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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Pinterest Paradox....and some park-playing

My cute friend shared this joke with me a few days ago:I laughed, but the sentiment got me thinking as well.

In the blur of the end-of-the-semester (end-of-career WEIRD!) general feeling of overwhelmed-ness, I've found myself using pinterest for a little on-line therapy on more than one occasion. I'm not sure why - put looking at creative,crafty, cute or interesting things online is sort of satisfying.I know plenty of people who claim pinterest is just another online time-suck. And they are right, I can easily see how you can spend too much time looking at life on pinterest as opposed to living it.

So I made a deal with myself.

If I am going to use pinterest - with the assumption that I'm learning things to further enrich and enjoy my life - then I have to actually DO one thing that I discover there each week.

Otherwise, all I am doing is wasting time.

So this week I tried a darling idea I discovered about toddler finger-painting. And I have to say, it was a big hit with my toddler!The original idea comes from The Hippie Housewife (officially love her!) and you can find the link here.

The gist is that you pour some paint into a sealed ziploc bag, seal it and then tape it down to the kitchen table. By sliding a piece of paper underneath the bag you create the effect of finger painting on paper.Ivie loved squishing the paint around - and sat and painted for a full 40 minutes! (That's like eons in Ivie time)We let the paint dry in the bags and then hung them up of the fridge. She is still very proud of "Me paints!"(The blurred hands in this picture are from some furious clapping, applause for her own artwork)

So - it is safe to say that our first Pinterest experiment was a big hit - we'll definitely be back for more.We spent the rest of our Saturday hiking, biking, feeding the ducks at the nature center and playing at the park with Daddy. Here are some of my favorite park pictures.(Just pointing out that the gloves on Trevor's hands are bike gloves - 'cause we rode our bike to the park - it's not some sort of weirdo fashion statement - Once my grandmother was looking at a bunch of biking pictures of us and exclaimed, "are those kinds of gloves what men are wearing now?")
I love Saturdays like this, and am looking forward to more pinterest inspired projects and activities.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Because My Daughter Needs Me

By now some of you know, some of you don't - that I have decided this is my last semester at Dixie State College. So many of my thoughts and emotions about this have been pretty tender lately, sparked by my own internal conflict as well as the public conversation about this very topic touched off by Hillary Rosen and Anne Rommney's tacit exchanges.

I made this decision more than eight months ago, but have put off writing about it because I was still (and sometimes AM still) sorting out my feelings about it all.The long story short: midway through Fall semester I was losing it. My classes and administrative duties at Dixie have grown more demanding, while simultaneously my little girl has also grown bigger and more demanding, while simultaneously Trevor's life demands have meant he can help me juggle it all even less. On the verge of a complete and utter mental breakdown, I told Trevor I was going to see a therapist.

I do this every few years. I am not a girl who adjusts to major life changes well, and inevitably when they come (getting married, Trev's second bout of cancer, having a baby) I need help to process it all. I am a huge proponent of counseling, and think it is especially important for women. So I usually end up working through my major changes every couple years for a couple of months with an expert. I'm pretty sure there are names for people like me in psychologist's circles, so I figure I may as well take advantage of their expertise.

Anyway - so back last semester I worked with a lovely lady. After talking a lot with her and Trevor it became clear to me that I needed to make a choice, and I chose to turn in my official resignation to DSC.Some women can do it all. I am amazed by them. I always thought I could be one of them - and I could make myself be a good working woman, a good mama, a good wife and a good person in general. I know I am capable of doing that. However, I have an extreme Type A personality and in trying to do it all, all I could really see is that I was doing it all half-throttle. And in splitting myself in so many different directions I wasn't really enjoying any of it. In trying to manage it all I was missing it all too.I have an amazing husband. We have been blessed with an extremely supportive and generous family that have helped us build a solid foundation financially and Trevor is incredibly bright, dedicated and hardworking. His work opportunities right now have really blossomed, and there isn't a financial need for me to work as much.

But Trevor has always maintained that my decisions about family and career are exactly that - MINE. He has always promised support in whatever I choose.You'd think that would make it easy - but it sort of made it harder. I had to take total responsibility for my choice, and it is a choice between two things very important to me.
Ultimately, I decided to stay home, take care of my daughter, vacuum a little more frequently and focus on both my freelance and creative writing and publishing.But saying goodbye hasn't been easy. I have built the program I am in charge of at Dixie. In many ways, it has been my second baby. I have also worked since I was 15 - in a lot of ways work defines me, and I am not sure how to cope without receiving a paycheck and accolades for career oriented accomplishments.Additionally, I am a little apprehensive about the increased pressure that staying home carries with it - after all, Trev and I have always agreed that if one of us stayed home it meant that this would become that person's full time job - translating into an eight hour shift of cleaning, cooking and building a home that is safe and warm and a place we all want to be. Truth be told, working has always provided me the justification and excuse of "being too tired" to do laundry on time or vacuum even when our living room is in desperate need. It has provided a reason to order in take-out and throw Trev's shirts back in the dryer with a wet wash cloth instead of busting out the iron. I know that both of us have different expectations about how our home will look and feel if one of us is here full-time.As the last three weeks of the semester - and my career for a time - wind down, my emotions are mixed and bittersweet. However, I saw this link posted by a friend on FB today, and it warmed my heart. (Seriously! I know this has already been a long post, but I LOVED this article - read it!)

I have made this choice because my daughter needs me...but, also because I need her. And for a time, I can put the soap-flowers, teaching the creative writing courses I love, and attending professional conferences on hold. I may go back some day, I may not. I'll cross that bridge when it appears.I'm so grateful to be a woman that does have a choice. I'm so grateful to be married to a man who honors my choices, no matter what they are because he trusts me to do what is right for me. I'm honored to associate with wonderful women who have embraced their own choices and who are dedicated to their homes, their jobs or both.