Those times when I feel like crawling underneath a rock and hiding from ugly things around us, I think of these girls, of the strong women who came before me and the courageous women who stand with me to fight through our current battles.
I can’t think of a world without women, can you?
Hey, are you guys still here? I know I’ve been away from this space for a little while. Just like everyone else, I needed a break from the constant Breaking News that’s become such a part of our daily lives. I thought, why add to the media clutter, right ? Then, I started thinking of how talking about simple beauty and blissful moments in our lives when the world seems to be so chaotic these days felt a little too self-indulgent.
And, yet, here I am, back in this old blog of mine. When I was away from here, I started missing a few things like taking photos and documenting trivial moments in life. I still have conflicted feelings about sharing life in such a public space but I find that I need this space for my own sanity. This place is where I define who I am and what matters to me and where I get to express myself creatively. This place is also where I hold myself accountable to live life with intent, beauty and joy.
A few snippets of what’s been going on in our lives lately…
- Celebrating a milestone birthday. We now have a teen in the house.
Cake made by Ines
- Enjoying the simple things like finding an old-fashioned independently-owned bookstore
- Going to the last Father-Daughter Dance in grade school
- Three times the charm, performing at this wondrous hall for the third time.
It’s getting harder every week to come to this space and blog about simple beauty and joy. What can I say? We simply don’t live in a time when we can be frivolous and go about our lives as if it were business as usual, oblivious to geo-political developments in the US and the world. No matter what our political inclinations are, there’s no way we can breathe easily these days. There’s just too much unrest and discord in the news and social media as well as daily conversations that we often just feel exhausted and a little depressed.
Yet it is during stressful times like the one we are in right now when we actually need more self-care, often in the form of simple joys. We still need to find a moment in our days when we can recharge — read books, go to yoga class, laugh with a friend, and go to our happy place. Because at the end of the day, no one will hand these things to us on a silver platter and tell us we deserve these pleasures. We must guard our simple joys zealously to keep going, to continue fighting and resisting, for the road ahead is long.
Personally, my simple joy and happy place is a museum, any museum. Seeing works from various artists and learning the process in which they create always give me tremendous joy and satisfaction. Last week, I went to the Met Breuer and checked out Kerry James Marshall’s exhibit before it closed. Marshall’s inspiration and approach to painting and his subjects are refreshing. In depicting African-American life in the US, Marshall used a painting style that was largely influenced by diverse styles from the Dutch masters to Jackson Pollock and Romare Bearden while adding a distinctive touch into the mix. The result is eclectic, diverse and full-bodied masterpieces that use classical methods while pushing the status quo.
What do you do to tend to your soul? I’d love to know…
I can’t believe that it’s already the third week in January. Life usually slows down a bit in January and February for us but I don’t think that will be the case in 2017. Our calendar is already quite full for the next few months with numerous commitments and obligations, many of which we cannot avoid unfortunately. A day at a time, a task at a time, be mindful, be in the moment. These are the words I easily say to myself but have a hard time adhering to.
Like everyone, I have good days and bad. As a parent of tween girls, I tend to have more of the latter, aka tumultuous and emotional roller-coaster type of days. How does any mother of tween/teen girls stay sane? You almost have to experiment in various forms of self help to get through these turbulent years.
What helps for now are talks with loved ones who always have my back as well as reading a few good books on parenting teens. In fact, there are two books that I have read recently that are so insightful on the subject — The Gift of Failure and Untangled. I have used some of the strategies recommended from these two books and can see a difference already in my relationship with my girls. So if you have a moment, do read at least one of these books. It may shed some light on how to parent your teen or at the very least reinforce what you already know but may have forgotten.
Here’s a little snippet of our lives as of late….
Brady turning one! Happy Birthday, Big Guy!
Some eye candy while getting ready for the upcoming Matisse show at Montclair Art Museum
Holidays may be over but not at Ines’ school where they sang holiday songs and played instruments last week
Loving C’s school as it reaches a milestone year in 2017. Way to go, Villa!
How’s 2017 treating you so far?
Life lately in 2016
The last week of 2016 is here! What a crazy year it has been with all the ups and downs in our everyday lives. As many variables and unknowns face us in 2017, I know one thing we’ll always have is the love of family and friends. I plan to hold on to those whom I cherish a little bit more in the new year and minimize any negative presence in my life. Life is just too short to bother with the trivial and unnecessary. The death of loved ones in the last few years along with those of singers and artists who were such a part of my childhood are simple reminders how fleeting our time on Earth is.
I am not sure yet what I want to do with the blog in the next year. A part of me wants to stop blogging with my girls getting older and the pull for them to live their own lives become stronger. Another possibility is that I continue writing in this space but focusing more on my own personal narrative (and less of theirs), knowing how much writing fulfills my soul. It’s doable but challenging given how much of my self-definition revolves around motherhood. Yet another option is to just focus on Instagram and let my photos there do the talking. An easier option but a bit limited as a communication outlet. What to do, what to do?
I want to share some photos from our Christmas in France at my in-laws this year. We have not spent Christmas here for five years so our visit was definitely long overdue. The girls have little cousins here now too so there is a stronger need to come to France for all of them to start building some memories and bond even just for a few days.
Have a great week!!!
Life lately in 2016
Wrapping up the year and getting our holiday groove on were the main focus of this past weekend. It was festive and heartwarming to be able to celebrate a great meal on Friday night with the girls’ French class, followed by a Saturday night piano recital and holiday meals with friends and family on Sunday. Sounds a bit jam-packed but only because we’re trying to see everyone before we leave for France.
I’m excited for the holidays. I’m hoping to unwind, unplug and take a few moments of reflection as we gear up for 2017. The beginning of the new year is always full of promise and I want to spend the next two weeks gathering my inner strength to prep for what lies ahead. But there’s a also a part of me that’s a bit melancholic as we say goodbye to another year, shedding part of ourselves as we get ready to move forward.
What are your holiday plans this year?
Look of exasperation as these girls won’t stop talking sometimes
Happy girls in the rain, waiting for Santa to come by
Talent show, brotherly love and competition
Life Lately in 2016
So I caught this stubborn cold and coughing bug that I’ve been fighting off this past week and it culminated into a full-blown laryngitis, hence reducing my ability to communicate dramatically this past weekend. It has not been fun, especially now during the holidays when I’m desperately trying to get things off my to-do list. A few nights this past week turned into 9pm bedtimes for me as I wrapped up the day feeling completely wiped-out and lethargic. As someone who’s used to caring for everyone else in the house, I found myself in an odd place of being the patient and not the nurse this time around.
The good news is that I am beginning to feel better. My voice is still a little raspy and I’m still coughing but I’m not as lethargic or weak as before. I just can’t believe there’s only two weeks left before Christmas. There’s much to be done but I’m looking forward to the school break, spending time with family and just changing the pace a bit. What are your plans for the holidays?
Here are some photos from this past week…
Waiting for her sister’s school Christmas concert to start
Life lately in 2016
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Yes, it is. Our house is decked out for the holidays, along with the appearance of several advent calendars and Ellie, our Elf on the Shelf. Holiday-related events have also started, kicking off with C’s guitar recital this past Sunday. We’re trying to make the most of the holiday merrymaking here before we leave for France. Part of me feels sad about not being home for the holidays but another part is really excited about spending the holidays in France with family, especially the girls’ little cousins, and seeing our house there at a different time of the year.
I am also starting to think of my goals for the next year. It has become a tradition for me to write down my goals this time of the year and start laying the groundwork for their achievement by year’s end. I don’t end up reaching all my goals by December but I find that crafting my yearly goals help me focus my time and energy on things that matter most. Do you have a similar ritual to usher in the new year? I’d love to know.
Have a great week!
This girl has only studied guitar for a year but she rocked her recital this past Sunday!
Life lately in 2016
As I’m writing this post’s title, I started to freak out a bit. I can’t believe that we only have four weeks left in 2016 and that the holidays are really upon us. This past week was a bit of a whirlwind between Thanksgiving and spending quality time with different family members and friends. It was a nice break from our usual routine.
But with all joy comes a bit of sadness, right? The happiness and holiday merrymaking this weekend was tinged with the sadness of an aunt’s passing on Thanksgiving Day. Her death just reminds me of how fleeting our time is here in this planet and brings me back to the reality that my parents are getting old. We are entering a new phase in our relationship that I’m not used to. To be honest, I don’t know how to parent my parents…that’s a major role reversal, isn’t it? Parenting my own kids is one thing but doing that to my own parents, who are notoriously stubborn, proud and independent, is another matter altogether. I suppose like with all loved ones, I’ll just have to learn to be there for them in their own terms, giving them some leeway to live their lives the way they want with dignity and pride. As any dutiful daughter, I will just have to wait for them to let me know when my help is needed. Of course, it’s easier said than done.
Have a great week!
Courtesy of Karen Zorn from Dulce Petit
Life lately in 2016
As we approach Thanksgiving this week, I start to ponder on the people, things and experiences that I am grateful for in my life. It has been a long year with some highs and a few lows. I am thankful for good health and that the girls continue to thrive. It’s a different journey now with Chiara and Ines taking the lead on most of their undertakings while I act simply as a monitor to make sure things flow smoothly. The process has not been easy, there’s a lot of letting go and blind faith on my part. But that’s what raising older kids is all about, isn’t it? I’m somewhat reassured by this passage I read in a book: “Let your children teach you who they are as they invite you to join in the discovery of their becoming.” It’s not easy for an alpha mom like me but I’m trying.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Some of the people and things I am thankful for…