Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thoughts on record-keeping

Lately I'm feeling a fire lit under me about record-keeping.  I really want to record all kinds of things.  Things like:
  • Day-to-day events in my home
  • Spiritual enlightenment (personal revelation)
  • My thoughts on different issues.  Everything from the "opt-in pornography petition" going around (which I think is admirable, but misguided btw) to common core to the protection of the family.
  • Family histories - my ancestors, my grandparents, my own short history thus far. The same goes for Marty's side of the family (thank goodness for Kris Anne).  I want them all in a big book that is kid friendly.  I want my kids to grow up surrounded by the goodness and wisdom and strength of their family members they won't be able to meet in this life, but might feel from time to time.
  • Notes from my scriptures.  I just finished transferring everything from my old set of scriptures to my new set, and I'm so thankful none of it's lost (like the time Marty lost his old scriptures).  But I'm sad for all the times I read a verse and know I had some revelatory breakthrough about it but didn't write it down and can't remember what it was.  
  • Really, really cool experiences.  When I think about all the opportunities I had throughout my schooling (all the way from elementary to college graduation), I am in awe at all the incredible things I was blessed to be a part of.  It would be just plain sad, in addition to being seriously ungrateful, if I were to carelessly lose the memories.  
  • Book reviews, and the best quotes out of the best books.  I love classic literature.  I love to read sentences wherein the author labored for who knows how long, and found the most precise word in the english language, and wrote that sentence with a high purpose.  When I go to a symphony I feel like the good energy of all that beautiful music is inside of me and it makes me want to be a better person.  I feel like reading good literature can be like that.  You read it, and it stays with you in an abstract way, but to record quotes, ideas, wisdom, etc., seems even more worthy.  And more permanent. 
  • I need to write more letters (the kind with a...what's it called?...a stamp) and thank you cards.
  • Lists.  And then keeping them and referring back to them.  Lists like this one, so they don't disappear in the chaos that is my 50-things-to-do-at-a-time brain.
  • Letters to my kids.
  • Scrapbooking.  Turning my blog into a book.  Heck, I'd even go for just printing off a few of my digital pictures from time to time.
I want to be deliberate in the things I record.  I owe it to my kids and Heavenly Father, and I certainly think I owe it to myself.  I'm smart.  When I work hard and practice, I'm articulate.  I love to write.  I've gotten seriously lazy though.  It is so much easier to hurry and blast out a thought, followed by an emoticon and a, "ya know what I mean?"  And I don't mean to justify anything with excuses, but it's really hard.  I know I can do hard things.  I know, I know, I know.  It sounds totally ridiculous and childish to say I'm stinking at something because "it's hard" but it really is.  I get defensive when I hear moms talk about their kids turning their brains to mush, or anything to that effect.  It doesn't have to be that way, and it shouldn't.  But the truth is, I worry I'm becoming part of that group that gives stay-at-home-moms a bad reputation.  Being a mom really is more easily suited to "sound-bite" type of information, like Facebook.  Little blips we can read between a baby (or multiple babies!) needing things. I'm not saying Facebook is the devil, by the way.  It's great.  We need a support network.  We need to be able to ask questions to a group and throw things out there to other adults when we feel like we need to be heard, but can't dedicate the next half-hour to rounding up kids and shoes and socks and coats and diaper bags in order for someone to hear it.  But what I'm saying is that I, personally, am sort of craving more than sound-bite information.  
But again, it really is hard.  I'm up by 5:30 or 6 to get dressed,  nurse a baby, get everyone breakfast, conduct a morning devotional, and get Brynn off by no later than 6:55  That's probably the most intense part of the day, but it doesn't calm down a whole lot after that.  I have a hard time sitting at the computer for more than 10 minutes or so.  Either someone needs me, or if no one needs me then I start to get antsy and figure I'd better hurry and get something "done" before someone needs me.  And reading an article can't usually count as getting something "done."  There is always nap/quiet time, but the odds of actually getting all four situated for more than a half hour or so are against me.  That half hour is non-negotiable (meaning kids can kiss their own owies and babies can cry in their cribs if they don't "feel" like napping) and it has to be dedicated to my scriptures.  Has. to. be.   I refuse attempt this whole parenting think on my own, and can't stay awake long enough to read them at night (what could possibly be making me so tired? Ha!).  
Today, besides writing this, I also organized my "books" on the computer.  I have three different "books" I write stuff in and format it a little like my scriptures because I'm super dorky like that.  Anyway, in order to accomplish that I put the babies down while the 2 older were at school and pre-k.  That gave me 45 minutes.  Camille woke up while I was writing this.  She was hungry and poopy.  I took a break to attend to her and snuggle for a bit.  I laid her down on a quilt to roll around without a diaper for a few minutes as she was a little rashy.  She didn't stay on the quilt long.  I took another break to set her up again with more toys and a diaper.  I sat in a puddle (don't judge, I'm great at disinfecting).  I took care of all that.  Came back to the blog.  Wrote for a few minutes.  Now Gabe is at the door knocking and ready to come out of his room, and Camille is crying to be held.  And I'm not done yet!  And it's time to pick up B&B, have lunch, and then it's homework and piano practice, and then running errands, and mostly likely neighborhood kids wanting to come over and play, and dinner and dishes, and our fun Christmas singing around the tree (more on that later) and our bedtime routines.  My time after the kids go down belongs to Marty.  No one will ever question I love my kids, but Marty is numero uno.  Or at least he should be.  We need time to talk without interruption or have fun or laugh together.  We are a couple of yellow personalities and we need time to be true to that.  I should be better at using the time I'm not with Marty after all the kids are down (he's a pretty busy guy).  I will try for that. But by the time 9:30 rolls around, I turn in to a pumpkin and forming a coherent thought is beyond me. 
That is why it is hard.  I need bigger blocks of time then a 10 minute reading or writing session, all the while glancing around to make sure Gabe hasn't emptied out the spice rack on the the carpet (not that he did that last week or anything).  But I'm not sure how to grasp those longer blocks.  Today was an exception.  It doesn't always work to put the babies down for the nap at 9:30 after taking Bryce to preschool.  But it felt really good.  Even though now that I look back at all I've written, I'm disappointed at how blabbery it is and I know that, at least for today, proof-reading is out of the question.  And usually if I get an un-interrupted hour I use it to mop.  
One last thing: all of this is NOT meant to be a complaint.  I have so many times throughout a week where I stop and look around and stand in awe, humbled and grateful, that I am exactly where I want to be in my life.  I can't believe how much I love my kids.  I can't believe how much I love mothering them.  I can't believe how much I love my home here in AZ.  I can't believe I was able to have these four so close together with no miscarriages and that they all came so healthy.  After all I go through on a day-to-day basis, I can't BELIEVE I want more, haha!  But I do someday.  I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment.  I know that if I wasn't really busy I'd shrivel up and die.  And I've always needed to be busy.  But remember that time in college I was enrolled in 18 credits (technically 20) and working and serving in four different leadership capacities and discovered the glory that is college social life?  Yeah, THAT was more conducive to recording my thoughts.  Because I could block out a period of time and I knew it would be there, even if it was 4 in the morning.  But with a sick family, I can say there have been probably three of four nights in the last two weeks that I wasn't up multiple times with a kid (sometimes all four) so I can't even count on that.  It's nuts.  And I love it.  And it's nuts.
Well, it's almost noon and time to get the big kids.  What am I trying to say?  I have a desire to be more informed, well-read, and articulate, but especially a desire to record it all.  It's really hard to do that.  But I can do hard things.  It's time to find a way to simply make it a bigger priority.  And to be more deliberate about it.  Since staying at home, I have not stopped learning.  I am the book-worm that I've always been.  But I need to be deliberate about it.  If I tackle an 1100 page Dickens novel, I should record something about it so that's not all lost.  If I read a bunch of articles about education and legislation, I want to record it and put it in my own words so that I can have an intelligent conversation about it.  I can't believe I am still writing, this is SO long.  And Camille is trying to eat paper.  And Gabe is yelling about food from his room, where I still have not gotten him from his nap.  And now the race continues!  But at least I recorded something, eh?

And guess what?  NO emoticons!