This is the everyday (not staged)

Lately I have been scouring the internet looking a home design blogs. Perhaps it is the nearing of the fall that makes me feel like a change is needed or maybe it is just my can’t-sit-still-too-long personality. Regardless, I have been oohing and awing over a million pages of home decor sites. From Design Sponge to Apartment Therapy I find myself spending (way too much) time wondering how to get that particular look and researching ways to reinvent and reorder my living room.

In the midst of having that excited-for-change feeling I also find myself in my own swirl of thoughts, once again believing that the grass is greener elsewhere. Homes seem to be immaculate. Style and design appear to come as easily as walking to many of the bloggers. Books are neatly piled on coffee tables. White couches are covered with lovely textile pillows. Kitchens… oh lordy, the kitchens.. don’t even get me started on their amazingness.

To give my head a good shake I reminded myself that these photographs of beautiful spaces are staged. The lighting is filtered, the white space made even whiter with overhead lighting or perhaps a professional photographer’s set up. The books are carefully chosen to go in a particular spot on the coffee table. Tables are set with great care and colours aligned to match the wall colours. These are just glimpses. Not the everyday.

Inspired by Momastery’s post “Give me Gratitude or Give me Debt“, I thought I would share both the glimpses and everyday life around here. (Excuse the poor photography skills. Something is wrong with my DSLR these days, the lighting (well I didn’t do any staging for this), and my IPhone camera seems to have developed a blur in the corner).

Glimpse 1: My office. Paintings, tea, vision boards, lovely lighting.

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THE REAL VIEW: Yup that is a bike beside desk. I share the office with my husband who uses it as a training space. It’s tidy but cramped.

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Glimpse 2. The play area. A painting that hangs above our son’s play area and colourful pillows line the baseboards.

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THE REAL VIEW: Toys and paper. Not neatly placed but in their true form. Being used and loved.

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Glimpse 3: Ryder’s room. Printed off various colourful bike images and have created a couple of collages.

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THE REAL VIEW: A boy’s room in a bit of chaos. Don’t call social services.

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Advice to a 24 year old

Found on: http://allthingsstylish.tumblr.com/
Found on: http://allthingsstylish.tumblr.com/

My cousin, Kaylee, is turning 24 today. She’s at that in between stage. Post University, working in her hometown, wondering what is next. It’s an exciting time in her life because there are so many options available and open to her, but also one that is daunting.

So.many.options.

Sandy (my aunt) and I went out to lunch with her on Saturday and Kaylee asked us the million dollar question. “If you were 24 what would you do?” It took both of us a minute to think about this. What would WE do differently? Where would we have gone? Explored?

Our answer turned out to be the same.

Travel.

Pack your bags girl and explore the world. But don’t do an around the world excursion. Find a place, a different place, to live for 6 months or one year. Immerse yourself in the culture, food, life, and vibrancy of a different location. Seek out opportunities. Be in a state of wonder and curiosity.

My advice to anyone turning 24? Don’t think that you have to follow a life timeline. I was certain that at 24 I should be married by 25 and have all of my children by the time I turned 30. I am not sure where this idea of a timeline came from, but for some reason I was sure that I needed to follow it. What happened? I was engaged at 24, married at 25, and separated at 26.

I would tell my 24 year old self to get out into the world, seek different opportunities, and for goodness sake STOP caring and defining yourself by what other people think of you or what you think you SHOULD be doing in life.

DO what YOU want to do.

Jess Lively, one of the bloggers and podcasters I follow, says that she always listens to what her gut is telling her and if she listens to her gut she knows she made the right decision for her at the time. That is what I would tell my 24 year old self.

Listen to your gut. Follow what you want to do and remove the “should’s” from your vocabulary.

 

the present moment

I often feel like I am chasing the present moment. Trying to be in the present moment, working at BE-ing, finding the time to just sit and be present. As a parent, this is hard. I am constantly thinking about 20 steps ahead or I should say a day ahead. I make meal plans in my head, organize my to do list, prepare food ahead of time, fold laundry in preparation for the next load… it constantly feels like I am living in the future. And at times I feel as though I am living in the past. Questioning my actions, playing back conversations, reminiscing, wondering if things should have been done differently, soaking in times that once were.

I can’t blame all of this on parenthood. I have always been one to think ahead or question the past. I have always found it hard to settle into the present moment, and trust me I work hard at trying. It feels like I WILL the urge to be in the present moment. I can picture myself sitting at a table, closing- no squishing my eyes tightly shut- and thinking to myself “okay, this is now the present moment- be still”. Of course, I have that fleeting second of stillness and then the to do list pops into my mind, the epic question “what’s for dinner?”, or I daydream about another vacation.

My search for being in the present moment was clarified by some wise words from my Mom. I have been observing her actions the past couple of days and I remarked on how she always seems to be so present in whatever moment she is in. I asked her how she does it.
She shrugged her shoulders, almost as if to say “Oh, Amanda, I don’t know- I just do it”.

She replied, “I just enjoy whatever I am doing at that moment. I focus my energy on what it is I am doing at that very moment and I enjoy it. If I go for a walk, I focus on the walk and enjoying my time outside. If I am cleaning or washing dishes, I focus and enjoy the process of cleaning.”

It seemed so clear after our conversation. Being in the present moment is to be focused and enjoy what is.

I texted my friend that evening “Got some sage advice from Cindy on being present”. Hope you find this advice as wise as I did.

Arizona re-cap

The transition from saying good-bye to my former job and starting my new job was made all the easier with a last-minute trip to Phoenix. I knew that if I accepted this position I wanted to have a few days in between the transition to spend time in the sun and with my family. It’s been a wet winter and I know it has been no where near as nasty as anything experienced on the East Coast, but all the same, we were aching for a sunny getaway.

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Having never been to Arizona before I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I knew it would be HOT and there would be a desert landscape. Coming from Victoria, the heat and dryness of the terrain was extremely welcomed. I loved the clear blue skies, the cacti lining the streets, the desert hill landscape, and of course the pool.

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We spent most of our time at the resort, basking in the sun and splashing in the baby pool. Ryder loved every minute of it and we think he totaled up to 5 hours a day in the water. He met little buddies, swam tons, relished in the downtime of the lazy river, and had some epic naps. It was the BEST way to transition into a new job. To step away from the 9-5, to reconnect as a family, and to enjoy the pleasure of being outdoors from sunrise to sunset.

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reminder: there WERE smiles this weekend!

We are in a teething phase right now which means the smiles come and go, but the tears and tantrums are free flowing. I pulled out my D-SLR this weekend to capture some fun and happy moments- to remind myself that even when it seems like the weekend is full of a little boy aching, he certainly had a lot of cherished grins.

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His ride of choice. The “Car”.
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my blue eyed boys

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And the final photo- an image of SPRING!

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Renewal

I needed that hiatus. That time to step back from the blogging -writing world and be inspired by what others have been writing and sharing in their lives. I also needed that time to soak in the awesomeness of running a marathon and then promptly work on healing a sick family. Winter flu, you got us good.

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End of November until the end of January. Not fun. But, our “New Year” was the start of February and with that start came a renewal.

We (as a family) are healthy again.

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We (as a couple) are back to sleeping as two, instead of three monkeys in a bed.

My renewed year has also brought with it some changes. I will be starting a new job on April 2 with BC Campus as a Client Services Manager of Open Educational Resources. I am really looking forward to the change and the renewal that comes with a new position.

I heard the term “work- life integration” used a few weeks ago. It was in response to someone discussing “work-life balance” and how we really need to step away from the need to constantly separate the two and instead consider how best we integrate the two. I bring this up as I see this forming the way in which Got Curls will continue- a platform for my work-life integration. For example, I will post on the following topics:

  • Family (life)
  • Motherhood and general parenthood (life)
  • Open textbook integration (work)
  • Open educational resources (work)
  • Creative work (photography, art projects, DIY)- (life)
  • Creative work involved in work (work) *see already the INTEGRATION!
  • Inspirational stories (life and work)

Hopefully you will stick around with me, to read and follow along with my year (+) of renewal!

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I.AM.A.Marathoner!

It’s Thanksgiving 2013 and I have so much to be thankful for. Family, friends, loved ones, and little ones. But, this Thanksgiving is reserved for my thankfulness in calling myself a marathoner.

I ran a marathon in 2010 and I swore it would be my last. I hated every step of the race. It poured rain. My IT band gave out on me at 6 km. I sat in a port-a-potty at 35 km just to have a place to sit down. At 37 km, I threw my fuel belt at Jeff promising I would never run another freakin’ marathon. And here I was, three years later running my second marathon.

This one was different. It was miles different. 26 miles different to be exact.

I had the strong support of my team mates by my side. We laughed at the start line, joking that the only reason we would stop for each other was if he/she needed a medic. We waved our arms high and wide at family members on the sidelines. We gathered together for a group hug seconds before the gun went off. From the start, I knew this was going to be MY race with MY team.

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“Team Chafing the Dream: Too Slow to Win, Too Stubborn to Quit”

For the entire 42.2 km, I ran with Karli and Lauren. Both incredibly strong runners with incredible positive energy. As we ran, we chided each other to suck it in and “put on big smiles girls” as the race photographers snapped our photos at kilometers 3, 5, and 10. We encouraged each other… “keep it up”, “we got this girls”, “we are so going to do this”. Every step of the way I felt I was carried by these two strong women.

I was also carried by my amazing support crew and personal cheer leading squad- Jeff and Ryder. They managed to find me every 5-7 km. Their waves, cheers, and tambourine shaking made my journey extremely meaningful. This was THEIR race too. The Sunday mornings I rolled out of bed and was out stomping the pavement for fours hours, they were supporting me by encouraging me to get out and run. Every Sunday I felt a twinge of guilt, “I am so sorry this is going to take most of the morning and into the afternoon”. I was constantly reminded “Do NOT worry, enjoy it, get out there, we’ll be here when you get home”. On race day, I knew I had to complete this for them. To let them know that the sacrifices they made were not wasted. Together, as a family, we were going to make it through 42.2 kilometers.

Today, unlike in 2010, I am extremely proud to call myself a marathoner.

I did it.

We did it.