musings & recent work

mud pie

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My life is messy right now. But it’s a beautiful mess. My kitchen floors are sticky from kids pouring their own apple juice so they can earn a point for fixing their own snack. My backyard is covered in sand that’s been dug from the sandbox to mix up a mud pie. The cement walkways are scribbled with chalk rainbows. My laundry room is never empty. There are always dishes in my sink from the 24/7 open cereal diner I apparently run. My kids are never full. And their messes never end. And I am ok with that. In fact, I’m better than ok. I love a good kid mess. To me their mess is the result of a life well lived.

Recently on Facebook a friend asked if it was okay to consciously let her kids play in mud, to respond “yes” when they asked if they could make a mess. My opinion? Absolutely! As a child, my mom let me live. She let me play in the mud. She let me play in the dirty irrigation. She let us ride our bikes down the lane so we could smash up weeds to make a perfume shop in the ditch. She let us be messy kids. At least that’s how I remember it and I suppose that’s all that really matters right…
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I don’t exactly remember my mom cleaning us up after said messes but I’m sure she did. If I had to guess I bet she hosed us off outside first so we didn’t track any dirt in the house. Or maybe if we were little enough to fit she plopped us in the kitchen sink. That’s what I do. Pajamas and all because of course I let my kids play outside in their pajamas. To me pajama is just another word for “all purpose terrain.” If you look closely they even come with little bumps/grippy things on the bottom of the pajama feet. I’m sure those are so you don’t slip and fall playing outside right? And pajamas even grow with you in size. All you have to do once your toe starts to poke through the bottom is cut out the feet. Then you’re set for life.

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(Wondering where Sisi in a swimsuit fits in to all of this, well of course she got home from school when I was standing on the kitchen counter taking pictures of Viv and she wanted to join in the fun. Viv was done, so we put her to bed. Sisi decided on a swimsuit to wear while playing to keep things modest and because she’s practical like that. Who really plays in water in their pajamas anyway?)
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In all seriousness, I don’t stress when my kids get their clothes dirty because their clothes mean nothing to me. I likely bought them at the local thrift store for $2 or they were left in a trash sack on my door step by a neighbor who knew there was a whole gaggle of kids behind it. The only time I stress about an outfit is the ones I buy for pictures, and even those are often second hand items because why pay full price when somebody else already did? But I simply don’t let them wear them until the picture is taken and then they too become just a tool to live our lives with.

If you follow me on Facebook, you likely saw my post today with Viv covered in mud, playing in the bathtub, clothes ON. That was her decision but it worked for me. I was able to “pre-soak” those clothing items before dumping them in the washing machine. The honest truth is I have so many things I want to do and become in life that I simply don’t have time to care about anything that doesn’t really matter and clothes are one of those. Cleaning is another…

I remarked to Jordan tonight, “I have too many things on my to do list lately that cleaning isn’t going to get to the top any time soon.” His response: “That’s how my list is too.” Good. Glad we’re on the same page. That’s important in a marriage. Now do I love my house when it’s clean? YES. It’s the best. But I don’t love it more than I love a number of other things and right now, today, this very moment I’m choosing to blog over dishes because I want to. That doesn’t mean I won’t clean the kitchen tomorrow, but for me (and I realize not everyone feels this way and that’s OK) a messy house, a messy life just isn’t something to lose sleep over. It’s something you roll with. It’s something you document and enjoy while you still can because one day the mess, I mean kids, will be all gone and then what are you going to do? I say you, but I mean me? What am I going to do when my kids are grown and gone? Probably work a lot because that’s what I do. But with the remainder of my free time I bet I’ll sit and flip through books filled with pictures like these with the stories of childhood and all the messes that went with it .

Like that one day when I had three sets of plans that all fell through so we ended up with free time hanging out at home as a family. Yeah, that day when Jordan cleaned out the garage and found smoke bombs, a box of ribbons I’d won, a crazy black wig and a bunch of giant letters I once upon a time had a plan for. That day wasn’t extraordinary at the time, but I’m glad I photographed it because I know in 30 years it will take my breath away just like Viv’s smoke bomb did…Oops.
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Life is messy. Smoke bombs look cool, but they stink. And note to self, Viv doesn’t like wigs. Quit doings things because you should and just live the life you want. Make sure it includes mud pie and you’re all set.

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