Monday, December 22, 2014

I Heart Instagram

The living room windows are covered in a steamy, thick layer of moisture this morning.  I shuffle over to the xmas tree and plug in the twisted string of lights and a soft, golden glow gently permeates the space.  My body folds into the couch and I pick up my phone and peruse my Instagram account and smile at the bevy of images being shared in that space - french toast fixings; a North Pole party; winter solstice offerings; snow-crested mountainsslate grey skies melting into perfectly calm waters; and a new puppy for a beautiful family mourning the recent loss of their beloved dog.

I've wanted to write about my addiction to Instagram for some time now, but didn't know what I really wanted to say.  The word addiction makes it sound sordid and taboo, but it's not like that.

Social media has so many negative connotations, but I love my Instagram community.  I do not want to apologize for it or be embarrassed by sharing pretty things in that little 2 x 2 inch square on the screen of my phone.

I get so much inspiration from fellow artists, writers, bloggers, photographers, mamas, poets, designers + the alumni of folks I attended Write Doe Bay with earlier this year.  I love it.  I really do.  

Instagram has been a positive place to share parts of my life with others.  No, I don't show the muddy entryway of my home or the messy sink full of dishes.  Some would argue that I'm not keeping it real, but I would say to them - Who wants to see that?  

Beauty is what I find when I scroll through my Instagram feed and that's what I also personally want to share.  I try to find the beauty in my life and what we're doing and share it with others.  Our life is far from perfect, but there are some pretty perfect moments that make me want to shout from the rooftops that I'm alive, healthy and living in this amazing world.  A wee bit dramatic, but I think you get the drift.

There is so much beauty…

The austere, real beauty of the natural world.   

Beautiful children laughing, playing, doing ballet or playing a sport they love.

Creatives bravely sharing the beauty of their work.

The simple beauty of food - satsumas, freshly baked bread or a steaming cup of coffee.

The beauty of the written word as shared by authors, readers, bloggers and publishing houses. 

The simple beauty of human connection and friendship.

I have found as the days tick into weeks, months, and then years, that I like being alone.  Once social and outgoing, I'm finding that I like the quiet of my home and take great solace in reading the words of others.  Since I am particularly visual, images and photographs amp up the words I read and Instagram links me to a small world of friends who share many of my interests.

My words + Grady's shoe
And while it's true that I won't let my 11 year old son have an account,  I do share images with him.  He was recently inspired to draw his Nike tennis shoes based on a post an illustrator shared on Instagram of her own son's work.

This avenue of sharing has helped me to stay connected with my sister, as well as friends and family  that live all over the world.  I only wish I could get my best friend and husband to use it.  It's not their thing, but I wish it was.

Instagram has definitely changed how I use my phone and how I share words + photos.  I used to come here to this very blog to catalog and record our life.  It's been harder and harder to do so.  Mainly, I think, because of the ease of using Instagram.  It's a way of sharing an abbreviated version of what's going on with me or our family, but I long to sit and write for hours at my desk and save on my blog.  Oftentimes, the day does just not allow for such indulgences.

A really lovely opportunity recently presented itself when a woman I met via Instagram, Rachel Cedar, contacted me and asked me to participate as a writer in her 28 Days of Play series this coming February.  This never would have happened if I hadn't been writing and sharing my life on Instagram.  I'm super excited and will share more about this project in a future post.

Earlier this year, the publisher of Mamalode, Elke Govertsen, asked me to collaborate with writer Annie Flavin and illustrate the centerfold for their print and online magazine.  Again, I don't believe that ever would have happened if I hadn't put myself out there; by sharing my daily drawings on Instagram.   Sarah Geurts Miller, Mamalode's managing editor, asked me to participate as a guest poster on their @mamalode feed on Instagram for their #dayinthelifeofmamalode series earlier this year, too.  Mamalode also published essays I've written online and can be found here, here and here.  The social network of Instagram easily merged our relationship and helped us to share it with readers of our IG feeds.  I'd do anything for those women running Mamalode.  Absolutely anything.

What I'm getting at is that a lot of good has come from my willingness to share on this social media platform.  And while I try to temper my usage, it's a source of daily inspiration and camaraderie with my fellow community of Instagrammers.  It has become this daily source of joy and I'm not inclined to give it up any time soon.

Opportunties and friendships were made this year through this social network and I'm really grateful for them. I hope more of that good fortune spills into next year and I know I'll be ready to receive it with open arms and, most likely, a phone in one of my hands.

I'm not embarrassed or ashamed.  

Not one little 2 x 2 inch square bit.

Friday, December 19, 2014

'Tis the [stormy] Season


Life has been so full lately.  I know this is true for everyone out there, but I just know it's especially true for women.  Among my girlfriends, I know we shoulder the brunt of the holiday list-making and gift-buying-wrapping-mailing-giving.  Sure, my husband does a thing or two to help keep me off the holiday crazy train, but it's mostly left up to me.  Now, don't get me wrong - I enjoy most of it, but sometimes it feels like it's just too freaking much.  

And so I really went into this month with the intention of doing less and being really present this season.  It's harder than I thought, but I'm feeling the benefit of it.  The first order of business was to lighten our December social calendar.  Declining invitations is a definite exercise in restraint (which is not really my forté) but, in doing so, I felt a big sigh of relief.  It was a start.

I don't know about you, but around the 10th of December I kind of start to freak out.  There are handmade items to cook, make & package up and get in the mail so loved ones receive them by Xmas.  

I love this part and I hate this part.  
Treats for the doggies in our lives :: recipe here

I love it because I get great joy out of ritual and tradition.  Creating things with our hands and gifting them to people we care about really makes me happy.  The pockets of time spent drawing or carving stamps become little gifts for me.  The conversations that spring from this merry-making often give me the little push to keep going.
Stationary sets :: we each carved a block to print with 

I also hate this part because I get all ratcheted up and stressed out.  It always seeps out and the passive-aggressive control freak in me unleashes on my poor family.  My to-do list becomes all important and I start to question why I do this to myself; to us.
Molly Wizenberg's Three Layer Peppermint Bark :: Amazing!  Make it. You won't be sorry.

Well, not this year.  

While I did feel a welling up of stress, a freak storm system rolled into Northern California and left us without power for 12 hours during massive wind and rain storms.  And let me tell you, I got some major shit done in 12 hours without any electricity and a dead cell phone.  For reals.
Top-secret Hecht family kahlua recipe :: even I don't know what's in it, seriously

School was cancelled for two whole days and that spilled into the weekend, making for four long, productive days at home.


Our dear friends and neighbors had a big bash over the weekend and that spurred some pre-storm shoe shopping.  Red satin heels ($8) and bronze knee-high boots ($7.50) were my thrift scores.  And, I gotta be honest, I kind of feel like Wonder Woman when I wear the boots and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz when donning the red ones.

Printmaking is my new favorite thing, too.  Along with smiling.  

We made a print of 50 wonky circles for our friend's 50th trip around the sun.  All three of us carved up the stamps and used red screen printing ink on kraft paper.  The paper is special to me, as it was given to me at a writing retreat earlier this year.  I saved it for just the right project and it turned out just beautiful.


I can't believe it's almost the end of the year.  My drawing a day journal for 2014 is one of my most prized possessions.  The daily ritual was hard at first, but has blossomed into this almost meditative way to start my day.  Pens, paper and coffee at the kitchen table.  I'll write more about this project in a future blog post, but this journal is my new favorite.

This guy.

He's been wearing this sweatshirt (almost) daily since November 10th.  He thinks it's the best thing ever and I think it's kind of cute how much he loves it.  Don't get me wrong, I don't love it being worn every single freaking day, but think he's sweet and funny for wearing it.

I hope to burn it on December 26th.  Kidding.  Sort of.


It's still raining up here and the highways are intermittently flooded to and from town, depending on the tide.  Winter is upon us and the wet weather is so very welcome to all of us in California.  


All of the out of town packages are mailed and gifts have been made or purchased.  This week has been left wide open for movie-watching and cooking a big pot of soup.  I definitely feel like I've made space and time for our family this year, minus the small stress attack around the 10th of the month.

We cancelled our annual Xmas eve open house in our home and have opted for a quiet dinner with a couple of friends instead.  Again, stretching a new social muscle is hard, but I'm really looking forward to cooking this prime rib for the first time and beating everyone at Scrabble.  Ha!

The only holiday decorations around the house are a few scattered reindeer, a string of white lights in G's room and our Xmas tree.  It feels right this season.


Less really is more for us and not just a tired cliché.

It's been a slow lesson to learn, but I'm grateful for the time and space to swim in this new way of doing the holidays.  At first, I felt sad because G was getting older and I thought the magic would disappear.  Instead, we've been sharing words and feelings about the season and what it means to our little family.  

Last night, while driving home from town, Grady shared that he still believes in Santa, but kind of thinks we have something to do with it.  When I asked him how he came to that conclusion, he shared that we (his parents) have messed up on a few of our stories lately and that the prior year's Santa letters (that I save in our Xmas box) have handwriting that looks a lot like our handwriting.

Hmm.  That's weird.

He didn't want to fess up 100% about the non-belief and I think he did that more for me.  He knows how much I enjoy having fun with the season.  His wish list was short this year and he passed up the opportunity to go to the annual Xmas party where he usually sits on Santa's lap.  He told me sitting on Santa's lap would feel awkward and you know what?  I would have to agree with him on that front.

As always, I'm following his lead.


The last little project on my list was to paint a tree for Grady for Xmas.

Every year we make one another a handmade gift.  Last year, I failed to deliver on said gift and, therefore, I'm making good on it this year.  I let the busyness and travel plans interfere with the one thing Grady asked me for.

A painted tree.

Looking back at my blog, I see that he asked for a painted tree in 2012, too.  He gives me simple assignments because he knows I'm not the artist his father is!  Check out how Steve showed me up in 2010 with his parrot painting.

And so it's almost here.  Six more days until Xmas.

Merry Xmas, friends.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Valley Ford Pie Auction 2014

The Third Annual Valley Ford Pie Auction was a raging success!  The Valley Ford Young Farmers' Association, along with many community volunteers, helped to raise thousands of dollars for the building improvement fund for the historic Valley Ford Schoolhouse (where the auction and many other fundraisers takes place over the year).

Grady made a black cherry pie that sold for $200.  He was surprised and so very proud.

This event kicked off our Thanksgiving weekend and really set the mood for good food, drink + friends.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mamalode Issue 19 :: It's Complicated + GIVEAWAY

Earlier this summer, an email showed up in my in box that both delighted and terrified me.  It was from the publisher of Mamalode magazine, Elke Govertsen, asking if I would consider collaborating with Annie Flavin and illustrating eight of her poems that would be featured as the centerfold in the next issue.  EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS!  CENTERFOLD!  IN PRINT!  The theme would be It's Complicated.  Further explaining that while the theme could be interpreted as complicated, it didn't need to be.  

[To buy an ad-free copy, click here.  As a bonus, you also get an online version FREE.]

Well, I think I replied with some little joke about the J. Geils Band's 80's hit single Angel is a Centerfold and them immediately said yes.  HELL YES!  I quickly decided that I would use Micron pens and watercolors and, in keeping with the theme, keep my line drawings clean and simple.  I jumped up and down and shared the news with my husband and son.  And then it really sank in and I freaked out a little bit from time to time, but I think that's normal, right?  Right.

Mamalode gave me total creative license, but shared their preference for handwritten works.  Annie requested that her poems be read in a certain thematic order and that really helped me with my creative process while interpreting her words and sentiments.

I came up with a lot of the concepts while I was in Homer, Alaska in early August, which just so happened to be the publisher's hometown.  I was so fueled my the natural beauty that surrounded me, as well as an amazing ferry ride over to Halibut Cove, that I almost had too many ideas to sort through.  I frequented their library to look at reference books on native plants and Alaskan Native art books.  I took dozens of photos of their ubiquitous fireweed and tried to absorb all of the soul-piercing beauty and culture that surrounded me.

Fun fact ::  The Homer Library denied me a library card the week that I was there, so I had to do most of my looking and note-taking at the library.  Not a bad thing, but I really wanted a library card from Alaska.  And, yes, I'm a complete library dork.

I started working on watercolor paper at first, but then changed to smooth legal paper in the end because the watercolor paper was too textured and it was hard to drag my lines across the paper.  These weren't going to be originals for sale, so I opted for plain old copy paper and my Micron pens responded with clean, crisp lines for most of the illustrations.  I also played around with a Copic drawing pen [size F02] for the hand-lettering.  This pen was great during the assignment, but has proven schizophrenic when I tried to use it after the fact.  It barely completes a letter without breaking the line.  I'm so glad it held up during this assignment.

Motherhood, as well as the relationship between men & women, were always in the forefront of my mind while interpreting Annie's words.  Gender roles & stereotypes, assumptions based on those stereotypes & the perceived simplicity of youth were my guides.  The physicality of pregnancy and physiology of sex played a part in these line drawings, as well.  

Wanting to keep a simple color palette, I chose hot pink gouache to represent girls-women-females  and a vintage Prang turquoise blue watercolor to represent boys-men-males.  I did throw in yellow and chartreuse green to marry the two typical boy-girl colors throughout the series.  The pink and blue are symbolic and really pulled me into the stark, black lines and the stories being told through Annie's free verses.
Umbilical cords (inspired by Alaskan seaweed) were the backdrop for "Before I Was Me, I Was You"

A curvy, endless road that we're all on as parents inspired by "Each Time" 

Orgasms.  Big & Small.  Period.

Wonky flowers.  Each different.  Like our children.  Inspired by "Our Gifts"

Womb with layers of love stacked up like spoons + the baby at its core.  Inspired by "Spoons"

Double fencing and/or walls around the words in "The Way Home" serving as security; keeping home & those relationships safe inside.

Fish scales inspired by a line in this poem; also representing the number of choices we all have.

Radiant beams of light, positivity, hope.  Little rays of sunshine inspired by "When I Die"
I absolutely loved working with the Mamalode team and Annie on this project.  I'm so proud of what I was allowed to do and feel complete respect for creatives all over the world that put their art out into the world for all to enjoy.  It's not easy, but what an absolute gift.  One that keeps on giving in terms of inspiration, motivation and confidence over here.

Speaking of gifts, I'd like to offer a little giveaway.  Please leave a comment on my Instagram feed or in the comment section below sharing how you plan on making this coming holiday season a little less complicated.  I'd love to steal a few of your good ideas!  I'll pick one lucky winner to receive a print of your choosing from this collection (printed on 80# card stock).

UPDATE:  WINNERS SELECTED.  
I couldn't just pick one, so Amy Larson, Tricia Kushman Anderson & Rudri Bhatt Patel all win.  Thank you for sharing how you plan on keeping the holidays a little less complicated.  Email me your mailing address and the print you would like and I'll pop in the mail next week.  Thank you!

Mamalode will also be giving away one of my prints to a lucky reader next week.  Have you started following Mamalode on Facebook or Instagram?  Are you signed up to receive their newsletters?  Have you ordered their ad-free copy of this next issue?  Well, what are you waiting for?  Sign up and you'll have another chance to win a print.

You can also submit your genius to the editors at Mamalode by following this link.  Go ahead, do it.  The theme for next month's online issue is also It's Complicated and they're are accepting submissions right NOW.  Do you have a story to tell?  I think we all do.  What's yours?  Poetry, photographs, essays & cute quotes from you kids all accepted.

Annie Flavin is also offering a giveaway of one of our prints from this series.  Follow her on Facebook or Twitter for your chance to win.

This was my first illustration assignment and I couldn't be more proud or pleased with the results.  Thank you for taking the time to read this long-winded, promotional post and following along in this fun journey I'm on.

I can't wait to see where it takes me next.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Written Word Roundup

Our reading stacks are sprinkled throughout the house and walking by these literary vignettes brings me such pleasure.

I fell behind in my Sunday New York Times reading, as one Sunday edition didn't get delivered a few weeks back.  My octogenarian neighbor called to inform me that it showed up mid-week in their newspaper receptacle and all was right with the world.  This is truly my greatest indulgence and I usually take all of Sunday to read it cover-to-cover.  When it didn't show, it freed me up for a day at the local flea market and many pieces of furniture were purchased!  So all was not a total loss.

My favorite articles from the last few weeks have been:

Selling a Smaller Soccer Ball by Claire Martin

The Problem with Positive Thinking by Gabriele Oettingen

Does Everything Happen for a Reason? by Konika Banerjee and Paul Bloom

Look Homeward, Reader (A Not-So-Young Audience for Young Adult Books) by Meg Wolitzer

And, of course, the oh-so handy Book Review section.  Always saved to read last and that's where I learn about new book titles and authors.  I add any "to-read" books to my Goodreads.com account, so that I don't forget.  I use that list to order from the library or buy from our local bookstore.

Have any of you read any of the Moomin comic strip series by Tove Jansson?  A friend gifted the first one to Grady over six years ago and it's a quirky, sweet, Scandinavian treasure.  You can read more about the author here in this New Yorker article from March 5, 2014.  The books are printed on creamy off-white paper and have the most beautiful (and colorful) bindings.  They are published by Drawn & Quarterly out of Montreal, Canada.

The characters are odd, sweet and have such an innocence to them.   They are always up for a little adventure and have a great love of food, as well as their family and friends.

You can find the books here on Abebooks.com for a steal.   I only recommend the comic strip series, as the little books of fiction have left us a bit underwhelmed and they lack the illustrations that make this series so very endearing.

Oh, and I just read about this Moomin: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition in stores now that has been published as a way to celebrate what would have been the author's 100th birthday!  I must add this to Grady's xmas list right this very second.

This is Grady's stack for the week.  He's been really into re-reading his Roald Dahl books, as well as some of the Nicholas series.

Have any of you read the Nicholas books?  They have the dreamiest, simple covers and black & white drawings.  Our first introduction to this book was from a friend who picked it up while thrifting.  What a wonderful, classic find.  

Here is the synopsis:

In France and Germany practically every child of seven and upwards knows the adventures of Nicholas. Written by the author of Asterix, Rene Goscinny, and with illustrations by New Yorker illustrator, Jean-Jacques Sempe, the five Nicholas books tell of the endearing exploits of the young French school boy and his chums. Available in twenty six languages and established as a literary cult figure, the sublimely innocent Nicholas has seduced millions of readers all over the world. Considered a classic and regularly used by primary and junior school teachers, these stories have the ability to delight both children and adults. Nicholas is the first of five titles to become available to English speaking children all over the world In some way similar to the cheekiness of Calvin and Hobbes and the innocence and naivete of characters created by the Italian film maker Roberto Benigni, Goscinny and Sempe have created a world of confusion that makes you chuckle out load. Written between 1959 and 1965 these classic books are continually reprinted around the globe and offer, not only an entertaining read, but a vivid description of French life and culture.

This series is over 50 years old and absolutely timeless.  I'd go for the simple covers and not the updated, cartoony versions.  Here are a few links from Abebooks.com.  All books written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempé.





All of these books are a pleasure to read aloud to your kiddo, too.


I've tried to get through this book.  Twice.  I finally gave up this time on page 133.  I'm sure this makes me some kind of Neanderthal, but I just could not get into the characters or settings.  I wanted to like them (and I did, kind of).  I wanted to care about their plot lines, but it was just too slow for me.  And, a little confusing about where everyone was from and where they were going and the politics and backstories that were inferred.  I just didn't get most of it and I finally set it aside last night.

My book club read this a few months back and most of our readers loved it.  They had a great discussion that, unfortunately, I had to miss.  I don't like to give up on a book, but I felt I had to with this one.


This is my husband's on-deck reading stack.  Wired magazines, 7x7 Magazine and a real estate periodical.  He did get a new pair of readers from Warby Parker that make him look extra smart (glasses at the top of photo).  He turned 50 this year and apparently needs TWO sets of readers now!  Just more things to keep track of, right?


Since I'm in a book lull right now, I'm digging into my stack of magazines on my nightstand.  I haven't read any magazines since August!  How could that be?  It's interesting how my reading habits have changed over the last year.  I jumped online last night after catching up on my bon appetits and Sunset magazines and cancelled my subscriptions.  I've subscribed for years, but since I started my NY Times subscription - I have more than enough to read about food, wine, travel, the arts.  I'm ready to let these go.

The Bay Nature magazine was a gift from a colleague that we have been receiving for years.  It has an abundance of local information about nature, trails, watersheds, conservancy efforts and beautiful hand-drawings of birds and plants.  I peruse through it and pass it on to Grady with an article or two marked for him to read.


This is Grady's desk and to-read stack of periodicals (the Turkey Vulture article should intrigue him). Steve signed up as a member of the Audubon Society and we have been receiving this magazine for about a year.  Grady used to really be into birding and drawing birds.  His interest has waned a bit over the past year, but he mostly enjoys looking at the images in this one.  

Fun fact:  Grady shares a birthday with John James Audubon.  April 26th.

Keith Haring, The Political Line exhibit is coming to the de Young Museum in San Francisco next week and I can't wait to go.  We watched a documentary a few years back about this artist and his graffiti-inspired drawings and murals reeled my son in.  I flagged the pages of the 7x7 November edition's article and told him that we would definitely go and see the show when it opened.  

"Touching people's lives in a positive way is as close as I can get to an idea of religion." - Keith Haring, July 1986

(Radiant Baby from Icons series)

"Radiant Baby" is one of Grady's favorite Haring pieces (above).

"An artist is a spokesman for a society at any given point in history.  His language is determined by his perception of the world we all live in.  He is a medium between 'what is' and 'what could be.'" - Keith Haring

So that's what we're reading and perusing this week in our household.  I love how reading spurs me into research; inspires me to make art or write words.  It also fosters discussions within our family, as well as pushes me expand my thoughts on the world-at-large.  

So, what are you reading?  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Privacy

Sitting in bed last night, I started thinking about why I haven't been writing in my One Line a Day Journal since the middle of summer.  It feels like I went on a quiet strike and subconsciously wanted to try and stop the marching on of time.  The jotting down of little quotes, soccer game scores, animal deaths on our street, and weather observations came to a screeching halt around the time we went to Alaska in August.  I've religiously kept this daily journal for over the past four years.  It is one of my most prized possessions and now I want nothing to do with it.  It's irrational to think that by ceasing to record our daily happenings it will somehow slow down time here in our household.  I know this and yet I can't bring myself to write in this journal any longer.  It makes me too nostalgic and sad for my son's younger years.
G's 11th birthday back in April 2014

I also noticed that I didn't do a birthday post for Grady's 11th birthday.  Or for my 44th birthday.  Both milestones I've happily recorded in the past.

So much has happened to me since my 43rd birthday post a little over a year ago.  That post was edited a wee bit and turned into an essay that appeared on Mamalode.com entitled Snap.  I started writing again and made this little blog public.  I signed up for Write Doe Bay, a writing/creative retreat, and attended same in April.  I've made dozens of new friends (a big surprise at my age).  I've been drawing every single day since January 1st of this year and stretched myself in so many new and invigorating ways.  So why wasn't I coming here to write all about it?


Two months ago, Grady started middle school and I recently made a vow not to write about him here on the blog, but I'm having a hard time.  He turned 11-1/2 years old yesterday (see, I'm already breaking my vow).  We marked the occasion by measuring his height on his door jamb (4' 9" to be exact).  A bi-yearly ritual that tracks his growth and stretches my heart during the small morning ceremony.  He grew an inch over the last six months.  He's also grown in so many other ways that cannot be ticked off with a big fat black Sharpie.  He's evolving and transforming into a young man right before my very eyes and, to be quite honest, it's a little hard to take.

Blogging about my days should naturally include my son, right?  It's hard to cut him out of my process, as he fuels me in so many ways creatively and as a human being.  I want to walk the walk in terms of putting myself out there, following through with an idea, taking chances with my art and life.  I want to find the beauty in every day and share ideas, images and feelings with others.  I want to be kinder, softer, more open to the world.  I want this for my son, too, and I want him to see me doing it in real time.

An old friend recently wrote to me and asked if my husband had died or if we divorced because she didn't see a mention of him in my recent blog posts.  This made me pause and think about why that is.  My husband is a private, introspective person.  He doesn't need bells and whistles on anything.  He isn't into social media and he's mildly confused by all of the sharing people (um, I mean, his wife) do on Facebook and other social media outlets.  He's pensive, thoughtful, intelligent.  So why do I give him the privacy he deserves, but yet I take Grady's privacy for granted?  Why is my life only worth sharing if I'm doing so through my lens as a mother?  I don't have answers for all of these questions, but I'm searching for them.

There's also the hypocrisy factor at play here.  I am adamant that my son can't be on social media, yet I share away on Instagram like it's feeding my soul.  Sure, I ask my son if it's okay to post a picture of him on there, but will he feel differently next month about it?  Next year?  Why do I need to share him via this outlet?  If I'm so sure that he can't handle the social media platforms right now, why am I drawn to it and inserting him at my own whim?  Shouldn't I be protecting him from all of this?  From what, exactly?  Again, no clear answers.

Will I have to abandon this space and start anew?  A move like that seems disingenuous to me and I'm working on having more real, authentic conversations and moments in my life, not less.   Would I act as though I have no family, when they give so much meaning to my existence?  These have been hard questions.  Lots of pondering and reflection, which is good stuff, too.

It's complicated, right?   Sharing images and pictures of my little boy seemed like a loving thing to do  when I started writing in this space and a way to honor and capture our lives as they were unfolding.  But now?  Now I'm not so sure.  Now it feels like I'm exploiting his privacy and over-sharing.  His peers could pop on over to this site and see things that might embarrass him at school.  As the days progress, he's getting older and pretty soon this will all matter to him in a way that it doesn't right now.

Having an only child is the choice we made for our family.  What started out as a happy surprise, has turned out to be my life's greatest gift.  I'm not being melodramatic here.  I mean it.  Being a mother is my nirvana and has opened up the way I see the world and interact with it.  Seeing how we're teaching him right from wrong gives me great pleasure and responsibility.  Exposing him to new authors, artists and music is fun.  Hearing his views on life and the natural world fills me up in a way I never would have known had we not had him.  Watching him try new sports or a math equation brings back a sense of wonder about the world that I kind of forgot about.

But isn't this his story to tell?  I'm not sure how to straddle both worlds and do it gracefully.  I'm torn between telling my story and honoring his.

It's no wonder I've noticed a lot of bloggers writing less and less as their children get older.  An imaginary line seems to have been drawn as the kids approach middle school and I didn't get it before, when my son was only a single digit in age.  I'm starting to get it now.

Documenting and list-making are my thing.  They give structure to my days and I get to act like an historian for our family.  I don't want to give that up.  After perusing my blog, I think I've landed on what I like about it and how I can morph the practice of writing into a small exercise in cataloging our lives in a way that respects the privacy of the two guys I live with.

What I've come up with is a little kick-start to my writing routine to help phase me out of writing about my kid in an overly sentimental and way-too-much-information kind of way.  I get a lot of satisfaction out of reading blogs written by women I respect and glimpsing their domestic lives.  I love recipe-sharing, simple DIY's, and lifestyle stories.

Therefore, I think I'm going to pop in here a few times a week to share what recipes were a hit in our household; what books or articles I read that I think my friends would like; and movies, too.  I'll also share what art projects or home renovations we're doing.  Design and thrifting are becoming passions of mine and I love the chance to reorganize and refresh a corner of my home.  I'm going to write what I know and what I like to read.

I guess I'm reorganizing & renovating this blog space in a way, too.  It's time.

I hope you'll follow along and let me know what you like to read here and any feedback you have about writing about your children and how you reconcile their privacy issues.  I have so many unanswered questions, but I truly look forward to the process it will take for me to figure out the answers.

That, my friend, is my real life right now and I'm slowly embracing it and trying to sort it all out.  Wish me luck.

Happy Monday, friends.
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