Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Date to the Prom

After 15 years of marriage, Chris and I went to the prom last weekend. It was kind of it was approaching, I didn't have to wonder if I would get to go or be depressed because I wasn't asked. I didn't have to worry about getting up the guts to ask the guy and fear being turned down and feeling like an idiot. I didn't have to wonder if "he" would ask me. I basically said to Chris: "the prom is a week from Saturday. We're going." I love marriage! lol

Of course going to the prom meant we were chaperoning. It's been a whirlwind year after being switched from the K-8 to the high school in September and trying to get my footing this year. (There's a reason this blog was severely neglected for 3-4 months). And other than Parent/Teacher Conferences in October and March, I didn't attend any extra curricular events - a lot of it was playing catch up and being exhausted. However, when prom was coming up, I knew I needed to do my duty and volunteer to be ones of the chaperons. And okay, I wanted an excuse to go out and buy a new dress and for Chris to get some new duds.

I don't get along with dresses very well. For church, I have two dresses that don't get worn much. I am a skirt and blouse person. It's easier to accessorize and swap em' out and mix and match. And Chris looks great when he dresses up, but he doesn't get new dress up clothes nearly enough! He thinks he doesn't "need" any. He actually thinks of clothes as a basic need. Yeah, he's a guy. Since when do we "need" new clothes? lol I wish I had a gay guy friend that can take him shopping regularly.

But I admit, needing a nice dress for the prom when you're pushing 35 kind of sucks. I lost 12 pounds last summer (but my goal was 20), but 10 of them came back thanks to the fun stress and exhaustion this year. And it was the crucial 10 pounds that turn my face into a beach ball. Not fun. And I honestly didn't think I was that "thick" as far as those 10 extra pounds (technically 18 "extra pounds") until I saw the pictures we took! Yuck. Looks like another fun summer of trying to get rid of the 10 pounds, and then another bonus 8 pounds to get where I was 2 1/2 years ago. :sigh:

And if the thickness isn't enough, being the art freak that I am, I love the funky colors and bling, but I also have to consider that I'm a mom and teacher too and I can't dress like I'm eighteen or even twenty-five. Darn. I also can't do sleeveless or strapless. Normally that isn't a big deal, but now, EVERYTHING is sleeveless or strapless. I hate that. Therefore, as fun as dressing up sounds, it had a lot of barriers that induce frustration and stress.

Therefore, on our shopping excursion, I found a great dress (I think I tried on close to 15) but I had to find a shrug since it was sleeveless. That proved way too tedious. I was jealous that after one stop at JC Penney, Chris was all done and I was still scrambling to complete my dress. I was about to give up, when I finally got lucky and found a white shrug that worked. It was weird, because I tried on 3 or 4 similar white shrugs that didn't. But hey, when it's the one, it's the one.

So while it was nice that I didn't have to fret about a date or if I would have one, I wish I had my 16 and 17 year old body! So here is one of the shots of me at prom that actually shows me in a favorable light and angle (plus, the shoes were AWESOME!):

Chris and I even took one of "the" pictures at prom. I was going to pay for 2 5x7s, but they said, "you're faculty, right? Don't worry about it!" Um, okay! (<--another perk in adulthood, though without the high school body). But I haven't gotten those pictures back. Being that I didn't lose 10-18 pounds between the first picture and the ones we took at prom, I am not counting on it being that great. We'll see I guess. Anyway, I know I'm being way too worried about dumb little things. And besides the fact that Chris got the yucky throat achy thing that I've been dealing with, we had a great time. :-)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vote Yes on Prop 100!!!

This post is more specific to Arizona residents. For years being stuck in, I mean taking up residency, in this "bass-ackwards" state, I've been quite frustrated with the lack of regard to education from both the political arena and a general attitude that is an unfortunate epidemic that continues generation after generation. My advocacy of this sales tax increase proposition (in which funds will be allocated to education and public services) has yielded comments from the opposition that are so....SAD. I'm mad at the general attitude and I feel helpless sometimes. I expected such comments because I've been in Bass-Ackwardsville all my life, but it's still so frustrating. I continue to speak out and say my peace. Last month, this commentary of mine ran in various local and rural AZ newspapers as well as a guest commentary on (link:

As a parent and teacher, to say I am deeply concerned where education is going in Arizona and the ramifications for the future in education for generations to come here in Arizona is a gross understatement.

It's not enough that when there is a shortfall, the Legislature and our Governor have gone after education. Oh no. Last fall they made it even worse by removing even more of the rights of teachers, adding further insult to injury.

Now, we as voters, have a chance to stop the hemorrhaging to education and further damage by voting yes on the 1 cent sales tax.

I've heard the arguments against the sales tax increase: "I'm taxed enough!" "No more taxes!" "Politicians misuse our money! Why give them more to misuse?" That may all be true. I receive a teachers' salary, so I know what it's like to feel the pinch with Uncle Sam already reaching into our pockets. But my experience as a native Arizonan and teacher has taught me over and over that the politicians cause more damage when there is a shortfall and they make the wrong misguided cuts, then when there are more funds to "misuse." When there are cuts to be made, they go after education like a wounded gazelle on the Serengeti. That alone is an outrage.

Until the voters wise up and vote these predators to education out of office, we have to make our voices heard to do what we can to save education. In this case, it's voting yes on the one cent sales tax increase. We need to keep demanding that these Legislators take a HANDS OFF approach to Arizona's education, which is already coming in last in the nation! (source, and this is just 1 of many sources on this sad fact:

How much out of pocket will a sales tax increase affect you? We all have different incomes and consumer habits, but the average appears to be $12/month. I don't know about you, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make if it means two-thirds of the sales tax revenue would go to K-12 public education: $695 million to Primary Ed and $203 million to Secondary education.

Will the sales tax increase solve the state's deficit? No, but it is very important to stop the tailspin. If the sales tax initiative fails, K-12 Education will be looking at a 20% reduction in state support for school district operating budgets - 85-90% of the M&O budget is personnel costs. This would be tragic as education is already suffering.

Other critics say money doesn't solve the problem. Sure, there is more to effective teaching and education than "money." But to these critics, I invite them to observe our K-12 classrooms and be down in the trenches with us to see exactly how crucial funding is to education. On that note, our legislature should be required to teach K-12 for 13 weeks (one level grade per week) before touching another penny of education's funding. The experience alone, I am certain, will open their eyes.

Do the right thing by Arizona's children, future and the teachers that will lead them there. Vote YES on May 18th.

Oh, and if you were able to read this, thank a teacher.

Jill Henrichsen

(the picture of Mikelle was from a rally at the State Capitol January 2009)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This time it's all about Them.... students, that is!

This time of the school year, can you say "Burn Out"? So many things can get under our skin and get us discouraged. We can easily forget so much of the "big picture" and positive things all around us. I am certainly no exception. If anything, I get more discouraged than I should, being an emotional art freak, mom, teacher, wife and that whole ball of wax. I often talk about not being able to find the hidden "chill-out" switch. It would be great if I could figure out where it is and how to work it. Plus, it doesn't help getting my yearly throat/achy thing that causes me to lose my voice. Usually it happens like clockwork around Christmas, but this time it waited until April. I probably shouldn't have gone to work last week (at least not all 5 days) because 2 or those 5 days I had no voice at all. But call me a stubborn over-achiever. Plus, I worry about what's going on in the artroom when I'm not there and what WWIII I have to clean up when I get back. I finally took a day off this week. It seems the place didn't explode while I was gone. It also helped that I had a good sub. That's something you cannot always count on. is a small synopsis of work from some of my BASIC and ADVANCED art students. The little I'm posting certainly doesn't do it all justice, but this entry can't last forever. The first artwork is a chalk pastel done by one of the Advanced students, who is a senior so we'll be losing her soon (cry).

CHANGE is good...Metamorphosis Pieces
The beginning of 2nd Semester, we explored M.C. Escher and did a few various projects. These are a couple from our Metamorphosis focus:

My advanced students had some specific projects as well as Independent Projects. I was blown away at the results.

Congressional Competition
These were put in the "Artistic Discovery" Congressional Art Competition. The second one is titled "Sacred Traditions". I really think the competition should have had photography and other artwork broken up into separate categories. Of the three winners, the first two were photography pieces.

The one on the left was inspired by Aztec designs. Excuse the weird angle the picture is captured from. I kept getting strange glares trying to take the photo from straight on. Click on it to see it with more detail.

This one was also put in the Congressional competition. He and his family even came up to Downtown Mesa to attend the reception! He's looking forward to being an Advanced student next year:

A Tessellation from one of my Basic students that was also put in the Competition. Excuse the glare:

The Monochromatic dog was done by a Basic student that was also put in the competition. He's an exchange student from Japan. I'll miss him. He'll have to wait for me to mail the dog painting to him when he's back in Japan, because I want to put it in the State Fair in October.

Another Basic student's Monochromatic work that was put in the competition. Her skills are very impressive. I hope she does Advanced next year:

This one is amazing from a truly talented student. She's already a senior, or else I would have her do Advanced next year. I love the Watercolor effect she was able to achieve with the Tempera paints. This one was also put in the competition:

Blackbird Entries
The following artworks are going to be in the Blackbird competition coming up real soon. Also, the charcoal rendition at the very top of this entry is as well:

Beautiful butterfly tessellation. This is the same artist who did the Metamorphosis above with the fairy and butterfly:

This one is one is by one of my Advanced Students that is going in Blackbird:

Unfortunately, none of these competitions are accepting sculpture. That is a shame, because there is something really impressive that another Advanced student did. Thankfully the State Fair accepts sculpture and that's where this is going in October.

I wish I could put more, but that's all time allow for now. I have a lot of Monochromatic pieces I still want to show, as well as more Tessellations. My Facebook has a photo album with more examples. Otherwise, I'm following up this post with those other pieces to show off!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This time it's all about Me....

There are a few reasons I'm updating my blog again so soon. One, I want to keep up my blog more often. Two, I want to get back to showing off my students' artwork on here. I have a Photobucket accnt linked to my class website, but I didn't want to link it on here. I'd rather pull some good examples off of there and post them on here. I hope to have that post next week. Third, I tend to just show a million pictures when I haven't updated, and I think a little bit of substance is in order this time. Fourth, I should be preparing a big new lesson for both Basic and Advanced students tomorrow, and I'm procrastinating (though I have gotten a lot more done there than I should have). Fifth, I want my blog to be a good personal journal with stuff I'm willing to share publicly. My inner thoughts and more private stuff is stashed in other places. haha

Anyway, my pea friend Nicole, had this on her blog, so I thought I'd steal it and use it. She got it from someone else who inspired her, so it's all good.
001. Real Name: Jill
002. Nickname(s): There is a few from different places in my life. Right now, a student calls me "Mrs. H'ers." and "Ms. H-eee-poo" Kind of funny.
003. Age: Ich. I'm knocking on the door of 35. But I'd rather call it: "I'm about to celebrate the 6th anniversary of my 29th birthday."
004. Horoscope: Taurus
005. Male or Female: Female
006. Elementary: Laveen Elem Grades K-6. Moved to Gilbert during 6th grade and finished 6th grade at Gilbert Elem.
007. Middle School: Mesquite Jr.
008. High School: Gilbert High
009. College: Main: Arizona State Univ (others: Mesa Comm College, Rio Salado College, Ottawa Univ)
010. Hair color: Right now? Blond with dark black underneath in the back and dark brown and purple highlights. It varies. It's a little more crazy in color than the current picture above.
011. Long or Short: Short to medium.
012. Loud or Quiet: Quiet, but mostly experiences LOUD.
013. Sweats or Jeans: It depends.
014. Phone or Camera: Camera. HATE the phone.
015. Health Freak: Medium. Enough to keep my weight in check. But to be a freak? Nope.
016. Drink or Smoke: Neither.
017. Do you have a crush on someone: Just few fun celebrity crushes.
018. Eat or Drink: Eat—unless we’re talking Diet Pepsi or virgin Strawberry Daiquiris.
019. Piercings: Ears, 3 each.
020. Tattoos: None. Almost got one when I had Mikelle. Still wish I got it.
021. Social or Anti-Social: Depends on the day.
022. Righty or lefty: Right (but I was switched as a kid from a lefty - true story. My sister and Mikelle are lefties!)
023. First piercing: Ears
024. First relationship: Kind of when I was 14. First serious one? Age 16 - 17. Boy, was that a waste of time and so much pain afterwards. I met my husband when I was 18 and so happy I'm still with him after 15 1/2 years of marriage!
025. First Best Friend: Bethany Cherry, Kristy Robinson (Laveen). Teenage best friend? Julie ichardson Jensen. Still hanging with her when our kids aren't making us nuts.
026. First Award: Can't remember! I know I got Honor Roll in 5th grade and Perfect Attendance a bunch of times. I won a few art contests in Elem School too.
027. First Kiss: I was 16 (see #24). I could have kissed at 15 though if I wanted to.
028. First Pet: My mom's poodles, Midgie and Ceasar.
029. First Big Vacation: Alaska in 2000! Actually, my first trip to Canada in 97 was awesome too. Been back 3 times!
030. First Love at first sight: Don't know.
031. First Big Birthday: 8?
032. First Surgery: I was 3 months old. Born with club feet. The casts later caused a hernia and I had that surgery at age 4. Next big surgery was age 21 for a gall bladder removal.
033. First sport you joined: Little League when I a kid.
This or That034. Orange or apple juice: Orange-Tangerine, NO PULP!
035. Rock or rap: Rock
036. Country or metal: Mostly some classic old school metal. Some old school country that's fun to hear no matter how stupid it makes you feel.
037. Salty or sweet: SWEET.
038. Coffee or tea: Neither. But I do like Carbonated Green Tea at QT!
039. Night or day: It's in in between April and October, NIGHT. Days are fine the rest of the year if it's cool and cloudy.
040. Sun or moon: Moon. I hate the sun.
041. TV or Internet: Depends on my mood.
042. Playstation or Xbox: Neither
043. Kiss or hug: Depends on my mood.
044. Pepsi or Coke: Diet Pepsi, baby!
045. Wine or beer: Neither
046. Fall or spring: FALL FALL FALL
047. Limewire or iTunes: iTunes
048. Early or late: I'm early and on time, but I'm a night-owl (can't get to bed when I should)
049. Troublemaker or Peacemaker: Can be both! lol
050. Sensitive or Loud: Sensitive, but I know I'm too loud for others.
Currently051. Eating: Nothing
052. Drinking: Water and Diet Pepsi
053. Excitement level: Low
054. I’m about to: Have dinner, finish getting ready for tomorrow
055. Listening to: My blog playlist and fixing some snaffus with it.
056. Plan for today: See #54
057. Waiting for: The school year to end, though I don't want the heat.
058. Wearing: T-shirt and PJ pants.
059. Wearing glasses or contacts: Contacts
060. Perfume/cologne: Victoria's Secret - can't remember the name of it. I wear it daily though.
061. Thinking of someone: A bunch of people.
062. Want kids?: Have two. I'd like one more. Do I want to be pregnant? NO.
063. Want to get married?: I'm married.
064. When?: Already married.
065. How many kids do you want: Wanted 4, but we'll be lucky if we get to 3.
066. Any names on the mind: Yes. I always know my kids' names way in advance.
067. What did you want to be when you were little: A writer, illustrator, eye doctor, art teacher.
068. Career: High School Art Teacher, future college art teacher?
069. Mellow future or wild: I want a future of no dissapoinments, meaning I didn't just let time go on and do the things I said I would do.
070. Something you would never try: Bungee Jumping, sky diving.
071. Something you want to try: Hike Kilamanjaro in Africa.
072. Kissed a stranger: Kind of. A character at the Renaissance Festival a few years ago planted one on me in the Pirate store and then grabbed my butt.
073. Broken a bone: My right arm in 4th grade, then my toes a few million times, last time being last Nov. My toe is still having numbness and weird nerve issues from that one.
074. Ran away from home: Kind of.
075. Been in a car accident: Minor ones (thank goodness)
076. Lived in a different state: I WISH. I so don't want to live in AZ anymore! Wanted to get out of here over 10 years ago!
077. Traveled out of the country: This is where I suck. Just Canada and Mexico. I love Canada though I would love to see more. Want to go to Europe and Africa REALLY BAD.
078. Last time you traveled out of town: Christmas to Idaho.
079. Related to anyone famous: Just famous Mormon Pioneers. Well, I am a direct descendant of Miles Standish, the captain of the Mayflower.
080. Resemble anyone famous: I used to look like the hot chick in Billy Madison, Bridgette Wilson. Now people say I look like Roz from Frasier. ????
Favorites081. Favorite color: Prussian Blue
082. Favorite movie: About a Boy
083. Favorite book: Depends on the mood and time of year.
084. Favorite style of music: Classic Alternative, Classic Rock, some Classic Contemporary. And the House soundtrack really knows how to pick their music!
085. Favorite band: Just scroll down the righthand screen, baby!
086. Favorite TV show: House M.D., Jeopardy!, Hoarders, Friends re-runs, Say Yes to the Dress, old 25,000 Pyramid epis on GameShow Network.
087. Favorite store: IKEA, Cost Plus World Market.
088. Favorite magazine: Redbook, Glamour, the Ensign, Ladies Home Journal, Readers Digest.
089: Favorite hobby: Used to be writing. I need to get back to that. Now it's napping and artwork. Scrapbooking! .
090: Favorite cuisine: It's a love-hate thing with me.
Do you believe in091. Yourself: This has wavered a lot in the last 8 months of so. Before September, about 70%. So let's go with that.
092. Miracles: Yes
093. Angels: Yes!
094. Love at first sight: Don't know. Maybe lust at first sight. But love? Nah...
095. Heaven: Yes
096. Santa Claus: Sure!
097. Tooth Fairy: Sure!
098. Ghosts: Yes
Answer Truthfully099. Is there 1 person you want to be with right now?: Most definitely. And I am.
100. Are you seriously happy with where you are in life now?: Mostly, yes. Geographically? NO. Career wise? Depends on particular aspects of it. Some of it I'm very happy where I am. Others? Not so much. It's complicated.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Fever 2010

Pseudo Easter Pictures
MARCH 27, 2010
We've had the tradition of doing Easter Pictures every year since Mikelle was a baby. Since Christian was a March baby, we would do his birthday pictures then as well. However, this year was different. Kiddie Kandids went bust, and I wasn't sure I wanted to try another studio. I was used to a free birthday 8x10 from Kiddie Kandids as well as having a year to order photos. I decided to just grab the camera and do more fun candid shots this year.

Based on the above picture, I'm not sure how it worked out.

My Baby Boy. Are you really SIX?!

Another St. Patrick's Day rolled around, and in our house that means Christian had another birthday. I am in denial at how much he's grown and I just want to cry when I see pictures of my babies when they are so little. I think back to my surprise for having him on March 17th. I was so miserable from so many complications in his pregnancy that I was looking forward to hitting 38 weeks (on 3/18) and being immediately induced. It never occurred to me that on his own, Christian would spare me an extra 36 hours of misery. lol

You look like this right now...always so full of life...and humor, even if it's at someone else's expense....

Halloween 2009...our fun lil' Frankie. If your expression doesn't get in the Halloween spirit, I don't know what does...

A year ago, towards the end of Pre-School. You did so well in Little Coyotes.

Halloween 2007...our Astronaut
(Note: I got the costume on E-bay from a lady in Vancouver - hence the Canadian flag. Since I adore Canada, I just added an American Flag on the opposite arm and kept the Canadian Flag.)

Another Green Birthday! March 17, 2007! You were half the age you are now! :sniff:

Age 2 1/2 I can't believe you've grown so much - or that Danielle got you to stand still long enough to take this adorable photo at her house!
June 2006...our Colorado trip and a happy little guy....

Your 18 month picture. You just LOVE gadgets. A cell phone kept you happy for pictures!
September 2005
Is this really you? My five-month old happy little guy! This was taken about a month before we moved into the Queen Creek house.
August 2004

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Christian's Birthday Party
We celebrated his birthday the Saturday after at Desert Mountain Park. His kindergarten teacher even came! And it was Spring Break! Here he is with his teacher and a friend from class that came to his party.

Christian blowing out the candles. Katie's parents are right there and there is Ms. Litle again! (I'm taking the pictures of course)
The next week, since it was Spring Break for Mom as well as the kids' second week of SB, we went on a hike with our friend Corbin and his Mom, Corina. We went to Lost Dutchman State Park and the Goldfield Ghost Town, just north of Apache Junction. It was so beautiful with it being all green. I'm sad that this park will be closed after June. Thank Arizona's crappy Legislature!

There is Corina walking behind the kids.
Earlier that afternoon at the Goldfield Ghost Town:

Mikelle in a Mining Cart
What's a Old Western pic without kids at the Bordello?

View of the Park from the Ghost Town