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Monthly Archives: November 2010

Tea has a long way to go

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Here I was, feeling all proud of my kid’s drawing abilities, when our neighbor had to blow my pride right out of the water.  Sam dropped by today, home from college for Thanksgiving, to give me a most precious gift – a drawing she’d done from a photo she saw of Pea.  She hadn’t met him in person yet, being away at school and all, but she captured him perfectly.

Sam is majoring in illustration.  Her art is so cool it makes me want to write a book just so I can beg her to illustrate it.  I cannot draw to save my life.  My people are still sticks and my faces resemble the ones drawn by first graders.  Make that artistically-challenged first graders.  It never fails to amaze me when people can use a pencil and paper to create something that looks so real.

Thanks, Sam!

Self portrait

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For the first time, Tea’s drawings have started to resemble what he’s aiming to draw. This week I plopped the kids at the table with a pile of art supplies so I could cook a batch of laundry soap on the stove. I paid only enough attention to them to see that they were industriously working and not hurting each other. Tea often doesn’t do much of anything when I give him paper and markers/crayons/pencils. He has never cared for scribbling – he’ll draw a line or two and be done. Sometimes he’s content to put stickers on paper or do ink stamping, but that’s been the extent of his interest.

I was therefore quite surprised when I finished my soap and discovered that Tea had drawn a picture that actually resembled a person. Well, sort of. I majored in bacteriology, so to be honest, my geeky mind thought it looked like a bacterium with cillia. But Tea declared it a picture of himself. With feet. Apparently, he has more than I realized. I was careful not to say anything about them (after just clarifying what they were), because I love (love love!) that he draws himself with 42 appendages. I don’t want to make him self conscious.

I begged him for more drawings and he grudgingly obliged with another self portrait, but this one (with even more “feet”) was only one inch tall.  He does not like to produce art on demand.  When not pressured, however, he’s also given me a whale and a Christmas tree.  I’ve got simple picture frames on the shopping list and I know just where I want to hang them.
My plan will be to scan the really cool artwork before I hang them and toss the old ones.  Then eventually I can make a book (using Blurb, my favorite book-making tool) using all the electronic files I’ve collected.  I don’t have to keep a box of art that will get old and dusty and eventually prompt me to call my 33-year-old child to ask “Is it OK if I throw out your kid art now?  Or do you want it?”.  (Sorry, Mom.  😉  )

Officially a better dancer than me. Not that that’s hard.

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Tonight Tea danced in his first recital and made us all so proud.  Forgive the ridiculous number of nearly identical pictures.  Tea has long-distance grandparents to appease.

Tea took a dance class through a local park and rec program for one hour per week this fall (minus the 3 weeks we were in Thailand).  While he screamed and begged me not to leave him on the first day, he soon  decided the class was fun enough to be away from me.  He adored pretending to move like different animals, playing games like balancing bean bags on different parts of his body, practicing tumbling down mats, and learning a (very) basic ballet routine to perform for the recital.  I really appreciate how low key the whole program was and that the recital was performed at a retirement home for the residents.

Backstage before the performance:

Aww Mommmm. You're embarrassing me.

The cuteness when they walked up the center aisle to the stage, all holding hands, was nearly unbearable.

I am so very proud of him.  He had been nervous about me leaving him backstage and I have to admit that I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d refused to go on stage, or had frozen once he was up there.  But he danced and was AWESOME!  In my totally unbiased opinion, of course.

I have never taken a dance class, so Tea now knows more French that I do.  This move has a name.  I don’t know what it is.  You’ll have to ask him:

It was hard to get pictures showing Tea’s face, because he was so intently following the moves of his teacher, who stood just off stage.  But he was clearly enjoying the moment.

It’s fun to stay at the…

YMCA

This is near the end of the dance.  It was funny to see that each child was basically doing their own thing.  They were oozing cuteness all over the place.

After the recital we took a group shot, and then celebrated with ice cream.  Tea ate a chocolate cone bigger than his head.

the thank you tree

Once upon a time in an issue of Family Fun I read an article about Keri Smith, the artist behind Wreck this Journal (which, as a side note,  I am considering getting for everyone on my Christmas list this year). In the article she gave lots of ideas for creating art out of ordinary things and instilling magic into the everyday. One of the ideas was to make a “Wish Tree” where you would invite passers by to write their wishes on strips of paper and then hang them on the tree, the hope being that many people would contribute and the tree would be all aflutter with wishes. A very cool concept, I thought. So as the activity for our first day of gratitude we set up a “Thanks Tree” by the sidewalk in front of our house. Ok, technically it is in front of Robin’s future house, but as that house is currently abandoned we figured it was safe to use that tree. Plus it had lower branches.

The tree is now equipped with pens and tags and instructions. So far the only ‘thanks’ on the tree are ours, but we hope the idea catches on. We will see. If you live in the neighborhood, please stop by and add your ‘thanks’. Tis the season, after all!

speaking of thanks

Pia’s Fish Grandma deserves a big thank you for making Pia the coolest firefighter coat any 5-year-old could ever wish for. Now that she has the hat, the jacket, and the paper towel tube hose she is ready to put out any fire that may come our way.  Oh, and the jacket is a fully functional rain coat as well. So cool. Thanks Fish Grandma!

gratitude

the world’s smallest pumpkin, grown by Pia

In these days leading up to Thanksgiving I am attempting to get our family to stop and think about gratitude for just a bit each day. Not in a sappy or heavy sort of way, but just to give thanks in simple, fun ways each day.  I am quite weird in that gratitude and guilt are all mixed up in my head. When someone does something nice for me I feel guilty and undeserving, to the point that it often undermines the original kindness. Why is that? Do other people feel that way? I would love to just be thankful… and ditch the guilt. Anyway, I hope Pia can grow up and see gratitude as an uplifting feeling and not have it mixed up with the downer of guilt.

Enter the Blessings Bunting. I am late in getting on the bunting bandwagon, but finally succumbed and stitched one up for Thanksgiving. They are quite fun to make so I now see what all the hoopla is about. I made nine flags, one for each of the letters in “blessings” (ok, ok, nine flags just happened to be what I could get out of the fall-ish color fabric scraps I had… I figured whatever number I came up with could fit some sort of gratitude word. huh. including gratitude apparently.)  I attached paper letters to the flags and in turn wrote activities on the back of the letters for each day/letter. This is not as complicated as I am clearly making it out to be. Today we did the activity for letter “B”. I will post details on this activity tomorrow if the rain has not ruined our efforts. Let’s just say it is a large-scale, cooperative art project inspired by Keri Smith.

deciduous delights

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Now that Robin and family are back on this side of the globe all is right in the world. Tea and Pia are together again and now have Pea to teach about the wonders of living in a climate that has very diverse seasons.  Leaves are nothing, Pea, just wait until it snows!