Monday, February 24, 2014

Why I'm still a college drop out, and I'm okay with that

I've mentioned several times on this blog that I want to go back to school. Just see this post, that post, and this one. But I'm biding my time. I know several people who are in school and doing it with little kids, and I don't know how they do it. I dropped out of college because I really wasn't dedicated enough to push my nose to the grind in order to work full time and be a piano performance major. I had just gotten married, and I figured I would be raising kids the next few decades, what would I need a degree for? Yes, how little I knew back then. If I had a do-over, I would take out student loans, not work, and we would eat top ramen every night, while I studied, practiced, performed my heart out, and graduated. Oh well, thinking about the past is not progressive.

I do know I wouldn't go back for music. I just sold my baby grand piano last week. I've never been so attached to an inanimate object before. It seems strange to me that I care so much about a piece of furniture. But I do. I played it one last time before the movers came over, and as I stumbled through Erik Satie's Gymnopedie, I thought, selling my piano will be like accepting that I will never be able to play like I once did when I was a performance major. That dream is now closed, final.

Now I have my family to help support, so not working and doing school isn't an option. Working full time, raising two kids and doing school sounds like a recipe for failure. I've been known for taking too much on my plate, only to implode later on. I don't want to make those mistakes again. For now, I'm testing the water, dipping my toes in, slowly acclimating to the water. Choosing English is a no-brainer, but I'm open to any path it may lead to. Another nugget of wisdom I've learned is not all paths are straight. I can't carve my way from point A to point B without some twists and turns.

My Uncle teaches Chinese at BYU, and offered to get a syllabus from an English professor, so I could study a course on my own, as a kind of test to see if I could keep up. Instead, getting my feet wet happened when the stars aligned, everything fell into place, and Shelah graciously allowed me to sit in on her Mormon Lit class at BYU Salt Lake this January. Amazingly, I kept up with the reading, and then two weeks into the class, it was cancelled. I don't understand I thought, this was meant to be! It's not often I get that right place at the right time feeling! Since then I've often asked myself, what did I learn in those two weeks? I learned that I felt guilty spending more time away from my kids, and that I'm not ready to take that enrollment leap.

Maybe you're reading this thinking, oh she's just letting fear hold her back, you can do it!! Just work hard, it will all be worth it!! But as I get older I'm feeling more and more that I do have time, lots of time, and I need to wait until the time is appropriate for me. So now that's off my chest. I won't mention college again, not until it becomes a reality, then I'll give you an update on how wonderful and difficult it is.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Why we're done having kids

Last week I was talking to a neighbor about having more kids. She said they decided to have another because she was getting older, so it was either, try to get pregnant now, or loose the opportunity. On the other hand, my reaction, even though I am 29 and my husband is 31, was for him to get a vasectomy last year. She is a stay at home mom. I am a working mom, so I rationalized to her that it just wouldn't be fair for me to have more kids knowing I couldn't stay home with them. But as I said it I thought, fair for the kids, or fair to me? Was this a selfish decision? Yes and no. Yes because I am eager to get onto the next stage of my life where I get to go back to school, unencumbered by little ones. No because I've had major hormonal depression with each pregnancy. For my health, we are leery about what another pregnancy would do to me. With pregnancy out of the question, I do think we would adopt if the opportunity came to us, but I don't think we'd seek it out.

Now I contradict myself. I always wanted a big family. Ever since I started spending weeks at a time at my Uncle's who has 9 kids, I loved big family life. I loved that there was always a playmate, laughter, and this community within a home. Plus there was enough of us to play sardines. I am an only child. Never having a sibling, I knew I wanted to make up for that by having a large family. Then I had my first child, and I realized I was totally unequipped with the know-how for raising children. I had assumed that having children was natural, and I would know exactly what to do in every situation because it's inborn in all women, otherwise why would God entrust me with such a fragile life? I guess he intended for me to learn with on the job training.

Even basic knowledge like if the baby is crying it's either, hungry, poopy, sick or tired, took growing pains to figure out. So I have come to the conclusion that those who come from big families, breed big families. Why is this? Because they've been trained since childhood. I on the other hand, had no training, zero, unless you count the two weeks I babysat for a lady down the street when I was 13, that's it. My husband also comes from a small family, he has one brother. So now I think it's a bit of a triumph that we have managed to have two kids, and not screw them up too bad. I mean Hunter will eat Mayo straight from the jar, but what kid doesn't eat weird stuff right?

So I'm always a work in progress, and I'm still working on getting over my "I chose to only have two kids, but I'm a Mormon" guilt. Which is kind of insane, because it's not doctrine that you must have as many kids as your fertility allows. So I chalk it all up to living in Utah with all the cultural stigma's associated with Utah Mormons. Maybe if we lived in China where one kid is the norm I would feel differently. Anyway, the thing I'm trying to remember is that I'm doing the very best I can, and nobody is judging me but me, so I'm going to get off my own back already and enjoy the amazing kids I already have.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Princess Tea Party

I think Amy's 4th Birthday Party was a success! I may have gone a little overboard with the decorating, but can you blame me? It was too much fun. Of course I searched all over Pinterest  for weeks until I found how-to's galore. So if you're planning your own Princess Soiree, here's the links for the decorations.

First we let the girls decorate their own princess crown. I found the template here and traced it onto foam paper, then when they were done I held them around the girls head, used a stapler to secure the two ends together and voila! Don't they look royal!

Then we had our Tea Party part of the party. I will admit, I used the 100 year old china inherited from my Grandmother-In-Law, and maybe 3 and 4 year old girls wouldn't care if they got to use real china, but I couldn't help myself. I know, risky, but I'd rather see it used than sit on a shelf 12 months out of the year. We told the girls Cinderella had lent it to us from the palace, they were really excited about that. We had pink lemonade, skewers with berries, and pb&j sandwiches.

Next they played pin the lips on the frog. I take no credit for this at all because my husband is the artist. I simply printed a picture of a frog I liked and asked him to draw it on a giant piece of paper. Here is the link where I printed the lips from.

Our last game was hot potato. I played Disney music while they threw around a ball of tissue paper with prizes wrapped inside. When the music stopped, the girl holding the hot potato got to unwrap a layer and find the prize. Sorry no picture, but I think you can imagine tissue paper balled up in the shape of a potato.

At least one thing has to go wrong when you plan something, and mine was the cake. I'm not artistic when it comes to baking, so I ordered the cake from the grocery store. Which would have been really cute had they used the colors of icing that were in their display picture, green lawn with pink trim, but no, it was a really really red and green cake, it didn't match a single decoration. Fortunately, all the girls cared about was that it was chocolate on the inside.

Then Mike decided to have a Duck Dynasty moment and join in on the tea party. . . .

After presents were done, we had run out of time, so Mike entertained the little girls with duck calls and letting them pet all the stuffed ducks and heads in the living room. I know, we're just strange like that.

I think they were plenty entertained. I hope you've enjoyed the Princess Tea Party with a little Redneck flair. 

Next week is Hunters Birthday, but don't expect quite as much preparation to go into his. He chose to have a swim party at the rec center, and I am so happy I don't have to decorate or scrub my house floor to ceiling for that one. Sometimes I wonder what were we thinking having our kids birthday's in the same month!?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Amy is turning four

Amy is turning four. She chirps "up, up"
when she's cold outside, needs her heart
and body warmed. I still give in she's my last
child. When my arms are tired she clings legs
wrapped tightly around my waist arms
around my neck holds herself with monkey strength.

When she climbs out the bath I use the hooded
towel bundle her wet shoulders scoop
her in my arms. I try to hold her like a baby
as long as she'll let me, her clean wet face
looking up at me. I ache for chunky baby legs,
for years ago when I could swaddle
and bounce her, smile silly faces until she laughed.

I tell her never grow up, as if she can
help it, but I mean what I say. Never stop
loving your mommy, cling to her, give her kisses,
cuddle up as she holds you. When she turns
four she will enter the little girls world
beginning with a dress up princess tea party.
Her court of four year old friends will surround
her, she will begin to feel grown up.

During which I will look at her baby
pictures on the wall, and pine for her chubby
round face, replaced by a mane of long brown
hair too big for her body like a caricature.
As I stare at her, a phantom teenage
Amy will flash in my eyes like a camera
snapping a picture of her all grown up.
I mourn time, the baby thief.