Friday, October 26, 2012

instagram recap

You saw the first one already..nephew love.

multi-generational games - for pa's 70th birthday Jackson got my dad a kinect fishing game.
It was actually really fun, and funny to watch.

Sunday landed me in the ER, swimmers ear infection that was so insanely bad.  
I won't go into the details.

Ballet, practicing for the Christmas show.

A Christmas wish try on.

We took apart the bunk beds.

My stealth food super spy on a mission.

And orders on their way to their destinations!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

embracing family

 This weekend we gathered to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday.
My sister, who lives in New York flew out with her husband and son.
Her son doesn't really know me, having only met me three times in his short life.
I remind him of his mom, but I'm not his mom so I think it freaks him out a bit.
In August he'd cry and run away at the mere sight of me.
I was so set to help her out, after her helping me with all three of my kids when they were little.
This visit, well you can see I'm making progress.
Slow and steady.
I'd embrace him every chance I could.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

art therapy

My career coaching has been an amazing thing.
We've just had our third skype session and I'm
beyond excited about the tools and tips I've learned so far.
Little short cuts and ways of doing things I had never
learned, and it may have taken me months to google
and find them in tutorials.
Making the whole digital painting process that much
easier and more freeing and useful.
Pretty much since childhood I've turned to art as a release.
Things have been a bit stressful with circumstances I haven't
talked about much here.
It's not super important what they are, just that what it means
is my pencil has been flying off my paper.
It's my therapy.
Just after prayer and turning it all over to God,
it's my way of calming and centering.
I turn on my Sara Groves pandora station and I pray and paint.
And just wish I had more time to paint and pray and paint and pray.

I'm trying to make it all work and am hoping to have new things in the shop soon.
Here's a teeny sneak peak of one thing I'm working on.
And a clue of more to come.
I've been slightly obsessed with sea animals
since it's our whole science unit this year.
I love how cozy she looks snuggled up with him.

Friday, October 19, 2012

insta friday 10.19

Some highlights of our week via instagram.

The chickens.
Oh the chickens.  They're getting so big.

And my little ladies, working so studiously.

WATERMELON..finally eating our garden's harvest.

Such a story behind this.  My oldest, after having
a teacher too tough decided she wouldn't do ballet again.
After a season off, and my knowing she is good at it and
it would serve her well to not give up.
We tried a new studio.  
This one is Christian and there's nothing but love and prayer 
and a positive discipline.
And she's thriving.
OH and the two of them will be partners for the Christmas show.
I can't wait.

It may not feel like fall with the 100 degree heat.
But I'm still getting in the fall mood with roasted vegetables.

Her favorite creativity..making & coloring her own cut snowflakes.

Tired of mom's pictures.

Piper, snuggling up in her favorite spot.

Making sea turtles for science.

Accupressure for allergies.  It's working.

And me, pretending she's a baby
since none of my human babies are small
enough anymore.
Thankfully, she doesn't mind. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

embracing the farm

My favorite season.
Favorite pumpkin patch.
Favorite tradition.
100 degree heat..a little crazy.
But that wasn't going to stop us.
From embracing the farm!

Monday, October 15, 2012

school update

I know I said I'd do it every week.
Wish I could be more consistent.
To be honest, I'm barely on the real computer these days.
I school by day.
Then pick up, after school activities,
dinner, bath, bedtime routine & homework by night.

And when that's all done. I'm pretty done too.
So done I sit down and fall asleep.  Truly.
My youngest said, "Well, just don't sit down."
Ah that would work.  If only I didn't need sleep.

Anyway, it means the blog is sometimes neglected
for the parts of life that take precedence right now.
So I apologize for being sporadic.  But know it's because
life is full, very full.

So here are just some highlights...
My day must begin with a blissfully quiet house, bible study & a cup of coffee.
Piper is always a willing participant with homeschool.
Games make math fun.
They're loving our science co-op with Apologia Science - The fifth Day - Swimming creatures.
Here, they're learning how animals with blubber can stay in the water
much, much longer than us.
 This little lady with her 'blubber' hand (covered in vaseline between two gloves).
She would have stayed there all day, but after 33 minutes and 20 seconds I had to
make her leave so we could get her brother.  The experiment proved successful
compared to the minute and a half she could tolerate the ice water with her 'flesh'.
Documenting their findings.
Studying the Egyptian pyramids and mummies.
This is the girl's lego pyramid.
These old books from my childhood make me smile.
Love reading about Johnny Appleseed in the fall.
And big brother should have gotten
his cast off, but it wasn't completely healed.
So a new one was put on for three more weeks.
And the girls used the visit to entertain themselves.
I got to go to a dyslexia LA dinner with experts in the field on Saturday night.
It was informative and encouraging.

My whole goal this year, is slow and steady with Ava.
Keep her confidence up and keep her moving forward.

And so far, so good.
She's thriving and happy.

And my husband and I both hear her 
vocabulary growing by leaps and bounds.
Her assertiveness too.
Which is huge, very huge.

And I'm just counting blessings
through this whole process.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

career coaching

You may have noticed that adding new prints to the shop has been a bit on the back burner for me lately.

Not because I want it that way.  Just because my kids have been needing so much of my time and energy that I'm falling asleep at night and with homeschooling, my daytime creative hours are no longer an option.

But I'm making an effort to carve out time for creating.
(Side note here....but I had a request to make a boy on an eagle so I started this.. I felt like a boy would much rather be standing with an eagle that looked way more fierce.  At least I know my ten year old son would much prefer it this way.)
Back to the title of this post.  And the fact that If I'm not intentional about literally putting creative time in my calendar, it so sadly is one of the things that can get cut from my schedule.
Back in August I noticed that one of the illustrators I have loved following, whose work I think is adorable was offering career coaching.
stephanie fizer coleman

Ironically, I so often have wished for something just like this where I could talk with someone further along than me and ask them how they do things.  She also is completely self taught and her story is pretty amazing.  Her first illustrated children's book was just released.

I love success stories like this.  So often I think people wouldn't want to share their short cuts or tips.  But she is and honestly, I can tell that we would be real life friends if we lived close.
We started our weekly skype sessions yesterday afternoon for me, night for her.  Over the course of the month, she's basically doing one on one tutorials with me as well as answering loads of business related questions.  It's perfectly catered to all those questions that apply directly to what my needs are at this time.  It's like having a private class.  And I'm so excited about it.

Generally I google things when I want to learn how to do them and then follow a tutorial.  Or I'll spend lots of time going to paper warehouses and researching online, finding what I like best.   But my free time being so much more limited with homeschooling, I thought this would be more efficient and well worth the investment.

Most of all, it's making me carve out time for something near and dear to me.  I've set it up to have a babysitter every Friday afternoon from 2-6.  It's giving me time to draw and work on the things we talk about in our skype session.

It's inspiring and fun.  And just what I needed.  I pray you'll see the fruits of these sessions very soon!

Monday, October 1, 2012

all things new

It all began with a little google search.
My husband and I were just starting to research getting a puppy
as a Christmas surprise.
I was going to put my name on a list for cocker spaniel rescues.

Among the many listings Thursday afternoon, I happened upon this picture.
And it was all over.
Though I didn't intend to set out looking for 
a cocker spaniel that so very much resembled our beloved Bella.

Something about this picture just grabbed me.
And her story.  
Five months old.
Left at the shelter for over three weeks.
And regardless of her age or cuteness, 
she was set to be put down due to lack of space.
Except a rescue agency scooped her up that very day
I happened upon my google search.

And when I got a return call, learning she was still available
I know puppies like this don't come around at shelters very often.
And I had this gut feeling.
She was meant for our family.

I apparently stink at keeping secrets.
Even my seven year old said, 
"Mom you have that smile on your face when you're hiding something."
And she described how my head sort of tilts and my lips sort of curl.
And how she knows it means I'm holding in a secret.

And then the others said, "Yea, you do.  What is it?"
And I was bursting inside.
I told them about the puppy.
And we unanimously decided to go meet her.
All the way to Culver City.
Regardless of unfinished homework,
or that Daddy was working late and couldn't talk or text.
I figured by the time we got there I'd surely get to talk to him.
So we all met her and loved on her.
And yet, we never were able to talk to my husband.
I couldn't commit to this big of a decision without his approval.
So we had to leave, letting the rescue agency know
that if he said yes, we'd be back in the morning.
I knew full well, we could miss the chance of bringing her home
if someone else came to get her first.

I texted them late that night that he said yes.
And when the kids woke, they asked, "What did Daddy say?  What did Daddy say?
When I told them he said yes, my daughters jumped and cheered, "It's a miracle."
You see, they've been praying every day for nearly two years for Daddy's heart
to be open again to having another dog.
When Bella died, it was hard on all of us.
She was our baby before babies.
And my husband said he needed two years before he'd be ready to replace her.
But we all knew it was time.
And the kids,  as surreal as it all felt in how quickly it happened,
their prayer was being answered.

So we trekked back clear across town.
Past the set up for carmaggedon, 
which added to the already heavy flow of morning traffic.
But it was ever so worth it, to add this new little lady to our family.
Since Friday morning, our days and nights have been filled with so much of this.
and this.
and these.
With this sweetheart who has already chosen her favorite toy.
And is quite often tired out by our kids who just can't get enough.
And honestly, neither can I.
It sort of feels the way the grinch's heart kept growing.
This swell of love so quickly.
Neither of us would have thought it possible.
And though we never intended to get a puppy 
that is so remarkably similar to Bella.
There's something very cathartic and healing
in beginning again.
He truly does make all things new.

New, and yet different and special in its own way.

Oh and you might be wondering...
her name.
It's Piper.
Sweet.  Spunky.  So fitting.
Did I mention, we're in love.
So in love.