Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Artwork and Thoughts, on a Snow Day

That comma in the title is intentional... because I don't have many thoughts on the snow itself, just other thoughts.  But here are the gratuitous kids in the snow photos... as the snow was falling, I convinced them to at least go outside and check it out.  The older two did last about a half hour.  The snowflakes falling were the biggest I have ever seen (which probably isn't all that big, seeing as I live in Georgia). 

This is when the snow had only been falling for about an hour.  My younger two kids are not big fans of the snow.  So I am kinda glad to have given up Facebook for Lent (except when I have to go on to check La Leche League related messages, which is quite often lately, or to specifically send a message or post to somebody... but I am not going on Facebook to just scroll through and read things during Lent or to post things and make comments and such, hoping to free up time to do some reading and stay on top of Caroline's school reading better).  I know there will be lots of photos of people's kids loving the snow, and mine just don't.  Caroline does - she'd stay out all day if other people liked to be out there with her.  Chris came home early as the snow was falling, and they went out together and sledded.  Cecilia and Lucy went out with him briefly and then came back in, but hey, there was no crying involved, so I count that as a victory.  If it is still cold enough tomorrow, maybe we can both go out and convince them that sledding down the road is fun!  Our neighbors always loan us their sled because their daughters are both mostly grown up.

Snow calls for popcorn and something warm to drink.  Here's my coffee snob equipment.  My brother gave me a coffee grinder for Christmas!  So I have whole beans from the awesome coffee shop.  I also have a travel mug that brews the coffee in it like a French press (it's there behind the coffee, with the red lid).  I can be a total coffee snob when I travel, too!  Today I wanted the whole four-cup pot, so it was trusty Mr. Coffee that got the brewing job this afternoon.

I promised to share some of the girls' artwork, so I will stick it throughout the rest of this post.

Collages based on the book The Last Straw... they traced a camel outline and then used fabric scraps, strings, beads, sequins, foil, etc. to make the things on the camels' backs.  Caroline's on the left and Cecilia's on the right.

I am so excited that we are having a La Leche League of Georgia conference in November!!!  It will be November 6-8 at Jekyll Island, and our keynote speaker is Dr. James McKenna!  He runs the mother-baby sleep laboratory at Notre Dame, where he has studied the way nursing mother-baby pairs sleep and how they sync up with each other.  The science backs mothers' age-old instincts: breastfeeding babies were designed to sleep in close proximity with their mothers.  I saw him speak at the last La Leche League International conference in 2007.  I am so excited to talk this conference up - I hope we have lots and lots of families attending, in addition to many of Georgia's LLL Leaders!

Cecilia did both of these self-portraits of herself in her ballet recital costume.  The one on the left was done with pencil before she added the color, and the one on the right was drawn with the watercolor crayons as well as being colored with them - resulting in two different styles of artwork.

I was so hoping that I could be bringing a new baby to the conference... but that won't be happening now.  Having the newest baby at the conference would have been so fun... although the drive to Jekyll with a two week old wouldn't have been, ha.  So... on the chance that I could be very pregnant at the conference instead - which is also fun, but not as much as having the tiny baby in a sling as you move around to all the different sessions - I will just hope and pray that my midwives would be cool with me traveling to Jekyll a few weeks before my due date.  I'm the one responsible for getting the program booklets all typed up and ready for printing, so that along with just loving to be at the conferences makes me really want to be able to attend!  I already booked our room!  I am so ready to be pregnant again, so if I have to miss the conference because of that, then so be it... but I will try like crazy to be able to make it there!

This drawing should have been up higher, apparently, with the LLL conference paragraphs...
Caroline drew this from a statue of Our Lady of La Leche when her art assignment was to make a line drawing by looking at an object with form and trying to draw the outer edges exactly as they appear.

Another exciting trip to look forward to... Chris has a business trip to Austin, Texas in late September.  I would imagine I wouldn't be "too pregnant" to travel then, and so I am planning to go with him!  Lucy will be four by then.  It makes me sad to think that I have not had that big of a space between any of my children so far.  I can't believe she will be so old!  Chris and I haven't done any trips together without kids since before we had any kids!  The last one was a trip to Charleston, S.C. at the end of December when I was pregnant with Caroline, over ten years ago, so this will be a fun special treat for us!  Chris is going for a Spiceworks conference (think big computer geek thing with awesome stuff like open bar evenings with geeky clear cups with Windows logos on them with flashing LED lights in the bottoms, ha ha).  So he will have meetings in the day, but there are a few mealtime and evening events that I will be welcome at, and then we can also spend a little time exploring Austin.  I have never even been to Texas before!  Supposedly Austin has a big music scene.  We will plan what we will do closer to that time!  We will fly out of Atlanta... it has been ages since I have flown, too!  The last time would have been when I was in high school!!!

Cecilia's contour drawing of a toy horse

And speaking of high school... and music... I think I am having an early mid-life crisis or something.  A few weeks ago, there was that thing where Kanye West insulted Beck at the Grammys.  I so don't do pop culture any more, so I barely know who Kanye is.  But Beck - I know Beck!!  I was pretty much going to marry him when I was in high school.  So I read up on the story, because he was my favorite musician all through high school and into college.  After my Guns 'n Roses/Metallica/Megadeth phase of 7th/8th grade, and my Nirvana phase of my freshman year... then came Beck.  So I started listening to a couple beck songs on Youtube.  How did we ever do anything before Youtube???  See, I sold off most of my Beck CDs sometime after getting married, because I just didn't listen to them any more (and at that point the dream had died since I was married to somebody else, ha ha).  I sold a bunch of others, too, but certain ones I kept that I still did - and do - listen to some.  Spacehog, The Toadies, The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots... I kept those. 

I LOVE this watercolor drawing of Caroline's.  Something about it is so kid-artsy.  I just made that term up so I hope it makes sense to somebody besides me.  Cecilia made the unicorn and ballerina cutouts that are also pinned to the corkboard.
So anyway, about Beck.  I was reminiscing and listening to some Beck songs.  And then I go to wondering, if Beck is still releasing new albums and has been pretty consistently since his beginnings in 1993, then why did I stop being a Beck fan?  Why did I stop buying his CDs, and when did that happen?  Was there a big gap between the last album I bought and the release of his next album and I lost interest?  So I looked at the dates.  Odelay was the last album of his I bought, so I looked at the release date - 1996.  Makes sense; I remember buying that one in high school and then taking it and all my Beck albums on to college with me in 1997.  So I looked at the next album's release date - it was fall of 1998.  I was shocked - a Beck album was released in fall of 1998 and I didn't buy it???  But I still loved Beck then!  At least... I know that I had pictures and posters of him on my dorm room walls in my early college years, at least the first whole year.  And fall of 1998 was only the beginning of my sophomore year.  So how could I have not realized - or not cared - that Beck released a new album???  Well...

Cecilia's drawing of "princess Lucy"

... I decided I would listen to a few of the songs from that album, because surely I would vaguely recognize one of the popular ones from radio air play, right?  Right.  I did.  I recognized some of the titles and listened to those, and I knew them.  So I started to play the other songs on the album... and I knew them, too.  I listened to the beginning of each song on that album, Mutations, and I KNEW THEM ALL.  Yet I didn't remember buying or owning that album.  It was like REVERSE DEJA VU, if that is even a thing.  But you don't just know every single song on an album that was less popular than the album to which it followed, unless you owned the album.  I was dumbfounded.  I must have actually OWNED THAT ALBUM and somehow not even remembered!!  I kept asking Chris, while sitting on the hearth making s'mores with my laptop playing Beck songs at midnight, "What is wrong with me?  How could I have forgotten owning this album??"  His answer: "Maybe your brain is broken."  All I could think was, "Yeah.  That is the only explanation."

Caroline's watercolor of herself and two others in her dance recital

So I bet you guys all think I am nuts now.  What would be the big deal about me forgetting owning an album?  I bet lots of people have done that.  And I forget lots of details.  But not that!  That is not the kind of thing I forget.  Especially Beck, who was a long-lasting musical obsession of mine.  So yeah, I think my brain is broken.  And now my midlife crisis: I bought some old CDs that I used to own.  A few bucks on Amazon and I will have Beck and Radiohead to listen to in the car again.  If that is the worst midlife crisis I have, then yay.  Although I think it is still technically too early for a midlife crisis, seeing as I am not 40 yet. 

Another watercolor of Caroline's

We went to Blue Ridge with some friends over the weekend who have a family cabin there... lots of fun.  We had six adults and 14 kids there!  The adults had fun pulling up songs on Pandora and Youtube... after the kids were in bed, my friend Elizabeth and I reminisced about our Guns 'n Roses days.  They pulled up a Beck song for me.  We listened to a wide range of music, from the 60s through the 90s.  Apparently I liked some of the same music as my friends, friends who are now old parents along with me, ha ha.  From music I owned on CD like Jane's Addiction and Tom Petty to music that I liked when their songs were on the radio or MTV but didn't own the albums, like Weezer and Talking Heads (which are very different from the music I hated but still knew well from the radio and MTV, like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Smashing Pumpkins - although now I can tolerate the Pumpkins some in my old age, ha)... we listened to some fun stuff.  Another band I used to like, Pearl Jam, was brought up... I really stopped liking them by college, but said that I still loved their song "Black."  Elizabeth agreed that was one of the best songs ever - we really should have known each other in high school, ha.  It was nice to be able to hang out with a group of Catholic homeschooling parents for the weekend.  We talked some about our plans to start a moms' book club, which will be nice.  I need accountability to make myself get some reading done - instead of blogging and reminiscing about 90s music, ha ha. Maybe we will talk about the impact of music and pop culture on our kids... I really don't know what to do about that.  Of course, in my opinion as an old parent, today's music stinks for the most part.  I can see that my parents really didn't limit my musical preferences when I was in high school... other than to express disapproval when I brought an album into the house with a "parental advisory - explicit lyrics" label on it.  I can look back as an adult, and I can say that I wasn't really negatively impacted by the music I listened to overall... but I recognize that some of the messages in some of the music I liked were potentially poisonous.  And that will impact different people in different ways, and I don't know that you can identify how it will impact you ahead of time.  As I was listening to a few Radiohead songs the other day, I was almost crying because they were so mournful to me... yet they didn't impact me that way back when I was listening to them in high school and college.  They were just good songs to me then, and I guess I didn't think very deeply about the lyrics.  So, something to ponder.  Always something to ponder with parenting decisions, and I don't think there are any easy or obvious answers.  Being overly sheltering and protective can result in them not knowing what to do with these kind of things when they grow up completely and leave the house... so, as with most things, I don't know the answer.  I do think that by homeschooling and not having things like cable/satellite TV, we already have a more limited exposure to things like popular music of today and such.  I guess we will cross those bridges when we come to them, trying to talk about it all so that our kids know what is going on in the world around them... that whole "in this world but not of this world" idea.

Had to include Lucy's artwork too.  She likes to use glue, so often I will cut random scraps for her to glue onto paper.

So if you see some crazy lady in her mid-30s driving around blasting Radiohead or Beck next week, you will know that it's me.  Living my early mid-life crisis.  If I start buying old Nirvana albums, please have me committed, because I really can't even tolerate their music any more now!  If I start buying New Kids on the Block albums, well... you will know I am too far gone to be helped at that point.

Cecilia's St. Cecilia statue and Caroline's Joan of Arc, made with clay yesterday
Thoughts, yes, but not many about snow.  As I promised.  At least I have an excuse for my rambling thoughts now - my brain is just broken. ;)

No comments: