Little did I know when I picked her up and out of her crib this morning, it would be the last. The last time I would walk into her room to see her standing there, patiently waiting for me. The last time she’d be cozy in her blue sleepsack, fluffy and as squeezable as a teddy bear. The last time she’d need me to help her start her day.
I carried her up to our room, “Let’s have some morning snuggles!” I said, hoping I could relax in bed for a few more minutes before her baby brother woke up, too.
We snuggled in bed, warm under the covers when her face suddenly popped in front of mine. She looked at me with wide, serious eyes, and whispered, “Mama, today I want to nap in a grown up bed. So I can get up and go potty all by myself and wash my hands and get back into bed.”
I looked back at her, my mind processing this sudden request to grow up.
She nodded seriously as she saw me considering, “Yeah, Mama, I think that’s what I want to do. Can I nap in a grown-up bed?”
Ben and I had been talking about switching her out of her crib. Eventually. But it never feels like the right day to change up routines that are working beautifully for the family, so it took this confident, determined request to finally bring about the change.
I’ve been very busy doing nothing in a land of sunshine and beaches :]. This also means I took a break from writing for the week, and now it’s time for some Christmas merriment with the family!
I did want to take a moment to thank you all for staying with me here and reading along with me each week! It still boggles my mind to think that people let me into their inbox each week- a privilege I do not take lightly! Thank you so much for letting me share my life and thoughts with you!
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!
Have any of you taken the leap and started an art space for your child? I was so happy to hear that my brother and sister in law went out and stocked up on art supplies after seeing my post! I’d love to see pictures of your child’s work or photos of your space if you’ve done it, too! Now, if you’ve actually gone and started the whole art thing, you’re probably running into a common problem/fear of parents of kids with paint: MESS
I attended a training for Sunday school teachers this past weekend, and came across the most unexpected piece of advice: don’t make eye contact with the students.
Wait, what?? Did I hear that correctly? Don’t make eye contact?
Yet I knew inside, even as I wondered this, that it was exactly what the instructor meant. Because as I thought back to her slow and deliberate model lesson earlier that day, I remembered that she had indeed kept her eyes down on the materials and on her hands the entire time. It had been calming and strangely entrancing.
But it was still very counter-intuitive for me. She went on to explain, “This will be especially hard for those of you who come from a teaching background.”
“You’re used to making eye contact to keep the students engaged and to make sure they are paying attention. You need to release your students from that. Release them from that. If they are trying too hard to look at you to show you they are paying attention, then they won’t be able to see the lesson and focus as well.”
Hrh. I guess that made sense, in a sad, ironic sort of way: The effort I put into helping them stay focused could be the very thing that took away from their complete focus.
A couple months ago, I picked up a new hobby: brush lettering! I was inspired after seeing my friend Marilyn post these amazing pieces of art and calligraphy on her Instagram account (@minkandotter). I was mesmerized with her videos and would watch them over and over and over again. I loved the way her lettering was so fluid and the simplest words looked so beautiful! It helps that she’s got an amazing eye for beauty and art so everything looks just lovely and perfect.
Isn’t Marilyn’s work amazing??
Words as art. I liked it. I have always had poor handwriting, mostly due to my tendency to rush to get things done, but this felt like something calm and beautiful, and I wanted to try my hand at it. I asked her for some tips on where to start and she sent me some super helpful recommendations, including some blogs and materials to start with.
I wasn’t ready to completely commit to this, so I started off with just a $2 brush pen and have slowly accumulated more materials over the last couple of months. I’m pretty happy with the progress I’ve made so far:
This brush pen doesn’t require a separate pot of ink like a dip pen would, which makes it super portable and easy for me to sneak in practice in random pockets throughout the day. This convenience factor has been key for me. After dabbling in this new brush lettering hobby for a few weeks, I can safely say I REALLY LIKE IT! It’s been the perfect little hobby at this stage in my life for many reasons.
We are fortunate enough to have a dedicated art room. I basically decided we weren’t going to attempt fancy dinner parties anymore and gave away the dining table and chairs. (Everybody likes scrappy dinners better anyway, right?? I mean, at least they happen.) And just like that, we had a dedicated room just for making things.
I didn’t fill the space with a ton of stuff. Just a low shelf, a kid-sized table with chairs, and a rolling “art cart” full of art supplies. But before we got rid of the dining table, when I was still in my let’s see if this art thing is really going to stick phase, the only thing that made that space “the art room” was the art cart. It was a great start to our art studio, and if need be, it would have been enough on its own to accomplish most of the things I wanted to do with the art space.
What is an art cart? It’s just what it sounds like. It’s our 3-tiered rolling IKEA cart that I’ve stocked full of the most-used art supplies. Here are five reasons why I love it and would keep it even if we downsized:
Elephant: Tissue paper squares and a spray bottle 🙂 I drew the elephant outline with a sharpie. The rest was all her!
Originally, I wanted a maker space. A “tinker lab.” A place where my child could go and cut, glue, saw, tape, wire, and mold things from her imagination to reality. Robots, pulleys, cars, machines.
But she’s still two, so for now, I need her to get familiar with the basics first. So far, that means paper, markers, glue, tape, scissors, and paint. You’d be surprised how much a toddler can do with those few items and, paradoxically, how hard it is to think of new things to do with those few items. At least it is for me. I’m not super creative myself, but I really like copying neat stuff other people do. So I’ve been all over the Internet and Instagram researching and now have endless hours of inspiration at my fingertips. I’m sure you’ll be seeing some of that here :).
This space has been GREAT for our family for so many reasons. My toddler has developed her fine motor skills like craaazy with all that drawing, coloring, painting, taping, and cutting. She has learned to use a bunch of different tools (like scissors, brushes, tape, glue, straws, syringes, pipettes, and clothespins) and mediums (watercolors, crayons, markers, tempera paints, ribbons, washi tape). Some days, she comes home and declares that she needs art time, and she walks right over and starts cutting paper. I think it’s one way she unwinds and calms her mind after busy activities, and I love that she has that option.
I’m not that good about checking my Facebook messages, so it was a couple days later before I saw my friend Angie’s message: “I wanted to share a recipe and write about pumpkin because I love pumpkin and I thought your blog could use something pumpkin. “
It’s true. She loves it. This is definitely not the first year I’ve seen pumpkins take over her posts on Facebook, and I gotta say, I love the way she goes all in on the season!
By the time I finished reading the recipe, I was dyinggg to try it out. So I did, and it is DELISH. I deviated from the instructions a bit and added my coffee to the pot of milk and pumpkin and then used a hand immersion blender to blend it all together. So good. I’m making it again tomorrow! I will say the first 98% of it was really smooth, but there was a little bit of pumpkin residue at the bottom of my cup. Maybe my Vitamix blender would have prevented that? Not sure, but it’s not going to stop me from making it again! Try this out and let me know if you love it!
Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
Guest post by Angie L.
Fall is my favorite season. Two of my favorite things about fall are pumpkin and pumpkin spice latte. When I went to coffee shops for pumpkin spice lattes, I didn’t enjoy the pumpkin spice lattes as much as I’d like because they were loaded with sugar and I couldn’t taste much pumpkin. So, I was on a mission to make the perfect homemade cup of pumpkin spice latte.
By Haragayato – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
I learned about something beautiful this week. It’s called kintsugi: the Japanese art of taking broken pottery and using gold to piece it back together. The idea is that flaws and breakage aren’t things we need to hide, but are things that can be beautiful. Even highlighted.
If you search “kintsugi” online, there are so many beautiful images of it. My personal favorite is the turquoise bowl with gold repairs. I can’t post an image of it here (copyright issues), but you can probably find the very one if you do a quick Google search :). Do you see it? Do you LOVE it?
I’m tempted to buy a turqoise bowl and break it just so I can use gold to put it back together. Except I think that’s not really the point, and… I also don’t know how to melt gold and stuff. But I definitely like the “after” version of this pottery better than what I imagine the “before” was.
This story is several months old, but I think of it all the time.
It was a Sunday. I know this, because we skipped church that morning. We had to, since my daughter had come down with a 104 degree fever. She had been sick for a couple days, and I was grateful for the weekend so Ben could step in and take on some of the burden of taking care of the kids. She’s usually a darling, but this sickness was making her kind of a mess- a hot, crying, whiny, screaming mess. So this weekend, I was especially grateful for backup.
It was still a lot of work. Taking care of a sick toddler and a newborn is hard. I was still nursing my son several times a day, and we were also in the middle of working through my daughter’s TWOS. Full blown 2’s on top of 104 fever = ROUGH TIMES. I think I was getting through a cold, too. So I was pretty ready to zonk out and call it a day.
Except I couldn’t. Because on Sunday morning, I woke to Ben sitting stiffly on the edge of the bed, looking at the wall.
“Oh no,” he said.
“What?” I said, groggily.
He slowly turned his body to me, “I tweaked my neck again.”
“I can’t even move my head. Ugh. Oh man this is such bad timing.”
“…” (<–Yes, it is. It really is.)
“I can still get her ready this morning…” he started, referring to our sick toddler.
“No. You shouldn’t. You could make your neck or back worse. I’ll get her.” I mean, my intentions were kind, but I couldn’t control my tone of voice. I was NOT pleased with the situation. Ben was going to be out of commission the entire day?!?! NOOOOO!!!
“Ugh, no, you’re so exhausted already,” he began, “I don’t want you to have to-”
“It’s fine. I’ll be fine.” I was huffy. I knew he really did feel bad, but this was seriously not the best time for a tweaked neck! I tried to be sympathetic, but I think selfishness overwhelmed me and I was more sympathetic for myself than for him.
So the hard work continued. I got both of the kids up, dressed, fed, cleaned, and played with them. I took her to the potty and I changed all his diapers. She continued to be sick, I continued to be exhausted, and Ben… lay on the couch. In pain.