Friday, February 22, 2013

Project Life 365: Week 7

I have accomplished two solid months of daily photo journaling.  I admit, the photo challenges were easy in the beginning. Yet, over time they have become rather challenging.  Here are five things I've discovered, so far, during this project:

  1. I am fascinated with composition. 
  2. I mostly shoot from my i-phone.
  3. I like using the white border in the Afterglow editing app in order to preserve the original aspect  ratio of the photo.  I get bored with every picture looking so square.
  4. My subjects are usually my children.  Why? Well, because they are always tugging at my feet begging to get photographed. (sarcasm)
  5. It is getting more difficult to stay motivated.  So I need you people to keep me motivated!!! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Interview With a Four Year Old

My proudest moment was giving birth to my son four years ago.  At this exact moment, I was laying on the couch watching Frasier, trying to sleep through early labor.  By 1pm, I would be at the hospital meeting my doula and fighting off interventionist nurses.  Through a lot of preparation and visualization, Simon Daniel came quite quickly at 6:28 p.m.
The newborn phase proved quite easy for me.  No colic or nursing issues, he took a bottle easily, and went to strangers.. all the things new moms dream of.  Then came little sister... Life became a bit more complicated for all of us:  new tantrums, talking back, and drawing boundaries.  No one prepared me for the constant mental battle of dealing with a 2 and 3 year old.  I find myself saying "yes" more than "no," simply because I am exhausted.
Since Simon began school last year, I have seen him grow leaps and bounds.  He is very independent, spirited, social, and visual.  He is no longer the little baby who willingly followed my every wish. Today we negotiate EVERYTHING..

Yesterday he granted me an exclusive interview about the trials and tribulations of just turning four.

I interviewed Simon in our little sun room where we have a small TV, two tall book shelves loaded with toys, and a fireplace providing the little man some warmth.  He looked quite dashing in his fire truck pajamas, while holding his brand new Optimus Prime Rescue Bot.  In the meantime, he appeared quite bored with the prospect of me sitting down to ask him some pertinent life questions.

Me: What were some of your favorite birthday gifts this year?
S: Heatwave Rescue Bot, Optimus Prime Rescue Bot, Legos (but they are hard), Hot Wheels Track and a Home Depot Toy Welder from Papa.

Me: Tell me what you think of when I say these words:
Home: Play Games
Favorite Color: Red because fire trucks are red
Sister:  she's e-nnoying
Love: I only love you, mommy

Me: What makes you really happy?
S: Rescue Bots

Me: Are you scared of anything?
S: I'm scared of being on a high building and I'll fall.

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
S: just nothing

Me: Who is the last person you kissed?
S: you, mommy

Me: At what age is a person officially grown-up?
S: 4 years old

Me: What does dad do at work all day long?
S: He builds something for us.
Me: What does mommy do all day long?
S: Mommy cleans this house and doesn't let us do what we want to do.  

Me: If you could get everything that you want, do you think you'd always be happy?
S: Yes, I wish I had a real Rescue Bot that could talk all by himself without pushing a button.

Me: What do you think heaven is like?
S: Who's heaven? 
Me: It's where we go after we die.
S: Remember when Telly (my mom's beagle) got ran over by the delivery package truck (UPS truck) and he went to heaven? 
Me: Yes, I do..

This concludes the exclusive interview with Simon.  Stay tuned for some future four year old adventures!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Project Life 365: Week 6

I've been so busy lately, I am a week behind in posting my Project Life 365 series.  I photographed these about 2 weeks ago.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

 I took some portraits of the kids today.  Is it me, or is it just impossible to photograph your own children?  I hope everyone is having a great Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Art Beat: Beautiful Oops

Beautiful Oops, by Barney Saltzberg, is a sweet book that shows how we can make masterpieces from our mistakes.  A torn piece of paper turns into a green alligator, a coffee stain into a frog, and a spill into endless possibilities.  The beautiful thing about art, is that there are no mistakes. Just problem solving!

Here is a YouTube video of the whole book:

The other day, I gave Vivienne a coloring sheet with a heart on it.  She didn't want to color it in.  Instead, she wanted to paint over it.  I let her explore her materials and paint colors.  The result was magnificent.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Finally, Snow, Snow, Snow!

Last weekend, the Chicago area accumulated the first substantial snow of the season.  We actually used the snow blower, but it was more fun to shovel the light powdery mess. Meanwhile, Miss V. had her first slide down our hill in the baby sled.  Probably the first and last time she will use it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Art Beat: Color Your World

A Color of His Own A Color of His Own  by Leo Lionni, tells the simple tale of a lonely chameleon who searches for his own color. In the story, he sees that an elephant is gray, a pig is pink, and a parrot is green. Since every other animal has their own color, why shouldn't he?  He hops on a green leaf in hoping to be forever green.  To his surprise, he turned yellow and red in autumn, then brown and black in the winter until he fell off the leaf. When spring came, he stepped onto the green grass where he met another chameleon.  At this point, the two became friends, always changing colors together.

In a way we are all chameleons, searching for our own color, or identity. This crazy fast paced world makes it so easy to follow trends, losing sight of our authentic selves. Just like the chameleons, we need to find souls who share our dreams and creativity, and views of the world.

I felt great joy reading this story to my children. Their eyes shone bright, identifying the animals and colors on the page.  We discussed the chameleon's environment, and the why his color changed with each season.  We also discussed the importance of finding a friend.

We created our own backdrop sponging on green tempera paint. As you can tell, we used a piece of paper that Vivi already marked with crayons.  I wanted her to make marks without any prompt or direction from me.  I also felt, her marks looked like long grasses where the chameleons could hide. Next, I precut chameleons where Vivi  stamped paint dots in yellow and green. Then, we made the eyes with hole reinforcement stickers and colored the eyes black.  Last, we glued our chameleons onto their environment.

Enrichment Ideas

Older children can explore a chameleon's natural environment.  Ask children to pick their favorite environment, what color would they be? Would they fit it? Would they be lonely? Would they have a friend?

Make backgrounds and chameleons that represent all four seasons.  Pick colors that represent each season. 

Write an adventure story about the chameleon and his friend. 


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