Saturday, March 31, 2007

I am Random: CAC Getting to Know You

Here are Jana's GTKY questions for this week.

What did YOU eat last?
Some very yummy teriyaki chicken drumettes, rice, and peas, cooked by my dh, and eaten on the front lawn on our kiddie picnic table. We brought drumettes on our camping trip and the kids just loved them. We will definitely be making them often- who doesn't love a meal that the kids eat up without reminders that the table is for eating!

What about YOUR love life? Anyone special? Tell us about him/her! My husband and I had some really great conversations on our camping trip, particularly in the car. You know how it is, even in a family that is not scheduled to the gills, it is so hard to have a conversation sometimes. And even in the car it can be tough, because our kids often need a lot of attention. Anyhow, I really opened up, shared my dreams, and he did more than listen. He supported, encouraged, helped me brainstorm.

What is it like where you live? I live in a rural part of Florida- home to many orange groves and cattle farms (did you know FL is second in cattle raising to Texas?). We live in a great neighborhood, with a super community school. The weather is pretty lovely right now, but I fear it'll be getting hot really soon!

What are YOUR favorite features about yourself? I have really good hair. And green eyes (which I so hoped one child would inherit, but they didn't!).

What deep thoughts have YOU been pondering upon? What my next few years will be like- what direction I want to go in, what my dreams are.

List 2 random things you love about life: a baby's first giggle. my kids' imaginations.

How did YOU find out about CAC? I think I found it via Krista.

What do YOU love most about spring? The smell of the orange blossoms! They are blooming in full force right now, and to stand in the driveway after dark, with a soft breeze blowing is just heavenly.


Squeeee! I just placed an order with Superbuzzy. A few months ago I followed a link there from Molly Chicken, and resisted buying the cutest hedgehog fabric. I immediately regretted it because then it was gone.

I signed up for their announcement list and hoped that one day they'd get more hedgehogs in. And today was the day! Look how cute they are:

I couldn't resist a few other things- some adorable storybook people, winking owls, and kimono cuties. The hedgehogs will probably be part of a library book tote for my daughter, who enjoys cutting hedgehogs out of construction paper.

Finding Art in Nature: Saturday Try Day

Originally uploaded by nyjlm.

Today is my last Try Day at Create a Connection. This week our family went on a short camping trip for our kids' Spring Break. We used to live in the Florida Panhandle, and were eager to take the children to some places we used to like to visit.


We didn't go all the way west to Panama City (where we lived for two years) and beyond, but we did visit Cape San Blas (where Erik worked for six months collecting sea turtle nesting data) and Appalachicola. We camped at two different state parks as well.


While at Cape San Blas, I enjoyed watching the kids jump in the surf. As we meandered down the beach I took my time noticing all of the amazing patterns in nature. I found so many wonderful small details to look at.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thank You Tooth Fairy

I've been in a fairly sullen mood today. It was wonderful to go into my little girl's room tonight and retrieve the tooth hidden under her pillow and quickly put a dollar in its place.


My kids took these pictures of each other the other day, hanging from trees like sloths.

Thursday: Photo Day

Swampgrrl asked to see us today.

I use the laptop in bed, with possibly the world's most horrendous posture. I did recently add one of those pillows with 'arms' to encourage myself to sit up more. Umm, not working so much, but I think it is more comfortable.

I've always done work in bed- homework, scrapbooking, reading, you name it. I'm a lounger.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

You, Me, and Creativity

Wednesday is Getting to Know You Day, and Jana, is the host for the month of March!

Let's get started!
YOU choose what to tell me:
List 3 random facts about you, that we will be entertained by:
  1. I met my husband living and working on an island with no electricity or running water
  2. I was almost arrested outside of St. Patrick's in NYC for civil disobedience
  3. In the fall of 1986 the Mets were in the playoffs (on the way to winning the World Series). One night the Giants were on Monday Night Football, at the same time as a Mets vs. Astros game. My dad made it so we could see both: the downstairs tv had the Mets, the upstairs tv was brought downstairs, and had the football game. And because we're totally nutty, we had the sound off and listened to the baseball via the radio and the Mets' regular announcers : )
List 2 things about you, that are important for us to know:
  1. I'm very sensitive
  2. I'm an introvert, and need time alone to recharge

ME! My turn to ask questions!

Do you like board games? What are some favorites? I'm not a big fan of games. I definitely prefer a book, however my kids like games. So I do play Candyland, Monopoly, and lots of games by Cranium. One of theirs that I enjoy a lot is called The Scrambled States of America. I also like some non-competitive games that we have, like Harvest Time and The Secret Door. Ooh, just remembered, as a kid I loved playing Careers and Clue.

What are your non-artistic hobbies? Reading, baking (which is sort of artistic/creative in my mind), cooking.

Do you collect anything? I try not to : ) I suppose you could say I collect books, though I'm pretty good at going through my stash and getting rid of what I don't use anymore. Except cookbooks- I don't give those away LOL. So yeah, I collect cookbooks.

And now, our Creativity:
What types of art do you enjoy creating the most? Scrapbooking and other paper crafting give me a great deal of satisfaction. I did loads of it after my first child turned one, but have not done as much as I'd like since my daughter was born (and she's 5 now!). I do enjoy the creation, the item, but I think I have to say I love the act of creating most of all. So despite not having much to show for it, in the past five years I've done a lot of creating! I do tons of crafty things with my kids. Now that I'm creating things because I want to I'm finding that they are interested in what I'm doing and want to follow my lead as well. Errr, I think I answered the question : ) and then some.

Do you have a type of art that you've always wanted to try, but never done? What is it? I don't consider myself a risk taker per se (like bungee jumping or something) but I do love trying crafts and other things that pose a challenge. I'm learning crochet, though I don't have any completed projects just yet. I think after crochet I'd really like to give quilting a try. I've always thought it involved a lot of rules and things, but I'm seeing so many quilters making postcards, small doll-sized quilts, that I think I've always had the wrong impression about quilting.

Do you have any art "how to" sites that you would recommend to us? What are they? I don't have one particular go-to site for this. I have many crafty/creative blogs on my feed reader, and the posts that interest me are starred and listed on the google reader doohicky in the sidebar. Two blogs I love are Whipup and Craftzine. They both gather links from all over the web- loads and loads of tutorials.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Small Reasons

Krista inspired me to share a few little things with her great post on the small reasons she loves her family. When my daughter, now 5, starting having excruciating tantrums for the entirety of the year of 4, I had to learn to store up these little moments in order to get through the day. They were my fuel to get me through the waves of emotion she was having such a hard time dealing with. I learned to soak them up as they happened and hold on tight to them in my heart.

On Wednesday my son came home and announced that he wanted to cut shamrocks out and sew them to white fabric. Then he wanted to sew the word 'March' on the top of the fabric. I was sort of surprised, being that we'd never really talked about St. Patrick's Day. I was also wondering if we had materials to do it, and if we could get it done by Friday, since he wanted to do it for three teachers. And of course, little sister wanted in on the action as well.

Fortunately we had plenty of green felt to turn this idea into reality. I love how nonchalantly he announced this plan to me. I smile thinking of him coming up with the idea. I love that he wants to learn to sew.

He ultimately decided that stitching three shamrocks to a background would take too long for him. I stitched the shamrocks on, he sewed the word March on. My daughter was only making one, and insisted on sewing the shamrock on (and a heart on the shamrock), while I sewed March on for her.

Maya's on the left, Sam's on the right

On Tuesday afternoon, when Sam and Dad are at Cub Scouts, Maya and I have some time alone. This week Maya brushed and 'styled' my hair, and then put makeup on me. She was just hilarious. I don't know where she gets her personality from, she's too much.

We've been talking a lot about the tooth fairy lately; she's just lost her first tooth and a second is hanging by a thread. I asked her what she thinks the tooth fairy does at night. Her answer: "She goes on the computier and looks at tooth-uhs."

I will be so sad when she stops saying computier (pronounced computee-uhr) or making some plurals the wrong way (as tooth-uhs, instead of teeth).

Her teacher must have talked a lot about St. Patrick's Day this week- Maya is all leprechauns this, leprechauns that. It has given us many moments of laughter this week.

I was feeling kind of blue this week about my upcoming birthday. I don't know why, I'm not obsessed with age; just general blues I guess. My husband and my kids gave me such a fun day today, and I'm feeling great tonight.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Outside my door

Swampgrrl prompt for Photo Thursday at CAC:

It is possible that some of us will never get to drop over to each other's houses for a cup of tea or coffee. We see each other in cyberspace where the window dressing gets to be whatever our imagination or technical know-how can create.

So here's a different way to connect beyond the screen.

Get your camera. Walk out your front door. Snap a photo to the left. Snap a photo to the right. Include something that may have begun to sprout or something that may any day now come to life...........

Post a link here, so we can share in what's going on outside our doors.

This is right outside our front door after some much needed rain this afternoon.

We have this wild tree, with trumpet shaped flowers, that blooms every March. The flowers only last a day or two before falling off, and they all bloom at once. Poor things, after today's rain they didn't stand a chance.

Fortunately we have other blooms in our yard to enjoy.

We feel a bit guilty about enjoying both of these trees, as they are non-native to Florida. My husband is a biologist who spends a good portion of his working hours getting rid of invasive species!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Megan posted a great creative challenge at CAC on Sunday. We all have demons, and drawing them and giving them a name can help us as we try to overcome them.

First up, Olivia Overwhelm

Sometimes I feel like a glass of water. When I become overloaded (very often it is a sensory thing, I become overstimulated by what surrounds me visually- aka clutter!) I feel like the water is flooding out of me and over me.

Tabitha Twig comes along just when I can't take the water rushing over me anymore.

I feel brittle and I just go snap.

Tornado Tina and Tidal Wave Tammy are also involved when I'm feeling overwhelmed

When the tidal wave comes ashore and drenches me, my tornado whips into action. I often rush around, trying to escape the awful feeling of being overwhelmed, overstimulated, and when I find nowhere that fits the bill I holler and express anger.

The next two demons often come out when I feel like I can't fight the overwhelming feelings anymore.

I do get so discouraged sometimes that I can hardly take care of day to day things. Granite Girl is positively paralyzed by the amount of work that needs to be done; instead of trying to take things one step at a time, she remains sedentary.

Super slug is not so super. She believes it is for the best that an object at rest tends to stay at rest. Even if going out might improve her mood, she likes to hang out in her pajamas in her bedroom at home, and resists all efforts to try to improve a situation.

Oh boy, I hope I don't scare you all off ;) I have a lot of demons it seems--I actually have two more in mind to draw! Two things I'd like to represent this way are anxiety and my sensitivity, which isn't necessarily a demon, but feels like a liability when I'm exposed and deeply hurt.

As I mentioned the other day, my kids were interested in what I was doing. We chatted and I drew these for them:

My 7.5 yo son tends to whine instead of speak. And lately my 5 yo daughter has been very moany. I'm thinking that these drawings are a good way for all of us to recognize the facets of our personalities that we can work on to make family life more pleasant for all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Off Kilter

Our family has been a bit off kilter lately. My daughter is falling to pieces at the slightest provocation. I'm tired and cranky, and don't have a lot of reserves to deal with it. We were in a pretty good place as far as the clutter/cleanliness balance goes, but we've lost it and can't quite regain the balance.

Today I realized that this is not the first time that this has happened to me in March- two years ago we were getting ready to go to the Bahamas for spring break. I told my husband and his family that I absolutely needed some time to simply sit and relax on the beach. It was a great vacation, and I went home refreshed and ready to be mom in charge again. I don't recall what we did last spring break, but I do remember this same drained feeling. Maybe it is a changing of the seasons thing.

We're trying to hash out what we're going to do over spring break. Husband wants to take a sort of long road trip; I'm not sure that will bring me the relaxation I crave.

On the bright side- the orange trees must be blooming, because their delicate scent is filling the air here. There is nothing like the smell of orange blossoms.

P.S. A bunch of really cool parenting posts at Oh My Stinkin Heck.

Lots of food for thought there.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Jana posted these Sound of Music themed Getting to Know You questions at CAC today:

Flower to look at: cosmos

Feature of your favorite animal: giraffe's long neck

Item in your kitchen: KitchenAid

Item of comfy clothing: (or outfit, if you feel the need!) pjs!

Thing to receive through the mail: magazines (or packages of course!)

Color on your favorite animal: brown/tan

Food to cook: (be forwarned, we may be asking you for the recipe if it sounds good! lol) bread!

Ringtone style: One by U2

Wild animal (or fantasy creature, if you're so inclined): Koala

Outfit to dress a little girl in: whatever she dreams up!

Thing to do with snow: to ski or to watch the snow falling from inside.

Weather: a sunny day with a cool breeze

So Love *is* Tough

Yesterday I was working on my Demons sketches. My kids wondered what I was drawing, and after they looked, they asked about the pictures. I explained to them that these were sort of anti-superheroes and represented parts of myself and behaviors that I do that I am not happy with (this will make more sense when I get time to actually scan the sketches and share them here lol). They were very interested and curious. So I asked Sam, what would you call that guy inside you who whines so much? What does he look like? And I sketched him. Then I asked Maya about the part of her that moans at every little thing that doesn't go how she wanted it to go (oh, how I wish I could get my needs met by moaning or whining!) and we sketched that one.

I had no trouble sharing this with my children. So why, when my sketchbook was out on my bed, did I feel uncomfortable when my husband glanced at it? I decided to push through the uncomfortable feeling, and explained the images to him. It was a good moment of connection at the end of a long and harried day.

I'm not sure why it was easier to be emotionally open and vulnerable with my children. I suspect part of me was embarassed to share those demons with my husband, though he is surely well acquainted with them.

Definitely more to mull over here.

Notebooks, and paper, and sketchpads oh my!

If there is one thing I cannot resist, it is office and art supplies. And when they're on sale? Fuggedaboutit.

I got a really cute 5 subject spiral for 75 cents today- the cover is pink and green plaid. I bought a few things for my kids for an upcoming long car trip- plain sketch pad, two composition notebooks, a coloring scroll with writing surface for my daughter, some sort of Superman coloring stuff for my son that comes with a surface to lean on ($2.50, originally $14!), and some other stuff that I can't remember and which is currently hiding in the trunk of my car ; ) I also got some clearance paint, which I can assure you will not be going on our road trip.

I can't wait to start writing in my lovely plaid notebook.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Holy Flaming Kitchen Aid

This was on the top of my Gmail page this morning: FlameKA and it cracked me up.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Illustration Friday: Wired

I've been reading they Illustration Friday prompts for a while now, but this is the first time I have been able to create something for it. This week's prompt is Wired. This is the first image that popped into my head.

Fit to be hung

My rockstars arrived a while ago and are now framed. Daughter is delighted, now Dad just needs to get the hammer out (I'm too blase about crookedness for his taste, so it is his chore).

click on the images to see them larger

I love picking up fun stamps at the post office; the kids love seeing them and look for reasons to send mail to a friend or relative. I picked up these superheros a few weeks ago and decided they'd be great framed and hung in my son's room. They are an odd size, so I used some scrapbook paper to cut a matt for them.

We had a great time looking at the detail in the stamps yesterday. Fun to make sure to stop and see what works of art stamps are, so often they are just part of the background.

I've got some Etsy-goodness on the way for my son too. Can't wait till this one arrives!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Crazy Aunt Purl's Horoscopes

I found this via Stuntmother. I think I'm going to need to read these every month.

I am a Pisces.

PISCES (Feb. 19 - March 20)
You know how people will take on projects, like home improvement stuff and even crafty things, and they just go at this endeavor with every free moment, spending all their time and energy happily puttering away? I call this "taking something on as an art project." We do it all the time, and Pisces is great at it! There's something magic about a Pisces and their ability to transform something into real art. So I think that this month (and all the way into the summer) you need to take YOURSELF on as an art project. Evaluate your raw materials, make a list (both a to-do list and a shopping list) and get to work excavating the treasure within. I love Pisces and I love that this is your birthday time and so I hope you consider this a little task for your new year ahead -- I say "task" because Lord knows ya'll can't think of it as a present to yourselves (I know how you are, Pisces.) You need to take some time appraising yourself, your life, your situation. Sizing yourself up as well (and often) as you do your closest companions. Think of what you'd like this art project to one day look like, then set yourself out to make your art project come to life.
This rings very true for me- especially the part about task vs present! Funnily enough, that was the message today at therapy. I had a tough patch last fall, and started seeing a counselor (I've been before, but hadn't seen anyone in a while). I'm doing much better, and I didn't make an appointment when I left- I guess I've graduated : ) She said the most important thing I can do to manage anxiety is to take care of myself. I know that I need to care for myself, but hearing someone else tell me so makes me want to work even harder at it (overachiever? who, me?).


CAC- Photo Thursday hosted by Swampgrrl

Who doesn't love a vacation? Seeing, experiencing, tasting new things; rest and relaxation. Mmmmm. I wish I were on one right now!

Some favorites:

Family cruise, 2002. My daughter was 9 months old, she's in dad's arms in a blue dress. I'm in the middle of the front row, holding my son who slept through dinner that night. It was great to all be together, but not have to cook or clean : ) The other two little tow heads are my nephews; my guy was 3 and the other two boys were 2. It was a great trip.

Abaco Island, 2005. Another great family trip, thanks to my in-laws. We stayed in two condos right on the beach. There was a bit of a steep walk down to the water, and the kids created a game of sliding down on their bellies. They had so much fun on the beach.

I talked about my love of Italy in a previous post. I hope that our next trip to Italy will include a visit to the Cinque Terre.
from Wikipedia

Oh vacations! Thank goodness spring break is almost here!

Thursday Photo Day

Swampgrrl asked us to post a photo of something cherished in our homes.

In an effort to save time I scanned my item, since it is in fact a photo. Now that I've put it into blogger I see that the scan is awful but I'm going to forge ahead anyhow ;)

The photo is my grandfather at his bar mitzvah in the 1930's, on the lower east side of Manhattan. He's just so dapper with his cane and top hat! Although he died before my first child was born, this photo helps my kids have a connection with him.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

CAC- Your Life as Art

From Jana: So today, let's think of our lives as artwork, shall we?

If your life were DVD, what would "The Making of _______" reveal about your life behind the scenes?
It would show how deeply education and a love of reading are woven into my family. It would include the period of time that my parents got divorced, and my relationship with my sister. It would show my time as a student researcher on Great Gull Island, where I met my husband.

If your life were a collage, what would be the most important images displayed? Books, food, family. And some things that are normally hidden- how funny I can be, how sensitive I am, and how much I need to be understood.

If your life were a comedy, what would be your funniest moment? Ok, so I just mentioned that I'm funny, and yet I can't think of a funny moment! I can think of embarrassing moments that other people found funny but that I did not find funny! I was just reading Jana's answers and remembered that the first few times I visited Great Gull Island I was very serious (I was only there for the weekend). When I came to work after I graduated from high school, I just giggled and giggled and giggled- Helen, the woman who ran the research station, used to say it was like a different person!

If your life were a book, who would be listed in your cast of characters? Mom, Dad, grandparents (all four), husband, children, my dear friend K and her family, husband's family.