Posted on January 13, 2013 by hightrestlehomestead
Holy macaroni, I am the mother of a toddler. It barely seems possible! They really do just let anyone become parents, even the motley likes of Brian Dougherty and myself! All kidding aside, it appears as though we are indeed raising a bright, fiercely independent little girl with personality plus and a very tender heart. I swear, however, that she came magically pre-packaged with all that stuff. We can only nurture what she already is. We have been planning for her first birthday party and it just seems unreal!
Unfortunately, the last 1/3 of Al’s life has been marked by five ear infections, one right after the other. She has never seemed to quite fully recover from each one, especially when her ear drum ruptured a few days before Christmas. Right now we are suffering through yet another one. Gah! Depsite all of this, she is in the 90% percentile for height, and the 71st percentile for weight. This makes her the only certified bean pole to be found at the High Trestle Homestead.
One other very exciting development came about this week, my blogging career (I use that word in humor, usually) has expanded. Now, besides just this little blogette, I am a writer for The Art of Education! I am so excited to share some of the knowledge all of my mistakes have given me with other art teachers. Take a look by clicking on my bio below.
Filed under: In Alice's Wonderland, In The Classroom | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 30, 2012 by hightrestlehomestead
eeping a New Year resolution isn’t something that I’ve ever really been so good at. In fact, I haven’t made one in several years. No resolution, no disappointment or failure. This year is different around my house for lots of reasons, and so I am making some resolutions that I am determined will result in success. One of my purposes for blogging, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, is that it can be a great accountability tool. And so, I will post my personal 2013 to-do list right here for all three of you to see (thanks for reading, mom!) with the hopes of making these things a reality.
1. This is the classic resolution: to lose weight. I am actually already well on the way with this one. Since January 9th, 2012 (the day I went in to deliver Alice) I have lost nearly 60 pounds. At the end of October I was feeling really blue about not being able to lose more weight. My sister visited and was looking fabulous after starting Weight Watchers. I jumped on board and since the first of November I’m down 20 pounds! I have more to go to get back to my triathlon body circa 2007, but I’m on my way! Anything is progress after looking like this last Christmas eve…
2. I’d like to widen my professional horizons this year. This past year, I have had a lot of exciting and new professional opportunities that have made me take stock of my career path and where I want it to lead. I think the coming year will have some really challenging, yet invigorating things going on with the federal grant we received, my role as PLC facilitator for our district, and a few other doors opening up. Normally, I would resolve to say no more, but this year will be all about the “yes!”
3. Mommy guilt is an ugly thing that no one ever mentions when you are pregnant with your first child. I have dealt with a lot of it, but this year I am going to work on those nasty, undermining feelings of self-doubt. I vow to remind myself that it is ok to let Brian do a chore, my parents to watch her overnight, and it is ok to feed her a goldfish cracker every now and again. We didn’t sleep train her, I’m letting go of that. I can’t stay home with her, I’m letting go of that. I will focus on that fact that despite our rookie status we are raising a bright, happy, fiercely independent child that knows her parents love her, that fact that she was breastfed (a major source of my new mommy guilt) for over a year, and the fact that that she gets to spend some very precious moments each night before closing her eyes rocked in the arms of her parents. See, I’m getting better already!
Filed under: In My Dreams, In The Classroom | Tagged: new year, resolution, weight loss | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 27, 2012 by hightrestlehomestead
This morning, after all of the delightful craziness of our family Christmas events, I have poured myself an unsafe dose of coffee to finish an important task: our holiday letter. Last week, during the Snowmaggedon that hit Iowa, I hunkered down with my Adobe Illustrator and got the infographic newsletter all designed. Since I don’t send a hard copy to everyone I know, I posted it on Facebook and instantly had a million questions about it. Here are the answers…
1. I got the idea from Pinterest…of course. I have no original ideas any more.
2. Yes, I do realize I’ve opened a can of worms. I am now obligated to do these every year. Luckily, I love doing them!
3. Yes, you can hire me to do yours.
This morning, now that the design is finished and the questions are answered, I have addressed and added postage to envelopes. Now, I am scurrying to stuff said envelopes before Alice wakes up (she is trés helpful, read: all up in my business) in order to get them in the mail by tomorrow.
My design work continues, however, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I have started Alice’s first birthday party invitation, and my sister and I have already started conversations about her bridal shower and wedding invitations. I am ready to put that Creative Suite to work…and maybe even buy a new computer to help with these designs. But, I digress…
No matter how you celebrate, happy holidays to you and yours from the Dougherty family!
Filed under: Behind The Lens, In The Studio | Tagged: Christmas, graphic design, holiday | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 12, 2012 by hightrestlehomestead
When I was a student learning the ins and outs of art education, I visited an art room that left me horrified: the teacher (a veteran art educator) read a book to the students, then led them through a step-by-step drawing of the main character. I left thinking that those students were having their creativity stifled and the teacher was doing them a great disservice.
Over the last seven years, six of them as an elementary-level art teacher, I have developed an understanding and appreciation for what that teacher was actually doing with those kids. Kids don’t just come into your classroom knowing how to draw a bird or a truck or a person. They need the fundamentals, some places to start. Developing that know-how though a guided exercise does just that, while giving students a sense of success. When they feel that success, that is when they begin to take calculated creative risks and build their own artistic works. Isn’t that exactly what we want for them? You may be asking how I keep them from looking like clones. I always begin by telling students that many of the steps we are about to take are suggestions, and that there are some parts of the art that you need to try to make exactly like mine, and others where you can make it however you like. I am as clear as possible about which steps are which. I also have a spectrum of choices for where to add their own details. For instance, on a portrait I may instruct students to start with a head shape that looks exactly like mine, tell them that they can choose to make eyes in the way they like best, then show them several different ways to draw hair.
At the end of these lessons students have art work that demonstrates solid direction-following, their own sense of style, application of key concepts, and a finished piece to be proud of. As you can see, my opinion has evolved.
One of my favorite times to teach lessons in this way (I don’t do every single one with this format) is winter. Each grade level does a different winter-themed collage/painting. Each year I change them up just a bit to keep my own interest up. Thank God for Pinterest and it’s full on mountain of lesson ideas! The products never fail to be a student, staff, and family favorite. Here are some examples of our current works…
Filed under: In The Classroom | Tagged: art, education, painting, winter | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 30, 2012 by hightrestlehomestead
esterday we took Alice to the zoo. We learned a few things about our girl during the visit…
1. Alice likes to go fast. We boarded the little train to ride around the zoo grounds, which Alice seemed pretty ambivalent about. That is, until the last 30 seconds or so, when the conductor sped up and we whipped around the curves back to the station. I looked back to see her bouncing with glee and clapping furiously in Grandma’s lap. Needless to say, her father has found a racing companion.
2. Alice is very curious about the world around her, wanting to claw, grab, sniff and taste it all at once. Not news, really. However, I didn’t realize this applied to goats. The goats are easily the most accessible animals at the Blank Park Zoo, and naturally Alice wanted all the access she could get. Not wanting the goat to be maimed, we held Al at a safe distance.
3. Finally, we learned that Alice is probably adding to her collection of six teeth. She spent the whole day munching on her finger, like this…
Filed under: Behind The Lens, In Alice's Wonderland | Tagged: kids, parenting, zoo | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 22, 2012 by hightrestlehomestead
I have always loved to cook, especially cook for other people. Now, I am finding that one of my favorite people to cook for is Alice. From a very early point I had committed to making all of her baby food. There have been so many benefits to cooking for her that I can’t imagine doing it any other way: I know exactly what she is eating, her foods are as fresh and nutritious as possible, she is getting a real variety, it is economical to the extreme, and it takes very little time to store up a ton of tasty foods! We started with avocado and banana and have now branched out to a surprisingly wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and meat. It does help that at nine months of age, Alice has six teeth with two more bound to be here by Halloween, so she is ready to chomp and chew.
Last weekend my mom, my cousin Kim, and Alice and I headed down to the Des Moines farmers market to pick up some seasonal produce to stock our freezer with fresh veg. Pumpkin is one of her all-time faves (not to mention, mine as well) and so we set out to grab some Iowa-grown goodness. This is what we came home with…
Between the butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkins, zucchini, potatoes, and carrots I had about 20 pounds worth of food to process. With Brian’s help in the baby wrangling department, the next day I got out my new knives (thanks to my extra-kind in-laws), and my blender. Usually I use the very awesome baby bullet that my mom gave us, but this epic undertaking called for a little larger appliance. I sliced up all the squash and pumpkins and filled my oven with roasting gold…
After roasting for an hour, I scraped all of the meat from the now-softened skins and blended them with a little water and prune juice (for sweetness). I poured the velvety puree into five ice cube trays and we were in business. For Alice, I thaw a few cubes and have mixed it with other vegetables, chicken, or even peaches and oatmeal.
Al is a lady on the move, and lately we have noticed that she is in need of some extra tummy-filling energy. This morning I decided to make some whole-wheat pumpkin pancakes for her to eat with her peachy puree. Here is how I made them…
I mixed a cup of 100% whole wheat flour with two teaspoons of baking soda, a tablespoon of sugar (optional) and a dash of cinnamon. After whisking together one egg (Al hasn’t shown any sensitivity to eggs or any other food so far), 3/4 cup of breast milk, a half cup of applesauce (just and apple puree I made previously), and 3/4 cup pumpkin or squash puree. This made about a dozen 3-inch pancakes. Alice polished hers off with a smile and very little hidden in her high chair.
Filed under: In Alice's Wonderland, In The Kitchen | Tagged: baby food, cooking, fall, local produce | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 10, 2012 by hightrestlehomestead
ew things instill such trepidation and self-loathing as having your picture taken professionally. Luckily family photos only come around once in a great while, but I was faced with one of those rare occasions this past weekend and…it wasn’t so terrible! We had our outfits all planned out (our family wore orange, white, and navy) and bags packed, and on Saturday morning we left for Waterloo to have our photos snapped with the rest of the Dougherty clan. The thought of wrangling 8 adults, an 11, 4, and 3 year old, plus a 17 month old, 10 month old twins, and my little 8 month old Alice sounded slightly daunting. Everyone looked spiffy, the weather was windy, but beautiful, and miraculously the whole thing went off without a hitch. Kids were cooperative, parents and grandparents were pros, and the photographer was a sweetheart (check her out at her site here).
After looking at the sneak previews, I think the portraits will be outstanding. Maybe more importantly, after looking at them and at first pointing out each flaw I see in myself (in one of them I look totally pregnant because of the way I am standing and holding Alice) I had a little realization. I love seeing us together as a family unit more than I hate my physical flaws. This isn’t like school pictures where it is about you and how you look in that moment in school time. Family pictures are about what we are as a whole right now. In these portraits I can see so much fun and potential for the future: first days of school, birthdays, lost teeth, cars, girl/boyfriends, graduations, weddings, more kids! I love our family and can’t wait for a lifetime of more family photos!
Filed under: Behind The Lens, In Alice's Wonderland | Tagged: family, photography, pictures | 4 Comments »