School and rain dates

I've been happy with Malayna's school experience so far. She seems happy at the end of the day and is starting to share stories about school with us. She talks about her new friends and thinks one of her teachers is silly "like daddy". {There really isn't a better compliment.} She seems different somehow, though I can't exactly put my finger on it. She's been acting sillier, and is so excited about learning new things. She seems more mature and more sure of herself.

When we go in to her classroom in the morning she makes herself right at home. She says hello to her teachers and a few of her classmates, puts her bag in her cubby and hangs up her jacket. She gives this funny little wave, with her arm above her head and her fingers splayed. All with a big smile on her face.

Yesterday she came home and told me that they played in the bike room instead of going outside. Then she said, "I rode a blue boy's bike." I asked her why it was a boy's bike and she told me "because it was blue." She said the other kids told her it was a boy's bike.

Whoever told her that was probably trying to convince her not to ride it. Blue is her favorite color, and she sometimes fancies herself a boy, so I'm sure she hopped right on it. I picture the scene in my head and see her telling the other kid that she IS a boy and that her name is Leo. {Speaking of Leo, he's the reason she wears her hair in a ponytail - she thinks that she looks like a boy when her hair is pulled back.}

She seems to prefer playing with boys in school - at least that's what she talks about when she comes home. I'm not sure what that's about. Is it because she knows most of the boys don't want to play with baby dolls and then she won't have to share them? Is she intimidated by the girls? Is she just used to playing with boys because of Aidan?

I've been meaning to ask her teachers about her friends in school. Does she play with the girls? Does she play with anyone? Does she seem happy to be there? I'm pretty sure about the answer to that last question. If she weren't happy, we'd know about it!


All day Saturday I was wishing I had gone to the Yardley Harvest Fest. I hated making a decision like that - I wish there had been a rain date. At the end of the day I received an email from one of the organizers. She said there were about 15 crafters missing because of the weather and that I had made the right decision. She said it was humid and wet all day and that one of the vendors' labels were peeling off her candles. That's what I was afraid of - that my work would be ruined - so I'm glad that I decided not to go. I did miss being there, since a few people emailed me to tell me they missed me. There's always next year!


Rainy forecast

Because of the wet weather forecast for today, I won't be attending the Yardley Harvest Fest. Sorry if you were going to be visiting today! I just can't take the chance of ruining my work. Paper doesn't hold up well under water!


Photo Friday

It's official - summer is over and I want it back! Seems that as soon as the temperature dips below 70 degrees I have to bundle up in socks, long pants and a sweater. Blah. I am always cold - yesterday my hands were freezing all day long. Like my daughter, I don't like change very much. Or maybe I should say it takes me a long time to accept change. So, by the time March rolls around I should be used to the cold weather.

Malayna and I went to the zoo this week with Aidan and Wendy. Despite having to wear a sweater, it was a perfect day to be at the zoo. Malayna and Aidan are so cute together.


Show on Saturday

The Yardley Harvest Fest is scheduled for this Saturday from 9-4. As of today, weather forcasters are calling for rain and gusty winds. Of course, they could be wrong. But do I risk ruining my work {not to mention my tent that covers my work}? But if I don't go and it turns out to be mostly sunny or at least not rainy, I would regret it.

This was a good show for me last year. I don't know what to do!


Malayna did great at preschool yesterday. She helped N again, putting her arm around him when his mom left, giving him a puzzle and trying to make him laugh. It was so cute to watch. At one point she said to me, "You're staying a long time!" I took that as my cue to leave. Could the crying days be over? If so, they didn't last as long as I thought they would. Next, I hope to convince her to stay for lunch bunch - which is over around 2:30. That would be five hours of uninterrupted studio time!


I love Mondays

Monday is my favorite day now. I drop Malayna at preschool {more on that later}, come home and enjoy two whole hours of free time. Yahoo! Yesterday I spent that time in the studio and got two orders out the door. I even made a list Sunday night so I wouldn't waste any time wondering what to do. It felt great to be able to check multiple items off my to-do list. I'm hoping that I can keep up the pace and that Mondays stay a productive day.

Yesterday was also a good day for Malayna - the first day she didn't cry when I dropped her off at preschool! On Friday she came home with an award for "being brave". We talked about it over the weekend and Jimmy and I told her how proud of her we are. There's another little boy in her class who cries when his mom leaves {I'll call him N}. Malayna and I talk about him and I often ask her who cried longer. She always says he did.

N's mom kind of snuck out yesterday when he wasn't looking. When he realized she was gone, he kind of wandered around the classroom blinking his eyes and tried not to cry. I heard him say, "I didn't know that was going to happen!" Poor little guy! He came over to where Malayna was doing a puzzle on the floor, and stood watching her. She looked up at him and said, "You miss your mommy." He said, "Yes, I do." I said something to him about how he was being brave, he agreed and we gave each other a high five. Then Malayna got up, went over to the toy shelf and picked out a puzzle for him. When she gave it to him he got a big smile on his face and said, "I LOVE puzzles!" He and Malayna took their puzzles to the table, sat next to each other, and laughed at N being silly.

I crouched down behind them and said, "N, did you get an award for being brave?" {Malayna told me he got one on Friday, too.} He said yes, and I said, "You're both going to be brave again today!" They both said yes, I said goodbye and gave Malayna a kiss. She waved her little hand and said, "bye!"

Keep your fingers crossed for another tear-free day on Wednesday!


Opinions needed!

My first show of the season is next weekend. It seems that no matter what type of show I do - big, small, outdoors, indoors - customers buy cards. When I do shows, my cards are $3 each or three for $8. Almost everyone buys three.

So, since I'm a little worried about what the economy is going to do to craft shows this year, it makes sense to make more of what sells.

The card below is a little different that what I've offered in the past. I tend to believe in the "less is more" philosophy - at least in terms of design. What do you think?


Day 4

Today is the Malayna's fourth day in preschool. She hasn't told me that she has a bellyache yet, so I'm hopeful that drop-off will not be too horrible. She's excited that mom-mom will be picking her up and that she'll see her friend Lily. When I talk other parents about her crying when I drop her off, a few of them have told me to "just wait until she doesn't even notice you leaving!" Implying that somehow it's better that she's upset that I'm leaving and that the opposite is worse. Really? Do they think they're making me feel better? As a matter of fact, I can't wait for that day!


Go check out my Scoutie Girl post!



Oh, how I love the taste of it. That's what I got yesterday - a little, teeny taste. But it was enough. For now.

I dropped Malayna off at preschool on Monday morning. {She cries when I leave, but I think it was a little less yesterday. Friday was not good. Her teachers tell me she's okay the rest of the day. And she's happy at the end of the day when I pick her up.}

Anyway, after I dropped her off I came home to an empty house, which felt really strange. Her toys were still lying around where she had left them, and that made me a bit sad for a minute. Then I looked at the clock and realized that I had two whole hours until I had to pick her up again. It almost made me freeze and not do anything, for fear that I'd chose the wrong thing. {You know - like when you have too much to do so you just do nothing? No? It's just me?}

I got a cup of coffee and headed up to my {super messy} studio. I suddenly had a great idea for a 20" clock and actually sat down and worked on it. What a great feeling - to act on an idea immediately! I didn't finish, but I did get a lot done. For me, that's 3/4 of the battle - sometimes it's hard to make myself go to my studio and create something.

I can't show you anything yet, but I will tell you the idea came to me while I was thinking of this new stage in mine and Malayna's life. I'll be sure to post a photo when it's finished.


Photo Friday

Today is day two of preschool. I'm expecting Malayna to cry again, but this time I'm getting out of there sooner. She's sitting next to me right now and just said to me, "Some days I'm just a little worried about school."

In happier news, we went to the Academy of Natural Sciences this past Tuesday with Aidan and Wendy. Malayna and Aidan had a great time, but she wasn't thrilled with the sound from the dinosaur room. Afterwards, we crossed the street to see the "water feature" {that's what Aidan calls fountains, waterfalls, etc.} - aka Swann Fountain at Logan Circle. Then we made a quick stop in the Art Shop at Moore College of Art and Design {my alma mater}. Malayna and Aidan were making their wet shoes squeak on the tile floor in there and the two young women working the shop gave us a few eyerolls. Yeah, yeah, I know - kids are annoying. But maybe one day you will grow up, have a child and bring her back to show her where you went to college. Then some young art student will roll her eyes at you.

Enlarge that last photo so you can see the face my lovely daughter gives me just about every day.

Have a great weekend!


First day of preschool

Boy, am I glad that's over. It went pretty much as I expected it would. She was very excited to go, packing her backpack with a pencil, a book she had made, her water bottle and a snack. In fact, she was happy in the classroom until we told her we were leaving. Then the waterworks started. She CRIED and CRIED, and sat on my lap and told me that she wanted to go home. "No, mommy, don't leave me!"

The teachers tried to help distract her, but being the persistent girl that she is, it didn't work. One of her teachers told us we could stay - that it might be a good idea since this was her first experience being away from us. We really didn't want to do that. So I told Malayna that we would hang out in the hallway. That seemed to work. Little by little we made our way closer to the exit. Malayna would periodically peek out her classroom door to see if we were still there. Her teacher suggested that we leave when they changed classrooms. She said she'd close the door to the classroom so she would stop peeking out.

We waited downstairs for a few minutes {the teacher said she'd come down and let us know if Malayna was okay}. After a little while, I said to Jimmy, "I can't be here anymore. If I hear her crying up there, I won't be able to leave." Before I even finished, he said, "Okay, let's go." We were both pretty anxious to get out of there.

By the time we left, it was around 10:15. We went the market to get her a balloon and her new favorite snack, Kashi Heart to Heart cereal. As I was walking down the aisle, I suddenly thought about how she would feel when she realized we had left. I kept hoping that our cell phones would not ring and that she would finish the morning at school. Jimmy must've been thinking the same thing, because he said to me, "Did you give them my cell phone number?"

When we went to pick her up, she was excited to see us, but even more excited that it was time for "recess." Recess to her is when they go outside to the playground. Our neighbor and friend, Lily, was out there, too, and the two girls were very excited to see each other. {Lily is a year younger than Malayna, so they're not in the same class.} When it was time to go, Malayna said, "But I don't want to go home!"

One of her teachers told me that she had another meltdown after we left. She was in the bathroom and called to me to help her. The teacher told her I was downstairs talking to another teacher, and Malayna told her to get me. She said she couldn't and I guess that's when the waterworks started again. She was so loud that a teacher from another class came in and asked if she was okay. That lasted for about 10 minutes, and then the teacher asked if she wanted to sit on her lap for circle time. She did, for about a minute or so and then was fine. So fine, in fact, that she told the class she wanted to sing a song. She sang the theme song to The Little Einsteins - all by herself.

We took her out to lunch and then the plan was to go to the playground. But she just wanted to go home after lunch. She didn't mention the fact that we had left her until it was time for bed. It was just the two of us in her room, and she said, "I didn't know you left." And then, "I had my first day of school."

She wrote this in her journal tonight:
"I feel tired today. And cold. Because I ate ice cream.
School was fun because you leaved me there. And I am coming back the next day."

Photos here.



Today is Malayna's first day of preschool. As I write this, I'm trying to quiet the butterflies in my stomach. No luck, though.

{The cover of Malayna's journal - colors chosen by her.}

Malayna and I made a journal yesterday for her to write in {okay, so I'm really writing and she's telling me what to put down}. I really wanted to start this so I could remember what she felt like on her first day of school.

Here's what we wrote in her journal last night:

"I feel sad because you're going to leave me there. A little excited. Can't wait to see my classroom. I'm going to look for letters. I love you."

That sound you hear is my heart breaking into a million little pieces.


My Scoutie Girl guest post will be up after 10am today.



Here's a typical conversation between Malayna and new friends:

M: "Hi! What's your name?"

New friend: "{Insert name here}. What's your name?"

M: "My name is Malayna but I like to be called Leo."

New friend now has a confused look on her/his face. New friend's mom looks at me.

Me: "She said her name is Malayna but she likes to be called Leo."

New friend and mom: "Oh!"

She has told us that she wants to tell her teachers at school that she likes to be called Leo. She wants to write "My name is Malayna but I like to be called Leo" on her backpack.

I love my strange little girl.


New ideas

{New sketch.}

I was able to spend some time in the studio yesterday, working on some new ideas. I didn't spend much time up there this summer - I was too busy enjoying the gorgeous weather in August. It's a big mess up there. Could someone come over and straighten it up for me?! Actually, we're having a neighborhood yard sale in a few weeks and I could get rid of some stuff then. What I'd rather do is donate some of the art supplies I don't use to a school or art organization for kids. Anyone know of someplace I could donate stuff? {Besides thrift shops.}

I've also recently set up a page on Facebook. Yet another thing to distract me from work…


Photo Friday

Last weekend we hosted two barbecues - one was our annual end-of-summer party and the other was for my mom's birthday {happy birthday, mom!}. Jimmy's birthday was also last week {happy birthday, Jimmy!}.

This was our 13th end-of-summer party - we've been having them since we got married. They've changed a LOT since those first few parties. No more partying until the wee hours of the morning, with people sleeping wherever there's room. In fact, each year the party ends earlier and earlier. There are more kids than grown-ups at this point, and the yard is filled with stuff to keep them entertained - swing set, sandbox, little pool, big pool, even a borrowed moonbounce {thanks, D'Arcy and Art!}.

All in all, it was still a fun party!

PS: I also added some more photos to Flickr.



Malayna and I were drawing together yesterday afternoon. She wanted to draw "space", so she got a piece of paper and markers for each of us. I was drawing some stars and could see her out of the corner of my eye, watching me. She took a yellow marker (same color I was using) and attempted to draw a star. Of course, being four, hers didn't quite look like mine. She looked at her star and said, "that's a funny-looking star," and my heart broke a little.

Of course, I wanted to immediately tell her that it was the best star I ever saw, but that wouldn't be fair to her. Instead, I told her that it's really hard to draw stars and that I've have a lot of practice drawing them. I then showed her, step by step, how to do it. She followed along and did a pretty good job.

I love when my daughter looks up to me. I love when she wants to be like me. But… I don't want her to not do something because she thinks she can't do it as good as I can. I know we were just drawing stars, but the way her little face fell when she looked at her star and then compared it to mine was painful to see. It's not the first time I've noticed it, and I wonder if it's because of her age and the fact that she's really just figuring out what she can and cannot do.

Malayna and Jimmy were at the playground one day recently. Two girls a little older than Malayna were playing nearby and asked her if she wanted to play with them. She told them no. When Jimmy asked her later why she didn't play with them she said, "because they were doing things I can't do." Oh, geez. I don't even know what to say about that except that my heart broke a little again when I heard that.

I would very much like to freeze time right now. {Preferably on one of her happy days.} She has such energy and curiosity and confidence {usually}. She's so innocent and protected and trusting.

One week from today she will start preschool and I have such mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I think she'll love meeting new friends and doing new things. On the other hand, she'll be spending time with people I don't even know! I have to trust that they will treat her kindly, appreciate her quirks, and be patient with her. I have to trust that they will build her confidence and encourage her.

When we talk about school she says, "I'm a little bit scared, but I'm a lot excited!" Me, too, Malayna.

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My guest post for Scoutie Girl is up today.