Motherhood, Art, Creative Play, and Finding Joy in Everyday Life



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February is almost over. There has been snow, snow, and more snow. And freezing cold temperatures. I am incredibly thankful to my wood stove. Yesterday our ceiling in the kitchen sprung a leak, and Jeramy spent the greater portion of his evening on the roof, breaking up an 8-inch thick ice dam. I made supper and sang “Raindrops keep falling on my head!”

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Days lately all seem very much the same. I am home with the children. Two days a week Simon goes to preschool and I have some one-on-one time with Malcolm, who is now almost 5 months old. Jeramy comes home, we make supper, put the big kid to bed. I read, Jeramy plays a game, the baby nurses and falls asleep. The three of us go to bed. It all starts over the next day. It is that part of winter. The doldrums.

Thank goodness for books and tea, coffee and chocolate, occasional sunshine even on the coldest of days.

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A Winter Night

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The above photos were taken on solstice at sunset. Now, as I write, it is snowing. The house is peaceful. I am the only one home and awake. I probably ought to be taking advantage of sleep time myself right now, but instead I am enjoying the crackling warmth of the wood stove and indulging in the opportunity to be creative, without noise or distraction. (As well as writing this post, of course.) I have worked a bit on a painting in progress, read some of my current book, and started writing out on paper a checklist of book to read this year as part of a reading challenge I am joining in with friends.

Time like this is precious when you are a mother of small children.

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My Winter Reminder

This part of Winter has been rough for me. I have frequently felt sick, we have had loads of snow and ice, and things feel a bit stale. I find myself repeating: “One day at a time.” as a reminder that it will get warmer, I will feel better, and routines will change again.

Sometimes I forget to appreciate Winter for what it can be. If I let it, it can be an opportunity for connection. We are forced inside, we spend more time together in close proximity. Sometimes, we take turns caring for one another when we catch colds or illness. We learn to seize upon the days when the sky is blue, and the temperature jumps above freezing for a while, because we don’t know how long before it will happen again. And when it is snowing, and sleeting, and freezing rain for the third time in a week, we hunker together and try to be in awe of nature.

It is hard for me to do this. To put a positive spin on Winter and find the joy in it, when it goes on for months and months in this part of the world. But I have to take the time, for my own good. I need to stop, take a moment, and remind myself that Winter is a season in nature, and in the flow of life, when I must work a bit harder to be mindful and seek the positive, but the reward of doing so is crucial to my soul.

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Winter Nature Table

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Last week, Jeramy and my Brother-in-law installed the woodstove in our living room. This is going to help us cut down our heating costs, and add a feeling of coziness to our home. This has also required rearranging our furniture. While the work was still being done, everything was just shoved to the center of the room. We had to squeeze around furniture to get through the room, and everything looked a mess. The other day, once the installation was complete, I became motivated and began moving things into place.

I placed this awesome little rough edge table (which I bought from the previous owners of this house for eight dollars at a sale they had before they moved out) under the window and decided to turn it into our little nature table. I have been wanting to create a nature shelf, table, or corner in our home for ages now, and I am so glad I have finally gotten around to it. The plan is to change the items that are on it with the seasons. In Spring we might have a branch with buds, and some seeds. In Summer, seashells and flowers. In Autumn, bright leaves and some twigs and pinecones. Books that tie-in with the current season will also make great items for this spot.

This is an excellent opportunity for Simon to be hands on with nature, and to learn more about our changing seasons. He is allowed to play with and touch everything on there. He feels proud to showcase his treasures that he collects when we go on walks.

I have many more ideas for this little spot of the living room. Quotes about nature or photographs that I would like to hang on the wall right nearby, baskets to place under or beside the table for collections of items and more books, a little swiveling light to shine in the evenings here. For now though, I think it is a good beginning.

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morning art
Last week there were two days of school cancellations due to weather, which meant no work for Mumma, and no preschool for Simon. We were stuck inside for two days. Then, we kicked off the beginning of this week with even more inclement weather, dangerous roads, and staying indoors. This winter has been a doozy, and it is only just beginning for us here in Maine. I think it is safe to say that cabin fever has been high around here, and we are all a tad grumpy.

However, there has also been a lot of creativity. Jeramy got into the baking mood, and whipped up some crock pot beer bread on a whim. Simon and I drew in our sketchbooks. There have been multiple instances of toy cars being pressed into playdough, and some sponge painting.

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The sun has returned, and I look forward to shaking off some these feelings of being cooped up by getting us out of the house. However, I am glad that when we do end up “wintered-in”, we are able to find ways to add color and flavor to our days.



Simon at the park in winter“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013.”

Simon: At the park, playing with a piece of ice. Exploring the remains of Winter.

We were determined to get outside more this week. The sun has been shining more, and Spring is just around the corner. Simon loved picking up little sheets of the ice from a frozen puddle, and then tossing them down onto the pavement to watch them shatter like glass.

Click below to see what the other 52-ers are sharing this week:


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Winter Optimism

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A snowy day. Again. February seems determined to be a month of snowstorms.

Simon and I both have serious cabin fever. I cannot wait for the days to be warm and dry enough for us to spend hours out-of-doors again. I miss the routine we had going of getting out into the sunshine after breakfast, me sipping my coffee on the stairs, while he played with his trucks and shovels in the dirt, soaking up vitamin D.

Almost everyone I know seems gripey and impatient for the season to change. However, one friend today described the snow in terms of its beauty. She went on about how much she loved the glistening trees and the fresh, pure, coat on the ground. Her optimism inspired me. In the face of all the bitter snow-haters (of which I was one) her attitude was refreshing, and snapped me out of it.

Winter may not be my favorite season, but it is only temporary. And I will be better off making peace with it.