Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Sense of Accomplishment

     It feels great to be doing something again. I took a nice long break from all things writing (besides the blog); instead reading a whole bunch and enjoying my Christmas holidays. But it feels great to be getting back to it. I'm editing my first book for the ka-billionth time (I've lost track) and at the end of each day (ok, it's only been two days so far) I feel this sense of accomplishment that's just wonderful.
     And I realized something...
     I've said before that mothers need to find something they love and then find the time to do it. But it's not just about doing something you love, it's about accomplishing something. I find that being a mother doesn't really give me that feeling.
     Now before anyone starts freaking out on me- let me just reiterate the fact that motherhood is VERY IMPORTANT. In fact I think it's the MOST important job for a woman. (First I got the housewives all up-in-arms, and now the feminists!) It is wonderful, and very rewarding.
     I don't think it lends itself to that gratifying feeling of "I accomplished something." I'll explain why.
     Lasting through pregnancy without murdering someone (most likely your husband), getting through labour without screaming bad words at the top of your lungs, and then dealing with all the after nonsense (afterpains, frozen pads, warm-water squeegie bottles, a hideous flabby belly, very sore nipples, and wanting to cry while nursing in the middle of the night because you're just so tired, to name a few)... all of that IS an accomplishment.
     But once the baby is here, everything it learns- the first steps, holding it's own spoon, first words- those are all the child's accomplishment- not yours. And then as the kids get older and they play nicely with other kids, or they get good grades in school, dance perfectly at their ballet recital, or score a goal in hockey- again, their accomplishments.
     You can claim some sort of credit by saying, "I taught them well," or "I was a good example," or "I helped them practice".  And you definitely feel proud. I know how awesome it feels, that swelling in your chest as your cheeks spread wide in a cheesy smile that you can't contain and tears well at your eyes even though you're not even remotely sad. I get that feeling ALL THE TIME. And it's awesome.
     But you can't look at them doing those things and say, "I did that." You just can't. Because YOU didn't do it. They did. And good for them.
     The other thing is, motherhood never ends. You are never done. Your child is never done. You can finish a book, or paint a whole picture, or learn an instrument. Your child never stops growing. They accomplish one thing- like learning to crawl- only to move on to the next thing- learning to walk. Even once they've graduated from college, gotten a career, gotten married, and had kids, they're still not done- and so you're still not done. I personally can't get that feeling of accomplishment when really, I've only just begun.
     But when I spend one, two, three hours working on my writing- whether it be actually writing, editing, or doing research- I go to bed that night and I can say, "Look what I did today. I did that." And the same can be said for whatever it is you do. Whether it be running a marathon, sewing a pair of pajama pants instead of buying them from the store, even making a dinner that the whole family loves- those are the things that will give you that feeling. Something YOU did.
     And why is that so important?
     Because it boosts you up. It makes you feel good. Smart, strong, useful, important. A mother can't teach her kids to love life and take meaning from it without loving it themselves.
     Without loving themselves.

***Disclaimer: This is purely how I feel. There could be thousands of mothers out there who get a sense of accomplishment from raising their kids. But for those who don't get that PARTICULAR feeling, find something you love and do it. Trust me, it works.***

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Music

     Ok, the Christmas music just had to go. Once Christmas is over, I just can't listen to it anymore. So instead I put on some songs that I'm loving right now! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The End. (Of Christmas That Is)

     Well, Christmas is over. O-V-E-R. I find it very anti-climactic. It's like this huge buil-up, the anticipation and the waiting and excitement... and then BOOM! It's over. Just like that. I always feel a little bit of a let-down when it all ends. Not that I'm disappointed in the gifts I received, or in the family time spent, or the food eaten. More it's just a general sadness that Christmas is over for another year. In the next week I'm going to start feeling the manic need to take down all my Christmas decorations and move on, which I will do. And it won't be until next fall when I'll start to feel the excitement start to build again.
     It was a good Christmas though. I got to visit my parents and dip fondant chocolates for the first time. We spent lots of time with Jeff's family, which is always a lot of fun. (Luckily this year I managed to keep my rage in check around them! HAHA!) The kids were psyched to get DS's from Santa, and I was psyched to get my favorite gift- one I get every year- a gift card for the mall. We watched a lot of the Grinch, and Dora's Christmas Carol. I ate (and am still eating) A LOT of yummy food (I know what my new year's resolution is going to be!). And today at church the Christmas Program that I organized went really well. It's been a good holiday season, and I have much to be thankful for.
     I'd like to take a sec and say thanks and an 'I Love You' to all my family out there- the Stanford's and the Burt's. I'm so thankful for my family and wish I could see them more often. And I'm thankful that we have Jeff's family nearby to spend time with. I may get exasperated sometimes (ha!), but it would be so crappy to live somewhere completely on our own with no family close by.
     I am very blessed. Even though sometimes I think I don't deserve it, I am grateful. So very grateful for my family and for everything that I have. And I'm looking forward to seeing what the New Year will bring.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My pickle-ectomy

     Well, I had my last jazz class last night. After almost four months of taking the class, I still couldn't fully let loose. I couldn't dance like no one was watching me like I wanted. It seems I still have a pickle wedged up my... well you know where. Help! Doctor! I need an emergency pickle-ectomy! STAT!

     Here's what I realized about myself. For me to truly give it my all I need a costume, makeup, a stage, a spotlight on me, and an audience sitting in front of me, their faces just a blur in the darkness. When I'm in that setting it's like I become someone else, I embody the character that my dance is portraying, I truly lose myself in the dance. That's probably why I like performing so much. Even though I get nervous before I go on stage, there's nothing like the rush of being in front of an audience, hearing their applause and shouts after the number is over. It's amazing.

    I've signed up for another session of jazz starting in January. Hopefully this time I'll be able to do better. I'll aim for losing myself in the dance even though it's just a class. Hopefully I can get just a little bit better, a little bit less uptight. It will be a gradual pickle-removal, instead of an emergency procedure. And that will just have to do.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    The Christmas season is in full swing and I'm always amazed at how busy it can get. This week I'm up to my ears in root canals, christmas concerts, birthdays, and baking. Not to mention my mom is coming, then I'll be taking the kids to Cardston and then back home next week when I'll have to get all those last-minute things done before Christmas day actually hits. Because I am who I am, I can't help but look ahead and mentally make lists for days to come even though it's useless stressing about things I can't even do yet.
     I was reading the kids a Christmas story the other night from a Disney book we have. It's an "Ants" story about how Flik invents this machine to make Christmas a whole lot easier. The machine ends up destroying everyone's presents and the moral of the story is that you shouldn't try to take the busy-ness out of christmas because that's one of the things that makes it special. Working hard and doing things for those you love is one of the best things about Christmas.
     I'm not the busiest person out there, that's for sure. I mean, I obviously have time to post on my blog! But I do know that taking the time to make Christmas special for my family is one of the wonderful things about the season. I wouldn't change a thing about it all. Not the decorations, the shopping, the wrapping or the cooking. It's all part of making Christmas "the most wonderful time of the year". I love it all!
     And now I've got to go change my laundry and blow dry my hair, then pick up Logan then...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Simple-Minded Melanie

     Last week I was thinking about how animated I get when I talk about Harry Potter, or how I was excited for Eclipse to come out on DVD. I immediately compared myself to the phrase: simple pleasures for simple minds. It seemed obvious that that was me- easily pleased with such small and silly things, making me one of the many simple-minded out there.
     But then I thought- how stupid is that phrase?! I mean, really. Think of the opposite of the word simple. Hard, difficult, complicated. Since when do any of those words go with the word pleasure? Things that are hard to deal with or understand are never fun. And there are very few people in the world who get pleasure from things that are complicated. Yes there are people out there who make amazing discoveries, inventions, or get pleasure from being top of their class of head of their company. And yes, those people probably aren't simple-minded. But don't most of us find our pleasures from the simpler things in life? Like playing a favorite sport, eating a truly delicious meal, or getting a raise. Christmastime, or an 'A' on an exam, or a child's laughter. A sunny day, watching your favorite tv show, reading a great book. I would say that all of those things are a simple pleasure, so does that make us all simple minded?
     I know I take pleasure in many small and simple things. Listening to my kids belly-laugh, hearing a song I love on the radio when I was just wishing for it, smelling the first smell of spring after a long winter. And there's more, many more. Getting my People Stylewatch in the mail,  figuring out a Sudoku puzzle in less than a minute, sitting on my couch under a cozy blanket next to my lighted Christmas tree with a fire in the fireplace.
     I could go on... forever. There are so many things in life we can take pleasure from. Simple, easy, small things. Does that make me simple-minded? Actually, I really don't care- because I'm happy. The day I stop finding joy in the little things of life, is the day I become a person that I just don't want to be.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Warning: Reading this may cause nausea, vomiting, aches, pains, or a general sense of disgustedness

     It's hard to be excited about anything today since I have the worst toothache I've ever had. I know- that sounds silly, like- toothache? Big deal!
     Ha! Yeah, right. Because not only do I have a toothache, but I have a gigantic sized swelling in my gums that, 1- looks like a small tumor, 2- is throbbing so bad that I can't eat, sleep, smile, or think about anything else, 3- has caused my cheek to swell so that I'm starting to resemble Harry Potter in that scene where Hermione hits him in the face with a jinx to disguise who he is, and 4- basically makes me want to shoot myself. (And if I do, I'm aiming straight at the thing because I would like to blow it to bits.)
     So basically I'm miserable, and I have more than a week to stay that way because my root canal isn't scheduled until NEXT monday. The antibiotics I'm on haven't done didley squat except to make me nauseous, nor have the alarming number of advils I've taken. I'm thisclose to trying to pop the darn thing, but the thought of sticking a pin in it gives me the willies and having pus-like-nastiness drain into my mouth is just plain gross. (I did warn you about reading this, don't say I didn't!)
     Anyway, there is something to be excited about today and that's the DVD release of Eclipse. In honor of that, I've posted Muse's "Neutron Star Collision" down below because it's an awesome song and it shows clips from the movie. I'm just hoping I'll be able to drag myself to the store sometime today to buy it. If you see me there- please be nice and don't mock my swollen face. Or I might just lift up my lip and show you something that will give you nightmares forever more.

Neutron Star Collision

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Music

     Well, it's December 1st so I think it's safe to put christmas music up on my blog. Yay!
     I've never understood the haters out there who can't stand wonderful songs like "White Christmas", "O Holy Night", and my favorite- "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire". Sure, I know some songs are mildly annoying- "The Twelve Days of Christmas" of course, except for the Chipmunk version, and I've never been a fan of "Little Drummer Boy". And I have to say that most christmas songs done by artists in the 70's, 80's and even 90's are definitely not my faves. In fact, I bought this one CD mainly for Madonna's version of "Santa Baby" but I find the rest of the songs so annoying that I hardly listen to it.
     But it's not really the songs that are annoying but the singers and their arrangements. I tend to like the classics- Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Perry Como. I also grew up listening to Boney M- a 70s group that I would probably hate if I hadn't listened to it every christmas of my childhood. And then there's the modern day singers that have put out some great CD's: Mariah Carey and Harry Connick Jr both have two great ones, Josh Groban, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Paul Brandt, are some of my faves, and I can reminisce about my boy-band-loving days with 'N Sync and 98 Degrees.
     Can I just say, christmas music is the best! It makes me happy (I write this with a goofy grin plastered on my face). Mid-november I was putting up a few christmas decorations even though I wasn't really feeling it. And then I put on a CD and bam! I was in fully wrapped in the Christmas spirit. It's amazing what music can do.
     Let me tell you, it's going to be very hard to pick out just a few songs to post.