Friday, August 28, 2015

Phone Photo Friday: 8. 28.15

This week has been a total blur. I feel like all I have done is work on the studio, but phone tells me that I accomplished some other stuff as well.

Sweetest picky eater.

Fresh from the garden of a friend.

This labyrinth is the result of a major effort by a friend of mine. I helped a bit in the process with a painting to help conceptualize the space. The landscaping is still going in, but the girls and I were able to check it out this week. Officially it is called th Barr Rea Learning Circle. Although Cordelia told me that she  did not learn a thing while we were there. She thought that it might be a maze for babies. Ha.

Morning reading on the couch.

Betty Sprinkles begging for food.

I took this photo after scraping tile for hours. I posted it to Instagram and said that I was going to rest because everything hurt. Then I got back up and worked some more.

Backyard in the undies, childhood done right.

We meet up with my parents for lunch at the hospital each week, replacing mall lunch. 

Yesterday my father was in fine form. Most people know him as a pastor, but is so much more---Cordelia finds him hilarious.

Eric and Elise. My heart.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


I have recently seen several posts and comments about how the online lives of some people are making others feel like their lives are somehow lacking. This is nothing new. I have Facebook friends who comment how depressed they are when they see only photos of smiling and happy people. I have other friends who are currently posting about the not so perfect moments of their lives. I have read countless articles about how the edited moments are presenting an unrealistic version of life.

While this may be true to some degree I think that people assume this is posturing. Posting happy photos of trips and telling funny stories from life, sharing recipes and ideas is not all about showing other people up! I cannot speak for everyone, but here is why I post those types of things on my blog, Facebook, Instagram, etc.---I am sharing the good. I am not bragging and certainly not trying to make anyone feel badly about their own lives. 

I know very few people who take photos of sad moments in their life and post them online (if they do then they are deemed as attention seekers too). Mostly these social forums are places where close friends and acquaintances are all mixed together. Nobody wants to post that they are worried about money, depressed by the news, struggling with body issues, dealing with loss, sad about the world. Those are problems that you share with the people closest to you, not in an open forum. I mean you certainly can, but many of us feel more comfortable keeping our problems to ourselves. I worry that my problems will be a burden to others with their own personal issues, they don't need mine.
I do not think it is an issue of honesty, but rather a way to keep focused on the positive. There is nothing wrong with sharing joys or sadnesses with the world at large, but is seems that people are often inclined to share the positive. That makes me feel happy and hopeful. When I see a happy post from a friend who has traveled to some beautiful location I don't immediately feel like my life is less than theirs, even though I long for travel. Instead I feel genuinely happy for them and excited for a season in my life when I am able to do the same.

All of this is really stemming from the news events of yesterday. I accidentally saw video footage that I did not want to see and it was horribly sad. I talked with my husband about it and then I tried to find some good news to balance out the bad. I needed a little hope that I am bringing up children in a world where the good outweighs the bad. 

I want to see your photos of the award you won, the photo of you cradling your newborn, the photo where you look awesome in your swimsuit, the photos of your weddings and vacations and all of the good in your life. I know there are hard times too, but I am so thankful that the blows of those hard times are cushioned by happy moments. I am thankful when others share their joys and I don't think there is a single thing wrong with sharing the highlights of your life.

---Drops mic and sips coffee.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Over the weekend my mother, Eric, the girls and I went to visit my grandma Grace, cousins Stephanie and Stephen, aunt Tina, and meet my grandmother's new yorkie Charlie. She adopted the pup from a woman who didn't have enough time. He was previously named Prince, so in my mind I say the yorkie formerly known as Prince.---hopefully you get that dated pop culture reference.


We awoke on Saturday morning to heavy smoke. The fires in neighboring states have been wafting into Wyoming, there was also a fire on our mountain. It was pretty nasty. We were happy to get out of town. We made the two hour drive and arrived at my grandmother's home late morning. My cousins and aunt joined us a short while later. We ate lunch and spent the afternoon talking and watching the puppy and girls play.

See all of those paintings on the wall? My talented grandmother made those!

Cordelia and my aunt Tina. 

Elise with her great grandmother and second cousin Stephanie.

The visit was lovely, but brief as we had to hit the road and return home later in the afternoon. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My Arm Hurts

Eric and I have been re-vamping our basement/art studio. Do not fear. I will share photos of our project when it is complete. The biggest change is that we tore out the carpet. Carpet freaks me out. Anyone else? I feel like there is no way to make a carpet truly clean. Anyway, we tore out the carpet and revealed the tile underneath. Great, but now we have to scrape, by hand, the glue that they used to adhere carpet pad to floor. 

I am working in small sections. I have tried a variety of scrapers and solutions to loosen the funk, but the only real solution is elbow grease. My arms are aching! I managed to clear about 10 feet in two it will be a while. I woke this morning with my hands in claw shapes from holding the scraper. Actually I am not even using a scraper at this point. The most effective tools have proven to be an old outlet cover (?) and a lawn edger.

I promise to give you an update and tour when we are done. For now, I leave you with this photo of Lucy in a basket.

Monday, August 24, 2015


About a month ago I was driving from point A to point B when Cordelia spotted an alley and asked,"What is that road?" Apparently she had never been taught about alleys. We have no alleys in our neighborhood, just easements that often channel escaped dogs up and down the length of our block. Keeps the dogs from getting into the street, but creates barking chaos as the dogs run up and down the fences getting all of the neighbor dogs riled up.

Anyway, both girls were interested in the mysterious allure of alleyways. They asked if we could drive through an alley and I happily obliged. It was kind of fun looking into backyards and seeing our town from a different perspective.

Since then we have been driving through a lot of alleys. Pretty much any time we are out now ends up in an adventure through alleys. The process slows us down and lends itself to a sense of exploration. We have had fun with this odd change of pace. 

Do you alley drive?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Quote: essential to your own

Love is when the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
~Robert A. Heinlein

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Project: Stepping stones

Some time ago we bought and used one of the kits to make stepping stones with kids. While it was a fun project the stones crumbled before summer was over. So when they asked to make new stepping stones I decided to try something different.

First I went to a home and garden store and bought two round 20lb pavers for a couple of dollars each.

Next I painted them white.

The white was just to give the girls a base to work on while they painted. While the layer of white acrylic paint was drying I prepped paint (acrylic), brushes, water cup and paper towels for the girls.

Then they painted. There was a bit of a learning curve for painting on top of the texture, but they had so much fun it didn't matter to them very much.

Next a quick coat of varnish for weatherproofing. I will leave them in the garden for the summer, but I will probably tuck them under the patio for shelter from the winter weather, which will probably start next week.

Cordelia's painting is a heart with a tree on either side, birds, flowers, a butterfly, the sun and the moon.

Elise opted for flowers, sun, and moon.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Phone Photo Friday: 8.21.15

Time for a week in review...

While Cordelia was at science camp last week Eric and I made sure Elise got some special time too.

 Elise dressed up.

Science camp shot one more time.

Saturday evening Eric and I attended the wedding of two good friends. Here I am with the gorgeous bride.

Wyoming sunset.

Drawing of a worm, because.

Lucy, sitting like a human in the fresh laundry.

Elise likes chocolate...and bee suits.

I bought a couple of cactus and discovered that the flowers were not only glued on, but spray painted. Wuuut?

Morning snuggle.

Bluejay feather.

Morning play.

Fresh made bread. We ate the whole loaf in less than 24 hours.

Short hike with the girls.

Sketch from life drawing, a weekly drawing opportunity for local artists.

The girls asked to explore the cemetery instead of going to a park.

Hammock time.


This girl. She told me she was working on a half smile and half frown.

Note the still slightly visible temporary tattoo on Cordelia. Two weeks old. We have scrubbed, alcohol-ed, olive oil-ed...still there.

Cordelia lost her glasses and this is where I found them.

Last night we had family fort night. Food and a movie in the fort.

Fort sign.

Hot pink sunset as a result of fires in neighboring states.

Birds on this structure I built in the backyard. Made me happy this morning.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Currently Reading

I have been very busy working the past couple of weeks and I have not been making a ton of time to read. Well I read to the girls every single day, but I have not been making time for my own reading. I have commissions to complete, shows to prepare for, tests to grade, a new semester to teach, lessons at the museum, private lessons, lectures to prep for, and homeschool prep is also underway. I am making it a priority to chip out 20-30 minutes for pleasure (not research) reading. 

Earlier this summer I started and nearly completed this great book My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. The book follows the life of Asher Lev a Ladover Hasid and brilliant artist, torn between two identities. I love this novel; it is so well written. Have you read the book?! Soooooo good! 

The girls and I read every single day. We hit up the libraries a couple of times a week. We load up on books and read and re-read the books. The local library has a summer reading program which rewards kids for reading. Prizes include books and toys, and a free burger (not sure why the library is pushing unhealthy garbage food, but we politely decline). The girls love getting prizes for something they do anyway, a laughable minimum of twenty minutes of daily reading.

One book we read with regularity is Moon Rabbit by Natalie Russell. The story is basically just a new version of city mouse/country mouse, but the illustrations are so darling that the story seems fresh. We have also read the follow-up Brown Rabbit in the City and also enjoyed the book. Cordelia is also reading chapter books with me, but she still enjoys reading the brief stories that Elise is so interested in hearing.

What are you reading?
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