Sunday, October 30, 2016

Busy Sunday

Most of today was spent running from place to place. About one Sunday a month, all of the students from 5th grade through high school do something with their small group. Every group gets to choose what they'll do and where and when they'll do it. That means that we've got four different events that we've got to navigate on those Sundays.

This was that Sunday.

My group went out for shakes right after church, from 12:30-2:00. Beth and i then dashed over to my parents' house to pick up the boys, quickly sing "Happy birthday" to my niece, and say a super-fast hello. Houston's group was meeting at his leader's house at 2:30 for yard and board games, so we dropped him off first. And then we went to drop off Zane at HIS leader's house at 3:00 for Nerf wars and s'mores.

Beth was over for about an hour and a half, so we got to hang out a bit, and then i was off to go pick Zane up again. He'd brought all of his Nerf bullets, and when i got there he was still missing most of them, so i walked around with him for about half an hour, searching for lost bullets.

By the time we got home, i was somewhat starving, having eaten nothing but a shake and a few fries all day, so Zane and i each ate a bowl of cereal while we waited for Juanito and the other kids to get home.

And once they got home, i spent most of the rest of the night helping Houston finish a giant project for English. They had to do 5 different mini-projects based on the books "The Crucible" and "The Scarlet Letter." There was a giant list of options, and Houston chose to make a picture book, a bumper sticker, a greeting card, a list of the top ten ways to tell if someone is a witch, and a short scene from a play. To his credit, he had already completely finished three of them and was very nearly finished with the fourth. He set to work writing the screenplay, which he was all, "It'll only take me 15-30 minutes!" (I was more skeptical, suggesting that it would probably take an hour or two. I was right.) And then i helped him organize it all on a posterboard. And he miraculously was completely finished by 9:30. (I have learned the perils of procrastination and am trying hard to help my kids not follow in my footsteps!)

After a weekend of very little sleep, i am quite remarkably exhausted.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Leader's retreat and lots of stuff about Halloween.

Last night and most of today, we had a leader's retreat for all of the student leaders at our church. Last night was mostly filled with eating pizza, getting to know the other leaders, and watching the guys try to kill each other by climbing inside of giant inflatable balls and slamming into each other. Today was mostly filled with ... well, less teaching than i would have expected.

Meanwhile, Houston had his first dance. It was a costume dance, and Houston went as an invisible man. He reportedly won the "scariest costume" prize. He looked like this:

And meanwhile, Katrina and Zane spent the night at my parents' house and then got to go to their church's Halloween party, which included trunk-or-treating and games, so my kids were thrilled. Candy and carnival games! Yay! 

And then Katrina had another Halloween party at her friend's house this afternoon. She had fun and came home all happy, and all was good until she came down an hour and a half after going to bed to tell me that she couldn't sleep. Because they'd been telling scary stories at the party, and now she just kept thinking about them and .... Sigh. 

And tonight Juanito is going to a concert with Beth and a couple of other friends. So it's been a bit of a chaotic day/weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The past week and a half.

I was all set to start blogging daily after ArtPrize ended, but then our neighbors' pipes all had to be replaced. And it seems like that shouldn't have affected my blog, but it DID, because as the workers were digging up the entire street (or at least sections of it), one of them - the guy working the backhoe - carelessly took down our phone and internet wires. It would have been annoying no matter what, but the guy who told me was all, "Yeah, so we're just going to cut those wires and they'll come and replace them eventually." I was all, "????" and he said, "Well, we have to cut them, because they're in our way." I was more annoyed by the completely cavalier attitude than anything. Except that then our internet was out for 3 days, and that was also pretty annoying


Last week was Beth's birthday. She took the day off work and we spent it taking pictures, picking apples, visiting the Cheese Lady, and walking around Meijer Gardens. Juanito made her a cake that was very fancy and also very slippery - it was falling apart, but it was still cute.

The annual pumpkin walk was this past weekend. We went on Friday, right as it started, which turned out to be a very good plan. We were some of the first people there, and it wasn't quite dark yet, but we had the path mostly to ourselves and it was great. My sister called later and said that they'd gone and left because the line to get onto the path was over an hour long. Crazy!!!

Saturday was the Zombie Dash downtown. Juanito, the kids, Beth, and a few other friends from Zumba all dressed up like zombies and scared the runners. Juanito was completely overboard disgusting and bloody again, as is his habit. Houston gets a little bit bloody, and Zane and Katrina are two of the cleanest zombies there. I think that either i don't understand what zombies are supposed to look like or Juanito doesn't, because what *i* picture is completely different from what he does. I don't think of zombies as being particularly bloody at all, whereas he covers himself from head to foot in fake blood and guts. Regardless, they all had fun. (I had fun staying home and NOT being covered in fake blood.)

Katrina and Beth decided to be "rainbow unicorns" for Halloween, so they've been working on their costumes together. They tie-dyed hoodies and then made horns, ears, manes, and tails and safety pinned them all together. (They were going to sew them together, but Katrina was all, "I want to be able to wear this hoodie after Halloween!" so they went the safety pin route, which was totally effective and much, much easier.)

Today Houston had his first official orthodontist appointment. They took molds of his teeth to determine what kind of appliance to put on his teeth first. He's really excited about getting braces, except for the "not being allowed to eat bagels" part of it.

And tonight were parent-teacher conferences for Katrina and Zane. Katrina came with us to her conferences, because she really likes to hear the teachers say nice things about her. She always has glowing reports, and i think that she really likes to hear the teachers tell us how much they like her and how well she's doing. We visited her homeroom teacher (for the general report) and her math teacher (because that's the class she struggles in the most, though her teacher said that she's actually doing very well, because that class is taking 2 years' worth of math and covering it in one year), and then we also visited her art and band teachers, because Katrina really wanted us to.

She wanted us to go to her art teacher because that's her favorite subject, and she's doing awesome in it, and i think she wanted to have her teacher sing her praises. The art teacher knows Juanito from Wedgwood, though, so she kind of spent the entire time talking about other stuff. I finally said, "I think Katrina wants you to tell us how well she's doing...." and she was all, "Oh. Yes, she's great." And then we went to her band teacher because she's been working so, so hard in band, and the band director was very nice and was happy when we told her how glad we are to have her, especially after the last band director, but didn't actually say anything about Katrina until i asked specifically, and then she was all, "Yes. She's doing fine. She turns in her practice sheets and everything...." (She's getting an A+. I kind of think that deserves more praise than "fine," but whatever.) So i think Katrina was somewhat disappointed that she didn't get more kudos from either of them.

And then there's Zane, who is getting acceptable grades, but who is just going to be the death of me. He's gotten better at in-class behavior! Yay! He still doesn't turn in his homework or answer essay questions on tests with more than two words. Boo! But his teacher really likes him! Yay!

There are more pictures right here, if you want to see them.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Babies and politics and awkwardness

Today was Sunday, and we all went to my parents' house for dinner. Jim and Alisha were there, so we got to see and hold my little nephew and niece - Micah and Eloise - for the first time since we saw them in the hospital. They're getting bigger, but they're still just so tiny and adorable! They're both still 2-3 pounds lighter than my babies were when they were born, so....

We're three weeks out from the presidential election, and going to my parents' house around election time is always a bit of a minefield for me, I tend to lean Democrat while the rest of my family is pretty securely Republican, so i generally do my best to just avoid political conversations as much as possible. THIS election - Trump vs. Clinton - is particularly ugly, so every time we're going to see my family, i remind my children not to say Anything! Political! At all! And if anyone else talks about politics, just let it go. Houston was all, "If they say something i think is funny, can i laugh?" Me: "No." Him: "Okay. If they start talking about Trump, i'll just come tell you i need help with my homework." I feel a bit like a coward, but i also think that i just need to get through the next month or two without any hard feelings on anyone's side. And thankfully, today was gotten through with very minimal talk of politics. Only three more weeks. We can do this.

Tonight was parents' night at Fifty6, which meant that we had some of our girls' parents come visit our group. I am completely intimidated by adults. I realize that that is ridiculous, since i technically AM an adult, but being in charge of leading a group of 12-year-olds is somehow far easier than being in charge of explaining to 4 women what we're trying to do with their children in our group. I get all overly exuberant and ask stupid questions when there are awkward silences. And then i look at Beth all panicky, hoping that she can do something to stop the train wreck. I am entirely glad that that is finished for the year.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

ArtPrize 2016 recap!

There are nearly 500 ArtPrize pictures here. Just in case anyone is actually interested.

ArtPrize 2016 ended about a week ago, and for the past week we've been enjoying getting back into the normal, boring routine. I absolutely love ArtPrize, and i love going downtown and walking around and experiencing it all, and i wouldn't wish to not have it, BUT i'm glad that it only lasts three weeks. (Four weeks, if you're doing the preview week like we did....)

Beth and i both managed to make it to all of the venues, which means that we saw nearly all of the art (i'm sure we missed a thing or two), and i can say that there was a LOT of really great art. A few of my favorite things:

 This statue was so amazingly realistic, which alone is impressive, but the emotion that is all over their faces and body language. I'd have been okay with this winning, honestly.

These season pictures are both really beautiful and also interesting enough to just stand and look at for a really long time. Juanito and i both agreed that we'd want to have these hanging in our house.

Okay, i don't exactly "love" these, but i do just think they're really, really cute. Little felted balls! Random! Adorable!

We went to Meijer Gardens, and right afterwards i told Beth that it was "Meh. Nothing too exciting." But then, for the next week or two, i kept thinking about two of the pieces. They're not my favorite, favorite things, but the more time that went by, the more that i liked them.

 This was a series of little pictures of eyes, that completely sucked me in. This one is my favorite.

This drawing is so, so beautiful. 

This is another one that i didn't love immediately, but the longer i stood and looked at it, the more i liked it. Not because i think it's so well done, but because i just love the feel of it. It reminds me of family reunions.

This giant train track was built piece by piece by this adorable little old man who was sitting there every time i was there. Beth and i talked to him on the last day we were there, and he was just incredibly happy to talk about how he made it.

This was a really, really cool installment of a zillion strings of different colors strung between the ceiling and the floor. Everywhere you stood, it looked different and beautiful.

This was my absolutely favorite thing in all of ArtPrize this year. It's a handmade, woven rug, and it's simply amazing. A. Maz. Ing. It didn't even make the top 20. I was sad.

Nothing that won was my favorite at all, and some of it was completely ridiculously terrible, so i'm not even going to post any of those results. This is my own little ArtPrize awards. :)