Thursday, November 4, 2010

structure gives way to freedom

Who doesn't want a comfy reading basket?
 Since Silas only likes to sleep when on me and I am limited to what I can do with a baby strapped to my torso, I have been doing a lot of reading up on Waldorf play areas, ways to implement ritual,routine, music and peace to our home and days.  I am not one to conform entirely to one belief, but I find myself taking from it what resonates with me and mixing it with whatever else feels right.

Small wooden dish holding treasures of the Newfoundland beaches
 I have been inspired to go through our tiny house with a fine tooth comb and purge.  I am a bit of a pack rat by nature and struggle with letting things go.  But one wonderful thing about having a small home with no garage or basement to hide our sins is that it forces you to be picky about what we allow in.  Every time I felt myself clinging to certain items I knew I didn't love I would remind myself of the rule that states if it isn't beautiful, loved or functional it needs to be released.  I also reminded myself that in order to make room for the beautiful, vintage items I love I had to let go of the items I didn't love. We now have empty drawers and shelves and the energy is less stagnant with every item released and room organized.

I have no idea where the Christmas Tree will be going in our tiny living room... 
  The play area was the most recent target.  I found that Poppy's play area was the only area left untouched by her at the end of the day.  The baskets were too deep.  There were too many toys.  Most of her books were on a bookshelf in another room.   So I purged and brought in another low bookshelf.  I kept the items made with love, wood, wool and other natural elements and stored away the few battery operated toys.

Some of my favourite things include the chalkboard and chalk ready to be used, the reading basket, the mini apron found in Gramma's house now hanging on the side of her play kitchen, the kitchen being another favourite item made by a friend of the family as an alternative to paying ridiculous shipping from American companies making similar items.  I love the way it glows in the light of a tiny lamp at night and am happy to report Poppy has played and rooted around here non-stop.  I can assure you it looks nothing like this after a couple of minutes, but when everything has its own basket or shelf, clean up is easy with a little tidy-up song.

Smooshy, but cozy and sweet
  Through a lot of self examining and thought, I have realized just how important order, structure and routine are to my own peace as well as that of my children.  I read somewhere that when a child would become unruly or angry in a Waldorf classroom the teacher would begin tiding the child's personal area {dishes, mat, toys, etc}and I couldn't help but think how nice it would be if someone would do that for me when I become "unruly".  I have often wondered at those who say children love order as Poppy's favourite thing to do is make a giant mess with everything out of its place including cushions, blankets, furniture, toys, blocks and books.  I keep putting things in their place to restore my own peace and hope it has a positive effect on Poppy too; however subtle.

 We are far from perfect or even avid Waldorf followers, but it has given me some relief as my dual personalities {Type A vs the Hippie}battle it out.  Routine and structure can not only coexist with creativity and freedom, but it is impossible {for me personally}to have one without the other.

All of her books are now organized and at her level for easy access

 In other news, I dug out a tiny tin of simple paints I found when we were cleaning out my Gramma's house after her passing. I seem to remember using this very tin of paints as a child at her kitchen table.  I have found I have my most creative ideas when I lay in bed late at night so I have been creeping down the stairs at night after my loves are alseep.

I love watercolours.  I would someday love to make something technical and beautiful with watercolours, but until then I will be happy with the primitive little creations I have been making late at night.  They are simple and completely inspired by prints found on Etsy, but the act of putting a loaded brush to paper is therapeutic and totally for me.

Here are a few I may put in frames and add to our walls...

Inspired by a print found on Etsy

My dream home {just need some more trees, some chickens and a garden}

Completely inspired by a print on Etsy.

Next project is to create an adult sized version of the reading basket;  a peaceful comfortable nest with soft light and beautiful things.

go gently & be wonderful


p.s. Please forgive my disjointed writing as I write between diaper changes, naps, hugs, playing, swaying, nursings, and the such.  Needless to say, I lose my train of thought frequently.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

still seeking balance

Just yesterday a friend shared these words from a poem entitled "What Brings You to the Next Morning" by Maya Stein 
" heave your weariness from the room 
gather your limbs to the center,and rise.
Tell me what keeps you from plummeting backward..."

The image continues to come to my mind and I think about how my bones have been feeling heavier than ever these days.  I dream I am jogging through quiet streets veiled in grey morning mist.  I have never been a runner {unless you consider the month I ran before I became pregnant with Poppy in which I finally realized the rush of running}, but my body aches for it and my subconscious pushes me toward it.  I always wake to the same lead-like limbs these days.  I am trying to surrender to "the beautiful chaos" {to use the words shared in an email from a lovely friend}.  I am reading tips on finding rhythms and trying to incorporate beautiful rituals into our days.  I am learning that I have a routine-resistant toddler {oh and did I mention that we have entered the wild and wicked world of tantrums?} and an 8 week old who wants nothing more than to be held and to nurse.  

I am learning that the most humane thing to do is to release my expectations.  I am learning that I must be "on" when the kids are.  I am learning that nothing will ever be finished in a linear fashion again, especially with two children.  My days are destined to be filled with tangents and detours; songs and distractions; stops and starts {much like my writing these days}.  This is what I signed up for and I am so grateful for it all; staying home, the smiles, the snuggles, the loving husband, our little home, our new car, our parents, the time to be nose to nose, the simple life we've carved out, our friends, my brilliant and healthy children; all of it.

I often find myself feeling guilty about being home; like I don't deserve such decadence unless I spend my days keeping the house clean, putting a wholesome dinner on the table and slaving away at the never-ending list of tedious tasks.  I feel guilty that I can't seem to drag myself back onto the cloth diaper wagon.  I feel guilty when I let Poppy watch movies because it is just so damned  nice to have a break.  I feel guilty when I ask Mike to entertain the kids when he comes home from his own long day so I can have a bubble bath. I feel guilty when I put the clothes in the dryer.  I feel guilty when I take time for myself, but I know that if I want to survive motherhood and homeschooling that is one hurdle I must leave behind.

And then I read this post at beauty that moves.  It has given me a much needed new perspective on my "job" and "salary".  I don't need to say much more than to suggest you read it yourself and start carving out a "salary" for yourself.

I have many ideals and ideas of what our days should hold.  I am constantly inspired.  So inspired, it would seem, that I have become paralyzed.  I know I should rise with the birds and run.  I know I should rise with the mist and center myself on a yoga mat.  I know I should creep down the stairs when the wild things slumber to devour a book and some tea.  I know I should write it out.  I know I must be kind and generous to myself so that I may be the same towards my family.

And these are the ideals, thoughts and people which will bring me to the next morning; the things that will bring me to gather my limbs to center and rise again.

go gently & be wonderful


p.s. "How To Start Over" by Maya Stein

resist the temptation to wipe the slate clean entirely.
you cannot do this.
you are where you are.
but you can dust. you can mop. you can cleanse your belly
of all the heavy cheeses you ate at last month's holiday parties.
you can initiate the day with decaf.
you can rake four batches of leaves from the lawn.
you can sing, loudly, in the car to no one
but the man on the radio who is singing with you.
you can decide that the apple pie you are craving
will not come from your hands, your oven, your kitchen,
but from the bakery aisle at your neighborhood grocery.

ignore the titles from the self-help shelves and glossy
women's magazines, with their sound bytes of colorful insight.
you do not need a makeover, a diet, a religious conversion.
you do not need to get more in touch with your feelings.
you do not need potassium, or St. John's Wort, or a colonic.
you need a walk, communion with shore birds, a rainstorm,
a glass of wine in front of a fire, lip gloss, a whole evening
of the novel you read only incrementally, at night, before bed.

ignore the calendar, the clock, the larger itineraries
ticking their niggling bits of time.
you will sleep when you need to.
you will know when it is time for water, for a shower,
for a phone call, for a kiss, for solitude, for Indian food,
whatever nourishment you need for your throat, your ears,
the palms of your hands, the hunger just under your skin.

imagine, despite your unbearable faults and fissures,
you are still a thing of beauty, a rare creature, a snowflake,
a singular, spectacular atom circumnavigating the tangled astronomy

Thursday, October 14, 2010

finding balance

wearing gramma's shoes
Wearing blue and grey to match this liquid, navy day. 
I am still stumbling around in motherhood.
Trying to find our rhythm.
I just can't seem to get my footing with this transition.
Whoever told me the transition from one to two was much easier than zero to one had it all wrong.
How does one person give both a nineteen month old and a six week old everything they need without always letting the other down?
When is there time to be a woman and lover?

potty poppy
When I lay between two softly scented babes and kiss their tiny fingers, every frustration melts away and I promise myself I will be better tomorrow.  I am always the last to fall into sleep's lap and have been moved to tears when I look at my slumbering loves.

I recently watched a video {though I can't remember who the speaker was or even where I found it} in which motherhood was compared to that of watching grass grow.  Everyday seems much like the one before it, but big things are happening in front of and because of us.  We lay in bed wondering what the hell we accomplished that day to make us so tired, but can barely name a few things.  We're maintaining and for our husbands/partners to come home to a house that is still standing is nothing short of a miracle.

silas sleeping despite the Thanksgiving noise

So that is where I am at; survival and maintenance.  There is still no other job I would rather be doing; I have never felt such a complete and utter joy as when I look at my children and husband.  Yet when we give everything to those we love, it can become an excuse to stop looking at and giving to ourselves. 

you wouldthink he sleeps a lot by these photos wouldn't you?

So here I am seeking balance and rhythm on the other side of pregnancy, licking my battle wounds and wondering who I am.  I have thirty five pounds to lose.  Scars and stretchmarks are my badges of honour.  I barely recognize the chubby girl in the mirror.  I am trying to figure out what I must let go of and what I must cling to. 

My days are lacking structure and I don't know how to incorporate it yet.  I have ordered this book in hopes of finding writing inspiration and recording these precious days and years to come; this book in hopes of finding balance in our days; and this book in hopes of finding fun activities for Poppy as the cold months move in upon us. I am also looking into some of the guides offered at Little Acorn Learning on adding celebration and routine to each day.

Yoga, jogging, baking, knitting, and writing are the things calling to me of late, but if I had to pick just two to carve time out for it would be jogging and writing.  That and a quiet, candlelit evening spent with Mike while sipping amaretto.

go gently & be wonderful


Monday, October 4, 2010

still standing and breathing
finding our daily rhythm one more time

learning to take gratitude and patience to a new level

soft & sweet

precious boy

Poppy adores her new little man

handsome boy with striped socks

Poppy 6 weeks :: Silas 3 weeks

P.S. You can read my submission to the Autumn Edition of Rhythm of the Home's Online Magazine HERE

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Protector of the Forest

Silas Michael Gnome Ellenberger -March

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
2:21 pm
8 pounds 11 ounces
21 inches

go gently & be wonderful


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

thirty nine weeks

Tomorrow is the day.

go gently & be wonderful


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rather than bore with the details of these final days of pregnancy, I will share a pretty photo or a lovely link from time to time instead.


A sweet print

My feet are swollen, but I can't stop lusting after these shoes

Love this bag and where did she get those boots?!

I am obsessed with this yellow and always lusting after bags I can't buy

Well, that was almost as fun as shopping.

go gently & be wonderful
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