Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Last Sunday at a special Christmas program at church, one of the speakers posed a very thought provoking question:

What if Christ had never been born?

The more I pondered this question the more astounded I became at the implications. I mean can you imagine a world without the example, not to mention the everlasting atonement, of our Savior, Jesus Christ?

As I thought of this question, I became filled with gratitude. Gratitude for Christ's divine birth, life and mission on this earth.

Merry Christmas everyone. God bless us all.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The roller coaster of being a woman

What a wild ride it is to be a woman.

There are the moments when a simple thing like a Hallmark commercial, or the Taco Bell down the street getting your order right on the first try, or seeing your child do something kind, can bring tears to your eyes.

And there are moments when you can't believe "those words" just came out of your mouth, or when you simply can't take the bickering children for one more minute, or when you have to walk away before you hurt someone, and you realize you need a time out.

There are moments when beauty is found in everything from a shiny clean kitchen floor with the lights from your Christmas tree reflected in the wood planks, to a sleepy child's face with last night's bed head sticking out everywhere.

And there are moments when you can't find beauty in anything; when nothing seems to go right and although you know you should start counting your blessings, you "just don't feel like it."

Although there are many, MANY times when I don't feel this way, I am actually grateful for the roller coaster; because the lows, although not enjoyable, are at least evidence that I am capable of feeling.

And besides, I wouldn't trade the highs for anything.

Here are some pictures of just a few:

A note about the pictures:
The top one is my son, Jack, after clearing the living room floor all by himself, dancing his little heart out to his favorite music... Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."
The next one is my Molly at her first violin performance (the talent show at her school).
The next one is Miss Emma after sorting the entire box of markers. I love seeing my kids apply things they learned in school to things at home.
Then we have my girlies wandering through Heaven on Earth (aka Star Valley Ranch, WY).
And last, but not least, me holding Jack just moments after he was born. And though I could have posted similar pictures of my girls, I just love this one because it's like he's looking at me. I love that as a woman, I have the ability to be a mother. Oh the joy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Self Awareness

Now, lest anyone be deceived by my "I love being a mom" posts, and if my "The truth" post was not descriptive enough, let me just say that I am no where near being a perfect mom. I do LOVE being a mom, but that doesn't mean I'm perfect at it.

Not even close.

I wouldn't even say I'm a great mom. I'd say I'm right around the level of a good mom, with frequent dips to the level of "wow, you've got a lot to work on."

Well, lately I've been on the "wow, you've got a lot to work on" level more often than not. I have to say that it's in large part due to hormones, (need I say more?...), but partly because patience is a gift that I was not born with.

I had one of my most (if not THE most) gut-wrenching experiences of motherhood today. I won't go into detail, because frankly, I don't want to have to read the words ever again. (It's bad enough to have it replaying in my mind constantly.) Suffice it to say that one of my children said something to me today that made me instantly more self aware than I have ever been.

She did not yell, or scream at me.

She just sat there, in the rocking chair, and told me in a small voice how she felt.

And I was horrified.

It froze me where I stood.

Tears stung my eyes as they began to fall. They were drops of acid shame.

At first, there were no words. All I could do was hold my little girl and cry for the pain I had caused her.

And then, through our tears, we talked.

It made me realize that I have been seeing myself from my own critical, overly analytical, perspective, and making allowances for my hormonally imbalanced and sometimes completely irrational behavior, by saying it will pass and I'll be able to make it up to them later.

But what about my little ones?

They don't see things that way. They don't see the world in terms of "later."

What my daughter said to me today made me realize, as nothing has before, how deeply impacted my children are by my attitudes and behaviors, for good or bad.

And that if I would try to change my self-awareness - to be able to see myself from their perspective - I would be a much better mom.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Decking the Halls

We compromised on a family tradition this year - the tradition being that we put up the Christmas tree on the Monday after Thanksgiving for family night.

Since our plane landed in Portland at about 4 PM on the Monday after Thanksgiving, we debated about sticking to tradition.

All the way home from the airport we went back and forth:

"We've got a lot to do before tomorrow."

"I'd like to have it up as long as possible."

"We're all so tired."

"I'm teaching all evening on Tuesday and leaving Wednesday - I don't want to wait till I get back..."

Yes, I won the debate.

Of course I didn't know that I won until I walked in the living room an hour after we got home, and Dan was setting up the tree.

Our compromise?

We didn't decorate it until the next morning.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The truth

So I was chatting with a friend and fellow mom today and she told me that she reads my blog. She asked why I don't tell the truth about being a mom... that it's really a lot of hard work and can be extremely frustrating at times.

Well, Robie, although I may seriously regret posting this picture in the future, this one's for you.

This is what I look like more often than I'd like to admit; on the inside if not on the outside.

And yes, it's usually because of my children.

I agree that being a mom is a lot of hard work and can be extremely frustrating at times.

But truth be told, I love what I do, I love that my husband helps so much in the raising of our kids (and that he gives me a "time out" once in a while), and yes, I think it's worth it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Yoda

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to play some duets on the violin with my favorite violin teacher ever. He was my favorite because he made me the musician I am now. I started taking lessons from Jack Ashton when I was 15 years old. He was the type of teacher who was very hard to please, very demanding and would chew you out for not practicing enough... and you would love him for it.

I haven't taken a lesson from him in over 12 years, and yet, I could feel his influence returning as we rehearsed together on Wednesday night. I played better than I have in a long time just because he was playing with me. He is still so inspiring, so funny and so dear to me. He is my Yoda.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sunny Thanksgiving

We got to go to Dan's sister's house in Phoenix for Thanksgiving this year. (Thanks to my wonderful in-law's!!) The weather was warm and sunny.

The kids had a great time with their cousins. Aren't families wonderful?! I sure love mine!