Try your wings

{try your wings}

Remember that painting I was working on last week? I finished it and it's hanging in Malayna's room. I'm pretty proud of myself for producing a piece of artwork that's different from what I usually do. Every now and then I want to get my hands dirty and go back to doing fine art (as opposed to graphic design or crafts). As much as I love working on the computer, it's nice to step away from it, listen to music and create something with my hands.

When I gave Malayna the painting (it's really a painting/collage), she gasped and said, "Oh, it's so beautiful!" She then went on to point out all the things she liked about it: "this pattern is my favorite, I like how you used all the patterns together, this blue is so pretty." It was just like the way I talk to her about the things she creates. That's my girl!

I bought a paint pen to write the words "try your wings". Have you tried paint pens? Am I the last to find out about this wonderful invention?! I want one in every color.

When Malayna was a baby, we had a blessing for her and one of the songs we played during the ceremony was "The One Who Knows" by Dar Williams (that link takes you to a recording of the song). Part of the chorus of the song says, "You'll fly away, but take my hand until that day." Every time I hear this song I think of holding my little baby and how fast the time has gone since she was brand new.

With each new thing my little girl does on her own she's "trying her wings". And she's doing a fantastic job.



 …my little girl, away at kindergarten all day

Luco, who's been gone for five months now


…our Tuesday morning dates with Wendy and Aidan

…our weekly trips to the beach





Painting and perfectionism

{Getting ready…}

I decided a few days ago that I'm going to give painting a try. Normally I wouldn't attempt something like this because painting is not a medium I'm comfortable with. I have a little problem with perfectionism - if I can't do it perfectly I won't even try it. Sounds a little crazy.

The idea for the imagery came to me all of a sudden while I was walking in the park yesterday. Malayna had a great day in school yesterday, with no crying in the morning and no crying at lunchtime. It seems that when she's okay I feel extra creative and inspired. Quite the opposite of what you usually hear about artists - that they create their best work when they're feeing tortured or sad. Not so for me.

I happened to have a canvas, some cheap acrylic paints (why go out and buy the expensive when this is my first attempt?) and TIME! I practically ran home from the park (not really, but it sounds good), gathered my supplies and put some music on. I wanted my canvas to have a solid blue background, which was a little harder than I thought it would be. It took a few coats, but today it looks like I pictured it in my head. As far as the imagery I'm going to use, I printed some of the patterns I've created and I'll be using them in a collage, along with some painted words. The whole theme of the piece is inspired by Malayna. I can't wait to finish and I'm crossing my fingers that it turns out the way it looks in my imagination!



Sketching and thinking about Artie, who is not in a good place right now… Knowing that there's nothing I can do but listen when he talks and make no judgements. I tell him he's loved and hope that he hears me. Hope that it matters.



{Our family.}

Malayna brought this drawing of our family home from school yesterday. There's me on the left (with super-flippy hair), Jimmy on the right and Malayna below him (with glasses). See those two extra people on the bottom left? That's Jack and Annie - her imaginary brother and sister. They've been around for some time now, and usually Malayna pretends she is Jack and Annie is her little sister. (These two appeared when we started reading Magic Tree House books.) According to Malayna, Annie is adventurous, a little bad, and sleeps on top of the canopy bed. She steals Jack's toys, runs in the street and gets lots of time-outs. Jack, on the other hand, is the voice of reason. He's very cautious, always does what he's told and tells on Annie a lot. I started buying these books for Malayna hoping that she'd identify with the adventurous girl Annie. No such luck - she'd rather pretend she's Jack.

We talked about how it is titled "DiPlacido Family" -  Jimmy's and Malayna's last name. She said, "You're not a DiPlacido. What are you? A Kelley?" She asked why we had different names and I told her that I kept my name when I got married, but that some women take their husband's name and drop their other name. Her reply: "That's not very nice! They should keep their name."


Tough transition

I find it hard to write here when Malayna's having a rough time. She mostly likes kindergarten, but she is definitely finding lunchtime difficult. Her teacher has told me that she's cried a few times when it's time to go to the cafeteria. I'm trying to make it easier for her by packing things that I know she can open on her own, are easy to eat without utensils, and that she likes eating. I know a few people working/voluteering in the cafeteria, so I've asked them to watch out for her.

I've talked with her about why she doesn't like lunchtime, and she has said that she misses me and wishes I were there. She's also told me that it's loud in the cafeteria and that she wants her teacher to stay with her. We've talked about how it will get easier as she gets used to it, but knowing Malayna, that will take quite a while.

Today she doesn't feel well and was clingy before school. I'm hoping she has a good day despite the cold she's getting. I wish I knew how to help her feel better and how to help her cope when she's uncomfortable with something. I'm envious of the parents whose children walk into school with a wave and a smile.



I really should stop using Malayna's and get my own set of drawing pencils. In fact, in that mess of a studio I have I'm sure there are some pencils left over from my college days. Wonder if they'll still work after all this time?


Creative energy

{Pink Rain}
{The Colors of Tie-Dye}

Malayna was pretty specific about what she wanted to do yesterday: "I want to paint on wood." She and Jimmy chose a few pieces of wood in the basement, then sanded and cleaned them up. I was out when she did the paintings, but when I came back her two creations were sitting on the dining room table. I asked her what the titles of the paintings were, and she thought for a few minutes before declaring them "Pink Rain" and "The Colors of Tie-Dye." These two masterpieces need a wall!


Quiet walk

Yesterday was Malayna's second day of kindergarten and one of my first (of many, hopefully) quiet walks in the park by myself. It was a little strange to be walking in the park where we usually go to play, but I think I can get used to it… I took my camera and iPod and enjoyed walking slowly and listening to grown-up music. I didn't really notice more things on this walk than I do when I'm with Malayna because she sees things that the average person would walk right past. I showed her these pictures this morning and she ooohed and aaahhhed over them just like I expected she would.



{After school pick-up. Malayna's little friend and
neighbor is running to greet her. Cute!}

{A special little congrats-on-your-first-day present.}

{Walking to the ice cream store with Lily.}

{Ice cream!}

I would say that the first day of kindergarten was a success. Malayna was up at 5am this morning saying, "Yay, yay, another school day!"

When we picked her up yesterday she was excited and happy and eventually told us lots of stuff about her first day. One of the first things she said was, "I made so many new friends!", and then went on to tell us all their names. She told us two of the girls had on the same outfit, which she called a uniform. I wonder what she considers a uniform? Her lunch bag was practically empty, except for the cheese, which she said "burned my throat."

I am so, so relieved that she had a good first day. Now that my mind is at ease I can start creating again. Yay, yay, another school day!


First day of kindergarten

{Making back-to-school crowns with friends the day before.}


{The finished crowns on Malayna and Lily.}

{Special back-to-school dinner the night before.}

{Sleepy, but ready for her first day of kindergarten.}

{Saying goodbye to the neighbors.}

{First day of kindergarten!}

{On the way to kindergarten.}

{Very excited girl.}

{Love this face.}

{Waiting in the schoolyard for kindergarten to begin.}

{Me and my big girl.}

{Daddy's girl.}

{All gone.}
{Daddy is very sad.}

My baby is in her kindergarten classroom right now. And I'm more okay with that than I thought I would be - the worrying about the day was much worse than the actual day. Malayna was really excited to be starting kindergarten. She shed a few tears, but nothing like she did last year when she started preschool. She was so anxious to get to school this morning, putting her backpack on and going outside to say goodbye to the neighbors.

We had a special dinner last night, with her favorite meal - spaghetti and homemade meatballs (made by her and her daddy). We lit candles and she wore her special back-to-school crown that we had made earlier that day. We talked about all the things she'll do in kindergarten - art class, gym class, eating in the cafeteria, recess, meeting new friends. We toasted to our big girl.

She whispered to me this morning that what she was looking forward to the most was art class. That's my girl! (Whether it's true or not is questionable - she may just know how to play me. I'm okay with that. Hehe.)

We knew several people with kids starting kindergarten at her school. Some were people we know from the community parenting center, other we had played with at the park, and some we met at orientation. One set of parents used to work with Jimmy at Ikea years ago, and another family is related to my uncle.

I said to Jimmy after we dropped her off this morning, "This is it! This starts her school career. This is when we find out if she's as smart as we think she is, or if we're just biased because she's ours."

I do know this: she is a wonderful child - super bright, creative, funny, beautiful and brave. And she'll always be my baby.


Kindergarten orientation

 {checking out the kindergarten playground}

 {school garden}

Malayna starts kindergarten on Wendesday the 9th - just five short days away! I keep looking at her and wondering how she got to be such a big girl. Where did my baby go? She's doing all sorts of things on her own these days. It's a huge difference from last year when she would hardly leave my side. I love the fact that she wants more independence.

 {computer lab}

I think she's going to love kindergarten and thrive on all the activity. That's not to say that the first few days (weeks?) are going to be a tough transition. She had one year of preschool before this and those days were pretty short compared to kindergarten (the kids have a full-day in our school district). She had a hard time when I would leave her at preschool, and it pretty much continued throughout the year. There were times when she would go happily into the classroom and hardly look back, but the times when she would cry seemed to come more often.

 {Looking at the corn in the school garden.
The kindergarten kids pick the corn in the fall.}

We had an orientation in the spring just like this one, but she was much more reserved then. This time she happily followed the other kids around, asking questions and volunteering information. She seemed so comfortable being in her classroom and chatting with her teacher.


What will I do with all the free time come next week?

Changing things around…

You might notice the blog looking kind of funky today while I change some things around.

Have a great weekend!