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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Art Classes

My students have been creating such beautiful work in the art classes I teach. It has been such a pleasure watching them grow in confidence and skill as the semester progresses.

Last week we finished our masterpiece work, a rendition of "Starry Night" by Van Gogh.  Their paintings vary from the original regarding the village in the lower right corner. I encouraged the students to take whatever artistic liberties they wanted so they could have fun and personalize their art. 

 I didn't manage to take pictures of every painting before they were taken home by some students. (And I've been kicking myself mentally ever since.)  But at least I photographed half of the canvases. 

In no particular order, here are some glimpses of their completed art. (And sometimes I stole a picture of the artist WITH their work. Most of the pictures are without their maker, just because I totally forgot to take photos before everyone left. I snagged the rest of the photos later in the afternoon after the paintings had finished drying. It's so delightful to see all my counter tops covered with drying canvases each week.)

Alright, moving on.

Here is a lovely student with her lovely work! This student is 11 years old, and look what a great piece she created!

This student is 8 years old. She is always so eager for art to begin and is so careful with her work. 

The boy in this picture is my youngest student, age 6. He's known for mixing the most unique colors in class. 

This artist is age 10. Isn't it beautiful! She has an innate ability that is so fun to watch!

This artist is age 8. I love her blue accents on the church.

And so is this one. I love the fruit orchard and gardener she added!

This artist is age 9. I love the care he took with the church building. Look at that detail!

This one is age 9:

This student is 8: 

Age 7:

Age 9:

Age 29 
(This student is a mother taking the class with her daughters. I think it's safe to assume all adult women are 29, right?) I adore the swirls of color in her sky! 

This last one is from my high school student. She's age 15, and already has received an offer for this painting from an interested buyer. What a compliment to her talent! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Little Things

This is what I found yesterday afternoon.

Diego had stolen my wizard hat from one of my magic trunks (I use the hat as a silly prop in my show) and carried it around with him all day. Here he was, savoring candied fennel and feeding some to his little toy which he affectionately calls "Beebee Goat". He wore this hat on the swing outside, and to the barn when we fed the goats. He hugged it and carried it around with him everywhere. So stinkin' cute.

Other things I want to remember-

This week Daniel accompanied me to the feed store one afternoon to pick up chicken scratch grains. The front porch of the store is filled with rustic rockers and porch swings. We always buy an ice cream cone and sit together on a rocker for a bit. It's such a simple thing, but we love quiet moments together like this.

Last night Diego would not go to sleep, no matter how many times we put him back in his crib. Nathan eventually scooped Diego up in his arms, cuddled him on the couch, and read out loud from the Louis L'Amour book he had been enjoying. Diego was so happy with this arrangement and quietly listened to tales of cowboys until he fell asleep in Nathan's arms. Oh, how I loved this!

Matthew regularly takes Diego for walks outside in our meadow. They go hunting for the prettiest wildflowers, then Matthew helps Diego pick a bouquet. He is always so pleased to run back home to me and give me his gift. I have a beensy vase on my kitchen windowsill just for these tiny bouquets. I'm so thankful Matthew is such a fun big brother.

Last week Matthew saved all his "Bee Privileges" to spend them in one night for his siblings. He earned the privilege of a sibling slumber party in the game room, late night popcorn and games, plus a movie. He also made little goodie bags for everyone, filled with candy he purchased with his own allowance. He was so happy to create this memorable evening. Sarah and Daniel were delighted with the party and they all agreed that Matthew is super cool to have as a brother.

Sarah and Matthew have been busy all week constructing a club house. They built a table for all their cool stuff, hung signs on the walls, and furnished the interior with a heavy metal table and chairs that they dragged across the yard into their space. They are so pleased with the result and their friends love to come over and play in this space.

Recently I started doing something new during home school. Any time we have a group lesson (which for us, includes the subjects of World History, Scriptures, and a reading of "The Omnivore's Dilemma", by Michael Pollan) I give the children foot massages while we read or discuss things. It makes the discussion so pleasant and relaxed. This week Sarah started giving Diego foot rubs when he gets cranky. He laughs and exclaims, "It gickles!" (It tickles)

Daniel has been so thoughtful lately. He surprises me by approaching me with his hands behind his back, a small smile on his face. He'll take my hand and lead me to a comfortable chair, then he reveals that he was hiding a hairbrush behind his back. He knows I love having my hair brushed, so he'll sit and brush my hair while I relax. It's so sweet of him!

This week I found this note on my bathroom counter:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Babies are here!

What a fun treat it is to have baby goats to love! We found the mother, Rosemary, just after she delivered the last kid early in the morning. We helped her clean two of the kids and promptly warmed them with towels and a heat lamp, while Nathan made a stop at our local feed store for milk replacement and bottles. 

Our little mother had triplets, which is quite a demand on her milk supply. Now we have the adventurous task of bottle feeding them to supplement their diets. The kids (the human ones) just LOVE this task, and get in all the cuddles they can with these gorgeous babies. 

They are named Nutmeg, Star Anise, and Kabob. Two girls, one boy. We are delighted. 

They already have distinct personalities emerging. Are you familiar with the characters from My Little Pony? 

Nutmeg is like the pony Rainbow Dash- daring, adventurous, smart and confident. She likes to explore the pasture and isn't afraid of anything.  

Star Anise is like the pony Pinky Pie- social, silly, a bit hyper, and super friendly. Everyone adores her, and she loves to seek out affection. She's genetically special for three reasons- blue eyes are rare, she's naturally hornless, and we adore the white star on her head. 

Kabob is like Fluttershy- timid, quiet, and still. He's also the runt and struggles to latch onto teats or bottle nipples. We had the sad job of force-feeding him just to keep him alive the first few days. Luckily today he started latching on to his mother's teats much better, so we are hopeful that he will survive long enough to introduce solid food. From there he has a much better chance of survival. 

Look how beensy he is! Not even as tall as my boot!

We get to feed him every 4 hours, which is a sticky mess for both of us. At least he's growing and healthy by all appearances, even if he is much smaller than the other two. 

Our children just LOVE playing with the babies each day or watching them frolic around the pasture, skipping and dancing through the fallen leaves. It's so comical to watch, and we all spend happy hours just hanging out in the barn and playing with the goats. 

Our animal count is as follows:

1 dog
2 cats
4 rabbits
3 grown goats
3 baby goats
30+ hens
40 incubating eggs, due to hatch any day now

Sarah and Matthew pointed out that our place is becoming more and more like a petting zoo. The past few days have been busy with friends visiting to play with baby goats, and this weekend we are hosting a simple picnic lunch for several of Nathan's coworkers who are bringing their children over for an afternoon of fun in the country. 

I should say NATHAN is hosting a picnic this weekend, not I.

I am booked from 9 am- 7pm entertaining at birthday parties and then face painting for my favorite client. She throws the biggest party I have ever seen. It's just like a private State Fair in her backyard.

Seriously. This party is legendary in the Austin area.

It's one of my favorite gigs of the year, and she always books me a year in advance for her Halloween Bash. I'm really looking forward to it!

The next few days are packed for us, with a Halloween Spooktacular at Nathan's work place, our church Trunk-or-Treat and Chili Cook-off, and our annual neighborhood hayride. I'm so thankful we have the chance to create such fun memories with our family!