Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The "Ballet" Dress

L loves cats and pink and purple, so I took it upon myself to make her an instantly favorite dress combining all three of those elements. The fabric was found at JoAnn's and I made up the pattern myself. L calls it a "Ballet" dress because it twirls nicely. This is the most important feature of a dress for girls of a certain age (and also ladies who like to twirl, like myself ;) .

close up of kitty fabric

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mugly Others

Some more of the boys' creations which were sent off today as gifts to some cousins.
Top row L to R "Army Man", "Cutie Pie", "Trucky"
Bottom row: "Dolphy" on left and "Wonder Horse" on right
From this batch only "Trucky" was made by D the rest are K's work (with my help of course.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

the collages

Unfortunately, you can't see all the cool details, like the wires that connect all those gadgets, with this crappy camera-phone shot.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

home school happenings

My oldest son likes math, but not only does he like math, he does it for fun. Today instead of his regular math lesson (which have been too easy lately) I taught him an impromptu lesson on long division. He doesn't even know all his times tables yet, but the subject came up and so I seized the opportunity. I remember being a bit mystified when I first learned long division in third grade, and that was probably because I had absolutely no interest in it whatsoever when it was taught to me. This is another great benefit (and draw back) to home schooling. I get to strike while the iron is hot, but that also means getting "behind" in our lessons... ironic since I'm actually teaching ahead of them. Anyway, K, spent at least an hour writing up very long addition problems with multiple digits adding them and then multiplying the sums by 2 or 4 or 7, for fun! The problems he was inventing were too big to punch into the calculator to check his work, so I also got to do lots of math for "fun." Yay.

Today we also started an impromptu art project of creating self-portrait collages. I traced the children on large paper and they started clipping out magazine pictures and pasting them on as well as adding some of their own drawings. The boys' images are looking very much like robots. After "lights out" tonight, they were discussing how they wanted to finish them and even make more. K suggested making one for each season, and also one with all plants "like a jungle." D doesn't usually like doing "crafts" but once he saw what K was making, he wanted to make his own. The results are similar but different enough... I'll post the finished products when they are complete.

Yesterday we went to Holly Hills Nursing Home in Towson to sing to the residents and give them some of the children's art work. This was arranged by another mom in our home school group and she did a great job organizing it all and presenting our group to the residents. Many seemed unresponsive but the few who could speak expressed their delight in seeing the children and hearing our singing. I had taught an art workshop last month with the primary purpose to produce a gift item for the children to give to the nursing home residents. We printed designs inspired by Baltimore Album quilts on little tote bags. The products turned out well.... better than the lesson did, in my mind, although I did get a lot of positive feedback from our group. (It's been a long time since I taught an art lesson to a group of 20 kids!)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Nothing Spectacular

I've been reflective lately. Autumn has that effect on me. It's something about the way the sunlight flickers through the wind blown leaves, casting shadows and dancing orbs of light on the floor. I could watch this for hours just thinking about things.

Lately my thoughts dwell on my imperfections and the great shortcomings I'm noticing in myself. I wonder why my passions don't always align with my beliefs and vice-versa. (I am praying for more continuity in these things.) I'm wanting to be better at what God has called me to be, and I'm still trying to discern what I'm supposed to do with this life I've been given. I continue to feel tension between believing home schooling to be the best option for my children, and a desire to have them in school so I can pursue meaningful, full time, gainful employment to be a better financial provider. (This could just be a pride vs humility thing.) It seems that whenever this doubt grows to the point of where I'm on the cusp of acting on it, some sort of encouragement comes from an unexpected source. That usually gives me enough momentum to carry on another day or week or month until the doubt wells up again.

Today, while the kids were with their dad, I got to sleep in after a late night of swing dancing and apres diner chow down. I managed to do the grocery shopping, run an errand, do some housework and get dinner underway before my munchkins came home.

As we sat down to dinner, my heart was bursting with love for those three little people... just seeing their faces around the table, having them home safe again... "I love you guys," I said hoping that it sinks in all the way down to those hard places inside of them that will surface in the next five to ten years. I don't ever want to take that for granted. It makes me think of that scene from "Our Town" when whats-her-face gets to go back and see one day of her life. She's told to pick an ordinary day, because that will be hard enough. It was an ordinary moment, but I shall treasure it.

The children didn't like what I had prepared for dinner which I thought was one of their favorite dishes. I guess their tastes have changed since last time I fixed cranberry meat balls and rice. Oh well. When I asked them what they had eaten today at their dad's, they said, "Cereal, bacon and cheese. ...Oh and smoothies." Yep, that's him alright. Their father thinks of bacon as "the pink vegetable." So I didn't force them to eat the meal. They had some carrots and fruit to make up for the forgotten food group and we were all content.