1/29/14

laugh the blues away

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We've got it, a slight case of cabin fever. We are on day four of snow days, or rather cold days, and haven't seen the inside of school since last Thursday. I can often channel my inner creative self, but there comes a point when the creativeness just tires. You can only have so many nerf battles and play dough sessions, tea parties and lego time. I know there is always the tv and video games (wouldn't the boys love it if I said sure, play Skylanders all day long) but it's a rare occasion when they are on during the day. I'm one of those mean moms who sets a timer and when it goes off the games and tv are off for the day. Jonas has gone out of his way to point out that I am the only mom who does this, but I hope one day he will respect my decision.

So, back to the boredom of cabin fever. I thought and I thought of how to beat these winter blues and the only solution I came to was laughter. We would laugh the blues away. I tucked my phone in a drawer, forgot about the chores and turned up the record player so Tom Petty could filter throughout the house. When you let your guard down and learn to relax you find laughter. I discovered laughter through our silly dancing, through building dinosaurs out of plaster (yes, we did that yesterday) through taping up wrapping paper and snapping photos. The very same wrapping paper that caused an argument because the boys used it in a lightsaber battle and destroyed it. The responsible parent in me was upset for wasting a good roll of wrapping paper and not respecting other's possessions, but the creative "go with the flow" side of me said forget about it, we'll use it for something else. And... who won the lightsaber battle because the winner takes on mom, ultimate lightsaber champion!

My kids find me funny, which makes my heart happy because I am in fact not funny. I am not quick witted and am horrible at jokes. But I do know how to laugh. I know how to make my children laugh.

"You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants."
Stephen King


So on these snowy cold winter days, where we are tucked inside for endless hours, we have discovered how to laugh the blues away.

*This post is sponsored by FabKids
FabKids is JustFab's newest fashion club, started by a team of parents including mom and actress Christina Applegate. FabKids is a convenient way for busy parents to shop. It's an outfit club -- so parents get monthly selections of super affordable, high-quality fashions personalized for their kids.

Check out more of their winter trends, for boys and girls, at Fabkids.com

Thank you FabKids for working with Yellow Finch. One of my personal attractions to these pieces, besides how cute and trendy they are, is the fact that you can mix and match each piece. They are well crafted, versatile and affordable. Always a plus!


1/26/14

4/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: Sometimes I look at him and can almost see a teenager. Stop time, please stop.
Joshua: Sometimes I look at him and see his grandfather. Both of them.
Jessica: Sometimes I look at her and fall deep into those eyes that pave the path to her soul.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

Last week I enjoyed seeing Oana and her daily creativeness, the ever so talented Lamb Loves Fox, the framing in this lovely photograph of Lily, the innocence captured here and the simple moments in life here.

1/24/14

snow day

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Sometimes snow days fall on the perfect day, as if it were meant to be spent indoors lazily lounging time away. Today we woke up to brisk winter air and a call, a very early call, informing us that it was just too cold for school. We seized the day, especially since we've been feeling a bit under the weather, and spent it happily in our pajamas, we laid around on couches until early afternoon, we played on the floor all huddled together and we ate one too many cookies.

Friday, you were good to us. Nothing like ending it with a 3D movie and books in bed. The kitchen is clean, my work is somewhat (not really) done, but I'm off to the bath to finish my very own book with a glass of wine.

Enjoy the weekend!

*Awhile back I brought up the subject of crime novels, my mom recommended Jo Nesbø and I am hooked. I know a few of you asked for those suggestions, and even thought I've only ready one of his novels, I would recommend him.

1/23/14

stillness in kitchen

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Stillness in Kitchen

She whispers while she helps
words spoken so delicately,
I can barely decipher the soft silence.
Somewhere, they have meaning.
In the narrow halls that fill her mind,
the far-reaching fields that stretch to ocean waters
cobble paths that wrap around ancient monuments.
Somewhere, they have meaning.

I find peace in the kitchen, the quiet calmness that lingers over the granite countertops, the gentle hum of the stainless hood that hovers over our stove. It's not often I steal a moment to myself to enjoy this stillness, but I somehow managed to catch my daughter seizing what I long for and I was mesmerized. I stood, hidden out of sight, in the hallway as I watched her slice tiny, and soon to be mushy, pieces of cold cucumber. Every once in awhile, I watched her pop a piece into her mouth and smile as if she owned the kitchen. Perhaps in that moment she did.

Watching her rhythm of cutting vegetables with a miniature dull butter knife and singing softly brought me a sense of peace. For a moment, I found that stillness in the kitchen that I have been searching for over time. That stillness that is quickly swept under the very rug I stand on as I cook and bake myself. That stillness that is masked by the hustle and bustle of our daily activities and chores. I found it, not through my own hands kneading dough or slicing vegetables with rhythm, but through my daughters.

1/21/14

3/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: He reaches for achievement, in school and in soccer.
Joshua: He reaches for the sky with every step he takes.
Jessica: She reaches for happiness and the collection of moments that make her smile.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

Every year I block out how busy the end of January and the beginning of February can be for our family. I just wrote out our calendar and I can't even name a date off the top of my head that doesn't have some activity or another. But in the busyness of calendars, sports, events, homework, school auctions, work, and more work I am remembering to breath, to slow down, and to learn from my children.

Embrace the small moments in the days.
Remember to play and laugh.
Walk away when you need to.
Ignore the chores if you can and focus on those around you.
Go outside and run.
Breathe.
Be thankful.

I know that "learning from my children" and "embracing life" are repetitive themes with my writing, but they are important lessons that I must constantly remind myself to follow.


1/17/14

little sleepers

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Sometimes, the boys request to fall asleep in my bed, not often, but sometimes. And as the wife of someone who works long hard hours, usually past our bedtimes, I tend to cave into the comfort of being surrounded with those I love. It's a fine balance. My door is always open, a spot is welcome under the covers and my arms will forever wrap around whoever tip toes into our bed. But sometimes, this is my space. It's where I crawl or crash at the end of a long day, it's where I dive under flannel sheets with my novel I can't seem to put down and, on rare occasions, it's where I work on my laptop or watch a show, which I usually fall asleep while doing. My days are long, and sometimes I seek comfort in these rituals.

Like I said, it's a fine balance.

But when my boys plead or beg, clasp their hands together tightly and jump up and down with enthusiastic little plods, I know I have already caved. Deep down the comfort of keeping them near brings me happiness. Our warm cuddles, where legs intertwine and stories are whispered, are the perfect ending to any evening. On nights like these I can draw the curtains to a close, turn off the lights and know my job has been done.

I can remember back to my childhood, I was around the same age as my oldest, when I would tip toe down the long endless hallway to my parent's bedroom. No matter how high I stood on my toes, the wooden floors always creaked, singing a song into the darkness of night. I remember the feeling when I finally reached carpet, and I would quickly shuffle my akward feet until I reached my mother's side. I knew she would cave. She always did.

As a mother, a grown woman, I know the comfort those simple moments brought my mother. I would never understand how it felt if I didn't have my own children, if I didn't have their feet to shuffle across floors, to whisper in ears, to draw close to comfort. When the boys spend the night at my parents my mom always makes it a point to tell me that "so and so" came into her bed in the middle of the night. And she always says it with a smile, as if she yearned for that closeness.

As a mother, I've learned that you constantly yearn for that closeness, you constantly want to draw the souls of your children in closer, to hold their hands tighter and whisper "I love you's" forever.



1/15/14

today.

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Today, I will slow down and embrace the day. I will cherish the small moments with my children. The moments that are mindless and easily forgotten. Today, I will hold onto those moments.

Today, I will have a tea party.
Read a book.
Play dinosaurs.

Today, I will hold my son's hand while I tell him a story. The story of how I found our Bailey dog or the story of how mom and dad met, that's his favorite.

Today, I will listen to a wild tale told through the eyes of my child.
I will pause in the stillness of my home.
And I will remember each of these small moments that I lived out ... today.


1/13/14

2/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: He is called to the great outdoors, to explore the open winds and wide vastness that surrounds us.
Joshua: His fingers move, a rhythm I will never understand, soft beats and gentle tones.
Jessica: Caught by curiosity, stopped in time, mesmerized by detail.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.
In the future I will definitely be mentioning the photographs that caught my eye, but this week and probably the next couple are a bit hectic. One day I will catch up, my friends. One day.

So..what do you think of the changes on the blog? Do you feel it's functional? Is it appealing on the eyes? Please let me know any feedback. I plan on adding to my writing portfolio, but is there anything else that you feel is missing or would want to see. I truly appreciate any comments. Thank you!

1/10/14

hello weekend and cheers to change.

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The winter air is warming and snow is melting before our eyes, but we still managed to sneak outside for a bit today. The snow is a little too slushy for snowmen or snowballs, but it sure makes for a good time running around the yard until our toes became cold. I have a few projects on my hands; some for the restaurant, some for the blog, some personal and some for the kids. A new year calls for new change. I'm looking forward to changing things up a bit here on the blog and I hope you will continue to join me on my journey.

Cheers to the weekend!
I hope you make the best of it and enjoy it to its fullest.
I know we'll be kicking off those snow covered boots, diving on couches and lounging the hours away.

Jess is wearing: dress c/o FabKids / tights, see kai run / shoes, born / hat, H&M

1/8/14

i am capable of more.

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And so we are thrust into 2014. With a new year upon us I can’t help but set goals and focus on living simply and meaningfully, searching deep within my soul and living out my life in a positive productive manner. I am not just a person; I am woman with endless dreams to fulfill, I am a mother who needs to be a strong leader and good example, I am a wife who shares respect and kindness, I am a daughter who lends a helping hand. We have so much weight to bear on our shoulders, so many tasks and duties in life to balance, and I am forever in search for the answers. I don’t know that I will find them in 2014, but I hope to find peace and balance.

Casey, who chooses a word each year to give her meaning and focus, inspired me to do the same. When I finally gathered my thoughts and sat down, a sea of words swirled inside my mind. And each word had meaning and symbolism: patience, kindness, strength, change, simplicity, and direction to name a few.

But the word I have chosen to represent 2014 is CAPABILITY.

I have the capability to change how I live my life. I have the strength to search deep into my soul, to my core, and find who I am destined to be. I know that I am destined to be a mother, a wife, a daughter, a dreamer and an adventurer, but I know that I am capable of improving each of those elements. I have the capability to develop and grow, to become a role model for my family, to lead by example, to turn away from materialistic cravings and search for meaningful values that hide in our every day. I know that I have the capability to tune out the negativity that constantly surrounds our world. I often allow myself to become consumed with emotion and weighted down by this negativity, but I have the capability to turn around and walk away. To focus on the positive forces that surrounds us. I have the capability to open my heart wider and forgive those who hurt and to understand those who choose a different path. I also have the capability of practicing patience with everyone around me, young or old, friends or strangers.

I am capable of being a better person.
Of stepping in new directions and following unforeseen paths.
I am capable of grasping onto today and letting go of yesterday and of following my hopes and dreams. I am capable of jumping, leaping and flying towards my goals, no matter how simple or uncomplicated they seem.

Confucius once said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
I want to make my life uncomplicated.

Casey and Drea both hosted (with a few other cool ladies) a great link up where you can share thoughts on the new year and the word you choose. Visit their sites for details.

1/7/14

1/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: You can't stay in a hotel and not take a ride on the luggage cart!
Joshua: Captivated by the stillness of winter.
Jessica: Caught in a moment of play.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

And so the cycle begins again, a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014. A feeling of fresh beginnings and new arrivals lingers in the crisp winter air. Morning sunlight streams across our windows and gently dusts the covers. I can feel the warmth of the sun, yet I know winter is fully alive outside in the openness.

It is cold and brisk.
It is January.

I'm looking forward to another year of The 52 Project. I haven't done anything with my portraits from 2013 yet, but I plan on printing a book for each of the children from Artifact Uprising. I have been very pleased with their products and highly recommend them. This year I look forward to challenging myself with each photo, a task I have not started off with strongly. I quickly snapped the photos above because this past week has been very hectic. We just returned today from a ski trip and tomorrow the boys go back to school. It was a wonderfully long winter break, but we are ready to get back to our routines. We are ready for schedules and our rhythm of life. I hope that I can challenge myself and capture my children in a new light. While I will continue to capture them, you may start to see less of them on this blog. This is something that has been brewing in my mind for some time and I feel I am getting close to the time of letting them go. To allowing them to choose if they want to be a part of this place or not. I'll touch on this and a few of my personal goals for 2014 in a future post.

In the meantime, cheers to another round of The 52 Project!

1/4/14

ringing in the new year.

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Happy New Year friends! I've been working on a post that reflects on this new year but, to be honest, I just haven't had the time to sit down and gather my thoughts together. I have so many ideas, directions and goals swimming in my mind that I know I would like to organize them and start this year off on the right path. But for now, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I look forward to a year of change and growth, a year of development and expansion, and a year of calmness and simplicity. What do you hope for this year?

This year was one of the best celebrations. The kids and I danced the night away until the big balloon drop at 8:30pm. We raced home to put on jammies and watch a show and I was able to sneak away for a bit to enjoy an adult dinner with Jon at the restaurant. I enjoyed the best of both worlds and I embraced every moment of it. I feel fortunate that I could celebrate with everyone this year.

1/3/14

52/52

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Jonas: Surrounded by crisp winter air and freshly fallen white snow.
Joshua: Stepping into the new year with a smile on his face.
Jessica: Quietly embracing the holiday spirit.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.
It was a wonderful year and I am thrilled to have documented my three children for fifty-two weeks. I look forward to this next year. I hope to find growth and depth with each of my portraits. I also look forward to following along and continuing to meet amazing women through this project.

Cheers to The 52 Project!

sunday stills. photo 52

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: The perfect photo to end the year. High-fives to 2013. We're looking forward to 2014 and all that she offers.

I managed to actually stick with the Sunday Stills weekly feature and The 52 Project! While I enjoyed the concept of choosing one single photo to represent my week, I've decided to not continue with this project. I would rather focus on my portraits for The 52 Project. However, I will occasionally post a series of stills that perhaps sums up my week or month. Hopefully photos that need few words and have the power to express how I feel.