Thursday, April 29, 2010

Miraculous Morning
I slept until nearly 9 am this morning. With three mini-alarm clocks in the house, has this ever happened before? Nope.
I knew yesterday we were all tired. Simon came in the bedroom to wake me up this morning, but I just lay there very still, and he went back to sleep on the bed with me. I don't know what time of morning that was. But, the next thing I knew, it was 9 o'clock and Emma and Evy were just getting up.
All I can say is "Wow!" I am thoroughly grateful for the extra rest and the cooperation of the Short Ones.
We celebrated our extended rest by going on a breakfast picnic this morning. Although, by the time we got to our destination, it was more like a brunch. Emma helped me make the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We splurged and took sodas. I am an anti-soda Mom, but this sleeping-in event seemed to call for celebration.
Roscoe went with us. He got his breakfast before we left the house. It didn't keep him from being keenly interested in what we were eating, though.
After our picnic, we found a big land snail on our walk. It soon became Evy's pet. It, of course, was promptly named "Snailie." All creatures that cross our path get "ie" added to the end of their common name.
Simon evidently found the perfect stick and used it to beat the bushes and dig for treasure. I couldn't see that either effort yielded anything besides Level 3 Fun.
The dew berries are in full bloom and looks like we are going to have a bumper crop. I am looking forward to the berry sweetness, box turtles, and purple stained t-shirts that accompany their arrival.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How come....
How come my kids think I am kidding when I say things like:
  • "If you don't get into the shower, I am going to sic a wild boar on you."
  • "You are about to be sent to a special school."
  • "You are so stinky that I can smell you from here."
  • "Some things in this house belong to momma."
  • "My first batch of kids didn't listen, either. Do you see them around here anywhere?"
  • "Drinking pond water will stunt your growth."
  • "Being short and cute doesn't mean you cannot get into trouble."
  • "Put that down. I know what you are thinking."
  • "Rules apply even if momma cannot see you."
These and other utterances are met with explosive laughter by Those Who Walk with Short Strides. I'm not laughing.
Well, maybe I am smirking a little.

Scavenger Hunt
I decided to do a scavenger hunt with the kids this evening. I gave them paper bags to put their finds in and sent them off. Some of their clues included:
  • a heart shaped leaf
  • a pink flower
  • something you can eat
  • a fig leaf
  • a piece of quartz
  • a oak leaf
  • a sweet gum ball
  • an eggshell
They had so much fun, I finally had to just stop. It is a big back yard, but I was running out of imagination. As we concluded, Emma proposed something new for next time. She said, "Momma, I know how to make this a real treat for you. Next time, write down the clues, and I will sound them out."
Will do, Emma!
Since everyone won the scavenger hunt, we pulled out bubble juice as prizes. Now, both bubbles and laughter are drifting in through the back door.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's a Bird!
The story is that I whined, gnashed my teeth, cried, pleaded, and threw a tantrum in order to get my watercolor teacher Adam to let me take a break from my landscape. I don't really remember it that way. But, it is the way the story is being told.
At any rate, I got my way and got to lay the landscape aside for a moment. He had us make background pages using watercolor and inks. We splashed, doodled, smeared, slung. Anyway you can think of getting the color on paper, we tried it.
What we ended up with was colorful chaos.
Then, Adam challenged us to cut up the paper and make shapes with it. I was left to my own to decide what shapes that would be. Although, the word "flowers" echoed in my ear as I left class.
I pulled out my cheat sheet book 1000 Creative Greeting Cards that I have been leaning heavily on for the last few days for some inspiration.
I focused on a paper pieced bird and did my own interpretation using my self-designed background papers, interspersed with sheet music.
I put my bird and flowers on a piece of vellum. The vellum I put over some scrapbook paper with the word "love" repeated over and over as the background. I came across the saying "Friendship is love with wings." I thought it was an appropriate addition with the love background and the winged bird.
I mounted it on a canvas board and trimmed it with lace and some embroidered bits. It was lots of fun to do. It was just the creative break I needed from my landscape.
Thanks to my collage mini-vacation, this week, I came to class with a new attitude toward my landscape. I was positive and determined. Just before the end of class, Adam said the magic words: "It's finished."
Class next week is all new possibilities!
Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Things Learned
  • My enthusiasm is boundless.
  • The more choices you have, the less happy you will be.
  • If you make one chocolate milk in this house, you will make three.
  • No matter how many times you wash a dog, he's still going to be a dog.
  • Nothing perks up a Grandpa like a call from an Evy.
  • Your goals are more likely to happen if you write them down.
  • Great change comes with opposition.
  • Graham crackers, peanut butter, and cold milk make up the Snack-a-licious Trifecta.

The Pen is Mighter than the Sword
Today, Simon teaches me a new interpretation of "the pen is mighter than the sword." After receiving his Good Boy prize of a 10 color writing pen, he quickly converted it into a weapon which was a hybrid between a SCUD missle and a light saber.

Friday, April 23, 2010

In Progress
Today, I was granted a great gift. I was allowed a creative retreat at the best coffee and tea spot in the northern hemisphere, Lee's Coffee and Tea. I spent my time eating delicious food, visiting, writing, and arting. I exercised my right to creativity by working on a journal that is in progress, writing some friends, and doing a little drawing. All this, while Kevin Toqe sung inspirational music. How much better can it get?
I have been having a creative block here lately. A block much more sinister than a lack of time. So, today, I decided to "cheat." At Lee's, I pulled out one of my favorite books: 1000 Handmade Greetings. I decided to steal some inspiration.
Here are a few works as they looked earlier in the day. I plan to finish them up and color them later tonight. I'll try to update you when that happens.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Things Learned
  • Water tastes better out of a Tic Tac box than it does an old coffee cup.
  • Simon calls all stinging insects honey bees.
  • Strawberries are Evy's favorite fruit only under very strict environmental conditions.
  • I can trust Emma's memory better than my own.
  • Roscoe is turning out to be awesome.
  • All bets are off when you arm a kid with a water hose.
  • Most folks are happy to let someone else do it all.
  • I need to create something everyday to maintain balance.
  • Happiness is often found on the road to home.
  • Simon is developing his dad's encyclopedic knowledge of music.
  • Roscoe loves Emma.
  • Nothing makes a kid's day like an unlimited supply of bubble juice.

The Olden Days
Emma and Grandpa Ray were talking about the old days when Grandpa was a little boy.
Emma: "Grandpa, do you know how to play video games?"
GP: "Nope. Never played any."
Emma: "Not in you whole, entire life?!"
GP: "Nope. There were no video games when I was a little girl (GP humor)."
Emma: "No video games?!?"
Momma: "And, no computers, either."
Emma: speechless
GP: "We didn't even have pencils. We drew our pictures in the dirt."
Momma: "They also had to go outside to potty."
Emma: wide-eyed and speechless
GP: "Wouldn't you like to go back and live like that?"
Emma: "No thank you. It doesn't sound very nice at all."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Morning's Checklist
  • Slept late. (A miracle.)
  • Lollygagged in the bed. (A blessing.)
  • Home church. (Daniel, you are my hero.)
  • Waffles made. (Simon has yet to beat his standing record: 6!)
  • Home school. (All syrup words today.)
  • Fed snails to the crawfish. (Sorry, Evy. It's the way of nature.)
  • Moved the goats. (Weeds are growing. Eat faster!)
  • Watered potted plants. (Goats, don't eat these.)
  • Washed clothes. (Gain, don't let me down.)
  • Butterfiles in progress. (Watercolor teaches patience.)
  • Lunch with Grandpa. (How do you "devil" food?)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inspirational Find
I love fonts. I love trying new handwritings. Lately, I have found myself drawn to samplers. I have discovered some amazing samplers created by calligraphers that inspire me to always dot my i's and complete the loops of my o's.
I stumbled across this very cool website that makes a sampler of sorts with words you type in. Alternately, you can give the program a website address where it can randomly choose words to create the graphic. For this instance, I used my blog address as the word source. I can see myself getting drawn in and endlessly playing with this application, but I will resist its charm.
For now, I will let it inspire me to pull out a pen and create, by hand, my own sampler.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Evy's Continuing Fascination with the Waffle House
Emma requested to help me make waffles for her birthday breakfast. As the first one was cooking, Evy came in and said: "Waffles?! It smells like the Waffle House in here. I won't ever quit shaking my boody."
Thanks for the update, Evy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My dad used to drive around in an old Chevy C-10 stepside pickup truck. I loved that truck. It had a wooden bed which was always littered with stuff.
One spring, we had beans growing back there because we had hauled some dirt and some garden seeds had fallen in the back. We considered ourselves very clever truck farmers, with our mobile garden.
I used to love to kick out the small vent windows on the side. And, when we we were riding around in the woods, my dad would let me ride hanging onto the stepside.
The truck was a dark forest green with the word "Chevrolet" in white on the tailgate. It was also embellished with some rusty spots, but that seemed then to only add to its charm.
I can still remember the sound the hood made when Daddy would close it. It was a very heavy sound. Everytime I would hear the hood slam, I would think about my fingers getting squished under it. Thankfully, they never did.
The other day, I saw one very much like my dad's old truck parked in a grocery store parking lot. I have toyed with the idea for many years of getting one to restore. The day I saw one at Piggly Wiggly, I almost left a note on that truck saying, "When you get ready to sell, call me." But, I didn't.
But, it doesn't mean I won't.
(Picture is Larry and Lacy Coghlan's '61 Apache C-10.)

Things Learned
  • A secret isn't a secret if you ever tell it.
  • I will sing if Evy tells me to.
  • Writing it down helps.
  • Green still is my happy color.
  • Watching things grow renews my soul.
  • There is no luck...only blessings.
  • I could eat bananas every day.
  • Nothing brings happiness like a visit to a really excellent plant nursery.
  • My life is dwarfed by the ideas I can generate.
  • This moment holds all the potential for being the best moment of my day.
  • It is up to me to recognize potential and to rush to meet it.

Emma's Birthday
Tomorrow is Emma's 6th birthday, but we decided to have a little celebration today. The good folks at Sugar Baker's made the cake. Miss Amanda did an excellent job decorating it. Our only request was hearts and flowers, and her interpretation of our theme was just right. Inside was fresh sliced strawberries between layers of cake. To quote Emma, it was "yummylicious."
Miss Allie came and celebrated with us. After cake, the kids played hard outside for a long while.
Emma thought it was an excellent birthday party.
She has yet to even mention presents, and her mom couldn't be prouder.

It is GREEN!
It is green...really green! I am challenging myself with this peppermint green. It is not even close to the rainbow of colors I am used to working with.
But, you know what? It is fun! I am really inspired by Spring right now. Pinks, greens, and yellows are saturating everything I do. And not the pastel flavors normally associated with Spring and Easter. I am going brash. I am getting color haughty.
Don your sunshades and take a step back.
What will I do next to Magic Box? Stay tuned, but expect f l o w e r s.

Sharing the Spotlight
Evy is changing. She is learning the benefits of cooperation and sharing. She is making her peace with that which she has been resistant to accept for a long time: "Evy isn't the focused center of the universe."
This morning while we were getting ready for church, she agreed to share the spotlight with her lesser siblings. Yes, the princess is beginning to turn into a lady.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Call for Help
I am in need of a purse. I know. Purse shopping isn't exactly an emergency of the magnitude that requires a call for help. Usually, I would agree with that, but since I don't accessorize I am a little lost.
I know what I don't want. I don't want all those ugly purses they are selling at the mall, the shoe stores, and department stores. So, I turned to etsy to find me a stylish, but highly functional purse. I need something rugged enough for everyday and possibly several year's worth of wear. It needs to accommodate my stuff, although it won't have to contend with the 63 writing pens that line the bottom of my current bag.
Since I am really into owls, I would like something embellished with an owl. Thankfully, it looks like there are lots of creative purse makers out there with a love of owls too. After looking at over 1,500 different owl purses, I now present to you my narrowed down choices.
Help me choose the purse for me by e-mailing me or posting a comment below.

Flattering Jeans
Today, I was shopping for some much needed lady jeans. I am always stealing Joseph's man jeans, and I think his generosity was running out as the holes in his shared jeans were growing.
While at J.C. Penny's, I picked up a few pair to try on with most of my hopes placed on the top pair in the stack. These jeans were advertised as "The Original Flattering Jeans."
This was going to be just the jeans I was looking for. I envisioned them telling me things like..."You look so good," "You are so smart," "You are the best driver ever," and so on. So, I tried them on last, fully prepared for the ensuing flattery.
Instead of flattery, this is what these jeans said to me: "Girl, you better put me back on the rack and go get my big sister. You ain't gonna be busting my seams trying to fit THAT in HERE."
I didn't even try with the big sister. I was afraid she would be as jaded and as honest as the little sis.
Thankfully, I was able to get me a lieing pair of Lee's jeans. If they had anything unpleasant to say, they kept it to themselves.
Whoever invented "relaxed fit," you are a genius.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Magic Box
Today's thing I have put off and the thing just for fun are one in the same! Last year, I picked up this cool little overnight case at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Laurel, MS. I promptly christened it my Magic Box, and have been toting it with me everywhere I go. It is packed full of pens, paper, and journals, so I can write on the road.
I have thought several times about decorating it. Maybe decoupaging it is the answer.
Today, I decided to start with a coat of gesso. Once that dries, I will add a funky fun color. Haven't decided which one. I usually like to do projects in earth tones, but think I may challenge myself to do something bright. Maybe even neon.
I'll share with you as I progress.
While it is down and "closed for upgrades," I will miss it.
Which leads me to the thing that just has to be done...finding a substitute journaling box until the Magic Box is back in commission.

Three Things
Yesterday morning, I committed myself to do three things: one thing I had been putting off, one thing that just had to be done, and one thing just for fun. I accomplished them all.
The thing I had been putting off was cleaning up my plants on the back patio. So, I just went at about it whole heartedly. I dumped pots that had plants that didn't make it through the winter. I cut back old growth and dead limbs. I repotted a few root bound specimens.
The thing that had to be done was laundry. After returning from our trip, we had quite a collection of dirty clothes. Now the mountain is down to a mole hill.
When I started my day, I had thought that the thing just for fun would be to make something crafty. But, I decided to trade crafty for the gym. I had fun. The kids did excellent at child care while Joseph and I were in the gym, so there was an after gym treat. Smoothies all around!
I'm starting today with the same goals. Accomplish 3 things. I recommend you give it a try. It is a good way to look back and categorize your day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Unfair Hare
Simon's special bunny is actually named Simon. That is what the magically creative folks at HeLLo dEaRie named him even before we met him.
When Simon discovered his bunny tucked in his rolled up sleeping bag, he asked: "Why is my bunny so grouchy?"
Joseph said, "Because, he is the Unfair Hare."
Unfair Hare entertained us during a particularly long van ride. He was his frumpy, but loveable self. Emma's bunny tried to teach him some manners, too.
For the most part, Unfair Hare was well behaved despite his tendency to frumpiness. Although, one time he did get a little haughty, and Simon made him take a nap under the hotel room chair.

Bunny Surprise
A few days before Simon's and Evy's birthday, I made the last minute decision to get the kids some precious handmade bunnies from the good folks at HeLLo dEaRie. Since we were getting the kids new sleeping bags for their birthdays to take on our vacation, I thought tucking the bunnies inside the rolled up sleeping bags would make a nice surprise once we got to the hotel.
It was just a few days before Easter....bunny rush season. Did this rattle the folks at HeLLo dEaRie? Not one bit! These folks work great under pressure.
The bunny surprise pulled off without a hitch. The kids have really been enjoying them! They were a welcome addition on our travels and provided lots of creative fun for the kids. In the picture, you can see Simon's and Evy's bunnies in the midst of a raucousy conversation before bed.

Emma and Evy were chatting.
Evy: "I wish we had another girl, instead of Simon."
Emma: "Don't say that. Simon's your little brother."
Evy: "Little boys are so stinky ALL the time."
Emma: "I know, but he will grow out of it."
Evy: "Ok."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Deed vs. Breed
I was stopped behind this vehicle at a red light with no camera handy. The selection of decals on the back glass would have made a great picture, but, since I wasn't fast enough, you'll just have to picture it in your mind.
On the driver's side, there was the little stick figure decals of the family members, which included a daddy and big blank space where the momma would have went, a boy, a girl, and three dogs.
On the passenger's side, there was a graphic of a bulldog's head and the words "Punish the deed and not the breed."
It occurred to me that the empty space where the momma stick figure should have been might have something to do with the "deed and not the breed" motto. Was stick figure momma eaten by one or more of those stick figure doggies? How did this translate to real life?
With a change of the light, the remaining family members were gone, and I was only left with my conjectures and a smirk.

Things Learned
  • If you are going to ride 500+ miles one way with twin 4 year olds, bring your bestest attitude.
  • All good things must come to an end, but, thankfully, the same is true for the bad things.
  • A long arm stapler makes life much sweeter.
  • It is not so important what folks do, as why they do them.
  • Some days you don't learn as much as you do on others.

Amazing Simon
Sometimes you amaze me, Simon. If you ever go someplace one time, you will always remember it and sometimes even be able to navigate us to it.
You are completely honest. You always come tell me even if you did something wrong. You are guileless.
Sometimes, though, you start spazzing, and I worry about you. Did you get enough oxygen at birth? Did you just hit your head? Then I see that twinkle in your eye and realize you are all about fun whether it be silly fun, nonsensical fun, or spazzy fun.
Keep up the amazement, Simon. You've got a gift.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

You Have Been Waiting for This
You have been waiting for this and didn't even know it. Simon and Emma show off their rad moves at Club Dixon.

Caterpillars Are Delicious
(or Another Reason Why Chas is Great)
The kids got a delicious birthday cake courtesy of our terrific friend Mrs. Chas. If you need a confectionary wonder for yourself, call Chas at Sugar Bakers 601-425-5358. Miss Emma sent her instructions for decorating the cake via text messages. She requested flowers and baby monarch butterflies. We picked a picture of a monarch baby for Mrs. Chas to study. Mrs. Chas got an education, and we got a cake!
Once we were all stuffed, Emma said in her street speak: "This cake was extreme yum."
Emma, you maximum right.

A Perfect Day

Today, it all came together.
  • Datelet at Lee's
  • Birthday cake designed by Mrs. Chas and Miss Emma
  • New binoculars and sleeping bags
  • Writing friends
  • Improvised art
  • Taco salad the size of a washtub
  • No coughing
  • Fresh water
  • A thoughtful compliment

Monday, April 05, 2010

All the Courage I Could Muster
I rallied every ounce of courage I could and went "Darker!" with my tree. I also darkened up a bit of the foreground, too. It goes against my nature to not darken EVERYTHING. Artistic know-how passed down through the generations says keep it intense in the foreground. Let the stuff in the back mellow out into the distance.
My countless hours spent in coloring books says "Everything is in the same plane!" Sometimes instead of practice makes perfect, you get practice makes artistically retarded.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Look Down
We are always encouraged to look up. Sometimes you need to look up to get involved with the world going on around you. Sometimes you need to look up spiritually to keep focused.
Roscoe and I took a walk by ourselves on Friday morning. The kids were still asleep, and Joseph was working on some stuff...mainly a pancake. So, Roscoe and I took the opportunity to do some early morning exploring and ignore the normally excellent advice of looking up.
Today, we decided to look down to see what was emerging with Spring newness. We found some welcomed sights and a few welcomed surprises.
Here they are to share with you.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

First Slithery Visitor of the Year
While cleaning up around the patio, I found this beauty amongst the leaves. It took me a while to catch him. Have you ever seen a snake disappear into a pile of leaves? It is chilling how quickly they camouflage, and you loose them.
I don't know what kind he is. I am hoping that he is non-venomous. I am guessing a chicken/rat snake. We have lots of those around here. Juveniles can look so different from their parents, so I cannot really say.
We put him in this little garbage can to do a photo op. The can bottom is about one foot across to give you some sense of scale.
After his abbreviated modeling career, we released him in the woods a long ways from the house.
If you know this guy's pedigree, please let me know.

Things Learned
  • Moonlight shadows are beautiful.
  • Paint fearlessly.
  • Without forgiveness, evil wins.
  • Honey is a potion.
  • God made Emma extra special.
  • Your scrapbooking tools can do double duty for appliance repair.
  • There is no such thing as a "too big" salad.
  • Evy and Simon are the proverbial two peas in a pod.
  • A significant portion of life's problems can be solved with a wet wipe.
  • Keep learning.

Momma Magic
I was letting the kids play in the backyard. While it is still cool, we have only one rule: Do not play in the water. All the kids are asked to recite this single rule before going out to play.
All was going well until I went inside for a moment. My momma senses began to tingle, so I went to the bathroom window to take a peek. Sure enough, the kids were clustered around the water garden, catching snails and picking water lilly leaves.
I cracked the window and said, "Get out of the water," in my menacing Momma voice. The kids looked all around not knowing where my voice was coming from.
Emma kept saying, "Where are you, Momma? How can you see us?"
Evy said, "It's Momma Magic."