Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Trip to Austin, Tx
















Last week our family made the drive down to the Austin, Texas area. We stayed with Andrew's parents who live just north of Austin. There's so much to say and even more for us to do. I think the thing thats most important is that we absolutely loved the area, and being so much closer to family.

Blanche immediately took to Gigi and went off exploring with her the first morning. She loves her Showpa too, and keeps talking about him after we have returned home. There are details about jobs, and what we thought we might do, and what we aren't going to do after all. I really will write about everything when we know more. What we do know as of now is that the Austin area seems like it would be a perfect fit for our family. It was so nice to spend some time down there and see the area again, this time with a toddler.

The entire time we were staying with Andrew's parents it seemed we would love to move there. And while its easier to envision living in a place in a more vacation mode, I could see how lovely it would be for Blanche to be so close to her Gigi and Showpa.

One afternoon, the last full day we were there, we spent the day in downtown Austin. We ate huge pieces of pizza with Andrew's sister and her husband, walked around art and craft booths, and stopped in for some coffee and music on a shaded patio. Blanche immediately won over the crowd with her dance moves. Oh how we want to move there.

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I'm sorry that my posts have been rushed lately. Mostly because Blanche has been on my lap (like now) on occasion, and with all this decision making things have seemed busy and intense at times. We are probably canceling the internet tomorrow. I hope the next time I write a long post and put up pictures we are living in Austin. We will soon see.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Adventures






Well lately "adventure" is the only thing that can come to mind when thinking about our future. I always want adventure. It is however a little more scary when it could be the main word describing our life. Because adventure would be the more positive way to describe the unknown. There is currently a lot of unknown. There are many things floating very close to our reach… where we can see them. I know, I am being really vague and not really saying much. But I think I'd rather wait until things are a little more clear before publishing everything publicly.

Either way, Blanche is constantly wanting adventure. So much so that I can hardly take her picture outside. She loves to wander. One day I know I will really miss where we live. The fact that there is at least some yard for Blanche to play in. It is hard though, for the wandering child to stay within limits. Which we are constantly trying to keep Blanche within the limits. Andrew calls her wild and lovely.

We have also been harvesting tons of lemon thyme from our garden that survived from last year. It literally became a bush, so we are drying it all over our house. Plus there was a storm on Monday, resulting in Blanche learning to wear a helmet. And now she thinks its just an accessory. And that it can be put on whenever really.

Today we are taking off after Andrew gets off of work and heading down to Austin, Tx. We are staying with Andrew's parents, and hopefully doing a few things to move closer to the next step in life. We may also have an air mattress blown up in the back of our van, and a pink pyrex filled with homemade chocolate donuts. The Nycums know how to travel.

I feel like I am probably inspired by quotes from Pinterest too much. But sometimes they just speak to me. I read one the other day that said, "Dreams don't work unless you do." It made me realize that we can't just sit around and wish for things to happen. We have to go do them. We might have to take one step forward in some ways, and two steps back in others. It's scary and unknown. But sometimes those things have to happen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why Astronauts and Social Media Don't Go Together









I'm always torn between taking pictures and posting them for the sake of documenting our life, and making beautiful select photographs. I would ideally like the two to merge. I love the lighting in the last photograph. And I wish each photo I posted could be equally as beautiful. But I know that when it comes to any art form, I need to be constantly doing it. I also need to pay attention to light more. And be confident in my own style. It was an unique experience over the last year or so, I actually developed a style to my photos solely taken on my phone and edited either on instagram or another app that I had on my phone. I enjoyed a lot of the pictures I took, but then again sometimes it felt cheap and easy.

Once again I've decided to get off Facebook. I was off of it for about six months and really only missed the interaction between family members and a few friends. But after getting back on it mostly just annoyed me. One in five posts were probably something I wanted to see, the others were political views, complaining, and advertisements. But then I decided to give up all social media for awhile. Well, I am still blogging and reading a few blogs of people I care about, but those seem more like letters. Either way I had mixed feelings about trying to not take as many pictures with my phone. It kept me always shooting and thinking in photos. But like I said, it wasn't too hard. But more so, the reason I decided to back off again was that I think a lot of it creates a false sense of community for me. Being a stay at home mom, some days its just me and Blanche. No one else. Many days, its me and the neighborhood moms, which I appreciate. But most of the people that I follow or that like my own photos, I don't see or even talk to very often at all.

The thinking about false community all started when Andrew and I watched this twenty minute video about astronauts who had all left the earth, and viewed it from space. It wasn't a long clip but it showed that each person was changed, and that really it was such a hard experience to fully describe. The footage was beautiful and showed things like storms on earth from outer space. It talked about how the earth is a living and breathing organism. That we are part of. I don't know, its kind of hard to even describe the experience of just watching the video. Either way it lead to Andrew and I sitting on the couch late at night and talking.

"Doesn't it just make you want to give away everything and go live in a tent in the forest?" I asked.

"I mean, who needs all these things. We just need books, and journals, nature and each other…" I kept going.

Andrew agreed and then went on to say that we should just give away all of our things. You see, we are dreamers. But then we thought about oh yeah, food. And that we probably still need some money. And even if we did get that dream farm house one day, people would need some where to sit.

But in the midst of our talking… we came to the topic of our computer and our phones and the need to feel "connected." And the irony of it all is that we really are not that connected. Andrew and I often feel lonely in this season of life in this small town. We have friends but many of them lead busy lives, and many times we are busy too. My slow time is when everyone else is working. And evenings with a small child and limited time with Andrew makes it hard to get together as much as we would like with people. There's a desire within us for communal living, or even to live in more connected ways of the past. But often times it takes more than one person to achieve these things.

"I guess whats so weird, is that when I feel alone during the day… but I am eating a pretty lunch, well I'll take a picture of it. And then people like it and I know they think its pretty too. And I don't feel so alone."

But then all of the sudden this weekend, I had a revelation. Or a turn of spirit. I wanted to feel alone. I wanted to feel real. I wanted to know who I actually stayed in touch with through out the weeks and months. I wanted to not be falsely connected, but truly close to those that loved me and I them.

Maybe it sounds sort of dramatic, but I think there is way more phycological issues that drive social media than anyone would like to admit. Not everyone. No not everyone at all. But me. I guess I decided that I wanted to take a break from some of the awesome people I follow on instagram. I wanted to not have to know what every other person was doing all day, and stop secretly trying to capture enough beauty in my own life that it looked equally as good. I just think some personalities are more susceptible to competition and self criticism. I think my perfectionist personality at times can get the best of me.

So, here I am. Pulling out my camera to not miss the moments of family this weekend. And not really being on my phone anymore because theres nothing there for me to see. Instead, Blanche and I have been eating watermelon and playing outside. And there are moments when I think oh, that would be a good photo opportunity, but then I close my eyes and try to soak in the moment. To really live. To enjoy what it is I am doing. To be comfortable being alone sometimes. To admit sometimes my life isn't as cool as other's seem, but I am in love with my family and we are trying to pursue our dreams. And today, thats enough.M

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Artist and Explorer












This last Saturday Andrew and I decided that we should go on a walk. And then we decided it should be a hike. Andrew told me about a place he had heard had boy scout trails that were overgrown. So we threw on our hiking boots, packed a back pack and headed out.

This is why I love Andrew. He helps me just stop folding laundry or talking of projects. He helps me just be. Which is a lot harder than most would admit. Nature is so easy on your soul. The earth doesn't command much. Sometimes it seems like it is just whispering that it wants to be enjoyed. I was never one to walk in the wilderness until I met Andrew. There was something inside of me longing to do this, I just didn't know that nature was what it was. I sometimes am still afraid I might step on a snake, but then Andrew says something like," Oh its too cold for them now. They are in the ground." Or "Thats why I walk first" and I am comforted.

Saturday was cloudy and cold for spring but the air opened up our hearts. Sometimes when we are out as a family in the middle of beauty and space for thoughts, it seems all is right with the world. It is hard to describe how a hike in the woods can make me feel. But I know connection is the root of it all. I feel connected to what God has made, to my family, and to God himself. All the little things seems less important.

We hiked all around and the smell of water and earth captivated us. We just kept talking about the smell. I wanted to bottle it up in a mason jar. We crossed logs over water. Andrew had Blanche on his back, and I had my own stumbling self. So we both accomplished something in not falling in the water.

After the hike we sat in the back of our van with the backseat folded down. We ate apples and drank water. We talked and Blanche just sat there for once. We left once my toes were cold because I had taken off my wet and muddy boots. It was a pretty magical afternoon.

After walking through the woods I started thinking more about how Andrew and I are on the same team. How we are partners in marriage, not competitors. I never thought I would come to feel like I was competing in a marriage, but slowly it can become that when both people work hard all day. It can easily become how many diapers I've changed, or how many dinners he has cooked. But I have come to see it doesn't matter. We both work hard. We are both tired. We are both trying our best. So really I need to be doing everything I can to help my husband, because I know he is doing the same for me. And the more we continue to do these things for each other, the cycle will continue to turn.

I joked on our hike that we were both using our majors on our walk. He got a degree in Outdoor Leadership, and I got mine in photography. He is the explorer, and I am the artist. We are lovers and dreamers. We are living and loving each other as best as we know how.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Bohemian Farm




I didn't take these pictures, actually I "pinned" them on pinterest. I would say that over the last six months I have been doing a lot of dreaming… and for me, I use pinterest to dream. The visual person inside me loves to just scroll through hundreds of pictures. I tend to follow crazy bohemians and hippies. So now when I scroll through my front page, I see a lot of pictures of bohemian homes, veggie dishes, and chicken coop ideas. Basically this is a perfect dreamland for me to scroll through while nursing Blanche some days.

The reason I even bring this all up is because I made a board about a month ago called, "The Bohemian Farm." I started pinning things like the pictures above. And links to articles about having your own family cow and raising chickens.

This is a new dream. Or at least one I didn't really see myself having. For such a long time, my dreams have been to travel the world. And they still are in some ways. But whats funny is I don't have a "travel" board on pinterest. I guess for me I feel like I have traveled. At least some. Enough. For the moment. Some days I crave being in India or Spain again. But I have also come to see that I don't have to do everything tomorrow. Especially when I still have college loans. After getting married and starting a family I have started to see the importance of being near family (well, at least in the same country) and being able to take a day at a time for what it is that I am suppose to be doing in life.

Dreams are tricky because most of the time it reveals a lot about what a person believes. For many years I have sort of believed that I could sum up my life's purpose pretty easily. "We love because he first loved us" 1 John 4:19. I'm not really very good at memorizing. But I think most children could get this verse down. Plus it sums up so much of my life. Most of the time I feel that any reason or capability I have of truly loving those around me is because of how God has loved me. So really, when doing anything in life, I knew I wanted to love. To either love the orphan or widow or whoever God put in my life.

The funny thing is sometimes life doesn't go the way you think it will. I honestly envisioned myself single until at least thirty. Traveling the world as a gypsy. But then the month before I graduated from college I started dating Andrew, was married a year and a half later, and by our first year anniversary I was seven months pregnant. Things happened exactly how we wanted them too. Blanche wasn't an accident. We wanted a baby. We want a big family. So I guess my dreams are changing.

The thing is though, I am realizing every day that I am still loving. I am having to love in some of the most difficult ways. Like loving my daughter when she is awake at three am, or my husband when I am really really tired. I am loving the waiters at that Mexican restaurant we love to eat at. And I'm loving my neighbors (literally). I guess I am learning not that I am too small to change the world, but that I don't have to buy a plane ticket to change it. Changing the world for the better means being the better. Whenever you may be. I am changing the world (or trying to) by trying to buy my clothes from fairly made companies. I am trying to change the world by being considerate of the earth and my impact on it. Sometimes it doesn't feel like I am changing the world by hanging cloth diapers, but I am doing my best with what I have. And thats what I keep reaching towards.

I don't know if "A Bohemian Farm" is the end goal. Or the beginning goal. Or maybe someone in between. I have visions of having all my laundry on the line, gathering fresh eggs out back, and vegetables from the garden. I imagine having four kids painting in their underwear in our own backyard. Of making strawberry jam and canning it. I see piles of mud boots. Smiles and and an old country tub. Maybe this is what it looks like in my own mind to settle down one day.

One thing that Andrew and I do know, is that we came to Siloam Springs, Arkansas to go to college. And we did that. And maybe he won't be able to support our family working at a coffee shop forever. I haven't said much to many, but we do have dreams and hopes that could one day soon turn into the first step of making our dreams become reality. We might move to Austin, Tx. I really want to move. I am restless to move.

There is a plan, but nothing is set as of yet. There hasn't been a job offer, but I may have already packed our afghans. See, I'm still a bit of a gypsy. Always ready to go.

And one last, thing… I may have to stop blogging for awhile. We are trying to put every last dime into savings to make moving a reality. Which means we may not have internet. I might be able to still write occasionally on my phone… but the picture posting and long writing may have to be kept to myself for a few months while we save to move. I think I still have the rest of the month to post, and I will of course write any updates as we know them. Maybe by writing out these dreams and goals… we can be that much closer!



Websites I pinned the pictures from:
http://www.planete-deco.fr/2012/11/26/une-renovation-dans-la-vallee-de-lhudson/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/paperdolly/4625417212/in/faves-emmabradshaw/
http://keepingitcozy.blogspot.com/2013/04/mini-makeovers-at-country-living.html