They say that learning through play is the best way for your kids to excel at learning. This got me wondering, does that saying ring true for adults as well? Wouldn't life be more fulfilling and joyful if we could turn our work into play or vice versa? Obviously, my craft looks like a lot of fun all of the time! However, (and this may be surprising for some) it is about 70% office work (applying for funding, social media, writing etc) and 30% painting time and about half of that or more is commissioned artwork. But all that works just makes the painting part that much more indulgent, like a big treat that I have been working toward!
We have been doing a lot of school work and crafts at home (like a lot of parents right now) and we have been venturing outside the studio and spending more time outdoors enjoying the sunshine, painting ramps, sidewalk chalk math and so on! Finn the little firecracker has also found a love for giant sharpies and only will draw with those, to my dismay mostly around our house. Yesterday he made our garage door into a monster door ughhhhhhh... okay. In light of that, we had some studio time because he obviously was needing it! I made his dad bring home a very large piece of wood for him. It sits on our studio floor and he is testing out his black jiffy skills on it. We are taking all of our drawing that we've made during this time and collaging them onto the 5ft square board. STAY TUNED for our big reveal, it is going to be fun and GLORIOUS and colourful and all of the things! As always my life leaks into my art practice. My paintings all of a sudden are erupting with bold colours and yes some sharpie mark making. It is fun, courageous, and powerful, I am very excited about it!
I attended an art conference last week (with the ever amazing @ErikaLeeSears) online with a group called "Art Queens". The meeting was about social media strategies for creatives. I had messaged Erika with a few questions, and in one of her replies she said isn't social media fun?! Up until that point I actually thought of it as work, (like a lot of work)! I am not one to stop moving and sit on my phone, I view it as work that I needed to do to be relevant in my field. BUT! It is fun, I flipped my perspective and looked at it through another lens. I love painting and social media is a way for me to share that with others. I get to inspire other parents with the way we paint as a family! I also have come to like writing and sharing, after all this time I have FINALLY found my voice! I've always liked writing but was never great with structure or editing and like so many creatives at some point someone told them they were not good at something and for some reason we listened. I was always embarrassed, overwhelmed and ashamed of my writing. Now I have spellcheck and I give a lot of less FUCKS, and when it comes to MY creativity it is mine. Thank you Erika and my fellow Queens as I have now decided I do like social media, and it is a lot of work. But it gives me fuel to keep on going and sharing our joyous life with the world and inspire others. Maybe I just need to shift my perception of what I view as work and play more!
To inspire others is a rewarding journey, after all, isn't that just more fun!?
The day after Easter I have to say that I was tired. Tired. I couldn't explain exactly why (I could take a pretty educated guess) nonetheless I was completely drained. Many of you can relate, because now a good portion of you are experiencing stay-at-home parenting along with me. Being at home everyday with your wild things is a journey, with several obstacles, and just as many thrilling sites. Someone once asked me "well, isn't this what you signed up for"? No, not really... no one expects parenting to be the way it is, no one can forewarn you. Parenting while difficult to say the least, can be the most exhilarating and rewarding ride in this life, it can also kick you while you are down, really hard. But I mean the best part is when they are small like mine are, and they think you are the absolute bees knees (which a lot of people with older children tell me now that this is the best time of your life, I believe them)! They love and adore you despite all of your quirks and flaws. You can literally throw a box on your head and it will be the most HILARIOUS thing that they have ever seen! All you have to do is show up and you've got them on a string, pulling them through the oncoming obstacles that each day will present. They don't look at me and think: when is the last time she washed her hair, or is that the shirt she wore yesterday, do those pants have a hole in the butt (actually they do notice that and wiggle their little fingers into the hole), what kind of dance moves are those? No, they see me as their ringleader through this circus we call life. They have no clue that I have absolutely no extra cash to buy them the coolest toys, (because instead of working I have had the luxury of being here at home with them), because they don't need material things. Kids are paid with hugs, kisses, snuggles, smiles, play, and high fives. So yes, I am tired. Because some of my days I can make a million things happen, I am on fire, mom of the year! But then there are the days... the days where not much at all happens, or that downright stink (eye rubbing, hair pulling, hard). I have to accept that there are days when just being there for them is enough. I am enough. I hope everyone got to enjoy this beautiful Sunday we just had. Lots of love!
Things for our family are starting to fall into a routine of sorts. A gentle rhythm is working its way into our lives. A heart beat, the slow thump of a lifeline. A simple comfort to hold onto in a time where at any moment the heaviness of our reality can come crashing down on us. Finding joy in the sun beaming on our faces. Or the way the baby grabs our faces with his chubby hands as we hold on to that memory, savour it, pause.
I want to be completely honest here for a second. Our pictures here yes they seem joyful and perfect. They are joyful, but perfect, no, a far cry. We have good an bad days. Heck, we can be having a great time and in 3 small seconds it can turn into full on pandemonium, in a complete shit hitting the fan sort of way.
Examples!? Yes, I have a lot, but I will mention only two... The other day I received a phone call about art grant funding, 4 minutes I walked upstairs to popcorn up and down 4 flights of open stairs, then wandered into the pantry to find popcorn sitting in a puddle of urine. All the while not being able to do or say a darn thing because I am on a business call with this nice lady the arts board. Or, I thought it would be fun to have a dance party! Lighten things up! Well Gus (who is 5), who just entered kindergarten (the sweetest little guy) said this is "fucking stupid" (words I have never heard him say). My husband said well were you being fucking stupid? I guess. Because I didn’t see that my little man was in pain, emotional pain. He didn’t need a dance party. He probably needed a hug and a snuggle, he has had his new world stripped away. Stripped away by something that he cannot fully understand or fathom. He misses his little dance partners in life. We all need space, and we all need to acknowledge how this all makes us feel. REALLY, this is all fucking stupid, it fucking sucks. However, the alternative is a lot worse. But what can we do, just our best. I remember once I handed my mom a test paper. I was a terrible test taker (weird that I turned out to be an artist). Nothing came together for me when taking an exam, the puzzle pieces just fell into place for me. You know what my mom asked me "well, did you do your best"? Yes, I had done my best, I just stunk at test taking. So let us just do our best here! Just take this moment by moment. Sometimes we have to feel our feels as we fall into this strange new rhythm of our lives.
Our family lately has enjoyed our movie nights in our garage, watching and then rewatching Onward, it pulls on our ever aching heart strings. We have had music days, where Uncle Zach played for us live on FaceTime, and we finally put together a music corner with that old set of drums we had in storage. We made a snow shark, we had a pizza making party, we have had an array of blurring together beautiful moments. We play, we cry we yell, we laugh, we are alive.
A tad bit of advice from a long-time stay at home parent, GET THIS BOOK: "Happiest Toddler on the Block", IT IS THE BEST! I have probably read it about 3 times now. I am reading it again right now, because I need to!! It talks about getting on the same level as your child and nipping breakdowns, screaming, etc in the bud. My favourite is the "time-ins and time-outs", which is giving a little to your kids and then going back and making dinner or whatever it is you need to do, it works like a charm! It touches on relating to all kinds of personalities and understanding people in general. I could go on and on, but this book has changed our day-to-day lives in a monumental way!
Love to everyone!
Things have gotten a bit whack-a-doodle around here to say the least! My home is in constant state of "fort mode" disarray, there is no way to keep up with the mess. But we are here, our family is healthy, there is a house over are heads and as of this moment we are safe. We are all on a rollercoaster of emotions lately. It is all very scary. Put down the articles, because they aren't really getting anyone anywhere but close to a panic attack before you try to sleep at night. As my Aunty Gwen (a wise woman) once told me, "the sun will still rise and still set". Lets try and focus on what we can control. Take it minute by minute. The alternative is just too grim.
There has been an overall lack of interest in my themed day choices (which have now bled into week long themes). So to mix it up I asked the kids what kind of day they wanted to have, they came up with Halloween (just a runaround way of getting candy) and animals. Our animal projects are still being executed. But Halloween in March was actually a lot of fun and we set up their room to be a haunted house, they went trick-or-treating at our door, and dressed up. Today we are roasting a turkey and having a movie night with our projector in the garage and making movie popcorn with our big popcorn machine. The kids and I were supposed to go see this movie on the night everything went sideways. We have been looking forward to this for a while. We are just adapting. Our days are far from perfect. We are doing our best to stay afloat. This will become our new routine. We can do this.
Let us end with a banana eating a banana. -Love to everyone
Yesterday someone had shared a post about grief. I want to talk about this for a minute. Last week I was telling my husband I felt a heaviness that I could not describe. As I was talking to him about it, it hit me, that I hadn't felt this way since the passing of my Mother. The feeling of helplessness, that there is something that you long to repair, but it is out of your control, and there is no way to fix it. Grief, it demands to be felt. It ebbs and flows, you can feel it all at once or sometimes just a little but it is always there. Sometimes, out of nowhere and when you least expect it, it can take you down like a title wave. I feel like we are grieving collectively, connected in a way that the world has never experienced.
"When you name it, you feel it and it moves through you. Emotions need motion. Let yourself feel the grief and keep going."
I've linked the article below, it is important that we take care of ourselves right now, and maybe this could help you connect and acknowledge some of the feelings you have been experiencing.
This week the boys are learning about the seasons through play! We made some colour ice bowls and watched them melt and freeze over the course of a few days. We made some homemade snow globes and coloured salt snowflakes while we ate our homemade popsicles. We got our fill of sugar with some rice crispy "snowballs". We went outside and enjoyed the sun on our faces, and visited some neighbours from their window. I drew a snowman out of chalk on the driveway and where you got points for getting your snowball in each circle. It was a beautiful beginning to the week. I hope everyone is doing their best to take care of themselves and taking the time to be there the best you can for your loved ones. We will come out of this stronger, and together. XOXO
This weekend we were taking time for our loved ones and friends, without actually seeing them of course. I could see that the kids were starting to miss the people that they see on a regular basis. I decided that we would do our best to FaceTime those we loved and missed. We even saw a few people from a distance outside today. We had a TON of outdoor time, which I must say felt the very best. I love this connecting that I am seeing just in our family, so I know it must be happening with others as well! Maybe something we can take away from this whole thing is to reflect on how disconnected we have been organically from one another. What was really wonderful is we saw a lot of people out taking advantage of the sunshine while keeping their distance! Side note: the paths are clear, get your bikes and scooters out kids!
The boys and I started a family tree in our dining room, I didn't expect it to take so long, but making it may take all week (my Mom had 13 siblings and my Dad 5) so that makes sense. You can tell by the looks of my tree that I am a professional artist ;). We made some friendship cookies and they decorated and named them. AND the at-home craft that made me the HERO of the household was the target practice (with a tube in a box and balls on top, shown in photos) and bringing out the nerf guns. I had had the nerf guns put away after being shot in the eye last year, but they boys actually were listening and really well and enjoying themselves, and they played with it forever!! My friend Tami Kappel informed us today on our FaceTime chat with her boys is that GoNoodle has an app. So today the boys got their noodle on in the living room (Gus got some crazy air). Stay safe everyone, lots of love!
Today we left unstructured, Dad was home, so basically structure falls out the window regardless. The boys were happy to chill and play all day, we need that right now, upping the play is such a great distraction! We started with some pond hockey, and we were the only ones on the ice, they had just flooded it, perfect! Gus got to show off his skills from his first year of hockey, and was giving it all he had racing around the lake, Theo had a great little stroller nap, it was a beautiful morning.
I took comfort in the mundane of our day-to-day routine, the boys helped around the house, we made popsicles and took it easy. Did you know that FaceTime hide-and-go-seek is a really fun game?! Well apparently it is! My sister sadly is still out of country, and the boys miss her a lot, but she patiently played with them over FaceTime for about 30 minutes today. It might be a nice pastime for kids to connect with family over the phone. We blew our excess energy with an after dinner garage ball hockey game and tonight we are ending "Hockey Day" with The Mighty Ducks Movie! I hope everyone is healthy and safe. XO
Race day, filled with a few relay races, bike races, Hot Wheels tracks, and a homemade car craft!
Today we started the day off building some tracks in the basement, which consisted of pulling out a bin of car stuff and dumping it on the floor! Bonus, it was actually put away organized after, that checks something off of my imaginary list!
Next was the outdoor fresh air relay race, which did not have to be elaborate at all but was filled with laughter and running! I actually though of this because on one of my favourite memories with my Dad's brothers. When I was around 12 we were fishing with my Dad's side of the family. I am not sure how it came about but we decided to do a relay race kids vs. adults. Now we thought (as kids) those "old guys" with beer bellies have no chance! We laughed the whole time, it was such a blast, and it turns out those "old guys" could actually run really fast!
This was the most successful part of the day, it wasn't hard or elaborate, and I will definitely be including it more into our playtime!! All we did was get get a ball into the box with our nets.
We made a car craft next, which didn't turn out well, but they were into building it, so it doesn't really matter. Baby Theo was pretty fussy today, so I couldn't stay on any task for too long. We ended the day with a 3D movie! Side note: Carly wears a tank top and shorts as his lounging gear, so tonight Gus insisted on putting on shorts and a "hang top" as well, precious. Tomorrow is "Hockey Day" with Dad, which will be filled with some skating, indoor/outdoor hockey and old hockey movies, and "rink burgers", woo hoo! Virtual hugs and kisses to all and keep your family close!
Indoor camp out! Woo hoo! I was personally excited about this day, the kids definitely liked a lot about it, but were not into our morning nature walk (you win some, you lose some). We started off with taking some craft ideas for our camp out from @rudyjude (the directions for these crafts are in her story feed on instagram)
Next was our nature scavenger hunt at Bud Miller Park (we skipped the playground and hit the wooded paths). The boys decided it was "too cold" and didn't have the greatest time, but I feel it's important to get fresh air or I we will all suffer from cabin fever!
The fun!! We had hot dogs for dinner (which is a stretch for me, reading the ingredients made my skin crawl, may contain turkey beef or pork, like they don't know, ugh) and s'mores for dessert!! They loved these night crafts for our camp out and they loved putting on a show for their Mom and Dad! Gus told me today he was pooped, so I may have to tone down the days a bit. I am just trying my best to make them and myself think about anything else. Our house literally looks like a bomb went off. This will all iron itself out once we fall into a routine. Until then, I am attempting to focus on the fun!
I’m not very technical, so I love this!! AND now our internet isn't streaming on our television so...
Taken from someone else's post.....
Teacher friends, who may be thinking about how they are going to plan to deliver education over the next number of weeks. Here is a really great list I found that DOES NOT require technology and the internet.
Now that many schools are closed, I've got some suggestions for fun, meaningful, and generally tech-free learning opportunities (especially for elementary schoolers):
Source: Kim Jones McClelland
In light of recent events I have decided to post a few of our day-to-day activities to inspire a few others who are not used to having the little ones at home. I was initially freaking out, until I realized today that I have been actually doing pretty much this for 5 years plus. I am just upping the fun (so we can think about anything else in this terrible time for the world) and get off of our devices (which is adding to the anxiety). The boys are having such a blast, I'm loving reading everyones ideas, and am genuinely looking forward to experience more with my kids! MY AIM is for them not to remember that we got hit by a virus, but to remember it as: that time we were home with our MOM with no school and it was the BEST STAYCATION EVER! LOVE to everyone!