Archives for posts with tag: art

After the pure exhaustion of yesterday we took the morning off to lounge around, which for me is cleaning therapy. Not so much for the kiddos. They spent their morning making up a complicated make believe story, which I only caught snippets of as I dusted and swept and mopped and baked. Pure bliss!

Afterwards we headed to the pool with Brooks’s friends in tow to meet up with one of my friends. Texas is hot. Really, really hot. The kind of hot that makes you appreciate being inside the pool hours at a time. The kind that makes you plan outings for either early morning or late afternoon. I was grateful to spend some time catching up with my friend and I know the kiddos were grateful as well.

Since we came home fairly early, as far as pool days go, we played a few board games and then headed outside for some bouncy ball splat painting. I love that The Boy doesn’t question me when I begin lugging things outside. He quietly helps, a thin smile on his face, as he patiently waits for me to tell him we’ll be doing. Today, his eyes danced at the site of a ball in my hand, butcher paper (which I found in the far reached of the homeschool closet, it would have come in handy yesterday), and a big bowl of paint.

Brooksy helped me tape the paper to the patio floor.

In hindsight, I should have covered the area with newspaper, but since I was using washable paint and there was a hose nearby I opted to go sans newspaper. For those who want to try this, either keep a hose nearby, for you, the kiddos, the furniture, the dogs, the plants, and of course, the floor, or be ready to hose everything down.

Clean up wasn’t bad at all. It took us about 15 minutes and the kiddos had as much fun cleaning as they had splat painting. One wielded a broom while the other went nuts with the hose, and then they traded. We were all soaked, but that was half the fun, right?!

After we set up the paper the kiddos took turns bouncing the ball to each other across the paper. Sometimes they skipped and hopped before letting the ball loose, sometimes they caught it, sometimes they didn’t. They laughed and giggled and had a blast.

I think the finished result is pretty neat, and after it dries I’ll save it. We’ll either use it to decorate the inside of a care package for Daddy Brooks or save it to wrap a present for a friend.

I call that a perfect day. And I think the kiddos agree.

For the record, I’m exhausted.

I had to get that out there because at one moment tonight I really considered not posting to the blog, but then it wouldn’t be 365 days of deployment, so here I am.

It’s a good exhausted, but I’m worn out, nonetheless.

I knew we had a few hours off this morning before tutoring, gymnastics, and tennis, so right away I knew spending some time dabbling in art would be appreciated by the kiddos. I usually navigate through art and parenting blogs to find some ideas but today for some reason spin tops popped into my head.

I cannot imagine that no one else has done this, and wasn’t able to google anything so I’m sure there might be better ways to do this, but here was our take.

First, we went on a hunt through Brooks’s toys for various spin tops. After we located them we selected two colors of paint. The kiddos choice, not mine. I think butcher paper would have been amazing for this project but I had none on hand so we used letter sized cardstock. We then placed newspaper over the table in the dining room and after sticking the bottom of the top in a good amount of paint set the top spinning on top of the paper. Lo and behold, we ended up with some amazing swirls and splatters of paint, EVERYWHERE, including the paper. This set the kiddos and I into hysterics, since we were all now covered in little splotches of purple paint.

So outside we went.

A little mess was not going to deter us!

Oh, how I wish we’d had butcher paper on hand!

We set up more newspaper outside, which we weighed down with rocks from our hike yesterday. Then the kiddos took turns creating some pretty amazing pieces. There were plenty of giggles, shrieks, and chortles. They had a blast with the process and I had fun watching them experiment with different tops and methods.

This  one is definitely a do over art project.

An FYI, it did make a bit of a mess, but we hosed down outside and we were good to go!

After our fun art project we headed to the Resiliency Campus on Fort Hood to try out hand at rock climbing. Those who know me know that we are always in sandals. Last time we had gone rock climbing on post they had let Brooksy up with his sandals, but this time they geared him up in special rock climbing shoes and wouldn’t let poor Marilyn up because they didn’t have shoes in her size. Poor kiddo! So now we know for next time.

Marilyn tried her hand at the boulder adjacent to the rock wall while Brooks got coached in the “secrets” of rock climbing by one of the soldiers working there today. She was super with him and taught him a few new things.

Afterwards we had a picnic lunch at the playground outside before we headed to tutoring and gymnastics.

I was tired after gymnastics. True story.

But we had our first day of Tennis on post and we weren’t going to miss that. They had a few USTA members out coaching the kids. It was loads of fun, so I’m super glad we didn’t miss it. Brooks wasn’t sure he was going to enjoy Tennis but LOVED it. It looks like we’ll be heading out to get him a racket this week so he can practice at home. He was nonstop chatter the whole way home. I love how much he enjoys sports in general and being active. He came home and immediately ran off to play pretend while I somehow managed to complete my evening chores, all the while moaning under my breath that 3o is not old. ūüôā

I love the energy kids possess. It’s priceless.

We’ve been waiting for a while for Brooks’ cousin, and mine consequently, to come visit. BB has been beside himself because he genuinely loves company and the idea of a playmate really thrills him. So late last night, after days and days of anticipation, we welcomed Marilyn for a visit to the Julius household. Of course, The Boy slept through it all, but as soon as he awoke he wondered how quickly they’d wake up.

So we spent the day getting to know Marilyn and enjoying the company of my cousins, who I hadn’t seen in far too long. Life has a way these days of keeping us apart, and thought it’s not the finest thing, it does make the reunions that much sweeter.

One of the first activities the kiddos did together, and later repeated in the day, was playing with the homemade playdough Brooks and I had made the other day. The kiddos pretended to be bakers and cooks at a shop, replete with imaginary customers, and afterwards cleaned up without being reminded. Sweet!

A little while ago, after finishing some much neglected homework from Penn State, I pulled out the supplies necessary for some fun bubble printing. I found this activity while browsing the internet for fun stuff to do with Brooks that involved minimal prep and ease of execution. On days like today, where my foot is all achy and I have housework to do, that’s the best way to go for sure.

Here is the link: http://whimsy-girl.blogspot.com/2010/08/summer-break-day-83.html

The kiddos began by adding a tablespoon of water to their disposable cups, 1 teaspoon of paint (they chose their colors), and a good ol’ squirt of dishwashing soap. Then they mixed it up with their straws and blew like there was no tomorrow. This is def. one of those projects where the process was absolutely embraced and enjoyed by the kiddos. Brooks was having so much fun blowing bubble mountains he kept forgetting to make bubble prints. Marilyn on the other hand, took the time to make a few pages of bubble print art.

Here are some pics of their process. Too fun:

In a bit, the kiddos will wind down from their day, take baths and get in their jammies, I’ll read them a story and they’ll watch Despicable Me while chomping on homemade popcorn. I call that a perfect ending to a perfect day!

 

Little Brooks has been having such a hard time with his Daddy being gone. He’s pretty quiet about his sadness; sometimes you’ll see it in his face, sometimes in the offhand way he mentions how things would have been different with Daddy around, but mostly he’ll ask for extra cuddles and hugs. There are times when his sadness is evident in the tears he sheds, and those displays are the hardest to bear, for me at least.

I know not being on a schedule isn’t helping things. I’ve felt the effects of it, but so has Little B.

I was extremely excited when Brooks got BB a cute little pink pig. As a side note, pink happens to be one of The Boy’s favorite colors. The plan was to place the pig next to a slumbering Brooksy so that when he woke up he’d awaken with his new stuffed friend laying next to him.

But then I suffered insomnia and as a result slept in. And completely forgot.

This kind of reminds me of the time the Tooth Fairy kept forgetting to come each night. For three nights. Each night The Boy went to sleep a little earlier hoping that she had just skipped him because when she was in the area he was still awake. And then each morning disappointment. Not one of my finest parenting moments, indeed.

I swear, I’m really a morning person.

But I digress.

My friend Dalia joined us again to help with some more yard work. She’s wonderful, which is pretty needless to say, but she is. She also brought us breakfast. And the makings for an amazing pork chop/ asparagus / potato lunch. While she was here I finally remembered the pink pig!

Little Brooks was so excited! He been carrying around Penny the Pig all day (she’s currently napping in her box). He’s been hugging her and talking to her, and BB even mentioned he invented a magazine just for her (but he knew writing it would take too long so he’s currently composing articles in his head, though I wonder what they would be about). ¬†So score for a thoughtful Daddy, and bigger score for a happy little boy, who at least for the moment, is at peace with this deployment.

Dalia spent the whole morning with us and after she left I propped my foot up and took it easy for a bit as my foot was extremely sore and swollen. Afterwards The Boy and I worked on a art project/activity/toy.

I saw a link for a paper garland wand on Facebook and knew for sure Little Brooks would love this project. Not only would he be able to draw, one of his favorite things, but he would also get to sew, which he loves, and he would end up with a new toy.

Here is the link: http://kvbarn.blogspot.com/2011/03/paper-garland-wand.html

The premise of the project is to take small rectangles of paper (colored paper would be best, but we currently have no colored copier paper) sew them into a streamer, and then attach the whole thing to a stick, pencil, chopstick, etc. As soon as Little B saw the sewing machine his eyes got huge. He loves sewing and I love this project because it’s so simple and I knew he could work on this independantly.

Brooks drew designs on the slips of paper (I helped on some, as he was more keen on sewing today). He fed the paper pieces through the sewing machine, aiming for the middle of each slip of paper. I told Brooks not to worry so much about hitting the middle as I knew as long as it wasn’t completely off to the sides that the thing would work.

After he finished sewing all the pieces we attached the streamer to a chopstick, and voila, he ended up with a self made paper streamer.

For sure an easy project and too much fun!

 

 

I’ve been missing Brooks like crazy. I’m thinking it’s primarily for three reasons.

1. I’m madly in love, and can’t help it.

2. It’s been two months and reality is setting in.

3. Laying around injured gives you too much time to think.

I’d like to think point number one is the most important, but really… if you allow yourself to dwell too much on the “I’m so madly in love I can’t live without him” bit, guess what? You’ll find yourself madly in love feeling like you can’t possibly exist a minute without him. That’s not too conducive to a year long deployment. After a few weeks you might end up crazed with all the longing and missing, and pretty sad and depressed, possibly bitter and angry. It’s not a pretty sight.

So as much as I love Brooks I try not to dwell so much on it (which is really, really hard – but doable). Staying busy is key because if you’re busy chances are you’ll be too exhausted to dwell on things.

Recovering from this surgery has really thrown me for a loop. I’ve had way too much time on my hands to think, and coupled with the fact that we’re at the two month mark, the reality of the whole thing has been hitting me hard.

So I was thrilled when my friend Dalia said she’d pick The Boy and I up for lunch and then come back with us to help me clean my patio. Getting out of the house these days is such a treat, and spending time with Dalia is always fun, so I was super excited! And then, and then, afterwards, Dalia took it upon herself to clean my patio. It looked so nice by the time she was done. I was so happy because I’ve been wanting to go outside and enjoy the yard with The Boy but it’s gotten so ugly out there with pollen everywhere and leaves and these little fuzzy long things. So yay for a clean yard and amazing friends!

After Dalia left The Boy and I worked on some art projects.

I’ve been wanting to tackle some stuff with BB for a few days now but with him being sick it was out of the question.

We have his basketball photos laying around waiting to be mailed out to loved ones. I thought it would be nice to include a small art piece from Little B. I saw a neat playdough flower print activity on this blog: http://thechocolatemuffintree.blogspot.com/2011/03/modeling-clay-stamped-flowers.html

The premise is that you take playdough, make a flower on a flattened piece, and use that as a stamp to make prints. Too cute!

This is how we tackled it:

First, as I was searching for paper in the art supply closet I spied about a bazillion (alright, slightly less) white paper lunch bags. I figured I could take two and cut them to size to create small pieces of art that would fit inside an envelope.

And, since we were in dire need of playdough, we also made up a new batch. Here’s the link for that:¬†http://tinkerlab.com/2011/03/rainbow-play-dough/

Playdough making was fun, and Little B, as usual, asked if he could taste it because it smelled so good. We’ve been down this road countless times. He always tastes it, he always says it’s good, then ten seconds later starts gagging. That whole process happened again. I just sat back and watched it unfold.

In the Chocolate Muffin Tree blog the blogger wrote that her daughter took a small ball of dough, flattened it, and drew her design with a toothpick. I decided that using a flat disk of playdough would be difficult. So we fashioned a disk but added a handle for easy printing. And instead of a toothpick? A chopstick.

The finished products are too cute. I’m kinda sad I didn’t make enough paper for me to keep one, but hey, tomorrow is another day ūüôā

I have my head wrapped around mailing out another care package to Brooks. I’m so sad I’ve been unable to do that. I like sending him a little piece of home. It makes me feel better about the whole thing somehow. I like including things Brooks has done but also always try to add a personalized piece, something made specifically for the purpose of uplifting the biggest Brooks in the Julius household.

I had seen a blog post on frugalfun4boys.com about making oneself into a super hero. I thought it would be cool for Brooks to turn his Daddy into a super hero. You have to love the picture we used.  Here is our process:

And the last thing we tackled? Both Brooks like to play. They can be consumed by one activity for long stretches of time. It’s amazing, really. So we thought long and hard about making him something fun that we could then send him. We settled on silly putty, because it bounces, stretches, and is just plain fun.

Here is where we found our recipe:¬†http://frugalfun4boys.com/2010/08/27/homemade-silly-putty/ Brooks chose the color blue for his Daddy’s silly putty, and afterwards spent a good hour testing it to make sure it would be fun enough and not defective in any way, shape, or form.

So all in all, we had a great day. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. Whatever it is, it’s bound to be good.

 

This weekend we’re supposed to be heading to Belton for a Campfire campout, followed by a day trip to Austin to enjoy the Kite Festival. The Boy and I are ubber excited. I’m doubly excited because the following week my sister is flying to San Antonio and we’ll get to spend some time with her. These distractions are wonderful. They keep me focused on today instead of thinking of all the days to fill without my better half.

All week I’ve been working on my assignments for two of my college classes. I’m officially on Spring Break next week and for some reason my professors ramped up our assignments this week. So I’ve got twice the work due in the same amount of time. Knowing that tomorrow I wouldn’t be able to work on my assignments I decided that after homeschooling The Boy I would focus on my schoolwork and he could do some free play.

I love listening to Brooks play. His imagination can be pretty wild, and I love the things he comes up with and the character’s he creates. It always reminds me of something he told me when he was three, that when he slept he “had stories in his eyes.” So today while I was studying and trying really, really hard not to get distracted I heard him playing in his room and snapped this picture:

I wanted so badly to join him on the floor and play too, but it’s good for him to keep busy, and I really had a lot on my plate, so I was content to watch him quietly from the door for a few minutes.

Although I knew we were doing an art project during Campfire I got some paper, scissors and glue out for Little B so he could work on some paper monsters. I can’t find the blog I got the idea off of now, so I’ll have to add that later in case anyone wants to check it out.

BB loves monsters. It’s one of his favorite things. Some of his other passions have come and gone but monsters have been his thing for a while, kind of like his zeal for filling notebooks full of drawings. Brooks also LOVES cutting paper. He’ll do it for long stretches of time. He jumped right into this project. First he helped cut out lots of different shapes and then he began to assemble his monsters. Here’s a little bit of his process:


Tonight, being Friday, is our Campfire meeting night. I had decided to invite all the kiddos to join us for an indoor picnic of mac and cheese, hot dogs, and Paula Deen’s wicked corn casserole. The kiddos came with hearty appetites and enjoyed eating dinner while being able to spend some time with their friends. Afterwards we did a lesson on paint and watched a Brainpop movie on the same subject.

As a side note, I absolutely adore Brainpop. Obviously, I may be a bit biased because I homeschool and find the short videos great supplements for lessons and subjects covered. In all honesty though, Little B and I love nothing more than curling up on the coach with blankets, the laptop between us, as we take turns choosing which video we’ll watch next, often pausing a video at funny parts so we can laugh hysterically and rewind to watch the whole thing again.

What I find fascinating is that my kiddos, which number 11, will be so full of energy and excitement that sometimes it takes a little bit to get them to settle down so we can begin our lessons and activities or projects. If I happen to play a Brainpop video… forget about it. They are all as still as statues, not one peep out of any of them. It’s as fast as flicking a switch on or off. It always cracks me up!

I had planned on working with the kiddos on Campfire’s National Art Competition, which this year was using paint as a medium. I had done some string painting with Brooks recently and thought the kiddos might like it. The process is simple, fun, and engaging. I was so pleased that the kiddos had such fun exploring with the string and trying different methods to make their art pieces. One of the boys used the string to flick paint on the paper and ended up with a very Jackson Pollock looking piece. The girls ended up using their hands more than the string, engaging their knuckles, fingertips, and even forks to paint.

And now Brooks is enjoying another sleepover with his bestest buddy Jason. They have been running around, laughing, pretending, talking, and just all around enjoying each other’s company.

I love the sound of their laughter and the energy they emit. They probably won’t sleep much tonight. But that’s okay. Days like today are meant to be enjoyed to the fullest.

It’s a curious thing really. One of those pressing questions that need investigation, at the very least some good contemplation. Why, oh why, am I always tired when Brooks is stateside but a raging insomniac when he’s gone? If it wasn’t so sad and annoying it’d be funny.

Honestly though, when he’s home I’m fighting fatigue and by the time we get to the clean up after dinner I’m ready to lay down. And now he’s gone again, and again I find myself being unable to get a good nights sleep. And I have energy to spare most days! So this morning when I woke up at three in the morning, yet again, I was more than pleased to see that Brooks was online.

What a crazy feeling to be able to call him and get a hold of him, ring tone and everything! It’s so nice to talk and laugh like he’s just down the road at work, not on the other side of the planet. And I had to laugh when he heard the start of PT being¬†announced¬†through the speakers on post. I’ve become so accustomed to them I don’t always register that they are going off. You have to love the stellar connection!

What an amazing start to our decreed Pajama Day! To celebrate our relaxed day at home we made homemade pop-tarts. I found the recipe on The Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/04/homemade-pop-tarts/

Little Brooks was super excited to help. He was especially excited about picking out his own fillings for his pastries. At first he was okay with just chocolate chips. But at the last second he decided that crumbled up left over corn blueberry muffins from earlier this week would be amazing. Hey, it’s his stomach, not mine.

The pop-tarts, for those wondering, were unbelievable. They really should only be made when you have a crowd to share them with though. After breakfast The Boy kept asking for them. For snack, for lunch, for dinner… for after dinner. I haven’t shared with him that I’ve been thinking about them just as much, although his repeated requests surely aren’t helping.

Our pajama day was fun. We homeschooled in jammies, went for a skate/walk in them, played board games in them, worked on some art in them… you get the picture. I think the fun thing about a pajama day is being able to wear your jammies all day while NOT being sick. Usually when we’re in jammies all day it’s because one of us is sick, and you can’t rightly enjoy the pajamas all day if you’re throwing up or¬†head-achy.

As a side note, our art project today was called Blottos, by Mary Anne Kohl. Super duper easy, which was perfect for us since we were vegging in front of the TV watching Despicable Me. You take paper (I chose our largest pieces we have on hand) and dribble paint all over or wherever you’d like. Then you fold the paper over (I prefolded to make this easier) and you squish the paint around. Little Brooks was so excited that he got to dribble the paint right out of the containers. For sure one of his pieces will have to go overseas to his Daddy!

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Last week I saw a blog post about creating sculptures out of wire. I thought for sure The Boy might like to try his hand at it. When I set the wire in front of Brooks he ignored it. He took the paper sitting to the side of him and began to draw a monster. He then proceeded to cut the monster out and find a good spot for it on the already crowded side of the fridge. This is his latest thing… drawing something and then cutting it out and taping it or hanging it somewhere else.

So much for that, I thought to myself. Except that while Brooks was working on his monster, I was messing with the wire. I like doing art with Little Brooks. Watching him is interesting enough, but a lot of the times, I’ll confess, I’ll pick out an idea because it looks like fun to me. ¬†After he found a good spot on the fridge for his monster Little B came over to where I was working at the dining room table and watched how I was manipulating the wire. He sat down with a length of it and began to twist it and turn it, all the while biting his tongue in concentration.

Which as a side note, always reminds me of his father. When I first met Big Brooks I noticed that he had this habit of biting his tongue when he was concentrating on something. And Little B does the same occasionally, though never to the extent that his Dad does. When I see little things like that, small glimpses of my husband in my son, it makes my heart ache in such a raw way. Genetics are crazy. I love seeing that, little pieces of him still here, even when he’s gone.

After a while he’d gotten a good hand for some of the ways that he could manipulate the wire. He then sat down and created mini-sculptures of twisted and bent wire. ¬†They turned out pretty neat and he was quite pleased with the result.

He then sat down and made a monster face on paper and used the drawing as a reference for making the monster out of wire. It turned into a collaborative effort since he needed help with some of the pieces. BB is looking forward to sending a few of his mini-sculptures to his Dad in the next care package. I’m hoping he lets me keep one at least!

The rest of our day was nice. The weather today was so mild that we spent a good hour outside this morning, playing catch and setting off rockets with an air pump. After homeschool we headed into Copperas Cove for BB’s gymnastics class. He was so excited to get to class the little stinker opened his car door while I was still driving and almost gave me a heart attack. After a play date and a milk run we came home and worked on our wire sculptures.

 

Tomorrow we have absolutely nothing on our schedule. I think this calls for a Pajama Day. We may end up looking like crazy homeschoolers tomorrow, especially since we’re going to give the bike riding another try, in our pajamas no less. Wish us luck! We’ll probably need it!

 

Thursday’s mean Co-op for us. After a few hours of homeschooling we head over to Killeen to spend a few more with other homeschoolers. Little Brooks loves the classes he chose for this, his last semester of being schooled at home. Each day that passes brings us closer to the end of the school year and I’m always tempted to keep him at home with me for just one more year. I think that’s been my mantra the last few years though, and I think for sure next year will be it…

Co-op is especially fun this year because I’m teaching two Spanish classes, one for middle schoolers and the other for first to third graders. The middle schoolers are a trip. They were able to choose their own Spanish names last week and they chose: Taco, Burrito, and Domingo. I still can’t say their Spanish names with a straight face. Teaching these kids makes me almost want toget my teaching certification, almost.

The younger bunch are hilarious. They are always funny, super curious, and raw energy all at once. I was super excited to bring in a small art project for them today. After a lesson and a story I taught the kids about Papel Picado, and told them they would get to create their own banners to take home with them. They each chose their favorite tissue paper colors and sat down. And then most of them lost it. Not in a dramatic way, by any means… but most of them had anxiety written all over their faces. One little boy crossed his arms and wouldn’t talk to myself or my assistant. I purposely didn’t bring in an example, so that they would focus on the process, not the end product, which would then free them up to engage themselves actively in their art project. They were so worried that their papel picado wouldn’t look right that they couldn’t even get started.

Thankfully we were able to convince them that no matter what they did their banners would be perfect… and sure enough once they allowed themselves the freedom to create something without worrying so much about expectations they were able to create some pretty cool banners. They were so proud of themselves! We gave them each several extra sheets of tissue paper to take home so that they could create a nice sized banner.

It made me feel so grateful that I listened to my grandma, who has been an early childhood educator, principle, and early childhood ed¬†professor, when she told me to not allow Brooks to color any coloring sheets. Wasn’t I supposed to teach him to color within the lines, I thought? But she’s the expert and so I listened. And I’m grateful for that. For a little boy who believes in his ability to create art, to engage in the process, who doesn’t worry about what others may think as long as he’s satisfied with his work. He’s not scared to try for fear he’ll mess it up, because he knows it’s all part of figuring it out for himself.

I may try some papel picado with him soon. He loves cutting paper with a passion, so it’d be right up his what-I’m-passionate-about alley.

Today, however, we tried our hand at magnet marble painting. We’ve done marble paintings (you place marbles you’ve rolled in paint in a box and roll away). This was a bit different, though it followed the same idea. I took a shoe box and cut one of the long sides off. On top of that I taped the lid bottom side down. The opening on the bottom box allowed LB to place a magnet wand underneath so that he could move the magnet marbles on top. At first he was all about checking out the marbles and playing with them and the box. He was so engaged I figured we’d do art the next day, but after a while he asked for paint and got to working. He had so much fun! And curiously enough, my boy, who hates to get paint or glue on his hands, was all about picking up his own marbles, never mind the paint. This was his process:

Our day was busy, busy. Brooks made peanut butter balls for the snack jar, rode his skates outside, went to basketball practice, and put on a puppet show for me before he headed to bed. It was a full day, but a fun day. We even got to watch a replay of the Discovery Shuttle launch since we missed it this afternoon.

Life stays good, regardless of the circumstances.

Because it was a federal holiday I decided to be nice to to The Boy and only made him do a half day of homeschool. Before you feel bad for him, keep in mind we’re playing hooky tomorrow since we’re planning on taking a trip to Austin. Before you think I’m a terrible homeschooling mama, keep in mind the trip to Austin entails a trip to the Bob Bullock State Museum… and a trip to some Austin food trailers. If we’re already there, we might as well. ¬†That’s my philosophy anyway.

So I was feeling pretty good, it being a federal holiday and all, and us taking the day nice and slow, when I got a call from only my most favorite person in the world (okay, both Brooks’ are tied in that category, but you get the picture). Federal Holiday, nice weather, and Facetime with the man who still causes me to stumble into heart¬†palpitations: it was a good start to a good day.

I have say this, though: when Brooks called, I was in the middle of weeding outside. It was such a gorgeous morning – perfect weather for that type of thing. So when Brooks called I continued weeding while we Facetimed (I know that’s not a word, but it should be) and it was so nice because in so many respects, especially with seeing each other and the amazing connection, it was almost like he’d come in from work and was keeping me company while I worked outside. It may sound weird, but for a little bit of time it felt truly like he was home. Like I said, a good start to a good day!

The rest of the day was just as wonderful. The Boy and I played outside for a few hours. It was just so nice out. Brooks friend came over to play for a little bit and then we tried our hand at the bike riding, again. Bike riding, take two was not nearly as awful as day one. It gave me a lot of hope that he’d get the hang out of it clear of his 18th birthday.

If Little Brooks wasn’t so cautious, I’d venture to say he’d be riding circles around me already. But it’s so ingrained in who he is, he can’t move past it. Every single time he knows I’m not “holding” him, he wobbles and that’s the end of that. That Child rode that bike the whole length of the front of my house. The front yard is pretty big. ¬†And he did it several times. But he still thinks he can’t do it. Oh boy, oh boy!¬†So for sure there will be a bike riding, take three. Not tomorrow but for sure the day after that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he gains enough confidence he just takes off.

After playing our little hearts outside, and practicing his shots for a tournament this weekend, we came in and LB helped me make dinner. When Brooks is gone I don’t cook nearly as much as I do when he’s home. I can make a big pot of Something and live off of that for a few days. So we settled on a Minestrone Soup since we had all the ingredients on hand and because BB has been working on his knife skills in the homeschool co-op and vies for any chance at home to practice.

 

 

It’s kind of amazing that a child who is so conscious of avoiding injury would enjoy cutting things with a knife. He loves it. He even insisted on tackling the onions, even though it took him thirty minutes to finish since he had to keep leaving the room. He even tried tying one of my kitchen towels over his face, but quickly found out that covering his nose and mouth isn’t the problem.

Our soup turned out delicious. Brooks loves adding spices to food we make together so I never know what we’ll end up with. He used some smoked paprika and it turned out delicioso! Yay for leftovers!

After dinner Little Brooks tried his hand at making blow paint googly eye monsters. I copied the idea from a new blog I ran across yesterday: http://mayamade.blogspot.com/2008/09/making-monsters.html

It’s a super cute craft and since my boy loves anything and everything to do with monsters it was a perfect fit for our art project today. The concept is simple. You take paint that has been slightly watered down and you add it by spoonful to your paper. We used heavy paper so that the water wouldn’t ruin the whole thing. You then take a straw and blow the paint around any way you want. Brooks’ favorite part of the whole thing was adding spoonfuls of paint to the paper so the colors would mix when he blew. Tomorrow if it’s not too late when we return home from our fun day, we’ll add googly eyes and cut the monsters out so that we can display them. This might end up being a repeat project, since Brooks had so much fun making these today.

It was truly a perfect Monday!