Saturday, August 29, 2015

Watercolor For the Distracted Mom

Watercolor is hard.  And sometimes frustrating. And I have a lot to learn. But I LOVE it! 
For one thing, it's the perfect medium for someone who has an attention span that is about as long as her kids, and who only has a few minutes (literally) in between craziness to throw down a few washes.  When I'm busy, layers are drying, and by the time I find I have a few minutes in between activities, it's ready to add another layer.  Win-win!
I also love painting in a sketchbook  I feel like I can experiment and learn and the pressure to make something great is off. 
I photographed the different layers so if I did fail completely, I could tell at what point things started going south.
Here's the latest:
First step - draw the image and add the under-tones. I like this layer the most.  I like seeing pencil lines and the different colors. Maybe I should have stopped here.

I wanted the rose to be a little warmer, so I added a few more washes of oranges and yellows.

I layered oranges, reds, violets, greens, blues and browns to create the color of the roses and the shadows.

A few more layers, some highlights and it's finished!

Our First Official Week of Homeschool

This week was our first official week of homeschool.  It wasn't perfect, but definitely an overall success.  In fact, the last time we tried homeschool, I don't think we had a single week that was this successful.
We actually started doing some school in the summer, but it was very light, and not five days a week.  I wanted to test the water to see if I was up to homeschooling, test curriculum, and work out as many bugs as I could before the school year started.  I'm glad I did it that way, because it helped me see that, even though the plan I had for language arts was a good one, it was not very realistic with five kids. I hope to pick it up again, and plan on adding it to our current curriculum every now and then, but until then, I found another curriculum that I like and the kids can do more independently, allowing me to help all of them and still give some attention to the little ones who aren't in school, yet.
And I think I found one of the biggest reasons I love homeschooling this week. I get to watch the progress the kids make, and that is very exciting. My five-year old, who used to struggle with the reading program we got is now flying through the lessons.  That is so fun to see! 
It was also exciting to see my daughter - who's teacher last year complained about her horrible handwriting, surprise me with very beautiful handwriting when she's motivated to use it.
Last night, my fifth grader was disappointed that today is Saturday and he can't do school.  Granted, it's because he wants to earn another sticker for the prize box, but I'll take it!
And the best thing about this week is the discovery of unit studies.  I've never used them before, but learned about them from the homeschool conference this summer. Since the kids will be using the computer and internet in school, we started the year off with learning about computers - starting with computer safety and rules. They have loved it and have been so engaged!  We have had some really great conversations. I got some great books from the library, we took apart a broken laptop so we could see all the parts, we made rules for computer and internet use, and the kids spent an afternoon AFTER school was over, still looking at the computer books and talking about the cool things in it. 
We did have struggles, but I think as we get used to the homeschool routine, they will iron themselves out.  I already know - from previous homeschooling experience - that new ones will come up, but the success of this first week is still so exciting to me.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sketches of the Kirtland Temple

These are VERY quick sketches - I just had time to get the basic information down and the add a little paint to get an idea of the lighting later.  Perspective is WAAAAAAYYY off, but it still is fun to look at what I drew and at least be able to remember in my head what it looked like in real life.
I remember being surprised at how unique and beautiful the entrance was.  I think it was one of my favorite parts of the temple - maybe just because I was so surprised. I didn't realize it was three-stories, with two sets of stairs - one on either side, going up to the second and third levels, with a beautiful opening cut out of the second story landing.  I had an idea of what the main room looked like from pictures, but there were a lot of surprises.  I do wish I had a little more time to spend on the sketches, but was happy I got what I did.  I might try to take a few of them and work them out a little better.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

This post is going to be a little out of order. I've wanted to include posts as we went on this crazy adventure in Columbus, but we have been busy making memories, so I will have to post about them later.  I just wanted to get my thoughts out on what a great day we had yesterday.
My heart is so full.  I love my God, and I feel Him, and I trust Him.  I've really felt Him close to me, guiding me. I've been able to see His hand in my life every day on this trip, and in the weeks leading up to it, and His love is what I was feeling on our way to visit Kirtland, OH.
I've been wanting to visit for years, but this was my first real opportunity. I'm glad it took this long, however, because I was prepared in ways I can't really describe in this post.
We visited the temple first.  The really great thing about carrying a sketchbook, is that sometimes they will let you sketch what they won't let you photograph.  I was so disappointed that I couldn't take pictures inside the temple, and so I asked if I could do the next best thing - sketch it.  The tour guide said absolutely and even talked long enough at each stop to let me get the important information down so I can go back and finish the drawings later.
When we got to the last room - the chapel on the second floor, while I was sketching, the tour guide said they usually sing The Spirit of God, but since it was just Kameron and I and one other visitor, he said we didn't have to do that.
While I was finishing the last sketch, I thought, "Wait!  I want to sing!"  I didn't know what to do - I didn't know if I had the courage to ask if we could sing anyways - it was not something I would normally do, but then I thought, "There is no way I am coming all the way to the Kirtland Temple without singing The Spirit of God in it like my ancestors did.  I don't know when I'll be able to come back, and I came for the full experience!"
So, completely out of character for me, I asked him if we could sing it.  He said that usually there's someone to play the organ, but we can sing it a capella like the pioneers did. 
Even better! I love a capella!
So, we sang it.  And it was amazing! I can't even describe the feelings I had.
So that was the attitude I took with me into the rest of the tour of Historic Kirtland - that I came for the full experience.  I participated and read quotes, and it all made my experience more rich by doing things that are usually pretty outside of my comfort zone.
And this morning I was thinking about that thought I had - I came for the full experience!  That applies to life!  I came here for the full experience, and I am not going to let fear rob me of that anymore!

I'll post the sketches of the Kirtland Temple after I clean them up.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Our first day here!

Our first day started out with testing.  Little Man was so brave.  He was scared - he's had the test done before and knows it hurts, but went in bravely, and cooperated, and did so well.  I was a proud mama! 
The good news is that the reflux is gone - the first time almost ever!  The only thing is that they couldn't fill his bladder completely.  They could only fill it about half.  I'm not sure what that means, but they said that Little Man's doctor would call to discuss the results before surgery Friday.
After that testing was over, it was playtime!  We went to the science center and had a blast.  We learned that Venus is 450 degrees on the surface, Mars has Mt. Everest-sized dust devils, Jupiter has lightning that is 10 times stronger than on Earth, Titan - Saturn's moon - has liquid methane lakes and rivers and rains liquid methane because it's too cold for liquid water, and best of all, Neptune rains diamonds.  I don't remember the specifics, other than the extreme pressure on Neptune causes carbon or something to produce diamonds that rain down, and some are the size of boulders! 
We looked for clues in the adventure exhibit, played with water with Poseidon, climbed in and out of submarines, and saw a shrunken head.  That was actually really disturbing, especially after reading how it's done and why.  It definitely gave me the creeps.
We went back to the Ronald McDonald House and ate dinner and Little Man did school.  Not a bad day!

Our first clue!!
Can you believe this is done in jelly beans!?!
Little Man is trying to lift a car!