Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween! My sister Jill has had a Halloween party most years - one where the kids and ladies are invited, and everyone needs to wear a costume. My mom dressed up as her mom, wearing all clothes that she got from my grandma, and she was super cute. We had Batman and a waitress and a fencer. My sister-in-law Alisha was a fish, and Harrison (who is one) was a scuba diver, with the cutest little costume. And that's just the adults. (And one kid, i guess.) My kids all had fun. Houston is very nearly too old to go, but he honestly looks so forward to it.

Jill's party ended at 12:30, and then Houston and Katrina had another Halloween party to go to at 1:00. I dropped them off at that party and went to Beth's house, where Juanito was hanging out with Beth and Keren. He took Zane home, and i went out for lunch with Beth and Keren (fun!) and then picked the kids up again at 4:00.

We came home for an hour and a half. Katrina immediately headed upstairs and took a nap for the entire time. Houston went to his room to "be quiet." Zane excitedly talked and talked and talked and told me all kids of random stories until Juanito took him to the store with him. And then we were off to go trick-or-treating.

Today was a terrible day, weather-wise. It was raining and cold and just miserable. I would have walked around for a couple of hours if i were going to get a giant bag of candy at the end of it, but without that motivation, it just didn't look like fun. We told the kids that we'd wait at Grandma's (warm, dry) house while they walked up and down that street, and then we'd drive them to the next street and follow them in the (warm, dry) car until they decided that they were finished. Except then the kids' cousins ended up walking around with them, and my sister and my brother-in-law both were walking around with them, and so Juanito and i stayed at my parents' house for the entire time while the rest of them got soaked.

We did make ourselves useful, though. I copied a million pictures from my mom's ipad to her computer, while Juanito fiddled with my dad's laptop to try to make it behave again. And then i made both of my parents take the (not-really) Meyer-Briggs test to see what personality type they are, because i think it's fascinating. So it was fascinating (to me, anyhow) that i am one letter away from each of my parents, who are two letters away from each other. My dad's an ISTJ and my mom's an ISFP, and i am an ISFJ. Meanwhile, my mom is right in-between me and Juanito, who is an ESFP. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

'Twas the Night before Halloween....

The kids didn't have school today, due to the parent-teacher conferences the past few days, which was lovely. I woke up Houston up at 10:30, and when i asked him how he was doing a little while later, he was all, "GREAT! Sleeping in was fantastic!" Zane insists that he slept until 10:00, but he's exaggerating by at least an hour. Nevertheless, sleeping in was done by all, and lo, it was wonderful.

Katrina and Zane helped me make my costume this morning. We went to the store for groceries and pumpkins. (My kids honestly do not care whether their pumpkins come from an orchard where they can pick their own pumpkin from a field or from Meijer where they can pick their pumpkin from a box, so we opt for the much cheaper Meijer option.) We snuggled and read. It was lovely.

Once Juanito was home, we carved pumpkins. Katrina would very much like it known that she decided to do a vampire pumpkin first, and then Zane copied her. Katrina and Zane both hate touching the goopy stuff on the inside of the pumpkin, and they're still kind of little to be using the sharp knives, so basically, Juanito and i did all of the work on those pumpkins. I cleaned out Katrina's and carved Zane's, and Juanito cleaned out Zane's and carved Katrina's. The kids did totally design them, though. They drew the faces on the pumpkins in marker, and then we just traced their lines with the knife.

Honestly, sharp knives + pumpkins = dangerous. I totally cut myself, and i'm used to using our knives. That said, Houston did almost everything on his pumpkin by himself this year, and he did a great job. It's Harry Potter, and it's adorable. And he didn't even hurt himself at all. Yay, Houston!

Keren's in town this weekend, so she and Beth joined us for pizza-movie night. We all made the pizzas and talked and laughed, and then we crowded into chairs and the couch. It's been a while since we've seen Keren, so the kids cuddled up with her, while Emma tried hard to sleep on top of poor Beth. We watched "Twitches," which is a completely made-for-TV cheesy movie, but it's Halloween-appropriate and also not terrifying to children. (Mostly. Though Zane says that he's scared by "The Darkness," so we'll see how that goes.)

After the kids went to bed, we adults hung out and had actual conversation. It was lovely.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween preview and more conferences

Several years ago, we brought our kids to a church that was having a "Trunk or Treating" event going on. There were dozens of cars, and everyone gave out lots of candy. Ever since then, the kids have asked about doing that again, but i'd either hear about the events after they were finished, or they'd be at the same time as something else we were doing, or whatever. So this year, i remembered to look up if there was going to be anyplace doing it at time when we could go. And the best and only option was...basically at the same time as Zane's parent-teacher conference.

So we went to the conferences for the other two kids yesterday, and we ate dinner ridiculously early, and we headed over as soon as Zane's conference was finished. was kind of lame. It was indoors, probably moved there because it had been raining off and on all day, so they basically had a whole bunch of tables set up in one room, and the kids just kind of walked around through the tables, getting a piece of candy at each table. I was thinking, "Meh. We could have skipped that," but as soon as we got home, the kids were all, "Let's go have a small trading party!!!!" So i guess they enjoyed it.

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Zane's conference was not as bad as i expected, but also not awesome. His teacher had glowing comments about his behavior and his personality ("He's SUCH a great kid! He brought in some of his books and asked to put them all up front for other kids to look at and borrow if they wanted to. It was so sweet!"). He fiddles and wiggles, which is no surprise, as he's been doing that since always, but he's quiet about it and stops immediately if given a look. So that's all good.

But he just doesn't do well on his actual school work, and none of us are sure if it's because he's just too inattentive (and we are going to go ahead and evaluate him for ADD, which i'm sure he has, with the "Primarily Inattentive" aspect) and that's keeping him from actually focusing on his work OR if he's just straight up not doing it because he just doesn't feel like it. I feel like that's an important difference.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Conferences and other random things

During conferences, our school always has a book fair - kind of like a mini book store that comes to the school. My kids LOVE the book fair and always, always buy books from it. What always amuses me is that they buy books that i would never expect them to buy. This year, Houston bought a little book with Grumpy Cat "inspirational" sayings, a book about myths that aren't true, and "Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall." Zane bought a diary for boys and a book about sea creatures. Katrina's the only one i could possibly have predicted, with a National Geographic book about animals. (I got a $10 certificate for working at the book fair, so bought a couple of books for me too, because i am a teenage girl.)

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Tonight was the movie premier night, which i've been going to with Beth and Stephanie for the past year or so. Every 4 months, the theater offers free tickets to whoever grabs them first. They offer little containers of candy (usually - this time there were just crackers and cookies), movie posters, and a chance to win a raffle, and they show about 30-40 movie previews in a row. It sounds kind of weird, but it's actually quite an enjoyable night out. This time, my mom and two of my sisters came along, and it was totally fun.

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The school does middle school conferences like this: All of the teachers sit at a table in the gym, and you go to whatever teacher you want to talk to (usually the homeroom teacher), and they tell you how your kid is doing. There's no set times or anything. And so today we went to talk to Katrina and Houston's teachers.

Both of them were really excited about conferences, especially Houston, because he knew - knew, for the first time ever - that he was doing really, really well. No missing assignments (except that one that he didn't know about, from when he was sick), good grades in everything, and good behavior. It's such a change from the early days of his schooling, when i used to despair that he'd ever stop being in trouble all the time. It's lovely.

Katrina's conference was the fasted thing ever. Teacher: "Here's her grades. They're great. She's such a great kid, and such a pleasure to have in class, and so dedicated to working hard. Any questions?" Us: "Nope."

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fifty6 and homework

Tonight was parent night for Students at Mars, which was complicated this year, because i'm now a leader as well. Houston never even mentioned it and just disappeared as soon as we got to church. Katrina dragged me to meet her leader before the program actually started, and then i stood by her during the teaching, and that seemed to be acceptable.

Meanwhile, we got to meet most of the girls in our group and their parents at the same time. We seem to have a really great group of girls. There are a few that i feel like i'm immediately drawn to, but all of them seem like good kids. Katrina asked me if we got the really scream-y girls, and i'm pretty sure we didn't, so that's good.

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Tonight i had the kids get ready for bed and get their stuff ready for school tomorrow, and as Katrina was getting her school bag ready, she remembered that she still had to finish some math homework. And 9:00 at night is totally the best time to remember homework due the next day. Sigh.

She set to work on it and worked hard...and realized after 45 minutes that she'd just done an entire page and a half completely wrong. She was completely devastated, both because she had to re-do all of the work that she'd just done, and because she was just SO INCREDIBLY TIRED. She sobbed uncontrollably for about five minutes, and then was able to pull herself together to do it over and finish it up.

I'm torn between feeling sad for the poor girl (because having to re-do all your work when you're tired is the WORST) and feeling annoyed that she forgot about it and left it to the last possible minute. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Zombie Dash

Last year Juanito, Stephanie, and a couple of Juanito's friends from Zumba did the Zombie Dash, and Beth, the kids, and i went to watch for a little while. The kids totally enjoyed watching it, and Zane especially was super excited to participate this year.

It was raining today. And it's chilly. And Katrina was at her cousin's birthday party, so she and i were late getting there...and apparently Zane was absolutely miserable. Poor little guy. I brought him an old, tattered coat, borrowed from my mom (a coat that was, incidentally, perfect for being a zombie), and he leapt out at people from behind a thing and...kind of enjoyed himself, in-between bouts of misery because he didn't think he was scaring people enough or people were bumping into him or....? It's hard being a nine-year-old zombie.

Everyone else seemed to enjoy themselves, though. Juanito was kind of over-the-top bloody, and Katrina was a fresh kill who was only barely a zombie, along with Beth, who was a zombie cheerleader. Houston and Stephanie and the rest of the people kind of fell in the middle of the gory-meter.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Student of the Month

Last night i got an email from Katrina's teacher, telling me that she was getting an award in the assembly today. That should have been my first hint that middle school was different - in the past, i'd get an email days in advance telling me exactly what was coming.

I dropped the kids off casually, made sure Katrina wasn't watching, and parked in the parking lot to wait until school started. As soon as i walked into the gym, it was obvious that this just wasn't going to be like assemblies in the past. The bleachers weren't taken down, so there was nowhere to sit (i took them down), and there were no other parents there. At all. Eventually two other parents wandered in, but in elementary school award assemblies, the bleachers (all three sets) are always packed full of parents.

When Katrina walked in, she didn't immediately look at the bleachers, so i thought that maybe she'd actually be surprised this time around. Usually she's seen me as soon as she walks into the gym and knows immediately that she's getting an award. She continued to not look back at all for half of the assembly, all through the completely random and utterly un-understandable skits that were supposedly about respect. (I mean, DUDE. There was a 20-30 minute thing that felt more like hours, where one of the teachers boringly explained how we could have respect for ourselves, and then the seventh graders had a skit that made NO SENSE done by kids who were reading off papers and skipping lines, i think, and ... pretending that one of the smaller kid had become a larger kid because he had eaten too much? Which seemed kind of mean to the larger kid. And then the teacher explained how we could respect each other, followed by a skit that made no sense.... This went on through respecting teachers and the building and ... something else. It was interminable.)

As soon as she realized that it was awards day, though, she swiveled around to look, saw me...and immediately deduced that she was getting an award. Stinker.

So i'm going to brag a second: Here we are, first month of awards, and Katrina has received the "Student of the month for moral focus." I'm not surprised. She's an incredibly dedicated, hard-working, kind student. She's the kind of kid i'd want in my classroom. I'm super proud of her. She's such a great kid.

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Tonight we went to see "Minions" at the movie theater, because it was free for kids and only $5 for adults. It was a cute movie, and going to the theater is a fun thing to do, but it kind of doesn't feel like a Friday right now, because there was no pizza or anything. I'm a creature of habit, and this has totally thrown off my routine. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pumpkin Walk

We've been going to the Pumpkin Walk since 2010, and it's a tradition that my kids love.

There are certain pumpkins that they do every year - even the first one, which i just realized when i was checking pictures to see when we started going. There's Bert and Ernie every single year, and Cinderella, and this giant snake made of about 10 pumpkins. But there are always new and creative pumpkins as well, and it's fun to see what people come up with. People are amazing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mean Girls

A few days ago, Katrina was looking at a recent picture of herself and exclaimed, "Are my freckles fading!? I don't want that to happen!"

I love it that that's her attitude. She loves her body right now. Her favorite thing on her is her legs, because "they're really strong and i can use them to run." She loves her freckles. She knows that she's super-cute.

And right now, i really, really dislike mean girls. And, honestly, all of the people who have told her in the past or will tell her in the future why she and her body and her style are not good enough.

A few weeks ago, we were out somewhere, and a random man we'd never met before told her, "I'll bet you hate your freckles, don't you?" Katrina just looked at him and didn't say anything, but as soon as we walked away, she was all, "Why do people always think that i don't like my freckles? I love my freckles!"

Today, she wore a super-cute and very "Katrina" dress - a sparkly purple one, with lots of ruffles running vertically - to school. After school, she was all sad, and when i asked her about it, she said, "Lots of girls came up to me and said, 'Oh, i'm sorry you have to wear that dress. I bet your mom bought it for you, didn't she?'"

I hugged her and reassured her that i absolutely LOVE her style, and that she looked adorable. And then we had a talk about mean girls. Because these weren't her friends, and they weren't being asked what they thought, and even if they were, that's just a straight-up incredibly mean thing to say. If you don't like someone's dress? Just shut up. If they ask you, then you can say something like, "Well, it's not my style." But to walk up to someone in the hall and tell them that their dress is ugly? That's unacceptable. And such a stupid middle-school-type thing to do. GRRR. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Beth's birthday! Woohoo!

Today was Beth's birthday, and i got to spend it with her. Yay!

There's a giant mural on a wall a mile or so away, and it's completely random and weird and changes from one look to a completely different look about four times. It's perfect for using as a backdrop for pictures. So Beth posed, and i stood in the middle of the street, hoping not to get hit, and we took birthday pictures. And they're totally cute.

We didn't do anything very exciting, honestly, but we hung out all day and ran some errands and went out for dessert and went to Rockford to walk around and see pretty colors, and in the evening we had cake and presents and grilled cheese with the rest of my family.

The kids (and Juanito) were really happy to celebrate too - both because they love Beth, and because...cake! Katrina made Beth a little banner that says, "You are so awesome!" and a little picture that's completely adorable. And Juanito installed Beth's garage door opener and made an adorable picture with a hedgehog and a fox and an owl drinking coffee. Done with melted crayons. So cute.

And they they all went to zumba. And then Beth and i watched Pitch Perfect 2 and both fell asleep by the end, with Emma curled up happily between us.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


The kids ministry at church started up again a few weeks ago, so Katrina and Houston have been going to the Sunday night meetings, and Zane's been going to what we used to call Sunday School. But the church was still totally needing leaders, and so this week, Beth and i started as co-leaders for a group of fifth graders.

It was kind of a weird week to start, because it was a "we're not going to meet at the church like usual! Instead every group will just go off and do their own fun thing!" night. Luckily, all of the fifth graders were doing their fun thing together, rather than in small groups, and so Beth and i were able to just show up and hope to find the girls that will be in our group. The activity was at a farm owned by the parents of the family leaders, so we got to see lots of cows, take a hay ride, and enjoy the beauty.

The sixth graders had a pool party - so they went swimming. Outside. In October. In Michigan. I mean, the pool was heated up to something like 90 degrees, but it's still a good thing that it was not horribly, horribly cold today. When i picked Katrina up, i practically had to drag her out of the pool, and a couple of the leaders told me that she'd been the first one in, and had spent nearly the entire time in the pool. She was happy, but completely exhausted.

Houston was supposed to have a really, really fun activity that he was completely excited about. They were going to play tag in a corn maze. And then carve pumpkins. We showed up at the farm at the appointed time...and there was nobody there. Nobody. Because it's closed on Sundays. I called Juanito and had him double-check the email...and it was yesterday. 

Houston was really, incredibly good-natured and kind about the entire thing, and assured me that it was COMPLETELY fine. No worries at all, Mom. But i feel terrible, because he was really excited about going, and Houston just hasn't been really excited about going to church events ever. Not because he doesn't like church, but because ever since fifth grade, he just doesn't feel like he really fits in. The first two years were terrible - he just hated it, and we basically let him drop out for most of sixth grade. Last year he had totally new leaders and a new group and Katrina and a couple of other friends in the building, and it was much, much better. But he's not been really, truly excited to go to many things. So i feel really, really sad about dropping the ball on this one. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Family Drawing Night

It's been nearly a year since we last did Family Drawing Night - what with school and zumba and boy scouts and lots of other random things, it's just fallen by the wayside. And i missed it. And the kids missed it. And so tonight we all sat down to draw for an hour or two.

I love that Zane is starting to branch out beyond squiggly monsters that he draws in 2 minutes. He drew a really cute whale right away, and then a great jelly fish ("without a heart, because jellyfish don't have brains or hearts, you know!"), and then tried to think of more sea creatures. And so! An eel and a starfish! 

Katrina copied Zane's jellyfish idea and ran with it. She tried a new kind of eyes, and they're kind of creepy-adorable. And there are some tiny hermit crabs down on the bottom, and they're darling. 

And Houston, inspired by Katrina's art box, brought down the art box that my parents gave him for his birthday years ago, and FINALLY discovered how completely awesome it is. He decided that he actually really likes colored pencils, and he used the oil pastels for the first time, and the harder and softer pencils for the first time, and he was all, "How have i never used this all before!?" Katrina was positively drooling over it, wishing she had one that was that cool. 

Houston's drawing is a "Venus fly." Not a Venus flytrap. Just the fly. I love it.

So! All in all, a successful family drawing night. We seriously need to do this more often.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Furiously Happy

However many years ago that Jenny Lawson's book "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" came out, Juanito and the kids were awesome enough to know i wanted it like crazy, so they got it for me for mother's day, and i proceeded to laugh out loud while reading it. A lot. Her new book, "Furiously Happy" just came out a month ago, and i immediately got it from the library and read it and laughed a lot again.

This time, Houston and Katrina were both all, "Can we read it?!" And...i'm not a fan of banning books, all. If you want to read something, you may read it. (I might make you have a lot of discussion about it afterwards, though.) But i DID say, "Um...well, there's a lot of swearing....." And they both got sad faces and said, "Oh. Okay."

And so i started reading it to them out loud, editing what needed to be edited.

It is the WEIRDEST book i've ever read out loud to my kids. It's all about her struggle with mental illness, but it's told in the funniest way possible, and there are a lot of times when i have to pause in my reading because they are both laughing SO LOUD that they wouldn't even be able to hear me. They are loving it. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

ArtPrize, ArtPrize, and more ArtPrize.

I mean, things have happened this month. Zane started Boy Scouts again and the Katrina and Houston started going to Fifty6 and The Element (the middle school church groups) again. There were tests and there was homework and we even managed to squeeze in a pizza-movie night (though, to be honest, i think that we actually started eating at about 8:00). Juanito and Katrina managed to paint Katrina's bike, which was THRILLING (for Katrina).

But honestly, our life has been pretty dominated by ArtPrize for the past month.

First, Juanito was spending every single minute he could find working on his piece. He lost sleep and skipped fun family outings and gave up spending time doing anything else so that he could get it finished in time. He not only drew his picture, but he also built the frame for it. (And a stool. Because: procrastination.) But he finished it on time, and it was fantastic.

Since he was an artist this year, Juanito tried to sit by his art when he could, so he spent quite a few hours there. I think that he probably didn't spend as many hours at his piece as he expected to, though, because ArtPrize is addicting, and he kept wanting to walk around and see the rest of the art out there. He took off work a couple of days, skipped Zumba on the first day of ArtPrize, and spent as much free time as he could downtown.

My dad picked up my grandpa and brought him downtown, where my mom and my sister Jackie and i joined him. We walked around and looked at art, obviously stopping in at Panera to visit Juanito and let everyone see his drawing. It was my grandpa's first time at ArtPrize, and i think that he really enjoyed it. Yay!

Juanito's mom and his his brother JJ came up to visit for several days, to see Juanito's art (and the rest of ArtPrize). We took them around to see as much art as they could stand, but i think they were both pretty finished with ever seeing art again by the time that they left.

The kids went along and saw a LOT of the art, but they're not quite as obsessive about it as we adults are. Zane, especially, was just not interested in spending a lot of time at ArtPrize, and was pretty quick to want to be done. Houston enjoyed being there when he was downtown, but he generally chose to not go if he was allowed to make the choice. The amazing thing, this year, is that Houston is 13, and we can totally leave the kids home alone.

Katrina, on the other hand, came with us downtown several times while the boys stayed home. I'm not sure if she was just happy to be the only kid with the adults, where she got lots of attention and didn't have to deal with brothers, or if she just really liked looking at art, but i suspect it was a bit of both. She was awesome to walk around with, and ended up being my partner when we split up into smaller groups in the big venues. We were generally interested in the same things, so we'd just barely glance at some stuff, and then stand and look for a long time at other things...and almost always, we were standing and studying the same things. It made for a fun experience.

Both Houston and Katrina (and, a little bit, Zane) have really interesting observations about the art that we see. When the artist is around, they ask really good questions. And they tend to be drawn to the same stuff i'm drawn to. Not necessarily the "best" art and almost certainly not the most "deep" and "meaningful" art with long artist statements that only other artists understand, but also not only the giant, "shiny" art that Artists are so disdainful of.

I volunteered at ArtPrize this year, and worked 5 shifts. I did all different things - i registered people and stood by art yelling, "DON'T TOUCH THAT!" and put together signs.

And we walked around and drove around and walked some more and just looked and looked and looked at art. And there were great and good and okay and terrible artworks. Beth and i both somehow managed to go to every single venue.

The very first day, i told Beth and Juanito that i just wasn't as impressed this year by a lot of the art as previous years. And then i decided to stop being whiny and give it a chance. And i think i did. And i just looked back at all of the pictures i took for the past three weeks, and...i think i wasn't impressed this year as i was in some of the other years. There were a lot of things i liked, and some things i really liked, but there wasn't very much that i LOVED. When the finalists were announced, i was annoyed. And when the winners were announced, i was even more annoyed. (I never even took a single picture of the winning public vote piece, because i just Did. Not. Like. It. And the winning juried piece was just ridiculous.)

And so, here are MY votes for the top 25. (I get to make my own rules, so i'll keep their four categories, but i'm allowed to put as many into each category as i want. Because i CAN.) These are the ones that made me happy or sad or just really captivated. These are the ones that i kept wanting to go back to to look at them one more time.

Karen's completely subjective and probably totally un-artsy choices that would make the jurors swoon with disdain list of favorites:

2D Category:

(I am now removing Juanito's picture from my competition, because otherwise he would CLEARLY win.)

I just think that this one is lovely. 

Something about this just draws me in and makes me  want to keep looking at it.

This one actually was in the top five - the only one on my list that was. I think that it's just really emotional even without any of the story, but then once you know the story behind it, it's even more powerful.

Y'know what? This just makes me smile. Loads and loads of artists paint people without clothes, but this is the first time i've seen clothes without their people.

Beth and Keren and Katrina and i all stood in front of this one for ages, looking for our favorites. It's 100 women that she's drawn on cancelled checks, and i just really, really like it.

I LOVE this, and i just don't even understand how it WASN'T in the top 20. It's a giant wall of 22 women from different countries around the world. They're beautiful.

Okay, so this is both just kind of clever and funny, and also really well done. The "Sky Jack" and "Pair of Jacks" are especially beautiful. 

Honestly, i just saw this for the first time yesterday - i somehow missed it the first time - and so maybe i won't like it as much in a few weeks, but i think it's clever and really cool.

Tiny things. Beth, Juanito, and i stood and looked and looked at these and kept pointing out new ones to each other. They're adorable.

From the first time i saw these, i was completely impressed. They're four pieces and they're all quilted, and they're amazing. I just can't get over how well done they are.

3D Category: 

Honestly, i think that i liked this artist's entry better last year. But last year he was in a tiny venue, and not many people saw it, and i'm really glad that he won his category this year.

This was my first choice for 3D. It's all made out of screen, and it's amazing.

This just makes me smile. It's pretty and delicate and whimsical.

There was a lot of Japanese pottery at Meijer Gardens this year, and it was mostly really, really beautiful. This was my favorite piece there, though.

Okay, i just think these are cute. And my kids liked them. And they're fun.

I contend that this is an installation, but they listed it as 3-D, so, fine. Beth and i just stood and looked at this one for ages. It's the last meal of 600 different people who were given the death sentence in America. And it's SO sad.

These are just pretty.

Also just pretty and creative and well-done.

I loved Melondy. 

Installation category:

So these were little swirls of paint that was poured and then scraped up, and i can't explain why i liked them, but i did.

This is just beautiful. And really interesting from every angle.  

I want to own this and put it in my house and curl up in it and read and draw and cuddle.

The more that i looked at this, the more that i liked it. 

Time-Based Category:

This is the only one i really liked from this category. It was interesting and different and the kids loved it.

Grand Prize:

This was the first thing that i loved, and every time i saw it (many times), i was impressed again. It's just so, so good. (My choice may change a dozen times over the next year, though.)