Friday, December 31, 2010

Here's to promise!

I resist the feeling that inevitably comes to me on this day--that sort of panicked "I have to improve NOW! I have to improve greatly, this second! I have to correct every bad behavior!"

Don't misunderstand--I am all for self-improvement and quiet introspection. I just always feel that the more anxiety-inducing sides of those practices are being shoved down my throat this time of year. Urges to do everything under the sun IN THE NEW YEAR--as if this last year was total crap if we didn't do those things, and as if this next year won't matter either if we continue to be whatever it is we wish we weren't.

The darker sides of this New Year's attitude got to me recently, I'll admit, and I found myself lamenting the things I hadn't done in 2010. Lose weight. Put more pictures on the walls. Wake up at 7 and work out every day. Write more than once every three months. Blog more often. Get out of debt. The list goes on and on, and mirrors most common lists.

And then I wondered, what have I done this year? What is of note? And in this prayerful wondering of mine, I was flooded by all the little things I have done, and how they have changed me this year. Not just what I've done, either, but how our family has grown. It's unmistakable! I feel like we've turned a corner.

I don't change diapers anymore. (And I do remember a time when I never thought I'd be able to say that!)

Reed is 8, chose to be baptized (I am so proud), and a little more independent; his reading has blossomed unbelievably and his maturity is beginning to blossom, too. That makes my heart full and achy at the same time.

Jaxon knows more letters and numbers than I've taught him. He continues to improve at expressing his feelings--something that I waited for. His sense of humor has just risen off the charts, and he is a joy to be around.

And Savanna, well, she's potty-trained, and she's also very much a little girl and hardly a toddler anymore. That is strange and wonderful.

I myself have worked hard this year--and pretty intensely for a few months--to correct mistaken ideas I had, the kinds of ideas that can make a person very unhappy. Sometimes it feels like the slow progress of grinding wheat by hand, this sifting through my emotions and memories and facets of my spirit. But slowly and steadily, I have learned a few things that have been slowly reconstructing me, inside-out, and I feel closer to my Savior than I ever have. That alone is worth it to me--worth all the things I haven't yet accomplished, but continue to work on.

Eventually I'll be back into the swing of working out regularly. Eventually I will have a comfortable relationship with food and my body. Soon enough, my house will be clean most of the time. Someday I will write that book, and someday my photography business will shoot through the roof.

But for now, I'm going to continue at this same pace, still determined and still mindful of what I need to change, but in no way frenzied. Not panicked about the things I haven't done yet, because the word "yet" holds a lot of possibilities.

So if I'm going to promise anything this year, it is to to remember that word itself--promise. We have promise. We have possibilities.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Year in Quick Review

ZERO- the amount of diapers I've changed today....because yes, Savanna is POTTY-TRAINED!

ONE deployment that miraculously never happened (praise be)

TWO pets that came and went (Simon the feral cat--good riddance--and Penny the sweet boxer--we still really miss her)

 THREE - the number of visits this year that I have been privileged to get with my sister, Abby, and her family (This number could be incorrect....but for the sake of this format, let's assume it's not.)

FOUR - now the number of hours (half what it used to take) to travel to my little sister, Qait

FIVE - five people in our family, and I can honestly say I'm (finally) perfectly happy with that number staying right where it is--unless I change my mind.

SIX - the number of friends or family of mine who are pregnant or just birthed a baby (this has been both beneficial and detrimental in the whole Baby Hunger department, as you can imagine)

SEVEN - the measly number of posts I've done since the beginning of October

EIGHT - the age of my oldest son. Still trying to get my head around this one.

NINE - the number of years Phill and I have been married--today! (It has been beautiful)

TEN - the number of posts I aim to do each month (I know you've seen this resolve from me before, but this time I'm following through. Call me on it.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

What Do I Do All Day? You really wanted to know?!

I'm amazed by the fact that this post idea was most requested of the four! Kind of flattering (and intimidating) that you all want to hear about my usually-mundane days. No special presentation, just a rundown of my days. Well, here goes!

Note: This schedule does not include other weekly or monthly things, like: Phill's drill weekend (where he works straight through the weekend), den meeting, pack meeting, photo shoots, doctor appointments, unexpected sickness, traveling up north or elsewhere, etc....just a cross-section of my most normal of days.

Example 1:
Up at 8:20.
8:21 Dress in workout clothes with the best of intentions.
8:25 Dress Savvy and make sure Jaxon is dressed.
8:30 Notice the time and panic, making resolutions for earlier rising tomorrow.
8:30 Make Reed's lunch while the kids eat a fast breakfast at the table.
8:40 Run around like a chicken with its head cut off, looking for The Other Shoe or Two Matching Socks or That Indispensable Piece of Paper for School.
8:45 Out the door to school.
8:48 Drop Reed off and go home instead of to the gym.
9:00 Eat breakfast myself in front of the computer.
10:00 Realize I've been on the computer for waaaay too long.
10:10 Finally get up from the computer.
10:10 Realize that working out is not going to happen today; change into "real" clothes.
10:50 Put down the book I've become immersed in and tickle Jaxon's back, feed Savvy's babydoll, make a snack for them--whatever they need.
11:30 AGAIN, put down the book I've become immersed in and clean the kitchen enough that lunch won't give us a terrible disease
12:00 Lunch
12:45 Realize that I was done eating lunch fifteen minutes ago and this darn book isn't helping me get anything done.
12:50 Make a monumental effort to pull myself together, play around with the kids (usually involves impromptu chasing), do dishes, clear countertops, and clean up the living room floor. Think about dinner, draw a blank, and think about it some more. Read a story to the kids and scratch Jaxon's back again. (Can you guess his love language?)
2:30 Collapse on the couch, thoroughly spent and fresh out of motivation. Cuddle with the kids as my eyes get veeerrry drooopy.
3:15 Jerk awake to the sound of my phone alarm. Rush out the door with the kids to go pick up Reed. Sit in car, reading (yes, again) until he's done at 3:30.
3:35 Come home and make a snack for the kids. Help Reed with homework or let the kids play outside for a bit. Procrastinate making dinner, either by hanging out with Phill (since he's usually home around this time), standing around outside with the kids, allowing myself to be sucked into Facebook (happens waaaay more than it should) or photo-editing, or reading.
6:30 Realize how late it got and that I still don't have dinner on the table
6:45 Come back from Little Caesar's
7:15 Have prayer, get kids' teeth brushed
7:25 Kids in bed
7:25 Sing less songs, but still give kisses/hugs/back-scratches and at least SOME listening time, and read for 20 minutes.
7:45 Collapse into a puddle of mush on the couch, bemoaning the state of the house and counting my failures of the day, knowing full well I could have done much, much better.
8:00 Resolve to do better tomorrow.
11:30 Finally into bed.

Example 2: 
Up at 8:00
8:01 Dress in workout clothes.

8:05 Have Reed shower while I help Savvy and Jaxon dress
8:20 Having already made Reed's lunch the night before, prepare a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, ham, and toast for the kids. Eat at a leisurely pace.
8:40 Out the door.
8:43 Drop off Reed and head to the gym.
10:15 Pick up the kids from the gym daycare, come home
10:20 Snack for the kids, breakfast for myself while I read my scriptures

10:30 Shower, dress, blow-dry my three pounds of hair
11:10 After making sure the kids have all they need, sit down at the computer to do writing exercises.
11:40 Finish writing exercises. Do some dishes (if necessary) and make lunch.
12:00 Lunch.
12:30 Read to the kids, then cuddle with them while I read (my own book)
1:00 Set timer and set about getting the house squared away--dishes, laundry, countertops, table, floors, etc...
2:00 Cuddle with the kids again on the couch, make them a snack or watch them draw
2:20 Edit photos
3:00 Put away some clean laundry or (again) cuddle on the couch.
3:15 Leave to get Reed from school, reading in the car while I wait
3:30 Get Reed, come home
3:35 - 4:30 Help Reed with homework OR go to den meeting OR stand outside with the kids while they play in the front for a bit OR cuddle with Phill on the couch when he gets home OR edit photos
4:30 Start dinner prep
5:00 Eat dinner
5:30 Do dinner dishes, play in the front with the kids again
6:00 Bring kids in, get them bathed and pajama'd
6:30 Watch some toons together OR dance in the living room to music (way better option)
6:50 Scriptures, prayer
6:55 Have kids brush their teeth
7:00 Kids in bed
7:00 - 7:30 or 7:45 Sing to Savvy and give her lots of hugs and kisses, sing to Jaxon and make him laugh and scratch his back, sing to Reed and listen to him talk about his day. Read our current chapter book (Right now it's The Great Brain....thanks, Abby!) to the kids while I sit on Reed's bed--Jax hardly lasts through a paragraph, and Savvy on an ideal night is out by four paragraphs. Reed, however, will listen as long as I read. :)
7:45-ish Cuddle with Phill on the couch and watch shows OR edit photos OR do some blogging OR do some Reader OR finish some cleaning OR read a good book OR go get a few things at the grocery store
10:35 Make Reed's lunch for the next day, make sure all the stuff we need for tomorrow is located.
10:45 Get ready for bed
11:00 IN bed, done for the day

It's kind of embarrassing to have laid out the goings-on of my day like this. Believe me....I'm well aware of the areas that could use improvement! I'm working on being able to say I have more Example 2 days than Example 1. It's funny to me, though, how differently my day goes when I choose to wake up on time, or work out, or read my scriptures. (Or all three!) Just like everyone else, I know the things that make my day go smoother, and yet I fall short. Often. And forget the essentials.

Another thing that's embarrassing to me is how much time I actually have. When I'm organized, that is. When I'm not buried in a book or gazing at Facebook or sleeping in. I'm not in any hurry to fill my day up with more--I know how quickly a day can become jam-packed, and I'm steeling myself for when our kids are involved in after-school activities--but I mope and moan about how hard it is to get everything done...and it is, when I'm not really on top of my game. But I'm sure it's not as hard as I make it out to be! I know so many others who are far busier and still manage to get so much done.

I suppose my point is--take comfort! Look how very human I am, and please see me through forgiveness-tinted glasses when you consider that I am certainly working on it. :)