Life is good when you can take your work to the park and your adorable toddler runs over to brings you dandelions every few minutes.

I’m gearing up for a crazy few weeks with some incredibly exciting new ventures and projects unfolding but for now, I am exhaling and anticipating all the wonderful new starts.

Spring has finally sprung in Boston… Today is a hybrid between April showers and May flowers. I had to get out to take a walk to get my mind right. There are so many amazing things in the works and sometimes I feel like the hardest part is being patient and waiting for things to unfold in their right time.

Time… Timing.

Sometimes things happen that make me feel like time and/or timing is not working with me… but after the fact, when I look back, I see that timing was always perfect. It just doesn’t always look like it when things are unfolding into the unknown. Today I remind myself of that… everything happens for a reason, and it happens exactly when it’s supposed to happen.

With an unprecedented lapse of 6 days since my last post, one can easily imagine that the “rough” traveling got “rougher.”

One would be right.

Sick toddler, trouble with accommodations, jet lag, time difference, etc… all lead to one giant heaping mess. Our family of three has never been more grateful to be in our own little home.

In the spirit of catching up on the posts, I am putting all of my recent 100 Day project posts here in chronological order:

Day 4/100 – Got kicked about 5 Dozen times last night by the cutest little toddler feet but we are making this happen. I’m a work-from-home mom so I get to spend a bunch of time with my little one, but I’m feeling EXTRA maternal spending 24/7 with her on this trip. It’s kinda nice, albeit exhausting. I know one day she’ll be all grown up… this phase goes by so quickly. I’m soaking it up. <3

Day 5/100 – My toddler is obsessed with fish – we draw, sketch, and paint them endlessly. She had a rough jet lag day today and may be coming down with something so we took it easy and we sat and drew lots of fish. “Mommy, draw el pescado please.” No joke, she even sleep talked about it. Lol.

Day 6/100 – As a mother, nothing quite breaks your heart as much as watching your child suffer any pain or deprivation. Baby girl had a 102 fever yesterday, still so jet lagged, and not eating out well because she is missing home cooking… and she is just in protest mode.

Day 7/100 – A half hour poolside while the morning shade protected us… just to get some fresh air with our sick little babe. Took the opportunity to do a little something… totally not my fave, but it was an experiment and it gives me something to work with. Most importantly, it is done.

Day 8/100: Even though this trip has been a disaster, and even though this family of three has been tested and tried, I can honestly say I feel blessed to have my little family. This too shall pass. Flying home today.

Day 9/100 (today): I always thought of home sickness as a mental and emotional state of painful longing, but I learned on this trip that it can be physical pain as well. I missed our home so dreadfully… I know the hubs and kiddo missed home as much as I did. We are all in happy (sleepy) recovery mode.

Traveling with a toddler is rough… even if your child is a good-natured trooper like our little human. Being in a new place makes her clingy. Sleep deprivation makes her needy. I haven’t been able to get away even for 10 minutes to do my project… so, we did it together! Day 3 – was a big test from the #100Day powers that be. But, we made it happen. Today we aim for done!

Day 2  of #The100DayProject – Decided to go abstract pattern today… things are a little crazy over here cause we’ll be traveling with a toddler so I’m just a bit concerned about how things will go with this project… but I did pack all the basic essentials to keep going and I’m determined to make it happen. No excuses. I’ve been so inspired while browsing what other 100Day’ers are doing. What a fun journey!

Don’t press the panic button…

It’s one of those days – a huge list of things to do and a highly structured day to make sure it all gets done. As a work-from-home mom, I know too well how fragile it all is… that feeling that if a call goes 10 minutes over or I spend an extra 15 minutes on one project, my work simply won’t get done and I’ll feel unaccomplished. What happens when, like it so often will, a wrench gets caught in our plans? Whether you tailspin into despair or roll with the punches is a matter of choice.

Today I had to remind myself to take a deep breath and not press the panic button. And it all worked out in the end.

My mommy coma… and re-finding my self

A year ago, I began to emerge from what I refer to as my mommy-coma, the period in my life when my “self” faded into nothingness as my life became consumed with the nurture and care of my infant. I was sleeping 6+ hours a night, showering regularly, and not waking up to phantom cries in the middle of the night. It wasn’t long before I started to yearn to get back into making art – music, painting, writing. The absolute highest expression of my “self” has always been to create things, but, having stepped away from it for over a year, I felt uncertain about where and how to begin making art. I was scared to start again and suck at it.

My husband knew I was struggling and he gifted me the book, Art & Fear.

I devoured the book hungrily and did manage to reacquaint myself with art – I dabbled here and there, making some small progress, but never really gaining much momentum under me. Since I recently committed myself to making art every single day, I picked this book up for a second read. Here are a couple small excerpt that are particularly validating for making art every single day. I’ll be sharing more as I progress in the reading:

“To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping that artwork… Your job is to learn to work on your work.

“The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars. One of the basic and difficult lessons every artist must learn is that even the failed pieces are essential… You learn how to make your work by making your work, and a great many of the pieces you make along the way will never stand out as finished art. The best you can do is make art you care about – and lots of it.

My takeaway: most of what we make will suck, but it’s supposed to. Make art deliberately and work at it constantly. Make a lot of art. Make it for you.

Living in the mommy moments…

Today, my toddler protested nap time and that threw my afternoon into a tailspin. I didn’t get to do any the productive things I had planned for that hour and a half of freedom. I was mourning the “loss” of this precious time while I tried to get my child to rest and play quietly in our bed. Cuddles with Mickey and Minnie and comfort nursing turned into her falling asleep on me in our bed, something she hasn’t done since she was an infant. As I lay there, trapped with my sweater, left arm and left leg pinned under 30 pounds of cuteness, I looked into her sweet squished up face and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of love. I felt that my heart was at once full and aching with a longing to make time slow down a little bit, and I knew it was a moment I would miss even as I was living it.

Days like today that don’t exactly go as planned (but still unfold beautifully) remind me of the importance of making the time to do the things that matter most to us every single day and to live in the moment. It’s a balancing act.

Below: Just sharing one of my morning scribble doodles in calligraphy – just playing around with motion and medium (ink + metallic watercolor).

Rosie Revere, Engineer

My two-year old is obsessed with Rosie Revere Engineer, and to put it plainly, so am I. There are a lot of reasons to love this book – it is a beautiful story with wonderful illustrations; it is poetically written and the main character is an intelligent little girl with big dreams and ideas. It is an absolute delight to read aloud every single day, exactly one and a half ways through. (I am always asked to “read again, please” but alas for the many distractions of the vibrant energy of a toddler.)

[Spoiler Alert] In the story, one of Rosie’s early inventions gets laughed at, not in a mean spirited way, but it makes her self-conscious and she vows to keep her dream to herself. But, a perplexing problem draws Rosie out of her hiding… to meet failure yet again. Except this time, her brilliant Great Great Aunt Rose praises her failure, proclaims her a step closer to success, and Rosie Revere learns that, “Life might have its failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.”

The truth is, at some point in all of our lives, we have been discouraged from doing something we really cared about, loved even. Sometimes the “advice” is meant kindly but it is just as negatively impacting as a hoard of hate mail and cyber bullying. Even as adults we carry some of the earliest memories of being ridiculed and discredited. The fear of being pointed out and called a fraud keeps us from standing out (and being outstanding, for that matter) and instead of living boldly and authentically as our true selves, we do our best to blend in.

I was always discouraged from creating art and music as a child, mostly because my parents thought I could better spend my time studying. I was told that what I created was good, but not good enough… that I lacked imagination. (Ouch, right?) Ultimately, they meant well but these words are still part of my inner voice and I struggle with that every. single. day… but here’s the beautiful thing… Every single day that I get up to write and make art, I am winning. It’s not the kind of winning that is done at the expense of someone else’s loss. It’s pure winning.

Whatever you are struggling with… more power and light to you.