Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals. El Fin.

1. Complete Henry's 1 year memory book
Did it.

2. Make 72 hour kits for the family

I have a car kit with water, first aid kit, ponchos, emergency lantern, bags etc but most of that came from my mother-in-law.
So I didn't really ever do much on this one. Talking with other people about emergency preparedness I have also realized my idea of what we would need was grossly simplistic. I have to reassess and make a more feasible long term plan to start working on emergency preparedness for our family.

3. Hold weekly family home evenings and plan them a month in advance
We have done a lot of traveling with Thanksgiving and Christmas but I think we managed to still have family home evening all but one night while we were gone. I think I can give myself the thumbs up on this one.

4. Get second blog up and running
It is up, but not really running. So, half completed. I can't decided whether I want to just post on this blog or if I really need a separate one. I am thinking of just switching to a wordpress blog because I think there are tabs? Anyone?

5. Forget all my stupid and embarrassing moments in the past; sans the ones that make me laugh rather than cringe
Considering this is probably a lifelong process, I think I've made a good start.

6. Attend the Temple as a couple monthly
Every month except February and then this month. We planned to go with my mom for her birthday and Henry was going to stay with Johann's parents but Henry got some bug. Driving him to Riverside and back with diarrhea just didn't seem like the best idea so Johann was kind and stayed home with him so I could go with my mom and brothers. I guess the moral of the story is don't plan your temple day on the second to last day of the month. Especially when that month is December.

7. Go to ward activities
Ice cream social, all the relief society activities that I knew about and we went to the ward Christmas party. We started out not so great this year but we ended on the mark. yay.

8. Learn the new family search
Yup, yup, yup. It has been fun taking family names. Now I just need to learn how to do research so I can find missing ancestors not on familysearch. For now, I am pretty content though with cleaning up the line by doing all the work I can while we're so close to a temple. It has been great.

9. Read through the standard works
I did it! OORAH.

10. Accept help
I think I've done a pretty good job. I have had to ask for a couple substitutes to teach while I've been out of town as well as the babysitting we asked for earlier in the year.

11. Take a family portrait
Yup. Considering there is no picture posted here you can gather that I failed on this one. Weather thwarted us twice and my will power to make it happen just didn't come through. Spring, spring, I swear we'll finally do one by spring!

12. Read 15 novels from master book list and 5 scholarly texts
I feel pretty lame about not being able to complete this one. I thought I set my bar pretty low considering all the reading I did while in school. I think I forgot to factor in November and December as months where I wouldn't be able to do much reading since we were traveling, staying in the same room as Henry and spending time up late at night talking with family rather than reading. Also I realize I stipulated novels but I probably should have just said, "books" considering I broke my own rule. Annnnnyhow. Here are the books I read this year:

Jane Eyre --love, love

Wuthering Heights--meh. I'm glad I read it but I don't think I will ever feel the need to do so again.

History in Practice--scholarly text. Her writing was very accessible.

The Stories of Anton Chekhov--I think by far my favorite.I still go back just to "graze" frequently.

Pride and Prejudice--Charming.

Believing History--by far my favorite "scholarly text" from the year. Not like that's hard considering there were only three competitors, but you know. I think this is some of the best LDS history I have every read and I love the genuine effort to be as honest as possible to methods as well as faith.

Dead Souls--took me a while to get into but I really enjoyed it and was sad to finish. I miss that Dapple Grey.

Religion and the Rise of Modern--Scholarly text. Good read. A little pedantic in some places but I think I'll read it again.

What our Mothers Didn't Tell Us-- Scholarly text. Probably my least favorite of the "texts." It was interesting to read but I doubt I'll pick it up again.

Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy--I really enjoyed all of it. I think I should read this every winter curled up by the fire with a cup of tea.

The Princess de Cleves-- Eh. I wasn't in pain while reading it and I understand its significance but I doubt that will spur me to ever pick it up again. Sorry, Dr. Call.

The Pearl--Yup. Still as depressing as in middles school. Actually, even more so after having a child and being able to better relate to Kino and Juana.

Three Cups of Tea--I listened to a forum presented by Greg Mortenson at BYU a few years back and really enjoyed it. So its no surprise to me how much I enjoyed reading this book. I also can't help but highlight the comparison I saw as I read Three Cups of Tea with the movie Freedom Writers in the background. Greg Mortenson, I feel, is the real deal. Erin Gruwell. eh. Don't get me wrong, what she did with her students is great and good. But honestly, I feel like she bought her students and then harnessing the PR she got from that, managed to stay with those same kids for four years, ditched out and wrote a book and now goes around telling other teachers how to be like her. Self-aggrandize much?
I'm not saying everyone needs to fly to a foreign country, sleep under putrid goat skins, eat food we'd find less than appetizing, survive kidnapping, and somehow have the wits to survive people constantly trying to cheat you (which he did) but throughout his book it is evident the work he does isn't about himself, not one bit. It seems everything he does, even if it is publicizing himself or the foundation, is all about benefiting the children, women and communities he works with. I was just incredibly impressed by his humility and willingness to learn from others who had been doing what he was hoping to do and admitting his reliance on others and his love and gratitude for them. Gah, way more description that I ever wanted to give for any of these books but I really enjoyed reading Three Cups of Tea.

A Christmas Carol--Thumbs up.

So, I completed 4/5 scholarly texts and 13/15 books.

13. Clean up no more than twice a day (minus the kitchen, my OCD just won't allow that to stay dirty for very long quite yet).
Don't misunderstand me, I would still love to keep the house spotless 24/7 but I would say I am a recovering OCD house cleaning freak. I think I am finding a healthy balance.

Wow. It is a little depressing to see how few of my goals I fully completed but considering it's the first year I wrote goals down and pursued them, I am okay with it. Not to mention I now have to wrap this post up so I can go get ready to head to LA to see West Side Story. =)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quantity ≥ Quality

Lets put a few statics out there from this week:

-Number of times Henry and I have left the house combined: 3 (twice, quick trips to the store for necessities like milk and I went to a relief society week day meeting)

-Days I have showered before noon: 2

-Days Henry has stayed in his pj's all day: 2

-Hours of time spent doing the items on my to-do list: maybe 3

-Hours of time spent doing really creative crafts/activities with Henry: maybe 1, maybe.

Despite the very sad week those statistics might imply, it has been one of the nicest, sweetest weeks Henry and I have had together in a long time. We've done playdough, hid from the monster by running and getting under the covers, read books, danced and cuddled up for naps.

It reminded me of something my mom use to say. I think it was during the mid-to-late 90's that the big thing in parenting was that it wasn't so important to spend lots of time with your kids as long as you made sure to have a few hours of quality time every once and a while. I guess I can still see people championing this opinion today, but for some reason I remember it being a really big deal then. I remember examples like, 'if you can't see your child all week, then on the weekend, take them to a theme park to make up for it,' or 'take them to dinner and have a good talk.'

Honestly, I think a lot of these people must have had robot children or none at all because it's rare you can get your kids (or at least I can get my kid) to act and do what you want the way you want. So I wonder how effective it is to try and get your kids, especially really young ones to understand 'quality' time.

Back to my mom. I remember a certain friend or relative mentioning this to my mom and my mom would always basically say, "They don't care so much what you do with them as long as you are there with them."

I'm not trying to say that planning and doing prepared fun things isn't important but I am beginning to rethink my ideas on quantity of time and quality. I spend so much time with Henry that sometimes I think I have to do something spectacular with him, or I am not being a good mother and he'll never develop how he needs to, what will I blog about (yeah, lets be honest we don't tend to post pictures of us sitting in our pj's with our kids watching tv and eating cereal for lunch-again).

I guess what I'm trying to get to here is that I don't have any awesome pictures from this week showing what fun, creative things Henry and I did. Hopefully its not that way every single week but for this week, I'm happy to remember just the sheer amount of time we had enjoying each other as we are, pj's, bed heads and all. I would have missed out on his little hand in mine and that little head on my shoulder in the middle of the day without even knowing it.

*Note, I am in no way saying that women who have to work or be away from their children more than they are with them are somehow wrong or making a bad choice: every family, every mother has to do what is best for their specific child/children and sometimes that will mean a tipping of the scale in favor of trying for quality time over quantity. Age of children plays a huge role in it too.
This merely comes from reflecting on my need to be a better mother and wife and in some ways missing the mark when I assume that time with Henry needs to always somehow be blog worthy or parents magazine approved (ok I don't read that, but you get the idea) or I am failing or shirking and the time in between that I need to be crafting or contributing something fantastic and Martha Stewartesque to the home. So I hope it is seen in that light.