The Family That Paints Together Stays Together

The original saying, “The family that prays together stays together,” was a slogan invented Al Scalpone (not to be confused with Al Capone) and was first uttered on March 6, 1947 as an ad during the radio program, Family Theater of the Air (click here for more info).

You’ve probably just learned something new.

You’re welcome.

The two-story blank wall in our entry way has always been the bane of my husband’s existence. Blank walls really get on my husband’s last nerve. He’s an architect. I think that sums it up.

After ten and half years in this house with this blank wall, my husband finally decided that he had had enough. It was time to do something about it. He’s a professional on deliberation especially when the decision is important (it took nine years of dating before he decided that I was the one). During Christmas break of 2011, Mike and the kids brainstormed and the solution was the Family Art Wall (FAW).

This solution was presented to the Family Manager (moi) and was approved with reservations.

It’s a two-story blank wall, people.

However, I really wanted to be viewed as encouraging whimsy in our house since I’m usually dubbed, “the funsucker”. (Say it carefully.)

The FAW was to be done by December 31, 2011, but due to multiple delays (we all got hit with a long-term mokus) it did not get done until this summer (around the 11th anniversary of living in this house).

It turned out really well and we all love it. When we tried describing it to our friends and family, some were like, “cool” and some were like, “huh?”. Those in the “huh?” category were probably worried we were turning our household into some weird liberal-art colony-free love-free thinking hippie commune. Maybe we did and maybe we didn’t (wink, wink).

Without further ado, I present to you, my loyal followers, the Family Art Wall:

In order from Top to Bottom:

Jack’s creation: He combined his love of making a mess with his love of Origami.

Rachel’s Creation: Her piece is a thinking person’s piece. The phrase is in contrast with the background – very artsy.

Mike’s creation: His piece is a compilation of the people in his life. Not to be too cliché, but family is important to him. He really could give Ward Cleaver a run for his money.

My creation: If you have been a long-time follower of this blog, you know that artsy stuff is an extreme challenge for me so please don’t judge too harshly. One of my friends said it looked like a gay foodie poster which wasn’t my original intention, but she does have a point!

Maddie’s creation: The girl LOVES to bake so this is a perfect representation of one of her many interests.

As you can see, the kids have taken after their father in the creativity/art department! Aren’t they talented?

Next project? The other blank wall in our house. It’s located our fancy living room that we never use (and only one-story). Look for an update in the summer of 2013.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

This week’s challenge is taking photos of purple things. Purple is my favorite color!

Here is a traditional photo with purple:

And, here is a non-tradtional photo. I was trying to do something funky. It didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted, but it was my first try with something like this. I took the photo in monochrome and just colored the bucket.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

My daughter is helping my son clean out his room and get organized – this is definitely a fleeting moment in our house and it had to be documented! 

Big consultation on desk organization

Big Sis contemplating the next move

What do you want to do with this?

Taking a giggle break

Confessions of an Alligator

I’m having bad thoughts. Really bad thoughts. What the hell is wrong with me? Am I all alone in this?

Finally, the swirling mass of words formed into coherent sentences and I confessed to my husband that if I had been an alligator yesterday, I would have eaten one of my children (this particular child will henceforth be known as ‘Baby Gator’). The only thing that stopped me was time and social convention.

Why an alligator? On our trip to New Orleans this year, we learned that the male alligators will sometimes eat their babies. I know I’m not a male, but work with me, people. Obviously, we can only speculate as to why they would use such a tactic to deal with their wayward young.

Maybe it was the whining about:

how inconvenient it is having someone come in every two weeks to clean their nesting area

how awkward it is to have to play with his/her alligator siblings

how it’s not fair that the alligator siblings got a snake or a rabbit for dinner and Baby Gator got just a turtle, etc.

– OR –

Maybe it was the storming and stomping around exclaiming why everything was the Daddy Alligator’s fault:

the bayou is too wet

the world spinning

the weather is hot

the rodents are too small, etc.

When I take all of that into consideration, I have some sympathy for the Alligator that uses this extreme measure in dealing with his young. Sure, you don’t want to be impulsive. Also, sleeping on it might be a prudent action.

So that’s what I did – I’d been sleeping on it, sitting on it and thinking about it for a couple of days. However, yesterday after hearing the last and final straw-of-a-whine from Baby Gator, I promptly picked my head off of the floor (it popped off in an effort to release the steam that had been accumulating) and quickly returned it to its rightful spot. Then, I uttered a mild and mature, “Shut it!” as I left the room.

Huh? Okay, maybe not the most mature response, but what else could I do? It was either that or eat Baby Gator.

Since I’m not an Alligator and I am a human, I’m sure that the eating of Baby Gator would not have been well-received as a viable parenting practice. And,  I’m confident that this parental act would definitely be considered as thinking “outside the box”, and not in a good way.

So what do you do with teenagers? You would think that I would know how to handle most situations by now, but clearly I haven’t figured it out. What’s the deal? Am I getting slower in my old age? Is my skull getting thicker? I feel like I’m losing my mojo and I’m a little rattled. All I need is a confidence boost.

I do recognize that this Fall will be bringing a lot of changes for our family and I’m sure this is mostly responsible for the current of craziness coursing through our house. I suppose I need to keep all of this in mind as I deal with our Baby Gators.

But, oh. My. Goodness. Give me the strength. Please.

The Beginnings of Summer 2012

It has been an interesting time in our house – it all started with prom in May and ended with our post graduation vacation to Orlando at the end of May. Whirlwind doesn’t even really describe it – all of the stuff parents and seniors have to do at the end of the year is crazy!

Events leading up to prom were stressful, but then everything worked out and she had a terrific and memorable time at her first and last prom (Ray is in the purple dress).

Every event of her senior year made me cry (in private) because, well, I’m a crier and the passing of each event meant that graduation was nearer. And, then it arrived…..

Surprisingly enough, I kept it together (only cried during the speeches). I owe his stoicism to my new camera (thank you, dear camera). I was so focused (pun intended) on taking pictures of Rachel and all of her friends that I didn’t have the time for sentimentality. Have you ever tried to take pictures when your body is convulsing due to extreme sobbing? It’s really hard. Trust me.

Since I’m an overanalyzer and tend to think way too much about everything, I have been going around in circles wondering if I’ve given my girl everything that she needed. Did I push her too much, not enough? Did I hover too much, not enough? Was I there for her emotionally when she needed it? Have I been a good role model (except for the sailor mouth) for her? Etc….

I’m not looking for pats on the back or reassurances. Really. Don’t you think it’s normal to assess your parenting at a juncture in your child’s life by going through a litany of self-doubt questions? Some don’t ask many questions and say to themselves, “It is what it is.” (God, how I hate that saying.) And some, like me, ask multiple questions and then question the answers to those questions. (I have A LOT penetrating, self-doubt questions available, so if you are in need of some or run out, email me and I will send you the list.)

I think it would be weird to think to yourself, “Fantastic! I (with some of my husband’s help) did an absolutely perfect job with this kid. Kudos to me (I mean, us)!” 

What? You don’t think that’s a weird sentiment? Then, maybe you’re one of those and if so, why are you reading my blog? Go write a parenting book and quit judging me!

When I do consider it honestly, I know deep down that she shouldn’t need but 6 months of therapy – that’s how good parenting is measured. You know. . . . . .by therapy months. If you haven’t heard of this new method of assessing your parenting awesomeness, you are behind the times, my friend. I think I saw it in some parenting magazine a while back or saw it on the Today Show. By the way, six months is average to better than average on the Therapy Months Scale. Anything beyond two years means you really F&%#ed up and you should probably be in therapy yourself.

Despite some glaring mistakes that cannot be unmade, she has turned out to be a bright, thoughtful, funny, good-humored (for a teenager), soft-hearted, determined, stubborn, beautiful, and confident young lady.

Our next big milestone on the path to college is in July when we take her to orientation and then the biggie – we take her to school at the end of August. Meanwhile, my denial is going strong and I should be able to keep it up until August. [Just a warning: This blog could get really morose, pitiful and boring starting in September.]

By the way, here’s how we ended May and brought in June – we went to Orlando and did three parks in three days (Sea World, Magic Kingdom & Islands of Adventure) – crazy, but fun!! The entire purpose of the trip was to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (in the Islands of Adventure) and it was very cool and worth it!

Here’s to a great summer!