Monday, January 30, 2012

Sometimes I still feel like I'm 14.

I have written this entry a million times in my head, failing to ever really get it down. Then something happens that brings the subject back to the forefront. Today, it's on my mind. Here's my attempt to expound.

Do you ever feel like you are your own worst enemy? Like you have a million different personalities who are all at war with one another? Well, I do. Having studied various aspects that make up our personalities and relationships in college doesn't help my obsession. It only feeds it. I WAY over analyze things...people. People are just so fascinating...figuring out who they are, why they are the way they are, etc...which usually brings an understanding and new found respect and love for any particular person. And of course, I do this to myself as much as anyone else. Lucky Shane gets to listen to me babble beyond reason. Poor guy. Good thing he likes me.

I experience an inner battle every week while teaching piano. I have RED, assertive, blatant thoughts yelling in my head just dying to make it out into the open. Blocking those thoughts from ever leaving my mouth is the desire to please everyone, & be loved. So I filter, which most of the time is a good thing, in my opinion. But my roll in these moments is one of authority and expertise rather than peer. Trying to reach a balance between the two is difficult and we see parents walking this tight rope everyday...trying to figure out how to be both. In the end, I have students that LOVE me, but who (I don't think) really respect me as a teacher. maybe there is still some respect...but no fear. I think I need to be a little scarier. Assertiveness has always been hard for me and I've gotten better, but I still feel the battle regularly. In the case of teaching, I struggle with the teacher I wish to be and the teacher I really am. It's a big deal me. Being a perfectionist just complicates my life!!!!!!! Week after's exhausting.

Okay, new situation. I've been told many times that I can come across stuck-up, snotty, cold, intimidating, unapproachable, etc. This referring to peers, not students. I HATE this, not only because I want everyone and their dog to love me, but because I don't feel like it's who I am at all. No one thinks of themselves in that way, right? But first impressions can be a big deal...lasting, deal breakers even. I know that you can't control what other people think of you but you can control yourself (how many times did I hear this from my parents?!). So this is my mission: to never come across snotty or rude or intimidating. Ha! Talk about setting yourself up for failure. Doesn't stop me from trying though. But I am who I am and my personality gets the best of me. Seems the more I try to come across, I don't know...kind and likeable (what does that mean anyway) the more standoffish and unapproachable I become. It's like when you know a certain person is really funny and you think the only way they will like you is if you say something really funny. That's the exact moment that I become beyond awkward and super un-funny. For the life of me I can't think of anything clever or witty or funny. Just...awkward-ness. When it matters the most, I freeze and end up feeling like a complete social idiot. Does it seem like the older you get, the more socially awkward you become? I found myself in this exact situation this week...trying to be cool, likeable, non-snobbish, funny...and then I just defaulted, flopped. I am who I am. and I was mad at myself for it. In the end, I felt just like my 14-year-old-Jr. High-school-going self. She's not my most favorite person in the world. Shane and I often become Zoolander and ask..."Who am I? I guess I have a lot of things to ponder."

Okay. New situation. Let's talk about book club. This where my over-bearing and super opinionated self is released. That person I want to be when teaching piano but can't seem to find her. The person who I fear people are just wishing would SHUT-UP! Ya. That person. I think of the line from the Sara Bareilles song, "You've got opinions, man. We're all entitled to 'em. But I never asked." And I even prep myself for situations like book club. Like when I'm with my family. I become that stereo-typical oldest sister. Bad. I hate it! I take on that over-bearing role. It just spills out of me uncontrollably. I tell myself to just keep quiet. But I am who I am and seem to fail miserably.

Can we really change who we are, or will we always default? At the end of the day, I feel like I know who I am and, for the most part, like who I am. Getting others to know me like I know me and like me the way I like me is a whole other ball game. I hate that I care so much. But I am who I am, and I do.

That's my story. The end.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Week in Pictures...and Other Stragglers.

This week was a good one, for the most part (I'm car-less at the moment but I'm not bugged). Here's a little tidbit.

Cade's long hair makes for some extra special bed head. I did my best to give him a haircut. It's not perfect but it looks a little cleaner. Kind of. This boy gave me some good moments today. In church he sat next to me on our bench with his arm extended up as far as it could go, which was just under the top of the bench. He rested his hand on my shoulder for about a FULL half hour. I think he was trying to be grown up and cute like his Dad. He was successful. I gave him a good squeeze and sat content and happy next to my little man. His sweet gesture is a memorable one.
In primary today the kids played a little game involving good choices, bad choices, and Skittles. They pulled a piece of paper out of the bag with a certain scenario listed, which was then read aloud. Depending on the choice, they removed or added a skittle to the jar. It was Cade's turn. He pulled out his piece of paper and instead of handing it to Sister Jones, he turned around and "read" his paper aloud. With great confidence and excitement he said, "It says, you are nice to your broder! I get a skittle!" Yes, he knows how to play the game!
I love being in primary with my boys. I find myself staring at them the whole time...just to watch their every move of participation and interaction. Carson makes his usual rounds with all the teachers. In passing he asks them the color of their cars, if they like to wear seat belts or sit in car seats, the names of their kids, where their houses are, and the color of their eyes. That boy is irresistible. That's all there is to it!!!
I attacked and conquered my pantry this week. The once full shelves above are now empty. Aw. I am on a roll in the organization/de-junking department. Few things bring me more satisfaction than throwing things away. After cleaning it out I would go stare, walk away for a bit, go back, stare some more. That made for a good day.
Primary activity= annual PJ Pancake Party! Michael (pictured above) is a great kid and takes my boys under his wing. I teach him piano so the boys get to play with him weekly. They cried the week that he didn't come. He helped them play musical chairs.
This is Carson showing me his CTR rock. Can you see it? Can you? Neither can I. He was actually pretending that it was his camera and was busy busy taking lots pictures. :)

Got my hairs cut. Short-er bangs. I like.

Silly hat day at preschool. Don't worry. I didn't take them to school naked or in PJ's.
These are back from November...Thanksgiving days at preschool.

Cutest little Indians!
Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert. I still can't believe we got to go this year. I have wanted to go every single year and never get tickets. Lindsay got her hands on some and we went a few days early before flying out to MS to go to the concert. Totally worth it!

Stephanie and I sang together with the Hymns of Thanksgiving. It was a great experience. It isn't too often that you get to sing wonderful music in honor of Thanksgiving. I'm so glad I got the opportunity and even more glad to have had a friend with me. Speaking of my friend. Stephanie had a big birthday this week and we had fun making it BIG. She put together one heck of a party. It was a full blown carnival. My boys LOVED it. Thanks for being a party girl Steph. We sure had fun.
More pics from the party to come.

Our quiet Sunday ended with Cade barfing up his entire meal right at the dinner table. He hasn't been feeling very well yesterday and today but I didn't see that coming. Ew. It was awful. On the up side, I got to use some new cleaning products that I've been anxious to try!
Monday morning here I come.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In a very small Nutshell

A little reflection time. Now that we are a month into 2012, I've decided to take a quick look back at 2011.

  • Shane had his two-year anniversary with the Amalgamated Sugar Co. Still makin' lots of sugar! Great job for many reasons. STABLE. Good people. Family-friendly company. Promising opportunities for growth. Shane's job is such a HUGE blessing. He worked hard, hard for our family.
  • Carson and Cade turned 4 in 2011 and started preschool. Mrs. Patricia has been amazing and has such a way with these kiddos. They love her and she loves them. What more can you want for your children? I can't believe the amount of growth since the start of preschool. The boys play "preschool" regularly together at home and chant cute sayings and songs from school. It's the best. And let's not forget the 5 hours per week of FREE time. All. to. MYSELF! I almost feel guilty about it, but the guilt passes quickly. It has been wonderful. Shopping and cleaning were made so much easier in 2011.
  • Shane and I took on the name of "Ma and Pa" this last summer when we went on the pioneer Trek with our Stake. That is an experience I will never forget, for so many reasons. Our first meeting was held in January of 2011. I can't believe it's been a year since the planning was in full swing. P.S. I hate bonnets.
  • 2011 didn't pass us by without a few downers...disappointment and hardship. I've mentioned my struggle with infertility a few times in the past. In 2011, this trial and I had a major duel...smack down...staring contest...disagreement...whatever you want to call it. At first glance you would think that it kicked my behind completely. Our first IVF transfer was in year ago exactly. Our second was in July. In October I had surgery on my ovaries. Yes. We fought all year long. But I didn't lose. baby. But I think the Lord had other things in mind for me. And for Shane. Faith must be tested. It is a given and absolutely necessary. My 'bout with faith this year promoted growth. And I feel that growth. Immensely. My testimony today is not the same as it was a year ago and the sense of peace I feel a year later is almost tangible to me. It is bright and clear to me that the Lord wants me to be close to Him. To seek Him and do all that He asks of me. And sometimes (most of the time) that means not always knowing the answers. I count my blessings everyday. They are plenty and my life is full. The Lord is very aware of me and my family and we most definitely did not lose this battle. Elder Uchtdorf said something beautiful that has stuck with me. His thoughts have been a sweet source of comfort and a tender mercy from my Father in Heaven. In referring to a woman who dwelt on the fact that she did not have children of her own, failing to recognize the children who surrounded her said,

    "The lesson here is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us. This is not to say that we should abandon hope or temper our goals. Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life. The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy."

2011 was a year filled with a lot of everyday moments. Lunch at the park, evenings with piano students, trips to Fred Meyer, bike rides, loads of laundry, primary singing time, weekend date nights, hide and seek, popcorn and movies, time outs, holidays, haircuts, toilet cleaning, swimming, girls nights, garage sales, Sunday drives, trips to Twin...Utah...Mississipi..........

Yes. My life is very, very full.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reception Time

The best and most stressful part of the reception were all the little boys. Getting them all spiffed up was no easy task. My dad made sure everyone was dressed to the nines...tuxedos of course. There were 19 in all. Fitting, seeing how it's his business and all. Here are some of the cute cousins getting fitted.
This picture of Wesley cracks me up. He reminds us that being beautiful isn't easy. It can, in fact, be quite painful.
Dillon getting fitted by his Auntie Lauren (tuxedo pro!). She knew her time as an employee was inevitable. Just following suit! Dillon was quite studly and proud in his tuxedo. It was awesome.
And this little man...what can I say...he stole the show. Happy Caleb-Man wowed in his tux!
Grandma helped my boys get ready. I was frantically doing the bride's hair and pulling myself together. I'm kicking myself for failing to get good pictures of my boys in their tuxes. I had my camera but no SD card. Dang.

Trying to get a picture of all the cousins together was comical. In the end, we didn't really get any stellar pictures. But believe me, they were dashing...and crazy. They walked/ran around the gym during picture time in a single file line (Carson leading the team) chanting, "Nowm I know my ABCs, Nowm I know my ABCs." Their presence was felt by all. :)
And all the men...all 19! Handsome bunch.
And the lovely ladies of the night.

This is so funny. Aunt Carol (having it come from her makes it even funnier) sent a card for the bride and groom. It was addressed to "Aaron & Brittany." Not on purpose. I guess that was bound to happen right? Fortunately, (for Luke) the check was written out properly.
The reception was fun. It was great to see so many familiar faces and catch up with friends from home. It was a great party!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Luke Gets Hitched!

As I've mentioned previously, my younger brother was engaged to be married. He and my older brother Aaron fell in love with sisters. What a great story. It's been an exciting last year...watching it all happen. Luke and Brittany are a great couple and we are so happy for them.

2 Brothers and 2 Sisters...just a few days before the wedding. I love this picture.

Being with our family in the temple to witness their sealing was well worth the all nighter. Brittany's dad performed the sealing ordinance. What a dream, right? It was a sweet experience.
We then headed out and played the waiting game. So of course, we took some pictures.

And......introducing Mr. and Mrs. Luke Chandler!!!!!!!

And then off to the luncheon! My parents have a hard time doing things half way. All or nothin'! Hence the beautiful forest. The ambiance was awesome. It smelled so, so good. The luncheon was filled with family, food, love, and lots of music. The Hobbs siblings sang, Chandler siblings sang, Hobbs & Chandlers together, and a cute duet by the bride and groom.