Not A Card

We began our new homeschool year in earnest the day after Labor Day.  We now have (technically) a 2nd Grader and 2 Preschoolers.

It was a bit of a rough start.  I was expecting it, so it wasn’t a surprise.  We had just returned from our week-long vacation where all sorts of fun, fun, ridiculous fun was had, as well as much throwing of all schedules and routines out the window.  (And if you know how addictively dependent I am on schedules and routines, you’ll know what a STRETCH that was for me – LOL!)

Actually, that had been happening for much of the month of August and a little bit of July.  Since we follow more of a year-round calendar (as opposed to 3 months off for the summer), I was feeling a little burned out by the time mid July rolled around.  So we took a month off.  I poured myself into my card making, keeping up with a variety of challenges and such, and the children played to their heart’s content.  But I knew all that unrestrained leisure would mean grumbling when the time came again to buckle down with the new school year.

And as grumbling goes, this bout was relatively mild.  After two weeks, I am happy to say that we are all beginning to feel situated again and studies are coming along nicely.  We began using some chores charts for the children a few months ago, and it has been a challenge getting us all acclimated to that process, but soooo worth it!  We’ve also been trying to get better organized around the house in an effort to make the transition of adding two more students into the mix a little less hectic.

Unfortunately, all of that has also meant very little crafting time for me.  Which is okay, I suppose, since I have felt a surprising lack of motivation to craft.

At this time last year, I was working on Christmas gifts and projects that included over 300 cards to distribute amongst our close friends and neighbors and some of my husband’s co-workers.  It was a grand scheme!  I thought I’d try a little of that this year, but on a less grand scheme, maybe giving out 5 cards per person instead of 10, and maybe as a set of cards in one design with different colors, to make the mass production process a little faster.  And Papertrey Ink’s latest product release will make the Christmas creativity a lot more pleasant and efficient for me, so I’m looking forward to the delivery of my new supplies!

I really just have no mojo right now, no desire.  I keep searching through my magazines and files and favorite blogs looking for inspiration and ideas, and I have certainly found inspiraton.  But when I go to get out my craft supplies, it just feels unnatural for some reason.  I start on a project, then quickly find something with which to distract myself.

Hopefully I can find a bit of ambition soon, or I’ll need to find some other ideas for friend/neighbor gifts this year, because I am not going to make a ton of cards with no desire or motivation to back it up! 😉

The fibromyalgia flare-ups have also been more often and more painful the last few months, and I’m afraid that constant pain has a way of making my brain feel less than competent.

But there is also a sense of approaching peace and calm as the season is about to change.

Autumn is such a comforting season, for me.  It signals the end of the craziness and reckless abandon of Summer and ushers in a time of settling down and embracing more enriching projects and happenings, as the weather eventually fosters indoor activities rather than the boisterous, messy, and busy ones of Summer.  I have a difficult time keeping up with the constant activity and heat of Summer.  And though true Autumn weather in our state sometimes only lasts a week or two, there is just something about Autumn and the beginning of Winter that makes me breathe a little sigh of relief.  I don’t explain it very well, I’m afraid.  I’m just glad that Autumn is finally showing its face!

And yet, I am stunned by how quickly the year seems to have flown by!  The beginning of my 40th year of life approaches with the beginning of the new year.  My Sweetheart and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this past Spring.  My oldest daughter will celebrate her 8th birthday in just over a month and will be baptized shortly after that.  And my twin babies – my twin babies! – will celebrate their 5th birthdays just before the Thanksgiving holiday.  I still vivdly remember the less-than-appetizing dinner in the hospital and my stepfather’s delicious Thanksgiving feast I was missing those short 5 years ago when they were born! 😉

Maybe that’s why I’m not very motivated – Autumn inspires reflection in me, rather than activity.

And you know what?  I’m just going to go with it for a bit.  Try to get back into the swing of lessons and enjoy the process of teaching my children and witness the light in their eyes that it brings and which makes the whole endeavor so worthwhile for me.  Spend a little more time reading and writing, and maybe playing the piano.  More time teaching my daughter to play the piano.  Maybe recharge my batteries with my other favorite hobby of choice – organizing!  And hopefully turn out a handcrafted card or two once in a while. 😉

Anyway.  For family or friends who read my blog and might be bored with seeing card after card after card….  there’s a little life update for you.

Thanks for stopping by today. 😉
-Ally
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Play Date Cafe #97 and Clean and Simple #156

We arrived back in town Saturday afternoon from our week-long vacation, and I was eager to find a challenge to help me create something before the withdrawals swallowed me whole.  Just kidding – it wasn’t that bad.  We had a nice vacation, but I was definitely ready to get crafty!

I was bummed that there just wasn’t enough time for me to play along with most of the challenges I had missed last week.  But I have to just let it go.  We’re beginning our homeschool studies this week, adding in the twin preschoolers.  Between all the prep work and implementation, I have my work cut out for me.

I won’t be able to do everything.  And when considering my priorities, cards will not be at the top of the list.  Hopefully I’ll get a sufficient fill in each week, though, and still be able to participate with things.  If all else fails, I’ll have to stay up late every now and then to make some time. 😉

Anyway!

I needed a little help with design ideas after a long week away, so I used the Clean & Simple Stamping #156 sketch to go along with  The Play Date Cafe #97 color challenge.  And here is my creation:

It is Color Splash week, with the splash being red.  I wanted to try those rumpled/distressed modern-looking circle flowers.  I like the way the flower turned out, but I had a little trouble embossing the sentiment with white powder.  I made the photo large only, because I’m embarrassed.  But if you enlarge the photo you’ll see the little specs of powder that got ‘stuck’ and I couldn’t brush them out before or scratch them off after embossing.  It’s a little disconcerting to me, but I think I’ll get over it.  Eventually.

Click on photo to enlarge for details.

Thanks for stopping by today. 😉

-Ally

Supplies Used:
Stamps:  Think Big Favorites #1, Sending You (Papertrey Ink)
Paper/Cardstock:  Stamper’s Select White, True Black, Pure Poppy (Papertrey Ink)
Inks:  Versamark; Black (Colorbox)
Embellishments:  Rhinestones (Kaisercraft); Glitter Brad (American Crafts – I colored a white one black with a Sharpie marker); Super Fine Glitter (I don’t know the brand); White Embossing Powder
Tools:   Standard Circles (Nestabilities); Sending You Die, Rickrack Die (Papertrey Ink)

An Exercise in Poetry

Sometimes one of my biggest challenges with homeschooling is when I begin to lose my focus and wonder, “When is all this effort to educate her going to pay off?!”  Next year?  Three years?  Five years?  The day they leave my house at 18?  The day I die?  The day THEY die???

There are only so many days of sitting down at the dinner table as a family and having Daddy ask my pupil, “So what did you learn in your lessons today?”  Only to receive the answer, “Um, I don’t know.”

Ack!!

Homeschooling takes a great deal of discipline and planning and preparation and effort, and patience.

PrincessA has been a hesitant writer, not too eager or willing to embrace the process of learning to write and to spell, particularly in putting her own personal thoughts and stories down on paper.  She will do copy work and writing exercises and seems to do fine on our individual spelling tests each day – very simple words, at this point.  But she hasn’t shown much initiative as far as writing by herself.

Well, today some of all that effort paid off.  And though to the outside eye it may seem excessively trivial, to the homeschooling Mom’s eye…  Well, let’s be honest, I cried and gave her the biggest stinkin’ hug!

For some reason, today she felt compelled to write poetry – without any prompting or assistance required from me.  One poem for each of the four seasons.  She began with Winter.

As read to me by her:  “Winter is nice, and skating on ice.  A snowman is good, you can be warm if you should.  I like snow, winter, and ice.  But you are really nice.”

Then came Spring:

“Spring is here, Spring is there, Spring is everywhere.  I love Spring and flowers to, but most of all, I love you everyone.”

Moving on to Summer:

“I like to swim and play with Tim.  It’s a summer day, hip hooray!  Let’s play in the pool, Summer is cool, and sad to end.  But you are my best friend.”  (I don’t know who Tim is, though.  But it sure does rhyme nicely with swim!)

Then a final tribute to my favorite season:

“Autumn fun, and when it’s done, it’s cold and winter time comes.  And the Autumn leaves start to fall, and it will be winter soon, as cold as all.”

I didn’t even care that the spelling wasn’t perfect – haha! ;-D  (I am a recovering perfectionist, after all.)

I just thought to myself, what a wonderful 2 years it has been so far, homeschooling this child!

And then I cried those blessed, beautiful happy tears and gave her a big stinkin’ hug.