You may have noticed (or not) that it’s been a little while since my last post. No cause for alarm, just normal life busyness. Sometimes I like to think of the seasons’ rhythms like a long bike ride. For me winter (after the holiday season) is a slow slog up a huge hill. I often have to get off the bike and walk in order to keep from collapsing. But almost without me realizing it the hill levels off and I’m headed down, picking up speed as I fly into spring. March is a month for transition and preparation as I gear up for April craziness (birthdays, Easter, vacation) and May endings (preschool, MOPS, dance recital, etc.). This year I blinked and now March is about over. I’ve developed the practice of reflecting over the past month and listing somethings that are bringing me joy, which helps me feel a little more centered and present when life feels like it’s moving faster than I can keep up with. Here are a few things I’m loving right now:
- Ellie Holcomb’s album Red Sea Road
I love a folksy, soulful sound to my music, and singer/songwriters are my favorite. I sometimes have trouble finding Christian artists that fit my taste, so I was delighted to discover Ellie Holcomb. Her music is beautiful, her lyrics are thoughtful and touching, and her message is one of hope that ministers to my soul. Charlotte often requests this album too, which is a welcome relief from the Moana soundtrack that typically plays on repeat around here. “He Will” and “Rescue” are two of my favorites. You can find this album on Spotify, but I love it so much I will probably buy it through iTunes.
2. Flowering trees
I know it’s cliche, but budding trees in spring are just my favorite. Growing up in Southern California and then the Colorado mountains I never really experienced the beauty of a budding dogwood or Bradford pear. Spring came early this year so many of the trees are already all leafed out, but the red buds and cherry trees are at the height of their glory right now and I’m trying to soak it in before they are gone in a few days. I’m a fall girl, and a sugar maple on fire thrills me like nothing else, but a cherry tree in full bloom runs a very close second.
3. Our clean attic
A couple weekends ago we took advantage of some beautiful weather and pulled everything down out of the attic. Some of it we hadn’t touched since we moved in almost eight years ago. I found old teaching materials and decorations from my previous life as a school teacher, knick-knacks and mementos from my high school days, and about fifteen boxes of books. We went through it all, kept a few things, and got rid of almost everything. A pile of baby toys and maternity clothes went to the crisis pregnancy center, we took unused picture frames and old dish sets to Goodwill, and over half the books went to a used bookstore that supports our local library. We also had a huge pile of trash to put out on the curb (fortunately our trash service does a bulk pick up once a month, and they took it all). All that’s left up there are four boxes of books (mostly kid books I’m saving for when the girls get old), seasonal and holiday decor, and a small bin of toys that I will rotate when the girls get tired of their current ones. Most of the attic is now empty space, and it feels absolutely amazing.
I could not be more excited about this show. It’s made by Jim Henson’s company for Netflix, and stars the incomparable Julie Andrews and a host of guest stars alongside Muppet-like puppets. The setting is a program for kids who are interested in the performing arts and are putting on a production. Each episode features a different art (dance, songwriting, improv, etc.) and includes a visit from a famous artist from that field. It’s absolutely delightful, and Charlotte loves it. She flew through the whole season (13 episodes) and now her favorite pretend game is “put on a show.” Such fun. If you have kids you should absolutely give it a try.
5. Mixbook photo books
Scrapbooking has been a hobby of mine on and off since high school, when my mom and I went through a Creative Memories phase (anyone remember that?). It’s completely impractical for me to try to make an actual scrapbook these days…the girls would have a field day with the decorative paper, stickers, scissors, pens, etc. and I would get absolutely nothing done, plus I don’t have any space for it. But thanks to the brilliant people who invented digital scrapbooking I can still make memory books without the mess in a much shorter time. When C was a baby I made books for everything – vacations, each season, and four baby books. I clearly needed to rein myself in after having Tessa (I made her one baby book) so I decided to just make one family album each year with all the highlights. I can go into more detail on my process if you are interested, but so far I’ve been able to keep up. I’ve used Shutterfly for all of my books in the past, but the 2015 album I made is falling apart already (the pages are coming out of their binding). When I started my 2016 book last week I looked for a different service, and discovered another on-line photo book making company called Mixbook. I’m only a few pages in, but so far I absolutely love it. The software is intuitive and easy to use (much easier than Shutterfly in my opinion), and they have a ton of selection for backgrounds, sticker, fonts, etc. The pricing is comparable to Shutterfly, but I usually can get my Shutterfly albums for 50% off and I’m not sure if Mixbook does that kind of discounting. But if the quality is better than it’s worth it to me to pay more. I’ll let you know how the final product turns out. Of course the album probably won’t be done for a few more months…my goal is July. 🙂
What are you loving this March? Any shows or music that you think I’d like? I’d love some recommendations!