May 25, 2011

Trust and Respect

It's our parenting mantra. Trust the children to make the right choices and respect their decisions. I'm not always successful at it, but it is certainly the way I aspire to raise my kids. And I really love it when I get to see glimpses of my success.

I'm a huge fan of music of most kinds, as are Claire and Ben. I encourage them to listen to and appreciate music, whose lyrics I rarely censor because I don't believe in censorship. An artist puts lyrics to music in a way that describes what is meaningful to him or her, and I like to choose for myself whether or not they are appropriate. When a song comes on the radio that has a "bad" word in it, Claire just doesn't sing that part. Her choice.

With that in mind, HBO recently aired Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Concert, and neither the kids nor I had ever seen her perform. I prefaced the watching by telling them I did not know what the show would be like, but considering her provocative nature, we might have to turn it off. As the show progressed there were a lot of "wows" and "she's so weird, but I love her music" comments being passed around. I have to admit her whole sexual persona was a little embarrassing, in the way in which, at age 12, your DAD takes you to see Saturday Night Fever because you begged and begged and then you have to sit next to him during the sexy parts. Things were edgy but fairly appropriate until Lady Gaga came out wearing a see-through mini plastic dress, complete with bikini underwear and taped nipples, with a plastic nun's habit on her head. Ben looked at me and said "Okay, that's enough for me" and left the room. Claire and I almost made it through that song too, until we were overcome by gyrating pelvises and decided to shut her down.

Looks like I've been fighting the good fight. Good job Mama. For those of you who question my choice to let them watch Lady Gaga in the first place, just suck it :)

May 16, 2011

Hello Monday

And hello May.
And hello 400th blog post!
And hello to my dad, who recently shared with me that he's been missing my blog.
In addition to my regular Mama/Fabulous Wife/House Goddess/Crafting Queen duties, I've been in the job "dressing room" trying on a few and figuring out which one fits me best.
So, a fond farewell to the greenhouses and hello to Paper Pals, where I'll be working and teaching again. It feels good, like a warm comfy glove when your hands are cold.

I've also been spending some time getting to know my iPad. "Someone" (children) broke the hinge on my laptop and Mark convinced me this was the very best replacement. He was so right. However, having never worked with Apple products before, my learning curve has been a little steep. But it is really FABULOUS! We had a little fun playing on Face Time last night, getting versed before Mark heads off to Sweden later this week. Oh yes, you heard right, SWEDEN! FOR TEN DAYS! Lucky, lucky boy. He'll be meeting up with his science cohorts for a pow-wow and a little sightseeing. (You better bring me back something good :)

We're trying to get outside whenever the sun shines, which hasn't been much lately. Sounds like it's a wacky spring all across the states. We're very much looking forward to enjoying some heat next month, when the kids and I will meet my family in Tennessee for a little R and R. Ben has been working hard on his swimming in preparation; he's out of turtles and into frogs!

My awesome book group.
These ladies are a very bright spot in my schedule each month.

An Artist Trading Card I recently made.
I am really feeling the love for butterflies right now.

March 30, 2011

Tales from the Greenhouse

Chapter 2: Beauty

There's always something blooming at the greenhouses, so I took my camera to work with me last weekend for a photo safari.







A bouquet of petunia, basil and mint

March 27, 2011

Message In A Bottle

Mark and his friend were floating boats last weekend and they found this mason jar washed up in some grass. He kindly brought it home for me.

These are the contents: a rolled up poem, a sticky pad with a note, a tiny pen. Turns out this jam jar is part of an English project at our college. A group of students sent jars floating around our area. If you find one you're encouraged to contribute and send it out again.


March 20, 2011

'Round Here

Despite our recent illnesses (knock on wood, I'm the only one who hasn't gotten sick), we've been having a little bit of fun.

Mark and buddy Jon have been spending some time oaring on our small, local rivers. Early spring runoff is about the only time there's enough water to actually float on them.

Here's me and my girl before she headed out to play the flute in her Spring concert. I wasn't able to attend, but I saw the video footage and they sounded fabulous.

After recovering from a lengthy illness, Ben rallied on Friday to take home a 2nd place ribbon in his school's first-ever chess tournament. It was also crazy hat/hair day, so he's sporting his favorite zombie cap.

One more week until Spring Break. We don't have plans, but I'm itching to get out and take a long walk somewhere warm. It may be time for a photo safari to spot buttercups and grass widows in the coulee country.

March 16, 2011

A Little Change

Turning 45 propelled me to get a haircut and and add a little "spring" to the blog.

March 13, 2011

I Hate This Part

Welcome to the germ-laden Wildung house, specifically this green chair in our living room where poor sick Ben has been camped out since Thursday afternoon fighting a relentless fever, sore throat, congestion, and head and body aches.

I hate this part about being a mom. I hate the constant worst-case-scenario visions in my head, but as the days go by they increase in volume. There's been a confirmed case of H1N1 in a nearby town that led to the shutdown of their school district.

I know he will be fine. But if that fever doesn't break tonight...

February 23, 2011


This kid, he's a funny one.

Claire and Ben and I were shooting the breeze one day after school last week. Claire was telling me that some kids have recently been getting hurt in PE because they've been doing more rigorous activities. I told her that I wasn't surprised by that, that sometimes middle-schoolers challenge themselves too much while their bodies are still clumsy and awkward and they end up getting hurt. To which Ben responded "I have a feeling Claire will get drunk in college." Hmmm.

February 20, 2011

Tales from the Greenhouse

Chapter 1: Things Pertaining to Assholes

This is one of our mint varieties, M. candicans.
Such a pretty name, you'd think it would be sweet.
Such a feathery flower, you'd think it would tickle your senses.
You would be wrong.
The flowers on this mint plant smells like dog shit.
The first couple of times I worked near it, I kept checking my shoes to make sure I hadn't stepped in anything.

This is beautiful anise, an herb that smells of licorice and is commonly used in the flavor industry.
One would pronounce anise like "ann-iss".
Except one of our secretaries. She pronounces anise like "anus".
I recently received a phone call from her, stressing to me the importance of letting my boss know that her "anus" seed had been delivered.
So when she returned I did just that.
"Your anus is now available in the office".
Or when we walk into the room where the anise is grown someone is bound to say "Sure smells like anus in here".

February 16, 2011

Art Share

February Artist Trading Cards for my swap tonight.

A page from my art journal playing with masks, copic markers, watercolors, and a black gel pen.

February 11, 2011


I had an upset tummy after a lunch out with my co-workers yesterday, so I decided to sit upon the potty when I got home and read my Art Journaling magazine. I'd been in the bathroom mere moments when there was a knocking on the door.

Claire: Can we take the dog for a walk?
Me: Yes.

Another minute goes by and another knock.

Claire: Where is the leash?
Me: Hanging in the hall closet.

And then her voice through the door.
"Did you know that discombobulated is really a word?"
Are you KIDDING me?

February 8, 2011


These are the days I hate in the Northwest.
Gray and brown. Not a drop of sunshine.
Everyone bundled against the bone-chilling cold.
Temperature right at freezing with fog in the air that I know will make slick driving later on.

So we go to the mall and put $2.00 in a machine so the boy can withstand the winds of a hurricane, as if we're not even tired of the weather.
It's warm in the mall and there's gluten-free pizza to eat.
But thinking of hurricanes makes me homesick.
Yes, we had to criss-cross masking tape on the windows in case the wind got out of hand, but at least we knew the eye was coming and more often than not a wave of beautiful weather when the storm cleared.
I wonder if Ben has the South in his DNA.

February 2, 2011


Dear Family,

My sincerest apologies for the garishly green hue of your intimate white underthings.


January 25, 2011


Outside my window is sunshine and birdsong.
I am thinking how good these new caramel Sweet & Salty Bugles taste.
I am thankful for love.
In the kitchen there's a solar-powered dancing flower on my window sill.
I am wearing blue jeans, and a black fleece pullover. And socks.
I am creating artist trading cards with a theme of love and/or red.
I am going to pick Ben up from school in an hour.
I am reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.
I am hoping my job interview will go smoothly next week.
I am hearing the clanking of metal on metal as the guinea pigs drink water.
Around the house are many signs that we are a busy family of four.
One of my favorite things is reading to Ben before bed each night.
A few plans for the rest of the week include attending a lecture by Greg Mortensen and a gathering of artists to learn bookbinding.

January 19, 2011

Art Share

Art journal

Artist Trading Card


Ben's 7th birthday party

January 16, 2011

Outside in January

A little tree house action going on around here yesterday.
It's just a tease; we'll get snow again by the end of the week.
These kids weren't going to miss an opportunity to snatch some warmth.

Check out these models of cooperation.
I found them playing at my table.
Does anyone know who they belong to?

January 12, 2011

Playing With Photography

Last weekend I drew a heart flower in the condensation on the window in our garage. This is the photo I took, enhanced a little with some Photoshop actions. I love how you can see the birch tree across the street where the glass is clear.

January 10, 2011

Art Journaling

My one little word for 2011: courage.

This page is based on a challenge to use circles.

I'm finding a groove with the art journal, experimenting with different mediums and playing with supplies I already have. Some of my pages are cut from a watercolor tablet, and others are made from stacked and glued pieces of newspaper that have been lightly coated with gesso. I won't bind them until I feel there are enough to make a nice book; I like to have the pages loose when I'm working on them.

So, to make room for art journaling, I am using Project Life this year.

I love this idea. I like the ease of recording the daily/weekly/monthly details in a handy space.
I want to find a music stand to display it in my craft room.
I'm still going to create layouts, just less quantity and more quality.

I used to bite my nails pretty badly when I was younger.
This picture reminds me of someone who spent some time hiding her hands.
Muscle memory.

January 4, 2011

Say It Like It Is

I had a brief conversation with his teacher today and she shared a little story.
It seems that the kids were in line for something and not behaving, so she was giving them a reprimand. To which Ben said "Excuse me. Can we go to art now? I think we've done enough talking."
I love it when I get glimpses of him that I don't normally see.

January 2, 2011

365 Photos

I've been thinking about this cool project for a couple of years now.
A 365-day chronicle of yourself in pictures.

Isn't it cute how the date reads backwards?
Didn't quite clue in to the fact that I was shooting into a mirror.
Imperfection is definitely a part of my life!

Evolution: Timer and a nifty sign.

I won't be posting pictures of myself here everyday.
Just naming the resolution for 2011.
If you want to see a cool time-lapse video of the project, go here.