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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

just hobbies?

Lately been having conversations with a friend who comes from a different cultural background. The conversations themselves are always thought-provoking, but what is more, I always walk away enriched by her viewpoint. 

One of which is that what you grow up doing, like what we call a hobby, is more than a way to spend time and a skill learned (a very efficient way of looking at it, no?). In american culture, artists are considered artists  if they get paid for their artwork. Athletes are athletes if they do their sport professionally. But that is not what I have recently learned from my friend's perspective, and not what confirms my experience, or hers. Take an example; if you grow up studying ballet seriously, it is an art, and it becomes part of how you express yourself. Dropping it completely leaves a big gap in your mental and physical well-being. It is so much more than a hobby. This is the same for athletes who excel In a sport through high school or college. After all, don't we consider youth the formative age? And are hobbies merely meant to teach perseverance, discipline, and some skill? 

As I get older and more immersed in my mission in life of being a wife and mother, the more I realize that music is a part of me. It wasn't just a hobby. It was something I seriously trained in for my entire childhood. I physically and mentally need to sit down at the piano and create, even though the beauty stops when the song is over. There is no lasting remnant to show for my creative time spent, just the one that forms part of me.

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Friday, June 22, 2012

listening to the rain

I don't know about you, but I am naturally goal-oriented. I think education is directed that way, and so probably a lot of us are. (This does not step too far away from other things I have written.) Goals are good and necessary, but can sometimes be tyrannical, making all else bow to them. This is in direct opposition to what I have been getting at lately and thinking about: living "in relatio," taking time with others, seeing life and not mess, etc.

So we won't talk about summer goals, but summer ideas. ;)

~ Let the good times roll. We don't have to have a tight schedule during summer time, for most of the day. There is nothing I love more than seeing and hearing my kids getting into some creative game they play for hours. I like for them to have this opportunity to spend this uninterrupted time together and just enjoy each other's company, creating wonderful memories. This also means allowing for the creative messes that come with it, and the occasional creative meals ( crackers, ice cream, and cheese puffs, and juice boxes for breakfast?). And what about the necessary physical order of the house? We will be having clean up times periodically rather than making an orderly house the priority.

~ How we get there is more important than where we go. It doesn't matter how cool a place is to visit if Mom and Dad are grumpy during the process of getting there, which sometimes takes heroism to avoid! :) There is this notion out there to "do things" with our kids, as if merely going somewhere is achieving a goal; ie, "we did (something new) today!" We all know it is more about the time and relationship building that goes along with the activity, because kids can have fun anywhere. I'll give you an example. I had to get some things at the store at lunchtime, so we ate lunch at the grocery store tables near the cafe area. Now, this is not one of your re-designed Whole Foods cafes. But, the kids had "so much fun," and lamented the fact that "Daddy misses all of the fun." ;)

~Don't over-set personal goals. But, get thinking and started on what I want to do for the Fall!

~Spend time with friends~ families, individuals, and couples~ the food of life, starting of course with God and my husband.

~ When all else fails, have everyone sit down and READ ( thanks, Pixie!). :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

thank yous

There is something about giving someone a token of your gratitude. I don't know if it can be called a hobby, but you get what I mean. Finding something small that really says thank you in a small but meaningful way is so fulfilling! And, those thoughtful people need to be recognized!

And, I want to say thank you to those of you checking this more regularly as of late. :)

And, in case you are wondering what I have decided about the living room arrangement, I couldn't do the angled couch thing. It made the room too small and obstructed the view. So, I came up with this-

It is still cozy and inviting, but lets the room breathe. Don't you like my daughter's addition of the blue "throw" ( or really, the shoulder cover from Vicki Lou's wedding)? It needed that extra punch of blue!
And I know what you are thinking, "where is the life, Katie? Come on, summer ideas." ;) I wasn't going to let you down.

We have had a lego construction factory in the house 24-7. :) I'll be moving on from the living room next time.

Have a great day, friends!

PS- what do you like to give as simple thank you gifts?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Breakfast for Two

We are celebrating Father's Day early, starting this morning with Nutella! I do not have it on stock, but my husband loves it. My daughter was up early, so we had a tete e tete. What a nice way to start the day! :)

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

which track?

I have often been forced to reflect about the goal of life through illness. It has led me down a path that still asks that question even in times of good health.  Because it directly relates to what I am doing each day, and how I go about it.

Is our goal merely to accomplish and acquire? This seed is planted very young in school. If I am not "good" at school, I am doomed. Or so the train of thought goes something like that by the emphasis placed on achievement. If I am rejected by peers, I must figure out a way to be accepted later on, hence, not valuing myself and becoming someone else ( what a shame!). Our culture values accomplishments and acquisitions so highly that most people are "put" on this track, and feel the pain of being on it. It is no wonder that new mothers experience a mini-crisis because there aren't many measurable accomplishments when caring for a newborn (there are infinite immeasurable ones!). No wonder there are so many mid-life crises, when people are tired of success and being someone else. I am not poking fun here, just making connections, and lamenting them.

Manners and accomplishments are important, but are not the primary goal. They serve the higher purposes of positive relationships with others and personal development, which enables one to serve others and the community.

Could the real goal be so simple as to love? It turns our head around because it cannot be measured, but perhaps makes it fit more comfortably.

As parents, we draw our children into our love. It all starts there, which is why the parental relationship is so vital. It is reflected not only in new life, but in the humanity of that life. Love between spouses is meant to be true, personal, serving, and accepting. If we left the goal of life to be defined by our culture, we would be entirely misdirected, and misguide our children, putting them on the wrong, and sad track. The real goal? To become human beings rich in virtue, most especially of all, true love.

And what if we have spent our entire lives pursuing success, as defined by our culture? I am confident that those energies redirected will result in the true accomplishment of charity.

Well, with that, I believe I have left us all (myself included) with enough challenges for the day! :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

the feel of a kitchen

I was browsing which I like to do every so often, and these two images made an impression on me. I love the wrap around bar area rather than one that is just straight. This feels more like a gathering space.

And this was also posted in the kitchen tab. Because this kitchen was for hanging out in, like the great room, or, like my apartment! I would love to have an open counter like the one in the first picture for the place we are in right now, but the idea will just have to be tucked away for now. And, my apartment is like one big kitchen, because it consists of the kitchen, dining/living room all in one big rectangular space. The "kitchen", or lets face it, family room, shown in House Beautiful feels so welcoming and relaxed, making me rethink my couch arrangement. Maybe turning it would draw you into the space more, invite you into home, versus the living room area. I wonder if that makes sense. So, here is what I came up with for now to soften the lines of the room.

The kids where having some quiet time so that I could stage this. The lighting is much brighter, but taking pictures is not a talent of mine. :) I won't pretend it looks like this often. In fact, here is the full room from the hallway in its present state. 

It shows a lot of "life," don't you think? ( that is how I am trying to look at it for the summer;). In fact, I have some "summer plans ( and ideas)" I will share soon, and that idea came from a friend here who is French. I like it. I will try to see life rather than mess! ;)  
I don't know if I will keep this arrangement. We shall see!

Today, we also accomplished this:

AND THEY WERE UNREAL, worth every buttery bite.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


(Yes, it is a silly picture!:) I forgot to get a picture of the woman who did my nails.)

I had my mom and mother-in-law in town recently. My husband and I went on many dates :) and I was treated to a manicure and pedicure. It lasted for 2 hours! And guess how much it cost? $70? no. $40? no. $30? yes. Can you believe it? My feet have never been loved so well!

Which reminds me of the cultural difference between Miami and DC. Don't get me wrong. I love DC, even with its quirks. But I am soaking in the time difference, where people actually take the time to spend with each other. Sometimes this means I wait 3 months for new toilets - the downside. But, it also means I was transported to a salon like the one in Steel Magnolias where they didn't just take care of my nails, they took care of me.

Have a wonderful day, folks! Summer has begun, my middle child is now 5! and you may be getting a lot of scenic pictures of the beach.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Swimsuits on my mind

I used to live in a place where moms who wore bikinis were a minority. I now live in a place where 80+ year old women sport them. I do not wear bikinis. Hence, I stick out like a sore thumb. :)

Since beach/pool season has been in full swing for quite some time, I have come to realize my classic black swimsuit has started to make me look like I was in mourning. Don't get me wrong. I will still wear it. But it was time to invest in a new one for many reasons. So, the dilemma began. And was resolved with this swimsuit. I love blue, I love miracle suits, and this one is so pretty that I feel like a princess! Not to mention, I am trying to impress on my daughter that there are lovely options out there besides bikinis, even if everyone else is wearing them. At my son's birthday pool party, she commented, " mom, I love your new swimsuit!" 


Have a wonderful Sunday, folks!

PS- there is a lovely option in blackberry- it is a beautiful purple ombre.