Today I get to introduce you to one of my best sources of inspiration on the web – Shawn of Awesomely Awake. Shawn is my constant reminder to follow on my path of being an intentional parent, or as she calls it, ‘Awake Parenting’. Her mission is to encourage and inspire parents to join this Awake journey and show undivided attention to those they love, the dreams they aspire to achieve and this lovely one chance we get at life. I just love that when I read Awesomely Awake I find a wonderful combination of thought-provoking writing and practical action steps to help me stay mindful… and I am delighted that she’ll be sharing her insights with us today…
Did your family have any memorable family traditions when you were a child?
My most memorable family tradition — something I did every year — was going camping for weeks at a time with my grandparents. I was an only child so it was just me sprawled out in the backseat for all of those vacations. We traveled all over the East and South coasts of the United States during those years. I would feed chipmonks from my hands, ride my bike making new friends that I’d never see again and visit all of the popular attractions. It helped teach me my place in the world.
One of our favourite times of day to connect as a family is story time. What have been your favourite books to read to your children?
When my girls were very young, Sandra Boyton’s Bedtime Story was the best. We had it memorized and could read it in the dark while setting them down for the night. As toddlers, our next favorite became Jillian Jiggs and it’s still a favorite. Also, all of the Llama Llama books are fantastic. Now, our favorites are in chapter book style like Charlotte’s Web, Junie B. Jones and Pippi Longstocking.
Do you have any special ways to celebrate milestones & special occasions in your family?
We have a special celebration plate that someone can use on a special occassion. It’s used pretty sparingly so it’s very special when it’s pulled out of the china closet. We also freeze our daughters’ birthday cake in January to celebrate their half birthday in July. This is always a special treat. Finally, we eat pancakes and sausage every Sunday morning at our dining room table and fill out our memories for the week that we put into our Memory Jar. This has become one of our very special moments of the week and our daughters are showing signs of looking forward to this time to reflect about our week and all the good things that happened.
Which holiday occasion (or season) does your family enjoy celebrating most?
We love all of the seasons and find ways to appreciate it all. We love spring for the flowers and how everything turns so green and lush. We love summer so we can swim in our pool and spend nights catching fireflies. We love the crisp cool of fall and playing in leaves and carving pumpkins. And we love the slow, easy feeling of snuggling under blankets and wearing big sweaters and drinking hot cocoa in the winter. It’s all amazing so long as we’re not rushing it.
What is one of your favourite things about being a Mama?
I love the responsibility of raising strong, confident young women and knowing that they will make a difference in this world some day. I love watching them grow and stretch their wings while still snuggling into me and saying they love me.
Any words of wisdom for making life both easier and more joyful?
- Put something fun on your to-do list each day.
- Honor the seasons all of their goodness they provide.
- Do what you love.
- Practice being grateful for what you have.
What are some of your favourite ways to spend time together as a family?
Besides our Sunday morning breakfast, I’d say movie night. I make treats. We snuggle in — all four of us on our couch — and watch a movie every Friday or Saturday night depending on our schedule. We also love taking hikes at our local parks!
Who inspires you?
My online friends inspire me. You and what you are trying to create for your family, Hana. Women bloggers from around the world constantly show me the way to a more passionate life. I don’t easily take to new friends in real life because I don’t think they understand me and all of my quirky ways but the blogosphere has quickly become the village of MY kind of people: creative, ambitious, passionate, kind and compassionate. My neighbors live in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India, Italy. It’s amazing really how lovely the world is when you meet everyone so personally as we do in blogging.
I completely agree with Shawn about this online world – I think one of my favourite things about blogging is finding an amazing international community of women who are passionate about creative and intentional parenting – isn’t it wonderful that we can connect with kindred spirits from across the world?! … Oh, and how about that memory jar idea – definitely on my ‘Must Make’ list for the weekend.
I just know that you’ll be wanting to hear more from Shawn on ‘Awake Parenting’… you can find her here at Awesomely Awake. I can also recommend her ebook The Playful Family with nearly 100 ideas for playing together as a family. Shawn also has an e-course beginning on October 1st (which I am eagerly anticipating!) – The Messy Family.