Things accomplished

Things accomplished

I’ve been away from blogging for a while. But, in exchange, I have news! My dissertation is finished, and I’m Dr. now. And things didn’t fall apart while I focused on me. The Js have put on an inch and a half each, j is growing more rough and tumble (and more genius) every day, and J is now walking upstairs on her own (alternating feet) – a milestone we’ve worked on for the good part of a year now. Now for the job search, publishing my dissertation research, and moving into the next stage of life. We’re looking forward to the possibility of starting new in a new place. I look forward to getting back into balance, and spending more time with my family while I look for a job. Still not *all* the time (I am an academic, after all), but certainly not leaving before the kids wake up in the morning and sneaking back in guiltily long after bedtime. It is true what they say, you can handle anything, for a season. Love and blessings.



And speaking of caterpillars and frogs

I thought I’d write a quick, separate post on what we’re learning around here this lovely end of September/beginning of October.  We’ve been moving along with our collages, and paintings.  J especially has just been floored by the whole idea that she can work on a layer of her art, leave it alone, and add to it later. Image

(notice that she wrote the word “cow” instead of drawing grass?  mama was *thrilled* about that decision)

I think we’re going to have to try more of this multi-step stuff.

Also, since it’s caterpillar season around here, we’ve been doing caterpillar study, with National Geographic Readers and our garden Swallowtails.  We brought one inside (we’ve been feeding it leaves from the Meyer lemon we removed it from).  So far so good, but we left the majority outside just in case this one meets an untimely end. Hopefully our diligent garden wasps don’t get to them all first (in which case, we’ll have to switch our lesson to the food web).


j has been working intensely with standard sized legos, which is kind of amazing to me.  I switched J to them in an effort to build some of her quant/spatial skills, and he has sort of taken them over.


Here we are taking turns filling in spaces to build a cube.  He caught right on, which, for a 23 month old isn’t bad.  We made it 5 levels before he got bored and started using it as a mini-fig command base.  🙂


Ok, not such a quick post, but other than that, it’s practicing letters (worksheets – I know, I know), numbers, adding and counting (oddly J is getting addition although she has trouble saying her numbers in order), letters, and starting to sound out words.  Slow and steady. Slow and steady.

Also, I defend my dissertation in 2 weeks! *GAH*

Fall in North Florida means…


…more flowers, caterpillars, butterflies, and birds than golden leaves and and sweaters.  Our “crisp” mornings are in the 70s, with midday highs in the mid 80s. Perfect weather for growing things.  It will get colder. We’re just not there yet.


(it also means not sweating to death on the uphill walk from my car to my building on campus)  🙂 

Monday (plan, revise, repeat)


Monday means…email, rushing J off to school* comforting j over J’s departure with a warm bowl of oatmeal; grading discussion board posts (while j hacks away at green playdough); email; dissertation edits; legos with j; stories before nap time; updating CV; starting google map for dissertation results; email; picking J up from school*; making dinner; email; working with Js on collage (shapes + colors); remembering J’s therapy appointment at the last minute; driving J to therapy, signing, working on the 5 Ws in everyday speech, and driving back home; dinner; story time, worship; bedtime for Js; cleanup*; email; working on teaching statement ; finishing pre-defense dissertation edits;  submitting reserve copy; washing dishes; bedtime.

*yay for a hubby that works at home

Mama Rant (or, the worth of each of us)

My thought this morning is from a conversation I had yesterday about children’s strengths, and the dissmissiveness people sometimes show toward children with disabilities. My daughter may have areas where she needs some help, but so do all children (and adults). I’ve found that when a person has speech issues (in particular), people think they aren’t “smart” (whatever that means), or *actually* good at things, and are often shocked when J does something that their child can’t or won’t. But again, all children have strengths and weaknesses.

As her mother, I think J’s biggest strength (and weakness) is that she is fearless. She is brave enough to try anything at least once, without thinking of the consequences. She may have issues getting the words out just the way she wants them, but she’d get up in front of church and say “HAPPY SABBATH, and Welcome to Youth day!” when none of her peers would. She’ll jump on a horse and ride, jump into a pool, or slide down the biggest slide without a second thought. That willingness will help her learn the other things she needs to know, and will take her just where the Lord wants her to go in life.

And you want a little of this to rub off on your children. Just as I want a little of your child’s careful perseverance to rub off on her, so that when she falls off that horse, and finds that it isn’t as easy as she thought it would be, she’ll get back on. That exchange will make both our children stronger. But if you teach your child to dismiss her, and I don’t teach her to overcome her anxiety over talking, then none of that happens. I know it’s a little more difficult for a 3 or 4 year old to befriend a child who is different, but it’s our job (as parents) to teach them that some people are different, and that sometimes different means shy, or hard to understand (because of speech, or culture, or language, or whatever other reason), and sometimes takes effort, but that it is worth it.

Mama rant concluded.


Collages and Trains and paper and things: A unit on the work of Romare Bearden

I’m back to blogging. I’ve been extremely busy, but I’ve found that blogging is a good way to organize and document my plans (and the rationale behind them) and my progress.  So here I am again. Hopefully, this time I can do it in a way that is helpful to anyone else who is interested in some of the crazy (and mundane) things that interest me.  And away we go!


Starting Sunday, the J team will delve into a week* of collage and trains, via the work of Romare Bearden.  We’ve already started by borrowing and listening to the audiobook version of My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey from our local library.  Did I mention that the Leon County Public Library has an awesome ebook and audiobook service?


We’ll look at some works @ the Met’s Bearden Centennial website and make some collages of our own.  After a few days of Bearden, we’ll move on to Matisse, and do some comparisons between the two styles.


(Henri Matisse, The Snail, 1953, Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on white paper, collection Tate Modern, via Wikipedia)


(Romare Bearden, Sunset Limited, 1975, watercolor, photograph, printed paper and fabric collage on panel, via Christies)


We’ll also focus a bit on trains, which Bearden used repeatedly in his work.  We have the DK Big Book of Trains at home, so we’ll start by talking about different kinds of trains and what they do.  We’ll probably collage some trains, or build some out of boxes, or playdough, or some other such nonsense.  😉

A trip to Railroad Square Art Park, to see the Tallahassee Amtrak station, and the 1920s caboose at the Tallahassee Museum should round out our unit.  I may call CSX and see if someone can tell me approximately what time the train rolls through the station near Railroad Square.  j would be thrilled to see a train in real life.

Because our days are pretty full, this unit may take 2 weeks or more, but that’s ok.  I’d like to slow down and give the opportunity to do some deep exploration anyhow.

I’ll try and post some pics as we go along!