I suck at imaginative play.

On a regular basis, Rob tells me that I am too literal. Too black + white. I usually fight him tooth and nail about those accusations, but I’ve come to realize, he is kind of right – just not the way he thinks. I am a very, very artistic person, but I am very unimaginative.

Isuckatimaginativeplay

I’ve noticed this to be most obvious when I am playing with Eli.  When I was young I spent hours and hours and hours playing with Barbies in the basement with my sister. We french braided their hair, designed their family tree, gave them elaborate homes complete with a running track (crokinole board) and elevator and dressed them and re-dressed them. Sometimes the Barbies re-enacted Beaches or the Sound of Music to their respective soundtracks. The other day, when I was playing action figures for the 400th time, I realized that we weren’t “playing” Barbies at all when I was little. Occasionally the Barbies would run around the track, watch TV, kiss Ken or drive in the car, but really we were just setting them up. There was no plot. There was no imaginative play.

Eli doesn’t play that way. He wants Batman and Spidey and Peppa Pig and Buzz to have epic adventures with one another. I just can’t do it. I try, but I suck. He wants me to come up with elaborate plots and fun and creative storylines. My “adventures” consist of Batman asking Buzz for a lunch date, or Mike Wazowski asking the red dinosaur what his favourite colour is. Lame. I can’t imagine anything. Everything is factual and literal (that wouldn’t really happen!). Can’t we just line them up and display them? Make them outfits or do their hair? Why do we have to actually act them out? Want to do some painting instead? Build some towers?

It’s also very obvious that my imagination is lacking when Eli asks me to tell him a story before bed. I hate storytelling. I offer to read him 5 more books, but when that doesn’t work, I usually just retell a known story. Sometimes I replace the 3 little pigs with him and his buddies. The other night, I retold the pilot episode of Who’s the Boss for his story. Seriously.

Other ways I am black/white and lack imagination.
– I am generally not excitable, it is what it is
– I am the worst liar in the world
– I answer questions Eli has with facts (no sugar coating of things, even if he is only 3).
– I am the biggest copier of all of my artistic endeavors – I like copying artists and following guidelines and tutorials.
– I am the worst at “sunshine calls” for my students and complimenting other people if I don’t really mean it (so I don’t do either). If you get a compliment from me, albeit rare, it is genuine.
– I was terrible at creative writing in school, but really good at scientific lab reports.
– I prefer reading realistic fiction or biographies/memoirs over adventure books any day.
– My writing minilessons (generating ideas) are totally pre-planned (and I’ve even copied small-moments ideas from books), I can’t think on the spot of any good stories to model. Ever.
I’ll just make sure I spend time with my family and friends who have lots of imagination. Maybe they will rub off on me. I doubt it, but Eli will appreciate them. xxoo

 *Above picture of me, age 2 in Florida watching the boob tube with Ernie and Bert.

My Font Reference Book

fonts in progress

I have a fondness for fonts and types. This isn’t news to most.

I decided, though, that I needed a faster process to choose which font works best with which project – instead of sampling them all every time.

I sorted my fonts by colour and type – Serif (has the little tails on it), Sans Serif (no tails), playful, handwritten, block letters, script, symbols/shapes, themed, grunge and new. I had considered giving a sample of every letter, but found using the font name made more sense and took up far less space on each card. I then laminated each one, punched a hole and added a ribbon to tie them together.

I love it.

(my fonts consist of default mac fonts and the plethora of free fonts I’ve downloaded from dafont.com)

Abby: Two Months

You are two months old. Woah. We have started counting your age in months.

IMG_1333

weight. Just over 9 lbs. You are comfortably wearing 0-3 month old clothes now.

eyes. still dark, dark blue.

hair. dark blond – but you are still pretty bald.

feeding. Lots and lots these days. Don’t be so afraid of the right side.

sleeping . You are a super-sleeper. I really, really hope this lasts. Not sure if this is a 2nd-born thing, a girl thing or an Abby thing, but you rule!

things you love. Your brother, the dangling animals on your bouncing chair, baths, milk, staring out the window, kisses, the ring sling, sunshine, driving in the car

things you don’t love. Being gassy. That’s about it. You are a really happy baby.

other awesome things you do. Smile, coo and sigh. It is the best.

xo Abigail.

For a super-fun memory, check out Eli at 2 months here!

Day care? No guilt.

I love Eli. I love love love him. In the mornings we snuggle and have breakfast together and wrestle and read books and chase and dress-up and play hide&seek and paint and play-doh and superheroes – and I look at the clock and it isn’t even 10am yet.

So, what’s the problem? Sounds like so much fun! Well.. there is also a newborn in the house. One who now likes to nurse all the time. This is the hardest part of having an energetic 3.5 year old at home. Sometimes I flat out get – “Noooo… feed her later! She doesn’t need it!” or “Play with me first and then feed her, sound good?” and other times I get more interesting behaviour. I decided to draw some pictures to illustrate my time. He goes mental, pees on the floor intentionally (ok, just once), pretends my hair is a spiderweb for his toys, lays on my head or nursing pillow, pokes/hits/pinches Abby, pulls everything out of cupboards/laundry baskets/shelves, climbs and runs on counter tops, starts microwave or dishwasher and sometimes leaves the house if I forget to lock the door. I get impatient and snappy and frustrated and annoyed. I don’t like that side of me. I’ve “yelled” at Eli more in the past month than I have in the past 3+ years. People suggest special treats or toys that he can only use during nursing time, others suggest reading books together, talking about when he was a baby or playing toys with your free hand (free hand?). They are great ideas and they work… some of the time. The more I need to feed and bond with Abby, the needier Eli gets. I’ve been resorting to the ipad or tv more often than I’d like. How do stay-at-home parents do it?

IMG_0925

Yes, the photos I post on Instagram are dreamy and artistic (imo), but things aren’t always so rosy. Everything looks better with a filter. Because I crave (and need) bonding time with our new muffin, we chose to send Eli two afternoons a week to a preschool and every Wednesday at our favourite childcare provider.  People may think I am crazy or that I am lazy or that I am “taking the easy way out” but he loves it. I love it. We love each other more for it. He gets to be busy with friends and parks and snacks and projects. He is gaining independence, learning how to work and play with different people (and different expectations) and having fun. He isn’t stuck at home with his mom and sister 24 hours a day – and we avoid most of the above scenarios.

The best time of my day is when I pick Eli up at preschool or he comes home with dad. His eyes light up, he runs to me and gives the most delicious hugs anyone could ask for and says “I love you so so so so much!”.  He is happy and proud and I enjoy my late afternoons with him with more enthusiasm then I would have if he had stayed home with me all day. xo.

Is anyone available for a playdate?

#amwphotoaday

Being on Maternity Leave allows me to push my school-thinking aside (but not too far aside, don’t worry friends) and put more effort into projects that I want to do. My presence on Facebook has been replaced by Instagram, and in a true IG fashion, I created my own little Photo-a-day challenge for Abby’s first month and used the hashtag #amwphotoaday Enjoy!

IMG_0878

new, car seat, sibling, lips, love, tiny feet, snuggles, first, listening, rise, I wore this, family, habit, simple, pattern, dreaming, growing, cranky, calm, favourite, reflect, home, morning, belly, tiny, we live here, colour, hands, eyes, close-up, smile.

If you aren’t already on IG, come join my madness @mmewright and keep in touch.

One Month: Abby-Style

IMG_0803.JPG

weight. about 7lbs… I think?

eyes. big and blue-ish like your brother.

hair. bits of brown.

feeding. lots – although you have a preference for all things left. You are a snacker.

sleeping. lots. Way more than Eli ever did (not that I’m comparing).

pooping. lots. But you really, really hate the gas.

other awesome stuff you do. stare at the sunshine, watch your bro, hiccup, sigh, snuggle, sneeze, absorb the world around you.

Check out Eli at one month here!

Baby Books + Free Printable

For Eli’s baby book I added assorted pages from assorted “baby” books that I was given or bought. I made some templates for people to fill in and added photos. I bound it all with three binder rings. It ends with Eli’s first birthday invitation. Since then I’ve made him some great little books with pictures of him (from printstagram and artifact uprising) and themed books (from blurb and handmade). I also compiled a fun book of all of his scenes we made during my mat leave.

IMG_0674

This time around for Abigail I have combined pages from a Smash book, my copy of Art Doodle Love by Dawn Sokol and some assorted Project Life cards, to make a new baby book. I colour-copied some of the beginning pages from Eli’s book (about Rob and I, grandparents, family trees) and plan to add some photos (from Print Studio) and notes periodically.

IMG_6857 IMG_8745

I also created (inspired by ones I have seen on Pinterest, of course) some “wishes for baby” cards. People have been filling them out as they visit our newest little plum (don’t forget to return them!). Click the image of the cards below for your own free printable (and fill one out for us.)

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 1.08.16 AMwishes for babe

To my teachers

IMG_4423

Forever and ever I’ve been wanting to contact my teachers growing up – but I haven’t. Three things recently made me remember that: 1) a student mentioned that she is currently writing letters to her teachers (she just graduated grade 8 in June – She is  20 years ahead of me), 2) my friend told me about reconnecting with a past teacher at Lakeside Park, and 3) visiting Colasanti’s.

I picture myself 20 years in the future having past students contacting me to thank me for inspiring them or teaching them something important or even just sharing with me where they’ve gone in their lives – and although it makes me feel old, it would make me tickled. The kids who were in grade 8 the year I started teaching have graduated university and are off into adulthood. Unreal. I may or may not have creeped some of them on FB.

I decided to write a public letter to a handful of my elementary teachers of the past who I think about with fondness- with the hopes that they may be directed here, or stumble upon it. Most people remember their high school teachers having the most impact (and I had some absolute gems – Mr. Gombai (art), Mlle Gaudette (french immersion), Mr. Buchanan (music) who grew my confidence, made me laugh regularly and pulled my artistic talent in all directions. My math and science teachers also made me very prepared for University.), but because I teach elementary school, I find that I think a lot more about my KPS teachers in my teaching life.

I now realize how much effort and love goes in to each classroom – and probably didn’t give them enough credit at the time. Some teachers are magnetic, enthusiastic and make learning fun, safe and welcoming. Not all were like this, but I was blessed to have many great teachers growing up – perhaps they inspired me to become one myself.

Mlle Pugliese – Kdgn + grade 1: Mlle directed all of the school musicals, and even though I never got cast any “higher” than chorus I always tried out. I memorized the songs, longed to be a set designer and dance. I was mostly too shy and probably couldn’t handle it at the time. These days, elementary musical theater is my thing – my most favourite of extra curriculars. I think Mlle had something to do with this. When I think of Mlle, I also think of making dioramas at trapezoid tables, dipping cookies in milk and how she taught my parents to speak French. Mlle is currently a Professor of Dramatic Arts at UWindsor. Très cool.

Mlle Costa – 2e année: Mlle was the most artistic teacher I ever had. She spent her lunch recesses drawing epic chalk art to illustrate our printing practice. She had trendy clothes and long painted fingernails and took us to her mom’s house for an awesome field trip. She always sang and performed at school talent shows. I hope that I inspire my students artistically as much as she did. I try to infuse as much art as I can, going out of my way to bring creativity to my students. (And I always have some sort of performance up my sleeve for assemblies). Not surprisingly, Mlle created an alter-ego clown named Zoléo and wrote French children’s music. So rad. http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/zoleo

Mme Cotter – grades 3 + 6: I think Mme was the smartest person I know. She taught us songs and taught in small groups – two things that I value in my classroom. She gave me the love of overseas penpals and the value of snail mail. She had us make poster projects (one of my favourite things for my students to create) and do a lot of research. Most importantly, she had confidence in me and encouraged me to be a leader amongst my peers. I truly value the things I learned about myself in her classes. Mme eventually became a principal – and is now happily retired.

M. Pelland – 5e année: My first male teacher (and his first year of teaching!). His perspective and love of practical jokes leaves a lasting memory for me. My best memory is his epic Lou Flirpa joke (I copied this joke with my students and wrote an ode to it in a blog post here). He was very strict with his ZERO English rule (that is my number one classroom rule) and gave out random little toys for fun (plastic smurfs!). We created a class newspaper (still on my list of to-dos) and he used a purple pen to mark things. He would often share stories about his family (nightmare about buying his engagement ring for his wife) and his hobbies and interests. It made him real and likeable. I always try to incorporate these things in my mini lessons as well.  M. Pelland is still teaching at KPS.

Miss Hopper – Music. She was my trumpet mentor extraordinaire. She made my confidence soar, and I still play my trumpet in the Port Elgin Community Band (and in our school band). She made me lose my fear of performing in front of a crowd, gave me solos and continued to be supportive throughout high school. She helped me get a spot in the pit orchestra for one of my favourite musicals of all time (A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum), she taught us some fab choir songs and introduced to me to the (underappreciated) movie Newsies (love!). I incorporate music in my classroom on a regular basis and I am a huge advocate our school’s music program. Miss Hopper currently teaches High School music.

What were your favourite things about these teachers? Do you think of them as often as I do? If you weren’t in my wonderful KPS French Immersion class – when you think of your past teachers, do you think of them with fondness and inspiration? Why? Why not? Do you think that your high school teachers had more of an impact on your life today, or elementary?

*The above letter is from one of my super-rad students. She writes me a heartfelt letter every year. They are all hanging on my wall. xo

** If you have contact info for any of the above teachers, please send them over.

Welcome baby

Abigail Morgan Wright was born on her due date in a completely different way than her big bro (and recovery has been much nicer this time around.)

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 5.40.42 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 5.40.52 PM

We are thrilled and tired and full of love and support. Thank you to everyone’s kind words and thoughts. Please book your time to come and snuggle and squish and smell this teensy weensy babe (or take Eli for a run around the park haha).

I couldn’t decide which announcement pic I liked better, so I posted them both. Classic indecisiveness on my part. I will be printing a bunch of these – so if you’d like a real-life copy, let me know! (clicking and printing from here won’t be at the highest quality).

And our life with two children begins. xoxo.

Graphic Tees + Onesies

onesies

A student in Rob’s class gave us a huge bag of baby clothes. Inside there were 8 crisp white onesies just dying to be drawn on. I used Tulip fabric paint and pinterest/etsy inspiration.

I love graphic ts. Here are some the of gems that I’ve picked up for myself over the years from Busted Tees. Can you tell me the pop culture reference for each one?

busted

I love graphic tees. I love pop culture. Friday I’m in Love.

friday tee

Labels everywhere + free download

booklabels

In the midst of my extreme nesting mode for baby numéro deux, I decided to sort and organize some things – the shelves in our bedroom, Eli’s craft materials, Eli’s toys, and a variety of cupboards in our kitchen.

Using my font book I decided on a simple capsie font called Kg All of Me from dafont.com. I know I  technically should not have used capital letters for Eli’s labels, since books are written in lowercase and little readers might find hard to “get” at first, but… oh well. I thought it looked pretty.

I sorted my books into different categories, and labelled some to be sent off on a BookCrossing adventure. My books used to be sorted by colour (and a photo of them even won my mom a new fridge!), but I felt it was time for a change.

lindsayshelves Eli shelves

Click the images below to download your own copies of the labels. They are a variety of sizes based on the bins I used (assorted from dollarama, Michaels, Cdn Tire, Ikea) – but feel free to use. Each of the 3 files have multiple pages

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 10.50.16 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 10.52.10 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 10.56.33 PM

(and if you need any French Math Manipulative bin labels – visit my minimal Teacherspayteachers site)

the year of the horse.

chinese-horseFrom January 31st, 2014 – this is the year of the horse – in the Chinese zodiac – and the year that the newest Wright will arrive. Back in 2011, I wrote about Eli’s year of the rabbit– and thought it would be fitting to update for the new babe.

People born in the year of the horse are extremely energetic and strong. Horse people possess a very outgoing personality that is full grace. The horse likes to be the center of attention in a crowd. They are also known to be very witty, wise and have a good sense of humor.

Horse people are especially renowned for their honesty and love of travel. They have a very friendly nature and are open-minded. On the flip side horse people are often pointed out as being too self-centered and are prone to throwing tantrums when things don’t go in their favour.

(photo curtesy of bluebison)

This description mixed with the astrology sign of a magnetic, strong and self-assured (dramatic?) LEO – it looks like I’ll be raising an extrovert. eep!

Are you a Horse? Are you a Leo? (are you both?) Do you believe in this mumbo-jumbo?

(ps. My due date is this Wednesday. Eli went to 41 weeks – I’ll keep you posted!)

 

 

Way-Back Wednesday (Throwback Thursday?)

IMG_9324

Time Travel: Me in the summer between grade 3 and 4. We finished a year with Mme Cotter and headed to a classroom with Mme Cameron. I loved to draw and read and play with my friends. I played a lot with Andrea and Ryan. We played Police Quest on the computer and then acted out the game in real-life on our bikes. They always made me be Jesse Bains (the arch villain of Lytton). We probably made our first home video around that time. I also hung out with Emily, talking about our favourite New Kid, making up plays and swimming. We made a time capsule. I don’t remember what we put in it, but I remember exactly where we buried it. I wonder if she ever dug it up, or if it is still underground.

This is a photo of me from my first Kids of Steel Triathlon in Leamington. Because I was part of the competitive swim team in town, it was encouraged that we all participate in the Tri. I’m pretty sure I finished in the middle of the pack and hated every minute of it  (even though I participated again the following year.)

** although the trend seems to be called #TBT now, I had already started Way-Back Wednesday, so I’m not changing.

How did you spend your summer of grade 3? Did you play Police Quest, or run Triathlons or make Time Capsules? Did you ever perm your bangs? (but leave the back straight?)

I’m a homebody: Some of my favourite spaces

favespacesoffice

This is our office/workspace off of our bedroom. We’ve rearranged the desk orientation a few times (we now sit opposite one another at one desk top). It has some natural window light, and overlooks the kitchen. I tend to avoid schoolwork here, and this space (my side) is mostly filled with inspiration from friends and family, drawers filled with markers and other art supplies, and favourite books. I will usually be listening to music or watching excellent tv programming (see above). Chances are if you have sent me artsy mail, or written me heartfelt letter or card, it is found in here somewhere. Rob is in the process of cleaning and sorting all of his old school books and paper, and making room for things he loves. “It looks like you,” he says.

What do you surround yourself with in your “office” to stay inspired and creative?

 

Imaginary Lives: 6 Ideas

Late winter 2006 I read Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way and did morning pages and all of her activities. I kept a notebook of exercises. The exercise was to think of five dream jobs that you would love to have – and then figure out ways how to incorporate elements of each one of them in your current life. The task was designed to help identify what excites you and to open your perspective. When I did this exercise I was in my first year of teaching. The year I taught core French and yearned for my own classroom. We also still lived in our little old green cottage.

image

#1. Art Teacher: I would have my students make art journals and oil paintings inspired by Mr. Gombai.
Since 2006 I’ve taught in my own classroom. Teaching art is one of my most favourites. I not only teach my own class, but I’ve worked out class swapping to teacher other classes art (from the littles to the olders). I am so inspired by these young artists and love sharing my ideas with them. I’ve even co-hosted two art shows.

#2. Graphic Designer: Invitations and product labelling.
I love to design and hand-letter and make cards for friends. I opened an etsy shop for a short stint and created hand drawn wedding maps, invitations, seating charts and save the dates. I closed it because people (brides!) were starting to get a little too demanding and making it un-fun. I still love to design and make posters and cards and other fun things for my friends and family (whether they ask for it or not).

#3. Bookstore Owner: Like Meg Ryan’s in “You’ve Got Mail”
I continue to borrow and buy a lot of books. I spend hours in new and used bookstores just for kicks. I also tried my hand at bookbinding (super cool, but too time consuming for me) and altering books (still a love of mine). I joined a couple of book clubs and try to post some book reviews.

#4. Cast Member on Extreme Makeover Home Edition or Degrassi.
We built a house in 2009 and have been having fun making it over since. As for my acting abilities, I’ve produced/directed 5 epic school musicals (and haven’t been afraid to sing or act parts), I’ve performed my trumpet and super-singing in a few talent shows and directed some awesome movies. I continue to watch Degrassi and follow the characters on Twitter and Instagram. Nerd alert.

#5. Trumpet Player in the pit orchestra of a Broadway Musical or in a SKA band
I’ve been playing trumpet in the Port Elgin Community band since 2009. I also help out with school band stuff and play Christmas carols every winter for our sing-alongs and the Last Post for Remembrance Day. I need to bring a little bit of SKA back into my life. I’m going to pull out my Reel Big Fish CD right now (although real SKA people don’t consider them SKA enough).

#6. Children’s Book Illustrator.
I draw a lot. For me, for Eli, for others. Doodles and whimsy pictures here and there. I’ve made colouring books and zines and yearbooks en mass. My friend Meghan and I still have grand plans to create some Children’s books. She will write, I will illustrate.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 9.09.05 PM

Those were my dream jobs of 2006. My 5 dream jobs for 2014 would be. Maybe I will revisit it sooner than 8 years later.

1) Run my own (online?) stationary/paperie shop. I love everything cards and paper goods and ephemera. I could try it small-scale to see how it goes.

2) Supermom! – Wishful thinking, but I will make a more conscious effort to be more super. Right now most days I am parenting from the couch. It’s probably because I am just about 36 weeks preggo.

3) Photographer: Learn what all of the dials and settings are/mean on Rob’s camera. Read some tutorials, take a course? Take more photos.

4) Restaurant critic/Food writer. We love restaurants. We love love restaurants. Blog posts? Journal writing? Or maybe just get back to menu planning and regular grocery shopping.

5) Act in anything Musical Theatre. I wish my life was a musical. This probably comes as no suprise to anyone reading this. Oh, and Rob and I saw the Book of Mormon this week (so awesome!)

Ok, your turn!

If you had five other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?  Do not over think this. Comment and leave your list (add a description or explanation if you want) – or start your own Artist’s way journey.

xo.

ps. I recently picked up the Artist’s Way for Parents. I will work through it soon.