Sunday, July 18, 2010

Homes Like This

This is how you live in a townhome: downstairs, make breakfast, upstairs, get dressed, downstairs, work on your stuff, upstairs, do laundry, downstairs, make lunch, upstairs, play with kids, downstairs, do dishes, upstairs, more laundry, downstairs, upstairs, downstairs, upstairs, on and on until even though the book you're dying to read is right upstairs (or downstairs, as the case may be) you just can't bear to go up (or down) one more time and you sit and stare at the wall instead, wondering what will happen next.
But that is not the worst part. The worst part is when you get ready to go out, get everything you need and go downstairs (two flights), only to discover you're not wearing socks, or the kids aren't, or someone has a diaper so full you really can't go out in public. Then those two flights of stairs back up seem like the most annoying 24 steps you've ever taken.
Yet there's this: no one lives above us. Or underneath us. We can run around and jump and scream and our neighbors can barely hear it. Our kids can act like kids. And that is the one consideration I can't do without. So if I stare longingly at your one-floor house, your kitchen that looks onto the yard, or your first floor bedroom, you now know why.
So what are the pros and cons of your type of home?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Art Space

I realized recently that the way to not go crazy was to make new spaces for all the activities we like to do at home. So instead of trying to use the dining table for card-making, painting, sculpting, scrapbooking, crafting, and-- oh yeah-- eating, I'm making art nooks.

First, a craft desk for myself. It meant buying a new dresser and selling the old (all on Craigslist, and I made $10!) so it would fit in the hallway. Then I bought a desk ($20) and stuck it in the corner of my bedroom. There was just enough space. That room also gets a lot of light so it's not working out too badly. And I can CLOSE the DOOR and block out all the screaming and shouting of the little ones. Hallelujah.

I got the kids an easel ($20 on Craigslist) which is currently standing in the little space between the table and the deck door. One side has a chalk board and the other a white board, though we just clip paper to it and paint pictures. A little IKEA side table we've had kicking around fits perfectly under it so we can pull it out when they need it and tuck it back in when they don't.

I took some beautiful pictures of the kids using it but they have totally disappeared off my computer so you will just have to imagine it. There they are, painting away, while I sit at my clean and tidy kitchen table, contemplating tonight's project. Ahh. I feel better already.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer Sundry

Can you tell that school is out? I've had just enough time to sit down and breath a bit each day. The rest of the time is taken up with children and their many needs. I also took a trip to Kansas for a few days to attend my grandmother's funeral. It was a poignant visit, celebrating her long, rich life, and missing her greatly.

The garden needs tending and we have been enjoying fresh peas, green onions, and some cilantro. Digging in the dirt is wonderfully therapeutic.

I've also been reading through Shona Cole's lovely book The Artistic Mother and taking to heart her contention that doing art for myself will make me a better mom. My first task is to create a work space. I'm carving out a corner of the bedroom and already finding projects there. All the sewing, painting, making I've laid aside because I didn't have a work space are promising many hours of contentment.

I love how summer's long hours of daylight call me away from my usual activities and into the tidying, creating, and organizing that makes me feel ready when the fall arrives.