We’ve been back nearly a week in a house with wireless internet connection and more computers than human beings, yet my Google Reader is still shouting at me in bold type: 109 unread posts! Now it’s 110! Alert! Social prospects dwindling! (My computer is often as dramatic as I am, coincidentally.) I’ve been working my way back to the blogging bandwagon a few minutes at a time and spending the rest of each day on activities that don’t come with touch pads or hyperlinks… but even as I’ve left my computer to pine away at my desk, the internet community has been a significant part of the last two weeks.
For instance, one side of our guest room is now stacked with bags of clothes—scratchy wool sweaters that look great but make me want to claw my own skin off, favorite outfits from the Stone Age college, and good quality undershirts that resolutely refuse to stay tucked in. As I bagged up a chunk of my closet for charity, I kept in mind the revolutionary (to me) insights picked up over the past year from Reachel at Cardigan Empire. She contends that clothes should work to flatter us, not the other way around, and that a sparse collection of outfits that make us feel truly fabulous is better than a closet bursting with “nothing to wear!” items. Who knew? I applied the principle to the girls’ overflowing and rarely-touched bin(s) of toys as well, and now everyone feels a little lighter. In a very good way.
I’ve been holing up in the kitchen as well with my favorite Starbucks apron (technically it’s Dan’s, but until a good fairy brings me one of these, I’ve claimed it as my own) and inspiring new flavors on the brain. It’s hard to believe that when we got married, my cooking skills were limited to microwave chicken nuggets and canned corn. For the leaps and bounds my culinary ability has taken, I am forever indebted to food bloggers like Pioneer Woman, Bakerella, Molly from Orangette, and Deb at Smitten Kitchen. They taught me how to dice onions and braise pork roasts and decorate cupcakes and melt chocolate, how to make everyday cooking an art, and how to find pure joy on the stovetop. I even like vegetables now; this is no small feat.
In the midst of weeding through clothes and cooking up heart-warming meals and climbing (and sliding back down) the ever-growing slopes of Mount Laundry and busying myself with the million little tasks of a mother, the gentle gratefulness of NieNie and Kindness Girl and Royal Buffet’s Mollie Greene have pulled my attention back to my treasure of a family. I’ve had invaluable moments with my husband and girls over the last few weeks, plopping down on the rug to build Legos, whooping Bowser’s spiky green butt with our Wiimotes, and working out together. Too often, I let busyness get in the way of togetherness, and I’m so grateful for the reminders to love our quirky little household intentionally.
In honor of the fresh-faced new year, I wrote down a handful of happy challenges in lieu of resolutions—a habit I’ve picked up from Andrea of Superhero Journal who suggested putting a positive, uplifting spin on goals. Peaceful sleep is on my agenda for 2010, as are creative financial saving and properly-applied eye makeup. (That one’s already checked off with the help of an eye shadow quad and a short video tutorial; can someone please explain why this took me so many years to try?) Megsie and Elizabeth of Bluepoppy fame have written about the yes factor as well, and I’m in good company as I set off into an inspiring new year.
I took Color Me Katie’s philosophy to heart when faced with the drab task of de-Christmasing the house and made a party of it. I rearranged the girls’ room with concepts picked up from interior design sites like Ohdeedoh and friends like Lizardek to open up more focused playspace. I’ve stolen away from the housework to write my monthly letters to the girls, an oh-so-wonderful tradition that I first learned about from Dooce (and have often regretted not thinking up myself back when Natalie was a baby). Inspired by the ability of bloggers like CJane, Christina from MyTopography, and Nina at The Whole Self to distill daily life to its most beautiful components, I’ve been making a list of the loveliest moment in each day of 2010 to look back on this time next year. I’ve also been picking up The Message and searching through its pages for the kind of open-hearted, un-sermonized spirituality that I so admire in Rachelle of Magpie Girl, Rae from Journey Mama, and Sam, the Sunday School Rebel herself.
Perhaps this only emphasizes how much I need to work on real-life socialization, but I feel so fortunate to be part of the “giant pool of wisdom” as Rachelle calls it, the collection of kindred spirits and talented writers who indirectly share their lives with me. So thank you, dear blogosphere… and please keep in mind that my being away from the computer busy with living and loving is most definitely your fault.