9.30.2014

Art and life update

I'm trying to prioritize my life.  And, I am not doing so great at it.  I know it has been quiet over here.  I just haven't been in the mood to over-share on the internet.  I know, weird right?  Going back to work has been great but it has totally shifted my priorities (in a good way).  I feel certain things will be a bit more quiet on the blog the next couple of months.  We are in the middle of a big transition, more on that soon.  I just wanted pop in and share a new painting and some upcoming art fun.

Let's see, where to start. . . .good news, I sold all of the original paintings I had hanging up at Lupi's (a crazy cool local pizza place). The fun thing is that they won't release my paintings to the buyers until I have new ones. So, it forces me (in a good way) to create new works. Things have been hectic and having a deadline has been great for me.

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The two on the ends are gone.  Sniff, sniff.  I know I should be happy but I'm always a little sad when something sells.  It is hard to explain. Don't get me wrong, I totally feel crazy honored that people want to own my work.  I think it is because I put so much of myself into my paintings and these two trees held a lot of meaning for me.

Here are some new paintings.

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Twilight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  The tree leaves are pages from a bible.  I was feeling a little dark as I was thinking (and over thinking, which I am really good at) about my complex feelings toward religion.  The darkness isn't always bad and the things that seem to be good aren't always pure.  Or something like that :)

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I just finished this painting . . . . isn't at Lupi's though.  It will be on display in our library along with some other works starting Friday.Untitled It is Barren Yet Full. It is hard to tell but the background is hymnal pages. IMG_0109 
  IMG_0112 Also, on Thursday night I'll be set painting on the streets of downtown Cleveland on October 2nd from 5-8pm during dine around downtown (you can get more info here if you are local).  I'm super excited about this. I'm just going to be hanging out with my easel. For you local folks, this is a great event! Wonderful way to support and enjoy our expanding downtown businesses and restaurants. I'll be outside Garderners, if you are out and about that night pop by and say hi.

Oh and lastly . . .  Henry and I took an art class at our museum this weekend.  I just have to say it was the best Saturday morning.  Henry loved to paint and I love that we can share that.  Such fun with my Kindergartener.

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9.15.2014

Farewell Summer

On the first day that feels like fall might almost be here . . . . I am finally posting my summer pictures.  Oops. :)

This was the summer of water. Henry learned to swim. My primary memories of this summer will be playing in the pool with the boys. Watching Henry overcome his fear of water. Sunbathing with the boys at the y pool. It was the very best summer. I come from a long line of water lovers.  I'm from Florida.  My whole family swims. A lot.  Family functions often center around the water.  I spent my summers in a bathing suit.  I was either in the water or on the water pretty much any chance I got. Jason didn't grow up like this.  He just isn't a fan of the water.  Sure he played a little in a pool as a kid but it was nothing like my childhood.  We knew we wanted to boys to learn to swim and I knew that I wanted to cultivate a love of the water in them.  It is hard to explain, but it is important to me.  I know that might sound funny but so many of the memories of my mom center around water.  Initially Henry approached the water with a level of trepidation. Okay, maybe it was more like full blown fear. Last year was the first year he really got in the water and he refused to let his head go under.  Because Henry was nervous I decided to enroll with boys on swim lessons at our YMCA. I never took a swim lesson in my life. My mom taught me to swim and really can't remember a time I couldn't swim. But, with Henry I was hitting a wall I decide to get the help of a professional. Henry was so scared at the beginning of the classes. He begged not to go and informed me would never go under water or swim without his floaty. But, I encouraged him to stay with it and took him to the pool to practice every day. I'm happy to report after a couple weeks this was happening.

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Henry has found his love for the water. It fills my heart with joy.

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Alex, loves the water so much and has no fear to the point we had to put his floaty back on because I couldn't handle the stress. He tired to drown himself twice. Next year will be Alex's year to master swimming.
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Basically we've soaked up a ton of sun kissed fun this summer. Even Jason got swept up in all the fun. I'm pretty sure he swam more this summer than he has in the 10 years we've been married. 
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PS. Speaking of sun, we went to Florida this summer too! Here are some family photos. Yes, it was a great summer but I'm ready for fall! 

We even got in a sunny Florida run while we were there.

8.21.2014

All moms work

One of the hardest choices a mom has to make is the decision to work outside the home or not. I never intended to be a stay at home mom. It kind of happened accidentally. Going back to work after Henry was born was painful difficult (I wrote about my first day back here). Then, when I found out I was pregnant with Alex (unplanned) it just made sense to stay home. So I did. But, if I were to be honest I've not been truly settled being at home. I love the boys more than life but something always felt a bit off. I know I'm lucky to be home and even more blessed to have the choice to work or stay home. I know there are lots of woman who would love to be at home but can't afford too.  I feel a lot of mom guilt over the fact that I missed working.  I thought for a while selling my art might help balance me. But I realized that art shows and craft shows weren't what I wanted to do. Besides being tons of work, not always profitable and stealing precious weekend and family time they also started to shift how I felt about my art. I like to create for the purpose of creation not because it is marketable. But, even more that my issues with selling art I missed being involved in my community. That was the biggest thing I took away from the Run Now Relay. I missed community engagement and I missed working with non-profits (which is what I did before staying home). After lots of long discussions with Jason, I decided to start looking for a job (although truthfully, it wasn't the first time I did). And, I found one. I just started. After a three and half year lapse I have re-entered the workforce.  I'm working with the service-learning program at our local community college.  It a part-time position with summers off. I don't think I could have asked for a better position to help me return to the working. I still get to pick the boys up from school and paint. If you follow me on instagram or facebook you noticed both the boys started school.  Basically our whole family dynamic has changed. It is a huge change but I feel so much peace about it.  I know right now we are all where we need to be and that my friends is am amazing feeling.

Before I bombard you with pictures of the kids, sorry guys Kindergarten and Preschool are a big deal. I wanted to say that I think all mom's are amazing.  I think as women we struggle in our choices.  If I have learned anything it is to be true to yourself. I spent the better part of the year trying to be a homeschooling momma and guys that just isn't me.  And, that is okay.  If you are privileged enough, follow your heart and find your path. Also, I have some fun stuff lined up in regard to my art too. Some new paintings and such.  Basically, things are golden and I'm trying to enjoy this moment. It is a good feeling to know you are where you are supposed to be.


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Alex can be a little bit a little set in his ways. I was nervous about how he would adjust to school but I am happy to report he LOVES his new school and teacher.  And, he loved this little boat.  His teach has the whole room decorated so cute but this little corner is his absolute favorite. 


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PS. Just one more thing . . . . can I just say adjusting to having to have all of us out the door and ready in the morning is a HUGE adjustment. Seriously, whoa. We are working on getting into our new groove but until then we will be eating lots of sandwhiches for dinner :) PPS. Here is a recent family picture, via Henry. If only our dog really could fly.
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7.22.2014

What it means to be a good parent . . . .

It has been a weird summer.  I have been overly reflective.  That is to say, I've spent many nights up late thinking.  Thinking to much. Over thinking.  Questioning.  I've been thinking a lot about my life and the boys.  I think a lot of it has to do with Henry going to school.   It has caused to be think about my time as a stay at home mom.  Have I made the most of this time?  Have I been patient enough?  Or maybe I have been to selfish.  Perhaps I have taken on too many side projects.  Maybe it's just me but I always feel insecure in my roll as a mother.  I'm constantly agonizing over my choices.  To be honest, the boys have been hard this summer.  To be really honest they are always a lot to manage. I keep expecting to get to a point where I don't feel so overwhelmed.  But it never seems to come, even now as Henry gets ready for school I find myself so exasperated some days that I am counting down until school starts.  Then I feel guilty because I will miss him so much.  This circle of guilt and regret have been driving me crazy.

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The other night, like the several nights before, I was up questioning and over analyzing my life and my job as a parent.  As I was tossing and turning, I heard Alex whimper.  I went to check on him. I snuggled in bed beside him.  As a lay down he threw his arms around me and asked me to sing "Honey, Honey."  Yes, he is referring to this "Honey, Honey" from The Musical Momma Mia.  We have a soft spot for musicals and Abba.  That's normal, right? As I hummed the chorus to him it hit me that maybe the fact that I worry so much about being a good mother is proof that I am one.  I care, probably more than healthy at times, if I am being the best mother I can.  I worry about the time I have with the boys.  It is slipping by so very fast and I won't get it back.  As I held Alex and hummed Momma Mia songs it hit me as well that I am not perfect.  I get frustrated.  I raise my voice.  There are times when I need nothing more in the world that a few minutes away from my beautiful boys.  And, I almost always feel guilty and while I can take the guilty too far (ie staying up all night) at 2am it occurred me that makes me a good parent.  Am I am perfect parent?  Oh God no.  You should see my house right now.  But. I am trying so very hard and that is what matters.

IMG_0021 I should add a few moments after my motherhood epiphany Alex started mumbling about getting something out of his eye.  I then realized his top eye lashes were stuck in the bottom of his eye lid.  Like folded down, covering his eye ball and stuck in his bottom lid.  Did you just just squirm reading that?  You should have.  It is super gross and this was the third time his beautiful long lashes have gotten stuck.  Thanks to my friend nurse friend (hi Valerie)  I learned a neat trick of using a Q-Tip to help get them out.  But of course Alex gets hysteric and I had to wake Jason up (not that he could have slept though his screaming). There we were in the middle of the night trying to get our toddler's eye lashes unstuck.  Parenthood can be so weird. After we finally freed his eye lashes he asked to sleep with us.  Given the tramua we all endured I agreed and we all snuggled together.  And I remember what I thought in the bed, I am doing an okay job (and so is Jason). We aren't always the best but we love our boys so very much.
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 Here is to  the sleepless nights of parenthood, whether self imposed or forced upon you by screaming children.

PS.  I have to tell on Jason . .. . .  he took Alex to the Y the other day without pants. Yes, you read that right . . . sans pants.  While I was working on the mural he decided to hit up yoga.  Somehow when they were getting ready to leave, Alex removed his paints.  He believes that underwear are adquate and would only wear them if we let him.  Jason managed to buckle him in without noticing.  They were running late.  When they got to the Y he went to get Alex out of the car seat and realized his folly.  Poor guy had to turn around and go home.  Thus missing yoga.  But seriously, funniest story ever.  I laughed far longer than I should have when he told me.

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