Category Archives: Arts & Crafts Corner

A Sprig of Hope

I’m not really much of a gardener.

I wish I was, I really do.  I envy those people who claim that digging around in the dirt is therapeutic and relaxing.  To my lazy bones, it sounds suspiciously like work.  I get overwhelmed by the planning involved.  Which plants to put in at which time, which ones need shade, which need full sunlight. Do I put fertilizer on? What is a compost pile?  Do I need one?  How am I supposed to weed my garden with a baby on my hip?

But last week I took my first step.

Ada and I planted a strawberry plant.

The gardener in you should prepare, because I will tell you that my mom actually bought me the strawberry plants a year ago, but I never got around to planting them.  So ignoring the fact that they are probably not safe to use after a year of sitting in my kitchen cupboard, I took the kids outside, dug up some dirt from around my rhubarb, (those came with the house) and poured some of the strawberry bag in.  I couldn’t really tell where the actual strawberry plants were, so I grabbed a handful and hoped for the best.

I placed my delightful little pot o’ strawberries on my sunny kitchen counter and have diligently watered it every day.

And two days ago, lo and behold:

I was more excited than Ada, I must admit.  It was thrilling to see that tiny little sprig, reaching for life after a year of recluse behind my baking supplies.  I felt proud….ok, so I didn’t have much to be proud of, considering I just threw some dirt in a pot, but still, it was somewhat of an accomplishment for me.

I get what you gardeners are all about.

Planting seeds, tending a garden–it’s an act of faith.  Weeding, spraying, fertilizing.  Praying that your hard work pays off in the end, that your efforts will be rewarded by the first shoot, pushing through the damp earth. The thrill of seeing that first sign of spring, of fresh, green life.

A sprig of hope after a long, dark winter.

That’s what tomorrow is all about, isn’t it?

Happy Easter everyone!


A Vision for the Future

There really wasn’t a good way to follow up on my sad post.  So I didn’t. I avoided the issue and instead posted about laundry.  Much like the need to crack a joke after crying in front of someone, I decided to go the harmless route of posting about nothing.  And so I continue.

The past week, eldest daughter Ada has been quite sick with a nasty bug.  She had diarrhea and loose stools for five days. It was awful.  I work as a nurse, I deal with poop all the time, and I still have never seen such poop come from a person…let alone such a small person.  Two days ago, it culminated in Ada waking up from her afternoon nap and wailing “Mama, I neeeed help!!” Never a good sign.  I fearfully climbed the stairs to find my child literally covered in poop from head to toe.  A trail of poop extended from bed and across her carpeted room to the top of the stairs.  I held Mya in one arm, deposited my poor child into the tub and embarked upon the scrubdown of a lifetime.  Seriously people, I scrubbed poop out of her eyebrows. She cried, Mya cried, I cried.

Thankfully, yesterday she seemed to back to her normal self.  Because I had let her rest on the couch and watch  TV and her movie while she had been sick (she now tries to play the “sick” card when she wants cartoons. Devious child) I decided to forgo any work or chores during Mya’s nap to focus on “Arts & Crafts” time with Ada.

Did you watch the episode of The Bachelor (I confess: I love watching that show) a few years back when one of the contestants made a vision board? In the book The Secret I also came across the vision board again.  Both the lady from The Bachelor and the book are kind of crazy, but the concept makes sense: Visualizing clearly what you want and focusing on that goal can help you achieve it.  Making the vision board helps you 1) identify your goals 2) create a visual picture for your goals 3) have a concrete vision you can come back to to refocus.

Lately I have been struggling with what I want to be when I grow up.  I work as a nurse, which truthfully I hate (I’ll talk more about this later) and another job from home, that I theoretically love, but is also very difficult in the fact that it really stresses out my home life because there is not a whole lot of distinction where works ends. Plus, between the two jobs, I work between 20-30 hours a week without a babysitter, which is not always fun.  It leaves me feeling like I am doing nothing well. The house is always half clean, Ada watches more TV than I would like, Mya just wants me to hold her more, and the to-do list for work is never done.  I don’t feel that I have reached my calling in life yet, if that makes any sense.  Honestly, I would love to do something with writing, but there are so many things holding me back with that–namely, I don’t feel I am good enough, there are a million exceptional writers out there, writing is not a “real” job, I am being selfish even right now writing this blog while I ignore my children, and so on and so forth.  But nothing excites me or fulfills me so much as writing the perfect sentence and hoping it will somehow, someway reach another person as others words have affected me.

On the other hand, I have no clue what I want from here. Part of me never wants to think about anything else ever again beyond my little family bubble.  I have half of my Masters degree completed, two jobs, two kids, a house, and husband at the age of twenty four.  So I think I have time to figure it all out, but it’s part of who I am to always want to plan the next step. In high school I was a very motivated and dedicated person–I don’t know where that drive went.  These days, my brain seriously feels like scrambled eggs. If I make it through the day’s chores of cleaning, balancing work and playing with the girls, or miraculously managing to put on make-up or get dressed, I feel like a hero.  Beyond that, I’m lost.

To help me sort it all out, I decided to make a vision board. I thought it would be a fun project, and most importantly, it involved a glue stick, one of Ada’s absolute most favorite things. It was even one of those blue ones that turn clear once they dry.  Awesome.

Now I’m not really one of those arts & crafts kinds of mothers.  I mean, I secretly love doing dorky crafts with the kids, but I’m not a super creative person with fun kids craft ideas. That award goes to my friend Megan, who runs the playgroup.  She always has fun craft ideas up her sleeves and we joke that we will be sad when our kids grow up and we don’t have an excuse to play with crafts anymore.  I just stick to the basics–coloring, finger painting once in a while, cool glue sticks.  Actually, I happened to fail cutting and pasting in kindergarten, warranting my parents being called in for a parent-teacher conference, to which you can imagine their reaction. Hint: it didn’t involve hours of scissors practice.

But I do have a cool dedicated “arts & crafts” corner–i.e., a small three drawer unit from a garage sale that holds various crafty stuff. So yesterday, ignoring my craft-challenged status, Ada and I embarked upon our vision boards with stacks of magazines, glue sticks, and safety scissors.

(Side note: if you have noticed my frequent use of the word “challenged” lately, as in vertically challenged, stain challenged, craft challenged, it is in satirical protest to the use of the phrase “staff challenged” recently employed by the hospital I work at.  A nurse educator actually trained us that we are never to use the phrase “short staffed” when we are lacking adequate staff. We are to say “staff challenged.” I worked last Saturday assigned nine patients, three of whom were in isolation for nasty superbugs, one who was being discharged on fifty meds, none of which she had any idea what she was taking them for, and one with a critical hemoglobin requiring a stat two unit blood transfusion.  Translation: I barely had time to breathe, let alone be confident that I was providing proper patient care.  I was very “staff challenged.” Hmmmphh)

Getting back on track, we had a fun hour of cutting, gluing and discovering.  I just picked out any words or pictures that I like and decided to put them all together to see what I found.  Sort of like the idea of just writing whatever comes to your mind to discover your innermost secret thoughts.

This was the result:

Apparently I really enjoy coffee, pink flowers, I want to make shamrock cookies, I like writing…and I want to be a mom who makes smoothies? And if you look closely, yes, I want that trip to Hawaii. And no, I don’t want 25 kids, the 25 was for my upcoming 25th birthday in May…I always have felt like 25 was some sort of adult milestone, hence the pressure to figure out what the heck I want to do.

And here is Ada’s board:

Poor girl. What will her kindergarten teacher say?