Monday, November 29, 2010

My Life as an Artist OR How I use Turkey Soup as a Manipulation Device

There are some huge benefits to having my baby in bed for the night and sleeping peacefully at 7 pm. One of them is that I have the entire evening to do whatever I want without needing to structure it around naps and feedings and mama baby play time. And while I usually only last until 10 pm and then I-MUST-GO-TO-BED-OR-I-WILL-DIE kicks in, I generally enjoy myself greatly.

During the first several months of Alexandria's life, I put my art making aside and focused entirely on caring for my new daughter, as it should be for a brand new mom. By about 8 weeks or so after the birth, I found myself aimlessly wandering my mind and also the house (which is saying a lot, since our apartment only has 4 1/2 rooms minus the tiny bathroom - but you don't really wander around in tiny bathroom...) and in a word: bored and watching too much TV on Hulu (make that 8 words). That is precisely when one of my college art professors (who doubles as a good friend) came to visit and told me point blank that being all-consumed with the baby is good for a time, but after a while I need to still try and be myself and get back into doing the things that I love - or in other words, "KEEP MAKING ART!!!"

This summer I set some goals for myself. One of them is to have a collection of work that is worthy of a show in a local gallery (make that a local and humble gallery) or art venue by next fall. Another goal, among many, is to make work that is meaningful to me and that gets me excited (otherwise, what would the fun be in making it?). So far, I have done a horrible job at fulfilling my goals, as I never have been one to be motivated by my own self-inflicted pep talks. And then last week, in the middle of having a pity party while Eric graciously listened and inserted the appropriate comments here and there, I started surfing Etsy. (If you aren't familiar to Etsy, click HERE. Your life will be changed.) It doesn't take much to be inspired by the things you see on that site. Seriously, what pity-partying artist is not inspired by seeing the work of thousands of artists and craftsmen (who are all ordinary people, by the way) all together in one place?!? (It also makes me feel a tad lazy, but that's a post for another day)

That being said, I have found a new avenue in my art making endeavorers. I am newly inspired and have already created two new pieces which will be a part of a series of about 10 or so. The best part is that Eric has become very involved in what I am creating (and is just as excited about it!) and has been my right hand man in the creating/executing process. After all, who knows cameras and flashes better than he does?!? And while I can't reveal what I am working on just yet (I know you're dying to see) I can tell you that it involves Alexandria (the watercolor version, of course) and some rather curious animals...

Last night after Alexandria was in bed, I got so into what I was working on that I had to go ahead and just finish it. I made that decision at 9:30 pm. By 11:30 pm, I had employed two other people to help me finish (it's amazing what homemade turkey soup in a homemade bread bowl can do as a manipulation device...) and my dining room table had all but disappeared underneath the mountain of paper cutting and paints and flour dust and other stuffs that had accumulated on it.
By midnight, the piece was perfect.

Even though I only got about 6 hours of sleep last night (a baby who goes to bed at 7 pm generally doesn't sleep much past 8 am), it was a lot of fun. So here's to early mornings with a cute baby and snuggly cats after a wild night of too much creativity!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Boring Update That is Not at All Interesting

This week has been full of wonderful things.

Lexi is cutting her first tooth (ok, not so wonderful, but it is epic, after all.) And she started crawling today, which is also epic, since she has been practicing her balance on all fours for the past several days. She still has a ways to go in the speed department, but she can definitely get where she needs to go! (The craziest thing is that it literally happened overnight! She definitely could not do this yesterday!)

We celebrated a Monday night Thanksgiving with our best friends here in our apartment. Eric got assaulted by two women with a charity Thanksgiving basket the other day, so we decided to make good use of it. We cooked the turkey, made lots of yummy sides, invited our friends, decorated the apartment, and had a beautiful candlelit Thanksgiving celebration!

In preparation for tomorrow's official Thanksgiving feast (the one where we are not the ones cooking the bird), I baked the Staswick's traditional Swedish Cardamom rolls. Suffice to say, the apartment smells like heaven and while the rolls did turn out a bit too bulbous (I didn't quite know how much they would rise!!!), they are light and fluffy and delish! One of the things I love about Eric so much is that he introduced me to the lusciousness of cardamom bread and now helps me make it every year.

After a strange 65 degree day, the weather has finally turned cold. Although this isn't usually something that I look forward to, Eric surprised me with a pricey pair of gorgeous snow boots (and believe me, these are beautiful boots) a couple of weeks ago that I am dying to wear! (He truly is awesome.)

I started on a new art series that I am really getting into which is fun. I will talk more about that later, though, when I can actually show you what I have been up to.

And because this post is really boring, I will conclude by telling you that our kitchen sink is leaking again. So that's fun.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

6 Months and counting...

As you can see in the above pictures, I had a little bit too much fun with Eric's cameras and flashes... Alexandria has now been entered into the Crino family hat contest.

Having a baby is a bit like watching a ticking clock. The days go by so fast! Alexandria turned 6 months yesterday, which is a little hard to believe. She is sitting up, starting to eat mushy foods like sweet potatoes and bananas and squash, finally growing hair (since it all fell out a couple of months ago) and is beginning to figure out the whole crawling thing! Lexi is a joy to be around and we are so blessed to have her as our daughter!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I am thrilled beyond words to reveal to you Alexandria's first religious baby book!
We got a package in the mail today and opened it together to discover a fun gift from our cousin Cathy!
That's right, it's Peek-a-boo Jesus!!!!
This book is not only heartwarming, but it is also educational.
Lexi will learn where Jesus's eyes are (Peek-a-boo, Jesus!) and even where his feet are (In His sandals!). And she will even learn what Jesus says: "Peek-a-boo, I love you!"

I am glad that my daughter is already interested in theological matters (such as, Did Jesus really ever say Peek-a-boo?). It makes me a little proud.

So thank you, Cathy! And though I may never be able to take playing Peek-a-boo with Jesus seriously, this book does make for some good laughs during story time! ;) And did I mention it is a lift-the-flap book?!?

Seriously, Jesus = AWESOME.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lots of baking = A sink full of dishes

Today I have been entirely 100% domestic.

This morning: I changed, fed, and played with my baby.

I played two games of Scrabble with Eric and lost both of them by over 200 points (as usual).

More playing with baby.

Nap time for baby.

Homemade chicken and bean soup for lunch.

Afternoon: I baked one loaf of whole wheat bread and one loaf of whole wheat cinnamon swirl bread so we can eat healthy.

Nap for baby.

Then I baked two loaves of pumpkin bread in celebration of autumn and so that Eric will love me just a little more (yes, I do bake with ulterior motives).

Another nap for baby.

Grilled chicken, steamed green beans, and biscuits fresh from my oven for dinner.

Play time for baby (which really, is all the time).

ALL the dishes washed and put away (and believe me, there were LOTS).

Floors swept.

Floors mopped (gotta love the smell of Murphy's oil soap!).

Baby fed and asleep for the night.

2 Episodes of The Office.

Bed time.

And to think that yesterday I was sitting around doing nothing and pretending to be bored...

(actually it was because I had just finished reading Harry Potter #7 for the third time (in preparation for the movie!!!!!!!!!!) and let's face it, it can be a little difficult adjusting back into real life when you know you can never be as cool as Harry....or Hermione......or Ron.....or........)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Im a nerd.

"Nobody can go back to the beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."
I love this quote. I also love the fact that I will never be a perfect friend, wife, parent, you-name-it. But that's the beautiful thing about sleeping 8 hours (or 2 hours and then 4 hours and then 1.5 hours in my does get better, right?). Anyway, that's the beautiful thing about sleeping in the night in general, because when you wake up in the morning, you can start fresh. I LOVE that about the morning! I actually used to be a really grumpy morning person (confession here folks).
Rephrase: I thought that I was a grumpy morning person, but then my sister moved out and I got married. And let me tell you, I love my sister, but waking up to a quiet smiling husband is loads different than waking up to the Good Morning Sunshine song sung in your face by an excessively HAPPY morning person. And this just isn't normal happiness here, folk. As soon as she opens her eyes she is happy enough to yodel. And that's just weird.

She knows I love her though. I just don't love the whole morning song thing. Ok, you get it.

Anyway, no more grumpy morning person! One look at my baby's smiling face (and yes, she is excessively happy too. She gets it from her aunt.) and I can't be mad at her for getting me up 5 times during the night. Her cuteness factor definitely saves her. Speaking of cuteness factor, can you say Baby Model???!!! You think I'm kidding. I'm not.

So this week, I have been a cool hot Mama as my day job (Eric and Lexi can confirm this), but at NIGHT, I play Star Wars. That's right. Target is clearing out their Star Wars minis, which means that Eric bought an entire basket full. Confession (yet again): we are super big Star Wars nerds over here. So if you don't like Star Wars, this could be a turning point in our relationship. Seriously.

Just kidding.

No, seriously.

So that's what we do. We play Scrabble, we play Star Wars miniatures games, we hang out with our cute kiddo, eat a lot of yummy food that I concoct, hang out with our buddies (who also benefit from the yummy food I concoct), listen to sweet tunes on Pandora Radio, and play soccer on every nice day that shows its face. It's a pretty great life, I must say. No mountains, but hey, we have the illusion of mountains, so that's cool, right?!.......(not).....

And since I have absolutely no idea what this post is even about, I will leave you with this:

Love God,
Hate Sin,
And watch out for Trucks.