Thursday, October 18, 2012

Goodbye... for now.

My blog has been largely neglected this year (obviously:). It hasn't been altogether intentional, but if I'm honest I think it's because I've wanted and needed to write this post for awhile, but just haven't been able to bring myself to. I lost two of my most favorite people in the world-- my Grandma and Grandpa C. both passed away within the first 5 months of this year. I haven't wanted to blog until I wrote about them and I haven't wanted to write about them because it makes it feel so final.:( I've written the post a million times in my head, but have been avoiding actually penning it-- no tribute seems quite good enough and no words can truly express their influence in my life and the hole their deaths leave.

Late December I saw them at a Christmas open house and they were fine; like clockwork my Birthday letter from Grandma arrived in early January and by late January Grandma had passed away with little warning. Grandpa followed a few short months later. They left behind quite the tribe-- 5 kids, 21 grand kids and 35+ great grand kids (I've lost count:) not to mention all of those who married into the family. They always kept track of everyone and always knew what was going in our lives. They always supported us a multitude of ways in academia and in our other various endeavors. I know they prayed earnestly for us; they were two of the most thoughtful people in the world.

Both my childhood and adult years are filled with great memories of them. Grandma's home cooked meals and awesome cookies, the crafts she would have for us as kids, the warmth of her hug. Grandma and Grandpa taught us so many board games and I can never play dominoes, aggravation or euchre without thinking of them. And if you ever beat Grandpa at a game, you know you had truly won. Even as kids he never went easy on us-- if you forgot to draw a card at the end of your turn, tough luck! You had to play short the rest of the game.:) He's somewhat responsible for the competitive natures that run in the family. I can still hear Grandpa's awesome guffaw and the way they said each others names. I can hear them saying my name and asking how I am. I can feel Grandma's gentle hand on my arm and see the twinkle in Grandpa's eyes.

They were beautiful people! Their love for God and for their fellow man was so apparent in the way they served each other, their family, their church and their community. Both of their funerals were beautiful testaments of lives well lived and of an amazing legacy left behind. I miss them, I miss them, I miss them. I think of them often and smile. I know they are together in a wonderful place. I like to imagine they have found a regular euchre group up there.:) I know in any case they are happy and whole and bringing praise and glory to God. And I'm so thankful for the assurance that I will see them again some day! I'm so glad for the many years I got to spend with them. It's goodbye for now, but not forever!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


As I mentioned in a previous post, Luke and I have been house hunting the past several months. I am happy to share that we have found a house that we are very pumped about and are looking forward to moving into. It was quite the process!  I wanted to make sure that most of the details were in place before getting too excited.:) The inspection has been completed and a few things are being worked on, but we are set to close in the next couple of weeks are planning to do the big move in June. We will be switching sides of town which will bring us closer to Luke's work and to my studio. The house is in a small neighborhood and is an older, stone, ranch style home that sits on a lovely 1/2 acre. I'll post photos once we have closed and it's a done deal.:) We can't wait to make this house our home!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Birthday Boy!

Maxfield celebrated his first birthday today and I can hardly believe it! What a guy.:) It's incredible how much your heart expands when you add a kiddo to the mix. Life has definitely been a big change over the past year, but it has been an awesome transition and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Time has flown faster than I could have imagined! I'll admit that I cringed this morning when I recalled what I went through a year ago, but I'll never forget what it was like to see his little face for the first time and how that trumped the heck out of everything. Max keeps me on my toes, but he brings more joy and happiness than I could have ever hoped for.
We enjoyed an indoor picnic (due to weather:) with friends this evening whose son is a good buddy of Max's in celebration of the occasion. Max palmed the half of a cupcake we gave him and shoveled it in. He clearly knows what to do with sugar.:) Friday night we will celebrate with our families, which I am really looking forward to. My baby boy is growing up!

the birthday boy this morning:

Monday, March 5, 2012


My goodness, I haven't been on here in awhile! It would be impossible to fill in all the details of the last few months so I think I'll just run through some quick updates.:)

Maxfield update:
This guy makes the world a better place.:) It's hard to believe how quickly the last 10 and a half months of gone. My little man is closing in on a year old. He loves life and seems to have quite a sense of humor. He laughs and still smiles all the time and generally charms most people he crosses paths with. It's next to impossible for me to make it through the grocery store or anywhere else without having to stop for ladies to chat with him-- as usual, he gives them a winning smile.:)

Max continues to be a chatterbox! (As Luke and I are his parents, we cannot for the life of us figure out where that came from.:) He seriously talks like 92.3% of the time that he is awake. I keep trying to convince him to say "ma-ma", which usually results in him laughing at me and giving me an ornery smile. What a little pistol. When he figured out how to stand up, his joy was (for the moment) complete. He now spends a lot of time standing up and cruising around furniture and has just recently learned to climb stairs. I believe walking is in the all to near future. I don't think there is a still bone in this kids body. Cuddling is not one of his fortes.:)

Max overall likes eating, but is definitely a bit picky and likes things a certain temperature.:) His favorite foods seem to be avocado, banana and sweet potatoes. Applesauce is somehow one of his extreme dislikes. Even if I try to mix it in with his beloved cereal, he immediately sniffs it out and will have nothing to do with it. He's becoming more independent all the time and has recently decided to feed his bottles to himself. We are kind of on a half breastfeeding, half formula plan these days, so he has ample opportunity to practice his bottle feeding skills.:) He also LOVES drinking water and finally learned how to use a sippy cup-- a new favorite object.

He loves playing, but prefers for it to involve anything that is not generally considered a toy. Remotes and cell phones seem to be particularly attractive "playthings".:) He absolutely loves doing patty-cake and cannot resist the urge to clap his hands together once you start the rhyme. He's also learned to high-five (courtesy of aunt Marge:) and wave goodbye. Both of which are adorable.:) Books have become a favorite and one of the few things to cause him to sit still and relax for a minute. This of course makes my heart very happy.:) He doesn't always have the patience to be read to, but loves turning the pages and looking through them.

For the most part he is an excellent sleeper. There are, of course, teething incidents etc that cause disrupted sleep, but most nights he goes to bed without too much fuss and sleeps straight through the night for about 10-12 hours. He has us so spoiled, that when the bad nights come along we are completely out of practice and put off guard by the whole thing.:)

Here are a couple recent pictures of the man himself:

Life update:
Life feels insanely busy. I imagine that will just always be the case and I should probably get used to it.:) We are house-hunting in earnest these days. This is an exciting, overwhelming and frustrating experience all in one.:) We are excited about being homeowners and settling in somewhere, but definitely looking forward to this process being over and having the paperwork complete.

I'm still working 3 days a week at the bookstore. It is our goal in the near-ish future for me to be done working there, so we are working on making that happen. It has been a great job, but we feel like it's time for me to be home more and to not have to work weekends and be able to focus more on my kiddo and my art. To that end I have started teaching a few art classes here and there. Teaching art is not necessarily my passion or my particular gift, but I know that I am capable and it's a good way to pass on the knowledge I have acquired. (not to mention it's one of the few ways to consistently make money as a fine artist:).

Things at my studio are good. A couple of years ago I started doing small paintings/illustrations on book covers that I salvaged from the trash at work. Little did I know these would pretty much pay my studio rent every month. I'm able to sell them fairly cheap because they are very inexpensive and relatively quick to make and they seem to be pretty popular. I currently have a couple of book cover pieces that I manipulated with a scroll saw and painted on in the "Put a Bird on it" gallery show at the Harrison. I still do more traditional work as well, but I've enjoyed discovering different ways to use book covers. It's a natural progression of my love of both literature and painting. Most of the covers are from reader's digest condensed books, which I don't feel too bad about destroying.:)

Luke and I will be celebrating our 5th anniversary this weekend. I can't believe it! What a crazy 5 years it has been. We've learned and grown a great deal and shared lots of tears, laughs and love. I'm so thankful for the perfect man for me and for a great father for our son. This weekend we are getting away to Chicago for an overnight while Max stays with my parents. I'm looking forward to it!

Here's a couple of more recent book cover paintings (you'll have to excuse the lack of editing of these photos):

It's hard to tell from the photo, but this bird cage one is actually about 3 feet from the top of the chain to the bird.

Movie update:
With the recent Academy Awards, we have been on a new movie binge around here.:) So here's 5 second reviews/opinions of the newest movies I've seen (these don't really include plot line):

"the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"-- I enjoyed the Swedish version and was wary of an American remake until I heard David Fincher was at the helm. Very well done! Rooney Mara played Lisbeth Salander excellently and overall the story line followed the book pretty closely, although in a somewhat simplified way. The ending was slightly different, but not in a way that bothered me or really changed things. Having read the books and seen the movies I can't really recommend seeing the films unless you have read the book first. They deal with some pretty hardcore stuff that I think is best to be prepared for before seeing it.

"Drive"-- I really liked this movie- and not just because it included Ryan Gosling.:) It had a sort of 80s grunge/b movie feel to it in an awesome sort of way. I can't exactly put a finger on why I liked it so much, but I really dug it. There was something badass about it that got me pumped.:)

"the Artist"-- probably my top recommendation out of all of these. This film is brilliant! As a new silent film in black a white, I could not have been more excited about it and I was far from disappointed. It was a bold and wonderful way to make a movie. The story is simple, but great and includes both drama and comedy. It really adopted the feel of an old silent film.

"Moneyball"-- This movie was very well done and very well acted. As a true story, it's quite fascinating- especially for being about baseball.:) I found myself wanting to read the book as I'm sure it would include even more of some of those interesting statistical details.

"Tree of Life"-- this is a very cinematic movie. Some people found it pretentious and it seemed that most reviewers truly loved it or truly hated it. I'm in the mostly loved it camp. It's not so much a movie as a work of art, though, which puts it at a different level and I understand why a lot of people didn't care for it. If you like cinematography, interesting framing of scenes and ethereal cosmological effects, you'll probably enjoy it. It is long though, and I don't think it was a perfect movie. It is beautiful, though.

"50/50"-- Great movie! It's about a very serious subject (cancer), but balances the drama with the comedy extremely well. The background of the movie is quite interesting as it is based on the true life experience Seth Rogan had of supporting his friend in his battle with cancer. Basically Seth Rogan plays Seth Rogan. And he does it well.:) Joseph Gordon-Levitt is also great in this movie.

"Hugo"-- What a beautiful movie!! Although this was somewhat geared towards kids and is based off of a young adult novel, I think most adults would find it appealing. It is very artistic and the movie is beautiful to watch (I loved the coloration of the whole film!). The references and snippets of old silent movies also made my heart very happy.:) I highly recommend this one!

I would like to try and blog more frequently, but really don't have much extra time these days, so no promises.:)