Wednesday, December 16, 2015

twinkle twinkle

merry, happy, joyous everything!
for my remaining two blog readers (thanks mom), you may remember that in past years i've done an experiential advent calendar with the girls; you can see a couple of them here, here and here.

this year i did nothing. that's right, nothing. i mean, we lugged all of the christmas gear out (later than usual), including the girls' many christmas books and decorations. and then.....nothing. sorry, kids, mama just doesn't have it in her this year. that said, we have done some of our annual advent activities, just not on a schedule. 

we have a tradition of going to a rural country tree lot, and hiking into the woods until we find the perfect tree, cutting it down, then carrying it back through the woods to our car driving to home depot. see? here we were a few years ago! it may not be very romantic, but it's convenient and....does it count as local?
then home to decorate! the girls wanted to help, so they did...and then i rearranged after bedtime. 
ruby doesn't want the ornaments to get lonely, so she bunches them in groups of two or three so they aren't alone. so sweet. so ruby. and then, yes, i still move them around into solo, lonesome ornaments after she goes to sleep. of course the next morning she comes downstairs, sees the rearranged tree, and puts them back with their "friends". 
the twinkling tree is so pretty. i love it.
we also went to our friends' house to have latkes and light the menorah. i think my children ate their weight in latkes (who wouldn't?)
on sunday the girls and i made these sparkly ornaments. 
they turned out pretty, but the process was anything but. how did i think that microglitter, liquid glue, glass ornaments and a very small opening for the microglitter to enter was a good idea with a five and seven year old? i mean really truly what was i thinking?! in the end the girls will not remember me shrieking at them, the glass shattering all over the floor, my impatience and frustration, and the fact that i did 78% of the crafting. so hopefully the holiday mayhem will be forgotten and warm, treasured memories substituted.         
oh, how could i forget? ruby also informed me that last week she told one of her fellow kindergarteners that santa doesn't exist, that it's just parents pretending. 
we are definitely going to be favorites among the parents in her grade. oops!

how about at your house? are you celebrating? is it a hot mess that kind of blurs into cozy holiday time like around these parts? are you making fun plans for next week? are you dreading the holiday? excited for it?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

and on the 7th day they rested

sunday afternoon a few weeks ago:
one of the significant markers of my childhood was the way we spent our sundays. 

in our house, we practiced the sabbath in the christian tradition. there aren't a lot of specifications on what that means, aside from resting, but what that meant in our house was some iteration of the following: we went to worship at church on sunday morning, then came home and had a big meal- maybe friends from church came and joined us or we just ate as a family, then nap time for everyone in the afternoon, then hanging out as a family, then a supper from leftovers and if there was a church service at night, we went to that too.

some of sunday shifted and evolved as we got older, but in my most formative years it also meant NO TV, no homework, no housework, no shopping, no eating out. my brother wasn't allowed to play on sports teams that played games on sundays. if i went on a sleepover? my mom would pick me up in the morning to take me to church. it sounds like a lot of 'no's" but it felt more like a kind of vacation from life's routines in a house of four kids and two busy parents.

sometimes it was a huge pain, like when i really wanted to go to an event with a friend from school or when i hadn't finished a school project. group projects in high school? nope- wasn't allowed to go work on them on sundays. fun friend who wanted me to come over? off limits, unless it was a friend from church and i was going over to hang out with their family for the afternoon.

sometimes it was the best excuse- like aforementioned group projects in high school or when i didn't really want to go over to someone's house but i didn't feel like i could say "sorry, i don't really want to."

most of the time it was awesome. it was a mellow, restful day in the midst of a busy life. it was time to hang out without feeling guilty that i wasn't doing my homework. when i got older it was forced but organic hang-out with my siblings and parents, which i think it was actually really wonderful as the eldest sibling. it was freedom to play and rest and accomplish nothing at all. 

what's funny is that when i moved away to college i kept to much of the schedule, including naps in the afternoon and not doing any schoolwork. i still rarely do housework or work on sundays, and i love taking a nap or reading the paper on a sunday afternoon. 

i think my parents truly gave me a gift with the structure and rules we had, and as an adult, even as much as i race from one thing to the next during the week, it is my at-home feeling to have a sabbath. it feels like my childhood, and it feels right in my bones. matt and i have, since the beginning of our marriage, tried to make sunday a day of rest as much as possible, but we are leaning in to it even more right now. as we intentionally try to maintain a sabbath practice(with different guidelines - but the intent to rest, not work, allow ourselves to be still and enjoy doing nothing), i realize how counter cultural it is to stop feeding the machine of activity. it's hard! and yet, it does something deep inside of me. it gives me license to slow down. it feels like a radical act to spend a day of my week in which i am not consuming, not producing, not racing around, not in constant motion. my girls love it, because we play, read, cook, talk with them without the interruptions of our laptops, housework, phones. don't get me wrong- everything beckons: my to do list is just as long on sunday! but we are trying to make it a practice that gives our family the spiritual and emotional reserves to carry on life the other 6 days of the week.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

On right now

This Fall has been a transition time, as both my girls are in school all day now, and for the first time since both of my children were born I have five days to work. Over the last couple of years Ruby came home at 12, and was in preschool at the most 4 days a week, so my work time had begun to evolve slowly, but it was still pretty choppy. 

I had this idea that this Fall  (cue angels singing) I would suddenly knock out so much work: paintings, illustration concepts, a book rough concept, blog, update my website, and come up with some longer term goals for making art. Um........

It hasn't turned out the way I imagined. (Cut the angelic voices and insert the crickets)

The thing about my girls being in school is that somehow I've signed up for doing more at their school: field trips, helping run an art event, volunteering in their there have been about 68 minimum days and vacation days, which all adds up to way less productive time in the studio than I thought. 

So I am at a point where I am trying to figure out when and where to give my time, where to allow volunteering to cut in to my work schedule, what goals to lean hard into and what dreams or short term plans to let go for now. Historically I have said yes to too many things, and loved giving of myself, but then in retrospect felt that I was so available to others that I forgot to create space for my own work and needs.

I don't have any concrete answers right now, but I know that part of this soul searching is connected to feeling very 40, and realizing that there are things I want to accomplish that I haven't yet, and that I'm going to have to work hard and intentionally if I want these goals to happen. Suddenly I look around and I realize peers are mid-career, and I wonder what I am doing with my life. I'm not saying that in terms of comparison, because I very much have an internal voice pushing me towards making and doing. I am saying that out loud because being self employed and being an artist can be a very isolating endeavor in which you declare your own benchmarks and goals without community input or accountability, so here I am saying.... I'm trying to figure it out. 

How can I make and do right now with....what time I have, with the season I find myself in, with the resources I have or don't have, with the gift and responsibility of being a mother to two amazing girls? I'll keep you posted.