...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.


budding volunteers

When I enrolled Ava into the Mother's Day Out program, I was hoping there'd be opportunities for me to sit in the class with her and sing songs or read books.

But no such luck. Instead, my parent involvement was needed elsewhere - like crafting an item for their annual luncheon and silent auction. At first, the project lingered over my head like a dizzying cloud.

This all happened right around the time Ava got sick - and had to miss school for the first time. She couldn't sleep that night, so we let her help paint. She worked in silence and smiles... dipping the foam brush into the can...


and then lathering it on as if she was frosting a cupcake...


The next day we coated the chair with leafy green paint and then headed to school with Ava to get everyone's thumb prints in two different shades of brown.


At home, I found myself stumped on how to turn these chocolate squiggles into sunflower buds... So I made an emergency phone call to my good friend and interior designer, Marie, to sketch the petals while I filled them in with marigold yellow and glitter...


The luncheon was fun. One woman at our table turned out to be an old acquaintance I had worked with more than 7 years ago. Her son was in the one year old class, thanks to Noah, who forfeited his seat after only 4 classes. Her son apparently loves the program and if Noah could talk, he'd probably tell us that it was the worst experience of his life so far. It just comes to show - not all kids are ready to leave their nests... even if it's to go out and play all day....

Aaron and I were a bit overwhelmed with the timing of the project, but looking back, the squeeze was a perfect fit. By volunteering, I actually committed my family - Ava with her sniffles staying up past her bedtime and painting... Aaron corralling a classroom of squirmy toddlers all by himself for their finger prints... and Noah test driving the chair to make sure it still rocked... right after the last coat of polyurethane...

Everyone did so great, and I am humbled by their energy and love they poured into it. The experience had many teachable moments - here are a few things I learned:

1] volunteering our time, even when we think there isn't any to give, is actually an opportunity to gain more of it - as a family

2] how great it feels to be a part of our community and supporting a cause...

3] there are roles for each of us - no matter how big or small - as long as we are all involved, together... we are leaving our prints behind for others to follow



  1. this is the cutest chair ever! I would place first bid!

  2. Thanks Deb!! Coming from an exceptionally creative and talented artist yourself- that's a huge compliment for me! I didn't have much faith in my painting skills, but I think it turned out pretty cute too...
    I'm inspired to try more creative projects like this with the crew...

  3. Zar, I always love your Art of Family entries - they pick me up and take me out of my typical head-buried-in-work space.

    I've passed this particular story along to my fiancee; I think she might want to sign up to get the Art of Family emails herself.

    As we talk about starting our own family (first step: getting married), your site can help give us ideas for how we might want to do things.

    Keep up the GREAT work!

    - Harley

  4. I traveled onto your blog from Deb's site. So thrilled to have found it. What a wonderful joy to see how people are loving the things that really matter in life. I am a new mom again at 41 and have found more joy than I ever thought possible. My other kids (the big ones) didn't get the wonders of an experienced me. I now see that all those things that I thought mattered so much don't seem nearly as important now. Kudos to you for seeing it the first time around.

  5. Harley - I'm so grateful to hear The Art of Family gives your day a spark. And am overwhelmed to hear that our stories give you and your sweets something to think about as you consider to take on this journey yourselves. That truly is a huge compliment for Aaron and I - thank you! and I'm so glad to see you here reading... xo

  6. Welcome Staci! Congrats to your "new" world of mamahood... the second time around. I would love to know how different the years have changed you - and how you see parenting to be different. I love how you used the phrase "wonders of experienced me" - that's so perfect!

    I feel that sentiment in my own parenting as I had the privilege [although back then I thought it was punishment] to help raise my kid sister. I think I analyzed her upbringing so much that when it came time for me to have my own kids - I tried to incorporate what I had learned [do's and dont's].

    But much of the wonder still stems from the question I ask myself each day - what can I do better? How can I make a difference in their lives today? and so on...

    Thank you for the acknowledgment - it's an honor coming from an experienced Mom - and I'm so glad you found this site.

    I hope you continue reading and share your stories and lessons with me - I'm still learning everyday....

  7. lovely thoughts and so very true. i often find myself complaining there just isn't enough time in the day. always something to do, but the funny thing is, i always find the time. how? i don't know, but i do.

    thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

    lisa e. (alka mamislove)


Thanks for sharing - I will respond to your comment here as well so check back! xo


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