Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the back burner

I'm pretty sure that I was one of those girls in high school that said things like, "I hate drama" while I secretly craved an upset in the social scene, just to keep things interesting.

I'm pretty sure it's usually the girls who say things like, "I hate drama" that tend to be the cause of most theatrics.

Although I've changed in so many ways, I still notice this tendency in myself, manifest subtly in the comings and goings of our family.

(Family in town. Hanging with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents.)

The second we get a bit of peace and quiet, I start to get stir-crazy.

(Birthday parties galore.)

I start frantically making commitments to all sorts of causes.

(Swimming. Fountains. Sprinklers.)

I start going on so many outings that I fill my camera's memory card with hundreds of photos every day.

(Babysitting three extra kids.)

Eventually I overbook myself to the point that I flip out under all the pressure.

(Babysitting three extra kids, a lot.)

Pressure that I caused, of course.

(Chilling with my little sister.)

Well, I feel a snap coming.

(Increasing my freckle quantity.)

Not because I haven't been having an absolutely amazing time being far too busy.

(Popsicle play-dates.)

But because being far too busy will inevitably cause the back-burner effect.

(Dressing up like robots.)

Yes, the blog finds its way on the back-burner, which means that I've stopped taking the necessary time to reflect and regroup.

(Home-repairs and bedazzlement.)

But more importantly, I start to neglect poor Duke. He's eaten nothing but canned ravioli and cereal for the past week. I have barely had a chance to look at him in the eyes. And you can bet there's been a serious lack of kissing around here.

(Duke cleaning a whole pitcher of spilled kool-aid.)

I had a lot more posts planned for these (and many more) pictures. However, you all get the abridged version. Now I'm off to get looking presentable before Duke comes home for his lunch break.

(The beginning of an ant problem.)

I feel as if nurturing a great love will become harder and harder as life becomes more chaotic.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A walk with a purpose.

1. Write little notes with inspiring and uplifting words.

2. Label them "read me."

3. Place them in visible spots in a well-traveled part of town.

Your kids will love it when you read each paper out loud before you place it on a car or fence, or wherever you feel so inclined.

It may seem like something small, but I tell you, with a young child in each arm, the small things are the only things of which I am capable.

I'd rather do something small than nothing at all.

"Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad, and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed." -Will L. Thompson (1847-1909)

Thank you Nie Nie, for sharing this idea, ever so long ago.

Thank you Rach from playing house for inviting us on such a grand adventure!

Friday, June 25, 2010

An evening with our family.

Highlights of last evening:

Fitz rolls over for the first time.

Mom gets hair stuck in velcro and kids decide to try and free her the quick way.

Dad waits forever, on hold with AppleCare while craziness culminates, until he finally gives up and joins the fun.

We are still pretty young. And there are all sorts of things, I guess, that we could be doing with our evenings. But how great is it that we get the privilege of spending time with our own happy, little family, in our own little home.

So happy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

efficient inefficiency

Call me crazy.

Then after you call me crazy, I'll appeal to you, through careful logic, to reconsider.

When I fold laundry, I take items to their designated drawers or bins one, tiny pile at a time. This means that I walk up and down the stairs no less than four times for each finished load of laundry.

(Toast with a turtle.)

I often wash my dishes twice in a row.

When I go to a store, I have favorite places to park that have nothing to do with the proximity to the store entrance.

I find absolute joy in crawling around on my hands and knees in the backyard, picking up disgustingly rotted apples that have fallen from our tree.

(Turtle on a table.)

So, here goes an attempt to explain the mindset that spurs me on in such blatant inefficiency:

Alright. How is it that our lives are so innovated with time-saving technology, yet we often feel as if we are lacking in the areas of productivity and industry? We use dishwashers and microwaves. We travel quickly in cars and shop quickly in one-stop shopping locations. The internet is so very swift.

We have been blessed, through the hard work and inspiration of many individuals, to have within arm's reach, a speedy solution to virtually any obstacle we encounter.

Why then, do we often find ourselves in an uncomfortable deficiency? By this I mean; why, no matter how busy we are, or how many things we check off our lists, do we sometimes feel like lazy bums?

Perhaps people were getting more than clean dishes out of the time they spent hand-washing. Perhaps the arrival to the destination was not near as valuable to our souls as the time it took to get there. Perhaps the waiting was the point.

(Hero in a half-shell.)

Given the time that we spend administering supplements for our efficiency-related deficiencies, are we really being that effective?

Supplements include but are not limited to:
Vitamin G: Spending grueling and unwelcome time at the gym to make up for the lack of exercise we're getting.
Vitamin F: Trying desperately to squeeze one-on-one time with our family members into our weekly routine.
Vitamin $: Working longer hours to pay for the latest time-saving apparatus that will no doubt be the solution to our crunch.

(Better believe this baby sleeps all night now.)

Here is how I keep in shape.

I mow my own lawn, and try not to use the auto-drive on the mower. Saves on gym-time and membership, plus the $ I would be paying some kid to do it.

Like I mentioned before, I walk up and down the stairs a lot to put away laundry. Sometimes I let my kids hold the laundry piles while I carry them up the stairs. I get my workout time in with the added benefit of one-on-one time with my family.

(Barbecue belly-button.)

The dishes, we frequently wash those together. Although we do not own a dishwasher, we get those dishes clean (after two washes) with the marvelous chance to talk and laugh and teach. We may not be fast in a dish-by-dish sense, but I'd say that in terms of things pertaining to eternal value, we make a quite efficient team.

(Big, beautiful brown eyes.)

We park our car next to the place that the really cool car-carts are kept. This facilitates our access to some free entertainment in our shopping process. We've grown accustomed to the sideways looks we get from fellow, store patrons as we run, screaming for joy, through the parking lot (I guess I could have filed this along with my adventures with gym-free exercise). Our "shopping runs" are well titled, though we hardly ever spend less than two hours on any given errand.

(Aunt Choody adorned my ears.)

Picking up apples, thought of as time-"consuming" really is not consuming at all. I find myself busy in work that frees my mind for reflection and contemplation. I compose a symphony of thoughts while my children play nearby. Can we really supplement our lives with imitations of such moments at all? Vitamin TV? No, there is nothing so relaxing for me as an authentic journey into my own soul.

(Swinging to the sound of summer.)

Big-picture viewing helps me to understand efficiency in quite a different light. Although it will inevitably slow the process in day-to-day matters, I must let my young children help with the chores. For the long-term benefit will be an army of capable youth with a vested interest in the success of our home. Talk about building a life of true productivity.

(Atrociously decayed apples.)

That slow and steady turtle really did win, didn't he?

(He, the apple king, smiled a happy hello.)

A journey with too many shortcuts will be both brief and boring.

Be thankful for the blessings of technology, but never underestimate the power of doing things for yourself.

(All hail the lawn conqueror.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

a morning worth mentioning.

Before 8am can be magical.

"Life has no limit if you're not afraid to get in it." -Mason Jennings

I kiss him goodbye and he reminds me we will meet again at noon for lunch. Lucky, lucky me.

You know what else is magical?

Before I put these sunglasses on:


Oh, hello yellow. Thanks be to my little sister Emily for thinking of me when she came upon these shades yesterday. And to our Heavenly Father for giving us eyes and things to see with them.

Top of the morning, people.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hanging a cluster of frames.

I learned this in an introductory interior design course a few years ago. With this method, gravity is your friend. No more eying frame locations and punching unnecessary holes in the walls.

1. Identify the space on the wall you'd like to fill with the frames. Cut a piece of butcher paper, or other rolled paper (I used the reverse side of Christmas wrap) to the size of the wall space. Put the paper on a hard surface.

2. Arrange your frames to your liking, using a ruler for precise alignment and spacing, or if you're more of a free spirit like me, just scoot things around until you're pleased.

3. Trace around the frames with a pen.

4. Mark, behind each frame, the hole for a nail.

5. Set the frames aside.

6. Tape the paper to your chosen wall, using a measuring tape to assure that it's level.

7. Hammer a nail into each marking, right through the paper. Then rip the paper down.

8. Hang your frames!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

a forever kind of happy.

thought i'd share just a few shots from the wedding i photographed last friday. enjoy, friends.