Saturday, January 31, 2009

Art On Tap: Andy Warhol

My little Ode to Andy: Marilyn Through Beer Goggles

Last night I got to go to the Art on tap event for the Andy Warhol: 15 Weeks of Fame exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock. All because the Bohemian loves he's wife so very very much as to set up a wonderfully fantastic early birthday gift extraordinaire! It was so much fun! Not only did I get to see Warhol but there was an international beer tasting before the gallery opened where we got to act like the snooty artsy people we used to be and we didn't have anyone else with us, no kids, nothin', just a good old fashioned date! It was all around fantastic! Fantastic art with my favorite person in the world.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"I Am That Hero!"

Pickle Pete earned some major uncle brownie points the week we visited by getting his nephews each their own Larry Boy Mobile complete with Larry Boy and Alfred figures, we are big Veggie Tales fans. One of his sons already owned this set and man, who knew a Christian based toy could cause such fussing and fighting?! The three boys just couldn't get along as long as that toy was in the room. We finally put a ban on it and hid it away, which caused much fussing and gnashing of teeth. When Uncle Pete pulled these out the boys' eyes grew 10 sizes and they acted like it was some kind of trap. You could see the wheels turning, "Alright, so they say it's mine but I've gotten in so much trouble for touching this very toy for days. Do they really mean it's mine or do they just like getting onto us?" They finally trusted us and all three boys played and "shared" happily for the rest of the week. Larry Boy can say it but Uncle Pete can claim it for himself "I am that hero!"

The three boys with their new toys, still managing to look grumpy, and poor little Z-man who seemed to take the brunt of the kids' selfishness.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Study In Personalities

Two brothers with the same parents turn out as different as night and day.

Lil' Spitfire, my little animal whisperer, wanted so badly to be allowed to hold the birds at this cool exhibit at the Ft. Worth zoo. Full of curiosity without nervous hang-ups (like his Pappa)

Mr. Golden Curls got more and more creeped out as we walked the path and finally couldn't contain himself when he got buzzed by one of the evil feathered creatures. Ok, that was me too. I tried so hard to play it cool for his sake because I know he's easily creeped out and I did pretty well, only one quick yelp from me. Free birds in close range creep the heck out of me!

For Christmas we got the boys a sandbox and put pea gravel in it. They were very excited, Mr. Golden Curls had been asking for one for awhile, but we realized he wasn't getting in. We kept trying to encourage him to get in, "But it's wet and dirty." Lil' Spitfire dove right in without a second thought.

Mr. Golden Curls plays from outside of the box.

Wiping his hands disgustedly.

Finally the Bohemian says "Bitty, if you get in to play and get dirty we can go inside and wash your hands off when you're all done playing." That's all the reassurance he needed! This is also my doing. Poor little first born is going to suffer from all of my idiosyncrasies while his little brother enjoys the more relaxed life of his Pappa!

So, really I should say: Two brothers with the same parents, each parent as different as night and day, turn out as differently as night and day. Little surprise!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ten Confessions Of A Super Nerd

It seems the lovely Erin over at Idyll Hands has tagged me! So, Honesty Scraps: 10 little known facts about me. I got tagged awhile back with a similar challenge, you can read that here, which makes this a double challenge as I try not to repeat myself!

1. I participated in tons of extra curricular activities growing up (softball, swim team, soccer, cheer leading, band, piano, bmx bike racing, running, beauty pageants, modeling, girl scouts, jazz dance, karate, belly dancing...) but tennis is the only one I stuck with. I played until I graduated high school.

2. I like Madonna. I like her music but mostly I like her because she had to work hard to come from nothing and she's an innovative, B.A., entrepreneurial inspiration.

3. In my past life I was a graphic designer, in my past past life I actually created real live art.

4. When I was a little girl I loved to read and set the personal goal of reading every book in the world. I had no clue that was impossible until I grew up and part of me still wants to fulfill the goal.

5. I really love snobby art films but some of my favorite movies of all time are Peewee's Big Adventure, Wayne's World and As Good As It Gets.

(I'm only halfway?!?!)

6. When I entered college my major was undecided because I couldn't decide between art and social work. I finally decided I couldn't hack it in the social workers' world.

7. I still have a pair of size 4 black satin pants hanging in my closet, not because I think I'll ever fit back into them, but because they're a symbol of a very fun time in my life.

8. Just after graduating college I lived in a tiny two room house with a Great Dane and 4 cats.

9. My favorite tv show is COPS and it makes me sad that I never get to watch it anymore because the boys are still awake when it airs.

10. I laugh hysterically and uncontrollably at the video montages on America's Funniest Home Videos.

BONUS nuggets for those who made it this far!

When the boys sleep I like to play with their stuff

The Bohemian and I like to act like idiots with my stupendously nice camera from my bro-in-law, Pickle Pete.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Homeschool Test Drive

'Round the table from the left: Lil' Spitfire, Mr. Golden Curls, Princess, Baby JW, and Warrior.

There are definitely benefits to having a fantastic older sis-in-law who has a similar mothering style and slightly older children. Other than just enjoying said sis-in-law's company, I get to watch her do it all first and learn through her experiences! Homeschooling is something I've considered off and on over the years. I know our public schools are pretty lacking in many areas. Anytime someone said they were homeschooling their children my ears would perk up and I started to wonder if maybe this was something I should consider. I was so glad I had the chance to watch Sarah homeschool the week we were in Texas because it helped me solidify the decision I had mostly already made, homeschooling simply is not for me!

My sister-in-law is a fantastic woman, one of those who is clearly born to be a mother and a homemaker. I'm more like the long lost, less impressive, product of a secret love affair, half sister of June Cleaver. Some people are born with the gifts of motherhood and household, others have to struggle with their nature to survive. The second is me. I struggle to stay on schedules that I know will work and bring balance to my life. I often have science experiments growing in the kitchen and bathrooms. And I can cook and yet so often run out of groceries that I call the Bohemian to pick up a few tv dinners on the way home. I also am not a teacher. I went to college to earn an art degree and tried the art ed. thing. After half a semester of the ed. classes I wanted to run away screaming. Well, I basically did and landed in the welcoming arms of graphic design after a life long mantra of "I will not work behind a desk all day banging around on a computer!"

More importantly I am not a patient person. I so wish I was and strive daily to achieve that goal. Sometimes I'm down right volatile. I've worked hard at becoming a person who doesn't throw things and stomp out the door when angry, which I thankfully got worked out as a newlywed, and struggle to be one who can be patient while her children learn life at a snail's pace, also getting that handled. I've come a long way but I know enough about myself to know I haven't come far enough to school my own children. I have 100% confidence I could pick good curriculum, schedule out a beautifully well balanced week full of education, hands on learning, art, music...I also know with the same amount of certainty I couldn't carry it through for a week without pulling out every hair on my head twice over. I do believe successful homeschooling can be achieved, just not by me.

So in a mere 7 months my first baby will begin his trek into the big big world and his trek will start with public school. And I will still be his Mamma: his teacher, his doctor, his chauffeur, his cook, his maid, his mentor, his shoulder to cry on but I'll also get to be the emotionally stable, often crafting, coffee toting mom helping out on the occasional field trip...and I'm ok with that.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day With The Monkeys

Mr. Golden Curls with the Flamingos.

While in Texas my sis-in-law and I took all 6 of our kids and the little boy she watches during the week to the Dallas Zoo (oops, editorial correction, Ft. Worth Zoo). It was a fantastic zoo where you could really see the animals up close. It was also a perfect time, not too busy so we could let the kids run ahead of us a bit instead of fearing they'd get lost in a crowd.

The crew, minus me, I'm the one taking the picture.

My handsome explorers

A lioness playing with her babies fascinated the kids.

Mr. Golden Curls checking out the babies

Boy in a bubble, oh, and a meerkat

The penguin habitat was super cool. They even put on a show for us, swimming right past the glass. Later that night Lil' Spitfire told Pappa the zoo had a "penguin factory"!

My absolute favorite part of the zoo was the very last thing we did, visit the Primates. How fantastic to stare down the eyes of a gorilla from only inches away.

I hold onto Lil' Spitfire while he communes with his long lost twin. When we were walking up to the Primate building we told the kids in our best dead pan voices "Alright, this is where we sign you into your new home to live with the monkeys. It's been great knowing you, we'll come visit." We're mean like that.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lil' Spitfire's Reign Of Stubborn Turns Three

Grumpy little jammied super hero. You should really click to enlarge this pic and check out this kids mega lashes! They're gorgeous but look out, they just might knock you down!

My baby boy turned three last week while we were in Texas. I can hardly believe it. He wanted to celebrate with a Wall-e birthday so Wall-e it was. It was a little strange to celebrate his birthday in someone else's house and doing that made me realize that all of the boys' birthdays up until now had been celebrated in the same house with the same friends and family, a little sad. But it was also a lot less complicated. With 4 cousins, Aunt, Uncle and parents the guests were built in, no invites to buy, fill out and mail, no stress leading up to the party, it all worked out well. All but waiting until 10pm for Pappa to return from his seminar! I thought the poor kid might explode from a day of waiting. And I think my sis-in-law and I might have exploded had we heard one more kid ask if it was time for cupcakes!

He worked really hard at giving me a genuine smile in spite of his grumpy 'tude.

Ah! And none too soon!

Can you tell this kid is into super heroes these days?

The third birthday of any grandchild in my husband's family means they receive their family bracelet from Grandma. Lil' Spitfire has been asking for his for months and months and was so happy to finally be wearing it. He was also over protective the first few days telling anyone who tried to touch it "No, don't break my bracelet!"

A slue of braceleted family members

Mamma holds Lil' Spitfire's still tiny hand

When we got home from Texas a surprise was waiting on the doorstep for Lil' Spitfire. It was a matchbox car track from Uncle Casey and Auntie Kristin! He couldn't wait to open it and immediately dumped out his entire basket of cars in preparation.

All built and ready for a test drive.

I think he likes it!

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Will Survive

I'm still alive, just barely. My week in Texas is over. I had a blast but it's time to be home for awhile. Just wanted everyone to know I still exist and I'll be back to blogging in no time, hopefully tomorrow though I may just pass out for the weekend. It's not even 10pm and I'm wrapping things up and calling it quits for the day. Coming soon: the most amazing visit to the zoo, my first experience with homeschooling and other tidbits from my Texas-sized week, see you soon!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Stars At Night Are Big And Bright

(clap clap clap clap) Deep in the heart of Texas! Mm, I love Pee-wee's Big Adventure! I'm down in Texas this week. I'm not really sure why we're bothering with a mortgage, at this point I'm thinking we should just couch hop. We're already doing that 50% of the time anyway. The Bohemian has a class at Perkins school of theology where they are going to cram a semester's worth of work into 7 days, doesn't sound fun to me. What is fun is getting to hangout with my sis-in-law all week and that's what I get to do!

My baby's not a baby anymore, Lil' Spitfire turns 3 tomorrow!

We arrived two nights ago after 7 hrs of driving and last night we celebrated my baby's 3rd birthday which really happens tomorrow. More of that to come later when I have more time to share pics. Right now I just wanted to say hey while I had the chance because with a household that now contains 4 adults, 7 kids 8 and under, homeschooling and 3 dogs I imagine the week will be a blur of activity. That and I've been reunited with my beloved Dance Dance Revolution and have yet to play it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Favorite Things: My Beloved Coffee Mug

This coffee cup is one of my most favorite possessions, drinking out of it makes me just a smidge happier than when I drink from any other. I like it so much because it encompasses several things that I really love all in one mundane, functional, common item: coffee, art, signatures, the color black, and Chicago.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Day With A Budding Artist

We've been trying hard lately to make sure we spend some one-on-one time with the boys. They just do so much better when they aren't together all the time and it gives us a chance to appreciate their individuality. It also gives them the much needed chance for some undivided attention. Last week the Bohemian and Mr. Golden Curls drove to Little Rock to spend his gift card on me, get a purple milkshake at The Purple Cow etc etc. and Lil' Spitfire and I stayed home. This was not at all ok with Spitfire until I leaned over and whispered in his ear "We can get out the new paints you got for Christmas." Suddenly going with Pappa was not at all important and they couldn't leave fast enough for his liking, he was ready to paint. Now that's my boy!

I had so much fun with my little man!

I'm amazed at his concentration and the fact that he does more than just play in the mess of it as though he's playing in a sand box. He actually tries different things to see what happens and made the discovery of mixing paint to make new colors. He absolutely loves the huge set of glitter Cars paints he got for Christmas. Well, technically that was probably brother's gift, but what belongs to one belongs to both! He was also very excited to painting on canvas.

When he switched to the water color paint palette I looked over at him cleaning his brush in this jar and had some kind of bizarre clash of worlds-nostalgia-flashback thing happen. This silly jar is one of the things I used all the time when I painted my gigantic, moody, abstract, mixed media pieces in college. It still has my paint ringed around the inside and sludging up the bottom and now here it was on the kitchen table with my child's sweet tiny little hand in it painting on a coloring page.

While he got into flinging paint I decided to test out our new portable DVD player. So I could go ahead and completely brain wash him into being an artist, I went ahead and played my new Living Art Museum Tour DVD. My parents got it for me so I couldn't complain again that they'd never taken me to an art museum. I don't know, seems a shoddy replacement and I'm still waiting for them to send me to the MOMA to make up for all my pain and suffering as a child! Actually Spitfire really liked the DVD and every time the painting changed would look up and ask "what's that one?"

He painted and painted for about an hour and a half before it was lunch time. I had to bribe it all away from him to avoid a fit pitchin', I don't know how long he'd paint if left to his own devices. After lunch we did some serious building with his new bristle blocks and then it was off to naptime when I actually got several hours of 100% peace because his brother wasn't home to roll around yacking and "napping" on the couch.

Best day ever!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Present But Not Accounted For

I've been having a hard time with this move. I can't believe we moved here a whole 5 months ago because I don't feel any more at home than the first day we arrived. Our house is coming together slowly and I'm trying to get into, and adhere to, a new routine/schedule. And I swear I'm trying my hardest to see in this town what others seem to but it just seems to me a really sad place to live. Every time I drive through town I wonder what I should be doing to make this community better because it seems so obvious to me that it needs some serious love. We've been so busy since moving too! I don't think we've ever traveled so much in a 5 month period, Florida, North Carolina, many trips back and forth to parents' houses, which are much further away now. I would guess that half of the weekends since moving have not even been spent in our new house.

I've also realized that ever since we moved I kind of lost my coveted day off filled with mocha, scrapbooking in a gorgeous store, and anything else my little heart desired without any mothering duties. Isn't my husband awesome for recognizing mothering is a job! I'm a person who requires a larger than normal amount of alone time. I need time to be able to think without being interrupted, to daydream, to gain positive perspective on my life. Without that chance to look in at my life from the outside I go a teensy bit crazy and start to dislike it. Absence really does make my heart grow fonder. That day off helped me make it through the week, no matter how rotten it was. Lately I've been more and more nutso and driving my family down with me. "Why am I so much crazier these days? Oh, yea, I'm not taking a day off!" Even when the Bohemian would send me out of the house or take charge of the boys I wasn't really taking advantage of that. I changed that today! I clocked out of mothering gig, sent to boys to Pappa with 100% of their requests, locked myself in my craft room with music blaring, took Mr. Cash on a Pug date to Petco and Starbucks, accomplished, daydreamed, refreshed, ahhhhh. I'm so much better now!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Merry Techno Christmas

The Christmas Convention of nerds. Indeed, that is 4 computers on the internet at the same time playing City of Heroes. The nerds from Left to Right: The Bohemian, Carl Dog and Pickle Pete (mmm, best sweet pickles ever, thanks Pete!)

Yes it's true, I live in the Land 'O Nerds which means technology is hard to escape even on the day of our blessed Lord and Savior's birth!

My husband got a Best Buy gift card, drove 2 hours round trip to go spend it in Little Rock and came back with a bunch of techno goodies to nerdify my computer. "You're not supposed to use your gift to buy me gifts!" but really I know it's a gift to him to be able to send some geekiness my way. So now my computer's all tricked out with brand new speakers (yea, I can actually hear what I'm watching!) and microphone. Add that to the web cam my folks got me and I've got one tricked out ride! Now, not only can I spend all day in my jammies with a mug of joe and my butt glued firmly to this chair but others can witness it, thanks honey!

Aren't they so cute? Little nerds in training! I was a Wii virgin before Christmas and I must say, it's pretty cool! all the adults could hardly wait to shove the kids off to bed so we could play with the Wii without all those pesky kids trying to horn in on our fun! We bought Dance Dance Revolution for our niece and nephews but their feet hardly touched the thing because the adults were too busy trying to live out their dreams of a featured spot on Dance Party USA. Ok, that was probably just me.

The boys enjoying a good old fashioned nerd toy of the RC variety.