Dear family with all those kids

Last weekend I had my art table set up at a craft event. After getting up and being awake for 5 hours with no food or coffee due to me running late, my husband text me to tell me he was on his way with the kids. When they arrived, the kids all ran to me, hugged me and started looking around at other tables. My husband handed over the 2 year old and the baby and took off. For about 15 minutes the kids asked all kinda of questions and told me about their day and when my husband came back, he had a coffee and a pretzel for me; God bless that man. They left soon after and I inhaled my pretzel and coffee.

Behind me, there were two women selling jewelry. They started asking me questions about my kids ages and a little about life at home with 6 kids. Then one asked me “how do you have time to draw?” I laughed a little and held up my coffee and I responded with “prayer and coffee”.

Fast forward a couple days to when I retold that same story to another mom. Her reaction to it was “how rude could she be”? I was confused for a minute. What had that jewelry crafter said? Later, I realized what it was. That friend of mine has 4 kids and I can recall a few of her stories about encounters with strangers asking her questions about the number of kids she has and why. I know that bothers her, like it bothers most people with large families and the questions are almost always the same:

Do you know what causes that? (Um, what?!)

Do you plan on having a baseball team?

Do you have hobbies?

Do you not have a TV?

I could go on and on but you know what I’m saying. The point is, a lot of parents with lots of kids seem to get bothered by these questions and once upon a I did too. But over time I’ve learned to take it a different way.

When that fellow entrepreneur asked me “how do I have time to draw” she wasn’t being rude or even intrusive. She was asking because her own life is busy with jewelry crafting, having a family and who knows what else she does with her time. She was asking because she was thinking about her own time being filled up during the day and tried to fathom how my day could have a spare minute in it. This woman smiled from the beginning to end of our conversation and she was a delight to talk to. So instead of taking offense in her innocent question, I chose to take it for what it was, a general inquiry about my life.

I like to believe that most of the time when most people ask questions like that, they are just curious, if not slightly amazed, at someone so willing to raise a lot of kids. It’s most definitely a full time job and requires a lot of time, energy, and, at full disclosure, a strong stomach (kids can be really gross). So when some of those questions are being asked it is formed from a different life perspective and in words that they think are an appropriate way to ask.

Now, there are just plain rude people out there that will just state their opinion on my current method of living. In one such instance I was asked “don’t you think you should stop having kids and start taking birth control?” (again, um what?!) These questions are of course met with sarcasm. In case you’re wondering what I said to that person, it was “I keep having kids for the tax break.” Secretly, I get a little proud of myself with the responses I can come up with in these situations!

So, if you have a lot of kids and are sick of being asked the typical questions that go with having a big family, just try and evaluate the person asking them. They could be, for the most part, harmless and just someone’s extent of trying to connect with you and your life based on their zero knowledge on the subject. So take it with grace and use it as an opportunity to teach your kids how to be proud your family and most importantly, grateful.

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I’ve updated my avatar and recorded the process on my YouTube

Today’s cup of coffee – Too early

The night before I had not slept well at all. Constantly struggling to get comfortable with my 8 month pregnant belly and my 4 year old kept finding her way in my bed. So when I finally woke up that morning it was, of course, before everyone else woke up. I decided to get up and make breakfast for the family.

I walked downstairs and was greeted by two large dogs who were still getting the sleep from their bones. I let them outside to use the bathroom, gave them fresh water and food, and washed my hands. I looked in the fridge to see what I could make quickly and enough of so I didn’t have to spend my first 2 hours of my day cooking for ever growing hungry children. I decided the 3 dozen eggs I had would suffice for cheesy scrabbled eggs.

I grabbed the non stick pan, butter, cheese and eggs and got to cooking. Once the butter began to melt I started cracking the eggs. I got about three eggs in when I realized that the 4th and 5th eggs were in the trash and the shells were in the pan. Normal and more aware people would scoop out the shells and continue on with cooking. Not me. I stared at the pan for an unnecessary amount of time before turning the stove off and moving the pan off the burner.

Wishing my husband were awake to brew the coffee, I walked to the coffee pot and made it myself (poor poor me). I poured myself a nice hot cup of caramel flavored coffee and finished it before addressing the problem in the pan.

For your own piece of mind, I did get all the shells out of the pan and proceeded to make a successful breakfast before someone came downstairs.

For this comic I decided to make a video of me coloring the comic page

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Today’s cup of coffee – Muse

Today I really noticed something about my husband. For as long as I can remember, he will randomly bring me a cup of coffee or tea. I don’t know what really prompts him to do it. Maybe he is making himself a cup and he ends up making one for me so I don’t drink his! No matter the reason, he always brings it to me at the right moment.

I wanted to work on some sketches to motivate myself to post something this evening. I decided to go to our bed and prop up with some pillows and work there. Being almost 8 months pregnant makes it a bit difficult to find any other comfortable spot in the house for me to be right now.

Anyhow, I wasn’t really working on anything in particular when I heard my husband coming up the stairs. He walked in with two cups of coffee and a kiss for my forehead. He then started rambling on about finances, stocks, assets, liabilities, etc. No, he doesn’t work in finance, but he is reading ‘Rich dad, Poor dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Letcher, so he is kindly informing me of all this new and insightful information he has learned, even though half of its going right over my head right now. Another down side to me being pregnant- concentration skills worsen each trimester.

As he was talking and while I really was trying to focus on every word he was saying, I started to realize that I have a hot cup of coffee in my hand and I didn’t ask for it. I watched him walk around our room, still talking, and putting clothes away, helping the toddler climb onto the bed and drinking his coffee. He wasn’t skipping a beat. I randomly inserted myself in the middle of his sentence to say ‘thank you’, to which he replied ‘of course, honey’. He continued on until chaos broke out among our older kids and he walked out to check on them.

I remained on the bed with our little toddler and my coffee. She was looking in my sketchbook while I kept coming back to the coffee. While it isn’t the first time I realize him doing that for me, it is the first time I really put some thought into the kind of husband he tries to be. Little gestures like this are just what I need to feel important in his life. He doesn’t have to do this for me, but he wants to and that’s amazing. So naturally, it has inspired to today’s and possibly a series of future posts about my random cups of coffee.

Thank you to my husband for the vanilla flavored caffeinated boost that has long since wore off but the love still lingers on. You are the best.

*Be sure to check out my latest YouTube drawing of the a wildflower coloring page!

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*My coloring books are still available on Amazon!

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My husband got me floated

If you are familiar with The 100 which is a show based on a novel series about the surviving human race who live on a space ship, then you will get the reference I used for the title. For those that don’t, getting floated is a form of capital punishment where someone is executed by being sucked out of the ship into space. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case for me and instead ‘being floated’ for me meant something that took place in a spa.

There is a type of relaxation method available called ‘floating’. Its a big enclosed tank that’s halfway filled with extremely salted water. Before stepping in, you have to shower and wash your body and hair with bastille soap, pat our body dry, make sure your hair isn’t dripping and then proceed into the tank. With the lights off, excepting a salt lamp, you step inside and shut the door.

Submerged in complete darkness and salted water, I lay back and allow the dense water keep me afloat. The water creeps in close to the corners of my eyes, but doesn’t touch them. My feet and hands are suspended. With the air being warm and dense, its easy to feel out of this world. Forgetting the size of the tank, I closed my eyes and imagined I was being drifted off on calm waters.

Silence

Darkness

Weightlessness

I submitted to the waters and I ended up falling asleep, or at least I think I did. Surrounded by nothing really allowed me to calm my mind and forced me to not do anything for a whole hour. That was the real challenge. With my day to day busy life, its always difficult for me to find enough down time that truly forces me to stop doing things for a while. As much as I appreciated it, it was definitely something that I am not used to doing.

After a while, the chime came on and when I sat up and opened the door, it only took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the small salt lamp that was still. I had to go to the shower quickly, I could already feel the salt crystalizing on my skin. After I was clean, I stepped out of the shower and breathed for a bit. Truly taking in what it felt like to be relaxed. And it was very welcome. I still had a prenatal massage next, because my husband signed up for me to have both, but I was already rejuvenated. While floating isn’t something I would have signed myself up for, I am glad I did it. To have a new experience of relaxation and ease is always something worth trying.

After both sessions were up, the staff told me about the client room. Here, clients can relax with a beverage and paint on the collaborated canvas. The canvas is painted by clients by adding in something special. This was really amazing for me. Especially as an artist. I took pictures of the part I added. My contribution are the fish at the bottom. I took the first photo after I placed the orange spots, but they are there. After painting, I went to my car and grabbed my ‘Fun for Hours’ coloring book for them to keep in the room as a thank you for having such a wonderful establishment!

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Fun For Hours coloring book- for those who enjoy a challenge for their coloring! https://smile.amazon.com/Fun-Hours-Madelyn-Janelle/dp/0997885211/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478490732&sr=8-1&keywords=fun+for+hours
Stressed Out! – For those who need to let out some anger without the profanity! https://smile.amazon.com/Stressed-Out-swear-phrases-profanity/dp/099788522X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478490861&sr=8-1&keywords=stressed+out+madelyn+janelle

Death makes brothers of us all

When I first thought of posting this, it was several weeks ago and I had just read about the loss of a friend from school, another friend I had met in the last couple of years and Facebook reminded me with their wonderful ‘on this day’ app that I had another friend commit suicide a few years ago. With the feeling of loss and inspiration, I was going to post these same thoughts then, but life continues to move forward, you follow it and some things get put off until another painful shot comes your way, reminding you of what you once started.

A couple days ago I was traveling with my kids across a few states that took me roughly 8 hours of driving, stops, and getting gas to finally reached my destination around 8 pm. Exhausted, I got on social media and started noticing similar posts only from my former high school classmates. Everyone was talking about him, asking for prayers, expressing disbelief, saddened for his children. It took up every other post in my news feed. Scrolling through the heartache and condolences, one post had a news article that said ‘fatal motorcycle wreck’. I clicked it, read it, saw the pictures that showed a motorcycle on its side and one empty boot laying in the middle of the road and as it closed the article and what happened, it ended with the name of the casualty. His name was Eric.

My stomach crumbled. He was in my graduating class. He was a father, son and brother. He was always kind to me and we were starting to catch back up on Facebook. Just the day before I commented on one of his posts to help encourage him.  And just like that, literally hours after that, he’s gone. And how, dear reader, how do you cope with that reality?

Death always brings questions. We always wonder why someone was taken, why they were so young, why now. We always feel better when we have the knowledge and reasoning behind certain events that occur. It makes us feel safer. And the reality is, we can’t know all of those answers. We can, though, trust that there is a higher power at work and is taking care of His ultimate plan. So in the case of trusting, what are we supposed to take away from death?

A small notion I have about people dying is for those of us who are in pain to remember the positive in their lives. That there is a reason we, the living, should be inspired by the dead in some way. We can look at the deceased and think about their qualities and adapt something from their lives into ours. Something that would help build us as better humans and bring us closer together. One bright aspect of death is that is does bring us all together. We cry on each other’s shoulders, hug family and friends we haven’t seen in ages, talk to those who we haven’t heard from, laugh about memories, console others, speak about the happier times in life and pay our respects to our brother that has passed from this life. On the final goodbyes that you say to them, be sure to thank them for however they impacted your life and live so that you are an inspiration when your time comes.

 

 

So….yeah

Remember in my last post when I said something to the effect of “hey, I took a break but now I’m back every Saturday” yada yada yada..?  Well, as you can probably tell, I didn’t post last Saturday and it is very late in the evening on a Tuesday now when I finally started to write this one. And I will admit, I felt so angry at myself for not posting on Saturday even though I had every intention of doing so. So what happened? And more importantly, why would I even be upset about it?

Well last weekend, my oldest daughter celebrated her birthday and we had a small party for her and a couple friends. It really wasn’t anything major and everyone had fun and there was great conversation. (Bonus, the house still looked clean when everyone left!) After the kids went to sleep I pulled out my laptop and started blogging about the day and how great it was. It really started out as a great post that was full of emotion, reflection and motherhood. I wrote about half of it and decided to step away to get myself something to drink and that’s when my husband showed me some houses (we are moving soon). Of course we jumped in that rabbit hole and looked at so many houses and I completely forgot I even wrote anything.

The next morning, I realized I didn’t post anything and thought ‘no big deal, a post a day late is fine with me’. But Sunday somehow became one thing after another and yet again I forgot to not just finish the post, but I forgot half of what I was going to write. So I went to bed yet again remembering that I still didn’t post.

Yesterday and today, I worked on commissions. Almost entirely for both days. I went to a friend’s house because she was also working on orders so we had our kids play together so we could work. And work we did. I’m done with a crochet doll that takes forever and was able to work on some individual sketches. But it wasn’t until tonight that I forced myself to sit and finish the blog post. Well, I started a new one technically.

So there are the reasons, so why am I mad? It’s not like I wasn’t doing anything or that I just sat around for three days not caring. So there really isn’t a reason, right? Well, I hold myself to a standard with only a few things in my life. And keeping up with my creative outlets is one of them. I like blogging a lot. It helps me write, even when I haven’t written anything in my novel. I do expect myself to sit for an hour and write once a week about something because it’s not an unrealistic goal. But I also live a lifestyle that has a husband, 5 children, 2 dogs, homeschooling, working from home and  being a housewife. Sometimes those goals are easily over shadowed and even though I  feel great about staying on top of my proprietors, I still get upset when I don’t accomplish those personal goals. It’s so easy to lose yourself in taking care of others all the time. Seeing someone’s gratitude and appreciation for your hard work is a wonderful feeling and is something to be happy about. But when you set goals for yourself, to improve yourself or your own ability, and then don’t have the time to meet that goal, it can feel frustrating and a bit of a let down. But something I have learned and striving to remember, is that its not a failure. Its not a set back. Its a pause. I can pick up things relatively back up where they once were, may not be easy, but its reasonable and perfectly okay. When the time comes, and I can get my goals completed, I like to take a bit of time to appreciate what I’ve done for myself.

So if you can relate, then high five, because it’s nice to know we aren’t alone!

 

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Unscheduled meltdown

Yesterday I had a planned out day to get some art done, a video recorded, laundry caught up (or at least attempted) and finish up school with my kids. While I was reading outside with my kids and waiting to hear the dryer buzz, I was interrupted by my 6 year holding a lock of hair that didn’t belong to her. I asked her where she found it and she explained the whole situation to me and from behind her came my 3.5 year old daughter. One side of her hair reached to the middle of her back and the other side was to her shoulder. I sat there just staring at her in shock. And not because this was the first time I have seen this happen.

My three year old is my third daughter and fourth child. She is very aggressive and equally loving. Passionate is the word we like to use with her. She is also the third girl in my house to cut her own hair and the second girl in my hair to cut her hair twice. Both her and my first daughter cut their bangs to the base and then took chunks out again. My second only cut her hair once and I was able to turn it into a layer look and everything was fine. But this time, I had to cut my three year olds hair shorter that I ever had to before and thankfully, she was happy with it. She now looked like big sister who also sports and short hair cut.

The second daughter, who is 5, was feeling a bit left out. With every sister having short hair, she wanted her hair cut too. Now this really wouldn’t be a big deal, but she has been letting her curly-q hair grow out and it was long and myself and my husband were trying to make sure she understood what she was asking. 30 minutes later and a meltdown of still having long hair, I cut it. I took off 3 inches like she wanted and as soon as I was done. I hear sniffles.

She was quietly balling her eyes out and telling me how she didn’t really want her hair cut. She wanted it long again and missed her curls, etc. I felt so badly because I am the evil mom holding the scissors in her hand staring at her with disbelief. I instantly felt badly for her and also angry. I felt like I was literally set up for failure. I hugged her and told her that I was just doing what she wanted, but that didn’t matter much to her and honestly, why would it. We all have had bad hair cuts so everyone can sympathize with how badly she was feeling.

After she ‘accepted’ the situation she went outside to the trampoline to cry and soak in the sun. The dryer buzzed as I walked past to find my husband to tell him what had happened. He felt a little badly but also reminded me, she will be fine and hair grows back. Something we all know, but still. I had decided to let her pick the movie for our movie night and the dinner. That really did cheer her up.

Mothering can be so hard sometimes.

 

 

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