Waiting For Pretty

It’s that ugly but exciting time of spring – when everything is brown, but we’re just so happy because the snow is gone, and we know the green growing things are coming soon. I was looking out the window the other day, thinking about how there is so often an ugly aspect to growth and change – the discomfort of shedding the old and reaching toward the new. But it’s the hope, anticipation, and excitement of something fresh and different which carries us through the discomfort, and keeps us going.

So we watch spring creeping in, and we squeeze out every bit of joy from the ordinary little moments. Lately, we’re enjoying:

Early morning snuggles.

Saturday morning pancakes.

Smooth, bare skin.

The eager anticipation of good food.

Creating.

The best seat in the house.

More creating.

More anticipation.

Learning to share and play together.

And I realize once again that when I take the time to grab my camera, there is so much worth capturing, even if we’re still waiting for things to pretty up a bit outside.

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Christmas Favorites

When I was dreaming up the perfect Christmas, I never thought of wishing for a massive snowstorm, but it was amazing. I love snow. Ben doesn’t quite share that same love, because snow means shoveling the driveway, but to me, it means beautiful flakes falling, and feeling cozy inside. It also meant staying home because we couldn’t drive anywhere, and it was very relaxing! I loved it.

Here’s a peak at our little family Christmas:

ChristmasChristmas

One of my favorite moments! Anika has been saving her money for a looooong time to buy an iPod, and we surprised her by gifting her with the small amount remaining. I know it’s been hard for her to wait and use self-control with her money, but we knew it would mean far more to her if she had to work for it herself, and it was super fun to see her enjoy that moment!:)

ChristmasWe make a big chicken/mashed potatoes/gravy/all the extras dinner later on in the day, but we’re still experimenting with what we want our lunch tradition to be. We tried this fun option, and imagined what it would be like to make a table-sized Christmas tree as our kids get older and we need more food!

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ChristmasChristmasAnd now it’s time to move on! I love Christmas and all the traditions and decorations, but I’m quickly ready to pack it all up, and get ready for a fresh start in the new year!

Choosing Christmas Traditions

It was Christmas time, Ben was my boyfriend, and we were hanging out at my apartment with my roommate, talking about Christmas music. A Boney M song came on, and Ben said enthusiastically, “My family always listens to Bonnie M – she’s great!”

My roommate and I burst out laughing, and teased Ben mercilessly about this woman named “Bonnie”. Seventeen years later, he is still just as convinced it’s the right way to pronounce “Boney”. Anika is now old enough to join in the debate, which now includes “Bunny” as an option, since the English language is weird, and it could be argued that “Boney” should be pronounced the same as “honey” or “money”.

Part of me is slightly annoyed that after all this time, Ben still refuses to admit the “Bonny” pronunciation holds no validity, but the rest of me has to confess I love this silly little debate which must happen every year, and I imagine our kids coming home at Christmas as adults, continuing the heated discussion of Boney/Bonnie/Bunny.

Christmas traditionsI think about what other traditions our kids will come home to. What are we doing now that will continue to be important for years to come? It feels like our traditions are still forming – we have special little things, like setting up our Christmas village, decorating a gingerbread house, having a hot chocolate picnic by the tree on Christmas Eve, letting the girls choose a new ornament each year at our favorite Christmas store.

Christmas villageI also think about how traditions form – which ones are intentional, and which traditions form over time?

When Anika was a baby, I remember having a conversation with a lady who’s oldest son was in Grade 12. I asked her what their family did to celebrate Christmas, and she said, “Well, this is the first year we’re actually home for Christmas – in the past, we’ve always gone to visit family at Christmas, so we don’t really have any of our own traditions.” It’s stuck with me for years, because I thought it was so sad. Their son was on the brink of leaving home, and they had never established any Christmas traditions for him to come home to. I remember feeling determined to get a head start on our family traditions. Baby or not, Anika was going to be traditioned.

When I was in Bible school, I had to write a paper about what makes a church strong and healthy. As I researched this topic, I found one of the most important aspects to be rituals or traditions – the church family needs something to look forward to, to come back to, to welcome others into. Traditions are part of who we are. The same holds true for our family.

Gingerbread houseIt gets tricky, because some traditions have to change as family changes. Over the years, Ben and I have talked about all the things our families did to celebrate Christmas during our years of growing up, and some of those things are not practical to carry on as kids leave home, get married, have their own families. Do we need to be more intentional about choosing traditions now already which are most likely to stand the test of time, or do we choose what works best for now, and try to be flexible and adapt as our family grows and changes?

Lots of things to consider. At least we’ll always have Boney M.

Friends, I want to hear from you: where do you stand on the Boney/Bonnie/Bunny debate, and what are your favorite Christmas traditions? What traditions have stood the test of time in your family?

Weekend Favorites, and Thoughts on Creativity

For awhile now, I’ve found it really hard to make time for blogging, or even just for snapping a few pictures. I think there are a number of things which affect my creative energy – just lack of energy, in general, but also state of mind. When I was blogging regularly, my mom said she always knew how well I was doing by how regularly I posted on my blog! There’s some truth to that – this last year, I’ve found that recovering from postpartum anxiety has made it really hard to create.

I’ve also found creativity to have a snowball effect – the more I do, the more I want to do. When I’m not making time for it, I do less and less.

The good news is that over the last few months, I’ve felt more creative energy returning – I’m writing blog posts in my head again.:) Now I just find myself back in the place of needing to make time for creating.

I’ve been reading The Gifts of Imperfection lately, and last week, I came across this:

“Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.” (Brene Brown)

That rings true with me. I’ve felt “clogged up” lately – everything in my life is better when I’m writing regularly, and searching for beauty in my everyday life. I’ve been neglecting something life-giving to me.

The issue of time in my life still remains, but I’m seeing how necessary it is to make the time, not because my blog is that outrageously important to the world, but because it’s one of my favorite ways to create.

Brene Brown also writes,

“There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.”

I asked Ben what he does to create, and I liked his answer. He’s not into art, and right now he’s not taking much time for music or writing, although he’s gifted in those areas, but lately, he says he creates by coming up with ideas. I hadn’t thought about ideas being his creative outlet, but it’s so true! Ben comes up with ideas just for the sake of having an idea. Sometimes the ideas have to do with his job and are very useful, but other times, they are completely random – commercials he’ll never make, or plots for books I really hope he writes someday! I love the idea of creating being whatever you want it to be, whatever keeps things fun, new, fresh, and exciting.

So in the effort to keep things fresh and exciting, our family went on a little adventure last night, and I brought my camera. We created.:)

AnikatreesEverettflowersBen and EverettriverKayliaWhat do you do to bring creativity into your life?

 

Week in the Life: Weekend Photos

It is finished!! What a full week – I haven’t taken this many pictures, or finished this many blog posts in a long, long time! Glad I did it, and glad it’s done! I feel like this photo challenge motivated me to capture a great collection of photos depicting what our life looks like right now. But I think it will be fun to just go through the day today without having to run for my camera all the time!!

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Week in the Life: Friday Photos

I seem to finally be slowing down a bit with the number of photos I take in a day! I thought it would happen much sooner, so I’m pretty happy that I’ve lasted this long! Friday was really different than normal, because the girls had a sleepover at Ben’s parents’ house, so it was just Everett and me for most of the day. He seemed a little lost – took me by the finger, and went into every room in the house when he woke up from his nap, as though he expected to find his sisters hiding in the bathroom!

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