good muddy

i’ve been writing a lot lately. mercury is in retrograde, but that isn’t why. i’m determined to get all of my thoughts out here instead of keeping them so far down inside. for so many years, this blog was a tool for my brain. i became ashamed of myself and my thoughts. my true self. i couldn’t write about who i was. my relationships with others dictated my thoughts about myself, and i retreated. not that everyone should have a blog, but this is so much a part of me and my journey. 

the best part about the past three years was being able to stay at home with vayda. i got to work from home and go to work a few days a week. being a stay at home mom was my dream, and spending those moments with vayda was precious. it’s a little daunting and lonely, too, being the kind of person who enjoys work and people. also, i wasn’t very organized. we sat in our pajamas a lot, played, and watched tv. i didn’t make baby food.

but now that i work full time and only get to see a picture of vayda on my desk, i wish i had spent less time wishing when i was with her. i wish i had gotten down on the floor and played with her more. i wish i had spent less time on my phone concerned with work and other people who weren’t concerned with me. it’s an ache in my heart. i wish i could have photographic memories of her tiny little face every day that i spent with her. all the plump and the wrinkles that melted and grew tall. all the muscles that used to rest against me now barely have a chance to squeeze a hug for me.

i look at her every day, and my heart is mud. mud like i am just a kid myself, how can i be responsible for this beautiful being? mud like i am proud this little person is grown up and talking and smart and thriving. mud like i want to take back time i’ve wasted on anything or anyone else since she’s been alive. mud like shouldn’t this little person still be a tiny thing in my arms? how can the moments she was in my belly be agonizingly long, but these days speed by with no remorse? mud because i got to carry you everywhere for so long, but now i have to miss you for so many hours of the day. having Vayda made my heart muddy. good muddy. 

my mom keeps vayda while i work. it’s a huge blessing. my grandmother helps her everyday. it’s a good feeling to know vayda is with the people who raised me while i’m working on my career. it puts my heart at ease. if i am going to be missing out, i want my mom there to be enjoying her. it’s a hard feeling to resolve. but i have to appreciate the three years i enjoyed, which is why i made the decisions i did in my life.

being a career-minded woman, my job was always the center of my life. since i was 16, i have kept a job or three at a time. i simply love working. i found at my first job that i was driven to work more and go for promotions at any chance. i get super focused and enthusiastic. i just love it, almost to a downfall. when i had vayda, work became less important to me, but i still struggled to balance it in my life. my new position is really the structure i need to focus on all areas on my life. i am feeling a great deal of peace and ability to focus on myself and vayda in ways i wouldn’t be able to in other situations. 

i guess i feel a little inferior, whining after three great years at home with my daughter when many moms only get weeks. leaving a job i knew for nearly five years to step into the unknown was also difficult. moving into a new place in a new county…i have turned my life upside down. but i feel stronger. i’m independent. i’m thriving. the only thing i could want for more of is more time with my child, and i think that is healthy. the rest feels light, and that leaves me blessed.

i need rules.

it’s easy to be really involved with a creative idea in the beginning. ultimately a road block appears where the project is avoided. it just isn’t fun anymore or it’s too complicated/time-consuming to complete at the moment.

the most disappointing part is, i rarely pick it back up. and if i do i wait forever to finish it. life has changed gears for a season, and my aim is producing more with my time. producing more of whatever it is in that moment for me. producing an intentional and finished product. one day, it’s a random craft with repurposed bottles. rearranging our den as a playroom for V. the next day, owning a task at work. organizing a junk drawer. designing a gallery wall. i’ve penned lists in my notebooks: projects at home to conquer, and project tracker with goals for work.

in order to be intentional about working through my grandiose list of possible design projects, i have defined some new personal guidelines…or something like that.

1. choose one project from the list only. enjoy thinking about the project in advance and divide the project into clear-cut steps.

take one of my latest piece for example (pictured). i wanted to do something a little different and fun with V’s birth announcements. don’t ask me why, but i had 12 different cards printed that i wanted to collage on a canvas with some sort of handpainted work included. i started by ordering the cards, obviously, and picked out canvases from my stockpile to use. then i took time to envision the piece and imagine the arrangement, colors and tools i would use. after planning out the timeline, i felt confident and excited about my upcoming craft.

Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.
Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.
Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.
Canvas with paper cards, acrylic paint and modge podge.

2. house must be clean and all work-related tasks completed before i start to art.

my OCD mind will wander to what’s unfinished or undone, and then I’ll inevitably be juggling 15 chores with my designated project. making sure things are in the order before i step into my realm of peace with the piece.

3. communicate with the art.

quite possibly the lamest way to put it, but the most enjoyable part of any creation for me. it sounds nuts (and maybe it is). for years i have pondered God as an artist and how He must delight in the artform of nature, space and humanity across decades and dimensions. could you imagine…? i don’t [think i] have a god complex, but i appreciate the idea of imagining my blank canvas as a creation i’m breathing life into as i work.  so, i enjoy “getting weird” while i paint. fluid patterns and strokes that follow the imperfections of a specific tool. mixing colors to massage their best pigments and making sure they feel good on the canvas. that no stroke or pen mark feels completely awkward unless agreed upon between me and the brush. call me crazy, but those are my favorite pieces. they get the most of me in them.

4. let the stuff sit out.

the house is clean, so i intentionally leave my craft necessities out in a designated, but obvious, space until i finish the project. ‘not wanting to drag the supplies out’ can’t be the excuse not to finish. barring a visit from important company, i allow my supplies to get some fresh air mid-project. why not? my living room, my life. and who ever got much done without getting a little messy? (these questions aren’t rhetorical. i have to motivate myself that a little of art supplies gathered by the bookcase and gallery frames on the table are not the end of my clean house.)

 

so those are my new four rules for myself, the ultimate procrastinator. this lazy artist with all ideas and not much product to show for it lately has been churning out some stuff recently.

the creative process ebbs and flows, of course –but i’m maturing my processes to get the most out of my creative time, at least until Baby V is stealing the paintbrushes out of my hand.

image(which she can totally get away with being this cute.)

 

nursery full of bows

i was scared vayda would be a boy even after several confirmations she would be all girl. that may be why i started creating a gender neutral nursery. but just like everything else i planned for the baby during my pregnancy, things changed.

when i first found out i was pregnant, i went to target. isn’t that thing to do? i’m pretty sure they puff some scent into the store’s air that make maternal hormones rage, because my cart mysteriously fills to the brim (with things i probably don’t need) during every visit. elephants were popular for baby room decor at target during my pregnancy, and we happen to love elephants at the andrews house since we cheer for the crimson tide. cue everything elephant. i incorporated a little “where the wild things are” inspiration, too, with greys, light blues, yellows and burnt oranges.

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you’ll see that pink has inevitably made it’s way all over the nursery to compliment my initial color choices, but i fall more in love with the wild array of hues as time moves on. it’s a mix and match of all the people and experiences of vayda’s life thus far. her crib and dresser are from the baby’s dream enchanted collection. it will convert to toddler then double bed for lifetime usability. we got our set from brooks furniture (great local baby section) and are ever so thankful to robert, who included some great extras as a gift to my parents, who got V the set.

**rabbit trail for full disclosure here: unfortunately, vayda does not use her crib often as she still sleeps in a co-sleeper beside our bed. with a little reflux early on, she is most comfortable in her fisher price rock-n-play sleeper (and mommy likes her close by, too). during the day, she is constantly held, napping in my arms or being worn. [this article shares many –but not all– sentiments i do about baby wearing and my philosophy on holding vayda as much as possible: natural childshe will be using her crib and room more for naps soon, but we have found vayda to be more even-tempered and secure in her surroundings with our current methods.**

i opted for style on a budget for the rest of the nursery. all the nursery art was hand painted by me, which was a fun way to help make the anticipation speed along as pregnancy days grew longer. the area rug came from IKEA at a bargain, changing cover from etsy (with back-ups from target), floor length window panels from target – then i filled in with decor from hobby lobby, etsy, our new baby! (my favorite baby store – currently) and sweet gifts we got from family and friends. this includes a sweet toddler-sized bear rocker that was justin’s when he was little:

justin's bear rocker now in V's room
justin’s bear rocker now in V’s room

several sweet, very pink bears are keeping the seat warm for vayda when she gets old enough to sit in it.

along with those pink bears are many BOWS! my mama used to have me in outfits with matching bows. a proud moment for my mom was when my art teacher told her i was the best dressed child at deerfield in grade school. i guess that bow obsession seeped right into my own veins. i had to get creative with ways to display the many bows and headbands that mommy has gotten addicted to buying. seriously, people – it’s a problem. i never thought i would be one of those mamas who creates a bow child. but here’s the real situation:

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might as well face it, we’re addicted to bows. and i have totally embraced being that kind of mama. i got the cylindrical headband holder from etsy. many shops make these and there are many tutorials on how to make your own. it is so convenient when hurrying to dress an infant. plus, there is extra storage inside the cylinder – much needed at this house. the blue bow holder is handmade by me (along with the canvases). i also got two hanging ribbons at livi & company for our ever-growing alligator clip bows.

some of my favorite bow/headband/crown vendors: bloomies handmade (flower crown, pictured on V, lower left), tulip + olive, fancy free finery, gigi and max, cora baby wraps and mary madison boutique in thomasville (where i got these and more awesome bow clip-ons:)

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just wanted to share a little piece of erinish mama life. happy friday, all.