Remember To Breathe

So the kiddos are home with me all week for Spring Break.  It's been SO nice not having to get up early, rush them to get their uniforms on, eat breakfast, brush their teeth and get in the car to get to school on time.

It's also been SO nice to not have any set plans and to do whatever we want, (like going to the playground, having playdates, driving down to the city to have lunch with D, eating snacks for breakfast, playing outside in the backyard and just doing absolutely nothing at home), whenever we want, without having to worry about homework and/or studying for tests to interrupt us. 

It's reminding me of the days when I was home with C all day before she started going to school full-time.  I remember those days so well, wishing she was in school so I could a get a break, but, now that she's in school, I miss those days of not having much of agenda and just playing and exploring our backyard together all day. :) 

But, with that, I'm also reminded of the intense emotions that come with everyone being home all day and night together. 

I had made the kids snow, AKA, Cream of Buckwheat, for breakfast, that they BOTH said they wanted.  

When I called them into the kitchen when it was ready, Luca looked at his plate and said, "I don't want snow!!! I want Lucky Charms!!!" and he started crying...LOUDLY!!!!

I asked him, "Do you want me to put them in the heart bowl?" 

He said, "NOOOOO!!!!! I want them on the Santa plate!!!!!!!" (Which was the same plate the Cream of Buckwheat was on)

Camille said, "I'll have mine in the heart bowl!" 

I gave her the bowl and she put her "snow" into it. 

Then the emotions went WILD!!!

Luca flipped and now wanted the heart bowl for his Lucky Charms.  The more I reminded him that he had said no to the heart bowl, the louder he cried and screamed.  

I've learned many times that when he gets like this, I just have to take a step back and let him cry. It's not easy for me, because my motherly instinct wants to dive in and help him, it's actually what I had to do with Camille to help calm her when she was upset like this at this age, but with him, he's the exact opposite. The more I interfere when he's extremely upset, the more upset he gets. 

Oh, and I forgot to mention, we only have one heart bowl. And when you live in a house with two little kiddos and there's not enough for each child....not good...at all. Oh gosh! ;) 

So while I was at the kitchen sink, washing all the dishes from breakfast, while he cried and screamed and cried and screamed, I immediately thought, "remember to breathe...remember to breathe...remember to breathe."

Even though his not-so-good emotions feel like the worst feelings in the world, make me want to run away as fast as I can (like to the pantry for a nice, big, chocolate bar that I can eat by myself!!) and have me wanting to figure out ways to help feel calm as fast as I can, I've realized that the best thing for me to do is to just take a step back and let him BE in his angry and upset emotion (as long as he's not hurting himself or anyone or anything else around him). 

This is SO hard for me to, but, I've come to learn, that when emotions get VERY intense like this, (which is many times through out the day and night...happy...mad...happy...mad...it's truly like being on rollercoaster ride), they are MY reminder to check-in with myself and breathe. 

Because when I do that, I embrace the uncomfortable, give it the loving nourishment that it needs by breathing through it, releasing it and then going back to loving life again.

Motherhood has truly taught me this. If I had never became a mom, I'm not sure if I would have ever been able to embrace emotions that feel so intense in this way.  

I know I would still be running very far away from them as fast as I could and continuing to stuff them down with all the chocolate and ice cream I could find in the pantry.  

I've learned that life isn't only full of happy and joy.  It's also very full of anger and sadness.

And, yes, happy and joy get lots and lots of love, but anger and sadness need lots and lots of love, too. 

Gosh, when I look at how I am as a mother to my kids when they're hurt, upset, angry or sad. I squat down to their level, wrap my loving arms around them with a great big hug, and without saying a word to them, I comfort them through those big, intense emotions they're experiencing, until they calm and say, "I feel better now" and they're off again joyfully playing and enjoying life, until five minutes have passed and it's time for another round of comforting hugs again. Ha! :) 

So I have to remind myself, every single day, that instead of wanting to run away and trying to always figure out something to say to make things better as fast as I can, that, just like what I do for my kiddos, I have to do the same for myself when times FEEL very, VERY, intense, to embrace those emotions that I've learned to label as "bad" with some nice calming breaths (and a great big hug, too!). 

This isn't easy to do, especially when I'm deep in those moments that feel oh, so tense.

But, I'm happy to say, that more and more, I AM reminding myself, when my kiddos cry and fight, even over the smallest things (she won't play with me, he won't give my toy, she said she doesn't like me anymore, he hit me, she won't let me wear her princess dress....) to breathe through it all and not run away as fast as I can.

Hence the kitchen sink moment where I told myself, "remember to breathe!" Ha!  

Yes, I still have bumps in the road and I still want to run away as fast as I can when I feel the intense emotions scattering through me. But, just like always, I'm reminded again, that the more I pick up my markers and paints and camera, the more my mind is able to remind me of this. 

I'm learning (and still learning...baby steps!) that there IS so much beauty and life lessons that can be found in times that seem to be the most uncomfortable of all.  

And if I continue to run away from them and continue to label them as "bad," I'll never learn or see or feel the lesson, the beauty and the love that does comes through. 

So, until next time (and for as long as I can remember!)...

I'll be reminding myself "to breathe" through it all (the good and the bad...the comfortable and the uncomfortable...the calm and the tense...the pretty and the ugly...the yum and the yuck...the smiles and the frowns...and so much more!). 

 

Why do I doodle? Because it easily calms my mind and soothes my soul so when life feels tough, I can remind myself to breathe love through it all (something that's hard to do when my mind is running five miles ahead or behind the present moment).  

Rise and Shine

On this beautiful day, I'm reminded that all the darkness in my life has every right to BE here, because it's this darkness that teaches me lessons and connects me even more to WHO I am and what I love and that no matter how gloomy it may seem to get, and no matter how much I think the gloom is "bad" and no matter how many times I want to run as fast as I can from it, it always, ALWAYS, shows me that I rise and shine through it all (even in ways I could never, ever imagine!).

Happy Easter, friends! 

 

Until next time....

Why do I doodle? Because it easily calms my mind and soothes my soul so I can not only embrace the light, but the dark as well...because without the dark, I'd never know what LIGHT is (something that's hard to do when my mind is running five miles ahead or behind the present moment).  

 

When Mom Life Gets Tough...Light Always Wins

When I saw that Michelle Ward was going to be interviewing Alexandra Franzen, I just knew I needed to listen in.

I absolutely LOVE both women! They're both SO inspiring.  Something that has inspired me recently is how Alexandra has a thriving online copyright business without being on any social network platforms. This is something I've been slowly trying to pursue.  

Her social media posts speak to my soul and have inspired me to do the same, because it's something I've been asking myself for a long time...can I blog without using social media, because social media just doesn't feel good to me anymore. I'm happy to say that now that I've revived my blog, I'm even more inspired to get off social media...but it's been baby steps for me, because life is truly SO much better off of it.  Alexandra's words say it way better than I can. Check her thoughts out on this here and here

And even if you're not into reading her posts about social media, you gotta read everything else she writes about.  Oh, gosh, so much inspiration!! Check her out here

During the interview, Michelle and Alexandra were talking about obstacles with feeling stuck or unmotivated or just telling yourself, "this sucks!" when it comes to doing work you love and want to pursue.

What struck me the most was when Alexandra said, "There's something inside of you that is stronger than any obstacle." (or something along those lines...I'm paraphrasing her here with what I wrote down very quickly in my notes)

Then she said, "I'm made of star dust. I can handle this. I can handle this obstacle!" 

OH MY GOSH did I NEED to hear those words! I immediately connected with how I've been as a mom when times get tough. And, let's just say, not good! 

Like, last Friday night, while eating at the Mellow Mushroom with my little family, I was SUPER tired.  I was EXHAUSTED because not only was I being a mom, I was also being a teacher by helping C with her homework and helping her study for the one or two tests she was having every single day of the week (except for Monday) and, on top of that, Aunt Flo was coming any day now.  

OH YEAH!! FUN FUN! 

So when we were all sitting down together as a family and Luca didn't want to sit still and he kept getting up and D was getting mad at him and I had to snag him up and sit him on my lap to help calm things down, but he wasn't having it and he kept trying to get away while saying that he didn't want to eat or even be there while I chowed down my Caesar salad as fast I could (because it was SO good!) and then walked him outside, but when we came back, he still wasn't having it, and the hubs and I were still very frazzled and tense because he was causing a scene, I scarfed down a few bites of the pizza once it came (I didn't like it, so that was a plus!) and then took his hand and walked him out to the car so he could move all over the place without bothering anyone...

I could NOT handle it!!!!

Heck, whenever I'm exhausted and depleted from motherhood, I can't handle it.  And I make sure to always let everyone in my household know it. OMG!  And, yes, this is why I doodle! I don't want to always be this way, but, I'm human and it happens...a lot! 

And wouldn't you know, while all this was going on inside the restaurant, Luca said to D, "I can't handle it!" 

Any guesses of who he got that from???? OMG!!! (as I put my head down in shame)

So when I heard Alexandra's words, I was like, OH MY GOSH!! What a GREAT WAY to look at this and what a GREAT WAY to turn this around...quickly!!  

Yes, I really hate dealing with my kiddos meltdowns. They frazzle me like no other and to me, it's the hardest thing about being a mother.

Especially after a long day of mothering (without any help for the past 7 years!) and the evening rolls around and the hubs starts to discipline differently than I do and the kiddos don't like it and they're crying to me that "Daddy's not letting me do this or that!!!" I get FRAZZLED and I feel DEPLETED and I just want to run the other way and find a nice cozy and quiet place to hide and BE alone!! 

So, reading these words about judgment on Alexandra's blog....

“Believe in yourself. There is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”
–Christian D. Larson

There is something inside you that is stronger than even the harshest piece of criticism, stronger than the meanest blog comment, stronger than the hate-iest piece of hate mail. You have that strength inside of you.

You’re going to be judged, and…

You’re going to survive.

I thought to myself even more of how much this relates to myself as a mom, and that yes, every single time these uncomfortable moments happen, I do survive. (uh...hello labor!!)

And that yes, I DO have strength and LIGHT inside of me that IS stronger than any uncomfortable challenge that I'm facing and wanting to run away from.

And that yes, I have to remember this when I'm in those moments that seem SO intense and FRAZZLE me like no other.  

Toddler and young kiddo emotions are the most intense emotions I've ever encountered.
I've never battled this much with anyone in my entire life. Oh my gosh.  Yes, I'm SO grateful for my kiddos, but yes, it's exhausting and can be SO, very, uncomfortable at times. 

And because of that, I felt compelled to doodle an uplifting affirmation to help me connect to my inner strength when times get tough. 

And 'light wins' came up! 

I've always loved, love always wins, but, in this case, I want to be reminded that I CAN DO THIS...I CAN HANDLE THIS, in a quick and uplifting way.

Because, YES, my LIGHT always WINS...no matter how tough it gets...no matter how fast I want to run away and be alone....no matter how loud my kiddos are screaming at me and no matter how badly I want to yell out, "I CAN'T HANDLE THIS!"

So when I'm about to do into the crazy moments, I can quickly remember....LIGHT WINS!!! LIGHT WINS!!! LIGHT WINS!!!

And the best part of all, I'm now taking this into every area of my life beyond motherhood.

Well, trying to. It's not easy to just switch from one mode to the other, but it's nice to now be SO very aware of my actions and words.  So this is baby steps for me, but I'm happy to have these little reminders in my busy mama life now. 

Life will always be full of challenges and obstacles, but just like love always wins, my inner light always wins, too.  I just have to remember this when I'm in the thick of it all, which isn't easy to do. 

Because just like love, once I dive into the dark struggle and dark obstacles (without running from them), light ALWAYS shines through.

Thank you Alexandra and Michelle for sharing this with me (and the rest of the world!). You have changed my outlook on the not-so-fun things in life forever and have reconnected me back to my light in a whole new way.

I'm now a better mom for it. 

Like, when my kiddos were fighting with each other over Cinderella shoes the other day, I went right in, saying "I CAN HANDLE THIS!!" 

And now, with my new doodle, right after I tell myself, "I CAN HANDLE THIS!!" I'm repeating to myself, "light wins....light wins...light wins!" as I run toward the challenge or obstacle! LOL! 

Oh....thank you, thank you, thank you for this!!!  It truly was the best interview ever!! :)

 

Until next time...

why doodle? because it easily calms the mind and soothe's the soul so you CAN HANDLE life's toughest moments with all the LIGHT that shines through YOU (something that's hard to do when your mind is running five miles ahead or behind the present moment).  

Weekend Savors | Food, Animals, DIY, Play + Reading

Because the week is filled with hectic schedules and not as much family time as I'd like, I love love LOVE to savor our family togetherness through the lens on the weekends. This is the most special time because we're all together the entire weekend and being with my family (and capturing it all) is my number one passion of all.  (all photos taken with iPhone and edited with the Adobe Photoshop Express app)

 

Friday, I had to run to the store to pick up dog food to donate to the Animal Shelter the next day.

I walked by these two HUGE butterfly balloons and HAD to get them for the kiddos. 

Luca is SO into butterflies right now because he's learning all about them at school. So, yeah, saw these babies and snatched them up. 

It was fun to see the kiddos reaction when they got home from school and saw them in their room. I forgot to capture it. Ha! 

When D got home from work, I told him that I was SO tired and wanted him to DO everything that night. So, he decided, "lets go out for pizza!"

And off to the Mellow Mushroom we went.  

The kids LOVED all the fun things inside the restaurant. 

But, little guy was NOT having a good time and didn't want to sit down at all, so I ate my salad and pizza as fast as I could and brought him out to the car, where he drove me to all kinds of fun places. Ha! 

We've started venturing out to more sit down restaurants more with him, but, still, we just never know what we're gonna get. So, yeah, we're still in the phase of going out to eat to places that don't require a lot of time to order and get our food (Panera, Five Guys, Chipolte, Which Which, Chik Fil A, and whatever else falls under that umbrella).  

Then on our drive home, I savored the view that was happening behind us, while, honestly, wishing for the days when we can all sit together at a restaurant and enjoy a nice, SLOW, family dinner from start to finish.  

Ahhhhh....one day! :) 

The next morning, I took C to Brownies where her troop brought in donations to the Animal Shelter and were given a tour of the animals and the facility. 

They all LOVED the cats. 

Especially, C. 

And, they all LOVED the dogs, too! :) 

And one of our Girl Scout friends even adopted a puppy, too! Yay!

As for us, it's still not time yet to add any furbabies to our family.  Once Luca gets a little older.

But as of now, I just wouldn't be able to give to the dog as I'd like. But, gosh, I wish I could do it sooner than later....C really misses Rusty (we all do!) and she just loved all those animals. 

We stopped at Michael's to pick up some fabric markers and she went to town with some of her clothes! 

I just LOVED what she created! 

The next day, we went to see Beauty and the Beast at her school. Oh gosh, I love doing this every year.  The 3rd-7th graders ALWAYS blow me away with their talent. And this year, just absolutely outstanding!! 

The kids LOVED it and kept wanting their picture taken.  Yeah, and that one on the right...he doesn't stay still for long. Ha! :) 

Then we came home and relaxed before we all had to start the new week today. 

As I was uploading all my pictures from the weekend, Luca and D feel asleep on the couch and she sat by me on the couch, reading her book out loud.  I had to capture it and add it to my savors, because it was bringing me SO much JOY listening to her read with SO much JOY. 

In my opinion, this was the perfect way to end the weekend. :) 

 

SO TELL ME...

What did you SLOW DOWN + SAVOR this weekend?

Until next time...

Life IS so, so good...even when it can involve a 4 year old who doesn't want to sit like an adult and eat food at a restaurant...;)...SAVOR it up!

Breathe + Believe (In the Creative Process, Too!)

I'm SO excited to be creating my uplifting word doodles again, but I have to tell you, when a word comes to me (which haven't been coming as frequently as they used to, more on that below) and I get some time to sit down and write it out, my left-brain is in FULL AFFECT.

If you're not sure what that means, let me show you. 

When I first sit down to write a word, I always write it out on blank sheet of printer paper.  I like to kinda get a visual for how I want it to look.

I don't use rulers or sketch it out in my art journal and then trace it with my sharpie after or do anything to help me get it to look perfect.

I just LOVE to freehand it all (even if it means going through a ton of paper in my art journal), because for me, when I set "rules" around it, it doesn't FEEL calming for me.  

I don't doodle to create a certain outcome or to make it look perfect (although at times, it can come across that way, or my mind can make me think it's for that way...more below on that).

I doodle to CALM my mind, but, I do like to get a visual before I move over to my mixed media art journal.

Here's a few that I did, and yes, I could go through a bunch of these before moving on, especially when I'm deep in left-brain land, which you're about to see below.  OMG! Just wait till you see...LOL!! 

The bottom, left felt GOOD to me, so I aimed to do something like that in my art journal. 

OH and I left out the most important part...I started this around 6 pm in the evening.  I had just finished a full day of mothering with my 4 yo home all day with me...had just cleaned up dinner, did homework, got lunches ready for the next day, got backpacks ready and uniforms out and all the other stuff we mama's do for our kids and husband. 

So this was AMAZING!!! I got to sit down in a quiet house and CALM my mind!! BEST EVER!!!

So I started doodling away...but, my left-brain, (ya know, the side that IS super analytical and LOVES to tell you when you don't like something), did NOT like that way that "h" was looking, so I started again. 

And, again and again and again and again.

My left-brain was SO stuck on that "h" and then I started to write "believe" instead of breathe. What!?

I'd start to FEEL my flow and it would feel OH, SO GOOD (hello, right brain!), but then my left-brain would kick in again...telling me now the "e" looked horrible. So I started again...which, again, the "h" wasn't right. 

I tried it again...still not diggin' that "h." But, then I started to get in the flow....ahhhhhh!! But, gosh darn it, my left-brain just couldn't stop it with that "h." OMG!!

And it just kept getting worse and worse.  The "e's" were too small with their loops, the "t's" started getting out of the control and that dang "h" again. UGH!!!!

Until finally, I started getting somewhere. YESSSSSSS!!

The tracing always FEELS SO GOOD and I could tell I just wanted to get into my right brain flow.  And it was really trying to make its way through, because I just wasn't giving up.

But then, after I traced and traced, my left-brain still was in control. 

Although, when I look at it now, I'm not really sure what it was seeing, but for some reason, it wasn't happy and it was still telling me to "try again." 

The more I tried, the more it wasn't working and the more I'd tell myself... 

"Renee, just stop and come back to it another time. You're too deep in a mental, left-brain funk right now and your left-brain does NOT want to let go." 

But, I just didn't want to stop.  Because I LOVE LOVE LOVE calming my mind with these words and I could feel it within me of how much I really wanted to do this for myself. I was CRAVING it! 

And now that I'm starting to allow myself to sit down again, I so want to be back in this calming flow, like I used to be. Words would come to be all the time and as soon as I'd sit down, I'd be writing and tracing and painting and photoshopping and sharing.  I realized how much I've miss this calming, creative and uplifting flow and I seemed to have lost it. 

So the more I tried, the more I found something wrong, like that first "e"..uh, way too big now! Ha! 

Until, finally I made it through! But when I added in the word "and" I smeared it all over the page with my hand by accident. 

O M G !!!!!!!!!

So I stopped for the night and went back to my mom duties of brushing teeth and reading bedtime stories and I figured I'd try again the next day, since it's my day when both kids are in school all day. 

The next morning, I decided to paint. I've been craving time to get back into this, too, so I thought since my mind is SO crazy with my uplifting words, maybe it just needs some mindless-painting fun to help calm it down. 

Because mindless-painting ALWAYS has this amazing way of calming my left-brain down
and letting my right brain shine through! 

I was excited to paint my flowers.

When I'm deep in my left-brain and it's been a very long time since I've painted, I always start with something I don't have to "think" much about and what I know will calm my mind the "fastest," which is doodle flowers! 

So as the blue was drying, I had a canvas that I painted purple many months ago (or maybe even a year ago...my mama brain has no clue) and decided to just do my curlie-cue's.  

Oh gosh, this felt GOOD!! 

As I started to get in the flow (see, that mindless painting easily gets ya in that flow...love it SO much and need to do more of it!), I began to have this HUGE craving to get back to my breathe and believe doodle. 

So that's what I did! 

And wouldn't ya know, I did it all in one-go-a-round....from start to finish...from the marker to the color...on my first try! Woooootothehooooooo!!! 

And, yes, this is what it looks like before I play with it in Photoshop, which I have SO much fun doing!!

And this is what it looks like after! So fun!! 

But, this process has been SO interesting.  

It made me think about how far I've come with blossoming my inner, creative self in this mindless, calming way. 

When I first started coloring again, like I did as a kid, I hadn't picked up a crayon in YEARS.  And, I also never thought of myself as CREATIVE. 

I was sleep deprived while navigating my way into my new life as a mom (C had just turned 1).

I'll never forget the thoughts my left-brain was telling me the first day I sat down to mindlessly, color this almost seven years ago.  

And, yes, this IS how I started...nothing like what I do now (that's what happens when you let your right brain come out and play again! Woohoo!

2017-03-31_0035.jpg

Oh, it was having a field day. 

  • "What are YOU doing, Renee!?" 
  • "You're not a kid anymore...you do NOT COLOR!!" 
  • "You have SO many other important things you NEED to be doing right now...laundry, blogging, getting your business up and running, cleaning, getting dinner ready, reading a book, watching TV, taking a nap....NOT coloring!!" 
  • "YOU aren't even CREATIVE! You suck at coloring! Just look at what you're doing....it's awful." 
  • "Um, WHY are you doing this again!?" 
  • "You're not in high school anymore...you don't NEED to be bubble writing words!" 

Oh, the fun it was having and boy did I want to listen (and, heck, I can still listen to it today), but something deep within me kept me there coloring away. Because, for the first time, I FINALLY felt the calm, happy and rejuvenated feelings I'd been searching years for, by just playing with color like this. 

So, after going through my breathe + believe doodle funk, I realized, that yes, my funk is still there.

But, instead of my left-brain telling me to stop and go do more important "adult" things, I'm now struggling with how to find the time to DO all the creative things that bring me my most inner calm and joy during my busy mama days. 

I want to paint, I want to photograph, I want to write my uplifting words, I want to write in my JOY journal and color it and share it, I want to paint and color with my kids more, I want to dive back into my photography classes and start learning again, I want to make videos for my doodles and my paintings, I want to capture moments that I love with my camera more, I want to blog more, I want to create more free stuff for my website, I want to create more ecourses and programs, I want to be an inspirational creativity calms coach to moms like me, I want to bring mindless, creativity into the education system, I want to connect with other creatives and photographers, I want to do yoga and mediate, I want to journal, I want to get out in nature, I want to dance, I want to take hot baths, I want to go get a message, I want to cook and bake more...and SO much more! 

My right brain mind is SO lit up, but now I'm struggling to find the the time in my busy mama life to do it all. 

So instead of my left-brain telling me that "I'm NOT creative" and that "I'm an adult so that means you don't color or paint or do anything fun like a kid anymore," and me continuing to live my life believing those words and that I had not ONE creative bone in my body.

I now want to confidently DO all the things that make me feel excited like a kid again and just don't know which one to start with first (because I wish I could do them all, all day long! Ha!) 

So when I finally allowed myself to sit down and create again, I dove back in FAST and was SO ready to pick up where I left off. 

But what I realized when I was painting, is that I have to start out slow...let my left-brain slowly unwind (by just painting all the white blue and painting a flower that will easily calm me...or even curlie-cue's, too, because those are another ultimate mind calmer for me).

And once my mind balances between left and right brain hemispheres (instead of the left-brain being in control and getting all the love and nourishment...yes, to-do list, i'm talking to you!!), my inner calming, creative JOY flow will shine through. 

And that's when I realized...

"Oh yeah! I remember now!! I do the same thing with my word doodles...if it's been awhile, and I'm in a major left-brain funk, I always start out with the word, love...even if that means I spend days doodling it over and over again!" 

And that's what I ended up doing to easily let my inner, creative calm and joyous self flow again.

Ahhhhhh! SO NEEDED! 

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm always going to get in creative funks like this again. It's not like, oh, once I tap into my right brain once, I'll always flow.

But, ya know that saying about the more you do something new, the easier it gets, well it's true, with creativity and anything else you love to pursue in life.

The longer you step away from it, the longer it may take to get back in the flow. But the coolest thing I'm learning is that if you really truly LOVE it and it really truly brings you JOY, no matter how long it's been since you've connected with it, it will flow through you again!

The more I do it, the easier it gets! Just like with anything in life.

And, here's proof.

Remember my cray cray doodle? 

 

CrayCray2-500.jpg

I had a little bit of left-brain funk going on, but no where near as much funk as I was having my breathe and believe doodle. 

Life isn't perfect and neither is the creative process.  And when it comes to doing anything in life, there will be days when the flow seems easy to get to and some days when the flow seems impossible to find.

But just because on that day the flow wasn't easy to find, it doesn't mean you suck at it and that you should just give up and do more important "adult" things, it just means, hey, take a break, breathe and believe that if it's something you truly LOVE and want to pursue, it will eventually flow. 

Now this I know for sure, because, yeah,  I'm living proof of it! Ha!

So, if you're anything like me and you've tried EVERYTHING to calm your mind (like yoga, mediation, whole foods, walks in nature, alone time, etc...which area all great by the way!) and you're still struggling OR you have this deep, inner craving to do something more creative, more hands-on, but you're not sure what.

Pick up some Crayola crayons and start coloring and doodling like you did when you were a kid.

Not sure what to color? I'm sure you've bubble lettered your name before, right? Try that! 

Or just get a coloring book and start there. 

The more you color, the more you're right brain will come through and before you know it you'll be filled with SO many ideas on how to creatively calm and ignite your JOY that you'll be like me, struggling to find time to do them all and fit them into your busy mama life. 

Oh, and next time, I'll be sharing the reasoning behind why I chose to doodle the words "breathe and believe." 

So be on the look out for that.  It's an awesome one and I can't wait to share!! 

 

Until next time....

why doodle? because it easily calms the mind and soothe's the soul so YOU can easily reconnect back to your inner CALM, JOYous and CREATIVE self (something that's hard to do when your mind is running five miles ahead or behind the present moment). 

My Mama Life Is Cray Cray

I always love it when C comes home from school saying all the cool things kids say these days.

Like this one, "cray cray." 

When she got in the car after picking her up from school and she said with the biggest smile on her face, "Riley was acting SO cray cray at PE today!"

I couldn't help but giggle.

When she says words like this that I already know, I play dumb and I ask her, "So, what does cray cray mean?"

And she responds, "Crazy, mom! Crazy! She was running around all over the place laughing and singing and going crazy. It was SO funny!"

And I say, "Oh..that's right! Crazy!" as I'm smiling away. 

Thank goodness this one was an easy one to figure out...the older I get, the more I have NO idea what the kid lingo is these days.  I sure hope she will happily tell me her lingo like this as she grows up. Ha! :) 

But, even though I'm smiling big, I can't help but think if I should tell her how sometimes her and her brother drive me CRAY CRAY.

Especially when...

  • They're fighting over her Cinderella shoes...like screaming and fighting and yelling and crying and hitting for like 30 minutes because she won't let him wear them, when two years ago, she happily allowed him to and now he doesn't understand WHY she won't let him wear them anymore.
  • We're getting ready for school in the morning and they're yelling and screaming and fighting because sister is standing on brother's stool.
  • They both get to pick out a new toy at the same time because they both earned it and once we get home they're crying and upset because they didn't realize how cool the toy their sister or brother got was and that toy is now WAY better than the one they picked it out and they continue cry and say their upset because the want the SAME toy sister or brother got. 
  • They come running up to me and tattle-tale on the other every second.
  • They get SO mad at me when I won't let them take a bath together because if I do, they'll go CRAY CRAY with excitement and start thinking the bath is a pool and the entire bathroom will be soaked and I have NO desire or energy to clean it all up. 

And so on! 

Yes, my mama life can be CRAY CRAY in the most exhausting way these days, but thank goodness my kiddos remind me that there's more JOY cray cray in my very busy and very CRAY CRAY mama life!

Like listening to my daughter telling me her friend was acting cray cray at school and it was making her laugh and smile! Hearing her JOY always fills me with JOY! 

And even though it feels like there's more CRAY CRAY in my mama life that makes me want to run far far away to the most secluded island I can find, I still wouldn't have it any other way. 

This CRAY CRAY mama life keeps me on my toes, exhausts me, but also helps me BE oh, so grateful for all the JOY moments that easily melt the CRAY CRAY away. 

Like when I tell my kiddos to do Eskimo noses without smiling or laughing after they've both fought and have said sorry to each other (which I owe to my hair stylist for that one...her mom had her do that with her brothers and I loved it and had to use it!) and I'm watching you both trying NOT to giggle and laugh and then you run off playing happily together again ALWAYS makes me smile and melts my mama stress away, that is, until 5 minutes later, you're back to fighting again! Ha!

I'm SO grateful for my busy mama life...even if there are days that feel just a little bit more CRAY CRAY than others. And what I know for sure, I can't see, feel or have JOY without the CRAY CRAY! ;) 

 

Until next time...

why doodle? because it easily calms the mind and soothe's the soul so YOU can easily melt away the CRAY CRAY and focus on the JOY more (something that's hard to do when your mind is running five miles ahead or behind the present moment). 

Feelin' Groovy

In honor of getting my creative GROOVE back, I just had to doodle this! Woohoo!!

Words can't describe how excited I am to finally be getting myself back to mindlessly, creating again. It's been SO long...that even the words I've been telling myself for months...."You gotta doodle, Renee!....You gotta pick up your camera again, Renee!" just didn't seem to help. 

Because, yeah, my left-brain to-do's are so much easier to focus on instead.  Thank you left-brain for making it SO hard to just start...NOT! Ha! 

Isn't it crazy that even though I know what's best for me...what will bring me JOY...what will balance me...what will rejuvenate me...what will make me SMILE big...what will connect me to what I love...what will help me think more positively....what will lift me UP...what will help me BE more present...what will help me BE who I want to BE in the world...that I still struggle to allow myself to do it!! Ahhh...#adulting!! 

Seriously, though, it FEELS amazing to BE doing this again.  I absolutely LOVE sitting down and tracing a word like this over and over again...and then adding color to it and playing with it on Photoshop...pure JOY!!

Joy that I never knew existed until I started coloring and doodling six years ago to calm my mind....because yeah, if you read my story, you know I grew up thinking, "I AM NOT CREATIVE!" 

I'm SO grateful that even though it's been SO long, I can pick up right where I left off...like with an old friend I haven't seen in years, but when I finally do meet up, it's just like old times...I'm laughing, smiling...feeling happy tingles as we talk...with no sense of all those years being away from each other for SO long...
oh, I love that SO much!

So, why on earth would I NOT want to make myself sit down and immerse myself in my JOY?!

Dang left-brain!  The side that's SO easy to continue to focus on and let control my life.

Not cool, left-brain!! Not cool!! 

Thank goodness that it doesn't take much for my right-brain to take over when I give it some mindless-creative fun to play with. And the coolest part of all, my motivation to create more JOY skyrocket's and I handle all those mundane and sometimes very stressful and exhausting left-brain to-do's with a lot more patience and ease (and yes, I'll still have meltdown's...but just not as much!) 

Doing this ALWAYS brings ME back to ME and who I am and what I LOVE and all of that stays with me throughout my days even when I'm NOT mindlessly, creating and dealing with sibling fighting and trying to get my kiddos to school on time and SO much more! 

And that's oh, SO groovy, man! SO groovy!! :) 

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm SO thankful for my left-brain...it keeps me out of trouble, it gets me up in the morning, it helps me get my kiddo's to school on time, but when it doesn't get a much needed, rejuvenating break, that's when I feel OH, SO STRESSED!

My right brain NEEDS lots of lovin' too! It's like Yin and Yang...you can't have one without other.  And for me, the way to easily get that true left-right brain balance (that true LIFE balance!), I have to creatively tap into my right brain...daily! 

It's the only way I've found to EASILY calm my left-brain stress, ignite my JOY and let my "all is well in the world, man" right brain thoughts out.  And when that happens, I handle #adulting and #parenting SO much better!!

And I've tried it all (yoga, organic foods, slow walks in nature, mediation)...
you can read more about that here!

Which IS exactly how I want to BE in my life!  

Life really IS so much better when my left AND right brain get the nourishment that it needs and I'm stickin' to it...no matter what my left-brain to-do list says!! ;) 

And, yeah, I preach this all the time, but, I, too, fall off the creative wagon
and I, too...NEED this reminder...daily! :)

 

Until next time...

why doodle? because it easily calms the mind and soothe's the soul so YOU can connect back to YOU and what YOU love not matter how hard #adulting may be (something that's hard to do when your mind is running five miles ahead or behind the present moment). 

Weekend Savors | Keepin' It Real

Because the week is filled with hectic schedules and not as much family time as I'd like, I love love LOVE to savor our family togetherness through the lens on the weekends. This is the most special time because we're all together the entire weekend and being with my family (and capturing it all) is my number one passion of all.  (all photos taken with iPhone and edited with the PicTapGo app)

For weeks now, we've been planning on taking the kiddos to the Bug Zoo (AKA The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium) down in the city.

Back in February, Luca had an ear infection that ended up having him take three different kinds of meds to finally help it go away. (which all occurred when D was away for work for 3 weeks...oh man!)

Well, Luca is four and he HATES medicine.  So it was a crazy time for us to have to switch meds three times and trying to get them all down. (not fun...at all!)

Well...he did it! And because of that, we told him he could decide what he'd like for a special treat.

Hatchimal's are still on their way (we keep telling him (and C!) that they're still sold out everywhere...shhh!!), but...he really wanted to go to the Bug Zoo to see the butterflies. 

It's all he's been talking about for weeks!

After all this time, we finally figured out that this weekend would work for us to go. 

When we first got there, we had some excited kiddos! 

Then Luca saw the millipede's and the centipede and got a little freaked out. C on the other hand...loved every bit of them! Ha! (Luca's face in the first picture...absolutely jaw dropping! LOL! Priceless!)

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After watching C touch them and hold them, he finally got brace and touched it for a second. Then he was done.  Ha! 

Then when we approached the underground area, which is more like a play area for the kids, that consists of a big worm and a spider that jumps out from the wall and is kinda dark, C ran right in, but Luca...nope...he wanted NOTHING to do with it. 

After he ran back to me, we found a better place where he felt more comfortable...their favorite (and mine, too!)...the beetle bug! 

We moved on to the alligators, which he saw something (I can't remember what!) that truly caught his eye and made his jaw drop. LOL! 

Until he was ready to move on a second later because he WANTED TO SEE THE BUTTERFLIES!! (Lemme tell ya...we zoomed through this place in like 5 minutes so we could get to them for him...LOL!) 

We zoomed through with one stop for a fun put the honey in the honey pot game. 

Until, FINALLY...we made it! 

BUTTERFLIES!! 

That ended up freaking him out and he wanted to leave right away!! (If you look closely, you can see three butterflies flying right by Camille...so fun!) 

Again, Camille LOVED it, but Luca, he needs a little bit more time.  When he was younger, if a fly zoomed by him, he'd scream and cry. He hates it! 

So when the butterflies flew by him, he just wasn't having it.  I think it reminded him of those crazy flies.  I tried to tell him that butterflies are nice and won't bite or harm him, but he just couldn't stay in there with them flying around him

Poor little guy! 

So we head out the city streets on a mission to get Camille her first taste of beignets from Cafe Du Monde. (She had them when she was younger, but doesn't remember them.)

We had to walk a bunch of blocks and we got see all the fun beads in the trees. 

But once we got to Cafe Du Monde it was packed! It looked like Disney World with two lines going down the street. 

Out of all the seven years we lived here, we've never seen it THAT packed.  I'm owing it all to St. Patrick's Day weekend. 

But, boy, we ended up having two upset kiddos who basically spent the entire walk whining (one had to go potty very badly and wanted a toy from the gift shop and the other was complaining that she was SO hungry and her legs and feet couldn't walk anymore and she NEEDED to sit!!)

Once we made it to the potty for little guy, she sat on the step looking like this (with her hand on her tummy b/c she was SO hungry and she said she felt like she was at school when she has to wait for lunch time)...

I told her she has her, "the beignet line is too long" face on and then two seconds later she got beads and a stuffed animal from some nice people walking by.

She still wasn't happy. But, she has every right not to be, because just like Luca waited for weeks to go see the butterflies, she was waiting for weeks for beignet's.  

Luckily, her and Luca don't have school this coming up Friday and I told her I'd take them then, which helped the situation.  Phew! 

D and I then proceeded to Johnny's to get a Muffuletta, one we haven't had since we first moved here and really want again before we move this summer, but...

The kiddos were a mess, which then had us a mess and the whole entire time just became a mess...

So we headed to the car, drove home and went to Chipolte. 

Oh man...I wish we could have had that Muffuletta, but when things start to turn sour, and it's just not getting better and we're all losing our patience, the best thing to do is just leave. 

Once we were all settled in the nice, cool car, it was like no one was upset at all. Ha! 

Gotta love it! 

When you have little kiddos, you can plan something, but honestly, you never know how it's gonna go, so you always gotta be prepared for changes. Always! :) 

But, I'm still glad I was able to savor the little bit of time we had together at the Bug Zoo, because I'm pretty sure that'll be our last time there before our big move AND I highly doubt Luca will be asking to go again anytime soon. ;) 

And, I'll always be able to share this story with them when they get older. Which I'm sure they're gonna loooove hearing about. Ha! :) 

 

SO TELL ME...

What did you SLOW DOWN + SAVOR this weekend?

Until next time...

Life IS so, so good (even when it can BE messy at times!)...SAVOR it up!

Getting Back to Calm

Handwritten with a super sharpie and painted with koi watercolors by Renee

Handwritten with a super sharpie and painted with koi watercolors by Renee

Oh, gosh! 

My head feels like it spinning.  Especially after this past weekend. 

We spent the entire weekend cleaning and prepping our house for it's upcoming sale, that is now currently listed and scheduled to have it's first showing tomorrow, as I type. (Good thing I cleaned like we were moving out tomorrow! Ha!).

But, seriously, yesterday, I felt FRAZZLED

Once I dropped the kiddos off to school I went straight to the grocery store. And, even though I had a list (I have to have a list or I have NO idea what I'm going to buy...it never used to be like that until I became a mom), I still had no idea what I wanted to make for lunch and dinner for the week.

I had just walked in, walked right over to look for the sourdough bread that I pick up weekly (which wasn't there...so disappointing!) and my phone started to ring. 

D told me the guy who is going to check the water heater is going to be at the house in 30 minutes. So I booked it. I grabbed a few things and headed back to the house as fast as I could. (Good thing, too, because he was right on time...and yeah, that NEVER happens! Ha!).

Once things settled, I could FEEL how frazzled I felt.  Especially my mind.  I knew it was time for me to doodle uplifting words again. 

It's been WAY TOO LONG! 

I've been so focused on helping C with her school work this year (it has literally felt like her 2nd grade year has been like middle/high school) and also taking care of Luca, who is still 4 and still very much NEEDS me. (Who am I kidding...C still very much NEEDS me!).

But, lemme tell ya how fun it is when I stop to help C with her homework and I become SO focused on her that I don't realize that the house is SUPER quiet for quite some time and then I jump up and then ALWAYS find Luca in the bathroom messing with the toothpaste or making bubbles with soap in the sink. 

Good times! 

So, yeah, with all the things swirling around me in my life right now, it was SO time for me to make myself sit down and unwind my mind with some uplifting word doodles. 

Ahhhh.....CALM! 

Oh, gosh, do I need some major CALM in my life. Thank goodness this was a GREAT start! 

It always amazes me that no matter how long it's been since I've put marker and paints to paper, the benefits start to easily fulfill me. 

The way I feel when I trace over and over IS my ultimate mind calmer and then playing with watercolors over it, ALWAYS ignites my JOY, and then playing with it on Photoshop...ignites my JOY even more.

I literally feel like this huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  And, at the same time, all my frazzled thoughts calmed. Sure, they're still there, but there just not as loud. 

I truly is amazing and I'm just SO happy I'm finally getting back to this! 

So...before doing this, I felt...

- STRESSED
- FRAZZLED
- TENSE
- Like my mind was going a mile a minute
- Felt like my mind was 10 miles ahead of my body and my body was trying SO hard to catch up, but never could.

After doing this, I felt...

- UPBEAT
- CALM
- ENERGIZED
- HAPPY
- Like a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders

So, YESSSS!! This doodle was SO needed!! Especially during this crazy time in my life right now! (Who am I kidding...my life is always crazy! Ha!)

 

Until next time...

why doodle? because it easily calms the mind and soothe's the soul so YOU can FEEL just a little bit more CALM when life seems to be nowhere near it (something that's hard to do when your mind is running five miles ahead or behind the present moment). 

 

Getting 'Move' Ready

This past weekend, we spent both days getting our house ready to be sold.  We are headed to Virginia this summer! 

I was in our bedroom cleaning the bathroom and I had walked out to grab more paper towels in the kitchen. 

When I came out, I happened to see this view...

Oh, gosh, it made me SMILE SO BIG!!

I ran and grabbed my iPhone. I put it on silent and I hid back behind the fireplace in the living room (because if they see me, they'll all stop what they're doing and tell me to stop taking pictures...well, mainly my husband!) and started snapping away while they had this special moment together painting the pantry doors. 

At the same time, I thought to myself just how much I love my husband and his patience with our kiddos with things like this.  Sure, he can lose his patience at times, but me....oh gosh, when I'm trying to get things done under a certain time frame, I tend to just want to do it as quickly as I can without any help from the kids...and when they ask to help over and over again I lose all my patience. 

Him...he has no problem always letting them help. 
And, HE always reminds me that I need to do the same more often!! 

And then, little guy saw me, covered his face and yelled out, "MOMMY!!" and then they all turned around and I ran back into the bathroom to finish cleaning while continuing to smile BIG.

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Because even when life is filled with all these to-do's...especially when trying to get a house ready to be sold...it's these little moments I always want to remember! 

Oh, and cleaning a house that has been lived in for 7 years...that included a time of babies and toddlers is NO JOKE!! Now that's a memory I don't want to always remember. OH MY GOSH!! LOL! 

Until next time...

Slow down to savor what you love...through the lens (something that's very hard to do when your mind is running five miles ahead or behind present moment).

Hello There!

Doodle drawn and watercolored by Renee

Doodle drawn and watercolored by Renee

I've been working behind the scenes over here for quite some time and I'm happy to say that I'm SO excited to FINALLY get back to blogging.

Woohoo!! Because, yeah, it's been a LONG time and honestly, I miss it A LOT! 

So be on the look out as I dust off my blog writing skills and I get back into a routine of creating and blogging it more consistently.

My heart and soul is CRAVING it.

Yay! 

Oh, and hope you like what I've done here...I really wanted this space to BE calm, crisp, clean and refreshing! And I think I finally nailed it!

Photo Shoot | Fall Pumpkin Patch Love

It's been quite some time since I've pulled out my big girl camera.  Mainly, because I've been knee-deep in my mama duties, but, now that the kiddos are in school, my time has opened up, which means, my big girl camera is making her way out into the world again. Woohoo! 

And, honestly, after getting back out there with one of my favorite families I've been photographing for years, I sure have missed her. 

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Gosh, I sure had fun capturing all this FALL love!  And, now I'm more motivated than ever to get these same pics with my own kiddos! Can't wait! Can't wait! 

Happy Fall, Y'all! 

Until next time...

slow down to savor what you love (through the lens)