Friday, September 30, 2011

October Can't Get Here Fast Enough

I think the thing I like the least about motherhood is having sick kids. Especially when they have the stomach flu. Lola's barely 18 months old and she can't exactly communicate, so for the last 2 days we've been playing a little game of "What's Wrong With Lola". The poor girl has been attached to my body, crying to be held literally day and night. Once last night she let Mike pick her up and as soon as she looked back around and saw that she wasn't with me (even though she's the one who reached out to him) she started sobbing and diving toward me. 

It seems like September does this to my family. When the weather changes, we all get sick. We had the healthiest summer, allergies were our only ailment. I was feeling blessed, so fortunate and then I tore the August page out of my calendar and the word "SEPTEMBER" in big bold black letters hit me square in the face.  I love September for many reasons. It signals the end of a super hot summer, one in which it was too hot to take my new little Oskar out in for very long. September means the leaves will be changing colors. September means the kids are back in school. September means 3 holidays in the next 3 months are coming up! I truly love September except for the dang sickness we all get.


I don't know if there's something to it, like if it's a real thing or if we're alone in this. Does this happen to your family too?  I also find that I am more worried, more depressed, more sad in September. Sometimes for no good reason at all. I'll lay in bed and tell myself "Why are you so sad?" Then I'll list all the things I have in my head, all the gifts I have, and then it always ends with me rolling over to my sweet sleeping husband and I'll put my arms around him and curl up to his back and he always, and I mean ALWAYS, will pull my arms around tighter and make a little "hmmm" sound, and it lets me know he's happy with "us". 

Fall means baking in my house. I'm trying to be good, trying not to eat garbage but really, how can I resist making cookies, or apple pies, or pumpkin bars?  Fall means General Conference for us LDS folks (and for everyone else in the world too!  It's free!  Tune in here!)  and I look forward to the Fall session the most. We have conference twice a year, once in April, once in October of every year. I love the spring one because the winter's almost over and there are flowers surrounding the conference center and the camera men always show a wide shot of all the gardens. But I think I like the one in the fall the best. We stay in our jammies all day on Saturday, doing our cleaning duties at our leisure. We make a big breakfast both on Saturday and on Sunday and I burn candles that smell like cinnamon or pumpkin bread. The kids seem to get along better and the ones who will watch with us will usually snuggle up to us on the couch or wherever we are. Most of the time we'll all end up taking short naps, but that's part of the charm. Thankfully, if we miss a talk, we can always watch it again on the DVR, and then it's also published online in a text version the week after it's broadcast. 

This last week, Mike and I decided to make a big move in our marriage. It's something that's very personal to us and it's actually a "re-attempt" at something we tried to do the winter of 2008. We were going to try again the winter of 2009 but there were some things that we felt we needed to wait for. This week we made a move toward that goal again. I'm nervous and I don't want to get my hopes up this time but I'm excited that Mike's finally ready to try again. We only had Harper last time, and this time we've got Lola and Oskar as well. It's's time to try once more.  Hopefully by the time we know if it's a yes or a no, the world around us will look like this...

We made it through September and all I can say is "Hey October...bring it on!"

P.S., the thing that Mike and I are trying to do has nothing to do with having a baby. Just to clarify. ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hi, I'm Allison and I'm Addicted to Guilt

"Sisters, wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you, with an infinite love."

President Uchtdorf quoted this at the Women's Broadcast last week and can I tell you, it couldn't have come at a better time? I missed it because of my health, but I read as much as I could as soon as I could about it. It was truly inspired.

It seems like life truly does follow that old cliché of the "roller coaster" description. Two Sundays ago, the day was so full of answers. Peace and serenity wrapped around me and I had the energy to have another go at one more week. Monday came and I had great intentions. Then a car breaks. And then a client bounces a check to me. I begin to panic and I drop to my knees in prayer. Tuesday we got news of a bill we have to pay immediately because the kids' dad won't pay for it. Wednesday I spent most of the day in prayer. About my health, about my finances, about the kids, about friends who are in desperate need of help of their own. I cried way too many tears to count. It felt good and I slept like a baby that night. Thursday we got great news from our accountant about our taxes and we consider many prayers answered!  Friday we find out all that tax money will be spent fixing said bills and cars above, leaving none for the things our kids still need, like school clothes. Saturday dragged along and by the time Sunday came back around I was practically crawling to church, but I got there and I was uplifted again.

There's something to say for struggling in life. I'm not a fan of it but it seems to be how it works. For a really long time, (and I do mean a really really long time)I thought that the reasons for our struggles in life had to do with our obedience to God's commandments. I know there are blessings from being obedient, but that's not exactly what I mean. Let me try to explain a bit better.

For example, when I was first married in 1993 to my ex-husband, money was tight as is the norm in young marriages, and I would pinch every penny we had to pay our bills. I made sure my 2 young girls had clothes and food and I was careful to save a bit of money on the side for things that our counselor said to save for like "date night" or whatever. Anyway, I called my dad and told him once that I was just at my wits end, that I'd been stressing all night because I didn't know how we were going to pay the astronomical power bill (thanks Nevada Power) that month to keep our lights on. First thing he asked me?  Are you paying your tithing?  Are you being obedient?  OF COURSE WE WERE. I took offense to this but because I was 20, because it was my dad, and it stuck in my brain that we were being punished because I wasn't being obedient enough somehow. Maybe I had a mean thought about the neighbor who kept their music on til 4 am while I had sleeping babies above him.  Maybe I'd cut someone off on the road and didn't know it. Either way, I developed a guilt over it. Whenever I would struggle, I would immediately turn to myself and think "I'm doing something bad that is causing my children to suffer."  Enter the guilt cycle...

It's taken me many many years to figure out that this wasn't how it worked. We struggle because that's "life", that's how we grow. I mean, look at Job!  Look at the life of the Savior! We struggle because life is inconsistent, life is up and downs, life is peace, and strife, and pain, and death, and joy, and tragedy, and unfairness, and miracles and on and on and on.

I am constantly reminded of others in my close circle of friends who have struggles FAR worse than I can even imagine. I look at their strength in awe. I thank God every day that I'm not in their shoes while also begging Him to relieve them from their pain.

There's no way to know why things happen, there's no way to know when they're going to happen. I can't live in fear of bad things happening. I can't live a life where I'm constantly feeling guilty for causing my husband's job to cut hours. I can't live where I feel guilty when we have to spend yet again our entire savings on one of the kids dental work. I want to enjoy the high times in the middle of the low times, and to do that, I have to be grateful for everything I have. Guilt is one of those things that I've had to learn to release from my life. It's no where near gone, and I don't know if it ever will be but I can tell you this. I have felt some sort of guilt since I can remember. Literally since I was probably 4 or 5. And it's just compounded til just a few years ago when my health took a drastic turn for the worse. I'll probably always struggle with it but it's nice to tell myself that everyone struggles, even the best people do.

In other news, I'm overwhelmed by work. But I have amazing clients!  So it's good!  I have some who are absolutely honest in their dealings with me, who treat me with absolute kindness!  But every once in a while I get the one, the one who just can't figure out how to be a good person. I have learned so much by being self employed. Sadly, it's always the ones who I'm bending over backwards for, losing money for, basically working for free for,  that come back and punch me in the face. The ones who pay me what I'm worth, the ones who know from the start that they're hiring a mom of 7 who's giving them a deal so they'll be patient, those are the ones who I do my best work for. Those are the people who come back to me because we have great experiences together. These are the people I can really call my "friends". I'm so blessed to be able to do this so I can work from home and to get to do it at the pace that it takes to get things done when I have such a huge, young family. 

Oh and Mike is 34, by the way. Men get better with age I think and last night I saw that so clearly. We were at the Mascot Bowl at Lehi High School and it is a huge Statewide affair!  There were thousands of people there and I was seated in the top of the bleachers at the farthest end of the field. Mike was meeting us there from work and I kept my eyes open, watching every direction to see him when he got there. At one point I'd about given up and I happened to glance down to the bottom of the bleachers and there he was, looking around for us. My stomach was full of butterflies and my stupid hand shot up and I waved my arm around and was yelling "MIKE! MICHAEL!  WE'RE RIGHT HERE!!!" at the top of my obnoxious lungs, apologies to the people sitting in front of me. He saw my arm and his eyes reached up to mine and he smiled the biggest smile and I mmmmelted, people. Melted like a popcicle on the 4th of July. I feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the whole wide world sometimes. Trés sigh...

P.S. I'm in no way trying to blame my dad for my guilt complex. He said it out of love and didn't mean for me to take it like that. I have a habit of taking things too hard. That's just me. Take it or leave it, I say.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And a Beach House, Definitely a Beach House

I’m in my late 30’s, guys. I’m starting to panic. I remember back in 2003 when I met Mike I was 29 and (full of ideals? Did you think I was going to say full of ideals? I wasn’t. Ok so I was but I’m not going to now, happy?) FULL OF IDEAS (not ideals) and trying to get out of a horrible marriage and I’d just moved back to Vegas from Washington State. I thought I was old then, but boy oh boy do I feel old now.

My body just isn’t what it used to be. I exercise, I drink water and I watch what I eat but it’s just not as healthy as it could be. True, I’ve had 2 babies in the last year and 4 moths but that’s not going to keep me down. I’m determined. I’m losing this weight once and for all. If I have to cut it off myself, I will. (ok so no I’m not cutting it off myself but I’d like to for sure)

Now, I live in a state where it snows. A LOT. This is bad because a) I like to run/walk outside b) I don’t like slipping. That means I can’t go outside to exercise from like Nov-April here. That’s a long damn time.

My hair is long, my skin is tan and getting wrinkly and I’m catching little glimpses of myself all the time in the mirror of myself wondering “who is that chick!?” I remember thinking that by the time I was 40 I wanted to be settled in a house on the beach with my kids in high school and college and my days freed up with reading books and long walks and lunch with friends and I’ll tell you what....I’m no where close to that. I’m still a mom of babies. I live in the Rocky Mountains. I have lunch with friends but only a few times a year. I’m ok with this though. Well, ok with everything but the beach house. That haunts me. How could it not though?

I’ll sign up for a gym in town if I have to, but I’m determined to be healthy. I want to live to see grandbabies, and great grandbabies and if I’m so lucky to have them, GREAT GREAT GRANDBABIES.

Now, to figure out how to get that beach house. Anybody wanna throw one our way? Thanks.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

While They'll Still Have Me

There's something that happens to me when the calendar flips to September. I find myself looking at the sky wondering when I'll get to wear a sweater. Those tights that have been in my drawer since April find themselves flung over the big deep arm chair in my bedroom. I start to burn more scents around my house that have to do with fall, like pumpkin or apple spice or cinnamon.

The end of the summer is bitter sweet and the kids go back to school, new clothes and backpacks, a moment of happiness all over their faces while they're still excited to be there. (ask them again in a month though. They'll want school to be over then, I assure you)

I took my oldest 3 boys to the beach this summer, in August as a matter of fact. I was asked to shoot quite a few families in Vegas and a few in California and if you know me, you know I can't resist the beach. It's where I feel healthy, where I feel happy, where I realize the beauty of this big rock we live on, where I feel like me. 

Driving through the Utah, Nevada and California desert with the boys, heat pounding on the outside of the windows was long but on the way down at least it didn't bother us a bit. We knew we had real fun ahead. We sang loudly, rapped outloud, danced too big for the space we were crammed into but we didn't care. This was a trip with "mom" and these boys who can be found arguing with each other so many hours per week just loved each other. There's something about a trip, and a trip to the Pacific Ocean that heals all wounds.  I can't wait to do it again.

September, I'm so glad you're here but just for a minute, could you just let me relive the month of August? I promise I won't be long.