Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Paging Dr. AJ

I was holding Charlie last night when he decided to go into full tantrum mode, thus head-butting me really hard on the right side of my head. It hurt. A lot. My right ear stung for about 10 minutes. Yes, Charlie was fine. But this story is about me. So lets try to focus, shall we?

Like I said, it hurt. And I sort of yelped in pain and held my head trying not to swear (too much). A few minutes later I was changing Charlie's diaper (because it was obviously time for him to go to bed), when AJ came up to me and we had the following exchange:

AJ: How is your ear, Mom?
Me: It's ok. It still hurts.
AJ: Well while you guys (meaning Shawn and I) were out that night (in South Carolina), Grandad and I went over some medical procedures. So, I would like to take a look at your ear.
Me: (Trying really hard to keep a straight face) Ok, that would be great

I go downstairs after putting Charlie to bed and walk into the kitchen. AJ jumps up on a chair so he can look at my ear. He pokes it. He prods it. And after a thorough exam tells me that it will be red for a few days, but it will feel better soon.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Office Mate

He's on break.

Art Night With AJ

A few months ago, AJ and I started doing some type of art project every Thursday night. It ranges from making a book, to drawing, to making a sculpture out of those colorful styrofoam things.

Today we were at Barnes and Nobel and we saw a dragon painting kit. We decided to get it for Art Night. But when we got home, we realized we would be busy Thursday night with AJ's open house for school. So, we dug into it this morning.

The Project:


Here are our final creations:

Can you tell which one is AJ's? That would be the one that has EVERY SINGLE COLOR. It is one of the many things I love about him; his enthusiasm. He approaches everything in life with such a joyful spirit. Whether it is jumping in a pool, playing Yahtzee or painting a dragon, AJ is going to give it his all. And he is going to get the most he can from every single experience. It is something we could all do a little more of.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Doing My Part to Promote the Art Teacher Stereotype. . .

I bought these shoes:

I figured that if I was going to be on my feet for 8 hours a day, I would need to get myself some cork-soled shoes. I also bought clogs. I haven't started making things out of hemp yet. So I think I am still in my right mind. (Technically)

But, I also got these:

They're so shiny!!! I wanted to be able to still call myself an interior designer (and have people believe me).

Actually, I do Have a Plan

But there is a lot of math and calculations and even (gasp!!!) fractions involved. So, I have either figured out how to do a school wide mosaic in the space alloted, or I have come up with the formula for time travel.

I guess we will see.

What's a Herculean Task Between Friends?

Here is riddle for you.
  • You have 760 students.
  • They are grades k-5.
  • Due to the vast age differences, there is a wide range of skill levels
  • Each child in the school must participate
  • Each child will work on the project for 9 class periods
  • It must be portable until the installation.
Now, come up with an art project that satisfies all the above requirements.

When you figure it out, email me. I'll be right here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Career Advice From AJ

AJ: So, you are going to be my art teacher? Cool.
Me: Yeah. I am really excited, but nervous too.
AJ: You should be nervous. Some of those kids are mean.

Just to Keep You Guessing. . .

I accepted a job yesterday teaching art at AJ's school.

I was at a PTA meeting on Monday when the Principal announced that she was looking for an art aide for the upcoming school year. I looked at my friend across the room and sort of gave her the "That sounds interesting" eye. Well, the entire room saw the exchange and the Principal approached me about applying for the job.

She told me to go home and apply for the job online and we set up an interview for the following morning. I interviewed at 10am and she called to offer me the position later that afternoon. There were several other aide positions open, but she had had a hard time finding someone who wanted to do the art program. Of course, the art position was the only one I was interested in.

It is officially an aide position. But, I would completely be on my own. I would be creating and implementing the lesson plans myself. And I would be teaching all grades ( k-5). The curriculum is unique. Instead of straight art, it is teaching how art can be incorporated into other subjects like math, science and language arts.

Another part of my job would be to create a school-wide art project that each child would have a part in. And there is still a project from 2 years ago (the last time they had any official art) that I would need to finish and get installed as well. The school wide projects are intended to enhance and beautify the actual school grounds. In the past murals and mosaics have been done.

So, today I will stop by the school, pick up the curriculum materials and begin to plan. It will be a TON of work and the first time I will be working full time in 4 years. But, I am excited. And terrified.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hilton Head-Friday

Mom and I decided that we needed to leave the boys at home and do some shopping on our own. Not that saying "Don't touch that!!" and "No, you can't buy anything" 15 times an hour isn't fun.

We decided to hit some of the local interior design places. I totally scored at the first place. Mom had taken me there in the past and I always manage to find something I love. The big find this trip were Christmas ornaments that are wire globes decorated with clear crystals for 75% off. I have a small tree that I decorate with all white lights, and I use only silver and clear glass ornaments. It is my homage to femininity in the sea of testosterone in which I live. The globes are rather large (think softball) so they may be too big for the tree. But I may be able to string them on garland or something else equally pretty.

We also went to the French Cafe, another shop we seem to hit every time I go. Not only do they have amazing food, but they have a collection of table clothes that are beautiful. Mom gave me an early Christmas present by treating me to a table cloth for my kitchen table. The best feature of these table clothes are that you can wipe them down after the meal. I am at a stage in my life where wipe-ability is disturbingly important to me.

We went to Christine's for lunch. Yum. They have homemade potato chips. Need I say more?

We headed home after lunch so Shawn, AJ and Dad could do another golf round. We are nothing if not givers.

Hilton Head-Thursday

Thursday was Alligator Day. There was a presentation about alligators given at the local nature center. The man that spoke was very funny and made the presentation really interesting, informative and kid friendly.

The big part of the day was getting your picture taken with the alligator. Here is AJ and the alligator.

That night, Shawn and I went to dinner at Red Fish with Karen, Dan, Mark and Amy. We had a great time and we all hit it off. I think we were all a little surprised that we could have fun with people we hadn't seen in almost 15 years. But we did. In fact Mark ended up laughing so hard, he was crying. We have witnesses.

If you are ever in Hilton Head, go to Red Fish. For appetizers we had the lettuce wraps, calamari and spring roles. The calamari sauce was so good that if I would had been with people I had known better, I may have licked the bowl. It was that good. For dinner, I had the vegetable strudel and it was the best meal I have had in a year. Seriously. Shawn had the special which was the grouper over pasta with a pesto sauce. And he thought it was good as well.

Those of you who know us, may now be counting your canned goods, because obviously the world is coming to an end if I ordered a vegetable dish and Shawn ordered fish. But, I assure you it is not. Remember, it was a strudel. The phyllo dough and cheese more than made up for any nutritional value the vegetables may have had. And as for Shawn, he felt that since he was actually eating on an island, now would be the time to order fish.

All in all, it was a fun time. But maybe we could do it sooner than 14 years next time?

Hilton Head- Wednesday

Wednesday we met my Dad's family at the other end of the island for a little beach time. It was really fun for me, because I had not seen any of them since my wedding 14 years ago. It was a big group: Aunt Caroline, Uncle Mac, Mark and Amy, Karen and Dan and all of their kids. With my kids, there were 7 grandkids total.

We got invited back to the house for lunch, where we had burgers and hot dogs. The house they were renting was beautiful, and I wish I had taken pictures of the inside. But, Charlie was determined to explore and I had no time to grab my camera.

After the beach we decided to go to the farmer's market and the small artist's shops around the market. I found two prints, so I was a happy camper.

At the market, Mom decided to get some fresh eggs. This is AJ talking to the hen that laid our eggs.

Later that day, my mom got out the band instruments and she and Charlie made some music. He loved the bells, tambourine and cymbals.

Frogs lived in the lagoon right out the back of the house. They would sing and then stop in perfect unison. It was a bit unnerving, actually. AJ caught a frog on his first frog finding mission and it soon became a nightly activity.

No day would be complete without some time in the pool.

Hilton Head- Tuesday

Here are some pictures of our first day at the beach:

Shawn and dad discussing what I can only assume to be golf, golf or golf.
I love this picture of AJ and Charlie. It captures the hero worship that Charlie has for AJ, and the gentle patience that AJ has for Charlie (most of the time)

Can't you just hear "Eye of the Tiger?" I am actually running behind him with a boom box over my head, but I am out of the frame.

This was Charlie sampling the local cuisine- beach sand. He ate a lot of it.

Back at the house. . .
Gran was nice enough to beg, borrow or steal all the comforts of home for Charlie. He had 2 highchairs to choose from, a crib and a whole bunch of toys to play with.

Here are AJ and Charlie playing with a Fisher Price record player that Jeff and I use to play with.

Shawn, AJ and Dad even went and played a little golf. The funniest part of the day was when AJ came back from playing golf and announced that he "finally figured out what he was doing wrong on the last hole." My mom looked at him and laughed and said. "Do you know how many times I have heard that?" I guess if you are going to be a golfer, you have learn ALL parts of golf.

AJ loves golf. And he was so excited to get to play. (In fact, as I write this, AJ and Shawn just made a tee time for 18 holes at our local course. )

We ended the day with some pool time on the back patio.

Our Trip to Hilton Head- Monday

Monday was traveling day. Here we are at the Nashville airport. The trip actually went pretty well considering we were traveling with a hyper 9 year old and a toddler. At least I thought it went well. But, my standards must be low, because when we got off the plane, Shawn informed me that we were a) not having any more kids and b) we were never traveling with a toddler again- EVER.

We got into Jacksonville, rented a car, grabbed some dinner and drove up to Hilton Head to begin our vacation.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Testing Out the New Camera

After using a certain swearword every time I used my old camera, I thought it was time for a new one.

Charlie is looking for the car he lost in the abyss that is the bookshelf. For why the bookshelf is empty, please refer to the post entitled "Helping".
I asked AJ to do a running jump into the pool so I could see how the continuous shooting function works. I haven't quite got the hang of it yet, but I like the clarity of the picture

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Things That Make Me Happy

This is my new watch. I love it. To use design terms, it is the perfect combination of form and function. The function is the form. I love how the mechanics of it all are pretty much the same mechanisms that have run watches for hundreds of years. I love how it is so simple, and so complex at the same time.

And it runs on kinetic energy. It will never need a battery- ever.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Quick Comparison. . .

This is what the boys looked like last year at the bike decorating event. What a difference a year makes!

Because Charlie didn't have a bike, AJ insisted on decorating his stroller. I remember being really proud of him for thinking of his brother. And I also remember thinking that this sibling thing may work out after all.

July 4th Celebration

July 4th was a busy day this year. We started the morning by riding our bikes up to town for the annual bike parade. Each year the kids get a bag of decorations and decorate their bikes, have a little breakfast and then ride through the center of town. All the money for the bike decorations and food goes to support the troops. It is a very short parade, lead by the local fire department. And it is a a bit chaotic. But the kids love it.

Here we are getting ready to ride into town and later, decorating the bikes.

The parade was hilarious. A bit like herding cats. And AJ was the first kid out of the gate. ( I know this will come as a shock to many of you, but he is a bit competitive.) The kids ride down the main street and then circle around the town square until the parents start feeling faint from heat exhaustion and make them go home.

Later that day, Shawn ran into friends of ours who had rented a water slide for the kids and they invited us over. It is important when you live somewhere this hot, to be friends with people who rent water slides. AJ had a blast. He probably went up and down that slide for 3 hours solid.

After a few hours of water sliding, it was time to go to the town BBQ and fireworks display. We staked out a good spot on the lawn, ate our food and ended up having four other families of friends of ours join us by our blanket. We had fun eating, talking, watching the kids run around the pond with their glow sticks. It was a bit like watching neon fireflies zoom around.

After dinner, there was a pie eating contest right before the fireworks. AJ entered. Luckily it wasn't how much pie you could eat, but how quickly you could eat a piece of pie. It was for kids 12 and under. No hands allowed. The pictures didn't come out at all since I was in the back. But here is AJ right after the contest.


The fireworks were pretty good. Last year they had gotten cancelled because of rain. So, we were all excited to see them this year. Charlie did really well and didn't cry at all. Although, he was pretty tired since it was 2 hours past his bedtime. I think he even slept through a few of them.

All in all, it was a really fun day. Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Houston, We Have a Problem

I love this picture. Unfortunately, it documents the seconds before AJ became really, really sad.

We had some friends over the other day and the three boys that came to visit all had remote control planes. AJ thought they were the coolest thing ever. We were at Target yesterday and they happened to be on clearance. So, I got him one. He charged it all night so that he could play with it today.

We went to the park behind our house to try it out. I didn't want him to play with it in our backyard, because I figured it would end up on someone's roof. It started well. He got the plane up and running and it worked like a charm. Right up until it flew into a neighbor's house and ended up in the back yard. Or so we thought. I had AJ ring the doorbell and ask the woman if his plane was in the back yard. She went to look, came back shortly with a "no, and it's hot" and shut the door. We walked around the block so that we could walk behind the house to take a look ourselves. And we did see the plane. It was on top of her roof.

AJ was pretty upset, which was understandable since he had played with his new plane for all of 40 seconds.

Not sure what the lesson is here. But it's probably that S*** happens. And it is a hard lesson to learn.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Having a Meeting of the Minds With Zeena

I don't know what was discussed. I don't speak toddler. But it looked important.