Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Saggy, Baggy (more like wobbly) Elephant

One afternoon when I went to pick Kaelyn up from school, her teacher came over to the car and told me that the class was going to be making an "animal museum".  Each student chose which animal they would like to make using 3D items around the house (I guess she didn't want anyone to cop out and draw a picture on poster board.  No worries here since I can't draw worth a dime!)  Kaelyn chose an African elephant.  "That's the homework for this week.  Have fun!" was how Kay's teacher ended the conversation.  :-)  My first reaction was panic honestly.  But within about four minutes of pulling away from car line, the wheels in my brain started turning and I began to get excited as I talked with Kaelyn about how we could make it.  I thought we could get a milk jug and paint it gray and somehow turn it into the body and I figured toilet paper/paper towel rolls would make good legs.  The rest we would figure out as we went.  By the time we got home, we were both pretty excited about the project and an issue was ordered in our household that NO ONE was allowed to throw away any tp rolls once the paper was gone.  :-)  Since we had just opened a new gallon of milk, I didn't thing we could glug it down as fast as we needed to be able to get started so I asked Betty if she thought that they might finish a gallon soon.  (They go through a bit more milk in a week than we do with seven people in the house.)  Luckily they had just finished or were about to finish one so we got our empty milk jug that night.  So here is our somewhat wobbly African elephant from start to finish.

I had Kaelyn do as much as she possibly could.  She painted the milk jug first and I just went through and did some

When she got down to the last side, I spread my fingers out inside the rim of the jug and held it up so she could paint it without the rest of the jug touching anything.

Then I held the rolls for her to paint.
  You can only use so much toilet paper in a couple days no matter how enthusiastically or how often you try to use the restroom for the cause.  :-) Thankfully, we used up a roll of paper towel during that time so I was able to cut that to get two more rolls.

The four "legs" drying.

The "body" drying.

Trying to attach the legs. 
 If you have never tried to get an elephant's legs to stay attached to its body, you have no idea how difficult of a task that is.  "Cause see, if his body gets smashed in a little bit, then it makes some of his legs too short and some too long... and then he wobbles, which isn't a good thing!  :-)  Trust me, I know all about these things now!  :-D

I could never be a doctor/therapist who helps people get fitted for a prosthesis.  I would be like, "Sir, here is you new leg.  I know that it is 4 inches shorter than your other leg but it didn't come out right even though I tried to measure so carefully.  But hey, it's better than no leg right?"  I have serious issues with measuring and cutting and drawing straight lines.  I am totally on a pre-school level with that.  All that to say, we had very uneven "leggage" and the poor thing was quite unstable the first evening.  :-)

I took two Dixie plates and drew ears and cut them out.  I really wasn't sure that idea was going to work because, remember?  HORRIBLE at drawing!  After getting one to look okay, I flipped it over and traced it so that at least the ears would look somewhat proportionate.

The good thing about seven-year-olds is that they don't care if the legs are uneven and wobbly and if the ears don't look great.  They are just excited that a milk jug is looking like an elephant - and that they got to paint lots of stuff with gray paint.  Unfortunately, it wasn't just seven-year-olds seeing it!  :-/  Turns out, all the animals were displayed on the top of a bookshelf in the school library.

I think Kaelyn was the most excited about this - googly eyes. We purposely chose a smaller size because elephants have quite small eyes, especially when you consider how large the rest of the parts of their bodies are.  (We learned that in a book Kay has about elephants.  The elephants in her book do NOT have googly eyes, however.)

She put the eyes on all by herself.  In an astonishing moment where she was not anything like her mother, she stuck them on perfectly - exactly at the same height in proportionate distance from the ears.  :-)

By this point, Kay was so excited.  She was dancing around saying, "This is going to be the best elephant ever!"  :-)

We went to Lowe's and bought a small piece of rope.  I bought the cheapest kind which meant that our choices were red and white or blue and white.  It was actually kind of pretty - for a rope anyway- but I did't take into consideration how hard it would be to hide the color with the paint.  It took going over certain spots several times and even then, you could still see a bit of red.
Kaelyn really enjoyed all the painting - I'm still working on getting gray paint out of a couple of items of clothing - both hers and mine.  We were so enthusiastically gung-ho over the project and the painting that it never crossed either of our minds to put older clothes on or try to cover our clothes.  Oh well, all for the cause I guess.

The trunk - what to use for the trunk.
We wandered the aisles of Lowe's one afternoon looking for the perfect thing for a trunk.  I decided that the aisles that were the most likely to have something were the aisles with plumbing supplies.  So we wandered up and down the aisles looking for various pipes, hoses, etc that were not $20.  (No way a wobbly elephant is going to get a $20 trunk!)  :-)  Well, I looked and Kaelyn stuffed her pals up the giant pvc pipes and let them slide down time and time again.  I finally found the perfect "thing", and by "thing" I do mean "thing" because I had no clue what it was or what it was for.  But I knew it would fit inside the mouth of the milk jug and it was long and it could be painted gray!  :-)

So as I already mentioned, our elephant was quite wobbly.  I was going to just leave it that way at first, probably mostly because I was about "elephanted out" at that point.  But the next day I decided that there was no way that I could leave it like that.  So I performed surgery while Kaelyn painted the rope and trunk.  I'm happy to say, the operation was a success and his limp was so minor when I finished that you wouldn't even know he was once handicapped unless you saw him before.  

I frayed the end of the rope and we attached it.  I thought the legs were difficult but we about never got the rope to stay attached to the hind end.  The combination of the rope already being kind of heavy plus not completely drying normally made it almost impossible.  It finally stuck enough Friday morning for us to get it to school.
The words of Eeyore come to mind, "It's not much of a tail, but I'm kind of attached to it."  All except in our case it was the opposite:  it was an adorable, perfect elephant tail but it wasn't attached to the elephant.

I put the tube thingy trunk in the mouth of the milk jug and it fit in perfectly just tight enough to hold it in place without having to try to stick it on somehow.  All things considered, mostly how NOT crafty or creative I am, it turned out okay.  Not amazing but you could tell that it was an elephant at least and Kaelyn was just thrilled!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

January Days

Nothing exciting or spectacular here in the next couple posts.  Just snapshots from our life in January.  :-)

This was at an Applebee's somewhere along the way between Massena, New York and Hobe Sound, Florida.  :-)

Both when we were at Kevin's parents and also when we were at my parents, we boxed up some presents and things and shipped them ahead of us.  :-)  The first ones arrived in Hobe Sound before we got back.  I'm frankly not sure whether to be annoyed or impressed with the U. S. Postal Service.  The box in the picture above was so gouged up that on this one side if you pulled the cardboard back a little bit, you could see the stuff inside the box.  It's amazing that they can be so rough on packages that a box shows up like this.  Furthermore, you would thing that maybe someone that handled the box along the way would have seen it and tried to secure it with tape.  However, on the other hand, it is simply amazing that the boxes were so badly battered but NOTHING had come out or was missing.  That's why I say that I'm not sure whether to be frustrated that the boxes arrived in this shape or impressed that they still arrived and had everything in them.  

This one also had a few gouges in one side but the biggest thing was that top flaps had come more than halfway untaped.  There were 2 or 3 strips of tape across and then a couple of strips across the sides originally. The tape was pulled back, mangled, or totally missing. But once again, it somehow held together and everything was accounted for and in good condition.

Kay looking cute as always at The Barrel - Cracker Barrel that is.  :-)

Some nice man at the next table over saw me taking pictures of Kaelyn and he got up and came over and volunteered to get one of both of us.  I was glad he had because I like the picture he got.

Kaelyn says, "Mom, look!  When we stop at a light, can you take a picture of me?"  :-)  Of course with such hilarity, I HAVE to get a picture.  :-)
(She's so much her mother's daughter, only with a seven-year-old sense of humor.)

One evening shortly after we got back home, Kevin got Kaelyn's new dollhouse out and put together.  It is so cool!  I think I was about as excited for it to get put together as Kaelyn was.  :-)

I was in the other room part of the time Kevin was setting it up. Kaelyn gave Kevin the dad to play with and this is what I overheard:  [spoken in an over-exaggerated low voice] "Well, I guess I'm going to go to work now.  I wish I had a car so that I wouldn't have to walk to work but oh well."
(And yes, that was Kevin not Kaelyn)  :-)

I absolutely LOVE this picture!!!

My two favorite people in the world.

January Days 2

More snapshots from last month.

The first full week that we were back from our Christmas trip, I was a little bit "blah" from leaving everyone and being back where it was hot and definitely not wintry.  It took Kaelyn a bit to get back into her routine also.  The Friday after the first full week back , I decided it would be good for us to get some fresh air rather than just sit around at home so we went to the park after school was over.  It was a beautiful day in the low 70's so I decided I really should stop being mopey about the warm weather.  :-)

Rudolph is one of her current favorite pals.

After Kaelyn finished on the playground, she suggested that we walk all the way around the park.  There is a huge field, some trees, and even a butterfly garden on the property that the park sits on.  It makes a big circle so we walked all the way around.  When we walked under the trees, Kaelyn decided she would really like to climb one of the trees.  She said, "But it's probably not a good idea is it?"  Now the responsible mother part of me should have said, "No, it's not safe at all.  You could fall and break your arm."  But having spent a good part of my childhood up in trees (and probably taking way more risks than I should have that probably would have given MY mom fits had she known), I really didn't have the heart or desire to to not let her experience being up in a tree and feeling like you are on top of the world.  So under my careful supervision and with my help she got up on to THE LOWEST BRANCH of the tree.  :-)  She's not quite as daring as I was at that age and her fearfulness of falling was probably actually a good thing.  I don't think I had enough sense as a kid to realize what would happen if I fell from some of the heights I climbed.
(But I'm still here so you can breathe again Mama!)  :-)

I didn't have the real camera and we hadn't really planned to do a photo shoot so I didn't get any outstanding pictures but there are still some cute ones.

This made us laugh and laugh and whenever Kaelyn or I see the picture, we laugh all over again.  The picture was not altered in anyway though it looks like it could have been photoshopped.  For some reason, the angle at which she was holding her head and the way she had her hand under her chin made it look like her head was just glued on to the picture of her body.  I didn't really notice the way it looked when I was taking the picture on my phone but as soon as we looked at the pictures and we saw this one, we both were getting cracked up!  :-D

We continued around to the little butterfly garden and enjoyed looking at the different flowers and plants, watching the squirrels play, and goofing off for some more pictures.

Look to the left...

look to the right...

heads out...

...and heads in.   :-)   :-)   :-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Montgomerys in Massena

Once a year or so, all of the Tim Montgomery clan converge upon the Pilgrim Holiness parsonage in Massena, New York.  It's one of my favorite things about Christmas.  There is never a shortage of laughs and good times and I always hate it when it's time to leave!  So, some pictures from the Montgomery family Christmas 2012.

Kaelyn's gift from Nana and Papa this year was a huge hit, not just with her but with all the kids.  It is an easel with a chalkboard on one side, a marker board on the other side, and then a place for a roll of paper.  She LOVES to play school at home so this was just the perfect thing for her!

In typical little girl fashion, she is writing who she "loves" here.  :-)

My adorable sister Joy.
She got her own smart phone for Christmas so I told her I needed a picture for her contact information and of course the picture turned out cute.

Like this picture quite a lot!

Little Eskimo
Oh wait, I'm not supposed to say that now am I?  But I mean it in the nicest, best way possible.  

A couple of very talented, artistic guys in our family left drawings for Kaelyn on her marker board.  I believe one of the dogs was drawn by my Uncle Bill and the other one was drawn by my brother-in-law, Jon Catton.

My brother teaching Aimee a family favorite game, Carroms.

I found these headband Santa hats back at Thanksgiving time and thought that would make the perfect photo "prop".

Leah kept yawning.  Every two or three pictures someone caught her yawning it seemed like.  Apparently all these pictures were wearing her out!  :-)

I don't remember what we were giggling about here but believe it or not, I don't think that I instigated it this time.  :-)

My mom and Aunt Rhonda.  
It was so nice having my aunt and uncle come for Christmas this year since we don't get to see them very often.

I really don't remember what was going on here, but the picture makes me laugh.  It looks like Joy is getting a stern talking-to by all of her older siblings but I don't think that was the case.  It just gives more insight to these "family photo moments" when we all get together and what it takes to get one - just one - decent picture.  :-)
Notice the little cutie that snuck into the picture during our lively discussion.  That's my niece Courtney.

Oh look!  Leah's yawning again.  :-D

Yeah, Bud has to work on that smile before his wedding.  But other than that, we finally got one!  :-)

My Mama and I playing with Rachel and John's puppy, Baby.

Part two in the post below.