Monday, April 30, 2012

The Fall

Or "Why I Have More White Hairs", or "Why Xavier Didn't Fight on Saturday."


My mom, brother, and their sons, ages 12 and 5, came to visit us. They arrived Monday. By Wednesday, we were all ready for some time away from the house. We decided to visit a local nature preserve that we'd never been to before.


We had a lot of fun on our hike, and promised the kids a trip to the playground afterward.

Everything was going well at the playground. The boys were having a blast. The adults were having a rest and watching the boys run around. Since there were no younger children close to the boys, we were letting them use the playground equipment the way bigger boys prefer, climbing around the top of it.

Then, Xavier took a header off a 10' slide. That's right. He fell headfirst to the ground from 10' in the air. I watched the whole thing. Fortunately, he landed on his right shoulder, where the shoulder meets his neck, with his head tucked. A few inches to the left and higher, or without his head tucked, and the fall probably would have broken his neck. We got lucky with just a very mild concussion and a vertebrate that was locked in place. Occupational therapy and chiropracty will take care of everything. His head gear will have to stay off when we're doing tae kwon do, and there will be no head contact for him for a while.

As a result of this, I have more white hair (I counted them), and he did not get to fight in his tournament this weekend. I'm just thankful that the fall is something to be looked back on, and not something to be mourned.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Way We Think

I said to Xavier, "I'm serious!"
Xavier replied, "I'm not, because I don't want to be killed by a curtain!"

Talking to Gabriel about a girl we know, "You know she's really smart, right?"
Gabriel looked at me in genuine shock, "I have a hard time believing that... She knows nothing about Star Wars."


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Great Letter Writing Campaign


To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. ~Phyllis Theroux


A letter can make a person's day or break a person's heart.

Consider a sincerely felt thank you letter. You are letting the person know that you appreciate the thought and effort they put into giving you a gift. You are telling them you know and appreciate the time it took to show you how much they care. You are showing them that you care that they care.


Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company. ~Lord Byron



Consider the "Dear John..." letter. No, wait, that's not the kind of letter we're going to be writing here.


What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp. ~Author Unknown


Consider the "How was your day? This is what's going on in my life..." letter. This is the best kind of letter. It tells the recipient that you, the writer, think enough of them and care enough about them to sit down and write about the mundane aspects of your life. You may not think you have anything to write about, but just consider that the person on the receiving end will probably think differently.


What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call. ~Liz Carpenter



My grandmother wrote a letter every day of her life (I think). I know that she wrote a letter to my brother every week he was in prison. She lived far from her sisters and long distance phone calls were precious. She wrote letters to them. She didn't write about exciting things. She wrote about going to the nursing home to visit and that her granddaughter helped her bake bread that week. These are the little things that let the recipient know you care. Why does this let them know that? Because you want them to be a part of you life, even the mundane parts.


There must be millions of people all over the world who never get any love letters... I could be their leader. ~Charlie Brown



Everyone needs a little love in the mailbox. So, I'm starting a letter writing campaign. I propose that we write a letter every day for 30 days. I am going to start tomorrow. Anyone else interested in joining in?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dominic on Art

Dominic loves art. He is so incredibly artistic it amazes me. He loves to look at art. He loves to listen to art. He loves to read art. He loves all forms of art, but most of all, he loves to make art.
But, sometimes, he compares his art to mine and feels like he comes up short. Yesterday, this conversation came up again, as we were making our Water Lilies paintings inspired by Claude Monet. 
After asking if I thought my water lilies were better than his, and me responding that I did not, he made an incredibly profound statement. It is something that we all need to learn.

Dominic looked up at me and said, "Everybody's art is unique to themselves. Even though their art is different, it's the same, because every piece of art they make has a little piece of them in it." 


 To see a tutorial on how to make your own interpretation of Monet's Water Lilies, please visit Art Projects for Kids.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Starry Night is Finished!

When we started the project of redoing Xavier's room, we certainly never expected it to take this long. Life gets in the way of plans, oh so often, though. I finished the Starry Night wall today, and I'll start on the planets Sunday or Monday. I can't wait to be done with the painting so that we can start decorating the rest of his room!

Here is the progression of the Starry Night wall, with a bit of commentary on how I did it.

First, I printed off this 'coloring page' of the Starry Night. (She has some great lessons, ideas, ect. so be sure to check her blog out!)



I folded the page into 16 sections, then divided my wall likewise with chalk.


Then, I drew in some of the basic elements using the divisions to help me space them correctly on my wall.


I started painting in some of the larger elements first.

And continued with more of the background, and stars.


After I had most of the background worked in, I drew in the town.



This is the finished work.




I even painted some elements in glow in the dark paint. I'll be interested to see how it looks in the dark. I'm very pleased with how my interpretation of Van Gogh's famous work turned out.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Caine's Arcade

Here's a story of a boy who followed his dream, and a man who helped those dreams come true. It's a beautiful story for your Thursday evening.

From Caine's Arcade Facebook Photos

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday


We're I'm in the process of painting Van Gogh's Starry Night on Xavier's wall. When we decided to decorate his room with a night sky theme, we were only planning to paint the planets in our solar system on the wall. Then, I got inspired. That always means more work for me.

It's looking good, though. If it weren't for back fatigue, I'd probably be done with it by now. The lower part of the wall requires bending over, though. There's actually been quite a bit more done since this picture was taken. I've got all of the background painted in and about a third of the buildings. A couple more days and I'll have it done. I could probably get it done tomorrow if we do school in Xavier's room.  Then, it's on to the planets on the other three walls, and constellations in glow in the dark paint on the ceiling.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Couldn't Agree More

While driving home one day, Dominic asked me, "Mom, what do you think it would be like to be Xavier?"

I responded, "I don't know. What do you think?"

He thought about it for a minute and replied, "I think it would be hard, and kind of cool, too."

I couldn't agree more.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Math Monday



Xavier has severe dysgraphia. This means that keeping track of written work is a pain. It also means that it is extremely hard for him to work up to his ability, and speed in math. Since I withdrew him from school, we've been doing math a bit differently.

Every day, we sit down together. He with his white board, and I with a piece of paper. He works out the problem on the white board, and I write down everything he writes.

This has made math so much better. I have no intention of continuing this throughout his school career, but for now, it works for us. That's what really matters, after all. We're meeting his needs and it makes both of us happy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Water Table

Water Table courtesy TECHNO- Scienc 
After drinking 32 ounces of water in the hour before we left for dinner, then 64 ounces of water at dinner, I was running to and from the bathroom on a regular basis.

On our way home from dinner, we stopped to get Gary coffee, and I went to the bathroom. Then, we stopped again specifically so that I could use the restroom. Note that we only live about 30 minutes from the restaurant.

When Gabriel mentioned the fact that he wasn't needing to go to the bathroom multiple times, Gary said, "She has a high water table."

Let it be known that my water table is currently close to becoming a spring. I sure hope it lowers so that I can sleep tonight.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Naval Aviation Museum


Saturday morning, we said goodbye to our condo and the beach. We had planned to stay at the beach that day and drive to Mobile, Alabama Saturday night.


Saturday dawned dark, cloudy, and raining. So, we made the split second decision to drive to Pensacola and visit the Naval Aviation Museum. 


It was a great decision.


We love the Naval Aviation Museum.


We lived in Pensacola for three years when Gabriel was a baby, and Gary worked about a block from the museum.


We certainly spent a significant amount of time at the museum when Gabriel was a baby, but not nearly as much time with the younger two.


The boys had a blast.


Xavier and Dominic are both obsessed with machines, and jets are wonderful machines.


Since the last time we were there, they've added a neat little play area for young children. I think it's inspired. 


A man wanted to take our picture. We're never in pictures together, so I let him.


Dominic and Xavier were obsessed with the guns.





And all the helicopters and jet cockpits they could get in.




There was a little boy that followed Dominic around after he found out his name. 


He had a boy in his class named Dominic, and he thought it was so wonderful to meet another Dominic.


I just realized that Gabriel is not in any of these pictures. It's not because he wasn't there. Museums are one of his favorite things, and we rarely take the time to study the plaques and exhibits the way he needs to. He's been walking around by himself in museums for about 4 years, occasionally meeting back up with us to chat about something interesting.

A trip to a museum is always a good decision for our family.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Finished Object Friday

 This is Dominic's first knitted item. It was really just a sampler, but we figured out what to do with it!

Something I do with everyone I teach to knit is knit every other row for them on their first project. This enables me to correct mistakes before they get too far along.

For my children, it also makes the project move at a more rapid pace. This helps keep their frustrations to a minimum. You can see in the picture above that his first few rows were not especially tight. I let that go.


By the end of the project, he was knitting rather well for a seven year old. Yes, he finished this project over a year ago. We didn't know what to do with it, though. Finally, we hit upon the idea of filling it with catnip for the cats.


They love it. We filled a t-shirt sleeve with catnip and closed the ends. Then, we quickly sewed the sides of the project together around the catnip sleeve. The cats spend more time with this toy than any other, giving Dominic a great sense of satisfaction.

Too Much Excitement

From Soule Mama{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
(Visit Soule Mama for more moments.)



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Do Hard Things

Sometimes, in the course of our lives, we realize we're coasting. Life is happening and we're just along for the ride. It is then that we should all make the decision to do hard things.

What is hard will differ for each one of us. What is hard for you may be easy for me. What is hard for me may be easy for you. We cannot judge each other's hard things, we just have to do hard things.

For me, consistency is hard. I am a sprinter. Certainly the world needs sprinters. Leonardo Da Vinci was a sprinter, and we got so many wonderful things from him. I am comfortable being a sprinter. I know that if you're in a pinch, I'm the one to call. Why? I'm a sprinter.

What makes sprinters good to have around? Sprinters are amazing at getting things done in a short amount of time. Sprinters typically have a wide range of interests, so they can help out in a variety of areas. Sprinters are able to change direction on a dime. If you need them, they are usually willing to drop whatever they are doing to help you.

Sprinters are not good at follow through. Getting my black belt? Not easy. Maintaining a schedule? Not easy. Sticking to a meal plan? Not easy. Finishing one degree plan before starting another? Not easy. That's right. We love starting new projects, and we get bored easily.

We're important to have around, but you need marathoners too. Gabriel is a marathoner. Ooh boy, is he ever. That boy is in it for the long haul, and he is not changing course. The good news about that is that we compliment each other well. But, now it's time for us to do hard things. He's going to have to learn to turn on a dime, and I'm going to have to learn to stay the distance.

Sure, there are other hard things for me to do. I'm starting with a meal plan. It's not easy. When it's 4 o'clock and I am craving pizza, I really don't want to make meatloaf. I'd rather go with that craving. Gabriel wants to look at the menu and stick to it religiously. We're both going to have to deal with hard things with this one.

Do you do hard things? What is something that is hard for you to do?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How to Make a Smoothie

This tutorial is written by Dominic, who does make all his own smoothies.


First, you should put in ice, about a cup of ice.
Then, if you have any frozen strawberries you should put a handful and a few more in the blender, if not, fresh strawberries will do.




Next, you could put in some blueberries.


I like putting pineapple in my smoothie.


I also like putting a banana or two in, but make sure you split it in half first.


video
If only Mr. Banana had known.


I like to put mango in it if I have any, but I usually just eat the mango after it's peeled.


Personally, I like putting yogurt in, just to make it a bit smoothier.



I also like putting milk, and maybe orange juice, in my smoothie.


Protein powder is nice to put in them; it just gives you a bit o' protein.



Then you blend it all together. Sometimes you have to push the ingredients down into the blender if they get stuck. I just turn it up higher and it works sometimes.


All you have left to do is pour it in a cup and bon apatite!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails