Thursday, October 28, 2010

Guest Post: Nicole, Growing a Mother

Bringing twins into the world after already having two young children changed my life. Not in the way that you're probably thinking--not in a sentimental way, but in a fundamental way. Life = work, work = time, and time was incredibly precious and always slipping away.

All I wanted was more and more time, time to read to my older children who needed me, time to zone out, time to bake, time to stop time from moving forward. But life wouldn't slow down. Children wouldn't slow down. And so I had to choose: would I continue to fight or would I grow with life?

Each day I still choose. Growing with whatever is placed in front of me means I can lead a more peaceful, content life. It means I can live minute by minute and follow my heart to know what is most important each day. It means my children are understood more and penciled in less.

Accepting my lack of control over many things in life empowered me as a mother because I could focus on what I could control. Time became a blessing, a treasure to be used with thanksgiving with more awareness of the present.

The Sleepy Time Gal

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Motherhood Links

I don't know if you've noticed, but I love links almost as much as I love lists. There is just a lot of awesome stuff out there that needs to be shared!

Keeping in line with this week's theme, here are some motherhood related links:

First things first, if you aren't already reading Everyday I Write the Book, you need to fix that. Kacy blogs about whatever pops into her head, like advice on how to sleep on your face or helpful tips for not so good homemakers.

I recently became a fan of The Mom blog, blame it on CJane. Ruth blogs about her days with her children, but mostly about her daughter Davy who just had major surgery to repair a major cleft. It's sweet and real and touching and Davy has the most beautiful eyes on the planet.

Speaking of CJane, she just happened to write a guest post on Goodnight Moon about motherhood and Mormonism. She touches on some of our Mormon habits (Family Home Evening, Mutual, General Conference) and how those things work with being a mother. It's your normal, straightforward and funny CJane post. Enjoy!

Megan and her mom....and some really, really big trees.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spotlight: The Sleepy Time Gal

When I was in college and just starting out as an Art History major, I made a new friend, Nicole. We had several classes together even though she was further along than I was and I'm certain I wouldn't have passed some of those classes without her help.

When I met her, Nicole was dating Bobby. They were both funny and creative and fun to be around. They got married and I drove to their wedding in Pennsylvania. I visited them occasionally when we all lived in Utah and I'm trying to get a visit in to them now that we live close together again. Last time I saw Nicole, she had one gorgeous baby daughter. Now she has four daughters (including twins!) and she blogs about her awesome adventures with them.

I admire how her creativity has grown to accommodate her daughters and how she nurtures their individual creativity. It's even more amazing that she turns around and takes the time to blog about their activities when she could be catching up on sleep (which I'm sure must be a priority with four young children). Needless to say, I've always been a fan of Nicole and now I want to share the love.

Check her out on The Life and Times of The Sleepy Time Gal. She shares photos of her children and their activities, including the decision to start homeschooling. There are tutorials, tips, recipes and links to explore, all put together in a neat little package of a blog. You can tell she is having fun with her daughters every day - even on the hard days (because there are always hard days when you are raising children).

And stay tuned later this week for a guest post from The Sleepy Time Gal, Nicole.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Motherhood from my Perspective

I shared this link back in September when I wrote a guest post for my friend's blog, All the Sanity in Me. I'm recycling this post because it's relevant and, in all honesty, it took me forever to write it and I think it's worth two posts.

The reason it took so long, and I mention this in the post, is that I have a really hard time talking about my relationships with my nephews and niece and not getting sappy or long-winded or emotional. I'm fully aware that my situation as an aunt is not normal, but I wouldn't change it for anything on this earth. I've sacrificed a lot of time for them, but it was (and is) time well spent.

I think the point I was trying to make is that anyone can be a mother to doesn't matter if you birthed them, what matters is the time and the dedication. What matters is the example you set, the lessons you teach and the unconditional love you give.

The Wisdom of Aunt Zizi

I have rewritten this post five times. Sixth is the charm, right? Mostly, it's just difficult to explain my situation without being long-winded, boring or sentimental. Heidi said, "Be funny, Lindsey!" I'm finding it hard to be funny on cue. I'm no dancing monkey, Heidi! Still, I'm going to try this one more time.

I'm Lindsey. There are oh so many things that define who I am, but one of my favorite things is that I am an aunt. Aunt Lindsey or Zizi, depending on which children are doing the name calling. I have always loved kids and all I've ever wanted out of life is to be a mother. I don't have my own babies yet, but I spoil the heck out of my sister and brother's kids. There are six all together, five boys and one girl, ranging in ages from 13 to 2 1/2. My level of involvement in each of their lives has varied over the years. I went from being the doting, teenage aunt to one opinionated toddler to the college attending, long-distance aunt who spoiled her three favorite boys despite money and distance to the live-in/caretaker aunt who gets to see her two youngest nephews grow up day by day. That's a pretty big spectrum, but I've loved every incarnation of aunthood that I've achieved.

When I moved home after college, my sister, brother-in-law and their oldest son (who was one at the time) were also living with my parents. I shared my room with the one year old, now that was an adventure. Needless to say, neither of us slept very well. A few years later (and the addition of another baby), I moved into a new house with my sister and her family. I was back home, without a job, nannying for my sister and whoever else wanted to pay me. Watching my nephews was one of the hardest and greatest things I've done in my life. Same goes for the decision to move in with them. It's so hard to balance being an aunt and helping raise these boys. I want to be the fun aunt 100% of the time, but life won't allow that. I'm also not their mother, so there are times when I can be the fun aunt and not feel guilty. I also get to make my sister change the dirty diapers, but that's mostly because I potty-trained her oldest son and I think she'll owe me forever for that one.

Now that you are all up to speed, here's the good stuff. A list (I'm a fan of lists) of six things I've learned about parenting from being a super aunt:

1. Chill out. Monkey see, monkey do. If you are stressed and high strung, your kids are going to pick up on that and your day is going to go down hill faster than a Jamaican bobsledding team. Put yourself in time out or learn some breathing exercises or distract yourself and the kids with something more fun and productive.

2. Baby wipes are amazing. I've used baby wipes once to clean crayon off of cream colored upholstery. I also use the same thing to clean my nephew's face and bottom. That seems off, right? But baby wipes keep my clothes and car free from sticky residue and stains so YAY WIPES!

3. TV is not the devil. Sometimes when you've been in a house all day with three screaming children under the age of 3, two of whom insist on being carried ALL THE TIME, the TV will become your best friend. If Yo Gabba Gabba provides me with 30 minutes of scream-free peace, then yes, TV is an angel sent from heaven.

4. Get the king size bed. It only takes one night of "sleeping" in a twin size bottom bunk with a wriggling 3-year-old to learn this very important lesson - and countless other nights in similar situations to burn this lesson into your brain for time and all eternity.

5. Build up a tolerance for waste. Children are adorable. They say the darndest things! They also pee, poop, cry, and throw up all over the place. It happens. And sometimes several of those things happen all at once. It's like a horror movie, only there's no crew man waiting off stage to come clean up the mess.

6. Enjoy the little moments. Sometimes days are bad. Sometimes, by the time you are sitting down to dinner, it's all you can do to keep from crying. That's when it's time to pay more attention to the little moments and try to focus on those. Things like how cute it is when your 2 year old starts dancing at the dinner table and eating his sandwich like a kitty cat or when your 4 year old actually sits down and eats every single thing on his plate without complaint AND asks for seconds. The more of those you find, the more your bad day will seem less bad.


We are dedicating this week to posts on Motherhood.

Since none of us are mothers yet, we are turning to our blog friends who are mothers. Look out for a couple of blog spotlights, a guest post and lots of links that will hopefully add some loveliness to your week.

My mommy and me circa 1986ish

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Conflict Avoidance ≠ Peace

Most people don’t like conflict; this is pretty much a fact of life. However, it is also a fact of life that no one can avoid it forever. Unless you are a mountain man living alone in nature, it is inevitable that at some points in your life you will butt heads with other human beings.

For the most part, trying to avoid conflict is a good thing. No one needs more drama in their lives, and it definitely isn’t healthy to seek out arguments with people. If you’re able to let go of the little things that irritate you, the ones that don’t really mean anything, you’ll be able to make your life much more peaceful.

But there are times when conflict avoidance is not the ultimate high road—when it is, in fact, the wrong road. No matter how much we hate to be involved in disagreements, the hard truth is that sometimes it is necessary. Communication is an essential aspect of relationships, and no relationship can be healthy when one person isn’t willing to acknowledge tension. To be healthy, not just as one half of a relationship but as a person, you simply must be able to express your feelings.

Sometimes people let others walk all over them because they don’t want to start an argument. Sometimes someone does something that really hurts us, but we don’t want to have a fight about it, so we keep silent. Sometimes we bite our tongues because we’re afraid of what will happen if we bring up the issue. These behaviors are incredibly unhealthy, and they lead to other unhealthy behaviors like gossiping and passive-aggressiveness (because everyone needs an outlet). 

When a person’s ultimate relationship goal is to never have conflicts, they are effectively giving other people total control over them. If you put yourself in a situation where, no matter what the other person does, you will not say anything about it, you are allowing that person to decide what happens in your life. This is a misuse of our personal freedom, and essentially puts you in an abusive relationship. We unquestioningly condemn physically abusive relationships, but I think that sometimes an emotionally abusive relationship is worse for the simple reason that you may not even know you’re in one.

Conflicts cannot be resolved unless they are talked through. You may think that you can just ignore something and forget about it, but the fact is that you probably haven’t forgotten about it by just pushing it away. All you’ve done is give yourself time to stew; the same issue will come up again later, and again and again, and each time it will cause you more emotional pain. If you want to overcome the problem, you need to address it.

Don’t let yourself be a victim in your relationships. If it becomes necessary to have an argument with someone, don’t think you’re doing anyone a favor by keeping silent and avoiding it. If you want to have healthy relationships with others and be at peace with yourself, you must learn to deal with conflicts. It’s a ridiculously hard thing to do—believe me, I know—but unfortunately it’s just a part of life, and it’s something we all must learn.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Something Amazing

Look for something amazing today! 
(And tell us about it if you find it... That's kind of a given. :P)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I love this. Thank you, Doghouse Diaries.  

Also, does this remind anyone else of Batman Begins? "But it's not who you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you." :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Desired Things

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Living Single

I am now the only single author of this blog (Megan's getting married, did you hear?), and I felt the need to write about it.

Turns out the internets want to teach me how to live life as a single girl. I keep coming across these lists detailing things that MUST be done while I'm single. Is the universe not-so-subtly trying to tell me that I should hunker down for a long, single winter? Thanks, Universe. I hate you.

I think most of the things on this list work just as well for someone who is not single, but whatever, you get what you get.

"Wallow in the ache of a broken heart" is not necessarily something I would like to aim to accomplish in my life, although I'm pretty lucky because I've done it twice already! Go me!

The advice to "develop a hobby" is well meaning, but could go horribly wrong. The internet has taught me this, and I trust the internet implicitly.

"Learn how to take care of yourself" and "be completely, utterly, wholly single for at least three months" are actually great bits of advice that I have used quite often when talking to friends. A lot of problems can be resolved or avoided when you know how to cook a meal or fix a toilet or wash your own clothes. Also, it's difficult to be yourself in a relationship if you don't really know who you are outside of a relationship.

So thanks, Internet, now I can live my single life to its fullest. What would I do without you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Philosophy of Life

One Sunday when I was in high school, a Sunday School teacher gave an object lesson involving a jar full of rocks. I found a handout from that lesson the other day when going through some old school things, and I was struck by how the simplest concepts can sometimes slip past us until someone points them out.

A professor stood in front of his class with a jar full of rocks. He held up the jar and asked the students if they thought it was full; they said yes. He took a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar, and they slid in around the rocks. The class laughed.

Then the professor picked up a box of sand, and as he poured it into the jar, the sand filled in all the empty spaces. 

"This jar is like your life," he said. "The rocks are the important things--your family, your partner, your health, your children--anything so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.

image source
"The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, and your car.

"The sand is everything else: The small stuff. If you put the sand in the jar first, there's no room for anything else; but if you start with the rocks, everything fits.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your wife out dancing. Call your parents just to say hello. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, and fix the disposal.

"Take care of the rocks first--the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."