I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

Slowing Down for the Season

Hi friends. Relaxing music for you? I’ve got just the thing. (When Harry Met Sally always reminds me this time of year.)

I usually write to you in the early evenings, late afternoons. I’m not a morning person. Most people who truly know me can vouch for that. I am no good before 9am. My brain takes a few hours to fully turn on so I get most of my productive creative work done later on in the day. I’d rather stay up until midnight working than waking up before dawn to begin – something about the darkness in the morning makes me antsy and alone. I don’t like it.

So, here I am. It’s 6:10pm here in our home and Paul is just getting on the bus to come home from work. I have a good 30 minutes of quality time with you until I’m distracted by chats with Paul and snuggles with Rusty. Shall we begin?

I’ve been doing a bit of reflecting these last few days on how I can better spend my time. Perhaps I sound a bit spoiled when I write this next sentence, but ever since just taking a part-time job on top of trying to make something on my own, I’ve felt completely off and a bit like I’m always trying to catch up, especially around the house. You people who are not only leaving the house and going to a full-time job, but are also parenting and maybe trying to create your own side business, I give you so much credit. How do you do it? You are probably superheroes. If I had a hat on I’d take it off to you.

I am a creature of habit and routine. Although I loved my summer vacation days as a child and dreaded the thought of homework, I couldn’t wait to get back to school and have a safe and reliable routine. It kept me grounded and gave me comfort knowing I was on some sort of path.

Because this part-time job is new for me (if I didn’t tell you already I’m teaching art classes during the week and I love it) and because I’m still trying to make something of my art as a business, my days are a bit scattered. My teaching schedule changes, sometimes weekly, and when I’m home I’m trying to figure out my priorities with my business since my hours are more limited. Do I work on advertising? Finances? Painting? Designing? Blogging? Photography? Photoshop? And the list continues…

Besides business and jobs and such, I crave perfection in my house as well. I grew up in a home that was always tidy, meals were always planned, and during the holidays home was the most comforting place in the world. Every season my mother pulled out the decor from the basement totes and boxes, put them on the dining room table, and began to pull general decor from the walls, shelves, tables, windows, etc. She had a gift of pouring each holiday into the house at full blast. We watched the most perfect fall and Halloween movies, Thanksgiving movies, and Christmas movies throughout the appropriate months. We ate food that was warm and familiar during the chill of those months, and inside our house was home.

As an adult, I’ve tried to imitate that. I make sure my house looks as cozy as our house looked growing up. I light the pumpkin candles and keep apples hanging in the fruit basket in the kitchen. I have garlands of leaves strewn about the rooms and I have electric jack-o-lanterns lit up at night. And when the mood strikes, Disney’s Sleepy Hollow and Charlie Brown’s Halloween movie is on the TV with the fireplace humming and pouring out heat. During Christmas it looks like an elf exploded in our home. I’m thankful my mother taught me priorities.

Do you want to know the one thing that has been causing me to feel like I can’t enjoy it all and balance everything in my life? It’s the silliest thing. It’s meals. Meals, people!! Because I don’t have time to make home-cooked meals lately I feel as if I’m failing Paul and I. These are the months when I want to have food cooking in the crockpot or a chicken roasting in the oven and the house is enveloped in days gone by. These are my most favorites months of the year. So, we go to the grocery store and pile up on veggies and meat and all the good stuff with organic labels and even with all the best intentions, it usually goes to waste and I feel extremely guilty (I feel guilty just typing that). Instead we’ll go out to eat or one of us will pick up fast food – it’s a terrible habit but we just don’t have time. I’m trying to accept that.

So last night, after teaching and before Paul came home, I “cooked” a frozen bag of pasta, veggies, and chicken for 12 minutes. I lit candles, turned on the fireplace, fed Rusty, started laundry, did the dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher and I feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder – I know how silly that sounds, don’t worry), turned on Ichabod Crane, and finally felt some relief. By the time Paul came home, the kitchen smelled like fettucine alfredo, the living room looked and smelled like a cozy pumpkin, and we had a whole stack of clean undies to help us take on the rest of the week. I hadn’t felt that productive in weeks and all because I wanted to bring perfection into every aspect of my life. No thanks. It’s frozen pizza for dinner tonight, which means I’ve had this lovely time spent with you.

I’m going to try my best to eliminate some things that add any unnecessary stress in my life, especially during this time of the year when nesting and slow moving is encouraged. What about you, friends? Is there anything that helps you prepare for this season?