Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Project Runway inspired?


Here's another piece of art that Annabelle has created for her portfolio...
We have been watching Project Runway and I am guessing maybe the show inspired her...
Either way, this is one of my favorites.

Notice the red soled shoes!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ava serves...

Here's a short video of Ava at one of her volleyball games.

She's one of the smaller girls on her 6th grade team but she does manage to consistently get her serve over the net...

Go Ava!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Driving in circles...

I’m a parent. The parent of a teenager. The parent of a teenager learning to drive.


It’s only been a few months since our oldest daughter got her permit, but I’ve already figured out a thing or two about teaching a teen to drive.

First of all, the environment inside the car must be very Zen-like when the teen takes the wheel (and your life) into her hands.

Obviously, this is not the time to listen to music, read or text.

This is also not the time to ask the teen what kind of grade she got on her latest physics test, if she’s folded her laundry or written that thank-you note to Grandma yet.

Do not spook the teen driver.

Do not say or do anything that would make the teen take both hands off the steering wheel and both eyes off the road in front of her.

Don’t ask if a particular friend lives nearby, point out a cute squirrel on the sidewalk or gesture wildly when making a “very important point” about highway safety.

Try and control any outward reaction to her driving skills.

Don’t inhale too dramatically when she takes a turn too closely, or snort indignantly when she tells you to stop grabbing at the steering wheel.

Ask siblings in the back seat to restrain from making “helpful” comments while their big sister is driving.

The last thing the new driver wants to hear is critique from her 14-year-old sister on how good/bad she is doing.

You might think that having a new driver in the family is like having a free chauffeur to squire you around town so you can relax and enjoy the ride. You would be wrong.

A mom sitting next to the new driver is still mentally driving the car, except she has no control over the steering wheel, brakes or gas pedal.

Yeah, it’s so relaxing.

I’ve also learned to adopt a new way of talking during driving practice. I call it my air traffic controller voice.

I use my air traffic controller voice because I figure that our teen driver needs an instructor whose very presence exudes confidence and control. That someone is supposed to be me.

Using my air traffic controller voice, I calmly narrate what I see around us while she drives. I figure if I point out the potential driving hazards, hopefully she will also recognize them and we will all get home in one piece.

“OK, we have a car approaching,” air traffic controller mom reports. “He’s going to pass you. Ignore him, just maintain your speed and keep going forward. Good job. Over.”

My air traffic controller voice is meant to be the voice of reason, but I admit I don’t always end up sounding that way:

“OK, these two lanes are going to merge up ahead here. You have the right of way. Stay in your own lane, stay in your own lane, STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE!”

Yeah, I’m pretty sure air traffic controllers don’t end up yelling at their pilots, but they probably also don’t give them a high-five after they successfully parallel-park their 747s either.

With all my anxiety about practicing driving, I guess it’s no surprise that actually doing it has been a bit of an issue.

I can come up with about a thousand really good reasons why today is not a good day to practice driving, including:

I need to make dinner.

We need gas.

Is it getting dark?

Is that a raindrop?

Don’t you have a test to study for?

I know what you’re thinking. I’ve got to stop being a baby about teaching my baby how to drive. We can’t just keep driving back and forth to Grandma’s house. We’ve got to practice, practice, practice.

We’ve gotta take on the biggies. I’m talking about Trancas Street at 5 p.m., the Bel Aire Plaza parking lot, left turns, that crazy five-way intersection at Coombsville Road, red-light-camera stoplights. We must conquer them all.

We might even have to drive on the highway.

I’ll definitely need tower control for that one.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Barbie birthday...

Here's the 2011 Barbie birthday card I made for my friend Pierce who happily accepts me and my Barbie obsession.

Happy birthday LPC!

Disney art by Annabelle

I think Annabelle was inspired by Disney's Cinderella castle in this sketch.

Mom and Dad get away with NO KIDS.

What's better than a Sunday getaway?
A Sunday getaway with NO KIDS!

First stop: Bodega Bay for some clam chowder: YUM.
Second stop:
The Wild Flour Bakery in Freestone for some fresh bread.

Behind the bakery is a "hidden" garden with benches and shady trees... a perfect spot for a break.

Ahhhh... relaxing ALONE before we head home.
Next time we'll take the kids.

Annabelle, self portrait

Annabelle says she doesn't like to do faces, so I was happy to find this self-portrait...The colors look a little funny but you get the idea.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The grass is always greener...

“I can’t wait to be a senior,” our oldest daughter said to me one afternoon. This was about four years ago, when she had just started high school.

Really, I said. What are you so excited about? Driving? Senior prom? Graduation day? Graduation gifts?

Nope. We get to go on Senior Lawn, she said.

Senior what?

Senior Lawn — it’s the grass at school that only the seniors get to walk on. When I’m a senior, our class will take over Senior Lawn, she said decidedly.

I had heard about senior parking lots and senior pictures, but a lawn just for seniors was news to me.

What happens on Senior Lawn?, I asked.

Nothing, she said, but it’s senior territory. No one else is allowed there.

About a week later, at back-to-school night, just as I was about to cross a completely unremarkable grassy area between one school building and another, my daughter yanked on my arm.

You can’t walk on there, she said. That’s Senior Lawn.

Oooh, at last, the infamous Senior Lawn. I looked down. There was no sign designating the turf. No red velvet rope to keep out the 9th-, 10th- and 11th-graders. It was just some green grass, patchy in spots, and some benches. Nothing overly senior-ish about it.

What’s the big deal?, I said. I’m a parent. I happen to be paying for your education, I reminded her. I can walk on Senior Lawn.

No mom, she hissed. Do not walk on Senior Lawn. She gave me one of those looks that us moms know. This was non-negotiable. I should stay off Senior Lawn.

I looked around. None of the other parents were walking on Senior Lawn either. Apparently, they had also gotten the same “Stay off Senior Lawn” lecture.

OK, OK, I said, raising up my hands in surrender. No problem. I’ll go around.

What happens if you walk on Senior Lawn?, I asked her later.

She gave me the “If you have to ask, you definitely don’t deserve to know” look.

I persisted. Really, I said. What if you put one toe on Senior Lawn? What if you were just walking along minding your own business, la dee dah, and you fell onto Senior Lawn by accident? What if the buildings were on fire and you had to evacuate and Senior Lawn was your only refuge from conflagration?

She ignored me.

Fast-forward four years, and our oldest has just started her senior year. She and her fellow 12th-graders have finally claimed their birthright — Senior Lawn.

It also happens that our middle daughter is a freshman at the same high school. She’s heard the legend of Senior Lawn. As the sister of a senior, she might have hoped for an invitation onto the grass, but that idea was quickly shot down.

Don’t even think about it, her big sister said.

I thought of our own lawn at home. Technically, it would be known as “Dad’s Lawn,” but maybe I needed to re-evaluate that whole concept. Think outside the box.

What if we marked off sections of our back yard? Each of the three girls could be allocated her own personal area. We could have Huffman Senior Lawn, Huffman Freshman Lawn and Huffman Sixth-Grade Lawn.

When the girls are fighting or someone needs a time-out, we could just send each to her own personal section of lawn.

No one else would be allowed to walk on the other person’s part of the lawn. Each girl would be responsible for taking care of her own section, providing a clever and economical solution to weekly mowing and poop scooping duties. I’m pretty sure Dad would be more than happy to sublease his lawn to the girls in exchange for some free lawn care.

I see that back-to-school night at the high school is coming up. This year, I just have one question for our oldest daughter.

Now that I’m a parent of a senior, do I get to go on Senior Lawn?

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Cheer girl!

Allie cheers at her first JV football game!

She's on the left in these pictures...
Part of their uniform includes Leggs brand nylons in "Suntan" color. They are harder to find than you would think!
CVS has them.
They come in 2 packs.
She ripped her new pair immediately after putting them on.

I was able to take a few pics before she shooed me away....

Annabelle's armadillo

Annabelle recently started something called "30 days of art." Here is one of her drawings for the month-long creative project.