Hope’s creative summer

For the second year in a row I signed Hope up for art classes at Crealde. She just finished up her 6 week pint size picasso class last weekend so I thought I’d take a moment to share some of her artwork.

My favorite piece from this summer was her self portrait. For this class I stood by for a few minutes at the start of the class listening the instructions in hopes that Hope’s cousin Tyler might get to join her class for the day. As we waited, her teacher let the class know they could do self portraits that didn’t necessarily look like them, but yet still expressed who they were. The instructor showed examples of picasso’s work and mentioned how they could choose different color hair, eyes, or clothes and how it didn’t have to look identical to what they looked like in class. The kids sat at their tables and had mirrors to look into so it’s quite interesting to see the kids rendition of themselves. Hope of course instantly let me know she could paint herself with pink hair which she claims she would like to have someday.

Hope's self portrait...like picasso

I was so thankful that the teacher was willing to let Tyler sit in class that day. Tyler had come down from Chicago to visit us for a few days. Hope and Tyler were inseparable so I just kept my fingers crossed that they’d be able to take the class together. Thankfully a few kids were absent so there was room. They had quite a bit of fun together and Tyler got to create his own self portait too.

199/365: Art class

We spent the summer at Crealde missing someone
Though this is Hope’s second summer in classes, all this past year she’s been in a few other classes. This summer’s class makes her 5th class at Crealde and the first class she’s taken at Crealde without her buddy Miscia. Hope mentioned a time or two how she missed her friend in class and how it wasn’t quite the same. Of course, I too agreed because as the kids were often in class together it meant myself and Jaylen were also missing our friend Sasha, Miscia’s mother. On the last day of class Jaylen played outside as we waited for Hope and at the very moment I took this photo it brought back memories of the first few classes the kids took together. It reminded me how we were all missing our friends a little more this summer.

we spent the summer at crealde missing someone

Of course, Crealde is a wonderful place for a photoshoot. Their campus on a lake is beautiful. Jaylen was as cute as could be as I took a few more photos of him.


213/365: Jaylen



Hope’s art show
On the last day of class the kids hang all their work they worked on in class and put it on display for their family. It’s a fun time to reflect on their artistic accomplishments. The moment Jaylen and I walked in the class Jaylen ran right to Hope and she picked him up. It was certainly a priceless moment.

greeting her brother after class

Hope first showed off her collage she made in class earlier that day.

her collage

I loved seeing her point out her self portrait again.

213/365: pointing out her self portrait

She also had a mixed media piece that was mostly watercolor and some pen and ink that said “I want all animals”. She drew several of the animals she “wanted”. Hopefully want = love because I don’t have room in my home for a horse, dog, cat, hamster, fish and baby duck . 🙂

pointing out her artwork

She still enjoys the messy pastels and had fun making something so colorful.

pointing our her pastel work

On the first day of class Hope got to draw something inspired by another artist. It’s a good way for the kids to learn about previous artists and their techniques. Hope chose the work of John Brewster. I’m not quite certain of the title but I imagine it was something influenced by her beginning her piano lessons this summer.

sharing her drawing

Here’s the artwork she was inspired by:


She was so eager to show me all her work and was very cooperative as I took lots of pictures. Before we left I asked her to let me take one last picture and this was the look I got.

the look she gives me to let me know she's had enough of me taking pictures of her

So yeah, I suppose she had enough of me taking pictures of her that day – but she hasn’t had enough of art lessons. She’s already showing a lot of interest for classes this fall, especially now that she’s close enough to move to the next age group. I imagine it won’t be long and I’ll have many more of Hope’s creative projects to share.

Published in: on August 7, 2009 at 12:39 am  Comments (2)  

Hope’s New Smile

Hope lost her two front baby teeth today.

Hope's two front teeth

Her smile has changed, forever…still as beautiful as ever.

New smile


Hope's new smile

As much as I adored her baby girl smile for so many years, I must admit I was as anxious as she was to lose her two front teeth. Not that I ever wanted to see that baby girl smile go away but after she’s dealt with having trauma and then fillings to those two front teeth, I was anxious to see the new teeth. Her two front teeth have been loose since last summer and though we’ve wiggled those “woggly” teeth for months, they were stubborn and refused to budge. We’ve noticed her gums a bit more agitated above her front teeth and after a visit to the dentist today they advised us that it was best to have her two front teeth extracted.

It was a tough day for us, but thankfully it wasn’t long and she was wearing that smile sharing her pride in losing her two front teeth, knowing it means the tooth fairy is on her way!

Hope's new smile

Showing off her two front teeth

She’s a little proud of those two front teeth that she worked so hard to remove herself. Even with a little help from the dentist it didn’t take long for her to show off the teeth she had removed. She even offered to make a little video that we’ve posted in flickr to tell everyone about her experience this evening. This evening she wrote the tooth fairy a letter that definitely tugged at my heartstrings:

Dear tooth fariy,
I lost my two top front ones can you please take good care of them. I will miss them.

Take care of them. Say yes or no.
Please send back in time.

Hope's letter to the tooth fairy

After the events of today I’m reminded how quickly time escapes us. Though I admit I’ll miss her baby girl smile, I look ahead, smiling, knowing how beautiful her smile will continue to be…no matter how quickly she grows before my very eyes.

Published in: on January 21, 2009 at 11:24 pm  Comments (7)  

2008 Christmas cards

For the third year in a row, Hope and I created our family Christmas cards which are now in the mail. Hopefully by now most of you on our mailing list have received them but I wanted to take a moment to share the fun process we went through in the creation of this year’s cards.

At the start of the fall we came up with the idea to screen print our Christmas cards with some of Hope’s art work. We started working on our ideas way back in October in hopes of getting a head start on this project knowing how new I was to the screen printing process. Here Hope was back in October with one of her drawings:

Yes, it's October...

Of course starting in October was merely that, a start. I spent the next two months researching, reading, and learning everything about the screen printing process. I spoke with many designers experienced in screen printing and soaked up every ounce of knowledge about screen printing eager to experience screen printing for the first time. Between October and December Hope drew many more holiday drawings and words. Here’s most of the drawings I saved:

2008 Christmas cards progress

Once we finally finished up our final designs, I was fortunate to get to spend a few hours at Lure Design to see how they approached the screen printing process. I must extend a huge thanks to Sarah Blacksher for answering my never ending questions a few weeks ago where I saw first hand their process from burning screens, to printing, registration, duplexing, and reclaiming screens. Once I returned home I was eager to get started on printing the cards. My eagerness quickly turned to disappointment as I quickly found out that some of the artwork and handwriting had a bit too much fine detail for the screen mesh I had ordered (approx 150 count). Here’s one of my first screen prints of our cards which was planned to be printed with white an silver ink on brown paper with a light blue interior.

2008 Christmas cards - screen print attempt

Of course, I always have a back up plan, and so printing these traditionally was always the “other” option. It did allow me to use more colors, which some might find more fun. We printed about 100 cards this year and there are two versions. So if you haven’t had an opportunity to see our cards yet, here they are:

Version one:

2008 Christmas cards

Version two:

2008 Christmas cards

The back of all cards have a picture Hope drew of herself along with her super cool new signature:
2008 Christmas cards

The inside of the cards have a drawing Hope made of our family along with everyone’s name:
2008 Christmas cards

2008 Christmas cards

We sent out with most cards photos of the kids, here they are:

Christmas card photos - 2008

Christmas card photos - 2008

Christmas card photos - 2008

Many thanks to all of you who answered questions along the way as I learned about screen printing!

We hope you all enjoy this year’s cards. After this year’s experience with cards, we might just need to get started on next year’s cards in, oh…February. :o)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 6:51 pm  Comments (7)  

A few more videos

I’ve been meaning to post some more videos from the last two months – so here they are! Enjoy!

Bugz – ladybug dance (Nov 15, 2007)
Hope was a little lady bug in her first school performance “Bugz”. Check out a few seconds of her performance.

Bugz – Picnic Song (Nov 15, 2007)
It was adorable watching Hope amongst the other kindergarteners singing during this picnic song. She’s near the center of this video.

Hope’s school mission (Nov 17, 2007)
The month after Hope started kindergarten I was amazed to hear her say her school mission because of all the new words I wasn’t use to her saying. Now she recites it constantly at home!

Hope behind the camera again (Dec 1, 2007)
Hope is becoming quite the comedian these days. You should enjoy her humor in this one.

Meet Hope’s two dogs (Dec 1, 2007)
Hope has fun taking a video of Bella and Cinderella, all while acting goofy of course!

Jaylen laughs & coos (Jan 11, 2008)
Finally we have it on video! This is adorable watching how Jaylen reacted with Jason today.

Jaylen talks with Hope (Jan 11, 2008)
And of course he loves to talk to Hope too!

I’ve also been posting pictures regularly in flickr in case you all haven’t noticed. :o)

Published in: on January 11, 2008 at 9:56 pm  Comments (4)  

An Angel Among Us

I suppose I’ve had a few people accuse me of being a sentimental person. This past week I was reminded that it’s now been fifteen years since Jason’s mother passed away. It’s amazing how important of a role this one person who I never knew has played in my life. I’ve been told how much Hope reminds others of Jason’s mother when she was about the same age. Though I’ve seen most of the family photos, it wasn’t until today that I sat and physically compared photos of her and Hope. I’ll let you be the judge:

An angel among us

The photo of Hope (on the left) was taken today and Jason’s mother (on the right) is close to the same age. Now I must admit I’ve always felt blessed having Hope. Not only was she our first child, but she was also the first granddaughter on Jason’s side of the family. His mother had hoped for a girl and ended up with four boys – so we can’t help but think that she helped bless us with our little angel. And I say angel because that what she is, but after seeing these photos I truly believe there are angels among us.

Published in: on December 21, 2007 at 12:24 am  Comments (2)  

2007 Christmas cards

I thought I’d let Hope do the honor of presenting the Kern family’s 2007 Christmas cards…

Hope & 2007 Christmas card

Last year we had a lot of fun making our own Christmas cards so we decided to take another stab at making new ones this year. Of course it’s fun to get Hope involved in creative projects and she certainly played a big part in this year’s cards. We decided to do just one version this year, though this year’s cards were actually MORE work than last years. The cards include a snowman made of buttons. Hope drew the snowman’s hat and arms, and insisted on making sure she drew an orange carrot nose on every snowman.

2007 Christmas cards

Now I must admit, though the snowmen are pretty darn cute, I especially love the back of the cards. Every card has Hope’s signature along with an illustration she created of herself.

Back of 2007 Christmas cards

ButtonsWe finished all 50 cards today. They’re in the mail, finally. Now as you might imagine, we’re a bit tired of buttons. Together Hope and I glued 150 buttons and scored and trimmed all 50 cards. Not to mention each card includes a letter to update everyone on this past year as well as some pretty nifty pictures of the kids.

Hopefully you receive your card in the mail before Christmas. If you don’t receive one this year be sure to send us your address. We’re taking orders now for next year’s cards! :o) Errr….I mean that way we can make sure to add you to our list for next year.

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! 

Published in: on December 18, 2007 at 11:34 pm  Comments (4)  

Our star student!

Hope & DaddyThough we suspected Hope would enjoy school, it was pretty evident after her first week in school that she was having a lot of fun and learning lots of new things. We were quite amazed, proud, and thrilled to learn that after she finished up her second week in kindergarten she earned Student of the Week for her class.

Student of the week brought her a number of rewards to be proud of. She got to share pictures of herself and her family along with answering questions that were posted on a board in her school for everyone to see. She also got to bring home a reward from her teacher. I must admit, I wasn’t sure who this “Molly Moss” character was, but Hope talked about her constantly for the first two weeks of school. All she kept saying was that her teacher told the class that if they are really good they might get to take her home and take her everywhere they go. She was clearly excited with this incentive and was so proud to bring her home the day she earned student of the week.

bubblesAnother treat for Hope, Jason, and I was that we were invited to school on Wednesday to eat lunch with Hope. It was quite cute seeing her with her classmates. Jason was even invited to read Hope’s new favorite book “How do dinosaurs go to school?” to Hope’s class.

So how much does Hope really enjoy school? Well, in just three weeks she has amazed me. She comes home excited to show us what she’s done in school and often times tells us of many of the events during her day with her classmates. She’s having lots of fun – and often tells us her adventures in music, PE, and science class. She gets excited about her homework and other at home projects and continuously tells us that she can’t wait to take it back to school to show her teacher. Though she’s known her abc’s for quite a while now, her class is in the midst of learning them more in depth and it seems like every time we turn around she’s either trying to spell new words or telling us what letter a word starts with.

And if you’re wondering how we’re doing now that she’s in school – it took a few days to get use to but we enjoying seeing her excitement each day she is dismissed from school. Now, if we could only keep her from getting sick or injured we’d be happy. It seems germs spread rather easily in kindergarten and we’ve already had to watch her battle a cold, stomach bug, and a minor case of pink eye. And we’ve come to learn that pencil injuries at school are more common than you might imagine. Other than those things that are out of our control, we are certainly enjoying watching her grow through all of the moments she experiences in school.

Published in: on September 9, 2007 at 6:58 pm  Comments (2)  

Hope’s first day of school

Daddy's girl

Hope has been excited to start school for over a year now. For the last few weeks she’s been counting down the days until the big day – today – the first day of school. I remember years ago when she was still a baby thinking how nice it would be when she started school so that we’d get a break during the day. But today the furthest thing from our minds was this “break” we envisioned years ago. We’ve been told by so many friends and family how hard the first day of school would be to finally let her begin school, just one more step to her growing up – which seems to be happening so fast!

I must admit the morning was filled with mixed emotions. Hope claimed she was excited, but a little bit nervous. It’s quite understandable, especially since she’s never been in daycare or preschool. As exciting as it was to finally take her to school for the first time, it certainly was a challenge to step away when it was time for her to become a big girl and attend kindergarten. The first hour after dropping her off at school we seemed to reflect quite a bit on how much she’s grown over the last few years and how excited she’s become about finally going to school. With Hope starting school today – I can’t help but recall this saying, “All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.” In just one day we can tell this year is bound to be a year that she will learn so many valuable lessons, skills, and things that will certainly pave the way for her future.

Hope's first day of schoolAfter school was out she couldn’t help but talk most of the evening about everything she did in school. She was especially happy to tell us how she stayed “in the green”, meaning she was good in school. I thought it was especially cute to hear her say how she liked the lunch she brought but wanted to know if she could buy her lunch from the school “restaurant” tomorrow.

One thing’s for sure – Hope’s super excited about learning. Though I’m sure she’ll prove that in school, I’m absolutely amazed with how observant she has become. She seems to want to spell tons of new words every day and she’s doing great with beginning reading. We read two beginning reading books this evening and I was impressed that she was able to read them both once learning the new words. I have joked a time or two while out shopping about how I might just have the next spelling bee champion at the rate she’s going because she begins to spell words in public and asks tons of questions about spelling words every day.

Thankfully the day has come and gone filled with memorable moments – knowing many more memorable moments are to follow!

Published in: on August 20, 2007 at 11:57 pm  Comments (9)  

Appreciating the little things…

Ariel, The prince + more...Between keeping busy this summer and having a few setbacks in the last month, I’m reminded just how fortunate I am. It’s easy to take for granted some of the best things life brings, but during challenging times I always find myself reflecting on the little things that have made my life special. During tough times, it sure is hard to feel bad for too long when I’m blessed with Hope and now another little one on the way. With thoughts of a new baby on the way, it’s hard to believe it’s been that long since Hope was itty bitty.

Hope & JusticeAnd that’s when I realized just how fast time is passing. Hope is now becoming more independent and continues to pretend some amazing imaginative things as she plays around the house. I recently began sifting through a ton of Hope’s artwork that she’s created in the last year and couldn’t help but smile at how imaginative she is. We sat here for quite a while discussing what she’s drawn in the pictures I’ve scanned – and she just had so many little stories to tell with each and every picture. So if you’ve got some time I encourage you to take a few minutes to take a peek at some of her creations from this last year. These are just a few – I have a ton more to scan so it looks like Hope’s art collection is growing.

Anyhow, we hope you enjoy her latest creations…and may this remind you to “appreciate the little things”.

Published in: on July 1, 2007 at 6:29 pm  Comments (1)  

Starting off the crazy busy summer

For me, busy, well, it’s normal. So though I’m use to being a busy person, I must admit this summer is off to an early start – and has been nothing but busy.

hope-tyler.jpgFAMILY VISITS
In May we enjoyed having Jason’s family in town. His brother Adam and Tyler visited for about two weeks. Overall Hope enjoyed her time with her cousin Tyler, who is only about a year younger than her. They got to visit quite a few of the theme parks, but unfortunately due to doctor’s orders I couldn’t be there – so for me the most memorable moment was the trip we all took to the beach. The kids enjoyed the waves, building sand castles, and running around having fun. You can view some photos from Adam and Tyler’s visit here. We also had the pleasure of having Jason’s youngest brother Josh and his wife Chelsie in town. You can view some photos from Josh and Chelsie’s visit here.

Just a week after taking a break from all the fun of family visiting we opened our doors to my niece, Justice, who’s almost nine. She’ll be visiting us for a few weeks so her and Hope can enjoy some of the summer together. Thus far most of her time here has been spent coloring, swimming, or taking trips to Hope’s gymnastics lessons. The girls are also enjoying reading, singing, dancing, and chasing love bugs! The girls have fallen sympathetic to those darn pests that eat the paint off my car as they nearly cry asking me not to hit them with the car. You can check out photos from Justice’s visit here.

Part of the last month being so busy is trying to also keep up with our day to day activities that we have been involved with long before having relatives in town. One of which is Hope’s gymnastics lessons. Hope finished off her second semester of gymnastics with the Little Gym. She’s done exceptional this semester learning lots of new skills. Her favorite is still the balance beam, though she enjoys hanging upside down on the bars! And of course doing flips and cartwheels are all second nature to here these days.

And just as you thought we were busy, I managed to sign Hope up for swim lessons in the midst of the start to our busy summer. Unfortunately gymnastics lessons won’t work with my schedule over the summer so Hope asked if she could do swim lessons again this summer. She was a bit hesitant at first, after having a tough instructor last year. After a little reassurance she got really excited and now she’s in her second week of lessons doing awesome. She’s learning tons of new things and refining some of her skills she learned last summer to include how to swim freestyle, butterfly, and backstroke. We plan to stay in lessons the rest of the summer. Hope enjoys her frequent trips to the pool, even more so because her and her cousin Justice get to have lots of fun swimming and playing in the pool.

For someone like me, who takes pictures probably more often than the paparazzi, I’m sure some of you are wondering if there are more photos. Well, of course there are! For a number of reasons I’ve decided to only show a few of the best photos publicly – but I assure there are a many more awesome photos in flickr. If you’re interested in seeing more you’ll have to join flickr (which is free) and add me as a contact. If I know who you are I’ll likely reciprocate adding you as a contact, and if so you will see the remainder of the photos.

Published in: on June 5, 2007 at 1:20 am  Leave a Comment