Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Feeling Arty

One semester in at the Schuler School, and Klenda is loving it!


 She's been doing sketching and portraits.







She's been doing watercolors and landscapes.

 And sculpture and anatomy.








And oil painting, including this one that she gave me for Christmas!





And in another display of artistic talent, she created this Ranger cloak for Oob (also for Christmas). He has been enjoying the Ranger's Apprentice books.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Awesome Geography: Italy and the Vatican

 Trying to catch up, waaay back at the end of November we had our class on Italy and the Vatican.  This was fun since Miss Shelli had lived in Rome and married a Swiss Guard!

For our art activity, in a nod to both the Vatican and Ancient Rome, we made mosaics.


I had originally planned to do them with scraps of paper, but we had done an all paper project the last time, so we switched to putting plaster in disposable tupperware lids.

The kids drew a picture with a toothpick, then filled it in with their choice of beads, shells, beans and random items.

They all turned out quite beautifully!

If you want to hang the mosaic later, you can stick a paperclip in to make a hook.

 Our snack was gelato - a huge hit!

Our active activity was gladiator games with Nerf weapons, also a favorite!

Mike has become the bird mascot for the class, and he loves seeing all the people and trying to nibble at all the mosaics.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Poem of the Week: The Bear

The Bear

Tonight the bear
comes to the orchard and, balancing
on her hind legs, dances under the apple trees,
hanging onto their boughs,
dragging their branches down to earth.
Look again. It is not the bear
but some afterimage of her
like the car I once saw in the driveway
after the last guest had gone.
Snow pulls the apple boughs to the ground.
Whatever moves in the orchard—
heavy, lumbering—is clear as wind.

The bear is long gone.
Drunk on apples,
she banged over the trash cans that fall night,
then skidded downstream. By now
she must be logged in for the winter.
Unless she is choosy.
I imagine her as very choosy,
sniffing at the huge logs, pawing them, trying
each one on for size,
but always coming out again.

Until tonight.
Tonight sap freezes under her skin.
Her breath leaves white apples in the air.
As she walks she dozes,
listening to the sound of axes chopping wood.
Somewhere she can never catch up to
trees are falling. Chips pile up like snow
When she does find it finally,
the log draws her in as easily as a forest,
and for a while she continues to see,
just ahead of her, the moon
trapped like a salmon in the ice.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

CIimbing the Walls

 For Christmas, our cousins gave the kids passes to an indoor climbing place called Climb Zone.


It was amazing!

And super fun, and very photogenic, if you'll excuse another photo heavy post!



 They had walls for all ages and climbing abilities which allowed our noobie climbers to start slow and gain confidence.


And our expert climbers still had fun challenges.

Really a fun few hours!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Christmas in NJ


My sister got  my mom the sock monkey hat
 It was the first Christmas I spent with my sister in years! She happened to be home helping our parents this year instead of in North Dakota.

 We had a ton of fun, despite the fact that I had gone all out on the llama theme this year before I realized my sister (who was traumatized by a llama as a small child) would be there.  Oops.


And, speaking of traumatizing, the Emperor and I received matching inflatable T Rex costumes for Christmas!

Here we are, terrorizing my mom. 

I know it just looks like she's taking pictures, and laughing hysterically, but I can only presume it's terrorized laughter!

My sister thinks this was the most bizarre Christmas present she'd ever seen, however I also received the following three items.



 I'm not saying I didn't like and enjoy these items (I can't get enough of that mug!!), just that I'm not convinced the T Rex suit was the most bizarre.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Christmas in Maryland

This was our house this Christmas.





When I started adding a penguin a year, I really thought we'd only get a year or two out of each penguin and we'd end up with about three at a time. 


I have to admit, I love our nativity!

We rescued it when a church was throwing it away because it was damaged.

We learned to repair plaster and paint them!


 Now I actually like ours better than our parish's set!

Theirs is quite lovely, but about half the size of ours, except the camel.




Our judgy camel is about 4 times the size of theirs, but 100% judgier...

We moved the creche from the traditional side platform to the center this year,and people loved it!



Also this year, Leena had the idea of doing window arrangements.  They were a ton of work, but they really were beautiful, especially at the Christmas evening Masses when the candles were on.


And we accidentally got wreaths that were too large (the bows looked tiny), so we ended up using our extra berries and pine cones to decorate the wreaths.

Again, extra work, but the results were excellent: everything looked very coordinated!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Catching Up

I'm going to do a series of  posts catching up on the last six weeks, but here's the short and (mostly) drama free version:

 My Dad, who has had Parkinson's for nearly 30 years, got diagnosed with bone marrow cancer (MDS).  This sounds terrible, but is actually fantastic news. 

It turns out that much of the decline he's had over the past year is actually from not having enough blood cells, not really the Parkinson's, AND they can do many things to get his bone marrow producing cells again, AND the actual cancer is very slow and unlikely to be life limiting in his case.  After a certain amount of anguish before we understood all this, we are very, very happy and relieved!

Also, my Dad is retiring at the end of this month, shortly before his 81st birthday!

I've been doing a lot of driving back and forth to NJ, and my sister is still there now, helping out while his bone marrow gets up and running again.

Oh yes, and there was Christmas!  Christmas here, decorating the parish, Christmas in NJ, terrorizing my mother with dinosaurs and traumatizing my sister with llamas, and Christmas back in Maryland with family, friends, and weird frogs.  We really needed all 12 days this year!

And today we are packing up Christmas at the parish and at home, and starting to think about what this new semester will look like.  I've been working on new ways to organize schedules now that we have so many older kids going in so many directions.