Category Archives: My Art History Roots

When you Feel like the Venus of Willendorf Here’s Three Steps

“I feel like the Venus of Willendorf”
“The what?”
“The Venus of Willendorf”
“What on earth is that?”
“Google it”

I thought about including the image but that would take away from the hype and fun of you discovering the Venus, for the first time, in all her google glory. If you already know what this art history nut is talking about we can cringe or share a sorroful chuckle together. The conversation above happened between my husband and me well over a year ago when our second daughter Sophia was a month old. I weighed less with my second pregnancy, but had shockingly less muscle mass. I really struggled to get back in shape, and to be honest, I still am. 

There are lots of post-pregnancy things people don’t warn you about that realists like me wish they would. No one warns you that you’ll feel like you have elephant skin where your tummy used to be.  The baby does’t arrive and make all well with what’s been happening to your stomach for nine months. The baby comes and joyfully distracts you. After your elephant skin has been around for a few weeks post delivery, and especially if you’re nursing, which could be a post all in itself, it’s easy to feel like the Venus of Willendorf. 

Ladies despite how its coming off, this post is meant to encourage, so bear with me. As Jim Gaffigan says:

“… truly, women are amazing. Think about it this way: a woman can grow a baby inside her body. Then a woman can deliver the baby through her body. Then, by some miracle, a woman can feed a baby with her body. When you compare that to the male’s contribution to life, it’s kind of embarrassing, really.” 

― Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat

Ladies when we have a baby whether its via cesarian, in a hospital, at home, with drugs or without, its amazing. Life is amazing and how our bodies were designed is amazing. There will be times when the majority of us will have Venus of Willendorf moments. The tummy is weird and the chest is in rare form but look at the reward. Children are a gift from the Lord and I’m sure you wouldn’t trade them (most days) for perfectly chiseled abs. 

As a person who has struggled for years with image and weight I understand. In moments where its tempting to stay in the sweats and the spit up t-shirt, fight for these three steps. Fight to get out of the rut. My mum does this well and I’m slowly catching on. Wink wink. 

  1. Freshen the makeup. Lift the lashes, conceal those under-eye, i’ve had no sleep, circles, blush the cheeks and pop on some lip gloss. Eyeliner and eyeshadow take me too long but if you can manage knock your socks off.  
  2. Rock a quick, messy bun, pony, or side braid. Everytime I see dry shampoo in the hair products aisle I chuckle. I’m a mom. The look people try to achieve with the dry shampoo I can achieve easily because sometimes getting a shower is harder than finding a three-legged ballerina, as John Candy would say. 
  3. Wear something that makes you feel pretty. We are not so expectedly expecting baby number three, and I still feel like I’m working off baby number two. Discouragement in the wardrobe department can be a daily reality. I recently traded several quarts of homemade ice cream for a kimono from the lovely lady behind The Firebrand Apparel. Colleen works magic with her fabric choices and does it all surrounded by two busy, sweet little boys. I know she’s had the same effect on other gals, but my kimono from her is the one thing that makes me feel pretty. I can wear it with almost anything, it flows beautifully, and it’s fuss-free.  Check out her site and get one ordered. You’ll be glad you did.   

There are days when you feel like you’re chained to the couch nursing a baby, or that your yoga pants are your only friend,  or you can’t remember when you last showered … you can make your own list but, I call these my Venus of Willendorf days. Take a moment. Take a breath. Freshen the makeup, rock a quick updo, and find that go-to look in your wardrobe that makes you feel pretty. You can face the day with new energy. Although your surroundings will likely go unchanged, you are blessed and your outlook just might be a bit brighter. 

Happy Venus of Willendorf Day Slaying!

    For the Love of Branches 

    My love of tree branches has not waned but increased since living in Texas. Dallas is not known for its trees although there are two particular varieties I have fallen in love with. We don’t have crepe myrtles at home, nor do you see live oaks with the same gorgeously gnarly, branches.  

      

    As I mentioned in 50 Ways to Upcycle Tree Branches and Logs, when we moved from Kansas to Texas I was told the tree branches that had hung in our bedroom had to remain behind. It was a sad day parting with them but I knew I could find new ones. 

    Over a year and a half ago I updated you with a picture of their Texas replacement. Since then we have moved apartments again but the branches got to come along this time … And they seem to be multiplying.

    Not only do I love branches but I also have this ‘fear of the void’ problem, to pull out one of my rusty art history phrases. It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to figure out that ‘fear of the void’ or horror vacui which in Latin is ‘fear of empty space’ or kenophobia from the Greek ‘fear of the empty’ is about where I fit when I look at our home. Just think  Adolf Wolfli, Jean Debuffet, Edward Gorey or the Where’s Waldo book series. In our case my ‘fear of the void’ is far less than the technical definition as our walls do not look like something out of an I Spy book, but I cannot have blank wall space and each room must have something on the ceiling. 

    Just before Christmas my dad brought me two glorious branches that had fallen, via a storm, from the old sycamore tree at home. It is one of my favorite trees. My brother and I could never climb it growing up because where it branched out was probably twenty feet up, but it is a magnificent tree. 

    Right now the sycamore branches are above our dining room table and I think that will be their permanent home. At Christmas Izzy and I filled them with greenery, gilded magnolia leaves and ice cycles. For Valentines Day we hung hearts from them. Right now they are bare and awaiting some sort of cheering for spring. They have become a fun vehicle for seasonal decorating, but even when bare they remind me of home and the glorious creativity of the Lord and His trees. 

    Do you have branches in your home? I would sure love to see them. If not give bringing some nature inside a whirl and check out the link earlier in the article about upcycling. What fun and often inexpensive projects! 

    Happy Tree Branching!