Tuesday, September 25, 2012

House of Hope

I have begun volunteering at the House of Hope this summer which is a transitional housing program for homeless women and their children.  It is a wonderful place to be help out because there is always activity happening between babies being born, moms taking big steps forward (and sometimes a few back) and making lots of new friends along the way. Everything seems to happen in this big old beautiful turquoise house with a magnificent front porch. I have decided to collect my research data for my dissertation here by having my students volunteer to run an after school art group for the children while the moms work in support groups near by learning new skills about parenting, continuing education, and other important steps to successful independent living.
In order to help get to know the moms and for them to feel comfortable with me working with their children, I taught a class for the moms first.  We made memory boxes (their idea) and they turned out pretty well. 
Now I'm in the process of joining the board of directors there next month so that I can continue to stay involved after my semester of teaching ends and my data collection is complete.  My topic of civic engagement among pre-service teachers has really blossomed into helping them develop strategies of empathy and advocacy for homeless children in our community.
We had our first art club this afternoon and I learned a great deal more about the moms and their children and watched my students begin to develop relationships with the children as they also learned to deal with some unique behaviors and interesting conversations.  I felt like my old self as I was able to convince several children that we are a fun-loving group that they should make art with and had the opportunity to build a clay dragon with a little boy who wouldn't talk to anyone.
I guess I still have it!

Here are a few photos of our work.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hot hot hot!

It's been getting pretty hot out and Sid has been enjoying his pool and water table a great deal. He also enjoys his watering can to water himself mostly but sometimes the garden gets a drink too.
Here are some fun shots in the hot summer sun.  Sid likes to entertain in his pool as well. He has held several pool parties with up to 2 other guests.  This 3 dollar, one-ring pool from Menards is fabulous!

Skinny dippin' on a hot summer day!
Splashing as much as drinking from the water table
Xavier and Sid on the 4th of July

Chelsie brought over Jordan and Chase to play with Sid. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012


Summer has officially set in, it is hot and our AC apparently is not working. We turned it on today and it blew a fuse and turned off.  My repair man (Jeremy) seems to think it could be several things so I guess we will be calling in an expert.
In the mean time, we have had no trouble filling up the month of June. I have just completed a week-long workshop on Teacher Quality through the Department of Education and next week the summer camp I am teaching begins. "Who Let the Dogs Out" is the unfortunate theme of the week. I'll post photos of our crazy week with with over 200 students k-9th grade.

Last night we went to see Jeremy's sister walk with her Girl Scout troop in a local parade. It was hot but lots of fun. Sid enjoyed receiving a mini beach ball thrown from one of the floats. He enjoyed seeing a real fire truck but did NOT like sharing the seat with his Aunt Anna! He tried several times to push her right off.

Today we met some friends out at Heartland Farm for some strawberry picking. Sid loved eating the strawberries and meeting all their animals. He touched a goat and got a little freaked out though.
He is walking now and is starting to show off some other new skills. He likes to show-off my drinking his milk and walking or clicking his tongue while walking. His newest trick is that he will stick out his tongue on demand. It's hilarious!
Jeremy is taking a summer class that just started this week to work on his TAG endorsement. It's his last class, then just an internship or practicum in his classroom in the fall and he is done! I, on the other hand, have just begun to scratch the surface on my dissertation. I keep thinking- I have a whole year....  but that's really not enough time. Yikes!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

We spent the weekend outside as much as possible.  What fabulous weather for gardening, playing in water table and taking lots of walks and bike rides. Sid wasn't able to help us plant the garden but was a great sport, playing with toys in the yard while we worked. He is still not happy touching the grass, but each time seems to be a little bit easier. We bought a bird feeder for the front picture window to please Sidney but even more so for Roosevelt and Mabel to enjoy the action. 
Sidney is closer to walking, this weekend, he took several steps and stood on his own for small amounts of time.  It's so exciting to watch him grow into a real toddler!  He seems to have a real hollow leg! I know he must be preparing for a big growth spurt.  Today for breakfast he ate two small pancakes, some raisins, a veggie sausage link, a little yogurt cup, and some cereal puffs with a cup of whole milk.  He can really pack it in!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

A challenging few weeks

I can't say that this was a great semester, with all the politics at UNI. Some of my friends have lost their positions and others are moving on to greener pastures or worse being forced to switch to unwanted positions within the university. My graduate program in art education has been suspended indefinitely... not sure what that even means?
My colleague in art education told me last Monday he took another position in the public schools and now I am not sure who I will be working with. I am very sad to see him go, I felt we really complemented each others teaching styles and worked together well. Who knows what will come of this on such short notice.
I got news of tragic accident that led me to attending a funeral of a much loved little two year-old girl that was unfairly taken from this earth a few weeks ago.  A day has not gone on that I have not thought about the family of that little one.  The minister at the funeral was wonderful in reminding everyone to cherish your loved ones and to try to let the everyday irritations go. I have tried to really not let the little things get to me when I home with my little Sid. Today, as he smeared his peas across his shirt, I laughed with him and thought of little m. 
I got another year older last Monday too.  I feel a lot older as well, but that could be just lack of sleep- HA! I had to give a final on my birthday but then I was able to go out for Mexican with my two favorite boys in the world. Thanks to my hubby for making my evening so sweet! My gift was an iPhone- which is the best gift I could have EVER received!!!!!

This Friday I will hope for good things to come. I defend my comprehensive exam in front of my committee.  If it goes well, I will officially be a doctoral candidate and I can begin working on my dissertation. 
School is out for me and just a few short weeks away for Jeremy. Sidney will finish daycare for the summer at the end of May and we will get to enjoy a little down time. I am excited to be teaching little kids again this summer. I signed on to work with a music methods professor who runs a week long music camp.  I am teaching an art class each day with the help of one of my favorite former students, all about dogs!  What is the musical the children will perform at the end of the week, you may ask?     101 Dalmatians!  

Here's a sweet photo of Sidney to end my blog post. He is rocking his baby in his rocking chair. This is a special baby doll named Peanut. It was the doll I played with at my Grandma Lamm's house every time I visited her.  Sid seems to really love holding this doll just like I did :).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy birthday to my sweet baby

What a weekend! I thought I would be sad that a whole year passed so quickly with Sidney, but honestly I am not. He is more fun everyday and we understand each other better and continue to have more fun and learn new things together. Yes, it goes fast, but boy was it a fun year!

Friday- a family photo shoot with Darcy from At Play Photography at our home. The idea sounded great until I realized that meant I had to clean the house for that too. Let's just say, we decided to go with "the lived in look" for our shoot. She was a lot of fun and did a great job. Check out her blog here.
Saturday- We had a huge party with about 25 folks to help us celebrate our special little guy.  It turned out perfect and Sidney was great. Jeremy played Happy Birthday on the accordion for Sid (my favorite part) He ate well, let everyone hold him, he played hard, ate a cupcake and opened several presents before passing out for a 3 hour nap!  We are so lucky to have such a wonderful friend Jason, who came up Friday night and helped bake, sew, and clean up for the party! Here you can see the giant cupcake and smaller ones too we made for the party with little pictures of Sidney on them. I used black and white photos to make a large number one sign highlighting events from his first year- like his first boat ride, the Halloween party, and the hospital at Christmas.  It was wonderful to reminisce as I put it together, remembering all the fun we had and how much he has grown and developed. Last we sewed a chalkboard bunting kit I bought from my dear friend Codi at Home Ec Workshop. Everyone needs one of these, they are so darn adorable! 

Sunday- Easter at the Good's house.  We had so much fun finding eggs and enjoying the beautiful weather.  Sidney hates touching grass right now so getting him to pick up eggs was really funny, but when he realized some were filled with Goldfish crackers, he hot more involved. We decided to surprise Christy and celebrate her 40th birthday a bit early with cake, the accordion (of course) and gifts. Her birthday is next Sunday. Sidney had cake and ice cream two days in a row. whew!

Today Sid's 3 little pals came over for lunch and play to celebrate his birthday. Sis is the oldest of the bunch so he was the only one who could eat a treat today.  It's so great that he has so many little friends already.

Sidney is set for summer, he got swim trunks, a summer hat, beach toys, a bike trailer, lots of super cute summer clothes, and a water table. Now could this semester please be over soon. (wait only 3 weeks left!)
Happy First Birthday Sidney Michael Miller-Prouty! We love you!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break??

Where did it go?
I know- I was writing a 50 page paper on civic engagement with pre-service teachers in art education!
But we had some good times that week too!
Jeremy, Sid, and I spent as much time as possible outside because Sidney LOVES to drive his new car!

We went hiking around the Hartman Reserve Nature Center and took many walks around the neighborhood. We are ready to do some biking but need a baby trailer for our bike. I think it's time to ask Grandpa Mike the King of EBAY and Craigslist to help us out!
Here we are hiking:

Sidney loves to be outside but has suddenly become afraid of touching the prickly grass.  It was nice though when we had a little picnic, he stayed right on the blanket, as if crocodiles were circling our spot. We met Grandpa Tracy and Aunt Anna at the Children's Museum in Iowa City. Sid had a great time playing on everything, we even made a picture together in the art room!

I turned in my comprehensive exam on Sunday and now we are planning a real break. Jeremy and I are off to Portland on Thursday to attend the fabulous wedding of Stephanie and Kyle at Voodoo Donuts!
Sidney has opted to go stay with Grandma Sue and Grandpa Mike over a long plane ride. We will miss him but know how much easier this quick trip will be without him and the tons of stuff babies need when traveling!
So look out Portland- here we come!

Monday, February 27, 2012


We have had some exciting FIRST moments at our house.
Sid's FIRST tooth came in on Feb 15th, and I have been trying to get a picture of it for days...
I bet I took more than 70 pictures, trying to capture that tiny, white, bottom tooth so here is my best attempt!

We can see his top two coming right in... so lots of teething toys have been explored but none so far are satisfying our feisty little teether.  Here is a photo of his favorite teething toy.
Yes, wooden blocks are the only thing that tames the teething battle.  Someone mentioned licorice root sticks so Grandma Sal brought some up yesterday for us to try. We'll see if that helps.

Next FIRST blood!
Yes- see what happens when you leave the baby home with Dad! Just kidding, Sidney is learning to walk and in the process, he is attempting some daring moves. On Saturday, he dared a little too far and hit his head on the window ledge. I will skip the details but let's just say mom and dad did not handle it as well as we could have. No stitches were needed so all is well. 
Last-  I start the FIRST day of writing my comprehensive exams today. I have 3 weeks to complete a large paper based on a comprehensive question my adviser gave me. Sid will spend some time with Grandma Sue and Grandma Mike to help me out and my dear Jeremy, I am sure, regrets becoming an English teacher, because I will be calling on him a great deal. I will finish by the end of spring break and then defend my paper some time after that. If I pass, I will move on to starting my dissertation.  Where does the time go?  I can't believe I am taking my last ever graduate class and entering my last year of work towards my PhD. Woo hoo!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


After 3 doctor's visits and 7 boxes of kleenex, I am finally feeling that I am on the road to recovery. I have been sick for two weeks with some sort of viral infection that started with my eyes getting pink and swollen to ending with the worst sore throat and congestion I have ever had.
I canceled more classes, meetings ,and social engagements, then I ever have to get over this beast.
I'm so thankful though that no one got this from me! The men in the house stayed healthy, all my students so far remain untouched as well so I guess we ALL survived.

On a good note- we were able to have some visitors again. Malinda and baby Vernonica were visiting from Seattle and spent the day with us. Sidney was a big flirt and wanted lots of Mal's attention, but that gave me plenty of snuggle time with baby V.  She is only 2 months old and I forgot how fast they change. It felt great to have a tiny baby in my arms again. Sid is growing fast- he is almost up to 20 lbs!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Rubber Ducky Madness!

Six days into January- we are all still healthy and happy!  Jeremy got some much needed support in his classroom when the school finally hired a part-time teacher to help with his class sizes. He had around 35 talented and gifted students per class. whew! He will now have half that many students in a class in two out of three sections.  Big relief!

Sidney had his 9 month doctor appointment today weighing in 16 lbs 14 oz. and measuring at 26 1/4 inches long. He is in the 5th percentile of height and weight BUT the 50th percentile for head circumference. (thanks to Dad!)
He is not quite crawling but scooting or what we refer to as the "inch worm move." Can you picture it? It's pretty darn adorable... until he gets his hands on something he is not supposed to! Jeremy put up a gate and child proofed many cabinets but there is so much more to do still.

My semester begins Monday at UNI but I will be missing it as I attend the Obermann Institute on Engagement in the Academy.  It has been a great deal of work to prepare for this week, not to mention the plans I made for my own students while I am gone.  I am excited to be part of this experience though and I believe it will help me tremendously as a professor and as I write my comps this spring! In any case, we are super excited because Grandma Sue is coming to stay a few days to help out while I am gone in Iowa City for the week. Yeah for grandmas!!!!

I will end with the title of my blog- rubber ducky madness! As many of you know, I collect rubber duckies and I wanted Sid to enjoy them as well. So I dropped them all in one at a time as he bathed and watched him get to know all his new friends! It was a real party in the tub that night!