Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 22--Finally Rested

NOTE: This post is eight days old. I am so sad to have over-looked it in my drafts and not passed along the pamper yourself challenge when it was happening. Regardless, there is some great writing that goes on over there and lots of inspiring ways to pamper one's self were shared and should be tried!
First, I'd like to say that there is a lovely challenge that has been going on this last week on Musings of a Meloncholic that screams PAMPER YOUR~SELF, everyday! It's the best kind of challenge as it's SO easy to get warped into the cycle of doing the things that we have to do without doing the small things that fill our well and refresh our spirit.

Isn't it amazing how much we push ourselves? Granted, there is a time and place when and where pushing the limits is the only way. Like yesterday in Spin class for instance. The female instructor gets up in my face and says, "Are you going 10/10?" I'm caught off guard. "You're young and you are strong. Crank it up," she says loudly. She watches me turn the notch a half-moon to the right. "Crank it again." I follow command, and she continues on her way around the room. As she passes me on her way back up to the front of the class in route to her bike, she says, "that's where you should be, alright?" I nod with compliance as sweat drips on my handle bars.

But the pushing that I'm concerned with is the non-stop go, go, go that we expect from ourselves. As a mother, the juggling act of taking care of the kiddos (and the husband), meals, laundry, shopping, cleaning, baths and so on, really never ends. The cycle perpetuates itself each day and unless I consciously decide to sit down and read my book or write, I continue to charge through the day like a bat out of hell; afraid that if I slow down I'll get too far behind and then be in BIG trouble!

So with Melancholic's pamper challenge and my Living Intentionally challenge on my mind I've devoted the last day (and a half) to some much needed TLC. Yesterday, I iced my shoulder like my Chiropractic Dr. brother instructed me and followed it up with a much needed nap. Luckily the babies were up for nap time, too, so it worked out perfectly. N even joined us for some zzz's.
How nice it is to realize that we CAN pamper ourselves in the simplest ways and that we do, in fact, DESERVE it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 21--Quilt Blocks for a Secret Family Member

Yesterday, my Mom, sister-in-law, and I worked on our contribution of quilt blocks for the secret quilt for the secret family member. We had fun girl-time and it was nice to catch up. We talked books, children, crafts and more. I worked on this same project with my sisters back in March during my visit to Montana. Boy, was that a fun time, and how I miss my sisters! The blocks are coming along, and better come quicker, as they are supposed to be put in the mail by Saturday. Four more to go! Quilting is becoming an enjoyable hobby of mine. Although there is an immense amount of skill that must be learned to move from novice quilter to skilled quilter, the learning process is an enjoyable one--except when it involves numerous moments spent re-picking what I just re-picked and sewed again. Nevertheless, the time spent quilting is never regretted. I look forward to beginning Brooklynn's quilts!

Here are a few shots taken in MT. on my trip to visit Tammy back in March.

Round one of this project:


My beautiful and talented sis, Amber.
Check out her quilting blog here.

What the finished product will look like. Cute, huh?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Reason for My Aimless Searching

Tonight, while visiting Christine Mason Miller's blog, I came across the most exciting news. Sabrina Ward Harrison, one of my favorite artists, has teamed up with Anahata Katkin for Papaya paper company, to create a new line of paper goods. As I stared at the screen my heart skipped with delight. Sabrina's art embodies it all--it sings, cries, loves, and questions. Her new work is nothing less than stunning.

Day 20--Planted a Garden

Yesterday, N & I spent the better part of the day working on our garden. Can I just say how wonderful it is to be married to a man who can build anything, especially if it involves wood! N whipped these planter boxes out lickity-split and they turned out great! We planted crookneck and zucchini squash, Roma & regular tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, red & green peppers, strawberries and watermelon. We've been BBQing a LOT lately so it's so fun and exciting to have veggies growing in our own backyard. Cheers to a healthy summer!

Yes, the weirdest shaped backyard ever.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 19--Joined a Runners Club

I'd been looking into joining a training group for my half-marathon for a few weeks now. On Thursday I made a visit to Fit Right NW, a runners store here in Vancouver, and asked a few questions about their training schedule. Although the sign-ups had already passed, Fit Right allows runners to join the scheduled runs for free. Saturday, I went down to the NW Portland Fit Right store and ran the Leif Erickson Trail with the group. It was exciting, intense, and beautiful, and I finished the targeted range of miles scheduled, much to my amazement.

To live across the water from Portland, one of the best cities in the nation, and to have thousands and thousands of acres of luscious landscape and trails throughout, is an absolute blessing. Leaving this place is not an option.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Will You Join Me?

Dinner here, tonight?

Sounds fabulous.

And looks oh so heavenly and romantic...

Image taken from Veer

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 18--Clearing the Canvas

I began the daunting task of transforming the bonus room/playroom into a functional work/writing space. Our office will remain downstairs, but the room upstairs will be the space where I can do what I love and the kids can play.

It's a tricky balance to find--you know, using the small amount of time that I get for myself throughout the week to accomplish the projects, writing, etc. I have a few small windows of opportunity to get such things done throughout the day, and well, the rest of my time is devoted to my monkeys. I just want to reiterate that those windows of time that I talk about are smaller than small. Getting much of anything accomplished during this hour and a half or so is usually a rarity, as most times, it is spent showering and cleaning up. Some might say--well than make sure those kiddos are in bed by 8pm and get to work doing those things you love so much (other than raising babies of course)! Friends, it does NOT work this way. If it did, I would have plenty accomplished and much to show for where this brain takes me throughout the day. Instead, when 8pm rolls around, I am more ready for bed than my kids! One major contribution to my level of fatigue has to do with the running that I've involved myself in, but I can't stomach the thought of giving this up. Finding the balance in all this--is much too tricky.

So, the canvas. I cleaned, organized, and vacuumed the bonus room. Slowly but surely I plan to hang some curtains, put in a writing table and some bookshelves. I'll pull out those boxes and free the creativity that lies within. I'll plaster up the inspiration that hurries my heart and the words than console my mind,and there I will write. I'll work. I'll create. I'll feel. But most of all, I'll ENJOY!

-Christine Mason Miller

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 15,16,17--of Living Intentionally, in case I lost you...

I have to apologize for how quick this will be. I'm behind in my 37 day challenge and need to get back up to speed. I WILL finish what I've started!

Day 15--

On Saturday, N & I cleaned up the backyard in preparation for the summer. We picked up our first real BBQ! No more tiny briquet stove! Our homestead feels so much more official.

Day 16--

Sunday, I ran my heart out. I got up early like I planned, and ran farther than I ever have in my life! What is especially exciting is that my run didn't conclude with stomach pains or shin splints. And it's so nice to have a husband who supports my aspirations. When I walked through the front door, I was greeted with cheers and smiles. I love my fam.

Day 17--

I have been trying my darnedest to rid of these last post-baby pounds. In effort to do so, I've agreed that I must eat more salads. Oh, yeah, and begin the extreme P90X workouts. I'll let you know how that pans out...From what I've heard I might cry, throw-up, or become very hostile. Am I "ready to bring it?" I guess we'll see.

For dinner I made crab & veggie rice wraps with peanut sauce. Delicious. Thanks, Em. It was a healthy hit! However, the strawberry cream pie with homemade whipped cream that we indulged in afterward was not the epitome of healthy. But, too late. I already caved the night before when I made it. The perfect treat for an early-summer evening.

I found this recipe last year in Domino magazine.

Message me if you'd like to try the goodness & I'll send the recipe your way.


Monday, May 18, 2009

You Gotta Dream

Are you doing it?
You know, the thing you love?
Have you drained the energy that soaks your bones?
Or has it become the very sediment that makes your joints creek?

Just curious. Tell me--what's that thing you love?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wild Mind

I'm headed to sleep now, friends. The plan is to get up early and hit the lake for an early morning run--so early that I wont be side-tracked by the babies and all their early morning needs. Nate's agreed to Daddy-duty early-style.

I think I'll take Dandelion Wine to bed with me with hopes that my dreams will be as pleasant and summery as the book cover proclaims the novel to be.

My day was off from the start. I woke to realize that I had bothersome dreams--the kind that fit the profile of:

insecurity. sadness. confusion.

I always wonder what dreams like this are for and why they come to me?? Do you give much thought to yours?

Waking to such dreams never lends the easiest segue into my morning routine; however, I took to my journal to fight this small battle...

The door slams as he enters.
Floor cracking as he steps.
He makes his way to where I lie,
looming over my head;
robbing me of the pleasantries ensued throughout my day;
reminding me that it's not gone.
The broken remains are still with me.
When I wake,
I reach to gather them in solemn silence.

I'm not sure why I have such dreams? Why I need the extra reminder in my sleep that I've been broken before and that I am vulnerable, still? These dreams are stocked full of emotion yet hardly any words. I guess I could go on a dream quest for answers, but I am not sure what good it would do? It would be silly to expect that while my mind runs rampant throughout the daytime, it would lie down with me at night. Wild mind.

The day continued to whip me around like tumbleweed on a highway. Maybe it was him, maybe I. Maybe the dream, that certain question at dinner? What makes my heart ache being presented to me multiple times in one day. This girl can only take so much. It's been one of those achy, solemn, frustrating, sad days.

All while the sun was shining.

Friday, May 15, 2009

a few moments from the past week...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Believe...

in journal writing.
that inspiration can comes in dreams, in the shower, & on the treadmill.
in wearing diamonds on the inside.
that love hurts, rewards, & treasures.
in wearing no make-up to the gym and leaving sweaty--yes Tams, sweaty!
that God speaks however booming, subtly, or silently.
in caffeine in the a.m.
that there is much to be learned from the simplicity of a child.
in being an open book and wearing my heart on my sleeve.
that we're all misunderstood at times.
in being unconditional, honest, and loyal.
in personal truth and not changing due to circumstance.
in bold patterns, rich colors, deep words, and raw emotion.
solitude speaks.
in authentic, eclectic, and eccentric souls.
in being brave and true.
in being strong yet vulnerable.
in folk music, sadness, and talks over coffee.
in asking questions, seeking answers, and never settling.
in dreamers and doers.
in challenge, loss, blessing, and adventure.
in crepes and cappuccinos on rainy Tuesday nights.
How about you?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 14--Happy Birthday Asher!

Asher turned one today! My how a year has passed! He is such a special little guy, and brings us more joy, love, and lessons on patience then we could have ever imagined! Our family is truly blessed by his presence.

Asher at One:

Loves to climb and stand on the play furniture and yell.
Insists on pulling out my breakables in the kitchen cabinets--latches please!
Finds pleasure in attacking Brooklynn's blanket as she drags it behind her. It makes him laugh!
Screams, yells, and cries to wake the family up, and then greets with a smile.
Upon being taken downstairs in the morning and being given a bottle, Asher's immediate next motion is to see if the stairs are yet gated off. If not, he will HI-TAIL it to them and then up them as fast as he can. When he realizes he is being chased, he laughs and giggles.
He cannot resist climbing on anyone who is lying on the ground.
Loves everyone. He will reach for anyone to hold him.
Adores Brooklynn, and gets a complete kick out of her.
He loves balls of any sort, and his new word is catch.
He's an eater, and picky by no means!
He's feisty, rambunctious, wild, and strong.
He's sweet, snuggly, loving, and fun.
He's our favorite boy!

We love you, Asher! Happy 1st Birthday, buddy!

Happy Birthday to you!

He has no idea what's about to take place...

Mmm... it's food, so it looks good.

Really? My very own?

Oh, yes.

Oh, yes, yes.


What a wonderful treat!

Ready to be done. Side note--I did remove about 1/3 of the cupcake from his hi-chair. He did not eat all of it!

Apparently, not feeling so great anymore. Why do we do this to our kids?

The fun is O-V-E-R!

Lessons From a Three Year Old

There is an early morning Indian chant that goes like this:

whose day it is...

get out your rainbow colors so they may be beautiful!

Yesterday, as I was feeling adventurous, I thought I would try my hand at painting. Oh, how I envy painters who have the blessed ability to create the vision of their minds. It's the same way I feel about dancers who twirl, pivot, and smile on the right counts, with the coordination that I would die for. But the sad truth is, these talents are not mine; however, this is not to say that I cannot attempt to do these things or dabble in the possibility of the craft.

So, as I was saying...yesterday, in effort to explore new territory, I gathered the necessary supplies to begin my art piece. And this is what it should be called, right? A little piece of myself? Heavens, I hope not. The final product was a sad attempt at being anything but original and creative. I stroked for balance and made swirls--when in fact, I am not a circular motion type of girl. Simply put, I painted an atrocity. Only five minutes in and ready to cut and run, I glance over at my daughter and what she has been creating. I am stunned. There is no rhyme or reason to her strokes, no attempt to balance colors, motions, or shapes, just art. Her art. Creative, imaginative, and happiness in each stroke.

Although I am grateful to my daughter for her free-spirit and for the things she teaches me, I am disheartened at this plight; this sense of self-deprivation in the attempt to create perfection. Where is he that we try and impress? Who is she that we try and out do? Show me the outline for creativity. What criterion must we meet? Who stands ready to grade our attempts at the craft? The good news, friends, is no one. There is no one to whom we must submit our attempts; just the granting to ourselves, however so difficult, the self-appreciation for the progress and undaunted attempts at creating what we haven't yet explored.

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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