February 09, 2018

Today feels like spring. Today feels so good.

Last month I almost lost my mind. Stefan was gone a lot, I was sick, Peter was needy, there was really nothing going on but you know how sometimes that makes things worse? I felt so lonely and just.. bad. I felt bad. Which was sad because January has so much potential to be a really feel good, start fresh kind of month. 

I was desperate to make something happen. I needed to make time for myself, I wanted to feel more fulfilled in some way - feel like I was contributing to my family and to the world - I needed to be a better mom. 

It had been a couple months since I started trying to substitute teach. I really liked doing it, but it was hard to make it happen with Peter. Who wants to watch my kid for eight hours straight? I tried to find days Stefan was working from home so someone else could watch him in the morning and then bring him back home to Stefan for an afternoon nap. It sounded simple, but always ended up feeling like a little too much work on everyone else's part to make it worth it. Then my sister heard about an elementary school that needed more reading aids to come work with students for a few hours each week. I met with the principal and it all seemed really doable and just what I needed and today I finished my first week! 

Honestly it feels like a miracle. I'm at the school for an hour and a half max, four days a week. And I'm convinced I was paired with the sweetest third graders ever - I am not a kid person so this is big. So far finding a place for Peter to play for a couple hours in the morning has basically been done for me, thanks to people who have straight up volunteered to have him over? He has so much fun playing with cousins and friends - we've moved on from the crying when I leave phase - and he RUNS to me with the biggest smile when I come to pick him up! So we've entered the me crying when I come to pick him up phase.. I love him so much! Having a short break from each other where we both get to go socialize and be our own person has been so, so good for both of us.

Not surprisingly, Stefan saw this problem coming years before it did. I remember him asking me when we were still in school if I was sure I didn't want to work after graduation. I was so sure. And I don't even think this was a situation where I was refusing to recognize something about myself - which happens embarrassingly often.. - I really think I was convinced I would be fine staying home with our kids full time. And I still think someday I could be! But lately I've been learning to recognize phases for what they are and to be okay with them. In this phase of my life our new set-up feels right. I don't expect it to last forever, but man am I grateful for it right now. 

Needing my own space and time for myself is a big part of my personality. I don't want to work full time and be away from Peter all day, but I also don't feel guilty about this very part-time job. Someday I think I'd love to have a similar schedule where I take the time for myself to work on art more regularly. Someday.

But today, today felt good. The weather was so nice after I picked Peter up from our neighbor's house that we played outside for over an hour. And I was excited to do it! And I really played with him! And at one point he told me, "Mama turn! Fast!" (Mama's turn to run fast) So I ran fast ahead of him and looked back to see him running fast behind me and we were both laughing and it makes my heart hurt to think about how happy I was in that moment.

2018 GOAL

January 06, 2018

Last year my resolution was to develop my talents, and if I'm being honest I feel so good about what I was able to accomplish. I learned a lot about digital art and using Illustrator and getting things printed. I made a bunch more family videos. I ran a ton and actually started running faster and ran a marathon. I started teaching myself piano. I wasn't sure I would accomplish anything solid because my goal wasn't very solid. But in the end I felt really, really good about last year - at least in that specific area.

This year my resolution is even more vague. I guess my goal is to be intentional. I want to focus better on the things I actually care a lot about. I care about continuing to grow in all those areas I did last year. I care about my family. I care about my Savior and my faith and my church and my service there. I care about my home and my neighbors and my friends. So maybe my resolution is to not waste time and just do the things I always have on my to-do list. To put my money where my mouth is. 

Six days into the year and I'm doing really well, even though I almost hate to admit the reason why.. I haven't looked at instagram this week and I've looked at facebook a lot less than I normally do. It has helped me to not waste time, and it has also helped me to feel better about myself. Hopefully I can find a good balance because I don't want to go without social media forever. For right now this feels really good. I've been so productive and I think I've connected better with at least a couple people. I feel.. lighter? Does that sound so dumb? Why would instagram make me feel.. heavy? I think it just feels like one more thing to do - I need to check it all the time and I need to keep up with what I see everyone else doing when I check it. Instead I'm trying to check in with myself more and make sure I'm doing what I want to be doing.

I also get that this might sound dumb to some people who don't have the same struggle. But for whatever reason - my generation, my personality, a mix of several different factors I'm sure - this feels like it's going to be a big deal for me in a really good, healthy way.


January 05, 2018

We had a lot of fun with part of Stefan's family in London this Christmas. On our first night there we unintentionally walked right past the LDS Hyde Park building and saw the missionaries outside putting on this sweet nativity. We kept walking and spent the evening at the Bavarian Market at the Winter Wonderland event in Hyde Park. I don't have any pictures from it because they weren't allowed, but the night before Christmas Eve we went to see A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic theater. It was amazing. The guy who played Xenophilius Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies played Scrooge and was perfect. Everyone in the cast was incredible. I wouldn't say it was a musical, but they did incorporate a lot of Christmas hymns and carols. They also used the most magical fake snow a couple times, which everyone else seemed kind of bothered by.. I loved it. That show was probably the highlight of the trip for me.

On Christmas Eve we went to church and then hung at home, playing and napping and watching movies. Christmas day was about the same. Peter got a billion gifts - literally none of which were from Stefan or me - and was happy as could be. On Boxing Day, most of us went to a soccer game while Stefan's mom stayed home with all three little kids because she is either amazing or crazy. Tottenham won 5-2 and Stefan found me a Dr. Pepper! Cheers! Actually I think I had three Dr. Peppers while we were there - truly a European Christmas miracle.

The next day we went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour! Again! We went last year when we were in London and are actually the luckiest people in the world to get to go again. It was just as magical as I remembered except more so because the Great Hall was decorated for Christmas/the Yule Ball. (!!) I have a clip of it that I'll put in my video from the trip. They also added a section of the recreated Forbidden Forest! I love Harry Potter. Stefan gave me the illustrated Prisoner of Azkaban book from Christmas, so I am all hyped up on it lately. That book is UNREAL. So entertaining and well written.

The grown-up girls got to go for a fancy afternoon tea at Harrods one day. The black currant tea was the only one I tried that I liked - with two sugars, and I maybe could have even gone for three.. It really was so fun, as was our shopping trip to Primark afterward. I feel like this is turning into a blog about how spoiled I am.

Last but definitely definitely not least, my baby and the "soldiers." We went to the Tower of London and saw the crown jewels, but more importantly Peter saw these guards marching outside and could have stayed all day. I love that boy and I love watching him discover new things he loves. It was also cool to see the crown jewels because then on our last day we went to Westminster Abbey and saw where all the coronations have happened for the past few centuries!