Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Who Am I?

Lately, I feel a little disappointed in who I am.

I'm not crafty.  I'm not clever.  I'm not funny.  I'm not even that fun to be with.  I'm a very serious, plain-minded person.

I wish I was really good at something.  I do a lot of everything, but at everything I do, I am just mediocre.  So mediocre in fact that I feel pretty much invisible.  I feel like I could disappear and nobody would even notice I was gone.

I don't know if this is sort of a post-Christmas blues or a post-pregnancy loss blues.  I just feel like I contribute nothing to anything.

Maybe I could be the best at being average?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

You're Gonna Miss This

You know the song by Trace Adkins?

You're gonna miss this.  
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast.
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know this now
But you're gonna miss this.

I get this concept.  I really do.  But to be honest, when we look back at these things we miss, we don't think about the hard things.  We only remember the good things.  I miss when my older kids were snuggly chubby babies.  They were so cute and giggly.  They would smile huge when they saw me and reach their chubby hands up to touch my face.   But I honestly don't remember all the long sleepless nights and the stretches of screaming when they were upset about something.  I look back and think, Why can't my baby now sleep like his older siblings did when they were babies?  They all slept nice and soundly through the night and rarely had a night where I was up all night with them.  But then I look at old blog posts or journal entries and realize that was not the case.

So yes, I will miss this period of time when my children are young.  But I won't miss some of the hard things about it.

I won't miss the nights when I can't get my baby to stop crying and can't figure out what's wrong with him.  I won't miss the endless diaper changing and spit up.  I won't miss having to spoon feed him several times a day.

I won't miss when my older kids call me from school telling me they are sick and the anxiety that shoots through me at that moment when I hope that nobody else gets what they have and that they won't miss too much school or be too sick.  I won't miss when they clobber their sibling over the head because their sibling isn't sharing a certain toy. 

There are definitely things I won't miss.  In fact, I will probably block the hard things from my memory, as evidenced by the fact I already do it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Little Irritations

I hate making phone calls.  I'd rather speak in church once a month than make a phone call.

Last January, I got my piano tuned.  That is, January 2010.  The guy who tuned our piano in Arizona lives in Utah (he travels between the two frequently) so I had him tune the piano here.  During the tuning, he got distracted.  It might have been one of my kids or a phone call he got.  Anyway, he broke one of my piano strings.  He promised he'd be back with a new string in about a month.

I waited.  He never called.  Finally, in about May, I started trying to track him down.  Turns out the receipt I had from him didn't have a phone number on it, only a name.  His number was no longer on my caller ID.  My mom had used him to tune her piano before, so I called  her about it.  She couldn't find his number either.

Then, I kept forgetting about it.  I'd only think about it when I played the piano, which was very often.  In November 2010, my kids started taking piano lessons, so I thought about it, I just kept putting it off.  I had tracked down a number which I found online, but it wasn't a working number.  Finally, in January 2011, my mom had her piano tuned by him and got his number for me.

I called him several times, leaving messages throughout the next few months.  Not every day.   Only when I remember and only when I was feeling particularly brave.  I finally managed to nail him down to come tune my piano again (offer him business, remind him of the broken piano string).  He came to tune it and repair it and realized that the company he'd ordered the string from sent him the wrong string.  So he left and said he'd contact me within the  month about the string.

I called him within a month and he hadn't received the string yet.  I've tried one other time since then, probably in about August.

Now it is December 2011 and I still don't have that string in my piano.  I've looked into having someone else repair it, but it will cost around $200 or more for such a repair.  He really needs to come back and do it.  I really need to stop being afraid to call him.  Maybe I will try later today.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More on Christmas

I know in the past I've been a little down on the whole Christmas season.  I think I've partly figured out why it stressed me out so much.

1.  I do the whole thing by myself.  From the baking, to the cards, to the presents, to the decorating, to the activities.  If it's going to happen, I have to do it.  My husband will help, but he thinks all of it is pointless and meaningless and it's hard soliciting help from someone with that attitude.

2.  We have three birthdays in December.  Check that.  Three.  In addition to buying Christmas presents for SEVEN people, we also have to buy at least one present per person for three birthdays.  For birthdays around here, we like to let the person pick all their meals.  So in addition to the cost, I also get to plan those days, sometimes it gets pretty strenuous.  The biggest part is the cake or pie.  My husband has to have banana cream pie.  Often, I'll just let Marie Callendar do the baking, but sometimes we don't have the money and I usually have the ingredients for such a pie on hand.

3.  The kids asking me and telling me all day every day for several months, more during December, what they want for Christmas or what they want to do as a fun Christmas activity is enough to drive a person insane.

Okay, enough with all that.  Those are reasons why I'm wound tighter than a drum this time of year.

But, there is one thing about Christmas that I love to do.  I will skip decorating.  I will skip baking.  I will do the most basic gifts.  I will skip big meal preparation.  I'll skip activities.  But I never skip this.

I love to do Christmas cards.  I love to get them too.

I know lots of people who don't like the Christmas card and letter tradition.  They think it's a brag card and make fun of how people will list their accomplishments, etc.   But I actually love reading those.  I love finding out what my kids and their kids have in common.  I feel like I'm getting to know them in a small way.  I enjoy the pictures too and usually keep them up for quite a while.

Besides, do you really want to know that my son spent two months on and off with the stomach flu?  Do you really want to know that my daughter still has accidents or gets up at night with bad dreams?  Do you really want to know that my 5-year-old waits until I turn around to pound on his 9-month-brother and then every time I ask what happened, he says, "I don't know, I think he fell down?"  Do you really want to know that my husband and I fight about how to decorate the tree every year?  I mean, people don't want to hear the bad stuff, but they complain about hearing the good stuff.

The yearly Christmas card is something I will do every year until there is no longer a mail system and then I'll do it digitally.  Hopefully, people will still reciprocate.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Call Me Scrooge

Ever since we've had several children and no money, Christmas is my least favorite time of year. Which is ironic because growing up, it was my favorite. It was especially my favorite as a teenager, a college student, and then a young single adult teaching school. Even our first four or five years of marriage, there was something magic about this season. My birthday is on the 21st, so that's another reason I always loved this time of year.

When I was in school, I was involved in orchestras and choirs and the music was so wonderful this time of year. I also started mailing my own Christmas cards when I was in high school to friends who lived far away and that became a favorite part of Christmas.

But establishing traditions of our own as we've added more children to our family has become burdensome to me. I know Christmas isn't about how much you give and it isn't about how many fun things you do, but it sure feels like it sometimes. I remember when I was growing up, my parents would often become grouchier this time of year, and I always thought to myself, Just relax, Mom and Dad, this is all supposed to be FUN. Now I'm on the other end of that pistol and I can completely understand why my parents, particularly my mother, did not enjoy the holiday season the same way I did back then.

This year, there's this popular little thing to do that EVERYONE, and I mean, EVERYONE, is doing. It's called Elf on the Shelf.

I'm not doing it. Hadn't even heard about it until the first of December when one of my Facebook acquaintances posted a picture of their elf. I thought it was this clever little thing that she'd come up with (she's that type of person) but then I saw pictures of people's elves popping up all over Facebook. Honestly, it's not the idea of the Elf on the Shelf that bugs me; it's the pictures that everyone is putting on Facebook. It's like, Look at me, look at how awesome I am that I'm doing this for my kids for Christmas! To me, it would be the same as taking pictures of the decorated houses you drive around at Christmas time to see the lights and posting those on Facebook. Look at these awesome lights! Isn't this a great tradition, driving around looking at lights?

And then when I mentioned on Facebook that the "Elf on the Shelf" stuff was annoying, I shot myself in the foot. I think I will now be shunned by all members of my ward because I don't do "Elf on the Shelf".

So there you go. Just call me Scrooge.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hair Envy

I have a major case of hair envy. I always have, but I think it's worse now that I have a daughter. I feel bad that I passed on my horrible hair to her.

See, I have really thin, really fine hair. Now, I know a lot of people who have fine hair. But I don't know very many people who have the same combination of thin and fine hair. I don't have very much hair either and typically, the longest it ever gets, no matter how long I try to grow it out, is to my shoulders. That is where is stops growing.

I recently did a web search for hair updos for people with thin, fine hair like mine. Unfortunately, I pulled up a lot of ideas for fine hair, but the hair models in the Youtube videos did not have hair anything like mine. They had about twice as much hair and it was twice as long so they could do a lot more with it.

I saw a little girl at church today whose hair was pulled back into a pony tail, which had then been braided, which had then been wrapped around into a bun. This four-year-old's bun was about four times as large as mine would have been had you done the same thing to my hair. And I know her hair is about to her shoulders, maybe slightly longer, so it's not incredibly long to make such a thick bun.

I passed on this horrible hair to my daughter. So far, hers has grown longer than mine has ever been, but it is still baby fine and very, very thin. The tiny hair rubber bands that you use on little girls' hair I can wrap around her hair about 6-8 times, and that's her WHOLE head of hair.

Add to that my oddly shaped head (very small, flat in the back, kind of oval even) and you have a recipe for disaster for any type of updo. And I can't wear my hair down either because it just looks hideous. Plus in the winter, with the cold, the wind, and the dry heat indoors, it gets so full of static that I really can't wear it down. I can't even brush it. I haven't been able to brush my hair ever. It just gets too full of static from a hair brush. I have to use a pick and a comb.

Last night, at my daughter's dance recital, there were so many girls with beautiful, long, thick hair that it almost made me sad. Sad for me and my daughter.

My husband has a lot of hair and it's very thick. Why couldn't she have inherited that? Why do our kids (at least mine anyway) always seem to inherit the things we like least about ourselves?


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