Daily Awesome = Sights and Sounds

How does one get so much pleasure from something so simple?  The daily awesome is not so much in the technical definition of “awesome”  of expressing awe in the remarkable or outstanding but more in the informal sense, that sometimes you have to slow down and appreciate some of the common, everyday things we take for granted.

Today it arrived – Spring.  Officially it happened over a week ago but it sure as heck didn’t feel like it until today.  The birds chirping, kids playing,  people walking and the best part – the warm sun shining on my face –  made it awesome! 

 

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No Spring Crafty Therapy

I am still feeling the lingering effects of a long, long winter.  We are so spoiled aren’t we? It was warmer than usual last winter with little snow so this year we are all complaining, me right along with everyone else. I wrote about how grumpy I had become as I responded to too many tweets and Facebook statuses that were driving me crazy. I wrote about it here. I also said I felt I need to be more creative with my time and I have tried to follow my own advice.

I got a “real” camera, a digital SLR in the summer but I didn’t know how to use it very well so I’ve spent some time researching and learning about light and aperture. I purchased some flowers to push spring along – some lovely, fragrant hyacinths and puffy, sweet hydrangeas – and I took out my spray paint and decided to attempt some of those simple craft ideas I have been accumulating on Pinterest.  Take a look.

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The Inspiration

I’ve been wanting to do my version of the above for a while. It looks so shabby and warn but I love how the pop of colour really transforms the glass.

I started by cleaning a “regular” Crown Royal glass bottle and pained it with two coats of burnt umber.  Above pic is the first coat and then left it to dry overnight.

I spray painted a few light coats of Krylon Blue Ocean Breeze on the glass until covered but not the lid. And yes since it’s winter early spring I have to paint in my garage and then let things dry in in the laundry room with the fan on. Such a glamorous life of a crafter.

After about an hour when the paint was dry to touch but not cured I sanded with a sanding sponge. I thought I would need to glaze over it but a great amount of the burnt umber showed through and I was able to get some great textures. I was glad the brown paint adhered to the bottle. I was worried the whole thing might sand right down to the glass.

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I added a little silver crown to match the cap – it was actually a pink plastic crown left over from when the girlies were little. I can still find unexpected objects when I open a drawer – so random. I’m pleased with how this little project worked out. We all know sometimes our adventures don’t always turn out they way we envision them.

I’ve grown quite attached to birds. I don’t want to over do it in my decor but I thought the little dude above and his friend that I bought from the dollar store screamed spring. I love the look of shabby chic ceramic birds so I bought these two “uglies” to see what I could do to release their potential cuteness and incorporate them into my home.

I used Rustoleum Gloss White this time and sprayed light coats until covered. This little guy had blue feathers (as opposed to the bird pictured above with brown) and again after an hour or more of drying time I took my sanding sponge to him to shabby him up a little.

I think he looks quite distinguished and perfectly at home perched on my faux mantle.

Here is his little buddy.

I painted this little fellow apple green. I think he looks so handsome now and will be a welcome addition in my guest bathroom. For only $2.00 ea. and with paint I already had on hand I thought, ‘not bad for a weekend’s work.’

So is it SPRING yet????

I’m Published on YMC! So Read Me.

Hey Canadians who grew up in the 80s, remember VJ Erica Ehm?

Much Music VJs (Erica far right) circa 1984

Yes that Erica Ehm from Much Music TV. She’s now just a “regular” mom, running her own on-line magazine, the YummyMummyClub.ca.  Cool!  They have regular bloggers but accept outside contributions from their members.  I submitted a letter to their magazine that I wrote to my local MPPs and Director of Education re:

We Don’t Need Locked Doors In Our Schools

They published it.  Cool!  Well, I thought it was anyway.  Check it out and leave a comment whether you agree or disagree.  A healthy dialogue is really needed.  We need to reaccess why we are so fearful as a culture in what is likely the safest time in our society’s history.

Also if you are interested you can read the response to my letter from the Direct of Education and the Minister of Education.

Time for a Rearrangement

I am feeling a bit of cabin fever.  Are you feeling it too?  A little bit restless and BORED!  Spring is so close yet still so far away. Time for a  living room mini-makeover. My living room is a bit of a conundrum.  It is sunken from hall and dining room and also has a cathedral ceiling. The 2 storey windows are lovely and usually my focal point but as I said I am feeling a bit restless so time for a change.

Faux Fireplace/Bookcase

via: blogspot

Unexpected Bookcase

via: BHG

I was inspired to create a faux fireplace from some Pinterest pics. I remembered a bookcase I distressed that was in our rec room.  It was a little long but I thought it could work as my faux fireplace setting and I set about rearranging.

My version after staging and re-staging vignettes (and it now reads Live Love Laugh – it’s a family motto, not sure what I was thinking).

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Butterfly Calligraphy PillowLindon Lumbar Pillow - PeacockVibrant Paisley Panel

I had purchased 2 pillows and some curtains (for my adjoining dining room) from Pier 1 and started moving furniture.

1. Chaise (originally on the wall with the bookcase) facing bookcase with love seat.

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2. Chaise facing bookcase with 2 chairs.

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This table behind the chaise doesn’t work but you can see the step down here. The family hated this set up and said it looks “weird” from the other side with the chaise facing the bookcase…Next!

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3. Chaise and 2 chairs facing each other was actually a good option except…

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…boo hiss the back of the table isn’t finished.

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4. So this is where I ended up.

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My little touch of Disney.

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Almost forgot to show the coordinating curtains in the dining room. Now I think the dining room is too dark. Time for more changes? Yep! Always a work in progress.

Daily Awesome = Conversation

How does one get so much pleasure from something so simple?  The daily awesome is not so much in the technical definition of “awesome”  of expressing awe in the remarkable or outstanding but more in the informal sense, that sometimes you have to slow down and appreciate some of the common, everyday things we take for granted.

I’m busy. Your busy. We’re all busy. There is never enough time it seems and most of it is by our own doing if we are really honest with ourselves. Every once in a blue moon the  Evil Genius and I get time to reconnect. Last night we had a CONVERSATION. You know that thing you do when you actually talk with someone not just at them. I think it really goes a long way in the maintenance of a marriage.  

Time to Disengage?

I’m not sure whether it’s a mid-life crisis, a lack of sun in the winter months or what but I feel exceptionally grumpy. AGAIN. I felt like this in the Fall last year and it lasted longer than the stupid and inexplicable last resort comments about hormones and “that time of the month.”  It’s here again. The grumpiness.

I had to make this

I don’t seek conflict or enjoy drama but I generally don’t back down from difficult conversations or disagreements either. I will always engage in them. Having said that I find myself so angry and frustrated a lot of the time. There is just too much negativity around me (coming from me?) and I engage in it and then give too much of myself over to it.  So I am choosing to back away. Back away from the negative influences that antagonize me.

You can’t have a conversation over Twitter or Facebook.  I think it’s time to disengage from those media forms too. Until today I hadn’t really posted a status on FB or Twitter, “liked” a message or responded in 4 days.  I was choosing not to engage – at all.  It was a challenge I set myself. It was a little tricky but by no means was it really hard. This is not some epic goodbye speech. I’m not closing these accounts or lamenting the evils of social media but I have simply made an decision and an effort to distance myself from the sites and the people where I felt the most hostility. It’s time to change the message. Time to disengage.

I need to focus more on creating positive situations for myself. My mental health is not something I take for granted.  I live with anxiety.  I have my whole life.  My fear is it will lead me to a dark path that consumed me once – DEPRESSION.  I will never go back there. EVER. If I can control the situation at all I think this is one step in what I need to do to save my perceived sanity.  So right now I’m grumpy but I have plans to change that.

Daily Awesome = Cupcakes

How does one get so much pleasure from something so simple?  The daily awesome is not so much in the technical definition of “awesome”  of expressing awe in the remarkable or outstanding but more in the informal sense, that sometimes you have to slow down and appreciate some of the common, everyday things we take for granted.

I was feeling a little dejected and low.  I came home after work and said hello to my girlies as usual.  My oldest asked me how my days was.  I said, “fine, but I have a headache.”  She then asked me if I needed a hug? Of course I accepted. 

I went upstairs to lie down.  I must have fallen asleep.  I woke up to the sound of tinkering from the kitchen.  I came downstairs and my girles said, “aww, we were going to surprise you when it was ready.”  The Evil Genius was making dinner and my girlies were making cupcakes.  I could taste the love.

Curses! The Death of Cursive.

My daughter needed help drafting her very first cover letter.  She’s not getting a paid job (yet!) but it is required for a camp leadership course she is participating in this summer.  I asked her why she wanted to be in the program and jotted down her responses while she started on the computer.  A day later I asked her if she had completed the cover letter and she said no because she couldn’t read my writing.  Not that my writing was so messy but SHE COULD NOT READ CURSIVE!  Still? I was floored.

What do they teach these kids?  Well they actually do teach them cursive writing.  The scrolling script of individual letters is taught to them but they do not require them to practice it.  Huh?  My children are illiterate to hand writing!

I think I’ll just start to leave messages around the house in cursive, like clues to a scavenger hunt.  They have to figure it out or maybe they don’t eat or I can’t drive them anywhere. Oh this could be fun!  Cursive, a necessary skill or old world relic?

When Your Child IS Awesome!

So I wrote here about my children not being awesome just for showing up or just because they think they are awesome.  Now what do you say when you have a child who actually IS awesome at something?

I was never very “good” at anything in particular.  I considered myself athletic because I could run and jump but I didn’t make the volleyball team and for most years I was second string on the high school basketball team. I suppose my grades were above average but I didn’t win any awards.  I put myself out there, I tried different things and I have some good, maybe even great memories of these experiences.  I wasn’t even close to awesome.

My big girlie has had her share of disappointments.  She’s not the best basketball player or the strongest singer but she is a strong swimmer.  She has some talent (say coaches, not me) but didn’t want to commit to the long hours of training (they are long) and stopped club swimming at the end of grade 7.  Now she’s in grade 9, joined the high school swim team and is having some success in the pool.  Swimming is a “strange” sport in that it’s mostly individual events. You practice as a team but compete as individuals and it’s all on you, the successes and the disappointments.

My Kid Can FLY! via:explodingdog.com

Today my daughter had an AWESOME day in the pool.  She was 1st in 100FR and 1st in 50FLY and the 4x100Relay team she swam with came 2nd.  This is great stuff.  Am I proud? Absolutely!  Am I bragging?  Absolutely not!  She has earned any kudos all on her own by sweating through every stroke (yes they sweat in swimming), every early morning practice and swimming her butt off today to make PBs (personal bests).  These events qualify her for OFSSA – the big time – the secondary school provincial championships in early March.  So today I told my child she was awesome.

When Your Child is NOT Awesome!

I agree with this article by Kathy Buckworth about how we as parents today, wrongly “prop our kids up with false praise.”  We never want to let them fail or go home empty handed, without a trophy or prize.  My husband, the evil genius and I have never overly subscribed to this kind of parenting.  We are self-professed “tough” parents, “mean” parents or “hard asses” as I liked to say when it comes to our kids because we just don’t seem to parent like every one else.

Our big girlie was in the Intro level when she started swim club.  By the end of the year she had progressed enough to be moved into another level, Intro Comp.  At the year end banquet all Intro kids were given trophies.  I guess because she had been moved they “forgot about her” or it was an oversight etc…  she didn’t get a trophy.  She was visibly disappointed, so was I and we did…nothing.  We didn’t ask for a trophy. We didn’t talk to anyone that she didn’t get a trophy.  We were not offended that she was forgotten.  Was it upsetting?  Of course. Did she “need” it?  No.  Did I really need to make it a big deal and tell someone or write a strongly worded letter?  Nope!  My child is not a special snowflake in need of protecting from every bump along the way.  There are battles to fight for my children.  This was far from one of them.  Just because there was not a lot of coddling doesn’t mean there were not lots of snuggles and hugs and kisses along the way.  Like most parents we only ever want the best for our children but for us that also included prepping them for the bad as well as the good.  We have always taught them that life isn’t fair, they can’t always get what they want, people make mistakes and sometimes they are simply not awesome at everything they do.

Both our girls are in competitive swimming so they can swim, in circles, upside down and then some…but when our youngest first started competing she thought she was awesome! She was too cute with that get up and go attitude and was happy with any performance.  We loved it. Her enthusiasm even after she finished dead last in her heat was fun and infectious. But then she started mentioning how awesome she was after every swim.  Not in a hey-mom-I-just-finished-my-first-race-ever-wasn’t-I-awesome? kind of way but she was thinking her efforts really were awesome worthy.  They weren’t.  Finally after a few times of too many “awesome” moments the evil genius had to take her aside and tell her that she was actually less than awesome and that others around her in her group were doing better than her.

Yes! I’m totally awesome.

Usually at this point in retelling this story I can see other parents start to get uncomfortable and give me funny looks.  They are thinking “how on earth can you tell your kid they are not awesome?” He said it because it was true and in order to be really awesome she needed to kick it up a notch. To be honest, she took this info in stride with nary a shrug. It wasn’t for several weeks before we noticed a change, something was different. Her swim performances were actually getting better. She stopped talking about being awesome and started to remark on specifics; like her great turn or her dive was getting better or she kept up in practice with so-and-so. Something clicked. It seemed she was no longer awesome but she was indeed a much better swimmer.

Fast forward to last weekend’s Central Region Championships.  It was our swimmer girl’s first meet at this level.  She had worked hard to get there as you needed to qualify in order to be at this competition.  In the end she didn’t have a great weekend. I was wondering how she would react to her less stellar performances and we had the following conversation:

Me: So what did you think?

SG: It was good.

Me: It was good?

SG: Well, it was okay.

Me: Yes it was okay. Not great but not bad either. What do you want to eat?

SG: Buuuurrrger!

Doing the hard stuff when they are young is HARD.  I won’t lie but we do it now so we don’t have to do it later.  I suffer and sympathize for my children in lots of ways yet sometimes “not awesome” is just fine.  We still get to eat!