November 30, 2012

A Week Already.


I've been working on a new series of prints, and a related small artist book, that contemplate various definitive words. There's something about their succinct duality––both damning and hopeful––that I enjoy. It's the embedded duality of the words, they can be employed almost playfully, creating an open-ended and thought-provoking response, yet they are also laced with with the sense of finality and closure.

One of the pieces is titled Almost. I love how it reads both encouraging and past tense. Like a pennant being waved. You just missed it. Or, Not quite. Perhaps, That was a close one. Or, Nearly.

Every week I keep thinking that I will eek out more time to sit here and clack out a couple posts for Chatter. And when I find myself in my typing seat, glancing at the date of the previous post, it's nearly a week past. Almost

I suppose it is what it is; this season. I'm busier in my daytime with teaching, increased work commitments, and even studio time for my art-making. And before I know it every day, it's school pick-up time, and then homework, and dinner, then bath time, and bed. By the time the dust settles on the daily routine, it's time to tidy up and ready the fort for the coming day ahead. 

There's a certain comfort in the repetition. But it's also sadly amazing how fast a week slips through our fingers. And every weekend, I'm certain that we are more prepared for the week, that I'll be sitting here more in my abundant spare time carved-out, sharing the delicious baked goods we've been enjoying for our daily after school snacks. Telling you about the amazing things that the Craunlets are writing, and saying, drawing and building. And a good deal of it is even captured in photos, edited and already waiting on the desktop. Almost a post for Chatter.

And then I step away, and soak into the routine. And I'm sitting next to the 3rd grader and we are working on multiplication facts, and proof-reading book reports. Then a turn with the Kindergartner, and he is reading me a book, and reciting his sight words effortlessly. Next, I'm working on dinner, and noshing on a cookie pulled from the piles of delicious baked goods accumulating on the counter, whilst wriggling two difficult tiny Lego pieces apart, or styling Lucy's tangled head of doll hair to perfectly match the little lady's.

It's a richly rewarding season. One that finds me completely caught up in the joy of living. The savoring and the enjoying. The sweet cadence of time, and Team Craun.

November 24, 2012

These Two. This Instant.

It was just the other day. We were outside without our jackets. Enjoying Autumn.

And today it is snowing, the ground is thinly blanketed in white. And the Grand Dubs are still here visiting -- so it's pretty much the best weekend ever for the Craunlets.

November 21, 2012


For this house that is full of life and laughs. The hours of labor and love that have brought out her beauty buried under time and neglect. For all her potential still waiting. Pulling up to this house brings tears of joy to my eyes. 

I remember looking at this house–almost seven years ago–and knowing absolutely that it would be our home. The little miss was only months old. 

The sun pours into wide open rooms through tall windows. The high ceilings now buoyant with the laughter of two growing-up-too-fast babes.

For our health, and provision. For our friends and family that stand alongside us in this journey, and hold us up.  For the opportunity that each new day grants. I am so thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May your homes be full of joy and gratitude.

November 18, 2012

Getting Things in Line.

We spent last weekend entirely outdoors, soaking up this glorious Autumn sunshine and getting ready for the inevitability of  Winter. 

We worked hard–trimming, raking, cleaning, weeding, hauling, mulching, mowing, even some painting–so much progress was made out there,  it was astounding that it happened over only two days.

This weekend, we worked indoors. We got most rooms of the house in order, and tidied up for the Grand Dub's annual Thanksgiving visit. With all of this hard work, we've been sure to take many play breaks. The Craunlet's hands-down favorite so far: leaf pile jumping. 

Do we all have this memory from childhood? 

Happy new week ahead–it's a short one here–with Thanksgiving Break on slate.

November 16, 2012


Little man, you are always writing and drawing–and you are taking Kindergarten by storm. An unstoppable force, you are dedicated in every spare minute to the pages of your graphic novel endeavor. 

Your seriousness absolutely astounds me, as silly as you can be, your loyalty and devotion are deeply rooted in everything that you do.

See that silly face up there? And then in a flash–you are all seriousness–wanting to know how exactly Doodley-doo is spelled. Because that's what the bad guy is about to say to Superman before being trounced into jail. And you are adamant that this expression, and any other sound effect that you can hear in your head, has a specific and appropriate spelling. 

Pages upon pages of detailed illustration and language. Absolutely sweet, punchy and real. Your older self is going to cherish this book forever. Chocked full of your fantastically scrawling Kindergarten handwriting, and unbelievably dynamic drawings. I hope you never lose this prolific tenacity.

November 13, 2012

This Hunger for Struggle.

Little Lady. How you continue to overwhelm and delight. 

I heard a small piece of a program on NPR yesterday morning that presented differing perspectives of struggling within education between Eastern and Western cultures. I was on my way into teach at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and you were on your way into 2nd grade. It was your first day where you would also spend a portion of your time in the 3rd grade.

The program included an illustration of a child being selected to go to the chalk board and draw a cube during a math lesson. The child was intentionally selected by the teacher–knowing that he could not easily complete the task. It demonstrated the nerve-wracking struggle of learning, in an environment where struggle is encouraged, the child relentlessly trying with the chalk. The class awkward and nervous, waiting in anticipation, quietly hoping. After several attempts, he successfully mastered the drawing. The class cheered and clapped; the child smiled victorious in his learning.

I cried all the way to school.

This hunger for struggle and challenge. This is in you. This seemingly counter-culture urge to deeply know and master all that you come across. The tenacity you have to never quit. You challenge us, and the way that you think keeps us always busy explaining.

And 2nd grade is proving too little challenge. This has caused many meetings, much wonder and worry. It encouraged research, reading, and more meetings. It prompted tests that yielded unbelievable results, raised a lot of questions, and begged for more meetings, and much thinking and praying. 

And here we are, after a season of planning that now seems so short in hindsight, you are making your way into the 3rd grade this week. And you keep flashing that hungry smile at us. That victorious love of learning within you–that seemingly insatiable one.

November 6, 2012

Voting Day.

I'm not sure who could wake up today in the gloriously sunny battle ground state of Ohio and forget that it's voting day. I suppose I should be thankful for the dozen reminder calls that I've already received this morning, but let me say that I am more looking forward to the election being in the past tense.

Living a hotly contested state–with polls predicting a tightly close race–one cannot have a single day without political bombardment from either camp. 

Image Credits: Arezo Hariri | found via AIGI Get Out the Vote 2012 Poster Design here.

Check out the other fabulous 2012 AIGA Get out the Vote posters right here. Happy Election Day; get out and vote!

November 4, 2012

In and Out of Doors.

I captured this photograph the other afternoon through our large front windows. I was admiring, from indoors, how the torrential winds displaced heaps of brightly golden leaves, and layered them strewn about our freshly painted window sills. 

This golden yellow, against the creamy white. Our very color scheme out there, but messy and real, and absolutely lovely. The beautiful messes that life promises.

Quietly I sat in one of my favorite almost-too-small chairs. They are brightly natural canvas upholstered little chairs, warmed by their constant bath of light from the other side of the glass. They are a quiet and quick escape, barely comfortable, but always at the ready and providing the best view out. 

A view of all the inevitable change ahead. The slow shifting of seasons. Too much weighing heavy on the mind. Thoughts of lost teeth and forgetful fairies. The worry of grade acceleration, and of growing up too quickly. Accounting devastation among family and friends near and far from the storm. Rescheduling of a week's worth of delay and cancellation. Of varieties of apples still on the list to bubble down into applesauce this season. 

The escape provides a path out. It affords a moment's peace and paves the way for reminded reassurance and gratitude. For we have it so good here within these walls. We are healthy, and we are happy.


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