Thursday, December 9, 2010

HOV Bliss

I have found more perks to being a mom.

Yesterday I had to run a lot of errands and Sander has come into a phase where he hates being in the back of the car by himself. You can imagine the stress of a happy, smiling baby in the store transforming into the Demon of Chaos and Screaming every time I put him in the back of the car to go on our next errand.

After I went to the doctor's, Michaels, Costco and Walmart I was mentally at my wits end. My patience meter was quickly running out in direct proportion to the monstrous headache pushing in.

I know, you are wondering how this blog started out with the perks of motherhood and then started spinning horribly into a parallel dimension. Well, the perks came on the drive home.

As I was driving home at 6:30 p.m. in rush hour traffic on the highway, I wistfully looked over into the nice, clear HOV lane where all the cars were wooshing by and wished I could be wooshing too.

Then, the thought occurred to me! Sander technically counts as another entity! I can use the HOV lane now!

Needless to say I zipped on over and as I blissfully got up to speed I left behind the last six hours of screaming baby with all those single-passenger cars stuck in the traffic.

See ya suckas!

Like I said, HOV Bliss.

Sunday Romp

This past Sunday was a B-E-A-utiful day in Utah! The cold, grimy weather broke for one day of shiny, chilly goodness.

After I got home from church, Sander went down for a nap, Casey and I had lunch and we decided to take advantage of the weather and go on a walk. What started as a nice, leisurely walk through the neighborhood somehow turned into a romp in the hilly easement behind our house.

It was extremely exhilarating to be outside in the sunshine after being cooped up inside by the cold, wet weather for so long. My inner child came out to play and, in a most unlady-like fashion, jumped over hills, ran though weeds and balanced on rocks while laughing and talking with my best friend (that's Casey btw.) We played until we found the baby monitor's range limit and then headed back home. (The monitor actually got pretty far! It was quite impressive!)

I was wearing a orange and pink sweater, a black skirt and; to complete the ensemble; a pair of beat-up, dusty tennis shoes- the epitomized picture of a tom boy. People looking down from their balconies at us probably thought they were watching and listening to a couple of kids play around in the easement between houses instead of two responsible adults taking a break from the cares of life to enjoy the sunshine.

The experience was actually quite liberating. It has been too long since I have thrown off my adult facade and let my inner child run free.

As we sat panting on our front steps, leaning against each other for support and listening to our baby's quiet breathing as he slumbered blissfully in his swing, I realized that life is good. In that moment, life was perfect. AND, in honor of the experience, I have coined my own phrase, or rather, I suppose it is one of my philosophies for life:

"Responsibility is what makes life run smoothly, Spontaneity is what keeps life fun."

You need a little bit of each in life and as long as you keep things in balance, life will be good. :0)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Live Christmas Nativity

This past Friday December 3, Casey, Sander and I went to the Live Nativity in Alpine!

It was a lot of fun too! You drive to a church and park your car and they have little buses or trailers that take you over to the nativity. Once you get off the bus a shepherd greets you and tells you the beginning of Christ's story. He tells you why Mary and Joseph needed to return to Bethlehem and encourages you to think about the three visitors Christ received the night of his birth. The visitors brought gifts with them; what gifts do we bring to the Savior this Christmas season?

As you follow the string of lights up the path (the very muddy path! It's a good thing we bought an outdoor stroller because Sander was totally off-roading!) you see centurions on horses and shepherd men and women.

Then you are led into a barn where there are various animals and people dressed in the style of the period, performing tasks such as working leather, baking bread, measuring rice, working wood etc.

There were camels!

And carpenters!

And swans!

and sheep!

And to top it all off, a live nativity with a brand new baby! Carolers stood in a balcony above singing Christmas songs. The whole atmosphere was very uplifting and really helped me feel the spirit of the season.

After you walk through there is yummy hot chocolate to warm your hands and tummy with. When Casey and I finished walking through we were talking about what a fun, family outing the experience had been when we came upon a HUGE line to ride the trailers back to the church!

We thought- no way are we going to stand out here in the cold for 20 minutes waiting for a bus! We're walking!

It only took about 7 minutes for us to get back to our car and it was a fun little adventure. The exercise kept us nice and warm but there was definitely some more off-roading!

Sander and Casey successfully returned to the car!

But it got my new boots all muddy! :(

Overall a really fun Christmas activity, but I'll have to reserve total judgment until I get my boots clean!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Ideal- What's Wrong with It?

I have been thinking long and hard about "the ideal." In fact, I was so deep in thought in the shower that I almost washed my face twice! Or maybe I had already washed it twice and I stopped myself on the third go around......

Anyway. I have been thinking about Ideals, more specifically, the Ideal of a family unit. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released The Family: A Proclamation to the World in September 1995. In that document they talk about the ideal family unit with a mother and a father who each have unique and divine qualities and responsibilities.

Some people have a problem with ideals because they feel that ideals are essentially unattainable and therefore depressing because people always feel like they are failing or falling short. Many people in the world today are spouting theories or amoral relativity. In other words, there are no ideals, there is no right way. It is all about what ever works for you and what you think is best.

The latter part of that statement I agree with- conditionally. But, it needs some tweaking.

Ideals are great things. Ideals are things that are meant to be striven for- not necessarily obtained. Remember the saying: "Shoot for the moon. Then, if you fall short, you will at least hit the stars." If we, as a society, do not have an ideal and strive to maintain it, then the natural entropic forces of life will degrade the ideal further. It is only but putting in the work, striving for the ideal, fighting against entropic forces, that we can resist the natural degradation of society.

I understand that there are many different types of people and families and, ultimately, you have to do what works for you. Each person has to evaluate their circumstances and do the best that they can, but that doesn't mean that they cannot hold the ideal as a distant goal.

I know some people who don't want to have children, and that's fine. That is their choice. But, personally, the people that I know that don't want to have kids, don't want kids because they had home lives that were screwed up in some way and they don't want to inflict, what they view as a normal childhood, on children of their own. And maybe that is noble. But, just because we are born into circumstances doesn't mean that we are not allowed to change them or rise above them.

Maybe, ideally, if these people grew up in homes with a mother and father who were patient, loving and kind, then they would understand the joy that can come from being part of a family unit and they would want to have kids. But, life often finds us short of our ideal preferences.

Maybe, if our society didn't define our contributions to our families by our gross income, women would find more joy in being mothers and staying home to raise their kids. It is SO naive to believe that the most and best thing a woman and a man can contribute to their families is money. We have so much more to give- why does society limit us in this way?!?

I went through this struggle. I left college early because I got married and my husband got a job in Texas. I freaked out. What are people going to think of me if I have kids and don't finish college? What am I going to say when people ask me what I do and I have no professional career accomplishments to share with them? Am I always going to have to bear that hidden scorn that people are always one second two slow to hide from my discerning eye?

Well, guess what? I know who I am, and I know what is important. Yes, I was married at 19. Yes, I have a son. No, I haven't finished my degree. Yes, I will graduate by April 2011 because I believe a quality education is important. I defy society to tell me that because I will be a stay-at-home mother that I am wasting my life and my talents in a position that is little better than a slave or a maid. (Which I also disagree with. Being a Mom requires sacrifice and selflessness but the rewards are great. I find that when I struggle most as a mother, it is because I am being selfish in some way or another. Selfisness- an indulgence I gave up when I decided to raise a child- for the most part. (-:)

Society- you don't get it. There are seasons of life. When I was single, I could try to have a career and change the world. When my children are grown I can try to have a career and change the world- if I want. Right now, I have a son. And I plan to have more children, and at this season in my life I am going to be a Mom. A Super Duper Mom.

"The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World." Mothers raise the next generation. If all the women are out, working, and leaving their children to be raised by other people- then they are giving up their chance to influence the next generation. Some mothers choose to work, and some mothers have to work and that is fine. You have to do what You have to do.

But that doesn't mean that there cannot be an ideal and that we cannot strive for it to the best as our circumstances will allow us to.

Let's hold onto our ideals. Let's strive for our ideals and in so doing, make the world a better place.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sweepstakes Sabotage

So, Food Network is doing a Spice Up Your Season Pie Sweepstakes. Don't bother going to the site! The Sweepstakes is already over.

I found out about the Sweepstakes almost two months ago but I have waited to blog about it until now so that I would not sabotage my chances of winning!

The prize is $4,500 and TEN Food Network Cookbooks.

Forget the cash! I want the recipes!

I don't expect to win because I have terrible luck when it comes to sweepstakes, raffles, or anything of the sort. (Just ask my husband if you don't believe me. He doesn't even come near me after his bike races before they do the raffle because my bad luck rubs off on him and he doesn't win anything!) BUT! I did diligently enter my information into the contest almost everyday from the time that I got the e-mail notification until the Sweepstakes ended on November 29.

Now, get this- after an entrant inputs their personal information and submits it into the sweepstakes a new page pops up saying, "Thank You for Entering the Spice Up Your Season Pie Sweepstakes!" Then it has a Facebook, Twitter and MySpace Like/Share button off to the side and it prompts you to: "Tell Your Friends About The Sweepstakes!"

Wait........ WHAT?

My chances of winning the sweepstakes are considerable diminished every time someone submits an entry and you want me to sabotage myself by telling my friends to enter your Sweepstakes?! What Food Network!? Are YOU Crazy?!?

Thus ends my evil plan to delay my blogging about this Food Network Madness so as to give my already slim chances (due to my terrible luck) of winning the Sweepstakes and ALL TEN COOKBOOKS a small boost.


Judges pick the winners December 20th. I'll let you know what I get for my consolation prize for not getting picked.

.........................what do you mean losers don't get a consolation prize?