Wednesday, October 24, 2012

{An Imperfect Adventure}

Every kid needs an adventure. Parents, too. So, after school today, instead of going straight home to do homework and start dinner, we fled to the hiking trails of a nearby state park.    

We bounced along trails. We climbed over huge logs. We shimmied closer to ponds to see frogs and fish and floating leaves. We found walking sticks, then picked up even big walking sticks. We hiked and hiked, letting the colors tagged on trees guide our way.

Sound perfect? How about I share a few conversations on the trail and you can be the  judge if it was a perfect day (or if I am even fit for parenting)? Okay, go.

Tuck: This walking stick is giving my penis a massage.

Mom: Excuse me?

Tuck: A penis massage.

Mom: Quit riding it like a broom. It's a walking stick. USE IT RIGHT!


Cooper: We've been walking for a long time. We might be lost.

Mom: We're not lost. These trails are just long and we've been changing trails. We have to keep going forward to get back.

Cooper: I think we're lost.

Mom: We're fine. Just keep walking.

Cooper: WE'RE GOING TO DIE OUT HERE! (He starts crying).


Mom: Stop hitting me with your walking stick, Tuck.

Tuck: Oh, sorry, Mom. (Hits me again).

Mom: If that walking stick hits me one more time, I am going to get very angry.

Tuck: Okay, okay. Jeez! You're going to have to get a lot tougher if you want to stay on this adventure.


Cooper: We made it off the trail. Finally! Hey, I don't see our car.

Mom: Oh, crap. We must have come out on a different trail in a different parking lot. I wonder where our parking lot is?

Cooper: Do you even know where we are? (very accusing tone). It's almost dark. 

Mom: Hey, I see a car at the top of the parking lot. It looks like someone is in there. Let's go see if she can help.

Cooper: Tell me we're not getting a car with a stranger. 


Mom: Thanks so much for giving us a ride. Sorry to interrupt your evening.

Nancy (the stranger): No problem. It's a great day for a hike. You're a few miles from your parking lot though. Glad I was here. It's almost dark.

Cooper: Hey, Mom, look at this. It's a vibrating back massager and it works.

Mom: (in an aggressive whisper) Cooper, put that down right now. I mean it!

Cooper: It's got three speeds. It can fly like a spaceship.

Mom: Thanks again for the ride. Did I mention how much we appreciate it?


So, that's it. The adventure. Tomorrow we might go back to doing homework and getting dinner ready, but for today we just enjoyed the sunshine and each other. I'm thankful.

Friday, September 28, 2012

{Crazy Days, Wicked Ways}

When I was a kid, I would get giddy every year when The Wizard of Oz aired on TV. It was such a captivating story of good versus evil. Dorothy was nice. Munchkin land a bit bizarre. And the wizard always turned out to be a big, fat fake. 

But what I really loved and held in high esteem was the the green-faced Wicked Witch of the West. She was loyal (to her sister). She was bold (wearing a large, pointy hat). And she had a cackle that could clear a room. I remember sobbing uncontrollably at the end when she melted away. Goodbye, dear witch.

Ironically, the wicked witch and I have something in common these days. I'm in full meltdown mode, too, my friends. Today was the tipping point, it seems, where I have become the worst possible version of myself. An angry, tired, cranky, yelling, irritated, crying, green ball of goo. Icky to everyone around me, including to my own two flying monkeys, who are, at this moment, in the other room avoiding me.

I'm pretty sure this meltdown is the culmination of a schedule packed way to full, weeks upon weeks worth, and my hormones swinging around like a tee-ball batter at home plate. While I consider myself an optimistic, jovial gal for the most part, today I feel like my ship is sinking. I've run out of steam for the crazy pace of my life. Then I'm sad about it, then angry, then sad, then angry again.

I lost my patience tonight over my husband's blaring reggae music, my son popping bubble wrap, too many people talking at once, no one cleaning their plate, stacks of paperwork on top of the table, dirty socks under the table, brothers fighting incessantly, and the dog licking himself over and over again. AAAAAHHHHHHH! "I'm melting, I'm melting!"

The good thing about a meltdown, I guess, if there is one, is that you get start over. Begin again. Build yourself back up, but at a slower pace. Even make some sincere apologies where due (and believe me, I owe quite a few). You also realize, and this is a big one for me, that the real people in your life will love you despite all your imperfections---the green face, the ugly pointy hat, your cackle. I'm not worthy, yet still I'm forgiven and loved. Hard to give up on something like that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

{Stinky Ham, Man}

I can always tell when life gets too hectic and our schedules start bursting at the seams. My hubby and I start fighting. Well, maybe, fighting isn't the right word. It's more of a blow out, where he lets out all the stuff he's bottled up for months, and then I begin to slowly simmer at his unkind words. 

And simmer. And simmer. And simmer. It's a quiet rage that might scare you, my friends.

One time, we fought about stinky ham. I wish I kidding, but I'm not. So, here's the thing, and maybe not a surprise for those in my inner food circle, but I'm terrible with leftovers. Terrible! Also, I'm super finicky about expiration dates. I don't really think that's a marriage deal breaker unless, of course, you're married to my husband. 

He loathes, hates, absolutely detests that I will push aside older lunch meat for more recently purchased goods. I cannot even stand the thought of sniffing stinky lunch meat, more less tasting it. I feel nauseous just writing this. Gross.

The blowout begins simply. I was at the counter making sandwiches for the kids with new ham, but there was a few slices of old ham straddling some string cheese way back in the fridge. I know because I pushed it back there getting to the new stuff. He realized this, eventually, when he went to make his own lunch and we were almost finished with ours. Things went WAY downhill from here. 

We went from talking about stinky ham (somewhat rationally) to transitioning to how he always gets stuck with the "leftovers" with everything in this family (not so rational and at a louder decibel). He is always last on the priority list. He is always picking up my slack. He is always compromising while I just do whatever I feel like all the time. At one point, I think I actually saw him gag as he stuffed the stinky ham sandwich in his mouth to prove his point. He always has to eat the shitty, stinky ham!!!

It's hard for me to know, quite honestly, how stinky ham translates into not feeling like your a priority in some one's life. It's weird man-talk and I always feel like I can never quite digest it in the moment. But it's heartfelt. Also, incredibly hard to hear. 

Your husband, who you are absolutely wild about (well, on your better days at least), thinks he's at the bottom of the barrel in your life. It saddens me. It really does. I also get frustrated because I feel like I am showing him love in all kinds of way, including his love language of words of affirmation, but apparently I'm missing the mark.

As with any relationship, it helps to remember it dips down with the stinky ham, but it also cycles back up again, if you can hang on tight enough. You just keep working on it. You try not to hold on to the hurt. You move on. You also call your husband every time you are at the grocery store to tell him you love him because you are about to buy new ham you will definitely eat before the stinky ham. This is the cycle of life and love, my friends. There is a lesson in all things.

P.S. I really do hate stinky ham. True story.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

{Sparks and Clothes Pins}

When I was in Nashville for the Storyline conference, I had the privilege of hearing some fabulous speakers, including one of my character role models, Bob Goff, and Jamie Tworksowski, who started the non-profit To Write Love on Her Arms. This ministry is dedicated to helping people who struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. 

I love their vision statement: You were created to love and be loved.  You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you're part of a bigger story.  You need to know that your life matters.

Jamie sold surfing t-shirts before starting TWLOHA. But he met a girl one night struggling with cocaine addiction (she was also cutting herself) and he wanted to help. He also wanted to give her hope. He needed to raise money for her rehab, then more money to help others get treatment. Since he only knew t-shirts, he began selling those to raise money. It was the start of a bigger story that has reached far beyond one girl and a t-shirt.

I bought a t-shirt from Jamie at the conference. As I was looking at their website tonight, I am reminded at what great work one person can do. How a spark can spread wildly with greater intention and potential for hope than we can ever imagine. We only need to do one thing---begin with great passion.

A poem was posted on the TWLOHA website called "Shake the Dust" by Anis Majgoni. It's a powerful tribute to our ability to shake it off, move on, make our struggle worth something. I cried while watching it. I also wrote down the most powerful line.

"Grab this world by its clothes pins 
and shake it out, again and again, 
and jump on top and take it for a spine,
and when you hop off, shake it again."

Hear it for yourself, my friends. I hope it sparks something in you like it did in me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

{The Toilet Writer}

It's only been a few short weeks since I officially declared myself a writer. I love being a writer! The tricky part is I haven't written anything since my bold declaration. Not so writer like, I admit, but I have some pretty creative procrastination excuses.

For example, a few short minutes before I sat down to write this post, I hear screaming and crying from my sons downstairs. Apparently, someone has their hand stuck in the toilet. I'm pretty sure this isn't possible, so I casually walk down the stairs feeling extremely huffy that my moment of inspiration is being disrupted. 

It's true. You can get a five-year-old hand stuck in the toilet all the way up to his wrist. It took me 15 minutes to get it unstuck through lots of crying, my other son yelling "Call 911! Call 911!," and the dog trying to drink out of the toilet during the extraction. I didn't even ask what he was digging for when it was over. I just shouted for him to pull up his pants and wash his hands. Toilet diving is disgusting. DISGUSTING!

I also threw out my lower back last weekend on a float trip. I wasn't even drinking, friends. I'm just old. I had finished an extremely aggressive slippery log balancing duel (yes, people do this on the river!) and, as I rested on the raft after my victory, I reached out to grab my hat and BAM. Lower back spasm. I can't sit very well or roll over in bed, but I can still fish out a fat hand from the toilet. My muscles are starting to cramp as I write this, but I'm a tough writer, crazy mom, log-dueling champion. Tough as dirty rusted nails, I am.

I will also be unplugging in a few short hours at a lovely cabin by the water. Technology is too much sometimes. I've spent my morning gearing up for the relaxation---downloading new songs to my iPod and books to my Kindle, posting yummy recipes on Pinterest, and commenting on every one's posts and pictures on Facebook. I didn't tweet because I still don't get it. I'm also updating my blog in case I get so relaxed I don't write for another month. It happens. I don't always relax well, but I'm bound and determined to give it another shot.

My mantra for this summer is to not take myself so seriously. I'm going to suck at something, sometimes, some days. Writing, parenting, wife-ing, relaxing, working, friending. I'm up as much as I'm down on these things. Life still moves on. It's a much better ride if I can just enjoy it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

{Unstick the Funk}

I have been in a royal funk. Funk as in everything around me is circling quickly, but I am in slow motion spinning the other way. Funk as in I would rather be alone (most days) than in relationship with others. Funk as in a big ole' negative Nelly you wouldn't want to know. I like funky, which is my usual creative flow, but this funk has gotten bigger. It's starting to pull me down.

Funk magnifiers in my life:
1. No hiking. No nature. No moving it. I am a salty and sugary slug.

2. No idea on what to do next in my life. Know I should be doing more, but even though the feeling is super strong, the plan looks hazy. Fog can be so darn frustrating.

3. Nil on creativity. I'm not writing or art journaling or daydreaming. I've been too busy cat-napping, power-napping, or eyelid-dropping.

4. Adventure-less. My bucket list is pretty powerful and full. Unfortunately, I'm not checking anything off. It's only words on a page right now. Empty to-do's. 

5. Less conversations with God. I'm a talker. People, animals, nature, and especially God. He has been the only Father in my life that really listens. Lately, I've been talking less and less. The real shame is I'm not really listening either.

These feelings swirling around have made me think, weirdly enough, of Mother Teresa. She was a faithful woman. She was kind. She cared more for others than she did herself. And she was wise, but so humble in her approach. She also, for many years, felt God had abandoned her, which she expressed poignantly in letters. I'm no Mother Teresa, and not even in the same league as her legacy, but it does make me feel less alone. Funk sticks to all kinds of people, I guess. It's the unsticking that is key.

Here's my plan of action to unstick the funk:
1. Quit trying to always have a plan. Jeez. I don't need to plan every detail of my life or those around me. The world will still spin if I stop organizing the universe. Perhaps if I'm more spontaneous, the funk won't know where to find me.

2. Keep trying new things. Creativity and a renewed joy may unfold in the most common places. I'm hoping it's in a kayak because I just signed up for basic lessons. One down on the bucket list, too. I would also like to check off "Give free hugs on a street corner." Any ideas on the best corner in Jefferson City? It's action time.

3. Stay in relationship with others. Even when I don't feel like I have anything more to give, I do. I really, really do. It's okay to let some things go, maybe even a relationship or two, in order to give the best of myself to others. If I get a wee bit back in return, that's just an added bonus not an expectation.

4. Prayer is not optional. I know there is a bigger plan for my life and, if I'm not taking time to be in meaningful conversation with the Man with the master plan, I am missing the boat (or the kayak), my friends. The world is too chaotic and overwhelming to not welcome that kind of love in my life.

As Mother Teresa said in her letter to Rev. Michael van der Peet, " for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak … I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand."

Starting now, I am letting Him have a free hand. I will embrace the next adventure. I will love better and more. I will not be afraid of funk and/or failure because I can do this. I know I can. And, in the spirit of including others in my story to make it more meaningful, I was wondering if you would be interested in joining me? There will be some funk (you can count on that!), but it may also turn out to be a really great time. I'm hopeful.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Life Lessons of Quiche

Relationship pondering. It's one of my many downfalls. I can think a relationship to death. I often do, too. Am I doing too much? Too little? Why are they acting that way? Could I be the crazy, common denominator? And on and on and on and on...

On a kind and loving day, I would counter I just care too much. I maybe even love too much, if there is such a thing. In my more realistic moments, I realize I want people to be this certain something for me, fill a certain role, and, if the real them doesn't fit how I want them to be real for me, we are at odds. I want control, preferably of the whole entire universe, and relationships definitely fit into that realm. 

Now, before you de-friend me or stop reading my blog because I sound completely neurotic, I do have some great friendships. My longest friendship is still my best one and we've been friends for more than 20 years. I have deep friends, social friends, random Facebook friends, and even a husband I consider a friend. It's the friends that got away that I often ponder---the bad ones, the forgotten ones, the semi-dysfunctional ones. 

I had a revelation though tonight about my relationships. It happened as I was making this amazing quiche recipe my friend gave me. This friend had a guy she met online. Great guy, total fun, and they hit it off. One evening, he came over to her house and taught her how to make a stellar quiche. He blew her socks off, which then blew my socks off after eating this said quiche the next day. As it turns out, though he was a master chef, he was a complete lying, low-down, wife cheating, scum bag. He hurt her. Big time. Plus, he went right back to online dating to keep spreading his quiches all around town. What a freakin' jerk wad!

Relationships don't always turn out how we want. Terrible finale sometimes. But they also teach us valuable lessons about the world and, more importantly, ourselves. For my friend, she not only learned to make a killer quiche, but she learned she was worthy of sincere love and a quality relationship. She just has to keep seeking, giving, building, and loving.

I'm going to try to let go, too. Take my lesson (and hopefully I've learned it!) and simply move on. Less pondering. Less second guessing. Less wishing people were who I wanted them to be. If I'm honest, I'm not always who they need me to be either. This may be a revelation worth celebrating, don't you think? I've got some of Gary's "You Lying, Low Down, Wife Cheating, Scum Bag" Quiche, if you're interested in celebrating with me. Delicious.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Parenting Wilderness

It's been a good day. I can't say that's true of all my days in this parenting wilderness, but today I felt like I gave something great of myself---quality time. As Alana Chernila said, "I may not always be the mother I want to be, but I am theirs, and that is enough." Oh, how I hope that's true. Here was our morning adventure:

Pappaw Feeler showing us how to look for mushrooms in the forest. Kind of tricky, but we learned that mushrooms love ash trees. We didn't find any mushrooms, unfortunately, but we did learn how to pick off lots of ticks on our clothes.

Cooper and Tuck were all smiles on our outdoor adventure. I know how much nature lights up my spirit. I forget it does the same for my boys.

Another morning lesson---some plants are edible and taste like bitter lemons. Kids find this fascinating and will eat them until they feel sick. I call this photo "Tuck and his edible bouquet."

Next on the agenda was fishing in Pappaw's pond, except you have to find worms first. A dream come true for kids. We found lots of worms and then we even caught lots of fish! I was giddy, especially since I've never caught a fish before. For a moment, with all my new outdoor skills, I thought about making that commune idea a reality, but it was short lived. Turns out, cleaning fish is not my cup of tea. It's done and tomorrow we will have a fish fry for Easter. What a celebration!

I hope that each day with your kids can be a celebration. It's tough in this stressful world. I'm trying to let go of some of my guilt of not being the perfect parent and just rejoice that I'm present with my kids, even the big ole' bumbling mess that I am. I'm here and I love them. Good enough.

P.S. Plus, now I'm a super fisher woman. I think that adds a little something to my parenting prowess, don't you think? Yeah, me, too. Go me, go me, go me!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coffee Shop Time

A rare moment last night. I had two full hours in a coffee shop. No kids. No phone calls. No agenda. No need to hurry up and get going. I savored a cup of coffee and the atmosphere, plus even snuck in some good, old-fashioned people watching. It was dreamy.

I used to live in a coffee shop. Well, not live, but I did spend a good amount of time pouring my soul out at that green corner table with the wobbly leg in college. I sipped coffee. I wrote poetry. I soaked in the vibe. Words, words, words. More coffee, please. Occasionally, I would even get into a crying fit if my words were really moving me. Weird, huh?

Here's the thing. I liked myself weird. Funky. Super creative in a bohemian poet/dark coffee drinking kind of way. A girl alone at the table in deep thought with something useful, if even slightly morose, to say. I had gumption. I had flare. I had time to be me.

These days, if I was asked to describe myself, coffee shop junky, or poet, or thoughtful girl with too much eyeliner wouldn't even make the list. Bigger titles have prevailed. Mother, wife, worker, friend, responsible adult. I've got a mortgage, two kids, and dog that needs to be let out right at 5 p.m. I don't have time to creatively loiter. I don't know about you, but I really miss letting my freak flag fly.

We need coffee shop time, my friends. For you, maybe it's outdoor time, or perfecting a recipe time, or trying something exciting and new time. It's the you before it got buried by too much responsibility. It's that girl, the one you smile at when you look back and remember the exact moment you figured out what finally floated your boat. Remember her? I sure do. She's intense, shiny, slightly off (in my case), and so full of possibilities. Embrace her, love her.....any way you can.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blue with Blog Envy

I have blog envy. I've been reading tons of different, really freakin' creative, blogs about design, cooking, rustic living, and even a whole bunch of what not. My blogging of late has fallen into the last category--a bunch of what not. I haven't been writing anything.

I can make tons of excuses, but I think this daily feed of great blogs (yes, apparently there are people in the world that blog more than once a month) has given me blog anxiety. I've got nothing special to report. I don't sew or craft. I can't grow anything except really out-of-control kids. I'm not trendy in decorating my house or my body. I do like rustic. I just haven't gotten around to doing away with the indoor plumbing yet.

To spice it up, I'm going to tell you the worst possible truth about me. You, sweet person, out there in infinite web land will hear it first and then take it viral for me. Here it is. I'm super ordinary. I'm like (hiccup, hiccup) everybody else. I'm not even fruit on the bottom yogurt or smooth vanilla. I'm plain. Lower calorie, yes, but truly only loved by dietitians and health nuts.

To make myself feel better tonight, I put on my "I'm my blog" shirt that my friend, Steph, bought for me a few years back. It's all blue with funky white letters and it does sort of make me feel official. I might never finish a novel, but I AM a blogger with 32 followers. It's also a real tight t-shirt, kind of like a hug that keeps on squeezing.

So, in honor of great blogs, I've compiled my list of favorites. I may be blue with blog envy, but I can still recognize talent when I see it. That's a gift of ordinary people, I think.

Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks (Heidi makes me want to cook with food I've never heard of, such as millet)
Orangette (author of "My Homemade Life")

Crafty Blogs
A Beautiful Mess (I would like to marry Elsie Larsen...she's that spunky and creative)

ThxThxThx (a thank you note a day)

My Friend's Blogs
My Ideal Reality (Mari knows books and I follow blindly)
Wonderings from My Wanderings (Mel has a heart for others and the world)
Who You Calling Mom? (Honest and funny)

Happy reading, or blogging, or whatever you do. I'll keep writing, I guess. Please keep reading.

Much love,

Sunday, February 12, 2012

{Skippy's Apricot Cake}

When I was a kid, my Mom used to sing the song, MacArthur's Park, to me at bedtime. It was a really strange song about cake being left out in the rain (a metaphor for love, I think), but I used to love to listen to her voice singing it. She got the solo in high school because she was the only one that could hit the really high note in the middle of the song. Dang, I love that about her.

Although my Mom can certainly sing about a cake, she never was a baker. That's my love. I've always adored how you can take a recipe of simple ingredients, stir them in the right order, and out pops this masterpiece you've created. Cakes, cookies, scones, muffins, bread. Almost everything tastes good right out of the oven. I love it all, especially if it is a family recipe passed down for generations and baked with love.

I have been devouring this cookbook, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, which walks you through whether you should buy it or make it homemade. I've made three batches of homemade yogurt that is to die for, but that's a topic for another blog. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a cake recipe tucked in the afterward section of this cookbook. It is a recipe her Mom loved to make growing up and the author found six, handwritten copies in her mother's recipe file. She says, "The cake is a wonder, the recipe a clearly wasn't the brainchild of my great-aunt Skippy, though in our family she got all the credit."

This cake is baking in my oven right now. It will be ready in exactly 10 minutes and then I am ready to try it for myself. I'm giddy. Family recipes do that to me. If you're the same, I'm jotting the recipe down below.

Skippy's Apricot Cake
1 box Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix
1 cup canned apricot nectar, such as Kern's
3/4 cup neutral vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs

Glaze: 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease your Bundt pan or 9-inch tube pan. Stir together cake mix, nectar, oil, and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Just before baking time is up, mix together the glaze ingredients. When cakes comes out of oven, immediately turn it over onto a cooling rack positioned over a cookie sheet or large newspaper (anything that will spare you having to scrub your counter later). Pour the glaze on top of cake while it is hot out of the oven. The glaze will melt and flow down the sides of the cake and harden into an irresistible lemony glaze. As my mother wrote on each copy of her recipe: "Makes 12 large slices, 24 lady slices."

Happy baking, friends.

"MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark, all the sweet green icing flowing down. Someone left my cake out in the rain. I don't think that I can take it, 'cause it took so long to bake it, and I'll never have that recipe again. Oh, no."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

{Jaws, the Jumping Turtle}

I live in a crazy house. It's full of noise and mess and pure chaos. Those are just the good days, my friends. Mostly, it's a whirlwind. Boys, 5 (including the turtle). Girls, 1 (me).

Of all the boys, our African side-neck turtle, Jaws, is the most well behaved. He lives in a large tank in the kid's room, complete with lots of water to swim and big rocks to sun himself by his heat lamp. He is always smiling (well, it's also the type of turtle he is, but I like to think it's because he is really happy). He is safe behind the glass walls of his tank.

Not anymore. Jaws has been tank jumping, all the way down to the hard wooden floor. Twice this week in fact. He's survived both times, I'm elated to say, but I'm wondering how he finds the power to push through his lid and then take a flying leap. This last time, I started to wonder if maybe our house is just too much for the little guy. Could it be, well, too chaotic?

I felt that way tonight. I got home late from a work meeting to find things in usual disarray--dishes piled high, the dog chewing tiny soldiers, homework spread everywhere (but not done), dirty socks under the coffee table and on TOP of the kitchen table, and everybody needing help with something immediately. A hundred things in a hundred different directions. It's a struggle. A struggle for patience, for getting it all done. A struggle to slow down and enjoy it like everyone says you should. Mainly, I'm just struggling to stay on top of being a good mom. I feel like I'm failing. Miserably.

I snuck upstairs tonight, almost an hour before bedtime, because I couldn't take anymore. Yes, I did. I hid from my my own house. And although I didn't carry up the bottle of wine (which crossed my mind, believe me!), I did leave the "wild man" zoo downstairs for calm alone time. I sacrificed quality time with my kids for quiet time with myself. Slight guilt, but I can also feel the rational me starting to come back in to focus.

To make amends, I squeezed my kids extra tight at bedtime and smacked lots of kisses on their sweet faces. I hope, I really hope, my suffocating love can make up for all my mistakes, including hiding away tonight. Do you think there's lots of wiggle room in parenting for all the imperfection? Please let the answer be yes.

Oh, and the turtle? Well, I checked on him tonight before turning out their light. He wouldn't even look my way, the sneaky bastard. I know he's planning another escape, but I can hardly blame him, I guess. I know exactly how he feels in all this chaos.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

{Time Sucking Creativity}

Writing is my creative outlet. This is why I blog, send handwritten notes, and dream of one day finishing a novel. Words really do make me happy. Lately (refrain from judgment here, please), I've been straying.

Pinterest. A major time sucker in many ways, but so visually stimulating I cannot look away. I have been following the hippest designers and all their lovelies (fabrics, projects, room designs, and on, and on, and on). My new crush is Elsie Larson, designer and owner of Red Velvet, out of Springfield, Mo. I'm not stalking, but it's real close.

Elsie then led me to my next creative adventure. A year of art journaling. Never heard of that? Yeah, me either. But a few short weeks ago, I got an email from Elsie (well, I'm sure she sent it to a few thousand people, but I like to think it was more BFF to BFF) inviting me to an e-course teaching the crazy ways of art journaling. One page per week. Easy as pie, right?

Well, it been interesting. It's also been super fun. I'm not feeling like it's masterpiece material yet, but my first two weeks are pictured here. An introduction page on the left (yes, that's me with a large bunny, if you've got great eyes) and a magazine page with my love list scribbled on top.

I've also been dabbling in some photography, thanks to my friend Dulce. She introduced me to the iPhone app Instagram. Suddenly all my boring photos are transformed into these amazing vintage wonders. I'm a photography genius. If you have your doubts, check out my bear photo from lunch today. Okay, so I'm in the photo, which means I didn't actually take the photo. I did push the button to make it more hazy and dream-like though. It's a gift and you're welcome.

Having said all that, I'm sorry I haven't written more, but please know the creative energy is flowing through me in all kinds of ways. I'm super happy about that. Try to be happy, too. Okay? If you want, I could come over and take your picture.