Can I just say how much I love summer? The winters here in Winnipeg are so long, and when summer comes I just want to soak it up! As I write this, sitting in front of an open window, with the breeze coming through the herb garden, I am so thankful for the changes we've been able to make this summer! Winter inevitably ends up being a working season for me. My beauty cravings, unsatisfied by my lack of exposure to nature, lead me to the studio for discovery there. It often feels like I'm either in art-making mode, or I'm not. I am never very good at balancing it, but from the many interviews I've read with other painters, I don't think I'm unique in that way. Many work 6-7 days a week for 6 months, and then take 6 months off to be with their families. I feel like we all need this "re-setting" time!
I want to encourage you if you're in the middle of a crazy time.
We knew where we wanted to be, and it took us months of crazy before we could stop and do this. Little changes make a difference too!
It seems like the best way for us to re-set is to get away... even if it's not far or fancy, getting away from technology and our usual routines is the main thing.
Our vacation this summer was spent on a road trip to Kelowna to visit my parents and teenage brothers, who moved there last year. We were fortunate enough to be able to visit Danny's brother's family too, and lots of my cousins and their families, including my cousins from Switzerland! Visiting with family makes me feel grounded, and being around so many other great parents helps us see things we want to do better, gives us more ideas, and gives us glimpses of what's ahead when our kids are a bit older. We got to visit people who have been amazing mentors to me with my art, brought some pieces to talk about, and caught up with them. We also got to see my fun older brother, stay with the extra set of parents we adopted, and stay with my best friend and maid of honour. SO SO many good people.
We like to use our vacations, not as time to escape from our life, but to get some perspective and to make changes, so that we can return to a more peaceful life, not just continue to be as stressed as we were before vacation.
We brought a book with us as homework.
(Yes homework. Laugh all you want!)
It seemed to be just right for where we were at.
We read it together and were reminded of what our goals are, and thought more about what felt like it was working in our life and routine, and what we wanted to change. The book gave us lots of ideas to find more productive ways of achieving our goals.
Here are some of the positive changes we've made:
(They're pretty specific to us, but I like hearing specific things other people learn, even if I adapt them for myself.)
- Stopped letting the kids watch Netflix. (There is one Youtube channel we've started watching together though, more about it in a later post)
- Started a new cleaning routine, Our new mantra is "Leave No Trace", based on this blog post.
- Started reevaluating our storage needs, planning for the new baby's things, and decluttering a whole bunch. (ie. Facing the reality that we can't just get rid of the objects lying around and we'd better store them somewhere)
- Started designating computer time to the evening
- Started eating healthier
- Started a blog!
- Started making sleep a top priority
- Willem gave up his soother (After it broke, and we didn't buy a new one.)
- Bought two folding backyard loungers and have been sitting outside doing nothing but talk sometimes, even if it's just for a few minutes before bed.
- We've been going on weekly dates
All together, the results have been amazing. Our home is so much more peaceful, we are feeling more connected. My brain feels like it has more space and can focus more, We have more energy. Astra has been so well behaved and calm. She and Willem are playing so nicely and he is talking so much without that soother! With the house cleaner throughout the day, we have less housework in the evening, and can get to bed sooner. Astra now knows where her things belong and can help more, and we don't let her bring up random things from the basement. I feel a lot better being able to write longer segments than a Facebook post, and feel less critical of them/ feel less pressure for them to please everybody.
It's wonderful to be feeling settled and on the right track to take on the next phase. In the fall Astra will start kindergarten and we'll welcome our new baby in November! It feels so good to be getting ready.
I really recommend checking out the book! There were a lot of ideas very condensed and to the point. It was easy to read and accessible from where you might be at in your quest for organization.