These past few weeks have been quite eventful.
Between school, dance classes, homework, basement makeover projects, birthdays and blogging... well, let's just say that I'm tired at the end of the day and DEFINITELY sleeping well at night.
I'm sure some of you have already seen and heard about our latest going on's from our Instagram feed, but for those of you who haven't... here's a little recap.
1. The girls have been wanting to walk home from school lately, like the big kids, so I follow behind them in my car. There is NO way I'm letting three cute girls walk home all by themselves; I don't care if that makes me a weird overprotective mom.
2. The bitty ballerina and her sisters are gearing up for their Spring recital.
3. I spent two hours one night on (what I think are pretty advanced) first grade spelling words. Matching, repetition, find-it game... I'm exhausted; but you better believe I'll know how to correctly spell "leprechaun" and "gnawed" for the rest of my freakin' life.
4. Working on disguising this huge eyesore in the basement the best we can. Who in the heck designs a room plan with the water main shutoff in the middle of a wall!?!? grrr
5. Our spunky, smart, sassy, beautiful twins turned 7 this past month and I'm STILL having a hard time wrapping my head around this new number. These two girls are the funniest, most imaginative, creative 7 year olds I know and are still the best-est of friends.
People ask me ALL the time if I make them dress alike, and to that, I have to giggle. These girls insist on dressing the same about 95% of the time. They're convinced that if they don't look the same (literally) that people won't know they're twins! haha! I think it's super cute, so I'm gonna let them wear matching clothes until they don't want to anymore
I'm sure a lot of you have figured this out already, but during project-busy times, our posts tend to be spaced out quite a bit more. I know that most bloggers (especially those who blog for a living) would call me crazy for not posting something EVERY day, but around here, we've taken on the motto:
Quality verses Quantity.
It usually takes a minimum of 8-10 hours to do a single post (for us), and that's not including project and photographing time. Between uploading, editing and putting photos in collages... along with writing out tutorials or even just updates, one single post becomes an ALL day job.
So, for those of you who have wondered why we ONLY write posts and updates 2... sometimes 3 times a week, it's because those other days I'm spending OFFline, chipping away at projects, playing with our little family or taking some time out to work on, ME.
6. Finding things to do during the winter months to entertain a 5 yr old, while her sisters are in school, that doesn't include a TV or coloring, is hard work! One day we took in some shopping at City Creek, along with a little stop off at Sephora for some makeup play.
Another day last week we ventured off to Scheels to ride the huge ferris wheel for a $1.00 and stumbled upon some pretty cool photo ops as well. Yes, we're dorks, we know.
7. Workouts are getting harder. MUCH harder; and the temptation to give in to foods that I know I shouldn't eat is getting stronger. I had a bit of a meltdown last week and felt really frustrated due to the fact that I hadn't lost even an OUNCE in over 10 days. After a tear-filled conversation with Cason and some amazing words of support from close friends, I'm happy to report that yesterday I met with Jared and found out I'm down another 3 pounds!!! So, after some uncomfortable caliper pinching on my bod (I hate that part), I've officially dropped 15 more pounds of fat, TOTAL, in just a little over 5 weeks!!!
Jared is a miracle worker... I kid you not, and on my next "bad week" I'm going to try my hardest to remember what he says: "If you're willing to do EVERYTHING it takes and make no excuses, anything is possible; you just have to trust the process and stay motivated. This WILL WORK."
8. Speaking of taking some time out for ME (which I think is important for EVERYONE), I got the chance to attend a really amazing event this past weekend that was both energizing and therapeutic all at once. It was the Fallow Field Farms, Artsy Weekend... and it was AMAZING!!!
The hardworking, inspiring Marci Welcker put on this small, intimate gathering to bring together women who need a few days to exercise their creative minds. The venue was styled amazingly by Jen from 3 Dotters and we had classes that included chalking, leather stamping, art journaling, bread & cheese making and more.
Even though there were lots of women to chat with around me, I also had long periods of time to sit in quiet contemplation while working on creative projects. The first project of the weekend, put together by the beautiful and talented Dana Engemann, was a personal art box. Basically it was a plain ol', small cardboard box that we were encouraged to embellish with items that "spoke" to us. Easy and fun, right?
Well...3 hours into the "challenge"... this is all I had.
Don't get me wrong, the papers are adorable and the lace is great... but that took me all of about 20 minutes to cut out and paste on. For the remaining 2 hours and 40 minutes I sat, paralyzed by the fact that I didn't know WHAT to do on this silly little box! While everyone else around me created amazing works of art on THEIR "canvases", every time I would attempt to put a new item on MINE, I would start to panic and wonder...
"Will other people like this? Is it something I can use somewhere sensibly in my home? If I put this or that here or there will it just look like a cluttered mess?"
I joked with the ladies around me that I must be experiencing a creative block, but at one point I had to discretely duck off into the bathroom to pull myself together. It had nothing to do with the actual project itself, but with the expectations I was putting on myself to have my box look as great and "artsy" as all the others!
Why did I care if anyone liked it? What did it matter if it made sense or looked too cluttered. It was JUST A BOX!!! If it was awful I could throw it away, if it turned out great, I could keep it... no big deal, right? That's what I kept telling myself, but deep inside I knew that the reason I couldn't just let my creative mind go free, was because I was comparing myself to others and in doing so was stifling any creativeness within me that was trying to come out. I know better than this, but still let these feelings take over for those few hours... and it made me so mad!
Sure, my passion, hobby and job is to share creative home decorating ideas and projects with people on our blog, but at home I can focus on just what I'M doing and I don't have to worry about everyone else. It was the most awkward and uncomfortable feeling, and my friends could plainly see that I was struggling, so I set the box aside and started in on the next project for that day... an art journal.
The first 30 minutes or so felt pretty good, but then once I had the base of my book created, I realized that I was hitting my stupid comparison roadblock again. Just as I was about to sink into a creative depression (ha! okay, a little dramatic, but that's what it felt like), a couple of coincidental things happened in that next 10 minutes or so that completely turned my weekend around.
First, I remembered the things that my little adorable Rhonna Farrer had said earlier in the day:
"Your creative mind is just like any other muscle in your body. You have to exercise it, work it out and constantly continue to keep it strong and active. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing, focus on your own ideas, run with them and let your creative mind soar." Second, my sassy and most hilarious friend Margie Aslett (who designs scrapbooking products for a living) gave me a tight squeeze and quietly encouraged me to "just decorate the damn book already and stop looking around at what everyone else was doing.", and third, my stylish table-mate and long time close friend Becki Crosby flipped her artsy supplies around and welcomed me to anything I wanted to use, stating that "what's mine is yours!"
The boost in confidence and supportive words helped me to shake off any uncertainty and I started working. The process was slow, but I kept my head down, my mind clear of any distractions, reminded myself that I was Awesomer than that silly little box project I failed horribly at... and just let myself create.
In the end (literally, most people were walking out the door as I was gluing on my last embellishment) I had something that I was really proud of.
Before I could even stand up from my chair, Jamie (another truly amazing friend of mine), grabbed me in an unexpected bear hug and said, "It looks so great!!! I'm so proud of you!"
I honestly don't know if it was the fact that I had sat with my own thoughts for too long, if I was slightly embarrassed from all the time that it took me to create ONE thing, when others had created 5, or if I was just overly tired from a crazy-fun, sleepless weekend with friends... but I started to tear up again.
Did my colors and patterns all go together?... maybe not.
Should I have picked out bigger book rings so that I could actually fit something in between the front and back of my book?... (haha!) most likely *blush*
But in that moment, it was perfect.
The moral of my story...
1. NOBODY can be good at everything! (believe me, this concept is harder to grasp for us type-A personalities, who usually feel the need to control the situation and get everything just right) We all excel in different areas of our lives, so if you find that you're not as great at something, but WANT to be... don't give up, just keep trying.
2. Comparison is the thief of joy.
3. ...and probably the most important thing I took away...
Whether it's a long weekend or simply a short afternoon, I have become very passionate about the fact that, especially as women, we need to take some time out of our busy lives and schedules every once in a while to create something beautiful, laugh till we cry and cry till we laugh, with friends who lift us up and have our best interests at hand. It's good for the soul and it also helps us to be better wives and mothers in the long run.
Here's to another busy, great week!