Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do you think I should be blogging?

when it's 9pm and I just finished the dinner dishes from last night (no time during the day to unload the clean ones from the dishwasher) and when I have 29 ice cream cone cupcakes to frost for Mister's class birthday treat for tomorrow, 6 loads of laundry to finish folding, and one 200-page dissertation to finish editing before Friday? (not my dissertation, thank heavens, but a little side job I took on that is taking over my free time). And to think that on the stair master at 6:00 this morning, I actually thought I might have 30 minutes to scrapbook one of Mister's past birthday's before his next birthday. (You know, it's kind of a lofty goal I have: scrapbook one past birthday before the next birthday. So Mister's scrapbook right now contains pictures of his birth, his third birthday, and his fourth birthday. Think I'll catch up anytime soon?!)

But I am in a pensive mood tonight. Maybe because it's the eve of my first child's eighth birthday, and I have been thinking about his birth because my little sister just gave birth to her first baby, also a boy. Wasn't it just 2 or 3 years ago that Mister was born? How did this 8-year-old thing happen? (And just for the record, I think we ought to revisit the accountable-at-age-eight principle because I look at my sweet, naive, obedient boy and I do not want him to be accountable yet--I don't think that he is ready. And I don't think that I have prepared him enough.)

A few months ago a friend asked me if my life so far has turned out as I expected it would. I didn't answer her right away. Outwardly, yes, my life looks much like I anticipated it would: I always thought I would get a graduate degree, although I thought I would stop at a master's, I always thought I would be married and would have children, I always thought we would own our own home, cars, etc. I always knew I would stay active in the LDS church. But I could never have expected the inner happenings of my life: I did not know that I would ache so badly to have a child before being able to have one. I did not know that I would love motherhood as much as I do, and I did not know that motherhood would be as hard as it has been and is. I didn't expect post-partum depression or occasional feelings of being stifled by motherhood. In other words, I don't know how I possibly could have anticipated both the highs and the lows.

Same thing for marriage: J and I just celebrated our eleventh anniversary on Friday (at Benihanas, hence the pic).

The five-year-old girl in this picture
and the almost 25-year-old girl in this picture
had no idea how many moments of pure joy and togetherness I would feel during the next 11 years or how much fun marriage would be. But she also could never have expected how much work it is and how angry she could get at her husband or how lonely she might sometimes feel, even in the midst of a good marriage, or how very, very hard it is to be truly unselfish and to let things go rather than hold on and let them fester.

So, there you go, random thoughts for tonight. Too random to rap up nicely (and too much effort to do so when the cupcakes and the dissertation editing await). If you want to view something a little lighter, go check out Sweetie's and Mister's entries in the Frost Family Peeps contest, a la the Washington Post's famous Peeps contest. Sweetie's is the last entry in the slide show and Mister's is the second-to-last entry.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sweetie sings!

One constant in Sweetie's life is music. She's quite gifted on the piano and has no fear of singing in front of people. She sang a solo in church last Sunday. Here she is doing some practicing:

[oops, can't get the video to work--maybe later]

And she sang in the kindergarten musical last month, which I didn't get around to blogging about, given all of the spring break festivities. So here she is in the kindergarten production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We had many tears over the fact that she did not get chosen to be Goldilocks and would not get to skip down the center isle or pretend to sit in the booby-trapped chair before falling in. In fact, the morning of the musical, she refused to go sing because she wasn't Goldilocks. So I bribed her with lipstick-wearing privileges. Worked like a charm.
After the performance, we were headed to frozen yogurt, but H was screaming, Mister and Sweetie were fighting, and J was gone on a trip, so I flipped a fast u-turn and we went home. We did go for ice cream the next night when we all had our tempers in check and our wits about us (and our jammies about us--no harm in going places in your jammies. I'm a fan of the practice). Plus, little H needed to be introduced to the goodness of Cold Stone (until you add gummy bears to it, which is what all 3 of the kids did. Puh-lease. Way to ruin a good sweet cream).

Oh how I love

a little boy in jammies. Unless it's the middle of the night. Then I do not want to see the little boy in jammies, no matter how cute he is (and he is oh-so-cute).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring break, days 3-5

Sheesh, now spring break seems like months ago instead of 2 1/2 weeks ago. But I feel duty-bound to blog about our fun, especially day 3's fun because we went hiking with fun friends to some very cool petroglyphs. The hike was 3 miles and Sweetie didn't even complain (until the very end). Yay, Sweetie! Little H, however, complained in the form of kicking my back at the end of the hike to the petroglyphs, but promptly fell asleep on the way down after our picnic lunch, despite my very best keep-awake tactics. There were drawings all over these rocks. The kids had so much fun exploring them, and we even spotted a Gila monster (and kept our distance, as they are poisonous).

Day 4 was St. Patrick's Day, and we had a heat wave in the upper 80s. Mister and Sweetie convinced me to let them each invite a few friends over in the afternoon for water balloon fights, silly string fights, and water play with the slip n' slide and the wiggly sprinklers. It was crazy. We went to the park down the street for the silly string and water balloon fights. I filled over 60 water balloons and they were gone in 3 minutes easy. Craziness. We came back to the house for the water play and for green snacks--green cupcakes, celery with peanut butter, and grapes. I didn't get any pics of the water fun and food because I was way too frazzled by the sheer number of people who were asking for towels and drinks and more food and the sprinkler that didn't work, etc. etc. By the end of Day 4, I was ready for a break from spring break.
Luckily, my break came in the form of visitors--my in-laws from California came the night of Day 4, so we got to relax and hang out with them and say "no" to friends for the rest of spring break. Yay! Friday, Day 5, we went to Amococo, the famous architecture of light, at the local Fine Arts center. Their web site says: "Amococo is the most labyrinthine luminarium, featuring as it does 86 triaxial domes and 71 pods that together create a complex of pathways where the visitors may happily lose themselves." It was pretty cool, except that it was pretty hot inside and we waited far too long to get in. H was literally bouncing off the walls when we finally got inside.

So, in all, we had a great spring break. No more "breaks" now until summer. Yikes!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April's poem of the month and some random thoughts

Look at me being early with the poem of the month. I was thinking of this one last night and this morning. It's called "When I Am Among the Trees," by Mary Oliver. You might think it kind of strange that I have been thinking of a poem called, "When I Am Among the Trees," given that in the desert of the southwest, we have very few trees. For Oliver (or for the persona speaking in the poem), the trees are crucial to her slowing down and realizing the simplicity and purpose in her life. I understand that, having grown up loving the mountains for the same reason. But these reminders to not hurry through the world and to be filled with light also come from spiritual sources for me.

Last night while J was at the priesthood session of the general conference for our church, the kids and I picked up a Little Caesars pizza and headed to the park. We played kickball, people watched, and timed each other on made-up obstacle courses through the play equipment. (Watch out! I can slide and balance beam with the best of them--just don't make me do the monkey bars.) The sun left brilliant pink streaks in the sky, the air was perfectly warm, and I was perfectly content and overwhelmingly thankful. I felt as Mary Oliver writes in this poem, convinced of the need for simplicity, "to go easy, to be filled with light." I wanted to remember not to "hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often."

I have a problem with walking slowly--I multi-task and multi-task and multi-task. And I get a lot done in life. But life is usually not about getting things done and sometimes I need J to remind me of that (he's good at balancing me out in that respect) and sometimes I need a spring/summer night with my kids to remind me of that. So here's Mary Oliver's fabulous poem. (By the way, April is the National Month of Poetry. Do you have a favorite?)

When I Am Among the Trees

by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness,

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,

“and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.”

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I forgot to ask you to join me

over here to talk about April Fools' Day. And by the way, whenever I type "April Fools' Day" I accidentally type April Food Day, maybe because my laptop keys are still not properly attached after 1 min in little H's nimble fingers. But no matter the reason, I think the recurrence of this typo is a sign that an April Food Day is truly needed. Who's with me?!)