We are finally getting some time outdoors. Each day a little more time to play in the yard or a visit to a park. Then more rain. Thankfully we have been spared the worst of this system that seems to be flooding other areas of the country. We still are happy for breaks in the weather to see a little sun and enjoy, because we know that winter is coming in like a month and a half...alright I am totally exaggerating a little bit.
I have white and black fingernails. No, I am not suffering from a rare nail fungus. Nor am I against hand washing. I have been scrubbing my hands more than usual as a matter of fact. In spite of my best efforts there are bits of paint that stick to my nails and are nearly impossible to get off. So I have just accepted this mess. Well honestly there is rarely a time in my life when I don't have paint on my person or at least on my clothing.
I hear that Magritte painted in a full suit, that he was super clean. I could see my husband being that type of a painter, meticulous and clean. In fact his paintbrushes are clean and look new. My brushes, kept separately at his insistence, are covered in paint, frayed, nibbled, broken, crusted.
Currently I am finishing up final prep for a gallery show that I have opening in about a week. I have been working toward this show for many months and now there is an end in sight.
I have been putting in final touches on pieces and looking over my body of work this week. The show hangs on Saturday. I have made pieces that range from small to very large. I do this so that I can make work affordable to all.
So I had better start this day. I have promised the girls a visit to the river and a trip to the library. I hope to let them play in the yard this afternoon while I paint on the patio.
Shortly after my brother Ben was born my family moved from Issaquah, WA to St.Paul, MN. I was four years old and this was my fourth or fifth move. My parents had started off on a farm in Montana, but they were led on a long and strange journey that led to MN where my father completed seminary. I started kindergarten while we were in MN. Many of my earliest memories are from our time there, though I do have many memories before this age, but it was around 4-5 when I start to remember things more broadly.
I know this was a very lean time for my parents. They worked, my dad went to grad school, they had two kids, and over the course of a few years they racked up insane medical bills (appendicitis, broken limbs, asthma, and so much more). I can see now, as an adult, that this must have been a really challenging time for them, but I didn't know it at the time.
When we were in Minnesota earlier this month we stopped by the seminary and took a look around. I have so many memories there, it was really fun to walk around and see what remained and what had changed. Most of my memories were odd little bits like being chased by the squirrel, eating bark from a tree, kid stuff. Ben also had bits of memories from our time there and it was neat to see what he did/did not recall.
It was crazy to see a place that we had lived in when we were around the same age as my girls. How much will they remember? What will be important to them?
Thursday evening was Cordelia's graduation from preschool. We arrived a bit early so she could put on her cap and gown. Then we took our places to watch her graduate. Now let me take a moment here to apologize for those times, before children, when I made comments about how silly "graduation" was for pre-school and kindergarten and whatever. I realize now that they are important milestones and they deserve a moment of celebration.
I had been feeling surprisingly emotional about Cordelia's growth all week. I had a moment Monday when I held her hand and flashed back to the first time her tiny perfect fingers grasped mine. How it has only been a few years, but so much has happened. Anyway, that coincided with graduation and it was an emotional day for a proud mother.
We watched her enter and walk to her place. She searched around for our family and when she spotted us she smiled and waved. I LOVE when little kids smile and wave from presentations. She also blew kisses to each of us.
The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes. Her teacher Kylie from last year sang a song called Let them Be Little that had me sobbing (I feel my feelings and I will probably feel your feelings too).
Then they were given diplomas.
Here she is hugging her first teacher, Teacher Gwen. These two have a very special friendship and I am sure it was hard for Gwen to say"Goodbye." I know it was difficult for Cordelia. Although we see Gwen regularly and it wasn't really a goodbye.
Then the class sang the goodbye song that they sing every day at school (and I cried some more). And then preschool was over. Kindergarten now.
Also, crying again as I write this.
Well it is Friday again isn't it? I suppose it is time for my weekly phone drop. Well, truthfully you are getting the Monday-Friday phone drop. I uploaded my phone photos on Monday morning and I am just too lazy to go and retrieve them.
Cordelia had track and field day at her preschool and the weather was too cold for much outside stuff. Can you believe we are still getting snow?! Thankfully the preschool is well prepared to deal with the cold issue. Actually, this was the third track and field day that we have attended and all three have been mostly indoor events.
Here she is at one of the two outdoor elements of track and field day. The kids had a blast just wheeling around on those things. I am not sure if there was an actual race and it didn't really matter.
Elise participated in many of the activities as well. She felt like such a big kid. She sat out the wheelie boards (is that what they are called?) and opted to watch. She told me she just wanted to put her hands in her pockets.
My brother Ben and sister-in-law Sara (formerly Casual Sara) gifted me with a gift card to veganessentials.com and here is my loot. Also, Lucy.
Don't ask to borrow my pens. You have been warned.
Cordelia went to the dentist. Did I mention that she is choosing her own clothes now?
Can we just look at this picture one more time?
Cordelia is working on her art skills.
Betty Sprinkles and Lucy enjoy the evening sun. I love that they are pals.
Last night was preschool graduation. This photo is a magnet that the school sent home on her last day. I will report on the graduation tomorrow. I need another day to emotionally heal, kidding(ish).
Today is Cordelia's last day of preschool. Don't get me started, don't even get me started. Tomorrow is graduation and I am going to full-on cry. Today though, let's look at her first day of preschool in 2012.
Ahhh! I can't believe we are here. We will actually be jumping right into homeschool as I think she can complete the kindergarten curriculum with ease and be on to first grade by fall. She had an extra year of pre-k because she missed the public school cut-off and Eric and I weren't sure if we wanted to homeschool.
Anyway, today is the last day with her much loved teacher Amanda. Actually each teacher has been so special to our girl. Thankfully she will get to come back and see former teachers as Elise will soon start preschool. We have exchanged numbers with friends and there are play dates on the horizon. Today just marks the end of a phase of her life and the beginning of a beautiful new phase.
Yesterday Cordelia ate lunch at preschool after track and field day. When we made it home I made lunch for Elise and myself. Cordelia then decided that she was still hungry and I told her she could make a snack for herself. She was really into it and asked if she could make dinner for the family all by herself. I agreed and she spent the rest of the afternoon planning.
I told her that she needed fruit, veggies, grains and protein. She took it from there.
When it was time to prepare dinner I acted as her sous chef, grabbing items as needed. Together we husked corn and she put me to work boiling the corn while she concentrated on the rest of the meal.
I think you can see that it was...interesting. She had a vision for what she wanted to make. I held my
tongue when she squirted mustard out by the tablespoon.
The completed meal included buns with a slice of vegan deli meat, pickles, vegenaise, lots of ketchup and mustard. She also had corn, watermelon, green olives and frozen (frozen was non-negotiable) blueberries.
I am not gonna lie, it was really really a lot of mustard, but we ate it all with smiles on our faces.
Elise was so impressed. Cordelia was very proud of herself!
Of course it wasn't really about the strange meal; this was about Cordelia's growing independence. She is learning to make choices on her own, with confidence. She is learning that she is capable.
Yesterday at the track and field day I noticed how much she has grown in the last year. One year ago there were a lot of tears when she didn't win. This year she didn't care who won or if she didn't do something perfectly, she just had fun! We have been noticing this growth in so many ways. When she makes a wrong choice or has an episode of emotional meltdown (hurt feelings or not doing something perfectly are her triggers) she is so much more aware of what went wrong. She will apologize and quickly move on to the next thing.
I am so proud to watch her grow in self-confidence and self-control. These little moments of growth and independence hit me right in the heart. She is doing it. She is growing and maturing. She is kind and loving. What a gift to learn and grow right along with her.
Eric and I have really been burning the candle at both ends lately. Our days have been starting early at or before 6. Eric has had to head into work early a lot lately with things like TV appearances. He has been working on his first photography book, fundraising is insane. Eric has also had four recent photo shoots and a show to install, a score for another film out in CA. All on top of a busy time at his work.
I have been painting and prepping for a huge solo exhibit, mothering, and wrapping up semesters for the two institutions at which I teach art history. This means reading journals, papers, test grading, grade submitting. Not to mention the panicked messages from students who "forgot" certain assignments.
We have been working 12 hour + days since our return from MN (we also both worked in MN). I am not complaining, we are working very hard because we have a lot of goals and it takes work to get there. Unfortunately we have not been balancing our work with down time. Just relaxing is high on our list.
Yesterday I hit the ceiling. We had a ballet performance by Cordelia yesterday morning. So sweet and will definitely require a full post. After that we had an end of Sunday school party at Jump Craze (a trampoline park). After that we grabbed lunch and I took the girls to a birthday party while Eric stayed home to work on a deadline for a score.
It was at the party that I first noticed. I heard a baby cough and I thought,"Man, I am glad I'm not sick." Then a short while later I started to feel a bit off, but I'd gotten only a few hours of sleep the night before and I tried to convince myself that was all that was happening. *to be clear I don't think the coughing baby made me instantly sick.
We left the party and it was soon time for dinner and then Eric hung with the girls while I completed the last of my semester work. It was then that I realized I was getting sick.
Eric and I both sat on the couch like zombies for a bit and then fell into a deep sleep. I am definitely under the weather this morning, a sure sign that my body is forcing a rest. Just a cold, but I am planning on a quiet day with the girls, after the preschool field day. Time to listen to my body telling me to chillax.
So I have an Instagram account and I often post food photos. Mostly I do this because I don't think there are enough food photos on Instagram...
No seriously though I do this because I cannot tell you how frequently I am asked what vegans eat. There are people who honestly believe that we only eat salads. The truth is that I do eat a lot of salads because I like them, but we eat a lot of really good food. So I share that food to give new ideas to other vegans or people who are just interested in eating vegan on occasion.
I thought I would share some of those food photos with you, so you can see what vegan eating actually looks like.
Pancakes and fruit.
Sriracha tofu and salad with quinoa, black beans, corn, cucumber and more.
Gnocchi, say a, salad, bread.
Curry and couscous
Scrambled tofu, fruit, whole wheat English muffin.
Vegan Mac and cheese and chili.
The girls will eat most of the same stuff we do, they refuse straight up salads and obviously things like Sriracha tofu are not for them. They are normal, picky eaters, but I don't often make special meals for them. So that's how we do it here in our vegan home.