Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin guts!
Sometimes Etta likes to hang out in pumpkins.
Our pumpkin family.
Hope your Halloween is great!
Love, Etta Ballerina . . .
. . . and Princess Aven a.k.a. The Princess Who Rescues Herself

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Turtleneck and Chain

This turtleneck is like one of my best . . .

I just couldn't resist.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Octobery Fun

After two grueling weeks of work I was ready for a break. Luckily it was U.E.A. I had a pretty long to-do list in my head, so I took the girls to daycare Thursday and Friday, even though I felt VERY guilty about it. I went to the conference for awhile, ran some errands, cleaned my house, started a painting that I had planned out, and made myself a new cuddle blanket to replace the shreds that remained of the one my aunt made me for Christmas when I was twelve. It's hard to take Aven and Etta to daycare on my off days but it allowed me to get so much done that we were able to devote Saturday to fun fall activities.

First came the Pumpkin Regatta at Sugarhouse park. People grew enormous pumpkins, carved out the insides, and then got inside of them and raced them across Sugarhouse pond. One guy even took his dog aboard. It was pretty fun.
I was kinda disappointed that none of the pumpkins tipped over.

There was another category where people raced boats that were built with pumpkins and other materials.

After a late lunch and a brief nap we dragged a still-groggy Aven out of her bed, got her costumed up and went to Garden After Dark at Red Butte Gardens. This was our third year and it was once again a really fun event. We had thirteen people in our group. It was challenging to keep everyone together, but we all had a great time.

We started by painting pumpkins in the Orangerie. 

Our attempt to get all the kids in one photo. Back row: Payton, Zachary, Jaxon, Gwen, Aven, Me, Etta. Front row: Jacey and Haddie.

After decorating werewolf masks they all sat on the wall and howled.  I wish I had a video, it was super cute.

A headless, glowing Aven in the black-lit spook alley.
Aven was so tired when we got home that she didn't try to engage us in her usual bedtime-avoiding tactics. She was asleep within five minutes of climbing into bed. I call that a successful day!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Going Back

For weeks I have been anticipating my return to work with a mixture of fear, dread, and excitement. I have had all sorts of scenarios playing out in my head about how hard it would be to balance everything, how exhausted I would be, and how I would be irritable with my students and my family. I just finished my first five days of work and so far it has been a breeze compared to my worst imaginings. My sub did an amazing job getting the year started. I walked into my classroom on the 7th week of school to students who knew the routines and rules and to a well organized and clean environment. I'm so lucky that she was willing to sub for me even though her only art class experience was a negative one way back in her own middle school years. The more knowledgeable kids stepped up and helped her demonstrate concepts that she wasn't comfortable with such as color mixing and painting techniques. I think I may ask her to start out every school year for me.

Family life has also not been as stressful as I had anticipated even though my sweet little Etta came down with a cold and fever the night before my first day back. Luckily Ian had the day off and was able to keep her home and take her to the doctor. I guess after having one baby and going through all the tough stuff the first few years I have learned a lot and am able to be way more efficient and less stressed than I was when Aven was a baby.

Aven and Etta have started daycare. Etta is doing well. She sleeps 4-6 hours a day at daycare and then is awake most of the evening, which is really nice. I feel like I get lots of quality time with her. Those are some pretty expensive naps though. Aven is now in the daycare's preschool program and she loves it. She's starting to recognize letters and numbers everywhere we go. Sometimes she's right, sometimes not. I love how enthusiastic she is about learning her letters and numbers. She is also taking tap and ballet lessons, which are offered through daycare. She loves coming home on dance day, putting on her tap shoes and showing us her new dance moves. Her awesome dance moves actually earned Etta's first belly laughs last weekend. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

I think after so many years of teaching middle school I crave that crazy-off-the-wall-silly energy that middle school students are so skilled at providing.  I miss my beautiful girls like crazy but I am glad to be back.

Aven on her very first day of preschool.