A Day in Pictures

Thursday, May 22, 2014

This is the last week of school, so it seemed like the perfect time to do a Day in Pictures thing. Soon our days are going to look very different, and I am most definitely looking forward to summer and a change of pace, but I've loved our school year rhythm. I took all of these pictures on Tuesday, which looks pretty much like most days except for the dance class part:

(Yes, A.M. Because I'm the only person in the house who would dream of getting up at such a time, so this way I get to do super important things like paint my toenails and surf blogs in profound peace and quiet. Worth it!)

(A sadly common sight. Nearly every morning I am cleaning up a roll of toilet paper that he's defeated.)

(Packing lunches and making breakfast...)

(We're at a point where I can set out their outfits for the week and they can dress themselves and mostly get ready on their own, even if they don't always choose the shoes that I had envisioned. They come downstairs for breakfast, I do their hair, and they are ready to go!)

(This one sleeps later because she's still waking up for a bottle in the early, early morning. Half the time I have to wake her up so we can leave on time.)

(Multiply this picture by five...I kept forgetting to take pictures of each class. Probably because they always get so suspicious when I try to take pictures.)

(Lunch date, just Aaron and I! You know you're busy when going through a drive-thru together qualifies as a date...)

Mass exodus the millisecond that class ends. I swear, the closer we get to the last day of school, the faster they rush out of here. Most of my classes got within two pages of finishing our book yesterday, but couldn't BEAR to stay for a minute of their passing period to just go ahead and wrap it up. 

(Apparently I was overthrown in a terrible coup...)

(Time for dance class! Ever since basketball season ended Aaron has been taking Phoebe home after school on our dance class day, which makes everything MUCH easier. And he makes dinner on Tuesdays now, so I don't have to rush home and cook afterwards. He's a keeper!)

(I tried to be productive while I was waiting, but this is about as far as I got...)

(She got TWO stamps!)

(Finally home! Must be time for a meltdown and timeout!)

(And time to hang out with this sweet chunk)

(and play outside until dinner is ready)

(Aaron made spaghetti for dinner. Not pictured: scathing lecture delivered to certain young men on the rudeness of only emerging from your room to grab a plate, and then taking said plate back to your room to continue your hibernation. Because no, sorry, in this house the price of food is human interaction.)

(Bedtime snuggles and stories)

(Evening chores. Scotty does the dishes, Jamie takes out the trash and sweeps the floor. They barely even need to be reminded to do their chores at this point, and they are getting very thorough. YOU ARE WELCOME, FUTURE WIVES!)

(I get half an hour of a bubble bath with a mindless novel, thank goodness, before I get back to working on my to-do list.)

(Bedtime snack, Trim Healthy Mama style)

And that's it! Evenings look a little different based on what day of the week it is and what we have going on after school - Tuesdays are my only night to not cook dinner - but this is pretty much how it goes down around here these days.

The Last Time I Talk About Costumes, Honest!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The first year that we had a school play at Flint we thought that we had the costumes all lined up to borrow. A week before the play we found out that we did not, and that was when I was put in charge of costumes. I made a few frantic runs to some thrift stores for things that had Princess Bride potential, then stayed up a few nights figuring out how to make them look right. I think my big creative accomplishment there was a pair of custom gloves for the six-fingered man, but no one went onstage in a basketball jersey and I discovered that weirdly, I really enjoyed making the costumes.

Since then I have learned how to do fancy things like use a sewing machine. I know. Such technical mastery. I actually have no idea what I'm doing, but there is something so satisfying about figuring it out. Being a tiny little school and all, we don't have a big budget for our grand productions, so I've mostly stuck with my thrift store up-cycling strategies. Really, if you hit the sales right, it's a lot cheaper than buying fabric, and there's something very satisfying about that, too. Thirty dollars at the five-dollar bag sale just turned into costumes for two-thirds of the cast. BAM! It's like a magic trick. I love it.

(According to my husband, you can't tell that I love doing the costumes because I complain about it so much. From my perspective, I've just been talking about what I'm doing. I know we're all shocked that the literature teacher is excessively verbal. For the record: I love making the costumes. Which is not to say that seventy-six costumes in less than two months was not a challenge and did not stress me out. But I loved it. Sorry if I sounded whiny.)

My two favorite skills that I acquired this time around are using the hemstitch function on the (amazing! wonderful! shiny!) sewing machine that our PTF donated, and delegation. I think I'm better at the hemstitch than I am at delegation, but I'm slowly getting to a place where if someone comes into the art room and asks what they can do to help, I can actually give them a task. One of my co-workers cut all the fabric squares for the female ensemble dresses, and another hemmed a bunch of them for me and knitted about a million belts. AND I had a student helper two days a week who was just about the most helpful creature in the entire universe and I am keeping her forever and ever. Someone who can function in the den of chaos that is the art room halfway through play prep and understands my half-finished sentences and made-up words when I'm in the middle of maybe ruining something important? Priceless, I tell you.

A lot of the costumes this year were pretty simple Biblical-looking, throw it on and add a headscarf type affairs. There were just a lot of those. The big projects were the coat of many colors and the female ensemble's Egyptian dresses.

The coat started out as a humble robe, a curtain, and a pile of old prom/bridesmaid dresses in ocher and peach and mauve and crimson and violet and...
Oh, and a kinder-gym parachute.

The parachute was detachable, just for the finale scene, and we never got a chance to rehearse with it, so Aaron couldn't understand why I was in such a panic of suspense during the last song, or why I found it necessary to fist pump and quietly sob when it unfurled correctly.

That coat gave me fits, I won't lie. Much more fun to make was the torn and bloody "coat" that the brothers present to Jacob after they sell Joseph. I sewed a bunch of coat scraps together all willy-nilly, and then attacked the whole mess with a seam ripper and some red paint.

The girls had to have Biblical-looking costumes for the first part of the play, but once it shifted over to Egypt they needed to change, so I ended up making twelve of these dresses, based on the concept of a dress that has been hanging on the costume rack for several years. I was terrified that I would spend a ton of time on these and they would turn out weird, but I was actually really happy with the end result.

And then there was the Pharoah costume, which was a basic Elvis costume from Party City that was 2XL and had to be completely cut down and re-sewn, and then covered with about five million gemstones and an ankh. And the Potifar's Wife costume, which was a gorgeous old beaded thrift store dress that needed virtually no alteration to be perfect. And the rainbow-striped denim pants that I bought to threaten the students with (don't annoy me, guys, or you'll be wearing THESE PANTS onstage because I have that kind of power, bwahahaha, etc.) but were a completely useless threat because the basketball players all fought over who GOT to wear them...
And on and on and on.

Bottom line: it was fun. I loved it. I was exhausted and stressed out, but it was nothing that some complaining and seam-ripping couldn't fix. That, and some occasional foolishness with the costumes.

What? I dare anyone to be trapped in a room full of costumes for that long and resist taking a bearded selfie. You can't. It's impossible.
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