Friday, November 30, 2012

on the playroom floor

Busy. It takes over us all.  Its sneakiness fashions our days into a whole lotta with helpings of hurry up, wouldya?  I continually fight the battle of public school teacher vs. homeschooling mama/designer.  The two have starkly different daily compositions.  Public school teaching is purposeful with definitive time lines of moving on and what's next on our list to complete.  Scheduling is regimented right down to the elapsed time in the bathroom and how long you have to eat lunch.  To say you are tired when the last little one loads the bus, would be a far cry off from real.  You.are.toast. But, duty still calls.  Lesson plans, paper grading, hoop jumping, and faculty meetings are just a smattering of what is still left on your plated day.  

Homeschooling has home.  You are in and amongst your living space.  The boys have their most precious belongings right nearby to the touch.  I can remember Casey working on skip counting last winter with his "B" snuggled up in his lap.  Eli's most favorite time of his day is reading in the sunshine with his Jack cat.  This intimate component of home provides a comfort that hopefully fosters growth and initiative with regard to the value of learning. I want the boys to choose knowledge for its sake.  I want them to be self starters in seeking answers and solving problems.  I want to remove myself from the rat race of score and ranking that I am so used to as a public school teacher only to replace it with the freedom of childhood progress at a pace that promotes purpose and proficiency.   

I have nearness that needs my attention as well.  k.Mac is Christmas for many clients.  My days are split seeking out newness and knowledge for the boys in addition to stitching and creating for others.  The fall is chock full with designs and deadlines.  The internal battle of balance and obedience to both of my occupations is hard fought during this season.  Giving less than my best to both is not an option.  

Providing the boys with what my heart longs for and providing myself with what my heart longs to do crossover.  The income that k.Mac provides is a blessing to our family.  The intimate times with my boys are too.  I cannot tell you the joy I have collected in the keeping corner of my heart knowing that  their mama has been the one to teach both boys to talk, walk, potty train, tie shoes, write, read and calculate.  Mine and Kenny's decision for me to stay home with them has paid off in more dividends than I could have ever accumulated in a state paycheck.  The journey of my time with them is one we continuously evaluate on the scale of what is best for them.

I don't have all the answers to what constitutes their best.  As a mama, I wish I did.  I wish the answers were definitive.  Evidence of yesterday's learning is in the photograph you see above.  This image has value worth memory keeping.

I will remember Eli seeking out a flat head screwdriver to fix the Leapster for Casey.  I won't forget that he explained to Casey the difference between a flat head screwdriver and a Phillips head.  I see the plane toppled over from the big crash in the middle right of this image.  I also see the evidence of the boys attempts to replicate additional planes out of Legos to increase the fleet in number. They used the toy plane as their building guide.  It should be noted that older brother has an addiction to good books.  On his belly, he crinkled his bare toes into the playroom's squishy carpet and entered into his own magical world of fiction.  Younger brother was in a vicious battle against some viking/pirate type dude nearby.  Once the battle concluded victoriously for the younger brother, he did what is becoming a bit more natural to him more and more each day.  Off his shielded vest went, and onto the carpet floor he lay.  Beside his older brother in silence, he began reading a little more of his very first chapter book. I need not forget that he used the pirate hook still on his hand as his official finger follower from word to word.

These were the answers I received yesterday as my eyes cast a motherly glance onto the playroom floor.  Definitive or not, they were real.  My hands were busy setting up stitches as the boys had just finished up addressing their envelopes for their letters to Santa and math time on the iPad and in their math journals.  Before that, there was more reading from the three of us together.

In this moment on the playroom floor, I found my answer.  Real.  No rat race or rank.  They chose knowledge for its sake. Perhaps there is good in busy after all.

{week 21:  my 2 in 52}

.mac :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Tradition is a tricky thing.  Its intentions of forever derive from an overwhelming feeling of fortunate if you ask me.  The commitment to carry out the hopeful dream of annual is not as simple as one may think. The hosts as well as the guests possess some what of an unuttered responsibility to one another and to the goodness that comes from being together.   On November 17, 2012 our family celebrated 10 years of tricky in mighty fine form.

When Kenny and I married, we wanted a tradition to reside, build and grow from our home.  We looked at what mattered most to our hearts.  From there, we brainstormed events that would help foster our heartstrings of family, togetherness and simplicity. We were certain we did not want this event to interfere with staple holidays ink-marked on the calendar.  We both agreed that the season of Thanksgiving is the nucleus of family.  It requires no gift giving other than your time and presence.  It didn't take us long to confirm the Saturday before Thanksgiving as the tradition we hoped would grow from our home.  Hence, our Cobble Gobble was born.
Ten years is a long time.  And, our Gobble has remained traditional to its roots.  Each year I put up our Thanksgiving tree.  And, on the eve of the Cobble Gobble, you will find our gift to each guest packaged and tagged underneath.
These construction paper leaf name tags have not changed in 10 years.  As each guest comes to our home, they simply unwrap their gift and place their name tag onto our Thanksgiving tree.  Our family of 4 begins this simple tradition.
It brings me great joy to see these 2 additional leaves where once was just mine and Kenny's.
And, by the Gobble's end, you will find a house full of guests all adorning our annual tee shirt gift with bellies full and stories and sharing in full swing.  The evening glow from our Thanksgiving tree reflects this goodness too.
Tom Turkey has been present for the past 7 years now.  He is the official mascot of the day's festivities.  Tom has successfully turned Kenny's opinion of yard art in a 180 degree direction.
So have these 2 you see below.  They've changed all of us really.  As a family collective, the Cobble Gobble has become a staple in Eli and Casey's existence.  They know nothing other than the importance, priority and presence of family at their home the Saturday before every Thanksgiving.

And, this does something magnificent to a little one's heart.  Continuity and collective nestle in only to take up a residency inside just who these two little men are.  Pride swells and plans made for the ones you love is staple in their boyhood.  This tradition means enough to them that they leaped at beginning the traditions for our first time family members present.  Below is our family's newest leaf on the tree.  Colton Scott made his first attendance to the Gobble this year.  Casey made sure he had a leaf and was quick to place it right next to Colton's Daddy's Grand Gobbler picture.
This day has made its mark on each of us for 10 consecutive November Saturdays with every calendar turn.  I have watched as family members have found new ways of connecting, and while at it,  recollect on the ways of old in which their puzzle pieces seem to fit too. 
 The loitering of love runs amok all over our property line.  
 Smiles are frequent and laughter is loud.  And, I think it's because we all have our home on this particular November Saturday.  Pretension was never invited. The bags of life were all somehow checked at the door.  People come to experience a memory and to be reminded of the simplicity of together.
Gifts like GINORMOUS bottles of wine are gladly accepted too.  
There's something for all of us here each time we gather.  Connections made that cannot be replaced with shiny silver or gold.  It's called touch. Presence.  A big sister feeding her new little brother for a family to see.  The pride of "He's mine." was 10 feet tall in her heart.
And, that same pride was just that tall as I wrapped my arms around my grandfather who made the trip up to be a part and see our new home.  
It's that something that keeps us all coming back.  Returning again to be reminded of the warmth that no movie, nor gift, nor vacation could ever give one's heart.
It's that something that leaves you knowing goodness is in the making.
For goodness really is.  Kenny has masterfully perfected the art of turkey frying.  And, like vultures circling their prey, so are the attendees of the Gobble.  Shreds upon shreds of ambrosia salted crispness is consumed by any and all takers.
Everyone brings a dish to contribute.  In this buffet you will find favorites requested year in and year out. Mamaw Hook rolls, Nana's Cornflake bars, Kristi's mac-n-cheese, Melissa and Jonathan's honey baked ham.

And, this feasting will wear you slap out I tell you.  Naps are taken unabashedly and in broad day light.
When turkey hits, there's nothing you can do, but sit back and enjoy the slumber.
Or, find random wigs to put on.
Yes, this happens.
Have I mentioned we laugh a lot at the Gobble?
Wig wearing is all fun and games until time for the annual Corn hole championship. Then seriousness sidles in for a backyard stay. Teams are drawn out of names placed in a wooden box made by Kenny's great grandfather, Papaw McGill, for his daughter, Ruby.  Her name is written atop the box.  This Ruby is the Mamaw Cobble treasured by so very many present on this day.
My time with Mamaw was short, but it was enough to know that she loved.  She loved big and all the time.  She was a vibrant soul and wherever the festivities were, she most definitely wanted to be.  I know she's here every year in so many of the smiles and hugs shared on this day.
All you have to do is look around to find her.

Corn hole commences and victors are determined.  Winners' names are inscribed on a plaque to designate their place in Gobble history.  Sara, Roy's wife, has her name on this plaque not once but FOUR times.  She runs shop and we all take notes each and every year. Not.even.kidding. She and Kenny battled to defeat the husband-wife duo of Delaware, Jason and Joanna.
The night ends with the crowning of the Grand Gobbler.  It's the trophy given to the best of the best from our day together.  The ceremony precedes with a speech from the previous year's Grand Gobbler to the crowd.
Then Kenny takes center stage to announce the winner chosen by Kenny, myself and the previous year's champion.
Jonathan Holcomb was our winner this year.  His presence in this family is so nice.  He is obtusely prepared for any obstacle or task, kind and loving and consistently ready to be part of family.  
Kenny and Papaw just happened to pull one over on me which was completely against the rule book, but I smiled, cried and co-accepted.
You know, I think legacy could quite possibly be a hidden secret to the success of family.  In each of us there is a golden opportunity to live out and leave behind.  What will it be?  The choice is ours really. Legacy is the simple reminder of who you were, what mattered to you and most importantly, how you chose to love.  Mistakes are inevitable, just be sure they don't become inheritable.  Being the legacy little ones long to emulate brings forth a light that this world needs so much more of.  

With that being said, there are so many faces who mean a great deal to this family.  Their copyrighted insignia on the ones who gather here leaves shoes so big to fill.  Their legacy is one of letting go and holding on.  It's no-not-never giving up and doing the most to be just a bit better than they were from the day before.  These faces have acted behind the scenes for so many of us over the years.  From helping hands, to hey I'll be there, to just listening & loving.  Simplicity that costs not a penny, but worth millions to the investment of family.
To say we are blessed would be an outright understatement.  Kenny and I are beyond honored and humbled that our hearts' hope has turned into time together x 10.

First Annual Cobble Gobble 2003

Cobble Gobble 2004

Cobble Gobble 2005

Cobble Gobble 2006

Cobble Gobble 2007

Cobble Gobble 2008

Cobble Gobble 2009

Cobble Gobble 2010

Cobble Gobble 2011

TEN YEARS-  Cobble Gobble 2012
Each year that passes leaves us lucky and reminded that love grows just where you plant it.  And, on the same Saturday every November, you'll find this very love running amok all over our property line.  Thank you, tradition.

.mac :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

{gut check}

Sand Tropez.  I cut my be-witchly twisted toenails and sawed down the last trinkets of uncool jagged from my fingernails last night.  The hour was officially exceedingly past bedtime, and I had deliriously entered into the iamazombiefromsleepdeprevation zone.  

I am a woman of color.  I love loud and volume.  Boisterous flavors and festive spurts of intensity sing melodiously to my soul.  And yet, like a ravenous lion in search of its next meal, my prey was this selected color.  I did not flinch.  I did not waiver.  I reached with precise vision for the above palette of neutral.  I did.  Me.  The woman of color.

I like this feeling.  This notion of going with your gut.  It has an exactness that is undeniable.  It requires little thinking for me.  Concerns are cast away; correctness is right on; it feels right.  I can do this with a nail color.  I can.  It is a hope that I transfer this autopilotness of on-time into other areas of my life more.  If it needs said, say it.  If someone needs love, give it.  If you have and some one does not, share it.  If you did wrong, fix it. 

Sand Tropez. Subtle.  Streamlined and silky looking too. Present.  I need this on my nails and in my heart.  The season of busy surrounds me.  So many moments are just waiting to be collected in the best way.  I am one, and there is so much to be done for k.Mac's holiday season and for my boys' learning.  My attitude needs reminding, and my best needs to be given.  Go with your gut.  Get down to the business of what your innards know matters most.  

Sand Tropez.  I picked it.  My jaggeds are gone.  My contorted excesses are too.  It's time to play on, playa in the goodness of gettin' after it in my busy but blessed. 

Game on,

.mac :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

{lost & found}

There are places he goes, and I'm not with him.  He gleans creativity, power and knowledge there.  Between two pages over & over again.  His look is transfixed and serene; he is lost.  Unbeknownst to him is the world of life spinning.

I catch him leaving me without permission.  A golden boy with places to go.  Through the kitchen glass door on the back porch, in his favorite travel reading pose no doubt.  Remember here?  I snap from the inside evidence of his trips chartered taken whenever he can.
Before school and just after bed making when Mr. Sunshine smiles sweetly though his bedroom window, he is daily found lost.  Lost with a Jack cat and without me.  Staying gone for sometimes up to an hour or more, he considers not his responsibility to our school day.
Or, does he?  These trips unplanned and unauthorized and unchaperoned are taken with a travel partner a little more often in the early evenings.   Like stowaways on some secret boxcar, these two travel the rails  of two pages over and over again. I hear far off echos of "Bub, I'm gonna read this page and you read the next one, okay?" His hand is always  atop his little brother's locks too.
Without me.  
Unattended and unsupervised. 
 I watch him leave.  
Daily, he is found lost.  

"found lost"

{lost & found}


Keep traveling, Eli.

Mama :)

{week 22: these 2 in 52}
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