Friday, March 22, 2013

The Many Faces of Busy-ness

So....this may have been one of the craziest weeks I've had in a long, long time. I just need to download some of it onto my blog for memory sake. Yesterday was probably the craziest:

6:30--Brandon and I drove my car into the shop for some work. We left early so we could be home in time to get everyone ready and out the door for school on time. He rearranged his surgery day so I would have some form of transportation, because I pretty much live in my car and couldn't afford an entire day without it. (Aren't car things such a pain? I wish we could have an extra one laying around just for times like these. That's funny.)
7:30--20 minute Jillian workout.
7:45--Made breakfast and lunches.
8:00--Brandon took Kate to school and I got myself ready to go.
9:00--I took the carpool to the elementary school and stayed for opera rehearsal in Elizabeth's classroom. I'm accompanying on the piano. There is an AWESOME children's opera program through Utah State University and my daughter's teacher puts a new one on each year with her class. They come up with the storyline, the words, etc. and then some magical person somewhere puts it all to original music. Then they learn it (complete with choreography--no easy thing), and even paint their own set. It's pretty impressive! (Rachael was back at home having a rare morning alone with Dad.)
10:45--Back home to work on today's Deseret News post. (Not crazy about it. I'm starting to get bored with my own writing. I need fresh topics, BAD!! Last week's post was a bit more interesting, I think.)
11:30--Also a very rare lunch date with Rachael, Brandon, and I together at Kneaders. Or Leaders, as Rachael likes to call it.
12:30--Brandon dropped Rachael and I off at the preschool and took Yuki to the groomers at PetSmart. I sat in the lobby of the preschool with my laptop working on my boring post until 1:00.
1:00--Monthly volunteer hour in Rachael's class doing "centers". Hard to believe there will only be a couple more of these before she will be a kindergartner. Yikes!
2:00--Brandon picked me up and we met with someone back at the house about yard stuff.
2:30--I kept working on my post and Brandon went to get Kate from the middle school to take her to golf practice. She made the high school team and had her first tournament the other day. They have the 9th graders from the middle school playing with the HS team's spring season because it's the only one of the year. No fall--bummer! Brandon spearheaded the whole thing so he loves being able to go to practices sometimes. He's a golfer who feels too guilty to do it alone or with "the guys" since he has so little free time, so he's just turning all his kids into golfers--brilliant! I took this Instagram pic of Kate getting on the bus for her first tournament a couple of days ago. She would NEVER pose for something like this:

3:40--I remembered that I had a child I was supposed to pick up from preschool at 3:30. (This is what happens when I suddenly have help in the form of a second parent.) I went to pick her up and made it home just after Will and Elizabeth.
3:50--(Yes, that fast.) Brandon and I took all three younger kids with us to drop off Will at the middle school for the advanced math placement test for 7th grade. After getting him settled in, we dropped the little girls off at gymnastics and went to pick up the car.
5:00--I picked Kate up from golf, and the girls from gymnastics. Brandon picked up Yuki from the groomers, and some lettuce and tomato from the store for dinner. Freezer meals have saved my bacon this week. I made a bunch for my mother-in-law to use while we were in Mexico, but there were still leftovers. Hallelujah.
5:30--Started putting together the taco pie and fresh strawberries for dinner.
5:50--Brandon went to pick up Will, and I went to pick up ice cream, cones, and ice for Elizabeth's "Market Day" that was this morning. Why couldn't she sell something cheap and lightweight like the Chinese finger traps the girl next to her sold? Because her mother didn't have the foresight or energy to steer her enthusiasm in another direction at such late notice, that's why! Here she is this morning:

6:30--Sat down together as a family to eat leftover taco pie smothered in lettuce, tomato, and salsa. (Most Mexican-ish dinners taste great if they are simply smothered in lettuce, tomato, and salsa.) Forced the children to practice acting like humans at the dinner table because some days they can just be SO BAD!
7:00--Called in to cancel my attendance at the monthly "Food Network" meeting--too crazy of a day! Cleaned up together and celebrated Kate's half birthday with a half a cake and a half of a birthday song. (Thanks for the idea, Tiffany!) 15 point 5 years of motherhood, right here:

8:00--Scriptures, prayers, and "bedtime". (Hahahahahaha . . . . we try.)
11:00--Finally finished my mind numbing post, and finally got everyone in bed. (Why, oh why, do I always wait until Thursday to write the entire thing???) Well, Super Dad got the last of everyone in bed. So much for his day off! It was actually probably easier than a day at the office/hospital . . .

Today I was out the door with everyone (and a 500 lb. cooler full of ice cream and ice) by 9am again, and after helping Elizabeth set up for Market Day, I headed over to the Gateway Children's Museum up in Salt Lake where I met up with Rachael's preschool class. Here she is in the playhouse telling me she's the mom (hence, the leg crossing), and a few other cute moments:

So let me just reiterate that I, Allyson Reynolds, was actually in my children's classrooms doing active things no less than FOUR TIMES this week. That's a record for me. (I don't consider myself one of those "school moms" who makes it a part-time job to be in the school 10+ hours a week. Not bagging on that AT ALL, it's just not me.) It's especially surprising (to me, anyway) since this week I was also doing major paper work and bills at home, not the least of which was gathering medical payment records for our taxes, getting Rachael squared away for kindergarten (the paperwork is ridiculous!), checking Kate out of school at weird times for random practices, pictures, and the first tournament (this full time golf team thing might be like the younger kids' gifted program stuff--too much for this lazy mom!), and one entire day of cleaning out the little girls bedroom and the playroom. (Don't even get me started on that. Why did I purchase all those toys and stuffed animals? And why are they all still in my house? I got rid of some that day . . . ) Then there was the day Yuki was constipated and I took her on like five walks to try and help her out. And there were all the "usuals" like piano lessons, orchestra, homework, LAUNDRY (had a wet bed one night), etc. etc. Kate has been end-of-term-ing (which is kind of like PMS-ing) so that's added a special flavor to the whole mix. Oh, there's just too much to write about!

I would have never believed in a million years when all my kids were little that I would be busier now than I was back then. As everyone always says, it's just a different kind of busy. I would say much easier and more gratifying than dealing with diaper blow outs, temper tantrums, and crying jags, but way crazier and stressful. Babyhood busy-ness is more frustrating than stressful, in my opinion. Older kid busy-ness has this level of stress that comes from external deadlines, grades, teachers, coaches, and expectations that "need" to be met in order to raise people who won't become a menace to society. When they are babies and toddlers, you are in your own little bubble of a world and everything can be excused away because of their age and their cuteness. You don't worry at that point about wether or not their friends are having a good influence on them, if you're teaching them the skills required to survive and thrive in the adult world, or if they are even happy for crying out loud. Once they hit the school years, there is such an external pressure for them to find their way, match up, do their best, meet the criteria for "success", and on and on. You can try to stay out of the rat race and resist the current, but it's very hard to do--and what does that really mean anyway? As a parent, you WANT to help your kids find out what they love to do and what they are good at, but that takes A LOT of time, money, and effort over many years. But how much should you push them, and how much should you just let them work for things themselves (knowing their default is to sit in front of a computer screen chewing on sour gummi worms)? What extracurriculars do you do and when is it overkill? Not just for the individual child, but for the mother who is carting all these children all over tarnation which effects the entire family dynamic.You also want them to succeed in school. What decent parent doesn't want that for their child? And that also takes an ENORMOUS amount of time, effort, and attention from you as a parent if you really want to help them maximize their abilities and figure out what is best for them. And if you are Mormon (or some other religion that has a high level of activity), you also spend half your weekend doing church stuff, and all your kids are being asked to prepare "talks" for church, and participate in weekly youth group programs, and seminary classes for the high schoolers, and pretty intense goal programs that span many years. And you, the parent, will have significant responsibilities that take a good deal of time and energy, too. Just last Sunday, I taught the women's class, Brandon taught our usual 11-year-old Sunday School class, and Will gave a "talk" he prepared on his own to the kids 12 and under. It's no small feat being Mormon! And then there's the matter of keeping your home relatively put together and teaching your kids how to take care of their things, work together as a family, as well as keeping them all healthy and looking like they didn't just walk out of an orphanage. And how about just having fun together as a family? Oh, I'm just getting started! Easy it is not. (I was waxing so philosophical, I couldn't resist throwing in a little Yoda-ese.)

The current trend is to poo-poo over scheduling kids and "busy-ness" in general, and to praise this elusive slower paced life, but what does that really look like in suburban America 2013? I feel like in order to live that life we would need to move to Bolivia or something! You can't just drop out of everything and expect your kids to somehow know how to navigate this face-paced, competitive world when they suddenly enter it as adults. Unfortunately, it's just not the culture we live in.

And so I sit here on my computer blogging on a Friday night at the end of a very long work week. The kids are vegging out as well. And we will re-group as much as we can this weekend despite different types of work and busy-ness . . . like a special women's conference at the church tomorrow morning for Kate and I, and a piano recital in the afternoon for the girls, and a desperate need to get some spring clothes and shoes for everyone in the evening. Notice I didn't include Sunday, because Sunday is a wash when it comes to getting most things done. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Keeping the sabbath day holy is probably more of a blessing now than ever before. We don't shop or go to any places of business. We try to limit housework as much as possible. We keep our recreating, if any, very chill. (Think hike in the mountains at most.)Yes, we are busy with church, but just like the busy-ness of babyhood and the busy-ness of older childhood are very different, the busy-ness of Sunday is more rejuvenating than the exhausting busy-ness of the weekdays. And we do seriously chillax for about half of the day.

Ahhh, don't know where I'm going with all of this. Just enjoying the vent-a-thon!

I hope to get a little more blogging in, too. I've got those pictures from Mexico, after all. Yes, Meheeko, the un-vacation. (I'll explain more later, but we came home kind of exhausted and learned a lot about what to do and not to do the next time we get an opportunity like that.)



  1. Too bad we don't have a flight together coming up because I have oh SOOOOO much to say about all this.

    First of which, I must address the half birthday. AWESOME!!! One of my all time favorite traditions.

    Second, you child is in an opera????? I have a fascination with operas although I have never actually been to one YET. Going to an opera and then walking to a nearby hotel to stay is on my bucket list. (I know sounds weird.) Very cool.

    Third, your whole last rambling paragraph. Seriously, I think about this all the time. And while I feel as though we have a much "simpler" life than many, I still feel like I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off more than I should be.

    However, I would argue that one CAN simplify their life substantially in this day and age, although children's involvement in extra-curricular activities is just too tempting for the 2013 family.

    Lastly, I've found myself thinking about the "younger years" a lot lately. My dear neighbor has 3 young children (her oldest is the age of my youngest), and I try hard to remember how much simpler my life was back at that stage. It really is all trade-offs, isn't it.

    Believe me, I still have much to say, but I said "lastly" in my paragraph above, so I'll leave it at that.

    Oh--but the St. Patrick's Day celebration??? Don't EVEN get me started on that one.

    Lunch soon?? Oh, or are we too busy?


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