Thursday, December 29, 2011

December was a rough month.

I will not be sad to say goodbye to this month.
We started out the month with worst 24 hour flu in the history of the Miller-Prouty household! Taking turns caring for a baby with the flu is the pits but missing your own birthday party on top of that is the worst! Poor Jeremy didn't get to attend his bowling birthday party this year. I managed to make him a cake a few days later and I tried to make up for it by giving him the Diamond edition of Scrabble.

We scrambled to finish the semester and get ready for the holidays when- bam! I needed new brakes and tires! After getting a flat tire on the highway with everybody in the car- I was never so thankful for no snow!
Right when school was just about to let out and I could see the light, Sidney got sick with phenomena, then bronchiolitis, and later was also diagnosed with RSV. We spent two nights in the hospital with him because he was having such a hard time breathing, he had to be on oxygen. Sidney was such a trooper, he really did well being in such a strange place with all those doctors in masks everywhere. It was a rough few days, luckily Jeremy was able to miss his last day of school to be with us at the hospital. If you know anything about his school district, there's a terrible woman who never lets employees take their family leave days. He couldn't even use them for the birth of Sidney without an extensive doctor's excuse!

We got out on the 23rd but could not travel for the holidays and missed my family Christmas in DeWitt. It was hard, but everyone was so sweet to call us and sing Merry Christmas! Friends and family came to us over the next few days as a very tired baby healed. It was so nice to see Steph and Kyle from Portland! My mom brought a little bit of every kind of food from the family Christmas party. We are still eating cookies, veggie pizza, and drinking hot Chai tea, thanks to her!!!! (you are the best) Sidney loved unwrapping his Christmas presents and plays very intently with all his new toys.
  We went back to the doctor on Tuesday and were told Sidney is fine and not contagious. Just to make sure we cleaned and disinfected the whole house before anyone came over. That was quite a workout!
We got some great gifts for our basement to help build up the game room. Jeremy's folks bought us an old fashion popcorn maker and a new electronic dart board. They look awesome down there. We planned to have folks over for New Years Eve but our plans were washed out again. I guess we are still too contagious for some folks. We are hoping for a healthier new year.....

Thank you to everyone for the kind thoughts, prayers, messages, calls, etc... We are so lucky to have such great family and friends. xoxo W, J and Sid

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Today I am going to 3 meetings and then finally submitting my grades- that's it I'm done!  I will frantically prepare for next semester as it will my busiest in a while. I was accepted to take part in the Obermann Institute for Public Engagement at The University of Iowa. It's a week long workshop for selected graduate students to work to embed public engagement into their academic areas of study. I am super excited because this is right up my alley! Unfortunately it takes place the same week we start school at UNI. My department head will be covering for me and I feel so lucky to have such great administration in my department.
This semester, I am also taking my LAST class at the University of Iowa and I will taking my written comprehensive exams in February-March (date to be determined). YIKES! Luckily, my wonderful mom is coming to help out during some of this craziness! I may actually complete my PhD in the near future.
It's so hard to believe because I have been working on it for so long and so much has happened since I began this process.
Tomorrow begins the holiday preparations and I could not be more ready for some crafting and baking.
Here is a sneak preview of the Christmas card I hope to complete (before Christmas)
Happy Finals Week!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Whirlwind of a month

I have officially finished five major projects this month. I of course promptly got sick the very week that everything ended, making myself barely able to enjoy the finale of the work and the fun events I had scheduled at the end of the time.
My students taught lessons in two different high schools this month; one in urban schools and the other took place in an extremely rural school. The focus on these lessons were to create comics about social justice issues that are relevant to teen lives. The students focused on a wide range of topics from cyber-bullying, teen pregnancy, gay marriage, drug and alcohol abuse, and child abuse. One class drew and inked their comics while the other class used Comic Life photo program.  It had it's glitches, but overall I'd say the lessons were successful.

To help my students get into the mind of middle school students this year, I have arranged that we trade artist trading cards (ATC's) with middle schoolers from Iowa Falls. This semester, I convinced Jeremy to let me come and teach ATC'S to his middle school students too. To kick off the project, the students wrote a journal prompt about their fears about going to high school next year. I came (with Sid in his stroller) and taught them to pick out visual images and create small baseball card artworks about these fears. We traded the middle school students' cards with my art ed students. It was so much fun to see what was on their minds. Some students were quite serious, while others had lots of fun showing us their fears. 

I ended the art club that I run on our campus lab school as well this week.  We had 54 children, 7 art ed students, and 35 elementary ed volunteers from another class on campus. Our clubs each evolved around a theme that carried through the 6 weeks.  We had pirates and monsters and the other usual groups, but we had some new more interesting ones as well. One student called her group Art from the Heart whrer she had each student make two of everything.  They made something for themselves and something to give to someone in need. They donated scarves and journals to the women and children at the homeless shelter and necklaces to a nursing home. The folks at the nursing home were so touched by this, they in turn made mugs to give to the children. That was an awesome surprise!

I also taught an art club for 8  weeks at the Iowa Juvenile Home (Girls State Training School) it was a great reminder for me to slow down and appreciate what I have. The girls were so appreciative of all the art supplies that we brought. We tried to create lessons that were easy for the girls to achieve success and also to allow them to have fun and express themselves. That proved to be much more challenging then I thought! At the end of each session, we check out by saying one word that describes how we are feeling and the last girl said "proud" and that's exactly how I felt.

Last project, I am afraid did not turn out like I planned but I definitely learned a great deal from it. My elementary ed students that take my art class have to teach art somewhere in the community. I arranged for 3 of them to create a mural with some 6th graders at our lab school about the Seven Traits of Highly Effective Teens (which is a school wide character program this year).  Let's just say that I dropped it off on Thursday and decided to leave it in the office rather than take it up to the classroom.
I guess 4 out of 5 ain't too bad.

I will now continue to rest and recover from the terrible cold I have acquired through all of this and look forward to wrapping up my semester in the next few weeks!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Hal-"Loo"-ween Party

Jeremy titled all of our trophies Hal-"Loo"-ween since we live in the Loo (Waterloo) and everyone else we hang with live in Cedar Falls. (We like to live dangerously I guess) Jeremy went as Bob Barker and I was his favorite contestant on the Price is Right!!!

So the party was a great success- we played some fun games:
"Wrap it"-  everyone had to wrap their partner up as a mummy with toilet paper.... Jeremy and I did not win because I stopped to photograph the moment and we were super slow!

We played a game called "Suck it"- where you had to suck a gummy body part with a crazy straw and carry it to your partner- it got a little wild....

Last was "Stick it"- when we played pin the wart on Waterloo's favorite witch... Michelle Bachmann!!

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the party.....
Curt and Courtney

Pirate Sarah's passed-out parrot!

Bob interviewing the cutest crayon in town!!!!!!!!
Last a quick shot of the great trophies we made. We voted on them and I won the R.I.P. award!!!!
Happy Halloween from the Loo!

Happy Halloween!

We are gearing up for our first Halloween party since we moved to Waterloo. Jeremy and I have planned the party to be held in the basement so baby Sid and attend the first hour then off to bed! Since several of our friends have little ones as well, we will be setting up the pack n play in the office so other little ones can rest while the party goes on.

One thing about having parties that I absolutely love is creating trophies. When we lived in Mount Vernon, Jeremy and I prided ourselves on creating great trophies for our annual chili cook-offs. Now we have decided to bring back the fun with costume trophies! We stayed up late last night creating 9 trophies for adults and babies after a shopping spree at the dollar store! Can't wait to pass out these beauties!
 We have also planned some pretty interesting games with some questionable titles....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Family Fish Fry

After a summer of fishing up at the lake, it was time for the annual fish fry in DeWitt.  Here the men are found in the garage as they ritually prepare for our fish dinner.  Meanwhile the grandkids run around and play in the yard, on bikes, shoot hoops, and thanks to Grandma, they even got to bust open a pumpkin pinata!
 Of course the black cats liked the pumpkin pinata!

 Grandma and I did some fun little photo shoots with Sid since he cannot run around with the big kids yet. He seemed very interested in the pumpkins but did not seem to enjoy the crunchy brown leaves nearly as much.
 We celebrated all the fall birthdays in the family- 6 birthdays!  Chad got his own cake since he reached the top of the hill and is now heading "over it."  40 is a big year!!!!

Sid seemed very intrigued by his cousin Elaina and her mesmerizing tricks!
 He made it until 8 o'clock then passed out on the way home! He didn't eat any fish but sure had a good time celebrating with the family. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for another great summer of fishing and a fun-filled fall!  We love you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Five Months!!

Here is a quick sneak preview of a little photo shoot I took of Sid last week.  I will send some out soon but the semester is getting busier by the second!

Sidney is rolling over more and more every day.  Today he was at the other end of his crib when I went to get him up this morning.  Another exciting stage is beginning!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Farmer's Market

Sometimes I just love our neighborhood!  We walked to Cabin Coffee for a sweet and coffee before heading over to the Saturday farmer's market. We bought yellow carrots, purple peppers, and a beautiful golden zucchini.  We added fresh beans, tomatoes, and broccoli from our garden. It was the most colorful stir-fry we'd had in a while.  On our way home, our next door neighbors were holding a garage sale. They gave Sidney a little fire truck to ride on that makes little siren noises.

Back to School

     It has been a busy few weeks with Jeremy and I going back to school and Sidney starting to spend time at the childcare center 3 days a week.  We are all adjusting well overall but needing a bit more sleep.  Sidney sleeps so well at night usually 7:30pm- 5:30 am and does not nap much in the day. He averages 2-3 small naps. The childcare center called CUCCC is so busy with babies and staff that Sid has been napping even less in the day. He comes home wiped out but happy. He is now needing a nap when he gets home. This makes me sad because I have missed him and want to spend time with him when I get home. Each day seems to get a little better so I am hoping he will fall into routine and nap a little better so we can have some fun time together when we get home!

    Jeremy started a new job this year at Hoover as the ELP ( extended learning program) teacher for 6th-8th grade. He loves his kids because they are excited about reading like he is and they are fun and quirky (like he is!).  He is planning some great units on comic books, secret codes, and personal memoirs.  I am so glad he made the switch from language arts.  He will start the Talented and Gifted endorsement program this month to work on his certification required for the job.

    I am loving my new classes this semester as well. My groups are small and seem like very motivated students. Although I did not begin this week as organized as I usually am, I think things are going to go well.  I am not taking classes at the University of Iowa this semester BUT will take my last class next semester and take my written comprehensive exams as well.  I needed this semester to get back into the swing of things and get the baby adjusted. I am going to start teaching art club after school on Wednesdays at the Juvenile Home in Toledo with my dear friend and adviser Rachel.  In order to do this we hired former students of Jeremy's that live on our block (identical twin sisters) to watch Sid for 2 hours on Wednesday.  We "practiced" last night by having them come over and we went to the movies.  I think it is going to work out fine!

    Here are some cute pictures of us  hanging out in the backyard this weekend. The weather was perfect and Sidney loves being outside. Happy back to school everybody!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grandmas are Grrreat!!

Sidney has been blessed with such a great family but this month the Grandmas in his life "take the cake!"
Grandma Vicky came to visit from California and had a great time with Sidney (mom and dad did too).
We went on a picnic to George Wyth State Park, did a little downtown shopping and ate at our new Thai restaurant in Waterloo- yum yum!  We even got Grandma Vicky to Sing Karaoke with us!

Grandma Sue had a birthday recently and we went to visit her upon dropping Grandma Vicky off at the airport. This was a two Grandma day for Sidney.  He loved it so much but slept most of the next day from all that Grandma love! whew- it tucked the little fellow out. Grandma Sue took us all to the park and out for ice cream ( sorry Sid- none for you!) Sid wore his new onesie that says "I've got a birthday hug for Grandma" on it!

Grandma Sally sent Sidney a huge bag of colored wooden blocks that he has been enjoying knocking  them over faster than mommy can stack them up for him!  What a great find Grandma Sal!
Now we were just informed that Grandma Fern and Grandpa Ed are coming for Thanksgiving. Just in time to see Sidney sit in the high chair they bought him for Christmas.  What a fun Thanksgiving this will be! 
Thank Goodness for Grandmas!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Sidney gets to know Wisconsin and all its greatness!

It is important to introduce every person to Wisconsin. First, to it's fine New Glarus beer and second to their cheese curds.  As you can see, Sidney has developed a taste for both.

 Next it seemed clear that a dip in the beautiful, clear dutch Hollow Lake was an essential part of Sidney's experience.  He seemed very interested in it the first day, but the second day he fell asleep in the lake. I guess the thrill didn't last.
Last, a trip to Wisconsin is not complete without the over stimulation of hundreds of cousins around to keep one entertained the entire time.  All of the cousins were so happy to see Sid.  Mitchell tried scooping him up out of his bouncy seat.  Elaina made up a song to encourage him to roll over ("roll, baby, roll" times infinity.)  Sidney did roll over twice this weekend, once for Grandma Sue and once for Grandpa Mike.  Sadly, Jeremy was in another room for each and has yet to see him repeat the feat.
Other highlights included: Riding on Marvin the Mule and going down to the dock to watch everyone fish.  He was too small for swim diapers and life jackets, so the pool and a ride on the pontoon boat will have to wait for next summer.  He also can't eat solid food, so s'mores are also on next year's agenda!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Enjoying some outside time (before the heatwave)

We have had a very laid back summer with Sidney joining us.  Jeremy and I have spent a lot of time strolling the neighborhood and going to parks.  We went to George Wyth State park this week for a walk on the bike trail with baby and dog and then for a little picnic. I made these this great spinach salad to go with our sandwiches, only to realize that I forgot to pack forks- Ha! needless to say,we still had a fun time and it has been a very nice relaxing summer being at home with my wonderful husband and precious baby. 

 Happy Summer!