Monday, March 2, 2015

 "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

E&C:  It was one of those weeks that when Saturday hit, I realized I hadn't take any 52 pics, so instead of waiting for the cuteness to happen organically, I ran out to the front yard and asked Jaron to open the door and have the kids stand in its space.  There were several shots I liked, but this was my favorite.  Emmitt was dancing all over and this is about as still as he got, but mostly I couldn't resist that big smile Cora's sportin'.  E is often pantsless around the house these days because of potty training, and Saturday was no different, even with the frigid temperature and a fresh layer of bright white snow.  

Hope your Monday is great, friends!

Small Comforts (Home // 2)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I’m re-learning to be better about self-care.  I think I go in and out of doing a good job at this and I found myself falling into one of those not so good phases over the last year.  I keep reminding myself lately that taking care of myself is not only helpful to me, but necessary modeling for my kids, so they grow up seeing the importance of loving ourselves in order to more effectively love others.  I think I've written that before, but as I'm a slow learner, I guess I'm still telling myself the same thing.  One form of self-care that I always need is candles.  How very boring of me, huh?  I typically get pretty inexpensive ones from Target, because I go through them fairly quickly.  Vanilla is my go-to scent, although I have some others I like if I’m feeling fancy or seasonal.  

Over the last few weeks, for no real rhyme or reason (annoying), I’ve been feeling a little fragile, and I’ve noticed that I start lighting the candles very early in the day.  I wake up, tidy the kitchen and get the kids settled in the TV room so that I can get their breakfast ready.  Next, I light the tahitian vanilla candle that sits on my kitchen counter, turn on the coffee maker, and take a deep breath.  A sigh of relief.  With candles and coffee, the world feels a little more manageable.

The thing about candles… I love a good smell.  (When I wrote that last sentence, and every time I read over it, all I can think of is Ross saying, "And I thought to myself, wow, you know I've never owned a really good smelling pair of pants before."  -in reference to the leather pants he just bought, and it kills Chandler to not be able to make fun of him for saying it, because of his New Years resolution.  Anyone else think of that?!  No?  Can't stop, won't stop watching all the Friends episodes again.)  It makes me feel like things are fresh and clean, even when they’re not, and let’s be honest, with a 3.5 year old, 1.5 year old, and cats, there’s generally a good chance that the house is not quite fresh and clean.  In other words, we've usually got a nice funk at least somewhere in the house the majority of the time.  I also like things tidy and I function better when they are, but I’m not always great at keeping it that way.  I sometimes become overwhelmed with where to start on cleaning, but lighting a candle feels like the next right step and usually gets me going, whether that means starting some chore or just taking on the day and being more present with my kids, in the mess.  I need pushes like this as I can get stuck in my head, and all wrapped up in my feelings.  Those cheap, tahitian vanilla candles from Target act as a comforting and consistent form of self-care.  What are some seemingly boring or simple forms of self-care that you must have?

And in keeping with recognizing the good, ordinary, and small comforts in my everyday, these pictures are my gratitude list from the last week.

^^I'm reading Daring Greatly by BrenĂ© Brown for a Church Lenten series, and it's so good.  ^^


Monday, February 23, 2015

 "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

E&C:  On a lazy morning last week, I found these two playing on the chair in Cora's room.  They are both getting so big.  I don't want to talk about it.  But I will talk about those big blue eyes they each have.  Gosh.  

Happy Snow Day!  Stay warm, eat comfort food, watch Friends.  Or don't.  I suppose I'm not actually the boss of you.  (Athough, maybe you really do want to watch Friends, but your kids won't let you, because they in fact are the boss of you.  I get it.)


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

 "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

E&C:  We had some really beautiful weather last week and took advantage of soaking up the sunshine.  These two played "house" and walked their babies in the stroller, and mostly shared and played nicely the whole time we were out there.  We can get in a rut during the day throughout Winter, and it's always such a pleasant surprise (I'm a slow learner apparently) to have the sunshine hit our arms and faces for a bit.  

Happy Fat Tuesday!  Hope you get some pancakes or something else delicious!


Monday, February 9, 2015

 "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

E&C:  This was one evening last week when we stepped outside to enjoy some really beautiful Spring-like weather.  I was excited to take some pics of the kids as they ran all over the yard, exploring this and that, and playing with different toys.  I didn't get a chance to take many pictures though, because this was shortly before we had an unfortunate potty training situation.  I'm going to go ahead and say it was likely the grossest thing I've encountered as a mom so far.  I won't go into all the details, but I will tell you that for the rest of the night E kept saying to himself "diarrhea... diarrhea."  Quickly followed by asking me, "What's diarrhea?"  Over and over.  It would have been a really good story for my godfather, Dennis, during dinnertime conversation, you know what I'm sayin'?  If you don't, you can read about that here (and you can swoon over baby Emmitt and his mullet).  Did I mention that Jaron was conveniently out of town?  Has this been a complete overshare of a post?  Probably.  Well anyway, I love that this picture shows both of the kiddos' profiles.  All the heart eyes for these two.  

I am truly sorry for all the potty talk so early on your Monday.  Hope your week goes up from here.  Also, also!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER, ROSEMARY ALICE!  I hope you have the BEST day! (Sorry for all the yelling.)

Saturdays and Sundays are for...

Friday, February 6, 2015

I wanted to start doing weekend posts on occasion so that like the 52 posts, I could see some of the ways that life changes and stays the same throughout the year.  I also thought it would be a good way to keep up with editing photos regularly.  But not too far in and I already was considering skipping this week's, because... because.  But I really did have some pretty cute pics from last weekend, so here we are.  The weekend was very full, things right after one another... almost all good stuff, but busy can cause me some angst.  Yet we got to see so many dear ones, both friends and family, eat delicious food, continue to power through potty training, and hear lots of laughter, so as is usual, there was really nothing to worry about.  Happy Friday, friends!  Excited to see what this weekend brings for both you and me.  

Oh, and... minivan (!).

On Writing, My New Exercise

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I experienced some depression and anxiety last year.  I'm still processing it, but I felt like I was in a bit of a fog.  Not that I didn't enjoy life, but I had a hard time feeling fully present in my life.

When I was feeling anxious and depressed, I got both insecure in my writing and in what people would think of me, as well as had a hard time focusing on what I wanted to say.  I suspected just doing the tough work of actually writing without censoring myself would help me find the words, but it felt a little overwhelming... as many things can when you're feeling a little down.  Knowing how I feel about life's circumstances and having clarity are important to me.  Writing often gets me to that point or at least to a point that allows me to be okay with the uncertainty.  

Sometimes when I want to write but I'm not exactly clear on the what part, I imagine all the words floating around, and I wish they would connect with my brain.  As if I could hold every single word tightly clutched in my hands, my fingers slowly and delicately, one by one, lifting up and then down again to make sure no words slipped out.  Until I needed some of those words.  And then I could just gently raise up my arms, open my hands, and they would float up and form exactly what I wanted to express, about whatever I was experiencing.  So magic, apparently I wish I was magic.  And although that would make the process much easier, I'm not sure it would really be better.  For me, that hard part --the part where I have to figure out what is itching my brain and what I want to write about it-- is the the part that makes me more aware to my surroundings.  It makes me search for the words that might bring understanding to all that's going on, both right in front of my eyes, and then also the happenings that are slowly brewing underneath the surface and all around, waiting to peak out from here or there to present themselves.

I've been feeling so much better in the last month, and I think it's due to a variety of reasons.  I was diligent with doctors and counseling appointments before the holidays, my arthritis finally feels more under control again, and I've been writing regularly.  And now that I'm writing more, I need it more.  (Although, it's also true that as my Dad and I always used to say about running... I don't always love writing and definitely have trouble getting started, but I love having written.)  So when I start to feel like I haven't done enough in 2015, I remind myself that I'm writing more, little by little.  And that's good for me.  Which lets me be good to others.  

I'm not suggesting that I'm replacing actual physical exercise with writing.  Ugh, running and stretching and all that are some of the things I still need to work on.  But what I am saying is that I have come to realize that I must treat writing as something as important as physical exercise.  It strengthens my mind and my fingers, it helps me focus and think clearly, it elevates my mood.  It's fun, I like it.  I'm trying to do better about acknowledging the things that are good for me and I enjoy, but that I have always dismissed in the past because they don't clean the house or do the laundry, they don't take care of my kids or cook dinner.  What things are good for you that you don't allow yourself to count?  Let's start letting those things count.  I think we'll all feel better.  And in turn, hopefully do better... in our jobs, in our homes, in our world.

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