“Working day” on Tuesdays and Thursdays ends for me at 4:00, when the kids wake up from their naps. Sometimes I’m in the middle of stuff. Sometimes I have a little bit of trouble checking back IN to family life and turning the rest off for a bit (even though my experience has shown me that stepping away from projects only increases the freshness when I go back to them).

But you know how hard that can be. Scrapbooking is one of those things that kind of takes over your life in some ways. Mostly good ones, though - you find yourself paying attention to details in life, but also paying attention to billboards and magazine ads and saying “wouldn’t that shirt/skirt/cereal box make GREAT patterned paper?”. You’re sketching in your head, and on scraps of paper, or perhaps if you’re extra nerdy (ahem, I mean.. prepared), on that notebook you carry around with you. Your camera is close at hand.

And for me, because I know I’m going to continue having assignments and that there’ll be scheduled demands for layouts in my near future (ahem.. maybe even a LOT of layouts.. and maybe in the NEAR future. ;)) I’m trying to capture great shots when I should just be playin’. You know, playin’ “Spooker” with the kids. Today happened to be one of those successes in this department, I guess.

It started out that I was the Big Spooker. And there aren’t any shots of me, because I was busy Spookin’.

But here’s Elliott when he was tagged and became the Spooker:


And Rowen better look out, because he chased her up into the playhouse and then what? Oh yeah, he returned to the table and drank all her juice. Sneaky.


And then he burped really loud and couldn’t stop laughing hysterically. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to put that on a scrapbook page - especially not one that will be published - however much I might talk about our need to record our real lives.. is THIS something that goes out there to the world? But on the other hand, I would hate for this to get recorded as “what a cheerful boy you are, Ele!” without the real life behind it. What do you think?


And then Jared came home, which automatically made him the Spooker (and he may kill me for posting this extra-attractive pic of him..). 


Dinner, hanging out, bathtime, and then just before bed, I was bringing Elliott out of our room (note the rocket pj’s), and Jared wandered in and Elliott said, spontaneously, “I love you guys mommy and daddy.” And so we had a big hug. And my camera happened to be on the dresser. Yeah, one of those times.


(This totally almost made up for the fact that he came out of his room at LEAST a dozen times for various lame reasons, and didn’t fall asleep until almost 9:30. *sigh*) Sweet-and-salty life, right? :)

So where’s the balance? Where’s the I’m-still-a-scrapbooker-in-real-life? Hopefully not gone. Hopefully I can continue to take pictures, at least some of the time, out of a pure desire to record, and not for another ulterior scrapbookish because-I-need-this-pic motive.

I ran across a really cool quote in the July|August issue of Body+Soul:

“What if your current challenge is a call to action, a kind of rallying cry that will prepare you for the next phase?”

And because I’m a sucker for both great quotes AND cool fonts, and I was practicing the art of constructive avoidance, I decided to set it in a great newfound font, Sling,and it looked like this (feel free to download if this rings for you too)::


And then all of a sudden it’s 11:30 and it turns out that turning work off at 4 p.m. meant I didn’t turn it back on again tonight. And that’s ok. See, I need to keep telling myself that. :)

The challenges I’m facing, with balance, with recording, with paying attention and being present and in the moment, are my call to action.

Did you inherit an inability to sit down and watch TV or a movie at home and NOT do something else, too? I know I did. And somehow that has translated into needing to check email and wash dishes and cook dinner and wrangle a kid or two while also doing some shopping online (shall we talk about my total inability to find a really cute pair of sandals?), and making a grocery list, all the while thinking about whatever assignment or work thing is currently sitting undone in the office. Instead, I could just trade these weights in for awhile, for some Spooker.

I do think that one of the great challenges of our plugged-in times - at least for me - is learning to single-task for awhile, and to enjoy it as both a gift to ourselves and our families, and a necessity for our well-being. But somehow nobody gave me permission to just play sometimes. Isn’t it funny that I so often have to re-learn how to just play? (and how it is almost always my kids who remind me?) But when I figure it out again, it is so simple and so full of joy.