August 31, 2011

Brotherly Love

Anyone who has known my boys for long, knows they give the best hugs. They will randomly walk up to several family members and friends, give them a hug and tell the person they love them. At church on Sunday, I told Gabe to give his Uncle Mike a hug goodbye. He turned to the person next to him, not Uncle Mike (in fact a total stranger) and gave him a hug. When he looked up and saw it wasn't his uncle he was a little confused for a moment, paused, and then gave him another hug with a big smile.

This afternoon Gabe ran up to Porter to give him a hug. Porter hugged him back and they had a two minute conversation/hug saying, I love you, I love you too, I love you, I love you too. It was too cute not to get a picture. For all the hard days, (like yesterday), there are moments like this that eclipse any else. My precious boys.


Lately Gabe has been talking nonstop. He is using more and more words and coming up with new sentences rather than repeating a phrase he has heard. He says so many things that crack me up. Here are just a couple.

When we were in SLC last weekend, Gabe wanted his uncle Mike to toss him in the air.
Mike: say One, Two, Three..
Gabe: Four, Five, Six... with a big grin.
Mike: No, say One Two Three.
Gabe: Four, Five Six... still with the big grin. Who can resist it? He got tossed plenty. :) I tried it with him today and when I said say 'one, two, three', he replied 'Four, Six, Nine'. Guess he doesn't know his numbers quite as well as we thought. :)

On the way down to SLC, we wanted the boys to take a nap. I told Gabe he could have the rest of his drink after he took a nap. He immediately put his head down and closed his eyes. About five seconds later his opened his eyes with a big grin and said, 'I awake. Drink!' I said, 'No, you have to sleep'. To which he again said, 'I awake Mommy. Drink'. This was repeat a couple more times, and both of us were getting slightly frustrated, until I decided to change things up. 'You can have your drink after we get to Grandma's house. 'Okay'. And he was fine with that. Silly boy.

August 29, 2011

Busy week

Last week was back to school week for the kids and back to work for me. The summer has been wonderful, but it will be nice to have a schedule again. Porter was really excited for his first day of preschool. I got the camera out and Gabe insisted on being in the picture too, only then he wouldn't look at the camera. Crazy boy.

Ready to walk in the door. He never looked back. But when I picked him up that day I got the tightest bear hug from him. He was so happy and the teachers both said he did great. One even made sure to ask his age. She thought he might have been older because of his academic skills and language. As a mother, and one who has worried about his academic knowledge, that lifted a worry for me. On the way home, he couldn't talk fast enough to tell me everything he had learned and done. He absolutely loves it and I love seeing him so happy. Its great to pick him up and see him beaming from experiencing the new world that has opened up to him.

Adam sister and family were in SLC from Wisconsin this week, so we went down to visit with them over the weekend and loved it. We had so much fun catching up and letting our kids play and catch up as well. It was wonderful!

After getting back from the whirlwind weekend, my parents came down to visit and help us with some food storage (Thanks Dad and Mom!) and we got to visit with them. After they left, I decided I wanted to nice cold soda to cool down. I discovered there were none cold and put one in the freezer. Usually I set a timer for about a half hour so I don't forget to take it out.

This is why I usually set the timer.

I was very surprised today when I remembered it that I didn't have to clean exploded soda out of my freezer. This can is stretched to its limits, on both ends, but it held. Now, do I open it while it is still frozen, or do I let it thaw before I try it?

August 25, 2011

The Hamster Wheel and Perfection

So I have had some thoughts percolating for a while. They are still half formed, but maybe writing them out will give them some more body.

Body image has been on my mind quite a bit lately. My conversations with other women lately have been along similar lines. I have struggled with my self-image all my life. No matter what weight I am, or what my looks at the time, I have never felt like it was good enough. There is always pressure, real or imagined, to be better than where I am.

It occurred to me recently to think about just how much time is taken up in my brain worrying about what other people think of me, in particular my looks. In reality, I am sure there are very few, if any, people who dwell on what I look like. I am sure there are some out there who may think an unkind thought or two, but really who cares? Just me, in my hamster wheel of a brain, going over and over all the negative things I say to myself about me.

From the time I was very little, I was sensitive to what people said about me. I am sure I heard all kinds of compliments, but it was the negative comments that stuck like crazy glue in my mind and became a litany of put downs that my brain replays all the time.

As we grow, we take what is said about us by parents, siblings, teachers, and friends and it becomes our idea of who we are. Whether it is truth or not doesn't seem to matter. As children, we assume it is truth and I don't know about others, but I became what I believed to be truth. It became a self fulfilling prophecy. I think it was Dr Phil who said that children are blank slates and we write on the slates of who they are with every comment and action. Its unfortunate that the good things don't stick as well.

I remember being put down for my looks by others in elementary school. Brothers and sisters telling me I was fat, a cow, etc. Telling me not to eat this or that, or I would get fat. One particular day, I remember a family member seeing me eat a slice of cheese and saying, "You might as well slap that straight on your thighs." I said something flippant in reply, but inside I died a little. Someone who was supposed to love me and care for me and support me was tearing me down. And that happened more and more as I got into middle school. That's a nightmare I am glad I will never have to repeat. By high school, I had found a group of friends and we protected each other from the worst of the bullies, but it was always there at the outskirts. (What's funny is I look back on pictures from my childhood and think, what were they seeing? because I didn't look fat at all)

Those comments shaped my image of myself even as an adult, and even though things got better (comments weren't made to my face anymore), I still heard them in my head. If I wore something new and didn't get a compliment on it, I assumed it was because I didn't look good in it. I started to think about what clothes made me look fat vs those that didn't. I started to think about what haircut flattered my 'fat' face. Not as a way to make me look my best. ( I think we should always try to feel our best and clothes/make-up/hair can help with that.) But to hide the worst. Most of the time I wasn't thinking, oh I feel pretty, I was thinking, I hope this hides that bulge or this flaw.

Aside from comments while growing up that gave me a poor self image of my body, I had several experiences through my life that also taught me that my body was something to hate. When I developed early, I got all kinds of looks and comments. I remember a boy, and I do mean boy - he can't have been more than about 8, telling me I looked like Dolly Parton, and it wasn't a compliment. That same kid tried to slap my butt every time I walked by him on the bus. And I was about 15 or 16 at the time. Where did that kid learn that was an okay behavior?!

I learned that a pretty body only gained me trouble and abuse and I also learned that food was great drug for numbing emotional pain. I think I figured subconsciously that if I gained weight I would be left alone, at least in that regard.

And it wasn't only my weight. It wasn't until as an adult that I realized the reason I had emotional issues about my hair was because an adult who treated me badly as a child had liked it long. It was something of a victory to have my hair long after that, and even more of a victory to make the choice of long or short for myself without it being a knee-jerk reaction to emotional pain.

Several years ago I remember deciding rather than try dating traditionally, which wasn't working all that well, that I would try the internet. Most of my experiences were good, but I remember going out with one man who made a comment that has stuck with me for years. Then I was too stunned and hurt to react, but if I could go back now, I would have slapped him, or slugged him, or both for what he does to women. He said the reason he liked going out with heavier women is because they are easy. They are just happy someone asked them out. I don't think I have ever met a bigger jerk. He basically would ask a fat woman out and expect to be in their bedroom at the end of the date. And he figured he was doing them a favor - he considered himself to be a treat for them. Gag me. The problem is, it can be very true. It obviously worked for him, at least until he met me. I feel terrible for all those women who's insecurities he took adavantage of, who he has used and never called back. Need a booty call? Just find a fat woman; she'll be so grateful for your attention that she will put out right away and you can be on your merry way to the next one. Again, Gag me...

But all those experiences left me thinking that no one could want me. Anyone who showed interest must want to use me for something. My distrust for people and men in particular skyrocketed. Even now, having found someone I can absolutely trust and know loves me, I still struggle with body issues.

I still think people look at me and cringe or point or mutter under their breath to their friends about me. I know the vast majority of the time it isn't really happening, but I still struggle with that hamster wheel of negative thoughts.

But here's the thing. All those negative thoughts only do one thing, stop me from living my life and make me miserable. Even if someone else does look at me and think 'fatty', I am the one giving them power to tear me down. How much time have I wasted worrying about what others will think of the dress/shoes/hairstyle etc and how much of my life have I not lived because I didn't go out the door because I didn't feel I looked my best? How much of my power have I handed over to Satan as he laughs with glee that he has gotten me and so many others to hate the one thing he can't have?

We hear/see/read, in just about everything in our society, that we can't be happy unless we look a certain way, live a certain lifestyle, have a certain amount of money/things.

I looked at a facebook picture of a dear friend the other day, and I thought - She just glows with happiness, and she is SO beautiful. From the time I met her, she has always had a smile, a sincere smile. She isn't the prettiest by the world's standards. She isn't rich, and she doesn't live a jetset lifestyle. But she is beautiful. Every time I see a picture of her and her family I think how beautiful she is, how pretty. And it is all in her attitude. She literally glows from the inside out and it makes her even more beautiful than just her body.

I think we all know people who are more beautiful than just their physical bodies, and I know we know people who are a whole lot more ugly than their physical bodies. It is all in how we choose to view ourselves, in how we live our lives, and whether we choose to be happy.

I have the choice to be that way too. No matter the outside shell, if I feel beautiful on the inside that will shine through and be what people see about me. It is my choice to be beautiful. I am not wasting any one's time or life but my own in worrying about what other people think, or in putting myself down and running through old self-'truths' that are all really self-lies. Why should I give other people or negative thoughts that much power? What right does anyone have, including myself, to tear me down and tell me what I can and can't do, who I can and can't be?

So, I will never be the world's idea of beautiful. Even if I lost 100 pounds and had all kinds of plastic surgery, I still wouldn't be on a bill board or in a magazine as a beauty for the world. And would I really want that anyway? Or would I rather love myself and my life and go out into the world with attitude? :) Strut my stuff and my own style and be a trend setter instead of lemming trying to fit in someone else's mold of perfect. I am perfect just as I am.

Did you know that perfect doesn't just mean without flaw? Here are some definitions for perfect.
Satisfying all requirements, lacking in no essential detail, Lacking nothing essential to the whole, Completely suited for a particular purpose or situation, Excellent and delightful in all respects, having all the properties or qualities requisite to its nature and kind, Brought to consummation or completeness

The quest for perfection isn't in trying to fit into a mold of 'perfect' that is the same for everyone. Perfect is complete, whole, fulfilling your purpose. My purpose isn't to be a size two, or have perfectly highlighted/coiffed hair, to make a million dollars, or even to be able to run a marathon. (those things may be great and might even be help someone else on their journey to their purpose, but not for me) My journey is to be a good person, a good wife, a good mother, sibling, friend, teacher. My purpose is to look on others and see what Christ sees and nurture that through love and fellowship. The best hair or dress size doesn't really effect those things for me.

I can't get to perfection with self doubt/loathing stopping me at every turn. There is no way to progress when I turn on that hamster wheel that only goes in circles. And stepping off it is my choice and mine alone. I am the only one who can decide to be happy and decide to be beautiful. Its time to make that decision.

August 21, 2011

Porter's Wife

I had the most interesting conversation today with Porter. He asks me all the time about who will be his wife and this was the topic again today.

Porter: Who is going to be the mommy to my kids? ( He was playing with his baby doll who he has named Charlie Brown.)

Me: I don't know yet. You will have to find her and marry her when you grow up.

Porter: We'll have to go to a museum to find her.

Me: Why will she be at the museum?

Porter: Because that is where she is. We will go to the museum and I will see her and know its her.

Me: What will she be like?

Porter: She will wear my favorite color dress; it will have green trucks on it and you can look in and see the Muppets.

*** He has been playing with a van today that he found in the bottom of the toy box recently that has Muppets in Space inside it, which you can see through a little viewer. Strangely, I have no idea where it came from - he says he got it for his birthday, which could be totally true. No idea. If you are missing a muppets in space van, let me know. :)

Me: What else will she be like?

Porter: She will wear the same dress every day.

Me: Is that how you will know it is her?

Porter: Yes.

Me: What will she look like?

Porter: She will be all sparkly. She will put sparkly stuff on every day to look all pretty.

Me: Oh.

Porter: I don't know her name though. When I see her, I will know her, and she will tell me her name..............And she will be really nice and never get me in trouble when I do bad things...(he was sent to his nap without lunch for cutting a hole in the futon with some scissors and he had just woken up when this conversation took place. It is very much still on his mind)

Me: Hopefully by the time you are old enough to have a wife, that won't be an issue.

I look forward to the day when I can print out this conversation and hand it to him as a young man. :)