Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I think I need to clean my bathroom more. As I was scrubbing the toilet yesterday I started thinking about a lot of things. And pieces of this talk kept popping into my head. That is reason enough to clean my bathroom more, and to clear my head.

I looked up the talk and at the very top I read, "We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they...strengthen our families."

Then I got to go to our ward's New Beginnings last night. I really loved it, probably more than any other that I have ever been to. Perhaps my mind was just in the right place. The music was phenomenal, those who spoke did a wonderful job, I was so proud of the girls who ran it, and I left there wanting to do better in so many ways. I kind of want to have my own new beginning/fresh start.

Maybe I get reflective at this time each year. I don't really know. This is a busier time in our household than most other times. We really welcome April 15th not because we get a nice tax return (usually it's the opposite) but because we see Spencer a little more. I really can't complain because he's got a great job and they sure love him at work. And believe me, it's not too hard for me to manage the kids by myself now that they're a little older.

When the kids were little (not in school) I had lots of offers to leave for a few weeks during "busy season" and go somewhere - anywhere - where family members were in order to get away from the stress of a crazy work schedule. I always considered it. I never did it. It might have been easier on me to have new surroundings, other kids for my kids to play with or grandparents to dote on them, and I wondered if it would make it easier for Spencer. But was it the best thing for Spencer? Was it the best thing for my family? I never felt that it was. When Spencer is crazy and working 90+ hours a week, the last thing he wants to stumble home to at midnight is an empty house.

In fact, I notice that at these times he's a lot more willing to get up with the kids and spend those few minutes with them in the morning before he has to leave. He loves carrying them to bed when they've fallen asleep in their new tent on the floor, or when they've made their way into our bed, or when they sleepwalk in at 1 a.m and are totally confused. I just couldn't ever take that away from him. Or them. Or me.

One thing I'm learning is that it is ok to say "no." I try to be home as much as I can and to give my family as much of my attention as I can. That doesn't mean it's easy or even preferable sometimes. But it just makes me feel better.

Here's another quote that I really like: "We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it...Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives."

I love this talk because he doesn't tell us what is good, what is better, and what is best. The wonderful thing is that we all get to use our own minds and hearts to determine our priorities in our OWN lives. So, we all get to be different and choose what is important to us. Props to all those who can seem to do everything and keep their heads on straight. I'm not one of those people.

Anyway, I guess this is the reason I have never left town when things get a little crazy around here. I guess this is why I might come off as selfish or unfriendly when others ask me to do big things that involve me leaving my family, or even putting them aside for any period of time and I say no. I definitely have a long way to go in terms of my priorities on a more individual level (trust me), but it is something I think about all the time.

I'm glad for those snippets of personal inspiration while I'm cleaning the toilet. Now if I could get them while I'm eating brownies...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

more mom stuff

Maybe this is a brain-dump of sorts, but I've been thinking a lot about this for a few weeks.

I happened to watch Oprah a few months ago (which is very rare for me). Someone whose blog I read was going to be on that day, so I made an effort to record it and watch. At one point Oprah was talking about how this woman was a mother of 4 and wondered how this talented woman could put herself/her interests on the backburner so she could have and raise her children. Oprah said how common it is that women put their interests and talents aside completely when they have children. (Ironic that she sometimes comes across like such the mothering expert.) The connotation was one of...dismay?...sympathy?...disdain? But I loved the young mother's response. She simply said, "Well, you kind of have to." She didn't sound sad about it, or that she was missing out on things she wanted to do. If you go into it knowing what you're doing, I think it's just natural and not difficult.

I remember after I had Emma that for a few months I felt like I was no longer myself, that my life would forever be changing diapers and feeding children. Then I got into a routine and it was great, and I understood why people had more than one child. I had Tyler and he really threw me for a loop - he wasn't quite the angel that Emma was. But I had known that I wanted them close together. Maybe some of my interests and talents had to take a back seat for a few years, but I knew that going in. I couldn't do lots of things I wanted to anymore because they interfered with naptime or bedtime. Now that they're a little bit older I find myself with a little more time to rediscover things I used to enjoy doing, and find new things to do. I think it's just the cycle of mommyhood. Things get crazy, and then they get crazy but a little more manageable. Or maybe it's just a different kind of crazy...

I had a few extra kids around my house this past weekend. They were great and they're darling girls, but it threw me for a little loop. (However, I did manage to get 4 kids dressed and to 9 am church a whole ten minutes early!) I said to someone, "Four kids is HARD!" An older couple heard me and said, "You think it's hard now? Wait until they're teenagers!" I had to smile and nod in agreement. But I think all stages are just different in terms of hard. It will be a different "hard" in 10 years than the "hard" it was 2-4 years ago.

Anyway, I find these little cycles interesting. We CAN do everything, just maybe not all at the same time. While I had no time AT ALL for myself a few years ago, I DID sign up for that. I think that's what makes moms good moms - we're willing to take a back seat for a while in order to give our kids what they need. But it's a cycle and in time, I will have more chances to do what I want to do, especially if those things involve them. And maybe my kids will take up some of my interests and we'll be able to do them together.

Friday, February 5, 2010


At church I work with the 16-18 year old girls. And man, they are cute girls. Perhaps this new calling is the reason I am suddenly quite nervous for Emma to keep growing up. I mean, if she looks this darn cute now, what do we have coming??

I am notorious for saying "this is my favorite age!" regarding my kids. Once again, I feel that way right now, but for more than just the normal reason. I don't want her to get older!




Wednesday, February 3, 2010

thoughts on motherhood and on my first-born

Several months ago two cute young women asked a friend of mine and me to answer some of their questions about motherhood for personal progress. The girl's mom had us come over to their house and they took notes as they asked us questions. It was nice to sit there and talk about why we love our kids and what we do, even though sometimes it's really frustrating and even unrewarding.

One of the questions was just perfect for me. What do you wish you'd known before you had kids? I told them that no one told me how wonderful it would be. I felt like I got so many of those know, the "you'll never sleep again," "your free time is over," and "just be prepared to be tired all the time" comments. But no one told me how much I would fall in love, instantly, and be prepared to do anything for that child (children). Why does no one tell us these things?? Maybe it's just assumed, but I remember being overwhelmed by such feelings the first few weeks of Emma's life, and then again after Tyler was born.

Spencer and I were only married 5 months when I got pregnant with Emma. I had a year left in college and had never planned on having a baby so quickly but really, I just knew it was time. When I found out I was pregnant with this girl, the first thing I did was cry. I was terrified, surprised, and so excited. I remember exactly where I sat on the couch as I waited the 3 minutes to go back into the bathroom. I knew the result without looking. Luckily I was able to finish college in 3 1/2 years, and things worked out perfectly in terms of timing.

(cut me some slack; this was after 20 hours of labor and then a c-section)

(I keep coming back to this post and just staring at this picture. I guess I haven't looked at it in a few years, but I can't take my eyes off Emma and how perfect and beautiful she looks. Macie looked so much like that, and I guess I hadn't realized just how much...)

She has been a gem ever since she made her first appearance. I was, and still am thrilled she was my first-born. She is so responsible, so caring, so motherly. I am SO thankful she isn't a tomboy and enjoys all things girl.

She longs for another sibling, and even though she has a significant preference for girls, she thinks we should have a boy next so that the numbers can be even (2 and 2). Very logical.

It thrills me to see Emma becoming a teacher's pet, something I always worked so hard for when I was in elementary school. I work in her classroom 2 hours a week and have to admit I feel a little pride to see her finish her work first every single day. She is a perfectionist when it comes to her homework (leading to some frustration on my part).

She is independent. She prefers doing things herself, or learning how to do them herself.

She is a fabulous sister. When she is invited to a friend's house, poor Tyler is so sad. It's almost easier for me to just keep them both at home all the time, where they play so well and are such good friends. Tyler often goes into her bed (queen size) at night to "snuggle" with her and "protect" her. She is the first one he would go to in the morning to tell her he was dry. I learned recently that she will scream her guts out to keep him away from creepy strangers.

Sometimes I look at her and wish she could stay with me forever. She told me she's planning to live in the house across the street when she grows up and gets married, and the bigger part of me is hoping she isn't too independent to prevent that from happening.

Emma is happiest with a ream of paper (we're not too "green" around here) and a pen and box of crayons. She turns 30 pages of drawings into "books" and keeps them stashed everywhere. She loves Taylor Swift. I am lucky she was sent to me. I have a feeling we'll have a great relationship as she gets older.

One funny conversation I heard between Emma and Tyler last week:

Emma: "Tyler! I am sick of telling you! Put the toilet seat DOWN when you're done!"
Tyler: "Emma, why don't you put it UP when YOU'RE done?!"

Never a dull moment around here.

Happy Birthday sweet girl.