The Sarcastic Mom…Where Are You?

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I have been putting off this post and I don’t really know why. Well, I kinda do. Here it goes:

One night my husband while playing our forever-game of who-can-come-up-with-the-most-amazing-idea-ever, sort of challenged me to follow through on one of my ideas. I have forever been thinking about how I can make art, craft and making more accessible to kids. Not just kids who have artists parents, not just kids who have a relative who has a disposable income. To me it’s very, very, important that kids know that what they think, they can make. Their brains and hands just need exercise much the same way an athlete’s does. In fact, I believe making is as important to self-confidence as sports. So what was born that night was The Art House. Its my way of putting my foot our into the world and doing what I believe in.

The Art House is formed on the belief that every human makes. Doesn’t matter your talent. We all do. What it hopes to achieve is that while we all make, we should have the confidence to make with our own intent and vision. We should all know that we are worthy of creating. Art House hopes to provide kits that lean towards this open-ended-ness. It doesn’t want kid’s to make a commercially perfect product. We want them to make from their gut and instinct. We as parents, guardians may sometimes question the outcome, but the hope is that we can step back enough and let our kids revel in their creations. When we do this, we create confidence in our kids, confidence that will follow them a lifetime, confidence to let them come up with the next big idea.

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It hasn’t been easy as any one who starts a business with kids will tell you. Ours however was also marked with a family emergency that called us away, both physically and emotionally. But the store survived, we survived, and every morning when I wake up I have a home to-do list and a business to-do list running parallel in my brain. My family has stood by and very proudly claimed me as theirs when I grew frustrated, overwhelmed and completely out of my comfort zone. I haven’t been the best, its hard , this juggling while still trying to be a parent 100%. Working from home is a whole ballgame that can’t be explained until you are just thrown in. I have felt guilty, extremely guilty this past month when my kids needed me and I was completely pre-occupied. It would have been nice to get help, to have someone just come and take the kids for a day, or a weekend, but it wasn’t in the cards. What was in the cards though was for me to experience complete and utter forgiveness and love that I have received from my small family. Its started to heal a heart that was broken up so much. To have someone who has so little control over their life , say “It’s okay.” when I screw up, royally. The feeling of guilt  I had just didn’t go away when I spent more time making product that make other kids happy, than just being with my own kids. Its gotten better, some pressure is off. Every day still feels like a tightrope walk, but I am beginning to feel like I am getting practice and the practice is paying off.

I have as you noticed, also put Sarcastic Mom on the back burner. I really haven’t even been able to find something funny or even ironic in my life lately. Its just felt desperate and overwhelming, but now life is normalizing.

But here is the hope:

I want to do this. I want to set an example for my kids that you don’t just say things. You do them.

I want to put good into the world, I want to motivate and encourage a whole new generation of kids to be constantly thinking,on their toes and looking.

So that, in short is where I have been. Thank you for the patience.

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The Sarcastic Mom…My Goverment Needs a Parent (and a Family!)

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What my government needs right now is a parent. Someone to tell them, ” You know sometimes you just gotta suck it up.” Parents put you in time out. Keep you in check. Hold you to a higher standard than you ever knew you could achieve ( but they know!) The pettiness, shortsightedness, that has been running my  country is just crazyness.  When there are such extremes how can there ever be compromise. Life is never black and white, so why does this government see things this way? If its not my way it must be evil? So strange

There are times when we need to do things for the bigger good, not just our own individual good.  When we do things because although it might not be exactly what we want, but it does work for everyone else. My family has just gone through this, with a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 8 mo old we had lots of ‘the world revolves around me attitudes.”  My husband and I are there though as parents to gently and sometimes not so gently remind our children that although it may sound like a good idea to them, its not what works for ALL of us. And thats what a family does, we compromise, share, and sometimes just go along with others ideas. It makes us stronger, introduces us to knew experiences and more so keeps us bonded as a family. My wish for my government is that they could start to see themself as a family instead of crusaders. That they would see the crazy uncle for what he is , the fun cousin, the aunt that always make cookies, the brother that is always there to talk to and the parents that are there to lend a hand. This country has potential, it always has. Its time to start making it as amazing as we hype it up to be. Its time to start believing in each other, to start trusting in the good of human nature ( which may mean we have to lose some losers on the way!) I have hope for my country, but right now, no hope for my government.  If this government was my child I would right now be pretending that I  didn’t know them and than give them a bloody good telling off the minute their foot walked into our house.

One More Collision Point….

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There are many points in which my art and life as mom collide. Sometimes they are fantastic, some times they are frightening.

I had a frightening one this week. I was sitting on the floor watching my amazing 7mo roll around reaching and grabbing. And I just got sucked in, into the amazingness of the moment. I just watched him with no filter. Just being there with him. While I watched I marveled at his little body, his little fingers, the plumpness, the muscles beneath that, and even deeper the tiny precious bones that support the living body of my baby. I freaked. The cold sterile thought of analyzing his bones and muscles away from the amazing being that he was just terrified me. It stopped me cold. Sometimes the things your artistic self sees, just frightens the hell out of the parent in you. Do you keep looking on in that cold analytic way, gathering as much visual information as possible from the being in front of you? Or do you stop, with draw your inner eye and breathe deep to make the images go away?

The Sarcastic Mom I wanted to publish…and now am…

On Tuesday I published a Sarcastic Mom because I felt it was relatable, but it wasn’t the one I wanted to post.

This is the one I wanted to post:

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And I will be honest I felt guilty about it. Guilty for not being honest about it, with myself and with my Sarcastic mom. So far Sarcastic Mom has been a direct reflection of my life, but I was ashamed to show you, what really my life is like right now. Sometimes, Sarcastic Mom’s are hard to do, they are too real. I wonder what do people think of me? How bad of a parent do I think I am? But this, this is how I vent, in the healthest way I know how. I have an art show coming up, and its starting to consume my brain so this week, making me feel like a very, very guilty mom.

I will admit it, this week the boys are not getting 100% mom. Mom’s brain is elsewhere, busily trying to figure out how it is all going to get done, if its good enough, what to do if its not, and than taking a deep breath, potty training, changing diapers and putting togethor puzzles. We lost a car 2 weeks ago in a car crash and the washer has decided to quit, so everything feels a little overwhelming right now, especially when it comes to thinking about how we are going to replace them. I am not being a bad mom, my son actually was sitting and playing with his dad when I drew this but I know they know I am not 100% with them.

So why do this? Why stay up late and work on these when I should be in bed so the next day I can give 100% to my kids. Besides the obvious that Dr. Who and drawing around midnight is a great activity. This is a document for my boys, so someday maybe they will laugh a little about our early days. Maybe they will just sigh deeply and go “Moooooommmmm…” Other people scrapbook, write and collect memorabilia, and although I have tried doing that it never fits as well as this does. Whenever I am lost I draw, and motherhood as we all know is a rocky path. So draw I will… and I will try to be real no matter how unflattering it is…

Last Day of Normal…

It just hit me, as I was folding clothes listening to deep sea exploration coming from the living room. Today, is the last day of normal.

Friday we leave for the cabin, home on Monday with dad here and than on Tuesday my life changes. Forever.

He’s going to be gone.

For the first time in five years, my constant companion will not be spending every day with me. Sure there were breaks, but nothing like this.

As my oldest enters Kindergarten,its not relief, or sadness over his growing up. Its regret. Regret for lost playtime, and learning. Doubts that I could have done a better job, that I really didn’t give him my full attention. They are there. Rearing their ugly heads, Truth.

Its all been said before about raising kids and seeing them go off to school. But you have to wonder, how much attention and love to lavish on a child? I love my children with all my heart, but I am also of the mindset that my children need to entertain themselves. I step in occassionally with suggestions, props, or maybe a vehicle to take the play elsewhere. But is it enough? Right now I am morning the loss of time I no longer have, watching him. Observing from the outside. I will hear about it, but its so , so different, from being right there in the room listening to it. I am mourning the books I have turned down reading because I had to fold laundry, clean out the dishwasher ect, ect. The play time I didn’t participate in because I wanted to draw, or had to vacuum. I keep trying to tell myself that life has to happen to, these things also need to happen. But still it hurts.

So today on my last day of normal, I am writting a blog post to document this, folding some laundry, drinking a cup of coffee and listening and wondering. Tuesday begins a new era, for me for my family. Bring it on…

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At the End of the Block…

At the end of our block there is this house. And in this house lives a husband and a wife. Not many houses in the suburbs have purple trim and faded cedar siding, built on stilts in the middle of a wetlands, but this house does. The people that live in it are just as much surprise as the house. The husband is a design professor, the wife an artist ( A little weird considering my husband and mine’s occupations) They have had 5 kids, traveled the world and you walk into their house and its like walking into their lives, their stories, their joys.

Art and I were privelaged to have a walk through of the house today and as we stood on persian rugs, mid-century steel and leather dining room chairs in a room that had cabinets made from wood he trucked half way across the country for 30 some years to put in their forever house and a fireplace that had alabaster lining it that they had gotten at a convent auction for a dollar. I realized, these are our kind of people… More importantly, these could be our doppelgangers 50 yrs. ahead of us.

Its been a bit of a culture shock moving out to the suburbs for us, and I, especially, often feel extremely isolated. I miss the sounds of people.. I hate the sounds of riding lawn mowers every saturday morning. I LONG for a sidewalk. And miss having adults to talk to at our park. But this move was the right move for our family and I will stand by that FOREVER.

That couple though, down at the end of the street, remind me that even in this world of MDF mouldings and extra-wide empty roads, there is still room for alabaster fireplaces. That Art and I will forever be people that are just a little “interesting”. Soon, very soon, the neighbors will be talking about the TWO strange house at the end of the block…

Of Boys and Superheros…

When I first started this mom thing, action figures bugged me. I mean REALLY bugged me. I could not and did not want to understand why this dear boy of mine would want to fight, kick and punch other figures all day. The thought terrified me.

5 years later, I am accepting it and a lot more gracefully than I would have in the previous years. Right now from my living room I am hearing echo of  “Raph, get Donnie his weapon.” “Ckwack.” “Pshhchoot.” ” Let us take care of Bobba Fett, we’ve got him in our trap.” And I am smiling.

Because right now, I realize. Like little girls need fairies and princess who can rule on high and change anything with their words. My sweet sweet boys need heros who can work their way through any problem. Yes, violence is not the answer. However, very rarely do I see a mother freak out cause her daughter has COMMANDED her kingdom to follow her with unflagging devotion. Or a sweet girl goes on a vengeful streak with her fairy powers.  Kids need these powers. The power to imagine what it might be like to take the injustices (even if self-centered) and right them. Isn’t that what we want? Kids who see things going wrong and try to fix them? So when my sons plan another trap, I try to remember that the previous words out of their mouths where ” Mikey, help we have to free these people!” I remind myself, that they are learning confidence, strategy, teamwork and perseverance.

Yes sometimes play does go bad, but for the most part, who wouldn’t love having superheros in their life?

 

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Of Boys and Superheros…

When I first started this mom thing, action figures bugged me. I mean REALLY bugged me. I could not and did not want to understand why this dear boy of mine would want to fight, kick and punch other figures all day. The thought terrified me.

5 years later, I am accepting it and a lot more gracefully than I would have in the previous years. Right now from my living room I am hearing echo of  “Raph, get Donnie his weapon.” “Ckwack.” “Pshhchoot.” ” Let us take care of Bobba Fett, we’ve got him in our trap.” And I am smiling.

Because right now, I realize. Like little girls need fairies and princess who can rule on high and change anything with their words. My sweet sweet boys need heros who can work their way through any problem. Yes, violence is not the answer. However, very rarely do I see a mother freak out cause her daughter has COMMANDED her kingdom to follow her with unflagging devotion. Or a sweet girl goes on a vengeful streak with her fairy powers.  Kids need these powers. The power to imagine what it might be like to take the injustices (even if self-centered) and right them. Isn’t that what we want? Kids who see things going wrong and try to fix them? So when my sons plan another trap, I try to remember that the previous words out of their mouths where ” Mikey, help we have to free these people!” I remind myself, that they are learning confidence, strategy, teamwork and perseverance.

Yes sometimes play does go bad, but for the most part, who wouldn’t love having superheros in their life?

 

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Going on… how I deal

What have I done in the past week? Well three honey chicken dinners, four dozen muffins, and 3 chicken pot pies (with homemade crusts) in the freezer, and I can’t really tell what’s going on. I feel like I am spending more time staring out the window, watching tree leaves and cooking. I feel like I am going crazy since I don’t know what to do, the minute I walk into the kitchen I cook, whether there is a meal needed or not. I am compelled.  Artie thinks I am stocking up for the apocalypse. To me it feels like it…

Under everything, I feel my family, my life shifting. The boys are getting bigger, needing me less, forcing me to focus on me. Art’s business is on the verge, at the bottom of the last two big hills before it comes to its fulfillment. Our house is letting us know we are on the verge of outgrowing it. Everything is sliding, shifting,changing. How do you prepare/cope with things that you have no idea how they will affect your life? And so profoundly affect your life? I can’t even begin to imagine the next phase let alone face the fact that we are at the end of one period of our life. Yet I feel it.  There. Pulsing in the walls of our house. Thrumming as Art works late into the night. Singing with the boys in the other room. There is change and its coming.

What do you do to cope when things are out of your control?

30 before thirty…

Here it is, my Thirty before Thirty list:

1. Listen More. Talk Less.

2. Draw @ least once a day.

3.

4. Read one art book.

5. Sell 5 pieces of artwork.

6. Be a better friend.

7. Put my family first before all.

8. Be kinder to myself.

9. Go some place alone with Art.

10. Lean how to make pita bread.

11. Get down to 137 lbs.

12. Finish Jack Henry doll.

13. Reconnect w/ those friends I lost touch with.

14. Find a home for my children’s book.

15.

16.

17. Cut out pop.

18.

19.

20. Find a way for me and Art to connect once a week.

21.

22.

23.

24.

25.

26.

27.

28.

29.

30.

 

 

No you are not missing something, the list didn’t even get done. That should give you some clue on how I did with what was on the list. Thirty, you’ve got to do better by me…

I did cut out the pop, the fact that I am even publishing this disasterous list means that I am being kinder to myself, by admitting the world did not end because I did not finish my list. In the last 3 months me and Art have managed one lunch date.

I am not complaining, quite the opposite, this unfinished list is just serving as a reminder my life is busy, my life is full, can I really ask for more? On this day I was born I am excited over my new decade a new begining, and I will tell you later of the breakdown I had when I found this list 2 days before my birthday and what Art wrote on it that made everything better….. Cheers to the next 30 years!

This morning I was woken up by a 3.5 year old wake you up at 5 am because he is so excited for your birthday, the enthusiasm spread… than I found Gyo Fujikawa Fairy Tale book, Dolce and Gabbana Jeans, and a gold binocular necklace at Savers.. the day gets better.. off to Chino Latino sans children with Artie for supper. 30 is going to be amazing!!!