Sunday, February 26, 2012

Making Art

Kristen says...

Last weekend was a long weekend...not long because it felt long, but long because it was long...a loverly 4-day President's Day Extravaganza!

Chris and I took advantage of that in multiple ways...he slept, I worked out. He watched a movie (I think he's almost through the entire first season of the Tudors), I worked on lesson plans...he...ok, so maybe we wasn't that lazy and I wasn't that industrious, but we both had a nice weekend.

We also spent quite a bit of time with friends, mostly eating and, for 2 or so hours on Saturday, making art!

Now, I can't 100% speak for Chris, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say neither of us considers ourselves artists. Yes, I can tat and I have a nice camera, but I don't think I'm an artist by any stretch of the imagination. And neither of us can draw worth anything...

But last weekend we had the opportunity to pull out any artistic skills lying dormant in ourselves with a fun family art event at school.

The lovely art teacher invited us to join her and create some art. She wouldn't tell us what the medium was until we got there, and we were surprised when she said we would be making pictures using printers' ink and rollers. These were tools I used when I worked in the Print Shop at Living History Farms. Little did I can use them to make art!

We started out with a tutorial from our art teacher-extraordinaire:
and then we took off on our own, working on brown "scratch" paper to make some blobs and some pictures:

Next we began our artistic collaboration to make an abstract art piece that I'm not 100% crazy about, but the art teacher really liked it:
Then we moved back into the world of literal, creating my one of my favorite pictures of the day, one that (although we didn't try to) mimics our "Aves" painting:
Because it was a "family" art day, we had to bring Pip!
And because it was a "family" art day we had to get Pip involved!

Then we decided to pull out some paint and add some color to our lives with an abstract painting of our old Des Moines apartment:
Here we are, working away and getting dirty!

This is another favorite, spontaneous and special:
We ALL had a really great time, and I am excited to get our art framed or matted and placed around the apartment. What a fun reminder our our time in Honduras and at Discovery School!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Back on the Tatting Wagon: Motif 1

Kristen says...

Well, I failed.

Failure isn't something new for me, nor really something I fear (as one of my students told me the other day, "You don't learn from your successes, Miss, only your failures." I try to find comfort in that... ;) ...) but I can't say I like it much either...

So my failure to finish last years' 25 Motif Challenge is kind of bothering me...

It's not that I couldn't have...I made it to #19 officially (so close!) and tatted at least 4 other motifs as Christmas presents, but I didn't take pictures (duh) and didn't blog about them, so they don't really count...

HOWEVER, I am throwing my hat back in the ring. I have begun tatting again (finally!) and am happy to present my 2012 Motif #1:
It's Lyn Morton's 4-petal "Peggy" from her book Tatting Patterns

I'm not totally proud of it (there is some weird twisting going on in the upper LH corner) but it's better than the nothing I tatted in January...

On an interesting note, I didn't feel the need to re-write the directions on this one...often when a pattern is written in the "long version" format (ex: "5DS, 5Ps, separated by 3DS, 5DS") I have to re-write it into the "short version" (5-5-5-5-5) before I begin tatting. This time, for whatever reason, the longer style worked for me without the hopefully I won't be so intimidated by that style of pattern anymore, or spend (more time that I'd like to admit) "translating" patterns...

Anyway, 1 down, 24 to go! I WILL finish this year!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Hello February 2012!

February 2012
Kristen says...

Hi everyone!

I apologize for the unusually long blog's been a VERY busy 2012 so far!

Actually, the busy-ness started back in good old 2011, in December. It's always a busy month, and this past year was no exception. We had the early events, like the NPH Christmas party (instead of us going to the granja they come to the school and we throw them a little party complete with a movie, pizza, and even a piñata.) It was a fun day, but I'm always really tired after spending that time with so many kids!

Of course, the NPH party was a nice gear-up for the tons of one-on-one time we got with these adorables:

(GO ISU! Even though they lost their bowl game, Ezra and I were all decked out!) (It was nice to get to spend Jackson's first Christmas with him!)

This year's Christmas break was a bit less hectic than last year's, but still full of fun. Highlights included the tons of time I got to spend with my nephews (seriously, could they be any cuter?!), the time I spent with my parents, siblings, in-laws, and grandparents, and seeing everyone open and enjoy their presents (my favorite was the mustache-themed gifts we gave to brother-in-law Jay...a mustache book, candy, a mug, clings for a mirror or window, and...mustache bandages!)
(Too funny, right?)

It was also really nice to watch the college bowl games, even though both Iowa (boo) and Iowa State (yay) lost. Ezra, of course, was cheering for Iowa State:
(Jackson wasn't there, but he did get something that looked suspiciously like an Iowa football for Christmas, so maybe he's going to be like his Uncle Chris...a Hawkeye...booo!! Oh well, I'll still love him, just like I do his Uncle Chris!)

I came back to Teguc on January 2nd, and spent a very lonely January here while Chris stayed and worked in Des Moines (again...two years in a row).

It. Was. LAME.

I thought I would be totally productive and do lots of things like read and tat and clean and work out and stuff...what I really did was make 4 (FOUR!) batches of no-bake cookies and eat pretty much all of them by myself...sigh...

Needless to say the old waistline isn't looking so pretty right now... it's gotten bad enough that I've had to start to "work out" (which is a loose term down here...Teguc isn't one of those places where you can just go out for a morning jog, so I've had to get creative...) I'm really "liking" (if anyone can actually like exercise) the Walk at Home DVDs right now because they're quite easy and don't take too much time. If I had access to a treadmill I'd be even happier.

To motivate myself I joined my mom's Live Healthy Iowa team, which keeps me accountable since I have to post my "progress" online...that plus the upcoming Lent season (I'm still wavering about what to give up, I'm waffling between pop and desserts, but might go with both) should be a healthy thing...we'll see, though!

Chris came back on the Wednesday before the Super Bowl, and we were anticipating a nice evening watching the game together at home, especially since #39 on the (WORLD CHAMPION) Giants, a great "kid" named Tyler Sash, hails from our hometown and played on both of my brothers' high school football team!

However, just as the teams were running onto the field, my dad called...and let us know that his mom, my grandma, who had been sliding deeper into Alzheimer's for the past few years, wasn't doing well. Not even a Giants win could blunt my sadness when he called the next morning and said she'd passed away in the night.
So, for the second time in just over a month (for me--just over a week for poor Chris) we hopped back on a plane and back to Iowa.

Funerals are never fun, but I am so lucky to have a large, loving family to make them a little better. We ALL 5 (siblings) made it back, even brother Daniel and his 8-months pregnant (but sill remarkably mobile) wife Amanda. Also all my cousins were there, which was really nice. I missed my grandpa's funeral at the beginning of last school year, so I was really glad I was able to get back for Grandma's, although sub plans are never fun to write. I actually got 5 days of bereavement leave, which was super-nice, and since the funeral was on a weekend, I was able to leave on a Wednesday and return the following Tuesday to Teguc.

One of the nice things about the weekend (and having those 5 days) was that I was able to really focus on my family. At Christmas there's so much running around, and Chris had to work so we stayed a lot of Christmas Break in Des Moines, I didn't get a whole lot of R and R at Mom and Dad's house...for this funeral trip, we were only in Des Moines one day, and that was only because Chris forgot to take home the thing that allows him to work remotely (oops) and we had to go to Des Moines to get a new one.

So, there was family time, and true to form, it was pretty fun...especially since the nephews were there!

Ezra is feeding himself now, and doing a really good job of it... ;)

He also really likes to read, especially his Spanish book "Perritos" that Chris and I bought him. He likes to howl at the moon with the doggies:

Jackson is sitting on his own now, and very is starting to interact with everything around him. Any minute now he's going to learn to crawl. He is also very "silly" ;) (oh, and super-cute!)

He's also super-cuddly, which was a really nice distraction from the sadness of the funeral, especially for my dad:

Yep, they're pretty great! (Not that I'm biased or anything!)

This guy's pretty great too...I love this picture!

And of course we have the obligatory family pictures...

The original Foster 7 and the Foster 5 with the four outlaws

Sad as it was to say goodbye to Grandma, it was nice to go home of the things I don't like about living in Honduras (and it's not a Honduras thing, it's a living out of Iowa thing) is that I don't get to see my family as much as I'd like...thank goodness for Skype!

We got back last Tuesday, and it's been catch-up ball since then. Not only has my "private" life been busy, but school has been busy as well! I had to miss the annual (English language) Spelling Bee turned (English language and Spanish lanuguage) Spelling Bee and (English language and Spanish lanuguage) Speech Contest due to Grandma's funeral, but made it back just in time for the students to go to a play (very loosely) based on a book they'd read and the Science Fair (Chris and I were both judges).

My students have also been doing fun stuff recently...check out these cool castle projects!

I also showed my students a really awesome movie called Lagaan, which is set in the 1890s during Imperialism in India, and decided to do some cross-curricular movie integration with the PE teacher by playing cricket with the class. (Cricket is a major plot point in the movie.) Here's a shot of me showing them how it's done...haha:
Right now we're off on a lovely 4-day weekend to celebrate President's Day of all things, so I'm looking forward to another short week this two of my four classes will be out on multi-day field trips, so I am looking forward to some extra planning time at school.

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but Honduras has been in the news lately due to some fires, one which killed over 300 prison inmates and another that burned a large marketplace in Comayagüela (the city literally across the river from Teguc). We could actually see the smoke from that one from our house:
It's a very sad time for the country, and I keep wishing my Spanish was better so I could fully understand the newspaper and tv reports about it all...I suppose it's all part of the adventure...Luckily none of this has affected us more than just our general sense of heartache for the families affected by the tradgeties.

And with that, I believe we're all caught up. Now that the holiday craziness has ended I hope to get back to more regular posts...I have two lined up already, so check back soon for more Teguci-information from the Finks. :)

Thanks for reading!