7/25/12

Lead a Process Over Product Life

                                Being an art teacher I have always worked hard to make my teaching primarily about the importance of the process and less about the product. Yes, the product matters of course, but having a meaningful and fulfilling process is so important in making the product all the more beautiful. In other words, you must enjoy what you're doing in order to do it better. Sounds simple enough right? But applying that line of thinking to my own life has been a personal struggle and a huge focus of mine for this summer. When life gets too busy and overwhelming we begin by planning ahead and putting all our hopes on tomorrow and forgetting all the beauty of life that could be happening right here and now, under our noses.
                                 As summer comes to a close I begin to stress about the new school year for both my kids and myself and my way of dealing with all this rising stress is hunkering down and planning every bit of it so that all I have to do is look at my calendar and there my chaos will feel less disorganized, more controllable and life will be calm again. But, planning the future takes time, time away from the kids, time away from cooking, from working out, from eating healthy. So no matter what I do, chaos resurfaces. Ultimately, I have come to realize that some semblance to chaos in our lives, whether now or later, is okay. I have come to accept that life is inherently messy by nature, and that the real trick in life is learning how to live with this never-ending messiness; and not always trying to fix life or control it's flow.
           
         A few ways I am trying to 'enjoy the journey' and let go of the future or the product are:
1.  I'm turning off my cell phone and checking it only a few times a day.  I do not need to check my email every 20 minutes. Countries will not fall apart if that email is not answered within a day.


2. I am clearing my mind when I am with my kids and I tune in to what's on their minds for once, what are their hopes and dreams, what are their worries, etc. I am always surprised at what comes out of their mouthes when asked about their worries. Kids have some deep worries that we often find very trivial to us, but nevertheless, they are real worries that must be addressed seriously for them to go away.


3. I take the time to eat well. That means cooking, prepping my veggies, taking my vitamins, sitting down while eating, not eating the kids' scraps.


4. I take time to work out now, not tomorrow, not later today, just walk out the door.


5. Every time I find myself veggy-ing in front of the computer I make sure that I am not wasting it watching others having fun. In trying to convince my own kids about the possible pitfalls of television, I always tell them that watching TV is a lot like sitting very still and watching others have fun, that instead they should always try to be the ones out there having this fun for real. I am not a fundamentalist when it comes to TV, my kids have learned so much from TV, there are some amazing and wonderful, educational shows out there. I do think some shows are more valuable than others and that some kid shows even can even be hurtful.


In what ways do you lead a process-over-product life?













7/24/12

Upcycled art using bottle caps


Nora and I created some upcycled art this week
We used bottle caps, plastic gems, and buttons. 
Nora chose feathers as well. She figured out that placing the feathers around a button made them look like flowers. She was so proud of her 'flowers'. 

Because we have a very small apartment, we usually just place a tarp down on the floor and get to work. We often find cheap canvases at the thrift store and repaint them one color in order to reuse them. 




Close up of caps. 

View from above. 

7/23/12

Playing in Nature (Difficult Run Trail off Georgetown Pike in Virginia)

During our hike, Nora finds a 'natural' bridge, as she called it. She kept walking on it, to go to her island. 

We had this whole place to ourselves. It was picture perfect. Rocks galore, safe waters, quiet, etc. 

Luke then had an idea of making his own bridge and began collecting rocks. 

I love it when kids come up with their own ideas of what to do. I use to feel guilty not 'playing' with the kids as much. But now I stand back a bit and let them come up with the games and the rules and then after, if I feel inspired, I join in. Not as a leader, but as a follower. If most games kids play are adult-driven, kids will never develop their own sense of creativity. 

Nora joined in. Then mom. 

After about 40 minutes he was halfway done. Next time we go we'll bring chairs for this could have easily gone on all day. 

It's a miracle to see these two get along. I'm glad we captured it. 

The bridge is done. Ta da!!

Dad even went over it to test out the bridge's strength. 

The kids were so proud of their bridge. It took over an hour to complete. 

Inventing a cake and bringing it to life


Kids watched an episode of Paula Deen and they got this idea to make their own cake recipe.  We drew a picture of our cake and went shopping 

Trying to teach Luke to scramble the egg whites for our frosting by tilting the bowl.....we had a bit of a hard time. 



Our first layer is done


Luke wanted the cake so bad, he placed his face on it. 


Second and last layer ready. 

Chocolate/ strawberry cake with whipped topping and sprinkles. 

Visit to the National Zoo in DC






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7/19/12

Jones Beach at sunset


The best time to go to any beach is after the crowds have gone. It's cooler and less populated. 

We always make a beach 'sculpture' using beach stuff. This one was a 'fence'' my daughter built around my hubby. 

My kids playing in the waves. 

I see purple, brown, pink, blue, light blue, peach. 

The sun has officially gone down. Kids still playing. 

Summer is not summer unless you place yourself in some beautiful natural setting. 

Pics of my mom's garden in Long Island New York

Sadly enough I did not inherit the 'green thumb' gene. Every plant I have ever owned has died. But I can paint them. A painting of a flower does not need to be watered.
Spider web found in the early morning

Birdhouses everywhere

Love the colors in these...

Nature is so powerful. This is a plant that has wrapped itself around  the arbor. 

The view of my mom's arbor from below. Shade, glorious shade. 

My favorite kind of grapes, concord grapes, almost ready....

Heaven. 

All sorts of inspiration. 



Interesting lines crossing this fence.