I got you Ah-kur!" as she's touching him on the head). I sat down on the bed to feed Oscar this evening and she brought me the remote control and asked "Wan watch TV?" It was definitely a question the way she lifted the last syllable. Amazing. Her ability to pretend is also increasing exponentially. We went out in the front yesterday and she kept saying "sheck maaal" over and over again and I couldn't figure out what she wanted. Then it clicked. Oh. Check mail. So I let her go "check" the mail, and she brought me back some imaginary envelopes from our mailbox. "Here you go." Thank you, Elsie. She's also attempting to repeat longer words and phrases now, too. We were eating clementines (small oranges) and I was telling her about it being good for her, with all the Vitamin C, and she looked at me and said, "Vymin See." Yes, I told her.

Not to totally jinx it, but since Eli left, she has let me brush her teeth 90% of the time. There's still some tantrums when I just have to sit down and bend her back over my leg and brush her teeth while she's screaming, but for the most part she doesn't fight me. I think she likes the taste of the toothpaste, and she for sure loves to spit.

This month, perhaps because it is warmer, has brought a fascination with water. Water from the bathroom sink (she stands on the training seat to reach the sink), water from the refrigerator, and water from the yard that has been collected in otherwise empty flower pots and frisbees. She likes to try to pour water from one container to another. Most of the times she is unsuccessful. I can't leave a cup of water laying around because she'll pick it up and either fish the ice out of it or drink it, and then pour it all over the place. Nice.

So, here are some pictures. I was playing around with an app that a friend recommended called Instagram. You can filter your pictures through various light schemes. These are all different filters.

Today, Elsie was eating an orange. She was not going to open her mouth to show me. No way.

Bath night last week consisted of a rare sighting of the bare-bottomed reverse-horned unicorn:

It always makes me smile to see Coco curled up with my girl:

I mentioned Elsie's water obsession? This was today. She climbed up on the bench at the breakfast table, grabbed my water cup and tried to pour the water into a clean cup she had plucked from the dishwasher that I forgot to close. Then Oscar, who was playing on the carpet, rolled over to investigate and ended up being the human mop for this mess. He was not happy about it.

Saturday I took the kids to Sam's club to eat samples for lunch (I know, we're living large with Eli away). This marked the first time they they ever sat in a cart together. I have another equally impressive photo of Elsie grabbing something from a screaming Oscar.

Of course, you know if I have a sleeping pic of little girl, then I have to include one of little boy:

This was taken this weekend as my little man sat in the grass. I really like this filter. Striking.

I was trying desperately today to get a pictures of O's curly locks that are coming in. It all starts with one little curl.

And finally, Eli's peach tree flowered about three weeks ago. I was out there today and saw little furry fruitlings:

We're surviving here at home. It's getting old. I'm ready for my other half to be back in proximity.

Y'all have a good one.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

VA pics

Tomorrow, next week, two weeks...what's the difference? We were in the middle of state testing, and very busy, and I looked up and suddenly it had been two weeks since spring break. What?!? Well, I guess that's the easy way to get through the many weeks without Eli. Speaking of which, we have four more weeks until he's back for 3 days, and then he's gone for six weeks again. But who's counting?

This weekend we are headed to a surprise baby shower for a friend from the breastfeeding group at the hospital from when Elsie was a baby. It's doubling as a playdate, which is wonderful because I otherwise wouldn't have anywhere to leave my children so that I could attend.

So, I promised some pictures of my children. Some of you may have seen these from our trip to VA, but I haven't shared them here, so without further adieu, here are my children.

From the Virginia Discovery Museum (a concept I might like to imitate if I weren't currently teaching..)

Elsie and Oscar at the coloring table purportedly making Mongolian flags (it was part of an exhibit). Elsie just wanted to color.

Oscar inspecting my cell phone and deciding that I needed a new one.

Elsie climbs into a boat-shaped teeter-totter thing and can't figure it out. Later she climbed in with another little girl and kinda freaked her out by rocking the boat.

Amazed by the money going around and around. Elsie loves anything that she can consider money (i.e. flat and round).

Putting a ball into the air tubes to see where the air takes it. This exhibit was at the front of the museum and the kids could put scarves and balls and pompoms in, flipping levers to change the path through the tubes where the object was ejected. It was pretty neat.

We had fun. Eli was in class every day so we had to find ways to keep ourselves busy, so this was a good diversion for Elsie. I somehow managed to not get any pictures any other time while we were visiting Eli. I have more to share from the week at home but I have two screaming babies so I better get to it. :)