Motherhood and the Mob

Motherhood is a tapestry, finely woven with the threads of manipulation, coercion and brilliant wit.

The similarities between a mother and a mob boss are nearly identical that their definitions could be one in the same.

godfather

There is however, one key difference…Mothers have the ability to turn what they do into a beautiful package. Motherhood truly is an art form in and of its own. A mother must control, dominate and fight a war everyday but must make it look as graceful as a well choreographed ballet, sound as lovely as a brilliantly composed piece of music and look like a painting straight from the Louvre.

One of my favorite painters, Mary Cassatt, has captured the heart of motherhood time and time again with her beautiful artwork. One look at her paintings will instantly make you feel loved, and almost make you feel like you can feel the warm embrace of your own mother and her warm breath on your cheek.

As beautiful as Ms. Cassatt’s paintings are, I know there was most likely an ugly side to each of these as well that wasn’t captured. The moments before the beautiful took shape are not the highlights but they existed and need to be recognized to fully understand the art of motherhood.

Breakfast-in-Bed

Here you see a mother and daughter snuggling in bed. What a sweet cherub with her tousled curls and her mother’s arms wrapped around her so lovingly.  The truth is, when that little girl entered the room and saw her mother with her eyes closed and softly snoring she approached the sleeping woman and started poking her and saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Momma. Time to wake up. (poke, poke, poke) Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY!”

No one saw the mother fight back her irritation lean over and whisper in the girl’s ear, “If you let Mommy sleep for one more hour, I’ll let you have 5 cookies today.”

mary-cassatt-mother-combing-her-childs-hairOh, how beautiful! A mother gingerly combing her little girl’s soft blond hair.

No one saw the tears that erupted minutes before this and how the mother threatened to cut off all of the girl’s hair if she didn’t sit still and let her get the giant snarl out. The mom let out a slight giggle that instantly quieted the child because she wasn’t sure if her mother was just joking around or perhaps just crazy enough to do it.

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And finally the bath portrait. What a tender moment where the mother is gently washing up her young girl.

No one saw when the child threw a raging fit declaring she was never bathing again. The true art of motherhood set in when the mom went on a tirade declaring, “That’s fine if you don’t want to take a bath. See if I care if your feet smell like cheese and the rats come nibble on your toes at night. See if I care if you get so dirty that no one can tell you apart from one of the hogs. You’ll get thrown out to the stye with the rest of the bunch and be served turnip heads and slop. You know that will happen if you don’t come take a bath right now little miss.”

No one saw the child’s eyes grow ten times bigger and then stoically walk to her mother’s lap so she could be washed.

I am a mom. Don Corleone has nothing on me.- Motherhoodisanart

 

 

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Swallowed Up by a Sea of Childhood Treasures

I remember being about 10 years old at my grandma’s house. There was an older lady who lived up the hill from my grandma whom my cousin and I would go visit from time to time. She lived in an old farmhouse all by herself and she was a hoarder. I had only stepped into her house once and at that time you could really only walk a few inches before being roadblocked by a huge stack of newspapers and a tower of milk jugs. Like I said, I was only 10 years old but even I knew this was beyond any mess I had ever seen.

Even though she wasn’t a housekeeper she was a very nice lady and strangely enough on one particular day I was visiting she took me with her to shop for a trailer to put on her land because she could no longer get into her house. Afterwards she took me to the local A&W stand for a hotdog and root beer and it was quite a lovely afternoon.

I often think of that dear old lady as I watch my own house filling up. I don’t save newspapers or milk jugs and you can usually find a path through our house, but the amount of stuff I save for my children is slowly engulfing our house. Someday I fully expect to be swallowed up by a sea of artwork, favorite toys and beloved baby clothes. If we had a big enough property I might actually consider buying a trailer to put in our yard to store it all and really that is just insane.

Instead of parting with all of this childhood nostalgia I just continue to add to it and with that comes more storage containers for it all. Our house is filled with tons of antique trunks and boxes holding all of these treasures and this past weekend I had to make one more:

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter's treasures

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter’s treasures

I also made a box for one of my daughter’s friends who is having a birthday this week. I figure we can’t be the only ones who need storage containers:

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A box I made for my daughter’s friend

And as I sat working on that trunk to hold more of my daughter’s treasures I pondered our whole storage problem and how we could have accumulated so much stuff and how many more years I have left in their childhoods to grow their collections. It’s really quite mind-boggling.

Even though I realize this problem; it apparently never truly sinks in because the very next day this is what I had my children do:

My kids painting huge canvases outside

My kids painting huge canvases outside

Someday, I will be that lady taking a visiting child to shop for a trailer with me because I can no longer walk through my own home. Afterwards I will take them for a hot dog and root beer and it will be quite a lovely afternoon.

1 Year Blog Anniversary and a Giveaway!

This past Saturday marked the 1 year anniversary of this little ol’ blog called Motherhood Is An Art.

I do believe that calls for a woot! woot! and some appreciation to everyone who reads and follows me. I am very sincere when I say that I am very thankful to people who stop on by and take their time to read. I have met some of thee coolest people through blogging.

To show my appreciation I am not only sharing a recent children’s book I wrote for my children (based off an event that actually happened that I greatly exaggerated) but I am also giving a copy away to one lucky reader! All you have to do to be entered to win is leave a comment at the bottom of the page indicating that you would like a copy. The other option is to leave a comment on my Facebook page which you can join by clicking on the Facebook “like” button on the right hand side of the page! In one week I will announce the winner!

Without further ado….here is the book I wrote and illustrated:

cover page

page 1 copy2

A mom and her three kids were driving in their van one bright, sunny day. They had the windows rolled down and were singing along to their favorite songs on the radio.

page 2 copy

All of a sudden, Mom heard a low grunting noise coming from the back seat. The noise grew into louder growls and roars. The mom found herself slightly panicked that her three children had been replaced by lions…

page 3 copy2

or bears…

page 4 copy

or wart hogs.

page 5 copy

After a quick check in the rearview mirror the mystery was solved when she discovered that the two older children were bickering and arguing at an escalating volume. She turned down the radio and that is when the girl exclaimed, “Brother is emptying my bucket!”

The mom quickly fired back in a panicked tone, “What bucket? Who brought a bucket in the van? What was in the bucket?”

page 6 copy

Mom knew how much her kids loved to put stuff in buckets. She began to imagine hundreds of worms being spilled into the van…

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or possibly hundreds of roly-poly bugs…

page 8 copy

or a bucket full of ants.

page 9 copy

Would they have brought a bucket of water in the van…

page 10 copy

or gooey mud and leaves?

page 11 copy

After trying to steal glances over her shoulder and not seeing anything; the mom asked again about the contents of the bucket that the brother emptied.

The girl explained that in her Life Skills class at school, her teacher told them we all have an imaginary bucket inside of us. When someone does or says something mean to us; it empties our bucket.

page 12 copy

The girl said her bucket was getting emptied when her brother told her that she had dragon breath.

page 13 copy

The mom immediately told her son to apologize to his big sister. He also had to come up with one compliment to help fill her “bucket” back up.

He told his sister he was sorry and then he told her she was as cool as a two-headed frog. In other words he thought his sister was pretty awesome!

 

I Heart Shrinky Dinks

I have been racking my brain trying to decide what my children should give their teachers on the last day of school. Luckily, I saw this post about homemade Shrinky Dinks from a fellow blogger over at mummyshymz! She is a homeschooling mom in Singapore and always has great ideas!

What I loved about the concept of this is that it allows you the freedom to create whatever you want!

As soon as I saw her post I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased this:

Plain sheets of Shrinky Dink plastic

Plain sheets of Shrinky Dink plastic

I then told the kids they could create key chains for their teachers!

I drew the shape they wanted and they colored whatever they wanted on it! After they were done I cut it out and punched a hole in it and put it in the oven. We put them in the oven at 325 degrees for 3 minutes and they were done!

It was an easy project and one that we all really enjoyed.

As you can see we have already made quite a few in the past few days!

our collection of Shrinky Dinks

our collection of Shrinky Dinks

One of Iris's key chains

One of my daughter’s key chains

Another one of my daughter's key chains

Another one of my daughter’s key chains

One of the key chains my son made

One of the key chains my son made

 

 

 

 

My Own Little Pieces of Art History

This past Monday found me organizing all of my art supplies. I just got rid of the non-working 1940’s refrigerator that I used to store it all in and replaced it with some shelving. It was no longer functioning as storage for me because it couldn’t hold everything I had and everything was spilling out onto the floor in several cardboard boxes. I spent more time looking for the things I needed than I was actually spending creating art.

I am still not done organizing not only because it is a huge, overwhelming job but also because I started losing myself in all of the stacks and stacks of artwork I have done over the years. A lot of the pieces really tell my story so much better than a photo album can.

Take for instance this little number I doodled during some high school class on a piece of notebook paper. My mind was always wandering and I could never pay attention…

A ink drawing I did while doodling during a high school class

A ink drawing I did while doodling during a high school class

I have always been fascinated by babies and eyes. This is a picture of one of my nephews that I drew 20 years ago. I remember he was sitting on someone’s lap and I just sat and drew him. It doesn’t surprise me that I never finished it. I have so many unfinished drawings in my stack of artwork…

A drawing of one of my nephews

A drawing of one of my nephews

I was so happy when I had kids of my own so that I could draw them. I have lots of artwork I did of these little people. Here is the first one I did when Iris was 2 1/2 and Bency was just a little baby.

watercolor painting from 2007

watercolor painting from 2007

Here are a few more that I came across that I have done throughout the years. It’s amazing to sit back and remember sitting down and making these. When I look at them it brings me right back to those moments.

flowers

My husband's favorite restaurant

My husband’s favorite restaurant

Another restaurant in our town

Another restaurant in our town

A shop down the street from us

A shop down the street from us

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Shocking Easter Decoration Of All

The past few weeks my kids and I have been busy making Easter decorations and decorating the house in an attempt to make it feel “Springy” inside despite the amount of snow still outside.

I instructed my kids to make me lots of Easter pictures to decorate the walls:

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We also made an Easter Egg by gluing string to a balloon and after it dried we popped the balloon (My Mom painted the Easter Bunny next to it several years ago for me!) :

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I gave the kids some felt and told them to make me Easter Eggs. In case you can’t tell, my daughter’s is the sweet one with the flower and my son made a “weird guy” Easter Egg.

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We also made paper chains of bunnies and Easter Eggs. I had just purchased some really pretty “Springy” paper but my son still opted to use our 4th of July themed paper!?

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I really thought we had covered all of our bases with our Easter decorating, especially with our Easter Egg decorating we did here! However, my daughter thought we clearly missed one more important decoration. She really thought we should have some….SNOWFLAKES! I gave her a puzzled looks and said, “Really? Do you really think we need snowflakes?” She was absolutely sure about this. So yesterday, we added the final detail to our Easter decorating decor! It truly is complete now!

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Matchbox Car Art

I have wanted to do a project utilizing me and my brother’s old Matchbox cars from the 1960’s and 70’s for a few years now. As a kid, I spent hours playing with these. I kept trying to think of a way to display them properly. I always have a few hundred projects going through my head at all times. Time and how I will go about executing things is always a major factor in how soon I get them done though. I thought I might have a few extra minutes today and I finally figured out how I was going to do this so I set to work.

First I started with a plain wooden board that I got at the ReStore shop. It’s a place that sells used building materials so you can pick up stuff here for pretty cheap.

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Next, I painted the board black and created a square template using masking tape. As you can see, painting is a family affair around here!

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I painted around the edges of the masking tape so the board would have a simple design on it.

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After letting the paint dry, I glued my Matchbox cars on. I applied Gorilla glue on the wheels and placed the cars where I wanted them on the board. The cars are firmly attached and I can now hang this on the wall! Of course the kids think I am completely nuts for gluing cars to a board. They really think I should have just gave the cars to them to play with. I know better though, these would have ended up with the 48 other Matchbox cars under the stove right now!

Matchbox Car Art

Matchbox Car Art

This Grand Adventure

When I became pregnant with my first child, my husband and I fully intended to submerse our children into our world and our lifestyle. Before I had children I loved to travel, hike, go to concerts, attend estate sales and create art.

I imagined a life of going to a Jack Johnson concert with a baby strapped to my chest as my husband and I sang along to Bubble Toes. I pictured us traveling around the world stopping in at cafes to give the babies biscuits and croissants. I knew there would be long hikes with a kid strapped to my husband’s back as we crossed streams and climbed over rocks. And there was no doubt in my mind that the kids and I would spend long Saturdays going from estate sale to estate sale buying used furniture that we could go home and sit together and refurbish.

Me hiking through the mesa in Albuquerque, NM

Me hiking through the mesa in Albuquerque, NM

Me hiking the Jemez Mountain...notice my shirt is wet in really great places...I had just got done swimming in hot springs

Me hiking the Jemez Mountains…notice my shirt is wet in really great places…I had just got done swimming in hot springs

Our dreams were quickly dashed when our new darling arrived and immediately hated car rides. Instead of being a soothing experience that put her into a calm trance she screamed like a banshee. As soon as you strapped her into that car seat she acted like a holy terror and there was nothing you could do to get her to stop. A drive across town with her felt like an eternity so our plans of going to a music festival 3 hours away were certainly not in the cards.

An Eric Clapton concert my husband and I went to before kids

An Eric Clapton concert my husband and I went to before kids

We had front row seats at a Keb' Mo concert

We had front row seats at a Keb’ Mo concert

My husband and I at a Dave Matthews concert

My husband and I at a Dave Matthews concert

I however did tote my new baby along to estate sales. She rested comfortably strapped to the front of my chest. In recent years she has become somewhat of a minor celebrity at these gigs because she has been coming with me for so long. However, these were never all day endeavors. We could only go to one and then be home for nap time. The people at these things don’t even know I have three kids because there is no way I would bring 2 rambunctious boys to a house filled with expensive breakables. They are too much of a liability.

I did take my kids hiking once by myself. My daughter was 4 years old and my middle son was 2 years old. There is a great wooded area with paths not too far from our house. I loaded them up and gave them each a plastic bag to collect treasures and told them we were going on a grand adventure. It seemed to be going very well and then about an hour into our hike with no other people in sight my son fell. No, he didn’t trip and skin his knee. He fell down an embankment. A four and a half foot drop covered by plant growth. My daughter and I couldn’t even see him but we sure could hear his screams. My daughter immediately began screaming at the top of her lungs, “My brother’s dead! My brother’s dead!” I jumped down to save my son and got him hoisted back up to safety. He was fine besides a few scratches. The true problem came in when I needed to get out. Since I am only 5 feet tall I couldn’t just lift myself out of this ditch. It was a straight shot down and there was nothing to hold onto or dig my feet into. I struggled and struggled to get out. Both kids were trying to pull me by my hands which of course were no help. I’m still not quite sure how I got out of there but somehow I manage to get my leg swung over and kind of launched myself out. Needless to say we immediately headed back to the car and have not been back there since.

The kids all ready to start their grand hiking adventure

The kids all ready to start their grand hiking adventure

The embankment my son fell down

The embankment my son fell down

In the past 7 ½ years of being a parent we have not traveled internationally, we have hiked once, the only concerts we have been to are the ones my children perform in at school, we do not go to estate sales as a family and most of the art we create includes paper and glitter.

I have been submersed into the life of my children. The life of playgrounds, naps, goldfish crackers, play-doh and crayons is really not that bad and it is incredibly safer.  The only embankments I have had to try to climb out of are the stacks of dirty laundry and dishes and clearly that that is just a metaphor. A metaphor never hurt anybody.  Plus this life with kids is a grand adventure!

Are You in the Mood For Love?

Are you thinking about Valentine’s Day? I sure wasn’t until I came across this little ditty in my daughter, Iris’s room that she wrote:

Valentine’s Day Song

It’s Valentine’s Day.

Watch out for Cupid. Cupid could get you.

You would think he is sweet but he shoots arrows at you.

Stay clear from Cupid. But watch out for his arrows.

You do not want to get shot because you will fall in love.

Iris's Song

And then my son Bency drew this picture the other day:

I love people in my class

I love people in my class

These sure got me thinking that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with that comes the Valentine exchange at school!

So this year I thought I would make their Valentines on the computer and send in the files to be printed as 4×6 pictures. They can write their messages on the back and have their own unique Valentine’s to hand out!

This project took me a 1/2 hour and I ordered 50 prints total which cost $7.00 with shipping.

And here are the finished results:

Iris's Valentine for school

Iris’s Valentine for school

Bency's Valentine for school

Bency’s Valentine for school

I just noticed now that I forgot the apostrophe in Valentine’s on Bency’s card and I already have them sent in! Wow, that’s so typical of me!! Good thing I’m not a perfectionist!

Have a great day and don’t get shot by an arrow!!

Melissa