Summer Vacation – day #1

Today Savannah and I woke up early. We had to be super sneaky so we didn’t wake up the boys. Max woke up but we put him in bed with daddy and he fell back asleep. Our first order of business was to go to my school and turn in the art supply orders for next school year. I had them done, but not typed into the form on the computer. Savannah sat and played with Type to Learn, jr. while I was busy with the orders. It didn’t take long at all and our next stop was at the credit union where we cashed Sam’s paycheck. From there we went to our other credit union where we have our loans and made payments on those.

They had a plate full of cookies sitting on the counter that caught Savannah’s attention and the lady at the desk was kind enough to offer us each one…and they were sooooo good. I decided after that to go and get an oil change. My check engine light had been coming on and I was about 3 weeks past due for another anyway. Not sure if the oil change took care of the problem with the light, but it seems to not come on as much. It’s another thing to add to my list of things to do! Anyway, after that we went to a local art store, where Savannah picked out a pair of kid size scissors because she loves to cut…and always asks me if she can practice. Then we were off to the Toy House – a great toy store that has everything! It was fun trying out some of the toys and we got some ideas of what to get Max for his birthday. Savannah wanted something so I got her a free balloon and a little ring which she has already misplaced. Around 12:00 we headed over to the museum to meet a friend of mine for lunch at the Granary. On the way we spotted a garage sale that we HAD to stop at. Savannah found a couple of dress up items for a quarter a piece that she just had to have. At the Granary we had the best tomato soup and it was a wonderful time visiting with my friend Shelley. After our lunch was over, we drove home and everyone had naps and slept until 6:00 – even Karson! It was awesome. It was a nice first day of vacation and spending it with Savannah made it even better.

The last day of school

So this is the mess I had to clean up. But I did it. It is cleaned and organized, ready for the fall. But this is only one of my rooms. Today I have to clean the other room…plus we have a retirement breakfast and inservice to go to. I am hoping I can get everything done today so that my vacation can start tomorrow! I was planning to work until Friday but maybe I won’t have to.

So this is the list I was talking about:

Finish the boy’s space room: finish painting stars, planets and rocket.

Scrape the ceiling in the bathroom and paint it.

Finish the downstairs bathroom.

Get a new faucet and install for the sink.

Pull weeds in my yard.

Plant flowers

Put weed killer on grass around swingset, cover with woodchips.

Add mulch around all the plants.

Transplant flowers and plants in the garden to other locations in our yard.

Pull up everything growing in the garden.

Fill with topsoil, plant grass.

Wash my car.

Wash sam’s car.

Have a garage sale.

Go on some adventures with the kids.

Get a tan.

Draw everyday.

Plan for next school year.


The play porch

Did a quick sketch this afternoon of our toy end of the “play porch.” Roses are in bloom, pressing against the dirty old screen and fragrances from the peonies below drift up and mingle with the fresh scent of our garden tree. You can see the cardboard play house that I built with an X-acto knife and some duct tape and a few large boxes we had laying around. It has three rooms, and a skylight. I stuck christmas lights through holes in the top…it has windows that face out a direction that you can’t see. It has been a great place for the kids..they love playing in it. Last night I spent a few hours trying to sort toys for the garage sale that I hope to have in a few weeks…we have far to many toys. We love this space for the kids…but I so need to get it organized! Just a few more days and I’ll be able to tackle my huge list of things to do this summer.


“The sketch hunter has delightful days of drifting about among people, in and out of the city, going anywhere, everywhere, stopping as long as he likes – no need to reach any part, moving in any direction, following the call of interests. He moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things that he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them in the shorthand of his sketchbook, a box of oils with a few small panels, the fit of his pocket, or on his drawing pad. Like any hunter he hits or misses. He is looking for what he loves, he tries to capture it. Those who are not hunters do not see these things. The hunter is learning to see and to understand – to enjoy.”

~Robert Henri

“The Art Spirit”

I am an artist

I attended my class at the museum this morning. Julia came. I am glad she decided to take this class with me…it will be fun to do something artsy together this summer. So, we talked about what we’d like to accomplish in the next eight weeks with our journaling. I have been thinking a lot about it. You’ll have to forgive me if my thoughts don’t come across real clear right now, because I am really tired…but you know, since I started this class in April, I have really been a lot happier…the reason for that is that everyday (or most days anyway) I have a chance to be creative, and most of all to draw. Sam has noticed a big difference and told me so last night. I also have a lot more he said energy, I say purpose. My journal has become a part of who I am. Until now I have been “wife,” “mom,” “teacher,” but now I am beginning to see myself as “artist.” The funny thing is that other people are beginning to see me that way too, and it’s a very odd feeling. Putting my drawings online has shown people a side of me that they didn’t know. I have never considered myself to be an artist. To me an artist is someone who is so passionate about art that they have to create. They can’t NOT create art. I do not draw, paint or anything…I don’t make any art except when people ask me to…or when I make an example of a project I am teaching my students. So I wasn’t an artist…I possessed the talent and abilities to be an artist, but didn’t use them. Now…it’s different. I make art everyday. It’s personal. It’s not for anyone except me. I choose to share some of it with you. But it’s never created with that in mind…my drawings are about my life everyday…things I see and experience. Some of them I create as an exercise…to practice my skills. Some of them have deep meaning to me. I find that drawing in my journal is becoming an obsession. I take my journal everywhere now. If I don’t think I’ll have time to draw in it, I leave it home…but I always am sad that I do and find myself trying to find something else to draw on…a card, a napkin, whatever I can…because I have to draw. I draw when I wait in line at the drive-thru, I draw when I am riding in the car, I have to draw…I have to make art. So I think I am becoming an artist. My student’s have been watching me when I occassionaly will pull out my sketchbook and start drawing…they are very curious. I let them look at some of my drawings. They stand there amazed. (It doesn’t take a lot to impress a first grader.) I took my sketchbook outside with me on friday when I had to help with field day. When I had a break I drew. I drew the tug-o-war and the kids rolling tires. I drew parents and siblings watching the students on the sidelines. Some of my students had to come and see. They ask me if I am an artist. I used to answer with, “I am an art teacher. I don’t make art like artists do, but I could if I wanted to.” Now when they ask me…I simply say “yes.”

Max’s circus surprise

This afternoon, Penny (Sam’s mom) came to see us and spend some time with the kids. She brought them each a little surprise. She brought us groceries and made us dinner. When I walked in the door from work, she was making cookies with Savannah. It was a lovely time with her. I am so glad she could come because it seems like we don’t often get together anymore. The kids loved seeing her and spending time with her and the effort that she took to buy us food and fix us dinner was so unexpected…but so appreciated by me and Sam.

So I tried out my waterbrush tonight. It wasn’t quite as hard to use as I thought it might be. I actually kind of enjoyed painting with it. And I had fun with the subject matter I chose (or should I say, which was suggested to me). This was Max’s surprise from Grandma. It is a set of little circus characters…all which neatly fit into the little tent that you see behind them, of which the doors velcro shut to keep them safe inside…but the bonus is that each character has a little velcro spot so that they can be placed on the felt scenes of the circus storybook that came with it. I just think it is the coolest little toy and I haven’t ever seen anything quite like it. It is very detailed and hardly used which is surprising because she found it at her favorite resale shop.

I numbered the pages in my journal tonight and today’s was #40! I don’t think I have ever completed that many pages in a journal before in my life…not even just the writing journals I kept in high school and college. I am pretty proud of myself that I have come so far…and I feel like I have developed the habit of writing and drawing in my journal daily. Blogging my pages keeps me accountable as I don’t want the few people who check out my journal online to stop reading it because I never post new entries. So in the eight weeks I have been doing this I have accomplished my goal…to get creative juices flowing…Yep, I have tons of new ideas for things to draw and things to do with my art…to develop a habit of journaling and drawing in my sketchbook everyday…yes, I just covered that… So now what? I am taking another session of the illustrated journaling class over the summer…I guess I need to set some new goals…But, I will have to think about it. By the way if you read this, feel free to post comments…the only comments posted so far are from my mom…but it’s just because she is my biggest fan. You know how moms are, right? I’d like to hear from you and feel free to pass my web address along to any artist-type friends who may be interested. Thanks for reading my life.

A lovely shade of PINK!

I didn’t do a page yesterday because I had THE WORST day. I woke up coughing and could hardly talk…which is particularly a problem when you are a teacher. We had slept with the windows open all night. So when school was over, I went straight home and curled up on the couch under two blankets while Savannah and Max played…I dozed in and out of sleep. Karson had laid down for a nap right before I got home and I was so relieved to have the chance to rest a little before dealing with him. Sam brought home pizza which was the highlight of my day…because I didn’t have to worry about getting dinner around for everyone. Later that evening I tried washing some of the tie-dyed shirts my first graders made last week…when I went to get them out of the washing machine they were a lovely shade of PINK! I got the recipe AND directions from the FAMILY FUN MAGAZINE website…I am very upset that it didn’t work when I know I followed the directions given exactly…well, as you can imagine I was just sick and wanted to and then did cry…I called the other teacher who had taken her class’s shirts home to do herself and told her what had happened and how sorry I was…She said not to worry and that they could just paint them or something. So I ended up calling Cyndi to see if I could borrow her letter stamps and some other animal ones that she had, and today the kids did wonderful painting on their shirts with their name and cute little animals is all sorts of bright colors. I think they will look great for their fieldtrip tomorrow and I don’t even think the boys minded that they had pink shirts.

Tonight I went to Michaels and bought a waterbrush…I had heard of them and wanted to try it. I thought it would be good if I was out sketching and didn’t have access to water. I like how it works, but it will definitely take some getting use to because it has a different feel compared to using a paintbrush and a jar of water. I also bought a cheap set of PRANG watercolors and a set of drawing pens which I tried out below…

These shoes have been sitting near our back door for nearly two months now. Neither of us knows whose they are or how they were left here. We have asked all our friends who stop by and no one claims them…but that doesn’t surprise me because they are old and dirty and obviously well worn because they are covered with holes…even on the inside! They are men’s and a size 7. Oh! you know, they might be my dad’s shoes. HE would own a pair of shoes like this…old and worn beyond what they should be. I’ll bet they are his work shoes…he would keep work clothes around until they had more holes than not. He doesn’t ever throw things out. He wears clothes till they start to fall apart. Dad…I hope that since these shoes are at my house, that you’ve forgotten them and bought yourself a new pair because you definitely deserve them…I hope you never wore them for anything besides mowing your lawn and working in your yard…where nobody can see them. By the way…I haven’t thrown them out, but would be glad to if you don’t want them anymore.

Memorial Day

This morning we woke up and mom cooked the Blueberry stuffed French Toast she had prepared last night. It was very tasty. At noon we left for the Memorial Day parade in Spring Arbor. Holly and the girls (our next door neighbors) went along with us and we met Nate and Cyndi and their kids there. The girls went down the big slide about 5 times, got their face painted and acquired a kazoo and a yoyo from somebody who was passing out treats to the kids. We all sat together on the side of M-60 and watched the parade, miniature flags waving in our hands, the kids desperately hoping for some candy to be thrown to them. It was great fun and the rain held off all the rest of the day. When we got back we grilled steaks, burgers and hotdogs and had a big dinner with the family and Holly and her kids. It’s been a long day…the kids went right to sleep…and I even got both mine and Holly’s lawns mowed before it got dark! (Holly doesn’t have a working lawn mower yet).

This is a drawing of my mom that I did before she left for home tonight.