Monday, April 19, 2010

Balance


A person who is very close to me has been going through a harder time lately, suffering with anxiety and such. She is an amazing woman... and she sets a very high standard for herself. She is a great wife, and amazing mother, a good friend, she fulfills her calling to the max, she gardens, she cooks, she keeps an immaculate house... I could go on and on.
We were having a conversation about these struggles, and the difficulty in trying to keep up with all of it. She has had children... and with each child it has gotten harder and harder to keep up. In my infinite wisdom I found that my advise to her, or at least what I think might work for me, is simply "letting go". As I elaborated on specifics... I found this phrase escaping my lips... "I just lowered my expectations". I still don't know why I thought I was qualified to attempt advise in the first place!
I've thought a lot about this over the past few weeks, rather disappointed in myself. Conference Sunday shortly followed, and I listened to quite a few fantastic talks. Talks that addressed specific issues I've been having about feeling inadequate, or feeling like I just can't do it all. Those are the talks that help me feel of self-worth and make me realize that the Lord is pleased with my efforts. Then, there are also the talks that make me wonder if I'm not doing what I should, I should be able to do more. I'm not the good 'mormon wife and mother' I should be. I feel that voice inside my head "You are not trying hard enough, if other women can do these things... so should you!"

Why is it that as a Mom... and really as a woman... no matter what I do, I feel like it's not enough? I should be doing more!

As I lay my head on my pillow, besides being exhausted, I run through a never-ending mental list of my weaknesses. Tomorrow I will eat better... tomorrow I will read with Sophie... I'll clean my bathroom... I'll clean out my car... tomorrow I'll be nicer to my kids in the morning... tomorrow I'll get to the store and find the book I've told Cori I would get her three weeks ago... tomorrow I'll get dinner ready before 8pm... I'll do better at feeding my kids healthier foods... I need to call my Sister... I need to visit my Grandma... I need to be a better friend, I'll call a friend tomorrow... I need to get my yard work done... I'm running out of time to plant my lettuce... Tomorrow I'll get my office organized... I'll return those emails... I'll post something on my blog... and on and on and on.
It's not that I don't want to improve myself, I just want to have a moment at the end of a day where I feel... good. I feel accomplished, and I don't beat myself up, but feel like I gave it my all and my 'all' really was good enough.
Balance. I've got to find a balance. I have to listen to the spirit, and let it comfort me. Instead of treating that comfort like a compliment... one that I shrug off, and think "whatever" or "you wouldn't compliment me if you saw the whole picture."
So I think I can say that it's not "lowering standards" but "finding balance" that can save my own sanity! Balance in terms of knowing what to keep balancing... and what to drop. Clean house?... dropped! Getting skinny?... dropped! Dinner?... something from the freezer! Garden?... there are other sources of vegetables, my family won't starve!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Break... South Beach

I was recently asked a serious question from a rather concerned person in my life. He asked "Do you and Mike get to date at all, or spend any time together?" I honestly thought it was a joke at first... but he was very serious. I had to respond with "Ummm... yeah. If anything... we probably spend too much time together." He insisted there wasn't such a thing, but sometimes I think we are pushing it. Needless to say, Mike and I enjoy each other quite a bit. We both love our girls! But, we find that spending time alone together has made us better spouses, better parents... and all around happier people. I'm not sure where the travel bug came from, my Mom left us maybe twice in the entire time growing up. And Mike's parents were the same. Sometimes I worry that it will negatively affect my kidlets, and when I hear other Moms talk about how hard it is to leave... I wonder if something in me is broken. Anyway, we do get away quite a bit. Probably more than most, but I dare say there are other things I could be doing to screw up my kids than showing them how much I adore and love to spend time with their father!
Mike and I took a break from our 'spring break' this year. We decided to venture to warmer weather and get some r&r... alone. It was just what we both needed to decompress from the winter weather and the winter season.
The girls went to my Grandparents house... and were spoiled rotten. Literally... it's a good thing that a week of sugar and inadequate teeth brushing is somewhat reversible! Addi lost another tooth while they were there. She said to me "I heard that if you don't brush your teeth... all your teeth will start falling out!" It took some convincing to ease her out of that panic. (And I felt bad for threatening her with that little nugget of knowledge)We dropped the girls off Sunday night, and left for the airport at 3:30am the next morning. We had a connection in Denver, then arrived in Miami that afternoon. I found a trendy hotel on South Beach that looked fun. Our room was divine... it was rather spacious with a kitchenette.We planned nothing... not a thing! We slept until 11am, put on swimsuits and went to the beach until 6pm, then we walked up and down Collins/Ocean Dr. to find a hot spot for dinner. Repeated three days in a row... same times, same order. It was fabulous!
A nice memory... One afternoon on the beach, they were filming a music video. I quickly realized that I'm not cool... because I took pictures of the singers/rappers... but I had no clue who the guys were. They were singing, while almost naked women danced around them... original idea for a music video. They got some of the women around the beach that day to be in the shoot. I was shocked when the producer didn't come over and hand pick me! There I was, in all my glory... Really long 'Mormon Mom' tankini... with swim skirt.(I had most of the stretchmarks and cellulite covered... I think) SPF 50 slathered all over my super hot body... that gave birth to 4 children in under 6 years. Reading my popular 'young adult' book. Lying completely under the shade of my umbrella. Drifting in and out of consciousness. Trying to hide the growing drool spot on my towel. But apparently I wasn't the type they were looking for. I would've looked awesome on MTV... in HD... on a 70 inch flatscreen. But whatever, it's their video!

Then we hopped on a cruise ship. At dinner the first night we met a really nice couple, Tony and Sarah. I would say a 'young couple'. But they are my age, in fact they were celebrating Tony's 30th birthday. But like anywhere outside of Utah... they met at the end of college, lived together for a few years, got married 2 years ago, and haven't had kids... probably won't even plan on thinking about it for another few years! So to me it kinda felt like either they were barely 20 and we were our true ages... or they were both their true ages, and we were in our early 40's. But we got along famously, and enjoyed dinners with them.The next day we spent in Key West! This was our first time to Key West, and it was a lot of fun. Apparently the most popular activity of Key West is getting plastered on Duvall St. And it was obvious that this event starts for some people at 9am. Since we are not drinkers... we saw the Hemingway House, went up the lighthouse, and visited the 'most southern point in the United States'. (Which ironically took the longest... it's quite a popular point) We paid a guy to bike us around the rest of the island in a canopied cart. The guy was quite small... and the visual of him biking us around was comical. He earned his tip!He gave us great commentary on every house, plant, tree, sign and street we saw. It was great!
Another nice memory... We were buying something in a gift shop when the clerk (and older man, probably 50 or so) asked us where we were from. (He was really crude, quite rude, and one heck of a salesman. He truly was trying to convince us to buy his whole store... I don't have much patience with this type of person.) This is one of my favorite parts of traveling. The reaction and responses when we say "Utah" is always a joy. This guy was not a disappointment... after an awkward pause he responds with "So you're Mormon." Really? What gave it away? We were the most clothed people on the entire island, surprisingly sober, and... from Utah. Then he follows with a few choice statements. First, "You know that you live in the most beautiful place in the world!", which was not a question... but nice... and true. Second, "My friend '?' is Mormon and he drinks more beer than anyone I know!" to which my response came without thought. Very sarcastic and with clenched teeth I mumbled "Well that's fantastic." He just smiled... that's where the conversation ended. Needless-to-say, it wasn't a 'missionary moment'.

The next day we arrived in Cozumel, where we took a catamaran to a private island. Tony and Sarah came as well, we spent the day under cabana's together. We had a great traditional Mexican lunch... with hottest salsa we had ever tasted. Seriously! Hands down the hottest thing I've ever eaten! But it cleared our sinuses and woke us up.We came back to Cozumel and did some shopping downtown. We found a summer dress for Sophie in Key West, a silver bracelet for Addi in Mexico, and brought Cori and Lexi home a unique marble chess set. Of course, we also replenished our supply of Mexican Vanilla. They girls were all very pleased. I also had my traditional Ziploc full of shells I collected at all the beaches. Ever since I can remember I have been obsessed with shells. Rocks too. I love to find cool stuff like that... anything handmade by God is my most valued souvenir. I can't leave a place without picking something up off the ground. That doesn't sound good... I don't pick things up from fast-food restaurants or public restrooms... just places in nature.
We had a day on the ship, then returned to Miami the next day. We flew home late... too late... picked up the kids... lost the key to our house... and finally laid down in our bed at 3:30am! We had plenty of sleep stored up though, so it wasn't bad.
It was a great trip! We've decided that we still like each other. (As Sophie would say "We like each other.. toooooooo much!") The girls had a great week as well... I'm not sure they realized they were been tended. They went on vacation, and Mike and I found somewhere to go while they were gone. That's what they got out of it!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Temple Time


One of my goals for this week was to get to the temple. Well.... as I tend to forget... the Lord hears and answers my prayers.
I went to church last Sunday and they announced that Wednesday was temple night, so the YW would be doing free babysitting. I had to smile to myself and give a "thanks" as I felt the spirit elbow me in the side with a "you're welcome!"
The next day I got a reminder of a friend's wedding at the Provo temple. I had completely forgot it was this week! I called a friend who was willing to take Sophie for a few hours.
Mike has scouts Wednesday's, so I got to go do a session with a friend. I realized in the middle of the session that this was the first time I had ever been to the temple with a friend. I had gone with Mike, or I had gone alone... but I don't think I'd gone with a girlfriend.
It turned out to be exactly what I needed! We talked about spiritual experiences, our families, and the gospel in our lives.
I was such a testimony to me of the importance of good friends. And what good friendships should be based on. Sitting in the Celestial room with a friend made me really think about how different the conversations and things said would be if that's where I visited with all my friends! Something for me to digest.
Yesterday I went to the wedding of a good family friend. She was my Mother's best friend when I was growing up, lived across the street. She had gotten a divorce the same time Mom had. So after being single for 14-15 years, she found someone and was getting married and sealed. It was very nostalgic to see people, I just wish I had more time to spend with them.
During the ceremony... they were instructed to "multiply and replenish the earth". Her new hubby raised his eyebrow, and I busted up! I couldn't contain myself!
I guess I never thought about that before. I think I've only been to weddings of 'younger' people. I thought it was too funny, but I guess they don't change the ceremony based on your age or medical history :)
So... the Lord provided me with not one, but TWO great opportunities to meet my goal for this week. I'm thankful for how much he blesses me. I know he is mindful of me as an individual, and I appreciate his help in my life. I know that sacrifices and tough times make me better... but I sure love it when I can catch a break now and then!
(I have also made some cleaning progress. If I ever get the pics off my camera I will get it posted. But... I've just made a dent in what I want to accomplish.)