A puppy and a week of art...

We were blessed recently to puppy sit our friends' dog, Milo. He is a six month old miniature Schnauzer and completely adorable. The children were beside themselves with the thought of an actual puppy staying with us for a week. Zoe even picked up a crayon and started writing, something she has not done very much of unless she is asked. To celebrate and to prove I am the Best Mum Ever, I decided to take the week off written work and dedicate the days to caring for Milo. And art. Lots of art! 

Zoe's sign that was put on our front door.

My favourite art store is closing down and I was able to get over and spend up big on supplies. I think I may have blown my year's art budget in one visit but it was worth it with 50% off store wide. We spent two days playing with Cartoon Clay, a polymer foam like play doh that dries in a couple of days but remains spongy. We listened to The Chronicles of Narnia on the ipod while we made all kinds of sculptures. Gee I love that audio book! It is probably my favourite and the children really get into the story. It makes for some very quite concentration...

Our stash of air dry clay is now huge so the children created some more pinch pots, among other things with the intention of painting them when they were dry. I must admit I used to be nervous about doing so much art and craft when the children were younger. I didn't like the idea of the huge mess and the children would never spend as long making art as I did cleaning up after them! These days they can spend most of a day using one medium creating numerous works and the mess is not that bad. I keep most of the work they do (I may need an extra room to store it all in soon!) and I join in too because visual art is what I love. They are getting quite good at manipulating the air dry clay and I try hard not to direct their work too much. Sometimes I see if they want to use a story as inspiration other times they just enjoy 'playing' with the medium. 
I picked up some new puzzles and the girls spent the better part of a day putting together the globe puzzle. They nearly finished it before losing interest so I finished it off. We dug out the water colours while listening to The Magic Faraway Tree books and painted their pinch pots. That took about half an hour and they were still wanting to paint so we used some canvas pads. Lily created some Egyptian hieroglyphics though I really can't say where she got the idea to do that. We read a Horrible Histories book on Ancient Egypt a few months ago and I really didn't think she paid that much attention. Clearly I was wrong! Actually she surprises me regularly with things she absorbs. We both went for a walk to the fruit market the other day after dinner. I was walking fast as I knew we only had a little while before they closed. Lily asked as we walked into the store 'What happens if the store closes while we are still inside?' I answered 'Well maybe they will just lock us in' She replied 'Oh never mind if they do. We shan't starve as there are lots of fruit and veggies to eat!' Yes I laughed quite a bit!

Next we tried soft pastels, my favourite! Pastels were the first medium I used extensively when I was young, probably Zoe's age or a little older. I love how the colours blend and smudge but Henry didn't like it at all! It seem to frustrate him that the lines didn't stay on the paper when he rubbed his hand over the top. Lily really got into it and was fascinated with the coloured dust that went EVERYWHERE. The inspiration they used was the Magic Faraway Tree and I showed them how to 'fix' the pastel works with hair spray. Next is to put some in frames as I think we now have enough wonderful works to fill a wall! And we have some rather large walls in our house...

While all of this was going on, Milo was with us. This little ball of fluff was the perfect house guest. He was happy and loving and the children doted on him. Every morning Zoe would take him outside as soon as she woke up (some mornings were quite early because she was so excited!) and during the day they would make sure he was happy and safe. At night he would sit with me or Heath and he was a wonderful temporary addition to the family. Yes I can hear you asking and no. NO WE ARE NOT GETTING A DOG! We will take care of Milo any time we are asked but I think even the children would agree that we don't want a dog. In fact they have not asked for one since Milo went home... and before we looked after him they would ask every day! Interesting. Thanks Milo!

The week was just what we needed. We enjoyed time together with Milo and we all relaxed for a while. It was a good week to rest as the children began Little Athletics and they were exhausted by Thursday morning. Heath and Papa have decided to join us which means each of our monkeys has a parent with them at competition. It is nice to get out at night together once a week though we are finding competition night quite demanding. The age groups are quite large and it takes a long time to get through each event. We will get used to it though and I love that the girls are making new friends and I know Henry will let go of Heath eventually and make some friends of his own.

Lily - "Mum! Look a sign that says someone has lost their hat! Should we look for it?' 

Lily - "Mum! Look a sign that says someone has lost their hat! Should we look for it?' 

NannyO and PoppyO arrived home safe and sound. They both agreed that the highlight of their trip was catching up with some dear friends of mine (and now theirs!) the Burton family, who moved to the UK a few months ago. Aimee and Jason and their beautiful children took good care of my parents, especially PoppyO who had yet another fall while he was over there and needed patching up. NannyO took a few photos during their stay and I now miss my friends even more. I just have to work out a way to make enough money to go over for a holiday...