Monday, 31 May 2010

Impressions of a Wonderful Life

Guest Blogger: Dal
(Disclaimer: I must apologise upfront to all you faithful readers of Hel's fabulous blog. I was invited to compose a post for Hel's birthday. The following is certainly not up to the standard of Hel's usual posts, but I have given it my best shot. This post comprises something I have been pondering lately, and I wanted to share it on Hel's blog. Please forgive my emotional excesses and eccentricities.)

Have you ever suddenly arrived at the end of a week and wondered, to yourself, where all the time went? A week is comprised of seven days, which equals 168 hours, or 10,080 minutes. Even if we spend one third of that sleeping, we are still left with at least 112 hours per week with which to do... stuff. To be honest, I am not sure what I do with all that time. It certainly seems like I should have time to burn. But I don't.

Life has a crafty way of sweeping most of us along for a rather bumpy ride. And no matter how much we may be enjoying the ride, or wishing we could get off, time rhythmically ticks a staccato in the background. For this reason I feel it is important to have anchors in life. Anchors help us to hold fast to the things in life that really matter. Without these anchors we could find ourselves adrift, trying to navigate our way through rough seas, but without a real purpose or fixed destination.

It may be a shortcoming of my youth, but I truly feel that my life is important. I think. I feel. I am. I matter. This rather biased look at my self and my worth does not stem from my past achievements, or a delusional projection of what I will achieve in the future. I do not matter because of my work or anything I do at my job. I hope that this feeling is not just a product of my youth, but that I will feel the same way when I am seventy, eighty, or even ninety years old. I hope my life has taken on even greater depth and meaning when I mature in age. I believe my sense of purpose and importance stems from my anchors. The most important anchors in my life are my family, the gospel, and art. These three anchors give me a sense of purpose, remind me of what is truly important, and help me to see and appreciate the beauty that is all around.

Unfortunately, I am as guilty as anyone of devaluing the exquisite worth of my family. My wife is the single most important person in my life. I would be nowhere without her (I would also be a creepy 30 year old man who feasts on spam and creamed corn while endlessly playing Final Fantasy every weekend, alone). I find it so easy to get swept along the current of life and forget to appreciate her daily efforts. But she is as much an essential part of my life as the features on my face. (Yes, I just compared my wife to my face, but please, indulge me for a moment.) I have grown so accustomed to seeing my face, that it is easy to ignore it, although it is always there. My face has always been there, and will always be there. The contours of my face often change, the lines deepen, and the hairline recedes (hair?). I could not imagine a life without my face, it is a crucial part of who I am.

I find it rather profound that my wife is also such an accepted and essential part of my life. I just assume she has always been there and always will be there. I remember a time without her, but it's hazy, shadowed, and oddly, feels a bit empty. Although Hel is a part of me, she is also separate from me. In actual fact her life, feelings, and emotions are just as fragile as mine and could change in a heartbeat. It is wrong of me to just accept Hel as part of me, like an appendage, and I should always let her know just how essential she is, and how much she matters. It is an exquisite feeling to know that I have the privilege of sharing my life with Hel, and extraordinary that she has so easily become another part of me. A part that I didn't know I was missing. How keenly would I now feel her loss if she were to disappear? In the swift passing of time I find it crucial to stop for just a moment, as often as possible, and truly appreciate Hel's worth to me and my life as my most profound (and skinny) anchor.

LQ is a more elemental anchor. It is impossible to forget she is there. If she were an appendage she would be akin to a hand that uncontrollably smacks me in the face. The hand doesn't need anything, just wants to continually remind me of its presence. I could escape LQ as easily as I could escape falling down in the middle of an earthquake. But somehow, I know I wouldn't want to escape her, even if I could. Her love for me is unquestioning, and my love for her is fierce. Next to her, all other earthly possessions seem like so much inconsequential dust. I may spend 10 hours a day working as a travel agent, but it is for the 2 hours I get to spend with LQ each evening that truly give my life meaning.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, or my particular version of it (LDS, if you're curious), has always been a part of me. I could remove this completely from my life as easily as I could step out of my skin. My feelings and dedication to the gospel run very deep, and this helps keep all other aspects of my life in the proper perspective. The gospel confirms my unique place in the universe, teaches me to adore Hel and revere the sanctity of women, and also instills humility by encouraging service to all around me. This anchor keeps me pointed toward the right direction.

I can think of few anchors with more power than art. What better element is there to teach about the world around me? Whether it be films, books, music, or other forms of fine art, these impressions of life have always kept me grounded by touching on truths that are difficult to expose otherwise. I have always had an personal affinity to film. This form of art takes the elements of music, dialogue, photography, acting, direction, production design, and several other variables to create a collage of life. Certain films have the power to touch our very souls, instruct us, and uplift us. Other films do no greater than make us laugh, but how profound can laughter be at the right moments in life? No matter how awful my day has been, a great movie will always uplift me and prime me for watching another. Consider also the power of great music, or the magic of an excellent story. As anchors, all forms of art can take us out of the monotonous current of life and remind us how exquisite this world truly is.

Do you have anchors in your life? What do you have that serves as a reminder of your exquisite worth? Most of us spend the bulk of our time sleeping, eating, working, and sitting in traffic. What will you remember about your life when you are ninety? It probably won't be the hours you spent sitting in traffic. Remember your greatness. Remember the beauty around you. Try and drop as many anchors as you can while time steadily drums on. Do not let another week sweep by with nothing to hold you steady.

Dal & Hel

From Helen: I loved all the suggestions for celebrating my birthday. I REALLY liked the idea of karaoke, Steph! But didn't find a karaoke place in time - maybe next time. picked the first comment as the winner of my chocolate care package - The Damsel in Dis Dress. Love the Damsel, visit her blog - now! Damsel, if you would like some insane chocolate from Aus, email me with your address.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

A Very Happy UnBirthday

First things first - I wanted to thank you for showing your love on my post before the LQ update. It was really nice to see a few newbies and of course my "old faithful" blogging friends.

Did you know I study out information before I write my posts sometimes?

Today I researched my past birthday blog posts. LAME! The first birthday that I had while blogging went completely unnoticed. The second year I blogged through my birthday. Want to know what I did for my birthday last year? Woke up too early, crashed on the couch and felt entitled to a day without child.

Pathetic. How does an extrovert miss two BIG opportunities for unabashed loving on herself? This year I am determined to do it differently.

I have a husband who will write a blog post about how wonderful I am - he doesn't know that he's doing that yet, but husbands are supposed to do those things, aren't they? Then I was thinking of doing something with the wonderful friends that I've made here in Hobart.

the problem: I am at a loss as to what to do. I have a feeling that I will just be too tired to feel like doing anything. So, do I just sleep for my birthday or spend quality time with friends and family (if yes, what should I do with them?)? My brain is fried - I need YOU to make the decision for me.

As an incentive to make my decisions for me, I'll randomly pick a comment from this post on my birthday and send that person a chocolate care package. You know you need it!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

LQ can now be classified as a Preschooler

I usually do google searches like this:

"My toddler is vomiting, what should I do?"

"What is the best way to get my toddlers hand out of the cookie jar?"

"My toddler refuses to eat anything I give her, HELP"

"My toddler is refusing to do wee wee, should I give up potty training?"

"It took my toddler 2 hours to go to sleep last night, HELP"

The list goes on. Type in toddler and you will get a reasonable number of suggestions all within the correct range of age (2 - 3). Now that LQ has turned three I realise that I have now graduated to asking google about Preschoolers, NOT toddlers.

Some other things you may need to know about LQ (should there be a pop quiz one day).

LQ likes to say "Sowwy" (sorry). The problem with the constant sowwy's is that I am not sure she quite understands why she should say sowwy. I accidently bump her juice out of her hand: "Sowwy Mummy, Sowwy". She walks into a wall "Sowwy Mummy, Sowwy".

She is also constantly concerned about other's welfare. "are you ok, mummy?"
"I'm ok, LQ. Are you ok?"
"I ok."
The trick to this little exchange is that you MUST ask her if she is ok or she will continue to ask you if you are ok. When I let out the occasional barrage of abuse to passing drivers she always looks quite concerned and asks if I am ok. I wish she would stop - it's hard to stay angry at someone when your child does something really cute immediately after.

LQ's speech is coming along nicely. An interpreter is usually still needed, but at least the interpreter (me) can now mostly understand her.

LQ is now officially a daddy's little girl. No amount of mummy hugging can take the place of one little daddy hug. It breaks my heart whenever she chooses daddy over me. And in the spirit of good sportsmanship, Dal usually has a nice smirk on his face when he wins - until he realises that he now has to deal with LQ. He confessed the other day that he smiles because he knows how much it bothers me. Nice.

"33eytecfffgfghd" - directly from the fingers of LQ.

4eaazzzzzzasasaassssssssssss hnggjhgjhhghfgmhdrtrgtswa,mfhhgjkjkm,m l,,, - ok, that's enough from LQ.

LQ's favourite movie at the moment is "Monsters Inc." When I first watched Monsters Inc I didn't think it was a fantastic movie - it just seemed a little ordinary. Now I feel its ordinary-ness is what makes it easier to watch ten times a day. Of course Dal and I have our favourite lines that we wait for every time it is on.

LQ is also aware of the difference between boys and girls now. She walked in on Dal having a shower the other day and randomly started laughing hysterically. I am not certain what exactly she was laughing at, but it was definitely funny watching her point and laugh at Dal.

Cooking still makes LQ very happy. Since using a recipe that involves rubbing butter in to the flour with your hands, LQ has insisted on putting her hands in EVERY mixture we create.

My favourite thing about LQ at the moment is the great enjoyment she gets from singing along to songs. As soon as she is strapped into her carseat she calls out "WAGGLES!!" (Wiggles). If there is a song that she particularly likes she will request "LOUD". She is very much her father's daughter being quite adept at picking out the accompaniment and background beat to any song.

Whenever we read stories to LQ she will always point out a daddy, an LQ and a mummy. Somehow this means I always end up being the wicked stepmother in Cinderella, after LQ becomes Cinderella and Daddy turns into Cinderella's daddy. Of course Dal sometimes ends up being a monkey, so I think we are almost even.

Super Martian Robot Girl Collage

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Just out of curiosity

I am interested in who regularly reads my blog. I have noticed a jump in visits to my darling little blog. The jump has baffled me because I know that I haven't suddenly acquired 30 more friends in Hobart in the last week.

So show me some love and leave a comment. It can even be anonymous like my mum!

I promise this will be the only time I beg for comments.

And while you are commenting, here's a picture of LQ to enjoy. She is having a tea party with Bunny Bear and Piglet in her blanket house - if you couldn't tell. LQ requested that I take a picture of her and her friends.


Sunday, 9 May 2010

Refocusing Motherhood

Three Mothers Days have come and gone since I was bestowed the title of "Mother".

The title of Mother has scared me, confused me, given me hope and given me joy. I have floundered with my motherhood. I have struggled to stay afloat as the title overwhelmed me and the duties and responsibilities pulled me down, suffocated me and then threw me back up allowing me to catch my breath.

Many days have ended with me deep in thought, wondering what it is I am actually supposed to be doing. I know my role is to nurture my child, but what does that mean and how do I fit my personality to that particular word? Nurture. Why don't women get a manual or at best a Position Description before they enter the world of motherhood? For many months now I have considered the importance of knowing what is expected of me - having my own Position Description.

I knew that whenever I entered a new job BC (Before Child) I found that reading my position description and knowing exactly what was expected of me helped me form my days. Tasks that were given to me were prioritised based on my understanding of what my position was and who I ultimately reported to. I really felt as though my lack of understanding of my position as a mother is what contributed to the floundering feeling I was beginning to get more often.

So I set out to give myself a position description. I am not talking about those email forwards that you get from time to time to make mothers feel all important about themselves. I really wanted something meaty that if I started to feel directionless I could look at it and refocus myself.

This is what I came up with (this position description contains some words used by "Mormons" that you may be unfamiliar with. Click on the link and you will be taken to a description of what it means. Of course you can adapt this description to incorporate your own values or religion):

Position Description - Motherhood

Key Objective
The key objective of Motherhood is to raise children who desire to return to live with Heavenly Father and live worthy of that desire, have a testimony of the gospel and are upright citizens who glory in doing good and resisting iniquity.

The Scope of the Position
The Mother, in partnership with the Father, reports directly to Heavenly Father with the responsibility of day-to-day management of educational, spiritual and physical needs of children placed in the family. The Mother liaises with a scope of people both inside and outside the home and places the nurturing of her children above all else.

Principal Accountabilities
  • Understand, demonstrate and model your family core values in day-to-day interactions with internal clients, external clients and the community.
  • Recognise and provide teaching opportunities on a daily basis
  • Oversee all family financial needs in collaboration with your husband
  • Teach children by example and also by precept
  • Rear children in love and righteousness, provide for their physical and spiritual needs and teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.
Your duties list will contain all day to day tasks needed to be accomplished to achieve your principal accountabilities. Duties could include talking to your child about their day; providing home made meals five times a week, etc. I am yet to do my comprehensive list of duties. But I am sure you get the idea.


This position description has already helped me refocus on what is important. Reminding myself daily that I am to report to Heavenly Father each evening instills more patience, more joy and peace in my day. If I can honestly say each evening that I am happy with how I conducted myself that day, then I know that Heavenly Father is happy with how I am looking after his child.

Motherhood doesn't always chew me up and spit me out, but now when it does I don't feel so alone and overwhelmed. I evaluate my actions against my PD and start afresh the next morning.

*Note: My Position Description contains bits and pieces of scripture, paragraphs from The Family: A Proclamation to the World and various position descriptions found online.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

My Girls Let Me Down

I am going to put it out there. If you are a man, look away now.

I am well endowed in the chest region. I thought I'd specify where exactly I am well endowed because some people may get confused. But I am a girl and usually if a girl says she is well endowed it means she has a fine pair of girls to hold up.

I haven't always loved my girls. In fact I am mostly giving them warnings that if they don't start shaping up, then I am going to get rid of them. Dal usually has something to say about that, but if I started talking about that then I would be going off on a tangent. Let's stick to the story, ok?

Since becoming a mother I have found more uses for my girls than I thought humanly possible. Of course there is the major breastfeeding coup. That's always a surprising talent to acquire.

There is another talent that I have found quite useful in these new desperate times.

Should I be found with no pockets and I need to hide something quickly from LQ, I will pop the item down between the girls. They keep the item safe until there comes a time when I can hide it properly. Sometimes the item that is shoved down there is just in need of safe keeping so it doesn't get lost. If you were ever lucky enough to look down there you would mostly find my mobile phone or LQ's "bip bip" (pacifier).

However, Wednesday saw an unfamiliar item find it's way into the safe keeping of the girls. I was lucky enough to schnuggle one of the cutest babies around. This little baby girl has the best shock of black hair you will ever get to see. It seems that every time that I see this baby girl, her mother has put a different clip in her hair. CUTE. The clip she had in her hair on Wednesday wasn't staying in though. I thought I had taken it out and put it away safely. But when we started searching it was nowhere to be found. Not to worry there's plenty more where that came from.

Several hours (I am talking at least five) I randomly brush my hand up against my stomach. There's something there. I lift the three layers of clothing up from my skin to reveal a cute little clip sitting on my belly button. I don't remember giving it to the girls. Whether I gave it to them or not - my girls let me down. They shirked their duty and passed it on to my stomach, which, given time, will probably do the job just as well. But not just yet.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Status - Married

There was once a time before Dal and I were married.

I would occasionally watch the original CSI (no other CSI stacks up). There were many dead guys to be identified and many suspects to be undone. One particular dead guy while laying on the slab gave up a secret with an indent on his finger.

There was no wedding ring on the left hand of this man that had met an untimely demise but those fabulous CSI knew instantly he was a married man because of the indent that his wedding ring had made over time.

Despite it being a morbid scene, I was touched. I could not wait for the day that I could be identified as being married just by the indent on my finger.

I forgot to put my rings back on my finger today after my weekly shower. It was only as I drove away from dance class this morning that I noticed - and quietly celebrated. I had achieved Indent Status.

Ring Finger

Potty Training - The Long Story

I may be one of the last to have jumped on the "Stats" band wagon, but now I have a detailed analysis of who is visiting my blog. Except I am really not sure how to use all those stats. I click on my stats link to find out how many people visited my blog today and I stare. All those different ways of looking at the same numbers.

One thing I do love looking at is the keyword searches that lead people to my blog. From my stats page I have learned that there are a LOT of people looking for "I am a Lady and I do ladies things". A few people come over to see my candy corn and paint pots. And then there's those people who come directly to my post about how I may be thinking about potty training LQ. I know those people. They are the desperate parents searching for any small idea on how to get their child to reach the mecca of poo poos and wee wees.


And because I know that all those desperate parents are looking for is some sort of magic word, I am going to give it to you.

Chocolate and Perseverance.

There is nothing in this world that motivates LQ more than chocolate. By design, my little LQ is a rather stubborn child. She isn't stubborn about much, but when she gets it into her head to do (or NOT DO) something there is no stopping her. I tried EVERY trick there was to be sold to me. Charts, stickers, prizes and even ridiculous potty monster crackers (please don't ask. It's still a fresh "buyers regret" wound). It wasn't until after Easter that I realised that I finally had something I could bribe LQ with. And so the bribery began.

Find your bribe.

And this is where we get on to perseverance. It doesn't matter how many tricks you are sold, please don't be fooled into thinking your child should be going potty within "3 to 5 days". It's really nice if it happens, but sometimes it doesn't. And that is why YOU need to decide that you really want it.

I have learned by trial and error that the only things that get done in our household are the ones that I really want to do. I am sure as a parent to a younger child you will know the drill.... there is that critical boiling point that you get to where you think that if you don't change what is happening you are going to go completely insane. eg. sleeping routine (good heavens I HATE having to retrain LQ to settle herself every time we stray from the "routine").

That critical boiling point is where I got to on my fourth and final try at potty training. I gritted my teeth and pushed on through. Even when LQ held her pee pee in for two days straight and stood right in front of me as the urine streamed down her leg, I knew that there was no more turning back - something in my brain had snapped.

Finally, remember that potty training is like parenting. No one has the perfect answer because no one has raised YOUR child. Likewise, no one knows how to potty train your child because your child is unique. You can get tips but you still need to do the old trial and error kind of parenting to get it right.

Note: I also found it handy to have a chart to record every emission. After a couple of days you realise that there is a rhythm to all this excess waste. LQ also liked the little chart I had of what she needed to do before and after going potty (pull pants down, shut lid, flush, wash hands). She really enjoyed telling ME what I needed to do.

REading on the potty

Saturday, 1 May 2010

LQ's Third Birthday

I told my sister I was above it. I told her that I didn't need to give my child a big birthday party. I was on course with keeping that vow. LQ's first birthday consisted of a number seven candle, some disgusting store bought cupcakes and a crying fit to end all crying. Her second birthday may have been a little better, but we didn't stray far from the first birthday experience.

I thought it would be fun to organise a birthday party for her. She's three now, so she'd be able to appreciate it at least. She did. But it was a lot of work for me, because I tend to make things bigger than they really should be.

Here is her birthday in pictures. Be prepared... my sister is just as snap happy as I am - there a LOT of pictures.

Setting Up

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Play Time

Pizza and Cuddles

Eating the Cookies

Decorating the Cake

Eating the Pizza

Blowing out the Candles and Enjoying the Presents

Did you make it through all those pictures? CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You win the "Most Patient Person of the Year" Award. OR you are one of LQ's many grandparents.