Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What I Learned From Frozen

Scott and I finally went and saw Frozen yesterday. We loved it and have been listening to it non-stop. It was tough for Cal to be in the theater that long, but I think he enjoyed the beginning of it.

Anna's character left me thinking about some things. (Be advised there are spoilers ahead). She has a difficult life in a lot of ways. She is lonely, her parents die when she is young, and when she finally does find someone to love, her sister doesn't support her, goes crazy, and plunges the kingdom into an eternal winter. But Anna never allows sadness to overcome her. She has a few tears, a few moments of anger. She also makes a few mistakes and bad choices. But nothing ever defeats her. She always gets back on her feet and does whatever she can to overcome her situation, whether that means walking through the snow in dance slippers or trying to convince her sister to save Arendale. Problems are temporary for Anna, simply roadblocks to get through. She is the definition of irrepressible.

As a little girl, I remember saying that I was Belle, or Mulan, or Pocahontas, or whomever. For better or worse, Disney creates many of the role models that girls love. And despite the fact that I'm an adult now, Disney has created another role model for me -- one that is silly, at times irresponsible, but who endures tirelessly to the end.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I have a weakness. I have many weaknesses. But the one that seems to cause the most problems for me is this: I am a pessimist.

Now don't get me wrong -- this isn't something I am happy about. In fact, I never applied the label to myself before this evening. I was thinking about my week, the fact that Monday was really difficult for me, and I realized that I have a tendency to look for problems. I think part of this is because I am analytical, and as I pick things apart, I see the flaws. Regardless, I realized that I do have this tendency to find things to be discouraged about, and in labeling it, I feel like I have something to fight about.

Being a pessimist isn't the point of this post, though. It's simply to highlight the fact that the last post I wrote was pretty pessimistic. I was having a bad day, and I was in the frame of mind that I had no friends, that I was a terrible mother, wife, and nurse, and that I was always going to be that way. (I don't always feel that way, but when I am having a bad day, sometimes I do). Then, so many people kindly commented on this post, and it made me stop and realize how much I have to be grateful for. I felt guilty for complaining, especially because I know how hard other peoples' lives can be. But I've been trying to not dwell on feeling guilty about my imperfections but instead just move past them as much as I can.

And, because the last post I wrote was about a rough day, tonight I want to write about a wonderful day (today). Here are the wonderful things that happened today:

* Cal tried to put dishes in the dishwasher while I unloaded and loaded it. It is amazing to me that he is able to put together the fact that his dishes go in there.
* He also read himself a book and cracked himself up at the end, AND I managed to get a video of that perfect moment.
* I finally tasted this yogurt that the mother of one of my patients recommended. It is called Noosa and you should buy it. It is INCREDIBLE.
* We went to the park across the complex and had the playground to ourselves. Often, going to the playground with Cal is tough because ANYTHING that has wheels (strollers, scooters, toy cars, you name it), he wants, and he cries if he can't get it. There was an abandoned skateboard, and Cal blissfully pushed it around for 45 minutes. He also had a little blowout and because no one was there, I changed him at the playground. He got away from me and crawled around naked for a minute, which was hilarious to his audience of one.

* The park has this bucket swing and we swung in it together. Cal was only interested for a minute, but during that minute he was laughing, cuddling me, and looking up at me and I loved it!
* We went to Tatsu ramen with some friends. It was fun to go to lunch with a friend -- I can't remember the last time I did that. Also, Cal kept laughing at my friend's daughter and imitating her words, and I was again struck by how much more developed he is getting.
* Cal wouldn't go to bed for about an hour and a half (and didn't take a morning nap because he appears to be phasing that out) and I kept going in and trying to soothe him. Finally, the third time, I decided I would sing to him and then leave him in there for an hour. As I was singing, his eyelids grew heavy and it reminded me of when he was tiny and I would bounce him to sleep in my arms. Unfortunately, for some reason this made me giggle, which woke him up. But eventually I got it under control, after which Cal proceeded to sleep for THREE HOURS. :-D
* We had a text from a friend while he napped inviting us to the beach. My first impulse was to say no -- I thought it was too late in the afternoon to go, and I am not very spontaneous. I like things to be planned out at least a day ahead. But then I thought about how I've been complaining that I'm lonely, and realized that Cal was taking a long nap, and decided to just go for it, and it was so wonderful. The sun was setting over the ocean. At first Cal was really freaked out by the waves coming even though they were far away from him, and kept hiding his face. However, once we walked out to them, he giggled as they washed over his toes, and he finally gave in and got dirty in the sand. It was a refreshing experience, a bit of an unexpected adventure, and I was so grateful that my friend had invited me and that I hadn't said no out of a fear that my perfectly laid plans would go awry.

* Cal ate for me all day -- he loved the lasagna we had to night. Then, although an hour later than usual, he went straight to bed, and I have high hopes that he will be sleeping in until at least after 6 am tomorrow. :)

Now I just need to go back to this and read it when I am having another day like Monday. I am so grateful for my family, my home, and my friends. Off to clean the kitchen and then a date with Jillian Michaels.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mom confessions

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone who reads this blog, saying that she'd noticed that I hadn't written in a while and that she wanted an update. It made me laugh to think about, as I guess I assume most people don't read this one, especially because I am too lazy to upload pictures and tend instead to write about whatever random thoughts are swirling in my head.

I haven't been writing because lately I've felt like I should keep my thoughts more to myself. I have a tendency to complain and to be very transparent with my emotions, and lately I've been thinking that the majority of the people I admire are more poised and private. There have been many times where I've felt isolated and wondered if it is because I speak too readily what is on my mind when I should be more reserved.

But that is the thing about writing -- while some things do stay private, the goal of a writer is to tell his or her truth. And the (sometimes unfortunate) thing about blogging is that you don't need anyone's permission to tell that truth -- you can just click 'publish' and anyone can read it. Whether or not they will is a different story. But today I need to speak to more than just the empty pages of my journal, even if my audience is only theoretical. Some days you just need to unload. So here, in no particular order, are the things on my mind today:

* I get so tired of the "working-mom/stay-at-home mom" division. There are people I was friends with that won't even hold a conversation with me now that I work. And along with that, I am tired of the widely held conception that moms who work are doing it for selfish motives. Every single day away from my son is difficult. Are there aspects of working that I enjoy? Of course there are. Yes, it is personally fulfilling. Yes, it is nice sometimes to be gone for nap time battles and diaper blowouts. But that doesn't mean that I'm doing it out of selfishness. I'm working for many reasons, but the main one is because we need money to buy food. Also, it isn't a break to work a 12-hour shift where a single mistake can cost a child his or her life, where I am hand-in-hand with intense physical and emotional suffering and my primary role is to alleviate that suffering any way I can (and sometimes, many times, I can't).

* Today, all I ate were Cost-co muffins.

*There is nothing better than saying a tearful prayer with Cal on my lap and then feeling his little hand on my face (granted, a few seconds later he raked my face with those nails I didn't have time to trim today... but it was still sweet for a moment there).

* Speaking of that tearful prayer -- I can't figure Cal out these days. He used to be really easygoing and not prone to tantrums. He also used to eat anything I put in front of him. Lately he won't eat, will only take one nap but desperately needs two, and dissolves into tears and screams when he doesn't get his own way. I feel like a delinquent parent because I feel like he is too young to understand the concept of sharing. I always try to reinforce, "That toy isn't yours, you need to ask," or "You should share your toys," but it doesn't seem to be coming through yet. I feel like all these failings are my fault, piled on top of the guilt I feel for not having a natural childbirth, not being able to breastfeed exclusively, having the baby blues, and on and on it goes. A woman speaking in one of my residency classes said, "Along with the placenta, you get this huge bag of guilt" and the image has stayed with me. I don't remember what she lectured on, but I will forever remember that because, so true.

* Speaking of residency classes, residency is almost over. This is such a liberating and also terrifying idea. My entire nursing career has consisted of my being with a mentor, from nursing school on into these early days of employment. In just two weeks, I am not going to have someone checking up on me anymore. In many ways I feel that I am ready for it but there are moments when I have my doubts.

* There is nothing like the roller coaster of parenting a toddler. One minute, I am having the aforesaid tearful prayer -- the next minute, I am giggling at the silliness of my boy. (Some highlights today include him making a fishy face at me and laughing, watching his delight as he pushed shapes through a shape sorter for the first time, and seeing him laugh as he goes down the slide).

It's never easy, but despite some of the hard pieces of my life, I know that I am so blessed. I am grateful to be married to an amazing, driven man. I am grateful that I have a healthy, (mostly) happy child. And I am grateful for my job, for the fact that I had five months of intensive training from one of the best programs in the nation. None of it is easy, and I think it is easy for me to fall into the trap of obsessing over my failings. Half of this post was me obsessing over my failings. But even as I worry about the imperfections I have, I also see the reverse side of those trials and the way I am so blessed. Today I have had to frequently stop what I'm doing and say a prayer that I will get through the next five minutes, which sounds a little extreme but is nonetheless true. But I guess as long as I can get through the next five minutes, I'll make it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thoughts on "Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants" by Linda S. Reeves (Relief Society General Broadcast September 2013)

"Almost three years ago a devastating fire gutted the interior of the beloved, historic tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Its loss was deemed a great tragedy by both the community and Church members. Many wondered, 'Why did the Lord let this happen? Surely He could have prevented the fire or stopped its destruction.'
"Ten months later, during the October 2011 general conference, there was an audible gasp when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to become a holy temple -- a house of the Lord! Suddenly we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn't cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple -- a permanent home for making sacred, eternal covenant.s
"My dear sisters, the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones -- and maybe our own -- figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally." 

-- from "Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants" by Linda S. Reeves

I was living in Provo at the time this occurred, so this metaphor for the way our lives are purified by fire and tribulation rings so true to me. It is a hard truth that sometimes we have to be burned to the ground before we can truly be built up as a better, stronger individual and disciple of Christ. So often I cling to the wreckage of the person I used to be, when if I could only accept that there is a greater purpose for my life I could become better than before.

"I want to touch upon another way that can instill us with confidence and faith. We sometimes, as women, have a tendency to be very critical of ourselves. During these times we need to seek the Spirit and ask, 'Is this what the Lord wants me to think about myself, or is Satan trying to beat me down?' Remember the nature of our Heavenly Father, whose love is perfect and infinite. He wants to build us up, not tear us down."

This is another hard one for me to grasp sometimes. I think I get so afraid of complacency and being stuck in a bad place that I listen to those thoughts in my head that say I am not good enough, that I am failing and can never be enough, because I think somehow that it will motivate me to step up my behavior and improve. However, that has never actually worked for me, and I don't think it ever will. If I believe in my inherent worth as a daughter of God, I will be more likely to behave with righteousness and graciousness.

The whole talk can be found here. 
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