Enjoying: Creative Swell

It’s creative flood time. I never know when it’s coming which is half the fun. It just arrives, like a tsunami, sent by the universe to swallow me whole, and I ride the waves. I want to inhale books and arrange flowers and write poems and paint murals and make up dances and listen to new music and log ideas in a pretty little notebook and try new lipstick colors and rearrange furniture and talk spirituality and cook something amazing and send happy mail to friends and paint a rainbow step stone path all the way up my driveway.  If I could map these swells out with some regularity and study arrival patterns, I would, but creativity doesn’t work that way–at least not the tsunami kind. All you can do is feed that hungry beast.

This week we’re enjoying…

New Sidewalk Art Supplies.
Which, when you’re a kid and especially when you are a grown-up kid, is very exciting. Also ranking in exciting newness:

A new box of crayons
New tennis shoes
A new jar of peanut butter
New dish towels
New printed photos
New pens–the slick gel ones that glide nicely on paper
A new coffee mug
New mascara
New stamps–and not the plain old forever flag ones. That’s mail blasphemy. We’re talking a trip to the post office where you stand in line just to say, “Could I see all the stamp designs, please?” And you wait while the post office worker puts them all out on the counter. And you hold up the line while you decide, asking for input when necessary, comparing designs, holding them up in the light and squinting, imagining how they’d look on a nice envelope. And it’s the hardest decision ever because the Janis Joplin stamps are so colorful and retro but the songbirds are soft and timeless. And then you find out they have Harry Potter stamps and, oh my God, the Hudson River School Stamps are absolutely gorgeous. But you make a decision because that’s part of creativity too, and you walk out of the post office with a new book of beautiful stamps begging for some good snail mail to send out, and you feel all excited and grateful that someone in the stamp department understands that little things like offering different stamp designs can bring a tiny bit of sunshine to an ordinary day. Kind of like getting new sidewalk art supplies.

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A School Day Off
Thank you, George Washington. We all knocked out our teeth and replaced them with wood ones to celebrate you. Okay, we didn’t but we made the best of a blessed Monday off by setting out on a mom adventure. Lots of kids, strollers, picnic blankets, packed lunches and a big ‘ol state park.

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We hid in the Bamboo Forest which is really just a cluster of bamboo, but when you name places like they’re stops on the Candyland board, life is more fun.

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Exploring the historic homes of Koreshan State Park:

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Wave jumping.
We don’t stay long at the beach on windy days because there’s sand and salt blowing everywhere, hair in your face and rough water, but Lainey loves it when we have waves. So do the people who own surf boards who mistakenly landed on the gulf.

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The first bouquet inevitably setting off my spring cravings which include pink, pink, mint and pink.

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Hand Dimples.
Right when he turns two and I’m missing smooshy baby and nuzzly newborn nurser and looking at all these pictures of other people’s babies thinking, “Oh my God, I’ll never have that again” when everyone’s telling me “How is he two? He’s HUGE!”…I look a little closer. I take him all in, study his curves and edges. And I stop at hand dimples. Chubby thumbs and thick skin and four little dots beneath those sticky fingers. He’s still so little. I mean, hand dimples. Come on. We’re good.

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Early Morning Endless Alphabet. 
And the soft spotlighting effect of natural light–I mean artificial iPad glow.

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Five Going on Sixteen.
Turn down your music and give me back my car keys.

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Afternoons with These Two.
A sweet window, this time with both of them home in the afternoon. We don’t get a lot done unless you consider ransacking the house getting things done. But I love to watch them, the way they play, the way they fight, they way they make up.

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It’s supposed to drop down to the thirties tonight which, for us, means digging for mittens and throwing an extra blanket on the bed. I’m going to lasso up that creative swell and serve it up to my family in a pot of hot soup, a blanket fort and a Cold & Cuddly playlist which includes all the three-name dudes: Gregory Alan Isakov, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and James Vincent McMorrow. They should have been presidents.

Bundle up and enjoy.

Creative swells call for creative lists so feel free to leave these four things in the comments if you’re feeling it.

Last best reads: Still Alice, heartbreaking and beautiful. Currently reading War of Art again (it’s a 5x a year read) and Soul Food, an out-of-print poetry book a new friend recommended–I can’t put it down.
Music for a night in from the cold: Maxence Cyrin–haunting piano melodies, good with a glass of red wine, a new journal and a nice pen. Start with Where is My Mind, a question I ask myself more often than not.
What are you dreaming of for spring: Easter dresses for the girls; seersucker for Dash; a good deep house cleaning that doesn’t involve shoving anything into a drawer, closet or under a bed to get rid of it; decorating projects; flowers, flowers, flowers; Peeps. And yellow…everywhere.
Last thing that made you laugh: Nella who hollered from her bedroom this morning, trying to get my attention: “Mommy! Mommy! Kelle Hampton!”

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Leave a Comment
  1. Thank you for this post! I’m staring at snow on the ground in VA for the 4th day and I SO needed the inspiration and the nudge to remember spring is just around the corner! You inspired me to search for chalk paint and I’ve already ordered from amazon! So excited for the snow to melt now!

  2. Love!! :)

  3. Your children could not be more beautiful if they tried..My daughter introduced me to your blog last Saturday..She loves it..and now so do I.
    Nothing better actually than seeing sweet children on the screen.
    Have you read We Were Liars?

    Enjoyed Still Alice..if that is the correct word..and my husband is reading it now.
    Your photos are terrific and thank you for Maxence Cyrin..just listening ..I know right away:)

  4. I so needed to read this today. Struggling with cabin fever and waiting for my tsunami to roll in!

  5. My heart is always so happy when I read your posts. Besides loving the way you enjoy the small things, I almost always find myself in your words or photos. It happens so often, that I feel like you’re my sister from another mister. I hope we meet someday! Today it was the stamps. I do the same thing, and feel the same way. It made me think of the sigh I release when I only have time to make it to the grocery store for stamps and there is “no selection” LOL! My four things – Last Best Read: We Don’t Die by George Anderson…amazing, insightful and thought provoking. Music for a night in from the cold: Anything my 5 year old is singing…she never.stops.singing! Dreaming of for spring: FLOWERS! All kinds – everywhere…my heart wants to sing and my eyes want to dance when I see them pop their heads up. Family gatherings, food, fun and my birthday :) Last thing that made me laugh: My kindergartener walked into class yesterday and busted a move while singing Gangnam Style complete with foreign lyrics!

  6. Boy am I ever dreaming of spring! I wish our temps were only going down to 30! It’s going to be only 1 F tonight! brrrr!!!

  7. Love Nella calling out “Mommy, Mommy, Kelle Hampton!”

  8. I’m right there with you. We only have 5-6 inches of snow here in South East Ohio, however the temps have been -25-30 this week. School has been out since Monday for most local schools. (We homeschool though, so for us it doesn’t change a thing) I actually pulled out our basket of board games the other night and old maid cards along with go fish. My two boys (7 and 4) had a blast! I just let them go. Normally we play by the perfect set of rules and do everything the way the instruction card says. This time we just played and had fun, making up silly rules and laughing the whole time. We also watched Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which I had never seen and in my opinion it was so hilarious and the boys loved it. We also had another day where we made bead bracelets and necklaces out of pipe cleaners and beads. They had fun, so you could try that? Hope you have a blessed week! Stay warm! :) – Melinda –

  9. This makes me want to run to the store for Daffodils.
    Last best read: Really need to go to the bookstore or library. So busy I have not picked up a book in months and that makes me sad. I used to read several a month.
    Music for a night in from the cold: Anything by Diana Krall
    What are you dreaming of for Spring: Gardening, getting my hands dirty. Longer days and cooking on the grill and eating alfresco. Hiding Easter eggs and a long awaited family cruise!
    Last thing that made you laugh: Kian (almost 2.5) found my tampons this morning and brought them to the kitchen table. He was counting them like they were treasure. He can’t count very high and usually just goes right back to two when he gets stuck. :)

  10. Love this! So fun.

  11. Thanks for the laugh – Nella saying your name to get your attention – too too funny!!!!!

  12. I wish I had your energy, creativity and everything. I find it hard to get out of bed most days and I wish I could give my kids more then what I do. How do you find the motivation everyday to see things so magical and amazing? I wish I could live a life closer to yours, it’s pretty amazing! My daily stress is laundry, cleaning, stressing about bills and trying to make the most of my daughters life. I try not to be hard on myself, then I see your posts and how magical you are able to make each day and our outlook on life is amazing. Sorry, I sound like such a debt downer.. I am just extremely jealous!!

  13. Forget the temps, you have spring in your house already, I can see it in every picture. <3

  14. Last best reads: The Magic by Rhonda Byrne – gratitude is such good, good medicine. Down Syndrome Parenting 101 Must-Have Advice for Making Your Life Easier; CRAPTASTIC title – but it’s really so so good…the paragraph “Straight for the Store” nails it beautifully. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lammott. Ms. Lammott is church for me.

    Music for a night in from the cold: Pentatonix – anything by them. My teenagers got me hooked; saw them in concert last year – Aca-amazing!

    What are you dreaming of for spring: the perfect Senior Prom dress for my oldest – you know, the one no one else has, the one that she feels amazing and grown up in, but that grandma likes, too…

    Last thing that made you laugh: My 8 year old son discovering funny animal posters/quotes on Pinterest…so many puns and funny animal faces…giggles for days!

  15. Oh, and best recent read: The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold

    Music: Argh, ask me in a couple of years, right now we don’t listen to anything more sophisticated than Laurie Berkner.

    Looking forward to: The little persistent mini daffodils that insist on poking up through the snow in March. It’s like spring stretching its arms up with a yawn, even though it hasn’t quite opened its eyes.

    Last thing that made me laugh: My DD was sitting by our window looking out at the snow, and all at once started singing: “This is a blizzard! I am a wizard! And also a lizard!” (pause) “Fizzard, fizzard!” Poet in the making, I tell you.

  16. I enjoyed my farmer’s market stamps :)

  17. I’m so looking forward to our snow melting – we had rivers in the street today because of the warm weather. I have lived here too long to think this is last I will see of the white stuff….but Spring is coming! We are also mid-reno. A big one. I can’t wait for my backyard tulips cut in a pretty vase in my new kitchen!

  18. I have been reading (and loving) your blog for years now. But the fact that you (1) love Gregory Alan Isakov (who I absolutely love) and (2) gave me two new three named artists to check out – made my week. Thank you!!!

  19. Hmmm….

    Last Book- Reading doesn’t happen much during the school year, but once this teacher is out for summer….BOOKS. All the books. Right now I’m reading Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker.

    Song- I can’t pick just one, but listening to a lot of Wakey!Wakey!, Peter Bradley Adams, The Cure, and when I’m in the mood to let it all out, some Fall Out Boy

    What am I dreaming of for Spring?- Warmth, sunshine, no wind, OUTSIDE…..the transition to summer days with my littles!

    Last thing that made you laugh- I’m sure I’ve laughed about plenty, but the one that sticks out is the other day with my youngest: I had gotten all of my kiddos a small stuffed teddy bear for Valentine’s Day, and so he wrapped it in his superman cape, and told me matter of factly that his name was Abratim Clinkin after which he said, you know, like the president. :) Out of the mouths of babes.

    Have a happy Friday!

  20. Last Read: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah….emotional.

    Music for a cold night: Marisa Monte

    Dreaming of for Spring: blue & green tinted Ball jars and white hydrangeas.

    Last Laugh: my daughter rollerblading in the house & every few minutes a big CRASH and then…
    “I’m alright!”

  21. Hi there, first off, these pictures are so beautiful. I always admire your ability to capture the eagerness and timidness of your children.

    Secondly, what lens are you using here?

    Hehe, from one photography enthusiast to another, hope your weekend is an abundance of rad!!

  22. I CUNNOT believe you’re down their sashaying around in shorts. Rude!

    We’re heading your way in June and it’ll be all oppressive and sweltering. We will have missed Heaven, won’t we?

    For now? We freeze.

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