Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Dare You (With No Pictures)

Deep breath.  Wow.  What a luxury.  Writing on my blog.  As chance would not normally have it, my house is perfectly quiet right now.  Jane and Camp are, of course, at school.  Danin is at a friend's house, and Skip is napping.  So I get to write.  I've told you before how much I enjoy writing on my blog.  The fact is, though, with four young kids, the opportunity to write on my blog does not come often.  Sometimes I feel frustrated and jealous that there are other bloggers who are able to maintain their blogs so regularly, but the fact is--it just isn't possible for me.  Not right now, anyway.  Not with four young kids.  Because the thing is--while I really do enjoy writing on my blog, it does require some considerable emotional energy for me.  And at the end of the day (literally), I've got none.  That's why I spend my evenings staring at fabrics and design blogs and Overstock with my mouth hanging open and then snuggle up in my chair for some Downton Abbey.  (Why did his Lordship have to be unfaithful?  Why is there always infidelity? That really does always ruin it for me.  Why didn't anyone warn me of that?) So anyway, I'm excited to have this chance.

I told you I would tell you about my New Year's resolutions.  If you can believe it, I really do believe in New Year's Resolutions.  You know why?   Because I have made and actually accomplished one before.  I'll not tell you what it was--it is probably the only thing in the world I have never told at least someone, but I did it.  And I have made significant progress on others.   Do you remember what my resolutions were last year?  Who am I kidding.  ( I never know whether to put a question mark at the end of a question that I want read as a statement.  Do you know what I mean?  What do you think? )  I made the resolutions to be more organized, get out of debt, and be on-time.  And while I certainly did not become perfect in any of those three categories, I did make progress in each of them.  So I'll continue to work on them this year and feel hopeful of continued progress.

This year, though, the resolution I have added is to be more dedicated to my family.   Is it even possible to become more dedicated to your family when you are already a stay-at-home mom?  Yes.  It turns out it is.  I know because I have felt in myself a slacking dedication to my family.   I have realized that far too much of the time, I am counting down the minutes until I am away from my family and have not appreciated enough, been grateful enough for, or taken advantage of the time I am with them.  You know what I mean? It's like I have spent so much time being irritated, impatient and resentful of the life that is mine as a stay-at-home mom--mainly because it gets in the way of my social life and my having a clean house.  I have felt guilty for having that little about me blurb on the side of my blog that says how much I love being a mom because much of the time now, I do not.  I take that back.  It isn't that I don't love being a mom.  I certainly do.  It's just that it is hard now.  Really, really hard a lot of the time.  Life with two little darling kids was a piece of cake, for the most part.  Life, now, is not.  It's funny, because there have been a couple times when I have complained to Brian about how hard my mom-life is and he has just looked at me without pity and basically said, "Get over it.  You chose this life."  And the fact is--he's right.  And I would choose it again.

I pray pretty regularly that Heavenly Father will help me change my perspective and help me remember the things that are most important.  And I think he really does help me.  I really do love Brian and my kids more than anything else, and if that's the case, then my attitude and actions need to reflect it.

So I've been praying to recognize and be able to accommodate the love language of each of my kids and my husband.    I've been trying to listen more and see things from their perspectives.   I've made the resolution to spend less time on the computer during the day (when my kids are here and awake :) )  While I do not ever watch television during the day or spend much time on Facebook, I do still struggle to stay away from the computer.  I spend a lot of time on it anyway, managing the business side of our business.  But it's just far too easy for me to get distracted by the world of decorating and shopping that is available on the computer.  (It's not that I buy much, but I do browse much. )  I've decided to do my best to limit my non-work related computer activities to only those times when my kids are in quiet time or in bed.  And I'm trying not to yell.  Man, there is a lot of fighting that goes on in our house, and I hate it.  I cannot be a contributor.  And I'm trying harder to seek the answers to my prayers.  It's not gonna do me a bit of good to keep asking Heavenly Father to help me figure out how to help Camp with his temper if I don't ever allow a time for Him to answer me.  I've finally established a new exercise routine of going to the gym  a few times a week early in the morning while the family is still asleep.  This often allows me the opportunity to think a little bit and come home to a still quiet house in which I can read and pray, and think for a few minutes about what I am needing help with.  And I think that will be good.

Finally, I've resolved to be more dedicated to Brian.  If I want to have a more close, trusting, enjoyable  relationship with him, I need to do my part.  I don't know how you can want something so badly, and still have such a hard time doing your part, but I do.  So I'm going to do better.  I'm going to show Brian my love in the way he receives it.  I'm going to continually ask Heavenly Father to help me to see Brian the way He does.  I'm going to try harder to forget the little things and have more faith.   So help me, friends.  I am going to do it.  I have to.  And as a part of this effort, I have decided to dedicate February--the month of love (Valentine's Day and my anniversary)--to The Love Dare.  Have you heard of it?  It is from the movie Fireproof.    There is an actual book that takes you through forty days of basically being unselfish and serving your spouse.  Hard, I know.  But would any of you like to join me?  Each day, starting February 1st (this Friday), I will post what the dare is.  Then you can join with me in an effort to strengthen your own marriages and maybe share some feedback.  Or maybe not.  Maybe that's one of those things we should keep private.  But maybe we can just post comments of little smiley faces or something to give each other support, and indicate successes.  I don't know.  But I'm doing it.  I've started to do it before, but it got too hard.  But this time I'm in it to win it, and I hope you'll do it with me.  I dare you.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Letter

Since it has kinda become a tradition--a copy of my Christmas letter:

Dear Friends and Family, 

 A few months ago, as the summer was nearing its end, Brian and I were talking about how life had kinda settled down and things had been pretty good.  I told him I felt like sending out our Christmas letter right then so I would be able to honestly say that things were going really well.  I wanted our friends and relatives to get it while the gettin’ was good, so-to-speak.  Well, guess what, folks---I’m so happy to report that the gettin’s still pretty good . :)  

This has been a decent year for us.  Rather than giving the highlights of the year, though, I thought maybe I’d tell you about a regular day at our house.  Will you oblige me?

Brian got up early this morning to travel to Mt. Pisgah to run a 14-mile mud race.  Yes, the man is still running.  Sadly, Brian’s dad passed away a few weeks ago after struggling with his health for some time, but it seems this has further strengthened Brian’s determination to live a healthier lifestyle.  It seems he is committed to making the most of his life, in general, and I’ve been impressed with the changes.  Anyway, he loved the race and came home only a little stiff with his normally (and tragically) aching feet.  (And no, it’s not his shoes, unfortunately.)

For the rest of us, the morning started off pretty peacefully.  Once we all got out of bed, though, things started up as usual.  (Anyone else thinking of that poem you always hear at church:  Dear Lord,  so far today I’m doing all right.  I haven’t gossiped, yelled, etc..... But in a few minutes I”m going to be getting out of bed and I’m gonna need a lot more help.  Amen)  Camp and Jane got in some kind of tiff involving a piece of wood that Brian had fashioned into a weapon, of sorts, for Camp.  When I insisted the stick be taken outside, Camp wigged out and the situation escalated until we both lost our control. I was sooo close to making it, too.  Sigh.   That was probably not the battle to have chosen.  

I headed out after lunch to the baptism of a woman in our area.  Right before the baptism started (yes, I was there on time!) Danin, who has been sick with the flu all day, called me on my cell to report that Janey and Camp were using bad manners at home.  Apparently they were drinking straight out of the water dispenser on the fridge instead of using cups.  Wow.  That is serious.  Danin’s ability to contact me via phone in the event of an emergency?  Check! The baptism was wonderful, though, and I felt grateful to be there.  I only wished I had just been the one washed clean.   The wet Sis. Stratton took the opportunity to share with us how wonderful she felt and how she was anxious to dedicate her life to Jesus Christ and how she would always remember the way she was feeling.  That’s cool.  

Janey did crafts throughout the day, periodically checking the advent calendar’s # 15 mitten for a small note or gift.  Oh, man.!  Do I have to forget that so often?  It’s heart breaking to realize I’ve forgotten it when Janey rushes over to it only to be disappointed.  Don’t worry, though.  Tomorrow she will get a little Fancy Nancy Christmas sticker book to take along to church,  and she will be delighted.
Skip was darling and enjoyable all day long, of course.  Come dinner time, though, I went over to his high-chair and pushed his Gogurt thing up, not realizing I had just been seeding jalapeƱos.    When Skip started to cry and wriggle around,  batting at his mouth, I went over and stuck my fingers in his mouth in an attempt to get whatever in there was bothering him.  Whoops!  Double whammy.  Poor kid. 

The kids really are doing fine, though, I think.  (I hope.)  They are fun and creative and generally healthy, despite all the Ramen I feed them.  

And I’m doing well, too.  I happen to have a sore throat right now, but thanks to a fateful day my senior year in seminary, I know that it is my lymph nodes that are sore, and not my gonads.  As I finish this letter,  I am bundled in my coat because the shivers have started in.  But I’ll be fine.   I’ve had good eyelash days all week, so I’ve no room to complain.

I love you all so much and hope you’ve had a decent year as well.

Merry Christmas, 


P.S.  I just found  a little yellow folded paper on my night stand which reads "Do not throw away!!!!!  to: Mom." Brian informed me that Camp had written the rest of the note in invisible ink with his magic spy pen.  After locating the pen, I was able to decipher the rest of the message: " I love you, Mom.  I’m sorry about my temper.  Merry Christmas."   Ahhhh, man!  Merry Christmas to you, too,  Homie.  What a cool kid.

Normally, I would be posting pictures from Christmas here too, but since we were in Vegas for Christmas, I forgot to do a bunch of the stuff I normally do--like take Christmas Eve and Christmas morning pictures. :(  I think Brian got some on his phone, though, so I'll post those later.    Aaannnddd, just give me a day or two and I'll fill you in on all of the hundreds of things I want to improve on in this new year....