We got an XBox 360 for our family Christmas present this year (yes, we are already playing with it). We got a really sweet deal from a friend as a package deal, and ended up with Guitar Hero, and RockBand! I wasn't that excited about it... But... from the first time I played RockBand, I was hooked! My name is Heidi Maloy and I am a RockBand-a-holic! I LOVE it.... yesterday, the choice was bang on Chris and the kids, or bang on the drums--- I chose Ch... drums! They are SO fun... Saturday, I stayed up until about 1 am playing with the Nielson's, and last night I was on for hours beating the medium level, and then going back to make sure I have 5 stars on everything. And I got my first 100%.... and.... ok, you get the idea! And by the way, I so totally ROCK!
Lately, I've been privy to many discussions and debates (sometimes heated) about the definition of marriage- with so many discussing what marriage is and who should or shouldn't be a part of the instituton of marriage, I've decided it is my turn to join the discussion on marriage (since other than private discussions, I've stayed quiet about the matter).
So, I've decided to share my definition of marriage- it is work! And that work is never done, and we have to repeat it every single day if we want our marriages to be successful. One of the arguments I have heard against Prop 8 is that we should allow everyone the same right to be as miserable as the rest of us, interesting. While obviously we all know people who are, what, happily married... I think the important discussion is how we can make our own marriages better, happier, more fulfilling. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but I do have at least 11 years experience, and I've decided to impart some of my observations and wisdom nonetheless. So here are my simple thoughts on the discussion of marriage that we should be having.
In the fairy tales of our childhoods, the princess is found or saved by the handsome prince, and the conclusion is that they get married, and it always ends..."they lived happily ever after." The problem is when we grow up and still believe those things. How many of us looked forward to getting married, thinking all the games and work would end on the wedding day? How many of us planned our weddings and not our marriages? The fairy tales end at the wedding, because the marriage after that is full of reality, and responsibility, and trials, and frustrations along with the joys, and the triumphs. The wedding is not the "happily ever after," it's just the beginning.
A funny story came to mind when I was thinking about this blog, it happened so long ago, that the statute of limitations in respect to judging me or Chris about this has expired, so don't even bother. But, for those of you who know us, know that Chris and I are both very independent and stubborn and that we occasionally butt heads (more in the early years of our marriage). Our first year being married, we were in a little apartment in Provo, Utah, we were both going to school full-time and working part time. One night we were having a disagreement about who knows what, and we were both getting rather frustrated. I got frustrated enough that I walked right out the front door, and probably slammed it behind me! (there was not enough space in our cramped apartment to have some space to yourself when you needed it). I started walking but quickly realized- where was I going? I didn't have any family to go to, we had very few friends. I didn't even have a car. How frustrating to want to leave and have no where to go! So there I was sitting on the tennis courts, pouting, and steaming, and trying to figure out what my purpose was and what I intended to accomplish!? Finally, it was night and getting cold, so I decided to swallow my pride and go back in... but when I tried the door, it was locked! He had locked me out!! And no way was I going to give him the satisfaction of knocking and asking to get back in, so I went back to my spot on the tennis courts to stew some more. Now I didn't care if it was cold, it was a matter of pride! I think I saw him open the door to look for me, so I came back and accused him of locking me out, and he accused me of taking off, and not knowing where I was, etc. etc. etc.. You may be wondering where I'm going with this, well, I will tell you. There are a few lessons to be learned in this story- one, someone once asked me, "Do you want to be right? or Do you want to be happy?" and that is a VERY important question to ask yourself (all the time) in marriage. Chris and I missed out on so much in those early years if we had just been able to decide that being happy was more important than being right! And been able to control our natural tendency towards stubbornness and independence. But there was another lesson to be learned there as well- Chris and I both agree that while it has always been hard to be so far away from our families- there is a strength to us as a couple by having to get through things on our own. We couldn't run home and cry to our families when something went wrong- we had each other to work it out with and that was it. I decided early in my marriage (at the advice of my mother) to not bring my family or friends into our squabbles. Many people try to recruit friends and family to their sides to help make them feel justified- but it's damaging not only to their relationship with their spouse but to those outsiders brought in. It is harder to forgive and forget from the outside looking in, particularly at a snapshot of a situation or more complicated relationship. That is not to say that you shouldn't have a confidant, or that you shouldn't ask for help when you really need it, we jsut need to be mindful and choosy about how much of our private relationships become public. If a marriage is between a man and a woman, so are the disagreements, fights, decisions, among many other personal matters. But I think Chris' and my relationship is stronger because we have worked and grown, and built our relationship and family together, just the two of us.
Having said all of that, I return to original definition of marriage- work! (and remember that work is not a bad thing) Marriage takes work, every single day- it's like laundry, it is never finished. A successful marriage takes effort, compromise, sacrifice, selflessness- and yet, also, respect, appreciation, unconditional love, communication, and a sense of humor! I believe it was my Dad who taught me the simple math of marriage. 50% plus 50%, does not always equal 100%. When the marriage is about two people, both people have to work to give 100% all the time, because it is inevitably impossible to give 100% all the time. If we are both trying to give our equal share of only 50% and we fall short, we can never reach 100%, not even together. But if we are both trying to give 100%, and we fall short, that's okay because the other is there to pick up the slack and we are more likely to reach our goal of 100%. Simple marriage math.
But here is my real question of the day, can we give so much that we lose ourselves? Michelangelo once described his statues as being in the rock, he just needed to chip away the pieces to reveal the potential inside. I think marriage and becoming our true individual selves, is a little like that. Through our efforts and compromises, we learn and grow and hopefully don't make the same mistakes as often, and become better people and couples for it. We chip away at each other's rough edges, and more importantly at our own to reveal our own true and mroe beautiful potential. But coming back to my original question, is it possible that while we are trying to chip away our rough edges, we get carried away, or give away too much of ourselves? Do we chip beyond the potential, and this whittle away too much of who we truly are as individuals to compromise and sacrifice in the name of giving to our better halves? I think the secret is balance! The trick is finding that balance in our own lives. While we must make compromises, and sacrfices, and make changes in ourselves to make our marriages work, succeed, and be happy. We need to find the balance at chipping away the rough edges to reveal the smooth and beautiful potential that lies within the stone, without chipping so much away that the rock eventually crumbles. We have to find the balance in becoming our best and most natural true selves- and we can only find that balance for ourselves, and we can only become our truly best individual selves by sharing ourselves with someone else.
Sometimes we complain that a person has changed, a spouse has changed, the situation has changed, the expectations have changed. But the reality is that a marriage is not a stagnant entity- we are not stuck in the end credits of a movie promising a happily ever after.... we are in a living, changing, and evolving relationship. And when we recognize that, and decide to roll with the tide rather than fighting against it- it takes so much less work and we will be much less frustrated at our previous lack of progress. Without change, we cannot progress, and isn't that the point, to grow, to learn, become better people for having lived, and loved. The reality is that we are working towards progress, that tide will rise and fall- we will ineveitably have ups and downs- but it's how we weather those, it's whether or not we are ulitmately progressing- learning, and growing, and becoming better, even if it's only in small increments?! We will always have steps back, the question is if we can still take the two steps forward!
Now that we remember that relationships, and marriages are always changing, and that people are always changing- we need to have realistic expectations about who those people are, and what we want from that relationship. Unrealistic expectations can be the most damaging, because you will always be disappointed. And most of the time, we impose those unrealistic expectations on that other person we love and respect the most. But, in theory, we all know the reality that the only person we can change anyway is ourselves, so quit trying to impose those expectations on your spouse and look at how you can change your own situation, behaviors, attitude, expectations, and habits- and work to change them. Change never comes easy, but anything worth having is worth working for. And remember that one of the biggest downfalls is selfishness. When one person is selfish, or worse, both. No one's needs will be met, and anger, resentment, loneliness, will abound. We can not fulfill our own needs by ourselves, but when we are selfish we end up not fulfilling our partner's needs or our own, and we are both at a loss. On the other hand, if each act more selfless, both needs will be met by serving and caring for each other, and the cycle for good has no bounds because the more we serve, the more we love, and the more we receive, the more we give, and the more we give, the more true happiness and satisfaction we feel- it's a win win and a no brainer. The cylce can spin either way, so which direction makes more sense in your lives?
While marriage undoubtedly does take work and effort (and no, it's still not a bad thing). Work is often given a negative connotation in this entitle generation, but the reality is that anything worth having is worth working for, and we do find great satisfaction in a well made effort. And the rewards can be incalculable. But on a still more positive note- we need to keep the big picutre in mind- why are we making the effort? why are we working so hard in the first place? Hopefully, we are working at this relationship, and this thing called marriage because we entered into this contract, because we love each other. We want each other to be happy. We want the other's burden to be lighter. We want to show love, and respect, and appreciation. It has been said that too often we are nicer to strangers we encounter than to our loved ones living under own roof- familiarity sometimes brings apathy, or lack of effort in basic human decency. We need to make a greater effort to be nicer to the ones we love the most- a little kindness can go a very long way! It's okay to think differently, and even to disagree, it's okay to have our own thoughts and opinions- the secret is that no matter how much we disagree, to always remember to show kindness, and respect for each other- and everything else can work itself out. Even therapists have said that they don't care what their couples are fighting about, they care about how they treat each other and how they end the fight- that is more telling than the subject matter of the fight, rarely is the subject matter of real importance anyway. In my story of stewing on the tennis courts- I couldn't tell you what the fight was about to save my life, but I remember the feelings, and more importantly, I remember that we resolved it and have obviously been moving forward ever since.
But most importantly, ALWAYS try to show respect, appreciation, care and concern, genuine interest, treat each other better than strangers or acquaintances. Give each other the benefit of the doubt. And always try to have the positives outweigh the negatives in the grand scheme of things. And it's not the big, grand displays of affection- it is the constant little thoughtful and simple kindnesses that have the greatest impact. They build and develop our relationships into unbreakable bonds. And remember that love is not a noun- it is a verb! It is an action, so act!
That is at least a beginning to the discussion I think we should be having about marriage- and the reality is that our own marriages are the only thing we have any real control over so that is where we need to put our greatest effort, and where we will receive our greatest reward!
Chris actually relinquished his computer and practically demanded that I blog tonight- he said I was too far behind and had some fun things to share. I told him I was too busy doing things to take the time to write and blog about them---
And this is only the start of the busy holiday season... Yeah!! Chris may be burned out already- but I'm ready to go, and next week is going to be great because my parents are coming to visit! Yahoo...
So even though I know Jodi hates to get more than one at a time... here are a bunch for your enjoyment! I know I should spread them out but, when I get going and thinking about something... so get over it and enjoy my fun and crazy life! Keep reading...
Abby had so much fun getting into her part as a witch, and loved posing with her cape! Caitlyn was happy to get dragged around by her cousins, and was a trooper even after she had obviously had enough! This year had an added element of fun because it was the first year where Zach really understood what was going on (or at least how to get what he wanted). "You mean if I say Trick or Treat (or even if I don't), peeople just hand me candy??" He thought it was great, and after the few first houses had the biggest smile on his face. He already has a cute little run where he swings his arms- but seeing him running up driveways with his arms swinging and his feet flailing- and his little bumble bee wings bouncing?- it was way too much fun, and SO cute! Once we got everyone out the door, even Trick or treating was fun because we had a big group- and a lot of our neighbors and friends were on the same path we were. I walked out the door to catch up after a quick kitchen cleanup- and it is SO fun to see kids all dressed up running from house to house in the nieghborhood- I LOVE it! There were our family and friends all up and down our little street at every house, and on every sidewalk, and at every door- Trick or Treat! It was fabulous! (Especially since our little neighborhood is relatively new and still somewhat empty- so we weren't sure what kind of turnout we would get?) It was great!
It's always funny to go with a group too because all the kids are different ages, and speeds! Abby is almost always leading the pack- RUNNING from house to house! Zach brings up the rear and everyone else is everywhere in between. Our great friends, the Nielson's- Derek and Kemari (she was great to dress up for the who knows how many times?) I had already been queen for the day, and was ready for jeans and a sweater.
We kept a couple of our Halloween traditions this year- we had our good friends, the Nielson's, and Patty and Caitlyn (and later Sonny) over for homemade Chili before we all went Trick or Treating. Patty made some great cornbread to go with it, and the Nielson's brought fun Halloween desserts (but the kids were too anxious to get out the door, so we admittedly didn't get to them- yet). It's always great to get family and friends together around some good, hot food- and talk and laugh and enjoy each other's company! The other great part was, after we got home, the kids all dump their candy on the floor and Chris goes through it with them- and they divide and conquer! (even distribution of the wealth) But it was funny because Chris and Sonny start talking about how they need to check the candy because when they were kids, people were scared of needles and razors and stuff ending up in the candy... but the great part was that I could say without any reservation that I wasn't worried about the candy at all. We went through our neighborhood and Sonny and Patty's neighborhood. We know most everyone we visited, and more than that- I love that we feel so safe and comfortable in our neighborhoods.
It took me a long time to get "used to" being in Utah (and the fact that we would probably stay awhile) but... There is a sense of community here that I love. I love that I can let my kids ride their bikes and not worry, or today the girls were playing football in the street with the nieghbor kids, and later went to play at the soccer fields across the street with some other friends--- and I don't worry (too much) about them. I love that we know so many of our neighbors and that we can also call many of them friends, and that even when we go to Sonny and Patty's neighborhood, I can say the same thing about many of them. And I love that when we go out on Halloween night, the streets are filled with other young families with kids in tow, and that the biggest problem we had all night was waiting for each other while one of us is talking to someone else we know...And here are the winners of our favorite costumes- Winnie the Pooh, dressed as a Bumble Bee!- Zachary Pretty, Pretty Princess Claire! The always spooky, and still fancy witch -Abigail! And, of course, our very own adorable girly Cheetah - Isabelle!
Happy Halloween from Payson, Utah! And P.S. wasn't Chris a fabulous photographer?- Thanks Chris!! Love you!
I am the head Room mom in Abby's first grade class- and so I was in charge of the Halloween party! We played Halloween Bingo, and made a Witch's stew (game), and did a Broom Dance (another game). We decorated Pumpkin Sugar cookies and made our own chocolate dipped pretzels and Halloween candy molds! We also decorated a little Halloween fun foam craft! And then we drank homemade Root Beer (that smoked and gurgled) out of it's own witches cauldron! And the kids even got treat bags (I rebelled and put in Halloween pencils and erasers since I knew they would get plenty of candy). I couldn't have done it without my great mother helpers- Thanks Callie, Gina, and Kim!! It was of course crazy- but I think they had a lot of fun!
Last Monday, for family night, we carved our pumpkins for Halloween. The girls were very proud of the fact that they did a lot of it all by themselves! Claire and Abby were not too fond of pulling out all the gook- but they did it, and we all had a good time together! The only funny thing is that it's actually been rather warm here this last week, so by Halloween night- the pumpkins were all shriveled and sunken over... oh well. But the other fun part was that these are all pumpkins from our very own garden!
Can you see the family resemblance? I'm not sure what this is all about- but it was too funny not to share! Happy Halloween everyone~!!
We recently returned from, yes, another week in Park City. We were offered a bonus week as an incentive as new owners of the Westgate resort and weren't about to turn that down- so we took advantage of the kids fall break (and maybe a couple extra days off from school) and had a great, chill, week in Park City. It was absolutely beautiful with the changing leaves and colors of autumn in the mountains! And the weather was mostly great too. We wanted to just have a relaxing and simple vacation. All the kids ever want to do is swim anyway... Otherwise, we mostly just ate, and shopped, and slept, and watched TV (a luxury in our family). I was obsessed with HGTV and the kids loved having Disney, etc.. Isabelle was obsessed with Chris' PSP, and spent a lot of time on a spelling game. And believe it or not, I even read a book! I know, you're impressed, but it's true! This week was all about the swimming- We mostly just swam. On Thursday, we got to the pool right about 10:30 am, and didn't leave until almost 5! When the kids got hungry for lunch, I ran to the room and came back with sandwiches- they wouldn't even get out to eat them, they all hung over the sides, sucked them down, and were back to swimming. They also made friends with another cute family there with kids about the same ages and had a ball! One day, the kids club had a "Make your Own Sundae" activity (by the pool) so the girls and their new found friends all made sundaes and then ended up in the Jacuzzi eating them- yea, they are living the high life, not spoiled at all!? This picture was right after Zach was done (on our long day) and then promptly fell asleep on a chaise at the side of the pool wrapped in towels for blankets! Now, that is what a vacation is all about!
Zach's hair was getting a little shaggy, and at dinner one night, I made the comment that I need to get Zach's hair cut. Chris takes off upstairs, and comes back down with the clippers, and announces that Zach is getting his first buzz! So right there at the dinner table, while the rest of us are finishing our food- Chris starts buzzing Zach's hair- which Zach thought was hilarious, as did the girls. And here are the results and my handsome little man!
For those of you who know that Claire's birthday is on October 2nd, y0u know that this post is a little late... but, as always, better late than never. I survived all of my parties- Yahoo!! You've already seen Abby's birthday and our Hulaween extravaganza- so here are the pics (and some details) from the Pink Pampered Princess Tea Party. I have to admit that it was very cute and a raging success, in my completely impartial and unbiased opinion. The girls are coloring a giant coloring page of Cinderella! I should have taken a pic of the invitation- I designed my own princess using my scrap punches and a pair of scalloped scissors- and they turned out VERY cute. I asked each of the girls to come dressed up as a princess. As they arrived, they each got to take turns getting pampered in our Royal Salon... Kemari (BFF) helped as our very own hairdresser- and she has some mad skills with a curling iron and bobby pins! (And she helped even though she had a party of her own to host an hour later for her son Conner who just got baptized today) THANK YOU so much Kemari- all the girls hair turned out beautifully. Patty (sister in law) came to help as our Nail stylist (even though she had to be at work in an hour) Thanks Patty, what would a pampered princess be without a great manicure!? And I did their makeup. And of course, they got glitter- they got glitter in their hair, on their faces, on their lips, and on their nails! After they were all dolled up, they got to walk the red carpet and have the paprazzi (Chris, our live in photographer) take their pictures (which I printed and attached to their thank you cards). To keep them entertained in our salon waiting room, I found a giant coloring book with the Disney princesses that they could work on together and they got to watch Barbie's Princess and the Pauper. Kate (Kemari's daughter), and Claire's best friend!! Ready for her close up...Caitlyn, my niece, all dolled up and ready for a night on the town, or perhaps a great tea party! After that, we joined in our royal dining room for our Pink Princess Tea Party- we had finger sandwiches, flower shaped Jell-o jigglers, Strawberry-Grape skewers, Pink flower shaped sugar cookies, Pink lemonade, pink Strawberry pudding, and pink sparkled cupcakes. We didn't even have room for our pink ice cream... but I would say it was a great pink feast fit for a princess. These little shot glasses with Strawberry pudding, and whipped cream were my FAVORITE! (not because they tasted the best, but because they were SO cute! I will do these again) I even served them on "silver" trays and made a ruffled tablecloth to fit my table out of pink satin with teacups and teapots on it! And of course, they each got a tiara! After that, Claire opened her gifts, naturally she was spoiled absolutely rotten! She got really great gifts from very thoughtful friends and family! And being the true princess she is, she even remebered her pleases and more importantly, her Thank You's.
All the beautifu princesses- Kamry, Claire, Kate, Caitlyn, Abby, Aubrey, Alyssa, Isabelle, and Katelyn- (they all had names with A's, C's, and K's, except Belle) To wrap it all up, we made Glittered Bath Paints and Glitter Body Gel. They turned out to be great crafts for that age, and they got to take home some more pampered sparkly stuff! And for their goody bags, they got to each take home a sparkly necklace, a ring pop, and their very own makeup set! So they all got spoiled! And Claire had an awesome Princess party if I do say so myself! Happy Late Birthday Little Princess Claire!!