The best little surprise

I get to see this face every day all day . .  .


This baby is the happiest little baby.  And wiggliest, hence the blurry photo.  He has personality coming out his ears.  He is always talking and laughing.  He wakes up giggling.  Now don't get me wrong, when he is grumpy he channels this same energy into screaming.  Fortunately, if we keep him fed and his diaper changed he doesn't really get grumpy to often.  When I look at him I can't help but think that sometimes it is the little surprises that make life amazing.  We thought we'd have another baby, but he came much sooner than we planned.   He has turned our life upside down.  The jump from one kid to two kids has been a HUGE adjustment for us.  Maybe it just us but I can't even begin to describe how much of a shock to our system the addition of new little baby was for us.  Every time I look at his sweet face I think about how we hadn't planned on him coming and yet I am so thrilled that he is with us. All the insanity is totally worth the perfection of having him join our family.  I won't lie there are moments I look at him and think "oh I could have more babies."  Then I remember pregnancy and the lack of sleep and the hormones and the money and I feel a-okay with my little family of 4.

Often I get the most rush of gooey love feeling when I watch the boys together.  Alex thinks Henry hung the moon.  He is constantly laughing at him.  Henry is obsessed with "baby Alex."  He is always wanting to touch him and play with him.  So much so that at times it makes me a bit bananas.  But then, you get sweet little moments and suddenly all the frustration melts away.  I actually think that is a lot of what being a parent is.  Choosing to focus on all the good parts instead of all the ways your kids can make you crazy.  Anyone who says their kids never make them a little crazy is lying or has patience like a saint.

Henry wasn't loving the camera, hence the funny face.




The last one is my favorite.  Alex looks so sneaky.  It is like he is laughing at the fact Henry is grumpy. Heck, he might have been.  There are times Henry flat our harasses that poor baby.  It is because he loves him.   I hope, in between all the harassing that over the years they will always love each other like they do now.

PS.  Here is a little video of Alex being his funny little self.  Yes, we were rocking out to Yo Gabba Gabba.  It is required in order to keep Henry occupied long enough to feed Alex.  Jason has been working a lot so most dinners are just me and the boys.  Yeah, I am tired.


My New Gig

I am technically no longer a full time stay at home mom.  I had a good 4 month run.  I am teaching Grumbacher painting classes at our local Michael's (learn more about the classes here). Now, that being said it is very much a part time gig.  Actually, to quote a friend (hi Jenn) it isn't really a job it is more an extension of my hobby. I wasn't really looking for a job.  It isn't really about the money, although that can't hurt.  It is more a chance to get out of the house and connect with people.  I love my boys but being home with them all the time can be a bit overwhelming (and turn your brain to mush).  I am super excited!  I just had my first class and I think it went well.  Here are my first two students with their finished paintings.  I think they did awesome.


Everyone can learn to paint.  This was these gals very first painting!  I might be more proud then they are. These classes are great because they establish the foundations.  Once you get the basics down, there is no limit to what you can do.  I love creating. I feel like having a creative outlet is so important.  I am tickled that I get a chance to share with others the joy of painting and creating.


I happen to be the world's messiest painter.  I can't help myself.  I seem to get paint everywhere.  After class a wandered over to Target for cup of coffee (putting starbucks in targets was the best idea ever) and a little shopping.  They are in the same shopping area.  The temptation was too strong.  Jason gladly let me shop alone while he managed the boys. I hadn't had a chance to look at the Missoni line yet, which was crazy picked over. While I was in line for my coffee I noticed the lady beside me looking at me weird.  As soon as I got a chance I discretely gave my self a once over.  I had paint all over my arm and I little on my face.  Classy.

Gosh, I can't believe I found a job where I get paint and meet new people.  It is pretty great! If you are local, you can find out about the classes by clicking here.  They are $25 for two hour classes and you leave with a finished painting.   My next class is Thursday, September 29th at 6:30 pm and I will be teaching the painting below.




I have been trying to be much more intentional about sketching.  Truthfully I have been a bit lazy about sketching for a last several years.  I used to do it a lot when I was in college but you know how life is, you get busy. I had been kicking around the idea of incorporating more drawing and doodling into my life when I stumbled on to Alisa Burke's blog.  Her sketchbooks are amazing and so inspiring.  She has a great post (which you can read here) about what she uses to sketch.  So, I set about getting me a little "sketch kit" all ready to go.  If I wasn't inspired enough, I was lucky enough to win a free spot in her "Beneath the Surface" class.  The class deals with surface design which is greatly improved by . . you guessed it . . sketching (aka exploring the world around you).  Quick note about the class, her classes are unlimited access and it is awesome.  It has allowed me to take it slow and really soak in all her info.  Alot of online classes have a firm start and end date.  I like her teaching style too.  I am hoping to take her watercolor class soon.  Okay, back to the sketching . . .

Here is what is in my little bag (that I made):


I have a Koi Travel Watercolor set, it is amazing and worth ever penny. It comes with a really cool paint brush that has water in it so you don't have to have a water vessel with you to paint.  This also makes it easy to paint with grabby little toddler hands around.  I have my favorite green H2 drawing pencil and gray gummy easier.  I have a several markers and pens.  And, in my pencil case I have some little rags that I use for blotting up excess water when painting.  Speaking of my pencil bag, my friend (hi Jenn) picked it up for me in Cambodia.  It is made from a recycled cement bag, very cool. And, last but not least, I have the most glorious sketchbook.  I splurged and got a moleskin watercolor book.  Oh my word, I love it.  I have never had something so nice.  Something about it just makes you want to be creative.  The main reason I "justified" purchasing it was the durable cover and elastic closer.  I wanted something that wasn't going to be ruined banging around in my purse.  But really, I just wanted something fussy and I got it at good price on amazon.

And now, a few pages . . .





I am hoping my new set up will help me keep sketching! I am also hopping that I am able to keep it away from toddler hands, they have away of finding things . . .

PS.  Speaking of art fun, I am teach paint classes at our local Michael's!  Click here to find out more!


Twenty Years from Now

There were a lot of things that we should have done yesterday.  We, like most grown ups have a never ending list of projects, repairs and maintenance items that need to be done in and around our house.  Maybe because it was the anniversary of 911, you couldn't listen to the news without hearing stories of love ones people had lost.  Or maybe it was just because I am aware of how fast the boys are growing up (and how busy we have been). Regardless for why, I just felt like we needed to get out and make some memories.  Jason kept prattling off list of things that had to be done.  He had a point but I just looked at him and said "twenty years from now we aren't going to remember or care that the grass was mowed, what we will remember is the picnic we took with the boys."  And yes, he was quick to point out that it was a very romantic notion but not entirely practical.  However, sometimes you just have to let some stuff go and enjoy life a little.  Jason did tackle the pressing household issue, our leaking dishwasher.  He fixed, because he is amazing.  Once that was done and few other small mundane things we packed up the kiddies and took off for our picnic.  Was it amazing? Yes!  Will we remember it years from now? Yes! And if we forget, I have a crap ton of photos.  Because I am Jaime and that is what I do.  Behold, our picnic . . .

Boats momma, BOATS!

"Let me get this straight, I can throw this rock?"  This trip might have sent some mixed messages about rock throwing.  Let's hope he doesn't nail a kid in the head on the playground today at preschool.

See the big bird?  He wanted to eat  us up, for real.  He would come up to Jason, stick out his chest and hiss. He wasn't playing.


A friends who gives you cupcakes in a friend in deed (thank you Jenn).  This one is a bourbon cupcake, it changed my life.

The prettiest weed I ever did see.


Henry trying to carry the big rock in his basket.  This resulted in him yelling "help daddy, help."  Then once Jason picked up the basket there were shouts of "come on daddy, come on"  as he gleefully toddled to the shore.


Our meal . . black bean burgers (on toast because we didn't have any buns) and baked sweet potatoes.  Jason noted that we were probably the only people in the park grilling black bean burgers. What? Me weird? Never. I used this recipe.   Mine always seem to come out on the soupy side.  I spoon them on to wax paper (in a patty shape) then freeze them.  Once they are solid I put then a bag, I like to make a bunch at one time.  Then I can just pull a couple out for dinner. Yummy, healthy and quick.  I did serve these with spicy garlic mayo, which I am currently obsessed with.  Not a really a healthy obsessions but I feel like the black bean burger helps balance it out.  To make it I grate a small clove of garlic into a half cup of mayo.  I then add a table spoon  and a half of spicy brown mustard, a few diced fresh basil leaves and some black pepper.  I adore it.

Alex had his first taste of sweet potatoes.  Messy.  They potatoes are from our CSA and they have the best flavor and the brightest color, as seen on Alex's face.

"I blow it out.  One more time daddy,  more time peas."  This went on until the match was gone.


"Henry, I don't care that you don't want your photo taken.  I will get a picture with you, I will."

And last, the boys all washed up and in adorable striped PJs.  Durning bath time all Henry talked about was going back to see the boats and ducks.  I think there will be another picnic soon.  Maybe even camping, I think we might be up for some camping.  Maybe.

PS.  Little chubs . . . fat, happy and clean.


My boys

Life is in this strange and wonderful state of pure insanity right now.   Life with the boys is wonderful and intense.  When things are good, they are really good.  The other day when it was raining Henry and I turned the dinning room table into a massive fort while Alex was napping.  We crawled inside and made shadow puppets with a flash light. It was a perfect, fun moment.  But, when things are bad they are really bad.  Toddlers have two gears, adorable and abominable. For example, yesterday morning Henry had an epic meltdown.  He didn't want to wear a jacket.  I stood my ground because winter will be here soon and it is time for him to get used to coats.  He proceeded to lay down in the doorway and scream "I don't want it, no thanks" over and over at the top of his lungs.  This resulted in Alex crying.  Which resulted in me wanting to cry.  The obvious problem with the currant age of my guys is that it is so easy to focus on the stress and frustration.  Right now I just feel like I live a life of contradictions. Being at home with the boys is the best thing I have ever done, but it is also the hardest.  In order to help me through the bad parts I am trying to make a consious effort to focus on all the wonderful things.

So today, I am celebrating this sweet video I got of the boys playing.  Henry loves to play with Alex.  It is sweet although I do constantly make sure Henry isn't hurting Alex (you can see in the video).  I am constantly saying things like "don't drive cars on Alex's face."  Alex, loves the attention.  He thinks Henry hung the moon.    His giggles only fuel Henry's desire to be in his face.  I hope they always like each other this much.

What am not celebrating today?  Henry's marshmallow induced rage (he saw them and wanted to eat them all). Alex's poop and spit up of enormous size. Just keeping it real, you know they aren't always this sweet.

PS.  Just for fun, here is Henry singing me a song.  Which makes my heart melt.  At the end he starts singing about something yucky because he is a little boy after all.


Teeny, Tiny Paintings

I've been having so much fun making ATCs (Artist Trading Cards).  I am going to participate in my first swap this month, which got me thinking . .  . anyone want to swap with me?  I would love to start a little collection of cards.   A quick image search on google or pinterest will show you that approaches to ATCs are all over the place.  Some are more like scrapbook pages while others are more in the fine art vein.  Basically, anyone can make them!  If you would like to swap email me at jaime@barksblog.com (or message me on facebook).  We can exchange addresses and share the joy of getting lovely creative stuff in the mail (so much better than bills).   Making little works of art is good for your soul. I also think it would be fun to have a whole stash of these to give to friends and family as little thank yous.  I mean, I know I would love to get a little tiny painting.  Maybe it is just me but I think everything in the world is more adorable when it is tiny.  Here is what I have so far . . .


Below are some close ups of each one.  The top two have a totally different feel than the bottom two.  I am really in the process of trying to get a feel for what my style of painting is.  Almost all painters have a certain feel or style about their work.  I am all over the place.  The ATC are fun way to explore different approaches and techniques.  I am working on watercolor ones today.  They are also quick, which is awesome. I love big pieces but these days I just don't have the time to spend on big paintings.  These are great because I can knock out one or two during nap time.  Oh nap time.  I love it so when the boys nap at the same time. Which doesn't seem to be happening today. Boo.


falltree2 falltree-1.jpg falltree.jpg
P.S.  We've got 10.28 inches of rain in two days.  Our whole town is water logged.  As some one who hasn't left the house in two days (baby + toddler + rain = soaking wet momma) it has been crazy to see all the photos and videos that people are posting on facebook of the flooding.  I just felt like I couldn't post today without mentioning the nutso weather.  I did get a little video of Henry looking at the rain.  He felt the need to inform me of the fact that it was raining every half hour or so.  I felt like it poured rain like this all day yesterday (and off and on today).


There is an upside . . . . it is only 65 degrees out!  I think there might be a bowl of soup in my future!  Rejoice!


An Ode to Poop

I've been trying to craft a several post about a wide assortment of things - my new sketching habits, attempts at order, some ATC I've done, recipes - but I just can't seem to organize my thoughts.  So, instead I give you an iphone video of Henry sining about "Yucky Poo Poo."  This went on for a while before my friend (hi Jenn) decided to try to capture it on film.  We didn't think to record earlier because we were to busy cracking up.  He is either going to be a prolific song writer like Ryan Adams or make poop jokes like Sarah Silverman (am I the only person who just doesn't think she is funny?).  Anyway, I will blame the fact that my brian is fried because I live with this . . .

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!