Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day at the Air Force Museum

Our visit to the National Air Force Museum. The pictures tell the story.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Here, Now


First day of school last fall

Graduation day was Monday. Nathan was so happy, not to mention kind of hamming it up.

Flowers from the yard for the teachers.

Here we are on the last day of preschool for my younger son. His passage is mine too. Today he'll be saying goodbye to friends he's made. Some he'll see over the summer, and at least one will be in his elementary school. I wonder if, at age five, he recognizes this, or if life just flows from one thing to the next. For me it is the greater baby is no longer a baby. In the fall our new routine will be to walk two boys to the elementary school.

Today, after dropping him off, I cried a little into my coffee. I feel okay with that. I haven't written much about this, but I struggle with anxiety. What I learned after having a good, snotty cry today is that I don't think I cry enough. Suppressing my emotions leads me to massive tension in my face, neck and shoulders, and grinding and jaw pain, as well as to overindulging in things like fatty food, and alcohol. Shopping. Anything to sooth and pacify. Heck, even excessive googling and facebooking help me to tune out whatever is eating me.

Friends are wonderful and quick to want to help you through your problems. They tell me to look at the bright side and all of that. Well meaning though it is, sometimes I want someone to just sit with me here, now, and maybe say "yes, I know how that is." Being the only female in the house, this is a hard thing to ask for, because the males of the species don't really get that. They want to fix things. And I accept that. It is okay. That is just how they are.

For today I'm not going to judge my feelings. I'm going to feel what I feel. I'm going to express it. I'm going to emote. If I am hungry I will eat, if I am thirsty I will drink, if I am sleepy I will sleep. And if I feel like blubbering, I will blubber to my heart's content and wake up on the morning renewed as the green grass after a downpour. Most of all I'm going to hug my little Nathan as much as I want.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another art show

The Artist

Owl in a tree

Owl in ceramic

Ceramic baby sea turtle, hatching from his paper-mache egg.

Artist at Play

I've said this a million times, but I can't begin to adequately express my gratitude that my children go to a school district that values the arts! We are blessed with some of the most creative and thoughtful teachers, both at the elementary and the preschool.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Somewhere over the rainbow

This picture does NOT do the real thing justice, but we were treated to this spectacular rainbow Sunday evening. The forecast for much of the great middle west is rain rain and more rain again this week. Trying to keep up my spirits. Praying for Joplin, MO, and everyone affected by this crazy weather. Grateful that up here in Ohio we're just getting wet.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My husband turned 41

So I baked him a birthday cobbler. Mixed berry. It followed a delicious home cooked meal of grilled pork tenderloin, leeky smashed potatoes and zucchini and asparagus sauteed with shallots. A nice bottle of wine. The company of family. What a great night, especially for a guy who deserves only the best. :-)

Friday, May 20, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. From Soulemama.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Feeling a little off today

Received word the other day that a close friend from childhood passed away. His name was Chris and our first meeting was fifth grade, when this pudgy kid with pink cheeks and pale blond hair came to my elementary school, Corpus Christi. Despite his always being pretty nice, the other kids picked on him pretty merciless. Especially when he went through his break-dancing phase. At the time boys were still pretty yucky to me, so when my family moved to a different part of town, wasn't I surprised to learn that he was my new next-door neighbor?

Over the years we went through different phases I guess. We were friends. When the neighborhood kids played tag and a hide-and-seek game of our own invention called "Release" his driveway was always the base, the hub of our tween life in the neighborhood. We rode bikes in the trails where they'd not yet expanded our housing development. Once I was roller skating and he pushed me down his driveway and I sprained my ankle. He was so upset, but it was okay, I knew it was an accident. Chris was a time helped my little brother pull up onto a tall tree branch, then walked away and let him hang there! He fixed me up with my first boyfriend in 8th grade, and when that boyfriend dumped me he was there to soften the blow. We "went together" for maybe a week, and the first time he ever kissed me, well, I still remember that kiss, which is saying something. Of course 8th grade is a rough and fickle time, and I dumped him after about a week. We remained friends. He took me to my first "real" concert...Iron Maiden. He was there to listen to my woes about boys and parents and school.

And then I don't know what happened. He went to the career center, I was in college prep. We both got jobs, boyfriends/girlfriends, lives. He had issues for sure. Our family moved again to a different part of town while I was in college, and although I'm sure I did, I don't remember saying goodbye or making a tremendous effort to keep in touch. Over a twenty year period I've laid eyes on him five times. I guess you just think, especially in the new electronic age, that you'll catch up sometime. Now I'm realizing too late that I really didn't know much about that guy. Sure, I knew he loved metal, he would do anything for a friend, and that he loved old cars. But as to questions of who he was, what his passions and dreams were, I don't know. In adolescence I was probably too wrapped up in my own head to really get to know him.

Now, at thirty-nine, I'm just now understanding that old phrase "you can't go home again." I'm sad, and I'm trying like mad to regress myself back in time and remember. Thank God I went to the reunion last summer...we had a really good time all being together again. I hope wherever he is he knows that he is missed and loved.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I (heart) Purple

Congrats to the purple team, Hannah and Olivia, from The Biggest Loser, for being the top two finalists! I don't know what it is about these sisters but I just identified with them more than anybody I've ever seen on that show. Started my workout regimen yesterday!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Why I love my son's teacher...

She has things like a surprise science exhibit. The parents were told six weeks ago that the kids would be studying an animal, so that we could help them find research materials. Then we heard basically nothing about it until a few days ago when we were invited to come to school early for a "surprise." The surprise was that the kids had created all these really great science projects! And what I love about Zack's teacher is that these projects are 100% done by the kids...not the parents. Additionally, she and her student teacher set up a little breakfast snack buffet, and then encouraged the children to be good hosts. I heard her murmuring to Zack "be sure to thank your parents for coming, and guide them through the room." I am utterly thankful that this woman will be his teacher next year too, as our school does two-year looping. The project was also incorporated into the chidrens' art class, where they did sculptures of the animals. As always I couldn't have been prouder. I love these peeks into the cheerful classroom.

Friday, May 13, 2011

{this moment} Using evey block

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. An idea from Soulemama.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Beginning "The Artist's Way"

With a group of blogger friends I've just "met" I am reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I began my journey by picking up a special little journal to document things.

It is an upcycled vintage book from Beagletique. I just loved it, especially the color! It is just for me to chronicle the things I am doing and working on and thinking about. My morning pages are in my regular journal, which I've kept for years. Writing in the morning is easy and a natural way for me to start my day. Plus with both kids at school at least for part of the day I am on my own. (I don't know what I'll do this summer...I'll get to that bridge when I get to it.)

An entry about a recent trip to the museum. Cameron suggests you take yourself out on "artist dates" to fill the creative well. I bought this postcard from the gift shop that day: a photo of a work called Captain's Paradise, 1971, by Helen Frankenthaler. To decipher my scrawl, we were on a school field trip, sophomore year. My friend Gretchen sees this painting and loudly, sarcastically says "I could do that!" The docent turns and says, icily, "but you didn't." Compared to my trip with my excited to be there and so excited to create. How much changes in ten short years. Also a point Cameron makes is how audacity is primarily what separates artists from those who wish they were.

My second artist's outing was today...I called it a speed date. A simple trip to the dollar store can really generate a lot of feelings.

I am finally starting to read and work through this book. Cannot wait to see what my cohorts are up to!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Home Transformation

The contractor has finally finished and it's time for the big reveal!

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

We haven't done much in the way of decor yet, basically because we are loving the scaled down look of everything at the moment.

Plus our kitchen gets so clutted that having all the pictures and memorabilia on the walls just made things a bit too chaotic at times


AFTER. We decluttered quite a bit, plus in this photo you can see how sweet the new baseboards look next to the floors.

Dining Room BEFORE

AFTER. A crowded dining room we seldom used becomes a functional office computer, the boys' easel and drums, plus the old kitchen table, swapped with the dining table, for a cool craft, game or homework space.

Family Room BEFORE

Family Room AFTER. A lot less cluttered, baskets for toys, cds, blankets, whatever we want.

Before I had no room for books, so I literally moved from room to room with bags and stacks. To some degree I don't think that will stop, but at least now I have options.

Now we have the thing we needed most: SPACE. The boys are happy to sprawl out on the floor with their Legos and toys. They are excited to have space for their toys, artwork and library books.

For now we wait until the paint cures to start loading these shelves, but the funny thing is having had so much of our stuff stored in the basement tells me how much I can live without.

This project was so fun to do, and for us a once in a lifetime sort of thing. I joked that I felt like Candace Olson, designing the bookshelf and having a very capable finishing carpenter, Brian Ganyard, doing all this work. If you're in the Columbus area and need a good carpenter, check him at on Angies List.

We still have a lot to do ourselves...the painting of the remaining light wood trim and doors, plus we would also like to make the kitchen cabinetry white, either by painting, replacing (not a big fan of this option) or refacing. But this has been a very good start indeed and I can't believe I live here!