Fun Times

We have now lived in Texas for 16 months.  Living in an RV park was a temporary living situation and we knew that.  As a result, I didn’t put a tremendous amount of effort into making any friends.

Then we moved to our new home.  We’ve now been here almost 11 months.  I’ve had the privilege of being part of a local homeschool group and getting to know many of the other moms (and some dads) in the group.  Our group has been meeting weekly for quite some time.  Our children have established some good friendships and the parents in the group have established friendships as well.

I’m guilty of not taking many breaks from my kids and as a homeschool mom who spends 24/7 with her kids, those breaks really are a necessity.  My kids also need a break from me every once in awhile.  So recently I suggested that the moms in our homeschool group plan an evening out.  Many liked the idea and a few of us attended our first Mom’s Night Out.

We met for dinner and drinks, then walked to Painting With a Twist to create our masterpieces.

Here’s mine.

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An evening without our kids allowed us the opportunity to learn more about each other and we all left with better friendships.  We also agreed that we needed to have a monthly Mom’s Night Out.  That makes our evening out, a huge success.

Art Wall

Lili has been taking art classes for about 3 years now.  She LOVES art and each year I see improvement in her art skills.

She has sat under 3 different art instructors and she seems to be learning the most about technique from her current instructor.

The school she attends is a performing arts school.  Naomi attends as well, but her art is acting.  She is in the Jr. Acting class and the school has a variety show 3 times per year.

For the first variety show, Naomi had a part in Wicked as well as Beauty and the Beast.  Her teacher takes a section from the original plays and shortens each of them into a 10 minute performance.   The Sr. Acting students joined the Jr. Acting students in Wicked and they performed Mama Mia.   The dance students at the performing arts school perform their dances to the music from each show.  The art students create art for each of the shows, then during the variety show they share information about the techniques they used to create their masterpieces.  The curtain is then pulled back and the audience gets to see their art displayed on the wall.  This is done after each show is performed.

About a week after the show, Lili is able to bring her art pieces home.  We certainly didn’t want to put her art in a closet somewhere, so we have dedicated a wall in the house to display Lili’s artwork.

The girls had their second variety show about a week ago.  Naomi performed in , You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and Seussical.   The other show was Aladdin and once again Lili brought home more artwork.

Over the weekend, hubby hung the newest art pieces, plus a couple of pieces Lili did when she was much younger.

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Lili did not begin taking classes at the performing arts school until several weeks after they had begun in the fall. As a result, she was not able to complete an art project for Beauty and the Beast, but we have displayed her art from the other shows.

She and Naomi will both be participating in the final variety show in June and have both decided they want to continue next year.  Fortunately, we have quite a bit of wall space left and we are thrilled to continue allowing the girls to participate in activities that provide them a great deal of pleasure.

An Artful Life

I grew up in a small Midwestern town, a farming community to be exact.  My days were filled with school, after-school activities and friends.  Saturdays were spent hanging out with friends and Sundays were set aside for family.  I was free to roam around our small community spending many hours with friends.  We were rarely at a loss of what to do.  Much time was spent perfect our bowling skills at the local bowling alley.  We walked across town many times during the spring and summer for a drink or ice cream at the local ice cream shop.  As I got older I earned my own money at various jobs and that was probably the time when my life began to change.  I became more independent and the closer it got to high school graduation, the more my life went in a different direction.

My parents seemed to re-create the life they knew growing up, I did not.  Maybe it was growing up in the same small town all those years, but I longed to move away and experience life in ways I only imagined.  I didn’t want to be tied down in the same place for years on end.  I wanted to experience as much as life had to offer.

I did move away from home after high school.  I got married and moved two towns away.  Not far at all, but away none-the-less.  I experienced motherhood two times and with two babies in tow, I moved away again to a bigger town, in a bigger house and thought life would be grand.

A short time later, my life really changed.  My husband left me and the boys for greener pastures and I was soon in the new category of single working mom.  Before I knew it, I was back in that same small town I so wanted to escape just a few year earlier.  With two small boys, (one with autism, although I wouldn’t have the official diagnosis until a few years later), I needed the help of my family nearby.

A few years later my life changed again as I moved to California, got engaged, got married and then moved once again to the State of Washington.  Hubby was stationed in the Army at the time and we would spend the next 13 – 14 months there.  Within a few short years, I had gone thru more adventure in my life than I ever dreamed.  Not all of it good, but all of it an adventure none-the-less.

Later this year, hubby and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage.  We started our life in Washington before moving back to Illinois.  A few months later we were back in Washington where we stayed for a few years before heading back to Illinois.  We stayed in in that same small town I grew up in for almost 20 years (something I never wanted to do) before we landed in Texas where we have been for the last 14 months.  During all of this we raised three boys and are now raising two little girls.  We will once again become foster parents, bringing more children in our lives.  We have had the luxury of traveling to some fabulous parts of the world.  We have laughed, loved, and lost.

For some, this would be more than enough adventure to last a lifetime, yet I still long for more.  What does that say about me?  Okay, maybe I don’t really want to know the answer to that, but I do feel strongly that life is to be lived.  Not lived by simply waking up each morning, but lived through those experiences that cause me to think, to feel and to see all the wonderful things life has to offer.

Danny Kaye once said, “Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”

That’s what I’m trying to do.  I’m trying to throw all the paint I can find on my canvas with hope that the outcome will be one of the most wonderfully beautiful paintings ever created.

Here’s to an artful life.

 

I Should Be Packing

Instead, here I sit writing a blog post and wondering what I should start packing next.

Hubby received the official job offer from HR and accepted it last week, so it’s all official now and we know for a fact WE ARE MOVING!.  But what we don’t know is when.  We are guessing he will need to report to his new job sometime in the next 6 weeks, but an exact date would be helpful.  Obviously, his new boss wants him sooner rather than later, but his current boss would like to find someone to fill the position before he leaves.  So the two bosses will battle it out and come to an agreement on a start date.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll know for sure sometimes this week, but I’m only crossing my fingers and I’m not holding my breath.

So I look around the house and try to decide what to pack next.  Since we can’t buy a house there until our house sells here, we want to rid ourselves of the vast majority of our belongings.  No need to pay a monthly storage fee for a bunch of stuff we can’t use for the next several months or quite possibly the next year.  Moving everything in this 5 bedroom home would take a very large storage unit and maybe multiple units.  It just makes more sense to save that money and buy what we need when we need it.  Plus, we have accumulated a lot of stuff we just don’t need.

But even though I’m not packing right now I have been busy getting things done.

Since we can’t buy another house until this house sells, we will need somewhere to live.  Fortunately, we have a second home and her name is Georgette.  Georgette will become our home and why not.  She has everything we need and she is ours, so why not take advantage of what we have.

The problem, however, is that typically, RV parks only have a certain number of full-time spots available and those spots are full in the Dallas area.  This means getting our name on wait lists and hoping that something opens up by the time we need it.  None were able to give me any guarantee though, until today!!!!

I called yet another RV park today and they have a waitlist going, but what was different this time is that they could guarantee me a definite move-in date.  The location is good, the price is comparable to the other parks in the area, and they were able to guarantee a move-in date of December 28th.  Not quite as soon as we’ll probably need it, but we have a date and another guarantee.  If something opens up sooner, they’ll contact us and we can move in earlier.  That’s more than anyone else was able to do for us and this park is in a better location than the other parks.  So I feel good about this accomplishment today and I’m actually excited about living in Georgette for awhile and will likely be ready to move back into sticks and bricks after this house sells 🙂

If we know nothing else, we know that we’ll be starting the New Year in Texas and that I really need to get back to packing.

My Day Camper

Lili is off to day camp this week and because I’m such an awesome mom, I didn’t take one photo of her on her first day at camp.  That’s right folks!!!!  Not one photo of my daughter on her first ever first day of day camp.

But not to worry!  I managed to take some second day of camp pictures.

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So far, she loves Art and Science in the Woods.

On the way home yesterday she told me about the turkey vulture they found as well as a Goldfinch and some other birds she couldn’t remember the name of.  She was also thrilled to learn what poison ivy and sumac look like.  She was able to try out some Native American instruments and made a teepee from sticks, a rubber band and some cloth she decorated.

Overall, it was an awesome first day of camp and I look forward to hearing all about her camp adventures this week.  And to make up for missing day 1 pictures, maybe I’ll take day 3, 4 and 5 🙂

Day Camping

Last weekend we went on our first camping trip in Georgette.  This weekend we’ll head out on camping trip number two and next week, Lili will head out on her first week-long day camp trip.

I’m a little envious and somewhat nervous about her venturing out on this camping adventure.  She is going to Art and Science in the Woods, hosted by the Sun Foundation.  She will spend the week on her major, “All About Birds” and each afternoon she will learn something different from Native American art and culture to drawing and sculpting.  It really is the perfect fit for her.  Being out in nature while learning art and science, but it’s also the first time she is spending hours each day for five days out learning and exploring without me.

She won’t be totally amongst strangers since 5 other kids from our homeschool group will be there.  One will be with her each day learning about birds and am quite sure she will leave camp having made several new friends along the way.

She’ll have a great time while I spend the week playing chauffeur and hearing all she has learned each day.

On Friday though, we will head out to pick her up, but this time we get to stick around to see what the kids have done all week.  It’s an opportunity for all of us to learn and experience a little Art and Science in the Woods.

Here’s to great camping experiences for all of us over the next 8 days.