Monday, March 30, 2015

Five and a Half

Yesterday Cordelia turned five and a half. Family tradition now requires us to not only remember this date, but to celebrate with a half of a birthday cake. We spent the day normally, well normal in that we had to make an "emergency" (not an emergency) vet visit to deal with the sudden onset of a raging UTI for Miss Bumblebee who gets one each spring like clockwork.

Once Bumblebee was made comfortable with antibiotics and anti inflammatory meds we proceeded as normal. Our afternoon was spent lounging around the house---well, I did some laundry and cleaning. Mostly though we were just relaxed and casual. Cordelia did tell everyone we encountered yesterday that it was her half birthday, even though I reminded her that most people don't celebrate half birthdays.

Later we had pizza with my parents and my brother Sam. We took a walk along the river and of course we had half a birthday cake. The day was beautiful. Obligations were few. It was lovely.

A few notes about Cordelia at five and a half:
-She is searching for greater independence and Eric and I are scrambling to grow with her.
-She is very thoughtful. When she is given something independently from her sister she always asks for one for her sister.
-Girl feels emotions fully. I know she gets that from me. On the positive end she is so very loving and giving. On the other end she is easily frustrated. Mostly though she is just a deep feeler. I do believe that this will end up being one of her greatest gifts and one of her greatest burdens.
-She is very smart. Loves math and science. Astronomy has been a constant fascination. She is able to add and subtract easily in her head and she can add and subtract large numbers on paper. 
-I am going to call it, she is a lefty! We have long suspected that she was left handed, but only in the past few months has it become apparent.
-She is funny! Always happy to crack a weird joke. She revels in being the source of laughter.
-She is such a gift to our family.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Quote: Meanings

The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
~Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturdays Are Crazy

I started giving private art lessons a few years back and since then things have progressed at a rapid pace. I now teach everyone from the mature to age four. Saturday is my most intense work day because I teach one private lesson, a group class, and on the last Saturday of the month I give an art history lecture at a local gallery.

So now I am ready to dive in to making "relief" sculptures to six year olds. What are you up to?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Phone Photo Friday: 3.27.15

Phone dump comin' atcha.

Elise finally beat her illness and has been making up for lost time by talking nonstop from the moment her eyes open until bedtime.

Cordelia spent a few days under the weather, but seemed to take the illness much better than her sister.

Betty enjoyed some warmer weather.

Elise wore this strange wig and pretended that she was a dog.

The girls did this...whatever it was they were entertained for HOURS!

Elise and her friend Charlie look out the window at a coffee shop.

My dad. I am following through on a threat to post this photo. He is showing off Cordelia's preschool handiwork. 

That is an intense bubble blowing face. Don't get between this girl and her bubbles. You have been warned.

Elise found this feather in the yard and then Betty Sprinkles ate it.

Things are growing!!!

Spotted yesterday.

Girls and I outside.

Lucy. She was chattering out the window at some birds.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Yesterday it snowed, but it was not a winter snow at all. This was a spring snow. A spring snow is a lovely thing indeed, dropping moisture and then melting away before any real damage is done, mostly because none of us Wyoming gardener's have moved our serious work outside yet. Last frost is probably still a way off, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a ton of work to do right now. 

Inside the girls and I have loads of plants started. Our south facing guest room is pretty much a greenhouse at the moment. It is the only place we can keep Lucy (AKA plant killer) from her prowling.  

I have been going through my books and checking more out from the library. I love poring over the pages, dreaming and planning. 

Last year was my best garden yet, and I have big plans for this year. With two slightly older children I have a lot more hands-free time to work in the soil while they play and explore. Although I also have plans for the girls. 

I love their wonder at each new seedling and fascination with the whole process. Earlier this week we spent close to two hours working in the soil, transplanting seedlings. Cordelia talked to the little plants, Elise copied her and the two were whispering encouraging words to our new growth.

Outside while the girls are playing in the yard I am able to clear out the corner here and there and prep the garden beds. Picking up the sticks that fall from the tree, the leaves that snuck past our last raking in the fall, all work that needs attention.

We have been watching the birds feed from the bird feeder. The girls are also getting quite a thrill watching Frisbee (the squirrel or squirrels that live in our trees) trying to break into the bird feeder.

I am day dreaming about back patio dinners with fresh fruits and veggies from the garden. Oh yes, I am looking forward to all of the good days to come!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Without Words

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

Bumblebee is generally the dominate dog in our house. She is older, she was here first, works just fine---mostly because Betty is a weirdo and has almost no concept of dominance. Betty would rather focus her effort on finding a way to be cozy.

Something weird has happened lately. Generally when I feed the dogs Betty sits in front of her dish while Bumblebee eats. When Bumblebee is done she watches Betty eat. Then they both inspect the other's bowl. Recently though Betty has decided to just sit in front of her full bowl for ages, emitting a low growl (that has no real threat behind it) when Bumblebee goes in for an approach. So the view is Betty sitting in front of her bowl, Bumblebee staring and drooling. Yesterday she did this for three hours. I know this because I put food on the floor, left for three hours, and came back to the exact same scene. Finally  Betty ate her breakfast.

This morning Eric fed the dogs and Bumblebee decided that two could play that game. Eric texted me a photo of this.

Bumblebee on the left, waiting. Betty on the right, did I mention that she is so lazy that she eats laying down? Anyway, it was a standoff. 

I returned home to find them both a few feet back staring at full bowls.

I was about to just take the bowls away and let them try again at dinner, when they switched bowls and each scarfed the other's food.

In a stunning move Betty even ate her food standing up, for at least a minute of her meal.

Meanwhile Lucy took full advantage of empty dog beds.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Aphrodite Cried a Stone Tear While I Graded

I teach a lot. Did you know that? I teach online for a college and a university, stuffing my hours in when the girls are sleeping and playing. Usually it is a pretty seamless effort (but an effort to be sure), but when it is time to grade tests and essays I end up putting in a lot of extra time. I was recently grading a test in which students wrote about this sculpture. Do you know it? Have you seen it? 


The sculpture, Aphrodite of Knidos, is a recreation of a work that is attributed to fourth century (BC, yo) sculptor Praxiteles. ANYWAY......the statue depicts the Greek goddess Aphrodite (the goddess of love and beauty and pleasure and so on and so forth) as she is emerging from her purification bath. She modestly covers herself as she looks off into the distance. The work is important for a variety of reasons, including the use of contrapposto, the fact that this is thought to be one of, if not the the very first full sized female nudes created in the round (meaning you can view it from all angles). 

A while back I was grading papers I was looking for that kind of information and a lot more, but as I read along I noticed that many students were focused on Aphrodite's body. Saying things like (I am changing exact words and phrasing) "people enjoyed this work because it was flawed and imperfect." I was reading the papers without first checking the student's names (I like to read without knowing whose paper I am reading) and finally I looked up at the name of one of the authors and realized it was a woman! I was horrified that a woman was taking such a critical look at the body of another woman. It didn't stop there, no less than five other female students commented on Aphrodite's physique---using words like obese and chubby.

Why? Why? But seriously, why? 

I will say that I had exactly zero men look at this statue and comment on her weight, simply focusing on the beauty of Aphrodite in a passing remark.

My heart hurts for these women who probably fix that same hurtful gaze on their own bodies in the mirror each morning. Judging their bodies as obese or overweight. Oh how heavy that burden must be to carry. I hurt to know that other women look at each other this way too. Why must we do this?

I am certainly not a master of body image hang ups, but I am working diligently to ease that burden. I try hard to focus on the strengths that I possess. I thank my body every single day for being strong and healthy. Every single time I have negative thoughts about my physical appearance I force myself to note three positive attributes. It is a weird process, but over the course of the past several years this has really changed my inner dialogue and I rarely judge myself in a harsh light anymore.

I try to apply that same process to others. I look at my friends and see the women who have borne children, who get up at five in the morning just to care for their bodies, the women who are naturally fit, the naturally petite, the chronic dieters, the women who run stairs on breaks at work just to stay healthy, the women who struggle to love themselves and I try my hardest to feel empowered by their strengths and to feel compassion for their weaknesses. I hope they feel the same way about me. I would hate to think that we were focusing on each other's physical bodies. What kind of life is that?

So what did I tell my students? Well, as much as I wanted to rage about lifting women up, even stone women created by men, I didn't because I teach art history. Instead I reminded students that standards of beauty are always changing and that it is important to set our modern ideals and beliefs aside as we discuss a work of art. What else could I do?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Quote: Unawakened

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
~Anatole France

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Another Sick Day

Well folks, Cordelia is sick with the same virus that took Elise down last week. So far she seems to be faring better than her sister did, but good gravy!

Cordelia is content to relax on the couch, clutching a just-in-case puke bucket. Yesterday she spent the afternoon laying on our bed, talking while I worked. It was kind of nice.

Thankfully Elise is back in action and has the energy to aggressively argue topics like,"Fish don't poop, because they don't have bums!!!!" Thanks to Taro Gomi's Everyone Poops for settling that one.

Since Eric is here for this round of illness (he was out of state for work last week), I banished my mother. She did bring us a ton of groceries and sanitizing products, because she is crazy generous. She is actually spending her Saturday volunteering with Vision Beyond Borders and then volunteer choir practice. Just in case you weren't aware that my mother is amazing.

Well, I am sorry for the fragmented post, but that is all I can offer today. Onward!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Phone Photo Friday: 3.20.15

Once again Friday is here, reminding us how quickly time is passing. Eric returned home on Sunday evening from his trip to LA. We have spent most of the week just trying to keep our heads above water (or really puke) and stay ahead of all of the sickness. Currently I am trying to figure out if Cordelia is getting sick or if she just thinks she is; wish us luck.

Let's dive into my phone archives....

Cordelia, intensely organizing her My Little Pony cards and wearing a crazy dress. All dresses all the time. A little trivia, Cordelia's most common punishment for misbehaving (no, not her) is to lose dress privileges.

Friday night, out with my mother and the girls for a stroll. My mother came and stayed for the weekend. It was just supposed to be a fun sleepover night, but turned into an adventure for sure. I was so thankful to have both my mother and a nurse in the house.

Sick Elise wanted to be on me at all times and kept asking in her sad voice,"My tummy's hurting, what should I do?"

Sleeping Lucy and Betty. Pretty much living the life. Naps, food, play.

Saturday night ER visit. She was miserable and vomit covered when we entered and by the time we left she was rehydrated and enjoying a small break from the illness. She loooooved all of the special attention, once the medicine kicked in and she was less miserable.

Sunday afternoon Cordelia broke out in hives and Elise was still pukey. We spent a lot of time on the couch watching movies until our eyes shriveled like raisins, because that was all we could do.

Oh and naps.

Couch time---all weekend. It was crazy. We did take many reading and or staring off into space breaks. The girls would try to play for a bit and then Elise would just be so miserable.

A little break in the sock storm meant a few moments of play, usually ending when one or both dissolved into tears.

I managed to squeeze in a quick sketch painting. Somehow.

We double dipped on the doctor's appointment Monday. Follow up for Elise who seemed to be on the mend (spoiler alert: she threw up again) and Cordelia who needed steroids for a crazy allergic reaction. 

Cordelia, waiting to show the doctor the hives that covered her torso and spread over arms and legs. You can thank me for not showing you the pictures of her blistered hives. Fun fact: five year old kids on steroids are intense.

Betty thinks this is where she belongs.
I spent a lot of time sitting on the bathroom floor this week too. I bet you can figure out why I was there, wink.
That's right, sick with round two. Lucky for Eric he also got to participate in barf-o-Rama and found himself covered in toddler vomit on Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?) 

Elise recovered her appetite the next day! She has been on the upswing since.

Wyoming. I ventured out yesterday and just felt so happy to be so far away from the couch.

Pizza, nuff said.


Chocolate soy milk mustache.

And there you have it folks, another week in phone photos.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Odds and Ends, Bits and Bobs, This and That


Well hello there! What a week it has been! Between work deadlines and doctors appointments and sick children and vomit...I am just about spent! Not really though, that is the weird thing, we can really take a lot and I suppose I haven't even scratched the surface, but I am not inclined to dive in any deeper now. I have kind of felt as though I don't have a complete thought rattling around in my brain, but rather lots of little snippets and nonsense. So, you're in luck! I am going to share some of the random stuff bopping around in there today.

Eric's show is coming down and he still has a few hand made skulls (above) available for sale. Send me a message if you are interested.

I recently discovered the YouTube series, Ask a Mortician. Have you seen it? I stumbled upon it while pretty much trapped on the couch with a sick kid who just needed to snuggle/nap on me and I needed a little entertainment. The series has been ongoing for several years and it is informative and also funny. The mortician is Caitlin Doughty who also has a book out called Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. I haven't read the book yet, but I probably will in the near future. Here is a link to her fist episode.

Speaking of books I have heard amazing things about the book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I know, I know, a book about cleaning?! What a treat! Seriously though, her method seems to be thoughtful and beautiful--from the bits I have read and heard. I plan to run by the book store and use a gift card to purchase the book later today.

My mother recently told me about the My Fitness Pal app. It seems that this is something tons of people use and Eric and I decided to give it a try. You can select your goals---weight loss, maintenance, etc. Then you program in all of your food, water, exercise. The app also lets you enter your own recipes and it will break down nutritional information. I really have enjoyed the app, well the first week was a bit annoying with all of the input of information, but now it is smooth sailing. I really love the nutritional breakdown that it gives. I set up to lose my seasonal weight (I gain a few pounds each winter and lose it by late spring) and I am already back to my summer weight. So now I am excited to just maintain health and fitness.Have you tried it?

Yesterday Cordelia spotted the first daffodil in our back yard. She freaked out and Elise too. I am so happy that I am raising two little nature lovers!

Eric and I are being given a free claw footed tub! While I dream of a home with a claw footed tub in the bathroom, it doesn't really fit our reality to install such a thing right now and complete a bathroom remodel. So we have opted to put it in the back garden, conveniently blocking off a view of our jerky neighbor dogs who stand and stare and bark. Anyway, I am planning pretty things for the garden tub.

What is on your random list this week?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Confessions: Just One Story


Friday afternoon I was at the craft supply store buying supplies for my Saturday six year old art class. The girls and I were standing in an aisle as I pondered the selection. Elise and Cordelia were sort of freely exploring as there were lots of interesting items for little hands. We were alone in the aisle so I didn't really mind that they were owning the place. 

A woman, probably in her early 60s, came around the corner. She looked like a kindly grandmother/crafter type, but one who wouldn't appreciate the shenanigans of my girls. So I told Cordelia to calm down and I picked up Elise. I continued to look for my art supply necessities. 

The woman came and stood uncomfortably close to me. I shifted a little to the side and she came even closer. Then I smelled it, an unholy scent. It was awful! Like the kind of gas that can melt the eyeballs right out of your face.

Seriously I had never smelled anything so horrible.

Now before I continue let me just say that I am normally very well-mannered. I also have an extremely expressive face. I have almost no control over the expressions that my face makes. My face just reflects what is in my heart...

So when this woman, who insisted on standing weirdly close, passed awful smelling gas right next to me I made a face. I couldn't help it!!! My nostrils flared in horror, my lips curled in repulsion, and I looked at her with a glare that almost certainly read as "How dare you?!" She scuttled off, but we kept running into this woman and there was always this cloud of stink. I am not a fart-shamer (that is a real thing trust me) I get that we all pass gas. I was just shocked at the brazen confidence of a person who would unleash a very very very sick smelling fart while choosing to stand so very close to another person.

Unfortunately the confession story doesn't end with a rude look for someone who probably was feeling a little under the weather.  You see when we got into the car I smelled that disgusting odor again. The woman was nowhere to be seen. Then I hear Elise shout,"Who tooted!? It was me, I tooted." Yep, it had been the child in my arms passing the gas. The sick smell, I would soon learn, was the result of her gastroenteritis. So, to the poor older woman who kept walking into my child's stink cloud and getting a look from me, I am sorry! I am also sorry to anyone who ever receives an uncontainable look from my overly expressive face.
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