Showing Up

Starting a new semester was exciting. A fresh start! Students for whom I won’t be their third art teacher of the year. I can set things up the way I want to.

I forgot how exhausting it is to start with new students. So many names to learn, quirks to figure out, dynamics to assess, and expectations to clarify and enforce. I was working hard to build a positive class culture. It worked really well with some of my classes, but when you see six totally different groups of students in different age groups, there’s no magic formula. A couple periods started off in shambles, and I felt a lot of despair about that. I spent a few weeks waking up in fear and frequently walking home in tears. But I did it. I kept showing up, kept smiling, kept repeating what was important, and kept my cool (mostly). I stayed reflective, and had some great exploratory conversations with my school mentor. Now (knock on wood!), things are going a lot better, and we’re on a pretty good path toward the rest of the school year.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Watching the boys do gymnastics is inspiring for me. One, it’s just fun to see them out there flipping around, but it also reminds me that what I value in others is not that they are naturally talented. I value their effort, persistence, and ability to enjoy things that they have not mastered. It makes me happy to see all the kids with different abilities out there trying, falling, and getting back up.

I want to be more like them.

One tricky variable is that you can never quite know what things will be hard. Henry and Joe had a dickens of a time trying to knock this dice tower over using air!

Friends of ours had a baby recently, and they seem to be dealing with the newborn stage amazingly. Something that did end up being a challenge for them was figuring out diapering. They wanted to do cloth diapers, but were feeling confused and not having great success. Since that’s something I have expertise in and a passion for, I was able to give them a lesson. AND I got to hang out with their baby in the meantime. Look at this beautiful child!

A friend from grad school informed a few of us Art Teacher Moms that she now has an outdoor Jacuzzi. This was very exciting news to all involved, so this past week we enjoyed a snowy hot-tub time while swapping stories from our classrooms. It was so therapeutic, mentally and physically. She lives right by the Witch’s Hat Tower, so I got some nighttime shots.

The view of Downtown Minne from the hill.

My parents came up for a visit this weekend, which was wonderfully planned. I just really needed some time with my Mommy and Daddy, and the boys had so much they wanted to show them.

We all now look fresh, too. Thanks, Mom!

Sunday was in the 40s, so we definitely wanted to get out into the sunshine. Lunch at Heather’s was a lovely start.

Then we headed to Coldwater Spring.

Hennie found water!

The woods near the dog park were filled with lots of squeals of, “Mom! Look!”

Henry found a 203-year-old wall to climb up to.

So nice to be together

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