Tuesday, June 2, 2015

the world is loud, we are quiet

Just so you know I’m writing this in a Word document. When I have something to say, I feel like that kind of helps. The pressure isn’t there. I don’t have to post it if I don’t want to. I keep the title in lowercase so it doesn’t seem so official. Today and yesterday I babysat our neighbor while her parents worked. She’s right in-between Jax and Jonah’s ages- and while she keeps Jax entertained, she’s loud. The kids fought and played and wanted snacks and jumped off bar stools mid-meal, trailing crumbs and sticky prints all over the kitchen floor. At one point, I hid in the laundry room to scroll through instagram as a mini escape- because there’s no way those three were going to nap together. Her mom takes breaks from work at about eleven, so like yesterday- she got here at around 11:15 to say hi to her daughter, and went next door to eat and then back to work. I kind of wondered what she thought. Both today and yesterday I answered the door in sweats. No makeup, air-dried hair, and smiling, asking how her day was. She kind of seemed down. And I don’t know her enough to even wonder what about. Maybe because she knew her daughter was probably not finger-painting and learning the ABC’s at my house like she did at daycare- or maybe because she wasn’t home, on the floor in sweats reading to the kids with dried snot on her shoulder and mayonnaise on her hardwood floor. Who knows. And maybe it was something else. 

The other day I came home from a meeting late at night. And McKay said to me something like, “Did you even hear what I said? Get off your phone.” That day had been bad. Like just draining. Also, I want you to know that I tripped at church in front of a ton of people and felt like the most awkward human ever driving home. And I had a late meeting that night- so earlier I asked McKay if he could have the boys in bed by the time I got home- sort of a plea to just spare me the bedtime routine one night and do it yourself. But he couldn’t. Because Jax took a late nap. So that night, Jax was up until ten and then McKay and I talked and we went to bed. I told him I was sorry for being on my phone and would work on it. It’s true. I take about 30 mini-vacations during the day scrolling through other people’s lives that have nothing to do with me. So if you really calculated that out- it’s at least an hour, I’m sure, of mindless time that generally makes me feel worse about myself or what I’m doing. And it’s probably more time than that. 

Just to clarify, this isn’t about jealousy. And to clarify again- it’s not about fulfillment. I completely believe that you can love your life, believe in how you spend your time, be completely fulfilled, and still feel like you don’t measure up. And with other people’s lives so public and vivid around us, it’s usually the world’s yardstick with which I’m measuring. 

Today I read this awesome post written by this guy named David duChemin. He’s a photographer, writer, leads workshops, and the list goes on. Anyways, he wrote that as photographers, we kind of measure ourselves up against the current trends. He specifically was talking about the sharpness, clarity, pixels, whatever. Those are the things that matter to us (and he was generalizing obviously). The people with the clearest, sharpest photos are the best (generally). But it’s a trend. It’s just the way we measure ourselves as photographers now. And in ten years, when the camera technology is better, the trends are different (or whatever) the photos we took today will be outdated and armature because they don’t measure up. So we’ll buy a new camera. But this is what he said:

When we have nothing interesting or important to say with our photographs, and I’m talking in broad strokes as a community in this particular place in time, all we have left is “look how good my camera is.”

So what he’s saying is that there are all these photographers, who by current standards, are skilled. They have nice cameras, and are doing everything right, but really, aren’t saying much of anything. They are following a trend- working (or buying) to measure up to some visual standard that’s easily attainable because of technological advancement. But nothing is inspired or crafted or risked

But to a large degree these things don’t – they can’t – define what makes a good photograph, and I feel nothing but sadness for those for whom they do. Because they will never make a good photograph. Ever. Because the target keeps moving, and at a rate we can’t hope to keep up with.

Isn’t it the same for us. In our lives. When we scroll through photos of other people’s. There are some pretty loud trends: fitness, fashion, healthy eating, beauty, take-your-kids-to-five-museums-a-day, take pictures of really good foodie food, etc. And that’s not to say that people who post those are super inspired- or inspiring others. They say things that are valid, and important, and motivating, encouraging, and helpful. I just think that there is a lot more to say- to show- to teach, and sometimes those things don’t fit into a current category so they aren’t said. And more often than not, it seems like if we are to be unique, or different, it has to be so intentional- like we have to think it over, craft it perfectly- and then put it out there for everyone to see as something that’s different, that doesn’t keep in line with everything else. It is intentional and planned. I just don’t think it has to be.

Make your art with the tool you have. Use a Polaroid or a RED camera. Use film or digital. Use Leica lenses or Lensbabies. Create abstracts and impressionistic studies of shape and colour, or stunning landscapes that are tack-sharp @ 400%, but don’t kid yourself – it’s not sharpness that makes it great.  It never has been. Humanity doesn’t need more sharpness. That is not one of the things for which we hunger. We hunger for beauty, and meaning, for stories, and for love – among other things, things that are communicated visually through light and composition – through our use of balance and tension and movement and scale and colour and a hundred other things that you can’t buy in the B&H catalog, and won’t be found in the manual of your new camera, no matter how much money you spend, no matter how much better your camera is than mine. We get it. Hell, every one of us has, right now, at least one camera that’s better than what every photographer who created a truly iconic image before the year 2000 ever had. You can make sharper, larger, cleaner images than any of them, together, ever made. And you know who cares?

Okay, so in full-transparency disclosure- today I was scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or something and I saw that some girl I knew growing up was going to be a Beachbody coach. You know what I pretty much immediately thought? I was like McKay and I have been doing Insanity for months and eating super healthy, I wish there was some way to show that without being annoying or obvious. WHAAAAAAAT. Like seriously. Even typing it out is so embarrassing and dumb! Why would I even care? And not to say that people who are public about those things aren’t passionate about them, I bet they totally are. And not to say that people who don’t aren’t. But that’s the thing. It’s kind of easy to define each other by what we post online. That girl is all about fitness. That girl dresses her kids the cutest. That girl has the best house. That girl always has dinner on the table and is the best wife. And some of us feel like when we have it all (or some of it) together in life we have to make sure people know about it- or it’s almost kind of worthless. But I bet those girls have a lot of other things together- and a lot in their life is probably a mess. And it’s the same with us. 

So when my kids are playing perfectly in a spotless room and I feel like I should get my camera rather than enjoy the moment, I like to think about these inspired words, 

Do you know the other day my kids were PSYCHOTIC in Albertson’s. Jax was mad that I wasn’t getting him cake batter Teddy Grahams so he screamed for probably 20 minutes straight. Strangers tried to calm him down with bribery, nothing worked. Jonah kept pulling his hair and Jax literally punched Jonah in the face. PSYCHOTIC. We got to my car and as I unloaded my cart, still holding my screaming kids, this older man with tattoos up his arm pulled up to my car and stopped. I am ashamed to say that for a split second I thought, oh great, pleeeease don’t say something weird or try to teach me a life lesson right now. But you know what? He stuck his head out his window and said, “Just so you know, we have twin four-year olds at home…And I think you’re doing great.” And he’s lucky he was in his car or I may have just cried for a half hour on his shoulder. But my point is, there’s no way to really documents the moments that define who we are. I mean, we can post a picture and write about it (which I actually did). But nobody saw me struggle to keep it together inside the grocery store that day. Nobody is there at the end of the day when we are completely defeated, and it’s 11:00 and our kid is kicking our legs and screaming on the floor of his room, and we want to just slam the door and turn on the TV downstairs but we don’t. We kneel down next to him, pick him up and rock him to sleep. NOBODY SEES THAT. And those are the moments that I feel define us as people. As mothers. As wives. As friends. As sisters. Or whatever. And documentation is important, and so is passion. But some things don’t get documented and some passion is private. And how silly is it to diminish worth in the things we do when there’s nothing to show for it.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Walk As the Sun Goes Down

These pics are from a while ago. Gosh I am so behind! About a month ago, we went on a walk. Jax is obsessed with "wishes" (dandelions). We went on a walk to the beach with our neighbors a while ago, and on the way up the hill he ran around trying to get all the wishes first. It was kind of mean and kind of cute. He loves them. Ever since he was a baby, we have picked them and made wishes- just not in front of McKay because he starts screaming if they get near our grass. He's becoming a total old dad. (he is almost 30). JUST KIDDING MCKAY. I'm excited for this summer. The boys are at such fun ages. Watching their brother relationship is so stinkin cute. Just today I couldn't get Jonah to fall asleep for a nap, but finally in the afternoon he got tired and climbed right up on Jax's lap, put his little arm around Jax's neck, and was out! They hug all day. Jax looks out for Jonah if we are around other kids. And of course, they have their moments- like two days ago when they were both SCREAMING at the store as Jonah pulled Jax's hair and Jax punched him in the face. It's so hard to tell with Jonah when he is about to do something. Jax is so easy to read. I have always been able to tell by his expression if someone is about to get smacked. Jonah- total surprise! You never know. Jax is starting to rationalize so much more like a grown up. I keep having to remind myself that he's only three. The other day we were at the mall with friends and Jax and his friend were fighting over our stroller seat. Mikilah was sitting in the seat and Jax bent down by her and said something like "Mikilah...I know you really like this stroller...but it's my stroller...can I sit in it please?" I was DYING. And impressed. No preschool next year for that kid, I am keeping him and his freckle-y nose home with me. One more year, that's all I have. School is so awful. Don't worry, we will practice letters and be social. MAYBE be social. 

We are kind of at a stopping point/break with the house projects. It feels sooooooo good. I don't even go on pinterest. I am so impressed with myself. I literally go on, and close out after a minute or two. I don't even want to think about my house. Earlier this year, we made some goals. We wanted to get bathrooms and other random things done before Jason and Jan got here- which seemed totally doable. UNTIL we didn't start until just about the month OF and McKay had a business trip one week and I got the flu and we were just scrambling and grumpy. Now I just feel like I'm in one of those dazes you are in just after you run the mile in high school. Feeling accomplished, but get me out of here and get these running shoes off me. SPEAKING OF EXERCISE. This is the first time in my life when I have been active. McKay and I have been doing Insanity for like two months! I cannot believe it, it is a miracle. I have been drinking green smoothies and feel so athletic. It's a new feeling to me. You may not know this, but I am rarely allowed to participate in any kind of sport with my family- and if it is an everyone-is-included game, I am usually picked last. So I had a plan to bring Insanity to our lake house and make everyone do it.  I am proud to say that I kind of whooped my brothers. And I was allowed to play in two...TWO volleyball games. Still not allowed in the "competitive" ones though. Next summer. 

Three crazy weeks, all in a row.

May has been totally CRA-AZYY. Where has it gone?! Is it seriously almost June?! I keep playing "just yesterdays" in my mind and then I double-think and realize that the thing I was just thinking about was actually in March. What the. How can it be almost summer? A couple weeks ago, Jason, Jan and Ellie were here. It was the first time we have seen them since Ellie was born. McKay and I have met some great people in Washington, but no one quite like Jason and Jan. It's hard to find that click with friends. It doesn't happen very often. We spent the weekend eating and talking mostly. You know those really good Sundays when you come home from church all rejuvenated and inspired with hopefulness and excitement and goal-filled minds? That's kinda how it is spending a week with Jason and Jan. It's true. We are so happy to have them as friends.

Here are my two goals: 1. connect with Heavenly Father every day through scripture study (key word: connect) AND 2. be able to enjoy the part of life i'm in AND (this is the important part) LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE...even if that means I will be 50 years old at one point in that future with no kids at home and nothing to do in life with lots of wrinkles and no babies to kiss, but still...LOOK FORWARD TO IT.

I know if I can do #1, #2 will happen.

Today I was sitting in my car looking in the mirror in the sun. I noticed wrinkles all around my eyes when I squinted. I can't tell if it's because I am so (soooooooo) exhausted from the non-stopness of May, or if it's just because I am 25. How in the world am I 25. McKay and I went car shopping last week. Car shopping for a mini-van (crying). And I came to the realization that I will never be young with a cute car. And by the time I can have a cute car, I won't be young. I've been looking at Jax lately and he seems older. This sounds so weird, but I was bathing him thinking, you are huge! He's not a baby. And with every new day and every new thing, he gets more and more fun. Today he and McKay left on the Father/Son camping trip. This has kind of been a dream week for Jax. We went to the Carnival at the Elementary school last night. It was so cute watching him stand in line with all the big elementary school kids! He looked so teeny! So I guess, it's all about perspective. It was hilarious because the carnival was dj-ed, and Jax was rocking out and running from ride to ride in pure heaven. Sooo cute. It kinda made me excited for that stage too- having kiddos in school and watching them with their friends and having long conversations with them. I think it will all be fun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Whew! I am on such a roll. Super proud of myself. Actually, I'm only blogging because McKay is watching a game and the kiddos are in bed so since there is no one to talk to, I will talk to to the entire world via my blog! Jax got sick yesterday. We went to swimming lessons early in the morning where he did fine, but by the time we were at playgroup he wasn't quite himself. It was so warm and beautiful out yesterday. I think it was like 70 degrees. The kids just rode bikes and kicked balls and ran around church parking lot and we moms just sat on blankets and walked around a chatted. It was SO nice. But just as we were getting ready to leave, I noticed that Jax was just lying on the concrete- I think because it was warm and he maybe had the chills?.. But I still just thought he was really tired, so we went to Trader Joes. Trader Joes is one of his favorite places ever to go. He LOVES to push his own little cart. Sometimes out-of-the-blue he will ask to go to Trader Joes. But when he told me he wanted to put all his groceries in my cart and have me hold him, I knew there was something wrong. We left and I stuck him in the car while I loaded the groceries in the trunk and he was just out! That night he had a fever of 104! So I called the on-call doctor and they said to come in if it was 105. This morning it was gone, but tonight it came back just a little bit. All day today he wanted to be cuddled with, held, and made "warm." It was HEAVEN. All three of us fell asleep together watching a movie today. I keep thinking about another baby. I want another baby and I want another sibling for Jax and Jonah so bad. But I honestly worry about my guilt! I wonder if I will ever feel like I am giving each child the amount of attention they need. Sometimes I even worry about that with Jax and Jonah. How do you do three? But then again, I know that somehow it will work. It will feel right and we will wonder how we ever lived without that third little baby. McKay and I switch who we put to sleep every night and tonight it was my turn to put Jonah to sleep. I was holding him in my arms, but as he got drowsier and drowsier his head started tipping back, so I readjusted him and it was so funny because he wanted to be held just like he did when he was a newborn- body up against mine with his head tipped back. Then I walked into our room to check on Jax. When our kids are sleep, they sleep in our bed with us. McKay and I cuddled him and kissed him until he was out. Just as I was about to leave, Jax coughed in his sleep and he flexed his hands just like he did when he would get startled as a newborn.
I love being a mom. I know some people don't like it. I know it can be overwhelming. I know it's not even fulfilling to some, though I don't understand how it can't be. But I am totally and completely fulfilled. I love my job. I love my kiddos. I love having toddlers. I will love it when they're 8 and 12 and even teenagers. Someone said to me the other day that the teenage age won't be fun, but I totally think it will! My brothers were so fun as teenagers. Sometimes I worry that something bad is going to happen because everything seems so perfect. Maybe! Who knows. But I know that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy during our time on earth. I really really love this life. I love where I am at and where I am going. I am really really happy. Being Jax and Jonah's mom makes me happier than anything else in the whole entire world. And I tell them that every single day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Break

For spring break this year we went to the lake house! It was semi-cold, but of course both my kiddos wanted to strip down and get in the water. I think they're nuts. I absolutely hate anything cold. Even in the summer, i don't love going in the cold water. Not my thing. But my kids love it. We were there two days before everything else got there. Just us and grandma and grandpa. Grandpa took McKay fishing those first two mornings- McKay is being initiated into the real-man-hunting-fishing club. At first, he didn't even get invited on these adventures so going fishing means he's getting cool. Plus my grandpa loves teaching the boys these things so it's cute to watch him take McKay and teach him too. I stayed home with grandma and the boys. I don't know if it's the laziness in me or what, but I am still stuck in between those I'm-on-vacation-at-the-lakehouse and I'm-a-mom-now-there-are-no-vacations stages. It's a huge struggle for me. I get there and want to just lie on the couch and eat like i did from ages 3-20, but I can't because now I'm a mom, so i reluctantly put on sandals and walk down to the water. I know I am such a bad mom. I'm hoping this summer I can just embrace the nature and ALSO McKay and I are on our second week of Insanity so I think that after this I will have more energy to be adventurous! 
The boys are at the best ages- watch, in two years I will say the same thing! They are so hilarious. Jax is turning into a real boy. To many, this stage would be disturbing, but to me, it's hilarious. Growing up with three little brothers, it's all very familiar. Hence, the nakedness and censor strips. I would seriously be rich if I had a dollar for every time I said "Jax! Those are your privates! Put them back in your pants! " 

Jax is still in swimming lessons (but we are quitting next month) but it is so funny because sometimes when he is rinsing off in the shower after his class (which takes forever because he LOVES the shower) the (older) lady aerobics class gets out and they all get in the very confined square shower area and just strip! So the other day I kind of casually grabbed Jax by the elbow and hurriedly rushed him out, afraid he would say something. The immature part of my brain was kind of laughing a little and I kind of laughed out loud quietly but I was the only mom doing it! Seriously so immature! But how can you not laugh when you are yanking your three-year-old out of a shower of naked old ladies?! SERIOUSLY. But they are all so sweet and nice and love the little kids. It's just funny. I don't know. SO ANYWAYS.

Jonah makes us laugh a lot lately. He is quite the chubby little goofball. Silly and really serious. Everyone who meets him thinks he is so serious! And he is a much more serious baby than Jax was. But he is so goofy at home. I always noticed that with Jax too. I love how my kids are always the silliest at home because that's where they are the most comfortable. His new word is "no." It's his response to everything. "Jonah, do you love mommy?!" "NO." "Jonah, do you want to eat?" "No." "Jonah, do you want to read a book?" "No." We've been training him for high school peer pressure. ha ha total mom joke. 

K so also McKay has a mustache. It's so awful and I hate it. The scary thing is that I know he actually likes it. The first night he had it, I could tell he was giddy and then last night he dyed it so it would be so pronounced. And you know how you go through those phases where you think your husband is so hot. Like obviously you always think they are so cute and handsome, but then sometimes you look at them and you are like "Holy cow, he is so freaking hot." I have just been going through one of those phases and to top it off, we went to see Cinderella and I looked at him during the movie and I really thought he looked like a prince! I told him and he laughed and thought it was so stupid but it was true, I really did. But now he has the mustache and he just looks like a scoutmaster. 

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