Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

     We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and break from school!  Jackson went to Max's to spend the night after school on Tuesday, so Mia had friends over for the night.  Wednesday night Pop and Nana treated all the cousins to a night of fun at Chuck E. Cheese. We did our usual eat a million turkeys on Thanksgiving at Grandma's and Nana's this year.  Thankful, thankful, thankful for God's redeeming grace and all that He's blessed us with this year.

Maudie, Bella, Kennely, and Mia decorating cupcakes

 Kenzie and Mia ready to cash in

Everett played every single game

Making the rounds

 Dessert time 
(neither one of them finished it!)

Thanksgiving art projects from school

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


     I sat in my first high school art class, very scared, very nervous, and eventually very frustrated.  After the first few days I ended up telling my art teacher, Mr. Riner, that I just took his class because I didn't want to take another math class, and that I couldn't even draw a straight line!  He replied, "Who would want to draw a straight line anyway? That's boring!"  After I attempted a few of the assignments I asked him if there was a name for crappy art.  He said, "Actually there is, it's called Dada", and told me to look it up.  Which I did. And ended up seeing his point.  That there's beauty in crappy art.  He did later clarify that in the art world "crappy" was better characterized as "unintentional".  He turned me on to artists like Tzara, Duchamp, and Hoch.  I showed him a painting in a book one day, and told him I liked it, but I didn't know why.  He told me you didn't have to have a "why" when it came to art.  He pointed me in the direction of impressionists, surrealists, abstract artists, modernism, and my now favorite artist Magritte.  And he opened my eyes to a lot more than just art.
     When no one else took us kids seriously, he treated us like actual human beings.  When I was so in love with my high school sweetheart, and everyone else rolled their eyes when we said we'd get married one day, Mr. Riner told me we were lucky to have found each other so early in life.  Twelve years and four kids later I tend to agree with him!  When we asked him a question, he told us the answer.  The actual answer, not the "high school kid" version. I don't remember many people or classes from high school fondly, but Mr. Riner and his class are the exception.
     Jeremy and I saw him over the years at different places around town, and always sought him out when there was a festival or art show in town.  He told Jeremy that he talked about him in every class.  Not about his artistic style, but about how he had a reaction to the plaster we used to make molds of our faces!  I begged him every time I saw him to please, PLEASE, stick around to teach my kids when they got to high school. He would always smile and talk about retirement.  He was seven months away from that retirement when he passed away suddenly on Tuesday.
     I don't often write about things other than what's going on with our family, but I hope one day that I can look back through these blog books and read about the few people outside of family that made me feel like I was doing something good in this life.  And that's what Mr. Riner did for so many people. Teacher and Encourager should go hand-in-hand, but in my experience that is rarely the case.  He was both, plus a friend, confidant, and a follower of Christ.
    Needless to say I don't have any of my masterpieces from those days, but I did dig up some of Jeremy's.  I never did become a good artist.  I'm not even a mediocre artist.  My kids will tell you,  if they need help drawing something (besides stick people) they have to ask their daddy.  Jeremy is a wonderful artist, and our kids are following in his footsteps.  Mia is really interested in it, and is drawing or painting constantly.  She studied O'Keefe last year, and loves shows and exhibits as much as we do.  In our home we hang more of our kids artwork than we do actual photographs of them.  I can only hope my children are as lucky to have a teacher in their lives as we were to have Mr. Riner in ours, at the time in our lives when we needed him most.

Some of Jeremy's art from Mr. Riner's class, circa 1996

A painting I bought a few years ago
(just because I liked it)

Fridge art

Other masterpieces that currently hang in our home

Other faves from the kids portfolios

Monday, November 4, 2013


     Last Wednesday we had our annual Pumpkin Patch party at church.  I took an army man, 2 ninjas, and Katniss Everdeen to church where we met up with Jeremy for a night of fun! They have lots of carnival games set up and all you have to do is play to get candy!  This is Jackson's first year in the youth at church, so he helped with the games this year instead of playing them.  The youth does a great job with helping all the little kids.  Parker played everything, but his favorite was basketball.  I don't think he even got any candy, he just liked playing.  Mia ran around with her friends all night, so we didn't see her much.  Everett found Ezra and Prentiss and they spent most of the night in the bouncy houses.  This is always one of the kids favorite nights of the year!

Clo and Katniss from The Hunger Games

2 little ninjas shootin' hoops

Parker opens his mouth every time he takes a shot.  
He is all business when it comes to sports!

Everett and Isaac

Jackson setting up the games

Waiting his turn

Using his ninja moves to break free from his daddy

Mia, Maudie, and Abby

Parker and Ezra

I said "smile boys" and this is the response I got.
Parker, Colin, and Oliver

     We also carved pumpkins somewhere during the month of October, but the only picture we got was a grainy one with Jeremy's phone,  red eyes included.  Parker and Everett wouldn't even touch the "guts" in their pumpkins.  Jackson and Mia dug right in, so Jeremy and I cleaned out the little boys' for them.  Jackson carved a scary face, Mia's was an owl, Parker's was a football helmet, and Everett's was Lightning McQueen from the movie Cars.

Yes, I roasted them to perfection.  
No, not a single person tried them.

     Halloween night was Thursday, and it poured down rain, so our neighborhood decided to trick-or-treat on Saturday night.  This post could actually be titled Trick or Treat or Grab What You Want and Run Away.  That's what Everett did anyway.  We all met at our neighbor Shanna's house to take a group pic, then the kids ran wild looking for candy at each house.  The weather was much nicer and the kids all had a great time.  As usual, I can't believe the year is almost over, but here we are in the middle of all the winter holidays.  I'm always thankful to see this time of year, but it always makes me a little sad to see our lives flying by so quickly.

I heard "Let's get more!" being chanted behind me, 
and turned around to find Everett sprinting toward another house.