favorite personal images from 2016
When I was younger, I found the idea of New Years silly. Not understanding the desire to wipe the slate clean because it's January 1st. But as I get older, I like it more. Using it as a time for reflection, digging through images & milestones from the last 365-days. Dreaming dreams to accomplish. Goals to conquer. Changes to welcome. A universal time to grow together. To shift our minds from the negativity, & focus on the good. Focus on what really matters. A time to clean out the clutter. A time of celebration. Happy New Year.
The kids & I have been drawing away on canvas, & I'm a bit obsessed. It started with linen because I had scraps of it lying around. I loved the look of it, the sharpie is much more muted, but the fine point sharpie kept catching on the fabric, & it wasn't going to work for the kids. When I stopped by our fabric store, I was recommended canvas, & it's been working great! I went in both my boys' classrooms this past week, & made ornaments with the students. The kids really enjoyed it. For theirs, instead of stuffing, I put a piece of felt in between the two pieces of canvas. It worked really well. I brought in some different step-by-step drawings I made up, mostly inspired by Pinterest, & the kids used both fine point & ultra fine point sharpies. I like the ultra fine point, but I'm free-handing it. I had the kids draw in pencil then trace, & the fine point seemed to work better to cover up the pencil. We did discover it's a bit difficult to erase on canvas. If you try it, let me know how it goes!
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On November 7th, the kids & I went for a walk, in the pouring rain. It didn't feel cold & it didn't feel wet. It felt surreal that day. I was convinced we were on the dawn of history. I felt empowered, excited, emotional. Then all that came shattering down. When I heard Macklemore's song, I went back to the photos of that walk. Of the day before the election, two days before we woke up to the wrong kind of history.
"Bad taste, bad taste in my mouth
Glad wave, I'm glad wavin' at a Patriots house
Lookin' for change in the couch
Mad world, mad world, that's what the TV said
Imagine tryna keep your head
While your daughter sleeps in bed
And when she wakes up, will the world be the same?
Will my girl be afraid in the home of the brave?
See I hope, I hope, that it's gon' be alright
But what a hell'uva a night
Humanity is a privilege, we can't give in
When they build walls, we'll build bridges
This is resistance, we're resilient
When they spread hate, we shine brilliant
March by the millions 'til they hear the children
We found ourselves at a distance
Open up the jails and the overcrowded cells
When we oppress anyone, we oppress ourselves
Greatest gift I ever learned is helpin' someone else
You build, believe and build 'cause you forget about yourself
Service, purpose, work if you work it
Love everyone regardless of the God they worship
This isn't the Apocalypse
We can't address the hate 'til we acknowledge it
If Jesus was alive, would he let Mohamed in?
This isn't nature, my daughter hugs strangers
We teach fear and preach hatred
Put up a fence, scared to meet our neighbors
Think that if we let them in, they'll take advantage of us later
There's so much anger and this world is ours, raise her
My daughter, hope it's a dream when I wake up tomorrow
And we fight for the people that haven't had a voice
Fight for the first amendment, fight for freedom of choice
Fight for women's rights, if she does or doesn't care
We ride for all the queer folk and fight for all to get married
I'm not moving to Canada, not fleein' the nation
No time for apathy, no more tears and no complainin'
Gotta fight harder for the next four and what we're faced with
Got my daughter in my arms and he is not gonna raise her"
- Macklemore, "Wednesday Morning"
November 15th: When I was pregnant with my second boy, male friends would say "That's so cool! wait until they're older & they start giving each other bloody noses. Two boys are awesome." They meant it sincerely. & now my boys are getting older, & I think I'm starting to discover what they meant. So far, the only bloody noses have been accidents, but I wouldn't be surprised if that changes in the near future. & just as quickly as they're physical, they're also the best of friends. Two boys are awesome, & I'm so grateful for these guys.
November 16th: "Look, I just found Moxie's leash frozen in the driveway!" a couple years ago, we got a hypoallergenic dog. She needed to be rehomed, & since our oldest has multiple allergies, we had to be cautious about bringing an animal into our home. She's incredibly obnoxious, & incredibly sweet, & brings so much joy to these kids. I am grateful she is part of our family.
November 17th: He asked to try on the Santa suit, & proceeded to run around the house, trying to make everyone laugh. As a baby, he started smiling at a few days old, & has been trying to get others to smile & laugh ever since. I am grateful for his humor.
November 18th: It was 25 degrees today. Frosty crystals covered the ground, & recycles piled up, so we had a fire in attempt to enjoy the sunny weather. It felt good. Fires in the front yard are one of my favorite activities. I am grateful for them.
November 19th: Nutcracker dance rehearsals started today. After hanging at the auditorium for a few hours, we headed home. Somehow in those few minutes of leaving, she got lost. & then it felt like a good thirty minutes of trying to locate her, when it was probably only five minutes. She went out a door ahead of me, not the door that led outside, & I didn't notice. The door was locked, so she couldn't get back in. A good friend found her, standing in the dark. I am grateful for friends, who help with little and big things. I am grateful we're all in this mom thing together.
November 20th: Lights don't go off without cries "for just one more book!" Each night the kids read to us, & us to them. It's been a bit more challenging for my oldest, but this past week, he has excitedly powered through a chapter book, & eagerly followed it with another one. & being read to? He'll take that for hours, by us or by audio. I am grateful for all three's love of reading. I am grateful, that regardless of their different learning styles, they are all still learning the power & wealth of reading.
November 21st: Sonicares make dental hygiene much easier for my trio. They love everything about them, & I love they actually clean their teeth, rather than the results we get with our standard toothbrush. These three have their share of dental appointments, & anything to make it a bit easier. I am grateful for those buzzing two minutes morning & night.
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November 8th: I took my kids with me to vote that morning because I wanted to experience history as a family. When I pulled out the ballot, & saw Clinton-Kaine on there, a rush of unexpected emotions passed over me. I turned to the kids, & whispered, all choked up, we're voting for our first woman President. I believed, wholeheartedly, that's what we were doing. I cast that ballot for the strong daughter (& sons) I am raising, the strong woman (& man) who raised me, the strong women (& men) who have been a part of my life since the beginning, & the strong women (& men) who came before me & are no longer here. As we now know, American didn't elect their first woman President, but I know we are stronger together and I know we will rise up. I am grateful for my freedoms and I am grateful for the fire this election has lit inside so many. I am grateful we will be the change.
November 9th: Boxes turned into superhero fish creatures. Today, I needed all the comic relief I could get, trying to laugh through tears. I am grateful for their imaginations and their creativity.
November 10th: After school pick-up. She keeps it entertaining, always. I am grateful I am able to pick up the kids, even with the boys constant cries of "why can't we ride the bus?!" I am grateful even when it feels like a monotonous routine.
November 11th: Happy Veterans Day. I am grateful for my Grandfather's. I am grateful for the countless others that have served and are currently serving. I am grateful for the men and women who protect our freedoms.
November 12th: B Happy. Words of encouragement in a time of need. I am grateful for the little things in a moment when everything looms so large.
November 13th: Bedtime. It's always a tricky thing to navigate. Lots of surges of energy, one last rally before the day is officially done. And once it's done, it's quiet, albeit briefly. I am grateful for this quiet. This tiny pocket of peace before we begin again.
November 14th: The days are getting dark, earlier and earlier. It leaves little time, in between school, snacks, homework and hockey, to get outside and burn off energy. We try, but not always successfully. Which means lots of burning indoors, roller blades have been on daily, balls flying every which way. Chaos. & I'm grateful for it.
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30 Days of Thanks, Week 1:
November 1st: a full bed means a full heart, certainly that must be a quote somewhere. Or a sleepless night. Either way, I'm grateful for this.
November 2nd: bearing witness to history, all of it. but especially the kind that makes you feel good, surrounded by the ones you love. I'm grateful for this.
November 3rd: we fantasize about long road trips, then we drive 20 minutes to town & hear cries of "are we almost there, yet?!" but if they didn't ask the questions, & we didn't pine for a creative response, we'd both be missing out on an integral milestone of childhood & parenthood. I'm grateful for this.
November 4th: running around with friends, in the cool crisp air of fall, dappled in the fall light that we get so very briefly. I'm grateful for this.
November 5th: finding patches of sun inside & outside the house. I'm grateful for this.
November 6th: "look at my hair, isn't it beautiful?" her strength, her creativity, sense of imagination, the way she plays so contently, whether alone or with others. I'm grateful for this.
November 7th: rainy day walk to the park, on the eve of our historical election. My middle asking questions non-stop, "I just have so many questions?" he says. "keep asking them," I say. Their curiosity, their love for the outdoors, this quiet, wet walk. I am grateful for this.
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