12-05-2016

Give Yourself Permission to Nix the Christmas Card (and other trappings)

December 5, 2016

Only 20 more days until wide eyed kids tiptoe down halls in unabated excitement.
Only 21 more days until stressed eyed parents pack it all away in unabashed exaltation.

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Contrary to what you are thinking right about now, I am not a scrooge!

But sometimes the trappings of Christmas seem to do, just that – Trap us.

Trap us into believing every one of those trappings has to be done, every single year. And not only checked off the list, but completed in perfection.

Christmas Lights  Advent Calendars   Locally Sourced Gifts   Christmas Cards   Homemade Desserts   Wreaths on the Door  Christmas Caroling   Kid Made Ornaments   Trees   House Decor   Christmas Parties

The list is never ending and there is a pressure you feel that if you even just dip your toe into a certain area the result has to be Pinterest perfect.

For those around me, Christmas cards seem to be the biggest hold up. You spend a fortune on a professional photographer or try to find the just perfect candid photo of kids having a sweet moment. It all ends as you begrudgingly hand write more addresses than you thought possible.

Why is it that family photo shoots make root canal dentist visits seem more enjoyable?
Bribes and Lollipops just don’t cut it and temper tantrums erupt when your 8 year old is asked nicely forced into a collared shirt.

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So this year, instead of giving yourself a guilt trip over all you haven’t done this Christmas season..
Cuddle up in front of the fire with your kids.
Give a hug to your elderly neighbor.
Read the Christmas story from the Bible.
Nix the cards and Just Be Still. {This is what I’m doing this year!}
Don’t fill up every second of your time. The world will not end if you don’t send out cards.
Invite your brilliant sister to town and let her make elephant toothpaste for your kids

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Most of all, repeat this mantra… trappings are NOT what make the Christmas season.

Christmas is a time to remember God’s love for YOU and share that love with all mankind.
His love isn’t found bundled up in a card, present, or tree.
It’s found in the quiet and in the simple… giving a hug, bestowing a smile, or laughing together.

Christmas is found in the every day minutia of the relationships we share with those around us.

Merry Christmas!
jessica

 

 

 

09-07-2016

New Puppy, New School, New Frogs

September is here and change is on the way!

We have a new puppy, Sawyer, who reminds me daily of why I do not want to have another child. My ability and desire to wake up at 2:13am for bathroom breaks and just needing to be cuddled, has waned.

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We have a new school the kids adore. We miss old teachers who hold special places in our hearts but having a flexible learning schedule {Montessori} leads to a well rounded and much happier child.

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And we have frogs, frogs, frogs galore.

It’s clearly the birthing season for frogs.
Or the mating season.
Or we’ve simply gone back in time to the raining frog plague.

You can’t step toe outside the front door without accidentally shortening one’s life. {Okay, that might be a little dramatic. They aren’t in quite that stage of plethora.} However, they are everywhere. And if you are on the phone with me, there is a good chance you’ll be asking “What’s that noise” because the chirping is THAT loud. Even with the doors closed.

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Here’s to shorter days, cooler temps, and dog hair everywhere!

jessica

08-04-2016

The Ever Boring Tasks of Parenting: A Poem To Encourage When Yet Another LONG Summer Day Looms

Spaghetti splattered dishes haphazardly askew in an uncleaned sink.
Last night’s orange cheese grime caked on the metallic baking sheet.
Mold growing where apple juice resided in a pink sippy cup.
Making the 6th PB&J, of just this morning.
Bending low to wipe the yellow spotted toilet seat.

It’s the daily monotony that makes motherhood boring.

When we bend low with serving posture we see how low Christ bends to make Himself known to us.

He bends low to cleanse the mold of our messy souls.
He bends low to wipe away sobs of distress.
He bends low to open ears to cicada’s chants and noses to sweetgrass’ perfume.

Monotonous rituals of motherhood
shape us,
make us,
creates in us
the serving posture of Christ.

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jessica

07-05-2016

Fine Art and Kids: 3 Tips for Taking Kids to an Art Museum

{Recently I was able to attend a media day for the re-opening of the Gibbes Museum of Art following their 2 year renovation. I was lucky to meet the very talented Merideth Garrigen of A Spot in Time photography. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs in this post are kindly provided by her. Thank you Merideth!}

I know you’re probably thinking…

Fine Art + Kids = NOT A GOOD IDEA

But I promise…
Fine Art at the Gibbes + Kids of any age = A great way to cool off in this summer heat

Whether a Monet or a homemade kid portrait, I love art.

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{
source for these 3 photos: The Local Goodness}

There’s just something therapeutic when you pick up a paint brush and express yourself on a blank slate of canvas.
It’s equally cathartic to walk through an art museum and ponder what the artist was hoping to convey.

But the thought of taking my kids to an art museum can easily send on heart palpitations.
Grimy hand-prints, a kid’s inside voice that closely resembles yelling, feet running down corridors of art…
Enough to make any brave mama pause for a moment to consider her sanity.

But passing on a love of fine art to our kids doesn’t have to be something complicated or evoke fear.

It’s simply being brave enough to expose them to it.

I’ve broken down our local art museum into what kids of different ages would appreciate. While these 3 tips/age ranges are focused on the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, I think they can be applied to most art museums in the country.

Take as few kids as you can, pick one exhibit to focus on, and don’t feel bad if you simply enter, enjoy some free AC, and then be on your merry way.

And parents, one note of advice: You may want to only take one kid at a time. 
{I for one can handle one loud talking, hands everywhere, feet running 8 year old. Add a feisty six year old into the mix and it’s simply too much for me on my own. Plus, kids love getting one on one attention from a parent.}

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PreSchooler Age: First Floor
Admission to the first floor of Gibbes is free! Don’t feel bad if you only enter to take advantage of the cooling air conditioning. We recently walked Duval Street in Key West and stopped in at numerous art galleries simply to get a break from the oppressive heat.

On this floor, youngsters can watch artist in residence at work, take part in kid classes, or grab a bite to eat and take out to the garden in the back.

The artist in residence program is really neat because your kids can watch artist create masterpieces and give you an opportunity to ask questions to the artists.
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Elementary Age: Second Floor

You and your kids will be entranced as you walk up marble ensconced steps to the breathtaking rotunda that was previously carpeted. Intricate details on the window trim, previously hidden under coats of paint, has now been exposed with the original walnut stain. {I could go on and on about the renovation changes – it really is amazing that the beauty of the building was there all along – it just happened to be covered up with paint & carpet for decades.}

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The second floor holds a miniature portrait exhibit – the selfies of the 1700 & 1800’s. It’s thought provoking to think before photography was widespread, miniature portraits were how family and friends were held close. In this day of Instagram feeds, realizing the time it would take for a portrait to be painted and then that portrait was your one keepsake of someone – how priceless.

This exhibit left me feeling nostalgic but also blessed to be able to take photograph after photograph of my kids.

Further into the second floor is The Mary Jackson gallery of sweet grass baskets, including a huge piece that took Jackson 3 years to make specifically for the Museum. It is her largest basket ever made. Make sure to ask the Gibbes how they hung the basket using magnets.

Teenagers: Third Floor
This new gallery space is perfect for teenagers and those wanting to reflect on deep intellectual thoughts while viewing special exhibits.

An unraveled Confederate flag. Burnt artwork. Monuments being torn down.

All things to consider as you view The Things We Carry, a contemporary art exhibit focusing on the troubled history of race relations in the American South.

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Words cannot describe this exhibit.
Allot plenty of time to process and reflect on the meaning found in these masterpieces.

We were lucky to have the Museum curator guide us through this exhibit and explain in detail each piece of art. If a tour guide is available for this part of the museum, I highly recommend it.

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So let’s go inspire our kids to be artists!

Be brave, take the kids one at a time if you can {that’s what I’ll be doing}, and check out your local art museum.

Find some AC this week & Stay Cool!
jessica

 

{A huge thanks to the Gibbes Museum of Art for inviting me to their media day. The renovations are stunning and I can’t wait to show their fine art to my children.}