Friday, August 29, 2014

Having Fun with Kids' Art

There is a lovely author/illustrator named Aaron Zenz who keeps a blog of his children's art.  (All FIVE of them!)  Every so often, to celebrate the blog's anniversary, he invites other illustrators to be inspired by his children's creations and re-interpret them.

It's super fun and it's happening right now.  Check it out here.

I've participated in the past (here's the previous one) so he invited me back for more fun.  Honestly, the hardest part is picking a piece of art to work from.  Those kids are so talented and creative.  It's a difficult challenge to settle on a single piece of art, but I managed.  I choose a work entitled: O Is For OGOPOGO by Elijah.  Here's the original:


I fully intended to do collage when I chose it, but then none of my papers were speaking to me.
I went a different way completely with pen and ink.  Here's mine:


If you haven't already clicked over to Aaron's blog, Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty, do it now.  (But only if you want to smile.)

In other news:  Magoo has been having a good week at middle school.  He has mastered the padlock on his locker, he likes his teachers and hasn't had any issues with jumping from class to class, and he has some friends from his elementary school that he sits with at lunch.  All in all, a big thumbs up!

Have a great Labor Day Weekend, everyone!  Thanks for stopping in!




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day of Middle School!


Magoo is off to his first day of middle school!  ACK!

Yesterday we went in for a walk-through.  Magoo got his schedule, found his locker, practiced the combination, and made his way through the CRAZY crowded hallways (Parents, can you please have your conversations with each other off to the side?) and met all of his teachers.

This transition is such a biggie.   What a lot to remember, when you think about it.  For starters, he had to catch a bus for the first time.  (I hung back so I wouldn't embarrass him, and I won't go tomorrow, but I did want to see what time the bus actually pulled up.  7:35.)


He has to work a combination lock.  He has to switch classes and navigate a building that is all new to him.  I dread the cafeteria moment.  We all know those moments - when you walk in for the first time and don't know where to sit.  Ack!  But those are important defining moments of youth, aren't they?  They show us that we can live through life's uncertainties and then, later, bond over how weird and awful they were.

If there's one thing I can say about this middle school, it is this: they seem to get it.  They really seem to understand how difficult this transition is for the kids and they have all sorts of things in place to help them.  I'm sure Magoo will be fine.  

As for me, I quelled my crazy-mom energy by cleaning his room.

MAN - was that room messy!  He's a Lego kid, so the floor was covered with them.  Landmines galore!  And he has a lot of books, so those were stacked and shoved all over the place.

It took me 90 minutes, but I sorted out the Legos from the Bionicles, put all his DS games away, made the bed ...

... sorted through the books (making a nice pile for the Book Barn), sorted through too-small clothing, and put the miscellaneous toys in the toy chest.


See that floor?  You couldn't see that before!

Yes, I know, I'm creating a young man who doesn't know how to clean his room, but it calmed me.  And this exercise was about me.  :)

Thanks so much for stopping in!  I appreciate you spending a little time with me.  Have a great Wednesday!


Monday, August 25, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


It finally happened.  I was nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Magoo wanted to do it too, so with the help of Curly and Mo, we started off our morning with an icy shower.

If you want to join in the fun, just do it.  Or go here to donate money for this great cause!

Happy Monday, everyone!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Holy Cop Premiere


Last night was the world premiere of Magoo's first film: Holy Cop.  Hand-delivered tickets went out that morning.  Donuts were served that evening to guests in formal attire.


Magoo thanked this guests for coming.  Then, without further ado, we showed the film.


I think it went very well.  The audience laughed where they were supposed to and they asked interesting questions in the Q&A that followed.  Then they wanted to watch it again.  (It's only 3 1/2 minutes long.)  Magoo handled himself like a professional: very courteous and informative.  Then he ran outside to play with his friends.

Now, please allow me to share with you, HOLY COP.


Hope you all enjoyed it!
Have a great week!
Julie

Sunday, August 17, 2014

More S'mores, Please


Magoo had never had a s'more.

We don't camp and even if we did, his dietary restrictions make almost everything in a s'more a food-don't.  But I recently found a recipe for sugar-free marshmallows and we decided to give it a go.  (I already knew how to make gluten-free graham crackers.)

I went out and found some sticks, Mike lit a fire, and Magoo roasted his first "marshmallow."


My graham crackers are a little cakier than regular graham crackers, but they still held the gooey "marshmallow" and melted carob chips altogether.  Mmmmmm.


It was a whopper of a mouthful, but it was a big thumbs up for Magoo!


Magoo milestones:
Roasting marshmallows over a fire - check
Eating s'more - check.

(And he got his first cell phone, too.  It was a good day for Magoo.)

Hope you had a wonderful day involving melted chocolate (or something similar) too!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Holy Cop

A few months ago, Magoo was joking around in the back of the car and he came up with an idea for a cop show parody.  He used to be a priest, then he became a cop.  Now he's ... Holy Cop!

We joked around about it for awhile, then I thought This could be a summer project.

Magoo was into it, so he wrote a script.  In the beginning he made the "actors" and I made the sets, then, when it became too much work, I made the "actors" too.  See, we're using paper puppets and you have to make new ones for each scene, so it can get a bit tedious.

We're recently wrapped principal photography ...

Holy Cop questions a suspect at Toilets R Us.

Magoo works the Holy Cop puppet.

... and Magoo just finished editing the first cut on iMovie.


Tomorrow we hope to do the voice overs and find some background sounds.  Then, next week, perhaps we'll have a premiere party.  Once we have the VIP Premiere I can share it here on the blog.

So far it's been a good project for lazy days when it's too cool for the pool and there are no buddies around.  I figure this helps him learn a bit about writing, do some art, and learn some new computer skills.  Not bad for a summer project, right?

Hope you're all having a productive summer as well!
Take care!
Julie

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kayak Attack


We enjoy kayaking - not to the point where we own our own, but when we're on vacation, it's a nice thing to do.  It's lovely to coast down a river - enjoy the scenery - feel the cool water on your hand - see nature - and, occasionally, navigate a turn or two.


That's what it used to be - but kayaker, BEWARE THE RIVER THAT ALLOWS TUBING!

You see, in the first part of the river, it wasn't so bad.  There were a few tubers to navigate around, but it was manageable.   But then we got to the fishing gate (below.)  Once we past this point, the river was infested with tubers!  (They must have had a launch around there or something.)


 The thing about tubers is that it's a completely different pace and experience than kayaking, and therefore the two should not share the same space.  Pedestrians walk on the sidewalk, cars drive in the street, right?  Tubes are slow.  Kayaks are faster.  Tubers like to cluster together like little islands.  Kayaks may travel together, but they don't huddle up.  Tubers drink, smoke, and apparently blast '80's music from a radio as they leisurely float down a river.  Ok - fine - if that's your jam.  But this is what that means for a kayaker in the same waterspace.  (See below.)


It's hell on us.

Navigating a fallen tree is one thing.  Navigating a floating cluster of twelve tipsy people is another.

As I passed by one such cluster, a lady said to me, "You should join our group!  It's less stressful!"  I stared at her and sneered.  I did.  I sneered.  I wasn't trying to sneer.  I was trying to give a good polite Michigan smile, but I couldn't help it.  I was so irritated I wanted to scream, "YOU'RE what's causing my stress!"  But I didn't.  I just sneered.

So, it was sorta a nice kayak trip, but it could have been better.

Ok, I'm off to the dentist.  Gotta run!  Thanks so taking some time to visit!
Julie

Monday, August 4, 2014

Climbing the Bear


One of my favorite parts of our Michigan trip was visiting the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.   I had been once before, when I was like eight or nine - younger than Magoo.  I remember them being massive - which my young mind did not exaggerate at all - they're huge.  In face, they're even bigger than I remembered. 

We'd clear a ridge and I'd say, "I think the next one is the top."  It wasn't.  We'd clear that one and there would be another ridge to clear.  "That one must be the top."  Nope.


We got high enough to see Lake Michigan, but it was a good ways yonder before we would have been able to set foot in it - so we settled for the view and considered it a success.



Of course, the rewards of climbing up that dune is the fun of coming back down!



It is fun to run down a dune!  Hey, that could be a new children's book: It's Fun to Run Down a Dune!

It's fun to run down a dune
and sing a jaunty tune
but don't fall in the pits
you'll get sand in your bits
and be cleaning them out until noon.

And on that bit of nonsense, I'll sign off!
Thanks for stopping in!  Have a lovely Monday!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

At the Cabin


Hi guys -  sorry I've been away but, well, I've been away.  My family and I just got back from a lovely week at the family cabin on the Northwest coast of Michigan.   (Not the Upper Penninsula, which is sort of it's own thing, but the north part of the mitten.  "Up North" to locals.)

It's difficult to see the front of the cabin b/c it's right on the Betsie River, so this shot (above) is taken more from the side.  (Below) Here's the view we wake up to every morning.  One morning there was a man fishing in the river and another morning it was fun to watch a parade of kayaks maneuver through.


I'll share some of our Michigan adventures throughout the course of the week, but most of the time was spent being leisurely.  Magoo snapped a pic of me painting on the deck.


Here's the end result:  A bowl of tiny plums.  (This is a photograph, not a scan, so it's a little dark on the corners.)


Hope you all had a lovely week!
Thanks for stopping in!