Thursday, September 30, 2010

you have to start somewhere...

where have we been? well, ever since leif began soccer in july, life has been on fast forward. we went from soccer practices and games to a beach vacation on the oregon coast. after stopping at home for a couple of days to regroup, i took the boys on another adventure to our former hometown in washington. we swooped back home in just enough time to start school, and life just hasn't been the same since. toss in a couple of visits from the grandparents and starting up doodlebugs again (after a brief summer hiatus) and there's a lot less time for blogging. some of it's due to pure time crunch, some a deliberate abandonment of the computer, truthfully. there are just so many stories to tell and challenges to unravel.

normally, when i feel overwhelmed, we head to the woods. so that's what i'll do tonight.

we'll go back to july and a lovely visit to a nearby pond. while the younger boys snoozed in the car, leif and i hopped out to explore. we found a butterfly on the gravel where a forest service rig had pulled out & "rescued" him by putting him on a nearby plant to "recover". leif delighted in the close observations, and i delighted in his sensitivity and gentleness. when sam woke up, leif was excited to share with him.

eric soon joined us, and after a snack, was ready to go. i don't think i'll ever tire of watching these little ones from behind. there's something about it that makes me feel like i'm peeking in on their adventures...witnessing their escapades more from their perspective or from that of an outsider, rather than a director. someone once asked me if taking so many pictures makes me feel like i'm missing the moment. but for me, it's quite the opposite. it makes me more present.

sam carried that little flower all the way around the pond with him and kept it nearby when he started something new at the water's edge. this was a perfect little sopping spot to stick in sticks and dabble toes.

the big boys use this spot for racing "pods" (leaves). they follow them along the little seep to see who wins. sometimes they crash them up demolition derby style to see which leaves can still race despite all the holes and tatters. it's serious business, i tell you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

doodlebugs 9.10.10, a welcome back with holes

doodlebugs is back! after a short summer break, we're gathering the group together again for another year of artsy kiddo fun. it's going to be fun to watch as the littles get older and to see how their work grows and changes.

today, we experimented with negative space and tempera, using large paper that had holes cut out of it. we had a super cute little book, "look & see: let's count", to use as our opener, which used inwardly spiraling holes in the illustrations.

eric began painting "the ocean" and later added green "land" and yellow "sand". fun to note -- we'd just returned from the beach.

cool to see how this little guy defined his holes by outlining them.

the "hole" thing was a ball (snicker)!

doodlebugs 9.17.10, liquid watercolors

ooo-weee! so excited to finally be playing with these awesome liquid watercolors and droppers. i first saw these used by jean with her little munchkins and added them to our list of things to try. we had so much fun squeezing out those wonderful liquid drops of color. there were literally moments of paint flowing right off the edge of the table, but everything cleaned up really well. when we practiced at home, the boys were enthralled by how the paint ran across the paper in lines and played with picking up the page and turning it to watch the paint change direction. lots of "roads" were made. they also noticed what happened when colors ran together, creating new hues and paths. at group, it was interesting to watch the varying comfort levels with this medium; some were pretty cautious with such a free-flowing paint, while others were content to create watercolor falls, pouring the paint right from the little jars. we read the itsy bitsy spider as our opener because of the bright watercolor illustrations and the catchy tune. definitely one we'll have to try again!

doodlebugs 9.24.10, treasure trays

anyone who knows me well knows i like to save things. just ask my mom about my corner cupboard full of fancy disposable party ware from preschool. although i don't recall for certain, i'm sure i just couldn't bear to throw away those perfectly good, perfectly lovely plates. anyone remember those steel tins the internet companies used to send by the ton, containing junk mail cds of their programs? well, i couldn't bear to throw those away either. they were so cool, and i was just sure i'd find something* to do with them. well, i've carted them around with me for years. and today, they found their new homes...dotted throughout the county in the hands of enthusiastic young artists. today, those little ones filled those tins up with glue and treasures to their hearts' content.

instead of reading a story to begin, we looked through an assortment of "look and find" books from the boys' bookshelves. this got us into "treasure hunting" mode.

next, we filled our "treasure trays" with glue in whatever fashion we felt necessary. glue, glue, marvelous glue! we love to make oceans of you!

then we began carefully selecting our favorite treasures from the pile 'o bits and creating our designs. i set aside one golden sequin for each child to hide somewhere in their creation -- their hidden treasure. sorry, i don't have a good photo of that part, but if you could see them in person, you'd be able to hunt for them, just like in the books we used.

in the end, we had bright, sparkly, interesting collections, all nested together for display.

*to prepare the trays, i spray painted the outsides of the tins (the backs or bottoms of the trays, as pictured above), where the advertising text had been. then i used my super-dooper crop-a-dile to punch holes along the top edge. finally, i strung some yarn through the holes for hangers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

been a while...

i guess i've been away a while. two short vacations, the beginning of school (that's a whole other post...or 10), a computer that simply refuses to deal with 21,000 pictures (i know, i know....), and visits from grandparents have made computer time a (welcome) challenge. it's ok...i needed a little internet fast. i was beginning to feel overwhelmed by input, ideas, words, pictures, lives, families, and plans other than my own. things are settling down, and there's definitely plenty to talk about. so thanks for bearing with me...we'll be back soon.