A Belated Happy Birthday to Quinn Atticus- THREE!!

Friday, January 22, 2016

One photo from every month of his cute, sassy, marvelous life. We are so lucky to have you in our family, Quinn. We love you like crazy!! ♥

First Snow

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The first snow of winter, and it happened, all too perfectly, on a Saturday morning. So we had all the time in the world and every member of the family home to go out and play. A snowlady was built, many snowballs were thrown, and at least one Transformer got soaked in icy wet slush... And it was beautiful. Perfect. Magic. 

I know the days are coming here winter has lost its charm... But that's not happening yet. And I am glad. 


Time To Find The Center Again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What a strange month it's been, since my last post. 3/4ths CRAZYBUSYPACKEDGOGOGOGOGO, and 1/4th "I can't muster the will to do anything else and this new kitten has me pinned to the couch so I guess I have to just sit here and be a blob even longer."  The first 3/4ths--- Christmas activities and Noah's holiday concert and going to Historic St. Charles (still magic, after years of going) and photo sessions and ENDLESS editing and trying to catch up and gathering supplies for the homemade Christmas gifts I love to do each year, and making Christmas goodies, and in the middle of it all, JOE GRADUATING with his MASTERS!! and whew!! So much. So much good, but still--- SO much. Constant action and activity and turning from one thing to the next. Trying, in the midst of it, to find moments to reflect on the Savior and the beauty of his birth story. Trying, in the midst of it, to remind my children to pause, too. To focus on more than just Frosty and Rudolph and Santa and PRESENTS!!...Trying to keep taking care of each other, even when it seemed we barely had time to breathe. 

So much. Too much. I took on too many sessions at the end of November, so the few I always allow for the beginning of December tipped the scales too far and I had TOO MUCH WORK at the time I try to have very little. That wasn't good. Add in Joe's (marvelous) graduation and it compounded the bustle of the month. Joe's parents in town to help celebrate our guy in his gown as he walked and got his Masters diploma-- so proud. Oh, and I had to go back to the dentist to get two crowns finished. And of course I decided that I wanted a dollhouse I'd found in October to get worked on in time for Christmas morning. And I still wanted to make the kids each a tepee for Christmas. And Noah had an end-of-semester project night open house in addition to his holiday concert. And and and. 

So much of it good. But too much of it all. Next Christmas, I vow: less sessions in the late fall. I vow to begin (and maybe even finish) the handmade part of Christmas in the summertime. I vow to watch more of MY favorite Christmas movies, since I won't be stuck in front of my computer editing every night from December 1-December 21. I vow to find even more chances to share the nativity story with my kiddos (we did pretty good this year... But we can always use more. More of the best stuff.) I vow to find slowness a few more times than we did this year. 

And then we have this other 1/4th: From December 26-January 5. The post-Christmas stretch before school starts up again. TOTAL opposite. The weather turned from mild to chilly and wet and suddenly we couldn't get outside much at all.... Joe had the whole time off, and we were all together all the time for days on end, amid piles of leftover Christmas, sort of restless. Sort of coming down from the craziness and excitement and bustle of the first 3/4ths.... Kind of in withdrawal mode: twitchy, irritable, bored. And really, experiencing a massive pendulum swing from the one way of life to something totally TOO MUCH on the other end--- too much "I don't want to do anything at all", too much "I can't be bothered to make a real dinner"... Too much "I don't have any pressing deadlines so I am still sitting here playing Peggle Blast on my phone and nothing is getting accomplished." Too much time together, so that kids all began sniping at each other and crying when things weren't being shared. Too much clutter and not enough motivation from ANYONE to get it back under control. 

So many weeks of TOO MUCH--- first, too much on the calendar, too much to do. Then, too much "We deserve to do nothing and eat only junk and be completely useless." 

I am DYING to find the CENTER again. Dying to get back to my center. That sacred middle ground between too much GO and too much STOP. I am trying to remember how to be productive without feeling like all of my self-worth hinges on my output. (That's been hard-- to have week and weeks of productive output, even at the cost of some sanity, then to "reward myself" by not doing anything productive, only to have it crash around me in a pile of lost self-worth. How strange are we? I wanted the break, but the whole break I felt useless and worthless and lazy and critical of myself. WHERE IS THE CENTER?) I need to make my way back to my path. My own personal path through this crazy world. When I'm on track, it feels good.... I feel inspired and want to be making/doing/planning/implementing the many things I choose to do in my life. When I am on track, I can take breaks and feel filled by them, instead of punishing myself for them. When life is centered, I feel gratitude so much more readily. My artist eyes SEE better. Pinpricks of inspiration are more abundant. 

I don't have any New Year's Resolutions, really. For the second year in a row, I have this weird quiet peace about making BIG PLANS, and I know I am mostly okay, and just need to work on the things I always work on... Not make lofty new plans. Instead, with kids back in school today and Joe back at work, I am searching for my center. To get that back. To decide what practices might have fallen by the wayside that I can restart. I want to get centered and strong NOW, before the inevitable drudge of late-winter drains my soul (like it always does, no matter how I tell myself THIS year will be different)... So that gives me a few weeks to get centered and strong first. I'm going to ponder a bit today. Listen to good music. Breathe deeply. And I'm going to sit back down tomorrow morning and list some things I want to get back to in order to get back to my better self. (Forget BEST self-- I'm not sure I'll ever be her!!) It's time to get back the balance between too much GO and too much STOP. 

It feels good to be here, now, ready to begin.
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