A little elf magic for you on this winter solstice.
I was inspired by the arrival of the elf (on the shelf) at our house last week. My daughter has been writing letters to our elf every day.
This little guy is more of a cross of a Christmas Elf and Jack Frost. There is no limit to what he can create and winter is his time to shine.
I have a lot to celebrate.
My first baby turns 10 today. I've placed this print of him at age 3 next to "Pizza", named for the Peperomia plant in the terrarium he made last winter.
The moment after he was born, the doctor called him King Kong. Sure, he was pretty big for a baby (9 lbs 4 oz), but he was so little, especially compared to the person I woke up this morning who is about as tall as his full size bed.
Not only was Dylan born an hour before the 7th and final Harry Potter book was released, he also sneaked in his birth on the sixth anniversary of the wedding of his parents.
As I said, I have a lot to celebrate.
Note: As I researched for this post I discovered that it was announced an hour ago that there will be two new Harry Potter books released this year. They do not continue the series. Instead, they are about the "History of Magic." More here.
This chance encounter exhibits many personal layers.
The first one is the choice I made to climb very high in this tree at four years old. I recently found a photo dated AUG 1979 and it shocked me how young I was way up there (though the bowl cut should have given that away!) Today, as a parent this makes me very nervous, but back then I had no fear and apparently some strong climbing skills.
My choice to have that cute (huge) little bee in the image has more to do with a fascination I honestly developed as an adult. As a child I was as freaked out as the next kid about yellow jackets, but I wonder if I would have warmed up to a nice chunky, slow-flying bumble bee.
The two together fit a prompt that I decided to follow for a monthly online gallery hosted by SCBWI, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, called Draw This. (The link currently shows last month's gallery which I am in.) This month's prompt is "surprise."
About a week ago I volunteered in my daughter's 1st grade classroom. On Friday afternoons they have been working on a 100 Book Challenge where the children read aloud to adults. Lucky for me, this day included a reward for earning so many brownie points. The children were allowed to bring in a sleeping bag, stuffed animal and flashlight so that they could read in the dark!
What a great opportunity for everyone involved! I really enjoyed having my daughter and several other children read to me.
What is the best thing to do when the weather snows, sleets, and freezes? Why, build snow forts, of course!
Several forts are strategically located throughout our neighborhood right now. It takes teamwork to mine the ice bricks from the plowed debris on the sides of the road. Alliances are made; we hope no faces are broken. This ice is hard!
So, be careful if you are walking through this corner of Elkins Park any time before the demolition melt on Monday. Don't say you weren't warned.
The beating that I've been taking the last few days is bittersweet. My 9 year old son Dylan has not only a good dose of talent in chess, he also has more training than me thanks to the chess club at Meadowbrook, his old school. So even though I am clearly outmatched, I persist. (Isn't that the trend these days?)
Today was our second match this week. I was beaten badly. I made a few good moves, I made several dumb moves, and my pride wishes I could say that I lost on purpose.
I still hope I might win tomorrow. At the very least I will go down fighting!
The weather was not exactly "nice" but the kids and I took a winter hike yesterday in the section of Pennypack park that yields this spectacular view of Glencairn Castle.
My cousins first brought me to this neck of the woods with a hilltop view when we were in high school in the early 90s.
The fact that Caitlyn has a heart on her hat is just a lucky coincidence.
Nature can soothe, if we let it. So can painting. Maybe that's why I paint images of nature so frequently...
As I tried to fall asleep on Tuesday night, which was no small feat on the night of the election, I envisioned nature and felt my body instantly relax. The image in my mind of a rainbow somewhere out west over a vast grassy plain came to me thanks to the Weather Channel's election counter-programming. From 3pm until midnight the network had a "nature marathon" filled with awe-inspiring landscapes of calm weather.
What a genius idea! Thanks Cat for adding a literal breath of fresh air to my Facebook feed by sharing this information!
As an environmentalist, I worry about the results of this election. However, I am also more inspired than ever to work to make positive change at the local level...whether I am making conscious choices in my household, volunteering to support sustainable efforts in my community, or celebrating nature with my artwork and sharing it with you!
This painting is of my son, Dylan. At 9 years old he is teaching me and my husband more about nature than we could ever hope to have known when we were children. I love exploring with him! He inspires me and he gives me hope that our future generations will continue to take care of the environment... no matter who is president.
Walking in nature is one of my favorite pastimes and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia (in particular, Valley Green) is one of the most glorious places to roam. My husband and I have been going there for years and now that our youngest child has her first hiking boots... we are a hiking family!
Last weekend we had a special treat. Old Man Steve (my brother) and my nephew Gabriel joined us in adventuring along the Wissahickon. It was warm for October and Gabi's feet were prepared for the water. Don't ask if he has socks on...you may not really want to know the answer. :)
So, a few housekeeping items about my blog here. It has a new title - Little Bee: Weekly Observations of Nature. My focus will be to enjoy and celebrate nature, and maybe some of my exploration of sustainable practices will slip in too as I educate myself while working to support my children's elementary school in that mission.
Take a Walk #1 will be the first in a series of scenes about outdoor adventuring.
One last thing...I reorganized the gallery. Check it out here. See you next week!